20/11/12 Tales From... The Archive

A ‘Sense’ of Style


Apparently I’m taking part in a photo shoot for Stylist magazine. This isn’t me boasting, ok this is boasting but it’s also a factual fact. I’ve never been styled before and it’s raising all sorts of anxieties in my already neurotic head. For a start, I worry about someone looking too closely at my face and noticing all my flaws; like my massive pores, acne and wiry moustache. That’s not me saying this, that’s my girlfriend and she never lies. Unfortunately.

In the lead up to the shoot I’ve been asked all kinds of questions from, “Who is your favourite Fashion Designer?” to “What skirt shape best suits your body?” Sadly I am unable to respond to these questions because I HAVE NO IDEA! Do people really have a favourite designer? I struggle to have a strong opinion about the two cardigans I own. I don’t read fashion magazines, or worry about what accessory matches the buttons on my blouse. In fact I don’t own a blouse or a skirt for that matter.

I’m not saying I don’t like to look good. Of course I do and I would love to think that other people might think I have a certain style and finesse. Ok, maybe finesse is pushing it I’m basically hoping they don’t think I got dressed in the dark, or that I only have peripheral sight, or worse, that I simply can’t dress myself. I can dress myself if someone is in the same room telling me what to wear, “TAKE OFF THAT V- NECK JUMPER, YOU LOOK LIKE RONNIE CORBETT!” Fashion, for me is a bloody minefield.

Meanwhile, I’ve explained to the stylist that I don’t want to be put in a skirt or a dress or anything flouncy. So, it looks like I’m wearing a suit. Which is fine. You know, a suit. You can’t go wrong with a suit. Can you? More recently heels have been mentioned, can I wear them? Not really, no. Would I consider just standing in them? Er…yeah maybe. Apparently the trousers will cover the shoes. Won’t that look weird, like I’m on stilts or something? What if everyone else looks really glam and I look like I’m going for an interview for a job as a legal secretary? This is typical, the one time I get a bit of attention and some styling and BOOM I end up looking like Hilary Davey! Or that woman from the Apprentice or any other women that wear suits to work. I don’t want to look like I’m temping for Office Angels! IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK?

In the end I e mail the stylist at ‘Stylist’ and try to explain to her in detail exactly what my look is, “Hi, I just want to give you a couple of tips on ‘my style.’ It’s quite unique and…er… classic..” I’ve heard people use this word before and I’m pretty sure that I’m on the right track, “I like to wear clothes…like…you know t-shirts and jeans and shoes and stuff…so…I really hope that helps.” It doesn’t. Bloody hell how does Alexa Chung do it? How does she know that pop socks with patent brogues and a puffball skirt will look so good together? She’s clearly a genius, because I’m looking at her thinking, “You know what that outfit needs love? Tights.” Clearly I know nothing.

Three days later and I’m at the shoot, they’ve gone with a blouse and trousers. I’m told I look ‘AMAZING!’ As only a woman in a blouse and slacks can. If I’d known I looked this good I would have shopped at M&S sooner. My look is also enhanced by makeup which I’m told makes me look 10 years younger. I believe them because it sounds a lot better than, “Are you going to bleach your moustache or what?” I’m amazed at what makeup has done to my face. Prior to arriving I had dark rings round my eyes, acne on my chin and a 5 o’clock shadow. Now, I am positively glowing! Every line and blemish on my face has now been filled with L’Oreal filler. I am so worth it.

I’m surrounded by women, there’s 3 three of them all telling me how good I look. JEN YOU LOOK SO GOOD! Oh my God, do I? Do I really? “Yes! Now slip on these heels and go and get your picture taken!” I oblige and slip on the heels. Ok, that’s not strictly true, I put one heel on and stare about me with a look of panic in my eyes, “Can someone give me a hand here? Sorry I’m just having trouble standing… I don’t think I can feel my left toe, is that normal?” I have that feeling of defeat I used to experience as a teenager when trying to put lipstick on unguided. Robert Smith had nothing on me. Here I am again, a woman in her late 30s who can’t even stand in heels. There are women up and down the country who not only can stand in them, they can walk, run, even skip in them. Why has no one ever given these women some kind of award? These shoes are so uncomfortable! I’m standing as though someone has shoved a rod up my bum and is pushing me forward on a pair of tin cans tied to my hands with string. In short, I look like I need help. “What do you think?” “Er…yeah Jen, you look …er… you look good…maybe take the shoes off for now…”

