Sunday, 9 December 2012

THINGS THAT AREN'T OBVIOUS TO ME. AT ALL.



This week, I’ve been mostly asking the question, “Does anyone know how this fucking thing works?”

For instance:

i) The open and close buttons in lifts.


I mean. What the fuck? What's with the runes? I don’t know runes. I have never known runes. In short, I am utterly shit at runes and at any other kind of ancient alphabet system. So here's for a madcap hare-brained idea. Why not get someone to write OPEN and CLOSE on the lift buttons, eh, ehEH ? That way there would be no risk of anyone wringing the living shit out of anyone else whilst trying to enter a lift.

Ii) Also, what’s with those hot water catering urns you get at kids parties? Does anyone know how you get water out of those bastards? Anyone?

Cuppa anyone? Mwa ha ha ha mwa ha ha ha ha!! 


I know it looks like the water should come out of the little tap thing at the bottom, but the problem is that the little tap thing at the bottom NEVER has a functioning lever, so that all you can really do is a) pull the lever up and down for a bit like a total lame-o then pretend you didn’t really want a cup of tea in the first place; or b) wait for a supremely competent mother who looks like Samantha Cameron on speed, to come rushing up to you in head-to-toe Boden screaming, “Here, let me help. I’m totally brilliant.”

ii) And since I’m on a theme. How about the tea and coffee making apparatus in supermarket restaurants? Was there ever a machine more perfectly designed to FUCK.YOU.IN.THE. MIND?? Because it turns out that if you actually want to retrieve boiling water from one of these machines, the correct button to press is NOT the red button at the front of the machine –you dyspraxic loser but the tiny insignifant button with the faded print somewhere on the bottom left hand corner. Duh.

There are other things that aren’t obvious to me. Of course there are. A trillion and nine, to quote my son's favourite number. But for now, here is a short list I made earlier, divided into two easy-to-navigate categories under the headings 'Bastards' And 'Assholes'. It's an extremely nuanced list, as you will see, as it's pretty difficult to define the difference  between bastards and assholes. I was toying with creating a third category under the heading 'Absolute Cunts', but then I thought, Starbucks, George Osborne, and News International don't really count as inanimate objects. 

Assholes
  • Safety gates
  • Car washes
  • Petrol pumps with the long nozzles that stretch all the way over your car to your petrol hole (or whatever it's called), so that if you’d only frickin known, you could have stayed where you were, instead of reversing out of the space like a total loser, and waiting in the adjacent queue with everyone laughing at you ...  

Bastards 
  • All. Printers.Without. Exception. 
  • Cling film and cling film dispensers - even the Lakeland one that every one on Mumsnet thinks is the dogs bollox 
  • Automatic car washes 
  • Those name badges you get given in conferences. How the f*$k do they work? The only way I can attach them to my body is to literally clamp them on to my nipple, which is difficult, as most of my nipple got chewed off during breastfeeding.   
  • Curtain eyelets or anything to do with the act of hanging curtains. In fact I would go far as to say that any item of hardware connected with drapery is, unequivocally, a cunt. 

Feel free to add to the list, of course. 

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

KIDS SAY THE CUTEST THINGS ....


Kids say the cutest things, don’t they? Only last week, my two-year-old daughter said, “Mami, has the moon got a mummy and daddy?” A few weeks earlier, my five year old son asked, “Do wasps eat cheese or people?”

At other times, of course, they're total bastards. 

Take last week, on the school run, when my seven-year-old daughter said,

“My best friend Annie thinks you’re ugly.”

“That’s not very nice is it?” I said, lamely.

Now, everyone who knows me knows how much I hate the school run.  Doing the school run is the psychological equivalent of trekking hundreds of miles without food or water across enemy terrain, on your knees, whilst hallucinating. (Even Bear Grylls and Ranulph Fiennes go fucking MENTAL if anyone asks them to do the school run. It's true.) So, as you can imagine, the absolute last thing I need to hear – when I’m up against the limits of my endurance – is that I look like a hatful of arseholes.

“It’s ok because Annie thinks her mami is ugly too, and probably even more ugly than you”, continued my daughter, reassuringly.

Awww, shucks kids. You’re too kind. I’m gonna fucking MELT here.




(COURTESY OF PEN NAME JANE)


Later, at bath-time, the abuse continued, which again, wasn't nice. My five-year-old son, who was playing with his favourite Peppa Pig boat, was listening to a conversation I was having with my daughter, in which I was trying to reassure her about a blood test. 

“Mummy?” he said, all of a sudden.

There was a blob of iridescent bubble bath foam on the end of his nose, and some cute tufts of the stuff on his head.  For a second, he looked adorable, angelic.

“I hate you on the inside and on the outside“, he said.

“That’s very nasty”, I said, equally lamely. “Why do you hate me?”

“I just do”, he said, blithely. “I like daddy more”.

For fucksakes.

And then, finally, yesterday evening, as I was putting my two-and-a-half-year-old toddler to bed, she suddenly stopped half-way through kissing me and developed a worried, quizzical frown.

“Mami?” she said. “Why you got red eyes and yellow teeth?”

“Well, it's like this, you cheeky little monkey”, I said, a little hysterically by now. “I’ve got red eyes because you sleep horizontally across my bed every night - and you foot SHREDS my cornea to bits. Ha ha ha ha ha ha. And as for the yellow teeth, well, do you remember that time we were breastfeeding and you bit my nipple off, and I fed it to next door’s dog as a doggie treat because it was, like, so beyond fucking repair? Ha ha ha ha ha ha. Well, same time as all that hilarious nipple shit was going on, you were also leaching calcium from me - and turning my teeth the colour of lion’s piss - you little cheeky little monkey you! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha etc etc... "

“Oh”, she said, touching my cheek with her finger, and then stroking my hair, very gently,“I want you come to bed mummy.”

