This week hasn't been ideal, to say the least. It's been the kind of week that's felt like the intellectual equivalent of walking blindfolded through a minefield. In the dark. With a broken arm. It's been the kind of week where my emotional weather has had a lot in common with Cardiff weather - in that they've both been changeable, unreasonable and liable to piss people off.* But I've just made the tiniest bit of progress with a literature review (it's still practically non-existent, but a structure has maybe, almost, possibly, been formed) and am currently shoving pasta into my face, in an undignified but satisfying way, so I'm probably approaching the nearest I'm going to get to "happy" between now and the middle of September.
*I wish my default response to everything wasn't blind, ice-cold, nauseating panic. I wish the panic-spiral thought-train had an off-button. Especially at 4 in the morning. I really don't want a repeat of my second year of uni - it featured far too many panic attacks, sleepless nights and I-actually-can't-breathe moments in A & E. (I wish I was exaggerating for effect.) Oh, and note to self, when your grandmother calls to see why you haven't rung her back in the last four days, don't tell her "I want to jump off a freaking bridge!" She won't take it well.
To distract myself from the Masters Misery, I played a little game of "fantasy dinner party". You know, the pub/car journey favourite, where you pick a handful of people - famous/influential/intriguing - that you'd have to dinner. (This is where you get further proof of just what a geek I am.)
So here goes.
1) Lady Antonia Fraser. Who? Writer and historian. She wrote, amongst other things, pretty much the definitive biography of Marie Antoinette. She had what was, by her own account at least, a rather dignified affair with playwright Harold Pinter, and then married him. (She published the story of their life together, "Must You Go?" in 2011. Pieced together from her own diaries, it's quite the romance.)
2) David Crystal. "Who are these people?" I hear you ask. Linguistics expert, academic, writer of all things wordy. He's written some lovely books on the quirks and mysteries of the English language - not just dry, technical, academic books, but also the sorts of books you can flick through in Waterstones and say, "Oh, I didn't know that's where that saying came from." The kinds of books geeks like me enjoy getting in their Christmas stockings. Top bloke.
3) Dylan Moran. (He'd scorn the very notion of a dinner party, I think, but good God it would be a dream come true for me.) Without a doubt, he's my favourite comedian. Ever. Black Books is the work of a mad genius, and I love his dishevelled, slightly chaotic and cynical live delivery. I first saw him on Channel 4 late one night, when I was 14, and have been in love with him ever since. When I saw him live last year, it was totally worth the seven years of waiting.
And that accent...
4) Diane Warren. Yeah, her.
I Don't Wanna Miss A Thing by Aerosmith? She wrote it. How Do I Live? by LeAnn Rimes. She wrote it. Can't Fight the Moonlight from Coyote Ugly? (In fact, all the songs from Coyote Ugly. She wrote them.) There You'll Be from Pearl Harbor? She wrote it. She's the queen of the overblown power ballad. She's the possibly the most successful female songwriter there has ever been. And I want to pick her brains re: choruses.
5) Hugh Laurie. (Possibly in character as House - or maybe we could request that over port at the end of the night...) There's just something about him - I love him in Blackadder, and I love him playing "cold hard messed-up bastard genius" in House. I bet he's got some good stories to tell.
(And, side-note, he might be able to hook me up with Olivia Wilde... That may be a story for another day though.)
I should stop there really, but say one of them couldn't make it - I think I'd have to chuck Sophie Dahl in there too. To my unending delight, I found all 6 episodes of her cookery series on YouTube yesterday, so didn't get anything useful done at all. TV critics didn't take to her attempt to get her Nigella on, but I bloody loved it. She makes me want to live in a rambling cottage in the countryside, and have an Aga, and spend my days being whimsical, and baking, all the while wearing pretty tea dresses, with artfully tousled hair.
She'd bring a scrumptious pudding, too.
I think that's all the nonsense I'm going to inflict upon you for now. I'll leave you with this, 'cause it's heartbreaking and cute. And unlike most other normal people, I didn't hear of this band until about 3 years ago.