Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Bryan - Part 1 (A Short Story)

I think of running water when I pee. It helps with blocking out all the distractions, and if someone else is in the room with me, forget it. I just hold it and wait for another opportunity. I don’t like public bathrooms at the best of times and having an audience was just another reason to wait. It’s a real thing, you know, it’s called Paruresis. It’s a mental disorder that means that some people feel unable to relieve themselves in public bathrooms; they feel that their own bathroom is the only one that’s safe. I read about it on the internet. I read a lot on the internet. I can, however, go in public bathrooms, conditions permitting. I can’t go in front of people though, or if there is any form of insect buzzing in the room. Or if there is an odd number of urinals. And I can’t go in the corner. The devil comes out of the corners, you know. My mother told me that, before she died. Her hospital bed was in the corner, you know, on the end of a row of beds. A row of five.

Good things always came in pairs, you know. Man and wife, salt and pepper, fish and chips, that sort of thing. “It’s all about balance” My mother used to say. She would often bring this up when I sat in my room too long, reading my books. “Life should have different parts, Bryan” she would say “Reading is good but you should go outside as well.” I remember she would smile encouragingly and I would nod. I would read outside to make her happy. One time my neighbour hit me with his football, he had been playing in the park where I was reading. He asked me if I wanted to play but I hadn’t finished my story yet, and everyone knows that once you start something you have to finish it. Finish the circle, otherwise you leave gaps, and you can’t leave gaps. That’s how they get in.

I was much younger then, my mother died when I was fifteen. An odd number. It’s just me and my father now, but I don’t see him much, he works late and is gone before I get up. I’m at college; I decided not to stay at my school for sixth form. College is better, the teacher’s don’t try to make me participate in things the way they did at school. Chess club, Art club, Drama club, Squash club, Athletics, Choir, Music Practice, Church group, the Tennis Team, the Football Team, the Rugby Team, the Quiz Team, the Debate Team... Lessons.

No, college is better, they just leave me be. I just want everyone to leave me be. If no one noticed me then He wouldn’t notice me either and I would be safe.

I hear footsteps, the scuffing of a rubber sole and then a greasy hood pushed its way into the bathroom with me. I will have to go later. Shoving my hands deep into my pockets I make sure not to make eye contact with anyone as I left the bathroom. Travelling down the beige grimy hallways I dart my eyes left and right, all the time listening intently for other people. One of the problems with keeping your head down is that if you’re not careful you can run into people. It’s better than looking ahead though; if you do that then you run the risk of catching people eyes.

One, two, three, four. One, two, three, four. I count out my footsteps in my head as I walk. One, two, three, four. One, two, three, four. It helps to keep me calm when I do this, as long as my walk home is an even number I will be alright, I have to keep doing these things to keep me and my Dad safe.

Realising where I am I turn around abruptly; I have to take the stairs at the south end of this building as the north stairs has 23 steps. As I walk down the corridor I started thinking about how my Dad used to be when my Mother was alive. He smiled more and he worked less.

Once he surprised us all with a special trip to London. We all bundled on a train and ate sherbet lemons and éclairs during the journey. I must have been eight or ten years old, it was a good year. Once we got to London we spent hours wandering around the cobbled streets, I was so impressed with all the people and colours, it was cold, but not yet Christmas so maybe it was November? My Mother was wearing this blue coat that was the same colour as her eyes and she would ruffle my hair and smile when she looked at me. My Mother was beautiful, and my Dad would always have his arm around her, as if he wanted to shield her from the world, she was his to protect. She would hold my hand, squeezing it occasionally.

That was a good day.

A car horn blasts at me, another problem with not looking up is the dangers of traffic. I jump back onto the pavement and flick my eyes up quickly at the traffic lights, shifting nervously; I can’t stay here too long. I am too close to the town recreational ground, ‘The Rec’, and that’s where most of the college students go when they finish with their classes.

The little man finally goes green so I hurry across the road, fidgeting with the bracelet on my wrist. It was just a pendant on a leather string but I never take it off. It was a Taijitu, the classic symbol of ying and yang, a universally recognised symbol of two parts becoming one and being whole.

I remember when I found it, I was little, maybe four, and it had fallen off someone else’s wrist and lay there broken on the side of the road. I picked it up for some reason when I walked home from school. Later on that day my mother found it in my pocket.

“Where did you get this ?” she asked, I told her I found it, and she smiled. “But it’s broken.” She tucked my sandy blonde hair, the same colour as her own, behind my ears and kissed the top of my head. She smelled like cinnamon and flowers.

Later on that week my Mother was called into my Nursery to collect me. One of the other boys had pushed me into the swing-set and I had banged my head and nose on the metal pole. Nothing was broken but I had got a nosebleed and I still have a scar to this day from the cut I got on the head. I had been crying and she gently brushed away my tears with the handkerchiefs she always carried.

“There, there,” she told me “Don’t cry, I have a present for you.” That’s when she gave me the bracelet. She had fixed the clasp. Clipping it onto my wrist using the tightest setting, she held my hand and whispered. “Do you know what that is, Bryan? It’s ying and yang, dual forces which exist in everything to make it whole, two things which make the whole world ok. Now you have this you will be ok too.”

It is tight now, but I daren’t take it off. It keeps things ok. Rounding the corner I leave the Rec behind, only one alleyway and two roads to go before I can get home and out from under His gaze. I can feel his eyes beating down on my shoulders and the back of my neck, I speed up.

I am half way down the alley way when I hear the scuffing and crunching of gravel under many feet.

“Hey Loser!”

I speed up even more, I know who it is, I know who all of them are. They go to the local comprehensive school, they are a couple years younger than me but they all do things like sports and camping, resulting in a distinct size difference between us. The crunching increases as they start to run, panicking I run too but I am laden down with books and they catch up with me before I can reach the end of the alleyway.

One of them catch the back of my shirt and throw me into the wall, my bags and folders go crashing to the ground. I feel the air whoosh out of my lungs.

Now all I feet is pain. Warmth. Now pain again.

A fist flies towards my nose. Gasping, I spit the blood that has trickled into my mouth. I am coughing as I try to keep breathing.

They snicker, I can see three of four pairs of shiny white trainers but everything is blurry, the pain makes tears spring into my eyes. I throw my arms up to protect my face and feel two hands grip my wrists, the cold of their gold rings bites into my skin.

A knee goes hard into my stomach.

I fall to my knees and although my vision is still blurry I am able to make out the black and white interlocking symbols of my bracelet over by one white trainer, it had fallen off somehow, the fixed clasp proving fickle in the face of adversity.


I reach for it and am rewarded with a heel coming sharply down on the back of my hand, I hear bones crunch, and I cry out in response.

“Aw...poor thing.” A sarcastic voice sneered from above, and I am thrown back into one of my last memories of my mother.

The hospital walls were pale green and the entire building smelt like death and antiseptic. I went to get coffee even though I didn’t want any, but that’s what people did at hospitals, they got coffee. The nurse didn’t see me behind her. I had learnt to walk silently by then, and she was talking to another nurse looking at my mother.

“Poor thing, she hasn’t got long now.”

“Family?” The other asked.

“A husband and a son, so sad.” They shake their heads pityingly.

I hurried past, back to my mother. She took the coffee I gave her and smiled gratefully, though I knew it was an effort for her. She was so pale; all the light had left her face and her once bright blue eyes were like stagnant water. She held my hand.

“Why you? Why is this happening?” I clasped her frail bony hand with both of mine. “Why is this happening to us?”

She shushed me gently and ran her other hand over the back of my head. “God has decided he wants me with him, is all. We have to trust in him, have faith and he will watch over you, always.”

“That doesn’t explain why! There are so many bad people, why is he taking you!”

“Honey...” she soothed.

“No!” I shouted angrily, causing the nurses to look over in alarm. “It doesn’t make sense.” I am crying silently, tears running down my face. I clung to her hand and felt her cling to mine “It doesn’t make sense....” I whispered “it’s not... ok.”

Another fast kick to my lower stomach and I feel the uncomfortable warmness spread in my trousers.

“Oh my God, he’s pissed himself!”

They shriek with laughter, and a flurry of further kicking and punching follows. It wasn’t until one last kick was delivered to my face causing me to cough and spit out a whole mouthful of blood that they stop. They run off into the darkness, back to their families no doubt.

I lay there for a moment; I lay there and picture my father’s furious face on that day. His chiseled featured contorted with fury and disgust.

“How could you do that to your Mother!” he snarled at me “Do you have any idea how upset she is now? Do you have any idea of what you have done to her? Can’t I even trust you to hold it together for one afternoon? For her sake?”

Limping down the road in the darkness I resume my counting, one, two, three, four. I can feel Him up there, watching me. Yes, I know you are there, I thought. I know He did this, like the way he took my Mother from me. Fingering the bracelet in my pocket I limp on. I must have let Him in somehow, must have missed a step, or maybe I forgot to knock twice on a door before I entered a room.

