Friday, June 26, 2015

Athlete

The boy and the girl put the key in the lock and crossed the threshold together.

The boy put his boxes on the bed, the girl grinned and put hers down on the other side of the bed they were going to share.

The boy and the girl opened the cardboard flaps on the top of their boxes and began to pull out the possessions that they would fill their home with.

The boy had mainly wires. The girl looked at them and wondered what they were for.

The girl had mainly potions. The boy looked at them and wondered what they were for.

---


Until I lived with a man I had no idea a person could use and enjoy so many wires. Wires appeared all over my life all of a sudden... thin ones and thick ones, ones with square ends, one with pluggy ends, ones with ends that were the same at both sides, ones with ends that looked torturous, ones that were split in the middle and needed holding to work properly, ones that were thicker than my arm, ones that lived in nests with other wires and never came out of cupboards, ones that resembled Clapham Junction for their stunning complexity, ones that tripped me up at night, ones I would unplug and get frowned at for, ones that didn't work when I used them but behaved perfectly when he entered the room... slutty little wires.

Life BM (Before Man) consisted of only one wire for wires' sake: my phone charger. Other things I owned had wires but they were wires that mainly went from something I used and into the wall. I had never had cause to connect my hair dryer to the printer or hook my bedside lamp in to the wifi.

I was not a particularly technical person I suppose. Below average interest in technical shit? Yeah, probably. But I'd never noticed. I just thought I was a me.

I began to notice that his underarm deodorant spray was annoying me. It was always hanging out somewhere it shouldn't be. Irritating can of annoyance that moved from surface to surface wherever he had most recently used it. Why didn't it live anywhere? I keep all my stuff on my dressing table why doesn't he keep his on his... oh, he doesn't have a dressing table. I guess his bedside table is his surface, why doesn't he keep it there? It's covered in letters he doesn't open, some wires, some Magic The Gathering (wtAf?) cards and a few cups with some mangy coffee in the bottom.

Then it dawned on me. The deodorant gets everywhere because it doesn't live anywhere BECAUSE IT IS HIS ONLY POTION. There is no cluster of half used upright bottles and liquids and failed attempts to be a leggy blonde that belongs to him.

I looked at my own dressing table; mousse for my limp hair, hairspray for my straight hair, moisturiser for my dry skin (separate bottles for face, legs, bum and hands), toner for my sagging skin, cleanser for my spotty skin, foundation to cover up my skin, eyeliner, eye pencil to draw on my skin, blusher and eye shadow to colour in my skin, mascara for my stumpy eyelashes, lip gloss to ward off vampires (I think) and Bio oil to get rid of my scars. Oh, and my own deodorant that's been specifically designed not to show up on my clothes instead of stopping me sweating. Helpful.

Does he look at my potions and think of them as I think of his wires? Is he baffled? Does he wonder what will happen if I don't use my potions? Sometime I do.

One day he comes home with a new game and it cost £50. £50! That's quite a lot of money for me. I sit and watch him playing it... it's going to take months to complete and he is totally happy and absorbed. There's a wire on his head to talk to other people playing, there's a wire charging the controller and he is totally content.

I am jealous. I wish I knew how to lose myself in games and get so lost in the fantasy. I wish I had £50 to spend on a game. I get up and go to the bathroom and apply Bio Oil to the scar on my arm. the Bio Oil was £40. If I didn't want to get rid of the scar then I could play a game. Did I want to get rid of the scar? I don't know. I just know I burnt myself pretty badly and then people said it would go away if I used Bio Oil and so I bought some and got rid of it.

Suddenly I was a bit scared and insecure... I had lots of potions and the man had lots of wires and we suddenly seemed very stereotypical and I didn't even know if I wanted the potions or when I'd decided to get them but now they were there and I had left it too late to understand wires and games.

Am I a proper 'me' or a generic 'girl' or a bit of both? I suspect I am a bit of both but now I am less confident in myself of what I've chosen and what's just happened because I didn't question it.

Some days later a girl came round. She's a friend of mine and we were chatting about a big day I had coming up where I'd already told her I was considering getting "full wax downstairs as a surprise for the man". (It's best if you read the bit in the speech marks in a weird whisper RP accent as though you have a large ball in your mouth that you're trying to talk round because you're not supposed to just say things like that out loud in case Voldemort hears). (Fuck. I mean He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named).

