Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Apple Made Woman Turn To Crime

I met this woman who was trying to elicit sympathy about her life. She was a mediocre sort of girl, but talked about herself as if trying to sell a story to Take A Break magazine - probably because she had no imagination or sense of humour and lived from the purchase of one overpriced gadget to the next - measuring her success by the type of mp3 player she was currently able to afford and organising her future by planning the next one she would buy when a new model came out. Her life, at present, was reasonably on track - she had a decent job, relationship, kept herself in iPods, had just got the iPhone - but a little later than a few of her colleagues, which stung a bit, but then was mitigated slightly by her sister not having got one yet - you know the type.

Anyway, after talking about phones and music players this woman moved on to the subject of a previous boyfriend, who had hit her, and whom she had, very sensibly, left. She announced dramatically that, because she had left her boyfriend, she was "forced to become an escort". I asked a few more questions about the "forcing" of the issue - and frankly she wasn't "forced" into becoming an escort at all, she chose the career herself. Her parents were comfortably off and kind, and would have been happy to help her - she refused to ask them, saying: "I didn't want them to say I told you so, about my ex" -A bizarre choice, but nonetheless her choice, and not a result of force. I then asked her about claiming benefits - why she had not done that, and her answer was "I have certain standards to maintain". Presumably indulging in an illegal activity that often forms part of the human trafficking chain and can, therefore, be tenuously linked to international terrorism isn't as damaging to her personal moral code, as the thought of spending a bit of taxpayers money on herself while she sorts her life out - but again there was a choice and she chose the option to whore. I totally didn't bother asking her whether she had considered getting a job in a shop, or telesales, I could see her financial requirements were clearly beyond that. And I don't mean to be unkind, but really she was no great shakes to look at - so she wasn't forced into escorting the way some supermodels are forced into modelling - their exquisite beauty making it impossible for them to walk down the street without agents harassing them, no this one did not have the type of sex appeal that beats you around the head when you meet her, she was plain and dull and not especially dirty. But, I guess, even if one is paying to poke the fire, one may not necessarily look too closely at the mantlepiece - so her ordinary looks would be no obstacle to that career, they just would not have made it an absolute must.

No, she really annoyed me, this woman, for a number of reasons. I personally think there is nothing wrong with being a prostitute apart from the illegality/terrorism link, and if this woman had stood up for the independent decision that she had made to become an escort, instead of trying to elicit sympathy for herself for having made that particular career choice when there were other financial options open to her, I would have had some respect for her courage. By her whiny attention seeking "ooh poor me I had to sell my body rather than ask Daddy for a loan" shit, she simply denigrates other young women who are doing the job because they are illegal immigrant sex slaves who have been deceived and not had any choice in the matter, or because they are women with mental health problems, who have a serious drug addiction to fund, which in some ways has removed the same choice from them, or indeed young women like Belle de Jour who do the job out of choice, because it pays well and then you can make a film about it. What is more, she is taking the bread out of these coerced/ideologically motivated hookers' mouths, the selfish bitch - just to line Steve Jobs' pocket.

Just out of interest I asked her why her boyfriend had hit her. "Oh he was jealous". She said. "He used to accuse me of going with other men and being a whore". God, that must have really showed him then.

Anyway I hate people who tout for sympathy and attention from people in the pub instead of having a personality. And iPhones - I mean please. I wouldn't give a really bored hand job for an iPhone - they are great big lumps of bollock.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008


A Challenge For David Milliband

Situations that require exceptional diplomatic skills:

1. Accidentally squirting people with breastmilk.

2. Responding politely, negatively and effectively to: "It's bring a friend week at my local church/cult and I was wondering whether you would like to come along".

That's all I can think of at the moment. Further suggestions in the comments please.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Invest in Misery

As the Summer ends, and the first chill freshens the morning air - hollyhocks and foxgloves hang on to few, withering blooms and blackberries shrivel on their stalks, I start to feel the heavy weight of Seasonal Affective Disorder take its comfortable seat upon my shoulders. This season is hateful - I am aware that the year needs to die in order to be reborn, blah blah and that new life will spring from the rested earth, yielding tender stalks from beneath its winter blanket of rotting leaves, yet every year I dread the summer's departure. "It is fear of death," said the man at the Pound Shop. "You fear your own death, and the season's end reminds you that you now approach the Autumn of your own life."

I resent that - not least because at thirty six, I like to think of myself as in the early August of my life, or now that I have given up smoking, possibly even in the throes of a mid July seaside holiday. Cheeky cunt. To add to my misery, someone asked me if I was terminally ill the other day. At the time, I was holding forth in the sauna about visualisation, which, although a useful tool to help ease anxiety when death is imminent, can be used in a number of other situations - giving birth, for example, which most of the time is the opposite of death, or as a way to ignore men droning on and on and on about money or politics. I am not terminally ill, by the way, I probably just need to start wearing blusher and smiling more.

