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Tuesday, 6 January 2004

Oh calm, dishonourable, vile submission

[Well, either I annoyed people with the self obsessed primping and navel gazing of the past few days, or Technorati is down, and sixty one sites didn't really just remove their link to this blog.]

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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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United Kingdom, London, East London, Bow, English, German, Vanessa, Female, 31-35, Literature / Movies, Food / Eating / Drinking.

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This page graced by sarsparilla at 8:03 PM GMT
Updated: Wednesday, 7 January 2004 6:55 AM GMT
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I'm sure I've written on here before about what a huuuuuuuuuuuuge Princess Di fan I was at uni. Me and some friends tried to form an unofficial Diana for Queen society.
We wanted a monarchic split, along Tudor / Stuart lines, with the houses of Windsor and Spencer providing twin dynasties, who would fight to the death for the crown.
(We were still discussing what should go on the soc T shirts when we finally left uni and lost interest.) Added to this, pretty much everyone in Britain remembers what they were doing when they heard her car had crashed in Paris. And pretty much everyone has some opinion about how the British people responded at her funeral. Over here, it was a JFK moment.
I left flowers, of course, on the morning that she'd died - at Kensington Palace and Buckingham Palace. JatB and I went to the gold encrusted, sheikh-heavy Park Lane Hilton to buy them, and I'm sure the florist threw in a lot more effort and flowers when we told him who they were for. At Kensington, the alleyway leading to the gate was already filled with round bouquets, and shrines were already popping up along the railings of the park, including a sign accusing MI5 of murdering her, which later disappeared. At Buckingham Palace, we refused an interview to Swedish television, on the basis that the press had killed my heroine. (shyah, right, the Swedes did it - have you thought of that, al Fayed?) It was extremely weird to see a ring of policemen holding tourists back from the Palace, but allowing us to pass within; weird to be the ones allowed through, for once. If you saw any pictures of the fields of flowers laid, you can actually see our flowers; they're the first layer laid, leaning against the gates of the palace.
My own take on the funeral was that this country doesn't handle grief well, as a rule. That lots of people lose someone and feel that they haven't really accepted it for years, that they haven't quite done their grieving. The Diana funeral was a fairly safe place to portray and express that grief - the funeral of a stranger whom you respected in some way. Anyone recently bereaved whom I knew responded very differently to the 'masses' and found the whole thing an intrusion into their, 'real' grief. But the point about that is that they were still grieving the first time around, they hadn't got to that stage where people don't want to hear any more, yet, where people give you subtle hints that going on about the person you've lost for three years is perhaps enough.
When visiting her coffin in state - which I did most days - told you I was a huge Diana fan - I was most interested in watching the other visitors (voyeuristic as ever). Interesting a higher proportion (than you usually spot in The hoity toity, tourist-laden Mall) of black citizens laying wreaths and flowers. I was particularly surprised to see that in this unaccustomed and rather European outburst of emotion (remember, the British regard Europe rather as 'over there' - a Johnny Come Lately), the majority of the people pilgrimaging to Buckingham Palace to sign the books and pay their respects were young men. I love it when men aren't afraid to express emotion - it reaffirms for me that Hollywood hasn't stamped out all individuality and human compassion from the male gender yet, with their relentless stereotyping.
Anyway, my reason for writing this post: today, the news that, six years on, a UK judge will finally open an inquest, not into the accident that killed Diana and al Fayed, but into the speculation surrounding the accident. I doubt the result would be public, or that we'll ever see a full and conclusive result. But it seems a shame that we can smash open the secrecy of Parliament to conduct the Hutton Inquiry into the death of David Kelly, but we can't ask awkward questions about the death of the mother of the future king.
Were the Secret Service tailing her car?
Why haven't they admitted to being in front of the hotel? It's inconceivable that they weren't keeping a very close eye on her.
It wasn't some ordinary hit and run - so why hasn't the car that witnessed the crash ever been traced?
Why and how, of all the underpasses in Paris, could the CCTV footage of that tunnel, at that moment have 'disappeared'?
If the driver, Henri Paul, had taken the huge cocktail of drink and drugs the French inquest found him to have, how on earth could he have even walked to the car, let alone driven it?
The issue has been complicated recently, by the disclosure of a letter from Diana to her butler, Paul Burrell, dated ten months before her death, in which she accuses someone of plotting with the 'men in grey' to murder her in a faked car accident. Legal issues allowed publication of the letter, but not of the name of the person she suspected of masterminding the plan. (of course, monarchists suggest this was all paranoia - conveniently forgetting that Diana lived in the royal household for fifteen years - if anyone was privy to their machinations on a scale even the most ardent serf and footman wasn't, it was she.)
That name was released today: Prince Charles.
I'm a natural conspiracy theorist, me. And I definitely fancied Di. But even I had pretty much decided it was just a car accident in a tunnel. An end to a pitiful life, in many ways. The tragedy of it was how little she was allowed to achieve, in the end.
But then today I heard an anecdote, a little, telling detail, that I'd never heard before.
Apparently, Sarah Ferguson, (Diana's sister-in-law, and another huge embarrassing thorn in the side of the Royal House of Windsor), used to share confidences and laugh cynically with Diana about how between them they were destroying the old regime. They shared together the rank of loose cannon, of wayward outsider on the inside of 'The Firm'.
When she heard the news of Diana's death, Fergie's first response was to write a letter to the Queen, saying that she would step into line, she would move back into the Palace, she would behave - but please, her children could not grow up without a mother.
Now what in hell does that reaction tell you?

