Monday, 28 November 2011

ON VERSATILITY


There seems to have been a terrible mistake. Someone has nominated me for The Versatile Blogger Award. (Older Mum)

Versatile is not a word I associate with myself. Versatile is a word I associate with someone who is able to write a novel, become the youngest-ever managing director of a UK plc, sack a shed-load of people, and pleasure her husband AT THE SAME TIME AS giving birth. Another way of describing this kind of person might be Karren Brady*. Or smug c**t. By contrast, there are only two things I do really well. They are:  

Swearing
Making beans on toast

However, as I am spectacularly needy and crave instant gratification, there is no way I’m turning this award down, so I must now follow the Versatile Blogger Award rules of acceptance. In other words, I must tell you seven things about myself. 

 
  (Here it is. A Design Classic, I think you’ll agree.)

1. I once challenged Dani Behr to a popularity contest. This humiliating episode happened at the wrap party for a film my partner was working on. There I was, having a laugh with crew and cast members (living the dream), when the film’s star, Dani Behr, made her entrance. “Who wants to be in my gang?” she shouted. “No”, I shouted, hysterically. “Who wants to be in my gang?” I don’t know what I was thinking. I must have been coming down with something, like, erm, what do you call it again, oh yes, PSYCHOSIS. Anyway, to cut a long story short, guess who won the contest? Well let me give you a clue. It begins with the letters D.A.N.I.B.E.H.R.

2. I forget birthdays, particularly the birthdays of extremely elderly relatives. Relatives who may not make it through another calendar year. My mother thinks it’s because I’m childish and think of nobody but myself. Yeah yeah, whatever. Does my face look bovvered?

3. I have larger than average boobs. Or as I fondly call them, mildreds, or sometimes norks if they’re a fraction perkier. Anyway, you get the picture. (What do you mean you’ve already got the picture? What picture! It wasn’t me for godsakes!! I wasn’t even at the museum fundraising gala dinner…)

4. I loathe the Royal Family. I am not their subject. I am a citizen. Monty Python says it better than me.



5. I speak Welsh. Welsh is Europe’s oldest living language. Sadly it’s also endangered. There there … have a tissue.  (Listen, if you feel so badly, give me some money, say 50K, and I’ll make sure it goes towards preserving the language. Quite a few of my mates speak the lingo, so I was thinking along the lines of a grassroots ‘awareness-raising’ programme at the pub … or in some forest-clearing surrounded by standing stones … no, hang on, probably the pub, where we all speak Welsh all night. 50k should fund about a month’s work. )

6. I’m also a Druid. Not all Welsh speakers are Druids: a minority are normal people. But when I was a teenager, my mother forced me to sit a Druids entrance examination. Consequently, I was made to take part in an initiation ceremony featuring an elderly gentleman unsheathing his Grand Sword and another playing on his Horn of Plenty. Gets you hot under the collar doesn’t it? No? Not at all? Really? Oh well, I suppose it is very NICHE.

7. I don’t have threadworms. (I’m not being gratuitous. I’m only mentioning it because, as I was vacuuming the lounge the other day  - living the dream again - I received an entirely unprovoked tweet from a friend: “Thought you’d like to know. Threadworms can live in your fanjita.” My first thought was: I don’t know why my friend thinks it’s okay to spam me with zoological obscenities. On reflection, I can see that she was simply passing on an important public health information message. Of course she was.

Now I’m going to pass the award on to lots of other bloggers, as the rules state. I have no idea whether they’re versatile, but I know they’re all sluts for awards.

All Sweetness and Life – whose blog is very honest, very funny, very feisty.  

Single Older Mum - who is getting her 'va-va-voom' back after life with ‘Shitty Ex-Husband’.

Yes We Do Have A TV - who writes a great blog, and who will one day pass her driving test.


*Why does Karren Brady spell her name with two ‘r’ s? I am the only person in the world who is incensed by this choice? She may be one of the most influential women in the greater solar system, and have nice hair, but I’m a better speller, that’s for sure.

PS: Before anyone mentions it, I did attend my neighbours’ royal wedding tea party. I’m not a killjoy, I love my neighbours, I wanted my kids to have a good time, and I’m as partial as anyone to cupcakes and daytime binge-drinking. This doesn’t change the fact that watching Kate and William getting married was like being “f**ked in the arse whilst being shown a picture of kittens”, as quoted by Mumsnet's 'Tethers End'. Pass me the bubbly. Vive La Republic! 

