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Friday, 27 June 2008


Nothing exciting or interesting has happened to me this week. I know this never normally holds me back when writing this, but although I have passed the time in a very pleasant way (saw the world’s fattest man when I was swimming, had a very pleasant picnic next to the biggest pile of dog’s muck I have ever seen -we didn’t see it until the end of the picnic), there is nothing I have done that has been worthy of note. Which made me think: this would never happen if my life was a musical.

I love musicals. Deeply. Even the bad ones. I am one of the few people who can sit through “A Chorus Line” and not want to hang myself. I just think they’re great. I love the heightened reality and the idea that you can get so excited or so moved that you must sing, and then limit your thoughts and words of wisdom to ones that rhyme. Having to rhyme is a real problem in songs. I’m sure Frank Sinatra would never have sung “for heaven rest us, I’m not asbestos” unless he was really stuck for a rhyme, and god knows what Snap were thinking when they thought “I’m as serious as cancer, when I tell you that rhythm is a dancer” was a stroke of lyrical genius. But even still; imagine being able to express yourself in everyday life by having a little sing a long. And when you’re having your sing a long you find that market stall holders, bin men and flower sellers all know the words, tune and are able to harmonise with you. Somewhere in to the second verse you are all able to do a massively choreographed dance routine despite never having been introduced to one another.

Of course some of the musicals fall down when they decide to have no speaking what so ever and so end up having to sing everything, no matter how dull. “Oh I am going to go to the shops, and buy some heavy things which I might drop(s).” The most horrific example is by R Kelly. Yes! He wrote a musical. It is the most awful thing I have ever seen. I have only watched bits of it on you tube as I can’t bring myself to pay £10 for it on amazon. It’s called “Trapped in the Closet” and from what I can work out it’s about a woman who is married to a cop. Sadly the woman is also having an affair with a midget. The cop comes home and despite hiding the midget in the cupboard under the sink it all comes out in the open. The greatest thing about this is that no one else speaks or sings in the musical, R Kelly sings it all. He even puts on voices for the other characters. So whilst this woman is flapping around in her nightie, ‘R’, as I like to call him, is stood in the corner singing “ the man jumped over the table and landed on the midget, the midget starts kicking and yelling out Bridget, Bridget”. It’s very important in some musicals for people to have easily rhyming names. You never get a character called Orange.

But genuinely I think musicals are brilliant. I love going to the cinema to see something that makes no attempt to be realistic and has people being moved to song and dance routines. Although it is an acquired taste I deeply love Moulin Rogue (Ewan McGregor may be a strong persuading factor in this love). But I think it is an amazing piece of film making. As are: Chicago, Mary Poppins, Bugsy Malone and the Sound of Music (although I would prefer it if it stopped after the wedding and missed out the bit about the Nazi’s).

My ambition is to make my life a musical. It’ll take a bit of doing given that I can’t sing, play any musical instruments, score music or dance but I am willing to try. Living on my own may banjax the harmonies as well but I can pop my head next door and see if Mad Mary wants to join in. I think it will make life far more enjoyable and if I don’t like it I shall sit next to a rain splattered window and sing about my favourite things until I don’t feel so bad.

Big Brother

It’s that time again. Yes, Big Brother is back. I’ve not watched it all, but I’ve seen at least two episodes which I believe entitles me to form hard and fast views about a bunch of strangers.

Sponge Bob Square Head. Weird. Changed his name from Sean Astelbury to Mario Marconi as he thinks he looks like Sylvester Stallone. I know. It makes no sense. It’s like me saying I look a bit like Clare from Steps and changing my name to Ted. I don’t look like Clare from Steps, by the way. I look like something out the Beano. Much like Mario. Likes to think of himself as principled and all knowing. Actually just a very strange man.

Mario’s other half. Although for the first weekend had to pretend she’d never met him whilst Steph pretended to be his girlfriend. Seems to be confused on the differences between being up for eviction and the electric chair. “Mario we could be up for eviction, you must sleep with Steph and convince everyone she’s your girlfriend”. “We must do this, we could be up for eviction!”. All said in a breathless, nervy voice, like she’s in the resistance trying to escape the Nazis.

Thick and moody. Now I can see her point about not wanting to share a bed with Mario or pretend he’s your boyfriend but nearly vomiting everytime he goes near you isn’t going to make anyone think you’re going out. She got in to the final 25 on Popstars the Rivals. She was thrown out as she was only 13. This was discovered by Cheryl Cole and Steph has come on Big Brother to get revenge. Bet Cheryl’s terrified. Also means we have to endure Steph singing all the time. You know the type. They sing happy birthday and Steph’s still going 20 minutes after everyone else has finished as she’s attempting harmonies and putting Mariah Carey style flourishes on every word.

Odd. Quite funny in an absolute gimp kind of way. Seems harmless enough.

There are no words. Oh hang on, yes there are. Vile cow. I loathe her. Shouts over people, refuses to listen to what people say, bullies people because she can and then says that she’s not arguing. A good reason not to do anything about knife crime in the hope that she becomes a victim.

Thinks he’s good looking so hasn’t bothered to cultivate a personality.

Interesting. Was bought up in America so hasn’t tried to copy any previous housemates. Is an Albino black man and is dealing with failing sight. Got slightly more going on than other housemates (mentioning no names Dale) so is interesting to watch.

This years camp Scottish person.

A right wing glamour model. Told Dale that she has a wisdom and life experience that only comes with age and Dale has nothing like that. This is fine until you realise, and indeed Dale pointed out, that Jennifer is only seven months older than Dale. She seemed to take this as him agreeing with her. Therefore I can only assume that she still has the mind set of a 6 year old and counts her age in halves and quarters.

This year’s thick housemate. But with a twist – I don’t hate her. She is genuinely very sweet and is not pretending she doesn’t know what a car is or anything. Just a very sweet, slightly thick, girl.

Michael is a blind, cross dressing comedian who also works as a radio producer. Given that he is not even slightly amusing you have to hope that he is slightly more skilled as a radio producer. Some housemates have decided to interpret him being blind as him also having had a lobotomy and being incapable of doing any wrong. Mikey has decided to go along with this and I applaud his game playing. I’m sure at some point he’ll decide to reveal that he lives alone and has a complicated job and is therefore capable of getting himself a glass of water but if people are willing to do it for you why not let them?

