And no, not the grubby, hands-in-the-soil, satisfying, constructive manual labour you gad about with. I speak of gentlemanly, gallant and not-at-all-gay employment, doing typing and getting the spelling right.
Monday and Tuesday was in the studio, which went exceedingly well despite the heat, some last-minute changes and me managing to piss off someone I was genuinely trying to make life easier for. Words have been exchanged and I think I have expressed the meant sentiments. Things will be different and better now, but golly, I haven’t got it this wrong since my teenage self tried to impress girls.
(I’ve since learned the painful lesson to that one: don’t try to impress the ladies. At best endeavour to be tolerated. Or barely even noticed.)
Anyway. Have also interviewed a lot of people, scheduled some things, written some other stuff, sorted various oddments out for my sister, been to the Dr’s leaving do (for she has of Friday joined the ranks of mercenary freelance hacks) and to a works outing stuffed full of writers, managed a good couple of hundred words’ worth of research and seen off four full days at the cut-and-paste grindstone.
This exciting daytime monotony continues all week, but is much needed and pays well. Today I was able to solve a tricksy bit of pasting with the sly remembrance of tables. My trs and tds were enough to do the business, but getting the sub-heading td colspan (of six, code fans) to match the brand palette was really pretty clever.
No, nobody else was much bothered either. But the only other highlight of four days’ grind was finding the phrase “genuine sea change”. Yeah, well, it seems funnier when you’ve done nothing for hours but CTRL+A, CTRL+V and staring into the white abyss of the screen while it hints at saving changes.
Anyway, what is a sea change? And how can such a thing be ingenuine?
Of course, Michael Quinion has the answer:
“Pundits and commentators who think it has something to do with the ebb and flow of the tide, and use it for a minor or recurrent shift in policy or opinion, are doing a grave injustice to one of the most evocative phrases in the language.”
Michael Quinion, World Wide Words, SEA CHANGE.But this is not all. The Dr and I toddled along last week to a private view of Gillian Westgate’s paintings at the City Inn round the back of Tate Britain (to be there, it says on the back of my commemorative postcards, until next month). Her East London vistas busy with street furniture (a fancy way of saying lampposts and overhead cabling) reminded me of the detail in the work of Robert Crumb, a faithfulness to the ugly technicalia that crowds our urban lives (and makes his grubby, lusty tales all the grubbier).
The streets themselves are threatened with Olympic regeneration (though “threatened” is probably not the right word at all), so these also document social and architectural history, like that St Etienne movie I caught last October.
I also liked Gillian’s quirky Quink series, pen and ink drawings of cowboys in the same East London setting, playing off the lost Victoriana of both the wild west pioneers and the heydey of Shoreditch’s now decayed buildings. But I’ve always been a fan of illustration, and bored the Dr on the way home with musings about David McKee and the work of Colin MacNeil…
The Dr is in Scotland until Thursday and saw seals playing in the water, a castle, some Whistlers and the work of Rennie Mackintosh. Yet I have the cat canoodling on my lap as I attempt these words, so reckon that I am the winner.
More soon, if this little update hasn’t put you off altogether. And in the meantime, my friend Falldog is just starting out, so go give him some encouragement.