Sunday, May 31, 2009

Two-volume novel

The sun's gone dim, and
The moon's turned black;
For I loved him, and
He didn't love back.

(Dorothy Parker)

Let me be honest with you...

Look, I could try to come up with a reason for posting this photo. I could make Milo Ventimiglia my latest token smokin' hottie, maybe I could talk about how I'm rewatching the first series of Heroes and remembering how outrageously good it is. But we're all grown-ups now and we know what's going on here: Milo is twelve kinds of hot and I want to have all kinds of babies with him. Until that dream becomes a reality, however, I think some ogling is on the cards.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Thoughts I had while cleaning up my friend's hideous bloody leg wound today*:

1. Ew.
2. This is brilliant: I'm like a World War One nurse over here with my swabs and water and bandages. I mop brows! I plump pillows!
3. Wait, is that blood?

* (Sorry Jerm)

Definition of WTF Shopper's Remorse

Realising you have acquired a pair of WHITE TRACKSUIT PANTS. Um, I swear, it was just really cold in the shops...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Do you expect me, to let you go?

I have been doing a shameless amount of random net perusing this week, procrastinating as ever. This bad habit hasn't got any more writing done but it has thrown up a few beautiful websites I could never have dreamed of. I'd like to introduce you all to World Net Daily and particularly to occasional columnist Jill Stanek.

Apparently Jill is quite well known in certain circles, though I'd never heard of her, so perhaps it's best if I let her words speak for herself and quote from a lovely piece she wrote this year, thoughtfully titled "Italian Abortion Mafia". Let's read on.
"One of the best scenes in the Godfather movie trilogy was in Godfather II, when Kay Corleone (Diane Keaton) told her husband Michael (Al Pacino) she was taking their two children and leaving him. The dialogue:

Michael: Kay, what do you want from me? Do you expect me to let you go? Do you expect me to let you take my children from me? Don't you know me? Don't you know that's an impossibility, that that could never happen, that I'd use all my power to keep something like that from ever happening? Don't you know that? Kay, now in time you'll feel differently. You'll be glad I stopped you now. I know that. I know you blame me for losing the baby. Yes. I know what that meant to you. I'll make it up to you, Kay. I swear I'll make it up to you. I'll … I'm gonna change. I'll change. I've learned that I have the strength to change. And you'll forget about this miscarriage, and we'll have another child, and we'll go on, you and I, we'll go on."
God that is a great scene isn't it? Film critic Antonia Quirke has a lovely take on that line in her wonderful book, Madame Depardieu and the Beautiful Strangers when she describes Pacino's voice as an oboe ("do you expect me, to let you go?"). I really do love that scene. Gosh Jill and I have so much in common. I can tell we're going to be BFF's. More, please...
"Kay: Oh … oh, Michael, Michael, you are blind. It wasn't a miscarriage. It was an abortion, an abortion, Michael! Just like our marriage is an abortion, something that's unholy and evil. I didn't want your son, Michael! I wouldn't bring another one of your sons into this world! It was an abortion, Michael. It was a son, a son, and I had it killed, because this must all end. I know now that it's over. I knew it then. There would be no way, Michael, no way you could ever forgive me, not with this Sicilian thing that's been going on for 2,000 years. …


Michael: You won't take my family!

Kay: I will!

Michael: You won't take my family!

And she doesn't.

That spontaneous slap was the reaction of a real man who a woman had just told she aborted his baby. Compare that to the modern day cowardly male response, "It's your choice. Whatever you decide, I'll support you."

Jill? Jill? I, um, I mean I'm sure you're getting around to making a very good point I'm just not sure exactly how you...
"It was this fierce devotion to family that strangely endeared us to the Corleone men despite their otherwise heinous behavior. In fact, Mafiosos aside, the Italian culture has always evoked thoughts of large, loving families."

Oh. I see: domestic violence is aces. Of course. It all makes sense now.

Friday, May 22, 2009

"Friends do not let friends do crack"

No sooner do I post about ex-boyfriends than one of them sends me this - just about the best argument in favor of staying friends with your exes that I can think of.

