Halloween was lovely. Dean invited a bunch of us over to his flat in Brixton for dinner and X Factor watching. I haven’t watched any X Factor this year, thinking it would be good to see if I could avoid the whole thing for once, though I couldn’t bring myself to turn Dean’s invitation down on the basis that there would be a lot of Simon Cowell to endure. I got to Brixton at 7 o’clock and was instantly greeted by a community that is completely different to any I know in London. It is undoubtedly the heart of multicultural London; I was certainly part of a very small minority of white people there. In the past this would have bothered me, but last night I found it to be quite an interesting experience. I quite liked being in a place that’s so far from what I know; Brixton is unpredictable, unique, alive. I guess I’ve changed. I’m glad I enjoyed it so much actually as I will be living there over the Christmas and New Year period. Dean and his boyfriend are going away to the far East for a month and need someone to look after their cat. Having already done the same favour for my friend in Tottenham back in the summer, I seemed like the natural candidate for the job.
Dean’s flat is small but gorgeous. Just five minutes away from the high street in Brixton, it is surprisingly quiet. To my amazement, dinner was waiting for me when I got there. I hadn’t been warned that there would be dinner, so I had stopped off at the supermarket on the way to get a little pot of pasta for my evening meal. Thank God Dean had thought to cook – the cheap Tesco pasta would not have been as enjoyable. Five of us were there last night and we were treated to three courses of rather delicious food. I never knew Dean was such a good cook.
After dinner there was an hour and a half of X Factor to endure. I quickly realised why it’s a good thing that I decided to not to follow it this year. Not to be cynical – some of the god awful attempts at signing were quite funny and there were many enjoyable moments – I just can’t see the point in the thing any more. My relationship with all reality TV has gone the same way in recent years. I just can’t get into it any more. I’d only sit in front of it if I’m with a bunch of friends, like last night. Bitching about the contestants that we hated (and making fun of Simon Cowell’s hair) was the highlight of the evening.
I had an excellent time from start to finish. I was certainly reminded of why it is good to have friends in this world. What I was saying the other night about hating people didn’t cross my mind. Even when I had to suffer the ordeal of late night public transport as I made my way home, I was in such a good mood that I didn’t feel like hitting or strangling anyone. A lot of people in funny Halloween costumes were around to provide entertainment. I finally got home at 1am, the latest I’ve been out in ages, and went straight to bed (rather than switch the computer on and browse facebook for five hours like I used to).
Over all it’s been a great week, I think. Friday I went to Trent Country Park on the edge of London for my weekly Artist’s date. I thought I might take a few photos, after the photos I’d taken on my creative retreat last month were so unbelievably good – I ended up going a bit mad with my phone and took hundreds of pictures of trees. I really like the results. I’d say that Friday was something of a spiritual experience for me. I had my ipod on the whole time as I walked about the beautiful countryside; the music I’d chosen really added to my appreciation of the place. The Beatles’ ‘Across the Universe’ is a song that I’ve found goes extremely well with a walk through the park in the autumn. Yellow and brown leaves blew from the trees and across my path like snow; I felt something inside me changing as the weak sun shone through the autumn colours. This moment right now is absolutely perfect, I kept thinking. I was happy.
The moments of happiness are increasing in intensity, I think. Like the sun breaking through the clouds, I’m noticing more and more peace breaking through the cracks in my negative thought stream. I’m starting to believe that because it’s started, it can’t stop now. A momentum is building up; things are really getting better with time.
I have a job interview tomorrow. My second this year. It’s for an administrative position in Notting Hill. I’m nervous but excited by the prospect for a few reasons. It could finally be the end of unemployment – I think I’m ready for it to end now. Signing on at the job centre is getting to be more a slog, more depressing. Going to work will be hard for me, I’ve always known this. But surely everything I’ve been doing recently has been good preparation. Getting up in the mornings, installing a routine into my days, building up my skills in voluntary work. It’s all up to God, of course. Pained as I am to say it, I trust that whatever God has planned for me is the right thing. I have to trust.