About Me

My photo
Book out now on amazon! Buy, read, enjoy, tell your friends, buy a spare copy.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

An advert for London

Hey You
Yes You
Do you own an enormous rucksack? Do you have the ability to come to a sudden halt with no warning at all? Do you like to stop immediately after ticket gates to put your travelcard away? And most importantly have you devoted your entire life to standing on the LEFT of escalators?
Then why not come to London? In particular why not time all your journeys to take place in rush hour and then stand in the doorways of tubes looking slightly shell shocked and panicked as commuters surge past you and expect you to stand in spaces you assumed were too small for ants to congregate on.
Of course I welcome tourists to our glorious capital city and appreciate the revenue they create. This doesn't stop me for wanting a tourist free fast lane on all pavements and a ban on them using the tube to go one stop at the height of rush hour.
Oh I know that I've mucked around in foreign cities and sat on buses at 5-30 merrily moving my shopping as a thousand people try to cram on. I too have also taken forty five minute train journeys in to the arse end of hell as I attempted to navigate a subway system to take a journey which would have been a maximum of a three minute walk (New York I'm talking to you). But that was different, that was me and I have never, ever, decided it would be a good idea to meet up with forty language students on the busiest thoroughfare I can think of. I have some limits.
Oh such petty annoyances clutter my life. I need to rise above it, there's just infuriating about being stuffed in to a carriage with a thousand other people whilst people who have clearly spent the day at the zoo rather than at work look at each other and go 'gosh I couldn't do this every day'. Well then don't do it anyday. Leave the zoo at 4 or hang on till 7. I don't have those options. I leave at 6. We haven't got round to staggering our office hours yet, we all leave at the same time.
Given the option I would commute to work by bike or a nice walk. Unless I want to get up at 3am I can't do this. So until then I need to get on with it. I resolve to get on with it about 6 times a week. Then I spend the journey home sat in a luggage rack and I'm back to square one.

Saturday, 16 July 2011


I am back from a very pleasant holiday in Greece. We had no access to a themometre (or a clock, which led to some strange meal times) but in our estimation it was ‘very hot’. Conversation with everyone you met centred around two topics. The first was the heat. You heard various tales of how hot it was. Stories of ’47 degrees in the shade were heard’, given that I wasn’t dead I didn’t believe those stories but like I say –very hot. The other conversation was mosquitoes. They were insane. I have been bitten over 30 times and I was one of the lucky ones. I am rocking some particularly beautiful ones which have bruised around the bite. My dream of returning bronzed and glowing with health are dashed. I have returned looking like someone you wouldn’t sit next to on the bus in case you got scabies. My dream of returning bronzed from a holiday is a dream that just won’t die. I am 31 years old. I am ginger. I have freckles and no discernable eyebrows or eyelashes. I have had to receive actual medical advice regarding the severity of burns that I got from merely walking to the shops. Yet still every holiday I go on there’s a voice in my head that says ‘this could be the year, you could go brown, you could have an amazing tan, you just need to let it build up gradually’. This theory is slightly flawed given that I lived in Australia for a year and returned paler than when I left- just how gradually am I planning on building this tan? Still I once again decided that this would be the holiday of brownness. But in the spirit of letting things build gradually I slapped on the factor 40 and kept to the shade. However this time there was the complication of the mosquitoes. By the time I had suncream and bug cream on this created some kind of reaction which made me erupt in to a disgusting rash and my skin take on the texture of gravel. Which meant I had to forgo the bug spray and get bitten a lot. I was still pale though. Then I fell asleep and burnt my back.

So I resorted to my default sun bathing position- in the shade with every inch of me swathed in towels. A bit like I'd died but no one wanted to interupt their holiday to deal with it so they'd fashioned me a shroud out of luridly coloured beach towels. Just waiting for it to get a bit chilly before they take me fishing and generally recreate 'Weekend at Bernie's'. So I return. Bitten, red and with some weird bubbly skin thing going on. Not really what I was aiming for. Great holiday though. I think my favourite bit was being told by a waiter that the reason Greek people weren't being bitten was because they drank ouzo - so we dutifully downed a couple of shots each night. When we told another waiter this theory he merely shook his head and said 'a man told you that right? I don't want to know how this story ends'

Film idea

I have a radical idea for a film. I think it could spark a new genre and a mass spin off market. Following in the steps of Twilight, Step Up, Street Dance, Street Dance 3D it’s a film for teenagers who can’t be bothered to develop any tastes of their own and so rely on the media to tell them what they like.

