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Sunday, 14 December 2003

What Foibles do you Have?

Nicked from Alfred the OK, yet again.

Adult Foibles

Eating food by ingredient sequence.
Ordering my books on the shelves by publisher. (One night, before my finals, in a fit of caffeine, I speed-read the complete works of Shakespeare, then still had time to arrange my books in order of literary influence.)
Maintaining frozen, panicky eye contact with spiders.
Childish Foibles
Aged five, leaving all the doors open on the first floor open so I could pee while never taking my eyes from the witch who lived in the tree outside. (Bipolar? Moi?)
Covering every orifice -- particularly ears -- with the blanket before I could sleep (so the Devil -- or the Earwigs -- couldn't get in.) See Alfred for the inifinite efficacy of the protective eiderdown.
Spitting on the front step so my sister would trip. (Actually, I did this only once, then hid behind the hedge. My sister raced out, singing, tripped on the step, hurt herself badly. I was horrified. I resolved there and then to reserve my powers only for good, never evil.)
Muttering the words "lesbianlesbianlesbianlesbian" all through the thirty five minute walk to school.
Not looking in a mirror for more than thirty seconds, once per day. "Somebody" had told me the devil might stare back at me if I looked too often.
Refusing to ever button my coat up in winter.

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Saturday, 13 December 2003

Body Dysmorphia

"If I'd known I would live so long, I would have taken better care of myself."
William Blake
Each of us, no matter what a sad act, has one complex, life-long relationship - with our body.
One of my favourite bits of Frankenstein - when the Creature informs Victor Frankenstein in the Caves of Ice that he plays the flute; "in which part of my body did this knowledge reside?" Perhaps musical talent is in the soul, but the genetic heritage you take from your makers is real enough.
One of my favourite Friend in Danger of Attack with Sharp Objects remarks came from HarvardBoy, a few years ago, when I was a porky porky lard ass. He wandered up to me one morning and said "you know people with big round bellies like yours are at a higher risk of heart disease."
When my face fell in horror, he attempted to mollify me by pointing out how much more rotund my belly was than any other part of my body, and that only someone who truly cared would say this.
Yes, he can still walk unaided, but it was a close-run thing.

The body that you're born with, versus the body that you make for yourself. And how you imagine that body to look is fascinating to me.
Nobody ever sees their back view. Sit in a busy station, and you can pick out one person in twenty who really really doesn't visualise their rear view when they dress in the morning.
Ack, that wasn't what I meant to blog about - I'm skinny as a rake, but I have what feels to me like podge in a layer across my belly. I know that exercise would tauten it. But I'm so skinny that it feels unfair. If I'm going to exercise, I at least want sexual reward.
Actually ... (brightens) ... the gym's good for voyeurs, innit?

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Friday, 12 December 2003


Why do people keep chatting to me? Do I have friendless and gullible tattooed on my forehead?
'Talk to Me; I Don't Run or Scream for at Least Ten Minutes'?

Scene: The Garage. Late afternoon.
Wanker: Are you going to be buying diesel or petrol?
Gullible Twat: Neither. I want to wash my car.
Is this a Pepsi petrol taste challenge? The car is covered in bird shit. Is he blind?

Scene: The Supermarket Checkout. Evening.
Wanker: Is that The Times?
No, love, it's a pigeon. Are the two inch high letters confusing you?
Wanker: Are they tabloid now?
It is, I suppose just about possible that I shrank the newspaper in the wash, smuggled it back in here, and now I want to pay for it.
Gullible Twat: No, they publish a tabloid option. You can choose. I think they're trying to compete with The Independent.
Mistake number one. Don't engage the nosey fuckers in conversation.
Wanker: (nods at the front page) Have you been following that case? Has he admitted it?
Dunno. Have you got halitosis? Oh, I see you have.
Girly Twat: Dunno. I think he has.
If I read the sodding paper, I might know. But that would involve you shutting the hell up and letting me buy the damn thing.
Wanker: What?! Her, too? Admitted it.
Oh pur-lease: talk in full sentences if you want a bloody answer.
Girly Twat: (sigh) No. He admitted they died in his house. He blamed her for the lies.
Wanker: Have you got a loyalty card? I did read about it, but I didn't ... it was a bit ...
Say goodbye to the Lady Coherence and all her little followers, folks.
Please God, just let me pay and extricate myself from this.

Girly Twat: It got a bit horrible reading all the details, didn't it? Yeah.
Oh great. Now I feel guilty and voyeuristic for buying The Times. The least hysterical newspaper I can find, and you infected it with prurience by association. Bastard. Gimme my change.

But why the hell were so many strangers chatting to me today?

Scene: Car park. Late evening.
Wanker: Excuse me, but where do you get your hair done?
In the bathroom, with the nail scissors, whenever I feel horrifically depressed, love. Why?
Girly Twat: Toni and Guy in Canary Wharf. Erm ... er ... uhhhh ... why?
Wanker: (whips out advertising brochure for a beauty salon) mmmfle murmur mumble ...
Okay, it got too boring even to type out.
He wanted a #50 downpayment on my next haircut, right there in the car park. If it hadn't been well-lit, I'd have thought he was offering to do it himself, with this shiny big hunting knife ...

I thought the point of London was a belligerent malevolent glare can replace ninety percent of normal discourse.

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Thursday, 11 December 2003

Too busy to blog. No really. Look, it's shorter than sodding usual, alright?

