Friday, 28 November 2008

Today, for the first time, I am taking George to Paris. Yes, Paris, the city of lovers, with a 14-month-old. And no lover (he's got to work all weekend). Passengers of first class on the Eurostar, beware. If one single person tries to give me a dirty look - yes, there are people who think children shouldn't be allowed in first class - you're absolutely right, but tough! So off we go, on our voyage of discovery. I think George will love le Jardin des Tuileries. And crepes. And all the Christmas lights. See you on Sunday. x

Thursday, 27 November 2008

I'm getting old. Last night, I headed off to see Jarvis Cocker in concert, and all was well with the world. I love Jarvis. This blog is named after him. He's my one and only icon. I don't want to marry him, it's just not that kind of love, and anyway if I ever tried to speak to him, I know that I would just clam up (must tell you the now-famous story of how I reacted when I met Brandon Flowers of The Killers once). He's just the one. He always will be. But he's grown a beard. Not a little ironic one, but a full 0n, Peter-Sutcliffe-eat-your-heart-out creation. And for the first time I felt my love wane a little. What? - I hear you cry? How can you stop loving Jarvis? Loving Jarvis is part of who you are! You've loved him forever. He wrote 'Babies' and lots of other songs which are the soundtrack to your life. Of course you still love Jarvis! And of course, you're right. Maybe this is one of my very short-lived first times, never to be repeated...

And whilst we're on the theme of shallowness (see Andy Warhol) he'd written a new song called' I Never Said I was Deep', a work of utter genius. It made me think: is being superficial the newblack? I do hope so.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Lots of first times this weekend. I'll tell you about three of them, in a vain attempt to start catching up with all the first times missed whilst my internet access had decided to go on holiday for a week or so...

First and foremost, for the first time, I found out more (much more) about a modern icon - Andy Warhol. Now until yesterday I knew about as much as the next guy in the street about this man. If on Friday you'd asked me about him, I'd have said "Andy Warhol? You mean the guy who did neon versions of Marilyn and painted tins of soup? Kind of white hair and glasses?' and that would have been it. But now that I've seen the Andy Warhol exhibition at the Hayward Gallery I've realised an important thing about my lack of knowledge. He really would not have minded. I learned lots of things about the said Mr. Warhol for the first time this weekend. He didn't just do lurid pop art. He designed packaging. He designed album covers. He had a TV programme. He lived in and loved New York. Most beautifully, he filmed lots of incredible short films - my favourite was one of his lover (John Giorno, a poet) sleeping. Hours and hours of film of this man sleeping.But perhaps most importantly I learned that he didn't care whether people knew about him or cared. He believed in himself and that was all that mattered. He described himself as wholly superficial. For me this is the most wonderful thing - maybe he was. And that gives us all hope!

I highly recommend the exhibition, by the way. It is massive, laid out beautfully and there is a room full of silver helium balloons to play with.

Also this weekend, I went to a wine growers fair for the first time (drunken behaviour mandatory) and to a great installation at the Barbican which George obsessed over - a light/radio thing which cast giant shadows of yourself on the wall. Spent many a happy hour in there.

Friday, 21 November 2008

Back online, hurrah!

I promise to catch up all my first times...

But today, for the first time, I realised how important new (as well as old) friends are. I made a new friend. He is my friend for the first time. He is the man who owns the Portuguese café by Oval tune station. I learned all about making custard tarts and ate three today. More on him later.

Monday, 17 November 2008

Please don't give up on this blog! Experiencing technical meltdown. Back soon with catch up... Lots of first times to report.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Yesterday, I became a pupil supervisor for the first time. For those of you who have no idea what that means (and far less the old-fashioned term, a pupil mistress), this means that I am now officially qualified to take pupils, i.e. to have a trainee barrister sit in my room for 3 months at a time, shadowing me and learning what the profession is like. It's an important role and I had to attend two hours of training, during which they encouraged us to think in advance of what we expected of our pupils, what we had enjoyed about our year as a pupil (nothing, was my initial thought) and most importantly, what we would tell them in advance about what it was like sharing a room or office with us. So today, I sat down and analysed what it means to share a room with me and what I would tell my first pupil in order than they begin to understand me, and here it is:

  • I spend quite a lot of time on the internet. This does not mean that I am shopping for clothes on Net A Porter or planning my next holiday, oh no. It means that I am looking up the finer points of a difficult legal argument.

  • Yes, I do spend quite a lot of time enquiring about the well-being of someone called George. He's my son, and yes, I do spend a disproportionate amount of time discussing the cuteness of said person.

  • I do have quite a lot of sweets in my desk/bag/drawer. If you're having a low sugar moment, I will reliably have piece of chocolate somewhere to hand.

  • I will never expect you to make tea for me, but if you're making one, mine's white with no sugar.

  • I love what I do, but it's not always easy to believe that I do it well. Dropping in the odd 'you were brilliant in court today' will gain you unlimited Brownie points.

  • I love this job. I hope you will too.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Lots of first times this weekend! First, continuing on the theme of public humiliation, I actually sang out loud (and shed a tear) at a football game for the first time. Now I must admit, I am prone to a little mumbling at Hamden Park when the Scottish national team are playing - there's something special about the national anthem "Flower of Scotland" somehow. And how many countries can boast a national anthem which (a) started life as a pop song; and (b) was written in the 1960s? Anyway. I watched the mighty Arsenal beat Manchester United this weekend - hurrah! At the start of every game at Arsenal, they play an old tune - 'The Wonder of You',which I love. Hey, I thought, I am going to belt it out today. So I did. Tunelessy, I bellowed along "I guess I'll never know, the reason WHY, I love you like I do... that's the wonder, the wonder of you!" - genius. I actually shed a tear (must be hormones). I really love my team.

