Friday, 30 September 2011

Live, baby live

I literally do have a new Sensation. And it's gorgeous. Take that Michael Hutchence. Pow.

Never has a phone made me so immediately happy. On opening the box I did have, it has to be said, a momentary tremble of apprehension when I saw its girth. But, to be fair, that's a sensation I like to have so I adjusted myself accordingly.

See, I thought I'd ordered an HTC Desire, which although fairly hefty, is pretty much the same size as my (frankly archaic) iPhone 3G (how could I have loved you like I did? I mean, really) but this seemed a monster. Its screen is as big as my TV (ish), the camera is just squirmingly good, and it's all so fast and smooth. And I love the little android man. What? Don't judge me. He's cute.

Before I opened the box I did, it has to be said, start to have second thoughts. Cold feet if you will. I looked at my iPhone 3G and thought about all the good times. The start of the relationship, the honeymoon period. Sure, there were hiccups along the way, aren't there always when you're trying to adjust? What about my apps I thought. What about my talking chihuaha and all the levels I've unlocked on Angry Birds? What if Android apps are shit? What if I can't find a replacement running app? What about my music? What about the MEMORIES? How could I think of doing this? It's like putting a dog down cos he's just passed his best and although cute just doesn't cut it anymore. How. Could. I.

And then I opened the box and it was like that bit in Pulp Fiction when they open the case. (I think it's Pulp Fiction. One of them 90s Tarantino things. You know the one I mean) It's beautiful. Shiny. Fast. Huge. Ignore all phallic references, it's nothing to do with that. Filth.

I even found a furry leopard skin case online so it's almost complete.

iPhone 3G has been demoted to alarm clock and occasional MP3. Bless. Still, it's the way of the world. It wasn't you, iPhone, it's me. I just don't, you know, feel that way anymore. Byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Night owl

I just watched the Steps reunion show on SKY Living. It went on for about 40 years and I learned all about H and his sheep and Claire and her weight problem. And then they reunited them all in a room and basically left them to fight. And then the credits rolled. Sigh. They were just getting to the good bit. I predict Claire making Lisa cry (possibly by insulting her appalling nose job) and then perhaps eating her.

My life has turned into a nocturnal fug. I only feel awake at night when I'm pouring endless pints of Becks Vier and handing out fecking Kopperberg like it's some kind of elixir of health. What do people see in that? When did cider become cool? Who invented Jaegerbombs? What, exactly, are sours? Will I ever learn to make a cocktail? Hell, will I ever learn to make a cappucino? These are the questions that trouble my brain while at work.

And I've been at work a LOT recently. My shifts have fallen so that I have genuinely spent most of the last four days at the bar. And it kind of feels weird not to have gone in today. I miss the regulars. I miss cleaning the ashtrays. I miss hoovering up the sick.

I don't go to bed before at least 3.30am and I'm getting up later and later. I haven't been running because I'm just too exhausted. My shift on Monday was nine hours long. Nine hours running around and having to be cheery. Totally exhausting.

I think it's kind of like Stockholm Syndrome though. I kind of am enjoying it. I'm sort of getting into it. I'm taking pride in cleaning the bogs. For real. At least it's honest work. You go in, you clean, you serve booze, you clean, you drink, you leave. There's no wanky meetings, no flipcharts, no Kaizen, no SCRUM, no bullshit in short. If the boss hates you, man, you know it. There's no passive aggression and giving evils over the scanner. There's no being chained to your seat like a battery chicken. My legs used to twitch. I used to feel like rocking in desperation after about six hours. Desk jobs are panic attack inducing.

And they're not conduicive to concetration. Hence people bogging off to pointless meetings every 20 minutes. Anything to break the stultifying rhythm of the average day at the office. I have been known to make 36 cups of tea in a single day just so I could GET UP AND MOVE AROUND.

The downside of being this knackered is the fact that I've done nothing constructive today. Although I did watch the Steps Renuion (I was hoping for an actual fight) and Masterchef Australia (utterly insane as usual. I find myself talking to my cat with an upward inflexion) and I've learned to treble stitch.

Actually, that's pretty constructive.

I'm going to go to bed before 3am tonight as well, just to see what it's like.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Men. Can't live with them... can't stand them actually

That's not true. I don't want y'all to think I'm some kind of stereotypical man hating 30-something spinster who lives alone with a cat and drinks gin. Oh, wait.