I like him. Facially he reminds me of the Pilsbury Dough Boy but slightly less creepy. Seems quite normal and laid back. Works as a toy demonstrator which surely isn’t a job.

Shreiky. Leaps around all day. Speaks all day. To be fair doesn’t have an ounce of malice in her but if I was in there I’d drown her and make it look like an accident.

Actually I’d pin Rachel’s murder on Rebecca. She is fantastically annoying. She wobbled in wearing what looked like an old nighty with a belt strapped round it and then proceeded to scream solidly for 10 minutes. Was the first one to strip off and throw herself in the pool. In short she’s awful. In real life she works as a nursery nurse. Yep. People pay her to look after their children.

An “executive chef”. Nope, me neither.

A chameleon. Can on occasion seem very pleasant and then talks to Alexandra and becomes an uber bitch. Very pretty but as we all know this is not enough in Big Brother.

All in all they seem less annoying that last years lot. There will be the usual rows. A lot of people who like to slag people off all the time and then when someone asks them to shut up they will say that they are being “disrespected”. At some point someone (I’m guessing Rebecca or “The Bex” as she calls herself) will play the thick card and start pretending they can’t read or make tea in the hope this makes them adorable and cute rather than worrying. I reckon Rex will walk in the next couple of weeks, Steph will be first out, Mario and Lisa will be repulsive and I’m going to go out on a limb and say Mohammed will win.


I have found a way to buy birthday presents for impossible people. Think of what you would like to get them if money were no object, google it and then realise that money is an object and then think laterally and get them something nothing like the original thing you thought of. It’s like that game you had to play at junior school where no matter what you said the answer was “Grey elephants in Denmark”. The upshot of this is that this is how we bought my dad’s birthday present. He turned 60 last week and he is not an easy man to buy for. But we struck gold. Gold in the form of …. Personalised Monopoly! And some glasses for 100 people in the third world (he’s an optician – there is a link). But the Monopoly is great. We’ve changed all the street names – goes through where his mum and dad were born, where they met, where he was born, went to school, met my mum, worked and ends up with where they’d like to retire. It is in short; genius. Although he did open it and point out two mistakes we made.

The best present I ever got was a cabbage patch doll. Being terrified of most dolls and having parents who shunned most commercial goods (you want a Mr Frosty? But why? Here’s some ice and a hammer) I was delighted to have a toy that wouldn’t make me soil myself and was recognised by other children (unlike my other doll Flang Wang Ci Agnes, who was a “rice paddy doll” from Hong Kong. Had her own passport but took some explaining). My Cabbage Patch Doll was called Suzette Dahlia and accompanied me everywhere. Even to church where some woman in a very unchristian manner felt the need to shout out “ooh innit ugly”. I can only hope she was talking about the doll.

Advertising was better when we were young. Mainly because the adverts didn’t have to be truthful. Mr Frosty could produce delicious icy drinks rather than requiring the strength of Geoff Capes to produce a small melted piece of ice. You could cook the delicious meal of swiss roll and baked beans on an a la carte Kitchen although when you used it in real life all you could really do was open and shut the oven door. Now what is there? I am going to go out on a limb and say that the only three memorable adverts in recent years are Cillit Bang (I bought some, it doesn’t work, but that’s the power of advertising), Shelia’s wheels and that Frosties advert with the intensely annoying child.

I am easily influenced by adverts. Not that they make me go out and buy stuff (with the notable exception of Cillit Bang) but they do make me change the way I speak. I will quite happily tell people that I am “not happy Jan” and if someone asks me how I am feeling I will reply by gunning both hands and saying “I’m excited”. Now both of these adverts are at least 5 years out of date and were shown on the other side of the world and in one case the person who pioneered the saying is dead (R.I.P Big Kev) but that doesn’t stop me. A while back in our office a girl was ringing round Monsoon stores looking for a dressing gown. We persuaded her that it would be a good idea to start each enquiry with “it’s just possible you could save my life”. This amused us enough but it was the spontaneous outburst of “You do” that really made us laugh. And that JR Hartley advert must be a good 20 years old.

Why is it that we still can remember to “drinkapintamilkaday”? “Shake and Vac to put the freshness back” and that “Happiness is a cigar called Hamlet”? But can then watch an advert for a car and barely be able to realise it’s for a car let alone what brand it’s for? We need to start singing again in adverts. It’s the only way forward. Singing and lying – that’s how you flog stuff to kids.

Friday, 9 May 2008


And then on to a weekend of glorious sunshine. Which was… disappointing. I hate summer. Yes, yes, yes. I’ve heard all the arguments but I’m sorry summer is foul. No two words strike more fear in to my heart than “Indian Summer”. Just extends the fear. I begin to dread summer around March, I know the good times of winter are about to end and we’ll be plunged in to misery. I just don’t get it. It’s filthy hot and all people do is talk about how hot it is. You smother yourself in cream that doesn’t rub in properly just so you can go outside and not burn to death. And even then you miss a bit and so have one very weird shaped patch of bright red skin, which then peels. Or you forget your factor 60 when you put the bin out and come back with a bright red face which you then put make up on making you look like some sort of trial cosmetic surgery patient or the result of a child attempting to find “flesh” colour in a box of crayons “well there’s nothing here that looks like flesh, I’ll use neon pink instead”.

Also you’re expected to be outside all the flipping time. Running around rejoicing in ants and gnats. You know what I thought would be fun? If we took all our dinner outside and ate off a rug. To make things more “fun” I thought we’d eat off some plastic plates, seeing as you have to eat off your knees it’s nice to have a plate with a bit of flex to it. And for extra special fun we’re going to do away with using the oven and char our food over an open fire. You know, like the cavemen did.

After all this “fun” you can return to your own oven, more commonly know as your house and sweat to death in your bed for 8 hours until it’s time to get up and take your first shower of the day. You will take the second one moments after stepping out of the shower and realise you are instantly covered in sweat again.

