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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 fiancĂ©. 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.