No, the truth is I have some awesome male friends who I truly rate as human beings. They are ace to hang out with, some of them have been brilliant at giving me advice and some even manage to keep the glazed look out of their eyes for a whole 20 minutes while I wail about my problems. And to them I am truly grateful. I also can see with my eyes that many of my friends are in lovely relationships with respectful and loving boyfriends/husbands. I can see that these men do exist, and in fact outweigh the ones who prefer to spend their time ripping out girls' hearts and stamping on them just for the fuck of it.

But recent events haven't helped my mindset regarding relationships. As in me. In a relationship. That isn't borderline abusive and marked by awful, screaming fights. That isn't tainted by infidelity and undermining of the self.

Take Sunday for example. On Sunday I got dumped by someone I don't even fancy. I had one date with a guy the week before. Now, I could have been mistaken and he didn't fancy me, but the fact that he said (and later texted the words) "I fancy you" led me to believe he did. As did the moving in for a kiss. I'd decided within the usual two seconds that I didn't want to make the beast with two backs with this particular guy. And then I'd decided a couple of hours later that I didn't even really want to talk to him anymore. Which is when he moved in for a kiss. I actually fully sidestepped him. As in, swerved my head to the side and stepped away from him while simultaneously opening the door for him to leave. THAT'S how much I didn't fancy him and how clear I made it.

Fast forward a week and I get a text saying: "I just can't have anyone in my life right now. So I don't think we should see each other again." ORLY? Dickweed. Exactly what part of NOT LETTING YOU KISS ME AND NOT CONTACTING YOU gave you the impression that I was hanging on for a second date? Or that I would touch you with a fucking mile long bargepole. This may sound like I'm either protesting too much or that I'm overreacting but it's a prime example of the arrogance of the men I meet.

It doesn't matter if I'm sitting there asleep in front of them because they are so dull, or that I won't let them touch me in any way, shape or form. Or that I don't contact them and blatantly don't want to see them. They still assume that obviously I'm instantly in love with them and they have to let me down gently. Mental. Absolutely fucking mental.

Oh, and Saturday as well. On Saturday I saw my ex with another girl approximately a whole two weeks after we split. Years of being pushed and pulled into different directions, interspersed with the odd oasis of happiness quickly quelled by fights and being called fat, have finally killed this beast stone dead. But still, it's not what you want to see when you look out of your lounge window is it? Why can't exes just spontaneously combust? Or move to Grimsby? Either one would do.

So, yeah.

Um, anyone fancy a date?

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Overshare

Earlier there was a blink and you'd miss it posting. Which I took down after approx 10 minutes. It was a comedy (in my bitter and blinkered eyes) rendition of Adele's Someone like you. The song that is so very difficult to listen to when you're having a shit relationship or what have you.

I love the song actually. She's got a way with words that lass. Particularly for someone who is just a wee bairn.

But me reworking the lyrics in an amusing fashion as a passive aggressive dig at someone who has really fucked me about and hurt me is too low even for me. It felt good for the second I posted it, but on re-reading it just seemed kind of bitter. And lonely. And, well, like it took far more effor than he deserves (it didn't - 10 minutes max even though I got it all to scan and everything).

The lyrics are just too full of lamenting and pathos. And I'm much more in the mood for a 'fuck you, you massive massive bastard' kind of song. Not one about turning up out of the blue and how much it means to me. That's no help to anyone, is it Adele? How about a song about how much of twat he is and how much better it is without him? How about one of them?

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Can you feel the love tonight?

Never play this song to me. Never let me be in the same room for more than two bars of it. Never be around me if I decide, against my better judgement, to listen to a bit of it.

The song is Can you feel the love tonight? You know, the schmaltzy one about fucking Disney lions. That one. The video is appalling. It has Elton John in his pudding bowl wig phase (or was it a hair transplant? whatever it was, it was heinous). His podgy besuited frame is interspersed with scenes from The Lion King. Those bits are fine, lovely in fact. Not at all sure why they decided to include Mr John himself. He does tend to ruin things of a visual nature.

Perhaps I should explain. While I doss about my house and write/hoover/stare at walls etc, I usually have a music channel of some description on. And they tend to play endless top 10s - stuff like 'the top 10 best romantic emo songs'. Well, just now it happened to be 'the top 10 romantic movie songs'. And Can you feel the love tonight? came on.

