Archive | July, 2011

F*cked Up Fairytales

27 Jul

What a difference a letter can make. I was up late last night watching Disney on Anytime. When my friend on Facebook chat asked me what I was up to, I told him that I was watching ‘The Princess and the Fog’. With a small mishap on my tip-tapping on the keyboard I transformed the amphibian-friendly traditionalist fairytale into a rather dull adventure of one monarch’s experience with precipitation.

What might happen in this escapade? There will be some kind of hijinks where our heroine will arrive on the scene to save a downtrodden people from the evil clutches of a vicious brute with a textbook evil laugh. He’s heavily engrossed in kicking the crap out of something super cute and fluffy when our Princess turns up to save them. Surely she wouldn’t come to such a dangerous place alone…? Why, of course not. With a fanfare and exultant cheer a silent cloud of fog floats to hover by her side. Princess turns to her trusty sidekick. ‘Let’s teach these jokers a lesson they’ll never fog-et!’ she cries. Without a sound, Fog glides over to the bad guys and makes them feel a little damp and like they need to go grab a jumper.

It was at that point I decided to see what other crap stories I could come up with through a simple titular tweak.

The Pie-Eyed Piper of Hamelin

Once upon a time there was a very troubled town called Hamelin that lay in great valley far, far away. The local cheese plant had recently exploded causing thousands of rats to descend upon the area, which was quite frankly a right hassle. One day a mysterious stranger arrived. The Mayor had found him in the gutter, drinking mead from a battered old shoe. As the paralytic stranger rose to his feet, the Mayor gasped in shock to see an enormous protrusion visible in the front of his britches. ‘Oh, *hic* that’s where I put it.’ slurred the man, who thrust his hand in his pants to then pull out a sizeable pipe.

He then went on to burden the Mayor with his sorrowful life story as drunk people are so inclined to do. The Mayor went on to tell him about the problem the town had been experiencing with the rats. ‘Oh I can deal with that for you.’ said the stranger, confidently. ‘Yeah, I sort out infestations all the time. I’ll use my pipe to lure them out then I’ll kill them all out beyond the valley.’ Delighted, the Mayor implored him to do it as soon as he could with the promise of a handsome reward.

That evening, the piper instructed all of the townsmen to get inside their homes and go to sleep while he set to his task. The next morning, the Mayor came out to the town square and was horrified to find the whole area was teeming with more rats than ever before. He found the piper stood in the middle of them all, wearing an intoxicated grin. ‘What have you done? I thought you had killed all of the rats!’ the Mayor boomed, furiously. The piper’s grin dropped instantly. ‘S**t.’ He whispered. ‘I could have sworn you said ‘children’.’

The Princess and the Pee

There was once an incontinent but very handsome prince who was desperate to marry. He searched high, low and across the land for a bride who would not be offended by his weak bladder, but all in vain. One day, a beautiful Princess called Lady Tena sought shelter from a thundering storm, claiming the constant rain was causing her great discomfort as the sound of running water had an overwhelming effect on her. The Prince’s eyes lit up, ‘could this be her? Is this the pulchritudinous urinating goddess from my wildest dreams?’ He had to be sure.

That night, he offered Lady Tena a room with a bed bearing no less than twenty mattresses. She found it really rather peculiar but was completely shattered after a day wandering around hither and yon. She thanked the Prince with a smile and retired for the evening. The Prince said goodnight and literally wet himself with excitement. He barely slept- the night was spent tossing and turning as he couldn’t stop thinking about the fair Lady’s bladder.

The next day, he awoke to find all of his dreams had come true. He was overcome with joy when, come sunrise, the fair Lady had managed to wet every single mattress in her sleep. They married on the morrow and neither one of them ever felt embarrassed again.

Jack and the Beans Talk

Many years ago in a land far away, a very poor farmer called Jack lived in a knackered little cottage. There were holes in the roof, the wind blew through the windows and the whole building smelt like a farm. To be fair, this might have been because Jack allowed his favourite cow to come inside and stay in his living room. It got his neighbours talking about his relationship with his heifer, but he knew that everything that he and Daisy did was completely consensual.

