What Do We Do? We Swim, Swim, Swim!

DoryYep, we all know this small blue fish, don’t we?  Dory is one of my favourite animated characters ever; and on occasions when my other half gets moody I am fond of getting in his face, making a pout and saying:

‘Hey Mr Grumpy-Gills.  Whenever life gets ya down, you know what you gotta do?  Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming…’  I can tell you it really pisses him off.

Well I took my own advice today, having gotten out of bed the wrong side after a disturbed night.  And what better than to do the thing I’d been intending ever since we moved here – and go swimming?  How could I in all conscience excuse myself when on our very doorstep stands a fully-equipped leisure centre complete with swimming pool and all the accoutrements?  I couldn’t.  I didn’t.  I got out of bed, threw on a few clothes and dived in.  It. Was. Great.  I have been buzzing all day simply from the sheer joy of breasting the billows for twenty lengths: I even got to swim in the medium lane, which I never do, being normally consigned to the slowest of the slow.  I had expected the pool to be full of business-men and -women thrashing up and down before their power breakfasts.  Not a bit of it: my fellow-swimmers were mostly elderly plodders.  It was very relaxing.

So there’s my thought for today: whenever your gills feel grumpy, just keep swimming, just keep swimming….

Kirk out

So Long, So Long Marianne

I just found out today that Marianne, the inspiration for Leonard Cohen’s ‘So Long, Marianne’ has died.  Not everyone knows that ‘So Long Marianne’ was about a real Marianne, but in the ‘sixties Cohen lived with her for a while.  She was Norwegian and in this memorial he describes her as ‘a beautiful soul.’


I keep thinking that any day now we will hear the news that Leonard Cohen is dead.  But the guy just keeps going on.  He’s a sort of guru of mine: any time I don’t know how to deal with a situation I think, ‘What would Leonard do?’  Of course, Leonard doesn’t want to be anyone’s guru – but that’s exactly what makes him perfect for me.  I have a sort of Groucho Marx approach to discipleship – I wouldn’t choose as my guru anyone who actually wants to be a guru.

There’s a nice joke in ‘Finding Dory’ – which we went to see for Mark’s birthday (his choice) where the heroine, whenever she’s lost and doesn’t know what to do, thinks ‘What would Dory do?’  The eponymous blue john dory suffers from short-term memory loss, but what was a brilliant joke in Finding Nemo turns into a rather dull, overworked trope in this follow-up.  It had its moments – I liked the character of the octopus with seven limbs – but basically it was lame.  Which, for film featuring a load of fish and sea-creatures, is some achievement.  Don’t bother.


What you should bother with, though, is ‘Spotlight’.  I’ll probably come back to this as it deserves a full review and deeper consideration, but the 2015 film of the Boston Globe’s uncovering of mass abuse by Catholic priests in Boston and how it opened a can of worms far larger than anyone could have dreamed, is a masterpiece.  Beg, steal or borrow (but not from me).

That’s all for now folks.  I’m in summer mode which means that posts are sporadic.  Sorry about that, but I expect you’re all sunning yourselves on some strip of sand somewhere in the Med and don’t need me anyway.

Kirk out

I am the Anti-Proust

I couldn’t remember what I was going to blog about this morning – and guess what it was?  Yes, our old friend STML.  No, this is not a weird version of HTML; it stands for Short-term Memory Loss.  Now, as you all know, I have been suffering from this for a very long time and I am now officially Fed Up.  I keep thinking it will pass, but it doesn’t seem to be passing – and frankly, I am not prepared to spend the rest of my life in some kind of Dory-esque, senile fog.


So I have done something I should have done a long time ago: I have started taking some medicine.

Short-term memory loss is not merely inconvenient.  It can be highly embarrassing: I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve said to people, ‘Nice to meet you’, only to be told that I’d met them several times before – or ‘I don’t know when we last saw each other’, only for them to say, ‘you spoke to me at so-and-so’s party last week.’  For some reason, telling them I suffer from STML doesn’t seem to make things any better: usually when I tell people that, a clouded look comes into their eyes and they edge away.  I don’t know if they think I’m bullshitting them, or if memory loss is close to mental illness in their eyes – and therefore scary – but I could really do without the whole scene.  I’ve had enough now – and so I’m going to try whatever I can to get over it.

STML is not funny.  Sometimes it’s more disturbing than embarrassing – I have phoned Mark in tears on more than one occasion because I’ve been on my way somewhere in Leicester – a city I have inhabited for more than 20 years – and I just can’t remember how to get there.  It’s not that the place looks unfamiliar, it’s that the connections in my brain are broken, so that I can’t remember how to get from one part of town to another.  Similarly, the links between days are broken, so that I can’t recall on one day what I did on the previous day.

And today I noticed another interesting feature of this phenomenon: that my sense of smell has gone AWOL.  It was a real DUH! moment because obviously memory and smell are closely intertwined – and it just hadn’t occurred to me that my sense of smell might have disappeared at the same time as my memory.  So clearly I am the anti-Proust, because instead of remembering stuff and writing it down, like he did, I forget stuff and then write it down.

But hang on, that’s not right – because the stuff Proust was remembering was not recent; it was in the distant past.  And sometimes we have to let go of the recent past in order to recall earlier events.  So perhaps all this stuff is about me remembering my madeleines – or in my case, the planes going over the garden and the shadow of the church spire in which I grew up.

Reading this blog is a good way to try to remember what I’ve been up to.

So I shall be off now to catch up with myself.

Kirk out