Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Season's Greetings

It's been a funny old week. Tidying up all the loose ends at work before the break (i.e. doing everything I've been putting off since January in a state of mild panic), getting ready for Christmas - all that. This, coupled with the sudden appearance on my work internet connection of the dreaded WebMarshal, means that I haven't been about so much. So if I normally comment on your blog but haven't for a bit it doesn't mean I don't love you any more, it just means I'm too fucking scared to upload anything from my work PC for fear of getting Dooced. And since I do most of my blogging from work, I haven't really posted either. I would apologise, but do you really expect me to do this on my own time? Would you? I didn't think so.

So, with all this in mind, I think it's time to shut up shop for Christmas. I demand that everyone has a fabulous time; that those of you who drink do it to excess, and that those of you who don't eat twelve extra sausage rolls instead. I want to you to eat too much, drink too much, play stupid party games and bicker incessantly with your close family. Let's have Scrabble, and too many Quality Street, and tears before bedtime brought on by too much cherry brandy and a slightly crap present from your significant other. In short, have a fucking marvellous one and I'll catch up with you on January 3rd*.

Carry on.

* Probably. If I can be arsed**. You might wish I hadn't bothered - January is the Month of Staying In and Detoxing. Stop yawning at the back.

** Oh, come on. Who am I kidding? I'm too needy to even stay away that long.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Language: Unexpected, Strong

Today has been a mother-daughter bonding experience for me and Small Person. Following a disappointing (on her part) start which saw me falling asleep during my ninety-fourth viewing of Finding Nemo (there's only so much schmaltzy good-guys-finish-first Disney crap I can stomach) and her wandering off to play, the day has gone from strength to strength. We went to see the first Narnia film this afternoon - The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. I know it's not technically the first story, and I do wonder whether it'll end up in a confusing Star Wars prequel thing if they decide to make the film of the first book at some point (warning: I am a Narnia geek, have been since the age of eight) but we'll go with it for the sake of laziness. The only way I can describe the film from the point of view of an lifelong Narnia obsessive is that it was breathtakingly true to the book. Attention to detail was meticulous, down to the bluebottle in the wardrobe room when Lucy first discovered it. From start to finish the impression was of a film that had been carefully crafted with thoughtful reference to the source material, and that is rare enough to be remarkable. I can't emphasise enough how much the whole Narnia thing means to me. I devoured all seven books as a child, and although I never really got Prince Caspian or The Last Battle, the whole thing still strikes a chord, and I'm hoping to saddle Small Person with the same geeky viewpoint. I mean, I'm not letting her have Jesus, so the least I can do is give her Narnia.

Small Person has been something of a revelation today. I swear that living with her is like having a flatmate sometimes, so worldly is her outlook. The hippy side of me would say that she's been here before - whatever, she's wise beyond her years. Having asserted (loudly) in the cinema that Lucy should never have gone to tea with Mr Tumnus because "he's a Stranger!!" she surpassed herself this evening.

Picture the scene. Sunday evening chez Surly involves early jarmies (for Small Person) and Top of the Pops. Today offered a bonus - a Green Day mini gig recorded earlier this year in the BBC car park in Shepherds Bush. Despite only being five-and-a-half, Small Person is a very big Green Day fan, having American Idiot as part of her personal CD collection. We happily rocked out to the first part of the set. It was during the live version of Jesus of Suburbia that the following exchange took place:

SP (indignant) : Mummy, he said a swear word!

Me (absently, rocking out) : Did he, my love?

SP (rather cross) : Yes, he did.

Me (ill-advisedly) : What was it?

SP (matter-of-factly) : "Fucking"

Me (rather shocked) : No, darling, he said "parking"

Cue silent interlude while she digested correction of lyrics and I visualised a life of crime, trauma and minimum wage jobs for her.

Seriously though, my daughter rocks.

Carry on.

Friday, December 16, 2005


so. hungover. can't. type.

*settles head on desk for a sleep*

Thursday, December 15, 2005


The problem with having a really, really good experience and subsequently hoping to relive it is that you are invariably doomed to fail. In the summer, the Levellers all-dayer entered the hallowed annals of my all-time top three gigs. It was a perfect day, so last night's date in Norwich was hotly anticipated. Oh dear.

