Tag Archives: childhood

2012, The Apocalypse and Me

3 Jan
Apocalypse

The Four Horsemen. They look well metal. Rawr.

As the fireworks crackled across London’s smoked filled skies, I took a sip of my Champers and desperately searched for the words to Auld Lang Syne in my fuzzy head. The annual frivolity of exploding millions of the tax payer’s pounds looked as spectacular as ever when the London Eye transformed into a Catherine Wheel that made us feel Lilliputian.

Of course, I was just watching on telly. It’s far too much hassle to actually go and witness the display live. Besides, since childhood I’ve found that the anticipation of a firework’s bang has always caused me to literally blink and miss it. ‘Happy new year!’ I turned and slurred to a friend; accompanied with that smile we do when we get excited about it turning midnight that one day a year. Perhaps the antithesis of how Cinderella felt.

‘Yes, happy new year! Well, it should be a good one until December 21st at least.’

I scrunched up my less-than pristinely made up face in confusion as I questioned why.

‘What, Max’s birthday?’ I enquired with a figurative scratch to my head. If Facebook has been good for anything it’s been for remembering when to send warm Hallmark-worthy wishes to my dearest friends. Well, that or an ‘HB xxx’. I was well aware that Max could be a bit of a dick, but was there any need to bring in the new year scorning the thought of him reaching another anniversary of his birth?

‘Who’s Max?’ I had forgotten I had only just met this ‘friend’ tonight and that it was unlikely he would know a boy that I had met when I was fifteen. What can I say, I’m not a Champagne drinker for good reason. ‘No, it’s the end of the world this year isn’t it. You know, that Mayan thing. There was that terrible film with John Cusack in it. 21st December 2012. The apocalypse.’

‘Poor Max. I mean, oh yeah. I remember.’

I had totally forgotten until this moment that we are indeed ‘apparently’ entering the final year of our existence. 2012 has been the date destined for disaster for centuries- not just since the announcement of London’s Olympic bid win, despite what so many of us think. According to the Mesoamerican Long Count Calendar, we will be experiencing the end of the 13th b’ak’tun which will herald cataclysmic change for the world as we know it. Yes, it does seem somewhat unfair for our doom to be finalised by something so unreasonably challenging to even understand. Sort of reminds me of how I felt as I stared at the second paper of my Maths GCSE exams with tumble-weed eyes and a pen gnawed down to it’s nib. I also got ‘Do The Conga’ stuck on repeat on my internal jukebox that afternoon, but suffice to say that wouldn’t be on my ‘Doomsday’ themed Spotify playlist.

So, it’s the end of the world, and it was always going to be. Those cheeky Mayans went and pre-dated our demise like a cheque we never wanted to cash. As we all try to escape on a private plane to track down Woody Harrelson on a dusty American hillside (this may be exclusively part of the adaptation according to that terrible film with John Cusack in it) we can all say, ‘ah, well. Wasn’t much we could do really.’ Well actually, there probably was.

Should the world indeed blow up on December 21st 2012, the last thing that will be Mother Nature’s lips will be ‘serves you right.’. Let’s face it, we’ve not done a very good job of looking after our planet. Essentially, what we’ve done is the equivalent of house-sitting a beautiful mansion, only to cake mud into the carpets, set fire to the curtains, smash up priceless treasures and leave a poo in the bidet. Our once stunning home is gradually falling to pieces as we continue to burn up it’s resources, tear down it’s rainforests, and generally treat nature like a playground bully would. With the rapid speed of the Western world’s development and endless consumption, we’ve spawned Veruca Salt generations of always wanting more- whatever the cost. While we may not all be fat cats of large factories flowing waste into the oceans or CEO’s of global brands knackering the trees, we do all leave our own dirty little carbon footprints on the carpet.

Cheap food, cheap living, fast travel, fast fixes- they all come at a price for our poor world. There’s a lot to be sorry for I’m afraid, and our selfish actions and avaricious lifestyles have left Earth gasping for breath like an obese cross-country runner. It brings to mind an old folk tale that’s been in my family for generations. It’s about a notoriously hoggish man who finds a cave full of food that is absolutely huge. As he explores, he stuffs his face until he meets a giant who forces him to eat all of the food to point of literally bursting. The giant only agrees to let him go when he’s promised to never be so indulgent and gluttonous again. Mr. Greedy humbly agrees and then goes back to all the other Mr. Men and sheds a few pounds. It’s pretty resonant stuff that we should all learn from- something that perhaps reflects what the Mayans were trying to tell us should we wake up in one piece on December 22nd.