“Allright”, I said. “But just for tonight.”

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

FLIES ARE BASTARDS



Flies are total bastards.

On the spectrum of bastardry, flies sit somewhere between President Assad of Syria, Michael Gove (a perfect example of a cunt), those low low fuckers at News Corp, and Karren Brady. (Bring back Margaret!!)  

But the absolute worst thing about flies is that they love my house. It’s almost as if there’s a gigantic neon-lit sign above my back door that says, “Hey, we’re shooting a remake of The Amityville Horror in THIS house. If you and your extended family of houseflies are looking for parts as extras, please do come on in, please, it's no bother”. In addition to the second neon-lit sign above my front door that says, "Now recruiting for the Fourth Plague of Egypt." 

Which there isn't. 

Oh, how I long for flies to become extinct. How I long for them to stop puking their guts up all over the banana cake or the brioche rolls I accidentally forgot to wrap in a million billion layers of super-thick anti-bacterial foil last night. How I long for them to stop hurling and spewing and upchucking all over the crumbs on my worktop and then sticking their long, germy, shit-stained little probosces where they’re not wanted, like total food rapists. If I could have one superpower, it would be the power to breathe out huge clouds of Raid, at whim.  



LITTLE FUCKERS
And if you don’t agree, in some recent research, eight houseflies were allowed to come into contact with various types of germs before being allowed to settle and walk over food. Just half an hour later, the food was contaminated with 500,000 germs. 

What total bastards.    

My aversion to flies has nothing to do with fear however.  In fact, here is a list of all the things that I find terrifying and you will see that flies is not amongst them:

Motorway slip roads
Mister Maker
Morning people
Wasps
Bin juice 
Zetan Warlord –Do you actually mean to say that you never played Top Trumps in the Seventies?

Oh no. My hatred of flies has something to do with shame.

The truth is that flies love my house because I’m a slut. Because I’m a slattern. Because I lack domestic skills. Because I am not house-trained. Or house-broken. Flies know that right at the bottom of the kitchen bin - sliding around underneath the torn bin liner - are scraps of oozing carrion. They know the vegetable tray in the fridge is A World of Fermenting Vegetation. They know that the cat litter needs disinfecting and that the cat bowls need washing. They know about the filthy, secret corners of neglect multiplying across the house, the crusty kitchen tiles, the biohazardous Petit Filous spills underneath the sofa cushions, the damp piles of laundry that smell of wee-wee.

It's the same kind of shame you feel when your friend's dog gets high and crazy from the scent of your groin, when you can’t drag him away from there, when he flashes the whites of his eyes at you like a loon, and shudders all the way through to his tail, as though he’s never smelled anything quite like it.  DEEP. PERSONAL. SHAME.  

Fuck me, they’re embarrassing bastards. 

Thursday, 16 August 2012

SHAVING IS THE PITS


Last week, my seven-year-old daughter seemed troubled.

“Mummy, why are you the only mummy on the street with fur sticking out of your arms?” she said.

She was looking at my armpits in a hurt, disgusted way, as if I had Tufty the Squirrel in a headlock.

I was too knackered to explain to her that contrary to public opinion, all sexually mature women grow hair on their bodies, and that many of them have more hair growing from their armpits and minges than Sasquatch. I was also too knackered to explain to her that the pressure on women to shave, pluck, tweeze, wax, and zap every single hair on their body until they look like pre-pubescent girls is just sinister sexist bullshit dreamed up in the 1920s by those absolute motherfuckers at Gilllete. But the main reason I didn’t challenge her was that I’m sensitive enough to realise that to a small hairless child, a thousand colossal tufts of armpit hair probably looks like the kind of place where witches meet. 

“I’ll shave it off if it bothers you”, is all I said.

That night, I wiped the dust from my razor blade and began the process of revealing my inner child goddess. I fantasised about the prospect of social inclusion; about a future featuring Summer Essentials like strappy tops and pretty Boden dresses, cute bikinis and spray tans. I indulged the idea that my legs might even resemble the rock star pins of Gillette’s new 'global ambassador' for female empowerment (and the undisputed universal role model for all women) Jennifer Lopez. Obviously.

Afterwards, there was a brief bummer of a moment when I got pissed off thinking that my daughters might turn around when they’re eleven and demand that I buy them gigantic tubes of Veet, just so that they can depilate themselves ‘back to normal’ and so avoid a) being called gorilla or monkey trousers on the school bus or b) being chased around by people carrying nets and animal tranquilisers. I got even more pissed off at the idea that when they’re battling with issues around self-image and self-confidence, they’ll also have to contend with a whole load of creepy fascist shit about body hair.  But that’s because I’m a total sourpuss and a hairy man-hating lesbo feminist, and I like to suck the fun out of life.

The following day, I showed my daughter my fuzz-free pits. I thought she’d be happy.  Instead, she looked down at her own arms.  

“I’ve don’t like the hair on my arms”, she said. “It’s too brown.” 

Make that seven, not eleven. 

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

BLOGGER'S BLOCK



I haven’t blogged in a while. These are the reasons:

The Summer Holidays:  We’re all going on a summer holiday, tra la la la la la la tra la la … Oh, hang on a minute, what I actually meant to say was we’re NOT going on a summer holiday. Duh! Thing is, my partner is working 12-hour days for the duration of the summer holidays, so I’m staying right here, in the house, for six and a half weeks, with a gazillion children.  Yeah, don’t worry, I’ve got enough food in! Sure I’ll keep the windows open so that there’s enough air n’all! And best of all, my mum’s coming up for a couple of days so no worries! It’ll be nonstop fun I’m telling ya!!

