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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Ladies Night

Well, that’ll teach me to put someone’s name in quotation marks, in a rudely sarcastic tone.

I quickly got bored of my new social networking site and decided I was never going to like anyone and that Neill was inviting far too many people to the cinema far too often.

So I wanted to close my account, but could not see for the life of me how to. I instead wrote to the administrators to ask them to do it. And I could have just left it at that, couldn’t I? I could have left it at ‘please close my account,’ but instead old big gob over here had to go and tell them why I wanted to leave and that I no longer wished to receive five emails a day asking me if I wanted to join ‘Neill J’ at the cinema.

Yes, I used quotation marks for his name.

The managing director emailed me back. The managing director, Neill J.

Whoops. Hi Neill. He kindly apologised for over-inviting and said it was just because although the site had plenty of members, it would seem no one was actually very good at instigating events. Then he asked me if, in return of one year’s free membership, would I stay on board and perhaps just initiate the odd event?

Guilt surged through me. What a meannie I am. No wonder I don’t have any friends.

Yes, Neill, of course I’ll stay on board and invite people to do things. So now not only am I a full member of a website I wanted to leave, but I’ve also committed myself to 12 months of socialising with strangers.

First up – a dinner for girls only next Friday. I thought I’d start with a girlie dinner as it’s a few girlie friends that I’m after anyway. Plus Gareth thinks most of the men will probably be rapists so best not to invite them.

I followed the instructions for sending out an invite to my gender and age group and clicked send. ‘Congratulations!’ the website declared. ‘You’ve just invited 359 people to dinner!’

Christ. I’m not very good with women at the best of times. I either get shy and don’t know how to talk to them, or get drunk and snog them. Now I’m inviting 359 of them to dinner? Alarm bells are ringing already.
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Thursday, October 29, 2009

A friend in need

I need friends. Anyone got any friends for sale? I like dinner and drinking, I’m not much of a dancer but I can make you laugh. I’m not mental, I don’t get annoyed if people cancel dates, but I do get annoyed if people try and share food. I don’t smoke and I don’t smell. I’m a catch, basically. So just sign on the doted line.

I’m not saying I don’t have friends, I do. My friends are brilliant. There’s Cesca, she’s great. I’m going to be her maid of honour next summer. I must be doing something right if someone wants me to be their maid of honour. There’s Laurence, he’s hilarious. We like to pretend we’re Jack Bauer when we’re together. Many a morning after the night before I’ve woken up covered in scratches from all the brambles I’ve invincibly roly poly’ed through while talking to Laurence in an invisible walkie talkie.

There’s plenty more, who I love with all my heart and I could list them all and why I love them. Nicola for her wry sense of humour, Amy for her giggle, Mike for his thoughtfulness. But I’m not here to list the friends I do have. I’m here to talk about the ones I don’t.

My friends live as far away as South Africa and Australia. Hell, even London seems like too far away when it’s a Tuesday night and I just want to go to the pub and talk about X factor.

I don’t know how it happened. One minute, I was living with three wonderful friends and my filofax was bulging with social engagements. The next minute, I’m living in the middle of nowhere, working for myself in a job which has me face the wall in my spare room from 7.30am to 6pm every day. I only see two faces a day – my business partner Nicola and my boyfriend, Gareth. They both have very nice faces, but I want more.

Sometimes I see the face of the man who runs my local post office. I buy stamps from him. He’s a bit annoying. He makes me give him a high five and I don’t want to give him a high five.

I guess you could say I am lonely. For one reason or another, all my friends have left this city, and I’ve forgotten how to make new ones.

So I’ve joined a friendship making website. So far, it’s not going well. I scoured through all the members and messaged the ones I liked the look of. Preparing my best banter, I gave them all a paragraph to show them how funny I am. And I chose a good picture so people know I’m not a troll.

I logged off feeling really good about myself, put my feet up and waited for all my new friends to message me back.

Only, no one has.

The only person to have messaged me back so far is Neill. He looks about 40 and I don’t want to be his friend because he uses the website too much. He keeps trying to rally everyone together to watch the new Tim Burton movie, as a gang. Then maybe a pint, afterwards.

I’m desperate, but I’m not that desperate. He can keep his Tim Burton movies. I’d rather face the wall in my spare room and feel sorry for myself than be friends with someone who spells it ‘Neill’.
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Skinny Dipping

I’ve just got back from three weeks holiday, upon which I did my usual ‘I’m going to be a better person when I get home’ list. I do it every time. I never stick to it. I don’t know why I bother.

It’s like new year’s resolutions. I don’t make those, because I think they are there to be broken, but give me a few weeks in the sun and I’ll start making lists of all the things I want to achieve when I get home.

This year’s three week trip around Thailand was no different. By the end of it, I had a list as long as my arm. I couldn’t wait to get home and start implementing the strategies that were going to lead me out of my overdraft and into heaven. Strategy one – don’t buy stuff.

Then I got home. How exactly was I supposed to do without these overpriced black boots with buttons and purple bits? I didn’t have to answer that question, because I bought them and I don’t care who knows it. I love them.

Strategies have not been implemented. I’m still impulse buying as if it’s going out of fashion. I needed some water while out with my man the other day so we popped into Holland and Barratt. It was no mean feat for me to walk past all the supplements promising to make my hair shiny and my nails strong, but I managed it. We got to the drinks cabinet at the back and I naturally bypassed the normal water and zoomed in on the eye catching ‘skinny water.’

‘Skinny water?’ Gareth asked, perplexed. ‘So, that’s water then, but with less calories than water, which has no calories.’

‘Yes,’ I stuttered, noting the clever way they’d written ‘skinny’ as if the word itself had been on a diet.

‘It’s, er, good for you,’ I said. Witty retort, Kim, witty retort.

‘It’s twice the price of water,’ he replied.

My hand wavered. This is exactly the reason I’ll never get out of debt. Because I am a marketing team’s dream.

Those fat cats, sitting on their skinny chairs, chewing their skinny pencils, they know that people like me are lured by words like ‘skinny’.

Not today. I didn’t buy the silly water at twice the price of water.

Thus, my overpriced black boots with buttons and purple bits are entirely justifiable. All I have to do is not buy a hell of a lot more skinny water.
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Devout Atheist

Let me spend no more than one introductory sentence acknowledging how dry my pen has been for too many months now. Here is my mojo. I had lost it. But then I found it. Now I shall begin.

I had lunch with a devout Christian once. She, simultaneously, was having lunch with a devout Atheist. She had more fun that I did, that’s for sure. While listening to her bang on about God, I learned that God liked to test people. Apparantly, he killed nine of her friends in a bus crash – to test her. Then he killed her fiance… you know, just to test her again. Nice guy, God. Full of surprises.