I was, alas, too far away from the remote to mute it immediately.

Now you may be thinking I despise this song because I think it's cheesy or that I hate cartoons (sorry, animated movies) or that I dislike ballads. You'd be wrong on all counts. I pretty much live for cartoons and/or films with anthropomorphised animals. Seriously. I liked Garfield (the film with Bill Murray). Cats & Dogs is more enjoyable to me than Scarface. Marmaduke = awesome.

It's definitely not that.

I also have a penchant for cheese and I'm not averse to the odd romantic ballad.

The reason is that for some reason this song taps into the part of my brain where I store the box labelled 'my dad is dead'. It immediately causes me to shed the past decade and return to the years before The Day That Changed Everything. People go on about 9/11/2001. My personal armageddon was 3/16/2001. By the time the towers came down I was stuck in a thick fog of my own shock and grief. It wasn't a national event and it didn't garner media coverage. His funeral was small and he was here one moment and gone the next. He died overnight. Just like that. Nothing dramatic. Nothing even unusual really. Just another guy dying. Happens every day. But for me, it changed everything.

Dad bought me The Lion King on DVD when it came out, because he knew about my love for these kind of films. He loved it too. We watched it together. Of course, I'm aware the film bastardises Hamlet for the under 5s and the main hook is the death of Simba's dad. Which doesn't help. But it's mostly about the memories it evokes.

The speed that it turns me from my normal fairly dour but perkyish mood to howling and gibbering with rage and pain is shocking. It happens rarely these days. Grief is something you have to forcefully pack into a box in your brain and never, ever open it. Don't face it, don't look at it,don't talk about it (people don't know what to say anyway, it's uncomfortable for all concerned). In fact, don't think about it at all if you can possibly help it.

Because if that lid comes off it's as fresh and painful and agonising as the moment you heard those three words: "Your dad's dead." And it's remarkably difficult to get on with day to day tasks when you can't breathe and your chest has constricted from a feeling of horror so intense you almost can't take another breath ever again. And you almost don't want to.

I finally located the remote control and switched over.

The lid is now back on and - now I've finished this post - locked down tight.

I'll go back to thinking about my ex for a little light relief.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Man or leech?

So, just to prove a point.

Here's Brad with Juliette Lewis. Note they have very similar hair and style. Now Juliette is a well known individual dresser and style chameleon. Brad is a well known leech.

Moving on. Here is Brad Pitt and Gwynniiiiieeeee (LOVE her, have you SEEN goop? She's so in touch with the NORMAL woman you know? Acquiring the start of osteoporosis at the age of 38 as she has is totally ok because she's thin. Bones are crumbling but at least she's THIN). Note exact same hair styles and, actually, same face almost. Shudder.


Moving on again. Brad n Jen. I would also say that in most of the shots of B/J as they should be known (well, the shots that I've searched today) he looks well happy. Mucho happier than he does with Angelina 'I snog my brother to get attention' Jolie. Here we can see that Brad has adopted Jen's style. How very UNLIKE him to do so. Suddenly he's all clean cut and suave.



Bringing Mr Bland up to the present day. Here's one of him and el (I wear blood around my neck because I'm just soooooo wild) witcho. I think she's yanking his arm because he said something off message. But also LOOK AT THE LEATHER TROUSERS. Jesus.


So yeah. Brad Pitt: legendary 'hunk', actor, lover and total fucking leech.

I've probably done this to death now. But it's 20 minutes of my life that I've really really enjoyed.

Byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Monday, 19 September 2011

A message to Brad

It came to my attention over the weekend that Brad Pitt was interviewed in some rag somewhere or other. Obviously he was interviewed because he has a new film out. I forget which. But it's probably not very good.

You'd expect him to talk about, I dunno, the film? But what he actually did was slag Jennifer Aniston off and declare that he's never been happier than he is with Angelina Jolie (she of the cadavorous body and fish lip pout which apparently epitomises what all men want to stick their bits inside). He said his time with Jen - and that would be his MARRIAGE - was boring. That he was not being who he wanted to be.

Now, I feel an affinity with Jen, so I do. Around the same time it all came out that Brad was doing the dirty with the Hollywood town bike, I found out that my boyfriend at the time had been doing the dirty with someone not quite as glamorous. Our split coincided with the Pitt/Aniston divorce and so I spent a lot of time weeping and reading articles about Jennifer and how badly she had been treated. Which  very swiftly turned into a swathe of journalists attacking her, because obviously she must have been doing something wrong if hubby wanted to stray. Clearly it must be her fault for not being interesting enough for Mr Beige himself.

