Bloggers are from Earth, Blogs are from Webspace

business blogging2

This post just might be a cleverly disguised apology for being a bad blogger, and giving bad excuses as to why this is so. But there are times where blog and blogger just won’t connect. You’re not making an effort any more. They’re hanging out with other blogs and making you question everything you know as real, saying things like, ‘Bachelorette Frog is not supposed to be relatable.’ I know – who is this guy? Words hurt.

These following points are toxic when it comes to you and your blog making it as a couple. If you’re having trouble connecting with yours, you are not alone – but by admitting your mistakes (using the slutty emoticon, with the lips) and realizing that you can change, all is not lost.

LACK OF IDEAS

Andy Milns eats chocolate replica of his brain, London, Britain - 16 May 2012

Aaah that old chestnut, she says, using a really tired cliché. This ‘I have no ideas’ claim is a common issue, but really is no excuse.  Coming up with ideas is what the whole writing/blogging shabang is all about, yet I can sit there and ponder for like 4 whole minutes and still nothing of any worth is produced. I consider writing about rain, that sucks, right? God, rain. About Christmas, that’s a big thing. And how about when an orange peels off all in one? Satisfying.

Many a lecturer and writer and guru, sexual or otherwise, will tell you that inspiration is simply a tiny spark that can appear in the most mundane situation, and you have to capture and nurture it yourself. So if you’re sat watching the picture box and it appears, wagging its bright little arse in that Fruit Pastilles advert – QUICK CATCHIT CATCHITQUICK! That bugger of a spark is rare, for me anyway. When you’re staring at the wall, mentally rubbing two damp brain cells together, no spark is going to spring from that. Ideas have to be squeezed out of you in this life, squeezed from your inner-most depths! So go look at some birds or something!

Oh... couldn't hurt.

Or that… couldn’t hurt.

ARROGANCE vs PARANOIA

annex-march-fredric-dr-jekyll-and-mr-hyde_nrfpt_03

‘Post it…. post it good.’

On those rare occasions that a spark may occur, I then put it out by thinking, ‘But who cares? Who cares what I have to say? And what authority do I have to say it?’ The answer is none – most of us bloggers don’t, LOL. And for that reason, usually, when you write something that you plan to publish to the world (because y’know, the entire planet is reading this), you have to push yourself to be as arrogant as hell to get through it.

Sometimes I picture my arrogant side as the most dick-like contestant on Junior Apprentice – all one eyebrow raised, stood in front of the Shard saying, ‘I may not be published, but boy, do I have books COVERED!’ –  *replaces the dust-jacket on a hardback whilst smirking, in a hilarious and brilliant play-on-words* – Oh yeah. I am so hired.

Sadly for the progress of Cloud Corinne, my arrogant writing side is often screamed down by the manically paranoid side, who presumes that if I dare to press ‘publish’ on some lacklustre post about hair colour, we will all get Gonorrhea of the eyes – or worse (:no one will read it). You will always fight the ‘What if I suck?’ bug in this business, but occasionally you should let the Arrogance win. For too long, Manically Paranoid has reigned supreme over this blog, so nothing ever gets posted. And the world seems drained of colour, I know. It’s tough for everyone.

—-

COMPARISON

buzz_e_woody

Do you know how many blogs there are out there? I’m going to say six million jabillion as a rough estimate. Whatever I’ve written takes a bashing when it’s compared to not only better quality of content, but pretty font, cool widgets, and an extremely sexy layout, all topped off with 300 comments per post saying things like ‘Oh my God that is SO YOU! Because I feel I know you because you post regularly despite having a kid and three other jobs! SCREAM – massage?’

Usual thoughts: ‘Why am I writing this to no one? Someone else, somewhere else is writing better things to other people. I give up right this minute – this minute I say!’ *skids mouse 10 cm*.

This may seem rebellious and totally unhinged, but it can result in your blog being neglected or even feral, and do you want that on your conscience? It will throw up an ad for cheap polyester jumpsuits from Taiwan whenever it’s disturbed, and you drove it to that.

When I see Cloud Corinne all forlorn and dusty like a Furby that wasn’t ever tipped upside down again… because it just always needed ATTENTION and sometimes you just want to savour your Muller Corner in peace without being reminded that you’re crap at mothering… it hits me – I love my blog really. It is my husband but also my child, born out a need to tell everyone stuff that nobody cares about. It’s all a bit sick, really. I am a single woman, yes, but I don’t know what that has to do with anything.