While sailing the Adaman Seas, off the coast of Thailand, God decided to test me.

Having fun, Kim? Mind if I spoil the party? He probably said, as he began meddling with my holiday.

The players in this holiday are: Paso Doble, the catamaran boat my dad had chartered for two weeks off the coast of Thailand. (I know, sounds rubbish doesn’t it.) Me, present and correct. Bryan, my dad, captain of the ship. Gareth, my boyfriend, Nigel, his dad, and Nicola, a dear, friend of mine. We have the same appetite. I love her.

Firstly, our team of five became four. No, God didn’t test me by killing one of my beloved. That would have been extra specially mean and in fact puts into perspective just what I went through compared to the God botherer I lunched with. All that happened was my boyfriend got sick and went home – but being a savvy wordsmith, I’m going to eek it out into a full entry of woe and sorrow and by jove, by the end of it, you’ll be asking directions to the nearest church.

It was monsoon season, so I might have expected torrential rain. But still, it didn’t help. It just made everything all the more miserable and wet.

After another restless night, Gareth decided he’d had enough and needed to get to a hospital. Being a caring and committed girlfriend, I decided not to go with him. After all, it might be sunny again soon and this skin doesn’t brown itself.

So it was arranged that Jones senior would take Jones junior to hospital, while Captain Bryan, Nicola and myself would wait on the beautiful island of Ko Kradan for their hopefully safe return. But at 6am that morning, God decided to climb aboard our boat and wee everywhere, metaphorically speaking. Although, it did rain a lot. Rain is god’s wee.

We were warned there would be immigration problems, if Gareth tried to leave the boat. Crew members aren’t allowed to leave willy nilly, you see. It’s the law of the sea.

Best we all took a Thai dragon boat taxi over to the mainland and try to explain to the immigration officials what was going on together, as a team. As a crew. So, donning waterproofs, we headed to the rickety dragon boat.

Breakfast was out of the question, we had urgent immigrational issues to sort out. Five hours and a lot of confused customs officials later, we finally had our passports stamped.

‘Mr Sick go home?’ the customs man asked, pointing at Gareth. Yes, Mr Sick go home. As we waved him off, there was an impending sense of doom in all our hearts. We had lost a man. It didn’t feel right. Shipmates were meant to stick together. Shipmates were meant to drink rum and say ahoy. It was not to be.

The rain kept coming as Gareth was taken away. Time for us to head back to our boat, the Paso Doble. Lunchtime passed by in a blur, not a sausage passed any lips. I can sometimes muster the power to skip breakfast, but not lunch too.

God was obviously enjoying our suffering. A little more rain, chaps? Why yes please, thank you God, how kind of you, just in time for our crossing back to the island.

The waves crashing all about us were higher than the boat. At times I was sure the law of physics were going out the window and we were certain to capsize. It felt as if an invisible man (was it you, God?) was throwing buckets of salt water in my face. I wasn’t happy.

Dad, however, took the opportunity to sleep. We were being thrown around in a boat no bigger than a bath tub, in a storm we later found out to be the tail winds of a cyclone, and he napped. Amongst all the sadness of losing Gareth and the horribleness of the rain, Nicola and I mustered a giggle. (it was hard – we were very hungry. But we managed it) We laughed at Dad’s crap waterproofs filling up with rain. We laughed at how he managed to sleep through the invisible man’s bucket throwing. We laughed at how cold and wet and hungry we were. We laughed because that was all we had left.

We got back to the island at 5pm. Still not a morsel had passed our lips.

Would you like a slightly warm shower followed by some dinner, God asked. Yes please, we begged.

Ah… the day was looking up. Nothing like a slightly warm shower after you’ve been caught in a cyclone.

Hungry now? God asked. Well, your boat is drifting. I made it drift. Go and sort it out.

Damn you God! Into our little dingy we went, to save our boat from drifting to shore. So much for that lovely post shower feeling. In it’s place, a salty residue only splashes of sea water can provide.

Up anchor. Move boat. Down anchor.

You’ve worked so hard, said God. Back to the island for dinner.

Soaking wet, Nicola and I ordered a tea. It tasted funny. Then we ordered curry. Then the rain came back. It came back so hard that even under the canopy of the restaurant, we still got rained on. We huddled under our waterproofs, no one even complaining.

‘I wonder what else could go wrong today?’ Dad asked. Hats off to him – it was 7pm and it was his first negative thought of the day. Nicola and I had been having – and saying – them since 6am. But Dad has a remarkable ability to stay upbeat. ‘What an adventure!’ he’ll usually say, come hell or high water. So, God, you knew you were on to a winner of a bad day when you had Dad complaining.

Exhausted and miserable, we headed back to the yacht. As we clambered aboard, we all hoped it was the end of God’s tests.

Opp, no, one more thing. I’m just going to whisk the hat off your head and drop it in the water, God said. Ha ha ha. Go fetch.

Cheers God. Watching my Dad lunge spread eagled into the dingy from the edge of the yacht in a vain attempt to rescue his hat, to the chorus of ‘’it’s not worth it!’ from his bemused crew, was a sight for sore eyes.

But rescue his hat he did. It may have been a bad day, but we managed to deliver Gareth to dry land, survive a cyclone, rescue a drifting yacht and a drifting hat – and all on an empty stomach.

Not bad for a bunch of Atheists.
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In God We Trust

After salt, comes pepper. After ying, comes yang. After a bad day, comes a good. A brilliant. A perfect.

The storms had passed, the sun had returned. And not just mediocre sun – I’m talking a cloudless, blue sky and a scorching, bright sunshine. From 7am. My back was bronzing before I’d even put the kettle on.

Up anchor and away – on to pastures new. Next stop, Ko Ngai – a tiny island populated by a few locals and a few resorts, one aptly names Paradise Resort.

We moored in a lagoon-like bay, bang in the middle of a long, sandy beach. We sandwiched ourselves between two fishing boots, the fishermen aboard waving and smiling as we arrived.

Nicola and I swam ashore, leaving the men to bring in the dinghy. We weren’t sure which beachside resort to eat at, but fortunately Eck, a committed and endearingly homosexual waiter was waiting for us. ‘Hello!’ he cheered. ‘Would you like a massage before you eat?’

Ah… it was as if the last two days of crew lossage and torrential rain hadn’t happened. Yes please, Mr Eck, we’d like a massage.

Nicola and I surveyed the massage menu, settling on a coffee bean scrub, which not only helps sun kissed (not burnt, thank you) skin recover, but also rids the body of toxins and cellulite. Not that we have any.

With skin softer than a babies bottom, we meandered over to some deck chairs and were given a banana smoothie. Surely, this day has peaked. How can it possibly get any better?