Running around like a mad happy thing, trying to collect all the bits of old crusty manky underwear, and the odd faded bogey, so that the place merely appears dirty and unkempt while it's being house-sat this weekend. They can't seriously be offended by just three days of dirty dishes, surely? It's only a month or so since I changed the sheets. Well, okay, four months, if you're going to count that other bed as well. Perhaps they'll just think the sheets are satin. Sort of satin in the middle.
With mucus stains.
Duch came over the other day and remarked upon the clumps of cat hair clinging to the side of the bath. I swear to you that's not a normal occurrence - in fact it was probably somehow her fault. Nay, definitely. The old beef mince in the drains is her fault, too.
Oh yeah, must sweep all the kitty litter out of the hallway. And pick up the dirty clothes from the pile I started in September. I'll leave the mouldy coffee in the cafetiere - it's doing no harm to anyone. The blue-green crystals forming inside the teapot are quite pretty really.
Oh, and hide the Christmas presents - don't want anyone to know in advance how crap they are, do I?
All so I can go visit Toulouse in Gay Paree - a full twelve months since I last left the forbidden isles, and about time too. I shall thoroughly enjoy anything that doesn't involve screaming at the general public, or being woken up at an ungodly hour by a moist cat's arse. Yippee!

This page graced by sarsparilla at 7:50 PM GMT
Updated: Thursday, 11 December 2003 8:02 PM GMT
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Wednesday, 10 December 2003

Car in Crisis

Now Playing: Shut the fuck UP you bloody noisy fucking neighbours from hell - SHUT THE FUCK UP.

Given what a distrustful, obsessive control freak I usually am about anything that matters, I persist in being amazed by the miracle of the motor car.
As a five year old, I ate too much cheese before bedtime once, and dreamt I invented the motor car. It was another 25 years before I figured out what a clutch pedal or gears did, though, despite having a 12 speed bike and a dad who explained the thing every other weekend.

Girly Twat: I was told you sometimes sold second hand cars?
Butchy Man: Yes, but we don't have anything right now.
Girly Twat: (sobbing into the telephone loudly) You don't understand .... I know nothing about cars. You don't know how easy it is to take advantage of me. If you don't promise to help me, I'll lose all my money and get a death trap. Please please help me. (outright lurching heaving sobs)
Ahh but you do understand something about cars, you manipulative minx - you just did nought to hysterical in under four seconds.
Butchy Man: (heavy sigh) Oh okay then, I'll keep an eye out for you.

There's not much that's as disempowering as having a car and knowing absolutely nothing about how it works. The awful thing is my growing propensity -- unheard of in my youth -- to try to girly my way out of it.

Girly Twat: I need to bring my car in for its MOT.
Butchy Man: Okay - It's a Volkswagen .... what?
Girly Twat: Um.
Fucking amazing. Four years of university to accredit that bloody um.
Girly Twat: Golf. Polo? Volkswagen Golf. Polo.
Listen, love, if you're going to lie so blatantly - and it is a blatant lie, you have no fucking idea what that car is - then at least try to stick to a consistent lie. Say Mini Metro. But stick to your story for at least two frigging seconds.
Butchy Man: Which is it?
Girly Twat: It's red.
It's time you did the dishes, sweetpea. Your brain is hurting. Jesus.

I first discovered this technique of being a hopeless loser, but affecting a giggle and short skirt while doing so aged about 25 (I was a late developer in the girly stakes - didn't wear pink till I was 29, and thought I better do it quick before it took on Barbara Cartland hues.) Faced with the fourteenth house move in four years, staring despondently at the huge amount of stuff that I'd piled, homeless, for one fortnight into the flat of an Uncle Charles of someone at work, I swallowed my pride and put on a bright blue mini and stilettos. I picked up one bag and clattered affectedly down the stairs when the removal men arrived. "Sorry, I'm not feeling awfully strong."
Fucking hell, should have tried that years ago... Not only did they move everything without the usual tired recriminations and blackmail, they paid for me to go eat breakfast while they did it, then sorted me out a new flat. Still, the shame of it rankled a little. I mean, it's cheating, isn't it? If you're a dyke.

Butchy Man: So, here's that secondhand motor I rang you about. Look, I'll lift the bonnet for you, okay. There.
Watch it, mate - I know this is a legal requirement, but you're getting pretty technical there. I might faint from the added pressure to my dizzy little head.
Girly Twat: Oooooooh! Is that what they look like inside?
Hey look, at least you didn't shout 'yecch! all dirty!'
Butchy Man: Do you want to test drive it now?
You can just hear the horror in his tone, can't you?
Girly Twat: Oh no, no, no, I can't drive. You'll have to test drive it for me. I'll watch.
What kind of a social fucking retard takes a car for a Test Passenge? A mincing girly twat, that's what.

Considering that I have to call the AA yellow van man out simply to change a tyre on my car, it's a fair miracle that any vehicle of mine has survived the four collisions and six break ins of the past three years since learning to drive.

Girly Twat: Excuse me? You look strong.
Butchy T-shirt Man: (assumes the startled look of a sexual harrassment victim) Unhh?
Yes, you. I'm verbally molesting you in front of your mates. You better come up with the goods, needle dick.
Girly Twat: I can't do this. (wild gesture under car bonnet.) Can you get the lid off this water tank for me? I've been trying for aaages. I hit it with the oil can but I'm too weak to....
Actual real live shame prevented me from finishing that sentence. I'm going to hell.
Butchy T-shirt Man: Grunt. (easily turns lid screw.)
Girly Twat: (bursts into applause and hops) Ooooh, thank you!
Butchy T-shirt Man: (runs)

This page graced by sarsparilla at 9:35 PM GMT
Updated: Wednesday, 10 December 2003 9:40 PM GMT
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Tuesday, 9 December 2003


