Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Deborah is tired

This is the line my erudite and verbose art teacher used to excuse my inane daubings today in art class.

I went on a Wednesday as I was indisposed last night. For indisposed read staring at a wall with exhaustion. Working for a living sure is tiring.

So I went on a Wednesday. I was mildly curious to see what would be different about the Wednesday group. Turns out the music is a lot better and the whole vibe is different. I liked it.

What remains the same is my drastic inability to be able to draw from real life. Comfortingly there were some more beginners, which makes me feel slighty less like a monkey holding charcoal and jabbing randomly at an easel. Only slightly less, mind.

Being almost too tired to stand up for two hours didn't help either.

At the end we turned our easels round in order to discuss our efforts. This is where your heart sinks slightly. Whatever misplaced pride you may have built up while hacking away at the paper is quickly banished at the sight of some properly excellent renditions of the naked lady on the floor.

Said teacher goes round the group pointing out successes and new techniques.

When he came to mine he graciously excused my fuckwittage by explaining that I was very tired. I'm not sure it was enough of an excuse but it'll do me.

Imagine what I could have achieved if fully refreshed. A picture that's in proportion and doesn't resemble a squished alien perhaps.

Still, there's always next time.

Afterwards we went to the pub. This felt like a proper novelty. In a PUB. With PEOPLE. Talking to other PEOPLE. Who aren't my CAT. Amazing.

For some reason people started guessing what the others do for a living. I got: something in marketing, working on a till and a call centre operator.


Saturday, 26 May 2012

Fucking bastard

On a Saturday morning I have to go to a place to see a woman. It's a thing I have to do and it costs me a lot of money. For this thing I get the bus.

The thing is situated approx 5 miles away from my house and therefore necessitates a taxi journey costing at least eleven pounds (I was forced to spell that out as, inexplicably, my phone doesn't have a pound sign, bloody anti British HTC), or a bus journey costing 3.50 return. The bus journey is, naturally, tediously slow and covered in chavs, but it is cheap and I would basically travel in an uncovered dung wagon if it was cheap. Which is lucky, judging by the state of this bus journey. It somehow takes the best part of 45 mins to cover the distance and is either 20 minutes early or 20 minutes late.

I mitigate this by waiting at the bus stop for at least 20 minutes before what is laughingly called the 'timetable' says it's due. Irritating but manageable.

This morning all was set. I'm at the bus stop, guardian in hand, best friend on phone. Sure enough 20 minutes later I see the bus. And then I watch it go right past me. I run alongside it waving and yelling and the bovine fuckknuckles just stare out at me, as if wondering what that mad woman could possibly want out of a bus that is driving past her.

It didn't stop.

I got a taxi.

I am 11 pounds down and it's not even 11am. F, as the kids say, ML.

Situation was slightly cheered by the taxi man asking me if I study at York Uni and declaring me as looking 'about 25'.

But still.

Friday, 25 May 2012

I got a feeling

Sometimes people tell me that my blogs are too harsh. That I sound too angry. That they didn't realise how passionate I was about Masterchef/the Olympics/accordionists (delete as applicable).

I mean, do you really care that much, they say? To which I would reply: sometimes yes, I do. I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing to have a passionate opinion about something. And I don't think it's a bad thing to express it. But sometimes, no. Sometimes I'm doing it for comedy effect, or at least exaggerating it for kicks. Or to amuse myself.

The Olympics blog was one such blog. And I read it (I don't read before I press publish as a general rule) and I started thinking maybe I have been too harsh. Maybe it is an event that should instil some national pride in me. Maybe I should try and join in a bit. Maybe the morals of the IOC aren't dictated by filthy lucre after all.

And then I saw this.

I am, of course, vaguely aware that the torch is wending its tortuous way around our fair isle, visiting places as interesting as Folkestone and Taunton. I assumed it was carried by a mixture of competition winners, athletes, ex-athletes, perhaps a high-profile British athlete (maybe David Beckham, our rentasportsceleb on the basis that he is aesthetically extremely pleasing and knows to smile a lot).

I didn't realise that the London Olympics 2012 - which I am led to believe is the most exciting thing for Britain since the first days of the glorious Empire - is being marked by a random pop singer carrying the torch.

Just to be clear. is
a) not an athlete
b) not British
c) responsible for introducing Fergie's voice to the world and
d) spells his name ''

Two of these are good reasons to deport him, not invite him to represent a country he has no affinity with for an event he has nothing to do with.  

What the living fuck? And then I realised. It's because Coca Cola sponsors the torch carrying malarkey and therefore they say who carries the torch.