‘If you want lobster for lunch,’ Eck explained. ‘I’ll send someone out with the snorkel,’ he said, waving in the general direction of the sea. Crikey. The definition of fresh lobster.

After lunch, we took a long walk in the afternoon sun, stopping to watch crabs side walk into the sea. The sand was soft, the air was cool. We decided to squeeze in a quick snorkel before dinner. We took our dingy out to some nearby islands, looking for shallow reefs. We couldn’t find any, but someone, probably me, said the word ‘gin’ and we all decided an afternoon gin and tonic on the boat was a much more appealing idea anyway.

And that’s when it happened. Dolphins. Not one, but a whole school of the things. They were everywhere. It was magic. We cut the engine and watched in silence as their fins splashed out of the water.

The dolphins moved on and we returned to the Paso Doble. It hadn’t dragged. Not today.

The sun set as we sipped our gin and tonics and nibbled some pistachio nuts. God whacked some mesmerising cloud formations into the sky for good measure. It was a clear night – not even a hint of rain on the horizon. I slept outside, under the stars.

If God was trying to make up for all the drudgery of the previous day, it was working.

Am I forgiven? God Asked. Course you bloody are, God. Course you bloody are.
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Monday, June 15, 2009

Curl up and Dye

You know you’re having a bad day when your Google search is: ‘how do I get hair dye off my face.’

I was looking forward to tonight. I had the flat to myself and it’s my birthday tomorrow - two great reasons to be totally self indulgent, not that I need reasons. So I nipped to Asda after work, purchased a face mask and some hair dye, ready to have some proper home spa-ing. Only, I forgot to check for hair dye all over my face before I sat down for the 35 minutes it tells you to sit down for while the permanent hair dye works it’s magic on your hair.

It would be one thing to emerge the other side of my 35 minutes with a completely different barnet. But I dye my dark brown hair dark brown, so the fact I’m now battling streaks of brown across my face hardly seems worth it.

There’s a big slash of brown across my cheek and various speckles across my forehead. When my mum used to dye my hair I never had this problem, for she had eyes. And sense. Now I’m all alone, a grown up who is supposed to read instruction manuals, I look like I’m ready for war.

Which is what brought me to ask Google to save me. Please, Google, you can do it.

Obviously within 0.02 milliseconds I’d found a forum of like minded fools. Toothpaste, lemon juice, baking soda, cigarettes ashes, nail polish remover, a pumice stone, baby oil, various things I can only presume are American – like Magic Eraser, and finally, bleach.

I’m quite fond of the skin on my face so there are a few things I’m not prepared to try, and a few things I don’t have lying around the house. So I grab the toothpaste, nail polish remover and a pumice stone, opting not to smear my skin in baby oil for fear of acne, and avoiding the bleach beside the loo for fear of, well, it just doesn’t sound like something I want to put on my skin. Unless absolutely necessary…

For anyone out there who one day finds themselves in this predicament – don’t pumice your face. Unless you want streaky brown hair dye marks and a red rash, like what I’m now sporting.

Aware that time is of the essence and for every second I don’t get this stuff off my face, it’s settling down to it’s destiny as a 6-8 week permanent dye, I scrap the pumice and head for the nail varnish remover.

The forum would like me to remind you at this stage that lots of different suggestions actually have adverse reactions to each other and it’s not suggested to try one after the other in quick succession. Well, tough titties. Quick succession and mild desperation are all I have.

Nail polish remover stings like TCP on a grazed knee. As does lemon juice, but worse. Both of these might have been less painful if I hadn’t just pumiced my face red raw, I’ll never know. All I’ve got left now is toothpaste. I smear a load all over my face and asses the situation.

The sink is full of lemon slices and cotton wool drenched in all manner of household goods, my hair is the same colour as it was before I started this night of ‘relaxation’ but my face is now a fetching shade of red with bright white strips all over it. Throw in some blue and you’ve got yourself a walking Aquafresh advert, although perhaps not the type of advert that makes people want to rush out and buy Aquafresh.

Perhaps it was a combination of all the things I’ve just put my face through, perhaps just the toothpaste, but something worked. The streaky dark lines are fading. I’ve done two rounds of toothpaste smearing now and I reckon by tomorrow’s birthday catch-up with friends I’ll be able to hide what’s left of the war paint under some heavy duty Max Factor.

Crikey. What a night. I was going to blog about how much I like ambulances, but now it doesn’t seem relevant. Maybe next time. I do really like ambulances. More than hair dye, anyway.

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Men are from Mars...

If I am to understand men, then I must first learn to think like a man. Men, they say, think about sex every seven seconds. I think about food every seven seconds. So, if I replace every thought I have of delicious curries and cakes with thoughts of boobies and bums, I can begin to understand what a man goes through every day.

I wake up thinking about food. I go to the gym so that I can eat more food. I look forward to breakfast. Then I’m sad because it’ll be at least another three hours before lunch. My favourite thing to do of an evening is go out for dinner. I like starters. I like main courses. I like pudding.

Now, let me swap all those thoughts for that of a man. Presumably.

I wake up thinking about sex. I go to the office every day, just so people don’t think I’m a weird pervert sitting in my porn-filled room all day. I look forward to seeing that cute girl in the office with the nice bum. Then I’m sad when she sits down because I know it might be a few hours before I see it again. My favourite thing to do of an evening is go to a bar and ogle pretty ladies. I like thin women. I like curvy women. I like all women.

Hmmm. We’re infinitely different, yet comparatively similar.

So now I’ve made this grand simile between men and women, I can claim to understand men. Therefore, I suppose I need to get my head around why the hell my boyfriend can waste six hours straight playing Grand Theft Auto.

What a stupid invention. I mean, who the hell – no, wait, stop. That’s not very understanding is it? Let me try again.

I arrive home and Gareth is playing this game. His eyes are glued to the screen and I doubt he’s blinked in an hour. I say hello, he grunts. I’d sooner win the lottery than get eye contact or even a kiss at this moment. I inquire as to his day. Another grunt.

In trying to understand this alpha male behaviour, as for the next hour all I can get out of him are expletives as he “takes down them bitches and ho’s”, I have to remain calm. More often than not during the course of learning to live with a partner, I have not remained calm, but rather had a mini tantrum and demanded that he turns the damn thing off or risk losing me forever.

But that only serves to make me feel like a nagging wife or mother, and that won’t do. Hence my venture to enter into his head space and understand him.

It happened quite by accident, my sudden understanding of all things Grand Theft Auto.

Gareth arrived home and I was watching Desperate Housewives. My eyes were glued to the screen, I doubt I’d blinked for an hour. Hello, he says, kneeling beside me. I grunt, tapping him gently on the head and turning the volume up slightly. He inquires as to my day.