This page graced by sarsparilla at 8:00 PM GMT
Updated: Tuesday, 6 January 2004 8:03 PM GMT
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Monday, 5 January 2004

Days Gone By

As ever, I shall shamelessly rip a good idea from another blogger's talons; Emma Swords (or Emma's Words - I prefer the swords image - better visuals) had the idea of doing a creme de la creme round-up of one's best posts from the previous year.
Of course, I only started blogging in July, and at least the first three months of posts were unadulterated shite, but here, for you edifica-- oh, okay, stultification - are the ones I really enjoyed writing - my own personal on-site Blorgy-Fest:
Busy Busy Busy
48 Hours
Details, Details
Do I Know You?
God takes the Central Lone
Fractured Femur
Drinks Menu
Sixty Things
Why The Big Read Sucks
London Fog
Ignis Fatuus
How to Be a Cat
Cancel Christmas
Fucked #1
Fucked #8
Fucked #10
Tea at the Ritz
PS. Don't nawbody bother telling me how arrogant, self-obsessed and megalo maniacal this post was, noway, nohow; I don't even care. It's a blog, dammit - narcissism is endemic to the genre.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 7:58 PM GMT
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Sunday, 4 January 2004

Blobby Bellie Porker

I am a fat porky. I need to do some sodding exercie. This is what fell out when I undid my belt in the changing rooms at Bluewater yesterday.

Okay, I'm obviously trying to distract attention from real life with this toss, but what the hell, I slept till seven in the evening today, I have nothing really to blog about other than that Love Actually is really cruel, really it is. It's all mean, and loads of people finish up miserable in it. Poooooooooor Emma Thompson.

And yes, I do always take a camera into the changing rooms with me. And stilts. And sellotape for collecting dead skin particles. And a jar in case I dribble.

Be afraid.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 11:08 PM GMT
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Saturday, 3 January 2004


Dammit dammit dammit, why can't I sleep?

I can't bear today. Really, really no. I forgot that New Year's Day was a Thursday, not a Friday, so had 24 hour's reprieve, but spent most of it having anxiety dreams. I rang Wickedex and talked to her about it, which relieved the horror and tedium a little, but not much.

I've spent the evening / night watching movies, and making Mirror Project posts while I pick my nose, idly. Here's one, complete with toothpaste spatter-marks:

Won't look as awake as that on Saturday, that's for sure.
Ma Femme Est Une Actrice = good.
Buffalo Soldiers = toss.
Ripley's Game = great.
Billy Madison = worst film ever.
National Lampoon's Loaded Gun = apart from that one.
Love Liza = no, no, NO! Go to fucking bed, you loon!

This page graced by sarsparilla at 4:25 AM GMT
Updated: Saturday, 3 January 2004 4:32 AM GMT
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Friday, 2 January 2004

Precious Precious Alcoholic Haze

Mood:  loud
Now Playing: Ma Femme Est Une Actrice - Charlotte Gainsbourg - phwoooaaaaarrrrr!

I really really really shouldn't have drunk that champagne yesterday. I felt like a hammer made out of an elephant's foot had hit me today. I didn't even wake up till seven pm, after throwing the pillow over my head to ignore so many calls the phone ran out of batteries. Still don't know who rang.
Hangovers are hell - they're just hell. Not having drunk for two months, I'd both forgotten, and lost any tolerance for head pounding eye throbbing tongue swelling personal horror. I have two huge sweaty zits on my face, and my hair is all greased upwards on one side, pancaked on the other. As my dad says, I'm getting good wear out of my pyjamas.
When I could face food, I dragged myself by virtue of strong caffeine alone into the damn kitchen, squinting so I wouldn't have to look at the bottle by the sink and worshipped some cold icy water. I haven't seen the sun for about two days. I'm suddenly really fucking glad that I don't drink. This feels like shit. It tastes like shit. And I was loud and embarrassing and self-absorbed and paranoid when I was drunk. Okay, so I wrote better than usual, but it's a tightrope between life and soul of the party and passed out old drunken whore, really.
We swearss, precious, not to ttouch you again, we sswears, masster, we swearsss.
Kudos to Martin who actually managed to make me feel guilty in the middle of it, by messaging me at three in the morning to congratulate me for not drinking on NYE.

