Monday, 30 September 2013

Big, Brave Brows

I've burnt my mouth on a sausage. Now the roof of my mouth is going to burn when I sip hot tea. In other news...

I've got a job in a pub and I start tomorrow.

Last weekend I met up with my cousin Sophie and her boyfriend Dan in the West End. My cousin's boyfriend used to work in a pub round there and when I mentioned that I was still looking for work, he suggested we go in and say hello to his old manager. As it happens a girl had handed her notice in that day so the manager said I could have a job.

Yey.

The manager seems really lovely. She basically hired me because I know Dan. It was good timing. I can't believe it's taken me this long to get a job. I was starting to do that thing where I have nothing to do and I don't know what to do about it so I just sleep in really late, then I wake up and just lie in bed, wishing I was still asleep. Then when night comes I'm wide awake, thinking what the fuck are you doing what the fuck are you doing.

Sometimes I feel as if things are slowly working out for me and everything is going to be fine. At other times I have this horrible feeling that actually things are going from bad to worse. If it wasn't for my very nice friends I wouldn't be able to live in London at all, unless I wanted to be homeless.

A few nights ago when I was flyering, a man selling the Big Issue came and stood next to me."I feel sorry for you love," he said, "I wouldn't want to do your job tonight."

Then we got talking and it transpires that he actually does flyering regularly, for a big company called The Flying Squad.

"I could get rid of them like hot cakes," he said, pointing at my flyers.

He started to tell me how I needed to be 'bouncy', to cheer up the miserable commuters. His top tip is to have a few drinks before work to 'loosen the lips', which is actually a really good idea, as long as you just had one or two. I started to think that maybe this guy could actually teach me how to be a Top Notch Flyerer- most people were rushing past, shaking their heads at me before I'd even reached out to them with a flyer.

The Big Issue Man wished me good luck and then found a space to start working. I watched him with interest, to see what slick flyering techniques he was about to whip out. A woman in an electric blue dress walked past.

"BLUE BLUE PEEKABOO!" he yelled, chasing after her.

I don't know why there were so many women wearing blue that evening, but I saw him chase after people yelling BLUE BLUE PEEKABOO about four times. One of the women actually bought a Big Issue, so I guess it paid off, but I'm just not sure if that sales technique is for me.

Anyway. Pub job tomorrow! And between you and me... I have a third date. Although, the second date- a drinks at The Book Club in Shoreditch- ran into lunch the following day, so maybe it's a fourth date? Sigh. I tried to be old fashioned and chaste, just to see what it was like, but... you know.

EYEBROW NEWS ALERT!!!!!
As money is a bit tight at the minute, I can't actually indulge myself but for any of my fellow eyebrow enthusiasts reading, you need to buy Brow Zings by Benefit. Before I left Manchester I went in and asked the sales lady to put it on for me- my eyebrows looked like two beautiful hairy sisters (remember: 'Sisters, Not Twins'). Unfortunately I couldn't actually buy the product because people without jobs don't deserve nice eyebrows. But when I get paid... I will have the BEST BROWS MONEY CAN BUY. For now I've got a cheap brow pencil from Rimmel and I can actually hear my eyebrows weeping as I drag it across their sparse, dark arches. Mummy's doing the best she can! This is just while mummy gets back on her feet, ok? Don't cry, mummy needs you to be big, brave brows, just until everything gets sorted, ok?

Am I becoming a danger to myself and others?

Thursday, 26 September 2013

My Real Name

Safe safe.

All I've ever wanted, my whole life, is to be one of those people who answer the phone by saying 'safe'. Kayt lets me do it for a little lol but I think I will try doing it in real life, to everyone. Safe Mum. Safe Gran. Safe Job Centre. (Although I'd like to point out, I only signed on for three weeks then I signed off to go to London. So don't anyone be judgy-judging me.)

It sounds better when boys say it though. I might set up a sex chat line that girls can call and on the other end there's just a recording of a deep male voice saying SAFE. I'll probably do it later on today. Probably.

Anyway, stop imagining boys saying 'safe' on the phone because I actually have something important to say.

I was going to put up the link to an article I wrote for fashion and house music website House and Heels- a review of a house music night I went to a few weeks ago. Then I realised my real name was credited at the bottom of the article and as we all know I keep my identity Top Secret, for a variety of reasons ranging from the paranoid to the delusional. Then I thought... is it time to finally shed my black, floor-length cloak of lies and reveal my real name?

