There was a time when, like many other bloggers, I cared about the number of ‘hits’ my site got, obsessively chart stats and pray for comments as a sign of my worth. It’s funny how things change. These days I think I’d be happy just to blog for myself, and probably my mum. That’s the sum total of my writing ambitions now. I want to create something that I’m proud of.
Is that a bad thing? I’m led to believe it is. It used to be that I was a driven, career-orientated person – even before I was sure what that career would entail. Now that I am lucky enough to be back in a scenario where I am being paid for what I write during the day, I worry less about what I create out-of-hours. I still want to be the best I can be at my job, and I want to be the best person I can be, but it is enough that these words and these images move me and only me.
There is going to be a lot of this sort of introspection over the next few months, I’d reckon. I’m not going to apologise.
So I went to London, and I was supposed to be going to see the Weakerthans (and checking them off of my thirty before thirty list) but in the end we lost the tickets and, you know what? I was knackered anyway. Maybe you get to cuddle up on the sofa with your best friends once a week, phone in a takeaway and watch episodes of Parks and Recreation. As far as I’m concerned, it’s enough of a luxury that it justifies the return journey in itself. And by the way, April? With your love of Neutral Milk Hotel and complete disregard for humanity, you make a far more accurate fictionalised me than some idealised CJ Cregg ever did.
Jo asked me if I was thinking seriously aout moving to London. It’s something I’ve flirted with all my life, as the song goes – the city is the centre of the media world I like to pretend to belong to, I have enough friends there and a fair few bands are likely to pass through, let’s face it. As well as that, it’s a place where I’ve simply always felt comfortable. Never underestimate how important that is: if you don’t feel properly ‘at home’ in a place, well. It’s liable to end in disaster, shall we say. I’ve had boyfriends the breakup has been less painful with. Not many of them, admittedly. I never feel like a tourist in London though, not darting about the underground and certainly not walking down Portobello Road and thinking to myself, this feels just like St Marks.
But there are two reasons I could never actually live in London and I would list them thusly:
1. THE EXPENSE. Now, I’m not just talking about the cost of living although god, I doubt you get rent an outside toilet for what we pay per month on Monkey Towers. I’m talking about the fact that, when you live in a city that has everything, if you’re anything like me you’re going to want to get your hands on most of it. Every time I visit London I spend a fortune on albums, cake, clothing, even just jumping on and off the Tube because I have two days and everywhere I want to visit is at opposite ends of the city. I convince myself that this is okay because I Am On Holiday. I can try to convince myself that the novelty would wear off within a few weeks of living there permanently, but that implies that Rough Trade Records will stop carrying all the stuff I have to order online because stores in Glasgow have no clue what I’m talking about. Also that I stop eating cake. Although… well, I’ll tell you about the Hummingbird Bakery in a separate post.
2. THE CROWDS. I don’t think I’m claustrophobic, but there are times I forget that. Like, when my trip back home happens to coincide with rush hour on the Piccadilly Line. Are you freaking kidding me? Those things are packed tight even before the doors judder open at your stop, and still the hordes rush forward. In the end, Jo had to abandon me with Caitin Moran’s How To Be A Woman on the platform at Holborn because my journey wasn’t so time specific. I read two chapters, carrying on my own version of a tube strike. When I looked up it was still busy, so I stayed and read a little more.
But my friends! My friends I don’t see anything like often enough! Do you know that the last time I saw my friend Kerry, she wasn’t even thinking about having children? She’s now got two. No really, she’s got a blog about it. Geography is no excuse. I only got to meet the little one, but she showed me her skills as kitchen cupboard hide-and-seek champion and chief Oreo dismantler, and introduced me to her friend Bubbles the cat.