Dual forces which exist in everything to make it whole, two things which make the whole world ok.

I would make the world ok again; I had to, for my Dad’s sake. I couldn’t let him down again. Dual Forces. Everything comes in pairs, you know. God and the Devil. One and the same. Ying and Yang.

Shaking slightly I finally manage to get the key in the door, no one is home, no one ever was. I hurry up the stairs as fast as my injuries would let me, my hand ached and it hurt to breathe. My Dad may want me to go to the hospital but I’m not going back there, I know what happens when you go there. The place is full of corners, they invite Him in, they want Him there, but I know better.

Dumping my stuff on the floor of my bedroom I begin rifling through the box I kept under my bed, I know it is in here somewhere. Ah, got it. I stagger into the ebathroom and look into the mirror, my nose is definitely broken and my eyes, bloodshot and watering, have started to go purple underneath. I have a cut on my lip and it has started to swell. My whole face looks like a fruit salad that someone has dropped. I pull the sleeve of my shirt up on my left arm, holding my Taijitsu in my left fist, palm down; I hold my bare forearm out in front of me. Then, taking the knife that I have found in the box under my bed, I hold my breath and cut two straight lines across, just below my elbow. The red spills out and creates crimson rivers in the sink.

There, I thought, you can’t make that fall off.

I hear a key in the door as my Dad arrives home; I quickly pulled my sleeve back down. I will have to go tell him what happened, he will be disappointed, but it will be alright, it won’t happen again. Not now, I will be ok, now.

As long as I keep away from corners.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

The Big "Bad" Wolf

First of all I would like to point out that it is discrimination to assume someone is bad based on appearances. I am a big wolf. There! I said it! I have struggled with my weight all my life and no matter how many times a week I work out, no matter how many of those damn low calories fibre bars I eat, I will never be a size zero! Frankly, I am disgusted that in this day and age a person cannot be accepted for who there are. Does being a big wolf make me a bad person?
Secondly, I ask you how you would feel if three little pigs just upped and started building their houses on your land? The three rude little porkers stole building materials and literally threw up these monstrosities without a thought for planning permission or their neighbours. I feel I was quite within my rights to go round and discuss the matter with them. After all their smoky chimneys were blocking all the light into my garden and killing my Begonias.
Finally, I would like to point out that I am Jewish.
Now, I do not see how I should be blamed for my hay fever either, I mean, who builds their house out of straw anyway? So when I informed the little swine that I was going to ‘huff and puff and blow his house down’ I was warning him of a genuine danger. He chose to retort in a very rude manner "By the hair of my chinny chin chin, I will not let you come in" and not to vacate his premises. In my panic I ran to his brother house to get help but by then I had straw up my noise and another regrettable incident occurred.
By the time I got to the third house I was in such a state I was completely unprepared for his vigilante actions. Would you believe he tried to boil me alive?
So here I am facing jail time for the deaths of two piglet hoodies who were trespassing on my land in the first place! Whilst He sits pretty in his little brick house, now the proud owner of everything he inherited from his brothers and my cottage to boot! Lupine Discrimination!

Wednesday, 9 September 2009


Right, let’s just get one thing straight…. I am not a Tease!

I don’t know which dull witted Neanderthal of a man decided that if a girl will kiss you and not sleep with you it makes her a Tease, but if I ever get a hold of him I will beat him with a blunt object.


Let me just bring to your attention a very old, and very common, injustice. Women who fool around are sluts, men who fool around are players. It isn’t fair and it isn’t strictly correct but the one thing that most women are aware of when it comes to men is how they are perceived. The last thing we want to be thought of is ‘that tart from down the road’.

‘Hey Bill! I heard you had it away with that Cindy from Windmill Street?’
‘Sure did, Bob. The only thing that spreads quicker than Cindy’s legs is my utterly butterly!’

So excuse me if I don’t sleep with you just because you have bought me a warm glass of chardonnay! If I like you, I'm gonna kiss you if you make your move, but don’t expect me to run back to yours and jump between the sheets just because you took me for a drink. (Especially when you are thirty and still live with you mother.)

Since when did a kiss mean intercourse anyway? I remember when everything was done in stages. You let the boy get to one stage, then the next, then the next. If he wanted the goods he would have to be patient and persistent. The PP for the Peepee. Now I am all grown up and men seem to want to skip stage three and four and go straight for the end game. Whatever happened to courting? Romance?! The third date rule?! Actually scratch the third date rule, if the three dates are during a six month period it doesn’t count, he hasn’t proved himself trustworthy or dependable. He hasn’t proved that he isn’t gonna bugger off and not call once he has inked his nib basically.

Well if kissing a guy but not sleeping with him because I don’t trust him yet makes me a Tease, then Miss Tease I am. I would rather be the village Tease than the village bike.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009


Just a quick note about something that happened while I was away.

I was at a BBQ happliy sipping a beer and marvelling at the fact that although I had drunk four or five bottles of beer I was sober, if I had done that with glasses of wine I would be halfway to table dancing by then. I think the key was I don't really like the stuff so I tend to nurse them a little, averaging about a bottle per hour. Needless to say later on that evening, when I switched to wine, I became drunker than a fish in a whisky pond.

So, I was there quitely musing at this realisation when my Brother asked if I was bored, I told him that I wasn't and was quite enjoying the comapny of my little brother (I was, I don't see him very often). He rolled his eyes at me.

I then proceeded to tell him about my surprising soberness, to which he replied 'Your not sober.' I insisted I was but he just shook his head at me like he was correcting a child, or (as he thought he was) talking to a inebriated person.

Realising there was no convicing him I inquired as to the source of this observation, to which he replied 'Your getting all emotional.'

Because I said I was enjoying speding time with him.


Wait till he sees me later drunk and crying because I've dropped my crisps...

Thursday, 6 August 2009

It’s Not Fair!

I have noticed that there is still a bit of a child in me, and not just my secret enjoyment of cartoons! You see I was seeing a man, but it wasn't going well, many many problems mostly deriving from the fact that I am outta here in 6-7 weeks, and I had come to the decision that I was not going to see him anymore. I could tell his interest was waning, he kept cancelling, rearranging rain check etc etc so I though to myself, "Self, is this good enough?" To which the answer was a resounding NO!

So I hatched a plan, it was arranged that we would meet up Saturday night, well Friday turned out to be a little heavier than anticipated and to cut a long story short I didn't get home till 6:30 pm the next day and understandably feeling less than my usual perky self, decided to cancel on him for a change. Then, horror of horrors, it gets to 8 pm and still no call from him, cheeky bugger is trying to stand me up! What if I had had a bath, got dressed, and done my face, all in anticipation? All dressed up and nowhere to go? So I text him and he doesn't want to go out because it’s raining... I'm assuming he will melt. Then it hits me, I will never hear from him again, he will forever believe that he ended it with me! He will get drunk with his friends and when asked what happened he will spout some nonsense about it not working out so he just never text me again! When the truth of the matter was both of us knew it wasn't working and I was just as prepared to end it as he was! The only difference being I was beaten to the punch!

Now the adult in me says who cares? The situation was resolved and neither party was hurt, everyone can move on with their lives now. Part of me though, can’t help but stomp my foot and say "But I wanted to dump him!!"

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

These Thing are Sent to Try Us…

People that put other people down to makes themselves look like a big man, or to get a laugh, or to make themselves feel better about their own pathetic lives are just petty, ignorant arseholes and deserve to been lined up and shot!

Everyone knows someone like that, I don't know where they learn that it is acceptable behaviour, but the bastards are everywhere!

The sort of person that will say things like "Well you don't have a dog and bark yourself!" about their co workers.

The person who will point out when someone leaves early and play the martyr with their own work hours.

The type of person who will humiliate a colleague just to get a laugh from the rest of the office.

I have mentioned this person before, I believe I described them as a crack addict of public attention. Meaning that they crave the laughter and recognition to the point where they will stop at nothing to get it. Resulting in a cruel and twisted person who whom nothing is sacred, who will mock and jeer at anyone about anything as long as there is an audience to watch.

I hate those sorts of people and unfortunately I have the misfortune of working very closely with such an odious little man. His behaviour to date never ceases to shock me, bitchier than a teenage girl and crueller than someone who drowns puppies for a living, he continues his reign of terror, and as long as someone laughs he is happy. To be honest I think people laugh because they are grateful his attention is diverted, with such witty repartee as "You Loser!" it can't be the content. Frankly I have heard enough homophobic, misogynistic, and racist jokes to last me a lifetime.

On a day like today when he has the audacity to call me stupid, me stupid, I can't help but close my eyes and chant 6 weeks to go... Coming from the man who barely finished school, whose conversation makes Homer Simpson look like Einstein, and has spent his youth binge drinking on street corners, this man is calling me stupid!

Oh well, in a couple of months I will be in a whole new town, with a whole new environment and with a whole new set of problems. Although in the mean time I may put superglue on his phone, give everyone else a laugh for a change...

