Monday, November 30, 2015

Please Like My Breakdown

I think I hate Facebook.

I love the concept of Facebook but I do always seem to hate my newsfeed.

I hate that I continue to look at my newsfeed even though I hate it.

So, I think it might actually be me I dislike, rather than Facebook.

But, even if I don't look at it... I still won't like Facebook.

But, Facebook doesn't control what goes on my newsfeed... it's people that post these things. People I chose to add.

So, I think I hate myself and the people I know.

I guess if I stop looking at myself and the people I know, I might feel better?

But, even if I don't look at us, I'll still know that I hate us.

But I didn't know I hated us until we all existed on Facebook.

So it is Facebook's fault!

Ha! Fuck you Zuckerberg.

I'm going to post this on Facebook and see what people think.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

To You, Who Is Heartbroken

I see you sitting there, with your broken heart and sad little mouth... you look bewildered. I'm sorry you're cross. I'm sorry that someone didn't see in you what I see, but it doesn't mean that great stuff isn't there.

Let your mother tell you a little story to explain how it is... it won't make you feel better, because only chocolate, sleep and shouting will do that, but it'll help you realise this is only the first time you'll be broken, not the last.

Back in the olden days...

Yes, before mummy drank the magic potion that made her 6 foot and blonde, back in the...

Oh, yes, way before Daddy bought Mummy the Taj Mahal, back in the...

Yes poppet, it was just before the population of the UK got so confused and disinterested in politics that they voted in meerkats rather than humans.

Back in the olden days, before music got piped straight into your ears from a satellite by the good people at Bang, Olufsen and Offspring of Unspecified Gender, we used to have to go out and buy music on little discs.

This disc would be put into a machine and it would spin round and round, and music would come out of these big boxes on either side, called speakers. Everyone in the room would hear the music, not just the ears it was aimed at. We used to have parties back then...

Well, a party, my angel, was where you went to meet people... that's how we did dating.

No, it was ever so slightly before Tindr.

No, Mummy and Daddy met before Tindr.

Um, kind of romantic, yes... remind me one day to tell you never to get drunk at the Edinburgh Festival and go home with one of your mates thinking sex wouldn't change anything. You're in grave danger of winding up extremely married.

You could buy music in two different formats.

Singles. And Albums.

A single was just one song, possibly with some back up terrible songs to pad it out a bit. It was cheap to buy and it got you just that one song, with maybe a remix that no one in their right mind would listen to.

An album was a fully thought out collection of songs from that one artist. It was arranged in a specific way, usually, and sometimes had a theme or a story or developed in style through the album or it was sometimes a fairly steady adventure through one genre.

This is what you need to know about people.

Some people in your life will be a single. They will come bursting into your existence and you will want to play them 24 hours a day, sorry 26 hours a day...

We used to have 24, my dear, but no one listened to Scandinavia when they said a shorter work day was more productive.

You will be obsessed with that single. It will be the best thing you've ever heard and you'll play it to everyone you know, staring at them as they listen and hoping they love it as much as you do. They won't.

That one song will encapsulate everything you feel about a time in your life. You'll know it inside out. You'll listen to the other song on the single once or twice, but it doesn't give you that same feeling and you'll try and shut it out of your mind that you don't love other parts as much as the bit you first heard.

Then, the time for that single will be over. You'll get bored of that single and you'll stop listening to it because a new one has come along.

You will be a single to other people's lives too. Some people will come and love you passionately and briefly.

There are tips I can tell you for how to make it less brief and more satisfying but that is for another day.

If you're honest with yourself you will be frustrated that they really only seem interested in that one track of yours. You'll know there are more tracks you have, that you aren't playing because you don't trust that they'll want to hear. But don't be ashamed to want to keep playing that same track over and over again if it keeps them near. Some of us can't stand silence.

They will stop listening to you and you will be, as you are now, broken and wondering if you were rubbish all along and just didn't know.

You are not.

Because here is where the magic happens.

Some people in your life will be an album.
And you will be an album to many.

Some people will be track after track after track of better and better music that you think is endlessly clever, and more intricate and more elaborately developed.

Some people will be undulating tracks that race you, slow you, make you dance, make you think, make you cry, make you laugh and make you want them to be your own work.

You will be that for them.

Some albums will get cleverer every time you listen to them.
Some albums will play quietly in the background and you'll find them so familiar you almost stop hearing them but you feel the chill when they finish and something inferior comes on.

Your father is the best album I've ever heard. He's the music on the dodgems that makes me want to be 15 and on a sugar high, he's the whale music I want to fall asleep to, he's the music over the opening credits on my favourite sitcom. Every time I reach the end of his album and I think perhaps this is the time I'm bored of him, I wait in a few minutes of silence and there's a new hidden track I didn't know about. Every time the album spins I hear a riff or an instrument or a lyric or a note that I hadn't heard before and I can't believe I'd ever missed.

So, this one that you're crying over now, and do keep crying; it's important, you should. This one that has only heard your single, don't worry about them. It's not that you're not an album, you just weren't an album for them. And they not for you.

In 10 years time you and I will sit together and we'll play this person's single and you won't hate it. You will smile fondly and think of this time when this single was everything. You'll think it a perfectly pleasant piece of music that has it's place in your discography. You'll smile at it on the radio but never play it yourself.

Go and find yourself and album.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Peace Porn

In the year 2021 there was a war that blew the heads off too many people. Obviously, not the people who could afford not to have their heads blown off. They were in war bunkers, inside mountains, in submarines and in huge underground excavations beneath their houses.