Finally at the photo shoot I’m told I can just stand still but move my hips, which I do. This doesn’t seem so hard after all, “Jen can you remember to smile?” “What? Yes, sorry am I not smiling?” “No, you look like you hate someone…” So, I just need to stand, swing my hips and smile… “Jen, you need to do something with your arms, they’re very stiff.” “What do you want me to do with them?” “Just move them about, but try to make it look natural.” Right, fine, so I just stand, swing my hips, keep smiling and move my arms, “Ok Jen your smile looks demented…” “What? Sorry I was focusing on my arms…” “Don’t forget to smile.” “I am smiling, this is how I smile!” “Remember to put the weight on your left leg and push your hip out…” “WHAT? I CAN’T! I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT MY ARMS AND FACE ARE DOING!”

In the end a white box is brought out and I’m told to sit on it, “Jen if you can just sit on the box, lean back a bit but bring your arms forward and tilt your head a little to the left, as you would naturally.” AS I WOULD NATURALLY? Mate, I have never sat on a box in a studio in Holloway with a three safety pins pinned to the back of a Nicole Farhi blouse with three inches of makeup on my face and a pair of heels that are challenging my ability to walk without the aid of crutches. NONE OF THIS IS NATURAL. Obviously I don’t say that, I say something like, “This is a lot of fun. Sorry what am I doing with my arms again?”

It comes out December 5th; if I look in anyway human you can thank Stylist magazine. They are simply genii.

15/11/12 Tales From... The Archive

Attention Please!


Hello…? Not sure if there’s anyone out there or not. It’s hard to know if anyone is going to read my ramblings. I mean why would you? And even if you do, how will I know? This is the thing when you write, there’s no immediate response. It’s not like standup where you can say something, pause, and BOOM! Laughter. Well, not always laughter, there have been times where I confess to dishing out comedy gold to silence. Still, when you have skin as thick as mine you can usually put a bad gig down to the lighting, the audience or the compere, unless I’m the compere in which case it’s definitely the audience.

Writing on the other hand means that my audience’s response is delayed and more often than not anonymous. You liked it, you hated it, I won’t know. Not unless you make the effort by posting a comment. Mind you, even then you’re anonymity is protected by some ridiculous pseudonym. My favourite comment on a pointless blog I’d written came from ‘doggydave’ and went something like this, “WHO IS THIS DREADFUL WOMAN? AND HOW DOES SHE GET AWAY WITH WRITING SUCH UTTER DRIVEL? THIS IS SO BAD I HAD TO READ IT 18 TIMES TO ACTUALLY BELIEVE IT!”  Yes, he hated it but he read it 18 times, so who’s the loser now Dave? Eh? EH? I do question the intellect of Dave given that the blog was posted on my website. Ok, fine! Dave doesn’t exist but that’s not the point. The point is that without intellectually challenged and aggressive people like Dave, how do I know if what I’ve written is any good?

So, in the absence of imaginary ‘Daves’ it’s important to get a bit of feedback and perspective on a day’s work. After all I’ve put a lot of time and effort into those 400 words. Fortunately, my girlfriend always obliges, probably because we are nearly always sitting opposite each other in our pyjamas at 2 o’clock in the afternoon. This is one of the many joys of working from home, that and being able to look in the fridge every 15 minutes for a suitable snack that never presents itself, “Do I really fancy a sandwich made from yoghurt, coconut cream and a couple of pickled gherkins?” Probably not, but that doesn’t stop me debating this question four times an hour.

