Friday, 21 January 2011

Try everything at least twice

Another relatively sedentary day spent working on my sofa. Today was all about cranking myself into gear in time for my first day of studio recording for the Metro project, which happens on Monday.

I went to the gym after lunch, and spent 45 minutes jumping, running, skipping and generally feeling like a tit. At the end of my session, I dared to weigh myself, and discovered quite how much I'd gained during the evil Christmas period. The crisis point has now arrived. I'm officially standing at the cross-roads between happiness and needing to be lifted out of my bed by some kind of winch. I seem to have spent my life wildly oscillating between two weights, which are about 14 kilos apart. This really can't be a particularly healthy way to live. I’m like the white, male, hairy, English, gay version of Oprah, which makes me feel very strange indeed.

Nathan has started a new job, which involves selling tickets for a circus in a giant tent behind the National Theatre. He’s left me with a shed load of jobs to do in his absence, which includes making a nice healthy soup and installing our new tumble drier in the kitchen. I’ve no idea why he trusts me to be the first person to use it. I only have to look at technology for it to break down. I thought I'd fare slightly better with the soup, but I seem to have created something which tastes and looks like river silt. I blame the carrots; a flavourless bunch...

I continue to overhaul Alice Through the Looking-Glass. This adaptation has now been performed 8 times, and I’m wondering whether I should try and get it published – or at least wafted under the snooty nose of a publisher, so that I can at least say I tried. That’s very much my attitude in life. I have to give something a go. I think I learnt this from my Mum who used to say I could only stop doing something if I'd done it twice. I have so little time for people who tell me how they could have done something, if they’d had had the time or resources to do it. How many people do we all know are in the perpetual process of writing a novel, or a screenplay or a musical? People tell me about these wonderful ideas they've been having, but nothing ever materialises. I have so much respect for people who actually finish what they’re doing and try to get it out there, even if it means the world accuses them of being deluded as a result. Finishing something – and then daring to put it into the public domain is one of the bravest things you can do in life. You can make all the excuses in the world, but it usually comes down to lack of guts.
The 21st January 1660, revealed something very interesting about the climate at the start of the 1660s. Far from being the romantic era of the second ice-age with the Thames freezing over and Nell Gwyn selling oranges on skates, Pepys writes:

It is strange what weather we have had all this winter; no cold at all; but the ways are dusty, and the flyes fly up and down, and the rose-bushes are full of leaves, such a time of the year as was never known in this world before here.

Apart from being a fabulously poetic passage, it tells us quite how much the warm winter was freaking everyone out; quite justifiably, as warm winters led to diseases. The 1665 plague, in fact, had been expected for some years.

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