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Wednesday, 26 September 2007


My skin is going from bad to worse. If it was gluesniffer before it is now Zammo from Grange Hill at the height of his Heroin Addiction. I wouldn’t mind but I’ve always “Just Said No” and now I have the skin without the skinning up. Actually it was Zammo scrabbling around on the floor (after knocking Jackie over) to get at his Heroin that put me off drugs. Not that I had much of an idea what he was doing, as I was 6. Either way I believe Heroin’s delicious but very moorish, so I’ll steer clear.

Watching Grange Hill was one of the few television memories I share with my peers. I have seen nothing. I don’t remember half the things that people talk about and seem to have spent my childhood reading books that no one else remembers. I haven’t seen: Button Moon, Terrorhawk, Airwolf, Knightmare, Batfink, Count Duckula, Supergran or Trapdoor. I have also never seen: Back to the Future (any of them), Indianna Jones (any of them), Star Wars, Gremlins, ET, The Goonies or Ghostbusters. It’s not even like I was out having fun on my chopper bike as I didn’t have one of those either! For someone born in the 80’s I have very poor knowledge of the era, I can just about be sentimental about a soda stream but given that ours was used to make fizzy water only (no fake cola syrup allowed) I can only really reminisce about the fact I used to kick mine over so I didn’t have to drink it. I remember being given a Rainbow Brite cardboard puppet thing. Sadly I had no idea what Rainbow Brite was so instead of using her to restore colour to the universe ( I googled) she and the rest of the colour kids mainly spent their time pretending to go to the shops or out on their bikes.

But I didn’t know what I was missing, all it means is now I sit through a few reminiscing type conversations going “I haven’t seen it”. And I have absolutely no desire at all to be educated. There are films you watch at a certain time in your life and love and then when you watch it again it’s the nostalgia you’re enjoying, not the film. I don’t make people watch Peter’s Friends as I know it is awful, I however remember watching it when I was 13 and thinking it was great. Crushes on both Hugh Laurie and Kenneth Branagh helped.

I did however manage to watch Mannequin which was a triumph in itself as I am terrified of mannequins, my real fear being that they are going to come to life. On reflection this might not have been the film for me. But I was a brave soldier and it was alright. I particularly enjoyed their hair. But I don’t really want to spend my free time now watching films that I should have seen when I was 8. What’s the point? I don’t feel the need to go to Disneyland, own a horse or wear a boiler suit (my other ambitions when I was 8) so why watch the films? Also surely I’d spend my time in a constant state of catch-up. Watching this years new releases in 2014 as I was so busy in 2007 watching films from 1988. Too confusing.

So I shall continue to be left out of nostalgia. However if any of you have read and enjoyed the following please let me know. It would be like nostalgia for deprived gimps. : The Shrinking of Treehorn, any books by Michelle Magorian, When Hitler Stole the Pink Rabbit and Trebizon. Thank you.

Tuesday, 18 September 2007


This is a party political broadcast on behalf of the ginger and red hair party. It has been published in response to the questions I and fellow gingers get asked on average thirty thousand times a day. Hopefully this should clear things up.

Yes it is natural. Only the deeply weird or those in to role playing dungeons and dragons are voluntarily ginger.
Yes I am lucky. It’s a source of constant joy. I get up everyday and thank the baby Jesus. Or it’s just hair.
No it doesn’t run in the family. I am the only one
No I am not the milk-man’s.
I do not get offended by people calling me ginger. I certainly don’t need you or anyone else to leap in and say “well it’s more strawberry blonde really.”
In the same way that you don’t crap your pants when someone says “blonde” or “brunette”, I don’t soil myself or feel the need to weep when someone mentions “ginger”.
Yes ginger hair is hilarious. I can never have too many pictures of myself where it looks like my head’s on fire.