The problem, I think, lies in the difference between a festival crowd and a venue crowd. At a festival, people are generally laid back to the point of unconciousness (I can't think why) and are prepared to invest their time in an experience. In a festival crowd, I generally feel totally at home. Last night's crowd were, in general, extremely annoying. They ranged from the students from the UEA who got in on a concession and therefore didn't care who they were watching, to people who seemed to think the best way to spend a night catching up with their friends was to pay fourteen quid each to stand in a crowded, noisy venue and shout loudly at each other to the annoyance of anyone who happened to want to enjoy the band. Somewhere in the middle were the people like me, who really wanted to have a good time. We were few and far between. After the ninth six-foot-five bloke came to stand directly in front of me (at jumper-smelling distance. At a Levellers gig this is Too Close) we gave up and moved. Sadly, we ended up next to someone we christened Gazza's Younger Brother who stood in his tracksuit-and-trainered glory and complained loudly that the music was too loud and the lights too bright. Um, fuck off home then? Regrettably, in terms of people, everywhere was as bad as everywhere else. There were two blokes at the bar, propping it up as if three hundred people weren’t behind them trying to get a beer, and lying to each other about past gig experiences.. “I’ve got a Girlschool drumstick you know”. “Well I’ve met Rick Wakeman” etc etc. Whatever. Nobody cares. Or believes you.

As for the music - well, for me, it just wasn't happening. Tellingly, the biggest cheer of the night was for "Beautiful Day", arguably the most commercial of their back catalogue. They were recording a live CD and stuck mainly to the newer stuff, which personally I hate. It was clear that if we stayed I was more than likely going to have a fight, so we cut our losses and left early.

The older I get, the more apparent it becomes that my days of attending concerts, the cinema, the shops, um, outside in general are numbered. This, I have concluded, is not my fault. If everyone else wasn't such a twat it would be fine.

Carry on.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Public Service Announcement

Sometimes you just have to deliver a random act of kindness, despite the fact that you are usually more inclined to kick orphans out of the way to get the biggest present for yourself. Kellycat tagged me with a meme to name my top ten foods, plus my top ten musical acts I hate to the point of tracking them down via the internet, going round their houses and posting poo through their letterboxes. Regrettably, I am a miserable, self-serving witch and because I would rather talk at you about myself I simply ignored it in favour of my own agenda. So instead, I hand the Olympic torch of Interweb Chain Letters to Homer and, um.......any random lurker. Just own up in the comments when you're done.

Right, now that's out of the way, I can bang on some more about me, and stuff about me and things about me. Fortunately for you lot I have absolutely nothing to say, except that I'm off to see The Levellers tonight. Please feel free to talk amongst yourselves (dogs-on-strings/unwashed hedgemonkey jokes will be cordially ignored).

Carry on.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Stop it.

Here is a tip. Please feel free to process the information and put it to good use next time you are tempted to say something:

If I look pissed off or grumpy or unhappy it is because I am pissed off or grumpy or unhappy. Telling me to "cheer up" and postulating that it "might never happen" will only serve to drive me into a biting, snarling frenzy. It will end in tears and bloodshed, and neither will be mine.

Carry on.

Monday, December 12, 2005

My link is brilliant

Anyone who has the misfortune to know me in real life, and a few of my blogging chums besides will be fully aware of my utter contempt and loathing for James Blunt* and his fey, shitty sixth-form poetry, set lovingly to whatever preset on his Casio keyboard is this week's favourite. I simply cannot fathom why squillions of adoring fucktards fans buy his records by the bucketload. Or at least I couldn't, until I happened upon this. Please go and have a look (and a listen - needs sound) - it's absolute bloodyfucking genius. And you get to throw tomatoes and everything.

Carry on.

* My List of Loathing also includes, but is not limited to: Katie Melua, Jamie Cullum, Michael Buble, Daniel Powter and his Scary Hat of Doom, Jack "Sorry, I Nodded Off For a Minute There" Johnson, anything the Ex has in his CD collection, Katie Melua and The Corrs. This doesn't mean I will mock you for liking them, it just means that I would personally prefer to disembowel myself with a rusty rake than listen to them.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Mommy Dearest

Today was, well, beyond description. We went to lunch with my mother, Fifi Sis, her Other Half and their Smallest Minx. Highlights of the meal included:

  • My mother telling Fifi Sis it's best not to invite her to Smallest Minx's christening, due to the massive family rift caused by my mother which has rendered her unwelcome at family gatherings. The fact that no such christening is planned did not deter my mother from wringing every last drop of faux-torture and projected guilt from this imagined selfless act.
  • My mother announcing that she is buying a new car. This will be the third new car this year. My mother is unfamiliar with the concept of depreciation. My mother is familiar with the concept of massive maintenance payments from my ex-stepfather.
  • My mother explaining that the best way to introduce babies to solid food is to pin both arms to their sides and just sort of stuff the food into their mouths. My mother is unfamiliar with the concept of effective, loving child-rearing. My mother is not beloved by her children.
  • My mother announcing to the table that I lost my virginity at the age of eleven. My mother is unfamiliar with the concepts of dignity, social awareness and acute embarassment. She is also unfamiliar with the concept of truth. My mother is, apparently, mental.