She told me about times she'd tried it. I never had.

Then we discussed armpit hair and we agreed that if we could never have armpit hair again then we would gladly accept the offer. There's never going to be a time that we want it! We declared. Then the  girl who is my friend said, "Because, even having a full "downstairs" might come back into fashion one day so even that I wouldn't want gone forever."

And I was delighted.

It was a tiny relief. A tiny chink of light that some of my decisions might be my own. Is it not fashionable to have pubes? Well, oopsy daisy fashion, BECAUSE I'VE GOT BLOODY LOADS OF THEM!

They are all over my downstairs and sometimes they land on the toilet seat and look suspicious. They poke out of my pants and my swimming suit and they are bouncy and fluffy. And I cannot be bothered to do anything about them!

I don't mind them being there and I really don't want to faff about getting rid of them. I have a masters degree... if you think I worked for four years to get that so I could sit about with a bottle of Veet and some tweezers causing myself pants rash and itching then you are a dumb motherfucker.


I didn't tell my friend at the time in case she didn't want to be my friend any more because I had a crazy Wild Thornberry vagina cosy. But inside I was delighted.

I have my own wires.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Musings on Jokes and Offensiveness

I've been musing on some new material and basically sketching out the possibility for a new bit that I hadn't fully thought through.

I sort of wrote it, looked at it, wondered about it, and then abandoned it quite hastily but the thought process I've been through made me stop and think so I'm sticking it out there as an interest piece.

If the original concept for the joke offends, please accept my apologies and continue to read as that's the whole point really.



The basic concept for the bit was:



On Friday my car broke down, and when I pulled on to the hard shoulder I lucked out massively and ended up next to a man with an empty transporter lorry who was going my way and offered me and my car a lift.

Jammiest. Sod. Ever.

Now, I accepted the lift totally aware that it could be one of two things about to happen:

1. The start of an excellent true story Rom Com about how I meet the unlikely love of my life (sorry Alan) and we are eventually played by an aged Paul Rudd and whichever 21 year old is currently Hollywood old enough to be dating 55 year old men on screen.

2. I get raped and murdered and dumped in a hedge just off the A1(M) where it's quiet.

Neither happened so I guess I just must not be as pretty as I thought.



Immediately I wasn't really happy with the end of it... something feels gross about that idea. I don't like mentioning rape during something that's supposed to be comedy - it's not funny. So, I thought I'd take the rape part out as it seemed gratuitous and unnecessary and making light of something I don't want to poke fun at.

Obviously, without the rape the joke doesn't work any more really because there's not an obvious connection that a murder would be "beauty" related. I totally know and understand as well that this is the case with real world rape (as opposed to joke world rape)  - I'm not making that connection on any level, I'm just talking in terms of a superfluous cognitive connection strong enough for a joke to work.

So I thought, no, I'm going to abandon this joke I think. It's unpleasant, I don't know how to make it funny and something I'm comfortable with so I think I'll just leave it.


Then, I wondered why I wasn't so worried about the murder part of the joke.

My general rule of thumb for deciding how I feel about telling a joke is "Who is the victim of the joke?"

If I would be ok telling that joke in front of someone who could see themselves as the actual victim in the joke, then I am ok telling it. If I'm not, then I shouldn't be telling it because I'm obviously worried it's offensive.

In the joke above, I think I am the victim. I am eventually joking about my own big headedness, vanity and appearance.

But I'm still not OK with it.

So, by mentioning it in the way that the joke is, I think I am also making real world murder and rape victims a victim of the joke by connecting their experiences to beauty?

Is it implying blame on the real world victim by assuming in the joke world that there is a cause that they may have carried with them?

Or, is there nothing extra offensive in the joke other than the fact that it uses something horrific to get a cheap laugh?

Which brings me back to the question of why it was definitely the rape, not the murder, that made me flag it up and abandon it.

Has rape, rightly, been too flagged up recently as an area for strong concern and attention to make sure we're dealing with it properly? I know in the comedy world "rape gag" comedian is synonymous with "hack" so maybe I'm ultra cautious because of that.

Is murder still cartoony and generic enough to be gotten away with? Is the word "murder" overused enough to be the linguistic equivalent of a mouse bashing a cat with a mallet? If I specified a type of brutal murder would that make it not acceptable?