Meanwhile I’m still waiting for my girlfriend to read what I’ve written, as always she’s taking her time, “Have you read it yet?” “Er…no.” “Are you going to read it today?” “Jen, I don’t know if you’ve noticed but I’m working.” “We’re all WORKING!” “You’re not, you’re just looking in the fridge, making endless cups of tea and going to the toilet.” “I’ll have you know these little rituals are part of the writing process!” I can’t repeat her response because it made far too much sense and I can’t have her undermining my creative integrity in public.

It feels like hours have passed and my girlfriend still hasn’t read my creative offering. What is her problem? If she doesn’t read it soon I may be forced to write something else! I don’t want to have to do MORE WORK! My brain isn’t big enough. Besides I am convinced that this blog is comedy gold, but how can I confirm this assertion unless she reads it and tells me just that! This situation reminds me of the story about the tree that falls in a forest. You know the one I mean? This tree falls, but no one’s there to see it fall, so how do you know if the tree fell? Also what if that tree hit another tree and then another tree and that tree hit a rabbit? Has anyone thought about the rabbit? I DIDN’T THINK SO! Fortunately I’m thinking of the rabbit because I am the kind of person that thinks about rabbits being hit in freak accidents involving spontaneously falling trees. I have time to do this because I’m still waiting for my girlfriend TO READ MY BLOODY BLOG!

Finally, she opens my daily travail on her overpriced laptop, “I’m reading it Ok?”  Thank GOD I thought she’d never get round to it! I watch her reading…her face is completely blank. Why isn’t she even smiling? “Where are you up to?” “I’ve just started, give me a minute will you?” “What do you mean you’ve just started? It’s only 400 words for crying out loud!” I’ve never seen anyone read this slowly before in my life. I could have redecorated the living room in the time it’s taking her to get halfway through! “Do you want me to read it to you?” “No!” Fine, I leave her to it and head to the shed to start stirring paint, yes I’m that pedantic.  After what feels like several days later, she looks up from her laptop. “Well?” “Yeah, I liked it.” “What did you like about it?”  “I liked the beginning.” “Oh, you liked the beginning, what about the middle and the end bit? Are you saying you didn’t like those bits?” “No, I’m just saying that the beginning is very strong….” ‘Fine… you hate it,” “ I don’t hate it!” “I don’t care what you think, I’m uploading it on to my website right now and we’ll see how many comments I get!”

Four months later and I’ve had no comments.

 

 

29/07/12 Tales From... The Archive

Surviving the Fringe (part 1)


It’s a week before the Edinburgh Festival and the excitement is tangible and by excitement I do mean nausea and by nausea I do mean hysteria and by hysteria I do mean I’M FREAKING OUT! Still us creative types are nothing if not dramatic and I like to make a month doing what I love at the largest international arts Festival in the world an opportunity to have a breakdown.

I’m not saying every performer will be having a melt down, because of course there are those fresh-faced types who’ve never been to the Fringe before. Ah, look at their naïve, upbeat, positive faces! If only they knew what the rest of us know, which is by the end of week two they’ll be injecting caffeine directly into their own eyeballs, faking their own deaths to avoid flyering and drinking neat whiskey with their cornflakes after Googling themselves only to find a blog/review claiming that their show is, “….About as funny as a Chinese burn to the face …” I know what you’re thinking and for your information I’m not talking from experience! (At least I’ve never injected anything directly into my eyeballs.)

I realise I have nothing to moan about, it’s not like I have a proper job or even an important job and 11 months of the year I’m a pretty stable person (I’m not.) But there’s something about heading to the Fringe that makes me lose perspective. Every day is a different mixture of emotions: there’s excitement and dread, suppressed adrenalin and dread and…well…just dread. Of course I need to lighten up after all I’ve spent the last 6-9 months writing, rehearsing and honing this show. What could possibly go wrong? Don’t answer that.

So, in an attempt to chill out before the Fringe I have decided to take some responsibility and look after myself. For example: I have just started a 7 day juice diet where you replace food with three healthy juices a day, I’ve started yoga three times a week to help me become more centered and lastly I am going for a massage to work out all the tension in my muscles. All three of these healthy options I have planned to do in my head since April, unfortunately they have remained in my head. Still this seventh cup of coffee is going down a treat.