Today I have a shit shit shit shit shit shit day that I want desperately to avoid coming up on me. I don't want to blog about it, in case I use up even more excuse to stay in bed and avoid it. I've already stayed up half the night watching video after dvd after video to avoid the issue. I'll blog it when I'm safely out the other side. Which hopefully will take place in Bluewater. Mmmm, consumerist manna awaits. We swearssssssssss.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 4:18 AM GMT
Updated: Friday, 2 January 2004 4:20 AM GMT
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Thursday, 1 January 2004

What font is Alphabetti Spaghetti?

One of the things that fascinates and infuriates me about London, is that it's such a young city. Sure, the architecture, the rituals, the social strictures and the hierarchies are centuries-rigid -- but the personality of the place is young. With all the arrogance, crowd-pleasing, over-dramatised self-absorption of the young. London is empty at Christmas. Nobody stays sober or in at New Year.
I'm leaning out of my window, shivering in the cold chill, listening to the echoes and ricochet of fireworks along the Thames. I know what they'll look like, that they'll stretch from Tower Bridge to Westminster. Nobody stays home in London on a night like this. Everybody plans their party weeks before. I can smell gunpowder smoke on a biting breeze and hear organ music playing the National Anthem in an East End boozer. As the minutes tick nearer to midnight, cars begin hooting en masse on a road two streets in the distance. Rockets explode in every direction. Two passersby argue loudly and agreeably about which direction Canary Wharf (and therefore the Thames) is. The skyline of the City of London flashes pink in a reverberating soundscape of numbers.
It's New Year now. The cabin fever schmaltz of Christmas is gone. This isn't a festival for children, or family or responsibility or age - it's for youth, for confidence -- and the newness of spirit that it takes to meet a challenge. I'm drinking champagne, which hits your head hard after two months without a sniff of alcohol. Thinking about the party that my ex is giving tonight. And wondering who I'll hug at next year's celebration.
It smells of scarves, gloves and hats, almost like November does, but also of kissing strangers on bridges. Loads of old men die between Christmas and New Year. Loads of couples split. I can already hear a screaming drunken row in the distance. The frustrations of the year before shatter just as the explosions rock and echo along London's river now. At no other time do we look at the person we're with, the place we're in, the person we've turned out to be, and assess if it really is what we want so harshly.
People talk a lot of shit about resolutions. But in one small sense, part of this festival is old. It's about death, about cutting away what doesn't work. It's about claiming your youth.
Minute numero two of 2004 and it rains. First drunken text. Probably the last, considering where my friends all are, and who they're with tonight. Another row erupts on the street. This time, between men. Car horns and a police siren add to the racket. I try to text back, but the network is down. The champagne tastes sour. Fight numero three is a squabble between eight year olds, returning from a neighbour's. An old man wanders over to the graveyard in slippers, puts his arm between the railings and pours away some sour milk. At a few minutes past midnight, there's no fooling onlookers why he left his house.
Argument numero four, twelve minutes into the New Year. My neighbour's gorgeous brother shouts at his girl that they shouldn't be arguing today, now, on New Year's Day. She cries and runs from him. The rain gets heavier. The fireworks continue - they've been constant for twenty five minutes now. Squealing rockets and bangers, though, signal the end of the big bangs.
London is a valley, and every bang creates two double echoes, three seconds (north) and five seconds (south) behind the explosions on the river. Five hours ago, a bomb exploded in an restaurant kitchen in Iraq.
The thundering tails off, the street is deserted again. One last burst of jubilant car horns. I can hear the rain slow to a patter once again.
Happy New Year.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 1:30 AM GMT
Updated: Thursday, 1 January 2004 9:06 PM GMT
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Wednesday, 31 December 2003

Vogue's What Works in 2004

Vogue?s 2004 List*










Rock / utility








Vanessa?s 2004 List





Taking calls




Sugar highs

Drunken binges



Philip Glass










Friends for cocktails



Ennui (unless Grand)


Impotent rages





Cleavage and knees

Baggy biker look



Satin knickers

Stripey knickers

Laughing at Chinese horoscopes

Laughing at Buddhism


IM and Usenet

Rabbit food

Low Fat

Moving house


Tippexing over cracks

Replastering properly

Mental health


Fruit salad

Chocolate pudding







* spot the inanity

This page graced by sarsparilla at 3:33 AM GMT
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Tuesday, 30 December 2003