I don't know yet. Sorry there's no conclusion! Just musing on jokes and acceptability and stuff.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

God and The Penguin

I was taught that the reason child birth is so awful for women, is that Eve ate an apple.

She ate an apple and we suffer periods, cramps, horrendous birthing and the men get nothing.

This morning I watched March of the Penguins.

Penguins walk 100 miles to the South Pole.

They find a mate and lay an egg.

The female walks 100 miles back to the sea to get food before she starves.

The male stands through a polar winter in the pitch black, stormy beyond freezing conditions for 125 days without food.

The female walks 100 miles back to the male and coughs up a load of fish for her chick.

The males walk 100 miles back to the coast.

The females wait in the cold until the chicks are old enough to walk 100 miles back to the coast.

They all get back to the coast and potentially enjoy roughly 3 months of life being "not as shit as it was in winter" (leopard seal permitting).

Come March, they do it again.

Exactly what did penguins do to God? Shag the apple tree?

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

How To Be A Hero

Feeling blue? Need a quick pick me up? Here are 13 simple ways to feel like a bit of a hero for a day...

Cook a Jamie’s Thirty Minute Meal in under 4 hours.

Ask your parents how much they bought their first house for and realise the sandwich you bought at lunchtime was worth a bedroom and a half in the sixties.

Eat something out of the clear plastic vegetable prison at the bottom of the fridge.

Go to your nearest Hollister and tell them to grow up.

Give a sock to a house elf.

Buy an avocado from Waitrose and then watch it decay. No matter how great a Waitrose avocado is - you're better.

Find someone giving out "Free Hugs" and tell them to go and patch it up with their parents.

Go out and buy some taramasalata. Greece needs all the help it can get.

Pull out the pin on your watch and wiggle it backwards and forwards. You're practically Doctor Who.

Watch the Call On Me video while eating a Snickers and rubbing your hairy, hairy shins.

Go and look at all the people in Wetherspoons.

Tell a child you’re so old you were born in the last millennium.

Cancel your charity direct debits and make a large donation to a KickStarter campaign... What will be the point of rainforests when there's no middle class white kids' art?

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Feminism FAQs

Social media is a place where inventive, original people go to be relaxed and mundane. I find it's best to separate the person I know in flesh and blood from their two line summaries of life's current melodrama. People are rarely so baffling when not filtered through a keyboard and a grainy thumbnail.

However something has breached my firewall a few times recently and almost caused me to dive in to a comment section I will later regret. What happens is, someone I dearly love will say something along the lines of:

"I'm sorry, but I just think feminism has gone too far... I love my husband/boyfriend/brother and I don't see why I should have to hate them."

or

"Well, sorry, but I guess I'm just not a feminist then... I love my kids and I'll stay at home and look after them if I want to."

or

"I've got a son and I'm not going to raise him to feel like a pervert for liking women. Hate the way feminism says he is doing stuff wrong just by being a man!"


Thankfully, I restrained my aching fingers from kicking up a virtual dust fight and I've brought the backlash here instead. Because I do think there are some valid opinions above, they just point the finger at the wrong culprit.

It's important not to confuse being a moron with being a feminist.

Some people are both feminists and morons, that truth is an absolute, but some people are just plain old feminists and we need to look at the difference.


Some people will certainly disagree with me, but my test for whether or not someone is a feminist is based on one question:

"Do you think rape is OK?"

If you answered yes: Not a feminist.

If you answered no: A feminist. You've expressed some kind of agreement that someone's body is their own property. Regardless of gender.

For me, that's as simple as it needs to be. Everything else branches off from this basic trunk of belief in what a person is, and it gets more complicated when you move away from the trunk but wherever you sit in the tree, you must have scaled that trunk to have got there.

So, if you see a statement that you disagree with, you can check whether it affects your feminist status by seeing if you still answer the same to the trunk question.


In case you’re still stuck, I have put together a few Feminism FAQs for easy reference…

  • Can I still give a lovely, big, slobbery blow job if I am a feminist?

Yes. Although if you were not good at blow jobs before you became a feminist then you will not suddenly become great at them. Feminism is not a super power.

  • Can I keep my penis and still become a feminist?

Of course! Most feminists love a good bit of cock!