Friday, 18 November 2011

THE VEGGIE'S FULL-TIME

I’ve been thinking lately about F. R David. Remember him? Tinted sunglasses worn inside? No? Bouffant hair? No? Sounds like a girl? No? Utter twat? Yeah, yeah, you got it, that’s him. Wrote the song “Words’.  Well, the reason I’ve been thinking about him is because that plaintive opening line, “Words don’t come easy to me” - whilst not a lyric that will ever rival the expressions of youthful alienation found in the works of Kerouac, or the representations of quotidian thought found in, say, James Joyce - is nevertheless a line that could easily describe me.

You see, every day this week has brought with it a phrase or word that I have literally NEVER EVER heard before. In fact, there have been a couple of occasions when I’ve thought: I’ve probably just had a stroke and lost the capacity to understand language, forever.

Last Saturday, for instance, we took the kids to McDonalds.  (Now before some of you keel over with horror, this is NOT my normal routine. Normally, I would plate up a lovingly prepared light lunch of artisan-baked breads and antipasti, or perhaps something ridiculously rustic and thrown-together, like, you know, a homemade pizza topped with pear, prosciutto, and gorgonzola. Kids adore it don’t they…) Last Saturday, though, we were busy, and I thought, heck, what’s so wrong with eating the occasional chicken vagina, with a bucket of salt? But when we arrived at the drive-in window to collect our ‘food’, drool dripping down our chins, we were greeted with an empty-handed waitress who just twitched a little, and said, “Veggie’s full-time.”

Veggie’s full-time?

VEGGIE’S FULL-TIME????????????????????

Sorry love, but I don’t speak Wookie.

My partner looked at me, and I looked back (which is extremely rare, as we are both normally locked in our own private spheres of hell). The waitress sensed that we were struggling.  She repeated herself, this time adding the definite article, a cheeky verb phrase.

“The veggie is full-time”, she said.

Shit, I don’t mean to be rude love, but I still don’t speak Wookie.

Thankfully, my partner finally twigged. “Do you mean the veggie-burgers take longer?” he said. He is a genius, my partner. He has such a feeling for context, for the underlying structures that govern human language, he is like Chomsky, or fucking Derrida. The girl nodded. “Park b’there”, she said, twitching again, this time in the direction of the parked order bays.

It's not the first time. 

A few days earlier, I lost the rectangular ‘stick-on bit’ of my car radio/CD. I was trying to explain this to someone, when they laughed out loud and said, “Do you mean the face-off?” The face-off? ‘Face-Off’ is a film by John Woo, with Nicholas Cage, and John Travolta. You patronising asshole. Face-off is another word for a confrontation, isn’t it? It’s the beginning of a game of ice-hockey, isn’t it? ISN’T IT? But if it is the word for the rectangular stick-on bit of my car radio, then how come you know this?  And I don’t? What is wrong with me?  

What is wrong with me?  (weeps)

I blame my mother, of course. My mother replaces almost all proper nouns with the words ‘thing’, ‘thingy’ and ‘thingummyjig’. A conversation with my mother goes something like this:

Mother: Have you seen that thing I brought up with me? I hope I haven’t left it in the thing.
Me: For the love of God. 
or
Me: Do you mean your whistle? *

My father also has an interesting approach to proper nouns. He prefers metaphors that bear no resemblance to the original object. Partly, this is because he has no idea what the original object IS. Examples include ‘atomic machine’ to describe ‘microwave’, and “ludicrous new-fangled walkie-talkies’ to describe ‘mobile phones.’ In short, he lives in a parallel universe that I like to call ‘The World According to Someone Who Once Left A Big Fuck-Off Chunk of Radioactive Plutonium in their Pocket Whilst Working at a Nuclear Research Facility’.

So there you have it, I suppose.


* PS There are no sheepdogs in the family. Just my dad.


Thursday, 10 November 2011

A BANANA, IN PYJAMAS, AND MUSIC THERAPY

Today, I danced in the kitchen in my pyjamas like the alcoholic housewife that I probably am.  At my feet lay a trodden banana; on the kitchen worktop, an obese fly barfing on a piece of toast; at my side, an overflowing bin smelling of, erm, what’s it called again, that most evocative of smells, oh yes, SHIT. But did I care? No I didn’t. I just danced and I danced and I fantasised. About crazy lovely stuff.

And why was I dancing? Well, because I was listening to some tunes for a ‘Music Therapy’ blog I’ve been tagged to write by the awesomely prolific Motherventing and Older Single Mum. (Now, before I start, I want to point out that when I say ‘therapy’ I don’t mean “real” therapy, oh no, no, NO, I don’t need “real” therapy, not at all, I’m just tired, real tired, that’s all. Hey, just because I might have stopped dancing at one point, and started weeping for no apparent reason, and then, having caught sight of myself in the mirror, started punching myself in the thigh and screaming ‘fat, fat, fat”, and then “loser”, before weeping again, and then laughing, and then properly drooling, it doesn’t mean anything, honestly it doesn’t, nothing that a good night’s sleep wouldn’t sort out…)

But you’re right. I should probably sit down for a minute. I should probably just SHUT THE FUCK UP and play some music I like.