So my teen film: it’s about a posh teenager who for some reason has to leave their private school and attend a run down, horribly terrifying school/prison which is entirely inhabited by all the children of the Sylvia Young Theatre school doing ‘tough cockney’. Why the posh child can’t attend a normal comprehensive with a mixture of people in it is not clear but also unimportant, Tarquin (as posh child shall be known) is flung in to this new environment. But here’s the revolutionary twist – Tarquin CAN’T street dance. He can’t even do any old fashioned dancing that he would have learnt at his posh school like ballet or morris dancing which he would have fused with street dance in an amazing new fashion leaving his peers breathless with respect and waving their fingers around and saying ‘hey yo that posh guy he is off the hook innit’. Instead Tarquin is forced to make friends and influence people by getting to know them and talking to them about a variety of topics. At some point he may do something utterly radical like go to the cinema with them hang out in a shopping centre rather than go to an illegal night club and have a dance off with a terrifying street gang who express themselves through skipping and speaking threateningly without ever swearing. At the end of the film Tarquin realises that if he just keeps his head down for a few years, makes some decent friends and then goes off in to real life rather than thinking that high school is the most important part of your time on earth and the best time for your life to peak is at age 15.

It’s radical but it might just work.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011


I had to go to the bank this lunch time. To get there I had to navigate the joys of Oxford Street. This meant I not only dealt with the weather in July (rain/sun/rain/sun/hail/sub tropical cyclone/snow) but I was also wearing flip flops which meant that every so often I lurched sideways and nearly head butted some scaffolding. I also dealt with tourists who walk insanely slowly and suddenly and without warning stop dead. I got called a rude word by one for over taking. But hey, you can’t be too down when there’s coffee available on every corner and you work in the centre of one of the greatest cities on earth. Besides I was to have a real treat this lunch time. My mind was about to be blown.

I encountered the whizziest paying in machine I have ever seen. I had cash to pay in and so I trudged in, filled out a form and was looking around for an envelope to put it in when I realised things had changed (I don’t really pay in too often, I’m more of a taking out kinda girl). Envelopes and even paying in slips have gone, replaced by a machine which you just fling cash in to, it counts it and adds it to your account instantly. I did it bit by bit just so I could watch the little trap door open and hear it count the money.

Ahh technology. It’s great isn’t it. Makes paying in money that little bit more fun. I am also enamoured with the sparkling water tap we have here. I am easily pleased. But as I sit here drinking sparkling water and marvelling at paying in machines I am also quite angry. The emergency debate on phone hacking is taking place and it just staggers me to see what’s been going on.

Personally I think the people who sanctioned it should be called to account. Those that did it should be called to account and the whole sorry episode should be blown wide open and everyone involved should be exposed. But at a lower level, why did no-one ever question it? I watched the news this morning and there were journalists and friends of journalists talking about the pressure of the job and it was used as a justification for the acts. I know it’s easy to get caught up in a job. I know the feeling that it’s the most important thing in the world and then with a couple of months hind sight you think ‘Wow, I totally lost perspective there’. But seriously, as someone was hacking a dead girls voicemail and deleting messages did they never think – ‘you know what, I don’t think this is what I should be doing. No job is important enough.’ I fail to see how someone’s moral compass can be so off that they could do that. But they did. And as people higher up refuse to resign and say they knew nothing about it the problem continues. It doesn’t matter if they did or didn’t know. Someone needs to take responsibility. Someone needs to say ‘This simply isn’t right and it happened on my watch’. The more they cling to the wreckage the more they are causing damage to the families of the victims. They are also causing harm to themselves. They have lost their grip of reality and morality and need to walk away from the place they are in whereby they think these acts are acceptable. They need to hack in to their sense of decency.