Sunday, 29 June 2014

A mirror to the dark and the light

The thing about the internet and social media and everyone having a platform and a voice and a thing, is that you see some of the best of humanity and some of the worst of humanity, often within moments of each other.

Take animals, for example. I spend half of my time online interacting with and attempting to support/help/whatnot people who save/rescue/adopt animals. All kinds of animals. Dogs, cats, lizards, bats. I don't care what it is, if it's non human and it needs help then I want to help it. And yes, this does include the animals that I occasionally eat and yes, this does make me a massive shiny hypocrite. All I can say is that Quorn is featuring more and more heavily in one's diet recently.

But, my constant argument with my own brain over eating meat aside, I know some truly fantastically selfless people who spend time, energy and money trying to save animals. Trying to keep then from harm or rehome them or feed them or get them the medical care they need. People all over this world are doing this right now.

There are people who have devoted their entire lives to the cause and live in amazing places surrounded by dogs and capybaras. There are people who look after sloths full time. Others who just try their best to help, share lost pets online, take pictures, write stuff, sell stuff... basically they try. These people fill me with delight. I love that I'm not alone in my adoration of animals above humans (yep, I said it) and I love that people are trying every single day.

Every life saved is worthwhile. People think I'm cray cray for shipping a three legged fox thing all the way from Romania when I could have just bought a puppy over here. But they don't get it. They don't get the magical feeling of knowing that, for this animal, I have made a difference. I have changed her life from dark and cold to light and comfort and I love how happy she is.

So I get to see this stuff every day on my Facebook and Twitter, and other forms of social media, if I could but be arsed to keep up with them all. And that's nice.

But, on the flipside, I spend my time trying to convince mouthbreathing fucktards that they really shouldn't be breeding cats, dogs, rabbits, whatever in order to make money. They really shouldn't be flogging animals on crappy Facebook pages that have been set up in order to swap second hand clothes. That they are perpetuating a problem they don't even understand. That, for every puppy they sell, they're potentially causing untold damage to the dogs' lives and to the generations that will come after them, or at best they're depriving an already unwanted puppy a home. That the £100 they make is nothing to the damage they have caused.

It's a cycle of abuse that never seems to end and, the thing with everyone just being themselves all over the place on the internet, it's just there. All the time. In front of your face. People abusing animals. People selling them like they're bits of leftover fucking food. People laughing about it. People using them to fight. People starving them, neglecting them, hurting them. There it is. Easily found and seen. Every day. All you have to do is follow a couple of charities on Facebook and you see it. It's horrific.

Without the internet and Facebook I would see neither of these sides of the coin. I wouldn't see the abuse but I wouldn't see that there are at least as many people fighting against it. The internet highlights and showcases the best and the worst of humanity. And allows us all to show who we really are, even when we try not to. And, of course, there are the cat pictures and hilarious memes. And porn.

Maybe it all balances out in the end, in some cosmic weighing scales way. Maybe there has to be a yin and yang or some shit to keep us all going. If there wasn't darkness to fight and move against, then where would we be? Covered in dogs and cats actually, that's where we'd be. And it would be amazing.

Sometimes I don't want to look at these things anymore and I just want to stop fighting with people about breeding and cruelty. I just want to stop looking at the bad and stop looking at the good and pretend that I don't know what I know. You know, like the 1980s.

I want to bleach my brain and start over in a world where this stuff doesn't happen. But that would be a world without people. And who'd want that?

There's not much time

And I have a lot on my mind. I haven't blogged for ages and so I have all sorts of detritus clogging my brain. It needs to be expunged. Therefore the following is likely to make little sense and seem convoluted and pointless. Much like most of the conference calls I've had this week.

Metallica though. It started badly. Hetfield bears more than a passing resemblance to a post op Mickey Rourke which is pretty disturbing. I used to fancy him. Actually I used to fancy both of them. Never fancied Lars though. He still looks like Gollum.

I couldn't give a shite about the whole Glasto thing. From what I can tell, every single time it's on people are bitching about the headliners. I gather Metallica are the first 'metal' band to headline. Apparently some people think they're against the ethos of Glastonbury. They're money grubbing humourless power hungry businessmen so I would have thought they'd slot right in.