For my money, this pisses all over the feel good factor of other torchbearers (I read of one 81 year old who was meant to carry the torch back in 1948 but missed it because of appendicitis and 2012 has given him his chance) That's lovely that is. I would believe in the Olympic 'spirit' if there was a bit more of that going on and a bit less of

In short, I was right to despise the London 2012 Olympics and everything it stands for. Which is basically money.

My neighbour is a psycho

I don't know whether he actually peels the skin of peoples' faces to wear as masks, or tortures small animals in his spare time. In fact, I'm guessing not. Probably. Quite rare that is, isn't it?

But what he does do is laugh maniacally in short sharp bursts, apparently throughout the day, every day. I think this is unusual, I'm not going to lie. It's just odd. He doesn't appear to go to work. He doesn't appear to go out during the evenings. But he does cackle like some kind of stoner watching Cheech and Chong.

It's come to my attention again as I have had a piss poor week in the health stakes, frankly. Really, really shite. I am sick to fucking death of sick. This has meant I have been at home rather more than is usual. And I'm interested to note that his hyena-like braying is not just reserved for evenings and weekends. In fact, it begins pretty early and then comes in staccato bursts of hilarity throughout the day and evening.

I mean, he must be watching something seriously funny on TV. There's literally nothing that makes me emit more than a slight guffaw (New Girl and Grandma's House at the moment). Most comedies I fully enjoy but watch with an almost entirely straight or scowling expression. So what is it that he is watching? Unless he's not watching anything and just sits staring at a blank wall, every now and again bursting with uncontrollable laughter? Maybe he has a sort of tourette's syndrome that only manifests itself through shouts of barking laughter? Maybe he's found god and is laughing with the sheer joy of being? Maybe he's high?

I'm fascinated by this guy. I want to know what he does for money? How does he afford stuff? How does he support himself? Does he ever go shopping? Does he have any friends? What is it he's watching?

In American TV shows people always go and take their new neighbours cookies or some shit. I wonder if I should do that? In this country I spose you're more likely to be stabbed in the face for such a gesture. Maybe I'll wait till the inevitable shitfest that will be some kind of Jubilee 'street party' and then make subtle enquiries.

I don't mind him by the way. This is not a hate-filled rant by any means. I'd rather have him than some dreadful yoof pumping their shitty music through my wall. Much rather. It's kind of comforting in fact, the sound of his crazy giggling.

I'd miss it if it wasn't there.

I should probably get out more.

Finishing the week in style

Oh yes I did. I mean, what could be better on a Friday to be the last one in the office at 6.30pm on the sunniest Friday since records began (probably)? I'll tell you what - doing two weeks worth of timesheets because if you don't things will get sticky on Monday. And not in a good way.

Well, that sounds pretty ace, but what could be better than that I hear you cry? Leaving the office, setting the alarm and then not being able to lock the door for no discernable reason and then standing in abject horror when the alarm blares out? That do you?

But wait. It gets even better than that. The only person I can call is my boss. The alarm is blaring. I am shaking (I do that when around loud noises I have seemingly no control over - see past blogs about The Sozzled Sausage), I call him. He's lovely about it and says he will come and sort it. It sounds like he's in the pub. So basically I've been completely shit and then had to drag my boss away from whatever fun he was having on a sunny Friday evening to come and rescue me.

So I leave and I'm nearly home when the boss man calls me: "The alarm has gone again..."

So I go back to the office, Waitrose bags full of trout and trifle sponge in my weary arms. He arrives and it turns out (much to my relief) it wasn't be ridiculous stupidity after all (I had naturally assumed that he would turn up and with one twisty flourish lock said door).

I slunk home.

And ate trout.

I might have a little weep now.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Back in 'Nam

I was enjoying my regular massage earlier. Since I managed to land myself a job with an actual wage I've eschewed saving money in favour of buying things and having massages. I mean, you can't take it with you, can you? Best to enjoy the now rather than think about the future. I'm pretty sure that's the best way to do things anyway. I'll probably thank my younger self when I'm 80, homeless and there is no welfare system left to look after me. But for now, on with the massages.

So I go to this lass who is amazing. It's a proper deep tissue massage so it's blissfully hardcore. That sounds wrong. But oh so right.

I'm starting to drift off while listening to the music that's always played during massages. I think this is to dispell any lingering sense of awkwardness about lying face down, almost completely naked while a stranger rubs every part of you except your vajayjay.

A few weeks ago it was Enigma's Return to Innocence (remember that?) which pleasantly took me back to around 1994 and the days when I would regularly imbibe something rather stronger than prescription codeine and a gin and tonic. This week it was some classical music.