Autumn may be a bad time of year for me, but it's always a great time of year for relationship counsellors - traditionally the season of humdinging rows, as shared dreams and loving feelings are torn asunder by gusts of misery and drowned by pregnant clouds of frustration. This year more relationships than ever are in crisis, as a result of the credit crunch increasing pressures on couples. More and more people are finding the strain on their relationships too much to bear, and long to part, but don't have the money to separate. They can no longer afford for the woman to get a post-divorce makeover, or for the man to spend time at lap dancing clubs. Jointly owned property brings its own uncertainty - people prefer to wait before selling up. So miserable partners sit tight and return to old fashioned values, forced into fighting for their marriages, by the chilly precipitation of the current economic climate.

I was at a training course with a relationship counsellor just last week, she reeked of caviar. Her hands lay motionless in her lap throughout the seminar, weighted by oversized diamond rings. When she she walked, her thighs rubbed together, littering the floor with shavings of platinum. Dubloons and government bonds fell from her lips as she spoke of her forward investments: "I'm all about gas" she said. You heard it here first.

Monday, September 15, 2008


That Is Not How I Roll

I love long distance running - I am not especially good at it, but I adore being outside, runing through wind and rain and sun and snow and hail, through towns and countryside, roads and mud. To enjoy a long run, without having to give a shit about the traffic and crossing roads, and to have people serve me glasses of water at 5 Km intervals instead of having to carry my own, I take part in half marathons - my favourite distance, as I lack the attention span for a whole marathon but find 10 K races too short.

I take my training tactics from Usain Bolt - you know, your man who broke the 100m record at the olympics, by preparing for his race with a nice kip and a dinner of chicken nuggets in front of the TV. I know, I'm female, white, and old, and I run long distance, but when I go to races I am not one of those idiots you see in lycra, with the belts with little bottles of liquid carbohydrate solution, talking about PBs (that's personal bests, Homes), swaggering about lubing armpits and nipples with grease, or gassing people in a cloud of pre-emptive deep heat, eyeing up the competition, pushing to the front, jumping and stretching and running on the spot. No. I wear shorts and a t shirt and sit firmly on my arse near the start line, until the gun goes off - I do not waste a calorie doing any gay stretching or warming up, and, although, like all other humans who run a long way, I do feel sick and faint and exhausted after I have run about 11 miles, do you know what? I just fucking well get on with it, rather than pissing about eating strange stuff and drinking gay little shots of things and making a terrible fuss. It's not a fucking picnic, it's a run outside, oh, and it's voluntary - so if you are worried about feeling sick or getting the sun in your eyes, or being able to move a foot without a lucozade related product going down your maw - then fucking stay at home or go and run in a gym with air conditioning and blinds and a shop selling overpriced glucose crap. Yes, I love running but I fucking hate runners - especially the ones in running clubs: boring, self absorbed narcissists. I would rather spend time with those wife swapping, nickname -calling drunks, the Hash Harriers, and I would only spend time with them, if I were sure I could offer the experience up, to speed a soul through Purgatory.

For all that "I'm a purist" stuff though, I do like a bit of music to run to, and the last race I did appalled me by having signs up everywhere going: "Health and Safety - no iPods/MP3s".

I asked a marshall what the fuck that was about. "It's for your health and your safety," he said, sagely. "How?" I asked him. "If you are listening to an iPod - you will not be able to hear anything else," he explained.

Fuck me. That is the point of an iPod - is it not? To drown out unwanted sounds. Without an iPod in a road race, all you can hear is the slapping of millions of rubbery feet on concrete, concentrated panting, and sighing and inane chatter about carbohydrates, or people's ancient injuries, or their moronic "strategies" to shave 30 seconds off their "PB". Alternatively, men try and get the ride off you by asking stuff like "so - what brings you here?" when it is totally fucking obvious, by the fact that you are red-faced, sweating like a whore in church and running with a gaggle of idiots for miles along a road, that you are participating in the same road race as them. I could chant a mantra instead of listening to music, or think about stuff, but the very reason I run, is so as not to think about stuff, not to talk to anyone, nor to be asked anything by, or to do anything for anyone. I roll one iPod deep -and I'm talking an iPod primed with Floor Fillers and Power Ballads and some Phil Collins, bra. I think I prefer third world marathons, where, although they steal all the water and people jeer at you in the streets, you could run with a band of minstrels singing "Ride on Time" accompanied by horse fiddles if you wanted. Athletics Associations and Running Clubs fuck you.

