Saturday, 6 December 2014

What I've Learned From Romcoms

Single women, Hollywood has some important advice for you...

  • Do you have a male best friend? He is definitely your soul mate.
  • No male best friend? Do you have a male colleague or slightly creepy neighbour you are similarly sexually disinterested in? Soulmate.
  • Passed a man on the street recently? Soulmate.
  • If he stalks you it's because he likes you. You should totes marry him.
  • If you stalk him, he will almost certainly find it endearing.
  • Love across the class divide, always, always works.
  • In fact, the more totally unsuited you are in every way, the more likely you will live happily ever after.
  • If you chase a man through an airport to declare a hitherto unmentioned passion, he will drop his plans to move abroad for his dream job to be with you, and you will not be arrested on terrorism charges. 
  • The object of your affections not being single is no barrier to love, as he will, in absolutely all circumstances leave her for you.
  • Him publicly dumping his girlfriend/fiancee for you is the grandest romantic statement a man can make. The more humiliated she is, the more he loves you - awww sweet!
  • Interrupting someone's wedding to declare undying love to the groom is totally not a completely dickish thing to do.
  • After your wedding crashing, you will obviously live happily ever after, and his family will welcome you with open arms rather than thinking you are totally insane and should probably be locked up.
  • Almost all of life's problems are both caused and solved by sleeping with Hugh Grant.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

The 25 Awkward Stages Of Having A Workplace Crush

1.) When you spy them from across the office for the very first time

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2.) You attempt, subtly, to find out their name and what they actually do there

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3.) You start making an obscene amount of effort with your appearance every morning, even though you already have to get up at 6am to get to work on time

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4.) You try (and fail) to catch their attention from across the room

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5.) But confronted with the possibility of having to actually interact with them, you panic

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6.) So you resort to Googling them instead

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7.) And arrange a conference with your friends to discuss everything you've discovered

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8.) Then one day you bump into them in the corridor and they smile...

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9.) You find their contributions to team meetings endlessly fascinating

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10.) When they're out of the office, work becomes infinitely less interesting

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11.) Then when they're back you have to try to conceal how pleased you are to see them

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12.) You prepare for their potential appearance at a work night out like this

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13.) And decide to finally make your move...

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14.) But success! They begin to acknowledge you in the office!

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15.) When they reveal details about their life, you have to pretend that you haven't already read it on their Facebook page

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16.) You may start to read too much into their actions

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17.) When you see a member of the opposite (or same, according to preference) sex talking to them in the staff kitchen

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18.) This person now becomes your sworn rival, whom you will never include in the tea round again

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19.) You begin to worry you might not be as subtle in your attentions as you'd hoped

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20.) Then one day they casually mention that they're seeing someone

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21.) And you have to hide your disappointment

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22.) Now seeing them in the office makes you feel like this

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23.) You get irrationally angry at the unfairness of it all

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24.) And decide to give up on love forever

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25.) But wait! Who's that new guy/girl...?

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Monday, 23 June 2014

Product review: Barry M, Cor Balmy!

Friends, I've finally found it.  After 15 years of searching for The One, I've found the perfect tinted lip balm.  Enter Barry M's Cor Balmy!

Some background - I have a love/hate relationship with my lips.  I have a big mouth in literally all meanings of the expression, and while I often think my naturally plump pout is the best of my ramshackle collection of facial features, I'm aware that because of their size, wearing lipstick is an easy way to look overdone.  I still wear lipstick for nights out - though I'm jealous of women who can do the more common smoky eyes and bare lips combo, sadly, I've long since realised that there's no point attempting to emphasis my small, shapeless, asymmetric eyes - but the sage words of wisdom spoken to me by a stranger when I was still only 15, or 16, "Your mouth makes you look like a prostitute", ring heavily in my ears when it comes to daytime.  And so, I hit upon the idea of tinted lip balm as the perfect way of playing up my best feature without anyone asking me how much I charge for blow jobs.  Fast forward several years and I'd been through about half a dozen brands (I've never found tinted lip balm to be a particularly popular product, and don't often see it in shops) without finding one I liked.  I don't know about anyone else, but I've never found a tinted lip balm before that actually had a visible colour - until now.

I'm a big Barry M fan, but not a regular purchaser of their products; while they're usually referred to as a budget brand, a lot of their products hover around the £10 mark, which is a bit steep in my opinion when truly budget brands such as Miss Sporty or NYC Colour will have something similar for nearer to £3.  However, killing time in Boots on Friday, my eye was caught by Barry M's brand new range of tinted lip balms, Cor Balmy!, and at a surprising £3.79, I decided to give it a go.  I'm SO glad I did.  There five are shades, a very pale pink, a bright pink, two reds and a deep plum, and I plumped for the bright pink, called Rosie Lea, as that's my go-to lipstick colour for most occasions,

First things first, Cor Balmy! smells gorgeous, sweet and sherbety, like all the best Pick 'n' Mix counters of your childhood put together.  Sometimes I open it up just to sniff it, even if I'm not planning on applying any,  Plus, the 'moisturising core' (the centre of the stick is the white, moisturising part, the colour around the outside) really is deeply moisturising and soothing, something many tinted lip balms fail at monumentally, often being greasy or thin.  Bit the best thing about Cor Balmy! is that you get exactly what I was looking for for this Summer, a pop of sheer, shiny colour that's very visible without looking obvious or overdone.  Rosie Lea doesn't come out quite as bright as it looks in the tube, but it's still a true fuchsia shade, so much so that so that I'm definitely going to invest in the darker red shade (bright red doesn't really suit me) for a hassle free glam look, and the dark plum one will finally allow me to experiment with a colour I've always liked, but felt was 'too much' for me.  I'm seriously considering investing in the pale pink one too, even though it's not a colour I'd usually wear (light colours make large lips look bigger), because I think the sheerness of the shade could be key to achieving the no lipstick look of my dreams.  Probably the only thing holding me back from buying up all five colours in one go is that owning the entire collection could be considered excessive/obsessive.

was going to illustrate this with a picture of my suitably shiny, tinted lips, but as it turns out, my so-called best feature is not at all photogenic and I'm actually just plain hideous, plus I wasn't getting a good representation of the colour, so I've forgone the "here's a little something I prepared earlier" demo photo in favour of this classy shot of all the shades arranged in a glass for some unspecified reason; hopefully it's just as good.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Product review: Magnifibres

Let me tell you a secret that probably wasn't a secret to anybody who has had the misfortune to see my face in real life - I don't spend a lot on make up.  I love make up, and enjoy wearing it, when I'm going out, sometimes for work, but not just to pop to Tesco (I live in Essex, they don't deserve my full effort).  I think I've got a good balance.  But much as I enjoy make up, I'm usually strictly a budget - mid range kind of gal.  I'll go to Miss Sporty and Collection 2000 first, and stretch to Rimmel or very occasionally Barry M if the circumstances warrant it (I appreciate this is undermined slightly by my reviewing a BB cream recently that cost the same as two days return to travel to London, but I swear, it's a rarity).  Oh, and my Urban Decay Naked pallet, which was expensive in initial outlay, but not usage, as I wear it pretty much every day and night that I wear make up.

