In Which The Author Attempts to Pen a Cross – Carmichael – Category Post (Because That’s What She Usually Does Anyway)

Honestly, I thought I was so clever creating my categories. Obviously I now see that they break all the dictates for WordPress success vis-à-vis clarity and concision of purpose in post and blog. Without a John Malkovich portal (ah, now you get the blog title) how on earth do I drag you, Dear Reader, along with me and my clan? I don’t want to dump you or have you jumping out on the hard shoulder on a New Jersey turnpike. Oh no, no, no. That’s not, and never was, my intention.

In direct contradiction to Freshly-Pressable rules I tend to circle a topic like a dog sniffing out the perfect spot to pee. Mind map forgotten and synapses firing fit to burst, my cortex cannot seem to focus on one subject long enough to scribe even a thousand words without detours, speed bumps, distractions and a Thomas the Tank Engine sized set of buffers back at Big Station.

I can never get to the point, it appears. Mrs Carmichael is a personification of ‘the road less travelled by’. Ah me. Alas. Alack.

This afternoon I was about to write a Reading Repository book review (Carmichael style) but have become sidetracked before placing nail to keyboard. And now I see it’s almost 5.00 pm so thoughts are turning to my larder and, newly cleaned, fridge and I am already distracted.

I have six categories to cover. I must begin.

1) mrscarmichael’s reading repository

I have just finished Michael Frayn’s latest novel, Skios. Set on an imaginary Greek island the story takes place over a few days of bouganvilla clad summer and features an airport, a villa and a conference hotel as the backdrop.

Mistaken identity is the premise of this 200 odd paged book. A suitcase mixup at arrivals sets the story off and Dr Norman Wilfred, the guest speaker, and Oliver Fox, lothario at large, have their week’s plans derailed, one more willingly than the other.

Skios is fast paced in a farce-like way and reminds me more of Frayn’s Noises Off than other novels of his that I have read.  Spies, his Whitbread winner and in my top ten of all time, so utterly different to this offering.

That is not to say I didn’t enjoy the book. I did but Peter Kemp of the Sunday Times promised me the following: ‘This book risks being unreadable…….tears of laughter make the print swim in front of your eyes.’

Peter, are you given to hyperbole in other areas of your life or only when paid to write a promo? I did laugh but tears did not drip onto page. Nor was I rendered incapable of action. My sides did not split.

I know what that’s like you see.

2) meet the Carmichaels

When I first moved to London mumble years ago, I lived in a North London high street above a magazine shop and a curry house. It was all terribly exciting and in those days a second floor (UK), third floor (US) walk up was no problem for young knees and buoyant souls. The constant smell of chicken Korma, prawn balti and sag aloo another story all together.

The fact that our Lilliputian sized flat had no washing machine did not bother us either. We took turns of a Saturday/Sunday morning to visit the laundrette two doors up (now a Snappy Snaps) on the corner and return home with wonderful baguettes and croissants from the local deli five doors down (still there).

On my clothe cleaning weeks I enjoyed a hour’s read in the laundrette. The patrons, seated on central benches between the banks of washing machines and industrial dryers, chatted (rarely), read newspapers, watched their tumbling  garments or like me, read a book.

I think it was a David Lodge and without ordering his whole back catalogue (which I admit I’m tempted to do) I don’t remember the title. I’d got it from Hampstead Library and saved it for this moment. Opening the cover I began to read.

I started to smile and relax. I began to laugh. I was getting noisy and getting stares. I kept reading. And laughing. I wasn’t off page one. I think I hiccuped. I know I snorted. Everyone was looking at me now, papers lowered, washing forgotten. I apologised, tears rolling down my cheeks and began reading anew. I was still on page one. Guffawer is the only word that does what I was doing justice. I had to stop reading.

I had to stop reading a book because I was in public and I was making a scene. I have never forgotten the moment. If I wrote that as a book promo no one would believe it. Perhaps Peter Kemp’s tears really did make the words swim. I don’t think so though.

