29 September 2006

Welcome to blogger beta

This must be how Dorothy felt when she, rubbing the bump on her head, opened the door of her house to find herself newly arrived in Munchkinland, at the foot of the yellow brick road.


Better than diggin' a ditch

Sad Little Clancy was in such dire need of a wash it was impossible to discern her delicate bronze colour beneath the thick coat of the grime. We found ourselves in such a terrible state of dishevelment that none of the other cars in the street would park near her in case any dirt blew onto them. Poor Sad Little Clancy resembled a little Dickensian street urchin; slightly consumptive and in need of a good scrub.

I took Sad Little Clancy to get some tender loving care at a Hand Wash Establishment. I was tipped off by a friend who put the frighteners on me about the horrors of the modern, violent automatic car wash. Near my old gym, on Cricklewood Lane, is a little garage with a big forecourt. It is teaming with men wielding powerful jet hoses, giant sponges and chamois leathers. There is some debate as to whether they are Russian, Kosovan or Albanian which goes to show how ignorant we are about our East European brethren in NW2.

Well, parked in the queue behind a Mercedes and in front of a Porsche (obviously over from hideous Queens Park) I did wonder whether Sad Little Clancy, as a lowly G reg Nissan Micra, would get any attention. Then when one of those women with long blonde hair and permatans, that men seems to find so attractive, stepped provocatively out of her Mercedes I thought we were there for the duration.

But no. Sad Little Clancy was seized upon like a packet of fags at a health spa. There were six burly Balkanesque types spraying and sponging, washing and waxing and before Sad Little Clancy or I knew where we were she was shiny and bright as a new penny outside and clean and fresh smelling inside.

‘Thank you, thank you,’ said the man as I gave him £7 which I considered an absolute bargain. I looked over to Blondie’s Mercedes where one despondent little chap was half heartedly dragging a limp sponge across the bonnet of her luxury vehicle.
‘Honestly,’ said the man rolling his eye. ‘Car not even need cleaning. Not like your car. Your car filthy filthy dirty.’

Across the forecourt four of his colleagues were admiring Sad Little Clancy’s rear end with such lip licking delight I felt terrible when I drove her back home and deprived them of her rusty beaten up charms.

26 September 2006

Your call may be recorded for training porpoises

Well, my attempt to maintain a sunny disposition throughout the whole week has been scuppered and its only Tuesday. We are not even at Wednesday, the Hump of the Week or Thursday, Dreaded Worst Day of the Week Always.

This is the fault of Three Mobile (or 3 Mobile, whichever you like) who are possibly the worse mobile phone company in the, albeit brief, history of mobile phone companies. Without question.*

I am all grumpy about non-UK call centres now, which annoying because I can’t be doing with all that call centre location thinly veiled racism nonsense. It’s not as though British people are not breathtakingly rude and stupid at times. I’m only grumpy about it because it is something to be grumpy about. Like finding someone utterly pestilent and then noticing that they have unfortunate hair and calling them Pube Head when actually just calling them a generically offensive yet comical nickname would do just as well, probably better.

Imagine the horror: on the 8 September my mobile phone packed up. The screen went blank and it refused to respond to my frantic button jabbing. So I executed the ‘pull the plug out’ manoeuvre, the fulcrum about which my IT expertise pivots, by removing the battery and putting it back in again. Then it wouldn’t switch on again. The little tinker.

So I phoned Three. They sent me to a Three stockist to test the phone to see whether the handset or the battery was broken. Why they made me do this I do not know as I had to send both back anyway but this is only infuriating in retrospect. It was the handset. They picked my phone (and battery and charger) up from work the following day and returned it three working days later as promised. Which wass actually five days, but again with retrospect. Gosh, didn’t I sing the praises of Three from the very rooftops? ‘What a marvellous service,’ I sang from the very rooftops whilst skipping. ‘Everyone should have a Three phone. The customer service is exemplary. They are a phone company who cares about the customer. Their call centre is in Mumbai, where they are so helpful and nice. Look at the trees, look at the birds. Sing, praise Hallelujah.’

Then on the 18 September it broke again, in exactly the same way, having worked for a total of five days. So I rang Three and arranged for them to pick it up again the next day. They didn’t. I rang them back and they said they would pick it up the following day. They didn’t. They did manage to pick it up on the third day after I was forced to bellow across the continents at them.

The phone was supposed to come back yesterday. But it never put in an appearance. So, I rang them this morning.

‘I quite understand your irritation,’ said the girl.
‘Where is my phone?’ I said.
‘It is at the repairers still,’ she said.

I listed the reasons why this was unacceptable beginning with the newsflash that my phone has been out of service for 15 days this month and ending with the stunning revelation that no one called me to tell me my phone would not be arriving when they said it would be and this was terribly rude and if there is one thing to destroy my fragile joyfulness its unnecessary rudeness. **

‘And now you will make it all better,’ I said, all calmness now spent of fury. ‘You may speak to your supervisor if you want. I will hold.’
‘I quite understand your irritation,’ the girl said.
‘I am now holding,’ I said.
‘I quite understand your irritation,’ she said.
I sang Windmills of Your Mind to her in my finest Muzak Voice.
‘I am putting you on hold,’ she said.
‘No,’ I said. ‘I have already put you on hold. You are the one on hold.’
‘But you are singing to me,’ she said, perplexed.
‘No. I am singing at you. Because you are on hold,’ I said.
‘Hold please.’

I didn’t think she would come back but she did.

Sadly, she only returned to tell me that she would ring me back shortly with a solution to my problem and that she was still very understanding of my irritation. I am waiting for her to call, hunched over my phone twitching and snarling. It has been three hours. By the time I get the phone back I will have forgotten where I put the sim card for safe keeping.


