Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Couscous Calamity

Fab news!

Do you know my Crapberry, that I sometimes use to take bad photos of cats creeping in my window and that I am still paying for in France except I am not paying for it so really I am just getting in trouble for it across the Channel?

Well. About an hour ago I dropped it in a bowl of dirty washing up water and now it's FUCKING BROKEN.

I fished it out quickly and it seemed to be working, but just to be on the safe side I thought I would put it in a bag of dry rice to absorb some of the moisture, only I didn't have a bag of rice, I had a packet of couscous; so I buried the phone in couscous and two minutes later there were fat, squishy grains of couscous embedded in every available phone orifice.

I think it might be broken. I've found an actual packet of rice now (it was, erm, in my flatmate's cupboard) and left the phone in there. I really hope it isn't broken. I need to cancel gas/water/electric etc tomorrow.

ARGH.

Last week I FINALLY bought some new headphones and downloaded music on to it as well. I haven't been listening to music recently and I'd forgotten how nice everything is when you've got music to listen to- I could just walk for hours and hours, when I've got something good to listen to.








On Saturday I went for a walk and just kept walking, like I used to in Paris. I walked to Hampstead Heath, through wooded tracks that my cousin found when she was here. It took me about an hour and a half from where I live.

It was so lovely, when I walked through quiet woodland I took my headphones out to listen to birdsong. And also to listen out for Creepy Perverts creeping up behind me. Every so often the wooded track would break and there would be an amazing millionaire housing estate, like Desperate Housewives only with mock-Tudor mansions and cottages. Wandering around one of the Millionaire Pockets were three Romany gypsies in tracksuits, they looked really out of place... Not because they were Travellers, but because they were whispering and hanging back all the time, shifting about as if they shouldn't be there.

I suddenly realised that I looked out of place too, in my I Know What You Did Last Summer coat, which looks really scruffy because the hood has fallen off, and in my No Name Trainers and no make-up. Luckily I reached Hampstead Heath before the police pulled me over for being a Suspicious Tramp and or/prostitute. (Like the real prostitutes you see near Manchester Piccadilly, with a scruffy coat on and shit trainers, teeth missing when they open their mouth to talk; not Hollywood Hookers like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman.)

I don't really get what Hampstead Heath is. Is it just fields and people playing rugby, or is there an actual heath somewhere that I missed?

Anyway.

I'm supposed to be packing my room up tonight. New Flatmate has moved all her stuff in to the living for Some Reason, maybe to demonstrate the point that some shifting around needs to happen?

It will happen on Friday morning, when I move out. I suppose I could do some now, as I'm working in the pub tomorrow. I thought I had left the pub, then the manager texted me asking me to work on Saturday night... Hmm.

No cat on my bed tonight... I keep thinking he's going to jump in through the window but he isn't. Last night there was a cat wailing outside the back door, I thought it might be Rushdie- come home in a dramatic Homeward Bound-style return after an amazing adventure with wolves and mountains and urban foxes...

It was just Fluffy Tabby from next door, having a right old moan for No Reason. I opened the door to try and entice him in for cat stroking companionship but he ran away. I really feel as if I am part of the local #CAT crew now.

On Saturday afternoon as I set off for my walk to Hampstead Heath, I saw the big scary cat walking down the pavement, just strolling along casually in broad daylight like a human. I walked up behind him, expecting him to run away, but he just gave me the quick once over and carried on. Ha! He's such a badass. I'm starting to have a lot of respect for him.

I wonder how he can be out and about in broad daylight and still be out all night doing his sinister Tomcat Activities (let's be honest- it's raping). Probably he takes a lot of speed.

Just checked the phone- it's definitely fucking broken.

I cannot believe this.

A few hours ago I was thinking about all the nice plans I've got for Easter Weekend and then I thought 'Something will go wrong, it's too good to be true."

I knew it!

I have suddenly cheered right up, these past two weeks. I feel kind of guilty for my friend who has just lost her brother and for my dad's family who I have not spoken to since the funeral, because I was proper miserable and all of a sudden, I'm just not. I'm still sad about what happened, but I feel optimistic and I am starting to enjoy London, which probably has more to do with the fact that I didn't have to pay rent this month- I pay a month in arrears and as I am leaving this month, I don't pay anything- than the my ability to think positively.

It's sad that spending money makes me so happy.

But it makes such a difference, being able to buy drinks and say yes when people invite me out.

Oh dear.

I think I better do some packing, just a little bit. Here's a song they played at work today- it came on and I suddenly remembered dancing to it last Saturday, after Rumpus Party. (I say dancing, maybe I mean side-stepping very slowly in the corner of the room, trying to work out what was going on...)

Did I tell you about Rumpus??? Maybe I will do a bit of packing and tell you all about it afterwards. There was a ball pool and glitter wrestling, burlesque dancers and DJs.

Here's this, for now:



Saturday, 12 April 2014

The Cat That Leapt In Through the Window and other stories

DISCLAIMER: THIS POST CONTAINS CATS. MANY, MANY CATS.

Today I have to say goodbye to Rushdie the cat, his owner Chloe has decided to re-home him permanently. It's not fair to keep moving him around and she won't be ready to take him again until September at the earliest- that's a lot of new people and new neighbourhoods to get used to for a little cat.

I don't want him to go though, he's the perfect flatmate. I wish I could stay here with him instead of New Flatmate. She's hardly been here this week, so every night it's just been me and Rushdie. As I come home, he jumps in through the window, meowing at me about his day. Sometimes he follows me round the flat just meowing at me. I don't understand exactly what he's saying, but I get the general gist of it.