Jack’s cupboards were full of cobwebs and were tragically sparse. One day, he opened them to try and find something special to make for he and Daisy’s dinner that evening- it was their anniversary. He peered deep inside but there was nothing there. But- wait! There, lying at the back, was a solitary can- barely visible in the darkness. Jack reached inside through the dust and gloom to pull out the tin, and found them to be Baked Beans. ‘Well this is depressing,’ he grumbled aloud. ‘I’ll say.’ exclaimed a voice that was not his own. Jack gasped and looked around. He couldn’t see anybody, and why would he? He hadn’t had a visitor in six years. ‘Down here.’ said the voice again, ‘It’s me, the Beans.’ Jack looked to his hand and realised the tin had revealed a small mouth, which was dribbling bean juice everywhere.

‘Sorry about the mess’ apologised the spitting Beans. ‘It’s okay,’ smiled Jack, who was just grateful to have someone to talk to. ‘Look,’ said the Beans, ‘I couldn’t help but notice that you’ve been experiencing some money problems while I was sat in the cupboard. I’d like to help. I actually assisted Martin Lewis to set up Money Saving Expert, but sadly he was too ashamed to credit a simple tin of beans for the success of his business. Hey, if I help you out with your debts, do you fancy repaying me by bumping off that p***k?’ Jack looked a little puzzled. ‘A bit like in Strangers On A Train?’ he asked. ‘Sure,’ chirped Beans.

Five months later, Jack found himself debt-free and imprisoned for the calculated murder of the Money Saving Expert, Martin Lewis. He never saw Beans again, but every night he wished to. He wanted to thank him, because despite his predicament, for the first time in what felt like a lifetime he was surrounded by people who wanted to talk to him… and touch him inappropriately. He served life happily ever after.



Sleeping With The Fishes: The Horrors and Highlights of Internet Dating Pt3

25 Jul

Despite everything I’ve said for the last couple of days, I have actually been on a fair few internet dates. Some were good, some were bad, some were a bit terrifying, some a little hilarious. As a ‘people person’ (eww) I do love Plentyoffish for meeting new folk… and there is something to be said for the sense of receiving fan mail from potential admirers. If I had my way, I’d much prefer to receive mine in physical post format which could get dragged out to me like the postal sacks full of competition entries on Live & Kicking. ‘Dig deep for a winner!’ They always took one off the top.

When I used to live in Manchester I remember it got to a point where I’d be meeting new fish and be going to the same bar every time. It might have been my imagination, but I’m sure I got the odd raised eyebrow from the bar staff. They held back from slipping me a note with the bill that said ‘how much do you charge?’ although it did probably look mightily suspicious. So here I will share some of my most memorable internet dating experiences. I have chosen to be kind and keep anonymity for the gentlemen in question, and the letters of choice have no bearing on their identity. Cross my heart. Well, maybe not for the complete swines.

Mr P

Mr P was funny. I knew we’d get on really well when I found a video of him disco dancing on his Facebook and I found myself laughing and turned on at exactly the same time. Us girls like men who can dance. We had a time of sending essay length messages to each other which were really rather cute. The first date was brilliant and we got on fantastically well. However, it was as I was thinking just that when Mr P decided to tell me he was moving to Mexico. I assure you this has actually happened and it wasn’t an obscure brush-off… Unless he’s really gone to town with finding various Mexican backdrops to take photos next to on Facebook.

It was the second date where things went a little awry. I visited him in Blackpool and went to his house. He lived with his parents so he took me to his room. Here, he whipped out his laptop.  ‘Hello…’ I thought, ‘is he gonna get saucy?’ No. In a completely matter-of-fact and serious manner, Mr P proceeded to show me a selection of YouTube videos putting forward the argument that Disney had been infiltrated by the illuminati. He tried his best to convert me into accepting this conspiracy theory, but got in a strop when I laughed dismissively while he grumbled ‘I thought you were more open minded.’ Hot. Needless to say, the remainder of the day was a little strained.

Have a look for yourself.

