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Friday, 24 August 2007

Big Brother

I apologise in advance to all those with superior viewing habits but this is another column about Big Brother. It’s getting on my nerves basically. I don’t really watch it anymore. Since me and my flatmate went our separate ways I don’t really enjoy it as I need to slag it off to someone to really enjoy it. Also now Gerry has gone I hate everyone in there.

Brian is disturbing. I don’t want to enter in to the argument about whether he is or is not actually that thick, I don’t actually care. What worries me more is that we are meant to find his thickness endearing and that it is a positive characteristic. It’s not. I used to sit next to someone at junior school who ate chalk and once sat on a glue gun. He was in no way someone you would want in your everyday life. Putting him on national television would only bring back feelings of revulsion. It would not endear me to him in anyway. Why is someone going on tv and pretending they don’t know who Shakespeare is considered a good thing? It’s worrying. He should be shot not celebrated. OK, maybe not shot, disciplined though. In the same way the twins should also be sorted out. And come the Glorious Revolution of Laura they will be first up against the wall. They are 18. At 18 you are an adult. They act like they are about 6. At weekends they dress up in fairy outfits and sing at men in night clubs. That is disturbing on so many levels. Women who want to be children are odd. Men who are attracted to women who want to be children are odd. In the good old days of BB7 there was a woman called Grace Adams Short. She was a cow. She bitched, she slagged people off and left the house after chucking a glass of water in a 45 year old woman’s face. She however explained away her behaviour (and the media accepted this explanation) as “that’s what girls are like”. Er no we are fucking not. You are. And you’re a cow.

Now I know that normal, well adjusted 19 year old girls aren’t going to want to go on reality television but could we not have better representations of womanhood than them? It was Jade Goody who started the idea that thick people are someone to look up to. Now we have to endure people going on reality television and pretending they don’t know how to put their trousers on or thinking Paris is in Wales. It is not amusing, it is not a reflection of Britain today, it’s sad and annoying.

The one intelligent housemate, Gerry was viewed as being Machiavellian and untrustworthy as he tried to talk about history. The other so called intelligent housemate Jonty can only communicate through a teddy bear called Munkity Tunkity and so is held up to ridicule (don’t get me wrong he should be ridiculed but he shouldn’t be on television and he shouldn’t be a representation of intelligence. Being intelligent does not make you odd). It would seem we don’t want people to be intelligent or interesting. We want them to be incapable and thick. We want 21 year old girls to dress up as children and carry Barbie’s around. And it frustrates the crap out of me.

I have aired this view to various people and been told to shut up as it’s just entertainment. But consider this. The twins are training to be social workers (together obviously, possibly dressed identically). You suspect that a child who lives next door is being mistreated. You call social services and a twin turns up dressed in a tutu. You outline the things you’ve heard and seen and ask her what she’s going to do. Sadly she can’t answer as she wasn’t listening. But she has drawn a lovely picture of a fairy.

Can we please encourage little girls to aim a bit higher? Can we also make it OK to be women? Women with opinions and jobs who are self sufficient and don’t sing at men. Without wishing to be a militant feminist, our grandmothers didn’t burn their bras in the sixties merely to give Jodie Marsh an excuse to hold her baps up with belts.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007


I have stopped watching Big Brother. This is mainly due to Seany but I also haven’t been in much and haven’t caught up and also because I got distracted by Britain’s Got Talent. It would seem that large groups of children dancing in unison makes me cry. I could sit stony faced through children singing and juggling (I wanted to smack them, but I didn’t cry). But the minute children started moving in unison I lost it.

I don’t cry very easily. The only thing guaranteed to get me going is Rolf Harris singing “Two Little Boys”, I don’t know why, perhaps I was abused to it as a child but on the whole I am not easily manipulated. Unlike my mother who once cried at Style Challenge. I do however cry through rage, which is annoying as it doesn’t really help you put a cohesive argument together, and I cry through fear. Which is understandable until you realise that I am not afraid of dogs, or wasps, or heights, or planes but I am in fact terrified of dolls. And dolls houses and if anyone’s got one lying around I am petrified of dolls caravans. Even writing this I am getting shivers up my spine and looking around convinced that a doll is going to come up and tap me on the shoulder.