And then some of the press started to attack Jolie. I'm no Angelina fan - mostly because i haven't seen her in a single film that's any good, and secondly because obviously I'm jealous - but for fuck's sake. How did no one turn the spotlight onto the dufus in the middle of this? How is it when a man cheats, it's always somehow a woman's fault? Either they're the evil temptress who lured his penis out of his trousers with the power of her tits, or they're the wife who didn't do enough/wasn't thin enough/wasn't ENOUGH that bored him into accidentally sticking his willy into someone else.

Either way, it's never the man's fault. You know, the adult man who had seen fit to marry this woman. I get that relationships end. I get that marriages fail. But Ms Aniston has had to seemingly endure seven years of speculation of what she did wrong to drive hunky Brad away.

Maybe, just maybe, Brad was thinking with little Brad, got caught and made the leap. And who wouldn't want to be married to Angelina? She looks TONNES of fun. Acquiring six children in less time than it takes for most people to choose a pair of shoes is TOTALLY normal. And Brad looks GREAT since he's been with her. That whole hobo chic/knackered/harrassed/borderline hysterical thing REALLY suits him.

The man is a douche. He's a douche who has no sense of self. Have you ever seen pictures of when he was with Gwynnie? Google them. They had the SAME HAIR. Then he went out with Jen and became all slick and clean cut and dressed in Prada, you know, exactly like she does. And now he's with the she-bitch, obviously he looks like he got dressed in the dark. Because she's all gothic and that, see? It's ALMOST like he has no personality of his own and leeches off whoever is the unfortunate object of his affections.

Anyway, I guess my point is, how about shutting the fuck up Brad? You pussy whipped dick. I give it another couple of years max before she dumps you and moves on to someone less spineless.

Plus you were shit in Mr and Mrs Smith.

And you're increasingly looking like a hamster.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Masterchef meltdown

Something's gone very wrong with Masterchef. Due to my aforementioned love of TV I watch random satellite channels quite a lot. This is excellent because there are so many and they harbour such delights.

This is how I became involved with Masterchef Australia. It's really most peculiar. There's a short, bald, shouty man (obviously - you can't have Masterchef without a short, bald shouty man, preferably with horrendous manners when he eats), a guy who most closely resembles Toad from Toad of Toad Hall (he also has hair like Thingie Llewellyn-Bowen and wears a cravat. Without irony) and Another Dude.

They all stand in a big warehouse with a wet floor and shout at (I think) 50 contestants. FIFTY? where's the need for that? The first challenge I saw involved these contestants running around outside, peeling potatoes and cutting them into chips. Like a sort of boot camp for an unfortunate sous chef. and then it started raining. I mean horizontal monsoon like rain. And they carried on chopping potatoes in the rain. What. The. Fuck.

I remember the days when Lloyd Grossman, he of the peculiar Antipodeanesque accent, would gently cajole three middle aged to elderly types through their producing a fantastic looking three course meal. He would then respectfully judge the food, which was clearly of an extremely high quality. It was all very pleasant and Sunday-evening-on-the-BBC-in-the-80s.

Then there was Masterchef, the reboot. Which introduced SHOUTING and PRESSURE and a random greengrocer as a judge. Cooking doesn't get TOUGHER than this. And slowly the cooks became more and more inferior.

Then there was the deconstructed trifle.

Now it's peeling potatoes in the rain and people frequently sobbing about missing their children and how they're doing it for their dead grandma.

There's probably some kind of analogy with the demise of our very society in this shit but I can't be arsed to find it.

I'm waiting for the episode where blind, mute, midgets have to cook a deep fried mars bar in the dark while doing a karaoke rendition of The Greatest Love of All. Until then, I'm just not interested.

Are you happy?

[For the record: PMA thoughts = very few. Children smiled at = none. Old people chatted to = zero. Affect on my life so far = negligible.]

Onwards.

I was at work the other night, half way through the Saturday shift. I walked into the kitchen (correction: I skidded into the kitchen with a pile of plates in one hand, a food order in the other, the boss yelling at me from the bar, and a small child colleague under my feet) and the chef said: "Are you happy Debs?"

"That's a loaded question," I said.

