Thursday, December 22, 2005

Flying Spaghetti Monsterism

Please visit. Please.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Civil Partnerships

My building is holding its first civil partnerships (gay weddings) today. The place is all scrubbed up, with flowers leading up the stairs, and the security guards looking all polished. BBC London are on the steps looking bored and waiting for couples to start turning up. I feel strangely proud of our little island today. It will be better once we have one type of wedding which is open to all, but it's definitely a step in the right direction.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Girls Girls Girls

I've just got back from Amsterdam. It's possibly one of the most surreal places I've ever been - a fusion of sex, drugs and beautiful architecture.

Amsterdam is so liberal that it even makes me, with my beardy-lefty-onward Comrade views, question myself. The prostitution debate keeps going full circle in my head. I fully accept that legalising prositition can mean that the government can protect women working in that industry. I understand that it's going to happen anyway, so it might aswell happen out in the open. I think that sex is natural and not something to be ashamed of.

Window prostitution in Amsterdam (which accounts for about 20% of all prostitution there) allows women to make their own choices. They rent the appartments themselves on a 12-hour basis. There are no pimps involved. They decide who, what and how much. It all seems quite laudable when you've been there a few days and are fully used to walking down a street with red-lit windows either side of you in which there are women in white bikinis, smoking a cigarette and talking on their mobile.

I think there are two main things that bother me about it. The first is that many of these women (you could argue all, but I'm too scared of them to do that) are vulnerable, poor or have mental health issues. Would anyone really chose to do that as a profession?

My other issue is that so much of prostitution seems to be about men paying for women. Why? Because men don't want to be prostitutes? Because there isn't a market for male prostitution? I think the answer has much more to do with a long-standing attitude towards women: that their primary function is to serve men. Well, if that's the ethos behind prostitution, then suddenly it becomes something I'm not happy with at all.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Winter of Discontent

I'm cold. I'm so cold that I'm seriously considering cutting my head off and burning it to produce some heat. I want to hibernate and not come out until there's blossom on the trees.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Asking for it

So... according to a third of respondents to the Amnesty survey out today, women who dress provocatively and flirt with men are asking to be raped.

I imagine I'm preaching to the converted here, because presuambly that third of people are sitting in a wood somewhere trying to communicate by banging on bits of animal bone. But it makes me too angry to ignore.

It's not only insulting to women, it's insulting to men by saying that they're so bloody primative that they can't help but rape a woman as soon as they've got a glimpse of her ankle.

Women (or men for that matter) always have the right to say no. Even if you've been flirting shamelessly all night. Even if you were hoping to have a one-night stand that night with someone else. Even if you've already promised sex and change your mind at the last minute.

To say that some women could use some crime-prevention advice is one thing, but to put any blame whatsoever towards the victim of a rape is absolutely unacceptable.

Thursday, November 17, 2005


So, a professor has shortened literary works into text message style summaries. Apparently this is meant to help students study literature. I have no problem with students being given a nice friendly summary PRIOR to reading the book (particularly with things such as Greek plays where the audience were meant to know the plotline beforehand), but to say that these summaries could actually replace literature is completely fucking ridiculous.

For example,

5Sistrs WntngHsbnds. NwMeninTwn-Bingly&Darcy. Fit&Loadd.BigSis Jane Fals 4B,2ndSisLiz H8s D Coz Hes Proud. Slimy Soljr Wikam Sys DHs Shady Past.Trns Out Hes Actuly ARlyNysGuy &RlyFancysLiz. She Decyds She Lyks Him.Evry1 Gts Maryd.

Where do I start... Where's the humour? Where are half the characters? How can you have Pride and Prejudice without Mrs Bennett or Mr Collins? How can you introduce Wickham as "slimy" when we're all meant to fancy him a bit when we first see him?

I appreciate that when you're young it might be difficult to get into Shakespeare, Chaucer, or even Dickens for that matter, but these summaries aren't helpful at all. If I were teaching a group of moody teenagers, I'd start with the section in David Copperfield when he gets pissed with his mates. This passage remains one of the best descriptions of drunkeness I know. I'd get them to read Northanger Abbey for Austen -I challenge anyone not to find that book funny. I'd take them to see Shakespeare at the theatre. I'd get them to read poetry aloud. Anything but those bloody awful bloody summaries.

Monday, November 14, 2005

The Constant Gardener

I saw The Constant Gardener yesterday. It's one of those films that makes you want to pack in your job, sell all your worldly possessions, and go and work as an aid worker in some far-flung country the other side of the world.

The trouble is, you sit in the cinema feeling all indignant and self-righteous, but then that feeling slowly drifts away as you're on your way home, and before you know it you're watching Antiques Roadshow in your comfy slippers and eating a Kit Kat.

In reality, I'm never going to jack it all in to do something heroic and worthy. So what do I do with these feelings of wanting to do more? It's overwhelming to think about everything we could be doing. So I suppose the trick is to do things one stage at a time. Last time I saw a film like this I joined Amnesty and Oxfam. Maybe this time I need to realise that giving money isn't enough. I should actually start reading the stuff they send me and do things like selling raffle tickets and writing to my MP. But all of this seems pathetic and embarassing compared to the hard work that 'real' people are doing in places of crisis.

Oh dear, what am I going to do?

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Call that art?

I went to the Tate Britain last Friday to have a look at the Turner Prize finalists. There was a tour by Mark Kemode which mainly consisted of him telling us he knows nothing about art and not to bother asking any questions.

I definitely have an ambivalent attitude towards contemporary art. On the one hand, I don't want to be one of those loud, middle-class people who talk too loudly at art galleries about how 'brave' the artist is, when they actually have no idea what they're looking at. And I really don't have any idea what I'm looking at. My knowledge of art history is pretty minimal and I probably couldn't pick a contemporary artist out of a line-up (apart from Tracey Emin, but I only know her because of that time she turned up for a television interview pissed and stormed out to phone her mum).

On the other hand, I think that artists are getting a really tough time at the moment. I hate it when someone says "a tent with names on? But I could have done that!" because I always think, well why didn't you then? It isn't just about artistic ability, it's about having innovative ideas.

And there are some exhibits that have really moved me in the past. Take Tracey Emin's unmade bed (don't actually take it though, she's still a bit cut up about what happened to her tent). I admit that on paper it sounds crap. An unmade bed. But when I actually saw it, I suddenly got what she was trying to do. It's a self-portait without the subject. It's as if she's just that second left that room but you can still sense her being there. It made me think of when I went to a funeral last year of someone I'd never met; I got a real sense of who she was by the things and the people that had surrounded her. In some ways I didn't need to meet her to know what she's like.

Looking at the bed made me feel incredibly sad. The bed (and all the paraphenalia surrounding it) showed what a mass of contradictions a person really is. It evoked both childhood and adulthood: innocence and sex. It felt empty and sad and probably affected me much more than a portait has ever done.

I've always said that all I want from art is for it to make me feel. Jude the Obscure will never be a 'favourite' novel because it's so bloody depressing, but the fact that Hardy can fill me with such a sense of doom is really impressive. So, my favourite of the Turner finalists is Darren Almond. After about two seconds of seeing his work I wanted throw myself onto the floor sobbing and banging the floor with my fists because it's so melancholy. I'm not sure whether he's necessarily the best artist there, but he's definitely the one that will stay with me the most.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

It's Christmas!!!!!!!!

Sleighbells ring, snow is glistening. I now pronounce today, 27th October, the first official day of Christmas. It gets earlier and earlier every year, and isn't it fantastic?