Mostly he is telling me about the local #CATS- the scary black cat with the scarred face and the fluffy Tabby from next door who sometimes pops up at the window and watches me while I sit on the couch, feeling awkward and pretending I haven't noticed...

The downside to Rushdie using the window as his cat flap is that some of the other cats have been using it too. Last Sunday I was lying on the couch like a dirty potato*, when a random cat leapt in through the window. At first he stayed perched on the window, sussing out the situation. Then, when he realised I was in no fit state to move or even make shoo-ing noises, he bloody came in and went for a wander round.

I was recovering from Friday night (which carried on until Saturday afternoon) and couldn't even summon the energy to flap him away. Do you ever get so hungover that you feel as if you've left your body, and you're actually floating a few inches above yourself, like a thick fuzziness, while your body just lies there below you, looking rank and smelling of petrol for Some Reason?

Well it was like that. (Maybe that's why they call it a Comedown, because as the day goes on you gradually descend back into your body until you feel halfway normal again.)

I felt so weak, that all I could do was document the whole thing with my shitty Blackberry camera...

The Cat That Leapt In Through The Window

The cat leapt in through the window.
"Ha!" he said, triumphantly, "Fucking knew I could make that jump"


The cat looked back at how high he had jumped.
 "Not too shabby." he said to himself.


The cat noticed me on the couch, floating above my dirty potato of a body.
"Hang about." he said.


"She ain't gonna do anything." he said, before dropping down on to the window ledge.


Then he stopped for a minute, wondering if maybe he had misjudged the situation.
"Nah, she's fucked." he said, before going into the kitchen to eat Rushdie's food.


THE END
(Any children's book publishers- GET IN TOUCH. I'm thinking Primary School, I'm thinking Literacy... It could be the new Biff and Chip.)

On Thursday I came home to find the fluffy Tabby from next door in my bedroom, having a nosy between my bed and dressing table. I love how whenever I surprise a random cat in my flat, they look at me, alarmed and outraged, as if I have walked into their private abode uninvited.

The freakiest one is Twilight Cat, who is sometimes sitting on the window ledge in the living room when I get up in the middle of the night with Rushdie. I don't know why Rushdie makes me get up in the middle of the night to watch him jump out of the window, but he likes to meow in my face and sometimes bite my elbow to wake me up, so I always obey.

It's really surreal wandering into the living room with Rushdie behind me, to see another cat sitting there. It's happened three or four times. Maybe he is a magic cat.

Actually...

Looking at those pictures, I think Twilight Cat is the same cat that came in on Sunday.

I realised I have been talking about cats for a very, very long time. I'm hungover and so there is no limit to the nonsense I could write. I could literally sit here all day, typing out every mad thought that comes into my head.

Why did I start writing this post?

Rushdie!

I'm going to miss him. He sleeps on my bed with his paws over my leg, or else he curls up next to my head, meaning I have to squeeze against the edge of the bed. I would happily squeeze up forever though, it's nice having a little cat in your bed.

Every night when he senses I'm about to get into bed, he jumps on the covers so he can sleep next to me, or he settles down on top of me if I lie flat. If I leave the room to brush my teeth, he sits up and looks at me as if to say, "Where are you going? I thought we were going to bed."

Perhaps I am becoming a bit obsessed with Rushdie.

Last night I drunkenly posted two photos of him on Facebook, accompanied by a misspelt caption about much I 'lobe him' and how I will never 'roget him'. Then I posted the same photos FOUR TIMES with different captions, because each time I thought it hadn't worked.

I woke up at 6am this morning in a panic. Last night I got really drunk with people from work and couldn't remember if I'd done or said anything embarrassing. I was definitely doing my Liverpool accent... and laughing insanely loudly- probably at my own jokes.

Eurgh.

I should go now. My New Flatmate is hovering around with some bread I asked her to get for me.

Sigh.

She got really drunk last night and was sick on herself. Her girlfriend who is ten years older than her now isn't speaking to her. I've got no time for 'couple shit'.

New Flatmate has found it really difficult to replace me, because her girlfriend doesn't want her to live with another lesbian- 'in case they sleep together; a straight boy- 'in case he tries to sleep with her'; or an attractive straight girl (her exact words)- 'in case New Flatmate tries to sleep with her'...  She's only allowed to live with a gay boy.

So what am I then, New Flatmate? A gay boy or a hideously unattractive straight girl?

Fucking grow up.

Oh god. I better get dressed and hunt out Rushdie's cat box.





*one of those ones that comes caked in dirt and no matter how hard you scrub it, it still tastes a bit gritty when you eat it)

Friday, 4 April 2014

SUPER BLOG 2

I've broken the fucking kettle.

The lid was jammed and now I've jammed it some more by trying to open it. Plus I have now broken the filter inside the spout, so it's doubly-broken.

But I still feel like blogging. Also, my New Flatmate isn't home and when she's in I can't do any work because she plays Lady Gaga really loudly and asks me questions about the boiler that I don't know the answer to.

Before tonight I would have said that My New Flatmate was ok- she pecks my head a bit and we've very different (I made a JOKE about cocaine when her friends were round which went down like a lead balloon)- but we'll have a chat if we're both in the living room at the same time...

Now however, I am definitely Not Keen on her, because I've just realised she's taken mine and Natalie's glittery reindeer head off the wall and also removed the two sparkly bauble wreaths I made to cover up random nails on either side of the reindeer.

Why would she do that???

Where is our glittery reindeer head???

