Thursday, 31 October 2013

SKY, believe in better... ways to rob you blind

I used to have O2 mobile and broadband. A mere week or so after I'd signed up with them, coerced by their 'good deal' for 'loyal customers', they announced they sold to SKY. 

Wankers. 

I ditched O2 mobile for Vodafone, chosen on a whim. Pretty much stick a pin in the few companies we have to choose from and hope that they don't metaphorically do you up the arse for the duration of your 90 billion year fixed term contract, right? I tried to do that whole proper comparison thing and I listened to friends who swear by buying the phone outright and then using a pay as you go SIM, and although all of that would undoubtedly have been cheaper in the long run, the usual thing happened. My brain reaches critical mass and I just go: "Aaaargh fuck it." and sign up with whatever random crappy contract catches my eye first. 

Knobheads. 

Because I ditched them, even though I'd been a customer for 10 years, O2 decided to then triple my broadband bill.

£60 a month for shit broadband? Nah mate. 

Phone SKY they said. 

So I did. 

They put me on £10 broadband. Fine, right, whatever, sez I. 

I get the bill. It's itemised. And do you know what? I pay £2.50 a month for NOT having SKY TV. 

Let's just run through that again. I don't want SKY TV so when the man asked me if I wanted it, I said no. He didn't say that as a penalty/punishment/forfeit I would then be committed to giving SKY, which I think is a fairly massive bastard conglomerate who doesn't, strictly speaking, need to rob its lowly customers like this, I will be paying them £2.50 a month. For nothing. 

Literally, for nothing. On the bill it says: £2.50 surcharge for not having SKY TV. 

Cheeky cunts ain't they?

I complained, naturally. I suspect many people reading this will think I'm being a petty old bitch again. Moaning about something so unimportant. But this, right here, is EXACTLY the kind of thing that passive resistance is allowing to happen. Huge great bastard companies are stealing from people. People they assume won't be arsed enough to make a noise for the sake of £2.50 a month. That's not even enough to buy a pint, so why do I care?

Because it equates to £30 a year and if someone is going to benefit from an amount of money I'm not going to miss, it sure as shit isn't going to be SKY. It will be a charity of my choice. What with it being my money and all. 

And guess what? SKY listened to my point and agreed that they are completely in the wrong by nicking money from their customers in such a sneaky, pathetic fashion. ONLY JOKING. They told me to fuck off. They told me it's too late and that I agreed on the phone to the £10 charge. Which I did. If they had told me that a quarter of this £10 monthly charge was going to them for the privilege of not having SKY TV I would have told them to stick it up their fat arse. 

But I wasn't given that choice. 

I've written a strongly worded letter of complaint that I have no doubt will be immediately placed in SKY's special filing cabinet for customer complaints. After they've all had a good laugh about how they work for a company that is so shit at everything that they have to resort to stealing money from customers. 

So, what's my point? It's shit being a consumer in 2013 is my point. And we sit, glazed eyed, allowing this kind of toss to happen because it's just the fucking way it is. Fuck you SKY. 


Sunday, 27 October 2013

This really really hot guy favourited me

On OKC they can give you star ratings (yes, really).

It shows how they rate you. You get a notification of this and then you see what they are like.

And then the magic happens.


Something rotten in the state of Romania

If you'd asked me a few months ago what immediately sprang to mind if asked to consider Romania I would have said excellent gymnasts, poor fashion choices, extremely dodgy totalitarian leaders who were shot on Christmas Day sometime in my childhood and thus the image of their corpses is stamped on my memory to this day and a boy called Radu who I knew at university. 

If you asked me today, I would say the fact that they kill dogs. They torture dogs. They set traps for dogs (and cats, come to that). They perpetuate breeding by not spaying and neutering and they then round up the dogs and they torture them. 

You may think I am condemning an entire country for the actions of a few. But I'm not. 

The government have passed a law that says all stray dogs will be rounded up by dog catchers - who are brutal in their treatment - and killed within 14 days if they're not claimed. 

While they're waiting to be killed they are kept in filthy, cramped conditions. They are left in pain, fear and agony. And they are starved, because hey, what's the fucking point in feeding a dog that's only going to be killed. 


