Tag Archives: facebook

You’ve Got to Procrastinate to Accumulate

11 Jan

Christopher Parker: A modern day Socrates

A great actor once said, ‘procrastination is like a credit card: it’s a lot of fun until you get the bill’. Well, I say great actor. It was apparently the chap who played Spencer Moon off Eastenders. Christopher Parker, his name was. The reason I know this? Because I just Googled him. I can also now tell you that he also won a ‘TRIC Award’ in 2005 and fronted a show on Gala Bingo’s TV channel a couple of years ago. I have plenty more important things to be doing with my time. It’s as if I haven’t listened to a word the man has said; for I am like a veritable infinity mirror of procrastination.

 

It’s a condition that affects many creatives, much like black lung has marred the profession of miners through the generations. Often, it’s not that you don’t want to get on with something. It’s just that your brain is as co-operative as a Jack Russell pup that has just spotted a flock of pigeons in the park. The idea that was once fizzing fresh in your mind like a new morn’s Berocca soon sinks to the sludge-filled bottom of your cloudy mind-lake alongside the corpses of book ideas and inventions to take to Dragon’s Den. It’s a atrocity that should not go unpunished.

 

So, who are the deplorable villains of this serial crime? Taking the obvious, such as furniture rearranging, sandwich making and wondering what it would like to be a cat out the equation- there are the big three. Facebook. Youtube. Wikipedia. They need hauling up into the dock and have a thousand sentences rain down upon their unforgiving cyber souls in penitence for all of those precious hours snatched from our grasp. Each of these dastardly characters possess qualities that surmount to an ultimate and irresistible power, much like the Deathly Hallows that Voldemort was after.

 

Facebook. The infinite source of social gossip and outlets for nosiness. We’ve all ended up scouting the profile of our work colleague’s younger brother’s best friend’s cousin. Right? Youtube. A twisted labyrinth to make Bowie’s Goblin King cower in terror. It will never let you go. It will never stop suggesting you should take a look at that man popping a blister. Wikipedia. The relentless pull of the factoid. Just when you think you’ve finished an article about the Rhodesian Security Forces there will be just one more of those little blue links to coax you down another back alley of useless knowledge.

 

The problem is, these evil forces aren’t going anywhere… and deep down we don’t really want them to. Perhaps one day, they will prove a force for good. Perhaps to a young writer who left her application for a Columnist job far too late and panicked about a topic last minute. (Erm, yeah. This is what this blog post was originally written for.) Who knows? Until then, beware of falling foul of these bewitching booby-traps, or you are doomed to creative vegetation; with only with the world’s funniest woodland creatures video to comfort you.

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Plentyoffish Hall of Shame: The Neanderthal

16 Sep

As you are probably aware by now, I am an internet dater. I go through cycles of disillusion with this strange and often murky world, but I can’t resist having an account open nonetheless. I still enjoy reading all the messages I’m probably never going to reply to, despite most of my mail being a mere penning of ‘nice tits’. It’s still good to know. However, a gentleman messaged me recently who I couldn’t just ignore. I wasn’t able to close his message and tut. I had to bite back.

The man in question looks like many others. From his pictures, he struck me as one of your generic, nondescript guys that will put on a Burton shirt, jeans and loafers on the weekend to sink a few pints with ‘the lads’. As our conversation developed, I came to realise that this guy didn’t think much of women with a brain- so for the purposes of these screen shots, I have gifted him undeserved anonymity by replacing his picture with one of celebrity sexist, Richard Keys. Just to clarify, I was not conversing with the ex-Sky Sports pundit with a penchant for smashing things.

'Youre a very attractive girl, why spoil that with all those tats? I dont get it. what happens in 20 yrs when you start to sag??'

'Youre a very attractive girl, why spoil that with all those tats? I dont get it. what happens in 20 yrs when you start to sag??'

Now, I appreciate that tattoos aren’t for everyone. However, this was a particularly tactless message by anyone’s standards. I wasn’t sure about some of his language choices and I wasn’t too keen on the thought of him considering the buoyancy of my breasts. As I was quite taken aback, I looked through his profile. It contained the following sentence under a list of ‘dislikes’:

women who need to dye their hair red and have a million tattoos just to enjoy rock music.

Interesting. I decided to approach this in a diplomatic and eloquent manner.