As we take our first few tentative steps into this new year, I do so with a number of hopes. I hope the Mayans were wrong, that we don’t blow up and die. It sounds rubbish. I also hope Max gets to enjoy his birthday. But most of all, I hope that perhaps we all, like Mr. Greedy, can take a look at the damaging effect we are having on ourselves with our excessive consumption and selfish actions.

Maybe then we can relax a bit and look forward to drinking Champagne in 2013. Happy new year.

Merry Christmases and Round Robins

31 Dec

I suppose I should say it. Happy new year!

 

Ever since I was little, the days between Christmas and New Year have filled me with great impatience. Let’s face it, it’s a cheerless no-man’s land where we all complain about how rotund we’re feeling as our belt buckles snap and we gaze upon the futile twinkles of our presentless Christmas trees. There’s no more meat left for sandwiches and the return to reality that January heralds is creeping up behind you like a crap pantomime villain. It’s New Year’s Eve though… hooray! And we will all groan at the prospect of having to drink yet more alcohol, spend more money, and potentially have to shell out on an alternative outfit to accommodate for our new flabbier frames.

 

There is something about this time of year that makes us all go terribly existential. How many of us have already used some of our energy to consider what punishments (sorry, resolutions) we’re going to enforce upon our 2012 selves as soon as we switch Chitty Chitty Bang Bang off on New Year’s Day? Smokers, I know there will be a lot of you that have been seriously debating your relationship with your cigarettes. Unfit folk, I know you will have started to notice how knackered you feel after one flight of stairs with two medium sized bags of shopping. I am also considering opening a sweepstake on how many ‘Bring on 2012… It’s gonna be my year!!’ Facebook statuses will be flooding the old news feed. Come on, there’s enough year for everyone. Chill out, yeah?

 

If we’re not looking forward just yet, we’re certainly looking back. Reflection is a brilliant thing. Not only can it be a method to see if you’ve got something drawn on your face after passing out, it can also be in that figurative sense in which we can learn stuff and things. It can be an adventurous jaunt down memory lane in which we can revisit those highs, lows and ‘meh’ days. One traditional way in which these ponderings seem to find an outlet is through the ’round robin’.

Cute and cruel in equal measure.

 

It might sound like a bird that’s just put on a few pounds, but it’s quite often less comedic than that. Maybe they don’t plague everyone, but there seems to be an abundance of relatives and friends of my family that like to include a small essay in their Christmas cards detailing what they’ve done in the past year. Why they might assume others might want to read what they have to say is often a mystery (erm… yeah, blogging is different, right?) There have been letters which have made me want to whip out a red biro, correct the spelling mistakes with an ‘SP’ in the margin before posting it back to them. There are the ones that leave me reassessing my own subsistence through my lack of holidaying and employment successes. Yeah, Happy Christmas, fuckers.

 

My absolute favourite this year came courtesy of a distant cousin of my Mum’s whose existence I wasn’t fully aware of before. Not only was her round robin letter printed wrong- being double sided and losing it’s ending; it’s content was the verbal equivalent of tumbleweed. With a tone of one of those people who include too much unnecessary detail when recounting a tale, it was the persecution on a level of a maths class and holiday slideshow all in one. Within the eight or so paragraphs, she mentioned specifics of visiting around twelve different piers across the country. Each to their own and that, but… really?

 

So what have I done? I’ve left Manchester to get out working in a bar to find myself… working in a pub. I’ve worked four out of the last twelve months full time for free. I got asked out by mentalists on the train on two occasions. I went on dates with mentalists from the train on two occasions. I did a wee in my tent at Glastonbury. I helped drink a free Jager bar dry backstage at Hevy. I’ve started eating more cheese. I’ve giggled at the jokes of musicians I adore and admire like a massive girl. I dyed my hair pink. I dyed my hair orange. I’ve vowed to stop drinking at least three times. I’ve done a fair bit of fishing. I’ve made new friends. I’ve made new enemies. (I didn’t really make enemies… I don’t think.) I haven’t visited any piers.

 

It’s been a very fast year indeed and I hope it’s been a good one for all of you. For those of you going out tonight have a hideously good time. For those of you currently updating their Facebook with an ‘It’s gonna be my year!’ status, stop it. Now.

 

Red Hot: A Heatwave Through The Eyes of a Ginger

1 Aug

I wouldn't dare show that much shoulder.

‘Ooh that’s better, summer’s finally here. That’s glorious,’ is uttered from sweating faces with relaxed mouths and closed eyes.