I follow many Romanian animal charities on Facebook and online and there are endless pictures of starving, beaten, actively tortured animals. The dog catchers are brutal and these dogs start their lives begging on the streets. They are booted and ignored. They are starved and in pain. Many lose limbs due to being run over and left or by the traps that residents put out. Yep, people put out traps that maim dogs. 

The public shelters that the rounded up dogs go into are hellholes. 

This law happened over the last month or so and it is enforced. To be honest, even before the law the dogs were on a hiding to nothing. 

They are literally born to die. 

So, why do I care so strongly about this when there are so many horrors in the world? Because that's a cop out. Shrugging my shoulders because there are disgusting things happening everywhere to animals and people, as if to say: "Ah well, nothing I can do." isn't enough anymore. 

I am a supporter of various UK animal charities and will continue to be. But the truth is that we have no idea in this country about the scale and horror of the cruelty that goes on in other countries towards dogs and cats. No idea at all. People don't want to look. People don't want to see. 

Of course, many do. And in Romania there are a hardcore group of people with souls who are trying to stem this horrific tide. They are pulling dogs out of public 'shelters' and keeping them in private shelters which, although shitholes, are staffed by people who care. They are getting treatment for the dogs that can be treated and they are rehoming them out of the country. And they are relying on donations. 

They are metaphorically sticking their pinkie in a dam. It's an impossible fight but for every dog that is saved it's a stand against this abhorrent and abjectly cruel behaviour. 

To do my part I have found myself adopting a dog from Romania. She is called Sushi and this is her just over a month ago before she lost her leg. I'm not entirely clear on how she lost her leg but she has. She is tiny, she is nondescript and she is a perfect example of a Romanian street dog - a mutt who has never known kindness in her short life until she became a lucky saved one. 



I saw her picture, looked at her mad ears, and found myself inquiring about her. Showing their desperation to get dogs homed, the charity (K-9 Angels) - efficiently sent someone out to meet me, decided I could give her a good home and then mailed me to tell me the good news. K-9 Angels also save dogs from Thailand who are bred to go into the food chain, by the way. Yeah, that really happens too. 

This is Sushi after she lost her leg a couple of weeks ago. The dingy, dark place she is in is the private shelter where she is getting better treatment than she has ever had. She has shelter, she has food and she occasionally has a cuddle. And that is literally the best her life has ever been. 



Shit got real and I sent them the £200 to get her over here. She just made it onto the January 2014 van, which is already full to bursting with dogs getting their first chance at a life free of pain. And she will be here, all being well, after a two day journey on 11 January. At which point my friend Mickey will drive me to the dreadfully inconvenient drop off point and we will go and pick her up and I will never let her be afraid again. 

She will join Fatman in my tiny menagerie of spoiled rescue animals and I will make sure she has everything she has never had before. Not at all sure how Fatman is going to take this but he can't be the only one I give a home to. 

People have told me for years that I should 'do what makes me happy'. This is what makes me happy. And although I wish I could save every single dog in Romania, I will start with Sushi. 



If you want to donate to help the dogs of Romania that'd be OK. If you want to adopt one of these dogs that would be OK too. If you'd rather buy some pug shaped Christmas cards with all profits going to help the Romanian dogs that'd be also OK. This is an example of one of these lovingly crafted cards, which happen to feature the face of my nephew Alfie and have been designed and produced by my friend Mickey Rose. Here is where you can buy them



If you don't want to do any of that then that's OK too. Everyone has their thing that they care about and I know that I can't convince anyone that my cause is better than theirs. Of course I can't. But if you've read to the end of this then just keep it all in mind. 

Maybe a friend of yours will mention that they want to adopt a dog and you can tell them that they can save a dog from Romania if they want to. Or maybe a friend of yours is running a marathon (I cannot believe how many friends I have that run marathons) and would like a cause to run for. 

Or just tell people about it because these tortured dogs deserve to have their story told. 

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Wat?

Wat?



Best present ever...

The other day I was hanging out with some people and they were talking about how their mum had just bought them clothes.