Mr S and Mr F

These were two that I really liked. It wasn’t on the same date mind…

When I first met Mr S I didn’t actually think that much of him, but he cruelly tricked me into getting really into him. A few weeks into seeing each other, I happened to notice he had deleted his Plentyoffish account. This may fool you into thinking maybe he liked me, right? Wrong. A week or so later, a new profile popped up saying he would ‘really like to meet a girl I could look after, make cups of tea and buy little presents for.’ Ouch. I know I don’t like tea, but still. As my true soul mate Alan Partridge might say, there was no need for that.

Mr F was a twit. We got on outrageously well on the first night we met. We decided to meet again the following week, when on the day we were to meet he just disappeared off the face of the earth. A few months later he decided to get back in touch and being the future Saint that I am I agreed to attempt meeting up again. We bonded through our scarily similar sense of humour. We saw each other for a while and I found myself really liking him when he decided to tell me that he wasn’t looking for anything with me. I’m not really sure why he was a little surprised and resentful at his stringing me along. Men can be utterly stupid at times.

Mr B

Mr B was a nightmare. He was a Scouser and before we met we bonded over watching football videos on YouTube at ridiculous hours. He looked quite delectable  in his pictures, a bit of an emo-indie thing going on and he was very sweet. When we met up he looked drastically different from his photographs. He had put on a fair bit of weight but I still thought he was pretty cute. I loved his accent and he hada cheeky sense of humour. However, at the end of about 80% of his sentences would come the phrase that the Dating Etiquette Handbook has condemned to the sin bin. ‘That reminds me of my ex’. We still got on pretty well but that was until we went to the bus stop and he decided to tell me that he loved me. I’m sure nearby strangers were able to hear my internal alarm bells going off at this point.

Since then, Mr B deleted and re-added me on Facebook no less than three times while accusing me of all kinds of wrongdoing before turning thoroughly nasty and sending vile emails. Mr B is an example of a toxic fish. Maybe like that one that Homer eats in The Simpsons… that really puffy one. That’s about right.

Puffer Fish

The absolute spit of him the deadly little bastard.

Mr D

I was delighted when I turned up to this date. I walked into the bar and saw him from behind. He turned round and I definitely danced an internal jig while shouting ‘back of the net’ in my mind, but I made sure it didn’t show in my face though. At 34 years old, Mr D was more mature than a lot of people I had gone a date with before and I was quite relishing what those extra years might bring to the conversation. Turns out those extra years brought the mention of his thirteen year old son into our little rendezvous. I promptly aborted this fledgling romance.

Mr C

This was a bizarrely platonic set up where for the first time I felt like I was being someone’s ‘companion’. You usually only hear old people use that word. Mr C was a Canadian who treated me to lunches and sparkling conversation. We met a few times and every single time made me realise I was talking to possibly the most intelligent person I had ever encountered who wasn’t on the telly. He was a professor at a university teaching Christian archaeology. He had lived in Israel and served in their army and could speak ancient Hebrew. We had several discussions that made me feel like a proper person who might go on Question Time and put forward a comment that made the rest of the audience clap and cheer. Sadly, I have lost this snazzy man. He went away to Canada for the summer before moving to Edinburgh in which time I lost my phone and his number. How sad.

It really is something of an exhausting experience. As our society’s need for speed and convenience increases I really do think this system of love-matching will become more normal than ever before. Please don’t let this handful of experiences put you off… I have met some nice ones too. Who knows, maybe one day you’ll get to see a gushy happy ending as the end of this long and arduous journey. Until then, I shall continue to run myself through the relationship mill for your entertainment. You are truly spoilt.

Sleeping With The Fishes: The Horrors and Highlights of Internet Dating Pt2

24 Jul

In my time on Plentyoffish I have come to the devastating realisation that there’s a hell of a lot of incredibly boring people in this world.

When you first sign up to an account, you are presented with a number of boxes to fill on your profile. First, there are the basic details. Your location, ethnicity, hair colour… and of course the wonderfully ambiguous ‘height’ and ‘body type’.  There’s always the ole’ two inch-buffer zone to consider when it comes to gentlemen’s height. And probably other areas for that matter. They always like to make themselves sound bigger than they actually are. At least the guy I met in Liverpool a couple of years ago was honest when he told me he was 5ft 4, albeit too late to cancel our meeting and having to suffer the subsequent awkwardness. With ‘body type’ I’m not really sure what Plentyoffish were thinking. I’m sure even the morbidly obese wouldn’t choose to be anything but ‘average’ in the drop down menu.

