Thursday, 30 January 2014

About a Boy

A few years ago I was having a small issue. I'd been dumped by the last guy I actually properly went out with. He'd gone from driving by my house just to snog me and buying me gifts all over the shop to 'I want a break'. During which, naturally, he boinked someone else.

I dealt with this in the best way I knew how back then. I stopped eating, started tripling my red wine intake and lived on booze and fags for six weeks. I took those six weeks off work because I genuinely felt I couldn't cope.

Looking back I can't quite believe how badly I took it. I mean, he was nothing special to look at and had a particularly nasty coke problem that was all a bit tedious. But I did love him and I was shocked and traumatised by his sudden shift in behaviour.

My rather awesome friend spent many hours with me while I analysed his behaviour into the dust and drank lots and lots of booze. She also drank lots and lots of booze so hopefully it wasn't too awful for her, but it was definitely what made me realise she's an ace friend.

I quickly lost track of any routine I had and was all a bit of a fluster. Naturally, most people were telling me to get my shit together and go back to work. Which is fair enough really. But this friend said: "Have you seen About a Boy?"

She suggested breaking my day down into manageable chunks. Something like: 9am. Get up. 9.30am. Shower. 10am. Weep. 11am. Smoke.

The idea is, of course, to timetable the hours and simply force yourself through each one so at least you do what you have to do even though your world may have imploded. Or if you're just an indolent rich git like Hugh Grant in that film and need to enforce some kind of structure to your life.

After a while I got a different job and met a different twat and got on with it all in my usual haphazard, poor decision making way.

And then during my last shrink appointment a couple of weeks ago, the dude said: "Have you seen About a Boy?"

And this time I sat down and I made a timetable. I split up every day from morning till night and I have, more or less, been sticking to it. Just doing it. Swimming, walking, meditating, walking, swimming, writing, meditating, working, sleeping. Over and over. I have a routine. I get up at shit o clock and walk the dog. And at shit o clock at night I walk the dog.

I haven't had a routine for a long time.

Part way through my usual daily existential crisis I thought: "What have I actually achieved this month?"

And then I thought again.

And I realised that, because of About a Boy (kinda) I now meditate for around an hour every day. I walk miles every week. I swim about four times a week. I've given up smoking.

I almost feel like a fraud for writing that as it has always been something that I never, ever thought I could do. I've smoked for 23 years. It has been my burny friend and my comfort through numerous tragedies and it has been the companion to many glasses of wine, bottles of cider and glasses of gin. The truth is, I like it. I like smoking. I do not like not smoking. But it suddenly seemed the time to face up to it and just. Stop.

I have now been a non smoker for 21 days 23 hours and 10 minutes. I have not smoked 109.83 cigarettes. This, based on the generally accepted notion that a fag knocks five minutes off your life, has bought me an extra 9.15 hours to live.

I wonder what I'll do with it.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

RIP Farmer George

Today marks the anniversary of George III's death.

You never know where you are with George III do you? One minute it's all: "Oh yes, it was definitely porphyria, Definitely. No doubt. He introduced it to the Royal Family donchewknow." And we're all watching the Madness of George III and laughing at the Americans for having to have it titled the Madness of King George because otherwise they'd assume it was a sequel.

By the by, that's not actually true is it? I mean that has to be something we made up over here for a laugh. To assume that an entire country is so thick would be rather uncharitable, surely?

And then it's all: "Of course it wasn't porphyria. Who came up with that balderdash? It's clearly a mental health issue. Porphyria. How ridiculous."

Which just about sums up the world of historical research. One person says something was definitely one thing and then another person spends the next decade arguing against it and so it goes on and on. I often wonder how much of a kernel of truth we have about anything these days. Maybe Henry VIII was actually a misunderstood japester who never lopped off his wives' heads. Maybe King John was a sweetheart and we've all got him increasingly wrong. Maybe Hitler... OK. Maybe not. But it is interesting to see how very strongly one theory can preside only to be shattered into a million incredulous pieces by the next dude.

Nigel Hawthorne was well good as one of my favourite Kings. Although I feel like most of my warm feelings towards George III is in sympathy with his obvious mental struggle. But he was also alright as far as these kinds of people went. He was pretty diligent and appeared to do the right thing - such as he could - most of the time. Which makes him about one trillion times better than some others I could mention.