However, there's one area of cosmetics in which few holds are barred for me, and that's mascara.  You see, I've always hated my eyelashes.  They're white, they're thin, and they point downwards - no natural curl for this gal.  Clearly when God, or Morrissey, as he is properly known, was handing out luscious lashes, I absent from the queue.  I've been offered many opinions over the years as to why I'm still single, and being that I have fabulous hair and unimpeachable taste in music, I've come to the conclusion that it must be my faulty eyelashes which are to blame.  I usually have about three different mascaras on the go, because whenever a new ones comes out, making all sorts of wild promises about length and volume and curl, I fall for it.  Every.  Single.  Time.  Call me an optimist.  I probably still don't go crazy with how much I'm willing to pay for a single mascara, but I splash out occasionally.  I spent £30 on a Guerlain mascara years ago in Berlin; hated it.  Max Factor disappointed, as did Urban Decay.  I have a sample size Smashbox mascara I got in a free gift which is only OK.  Which brings me to my latest extravagant miracle purchase - Magnifibres.  

Magnifibres promises to add volume, plus up to 5mm in length.  The product is described as "brush on false lashes" and one thing I'll grant them is it's certainly unique.  Once you slide open the extravagant cardboard cylinder, inside is what looks like an ordinary tube of mascara, but unscrew the cap and it reveals a fairly slender mascara wand, covered in what looks like spider webs.  These are the titular fibres.  This is how it works: you apply one coat of mascara, then immediately apply the Magnifibres (your lashes need to still be tacky), as you would regular mascara, then wait for 30-60 seconds for the fibres to bind and apply a second coat of mascara, to cover them up.  The fantasy result?  Supposedly, longer, thicker lashes, without resorting to falsies.  The reality?  Well, judge for yourselves.  If my technological skills stand up to the challenge, then below top you'll see a photo of my largely unimpressive left eye, dressed up in two coats of Rimmel's Scandaleyes mascara (with a brief intervention from some eyelash curlers), and below bottom, my right eye (see what I did there), with two coats of the same mascara and the Magnifibres applied in between, also with a touch from the curlers.

The difference, as you can see, is....infinitesimal.  The Magnifibres packaging says you can apply just to the tips pf your eyelashes for a more natural look with added length, or all over for volume and up to 5mm increase in length.  I used Magnifibres all over, and if you look hard, you'll see the lashes on my right eye do appear to be very, very slightly thicker near the base, but that's it.  No extra length or curl, and I do not look like I am wearing false eyelashes.  The biggest difference between my left eye and my right is that my right is now quite weepy and sore, because every time I've used this stuff, the fibres have fallen into my eye and irritated it.

Magnifibres costs £22 (although who pays full price for make up anymore?  I got mine for £13 from eBay), and for the difference it makes it's not worth it.  If it cost £5 I'd tell you to save your money.  To be honest, it's so fiddly to apply, and adds so much time to the already time consuming process of doing your eye make up, that if it cost 99p I still wouldn't think it was worth the hassle.  My quest for lashes worthy of love, sadly, continues.


Two coats mascara

Two coats mascara, plus Magnifibres

Sunday, 18 May 2014

I don't normally do beauty product reviews...

...Partially because I'm not good at reviews in general (a quite accomplished journalist once told me that my reviews read more like sketches, but I still don't really understand what sketches are in the journalistic sense, and they're usually about politics...) and partially because I know nothing about make up or beauty, not naturally being a possessor of it.  Everything I know about how to apply make up I copied from what make up artists do to me at shows, and even then it continually looks half arsed (though in fairness, 99% of my make up is applied on moving trains, so maybe I could do better).  I wore heels for a day a week and half ago and my feet still hurt.  If someone actually invented Homer Simpson's make up gun I would totally use it.   Basically, I am a shambolic, fraud of woman.  Anyway, as ever, I digress.

I don't usually do beauty product reviews, but then I'm never normally impressed by beauty products, because they keep not making me look anything like Kate Moss, as is often unfairly suggested by the advertising.  But a good product deserves a shout out, so a shout it it's going to get.  I'm talking about Benefit's Big Easy liquid to powder multi-balancing complexion perfector.  The box says "Bigger than BB", but a BB cream is this product's closest living relative; it's more than a BB cream and less than a foundation.  Let me explain.

I've not historically been impressed by BB creams (though all three I've owned have been under the £5 mark and the last less than £3.50 I think.  I am not one to spend a lot on make up, I ALWAYS get the cheapest thing I can find, but I think maybe with BB creams the expensive ones really are better). They've always been too dark for me, as they tend not to come in the same range of shades as foundation, and offer little to no coverage.  The last one was by Miss Sporty, and it was just awful.  I bought it because my regular foundation (Rimmel Match Perfection in Porcelain) is £7, and although that's average for a good foundation, I was really trying to scrimp.  Anyway, it lasted just under two months, which is a shockingly short amount of time, but thank heavens, as I was bored ploughing on with it.  The consistency was barely thicker than water (if you opened the tube upright, it would flood out over your lap), it had weird bright red streaks in it, and there was basically no coverage, although it was dark enough to leave tidelines if you didn't blend really well.  The only good thing I have to say for it was it was very moisturising - I didn't usually use any serum or moisturiser before applying it, as I didn't need to.

So although I have more foundation now, I decided I wanted something lighter and more natural for summer, and had originally hit the Benefit counter in search of You Rebel tinted moisturiser - I've never tried it, but I know friends wear it, and that it has SPF, which is necessary in a summer skin product.  But when I tried a smidge, I wasn't that impressed, as it was, as usual, far too dark for my pale skin.  The sales lady was immediately on at me to try their BB cream, which is why I hate staffed make up counters.  I have to talk to people - urgh - and they'll make me buy stuff. I relented, and tried a bit, and it was much paler, and because I hate to disappoint people by not buying things when they've tried so hard to sell me them, I reluctantly allowed her to ring it up for me, despite it costing an eye-watering (and just about everything else-watering) £27.50.