The war of the year 2021 lasted only 8 months but killed over 50% of the world's population. The ferocity, the scale of the fury and the weaponry development meant that the war could kill quickly, and in huge numbers. Political opinion polls said that people were cross with each other and wanted a government that would do something about it. So governments all over the world did something about each other.

In the year 2021 so many people had died that the world was threatening to stop working. The people in the bunkers and excavations noticed that the dust was mounting up. They noticed that the staff had fewer and fewer grocery bags when they returned from shopping. The staff reported that there were fewer and fewer groceries on the shelves. The shop managers said there were fewer and fewer people to find and make and produce food.

Television advertisers noticed lower revenues from their adverts because there were fewer and fewer people to watch TV and buy things. The television advertisers phoned the producers and said to make reality TV better to draw more people into watching. The producers said reality wasn't worth watching.

The people in the bunkers realised they couldn't make as much money if there were fewer people. Other people in other bunkers realised that if there were only candidates left, they would all vote for themselves. One person in one bunker had run out of toilet roll and didn't want to have to buy that sort of stuff for herself if the staff got killed.

There was a meeting of bunker people where they all agreed that they would have a better chance of staying rich and powerful if the war stopped.

They agreed to stop the war. They signed a treaty which declared there would be no more weaponry, no more defence, no more attack... no more war. All military property and power was signed over to a Global Regulatory Body who watched over everything and put all the guns in a safe. Only water pistols were allowed from that day on.

On the anniversary of Cessation Day the countries decided to each make a gift to each other to show they meant well forevermore. France gave Albania an ornate vase. Kenya gave Hungary the contents of a zoo. The UK gave the USA the concept of free healthcare but they were too suspicious to use it. Thought and care went into the gifts going each way but everyone knew that Pakistan's gift of free hospitality to any Swedish national who came to stay, was the kindest most thoughtful gift of them all.

On the second anniversary of Cessation Day every country wanted to out do Pakistan's thoughtfulness from the previous year. Governments hired their best minds, most strategic thinkers and wackiest inventors to come up with something brilliant they could offer.

The quality of the gifts stepped up as the years went by... Germany presented Bolivia with hover boards (and the required helmets), New Zealand unveiled a new high calorie additive that could be safely added to milk and gave it freely to Ethiopia. The United Kingdom handed back the contents of the British Museum and sold the building, giving the proceeds to Egypt.

As the years went on the rivalry between countries that had once been funnelled into gun barrels was wrapped in crepe paper and passed around the world. Politicians peacocked and media publications competed for national supremacy but they did it with gifts. All the graduates, inventors and engineers who had once orchestrated the most effective shrapnel were refocused onto projects like The Best Fireworks Japan's Ever Seen, Here's How We Shove It to Italy by Inventing a Time Machine and In Your Face Australia - This Is a Rabbit Proof Fence.

In 2024 Denmark freed Nigeria from malaria. Nigeria didn't wait until 2025 to share it's gift with others (it already had some very cool ideas up it's sleeve and didn't want to postpone them until 2026).

In 2027 when flooding and storm damage wrecked much of agricultural Thailand, Jamaica knew it's gift that year would be fixing and reinstating the lives of those broken.

Never before in human history had intelligence, invention and engineering come on so quickly and so vigorously in all directions. Diseases were cured, famines were aided and technology was paraded around for all to see as governments put all their gun money into the competition. No one wanted to show weakness.

Arguments raged, alliances were formed and enemies made. It was much like before, for human nature could not be changed that easily, but it was making something. Not destroying.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Hey The Man, Do You Have Any Jobs?

Today I had a meeting with a man about getting a mortgage.

I told the man how much money I had saved and how much I earned and he put all the numbers into a computer and then had a look to see if I could buy a house.

In order to buy a two bedroom flat in the place I live, he said I was almost there but I would probably need to just double the amount I have saved for a deposit, and then double my annual income too. Then I could get the mortgage.

He just cheerfully looked me in the eye and suggested I double my annual income and come back and see him when I'd done that.

I work in an industry where I have been doing gigs for the same amount of money for the last 5 years. In 5 years the cost of fuel, food, warmth and walls has gone up an awful lot... but the amount I get paid to do my job has stayed stock still for most gig, gone down for others and disappeared in a lot of cases.

He looked me in the eye and suggested I just DOUBLE MY ANNUAL INCOME.

This happened in the same week I found out my period is still a fucking luxury and the bacon I'm eating to console myself on my luxurious, velvet clad period is going to give me cancer and by the time all the cancer has really settled in and I'm too poor from wasting all my hard earned dollar on these fucking tampons that I know I should quit but I just fucking can't, there won't be an NHS any more and I'll be sticking money in the meter to watch the BBC while my Coca-Cola catheter pumps me full of a liquid that, thanks to Jamie Oliver, I know contains exactly 23 teaspoons more sugar than it should.

Obviously, the sensible choice would be to stick two fingers up to Andrew Lloyd-Webber and go shit on a cat, get pregnant and then just drive around waving my swollen period free stomach at tampon vendors screaming "THIS IS LUXURY YOU SONS OF BITCHES". But it looks like tax credits are also going to get thrown out the window so the baby that I'm using to avoid paying my blood money is going to be really hungry because I don't earn enough to buy a garage.

Unless I move to the north. I have enough money to buy a 3 bedroom detached house in the north. But I'm not that stupid. I know the North is where the SNP live and they're destabilising the blessed union that that Scottish King created several thousand years ago or something.

Obviously I've read Facebook and I know it's the Tories fault. Evil Tories. I can't believe they managed to invent social inequality, sexual inequality, financial instability, capitalism and a housing crisis in the 6 or so short years since they came to power. I miss the paradise we lived in under Labour. Remember the good old years? Remember when we all used to be happy because of Labour? At least the Tories have the backbone to tell us even bacon has stabbed us in the back. Labour just sat there quietly watching us eat it.

