Friday, 10 June 2016

Waterlow Park

We came to Waterlow Park this afternoon and sat in the extraordinary sunshine, which the weather app on my phone assured me was heavy cloud. A man sat on the bench next to us softly strumming his guitar whilst kids from Channing School were doing handstands within the buttercups. Everything for a moment felt very warm and calm. Until, of course, someone nearby decided to put the person she was talking to on speaker phone and proceeded to start shouting her side of the conversation. We are both agreed that using a speaker phone in public is one of the most anti social things you can do. It's all part of that ghastly "I'm going to live my life the way that I want to, and screw anyone who that might inconvenience."

I then realised that I'm not very good at doing nothing. I got back ache from sitting on the bench, got really fidgety, and then decided to lie down on the grass which was still a bit damp from yesterday's deluge. I suddenly realised at that point that I was lying in an ants' nest and jumped up, having to acknowledge that the enforced stillness wasn't working that well for me. I had started reading a book, however, which Sam Becker found. It's the most amazing glossary of slang and parody songs of the First World War, meticulously collected the same way that all those wonderful men on bicycles in rural areas collated folk songs in the same era. The foreword talks about quite how seriously they took their task, pointing out that we have no idea what Napoleon's armies sang as they marched through Europe, largely because someone hadn't bothered to write it down. I wish, wish, wish that I'd had this book whilst writing Brass. Mind you, it is possible that I would have vanished into a pool of authenticity. Sometimes a writer can be guilty of showing off his knowledge to the exclusion of his audience. There were one or two instances where Sara Kestleman picked me up on authentic terminology I'd used which had no resonance in the modern day. There's no point using a word simply to show off that you know it! In fact, that's the sort of pretentiousness which I have spent my career railing against!

Speaking of railing against stuff, I finally heard back from a foundation in Leeds today who told me they wouldn't be sponsoring our trip to the Somme region, having literally kept me dangling on the end of a string for three months. Every time I contacted them, they told me they'd get back with an answer the following day. They were always waiting to talk to a man called Edward whom I started to suspect was someone's imaginary friend. I'd hear nothing, wait two more weeks, call back again and be told they were still waiting to hear from Edward. Apparently Edward finally spoke today, and Edward, he say no. In fairness I feel he might have said no three months ago. It might have been polite or kind. But I guess giving money to deserving cases is only fun when the deserving case is literally on the ground begging.

So, it's back to the drawing board for the last injection of cash we need to get ourselves off to France. There's £760 left to find! We'll get there! Again, if anyone reading this blog feels like making a tiny donation, please only do so if you've had a good month at work! Or if you're Edward and you've changed your mind!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Ben, I have made a tiny contribution and sent a cheque in the post, it's such a noble and worthy cause (everyone should visit) However it's suddenly dawned on me I may not have your correct/current address (I think I sent it to an Archway Road address?!) Si