Where the hell is the sim card?

And now my fabled lunchtime run will have to be of the bad mood improving type instead of the good mood enhancing type which I much prefer.

Damn you Three mobile, damn you. Also, where the hell is my phone, you Pube Heads?

*Please, gentle reader, do leave me a comment with details of your evil phone company as when I finally escape my contract in 2145 I would like to avoid other evil phone companies. This way we can make the world a nicer place for one and other.

**This paragraph should really begin lower case and then become uppercase growing into an enormous angry red font but I as a Libran I am too aesthetically sensitive for any of that (or am I? I’m not sure. Yes. No. Maybe. Eek.) Also, the whole post should be littered with exclamation marks but I can’t bring myself to do that either. I don’t think my natural merriment would recover ever. Ever.***

*** End of rant.

I don't like insects

My regular reader will know that I hate insects to such an extent I think it might well be pathological. I shouldn’t really though, given that I am technically a country girl. I grew up in a small village which was a good half an hour’s drive from town and fifteen minutes from the next small village plagued by all manner of fauna, and flora. Oddly.

But instead of living in an idyllic cottage or other picture postcard village dwelling we lived on a housing estate on the edge of village; a sprawling mess of cul-de-sacs and winding alleys ways encroaching on corn fields which the farmers burnt down in early autumn. So it was a little less rural than you might think.

There are a couple of good things about growing up in the countryside; I know a lot about wildlife, having been harassed by it during my formative years, and I don’t get all dewy eyed when faced with large expanses of grass and gently rolling hills like city types do. I stride forth confidently. That is until one of our insect brethren leaps enthusiastically for my face, intent on scarring me for life or inflicting some worse fate up on me.

This time of year is particularly difficult given the sheer volume of crane flies which find their way into our flat. I researched carefully last night what it is about that disturbs me about them as two if them fitzed up and down the living room wall.

I think it’s the fact that their legs come of so easily.

We are currently plagued by enormous spiders as well. When I took the spider register last night there were a grand total of seventeen spiders spanning more that a centimetre in my house. Many of them at least three centimetres across. And that was only the ones I could see. This doesn't bear thinking about.

Then there are the moths, the woodlice, the earwigs and the snails. I really hate those big fat furry moths as well. I remember when tD and I had only been together for a month at the very most. We were in bed when an enormous hawk-moth came through the window, attracted by the warm glow of the bedside lamp. I was hysterical, properlyhysterical in a most Victorian fashion, and had to be calmed down with brandy. I’m telling you; it flew at me with murder in its huge black eyes.

Apparently they’re more afraid of me than I am of them.

I find that very hard to believe.

25 September 2006

I like jazz

If a novel is like a portentous symphony and modern journalism is the equivalent of frothy pop then short stories could be three minute blasts of anthemic rock. Surely then, chick lit is the smaltzy ballad and academic papers the yowling of sixties folk. If political speech writing is anaemic boyband harmonising and advertising copywriting five finger pieces for the beginner pianist, then blogging is jazz.

You listen for ages to the doodling, tooting trumpet, squawking and squealing away, seemingly oblivious to everything else. It goes on and on and then all of a sudden there is it; that great sequence. The killer riff. The minutes pass unnoticed.

Then it’s gone again.

And we listen to yet more of the doodling, the tooting, the squawking and squealing, waiting for the next hook to grab us.

Hard knock life

I learnt nothing this weekend. So I've either attained omniscience or I'm a cocky little bugger. You decide. I already know because I'm omniscient. That's a clue, people.

I was in a foul mood all week last week. I'm attempting a more sunny disposition this week but not holding out much hope. Look at the weather for a start. I wonder if this week I will be able to whip myself into a towering rage by Thursday and spend Friday in a righteous sulk again. I did enjoy that. Although I did post quite politely with very minimal ranting. Because I'm attempting to be ingratiating, I expect.

I went to bed a half past eight yesterday and didn't allow myself to succumb to the decadent production values the BBC (who I'm still cross with) surely lavished on their adaptation of Jane Eyre. I now regret this as I wanted to check whether the people who cobble together the Guide in the Saturday Guardian were right that Jane Eyre is about a poor orphan who struggles to cope with life at a harsh boarding school (or words to that effect). I thought it was about a governess, a sub-Heathcliffe irritant and a mad woman in the attic. Perhaps la Guardianistas are confusing it with Annie. I can see how you could get Rochester and Daddy Warbucks muddled and think that Miss Hannigan is locked in the attic. I really can. Although technically Annie was in an orphanage. Same thing though, basically.

Never mind, Spooks is on today. I'm loving that they decide to turn it into a comedy for this series.

What else? I'm psyching myself up today as I'm going for a run tomorrow. This is will be highly amusing as I haven't been for a run for two months and I'm going at lunchtime. So I will have to spend the afternoon lying under my desk in the big wide open plan office groaning and panting. Highly irregular for a Tuesday.

22 September 2006

Friday round up

Friday’s post is becoming a bit of a summary covering many of the recent misfortunes to have befallen me, and the triumphs to have caught me unawares. So, although I am in danger of instituting a tradition, I shall crack on with the summary of where I am at or thereabouts for you.

I have finished the Bullet Trick. Hoorah. I am fully intending to write a measured and thoughtful review to make up for my previous petulance but I have shoved it on the bookshelf and each attempt to pick it up again results in an enormous wave of sorrow crashing down upon me, dashing me against the rocks of righteous indignation and feverish disappointment.