She left an unopened parcel on the table the other day and inside it was a canvas with a dog printed on it. If she thinks that's going on the wall she can, she can...

She can hang it on the wall, let's be honest- I'm not going to say anything.

It's so weird living in close proximity with someone I don't know. I can't be arsed. I'm moving soon, but I'll tell you more about that later.

First I need to tell you about Punch Drunk.

I've wanted to see a Punch Drunk production since I learnt about them at uni- they do interactive, promenade performances where the audience is invited to explore and discover the drama for themselves. I can't tell you how excited I was to go and see it. I hadn't seen any posters for it or anything, but OJ and TC went to see it and they said it was amazing, so me and three of their friends (who I've met before, I wasn't being a creepy) booked tickets to go and see it.

I wrote loads of notes on it at the time so I could do a long, detailed blog post on the production, but I don't think I should reveal too many of the show's secrets.

It's called The Drowned Man and is set in a film studio in the 1950s. When we went into the venue- a huge warehouse building near Paddington Station- we were told to put white masks on. Masks make people feel uninhibited. Wearing a mask makes you feels anonymous- you can see but you can't be seen. It's voyeuristic.
At first we walked through black corridors, so dark I couldn't see anyone behind or in front of me. It was so exciting, because we had no idea what lay ahead. Literally no clue.

We entered a lift, where an actress told us about the evening ahead. We were guests of Temple Studios, she said. We would be welcome in the bar on the third floor and to join in the celebrations at the end of evening. We could walk around the studios freely, she said. But be careful of the town that surrounded the film studios, it was run down and dangerous, she said.

She stopped the lift at the film studios and told us we were all getting out, but after two of our group had stepped out of the lift, she slammed the lift shutters across and pressed a button that took us down to another level. She told us we were in the town and told us to be careful, then we all got out of the lift.

It looked like a town out of a cowboy film- there were shop fronts and motels along a wooden walkway and in the middle the ground was red with dust. It looked deserted, apart from the audience members walking around in white masks.

You could look at everything. Me and Katie stuck together at first- wandering in to a hut with a bed inside and furniture. There was a large mirror on the wall and letters on the table. I read the letters, looked at the photos, touched the pillows on the bed. I had no idea the set would be so detailed. I thought we'd be running around a dark, empty warehouse that was like a giant blackbox theatre, but it felt as if we'd been transported to a town in the Western reaches of America.

We made our way through the huge gates that marked the entrance of Temple Studios. Inside I saw my first scene of the evening- a very choreographed scene between two casting agents who were flicking through photos of prospective actors.

When the scene had ended and the actors disappeared, some of the audience members watching them ran after them. I realised after a while that it was because they were scared of getting lost and left behind. I soon lost Katie- it was easily done, when everyone was wearing white masks- but at first I relished having my own individual experience.

I wandered down a corridor of dressing rooms, quite alone, no other audience members around. Most of the time there was music playing, making me feel as if I was in a film. I went into one of the dressing rooms and sat down in front of a mirror, surrounded by lights. I touched the 1950s lipsticks and compacts. It felt like going back in time.

Back in the corridor, I saw a producer talking to a potential actress on the telephone. She was at home and he was watching her through a two-way mirror. She was in the room I'd been in at the very beginning, in the town.

I won't describe every scene I saw, just my favourite one.

I suddenly found myself in a forest with huge trees towering above me, wood chip on the floor. The ticket price was worth that moment alone. There were caravans for actors in the forest and two young men were stood outside. Suddenly an actress in a red glittering dress appeared and all three actors performed a contemporary dance that conveyed the characters and scenario perfectly. I loved it because it was clear and effective; when people take the piss out of contemporary dance it's because it's confusing and it's ambiguous, but this scene was so succinct.

After two hours of wandering around, I started to feel really tired. Sometimes I would be lost without a scene, going round in circles and not being able to find any drama. It felt lonely and sinister. I watched a clown dancing in sand dunes and afterwards, when everyone else had walked off, I stayed to watch him. He was just sitting on a chair. Just as I about to go, he turned at looked at me, then licked his fingers slowly one by one.

It was uncomfortable, and thrrrrrilling (to risk sounding like an Enid Blyton character). I felt my face heat up behind the mask.

The top floor of the venue was a wasteland. There were rows of scarecrows sat in front of a coffin. The music was eerie and the lighting was dark. In the distance was a sand dune with a neon sign half buried in it. I kept ending up there, like a bad dream, opening a door or going up a staircase that leads you back to the same, nightmarish place.

Luckily, just as I got fed up, I saw Katie. She recognised me and clung on to my arm. The last scene we saw had nothing to do with any of the other scenes I'd seen. This isn't necessarily a bad thing- I enjoyed every scene for its own merit, but I do wonder what the actual narrative was. It's tempting to go back a few times, to see everything and experience every story line, but at £50 a ticket few people can afford to see it multiple times.

It was an amazing experience and I would urge anyone to go and see it... but be prepared to see fractured pieces of the complete performance you're expecting to see. You might not get a coherent narrative. I think the themes of the piece are more important- how the studio controlled and created and how the actors were trapped, abused, ambitious... At first the wasteland and the town felt unreal and dreamlike, while the studio felt the most realistic... gradually as I made my way around the space I realised how everything was really the same thing- in one dressing room I walked into racks and racks of trousers, which went on and on, winding round corners until I was back in the desert town.

If you like theatre, you need to experience it. Get tickets here.

So that was a couple of weeks ago. It's funny because, even though I've been Fairly Miserable recently, I've been going out a lot more and keeping busy.

