Making time

I’m giving up alcohol in January (and maybe for longer). One of the positive outcomes I am hoping for is more time.

Time evaporates when you drink and after you drink it doesn’t feel like there is time for anything. The plans you made the previous day also evaporate. If anything of them lingers it is the sound of mocking laughter when you don’t get up early and make breakfast. Nor do you iron that dress. You don’t exercise either. And when you do come back home, after a day that felt much longer than it should, you don’t make that recipe you planned on. Fresh herbs die as you stick something easy in the oven.

You certainly don’t have time to write.

There are so many things I want to write about. Things that have intrigued me and I have said to myself, you must find out more!

So these are the things In 2018 that I want to know more about and maybe write about.

  • Lyons Corner House. They’ve been referenced in some of the books I love (and I don’t read all that much). In particular they feature in Patrick Hamilton’s work. I imagine them as a place that working class people might have thought rather special at the time and that middle class people would have considered good value for money. I think they offered women somewhere respectable to socialise in comparison to pubs but I also imagine they may have been the backdrop to affairs and other matters requiring discretion. I’m not sure why they ceased to be and whether or not that left a hole, or was instead replaced by something else.
  • The notion of “having a good time” and what that has meant over the years. I watched a BBC archive programme about women from ‘the provinces and Ireland’ coming to live in London in 1956. There was a concern that they didn’t cope in London due to naive expectations about wanting to have a good time. They were good-time girls – the type that die first in horror films. A lot of them were clearly being exploited for their labour and their rent. There was clear prejudice against the Irish women (and as my own mother emigrated to England not too long after this was interesting to me). I want to think about how attitudes have changed to having a good time and how they are gendered.
  • I am not sure if this is universal or distinctive about British attitudes but there seems to be a sense that doing things the hard way is preferable and possibly more honourable. Short-cuts are for failures. I think this is the attitude that underpins everything from childbirth to weight management and even raising money for charity.
  • Linked to this is pedantry and the falsehoods it is based on. The idea that grammatical errors are linked to intellect is clearly bullshit but remains pervasive. It also places a lot of emphasis on old and conventional skills from a pre-internet age. It seems fine to not understand how to use software solutions but absolutely not fine to mix up your/you’re. Given the role of autocorrect and predictive text, spelling mistakes tend to fall into similar patterns which luddites thrive on. On this point I want to find some balance as you can see what side I am on.

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