But I wore it for the first time today and I have to say - this is some good shit.  It's exactly what I wanted; a light, even coverage, that just made my skin look naturally "nice" for lack of a better word, without covering up my freckles (I'm not fussed on whether my freckles show or not, just an indicator of how deep the coverage is).  It did appear to, as it claimed, "self adjust" to match my skin tone.

But what I was impressed by was the liquid to powder finish.  I was wary when the sales lady told me that it was a matte finish, as even though I wear powder to combat shine, I also have areas of dry skin, particularly on my nose, and matte is no good for that, and I just generally find matte products quite dull and dry.  Now, I didn't moisturise before applying the Big Easy, as instructed on the box, and that was a mistake - it felt quite dry going on and absorbed almost instantly, meaning I ended up using more than I'd like, and it's only a small tube, and it cost me the price of a weekly zones 1-2 travelcard.  BUT, it does exactly what it says on tin, it dries to a velvety, powder like finish.  I *could* have applied a little powder to my forehead, but only if I wanted a really, really done up look, for a natural look, this really did the job of eliminating shine, without being at all thick, claggy or overbearing.  It dried out the skin on my nose (despite claiming to be "moisture balancing" whatever that exactly means), but this is common for me, and I think if I'd moisturised first you'd barely have noticed.  And it didn't leave my skin looking dull, it looked bright and refreshed.  Plus, it does last - I'd had it on a good six or seven hours before I notice signs of it fading. Oh best thing - it's SPF 35, so perfect for protecting skin from sun damage in summer.

I'm not sure how long it will last, and thus how good value it will work out to be - the sales lady told me it lasts for ages as you only need to use a little bit, but it is really not a large tube - but if you want a light product for summer that still has some coverage, and particularly if you have shiny skin or just prefer a matte finish that is still natural looking, I guarantee you will like this.  It comes in six shades; I have 01 Fair, and the darkest is I think "Deep Beige" which is a sort of caramel colour I think, so sadly we're not really catering for women of colour here, yet, but hopefully they will expand.  The colours are quite flexible in that they adapt to your skin tone.  I've included a picture of a model wearing the darkest shade below, for reference.

So that is my not particularly well written, rambling, but hopefully still informative Big Easy product review/appreciation.  For a beauty blog written by someone who actually has a clue what they're talking about, check out my friend Jill Robinson's blog here:

The dangers of conflating contentment and happiness

There's definitely something about the sun coming out that puts people in a good mood.  I actually think that if our winter's were a bit shorter, we'd probably actually be less cynical and bitter as a nation (let's pray that never happens, because cynical and bitter are the two key strengths of my writing and I don't want to be left without an audience).  However, I'm here to darken the mood with a heartfelt plea to "happy" people - please stop it, you're making me miserable.

One of the few criticisms of social media that I do find to be valid  is that the tendency of many people to only comment on the positive - and not the negative - things in their life can have the unintended effect of making other people feel like they're missing out because they're not having such a good time, all the time.  Personally, I think everyone should be more like me and provide the internet with a relentless stream of misery to even things out, but I digress.

While the above serves as a good introduction, that's not exactly what I want to talk (moan) about.  You see, people have a terrible tendency to conflate contentment and happiness, and I never realised until today.  I also never realised how dangerous that is.

You see, while I'm not one to get depressed by the state of my life because other people are posting photos of them smiling in nightclubs (sidenote: I originally wrote "smiling AT nightclubs", which gives me an idea for a Tumblr) - after reading the article about how people deliberately project a highly manipulated image of themselves and how much fun they're having online, the scales really fell from my eyes - but some things do bother me.  What bothers me, you ask?  Semantics and proper use of the English language, that's what.  (Again, I'm getting, very slowly, to why this is actually relevant to mental health and is not just me being a pendant, although there's probably a degree of that in there).

So today, a lot of both my Twitter and Facebook timelines have been taken up by people talking about how their lives are perfect and they're "so happy".  I don't know why, let's, as before surmised, blame the sun.  Now I don't begrudge these people their good fortune (lols, I begrudge like a BITCH), but I question if it's happiness they really feel.  Don't they mean contentment?  If you're talking about how great your life is, how much you love your partner, or your job, or your house, that's contentment, not happiness.  That is general, long term satisfaction with your situation.  Happiness is a short term, fleeting emotion.  Why is the distinction important?

Because I never have, and almost certainly never will, feel the way these people do.  I've never had a proper, happy relationship, I've never had a stable job, I've never had an ideal home life.  And for a long, long time, I thought that that meant I'd never been happy.  That I was complete freak, so crippled by depression I was unable to feel basic human emotions.  And then today, I realised - of course I've been fucking happy.  Because happiness is fleeting, and made up of moments, not months, or years.  I was happy the moment I walked out Berlin Tegal airport, following the path to the train station that would take me to the city centre to start my new (and is it turned out, short lived) life in Germany.  I was happy the moment I first walked out into Tokyo.  I was happy the moment I found out I was getting paid to go to Australia.  Apparently I'm only happy when I leave the country - could be onto something here....Ok, no, British examples.  I was happy the moment Morrissey shook my hand in Victoria Hall in Halifax (I didn't dare wash it for days) and I felt, for a second, like someone who mattered.  I was happy the moment I got offered my current job.  I was happy the moment I realised in Brixton Academy that my not exactly lost, but lets say diminished love for the Manics had come back with full force I was struck in the face by awe at how fucking awesome they are.

So yes, I've been happy, and no, I hate to disappointment you, but you are not happy because you're engaged to the man or woman of your dreams, or because you've got a nice house or because you're job is going really well.  You are content.  Enjoy that feeling.  But don't call it "happiness", and make people who don't have those things think that they are broken.

In which I am so annoyed by a stranger's blog, I am moved to patrotism

I'm not generally a hugely patriotic person.  I feel incredibly fortunate to be British, and English - there's certainly something to be said for not growing up in a war torn third world country (although being from Essex I'm not entirely sure my experience was completely dissimilar). However, I do like my country, and I dislike arrogant idiots, so when in the course of researching an article for work I happened to stumble upon a blog whose author was being really very rude about London, England and the UK (she seems to think they're all the same place...), supporting her assertions with outmoded stereotypes and gross generalisations, my moron sensors were activated.  Alarm bells started ringing.  And I started getting annoyed.  Very annoyed.

