Never assume anything, Gisburne, except an occasional air of intelligence

by Suw on September 29, 2003

Well, just sitting on the platform at Arundel station, waiting for the train to Chichester and the beginning of my journey back to the deepest, darkest depths of Dorset. It's been a lovely weekend, full of not very much except a little shopping, a little fixing of computers and a lot of Robin of Sherwood.

I did astound myself on Saturday by buying a Christmas present for a member of my family. What I bought and for whom shall remain unstated in this blog, just in case, but I almost went into anaphylactic shock when I realised what I'd done – I never buy Christmas presents early. I'm usually still shopping on Christmas Eve, and if I actually send my cards out before New Year's Eve then I consider it a job well done. Needless to say, I feel that this sudden hiccough of organisation is seriously letting the side down.

I just pray I'm not turning into my mother.

It's been another gloriously sunny weekend so a walk around the waterfowl centre here seemed like an astonishingly good idea, once we'd brunched at Swanborne Lodge. I now have a new favourite duck. I'm particularly fond of ducks for some reason and my favourite has always been the gaudily over-dressed Carolina duck. But the Common Scoter – basically the Neil Gaiman of the duck world, dressed as it is in the very blackest of blacks – is now definitely my new favourite. Ok, so technically a scoter isn’t a duck, I suppose, but where’s the joy in splitting feathers?

One day when I grow up, I want a house with a big pond with lots of ducks, three of which shall be called Peking, Crispy and Fried.

I'm now sitting at Chichester, waiting for the train to Southampton. It's 15 mins late.

Kate asked me to give her a hand putting a new CD/DVD drive into her computer, something I've done recently with my own. I told her it was easy, but I can understand her trepidation as regards actually opening up one’s own computer and rummaging around inside when one doesn’t really feel like one knows what one is doing.

I could tell she's never actually been inside her own computer as we couldn't get one of side panels off, so I couldn't remove her old CD drive. No problem, thought I, I'll just slot it in to the spare rack. Except her computer is so old that the fascia is just a touch too narrow to slot the CD drive snugly in. Instead it protrudes a little, and she'll have to be careful not to tip the box forward lest the whole thing slide out.

Other than that little problem, the whole thing went without a hitch and I gave Kate a guided tour of her puter whilst we had it open so that she know what each bit is (other than 'old and fucked').

Often when I get together with Kate we huddle in front her tv and sneakily watch old Duran Duran videos in the hope that Steve won't come in and take the piss out of us. This weekend, we watched old episodes of Robin of Sherwood instead, with the rather lovely Michael Praed and the an awful lot younger, thinner and cuter Ray Winstone.

I don't think I've seen many episodes since 84-86 when they first aired, apart possibly from one or two back at uni in the early 90s. Having recently watched seminal mid-80s eco-political thriller Edge of Darkness with the late Bob Peck (about which I blogged here, here and here) I was at least prepared for the difference in pace between 80s tv and the stuff I'm currently used to. I was also prepared for the sound track, as I used to be quite a major Clannad fan and can probably still hum pretty much the entire album.

What I really wasn't prepared for was how much I'd enjoy myself watching Robin beat the crap out of the incompetent Sir Guy of Gisburne (sic), humiliate Robert, High Sheriff of Nottingham and generally ponce his way through the forest as if he owns the place. And all this, despite Praed's dubious acting skills (if that's not an overstatement).

Looking at it a bit less romantically, (when I was 13 I really, really wanted to be Marion, dresses, curly hair and all. Especially the curly hair. I blame her for all those awful perms, myself), and with a little more knowledge of screenwriting, it's again interesting to note the slow, quiet scenes, ones with no incidental music at all, which would either be cut from TV today or swamped by the score. Episodes seem to have more changes of pace, more dynamic, fewer soundbites, more 'white space', as it were.

I shall have to get a hold of some of these episodes and do a compare and contrast with Buffy.

The other notable event this weekend was the comprehensive infiltration of my subconscious by various celebrities. I don’t know what the hell they're all doing in my dreams, but I wish they'd bring some friends and stay around for a bit longer.

Since Thursday I have had two dreams featuring James Marsters (one including Buffy and Willow although technically James was always James and not Spike); two including Johnny Depp who spoke with a French accent and told me that I was a good actress and how he loved the two films I'd been, in particularly the scene where I nearly drowned in that lake (please, no interpretations of that one – I think it's clear enough!); one cameo by Neil Gaiman which sadly I cannot remember in detail; and this morning's really very cute dream in which Alan Davies, who was working in an art shop where I had gone with Kate to buy paintbrushes, rather nervously asked me out on a date.

I'm not sure why I should suddenly find my subconscious crammed with celebs, but usually when my dreams become so vivid and detailed, it indicates that I'm sleeping too much. The more I sleep, the more dreams I remember – the ones I have between about 5am and waking are the more detailed and vivid and, obviously, the ones I'm most likely to remember.

Southampton Central now. Next train also about 15 mins late.

You know, I really should have spent this journey working on SP2 instead of writing this blog entry, but well, you know me and procrastination. Despite the fact that I have a whole load of ideas for scenes to add in, none of which will be particularly difficult to write, it seems like too much of an effort to work on it right now. I think it's just the hassle of writing them on the Velo, then having to cut and paste them into the right place and making sure all the scene headings are consistent and all that.

I'm a lazy bint at times, really I am.

But that said, writing this now means less to write later which means I can just get on with the SP. I'm not going to make my end of September self-imposed deadline for finishing the first draft. At least I have the good excuse that I have had other things to deal with and research to finish up first, but once next week is over, (I'm off to New York for a few days next week, thanks to the generosity of my family and Virgin Atlantic employee friends. It will be the first time I'll have left the country since 1992), I shall have no excuses.

First draft of SP2 will be completed within the next four weeks. Let’s say I’ll have it done by Samhain, 31 Oct. That’s a good, strong deadline.

Another thing I need to do, which I haven't been doing since things started to go arse up with the business, is get my beautiful Takamine out and start playing again. Kate has her guitar, left-handed like mine, on a stand in her tiny office so I couldn't help but pick it up and have a fiddle with it. I was disappointed, but unsurprised, to discover that I couldn't remember much at all of what I used to play.

My callouses are, of course, long gone, so I foresee much pain in my immediate future. In fact, my fingertips are a little tender now from the twenty minutes I spent plucking random chords last night. I did eventually trawl up from the depths of my memory a couple of songs – Elliott Smith's Rose Parade (sans twiddly bits) and Duran Duran's The Chauffeur. Although I did mangle both pretty much beyond recognition.

Well, that’s it for this blog entry. I’m on a slow train, stopping at almost every station between Scumpton (I wonder how long it will take for Southampton to become either Scumpton or Soton on the maps) and Bournemouth. I think I shall spend the rest of the journey reading Story by Robert McKee, kindly loaned to me by V. Good read so far, I'm much enjoying it.

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