To enhance the joy there is a soundtrack. Every radio station in the land will play Summer in the City, In the Summertime, California Dreaming and of course Summertime by Will Smith. Which has the unique skill of making you nostalgic for summers you never actually had. I have never hung out on a basketball court watching little girls playing double dutch. Oh and a grown man who calls himself “Jazzy Jeff” should be shot in the face. Sounds like a paedophilic uncle.

People also lose the ability to dress themselves. I have no desire to see your mid-drift, your cellulite, your camel hoof or your weird peeling skin. Summer also seems to reveal that there are many people in this world suffering from the terrible condition of “four boob syndrome”. This is easily solvable – go up a size. Oh and while you’re there, hoik them up a bit.

But the worse thing is people unable to accept that you just don’t like summer. You ask to sit in the shade and you get told that you should be enjoying the glorious sunshine. You say you don’t like it. Oh but it’s wonderful. Oh but it’s not. Oh but it makes you feel so happy. No it makes me plunge in to a mood until I can put tights on for winter. Well I like it. Well good for you, I hate it now shut up. I don’t expect people to dance around all winter, revelling in the joy that is cold, I accept your short comings now accept that anything above 7 degrees sends me in to a mood. I spend most of summer praying for rain. Now let me get on with it.

Still hopefully over soon eh?

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Sex and the City

Now bear in mind that these particular words of wisdom would have made slightly more sense ooooh about 4 years ago. But they didn’t occur to me then. So if you could imagine it’s 2004 then that may well aid your enjoyment. It was all triggered by a pretty crap weekend. Thought I’d cheer myself up by watching a bit of Sex and the City on Sunday evening, instead it set me thinking. Indeed, in the words of the horse faced Carrie Bradshaw: I couldn’t help but wonder….

If New York is the city that never sleeps, and these are all meant to be such fabulous women who loved themselves each other and their lives; why the hell did they all have such a crap ending? Carrie gave up a career which enabled her to live in Manhattan and wear Manolo Blanhiks in return for 20 minutes of work a week, to move to France with a craggy faced dwarf and be ignored. Luckily, Schnozzy bear who’d treated her like crap for the last 6 years went over and got her and then she returned to her apartment that the dwarf was paying for and wait for Schnozzy to move from Nappa. Girl Power! Meanwhile Charlotte, who gave up work after she made a million out of her first 4 month marriage (aka the ho route) changed herself and her religion to enjoy her second marriage, she then spent her days redecorating and cooking nice meals. Samantha finally admitted that she was better off in a couple and Miranda got to soap down her naked mother in law in a bath. Bet she was thrilled her law degree was finally put to good use.

It seemed a rather bizarre end to a show based on the concept of four single women living in New York who enjoyed their lives. It’s almost as though they wished they could have ended on a giant sign that just read “GROW UP” and in order to grow up you have to get married and have children. Until then you are just being silly. Now I know this wasn’t the most realistic of shows and I’m not really that upset about it but it seemed very strange that not one of them ended up on their own and was fine about it. Is that not considered an ending? Is marriage an ending? Now they’re paired off their story is over? If so I find that equally as sad, surely it would be far nicer to see it as a beginning. I know, I know, they’re not real.

Many tv shows do that. I was ridiculously pleased when Joey and Phoebe didn’t get together at the end of Friends. I was delighted when This Life ended with Millie smacking Rachel and we never knew what happened until This Life + 10. I was equally annoyed when Will and Grace ended with them all grinning at each other in an overwhelming burst of smugness and cheesiness which went completely against the rest of the show.

I couldn’t help but wonder… should I get a life of my own?

Still I suppose SATC (as no one calls it) had to end some how. Samantha was getting on a bit and had exhausted all the men in New York, literally. Miranda had an astonishingly ugly child so had her own problems. And I suppose pairing off is slightly more up beat ending than watching Samantha die of syphilis. That said I am really looking forward to the film.

Standard of Living

It would appear that I have a slightly different standard of living to everyone else. Not in status or level of living (I live like a troll and survive mainly on cornflakes) but in what I feel is acceptable. This came to light when I was at a friend’s house and I went upstairs to use their bathroom. Whilst I was there I thought I’d have a nose through their bathroom cabinet, sadly the door came off in my hand and I made rather a lot of noise. When I went downstairs I was asked what I’d been doing. Unable to think of an excuse quick enough I said “I was looking in your cupboard and the door came off”. From the looks on everyone’s faces you’d think I’d said “I was being sick in your bed”. Now if someone was going through my pant drawer, or I came upstairs to find them dressed in my clothes using my toothbrush, then I’d be a bit miffed, but looking in my bathroom cabinet wouldn’t bother me at all. It made me think of all the other views I hold that no one else agrees with.

Scarlett Johansson is not attractive.
In fact she is quite unattractive. I went to see ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’ the other day. It was very good. Only enhanced by the woman behind us saying at the end “So is this based on a true story?”. Natalie Portman was very good in it and was stunning. Absolutely stunning. Scarlett Johansson looked like Pob. If Pob was ever so slightly deformed and had a flesh beak for a mouth. And she can’t shut her mouth. It’s constantly hanging open. She just mings to be quite frank.

Fawlty Towers is not amusing
I understand that is very well written and beautifully performed and has stood the test of time etc etc. It should be admired on it’s own terms and respected as it set a new bar for comedy etc etc. But after watching an episode, usually on a plane where I have no choice, I am usually reduced to shouting “oh come on. Just explain”. It’s incredibly frustrating and irritating and there are better things out there. Some Mothers Do Ave Em affects me in a similar way. I do not find Frank Spencer amusing. I want to beat him. About the face.

Ice Cream is Disgusting.
It is dirty, dirty filth and should be banned. Whereas calipos and frozen water lollies are great, ice cream is grim. In fact the majority of puddings are horrible and the whole course could be done away with and replaced by a nice cup of tea. Now I know that I don’t look like I turn down a lot of puddings, but I find that I am able to maintain my fatty boom boom status through savoury alone and the odd bit of chocolate. Especially the odd packet of chocolate buttons. Indeed ever since I threw a tantrum in the office over my need for chocolate buttons, I have been overwhelmed by them. But it doesn’t happen often. And I have never longed for ice cream. When I was younger I was at a friends house and his mum offered me an ice cream float. Having never heard of one I accepted and then saw her heavily soil a perfectly good drink by putting ice cream in it. The resulting mess she gave me repulsed me and made me realise that not only is ice cream disgusting it is also evil as it ruins good things.