Lack of stimuli:  Hey, even if I did have a minute to write a blog in between all the crazy fun times, I wouldn’t know what to write. You see, during the summer holidays, the children operate Amish-style house rules that forbid me from consuming news or current affairs programmes, surfing the Internet, reading books, or exchanging views with other adults, unless it’s my mother. Weirdly, I am allowed to take phone calls from my mother. This is because the kids - the cheeky little rascals –they’re hoping my mum will provoke me into doing something super-funny like, oh I dunno, writing ‘I Know I’m Not Special’ in permanent red marker all the way down my legs! As if, kids! You crazy cats!

Technical shit: and to top it all, my computer died on me. The right thing would be to say that my computer has gone to computer heaven with all the other little computers and angels, but frankly, my computer was an utter cunt, so I doubt it. There was one brief moment of reconciliation when it saved something precious without Unexpectedly Quitting, which made me so emotional about the good times, I cried. But if I’m honest, there was already too much resentment in the mix, too much anger, and the idea that my desktop might now be bobbing away in an everlasting lake of hellfire, protesting about fatal errors and 'changes that have been made that affect the global template' is, in truth, not too difficult to bear.

Which brings me very neatly to the next reason…  

PMS that won’t go away: For about three weeks now, I’ve been getting really bad PMS. Horrible nightmarish PMS. The kind of PMS that wouldn’t go away even if you took a billion grams of evening primrose oil, poured it into a biodegradable butt plug, shoved it up your asshole, and then left it there forever.

And, as you can imagine, blogging is not possible when you’re in the middle of a PMS episode of such severity. Neither is any kind of mental activity that requires focus. On a more positive note – and it’s important to count your blessings - there is a whole world of shit out there that I could be doing; activities that are perfectly suited to prolonged PMS episodes; such as drinking gin, eating like a pig, shouting like a total fuck, contemplating the atrophying of my aspirations, and putting all the furniture in the house into self-storage to reduce the clutter (and the smell).

Happy holidays campers!


  




Thursday, 14 June 2012

HOME STINK HOME


OK. Here’s the problem. Every time I come back from a holiday, the house stinks.

The porch and hallway smell like The Elephant House in high summer.

The rest of the house also smells like The Elephant House in high summer, except one of the elephants has VAG ROT, and all the other elephants have died.

The situation has gotten so bad I dread coming back.

“Please god let the cats not have shit everywhere”, I whisper to my partner on the journey home from our most recent holiday. “I don’t think I can take it.”

“Just relax”, says my partner. `’If they have, I’ll clear it up straightaway.”

My partner doesn’t know me. If he did, he wouldn’t bandy around inflammatory words like ‘relax’. Conversely, I know him well enough to know that the very first thing he will do on arriving home will be to scroll through the list of recorded programmes on the Sky Plus Planner. He would do this even if he needed to pick the zapper out of a buzzing, twitching heap of cat shit as big as Ayers Rock.

I shouldn’t say anything but I do.

“I don’t mind clearing up cat shit”, I say. “I just hate the smell - the fact that I’ve just come back from holiday and as soon as I walk into my own home - it’s all totally over. It’s like a giant metaphor for real life.”

“Fucksakes”, says my partner, quite loudly now. “Can’t you ever just relax?”  

"L.A.N.G.U.A.G.E”, I say. The kids are watching a DVD in the back of the car.

We arrive home half an hour later. The front door seems to be hovering in a cloud of queer neon-green gases. I walk into the porch; hold my breath. When I finally realize I can’t smell anything, I’m so relieved I could cry. My partner turns on the TV. He sighs contentedly. He prepares his corner of the sofa.

But it is as if the movement he makes disrupts something - makes something come alive - because all of a sudden there IS a smell: a wretched, abominable, fucking pong. It creeps up my nose and down my throat like some decomposing worm.  It is Eau de Hell, no less.

“Oh my god”, I say. I can’t believe it. It’s totally foul. Worse than usual!”  

My partner ignores me. He wanders off to the kitchen to make a snack.

“I’m making toast and hummus”, he says. “D’you want some?”

“Don’t touch the hummus”, I shriek. “It’s probably that.” 

I imagine the hummus, bulging with gases; potatoes liquefying in the vegetable tray; an array of burst, weeping things. As I put the kids to bed, a number of other explanations are running through my head, primarily: 

  • Toxic Mould
  • Poltergeist 
  • Mice    
  •  And last but definitely not least, The Underfloor Void


Back down-stairs, my partner comes into the lounge, carrying more toast.

“I don’t want you to take this the wrong way or anything”, he says. “But it says on my phone that you’re, um, that you’ve got PMT.”

I am outraged and impressed in equal measure. I can feel bits of my face going in opposite directions.

“I found this app called My Days”, he continues. “You put your dates in and it warns you about, you know, ha ha, incoming storms.”

“What the fuck has PMT got to do with the fact that the house stinks?” I say.

I don’t let on how weirdly flattered I am by his decision to download a phone app about MY menstrual cycle.

“You know what you get like”, is all he says.

He sits down in the same position on the sofa. Rearranges a cushion. And then farts. Within seconds, I get a hit of the same bestial pong as before.

“Oh.My.God”, I say. “Have you got some kind of exploding anal abscess or what?!!!”

He pulls out his phone, scrolls over something on his touch screen.

“Just two more days of it’, he sighs, and eats his toast. 



Monday, 28 May 2012

WINKIEHEADS



Yesterday afternoon, I walked with my toddler and four-year-old son to the school. We walked in single file in the deliciously cool shadows of some cypress trees. My toddler was asleep in the buggy, fiercely clutching a dandelion clock, the spoils from an earlier battle with her brother. My son was wearing his beloved blue snowboots, from which he won’t be parted, in spite of the heat.   
‘Children get very tired walking”, he said. “Bumblebees get tired too, don’t they?”
I passed him his new red water bottle. He drank with both hands clasped seriously around the bottle, his eyes closed, and although we were late for school, everything was absolutely perfect.