‘Can we talk about this later?’ I ask, my eyes still on the impossibly skinny cast.

‘Of course we can,’ he says, probably smiling, I wasn’t looking. ‘As long as you remember this moment forever – remember that you are trying to watch something you enjoy and I’m trying to interrupt you, but you’d rather continue doing what you were doing before I walked in. I’ll be over here, not having a tantrum.’

Damn. That moment will stay with me forever. It'll haunt me forever. For now, not only do I understand Grand Theft Auto, I’ve got absolutely no legs to stand on when he has it on.

I blame those god damn impossibly skinny Desperate Housewives. I bet they don’t spend all day thinking about food.
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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Castle Rascals

I love it when they get the weather wrong. Clouds and rain, they threatened, for Bank Holiday Monday. No, said Mother Nature, I shall grant you glorious sunshine and cloudless blue skies. Thank you, said we.

Off we sped to Castle Combe for some rambling. I’ve never been much of a rambler. I have some friends who ramble on every weekend. I’ve always been half jealous, half ‘no thanks, see you in the pub.’ But as I seem to be ageing with the speed of light, suddenly a six mile walkathon seems more appealing to me on my bank holiday than the bed – sofa –bed – sick bucket routine that used to be my hungover days.

That’s the old Kim. I even bought some rambling shoes to carry me through my six miles. We downloaded a map from the good people at Google and set off. First stop, the Castle Inn, where we might have started the day with a chilled and perfect pint of Stourpress cider. Well, old habits die hard…

In the wind pocket that was the pub garden, my skin warmed under the blazing sun. I had to keep reminding myself it was April. Who’d have thought it. With the cider giving us the energy we needed to commence adventure, and the pub garden beginning to fill, we set sail.

The ‘we’ in this tale, is my boyfriend Gareth, and I. Gareth held on to the map. With all his might. What is it with men and maps? I wasn’t even allowed to peek over his shoulder. He’d whip it out at every turning and junction, sneak and peek while turning it slightly away from my preying eyes, then demand ‘Over here, to the left,’ while jumping over a turn stile, the map sinking quickly back into his pocket.

I was quite happy to leave him fussing over his new GPS system and trying to plot our route on his phone while I breathed in the lovely country air and thought about how many calories I was burning just by plodding along. Loads, was the conclusion I came to.

After about 15 hours, Gareth’s GPS system told us we’d covered 1.6 miles. Only 4.4 to go! Twenty minutes later, it informed us we’d now covered 1.4 miles. Ok. We’re somehow managing to back track while only going forwards. Perhaps it’s time to put the GPS back in your pocket, Gareth, and just enjoy the scenery? He did, begrudgingly.

We passed couples with dogs. We were jealous. We passed eccentric country estates and cosy cottages. We were jealous. We passed over-energetic, sugar rushing children and exhausted parents. We were not jealous.

It was a blissful walk. Six miles flew by. The only bit I did not enjoy was the 100M or so you have to walk alongside a busy main road in the middle of the hike. But it soon passed and we were back in the glades and fields in no time.

Yes, Castle Combe is a tourist trap and yes, I did pay £3 for a lemonade when we got back to the village. It hurt. It hurt my wallet and my pride. We also splashed out on some overpriced scones (I’d burnt enough calories to justify it, I decided) and they were scrumdiddlyumptous.

I don’t think walking is something I could do every weekend, but on a day of sunshine such as this, I’d have been a fool not to. The views were stupendous, people actually said hello as we crossed paths, and I learned what a kissing gate was and what the history of the village was. (Something about red wool. I might not have been listening.) Plus, it was free. Which was lucky, as it meant I could afford the lemonade.

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Monday, April 13, 2009

The shame of fame

So, you’re famous. Well done you. Now, thousands of people are going to be watching your every move, idolising you, imitating you, loving you. With great power comes great responsibility. Spiderman could handle it. Can you, Paris Hilton?

You’d think famous people would take on this burden with a little more skill. And some do, I know. I won’t generalise too much as it isn’t fair on the Shakira’s of this world. Oh. You don’t know about Shakira? Not enough do. I’ll tell you later.

Most of the silly little famous people who deface our weekly magazines, our red top newspapers, our websites, our clothing chains, our coca cola cans, our billboards, our every breath, are not up to the job. What’s with Paris Hilton getting let out of jail early? That seemed a trifle unfair. She was sentenced to 45 days in prison for violating a probation order (for drink driving). Four days into her sentence, she was released for ‘medical reasons.’ That judge needed a good talking to. Paris Hilton should have served her time as a lesson to all her fans. If you get caught drink driving, you will have to do the time. Not, if you, mere mortal, get caught drink driving, you, mere mortal, will have to do the time, but I, princess of the parties, will not do the time for my crime because I didn’t really like jail very much. What kind of lesson is that?

Madonna’s latest adoption. We all expected her to waltz in there, grab Mercy, sling her in the back of the private jet and be off. Yes, she’s minted, and that would be a nice alternative for someone who otherwise faces a life of poverty and neglect. But Madonna, let’s not forget, is also over 50, always on tour, divorced and has three children by three fathers. If you took away the Madonna, would that divorced, 50 year old mother of three (by three different fathers) be able to bypass Malawi's strict adoption policies? Unlikely.

If your daily goings on are going to be splashed all over the tabloids for all to judge, then all the more reason for you to be made an example of. Young women can’t be seeing Paris Hilton ‘find god’ in jail, be let out early, then go back to her pink and fluffy life without a second thought to all the humanitarian schools she promised to open. It teaches young women that if they say ‘that’s hot’ and bleach their hair, they can get away with criminal activity.

Young women can’t be seeing Madonna decide it’s time to add to her brood, pick a country, pick a child, and expect the laws to be bent especially for her. It teaches young women that if you sell enough records, do enough yoga, scare enough people with your weird veins, you can have whatever you want. Disregard the law, folks, just get famous like me!

Good work on the stirling music career, Maddie, but if you could just abide by the same governmental laws as the rest of us, that’d teach young, impressionable fans that no amount of money can buy you a child. Good work on the, er, what do you do Paris? But if you could just do your paltry 45 days then it would teach young, impressionable fans that fame can’t buy you a get out of jail free card.

Shakira? Well, since you ask. Shakira is thought of as a princess in Colombia. Not a princess like Paris. She doesn’t turn up in a diamond encrusted car, wearing a diamond encrusted dress, to the opening of an envelope. Shakira is thought of as a princess because she has donated $40 million to the victims of natural disasters. In 1995 she founded the Pies Descalzos Foundation, opening schools for under privileged children. She’s helped thousands of children who couldn’t otherwise afford to get an education. On her 32nd birthday she opened a $6 million school in her hometown of Barranquilla.