Now Playing: The King of Comedy

I really need to go to bed but I can't warm this house up. The heating has been on full strength for five hours, I shut all windows, curtains, doors - and my feet are still freezing. Bitter experience teaches you there's no sleep for someone with cold toes.
I'm going to watch the King of Comedy. I'm going to wonder if it's possible to blog like Rupert Pupkin speaks. I'm going to put more and more wintry layers on. I'm going to wait doggedly for warmth to occur.
Why the hell won't the place warm up? There are holes in the attic/roof, true, but I pulled the creaking attic door shut, and it's heavy. We haven't shut, let alone locked the front door for five or six months now, till tonight. That should have heated things, up, surely? And the constant bloody kettle boiling (for a parentally influenced heavy tea habit) should have heated the air a little.
The end of my nose is cold, and I can't feel my heels any longer. Wonder if I have a bobble hat somewhere. Or gloves? My sister's mate got her and her bf a hands holding glove for a present. It's like a muff, but for two separate people's hands. I think pockets are more romantic, personally, but it has that certain care in the community touch that hugging someone lacks.
Now I'm bloody sniffling, and my cats have hunkered down on top of each other for body warmth, then jammed themselves down the crack in the sofa cushions. Perhaps when I hoovered, I removed a crucial layer of insulation from the flat's internal casing?
Last night I dreamt that Elsie of Coopblog and Maccers were having an affair and each blogging their side of a break up. Perhaps it's better to have cold toes than mad blog-related dreams like that. Jebus, my mind is wandering, like someone delirious after being caught up in an avalanche.
Okay, panic stations, I'm going to sit inside a sleeping bag till I feel warm. An upside down sleeping bag, with the toe section unzipped so my face can poke out.
I need a nose warmer. If I had an airline eye-shade I could use that to cover my nose. Hey, I have some old slippers in the shape of fluffy bunnies! That's the toes sorted. If only I had leg warmers. Christ, there's a phrase I never thought to utter again, eh?
Damn my eyes for running out of hot chocolate and not replacing the jar. Tea just isn't as good as cocoa at warming you up. Cooking something might help (my kitchen opens onto my living area), but I ran down all the food supplies before I left, so it would be easier to not stuff my face like a porker when I returned. There's some stale bread and two very very old slices of prosciutto. I don't think you can bake those.
Why doesn't my newly acquired layer of subcutaneous mince-pie related fat help protect me from this cold? Now I'm feeling the chill in my shoulder muscles. And I have teeny tiny shoulder muscles - I'd have to be dying of hypothermia to feel cold in something so small.
I could give up entirely on this room and try hiding beneath the water level in a hot bath. Except the boiler is dicy lately, and I'd have to turn the heating off for thirty minutes before i could get any hot water. The drizzling snot beginning to drip out of my damp cold nose would icicle over ages before that.
Whyyyyyyyy did no-one get me fluffy insulated knickers for Christmas? Those purple net frilly efforts from DKNY look pathetic in the face of the below zero temperature onslaught now. It can't be going to snow - it never ever snows at Christmas in South England, let alone in London, the warmest bit of the UK. We have hail or grey sleet at best. Not snow. And anyway, the temperature ups a bit when it's snowed. This is ice temperature. I was going to drive in to work tomorrow and do some extra unpaid stuff to be readier for Monday. But the heating will be off till Monday afternoon - doesn't sound exactly inviting.
They say that just before you die (of hypothermia, natch), your life flashes before your eyes. One particular snug woolly item is flashing balefully at me this chilly minute.
One of the things that precipitated my split with Wickedex (apart from, like, her telling me she'd split up with me, of course) was The Gift she brought me back from her eight weeks in Australia. She said they were trendy. She said everybody out there wears them. In response to my raised eyebrows of utter disdain, she said only young twenty something types wear them.
That my granny horror was unfounded. Here they are: Ugg boots.

Sexy, huh? There's the sort of present you want your object of desire to associate with you in dark and lonely foreign climes.
I showed just the pic to my mum and she nearly peed herself laughing. That was one of those Horrified Moments that you remember forever. I looked at what she'd bought me, and knew that anyone - ANYONE - who could buy me such a present was never going to have sex with me again.
Just my sodding luck that six months later Kate Moss is wearing them. Well I bet Jefferson Hack begs her to burn them nightly. They'll not have a second child till she's burnt the damn things. Hell, now he's seen her in them, even Kate Moss will have been uglified by them. No Sex Ever Again for Kate. Till the granny slippers are gone. Jeez, can I ramble on any more? My brain is icing over.
Bloody hell, though, those slippers look warm now. Brrrrrr!

This page graced by sarsparilla at 1:43 AM GMT
Updated: Tuesday, 30 December 2003 2:01 AM GMT
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Monday, 29 December 2003

random nonsense

Now Playing: Estonian choral meowing

How much do I hate unpacking stuff? *This* much.