"Go on you fat fucks, eat the bacon. Get the cancer. Then you'll need our NHS and you'll be delighted that we're keeping it and you'll keep voting for us and the Tories will never win. Sure, you'll have cancer, but you'll also have bacon and we'll be in power."

What are the Tories doing? Lots of grubby hand rubbing from what I can tell from vaguely skim reading peoples' statuses. They're selling babies and inventing ebola so that we all die and have to buy limbs from the Chinese. Fucking Tories. If only Jeremy Corbyn wasn't made of bacon and had genuine leadership potential.

The obvious solution is a bacon tampon. Roll it up, stick it in and yes you will technically still be paying tax on the tampon but because of the cancer it's ABSOLUTELY GOING TO GIVE YOU TOMORROW you will, overall, pay less tax because you'll be dead. From the cancer bacon is giving you.

I don't even use tampons. I use a moon cup because it's cheaper, better for the environment and better for my body. Tomorrow I'm going to fill my moon cup with bacon and send it to Andrew Lloyd Webber sellotaped to the back of an angry cat wearing roller-skates with a message saying "I don't fuck with your shit Webber, now you leave us alone." That will show people I'm more than an e-petition or a grumpy status.*

I don't even use tampons. I. don't. even. use. tampons.

That means, even someone as fiscally sensible as me who has been exploiting a loophole in the cruelly unjust tampon tax system that is affecting hard working families such as me, cannot afford to buy a house. That's when you know the system is broken.

* Disclaimer, I literally intend to just write this blog and take no action on any social issues that bother me.

Sunday, October 4, 2015


I shaved my head last week.

Raised £1,000 for a cancer charity and was really pleased with the result. By result, I mean the money... not the look.

All hell has broken loose in my head. I'm seriously beginning to wonder if my hair might have had some tin foil qualities in keeping the ludicrous voices out. Maybe it's not that I'm an anxious wrecking ball of self doubt, maybe it's aliens sending messages down to me from space and my hair was the only thing keeping them away?

That is one of the more shareable thoughts I've had this week. It's been pretty exhausting.

I'm a vain person. I'm a very insecure person. This week I've been dealing with having my own image completely changed, of my own doing, and feeling a bit screwed up about it. Then, on top of that I've been feeling horrendous about mourning my hair when the reason it went was to help people who have probably also lost their hair but for a proper reason that they couldn't control. They didn't choose it. I did, because, I guess, I wanted to be a bit of hero. And now I don't like that the tiny thing I had to do has not gone away once the fanfare died down.

My head is full of voices of people looking at me thinking, "Put your hair back on your head and keep the money then you selfish witch. How have you managed to make my battle with cancer about you?"

My worst fear came true on Monday when a cancer patient on Twitter tweeted to me, "It's not good enough - you've deceived a cancer patient into thinking they'd see a bald woman" (because I didn't do a wet shave, I have a fuzzy once currently) and I think my heart might have actually squeezed itself out of my arse and ears with dismal shame. It transpired he was joking, thank Attenborough, and he said he'd received Macmillan support in the past and thought it a worthy cause. But I think it helped me realise that shame is exactly the right word for how I've felt. Deep, gross, shame at my own immaturity that I couldn't wear this symbol of support for someone without feeling totally chaotic in my own head.

The worst thing about Monday to Wednesday this week was waiting for that first gig on Thursday where I would step out in front of an audience and have a new first impression to deal with. I know my persona when I have my hair... I know how I look in my clothes, I know how I come across, I know when to twiddle my fringe in my fingers to occupy myself when I'm waiting for a punchline to land.

With my shaved head I feel like none of my clothes look the same. I feel like the fact I'm fat is more obvious. I think I look masculine and I'm not used to that. The grey hairs are not hidden anymore and that punches me right in the vanity. But worst of all, and something that is weirdly hard to admit in case it makes it even worse to say it out loud, I am absolutely fucking inside out cold guts feeling petrified that someone will think I've lost my hair because I had cancer myself, and will attribute some sort of bravery or sympathy that I in no way deserve.

I stepped out on Thursday and opened with my usual jokes and then addressed my hair as a secondary subject. The audience were mildly interested and then we carried on with the rest of my set as normal.

The woman in the middle of the front row with the brightly coloured head scarf wrapped all around her head laughed too and my terrified little self-obsessed heart started beating again.

I'm not sure stand-up comedy will ever stop rescuing me. Or maybe, it's the people in the audience being decent people and not like the shitboxes that are the subject of so many FB shares, that rescues me. Gives me faith. Stand up comedy might just be a conduit through which you can generally channel the best people in the world. People chasing the simple high of a laugh and a shared truth are my favourite.

I don't really know what the point of this post is. I certainly don't want sympathy or any kind of "there there, dear" and I hope it doesn't come across as a cry for any of that. It is not and I really don't want it. I just wanted to be honest about how a stupid little thing has pulled me apart a bit, because I don't think you're ever the first to feel weird stuff and the more people put it out there, the more someone else has a chance of finding it.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Mama Bird

My husband turned 30 at the weekend and he did it in his typically understated way, with no great ceremony and a hell of a hangover. It's a funny thing turning 30 because every time you hit a decade people like to make out like it's a big life event... happily forgetting that we invented the decimal system and made tens important. Hell, we invented counting. Also birthdays.

I asked him if he was feeling nervous about being in his thirties, myself being a spritely 28 and I am feeling secure in the knowledge that the future has never arrived before and therefor I will always be in my twenties.