As they played Sad But True, One and Master of Puppets I couldn't help but be drawn in. I was back at school, hanging out in the park, hearing people who knew about music and fags and shit talk about how the Black album was a sell out and that Metallica were over. Now it's remembered as their heyday. Funny old world. Bit like Kirk's hair.

Anyway. Still sad about Rik Mayall. Watched all of The Young Ones, Filthy, Rich and Catflap and Bottom over the last week. Bloody brilliant.

Anyway, I've watched none of the World Cup and yet somehow, thanks to social bloody media I know everything there is to know about it. Well, I know that we were shit and have come out with the worst performance since the 1950s (three lions on a shirt... ), Rooney looks like a fat chav and someone called Suarez is clearly mentally ill. And for this Masterchef is relegated to once a week? Really? And Twitter, stop trying to make the World Cup happen, yeah? I keep telling you I'm not interested and yet you keep suggesting I join in. I don't join things. Fuck off.

Anyway, humble bragging on Facebook is getting on my tits. It's extremely transparent so just stop it. Stop now. Yes. You.

Anyway, my novel is slow, work is much,  pay is remarkable by its continued absence and I really really want some fun. Any suggestions?


Wednesday, 18 June 2014

#100daysofsnark: TESCO. Go fuck yourself.

Tesco really is a home from home for patriots.

That is, if being patriotic means having to endure gurning chavvy faces painted with the St George's cross staring from every poster, cynically branded products (official World Cup tampons anyone?), and having to push one's way through vast hordes of chav scumbags desperately scrabbling for 12 packs of shitty beer and nasty cheap meat to slap on their crap barbecue.

Oh, and I know that 'chav' is not politically correct. I know that I'm apparently labelling a whole load of quite possibly lovely people with a middle class snooty categorisation. But I need to have a word for the kinds of people who can't close their mouths. Who appear to be actually neanderthal. Who can't wear clothes that cover their bellies or their ass cracks. Who tattoo their girlfriend's name on their face. You know the kind of people I mean. You do. You totally do. Even if you're all PC and right on. You still know what I mean. Stab you as soon as look at you. Those ones.

Anyway, I fucking HATE TESCO.

Don't go then, right? Is  that what you're saying? Well, thing is I live on a tiny island that boasts very little choice. As much as I would like to patronise all the organic, wonderful local shops selling fresh produce that isn't branded to appeal to the lowest common knobhead, there aren't any.

What there is is the biggest Tesco I've ever seen. It sells everything, from your basic shitty England T-shirt to England branded beer, crisps and snacks for the discerning football watcher.

I don't think that it is the case, but according to Tesco the World Cup has turned everyone, without exception into rabid, mindless drones who are OBSESSED with England and their chances. COME ON ENGLAND it says everywhere you look.

What about the majority of us, Tesco? What about the people who just want to go and buy their unsalted nuts and kale and don't want to have to run the gauntlet of hordes of shitty advertising? What about them? I remember when Tesco was attempting to raise itself above the very low bar it set itself in the 80s. Doesn't seem like they are now.

Still, every little helps, right? Especially if you are the kind of person who has covered their entire house with England flags and are planning to spend the next month drinking shit beer and painting your face in red and white.

COME ON ENGLAND, BRING IT HOME. Do me a fucking lemon.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Happy Father's Day y'all

"It can't be easy, but think about the love."

I got a text from a lovely friend who said just the right thing for me to wake up to on Father's Day.

It's a day that I dread every year. It's very prevalent, you see. The old marketing forces at work mean every day I get an email or two from companies trying to sell me their tat under the guise of it being Father's Day. Every shop you go into has Father's Day gifts. It's just quite in your face marketing. Stabby reminders all over the shop.

For years all I could see was black and sadness and grief and a sense of injustice so strong it can make me heave. For years I avoided Father's Day and hunkered down to ignore it. But that is also ignoring the love and the happiness I have been lucky enough to have. And it's probably time to start looking at that.

So this Father's Day, I went to look through The Box of pictures. We have very few pictures of our family from when I was growing up. Different times. Taking pictures was a faff. You only had the one chance to look good and most of us hadn't perfected anything like the photo face that seems to come naturally to everyone these days. Plus you actually had to physically take them to get developed and then go and collect them. It's a miracle anyone had any photos at all during the 70s, 80s and 90s.