Tall woman, short man.

The height thing can obviously also work the other way round. And there was Tom Cruise thinking he had it bad all that time.

However, it’s when you take a look at the ‘Interests’ and ‘About Me’ sections that you can really start to despair. If I had a quid for every time I read ‘Ooh, this is hard. I don’t really know what to put here, but here goes’ I daresay I could have raised enough cash to have bought my own harem of underdressed males to feed me parma ham and draw me kittens all day. There is nothing more discouraging than ‘meeting’ someone who can’t even tell me why they’re interesting enough to join them on a date. I have also seen enough cliches and beige interests to put together an idea of a brand new drinking game. I call it ‘Plentyofboringbastards Bingo’ and I envisage a gamecard where you need to tick off and drink shots for a number of dull interests, personality traits and examples of poor language as you click on profiles at random. There can be quick fire rounds too where the following rules can apply:

  • For every ‘lol’, down a shot.
  • ‘I’m laid back and easy going’, prove it by lying down and having tequila poured into your mouth.
  • ‘I’m a bubbly person’, well we can soon rectify that. Down some gin.
  • ‘I like going out, but also staying in’, sit in the naughty corner as punishment for their stating the effing obvious.
  • For any of the following interests, pour vodka directly into your eyes like Eyeball Paul in ‘Kevin and Perry Go Large’… ‘films’, ‘footie’, ‘having a laugh wiv me mates’, ‘women’, ‘socialising’, ‘music’.

I guarantee you will be wretching and hurling through alcohol in no time, hopefully easing the pain of your sad and lonesome quest to find ‘The One’ in this dearth of humanity. Obviously I’m not saying that things like ‘music’ and ‘films’ aren’t valid interests, of course I have similar. The problem is when there is nothing else to add to that. I’m pretty sure my old Tamagotchi had a more healthy range of pastimes and he died about fifty times. It does get a little demoralising when you’re engaged in a search for love and happiness and all you seem to find are living, breathing cardboard cut-outs of human beings. To be fair, my interests section may have gone to the other extreme. They read as follows:

Live music Chelsea FC Charity Shops
daydreaming kittens Jameson Irish Whiskey
British Comedy finding adventures in everything leaves bigger than my own face
trinkets haberdasheries pressing the button on fast food drink lids
stamping on mushrooms Parma ham tattoos
blogging spamming my friends news feeds on Facebook sandwiches
memories onesies bargains
squashing pie tins flat naps affection
the smell of bonfire night rescuing snails from pavement death writing lists
new stationary cartoon octopi things with cute faces
inventing Pokemon pickled onion Monster Munch puns
cake Fantasy Football  

I thought it might be a good way of weeding out a chap that might suit me quite well. Don’t you think?

I do realise that I have made myself sound like I would never meet anyone off this strange and ethereal site. Well you would be entirely wrong to think that, but I am saving that for another time…

Sleeping With The Fishes: The Horrors and Highlights of Internet Dating Pt1

23 Jul

I, Miss Lucy Anne Sanderson, am a serial internet dater. I’m really hoping that the reaction to that statement would be more of a ‘what, really? Why?!’ rather than a ‘Yeah, thought you’d probably have to.’ Contrary to popular narrow-minded belief, it is actually more socially acceptable to partake in this activity than ever before. The once ostracised figure in the pastime playground has finally been allowed in to play ball with the inner sanctum of normality, leaving poor old trainspotting and stamp collecting to get their heads flushed down the toilets at lunchtime. The other day my friend told me that she actually saw that happen in her old school. I always thought it only happened in the films but thinking about it happening to someone in real life is horrible- have you not seen what lives in there?

Yes, Willem Dafoe as a terrifying germ.