Televisual confusion
I was messing about with my camera last night and so didn’t plonk myself in front of the television until quarter to ten. I popped on BBC 1, even though I am Cross With The BBC At The Moment, and was most confused to find myself watching a docudrama where Tony Blair was extolling his own virtues as a God in a rather angsty fashion. Then, imagine my amazement, he confessed to having killed people and done all kinds of terrible things. Remarkable I thought. Then he, or perhaps it was Gordon or Claire, stuck a knife up through his chin and it made a noise exactly like when you crack Ice Magic with a spoon. At least I think that what happened with the knife and the chin. I have finely honed reflexes for that kind of thing so was already well under the sofa with my fingers over my ears and my thumbs in my eyes singing Yellow Submarine very loudly to avoid any TV gore induced trauma. Anyway, it transpired that it was not actually a sequel to The Deal but the same actor playing Nero, of the Roman Empire. I did wonder about the togas but thought that may be down to some strange Mandleson/ Campbell/ Blair Greco-Roman wrestling tournament. I think Martin Sheen is his name. He’s not related to Gloria Estefan either.

We have discovered that the team that lost the final of the womens’ five-a-side football tournament had reached the final in the three previous years and so now feel less bad about the sound trouncing we received. Although I can’t even begin to talk about the winners yet. Bitches.

Annoying crazy people
The Mad Man Who Lives Up The Road has a new personality to add to the veritable post office queue he has already accumulated. I shall call her Fanny. She is very irritating with an incredibly loud high pitched voice and grave concerns about her job security. She fears the sack, she fears the sack, she fears the sack, she fears the sack. Perhaps Fanny would perform a little better at work if she didn’t spent most of her time walking up and down my street screeching. I preferred Clive the Librarian. He used to rearrange the shelves in the library and hide the Ruth Rendell’s in the back of the cookery section. I liked him. The library staff liked him less though he meant they had to do some Work. Heaven forfend.

I inadvertently left Sad Little Clancy’s door unlocked for three nights and no one stole her, slept in her, pissed in her or threw rubbish in her. I am outraged. The Subaru up the road went like a hot cake. I think I will buy Sad Little Clancy a spoiler and a neon racing stripe.

Most importantly
Bambino Bamboo is four months old today. Happy sortofbirthday [exclamation mark] She’s doing lots of interesting things and being adorable but this is the round up post so there’ll be no more of that.

And there we are. Vaarwel, gentle reader.

21 September 2006

Some things are better than others

Camels are better than giraffes
Radishes are better than spring onions
Stout is better than bitter
Mittens are better than gloves
Rice is better than noodles
Sarcasm is better than irony
London is better than Paris
Hands are better than feet
Jumpers are better than cardigans
Drinking is better than smoking
Hiccups are better than pins and needles
Snow is better than sand
Sculpture is better than painting
Spiders are better than daddy long legs
Shirts are better than blouses
Football is better than cricket
Triangles are better than tambourines
Tigers are better than lions
Felt tips are better than crayons
Octopus are better than jellyfish
Orange is better than purple
Chairs are better than benches
Tulips are better than daffodils
Salad cream is better than mayonnaise
Belts are better than braces
Winter is better than summer
Letters are better than emails
Cheese is better than chocolate
Silence is better than muttering
Running is better than cycling

20 September 2006

We are(n't) the Champions

We played football last night, me and sixteen comrades. Or the five-a-side aberration which passes for football in some ill-educated quarters. It was a biggish tournament, all proper with FA trained referees and everything, for charity. Sadly we, being the teams of the unsaid charity, were the only teams not to be in a five-a-side league, play together regularly or have shin pads so you can imagine how it went. I don’t even have any socks long enough to hold up shin pads. Luckily we did all have matching t-shirts which we filched from the Events Team Matching T-shirts Cupboard, so we didn’t look totally like amateurs. Much like amateurs.

We did look totally like amateurs. Which is okay, you know.

The Boys Team lost all their fours matches, but did manage to score twice and we, the Girls Team, lost all our four matches (in the name of equality you understand), and only scored once when our best player converted a penalty.

There was a team of small whippety woman who all had matching shorts as well as proper polyester blend tops with the team name on the front and numbers on the back. We feared them because of the matching shorts. I think they probably won overall. Although by the time the final whistle was blown on that match I was sulking in the back of the car somewhere in Vauxhall. The tournament was in Norbury which is very south of the river and therefore this morning I feel a little virus-y.

When I was a little bit younger I used to be rather good at the old football. The boys used to let me play and everything. Then I played at university and we were quite good. But not five-a-side. Proper grown up football. Last night I remembered why I avoided it.

There’s no opportunity to show off your silky skills in five-a-side as the minute the ball touches your foot all four outfield members of the opposition bear down upon you in the manner of starving wildebeest seizing upon a patch of pampas grass. You can’t hit the ball above head height so no crowd pleasing bending. No dribbling to speak of, no Ronaldinho elastics, no Ronaldo chops, no Rai flicks, no Cruyff turns. No showing off. No fun. I only got one step over in, which came to nought shortly after as three starving wildebeest nipped the ball away and hurtled away with it to bring to score to eight nil. Five-a-side doesn’t really suit my leisurely, it has been said elegant playing style. Also, I don’t like falling over on Astroturf so that’s a good deal of my Portuguese influenced game gone before I’ve put right instep to ball.

Also, there was too much sand on the pitch and they made us play with the wrong balls. Bah.

On the positive side I didn’t get stretchered off as had been predicted and other than a little tightness in my left hamstring I’m totally unscathed. It was, in fact, the boys’ goalkeeper who spent seven hours in A & E (I preferred it when it was called Casualty) getting his fractured wrist set in plaster for six to eight weeks. Who would have thought? I was well up for a couple of weeks in traction too, having sorted out reading material and everything.