On Monday night I went out for tea with Lauren, Beth and Jen and we ended up drinking a lot, then going back to Jen's office to try out the slide. She has a slide in her office- from one floor to another! It's a metal shoot, like the ones you used to get at Wacky Warehouse only they were plastic, because they were for kids. This one is metal because it's for adults.

I came shooting out the end of it 'like a sausage', according to Jen, who was stood at the bottom when I flew out and bore witness to me smacking my head and scraping skin of my elbow. I enjoyed it though.

The next day I was hungover, so hungover and slowly but surely The Fear stretched over me like a nasty grin. People were talking to me... but everything they were saying was a metaphor for something else. I couldn't hear what they were really trying to say because I had to understand what the metaphor was. I know this sounds mental but listen.

On Monday night Lauren and Jen were explaining to Beth's boyfriend what the phrase 'gegging in' meant. They said it was when someone tries to tag along, or to butt in to someone's conversation- to get involved when they aren't wanted.

I went hot all over, then icy with shock as it dawned on me that they were actually saying to Beth's boyfriend's that he shouldn't have come to the pub. I couldn't believe they were being so mean and I was worried he would notice, so I quickly started to say that 'gegging in' can also be a nice thing- like when you 'geg in' on a present for somebody. I hoped he wouldn't notice what Lauren and Jen were slyly saying!

OBVIOUSLY I realised afterwards that I was letting my imagination run away with me, but then people started to do it to me.

I know this sounds like I have been dropping tabs of acid for brekkie every morning, but it really is just the alcohol. And also maybe I am a bit paranoid.

I like talking about things because if I don't talk about them I will just keep on thinking them. I told Amy and Kayt on the phone tonight that people have been speaking to me through riddles and as soon as I said it out loud I realised I was being insane.

But not 'insane' insane, just hungover insane.

Like I have said in a post before (and a girl said it really helped her which proves I am being sensible here) when you are a bit para and, let's be honest, a bit desperate for everyone to like you, the key thing is not to stop being paranoid, because sometimes people DO talk about you behind your back and take a disliking to you. The key thing is to not care, then you won't need to worry.

At my internship there are some girls that everyone slags off because they are really bolshy and rude, but do you know what?

They are fine, they don't give a fuck if anybody likes them or not. They probably have their friends at home and families who love them. I bet they don't scrutinise every word anyone ever says to them to see if it is loaded with snide remarks (although, they probably should tbh).

By the way.

Remember when I said fairies are real?

Here's some evidence. If anyone even breathes the word Photoshop to me, I will scream.



Thursday, 3 April 2014

SUPER BLOG

Lately I have had the strangest feeling (with no vivid reason here to find... if you don't know what song I'm referencing here wait until you get to the end of this post- you're in for a  treat*) that The End Of My Blog has come to pass and it's made me sad. I've loved writing this blog for so long and it has become quite a large part of who I am.

The other day I was lamenting the fact that it all had to end, thinking how stupid it would it be if I suddenly snapped and deleted the whole thing in a moment of sadomasochistic spite and then I thought:

'Just write another blog post then ya madhead and don't accidentally-on-purpose on delete it.'

So here I am.

I know I've only just got started, but do we have time for a wild tangent? It's an ANALOGY.

Or maybe it's just a VAGUELY SIMILAR SITUATION.

Or perhaps it's A COMPLETELY UNRELATED MEMORY THAT JUST POPPED INTO MY HEAD...

I'm not hot on technicalities.

We move on...

When I was little, I had a really pretty doll with brown ringlets and a little hat and a frilly dress. I remember it being one of those 'special possessions' that I loved so much it had an aura around it (like how I feel about my kimono and my cloak today).

One night, for No Reason, I drew all over the doll's face in permanent marker pen.

As soon as I'd done it I sat back in horror. I regretted it. I couldn't believe what I had done. Using my highly-developed intellect, to stop my mum from ever finding out what I'd done, I put the doll face down on the bed and got in the bath.

Five minutes later I shrank into the corner of the bath as I heard my mum yell in surprise and anger.

HAAAA.

I have actually just burst out laughing at the thought of my mum casually pottering about my bedroom, turning my pretty doll round and seeing her face tattooed in thick black scribbles.

The point is...

My blog is a bit like that doll. I love it, yet feel like scribbling all over it and banishing it to cyber limbo.

(I wonder what happened to that doll? I hope she wasn't stigmatised for her facial tattoos. My dad tried to clean the pen off with white spirit or whatever it's called, but it never completely faded. Oh my god. Poor Maria- just remembered that was her name- what did I do?)

To make up for my absence, I am now going to write a SUPER BLOG POST filled with all the crap I can think of.

Let's go back to last Friday, when I went to Manchester for the weekend. At lunch time, everybody in the internship went to the pub and as the Big Bosses stayed there until 3pm, it meant everyone else could do. I felt tipsy, but everybody else looked kind of tipsy too. There was a box of props left over from fashion shoots and people were trying them on, laughing hysterically and shouting across the office.

When I worked at the pub I used to marvel at the office workers that came in and drank gin and tonics at lunch- I wondered how they got any work done. Now I know that they don't get any work done. At 4pm it was time for everyone to start drinking again from the office drinks cupboard.

By the time I got on the train to Manchester- with two unnecessary cans of M&S G&T in my bag- I was too fuzzy headed to read my book and I slept for most of the journey. When I woke up I had one thing on my brain- chips and curry sauce.