And then Barber's Adagio for Strings kicked in. If you're familiar with this music then you're probably exactly like me in that the instant you hear it you're back in 'Nam with Charlie Sheen. I have seen Platoon way too many times than is good for me and I still cry when Elias is killed. I've a vague notion that Barber wrote the Adagio in the 30s and it was probably inspired by some trauma of his own, such is the pathos and depth of emotion in the music. But for me and many others (let's face it, many others also born in the 70s) I should think it just conjures up Willem Dafoe, slow motion, dropping to his knees while a pre-mental Charlie Sheen watches from a helicopter in anguish.

It's moving, man.

I don't have much time for war films usually. Just Platoon. And Apocalypse Now. Oh, and Kelly's Heroes, The Dirty Dozen and Full Metal Jacket. So quite a few then I suppose. But mostly in that 80s gung ho YooEssAaaa style. When I started watching them I was too young to be disgusted at the USA's dodgy foreign policy and needless meddling in other countries so I kind of missed Stone's rather blatant message, I was just swept away by the emotion of it all. And the fact that everyone really suited the uniforms.

I wrote an A-level essay based on Platoon I seem to recall. I have harboured a life long crush on both Charlie Sheen and Willem Dafoe thanks to this film. And Adagio for Strings always always makes me cry. And it was the full version that played while I was being pummelled by my masseur. I wanted to ask her whether she felt the same way but one look at her young, young face, blonde highlights and fake tan told me that Platoon probably wasn't at the top of her favourite Vietnam film list.

Thankfully there was some godawful version of The Nutcracker with tinny beat behind it that sounded like it was recorded on a Casio keyboard to bring me back from 'Nam into the present.

They really need to pick something a bit less emotional for the soundtrack to my massages. Am hoping Schindler's List's soundtrack isn't on the cards for next time.

RIP Elias. You were really hot.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Shiteous situation

I did a Bad Thing. It was only a minor Bad Thing but it was still bad. And, no, I'm not talking about watching the entire series 2 of Made in Chelsea when I should have been out running/cleaning my flat/ writing my opus.
I'm talking about taking slight advantage of a cab driver. We had a bit of chat. Usually I hate chats with taxi drivers, I don't know why, it just irks me. I always end up asking the same questions as well because it's basically hard to know what to ask someone when you have zero interest in them. Small talk. Has there ever been a more tedious convention?
This one was ok although he made sure to tell me he was single within the first five minutes. I would usually discontinue any conversation along these lines, as it's just weird and presumptuous. Obviously if he was fit then it'd be fine. Such are the vagaries of women.
This time though I smiled and may have even simpered. This is because two minutes into the journey I had noticed the unmistakable smell of dog shit. I looked down and saw a bit on the mat.
After ascertaining he hadn't had any dogs in the car but had had some children, we decided to blame it on them. Then I saw it. All over the heel of my Doc Marten.
I think the last time I trod in dog shit I was was about 9. It's one of those things that instantly makes me feel humiliated and childish. Like a proper grown up person would never have done something as embarrassing as tread in dog shit, bring it into a taxi and then blame a poor innocent child.
He's still flirting with me and I surreptitiously try to wipe it off my boot with my handy emergency tissue while keeping up enough interested-sounding noises as possible. Ohhhhhh you're divorced I trill. Yeah don't have no interest in her anymore says he. That's a shame sez I, trying to chuck the shit covered tissue out of the window without him seeing. As he's watching me in the rear view mirror this is tricky.
My main concern now is not to get it on any other part of me. Which I managed very well, for anyone concerned I might hug them later tonight.
I fail in my mission to clean it off as I hadn't quite realised the extent of the damage. And I thought to myself that a proper grown up would fess up to the taxi man and offer to clean his car mat.
I kept flirting.
As I got out at the station I managed to get some on the car door. I was pretty much hysterical with fake giggling by this point and the added worry of trying to hide my right boot from the taxi man.
Naturally he leapt out of the cab to help me with my bags. As he did so he peered into the backseat and remarked that the child had really trodden it in.
And then he knocked a couple of quid off my fare.
I pretty much ran, presumably trailing yet more dogshit in my wake. Where the fuck had I trodden into this mountain of kak? And how did I not even fricking notice?
I have issues with such situations and asked the cleaning person in the ladies toilets if I could use all his disinfectant and cleaning stuff. And he let me, the little star. So 20 mins of scrubbing later I was ready to start on the obsessive compulsive hand washing. I then bought some of that antibacterial gel which I have applied approx every five minutes for the duration of the journey so far.
I finally feel clean again. I really hope the taxi man does as well...

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Citius, Altius, Fortius

Ahhhh, the Olympics. Or should that be the London Olympic and Paralympic Games 2012? Or was it London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics? I can't remember. As a magazine editor I've found myself writing this revered branding a lot recently. I say revered as the IOC is incredibly specific about how one writes it. I have no idea why. It's not like you would get it confused with the other biggest every sporting event ever to be held in London ever in the world ever.