  • I like to look at porn and nudey shots of women, can I still be a feminist?

Not a problem in my feminist book, so long as:
  1. The woman in the picture wanted to be in them
  2. She is healthy enough to have made that decision fairly
  3. She got paid appropriately for the shot
  4. The shot was featured in an appropriate location
  5. You didn’t look at them somewhere public like a bus because that can be really gross for other passengers. Especially if you’re the driver.

  • A man held a door open for me and I liked it and I giggled and now I’m not sure I’m a feminist.

Did you decide that having the door held open for you made you want to stop voting, driving, speaking in public places, having your skin on display or having your own opinions? If not, then yes you are still a feminist. You just like it when other people help you with stuff.

  • I like to cook at home and my husband is better at doing the DIY. I’d like to be a feminist but I also don’t want to put flat pack furniture together and I don’t want to eat his nasty shepherds pie, is this ok?

Sure! Notice that, in your question, you say that you “like to cook” and are therefore exercising your right and ability to decide your own actions based on ones you enjoy. That is feminism in action for you, babycakes.

  • I only really feel happy when I’m eating Discos and thinking about Michaela Strachan, am I a feminist?

I have absolutely no idea. But you don’t sound well.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

What Were You Thinking?

It's safe to say I'm not having the best month of my career. Spoiler alert for those not involved in the comedy industry: it's not in the best shape it's ever been in from what I can work out. Work is scarce for excellent acts, let alone ones like me who are still carving out their reputation. I am signed up to about 5 or 6 different forums for comedians and promoters to advertise and apply for work from. I rarely get involved but I interestedly watch the comings, goings and moanings of people with things to say. There are far more moanings than comings or goings.

If the average interested but distanced comedy fan spent some time browsing these forums I think they'd get a horrendously inaccurate impression that we're all lying bastards when we're on stage.

"My mate said to me the other day..."

WHAT MATE? YOU HAVE FRIENDS? BUT YOU'RE SPENDING UP TO 6 HOURS A DAY ON A COMEDY FORUM COMPLAINING ABOUT OPEN SPOTS AND "CHANCERS" WHATEVER THE HELL THEY ARE?!?!

"I was gigging overseas last week..."

THEN WHY ARE YOU TAP TAPPING AWAY ABOUT HOW MUCH OF A DEVIOUS BASTARD MICHAEL MCINTYRE IS FOR TAKING ALL THE WORK AWAY FROM YOU, THE REAL GENIUS?

"This next act is a great friend of mine..."

WEIRD CHOICE OF FRIENDS MATE, THAT'S THE SAME GUY WHOSE EVERY STATUS ON SOCIAL MEDIA IS A SUBTLE INFORMATION DROP OF WHAT GREAT CLUB SHE'S PLAYING THIS WEEKEND. AND YOU'RE THE ONE COMMENTING UNDERNEATH THAT SHE'S A DUBIOUS TWAT FOR DOING IT.

I've tried to make a point of only commenting on these places when I have work to offer, and even that is quite a minefield. I once posted the following:

"Comedian needed for fundraiser gig in Brighton. No money so please only apply if you're in town anyway and can double up doing new material or something here. No progression to better gigs; not worth it unless you just want some small gig stage time for whatever reason."

Someone asked what the cause was, I told them it was a theatre group raising funds to go to Edinburgh. I got called manipulative for making out like it was a charity or a good cause in some way by a comic who didn't think my reasons for putting on a fund raiser were good enough. Fair enough; I won't book him and somehow the gig was still a success.

The truth of it is that for every gig that gets posted somewhere, or emailed out to a list of comedians, at least 100 people that apply for it won't get it. I post gigs for the small shows I run in Shoreham and Taunton and I am absolutely overwhelmed with responses and spoilt for choice. I generally only book people I've worked with before and I suspect most bookers are the same.

I have a fairly good reputation I would say; there's only one promoter who won't book me because I'm unreliable. He decided this after he sent out confirmation of my open spot for him about 24 hours before the gig and I'd rather stupidly double booked myself with paid work. I had to tell him I couldn't make it and I received a furious email back telling me that was the last time he would book me. Personally, I know it was my fault but I think it was unfair for two reasons:

1) If you need more notice than that, send your confirmations earlier than that. A confirmation request is an indication that you're expecting one of two answers; be prepared for the one you don't want.
2) The promoter in question was someone I'd done about 6 open spots for. At least 2 of these gigs had been cancelled after I'd turned up to the gig because 0 audience members turned up. In many ways, I should have been the one to break up with him.