He said he wasn't and asked me if I thought he should be. A sure sign he's an excellent husband, as I really feel my opinion ought to be sought frequently by many more people than it currently is.

I thought about it, and I decided he shouldn't be. I think at the rate people, societies and generations are changing there is nothing set about what a certain age should mean. Perhaps it's always been thus, but it feels to me like there are so many different avenues to take now that the times we are "supposed" to do anything become less and less set in stone with each passing year.

We got to talking about generations and the fact that we weren't too sure what a generation is. My husband, we'll call him Alan, said that he didn't think generations could be marked other than in a family. I thought even that could be complicated... for example the age gap between my eldest sibling and my youngest is nearly 13 years. The eldest has two children (6 and 3), a dog and a husband... the youngest is just starting his second year at university. Could they be considered two different generations? Certainly they won't be doing the same activities within the same time spans - is that more what a generation is?

Alan thought about it and then came out with something that did make me pull up and wonder a bit. He said, "The thing is, my mum was 22 when she had me. So I really remember her 30th birthday, because I was already 8."

This was something that made me stop and wonder about ages and meanings. Being a woman, particularly one who has just got married, I get asked a lot whether we want to have children. When I say we do but we are going to wait a few years people, mostly older people, look at my stomach and tell me I mustn't leave it too long, as though I might accidentally forget basic biology and try and leave it until I'm 90. I'm not sure I have the energy to play lego with a child all day now, let alone when I'm 90 - please save your concern that I'll leave it too late.

The thing is, I very strongly feel that I would rather mess myself up by missing the boat and not having children at all, than mess a child up by having one too early because I was scared I'd miss my chance. I don't want to have one until it's all I want to do... and at the moment it's not even the second or third thing I want to do.

Alan and I live in a one bedroom flat we can barely afford with jobs that we have to fight daily for and give up any sense of dependable lifestyle or timetable just to keep the rent paid. People seem to think that issues like that will melt away the second I germinate. Perhaps a hormonal compulsion to breed also attracts money from somewhere? I suspect not.

As much as my brain and I are on the same level with where we're going with our lives, one part of me is desperately trying to tug us towards the maternity section. I have noticed a compelling urge to nurture things. I am hopelessly addicted to garden centres and other people's dogs.

Today at the garden centre I bought another 10 litres of compost and two new pots and two bird feeders.

I do not have a garden.

I do not even have a porch.

I have 6 oversized houseplants lined up on a radiator in the front room next to the only window that gets sunlight during the day. They sit their with their Baby Bio, their new pots and their mother's love.

I have hung one bird feeder on a ribbon by the kitchen window, and am currently unsure what to do with the second one because, as I may have mentioned, I do not have a garden and I'm not sure Alan will let me have a bird feeder in the bedroom. Amy Adams he is not.

I suppose this must mean my body wants something to look after. My nephews no longer suffice to keep my raging hormones at bay and even my wee sister's recently purchased Jack Russell puppy is not near enough to whet my appetite.

I suppose now it's bit of a race against time to achieve everything I want to achieve before my brain catches up with my chemicals and we all want a baby. Until then I suppose I will make do with the sight of 30 wild birds a day flying head long into my kitchen window while I recreate the Amazon around Alan in the front room. He's a lucky man.

Friday, September 4, 2015

You Could Be Them, No Not That Them, The Other Them

I've just accidentally got caught up in a Facebook debate about the refugee crisis. I say "accidentally", I mean the following steps happened:

1. I saw something that annoyed me in someone's status.
2. I waded in with the answer and sat back waiting for them to reply with "You're right".
3. 18 other people got involved with even weirder (to me) statements.
4. I spent 30 minutes trying to individually persuade them otherwise like some keyboard based messiah.
5. I wrote on my blog like a true activist.

Something came up, though, that put a lot of things into perfect clarity for me.

Someone in the debate, who was very pro the UK taking more refugees, said something along the lines of "we should and will do loads to help but as usual it'll be us normal people doing it while the rich sit back and do nothing".

My first thought was... "But, compared to these refugees you are insanely rich. Like, crazy rich."

Then I thought, "but he doesn't feel rich because he's in this country where he's in the middle of it all."

Then I thought, "I don't suppose most rich people feel really rich, because they'll always know people with more than them."

Then I thought, no one feels like what they've got is more than they deserve. Everyone believes that the sum of money they've amassed, or the home comforts they've gathered around them, are the very least of what they should have for the hard work they've put in.

Then I thought, well if the "normals" in this country feel a bit put out about having to give up that hard clawed privilege to people who have far less, that explains to me why we're currently fighting for an NHS and basic welfare.

It seems to me that there are quite a lot of people out there with this opinion:

UK Person: I've worked hard for my money and my house, I have earned this through my hard work. I did it in this country and so I don't see why I should be called upon to help people who have not earned the same stuff in this country.

But, doesn't that strike you as extremely similar to this opinion:

UK Person: I've worked hard for my money and my house, I have earned this through my hard work. I did it in this country and so I don't see why I should be called upon to help people who have not earned the same stuff in this country.

The first opinion is someone unsure about whether or not we should be offering so much help to refugees.
The second opinion is someone unsure whether or not we should have a large welfare state.

The problem is, we're very quick to be able to say that the rich have had help becoming and staying the rich:

- Rich parents,
- Best schools,
- Nepotism,
- Financial security should risks fail,

We scoff that that rich don't seem to understand that they're rich because they had everything handed to them to make it SO much easier to stay rich.

But, what we don't see is that we have all had those advantages if we're talking about the global community. We all had relatively rich parents compared to a lot of the world, we have some of the best schools compared to half the world (curse you perfect Scandinavia!)... we are the totally unaware rich in the world stage.