My point is though that it's the anniversary of his death. He died in 1820. I like to remember people as people, not just as names and in my head George III was a bit of a sweet old man who was ill. Imagine suffering from mental illness then? I suspect I'd have been chucked into some horrible workhouse or nuthouse and left to turn myself into Bertha Mason. Being treated badly while in the throes of mental illness could easily push most people over the edge.

It's a fine line for all of us between 'normality' and, erm, an altered perception. That's what I'll call it. Because that's what mental illness is. It's a different way of computing the things around us, a different response to the world and its perceived dangers. It's in all of us. Waiting.

It's also important to remember that George had hugely long bouts of sanity during his lifetime and, although he sadly ended his life shambling around and talking to trees and the like, he was a normal guy. With what they now think was severe manic depression. Or Bipolar Disorder.

Porphyria was the thing though, man. That was a definite. It was all very very clear. He had purple wee and that sealed the deal. We've witnessed a historical 'truth' heartily debunked by the majority, leaving a rather vague posthumous diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder. If it was today he'd have been shipped off to the same health farm that Catherine Zeta Jones ends up in every now and again, he'd have been stabilised with drugs and he wouldn't have had to die such an ignoble and unfair death.

Imagine being back then when no one could help you and no one would listen and no one could give you any kind of idea what the hell was going on. It must have been terrifying and one could argue that his descent into total madness was a blessing - as long as it was a sort of soft cloudy madness and not a terrified-trapped-in-his-own-head-madness.

Mind you, he probably got better treatment then than those with his illness do now on the NHS. I tried to get on a waiting list to see a shrink in York. They told me it would be at least 12 months to get ON the list and then another 'up to 12 months' to see anyone.

So maybe we're not much better off than poor old George III after all.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Get a JOB

I just think they've got too much time on their hands, that's all. I mean, how busy can one be if one finds time to consistently keep active tabs on ex employees?

Say for argument's sake that in theory a girl is offered a job. It's far  away from where she lived but she thought she'd take a punt and give it a go. She makes a huge mistake. Huge.

Mistakes basically don't come greater than this. This is a bigger mistake than when she lost her virginity to that douche canoe or decided she was in 'love' with that knobhead from back then. You know the one. This, you see, was a mistake of epic proportions.

We'll spare you the ins and outs of what exactly went down as it really doesn't paint the old ex employers in a very good light. At all.

But say this girl tried her best to get on with it in the face of insurmountable and increasingly nasty odds and, one day, was taken into a room where one of the bosses told her she was doing much better and that all was well.

And then a week later the other half of the Odd Couple dragged her into a room and sacked her for 'not fitting in', refused point blank to give her any evidence of anything and turfed her out.

This is all a while back now and say the girl got on with her life, shook off the claggy sticky filth of the poisonous atmosphere of the place and made lots of new friends and got a different job.

For the most part, apart from the occasional flashbacks and the odd nightmare where she's back there (always going on to wake up and practically holler with delight that she never has to see their faces again) it's beginning to be packed away as a thing that happened in her ever expanding box of bad  decisions.

Having already immediately blocked as many pertinent Twitter accounts as possible and blocked them on Facebook, it seemed the coast was finally clear.

And then the girl notices something.

Every now and again one of them looks at her linked in profile. They are either thick as fuck and don't realise that she can see their pathetic stalking activities or want her to see that she's still very much on their mind.

Suitably creeped out she ignores it. And then it happens again. Every time she's pretty much forgotten about the whole pathetic mess up they pop, like a big, sweaty ginger Jack in the Box. Always watching. For what? Don't they have better things to do? I mean, what do they WANT?

Then today the girl gets a Twitter notification. Oh look. He's now using a personal account to follow her Twitter. If he hadn't actively followed then he could have stalked away and she would be none the wiser. But as he did she could SEE him and block him.

This Twitter stalking comes one year and four months after the girl was fired. 16 months. When will the greasy fucker piss off? What could he want?

I mean is it new clients they're after? I wonder if someone should introduce him to Candy Crush or plants v zombies as he clearly has a lot of time on his hands.

He's now been stalking this theoretical girl for twice as long as she  worked for him. I mean, isn't that a little weird? A little creepy? A little... off?