On reflect this post should actually read: we played football, I’m not as good as I used to be, I feel bad for letting my team mates down and I hate, hate, hate The Losing. I’m in misery.

You get the gist though, I’m sure.

19 September 2006

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18 September 2006

Some things I learnt this weekend

Charlie Sheen is not related to Gloria Estefan.

Shouting at the very very top of my voice during arguments in Sainsbury’s about whether there are courgettes in the fridge, insisting there are when I know very well there are not, does not make courgettes magically appear in said fridge.

I am one and a half centimetres shorter than I have been telling people; I am either a liar or a midget of the future.

It is not possible for me too fit through the bathroom window. And it is not quieter for me to attempt this than it is for me to ring the doorbell and ask tD to let me in.

I must not wake the baby when she is napping during the day as it is impossible to get her to go back to sleep and she is grumpiness personified for the rest of the day.

I am not, no matter how fine a point I balance my clutch on, or how little I put in the boot, going to beat the arse-crumb round the corner’s enormous land rover off the lights at the bottom of Walm Lane. Indeed, if I continue in this fashion I will find myself and Sad Little Clancy on the painful side of the broken window of Sarah Teather’s constituency office.

St Elmo’s Fire does not ‘shit all over’ Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. As someone who has never seen St Elmo’s Fire I should cease and desist from making such bold statements in earshot of (surely one of the only) fanatical Matthew Broderick fans.

I am not the kind of woman who can afford to only half pay attention whilst engaging in complex and private hair removal activities.

Police cars are not taxis.

17 September 2006

Nice doggie

I have never been a woman to get chatted up by strangers (of any gender) in bars. This is something of a tragedy as since a young age I have been accumulating a wealth of scathing put downs and acidic comebacks for just such occasions. So imagine my joy when earlier, whilst enjoying a quiet afternoon pint of Guinness and spending a meaningful hour with a pile of vellum and my favourite quill, an opportunity to use Put-down #12,387 presented himself.

He sidled up to me like an slimy gecko and draped himself, in what I can only imagined was supposed to be a seductive manner, across the chair.
‘You know, I could fulfil your every sexual fantasy,’ he said, issuing forth drunken spittle rich with chardonnay fumes and kettle chip crumbs.
‘How odd,’ I said. ‘You look absolutely nothing like a Great Dane to me.’

The fruitless struggle for a response killed off 134 of his remaining 137 brain cells and, with only his gross motor skills still fully operational, he slithered back over to the bar; a broken man.

16 September 2006

Roadside Assistance

Poor, poor car. Old, old car. Sad Little Clancy wouldn’t start again and made none of the recognisable noises of illness in which I am expert, so I had to call the AA. Foxy AA lady was not working so I was homestarted by Brooding AA man. He was not so good at soothing my fevered brow and patting my arm in a non-patronising way as Foxy AA Lady is.

SLC: Click.
Me: You see? Just click-y. Not ruuuuuuuuuuuuummmmmmmmmm-y.
BAAM: It’s the battery.
Me: The battery?
BAAM: The battery.

He ran through a number of diagnostic procedures and said I would need a new one as the old one was ‘buggered’. I would have to follow behind his van and be led to Lloyds in Edgware who would sell me a new battery (for £61.88) which he would then fit for me by the side of the busy busy with very fast buses four lane road. He plugged the car into something technical and oily and we started it.

SLC: Ruuuuuuuuuuuuummmmmmmmmm.
BAAM (getting into van with air of misplaced unconcern): Whatever you do, don’t let it stop running.
Me out loud: Okay. Whatever I do, don’t let it stop running. (pause) Hang on, what happens if I stall it?
[Me in my head: At the fast and frenetic Brent Cross roundabout as I am wont to do regularly.]
BAAM: Don’t. Stall. It.
Me out loud: Don’t? Stall? It?
BAAM: Not unless you want me to jump you in three lanes of rush hour traffic.

I think he meant jump start.

My, there is a world of difference between Brooding AA Man and Foxy AA Lady.

15 September 2006

Friday: brought to you by the number 8

For some reason today I thought it would be appropriate if I just combed my hair with a breeze block, cleaned my teeth with some old dusty flock wallpaper and inflicted myself upon the world. I do apologise for my ramshackle appearance. I truly am a tumbling down former council house in human form.

Someone asked me a very good question earlier. They came up to me and whispered in my ear; ‘Julianne Moore or Carrie Anne Moss?’

Hmmm. How well they know me.

Why has Robin Williams made yet another spooky film, in the manner of One Hour Photo and Insomnia? I know he stopped the comedy when the drugs stopped working and went all sentimental, but spooky? I don’t like it.

Mind you, this could be like the time I got Bob Hoskins and Danny Devito mixed up and had some very trying conversations about The Long Good Friday. Who would I get Robin Williams mixed up with though? Maybe Kathy Bates.

Damn you, Flashman. I wish we’d never mentioned the sex blog thing. Trugnugget says he’ll pay me £100 to post something really graphic as long as it’s true. Minzie says she’ll pay me £200 not to post it. But The Lovely Mrs Tashoka says ‘£500 in [my] pocket and [she’ll] give [me] something to write about to boot. I want to go and hide in the cupboard under the sink with the bleach.

On the other hand we really do need the money.

Three people have asked me if I will please act like a grown up for once and get feed. Feed? Yes, feed. Or fucking feed as it seems to be called in some circles. So, I said; ‘Well, I will have to find out what the etiquette for that is and I will get back to you. Piss Midget.’ When I say ‘find out what the etiquette is’ I of course mean ‘find out what feed is, exactly’.