You’re probably wondering if it’s this stressful Brister, why do you go? Well aside from the fact we’re all needy show offs desperate for the positive affirmation of half a dozen people sat in a darkened room, there is still that slim chance that someone might notice you. When I say ‘someone’ I don’t mean that random bloke in the Pleasance Courtyard who’s using your flyer to pick that ‘well hung’ burger’ from between his teeth. No, I mean press, that ambitious 12 year old TV producer or that agent I’ve, I mean you’ve been pursuing since you started comedy. What if they FINALLY come to my, I mean your show and love it! What if?

Whatever happens over the next 4 weeks one thing I am excited about is performing my show. Whether there be 6 or 60 of you, there is no bigger rush than having an audience who has paid their hard earned cash to see you. But, until opening night, I am going to continue in the only way I know how and that is neurotic, highly-strung and incredibly needy. I think it’s the healthiest option.

29/04/12 Tales From... The Archive

Anger Management (Part 1)


I had a conversation with someone recently who stated flatly, “I don’t do anger.”

I can’t remember my exact response but I seem to remember it was an angry one. What does that even mean? How can you not get angry? “Oh no!” he exclaimed without even a hint of irritation, “ I just don’t get upset, or riled about stuff, it would take a lot to make me angry…” Really? Because aside from this conversation, it takes me a paper cut, a tepid coffee or someone eating with their mouth open to send me into a tail spin. I don’t need to see your lunch SHUT YOUR MOUTH!

Thank God I don’t have to commute because that’s a mental breakdown waiting to happen. People accidentally bumping into me, knocking my bag off my shoulder, elbowing my boob or standing on my foot without so much of an apology? Argh! I curse all of you aloud! “You bloody…arse… twat head….!” “Are you talking to me?” “No I’m talking to your mum!” So far in my life not a single conversation that has started like this has ended well.

It’s not that I like confrontation, it’s just my default reaction to any situation that doesn’t pan out exactly the way I want it to. I blame my family because they are some of the most confrontational people I have ever met. I can honestly say that 3 out of 4 conversations with a family member end in verbal abuse or a half nelson. There’s no in between. I wouldn’t mind but 9 times out of 10 it’s on a subject that no one has a single clue about! String theory, the war in the Middle East, the global economic crisis, we know everything there is to know and more. Why more? Because we have statistics! 80% of which we’ve made up on the spot including this one and the other two I mentioned earlier. Frankly I don’t know what world leaders are doing wasting their time on summits when they could just pop round to the Bristers on a Sunday night. After three bottles of wine, we have all the answers! Forget Wikipedia – you need Wikibrister!

This is why I don’t talk politics on stage, apart from the fact that I don’t know what I’m talking about, I can’t seem to make it funny, “…and another thing! What’s this about the Tories trying to dismantle the NHS? WHAT A BUNCH OF TOSSERS!” And the punchline is….oh no, there isn’t one.

That said, I shouldn’t complain about my family because if nothing else they’ve given me the very skills I need in order to do my job properly. Confidence bordering on delusion, the ability to blag my way through any situation and a healthy aggression when challenged publicly. I was either going to be a politician or a comedian. I think we should all be grateful for small mercies.

28/11/11 Tales From... The Archive

Happy Camper


I hate camping.

There, I’ve said it. I seek no enjoyment from sleeping in a restrictive worm like bag on a yoga mat sheltered only by a thin piece of canvas that guarantees I will either be boiling hot or freezing cold, but regardless of the temperature said canvas shelter will always be dripping with condensation thus making me feel as if I’m sleeping in a wheelie bin, one of the domes at the Eden Project or Wookie Hole. My girlfriend on the other hand, loves it. She has two firm arguments, the first is that camping is fun. Ha ha ha ha ha (that is not laughter that is hysteria) The woman can’t get enough of eating baked beans out of a tin crouched in a damp confined space whilst listening to the rain pelting outside. It’s a dream come true for her. The Great Outdoors! Nature! Washing in a public shower block 1 mile from where we’ve camped! I on the other hand find myself rocking backwards and forwards, weeping whilst mumbling, “There’s no place like home…” repetitively under my breath.