There's a real issue with us believing this media/society/capitalist trope that how successful you've been is a marker of how hard you have tried. Refugees escaping a war that's been raging for 3 years are not doing so because they can't be arsed to get on Monster and get a job like you did.

Sunday, August 16, 2015


I'm shaving my head to raise money for Macmillan research and I'm not sure how I feel about it. Overall, I think raising money for charity is a good thing. I also think these one off events help to garner a little bit more cash from people who already do Direct Debits but will do more with a little reminder like Lenny Henry or the chance for their friend to look like an idiot.

It took me a long time to decide I was going to do it because I was concerned about two things:

1. I'm scared I'll look ugly.

2. I don't like the way doing these "brave" events make it about you.

Two completely contradictory reasons to be nervous about doing a thing. I eventually made my mind up because I was so scared. I wouldn't be scared to run 10k so it didn't feel like a challenge for me. Which made my second reason for doubting all the more prevalant... Is it crass to immitate the symptoms of a disease to help raise money for it? Is it bad to raise money for the seriously ill by running a race and showing off your fitness? Or is it about looking at someone who needs help and saying, "I can't understand what you're going through but I can do this tiny gesture to show I'd share your pain if I could?"

Truth is I don't know. No one would has complained so far, and I trust Macmillan that this campaign has been researched and thought through. Still, the fear is there that somebody out there is battling cancer and seeing my friends posting about "how brave" I am and feeling worse than if I wasn't doing it.

Would we do the same for other diseases?

"Hey, I'm doing a sponsored hop for war veterans!"
"I'm raising money for deforestation, sponsor my house repossession?"

I have Irritable Bowel Syndrome... would I sponsor someone for a weekend on the vindaloo?

Ultimately, if it helps, it helps I suppose. I have made sure to put my own money into my sponsorship pot... otherwise I haven't actually given anything. It's too much like an Ice Bucket Challenge otherwise... that thing that raised awareness for ASL or ALS or SLA or whatever it was. You remember, it was great at raising awareness?

But I still feel uneasy. I'm just not sure. It doesn't sit well that there has to be gimmick. If I just started a page that said "I'm raising money for Macmillan" and I wasn't doing anything... would people give? It needs the catalyst for impetus, but perhaps the mimicking is the bit I can't get my head round. Excuse the pun.

My grandmother had cancer; over 10 years she had breast, bowel, skin and bone I think and finally died after fighting the sod for far longer than she should have had to. I don't really know what she'd think of what I was doing. She was a ferocious woman; either heartedly supportive or disdainfully dismissive. My suspicion is that the Grandma in her would override the cancer sufferer and she would probably just be cross that I was ruining my "lovely" hair.

It feels very strange to be doing a "good" thing and be struggling with a guilty conscience about whether it's right. I am so grateful for all the people donating - there have been some startling large amounts coming Macmillan's way.

I also feel awful about how scared I am of doing it. I'm scared about how gigging will be with such an altered appearance and whether I'll still be sexy for my brand new husband. It's the "having a shaved head will be awful" feeling that's keeping me going. Because for the people this money will help, losing their hair is a sign they're getting treated... it's not even in the top ten disasters their body is facing. And if it's all I'm scared of, then I need to stop being so self involved.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Humans Are Weird

Four years ago I was at the Edinburgh Fringe taking part in a wonderful show called Quiz In My Pants. It was in a venue that could only be entered via the sort of dingy alleyway that Edinburgh is famous for. After about six days of doing the show we noticed a truly awful smell in the alleyway, and, after further inspection, we noticed the largest human shit I've ever seen lurking menacingly by the wall opposite the door.

It was distinctively human. It was odious and spiteful in the way that dog poo can never achieve no matter how hard it tries. This human poo sat and brooded opposite the door. The smell of a human poo baking in the summer sun in an alleyway that was already less than fragrant is not to be sniffed at. It was valiantly putrid; obtusely invasive and intensfied as the days continued.

Within a few days it began to crust over and we thought we might recieve a respite from the daily horror of passing it into the venue. It formed a dark, black, Guinness like crust which we hoped would seal the devil inside it. Unfortunately, during the night, something unseen must have crashed into it and broke the protective casing, allowing a new wave of tragedy to rinse our senses.

As the days progressed, the intermittent Edinburgh rain washed the poo. In it's sheltered position in the alleyway, the poo was protected from being washed away but was rinsed into a larger surface area. A liquid smear. Poo soup. Stagnating in the alleyway and putting us off our lives, and punters off our show.

I tell you this, to assure you, that I have seen some disgsuting things in my life and in particular at the Edinburgh Festival. Yesterday, I saw something that trumped it all. Sitting in one of my favourite food spots, I turned to look at the meal and the drinks being provided to the people at the table next to us.

I saw two, fully grown adults, being served traditional fish and chips, along with a beer each, and a pint of milk. A pint of milk each, to drink with their fish and chips and alternate with their beer.

I felt physically sick. The space in my head labelled "Most Rancid Thing You've Ever Seen" switched suddenly from the abnormally large outdoor poo in the alleyway, to a new video clip of a man with a milk moustache putting mushy peas in his mouth and washing it down with some beer. Over and over again the cycle continued... bit of fish, a chip (generously smothered in vinegar) big gulp of milk and a sip of beer.



Milk is for Coco Pops. Not battered fish.
Milk is for bed times. Not a beer chaser.
Chips are for soaking up alcohol. Not floating in a milky fish soup in your rapidly curdling bellyfull.
Milk is for babies. Not people paying on credit cards.
Beer is for parties and barbecues. Not replacing Kahlua in a tummy cocktail party.
Milk is from cows. Fish is from the sea. Unless you're eating a sea cow, you should not be having milk with it.