Amy and Chris met me outside Affleck's Palace because I knew I'd get lost, trying to find my way to the Northern Quarter. I feel like I don't know Manchester at all.

Amy and Chris have got less than one week left before they leave for Australia, so it was kind of a leaving drinks thing. We went to Trof, where Kayt and Adam were waiting, as well as two of Amy's friends from Liverpool- Jess and Steph- and one girl Amy worked with in American Apparel.

Have I told you the story of how American Apparel were absolutely foul to Amy and she lost her job because of a horrible bitch with lego hair who hated her?

Boycott American Apparel. They're a horrible company and they try to advertise clothes by showing teenagers in their knickers. I don't get it... Do any of these images want to make you buy clothes?






 I believe it's called 'Hipster Sexism'. I don't have a problem with ladies getting their rudey bits out, but I don't like the way these ads have a menacing subtext, as if you can hear the man behind the camera saying "Now bend over, now open your legs..."

EUW.

Just in case any smart arses out there are thinking smugly that perhaps I'm the sexist one for not realising that the women are pulling these compromising poses because they want to, because these women are simply UNINHIBTED and SELF-ASSURED: let me tell you that if a woman wanted to do a 'sexy pose' she wouldn't do a squat or spread her thighs out like a frog...

She'd probably do something that made her bum look nice.

Unless... unless I've been doing it very, very wrong? Is that why my Casual Sex Motorbike has stayed in the shed- under heavy dust sheets- for all this time, because I haven't been squatting and drawing explicit attention to my Lady Garden?

I have gone dangerously off-topic now. Where was I?

Trof, in Manchester. It's really nice, laid back but still 'buzzing', as the locals say (or so I am led to believe), on weekends. You should go if you ever visit Manchester. They do nice food normally, but the kitchen had closed by the time I arrived.

I couldn't wait any longer for my chips and curry sauce so I went round the corner to get some. There was one man sat in the fast food 'restaurant' when I went inside. The place was brightly-lit and the walls were peeling, it was depressing. I got my chips and curry sauce which were ok, not as nice as I was imagining, but then I suppose it is a fairly disgusting dish to order when you're anything less than Proper Fucking Smashed.

I made eye contact with the other lone diner.

How did it come to this, pal?

Back in Trof, I was feeling in a #LAD mood so I sat at the table with Chris and Adam and drank ale with them instead of sharing wine with the girls. I had some shelving ideas I wanted to discuss with my fellow #LADs but they weren't really up for it.

Jess and Steph said they read my blog and they told me I should keep it up. That doesn't really fit in with the narrative of this story but I wanted to say it anyhow.

Weirdly, it was a hip hop night. I assume everything in the Northern Quarter is going to be indie or soul music. We danced a lot and Chris bought everyone tequila. Amy's friend Steph was dancing on a table which was GREAT but I wasn't drunk enough to join her.

I don't know what time we left, but we got back to Amy and Chris's about half three. On the way home we got pizza, chicken and chips and the man who served us was wearing a mutlicoloured plastic hat. He said it was his birthday and then for Some Reason Amy got into a very deep, philosophical conversation with him about Aging and Life. Amy wouldn't let us drag her away because she said he was giving her great advice, so Chris ordered some chicken nuggets while we waited.

At the time I didn't realise how weird it was that Chris had ordered chicken nuggets from a fast food place other than McDo... Later on I bit into one and it OOZED with pinky whit gunk.

BLERGHUUUCH.

I feel like I might vomit.

Quickly moving on...

A strange man got in our taxi. I can't remember what he was saying but I do know I was cackling away at everything he said. He asked us where we were going and we said Ancoats.

"I'm going to Ancoats too!" he said.

When we all looked dubious he reached into his pocket, "I got dolla I got dolla!"

He said me and Amy reminded him of his nieces.

"Why, how old do you think we are?" Amy asked him.

"About 24," he said to Amy.

Then, squinting at me he said, "Not you, you're a bit older... 28."

I like being mistaken for someone older because me feels Incredibly Mature, but if I look 28 now and I'm only 24, I think it's time to lay off the booze for a while.

We managed to run away from him when we got out of the taxi, although we did debate bringing him up to the flat for a laugh. He really reminded me of Bez. I bet he had maracas in his coat pocket.

Amy and Chris's flat was almost empty. All the furniture had gone apart from their sofa and an air bed. We chatted for a while, drinking whisky shaken with maple syrup, before Amy and Chris went to sleep on the air bed and I slept on the couch with a dressing gown over me. It was so weird! They have packed up their life and they are moving to the other side of the world.

I hope they have the best time ever, but I also hope they come back after a year. Too many people decide to stay in Australia, for the weather and the high wages, the wandering around contentedly and the freedom.

I've just realised that if I make this blog post too long nobody will get to the end of it, so that's all for now but I might make a cup of tea and do another one. Quite into it now.



*Unless you don't like Stevie Wonder, in which case no treats for you.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Life Stories

Here I am, blogging again.

Recently I've been thinking, why bother?

It's been a weird few weeks, I didn't know if I should mention it on my blog as it's not happened to me, it happened to my friend. It feels like taking something from someone, but grief is such an awful thing that I'm sure she would want me to take it. My friend lost her younger brother, suddenly and shockingly. That's all I will say because that's where my understanding ends- how she is coping, how her family is feeling... that is beyond my understanding.

A few days later my brother called me to say our aunty in Liverpool had died- she was the partner of my dad's brother. They weren't married, but they'd been together for 25 years.

My brother's accent is a lot thicker than mine and over the phone it sounded like he was saying the name of one our half-brothers, but I couldn't understand him, so I was yelling at him: "WHO's died?? WHO's died??"