Our work Christmas do is already booked. I've started thinking about what presents to buy for people. The complicated 'whose parents this year' debacle seems to have been sorted out. I'm full of the joys of Christmas and am this close to wearing antlers to work.

Who'd have thought I'd have anything to be grateful to Jesus for?

Monday, October 17, 2005

And one for luck

It's my birthday today. I must be the only woman I know who actually quite enjoys getting a year older. I am now the grand old age of twenty-six, which means I can officially say I'm in my late twenties.

I know so many women (and men for that matter) who talk about thirty as if it's some kind of dirty secret (if they've passed it), or something hideous lurking on the horizon (if they haven't).

Maybe I'll change my mind in ten years time, but at the moment, I like the feeling of becoming older and (ahem) wiser.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

What I did in my Summer Holidays...

I've just got back from a week at Center Parcs. Now, I was slightly concerned about this before I went. Being a lazy bugger I didn't really relish the thought of spending a week surrounded by screaming children while attempting to abseil / rockclimb / bungee my way to serenity.

Despite spending most of the week feeling ill (I got period pain pretty much as soon as I stepped through the door of the villa because my womb is indeed a bastard) I ended up having a fantastic time.

The subtropical swimming paradise was great and I loved going down the rapids and slides (although I did have to go through several degrees of terror the first couple of times). I learnt how to play pool. I sat serenely on a pedalo looking at ducks while my boyfriend and sister pedalled away. I had a very eventful night bowling - firstly when I got a strike by lobbing the ball so hard that it rebounded and came back up the lane, and secondly by nursing my sister after she trapped her finger between two bowling balls and it went purple.

I signed up for a line dancing class. I was a little concerned about this, but when I turned up and saw that half of the class had purple rinses and dodgy hips, I actually ended up really enjoying myself.

The spa was fantastic - three hours of visiting various saunas and steam rooms. It felt ever so slightly like I was in a bordello but then that's never a bad thing.

My biggest hurdle was bike riding. A few years ago I decided to re-learn how to ride a bike so that when I moved to China I could zip along the little Chinese streets wearing a big straw hat and a long moustache. Sadly, I have to hold my hands up and admit that I am the one person in the world who forgot how to ride a bike. It's true. I can't understand it either. But I literally had to re-learn it from scratch. So, it was with some trepidation that I picked up my bike from the cycle centre. I forced everyone to leave the villa and then my boyfriend tried to coach me on the art of cycle riding once again. To my relief, and possibly thanks to my boyfriend's straight face and genuine encouragement, I didn't have any problems at all. This was good all round. It's tiring being the only person in the world unable to do something.

So, I've returned refreshed, covered in bruises and with 'My Achey Breaky Heart' going round my head, and would definitely go again.

Thursday, September 29, 2005


I'm going up to York this weekend. Sorry, try that again, I'm going oop to Yark. I can't wait. I'm going to swim down the Ouse, catch a duck and eat it along with a fat rascal at Betty's.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Meg's Rules for Tonight

1) No wine
2) No wine even if someone else buys it for me
3) No puking
4) No dancing to the Macarena when I know full well that I never bothered to learn it the first time round
5) No singing 'Wuthering Heights' by Kate Bush
6) No scenic routes home
7) No wine

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


I've turned a new corner in my life. I've found the very reason to be. Please all bow down and worship the one and only god that is... Ikea.

Now that we're properly stationed in our new home I thought it only fitting to make my first ever trip to Ikea to buy some furniture so that we no longer feel like squatters. The place is amazing. We bought a bed for sixty quid. And it's only collapsed twice since Sunday which I think is pretty impressive. We've got new shelves, new bedside cabinets, blinds, AND we ate lunch there and it only cost about 3p and a conker.

It's one of those places that once you've learnt the rules you can feel incredibly arrogant and laugh at people who don't know where the warehouse is. To guide you through the showroom there are arrows on the floor like in a carpark. These I followed religiously, barking "obey the arrows!" every time my boyfriend seemed to stray from the fold.

I am seriously considering moving out of my brand new place and just sleeping in one of the beds on the showroom floor.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Shut it, you tart

As predicted by my mooing colleague, Over the Moon, Eastenders has reached new heights over the last week.

Until this point, it's gone through an excessively boring streak (Alfie trying to chose between Kat and Little Mo is NOT a true Eastenders storyline. Trying to choose between Kat and Big Mo, now that I would watch!). But suddenly, the pace picked up as Sam "with snot running down her face looking like something the dog's puked up" went well and truly bonkers, accused Charlie of trying to grope her, gave Tracy a bloody nose (that actress must have been delighted - she's waited years for a scene like that) and then dug up Den's body with flawless timing to co-incide with Sharon and Dennis's return from their wedding.

Eastenders is rubbish when it tries to portray real life. But melodrama is when it really starts to shine. Dot, Little Mo, Den and the Mitchell Brothers are clearly all refugees from a Dickens novel. We're only one step away from Lucy Beale declaring "God bless Us! Every one" or Pauline Fowler shooing donkeys off the alotment. And there's certainly an Oscar Wilde quote in there somewhere that only someone with a heart of stone could not have laughed when Jamie Mitchell died.

I hope the melodrama continues for a while yet. If there isn't a suicide, murder or Chrissie laughing demonically at a burning Vic by Christmas, I'm switching off.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Don't call me a homo!

I am now officially a homeowner. I exchanged on my flat yesterday and am moving in a couple of weeks.

This has led to me feeling very grown up all day. That is, until the Health and Safety man at work said I needed a special chair "for someone of my stature". Back to square one.

Saturday, August 20, 2005


For the boyfriend's birthday yesterday I bought him a Sonic the Hedgehog collection for the Playstation 2 (yes, you heard that right). I spent a day watching him play it, in awe of how much he could remember, before I decided to dust off my gameboy and play a game of Super Mario Land.

It is extremely creepy to think that I haven't played it in about ten years, yet I still remember when to randomly jump in the air to find a hidden block, when to bother going down a chimney and when not to, and how to out-manoevre a baddy.

Playing it was better than any time machine and, when I eventually looked up from the game I was shocked not to find myself in my parents' house with Dad watching football on the telly and a Hexagone French textbook on the dining table begging me to do my homework.

Random memories, such as the wrapping paper I covered my maths book with, or how uncomfortable it is to wear a school kilt, are now swimming round my brain.

I think it's time to put the Gameboy away again. It's been far too emotional.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Ooh, it's a little monkey, look!

Yeah, yeah, I've blogged about it before. And the blogging community is obviously far too effete to join me in my hysteria. BUT... How fucking good is Big Brother this year?

There's been stalking, cross-dressing, an immaculate conception...

It has a Tory speechwriter going insane and seeing imaginary monkeys.

It has the housemates having to guess which famous horse Big Brother is thinking of in order to win toilet roll (and Anthony guessing "Is it Sandy, the horse from Dogtanian?")

Moments have even emulated Waiting for Godot. ("I'm going to leave" says Orlaith. She does not leave.)

To be honest, I'm desperately saddened on many levels that Kemal was evicted and isn't going to win. Although, on the other hand, I'm quite glad he's left because I think I was starting to develop a bit of a crush on him which is something a hetrosexual woman on the brink of marriage should never EVER say about a nineteen-year-old transvestite.

The tasks this year have been genius. Putting them each in individual cardboard boxes until they couldn't bear it any longer was one of my favourites. I also liked it when they made Maxwell sort maggots into different piles while the other housemates pretended they were doing the same task, but were actually having a party.

