Saturday, July 21, 2007

Shit off, Potter

It just about summed it up for me.

The thirty-something man, dressed in generic supermarket jeans and a grubby polo shirt, gleefully ferreting through the last few pages of the new Harry Potter in the entrance of our local Tescos, eager to find out who dies immediately so that he could feel part of some ridiculous national/global obsession. That was the moment when I realised how sick to fucking death I am of Harry Fucking Potter.

There were grownups in wizard costumes outside Waterstones at quarter to midnight last night. Grownups. In wizard costumes. Oh, fuck off. Fuck off with your adult edition of the new book. Fuck off with dicking around in fancy dress in the high street on a Friday night so you can go to work on Monday and breathlessly recount to your indifferent colleagues (who all hate you anyway, except for that strange girl from Accounts with the wonky teeth and one boob bigger than the other) just how much fun it all was and how, like, really great the book is and how sad it is that there won't be any more.

Because, do you know what? It makes you look a twat.

Far be it from me to dictate what people should or shouldn't read, or like, or do for fun at the weekends. It's the smugness that irritates me. The air of belonging to some exclusive group of people who are prepared to queue for endless hours on a rain-lashed pavement so they can buy a flabby, third-rate children's book that will still be perfectly available at nine the next morning (and probably in the remainders bin in Woolworths by christmas). Do what you like. I just really, really don't get it, that's all.

Plus, I have a sneaking suspicion that Dan Brown and JK Rowling are one and the same person. I mean, you never see them in the same room together, do you?

Fucking Harry Potter. Bollocks to him.

Monday, July 09, 2007

In which I justify my pseudonym

1) It needs to stop fucking raining. If not now, then definitely before the middle of August. I am bored of rain, and thunderstorms every ten minutes, and being neither warm nor cold nor comfortable. Could whoever is responsible sort it out, please.

2) Telly is crap. All of it.

3) I want to eat cheese on toast and chocolate biscuits but because I am fat and want to be less so before we have our holiday (not because I need to look good in a bikini, but rather because we are going to spend ten days eating rubbish food and drinking copiously and I can't bear to be even fatter than I am now) I can't. And even though I am not hungry I know I can't have anything to eat and of course all I want to do is eat. Stupid female logic.

4) Planning a wedding is rather less fun than you would imagine, at times.

5) Really. No more rain. Please?


Thursday, July 05, 2007

Late, as usual

It was never like that in my day.
I know I'm a bit on the drag with this, but we're busy people. We recorded all the BBC coverage of Glastonbury 2007 and have been catching up with it over the last few nights, to get us in the mood for our own festival hollybobs in a month's time. Now, much as I love the idea of Glastonbury, it's really not for me these days. I went back in 1995, and the ticket buying process was as complicated as wandering into Andy's Records, asking for a Glastonbury ticket and watching as the till-monkey carefully tore one out of the giant book of Glastonbury tickets kept behind the counter.
1995 was a top festival - the sun shone relentlessly (well, except for the cloudy Saturday but it didn't even manage to rain), I saw Page and Plant live, I fell out with my friends on the first day and spent the whole weekend wandering about on my own, stone cold sober and hungry owing to running out of giro spends on the Friday evening. I met a man from Islington with a macintosh and an AM/FM all-weather torch (with a siren) and heckled German men in leotards with him. We wandered around together all night, until about 5am when I had to run away owing to him coming up on his second lot of mushrooms in the Dog and Vomit bar and shouting at people who weren't there. I slept out on the hillside in the Green Fields campsite. I found the dragon. I watched the sun go down listening to the drummers in the Sacred Space. I painted some rainbow pants on the 25th anniversary mural. It was fucking aces.
I've never been back, and the older I get the less inclined I am to do so. It just looks a bit, well, sterile these days. I know from my own experience that a person can go to Glastonbury and spend four days there without seeing a single band with a record deal. But somehow, I'm afraid to sully my memories of my own golden weekend.
And besides, what the fuck is going on with all those giant flags in the Pyramid Stage crowd? Jesus. We saw the Killers' set last night and if you'd been at the back of the crowd it would have been impossible to see the band through the vast swathes of material flapping about on twenty-foot poles. And who is enjoying themselves waving the damn things?
It's a serious question. Do people really take those fucking great things with them*? Or is it all a ruse on the part of Mean Fiddler - do they supply them so people will wave them about and make the place look more festy-like?
I need to know.
* And yes, I have bought a fifteen foot pole and a Jolly Roger windsock to take on our holidays, but it's only to have in the campsite so we can find our tent. Honest. Shut up.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

In Which I Ramble On Forever

It's always the same. Every time I end up doing a meme I am compelled to preface it with the disclaimer that I don't usually do memes.

And I don't, not usually. But, like everyone else who deosn't really do them, I do acknowledge how useful they are in the complete and utter absence of a single idea. And, since ideas are few and far between these days*, I was delighted to receive some rather probing questions from the lovely Thursday. And the reason I've decided to answer them is that they are well thought-out and actually relevant to me, and don't consist of the usual "What's the weirdest place you've ever had sex**" sort of thing.