Nobody told me that our aunty had cancer; she was hospitalised a few months ago, but nobody actually said the c-word. My nana just told me she'd fallen into a coma and had had 'bits taken out of her'. I didn't realise she had cancer until she told me last week that we weren't having any flowers at the funeral:

"Flowers are a waste of money, we want everyone to make a donation to Marie Curie because that's who looked after her in the end."

I was so sad already- about my friend's brother- that I don't think I felt more sad. It was just ongoing sadness. I was in the flat a lot on my own that week and I did spend a few nights working myself up into hysterics, calling my mum and calling Amy. On the Friday of that week I finished work at 10pm and sat outside in my coat, drinking a gin and tonic one of the customers had bought me. I called Amy and Kayt and they told me I probably looked like the local Funny Lady, shuffling along, drinking outside pubs on my own, talking too loudly and swearing.

The night before the funeral I spoke to my nana on the phone. She told me she'd organised for me to get picked up at the train station by my uncle's ex-wife and her son- my cousin. I panicked a bit, as my aunty who passed away didn't have any kids, but my cousin was her step-son. Why would he want me in the car on the way to the funeral, when I haven't seen him for years and years?

I realised for the first time that the whole day would be really sad and awkward. I don't know my dad's family very well. The last time I saw my aunty who died was years ago. I've spoken to her on the phone sometimes, if I've been at my nana's when she called. She was lovely. I know everyone says that about people who have died but she was unusually lovely and kind.

In the end it was fine. My cousin recognised me as I was coming off the train and called my name. He was about 15 years older than I was expecting, but I remembered him from when he was at uni in Manchester and he used to babysit us sometimes.

His mum picked us up. I've never met her before, but luckily she was very chatty. She told me how my aunty had gone to the doctors again and again and again, each time being told she probably had a bladder infection, until one day she collapsed and went into a coma.

I love the NHS, but this happens a lot. My mum's friend Jane did not get diagnosed until it was too late and my friend's sister went to the doctor's many times about a mole that turned out to be the skin cancer that killed her.

I don't mean for this post to be really depressing, but the past few years so many of my family and friends have been affected by cancer. I never go to the doctors and if I did go and they told me I didn't need a scan, I'd be relieved because I'm so lazy. But really, everyone should demand a scan.

When we got to my uncle's house before the funeral, I didn't know what to say to my uncle so I just said hi, which is really fucking shit. But I really didn't know what to do or say. The house was, as you'd expect, clouded with sadness. My dad seemed drunk and was talking really loudly. His ex-girlfriend/girlfriend/mother of his other three kids was there, which was seen as a controversial move by some.

One of my uncles drove us to the funeral. He is the husband of my dad's sister (yes, my aunty, but if I keep calling everyone aunty you will get confused). He's really, really nice, in the same ridiculously-nice way that my aunty who died was. He always gives everyone lifts and goes out of his way to help you. He even offered to drive me to Paris, when I first moved there. I was living with them for a few months at the time. It's funny because I never see them and would never organise to see them, but when I do see my dad's sister and her husband we get on really well.

Anyway. When we walked into the funeral they played 'Heart of Gold' by Neil Young. I guess it's now one of those songs that nobody who was at the funeral will be able to listen to without crying.

On the way from the crematorium to the pub, there was a bit of a mix up with cars and I was put in a funeral car with my uncle. I didn't say two words to him the whole way, I kept thinking of things I could say but didn't manage to say anything. I realised that the whole day might go by without me saying two words to my uncle who had just lost his partner of 25 years.

At the pub we sat around large, circular tables. My nana, my dad's sister and my dad say down at one table so I sat down next to them. I'd been talking to my dad's girlfriend/ex-girlfriend/who the fuck knows so she sat down on the other side of me. My dad turned to me and said:

"Can I sit next to her? I've not seen her for ages."

I told him we could swap seats- meaning me and him, so he'd be sat in the middle. He said ok and then didn't move, assuming I would just move somewhere else! As I got up he said:

"Thanks, I can talk to you later."

I said: "I won't be fucking talking to you ."

I know he wasn't being horrible or anything, but it just made me realise that my dad is...

a crank.

During the evening, we spoke about my aunty a lot, which completely changed the mood of the day. I understand the importance of funerals now- you need to say goodbye and then celebrate a person's life.  I got chatting to a couple who were friends with my aunty. They kept calling me Queen, which is my favourite Scouse Phrase EVER.

"How old are you, queen?"
"What are you drinking, queen?"

My dad's girlfriend had to leave so she could drive back to the North East and she'd left her car at my dad's house. My super-nice uncle said he'd drive her back and my dad wanted to go with her.

"She needs a rest, before the long drive."

My uncle came back on his own and everyone wanted to know where my dad was. I think it's so rude and weird to LEAVE a funeral like that, for no reason. Did he not think his brother would wonder where he was?

We stayed for hours and hours. I spent a lot of time with the nice couple. The man started asking me about my dad, because he said he didn't see his daughter a lot and he wondered how that had affected her. He was saying, "You're fine, you're fine aren't you?"

Yes I am fine, but my dad is still a CRANK.

I know, my dad's alright really. His dad wasn't all that, apparently. My nana was making me laugh in the pub, because the nice couple who were friends with my aunty were asking her about her husband, who died when I was about four and my nana was indignant:

"Aw, I bet you miss him, don't you?"
"I fucking don't!"
"No, but really... I bet you miss him really, don't you?"
"No! I don't! You wouldn't believe the horrible life I had!"