Anyway, I looked through the meagre photos we have. And something struck me about all the ones of me as a kid. I'm smiling. Smiling like a nutter. Smiling like the happiest kid ever. And then it occurred to me that the person taking these pictures was always my dad. That's how he made me smile. That's how much I loved him then and I still love him now.

I started to think about the reasons WHY it's so hard to have lost him. And the reasons are because he was the funniest man I've ever met. He was the kindest man I've ever met. He was selfless and smart and was an unfailing rock, even when suffering horrible illnesses. He was also short tempered, impatient and, the iller he got, the more depression dogged him.

But no one made me smile like my dad. He was super intelligent, sharp as fuck and the person who basically thought I was ace, no matter how much I fucked up. And, instead of being so very sad that I don't have that anymore, I'm going to try and focus on the fact that I DID have it. It's a rare gift and I'm grateful for every single day I had with my dad.

My kind dad, my funny dad, my sarcastic dad, my rock, my friend and the best dad I could have ever wished for. You may have died way too soon, but I am so grateful you were my dad. I love you.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

My week on the internet

It's been a while since I blogged. This is because unprecedented things have been happening. Like me actually writing my book. I KNOW RITE. Amazing. I decided that instead of spouting shit on here every day I'd put that writing energy into my actual book.

It's kind of a few steps forward and then ten back as I have to edit as I go (it's just a thing I do), so for every 5000 words I write, I immediately cut about 3000. But still, it's happening.

But I've been collecting a few weird dating messages over the last week or so and feel the need to share. This is an eclectic smorgasbord of delights. Not all creepy. Some just weird. Some hilariously rude. Some odd.

Let's start with the self styled 'Man of My Dreams'. He doesn't even have a picture but that's OK because we would make a 'beautiful couple'.

I am, naturally, a 'stuck up cow' for not leaping at my once in a lifetime opportunity to associate with this winner. OK, so much for him. You may have noticed I've been skint recently because, although I seem to work my ass off, some of my clients are, um, rather tardy with paying, so I'm still skint. So when I was offered a 'business opportunity' I just had to find out more.


This guy messaged me. From America. To 'chat'. I don't know what it was, but I had a feeling that perhaps he wasn't wanting to shoot the breeze about politics. His username made me do a lol. 

The moment I found myself apologising for the inferior quality of restaurants on the Isle of Wight. We'd had a very short, bland chat until we got to the apparent nub of the issue. The real reason he'd wanted to talk to me. As soon as I apologised for the state of the Chinese takeaway in Bembridge that was it. We never spoke again. Still, I feel I've done my duty. 

And as a bonus, this is something that I saw on a page dedicated to buying and selling shit on the Isle of Wight. Both metaphorical and literal shit. For a split second I actually thought that some chav was selling their actual baby. But no, don't worry, it's a completely normal creepy as fuck doll that looks like a new born baby. BECAUSE WE ALL WANT ONE OF THOSE DON'T WE? 

I also looked at other things on the internet this week but we don't have time to talk about that. 

Monday, 9 June 2014

Once in every lifetime...

There are a few people on telly and that that throw me for a loop when they die.

Rik Mayall is one of them.

For the most part, I'm pretty sanguine about celeb deaths - after all, I've had enough actual, real family death to deal with. Who needs to take on the sorrow of others as well, right? But, as with all grief and shock, it depends on how connected you feel to the person who has died.

For me, Rik Mayall represents an enormous chunk of my childhood, my growing up and my appreciation of a certain kind of comedy. I have been watching him in The Young Ones, Blackadder, The New Statesman and Bottom over and over and over from the 80s to today.

If I'm sad or down, then I rewatch episodes of the above comedies. It's just a thing I do. I have seen all of the Young Ones and Blackadder a revoltingly silly amount of times. And Alan B'Stard IS the 80s to me. The New Statesman and Spitting Image WERE the 80s. They're pretty much my political references for that time still.

Rick, Lord Flashheart and Alan B'Stard are three of the most iconic TV comedy characters. It's personal. It feels personal that he's died. I know it's not. I know it's fuck all to do with me. But it feels personal.

He was 56. No age at all. As people keep saying. Over and over. He was too young. What a shock. No one should go at 56. It's not fair.