New ways I have found to procrastinate after taking 2 weeks off to "get some proper writing done":

1. Spending an hour meandering through Ikea, browsing bath mats.
2. Buying a 'writing table' from Ikea.
3. Looking for screwdriver in order to assemble the table, then getting distracted and cleaning out the kitchen cupboard instead.
4. Assembling table, then trying to find a use for the leftover screws.
5. Eating a plate of cheese because there is nothing else to eat in the fridge.
6. Rewatching Wonder Boys and wondering if there is ANY CHANCE Robert Downey Junior and Tobey Maguuire ever had sex in real life.
7. Googling "Robert Downey Junior" + "ho-yay".
8. Having a cold shower.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


SPOTTED: In the 'classics' section of JB Hi Fi's Osborne Park store, nestling alongside How To Marry a Millionaire and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof: Pierce Brosnan is 007 in... The World is Not Enough. Riiiiight.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Ex factor

An ex-boyfriend got in touch recently. Always nice that. Ex boyfriends, eh: they crop up just when you least expect them to.

Actually, in this case it WAS nice: he is a very sweet guy, an incredibly good-natured person and someone I have been keen to track down for awhile now. Ever since, in fact, it occurred to me that I had treated him appallingly. It would be nice, I have thought many times over the years, to be able to apologise properly for being so young and so dumb. Not an easy thing to launch into, those apologies, and in this case I haven’t got around to it yet.

But the whole thing has got me thinking about how ridiculously easy it is to stuff people about, particularly when you’re young. I never intended to be cruel to this guy or callous with his affections or any of the stuff I did. At the time I didn’t even realise how mean I was. When he told me, a few months after the break-up, how hurt he was that I’d ignored (read: forgotten) his birthday, I thought ‘what’s he complaining about?’ Only years later, by which time I’d had my own heart trampled on a bit, did I consider how gut-wrenching that sort of thing might have been.

Because it’s the little things that count. Most of us have been (I assume) rejected in one way or another, whether it’s being dumped or just coming to the realisation that someone you fancy like mad doesn’t even know your name. Reasonable, rational people can accept, eventually, that somebody doesn’t want to be with them anymore or doesn’t want to go out with them in the first place but it’s the little things – letting your birthday go by unremarked, having no idea what you’re up, never returning calls or texts or emails, even when they’re BARELY stalkerish in nature, cough, cough – that can be absolutely soul-crushing in their perfect illustration of the reality that this person, about whom you think constantly, doesn’t give a toss about you.

Of course things could always be worse. I mean, your partner could be off having creepy group sex surrounded by wanking men. For example.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


It is a sad truth that business lunches are only enjoyed by those who do not have to have them very often. As a luxury, a long, wet treat in a Friday celebratory sort of way or an occasional blow-out with people you like, they can be lovely. For someone who is asked to attend several in a week and, occasionally, two in one day, they are about as much fun as making conversation in an elevator with two strangers, one of whom has just farted.

First there is the joviality over the wine. Shall we have some? Only if you want ho ho ho twist my rubber arm he he he. Red or white? One bottle or two? The possibilities are endless. The back-and-forth nauseating. Then because you, unlike everyone else at the table, have to go back to work to file a story, you get to spend the next two hours nursing a glass of increasingly warm white, while the person next to you works up to asking if his niece could possibly do work experience at the paper next month.

If you’re very lucky your lunch is at a restaurant and the food may be quite good. If you’re very unlucky you are eating at a hotel and the food will be sufficiently awful that you spend the entire meal rearranging bits of rubbery polenta beneath your napkin to give the appearance of having just enjoyed a good nosh.

Either way it doesn’t matter too much because you will have about ten free seconds to stuff your face in between answering questions and/or feigning interest in whatever wretched business venture it is that has dragged you out to the Duxton at 1pm on a Tuesday. Waiters who have been clambering to take your plate away since before they set it down pounce the moment you release your grip on the silverware, leaving you the choice of grasping at the plate like a greedy pig or listening to your stomach rumbling throughout the rest of the meal.

