Monday, June 29, 2009


Message to My Pop Up Tent

Fuck you.


Friday, June 19, 2009


Quiet! Mr Obama is "doing the maths"

New, palatable president of America, Mr Obama, and highly unpopular British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, have been awfully quiet about Iran and its elections, whilst news agencies and wild-eyed bloggers have been yapping on and on and on about it: "Let's have a nice moderate leader for those Iranians," they say. "Get rid of that one with the big smile - we hate him, he's a loony".

The reason for the reticence is because Mr Obama is "doing the maths" about the outcome for the world. He can't have Mr Brown piping up "We love democracy and the moderate one" until Mr Obama has finished the following two sums. I have just done the answers for him below, in case he has dyscalculia.

Sum 1. Iran + moderate leader= ?

Answer 1. Iran + moderate leader =no resistance from China and Russia regarding Iran's obtaining nuclear weapons =Iran gets the nuke= Israel gets the arse and nukes Iran = destruction of the world

Sum 2 Iran + nutter leader= ?

Answer 2 Iran + nutter leader= no one, not even China or Russia will want Iran to have any sort of weapons whatsoever - in fact the whole world will be opposed to them even being allowed to run with a pair of scissors=Israel remains focused on winding up Palestine and making a nuisance of itself in other regards = world remains relatively intact

If I were the President of America, or the Prime Minister of the UK, and someone said to me: "Noreen, you have been doing the maths for hours, what's it to be? Will we support the one with the crazy eyes or the other, quieter one?" Do you know what I would say?

I would say "Did you know Xerxes had Jews in his army?" and then I would pull a special politician face, which looks slightly amused, but also has a tinge of sadness and wisdom. And if they asked me any other questions, I would smile and wave, and then go inside and bitch about how small the White House actually is, or complain about the really vulgar colour scheme in 10 Downing Street and how the government art collection seems to be favouring very peculiar new artists that look like they paint with their arseholes.


TK Minimus

I do not like shopping for clothes much, ever, unless I can go to a tailor and get stuff sewn for no money at all. It's one of the few benefits of living in Third World Countries, which I frequently have to do. At the moment, however, I live in England, which although having many of the trappings of the Third World, doesn't run to me designing all my clothes myself and having them hand made by my own personal sweatshop for sixty pence. So I asked some English people for advice on how to do my dress shopping on a reasonable budget. This woman told me about a place called TK Maxx, which, she assured me, despite sounding like a Turkish chicken shop, was actually a place where one can buy "designer" clothes, at knock down prices.

Now, I think I really have the hang of England, and generally when people say "designer", they actually mean some type of overpriced leisurewear, like a Fred Perry shirt, or ugly, top-end, high- street merchandise, like Burberry trousers, or Hackett rugby shirts. But that's fine - I'm not proud and since I think that most people in this country look like they are wearing their outfit for a bet, it is probably safer not to worry too much about the old appearance and to blend in with them, as they are an unpredictable and vicious race.

The main thing that really irritates me about shopping in English shops, is the personality of the shop assistants they have hanging around in them, lezzing about the changing rooms, pulling the curtains back and having an opinion about how you look. I mentioned this dislike to the woman with the shopping tips: "Oh they do not have that in TK Maxx" she said. "Not a bit of it. You just browse and everything costs around eight pounds and it's all designer and brilliant as the stock changes regularly and you can get really amazing stuff". She stuck out her leg and showed me a pair of sparkly leg warmers which made her look like an extra from Fame. "I got these there and they were fifty pee" She said "And I got a Calvin Klein suit for a tenner".

I took myself to TK Maxx on a Saturday afternoon, which I know is not the brightest time to go to a clothes shop, as they are all cram packed with fourteen-year old girls with individually lacquered eyelashes standing proud of their eyebrows, in identikit leggings and eighties polyester tops, shrieking at each other and dawdling themselves around the clothes rails. You even find these kids in Country Casual and The Edinburgh Woollen Mill. Fuck knows what they are after, but like tills, every clothes shop has its quota of them.

TK Maxx was a great barn of jumbled items, assembled on the worlds longest rails, ordered only by signs saying "skirts", or "girls fashion". I pawed weakly at a line of tops on a rail close to the entrance, while two female, human doughballs, with necks that melted into vast, rounded humps of shoulder, encased in draped lilac jersey, eyed me; muttering to each other in a strong local brogue. Flanking these larger women, were sixteen fourteen year old girls, dressed like shrunken stevedores, grabbing clothes from the rails, indiscriminate of size, or price, or colour, clutching them possesively to their chests. I fished out a sleeveless blouse with a pattern that resembled regurgitated wham bars. The size was right, the shape and colour were hideous, but it felt like a small achievement, to have found one item in the store, that I could theoretically wear, if I were entirely out of clothes and didn't have the werewithal to sew plastic bags together into a makeshift dress. People around me were rummaging in large crates, pulling out plastic hats, sandals made of rope and hats made of felt and lurid, garish colours and hundreds and hundreds of ugly washed out jeans. I held the shirt a little distance from my bosom.

A woman with thick, leathery skin approached me, holding out her hands.

"Do you want that or not?" She said.

"Oh, do you work here?" I said.

"Are. You. Going. To. Buy. It?" she said, rudely, "Because if not, I want it".

An Eastern European woman appeared and solved the problem, by removing the shirt from my hands and taking it off to the till herself, with leather-face chasing her, as fast as her towering, strappy, golden, wedge shoes would allow her. I was relieved: I had been saved from making a terrible wardrobe mistake, and the two old slags fighting over the top created a perfect distraction from my utter gormlessness at shopping in a rotten old aircraft hangar filled with overpriced jumble. TK Maxx - fuck off. I will have to toughen up and become a nudist.

Friday, June 12, 2009


The Philology and Linguistics of Work

I was talking to a man recently, and he was telling me about his work. He reeled off his job title, which was something boring: "Investment Manager in Emerging Markets", something like that. Anyway - it was pretty obvious, from this title, the sort of stuff he worked at - yawny boring finance in poor countries. An awful lot of people have lunatic job titles, that give you no clue at all about what they do for a living: "Vice President, Integral Logistical Resource Development Systems" that sort of thing. When someone describes themselves in those vague and hideous terms, run fast, because they will follow it up briskly with a tiring and considered explanation for the layman. Dreadful.

Because this emerging markets man had a boring job that had already explained itself to me in one short phrase, he felt the need to make more conversation about his working life. "I'm a bit like Ronseal." He said. "I do exactly what it says on the tin".

I watched the Ronseal advert, and it is correct up to a point. Written on the side of the tin is the description of the contents: "floor varnish" (noun)and yet, one can describe the use of the tin contents as "varnish" (verb). If those were the only words written on the tin, the claims of the advertisement would be entirely true. But on the tin, as well as the words "floor varnish", there is also the brand name "Ronseal" in big letters - probably the first word any purchaser notices. As far as I know "Ronseal" doesn't have a meaning beyond "a company that pretends to be incredibly down to earth" (noun). As well as the massive words "Ronseal"(noun), there are a whole load of other words on the tin, including a description of the ingredients in the product, which are also not ways to describe the use of the product. "Ethanol" (noun)isn't something you do (verb), unless you are homeless. What Ronseal need to do, is to be more clear "Does exactly what the verb on the tin says". That is all

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