Just Nathan

A musical offering, in parts
May 31, 2003
Heat wave

We've suddenly moved from "changeable" rainy, blustery weather to a minor heat wave, and my mood has lifted accordingly. I'm looking forward to the weekend.

So, for a lighthearted summer weekend teaser "who's the hunk?", who can tell me the name of this guy and the reason he is well-known? It's an easy one!

PS A few people have told me they won't post a comment because they don't know the answer... go on, make my day, even if you're not sure who it is, amuse me!

guess who?

We're seeing The Matrix Reloaded this evening with friends.

Posted by nathan at 06:47 AM | Comments (9)


May 30, 2003
I'm back

In more ways than one.

Software / database problems between Moveable Type and my web host (both of which have been brilliant in every other way) have stopped me uploading new entries for 3 weeks.

I'll catch up with some entries and will rebuild my blog, just as I'm determined to rebuild my confidence, despite the best efforts of those who conspire to undermine it.

Posted by nathan at 11:50 PM | Comments (1)


May 29, 2003
The Celibate

“And I finally appreciate the difference between the words ‘innocent’ and ‘naïve’. Which is not one that can be learned theoretically, but only in practice. Since however paradoxical it may sound, true innocence is the product of experience; it’s a state of mind, not a state of ignorance. And it won’t be found in any childhood garden (of Eden); but rather in an uncompromising and an uncompromised acceptance of life”.

“There is no fundamental state of wickedness, and we don’t have a propensity to evil, merely the capacity for it. How can it be otherwise when we’re made in the image of God, with his two supreme faculties of creativity and moral responsibility? So perfection is neither a lost cause, nor a lost paradise. The ideal may lie in Christ, but the potential is in ourselves”.

Michael Arditti – The Celibate

Posted by nathan at 06:12 AM | Comments (0)


May 28, 2003
Where's My Danger?

The US Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, has acknowledged for the first time that Iraq may have destroyed its weapons of mass destruction before the US launched its offensive to topple Saddam Hussein's regime.

See here


But we knew that.

Resign, Blair. You led your nation into war, knowing that you had lied to Parliament.

Posted by nathan at 11:38 PM | Comments (0)


May 27, 2003
Feeling positive

I'm doing well at the moment - working hard for my customers and getting results. I'm really pleased with some of the achievements we've clocked up over the past 3 months. New prospects on the cards and just need to stay determined.

Posted by nathan at 11:32 PM | Comments (0)


May 25, 2003
The clan reunited

I love Bank Holidays.

That feeling of an extra day to enjoy oneself, seeing friends and family.

My parents came to visit, and we chatted merrily and watched Gosford Park on DVD.

Posted by nathan at 11:45 PM | Comments (1)


May 24, 2003
Is that a minkey?

It took us most of the morning to clear up from yesterday’s dinner party. We went to the waterworld centre to buy some copper sulphate to rid the goldfish of their parasitic infection (don’t ask) and then went round to Alistair’s with cream cakes. Somehow, that translated into a visit to the beer festival (for Alfred and Alistair) whilst I stayed at home and read. They returned at about half past ten, merry with beer and wanting to be fed. We watched “Return of the Pink Panther” on DVD and laughed until we cried.

Apparently, that was the only Pink Panther film available on DVD at the time, but now the rest are available on Region 1. Where's my credit card, swdi?

Posted by nathan at 11:53 PM | Comments (1)


May 23, 2003
Friday night supper

We hosted a traditional Friday night Jewish supper this evening in Cambridge. I undertook it on the basis that, despite my non-belief, it would be of interest to our friends. We started cooking on Wednesday – the chicken soup in particular took ages to make, starting with a boiling fowl, carrots, turnip, celery and a bouquet garni. At least my kneidlach (little dumplings) were voted “fluffy” not “bullets”.

ready for kiddush

We lit the shabbos candles and made kiddush with Palwin No. 10 wine. Everybody washed their hands and then we had two challahs (bread) to start the meal. Chicken soup with kneidlach was followed by gefillte fish (boiled white fish cakes) and chopped liver (chicken liver with egg and onion). For the main course, we had a huge roasted chicken, with potatoes, parsnips, brussels sprouts and carrots. Finally, dessert was lockshen pudding (noodle pudding). We then sang shabbos songs and had bentsching (grace after meals) in Hebrew.

I think everybody enjoyed themselves – only two of the seven of us are Jewish. For me it was a self-indulgence. It’s such a satisfaction to cook for friends and see them enjoying themselves, groaning with the onslaught of the next course. The Sabbath ritual of candles, wine, bread and bonhomie is the most abiding memory of my sojourn with orthodox Judaism. A past remembered with the yellow hue of a flickering flame. Poppy seeds and crumbs on the table. Napkins discarded on the floor. Sweet wine, a full stomach, warmth around me, a book to read and dream-laden sleep cuddling Alfred.

Posted by nathan at 11:56 PM | Comments (0)


May 21, 2003
Fixing the bell

You’ve noticed that I’m avoiding writing about current affairs at the moment. I’ll get back to it, but find it hard to be interested in a depressing world going depressingly downhill.