So here goes.

Windmills of your Mind. Noel Harrison. I’m a hippy at heart, and my brain is almost entirely made up of circles, apples, windmills, and cavernous hollows. (To those staring blankly: LIKE.IN.THE.SONG.) In fact, if you needed a 3D model of my brain for the purposes of say, a lobotomy, you could do worse than going to Mothercare and buying one of those shape sorters. Of course, the appeal of the song is more than just that. Even my partner loves it. And he doesn’t usually have time for people who can’t tell the difference between “keys that jingle in their pockets” and “words that jangle in their heads”, i.e me, and hippies. And he can do Excel.



The second is Back to Black, Amy Winehouse. I LOVE this song. I LOVE her voice. I don’t know what else to say except that it’s utterly crap that she’s dead.



Choosing the third tune has been a nightmare. I thought about Lou Reed, Velvet Underground, White Stripes, Alicia Keys, Motown, Blondie, all sorts. And then today, I heard this. “You to Thank”. Ben Folds. I’m addicted. This song is why I was dancing in my pyjamas in the kitchen, and weeping,  and properly drooling - and from my mouth - when I should have been killing flies, clearing out bins, and mopping floors.  



Finally, thanks thanks thanks to the fab Mamywoo for making this lovely meme happen in the first place. I'm now tagging Adventures of a Middle Aged Matron,  Three Little Flowers, and Kate Takes 5 x

PS: I wasn’t drooling from my front bottom. Of course I wasn’t. I don't know why I said it. 
That’s just gross.

PPS: My partner has just read this blog and is extremely pissed off that I didn’t mention the fact that ‘Windmills of Your Mind’ is part of his “brilliant and extensive record collection”, and furthermore, that he was the one who introduced me to it. He would also like to point out that I “always leech off his musical tastes” and then claim them as my own. And also,  that he CAN’T do Excel. 

Monday, 7 November 2011

PUSSY GALORE, MEET MRS PLOD-ALONG

I always wanted a cool nickname. As cool as The Fonz or Mr. October, or cute and sexy like, you know, Pussy Galore.  

Well today the dream died. It happened whilst I was dropping the kids off at school. I was late as usual, and all psyched up to negotiate the school’s door security (double doors, outer lobby, entry buzzer concealed behind massive papier-mache dinosaur, more double doors, another lobby, you get the picture), when a woman I know suddenly said, “Look at you, Mrs Plod-Along. I love your style.”

Mrs Plod-Along?  MRS.PLOD.ALONG?

Deep breath. Chill out. I know that what she really meant was “I love your devil-may-care attitude towards lateness.” (How could she know that beneath my carefree exterior lies pain, paranoia, exhaustion and self-loathing?) But still! Mrs Plod-Along!  Are you sure? Don’t you mean Pussy Galore? Didn’t you see the way I emerged Bond-Girl-like from those puddles at the other end of the yard?

For fucksakes.

And so it is that ‘Mrs Plod-Along’ joins a long list of mocking epithets, confidence-sapping sobriquets, or, in other words, totally and utterly shitty nicknames. Such as:
  • ‘Butterfingers’. This was my name during Rounders - or as I prefer to call it - Bullying. 
  • ‘Common, Coarse and Crude’. My brother’s name for me. Probably because I once said “bloody hell” or “for godsakes” during grace. Other variations included “Plebeian Prostitute”, “Debauched and Disgusting”, and, in a reckless departure from alliteration, “Vile Troll”.
  • In university, an ex-boyfriend referred to me as ‘Fister’. I won’t expand on the reasons - this is a family-friendly blog - except to say that he never complained about my technique at the time. He’s the bloody w**ker if you ask me.
  • Today, my partner has a nickname for me. It is ‘The Bottomless Pit of Need’. I don’t think he means bottomless in the sense of ‘having no bottom’. (I have a bottom, although it is nothing like Pippa Middleton’s bottom, more like Shrek’s.) What I think he means is that, sometimes, I like to engage him in conversation.  

So until someone comes up with something better, like Pussy Galore, I think I’ll stick with Flossing the Cat. 

PS: I’ve just found a Facebook page called I Hate Rounders. Please please like it. It’s SUCH a good cause.


PPS: Fister - IT'S NOT WHAT YOU THINK.  

PPPS: Any other shitty nicknames you’d like to share? Anyone? I feel so alone here. Motherventing, Older Mum, SAHDANDPROUD? Get out of deep field. You have been tagged.