I had a really quiet sleepy Christmas, which was cool, it was what I wanted. Reading a book in a day, practising a new stoopid computer puzzle, stuffing my face. Yum.
Last year I went running on Christmas Day, ate little, and still put on half a stone in three days at my family's house. This year I decided it'd go better if I tried to out-eat them all. I'm just going to finish these huge packs of foreign choccie bickies before I weigh myself, though, or they'll end up in the bin.
Before I unpacked anything, I was shamed by reading Creepy's blog (commenting on the pubes on the floors of blokes who never vacuum) into hoovering my flat. It's only been about four, maybe five months since I last did it, and I've swept up regularly. Like, proper, effortful sweeping, hands and knees affair. I'm sure women don't have as many loose pubes as men. Although I'm not about to count, nor to do an online quiz (but thanks for the suggestion, Yidaho, you dirty birdy), because the ones round the back would be too difficult to get the number right.
Ack, well, there was an entire Dyson cylinder worth of dust there. Can't see any obvious pubes inside the cylinder, though - of any hue. And I'll skip the top household tips, because you probably know better than me that you should never hoover energetically while wearing a long dangly fringed scarf. Took four hard throat-wrenches before the penny dropped and I took the thing off.
My cats hate me and meowed for two and a half hours in my car. I gave up and put some Estonian choral music on loud, and they meowed almost in time.

And over the rest of the two week Christmas holiday, I shall be putting everything I own into storage, so my flat looks empty and saleable, and also putting as much stuff as I can up at The Mirror Project and at A Picture's Worth, my two favourite new time waster places.
Tomorrow I might try to write a decent blog entry, for once. Sorry for the hiatus!

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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.
This is my blogchalk:
United Kingdom, London, East London, Bow, English, German, Vanessa, Female, 31-35, Literature / Movies, Food / Eating / Drinking.

Rate Me on!
the best pretty good okay pretty bad the worst help?

Listed on BlogShares

See the books I've read on my Bookshelf at

i say, "FUCK!"

The Weblog Review
Vote for this site at Freedom Forum

This page graced by sarsparilla at 10:50 PM GMT
Updated: Wednesday, 31 December 2003 3:40 AM GMT
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Sunday, 28 December 2003

Um ... uh ... hunh ... ehm ...

I'm still bereft of inspiration, or of any thought independent of 'what shall I eat next'.
I'm grabbing my animals by their scruffs and forcing them back into captivity to take them back to London (cue two hours in a car filled with CDs of christmas carols accompanied by unearthly mournful wailing from the back seat), so perhaps tomorrow I can blog about my injuries.
Until then, I'm off out to photograph the ugliest lights I've seen this side of Slough, and I leave you with quite the sweetest christmas blog post I've read anywhere, from the unsurpassable Edward Ocean, aka Lactose Incompetent.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 5:13 PM GMT
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Saturday, 27 December 2003


I'm ... at my parents' ... on ... dial-up ... access ... excuse the ... delay ... it's a mix- ... ture of ... slow download ... time ... and brain death ... I drink coffee and it ... just makes my peripher- ... al vision ... flicker ... slightly ... it doesn't wake ... me from the ... torpor ... I eat, drink, watch ... telly ... read murder mysteries ... and miss all the ... clues ... eat more ... watch the Lord of ... the Rings again ... and again ... and ... again ... the computer has beat ... me at Puzzle Bobble thirty five times ... is this what being ... dead is like? ... went to ... the shops ... everyone else looks like they're ... walking ... through ... glue, as well ... must go ... Denis Norden special on teevee ... nearly bedtime ...

This page graced by sarsparilla at 8:13 PM GMT
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Best Things of 2003

It's about the time of year when you have to start thinking about what the next New Year's Resolution could be. I've only got till November 2004 to decided, better get cracking and jump-start the grey matter:

Fireworks - walking from the fireworks to the pub in the cold. That felt really autumnal. Always does!
Paris - walking into the weirdest flat I've ever seen there, to find the twenty foot high jigsaw sculpture in the first room I came to.
Getting a lift back from the opera in Sophia's car with a load of raucous lezzers, including two whom I rather fancied, but who unfortunately seemed to prefer each other. Dadnabbit.
My summer job in Harley Street, but only because it showed me how fantastic my job is in comparison.
Watering Duch's garden this summer but never getting there before dark, so having to hose the place down in pitch blackness, which meant I had to splurt the hose all across the fence in case of spiders - much to the chagrin of neighbours enjoying a candlelit garden supper by the hole in the fence...
Getting pissed in Old Compton Street with Yidaho many many times, and always ending up with Big Chips and a cocktail by three in the morning somewhere.
Feasting and star-spotting at Bellini's on any occasion.
Reading J. M. Coetzee's 'Youth' and recognising my own seventeen year old arrogance and futility.
Reading and studying Shakespeare's 'Antony and Cleopatra', which is a fucking magnificent piece of writing, and recognising the political infighting of Rome absolutely in the Tory party conference.
My customers at work. Sample comment: "You've cut your hair. I thought it looked better before, though. Are you pregnant?"
Nice comments from friends and colleagues. I'm shit at accepting them, but they all help.
Opening letters. I didn't do that last year.
Keeping my NY Resolution (not to buy any black shoes), which slowed the growth of the shoe cabinet fairly effectively.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 7:54 PM GMT
Updated: Saturday, 27 December 2003 8:17 PM GMT
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Friday, 26 December 2003

Family Machinery

Now Playing: BBC7 (Cripes no wonder this stuff doesn't normally get airspace - sexist claptrap)

