Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Kerry Wilts At Ralph Fiennes, Makes Her National Journalistic Debut And Saves People From Fire (sort of)

Amount of creative activity achieved in last 24 hours: 1
Listening/Reading: Folk Radio UK / Best Reference Book Ever! 'All The Birds Of The Air: the names, lore and literature of British Birds' by Francesca Greenoak
Hair Day: nice and short
What I can see from my window no. 22: the 'mood room' at King's College Hospital, currently indigo blue

A torrid time of illness, with early era David Cronenberg-like infestations and general bodyhorror, has left my January and February a little less creative than I would have liked, and where success has entailed watching the whole of The IT Crowd or being able to breathe/eat. However, there have been fun moments here and there...

I ticked off seeing another of my actorly heroes (Michael Sheen giving me the eye at the Young Vic, Michael Fassbender giving me the eye in London Fields, Rafe Spall giving me the eye at Broadway Market  - obviously when I say 'giving me the eye' I actually mean jumping around in front of them desperately hoping to catch their respectively ovibovine/leonine/falconine attention) by going to see Coriolanus in Mayfair, complete with director-star Ralph Fiennes in an after-show Q & A. Ralph was my teenage crush (I spent more time mooning over him than directing my attention towards Real Boys, hence my hopeless lack of boyfriends), so Andy and I leapt to the front row. After being battered both aurally and visually by gutteral gunfire, Ralph's bald bloody head and spitting iambs, it was quite heart-warming to see that he is rather humble, sweet and pensive in person, with some quite agonisingly pregnant pauses after questions, and an anecdote about being so nervous about calling Vanessa Redgrave to be in his film (she was the highlight, exuding gravitas through her every pore, and with the best line by far: 'Anger is my meat. I'll sup on that, and therefore starve') he had to pace up and down in the countryside, calling her in the middle of a field. I was too shy to ask a question, for fear of accidentally blurting 'RALPH! I LOVE YOU! at him, but a good time had by all.
In between splutters, Chris O'Dowd and Richard Ayoade, missing my first ever juice gig through bedridden-ness, etc, I was lucky enough to be in at the right moment to be asked to write an article on female composers, and the relative lack thereof, for The Guardian's Comment Is Free page. Fame at last! Well, some fame, and a bracing for the usual deranged comments and general trollings that tend to appear at the bottom of any opinion article. They do migrate over from their usual sulphurous habitats of the Daily Wail, Express, the English Defence League et al at the whiff of an article on gender and race, so I, after a quick dip in the murky waters, made a pact not to read them. MUCH more healthy if you ask me. I did have to correct one early commenter who seemed to think I floated about in private schools (harr-UMPH!), but thought I'd leave it after reading one who chastised me for working on a project to do with birds - didn't I know that birdsong was a male activity with the aim of securing a female mate, as if a feminist was opposed to all animal activity where the male has the upper hand. I see it now: militant feminists with placards outside London Zoo saying 'Those Feathers Are NOT An Invitation' and 'Don't Tell A Lioness How To Dress'. BONKERS!

I whisked Andy off to the Norfolk Broads for a weekend with the aim of writing some material for the above You Are Wolf birdlore project. Obviously, once there, I didn't write a NOTE, but instead had a mammoth walk and enjoyed at least being surrounded by birds, if not writing about them, at RSPB Minsmere. This was so perfect that it felt a bit like there was a chief bird (let's say a sneaky bittern, too furtive for us to spot) on a walkie-talkie cueing various avian beings to flutter coquettishly over our heads (a pair of goldcrests), upturn their ginger, white and black posteriors in the mere (shelducks) or tread deliberately through the undergrowth (female pheasant) pretending not to look at us. Check out this flutter-frenzy at the bird feeder too! Rather more dramatically, we also spotted and alerted the totally unaware owners of this cottage that their thatched roof was on fire. We helped try and extinguish it in vain, and then watched as rather a lot of the idyllic large house, apparently used in the film Swallows and Amazons, burnt up in front of fifty firemen. Quite, quite horrible. We felt like quiet heroes though! (I am never buying a house with a thatched roof).
Bird tally (at Minsmere or in our cottage's garden): pheasants, shelducks, wigeon, teal, mallards, shoveler ducks, sanderling, mistle thrush, blackbirds, robins, great tits, blue tits, chaffinches, dunnocks, goldcrests. 
Deer tally: 1 muntjac!

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