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Saturday, 26 June 2004

Bleak Patch

Now Playing: Snow Patrol and Scissor Sisters

Topic: Yidaho

Sorry for bad tempered posting this week; after a few weeks of going out often, the inevitable grumpy crash occurred. Last weekend with Derby and Krystal was so cool that everything looks dull and draining in comparison. After I smacked my cheekbone open earlier in the week (much better, thanks), I've had that constant feeling that I'm about to cry.

The interesting one on one chats on BB all occur about 1am, and so, tiredness from excursions, plus staying up till two every night, make me a No Happy Bunny. Decided to recharge by spending a weekend at home - cue guilty conscience because I haven't seen my dad to give him his father's day or birthday presents, and they're too heavy to post, plus irritable refusal to go sit in the laundrette and wash the four foot pile of dirty clothes. Which means I smell bad and my clothes are grubby.

Added to this, a creeping need to drink alcohol. I had given up drinking entirely, then at Easter I decided it was okay to drink when I go out with friends; just the last few days, knowing I was getting grumpier, sulkier, and waiting for the strop to descend, I found myself thinking about glasses of white wine all the time.
Yesterday evening I gave in, bought a bottle, then realised I don't own a bottle opener. It took two hours of cruising local shops (witnessed by an embarrassing number of my customers from work), then experiments with screwdrivers to get to three whole glasses of wine. And as per usual, it didn't make me feel better to have given in.
Of course, having spent a Friday evening in, drinking alone and watching telly, combined with the terribly retrograde decision to engage in e-mail conversation about trivialities with an ex (an as yet unblogged ex who could only really benefit me by never having slept with me in the first place) - that's all going to make me feel so much better.

The only bright spark in the tunnel of oblivion that's this weekend has been watching the Glastonbury highlights. Shit performance from Kings of Leon, but I was jealously enjoying Snow Patrol, Oasis, Franz Ferdinand, PJ Harvey, Spearhead and Goldfrapp, and remembering how great gigging can be. Not that jealous, though - the site looks full enough and corporate enough to remind me of Donington or Reading; where's the hippie nonsense? Where's the other mindbending, black market barter economy, toilet roll grabbing stuff that makes Glastonbury what it really is - the annual opportunit to find out how rapaciously snobbish hippies really are?

Ah well, if we didn't have bleak patches, I suppose we'd never know when we're happy. Or somesuch obvious bullshit.
Best Blo'te of the Day So Far: The Final Broadcast
"My last few days (hopefully on the bus):
A small jotting of thanks to those on the 428, my 'friends' as this week should be the breaking of our Fellowship.
1) BonJovi Boy: Thanks for playing your Bon Jovi CD every day for the past 3 and a half years. It seems like it was the same CD, although I feel that it would be far too sad if it were.
2) DrPepper Girl: Always reading the Sun and sitting in front of me, so I get the chance to read it too. It's the swigging of Dr Pepper at 7.40am that gets me. I'll miss your obvious need of a cigarette.
3) Kid-who-falls-asleep: This lad's gone through so much change, it's like we've grown up together (I say grown up - it's been 3 and a half years, yet he's about 2 inches taller)."

This page graced by sarsparilla at 3:50 PM BST
Updated: Saturday, 26 June 2004 4:15 PM BST
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Friday, 25 June 2004

What do you mean, posting too much?
Best Blo'te of the Day So Far: Random Gestures
"Today absolutely sucked.
Then, for a sec, thanks to Chris, it didn't.
Then it sucked to a power of 10.
Then, for another second, it didn't, thanks to esch.
Then, after lunch, it began to follow a steep curve into hell."

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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 3:24 PM BST
Updated: Saturday, 26 June 2004 4:32 PM BST
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Aprille is the cruellest month

Topic: Shy Lux

A Tuesday in April:
My sister was meant to ring when she set off from Cambridge, so I could meet her at Victoria. I usually don't do touristy stuff with her, so we'd talked about going to the Wallace Collection or the John Soane museum, perhaps. All very relaxing.
Unfortunately, I'd taken a snooze pill at midnight the day before, and responded to no external stimulus for some time. I remember waking very briefly, and noticing how different medicated sleep is from normal sleep, because if I closed my eyes, the rest of the world was just wiped out entirely, and doesn't exist.
Normally, you sink back into sleep during a lie in, enjoying the physical sensations of not jumping, gulping, rushing, stressing. On medication, you shut your eyes, the world isn't there any more, and you don't remember that it ever was.
And that goes double for alarm clocks.

When she rang from Victoria station, asking if I'd be long, I was finally awoken, but so disoriented I couldn't make sense of myself, let alone which way was up. Swearing profusely, I arranged to meet at Starbucks in Marylebone High Street, instead, which I dimly implied was somewhere opposite Baker Street tube station.
Only it isn't.

I hurtled out of the house towards the station at a billion miles per hour, leaving a trail of destruction and forgotten maps, telephones, cash, etc, behind me. Didn't even realise why that might be a problem till Bond Street, about an hour later.
As I began to finally wake, the red mist cleared enough to remember that Regent's Park is the stop for Marylebone High Street, that it's a good half an hour's hike from Baker Street, that an arsey neighbourhood meant coffee shops with no easily visible signs outside, in fact that the only reason I thought that Starbucks to be any sort of landmark at all was that I tended to turn a sharp vehicular right past the leather sofa on my way to my secret cheap parking spot in Spanish Place.
None of which is that obvious to someone without a car who doesn't live in the capital. Whom you can't contact by phone because of course you don't write your phone numbers down anywhere, you'll always remember your damn mobile.

I waited an hour in the cafe with no sign in a street a good half an hour from where I'd asked her to get off the tube. Stretching my reality-deprived synapses as far into logic as I could I realised that if you walk directly ahead from Baker Street, there is, in fact, a Starbucks. Groaning ensued.

I dashed towards the other Starbucks - the only phone number I could remember was my parent's, and that was tenuous, as they never listen to their answerphone. Recalling the vague mention of the Wallace Collection, I realised that it was halfway between the two cafes, and desperately dived in there to see if serendipity could give me a fucking goddamn break for once.

My experiences with head honcho at the Ritz had encouraged me to believe that if I spilled the whole sorry tale to the museum security guard, at worst, I'd end up a heritage industry anecdote, so I did my best. "Has anyone who looks a bit like me been in?"
It wasn't the most humiliating. Just close.

But by the time I'd done a fast cycle of the entire Collection to make sure, and realised that writing a quick blog in the visitor's book (another embarrassing moment becomes a matter of public record, huh?) weren't the most effective sister-tracing decisions I'd ever made, she walked in the doors. Only mildly furious, in fact, given that I was effectively three hours late, and had been within a whisker of giving up and going home.

