I’m trying to finish this week’s blog as quickly as possible, as my stomach is rumbling like mad because I forgot to eat anything at all today, and now my belly feels like my throat’s been cut. Obviously, tonight’s menu includes the usual chicken in a sauce of some kind, with a mountain of mushrooms and some straight-to-wok noodles. I am easily pleased, although, as my mum likes to say when she’s a little bit peckish, “I could eat a dead dog”, right about now. Having just been to Lidl, that might be what I end up with, anyway.
Last week I was pretty good, diet-wise. Loads of fruit and yoghurt, plenty of water, and vegetable overload. Between Monday and Thursday, I knew I’d lost a bit, which was encouraging, but I also knew a potential banana skin was coming up. The Thursday evening, I was going out to New Brighton with my friend James, to a screening of Al’s Lads (2001) which included a bit of a Q&A thingy with the writer, Marc Gee, afterwards (Marc and James have worked together in the past). Anything that involves me being left without supervision on licensed premises, though, doesn’t usually end well. But I was determined to prove – to myself, if nobody else – that I could be a grown-up, in a grown-up situation, and that it could last longer than half an hour. Besides, James was driving, which was added incentive for me to stay sober, too. Amazingly, I managed it. Two filter coffees with my meal, a glass of water, nothing during the film, and a very weak shandy in The Queens, afterwards. Hurrah! It’s not just a myth, then. This not-drinking-on-a-school-night thing can actually be done. What’s more, it felt great. I’m not saying it’s a habit I’ll be permanently adopting any time soon, but it was a real boost for me to know that I didn’t have to drink just because I was somewhere that served it. And waking up the morning-after-the-night-before and not feeling like shit…yeah, I could probably get used to that.
Saturday, it was sunshiny and warm and stuff, so instead of working all day, I thought I’d toddle along to the Unity Theatre in the afternoon and take in the matinee of a play that I’d fancied all week, called Waiting For Brando. Set against the backdrop of the 1950s McCarthy witch hunts, it was a double-stranded story about two Liverpool sailor brothers, Eddie & Vinnie, waiting to board their ship home from New York. They’re killing time in a bar where Elia Kazan is shooting On The Waterfront, and they’re allowed to stay while the crew waits for Brando to arrive on set. The brothers discuss their conflicting hopes and dreams for each other, as well as confront their own fractious relationship. Meanwhile, in an earlier time and place, a dishevelled Kazan (struggling with the Waterfront script) is haunted by his earlier decision to out his colleagues to McCarthy’s infamous anti-Communist hearings. Kazan’s great friend, Arthur Miller, is with him, and acts as Kazan’s conscience as he struggles to justify his actions and complete his script. Excellently acted, this was a truly gripping piece of theatre which moved deftly between the two stories, culminating in a quite moving climax that made me want to know what happened to Eddie & Vinnie – (sequel, please??).
It was one of those plays that stays with you, and as I toddled back home again (I was straight there, straight back, no drinking or loitering along the way….grown-up again!), I knew I’d spend about three hours on the t’interweb researching everything about it, which I duly did. Tomorrow (Weds), I’m popping by the Royal Court Variety Lunch Club (£6 including a bowl of Scouse!) because my curiosity can no longer contain itself. I keep reading about these Narnia-esque little afternoon comedy shows that are going on there, and I need to see one. I don’t think it’ll compare with Waiting For Brando, but there’s always magic to be had at the theatre, whatever form that might take…
Last Sunday, was match-time, and the less said the better really. After a nothing first 30 minutes where neither side looked particularly arsed, it ultimately turned into the stuff of nightmares and I just can’t be bothered even going into it. We got a point, let’s just chalk it up, and start focusing on Newcastle. Sigh.