I could go on, but frankly the two hours spent in the company of my mother have rendered me exhausted. On the one hand, it makes me sad that I don't really have any sort of relationship with her. She is utterly devoid of any interest in me, and sometimes I become irrationally convinced that I am part of a social experiment to see how far the mother-daughter relationship can be stretched and still survive. I am sad that she is unable to show any love, and I am sad that, should this change, I would be totally unable to accept love from her. It would make me cringe and fidget and want to run away. We rub along in a sort of prickly cold war, with the occasional skirmish related to her mentalness and inability to say anything nice at all, ever. I am sad that the emotional legacy she bequeathed me in my childhood is taking so fucking long for me to let go of. I am sad that, effectively, I have no real mother. I sort of want one. I sort of want someone to be interested in my life, to be proud of my achievements, to love me. I want someone who kept my school reports, who remembers things I did as a child with a smile, instead of only recalling the things I did that reflected badly on them. I want someone who understands that, when you're five or nine or twelve or fifteen, money, clothes and expensive holidays don't compensate for the lack of a stable, loving family. I want someone who would have chosen the happiness of her children over the material wealth of her own life. I want someone to feel affection for, instead of contempt and a longing for something more. But it's too late, and I could cry forever for that.

On the other hand, she's taught me what not to do while raising my own daughter, and for that at least I will be eternally grateful.

Oh, fuck it. Ignore me. Normal service will be resumed tomorrow.

Carry on.

Friday, December 09, 2005


I was going to post a list of things I really should be doing, but then I got distracted (and more than a little grossed out) by Meegan's tip for a delicious festive snack. From there on in, my morning has degenerated into really horrible story-swapping in our department. It seems that everyone has a poo story to tell, and I can't help wondering what possesses people to share that sort of information.

New Boss recounted the tale of a girl he once knew who felt moved to tell him about the time she did a poo that wouldn't come out properly and she had to call her dad and then have a bath to get rid of it (I'm not clear on her dad's part in the proceedings and didn't feel inclined to ask). This left Lovely Assistant and I pale with horror and at a complete loss as to how best to respond. So I saw his poo story and raised him a tale from when me and two friends were on a day out a few years ago. We were driving along, and Friend 1 was eating a petrol-station-type chicken and mushroom slice. Apropos of this, Friend 2 abruptly blurted "I ate one of those once, and when I did a poo the next day I wiped my bottom and there was a mushroom slice on the paper. Honestly, it was perfect. You couldn't tell I'd eaten it or anything". Without saying a word, Friend 1 wound the window down, pitched the offending snack onto the roadside and, on closing the window, stated clearly that she would never eat one again.

Oh, and I have a colleague who once told seven people in a meeting about the time he did a poo in the sea and it floated and followed him and he couldn't make it go away.

Please accept my abject apologies for this post.

Carry on.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

# 473 in an interchangeable list of thousands

The thing I hate most in the world right now this minute is my online banking access. It makes me pick random letters from my password and as I can't hold the letter-to-number translation in my head I have to count on my fingers every single time in order to establish what the third, seventh and eighth letters (or whatever arcane combination it's demanding this time) might be. It drives me MENTAL.

I am a little grumpy today. The Other Half left at 4am to fly to Hamburg and is in all probability drinking champagne from the perspex-soled mule of a Reeperbahn stripper even as we speak.

Well, it's actually a work trip but I never promised to be rational.

Carry on.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Angst - an epidemic

Poor old Patroclus suffered such a crisis this week that she scared the bejesus out of us by hiding her blog. There's been a lot of it about recently - people deleting blogs, people falling out in cyberspace, people nearly-getting-dooced. And it sort of got me thinking - although the media is full of hype about the millions and billions and squillions of bloggers out there peddling their musings and ramblings and rantings, the blogosphere tends to hang around in sort of clumps and can be rather cramped, at times. I know I have a corner of it that I consider my "patch" - people I drop in on, people who drop in on me, and at times it can almost feel as if we all really know each other (which can be dangerous in itself - unless someone chooses to reveal themselves as they truly are, this is surely the best medium there could possibly be for self-reinvention?). And I sort of got to thinking that this is what it should be about. About just sort of mucking about with your mates, building little communities, or even spreading good-humoured bile among like-minded curmudgeons. So that's what I'm going to try and concentrate on, and not get bogged down in obsessing about my stats, or my popularity, or the bloody fucking ecosystem, or how many links I've got, or who I should or shouldn't link to, and why I should care if someone I've never met and am never likely to meet might disagree with me or call me names. Yeah, it's the way forward!! Are you with me, people?!!

*clicks back to Sitemeter to work out whether this month will generate more hits than November*

Bugger. Carry on.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


There is A Strange Man using the spare desk opposite mine to organise some travel connection or other. He smells as if he might be carrying twelve or so dirty ashtrays about his person.