Her second argument is that camping is a great way for couples to really bond. For example, she thinks ‘snuggling’ in sleeping bags is romantic. Personally I can’t see the romance in trying to embrace your loved one whilst trapped in a synthetic bag that has clearly been designed to restrict all movement other than rolling from left to right. I’ll be honest, once your girlfriend has elbowed you in the face three times in a clumsy attempt to move closer to you, the desire to ‘snuggle’ evaporates.

I’m not trying to be a grumpy old bag, although anyone who knows me will know that I AM a grumpy old bag. It’s just that I’ve reached an age where I like my comforts, four walls, a roof, a bed; I’m crazy like that. I’m of the opinion that holidays should be… you know…FUN. Not a harrowing experience of survival and endurance! Dear God I don’t eat sausages and baked beans in the comfort of my own home, why the hell am I choosing to eat them crouched in a two man tent in the pissing rain?

Unfortunately I am not allowed not to camp – I have committed myself to a woman who derives so much pleasure from waking up in a fetid, damp confined space fit for fungal farming and not much else, that I am obligated to do it. Thus, I have set out some basic rules in order to survive future ‘camping’ experiences. 1. we have a tent that doesn’t require me to crawl on my hands and knees to get inside it, dress/undress myself lying on my back, or mean that if I turn over in my sleep I will awake to find my face stuck to a sagging, dripping canvas that smells of feet. 2. I want to sleep on a mattress not a mat, I take no enjoyment from feeling like my hips have been repeatedly beaten with a wooden spoon 3. I would like to sit in a chair rather than a piece of muddy tarpaulin that no one has be arsed to clean EVER. 4. I want to eat good food, like avocados or olives or at the bear minimum sausages that aren’t 40% eyeballs and 60% wood chippings and last but not least 5. I want to stay in a hotel. I think if we go straight to 5 we can pretty much ignore the first 4, which seems like common sense to me.

I can’t wait for my girlfriend to read this and ignore everything I’ve said.

20/10/11 Tales From... The Archive

And…Freeze!


I have to confess to an obsession of mine. It’s all consuming and it takes up a large part of my day, every day. I imagine a lot of you have guessed what it is already and you’d be right. I can’t stop Botox spotting.

 When I leave the house, when I’m watching a film or slagging off The Only Way is Chelssex, I’m looking out for Botox. And if you think we’ve met and I haven’t noticed, you’d be wrong. I HAVE and on top of that I’ve done nothing but talk about your weird face since I walked away from you.

I don’t get Botox, what is the point of it? Why would anyone, especially an actor, want a face that doesn’t move? The ginger one from Desperate Housewives looks like her face has been ironed on. She looks like a cryogenically frozen Stepford wife suffering from mild malnutrition. I have no idea what her face is supposed to convey – unless of course it’s that of a blinking psychotic witch, in which case carry on. The truth is that you’re not going to see people from any other profession paralyzing parts of their body that are vital to do their job. Like a cricketer paralyzing his arms “ Catch!” (Balls cracks him on the head) “Sorry! This is awkward… I’ve just had my arms Botoxed so I can’t really move them. Don’t they look good though?” “Why did you do that you utter prick!” “Well, that’s just rude. I hope you know that I’m giving you the finger! Hang on….nope… dammit! You’ll have to imagine it instead.”

There is definitely a ‘look’ that women have in LA and it appears to be slowly creeping into British society. This look carries with it the idea that as a woman you must do your utmost to not look yourself. Instead you must try and look like a younger version of yourself, or ideally look younger than your young self. Like Lulu or Kylie who’s face currently moves less than the ceramic owl in my living room. My girlfriend genuinely thinks that Kylie hasn’t had any work done and that her face is completely ‘natural’. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? She looks so bloody waxy these days most people think she’s escaped from Madame Tussauds! When your waxwork figure starts to look more like you than you do, it’s time to stop with the Botox.