Anyway, I have been on and off the internet dating circuit for probably about two years now. I’ve dabbled with the classier brands like Match and eHarmony, but my most consistent place of choice is plentyoffish. It is free, but that comes at a potentially higher price of higher chaff:wheat ratio as well as having a large school of certain fish who are looking solely for ‘fun’ (I hope you appreciated my very subtle aquatic pun there.) Now, call me old fashioned, but I remember a time where ‘fun’ could refer to a game of Ker-Plunk or a boisterous round of Blind Man’s Bluff.  If you are considering internet dating for the first time, please do NOT under any circumstances be under the illusion that the pouting guy with his shirt off and iPhone held aloft in his picture is wanting to play tag when he asks if you’re up for some ‘fun lol’. He’s usually the guy with ‘I’m looking for a sexxi women’ as his headline. I’ve learnt that over-sexed men struggle with plurals on this site.

In fact, a high proportion of Plentyoffish is over-run with topless males. Sorry lads, I’m 90% sure that this trend doesn’t apply to the pictures of girls on there, but I’m fairly sure there’s a fair few who choose to wear very little on a daily basis. It does get to a point when you get a torso send you a message saying ‘great tits’, that you think to yourself  ‘should we just cut out the middle men and let our prospective chests get on with it?’

You may be quite surprised to learn that the above example of a boobs-related message is really quite tame in terms of lewd advances. Of course you get the overtly crude that make you gag. These surprises are like coming back from a fortnight’s holiday and discovering the freezer got switched off and it had chicken inside. Those messages aren’t befitting of repetition, just Google ‘bad porn scripts’ and you’ll get the gist. I have become quite fond of the hilariously awful ones.

Subject Line: “I’D LIKE TO…”

Message: “… kick your back doors in ;)”

Whether that was a suggestion of smut of a threat of burglary, I was really quite taken aback by that particular approach. Then of course there was:

Subject Line: “Hi”

Message: “You Remin me of a Toe.! Not because your Small & Cute.!
It’s because when Im Drunk I would bang you on the Coffee”

Yeah, there’s not much I can say about that one. Especially because I’m kind of ashamed by the fact the grammatical errors possibly offended me more. The king of salacious messages was definitely the guy that mentioned KFC and wanton sex acts in the same sentence but I’m not going to sully my blog with that particular sentiment. Now, if I’ve got you thoroughly put off by this peculiar world you may be entirely horrified to hear that the aforementioned species are not, in fact, the worst thing about Plentyoffish. No, there is something much worse…

… To Be Continued.

CV is not an STI.

14 Jul

I can’t believe I’m about to say. Television- it lies. I’ve seen ‘Benefit Busters’. I thought unemployment was meant to be a riot; people seem to go out of their way to not have to go to work.  I saw a fella pretend that he was so far from being able bodied that he didn’t even have the strength to lift a pan to cook for himself, let alone go to work. The poor love was signed off and given loads of lovely free money, then he was subsequently snapped slinging a hefty bag of golf clubs into the back of his car like Jean Claude Van Damme dressed in Argyle patterned  Ping. To be fair, he didn’t lie. He wasn’t caught lifting pans.

I am officially unemployed for the first time in about four years. I have to say, I’m not a fan.It’s not really seen as the coolest way to live your life. Even my trusty thesaurus wanted to bring me down when he offered me the following synonyms to my current position.


'Down', 'idle', 'loafing'. Thanks a bunch thesaurus. I think I might have to object to 'on the bench' mind you... there's plenty of gents who do that professionally and seem to pocket tens of thousands a week. Pretty sure that ain't JSA.

I’ve been engaged in slave labour for the last three months…sorry, that’s ‘interning’ to the lay man. I finished this free trip through my dream job last week and am now left feeling a little dishevelled and bemused. It sort of reminds me of ‘The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus’ if you’ve ever managed to sit through that pile of misguidedly hyped tosh. I got shoved in though the front door, entered a world of wild fancy and excitement (didn’t get a smooch from Johnny Depp, mind) then tumbled out the other side with the light of coherence snuffed from my eyes. The light is replaced by the glare of my glowing computer screen in my foiled attempts to job seek.