Mood:  vegas lucky
Everywhere on earth has somewhere like Lidl. It's the place near the welfare offices, where the poor people shop in small values for items that were bought in huge bulk. The place that wastes no time on ambience, customers, heating, even on shelving. A wooden pallet on the floor containing 500 tins of Polish corned beef is enough - the real attraction is the price.
The first time I went to Lidl, my mum took me, and I was surprised by how similar it is to shopping abroad. You know that disorientation you feel when not a single package in an entire aisle says anything you recognise, in the colours you're used to letting rest in your supermarket peripheral vision, or even any labels in your own language. Similar products, but with ever so slightly wrong names. I bought a packet of Jaffa cakes yesterday, only they were fairy-sized, in a pack, not a tube, and they were called Mini Orange Sponges.
This spring, I'd waited a few times in Lidl car park while the ex signed up for her UB40 at the council offices across the road. But I'd concentrated my energies then on posing with my new secondhand car, and seeing how many pikeys I could persuade to wink at me by wearing ever more revealing outfits. This is not at all the same thing as Shopping at Lidl.
So, shattered after a two hour detour through the wrong Thames tunnel, last night I decided to break my commute at Limehouse Lidl, in the hopes of buying some Germanic looking crap. Germans do Christmas food well, don't they?
The first thing that hit me was the clinging, uncared for damp smell. This is like walking into Iceland a day after they switch the freezers off.
The second was: no shelves. Lidl will dump the packing box on a crate on the floor, saw off the top and bung a price sticker on. Bish bosh. No arranging of the organic pasta sauces so the labels face outwards.
Then the lack of organisational theme: summer flip flops next to battered Advent calendars, next to alien breakfast cereals that feature unfamiliar cartoon monkeys, next to Swiss cheeses. Of course I say a lack of theme, but whoever placed the lighter fuel alongside the cheap bottles of Schnapps must have had some sense of humour.
I hadn't leapt back in horror at the size and texture of a fat uncooked Bratwurst for a good twelve months, so there was a welcome sensation. Some of the less exotic products did attempt to translate themselves for the uninitiated - just as whenever I go to France in winter I get reminded that truly no lie, the rosbifs love to eat rotted food each Christmas (mince pies? plum pudding?), so the mince pies here had helpful subtitles: pastry cases with mincemeat inside. I dunno, still sounds a little rotted to me.
Clutching my stack of comestibles (mini orange sponges, apples in metric weights, Magenbrot and bon-bons mit sahne), I queued with the other plebs. And queued. And queued.
Because at Lidl, there's only ever two people on checkout, and they can take all the time they want to, knowing full well there's nowhere else you can go if you don't like it. Even Kwik-Save is pricier. Inching past the special offer Stollen, marzipan fancies and other utterly non-english sweetbreads, I began to notice the unhealthy pallor of my fellow shoppers. The way a cut glass accent sounded wrong. How many people were clutching multi-packs of Eastern European branded lager. People in thin looking unbranded clothing, with acne, rosacea, and pinched expressions.
I once rented a flat in Berlin, during reunification, and the interminable queues at Lidl made me recall being poor and going over to the East in order to feel richer for a day; before the border controls dropped entirely, and during a particularly cash-strapped spell. In West Berlin I was just a hick Britisher with crappy German, who used to get spat at on the U-Bahn if I spoke too loudly in English, and wore the wrong fashions (white instead of black - horrors!) (Christ, I loathe Berlin, but that's another story...) Behind the Iron Curtain, I was suddenly transformed into rich decadent Westerner. I minced up to the largest department store, where elaborately made up, grandiose assistants gave you a chit that allowed you to approach the one single triangular stack of tinned fish in the store. I followed the shopping spree with a trip to the restaurant of the most expensive hotel I could find, and stuffed myself with the finest bacon, eggs, cold gravy and lumpy mash, because that's the most expensive thing they served. From that point on, I decided not to glory in my wealth, but to stick to feasting on fried chicken in Kreuzberg. Brrrr.
Back in Limehouse, fourteen years later, as I paid for my wares (in cash - coins - putting your food on Visa as I'd normally do seemed to express a wanton and unseemly frivolity), I was interrupted by boozer number six in the queue returning to quibble about his 50 pee money off coupons. I left the change and got out of there.
Perhaps I should buy a cheaper flat, something that still allows me enough money to shop in a place that sells Clementines.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 9:50 PM GMT
Updated: Tuesday, 9 December 2003 10:14 PM GMT
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Monday, 8 December 2003

Victory Parade

Now Playing: weeping friend in the other room who's upset, drunk and distraught.

Not to put too bloodthirsty a point on it, but what is there to celebrate? Next week? A celebratory ping pong match? World heavyweight flower arrangers?
What a miserable over hyped meagre excuse for a parade the rugby result was. A shambolic reminder of how little we have to gloat over. And Chris de Burgh pauses his dancing at nipple height with his lady in red for long enough to see his daughter win Miss World. Hosted by China. Years after Mao finally convinced the rest of the world that yes, the contest is vile Western decadence, they go ahead and host it anyway. And boy but were those women caked in slap. They were nineteen years old, but all looked like 32 year old in fight attendants. On those parameters alone Lily Savage should have been hosting. Winners, indeed.
Can't these people devote their energies to sorting out a Norn Iron peace treaty for gawdssakes? That I would wave a flag in the Mall for.
In fact, just what are the victories of the nation? Huh?