‘Oh yes. ‘Int it lovely?’ will say another from the comfort of a sun-faded garden chair, hands clasped and ruddy elbows rested on its searing hot plastic arms.

For our weather-obsessed nation, the proclamation of a good run of weather is akin to Moses’ appearance at the brow of Mount Sinai waving a couple of slabs of stone around. It’ll hit the front pages of every tabloid, usually with some buxom, bikini-clad young fillies ‘making a splash’ or ‘making summer get a bit hotter’ on a beach somewhere.

Your peripheral vision will be invaded by hairy knees and crusty, beflip-flopped feet and my intolerance for sunglasses etiquette abuse soars off the scale. (Unless you are blind or committing the fancy dress cop-out of ‘being a Blues Brother’ then shades should not be worn indoors.) Generally, spirits are high and moods are fantastic.       That is… for most people. But there are other people. Forgotten people. The misunderstood and downtrodden, the ostracised and wretched.

The gingers.

 

For gingerkind, the utterance of ‘heatwave’ inspires fear as well as igniting a panic buying mission to Boots for soothing gels and sunscreen. ‘Have you not got anything higher than 90?’ is spat out at mousy shop assistants with a sense of urgency seen in disaster films. If you’re not one of this freckled and pasty people then you just won’t understand.

I’ve been living as a ginger for nearly 25 years now, and it never gets any easier. I’m currently in hiding, my true identity concealed beneath a shocking pink mop of hair that actually makes me feel more accepted by society than my natural form. As a kid, I actually hit the jackpot in terms of aesthetic setbacks for the reputation by being a ginger with glasses, braces and really good academic success. Had I had acne I would have been the poster girl for society’s notion of ‘Geek’ across the land. It caused me to be shy and almost painfully quiet, a kid that would have been adored in the speak-when-spoken-to Victorian parental era.

Summer holidays often meant a trip away with my family somewhere sunny, which only complicated my relationship with my gingerness. While all the other kids could run around in the sunshine in a fashion replicated by adverts for Soltan and Haven Holidays, kicking up sand and glowing with heat and happiness- there I was having to shelter from the vicious rays. I distinctly remember trying in vain to tan over the years, to the point where my skin would go so pink that my freckles looked a bit green. Have you ever seen such a sorrowful creature beyond the boundaries of a monster-filled fairytale? No. Before my teens caused me to squirm away from my mother’s sunblock-wielding grasp, every step beyond the safety of shade would see me grabbed and endure a facial slathering of weakly coconut scented grease to protect me from that great burning foe in the sky. 90% of early holiday snaps feature my brother and parents golden and smiling next to what looks like a sulking ghost.

The worst part of a ginger’s summer can actually come at the end, just as you return to normality after your glorious holiday feeling relaxed and refreshed. You can almost lay money on the following kind of conversation occurring:

Acquaintance: ‘Not seen you around for a couple of weeks, are you alright? Where have you been?’

Ginger: ‘Oh, I just got away to Lanzarote for a couple of weeks.’

Acquaintance, confused: ‘What- really?’ Surveys Ginger’s post-holiday glow. ‘Was the weather no good?’

So as you can see, summertime might not be all it’s cracked up to be.

At this gorgeous time of year, please spare a thought for us ginger people. When you complain about the longevity of tan, please just remember that we have a choice of red, pink or white. Such a limited palette can get awful depressing. When a ginger friend returns from holiday, remark on how well they look. Try and see beyond their peeling shoulders and angry looking complexion. What we all secretly hope for is that one day the Elizabethan trend for cadaverously pale skin will knock the day-glo look well and truly off its perch and when that day  happens, you may very well want a ginger friend by your side.

Gingers have feelings too.

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.

THE END.

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…

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.

 

Muddy

'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.

I Don’t Believe The Children Are Our Future.

8 May

Well, they are, on paper I guess. Those little smiling faces beaming up at you are our future politicians, binmen, scientists, poets, policemen. I very nearly absent-mindedly entered the word ‘gigalo’ in that list but my horrified consciousness hastily retracted the letters that escaped from my fingertips. Don’t want to set an inappropriate tone like that on the internet. Defo wouldn’t tag it.  But despite all that, I’m going to make a statement that we, as loving and wonderful members of society, are not really supposed to say. I really don’t like kids.

Where has this outburst come from? Well, the need to broadcast my feelings has come from a Sunday morning. As an avid fan of Lionel Richie, I like them to be easy.

God I love Lionel.