Meanwhile men are getting deep set wrinkles and growing hair out of their ears while their Grandkids use their jowls as a swing. No one has ever turned to Jack Nicolson and said, “Mate, you’re fat, you’re bald and you haven’t seen your penis since the early 80s. You’ll never work in this town again.” Of course they haven’t, we like our men craggy and old. We don’t like it when men try to fight the aging process, because the result is Tony Curtis who currently looks like a middle aged woman impersonating Quentin Crisp.

I’m not saying I’m excited about looking old, but I would rather have a face that matched my years than overhear conversations like this, “Her face looks incredible! But dear God, her neck…you could buff the car with it!” Whatever you do, age will catch up with you, so you might as well embrace it. I intend to let my face wrinkle while my boobs head south till they start to resemble Spaniel’s ears. No need for a bra ladies, just tuck ‘em into your belt. And on that note I’m going to pluck a rogue hair out of my chin, even feminists don’t want a goatee.

08/10/11 Tales From... The Archive

I’m An Achiever…


I recently found a list I’d made in my twenties. It was a list of all the things I wanted to achieve by the time I was 30. Here’s just a few of those dreams/achievements: A girlfriend My own car A mortgage A successful career Children Celebrity status (Ha Ha! I know … hilarious)

 A pension

At 36, here’s what I actually have:

A girlfriend

I’ll be honest with you if I don’t sort out the other stuff quick smart its unlikely she’ll be sticking round for much longer.

The truth is that if you don’t have kids or a shit hot career your life can seem pretty pointless to almost everyone. Especially people with kids and a shit hot career, they’re the worst, “Come on Jen! At least you’ve got your…you know …at least you’ve got…your… feet.” Thanks for that, you’re right of course, I do have feet and I’m grateful that they’ve stuck around for this long. Still, you can’t turn up at a party or social function only to be grilled by some pissed twat you’ve never met before about YOUR LIFE only to reply, “Yeah, well I’m really happy with my life…why? Well I don’t know if you’ve noticed but I’ve got feet mate… that’s it really. Just a great pair of feet. So, not really worried about money, career, a house, kids, savings, a life, cause I have… feet. Nice talking to you…”

I realise that I’m not alone in my personal disappointment. I have other friends who despite their amazing careers, flat screen TVs, children, four wheel drives, life partners and SMEG fridges like to tell me how lucky I am, “You’re the lucky one Jen, you’re a free spirit!” “Am I?” “Yes and its great that you’re following your dream, remember its not about success…” “ I think it is” “It’s about the journey! And you’re on the journey of your DREAMS!” I’ll be honest with you, when I was twenty something and still had dreams they didn’t involve me driving to Newcastle for £80 to try and make 12 dunk people laugh who are happy to tell me that ‘they were expecting a bloke.” My dreams back in the day were a bit bigger…

But life isn’t just about what you’ve achieved is it? Is it? No seriously…is it? I’m hoping its about bigger things like love…and…empathy and…caring… and Radio 4. I don’t know what I’m talking about, but I do think I need to create a new focus and give someone or something my attention and unconditional love. I see my friends with their kids/pets and they look so happy and in love with their respective child/dog/cat/chicken. I’m thinking as a means of growing as a human being that I too should undertake looking after something with a pulse. Care for it. Nurture it. Watch it die…I mean grow…and once it’s grown, watch it die… I mean continue to nurture it… I keep confusing pets/people with basil plants.

So, I’m not going to go on about it anymore. I’m going to head out into the wide blue yonder (Archway) and take on some responsibility. Something that relies on me… (is it me or is it getting hot in here…?) Something that can’t stay alive without my love and attention…(Honestly I really am burning up. I’m going to have to open a window…) Something that needs me! (Oh God I need to lie down…) Maybe I’ll just start with the basil plant and see how I go from there…

30/09/11 Tales From... The Archive

Getting on…


You know you’re getting old when you find yourself saying things like, “God, I ache all over – I think I must have slept badly. “ That’s right, I haven’t been to the gym, or gone for a run, or even had a heavy pilates session.