I don't work with kids anymore, so there's no chance the parents could stumble across my blog to discover how I was so hungover that I fainted at the school gates, or read about how I never planned my lessons for the nursery kids, so most of the time we just did the 'Okie Kokie' until one of them would inevitably run into the middle too boisterously and hurt themselves.

I think I'm going to tell you my real name, so that I can link articles to my blog and vice versa. Tell me, are you:
a) so excited you can't breathe and have just been sick?
b) not arsed?
c) bemused, because you already know my name and are in fact my friend in real life?

Anyone who said b) can stop reading now.

Right so, I don't want to write my name now, because your eyes might have scanned down from earlier on in the blog post and it will ruin the surprise. I might hide it  in the middle of a paragraph to make sure people read it at the appropriate point in the post. My name is Tabitha. Now you know my name, I can tell you about French people never being able to say it, because they can't pronounce 'th'. The closest most people got would be 'Tabeeta', which was hilariously shortened to 'Tabeet' by some of the kitchen staff when I worked in the restaurant... For anyone that doesn't speak French, ta bitte is slang for 'your dick'.

So, now you know my name, CLICK HERE to read the review I wrote for House and Heels.

Have I done the right thing, revealing my name? Is it the kind of name you imagined I would have?

Let's all pretend I'm still called Left Bank Manc, ok?

In other news, I miss Paris a lot. When I listen to this the nostalgia hits me so hard it's like being smacked in the stomach with a stale baguette and I'm back at Coco Beach and the sun is shining and I don't have to think about leaving Paris for weeks and weeks and weeks...

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Details

Still unemployed.

This is karma because I turned down that shitty Food Runner job at the Japanese restaurant.

A few days after telling the restaurant I wouldn't be taking the job because I'd been offered a job in my chosen career Social Media (i.e. I'd rather sit at home checking my Facebook than clear dirty plates away for rich arseholes), I had a trial shift at an English restaurant. It didn't go very well- as soon as I walked in they stuck a pinny on me and left me to it. I had no idea what to do with myself. The manager said she was too busy to 'look after me'. I was so nervous I forgot to take the foil off a bottle of wine before I opened it. I stood to the side of the table twisting the corkscrew round for ages, getting more and more panicky, before I realised what I'd done. Needless to say, I didn't get a call back.

Then there was the bar that kept calling me, asking when I could start and trying to arrange a trial shift. Every time I would say, 'I can start whenever' and they'd say 'Great, we'll call you back when we've sorted the rota out' and they NEVER did. I contacted them about three times and each time was the same. I really liked that bar as well. Although. When I had my interview, I was being really chatty and confident and I thought it was going really well, then at end the bar manager said:

"Well, go to your trial at the Japanese restaurant and if you don't like me, call me tonight and we'll get you in. Here's my number. Actually, I'll give you my email address. Email me. Otherwise my girlfriend will be like 'Grr who's this girl calling you?'"

Why did he feel the need to drop his girlfriend into the interview? Did he think I fancied him? Did he think I was just pretending to be desperate for a job so I could trick him into giving me his phone number?

I feel like going in to the bar one evening and yelling 'I'M NOT ATTRACTED TO YOU' but I don't think that would help the situation.

Yesterday I marched round Camden in the pouring rain, handing out CVs. A few places said they'd call me, probably out of pity because my ballet pumps were filled with muddy water and my handbag had broken so I'd stuck it back together with sticky tape.

Actually, I do have something else to talk about other than job hunting, but I'm not sure if I can go into it or not.

Long time readers will be familiar with my pattern of arranging to go on dates with complete dickheads who cancel and then insist we rearrange and then cancel and then rearrange and then cancel again and again. (Does anyone remember Mizmiz Man?)

Well. I broke my pattern- I went on an Actual Date. We arranged to go for a drink. We both turned up. Then I admitted that I'd never really been on a date before and that I wasn't sure when it was supposed to end, so he told me dates don't have to end they can go on and on if everybody is enjoying themselves. After drinks we went for something to eat and then we went for a coffee.

Damn I wish I could remember if I'd told him about my blog or not, so I could reveal more details.

Anyway, are you ready to be terrified? I'm staying with TC and OJ this week and they showed me a video they discovered on YouTube of Rolf Harris covering a Divinyls song. For any non-Brits reading, Rolf Harris was a national treasure (even though he is Australian) until very recently, when it was discovered that he is probably a paedophile.With that in mind, have a listen to this:



Guess what! Two seconds ago TC and OJ found out that they have had their offer accepted on a house, how exciting! They have been trying to buy a house for ages. How weird is it that a few months ago TC was just a commenter on my blog and since then I have been to their wedding, to SGP and to Bristol with all their friends and now I am staying in their flat?