So spending the day tramping dourfaced past limitless number of renaissance paintings, getting wet, sulking through a torpid I-Max cartoon about Big Haired Rock Musicians who get Haunted by their Mothers, then taking her out to the wilds of Sainsbury's New Cross - that will all have restored amity and fellow feeling. Made up for my egregious wrongs. No, no, I'm sure.

Best Blo'te of the Day So Far: La Noiraude
"So, the optometrist.
He was old and grumpy; he lived in some kind of dusty-smelling dark lair. Or so it seemed at the time.
I was a quiet child, but not a very compliant one. I was even less compliant when scared. On that day, I was terrified. He shouted at me, grabbed me by the arm and forced me to sit on the examination stool.
To cut short ten minutes of ordeal, in terror I peed on the stool - not out of spite, although the idea is appealing - simply out of fear. I would like to say at this point that I graced his stool with a copious stream of urine - but that would be lying. It was more the pitiful letting go of the true fearful."

This page graced by sarsparilla at 3:23 PM BST
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Avril Ravine

Topic: Eurotrash

A Friday in April:
Insulted many people at genericjob by asking them to do pointless crack-papering tasks way below their capabilities - was surprised to note that they really enjoyed the lack of pressure, and I ended the day laden with easter eggs, chocolate gifts, impromptu cards secretly bought at lunchtime, and bottles of wine. Jeez, I should lower everyone's standards more often.
Then I realeased Martin from his Penge prison, to go look for the dinosasurs in Crystal Palace. Buggered if I could find anything even worth looking at, let alone rubber dinosaurs, so we loafed for about three different rush hours in my favourite battered leather window sofa in Cafe Ponce. Was fab, really fab to sit and stare at people walking past, in the sunshine, with just enough patch of blue to throw your mind into.

A Saturday in April:
Went to meet Toulouse before Duch's big (cough)tieth birthday dinner. I was about 45 minutes late, which considering he came from France, is a little unforgiveable. We met in a cafe basement in Bumboy Street (Tybalt always used to aver this was a homophobic name for it, but I disagree), but as I'd decided to exercise my short sighted eyes by wearing spectacles as little as possible, I first spent time in the wrong cafe, then in a men's basement toilet, then when I finally found the right location, accosted the first reading student I saw with a very familiar forearm stroke, accusing him of being Toulouse. I all but broke into a hug. He looked so shocked and horrified that I was halfway across the place, backing away before I realised Toulouse was actually sat next to him.
Like, duh.
I've documented the rest of the evening. Venison goulash combined with jaw grinding rage, politely suppressed. Quite fun, actually.

Best Blo'te of the Century So Far: Light From an Empty Fridge
(bears a longer quotation than usual, because, typically, it's brilliant)
"There are people who will always answer questions while eating, are happy to make and take calls at any time of the day, will check their work mail during the weekend, and who often assume that this is what you do as well. What does this say?
I am so terrified of losing my job and/or desperate for the approval of my superiors that I will prostrate myself pathetically in this manner in front of the Gods Of Work for any tiny, tiny advantage that it might bring, despite the fact that 90% of the time nobody notices and 10% of the time they think "useful idiot, give him some more to do". I would probably do better rolling on my back and pissing all over myself, but I might get fired for staining the carpet.
I have become so blinded by my own concept of the work ethic that selling widgets to morons is more than a job to me. It's more than a career. It's a calling, it's an intrinsic duty. A contract of employment is an oath of fealty stronger than anything any samurai ever swore. Making money for other people matters more than anything else in the world, and I can't believe it doesn't to you too.
N.B. When my job is outsourced I will likely shoot the entire office and then myself, so you might wish to invest in some sort of ballistic protection.
I'm a self-important arsehole who enjoys feeling superior, and "hours worked" is a scoring system that lets me rate myself higher than you.
or maybe just
I hate the rest of my life.
or any combination of the above."

This page graced by sarsparilla at 2:42 PM BST
Updated: Friday, 25 June 2004 3:00 PM BST
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April Revisited

Topic: Lactose Incompetent

Do you know what? There are posts I forgot to put on the blog way back in April. I was feeling better tempered then. Happy Easter.

A Thursday in April:
Visited the Ritz to see the head honcho on the door. Many enjoyable chats ensued with chaps in full uniform - white gloves through their epaulettes, pillbox hats - people who'd worked there for thirty seven years. Listened to tales of opening doors for the Queen, for Thatch, of turning celebs away for the crime of wearing jeans, and took tea with the head waiter in the Palm Court. Honcho arranged for me to take a tour of the rooms - it was taken as a given that I'd be curious - who wouldn't be? Most suites at the bottom end of the price range were as large as my flat, frankly, and although Green Park is a depressing vista, gold bidet taps would help soothe the disappointment, I'm sure. I didn't get to see the #1,900 a night Berkeley Suite, but was assured that the gold leaf on the walls and ceilings was both real and a bugger to clean.
I also wandered into IBM's training centre on the way home, to be reassured that all the hardware that my bosses have spent #50K on last year is of 'limited functionality'. Cue bitter laugh, and forgiveness felt towards Sarcastic IT Guy, who hasn't fixed my PC since last January (I fell behind on my toadying duties).
In the evening, continued a row over keys by phone with Tybalt, while going out to what looked to be a junior doctor's pub in London Bridge, if cheaply cut M&S suits are anything to judge by. Did perfectly well for hours then fucked it all up by binking dreer. Dammit. Funniest line of the evening (that appealed particularly to my massive self absorption, of course) "Are you exceptionally girlish and flirtatious, or are you drunk?"
Repeated this line to Toulouse on Saturday, accompanied by impersonation of self in the moments before said line; "for a moment there you looked like Vanessa again". Not sure if this is a good or a bad thing, or just shows that I never go to Paris without getting wrecked.

Best Blo'te of the Day So Far: Smacked Face
"Shut up! Shut up! Shut up, all you armchair pundits and office commentators. I don't want to hear about this bloody game any more, do you hear? Listen to yourself, weedy, wacky guy in the Christmas jumper - like as not, you haven't even seen a football since compulsory sports at school, you do not have the right to comment on anything of a physical nature. And you, braying public school bore, stick to the rugby and memories of group buggery, and shut it! You are all so tedious it's a miracle you haven't sent yourselves to sleep."

This page graced by sarsparilla at 2:40 PM BST
Updated: Friday, 25 June 2004 2:45 PM BST
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Office Politics

Topic: Eurotrash

The run of bad luck continues.

Don't you just hate it when people walk into you, just assuming you'll get out of their way if they're bolshy enough? I try not to respond, but if they haven't mastered the art of walking in a world that contains other people yet, I draw the line at moving out of their way.

