It’s Happened Again

I’ve been working full-time for three weeks now and the main victim has been this blog. Although my Sundays themselves haven’t particularly lacked for spare time, they haven’t had the three-day run-up that they did from January to May where I would occasionally think ‘hm, maybe I’ll blog about … thing x‘. Even though you couldn’t accuse my work of being physically taxing, it does keep me out of the house for most of the day once you tack a commute onto it, which means that Saturday and Sunday take on their traditional role of a desperate flurry of forced relaxation. So this is the third week in a row that I’m writing my Sunday blog to you on a Monday. I think I’ll change the thing on the right there to say ‘updates weekly’, rather than ‘on Sundays’. The blogsnake has been beheaded already, so it’s a victimless crime.

This weekend just past, the most interesting thing I did was realise that I could get Final Fantasy X for my Surface, and spend most of Sunday zoning out to the backing music of Besaid Island. But the week before and the Sunday before that, were a little more eventful.

I told you all all about my PhD funding offer in my blog from Torquay a few weeks ago. I mentioned then that it was the final funding application I had out — all the others had rejected me. Including, I mentioned in passing, the particularly desirable Wolfson scholarship, which had put me on a ‘reserve list’. This basically means: you haven’t been offered this funding, but if the person who has been offered it doesn’t want it, we’ll offer it to you in turn.

They must not have wanted it.

So dull story short, I’m still going to be doing a funded PhD in literature at the University of Edinburgh come September, but I’m now going to be doing so as a ‘Wolfson Scholar’. Or, as I’m choosing to think of it, an actual wolf.

In other tales of success, our crowdfunding campaign to help get Róisín’s choreography Entrails on-stage at the Edinburgh Fringe has just this minute hit fifty percent of its goal — meaning it’s raised a cool £300 to date. If we can get all the way up to £600 this will cover one of the rent payments for our venue hire (total cost £2000), which will be an enormous help considering that we’re paying for everything else — the rest of the venue, props and costume, web hosting, food and travel, misc — out of our own pockets. If patronising (not like that) the arts is your thing, please do consider contributing. We really are working hard to make sure it’s all worthwhile for people who help out — to this end, I took a load of footage at a rehearsal the other week, which Laura’s already editing into what sounds like it’s going to be a really glorious behind-the-scenes documentary. We’ll post some teasers of this anon, but the main feature will be emailed out privately to people who’ve helped out.

Then on Friday Róisín took me to see the Nederlands Dance Theatre 2 — youth wing of the main NDT — perform at Sadler’s Wells. This is one of many recent things that I wish I had taken the time to reflect properly on and write a focused piece about one or two aspects of in detail, because there were some beautiful moments in it which spoke to that side of me which reverberates to art, in a way that this particular artform hasn’t yet done very often.

Oh, and last weekend I got to see Arsenal. When I moved to London this was something that I assumed I would figure out a way to do sooner or later — but to buy tickets you need to first buy a membership, and there was no point doing that with the season half-gone and the prices are silly anyway, and there was always next season — but then I found out about the PhD and there wasn’t always next season. But when Arsenal played West Brom a few weeks ago I read an article on Arseblog.com which said there might be spare tickets going at face value on twitter.com/arsenal_tickets — and I didn’t do it then, but when the last game of the season rolled around I did. So that’s how I ended up dashing out to Bromley to buy a ticket from a man off the internet on a sunny Sunday morning , so that I could then turn around and dash north again to visit the Emirates Stadium. And for the first time in my life I was inside the building which I stare at for an hour and a half most weekends on a dodgy internet stream, and Mesut Özil and Alexis Sanchez and all the rest were right there in front of me. And of course what they did then was screw it up and ruin the day by losing and finishing below Spurs and it rained all game

Except they didn’t

Arsenal won 4-0. Olivier Giroud scored a hat-trick and the stadium roared with every goal and roared even louder when word came through that Arsenal’s rivals Spurs were losing to Newcastle. Although Leicester — glorious wee underdogs Leicester — had already won the league, it was between Spurs and Arsenal for 2nd place. And another piece of local pride: Spurs hadn’t finished above Arsenal for twenty-something years, and this was looking like the year when they finally would. But we won 4-0 and they lost 5-1, and chants of Tottenham Hotspur, it’s happening again shook the stadium. It was club captain Mikel Arteta’s last game for Arsenal. His legs don’t really work any more but he was brought on for a few minutes at the end. The ball broke to him in the box and he slammed it towards the goal. It hit the bar. It bounced back. It rebounded off the Villa goalie’s back and went in. It will go down as an own goal but the sentiment and the moment were all Arteta’s. I couldn’t have scripted the day better for a long-time fan and first-time attendee. The sun beat down joyously.

(after the match, all the players’ kids joined them for a lap of honour. Because they’re kids, they got bored halfway through and wandered off with a football to have their own kickaround in one of the stadium goals. Santi Cazorla’s wee boy is really, really good.)

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Oh, and some cats have moved into my house. THAT should have a blog by itself…

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