And it's not fair. It wasn't fair when my dad died at 56. And it's not fair that Rik Mayall is dead at 56. It sucks ass and I'm angry and sad and now we will never get to see anything new from him and that's just fucking tragic.

And then I just watched this and it still made me laugh. Even when I'm feeling so sad. Rest in Peace you mental genius man.

Friday, 6 June 2014

#100daysofsnark: Fuck football

Nah. It's not. It's not coming home. Not if, by home, you mean England. The English football team has about as much chance at winning the World Cup as Nick Clegg does of becoming PM.

But, as usual, that doesn't stop the groundswell of delusional optimism, headed up by such illustrious bastions of national pride as The Sun and The Mirror.

PC World or Currys or whatever the fuck the place is called that you can buy shitty overpriced electronics from, has been running possibly the most heinous advertising campaign ever. It's apparently the 1970s in Currys/PC World/whatever land. It's a world where wives exist to stop their husband's having any fun whatsoever and all football fans are late middle aged, obese guys who are trying to trick her indoors into buying a new TV so he can watch the football.

The joke, right, the joke is that he doesn't say that. He pretends it's for her to watch her silly soaps on, or her knitting programmes, or whatever things that the ladies like. One of them has a fat ugly bloke in a restaurant, wining and dining the missus (very much more attractive than him). He bangs on about buying a new TV so that she can watch the, er, soaps, yeah? Even though it's clearly because he wants to watch the footie with da ladz. AmIrite? It's so funny, right, because he's saying that and we can tell by her expression that she is annoyed, hurt and humouring him. You know, like Margot did with Jerry in The Good Life.

It's shit on every single level and sums up the level of gobshite that always surrounds the World Cup. I really really dislike the whole faux national pride bullshit that people are apparently partaking in. I hate the England flags everywhere. I hate the fact that when I went into Tesco today all the stuff I normally get had been swept out of the way in favour of actual walls of beer and shitty b-b-cue specials because clearly the only thing anyone wants now is to drink shit beer and eat horrible sub par meat that's been vaguely warmed over some coals in their back garden while they watch 'their' team crash and burn.

It's weird and embarrassing and I'm glad that they haven't released any shit World Cup team song this year. Have they? Maybe they have. Maybe it's Three Lions again. Remixed again. With Baddeil and Skinner increasingly aged and upset at the constantly decaying standards of the Beautiful Game.

And there ends Day 1 of #100daysofsnark. Do you think it'll catch on?

She's going to be a STAR

The other day while I was mithering about something or other and generally being a stroppy bint, I got a random email. It was from a photographer asking whether they could take some pictures - a proper shoot and everything - of Sushi in exchange for using the images to promote rescuing dogs from overseas.

HELLS YES, I said.

It's starting. The world is beginning to notice how special my Sushi is. With her nonchalant attitude, active hatred of the beach, all round aloof attitude and snuggly belly. She's going to rule the world.

So in a couple of hours, Sushi and I are going to go and meet the photographer and my pup is going to smize her way to stardom. If you don't know what smizing is then you need to check yourself and go catch up with the inimitable Tyra Banks and America's Next Top Model.

I've also spoken to Sushi at length about the best way to look skinny in pictures and how to angle her chin so that she looks her very best. All these seasons of ANTM haven't been a total waste of my life after all! Even that time I watched Season 2 all over again.

She looked me dead in the eye and ran off to do a poo. So I'm pretty sure she's all set.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

#100dayspfhappiness. DAY whatever: something

I think it's Day 10. Maybe. Either way it's the best day so far because I've decided to take on a new challenge.

It's called #100daysofsnark

It starts tomorrow and it's going to make me so happy.

Monday, 2 June 2014

Do you want some help with your packing?

No I don't. Of course I don't. Why would I?  I mean, do I? I don't think I do. Maybe I do. It's just... it's just putting things in bags isn't it? Why would I need help with that?

Is it suddenly going to turn into a game of Russian Roulette Jenga? If I don't do it fast enough some dude will come out and shoot me in the head? Is there a special way of doing it that I don't know? Is it something I should know but I don't? I should explain here, that I live in a perpetual state of being pretty convinced I
missed the memo that explains everything and that everyone else is going through life with a whole different set of instructions and explanations. So a question like: "Do you want some help with your packing?" can really, you know, make me question stuff.