At a work lunch today, they not only reduced the size of the plates for their damn buffet (dirty trick! boo!), people would spend ages leaning over the cheese finger sarnies, choosing (oooh! cheese! or - ooh! wait a minute! other cheese!), and not letting me sidle past with my carefully constructed tower of cocktail sausages. So, in a damn mood, again, I decided I'd wait, but I'd not get out of their way, too, unless they asked politely. Passive aggressive, moi?

So the Head of Pointless Mumbling, on her third course already, decides to march up and into me aggressively, in the - vain - aspiration I'll step neatly out of the way of her superior firepower. Stupid old cow, her muzzle is drooping, and her ammunition is not what it once was. I'm not moving unless she speaks to me. What does she do? She shoves.
I can't believe a forty five year old woman has shoved me, throwing strawberries, cherry juice and cream all over me in the process. So she wouldn't have to say "excuse me".

I look down, at the spoon and dish still hanging from my white and pink pinstripe jeans, clinging on by cream stickiness alone. I don't speak. The Head of Pointless Mumbling begins to berate me. "It got caught in your scarf" she says, in lieu of an apology. I have a striped blue scarf tied at hip level. When I inspect it, there's a sticky red spoon now embedded in its folds. I know I'm tall, but for her to be carrying her dessert at hip height is ridiculous. She defensively asks for her spoon back.
I remove it and throw it onto the dinner table. Then sigh. The jeans are ruined.
In typical bitchy older woman style, she offers me a fresh spoon. "Don't worry about it," I say. (I so love the moral high ground, can't you tell?) The damage is done - anything else is just making the old cow feel better.
"No, here, you can use it to scrape the fruit off."

What is it with women in the generation above me, anyway? They've been like this since school. Competitive. Bitchy. Up themselves. As if someone's videoing them and counting the score. As if apologising for acting like a dickhead would lose them a weeks' bonus points.
I dunno what I've done to fuck her off, but I kind of suspect it's something along the lines of exist, be younger than her, not care too much about her obsession with her own authority, not pay obeisance.
Fuck this crap at work. I hate office politics.

I may have fruitshit all over my trousers, but I know how to make way for others and I know how to open my mouth and apologise when I fuck it up for people.

Footnote: I'm probably only really ranting because then I fell asleep in front of the England v Portugal match, and dreamt I was Nadia from BB, taking penalties. Don't even go there, there's nothing good or fruitful in those few moments of delirium.
Blo'te of the Day So Far: Stefan Geens
"Margaretha married Rolf, the man she broke up with Bengt for; they've had two children and lived in Luxembourg and Gothenburg before settling in Stockholm. It turns out that when I called, the children were under the impression their dad was her first love. But how many of us know the details of our parents' pre-marital love lives? I certainly don't, and it will stay that way unless somebody calls me with news of a long-lost love letter addressed to my mother from somebody patently not my father.
After I called and Margaretha saw the letter online, she looked for Bengt M? online, found him living in the area where they grew up and called him. He remembered her without prompting."

This page graced by sarsparilla at 12:52 AM BST
Updated: Friday, 25 June 2004 1:34 AM BST
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Wednesday, 23 June 2004


Topic: Hurtling to Obscurity

I didn't mean to blog again today, but I have to fucking externalise, or I'll end up knocking on neighbour's doors to tell them to fuck off, like I did all my colleagues' offices today. Yeah, right, calming down and going back and apologising, that was fucking fun.

Day started with cat puke all over the kitchen. Feh. I'm wise to that by now. You just wipe up the stuff on non absorbent surfaces, and step over the stuff that's soaked in. Damn cat was disgusted, and spent the day fastidiously ripping things up and tugging them into the kitchen to cover the old puke with. Me, I'm not bothered. Houseproud? I can't even be bothered to look at the place I live in right now. It's just a shell, a cover from the rain. Soon as it's brighter, I'm moving on. Long as I don't step in it, it's not my concern. And I wonder why those subsequent dates are so hard to come by.

Next, I ripped a chunk out of my cheekbone. I've got one of those cuts that's dark, still opens a bit, like a stab wound, and is dark - too dark. More blueish purple than blood coloured, just so you know there's muscle under there, and it's half way to hanging out. I woozily took my concussion off to the nearest nurse and gained twenty minutes of numbing ice pack, which I then felt guilty for bleeding all over, then get back to work, love, we've decided you're covering all the extras today. Clients all pointed at the weeping gash, and red blush spreading across one side of my head and asked what I'd done to myself. Yup, they got the entire story. I asked them to let me know if blood ran down the side of my face, and they helpfully agreed.
The cut's right on the edge of my cheekbone, so apparently, I won't get noirish panda eye in the morning, but the right side of my face is already lifting off from the skull and sponging itself outwards in a pink swollen mass. The extra plumpness and blush went through a moment or two of actually looking quite attractive, although the contrasting deathly pallor and unfocussed gaze of the left hand side doesn't really help. And I suppose the open wound on the bone line is less Princess Fiona, more Shrekish.

Staggering about with my head injury, I was more than delighted to give up all my tea and lunch breaks to deal with the client overspill from Uber-Boss's pisspoor planning. And it was just yummy that my own appointments were supplemented by Hippy Boss sending me a coachload of Russians who'd come to see how 'differently' we do things over here.
A coachload of Russians.

I mean, we all have bad days, right, we all have the odd accident that gets triplicated and magnified till we feel like shit. But a coachload of Russians is no fair.
A coachload of sodding Russians is rubbing salt into the wound then pissing on it.
Take the worst day you've had this month, go over it in your head, then try to imagine a scenario in which adding a coachload of bloody fucking Russians would ease the strain. You get me?

No matter how many panicky memos I sent scrawling 'I don't think this is the right place for them to be, hint hint', 'do you really want visitors to see this shambles?', or 'I had no warning for this!', 'take them away early, at least', they were all greeted with a strangely Dystopian scribble 'they have no agenda; please accept them.'
It can't have been in anyway instructive for the Russian hordes, either - unless they have #7K worth of technology available in every office back home, there's no way they could reproduce what I was doing. Although judging from the cherry red elastic jumpsuits, heavy gold chains and inexplicable gold vaseline-shimmer smears across the bridge of each Russian's nose, they may possibly do it with more style.

So now I have to blog it all out like a bloody saddo, 'cos I find out now that one of the things of being single is there's nobody there to say 'oh you fuckwit', or 'oh shit, you didn't?', or even perhaps 'yeah, you're right, that looks like it needs stitches'.

I didn't tell you how I cracked open my cheekbone, did I? Oh the usual fuckwit simpleton style stupidity. I slammed a car door on my face.

I'm my own bloody court, judge and jury, I am. And a hanging judge at that.