The Original is not always best.
Now I know that the majority of things should be left alone, classic films, classic songs, Melanie Griffiths face. But the original is not always the best and there is nothing more annoying than mentioning a song and someone butting in and saying “well of course it’s not a patch on the original, oh my god have you never heard it? What a philistine you are, you obviously don’t know music and should have your ears cut off”. And I am not saying that I prefer Ray Quinn’s version of “My Way” over Sinatra’s or CandyFlips version of “Strawberry Fields” over the Beatles. I am saying that I like “The Tide is High” by Blondie rather than the Paragons. Just because it wasn’t the original doesn’t mean that it can’t be improved. Then someone goes and releases a remake of “The Italian Job” and you realise your theory has a massive flaw in it. Perhaps my whole belief system is flawed.

French Exchange

I am thinking of a holiday in France. Well more than thinking, planning a holiday in France. God, I am so proactive. Well actually I am not. I have given my input and someone else is planning it. I originally put a plan together but given that my Geography skills are non-existent (I gave it up at 13, didn’t really want a life of wearing wellies and going on strange field trips. We went on one once where a man ate mud. I don’t need that in my life), my plan would have involved a good three days worth of driving and shares in Esso. So I was removed (therefore my actual plan, worked perfectly).

So I am off to France. I have been there before. I went on a school French exchange when I was 15. I think I can safely say that it was one of the more horrific experiences of my life. My exchange partner was a fat voluntary mute who stayed with us for two weeks without changing her clothes once. As you can imagine I was longing to get to France and stay with her and her family. I arrived and was told to sleep in a room full of dolls. Admittedly they weren’t to know of my terrible fear and my French didn’t stretch to “excuse me I am scared the dolls will come to life in the night and kill me” so I waited till everyone was asleep and slept on the sofa every night. Mute remained a mute. To be fair I didn’t help her much. I was always reasonable at French but actually being in France demonstrated to me that I had been cruelly failed by the education system. I was completely unable to talk to anyone. If Mute had been willing to have an animated conversation about sandwich fillings or directions we would have got on like a house on fire. I could have even sung her a song about things I could see (voici le port, voici le camping, voici le chateau, et le sandicat d’incinative). But sadly she wasn’t interested. So instead we sat in silence. Her mother seemed to watch insane porn on the tv, it could have been a French soap opera as it was on telly at reasonable hours of the day and her father amused himself by walking in on me having a shower. Occasionally we were summoned to the table to eat some under cooked horse and then we resumed our silence.

Thankfully I was away with the school so was able to escape now and again. This also enabled me to hear stories of other people’s exchange families which made me think I was quite well off. One girl was kicked out by her family when she refused to let her exchange partner sleep with her boyfriend in her bed. Another was taken to an all night rave where she was abandoned. Another girl’s exchange partner went on holiday for the last week so she came to stay with us. She was made to share a bed with me. Which was nice given that we hadn’t ever spoken to each other at school. Also meant I couldn’t escape the dolls. On our trips out we pooled together knowledge for survival. My friend was given no food. I was sent off everyday with 2 french sticks filled with sweaty ham, a family sized bag of crisps, a WHOLE BAG of fun sized Mars bars and 4 litres of water. All I needed was a pack horse to carry it around on. I practically fed everyone on the coach. We must have been the only people in town longing for traffic jams so we didn’t have to go home.

Part way in to this delightful trip the mute broke her silence to tell me “we are going to my grandmothers today”. How lovely I thought. I collected my book and my purse and was good to go. I was wearing a light summers dress; it was a lovely day, no need for a jumper. Mute and Mother gave me some odd looks but I ignored them as I settled myself in to their Citroen ready to enjoy some delightful French pop music (sadly not by the group Téléphone, made popular by the Tricoloure books – Fifi LeFolle was a massive fan). 6 hours of driving later I realised the meaning of those looks. We stayed with her grandmother for four days. Not only did I spend my days in that dress, I also had to sleep in that dress as I had to share a bed with the mute. It was also about 90 degrees for most of the time I was there. No one commented. The grandmothers flat was decorated with posters of the tour de france, so I was able to use my vocabulary of transport words. In many ways these were the halcyon days of the exchange.

This trip to France will not be like that. I shall take a variety of outfits, I shall speak about topics other than the Tour de France and I shall put a lock on the bathroom door. Bon Vacance.


I don’t behave badly when I am drunk. It usually follows three stages and then it’s all over. Stage one: drink a lot less than everyone else but get a lot drunker due to being a lightweight. Stage two: Invite everyone back to mine for a party. Stage three: realise I don’t actually want to hold a party and so run away and go home to bed. Stage three usually occurs around 8pm. However it is not so much the nights out that are doing me in but the hangovers, which aren’t getting worse as I get older but are getting more bizarre.

Back in January I decided to meet with some friends for a couple of lovely drinks after work on a Friday. The night ended with me waking up at 5am wearing my bra, pants and a cardigan (not one I had gone out in) on my bathroom floor (due to drunkenness, Beth hadn’t interfered with me or anything). I had bruised my cheekbone from falling asleep with my head down the toilet and was not feeling very well at all. So I thought the best thing to do would be to go to a small child’s birthday party. A small child’s birthday party which involved me making two large salads and picking my Nan up on route. The ingredients of the salad were residing in Sainsbury’s and her birthday present was as yet unbought. After retching my way round the supermarket I admitted defeat and called my Dad and was chauffeured to the party. Where I slumped in the corner. Briefly rousing myself to drink 18 pints of water.

Last Saturday I went out for St Patrick’s Day. Knowing my limitations I didn’t start until 4 and paced myself very well throughout the evening. I got the last train home and was tucked up in bed by 2. What a good girl I am. Until I woke up the next morning (at 8:30- brilliant) with a strong desire for a hash brown. Now I am used to weird hangover cravings. I normally find that a pint of diet coke and a bag of chipsticks sorts me out right nice but the heart wants what it wants and in this case it wanted a hash brown. And so I found myself sitting with some very strange people in McDonalds at 9am on Sunday morning. Do people really breakfast in McDonalds? There were whole families sitting there eating their breakfast out of paper bags. A friend of mine went to McDonalds for the first time when she was 96, she felt she should. She rang me when she got back to confide “well it was quite tasty, I had a fillet o fish. But they gave it to me in an egg box!”. As has previously been established I am a bit of a snob but if someone was going to make me get up to breakfast with them I would like it if I actually got cutlery.