London's unparalleled record on miscegenation and interracial harmony.
The Sixties - the old duffers from back then are annoying, but at least they decriminalised abortion, homosexuality and divorce.
Indian independence - the jewel in the crown given back. That was worth a knees up.
Concorde, test tube babies, the National Health Service, the Open University.
The Thames barrier and the Channel Tunnel.
I haven't had a sniff of firewater in three weeks (can you tell? I'm so a pub bore now.)

The Monarchy.
Public transport.
The Anglo-American 'special' relationship that has held us tied to an over-reliance on US foreign policy decisions and nuclear capability for fifty years now.
Unemployment. The whole damn ritual of poverty and inequity.
Governmental belligerence out of all proportion to its actual power (Falklands, Kosovo, the Gulf).
Doctors, lawyers, religious groups and poofs. The new middle class repressives of the world.

And anyway, don't any of these hitherto disinterested, sudden rugby viewers know the third and fourth sodding lines to 'Swing Low Sweet Chariot'?

This page graced by sarsparilla at 10:44 PM GMT
Updated: Monday, 8 December 2003 10:51 PM GMT
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Sunday, 7 December 2003

I'm ready for my Ambulance Man, Mr De Mille

Now Playing: Justin Fucking Timberlake

I should be arriving in Cambridge right now, but I forgot to set an alarm of any of the four kinds I usually use, then decided today was a good day to straighten my hair (wrong: combined with the nail-scissors induced hair cut, it merely looks like it's been combed, for once; however, I'm pleased to report that within one month I shall cease to be blonde and rejoin the ranks of ginger), to sort out the three human height piles of clean washing (so long since I did this that there's still washing of Wickedex's in there, and she stopped doing any housework here back in June), and then pose a lot in my new underwear. I had an underwear buying splurge on Friday (one that was entirely, totally unrelated to the depressing visit to the adjacent mortgage advisor, who'd gently informed me that the ex-council flats in Bermondsey which I'd thought I'd been brought down to are slightly out of my reach, financially), and true to my own typecasting, bought lots of knickers with jewellery in the bumcracks. I know, I know, there are more dignified ways of describing them, but jewellery up the bumcrack was the selling point for me.
Matching sets, of course - bizarrely, since I haven't slept with anyone since January - well, actually, I have, but I haven't rogered anyone since January, so that time I woke up in bed with Martin and Looby, although definitely a knicker flashing occasion (sports set, white), doesn't count. First matching jewel encrusted bumcrack set of undies were worn on Friday, to the work Christmas party in (gasp) Charlton. Black and silver glitter, with black diamante bumcrack, and comfy-pillows bra (extra pillows down the bra very much required after recent crappy relationship-withdrawal weight loss - I have ribs where bazookas should be). Real danger of public flashing, owing to the ridiculous prozzer mini - so short I didn't have to hitch it up to pee. In fact, the evening was testament to the fact that if everyone else is pissed, you don't actually need to be pissed yourself to act stupid, as at one point, having staggered back to someone's house, I realised I was sat peeing (on the bog, I've never yet repeated the Funky Buddha pee-expo), having neither pulled my skirt up, or the jewel-bumcrack string knickers down. But honestly, there was so little material, I doubt much piss got on the knickers.
Yesterday, I wore the red silk fifties bikini effort - no bumcrack jewels, as these were sporty Betty Page looking efforts, but there were some rocks nestled in the arid expanse of no cleavage. Which kept itching. Prompting some embarrassing scratching at Asda. But hell, I spent my Saturday night doing CNPS and going to look at the Dome by moonlight, who cares what itching nonsense nestles in my sweaty cracks unless I end up on a mortician's slab during such a lone-gunman-type recce? Which, when my car began to break down in the Blackwall Tunnel (again), wasn't such a far-off possibility.
Today is pale pink jewel-encrusted rock solid undies. If you poke the top of the apparently humongous boobs, they deflate (always makes me giggle, Bloke Opposite, who was thankfully out during last night's knicker dancing episode, must think I'm some sort of pervert - squeezing my bits, then pissing myself laughing). When I get to Cambridge, my sis is going to think I've had breast implants. Unless she sees them with a seat belt deflating the whole effort. Snigger.
Two Jaffa cakes left, then I'm outta here. Toe-socks, jewelled bumcrack, pink deflated knockers and all.
Hieronymo's gone mad againe.

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Vanessa/Female/31-35. Lives in United Kingdom/London/East London/Bow, speaks English and German. Spends 40% of daytime online. Uses a Normal (56k) connection. And likes Literature / Movies/Food / Eating / Drinking.
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This page graced by sarsparilla at 12:49 PM GMT
Updated: Monday, 8 December 2003 6:36 PM GMT
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Saturday, 6 December 2003


Weirdly appropriate to last night's Slapper Gear was the kerb crawling I've been practising this week. It took me many hours, but I'm now a master at prowling along a kerbside at 4mph with a quietly humming motor, as I eyeball those waiting willing victims who line the roadside, trying to find the one who will satisfy my keen probing eye ....

I spent forty minutes in the Sainsbury's car park in Charlton last week, looking for number 21. I swear the woman eating a sandwich in her car outside B & Q was about to ring the police. I spent a bit less time in Canary Wharf car park, hoping to find a personalised plate (mostly because they have CCTV, security checks and a ring of steel to facilitate my being thrown out all the more swiftly), but spoiled the artfully 'careless' effect by doing it three days running.

I know where there's a 24 and a 26 regularly parked. I also know there is a God and he's laughing up his sleeve at me, because I've now spotted 721 and 217 approximately five separate times, each. As well as 214, 215, 216, 218, 219, 921, 821, 621, and 421. Fucking bastard god. Stobbit!