Best Blo'te of the Day So Far: Fuck Everything
"Google search: how to perform an autopsy pics
This... Is really disturbing. I don't think anyone should be taking a DIY approach to autopsies. And I had better not be seeing Autopsies for Dummies on the book shelves anytime soon.
"Autopsy? Autopsy?! I can't WHACK off to Autopsy! Orrrr can I?!?"

This page graced by sarsparilla at 5:15 PM BST
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I Don't Even Drink, I Can't Explain It

Topic: Yidaho

yidaho says:
i'll have to buy some shite bread tomorrow
yidaho says:
and crap margarine
yidaho says:
what's the worst?
yidaho says:
Vanessa says:
Everyone where I live chucks their old bread out the window
Vanessa says:
no, lard
yidaho says:
yidaho says:
i'm not making lard!
Vanessa says:
yidaho says:
i'll use vaseline instead
Vanessa says:
make it into bread and butter pudding
Vanessa says:
Vanessa says:
pleeeeeeeeeeeeeease make a hair sandwich
Vanessa says:
it'll be so funny
yidaho says:
i dont know how
Vanessa says:
stick a load of hair into some bread and photo it
Vanessa says:
i f I had enough hair, I would do one now
yidaho says:
yidaho says:
maybe in the morning, eh?
Vanessa says:
it won't seem funny then
Vanessa says:
i can guarantee it
Vanessa says:

yidaho says:
yidaho says:
so.. two bits of bread..
yidaho says:
with hair between
Vanessa says:
simple but disgusting
yidaho says:
yidaho says:
Vanessa says:
unless you want mine to hurry up and grow
yidaho says:
if i don't have to use butter i could
Vanessa says:
ugh! no butter
yidaho says:
Vanessa says:
you'd have butter on your hair
Vanessa says:
and that would be a bad thing
yidaho says:
Vanessa says:
and don't actually eat it, either
yidaho says:
yidaho says:
yidaho says:
2 mins
Best Blo'te of the Day So Far: SarahSpace
"Remember when I made all that homemade porn a few months back? Well, I put it all on a CD for safe keeping. Now, the CD is missing. If you happen to come across it, I would appreciate it if you would return it to me. Thanks."

This page graced by sarsparilla at 12:46 AM BST
Updated: Wednesday, 23 June 2004 12:57 AM BST
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The Worst Thing

Topic: LondonLifer

There's a large, unsightly, pus filled, red crater oozing from beneath the liquid skin on my lower calf.

That's not the worst thing.

The worst thing is when you dash out a list of preliminary blog notes in a quiet rural cafe in the high peaks of the Pennines, while a schoolboy on minimum wage keeps the cream teas flowing, then do someone a favour, and hand them, along with the notes they asked for, a page of unproofed, undeveloped, hard-drafted blog ideas.

What they might make of 'I really like my arse. It's my favourite body part' is anybody's guess.

Best Blo'te of the Day So Far: Bandhag
"I expect she'll remember for a while about an old friend from school emailing to tell her you'd joined the fucking Police force. I expect it will all have come flooding back to her and that, for a while, she'd be unable to stop herself from recalling everything about that time - the pain, the humiliation, the wretchedness, the shame and the silence. The crying and the apologies, the promises and the blame - it'll all be as fresh as the day it happened. And for a while, I would think she'll want to find out where you are, who you know, who you're working for. Tell them what you did, what kind of person you were and what you put her through. She'll remember anger and hatred and she'll want to punish you and damage you and make you pay for what you did.
But then she'll remember something more important.
She'll remember that she's changed."

This page graced by sarsparilla at 12:16 AM BST
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Tuesday, 22 June 2004

Tidying Up the Place

Topic: BillyWorld

Having been throwing Gmail invites all around usenet, I have 8 spare invites. If you want one, leave an email address (if you mung it, please make it obvious) in the comments.

Big Brother is a bit boring at the moment, isn't it? Is it only me who prefers it when they're fighting [sic]? So much for their TV Psychs - a child with a poo fetish and a spare pack of Crayolas could draw more psychological insights from the programme than this lot of overpaid media whores did.
What I'd really like is an in-depth analysis of Jason and Victor. I know a lot of people like Victor, the Butter Knife Avenger, and I'm inclined to forgive, and look for clues as to whether his behaviour is motivated by nastiness or not. I think not. Jason, on the other hand, I find repellent. I'd gneuinely like to know if he represents a type of human who's common, or even acceptable.
In the meantime, if you miss a programme, and have broadband, as well as all the progs you miss, there's some really really funny clips on Kazaa and on bit torrent. Ways of downloading torrents are here, here, and here. Ways of watching them are here.
The BookClubBlog suggests an alternative. At least Wimbledon has just started.
And isn't there some football on, somewhere? ;o)

Best Blo'te of the Day So Far: Cyber Vassals
"Open letter to the woman I saw on the street yesterday:
I'm sorry. But if you can fit the word "DANCER" across your ass, you probably aren't one."

This page graced by sarsparilla at 2:01 AM BST
Updated: Tuesday, 22 June 2004 11:00 PM BST
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Monday, 21 June 2004

Bit too busy to blog just now

Topic: Lactose Incompetent

I spent this weekend hiking (well, it felt like hiking even if it was only gentle strolls) and chatting with brilliant mates in Derbyshire, and another thirteen hours of it driving up or down the country. I'm sat here force feeding myself caffeine, to shove my brain into activity, cos I'm meant to be the boss at work this week, which means getting there early, which has never yet been my strong point. After work today, I have to drag myself over to White City to watch a Rob Brydon monologue being filmed (he of 'Marion and Geof' fame; I have a spare ticket, so if you want to come, ring me), and I still haven't bloody rung back Second Dater, cos I've not had a minute to myself for a fortnight, it seems. Bloody good job I can't get any Big Brother feeds right now, or even the four hours a night of sleep I'm getting as it is would be under threat.

This is how I wanted it to be instead of having a blog. Big grin.

In the meantime, I'll leave you with this detail - unexplored - about the offer on my house: it came in on the same day as what would have been my tenth anniversary with Tybalt.

Closure or what?

Best Blo'te of the Day So Far: Kitchentable
"We did a few shots of me in my massive boots unlaced, jeans, and with my top off, all that. Fairly innocent. Then some adding a biker?s jacket that he?d brought with him. All very Gay Icon, but I can live with that.
So once I was comfortable with posing in semi-nudity, he tipped out a bag of what can only be described as Things. Some of the things, I didn?t even know what they were!
There were wrist restraints, chains, (tweet, tweet, chirp chirp twitter) and handcuffs.
I put on the (twitter, chirrup tweet) and my friend helped me to fasten the (tweet tweet tweet chirp, faint sound of an aeroplane passing over) at the back. And to make my body glisten we (cut to outside of Big Brother house).
?Do you mind wearing this?? he asked, offering me a (cut to shots of the hose-pipe, followed by shots of the outside of Big Brother house, and then the oven).
?Actually, I?d better just rinse it under the tap.? he said."