Let's Think Outside the Box for a Moment...

You know what makes me laugh about working in HR and Recruitment? The secret language, there are code words and phrases that everyone used. Everyone knows what they mean really but we can't just say that can we? Nooooo, political correctness and HR propaganda gone bananas, so here's some examples of the guff we send to the agencies.

  • We have candidates with similar exposure in a lower salary bracket - He's too damn expensive!
  • We have stronger candidates in a lower salary bracket - He's too damn expensive and not worth the money even if we had it!
  • You don't have the right exposure for our clients - You don't have enough experience. Yeah I said it, experience feel free to call the age discriminating police!
  • We have stronger candidates in the mix - What is this shit you have sent us?

See what I mean? Utter lunacy! And don’t even get me started on the Buzz Words…

“We are going to socialise this idea.” – Socialise? Socialise? So we are going to take the idea out get it drunk and introduce it to new people are we?

“We need to think outside the box on this one.” – Dear God! Have I been in a box this whole time and didn’t realise?

“Candidates in the mix…” - Mix? We are talking about people not raisins, they are not in a mix, mix is what you do when baking.

“We need someone who can hit the ground running.” – As opposed to all those people we hire who are just there to stand around looking pretty.

“There need to be as much visibility on this as possible.” – You there, open your eyes! Look at this!

Yes, Yes, I know what they mean, and I have even used them (it’s catching) but they are silly really…

Monday, 27 July 2009

To Cuddle or not to Cuddle?

Now, gentlemen, your attention please. When it comes to the end of the evening, just before you go to sleep and the cuddling issue comes up, I ask you to consider a few points.

Women are at their most vulnerable directly after sex. Cuddling is more about reassurance than anything else. Reassurance that we haven’t just done something that we will regret.

For men sex is about possession. For women sex is about giving something away. That’s why when women are raped they feel that they are robbed, that something is stolen from them.

Men take women. Women give themselves to men.

When you think about it, it’s just Biology. Women have to allow something into their body, an alien appendage.

So men need to understand why the post coital activities are important to women, it’s not pointless, try to think of it as calming an upset child. We revert back to our teenage selves worrying and unsure if we have just given our virginity to our first love or an asshole.

A few moments of your time, a little intimacy, a peck on the cheek and you’re done. Crisis averted.

Plus you have just put down the deposit for a morning blow-job.

Think about it.

Friday, 17 July 2009

One of Those Days

You know when you just have of those days? It’s like the big guy upstairs has a certain quota of unlucky per person but instead of spreading it out you will get a whole pile in one day for his amusement!

So far today I have managed to oversleep, then as a result of being late I ran out of the house with neither a brolly nor a coat. Upon my arrival at the train station it had started to rain. Still hoping to catch my train, I was unsuccessful of course, I made a mad dash to the station. In the 500 metres there is to the cover of the platform the clouds managed to pour out an entire weeks worth of rain, needless to say I was soaked through. So there I was soaked and shivering, cowering in the stairwell waiting for the next train, peering at the information board through rain spotted and slightly misty glasses.

Once I make it to work I have to go straight into a meeting with no time for coffee or breakfast and proceed to feel weak with hunger the whole way through, I’m just glad no one asked me any questions because my brain just doesn’t function when I’m hungry! Finally falling out of the meeting I proceed to squelch around the office, first locating a hair clip to hold back my unruly fringe (thanks rains) then breakfast. Once I was no longer malnourished I then turned my attention to the wet areas south of my ankles, remembering that a colleague had a small heater under her desk I decided to retrieve it. After bumping my head and crawling under not one but two desks I finally wiggled it free, and set it up under my own desk to dry out my shoes and feet.

Some how during my escapade under the desks I had managed to cut my leg, and fearing the cleanliness of whatever sharp object habituates under a dusty piece of furniture I though it prudent to clean the wound. Now bearing in mind I was still half asleep and already feeling a little dopey I figured I would uses some antibacterial gel for my hands in the absence of any wipes. DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME! When I had finished jumping round pulling faces and breathing through my teeth, waiting for the pain to stop I reasoned that antibacterial gel was not supposed to go on open wounds, made a mental note.

The rest of the day has consisted of me banging my knee when I went to the toilet, dropping things, spilling my coffee, forgetting that I had put sugar in my coffee and having to drink it with two, breaking a nail, poking myself in the eye and falling over my own feet!

Anyone else think I should have taken a duvet day?

Still at least it is nearly the end, then I can go home and stay away from sharp objects until the day is over.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

The Other Side of the Story - Blue Anchor

You know what I think is the most galling aspect of being let go? Not being able to have your say! I was recently let go of a pub I have worked in on and off since for the last five years and has been a big part of my life and the local community for as long as I can remember. I can name every landlord that has been in it during my lifetime, I have even worked for most of them. I know most of the regulars by sight if not by name, my family and friends drink there, and most importantly I care about what happens to the pub.

Most people my age grow up without a sense of community, it’s the times we live in, personally I feel like I have had community shoved down my throat during every meal and I think I am a better person for it! I believe I have the best of both worlds, I can go to work in the City and be anonymous but when I come home to my little village, with its little local pub, I get a sense of peace that is hard to describe to those who don’t know it. Some of the people I work with have lived in the big smoke their entire lives and have a real ‘London edge’ to them, this only proves to make me more grateful for living in a place where you can say good morning to a complete stranger and not receives an icy stare in response.

Now, having been a part of something for such a long time I find it particularly distasteful for an outsider to muscle in and tell me I don’t belong. It just makes my blood boil to hear stories that said stranger is running around telling people that this is “her pub” and that “she is the boss and people shouldn’t forget that”. Am I missing something? Correct me if I'm wrong but you wouldn’t have much of a trade if you continued to make your customers feel unwanted and unappreciated. That sort of you-can-like-it-or-lump-it attitude may be fine in a big city where you trade is different everyday but in a small country pub the locals and regulars have a say, well either they do or they will vote with their feet.

The Pub in question has been through a lot recently, the poor thing, one landlord leaving, a new set, then them leaving and then two sets of holding managers that leave a lot to be desired. All in the space of a year! Now no business will thrive with this much change but as long as they continue to do the basics i.e. serve beer, it will limp along, but no one ever stops to think of the staff. Every pub is run differently, this much I have learnt during my short years, everyone has their own style and how they want things to be done. As in every new job you get a probationary period to learn how to do things a certain way, but what if you are expected to just get on with it? New people, every other week but the staff is the same, desperately trying to please their new owners by learning as fast as they can how to do things their way.

Needless to say it didn’t work out for me, I was fired for doing something one way when she wanted it done another. Must have forgotten to power up my psychic powers that day as I didn’t quite manage to read her mind on that occasion. When I pleaded for another chance she informed me that this was “her licence” and basically that meant she could do what she pleased. Even when a valued customer implored on my behalf she retorted quite rudely that “she was the boss” and that “people should remember that”. Well my response to her is that she should remember that we have had four sets of Bosses this year alone and we aren’t the ones that are disposable.

As I started off by saying is that the most galling aspect of the whole situation is that while I am cast out in the cold she is sitting pretty inside her ivory tower, she is free to say whatever she want to deface my character and I cannot defend myself! Well, I'm afraid that just isn’t good enough! As ridiculous as it sounds I have been extremely upset by the whole situation, because you see it’s not just a job, I don’t do it for the money (although it is handy). I do it because I loved being part of something, and now that has been taken away from me, taken away by someone who doesn’t understand what that pile of bricks and mortar means.

So this is my way of fighting back! My way of getting my thoughts into the world and pushing back on those who would have me limp meekly away. This is my side of the story!

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

The Un-Dead in London

I realised the other day that I am a vampire. Yes, I am pale and partial to a nibble now and then, but that's not what I meant! I cannot enter a man's home uninvited, and like the mystical predator from ancient lore I am very particular about this. I have to be invited. I think this is some sort of reaction from the British politeness, manners and low self esteem, you do not enter someone else home without an invitation and I want to make sure you want me there.

So let me clear something up for you, 'You can stay if you want' is not an invitation, that is a statement that will always be met with the questions 'Do you want me to stay?', to which men always reply 'well I wouldn't have asked if I didn't.' Infuriating isn't it? But you didn't ask!! You made some vague reference to me staying if I had no one else to go or if I really wanted to, which puts me in league with a homeless person. Nice.

Let me let you in on a secret, if I stay... you. will. get. laid. Now, bearing that in mind I fell we can do better than 'You can stay if you want', how about please? It's a request on your part, you want to get some, we know it and you know it, so lets not beat around the bush. We have something you want, so the least you can do is put in your request. Would it really be so hard for you to say 'Would you like to stay over?' or even 'I would like you to stay' dare i say even a please?