Get a fucking job.

Friday, 24 January 2014

There must be something off about her

I was reading some bilge on the Internet earlier, much like you are now, and it was  about a single 32 year old woman who had chosen to make art her career, someone said: "She's 32 and alone and doesn't have children. There must be something off about her."

Hmmmm, I thought. Hmmm.

More and more I hear, see, overhear or read people being snarky about women purely because they are single. It is usually about women in their 30s. The assumption appears to be that they are single because no matter how hard they try, they just can't get one of those  gorgeous sexy man creatures to stick around.

You know. There must be something 'OFF' about her. It couldn't possibly be because she hadn't met someone she wants to give her time, energy and ovaries to. It couldn't be because she actually likes being single. It couldn't be because she has standards, self control and the wit to wait for someone who's  actually worth it? Or that she may have wasted her formative years on someone who wasn't quite 'the one' and since then has only met psychopaths, sociopaths, serial shaggers and men who are already taken even though they are extremely lovely? Or that the pool properly dries up when you get past 30. That's right, everyone's all busy being smug and together and married or whatever and going on holidays and doing lovely things and that doesn't leave many leftovers for the odd spinster hanging around.

It just fucks me off that it's 2014 and this is still the prevailing attitude.

And yes, I'm touchy because I've heard this shit for YEARS and I've been single for years and dealt with the barely  repressed derision and general confusion it seems to trigger in some people. Not all people, obviously. But definitely in some people.

'You a lesbian then?'

Yes that's right. I'm a fucking lesbian. Because if I don't have a man, I must be gagging for it from everywhere. I must be repressing my sexuality. I must be screaming 'shag me' to everyone I meet.

Or, I suck at  relationships. I suck at choosing the right kind of men (ie, ones that aren't controlling, abusive drug addicts) and then I suck at trying to make them work. And it means I've been far happier single.
So it'd be kind of nice if society as a whole stopped treating childless single women in their 30s and 40s as if there's something 'off' about them.

It's not 1867 anymore. The whole concept of the crazy spinster aunt should have gone the same way as frowning upon  sex before marriage. But somehow it hasn't.

I'm off to knit a cat while deciding how to break the news of my repressed lesbianism. 

Thursday, 23 January 2014

That's never happened before

Of course it's never happened before. It's fucking ridiculous. It's something that happens in an annoying middle class sitcom like Miranda. It's something that happens in a Victoria Wood sketch. It's not something that happens in real life.

How many times have you got out of the pool at your local sports club and had your shower and began to get dressed only to realise that your trousers. Just. Aren't. There?

How many times has that happened to anyone in the known universe?

I'll tell you. Once. Yesterday. When it happened to me.

I was in the shower scraping chlorine off my skin when I realised that, as usual, I'd forgotten my knickers. I always forget my sodding knickers when I go for a swim. But, you know, going commando for 10 minutes while I walk home isn't going to hurt anyone, is it?

I'm not a going commando type person so it feels vaguely wrong but I can push that aside.

I start to get my clothes together while holding my towel up around myself. I can't do that thing of letting it drop while I'm among a bunch of strangers. I just can't. I'm clearly way more repressed than these 50-something posh types that I swim alongside.

And then I realise that something's missing. As well as the knickers.

So, the dream we've all had, where we're in a public place and naked, comes true. Doesn't feel good, I can tell you.

My brain starts working out solutions. There seems to be only two. One is walk home entirely naked on my bottom half. Two is tell someone fucking fast before the last two women leave the changing room and I'm entirely alone. Oh, and three. Live in the changing room forever, surviving on skin scraps and the ends of shampoo bottles.

"Um, s...someone's nicked my trousers," I squeak to the nearest posh lady. She looks like all of the posh ladies there. Designer mum jeans, expensive boots, lots of gold and Princess Di hair.

She looks at me like I'm a defective peasant. But that's OK. I have bigger things on my mind right now.

"What do you mean?"

Not sure that I can be any clearer than that, but I dutifully repeat myself, panic starting to rise in my throat.

Then I start to laugh. How in fuck am I in this situation?

Princess Di's friend says: "I have a spare pair of trousers. They might be too small though."

She's easily a size 12. Bitch.