I vaguely remember the days when I cared about having clothes and mum would buy them for me sometimes. I mean, it was a bloody long time ago. But it did happen. I just can't bring myself to care that much anymore. Which is probably why I go round dressed in the same clothes I wore in the 90s. Literally in some cases.

But then a few days later, after my mum had come to stay and ended up looking after me because, naturally, I was felled with a bout of endometriosis so intense I spent three days weeping. So all in all, not much fun for her really. But she stayed and looked after me cos she's my ma, and she made a crumble and was just ace.

She also hoovered very thoroughly. I've never been able to hoover as thoroughly as my ma. She attacks it with a sort of angry precision. Like the cat hair wouldn't dare stay adhered to the carpet when she's around.

Anyway, that's not the point.

The point is when she left I felt sad. And when I feel sad I like to have a nap. So I went to bed (the one she'd made) and there was a present. All wrapped up. And it was a first edition of an early 20th century political satire based on Alice in Wonderland, called Clara in Blunderland. Kind of like Private Eye style piss take but exquisitely done with the original illustrations from Alice perfectly aped. I'd seen it and coveted it in a book shop earlier in the week. Obviously I then dismissed it because I don't have cash for fripperies.

And there it was. Resplendent on my pillow.



All for me. All from the love of my mother. She's bloody awesome, that woman.


Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Having a moment here

Around 4pm on a late October afternoon, just a few days before the clocks change, is the optimum time to walk by the Ouse it turns out.

It was muddy because of earlier wet rain and that, hence far fewer people messing up the beauty.

The river was high, which meant fewer fishermen cluttering up the view.



It was golden hued, with the sun low in the sky, throwing endless tree silhouettes against a sky that was still a perfect blue.



There were piles of unclaimed conkers underfoot; leaves of red, orange, yellow, green, brown, white fluffy clouds and a mix of warmth and wind.



I cannot believe I live five minutes away from somewhere that fills me with such joy. I had a near celestial experience sucking up the sheer beauty with my eyeholes.



Two magpies joined me, which I liked. I am susceptible to superstition and I feel content when I see two and slightly panic stricken when I see just one. I always have the nagging suspicion that all my life's petty failings are definitely the fault of the magpies.



I just really really love Autumn. It makes my brain melt.

The beauty of the Bake Off

I bloody love it. I love the calmness of the format. I like the little history bits. I could almost turn for Sue Perkins.

Obviously I have been watching it since it started in 2009, when they ran it for six weeks for Children in Need and had to persuade people that it was good. It was always good. But it's been last series and this series during which I have found my true calling. Inspired and impressed every week, I was born to be an armchair baking expert and an amateur psychologist. 

Because, in among the cakes and pies, this is a popularity contest. And very quickly two opponents became clear. Kimberley - the smuggest of the smug. Really, there is no one - NO ONE - smugger than her. She's smugger than Mrs McSmug and her smug children from Smuggington in the County of Smuginshire. 

Unbelievable. 

Over the last six weeks of the competition I have been left rigid with rage at her ability to make the very act of breathing smug. She does. She exhales in the smuggest way possible. Everything she did was amazing. She never cried. She never showed any emotion other than utter delight at the fact that she is herself. Awful. AWFUL. Every bake turned out pristine. She never even broke a sweat and said things like: "Oh, choux pastry? That's easy. People don't think it's easy but it is so easy."

She's every head girl you ever hated. Every leader of every society at Uni who you wanted to punch in the gob. Every petty middle management arsehole who just drips ego. 

And in the blue corner?

Doe eyed former model and 21 year old philosophy student Ruby. Absolutely gorgeous to look at and, it quickly became apparent, totally neurotic, insecure and hopeless at hiding negative emotions. Naturally the media hated her. Obviously it's all a fix and Paul Hollywood is banging her and they favoured her because she's 'manipulative' and 'pathetic'. Every bake she did she made sure to say it was terrible, when it was clearly excellent. She doesn't just wear her emotions on her sleeve; her emotions morph her face into ever more disturbing grimaces. 

I really like her. I honestly think she lacked confidence. Many people disagreed with me and cast her as the manipulative sexpot against Kimberley's calm, stoic head girl type. 

