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Friday, 26 October 2007


On Saturday night I went out for my mates birthday. After many drinks, dancing and the most spectacular fall I’ve ever seen by the birthday girl (6 foot off her boyfriend’s shoulders on to her face) it was time to go home. And I really, really didn’t want to walk. Sadly there were no taxies to be had and none to be had for an hour if the control women were to be believed. Luckily we saw a man having a fag outside a shop – and he had a car! After much persuasion (and fake crying) he agreed to give us a lift home. We even made him clear his back seat so we could pile in. It wasn’t until we were a little way from home that it occurred to me that getting a lift with a man we met on the street at 2 in the morning might not have been the best idea. I decided in that split second that I didn’t really want to die, I didn’t want to die on Julie’s birthday and I certainly didn’t want to die to a sound track of Chris Rea.

Pretty inevitably (and obviously) we didn’t die and he just dropped us off. I took a few photos of the car just in case – I assumed they’d find the camera with my body and solve the mystery.

Presuming the worst is an endearing habit of mine. Or incredibly pessimistic and annoying. I often think when I’m driving: “What would happen if I ploughed off the road now and died?” and normally my main worry is – would they report my terrible music taste in the newspaper. “The woman crashed her car whilst listening to Voice of the Beehive. It is unknown whether she lost control of the car or simply lost the will to live due to the appalling music”. Do I really want my rescue to be conducted to the strains of “Snooker Loopy”.

I love the way that music has such strong associations. Play certain songs and you’re instantly transported back to where you were when you heard it and even how you felt when you heard it. Elliot Smith was the soundtrack to my university days and even though it’s some of the most monumentally depressing music you’ll ever hear it’ll always be associated with some fantastic times. I can hear “Walk of Life” a thousand times but it’ll always remind me of being about 6 and dancing around my brother’s bedroom having a “disco” (3 of us dancing and my mum flicking the light on and off). I can’t listen to “Torn” by Natalie Imbruglia whilst I’m driving as that’s what was playing when I was in a pile up on the A1.

I think it’s those kind of associations that means everyone has certain musical guilty pleasures. However cool, hip and groovy you are now, and by using that kind of language you can tell that I am down with the kids, there is guaranteed to be one song that you will exclaim “oooh I love this song” when it comes on the radio and everyone will look at you like you’re mental. The cd’s that I tend to listen to a lot but tend to keep in plain covers are usually the music that I listened to in my parents cars. Namely Paul Simon (not too bad), Peter Skellon (odd) and Crystal Gayle (just horrendous and has also sparked a strange love of country music).

But that’s what’s good about music. Although you may heartily dislike a song and the singer something can happen and it can take on new meanings. Find one song you like and you can discover whole new genres and singers. Which in a round about way is why X factor is good. Not that they are introducing brilliant new singers to the world (although I do like Leona’s new song) but in that they cover songs in a way that inspire you to find the original. Mainly on the grounds that watching some halfwit warble Islands in the Stream convinces you that the original can’t have been that dreadful. And anything that gets Kenny Rogers to a wider audience is a good thing.


Well that was a lovely holiday. Over now. Sob, sob etc. I would highly recommend a trip to the channel islands. Guernsey museums seem slightly obsessed by the occupation (however the exhibits have made me fairly sure that I am anti-Hitler) but there is a lot of fun to be had. I started out taking a book with me to meals in the evening – how to dine alone and avoid the pitying stares of other diners- but I found that eavesdropping was far more fun. Especially when I over heard the following conversation “Yes, that was Schoellsberg wasn’t it?” “ooooh yes, terrible man, horrible piece of work”, “Well I don’t know about that”, “He was a dictator wasn’t he?” “No, no a bobsleigher”. I don’t think they appreciated my snorting laughter. However as they both declared at the beginning of their meal that they were going to be “terribly Yorkshire and drink tea with their meal” they are blatantly weird and base all their knowledge of Northeners on the Tetley Tea Folk. I base my knowledge of the North on Last of the Summer Wine. Far more reliable. I look forward to a trip North at some point where I shall see old men whizzing down hills in bath tubs and running away from randy old ladies in headscarves.