I was forced to send an email to John Frieda on Wednesday. Well to his “people” or the people who run his website. Having hair that isn’t properly curly and is by no means straight and likes to inflate itself to the size of a barrage balloon and amuse itself by contorting itself in to many shapes (it’s favourite being the massive cow licked fringe) I need to use some sort of product to calm it. Left to it’s own devises I look like Justin Lee Collins or like someone has piped a Mr Whippy on to my head.

Whilst staying at my mum and dad’s I used my mum’s “John Frieda Shine Shock” (hey, sur casa, me casa) Which was very nice. But as she has dark brown hair I felt the brunette one wasn’t bringing out the natural tones and hightlights in my hair. Besides it’s hers and she wouldn’t let me take it.

So I went to Sainsburys and trawled the shelves only to discover that the full hair care range is only available in blonde or brunette. Well sod you then. So I spent £6 on a colour glaze. Which made my hair simultaneously greasy and sticky and made my bathroom smell like chemical warfare had taken place. So I wrote and told John as much. Why, I asked, have I spent £6 on something I could have achieved with a bottle of chip oil? Why must I crawl to the bathroom under the mushroom cloud of chemicals?

Shockingly I’ve not had a response. They are possibly taking out some kind of hair care fatwa upon me. But honestly. If I am forced to go through life looking like a lion or the love child of Kevin Keegan and Rod Hull then at least I should have something to tame the mane. It’s still in recovery from when I decided I could cut my own fringe in. My attempts at “thinning” only led to the creation of an underfringe. I attempted to cut it as close as possible to my head to stop the bizarrely short fringe poking through. I am now growing it back and it is growing vertically. So I look a bit like Billy Whizz. To cut or not to cut. That is the question.

I tend to have one really bad hair cut a year and spend the rest of the year growing it out. This means I only have to spend an hour a year sitting there whilst some teenager with a pixie mullet picks up my hair and drops it with disdain whilst asking me who cut it last (er you did). And then hacks away at it then stops. “hang on did we say sweeping fringe or asymmetrical?” “we said Sweeping” “ah well it’ll grow and your fringe looks quite nice starting there, up by your hairline”. They then blow dry it in to a halo and then hack in to it with razors. Only stopping to ask questions “did you want an undercut?”, “did we say yes to the mullet”. No! no we didn’t. We never had a discussion. I told you what I wanted and you did what you wanted. At no point did these ambitions coincide and at no point did we have a discussion. You couldn’t even get my coffee right and now you’re setting about my head with knives!

OK not knives. Anyway. I think I’ll have my annual haircut in November, then any experimental bits can grow in time for the photos that will be taken at Christmas and New Year. If not, at least it’s winter and I can wear a hat.

Friday, 7 September 2007


I have moved!!! Hurrah hurrah let joy be unconfined. I am now the proud owner of a beautiful house and a collection of insane furniture gathered from various family members. I am still a little nervous about sitting on the kitchen chairs. I can clearly remember Grandma falling through one of the chairs. She died soon afterwards. Now I’m not saying the two are related but it’s not a chance I’m willing to take. Either way, death chairs aside, I’m loving it. I was particularly delighted to unpack the box of receipts I’d packed 4 months ago. Thank god those babies are safe! Nothing says welcome to a new home like a receipt book for a fridge you hired in Sydney five years ago. It’s now carefully stored in a drawer. It’s a vicious circle.

However the nicest thing of all is that there doesn’t seem to be any insane neighbours. The relief of coming home and not having to talk to a care in the community patient is enormous. When I was a student we lived above someone with “issues”. Given the smell in the corridor he was controlling (or causing) these issues with “herbal medicine” and so we mainly left him alone. He did however like to write us notes apologising for his actions. These mainly read “I am sorry for banging a door loudly at midnight last night. I am punishing myself”. Next note: “I am sorry for putting a note through your door at 3am yesterday morning. It was wrong and I am punishing myself”. Our mature response was to call him Dobby (the self punishing elf in Harry Potter) and ignore him. He did point out to us that we should be more grateful to him as he was “protecting our bin”, but we didn’t really have that strong feelings towards our bin so we let him get on with it.