She actually said 'horrible life' but trust me, it was funny when she said it, not dark. She's told me enought stories about her life that I know it wasn't all horrible, anyway. I don't think anyone else does, but I believe her when she says that she doesn't miss him. After he died she bought herself 29,000 air miles through Teletext and went round the world.

I always mean to blog some of her stories, but I think I'm the only person that loves them. Sometimes she tells me really dark, horrible stories about people dying- the whole family that died on her street in the air raid shelter, or the day her brother and her daughter died on the same day- but mostly she tells me really funny stories. My favourite stories are the ones from went she went travelling, because they don't have any point to them, they are just nice little vignettes that some up the pointlessness and mystery of life.

I know I'm going off-topic here, but my favourite story is when she went to Hong Kong and she kept seeing business men walking down the street carrying little cages with birds inside. So one day she followed one of these business men, to see where he was going with his bird. He went to the park and sat on a bench under a tree. He hung the bird cage on a branch and ate his lunch, then he stood up, unhooked the bird cage and went back to work.

HA.

Or another story is she was in Fiji and saw a family in a hut eating teeny tiny bananas, so she asked them if she could try one through the art of mime and they beckoned her to come inside and eat the teeny tiny bananas with them, which someone has since told her are called 'Lady Fingers'.

Anyway.

At the end of the evening I did speak to my uncle a bit, but not about my aunty dying. I can't remember what we were talking about now, everyone was a quite tipsy. He didn't look good. Me and my brother got back to my dad's house quite late and he showed us some paintings he has done.

As my dad spends most of his time doing fuck all, I wish he would spend some time doing art work. I was really surprised he had done some paintings- they're really good. They are just swirly black and white boards which sounds a bit shit, but they're really intricate. He can't afford enamel at the moment, but they kind of look like they've done with enamel.

I told him he should find arty cafes where they display paintings and put prices underneath, so that they can decorate their cafe with nice art in exchange for giving artists a place to exhibit. He said "Yeah yeah I will."

But he won't.

Just like I won't do any of the things I keep saying I will do. I haven't even cancelled my French phone contract and I left France eight months ago. They keep taking it out of my French bank account every month, but when I left France I cleared my bank account so it must be going minus minus minus every month.

As you can imagine I feel all warm and happy inside whenever I think about it.

But.

At the moment I really don't care. It sounds like something really old people say, but you shouldn't take your health for granted and I don't. At the moment I feel really, really lucky and I am just going to appreciate that.

With that in mind, I am leaving my flat soon. After my cousin left I debated leaving, but in the end found a new girl online who wanted to move in. The day before my aunty's funeral and incidentally the day before our rent went out, she told me she couldn't move in after all. I sent her a pretty curt message about how I didn't have time to discuss it and I think I guilt-tripped her into changing her mind.

She moved her stuff into day and she seems nice, but I want to move anyway. I've found a friend of a friend of a friend who wants a lodger, so I'm going to do that for a few weeks. My internship finishes in four weeks and I don't know what's going to happen afterwards. I'm not going to work in the pub full-time again. If I have to do bar work I may as well do it in Paris or Spain or somewhere else.

I am really trying to talk myself into being positive.

I know it seems a bit inappropriate after such a sad post, but I have just put some new music on to cheer me up and make me do some housework, so I'll share it:




Monday, 17 March 2014

Tok tok tok

I wasn't going to blog again, but I will just say one last thing.

Somebody has stolen my Dial-A-Tramp idea!!

 Tok tok tok.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Vodka and Pickled Onion Party

I want to blog about last weekend so I never forget it, because if I forget it then there's a chance I will repeat the same mistake again.

Jen and Claire- AKA my fellow Wedding Ruiners- asked me if I wanted to go to their Vodka and Pickled Onion Party on Saturday night. There would be vodka, pickled onions and just three guests. Fancy dress would be mandatory.

Claire needed a night in after losing her purse, iPhone and sleepover bag full of make-up on three consecutive drunken nights out. The idea was we would probably yell and drink a lot, then go to bed without losing anything and without having spent an excessive proportion of our rent money on drink and taxis.

Unfortunately, I was supposed to be babysitting for a family and as it would be the first time I'd ever babysat for them (and I'm hoping I can start working for them once a week and quit my pub job), I didn't want to let them down.

Then.

On Saturday morning the mum called me to say they weren't going out anymore because they are getting a divorce....

Sad for them.

Fun for me!

I have not been so excited for anything in literally weeks. Maybe it's because I don't go out anymore, but I just had a feeling it was going to be LOTS OF LAFFS and more, much more. It was the 'more' that was the problem, to be honest. The word 'more' has lost all meaning.

Straight away it was onto the face paint. As always I made a massive fat mess of trying to paint my own face (it can all be traced back to when we were at uni and I went out dressed as a burglar and painted a black mask over my eyes... I wish everybody would let me forget it but they will NEVER forget it) and had to wipe it all off. My 'abstract expression' squiggly lines and blobs all over my face looked bad, too bad even for a make-believe party of three, so I washed it off and just went for a white Geisha face.

My costume was Many Countries- my Japanese kimono, a Chinese dress, a sombrero and a Russian hat. Claire and Jen went for Many Sequins/Mexican Skeletons. As we got ready we nattered about all our fictional guests that would soon be arriving, in the way only ex-Drama  students or people with severe personality disorders can. Then we had an estatic moment when we realised there were no other guests coming and we could do what we wanted!!!