I love the fact that in moments of pure boredom at work I can approach a colleague and say "You're my best mate here and I want to look after you. I'm not perving on you though," and about five hours of conversation will follow. So many people watch it and they all have an opinion.

Yes - all the housemates are irritating attention-seeking little shits

Yes - it shows how sad and lonely my life must be to enjoy watching strangers sleeping

Yes - all they do is argue, drink, play practical jokes and run around naked

But I love it.

Thursday, August 04, 2005


I've always felt uncomfortable with the notion of patriotism. It's basically a way of saying your country is better than anywhere else in the world. Which is obviously bollocks, because most people (residents of war and famine-ridden places excepted)love where they were brought up simply because it's familiar.

But my attitude towards it changed when I lived abroad. I found myself constantly having to defend the British way of life. And my 'patriotism' towards London became even stronger when I lived 'oop North where people were constantly saying that Londoners are rude (an ironic statement, I always found...)

I'm feeling even more strongly aligned to London at the moment. Maybe it's the terror attacks, maybe it's the Olympics, I'm not sure. But I seem to be slowly edging towards the kind of flag-waving freak that I always tried so hard to avoid.

Give it a few more days and I'll be digging out the Charles and Di commemoration plates.

Friday, July 29, 2005

If you are wise, you'll listen to me

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is in the cinemas today. I'm filled with a warm glow just thinking about it.

I love the film with Gene Wilder, and Johnny Depp is one of the few actors I trust to do an equally good job. I'm hoping this new film will combine exactly the right amount of saccharine and creepiness to make it work as well as the first.

It's inspired me to re-read the book. I'm a huge Roald Dahl fan (and a fan of children's literature in general). When I was little, I wanted nothing more than to meet the BFG, move objects with my mind, defeat a coven of witches, and hopefully die peacefully of the dreaded shrinks.

There's something so special about a really great children's author. 'Not Now, Bernard' still makes me nod sagely, and the last page of 'I am David' still makes me sob. Recently I read 'Vicky Angel' by Jacqueline Wilson and it's great to see that new writers are continuing where others left off. I hope I never reach a stage in my life when I don't feel like a five year old being tickled at the sight of the last page of 'When the tiger came to tea', where the tiger's saying "goodbyeeee" and the word curls round the page like a snake.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Enough already!

Since July 7th, my life has become saturated with thoughts about suicide bombers. Every time I get on the tube, I at least consider the possibility that the people around me will be either my executioner or my buddy during an escape down a darkened tunnel.

I'm spending quite a lot of time working down at the temporary mortuary set up for the victims of the bombing. This means that, even when I'm at work, it's on my mind, and the fact that the office has News 24 on ALL THE BLOODY TIME doesn't help.

So, I've had enough. If it happens, it happens. Until then I'm going to get on with doing things exactly as before and not get hysterical every time there's a security alert.

With this in mind, I went and did something completely random and unrelated on Saturday. I bought a wedding dress.

I clomped into the shop with my short hair and trainers, not convinced that white was for me. An hour later, I was pirouetting about the room wearing a series of white dresses and even (deep breath) a tiara, while my mum and sisters oohed and ahhhed and took pictures. It was all quite traumatic but strangely fulfilling. Cinderella, you shall go to the ball.

Sunday, July 10, 2005


Well, if ever I timed a day off well, it was Thursday. Thank god for flexible working hours.

The timing and positions of the London bombs mean that I easily could have been involved, which is something I'm trying not to think about.

I'm not going to write about how angry I feel. I think there have been some excellent speeches from people who know a lot more than me. Ken Livingstone was spot-on when he said that this wasn't an attack on presidents and prime ministers but on ordinary people of all ages and backgrounds. I admire DAC Paddick from the Met when answering the question "are these Muslim terrorists?" by saying that there is no such thing. Islam is a peaceful religion and the people who committed this are simply murderers. Good answer - so any Islamaphobes can fuck off.

I'm not sure if Londoners really are better at handling crises but I'm glad we're carrying on as normal. And we've still got the Olympics and it's going to be FAB.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

She waits

So... only a couple of hours before we find out if we're going to host the Olympics in 2012. Stratford is all geared up for a 'Thank You Party' which will take place whether we win or not. Typical Londoners... always prepared for a negative result. Why can't we have a bit of faith in London, today of all days?

Of course, we all know it's going to be Paris.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Karma Army

Over the weekend I bought a book called 500 Random Acts of Kindess (or something). I liked it so much that I had a look at the Join Me webpage. This is what they had to say:

"Now, one of the first things you have to consider when starting something like Join Me is whether to use your powers for Good, or for Evil.

Here at Join Me HQ the choice was simple.

We would use our powers for Good.

You, the joinee, are encouraged to undertake Random Acts of Kindness on a day-to-day basis... maybe it’s paying for the cup of tea that the person in the queue in front of you has just ordered... maybe it’s offering to carry an old woman’s shopping (and not legging it)... maybe it’s as simple as holding a door open for someone.

Join Me has always encouraged joinees to Make An Old Man Happy. But why should we stop there?

Whatever it is you decide to do, it has to be random, unexpected, and... well... kind."

I love the idea of doing Random Acts of Kindness. Some of them mentioned in the book ("change seats on the tube so friends can sit together") I do anyway, but some ("give someone in the street a random award" with a photo of a man holding a 'Best Hat' award) are just plain daft.

I think if I have a mid-life (okay, mid-twenties) crisis, I might start doing Random Acts of Kindness on a daily basis.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Stupid fucking stupid trains

So I get up early. I get out of the house early. I get to the station early.

But do I get to work early? No.

Instead I waste half an hour of my life waiting at the station as it gradually fills up with more and more people while the inane recording tells me that a train is due in one minute which never turns up.

I hate train delays. But even more than delays I hate it when they don't tell you what's going on. Some of the staff need a course in customer care, and for someone to tell them that even if all you can say is "I have no idea what's going on. I'm trying to find out for you. I'm really, really sorry", it's a million times better than hiding up your own arse and hoping it will all go away.

I'm not someone who complains for the sake of it. I appreciate that our train system is under-staffed, under-funded and built on a creaky old infrastructure back when the tube was seen as a revolution in technology. Personally, I don't know what they can do to improve the system (although surely someone's figured out that the public-private partnership hasn't exactly worked out as hoped).

I can't think of any quick-fix solutions, but I do know what isn't going to help us. One of the train companies is considering taking out seats to shovel more bodies onto the trains. As someone who faints on trains with an alarming frequency, this is NOT, repeat NOT, a solution. Often the only thing that gets me through long journeys is staring longingly at the seats trying to guess who's getting off at which stop.

It's also not fair to charge us yet more for travelling during the rush hour. It's not our fault that we work for a living. Fair enough, all tourists should be superglued to their hotel rooms until at least half nine (too slow and too stupid to travel in rush hour) but we stalwart commuters should be rewarded not punished for wanting to do a day's honest work.

I don't mind not having a car. I normally like using the bus or the tube. But today I was not in a good mood as I marched through Liverpool Street with my fists clenched itching for a fight. That's the problem with commuting - it turns you into a completely different person.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Blessed are the cheesemakers

I went to a Christening today. I've only been to church twice before in my life. Once was for a cousin's wedding and the other time was when, as a very conscientious Brownie, I insisted that Grandma take me so I could see what it was like. I only remember three things from that experience: not being able to find the hymns in the hymn book, a woman at the front dancing to the hymns while waving one of those streamers gymnasts use, and Grandma saying in a big loud voice "once these people start bloody praying, they don't know when to stop!"

