Wednesday, 16 September 2009

London Philharmonic :: A Fresh Start

Ben’s divorce came through last Saturday. There was a party at our house to celebrate. I live with Ben. And we both live with Imogen.

Both Ben and Imogen are musicians.

Imogen plays the oboe. No. The oboe she plays is not pink.

Ben plays the cello. Yes. Ben's cello is pink. Figuratively. Hence Ben’s divorce.

It’s a long story, and unfortunately not mine for the telling. It’s off limits. And rightly so. Because it has nothing to do with me. Sometimes though, even if something does have something to do with me, that doesn’t give me the right - certainly not if there are other people involved - to take this thing out and wash it, or dye it, in public, then leave it to slop around in the faceless, phlegmmy sea of eyes and ears that is the internet for all eternity. I know. I'm an idiot. I’ve said it many, many times before, but it bears repeating now.

Recently I fucked up a good thing by saying too much on this blog. I knew this person wasn’t comfortable with the whole Truman Show-lite, self-fellatio thing, but I thought I could make it work. I was wrong. I fucked up. And I gave myself a fucking egohernia in the process. The egohernia erupted spontaneously when this woman compared me to Liz Jones and I could see quite clearly that she had a point.

Well, I wish I could say I’ll never make the same mistake again, because it makes me proper sad, but in one way or another, I'm thinking I probably will. So I won’t say anything more. But I am sorry.

But then... I’ve just moved into a new house and some very interesting new people are suddenly knocking about the place and I want to talk about them. So what I did – I had a brainwave, and I thought, I’ll feel them out first. So that’s what I did. I felt them out.

Ben said that as long as I don’t use his real name, or the name of the real musical instrument he plays, or the fact that he has an alcohol problem, then we’ll be alright.

Imogen said I could only talk about her in rhyming couplets, but even then I wasn’t allowed to use her real name, her real instrument or say anything to bring shame on her or her family. Then I made her see that rhyming couplets were a very bad idea. And we talked about something else.

So. I feel like a student. Except I’m also the oldest person in the house, which is a little odd and makes me feel like an underachiever. Yes, a student. Imogen and Ben, and as far as I can tell, most of their friends, studied together. Or else they met on the circuit, or on big jobs. Now they gad about all over the world in vibrant little shifting clusters, playing whatever needs playing and having a whale of a time. (Tour Wives indeed.) Concerts. Film soundtracks. Weddings. Adverts. TV Shows. Rich People’s Parties. Royal Variety Performances. Band tours. You name it. Wherever there is need of string, reed or piston valve, these people fly off, play their pieces, drink very heavily and commit heinous immoral acts.

Here are some of them here:

They’re all top rank humans though, the ones that I’ve met so far at least, and what’s really funny is, although you’ll often find them denying it, they’re all terribly posh. I don’t say that in a disparaging way by the way. Posh in my books is Excellent. I love posh people. And mark my words, if I ever have offspring of my own, as opposed to someone else's, they’ll be posh offspring. Palpably posh. I’ll be shoe-horning them out of the womb with a silver spoon the size of a spade and they’ll be bashing notes before the cord is cut. And if they ever know the uniquely dispiriting sight of a Goblin Meat and Gravy Pudding spilling its unseemly guts across a plate of cold chips, I’ll work my balls off to ensure it’s merely in the name of play or posh gloating.

Speaking of play, two of Ben’s best friends are happy to label themselves ‘failed musicians’. Will is also happy to label himself ‘designer florist’. And Kingsley is perfectly content with ‘music teacher’ at a London comp. I met them both at Ben’s Divorce and Coming Out party. They’re both single. One very recently. Ben too now of course. Mum’s the word. And as for me, I’m up around the nine-month mark. It’s getting just like the old days. When I told them this, they were sympathetic, and drunken plans were immediately hatched to Do Something About It. In the meantime, apparently I have to watch some Sex and the City and figure out which one of us is Miranda.

In other news, I have recently mistreated my spine and now my spine is taking revenge. I currently have a cheap wooden chair tilted forward on two bricks and I’m pumped full of Nurofen. I think I’m going to watch a little more Larry Sanders now, then lie flat on the floor and listen to some Brahms. (Imogen is teaching me about classical music. I still prefer Michael Nyman at the moment, but wouldn't you simply die without Mahler?)

If anyone has any chair advice, by the way, I would be very grateful. My back is proper crippling me at the moment, worse than The Da Vinci Code, which I finished today. (Eminently readable. Hilarious. Inconceivable!) Balls. There must be a surfeit of decent office chairs in London at the moment, what with all the lay-offs and all. I might do some sniffing about.

Happy 9/15!

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Melissa said...

Imogen and Ben sound lovely. And you sound happy to be back in London. Good for you, and enjoy reliving the heady days of student living. They're fun.

Anonymous said...

Try the Aeron chair - stupidly expensive but totally customizable for your body shape.

Ian said...

Garry Shandling is wonderful but don't you think Jeffrey Tambor steals the show?
And how clever of you to finish the Da Vinci Code just in time for the release of The Lost Symbol.

LittleLadyJo88 said...

Having never lived the "student life," at a grando old age of 21 I feel slightly jealous, make a beer bong for me! :P

Larry Teabag said...

wouldn't you simply die without Mahler?

I'd die a ridiculously protracted and extravagant death, culminating in at least 100 medics holding me in wrapped attention for over two hours.

Nicky said...

