Saturday, 8 February 2014


Early, about 6.30am - listening to the wind batter the house again.

Firstly - apologies for another slack week, I've either been very busy - or had nothing to say. Most of this week I've been staring at a screen working on a licensing project - I'm actually really enjoying it and it's quite a challenge - but it's difficult and time consuming. It's not really public domain yet - but when it is, I'll let you know. I have quite a lot on this coming week too - best to keep busy. Additionally, it's all very grim at the moment. The terrible weather has taken it's toll, my house has been battered by one storm after another and now there is water pouring in through the main roof and the kitchen roof. Black mold is appearing inside and out, large damp patches blossom everywhere and water is running between the brickwork and the dry lining, appearing in random places as dark patches of damp or slow drips onto loft boards I regularly find random pools of water that defy explaination (no - nothing to do with the dog). I'm going to have to pull the landing ceiling down this weekend - and the bathroom ceiling will follow. I have made several attempts to contact the insurance company, but I can't get through - everyone else seems to have the same idea. There have been two partial house collapses this week in Hastings and one old man was trapped in the rubble of his home after a rock fall crushed the back end - resulting in 4 seafront properties facing the prospect of demolition. It's going to be like this for another week, and then apparently a cold snap is due. I know I ramble on about the weather - but we've had about 8 weeks of this now and the joke has worn very thin. I'm really missing daylight.

Secondly - another apology - this time to my lovely brother and sister, who have busy lives and don't read this blog very often - but when they do - find it very depressing reading, I had my brother on the phone yesterday asking if I was alright, honestly - I am, I really am, I'm just a miserable old git.

Talking miserable - I came home on wednesday and the washing machine had failed - flooding the kitchen. It seems beyond repair, and the cost of a new machine wasn't on my budget list. I'm quite pissed off about that. And the relentless bills, lack of income, crashing economy, and daily grind are just taking their toll a bit. I read the most depressing article about the chaos of housing prices in London this week - it's out of control and will have long term implications on all of us - you can stand back and watch it crackle and burn from a distance. Madness.

Did In mention that there are no trains? - We keep getting cut off from the rest of the world - we even had the roads closed the other day due to another building collapse on the seafront.

Bright spots.

I finally managed to resolve something that's been a problem for some years. When I was a kid I watched a film one afternoon that I've been trying to identify. It was an Amicus style compendium of sinister short stories - a bit like the Somerset Maughn films of the 1950's. One section was set in an art gallery - a gloomy gothic painting on the wall had the power to draw people in and trap them inside. Creepy, atmospheric, very British and very gothic - by the power of facebook and the internet - someone I knew themselves knew someone who suggested I speak to 'so and so' because they 'probably wrote the sleeve notes for the DVD' - and they had. The film in question is this one - and it is MAGNIFICENT. Please watch it - quite something special. The strange thing is just how accurate my memories are - at least 30 years later and I remember in minute details the sets, script, settings and even the nuances of the actors - memory is a wonderful thing.

In another unexpected bright spot - I've apparently surprised some people by being 'nice' about something. I have no interest in the Winter Olympics - was left unmoved by the parts of the opening ceremony I managed to see (although the digital work was very sharp indeed) and the political and social environment in Russia is beyond grim for someone like me - but I draw the line at wholesale inverted snobbery and sneering belittling of a diverse and vast nation of many millions.

Russia is huge, but also a bit of a mess, it's a nation that's barely 20 years old - and after a century of introverted paranoia and fear of the West, it's bound to have issues. I've long suspected that Russia feels compelled to replace one great fear with many small ones - and Homophobia is just one of them. If anything, they remind me of Britain in the late 80's, a paranoid, ranting leader out of touch with anything except their own legend, out of control economy with a polarised population, the spectre of internal terrorism and confusion over their place in the world. Anyone who wants to know what it must be like to be gay in Russia today probably can't remember section 28. We've come a long way in 20 years - I expect they will do the same. I know a lot of people from the former USSR - I've never met a single one who wasn't wonderful, engaged, sophisticated and eager to participate in the world - and never have I met one who was homophobic.

In other news - I have agreed to a show of some of my work through the Month of march. I must have been mad to agree to that one - but I'm committed now.

This little film from last nights BBC is great - it's easy to understand why I live here - and very odd to see people and places I know on the telly - they look... 'different'. Something to look forward to, regardless.

Later today - after I clean the house, sit down and try and figure out how I'm going to afford a new washing machine, make a list for the insurance company, pull the ceiling down upstairs and wash a load of clothes in the sink and pray they dry before next Easter - I'm going to sit down, watch a film, and pretend the weather outside isn't happening. Tomorrow I'll do the same.

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