Perfect, that is, until the driver of a massive fuck-off Eddie Stobart Heavy Goods Vehicle – which was already driving too close to the kerb – beeped his horn TWICE, long and hard.
“Nigel, mate”, he shouted, waving to a guy on the other side of the street. 
He beeped it again, this time for longer. The ground vibrated. Shock waves circled the village. A woman drew back her curtains, probably thinking it was Jesus, bombing down to earth, blowing a big End-Times trumpet. Or, a bunch of archangels going apeshit. The toddler woke, dropped her dandelion clock, started screaming. My son was even crosser than me.
“Keep it down you … YOU”, he shouted. “You … WINKIEHEAD”.  
Now I love all my children equally. But at that moment, my son was nothing less than a hero. Of course, I wasn’t best pleased with his use of the term ‘winkiehead’ so close to the school, and where he got it from is a total mystery. I also believe that the collective noun for people who use their horn with no consideration for other people, and in ways that don’t adhere to Rule 92 of The Highway Code, is, technically, KNOBHEADS. But this is nit-picking.

So, in honour of my small, supremely cross superhero, here is a list of total winkieheads I prepared earlier:  

  1. Taxi drivers: taxi drivers often beep the horn to let you know they’ve arrived. They are so committed to keeping a line of communication open with their customers that within minutes of arriving at your house, they will have beeped the horn three of four times, maybe more. This is particularly the case if they are early; in fact, the earlier they are, the more they beep. Once, I was unable to make it to the front door to acknowledge the beeping because, frankly, I was in the middle of pushing a gargantuan tampon into my vagina, and although there was a good five minutes left to go before my scheduled pick-up time, the driver drove away. But who can blame him? Can a taxi driver really be expected to conquer his crippling fear of doorbells, or risk entering an atmosphere not yet purified by the scent of Magic Tree, just because some flake is doing last-minute gynae shit? 
  2. Middle-management men from the banking or financial sectors: this group typically drives BMW Series 3 cars, or Audis (those cars with the LED day-lights and the cock-rings). These men believe that the one sextillionth of a second after the red light changes to amber is precisely the right time to beep the horn. But again, who can blame them. Right? After all, they are in a dreadful rush: quite unimaginable to the rest of us. In fact, anyone who thinks that a toddler wresting herself out of a child-seat, and/or climbing over the front seats towards the steering wheel, is good enough reason to proceed with caution at the traffic lights is a shilly-shallying over-sensitive chicken-shit loser who will never make it in the REAL world.  And last but not least (no, definitely not LEAST), many men from the financial sector are also afflicted by large burdensome penises that do not easily fit into the confines of a normal cockpit, which means that they must either arrange matters so that a) their appendages rest on the gas pedal, as often happens, or b) on the horn. 
  3. HGV or white van drivers who recognize a mate called Nigel on the pavement and think it entirely appropriate to beep the horn to say hello, in spite of the fact that the afore-mentioned Nigel may be a matter of yards away from someone fitted with a pacemaker, a baby asleep in a pram, a shift worker asleep in their house, an elderly person of a nervous disposition, or a psychotic whose violent episodes are triggered by external auditory cues (it happens, OK!), not forgetting all other road users who will now spend the rest of their day wondering whether they have an urgent problem with their cars, or their driving …    

WINKIEHEADS? KNOBHEADS? YOU DECIDE. 









  

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

MORNING PEOPLE


Everyone knows that the world is divided into two kinds of people: Larks and Owls.

Larks love the mornings. Every morning, at the ass crack of dawn, they pop out of bed like a bunch of smiley creepy jack-in-the-boxes, before going for a run around the village, or composing entire symphonies, or eating thousands of goji berries, or singing really chipper hymns of praise to the Sun Goddess, or whatever.

Unlike me, larks don’t wake up every morning to a spectacular shit-pile of negative thoughts, which in my case, looks something like this:    

  • At least when I’m in a nursing home I won’t have to do THIS
  •  I’m so tired I must have got M.E.
  •  Would it be possible or practical to install an oxygen cylinder in the bedroom?
  •  If I don’t get up NOW, or at the very latest before the alarm clock says 7:28, something awful will happen.
  •  I could probably gain an extra half hour’s sleep if I home educated. 
  •  I wish I was three.
  •  Why is this bedroom so cold?
  • and …
  • Is there a God?


ETCETERA.

My mother’s take on the problem is that I need to alleviate the stress of mornings by preparing my stuff in advance, i.e the night before - as she did. I long to tell her that it was easier for women in the Seventies, because, you know, they didn’t use up all their energy trying to be nice to their kids, or fretting over stupid shit like their kids’ emotional and psychological wellbeing, so they had loads more energy for chores in the evenings.

But I suppose she’s got a point.

Deep down, I know I should get the kids’ school uniforms ready the night before, and prepare their lunches, and pack their gym kits, and fill their homework bags. I know I should divide almost ALL my free time equally between finding the permission slip for my daughter’s school trip, and finding the one working biro to date and sign the permission slip, and that I should also devote at least another hour to a) rifling through all the coats in the hallway in order to find a fifty pence coin for the PTA raffle; b) writing a cheque for a million billion pounds for the single 6 by 4 school portrait from fucking Colorfoto; and c) packing a piece of fruit for playgroup (or ideally, a selection of homemade croutons or crudités because * playgroup leader rolls her eyes * they always get given fruit, and if they’re to win the Gold Standard Healthy Snack Award, they require variety, blah-dey fuckin blah.) Yes I know this, ALLRIGHT. But, the problem with this strategy of extreme forward planning is that it extends the misery of what is already a relentlessly repetitive morning routine into the previous evening. Or, in other words, IT SUCKS.

