The stuff of celebrations

Caught after a storm yesterday, on an outing to photograph abandoned buildings.

celebration |noun| the action of marking one’s pleasure at an important event or occasion by engaging in enjoyable, typically social activity

For 24 hours now, I’ve been in denial that I’m a writer. It’s not going so well. I keep dragging my fingers across my notebook’s empty lined pages. I keep flicking open my laptop, re-applying my lipstick and alphabetizing the spice rack. Truth is, I keep getting discouraged by the mental amplification of the negative feedback I was ambushed by yesterday, as if some evil voice had screamed into my cave. But you know what, evil voice, I’m going to write you into a corner. And do you know why? Because my writing voice may be flawed, but – unlike yours – it lives with me and, just like a dog needing to pee, can get pretty damn annoying when ignored for too long. So, I’m taking it for a walk!

And today the theme grabbing my fancy is celebrations – birthdays, sextivities and missed parties.

As far as birthdays go, today is mine. It’s actually been a day similar to many others. I guess that’s because the special thing I wanted to do today is what I’ve been doing everyday for the last 2 months. (God, isn’t that an annoying thing to say?! And yes I AM saying that with a delicious malicious tinge in my voice!) Jokes aside, to be able to do this is a gift: I am given the circumstance in which I CAN write (objective availability), regardless of whether I can write (subjective talent). I’m thankful to be free from the chains of a sometimes soul-crushing job, I’m thankful my husband and friends are so supportive, I’m even thankful to be in a place sufficiently uninteresting to give me the discipline to begin (coochy coo to Leicester-poo.) And so today, I write.

Our overpriced, crap, terribly managed flat in Leicester (coochy coo to the landlord too!) is located in front of a club with an unrestricted license – something that, as so many things, I hadn’t even realized was possible until I moved to Leicester. These festivities – or sextivities, as I call them – offer us two unique moments of entertainment. The first takes place at the beginning of the evening with a little game I like to call “Pimp Star”. This involves peeping out of our bedroom window and making fun of the shivering girls as they queue to get into the club. (I was recently told that, much like foot binding traditions of yore, these ladies are trained from a tender age to withstand the cold temperatures through a technique involving uncovered prams in freezing temperatures. This causes them to accumulate an insulation layer of “brown fat”, which allows them to perform these mating rituals later in life. An interesting theory I have yet to Google, but that seems scientifically plausible.) The platform shoes, the low-cut tops, the shiny elastic trousers – my, my they all look like decorations on a pimp’s Christmas tree. So, you see, the winner of “Pimp Star” picks out the outfit that deserves the star spot on the Christmas tree. The second moment of eloquent entertainment usually comes as early as 4 am or as late as 7. It’s called “Serenade Me a Confession”. This is where the drunkards loudly serenade us from below our first floor window with their deepest darkest secrets. My favorite numbers so far are “Nana doesn’t know I’m gay”, “I’m from the Caribbean, man” and “Steven, you peed in my beer.” Don’t worry, guys – we’re recording. The Best of album is soon to come out. That’s actually the only reason I still haven’t applied the little old lady treatment people get for pulling this crap in my neck of the woods – oh, yes! I’m talking about the ever-feared bucket of cold water out the window people get in Lisbon-shire. And if you’re thinking I don’t qualify as a little old lady yet… true… but let me remind you that I’m 33 today. I can at least do a teacup.

For all these wonderful, colorful anecdotes, Leicester does sometimes leave me with the feeling that I am stepping into a party that has just danced its last “Opa’Gangham Style”. Wherever you look, you see a skyline dominated by the odd church spire and these decrepit empty heartless concrete buildings. They dishearteningly stand there as a testament to an economic boom that has long left for some better destination. Oppressive to the city’s psyche, these behemoths are nonetheless a privileged perch from which to gaze down on the city. They have been abandoned and yet they themselves cannot leave. Instead, they remain faithfully grounded, offering the spectacle of their fleshy decay to anyone that may show interest. They remind me of old tattered prostitutes. I find them poetic and contradictory and have taken to obsessively snapping their portraits.

I guess life’s celebrations are a moment to pause and be thankful and joyous about our beginnings, our endings and all the wonderful stuff in between. I love it. I’ll take it all.




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