I thought this was pretty fair. I wanted to put forward the idea of subjective beauty and differences of opinion. I didn’t want to sound quite as condemning as his message, but I couldn’t help bringing up the ludicrous statement in his profile either. I thought this might be the end of our exchange.

Oh no, silly me. Instead of him perhaps getting to hear just how stupid he sounded, he decided to make matters worse. So, just so we’re all clear, according to this guy- women don’t like rock music. Also, the only reason I dye my hair and get tattoos is to fit in with this music I don’t like. We only like Pussycat Dolls and JLS and don’t you dare think of leafing through Kerrang.

As someone who has gone to gigs for over a decade as well as working at a music venue, writing about alternative music and generally rocking wherever I roam, I couldn’t let that one go.

Aw shucks, I can do better than that.

Okay, so maybe I lost my rag a little bit. At least it was subtle? I don’t know why I couldn’t let it drop, perhaps just because I couldn’t get my head round his bizarre way of thinking. Oh well, at least he couldn’t wind me up any more, right?

Uh-oh. The ‘I’m untouchable because I’m a serviceman card’ has been pulled. Let’s just remember that Hitler was also involved with the military, and I hear that he wasn’t exactly the most excellent of chaps to date. He’s right, it is just his opinion that women don’t like rock music. It’s just a shame that it’s such a retarded one. So just to refresh, not only do no women like rock music, but if you watch rugby then you only do so for the fit men. Glad we’ve cleared that one up- I’d better send this transcript to the organisers of the Women’s Rugby World Cup.

At least he thinks I sound like I can write for the Guardian. Maybe I started to feel a bit bad for calling him names…

I thought that would be a good place to end this frustrating conversation. Ooh… maybe not…

Oh yes, he’s right. It’s TOTALLY different. And I do feel so stupid to not see his first message as sweet and sentimental as a kitten presenting me with a bunch of roses.

At this point it was with a sigh of exasperation I thought that this matter could draw to a close. The chap clearly wasn’t understanding how much of a backwards twit he was sounding. Silly me…

Oh wow. Sorry, I was too busy drooling over my ‘butch men’ scrapbook to have really taken on board what he was trying to say. Then I was going to put on some metal to listen to but I didn’t have my uniform ironed. But I’m not the right girl for HIM? Well, he’s right… I have a brain and I set my bolt cutters on the chain that attached me to the sink.

In my mind I was flouncing out of this arena of conflict, swinging my hips from side to side and giving him a satisfied smile with my ‘femme-fatale red’ lipsticked lips. There was an empowering theme tune playing- probably something like ‘Man! I Feel Like A Woman’ by Shania Twain. I was just reaching the door…

It was a feeble, yet angry cry coming from somewhere far behind me. I stopped dead in my tracks then spun around on my killer heels. I gave him a cold look right in his eyes as I opened my mouth to speak.

BOOM!

The single act of correcting the spelling of someone so clearly frustrated and angry was the equivalent of a middle finger and a Street Fighter ‘KO!’ all at once.

Of course, I promptly blocked this cretin.

‘Richard Keys’ may have lost this battle, but I fear there may be plenty more monsters that need to be defeated in this noble quest through the volatile landscape of internet dating.

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.

Unemployment

'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.

The Birthday Blog.

27 Feb

Yeah, so I turned 24 on October 4th. Bloody ages ago. I wrote a blog about it but never got round to posting it. Now is the time, mainly because I’ve only just come to terms with this awful age. Twenty-flipping-four. Unless you’re Jack Bauer, such a number is going to have little that resembles anything remotely cool. One of my utterly insane housemates did promote the suggestion of a 24-hour party in celebration… and I did dabble with the idea. Living in Manchester and the possibility of being able to label my guests as ’24 Hour Party People’ did make it fleetingly viable. It’s only because I didn’t do it that I can return to blogging today.

The most fascinating thing about birthdays is that they seem to be a thing geared more for kids than adults… when really, as you get older, if anything you need cheering up a bit more. When I was little my Mum and Dad got me sorted with many a cracking birthday party. And this was in the years before ‘My Super Sweet 16’. I aint talking ponies and Ferrari’s covered in marshmallows and hundred dollar bills mind, more the optimum provision of jelly, balloons, party bags and the like.