The boat trip back was vile. I have never been ill on public transport in my life. Even when drunk I have managed to contain myself. However sitting on a small boat bobbing between Sark and Guernsey I started to feel a bit rough, convincing myself it was a case of mind over matter I decided to concentrate on my book (having read all 5 of the books I had taken in the first two days I read a lot of trash magazines and whatever books were left in the hotel. I am therefore deeply immersed in a dreadful family saga.) When that didn’t work I thought I’d look at the horizon. Except the windows were masked by waves crashing over them and it was difficult to look at the horizon when one moment the window was in the sea and the next it was pointing at the sky. So I looked at a fire hydrant and gulped in deep breaths of diesel filled air. Eventually with Guernsey in sight I took a deep breath – and threw up. In to a bag. Grim. Luckily there was a bin on board so I didn’t have to carry it around like a badly served portion of take away soup. 3 hours on dry land and I still felt rough as.

It was a very nice holiday, I don’t want you to go away thinking it was all being sick in bags and mad racists. I went in the sea twice. Baltic (well actually it was the channel) ho ho. I drank far too much VAT free wine, I met some very pleasant people and I read and slept a lot. I also discovered that although you never forget how to ride a bike (there are no cars on Sark) your thighs have given up the ghost and scream with disgust when you attempt to cycle up hills. I bumped in to the mad bob sleighing people when I was attempting to have a nap at the top of a cliff (as nice as the beach looked I couldn’t face the walk back up). He was dressed in some sort of lycra all in one with a bandana and she was wearing sensible walking shorts. I forced myself to sit up and talk to them, thinking that they only thing worse than talking to them would be to continue attempting to sleep and have them think that I was dead upon a cliff and have them try to rescue me. 10 foot away from his lycra clad genitals was fine for me.

Monday, 1 October 2007


I got headbutted at the weekend. It was quite astonishingly painful and was made worse by the fact that I essentially headbutted myself. I was balancing my niece on my feet and was holding her hands, she slipped and my holding her hands only served to turn her in to a battering ram and her head went straight in to my nose. Sadly it was one of those injuries that, although amazingly painful, leaves no evidence although it felt like I was going to have to invest in a fake nose. I used to know someone who had a fake nose, it was attached to his glasses. You used to hear his sister shout “Put your nose on Will” as you rang the doorbell. Anyway the gymnastics were a way of trying to sell the idea of brothers to my niece, as the arrival of 2 in 15 months has put her out a bit. I’m not sure how successful my pep talk/carnage was.

I was slightly overly reliant on my brother Ben as a child. We are only 18 months apart and both lacked vital skills (that thankfully the other had) and so together we could function. I sadly lacked the ability to speak. Well I could speak but no one could understand me apart from Ben and so he was forced to act as my translator. Ben, meanwhile, had absolutely no concept of the days of the week or time. It must have confused my mum no end to overhear us having a chat. BEN: “What day is it?” ME: “fginfionda” BEN: “But how do you know??”. What did become clear later on in life, when I could explain myself (as long as it didn’t involve the words professor or blancmange) is that both Ben and I have (and I only know it’s name as I googled it) synesthesia. Basically we see things in colours and pictures. Ben more than I. I see days of the week, numbers up to ten, years and months in it and Ben sees pretty much everything like it. Well not everything, he doesn’t look at a house and see it as a cow symbolising a house, he generally just sees a house.

I see the days of the week as a strip, a bit like a negative strip from a camera, with the days of the week laid out as different colours and patterns. Tuesday is an old flannel we used to have, Wednesday is a foul egg yellow (and is also a sad day) and so on. Years are on a ladder with those yet to come higher up the rungs. Months are on a loop and again are differently patterned and so on.
I had no idea that everybody didn’t think like this until Ben and I had an argument at dinner one evening about the colour of Thursday and everyone else just looked at us. Having read this through it sounds like I should be riding the special bus. But it does make life easier. It’s always easy to get to a date as it’s all laid out on a colour coded graph in your head. Also it doesn’t seem to hold me back although sometimes there is a bit of a sensory overload.

Any way my nose doesn’t appear to be broken so I shall simply add it to the list of injuries that were almost fantastic but instead just hurt a lot and looked crap. The only truly decent injury I have had is when I cut my finger off in a door and had to pick the severed flesh out of the hinge. Well I didn’t, I was too busy pumping blood up the wall, someone else had the joy of finding the top of my finger. All in all I’m quite glad I don’t have to invest in a fake nose. I’m rubbish at wearing my glasses anyway and I don’t think I could get away with losing them if my nose was attached. I’m also not sure you could attach a fake nose to a pair of contact lenses without causing yourself difficulties.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synesthesia (explains it better than I ever could).