Posts Tagged ‘Unfeasibly Attractive Girlfriend’

Ah, the horror, the horror!

How well I remember the feeling from the first house that we bought (sight unseen by me, as it happens, with Ex-Wife and my mother making the decision together – and doing a fine job of it), when the builders have started to knock the living shit out of the structure that you have just paid a fortune for, and you’re left with the sort of environment that one would more readily associate either with heavy shelling or installation art –  the former being only just marginally worse than the latter…

And so it proved again, when I went over to look at my new house on Sunday: much of it has gone (fortunately, the bits that the architect and I had decided SHOULD go) and there was rubble everywhere. The drawing room was home to four lavatories, the dining room was piled high with smashed tiles, and the kitchen appeared to be nothing but concrete slabs. Everywhere, windows had been leaned against walls, in readiness to be re-inserted into the new, extended structure (maybe it’s true what David Hare says in “The Breath of Life” that my generation’s legacy shall be “We came, we saw, we knocked through”…) and I was left with the panicky feeling of “This will never be done” – but then I get that feeling when painting a cupboard, so maybe I don’t need to worry too much.

In fact, if Gigantic Builder (seven feet tall, hands like coal shovels, tattoos on his arms that could contain the entire text of “King Lear”) is to be believed, it will all be done in mid November – which feels incredibly unlikely at the moment, but if they’re as quick as putting stuff in as they are at ripping shit out, then it’s probably feasible. It’s been like having two jobs, doing all this – and I have had a hell of a lot of help from a hell of a lot of people – and I can’t wait until my bit of it is done. The only thing I haven’t done is chosen tiles for the kitchen walls: this was always Ex-Wife’s area, and so I’m slightly nervous of bollocksing it up. UAG put in a bid for duck egg blue, but that’s so ridiculous, that she might get a punch in the tits. My sister has good ideas, but a VERY unrealistic idea of “budget”: so my conversations with her often involve the sourcing of high-end glass and marble compounds from individual suppliers, and then my concern over whether or not they could (instead) be found at Fired Earth.

Ah well, it is a “luxury problem” to have – and if I do fuck it up and end up with a wall full of turquoise tiles that I thought would be very pale grey, I suppose I can always rip them off and start again…

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Well: this is a turn-up.

I am being cyber-stalked for sex by a woman with whom I have already HAD sex.

It’s all very exciting, as I am sure you can imagine. It seems that Woman In Whose House I Fell Over While Removing My Jeans is keen to “see” me again, and while it doesn’t necessarily feel like the best idea; given that my previous provider of all things sexual (Unfeasibly Attractive Girlfriend) is now on distant shores, beggars can’t be choosers.

And so it is, that I find myself sending jaunty, flirty texts and arranging a “hook-up” like a man half my age. I shall, of course, apprise you of the details (in so far as decency and memory permit) and will do my level best not to let the removal of my trouserings prove such a barrier to remaining upright (fnarr fnarr) this time.

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The departure of Unfeasibly Attractive Girlfriend has not slowed down my (to me, and I daresay to others) surprising rate of sexual success: the last of which was like something out of a farce.

The girl was very attractive, very nice and we went back to her very lovely house, where it must have struck her that I was considerably the worse for drink. We went through the two-step of “I ought to go…” and “Have another drink…” and “Is there a sofa?” and finally ended up on the firm ground of “You can sleep in my bed”.

She went to the bathroom and returned in – Hurrah! – a silk nightdress, and got into bed. I started to undress and then announced:

“I’m not wearing any underwear under my jeans.”

“That’s OK” she said, smiling encouragingly.

“You’ll see my cock.” I added, truthfully.

“Good.” she said, which was encouraging and clear. So with that, I decided to shrug off the trousers and socks and (in attempting to do that in one fluid move) managed to fall over, before popping up at the foot of the bed like some kind of strange creature and making my path up the bed.

You can imagine how, faced with this kind of suave flair and self-possession she was simply putty in my hands – so that is where I shall leave it…

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So, farewell then Unfeasibly Attractive Girlfriend.

You were a joy to be with and a wonder to behold. You made me feel fantastic when we were together, and content when we weren’t.

You were respectful of my situation, and all the rules I imposed, and bore them all with great grace, humour and toleration.

For all that: thank you.

Unfeasibly Attractive Girlfriend is off home to New Zealand for four months. It was planned (and indeed, booked) before we got together in the dying embers of last year, and so I can feel content that I have nothing to do with her fleeing the country. For all that I will miss her (though she is returning) it’s also probably a good thing: I’m a long way off wanting a relationship, and am quite enjoying the contrast between the responsibility to my children and the responsibility to no-one but myself that being single offers. It’s great to have had months and months of great fun, sex and companionship, without any need to promise or pretend more, and I’ve enjoyed every moment.

Fare thee well, UAG – may you find as much happiness as you bring.

Eiljert x

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I don’t really care massively about how houses are decorated. Like everyone else, I have preferences and things that I will not tolerate (wet look tiles, chintz, deep pile carpets – nothing too contentious), but I can’t get too excited about looking at the subtle differences between fourteen shades of “White” from Farrow and Ball with names such as “Suet”, “Linen Petticoat”, “Mrs Danver’s Teeth” and “Dame Maggie Smith White”. This is not to say that UAG is going to get her way and see the downstairs rooms of my new house painted “Duck Egg Blue” (“That sounds shit, love.”), but as long as everything is fairly recessive and serves as a good way to house the things I like, I am happy.