And if you’re writing for yourself in the end, yourself and your blog – that’s what will keep you coming back, so the comparisons don’t matter.  Fight the drawbacks and the two of you will skip away on your journey together; you walking with feet as humans generally do, your laptop under the safety of your arm, where it will forever stay. Until like, 2027, when I’m just assuming here but technology will be all like ‘hey, blogs are also hot men now, mostly naked, but others in nice shirts and skinny ties – we said so.’

***yes 2027***

x

When Devouring Brains Leaves a Bad Taste

If you were ravaged hideously by your local zombie community, thus becoming zombie yourself, what kind would you be? Personally I’d be your understated office-wear version; the kind that was simply chomped by a roaming corpse whilst queuing for a salad. The bushes would ladder my tights as I dragged my heavy limbs back to work, flung my salad across the photocopier and fed on everyone’s flesh. Because it’s lunchtime, and I’m just your classic zombie office-chic.

Others however, would visualise themselves slightly differently when undead.

I realised this last weekend as I watched a parade of corpses stumble through town during Bristol Zombie Walk 2012. Around Halloween they appear in masses, groping the fronts of buses, stumbling into puzzled living folk and smearing blood all over the windows of KFC. This culminates in Castle Park, where they drink cider from 2 litre bottles and get down to some filthy (because of blood and pus) zombie beats. David Attenborough, despite all his admirable achievements, has missed this spectacle.

But as I absorbed this occurrence and thought, not for the first time since moving here, ‘Bristol is very odd'; I also realized that difference in taste exists among these misunderstood monsters as much as it does between you and I. And I don’t just mean the taste they all share, that being, for brains. I will illustrate as follows:

 More akin to my preferred style, the classic office zombie is not one to be disregarded. Despite the word ‘kill’ written in blood across their notepad, or some spontaneous hula hoop activity, they are what I consider to be the most civilized of corpse-folk.

Demonstrating ‘spontaneous hoop activity’

But then the boundaries start to get weird.

In preparation for this parade, people obviously think, ‘I aspire to be the best kind of zombie. If I were to be zombified, how would I express my ‘swag’?’ And so, through the medium of being dead, they reveal their inner-most selves.

X Some think, I would like to be an example of produce.
Like. A carrot. WITH A TASTE FOR BRAIN.

X Or a nanner. WITH A TASTE FOR BRAIN.

Nanner, we’re just as confused as you are.

 Others choose the often under-represented zombie pensioner community. The bright colours do wonders for their off-green complexion, and the popular layering technique hides oozing flesh wounds with ease.

 Then there’s true style. You can never go wrong with Bridal Couture, and blood soaked lace is really set off by the Autumnal setting. How proud they must be, surrounded by their trembling, decaying family. Let’s all remember, next time 28 Days Later is on Film4, that THEY CAN LOVE.

…and go on to have children and zom-dogs.  

ZomDog JD. There are no limits!

But if when deciding your zombie outfit, you find yourself blushing with shame-induced pleasure, this is where you’ll fit in. This is the downstairs floor of Zombie Ann Summers. This is the blacked-out window store of the Zombie ghetto. Undead, everyone is equal – no matter how sick you were as a living being – so some may decide to slip into the trackies of a deceased, recently-outed paedophile, or another loveable dead celeb… =  X

‘Touch me Jimmy!’ ‘- You’re too old!’ <— actual words that were said

But this zombie season is all about being your own hero, especially a dead one. Anything is possible in the afterlife/death. Be they Olympic heroes… =  

…SUPERheroes  

…Supreme beings (but dead) 

Or your most disturbing childhood toy! X - all idols can be paid homage.

Then, dotted in amongst the norm come the vom-zombies. This specialist mode of style is for the most hardcore of brain-munchers, and could cause blindness due to volumes of bad taste – unless you enjoy seeing the Stig’s arm being mashed up into his open head. But I predict the standard office zombie would see this as somewhat of a faux-pas – I mean, his bone is exposed to the world X

Then, as my sister (who was visiting, and mildly horrified) and I ducked away and left them all franken-bopping to Fatboy Slim until the early hours, we gave thanks that even non-living minorities are tolerated on the streets of Bristol. Thank you Bristol Zombie Walk 2012 for celebrating the in-styles of the underground zombie community, this Halloween season.