We've been watching that fucking clock ticking down for what feels like centuries. And the excitement should probably be ramping up right about now.

The Olympic creed is thus:
The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well. 
That's nice, right? And I do admire the athletes (not our athletes; I don't think the country of their birth marks them out as anything more special than any other fast runner, jumper or hopper) who have dedicated their entire lives to the single purpose of jumping a millimetre higher than someone else over a big horizontal stick. I mean, I don't claim to understand why they'd want to do such a thing. Seems an awful lot of effort, but whatever gets you through.

I've read about patriotism and nationalistic pride in books, so I sort of get that people get excited about various competitions where people kick things and hit things and run around in circles and swim up and down and that. It's a weird thing to get all pridey about. It's absolutely no reflection on a country if someone runs slightly faster than someone else. None. At all. Nada.

But why all the fricking hooha? Why do we have to have it thrust down our gullets that 2012 is the MOST EXCITING YEAR EVER FOR BRITISH SPORT. I mean, it doesn't have much competition does it? What's it going up against? The one time we won the World Cup (which, by the way, is seriously too long ago to hold onto as anything special now)? Or how about that time the nice bald swimming chap won a medal? Or there's always Wimbledon - two weeks of tedious disappointment and posh people rahhing into their strawberries.

What with the fucking JUBILEE - it's the JUBILEE you know. You might have missed this fact. It's easy to miss what with no news channel/newspaper/rmajor retailer banging on about it all the fucking time. The Queen is bloody ancient now, and to mark the fact that a family with all the money in the world seemingly live for-fucking-ever, we all get to buy Union Jack branded shite and eat cakes in the street with the neighbours we never talk to. Not long, mark you, after said old, rich Queenie took her seat under a million quids worth of jewels to tell us all how we should live like paupers for a few years on account of the fact that the government gone done fucked up the economy again. What does she care? She's seen it all before. Loads of times. She's been on the throne since 1902. So what with the Jubilee and then the Olympics and then apparently some football shite, I might beg my doctor to put me into an artificially induced coma until September and everyone shuts the fuck up.

But my point, before I started ranting like a good 'un, is that this Olympic ideal, this bastion of good sportingness and honourable valour we're constantly told to look up to and admire is funded by possibly the most evil conglomerate of massively corrupt multinational corporations you could think of. Seriously. Think of the five most unlikely and soulless, morally corrupt corporations and you'll find them as either a sponsor or a partner of the Olympics.

You may have also noticed that everything you buy is apparently endorsing, sponsoring or otherwise spunking over the Olympics, from cake, sweets and burgers (I'm sure they tie in with the Olympic ideal somehow) to haircare and sanitary towels. There's probably some Olympic branded condoms so people can literally spunk themselves silly with excitement, and yet stay safe.

It's all about the fucking money. So they can stick their greatest show on earth rhetoric up their fucking arse. Just about the only thing I'm looking forward to is watching them flounder when London inevitably grinds to a halt with its shiteous public transport system.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Artistic frustration

Why can I not be excellent at everything immediately? Why? Why is this?

I went to art class. This was my fourth one, sort of. Technically it's my third because I almost projectile vomited in class number three and had to leave forthwith.

By the end of art class I have usually drawn a rough approximation of the naked person and am have thoroughly enjoyed myself.

This week was a different matter. For some reason what I saw would not translate to the page. I couldn't do it. I just couldn't do it. I have now decided that the most frustrating thing in the world (for today at least) is looking at something, drawing it and then realising that it's just all wrong. I honestly drew her face about twelve times and kept rubbing it out. Perspective is a bitch.

The model was lying with her feet towards me, on an angle. I could see where the foreshortening should be. I could see the axis she was lying on. I could see how perspective tipped her head back. I just couldn't draw it.

It's incredibly disheartening when you're surrounded by really talented people making it look easy. My lovely art teacher kept showing me what to do and I kept fucking it up.Over and over again. I was getting properly ragey. And by the end of two hours all I had to show was a badly shaded torso and legs.

Graghghghghghgh. I have never enjoyed show and tell less. You should see what some people produce. Proper little works of art. When Mr Teacher got to mine he did a sort of diplomatic bit about how everyone has a bad day, bless him. Seeing everyone else's stuff just made me more frustrated. And more determined.

I have decided it's like learning the violin. I did this. I started when I was four and by the time I was about 12 I was really freaking good at it. But for the first eight years I sucked. Everyone does pretty much. You ever heard a kid play the violin below around Grade 5 standard? Fucking awful it sounds. I pity all the parents who have to sit through concerts of that shit and pretend to enjoy themselves.