I know you men are still labouring under the illusion that you need to treat them mean to keep them keen but let me point something out to the vast majority of you, blowing hot and cold is all very good, I am the first to admit it works, but the catch is when you are hot you need to be nice. Acting like you don't give a shit to our faces only pisses us off! The whole point is to treat us so nice that when you don't call for three weeks we are desperate for you to, then when you do we jump like a trained Chihuahua. If you act like you don't care, then don't call all we are going to think is what a prick and move on.

I speak from experience, I have fallen prey to it many a time, relationship games, don't you just love them! Actually no, I hate them, and have so far managed to avoid them (I almost fell off my chair when he called at the time he said he would.) So let's consider another thought, he's acting laid back because, shock of all shock, he’s a laid back guy. Which is fine, in my hectic, about to be turned upside-down life, a bit of nonchalance is welcome, we just need to work on the particulars.

Me = Vampire

All together now, 'Will you stay over, please?'

Of course, I will, in fact I would be delighted! Now I feel welcome and wanted, everyone's happy.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

How far are you willing to let it go?

Everyone I know has a job, and with jobs come colleagues. Colleagues are an odd thing when you think about it, you spend more time with them than anyone else, they see you at your best and at your worst, and yet they aren't your friends. They are not people you choose to spend time with, you may not even like them very much, but you are forced into this situation of almost cohabitation during work hours. They are not friends, they are not strangers they are somewhere on the middle.

So here's the thing, a colleague of mine is going through some crazy personal issues, they are emotionally in turmoil. Of this I am all aware having made them tea and listen to their tales of woe, and to their plight I am sympathetic. Being a good colleague I have soothed and listened, especially when they started being brought to task with their work. Ay there's the rub. Their level of work is beginning to be affected, and being aware of what he/she is going through, how far are you willing to let it go?

You have sympathised with him/her, and listened when she needed you to but now he/she is dropping the ball with things and it's affecting you and your work, what now? Should you continue to let is go and hope that when he/she feels better things will improve? In other words behave like a friend. Or haul their ass over the coals until they bucks their ideas up? Neither options are great, either you are a doormat or the office bitch, not a persona you want to wear during office hours.

So is there a happy medium? Is it possible to be both a caring colleague and a whistle blower? What if the behaviour persists? It's not going to get better by itself, so biding your time is out, but is the answer really adding fuel to the fire that is already burning? What if you can't help yourself? I pride myself on doing a good job, when I am at work, my head is at work, and unfortunately this person's seems to be somewhere else. Is it acceptable for someone to bring down the team, like a lame doe at the back of the herd, or should the fat be trimmed?

Maybe it's kinder, as pandering to their needs doesn't seem to have helped, maybe some tough love is in order. I guess the big question is when someone's capability is being called into question, should their personal hardships be taken into account? If you look at their work with an ice cold eye and it doesn't come up to scratch, if you asses their recent abilities and find that they are not capable, then surely there's your answer. As harsh as it sound but should we really be taking into account people's personal issues when we are look at their ability to do the job?

Simple questions, are they performing to the standard required? No, but their dog died/brother is sick/husband left them... Here's the tricky bit, how much of their personal life should you be taking into account? If they are unable to perform the job that they are contracted to do then they are not capable. So in a review of their capabilities, the answer is no.

Harsh but true. One can always hope, though, maybe they will get the message and leave their personal stuff at home when they come to work, or maybe getting the boot is what they need. Yes, one can always hope for a happy ending, but London life, I find, is not always like that.

Monday, 1 June 2009

First Impressions

I had an interesting debate the other day that got me to thinking about first impressions and snap judgments, more specifically, the initial attraction nor non attraction when meeting someone for the first time.

Scientists and Sociological experts tell us that we make decisions about people within the first ten seconds, it's all to do with hormones and body language. It seems we are essentially animals at heart and it’s all about the way we smell and react to each other. That aside, our brains are also furiously working away taking in the hair, the face, the body, the clothes and that's all before the opening line. I have a friend who can scan the room and decided within seconds if she is interested in anyone in it, she usually mentally discards the entire room based on their looks and appearance (she is stunning so she gets away with only dating the crème de la crème), the result is quick and efficient, no lengthy decision process, a once over and she has a definite yes or no and I don't think she has ever wavered from her original assessment. She used to say that looks and sexual attraction came first with her and if she didn't immediately fancy someone, and by fancy I mean someone she wouldn't be adverse to getting down and dirty with, then they would never be anymore than a friend to her. The personality and emotional feeling come second, it would seem. They had to be Hot first, then if they were nice/sweet/funny it was a bonus and she would then proceed entertain the idea of going out with them (again, she really is that beautiful).

The conversation I had the other day was pretty much along the same lines, he stated that in every relationship you had to find your partner physically attractive in order for it to work, and it would seem that this is another area where I am in the minority! I agree that there has to be an attraction, but why does it have to be physical? Instead of ten second, I usually give people about ten minutes, usually by then I can tell if I am kinda interested or not. Now don't get me wrong I am no saint, if a man repulses me then that's that, I'm not doing charity here. I have, although, often found myself noticing a guy has a great smile once I know that he is really funny, or thinking he has great hair if I know we have something in common. If a man is beautiful and strolls up and bores me to tears I won't be attracted to him, no matter how pretty he is. Where as if an average looking man makes me cry with laughter than I will probably be making him breakfast later...

So here lies my point is attraction purely physical? Is it possible to find yourself truly attracted to a person when you initial reacting to just his looks wasn't as positive as when you left? Does it have to be instant? Or should I be looking for that love at first sight, stomach flipping sensation because frankly, I'm not sure I believe in that. If by the end of an evening/date/meeting you think that you have met someone smart/funny/sexy should you be wary if you did not immediately think he was better looking than Brad Pitt? And what about if you've know them a long time? I can recall a gentleman that when I first met him thought he was nothing special, I even went so far as to think his reputation as a Love Lothario was largely exaggerated, needless to say my opinion changed, but the question is should it have? Say it had turned into a relationship (which it didn’t) would it have eventually become stale and boring because I wasn’t attracted to him in a purely physical manner? Or would it have been better as his Charm and Wit would continue to impress me even when his beer swilling habits gave him a gut and he could barely see his equipment let alone use it efficiently? Who knows!

One more thing, what if you’re no Angelina yourself? Should you still be holding out for Brad? Or should you have more realistic targets? If your willing to settle for nothing less than a Greek God, what happened when the God wants a Goddess and not a pasty HR Administrator, what then? Alcohol and a punctured condom? If it’s all the same with you, I will stick to my way; I may not get Zeus, thunder god of my bedroom, but at least I won’t have to worry about my straighteners shorting out.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Lilttle Lou

Lil Lou was a very good girl,
But her Daddy went away.
She cried but he would not come back
No matter what she'd say.

Lou's Mummy had a special friend
And he would often stay
She asked her mummy once at night
Did he drive her Pa away?

Her Daddy came in his big car
But not into the house.
Not even one foot would he step
While he was with his spouse.

So Daddy stood in the doorway
While mummy smoked a fag
I'm taking Lou, your self respect,
And I will take the Jag!

You'll get nothing you dirty Whore,
You did wrong to me first!
There's an elephant in the room,
And I will see him cursed!

An Elephant! said Little Lou!
In this very room?
We don't talk about it, do we Lou?
But we will very soon.

A special, secret, Elephant
That no one talks about.
An Elephant inside this room
That Lou would ferret out.

Is he Big and Blue and Shiny?
With a long and bendy trunk?
Or is he pink and small like me?
Asleep inside my bunk!

He's a secretive animal,
That everyone knows.
In fact, He is the worst kept pet,
Dressed up in sheepskin clothes!

Lou looked everywhere, high and low.
Even behind the stairs.
She couldn't find the elephant.
Not for all her cares.

It's not for you, her mother snapped.
Your Dad was being a fool.
And be careful what you say of this,
When you go back to school.

Next day, at school, when Lou was called
To talk of her weekend
She screwed her face to recall her plight
The loss of her new friend.

There's an Elephant, in the room
That no one talks about!
They say it's there, but I can't see it.
And It makes everyone shout!

It's hiding see, I don't know where,
But I can't let it roam!
You see with it lose, and running free
My Daddy won't come home!

Lou's Teacher called her Mum and Dad,
And told them what she'd said.
Your child here, is very confused,
These notions in her head!

The Nelly must have gone away,
Cause Lou's Pop came Home!
And no more talk of elephants,
Or sleepovers for mum!

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

London Lads vs. Brighton Boys

I was invited to stay at a friend’s house for an evening over the long weekend; she lives in Brighton, so obviously I jumped at the chance of an evening of fun and sun by the beach. So I turn up and we spend the rest of the afternoon catching up, reminiscing about our ill spent youths, where and what people are doing now, past and present relationships and the topic of sex might have come up once or twice as well.