Worst of all is the conversation, which usually teeters somewhere between patronising (“you HAVE heard of the Gorgon project?”) and opaque (“…better regulation of CFDs which is, of course, really a matter for the OICDJFKWKFJ@#FJ”), almost invariably with a generous slathering of Boring As Fuck (“…”).

Getting out of there requires a certain amount of luck. By which I mean: good luck getting out of there before everyone at the table has finished two coffees and a small plate of file chewy caramels inexplicably deposited beside you. Even when you do manage to get up out of your chair you’re faced with the inevitable exchange of business cards, during which you a)consider amending all the ‘sixes’ on your card to eights just to avoid ever talking to any of these people ever again, and b) realise you have been calling “Matthew” “Michael” for the past two hours.

Back on the street you either return to face a parking ticket on the company car or spend ten minutes wobbling in heels to attract the attention of a taxi driver. Pray you didn’t choose the latter because, if so, enjoy the fifteen minute ride, during which he tells you exactly what he thinks of your publication, then asks for your opinion on his share portfolio while you feign deafness and wonder idly if he plans to rape and murder you in an alley.

In the office you return with a page of scribbled notes, half covered by a mustard stain, only to be told that the boss isn’t interested in the story anyway and wants you to do something else immediately, by which he means have it filed ten minutes ago.

It’s enough to make you sick to your stomach.

An open letter to my neighbours,

I love you guys. No, really, I do. I mean, I love that when I ran into one of you in the street this morning, even though we were DIRECTLY OUTSIDE OUR RESPECTIVE HOUSES we felt happy to pretend not to see one another. This isn’t sarcasm: I love that. I love that you guys want as little to do with us as we do with you. I love that your children have never banged on the door to sell us chocolates to raise money for their… swim team or whatever. I love that you have never invited as over for a ‘getting to know you’ drink and probably never will. I love the giant wall you have built between our houses, which only serves to emphasis how little we want to do with one another. All of this is just aces.

There’s only one small thing I don’t love and I hate to bring it up but it’s the gap. You know what I mean, the two metre fucking gap between the new giant wall and the shitty old fence. Yes, that gap you have inefficiently covered with a bit of metal railing. The one that lets us see into your backyard and, presumably, allows you to see into ours. The gap that permits your beagle to stare at me as I perform the naked run to the washing line, wheezing through his whiskers. I’m not a fan. I like my privacy. I like my backyard to be mine. I like my walls.

Lest we forget: good fences make good neighbours.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

No, seriously: call me

I have been accused, once or twice, of only talking about or linking to columnists that I quite fancy. It is, of course, an outrageous accusation. Like any sensible person I respond to logical arguments, comedic timing and other rational stuff. To suggest that I am motivated by the thought that, say, Charlie Brooker may one day be indulging in some self-googling, read of my love for him and say to himself “my God she really GETS me doesn’t she? Pop her on the first plane to my pants” is simply outrageous.

Even so, for the purposes of full disclosure as I prepare to link to another Guardian columnist, let me say for the record that I do actually, against the odds, quite fancy David Mitchell in a posh and cuddly sort of a way, but that my reasons for posting the following is that he perfectly enunciates my view on the fucking bores who whine about getting pinged by a speed camera and for no other reason. (Though, David, if you’re reading this: call me):
“Good news for the Treasury at last! It was reported on Tuesday that it receives more than £88m a year in speeding fines. That's almost enough to pension off one incompetent bank chief every three days. All right, it may not go very far in terms of buying up toxic debt or building Olympic stadiums, but it's a start.

And it isn't borrowed against all our futures, wheedled out of the private sector in some incomprehensible "partnership" or just made up by the Bank of England. It's real money paid directly into the public purse by people who've broken the law. Hooray!

Sometimes though, just when you expect a happy consensus, people surprise you. Apparently, the criminals who break the speed limit don't like the punishments they receive. Then again, the criminals who break the murder laws don't particularly like the punishments they receive either, but they don't form quite such a strident lobby…”
You can read the rest HERE.

Monday, May 11, 2009

This wasn't in the brochure

A quick exercise for anyone who knows me well.

Think of my personality, think of the kind of things I like doing and see if you can guess how I might choose to spend a four day holiday?

Got it? Right, now, hands up who said came up with Walking Holiday? Fuck off, you’re out of here.

