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.