So, my point is, I may be shit now, but I am going to be able to draw one day. Even if it takes eight bastard years.

Monday, 14 May 2012

One way or the other

I'm paying the price for having, uh, I think it was three days in a row where I was in a good mood. Not just an alright mood but an actual almost happy mood. It never does last long and I'm crashing down the other side.

I've just remembered that work people read this now *waves* and I don't know if I should mention my struggles with depression and anxiety. But then that would be cowardly wouldn't it? And this blog was always going to be for me to talk about what I want. So why stop now?

You know one of the first things I did when I got to York? I found a therapist. Finally, I'm in a position where I don't just want to have a chat with my demons, I want to dig them out and smack their heads against the wall until they just fuck off.

I want to be free of this.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

If Tolstoy had TV

I had an entire day today to indulge my creativity. At the moment I have three short stories, a drawing project and a book project on the go. I had planned on getting up relatively early and writing. I really want to, you know, finish something at some point. I'm almost positive I have the next great novel in my brain.

What I actually did was get up at 5.30am (major issues with sleeping right now. Must look out my stash of hardcore sleeping pills at some point. The trouble with my new house is I have absolutely no fucking idea where anything is. I've taken to just buying new things when I can't find the old thing. Then I find the old thing and I feel like the very worst example of Western consumerism. And then I add it to my list of things I feel extremely guilty about. It's fun.)

Then I did some online shopping. Then I went back to sleep. Then I read a book. Yes, a whole one. Then I fell back to sleep. Then I decided to get up and do something productive.

So I get my writing stuff together. This involves taking my duvet downstairs and opening my laptop. It's very technical.

And then I just happened to look on Channel 4 OD and found that they have every single episode of Made in Chelsea online. And it's game over.

Anna Karenina would never ever have been completed if Leo lived now. This is why there are no great works of literature anymore. If it wasn't for the amount of TV I have stacked up to watch and all of the books that I have to read then I would probably be a bestselling author. Probably.

Made in Chelsea is possibly one of the best TV programmes I have ever seen. It's the most fantastically awkward, obviously scripted, badly acted, badly written, ridiculous thing I've seen since Neighbours was in its heyday. It's just marvellous. It's full of people called Millie, Caggy, and most implausibly, Binky. The boys wear more makeup than the girls and the girls look at least 15 years older than they are due to the sheer amount of fake tan and fake eyelashes they are staggering around wearing.

There's a rather rotund greasy fellow called Spencer who appears to be the stud of the series. He inexplicably has at least two sloaney girls on the go at any one time, despite the fact that he increasingly resembles a middle-aged lothario - despite apparently yet to turn 25. His friend Hugo guffaws his way through Spencer's romantical adventures, which seem to solely consist of Spencer saying: "Er, like, you know my feelings are for you, don't you, yah?" to whichever leggy lovely is nearest him at the time.

Everything's amaaaaaaaaaaaaazing darling.

And Binky just wondered whether Dickens wrote Winnie the Pooh.

If the Brontes were around now, I tell you, Wuthering Heights would never have happened.

Still, there's always tomorrow. And I bet it took Proust ages to write his thing, right? And he didn't even have the excuse of Made in Chelsea. So I'm probably at least twice as good as Proust by my logic. Amaaaaaaazing.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