The Christening today was all a bit daunting really. I kept expecting someone to say "the devil is amongst us!" and for everyone to stand up and point at me. I was very polite though. I mouthed the words to the hymns (none of which I knew, by the way. It wasn't The Lord is my Shepherd or Our Father by Whose Servants - they were those happy clappy ones you sometimes get on Songs of Praise. There was a woman with a guitar and a bloke on drums.) I bowed my head whenever he said "let us pray". And I tried to mirror the smug looks around me when he talked having Jesus in your life.

All in all, I have to say I find religion quite appealing. Obviously not anti-abortion, gay-hating, gun-wielding Bible Belters. Or anyone who thinks that Salman Rushdie deserves a fatwa against him for writing a book that makes me giggle on the tube. But your average, run of the mill, religious types really do seem quite pleasant.

I like the way that most major religions are based around caring for other people and not judging them (okay, Christianity and Islam, but I'm sure lots of the others probably agree!). I like the welcoming atmosphere, the family meals, and the markers throughout your life (Christening, Bat Mitzvah, going on Hajj, etc).

The trouble is that you can't just chose to be religious. I would love to wake up tomorrow believing that there's this big guy in the sky who's looking out for me and I'm going to get a really cool life when I die. I just can't make myself believe. Nothing's certain in this life so you have to go with your gut reactions on these things. And my gut is definitely telling me that God, Father Christmas and the Easter Bunny don't exist. Which is quite a shame really.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Go to your room!

Isn't it weird how, even when you're really not interested in a television programme, if they put it on often enough you always end up watching? The last few weeks I seem to keep catching The House of Tiny Tearaways with Dr Tanya Byron. In this programme Dr Tanya (I like saying that name, nearly as much as I like saying Judge Judy) teaches parents how to turn their children from screaming little monsters into well behaved little things that play the piano and help the aged.

As much as I fully enjoy taking the piss, I actually think her methods of bringing up children are really good. She doesn't let parents hit their kids and instead uses lots of praise (with the parents looking really stupid saying "oooh, look how WELL you've eaten that mashed potato!") and time out (one minute for every year of their life. Does that mean I can shut my boyfriend in the bathroom for 24 minutes if he's naughty?)

What I find unbelievable is the number of parents who hit their kids when they're naughty and then wonder how they could possibly have turned out violent. Now, I know I'm on seriously dodgy ground here, seeing as I don't have any kids of my own yet, but I really find it hard to understand why someone would want to hit their children. Obviously, under stress we all do things we regret, but some parents actually decide when their kids are born to use violence as an ongoing and consistent method of discipline. How can that possibly be right? Apart from being nonsensical (presumably you sometimes have to hit a kid to punish them for hitting another kid), it's just really cruel.

And while I'm on the subject, I hate the word 'smacking'. If you hit your kids, you hit your kids. If you think you've made the right decision about discipline, don't hide behind a cozy euphemism.

I've got myself all wound up now. I think I'm going to go and hit someone.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

The List

Below is a list of men I think I'm developing a crush on and feel I really shouldn't:

- Christopher Eccleston
- David Walliams
- Derren Brown

It's wrong. It's just wrong, wrong, wrong. I think it's to do with the chemicals in my tap water.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Meg. You have been evicted. Please leave the Big Brother house.

I always feel somewhat torn at this time of year. On the one hand, I want to take the piss out of Big Brother, saying that the contestants are pathetic wannabes and that it's only people without real friends who watch it.

On the other hand, Big Brother is the Best Thing Ever.

I find myself getting so involved in it. The format is so simple. Put people in a house and watch them like they're animals. Fantastic.

My favourite programme is the one they usually show on a Sunday night where psychologists analyse the contestants' body language, telling us interesting little titbits like how to see in someone's eyes if their smile is fake, and how men compete to be the alpha male.

Every time I see the adverts for auditions for Big Brother, there's always a tiny part of me that desperately wants to take part. Of course, in reality, the thought of rationed food, no sex for weeks (unless it's under a table as in the last series) and a million strangers watching me in the shower, really isn't that appealing. I would also hate being famous. I had enough trouble when I lived in China, where being white automatically made you a local celebrity. People would approach me in the street wanting a photo of me holding their baby or a lock of my hair. If I had that level of attention back in Britain I would almost certainly leave and go and live in an igloo or something.

I suppose what it comes down to is that we all have a desperate urge to be liked, and to know what people think of us. I heard about a website where you post a photo of yourself and complete strangers give you marks out of ten. In a drunken haze, my friends and I vowed to post our photos there, and I'm thoroughly relieved to say that once we sobered up we realised what a truly awful idea that is. Some things you're better off not knowing...

Friday, May 20, 2005

I love Terry Wogan

There's just one day to go. I've printed off the scorecards. My Union Jack bunting is at the ready.

It's that time of year when we once again say "Hello Kiev. We are very much enjoying the lovely show tonight. Here are the scores from our beautiful country of..."

I love Eurovision. There's nothing like a bit of solidarity and campness to see you through the weekend.

Cry "God for Javine, England and Saint George"!

Friday, May 13, 2005

All Men Are Bastards

I'm getting tired of hearing that phrase. I've heard so many women say it (including, on occasion, myself) and it's so unfair.

I understand that men as a group of people have done some pretty shitty stuff to women over the last few millenia. I'm not denying that for a second. I also understand that there are plenty of men out there who ARE bastards. But it's not all of them.

It's desperatly sad that the actions of few complete arseholes could make it difficult for some women to ever trust men again. It's sad that there are still men in the world who think it's appropriate to have a wife AND a girlfriend, with neither knowing about the other's existence. Just to be clear, I'm not talking about someone who makes one big mistake, or someone who has a small crossover between two relationships. The sort of men I'm talking about are those who deliberately and systematically live their life with one woman for cooking and cleaning, and another for shagging. They think they deserve two women. And they think that a woman who has two men is a slut.

That kind of person makes me really, really angry. But women who treat men in that way make me angry aswell.

I think it's really important to remember that these men are a dying breed. In their heads they're still living in the fifties, wearing a trilby and saying "Hi Honey, I'm home!" Decent men will thrive as the other sort are Bobbited out of existence. They won't last long. We won't let them.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005


So. Monday was a bank holiday. It was a nice day. And I decided to do what any self-respecting human being does on a bank holiday: I went jogging.

The experience was humiliating to say the least. As my boyfriend sprinted past me with a cheery grin on his face and a spring in his step, I shuffled, panted and sweated my way along the shortest jogging route known to man. When I was overtaken by an old lady walking her dog, I knew it was time to stop.

What's sad is that I actually ENJOY doing sport. I like that feeling of pushing yourself really hard and being able to collapse in a contented heap at the end.

Maybe I could take up swimming again. I used to swim all the time when I was a student, but my last experience in a public pool ended with me standing shivering in the changing rooms while a burly lifeguard prised open my locker with a crowbar. Another problem with swimming is that I can't wear glasses or contact lenses, which makes me assume (somewhat unfairly) that all the people whose heads are blurs are actually laughing at the image of me in a swimming costume. Strangely, I have no problem sunbathing in a bikini on a Mediterranean beach, but as soon as I'm back in Britain, wearing a swimming costume suddenly seems somewhat indecent.