So, back to the beginning; why does this month suck? Well, last night I was on my way to Derby for a gig - that's not the reason it sucks, I'm sure Derby is lovely before you all start revolting over an assumed slight - I wouldn't know if Derby is nice... I never made it there. I was a generous 30-40 seconds away from being involved in a fatal car crash about 6 cars ahead of me on the M1. I'm not trying to be over dramatic (although I may well be achieving it anyway), but I had 3 hours to sit in my car at the crash site and think about things like that.

I pulled to an emergency stop just in front of a Carlsberg lorry that was now stretched across 3 lanes with kegs rolling out into the road. I sat still in my car. Other people got out and ran towards the scene. I didn't; I didn't think I could help. After only a couple of minutes emergency vehicles arrived - amazing. I stayed in my car. Lots of men from the cars around me were up at the scene watching. I didn't want to watch.

After about 20 minutes a man came back to the car in front of me. I got out and asked him if he had any information.

"Get comfortable in your car, love, we'll be here a few hours."

"Is anyone hurt?"

"Someone's dead. Not sure about the others."

I got back in my car; I didn't think I could help. I didn't want to watch.

I'm extremely sensitive. My fiance, let's call him Alan, told me on Monday that he thinks I might have the emotions of some other creature. He said, "You don't get human sad; you get some kind of goblin super sad. Like you have human sad and then you have a whole extra sadness. I've never seen a real person have a bottom lip stick out like yours does when you get teary."

Being in that proximity to someone dead and someone having physically died seconds away was quite overwhelming in a cold car on my own in the dark for 3 hours. I am a sheltered, pampered, 1st world idiot and things like that make me maudlin. I don't have much survival instinct; if you lined up 8 people and said "someone has to die" my hand would be first in the air. Not because I am heroic or brave, but because I would find that easier to deal with than the brain aftermath of someone dying for me. (There's nothing special about 8 people, by the way; I'm not saying if it was 9 I'd be like, "Nah, not today; get that fucker on the end. He looks like a prick.")

I sat and worried about the nightmares that the sheer volume of blue flashing lights were going to induce. The sound of the saw on the central reservation as they tried to cut through it was chilling through the foggy gloom and I was nervous that this was going to bother me unduly in my sleep. Then it occurred to me that at least I would be going to sleep; someone wasn't going home that night. Someone was never going to dream again and their newly bereaved families would be having far worse nightmares than mine.

Having previously been on my way to a gig, I had people to call and cancellations to make when it transpired we were going to be stuck there far longer than predicted initially. I was in an odd situation because one of the other comedians was perhaps 500 yards behind me in their own car so we were in communication; stuck together but apart. Th gig got cancelled and I sat there in the dark.

"Your life cost me £127.50." thought the voice that no one wants to admit to having in their brain. No matter how liberal/I don't see colour/I'd die for anyone/I recycle/who doesn't love the sea you think your brain might be, you're still capable of thoughts like that.

Because sitting there in my car I realised that I wasn't going to get paid for tonight's gig now, and that was really bad. And the longer I had to get used to the fact that if I got out of my car and walked forward a few yards I could see a corpse, the more I was worried about my £127.50. I'd already spent the fuel to get within 30 minutes of the gig in Derby, you see.

Money worries and the worsening need to urinate seem to really numb you to a situation. They say life goes on; it's not life. It's nervousness about bankruptcy and or soiling yourself.

As I said, this month hasn't been the best of my career. Because of various last minute cancellations due to low ticket sales at gigs, I have had close to £1,000 removed from diary this month with only a few days notice on most and no compensation at all.

£1,000.

I do not make even nearly enough money to not worry about £1,000.

The conversation or email from the promoter is always the same;

"Unfortunately I'm calling/writing to say that this Friday's/next Tuesday's/Saturday's gig is now no longer going ahead due to a dispute with the venue/low ticket sales that would leave us deeply out of pocket were we to proceed. Please could you confirm you've received this email and we'll try and get you booked back in as soon as possible."

It is considered extremely rude if you write back and tell them how far out of your own pocket you are rapidly becoming.