Then, we went out for a night on the tiles, I was taken to a few bars and introduced to Tuaca - a Brighton shot that was quite yummy, and we ended up at a club called Coalition. After an hour or so of serious dancing my friend went out for a cigarette and while I waited for her to come back found myself being chatted up by a very cute Australian Guy. Shortly after my friend decided she had far too much to drink and should take herself home to bed, my new Australian friend requested that I stay, and he asked so nicely I decided that it would be rude not to! After a fun filled evening, night and early morning with the Australian I ended up back at his place. It was upon waking up at his very nice flat, being given some very nice coffee and repeating last nights performance on his very nice corner group sofa that I got to thinking I could get used to this. When he dropped me back off at my friends in his Porsche I really was converted.

It started me thinking about what I had gotten used dating in London and maybe the Boys of Brighton had the edge; the Australian being my second Brighton Boy I feel inclined to examine the evidence.

First we have the flats: nice, beach adjacent, clean properties that are spacious, well furnished and solely occupied. Compare this to cramped, cupboard sized flats, overlooking dank alleyways and usually with one or two flatmates included. Flats are more expensive in London, I know, and there is less space so everything is pocket sized for your convenience but I've got to admit when it comes to real estate the Brightonians have got it licked, who wants to bounce around the bedroom like a ball in a pinball machine when you can run laps in the living room?

Then we have the cars, both Brighton boys had beautiful, and expensive convertible type cars where as most London lads don't even drive. Granted you don't need to drive in London, in fact it is preferable not to, but being greeted with a Porsche when your boy toy offers you a lift home instead of a moped made me feel all warm inside - but then, maybe that was the heated seats.

Finally there is the image, and that almost indescribable cool factor. Now don't get me wrong, I like a man in a suit, and most London boys clean up very nicely, and on a daily basis too, but after a while I get the impression that they have become style robots, spending so much of their life in the grey suit that mentally they have become a grey suit. I also think that the high stress lifestyles has bred a strain nervous dispositions, terrified of losing their jobs and climbing career ladders with the hunger of that of a small country means that most London boys spend their time wired up to blow at any second. Much like a highly excitable puppy, cute in a nervous way, but one false move and it will pee on your carpet. In Brighton it was refreshing to be surrounded by calm, collected people who are so completely at home in their own skin you can't help feeling more relaxed yourself. There is self expression on every corner, be it clothing, tattoos, piercing or hair, creating diversity that one usually only sees at the pick and mix counter.

Now I feel I haven't been fair to my London Lads, they are responsible for a fair amount of my past shenanigans, it is not, after all, their fault, they have evolved from their environment. Like a wary traveller suddenly coming face to face with a bird of paradise after being used to sparrows, I was dazzled by the bright feathers of the Brighton Boys, but let's face it; I am at heart a London girl. I think if I was to fully convert to their Brighton way I would soon be exposed as a fraud, my cynicism and insecurities would crack through the shiny exterior. So maybe I should stick with what I know, I mean really, a little neurosis is healthy isn't it?

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

What Shall We Do Today?

A quick pet hate, picture the scene, it's the morning after and your lying in the afterglow of your coital activities, the sheets are crumpled, your hair is a bird nest and with any luck you've barely slept a wink. Your muscles ache, your toes are tingling and all you can smell is sex, sweat and spit. Then comes the dreaded question, "what do you want to do now?" Umm, Now? "What shall we do today" Today!?

I hate this question, normally you are at their place and unless you are super organised and/or physic you only have to wear what was torn off you a few hours ago (or a couple if it was a really good night) and therefore only have the one crumpled set of clothes from the night before. Your spent most of the night rutting like wild animals and the rest of it tangled in each others arms and now you want to spend the day together as well? Let’s start with the practical reasons, I do not have my things here, and even if I want you to believe that I am a low maintenance, easy-going girl, it still takes more than the travel toothbrush and tub of Vaseline I have in my purse to create the vision you picked up the night before.

"You can shower here" - Oh great, so you have stocked the high shine conditioner it takes to tame my hair have you? And I'm sure you don't mind me using your razor on my legs and arm pits, I'll just de-hair the areas I sweat most out of, then you can use it on your face, ok with you? You have already purchased make up remover, I'm sure, unless of course you like the "escaped panda from the zoo" look, do you? No of course you don't, and of course you haven't. Then you're hoping I have packed my own makeup to reapply, after I have had to scrub my face raw with a tea towel come facecloth that smells of mildew and has questionable stains. You will not complain one bit that I have to use your expensive, concentrated "a little is enough" post shave balm, liberally on my face an neck to salvage the damage done by the combination of no sleep and no makeup remover. I may even need to use a little on some toilet roll to remove the more stubborn mascara, I may have to use half the tube, but you won't mind will you? Not to mention all the rest; shower gel, assuming you have some, deodorant, yes I will smell like your brother making you more confused than a teenage boy, and yes I will have to turn my pants inside out, you are not the only ones who know this trick (assuming I can find them).

After all that I have to put on the clothes that I partied in last night, if I am lucky they are jeans and a top and they are clean. If I am unlucky (and more likely considering current situation) they are a revealing dress, which is the opposite of comfortable, high heels that can no way be camouflaged as day wear, and tights, which were probably laddered in the process. So there I am in my "so sexy the night before, so trashy the morning after" dress, bare white legs and ridiculously high heeled shoes, good for club wiggling, bad for day walking, and you want to go do something?

Practicalities aside, aren't you sick of me? You saw me all of last evening and more of me last night, let take today to reflect. I need some me time, don't you? Half the fun is going away and getting those delightful little flashbacks of the night before while you are soaking in the bath. You call your friends, get some laundry done, eat something unhealthy, take a nap, moisturise! If you miss me send me a text, we love that! Don't hold me hostage! Be a man and take me home, we can grab lunch the day after; it doesn't need to be now.

What shall we do today? Nothing. The questions should be what we shall do tomorrow or better yet, what shall we do next week?

Friday, 3 April 2009

Barmaids Flirt – It’s our job to!

It has been brought to my attention that men are labouring under some kind of delusion and I feel for the good of womankind they need to be snapped out of it.

I work in a pub on Saturday nights, I find it a useful little earner in that it keeps me busy and it's cash in hand work: it makes me feel less guilty about buying that £3 bean salad from EAT which is not even the size of my fist. So, I am a part-time barmaid, and to be clear I am YOUNG part-time barmaid. Less than 25 years old for God’s sake, and the gentleman in question was aware of this. The gentleman in question is 36 but he looks older. He is also a beard wearing, bitter drinking, national trust gardener who is rumoured to pick up road kill to take it home to cook and frankly, looks like he might. Now none of that has ever really mattered to me, why would it?

Now here comes the part to burst thousands of male bubbles... brace yourselves. Any good barmaid worth her taps knows how to flirt with the customers. Now listen closely, we flirt, smile and chat and you stay in the pub and have a good time, you buy more beer and everyone's happy. WE DO NOT FANCY YOU. We are paid to do this! Do you think we like Rod Stewart and Abba that much that we want to listen to it uninterrupted? Hell no! At best, bar work is tedious and repetitive, so chatting to people is the only entertainment we got going for us.

I knew Crusty Man took a shine to me by the time he leered at me; it's the sort of look that makes a girl stand up and tug her skirt down. So he turns up, he hands me a card, tells me the company he work for are having a party next week and if I want to go I should call him. I was so shocked I stammered out “thanks” and put the card on the side, and then he downed the rest of his pint and scampered off.

So to prevent any further confusion, I'm telling you now, the next time you think you have a chance with the barmaid, stand in front of the mirror, take a good long look at your self and ask yourself one question. Do I resemble her Dad?

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Peaceful Protest?

Yesterday morning, I freely admit that I was a little disapproving if the "crusty bashing" that was being spouted in my office. The general consensus was that the protesters were lazy, lay about soap dodgers with nothing better to do. One person even commented that we should go down and do a recruitment drive as there would be plenty of people there who were unemployed, I believe the most common joke is that today will be less populated due to most of them picking up their giro.

To begin with I thought it was a little cruel to stereotype these people and think the worst of them. Sure most of them were a little hippy-ish but that's doesn't not meant that they aren't well mannered and educated people! If they choose to express themselves in a manner that includes nose rings, camouflages trousers and Mohawks, who are we to judge?

In the cold light of day, the morning after, I have changed my mind. Peaceful protest? PEACEFUL PROTEST!!! I don't think throwing a screen through the RBS window was particularly peaceful, or the fires they started around Bank station. They had to be driven back towards London Bridge at 2 in the morning, like the devil's minions being driven into the sea! All you needed was the police to carry swords instead of riot gear and you have a scene from Lord of the Rings. A man died for pity's sake, I know it was natural causes, but maybe the Paramedics could have been more help to him if they didn't have to contend with bottles being thrown at them.

What are the rest of the world going to think of us? We are supposed to be a nation of queues, crumpets and tea but we are showing ourselves recently to be more a people that enjoy riots. If it’s not hooligans being banned from football matches its peaceful protests turning into wars, as a country we appears to have “Little Island Syndrome”.

