Comedians by and large used to be terribly happy people. Tony Hancock excepted, they usually presented as cheery, cheeky chappies whose life was one long laugh. Ken Dodd even went so far as to sing about it; Happiness was one of his favourites. Of course underneath the smile there was often a life of depression, as Robin Williams sadly demonstrated. Nowadays comedians are generally more real, more cynical, even dystopian – and now I can’t remember where I was going with this, except to mention how exceptionally crabby I was yesterday. There’s only so much sleep deprivation a body can take and like Popeye I went around muttering that’s all I can stands, I cain’t stands no more! Sadly spinach did not do the trick so if anyone came near I’d growl at them – and were they rash enough to attempt conversation I’d snap: ‘Back off! I’m feeling really crabby!’ Thankfully crabbiness doesn’t last all day and by the afternoon with a sizable nap under my belt I was merely feeling exhausted. I’m happy to report that last night was better.
While we’re talking about happy songs, though I can’t stand the Ken Dodd one I do like this:
I didn’t get much work done yesterday as the brain simply refused to function so in the afternoon I turned instead to knitting. My latest project is a jumper in twiddly wool, by which I mean it has lots of colours woven into the thread and comes out a sort of variegated autumnal mix. I’m liking it very much, though you have to pay attention when you’re knitting otherwise the fibres tend to separate. I’ll post some pics when it’s done.
It has often occurred to me that wool and knitting are potent metaphors, both to use in poetry and as metaphors for the poetic process itself. I’ve written poems about the yarn-bombing (though we didn’t call it that then) at Greenham Common, and using knitting as a metaphor for life – and it’s like poetry in that you’re creating a pattern: poetry has lines, knitting has rows; they both have different stitches, they both add up. Besides, there’s something meditative about the process: in-round-through-and-off, in-round-through-and-off, knit one, purl one, drop one… and you can do it while watching TV.
Speaking of which, we tuned in for the first episode of the much-trailed Doctor Foster spin-off, Life, starring Alison Steadman. So far it looks highly intriguing.