I was tempted to leave a comment, but as that particular post was written three years ago, it seemed overly antagonistic (although I was disappointed to see she's still posting now, so presumably has not died in a fire in the intervening period).  However, I'm not much given to letting things go (beware, I bear more grudges /than lonely high court judges), and there were so many problems with her post that needed deconstructing that I decided the only appropriate way to deal with this was to fight blog post with blog post.  And so, here we are.

Final thing to note before we proceed: as mentioned, she uses the words London, England, and the UK interchangeably.  She bases her professed disgust with England on one five day visit to London.  I'll try to keep up with her mixing her proper nouns, but it gets confusing.

Let's start at the beginning.  With her intro:

"England has never been on my list.  It just seems boring and uninteresting."

Well, fair enough, everybody has different tastes.  However, I find this intriguing coming from someone from Colorado.  I'm just saying, people in glass states shouldn't throw boring stones.  You also shouldn't write off an entire country without ever actually knowing anything about it.  I've been to the States and I'd happily go again.  Hey, maybe I'll even go to Colorado one day, if I ever develop a desire to go live in the mountains like some kind of cave dweller (whoops, I can be really mean about somewhere I've never visited too!)

Next up is a complaint about our "unaffordable dental care".  Dental care is not cheap, I admit, even on the NHS.  I fail to see how it can possibly be more expensive than in a country where there is no social option and they pay privately, but never mind.  I will just say that I'll happily pay a bit more for a six monthly check up than maybe other countries do while I know that if I ever have anything seriously wrong with me, I have instant access to world class healthcare that is FREE at the point of use.  I will never understand resistance to socialised healthcare.  It seems at best counter intuitive, at worst backwards thinking.  *Cough* North America *Cough*.

I'm now going to quote something that may shock and offend some of you.  Please look away if you are of a sensitive disposition:

"Yorkshire pudding - have you tried that crap?  It's disgusting."

It's oven baked batter, and it's delicious.  How can someone be offended by something so simple, so pure, so....tasty?  Did she misinterpret the name and try serving it with custard as a dessert?  One cannot dislike Yorkshire pudding.  DOES NOT COMPUTE.  She's going to get far worse about an entire nation's culinary skills but for the moment I'm going to leave you with these images:

England gave the world this:

The United States gave the world this:

The KFC Double Down Burger.  The culinary expertise that went into that one!  Two pieces of chicken with some cheese in between!  Whatever inspired the great chef to think up this masterpiece?  And it only has 32 grams of fat and your entire RDA of salt!  No wonder Americans manage to keep their weight to a healthy 25 stone (am I deliberately making crass generalisations about an entire nation?  Yes, I am!  Hurts, doesn't it?).

Ok, so that was just her intro.  I'm moving onto the meat of the main post now.  So we really start with:

"The annoying, condescending accent."

THE accent?  THE accent?!?!?!??!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!?!?!?  This another incident of her confusing London with England as a whole, being as that's the only place she mentions having been to, but fucking hell, it's not like there isn't a range of accents in the metropolitan capital!  THE accent?!  And if she is talking about England as a whole....It's just indescribable, that level of sweeping statement.  THE accent?!  There is a Liverpudlian girl in my office and with no offence to any Scousers I know, I wish she came with subtitles.  Absolutely genuinely, I've had entire conversations with her where I've had no idea what's been said.  THE accent?!?!?  Scouse, Geordie, Mancunian, Lancashire, Brummie, Bristolian, Cockney, Received Pronunciation...All sound identical.  Who knew?

Also, "annoying and condescending"?  No one can put you down without your permission dear.  It's a bit of an old stereotype that Americans suffer an inferiority complex with regards the class and culture of the motherland, but this women does little to dispel it.  To quote Nicky Wire, we're just naturally fucking intelligent.  Deal with it.

And so, we circle back to the food:

"English food is bland and weird".

Sweetheart, "bland" and "weird" have diametrically opposing meanings.  Pick one, because you can't have both.

"Oh holy hell!  Who would put a disgusting kidney in a perfectly good pot pie?!"

I don't know.  My grandmother did, but I haven't had it since because I'm not EATING IN THE 1950S.  Maybe some places still serve steak and kidney pie, I don't know, I don't look for it so maybe I don't see it, but don't pretend that you can't get plain steak pie, or chicken pie or whatever else it is you get in pies these days (I'm not a big pie fan, in general.  I guess I hate ALL English food, huh?), it's just dishonest.  And I refuse to believe that anyone could have a problem with roast beef and roast potatoes.  Think it's bland? That's what horseradish sauce is for, they keep it right on the table.  And you hate full English breakfast?  So Americans hate bacon, eggs, tomatoes, mushrooms, hash browns and sausages?  Because I'm pretty sure I saw a burger in the States that had all that in it.  Fish and chips?  Yeah, Americans are totally opposed to anything served in batter, those health nuts.  Cheddar cheese?  Gross.  Bangers and mash?  Don't be ridiculous, Americans would never touch complex carbs.  Dairy Milk?  Ew.  Everyone knows Americans like their chocolate to taste of vomit (seriously, try Hershey's chocolate, it tastes exactly like sick).  I could do this all day.

Next up, we decide to round upon the English fashion sense, because again we dress exactly the same and London is representative of the entire nation:

"They were the biggest congolmerate of some of the most unfashionable people I've ever seen.  It's like the English get dressed in the dark or something."

Again, England/London, same place, apparently.  And I'm not convinced she stopped to check the nationality of the majority of people she saw walking down the street.  And that's relevant because like all American tourists (stereotypes are FUN) she only went to the big tourist attractions, meaning everyone she saw there was a tourist.  In fact, is she certain she wasn't looking in a mirror?

Here are some designs by English fashion houses:

Alexander McQueen:
Urgh, THAT dress.  Can you remember the global furore about how much everyone hated it?

Stella McCartney:
Wouldn't be caught dead in any of these.

Classic tailoring, schmassic tailoring

Paul Smith:

Well boring.

I could go on.  I thought I'd do side by side comparison with some famous US designers, but I couldn't think of any, so here's a picture of a Kim Kardashian:

America: keeping it classy.

Think posting images from professional fashion shoots is unrepresentative of actual English fashion? So's posting a picture of one man on the tube with shoes that don't match his suit.

Onto the weather:

"The sun doesn't come up until, like, noon, if it ever does."

You visited in November, moron.  Except the sun still rises around 7.30am even in the depths on winter...Wait is she sure she wasn't in Finland?

And then the press:

"You'll have to wade through the crap to get to the financial section."

Or you could buy the Financial Times?