This page graced by sarsparilla at 7:54 AM BST
Updated: Tuesday, 22 June 2004 11:05 PM BST
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Friday, 18 June 2004

Most Haunted

Topic: LondonLifer

Watching a documentary on people who have vivid dreams or walk / talk / move in their sleep, and I'm reminded that I used to be like that.
I often woke up in night terrors, or with strange bruises, or a partner informing me that I'd been chatting to them, and no memory. Looking at night vision footage of people in very disturbed dream states looks wild and unsettling - it's quiet a relief to realise the weird unnervingness of it all wasn't just a side effect of it happening to you. The worst thing is the slowness of waking up - with a really bad set of night terrors, you sometimes can't quite shake the feeling it was all so real even fifteen to thirty years later, I find.
I still recall a recurrent dream from when I was six years old, when (suddenly worries about posting this on a public weblog) I dreamt regularly that someone was forcing cutlery up my arse - knives, forks, spoons, as my family watched, uncaring. For weeks, it would alternate with the less memorable nightmare of brown bears chasing me through Hyde Park. I vividly remember the final sequence every time - of looking down at my buttocks (it's so vivid that I can remember the quality of the skin, the shape - wish my arse looked like that now) and seeing the skin distorted into the shape of the cutlery beneath, with the fork tines stretching the flesh almost to breaking point. I think even at six I knew this wasn't the sort of dream you talk about when you wake up.
(Another reason why the opening sequence of 28 Days Later is so freaky, is its captureness of that strange, unreal feeling that sticks around for so long after)

These days it never seems to happen - despite living in a dark basement flat surrounded by a family of foxes who howl and claw at the windows on a nightly basis (they had a taste of my cat once, and the memory calls to their stomachs, I think). Or perhaps it's just that there's no-one there to prod me and remind me that I need to shut the hell up if I ever want a leg over again.

One of the weirdest active sleep episodes I ever had was while staying for a week at Duch's house. I know Duch regularly has sleep terrors much like mine had been. Although the emotions experienced aren't what we'd call waking real, they're very real at the point of experience, and it's a heartbreaking thing to witness someone you love experiencing such horror.

She walks, talks and has conversations. At that point, so did I.
Four in the morning (is there any more desperately emotionally draining hour of the day to be awake?), Duch sleepwalked into the guest room, and screamed hysterically, sleep-seeing burglars in the room. I half awoke. In my narcoleptic state, I saw not Duch, but a primitive subhuman, crouching naked and screaming. I did the logical thing: sat bolt upright and screamed hysterically at the neanderthal at the door, who steadily morphed into a screaming Duch.
Which was nice for Tybalt. 4am, Lunatic either side.
Best Blo'te of the Day So Far: Hackney Lookout
"Sat opposite a huge transvestite on the tube. Long blonde hair, tanned and cratered face, a pummeled nose: like an Aussi full-back on a hen night. Elbows held high, shielding eyes with a newspaper but highlighting legs like cabin logs."

This page graced by sarsparilla at 12:38 AM BST
Updated: Tuesday, 22 June 2004 11:13 PM BST
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Thursday, 17 June 2004

News from the House!

Now Playing: BB webfeeds

Topic: Eurotrash

No, not that house, although I have to admit to being a shade knackered after watching listening to them break every item in sight till four this morning - from *my* house.

After five months on the market, I marched in and sacked the estate agent, got a new one last Saturday, and today I accepted an offer!
Of course, it's not that simple or that easy, but after shopping at Lidl, living in Penge, having lukewarm baths and walking to work since February, this was certainly a new-knickers occasion, I can tell you.

Two working days to get an offer. I'm jazzed and tired and soooooo relieved.

So I won't blog about how they offered me five hundred for all my furniture, the cheeky bastards. (or how I would have accepted, either.)

Best Blo'te of the Day So Far:OnePotMeal
"You couldn?t remember buying the suit, but there it was.
People came into your office sometimes but never asked about work, never knew about Yees, only about the shirt(s) you were wearing, and you wondered how long you could get away with changing shirts all day long and doing no work, how long until you could retire and commit full-time to the search for a poet named Yees.
Meanwhile the poet who rented your old bedroom downstairs got a sunburn because your old room had so many windows. The spines of his books all faded until the titles and authors were gone.
You rubbed aloe into his peeling back, asked if he knew the work of a poet of Yees, but he said, No, no, I?ve never heard of this Yees. Are you sure he?s a poet at all."

This page graced by sarsparilla at 4:30 PM BST
Updated: Tuesday, 22 June 2004 11:48 PM BST
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Wednesday, 16 June 2004

Pollinating via Subliminally Expressed Rage

Topic: Vic Jameson
Back! Here I am, with my #200 keyboard. Biscuit bits hoovered, and everything.

Every year since I moved to London in 1990 and began having to inhale seven tons of diesel fume each morning, I've gotten hayfever. It only lasts through June and early July, so I generally figure it's not too much of a problem. Since I learnt to drive in 2002, though, the snuffling and nose-drools and red-eyed weeping have increased.
Now I notice four hayfever periods a day - two coinciding exactly with rush hour, and two that occur within any enclosed airless space (ie, work, my flat, my car, a bus, a tube) about two hours after rush hour. Combine that with the fun experience of trying out a different anti-histamine every year, to see which one is going to work this time, and it all gets a little time consuming.

It's public knowledge that the pollution has added to the allergy load this year. (hence, I voted for Ken - anyone at all who reduces pollution in the capital has my vote forever - and hypocritically, there's no way I'm not using my damn car unless you force me out by hitting my pocket.) Most of the chemists are actually selling out of anti-histamines, as people are beginning to double and triple their doses to get the same effect.
What they tend not to bark on about is how hayfever affects your ability to see when you're driving. When I get a hayfever surge, my eyes go crimson red and boiled looking, they stream tears, and they itch like goddamn billy-oh, as if grit had gotten caught under a contact. Then, if you watch it in a hand mirror, the eyeball whites merge into a yellowish pink, with a bloodshot warning streak, and it actually starts to swell up.
I sat in my parents' garden once and watched it happen - a bulge about three millimetres deep slowly appeared.
If you're driving at the time, it's quite scary, because fifteen minutes into this weird flesh-swelling, and you lose the ability to focus, and around one minute after that, you pretty much can't see anything at all until either the air clears (meaning you get out of the car), or your anti histamine kicks in.
Happened to me on the M25. Heart thumping to a speed-beat, I swerved left and made the car kerb-crawl along the hard shoulder to the nearest exit, with about the same level of visibility as those tv camera effects when they try to show you the world from the point of view of the partially sighted (usually involves murdering someone who used to be on Melrose Place) (unless the bling person used to be on Melrose Place, in which case: DUCK! they're coming to get you).