My old friend of the exercising world over the last few years has been the exercise video. I have grown to love Rosemary Conley and her lycra-clad possee of old ladies, particularly when she says things like "...and if you have bad knees, sit out of this one". I've tried salsasize, danceasize, boxing and yoga. I have danced with Lucy Benjamin and nearly had a heart attack with Nell McAndrew. It's all quite good fun really. I recently found an old Jane Fonda workout video that my sister and I used to do. It's one of the funniest things ever, particularly when she suddenly claims "now Lesley's gonna sing!" to which Lesley (whoever the hell that is) bursts into:

"There's so much!
To you than meets the eye,
There's so much!
To you - you've gotta try"

It's pure class.

So, I think I shall be sticking to my exercise videos for now. I'm spared the humiliation of other forms of exercise because nobody except my long-suffering boyfriend and a tigerskin rug can see me. I can do the videos when I want, I can wear what I want (you can't exactly wear pyjamas to the gym, can you?) and I can join in the songs without being escorted from the building. Now, please excuse me, I have some exercising to do...

Friday, April 29, 2005

Good Mood

I'm in a good mood today. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's the good weather. Maybe it's because it's Friday before a bank holiday weekend. Maybe it's the promise of a G&T after work and then a night in of eating toast and watching Friday night telly.
I don't care why. I'm in a good mood and it doesn't happen often so I'm going to sit back and enjoy it.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

X Marks the Spot

It was with some degree of excitement that I discovered my polling card had finally been delivered yesterday. I'd spent the last few week feverishly worrying that I wasn't actually on the electoral roll and that the lack of my one vote would mean that the BNP would win in every constituency in the country.

Now I that I know I'll definitely get to vote, I can actually start thinking about who I'm going to vote for. I have this dilemma every time: is it better to vote for the party who best meets your beliefs, or to vote tactically? It's all very well saying that if everyone who wanted to vote Lib Dem actually did, then they'd win by a landslide, but in reality they we all know it won't happen. Could I really live with myself if I voted for some weirdy hippy lefty party and the fact that I wasn't voting Labour meant the Conservatives got in? And, equally, could I live with myself if I voted Labour?

Voting is a strange old beast because, in reality, my one solitary vote counts very little. It's hardly likely that a party would win by one vote. I suppose it's more about having a sense of pride that you're taking part in a political process. I like the fact that politicians are essentially answerable to me and that no-one's safe.

Voting has always been important in my family. I can remember an election when I was little (1983?); I went with my Grandma to vote in Hackney and she let me put an X in the box even though I was about fifteen years short of voting age(you are SO not meant to do that...). I was slightly too young to vote in the 1997 election, but was the Labour candidate for the mock general election we held at school. I remember waking up finding out that Labour had won, and feeling as if the whole world would be different when I opened the curtains (I was born in 1979, so I'd only ever known Tory rule).

At university, a friend who's a lifelong Conservative and I made election cakes with red, blue and yellow icing (because that's only fair). We remained remarkably amicable while watching the results come in, although to be fair we probably had more fun when watching the Pop Idol final (for which we made a large pink cake with 'WILL' written in Smarties; cake making was a large part of my student life).

So, I'll be trotting down to our local polling station next Thursday with a smile on my lips and a song in my heart (and almost certainly an election cake in the oven).

Sunday, April 10, 2005

O Brave New World

My parents, like myself, are creatures of habit. Every Sunday they go for a walk round the more pictureque bits of London, and every Saturday they go shopping. Yesterday, stuck for something to do, I went shopping with them to Bluewater. I've never been to Bluewater before (a shopping centre in Kent for the equally uninitiated) and it was so good it almost made me want to get a car (almost - I'm still not convinced I can be trusted to be responsible for the lives of myself or others).

It was just like shopping on Oxford Street but minus the pollution, beggars, stupid slow tourists, charity muggers and traffic, so, infact, nothing like Oxford Street at all.

I did briefly consider that places like this, full of chain stores, could well be putting smaller shops out of business but then I pushed that thought out of my head and sat down to another Frappucino.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

The People are Real

Our most recent way to fritter away money intended for wedding and/or deposit on a house was to buy a DigiBox for the telly. I wasn't that keen at first, but now I've got it, it means more to me than my own mother.

You can pause live television. Please take a second to appreciate how amazing that is. You can pause. Live. Television.


You can also record programmes directly onto the system without needing videotapes. So if you're out one evening and miss Eastenders, you can watch it with a hangover in the morning.

But the most impressive thing so far is my rediscovery of ITV2 and of Judge Judy.

There is nothing more exciting than turning on the TV to hear an American voice booming out, "Meet. Judge Judy Sheindlin. The people are real. The judgements are final."

Judy's cases are generally of the Jerry Springer variety ("my daughter / husband / flatmate's boyfriend broke my car / ate my dog / fell in love with me and then decided after a while that it wasn't working out and left me in a totally reasonable manner, and I would now like to sue them for $10,000."

Judy is one of those no-nonsense people who likes to tell people to take responsibility for themselves ("You're sixteen. You were stoopid. But I'm afraid no judge in the land will give you $10,000 for being stoopid.")Her new book is titled, and I swear I didn't make this up, 'Don't Pee on My Leg and Tell Me It's Raining: America's Toughest Family Court Judge Speaks Out'. Her theatrical looks (of either horror or amusement - she only has two emotions) to the courtroom (and li'l old us at home) tell you that she would much rather be on Broadway.

But what I love best about the show is the grudging respect shown to Judge Judy. The toughest ganstas and the meanest hos will still shuffle their feet and look sheepish while saying "No, your honour". And this respect is further demonstrated in the last section of the programme, when each party takes it in turns to talk to camera ("I knew she was a lying bitch. I knew all along. And Judge Judy could see she was a lying bitch aswell") while the lying bitch waits patiently in the background until it is her turn.

I've always been a fan of daytime TV - This Morning and Watercolour Challenge both rating particularly high - but I have to admit that American daytime TV has its head above the rest.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Bob Johnson

Ah, Bob... This is a little oasis of calm in my blog which is devoted to the wonders of Bob Johnson.

When I lived in Yorkshire, Bob Johnson kept us all entertained with his two minute weather slot at the end of the news on Tyne Tees Television (which, by the way, has to be pronounced with a northern accent even in your head).

Bob is the epitome of everything you'd want in a favourite uncle and more. He's got that kindly, northern thing going on and uses words that I swear nobody's used for at least a hundred years. Southerners might have thunderstorms, but in Tyne Tees land they're "thunderplumps". The region also apparently suffers from "skitey bits" although we never managed to work out what they were.

So hats off to Bob, the thing I miss most now I live dahn Sahf.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005


So... illegal travellers' sites. There's one I haven't touched on yet.

Michael Howard says his wish to crack down on illegal sites is about common sense and fairness. But surely common sense would lead to more legal sites for travellers? I don't want to state the obvious or anything, but you can't blame gypsies and travellers for illegally settling on private land if there isn't enough public land available. Do people really think that a community that's been itinerant for generations is going to turn up at a site, notice the 'Private Property' sign and say "oh, okay then, sod this caravaning malarky, let's settle down in a nice semi-detached".

This is simply a case of the settled community trying to marginalise and criminalise travellers. It is good that travellers exist. It's good that there are people who challenge the accepted way of living and offer alternatives. Various communities and races have lived in this way for generations and the resulting cultures are rich and exciting. How are they going to continue to thrive and develop if the Tories lock everyone up?

Saturday, March 19, 2005


I would like to register a complaint. For our Christmas do at work we made little placecards with a picture of a famous looky-likey for each person. Yesterday one of my friends left work so we made her a t-shirt with all the pictures on aswell.