"Guess where the tabloids first debuted in 1900?  England"

Guess where newspapers in general debuted in the 16th Century, brainbox?  England.  You can still buy broadsheets, like I don't know, The Guardian, The Times and the Telegraph, off the top of my head.  And you can buy tabloids that aren't red tops, like the Independent or the i.  But much easier to pretend they don't exist to prop up your negative view, I guess.

And music:

"The good days definitely ended with punk"  (Backs up her view with existence of the Spice Girls)

Yeah, I  forgot Britpop never happened, that was a dream I had.  The Smiths?  Morrissey probably made them up, like he did the whole game-changing New Romantic/Electro scene.  David Bowie?  Who's he?  Certainly not one of the biggest musical acts in the entire world, who saw the best of his career in the 1980s. Adele?  Not my cup of tea, but she's in the Guiness Book of Records about 12 times for all the musical awards she's won and records she's broken, but maybe she's secretly from the States?  

Adele: has not won multiple Grammy awards.


"Luckily, culture is everywhere in England. After all, it is the birthplace of William Shakespeare, the greatest writer in the English language. Says who? Says Wikipedia. So it must be true. His plays were translated into every modern language. And you'll be happy to know that the rich tradition of live theater lives on here. The evidence of it is everywhere. Big, pink posters declaring Legally Blonde "fantastic" and "blows other musicals out of the water". Uh, REALLY? Now I didn't actually spend any money to see it, because I hate musicals and being raped by the Pound, personally. But, (and I'm just guessing here) it's no Shakespeare. So it's yet to be determined. Will Legally Blond be pronounced legally dead or will it be translated into Swahili? I'm on the edge of my seat in anticipation and sitting here reading the dictionary while I wait for the verdict."

"Raped by the pound"?  Everyone loves it when you diminish the status of rape as a serious crime.  Did feminism not reach North America yet?  But, pushing that aside, I'm intrigued by the assertion that because there is a Legally Blonde musical there is obviously NO GOOD THEATRE ANYWHERE IN ENGLAND.  I guess I fucking dreamed seeing Corialanus live from the Donmar this year?  And Hamlet at the Young Vic.  And The Islanders in Bristol.  And A Doll's House and Miss Saigon in Birmingham. Cos, I've been dreaming about a lot of plays lately.  Maybe I should see a doctor.  Pretty sure I did see Avenue Q at the Noel Coward Theatre though.  The very, very, American musical.  I thought it was hilarious personally.  But to quote someone we all know far too well by now, "it's no Shakespeare".

Tom Hiddleston in Coriolanus: not a thing that happened.


Onto the traffic:

"But, the most treacherous thing about London traffic? It's walking across the street. You see 99% of the world drives on the right side of the road. And by right I mean right side of the road. And 99% of those crossing the street in London are foreigners. So, 99% of people are going to look left, even if your condescending crosswalk reminder says to look right."

How is it condescending to give helpful advice on how to not get hit by a car?!  I suppose we shouldn't fucking bother.  And because "everyone else does it", is that really a good reason for us to change?  If all of her friends were jumping off cliffs for fun, would she?  Probably, actually.  And 99% of people crossing the road being foreigners is an interesting one, but I have to give it to her.  I have a confession to make.  In my 31 years on the planet, I have never crossed the road in London.  I've remained on the left.  I see all these foreigners doing it (and miraculously not being mown down by the traffic?) but I've been too scared.  Oh, to be a brave American!

"And who the crap looks down at their feet when crossing the street?"

Uh, you did?  Else you wouldn't know about our "condescending" (there's that word again.  Feeling inferior, much?) signs, or have been able to take the photo of one you posted.  Idiot.

"Not my brother, a casualty of looking left when he should have looked right, who got assaulted by a mirror on a double decker bus right after we said goodbye on that fateful day. Don't worry, he's ok (sic)."

Oh thank Cod, I wasn't hoping he'd died just out of spite, by this point.  Assaulted is an odd choice of word when she admits it was her brother who deliberately stepped out into traffic after looking the wrong way, rather than the bus driver targeting him because he looked like the wanker he almost certainly is.  I mean, this sentence pretty much sums up this woman's woeful world view.  Goes to another country, doesn't observe the rules of that country even though they're clearly written for everyone to see, then blames us when she (or in this case, the brother, gets hurt).  I mean, SERIOUSLY?  If bet she's at some point been to Australia, ignored multiple signs saying not to approach wild kangaroos in wildlife parks, and then blamed "stupid Australia" when one kicked her in the face.  Although the head injury might explain a lot of the subsequent blog posts, I suppose.

My point?  I was brought up to believe that if you didn't have anything nice to say, you shouldn't say anything at all, but I suppose ALL AMERICANS (gross generalisation status: active) weren't quite so well brought up.  

In other words, shut your mouth, you rude, mean, stupid, uneducated, ignorant and nasty piece of work.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Isn't it obvious?

In which V, for the first time since she was 12-years-old, attempts to write fiction.  It's not long enough to be a short story, but too long to be flash fiction.  It's a mess, is what it is.  Be kind, sometimes not all the things I wan't to say can be expressed directly, else I'd end up on a watch list.  The following story is fictional, and any resemblance to any persons, either living or dead, is coincidental.  Especially if it's to some bitch I used to work with.

"How many calories do you think are in cocaine?  I need to update my weight loss diary", Holly called out, directing her words at the dimly lit figure she could see through the crack in the bathroom door, although not really anticipating a response.  When sure enough, none was forthcoming (the figure had stepped into the shower now, and almost certainly couldn't hear her), she groaned, and her hoisted herself up onto her elbows in the massive double bed, almost slipping back down again as she struggled to find friction with the shiny, satin sheets.  Satin sheets?  What a wanker.  Where did she find these men?

She looked around for a light switch but couldn't see one, though the motion was enough to send her hand flying to her head as she winced in pain.  It was still early, 1 or 2am maybe, but she was already feeling the effects of the evening's indulgences.  Her head was spinning.  "Booze or drugs, Hol, booze or drugs", she chided herself, although by then it was already a familiar refrain.  "Jesus, I'm getting too old for this shit", she mumbled aloud as she fell heavily back down on the bed, her head hitting the pillow with a dull thud.  Although at 26 she was certainly younger than her latest "catch", and he seemed to be doing fine, she noted with some bitterness.  Deciding she needed to up her game, she groped her way gingerly across the bed and fumbled in the darkness on the bedside table as she looked for the last of the coke.