Posted by nathan at 06:08 AM | Comments (0)


May 20, 2003
Back to the blog

It’s like a confessional, except without the privacy. Or the absolution.

Posted by nathan at 05:43 AM | Comments (0)


May 19, 2003
Time to Promenade

For that most select band of "Where's JustNathan" stalkers, here are the Proms I've booked for this season:

Prom 15, 29th July
R Strauss: Elektra
London Voices, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Donald Runnicles conducting with Gabrielle Schnaut as Elektra

Prom 20, 2nd August
HK Gruber: Dancing in the Dark (UK premiere)
Prokofiev: Piano Concerton No. 3 in C+
Tchaikowsky: Symphony No. 5 in E- (who'd have guessed it?)
Nelson Goerner (piano)
BBC Philharmonic, conducted by HK Gruber and Vassily Sinaisky

Prom 30, 10th August
Poulenc: La voix humaine
Stravinsky: Perséphone
Felicity Lott (soprano), Paul Groves (tenor)
Trinity Boy's Choir, Cantate Youth Choir, BBC Symphony Chorus, BBC Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Andrew Davis

Prom 31, 11th August
R Strauss: Tod und Verklärung
Mahler: Rückert-Lieder
Prokofiev: Alexander Nevsky cantata
Ekaterina Gubanova (mezzo-soprano), Detlef Roth (baritone)
London Philharmonic Choir, Crouch End Festival Chorus, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Daniele Gatti

Prom 37, 15th August
Mozart: Symphony No. 40 in G-
Brahms: Ein Deutsches Requiem
Miah Persson (soprano), Peter Mattei (baritone)
Swedish Radio Choir, Eric ericson Chamber Choir, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Manfred Honeck

Prom 49, 26th August
Mahler: Symphony No. 6 in A-
European Union Youth Orchestra, conducted by Bernard Haitink

Prom 54, 30th August
Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto in E-
Mahler: Symphony No. 1 in D+
Gil Shaham (violin), Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Mariss Jansons

Prom 69, 10th September
Prokofiev: The Stone Flower (excerpts)
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4 in G+
Mahler: Symphony No. 4 in G+
Christian Blackshaw (piano), Rebecca Evans (soprano)
BBC Philharmonic, conducted by Gianandrea Noseda

Anybody want to join me?

Posted by nathan at 12:01 AM | Comments (0)


May 18, 2003
Im ain ani li, mi li?

Im ain ani li mi li
Uch'she'ani l'atzmi, ma ani
V'im lo achshav eymatai

If I am not for myself, who will be for me?
And if I am for myself, what am I?
And if not now, when?

Hillel said that over two thousand years ago. (Ethics of the fathers 1:14)

Strange how the words occur to me now. As I weigh the evidence.

Someone will chuckle when they read this. I know who you are.

Posted by nathan at 08:09 AM | Comments (0)


May 17, 2003
Summer is icumen in

Fabien called at about 11:00 to ask us to join him and a friend at Midsummer House. We’d never been there, as it has a strange reputation for excellent food, snobbery and rudeness. Our experience today was only of the good food (albeit at a high price). It was one of those marvellous lunches with nine courses (well, plenty of amuses-gueulles), lasting from half past twelve to nearly four o’clock. The food was imaginative and unusual in its combination of flavours (salmon with a coffee sauce for example).

The atmosphere in such a restaurant can be intimidating. The waiter told me off for ordering a chicken starter and poussin for the main course – although his alternative suggestion of a salad with two delicious pieces of fish was satisfying. The vanilla pannacotta with cinnamon jelly and granny smith sorbet was a delicious dessert, combining sweet milkiness, cinnamon and a sharp apple taste.

Posted by nathan at 11:06 PM | Comments (0)


May 16, 2003
Still here

But not much in the mood to write anything.

Posted by nathan at 07:28 PM | Comments (1)


May 10, 2003
Woke up at 3am

Feeling down. Feeling terrified. It's quiet here. No-one to talk with about what's on my mind.

Posted by nathan at 03:18 AM | Comments (3)


May 09, 2003
From our own correspondent

I received an interesting posting from the author of "it's no mitzvah to be homophobic" (see 23rd January). I've replied to him by email, and may post the correspondence there.

I'm delighted that, despite my personal distance from Judaism, there are people who care enough to provoke and continue a debate about how far the rabbinate should go in the battle between the rule of law and the need to recognise human diversity.

Posted by nathan at 08:34 PM | Comments (0)


May 08, 2003
Last orders

Good progress for one of my customers today. Some of the work I've been doing for them is turning out to be spot on. But the overall picture is unsettling. Very.

I fancied getting away from the flat while Alfred had his piano lesson, so went for a drink with Alistair at the Alexandra. Good beer but no Thai curries today. We sat in the garden and chatted - I drank too much (any correlation with my mood?) and fell asleep the moment my head hit the pillow.

Posted by nathan at 11:51 PM | Comments (0)


May 07, 2003
Some progress

Is my irony obvious enough?