But one hash brown later I felt much better and decided to round off my Sunday chav party with a trip to Primark. I had heard a rumour that they had Cath Kidson esq bedwear. That is debatable. Perhaps the person who designed it had once heard of Cath Kidson or sat next to her on a bus but it was more in the style of “horrid”. But as I was wandering round something caught my eye. Now I am used to insane hungover shopping, coming home from the supermarket with your week’s shopping to find that you have to create meals out of 50 pre-cooked cocktail sausages and a tub of chocolate nesquik but never before has this infliction strayed in to the world of clothes. As a result I am now the proud owner of a navy velour “leisure suit”. Words can not express how foul this is. It comes complete with a little anchor on the zip and an enormous elastic waist band. Luckily it was only £8. I spent the afternoon amusing myself by wearing it around the house. Now I know I live on my own so am very good at amusing myself but surely 3 hours laughing at myself in a tracksuit borders on needing to be hospitalised? In my defence I had decided to wear it J-Lo style so had done it up round my boobs. As I was pottering around there was a knock on the door and I was forced to fling myself to the ground. I simply could not have been seen in this thing. Put it this way, if there was a fire I would stop to change. But it’s now 4-30 on a Tuesday and I am looking forward to going home to my velour suit. Perhaps the people in Maccas were in on something. Buy your breakfasts in McDonalds and your clothes in Primark. Not only will they stretch to fit but you won’t want to be seen in public anyway, leaving you free to eat as much as you like.


The looming future of being a bridesmaid has pushed me in to a punishing exercise routine. So far I have leapt around to Jennifer Ellison’s West End Workout (surprisingly enjoyable), Davina McCall’s Power of 3 (very hard work but ultimately satisfying) and Pilates for Dummies (insanely hard, sweated like a racehorse and walked like I had soiled myself for about a week). I have also restarted swimming every morning before work. At a swimming pool filled with people with absolutely no body issues at all.

Yesterday I was forced to shower with a completely naked woman in a VERY small shower cubicle. She was scrubbing away, baps to the wind, whilst I was rammed in to a corner trying not to look anywhere. Then as I was getting changed I nipped across to a dry cubicle to put my socks on and a woman took that as a cue to pull back her curtain and have a lovely chat to me whilst she was completely naked. Why? Why? Why? The curtain is there for a reason. Use it. None of this however is as bad as the guy at my brother’s gym who regularly puts his foot up on the bench and blow dries his bits with the communal hairdryer. My brother is considering changing gyms.

Perhaps it’s me. I could well be too uptight. Looking for both bridesmaid dresses and Soap Award dresses has meant that I have spent a lot of time seeing myself in unflattering changing room mirrors. I seem to have modelled my look on the Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters. Hey! There’s a thought, maybe I don’t need a dress for the Awards. I could just find a sailor’s cap, go nudey rudey and pretend I am a guest presenter! But it wasn’t till I’ve spent this time with a mirror that I’ve realised just how many scars I have, and how many I have utterly no idea how I got them.

Some I obviously have total recall of. I can remember my finger being cut off in a door (surprisingly). Seeing your own blood hit the ceiling and then fishing your finger top out of a hinge is something that stays with you. I also have the reminder through having no feeling in that finger. Which is actually incredibly useful for helping you know your left from your right. 5 fingers= right hand. 4 finger= left hand. I can remember getting the scar on my knee (falling over on to broken glass), the scar on my arm (dropping the grill pan on to my arm when I was waitressing – the skin actually sizzled then shrivelled up, like when you chuck a crisp packet on a fire), the scar on my hip (It was claimed – by my brothers – that they were able to jump me on their bikes. All I had to do was lie there whilst they rode off the ramp they had set up and they would land safely on the other side. Sadly we became a bit over confident and I moved further and further back. The co-ordinated one on the lighter bike was successful, the less co-ordinated one on the heavier bike imbedded his pedal in to my side. I believe parental sympathy went along the lines of “well why on earth did you let them do it?”).

But I have absolutely no idea at all how I got the scar on my face. It’s not huge, about an inch long, right by my mouth and it’s not in photos of me when I am younger, so at some point I was hit in the face. Now I know it not huge so it’s not like I was mauled by a dog or was knifed or anything but you’d think I’d remember being smacked in the face by an anvil or something. My parents don’t remember either but given that our childhood incidents involve: one of us falling off a cliff (they held on and were pulled back up), 2 of us cutting our fingers off (different doors), one of us nailing a flip flop to their foot and a fish-hook going through a finger, I guess the lesser incidents are forgotten. My mum only really looks pale when she recalls looking up one day whilst she was on the phone and seeing me coming towards her. I was being carefully lowered from 4 floors above. I was wearing a pair of reins and was tied to a skipping rope.

Actually looking back it’s no wonder I have so many battle scars. But they have done me good. If nothing else I keep my clothes on in public changing rooms.

Friday, 7 March 2008


Do you ever get the feeling that everyone else was given a handbook to life and you were missed out? Or that you ever stepped out of the room at the exact moment all the important information was given out and it completely passed you by. I used to get it a lot at school. Our chemistry lessons were conducted by a woman with a very strong Chinese accent (she was Chinese – it wasn’t too surprising), she used to read from the text book in a flat, droning monotone pausing occasionally to look up and say “Do you understand?”. Pause. “Laura, do you understand?”. I didn’t but I didn’t like to submit anyone to anymore droning about catalysts (hey, I did learn something!) so I generally said I did and the lesson moved on. I was moved nearly to tears by maths lessons sometimes. When we did graphs our teacher used to say “So if x is 3 and y is minus 1 what does the graph look like” and everyone would draw huge bendy lines all over the place and I would have a neatly placed cross where the axi met. In the end I was advised to just miss that bit out in the exams as I was clearly never going to get it. I never have and I’ve never used it. So I think we can ultimately conclude that I am the winner.

