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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.

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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.

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 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 Table..lol”

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.

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.

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.

Happy New Year…erm…again.

8 Apr

“Epic Fail: A mistake of such monumental proportions that it requires its own term in order to successfully point out the unfathomable shortcomings of an individual or group”

I’ve committed one such ‘fail’. Well, I’d rather assume I’ve done this rather than Urban Dictionary’s other definition of an ‘epic fail’ which is thus:

‘The highest form of fail known to man. Reaching this level means only one thing- You must die, or the world will fail itself due to such an extreme level of failage.’

I don’t want to be associated to the latter. Firstly, if this were true around sixty percent of my Facebook contacts would have perished with all the apparent mundane disasters of varying magnitude that litter my news feed. I’d get a bit lonely. Secondly, the concoction of the word ‘failage’ is too much for me to bear. It makes me want to tear all my skin off in a fit of super-cringing and start again. Presumably by heading down to my local epidermis monger. Anyway, this hasn’t got anything to do with what I was going to say. No, my failing lies in my new-year-resolution-ing.

It’s terrifying to think that we’re into April already- feels like only yesterday that I was sat tutting as I watched all the major cities of the world send billions of pounds wooshing up and exploding into multicoloured glitterings in the sky to welcome the new year. On the first of January I got my little notebook out and set down eleven resolutions that I was, of course, ‘definitely going to stick to’. Eleven resolutions for 2011. Just as well I hadn’t bothered at all in 1999 or I’d really have a challenge on my hands . Well, these eleven things have been totally ignored. So by means of a quarter-year-resolution, I am going to redraft them right here so I can remember why I wrote them in the first place and you lot can tell me off should you see me continue to be rubbish. I’d probably pay no heed to your scoldings but I’m sure the guilt would eventually crumple me into submission.

For some reason this image instantly made me think of the aftermath of the last curry I had. I'm sorry.

    1) Blog at least twice out of Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday.

    Yeah, I don’t understand the choice of specific days either. Well, peculiar scheduling or no, I clearly aint been doing this have I? You know you’ve been mistreating your little blog when you need to create a new month folder with each post. This seems to be something that spills into real life too mind you- I seem to have about twenty of them A4 card wallet things to keep all my ‘paperwork’ in and I feel obliged to use them all. What paperwork will someone like me actually have? I’m not a real person! I have ‘the drawer’ that everyone has… you know… the one that you just shove any miscellaneous things into that don’t have an instantly obvious home. It then becomes like a Room 101 for trinkets, ‘important things’ and bank statements. Like an Aladdin’s cave of crap. For a mouse. (Scale-wise.) I will blog more.

2) Gym twice a week.

    September 2010. This was the date I discovered exercise, at the age of 23. Of course I had to dabble in it when I was at school… but this was mainly limited to goalkeeping at netball (because I was tall and could just flap above people’s heads) and rounders (because I could bat balls over the hills and far away. Be warned, gentlemen.) But I was never a fan of P.E. I’ve had a little think and I think I’ve pin-pointed the reason.

     

    In primary school, for some reason rather than being allowed to take shorts and t-shirt in to wear for gym classes, we were oft told to change into ‘vest and pants’. It’s not as creepy as it sounds, these underwear based frolics in the school hall. Spose it was practical and they thought kids wouldn’t care, but I was just a grown up trapped in a little person (a child, not midget) in my thought processes at times and I just always felt incredibly awkward and overwhelmed with indignation as we sat our arse cheeks down on the cold, dusty mustiness of the hall floor. Well, I’ve finally overcome this revulsion and taken up gym membership. Weirdest part? I actually thoroughly enjoy it when I get round to dragging myself there. My competitive streak makes me push myself to sweaty, gasping extremes while being able to laugh and/or enjoy the sight of masculinity at play in the free weights area. I then leave the place feeling like She-Ra.

    Dye her hair and she could almost be me the lucky cow. But by the power of Greyskull I'd have to sort He-Man's 'do out or it's never going to work out.

 

    3) Set time aside for book/other projects.

    Everyone knows that anyone who says they like to write ‘has a book’ that will get written. It’s as sure as eggs is eggs. It’s as sure as ‘socialising with friends’ appearing on the ‘Hobbies’ section of a CV. It’s as sure as it raining as soon as you leave the house without an umbrella, resulting in your looking like an accident victim on ‘Casualty’ when all the dye runs out of your hair and over your face and dress. The latter may only apply to me.

    Well, my book did actually get started. I’m far too lazy to even attempt a novel so it’s essentially a more structured use of my nonsense inspired by stuff and things that I like and know… and will probably never get to see the light of day. I’m reluctant to share my ‘other projects’ cos I still think they’re really good and you might go steal it. I’ve seen you in the dead of night in a little stripy jumper, black beret and eye mask going around filling your bag marked ‘SWAG’ with ideas. You little scamp. If anyone reading this has money to burn, please do pay for my rent, bills, sustenance and occasional trinkets so I don’t have to work and then I can really give this resolution a proper crack.

     

    4) Utilise notebook and write down memories.

    I envy people that can leave the house having checked their pockets for the three essentials of phone, wallet, keys. Being this aspiring writer of sorts, I can’t leave the house without the added extras of make-up bag, diary, pen, notebook, spare pen. The make-up bag has little to do with writing, ‘cept to make me look pretty while I do my scribbling face in public. I carry my notebook everywhere with the intention to jot down anything I see that inspires me, or if my brain does that thing where it fleetingly conjures up an idea then it’s gone again with the speed of a flasher in the park. I’ve got out of the habit of this and must get back into it. Writing, that is. No, I’ve never flashed. I would rock the mackintosh and trilby look though. The ‘writing down memories’ thing is something developed through fear, like all good things are.