Which reminds me, during last night's prostitute impersonation on a Charlton by-road, I spotted a huge car park outside Asda. Ahhhhhhh. That's my Saturday night sorted out, then.

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Friday, 5 December 2003

Christmas par-tayyyyy!

I have three weeks of alcohol-free boredom to expiate, a mini-skirt up to here, red patent kinky boots and I'm wired on coffee and sugar.
Makes repetitive whooping sounds...

This page graced by sarsparilla at 8:26 PM GMT
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Thursday, 4 December 2003


Ethernautrix got me thinking about people who brag about how much trouble they got into as a kid. I only got into trouble three times in my life.
So here's one of mine. Aged sixteen, I went to a local sixth form college and simultaneously enrolled in night classes at a community college so I could study art history. I was one of those insufferably 'meek' kids who is in reality anything but, having a deeply held conviction that I was the most intelligent member of any class. A quiet, reserved kid, really, I hadn't ever really been out without either my parents or a friend's parents being present. I'd been dressing like a bad girl for a few years, but the truth was that it was easier to feign introspection that way - I'd never spoken to a boy (beyond Aaron Chipps once in the third year), and wouldn't have known what to say if I did.
A lunchtime conversation at college had run on to who had the most repressive family. Mine had locked me out for getting home -accompanied by responsible adults - from a friend's place at five minutes to nine. There were mass 'ooohs', and I won instantly.
I think I'd been feeling guilty about this, so come the end of year college pool party, I decided to do my best to be the model daughter. Given that my closest friends were dating smackheads or on their second trial release from the loony bin, given that another had painted in navy non drip gloss two foot high lettering "FUCK OFF MUM" across their bedroom wall, I felt peculiarly angelic, and slightly aggravated that my family didn't know a well-behaved kid when they saw one, when I did more than my filial duty and asked what time they would like me home.
Never never never ask what someone wants. Always always always ask for the ultimate you think you can get.
In mock high Dickensian manner, my mum and dad stroked imaginary beards at the family dinner table and cogitated solemnly. It was deemed seemly that I return home by ten of the clock. All were agreed that this was fair. Harumphs of satisfaction all around.
Except for the seething, pulsating furnace of boiling injustice inside of me.
Ten o'clock? I was apoplectic. Unable to speak. (Forget momentarily that I hadn't for one second intended to go to the actual pool party, but to run off clubbing with aforementioned wayward chums. Pool party? Get serious. I thought myself way too cool for school.) Nobody I knew would even get to the clubs before half eleven.
I simmered blackly, emanating noxious waves of discontent and adolescent fury.
'They fuck you up your mum and dad', I gnashed, in a rather poetical aside to the adolescent-cam that I presumed followed me everywhere.
I dressed (in black, natch), left, went to the pub under a storm cloud of rage. Railed against the inequity of it all. Had a few. More than a few.
Moved onto the club, obstinately. And wordlessly buggered off on my own.

I've pretty generally lived my life as if the rest of the world doesn't exist - or if they do, I don't give all that much of a fuck, anyway. As Ethernautrix (again) puts it, as though you're living in a novel and you want to see what would happen if the author . . . ?
So it was after a night of drunken al fresco debauchery that I awoke in the bed of a stranger, hung out for the rest of the day, and returned chez famille at about four in the afternoon the next Sunday.
Being the protagonist and all, I was mildly surprised that a chain of events had taken place in my absence.
The squad car, for instance. The police interviews that followed. Where had I been -- had I been taken against my will -- what are the details of the people you stayed with -- were you abused. Next, I had to telephone all the friends who'd been interviewed by the rozzers while they'd been tracing my final moments. Before I was abducted, killed, sliced into pieces and hidden down an old pipe on a wasteground, I mean.
Then the long long lecture about responsibility, consideration, this house is not a hotel, that presumably everyone gets once before they survive their teens. I was a little amiss as to how daytime soap the whole shebang was going to get. I'd genuinely not even wondered where everyone might think I'd gone. For the first time in my sixteen years I decided not to tell a lie then hide in the toilet till I'd got away with it. I argued back, and unleashed the truculent manipulative demon within.
Finally, after eight hours of tears, snot, yelling, stamping, wrangling, and grilling, I lifted a sulky callow face and asked what time they wanted me home tomorrow night.
Bless 'em. They let me out, an all. As much as I wanted. No match.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 7:49 PM GMT
Updated: Tuesday, 30 December 2003 8:38 PM GMT
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Wednesday, 3 December 2003


Foggy day. Visibility one hundred yards at one point. Outside my window at work, the City of London, Canary Wharf, Elmstead Woods all disappeared. Then the other end of the building was lost in the mist.
As a little kid, walking to school in the fog with jatb, I used to believe that the gods who created the world were having a lie-in. That the world round the corner didn't ever exist until you turned that corner and it was ready for you. On a foggy day, you caught the gods out, and you could see the process happening as they tried to keep up with your pace.
Of course this means that all other humans were obviously a figment of my imagination. So the member of the public whom I accidentally told to "fuck off and get out of my face" this morning doesn't really exist except as a way for my own mind to punish me. Likewise, the huge amount of work I've conquered this week is a paltry invention feeding my need for self-esteem. The problems I've had sleeping aren't real - there is no sleep. There's just the gods' working hours, getting the world ready for my inspection. I've already remarked on here the weirdness that is medication meant to make me sleep that doesn't actually make me sleepy, but merely punishes me if I don't sleep. It figures. If I don't sleep, I make them work harder.
If everything but me is unreal, then I'm not really grinding my teeth habitually. I'm imagining I'm grinding my teeth in order to get sympathy from myself.
It doesn't matter that I tried to buy Christmas presents today, then a hundred pounds the lighter realised I'd dully bought the same present for everyone. Because these people only exist in order to make me feel less alone.
After hearing on the radio (that is, a voice inside my head) that 68% of UK women don't buy a new outfit for their office christmas party, I went to some imaginary clothes shops, and invented some mirrors to show me that I've lost too much weight and look weird for it, so that I could worry needlessly.
In fact, does my body exist? I feel sure that my mind doesn't.
Perhaps I'm like that Tales of the Unexpected Story, 'William and Mary', where the guy is a brain suspended in jelly, with an eyeball attached, watching helpless as the wife who hated him shows him things he can't turn away from.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 10:29 PM GMT
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I wanted interrupt transmission just now, to say how impressed I was with the comments people left on yesterday's blog. Being sensitive, thoughtful, and from bloggers I admire. I enjoyed reading them. The enterprise seemed less pointless than normal. Thanks.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 10:11 PM GMT
Updated: Wednesday, 3 December 2003 10:30 PM GMT
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Tuesday, 2 December 2003