3) mrscarmichael is away from her desk

Now the sleuths amongst you may be asking how Mrs C knows the laundrette is no more as she lives on the edge of the Chilterns?

And the answer is simple. As I mentioned in, Art Meets Architecture (A Cultural Diversion) I am, because of sudden, sad and somewhat unexpected arrival of free time, broadening my horizons and travelling those other roads in the hope that I might use Robert Frost’s wonderful poem to justify my new peripatetic ambitions, ‘and that has made all the difference’. I am on the hunt for different things to do.

Currently I’m pretending that I live in places I used to and spending inordinate amounts of time there, taking photos and remembering incidents of uncontrolled giggling in laundrettes. Call me barmy, I don’t mind.

4) through mrscarmichael’s contact lens

my old front door (mrscarmichael)
ahh, my old front door (mrscarmichael)

5) mrscarmichael’s creative twin

At the time I lived on Rosslyn Hill I banged into quite a number of famous residents of the ‘burb; Michael Foot (the then Labour Party Leader), John Cleese (actor/comedian), Dame Judi Dench (actor extraordinaire) and last but by no means least Slim Jim Phantom, the Stray Cats drummer who lived, albeit briefly, upstairs.

I met him when I went up to complain about the drumming. It was 3.00 am and I had a job to go to. Not recognising him I possibly came across as rather angry. I don’t think Britt was on the scene just yet because I surely would have recognised her.

my flat and a Stray Cat's (mrscarmichael)
my flat and a Stray Cat’s (mrscarmichael)

And that’s enough famous/clever/talented people envy for one publication.

6) mrscarmichael’s catchall

Obviously this is where I shall allocate this post. There is no carmichael category more deserving. Thank you and goodnight.

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14 thoughts on “In Which The Author Attempts to Pen a Cross – Carmichael – Category Post (Because That’s What She Usually Does Anyway)

  1. I’ve only recently started following your blog, but I am enjoying your wit. Thank you for making me laugh. And yes, I did get you blog title reference to John Malcovich.

    1. Oh I am so glad you got it, you are following and you are enjoying. Trying to make sense of the melange that is my mind/life is a bit of a chore. That was going to be a book review 😦

  2. You painted the laundromat scene perfectly, mrscarmichael. Now I’ve added a couple of your books to my Goodreads list. A perfectly rambling post, just like our minds work! 🙂

  3. I love Noises Off, quite possibly my favorite play. I will try Skios. I too have read and enjoyed Spies of Michael Frayn. He also wrote one of my very favorite books Headlong, which I want to re-read one of these days.

    1. Oh yes I loved Headlong too. Skios not in the same class. Just understand you are reading very well written fluff and pick an appropriate time and place, perhaps an Greek island 🙂

  4. Ah, Mrs C, you are a born comedian (or should that be comedienne?), and on a bad day I take to reading snippets of your blog…however, you haven’t persuaded me that I should actually read Skios.

    1. It would only take a moment of your time, if that’s a plus.
      If you enjoy a well crafted, coming of age novel, read Fray’s Spies. I loved it.
      Thanks for the compliment.

  5. I love the way you move people with your images and words. Not only do you have great wit but also you have great insight. A highlight was reading your post about your life and times on Rosslyn Hill. Oh rarefied chunk of earth 🙂 I used to live on Pilgrim’s Lane in Hampstead. In fact, my time on the lane in my tiny 3rd floor flat was where I started the creative journey that is now a little more refined on the pages of my blog. Thank you for visiting often and liking some of my posts. Glad to know we were ‘neighbours’, and I will visit again soon and chat with you a while. Kind regards, Michele

  6. I say screw the WP grandees. Having a blog is like being pregnant. Just as that’s the one time in your life you’re allowed to be fat and bitchy, your blog is the one place you are allowed to be completely and utterly you and if anybody doesn’t like it, they can stuff themselves down a rabbit hole.

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