You see, once the kids have gone to bed, I don’t want to butter bread, mainly because I have already spent eight farking hours in the kitchen. Not that you could tell. Neither do I want to empty the entire contents of the recycling wheelie bin on the floor to look for the school permission slip, or dribble all over a biro until it works goddamit. I want to watch The Killing, or attend to my haemorrhoids.   

And as for larks, they’re just cocksuckers.

Good night! 

Sunday, 22 April 2012

WHITES ONLY


Most days, collecting the post is a dismal event. There is the usual avalanche of shit from the Inland Revenue, a flyer or ten from Graham the local Tory candidate, and reminders from the DVLA/bank. Quite frankly, the postman may as well vomit through the letterbox. But this morning was different. This morning, the hallway was filled with a transcendent white light. I shielded my eyes. I approached with caution, like Moses in front of the Burning Bush. There it was ... On MY mat ... In MY house ... The White Company catalogue.

Just to clarify, I have never bought anything from The White Company as I am not in the habit of paying £55 for a White T-shirt, or sleeping on crisp White 600-thread-count percale sheets. All I can think is that some kind, philanthropic soul from The White Company - intent on disseminating Happiness - hacked into NHS confidential records, traced the details of all those who have ever suffered from depression, and thought, “I know what would make these sad people feel better! The White Company catalogue!” 

I made myself a mug of coffee. I flicked through the pages. I saw pictures of beautiful blonde women (exclusively White!!!), dressed head-to-toe in White, moving effortlessly from White sofa to White beach. But then, I remembered a couple of other things about White. So I listed them. 
  1. White is not flattering. Unless you are a size zero, wearing White will make you look like a humongous maggot. 
  2. Unless you also have a sun-kissed complexion acquired whilst a) quaffing Pimms besides a freshwater infinity pool on the Seychelles, or b) power-boating around Richard Branson’s Necker Isle, wearing White will not cut it. If, like me, your skin has the ghastly washed-out appearance of a prole, a White linen tunic will make look neither gorgeous nor Grecian; instead, you will lose all definition and appear as though you have a) no edges, b) no nipples, and c) no genitals.   
  3. White gets filthy. This is obvious to most of us, except for Chrissie, the founder of White Company, who claims that White is an easy and practical colour. (Initially you feel sorry for Chrissie. She might be a big posh freak NOW, but on the White Company’s website, she tells the poignant story of her early struggle to overcome injustice, social exclusion, and worst of all, mediocrity. “It all began in 1993 … At the time, the few white items I could find and afford were somehow all such cheap designs and of average or poor quality ... and all the gorgeous, high quality ones I loved were only to be found in the designer departments...” How could anyone go through such a dehumanising experience day-in day-out and come out the other end unscathed, you ask yourself? Huh? Huh? And if there’s a God, how could he allow such things?  “Chrisse”, you wanna say, “Are you sure you’re allright now daaarling?”) Of course, later, when you’ve had a chance to read the catalogue, your attitude will harden, and you’ll find yourself thinking, “Take me off your fucking database, you fetishistic horse-faced maniac.”
  4. Wearing White means that you need to invest in a new bra and new knickers.     
  5. Gwyneth Paltrow wears White.  

PS: You will notice that, throughout this list, I have capitalised White. This is not because I don’t understand the difference between nouns and proper names. I do. This is because The White Company capitalises the word White, presumably as an acknowledgment of the fact that White is less a colour, more a religion, a philosophy, a Way of Life... 

Fascist twats.  

Monday, 9 April 2012

TECHNICAL MELTDOWN

Or. When Technology Turns Against You

I can’t be bothered to introduce this lot. They are all vile.

Captchas – OK. I know what you're thinking. What could be easier than typing out two little words on a spotty grey and white background in order to prove that you’re not a robot? Huh? Huh? Huh? Well, let me tell you. Smashing the atom. That’s what. Or, sequencing the entire human genome. Or, unravelling the mysteries of the universe. Or, understanding the mind of God. Or, harnessing the sun’s power to meet the energy requirements of humanity for the rest of eternity. Or, getting Little Miss Gwyneth Paltrow’s perfect offspring to drink a mug of motherfucking Cup-A-Soup. That’s what. The other day, after about a billion attempts at typing a captcha - and having to suck out the insides of a whole Cadbury’s crème egg between each attempt just to stay calm - I tried the captcha audio version. Except that nobody told me that the captcha audio version is a download from Hell. This is what I got: “Oh please, mother, make it stop, it’s hurting. I’m gonna die up here. No. Keep away!” Well, something like that, except it was backwards, and double-speed. *urinates on the carpet, traumatised *

Printers – somewhere in California, there’s a place called The Museum Of Shit That Never Works. A whole wing of the museum is dedicated to printers, and houses a model of every single printer ever made. This is because all printers are bastards. All they do is sit there, blocking out sunlight, and whining on in a totally uptight way about being jammed, or out of paper, or out of ink, or toner, before flashing their asshole of a light at you. But the absolute worst thing about printers is when they pretend to be working. At least when they’re not working you can paper tray them in the face and move on. But when they fuck about with your emotions, when they peddle Hope, when they start churning out paper, only then do you realise how truly treacherous they are. Because even before your touch the rim of the ‘printed’ page, you know in your guts it will be blank. You know, too, that the second page will be concertinaed into a fan, that the third page will comprise satanic runes masquerading as HTML, and that the fourth, fifth, and sixth pages will be something you wrote when you were fifteen, on an Amstrad computer that no longer exists. In desperation, you will phone your other half for technical advice, you might even sob a little out of frustration, and then, within seconds, you won’t be able to help yourself, you big pathetic cow, you will be weeping into the receiver,  blubbering about wanting to do something else with your life, and he will finish with you because frankly, it’s the last straw. And then you will lose your job because you failed to deliver the papers. And all because of the printer. The cunt. 

