I've had a very satisfactory weekend. I'd needed to get something off my chest at work, and managed to do it on Friday, so the anxiety that had dogged me for the previous week was finally banished. That set things up very well.
On Friday night, we watched the French documentary Etre et Avoir about a junior school teacher and his charges. It took a while for me to assimilate the style of the film, but it did win me over. I resolve to watch more foreign language cinema - there's something very dignified about having all the dialogue presented as subtitles - it makes you take it in syntactically as well as semantically. We followed that up with another sort of French documentary, Tourette de France. I felt a twinge of recognition with the film's subjects, who I learned often have OCD as well as Tourettes. My occasional moaning or talking to myself when stressed, are somewhere on the same continuum at Tourettes, I'm sure. In particular, I identified with John Davidson when he let out a compulsive "Whizzzzzz!" on a tour of a cathedral.
Saturday brought the Edinburgh Great Winter Run, and thankfully a respite from the storms that have been lashing the city of late. It felt like swimming in the Serpentine on New Year's Day - the city coming out to blow off the cobwebs and start the new year. The middle involved running up a volcano into a silent-movie oncoming wind, and I was more tempted to walk than on any previous run. I let thoughts of my next appointment with tarmac hang over me, which drove morale down still further, but once over the worst, romped back in a respectable time. It was barely long enough to get warmed up, I'm telling myself.
Having thus earned some relaxation, I spent the afternoon on the sofa in my dressing gown eating Turkish Delight and watching 16 Years of Alcohol, Richard Jobson's beautifully-made, if utterly demoralising film memoir. It was all filmed on Edinburgh's Southside where I used to live, and even included a few views of where I'd been running that morning.
To celebrate Helen's birthday, we went out to dinner at Merchants. I'd been once before, about eight years ago, on a deserted week night, but it was warm in every way for Helen and me. Despite sitting opposite each other for out evening meal at least three hundred times a year, we still find new things to talk about when we go out. A great day.
Sunday was quieter. I've been replacing all my old cassette concert bootlegs with downloaded CD versions but one or two performances have been elusive in this format ,so I've resorted to capturing, tidying up, and mastering my own CDs of them. This is a significant investment of effort, and I'd hate to lose the results, so I decided to share out my latest (Yes live in Sacramento in 1988) via the Bittorrent filesharing system. I'd never contributed anything like this previously, so after gingerly following the relevant FAQ, I was thrilled to see other users taking the files and passing them on in turn. By the end of the day, there were 70 other sharers who had joined in. This was doubly rewarding because I felt like I'd contributed something back to the community, and also, because there were now 70 safety copies of my fragile CDRs spread all over the world. This is addictive. I will try and contribute some video as well, of programmes I've rescued from VHS tapes.