I always thought it would be a politician that made me finally give up my faith in people, but, if that was you in that restaurant with that milk and that meal then please know it was you.

Monday, August 10, 2015


Sleep time Laura is a dick.

That's what I've learned today. I've been having trouble sleeping up here at the Edinburgh festival. I have anxiety - pens out lads, add it to the list of sexy attributes along with large bum and being the height of a well nourished adolescent. I'd guess it's low level anxiety as I function, generally speaking, most days and try not to make a fuss. But it's the usual; sweaty, shaky, high heart rate, difficulty meeting people's eyes. Yada Yada, nothing I can't handle. Except.

Sleep. Sleep when I'm anxious sucks mighty sweaty butt holes filled with sambucca sand. I can fall asleep with no problem at all. But then I wake up every two hours for seemingly no reason. It's like having an invisible child. I might be world's best practise surrogate parent. Tonight I might attempt just resting a nipple on the nozzle of the vacuum cleaner to see if these night wakes are my body desiring the time to mother something.

Last Fringe I used sleeping tablets; those herbally ones that are associated with owls. As though every person with sleeping issues will see those adverts and think, "Finally, an advert that speaks to me. I can really associate with owls and their difficulties. That is just how I feel."

This year, I hoped not to need to because I am having a really good time andthought I might not be so anxious. Sadly, anxiety is not so based on how you think you're feeling. Well, for me anyway. It seems to me it's more like your body's way of using your functions to say "I know you don't think you're anxious, but screw you, I'm going to behave like we are anyway until you find something to be anxious about."

So, this year, feeling less anxious, I just bought ear plugs to block out extraneous noise and keep me asleep once I've drifted off. It's been working OK. I'd say it had a success rate of Nickleback. Surprisingly decent for something so simple, but has really fallen flat recently.

I woke after a horrible night's sleep dreaming I was trying to contact Watford Travelodge from the Fringe because I'd left my iMac there and needed to pop back and get it,. Two terifying prospects there; losing my iMac, and having to go to Watford Travelodge again. I stayed there a few weeks ago and had to have my room refunded because it smelt so strongly of urine. Hooray!

I woke with both ear plugs missing. First I panicked that I'd somehow managed to absorb them into my ears. I have a friend who lost one of his ear phones only to find out a year later it HAD BEEN IN HIS EAR THE WHOLE TIME. After humming to myself for a bit and switching on the radio to check, I was quite convinced that they weren't in my ears.

I looked over to my bedside table and my ear plugs were there; sitting neatly side by side on the table. Sleep time Laura is clearly enough of a self destructive pleb to have removed the ear plugs quite on purpose and decided to just not enjoy unconsciousness.

How on earth do you deal with your subconscious self sabotaging even your best attempts to be cheerful and zen? Do I strap my arms to the head board tonight? Is that going to make me look like the weirdest S&M afficionado in the house? Would it be worse if there was a weirder one?

Gaffer tape might be the option; to strap the ear plugs into my ears and pray that my comatose fingers are not dextorus enough to remove them so swiftly.

My best guess is to think positive; maybe my dream Laura was actually trying to save me? Maybe she knew that even waking up every two hours for 3 more weeks was better than staying in a dream that involved Watford Travelodge.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Size Eight Feet

I am the proud owner of a pair of sparkly plastic Jellies. They were very cheap and do not absorb water and so I thought they would be absolutely perfect for the Edinburgh Fringe. It rains for a little bit most days in Edinburgh, and then as soon as it finishes the sun comes out and everything is stunning again before the darker rain clouds roll over again. For this reason, I favour the plastic shoe. My feet may well get a good rinse every day, but they are non absorbant and therefore dry rapidly when the sun comes back.

Except, it hasn't rained me the last two days and my feet are still soaking.

From my own rancid, unexpected and totally unwelcome, foot sweat.

I have condemned my tootsies to a mouth of greenhouse living in which they are shrivelling and baking in equal measure. How did I live until the age of 28 never knowing it was possible to get conversation from your toes?

I wouldn't mind, but I spend my entire show panicking that someone is going to notice and call me out as being a gross little bint. Who knew so much liquid could come out of a foot? Aren't they 99% bone? What if it starts flowing out the gaps on the side and I am just trickling a trail of foot liquid behind me as I traipse across the stage?

Of course the other, even less desirable side effect of plastic shoes is that the hairs on your toes and feet get caught on the plastic and you end up giving yourself a mini waxing session every time you break out into a trot.

Yeah yeah, I know women aren't meant to have hairy feet but I DO so there. They are tiny little hobbit things and the hair is much much worse these days because of all the teenage evenings I spent sitting in shaving them into a fine stubble.

Stupid hairy sweaty feet are ruining my vibe.

My clear plastic glittery jelly shoes were meant to help me feel like I was walking on air; not have me hobbling around wincing at the plucking and sploshing through the cider I'm sweating out of my soles.

I'm considering installing some of those feet eating fish in a wonderful mix of 70s iconic platform homage and mid 20Teen fish craze practicalities. I have a feeling they won't last much longer than the introductory few minutes of the show. The poor bastards. That water would have more toxins than the Thames.

I may go looking for more sensible shoes next week. First, however I'm going to see whether all this extra foot sweat helps me to lose any weight while I'm pounding around Edinburgh. I think itd be fun to have weirdly shrunken feet; like one of those voodoo heads but the other end.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Fine Gully

In the summer of 2005 I am 18 years old and living in a small village called Norton Fitzwarren in Somerset. I've just finished my A Levels and am waiting for the results in the longest summer of my life. I already know I've passed, and I know that come September I will be moving across the country to Canterbury. I have a terrible haircut but I am 2 stone lighter than I currently am, so, swings and roundabouts.