Pretentious Blog
v. tr.
To rid of impurities; cleanse.
To rid of foreign or objectionable elements.
To free from sin, guilt, or other defilement.
v. intr.
To become clean or pure.

I was studying an Indian poem today, and began to think about guilt and redemption. Our modern assumption is that life is meant to be happy, conscience-free, fun.
The older attitude differs: trouble is good for the soul.
Began to wonder: if you suffer for the sins of a previous life, how does that suffering assist you in this one?

To absolve, atone, chasten, clarify, cleanse, decontaminate, disinfect, exculpate, exonerate, expiate, purge, redeem, refine, sanctify, sanitise, shrive, sublimate, wash.

Some cultures purify with a flame. We do still sterilise a needle in fire today. Others purge the soul of impurities and infection through medicine. Superstitions are culturally learned, but no less fruitful in redeeming your sense of worth - you can cauterise your woes with alcohol or drugs, or with socialising, with words. The modern world tends to medicate every psychological problem. You can't sleep, take a pill; you can't laugh, take a pill. Laugh too much? A pill will repress the urge. It's a solution, I suppose. Older rituals use religion to purify. Religion gives us routine, reassurance; it implies forgiveness. All the same functions of a psychiatrist, with none of the indignity or fees. I read somewhere recently some zen saying that depression is the process your mind uses to prepare itself for change.

So, we sacrifice, we scarify (see Creepy Lesbo's regular scarification rituals for more intense details), we offer ourselves up for examination. We hope that what we do will help us to change.

Ordinary Blog
I've been using sleep and drugs and music to purify myself of what's been happening lately. 'Drugs' is a misnomer, I've been avoiding them in order to change, by refusing alcohol. It only took two weeks not to want it any night but Saturday, so that was both easier and harder than I expected. When Wickedex came over on Sunday, I think I surprised her with the sleeping. I sleep almost all the time. If I go to bed late, I stay in bed the whole next day. While she was here, I was visibly losing conscious ability to speak, and at one point had to go and lie still for thirty minutes. Yesterday I got home at seven o'clock, and went straight to bed for twelve hours to make up for having had to get back out of bed at all the day before.
Must have made an impression - she cleared up the kitchen for me while she waited. I hope she saw how much life still in the flat we shared so is not fun.
I dunno what the reason for the sleep is - I hope, after a month of 2-3 hours sleep nightly, that it's purifying.
Then there's music. Driving Wickedex through shitty streets, looking for shitty ex-council flats to buy once this one is sold, she asked why I was playing Norah Jones on the CD player. Surprised that I liked it. Hadn't heard me listen to that CD before.
I don't like it. When I was depressed, I used to listen to the same pieces of music, over and over and over again, hoping repetition would numb the emotions they instigated. Like pressing against a sore tooth with your tongue, or picking at a scab. Each relationship I had has a piece of music (or ten) that seems to encapsulate the 'mourning' period - music I listened to obsessively, even though it made me cry too much. All night if necessary.
Now I sleep, and I'm not in that depression any more; I can see that This Is a Stupid Thing to Do.
Now, I listen only to music I don't like. I'm sick of having my favourite music ruined by bad memories. Of having pieces I can only listen to if I'm not feeling down. It doesn't purify the sentiment - it contaminates the medicine and spoils the source.
I can listen to Norah bloody Jones droning out her toneless sub-cowboy rich bratty drivel for hours and hours and hours. When I don't feel bad any longer, when the memories subside, I won't have a single regret about smashing and melting down that fucking CD.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 9:32 PM GMT
Updated: Tuesday, 2 December 2003 10:14 PM GMT
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Monday, 1 December 2003

Weapons of Mass Destruction (found!)

via Alfred

Safeway carrier bag
Too-tired child in restaurant whose parents just stuffed him with sugary crap
Shopping trolley with dodgy wheel
Cup of coffee when on the move and trying to unlock a door
That fat caribbean woman in the big winter coat who stands blocking random doorways across the length and breadth of London
Someone advancing towards you with a rota
An immobile ginger spider with hidden legs that suddenly moves at 4am
Large rich turkey dinners in polite (ie, no farting) company
The laughing-too-loud unknown guest at the leaving ceremony, whom no-one can recall inviting
The bosses' piranha smile
Sunday broadsheet newspaper, with 42 pull-out sections of adverts, and only two articles
The foreign log in your loo that won't flush
IKEA on a Sunday
The cold stone floor on your instep first thing in the morning
The old duffer at work who's been there a decade too long and has gone utterly mad, but who hasn't realised it yet (they took my stapler, they moved my desk, I could burn down the building)
Dave's super-strong arse-clenching coffee
The phrase "could you just...?"
Any sharp object at knee height
People who settle down on the bog to telephone you, complete with sound effects
Naughty cat with a grudge about kitty litter provision
That bloody bottle of wine still in the fridge
Freezing biting British winters

This page graced by sarsparilla at 7:40 PM GMT
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Sunday, 30 November 2003

That Which Should Not Be

I caught it stretching at 4am this morning.