How the other half live

Since moving to York, I have become a tad addicted to the joys of the Waitrose shopping experience. It's just so clean and sort of celestial. And everything is Fair Trade and they have lots of different kinds of everything nice. And even buying normal brands there just feels nicer. Everyone is much more polite and less frantic than in the less salubrious supermarkets. People whisper "excuse me" as they strain to reach the organic mung beans and artisan rye brocht from shelves packed to overflowing with all the ingredients necessary for a truly middle class Guardian flavoured meal time. I bloody love it. The aisles are wide and clutter free and the price match notifications are subtle and apologetic, as if they don't really want to, you know, mention the likes of Tesco but everyone else seems to be going mad for price matching and there is, of course, a double dip recession happening but they still really want you to enjoy the unsqueaky trolleys and choice of 52 flavours of Green & Blacks on offer so they'll just pop the price match info down here in muted colours.
The contrast to the gaudily decorated alternative supermarket I visited today is immense. Here, there, everywhere a BOGOF deal. Also it turns out it wasn't a great place to visit for someone like me who is always wanting to lose weight. Not just because there are cheap sweets, chocolate and lard based confectionery on every corner, but because the clientele are mostly massive. Seriously. In Waitrose everyone looks like they exist on frou frou salads and the odd avocado. In this place, they look like they must consume at least 12 family sized pizzas a day. Which has the knock on effect of making me feel slim because I am literally the smallest person I can see. This makes it even harder to resist the nice food in favour of salad and vegetables.
I got very confused looking for the hummus incidentally. It wasn't with the deli stuff, it was on the gargantuan pizza aisle. How? Why?
Anyway, needs must when you've spunked a lot of money on new haircuts recently and it is most definitely cheaper than the lovely Waitrose. And I learned to close my ears to the ubiquitous screaming child who seemed to be dogging my progress through the store.
I hate it when kids scream, cry, whinge and mither in public places. I have zero tolerance for it. I hate it. It sets my teeth on edge and makes me uncomfortable. I just want them to shut up. I know, I know, I'm not a parent so don't understand the pressures of controlling offspring, but to be honest I don't care when all I can hear is that mewling.
I happened to look up in disgust at this one. And I saw her little face screwed up in pain as her mother twisted her small arm the wrong way and shouted at her to shut the fuck up. The mother just kept shouting. The girl just kept crying, her eyes big and frightener. I saw them intermittently around the store. The hulking, thuggish husband pushing a trolley full of beer and shit, the mother, hard faced and dead eyed bullying her tiny daughter into the ground. It was horrible. And I found myself empathasing with the girl. Go ahead and scream love. Maybe one day someone will hear you and save you from the damage your parents are unquestionably going to do, if not physically, certainly mentally to the small child they chose to bring into this world.
People should have to have a license to breed. Perhaps then there would be fewer fucked up adults in the world fucking it turn for their offspring.
Still, the shopping was extremely reasonable.

Carpet munching pussy

There's a long held belief, mostly, it has to be said, among cat lovers, that cats are intelligent. That they are infinitely superior to dogs in the old brain area. The general rule of opposable thumb is that cats manipulate their owners with subtle signals. These include yowling in one's face until the only thing left to do is fill that yawning maw of a mouth with cat food; rubbing up against you while you're just about to indulge in coitus; sleeping on your face and then suddenly leaping to attention a propos of nothing, simultaneously digging their claws in and launching themselves from your now scarred body in pursuit of something that appears to be invisible to the naked eye. And generally living the life of a spoiled prima donna. They're basically Mariah Carey.

All the while, they're plotting your demise while staring at you through hooded sleepy cat eyes. Or at the very least they're in control. They're not like dogs, who just run at you like you're made of chocolate. They don't pine when you're away. They don't even notice when you're away. They basically get you to treat them like the prince of cats, with just a flick of their disdainful whiskers. They're elegant and agile; tiny panthers living among us, allowing us to marvel at their supple and strong bodies and their delicate and refined ways.

All cats are like this.

All, that is, except Fatman. He's a bellend. Seriously. He's an idiot. If he had a comparable human IQ it would be about 5 points below the average Republican. He's just plain dumb. I have to wipe his ass for him sometimes. Uhuh. That's a real thing I have to do. I have tried to blame it on the fact that he had a traumatic and abusive kittenhood - and he did - but he's been living in safety and comfort for five years now and he still doesn't understand the difference between my friends (who he has met a hundred times) and a gang of crazed psychopathic cat murderers.

He walks into walls, falls off things - and doesn't land on his feet. He eats rubber bands and plastic bags. He pulls bits of carpet out and sits there chewing them like a cow chewing the cud. I have seen him methodically chew a piece of the rug, and just as I got to him to yoink it out of his flapping jaws, swallow it with a satisfied gulp. He eats flowers, leaves and plastic but won't eat freshly cooked chicken. He has been known to miss his litter tray altogether. Not because he doesn't know where it is but because he wedged his fat ass over the side of it and just... missed.

He chases his tail. Like a young puppy. He seems to think it's somehow an entity distinct and apart from him. He makes disconcerting slurping noises when he cleans his bits and then looks up all surprised. He growls at birds through the window. His favourite place to sit is on top of the coffee machine.

When he's really, fully, specially happy (usually when he's sitting on me somehow some way - he even wedges himself on my lap when I'm on the loo) he dribbles. It's like he's so zoned out he forgets to swallow and just drools all over me. Or all over my laptop/work/clothes/whatever is in his immediate vicinity. I have to tap his tongue to remind him to swallow. I mean, that's mental.
It's taken me a long time to admit it, but my cat is just a dumbass.

I always thought I'd end up with a sort of intellectual cat. The kind that flicks through my extensive library while I'm at work, contemplating the mysteries of Shakespeare. I got a lardy, dribbling, farting fluffball who missed all the kitten classes in how to be a normal cat.

I bloody love him though.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Incompetent fuckwittage (caution, this post contains 8 fucks, three shits and a motherfucker)

I know I whinge a lot. I know I rant about people being dumbasses. Ragey monologues are my thing.