I am now stocked up for this week – chicken, sauce, mushrooms, fruit, yoghurt, omelette stuff. I was in B&M earlier, and my heart skipped a beat when I saw an entire box full of Blue Dragon Sweet Chilli & Garlic sauce sachets. I took the whole thing to the checkout to save me having to bag them up. 25 packs @ 29p each. £7.25, a month’s supply, thanks very much. And yes, I did get funny looks, but I stopped caring about stuff like that years ago. Anyway, I lost 2lbs last week. I’m practically a supermodel.
I’m hoping to get a lot more walking done this week, to add some smugness to the schedule, and that might include a detour at some point, to St George’s Hall, to see The Circus On Lime Street, a play about one of my favourite cases, the Cameo Murders. It’s being staged in the very court room where George Kelly saw the judge get out his black cap, so the excitement factor is going to be pretty high for someone as death-obsessed as me.
Things I’ve Learned This Week
1. Sunshine is a bit lovely
We have to make the most of it, because we only get 5.4 days of the yellow stuff each year, but everything is so much better when the sun’s out. It’s like a drug, you just have to feel it on your skin and you feel OK about stuff, even if stuff’s a bit shit.
Things I’m Dreading This Week
1. Chelsea stepping a bit closer to the UEFA Cup Final
I’m not going to Amsterdam to watch bloody Chelsea. End of. FC Basel, sort it, please.
2. Not getting paid
It’s that last-week-of-the-month feeling. Some clients have had their invoices way too long and still show no sign of paying up. Cue more fees for me. Bastards.
3. Someone burgling my apartment and stealing all my sweet chilli sauce
Never been burgled, being on the top floor of a prison. But if it’s going to happen, then it’ll be the same day as I find the Holy Grail Box of Stir In Sauces. And it’ll be by a chicken stir fry-loving robber who’s been staking out the Blue Dragon aisle, same as I have, for the past two months.
This Week I Have Mostly Been Watching…
I was late to this, mainly because I don’t have the patience for real-time episodic drama, and I’m allergic to commercial breaks. But everybody’s been talking about it, including Ali, who’s very particular about what she watches, so I figured it was worth a whirl. Knowing I would be hungover post-Chelsea, I settled in yesterday for 7 episodes back to back, with the ‘finale’ that evening. Great show, well-written, beautifully shot, and even David Tennant was good. The identity of the ‘moyderer’ wasn’t that much of a surprise, but it didn’t matter. It wasn’t so much about the ‘who’, than the ‘why’ and ‘how’. Can’t beat a juicy smalltown curtain-twitcher and I’m glad there’s going to be a second series, as long as they keep Olivia Coleman, who always acts the socks off everybody else around her, even when she’s not saying anything.
At last! Don’t know why it’s taken me so long to get around to this, but I eventually found time to squeeze in 5 eps.. Delicious isn’t it? I wish I could speak Danish, it’s the perfect language to be menacing in. And yes, I also got around to watching…
3. The Hunt (“Jagten” 2012)
…the Danish film about a smalltown teacher falsely accused of sexual abuse. It’s not about abuse, as such, more about the devastating effect of gossip and rumour-mongering, and how even the most dependable of friendships are as fragile as cobwebs when it comes to choosing sides. An acting tour de force from Mads Mikkelsen, but that’s to be expected. This film is from the same guy that did Festen (1998), but The Hunt is even better.
So, Sophie’s gone, never mind. I guess I’m rooting for Natalie now. The only other remotely likeable person is Saira, but all she cooks is curry. She does it brilliantly, mind, but she has nothing else in her recipe book. Just curry. She tries telling us that there are loads and loads of different types of curry, but there aren’t, there’s just curry. And Larkin shouldn’t even be there, if only because he’s called ‘Larkin’. God, now I really am starving…
The Stats Bit:
Month 1: 8.75lbs
Month 2: 5.25lbs
Month 3: 1lb
Month 4: 0.5lbs
Month 5: 3lbs
Month 6: 1.5lbs
Month 7: 0lbs
Month 8: 0lbs
Week 33 – 2lbs
Total after 231 days: 22lbs