But it’s not just school, I could live with that, it’s day to day things. I was astonished one day in to university that everyone seemed to know exactly what they had to do and their way everywhere. I followed them. I prefer to think of it as a sweet innocence rather than shades of autism (which a previous boss once suggested – I could name the day a date fell on rather too quickly and he asked if I’d ever been tested). This innocence led me to not realising that “Papa Don’t Preach” was about teenage pregnancy until Kelly Osbourne released it in 2002 (I was 22). I simply thought it was a tragic tale of someone’s dad not liking their boyfriend. “Hey Papa, don’t preach, I’ve made up my mind, I’m keeping my baby”. Easily misconstrued.

Occasionally this innocence and belief in the goodness of people (or having issues) has got me in to trouble and led to public, you could say national, embarrassment. Many years ago I was talked in to doing a fashion shoot for More magazine (I worked at Just 17 on the same floor and they were a person short, I was also a lot thinner and more willing to be photographed). The concept was “What I wear on a night out”. We wore what we would wear on a night out and then fashion experts would tell us what they thought. I took along a pair of black trousers and a black top. They asked if I would mind wearing one of their tops as too many people were in black. I agreed and was put in a lurex pink vest top with a feather boa. My hair was scragged in to a croydon facelift ponytail and my face was covered in pink eyeshadow and glitter. When it appeared in the magazine (and I had told people when it was coming out) it was accompanied by “me” (them) saying “oooh yeah, in this top I really tickle boys fancies and shake my tail feather”. I also looked insane. To add insult to injury I was given 1/10 by the fashion experts and told “Laura needs to tone it down a bit”. I was even beaten in the fashion stakes by a girl in a tracksuit. It was on the shelves for a fortnight. I seriously considered fire-bombing the news agents. All because I was nice!

If I ever do have kids (don’t worry I understand how that happens, I’m not that innocent) I shall equip them with plenty of knowledge for facing the world. Don’t worry about graphs, no one uses them. Chemistry is pointless. Never, ever get talked in to wearing feathers and pink eye shadow and remember that ultimately no one knows what they’re doing in life, some just hide it better than others.


“Dreams can come true, look at me Babe, I’m with you”. Thus spake Gabrielle, who was lucky enough to have her dreams come true. We can only assume that “Babe”’s dream was to wake up next to a grown woman voluntarily dressed as a pirate.

Now I know there is nothing more boring than hearing about people’s dreams. Slowly slipping in to a coma as they talk about how they rode a pantomime horse round Sainsbury’s and then bumped in to their primary school teacher. But occasionally you do wonder what the hell is going on. I personally experience the joy of recurring dreams. I have never bothered to find out what they mean as I don’t really want to know. The one I get the most (every couple of months- every one a treat) involves me jilting people. The people and the locations change but the end result is the same, I am sitting in the car going to the church when I realise I really don’t want to get married, sometimes I go in to the church and call it off, other times I simply do a runner. Either way it makes me feel evil and has given me the fear about getting married (admittedly not a pressing concern). The weirdest one was when I was about to get married to a girl who I once did a handover with (odd enough, I’d only met her once and although she was a nice girl she was not nice enough for me to change my sexual orientation) but I wasn’t just marrying her, I was also marrying her fiancé. It wasn’t until I was trotting down the aisle – in quite a nice dress, normally they’re foul- that I realised I didn’t want to enter in to some bizarre three way marriage. So I jilted them both. They were actually alright about it and went ahead with it without me. We all danced together at the reception and it all ended quite happily for a change. I’ve jilted some pretty famous people in my time; Chris Martin, Lou from Neighbours and Rolf Harris. I was quite surprised I turned Rolf down actually.

It’s always a bit disconcerting when people you know pop up in your dreams. I once enjoyed a night with Tom Jones. A friend of mine has had some of the least appealing sex dreams ever – she got busy with Dr Raj Persaud from This Morning in an aeroplane toilet and also had a night of bliss with Kinga from Big Brother. Where do these things come from? Jon Bon Jovi once saved me from a heroin overdose by cutting my arm open and removing the heroin (worth noting that heroin looks a lot like smarties). I went to see a Little Britain Concert with Chris Moyles unfortunately our seats weren't facing the stage so I read Heat instead. I got in a MASSIVE mood as Chris wasn't being affectionate enough and then I remembered he had a girlfriend called Sophie.

But they’re not all as exciting as going to the theatre with a DJ. When I was temping as a receptionist I had dreams about extension numbers. Oooh 6245, that’s so and so. 5436 that’s someone else. I woke myself up in the end as it was so monumentally boring. I also like those dreams when you’re in a really tense situation, what are you going to do? You could die! Oh hang on, it doesn’t matter, it’s only a dream. Silly me. And then you dream about something else.

However I have never been one of those people that interprets their dreams. Surely half the joy is that they are odd and keep you amused whilst you sleep. Learning that it actually means that you have issues with your paternal grandfather just ruins the fun. I don’t want to know that I have deep psychological issues because I dreamt that me and Bungle went on a road trip. Although I was upset that it was Bungle, surely that’s wrong. It should be George or at least Zippy. Then again they don’t have any legs. Being on a road trip with leg-less puppets could blow my mind. Still as long as it’s not Rod, Jane and Freddie I can rest easy.

adult babygrows

Now admittedly I should have used slightly more commonsense and refined my google search slightly. I also should have been aware that the world is full of people who are not as pure of mind as I. I should also be careful how I phrase things – but I was amazed at the amount of filth and perverse material appeared on my screen when I googled “Adult baby grows”.

Perhaps I should explain. I spend as much time as possible in my pyjamas. One would almost call them day wear as I don’t tend to wear certain pyjamas to bed –saving them for lounging around the house and greeting dignitaries. For sometime now I thought that some kind of romper suit would be incredibly comfortable. I should stress I live on my own. I was briefly diverted by a longing for a top of the range adults lion costume (an all in one professional job, I wasn’t planning on leaping around the house in some tan tights and leotard combo that my mum knocked up for a school play). I wasn’t planning on sitting there with the head on or a face full of drawn on whiskers but again it looked very comfortable. Sadly a brief bit of investigation after a friend said he would get me one for my birthday revealed that these too are very expensive. I have also toyed with the idea of making myself a kind of duvet suit. With a jumper and trousers fashioned out of a duvet but I thought I might get a bit hot. I could also look a bit like the marshmallow man out of ghostbusters and he’s never really been something I wish to aspire to. Besides I don’t have a sailor’s hat.