And this week has been a veritable smorgasbord of utter fuckwittery.

Case number one: HMRC tax office twats.
Becoming self employed was actually pretty easy. I have now worked out that's because I was signing up to pay stuff them. Efficiency was no problem when they wanted to snaffle my National Insurance. And being the good girl I am I had no problem paying it. It was fuck all anyway.

When it comes to trying to become un-self employed I've had rather more issues. I sent off the forms. They sent me a new tax code, politely explaining that as I was still claiming the dole my tax code was xxxx. I stopped claiming dole last fucking MAY. I phoned what's laughingly called their 'helpline'. After listening to tinny music for 40 minutes some lass told me that the dole office (yes, I know that's not what it's called anymore but I can't be arsed to remember what it is called, so dole office will do) hadn't told them that I had signed off. No shit, said I, do you want to sort it out. Oh no, sez she. You have to do that. Do I? Do I though? DO I? Even though I did what I was supposed to do a year ago, it's up to ME to sort it out?

Two more phone calls were made (not free, I may add, oh no, they charge for this shit) only for me to be on hold for at least 30 minutes each time and abort the attempt to carry out my legal obligation.

I resorted to letters. I wrote three strongly worded letters of complaint to three different addresses. It appears that they deal with this shit from various offices situated in the arse end of nowheresville, but fail to have any kind of central record system. I'm amazed any fucker gets the correct tax code, frankly.

Then yesterday, while at work, I got a phone call from someone or other at the tax office. She explained that she's 'just calling to give advice about filling in my tax return'. Oho, I said. What about all the shit that you're meant to be sorting out? And why the hell are you calling me in the middle of the working day after I have spent hours trying to get through to you people on three separate occasions? I only work till 3 she said. I said tough shit. I can't talk now, I have magazines to write donchewknow. She said she'd call me at lunchtime today - one o clock sharp she said. Nothing. Nada. No phone call.

A part of me died.

Case number two: Marks & FUCKING Spencer
I have a lovely little courtyard garden thing. I say lovely. I think it's probably just lovely to me because I haven't had any outside space since I lived with my parents in 1962. And I want something I can sit on out there. A reasonable wish I thought. So, while buying shoes (naturally) I saw some furniture on the M&S website.

I ordered it.

While I was off sick it arrived. Happy days, thought I. Lovely. I'll set that up this weekend.

Oh, it's just a table. There are no chairs. I call them. They can't understand it. They'll 'investigate' and call me back. They don't call me back. I call them. They are 'investigating'. They'll call me back. They don't call me back. I call them. He's getting somewhere he said. The chairs are missing but he's working on it. He'll call me back. He doesn't call me back. I call them and suggest, ever so politely, that if some BASTARD at that end doesn't sort out these FUCKING chairs I will come down there and murder every single last motherfucking one of them. I didn't. I just suggested that maybe they might want to, you know, deliver another set of chairs to me and then sort it out between themselves and let me get on with my life. They don't have any others in stock. They want me to wait in between 9am and 7pm tomorrow so they can come and collect the table and then they will think about refunding my money. FUCK OFF, said I. I'm leaving them outside the house and if a tramp steals it it's not like he can use it for a wino party because there ARE NO FUCKING CHAIRS.

Weeping with rage.

Case number three: Scottish & Southern Electricity
I got my first electricity and gas bill. It covers six weeks in my new house. Electric came to just the £495 and gas to £165. What a bargain. I call them. They explain the concept of estimates. I reply that yes, I get that, but who the fuck were they estimating on? A family of 27? Turns out they owe me £50.

So actually that was quite fun.

I can't wait to speak to the tax office again next week.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Something in the hair tonight

I just saw a headline about a student who decided to stop shaving and waxing her body hair to rebel against the social pressures she felt were inflicted on her to divest herself of her natural coat of body hair. And she's correct. There is pressure on women to a ludicrous level to make sure that they are  groomed within an inch of their lives. But also, and I don't know if this means I'm a shit feminist, ewww.

There's a picture with the article and she's sitting there - extremely groomed in all other ways I might add, makeup, shaped eyebrows, blow dried and dyed hair, pretty dress - with her arms up and there is a veritable forest of hair sprouting from under her arms. I mean she's got more there that most boyfriends I've had. I'm sure she's making some kind of valid point but I can't help thinking that to carry her argument to its natural conclusion she would also be letting her moustache grow wild and free, and not wearing make up or doing anything articifical to her hair? I dunno. Maybe she likes hair. But I have been thinking about the pressures on women to conform to norms of attractiveness that do seem to have been set by men.