Talking of flats...

The first weekend I met TC and OJ, we went to a rave in a cave (The Crave) with their friends Nat and Matt who were visiting from London... and in a few weeks I am moving into a flat with Nat! It's in North London and it has a little garden. Nat says we can make pies together and that we don't have to do the washing up straight away.

Of course, it's Number 7.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Motions

Thursday morning in Brixton. From Clare's rooftop I can see across rainy London to St Paul's. To be honest it might not actually be St Paul's but the point is... I'm in London.

Hold on.

Clare just called to me from the bath, telling me to take some bacon out of the freezer for her. I asked her if St Paul's was visible from the living room window and she said she didn't know. Then her Gentleman Friend Ed joined in the conversation and I realised he was in the bath with Clare. They are just casually bathing together, with the bathroom door wide open so that they can still converse with me. It's so nice that Clare has met someone with as little regard for boundaries as herself.

Staying with Clare is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, she leaves me little notes saying 'help yourself to cake and there's roast chicken in the fridge SMILEY FACE' and there's always fresh flowers in the flat and she has crates of Fever Tree (a really delicious tonic water that makes the best gin and tonic with Hendrick's, but they also make lovely lemonade and ginger beer) knocking around because she sometimes does promotion work for them; and on the other hand, on my first morning here I woke up to see Clare stood in the doorway, telling me in a pleasant but stern voice to get out of bed because it was ten past nine and she thought I'd slept in long enough FROWNY FACE.

I like it though, I feel as though she is turning me into a Productive, Valuable Member of the Great Unemployed. Today I am up and blogging for example and it's not even half nine.

Yes, I'm still jobless. The Japanese restaurant offered me a job after my trial shift, but they wanted me to be a Food Runner rather than a Waitress, just for a few months while I sussed out the menu and got used to the place... At first I said yes, because they were still going to pay me £17,000 a year which seemed like a lot, especially as I want to do Social Media on the side, but when I got back to Manchester I realised I was already dreading my first day. Absolutely dreading it.

The trial shift was ok, but there was no interaction with the customers, my job as a Food Runner was literally just to put down the plates and take them away again without speaking. How would I be able to do that job full-time, with no knowledge of the food and without the authority to take orders? I'd feel like a mute servant girl.  I thought it would be hard work, but I didn't expect such a high-end restaurant (the first customers during my trial shift were British B-List couple Rochelle from The Saturdays and Marvin from GLS) to operate in such an impersonal, mechanical way. I imagined myself sashaying around, serving sashimi, suggesting sushi to sample and saki to sip, plus many other activities beginning with s. Instead I was rushing around trying to be invisible, getting told off for not putting a glass down in the correct position on the table.

There's hospitality work and then there's soul-destroying menial labour.

There's been a lot of talk recently about people in their twenties not wanting to pay their dues, but I've had Saturday and after-school jobs since I was FIFTEEN. I don't think I'm being unreasonable, wanting a job that doesn't depress and drain me.

Luckily, when I was on my way to my trial shift at the Japanese restaurant, I got a phone call from a bar I'd handed my CV in to. The guy was really nice on the phone and as we were talking I walked past his bar, so I popped in and had a quick interview. He told me to email him if I didn't enjoy my trial at the Japanese restaurant, so I did as soon as I got home. Since then I've spoken on the phone with the manager twice and he's said he'll organise a trial shift for me and then he hasn't. Why do men just keep you hanging on, for no reason, ALL THE FUCKING TIME?

Anyway. Last night I asked Clare's Gentleman Friend Ed if he knew anyone that runs a bar in London. He texted some friends and within five minutes he had three replies. He passed on my number and they said they'd call but as they're all males I won't hold my breath.

I want a lady boss to call me. A nice lady boss who will just tell

OH MY GOD

As I was writing that Clare handed me the phone, it was a lady who is looking for a babysitter. She'd been given Clare's number but Clare has too many nanny jobs already, so she mentioned her friend who recently moved to London and has lots of nanny experience (me) and I'm going to meet the kids tomorrow AND they might need a nanny after school AND when the lady gave me her surname I noticed it was Greek so I told her how I worked in Corfu for the summer when I was eighteen and she said her kids speak Greek so if it works out I can practice my Greek with them!

I have to go now, Clare is pacing around trying to tidy up and I can't concentrate.

YES I hope I get this nanny job.

I know I said I'd never nanny again but it's nice work, if you can get it.