But today, an announcement was made at work that made my heart sing: the office is to be redecorated. This is great news NOT for the decoration that is to come, but the decoration that is to be replaced. The most recent example of “Let’s make the space more creative” (which has now run longer than “The Mousetrap”) was to give the staff free rein on the decoration of the pillars that run the length of the first floor. These ran the gamut from the half-hearted (occasional run-outs of “interesting use of graphics”), to the embarrassingly teenage (hundreds of shots of heavily made-up lips) to the tentatively themed (album covers) to the energetically creative (an oak tree, complete with added branches and terse-looking owl) – but the worst of these was the one nearest to me. Needless to say: I had nothing to do with it – partly because of my above-stated ambivalence, partly because of my refusal to get involved with anything that might involve a committee – so I have only got myself to blame. What emerged was horrific: a pillar covered in large and small boxes of breakfast cereal, which was named – DEAR GOD! – “The Deadly Cereal Pillar”.

Words cannot describe the fury and disgust that I felt on the first day, and every day after, that I saw that atrocity. Over time, some of the boxes peeled off and fell to the floor, so that the one thing that could have been said of it (“At least it’s neat”) was no longer true. Anyway: this is all over now. Today, the Front of House staff moved in and started pulling the remaining boxes off the pillar, in preparation for the weekend of decoration – and whatever this weekend holds, it cannot be comparable to the horror that has been: even if it’s just a simple wash of “Stilton Mould”, “Kristin Scott Thomas’ Back” or “Dinner Gong Beige”.

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We went to see Blondie in concert a couple of nights ago. Rather more “my” music than Unfeasibly Attractive Girlfriend’s, she was nevertheless impressed and intrigued by a number of things:-

  1. “Fucking hell. She looks like Lady Gaga.” There’s no arguing this point. I managed not to adopt my (default) schoolmasterly tone and get into an “It would be truer to say, U.A.G., that Lady Gaga looks like HER. Without Blondie… etc. etc.”
  2. “HOW old is she?” Also fair – she looked stunning, and for a woman who was always pretty and sexy, rather than a classic beauty, she’s aged (and I daresay been aged) extremely well. But this wasn’t just a comment on her looks: she was bopping about (as much as she ever did: she was a pretty static performer, even in the 80s) and sounding superb.
  3. “She’s good live, isn’t she?” Well, yes. She is. “They were, back then” also went unsaid, partly because U.A.G. is already keen enough on exploiting the sizeable difference in our ages without me sounding like Methuselah intoning affectionately about how “you just don’t get the quality of sound that you got with a clavier on today’s instruments”; and because we also saw Adele recently, and there’s no doubting that she also more than cuts it live – so a “then and now” comparison feels a bit redundant.

Anyway: she was/they were great, and even better, the whole thing was over by 10pm and it was a ten minute drive home. The perfect forty-something gig.

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Exciting news: UAG and I double dipped, culturally speaking – theatre AND opera in a high art overload.

The theatre was The Cherry Orchard at The National, with Zoe Wanamaker, Conleth Hill, James Laurenson and Kenneth Cranham, directed by Howard Davies. Now: I’m more of an Ibsen fan than a Chekhov fan (as the blog title attests), not that it has to be a binary choice, and so maybe I am just not temperamentally suited to it, but I don’t really “get” “The Cherry Orchard”: the other “big three” I am all over, and find myself almost unable to stand up at the end of a half decent “Three Sisters” or “Uncle Vanya” (most especially in Louis Malle’s magnificent film version). That said, this is one of the best I’ve seen: Zoe Wanamaker finds a manic denial in Ranyevskaya that made her more tragic – and less fucking irritating – than I’ve seen previously, and Conleth Hill is far and away the best Lopakhin I’ve seen – a veritable Malvolio, with fury and vengeance bubbling all the way through his performance, until the final explosion of anger and venal triumph at his purchase of the house and land. I have NEVER understood why Firs’ final entrance gets a laugh, but it always seems to – and sure enough, even the redoubtable Kenneth Cranham (who has a face that hangs with tragedy, even before a single word is spoken) was greeted by a burst of laughter as he emerged to find himself locked into the empty house, to die there. Yes, I know it’s billed as “A Comedy” – but what IS that response? Is it nervousness? Fear? Irony? Or is there a proportion of every audience who truly thinks that it’s funny that the old man is going to starve to death inside that freezing, bolted house?

But three days later, and we were off again: this time to the Opera – a rare treat indeed and not of my doing. This was “Tosca” at Covent Garden, and it was magnificent.

Before we went, I was wondering if I would miss the scarlet sumptuousness of Zeffirelli’s staging, with its “Why have one priest, when you can have twelve of them, twenty nuns, fourteen altar servers, an entire congregation and ANIMALS” approach. I didn’t.

Jonathan Kent is the Director, and while some of his choices (especially in blocking) were a little weird (the thunderous “Te Deum” takes place in a side chapel, partially obscured from view, so the counterpoint with Scarpia’s “Tre sbirri, una carozza…” aria is a little compromised; and much of Act II happened so far upstage right that I would hazard that at least a third of the audience were craning round to view it), but he kept a tight rein on the melodrama – something that no-one could say of Signor Zeffirelli – and drew much finer acting from the singers (Terfel, Gheorghiu and Giordani – so no slouches there) than I would expect. The drama became human – and yet not dwarved either by the momentous settings (a Church, the private office of the State Security minister, and a prison’s battlements are pretty much “going for it” in terms of “location as drama”, aren’t they?), the music or the grand gestures necessary to tell the story.

There has been a little bit of snipey criticism of Giordani’s “under-powered” Cavaradossi: I thought him perfect. Lyrical, a wonderful complement to his Tosca, and able to deliver the greatest rendition of “E Lucevan Le Stelle” I have heard since Domingo (the best ever).

Next up: “Kung Fu Panda II” – a film I feel (it can now be written) that dwarves “Citizen Kane” by comparison.

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