Work's not so good at the moment. I finally decided / felt pushed into taking on office premises, and the new people joined at the beginning of April. Things were looking so good. And now, after coming back from New York, it doesn't seem so rosy. A combination of lots of one-off admin jobs, a couple of prospects moving backwards and me being 100% booked on projects has left me feeling very uncomfortable.

And my sleeping pattern, which was so good when I came back from the USA, has been broken - I'm awake at 3-4am every morning again with worries on my mind.

At least I've managed to do some good work for my customers this week.

Posted by nathan at 09:41 PM | Comments (0)


May 06, 2003

Sitting in my grey, lilac and ash coloured office.

The goldfish are happy.

One is reddish gold, another is gold with black-edged fins and the third is a little black maw. After being sceptical, resistant and not wanting the responsibility of having other living entities dependent upon me, I'm falling for them.

I'll have to take a photograph.

Posted by nathan at 06:15 PM | Comments (0)


May 05, 2003
Mixed weekend

Sunny Bank Holidays are a welcome surprise, and I made the most of it with a pleasant walk through Cambridge and a drink with a friend. It’s a pleasure to spend an afternoon chatting with somebody who’s pleasant, open and interesting.

I came home and had a delicious roast chicken prepared by Alfred, and watched Spirited Away on DVD, another of those Japanese animated morality tales that he enjoys so much.

I’m not feeling in the best of humours at present. My friends and family all see me as being successful, relatively well-off, motivated and surrounded by friends and a loving partner. I live and sleep worrying, agonising about problems. The ill-health of loved ones, difficulties in growing the business (always one step forward, one step back) and my own emotional malaise. I’ve also realised that, despite having so many people who care about me, I have, at this moment, no one to speak with. In any case, from others’ perspective, such introspection is an inconceivable self-indulgence in one so 'blessed'. I guess I’ll have to learn to stop moaning. Do other people ever manage to overcome the myriad paper cuts in life? In my case, they just accumulate and seep, without ever really healing.

Posted by nathan at 10:56 PM | Comments (0)


May 04, 2003
Chargrilled in Chesterton

We took a taxi round to Chesterton this evening for Alistair’s barbecue. His friends are a pleasant crowd and the evening was a welcome break from my spiralling thoughts.

The lighting accelerator for the charcoal briquettes had the appearance of shaving foam, but failed to catch light. This led to a series of ever-more abject attempts to light the fire. Funny, given that the human race mastered this technique several thousand years ago. But they didn't have patios.

When a few sheets of cardboard finally managed the job, the accelerator simply melted into the base of the barbecue before burning spectacularly. It didn’t do any harm to the food, and we were all pleasantly tipsy by the end of the evening.

We played a game called “Cranium” which my team lost, because of my substandard impersonation of Kenneth Williams. Now that should shock you.

Alfred had too much wine and vodka. When he’s drunk, he becomes pleasant, sparkling, chatty and even garrulous. Not like the normal Alfred, reserved, gleaning rather than giving, daydreaming but sharp. He voiced his opinion on a painting, not once, but seven times, to my amusement. He fell asleep as soon as we were home, and muttered in Cantonese all night.

Posted by nathan at 11:14 PM | Comments (0)


May 03, 2003
Family day

Driving in my car. On autopilot. Daydreaming or concentrating? Off to see my family. To gain support? Inspiration? Courage? Vincent first. Cos and Fif out at work, both doing telesales now. Vincent so despondent about his work situation. But nothing dents his openness and warm-heartedness.

Then to Mum and Dad. I hadn’t realised that they have started dancing again. Over three months ago. Why had they kept it secret? I was so pleased for them. They’re going for a dinner dance in London this evening to celebrate Mum’s birthday. Isn’t that great?

Muriel and Ralph next. Muriel looking so well, and chatting excitedly about opera and family.

In the evening, I went round to Yoel and Sharon. It’s amazing how one reverts to old habits (like finishing cold cholent). Levi wandered in, late in the evening. Not a little boy any more, but he retains his characteristic impishness. We chatted until late in the evening before I headed back to Cambridge. My love for my second family never wanes.

My family all seem very concerned about the revelations contained in this web site. It makes me far too self-conscious to write about my feelings, knowing that they will read this. I’m always aware of watching the film of my life.

Posted by nathan at 11:38 PM | Comments (0)


May 02, 2003
Chain mail

One of my illustrious colleagues sent an email to 250 people today, with their addresses in the ‘cc’ line (rather than as ‘bcc’). “Hardly a hanging offence”, as a friend put it, but an unwelcome lapse in the professional veneer, causing annoyance all round. It seemed a fitting end to the week.

Posted by nathan at 11:02 PM | Comments (0)


May 01, 2003
Taken to the cleaners

I feel so guilty today.

For the first time ever, we've employed a team of cleaners to spring clean the flat.

And I feel so rotten. I can't even keep my own flat clean and tidy, and need to pay other people to scrub my skirting boards while I make (hopefully more) money arranging sales visits for a client.

I've never felt comfortable with servants, waiters, cleaners, porters or bellboys.

But they have left the place looking remarkably sparkling.

Posted by nathan at 11:03 PM | Comments (0)