Ficklish Blog

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

jLo, Champion of the World

So I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the direction my life is taking – or rather, the complete and utter absence thereof. I’ve been pondering, you know, a LOT, and more often than not I am saddened at the dearth of achievement in my current existence.

I used to be a winner, you see. A shining star. People would gaze upon my glowing, smiling countenance and be inspired. Some would even rub me for luck. Or at least, that’s what they said they were doing. I didn’t mind.

To be honest, I’ve been in a rut for some time. I haven’t tasted proper glory since that happy March day in 2003 when I accepted a great honour: Canberran of the Year. It was an accolade borne of hardship and tragic circumstance, to be sure, but the recognition warmed me from within and gave my life meaning and purpose.

Having gone several years without tasting this sort of success, I grew desperate. I cast around madly for something, anything, that I could do to bring my average back up to its previously stellar level.

I found my answer a month or so back, while at the pub with my lovely friend Madam Fox, who was celebrating a great milestone. Inspired and despondent in equal measure at her achievement, I grew bold and decided to make a pronouncement. Only a grand gesture, I decided, would be sufficient to get The Celebrated Life of jLo back on track.

I announced my intention to break a world record before my thirtieth birthday.

‘She’s mad!’, they all shouted. ‘What a foolish plan!’ ‘It’s only ten months away, there’s just not enough time!’. ‘Those delusions of grandeur, I always knew they’d get our jLo in the end.’

Today, I say to those naysayers: HA! I sure showed you.

Today, my friends, I am a World Record Holder.

Oh yes. The pinnacle of human endeavour, a listing in the Guinness Book of World Records. Glory beyond the fervent, wretched dreams of most mortals on this sad earth. My achievement to be lauded through the ages, a feat accomplished by none before.

I can hear the amazed mutterings already: ‘What did she say?’ ‘A WORLD RECORD?’ ‘Surely I misheard.’ ‘Which one?’

This one.
Yesterday afternoon, sometime after 7:00pm GMT, I was a member of the World’s Largest Coconut Orchestra.

Take a moment, catch your breath. I understand. WHAT DID SHE JUST SAY?

The World’s Largest Coconut Orchestra

Yesterday, you see, was St George’s Day, a traditional feast day to commemorate the patron saint of England. To mark the occasion, it was decreed that thousands of Londoners should converge upon Trafalgar Square, register their names, and be given a pair of coconut shells. Led by the cast of Spamalot, we clippity-clopped our coconuts in time to that happiest of tunes, ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life’.

It was official and everything. Instructions were given in a very serious manner, we practised hard and gave it our all. Messrs Gilliam and Jones came along to help out. The Guinness people were present to verify the attempt.

The previous record was set in March 2006 in New York, where 1789 people formed a coconut orchestra (I will NEVER tire of saying those words) in New York to mark the first anniversary of the opening of the musical. In London, yesterday, the record was thoroughly smashed: 5, 567 people. Take THAT, New York!

For posterity, this world-beating effort is described here and here and even here. There is utterly terrible footage of the feat here. [Amusingly, I think whoever took that video was standing about three feet away from where we were – I think I can hear myself whooping in victory at the end.]

Here is a photo of me with Rip van Winkle and Madam Fox, coconuts at the ready:

Flushed with success, we then adjourned to the pub to toast St George, as is the custom in these parts on that particular day. Fittingly, the pub we chose offered a selection of real ales with utterly delightful – and perfectly English – names. Let me tell you, there was no better way to cap off my first St George’s Day than to press up to a bar and ask for ‘two Spitfires and a Bishop’s Finger, please.’

A day later, my soul is peaceful. I feel the warm glow of achievement once more. It was a long, hard slog – but so worth it. I have oft looked in envy at those athletes, artists and outstanding professionals who are younger than me yet at the top of their game. Now I can stand proudly with them, knowing that I too have tasted the heady triumph of beating the world. My precious coconuts are here beside me as I type this, and I gaze upon them fondly, a souvenir of the day I reached the top once again. I’m BACK.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Right then.

You know, I spend a lot of time bimbling around the Internet reading excruciatingly terrible websites. The good ones, the ones I should be reading, are largely ignored as I focus my attentions on the trainwrecks, the crazies, the mind-numbingly boring. You’d think I’d have learned by now that there are no standards on the Internet, and it shouldn’t matter what I write here, as long as I do. Having nothing to say apparently stops no-one else. I’ve got proof.

(Someday soon I’ll share some of my favourite crazy links with you all – I’ve been afraid to in case they come after me somehow– but to hell with it. The delight must be shared. Remind me.)

Anyway, so, I’ve had little to say of late. Nothing particularly exciting or amusing has been going on, I haven’t felt much like talking. I work, I drink, I read, I sleep. The End.

Except for the following, which I offer by way of Update:

You know that post I wrote a couple of weeks back, about how much I like it here and how I would dearly love to stay a while longer? Well, a couple of days after that post went up, I came this close to losing my job. I am one of many contractors at my place of employment, and the axe fell upon the vast majority of them one sunny Tuesday in March. The rest of us were told we may have as little as two weeks left.

This was mildly alarming, as you might imagine. I don’t particularly care about the job itself, but I have found that having one is reasonably important. For one thing, apparently continuing to reside at The Pickle requires the paying of rent. For another, if I haven’t earned a particular sum of money by the beginning of May, I will have to leave the country.

It was this latter point that has turned me into a Ball’O’Stress in recent weeks. As soon as I’d worked out just how much I wanted to stay, it looked like I was going to have to leave. Sigh. Cue frantic calls to recruitment agents, blowing dust off my resume, calculating and recalculating my earnings and trying to come with ways to hit that magic target in the few short weeks I had left. Fun times, let me tell you.

Thankfully, several months ago I had submitted an application for a longer-term contract position at this particular establishment, and after getting through an Interview and then an Assessment Centre evaluation (!) in late March, I was offered said longer-term contract last week. Phew. The wolf, she has retreated from the door. The contract itself has a worryingly short termination notice requirement, but I’m hoping like hell that I don’t get sacked in April. April is all I need. I’m on firmer ground now, but still feeling very shaky about it all. Cross your fingers for me.

In other news, The People’s Champion has made his residency at The Pickle official. He is no longer dossing on our couch like the giant walking cliché of a freeloading Australian backpacker that he is. Oh no. He is now paying rent for the privilege.

He’s paying rent to sleep on a couch you say? Well, why not? The Pickle is a great place, I’m telling you. It’s a good couch. He may have little personal space, but we’re all having such fun that it seemed a shame for him to go and live in a dodgy Antipodean sharehouse deep in the East End just for principle’s sake. It’s only for a few more weeks until he goes off on his travels. The Pickle won’t be the same without him.

What else? I joined a gym. I’ve even attended said gym maybe five or six times. In a month. Baby steps, you know. I’m considering getting a haircut. I read some good books, I read some trashy ones. I saw that movie Kenny (awesome). I also saw that movie Cannonball Run (double triple awesome). I've been watching as much of the cricket World Cup as possible (Go Bangladesh! Go Ireland!). I’m sure there’s more. Stand by.