So yeah, I googled “adult baby grows”, and my god the filth. Even reading the description of some of the sites gave me the pre-vom spits and I wasn’t stupid enough to click on any of them. A few years ago I worked on a magazine that one month came with a sealed section. Now I should have been warned; sealed is usually code for filth. There was an article on bondage, one about someone who loved going to prossies, a couple more that escape my memory and then one about adult babies and one about plushing. Both still give me nightmares. I can not look at a cuddle toy with “loving eyes” without a cold shiver going the length of my spine. But the adult baby one was weird. This wasn’t for people that were looking for comfy house wear, this was for people who wanted to be bottle fed, burped, sleep in a giant cot and do things to their “mothers” that would make you call social services.

Which again I would like to stress – I do not want to do. I would merely like to upgrade my pyjamas to a classical all in one. We don’t enjoy pyjamas anymore. People used to dress for the occasion. I’ve seen the films. Men would wear silk pyjamas with a hanky in the top pocket, women would wear diaphanous night gowns and waft around before retiring. Further back and there were floor length night gowns, candle holders and hats. Hats! I would love to wear a night hat. We just don’t have style anymore. Where once there were hand-stitched leather slippers we now have slipper socks (which never come in normal shades, grown women have to walk around with novelty Winnie the Pooh socks on in an attempt to keep warm – and before you start I know slagging off Disney clothing is a bit rich coming from the girl who wants to spend her weekends dressed as a lion).

I shall learn to live with it. Perhaps I could wean myself on to daywear. Perhaps start with tracksuit bottoms and work my way up. I might even like it. I would imagine changing my expectations is easier than reversing time.


Thank you for calling Powergen. Your call is important to us, one of our service operators will be with you soon. Now please enjoy the Phantom of the Opera played on a stylophone by a five year old.

Thank you for holding. Your call is important to us. One of our service operators will be with you soon. We shall now make a few ominous clicks on the line to raise your hopes and make you think you’re being connected before returning to the Phantom of the Opera. Do you like the way we play it so loudly that your ears bleed? Bet you’re too scared to put the phone down and hear the music play from a distance (at a level that would be acceptable for a stadium tour) in case we answer the phone and you don’t answer quick enough. So let’s change songs. Here is “Land Down Under” interpreted on a lute.

Thank you for holding. You have been holding for a good twenty minutes now. You must really want to talk to us. Is it because we’ve sent you a bill for £9000 for three months electricity and are now sending you final demands? Well we’d love to talk to you too to discuss a payment plan. Did we tell you that these calls aren’t free from a mobile? You really have been patient. I’d better cut you off.

Oh you’ve called back. Thank you for calling Powergen. Your call is important to us. Press 1 if you are moving home. Press 2 if you wish to make a payment. Press 3 if you wish to scream abuse at some poor sod who works in a call centre and can’t be rude back as their calls are being monitored.


You have chosen option 3. Please help us manage your call by choosing from the 2 following options. Press 1 if you wish to question the parentage of our call centre operative. Press 2 if you would like to abuse them in a more general way whilst biting back tears of frustration.


You have chosen option 2. To help you successfully achieve your goal we will fuel your rage by cutting you off. Thank you for calling Powergen. Click. Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Oh you’ve called back again, clearly you are very angry. To help this we will put you through to someone immediately making you wonder why you’ve spent the last hour on hold. By now you should be incomprehensible with rage and so be completely incapable of communicating your reasonable and sensible argument. Ready, here goes….

“Hello Powergen, Kevin speaking, can I take your account number?”

“No, no you can’t, first of all I want to know why I’ve spent the last hour on hold, been cut of twice and been deafened by listening to Opera favourites played on a kazoo. And…

“I’m sorry it seems that you’ve come through to the wrong department. Bear with me, I’m just going to pop you on hold”.


This week has seen a huge and life altering change occur. Not my birthday, although I am now wondering at what age official spinsterhood commences as I am plummeting towards a future where I live alone with cats and save all my bodily waste in jars, only stirring to frighten small children and swear at social services. But no, there are many other days on which I can ponder on this halcyon future, for now I am preoccupied with a much more pressing issue: Neighbours has moved to Channel Five.

I have always been a Neighbours fan. Like most I started watching it in 1986, unlike most, I carried on watching it. This was due in part to a sizeable crush on Dr Karl Kennedy. How wonderful he is, with his jet black hair untouched by age, his slightly randy nature and his light hearted jokey side – who else but Karl would sing in a band called “The Right Prescription”? He is also some kind of medical wonder – Pregnant? Karl can deliver your babies. Need Heart Surgery? Karl’s your man. Councelling? Why not talk to Karl?

But it is not just this crush that has kept me watching. Even a crush on Peter Sallis couldn’t keep me watching “Last of the Summer Wine”. I have stuck with Neighbours through the good times – Scott and Charlene’s wedding, Plain Jane Superbrain, Daphne giving birth through her tights – and the bad times: The Lims, Helen’s potential move to the Bungle Bungles, Julie’s death. I, alone, cared whether Paul and Gayle would be able to convince Mr Udugawa that they were really married.

Sadly I must confess that I have been to both a “Neighbours night” and to Ramsey Street. The Neighbours night was very exciting. I got to meet Darcy, Toadie and the legend himself Karl “The God” Kennedy. I got a hug. I meant to put the photo in a frame, along with his autograph, but sadly they got lost. I suspect sabotage on the side of Mrs Susan Kennedy. It wasn’t long since she’d slipped on some milk and lost 30 years worth of memory, so I am willing to forgive.

The trip to Ramsey Street was also very exciting. I wandered around the hallowed turf and then bumped in to the crappest family ever to grace Erinsborough – The Hancocks. Woop de doo. Still I got my photo taken with them. I wouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth. Perhaps Karl could do that in his capacity of super doctor using his enumerable skills to moonlight as a horse dentist.