I do love the term job seeking. ‘To seek’ is a verb generally banished to the realms of old-age storytelling and wizardry, so much so that one may imagine that a conversation with the job centre might come out in wizened and wise riddles like Yoda ‘welcome workless wanderer, job it is you seek?’ Or perhaps some kind of spurious mantra a la ‘Field of Dreams’ with Kevin Costner. He was still quite dishy in that one. In reality, my first interaction with the Job Centre made me realise that us jobless layabouts have a soundtrack to our sorrow and it sounds something like this:

Bloody ‘Spring’. I was held listening to this cheerful piece on a loop for around twenty minutes, occasionally punctuated by a recorded lady pretty much saying, ‘look, not being funny but are you sure you don’t just want to fill the form in online? It’s probably like loads easier and to be honest our phone operators don’t really want to talk to you anyway.’ No, recorded lady. Like the great Magnus Magnusson, I’ve started so I’ll finish thank you very much. I guess the song choice was supposed to be inspiring, but if I had been living under my duvet for three weeks in a pit of despair after a redundancy I’m sure each stroke of the strings would feel like a knife in the heart. It’d probably only inspire to go out and punch butterflies or daffodils and eat lamb kebabs in front of new mother ewes.

My relief upon reaching a human voice was shortly lived. I was told my phone call would probably take something in the region of half an hour, but once all the fun questions like ‘name?’, ‘date of birth?’ and ‘address?’ (the JSA’ a/s/l?’) were out of the way I realised that I would be spending the next twenty seven minutes saying ‘no’ in a journey through how pitiful and potless my existence really is.

I’m sure this is a bit of a trick, because after the seventeenth time of saying ‘no’ she whipped a curveball in there. ‘Do you still want to claim for Job Seeker’s Allowance?’ I was pretty zoned out at this stage. It  reminded me of the warm hungover mornings in my history lecture theatre where I let my eyes stay open, but only by some magical force like a doll that only ‘goes to sleep’ when you lie her flat. I wondered what might have happened had I not snapped myself out of this hypnotic recital of negatives. If I said ‘no’ to that one would it have been like the first round of ‘Take Your Pick’ with Des O’Connor;  a gong would be struck, everyone would laugh at me and I’d be kicked out with no cash?

I do try to remain chipper. I’ve been taking my job seeking on the road and asking in shops and bars as well as holding out hope for a dream writing job to materialise. A friend on Facebook chat got confused by my lack of capitalisation when I told him I was spending the day ‘handing out cvs.’ He wondered if it was easily treatable. You end up feeling like an apologetically desperate door-to-door salesman, scampering up and extending the futile question ‘Erm, don’t suppose you have any vacancies?’  I even went into Subway and asked. They gave an enthusiastic ‘yes, we are looking for staff as it happens!’ but I almost felt myself trying to grip onto my CV in a tug-o-war against signing up to misery as I handed it over the stinking counter.

I am now starting to consider that my joblessness may be down to something different. I met up with one of my dearest, bestest friends in all the world and talked to her about my job hunting. I read her my CV and she nearly wet herself laughing. I would like to close by publishing the ‘Hobbies and Interests’ section of my Curriculum Vitae. I’ve handed this out around thirty times with the belief it’d make me sound interesting and memorable. In hindsight, it might sound a bit ridiculous.

Hobbies & Interests

I love independent cinema and going to museums and places with plenty of history. I’m happiest rummaging through the rails in charity shops, kicking massive piles of dry leaves, baking cakes and applying for TV quiz shows. I won ‘The Weakest Link’.

I am a live music glutton and go to a lot of gigs and have a keen interest in emerging artists, but have also been known to do housework while singing along to Barry White.

I keenly follow the Premier League and am a life-long Chelsea supporter; so living in Manchester for six years was tricky at times. I’m a Fantasy Football obsessive and beat the whole Rock Sound office in their mini league last season.

Yeah… I may never get employed.

But at least I don’t ‘enjoy films, music and socialising with my friends.’ I don’t even like my friends.

Dirty Weekend.

2 Jul
Happy Campers

Camping in the perfect world: we would all wear bandanas and garish prints and not a single one of us would smell like sweating arse crack.