I sometimes think that as kids, the judgement of the success of a party was very heavily placed on the impressiveness of the party bag you received upon leaving. Sort of like how old people deem a ‘do’ to be good or not be the loveliness of the ‘spread’ put on. First, does the exterior bag have a popular character on the outside? Zeitgeist cartoons and characters were a must, like Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles for the boys and of course, Barbie for the girls. The simple balloon-printed option were just never as exciting. With such premature snobbery I’m lucky I’ve not grown up and become a WAG.

If it weren't so odd for a twenty-four-year-old to even consider having party bags, this would definitely be what you could expect.

Next, the inclusion of toys. To receive a party bag with a cheap plastic toy not even fit for a Happy Meal was still the most exciting thing on Earth. When my brother and I were old enough to participate in the decision making for the contents of the party bags we would provide, it was a very well thought out process as to which gifts were suitable for our esteemed guests. Perhaps like how it is selecting the breadsticks or cheese selection for a dinner party. We used to go to a party shop called ‘Fete and Fayre’ in Carshalton with our Mum, and I do not exaggerate when I say that every visit there felt like Christmas. In fact, I don’t think I’m wrong in thinking that in more than one Summer Holiday I requested that we visited there just as a choice of activity for a day of fun. Just to look at things. For no reason.

The exterior of this shop does not express just how exciting this place was to us. We're talking Tardis level inside to outside ratio here. I have this screen print framed and kept under my pillow at night.

There were fancy dress costumes, helium balloons (which, to this day, amaze me with their awesome and universal power to bring nothing but giddiness and excitement to all children everywhere. It’s just a balloon that floats. But gosh, does it float.) as well as face paints, sweets, bunting, decorations, that rubbish foil strandy stuff that creates a backdrop for karaoke stages in naff working clubs… everything. And then…there were the party bag and party-bag-contents shelves. It’s wonderful to think that there was once a time where the most gargantuan vexation and hefty weight of decision making was limited to having to choose between a pot of bubbles or a beaded fluorescent nylon coin purse for my friends. Oh, little Lucy. One day there will be bills. And shoes. And men. And you will have so much more to worry about.

In fact, in this 21st century era of the Internet, the biggest worry for present-day birthday girl Lucy, as well as many others, is whether you levy the sufficient amount of Facebook notifications to feel both loved and cool. It would be a bleak day if by 12pm you had less than ten ‘HB ❤ xxx’ messages from half-acquaintances plastering your wall. It truly is the social networking equivalent of ‘meat in the room’, when you have to scroll multiple times down the page to admire the generic wishes bestowed upon you from people you might not have seen for ten years or even better; people you may have added by accident and have never met in your life. I wonder if vegetarians object to the phrase ‘meat in the room’ when they throw parties.

The pressures of birthdays are something that never seem to cease. From the jelly-flavour and shape choices of my youth, to the Facebook problems of today, it feels that birthdays become something of a huge headache. Quite literally, as my fondness for alcohol developed through my teens. So I would like to share with you some of the memories from my happier, more carefree, less hungover days. Here is a few of Lucy’s birthday’s through the ages. Enjoy.

My first birthday. I was first born and obviously my parents were yet to realise the potential dangers of allowing an infant to claw it's way to a naked flame. I'm really going for it there. Apparently the firemen were very nice and there was minimal damage to the living room.

Two years old and meeting Mickey Mouse. Mickey was my hero at the time, but it would be a short lived thing as my heart was broken at the ripe old age of four when I met up with him again in Disneyland. I asked him if he remembered coming to my party and the rude swine said the cake was rubbish. My Dad to this day reminds me of how much effort it was to get him to our house that day. The paparazzi went mental.

Here's the cake. See Mickey, it was bloody lovely.

Third birthday and I liked 'The Raggy Dolls' at the time. I bet you've got the themetune stuck in your head now...ha! Textbook party fare there: tablecloth, paper plates, sugar rushes. Excellent work. My Mum not only made a cracking cake, she also dressed up as a doll and told a story. D'awwh.

At five years old I'm throwing a Barbie-themed party and I'm not exactly camera shy.

…as this picture might suggest. My Mum made me that dress. She’s pretty nifty, eh?

I made my brother dress up too, naturally. Jack, I'm sorry, but you were just too cute to not publish this.