Isn't it weird the way your family home just works in a way that your - okay, my - adult home never quite manages?
You put a cup down empty on a table, it disappears.
You go up to lie on a bed - it's been freshly made.
Four o'clock comes around - there's a meal waiting.
You eat the food - someone washes it all up.
Whether you weigh in and lift a finger or not, these things all just happen. Automatically. At two o'clock there's a meal waiting. At five o'clock, a bigger one. At nine o'clock, tomorrow's breakfast things are checked and prepared.
I've lived away from home for sixteen years and I still don't have the knack of automatically washing up or picking up dirty laundry. I thought I would attain a certain level of adulthood and mutate spontaneously.
At what age does slobbiness disappear, like BO or acne? Surely it must?

This page graced by sarsparilla at 12:44 PM GMT
Updated: Friday, 26 December 2003 1:53 PM GMT
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Wednesday, 24 December 2003

Tea at the Ritz

It's a weirdly mild, warm Christmas in London. I walked to the tube feeling like a librarian in a purple tweed dress suit, stolen from Wickedex's wardrobe (which JatB likened somehow to necrophilia), blue hornrimmed librarian specs and a teeny red handbag. Boarding the second tube, after running from the first one squealing, librarianishly, that it was the wrong line, I proceeded to immerse myself in a tale of how if Clinton had fucked that intern in the arse, she'd never have told on him to Linda Tripp. That his real problem was forgetting how to Mafiosise his extra curricular shags by embarrassing people enough to keep their mouths shut.
Yeah, what I thought, I ended up reading someone's philosophy periodical's interview with Phillip Pullman instead.
At the Ritz, we had to ask where the Palm Court was, as the ten humongous Christmas trees rather obscured the view of mirrored doors and surfaces in every direction. We were shown to a table by penguined chaps (the table at the front of this picture), and proceeded to beat even the vicar two tables to the left with consumption of four tiers of crust-free finger food, dairy cakes, and petit fours.
Moving on from four silver teapots of Earl Grey to champagne, we and the toothless colonel parked outside the ladies powder room voted all the old dears in the place into rank order. We earnestly and delicately discussed tea, blogs, NYE Resolutions (never make them till November), voyeurs, Joe Pesci, sex, Colonel Peacock, friends, Duch's erratic love life, the other customers, Mr Bean, shoes, how to throttle a man to death between your thighs, Maccers, Viagra, fake tan, the toothless colonel's teeth, stockings, the King William College Quiz, SarahSpace's diet pills, parents of restricted height, the downbeat ending to Saturday Night Fever, neighbours, insanity, stiletto heels, and invisible non-existent children.
Afternoon tea passed, the Sinatraesque pianist shook off his geriatric stalker, and a crowd of choristers manifested themselves beyond the china crockery, to serenade us with Victorian carolling.
The second sitting of late afternoon tea began, and the ladies' dresses began to veer away from the matching tweeds and pearls, into flounces, taffeta and finery. JatB and I whiled away another two hours trying to spot Belle de Jour (there were around five hundred possible contenders).
A string quartet replaced the choristers, to hard stares and resounding unpopularity from all except the sudden influx of little girls wearing party dresses who wanted to waltz across the floor at the speed of Wonder Woman (by waltz, I mean jump up and down wiggling your arse in mid air, naturellement). The lights dimmed. The penguins in red waistcoats allowed themselves a giggle at the running hordes of gaudily frocked children. Cocktail hour began.
Polishing off the champagne, we began to look out of place, what without obvious plastic surgery, clothing unslashed to the thigh, and - the toothless colonel had left - no rich fat ugly bloke bankrolling the taffeta; we decided to walk along Piccadilly, past Eros, Leicester Square, and to look at the tree in Trafalgar Square, before going home.
The National Gallery had been lit up to resemble a particularly ugly Christmas present, although thankfully Big Ben and Nelson's Column had escaped the horror. Everywhere, in the sweltering mildness, tourists were decked in wintry bobble hats, ski jackets and scarves. Jumping onto the Bakerloo line, there was no giant flea, just a tattered copy of the Metro telling us the startlingly obvious: the tube strike had been cancelled. The beggars and buskers continued to ply their trades, regardless.
I'm definitely doing tea at the Ritz next Christmas Eve.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 11:18 PM GMT
Updated: Wednesday, 24 December 2003 11:31 PM GMT
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I Finally Got Excited About Christmas

Now for the best Christmas Eve I've had planned in many a year.

JatB and I are having high tea at the Ritz today. We booked the tickets in February, and booked the date in September. It's going to be a difficult choice between beef and horseradish sandwiches or cucumber with no crusts, but there'll be plenty of well dressed penguin suited chaps to confuse the deicision further. I can't think of a better place to spend Christmas Eve, or better company.

So here's my blog Christmas card to all the readers, especially the six loyalists who continued to read last Thursday when the shag-blogs had alienated the other 183. Merry Crimble!