Someone has just sent me this. Here, in Ruby's own words, is exactly what I was trying to say. She writes well as well. Atta girl Rubes: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/oct/22/great-british-bake-off-ruby-dandoh

These were the two. It was between them, clearly. Especially after lovely, hilarious Welsh Beca left last week. 

I was so sad to come to the final. I don't think it's any secret that my life is pretty much a work filled joy dearth these days.

And Bake Off has given me much joy. 

Speculating on whether everyone is secretly judging Paul Hollywood for being a ho when he filmed the US version and shagged his co-presenter. Surely Mary had something to say about that? Being well happy when Mark the annoying builder but shit baker was kicked out on account of being utterly awful at everything to do with baking. Marvelling at whatsisname the scientist who made the worst looking Dalek EVER. Defending Ruby in vigorous debates. Wondering why Paul and Mary were so consistently horrible to lovely Frances who kept turning out things that you would actually pay for and which were inexplicably sneered at by the judges. Marvelling at Kimberley's ability to make me hate her by just breathing. 

And so the final. They made a pig pie. And look what happened! Kimberley of the smug perfection fucked it up. Good and proper. Bad style. The pig fell out. The pastry didn't even hold the pig in the pie. Oh YEAH. And then they did some other things and then they did wedding cakes. Kimberley's was grey. She made a grey cake. Ruby's looked like I did it. It was amateurish. Although she did get points (from me only, sadly) for her cynical view of weddings. 

Online speculation stuck to the theory that it was all a fix and Paul and Ruby are doing it over the counters during the breaks and obviously she'll win. They came to announce it and the tension was palpable. Kimberley? Or Ruby? Come on MelnSue. TELL US. 

And then FRANCES WON. 

And the nation rejoiced. Mostly because they didn't have to fall out with each other over a baking competition.

Anyway, until they make this programme so it runs 365 days a year, I'm going to be in the corner with iPlayer watching it on repeat. Laters. 



Thursday, 17 October 2013

In defence of shit Facebook status updates

Have you ever had one of those days? One of those cliche ridden days where you just feel like an absolute twat? No matter what you're doing or who you're speaking to, you just feel like everything you think, say and do is slightly 'off'? Like you missed your cue. Or you're a day behind.

I just feel like a bit of a general tool today. Itchy scratchy feeling of not quite fitting in anywhere. Off kilter and out of sorts with a world that always seems to know where it's meant to be and what it's meant to be doing.

This has nothing to do with my post except that it's a good example of why I share things. Overshare, people might say. It helps me to write things down. Sometimes that's a Tweet (although not often anymore), sometimes it's a blog and sometimes it's a Facebook status. And, I pretty much write them for me.

One of the first things I saw on Facebook today was this post from the Huff Post ranting about Facebook statuses and how shit they are. Within seconds of it being posted, it was shared. On Facebook. Naturally.

His post boils down to this: "A Facebook status is annoying if it primarily serves the author and does nothing positive for anyone reading it."

And then he goes on to dismantle the humblebraggers, the overkeen parents, the too in love couples, the show offs, the entitled, the pompous, the ill informed and the boring. Oh, and the political activists, the pyramid sellers and those that post lists of their achievements - basically, just braggers. Not to forget the lonely, the desperate for attention and the lost.

Which essentially covers everyone on Facebook.

Everyone. 

I take umbrage with his idea that a Facebook status is annoying if it doesn't do anything 'positive' for those reading it. Does that not actually give one's Facebook post way more importance than it deserves? Should everyone write as if they are writing to their 'public'? Should everyone pretend that what they say matters in any way, shape or form? Wouldn't writing for an 'audience' make you look like even more of a knobcheese than before?

Because that's his other point. No one cares, basically. Beyond a few close friends in real life no one cares what you have to say about your dinner, your pets, your husband or your nights out.

Which means, dude, that it doesn't matter what you write. If none of it matters anyway, then why shouldn't people use Facebook in the way that makes them happy without fear of being snarked at by someone who is demonstrating at least 5 of the 7 ways to be annoying himself?