If I’d known that M&Ms were offering a reward of 2 million M&Ms for the return of The Scream I’d have looked a bit harder. Instead of glancing around the living room briefly and going; ‘tD, have you seen my The Scream? I can’t find it. Have you moved it again?’ like I usually do. If I find out I’d accidentally kicked it under the sofa again I’m going to be livid.

Please, in the name of all that is decent and clean and lightly perfumed, let me finish The Bullet Trick soon. It is possibly the most tedious book I have ever read in my life and, yes, I have read a Fay Weldon novel in my time. How can you construct a thriller with absolutely no tension whatsoever? And they all said it was a thriller, not me. Also, please stop jumping around like that. Two pages; Berlin back to Glasgow – what is the point of that? Two pages? Besides I have no idea what you are talking about anymore because I am bored. I am on the verge of an exclamation mark and I think I already made it clear how I feel about those pernicious punctuants.

Having spat that, The Cutting Room is a terribly good book, though. I would recommend you read that as it is perhaps my favourite inch of a three foot bookshelf teaming with quality Scottish crime/noir novels.

Seven and a half
Shut up Fay Weldon, or it’s the glue factory for you, my love.

When I recall who it was that put Windmills of Your Mind in my head they are in for some severe discomfiture. I have never experienced such a complex and distracting earworm in my entire life. And I once had Shine on You Crazy Diamond in there for a week so I know of what I moan. Dang Dang Dang Dowwwww. I’ve had to find out the Windmill lyrics because the doodling noise was driving me insane.

Aw, crappla. Now they’re both in there.

Like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel, never ending or beginning, on an ever-spinning reel, as the images unwind, like the circles that you find, in the Dang Dang Dang of Your Dowwww.

Make it stop.

14 September 2006

An Archer's Life for Me?

I saw The Weather Man the other day. I enjoyed it but tD kept getting up to do other things which is a sure sign she did not. Mind you, since Bambino Bamboo appeared (most definitely not as if by magic) she’s been scattier than a bag of jazz cats. She probably forgot we were watching it.

Nicolas Cage is fast becoming my Favourite Actor I Think I Don’t Like. He’s really very good in the film, and has a lovely drawly delivery that you think would get annoying but somehow doesn’t. Hope Davis is in it and I always think that if she’s a film it’s a safe bet that watching it won’t be like having hot bricks crammed under your eyelids. It also features a most bizarre performance from Michael Caine as Father of The Weather Man. He’s supposed to be a Big American Man Writer™ and I can’t make up my mind whether he’s brilliant or terrible, what with the odd American version of RP he goes with. It’s really bizarre. I recommend you get The Weather Man out if you can’t think what else to watch. It’s much better than The Inside Man, for example. But your mind probably doesn’t go completely blank every time you step into Blockbusters like mine does, so you don’t need my film tips thank you very much.

Anyway, the point of this is that David Spritz (Cage) takes up archery, to help his daughter who is being called camel-toe at school. It looks very cool. The archery, not the camel-toe. Not even Julianne Moore could carry a camel-toe off. Or could she? Let’s take a moment to think about that, shall we?

Okay. That done I thought I might like to also take up archery:

Me: Hey, I’m thinking I might take up archery. You know, like the Nicholas Cage character in the Weather Man.
tD: The Weather Man? Did we watch that?
Me: Yes. Anyway, archery. What do you think?
tD: What do I think? God. I think that you are the last person, on any planet not just earth, who ought to take up a hobby involving a weapon. You are, after all, the woman who can barely walk down the road without befalling some terrible misfortune involving bruising and grazing and tears. Which need moping up. Often injuring innocent passers-by. It’s only a matter of time before you accidentally assault the health visitor. God. Don’t take up fucking archery. Ever. I will kill you myself. With my bare hands. Just to save myself the trauma of having to visit you in hospital with an arrow sticking out of your chest or some other hideous, hideous near death thing. Please. Don’t. Fucking archery. I can’t believe that you would even say that to me. Archery. God. Fuck. God.
Me; Okay, okay. I promise; no archery.

Although really I’m off to buy a long bow and some big arrows this afternoon. Wheeeeee. I’ll race you to Accident and Emergency. Bags I the ICU bed.

13 September 2006

InFrequently Asked Questions

Hello, and welcome. I have enlisted the help of Flashman Topside to interview me for my InFrequently Asked Questions. I don’t know Flashman Topside from Adam. Unless Adam is wearing a name badge, then I think even I could work it out.

What is your fantasy Top of the Pops episode (six live appearances and what’s number one)?
Nirvana - A Hazy Shade of Winter
Pet Shop Boys and Dusty Springfield - I Knew Him So Well
The Cure – A Spoonful of Sugar
Madonna – Sympathy for the Devil
Jimi Hendrix – Welcome to the Jungle
They Might Be Giants feat. Patti Smith - Killer Queen

Number one in that particular chart I think would be a David Bowie double A side with Somewhere Over the Rainbow and Unfinished Sympathy.

Is Froosh Bamboo your real name?
Why, yes, it is. Okay, no. A great shame. I might have it changed by deed poll. Although tD would kill me.

Who is tD?
The Divinity is my civil partner. When will we think of a better way of putting that? We’ve been together for so long it makes me seem really old. Even though I’m actually a spring chicken. I think she despairs of my blog and wishes that I would concentrate on writing my next novel or moving the first one out of the bottom drawer so she can fill it with nice brightly coloured stationary. Mmmmm. Maybe I will. She would actually just prefer me to get a job that doesn’t pay voluntary sector wages but then I’d have to work in the private sector. For The Man. Shudder.

So, you are a lady. And tD is a lady. But you have a baby - I’m confused.
By what?