Wickedex came over, and after some coercion, she agreed to go into the hall and smite the spider.

Where the chimping hell had it hidden those legs?
See the size of its teeth?

She left it playing amongst the wet russet leaves in the yard. She went out there barefoot. Madness.
I know it'll be back. See how one leg is reaching for me?

This page graced by sarsparilla at 8:23 PM GMT
Updated: Sunday, 30 November 2003 8:30 PM GMT
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Saturday, 29 November 2003

Buy Silly Things

It's Buy Nothing day today.
I really wanted to make my stand against the consumerism bukkake* that is Crissmuss, but I woke this morning with the devil dancing across my forehead, and forgot the damn thing. #442.90 pence.

So far today, in reverse order, I've guiltily bought:

A sugary feast: a litre of Vanilla Coke, 8 packets of crisps, a 12 pack of chocolate bars, a chocolate cheesecake, and a box of Belgian chocolates. If I'm not going to drink to excess, I'm damn well going to overdo it in whatever other arena I can. The come-down alone was worth it. Cat food, washing powder and AA batteries, too, because I'm a boring practical bastard ............ #15.00
35 gallons of diesel fuel at the Jet garage in Leyton. No nibblies! How self-abnegating of me ....... #40.00
Two video tapes (and yet more Blockbuster's overdue fines) to watch at Duch's house, to put her off from making coal fires and telling me where to buy a flat .......... #8.00
Two tickets to see Mourning Becomes Electra, a four hour shocker of a Freudian re-write of Euripides' Oresteia, at the National Theatre, despite having no idea whether jatb can make that date or not, and for the superficially acceptable reason that it's had amazing reviews, but the real underlying reason that it's all sexual frustration and Helen Mirren's cleavage .............. #68.00
A car insurance policy, after I defaulted payment on two policies, simultaneously, in the last week. I dunno how anyone can fuck up their finances as thoroughly as I can. I only need one - why did I have two? And it's illegal to even park the damn car without any, so given I was double-covered, how the hell could I forget to pay either of them? ......... #220.00
A copy of the Grauniad, after the local radio station told me how disgusting it was that they publicised magic mushroom shops on their front page, and which I donated to the over-hyped fashionable cafe I read it in .......... #1.10
Two fried eggs on toast with bacon, a coffee, and a squeezily squeezed orange juice in a trendy Isle of Dogs converted church cafe, where people sip cappucinos, wear their metrosexual weekend casualwear, work on their novels, smoke a lot, and eye each other up .........#7.00
A new central locking system, door repair, and brake light for the car that gets broken into four times a month ........ #80.00
A number 369 bus ticket from Barking to Creekmouth in Dagenham, from a flirty but aged bus driver ....... #0.70pee
A takeaway americano coffee from the Barking station Costa Coffee concession, where the nice old French lady who serves me is beginning to treat me like a local, but who hasn't yet noticed that I can tell when she mutters in French to the coffee machine monkey that the other customers are bitches ....... #1.40
A tube ticket to Barking, from an overcrowded machine, which made me drop all my coins (well, okay, it didn't make me - not unless the thing is possessed, which it might well be) at 1.71 Kilometre End tube station, where I waved at Kat, who was busy working the bothersome fools / public who stalk the barriers, and shivered at the big yellow police sign informing you it's a 'Local Crime Hotspot' (think I don't know that? Tonight's Mastermind Contestant: Bethnal Green Nick; Specialist Subject: Stating the Bleedin Obvious. Stop commissioning stupid yellow signs that some Hoxton pillock will one day make into Art, and go catch the fuckers who keep burgling my car, willya?) ............ #1.70
Things I haven't Bought:
A house
Any proper food

[*tm Bitter Little Man]

This page graced by sarsparilla at 3:29 PM GMT
Updated: Sunday, 30 November 2003 2:46 AM GMT
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Friday, 28 November 2003


No, not the movie by Cronenberg (tagline: 'the only thing worse than losing your mind is finding it again').

It's this thing, which was lifeless on the ceiling of my hallway for five months. I made sure it was dead, by poking a cat up towards the ceiling, on the end of a pole, and shouting "eat it! eat the spider!"
The cat meowed, as if to say "touch me again and I'll rip your fucking face open", so I assumed there was no nutritional value left within the insect's mildewed husk.

Until.... one day last week, I glanced up to see it suspended eight inches down on a thread. I thought it had slipped the surly bonds of its mortal coil, and was hanging by a weakly tessellated arse thread (hair takes longer to decay, dunnit?), but the next day it was back in its death-spot eight feet up, on the ceiling.
Now it descends only when I have a really bad, dark day. I get to the top of the stairs, shoot a haunted look upwards, mutter "the fuck you did", and shuffle past. But what is it?


What is it?

Where did the other legs go?

Is it dead?

Why is it collecting ginger hairs?

Why has it moved twice in seven months?

Will the ginger hairs allow it to regenerate?