 I just had a good ole fashioned 8 hours sleep and now I FEEL LIKE A PENSIONER AFTER AN IRON MAN COMPETITION! I can hear myself saying things like, “I think I over stretched a muscle in my sleep.” What the hell am I going on about? How can anyone over stretch anything when they’re lying vertically on an orthopedic mattress? I’m surprised someone hasn’t turned round and said, “Oh sod off you ole git and have a lie down, on second thoughts just lean up against that wall.”

I’ve also found myself punctuating my every move with an exhalation of breath; Sitting down “Aaaaaargh!” Getting up “Pheeeeewwwwww!” Bending over “Eurrrrrrrrrgh!” I have no recollection of making any such noises in my twenties or exclaiming proudly to friends, “Did you hear that click? That wasn’t brittle wood being snapped in two, that was my back!”

In days gone by I’d always roll my eyes when I heard women bang on about their pelvic floors, “These days if I sneeze I pee myself!” Really? You pee yourself if you sneeze? That is the most tragic thing I’ve ever heard. YOU SAD LOSER! Who’s laughing now? Not me because when I do I’m prone to wet myself.

I’m not even old, unless you’re under 25 in which case I’m practically dead to you. Obviously if you are over 45 I will understand the compulsion to tell me to GET A LIFE. I have similar urges listening to a 22 year old banging on about how old they feel. My response is usually along the lines of, “If you don’t get out of my face I will give your penis a Chinese burn.” (Note: This line tends not to work on women or men who are happy for their nethers to be experiencing any kind of attention.) Seriously, if you’re going to complain about being old have a look around first and make sure everyone is younger than you otherwise you may find the attempt at empathy somewhat lacking.

So, if I’m not old I think it would be fair to say that I’m not young either. I know this to be true by my reaction to listening to Radio 1. I have the same response my parents had when I insisted on listening to it in the car or in the kitchen. The music, the jingles the DJs all make me want to throw my radio out of a top floor window while shouting after it, SHUT UP! SHUT UP YOU MORONS! Now I listen to Radio 4. Why? Because at least the people talking on this station sound like they have more than one brain cell to rub together. There is political commentary, debates, plays, comedy (in the loosest possible sense) and nobody is asking you to ring in or text what you’re up to that weekend and if you want a shout out to all your bruvs in Saaaaarf London. I’m of an age that when I go out, I don’t need to tell EVERYONE ELSE IN GREAT BRITAIN. It’s enough for me that I manage to leave the house.

Now that I’m getting on I think it’s about time we all respected our elders. I know I probably didn’t do that as a youth. I was more likely to be heard saying things like, “Seriously aren’t you dead yet? Cause I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but we’re running out of space.” But now I expect all young people to get in line and bow to my ever increasing wisdom and by that I mean I’ve finally set up a separate account for my tax. Yeah, that’s right I’m a grown up. So, should I ever make it to old age I look forward to shouting indiscriminately at inanimate objects, drinking sherry and refusing to laugh for fear of ‘an accident.’ Yeah… maybe I shouldn’t joke about that.

21/09/11 Tales From... The Archive

What a pile…


I’m not really into ‘stuff’ and by that I mean the kind of useless gear you’re expected to kit your house in: distressed furniture, Cath Kidston knick-knacks and annoying prints that tell you too ‘Keep Calm and Carry on.’

 I was calm; I was perfectly bloody calm until I was told to KEEP CALM in a shop full of crap and now I’m RAGING!

It is irrational how much enjoyment my girlfriend can derive from looking round a shop that essentially sells NOTHING YOU WILL EVER NEED EVER. Prints of badly drawn cats smoking cigarettes, chests of drawers that look like they need a lick of paint and garish plastic looking chandeliers that would make Liberace’s home look conservative. What is the point of all this tat?

We wander into these shops and I can feel my hackles rise immediately as my girlfriend picks up a ceramic owl and says, “This is great isn’t it?” “Why?” “It’s just lovely, we could put it in the bedroom.” “What for? What is its purpose other than to be one more thing I have to dust in the sodding bedroom!” Her pleasure at receiving a wooden letter C for her birthday (her name begins with C, yeah crazy…) was off the Richter scale in terms of excitement, SHE LOVED IT! If someone bought me a letter ‘J’ I’d question whether my friend a) didn’t like me or b) assumed I can’t spell. Both of which are reasons enough to throw the letter in the bin and never speak to my so-called ‘friend’ again.