The amount of ladies and lack of a man.

You’re not prepared to engage with this at all, are you?
Nope. You may like to grow up and join the rest of us in the 21st century.

Okay, moody. Brief autobiography of the Froosh, please.
Born. In Northampton. Grew and grew and grew. Went to school. Realised nobody likes the kid who puts their hand up all the time. Stopped putting hand up. Became smart arsed problem child. Got up one morning made toast for breakfast, burnt toast, saw pattern in scorch mark in shape of Jeanette Winterson’s face, considered this sign, embraced gayness. Ninth birthday. Grew some more. Later, joined youth theatre. Went to university and studied drama, hated it. Moved to London. Did Masters degree in performance studies, hated it. Met tD. Wrote for theatre, hated it. Penny dropped. Adopted zen-like attitude of calm and mellowness and stayed away from theatres. Started novel. Got married. Started blog. Finished novel. Had baby. Put novel in bottom drawer. Wrote this post. Et voila.

You seem to fall over a lot. Are you really that clumsy?
I am an extraordinarily graceful woman. Like a very elegant gazelle. It’s just that some pieces of furniture, some pavements and some pairs of shoes seem to be out to get me. That’s all. Also, sometimes all the blood rushes to my brain and I can’t retain control of some of my limbs. I would rather it was the limbs than the bladder. As my grandmother used to say it’s better to fall over then piss yourself.

Are you another blogger trying to get a book deal?
No, and anyway things like that don’t happen to me or to the overwhelming majority of the billions of pople with blogs. That’s a stupid reason to have a blog. All right, Mr Paxman? Also, why is it not acceptable to just have a blog and be happy with that? I like writing and having a couple of people read it. That is enough. I have a beaten up 1989 Nissan Micra (hello, foxy AA lady) and I have no desire to get a shiny 4x4. It’s that kind of thing. Expect I am in no way saying that my blog is a banger and a book deal is a brand new expensive child killing vehicle. Oh, wait. Maybe I am. I like bangers. Next.

You’ve got all moody again.

So, what’s with the squirrels? Do you hate them?
No. I really like them. They are most entertaining. It also amusing me that one of the Bambino Bamboo’s first word will be probably be an attempt at ‘squirrel’. Skwiiiiil, I expect. I also think that the grey squirrel done kilt them poor widdle wed squirrels argument is bollocks. Humans are the most murderous species on earth so let’s move it out of the glass house, people. The squirrels are more popular than I am. Particularly Bastard. I just don’t get it.

Did they really kill the Prime Minister and replace him with a guy called Hilary?
I’m not allowed to talk about it while the court case is ongoing.

Are you really the world’s worst proof-reader though?
Ph yes.

Your boss has a blog, right?

Oh yes, and if you don’t visit it I’ll get grief. Never mind, I think the ink will be dry on my p45 soon. And don’t call him that, please, it scares me.

Do you really like your job?
I do actually although I think, as with all places of work, the people make it. To be honest I’d rather sit in an impossibly tall ivory tower writing books but I can’t seem to get my finger out of my arse. At least this way I can tell people I’m an editor without technically lying.

Why isn’t this a sex blog? I think I’d like it to be.
I don’t know. I'm too shy. I could tell you about how difficult it is to have sex in the same room as a lightly sleeping two month old baby. And probably immoral. Oh dear, I have never giggled so much in my entire life. Suffice to say we woke her up. See, I’m not good at the sexblogging. I missed the hot girlie action bit out. Also, too much with the giggling. Sorry about that.

What are your five favourite books?

I don’t know. I don’t have five favourite books. I like lots of books. Books are good. I love them. Etc.

You’ve kind of lost interest now, haven’t you?
I think we all have.

Damn. I was enjoying myself.
I’m glad someone was.

Shut up. You're much more grumpy in real life.
Don’t tell me to shut up. It’s my blog.

That’s okay.


You hang up.

No, you hang up.

No, you hang up.
No you.

On three.

One. Two. Thr -.

I hate you, Froosh Bamboo.

12 September 2006


I am new to having my own blog, although I have been reading other people blogs for ages so you’d think I’d have picked up a few tricks along the way. It seems to me that comments are a blessing and a curse. Like a site meter – the crack cocaine of blogging.

Troubled Diva has written about comment box etiquette, namely should you reply to the comment of new commenter as a matter of comment courtesy. You should go and read it, if you haven’t already. I nearly left a comment but then I was sore afraid, cracked under the pressure and ran away making that funny noise I make sometimes.

Someone once moaned because I didn’t reply to their comment and I told them that I don’t really have a policy of replying to them and please could they not give me a hard time because I had a hangover and felt fragile. I often don’t reply because I have very witty and amusing readers and the comment is too damn funny and to reply would be to invite humiliation. Also, I suspect I know most of the people who leave comments for me. I dread welcoming a new commenter and then, a couple of minutes later, hearing a snort of derision from the other end of the office.

Leaving comments is, apparently, a great way for a new blogger to get visitors. It’s practically the number one helpful hint you get when you start out. I think this is called whoring, but I might have gotten confused about that. I imagine the best place to whore yourself about is a good blog that you like reading; a busy one that gets a lot of visitors (who aren’t all good friends of the blogger).

But I think that those established bloggers are scary. Particularly if they are very, very good and have lots of readers and go on the radio. For example. It reminds me of those terrible days at school when I would follow my Dad’s ‘advice’ and introduce myself to some new kids in a futile attempt to make some friends. Invariably, they would look at me for a long, long time and then laugh and point, laugh and point and then laugh some more. So I often click on the leave-a-comment-link and hover over my keyboard and then bottle it. Particularly if there’s an enormous chain of witty, insightful comments from people I’ve actually heard of.