But yeah it’s moved. I’ll learn to adjust, I’ll get over it. I’ll learn to love Karl on a different channel. I’ve gone off him a bit since Soap Star Superstar anyway. He took it all a wee bit too seriously. And wore some extremely tight trousers. Which weren’t as arousing as you’d think.

My friend is opening her own beauty business. She is now trying to decide on a name. So far most of my suggestions have been rejected but she may take me up on using “Metamorface”, she outright refused my favourite suggestion of “Gorge Bush”. I think she is missing a trick.

I will never be a pop star

Two things have happened of late that have led me to a devastating personal enlightenment. One was this email from Annie “Hey hun. How is your column coming along? Xx. I replied ‘In the words of Natasha Beddingfield “it is unwritten”.’ The second incident involved Ayesha and myself going to the O2 to see the Spice Girls (which was brilliant, I wasn’t quite as moved as the stranger next to me dressed from head to toe in Spice Girls memorabilia and BAWLING it, but it really was good). There I was singing along, dancing as best I could in a near vertical seating arrangement (still knew all the moves to Stop) when it hit me… I am too old to be a popstar.

Now ignoring the fact that I also have limited musical abilities (unless the recorder comes back in fashion), I can’t dance and look like a pig in a frock- there is also no outlet for my “talents” now that Top of the Pops has been cancelled. Which is rubbish. Who didn’t stand in front of the telly copying dance routines and putting subtitles up so they could sing along? I can clearly remember watching Kylie on Top of the Pops and not just wanting to be a pop star but wanting to be her. I wanted to lean out the back of a moving car and belt out “I Should Be So Lucky”, but I was stopped by selfish parents when I attempted it on the M25. I had to make do with wearing the strange hat by little brother had to keep shampoo out of his eyes when he had his hair washed and attempt to recreate the front cover of her album.

But I have truly missed the boat. Britney’s had her career, 2 kids and a breakdown and she’s still younger than me. Even the oldest Spice Girl is only 32 and they are on a reunion tour! Incidentally I saw them at Party in Park when they had yet to release “Wannabe”, if I remember rightly the whole park stood there with a “what the hell is this?” expression on their faces. Oh didn’t they prove us wrong. We also saw Peter Andre (pre-Jordan) and Robbie Williams (post Take That pre Oddness). Rock n flipping roll. I think to embark on a pop star career at this stage in my life would be foolhardy and ultimately unsuccessful. I would be the new Michelle McManus, and I really don’t think there’s room for both of us.

However, I do have one item on my CV that proves I have what it takes to storm the charts. I have performed at Wembley. Oh yes. Say it loud and proud. Myself and my school choir provided backing vocals for Bonnie Tyler, we were even on Grandstand – fame indeed. It was at some Rugby Final – rather than a strange deal to show concerts on Sports Programmes. We did the doo doo doo doos on ‘I need a Hero’ and looked mournful during ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’. We even got to run on waving flags and sing ‘Abide with Me’.

And yet even reaching these dizzying heights, I still want more, I am a fame junkie. I am sick. Which would make me PERFECT to be a pop star.

Tuesday, 8 January 2008


Well what a lovely Christmas. Christmas celebrations always go on forever in my family as my mum selfishly has her birthday on the 27th. Therefore I had a four day stretch of joy and then was rudely back in the real world on the 28th when apparently it was unacceptable to eat miniature heroes for breakfast (not that I was up for breakfast –I nearly had a heart attack when the alarm went off on Monday morning, especially as I was given an alarm clock that plays your ipod. I have it on random and so was woken up to Joy Division playing very loudly. May need to change my sheets when I get home). But it was lovely. Went to see my Dad’s nativity. Sadly it was one of those hip and groovy ones and I couldn’t follow it. Was more amused on Christmas morning when someone set their High School Musical Singing Doll off in the middle of communion. Vicar: “And so we break the bread” High School Musical Singing Doll “We’re breaking Free!!”. I laughed, the Vicar didn’t, but I think all were agreed it was excellent timing.

We’ve always played games at Christmas in our family. I generally spend most of the year growing back hair that’s been lost in a particularly vicious game of musical hats. However for the last couple of years we’ve played a game that my brother has picked up from somewhere. People get in to two teams and each person has to write down, on separate bits of paper, 8 names. Names are folded and go in to a hat and then people take it in turns to describe who is on the bit of paper to their teams, each person has a minute and you keep going till all the names are gone. Make a note of how many each team got. All the names go back in the hat. Next round, same names, same format but you have to mime what is on the bit of paper. Make a note of the scores. Next round, same names, same format but you have to describe the person in one word. End of game. Quite a lot of fun. You need to be careful who you put down though, one year a lot of people were traumatized after my dad mimed Monica Lewinski. We also wasted a lot of time trying to guess the person my sister in law was describing. Apparently he was a Freedom Fighter in the Second World War, possibly French, either way he flew a plane and was some sort of national hero. Turns out she meant Liberace. Which was not as bad as playing with my nan, who come the one word round decided to describe people by saying “woman”, “man”, “old”. She attempted to redeem herself by suggesting a game where people have to name different types of fuel. I think we were allowed the telly on then.

New year was also super. I went on a boat down the Thames. I held off mentioning my plans until I was back on dry land as every person I spoke to about it (thank you Mother) said “oooh like the Marchioness”. Well, hopefully not. It was great. And as we got off the boat me and my mate got all smug and said how clever we were to pre-book a taxi. Yes, very clever. Until all the roads are closed, you haven’t got a coat and are wearing high heels and have to walk for 2 hours to find said taxi. I suffered from excruciatingly sore feet, someone else suffered from cold and someone else was about to wet themselves. Some girls cried, some boys became smug about wearing flat shoes. I merely became incredibly British and marched around saying things like “well crying about it isn’t going to get us home is it” and “well stopping isn’t going to get us there any faster”, whilst secretly thinking we were going to have to sleep in a doorway. 2 metres away from the cab I threw myself down a hole and became convinced I had broken my ankle. Not due to the way I fell, merely that intense cold had caused it to snap. Luckily, big fat leg to the rescue, it was just bruised and I lived to fight another day.
Next new year I shall be at home in my pyjamas.