Easy means getting to wake up as the end credits of your dream are rolling with a nice warm sense of contentment before foraging for a delicious breakfast treat. Instead, today’s Sunday featured an abrupt slap of reality as whatever world my imagination was projecting in my sleep got dissolved by outdoor shrieking… much in the way that ‘the darkness’ creeps over and destroys Fantasia in ‘The Neverending Story’. For those that don’t know, the darkness is an evil and intangiable force, rather than being that pseudo glam rock outfit with the fella that sings like he’s getting his nuts twisted by an invisible monkey sex-pest.

As I awoke with my face screwed up in indignation, I pictured my mum going ‘aww’ to the happy voices that were echoing around the still morning air. From what I could gather in my drowsiness that there was a small group of little ‘uns enjoying utilising the slope of our road on their bikes…and they were having a wonderful time. Shrieks of joy and excitement and discussing tactics of what to do ‘on your next go’- all at 9.30 on a Sunday morning. I do realise as I indulge in some catharsis here that I sound like a miserable wretch. Of course it’s lovely that kids are out having fun. They can just do it more quietly while I am still adjusting to having to get up at 7am five days a week for a new London work schedule. The bottom line is, I just don’t like children.

People often ask me why. Children are genetically designed so that us big people by human instinct will look at their big bright eyes and tufty hair and naturally want to take care of them. Luckily, the urge isn’t so strong that we don’t feel the need to take on every child we see or we’d all be getting into trouble with the law quite frequently. Not to mention looking like the Pied Piper of Hamelin or a mother duck all the time.  I’ve always wondered… what did the Pied Piper do to all those kids?

Looking back he seems like a bit of a proto-Fritzl and I'm getting a little worried that the story about his magic pipe is a bit harrowing to be telling children as we tuck them in at night.

My problem with kids is that they intimidate me. It may sound ridiculous I know, but it’s how I feel. I have absolutely no idea how to talk to them. If I got left in a room with a six year old in my care I wouldn’t know how to break the ice. Whenever I see an adult talking to a child I rather ridiculously feel annoyed on the child’s behalf for the patronising tone… perhaps failing to take into account that I’m projecting my 24-year-old perspective onto said kid. But still… to have a grown up coming up and spotting a cuddly toy in the child’s arms and saying in a soft voice, ‘ooh he’s lovely, is that your bear?’ Part of me wants the kid to pipe up and say ‘well I hardly f**king stole it did I? My Mum’s a teacher and my Dad’s a doctor and they can actually afford to buy me my own bear you f**ktard. Of course it’s my bear you stupid f**king b**ch. Why else would I be dressing him up and taking him to the teaparty?’

With this mentality in mind, I find myself awkwardly asking kids what they’ve been up to, expecting them to regale me with their day’s activities as one might do recalling the day they’ve had at work.

‘Ah, you know. Same old, same old. Not too bad. Yeah, erm… you know Jonny Patton? Yeah, me and him we just knocked about down the sand pit. He was telling me about this new speedboat he’s looking to get from Toys ‘R Us. He’s a bit worried about what his train might think but you know, I just told him he’s got to go out there and grab these chances. His mum’s always spoiling him so yeah, looking good for him.’

Turns out, it doesn’t happen like that.
Looking the way I do, I often find kids like to stare at me. Particularly on public transport. It’s nothing short of unnerving having a face popping up over the seat in front and having two large eyes fixed on you for twenty minutes or so.  The other day I was in the park having a lie-down on the grass and a half-snooze in the sunshine. I heard two little voices circle me before descending to rest with their mum about a metre away from me. ‘Look at the purple lady! Look at the purple lady! She’s got purple hair, Mummy!’ Mummy shushed them. Secretly I thought it was actually quite cute. But then as I woke and got up I got pointed at and heard a shriek of-well, I’m not sure if it was horror or delight- and one little boy said to the other ‘George! She’s awake!!!’

I wasn’t sure whether I should feel like a princess that had been rescued from an eternal slumber by a handsome prince or a fearful ogre roused from the safety of my unconsciousness. In hindsight it was definitely more of an ‘IT’S ALIVE!’ tone.

I don’t hate kids. They can be pretty cute. And don’t go thinking that I don’t have moments of feeling broody. I’m as bad as the next girl with that. It is usually coupled with a sense of panic however when I fret about whether the father of my future children will support a different football team and the subsequent fights that would ensue. I’m terribly stubborn. I’m assuming that I will like my own kids. My mum didn’t have me til she was thirty-nine. She wanted time to be selfish and have a career and that so I oft think I may follow the same path. But until the memories of when I used to go face painting and wretched while removing crusty snot from underneath little noses have gone, I can’t envisage any little Lucy’s running around. Lucky you.