"Shit!" she yelped with some agitation, as she managed to send a wine glass, an alarm clock and a stack of magazines flying.  She hated being in unfamiliar surroundings, usually insisting on the same, bland, chain hotel for all of her trysts - the small flat she shared in south east London with her mother and sister when she was at home being generally ill suited to torrid affairs - but this time his girlfriend (wife?  No, definitely girlfriend, she decided) was away and he'd insisted they go back his place in Docklands.  "Oh GOD", she'd groaned inwardly, as he'd led her down to the DLR platform at Bank station after casually dropping £200 on about four cocktails in some bar populated entirely by smug, city wankers, as she realised he was taking her back to the suburban heart of smug, city wanker-dom.

She'd gone along with it wordlessly though, realising that she didn't have much say in the situation, particularly as he always paid for the hotels, although why the cheap bastard couldn't have shelled out for a taxi home she couldn't fathom.  She didn't keep her own place in the city, not seeing the point in it, as she was barely ever there.  Well, that, and she couldn't afford it.  She taught English for a living, to whiny little brats in third world hell holes that happened to have good beaches, and while it paid well enough to support her life of luxury in hot countries where a double vodka and Coke cost about 50p, it wasn't conducive to saving for a deposit at home.  But she'd worry about that later.  Frankly, her life right now was pretty perfect, living it up on a semi permanent holiday, then crashing at home for a few weeks or months between teaching assignments.  She was fired on an alarmingly regular basis, usually for turning up to work hungover, if she made it in at all, but you pay peanuts, you get monkeys, she thought.  Christ, she wasn't even trained.  And besides, teaching English as foreign language was one of the few areas where work was still plentiful, if you knew where to look, so she knew she'd always get another position eventually, after spouting some crap down the phone about having left her previous job to "pursue new challenges".

Originally she'd signed up with a temp agency to make some play money when she was in London, doing tele-marketing, data entry, that sort of thing, but she wasn't really suited to the work and didn't stick at it long.  On one of her early assignments though, at some high end bank's offices in Canary Wharf, she'd realised there were other ways of making ends meet.

She hadn't intended on having an affair with her boss.  She didn't fancy him, he was about 50, for fuck's sake, but she was bored she guessed, and he'd impressed her at team drinks one Friday night with the huge wad of cash he'd been waving about all night, and the even huger wad of coke she'd spied in his wallet, and she'd allowed him to take her back to a hotel, not-so-discreetly calling home in the cab to make some excuse about having to "pull an all-nighter with the boys to get these accounts done".  That had gone on for a few weeks until her assignment came to an end, and she'd gone off to another teaching placement, but after a few months she was back again and it had happened at her next temping assignment, and her next, and she soon realised she quite liked this state of affairs.  Older men were good for a few shags, at least, and even better for their stacks of cash and seemingly endless supply of drugs.  What was it with city boys and coke, she wondered absent-mindedly?  Sometimes she thought London ran on the stuff.  She always went for the ones in relationships too, the ones who nervously tried to hide their ring fingers as they chatted her up in the staff canteen, and conspicuously switched their mobiles to silent when they were out together.  She didn't need to be tied down when she was having so much fun flitting off abroad every few months, and they rarely complained when she wordlessly dumped them to get on a plane to Timbuktoo, or wherever she was off to next.  Plus, it had to be said, the guilt some of them clearly suffered tended to add an extra frisson.  She liked being the other woman.  It was a thrill, knowing she could casually take something that belonged to someone else, usually from right under their nose.

After a few work based trysts with various bosses and colleagues, she decided to cut out the middle man and ditch the temp jobs when she was in London - she didn't need the money with the amount these men were willing to spend on their pathetic attempts to impress her.  Instead, she'd head straight out to the bars on a Thursday and Friday night, the sort of places around Canary Wharf and the city where champagne was ordered by the magnum and if a round came to less than £100 it was considered a bargain.  She'd quickly become adept at spotting viable targets, usually men in their forties, usually having an obvious midlife crisis (you could tell by the tight fitted suits and the too young haircuts), who'd pretend to be oh-so-in-love with their wives and long term girlfriends, but in reality would trip over themselves to get to any plain looking girl in her twenties who batted an eyelash at them, to prove to themselves that they were still young, dynamic and virile, even though most of the time they really weren't.  Honestly, she didn't even have to try.

She'd been with the latest one, a financial journalist, she thought, a couple of weeks now, and quite frankly she was tired of him already, especially since he seemed to have run out of drugs, and was spending even longer in the shower than she did.  Her eyes beginning to adjust to the gloom, she surveyed her surroundings properly for the first time.  The bedroom was all white walls, black furniture and pretentious art - typical wanker pad.  He's said something about having a girlfriend of ten years, the usual "we've drifted apart/she doesn't understand me" excuses, but Holly couldn't see much of her influence around.  Clearly she didn't have as strong a hold on her man as she'd like tho think she did.  Really, Holly didn't have any respect for these delusional women, who clung to the idea that they were in relationships with men who obviously barely tolerated their presence.  They ought to take a leaf out of her book and get some self respect.

Fighting the nausea that was rising up from her stomach, Holly propped herself up on her elbows again, and ran a hand through her long and now greasy, matted dyed blonde hair.  She really needed a shower.  Rapidly sobering up and starting to shiver she decided to get dressed, and maybe then consider sneaking out  and looking for a night bus, but she cursed inwardly when she picked up her crumpled black cocktail dress from the floor and immediately remembered  that she'd tipped a glass of red wine down her front a few hours before in a drunken stupor.  It was still wet, and sticky.  She dropped it back on the hardwood floor, located her underwear and slipped that on instead and padded over to the large double wardrobe in the corner of the room, thinking she'd borrow something of his to wear.  She doubted he'd mind; men always seemed to find it quite cute when she dressed her tiny, 5 foot nothing frame in their over-sized shirts.  On opening the door though, it was obvious that she'd accidentally found the girlfriend's little corner of the room.  She pulled out the first few items and smirked - it was all knee length dresses, plain white blouses, and sensible shoes.  She checked out the labels; all size 12-14 and makes Holly'd never heard of, but seriously doubted were designer.  Holly thought to herself that she'd never let herself get into such a state, obviously out of shape, and dressed like a frumpy German hausfrau.  And these women wonder why their boyfriends cheat on them, she thought.  Isn't it obvious?

Closing the wardrobe door, Holly wondered if this one knew what her supposedly faithful partner was up to the minute her back was turned.  She'd only been caught out once as far as she was aware, when she'd been screwing a 40-something lawyer with a wife and kids, of course, although it had turned out OK; she'd managed to extricate herself from the situation fairly easily.  She remembered seeing a headline in one of the London papers a few weeks later about a domestic murder suicide, a well off man in a huge house in the suburbs who'd killed his wife and kids then turned the gun on himself after she'd found out about his affair and threatened to leave him.  She'd meant to look it up later, but never got around to it.  "Shoot them all and let God sort it out" as her grandad used to say, she thought, chuckling slightly to herself.

