This is not a story about how much of a Nirvana fan I was. I came to their music late, long after they were at the peak of their success and long after they had stopped making music. When Nirvana were popular, however, I was a ten year old girl living a sheltered life. While my father was into music, our pop culture references were few and far between. His record player didn’t work, but his tape player in the car did and I had a steady diet of very old Hank Williams and the Elvis Sun Sessions. I still love hearing that music today. We had a very old TV that had a about six stations on a good day and I’d turn off BBC1 at 7pm on a Thursday because I didn’t want to hear the music. We had no VCR so if we didn’t see something that was that.
Now I have Netflix and Virgin Media TV channels galore. I have Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter. I have news and entertainment on tap. I can see almost any news report or music video within seconds. Today I watched footage of the Berlin Wall coming down, with a chaser of Melissa McCarthy’s Spicy Act. I was inspired to write this post after watching a BBC4 documentary on 20 years of rock anthems. I can write this while streaming something else to entertain me. I have woken up at night in a panic and been able to grab my phone and see on Twitter that the UK had voted to leave the EU and that a reality TV star was on the brink of election.
Do I check these things obsessively because I’m telling myself I want to be informed about the state of the world? Or am I consuming these stories because they’re now as much part of being entertained as which movie star is having an affair and with whom? Am I now expecting life to have a series of entertainments, of which politics and current affairs form a part? Is the latest compelling press conference just something that’s offered to us because we’re here, and we expect to be entertained? Or are these just lyrics from a song that became a hit and meant that the hair bands had to rethink their sales pitch?
I caved and have washed my hair a few times with shampoo, about once a week on average. I’m going to use up every half-finished bottle and then reassess the no shampoo thing. Shampoo bars look interesting.
Our local supermarket has greatly increased the loose fruit and vegetable selection. I can get pretty much all the fruit I want (apart from grapes) without packaging, expect for the annoying stickers on the apples and oranges. I have found the vegetable selection more limited, but I can get enough of what I need and get creative with my cooking. I’ve managed to get some salad vegetables, tomatoes and broccoli loose elsewhere.
I have discovered an amazing bakery very close to our house and as it makes the bread onsite and I can walk to it and use my old muslin cloths to wrap everything its working out great. You need to get there early though, as we discovered when we popped in on a Saturday afternoon to be greeted by empty shelves.
I’m continuing the decluttering and using what I have mindset. Instead of buying a second mattress protector for our bed for the time when the one we have is in the wash, I figured a two fitted sheets would work just as week. I made it through Ikea without buying anything unnecessary and realising all the various boxes I had at home would work just fine.
There’s spare drawers in some chests of drawers, spare cubby holes in our old Expedit unit and spare space in my wardrobe as I have no desire to buy anything, especially since getting a well loved coat and cape properly cleaned.
I have retreated to the Chalet School in recent weeks, partly out because I’ve managed to track down several difficult-to-find unabridged editions to replace my paperbacks and mainly for reasons of sanity, self-preservation and to quell the constant low level anxiety that’s been hiding at the pit of my stomach.
It’s oddly comforting to know that there’s a universe where I know they’ll make it through the chaos of the 1930s unscathed and filled with stiff upper lips and shoulders being put to the wheel to defeat a foe. It’s also nice to read that the school doesn’t believe in shielding the children and young adults in its care from bad news-we’re told they don’t want to raise jellyfish but strong and able women. There is, however, only so much bad news one can take each day and the Chalet girls weren’t living in a world with endless access to ceaseless media chatter.
Living in a world where openly mocking disability and using the coarsest of language to describe how you treat women doesn’t stop millions people voting for you and an electoral college rubber stamping your rise to public office is difficult, to say the least. Jolly difficult and frightfully unnerving. I can’t help but feel that the fines for slangs weren’t the worst idea.
Every year, on the 17th of March, the Taoiseach of Ireland participates in a slightly twee and bizarre ceremony, known as the shamrock ceremony. He (thus far, always a he) presents the President of the United States of the day with shamrock in a crystal bowl and there’s a photo op and sundry other Irishy things happen around various parts of Washington DC, the USA and the world. We’re always told it’s great for Irish-international relations and trade, that it is a type of access that’s utterly unique and aren’t we fierce lucky that we have this type of thing to draw attention to ourselves every year.
I don’t think it should be done this year. I don’t think I want the leader of our country participating in this type of event given the current circumstances, where facts can be dismissed and lies presented as alternative facts. I don’t think we should pretend this is another opportunity to go about business as usual and I don’t think I’m alone in wanting our Taoiseach to skip it this year.
Enda, this year, please stop the shamrock. We’re better than this. And we really should show that we are and we will be.
In 2004, George W. Bush was elected on my birthday, November 2nd.
In 2012, my husband and I marched in protest for the first time ever on November 17th following the death of Savita Halappanavar.
In 2015, in November we went to view the house that we would buy and in which we made our first home that was just ours together.
Today, it’s another cold November day and I’m thinking of myself and the other November days that have brought me happiness and that made me cry. I wish I could be a little less selfish but today I’m allowing myself to indulge in a lot of ‘what might have been’.
Last night we went to see The Heiress. I haven’t read the book on which it is based, but the play was extremely enjoyable. I love live theatre and I’m already looking forward to next month when we’ll be back to see Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, about which I know nothing. We ate beforehand in one of our favourite spots, Hop House. I love the food there, but be under no illusions, it isn’t for a fancy meal one goes here. I have Washington Square on my list of Books I Want To Get Around to Reading This Year list. One of my resolutions is to use my fantastic local library more and expand my reading.
I met a friend for lunch in Bear today. It’s my second visit, the first being the last time we ate there some months ago. I’m being thoughtful about my food choices these days so I had a chicken salad and stuck to water. I’m not sure I’d have enjoyed my salad without the chicken (which I had as an optional extra). It was a large portion and wouldn’t have been as interesting without the meat. I’m a carnivore, but I love salads. This one was nice, but a little bland. I’m also not terribly keen on the high stools and tables but the atmosphere is really pleasant for lunch. And a nice hour catching up with a friend is always a recipe for enjoying yourself.