When I lived in Sydney my upstairs neighbours weren’t too bad except they seemed to have a roller disco at 6am every Sunday morning. Or they were training their kids for the Olympics by making them do laps of the flat. Back in the UK one set of neighbours used their house as storage and lived in a caravan park a mile or so away (I have no idea what that was about).

Then there were the neighbours who enjoyed their techno discos at 3pm every day and then after they mysteriously disappeared one day they were replaced by a sweet old man who liked easy listening music. At 7am on a Saturday. There’s nothing like being jolted awake by “Annie’s Song” or “Leaving on a Jet Plane”. It was like having Peter, Paul and Mary in bed with you. My flatmate snapped one day and went downstairs and asked him to turn this particular rendition of “Annie’s Song” down. His reply was that he was sorry but he was a music man. Julie replied “Yeah, I’ve noticed, you like this and ‘Leaving on a jet plane’.” The reply was a line that is guaranteed to stop any argument dead and has made me determined never to row with the neighbours again.

“Yes, I like that song. You see I lost my wife on a jet plane”

Oh OK. Well you enjoy blasting that out. But anyway. I intend to keep myself to myself. No disco’s, no folk rock, no demanding rewards for looking after people’s bins. I am turning the nutter magnet off. I shall ignore them all. Unless of course they are interested in seeing my receipt collection.

Tuesday, 4 September 2007


It would appear I have combination skin. Sadly it’s the combination of a 95 year old woman and 14 year old boy. Yes, I have managed the unique (and stunning) feat of having wrinkles and acne at the same time. Actually it’s just one wrinkle, right by my eye and it’s like the grand canyon. The acne is just a treat. I didn’t get it the first time round so clearly I am now having some kind of second puberty. Which is nice. Yesterday, I resorted to ripping a free sample of Estee Lauder wrinkle cream out of a magazine I found on a train. There was only enough in it to cover half my face. Which means that I am expertly primed to see if it works by drawing a thick black line down the middle of my face and seeing which side ages quicker. It has also made me paranoid about the size of my face. I know I have massive cheeks but do they really make my face twice the size of everyone elses?

I have untagged myself from a lot of photos on facebook on the grounds that I look like a pig in a frock. I do however like looking through other people’s photos. I was particularly intrigued by one night out (which I wasn’t invited on – thanks guys) where they all met Moonface from the Magic Faraway Tree. Oh, hang on, that top looks familiar. Oh I was there.

I think the world can be divided up in to photogenic and non-photogenic people. I am doomed to spend a life time ruining people’s photos by looking incredibly smug. I also seem to spend a lot of time having a competition with myself to see how many chins I can create. I’m on about 7, a woo hoo. I used to hide my school photos. There was no way I wanted to give my parents the option of buying it and I didn’t want to return it as I was convinced it would be passed round the staff room causing my teachers to laugh whilst simultaneously retching. I overcame this problem by simply hiding them in my locker and denying their existence. As a plan it was foolproof, until we had a locker inspection and I was found to have seven cardboard framed photos of myself. A sort of smug gallery. I think this struck an element of fear in to the teachers heart and thankfully there was just an embarrassed silence rather than any questioning.

At least make up has improved since the happy days of school photos. I can now attempt to cover up the acne extravaganza. And cover the spots up in a tone that vaguely matches my skin. Unlike 10 years ago when all we had on offer was “clearisil cover stick” which was effectively an orange crayon which didn’t so much hide or cover as much as it did highlight. Oompaloompa’s must have been able to create the illusion of flawless skin but those with skin hues that didn’t match a Satsuma were slightly more limited.

I have often tried to detract attention from my gluesniffer chin by slapping on the eye make-up. Now thanks to the grand canyon of crows feet it all slides in there looking like I applied my make up whilst high on glue. Perhaps I should go au naturel and not bother. Bare my face to the world. Or perhaps whilst there is the slightest chance that pictures can end up on facebook I should wear a balaclava at all times. I’ll give Moonface a call and see if he’s got one spare.