Monday, September 08, 2008


I No Longer Trust Ivana Trump

A large, cardboard cut- out of Ivana Trump appeared outside my gym. That did not surprise me in the least, as the gym I attend is a fairly eccentric place. Mrs Trump was dressed in lycra and standing in a half squat, on what looked like a large pair of scales. Underneath her trainer-clad feet, was a list of names: Kenny Rogers, Karl Lagerfeld, The Olympic Bobsleigh Team, Des O'Connor, amongst others. I went in and smiled at the woman on reception: "You have a cardboard Ivana Trump outside". I said. "Yes" said the receptionist. "We are pushing the Power Plate - it is a machine that replaces gym workouts, creates bone density, removes cellulite, repairs injuries, treats arthritis and builds lean body mass". "And what about Kenny Rogers and Karl Lagerfeld ?" I asked. "Are they fans of the plate as well?" "Oh yes" said the receptionist. "They both use it. So does Matthew Pinsent". "Well then," I said. "If it is good enough for them, it is good enough for me".

I had to be shown how to switch it on and off, by a designated instructor. It made a low, purring noise like a cheap lawnmower. There was a poster on the wall, with photos, showing a series of gyrations to be performed on the machine, helping it to send strong electronic currents through the body, twitching muscle groups and toning. I had a brief thought that it might even be an erotic experience up there on the vibrating platform, and that I might get to add density to my bones, whittle away flab and halt any nascent arthritis in its tracks, and get the cheap thrills alongside it. A treadmill with benefits. Not a chance. Fuck me, that jittering plate was the worst thing I have ever done. A juddering pulse of horror, banging through my head like the worse hangover of my life. Strange, shocking impulses, whipping up and down each leg. My hamstrings are fucked at the moment from running, as I am training for a half marathon - so I tried to contort myself into the pose shown on the picture for "deep hamstring massage". I nearly vomited with pain. The whole experience was quite disorentating, and as the strong currents raced through every cell, they caused a great wobblage, and the noise -dear God, the noise of the thing: roaring and grinding and groaning, I can only hope, as a clever way to mask the lowing and whimpering noises coming out intermittently, from between my rattling teeth. I groped around trying to turn the fucking thing off, as my skin started to detatch from its flesh.

I have given birth without pain relief, had a tooth pulled by a Chinese dentist, run a half marathon drunk and with no socks and I would do each of those things again, twice to avoid getting on one of those awful, awful machines. I don't care how good anybody is at bobsleighing, singing, designing clothes, rowing or having a lot of shoes, they have all plummeted in my estimation, for endorsing that fucking rattletrap effort. Ivana Trump - fuck you and your Power plate it is a great big vicious piece of throbbing shite.

Monday, September 01, 2008


Flapping about

There's a lot of whimsy about the butterfly and no surprise, really. A metamorphosing insect is bound to attract more attention than an ordinary earthworm, which, in turn, is more interesting than a flightless beetle - just by virtue of the worm being both blind, and a segmented tube that squeezes earth. So it is easy to see how a glamorous shape-changing butterfly is something that captures the imagination of little girls, spinsters, perimenopoausal women and men on the turn.

I have a recurring dream where I am a tattoo artist, and a twenty stone woman comes into my seaside parlour. She has a hard face, and her nose has a stud in it, housing a small, bright, turquoise piece of glass. And she is wearing a tight vest and a bra that is supposed to be invisible, the vast dugs are hoisted up by clear plastic straps that bite into the large doughy contours of her bare shoulders. Her trousers bisect her torso and create a waist by allowing pools of flesh to heap over her cheap belt and then hang down over her hips. The bottoms of her jeans are turn ups, chosen to display a suprisingly neat pair of ankles supporting calves that look like haggises, but for the delicate vine tendrils inked around them, creeping upwards inside the jeans. She has complicated acryllic toenails with patterns on - slightly too long, that peek out of a pair of wedge heeled sandals. Her second toe has a ring around it, set with a gem much like the one above her left nostril. "Surprise me" she announces as she descends into a leather chair that sighs, and images of dogs, cheap scent, ford cars, philandering boyfriends in fitted overironed shirts, a fleeting interest in white magic, large televisions, constant trips to the hairdresser, obsessive housecleaning, intense friendships that end badly, a warped self image with defensiveness to match, pop into my head. I tattoo a butterfly on the northern hemisphere of her great, wobbling right breast. A wing tip pokes out of the side of the see through bra.

I'm not sure why I told you that. Anyway - the thing that makes me shit most about butterflies, is the superstition that they are the souls of the dead. I've had a million fey idiots tell me stories of how a tiny azure butterfly landed on the coffin, at the funeral of a boy-child, or how, in a time of extreme stress, the appearance of a red admiral butterfly was the spirit of a courageous grandfather who used to be in the Navy, come to lend wisdom and support. Bollocks. Everyone who has seen that film, knows that a soul weighs 22 g, and I am delighted to say that there are no mammoth freak butterflies of that size around. The biggest butterfly is the Monarch at 0.5 g, which is still far too large for my liking, but definitely not heavy enough to be a soul. Butterflies are what they are - large flapping things which may or may not be colourful, used as a tribal recognition device by the innocent, ugly or unloved.

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