We wanted to do lifts, lots of lifts. Claire managed to do a no-hander while I was lifting her in the air with my feet and afterwards there was a lot of high-five-ing and calling each other LADS.

So, there was a LOT of lifting... I remember there was a brief kick about with a ball we found, which led to another five or ten minutes of calling each other LADs and high-five-ing... Then we built a den in the living room but none of us wanted to get in it because we were too hot.

We danced to Ursula from The Little Mermaid singing 'Poor Unfortunate Souls' approximately six times throughout the evening, our voluptuous octopus dancing getting more and more convincing each time. Another song we kept going back to was Tina Turner 'What's Love Got to Do With It.'

"WHO needs a HEART when a HEART can be BRO-KEN?????"

We clearly don't know how to behave in public anymore, so the only way we can enjoy ourselves in the privacy of our own homes and company. I thought we would be safe indoors, but somehow or other me and Claire ended up walking to the cash machine. Claire says she doesn't remember going but I do, because two guys in the queue behind us kept making jokes about our face paint and I got really annoyed because I'd forgotten we had any on. I just thought they were being weird when I suppose we were the ones stood in the street wearing pyjama bottoms and sombreros, faces smeared with white paint, eyes darting around like angry flies.

The night continued. We all ended up in the den. The next day I woke up and my left knee was all black and lumpy from when we were doing 'slides' across the living room floor. Unbelievably, I had to take my bashed-up brain and body all the way Posh Clare's a for a roast dinner because, guess what.

Amy is moving to Australia for a year.

I'll tell you more about it before she leaves, but for now it doesn't seem as if she's really going. I don't want to talk about it too much. She'd come to London, kind of as a goodbye, which is why I managed to heave myself out of bed so early and travel across London on replacement buses, back to my flat for Some Reason. I woke up on my couch around 1pm, my arms painted black and white to look like a skeleton.

I got a text from Claire.

"Why did you leave?"

From there was a lot of messages going back and forth, trying to decipher what exactly happened at the Vodka and Pickled Onion Party. Claire wanted to know why she had bruises on her chin- me and Jen reminded her it was because she banged it on the floor several times while she was doing the worm.

I myself have grazed both my elbows and seem to have misplaced quite a bit of skin from the top of foot, which is interesting, if not minging. My arms were hurting from all the lifts I'd been doing. Claire says she has a burn on her hip. I'm not sure about Jen but I remember her doing a lot of handstands, she must have sustained some pretty bad injuries.

Recently I have been very upset over all those NekNominate things in the news- young people dying for No Reason, this horrible culture of drinking to excess and ingesting as many toxic substances as you think your body can handle, just for the sake of it. I think it's a sign that the end of civilization is nigh, seriously.

Saying that.

I've since been informed of exactly how much disgusting-ness was consumed at the Vodka and Pickled Onion Party and I can't believe it. I thought my Dickhead Days were well and truly behind me, but Saturday just proved that there is always a Dickhead stirring inside me (how smutty) and all it needs is a little bit of help (vodka) and encouragement (Dolly Parton) to leap out of my mouth and start bouncing off the walls, screaming song lyrics and laughing at its own jokes.

Awful.

Clare's roast dinner was lovely, but there were a few too many people there for me to interact successfully with. I mostly sat in the corner, shoveling roast potatoes into my mouth with shaking hands. Glasgow Laura came as well, she's living in London but is really busy doing her social work training, working with people who live in unsanitary conditions and have mental health problems that make them hoard things, sometimes problematic things... It all makes me feel very selfish and greedy. (And also makes me want to Google 'hoarders'.)

After the roast, I went home and my cousin Chloe moved in. She had a bindhi on her head, a sleeping bag and not much else. She's just come back from India, where she did a yoga course. I was slightly concerned that she wouldn't be able to pay the rent, but I was still excited for her to move in.

Then last night she told me that there is no way she is going to be able to pay the rent, so she's moving out.

I understand.

But.

I was all on edge today, not knowing if I should look for somewhere else or try and get someone else in. I put the room up on spareroom.com and a girl messaged me almost straight away. She came round to look at the flat (I told her about the damp because I felt bad) and said she'd have to think about it. Then an hour later she said she wanted to move in. It all seems very easy, but suspiciously so...

I guess I have only seen her once, for ten minutes, but she seemed nice and it would be a lot of hassle for me to move.

I was looking at signing up for a guardian scheme (where you pay very little rent to live in buildings that would otherwise be squatted) or finding a house to lodge in, but in the end I think I moved around a lot when I first arrived in London and it might be better to just stay still for a while.

Hmm.

I hate making decisions.

I wish Clo could stay, but she just isn't sure if she wants to commit to paying such a high rent every month. This morning I was running really late for work, so I woke Chloe up and asked her to make me breakfast while I was in the shower and she did! She even made my lunch for me. Who else would do that for me?

Oh and guess what.

On Sunday night Claire called me, she'd lost her purse.

Seriously.

She found it hidden under some loo roll on Monday night, so we didn't learn our lesson which means Vodka and Pickled Onion Party could happen again. There is a Balkan Beats night I think we would have LOTS OF LAFFS at but Saturday night just served to highlight the sad fact that we should be banished indoors, for life or at least until we stop drinking and building dens stops being fun.

On a lighter note, on Saturday night me and Jen had to pull Claire away from a clothes maiden she was fighting in the kitchen. The next day Claire realised she had sent a photo round of the 'defeated' clothes maiden lying on the kitchen floor, to a couple of people she perhaps shouldn't have been sending nonsensical messages to...

LAD.