As promised in my last post I DID go and get ready (sort of) for my first night out in England. This involved running my fingers through my uncombed hair, contemplating hiding my jet lag induced dark eye circles with concealer but deciding I cbf and throwing on a fourth layer of clothing. My current theory is that the female youth of Skelmersdale wear more than enough make up for me and I wear more than enough clothing for the female youth of Skelmersdale. That makes me sound like an ugly, prudish, hobo but oh well.
I had an exciting trip on the train to Southport (A slightly jazzier version of Skelmersdale where I was meeting Naomi at work and we were going outtt) The conductor charged a group terracotta’s that got on at the same stop for a ticket but not me! If anything it saved me from the embarrassment of staring at all the coins in my wallet like a total idiot because I STILL have not got my head around them all. Even the self-service machine in the supermarket gave me the hurry up the other day (“you must insert your money now to complete your purchase” – no shittt) meanwhile I was doing my best to decipher which illogically sized and shaped coin was which. I also created an angry riot of old people behind me at the train station for much the same reason.
So I went to the restaurant where Naomi works (where I will hopefully be working too) and her Italian boss asked me if we have Italian restaurants in NZ (I kind of wish I’d said no now, just for kicks, but figured that may have messed up my chances of getting a job if I’d pretended to not know what pizza was)
Then we were off to a bar (where Naomi knew someone working) that catered to the 40+ crowd and the 40+ crowd alone. It was totally decked out with vinyl ... everything, disco lights and an Elvis impersonator (what.the.fuck.) We got a sweet, sweet bar tab though (I spent five pounds the entire night) and began getting “royally plastered” as I (hopefully won’t) be saying in a few months time. Was risky business as I had not had dinner (re: podgy English person and my fear of becoming one) but nothing too disastrous happened stomach wise.
So then Vince (bar man) finished work and we moved on so I could see what else Southport had to offer. I was thankful for my alcohol jacket as I’m sure it would’ve been faaarking freezing outside. We went to this dirty underground bar (they were playing The Yeah Yeah Yeah’s so will definitely return, and the terracotta’s didn’t venture down there which was nice) where there was a famous soccer commentator (I’m still not remembering names) who bought me a drink when Naomi told him I was from New Zealand. Being from New Zealand seems to be such a novelty; I’ve kind of got a love/hate thing going on with it, can’t make up my mind. It is a really handy excuse for things though - “Oh I don’t know what that is, I’m from New Zealand. I’m lost because I’m from New Zealand. What coin is this? I don’t know, I’m from New Zealand” and the best one “I can’t understand you because a) you don’t speak properly and b) because I’m from New Zealand” so that part of it I do love.
It was around this time that Vince (bar man) decided it was a good idea to pursue me (it wasn’t) and was also when my nose stud mysteriously fell out, both of which put a bit of a damper on the rest of my night to be honest (apart from when we went to another bar and I freaked out because I thought their stamp was a swastika ... turned out it was a Chinese symbol) But yeah, that also set the tone for what was to be a bit of a downer kind of day for me, mainly because of the whole “should I go to London now or wait” dilemma. Lame. Although in saying that, we DID go to a traditional (I think they’re ALL traditional actually, because people around here seem to refuse to move forward in the world. They really should do so that vintage pubs could pop up all over the place and in doing so making the town of “Skem” somewhat trendy) English pub and I had the most amazing Seafood chowder (on second thought it really wasn’t, hovering slightly above average maybe) But there’s nothing like a big bowl of mediocre seafood to put a smile on my face, especially when horrendously hung over.
Also, having to wear a silver heart in my nose made everything seem fifteen times worse, as did stupidly accepting a vodka and coke (foul combination at the best of times) from the lovely Jan while Naomi was at work. I did however have a trip to Manchester to look forward to the following day so my enthusiasm also remained hovering at the above average level.
I woke up happy as the heart had stayed precariously balanced in my nose, but feeling its presence obviously wasn’t enough for me so I had to touch it sending it flying somewhere into my bed in the process. It’s probably going to stab me in the middle of the night now for being so horrible about it. So anyway, that meant I had to resort to the big, fake, diamante for the day (spewwwwwww) which slightly impaired my vision in my right eye, BUT, I was going exploring in a new city so not even that could dampen my spirits.