Looking back I wish I'd been the picture of relaxed teenager that I should have been. The whole world stretched before me, blazing sunshine and not a care in the world that can't be easily solved by either a Horlicks or sambucca.

Unfortunately I am not relaxed. I am pulsing ball of sweaty anxiety. I'm not taking the transition from endless revision to endless time well; I don't know what to do with myself. I'm petrified I've made the wrong choice with my university; should I be going to drama school? Why have I picked somewhere literally on the opposite side of the country?! Oh, I remember, it has five bars and a nightclub on campus. I'm an idiot.

I'm working nights in a bar. I say bar... it's a huge sprawling country pub that has three customers an evening. I can have their drinks poured and ready for them as soon as I hear their tyres in the car park. The pub is a 15 minute cycle away which I do daily with my freshly ironed shirt hanging out of my rucksack so it doesn't get sweaty or crumpled on me.

It's a balmy summer - sunny and hot in that West Country way that is unpredictable and brilliant. Every day with a blue sky cover makes you want to make the most of it. There's no faith it's here to stay.

I don't know what to do with my summer.

With the end of my college days came the end of my therapist who I was seeing through the college. I know I should transfer myself to some other emotional sponge mirror who will help me detangle my panicked thoughts, but it was so easy and anonymous to do through college and I don't quite know how to go about it now I have left.

I don't feel I have any right to be worried or panicked. My friends are on the cusp of results or deciding if they want their second choice universities or worrying that their lack of desire to go to uni at all is a mistake. Some of them have huge issues totally unrelated to our 100 year summer on the edge of departing each other. I have none of these problems. But I am not calm and I'm not sure I'm happy.

I'm lying on the sofa staring at Shipwrecked on T4. My hair is unwashed, my pyjamas are still on and I've discovered that if I lie very, very still and just think about what's on the television then I can get my heart rate to calm down. If I don't move any parts of my body then I can forget I have limbs and I can pretend I'm asleep or dead and it feels a bit number and a bit better.

My Dad comes banging into the room.

"You not dressed yet girly?"

I grunt that I am not. My father doesn't enjoy being grunted at my ungrateful offspring who are being supported by him and enjoying his hospitality. He picks up the remote and shifts the channel across to Channel 4. Lords comes into view. England are being hammered by Australia.

My Dad disappears into the kitchen to make a sandwich. He comes back with a strong black coffee and a corn beef sandwich. He settles into the sofa to watch the cricket. I continue to lie like a slug on the sofa with my arms under my body so there is nothing vulnerable sticking out anywhere.

There is something mesmerising about the cricket. It's boring, and I don't really know what I'm watching, but the commentators are so rhythmical I am audibly hypnotised. The green of the grass and the blue of the sky make me feel calm; like I could be Jane Austen if I only had a bonnet and a notepad. The knock of the ball on bat, the gentle "oohs" of the crowd and bursts of excitement with long spells of gentle tension building. I don't tell my Dad, but I am enjoying it.

He finishes his sandwich and stands up.

"Right, better get on. You want to come with me girly?" My Dad is a builder and I sometimes go to work with him and help out with jobs on the site. My body recoils physically at the thought of moving, tears spring up in my eyes which I beg to go away so my Dad won't see and think he's raised a child who is so stupid she can't even speak without crying.

"No, I'm alright Dad. Maybe tomorrow."

"Ok." he says, and drops the remote by my head; our family's signal that you are now in charge of the channel.

I hear him check his emails, put his boots on and head out to the van. The van leaves. I don't change the channel. I watch the entire day. I watch the rest of the match and am slightly, curiously, disappointed when there is no fifth day.

I can't wait for Edgbaston. I'm so surprised at my desire for it to come. The TV I had been drowning myself in doesn't compare to the calming, soothing influence of the cricket match. The statistics being fired at my exhausted mind, the patter of the bowler, the movement of the fielders and the time to lounge in and wait for the match to bloom; I'd loved it all.

On the eve of day four I am so excited. A feeling other than numb, panicked despair is so novel this summer that I am elated by it. Cricket has become my unlikely heroin; it's gently rocking my cradle and massaging blood into my comatose limbs. I muster up the courage to mention to my Dad that I have been watching it. Saying anything recently has been a problem; everything I hear coming out of my mouth feels idiotic and I fear saying it in case someone presses me for more information and it turns out I don't know what I'm talking about. But I think I want to tell him that I'm not very keen on Ian Bell.

I try it. Leaning against the kitchen cabinets while he fries some bacon for a sandwich. My Dad is always eating sandwiches that summer. He licks the brown sauce off his thumb and nods.

"He's a useful pair of hands in the field, though. It's always nerve wracking as a batsman to know that there's such a good fielder nearby. Makes you nervous."

The next day I've gone to work with my Dad. We're listening to the cricket together on the radio and I'm doing something physical; I'm cleaning up the grouting on the school toilets we're installing. I'm listening to my Dad's opinions on cricket, discovering I hate the sound of an Australian accent saying "Warney" and trying to absorb all these statistics and little gems of information. Cricket seems to me to be about 50% statistics.

We win the Ashes that summer and Channel 4 lose the rights to show it on terrestrial TV. It's a tragedy. I go away to University and everything is alright like it was always going to be.

Cricket stays with me. Cricket becomes a lovely little familiar blanket that I can climb into for days at a time and listen to it washing. It's my sea shore.