Passwords – Passwords are okay if you’re allowed to choose anything. But some sites dictate that you must choose a password that contains exactly 8.5 characters of enigmatic, highly personalised letters, numbers, exclamation marks, hieroglyphics, animal drawings, juvenilia, and rare punctuation marks not used since Chaucerian times, all of which must be memorable and case sensitive. Not only this, but if you forget your password - you geriatric left-brained imbecile - you will only be resent a password to your email inbox if you complete a captcha test to prove that you’re not a robot.  Mwahahaha … mwahahaha… mwahahahahahaha…  

Welcome to the dark side of Progress. 

PS: OK. Those are some lines from the Exorcist and weren’t in the captcha audio version. But I still maintain that there was a strong demonic influence. Either that or I was high on crème egg.  

Friday, 30 March 2012

NO POO PLEASE


This week’s been a helluva week. It all started last Sunday with a burst eardrum. I was resting in bed, recuperating from a nasty bout of flu, when this immensely horrible squealing noise erupted from inside my middle ear, as if there were a bunch of hedgehogs, fucking, right there, IN MY EAR. After that came an uncanny popping sensation, followed by an explosion of blood, pus, and assorted bits of ear percussion, all of which landed on my pillow. On Monday morning, the GP diagnosed a burst eardrum and told me I couldn’t a) go swimming, or b) wash my hair for six weeks.

Now as far as I’m concerned, going swimming with three kids in tow is probably third in the League Table of Stress after divorce, and moving house, so I’m not bothered on that count. But not wash my hair for six weeks? Are you kidding me? I will smell and look like Satan. My hairline will be festooned with boiling pustules of acne. There will be mange all over my scalp and rivers of excess sebum coursing down my forehead. People will start throwing rocks at me. 
Not that I’m the kind of person who washes my hair every day, or even every other day, in case you’re wondering. I’m a big believer in the idea that natural oils are good for the hair. Even to this day, I’m still wound up by that blond-haired streak of piss The Timotei Girl, and her disturbing addiction to keeping her mane clean. Listen, love, I want to say, I don’t give a shit that your shampoo is so frickin mild that you can wash your hair as often as you wish, or that it contains cheap detergent natural herb extracts, really I don’t. All I ask is that you DO. IT. INDOORS. AND. NOT. IN. A. BLOODY. PADDOCK. And please, don’t even get me started on those Wash and Go adverts. “Spend time on shampoo and conditioner? Take two bottles into the shower? Not me! I just want to wash my hair and go, so I use Vidal Sassoon Wash & Go.” Do you? Do you really? Is that because you’re a young thrusting go-getter with a UNIQUELY important and hectic schedule? Or is it because you’re a massive twat? Hmmm.

But, but … six weeks is a long time. Even for me.  
On the bright side, my greasy bangs will be bang on trend. I’m told that the environmentally-motivated no-poo (no-shampoo) movement is gaining a steady following, with Mathew Paris of The Times, Prince Harry, Jessica Simpson, and Julianne Moore, all advocating that we wash our hair using only water and/or a mixture of baking powder and lemons. I only wish someone would tell this to those sulfate-peddling assholes Unilever, who are planning another Timotei advert.


Wednesday, 14 March 2012

POOPED


This week I am knackered. Red Bull doesn’t touch it. Touché Eclat doesn’t hide it. 

Everyone has started asking me whether I’m okay.

It seems my face is the main cause for concern. I look like a bloodhound on chemo. More specifically, I look like a bloodhound on chemo might look IF he were forced to shuffle around, say, Asda, for the rest of his life. My body, too, is exhibiting signs. I walk at a pace that would embarrass a sloth. I sigh and whimper and make grotesque mewling noises. In the evenings, when I haul my sorry ass upstairs, my posture is so spectacularly humped I cast a shadow that looks exactly like a FAT Nosferatu.

There are many reasons for my exhaustion:

1. My partner has taken up a job in London, leaving me to care for three small children, two incontinent cats, and a house, single-handedly. When I say single-handedly, I’m not being literal. (I don’t know how that woman off CBeebies does it, to be honest.) 

2. I need loads of sleep – but I don’t get it. Mutants like Mrs Thatcher and Martha Stewart might only need 4 hours sleep a night, probably less, the fucking freaks, but I need 10. I love sleeping.  I love sleeping so much I have dreams about sleeping. You could put a million billion genetically-modified peas THIS BIG under my mattress, and I wouldn’t give a shit.  

3. Finally, there is the accumulation of six school runs a day, overseeing school creative writing workshops, blogging, the demands of a start-up PR business, and just generally trying to get my shit together after being at home with the kids, all on ONE day’s childcare a week.

Of course, it doesn’t help that we live in a country that has opted out of the European Time Directive - a country that has the longest working hours in western Europe – a country that can’t be bothered to provide adequate childcare or paternity leave but still expects you to be working 24 hours a day. *wipes rabid drool from chin, burns bra.* These days, if I happen to answer the door in my pyjamas, I have to pretend I’m a new mother, or a nurse who works shifts, or that I’ve been up since 5am, baking bread, writing reports for the UN Security Council, and ironing my children's fucking homework, and that I haven’t had time to get changed. Actually, fuck that for an excuse … I am tempted to say that I’ve been SO ridiculously busy that I got changed to GO to bed about six hours ago, but got so distracted by my important schedule - by the trillion things that just couldn’t wait – that I didn’t have time to sleep at all!! Anything is better than someone thinking I might be mental, or idle, or on incapacity benefit, or, in other words, not earning money, not fuelling the retail economy, not buying shit I don’t need …

Meanwhile, I’m not sure whether there are any solutions for the outward signs of my exhaustion. I could try facial yoga, like Gwyneth Paltrow, but then I’d have to hire a contract killer to take myself out. A less extreme solution would be to inject 50g of pure caffeine straight into my face. Or move to Denmark. Where it’s civilised! 