Cue chorus of groans from the sweaty kitchen boys. "You're so grumpy." "You're never happy." Etc etc.

"Now wait a minute,"I said. " You asked if I'm happy. I consider that a rather ridiculous question, all in all. The question should be: 'What IS happiness?' If you're asking me whether I'm happy right now, right in this moment, then, well, no. Of course I'm not. I'm working for minimum wage selling beer to drunk people. I am single, 35, barely making my rent. I'm a size 12. I'm afraid I'm wasting my potential. What if I never finish my book? What if I never find The Guy who will make me feel safe and secure. And is good in bed? What if I never get over my dad's death? What if I can never, ever, ever shake the feeling that I'm never quite good enough, that things are always off kilter, than I'm doing it WRONG somehow? So, no. I'm not HAPPY.

"I am, however, happy with certain things in my life. My friends, for example. I genuinely have a collection of amazing friends. There's the inner circle of pseudo family, the outer levels of fun time friends, the ones I just see in the pub... all of them bring different (usually ace) things to my life. I'm happy with my face. Ish. I like my hair. I like immersing myself in creativity so it takes me away from stuff. I love the fact that I have discovered running. My cat makes me smile. A coffee makes me happy.

"I guess, to me, happiness is transitory. It's momentary times. It's the random night out where you laugh till you cry and get just the right level of drunk and everything is suffused in a warm glow. Or it's having a conversation with someone that totally opens your mind to a different way of thinking. Or it's completely something that was hanging over you. Or flirting with someone who makes you smile. Smoking a cigarette after sex. Having an orgasm. Reading an awesome book. Telling your ma you love her.

"THOSE are the things that make me happy in that moment. Don't ask me to believe that there is some state of 'happiness' that people revel in every single day of their lives. Because that's bullshit. It's propping up the self for outward appearances. I know people who on the outside are soooo damn happy. But behind the Facebook pictures and the smiles, there's bitterness, regret and secret unhappiness.

"Don't give in to the pressure to be 'happy' all the time. It's balls. If you can spend every day doing one thing that you don't hate. If you can see or speak to one person who makes you smile or feel connected. Hell, if you can get out of bed and face the day even though you're broken hearted, or ill, or lonely, or anxious, then you're doing well. But for jaysus sake, be honest with yourself.

"So, yeah, in summary. Right this second I'm OK. Once i'm off work tonight I'll be a bit happier."

By this point the chef had left the conversation.

I think he just wanted me to say yes.

Oops.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

P. M. A

I just wrote this whole blog post about men and relationships and then deleted it. Self censorship at its finest. Perhaps this isn't the place. But I'm totally writing a book, just so you know. And you have to buy it.

Suffice it to say I've been reading far too much self help recently. And staying in too much. My week last week comprised of sitting on my sofa in my pants writing stuff, dragging myself to my other job as bar tender supreme at the finest boozer in Leamington, cooking for friends and then waving them off as they go out for fun times and I stay in sneezing on the cat and lamenting my ever rubbish immune system.

There's no worse place for a sufferer of sinusitis - for twas the nature of my malady - than behind the bar at a busy pub on a Saturday night. It was actually slightly surreal in its horribleness as I struggled not to puke on the customers and/or pass out while taking their food order. The music was too loud, the people too lairy, the pace too fast, and the colleagues lacking in sympathy.

In fact, my quiet, dignified moans and requests for empathy fell on the deafest of deaf ears as the embryos I work with looked at me askance when I said 'sinusitis'. I think they thought it was an old person's disease or maybe women's problems judging by their embarrassed giggles.

Still, being called moody for the 50th time while just attempting to stay upright while sweating out a fever, is still a First World Problem. I should be grateful for the health I do have (when I have it - the lack of non essential organs and the myriad scars on my torso would probably argue otherwise).

Maybe it's time I did muster a positive mental attitude to life. It's not something I've tried before. Let's give it a whirl shall we? See what happens if I go all Pollyanna-ish. I'm aware that at least 85% of you will have no idea what I mean by that last sentence.

However, ploughing on, from tomorrow I will try a new tack. I will smile at old people and small children, I shall remember my ex boyfriends with affection and glad tidings, I will walk with a spring in my step and assume just around the corner is a cornucopia of delights. I will stop comparing situations to Dante's circles and I'll cut the fools on Twitter some slack.

Let's see what happens...