The Last Christmas Cracker* Joke Survey 7:
Q. What do you call a chicken in a shell suit?
A. An egg.
(WHSmith ; best of the bunch!)

[I fixed all the Christmas Cracker links; click on the word 'Cracker' on each post to get a different Christmas jingle to play each time]

This page graced by sarsparilla at 12:40 PM GMT
Updated: Wednesday, 24 December 2003 1:00 PM GMT
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Tuesday, 23 December 2003


Knowing from yesterday's adventures with the Evening sub Standard and a thick marker pen that there's fuck all on telly tonight (tries not to point out that all teevee is shite, as I must acclimatise myself to it before I get to my parents' house; nnnnnnggggggggggg.....), I decided to get my kicks elsewhere. Observant readers will know from my constant screeching and whining on the subject that I gave up alcohol five weeks ago, and that I took three hours to drink one glass of red wine when I was in Paris, as the alc tolerance had dropped to the point that a sip made me come over all Soap Operatic - so I decided to see if stuffing myself with an entire box worth of Tesco Liqueur Choccies could substitute itself as next year's cheap thrill ... or if my worst fears were realised, and I actually do have to go out and get me a sex life instead.
Downed the box in 2.5 minutes. Hypothesis unproven. Not remotely pissed, not even a smidgeon dizzy or energised, and believe me, I have a powerful imagination. This afternoon, for instance, I imagined I was going cold turkey from the cat tranquilisers I'd only imagined taking yesterday, nearly causing a panic attack and cold sweats.
Till I realised it was all a side-effect of boredom, and went out to buy cosmetic products instead like any normal woman does.

Conclusion of experiment: food, if deployed in sufficient concentrations of salt, fat and sugar, can fulfil many of the same self-loathing functions as alcohol; a recent day's menu:

Coffee (filter)
Half a pack of choccie Hob Nobs
Six coffees (instant, bleurgh)
Coffee (filter)
Kit Kat
Two super sized bags of pan-fried vegetable crisps
Multi pack of choccie buttons
Pack of four chocolate cream eclairs
Two cream scones with jam
Herb tea

Tell me the nutritional value of that.

Christmas Cracker Joke Survey 6:
Q. What do you call a parrot in the rain with an umbrella?
A. Polly Unsaturated.
(Sainsbury - weirdly inventive)

This page graced by sarsparilla at 9:55 PM GMT
Updated: Wednesday, 24 December 2003 12:47 AM GMT
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The Sims

The people I talk about here, they aren't accurate depictions of my real friends. They're facsimiles.
Been reading a lot of anti-blogger posts on blogs (hey, ever heard of irony? Nobody forces you guys to blog) Made me think about that stage that blogs seem to go through when the people reading divide into people who no longer call (hey, they know all about you from the blog! Why ring?), people who assume that nothing goes unblogged (whaddaya mean you packed your job in and joined the circus? You called it accountancy on the blog), and people who don't know you at all, but feel they do, through the blog (these ones are the most flattering - and unreal - group).
Made me think hard about how you caricature your friends and acquaintances on a blog. How you twist them and their words to make yourself look that bit more right / justified / great / successful. How you take from them their actions, their words, even their names and reanimate them to fit your own story.
And how different the blog would be if they had a right of reply.
So having given the people I blog about no voice, no dignity, and no avenue of retribution, I decided to narrow and confine their souls that little bit further, and imagine my victims could argue back:
You populate this world with your characters. We move when you make us move, we say what you have us say. We have interests because you wish it so.
We're entirely creatures of your imagination. You don't know if we're real at all.

We're not really as you describe us, you know. We're not like that at all. We have no right of reply here.

Then I got all jumpy and freaky and my soul shivered. The air seemed a little more sharp, my friendships seemed a little more tenuous, the 'artistic license' little more than an excuse to bitch and whine. I decided not to let the voices continue.

Christmas Cracker Joke Survey 5:
Q. What chewing gum do snakes like?
A. Wrigley's.
(Woolworth's - nice try)

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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 12:47 PM GMT
Updated: Tuesday, 23 December 2003 10:19 PM GMT
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Monday, 22 December 2003

Christmas Spirit ...... woooo000oooo00000oooooh

Now Playing: Simon Callow playing Galileo in typical hammy uber-luvvie fashion

I spent today feeling shitty, tired, increasingly depressed about Christmas (the celebrations so far consisted of watching people get pissed and congratulate each other on the wondrous state of their truly disastrous love lives at Duch's yesterday, till it all got too much and I had to leave to get emergency chocolate eclairs to feel better). I got the last of my presents, but all the shopping centres in East London were wickedmadcrowded. I had to park on the seventh floor of the Cruellest Cornered Car Park Ever, then run down nineteen flights of stairs to get change for a parking ticket, and back up again to put it in the car window, then down again to do the last minute present shopping, only to find that WHSmith have decided to stop diversifying into stocking actual fiction in their bookshop. Aaaaargh!
Wandered around the local pikey markets until the Christmas rubber nurse uniforms and splitcrotch knickers became too depressingly nylon (this was Stratford, bargain-hunters, if that sounds like just the last minute gift you were searching for - and all under a fiver, too).