Ohhh I'm starting to miss my old life in France. Last week I dreamt that I was back in Paris. I realised that I'd never left and my new life England had been a dream that I'd just woken up from. When I really woke up and realised that Paris had been a dream, I started crying.

But London will be good. The clouds have cleared since I started writing, I can see right across the city to The Shard.

By the way, did you know that Drake is my guilty pleasure? Well, I admit it. Anyway, he's done a song with Sampha! I wonder how they met? Wait until 2.26 when Sampha starts singing. It makes me feel like melting into a heap and never getting up again.

Quickly, before I forget, has anybody checked that Miley Cryrus isn't trapped in a #thicke web of human trafficking? Have you seen her new video?


Friday, 6 September 2013

Blurred Lines

The girls pretend to be enjoying themselves, some of the time. At other times they just stare into space while the men in suits point out the camera to them. They are given toys and animals to 'play' with. They are told to walk in front of the camera, displaying their bodies.

Guess what I'm talking about.

I know this issue has been talked about to death, but I still feel angry about it. There's black bile running through my body instead of blood, starting in the pit of my stomach and then burning through the rest of me, spreading outwards, spilling into words and rants and rage that I need to write down.

The first time I saw the video I was at my au pair job, cooking tea while the nine year old girl watched television in the kitchen. Suddenly I looked up and saw what she was seeing- a very young model sitting on a stool and looking vacuous, wearing underwear that looked as though she was wrapped in plastic, having her hair brushed by a man in a suit.

The nine year old looked confused, not sure of what she was watching. We discussed what a rubbish song- and what an even weirder video- it was and turned it over. I didn't realise at the time that we'd been watching the censored version...

I know there's been a lot of criticism of 'Blurred Lines' and a couple of parodies that highlight the sexism of the video, but I can't believe there hasn't been a more serious backlash.

The video is offensive and the song is dangerous.

It's easy to mistake 'Blurred Lines' for a standard song about enjoying rape with lyrics like: I know you want it, I'll tear your ass in two... even when you dress casual etc. Ok, fine, nothing wrong with singing about how women secretly want to be raped :)

(Although I would say, maybe think about changing the song title? 'Blurred Lines' implies that there are, well, blurred lines between consensual and non-consensual sex when in fact there's just one very clearly-marked line [#thicke line?] and if you cross it, it's rape.)

But if you read the lyrics online (nobody can be expected to suffer actually listening to the song), the plot thickens (#thickens?) and takes a darker turn:

OK now he was close, tried to domesticate you
But you're an animal, baby it's in your nature
Just let me liberate you
Hey, hey, hey
You don't need no papers
Hey, hey, hey
That man is not your maker
Hey, hey, hey


Woah, woah, woah. Forget the whole offensive, sexist 'domesticate' thing, what most concerns me here is this man that she needs liberating from. Why does she need liberating? Why are you telling her she doesn't need papers, is this a problem for her? Has she been brought over from Eastern Europe under false pretences?

The way you grab me
Must wanna get nasty
Go ahead, get at me


I don't think she wants to get nasty, I think she's grabbing onto you, begging you to rescue her from a life of rape and forced drug addiction. It's all starting to make sense! Why else would three fully-dressed men be dancing around with three girls wearing nothing but thongs? Because they've bought them, they own the girls.

Look!
T.I brushing the hair of his real life sex doll.


Pharrell standing next to a girl in a thong, holding a live goat.
They've doped them up on heroin (see the girl being chased with giant needle) and now the girls are so docile that the men can brush their hair, make them do stuff to each other (at one point the blonde girl is on all fours and one of the other girls is resting a foot on her back), to stuffed dogs and to live goats.

Shake the vibe, get down, get up
Do it like it hurt, like it hurt
What you don't like work?


Thicke blowing smoke in the face of his drugged-up sex slave.
So.

What does this Robin Thicke (sorry, #thicke) character have to say about my accusations? I sent him my questions telepathically and he responded in an interview with GQ by saying:

"People say, 'Hey, do you think this is degrading to women?' I'm like, 'Of course it is. What a pleasure it is to degrade a woman. I've never gotten to do that before."

Well I think that's reasonable.

I'm off out now, I'm dressed casual but I still hope somebody comes along and breaks my ass in two, even if I say no. Especially if I say no ;)

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Coach Nutter

These days I seem to spend most of my time on the Megabus.