Also this weekend, I went to the Union Chapel for the first time. The Union Chapel is a stunning church which is used for pop concerts sometimes. It is a phenomenal space, and when a band is performing they light it with coloured lights and candles. Brilliant. Anyway, DH and I rocked up a little late, and we saw the end of the 'Cage The Elephant' set (a band so New York that they can't possibly actually be from New York) and the whole of 'White Lies' - absolutely brilliant. And the headline act, Glasvegas, my current favourite band, who played a few of their hits and did a brilliant acoustic version of 'Daddy's Gone' and a very Glaswegian version of 'Be My Baby'. At the end of the set, Glasvegas thanked all the other bands and said "Hey, but the greatest thanks must go to The Killers, who played first on the bill tonight to launch their new album...!". I hope that you Feel. My. Pain.

Friday, 7 November 2008

Yesterday, for the first time, I went to La Forchetta, an Italian restaurant near where I live. Why is it that I have managed to eat in places which are 12 hours on a plane from where I live but I'd never ventured into my local Italian? I went with my good friend S, and we had one of those girly-squeal-with-laughter-dosed-in-red-wine evenings which are at the root of any good friendship. My scampi diavolo arrived, and I realised that I had ordered a dish that was bigger than the size of my head - cue more squealing - I'm sure the staff loved us. There's something very fabulous about discovering a new place near to your home.

And today, I tackled an important first time - classic English embarassment. Now, I'm not actually English. But as you know, they're a pretty reserved bunch; complaining in public is generally frowned upon, as is saying anything embarassing in public. I live in fear of being publicly embarassed. So today, I was in a bookshop buying a book for a friend. It is a book about Pregnancy. Could I find it? Of course not. So I went up to the Information Desk and whispered at the weasel-faced bloke behind said desk: "Do you stock the Rough Guide to Pregnancy and Birth?" Now I appreciate that this was said at a volume so low that a microphone wouldn't have picked it up but he bellowed - "What?" and sneered. And then it came to me - for the first time ever, who cares what people think? Who cares if people think I'm buying it for me? Who cares if the cool guy currently flicking through 'The Life and Times of Nietsche' looks at me with disdain? Who cares if people do think it's for me? And I practically shouted:

"I'm looking for THE ROUGH GUIDE TO PREGNANCY AND BIRTH!" Classic. Everyone turned around and I gave a massive smile. Has been making me smile ever since.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

I simply don't think I could let today go past without noting that today for the first time, the US has a (rather fantastic) African-American president. Now I know that this isn't my first time. But it is the first time that I've taken so much interest in an election in a country other than my own, the first time I've bounced up and down on my bed when discovering the results of an election (despite the chest infection, very brave of me, I know) and the first time that I've taken a deep breath of relief as to the future in this way. This morning, I danced with George around the room, singing 'Obama! Obama!' which George thought was hilarious. I'm so delighted and I was genuinely touched by the sincerity of McCain's concession speech. I can't claim this first time as my own, but thank you, all Americans who voted, for such a fabulous first time. I can't ever hope to top this one.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

This is the second day that I have been really ill. Yesterday I went to see the doctor, as I have been unable to sleep through coughing and it's just miserable. He announced that I had a chest infection and that as usual, I had been overdoing it. Since I had George my immune system has been really low and he recommended a complete break.

"Is taking tomorrow morning off work a complete break?" I asked. Given the look he gave me, apparently not. "No", he said. "I mean a complete, all-expenses-paid-trip-to-the-Caribbean sans baby kind of a break". Is he insane?

But given that I have basically been ill for about two months non-stop now, for the first time, I decided not to ignore the doctor. Now, don't get me wrong, I have the greatest respect for doctors. But they have no sense of reality. It reminded me of being very ill a few days after George was born. "Rest up completely" said the doctor. Yeah right. Because been woken up every 45 minutes in the night by a newborn is a complete break. But I decided that enough was enough and my poor body has to recover. So I took the morning off work (pretty much unheard of). I did go in at lunchtime but remembering that I was supposed to be listening to the doctor for the first time, I went home again, sat on the sofa all afternoon and watched my V-plussed Britannia High episodes - a TV programme aimed at the 12-25 age range and therefore perfect viewing. Watch this space for more relaxing first times.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

What a horrid miserable weekend to be in London: drab, rainy and we all had colds and coughs. Still, two great first times. First, George and I headed off to a foodie shop I'd been dying to try. Very proud of myself on this one, as it is one of my aims of this blog to discover more foodie shops. Now, call me set in my ways but I hate posh foodie shops, you know who you are, Ottolenghis of this world. I hate the overpriced nonsense, I hate the customers ('ooh, YaH-zmin, these hand crafted banana and creme fraiche mousse tarlets are to die for!') and I really can't be bothered. So instead I headed to The Olga Stores, a local deli on Penton Street which sounds like it should sell Russian caviar but is in fact a down to earth Italian. I bought fresh mortadella, bacalao croquettes, fresh asparagus pasta and the most delicious fat Italian sausages. All for £10! As I left the shop, I realised that George had managed to shoplift a lemon, so I had to go back to pay for it and the lady (Olga, I presume) smiled at him and said 'for that smile, it's worth the price of a lemon'. I love Olga and her shop.

And today, my first time was going to a shop to have my firstborn fitted for his first ever shoes. He walked around the shop in them doing giant moon steps (hello Bertie!). This isn't a blog about motherhood so it is sufficient to say that the memory of him and his Daddy leaving the shop wearing matching shoes is now imprinted in my mind for ever.