The biggest nightmare of my 2003 Christmas holiday is that I have inherited two spoiled cats from the recently deceased relationship, and if I want to see any family, I have to drive them across country. Getting two cats into a tiny vet-smelling cat carrier then driving for two or three hours is going to involve blood, permanent facial scarring, fear-related poo and puke on all sides. Not to mention that if I let them loose inside the car, the only place they would go is beneath the brake pedal. I begged Wickedex to take the animals to her family's place, but they are overrun with free roaming gerbils. I did point out that cats like gerbils, but to no avail. I am stuck with unwanted cattitude.
So today I trekked to Beckton pet store, Plan B in the Quest to Find a Container capable of locking two insane felines down for two hours, preferably without causing unnecessary expulsion of stomach fluids from either end. So now I own a miniature, incredibly, stupidly expensive Dog Tent, which Fat Cat is currently snoring inside, and twenty four cat sleeping pills. God grant me the serenity not to deploy all the pills at once.
Suddenly strikes me that I haven't told any of my family I'm bringing animals with me. Uh-ohhh. Given that my parents mutter "we're not taking those damn cats if you get bored of them!" every time they see me, they may panic a little when I roll up at the door with a Dog Tent. Ah well, let's hope a shock's good exercise for the old ticker, eh? Either that or they read the blog before Thursday. (Well, some of the blog. Not the shag posts, obviously.)
Now I just need a large cardboard box, to convert the Dog Tent to something with enough room for two bad tempered animals who hate each other to survive without eye contact. If I bought a crate of wine I'd have a box of exactly the right size, but I'm absolutely certain that impending Christmas Negativity would also see me breaking my teetotaller vows and drinking it, so that option is out. Hmm.

All day, some talk radio DJ kept haranguing Londoners about when and how we know that The Christmas Spirit has arrived. For me, it's the point when you stop protesting and surrender. I have my marker pens and my Evening Standard TV guide ready; let the ceremonies begin.


Christmas Cracker Joke Survey 4:
Q. What do you call a bee with a quiet hum?
A. A mumble bee.
(Dammit, I can't remember which cracker this one came from; but the jingle is a good one...)

This page graced by sarsparilla at 7:16 PM GMT
Updated: Tuesday, 23 December 2003 10:37 PM GMT
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Outer London

Which is what I tend to think of the rest of the country as. When I'm not convincing myself that London should secede, form its own nation, and quit subsidising these malingerers that hate us. Anyway.

Been getting a lot of compliments lately - for skills, things I've done, how I look, my personality. A lot of people taking me aside and tellilng me I don't believe in myself enough, that I have lots of things going for me. To be more confident about it. To learn to take a compliment, and to be loud and proud about my accomplishments. Most embarrassingly my boss blurts this sort of stuff out at meetings. I'd rather have a day off in lieu to find my pride, I have to say. I think, really, these are the trite things that one says to someone who's just gone through a difficult break up. But then a self-abnegating fool would also say that, so I'm not so sure.
On a recent trip out of the capital city, I was reminded how mono-ageist London is. I'm 33, and on a typical London street, I'm in the oldest decade of people present. At the younger end of the decade, but still there. You just don't get people in their forties or fifties in this city - the majority are aged 20-35. End of story. At closing time, it's quite hard to search out a face on a tube platform that isn't twenty-something. Which makes for a vibrant, interesting city, yeah, but if you're edging towards the grumpy, aged end of the spectrum, it also exaggerates every wrinkle, every tired step, every grey hair or sagging scowl that little bit more. You become accustomed to being the one in the train carriage who isn't that fit. (Note, I've noticed the self-esteem downer doesn't seem to apply to blokes in their late thirties - yet to a man, they all look older; it should apply, but it doesn't. Are men stupid, blind, or are they just supremely self-confident? Beats me.)

It's when you leave the capital that you remember this demographic isn't actually normal. That the majority of people in Britain are old (baby boomers in their forties and fifties outnumber everyone else), fat, and minging. Give me twenty minutes in a service station in Essex, and I'll emerge knowing I'm fit, young and fabulous.
Which brings me back to the compliments I've been getting recently. I mean, no-one ever says 'you're a right dowdy looking minger', do they?

Christmas Cracker Joke Survey 3:
Q. What is yellow and writes poetry?
A. A ballpoint banana.
(Asda; Way to go! Axcellent joke! Always buy cheap crackers, kids, they have the best jokes...)

(Thanks to Miss Fluffy for today's Christmas jingle)

This page graced by sarsparilla at 10:48 AM GMT
Updated: Monday, 22 December 2003 6:58 PM GMT
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