Still, beggars - and naked people - can't be choosers.

I take her trousers (they totally fit. Ha) and thank her profusely.

"Were they expensive looking kit?" says the lady.

"Hell no. A tramp would have rejected them for being too skanky," sez I. I only buy sports kit from Sports Direct for less than the price of a bag of chips. So whoever has stuffed them into their gym bag (clearly by mistake) is going to be confused and disappointed. Unless they were particularly after a mud caked pair of baggy tracksuit bottoms.

You can't walk, jog or run anywhere on this bog of an island without getting covered in mud so I just decided to go with it. It's a look.

I make it out to reception, going commando, in a pair of Princess Di's best friend's trousers. And the guy behind the counter chuckles.

"That's never happened before."

The club has been open since 1939.

Monday, 20 January 2014

I'm a secret meditation thinker

Now I have the R Whites jingle in my head. What happened to R Whites anyway?

I meditate. I've meditated off and on for a while now but not with any discipline. It's never been my strong point to be fair.

For the last three days I have meditated four to five times a day. My phone keeps correcting the spelling to mediated. Apparently more people spend their time mediating than meditating.

I like meditating. I'm following a mindfulness meditation programme that is basically Buddhism without Buddha. It's a comforting cross between acceptance and nihilism that I'm finding profoundly helpful and deeply satisfying so far.

But it's fucking hard. It's hard to genuinely feel suspended in the moment with no thoughts of the thing you fucked up yesterday or that bloke that's on your mind or that fucking earworm constantly in the background. Thanks Biggie.

I'm no good with hippy shit. Talk of crystals and healing and positive thinking makes me blow metaphorical chunks. But this is as simple as it gets. What is there really except the breath?

And when you manage to hit a few moments where it really truly is all you're doing. Just breathing. So your body becomes the breath. It's so good.

Last night I took a punt on a much longer meditation than normal, with a  background of music that was supposedly at some kind of special frequency. It was mildly trippy and surreal. Falling deep inside yourself without falling asleep is weird. How did I not know you could do this shit without drugs?

Sunday, 19 January 2014

A room of her own

'A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction'. 

That's what Virginia Woolf said. 

She was wrong. It turns out a woman must have an entire house of her own and not move in with someone else at the age of 37, after having lived alone for at least eight years. 

I've been living alone for so long that I can't even remember how long it is. For the first few months I thought it was awful. My boyfriend legged it you see, after living with each other for the best part of a decade, and I was all sad about coming home to an empty flat every day. 

I used to have a cry about how lonely it was and how no one wanted to hear about my day. And then I remembered that even when I was living with someone, no one really wanted to hear about my day anyway. 

And then I discovered the joys of living alone. The many, many, MANY joys. Walking around naked. And yes, I could have done that when living with my boyfriend, but he didn't really fancy me for the last few years so that would have just been awkward. And also I'm one of those very British 'embarrassed to be naked' types. It just feels wrong. I mean, you always need a pair of knickers don't you?

So in addition to being naked when I feel like it, I liked the fact that I didn't have to put the heating on. I like the cold, OK? I like fresh air. I like wrapping up warm. I heartily dislike sweating and not being able to breathe so not having anyone moaning at me about the heating was awesome. And then I could watch whatever I wanted on TV and, for the first time in 8 years, I was no longer squished into the corner of the bed while a 6 ft 4 dude hogged most of it. I rediscovered the JOY of sleeping alone. All that 'the bed's cold and empty' is a load of toss shite. The bed is full of my things - my laptop, my books, my cat and ME. And if I want to sleep like a starfish I can. And there's no one poking their erection into the small of my back every morning like it's somehow my responsibility. Excellent. 

Coming and going whenever you want. No one to question your dubious sleeping cycle. Staying up till 5 cos you're freelance and you can sleep all day if you bloody well want to. Not having to be in a routttinnnnnnnnnnnnnnne. Man, I hate routines. Hate them. HATE THEM. 

I like being able to wake up grumpy as fuck and not have to deal with anyone until I feel like it. I like coming home from wherever I've been and not have to speak to anyone. I'm not always a big talker. I like to be very silent sometimes and if I'm not on my own I feel obliged to talk. 