It’s like being in the ladies at China White and not daring to come out of the cubicle because two members of Girls Aloud and the sex slave trafficker one from Bad Girls are trowelling on their makeup at the mirror. Except with more class and better grammar.

Although I’m not speaking from experience, and I did leave a comment at the fabulous
Naked Blog, mostly because I got two thousand times more hits than I usually get because [*presumption use of first name alert*] Peter mentioned me on his blog and I was giddy with joy. He did reply to my inane comment and I actually fell over. I sustained some mild chaffing to my elbow but was otherwise unscathed, thank you for asking.

What was my point? Oh yes; I’m too chicken to leave comments most of the time so if I do and I get a ‘hello and welcome’ it’s like the opposite of stealing my lunch money and ripping the badge of my blazer. But your comments box is not all about me, right? My comments box is all about me.

Leave me a comment now or I will be sad.

11 September 2006

That dragonfly story

The other morning I was walking up to the little roundabout at the top of Park Avenue North, you know the one – just at the entrance to the park up from the clubhouse – not St Paul’s Avenue at all. It was a lovely day and I had taken my cardigan off to better enjoy the pleasant morning sunshine. In the park, just a short hop over the traffic island across the road, joggers and dog walkers were staggering and strolling through the sunshine and shadows. A pity to spoil such a day with a trip to the office, but there you are.

I could hear a sound, like a distant motorbike so I slowed to look both ways. There was no motorbike. I looked up to cross the road safely. Then I saw it.

It was enormous.

It was coming straight for me.

It was obviously a giant killer dragonfly as normal dragonflies don’t have bodies the size footballs and the wing span of a light aircraft. It was olive green in colour, as though it were wearing camouflage gear, and in the time it took me to make these brief observations it had surged closer, in a head on attack.

I stopped and did the sidewalk shimmy. The one I do when approaching I’m someone else on the pavement and I don’t know which way they’re going to move and don’t want to bump into them. In case I catch something. The giant killer dragonfly just adjusted it flight path and headed straight for me.

Five seconds till impact.

Four seconds till impact.

Three seconds till impact.

I hit the ground, my bag spilling, keys tumbling into the gutter. It was still coming for me.

Two seconds till impact.

One second till impact.


And then it had gone.

Now, there are two possibilities here:

1. I hallucinated a giant killer dragonfly and over ten assorted joggers and dog walkers saw me hurl myself on to the pavement for no reason at all and lie there flapping my limbs and gums for a minute and a half.

2. A giant killer dragonfly has entered my body somehow and is still inside me buzzing around and around, getting the way of all my major organs preventing them from functioning correctly and working it’s evil metamorphosing power over my feeble human form and then slowly so no one will notice or possibly care I shall become iller and iller and iller until one day I try to get out of bed and find that my legs have joined together in a hideous scaly dragonfly abdomen and my arms have become long wings made of razor wire and I shall be a giant killer dragonfly then and be overcome with the terrible terrible urge to eat my family without favva beans or chianti, fine or otherwise.

Either are too awful to contemplate.

The big dragonfly tease

In lieu of the dragonfly story, here is an mp3 of a song Banksy put on those doctored Paris Hilton CDs. You know all about that right? (via kottke)

08 September 2006

Verily, it is thusly

So. In summary:

The good
My daughter continues to be quite the most remarkable human being I have ever come across. She is making a great new noise which is virtually impossible to spell but goes something like 'Waaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhoouu uuuuuuuuuummmmmmaaaaaaahhhhhhhoouuuuuu.’ She can sustain it for ages so must have great big lungs, although from the outside her chest cavity appears to be of a normal size.

I can only think of one bad thing and one ugly thing (see below).

Work is not tooooo noxious; an unusual turn of event particularly given it being shit-missed-deadlines-by-days-for-no-good-reason time of the month. My ‘boss’ is on holiday, but I don’t think that has anything to do with it. Much. At all. Oh, okay.

Autumn is almost upon us. I love the autumn, it's much better than that summer nonsense we have to put up with. Specifically, I love days like last Wednesday which, if you recall, was an exemplary example of autumnal fabulousness. Crisp and fresh. Bright sun, sharp shadows. My carbon footprint is tiny tiny, you know. Stop global warming.

I made a spectacular bean curry yesterday and there’s enough left over to feed the entire North Korean army so I’m in for an easy time making the dinner tonight. I’m in charge of the cooking in my house, you see. Scary but true.

It’s Friday. I think that one’s clear, yes?

The bad
My Camper Wabis have finally broken. It's awful - I love them so. The rubber outer shoe is cracked and letting in water. Cricklewood Braodway water too. Shudder. I made the mistake of pulling the orange liner out yesterday and, not to put too fine a point on it, it stank to high heaven of damp foliage. Exactly the way the organic recycling box smelt when I forgot to put it out and it went all warm. The coco foot bed, or whatever is, is almost totally ripped away from the rest of the sock. It was also caked in all sorts of detritus from Gladstone Park and environs. I wondered why they were so uncomfortable. Although I am wearing them as I write this. Poverty ditactes, poor me. Also, please note I have had them long enough to wear them out completely so I’m not one of those evil Queens -park-dwelling-fashion-victim-media-whore-croc-wearing-fly-by-nights.

The ugly
I had a small debate with Cheesy Q which turned a little (okay, a lot) toxic about why I suddenly have a blog given that ‘blogging is so ovah, moron’. Apparently, 'because I want one’ is not an adequate reason and I should have a different, better reason like ‘because I want to be famous like all those other bloggers that were on the radio’ or ‘because I have an ego the size of a planet’. What? The Qs argument fell apart on grounds of logic and basic humanity later in the exchange and I showed no mercy. Let that be a lesson to all and sundry. I shall do as I like. So there.