The other thing they don't tell you is how a bad year's worth of hayfever lowers your tolerance to other allergens. Mozzie bites start hivng and looking weird. You start reacting to (or craving) food differently (no, it's not a virgin birth, thanks), and animals make your skin crawl.
Great opportunity for SkinnyCat to decide that my pillow is her personal territory, and wage a three month war to claim it, then. I'm sure unwitting hours of sleep with my face in a cat's crusty arse, inhaling fish fat, fluff, and dander are just what the doctor ordered.

So, you can imagine (or actually, it's probably better not to) how I'm looking at the moment. Rabid loud sneezing at unexpected moments. Snuffling like a junkie. And these bulging, prominent, boiled and weeping eyes, that every now and then turn yellow and swell to massive proportions. You can't dress it up with make-up, cos it's four minutes till you scratch the stuff off, in a desperate clawing frenzy.

Today, out of every anti-histamine (bar the useless herbal ones that so obviously don't work I dont even stress about taking eight times the daily dose), I went in to Superdrug to see which pills the pharmacist would recommend this time.
The swollen, painful, weeping itchiness which spreads over your entire skin surface, (including such hard to publicly cratch areas as pubes, arsehole, scalp, pits, gooey yellow eyeballs) means I can't stop myself from having enraged mental battles with any passing conversationalist, which so far, I've mostly been able to keep inside my head.

Pharmacist who looks like Jean-Luc Picard: Madam, how can I help you?
[Eh? Look at me. Look at me! Are you really in any state of confusion about what I want? Would I really be walking around with a crimson eyeball popping out of my tear strewn face on the offchance that you had some cough syrup?]
Gullible Twat: I want [heavy sigh] hayfever pills.
Jean-Luc: Aha!
[Oh right, the facial deformity clued you in, at last?]
Jean-Luc: This week we are recommending this product... [presents own brand packet from shelf]
[Oh, the own brand useless packet of shite right in front of my face, you mean? The crud that's so insipid you don't even need to stack it up behind the pharmacist, you put it right out on display for any five year old to tea-leaf? Shyah, yeah, rrrrrrrrrrright, I think that will work simply because you get a 0.000001% store commission on it. I mean, it's not like there's a FUCKING HUGE GROWTH on my GODDAMN EYEBALL, is it? Not like there's a PROBLEM here?]
GT: I've tried that, it's no good.
Jean-Luc: Ahhh, then maybe ..... [gestures expansively across the front display cabinet]
GT: Tried that.
[Are you blind?]
GT: And that.
[Do you think perhaps people really look like this?]
GT: And that.
[Stop palming me off with placebo relief - my eyeball is hanging out of its socket, and bouncing off my bloodied cheek, gently.]
GT: None of those work.
[And you ask me do I want the useless brand, have I really tried ALL the useless brands? Isn't there some sort of Hippocratic Oath that says pharmacists have to not be INCOMPETENT FUCKWITS?]
Jean-Luc: Are you sure? This is the market leader.
GT: [in floods of unbidden weeping, sure by now that the moisture is blood, not tears] Just give me the packet, okay. Quick!
[You bastard: I'm standing in front of you in obvious pain, and you're faffing about as if I were selecting a tie. Bastard. Bastardbastardbastardbastardbastard.]
GT: Thank you so much. Good bye.
[ I shall find you. I don't know how, but I shall find you, and all your little Picard children, and I shall infect you with the bulging eye, till you too feel like you just took off the wrong swimming goggles. I shall wait till you wake with yellow crust floating across the burning violent red of your distended eyeballs, and I shall laugh.
Until we meet again, "Picard".
And we
shall meet again. Bwhahhahahahaha!]
Jean-Luc: Goodbye, Madam.

When did pharmacists turn into the bloody maitre d'?

By the way, free cash, endless perverted sex and unlimited supplies of Haribo for the one hundredth caller: 09011 21 44 02

Best Blo'te of the Day So Far: ScreamingSeed
"So here I am surrounded by all these little girls in frilly party frocks, all smelling of cheap bubble bath and talcum powder, humming theme tunes to kid's TV shows and making their cheap rip-offs of Barbie dolls dance on the table between the sausage rolls. I've got my eye on the mouthwateringly sickly looking butterfly buns but I've been told I have to eat some salad first.
I don't really know why I put this whole tomato in my mouth. I guess I was just trying to be entertaining, but the other party guests look far from entertained. There's just no pleasing some people."

This page graced by sarsparilla at 12:05 AM BST
Updated: Wednesday, 23 June 2004 12:08 AM BST
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Monday, 14 June 2004

Got four minutes total and a mouse that doesn't work.
Firstly, the rumour that I am about to be sacked for blogging too much - too hilarious.
For one, blogging isn't actually yet illegal, although it possibly should be. Secondly, the nature of my job involves standing in a room interacting with people - I think they'd notice if I walked off down the hall, and sat at a bloody computer, thirdly, pffft, good luck getting anyone to do the job even an eighth as well as I do, fourthly, why would some bugger on the internet be the first to know? Chucklesome indeed.

Secondly, Watford's cabbies are lovely.

Thirdly, second date looms. Oh yipes, I may panic enough to not even go.

Fourthly, IT guy is trying to punish me for my lack of an A key by threatening to withhold my laptop for eight weeks from me. How can I change his mind? What do you give the geek who has everything except the influence he craves? He's already got all my photos.

Fifthly, I'm off to Derbyshire this weekend ("no madam, you cannot buy a return to Watford, because your destination is in inner London" - good advertising from the ... erm ... Middlessex borough there), with no money or resources, and a blanket ban from the vehicle recovery company from using their services for a month. If you see a red car broken down on the M1, do wave superciliously.

Sixthly, Big Brother is making me feel cruel. Those looked like panic attacks the bedsit inmates were having on Sunday's show. Are there no psychologists this year simply because they would object?

Seventhly, were I to have any sustained access to the web, this would have bcome my favourite site by now. Fortunately for me, some of it is WAP accessible.

There you go, seven day's worth of blog, in five minutes flat. Ta-daaaaa!

Best Blo'te of the Day So Far (added later): Peeling Wallpaper
"Simple pleasures. One of the baristas at my local Starbucks calls me "hon." She is probably fifteen years younger than me. "Hon" is a word of minimal endearment patented by aging waitresses in diners serving coffee from grimy carafes to truck drivers and high school kids too stoned to go home and face their parents. "Can I take your drink order, hon?" the barista asks me. I want to respond, "I'll have the usual, Flo. A cuppa Joe and a generous helping of your sweet smile." But she wouldn't get it. She's too young and she's nothing like the TV character Flo. She would never admonish me by saying "eat my grits." All I would get is a blank stare and my $3 latte and the satisfaction that I remember some really weird shit from my TV watching youth."