So, hang onto your hats. Abandon interest all ye who read on from here. Sorry.

1. What was your mother's relationship like with her own mother?

Ooh. Straight in there then, Thursday. To be honest, I don't know the answer to this one. I know what my mother has told me, but then I've learned pretty well over the years that my mother is a spin-doctor of epic proportions when it comes to how other people have treated her and how it has informed her behaviour. So, according to She Who Must Not Be Named, her mother was cold, reserved and unfeeling. My maternal grandfather was killed in the Home Guard*** during World War II and, so far as I can make out, my Nanny married again quite soon. Or didn't. Or something. Given that until I was about eight I thought my brothers and sisters were my cousins and my dad was my uncle, you're going to have to excuse me on being a bit vague about my family tree. I know that, when she was alive, my Nanny was held at arms length. I've thought about this a lot over the years. My Nanny was from good old East End stock. She called a spade a spade. She spent Christmases and holidays with our "family" and was, more than once, on the receiving end of my stepfather's drunken vitriol. She saw the fights, she saw the trauma and I have no doubt that she called my mother on what on earth she thought she was doing, both to herself and to the children she was charged with looking after. SWMNBN, therefore, painted my Nanny as someone to be tolerated rather than loved. Now, this isn't to say that my Nanny was an apple-cheeked paragon of grandmotherliness. I had my fair share of run-ins with her over the years. But, just before she died, I spent a lot of time with her. SWMNBN was in a private psych unit, having been sectioned for attempting suicide after discovering that my stepfather had been nobbing a colleague for the past ten years or so. So, it was left to me to keep my Nanny company in her last few weeks. And, I wouldn't have changed it for the world. I learned a lot. I actually came to know her as a person, and that is priceless to me.

Good lord. So, to sum up, I have no real idea what my mother's relationship with her mother was like. According to my mother, they had no relationship. According to my Nanny, she did her best given her circumstances. My mother also trots this one out periodically (her trying circumstances involving a large house, endless piles of cash and four foreign holidays a year), so who's to know? I know this much: I miss my Nanny. I don't miss SWMNBN a bit.


2. What positive opportunities in life do you think Small Person will have that you didn't?

Well, her parents' divorce aside, she's got quite a lot going for her. Yes, she's an only child, but she is settled, confident, happy and secure. She is loved, and knows she is loved. She is intelligent, warm and funny, and is secure in her own little world. I was none of, and had none of those things.

Oh, and we never had Heelys when I was small. So there's that, too.

3. Were you EVER happy with the Ex?

Well, now. That depends on how you define happy.

If you mean did I spend seven or so years with a man who was pathologically unable to feel warmth towards another adult human; with a man who was jealous, suspicious, paranoid, miserly and a little bit thick; a man whose idea of entertainment was shooting fluffy woodland creatures and bringing the bits home for his dog to play with; a man whose inability to enjoy life was matched only by his capacity for forgetting to have a wash, and did I make it through those years without actually jumping off the nearest multi-storey car park then yes, we were blissfully happy, thank you for asking.

If, however, you mean would I be able to look back on the time with him without a sadness that we spent such a long time making each other unhappy (he liked me about as much as I liked him, as far as I could tell), and is my current relationship so far removed from my married life as to be astonishing, then: no. We were never really happy. We got together at a weird time for me. I was twenty-three and, since leaving home at seventeen, had had some disastrous relationships. I met the Ex and became convinced that if I didn't marry him I would officially be on the shelf. It was pretty much carnage from the word go. I mean, we did have some laughs. But were we ever truly happy together? No.

4. What would you really, really like to do as a job?

Easy. Official fluffer for Tenacious D. Or an actor. Or, really, a psychiatric nurse. You know, whichever.

5. I cannot believe that the Other Half or Small Person view you as surly. So, why the name?

Oh, it's all part of the act. The one where I hide behind being a grouch, and being all growly and cross to hide my insecurities.

That is, of course, a lie. Everything annoys me. I rant in my head for most of my waking hours - at the tv, at other drivers, at stupid shop assistants, at my colleagues. You see, much as I really love some individuals, people in general really piss me off. This is my outlet (not that I don't moan in real life, you understand). So I am Surly.

Plus, I just liked the way Surly Girl sounds. And, since I have discovered that I am not the only person who feels this way (and I really didn't know before, not consciously anyway), I would like to thank any professional retailers whose copyright I may have inadvertently breached for not suing me. So far.

So. That's that. If you've got this far, you have my sympathy. Maybe next time I'll treat you to a hundred words on why I hate the new self-service tills in supermarkets. There's a treat for you to look forward to.

If anyone wants me to ask them some questions, express your wishes in the comments. And seek some professional help.

* Really. I am this close to quitting, I bore myself so much these days.

** Twenty-odd feet above sea level, somewhere between Menorca and Gibraltar.

*** I don't know how true this is either. On reflection, it's just as likely that I was raised by goats in Borneo as anything else I've been told over the years. If it is true though, that's pretty fucking unlucky, don't you think?

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