So yes this morning I have changed my opinion, lock all the Crusties up, give them a wash and a shave and make them work for a living. How about when they can honestly say that the Economic Crisis is affecting more than just the price of tobacco in their roll ups, they can have a say, until then they should keep their violent “protests” to themselves!

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Dispelling a Myth

It has been brought to my attention that men are labouring under some kind of delusion and I feel for the good of womankind they need to be snapped out of it.

I work in a pub on Saturday nights, I find it a useful little earner in that it keeps me busy and it's cash in hand work; make me feel less guilty about buying that £3 bean salad from EAT which is not even the size of my fist. So, I am a part-time barmaid, and to be clear I am YOUNG part-time barmaid. Less than 25 years old for god sake, and the gentleman in question was aware of this. The gentleman in question is 36 (and no, I do not think that is old, merely a little old for me) but he looks older. He is also a beard wearing, bitter drinking, national trust gardener who is rumoured to pick up road kill to take it home to cook and frankly, looks like he might. Now none of that has ever really mattered to me, why would it? He seemed like a nice enough chap, and I never would have dreamed in a thousand years of thinking of him a potential anything in any way, shape or form. Just a guy who drank in the pub.

Now here comes the part to burst thousands of male bubbles... brace yourselves. Any good barmaid worth her taps knows how to flirt with the customers. Now listen closely cause this concerns you; we flirt/smile/chat and you stay in the pub and have a good time - you buy more beer - everyone's happy. WE DO NOT FANCY YOU. You do not have a chance to bed the barmaid; we do not find you irresistible. We are paid to do this! Plus if there is no one else in the bar, who else are we going to talk to?!? Do you think we like Rod Stewart and Abba that much that we want to listen to it uninterrupted? Hell no! At best, bar work is tedious and repetitive, so chatting to people is the only entertainment we got going for us.

Now I knew Crusty Man took a shine to me by the time he leered at me in the most grotesque fashion I have ever seen, a true old fashioned up and down with a signature lip curl; it's the sort of look that makes a girl stand up and tug her skirt down. After that I started seeing the signs... Girls you know what I mean. We can tell when you fancy us, you may think you are hiding it, but your not. It's obvious. Hell, we probably know before you do! So I'm seeing the signs and thinking, are you serious? You have a crush at your age? Oh No, not a crush, he thinks he has a chance. On what planet did that happen? I am barely into my twenties and I scrub up quite well thank you very much; I could have my pick of a number of men and this Flaky old tree climber thinks he can bowl up and ask me out? So he turns up, freshly shaved, just popping in for a quick pint before he goes on to another party. Yeah. Right. He wanted me to see him all tarted up, men are so predictable. He hands me a card, tells me the company he work for are having a party next week and if I want to go I should call him. I was so shocked I stammered out thanks and put the card on the side, and then he downed the rest of his pint and scampered off.

I ask you! I was mortified! I dare say I will never live it down. So to prevent any further confusion, I'm telling you now, the next time you think you have a chance with the barmaid, stand in front of the mirror, take a good long look at your self and ask yourself one question. Do I resemble her Dad?

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Why is it never somewhere in the middle?

What is it with jobs? You are either horrendously busy, rushing round like a blue arse fly, or you are sat at your desk looking at the day stretched out before you, an endless horizon, wondering what your possibly gonna do to fill the time that doesn't involve Facebook or internet shopping. Don't get me wrong I love Facebook, I think whoever invented it was a genius, but there is only so much time you can spend on there without turning into a psycho cyber stalker! As for the shopping, unless you are a secret millionaire and only working to keep you occupied, there is no way you could actually purchase all the items you would find on your endless scrolling.

You see, it's a spiralling cycle being bored; you sink lower and lower into a lethargy that is hard to shake off once you have work to do. You find you do things slower and that time moves slowly around you...You will finish some immensely boring and tedious task with low levels of enthusiasm and when you look at the clock only a few mins will have passed. Slumping into your chair, gradually sliding into that nook that just holds your bum on the chair while your legs are sprawled out under the desk, your typing gets sloppy and the gradual need to go to the toilet is utterly inconvenient as it involves vacating your area and trudging to the porcelain palace. Of course once your there you pee as slowly as possible and laboriously wash your hands before grimacing at your face/hair/outfit and scuffing your way back to your desk.

Caffeine. Caffeine is the answer.

So you begin the process again, peeling your unresponsive body off your swivel chair and scuffing to the kitchen, for once being content to wait behind the sea of numpties discussing their latest hard-on's and hand off's (by this I mean their business bravado and bitching), casually leaning against the counter you wait until they are done. Then you can resume you position at your desk with a steaming mug of something with a lot of caffeine and/or sugar and wait for all the happy chemicals to kick in.

Sigh. It's a necessary evil in order to keep you awake until that magic hand on the clock tick over to 5 and you can escape home for a nap. Either that or until the next wave of urgent, "Must be completed ASAP" work comes filtering down to your desk; face it, it will be one or the other, never somewhere in the middle.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

In My Opinion...

"The truth is often a terrible weapon of aggression."
Aldred Adler - Psychiatrist.

I have often gotten myself into heated debates about one particular subject, it is not one that people often agree with me on, so I thought I would give it one last go in writing so that I can express myself clearly.

I believe that people have a responsibility when it comes to their opinion, it is theirs and only they can truly know what it is, therefore only they can truly gage the outcome of giving it. It is most people's school of thought that if you ask for someone's opinion that the outcome is entirely their own fault, but how can it be when they did not know what the opinion was? If you ask for someone's opinion and it is negative or hurtful, the general consensus is that you are not allowed to feel hurt by it because you asked for it in the first place. I have often found myself in the situation whereby I have been on the receiving end of a negative view on my choices or actions and upon expressing my distress was informed "you asked for my opinion" as if it absolved them of the matter. If a person asked to see inside a box and inside was a poisonous snake, and they were bitten, would you say "they asked to see inside"? If you knew the snake was in there, are you absolved of guilt because they asked? No! You would have prevented it, even if you could not tell the person what was in the box, you would not let them open it.

I believe the same of your opinions. There are people who will shout from the roof tops hurtful comments and sweeping generalisations, all the while protesting that it was their opinion and they are entitled to it. To this I say, yes you are entitled to your opinion but you also have a responsibility for it, anyone and everyone can think what he or she chooses to, but to express your opinions you do so at the risk of others, so you should be careful. I have opinions about people in my life and the people in theirs but I have learnt to judge situations so as not to create hurt. If you are asked for your opinion normally it is because to that person it is valued, which means you are valued, with that in mind would you so callously contradict them? In your heart you disagree but you can see that the person believes they acted for the best and are seeking reassurance, so do you give your honest opinion? Even if they asked for it? Could you look that person in the eye, and tell them that no, you don't think they acted for the best, or that they are making the wrong decision, and watch their face crumple and still believe that you acted correctly? What if this person was your Friend, or Lover, and you were now the reason for that distress, you can tell yourself that it wasn't your fault as they asked and you gave, but you still have to look at the hurt you caused. Do you still feel sure?

Now I am not saying that in the right circumstances you shouldn't give you unedited opinion, and I'm not saying you should lie, but I do believe that if someone asked for your opinion you should be sensitive to why they are asking you for it. Only you know what it is and the damage it can do, so only you can predict the future outcome.

I personally will go on tempering my opinions so as not to do any harm, but I will also try not to expect the same from others. There are those that believe that an opinion when asked for should always be truthfully given, a noble sentiment, but they should not be so surprised when I am hurt by a hurtful opinion. I have been told "I just didn't tell you what you wanted to hear" to which I reply, if you knew what I wanted to hear why did you deliberately go against it? Honesty? A steadfast hold to the Sword of Truth? I find myself disinclined to believe such glorified protestations.

So I leave you with this, the next time you tell someone your opinion, knowing full well the probable outcome, look at your intentions; are they as honourable as you protest?

“We need lies…in order to live.”
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche - Philosopher

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

"Bitch!" - Think Again

It has come to my attention that the expression 'actions speak louder than words' is both apt and often misunderstood. I speak partly from experience and partly from my observations, you see I often wonder what people think of the stony faced girl in the corner, as often that can be me, and it occurred to me that if I have thought uncharitable thoughts towards that person that you have probably thought the same of me.

You see, 2008 was a hard year, in many ways, and as a result I find in 2009 I am not the same person I was. I, in no way think of this as a bad thing as a person should grow from year to year and learning from one's experiences and mistakes are the best methods for this. I am now far less trusting than I used to be, I am inclined to think the worst of people and I find cynicism comes quite naturally to me. When people object I say that I prefer to think this way as it lends to a life that is full of pleasant surprises instead of constant disappointment, but this is not entirely true. Yes, it is nicer to be surprised but that is not why I am cynical, I am cynical because that is what life has taught me, and I am nothing if not a good student. I'm sure I would be a much pleasanter person to have around if I smiled sweetly and was gaily optimistic about every man that asked for my number, or if I blithely trusted my employers to look out for my best interests, but, alas, I find that behaving in such a manner is not only stupid but unnecessarily painful. I salute those who have the energy and stamina to bounce back after very knock, but that, my friends is not moi. It is bad enough when they don't call, but it is worse when you were expecting, or dare I say, hoping they would.