For Paris Hilton’s 28th birthday, she cruised by private jet to Las Vegas. You ought to require a license to be famous. And Paris ought to be denied hers.

Shakira sings and dances for a living, but when she gets off a plane, people swoon because she saves lives. She embraces the great responsibility that comes with the great power of fame. Just like Spiderman.
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Saturday, April 11, 2009

Little Miss Chief

The giant wagon wheels and life sized exotic animals outside the Chief Trading Garden Centre in Oldland Common were always enough to unleash a little curiosity when I drove past, but not enough for me to stop and see exactly what kind of garden centre sells elephants and gorillas.

Until today.

I’d been longing to grow some tomatoes ever since I left my piddly London flat for the green and supreme hills and vales of the west country. I’d heard tomatoes were low maintenance, and that’s the kind of gardening that appealed to me. I was given a bonsai tree once. Big mistake. The poor little thing didn’t have a hope in hell.

As winter finally gave way to spring, it was time to embrace the Green Lady within. Throwing caution to the wind, and forgetting the Bonsai lesson, I decided to up the stakes. Why not bung in some herbs too and see what happens? Taking my urge to live the good life by the reins, I invested in some rosemary, thyme (even I know they're like salt and pepper, you just need both) parsley, mint, and sage. Goodbye Grazia. Hello Gardener’s World.

It was a need for some compost for these little fellas which led me to drag my boyfriend to the Chief Trading Post, a garden centre which, we were to discover, puts all others in the shade. We came for compost. We stayed for the paradise within.

What an incredible experience. I’ve been to garden centres before, I know they supply trinkets and gnomes, fridge magnets and patio slabs, but this one really goes above and beyond. We spent a few bewildering hours wandering around the jungle-like greenhouses and pretending we owned a farmhouse, just so we could imagine where we'd put the wagon wheel swinging seat and hand carved rocking chair.

Inside, things only got better. Having decided we’d grow both tomatoes and strawberries in our grow bag, and having garnered advice aplenty from the multitude of cheery workers, we sat down for a well earned scone. Well, all the dreaming about farmhouses whilst going ‘ooh’ at big benches and bright flowers was exhausting work. Any excuse to use the sentence 'lashings of strawberry jam' gets my vote. The food was delicious, and if I haven’t already driven home how happy the employees were, I’ll reiterate. Working Easter Saturday didn’t deter these folk from some witty banter and encouraging guidance to a pair of novices like Gareth and me.

The café, or high tea saloon, to use the proper name, is immersed in a labyrinth of cacti, so humongous they’re bursting through the roof, giving the whole scone scoffing experience wonderful charm.

If I were five years old, I’d be off gallivanting through the maze of sand pits, plants, lions, gypsy caravans and hanging baskets. If I had children, I’d bring them here for a day out. I’d teach them all about plants and let them take home (to the farmhouse) one fruit or vegetable to grow for themselves. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I can barely keep these herbs alive, let alone a child.

Floating from our lovely garden centre experience, we came home and got green fingered. Much to my delight, Gareth , who I thought might head straight to his laptop and leave me to it, joined me on the patio for some potting. He re-homed the tomatoes while I tended the herbs, which I'd forgotten to water since buying a week ago and were on their last legs. Nothing a bit of baby bio won't sort out, I'm sure. ‘Doesn’t it make you feel at one with nature?’ I asked, encouraging Gareth's green side. ‘I’m very at one with my grow bag,’ he replied with the kind of dead pan tone that reminded me not to push it.

As we surveyed our makeshift garden, fingers muddy and herbs looking rather like a child who knows the babysitter doesn’t have much faith in their child caring abilities (wilting away from us slightly. Cowering, you might say) we smiled satisfactorily. The whole experience can be summed up in no other word than delightful.

My god. I’m using the word ‘delightful' to describe my past times. Look out Grandma, there’s a young pretender to your rocking chair.

I think I need a stiff drink. Luckily I’ve got some homegrown mint, barely making it past week one in my care, ready to fulfill it’s destiny and become a mojito. Pass the rum, I need to regain my youth.

The Chief Trading Post LTD Barry Road, Oldland Common, BS30 6QY 01179 323 112
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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Over doing it

Consumerism. It’s got me written all over it. I don’t like to think that I equate happiness with consumption and the purchase of material possession, because if I did, I’d be shallow and superficial, my life would have no true meaning and you’d think I was vain and inconsiderate of the real issues of the world – of poverty and disease, of politics and war.

Well, I do care about those things, but I also like buying things. Can I be a happy consumer with a conscience?

Whilst on my recent holiday, I noticed that I was on a downward spiral of spending. It wasn’t my fault. It was my camera’s fault.

Because I am snap happy, I took lots of holiday pictures. Lamenting the death of the printed picture, I decided this time, I’d buy an album and make sure the pictures got printed and put in a pretty album for my coffee table. Not just any old album. It had to be a Paperchase album, they are so pretty. And we’ll need a nice new frame for the best picture, to go on the mantelpiece. And if it’s going on the mantelpiece, we better get some candles to go next to it. With matching coasters. Those coasters only come with matching tablemats. Ooh! Look at that table runner. That’ll look good when we have guests. Let’s get a fancy wine bottle holder too. Going to need some good wine to go in it. Have you tried this new recipe? It goes well with wine. Maybe I need an apron, for all this cooking. Perhaps a new outfit. Some new shoes to go with my new outfit, as I simply have none that match. Some new plasters to mend my feet where my new shoes rub. Fun plasters, I like the fun plasters best.

Taking that first holiday snap has proved rather costly and suddenly I now have a whole new wardrobe. But then, if I didn’t buy that new dress, then I'd effect so many people. If I can get my head around the politics of the recession, as my dad has tried so many times to explain to me, then as I understand it, if we all just carried on spending, they’d be no recession.

(All I hear is, carry on spending. Then my mind wanders off while he explains recession and depression and currency and …. Oo! Currants! They go down nicely sprinkled on yoghurt. See? How will I ever learn, when all political lessons drift into culinary delights?)

Anyway, what my father is trying to teach me, is that if I don’t buy my dress, the shop sells less dresses, so they buy less dresses, so the dressmaker is told to make less dresses, so she sells less dresses, so she makes less money, so she spends less money, and so on and so on, until suddenly I’m responsible for the lorry driver who would have delivered my dress to the shop being made redundant and the dress maker having to sell her children to make ends meet. Just keep spending, Kim, just keep spending. These people need you.