And now I have been living with someone else for a month. Almost exactly a month. And it's tricky. I mean, it is my ma and we have the usual mother/daughter stylee issues. And it's her house. It's not my family home. I've never lived here, my family home is long gone in the mists of time, my parents left there before dad died. So this is just a house to me. 

It was never going to be easy though was it? I haven't lived with my folks since I was 21. And it was different then. There were two of them for a start. Am slightly concerned we're going to go all Grey Gardens and in 20 years time someone will shoot a documentary of our crazy house and our crazy passive aggressive comments. 

And I miss my own space. However, my mother is overall an adorable woman. If she could only kick her cleaning fetish into touch every now and again. It's probably doing me lots of good living with someone else and having to have a routine of sorts. It's making me more normal. And that's what we all strive for innit. Normality. 

So anyway, I would like to adjust Ms Woolf's quote a tad. 'A woman needs money and an entire house of her own in order to write fiction.'

Saturday, 18 January 2014

One week on

I still don't know what's going on but it's alright here. Bloody wet though. Every time She takes me out She starts blarting on about the fucking rain. I just dig my feet in when I don't want to walk any further. Seems to work.

And I most definitely won't shit in the rain. She's got another thing coming if She thinks that's going to happen any time soon.

Am pretty sure She's wrapped around my tiny paw now. All I have to do is look at Her a certain way and She'll do whatever I want. It's ace.

For instance, sometimes I just don't feel like walking any further. There's no reason, but you know, sometimes a tripaw likes to be picked up. So I just look at her and next thing She's scooped me up and I get to have a lie down.

I have a collar of my own. I've never had one before. And I have a bone! I've never had one of them before either. Look.

She told me that the lady in Romania who looked after me after I got hit by that car has been in touch. I got a virtual kiss all the way from Romania! I don't miss the shelter though - there may have been 299 other dogs to play with but I like where I am now thanks very much. I'll most likely stay here for a bit. 

I get to go for walks by this big thing She calls the sea. It's way too scary for me so I just stick my face into interesting things. About a gazillion dogs walk there and I get to smell all their secret messages. I also like to do my business on people's gardens. She keeps telling me to hold it till we get somewhere private but I like to waft it about. Good old Romanian poo that is, you don't get that very often. 

We went to the sea and I am so cute that people kept stopping Her to ask about me. A nice old man with a beard gave me four treats all to myself. And then we sat in a cafe and everyone told me how beautiful I am. I like that. 

I keep going to that vet woman though and they keep sticking things up my butt. That can stop please and thanks. 

Every time we go for a walk She points this thing at me and asks me to look at her. I like to look up at Her and look absolutely beautiful and then turn away at the last minute so all she gets is pictures of my ass. This amuses me. And anyway there's way too much to do. Like sniff every single grain of sand on this beach. See. 

I'm not used to walking like this - especially on three legs. Do you people know how difficult that is? I may have slipped in the sand and fallen face first today. But I'm pretty sure no one noticed. Yeah, I was cool. I totally didn't have sand on my nose. 

I have to have a small nap after I get in from my walks. I like to lean on a human if at all possible. Any part of their anatomy will do. Here I chose a knee. The beauty of this choice is that I know for a fact She won't move until I wake up naturally and by then her leg will be completely dead. Hahaah. Humans are funny. 

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Charles VI was made of glass

Now I've marooned myself on the wettest little Island on the planet I find myself on a boat rather more often than I normally would. Not much call for them in York in the end.

The only other time I have seen people hopping across stretches of water in what are essentially buses is in Venice.

It's rather different going from Portsmouth to Ryde.

One can't really compare the Grand Canal to the Solent. Well one could but one would be sadly disappointed.

What can I do with this 20 minutes that will take my mind off the choppy waters and my always present fear of dying a horrible death?

Well, this. For one thing.

Thank fuck for technology.

Charles VI of France thought he was made of glass.

He went around terrified that he would shatter into a million shards. He had metal rods inserted into his clothes as a kind of preventative measure to protect his glass bones.

I know how he feels.

He was also called Charles the Mad. Bit rude.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Bună ziua, eu sunt Sushi

I have absolutely no idea what the hell is happening but it's alright so far.

Three days ago I was in a place that was, between you and me, utterly filthy. They grabbed me a while ago, I can't remember when, I'm a dog. But it was ages ago and then they chopped my leg off and then put me in a cage.