This page graced by sarsparilla at 11:34 AM BST
Updated: Wednesday, 23 June 2004 12:11 AM BST
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Wednesday, 9 June 2004

Fuck, I've Bloody Gorn and Done It Now

Topic: LondonLifer

I have to take my laptop to be fixed tomorrow, and I'm not sure when I'm getting it back. I've tried blogging from my work PC, but as I justify rarely taking work home by working intensely without pause from the moment I get there till the moment I leave (early!), experience tells me I can whack out around 200 very ill considered words per two days, if I'm lucky. I don't know when the PC will be fixed (if they find out how many US tv shows I've been downloading imagining, possibly never), so for the next week or two, this is auf wiederschreiben from me. And a brazenly inscrutable stare from them.
That should see off the rest of the readers (what? You haven't noticed the campaign to be offensive? Started way back).

If your life is a gaping void of pfft without me, then have a dekkers at some of the ten Blo'tes of the previous fortnight, or the remarkable stuff on here or over there on the blogroll. They're all strong, opinonated ranters.

Best Blo'te of the Day So Far: Gia
"Cunt really, honestly, is my favourite word. I?ve been trying to use it at least once daily ? more often in polite company ? since I was introduced to Peter Cook and Dudley Moore?s album Come Again as a teenager in the late 80s. I had no feminist reasoning behind it then, I simply loved the word. I loved the reaction it got from people. I loved the fact that this word, those four letters strung together, those four letters that when spoken created that harsh and nasty sound, could make men and women, young and old absolutely disgusted. A word! Wow! It was the moment I realised the incredible power of words."

PS You want to guest blog? (That's me actually begging you, if you didn't realise)
E-mail me your post, (remember to include your URL so you get publicity!) and I'll whack it up here. Suggested topics - spiders, summer, magpies in puddles, driving like a lunatic, creases in your shirt, fat porky bellies, Watford, flip flops, penguins, pre-menstrual shopping choices, the shockingagic thinnifying mirrors in Oasis, body image, Derbyshire, buddhists, pikeys or music. That's all the posts I was going to write.

PPS How much do you bet they won't fix my Letter A problem?

This page graced by sarsparilla at 9:23 PM BST
Updated: Wednesday, 9 June 2004 10:53 PM BST
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Tuesday, 8 June 2004


Topic: Casino Avenue

It's been a whopping temperature high of Muggy here today, doing a nice sideline in Stuffy and Humid.

No air con where I work, are you kidding me? If you've seen either my work blog or my moblog, then you've seen the third world state of my office kitchen area; we're not even allowed to purchase fans, and offices generally contain thirty souls, plus hardware. In a darkened, airless room I had to lean over the back of a fearsomely heated monitor to give a presentation today - and then they complained about the handwriting on my discussion notes!
Fuckers were lucky they didn't get a bleared, lumbering monitor impacted in the side of a sweaty red cheek.

Indoors, the heat reached its crest of still, damp and inert; I existed, conserving effort beyond the attempt to stand in poses where the least amount of grubby dark fabric touches overheated skin.
Outside there were irregular drafts of feebly thermal air. The pollution hangs or the pollen drifts, and everybody's eyes are red raw or streaming pain. I've never seen so much pollution allergies - the shelves in the blessedly cool and white chemists are bare of anti histamine products, and most people in the city are on two or three times their RDA.
Lads in South East London with only minorly grey and flaccid pot bellies feel disencumbered, and bare them above garish sweat pants rolled to the knee, chain puffing on a dusty fag as they amble through exhaust fumes. Lacklustre leaden flesh constrasts against the gold of the neck chains, and the faded blue tattoos of a body that works outdoors. Nobody gives the slightest fuck if you think they look like a chav, mate.

The fat lady with the five children on the corner of the estate had hefted out a fleshy armchair to sit in comfort on the baking concrete step and watch the kids water battles. The chair is overpadded, corpulent, new, wrapped in industrial plastic. The thought of that film sticking and tearing away from blotchy swollen legs left me hotter than anything.
I ducked into a designer boutique, desperate to feign indecisive pauses in front of their tall fans. Pre-menstrual purchases glower. Neon pink striped satin jacket, bum-skinning italian jeans I have to peel up over my clammy swollen thighs. In the cool dressing room mirror, inflamed ruby eyes bleared back at me.

I need salt to cope with this. My dank, cool basement flat with a freezer full of iced fizzes had never looked so filthily welcoming. I'm sat burning saline into my tongue, blogging my way through vinegar crisps, caviar (an affectation I can't crack), chocolate chip and Marmite cookies. Tempted to lick the rock salt crystals in the salt grinder.

Best Blo'te of the Day So Far: Sashinka
"So I've got this friend, right, and she's going out with some guy, and she really likes him, it's been a couple of months, and then she calls me up in a real state: he forgot to mention he's still living with his girlfriend. What should she do? (Of course, that should be "what should she do, girlfriend?") Obvious to me: no-one wants to be second choice, it's bad for your self-esteem, blah blah blah, these kinda people never change. She loves him. I can't help wondering how much he loves her. I keep schtum."

This page graced by sarsparilla at 7:03 PM BST
Updated: Tuesday, 8 June 2004 7:20 PM BST
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Monday, 7 June 2004

The Last Chance

Topic: Eurotrash

Be warned: this post will progress from honour, to shame, to the unspeakable. I never promised you tasteful.

This article, 'Honouring the Brave', memorialises the final celebration of fourteen different nations' effort to defeat Hitler in the D-Day landings.

THEY came together for one last walk with old comrades and the ghosts of their brothers who stayed forever young.

They're smaller now these survivors of the Longest Day. Frail, stooped, white-haired and wide-girthed are the great liberators today. They hobble more than march, deep breaths puff out their cheeks and many need a stick, an arm or a chair to fight the ravages of time.

But they still have razor-sharp creases in the trousers and shoes they can see their lined faces in. Their barrel chests still fill with pride at the medals they bear. Medals which set them apart from us lesser men who will never be tested the same. They still attempt a ram-rod back, the chins still jut. They may be slower of foot than they were when they raced from their boats 60 years ago into ferocious German fire but there is still the same determined steel in their stride.

Age cannot wither these legendary veterans of Operation Overlord.

And as the survivors, now in their 80s and 90s, defied the heat of the French sun to officially walk together for the last time in front of the sands of Arromanches, they still looked like the callow young men who landed here to free the world from an awful tyranny.
Read More
It was the first time the German chancellor was invited to the D-Day Landing ceremony, the men who survived are edging eighty now, and there will be no more large scale official ceremony in their honour in their, or our lifetimes.