For way better photos than I managed to take (they staggered past at an annoying pace) you can look here –  BRAINS 

Ode to the Quarter-Life Crisis

It was Summer. You were in an office. Unaffected by the record-breaking rain and the odd, hour-long sun spot, because the windows seemed to be posters of weather, teasing the senses – smugly projecting the illusion of the outdoors. The heat kicked out by the computer monitor is now fresh air. The tapping of keys replaces bird’s song. The birds are outside, swooping against the glass; ‘Corinne, don’t you love us anymore?‘ I don’t know how to love you, birds. That was the old days; the glory days. Must you taunt me so, oh birds? I’m trying to enjoy the Summer. This long, never-ending Summer of .doc.

Can I just say, before we get into this – if you’re younger than twenty – log out, go drink some vodka in the streets and do yourselves proud. What I’d give to be hanging off some concrete step wearing fairy wings again, concerned about whether a second trip to Chicken Licken would be excessive, rather than my dreaded office phone. There’s nothing wrong with my job, I just think freedom is nice and I’m still not used to its absence. The highlights come in someone making me tea. When it goes luke warm with a skin, that’s my life in beverage form. Of course you understand.

Or maybe not. A lot of people have said to me, ‘Six months! Try twenty-six years!’ or something along those lines. Nothing could be more terrifying to me. Or they’ve said, ‘Yeah, thanks; wish I had a job.’ Or, ‘God – First World Problems.’ A lot of my problems warrant that response, funnily enough. I get it, grass is always greener. A twenty-something is never happy.

To further dampen the mood, I’ve been reminded many times that I should use my newly-earned cash to save for a pension – old-age is for fun, apparently – not now. In your prime? Please. If you’ve not heard, zimmer-frame disco dancing is where all the struggles of your life condense into one beautiful moment of validation. Looking out across the Atlantic from the deck of the cruise ship – through your top-of-the-range bottle-cap lenses – you’ll know that the mashed potatoes for dinner won’t irritate your premium dentures, and that saving and missing out on your youth paid off big time.

Whilst I wait impatiently for this, I go a bit wild in private celebration. Purchasing salmon instead of tuna. Topshop instead of Primark. Heinz baked beans – y’know, classy stuff. Living the dream. But as I unpacked my middle-range produce from a Tesco carrier one day, I thought, ‘I appreciate living the high-life, but something’s not right. This urge to throw cash at things, it’s beyond my control.’ I felt most poignantly that I should throw it at a budget airline so that they would allow me to board one of their planes.

Like, to Italy.

But who would go with me? At the time I want to go, and do what I want to do, on the budget I can afford?

(I couldn’t be bothered to ask) NO ONE.

If I was to do this, it would be solo. So I did a lot of research, drummed my fingers on a lot of surfaces, stared at a lot of walls, held my breath – and booked it. Booked the time off work, booked the hostels, booked the flights. Booked. Hit myself round the face with a book. THE BOOK OF LIFE, PEOPLE.

Yeah stuff it in Julia, ‘cos soon I will be

BUY A TICKET (ok!) GET A TAN (burn) FALL IN LOVE (ha) NEVER RETURN (probs will) - I’m living out Pinterest!

Since then I have had to answer to the phrase, ‘ON YOUR OWN!?’ many times, including my sister’s – ‘You’re mental, but millions of people do it without dying and you might be fine’ – which was comforting – but actually it’s made me happier that I am doing it, to prove to myself that it’s no big deal. To prove that my dreams about hostels full of locusts are being over-dramatic. For some people it really is no big deal; just like I find travelling alone in the UK completely fine, whereas others hate it. I mean it’s not like there are slums and disease, just the cousins of Gino D’ACampo. They would find this post, and the fact that I wanted to puke this morning, a gross over-reaction. So?

Italians eat brains and hearts, wave their hands around, catcall in the streets and think spaghetti is a starter – I’m mildly shittin’ a brick.

If you’ve done this, especially in Rome, Pisa and Florence, please comment so that I feel less insane. I leave tomorrow. I’m counting on your support, and restaurant suggestions.

Sincerely,

Quarter-Life Crisis

‘I hope a this like tha Italy you see on Pinterest. Thass a hundred dollar each.’

Sex and the City Addiction – the cold, hard reality.