And yet, that’s just what I’ll be doing come this Saturday. Don’t. Ask. Me. Why.

It was the lure of the campfire that did it. I bloody joined Brownies as a kid to get the campfire experience and had to learn the hard way that “camping” for the Brownies involves sleeping overnight in a big hall. Wiiiild. Only when I accompanied my brother and Scout-leader father on Scout camp (shut up) did I learn the true joy of damper on sticks, spotlight in the woods and getting gang-raped by 20 sexually-starved 15-year-olds with whom I was sharing a dorm… no wait, that last part might not have happened.

Anyway, once again I’ve allowed my love for a good campfire to get the better of me. In my head it’s all mulled wine, marshmallows and drunkenly trying to remember the words to “Vincent” for a sing-along. In reality it’s sludging through the bush for 20kms to collapse in a heap at the end of the day and spent the entire night peeling ticks off my legs and the legs of my friends. When sleep beckons I retire to a 2/3 man tent inhabited by 3 people where, if I hum quietly to myself I might not hear the deadly chirp of killer insects just outside the fly.

And yet… I’m quite looking forward to it. And it’s not JUST the campfire, honest: it’s the flipping preparation. There are meals to be planned! Bags to be packed! Checklists to be checked! There is an Akubra hat to borrow off someone, sneakers with which I will reacquaint myself and a pair of waist-high blue shorts to ease myself into!

Best of all there is all the joy to be had of telling friends about this trip and seeing their faces pucker up with confusion… disbelief and, finally, concern for my well-being. And so they should be concerned: If I’m not eaten by a wild koala it’ll be a bloody miracle. Readers, should I not return, please, tell the people my story.

Monday, May 4, 2009

The three craziest things my yoga instructor said tonight:

1. "And then you just relax the neck and harden the throat."
2. "See with your ears, not with your eyes."
3. "Think your shins towards the roof and your thighs towards the floor."

Eh, what?

When did the word cunt become so acceptable?

It might sound like an odd question for me, of all people, to ask but really when DID liberal use of the word "cunt" become so acceptable? Five years ago I don't think it had ever passed my lips. These days every third word begins with a c and rhymes with... um... bunt?

I ask this now, not because I am disturbed by my own foul mouth but because I've just finished reading The Time Traveller's Wife. I've been putting off reading this book for just about as long as it's been in existence for the obvious reason that it has Book Club written all over it. Sure, I'm a terrible snob but there is something about Blook Club Books of The Kite Runner/The Lovely Bones/any Jodi Picoult novel ever written that fill me with a quiet despair. They have issues! They provoke discussion! They make me want to drill a hole in the heads of my enemies and friends!

However, this weekend I found myself with a lazy Sunday, I was on the hunt for a book and I picked this one up. This post isn't intended to be a book review but I was impressed by how engaging it was, even if I did think the prose was pretty av and it could have lost 50 pages with no tears shed. Still it did keep me turning the pages, which is kind of the point, I guess.

But the thing that stood out was the use of the c-bomb. Twenty pages in it was all "his tongue on her cunt" this and "his cock inside her" that. Ooh er. I practically clutched my pearls. I mean I know scads of middle-aged women who have loved and recommended this book, including my boyfriend's mother, who loaned me her copy. I would never in a million years think of using the c-word in front of her yet here it was: proof she presumably didn't have a problem with it. That it was no longer enough to raise an eyebrow let alone provoke a tch tch.

While this is all well and good for the foul mouthed among us, the problem is that when best-selling middle-of-the-road novels start to throw "cunt" and "cock" around witch such incredible enthusiasm where are the rest of us to go? Do we revert back to "penis" and "vagina" as cutting edge insults? Scream "you fucking labia!!" out the window at the dicksnap who just cut us off?

I'm genuinely not quite sure. One day, I suspect, words like cunt and cock and fuck will become as bereft of all impact as the words golly, gosh and crumbs! do now. Will this be the high point or the low point of our civilisation? I don't know: what do you vaginas think?

Sunday, May 3, 2009

I think...

... I want to bottle what this girl has and douse myself in it every day.