Lost in her thoughts, Holly hadn't heard the key turning softly in the lock.  Self absorbed as usual, she hadn't heard anything, right up until the terse black fabric of what she thought in her dying breaths was a pashmina (poor quality, the pain hadn't dulled her style sensibilities) had been wrapped tightly around her neck, choking her before she even had a chance to cry out.  As she struggled to focus, she could still see the outline of a figure through the crack in the bathroom door, towelling off, seemingly oblivious to the scene unfolding a few feet away. In the mercifully short few seconds that followed, just before her body went limp and her vision went black, she wondered "why?"  Isn't it obvious?

Monday, 21 April 2014

I Miss Myspace

Remember when the days when your life revolved around the MySpace Bulletin Board, and the MySpace Bulletin Board revolved around those "all about me" quizzes?  The preening vanity, the endless narcissism... I miss it so. So I've resurrected it!  I always found quizzes were ideal for when I needed to flex my creative writing muscles, but didn't have the energy for anything especially coherent, and after three solid days of writing about coat hangers for pin money (you think I'm joking, I'm not) that's pretty much where I'm at, so here's one of 2007's finest, re-worked for the present day...

What's the connection between you and the last person you texted?
We met on the mean streets five years ago, all leopard print and glitter.  She's a James girl, but I forgive her.

What is wrong with you right now?
I don't have a pet pug called Captain Pugwash Puggington Pugglesworth the Fourth.

Do you ever miss your first love?
No, but I'm curious.  He has no web presence whatsoever, which you have to admit is unusual in our unusual times, so I've cultivated a theory that he's either dead or a spy.  It can literally only be either one or the other.

When did you last cry?
I don't know.  Last year, five minutes ago?  It's hard to keep up.

Who do you hate?
That is a whole separate list entirely.  You know all those fucking hippy types who say "Oh I don't really 'hate' anyone, life's too short!" and blah, blah, blah?  I'm not one of them.  DEATH TO ALL MY ENEMIES.

What do you want in your life right now?
A pet pug called Captain Pugwash Puggington Pugglesworth the Fourth.  And more money.  So much more money.  That's not avarice, by the way, I just genuinely don't know how anyone lives full time on minimum wage.  It's only for three months for me (although I'll be unemployed after, so not technically better off...), but I work 42 hours a week and I haven't been this poor since I was a student.  Thank Morrissey I enjoy what I do enough to make it worthwhile.  

What are you listening to?
I have the TV on, but To Repel Ghosts is stuck in my head, which is unfortunate, given it's one of the entirely worst Manics songs ever.

What do you smell like?
Despair.  And After Eights.

Tea.  One sugar.  The colour of a tan leather boot that's been out in a light drizzle. Perfect.

What’s your favorite thing to have on your bed?
A duvet?

Who was the last person in your bed besides you?
No one since the possible spy.  The dubious joys of returning to your childhood home.

What do you wear to bed?
A playsuit made for sleeping.  It's tres cute.

What are you doing/did today?
See aforementioned writing about coat hangers.  Although also car rental in Finland and some stuff for a flight comparison website.  And I found the time to submit another article to Buzzfeed to be summarily rejected by the Community editors.  I used to be their darling.  WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME, BUZZFEED?

What was the last movie you went to?
Under The Skin.  I think I like it better in retrospect than I did at the time.  I have to watch it again sometime, because I'm curious about my supposed double that people have told me is in it (Not Scarlett Johansson, by the way.  Nobody thinks Scarlett Johansson bears an uncanny likeness to me, to my everlasting regret).

Is the shirt your wearing new?
No, it's actually about three years old.  And it's a backless body, not a shirt.  The high waisted-skinny jeans are new though, thanks for noticing, douche.

Do you live near your ex boyfriend/girlfriend?
Depends which one you're talking about.  One fled to Australia almost immediately after the collapse of our brief union.  Another is in Essex, somewhere, owing, I imagine, to a great lack of ambition in life.

Are you scared of bugs?
Only if they sneak up on me.

Are you a cuddler?
Depends on the time, the place and the person.  I'm vehemently opposed to anybody touching me while I'm trying to sleep.  Spooning is a highly objectionable activity.

How was your day today?
An exercise in middle class mediocrity.

What do you think of Eminem?
I think the inclusion of his name reveals the era from which this question hails.  Also he's not very nice to the mother of his child.  Very ungentlemanly.

Do you read?
Constantly.  Don't you?

Do you sleep with a teddy bear?
No.  I told you, I don't spoon.

Whose house have you been to today?
Alas, only mine.  

What about the night before?
Still yet mine.  Ask me about the night before that though! We checked out Nicola's swanky temporary pad in the posh part of East London.

Do you like anyone right now?
I like many people.  My heart isn't so hard that it's only hate.  I have at least seven friends.

Are you bored?
Ask yourself why I'm doing this, and you're reading it.  Face it, neither of us has a fulfilling life right now.

What is the last movie you watched?
Hop.  I found Russell Brand unconvincing as an animated bunny.

Do you say "dawg"?
I'm not an American in 1970, so no.

What are you excited about?
Seeing my favourite former flatmate tomorrow.  Yay!

Who was last person to cook for you?
My dad.  No one makes a meaner Sunday roast.

Name someone whose name starts with the letter "B".

Do you care what others think about you?
I JUST WANT TO BE LOVED.  Or feared.  I'd take feared as well.

Do you trust people easily?
Too easily.  More than people deserve.

Who was the last person you called?

What were you doing at 9pm last Friday night?
Adjusting to an unusual barrier position at Brixton Academy.

What happened at 10:00 am today?
I opened the paper.  Guardian, natch.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

In Defence of Twitter

So, here's a post I've meaning to write for a long time (I'd count procrastination among my top five hobbies, if I didn't keep finding other things to do than count my hobbies.  It just took me ten minutes to write that sentence because I got distracted by a sandwich).  Obviously I've kind of missed the boat in terms of commenting on that exciting new social phenomenon, Twitter (I told you I'd been meaning to write this for a long time...), but it's not like debate has ever stopped raging, really, even close on seven years since it launched.