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This page graced by sarsparilla at 10:52 PM GMT
Updated: Saturday, 29 November 2003 7:23 PM GMT
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Thursday, 27 November 2003

A Year Ago

Now Playing: noisy neighbours

Yes, but I've become increasingly belligerent since giving up drinking. I started this week (my second week of abstemiousness) in the right spirit by emailing Looby "an you can fuck off an all", which was less than polite. Tonight I got home from Dagenham (had to take the car to be repaired after its fourth burglary in a month) - (clue to would-be burglars - first steal the car, THEN fiddle with the odometer. Trying to rig the mileage before you get the steering wheel lock off is silly) to find a relatively reasonable email from the Wickedex asking about potential buyers viewing the flat. The time she chose coincided with the next journey to Dagenham (it's made two hours longer each time by the witlessness of always picking the wrong train and ending up in Upminster without a ticket), so I replied with an ill-advised un-proofed torrent of invective about how my life is rubbish and it's all her fault. Still...
So, to cheer myself up before I open the letter from the car insurers (that I know is about defaulting on the payments), I thought I'd look back at the calendar, which passed its year mark this autumn.

A year ago today, I was on strike. I recall watching Quincy and drinking coffee a lot. No picketing, because I disagreed politically with the strike, I was simply too lazy to not strike. My ears were probably still buzzing and slightly dulled after my first big stadium concert - the Foo Fighters at Wembley Arena, with a mate. (Wickedex had commented that I might as well start listening to Iron Maiden and refused to come.) The concert itself was technically, musically quite blah, as you could barely see the band. But the moral weight of a really large crowd simultaneously foot-stamping and chanting was scarythrilling, in the same way as that moment that the undercarriage lifts from the tarmac when a plane takes off, the plane banks steeply upwards, and you feel slightly pressed against your seat. Even as a calm fearless flyer, your palms grow a little moist clamminess.
The weekend after, I took the Eurostar for a night in Paris, to visit the lovely and talented Toulouse. Which is such a coincidence, just last night I booked tickets to go over there again. God, I must be predictable - Christmas ... Paris. Perhaps it looks better in the dark. Or more probably, I do.

I remember it being much much colder than this year has been - I'd nearly frozen to death under two coats and a thick scarf at London Zoo with my family earlier, and had to stuff myself silly with cabbage products and vodka at a Russian tearoom in Primrose Hill after. (mmmmm..... I picked up a dreadful pierogi habit when I was in Poland, that always has me jonesing for cabbage and dumpling in winter.)
That fortnight, I'd also gone clubbing in Birmingham with a load of people I knew from years of talking crap online, and we'd gotten utterly trashed after ritualistically eating raw meat and vomit. Well, it smelled like vomit, anyway.
I'd also driven 200 miles to Swindon and back in one evening, to see a Peter Kay show; the tickets had been for my sister's birthday, but it had turned out that she was the only one in the family who had no idea who Peter Kay is. I'd spotted my childhood English teacher in the row in front. He looked the same, except I wasn't this time sitting at crotch height, which weirdly figured in my teenage memories of him a lot. Wickedex didn't attend any of these things - oh except the Paris trip - and was away working in Yorkshire and Devon as usual for half the month. Hmmm, foreshadowing?

Not totally, we'd just come back from a holiday driving around Switzerland. We drove from the Alps (that's the Eiger behind me), to a sunny vineyard on the banks of Lake Geneve in the Valais, to a cheese infested dairy farm in the Emmental, having started off in a cloud.
The gigantic muffling grey groggy cloud was the reason I'd wanted to go to Switzerland - the (politically despised) Millennium Expo there was in its final weekend, and I wanted to visit one particular exhibit at Yverdon-les-Bains - a man-made cloud in the middle of a lake, centred around a pier. It was fantastic - everything you imagine when you stare out along the wing of the plane and look down at a cloud carpet. Most of all, I loved saying to people at work that I was going to Switzerland to sit in a cloud.
It was wet, white, steamy, cold, tasty, quiet (just a steady small hissing sound), and every twenty minutes they purposely let the cloud drop, so it would disperse and you'd see the contrast of a sunny clear lakeside, before the cloud would re-form. Gorgeous. A lake-wide rebirthing tank, almost.

Any parallels? I was keeping busy. Perhaps there's a lesson there.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 9:38 PM GMT
Updated: Thursday, 27 November 2003 10:29 PM GMT
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Wednesday, 26 November 2003

narrow squeak

What's the definition of a narrow squeak? A thin mouse.


Today could have been terrible - three late nights, despite sleeping pills that punish you for late nights by making you feel godawful (a pavlovian approach that feels puritan enough to work for me); having to lead a shitty five hour training session which turned into five hours of me arguing with everyone, then saying "I'm sorry you feel like that; nevertheless, you're all going to do it my way."
Plus I can tell the next bit of Verbal from the bosslady is coming for taking too much time off this year. It's still bloody raining. It's cold and dark all the time. It had all started so despondently, the day looked reassuringly foreboding and hopeless.

Yet, traipsing out of the house this morning, I suddenly realised how great it is to be alive:

I dunno if you can see it very well, but the red car seven yards in front of the major natural disaster is mine. The large black spindly stripe of divine retribution across the centre is the three storey high tree that was outside my bedroom window. It didn't uproot - it snapped at the base. It's at least two feet in diameter, as the owners of those cars found to their horror. Those branches punctured directly through the roof and the seats below.
Poor old Woman Opposite had no insurance to cover it, and had just done a grand's worth of repairs to her car. It was all I could do not to grin in her face. I offered her some platitudes about how it could be worse, she could have been sat in it, and thanked my lucky stars.
I heard nothing all night. Blimey, but those sleeping pills must be strong.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 6:16 PM GMT
Updated: Wednesday, 26 November 2003 6:22 PM GMT
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