I mean, what if people know something about packing that I don't? What if there's a reason they always ask me at the checkout and yet I always say no. What would happen if I said yes? Would it be a Sliding Doors moment of epic meaning? No? Well, then. Why would I want help putting things in bags? Why do corporate and retail knobbers insist on making their poorly paid, under appreciated staff spout pointless bullshit to uninterested consumers?

How many times have you heard someone say: "Hmm. Oh yes. I am unable to put boxes and jars into bags actually, so yes, if you would please do that for me while I stand and stare at you, that would be just fabulous."

The only people who ever take advantage of those kinds of services are the very old or the very rich. Which leaves a lot of us in the middle, who don't need help to do very basic things and feel uncomfortable being asked.

Granted, it may only be me who wrestles with a crisis of confidence at the supermarket checkout. I'm usually coming off a panic attack or just staving one off by the time I get to the bit where you pay. So, to me, the best thing that could ever happen in this situation is to do it as fast as possible, with minimum chats at the till. Every time I've been shopping since around 1998, I've been asked: "Do you want help packing?" and every time I've said: "No thanks."

They only started asking these kinds of questions in the mid 90s. Something to do with American customer service filtering its way through into our grey and dismal land.

That's a lot of wasted words and time. I know they knew that I didn't need help with my packing and they knew that I knew that but they had to ask me because it's 'policy'. I know it's policy so I have to play the part in the conversation of person who may have legitimately wanted 'help with their packing', has had a little think about it but actually, on the whole, has decided that she can manage to put things in bags all by herself thanks.

It's the same as when you go into a department store. Not that I do anymore, to be fair. But you know, some kind of shop that has stuff in it and they hone in on you. "Do you need any help there?"

"With WHAT? I'm LOOKING at shelves with my EYES. What help could I possibly need with that? Are your eyes different? Can you see things in a way that renders them golden and special?"

Just today a man approached me in Tesco while I was looking for apricot liqueur on the shelves marked 'Specialty Liqueur'.

"Can I help you with anythinggggggggggggggg?"

And I thought, actually yeah. I can't be arsed using my eyes anymore to look at stuff. I'll get him to do it for me.

"I'm looking for apricot liqueur. Do you have any?"

Panic stricken he was. "Oh, I don't know. Have you looked on the shelves?"

"Yes, that's what I was doing just now when you came up and asked me if you could help me with anything."

"Did you find it?"

"No. Do you have any?"

"Oh I don't know. I'd look on the shelves if I were you. It would be here if we had it so if you can see it then we have it."

Well, THANKS. That was WORTH yours and my time wasn't it?

And that, right there, is why society is annoying as fuck. People asking pointless questions because they're told to, with no interest in the answer and no ability to alter the outcome either way. We are living in a Kafkaesque nightmare of massive proportions. The future is here. And it's empty.

#100daysofhappiness DAY 8 (or possibly 9): FAME

In addition to being befriended by Anneka Rice recently, I have also become mates with fashionista and it girl about Chelsea, Caggie Dunlop. Not IT girl, like she works in IT support or anything. She's an 'it' girl. You know, they used to have them in the early 2000s. 

I say mates, I mean, she tweeted me back. That's pretty much mates these days, right?

Yep. Today I tweeted a Made in Chelsea cast member because she tweeted that she was in Seaview. This shouldn't surprise me as lots and lots of very rich people are often in Seaview. I was at work and tweeted her to come in and see us. Well, she only blinking well replied. I mean, she must have LOADS on, right? She has to do famous people things and there she was replying to me on the twitter. Amazing. She said she was back in London now so couldn't, but I think what she meant was that next time she's down she'll DM me and we'll go out and talk about what a knobhead Spencer is. 

So, that's Anneka Rice and Caggie Dunlop I'm BFFs with now. 

News of my widening fame has clearly spread because now people want to get Sushi in on the act. A local photographer messaged me today asking if she could take some shots of the Bear. I looked in her busy diary and we said: hells yes. 

So on Friday Sushi will become spokesdog for Romanian rescues, have some beautiful pictures taken of her mush and they will soon reach everyone around the world everywhere. She is going to be FAMOUS. 

And basically all of these things made me happy today. Also, I met two Labradoodles and an English Bulldog. And also I got paid. Fuck me. Surely this'll do for the next few days, right?