The tabloid commenteriat think Twitter is shallow, stupid, vain.  That social media facilitates playground bullying (it does, but so do playgrounds.  If you want to eridcate childhood bullying you need to eradicate children, but no one ever wants to listen to the sensible suggestions).  The biggest criticism in the press, backed by rent-a-mouth sociologists who have nothing better to do because they didn't study a proper subject at university, is that social media is killing genuine, real world friendships; that teenagers are eschewing nights of elicit underage drinking in favour of staying home and surfing the net, that 'I'm sorry I'm tweeting tonight' has become the new 'I'm washing my hair'.

I could, as I have many times in the past, argue that Twitter and Facebook actually facilitate friendships.  I could point out that in the bad old days before social media, someone you met at a party once would forever remain someone you met at a party once, but now we can connect online, we have the chance to make friends of our acquaintances (I sense already some people will think this is a bad thing.  Anti scoial arseholes).

I could, as I have done many times in the past, point out that I have actually made some great and - I hope - lifelong friends on Twitter and Facebook (I also met The Beast on Facebook, but that's a blog for another day), who yes, I do regularly see in 'real life'.  I would have far fewer people to go to gigs with if I didn't tweet, and for having met other people who like Britpop and faintly obscure indie bands I remain eternally grateful.

However, I'm not going to do any of that.  I'm going to give a much more personal defence of Twitter, prompted partly because of the personal criticism I've had from friends for using it (Janet Street Porter mouthing off about social media in the Dail Fail I can take or leave, to be honest).  So here is why, despite my use of it causing me to very publicly lose at least one job, I still love Twitter:

One evening, I can't remember when, a year or two ago, I think (again, I told you I've been meaning to write this post for a long time) I was having one of my semi regular crises of confidence regarding my appearance, and I was ranting on Twitter about all of the things I hate about my face (in order of appearance: thin eyebrows, asymetric eyes, horrible eyelashes, fat jowels, the lips of a prostitute and the jawline of a rugby player) when someone, who I shan't name, messaged me to say many comforting things, most of which I have forgotten, but one thing they said has stayed with me ever since 'Twitter isn't really a forum for looks'.  And that's the point.  That's why I love Twitter, and why it's the opposite of vain, and shallow.

On Twitter, people care about what you have to say, not what you look like.  Sure, what you're saying has to be conveyed in 140 characters or less, but that doesn't mean it can't be interesting, or witty, or clever if you're interesting, witty, or clever enough.  Whatever I'm jabbering on about when I'm on Twitter, I know people are judging me on what I have to say, nothing else, and if you haven't tried it before, I can't tell you how liberating that how is.  My Twitter feed is public and I use a real picture of myself for my avatar, but you'd only know me if you knew me, if you see what I mean, and the anonymity that affords means you can truly be yourself online, so when people interact with you, and tell you they think you're interesting or whatever, that's incredibly validating.  A couple of complete strangers have asked me out over Twitter before (I didn't say yes, I'm not insane), and maybe I'm being naieve, but it seems to me that it's got to be based on me, actually me, personality warts and all, as it were.

See, they say the eyes are the window to the soul, and there may be some truth to that, because my eyes are a murky bluey grey which is essentially the colour of misery, but I think a person's Twitter feed offers far better insight into the machinations of their being.  I had no idea I was depressed before I joined Twitter, for example.  I mean, I knew I was miserable all the time and that life was, and remains, a pigsty, but I didn't think I had the right to call myself depressed when I've never had the guts to seriously try to off myself.  And then suddenly I would be wondering aloud on Twitter why I did certain self-destructive things, and complete strangers who I'd never met or spoken to 'in real life' would reply 'well, that's because of your depression, DUH', and now I'm in therapy so yeah, I was diagnosed and am now seeking help because of strangers on the internet.

Go Twitter.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

It's time for a miserablist uprising

I've been thinking about obituaries recently.  Partially because they say you should visualise what you want in life, so I like to set aside a little time now and then to imagine the sentence "Littlejohn succumbed to his horrific injuries a week after being savagely mauled by rabid bears" being committed to print; partially because I've noticed something interesting about the language used in them.  How many obituaries have you read that contain a re-hash of the same sentiment over and over - "s/he was always smiling", "always happy", "really positive", "never had a bad word to say about anyone", etc?  The same with tabloid reporting of deaths in general - the third highest level of tragedy after the death of a "model" (in Daily Mail speak, any thin-lipped teenager who's ever paid a registered sex offender for taking some ropey glamour shots) and anyone who can conceivably be described in the headline as "beautiful", is reserved for those who were "happy" or worse "bubbly".

The perpetually cheerful aren't lionised only in death though - seemingly they're favoured in life too, particularly in the workplace.  Whilst the closest I've ever come to bonding with my colleagues is the time an old boss described me as "an acquired taste, personality wise", my perkiest workmates, the kind who are nothing short of mind-bendingly chirpy at 9am on a Monday when everyone else is still nursing the remains of Sunday's hangover, are the ones who get the birthday cakes and the flowers and the impassioned speeches in front of tear-stained faces when they leave.  Not that I'm particularly fussed one of my colleagues was once so desperate to avoid me that I watched him walk into a wall trying to dodge my desk, but did you know the less cheerful among us are regularly passed over for promotion too?  If you read chirpiness as extroversion, and a healthily gloomy outlook as introversion, which I think rings pretty true, then superficially happy people do better in their careers.  In "Quiet", by Susan Cain, we learn that Havard and Yale Business Schools view introversion as a weakness that has no place in the business world, and that a lot of high profile companies won't hire anyone they suspect of secret introversion.  After all, what is "team player" if not corporate code for "smug, ingratiating bastard"?  I'm temping in an office that's recruiting at the moment, and part of my so-far scintillating time there has involved sorting the CVs into yes and no piles, and one poor soul was rejected after interview on grounds that it was thought they wouldn't be "sociable" enough.  

Well, I say it is time to bring an end to the cruel persecution of pessimists.  As Cain points out in Quiet, the world be a waking nightmare if populated exclusively by extroverts.  Introverts are the yin to the extroverts' yang, and so behind every perpetual optimist is a pessimist yanking them back every time they bound gaily into the path of an oncoming lorry (it is a well known fact that optimists suck at the Green Cross Code).  It is time we miserablists had our important contribution to the world recognised.  Why should we value those count "grinning inanely at nothing" among their principle hobbies over others?  In truth, miserablists have friends and acquaintances just like anyone else, so the idea that it is more enjoyable to spend time with people who are "always smiling and positive" is baseless.  I dream of the day when the next door neighbour of a murder victim is quoted saying "It's such a shame.  She was always frowning".  My fondest hope is my friends will remember me kindly for teaching them to expect the worst, and thus avoid a great deal of disappointment in life.

Miserablists of the world, unite, and take over.