I have no idea why or how this fear started. My mum has her own theories, I think it’s due to the fact that dolls are creepy and evil and have a tendancy to come to life behind your back and also down to a very weird and horrific children’s television programme called Totty. Not many people have heard of Totty but those that had the misfortune of seeing it carry an indelible scar and are always delighted to meet a fellow sufferer. Totty was made by Postgate productions the same people who made Bagpuss and Ivor the Engine. But Totty was twisted. It was about two girls who had a dolls house and the dolls inside could make things happen by wishing. There was a mother called Bridie, a dad called Mr Plantagenant, a little boy called Apple and Totty. Then an evil doll called Marchpane came to visit with the intent of causing harm. Towards the end of the series I assume they had to come up with a way of bringing this lovely story to an end. I can imagine the brainstorming session “Shall we send Marchpane away? Shall we let Totty find happiness? Nah fuck it let’s burn down the dolls house”’ And so the series ended with the dolls house burning to the ground whilst we watched the dolls melting and burning inside. As their faces didn’t move all you saw was there blank staring faces melt whilst a terrifying scream ran out. I vividly remember a nanny holding a baby that was on fire screaming through her painted on smile.

Either way it has scarred me for life. Admittedly my life as an adult isn’t affected, I just don’t go to Madame Tussauds, but as a child it was difficult. I would be invited round to peoples houses to play with these horrific effergies. If I was really unfortunate I would be asked if I wanted to play with a dismembered head that someone had stuck on a pole for young girls to plaster in make up. I believe that was called a girls world. Birthdays were a bit of a Russian roulette. You never knew which parcel from a schoolfriend would reveal an unblinking instrument of torture.

Nowadays the only time I come in to contact with dolls is when I go to see my niece. They are all hidden in advance of my visit but when I open a cupboard I am guaranteed to find one staring at me from behind a weetabix packet or from where it’s been squashed behind a sofa. Which in a way is more scary as it involves the element of surprise.

Now I must crawl in to a ball and sit under my desk as I am sure somewhere a doll has heard this and is going to come looking for me.


I have had a terribly informative week. I have finally learnt the words to “La Isla Bonita”. It led to quite a lot of mockery as I was singing what I thought were the correct words and found a car full of people staring at me. It turns out the words are “Last night I dreamt of San Pedro” not “Last night I slept with some waiter”. It’s also “A young girl with eyes like the desert” Not “young man with eyes like potato”. I am seeing the world through new eyes. However I was slightly aggrieved by being mocked for this by my flatmate. This is the girl who thought it was “Club Tropicana under the Sea”, “Don’t lift us up where we belong” and butchered Roy Orbinson’s tender love song by thinking the words were “I drove all night, crapped in your room”. Although to be fair if you’ve driven all night, needs must.

But most disturbing of all was my brother. Relaxing one Sunday afternoon he decided to sing a long with the radio, Summer of ’69 was playing. Sadly he’d never realised that it began “ I bought my first real six string”, instead he preferred the lyrics “I had my first real sex dream”. Ignoring the fact that this means he bought it at a five and dime, it also means that he “played it till his fingers bled” and stood on his Mama’s porch swearing he could last forever.

But although some of the time I am willing to admit I am in the wrong at others I am sure the singer is having a laugh. In the middle of “So Good” by Boyzone Ronan Keating clearly “sings” “I’m stroking his balls”, and in “my love is your love” Whitney Houston drives her point home somewhere in the second chorus my muttering “you dickhead”.

I also dislike it when songs are used in a ridiculous manner. Not that I’ve spent much time thinking about the marriage and divorce of America’s sweethearts Brad and Jen but I do remember reading that at their wedding they had “A whole Lotta Love”, played on a mandolin. How lovely. All your family and friends gathered round whilst some hippy twanging away on a mandolin sings about how they “want to give you my love, every inch of my love.”
Sadly some of the most amusing lyrics come from my old school song. These have not been misheard but included the gems “Teach us to look in all our ends, on thee for judge and not our friends.” We were also implored to take “delight in simple things and mirth that has no bitter springs.” I don’t know what is more worrying the fact that somebody wrote that crap or that I can still remember all five verses of it.

Thursday, 16 August 2007


I bumped in to two people I went to school with on Saturday. Two things were interesting. One – I knew who they were and could remember their names. I must have spent seven years in a coma as I don’t remember anyone I went to school with. I once asked my flatmate why this was and she replied “because you spent seven years with your head up your own bum” so these people must have been pretty special to penetrate my anus (as it were). The second thing was that I couldn’t avoid them and was forced to make conversation with them. And this was down to one thing – Facebook. Given that I am now officially their “friend” I couldn’t really ignore them when I saw them in person. Facebook has forced me to be sociable.