Many will not click on this post, citing the reason: ‘Ppphhh; girls.’

What they don’t understand is that when watching Gok Wan’s Fashion Fix with a Pot Noodle is all you have in ways of a steaming hot style guide, Sex and the City can provide a heavenly escape! – but it can go horribly wrong.

When you’ve ground down the entire box set and snorted it in one, as I have – until Carrie’s inane ramblings have become a running commentary in your newly defunct brain – the cringe factors involved become null and void. Four New York women are lunching, shopping and shagging, but you continue to bum it regardless. This, as well as the following factors, make Sex and the City Addiction a scary place to be.

—–

  •  Being at a certain point in the box set is a state of being.

Repeat –  ‘a state of being’.

The ‘state of being’ comes within ‘The Cycle’ – beginning at episode 1, Season 1: (‘Sex and the City’); right through to the last episode of Season 6: (‘An American Girl in Paris, Part Deux’); and finishing with the first film, Sex and the City: The Movie. You do NOT watch the second. Then after a brief sensation of superiority you begin again at Episode 1; thus continues the cyclic glory. You will be at some point within this cycle at all times, without needing a helmet nor an Ibuprofen. It’s a truly beautiful thing. 

—-

  • Recognition of the almighty acronym. 

Of course you know what SATC stands for, it even looks like a word to you. And you sometimes say, ‘I’m going to watch some Sat-kuh.’ Because that’s the only way you can pronounce it, and it makes you feel exclusive.

….

  • You relate happenings in your own life to that of Miranda, Carrie, Samantha or Charlotte – even if you don’t want to. 

‘My boyfriend won’t commit but we belong together – what if he’s Big?!’ cries friend into her sodden sleeve, and you grip her shoulder in understanding. ‘I’m pregnant but I don’t know how to babyproof a toilet? I’m such a Miranda!’ says hypothetical up-the-duff friend, and you tilt your head in empathy.

Group hug everyone! Tonight, we’re eatin’ Shabbat.

And when your friend comes home with a bald, hairy-backed boyfriend and beams ‘I’m becoming a Jew!’ – well you just scrunch your nose with pleasure because your whole life has led up to this very moment. The truth is, anything from Sex and the City can relate to everything, whether you like it or not. Yes, from seducing the fattest guy at Weight Watchers using a Krispy Kreme, to taking the virginity of a fresher because he has the same name as you; it has most of your main life events covered. Alas, the image of young Corinne lounging in his Gryffindor boxers will never leave my mind.

…..

  • You recognize Samantha’s conquests in other, forgettable films and features. 

‘Oh look – he’s the guy with the funky tasting spunk.’(Shall We Dance). ‘Oh – he’s the guy whose penis was so big it was like a wall of flesh.’ (Phone Booth).

‘I’ve been thinking about you, and the work that you do – solving the psychotic mind games of Jigsaw. So I bought you canned goods – they’re the best.’..

‘Hello, priest that Samantha can’t ever bone’ (Saw V).  Unfortunately, as you’re nearly always watching these films with grandparents or other distant family members, yelling, “You tell ‘em, Friar Fuck!’ would be inappropriate. But rest assured they were thinking it. Everyone was.

…..

……..

  •  Huge chunks of script are embedded into your brain.

Let’s test this theory… just picking at random… the episode where Carrie goes to see Miranda after Aiden has picked her up off the bathroom floor.

Miranda- ‘This is bullshit.’
Carrie- ‘I know.’
‘Not that, you! You and your bullshit bagels! First you send your boyfriend to do your job, and now, the bullshit bagels! You didn’t even bring cream cheese!’
‘I bought the good bagels?’
‘If you fell, or something, there is no way I’d send my boyfriend to help you, and YES I KNOW, I don’t HAVE a boyfriend.’
‘What’s the problem, Aiden is better in a crisis than I am-‘
‘I was naked, Carrie! I was on my bathroom floor and I was naked, did he tell you that!’
‘No, he’s a gentleman. …. Alright, I’m sorry. I promise I won’t send my boyfriend to do my job again.’
 

Ok – that was just scary. Give or take a few errors, I think that was almost completely right. Learn from my dispicable life mistakes and burn your box set before you get to this point. Or consider it, that’s enough. Maybe whilst you slip into your replica tutu outfit from the opening credits and lock your bedroom door.

…….