It's a weird world.

I think I used to have some kind of family. I definitely know that people can be nice and I like being around them. But I didn't like being stuffed into a van with a load of other dogs and then driving for days and days and days. And then, when we finally stopped, they grabbed me and stuffed me into someone else's weird car thing and then I got scared and I may have made a mess.

This is me just after I got in the car. I wasn't at all sure what was happening so I decided to try and go to sleep. It's the best way to deal with most things I find.

They took it well, to be fair. But it did mean I was covered in my own waste for the next hour or so. Like, I said, a weird world.

Then we got on some kind of thing on the sea and they bloody left me alone, those two people, then they came back and we drove again. I thought I was going to be in a car for the rest of my LIFE. And then we stopped.

They dunked me in water and scrubbed off all my carefully collected filth, excrement and general horribleness. I was cultivating that smell. It was special.

I smell like something I am extremely unfamiliar with, frankly. It's weird.

But then they dried me and keep giving me biscuits and every time I want to go outside I get to go and, best of all, I have this bed made up of soft things all to MYSELF.

This is my bed. I'm in it. Yes, I do look like a fox don't I? Rumour has it my ma and pa were an Alsatian and a fox but no one back home could swear to this. Suffice to say I have a very bushy tail and a very foxy face.

I did get hissed at by some weird black and white creature. I would say it's a cat but I've never seen a cat that fat in Romania so maybe it was something else.

No one speaks Romanian and they don't seem to do much apart from tell me I'm beautiful and buy me things and put food into my mouth but that's fine by me.

Then I had a nap. I like naps.

Sometimes I like to play and then I forget that I only have three legs and fall down a bit, but it doesn't affect my dignity. I'm fabulous.

Today something extremely undignified happened though. Firstly, I was forced to go to the loo in my own bed as I didn't want to go last night. It was raining. I don't poo in the rain. So that was pretty rubbish but it did mean that I got to watch Her clean it up and that's always amusing. And I got loads of treats and fuss.

Then we went in a car thing and they made me go to a place where they did all sorts of weird things. First they put me on scales. I could have told them I am plenty svelte. And then they took out my stitches. When some weirdos chopped my leg off aaaaaages ago they just left these green things hanging out of me. I thought they were part of me but they were really annoying and I'm glad they've gone.

Then I had a nap.

Did I mention I like naps?

Here I can nap whenever I want and I have loads of clean blankets and then sometimes I will have a bit of a snack or I will go and find Her and make Her cuddle me. It's all quite satisfactory so far.

I would like to find that black and white creature though. I wonder if we can be friends.

I'll piss in his fireplace any time

You know the thing I love most about Sherlock? The gleeful way Gattis refuses to conform to tired tropes.

Somehow he manages to combine ludicrous plots, so respectfully derived from the originals, with balanced and always surprising twists.

It's exciting. It makes me all happy and sad and delighted and surprised and like my brain has had a cleansing shower cleaning off the sticky gloop from whatever bollocks I just sat through before Sherlock came on.

I don't know whether it's the writing, the perfection of the casting or the acting itself but every time Sherlock does something weird I believe him. So I'm delightfully shocked every time it twists and bends.

I'm sitting there grinning like a loon through most of it and then on the edge of my seat and then shocked and then sad and then genuinely worried this will be the last time Sherlock and Watson see each other and then happy that it isn't and ohhhhh it's just fucking marvellous.

I'm one of those fuckers who always tries to work out the twists and plots. I feel a comforting satisfaction in being unsurprised by supposedly clever writing.

But Sherlock blindsides me. Every time. And then I'm properly in it. The dialogue and the visceral emotional connection between Sherlock and Watson actually makes me feel things.

But more than all of this, I have just thoroughly loved every second of these last three episodes.

I've seen some snark about it being too heavy handed, too unbelievable, too modern and even too long. And I think that's unmitigated bollocks.

Gatiss should write everything in the world ever from now on.


Thursday, 9 January 2014

Me and Michael Bay

Until a few years ago I didn't even know what CES was. I'd never heard of it. And then I started working in the video games industry and suddenly knew approximately five million people who tripped off to Vegas every January to watch big ol' companies blart on about new technology.