But I do prefer it to other social networking sites, and I prefer it to actually talking to people – why ring someone up when you can write something amusing (and short) in magnetic letters on their profile. I joined myspace briefly. This was mainly because there was a girl I went to uni with who was slightly bizarre and I wanted to see what she was up to. After reading her profile “I love the smell of cats" etc. it was easy to conclude she is mental and that it wasn’t really worth being on myspace simply to amuse myself every now and then by reading her blog. However I am completely unable to close my account. I pop in every month or so to check it and discover that lots of people want to be my friend. This is very weird. Why on earth would I want to be friends with someone who calls themselves gnomeslayer90 and who wants to be friends with someone who has no personal details and a picture of Mavis from Willow the Whisp as their profile picture? I know everybody who is my friend on facebook, I have no desire to be friends with a man who dresses up as a warlock and lives in Alabama.

Myspace, like datingdirect before it, also gives me a serious crisis of confidence. Now don’t get me wrong, I know my limitations. On a good day I look like a fat Rod Hull but some of the human waste that wants to meet me makes me think that I either have a too high opinion of myself or these people take self confidence to the extreme. People that have never seen daylight, let alone another human being are queuing up to email me. People who’s hobbies include role playing and plushing (to foul to go in to here, I once read an article on it, I think it is suffice to say that people who enjoy it like cuddly toys with “loving” eyes and a tail to lift) are desperate to meet me. I would sooner die alone. I really hope that they are just indiscriminate in their emails. That if they send enough out one’s got to bite.

Maybe it’s karma. One of my favourite things on the internet is a blog written by a woman who is obsessed by knitting. I am not but I do enjoy seeing this girl model the things she has knitted - including her own wedding dress! Sadly she never seems to buy enough wool to finish a job so every bizarre jumper is knitted in a multitude of colours. Perhaps everytime I laugh at the knitter I am repayed by having dragonrider45 email me. For every person I forward the link on to I am punished by having an agoraphobic obsessed by Lee Harvey Oswald wink at me.


I went to Scotland this weekend. It was lovely (so clearly that’s not going to make a column). It was nice to be back in a land where ginger is an accepted form of colouring and I don’t understand 80% of what’s being said (this doesn’t necessarily just apply to Scotland it also applies in most meetings and on occasion watching Neighbours).

However, when I was at Stanstead at silly o’clock Saturday morning I needed to go to the loo (I’ll stop torturing you with my glamourous lifestyle soon). When I walked in to the toilets I was confronted with the sign “we hope you are delighted with these facilities”. Now maybe this is a sign of my borgeouis, middle class roots but I have never in my life been delighted by a toilet. The harbour bridge, the gorgeous British coastline, my nieces and nephews but never a toilet. I was not alone. I wasn’t battling my way through crowds of people rolling on the floor with delight at the sight of a porcelain paradise.

I don’t know whether it was the earliness of the hour or maybe I misread it – which again has been known. I was outraged at posters advertising the film, “Welcome to Paedophilia” sadly it was “Welcome to Philadelphia” – but either way it was odd. Almost as odd as the “no studying” sign at Singapore airport. Singapore airport is weird in general. I once stumbled through there at 3am to find people doing a display of disco dancing.

Actually I lie.

I have been delighted by a toilet. But I blame British rail bus replacement services for that. A journey that takes 25 minutes by rail should not take an hour and a half by road. Especially when you have drunk 3 cups of tea and a pint of water. Whilst I was making a contingency plan that involved throwing away my trousers I spied a public toilet. I was truly delighted. Perhaps Stanstead could adopt this approach. They could force feed people 4 pints of water at check in – perhaps make them drink the liquids they’re not allowed to take on board. They could then lock the doors to all the loos except one, obviously the one that is the furthest away. They could even through in some more obstacles, no bog roll, a seat that’s hanging off (Glasgow airport is clearly ahead of it’s time in this respect).

However Scotland was a pleasure and a joy. I caught up with friends I haven’t seen for ages, was introduced to a new drink – a “blackbeard” which involved rum, coke and guiness, parted company with my new drink and was reminded of my favourite chat up line “You’ve got beautiful eyes. Can I touch them?”
I also learnt a valuable lesson. No matter how much fun you are having or how good an idea it seems you must never, ever dye your hair when under the influence. I look like Ronald MacDonald, which is unacceptable in every country of the UK.