Right, enough random drivel. Come back for the next installment when I will tell about you all about my encounter with the suicidal giant dragonfly at the top of St Paul Avenue, London, NW2. Heady stuff.

Au revoir.

07 September 2006

I wrote this post. Myself.

Just when I thought popbitch had gone a bit stale and, besides, was beneath someone with my parental responsibilities they rock up with this awesome blind item:

Which trendy novelist's last two books are rumoured to have been ghost-written?

Please, please, please let it be true and let it be you know who. I’ve crossed my fingers so hard I think the index one snapped.

I’m too scared to look.

06 September 2006

A Surfeit of Squirrels (8)

Me: What are you doing? (pause) Hey, I said what are you all doing? What’s with the placards and banners?
Squirrel: We are protesting.
Me: What about?
Squirrel: You.

Me: Me?
Squirrel 1: Yeah, you.
Me: Why?
Squirrel 2: Because of your stupid blog.
Me: What about it?
Squirrel 3: Read the banner. Just read the banner.
Me: ‘ Blog more squirels stuff.’ You know you’ve spelt squirrel wrong.
Squirrel 4: You can’t even spell stupid. That’s how stupid you are, ctupid. Ctupid, ctupid. And it was in the title.

Squirrel 5: You've posted loads and not one thing about us. What about us, man. You're only where you are because of us. We made you, and we can break you as well.
Me: I’ve never seen you guys like this before. You’re actually…upset. Rather than just scary and angry.
Squirrel 4: Yeah whatever. Stupid ctupid blog.
Squirrels: Blog more squirels stuff, blog more squirels stuff, blog more squirels stuff, blog more squirels stuff.
Me: Hey, come on. Don’t be like that. I’ll blog some squirrel stuff.
Squirrel 2: You better. ‘Cause if you don’t we’ll tell the Sweeney about the Prime Minister.
Me: You did it, not me.
Squirrel 2: He’s in the boot of your car though, ain’t he? There’s nothing to tie us to the scene of the crime.
Me: I think I liked it better when you were marching and chanting.
Squirrel 2: Get blogging, lanky.


Bastard: Madame Froosh?
I don’t think your blog is stupid.
Me: Thank you, Bastard. You’re very kind.
Bastard: Give us a kiss then.


Me: Ew.

05 September 2006

Random question

So. Who is funnier?

Darth Vader or David Cameron?

David or Darth, David or Darth? Come on, it's easy.

04 September 2006

You got here how?

I have a little notepad document called blog (I know, boundless imagination) and in this I put all the things I think I would like to blog about and then can’t be bothered, or forget about or think better of. I like the notepad action because all the other facilities designed to do this are too exciting and I get distracted by all the pretty colours and things to click.

I like to have a little look through blog.txt periodically for ‘inspiration’. I was scrolling through it going ‘oh, that would have been good,’ or ‘oh, I remember that,’ or ‘damn, should have written about that’ and then I came across this:

picture genitalia hanging on clothesline art


Almost worth an exclamation mark, I thought.

I pondered this for a while then remembered; someone googled this and arrived here. How bizarre. I’ve never mentioned a washing line never mind engaged in the kind of strange, possibly sordid activity they suggest. I’m too scared to look at the results and see what else is there.

I hope they are not one of my (two? three?) regular readers. How embarrassing. Which one is it? It’s worse than a sex blog or something. When they visit I’ll be all shy and unable to look them in the face. Perverts.

Anyway, the very moment I have finished with this I’m going to open my little notepad page and write ‘Dessert Allsorts’. Because I have got a bag to sample and I will be blogging my verdict if a) I remember and b) they are interesting enough to have a verdict about. They might be a bit ‘meh’. Fingers crossed gentle reader, fingers crossed.

Update (15:22): They are horrible. Horrible to the point where I would described them as evil. Particularly the strawberry pie and strawberry cheesecake ones. Vomitous. I am outraged. Mind you, the smell that greets you as you open the bag is a bit of a giveway. Sadly, I can't think of the words to describe it - only noises I don't know how to spell. That's all. I thank you.

01 September 2006

Stupid view, stupid crane

I used to live on the sixth floor of a 1930’s block of flats in Cricklewood with views across Gladstone Park to Wembley and beyond. It was a nice flat until it got infested by bedbugs then it was evil. I’m saving the bed bugs story for another time when the huge team of therapists and witch doctors in charge of my recovery say I’m beginning to get over the horrific trauma of the experience. Sometime in 2189, they reckon.

When we moved into said flat The Fat Marmoset told us that we would have excellent views of the new Wembley Stadium. Sure enough the stadium slowly grew up and up above the treetops and we had a great view. I waited with rapt anticipation for the arch to appear. Then one day I noticed a long crane. It was a very long crane indeed. The longest crane I had ever seen.

‘Oh, hoorah,’ I said to everyone. ‘Soon they will put up the arch and we will have a marvellous view and be the envy of everyone. Hoorah. Hoorah.’

Then one evening I was on the 266 bus and looking down a road from the top deck I noticed a new addition to the skyline over Wembley.

They had put up the arch.

Apparently it had been up for ages.

We had, in fact, an excellent view of the side of the arch. Being exactly perpendicular to it we saw only a tall crane-like structure reaching above north west London.

And this is the kind of thing that happens to me all the time. If only we lived at the top of the hill in Roundwood Park – we’d then have this view:

But then we would have to live an a tent I expect, and the Froosh does not do the camping. No way.