If you want to post 25 baby pictures in one day, do it. If you want to make yourself feel a little less lonely and a little more anchored in this cold, harsh, unforgiving world by giving your opinion on world politics then go ahead. If you want to talk about how much you love your boyfriend, then go for your life. Those that care will continue to care. Those that don't will dial you down. Simple.

But, more importantly, Facebook means different things to different people. For me, it's basically a boyfriend. One that I can spew out random thoughts to when I feel like it. One that is always there. One that I can turn off. Hahaha. Oh, I do make myself laugh. But in a serious point, for those who live alone, articulating thoughts on a platform where friends and loved ones may see and interact is a pleasant thing. It can make one feel slightly less adrift. It can also relieve boredom when you've spent 10 hours writing and spoken to no one other than a fat cat.

It's also a great way to raise awareness. Oh shut up. It IS. I follow many charities that are working their asses off to save dogs all over the world. Because that's what I like. Dogs. And I have seen the good they do. I've seen how and why sharing awareness can work. I personally can't be arsed with the political aspect of Facebook - I have a few friends who are constantly posting conspiracy shit about how we're all marionettes being controlled by the powers that be. Maybe we are but I have puppies to look at, man.

I happen to have a lovely lot of friends who are revoltingly creative. From people who make actual films that are shown in actual film festivals to people who run magazines, websites, companies to people who create amazing art, there are loads of them and I like it when they share their successes. It makes me happy for them.

So, for all of these reasons I think the dude from the Huff Post missed the point of a lot of why Facebook makes some people happy. He also missed out a category that personally gets right on my tits: the too cool for school hipster who bemoans Facebook as being shite but doesn't hesitate to post a mysterious snapshot of their recent travels. Just enough involvement with Facebook to dip their  toe in every now and again but never join in anything, never interact and control their feed tighter than a gnat's ass. That is taking their online presence way too seriously, if you ask me. Which you didn't. But this is the internet so I get to inflict my opinion on you anyway.

The biggest reason he got it wrong though is the sheer schadenfreude. We all, every single one of us, look at some sucker's profile and thank fuck we're not them. Yeah, we do. Admit it.

So yeah, vive la Facebook and all its annoyingness. We can all be dull as fuck and up ourselves and boring and elitist and smug and happy and sad. And we can all post as much or as little as we bloody well like.




Monday, 14 October 2013

*chuckles*


When a man includes a word like chuckles or giggles in a sentence surrounded by asterisks, presumably to show that he is 'saying' it, it makes my skin crawl all the way down my back.

My skin actually feels like it's trying to escape and wriggle away from the whole scenario. A flapping silhouette slithering off me out of sheer cringe.

It's just grotesque.

What prompts this, you may ask? Well, guess what.



So many things. 

He says 'chuckle'. He says 'anyhoo'. He calls me 'age appropriate' when he is exactly my age. And then, after saying age appropriate he goes on to say how glad he is that I don't look my age. Wat?

He, as you can see, looks at least his age + 20 so it's important that women his age look younger than they are. Obviously. 

I had clicked on to his profile, probably by accident, and quickly dismissed him. But he thought that me clicking onto his profile but not messaging was some kind of sign. 

And the kisses. 

Xx .

Just no. 

And then. 




Chuckle. 

Because most women don't leave messages FOR YOU you loathsome dickweed. 

And then his fantasy that I am a woman to be put in her place. Marvellous. Fucking marvellous. Winner, right here ladies and gents. 


I told him he makes me feel sick. I explicitly state  I am not interested. 

And then. I know, he thinks, I'll keep quoting the Taming of the Shrew at her. That'll get her love juices flowing. Women love that shit. 

And then I blocked him. 

I actually did a small heave. 

*chuckles*

*vomits*


Sunday, 13 October 2013

This is not a sexual thing




I feel I should explain that for every message I post on here, taking the piss, reviling them or just with actual incredulity, I get many, many more that I just ignore. 

I don't reply to all of them. I don't bite at their bullshit. I just press delete and pretend it never sullied my eyeballs. 