So this is my point, that person we all know who sucks her teeth at the idea of a man fulfilling a promise, the girl who laughs sardonically when we are told that the redundancies are for the good of the company and the woman who rolls her eyes at the idea of the Boss being our friend; it is all too easy to write them off as a Bitch. I put it to you to wonder why? Life is hard, and London is harder, there is too much ego crammed within these grey walls. Most people have a long and hard day, underpaid and overworked at a job they could lose any minute, negotiating failing transport systems to get there in the first place. Couple this with a failing economy, knife crime increases, an everyday risk of cancer and stress levels are already high.

If London Life is hard, you’re already screwed if you are trying to maintain a London Love Life. Blood pressure and fatigue are already at dangerous levels, and you have trekked home just in time to receive a text message, "sorry, but..." Yeah, yeah you’re sorry, you didn't mean to sleep with me and never call, you didn't mean to flirt with me and then retract it all cause you sobered up and remembered your girlfriend, yeah, yeah, you didn't mean to. (You see? and I'm not surprised.)

In conclusion, I implore you instead of hissing bitch at the woman who cuts you up in order to jump on a tube, or the girl who is rude in a bar, think to yourself about what I have said and look for the pain behind the mask. Think about the last time you were rude to someone because your Boss was being an arse, or the last time you snarled at a passerby because you preoccupied with thoughts of what went wrong with that guy.

Bitch? Think again.

Monday, 26 January 2009

Things I have learnt during my short time living

1) You will never be more beautiful than you are as god intended, so fucking around with creams, colours, chemicals and other crap will not make any difference.

Don’t get me wrong, a bit of blush and some mascara can enhance your face, but painting out all the colour only to paint it back on over top is pointless and ultimately a mask more than makeup. Sure, cover up a spot, who wouldn’t? Don’t cover up your face; you might as well be a Geisha. Its insecurity plain and simple, it would be easier to wear a veil, the most amazing thing to me is when someone will wake up fresh faced and grimaces at the mirror, they will then spend 20 minutes painting on concealer, foundation, powder ,bronzer, blusher and not look any different. The real tragedy here is that they can’t see that they were beautiful before.

2) Men are all the same, no matter how keen they are at the beginning, once they get what they want, you won’t see them for dust.

You can have as many rules as you like, as many conditions, the fact is that During the 1700’s a man called Casanova showed men that they can behave like animals and be admired for it; oh, and how they learned. They are now adept at our tricks, they will text everyday, they will tell us that we are beautiful/stunning/gorgeous, and the experienced can even spin lines like ‘you make me feel something I haven’t felt in years’. Then once they have got you in bed it will change, they will become distant, or generate ‘issues’ until they have wriggled free and we are left as used and discarded as the condom from the night before.

3) Being attractive does not make dating any easier, if anything, it makes it harder.

I have often queried my lack of luck with men and have come up with the following disappointing reasons.
My standards are too high – um, standards? As someone who has a disappointing love life at best, when a guy takes the trouble to ask me out, I am inclined to give him a chance at bat. I may not go on a second date, but I would accept a first. So this I don’t believe, it’s not like I am turning down offers.
I intimidate them - I ask you, how silly is that? Suffering from a shyness at times that can be quite incapacitating, I am fully sympathetic to the plights of men and the stigma that they should make the first move, but shyness is not something that most men suffer from. If nothing else it is beaten out of them during their school years. So shyness not withstanding, I have been told that most men will not approach beautiful women for fear of being rejected, it’s only the egoistical losers that will have a go and this is because they no longer fear rejection. For starters, I do not believe that I am that attractive as to inspire some awe inducing fear. I’m just a girl who scrubs up fairly well, so the idea that a man would look at me, like what he sees, but then think better of it, is frankly disheartening.

4) People in positions of power are not always deserving of it, you are just as likely to get a manager who is an idiot as you are one who is intelligent.

I think the less said about this the better, lets just say that during my time as a working woman I have noticed that my superiors haven’t always been what you would wish them to be. Some of them are lazy, judgmental, inexperienced and inept. Of course, their human as well though, aren’t they?

5) Experience counts, but not for everything.

I think one of the most important things people need to learn is that Pride is the enemy and that there isn’t always just the one way of doing things. You may have been doing something one way for a long time but that does not mean it is the only way, and if a fresh face comes along and wants to try another way, let them. People’s brains don’t always work in the same way so what seems logical to you might not be seen the same way by someone else, the worst thing you can do is close your mind and not listen to someone with less experience than you, they may be wrong, but you will never know until you listen.

I will update you further as my lesson's in life move forward. :)

Wednesday, 21 January 2009


Just in case there were any residual doubts about me being a normal person, I can now tell you with a large degree of certainty that ship has definitely sailed.

For the last two nights in a row I have woken up at some ungodly hour in the morning having had a nightmare. Yeah, Yeah, 22 going on 6... The most unsettling part of the experience, I feel, is trying to put together the slipping shards of the night before and coming to the sad conclusion that I am cracking up! Losing my marbles! A few ants short a picnic!

Let’s examine together, shall we?

Monday Night - I am living by myself in some sort of seaside village with my three children, two very large black boys and a little girl, who is white. (I can feel you warming up your psychoanalysis already.) Anyway, the beginning of the dream is kind of hazy, but some how my oldest son goes away, I think he is either murdered or commits murder and is put away, either way it ends up being just the three of us. Unfortunately my two children do not get on; in fact I begin to fear my little girl may be in danger from my remaining son. So I make the decision that my son would remain living in the village while I took the little girl off with me to live on a boat, the deal being that I would abandon her in exactly 8 years time to come back and live with my son. So for the first part of the dream I am happily bobbing along on some house boat type thing with a small child that doesn't age the whole time. She stays about 5 years old the whole 8 years, strange huh? Anyway thing start to go wrong when the 8 years are up, and being the dutiful mother I am, I promptly abandon the little girl, leaving her on the boat and swim to the village, I literally jump off the side while she is asleep. In the mean time my son has grown into a monster of a man, towering above me, a great hulking figure. The problem is my daughter is a tenacious little thing, and somehow ends up at the village too and is looking for me; she turns up at our house. My son, thinking i have rescinded on the deal goes crazy, and once again I am afraid for my little girl. So we escape, touching this sudden emotion I have for the child I abandoned, and get back on the boat. Clearly I am just thinking that I am safe when my son turns up on the boat, there is a struggle and all three of us end up over board. We are all swimming towards the boat when my son goes for my daughter again, impeding her in the water. I, in order to let her get free, begin to struggle with him, and am holding him under the water....

... Then I wake up! To be clear, i don't think I killed my son, because in my dreams I can never kill the bad guy, they just keep coming. The things I notice from this?

1) I am a terrible parent
2) I am a slut, because there were at least two different fathers
3) The irony that the man grows up but the little girl doesn't.
4) Although I briefly abandon the little girl I always choose her in the end.

Tuesday Night - Please note first of all, that I actually am in a Pantomime called Dick Whittington at the moment. Ok, so a friend picks me up and first we go for breakfast, I am late for rehearsals apparently, but we still have time for breakfast in some sort of cafe. During the breakfast I am informed that we are doing rehearsals in a new place today, and sure enough when we leave, we rock up to what can only be described as a church. Although upon reflecting on this I am told it is not a church, but it sure does look like one. This is when the tone of the dream changes, we are all attacked during rehearsals by a huge, bright green pterodactyl. He is also in little trousers. Now this may strike you as weird but I have since realised where this little character of my subconscious comes from, I am ashamed to admit he bears a striking resemblance to an X-Men character which I used to watch when I was younger. It's funny what you can have buried in the back of your head isn't it? In case anyone cares I have found a picture of him for your amusement. Anyway, for the next part of the dream I spend a terrifying time watching members of the cast get eaten by this thing, and in true nightmare style I spend a lot of time running and hiding although never actually getting anywhere. I also spend a lot of time re-jigging the script so that we can continue the pantomime even though cast members are being brutally murdered... as you do... As the dream comes to its climax, basically the show is close to being abandoned because there are so few of us left and I find myself at the mercy of the beast with nowhere to run to. So I ask the creature, who thank God speaks English, why he is doing this, and am informed that he doesn't not like the pantomime Dick Whittington because in the end (in the dream version) a large beast is killed and he finds it offensive. I offer to do Cinderella instead, and the situation is resolved. Some point after that I wake up. The End!

Things I have noticed:
1) I spend far too many years in my youth watching dodgy marvel cartoons.
2) I am a complete coward as not once did I try to help anyone else.
3) In my dreams the story of Dick Whittington is completely different to that of it in real life.
4) Even my monsters have some sort of self righteous cause.