I can't believe it was almost two weeks ago that I was travelling down to Bristol, once again nominating myself as the Coach Nutter, trying to stop the driver from leaving the service station by standing up and yelling (in a strong Manc accent that surprised even me):
"Are we leeevin? Are we goin? We've left that wumun an' er babeh!"

The woman and the baby were sat at the back of the bus, looking at me with wide eyes, along with all the other passengers on the coach.

After my initial outburst, I had to stand up every time we stopped, to ask everyone if we were at Bristol yet. By the time the answer was finally 'yes, please get off our bus', it was pitch black outside and pouring down with rain, which kind of shat all over my plan of walking to the Gothic Mansion...

Wait.

Did I tell you about the Gothic Mansion?

When I was at Secret Garden Party, two of OJ and TC's friends invited me to go to the Gothic Mansion for their Farewell Leaving Party Weekend- they're moving to Ghana in a few weeks. On the Friday night, one half of the couple proposed to his other half (don't know why but feel a bit paranoid about naming anybody at the moment) in front of us all.

Thankfully she said yes, otherwise it would have been a loooong weekend.

It was a very theatrical moment- people were crying and cheering, everybody was dressed in sequins or shiny leggings and the bride to be was wearing a white feathery headdress, made especially for her by somebody in on the secret... They are a group that loves fancy dress. The whole weekend was full of super heroes and ninjas, jelly fish, giant headdresses that lit up with tiny, battery-operated light bulbs and lots and lots of glitter.

One night I danced for about ten hours straight in the basement which became a club for the weekend. That club was MY club- often it was just me in there on my own, dancing to the beats of an African Queen called Wesley. It was nice when other people came in to dance as well, but I did enjoy having my own personal club, all to myself. It confirmed my suspicions that clubs would be so much better if there were no bouncers and no other patrons.

I did go through my standard Sinister Phase on Sunday evening, where I slithered about on the edge of sanity for a while, convinced I'd done something terrible and that everybody hated me... That dark cloud called Sinister always comes after a long weekend of raving and I fall for it, every time. It's such a shame because it plagues the whole weekend, casting a shadow over what would have otherwise been three days of pure ravey fun. Next time, I swear down, I'll be ready for the Sinister Phase and I won't let it consume me and turn me into a paranoid psychopath. The next time it happens I'm going to take myself off to bed, instead of staying up and trying to rave through it.

But.

I do always manage to rave through it.

After the weekend, somebody invited me to go to Notting Hill Carnival. I've always wanted to go and I was going to London anyway for two days of nannying, so off we went and the rave continued. At the end of the day we met up with some other people that had been at the Gothic Mansion and everybody was congratulating me on my non-stop dancing. I felt a bit guilty because they obviously hadn't seen me stalking around under my Sinister Cloud on Sunday.

I think I might just have got away with it.

On our way back from Carnival, we got stuck in a lift at the tube station so I told somebody to pull the Emergency Alarm and found that the repetitive ringing was very easy to dance to. It was at this point that I had to wonder, 'Have I become a cliche of myself?'

The nannying job was so easy I felt like I was in a rave-induced dream. I spent two days near Sloane Square with a very posh mummy and her two delightful children- we went to the park, we visited Battersea Zoo and I spent hours with the little girl playing 'The Game Where We Pretend We Haven't Seen Each Other For A Year' which is a lot more complicated than it sounds. At one point I found myself alone with the two year old boy and he was playing some tunes on his toy keyboard and I was bopping about and it was like I'd never left that basement in Bristol...

For my trouble I got ten quid an hour which I used to fund this week's trip to London, which has proved more fruitful than any of the others. I've got a trial shift at a very nice Japanese restaurant in a couple of hours. Oh there's so many more little stories I wanted to tell you, I went to a Christening in Liverpool on Sunday and the baby and her mum had TWO outfit changes and there were professional photographers and girls in church wearing hot pants, platforms and fringed kimonos. No, I wasn't one of them.

The next morning I had to get a taxi to the coach station and I didn't know where the Megabus went from in Liverpool, so my taxi driver let me use the internet on his phone. He kept telling me off for not being more organised and he said he was worried about me, so he waited with me to make sure I got on the bus.

This is why I love every taxi driver I meet, even if they are old and bald.

This one was quite young though...

Stop it.

I have to mention somebody who I spent some very meaningful time with at Secret Garden Party. He told me in Bristol that he can't believe I didn't mention him in my blog, after our Special Bonding. His Secret Blog Name is Ariel because he like to dress up as The Little Mermaid, although he also wears a suit sometimes that looks it's made of liquid mercury.

Gaaah I need to go now, hope I get the job!