And then I'll get one that just right royally fucks me off. Or I'll be having a bad day, or it's just one too many. Whatever. Sometimes I just can't deal with the influx of fuckwits. 

And I'll say something. 

Like this one. 

I get a lot of these mansplaining replies, where a kindly gent will take it upon himself to tell me that there isn't anything wrong with me and that I should, as this winner states, 'look on the bright side'.

It may help, to put it in context actually, to include my own profile to show what they feel they need to make me feel better about. 

Hang on. 

Here it is.




He starts with 'Love your honesty'. 

He ends with 'look on the bright side' because what I really need is some moron who I don't know and doesn't know me sending me unsolicited advice about how to improve my sad, lonely life. 

So, I get a bit sarcy. You know, how I do. 

I don't tell him to fuck off or that he is a repugnant twat or anything like that. 

And then. 





In retrospect, my response was presumably just what he wanted.


Friday, 11 October 2013

Trilby

When I'm stressed and/or depressed and/or panic stricken with the horrors of daily existence I find it easy enough to work, because it's mechanical and forces me to concentrate on something outside of myself.

But I find it incredibly difficult to read.

Reading has always been my succour. It is my pleasure and my relief and an escape from the world that has always had far more impact for me than TV, films or, let's face it, people. So to not be able to read is painful and unhelpful and marks times that are Not Good.

For the past few months I have barely touched a book.

Just lately I have found the urge to read returning. I just needed something that my restless mind wanted to get into. I have picked up and started about 10 books over the last few days, everything ranging from Agatha Christie to stories of vampires. And I haven't been able to settle on anything.

The feeling of not being able to read is something I find incredibly disconcerting. It feels like I'm not me. Like my mind is skittering around in my head like a particularly unpleasant scuttling insect. Chasing my rotten thoughts around and around and around until they're tangled into a knot of filth in my brain and all that is left to do is to keep working in the hope that it'll untangle itself somehow.

And then a book will catch my attention and break the darkness and I'll be able to read again. It feels like I'm giving my brain a bath, followed by a nice massage. It's relief. Like drinking water in the desert.

I found one yesterday. From watching Pointless, which, by the way, is one of the best programmes on TV ever. It's a book called Trilby by George du Maurier. I knew of him as the grandfather of Daphne, and I knew he'd written some stuff. But I didn't realise he'd written the book that introduced a character everyone has heard of - Svengali.

And I didn't realise it would prove to be just my thing. Gaston Leroux based Phantom of the Opera on it, a hat was bloody named after it, it's about artists in 19th century Paris and mesmerism and death and grief and lost love and, ohhhhhhhh, basically everything I like in a novel.

So popular and wide reaching was this book that 'svengali' is commonly used to describe a manipulative git who manages to somehow make people do what he wants, for his own nefarious purposes. In the book Svengali is Jewish, very much in the manner of Fagin. All dirty, unkempt and grasping. Very much the Victorian stereotype. But we'll gloss over that (and actually du Maurier makes a point of talking about how we all have such mixed blood that we're all the same, which I feel redeems it somewhat, but then I'm not very au fait with being politically correct and that).

Last night I read over half of it and felt like my brain came back from the dead.

Next on my list is Moby Dick. I've been feeling distinctly Captain Ahab like lately.





Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Just BLEED

A while ago I said I wouldn't talk about periods again.

I lied.

I would like to discuss how it feels right now inside my womb.

With my ovaries doing some kind of version of Michael Flatley's Lord of the Dance, complete with clogs and repetitive and endless dance moves. In tandem. With them feeling like they're going to bust out of my stomach, like in Alien, except without the cutesy face and squeaky noises. With the feeling like if I don't start my period RIGHT now I will grab a spoon and hoist the bastards out myself, throw them at the window pane and watch them slowly slide down like those sticky toys from the 80s.

Waiting on the cusp of shedding my womb lining does not do much for my sunny disposition.

It's an almost exquisite sense of impatience, which starts in the womb. It's like the womb gets nervous and starts hyperventilating. Doctors in the 19th century used to think one's womb could 'escape' and leg it around the body like a runaway ferret, causing all sorts of problems and hysteria and general women's things.