I'd hope that this is why my brain reminded me of my £127.50; because it was the latest in a long string of cheques I won't be receiving. Maybe I'd have thought it anyway.

Something about sitting there being so grateful to be alive made me feel vulnerable in every sense of the word. There is no protection financially and there is no protection on the roads either. I phoned Alan and told him neither of us can be comedians any more; I need us both to be in the house constantly where I can't lose him one night on the M1. I couldn't cope with that phone call. He told me I'd be cross with him within a few hours of our confinement and I'd be begging to get on the A303 and see my family. He was probably right; don't tell him.

Today I feel deflated and sad and like I want to quit comedy (I won't - sorry) and go and live in some cotton wool somewhere hot with donkeys instead of cars. The M1 is still closed while I'm writing this; I feel like if 6 donkeys and a big donkey had a row then the path would be back open in minutes. Has anyone properly researched donkeys to see if they are a viable option?

I'll punish myself quite a lot for having sat there at the scene of someone's death and thought of my own financial situation. I know I wasn't the worst, I watched a man shout at a Highways Agency Officer beside my car when she asked him not to film the emergency services attempting to reach people in the vehicles.

"Why?" he said.
"Do I really have to answer that?" she said.

He carried on filming.

I stayed in my car; I didn't think I could help.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Chicken Nugget

From my cosy overpriced flat in Brighton I can see a main road. My living room overlooks the road and so when I say I'm writing, what I frequently mean is I'm sat staring out of the window at passers by on the main road. My dreams vary from simple ones where my boyfriend, let's call him Alan, comes home with a winning lottery ticket or a commissioned TV series to far more complicated ones where a helicopter lands and out jumps a publishing company and the owners of a curiously well funded Indie film company. They've found my blog online and like my excerpts for As We Know It and they just have to be able to make it - especially if I agree to maintain complete creative control and star in it too.

"Quick!" They say, "You must finish it... NOW!" And, spurred on by their enthusiasm I finish the book there and then while they feed me mackerel pate on excellent little biscuits. Alan comes home to find me already on the phone to Graham Norton - I'm going on the show this weekend! We do some furious cuddling while the publishing company proof read my flawless grammar in the next room.

Ah, what a dream. If only I were actually writing instead of gazing out of the window there's no reason that dream couldn't morph into a vaguely similar reality.

My little hobbit hole of a residence is in a lovely area where we have many local shops and community centres. It's the sort of place you move to when you've got the time and energy to believe in society again. Or, at least one of you has; one of you probably works in London to afford the time and energy the other one is spending.

Around the corner, just down the hill and slightly to the right there is a community centre that does sport classes and children's dance lessons. I've never been in there but I like the eclectic mix of offers on the hand written posters in the window. If I had children it would be exactly the sort of place I could take them. As children they would hate it: "Why can't we just watch TV instead? I hate ballet." but as young adults they will feel differently, instead of despising the fact that they have to go they will realise they have a choice and feel guilty instead that they choose not to keep it up. But at least it won't be my fault.

One of my favourite things to witness from my porthole into Brighton's events, is the 30-40 minutes before the Samurai class begins. Yes, you heard me right. If you have enough money in the residential parts of Brighton you can pay for your child to become a Samurai... and it only seems to take about 60 minutes a week of their time. I sit in my chair by the window and I watch all the little would-be Ninjas traipsing down the hill in their black pyjamas with a red belt. At first I thought they were having some sort of regular karate or judo lesson (excuse my ignorance in this subject - I do not know the difference) but then I walked past the little building and noticed that it has a new poster up in the window.

"SAMURAI CENTRE - ENROL YOUR CHILD TODAY"

Curse my barren loins that there is no child in my life I can enrol to become a Samurai. I will have to satisfy myself with watching other parents taking their little darlings past my house and down to the classes. I like the mix of children that attend... they are mainly boys but there are a few girls. There are the tall, wiry girls with already terrible hair that you know will struggle for another few years and really only come into their own when they discover hockey and the fact they can drink as much as a man. There is one particular sweet looking little girl whose mother dresses like a barbie herself, and I like to imagine that this Samurai class is the little girls very first act of rebellion against following in her 6 inch heeled footsteps.