I feel sick.

Carry on.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Actually, you really shouldn't have.

The best christmas present I ever received came my way in 1982, in the shape of a Kids From Fame top/skirt outfit. It was in that grey sweatshirty material, and the top had a burgundy "Fame" logo on the right hand side. It looked fabulous with my burgundy legwarmers and pixie boots, and I was the best-dressed girl at the screaming, drunken argument-fest that our house traditionally descended into on christmas day (the only day of the year when we would actively encourage my stepfather to drink as it meant he would go to bed at four o'clock and we could watch the Two Ronnies christmas special in peace).

The worst christmas present I ever received was about three years ago. When we got engaged, the Ex couldn't afford an engagement ring, so I made do with a body-piercing ring (don't ask). It was explained to me that, should I ever want a "proper" ring (i.e. one costing more than three quid), all I had to do was ask. I did so a couple of times, but to no avail. In the year in question I had finally decided that enough was enough, and had even gone to the lengths of showing the Ex a beautiful ring in the window of the jewellers, accompanied by the words "that one. That's the one I want. That platinum one with the diamonds and the amethyst". He nodded and smiled and I felt sure that finally the message had got through.

On Christmas morning, I excitedly unwrapped my gifts and gasped with delight.....

....as I discovered that in a fit of generosity, in addition to my credit-card-sized-and-shaped Swiss Army penknife, the Ex had also splashed out on some flashing red LED's for the spokes on my bike.

Bastard. No wonder I left him.

Carry on.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Guys and/or Dolls

I wasn't going to post anything tonight. It's been a hectic yet satisfying weekend - all sorts of things have been achieved, but they're all too mundane to bore you with. So I was going to leave this until tomorrow in the hope that something would irritate me sufficiently to trigger a post. But then I watched Top of the Pops with Small Person (as is Sunday night tradition at Surly Towers) and now I have a question. I don't want to offend, or appear naive, or get all vacant on you, but I know a diverse bunch of weirdos characters drop by, and I thought perhaps someone might have the definitive answer. Alternatively, please feel free to further any scurrilous rumours - I like gossip as much as the next person.

My question centres around the Pussycat Dolls. I heard a rumour on the radio the other day - well, I say I heard a rumour - it was too contentious to air, so since the allusion the other morning I have been speculating on what the scandal might be. Having seen them on the TV this evening, I just wonder if someone can answer me this:

Have one, or some, or all of the Pussycat Dolls previously erred, um, more on the five-o'clock-shadow-and-understanding-sports side of the equation? I studied them intently for the five minutes they were on screen, and a couple of them were a little too close to call.

If you know something, or could care less, feel free to pipe up. Failing that, call me names and I'll bore you some more tomorrow.

Carry on.

Friday, December 02, 2005


Small Person is off to her dad's for the weekend. The Other Half is off working tomorrow. For the first time in I-don't-know-how-long I will be alone on a Saturday. I plan to sleep, read and shop. The first two are easy. The last, however, will only seek to underline the error of picturing christmas as a magical, sparkly affair in which everyone is imbued with peace and goodwill, and shop assistants are both pleasant and helpful. I've made a list (and yes, I've checked it twice. I thank you..) and will be heading townwards tomorrow afternoon so that I can finally stop fretting over what I have and haven't managed to buy.

Before setting off, I will do my traditional Sneering at Last Year's Giftwrap and buy stacks more, with the intention of "using the rest up next year". Will I bollocks. I'll simply add to the mountain of hideous wrapping paper and tawdry bows that clutter up the wardrobe in the spare room. Love buying gifts, fucking hate wrapping them. I hate trying to figure out how big the paper should be. I hate my weird compulsion that gifts should be placed upside-down on the paper so that they're the right way up for unwrapping. As if anyone would care...yet I can't stop myself. I hate losing the end of the sellotape, losing the scissors, losing my pen (my special tag-writing pen, that is. I hate that I have one), losing the will to live. I hate that I care about where I stick the tag (top right-hand corner, thankyouverymuch), and that I have to cover where I've stuck it with a bow. I went through a phase of putting curly ribbon on as well, but age and experience have taught me (and this is the only thing they've taught me, sadly) that nobody gives a fuck and that I could have left everything in the carrier bags and had my gift-wrapping skills greeted with no less enthusiasm. But it has to be done, and so I will do it. Just remember to "ooh" over the wrapping even as you frantically try and find something nice to say about the gift.

Bah. Carry on.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Dude, where's my motivation?

Must. Stop. Surfing. Blogs. Must prepare for assistant's appraisal. Must do Very Important Work for managing director that has been put off and put off and put off and now needs to be done Right Now*.

*clicks back over to the BBC News site to read some more about fruit bats*

Carry on.

*Must Also Stop Over-Capitalising

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