My complaint is as follows:

Why, when the other girls in the office got Uma Thurman, Madonna, Liv Tyler and Gwyneth Paltrow, did I get the little girl in Miracle on something something Street and Matilda? I'm a grown up!! I'm twenty five years old!!

Okay, so some of the others weren't best pleased with being Sharon from Eastenders or Narinda from Big Brother, but at least they're all voting age!

This is a serious blow to my credibility at work (previously, people called me by my surname and bowed to me in the corridor). I've had to put up with people telling me how cute I am and saying "are you really Thanta Clauth?". It's not funny. Not at all.

Monday, March 14, 2005


I always used to be sceptical of people who claimed to suffer from migraines. I thought it was just a pretentious way of saying you have a headache. I assumed they were the sort of people who take a day off for 'the flu' (yeah, right, you had influenza and it lasted a day...) or go to A&E because they've got a bruise.

But in my late teens I started having these really weird headaches that made me go dizzy and throw up. My doctor was infinitely helpful: "It's probably stress. Take some vitamin tablets." "But I do take vitamin tablets", "Well, there you go then!" and it was a couple of years before I was prescribed any medication. After several years of swallowing a whole range of gargantuan multi-coloured pills, I eventually found ones that work and have never looked back. I call them my happy pills, and they really do put me in such a good mood. It's a bit like when you're pissed and you get all silly and giggly. Believe me, if I wasn't an infinitely sensible human being, I'd be taking them every day. I have another set of pills that stop me being sick and, although they sometimes make me faint in a rather embarassing way on the tube, make me feel a million times better.

Recently, the migraines been getting further and further apart and I'm hoping that my hormones have finally realised that I'm not a spotty teenager anymore and are sorting themselves out. It would be great to turn a corner and stop getting them, but I'll really miss my happy pills!

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

He who is tired of London...

I'm sure my esteemed colleague at Sincerely Bored of London (see link on the right) will disagree with me, but I love living in London.

I've lived here my whole life (just the right side of the border with Essex, thank god) and there's still so much of it I haven't seen. London is huge and it encompases so much. I love the fact that some parts of London feel like a huge metropolis and others like sweet little mead-swigging, morris dancing villages. We've got forests, parks, pretty riverside walks and all the restaurants / clubs / theatres / museums you can eat.

Okay, so it's got more than it's fair share of knife-wielding maniacs, the pollution of a sixty-a-day smoker and exorbitant prices, but I think its pros outweigh its cons. Infact, a recent study said that Londoners are actually healthier than other people because we tend to walk and use public transport rather than drive, which is a relief really because I don't want to know what's going on in my lungs.

The biggest plus point has got to be the mixture of people who live here. There's always someone weird and wonderful to stare at on the tube, and someone who'll stop you during your shopping trip to remind you that Jesus Loves You. And we do talk to each other sometimes, especially when you get a comedy tube driver who tries to make you laugh over the intercom.

I love being near to everything. I'm currently in walking distance of landmarks that some people come halfway across the world to see.

What's strange is that London seems to be such an easy target for people to insult. It's like a big, rich bully that's picked on kids for so long that it's time for everyone to get their own back. But my London's not like that. I don't like London to the detriment of other places. I've done my time living oop North and even abroad, and I've loved every second of it. London's right for me, but it's not for everyone and that's fair enough. I think that insulting someone's home town is a bit like insulting their sister - you can insult your own sister but god help anyone else who does.

Eventually I'll have to act like a proper grown up and buy a house, and London houses are somewhat out of my price range. But wherever it is I end up, I'm sure it'll only be a short train ride away in order for me to keep my sanity.

Monday, February 28, 2005

Cookie Monster

Having just eaten a jam doughnut and an assortment of Millie's cookies, I think that food might be the topic of the day. Food has an almost sacred status in my office at the moment. We can spend entire days stuffing our faces with Krispy Kreme doughnuts before making our way to the pub for a pint and a pile of potato wedges. Yet, weirdly, we all seem to be in the middle of a diet. Amongst the doughnuts, you'll also find a large assortment of fruit, Diet Coke, Muller Lights and low-fat cereal bars. But the biggest irony of all is that none of us could be classed as overweight. Bridget Jones would be proud.

Being fat is one of our biggest fears in our society and this really pisses me off. If I were to gain six stone overnight, okay, I'd be fat, but if I were to lose six stone, I'd be dead. You'd never think that from the way people talk though. Somehow, anorexia isn't demonised the same way that obesity is. The names themselves imply that anorexia is a mental condition, whereas obesity is something physical that just sort of happens. The 'pull your socks up / nobody ever complained in my day' brigade are slowly starting to accept anorexia and bulimia, but they're much slower at accepting obesity.

It's not simply a case of will power or of educating yourself. My friends who are overweight are generally very well informed about nutrition. They are also not lazy; I have overweight friends who have important jobs, busy social lifes, and the willpower to give up smoking and other addictions. Telling a fat person to eat less is as unhelpful as telling an anorexic to eat more.

I don't entirely understand why anyone would eat so much that they harm themselves, but I'd imagine that food gradually becomes synonymous with happiness and comfort, and it's hard to break that cycle. People fail at diets because they don't believe they're going to succeed before they've even started. It's embarassing to go swimming or to the gym when you feel that everyone is watching you and judging you. And, the bigger you are, the hungrier you get.

I genuinely feel that thinner doesn't always mean happier, prettier or more popular. I also feel that everyone has an optimum weight that suits them. I have some friends who suit being a size six and others who suit being a size twenty, but if you asked me which of my friends is the prettiest, I honestly couldn't say.

It's up to each individual person to decide how much they want to eat and how much they want to exercise. And it's up to everyone else to mind their own fucking business.

And, on that note, I'm going to eat some more cookies.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Goodbye Mulder...

Having spent most of my life being an obsessive sort of person (as in, the sort who would stand outside the Michael Jackson trial with banners saying 'Michael, we love you', not the sort who constantly wash their hands) I seem to currently be in an obsessive rut.

I've never been one to do things by halves - other small children may like pandas, but my childhood bedroom was covered with toys, posters, books, old birthday cards, slippers and rucksacks all with familiar black and white faces.

Over the years I've had several different obsessions (including, I'm ashamed to say, a brief flirtation with El Jacko himself, although fortunately I was too young to actually go to a concert or anything).

My most recent obsession was with The X-Files. I've never been much of a science fiction fan, seeing them all as that guy in the comic book store in the Simpsons, so it was a bit of a clandestine affair to begin with. But soon, the adventures of Agents Fox William Mulder and Dana Katherine Scully had begun to take hold of my life.

I am proud to say that I was faithful to the end, enjoying the escapades of Agents Doggett and Reyes just as much as I did Mulder and Scully in their glory years. And it was satisfying to see that Mulder and Scully did eventually get it on.

But now... I've hit a bit of a dead end. The power of those post-modern plotlines and aliens called Lord Kinbote no longer seem quite so compelling. I'm obviously entering a new era.

It's quite exciting to wonder what that era could be (because, knowing me, there will be one). It could be anything. I could take up knitting cardigans. Or sailing. Or taxidermy. Anything. But for now, I'm quite happy to sit back and wait for my new obsession to come to me.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Always the Bridesmaid

I dreamt about weddings last night. It was one of those nights where you sleep sporadically and your thoughts and dreams get intertwined, so you end up lying in bed on top of a mountain or something.

I dreamt about vows and aisles and being late.

I had no idea how much anxiety is involved in getting married. I always imagined my wedding would involve my boyfriend and I sauntering down to the local registry office with maybe a parent or two in tow as witnesses. And then we'd pop into the pub for a swift half.