Since I left the industry I mostly follow CES updates from friends I know who are there. They'll pick up anything that would interest me anyway. Other than that it comes and goes, much like many other expos and events every year and I lazily keep half an eyelid on it for a bit before it slips away from my consciousness in favour of the Oatmeal's new comic or whatever shiny thing that grabs my ever decreasing attention span in its web of promise.

This year a headline caught my eye. It was something derisory about Michael Bay 'storming' off stage at CES while promoting something or other. Oh, he's such a wanker isn't he? I thought to myself. Probably his massive ego and something to do with those terrible films he makes that made him do that. I had, of course, linked my fairly mild dislike of his style of film making (Megan Fox plus lots of big bangs do not make for an intellectually stimulating couple of hours unless you're a 12 year old boy. Which I am not) with him as a person and instantly judged him.

After actually watching the clip of him 'storming' off stage at Samsung's promotional bit for one of their thingummy whatsits. I think it's a bendy screen or something. I quite like the sound of that. I want my tech to bend. I want everything to be very flat, very tiny and bend. Or be very massive, very flat and bend. Basically, my future needs to bend. Anyway, after actually watching it I think that Mr Bay had a panic attack.

There was, naturally, an enormous backlash against him. Some people mocked. Some people openly derided. Some people blamed it on his ego. Some people said it showed his arrogance. Others said that he is somehow too dim to put words together himself without an auto cue.

To me, a border line agoraphobic, even going on to a stage in front of people is something that just could not be achieved. I watch people do things every day that I just could not do right now. And at the top of my nightmare list is something like the presentation he had to do. I actually used to perform a lot. From the age of around six to 16 I played the violin in a few orchestras. A couple of them were borough wide orchestras. Obviously I did this completely against my will, but did it I did.

When I was very young performing held no problems for me at all. I played solos in cathedrals. I played at the Royal Festival Hall when I was wee. I played at the Symphony Hall in Birmingham. And although I never got the kick out of performing that some people seem to get, it was something that I could do if I had to. Now, I struggle to be in the audience for concerts and events, such has my panic overwhelmed me.

So to me, it was clear what happened to Michael Bay. I don't think he suddenly decided to be an overpaid douchenugget and huff off stage because it wasn't perfect. I don't think that it was a publicity stunt. I think he panicked, went blank and did what everyone who is having a panic attack wants to do - he ran.

And to all those people who delighted in scorn and said things like: "All he had to do was speak.", and "What the fuck is wrong with him?" fuck you and your lack of anything approaching empathy. It was clear from the footage that he didn't leg it off stage in front of gazillions for his own selfish reasons. Why would he invite the ever ready ridicule?

My panics render me mute these days as I battle my gagging reflex. I have been struck dumb in one on one conversations with friends when panic has started to overwhelm me. So, I can completely understand the utter horror of staring out at a sea of expectant and scornful faces while feeling like a black hole is sucking me to hell. And instead of trying to struggle through some nonsense about screens and films, I'd have run too.

I've been accused of everything from fishing for sympathy to wanting attention over the years.


The media response to his meltdown is neither surprising nor unexpected but it is disappointing.

Panic attacks happen even to shiny media types. Who knew?

They could have used this to highlight how very very common these things are or they could have slagged off the fool who panicked, pointed and laughed. It's hard to believe it's 2014 sometimes.

Saturday, 4 January 2014

This time next week...

I will have met the love of my life. Or one of them, at least. You could say we met online.

I've never met her, I've only seen pictures and she didn't even bother to send me an amusing message. I have no idea how big she is, whether she is grumpy or happy or whether she will like me.

But either way, this time next week she will be (hopefully) ensconced on my lap watching weird Danish detective series. Or she'll be cowering in her crate all scared. I'm hoping for the best, of course. My dream scenario is that Fatty greets Sushi like she's his long lost sister and they have a cuddle.

The likelihood is that he will keep his distance and hiss in an intimidating manner for a while, whereas she will most likely be too terrified to do anything much at all.

I've had some odd reactions to my decision to adopt Sushi. My aunt wonders how I know she isn't vicious and horrible and nasty. The answer, dear aunt, is I don't. I'm taking a punt. I'm trusting some people who have met her and want her to have a home. No one with these chocolate button eyes could be vicious I'm sure. I mean, just LOOK at her.