I do have a needy urge to spend on a regular basis and I satisfy this urge by being ‘in charge’ of the weekly shop. My feminist, independent friend Nic thinks I’m mad for relinquishing the responsibility of food shopping from my fella, but I know if he did it, he’d come back with a crate of beans, a carrot, and a bewildered look on his face. More importantly, I would not have satisfied my spending urge, so would end up on a website clicking ‘add to basket’ manically at 3am with a carrot in my hair and beans in my tea.

I’m not shallow or superficial, honest. The true meaning of my life is to spend quality time with my loved ones, to laugh and feel thrill and content on a daily basis. I’m considerate and only slightly vain. I help blind people cross the road, on my way to the shops. I care about the world, I buy fair trade, I recycle.

Half of me wants to give it all up, live on a deserted island with nothing but a coconut for company. The other half likes my new outfit. And I do already live on an island. The island of the United Kingdom. Bring on consumerism and it’s many outfits. I can get a coconut in Asda.
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Wobble my knobble

Wootton Primary School Knobbly Knees Competition, 1988. Winner, Kim Willis, aged six. Thank you, thank you very much.

I haven't won much in my life. No lotteries, no holidays, no hampers. But I did win that, and I thank my knobblers for it. I love them. They look like the knee cap is out of joint. My mum says they’re endearing, my boyfriend finds them funny. Whatever they are, there’s one thing they are not, and that is touchable. So why, woman, go for a full body massage? Aren’t you just asking for trouble?

We were on holiday, the sunshine was effecting my decision making. Oo, yes, a full body please, where do I sign? It had all the ingredients for a perfect hour. The Thai beach, Thai masseuse, Thai sunshine dancing through the leaves of the Thai trees. Thai flies hovering around the sticky, warm Thai massage oil… just heaven.

I closed my eyes and waited to be transported to a fluffy cloud of relaxation. A damp flannel was placed over my eyes. I listened to the gentle, rhythmic sound of the ocean, the waves crashing onto the beach just yards away. I breathed in, I breathed out.

Hit me! Hit me relaxation, I’m ready for you!

She began. She was gentle. Too gentle. She was tickling me. I tensed up. My knuckles went white, my muscles were taught. Stop tickling me, woman, for the love of god! (This was, of course, an internal monologue. I wasn’t about to break the British code of conduct – stay silent at all times, keep all grievances internal and mumble a pathetic and insincere thank you at the end).

Full body massage? It was like she’d spied the only parts of my body I did not want massaged and homed in on them. My knees, my elbows, my feet, my thighs. Thighs? As if knees weren’t bad enough, who can stand having their thighs prodded? Not I.

The flies were so insistent that, to presumably help me float off to a world of calm, she lowered the flannel currently only covering my eyes, so it covered my whole face.

So I couldn't breathe. I wondered at what point of this excruciatingly ticklish massage I was going to break my Britishness and ask her to stop wobbling my knobblies, and that, if it's not too much bother, would she mind if I had some oxygen. Perhaps just before I lost consciousness I might have dramatically peeled back the damp flannel and gasped, if not ‘get the hell off me,’ then at least ‘tell my mum I loved her.’ Then I could flop back down, apparently dead, and finally relaxed. Death by knee massage. It would certainly be a different way to go.

Concentrate. Stop thinking about dying. This was supposed to be relaxing. Breathe, Kim, breathe. I realised I hadn't for a while. But then, at last, she moves onto my back. My back, I could enjoy. The flannel fell off my face as I turned over and I took a much needed breathe. I made it a long one.

My back massage lasted ten seconds. Then the torture restarted.

My eyebrows! I’m not lying to you, she massaged my eyebrows. Is that really necessary? I was not aware that my eyebrows were tense (although, at that moment, every single inch of me was tense, longing for my hour to be up so I could have my body back).

Please, God, let it be over.

God, you are a bastard. The eyebrows were not the end.

The eyeballs, people, she moved on to the eyeballs.

Horrible for most people, but for a contact lens wearer like myself, it was hell on a Thai beach. Hell. I squirmed, it was all I could do. She laughed and carried on. The wench.

I don’t like massages anymore. I’ve realised although some parts of it might be enjoyable enough, I never know when the next knee rub or elbow prod is going to happen, so I spend the entire hour in a constant state of pent up fear, my muscles taught, my teeth gritted. And I’m the mug paying for this experience.

The hour finally comes to an end and my sister and father sit up beside me, breathing deep, satisfied breaths and saying ‘oooh’ and ‘ahh’ a lot. I had better join in.

‘Yes, amazing, mmmm, great,’ I agreed. Are they just being polite like me? ‘The best massage I’ve ever had,’ Tammi said, smiling kindly at her masseuse. Alright, Tammi, don’t over do it. They’ll get ideas. ‘Thank you,’ I mumbled, pulling on Tammi’s elbow, trying to leave.

Too late. She’s only gone and suggested we come back same time tomorrow.

‘Yes please, I’d love to!’ I said out loud, while the little man in the control panel inside my head puts his little head in his little hands and sighs wearily.

‘Kim you idiot,' he sighed. 'Who's in charge here? Just. Say. No! Thanks to your quick tongue, you're paying for another hour of your life to be stolen by a gentle, ticklish, eyeball prodder. That's it, I quit.' And with that, the little man in the control panel inside my head hops off his little stool and, grabbing his little hat from the little hat rack he keeps beside my frontal lobe, he stormed out.

Oh, holidays, they’re just so much bloody fun aren’t they?
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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Schmalintine’s Day

A quick google shows me that St Valentine was a Roman who was martyred for refusing to give up Christianity. Sounds like a right plum. He died on February 14th and left a farewell note to the jailer’s daughter, signing it ‘from your Valentine.’

What would this chap think to know his name has been turned by Clinton Cards into a means for them to survive the dip in sales between Christmas and Easter, I wonder.

Valentine’s Day is a test. If you don’t buy a dozen red roses, a giant fluffy teddy and an over sized card, you have failed as a husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend/mistress/admirer/human being. You should be ashamed of yourself.

No, Clinton Cards, you should be ashamed of yourself. Love isn’t a who-got-the-biggest-teddy-bear contest. You’ve gone and ruined a perfectly good idea haven’t you?

There’s two sides of the fence to sit about Valentine’s Day. There’s the cool gang, sitting, gloating, on the ‘we don’t ‘do’ Valentine’s Day' side. Women who declare it a commercialised media frenzy, and opt out, much to the relief of their otherwise fretting other halfs.

And then there’s the ‘we do, so you better’ crowd. Woman expecting, wishing, hoping to be romanced in every possible way. Bring on the full works – flowers, dinner, rose petals adorning the satin sheets of their boudoir. And why not? They clean their men’s pants all year long, a thankless task, why shouldn’t they enjoy an albeit forced day of romance…

Unfortunately for my boyfriend, I pretend to be in the former, cool, group, but secretly I’m in the latter, making Valentine’s Day a bit tricky for him as he tries to please every side of my personality.