There are a few boys that head down the hill together, already practising last week's moves on each other and imaginary foes. They are excited - proud of their pyjamas and pretty sure every week that this will be the week they finally kill someone.

Then there is my favourite little boy. He is a fat little boy who trudges behind his mum and dad, already crying and trying to move his feet slowly enough that he will miss the lesson. Sometimes Mum is carrying him to scupper his plan, sometimes Dad is. Sometimes he's not crying... sometimes he's playing an excellent little game in his mind to distract himself, it seems, from the horrors that lie ahead. I guess that Mum and Dad both take him to the lesson so that he feels better about it, but maybe they drop him off there and go and have time to themselves? I don't know.

He really is a fat little boy. His Mum and Dad are not fat. He is only fat in the way that a young child is... He doesn't look ill and it doesn't look like the fat will last. But he is fat.

I am impressed with his parents for making him go to Samurai classes; for not just plonking him in front of a TV and assuming their job is done because he's eating and the electricity is paid for to power the learning box. It is good that they get him exercise, it makes me not judge them that their boy is tubby. Maybe he's just tubby.

On the other hand... I hate them for making him go.

"Let him be fat and happy!" I sometimes think, when my brain is feeling sorry for me and projecting onto people walking past, "Dear god it is never going to come in handy for this child to be a Samurai. If there was ever a time in history when it was ok for this little boy to wallow in his flesh and be jubilantly ignorant to the ways of the Samurai then it is now! He will get a marvellous job doing computer coding because he never wanted to leave his computer and he will earn more than all the joggers currently lapping Hove Park put together. He doesn't want to be a Samurai... he wants to be a happy lazy fat boy. Let him be!"

Sometimes I day dream well for him. Sometimes I imagine that his walk there is actually awful because he hates cars and he is delighted when he steps inside the sanctuary of the Samurai centre. Sometimes I think he is probably a master of Kung Fu (is that what Samurais do?) and only wears a tiny fat suit to help him train harder and so that he doesn't embarrass the other children at his class. He's really down to earth like that. Sometimes I think he is probably crying because he doesn't like being saddled with all the wisdom of a Samurai at the tender age of... what is he? Maybe 6? What 6 year old is comfortable knowing they have the knowledge and the physical capacity to kill both their parents if the need arises?

Sometimes I daydream badly for him and I'm plummeted into despair. I daydream of the day he finally stands up to the bullies who tease him for his size. He remembers that he is, after all, a Samurai and therefore doesn't need to take this mockery. So he begins to fight. They laugh at him and punch him. He is no match. He falls over. He is not a Samurai.

I daydream that one day I will rescue him. As his daps carry him past my house, beyond the window's gaze in Brighton that day, I will dash out onto the steps.

"Wait!" I'll call after his parents, "Stop that Samurai!"

They turn, confused, wondering if I mean them.

"I mean you!" I call, dashing down my front steps and after them. "Wait!"

They look me up and down, slowly recognising me from my head shots and from the front page of last week's Brighton Argus.

"You're Laura Lexx," they say in disbelief, "That local author who has just signed a multi billion pound deal to have her book published and put in every hotel room instead of the bible. The one who has the film deal too where Sandra Bullock and Dawn French have agreed to work for free because the script is so good? My goodness. What do you want with us?"

"I need your little boy." I say, a little out of breath because I haven't got the most out of the free gym membership I received when they made me honorary Mayoress of every town I wanted to be Mayoress of.

"You can have him..." they say quickly, "Anything you need. We'll pack him a suitcase tonight. Obviously we'll miss him because we love him dearly but we're sure you can give him a better life than we can."

"No, no, no!" I say, laughing and shaking my head. "I need him to be in the film."

"But there isn't a little boy in As We Know It?" the parents say, confused. "We have already read it four times."

"It was only published this morning?" I say.

"We know." They reply, "But we burned all our existing books and cancelled our broadband connection because it's really all we need. There is definitely no little boy in it."

"Ah," I say, kneeling down so my face is the same height as the fat little Samurai's. "But you haven't read the film script. And in the film script there is a little boy. A little boy who looks just like this. Because I wrote in a little boy, just so you could have a part. Because I think you are so special."

The little boy looks at me, hope and a desperate fear of believing too hard in his eyes.

"Is the little boy a Samurai?" he asks nervously, wide eyed.

"Absolutely fucking not." I say.