Two years ago I'm at the Edinburgh Fringe and struggling. I'm worried about the show I'm in, worried I can't handle the professional jealousy I have for my boyfriend's career and I'm worried I'm not cut out for a career with so little stability. At 5:30pm I settle into a seat in the Pleasance Courtyard and watch Baxter and Blofeld; Memories of Test Match Special and it all disappears for an hour. In their voices and the stories and the gentle inconsequential details of it I am lost and the world readjusts itself to what it is; just silly little details taking a long time to pass into something wonderful.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Mo' Men, Tus

I couldn't not write about today... I have tried not to, as it is so far from cool it is dry humping the border of narcissism. In 9 months time this blog post will be ignoring calls from my narcissism and pretending it was never there.

What else is this age of personal publishing for, other than to write about today? Why else would I own a malleable shrine to myself on the internet that I invite people to read? If I cannot confess to my own self obsession here, then I don't need to have a blog. I could just think my thoughts and be done with them instead of thinking them and then thinking of them enough to write them down and put them on display.

Today is a day I would like to put in a pensieve, I would like to be able to go back and stand within today and look at myself and see myself right now as I am in my life. Today was a day that I know has meant something in a grand scheme and one that I will look back on, hopefully, as parochial and funny to me that it once gave me so much pleasure.

Today, for the first time, I sat backstage at a gig and listened as people filed in having bought a ticket to see me perform.

Just me.

Their tickets said my name on, they knew I'd be on the bill and they'd chosen my offering as their hour's entertainment.

I was no incidental cog in a line up that could have been anybody; I was the show.

It was, quite honestly, one of the best feelings I've ever had. So satisfying and humbling and exciting to feel a step up in a career I adore.

Bring on tomorrow and the rest of it all.

Thursday, July 30, 2015


Hey Edinburgh festival you sexy little minx,

Yeah, I'm talking to you... you with the many faces and the moist bits that make it impossible to keep your feet dry.

I want to be in you. Like, deep inside you. And then I want to leave and not think about you for a year. Because you're beautiful, baby, but we just wouldn't work long term.

You drive me crazy.

You take my perfect little world and you shake it. Like a baby with a really precious snow globe shaking the fuck out of it and marvelling at the chaos.

So, before I climb balls deep into your magic, I'm leaving myself a little note. It's a bit like in Buffy when Oz tries to chain himself up before the full moon so that he can't hurt anyone. When the fever hits me, I will read this note and your crazy power over me will be gone.

* Nothing that doesn't happen in Edinburgh is very important. You didn't even go last year and the following year of comedy on the circuit has been your most successful yet.

* Anything minor that does happen in Edinburgh has happened in a tiny bubble that no one except you and your agent give a flying fat fuck about. Not even you and your agent will care come September.

* Anything major that does happen to you in Edinburgh is a brilliant bonus. But it is a bonus.

* Anything major that happens to someone else in Edinburgh was always going to happen to them. They haven't got lucky, they didn't take it away from you, and you couldn't have had it even if you'd done their show. Ok?

* That money is gone, sweetheart. It's gone. You spent it on the chance to have your hour a day telling a show that you love. That's what you bought. For some reason you wanted it more than the Maldives. You are an idiot, but it's ok, because it's a festival full of them.

* You need to eat something other than breakfast food on some days.

* You love your show. You loved writing it. You loved previewing it and you sincerely thought it was the right show to do, to tell and to be proud of. Please don't change your mind because one person saw it once, didn't like it and then printed their dislike. Their opinion is not more valid than yours so don't let it be.

* Go and see other people's shows and enjoy the festival. Edinburgh should not be looked at from a pinhole camera in your room where you're holed up with a scribbled out copy of your script and the latest recording of the show. Be the artist you've told all those online magazine Q&As that you are and go and see some of the shows you've proudly pronounced are your hot tips.

* Don't drink everyday. Maybe cut this one out and keep it for September too?

* Be nice to yourself. You're not the worst, there is no best, and you've done well to write a show that some people will love. Be nice to yourself.

See you soon,

Wednesday, July 8, 2015


Me: Oh, hey tennis! How are you? It's been a while!

Tennis: Yeah, about a year. I had a great time with you last year...

Me: Me too...

Tennis: But then you didn't call...?

Me: No, no, I didn't. God, I'm so sorry, I don't really know what happened.

Tennis: Well, if you feel like hanging out some time let me know.

Me: Oh, hey, I'd love to. I'm kind of busy this month but... oh sod it, do you fancy a coffee now?

Tennis: Sure!

*Coffee is refreshing. Me and tennis smile nervously at each other, enjoying this once familiar feeling*

Tennis: Well, that was great. I've got a dinner to go to now, you're welcome to come too, but I know you said you were busy.

Me: Pah, it can wait... I'd love to come for dinner.

*Dinner is delicious and satisfying.*

Tennis: Any chance you fancy coming to a rave?

Me: Hell yes!

*Me wakes stumbles out of a bar three weeks later having not slept, eaten or spoken to any loved ones. Tennis looks glorious and captivating but Me looks dishevelled and has a billion missed calls. Tennis has it's own drawer in Me's room and has replaced the full fat milk with soya. Me doesn't remember changing Tennis to Bae in it's phone but it seems to have happened. Me is wearing a leather jacket that it neither likes nor feels comfortable in.*

Tennis: Babe! We're going to France! Ferry leaves in an hour, are you coming?

Me: Fucking hell Tennis! How do you do this? This is why we didn't talk for a year! ONE COFFEE... Oe coffee is all I said I wanted and now you've practically moved in with me. Jesus, I just need some space. I just need a break. I love you baby, but I just can't live like this.

*Tennis and Me go their separate ways.*


Me: Oh, hey tennis! How are you? It's been a while!

Friday, June 26, 2015


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."


"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."


"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.