This is the best proof of my true word-geek status. Hands up who remembers the 'Letterland' series of educational books? Well, for my sixth birthday I based the theme of my party on them. Yup. It was amazing though, and I got to be Lucy the Lamp Lady, the ambassador for the letter 'L' and all it stood for. No, it's not lame.

Seven years old and I'm obsessed with Trolls. You know, those funny little creatures with pot bellies and brightly coloured hair that get their bums out all the time? It was practically like looking into my own future.

And finally,I just had to include this. Here I am with my brother when I was about three. We are on our way to a cat-themed party for our friend Emily. Yes, we are actual real life kittenses.

 

LET BATTLE COMMENCE

4 May

I have actually been meaning to jump on this blogging war pony for … exactly 100 days according to the birth certificate of this site.

It’s just as well I am not a parent. Abandoning my creation and offering him nothing but neglect for so long. Well, today is a new day and I promise I shall embrace you and make you feel loved and proud.

I have been talking about doing a blog for some time now. Anyone that I’ve collected amongst the ranks of my Facebook friends will know I like to spout nonsense in the form of statii. It seemed that the natural progression would be something that doesn’t flash up an angry message telling me that I have exceeded 540 characters a la Gandalf  ‘YOU SHALL NOT PASS.’ Facebook, you are not Sir Ian McKellen. And nor will you ever be. I don’t know who it was but I remember talking to a lad about that Gandalf moment and him telling me that he discovered the best accent to quote it in for the most pleasing effect is scouse. And I tell you what, he aint wrong. I suggest you give it a go. Or get your local scouse to do it for you.

Ok, so post one and I have already lost sight of what I was writing about. I was going to explain what I plan to achieve with this here blog. Frankly, not much. This isn’t like Band Aid in blogging format, I fear there won’t be a Christmas number one and I certainly shaln’t manage to get Bono to thank god that poor children are perishing instead of me. {Although… that may sneak his way onto my ‘Things to do before I die’} I do however, wish to harness this as a daily platform for the surplus of activity going on in my poor languishing brain. Being a temporarily professional barperson, I have discovered it turns out that pouring pints of guiness and doodling a face atop the head does not suffice as a creative outlet.

I have increasingly freakish dreams with the backlog of internal babblings that come along in the night like a sleep creeper. Its like…WELL knackering. To prevent my descent into becoming a schizo, its for the best that I start this little online diary. Its not going to be full of anything in particular, just things that float into my head and need documenting. I shall try my best to not become like Carrie Bradshaw at the start of each episode of  ‘Sex and the City’, although I may read anything that ends with a question mark aloud as I type it.

Also. I like to write. Its something I like to do. And a wise man once told me that in order to be a writer… I need to… write and that? It wasn’t actually a man. It was a book. And not even really that wise, just, logical.

So we start to get to know each other better I shall tell you that I am still in my jimjams, I am a bit of a stinker, and have been listening to Kenny Loggins/The Doobie Brothers/Hall and Oates all flipping day thanks to a Youtube-based gem of a series called ‘Yacht Rock’. Its something that two of my housemates have been insisting that I must watch, and turns out they were right. For anyone that appreciates anything of the smooth choons, comfy slacks/baggy jumper combos and powerful fists of emotion inspired by the soft pop rock of the late 70s and early 80s; climb aboard. I’ve done the right thing and whacked the first episode here but theres ten others for you to find.

I would like to clarify however, that I don’t do this everyday. It just feels like an acceptable and harmless way to spend the day-after-bank-holiday-weekend. Yes, I had a textbook one. Albeit dogged by that evil foe, employment. I showed him though… I did the whole booze based adventures lark, wore ribbons, ate unhealthy foods, watched poor television, looked at a daffodil, hit that snooze button, sacked off washing up and complained how fast the time went. Ohhhh yes, I did all of that. And to my cost have been blessed with the most wicked heartburn for the past few days. I got given a cure yesterday, a powder, who claimed that he would fix any ailment spanning from an upset stomach, constipation, right up to…and this is verbatim… ‘symptoms of over indulgence’. Give that copywriter a rosette please. That’s beautiful. But damn you indulgence you absolute fiend. I really am riddled with your symptoms.

I have certainly over indulged in sheer laziness today. I need to go de-skank. But am going to do it with the zest and panache of Kenny Loggins singing ‘Footloose’.