Friday, December 22, 2006

A drink, a drink, my personality for a drink

I've been to two social events recently where my sense of confidence and general well being has depended, at least in part, on red wine.

First was a wedding reception atttended by hordes of Jon's schoolmates. This school was an ultra-academic private affair for boys. He didn't like it much because it insisted on pupils doing some work.

[SWEEPING GENERALISATION ALERT.] If you ask me, those kinds of schools produce certain character traits. Firstly, an unquestioning belief in one's own ability, intelligence and right to do well in life. Secondly, the ability to send a telepathic broadcast to anyone that comes into contact, saying something like "you might possibly provide me with some amusement but I am far more significant than you could ever hope to be." How much these traits depend on having spent years in an all male environment, I do not know.

I hate the thought of appearing dull and stupid (which is what I invariably feel when in such crowds) so tend to knock back the booze, speak loudly and avoid any kind of serious conversation, sticking instead to sarcastic jokes. I can only convince myself that I pull off that kind of banter when under the influence.

Then there was my work Christmas lunch yesterday. I really like my colleagues and some are inspirational. But they are nearly all much older than me and mostly either clergymen and women or theologically trained. I sense (no doubt wrongly) that I am seen as the token young woman, who is bound to get bored with adult conversation, needs encouragement to speak and who's best asset is being young and pretty because that's a bit 'different'. I have, at one meeting, been told (by a non colleague, actually) that he thought the work I'd done was good because "you are young and you are the future". Aaaarghhhhh!

I like talking with adults. I want to be taken seriously as an equal - not because I am doing remarkably well considering the handicaps of youth and make-up.

I have no doubt that my own hang-ups are responsible for the way I felt in both these situations. And I look forwad to more socialising with both these groups. But I am very grateful for the existence of alcohol. Always taken in moderation, of course.

Monday, December 18, 2006

what the heck is going on?

As many readers know, there are moves by some parties to split the Anglican Communion at the moment. (Interesting discussion about this on Steve Tilley's blog.)

In America, the tensions are much, much worse than they are here in England. I know of clergymen and women who have been being asked to leave their jobs because they so much as hold conversation with someone from the other 'camp'. Superficially, the row all boils down to attitudes towards homosexuality (and women?) but it's really about power.

One recent move by the conservatives has been to change the name of an organisation oringinally set up to minister to Nigerians in North America (overseen by a bishop ordained in Nigeria). It was set up with the name something like 'convocation for anglican nigerians in america' but has now labelled itself 'convocation for anglicans in north america', thereby setting itself up directly in opposition to the Episcopal church. The acronym, of course, remains the same - CANA. See for more.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

When faith lets you down......

Now, I like to think I can hold my own when it comes to being cool and collected.

But I let myself down regularly.

One of the gaping holes in my sophisticated facade is a weakness for pop celebrity culture. I can always remember the names of actors in films. I love reading about which celebrity is doing what. I tend to know who's married to who and who's getting divorced and who's rumoured to be up to no good. I can't get enough of looking at pictures of Kate Moss (which is a non-erotic kind of looking, you understand, but she is extremely attractive and that's partly why I like looking at her.....make of that what you will). I'm really happy about the fact that Posh and Becks are still together (and will probably take an emotional knock if they ever divorce....) I get star-struck really easily and seriously considered joining the Keanu Reeves fan club when I was 16.

Fortunately, I am married to a man who suffers visible physical discomfort if anywhere near I'm a Celebrity, Strictly Come Dancing, Big Brother, etc. And who has genuinely sophisticated tastes, which I can borrow on social occasions if necessary.

Anyway, the point is that I am struggling to watch my main hero of several years, Britney, having some troubles. She stepped in for me when I really needed previous idol had been Jacko. I do appeal to anyone reading this not to judge her too harshly. She's had a childhood and young adulthood in the limelight, on tour, surrounded by cameras and semi-clad dancers and adulation and a sexuality-obsessed media. Maybe if we all focus our happy thoughts on her she'll come through the current phase ok......and stop allowing her ample bosom to flop around to quite this extent.

And, after all, The Bishop of Southwark can't quite seem to hold things together. Happens to the best of us.....

Monday, December 11, 2006

Archbishop's Happy Christmas

Whatever my frustrations with the church as an institution (and I won't go into that now) I think Rowan Williams is flipping good. Here's his Christmas message.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

anyone for squash?

This morning the Waterloo and City line was shut. Which meant that all of mankind was on the Jubilee Line.

Since living in the capital, I have experienced a new kind of transport. And I do find it rather odd that people can clamber in the most ungainly fashion across one another, sit on a neighbour's knee or nestle into a travelling companion's armpit whilst conducting themselves in a manner that indicates utter solitude - without a smile or a 'sorry' or a roll of the eyes to acknowledge that the person you've just used as a doorstep exists.

But I have to confess getting a strange feeling of crazy excitement when the London transport system completely cocks up and you literally have to charge and bundle at the tube doors. In fact, I have noticed quite a lot of people secretly sniggering at the moment when you're swept off your feet, twisted into the most unnatural shape and have to fight to keep your face from being squashed out of shape by that of the fat bloke in a pinstripe suit next door, all while holding four bags above your head in the only available ceiling space. It's like we're all in a great big game of bulldog, or something.....

Not as bad as Tokyo though.....try that for a laugh some day.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Pan's Labyrinth

Jon and I just went to see this film. We had thought of Casino Royale but Jon is allergic to squealing yoofs and it was a Saturday night....we thought this more leftfield and 15-rated pic was a better option. I can wait a bit longer for Daniel Craig.

Anyway, Pan's Labyrinth weaves a gorgeous fairytale into a 'real' story about a young girl caught up in the Spanish Civil War. Equivalent struggles/moral battles go on in the fantasy and the real realm, and you're never quite sure what's for real, what's not, what's good and what's bad. Even at the end.

On the way home, we talked about how so many wars (Spanish Civil War was a long and fierce struggle, I think) are about people wanting to exert their superiority over others and control them. I drifted into thinking about how, in small and usually (mercifully) undramatic ways, most of us behave like that. It is pretty difficult to really see the 'other' person as you drift through life. Does the way I relate to people depend entirely on how I am feeling about myself? Do my insecurities determine my treatment of others? Do I just want others around so that I won't be lonely, or because they distract me from the darker things in life, or because they help me feel better in some way? Don't all these things amount to considering others less important and valuable than myself? A dangerous road to go down....and even if, in theory, I know this a terrible way to think, I'm not convinced that in my actual interactions each day I really do have other people's wellbeing in my mind. I guess I'm better at that when they're not there, when I'm thinking about them after having seen them. And maybe that's ok? Maybe that thinking, in small and unselfconscious ways, changes my future behaviour....

Dunno. Anyway, it was a fab film. Casino Royale, here I come!!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

about me - again

here's one such test

My Personal Dna Report

Hello world!

Well, here we go!

I find myself having the previously unknown experience of being regularly bored at work. As a result, I have finally ventured into the world of writing a blog....which is strange. (I think the boredom will cease after Christmas. At least I hope so. I am beginning to feel guilty about my monthly pay cheques.)

Incidentally, this is also the first job I have ever really liked. Maybe I am born to be a lady of leisure? Yes!

Erm, anyway, boredom also tempts me to waffle on about nothing very much. Which I won't do. I shall instead trawl the internet for personality tests (a bit addictive - probably like shopping for some: you do more because it points towards some kind of self-satisfaction but you never quite get there) and post them on here if it takes my fancy.

La la! I can do this stuff.