So as you can see, I am going completely bonkers…any minute now I am going to fly into some lack of sleep induced rage and require masses of therapy. Ah well…

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Drama Queen

Be careful what you wish for...

I know that people say that you should be careful what you wish for, it's an oldie but a goodie, and to be honest I never really payed attention to it, until now! Ok Ok, listen I'm not lazy as such but in my job I have gotten used to being told what to do - then doing it! Radical, I know. Now, I have had this fancy promotion (although same salary) and all these extra responsibilities, ay there's the rub. The problem is all of a sudden instead of 'Siobhan, go do the filing' now I'm getting ' Siobhan, can you devise a new method for our filing system and present it to me in one week at our Project Update Meeting.' Yikes! This is not what I am used to, all of a sudden my cushy, Log 'em and Flog 'em job now requires me to think outside of the box, Hell the fact that it requires me to think at all is a new step.

Yes, ok, alright, I did use to moan about being seen as unimportant, a little fish in a big pond so to speak, and now all of a sudden I have been thrown in the fast lane and told to sink or swim. (too many metaphors?) Sigh, I now find myself in a situation where I need to pull my finger out and engage the little gray cells... what's a girl to do?

I'll keep you posted...

Thursday, 8 January 2009

A Big Question

I heard once that there is no good or evil, there is only Power. Human's are born with Free Will, and born of that are the choices we make and their effects and it is said that it is our choices that determine out character. In most religions we are encouraged to choose to be good and follow a faith in order to gain our salvation, so, in accordance with this, if we make choices perceived as evil than we are choosing to be evil. So thinking along these lines it's about choice and perception that's creates good and evil, but is that true. Firstly, who decided what perception we were supposed to accept? Who decided what was evil and what wasn't? You could argue religion. You could also argue that people are born with a sense of morality, and at the same time some people aren't, which is why they do evil.

Thus far we have established that good and evil is bourn out of the choices we make, if we choose to harm things or take lives we are perceived as evil. A child, on a sunny day, with a magnifying glass and an ant hill; lives are being taken and harm is being done but would we call that evil? He is choosing to kill the ants by burning them alive but I doubt very much if it would be called evil. It could be argued that he does not realise the full implications of what he is doing. On a larger scale a serial killer who burns his victims alive would more likely be called evil, his awareness of the pain he is inflicting and the reality of his actions give weight to the argument. So is the difference awareness? Or is it Power? The child with the magnifying glass would not be able to kill hundreds of people the way he does with the ants, he does not have the strength, ability or intelligence to do it, he does not have the power, but who's to say he wouldn't? If we lived in some sort of Stephen King style universe and the child had the ability to start fires with his mind maybe he would use his pyrokinetic powers to set people alight? Would we call him evil then? Remembering that the child does not know what he is doing, they are not aware of the implications of their actions, they have a power or things but they do not understand it.

So, good and evil is not just a choice, is the awareness and understanding of that choice as well. To be evil you need to be consciously committing evil, but does that mean we forgive all those who do it unknowingly? If someone commits a crime which leads to a death but they do it unknowingly is it now evil? An accidental evil? If they repent should their ignorance be forgiven? A bank robber who handcuffs the manager to the table, in order to collect the money, then knocks over a lit cigarette onto a stack of papers as he leaves resulting in the Manager being burnt alive in the vault because he cannot escape, his actions resulted in the mans death but it was unintentional and without his knowledge. Was it an evil act? Would we forgive his ignorance? I'm sure he would be sorry, but a man would still be dead, his last few monuments spent on this earth in panic and agony, the outcome is awful enough but there was no intent. You could argue that stealing is a sin as well so the man was evil anyway but that would open up a whole new set of conditions and circumstances. The difference between Murder and Manslaughter is intent, legally without intent there is no malevolence, only an accident; which although still punishable, is less so. This lends to the conclusion, without intent there is no evil.

To be evil you need a conscious action, awareness and intent, but do you also need the power to do it. An Agoraphobia sufferer who lives alone, cannot venture outside of his abode, and shuns all human contact; but desires, with all of his black little heart to kill and murder all the people who have ever crossed him in any way. He spend his days mentally killing and maiming anyone he has every perceived as wronging him but does not have the power to do so because he cannot leave his house. He has awareness and intent but lacks the power to complete the evil, therefore is there no evil? His anger and malevolence will never harm anyone else, but it is still there, the evil in his heart. It's the proverbial tree in the forest, the evil is there but there is no one harmed from it, so is there really evil?

The final criteria are power then, there has to be the power to complete the evil, but can the level of power differentiate between an act and an evil act? The child with the magnifying glass is not evil but a fully gown man with a blow torch is because the level of power is different, the devastation is more far reaching therefore it graduates to evil. In films and science fiction books more advanced alien races often come to earth with the plot line of exterminating our race in order to live on our planet, not having one of their own. For dramatic emphasis they are usually portrayed as 'the bad guys'; the idea of killing off the human race to make room for their own inhabitation is seen by us as evil. The aliens are seen as evil because of their intentions and because they have the power to do it, it's the big guy picking on the little guy! So by that standard are we, as a race evil? Let’s face it we expand and murder thousands of species every day; cutting down rain forests, damming rivers, expanding our cities, is that not the same thing? We know what we are doing, they are conscious acts with understood intentions, but we lack the power to create the devastation that our fictional counterpart can do, we cannot wipe out an entire planet continent by continent, but does that make us any better?

Maybe awareness, intention and power have nothing to do with it at all; maybe it is all to do with perception. We justify to ourselves our actions everyday; evil, not evil; good, not good; but it's only those with power who get noticed and judged by us as a whole. Julius Caesar was perceived as a hero but he Romans when he conquered Gaul, but I'm sure they saw him as a ruthless tyrant. We remember the straight roads and the democracy that the empire created, but others might mention the wars, the murders and the debauchery. We justify the cutting down of rainforests by planting new trees, but tell that to the millions of creature who will die as a result of it, they will not benefit from the newly planted trees.

It seems that perception is the key, you have to pick a side, 'There is no Good or Evil, there is only Power.' Well I don't think that is strictly true, there is Power of varying degrees, everyone has a certain amount of Power, some less than others, and they make choices with that Power. The choices and actions resulting from it are they perceived by everyone else and categorised - Right or Wrong. Our perceptions are guided by different things, our emotions, religion, our own morale compass, our up-bringing, or our life circumstances; and it is with these things that we sort the grey into black or white. We use awareness, intent and the level of damage cause to determine the evil, but whether or not it is evil is still a decision made, a perceived idea, there is no fool proof test.

There is Good, and there is Evil but only you have the Power to choose.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009


Well, let put it this way, I’m beginning to think that Scrooge had the right idea.

I have officially got to the stage of my life where I understand how much work goes into it. The shopping and the drinking, and the socialising. The food, the cooking of the food, cleaning the house, decorating, Christmas cards, Christmas emails. Even dressing in the morning is harder, ‘oh I can’t wear that I need to look nice!’ It’s funny how an outfit that is suitable for the rest of the year is now suddenly not so suitable. It’s exhausting!

In addition to all this you have the examination of your life that is suddenly thrown into focus. Your family want to know about work, work want to know about your family. Everyone wants to know what your plans are, will you be with that certain someone or relegated back to Mummy and Daddy’s. Maybe you are the Mummy or Daddy in which case your Christmas planning skills are looked into. How good is your family Christmas? Do you have a boyfriend yet? When’s the wedding? Kids? How’s your job? Where are you living? Questions! Questions! QUESTIONS!!! Christmas is the time when everyone and anyone seem to think they entitled to an insight into your life, whether it is a pushy relative or a nosey colleague.

So you can imagine, dealing with all of this stress levels are already high. Come Christmas day, it’s like putting it all in a big pressure cooker and waiting it to go off with pretty red and green sparks. Of course by pressure cooker I mean The Family.

(Family + Alcohol) x Enclosed Space = Stress

You can picture it, I’m sure; the cooks are snippy because the prep is boring, repetitive and tiring. The place is a mess, there is stuff everywhere: cards, decorations, gifts, wrapping paper. Worst of all is the ‘Christmas’ mentality. You feel obliged to all stay together, as it would un-christmassy to go to you room, as a result everyone is milling around, bored, making small talk and drinking.

There’s the father I barely speak to asking bland questions and making bad jokes; the return of the prodigal son with solutions and pompous advice a plenty; finally the mother, with plenty of stress induce bitchiness. Clearly the only solution is to drink, and drink copiously, things are easier to handle when everything is a little fuzzy around the outside.

Finally as one last grievance, in my opinion the only way to eat turkey is with mayo in a sandwich. In a roast dinner, it’s dry and tasteless. Who decided that every year you should have turkey, I have no idea, it was probably a man, they always go for size over everything else.

That’s it, I’ve decided, next year Christmas IS CANCELLED!