It’s official. I’m done with London.
Nine days away, and the lack of updates have probably told you a certain amount about how well I’ve been doing. The London Film Festival has, to be honest, been very hard work, and it’s also taught me that I quite definitely have no desire to move back to London. For the first four nights, I was staying in a hostel just off Picadilly – the location was wonderful, but the whole place had the atmosphere of a reconditioned and redecorated Romanian mental hospital (For anyone who’s played the computer game Half Life 2, just look at the Nova Prospekt level, and you’ll have a pretty good idea) – plus, in an act of complete lunacy, the damn place didn’t actually have any kind of kitchen, so I was completely stuck with eating on the move. After that, I was staying at a friend’s house in Seven Sisters in north London, which was an awful lot nicer, but the experience of being in the grime and the noise of London virtually non-stop didn’t bring back any kind of warm nostalgia. All it did was remind me how despite all the havoc that surrounded my move out of London, the actual move itself was very sensible, and it’s given me a little perspective on Manchester – it’s a place that has its own share of noise and grime, but for the most part Manchester is like the best bits of London with the volume turned down, and it’s certainly somewhere I’ll be able to cope with for a while.
Life in London was hard work, and living Festival life is, as I’ve recorded before on this blog, exceptionally hard work at times, and doesn’t always feel like it was designed to be done by human beings. It didn’t really help that the LFF isn’t a particularly user-friendly festival, and is also (as was pointed out to me by one fellow journalist) surprisingly unfestive – there’s not really much sense of anything being celebrated. It’s simply lots and lots of work, and the sense that no matter what requests you may put in or screenings you may want to catch, there’s always somebody else the festival staff will be happy to prioritise. Several films I could have done with seeing I ended up missing – the requests weren’t granted with no explanation as to why, while at least a couple of films I saw and then found out the damn things are getting a release within the next couple of weeks, meaning my chances of getting a review out of them are virtually zero. On top of this, I got invited to an interview for the temp Christmas job I applied for in Manchester – only to find that the interview day was while I was still in London and they had no intention of rescheduling. Several disappointments and frustrations like this occurred throughout the last few days – it was one of those Murphy’s Law-like periods where anything that can go wrong does – and I did find myself emotionally falling to pieces, having the kind of days where I’d regularly find myself crying and almost physically unable to stop – emotional and physical exhaustion, mainly brought on through lack of sleep, but also the general situation I’m in getting on top of me. A film festival is not the right place for an emotional meltdown.
However, a couple of days ago things settled in my mind. Instead of being hideously angry and frustrated (a feeling that comes just as much from my own sense of wounded self-worth as it does from general reasons), I decided to do the right thing, and approach things in a positive frame of mind. Ultimately, that’s what I want out of life. It’s like I get tunnel vision when I get stressed, and all I’m capable of looking at is the problem that’s right in front of me – wherever I look, it’s all that I can see, and I’ll almost tear my own mind to shreds with stress until suddenly the blinkers fall away, and I’ll realise that it’s actually not quite as big a problem as I’d thought. It is nice to know that, just occasionally, I am capable of getting the dogs in my head to stop barking.
So, I’m back in Manchester – and I’m warming up for NaNoWriMo. I might even make it along to the Kick-Off meeting that’s happening in the centre of town tomorrow. I figure that it’s a good way/excuse/reason to meet people, and it’ll give me fewer excuses for putting off my next burst of writing. I’ve got plenty to do, especially in reference to drumming up some proofreading work – I no longer have any excuses for putting that off – but I’m also keen on writing the follow-up to The Hypernova Gambit. If only I could come up with a decent title…