But now that I'm a proper grown-up, I've realised that I'd quite like a big party and for everyone I've ever met to come along. I just wish I didn't have to be there.

I think part of the anxiety is that I've never seen myself as that kind of bride. I thought I'd have purple hair tied up with a shoelace, not a white dress and flowers that match the table decorations.

I suppose the way round it is to see the whole day as a performance. And, if I'm honest, there is a teensy part of me that quite likes the idea of being Barbie for a day.

What I really don't want is for my anxiety to make me talk about weddings all the time, which is mind numbingly boring for someone who's not involved. I've noticed that married women are desperate to talk to me about their special day, presumably because they've been trying so hard not to mention it every other sentence. And if I'm a wedding bore, that means I'll one day be a baby bore, which is even worse.

I just have to keep reminding myself that, even if the flowers are wilted and the cake gives everyone constipation, I still get to go home with the man that I love, so it can't be all bad!

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Back the Bid

My trip through Stratford was a bit more exciting today due to the International Olympic Committee visiting to check us out for the 2012 Olympics.

The temporary ice-rink which appeared last week was buzzing with activity, the 'Welcome to Newham' sign was being re-painted and a blue carpet (blue?) eased us into the station. There were new pot plants and stalls giving away freebies. I signed up to back the bid and am now the proud owner of a 'London 2012' pen, badge and frisbee (already tested out in the corrdior with one of my esteemed colleagues).

Despite my typically English pessimism when it comes to these things, I really hope we get it. I love events where we all club together in that wartime spirit, eating jellied eels and singing 'Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner'. I'd have loved the second world war. (That comment may be somewhat politically incorrect, but my Grandma spent the war working as a bus conductor on London buses and said it was the best time of her life.)

I think that London (and Britain for that matter) could do with a bit of a boost. It would be great if we could put aside our self-deprecating stance for once and actually feel proud of something we've achieved. You'll find me in Stratford later today wearing a pinny and curlers, singing music hall songs and digging for victory.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Ma Vie En Rose

This is a French film that we watched on Saturday. It's about a little boy in France who wants to be a girl and stars the cutest kid in the whole world.

It kind of raised some questions though. Obviously, if I had a child who was transgender / transvestite (or gay for that matter), I wouldn't have a problem. The difficulty comes when that child is still really young. In the film, a 7 year old boy wants to wear dresses and make-up when he goes to parties. I'm not sure the best way to handle that. Is it best to allow your child to wear what they want? Or is it better to protect them from bigotry at such a young age and let them be what they want once they're older?

It would be really tough on a child to prevent them from living life in the gender role they feel most comfortable. I think of myself as quite a girly person, and I can't think anything more scary than if I'd been born a boy and had to wait until adulthood to sort it out.

And what if your sense of gender identity (and sexuality) isn't a fixed thing and it's a phase? I'll never forget a lecture I went to once in my student days where the lecturer spoke about sexuality as a behaviour and not an identity. I know so many people who went through a gay or straight phase in their teenage years, only to change in adulthood, so that theory seemed to make a lot of sense.

Maybe I should wait until I actually have children before I ponder stuff like this. I'm sure I'll have a lot more things to worry about!

Friday, February 11, 2005

Roses are Red

Monday is Valentine's Day. Over the years, I've developed a kind of love-hate relationship with it. On one hand, it's good to have an opportunity to tell someone how you feel (whether they're your partner or not). On the other, it puts a lot of pressure on you to give and receive the biggest and best Valentine's gifts of the year. This is my list of its pros and cons:

  • Receiving a Valentine's card from someone you didn't know fancied you. Even if you don't fancy them, it's still a lovely compliment. On the rare occasions when this has happened to me I've been really touched.
  • Spending a day being unashamedly loved up, without worrying about scornful looks from old ladies.
  • Buying presents. My favourite part of Christmas is chosing presents for people, so this is just a continuation really. Over the years my boyfriend has been on the receiving end of endless stupid, soppy and sometimes downright rude presents. I'm not too sure what he makes of it all - I normally end up eating all the chocolate myself anyway - but it's fun to buy.
  • Secret Cupid. Like Secret Santa, but... okay, you've got it. We're doing it in our office this year and it's really quite disturbing buying a Valentine's present for your boss.
  • Receiving presents. I don't think that really needs an explanation...


  • Not receiving anything. It's strange how, even when it's perfectly obvious that there is no-one in the world who would ever conceive of buying you a card, you still feel a thrill of excitement when the post comes through the door. And then your hopes are dashed. Year. After year. After year. It may be eight years since I was last single, but I still remember. Oh yes. And even when you're in a great relationship, there's still a tiny part of you that hopes for a secret admirer aswell. Why not? It'd be cool.
  • Trying hard not to be a smug married. I do try. Really I do.
  • The weird tackyness of shops. Generally, I like tackyness in all forms, but it's beginning to grate a bit this year. Surely there must be some shops that have nothing to do with Valentines Day and therefore don't need a special Valentine's display.
  • The feeling of despair the day can put onto single people. Although I love Bridget Jones, I think it's important that women realise that being single is perfectly valid. There's no point having a partner unless they're really worth it.

Happy Valentine's Day everybody. In the words of my role model Oprah, I love you all. Each in your own special (perhaps sordid) way.

Friday, February 04, 2005


If I could pick one thing that's great about no longer being a student, it'd be the rise of Friday to it's current heavenly status.

As a student, the days run into each other and the time you go to bed is dictated by the time of your first lecture in the morning, not by how far you've got through the week. Fridays and Saturdays tend not to be clubbing nights, because it means you have to mix with 'townies' - real people who work for a living and probably have knives hidden under their boob tubes. As a student, you'd much rather spend your time with someone called Tarquin who wears a beret and hasn't watched television since 1983.

But now, Fridays and Saturdays mean guilt-free nights out. There's no work in the morning, no essays to be getting on with, no overdraft to worry about...

Friday has a kind of hushed awe about it. It's the day of dressing down and eating crap. As I write this, I'm sitting here in my jeans and poncho, dreaming of a Square Pie from Selfridges.

So there ends my homage to the Friday.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005


From the British Humanist Association webiste:

"Humanism is the belief that we can live good lives without religious or superstitious beliefs. Humanists make sense of the world using reason, experience and shared human values. We seek to make the best of the one life we have by creating meaning and purpose for ourselves. We take responsibility for our actions and work with others for the common good.

What humanists believe:
- Humanism is an approach to life based on humanity and reason - humanists recognise that moral values are properly founded on human nature and experience alone. Our decisions are based on the available evidence and our assessment of the outcomes of our actions, not on any dogma or sacred text.
-Humanism encompasses atheism and agnosticism ‑ but is an active and ethical philosophy far greater than these negative responses to religion.
-Humanists believe in individual rights and freedoms ‑ but believe that individual responsibility, social cooperation and mutual respect are just as important.
-Humanists believe that people can and will continue to find solutions to the world's problems ‑ so that quality of life can be improved for everyone.
-Humanists are positive ‑ gaining inspiration from our lives, art and culture, and a rich natural world.
-Humanists believe that we have only one life ‑ it is our responsibility to make it a good life, and to live it to the full. "

I'm slightly wary of religion in general because I think it can stop you thinking for yourself and it's better to have your own personal beliefs, but if I ever did decide to be religious, this is the one I would go for.