Saturday, 3 March 2012

ARMPIT SEX AND OTHER SECRETS

Once upon a time, my mother told me never to wash my dirty linen in public.  

Luckily, my laundry has almost always been a private affair. These days, I am blessed with a new-fangled labour-saving device called a washing machine, which means that my smalls (which, naturally, reek of fornication and menstruation and other vile secretions) never have to make the journey to the village watercourse.

Of course, there is the possibility that my mother was using A Metaphor. In my childhood home, metaphors were powerful tools, used for moulding our young impressionable minds into dark abnormal shapes. Take this one:

ME: What’s the big deal with pre-marital sex?
MY MOTHER: You wouldn’t go to a greengrocer’s and take a bite from an apple before paying for it, would you? 

Now I’m the first to admit that sex is a fruity business. But not that fruity.

But anyway, if the advice about the dirty linen was a metaphor, I am about to disappoint mother (once again). You see, a month ago, I was tagged by one of my favourite bloggers, Adventures of a Middle Aged Matron, to write a blog for a meme called 7 + 7, which requires me to divulge seven secrets, as well as seven blog posts I admire. 

So here goes: 
1.     
  1. I once stole mascara from Boots. In my defence, it was a lash-thickening electric-blue affair that promised to make me look like Ziggy Stardust. Instead, it made each eye look like a mandrill’s asshole.
  2.  I was once involved in a relationship with a Trainee Apostle at a Pentecostal church, which consisted of bouts of vigorous ARMPIT SEX. Armpit sex was so off God’s sexual radar that it hardly qualified as sex at all, or so I was told. Also, being entirely non-penetrative, it didn’t intrude on The Holy Spirit, who lived inside my body, in a temple-thingy, and who didn’t like getting a whole load of penis in his face when he was simply trying to go about his daily business.  I have since discovered that the nasty old World Wide Web has whole pages devoted to Axillary Intercourse, or, as aficionados of coarse sexual terminology like to call it, ‘pit-wanking’, which I’m glad I didn’t know. Because, you know, if I had, I wouldn’t have felt quite so special.     
  3. I love snails. I love their coiled shells. I love the shy way they retract their antennae if you touch them. In a world that’s getting faster and crazier and more in-your-face by the day, I love their fat juicy slowness.
  4. I don’t get the fuss about tigers. I quite like The Tiger Who Came To Tea - although his table manners are truly shocking - and I really like Tigger, mostly because he mispronounces words, and does a stupid amount of bouncing, both of which remind my of my son, but if any REAL tiger comes anywhere near me or my family, I will shoot its stripy furry endangered ass dead
  5.  I want a tattoo. When I was younger, I thought about getting the words Quod Me Nutrit Me Destruit tattoed across my lower back, but then Angelina Jolie went and got it, and I didn’t want people going up to her, poor cow, and saying “You so copied that Flossing the Cat,  didn’t you?”  
  6. I don’t know how to operate an unattended/automatic car wash. I will never know how to operate an unattended/automatic car wash, same as I will never know how to play any card games (except Snap and Happy Families), or be able to drive on the motorway. What kind of over-achieving fucker knows how to operate an unattended/automatic car wash anyway? (I’m not obsessed, it’s just that I was confronted with one of these monstrosities in a petrol station forecourt last Tuesday, and the pain of it is still fresh and raw.) As you can imagine.
  7. I’m not telling you my seventh secret, except that it involves an accountant in a bad wig, a butch haulier from Carmarthenshire, in a tutu, and an episode of weeping not seen since the days of the prophet Jeremiah. I’m saving the details of it for another one of these infernal memes!   

And now for the blog posts I admire, all for different reasons:

A Beginner’s Guide to Middle Age – Adventures of a Middle Aged Matron
The Eagle Has Landed – Motherventing
Dear Beloved Friend - Older Mum (in a Muddle)
Newspapers, Poospapers – Maid in Yorkshire
Signing A Life Away – Stay At Home Dad 

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

NITS


I have nits. All day, it feels as though the four horsemen of the apocalypse have been galloping freestyle across my scalp. I have scratched my head so much I look like the Medusa. When I told my partner about my condition, he looked so disgusted, so well and truly turned-off, I may as well have said, “Hey darling, I just love eating shit.” Or, “Honey, I seem to have acquired an infestation of pubic crabs, but not to worry, they’re as happy as larry playing in the moist, thrushy rock pools of my groin.”

I should explain. My partner is the Nits Nemesis. He hates nits more than anyone else on the planet. I would go as far as to say that his hatred of nits is so off-the-scale that he now has a fully-blown Hedrin habit. Every time he goes shopping, he buys another bottle of the stuff. I say things like, “Look love, it’s not as if you’re stocking up on bottles of water, which, you know, in the event of the Mayan Apocalypse, might be really useful. It’s only Hedrin. And we’ve got six bottles already.” But then, to be fair to him, Hedrin is always bringing out newer, better versions (lotions, mousses, spray gels, overnight gels, one-hour gels), and it’s pretty hard to keep up. Hedrin is worse than that other motherfucking asshole, Adobe Reader, which needs about 40 updates a week just to stand still, each of which requires downloading and installing programmes, and shutting down and rebooting your computer, which eats up at least twenty minutes of your ONE AND ONLY life, every day, and all of this when you only have half and hour of childcare every week, the fucking assholes.  