I am still living at home. I could turn this in to a huge sweary rant about estate agents and people who pretend to want to sell their house but actually want to disappear and are completely unable to fill in a form properly. But I won’t. I would however, recommend that under no circumstance whatsoever do you say mid conversation to an estate agent that you are “about to open up a can of whoop ass on them”. Firstly they don’t know you’re joking. Secondly, you sound ridiculous and they may refuse to sell you a house as you are a knob.

But there are other things to think about. I have just tried to make a payment and had my card declined three times. Upon ringing HSBC there apparently has been fraudulent activity on my card but not my account so they have destroyed my card. Well thank you so much for letting me know. Thankfully I was only trying to pay my tax bill rather than something important like shoes but it would have been nice to get a little warning.

I don’t really understand what they are talking about. They read through every transaction on my account and every single one was mine. I was expecting the reply “God you spend a lot” not “Well, Miss Sleep I am afraid that’s all fraudulent and we are destroying your card. We’ll send you a new one in a week”. A WEEK! I have £10 in my purse, no petrol and two of my mates have had babies today, not really the occasion to turn up empty handed or with stuff you’ve found in the cupboards. “Would the baby like a teasmade?”

I am also going up to Scotland for a wedding this weekend I am hoping that the B&B I am staying in accepts string as payment. I am mainly upset as I am going by train, and I follow the theory that what ever you eat, drink or spend on a train doesn’t count in the real world. Which is a good job as the average cost of a cup of tea on GNER is £4-50. Therefore I tend to pass 6 hours on a train by indulging in my own little Roman orgy of individually wrapped biscuits. Accept once when I slipped in to a coma upon leaving Edinburgh and woke up in Peterborough to find everyone around me had moved and about a litre and a half of saliva covering my upper body.

So I am on rations. I am hoping that booze at the wedding is free and I can smuggle a couple of bottles away with me, I shall swop the name on one of the presents for mine and shall do a runner from the B&B. Miss Sleep sounds like a pseudonym anyway.

I shall also try and retract the huge, sweary, ranty email I have just sent to HSBC. No threats of whoop ass but not my finest hour.


I was reliably informed that my column last week wasn’t funny (it wasn’t meant to be it was informative). So this week I’m not even going to try. If you want to read about the transformation of the Labour party in the 1980’s read on, if you don’t I’ll see you next week.

Sadly what I can tell you about the Labour party in the 80’s isn’t worth knowing as it was taught to me by a supply teacher who didn’t care and all I really learnt was that Michael Foot wasn’t elected as he wore a donkey jacket and glasses held together with sellotape. Amusing now, but you should have seen the look of panic on the permanent teachers face when 18 people write that in a mock A’ level. So my incisive and cutting comment on the leadership contest of the labour party is that Gordon Brown has very nice hair and so should win over those other two.

I went to one of the traditional breeding grounds of British politicians on Saturday. Yes Oxford, land of dreaming spires, amazing architecture and some of the best minds in the world. Sadly it was raining so I really only saw Starbucks and the inside of New Look. I did make an amazing discovery about myself. I am not a snob. For I don’t just hate chavs. I also dislike posh people. And Oxford was full of them. Loads of rahs with too many teeth riding bikes on the pavement and expecting pedestrians to get out the way. There was also some weirdo in full exercise gear doing lunges in the middle of the road whilst traffic hooted, it was obviously vital that he did his cool down that second rather than wait to get on the pavement. Or perhaps being able to read Sophocles in the original Greek makes you invisible (and let’s face it, damn handy). I think my main issue is that I dislike people with loud voices in public places. This particular bug bear has lead to many people thinking I am in a mood as I rarely speak to them in public. In Oxford there was a girl shrieking loudly about some issue or other, I think maybe her Papa wouldn’t give her the money for a new boat. Either way I was forced to stare at her and loudly tutt.

My brother is at Cambridge and I often become frustrated with his way of life. I tell him so, well at least I give messages to his butler to pass on. Although I appreciate it’s an amazing place to live and you’ve done very well to get there I don’t really feel it equips you for life. Dressing up in a cape and saying grace in Latin before having your dinner served to you is nice but having a part time job and paying your own gas bill is slightly more useful.

