The weather is obstinately beige and not becoming of early summer and the lethargic efforts of the sun are proving contagious. My writing has crawled to a near-halt over the last two weeks and I'm struggling to muster the enthusiasm for much beyond a bowl of Special K on the couch. I might be tempted to diagnose a case of the birthday blues - or an existential crisis of thirty proportions but in the interests of good mental health (mine and those that have to suffer me) I'm choosing to whitewash the feeling in a mash up of philosophy and sentiment about this thing we call A Milestone.
Thanks to a rather insightful email from my little brother the other week I've decided to try and put the panic on ice (along with the Pimms) about my minstrel-wandering-in-the-wasteland career and trust that it will somehow fall into place in some form or another. I'm just not going to let nagging anxiety lead to compromise. A convenient moral high ground to justify the lack of employment success I do realise, but, well, whatevs. It's the truth. If only I could ditch the t-shirt folding I'd be so much happier. Even packet mix brownie making is more enjoyable than working retail.
So I need to get on with it - writing, pimping, applying for jobs and just trying to accept that being unemployed in London during a really shitty recession was always going to blow. Badly.
Much and nothing else has been happening lately. LB and I went out to Greenwich the other weekend to meet my old flatmate's new man, which was great fun and the churros we discovered at the market afterwards was SO good the distress I felt at the fat drip of chocolate sauce that landed on my shoes was more about the waste of chocolate than the ruined footwear. I joke not. Foolishly we'd decided to get to Greenwich by public transport - only to be thwarted by planned closures on the Jubilee line, unplanned closures on the Bakerloo line and a DLR train that took forever to get there. Skipping all the palava in reverse getting home, we decided to hop a ferry and travel back to central London up the Thames - scenic, stress free and something else to tick off our list.
It's no Sydney Harbour, let's just get that out of the way right now, but the most fascinating thing about the Thames is the enormous sense of history that comes with it - envisioning the development of London as a thriving metropolis and the Thames as a busy working waterway that has witnessed the construction of some of the most iconic buildings and bridges in history, among them the Tower of London and this ol' postcard favourite, Tower Bridge:
In the spirit of iconic London locations I think I've settled on the river terrace at the Royal Festival Hall for my birthday soiree - reasoning that the football will be the peanut to the nut allergy that is any self-respecting High Culture Establishment. A slightly shaky analogy but you get the drift. All I need now is some sunshine because for god's sake, I've already got my dress planned.
Eschewing fashion for philosophy, last Wednesday I spent the day at the Imperial War Museum attending a conference on the Politics of Memory - looking at the problems of history and memory and politics when it comes to building memorials. I saw a flyer for it when I went to see Antony Gormley's new show at White Cube the other week and figured I couldn't call myself an art anything - critic, writer, historian, whatever (imposter, maybe) - if I didn't go, given this was a large part of my dissertation. I suspected my brain would hurt a little but I actually really enjoyed it, it felt like coming home, and it was amazing to hear Gormley and Miroslaw Balka and others talk about the problematics of merging art and politics with that little thing called memory. This is what London is about. If I could find some way to finance myself (that doesn't involve selling drugs to small children) I could gladly attend conferences, write, traipse to exhibitions and "consider things" for a living. A girl can dream I suppose. I told LB I wanted a job for my birthday and he said he'd see what he could do. I'm not optimistic but I don't doubt he will make 30 special for me in his own beautiful way.
But God. Thirty.