And to be honest, that's probably one of their more pertinent observations because that's sure as hell what it feels like.

It's just a good thing I don't have access to weapons. Is all I'm saying.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Life affirming stuff

I woke up to a message from someone I have never met saying that my blog (and by extension I assume, me) is hateful, biased and judgemental and why can't I write something positive, sugary and self affirming that they would want to read?

This happens every now and again.

There are so may ways this blog post could go.

I could point out that there is an entire internet full of self affirming, sugary shite should they want to read it. I could also point out that as this is my blog, written by me, that it is only going to have my opinions in it. So, yes, it is biased. In that it's my blog. If you want to read something else that isn't biased towards my opinions then I'd suggest that my blog probably is only going to fill you with disappointment. Go and type 'unicorns' into Google or something. Or read a Mills & Boon. Watch a Richard Curtis film. Don't, whatever you do, go to a blog that is CALLED 'Hell is other people' on a domain name that translates as 'What you are, I was; What I am, you will be'.

I mean, what the fuck were they expecting? Tales of reiki and spiritual healing? Stories of My Little Pony and sparkly things? Self help? Romantic short stories?

I even put a description of the blog saying I'm snarky and this started mainly as a rant blog. I actually couldn't be clearer. So what does it take for a reader to write to someone and demand they write differently?

It got me thinking about whether there was a scenario where I would do that.

Say, I came across a blog that was about fairies. Would I read it religiously for a while and then message the blog owner and suggest they write something more ranty and gothic? Maybe had a bash at writing about grief or real human emotion and the way that people just hurt other people every single day because that's part of what it means to be human? Or - and this is more likely I think - would I just think: "Oh, there's a blog about fairies. I don't like reading about fairies so I'll just not read it anymore. But isn't that nice that someone is creating something they like and putting it out there anyway?"

See, obviously I understand that my blog isn't for everyone and I am more than totally happy for people to read it, dislike it and never read it again. And I also understand that writing something like this regularly invites comments and debate. And again, that's fine. If someone wants to take issue with something I write because they disagree or whatever, then that's what the comments section is for.

But actually, particularly when one's confidence is shot to shit due to a shitty week with shitty stuff happening in it, it's pretty difficult to wake up to messages from people who don't know you demanding you write something more to their tastes, while calling you pretty strong words like hateful  and judgemental.

I mean I know I am judgemental of all those guys who message me on OKC. That's true. Because they fucking disgust me. And I know I rant. I know that my blog posts aren't an easy read. But the second I start self censoring in case a stranger gets all icked out at the unrelenting barrage of my opinions, is the second that it becomes a dishonest, pointless endeavour.

If you have read to the end and you have decided that I am just just too gosh darn un-pixie like then I have taken the liberty of googling some blog alternatives that you might want to transfer your attention to:

This is a 'haven for pixies and fairies' http://fairysanctuaryblog.com/

This is about decorating cookies http://www.sweetsugarbelle.com/

This is about the spiritual journey we all take http://redefineyourreality.com/blog/

By the way, I am not snarking at any of these blogs. If you are into fairies, reiki and sugar then fair fucks to you. I am just demonstrating that a five second Google search may be your best bet rather than bothering to message me to write something you want to read about.

Or better still, write your own fucking blog.

My blog is mine. And it always will be.


Saturday, 5 October 2013

Fancy eating you xx




Was he doing some kind of play on 'fancy meeting you'? Or was he diving straight in there? I think it was the latter, given that it was 3am.

I should explain that me going on actual internet dates is finally a thing that is over. Not because I have met someone who I think is wonderful but, rather more prosaically, I had the worst date of my life the other day and I am done. It's just not a thing that I want to experience ever again.

I find the talking before meeting conjures up an entirely false picture of someone and, although that doesn't necessarily mean it won't work in person, it can be rather a shock to the system. A couple of hours of being harangued, told you can't converse properly, that the upward inflection on the end of your sentences is odd and that you're just not how they want you to be can really put you off the whole experience.

But I am loathe to cut off the OKC account, purely because it's so grotesquely entertaining.

This guy, for example.