But anyway, before I go on, let me give you a ‘flavour’ of the kind of conversations we have about nits:

ME: I think I might have got nits.
PARTNER: Go and sort it then, for fucksakes.
ME: Yeah, I will in a minute love, just give me a minute will you?
PARTNER: There’s plenty of Hedrin up there. GO.SORT.IT.NOW.
ME:  Yeah, I will love, IN.A.MINUTE. Can’t you see that I’m just trying to put this kitchen FIRE out!?

I freely admit I procrastinate. For a start, applying Hedrin to your hair makes you look like one of those tragic sea otters caught up in the Exxon Valdez oil spill disaster. (Or Bob Geldof.) Also, if you do happen to drip even the tiniest droplet of Hedrin on your bathroom floor, please don’t EVER try to clean it up, please. If you do try to clean it up, this is what will happen: you will die. You will slip on the tiny Droplet of Oleaginous Doom and skid, in some horrible parody of figure skating, through your bathroom window, to your death.   Instead seek out the assistance of someone who can build a suspended floor.

But the absolute worst thing about head lice is this: even when you’ve applied a whole bottle of Hedrin to your hair, and sectioned it, and scraped a nit comb through it for half a day, and there’s a stink of genocide in the air, and the evil teeth of the nitty gritty comb are dripping with blood and human skin tissue and drowned louse carcasses, and you’ve also managed to get a bit of Hedrin in your eye, and you are standing half-blind, gorgon-like, in front of your bathroom mirror, you just know that there’s still one left. One survivor. In the night, you can feel her, The Alpha Louse Mummy, The Immortal Grey Queen, running triumphantly between the strands of your hair, high on blood and human shame and Hedrin. And you know that she’s heavy with child. God bless her.


Wednesday, 8 February 2012

I LOVE AN AFTERNOON STROLL IN THE COUNTRYSIDE ...


Last summer, I spent a couple of days at a life-coaching retreat in the countryside. For the most part, it was a happy constructive experience, with time for reflection, a heavenly reflexology session, and sound nuggets of advice from the life-coach, such as YOU CAN’T EAT AN ELEPHANT ALL AT ONCE, which is a metaphor. I think.

On the downside, I flipped. 

It happened on the second afternoon, during a stroll to the village shop to buy a Twirl. Afterwards, when I was supposed to be listing practical strategies to manage my time and emotions, I wrote an alternative list, a kind of memo to self.

This is just an extract:   
  •  In future, when you leave the retreat for the recommended afternoon stroll, don’t assume - as you turn on to the High Street - that the posh middle-aged woman tending her garden is ALMOST DEFINITELY thinking “Look, another one of those mentalists from that retreat.”  
  • Do not immediately greet the woman with an overdone exaggerated ‘Hi’ to reassure her that you are not a mentalist. Do not further assume – when the ‘Hi’ gets stuck in your throat and comes out wrong – that she will immediately think, “Not just a mentalist, but a sheep-shagging cottage-burning mentalist”, just because you have a Welsh accent.  
  •  Once the crisis with the posh middle-aged woman is over and you’re passing a creepy narrow lane, try not to dwell on the idea that you are about to be gang-raped, and that this will be made all the more hideous because you are wearing a MAXI sanitary towel the size of a cruise liner. Try not to worry that the distinctive outline of the sanitary towel is ALMOST DEFINITELY visible through your jeans. Instead, thank god that you are still a fully-functioning woman capable of producing menstrual blood, and that you are not yet lugging around a bunch of dead rancid organs in your body. 
  •  As you pass a young couple with a baby, consider the (admittedly remote) possibility that they may NOT be thinking, “Look at that poor childless woman who has probably been staying in that retreat because her life is so lonely and tragic.” Ignore the fact you are exhibiting signs of agoraphobia. FOR FUCKSAKES JUST RELAX.
  •  On arriving at the Co-op, don’t freak out over the realization that you have forgotten your PIN number and every single piece of information relating to your PIN number, and that you only have about 80p left in your childishly bohemian purse.  Furthermore, as you are counting coins outside the shop, do not assume that all the passers-by are WITHOUT EXCEPTION ALMOST DEFINITELY thinking, “I’ve not seen her around here before. She must be one of those mentalists staying at the retreat. Look at the nutty OCD way she’s counting those infinitesimally small pieces of currency.”
  •  On your way back to the retreat, try not to worry yourself sick over the fact that the life-coach (whose house overlooks the retreat) will see you returning so soon after you left and conclude that you cannot possibly have had time to engage in reflection, and that you can’t be taking the retreat and life-coaching process seriously. Do not, I repeat, do not carry on walking down the High Street for at least another fifteen minutes just so that you can give the life-coach the impression of having been on a long reflective walk.
  •  As you’re walking around, wide-eyed, drooling now, with your stupid empty purse hanging weirdly from your hand, pointlessly killing time for some imaginary reason to do with your own paranoia, feel free to wonder why, when you’re with the kids, when you’re hiding behind the big green Phil and Ted double buggy, you feel less paranoid, almost normal.
  • Don’t start crying as you realize that when you’re with the kids, you are in love with humanity; when you’re with the kids, you see everyone around you as someone’s son, someone’s daughter; someone who is loved and cherished; someone who someone else would die for... But whatever you do, don’t start crying … don’t start crying …  oh for fucksakes …

P.S: Since then, I’ve been told that reflexology, massage, too much time for reflection, and an over-stimulating afternoon stroll, can make you go gaga. I blame all that shit about trying to eat an elephant in one sitting, which is a very fucked-up image to give to someone who suffers from a general anxiety disorder.  

PS I’m dedicating this blog to the Black Dog Tribe blogging network.