Manchester is so freaking cool(!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) but unfortunately I’d left my camera behind (couldn’t see well enough past my nifty diamante to find it) Not really sure how to explain it, I’ll take my camera next time and let my photos do the talking as I’m really crap at describing things. Basically it was big, and busy, and modern but also not because everything was still brick and castle like. It just had a really upbeat kind of feeling about it and the people in the streets looked a) presentable and b) happy to be alive, it was awesome. I spent forever (apparently) in the Chinese Arts Centre which was pretty fascinating, but probably a bit boring to try and retell. Also, Banksy art is HUGELY popular in Manchester. Lots of people seem to base their work off of it and there are prints selling everywhere in that style, some cool, some not so cool, but interesting nonetheless. There are also heaps of really sweet thrift/vintage/antique shops. I could’ve spent a small fortune on woollen jerseys and old shoes but I refrained (that kind of reads as sarcastic, but I’m serious)
One very important purchase was a new nose stud which has been the bane of my last 5 hours. After watching countless “how to put your corkscrew nose stud back in” videos on youtube I am still defeated. As much as I just want to jam the mofo back through there it has crossed my mind that it is the middle of my face and perhaps a trip to the piercers to insert it correctly is my best bet, so, the diamante lives to see another day (or the heart, if it decides to show up wedged under my fingernail or something in the morning)
Oh yeah!!!! I also went into a dance shop (yay!) to ask about what classes there were around the Manchester area (bit of a mish to get to, but worth it if there’s somewhere reasonable to go) and I’ve found one place that looks pretty good (two of the teachers are retired dancers from a London based company – the woman couldn’t remember the name unfortunately) They’re advertised as intermediate level which isn’t exactly ideal, but the woman I spoke to said the teachers are really good at pointing people to other less known places and offering studio space and advice on training etc which sounds pretty sweet! The other studio she gave me info on has advanced classes advertised but she doesn’t know much about them so I shall just have to go and see for myself, which I plan on doing so tomorrow night! (It’s Monday by the way. Actually I lie, it’s now Tuesday but I wrote that on Monday)
Hmm what else? I began testing the waters with the ‘go-with-the-flow’ kiwi attitude thing last night as I asked if we could watch a documentary about how the bridges in San Francisco are built to withstand earthquakes (I’m not quite sure why I just admitted to that, it was really interesting though and I am glad I got to see it. It made me pine for a good Megastructures marathon though) and I not only decided on what to have, but made dinner as well (and if you’re wondering Kerrin, it totally was a tomato based pasta, and it was pretty average, but brought back lovely memories of ‘cooking’ /heating up ingredients and lumping them together for you) And in doing so I suffered through the hell that is finding your way around someone else’s kitchen (think about it for a minute and you’ll realise what I mean) so, a productive day all round you could say.
I’m now getting into things that couldn’t possibly be interesting for anyone, but Ima note them all down anyway. I went and registered at the doctor blah blah, the nurse complimented me on my blood pressure (much appreciated) and told me my blood sugar levels wouldn’t crash all the time if I gained some weight (um, no thanks) It has to be said there are more pie shops than people around here, and it certainly shows, so all things being relative I probably do appear severely underfed but that’s just another way in which I’m more than happy not to fit in.
I then went to the scariest gym on the planet and paid three pounds to go on a treadmill that would not go any faster than 7.5 kilometres an hour (it told me my target heart rate was 150, after half an hour it was 77 so I gave up ha) And it was as lazy as fuck just like the people that usually use it as it refused to let me use its incline so the treadmills last chance to redeem itself was gone. Then there was this massive crash next to me and I think someone from the aerobics class next door was about to come bursting through the wall so in fear of a pie eating Skem fatty landing on top of me I ran away (how do I find these places/people!?)
So in saying all of this, I WANT TO GO TO LONDON NOW, but at the same time laughing at the local village folk is kind of fun and that all important 1/32 of my brain is still drumming away. Plus, soon I’ll be working and *hopefully* attending regular classes so I can maintain a bit of balance in my life, ha. Plus, I have the 20th of May as my move to London date set, so that alone will keep me going when I start feeling like I’m drowning in a sea of tacky, fat, boring people who can’t dance.
People in Manchester can dance however; ballet was quite possibly worth the mammoth train ride! I wasn’t so sure about the choice of music (Lady Gaga for barre work?) But at least with ballet you can kind of just tune into yourself and ignore the layers of shit (in this case the music and annoying girl behind me) that overlay the otherwise generally consistent ballet technique repertoire. The teacher, Patrick, was fawning over my Chinese ballet shoes and was then chatting to me about stuffffff and what not and told me about another studio to go to because “while I teach here and shouldn’t say this, quite frankly it’s a whole lot better”, sweet. So I’m going to go to contemporary there tomorrow night, or Thursday, can’t remember.
I made some exciting discoveries about Skem this afternoon as well. Around the corner (quite literally) is a TM dome (TM = transcendental meditation if you’re wondering). What the actual fuck!? They practice levitation in there all the time apparently (the masses of Maharishi’s that supposedly live around here that is) and Naomi told me about a girl who was part of this community that she was friends with when she was about 7 that had a room of trees in her home with birds flying around in it and all the walls inside the house were painted like rainforests. ? .
I also got my first sighting of a local legend, “June the Loon”, who chases pennies around ‘The Connie’ and used to try and stroke Naomi’s sisters’ hair. A more expected discovery perhaps.
I was going to add more about the charming crowd from the bus stop last night but I just spent 10 minutes locked in the garage so now I just can’t be bothered. I heard the click behind me then got this flashback of Naomi saying “Now, if you want to go into the garage make sure the door doesn’t shut behind you unless...” Unless what I wonder? Thank god Jan came home from the gym or I’d still be standing there in sub zero temperatures with limited light and a lot of shit to trip over.