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Guilty pleasures

I love TV. This is no secret. I am unashamed of watching Most Haunted, America's Next Top Model and every possible cooking show. Apart from Jamie Oliver's obviously. Fat tongued fool makes shudder. All that phlegm in the food. Yuch.

I know a fair few who deny watching any TV at all: 'I'm just, like, too busy actually living life, yeah?' I have news for you hipster dudes. Watching endless boxsets or downloads of HBO shows COUNTS AS WATCHING TV. Just saying.

I love TV so much that I have it on every day when I'm working (still from my sofa, today in pyjamas)... oh hang on, do excuse me. Fatman is puking his little cat guts up all over the place. Cats being sick are painful to watch. They look like they're turning their bodies inside out with the effort... one sec... Christ, I had to 'remove the solid matter' before cleaning the area. I am now fighting my gag reflex. But I digress.

So yeah, TV is my friend. Which is why I found myself watching a man crying over macaroons at 2am. I got in from work after a tough shift during which I almost projectile vomited on various patrons' food due to being a tad under the weather. And all I wanted to do was watch The Great British Bake Off.

Which pretty much represents all the elements of my favourite TV: Sue Perkins, cooking under arbitrary time pressures, people falling apart over the quality of their macaroons like it's life or death... it's genius.

Last night a guy who'd presented some really shit looking macaroons in an 'artistic' manner visibly crumbled when the judge said they were badly presented. It was his 'thing'. You could see his entire sense of self worth melting. That's drama. THAT'S good TV. Outside during his interview after being booted off the show, he was holding back the tears like a good 'un. Mumbling about how proud everyone is of him and manfully smiling through the pain. IT WAS MACAROONS dude. Get a grip. No one even EATS macaroons anymore.

Anyway, I have to go now. Most Haunted is on.

Monday, 5 September 2011

One pound fucking twenty

For the first time ever I find myself without an office to go to. This means all sorts of things. Primarily it means I don't have to attend meetings. And meetings about meetings. It also means I don't have to run the gauntlet of : "How was your weekend?" 50 million times before I get my first coffee of the day. I also don't have to write my name on my food. I don't have to look at signs that tell me when water might be hot or how to wash my hands. I don't have to fix a rictus grin of cordiality while talking about tedious minutae when all I want to do is run screaming from my battery hen existence.

It also means I don't have access to a printer.

This blows. I mean, obviously, I'm neither advocating nor suggesting that I have at any time in the past or will in the future, conducted my personal admin while at my place of work. Nor am I suggesting that I have ever used company paper, pens, staplers etc for anything other than their intended purpose. I'm just saying that I like printers. And I don't have one.

(Mind you, the things I've seen people do. I saw one woman frequently print out multiple copies of, and then laminate her child's 'congratulations at swimming 5m' certificate things using company materials. So that makes me feel much better about never ever having printed out stuff for my own use. Just saying.)

Anyway. So. No printer means I have to, well, figure out what people without printers do. I mean, I have invoices to print (actual proper invoices - so exciting) and complicated Inland Revenue forms to print out and shit.

So I went down to my second favourite place in the whole world - the library.

I love the library. I adore it in fact. It's even better now because you don't even have to speak to anyone. You can go in, get books (up to TEN BOOKS. For FREE) and then check them out at the computery things that have replaced the human who used to stamp the books. And then you leave. It's marvellous. Although it does make me a bit sad. When I was little, that was my main career aspiration - to be the lady who stamped the books with that pen/stamper thing. I even painstakingly 'stamped' my (rather massive for a five year old) book collection so I could practise for the day when I became a Library Assistant. Halcyon days indeed.

Anyway, I may use the library lots but I have never ventured forth into the using the internet malarkey there. Turns out you have to book a slot and then hang around glaring at people till they feck off, log in to the computer and then it counts you down for 30 minutes. I mean, there's an actual counter going backwards. And, when you get to five minutes to go, it ticker tapes across the screen with a big count down clock like it's going to explode.

It took me five seconds to realise that everyone, without exception, in that library was using their precious half an hour's free internet access to look at Facebook. I shit you not. Students, writers, randoms, kids, old people, all of them. Just clicking on Facebook. I was appalled and yet comforted. After all, it felt JUST like every office I've ever worked in.

I printed off four pages, paid £1.20 for the privilege, and then checked Facebook for the last ten minutes. I felt right at home.