Voltarol might help more than Nurofen. Auctions almost always have a good office chair or 10 going dirt cheap - get Ben or Imogen to wheel it home for you though. There are internet sites that show you how to get the most ergonomic setup for your chair, and also help you with core exercises that strengthen the muscles supporting the spine and make you less likely to have recurring problems. Also, keep moving, even if you don't feel much like it: it's medically proven that people who keep active recover from back problems much quicker than people who lie on the floor all day. Good luck, it's not a lot of fun, I know.

La Bête said...

Thanks, Melissa.

And thanks, Anon, yeah, they look great, but a little out of my league - actually, fuck it. This is important. I may have to go into more debt.

Ian, absolutely. I'm up to season 5 now and the more I watch, the more JT shines. He's an amazing actor.

LLCoolJo, um.... OK!

Larry, in wrapped attention? That sounds slightly perverse, but what a way to go.

Nicky, thanks for your advice. I've got to go and meet a friend now so I'm going to combine lots of other chores too. Maybe I should force myself back on the Wii Fit. See if I can keep that hoop going in this state.

AndrewM said...

Stop being a whinging ponce.

Eat pies/puddings.

Drink beer.

Wake them up with 633 squadron at full belt.


LittleLadyJo88 said...

LLCoolJo lol aww! I feel at least 40 per cent cooler now and more hip with the kids! :P

I think its called a beer bong :S saw some students the other week make a large one using a hose pipe and a funnel!
I left shortly after that, the "party goers," were not very friendly :( However if you make one you can restore my faith in beer bongs :P

Donna Deluso said...

On the subject of Miranda in SATC - when I asked my EX-boyfriend which one he thought I was he said Miranda and then wouldn't elaborate - I now know it's because he no longer found me attractive. My current boyfriend says I remind him of Miranda because she's a hot redhead and very sexy. I'm keeping this one!

Kate said...

Your new flatmates sound great - hope it all works out well for you. No chair advice I am afraid will be interested to know where you get one. Actually on a chair related note I once lived with a complete weirdo who screamed at me for ten minutes one evening (the first week I moved in as I was sitting in HER leather chair) I left after a month but not before shagging on it - when she was out of course - revenge is fun!

Take care

Kate x

Larry Teabag said...


"...rapt attention..."

Antipo Déesse said...

We love you! AND you are the funniest, cleverest writer alive! AND you have great hair.

I'm going to have to read your book again tomorrow (long train trip to Brittany) and relive all the smooshy admiration feelings that ripple through my gut every time I think of you.

Anonymous said...

Living with musicians can be a lot of fun! Unless they're playing electrified instruments at 2am and drag you out of bed because they absolultely need you to record your guitar solo!

Maria in Oregon

Anonymous said...

I don't like the HUGE spiders in my new gaff. Hand sized. Gah!



Anonymous said...

What Anonymous said re Herman Miller but yes, they are expensive and a bit black and plastic for my taste.

I *love* Eames chairs. The softpad leather on casters isn't quite a customizable as the Aeron but looks great and is still *very* comfy. New they're about £1,800 but I got mine "as new" from eBay for £600, which is still a lot of money isn't it?

There are a lot of reproductions "in the style of" but only buy officially licensed ones from HM or Vitra.

Now I know I sound like a ponce but I like chairs - alright?

Henk Van Vleck said...

Did I understand that last bit right; you're off sniffing chairs?

La Bête said...

AndrewM, thank you so much for your rousing speak-as-I-find forthrightness. It really is most refreshing. Pies, puddings and beer. Splendid.

DD, that’s really lovely and all, but Miranda is a cow. x

Hello, Kate. I fear my chair-shagging days are over, with this back.

Larry – marvellous. Particularly after your possessive pronoun gloating. Ah, yes. It still hurts.

Aaaaah, Antipo – you are hereby crowned Queen of My Coterie of Sycophants.

Cool, Maria. Phat.

AnnAnon, I love huge spiders and all manner of stuff. I rescued a moth from an old cup of tea earlier and totally saved it. Gave it mouth to mouth. Now it’s sitting on my innertube drying out. Or dead. I can’t quite tell. Aww.

AMP, I’m thinking of this place. What do you reckon? Still costly though. You haven’t got a spare one, have you? If you donate it, I promise I’ll write a poem about you.

HVV, you make it sound more sordid than it actually is. You scamp.

Panda said...

Stan, are you missing Alma?

La Bête said...

Yeah, I guess. I think of her often and I feel sad that she's on her own now. I'm phoning her regularly now. Life is quite sad. But I'm so glad to be back in London and to be so busy again. Jesus, what did you bring me down for?

petrichoric said...

I'm fairly new to "Bête de Jour", so I don't really know your full story...I'm assuming that you were completely anonymous when you first started your blog? Isn't it weird that people e.g. your flatmates know about your blog now, and can read it any time they want?

Just wondering because I had to close down my old blog when too many people had read it. I just felt that I couldn't write as honestly as I once had if people I knew were going to be reading.

Our Glamorous Heroine said...

Preparing to give university another go at the moment so I haven't read you for ages in favour of spending my time buried in books on anti-oppressive practice and the Guardian's society section. But then I peek back on the offchance and there you are, reeling me in with your Educating Rita reference. I fucking love London. Welcome back.

La Bête said...

Petrichor, I… oh, nothing.

OGH - university! Best of luck with that. And yes, London is splendid.