I'm pretty lazy on the grooming front. I don't wash my hair every day; I don't straighten or curl my hair; I don't wear makeup every day and I never wear foundation or fake tan, partly because I can't be arsed and partly cos I like my natural colour. I find that goth pale works for me. I do cover the shadows under my eyes lest they scare people into thinking I have a problem with some kind of class A substance. And I do shave my armpits every time I shower. I don't, however, shave my legs very often (I don't need to - one of the few blessings my genes threw in there for me is a naturally relatively hair free body. I felt I needed to say that in case anyone thought that I was just going around like a German lady I saw when I was 7. She had long, curly dark hairs on her legs that you could see through her tights. Even at my tender age I knew that ladies didn't do that at home. My mum's legs were always glisteningly perfect - she had amazing legs in her prime. It's a source of great sadness that I inherited my dad's sturdy efforts. I mean it'd be great if I had an interest in playing football but I mostly just want to look nice in high heels.)

My point, and there is one, is that even for someone as lazy on the grooming front as me, it would seem incredibly weird not to shave my armpits. I hate the feel of any kind of stubble there, it makes me feel icky. It's too masculine. And it's dirty. Surely, it's dirty?

Is this social conformity or is it just because I don't like it? I was once half bullied into getting Brazilian waxes every month by an ex-boyfriend. He practically fell about laughing at the fact that I only sort of shaved the edges a bit. He couldn't believe I didn't wax it all off. So I trundled down to the beauty place where they made me wear paper knickers and then I had to get on all fours while a scary Thai lady ripped the hair out of me. The after effect is neat, I suppose. And clean. But there is something odd about getting rid of one's pubic hair because it's somehow considered sexier to have none. More importantly, perhaps, it cost me £40 a month for the privilege. As soon as that awful relationship had shuffled off this mortal coil I went back to au naturelle and bought more shoes. In retrospect I don't think he was anyone I should have listened to. He once told me that the reason he cheated on me was : "You don't dress like the girls I normally go out with. Sometimes you wear hoodies." Yes, really. What a cocklord.

But if I was entertaining a gentleman in a bedtime manner I wouldn't feel comfortable with hairy legs (although this has happened plenty of times, I've just pretended it hasn't) and I always have a flash of concern that maybe he won't like a non-waxed lady part. Can't say it seems to have bothered anyone so far. Apart from aforementioned cocklord. And besides, it's pretty much a moot poing these days. Am thinking of becoming a nun. I mean, I don't believe in god, but they feed you regularly and leave you alone most of the time don't they? And I bet god doesn't give a shit if I've got hairy legs.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Red mist

I am raging angry. I mean bile-spittingly, incandescently, disgustingly angry. I feel like I could primal scream a howl of rage for a hundred years and it still wouldn’t be enough to take the edge of just how violently livid I feel. I want to hit something so hard my fist goes right through it into another plane of reality. I want to grind my teeth so they shatter into dust. Iwant to tell everyone who’s ever hurt me or pissed me off what I think of them. I want to write completely inappropriately harsh Facebook status updates and tweet people who I think are dicks. I want to yell‘fuck off’ in the face of anyone who looks at me funny. I feel violent and loosecannon-y and on a knife’s edge.

Are you asking why yet? Perhaps someone has come and murdered my cat? Perhaps someone has slept with my boyfriend? OH WAIT; can’t be that. I don’t have one. Perhaps someone has said that I look like Kelly Osborne?

None of the above, actually.

It’s just something that happens regularly.

Every 28 days-ish in fact. It happens to 99% of women every month from the age of around 11 until they’re too old give a shit anymore.

And I HATE it.

I have never been one of those women who are all: “Periods? Oh, I don’t notice mine. I just carry on rollerblading/dancing/eating Ryvita and before I know it, three days of light bleeding has been and gone and it’s all over.” She probably then giggles and does a triathlon.

I’m much more of a: “Get out of my way. Have you any idea how much pain I’m in? Do you know what this feels like? I’ll tell you what itfeels like; it feels like someone is digging knives into the flesh of my womb and is dragging it slowly out of me. THAT’S what it feels like. And it feels like that for a week before I even start bleeding. And then there’s the dizzy spells, the nausea, the head fog, the violent cramps, the total and utter blind rage, the inability to form sentences, the dropping things, the exhaustion, the grey pallor, the bloating and the feeling like I’m the ugliest, most revolting looking person on the planet, the uncontrollable weeping, the existential dread, the retching and gagging, the sheer numbing misery of it all.”

I should add it wasn’t always thus, and although mood swing sand pain have always been with me at that delightful time of the month, it is exponentially worse since I developed endometriosis a few years ago. Which is apparently your womb’s way of trying to get you to procreate, as getting pregnant is the only cure.

But as it's also the only cure for having any money, time or sleep, I'll give it a miss.