So anyway. My point is this. Whilst our politicians are handpicked from Oxbridge AND have to look good (my theory falls down when it comes to John Major) things aren’t going to improve. I don’t care which way Gordon Brown parts his hair, but I do care that people earning decent wages can’t afford to get on the property ladder, that you can get mugged in broad daylight and get done for assaulting a robber and worst of all there is VAT on tampax. So perhaps we need to give the man with the donkey jacket a chance. Or put the whole of Oxbridge down a mine for a couple of weeks. They might not learn anything but the rest of us will get a bit of peace in cafes and the coal dust may take the shine off their teeth.


I went to Belgium last weekend. It was really good fun and I had an amazing time. I now have a love for cherry beer and Flemish (in which I am practically fluent, it’s just English in a silly accent). I went to Belgium with my flatmate and her boyfriend as a way to celebrate the end of an era. Next weekend my flatmate and I go our separate ways after living together for 3 years. Going to Belgium was a nice way to say goodbye (before we move in to separate houses about 100 yards apart) and also an excellent way to delay the hell of packing.

We have a lot of shit.

So far I have discovered 3 out of date calendars, a list of the things we decided to buy when we moved in together and 7 empty jars of marmite which I have decided to keep for some reason. We also need to separate the things which we have purchased together. This ranges from things we both want and things that I will pay good money to never see again.

One of our major jobs is to divide up our celebrity photos. When we moved in together we thought it would be fun to have various celebrities welcome us to our home. So our fictional friend (Angela Parkinson) wrote to people explaining that we were huge fans of theirs and would really appreciate a signed photo as a house warming present. Therefore when people walk in to our house they are treated to a wall of photos all signed “To Julie and Laura, Good luck in your new house, love Bob Carolgees and Spit the Dog”. Some people were thoughtful (Little and Large, Noel Edmonds) and sent a card for both of us. Others (that’s you Geoffrey Hayes) only sent one between us. I am willing to do some bargaining. Perhaps barricade Julie in her room with empty marmite jars until she agrees to give me Geoff Capes.

Our other job is the reality tv collection. It started innocently enough. A friend of mine got down to the final 50 on Australian idol and I bought the dvd so I could see her. We then became slightly intrigued and bought the other Australian idols and then American idols, then went on a mission to collect as much reality tv as possible. Thanks to this we are now the proud owners of such gems as “Little Lady Fauntleroy”, “John’s not Mad” and “Teenage Tourette Camp”. My particular favourite is Australian Princess where 10 bogans from the wilds of Australia are trained in the art of royalty by Paul Burrell.

I will probably end up getting very bored of packing and insist that she takes everything and end up having to nip round to hers everyday to steal all my stuff back. My main problem is that I become terribly sentimental about things. When my granddad died and we had to clear his house out I became dreadfully upset about any of his things going in the bin. As a result I am the proud owner of a terrifying china dog and a child’s cash register. I am hoping that I’ll be able to keep a handle on things and not end up with a house full of other people’s crap by the time I’m 50. I’ll have enough crap of my own by then.

A trip to Southend

I decided to challenge my hatred of summer by actually going outside in the sunshine. Sadly I went to Southend and developed a whole new phobia – chavs.

I was unfortunately born an Essex girl and although I was raised in Hertfordshire nothing quite scars you for life as having “Harlow” emblazoned on your passport. Still, like the Queen, I feel I can transcend class and talk to anyone. The Queen however, wears gloves and keeps the freaks behind barriers.

Southend was having a chav convention. I foolishly thought that if your child is annoying the crap out of everyone you take it to one side, have a word and threaten to have it adopted. What you’re actually meant to do is scream “Tyler- Paul, Tyler-Paul, come ‘ere or you won’t get no chips” at it whilst the aforementioned Tyler (I can not bring myself to double barrel) eats other people’s meals and savagely assaults its sister.

There was also an interesting take on fashion. The girls took body confidence to a new level with muffin tops and bingo wings on display for the world to see. They all believe they are thoroughbreds with legs like shegar, when in fact they are inbreds with legs like Babar. The in thing for boys was huge white sport socks with flip flops. I had no idea how fashion forward my vicar was. Incidentally the vicar that came to my junior school to talk to us had a wooden leg (and not an up-to-date Heather Mills esq leg, a mahogany leg). He didn’t let this prevent him wearing sandals with no socks. Certainly one way to keep a child riveted.

But yeah Southend was good. I feel I need to stop being such a snobbish bitch (although that does involve me finding a new identity). I have become slightly addicted to fruit machines and carrying a load of change around in a bucket. I shall start a late New Year resolution and start being nice. Until I meet a child called Tyler-Paul who I shall batter to death with a vicar’s wooden leg.