I post the link not only to pay respect to the men who lost their friends, their family, their health and occasionally their peace of mind in the conflict. I post it also to point out to American readers the scale of heavily loaded references to Bush 'arriving late' - an obvious attack on American involvement in WW2.
[Context: Some time ago, I found myself on Anne's and Cyn's comments, having to explain the extent of anti-Americanism in Europe that stems not from Iraq, but is simply ever present and taken for granted at all levels. I felt real shock at the discovery that Americans weren't aware of this.
I mention this antipathy not to condone it, or to propagate it further - god knows, jingoism is execrable in any form - but because it dawned on me that American bloggers simply did not know about it, and were shocked when detected. Their shock, in turn shocked me
This sort of denigration is culturally unremarkable - so much so as to go unnoticed everyday in Europe, and nobody here has been 'invaded'. Essentially, any imperial power creates enemies - but it seems important to me that America lose it's feigned innocence about how the rest of the world perceives them. Nobody's happy with you guys. They never will be. You can't change that. Get over the shock.

Secondly, tomorrow in the UK is the first and last chance to see Venus cross the face of the Sun.
Nobody alive and in England this century will have had or will have again this opportunity. (The last occurrence ws 1882.)
At around half six tomorrow morning (earlier in the north, later in the south, according to the local rag), if you're outside, and you've not lost the art of making pinhole cameras, you can witness another ritual which won't be seen again in this generation. Try to see it with the naked eye, an' your eyes will be stuffed.

Edit: it's ok, I took the unspeakable references to poo out.

Best Blo'te of the Day So Far: Bandhag
"What if, contrary to the popular saying, you can take it with you?
How gutted would you be to get to the Other Side and find that even there you were priced out of the property market and that it was only the pious fuckers who'd sunk all their disposable income into ISAs and bonds instead of pissing it up the wall on booze, drugs and thousands of impulse-purchases that could afford the biggest, fluffiest, whitest clouds and the fanciest gold harps, while you had to share a flimsy Cirrus with your mates and fight over who used up the last of the manna?
Aetheism - you know it makes sense."

This page graced by sarsparilla at 7:59 PM BST
Updated: Tuesday, 8 June 2004 7:27 PM BST
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Sunday, 6 June 2004


Now Playing: Intermittent birdsong,
after echoes of planes overhead,
scratching sounds of squirrels,
and the miniature heaves of

Topic: Empty Fridge Light

It's been a really gorgeous weekend, and I've spent it slumped in bed, slumped in the bath, or eating down my kitchen (ie, running out of food, so eating the dregs). I think a week of going out and partying was too severe a shock to my system - I rejected two invites last night, so I could lounge in my dirty flat in my underwear, eating marmite and cous cous.

Last day of my holidays. Still got a runny nose. So it goes.

Best Blo'te of the Day So Far: Stefangeens
"Perhaps I should just start a new genre where I do not actually write a blog but just describe imagined blog entries that I have not written. Noncommittal writing, I would call it, and I would engage in it in the more transient phases of my life, when nothing is really certain or cherished notions are in a state of flux, when writing down thoughts would give them more permanence than they deserve, like putting shacks up on the World Heritage List. And there is something wonderfully Calvinoesque or Borgesian to it all. Maybe I should just post reviews of my imagined rants, pronounce them the work of genius, but report back inexpertly and confused, and depend instead on the imagination of readers to construct something of proper greatness out of them."

This page graced by sarsparilla at 3:19 PM BST
Updated: Sunday, 6 June 2004 3:23 PM BST
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Saturday, 5 June 2004

How to do a date, Vanessa style:

Topic: Empty Fridge Light

Make sure you're hungover and knackered, from spending the last few days shitfaced.

Say so, it's bound to pep up the conversation. In fact, make it your opening line.

On the way to the date, wreck your car in the middle of a four lane pile up on the North Circular.

Spend a few hours looking winsomely pathetic at the side of a virtual motorway, for the delight of eight million blokes in white vans, it'll make you smell delightful.

Don't take anything for your cold or for your hayfever, so then the stink of the traffic can work its way through your allergy list and fight to come out on top.

When your eyes start streaming tears, make sure you don't have time to find a toilet to repair the make up streaming with it.

Snot drooling unbidden out of your nose is so a good look. Don't pack a hanky.

Greet your date with a look of alarm and the words "oh shit". You'll make an instant impression.

Wearing size fourteen flip flops stolen from Havaianas' Brazilian builder is so a good look. No, you don't need to get rid of that dead skin. Make a feature of it by spreading your pinkies up across the railings of the theatre, as if you're a chav at the movies.

You can't do better on a first date than pick the most pretentious show you've ever heard of, then sit there quacking affectedly about Dario Fo, William Burroughs, expressionism. Everybody loves a big head.

Belch loudly during the sad bits.

Remember to say at the interval how much you like Elton John, for that low brow touch.

Show her all your pictures of France. No, a hundred and thirty isn't too many. Don't worry that they're mostly all close ups of Pernod.

After, act masterful and sweep her off in a taxi to a Hoxton niterie where the mullets come thick and fast, and the DJ pratting about makes it too hard to hear what she's saying.

That way she won't notice so much when you go on and on about Big Brother. (Do remember to say 'Oh, no, I don't watch the programme'.)

It's okay if you drop a really stinky fart in the pub, then claim it by dashing out for a protracted toilet break. Sure, she'll think it was that gay guy next to you.

Then take her outside to explain the freemason symbols on the local church and tell her about that summer you spent taking photos of remnants of Jewish communities in the East End. Ward off the dangers of sounding interesting by pointing out that you did in fact forget to take a camera.

Get lost on the way to the tube, like a true local.

When asking directions, your mastery of East End geography will be complete if every time you say 'what up there?', you shoot your pointy arm out into a passersby's eye.

Doing it repeatedly to see if you might be cursed is perhaps not your best move, although you may have in fact been vindicated when your finger connected with an eyeball every single time.

If she invites you back, say 'nahhhh', and proceed to spout on about your million cats. Nothing's sexier.

Best Blo'te of the Day So Far: Reckless Writer

"I don't want to go into the touchy, weight issue territory but I just want to confirm my hypothesis about human behavior. I really wonder why I find fat men excruciatingly adorable but can't say the same thing about fat women? Fat men compensate for their chubbiness by being sweet and humorous. Fat women on the other hand compensate for the extra lipid by throwing their weight around by being arrogant bitches."

This page graced by sarsparilla at 4:03 PM BST
Updated: Saturday, 5 June 2004 4:16 PM BST
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