    I’m sure iPhones and pizza and things were created in a similar fashion. Anyway, said memories are stuff like being at my grandparents’ houses and whatnot- they scooted off to meet St. Paul at the pearly gates some time ago, but I’m really scared to think that one day I might struggle to remember what they and their houses were like. So I’m going to be doing that more. Before I forget, Grandad Sanderson’s jumpers always smelt like ‘outside’ and pub. In a good way.

 

5) Cinema once a fortnight.

    I’m one of those pretentious twits that enjoys going to the cinema alone. I’m not sure why, I just do. Cornerhouse in Manchester makes me feel glad. From the squishy red velvet seats to the jazzy jingle that plays over the EuropaCinemas trailer, it’s a thorough treat of an experience.

     

     

    I’ve always been a bit of a film glutton. Despite doing English at University, I always found reading film as a text so much easier to get through. Again, this is quite possibly my heinous lazy streak kicking in, as my eyes got to sit down with their feet up rather than having to deal with the challenge of building the worlds manually with my ruddy imagination…gah. Oh, that takes me nicely on to number six…

 

6) Read more.

    Towards the end of last year one of those ‘pass it on’ type notes started floating around Facebook. It was a ‘How many of these 100 classic titles have you read?’ As I said, I did English at University and out of the list, I scored a paltry 12.5. Most of the 12 were made up of halves too. I’m awful. I’m sick of feeling flummoxed by anything mildly literature related when I’m shouting answers at quiz shows on telly. Unless it’s ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?’ in which case I’ll probably take solace in the fact that I have at least 25% chance of getting the right answer. Sometimes my cracks at pot luck are so good I can convince myself that I actually know stuff and things.

    Anyway, I recently bought The Complete Collection of Shakespeare’s Sonnets on Amazon by accident so I’m going to start there. I’m hoping it’ll make me look simultaneously cool and intellectual on the bus and prove to be a tool for scoring me a well-read and romantic boyfriend. Although I’ve recently had problems regarding meeting men on public transport but that’s for another time…

I've read this classic title. It weren't on the list. Not sure how much I should even trust this list.

 

7) Allow myself at least one day off a week.

    Yeah, this is one that’s worth doing. Although my job isn’t exactly vexing or demanding, I am in quite a few days a week in a mixture of daytimes and evenings. Then quite often I will have plenty of my writing related stuff to be getting on with as soon as I get home to my laptop who greets me at the door, jumping up to say hello and give my hand an affectionate lick. (As I’m not allowed a pet I’ve had to make do with my imagination.)

    As a result, I quite often feel like I don’t actually have all that much time off. If I do something like…God forbid… go out or watch nonsense on telly, I often have this unwanted feeling of guilt coming up to taunt my poor little sense of relaxation. I feel like I need to be doing something productive constantly as is my ridiculous drill sergeant of ambition. So Relaxation might be stretched out in the recliner with a beer in one hand and the remote control in the other- then Guilt comes up and puts his fag out in the nice cool can and grabs the remote to put something rubbish like the Ocean Finance Channel on. Relaxation needs his time. This resolution is gona get this sorted.

 

    8 ) Leave full time hours at the Union by the time I’m 25.

    BOSH. Now this one I have done…sort of. I’ve been working in a Student’s Union for three and a half years. I aint a student and it’s making me feel old. Last year’s new intake of eighteen-year-olds were born in 1992. I remember 1992. I was having that Letterland Party that featured a couple of blogs ago. Thing is, it’s been somewhere which is so easy to get stuck working, mainly because I get to be surrounded by live music and lovely people all the time. However, after 6 years of living on minus pounds, I need to get me a worthwhile metier somewhere that allows me to stop being the crusty old cynic that a life surrounded by students is forcing me to become. Well, I’ve jacked in my contract and I’m off to London for three months for an internship. Who knows what might happen after that- but it’s half resolved? At the age of 24 and a half too… that was clever of me.

 

    9) Get at least one new hobby.

    Hobby? What was I thinking? Nobody has hobbies anymore. It’s a word that sounds like he belongs in the 1940s, dressed all in brown with uncomfortably smart shoes and a bag of marbles in hand. Maybe I should take up marbles? Well, I don’t even know how to start resolving this one. Any suggestions? It might be good for that CV section.

This is the last legitimate need to think of hobbies. Ich sehe fern. I suppose I do that already. I still remember my GCSE Oral Exam ('lol') in which I told Frau Dexel about a boy called Pedro I met on holiday. He took me for ice cream and for a swim on the beach. I made him quite a dish in my mind. Sigh.

 

    10 ) Learn one new thing a week.

    I went through a phase of recording so many documentaries from the History and Discovery channels. I love them. There is nothing more exciting than that feeling of when you learn something new…well, apart from lots of things. The sound of the ice cream van. Seeing horses wander past your house and down the road. Porn. But apart from these things, learning new things is most exciting. I’m a bit of a geek really and keeping my brain updated with new facts keeps me happy. I was too socially deranged to really embrace the opportunities university offered me while I was there and now I live an existence of intellectual malnourishment and regret. Resolution ten will sort me out.

 

    11) STOP CHASING BOYS!!!

    It’s the big one and it’s written down in exactly the same capitals-and-exclamation-mark style as you see above. I keep threatening to write up my internet dating experiences so I won’t go into too much detail over the motivation of this one, but the long and the short of it is I’ve had atrocious innings when it’s come to gentlemen. They’re either rubbish from the off or they’re what I thought was really lovely only to find that they were in fact massive twerps in disguise. Either way, I’m giving up. I will hopefully trick the powers of the universe to just push the right person in my direction and I can stop stamping my feet in my tantrums of stress and heartache. That’s why there’s capitals. Wish me luck.