Inflatable beds. Shoe racks. Solar powered mobile phone chargers. It’s incredible how many of the home comforts we are so used to are able to be packed up and simulated in some shape or form whilst stuck in a tent in the arse end of nowhere. I remember when I was little thinking that Trevor Baylis’ wind-up radio was one of the incredible feats of invention imaginable… but now you can pick up a camping torch that winds up as well as peels your spuds and scratches your bum for next to nothing. Probably. That old phrase of ‘everything but the kitchen sink’ seems like it’s heading to become less and less relevant as no doubt we’ll wake up tomorrow to find that Halfords will be stocking a wash basin that appears through the power of wishing for £24.99.


But, no matter how hard Millets and their crones try, there is only one thing that will never be overcome on a camping trip. The muck.


For some people, it’s their worst nightmare come true. I’ve always thought it would make for quite an entertaining documentary to send a support group of OCD clean freaks on a weekend in the Great British wilderness. They would probably all have a nail brush on a piece of string draped around their neck like a sacred talisman to protect them from Mother Nature’s beastly harm. It doesn’t matter what you do, mud will get in places it was never meant to be. As someone with an astonishingly deep belly button, I believe I’m pretty well versed in such matters. I’m undecided as to whether a contagion of mud is worse than one of sand after a day at the beach- technically, both probably can pass off as beauty treatments of sorts- a tip for anyone camping with a grumbling It girl.



'OH MA GOD-A it's so dirty!' 'It's okay girls, it's good for your skin. You'll emerge looking like Katie Price' 'OMIGOD realli?'


Others seem to take to the filthy foray with a startlingly zealous embrace. It is probably safe to say that we have all probably fantasised about just employing reckless abandon at a festival some time or another- to be one of those nonchalantly mental characters who will dive face first into a bog and enjoy the sensation like a Gloucestershire Old Spot high on…life. Sadly, my reluctance to spend the rest of the day looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger in Predator has always prevented me from living out that particular dream- but it’s definitely a more achievable and economic goal than ‘swimming with dolphins’.


Most of us lie somewhere in between these two extremes in our attitude to dealing with the dirt. As a child, I never went camping. Well, I did once put up a tent in my living room when I was four, wherein I cracked open a bottle of Superted vitamin tablets which may have accidentally resulted in a hospital trip for my little brother to have his stomach pumped. But that’s a completely different story, and I’m pretty sure it doesn’t count as a first camping experience. My true first was sort of throwing myself in the deep end. It was in Tanzania on Safari. I tried to play it cool, throwing up all the outdoorsy lingo like a belching volcano of jargon. In truth, I struggled to unzip the tent let alone know how to pitch one. I kept my game face though, even when I was told that shotgun-armed Masai Warriors would be scouting our campsite in the Savannah in case lions decided to have a little mooch around. Okay, maybe my face looked something like a terrified sex doll upon hearing that.


It was in this setting that I would lose my long-drop virginity. I had heard things. Wild and spectacular things. It was like tales of the bogeyman and chinese whispers- so my mind conjured an image of a putrid post-apocalyptic world contained inside a Tardis-like tin shack. Well, it was probably a little worse than that. As you might imagine, Africa is a bit warm. Stepping into said tin shack was probably akin to putting a greenhouse in the centre of the earth and standing inside it wearing long johns and eating a hot pasty. Furthermore, there was not even a shred of light to speak of. I sort of had to flap the door open a few times to give my memory time to map how to avoid landing in a steaming pile of human waste. It was sort of like a more terrifying version of a game that might feature on ITV1’s ‘The Cube’. As I squatted over the two wobbly slabs of stone on the unsteady ground above the wretched cesspit, I realised that I was going to leave that tin shack as a stronger and more resilient individual. It was an epiphany that has lasted with me to this very day.

Sexy Toilet

Now this is how you take a dump in the great outdoors. I would traverse across the land for such an experience.


Over three years on and a few festivals later, I realise all this filth and long-drops ain’t so bad. It’s part of the experience. You haven’t been camping until you’ve had to baby-wipe every crevice and pick out toe jam with a plastic spoon. It’s something you’ve got to welcome and consider as a feature of your trip, from the bugs setting up home in your hair to the cow pat splattered up the backs of your calves. With Glastonbury already done this year, I have three more camping trips scheduled in this very summer and I can’t wait to wave goodbye to my shower gel. What can I say, I’m filthy.