‘I don’t want to celebrate Valentine’s Day,’ I declared triumphantly a week before. ‘Great,’ he replied, ‘then we can go to that party.’

Hmph. Talked myself out a night of romance there didn’t I. Nice one Kim.

Then, a few days later, he brings up the party.

‘I don’t want to go to the stupid party!’ I tantrumed. Of course. What part of ‘yes, let’s go to that party’ made him think I wanted to go?

I don’t want Clinton Cards to profit from our love, but I do want lots of attention. Last year, Gareth gave me this blog, following a comment weeks earlier that I missed writing. I was bowled over – a gift that ticked so many boxes – he showed he was thoughtful, that he gave unusual and useful gifts and that he had ears. All good things in a man. Especially the ears.

A year on, how would his actions compare?

As he kept ‘fooling’ me into thinking he had nothing planned, by telling me he had nothing planned, I did begin to think he was a one hit wonder.

Oh, the cad. We had salmon and eggs for candlelit breakfast, accompanied by a Tesco Value valentine’s card, inscribed with some Enrique Iglesias lyrics about being my, er, hero. This year’s practical gift came in the shape of a heart rate monitor, for when I run. Lucky I wasn’t wearing it when I got the card, (did I mention the bar code was bigger than the heart) as I’m sure my heart rate was through the roof.

We watched the rugby, during which I gamely drank 3 pints of Aspells cider. It’s strong. Then we got fish and chips and sat on a hill overlooking the Clifton Suspension Bridge.

Now before you go and stick your fingers down your throat at my romantic day, let me assure you we didn’t go home to a wild night of passion. After a combination of three really strong pints of cider on an empty stomach and some batter wrapped fish, I felt passionate about nothing but vomiting. Gareth’s a lucky man.

But it was still the best Valentines Day I’ve ever had. Can we do this every month, I asked the next day? Why wait until Clinton tells us to?

Yes darling, he replied. But let’s change the name. Knowing what a strop I’d have been in if he hadn’t pulled out all the stops, despite me declaring I didn’t ‘do’ Valentine’s Day, Gareth’s come up with a new name for our monthly Valentine’s day.

The Keep Kim Kosha Day, or the KKK for short.

Well, it does have a certain ring to it. I think I’ll wear white.
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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I blame Jennifer Aniston

Hollywood projects an unreasonable example of what we should expect from our partners and, as I found out this morning, creates thunderstorms where once there was sunshine.

I blame Jennifer Aniston. She had to go and have floaty hair and be all watchable didn’t she? So despite the fact I like festivals and being gobby and climbing trees, I also like Jennifer Aniston rom-coms.

The latest ‘He’s Just Not That Into You’ serves to knock the confidence any woman has in her man. He’s either going to refuse to marry you, or marry you then cheat on you, or cheat on you, or be a pizza scoffing, fat bellied pig, or cheat on you, or all of the above.

My boyfriend was none of the above until I saw this film, to which he came with me to see because he is none of the above. My girlfriend had seen it without me at the weekend so I had no one to watch it with. He stepped up, not even complaining. I think he wanted an excuse to eat ice cream.

I left the cinema feeling bewildered and like I’d been pummeled with the information that all men were jerks and if your heart wasn’t breaking now it certainly would one day. When he cheats on you.

So I woke up the next morning in a bit of a sulk and caused an argument. Then once the argument was in the air, I wanted to retract it, I wanted to rewind time, because I suddenly felt like a fruit loop, like a high maintenance girlfriend, the kind you see having a go at their poor fellas in Asda. My boyfriend was understandably confused by my outburst and said he felt a little lost as to what to do to solve matters.

It was clear only the moon on a stick was going to be good enough for this little madam.

Obviously, I’m not so ignorant to think that this is all Jennifer Aniston’s fault. I do think popular culture has a lot to answer for, but I'll hold my hand up and take at least 2% of the blame myself, for being led by idealistic movies. Films portray an unrealistic fairytale ending. One where the guy does whatever it takes, and the girl doesn’t come across as loopy. But that’s not real life.

Even love songs and poems help create the illusion in women’s minds that somewhere out there is some kind of fantastical love so immense and overpowering that if you haven’t got it there must be something pretty wrong with you. If you’re in a relationship where you find yourselves discussing the merits of the smell of Lenor and whether you want sausages for dinner, then you’ve somehow failed, because Jenifer Aniston doesn’t discuss Lenor. Or sausages.

But after a lot of soul searching today and after feeling like a bit of a fool for suggesting my quite romantic boyfriend doesn’t love me because he hasn’t done any grand sweeping gestures for a while, I’ve come to the realisation that actually this is my fairytale. I’d rather discuss Lenor, which, I’ll have you know, makes your clothes smell just lovely, than have some guy arrive on a horse with a rose between his teeth. I’d think he was a right knob.

I like reality. I like sausages and Lenor and I don’t want the milk tray man. So that’s it. No more bloody rom coms. They’re dangerous.
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Friday, January 30, 2009

Etiquette. What's to get?

Etiquette. The rules and conventions governing correct or polite behaviour in society in general or in a particular social or professional group or situation.

Sounds pretty simple to me.

Lack of etiquette really gets my goat. You either have it, or you don’t. You can’t make grand, sweeping gestures with your etiquette skills. Your etiquette skills are subtle, often go unnoticed, if you have them. If you don’t, then your lack of them can be so smack bang, shoutingly obvious to others, it’s hard to believe people don’t realise just how impolite they are. I suppose they would if they were trained in etiquette. People trained in etiquette are so aware of being perceived as even slightly rude, they go out of their way to be generous, courteous, thoughtful. I like people with etiquette.

You don’t have to go to finishing school to have basic etiquette skills. I think my mum’s best friend, my favourite fake aunt, went to finishing school, but aside from her, I don’t know of a soul who was sent to finishing school. Yet most of the people with whom I choose to spend my time have etiquette in abundance. And when I find myself in a situation with people who have none, I get really wound up. It’s an injustice.

Good etiquette skills – some examples:

My best mate and the future bride to my maid – the most thoughtful, generous woman I know, except me. Cesca, for that is her name, is a fellow letter writer. If invited to dinner, she arrives with wine. At dinner, she engages in conversation, asks about the host’s life, gives great banter. She eats enough to show she’s enjoyed herself, but not so much as to be seen as some kind of guzzling, get-it-cos-it’s-free hobo. After dinner, perhaps the next day, she writes to thank the host for the spread, thus giving the host a warm glow and a want to reinvite her soon. It’s not rocket science, but judging by some of the invitees I’ve had round for dinner, you’d think it was.
My dear friend Laurence. He never, ever, let’s your glass get empty. He would never dream of filling his own glass without filling yours too. As soon as guests arrive, he offers them a drink and then spends the rest of the night with a vigilant eye on their glass. He opens doors for women and serves other people before himself. He’s also rude, loud, obnoxious, opinionated and stubborn. My point being, you can be anyone, have any personality traits, and still have etiquette.