Monday, January 31, 2005


Is your blog an indication of how interesting your life is? Should it worry me that I can't think of anything to write? My brain is currently full of stuff - work, planning a wedding, trying to create space in my diary by writing in the margins - but somehow none of it seems interesting enough to write about. I'm not convinced this blog is going to be 'like seeing a therapist' as Dave (now-then.blogspot) promised. Infact, I think it might send me spiralling into a deep depression when it makes me realise that there is nothing worth writing about.

No - hold that thought - I've thought of something to say. Tonight I'm going to have pizza fingers, smiley faces and peas in order to revisit my student days. Just thinking about making ketchup squirt out of a little smiley mouth so it looks like it's been in a fight is cheering me up already. And I've somehow managed to write two paragraphs about absolutely nothing. Amazing.

Friday, January 28, 2005

No Dogs or Jews

I've avoided writing anything political so far, but the current talk about asylum seekers has got me so worked up, I just wanted to make a couple of points which are hopefully blindingly obvious to anyone who reads this. By the way, you've got to admire the irony of newspapers who ran touching stories about the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz alongside articles saying that asylum seekers are not welcome. God bless 'em.

1) Anyone who manages to escape from terrible conditions and travel halfway across the world is not a lazy dosser who enjoys sponging off the state.

2) Immigration is good for the economy. Mark Steele wrote a great article in The Independent a few years ago pointing out that places with high populations tend to have much greater prosperity than those with low populations. All of my friends contribute to the economy: both of my friends who are doctors are Asian.

3) Immigration is good for the culture of a country. British culture is already a mish-mash of cultures from its many immigrants / invaders. More immigrants can only spark off new and exciting takes on the exisiting culture. It's always helpful to see something through a new person's eyes.

4) Economic migration is fine. People want a better life for their kids - so what?

5) Islam is a compasionate, loving religion. Muslims are normal people. None of my Muslim friends wear a hajab (sp?), are beaten by their evil Muslim fathers or hate the Western world.

6) It's just as important for Britain to learn about new cultures as it is for immigrants to learn about Britishness. Just living in a country means that you've already adapted your life 99%. I lived in China for six months and know what it's like to be the weirdo whitey foreigner. It is really disorientating to live in a totally different culture to your own and the only way I kept myself sane was to listen to music from my country, wear Western clothes and talk in my native language on the bus.

So, this just leaves me with Meg's 'Theory of Bigotry', which is basically that racists, homophobes and sexists are just people who don't have enough friends. All it would take is for these people to make some friends from all walks of life and they'd realise that their views are so obviously wrong. Of course, there are people in the UK who have no black friends but are still normal human beings, but then racists are stupid as well as friendless.

Thursday, January 27, 2005


Being a person of a normally cheeful disposition, I'd just like to exorcise (and exercise) some demons. This is my hitlist of people who have really pissed me off but I haven't been able to think of a witty or violent comeback in time and have been rendered useless by their evil machinations. I don't want to punish them exactly (apart from the afore-mentioned exercise), just to name and shame them and get it off my chest.

1) Man at taxi rank in Glasgow. I've only been to Glasgow once and I really, really liked it. Unfortunately the first person I met on leaving the station was this man. He pushed in front of me in the queue (which on its own makes me want to stick a kniting needle in his ear) but then, when I tried to sidle back to my place, turned round and shouted at me in front of everyone. He was a big, evil alcohol-smelling man and used his size to intimidate me by standing up close and towering over me. It really shook me up and I've been pissed off with him ever since.

2) Man who pushed me off a tube. That kind of speaks for itself really. I was at Holborn station and there was a massive crowd trying to get on. He was one of these people who decides to get off at the last minute and meanders slowly off the tube looking confused. As the doors were about to close, I put one foot on the step, but left him plenty of room to get out of the doors. He slowly wandered up to me, stopped, looked me in the eye and then put both hands on my shoulders and pushed me off the tube. The comedy value of doing a karate throw in response while shouting "Help! I'm being assaulted!" only occured to me later on.

3) The weirdo group of men with matching tatoos on my flight to America last week who refused to put their seats up prior to takeoff when my boyfriend asked them. Instead, they turned round in creepy unison, gave him the look of death and spent the rest of the flight chasing me around the free seats on the plane so they could sit in front of me and put their seat right back until their head was in my lap. The only time I have ever prayed for the plane to crash was when they refused to put their seatbelts on for landing. They also pushed in the queue for immigration, throwing old ladies and little children out of their path until they were at the front.

I think I can stop now because already I feel much better. This is very cathartic. I'll add more if I think of any.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Viva Las Gaygas

So... I'm back from a week in Las Vegas, Nevada! It was FANTASTIC. Vegas is the most wonderfully eclectic, sinfully tacky place in the whole world. Where else could you see Saint Mark's Square, the Eiffel tower, a pyramid, a volcano and Medieval England all in one day?

Going to Vegas is an assault on all your senses. What with the jet lag aswell, I spent most of my time feeling halfway between sleep and waking. You find yourself thinking 'Did I really sing karaoke in a cab last night or did I dream it?' ('Cab-e-oke' apparently). Perhaps the funniest moment happened even before I got there; I had a migraine on the plane and they gave me oxygen from a tank and everyone said I looked like Mr Burns. What a compliment...

Anywho, the highlight of my trip was that my boyfriend proposed to me at the top of the Eiffel tower. How cool is that? And it gets extra points for being a fake Eiffel Tower - much more classy than that silly thing in Paris. So, not quite an Elvis wedding, but the next best thing.

Friday, January 14, 2005

First Aid

After a four-day course, a sequence of nightmares about dead bodies, and two exams, I am now a fully qualified First Aider at work.

Although it sounds really stupid, I never really thought about what a huge responsibility it is to be a First Aider. I only signed up to the course because it sounded interesting but now I've realised that if someone were to drop dead this minute (pleeeease don't....), I'd be duty-bound to leap to the floor and give them CPR (after all the appropriate checks, of course). Which is a pretty huge responsibility.

It's made me look at everyone in a different light. I've found myself sitting on the tube forcing myself to come to terms with the fact that I would and could give mouth-to-mouth to anyone of those weirdos. I've thought through every possible scenario I can at home and at work (apologies to all the people I've killed off in my head just so I can practice CPR).

I learnt all kinds of exciting things about the human body and the wonderful (and gross) things it can do. Probably the most important thing I learnt was just how important it is to protect someone's airway. You can die within 3 minutes if your airway's blocked but virtually anything else would take much longer. The second most important thing is how vital it is to stay calm. And the most surreal thing I learnt was that if you sing 'Nelly the Elephant' while doing chest compressions, you'll get to exactly fifteen by the end of the first verse.

At the moment I feel all fired up with my four days of knowlege (which, let's face it, practically makes me a doctor) but in reality I'll probably have one cut finger to deal with for the next three years.

Thursday, January 06, 2005


Never one to disapoint with my chirpy optimism, I thought that funerals would be a nice topic for the day.

I've just got back from one which has got me thinking about what I would like mine to be like. First off, I'd definitely like to be cremated and have my ashes scattered by the crematorium themselves. I don't want a plaque, urn or silly scattering ceremony. I just want a funeral and for it to then be over. I think that having a grave to visit puts too much pressure on the family, and the thought of someone vandalising it is just too horrific to contemplate. I also think it's important to remember someone through the places where they've been rather than focusing all your grief onto one place.

As for the funeral itself, I'm not too bothered. As long as it's kept secular and isn't too miserable, that's fine by me. I like it when people use funerals as a celebration of someone's life rather than mourning their death. I'd like people to wear bright colours and have a proper knees-up at the wake. I'm a bit gutted that I'll have to miss it really.