I can't really explain to these people why I want to bring Sushi over from  Romania. Why I don't want her to struggle any more, or not have enough food or have to live on the streets. It's just something that I have to do. And, most importantly, I'm getting a motherfucking dog, yo.

This is the culmination of 20 years of longing. The only thing that has remained constant in my tiny mind over the years is that one day I have to have my own dog. I just have to. I need one.

I can't quite believe this is happening and, until, she has all three paws safely on UK soil and, preferably, in my house, I won't entirely believe it.

One more week in Romania Sushi and then you get to experience the delights of the flooded Isle of Wight with me. I might have to fashion you some tiny galoshes.

Friday, 3 January 2014

Death comes to Sherlock

Do you remember when Christmas TV was a thing?

Granted, it was back in the day when there were only four channels and when Top of the Pops was an innocently exciting way to find out who was Christmas number one, rather than a tacky reminder of a) how music is so utterly fucking awful now and b) just how many Top of the Pop presenters have links to paedophilia.

We used to watch the big film at 3 and things like French & Saunders Christmas specials that were actually funny. And, most of all, new.

This Christmas was an anomaly for me in many ways. The first one I have spent in the presence of family members for many a year, it was a sort of comforting yet alien time. But luckily for me, despite having approximately 5 million TV channels, I was forced into watching Morecambe and Wise and Blackadder's Christmas Carol. Not because family forced me but because there was fucking nothing else on. Unless I wanted to watch endless episodes of EastEnders or that Mrs Brown thing that just looks so completely abhorrent.

Oh, I did squeeze Big Fat Quiz of the Year in because I do love me a bit of Noel Fielding and that.

In this wasteland of festive 'entertainment' I have been comforted only by University Challenge, random historical documentaries and, surprisingly, Death Comes to Pemberley.

I tried to wade through the book last year but could not swallow PD James's versions of characters that belong to my brain. It's a fact universally acknowledged that the only version of Darcy and Elizabeth that is allowed in any way is Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth. There is no room for anyone else to try. Ever. So I didn't want to watch this. But I did. Because it's Christmas and I've just moved to an island where the rain never stops and it's basically impossible to do anything else.

And it was ace. The casting was alright - in fact, they got the peripheral characters bang on and I just about got used to Darcy and Lizzy by the conclusion of the mystery of who killed Denny. Shame it wasn't Whickam what was offed. Or Lydia even. Such a pain in the ass. The only thing that bothered me was the sex scene. Hey, TV people, you don't always have to have a sex scene. Especially when it's a sequel to Pride & Prejudice. We all know what shagging looks like. We don't need to see Darcy at it.

A good bout of sexual tension is ace though, and part of the massive enjoyableness of Sherlock. I'd forgotten that I liked it so much. Somewhere along the way, it's got lost in the whole Dr Who massive fuss about fuck all in my head, probably because the cross over of writers and the ubiquitous nuttiness of the huge droves of fans. I clearly spend far too much time online as If ind this as irritating as a DFS advert.

So I wasn't that arsed when it came on. I was vaguely interested to see how they'd deal with the fall and I do like Tim from the office in his new job. And it was New Years Day and it was still raining outside. I should explain that the rain here is not like normal rain. And there is not a normal amount of it. It is relentless and savage and coastal and brutal and I sort of love it but for fuck's sake, it would be nice to just be able to go outside at some point.

It's going to be shit I thought to myself. And then they revealed the fall immediately and it involved fucking Derren Brown. See - I fucking knew it would be shit. I was gleeful about two seconds later. For some reason I'd briefly forgotten that Mark Gatiss is an unholy genius and would never have fucked it like that.

It continued to be gleeful and the homoerotic tension plus the glimpse of Sherlock's mum and dad just added to the deliciousness. They revealed three of the 13 solutions by the end. I don't really give a shit how he did it to be honest. Conan Doyle bumped Holmes off in the original because he was bored witless by his own creation. Pressure and the promise of cash brought him back, so his Holmes climbed up the rocks rather than fell down the waterfall. What did ours do? Don't care as long as they keep making them.

A beacon of bright entertainment in a sludgy grey schedule.