In the spirit of pointless aesthetics my girlfriend has recently arranged all of our books. What’s wrong with that I hear you cry? Nothing in theory! Except that she hasn’t arranged the books by genre: e.g. Fiction, cookery, gardening, and non-fiction. No, she’s arranged them by COLOUR. Yes she has colour coded all of our books. So, when I go to find a particular book and I can’t find it I’m faced with this IRRITATING question, “What colour is it?” I HAVE NO IDEA! Why would I remember what colour Dostoyevsky’s Crime & Punishment is?… Ok, FINE! I was actually reading The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, it’s still foreign!

I don’t want you to think that I’m some kind of philistine when it comes to interior design (I am) and it’s not like I don’t like living in a nice flat with cushions that match the colour of the kettle ( I’m not lying, apparently these are things you HAVE to consider when living in an open plan flat) it’s just that…well… I don’t really CARE and pretending to have an opinion about whether to buy a polka dot coffee pot that doesn’t actually make coffee is exhausting. So, if you see me weeping in the corner of Ikea next weekend, just know that it’s nothing serious. I’ve probably just been asked if the bowls I’m carrying match the door mat in the kitchen. Oh and feel free to tell me what my opinion is…

15/09/11 Tales From... The Archive

Arrested Development


I’m not a grown up, at least I don’t feel like one. My inability to accept responsibility knows no bounds. I won’t even get a pet like a cat or a dog because that would require me to look after it.

 I can’t look after a living thing; I can’t hang on to a set of keys for longer than six months! I lose everything and when I say everything I mean EVERYTHING. Wallet, phone, iPod, clothes, bags… if it’s portable and valuable I’ve lost it at some point. I have spent my life asking other people where my stuff is, as if it’s there responsibility. I still do it with my Mum, ‘Have you seen my keys.” “Where did you last have them?” “I DON’T KNOW! IF I KNEW THAT I’D BE ABLE TO FIND THEM WOULDN’T I?” “I think I saw them under your bed.” They’re not under my bed Mum, I’ve already looked.” “Jennifer I am telling you they are under your bed.” “They’re not under my bed, if they were under my bed I would have seen them so… Right FINE! You obviously don’t believe me so I’ll go and look!” Of course they’re under my bed. So like any mature person would do, I pick up my keys, hide them somewhere else and pretend they weren’t under my bed. “Well Mum, YOU WERE WRONG because they’re not there.” “Well I don’t know where they are then.” “Oh look, they were under this cushion! HOW DID THEY GET THERE? I told you they weren’t under my bed…” Yes I am that petty and pointless.

Unsurprisingly, I don’t have children. Ha ha. As if? No, but I have friends who do and they all seem to love them, their kids I mean. Yes they love their kids and they also love to tell me how fulfilling they are, “You get so much from having kids.” “Do you get 8 hours sleep every night?” “No” “I’m out then” Yes that may sound shallow, but I’m just being honest. My girlfriend however disagrees, she WANTS a baby! I’ve tried to explain to her that I don’t function particularly well with 8 hours sleep, how can I be expected to cope with a living-breathing thing that is incontinent, needs constant attention and frequently cries in public? AM I NOT ENOUGH FOR YOU? Apparently when I do it it’s less endearing.

Maybe I need to get a gold fish or a worm farm or AT LEAST a pot plant. I’ve never looked after anything successfully, apart from my friend’s cactus for two weeks and to be fair it just perched precariously on my window ledge for the duration of her holiday with literally no interference from me. A recipe that has been successful so far in my interaction with almost any living thing.

People say to me and by people I do mean my Mum, “Jennifer you are 27! (ok 29…ok 31…for heaven’s sake I’m over 35 and lets leave it there) when are you going to GROW UPjQuery17206080918055152756_1338452515378” I think 2014 sounds like a good year – I’ll be a proper adult by then with financial security, a mortgage and dare I say it… a worm farm. I wouldn’t hold your breath though.