"Fancy eating you". How is that, in any way, an opener that is going to work for you? How? Who would that work on? What kind of person would see that and go: "Hmmm, my dream man MUST make a clumsy reference to cunnilingus within the first sentence or he just not the one for me."

And then he thought that I meant that although his initial sentence grossed me out, he could just tell me that I look alright and that all would be well.


Oh, he just wanted to have a 'fresh start'. I am so silly.

It's all quite polite though... oh... wait.

I'm an old cunt and he just doesn't give a fuck, yeah? At ALL. NOT IN THE SLIGHTEST.

Lovely.


Friday, 4 October 2013

Remember

Did you notice it was National Poetry Day yesterday? I think the News celebrated it by having Prince Charles drawl over something awful. Just had a wee check and yes, should you wish it, you can listen to Chaz reciting bits of Fern Hill by Dylan Thomas. Excellent. Well, that's something. Guaranteed to put people off poetry for life I should think. 

I have a mixed feeling about poetry. I do feel like writers seize on it as if it's an easy artform and then produce some awful bilge. Something the Vogons would be proud of. Something that just puts words on lines, as if that's enough. It's freeflow you see. It doesn't have to rhyme. And no, it doesn't, but it should at least be something. Just putting random words on lines doesn't make it a poem. Not for me. 

When I studied A level English we had a tutor who shall forever be remembered as 'callmemike'. He had just graduated from teacher school or whatever it is you do to become a teacher and was dead enthusiastic and had all these ideas and shit. We hated him. Like, on sight. Our class of 16 year old horror people made him cry once, storm out of the classroom a few times and we most definitely didn't call him Mike. 

He introduced me to some of the worst poetry I have ever had the misfortune to read. We had been told we would be studying Andrew Marvell et al, which naturally appealed to me because he was very dead and I thought, at the time, that the only good shit was written by dead people. I was 16. Don't judge me. 

It was a woman called Grace Nichols. And it was heinous. It was called The Fat Black Women's poetry. One went: Fat is... as fat does... as fat is... for bloody ages. 

I was looking for beauty and lyricism, for words to make me feel and think. I was not looking to read some woman's constant moaning about being fat and black. Yeah, I wasn't ready for anything with actual social commentary in it you see. I couldn't relate to a marginalised woman standing up for herself in a society which told her she didn't fit in any way. I was 16. I wanted to read about Shelley and Byron and all the romantic poets who shagged each other and took opium a lot. 

I think he may have had some idea that he would revolutionise our staid, middle class, very white lies by hitting us with poetry that said something important about politics and perception. He was so very wrong. Oh so wrong. I did the bare minimum and was vocal, irritating and very, very annoying to teach. 

I still have the same itchiness around social commentary poetry. I don't like it. I'm not comfortable with it. And I definitely have issues with much amateur poetry I read. But then I remember people like Christina Rossetti. And I recite this poem to myself. It was read at my dad's funeral. Along with Auden's Stop All the Clocks because we were just that original. It makes me feel something intense and beautiful and very comforting. A dead person speaks from beyond the grave and it helps. It's a grief poem. It just is. And it helped me when I needed it. 

Spare with words but rich with meaning. Not shirking a dirty topic but telling it how it is. It encapsulates the weirdness of grief and the very very comforting thought that, no matter how much you suffer, the person you grieve for isn't suffering anymore. And it's OK to stop sometimes. 

So, for National Poetry Day (sort of) here's my favourite poem. I'm sort of tempted to do an audio recording in the style of Prince Charles for shits and giggles but not enough people will read this to make it worthwhile. It's not about OK Cupid freaks, so will have definitely lost at least 50% of readership. 

REMEMBER by CHRISTINA ROSSETTI

Remember me when I am gone away,
Gone far away into the silent land
When you can no more hold me by the hand, 
Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay
Remember me when no more day by day
You tell me of our future that you plann'd:
Only remember me; you understand
It will be late to counsel then or pray. 
Yet if you should forget me for a while
And aftewards remember, do not grieve:
For if the darkness and corruption leave
A vestige of the thoughts that once I had, 
Better by far that you should forget and smile, 
Than that you should remember and be sad.