My sister Tammi. Thoughtful to a fault. So thoughtful she, if you actually worked it out, probably finishes a night out of pocket, as her generosity knows no bounds. And most of her friends take full advantage of this, the pikey little scumbags.

My father – good etiquette skills. Opens doors for women, will live and die by the FHB rule. (that’s Family Hold Back, to the uninitiated. If you don't know about FHB, you probably don't have any etiquette skills).

The list goes on. But let's move on to the rude.

Perched on their probably stolen stools on the other side of the fence, some other friends of mine, who I suppose will have to remain anonymous, although quite why I’m being so kind as to keep them anonymous I’m not sure. Oh, it’s that bloody etiquette again isn’t it. Damn. If only I was as rude as them, they’d be named and shamed right here.

Gareth and I went for dinner with some friends the other day. Not once did either of them ask me an iota about my life. Every pause in conversation, I had to think of yet another thing to ask - about them. Banter. Banter goes to and fro, no? Obviously not to these self absorbed bastards. I've told Gareth I no longer wish to see them. I've written them off.

Last night, we had some other friends round for dinner. They brought a bottle of wine.

(I will interlude here. Bringing a bottle of wine to a dinner party is like a rite of passage into my life. If you don’t, it's bye bye bingo. The host is providing the meal, slaving away over it, the least you can do is bring a bloody bottle. When Laurence and I lived together, I would take pride in sending my rude and incompetent friends down the road to the off lcense if they were rude enough to arrive without a bottle. And then, after the evening was over, I would strike them off the list of people who were invitable. When I first started seeing Gareth, he was invited to a dinner at my then home, which I shared with my etiquette-in-abundance friends Cesca, Mike and Cordelia. He did not bring wine. Unfortunately I rather liked him so I had to hold off from striking him off my list. But I still told him he was walking a fine line and never to ever make that mistake again. Which he did. And he doesn’t pour me a drink when he’s pouring his own. But I’m working on him.)

So these friends came for dinner. Yes yes, they brought wine. Well bloody done. Clap clap. It was red. I don’t drink red. So they drank it. They drank the wine they brought me. Then they proceeded to drink ALL our wine – I worked it out the next morning when I was clearing up. Gareth and I drank rose, and there were two empty bottles. They drank red. Five empty bottles, plus all the spirits they moved on to once we had run out of red.

A bit rude, I feel. Now we have no wine reserves. In one fell swoop they rinsed us of our wine collection which, if I do some quick sums, would have cost us about £40. Plus the price of the meal. So I spent perhaps £100. They spent £5. And drank it.

I know hosting costs more than guesting. I’m not an idiot. I love hosting. I just love etiquette more.

Basic etiquette.

I suppose it’s about thoughtfulness. Thinking about how you come across is social situations and deciding whether you want to be generous and thoughtful or thoughtless, tight and insensitive. I’m pretty annoyed about the wine, in case I hadn’t made myself clear. The only way I can make that back is if I go to their house and get slaughtered, making sure I drink at least five bottles of their wine before moving on to spirits.

But I can’t. I couldn’t consume that much. I would vomit. So I’m out of pocket. And out of wine.
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Sunday, January 4, 2009

Ode to Amstell

Floppy haired bumhead Noel Edmunds was on the news recently bragging about how he’d stopped paying his TV license in protest at being told people who didn’t pay their TV license were being watched and would be tracked down and forced to pay a fine.

Turns out, he was lying, he had paid his TV license, he was just trying to be the big man. Nice one Noel, you really are the big man. The big idiot man.

The reason I know this is because I was watching one of those ‘2008’s biggest plonkers’ type shows.

The commentator pointed out that he quite liked paying his TV license as it pays for such shows as the Blue Planet and Doctor Who. Well, I’ve never seen Doctor Who, although I do think there’s something rather scrumptious about that David Tenent fella and I know people who do watch it rave, but I am yet to have the pleasure. Blue Planet is an amazing feat and I am not for one second going to stand here and say it is not money well spent because it bloody is, but what makes me happy to pay my license fee is One Man and one man alone.

Simon Amstell.

He’s so hilarious, I watch Nevermind the Buzzcocks at least twice a week. And now it’s gone from my TV for the foreseeable future and that makes me sad. I’m not the type to write to the BBC and praise them on their choices, so he doesn’t even know what a big fan I am, but I am and I miss him already.

Unlike his predecessor Mark Lamarr, who I always thought was a bit of a twat, Simon manages to be both cutting and endearing. Lamarr was never endearing. Simon’s brand of comedy has lifted Buzzcocks out of the doldrums. Ok, so celebrities get a pummeling, but that’s the challenge – take a pummeling from Amstell well and you’ll forever be remembered by fans of Buzzcocks as an alright bloke, even if you are from a shit band or a crap TV show. But woe betide any fool who takes unkindly to his jokes and jibes, a certain cretin named Preston springs to mind, who’ll forever be the knobber who walked out. It’ll be on his tombstone. ‘Here lies Preston, couldn’t take a joke, walked out of Buzzcocks’

And what about the inept fool of a man, if I can even call him a man, Donny Torette, who spent the entire show acting like an arrogant arse, (he was going for ‘anarchist’, he achieved ‘village idiot’ unaware that every twatish move just fuelled Simon’s fire.

I sort of met Simon once, since you ask, I don’t mind telling you. He was a comedian at my sister’s nightclub and naturally, as her sister, she gave me the front row (thus avoiding a hissy fit from me as I knew he was performing and I had a massive crush on him and was looking forward to laughing lots at his hilarious jokes in the hopes he’d notice me and fall in love with me.)

His first line?

So, I’m a gay jew.

My hopes dashed, he proceeded to spend the entire evening flirting with my male housemate. I’m still a bit heartbroken. But I don’t hold it against you Simon, you’re still the funniest man on TV whether or not my wily charms were lost on you.

I hope the new series starts soon. I don’t really like TV on the whole, it makes me sleep, but if the BBC would just play Nevermind the Buzzcocks on continuous loop from now until when I die, then I would not only pay my license fee every year without fail, I would pay it long before the warning letter arrives, maybe even straight away. Maybe, crikey, here’s a thought, maybe I’d even pay it by direct debit so they can be assured of my payments without even bothering me. Then they can just concentrate on filming more Buzzcocks for me.
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