  • You have considered going on Mastermind with Sex and the City as your specialist subject.

Q: How was Miranda dressed
when she saw Eric?
A: Mario

……

.…..So potent are the intricacies of your knowledge. You know that the turquoise Jimmy Choos that Scout chewed up were circa 1996, and that Miranda’s first boyfriend, never featured, was called Eric. Oh, also, Carrie wore a BELT around her bare stomach once – as an everyday outfit. That’s enough to make you want to sink a few strong Cosmos. Or maybe just throw them, directly into your eyes.

……

……

……

  • You have watched it enough to know that Carrie is a neurotic, whiney, self-absorbed little bitch who deserves no friends.

So Carrie is clearly, the star of the show.  She’s supposed to represent consequences to actions, learning from mistakes; all the complexities, the downfalls, the deep, questioning, feminine ANGST of women everywhere… and I don’t like to cuss in my blog after once, my Dad reprimanded me, but y’know what? She’s a dumb bitch. Carrie is the biggest anti-hero there is.
Don’t believe me? I even found this on Google:

…….

How To Be Carrie.

 – Twist every conversation back to when the topic was about you, no matter how serious the current subject. Examples as follows:

‘Wait, you think you might get marrried? But Big leant me his spare toothbrush head, what about that?!’

‘You need a lawyer for a divorce settlement? Ask her about that girl who made a mean face at me, remember that? Remember how hard that was for me?’

‘I have a great boyfriend but I’m having an affair with Big, can we discuss that? I’m devastated.’

‘Oh my God, Aiden doesn’t like me. Oh my God, Aiden likes me too much. Oh my God, I’ve accidentally told Aiden I’ll marry him. Oh no, I split up with Aiden and now I have no money. Give me money, Charlotte. Charlotte? You’re a bad friend.’

 – Scream at things. Such as rain. A closed museum. A squirrel. Wind. A heeled shoe. A taxi that is nowhere near you. Scream, scream, scream.

 – Get food on your mouth whilst you’re eating. And lick it off in a really retarded fashion when a guy informs you of said face-food. I could list the times this has happened – jeez Carrie, learn to eat.

You may think this took a long time. It didn’t, I knew exactly where to look.

- Blow off your friends all the time for assholes, then do nothing but complain about those assholes when you’re with your friends. Big won’t give you a housekey? Good! That’s karma for standing Miranda up as she sat at a bar alone, just because he was cooking you some veal. You deserved that ugly swan purse he gave you for that faux-pas alone.

- Related: cancel on your best friend who has cancer so that a Russian pensioner can rub your feet and recite poetry. Hey – you know in Paris where a kid slapped your head and then you stood in dog shit? Yeah. That.


  • You deny the existence of Sex and the City 2.

Speaking of Carrie’s idiocy, in this film she’s just crying out to be buried under a camel. It actually causes you pain to watch any of this seriously. The whole thing was deeply, deeply painful – as fans know. It’s a sore point for us. My sister couldn’t even look at me in that theatre, she knew the mutual pain that our glance would share.

If I may quote SATC, Samantha, S6 E8; ‘Karaoke – I don’t do that.’
And Sam betrayed us all, and our eyes and ears burned.

———————–

So as I’ve highlighted here for the good of women everywhere, there is a dark side to liking Sex and the City so, so much. I could go on but I think for the sake of my shattered reputation, I’ve said enough. If anyone would like to join this SATCAA meeting and admit to their problem, I would welcome it – including details of any further symptoms.

NB: I dedicate this post to the strong, independent female warrior sitting next to us during our first SATC movie showing, who arrived alone, left alone and kept answering Carrie with ‘Mmhmm!’ whenever she asked one of her rhetorical questions. You keep answering those questions, girl! Hey – can’t no one answer those questions but YOU.  Peace  <3.

,,,,,

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A Public Apology – for the past, and for the future.

He’s sorry.

Things that I suck at:

  • Javelin.
  • Dusting.
  • Posting on my blog.

My last words surrounding the blog were ‘I’ll write more often, promise!’ and that was three months ago. To anyone who cares (close family and friends, hi), I apologise for my incompetence. You’re probably of the opinion that if I dared to enter the ‘blogosphere’ (pause for emphasis…..) then I should have done so with the utmost commitment and I should be ashamed, especially considering the slight success of my last post, Wait, is this a place where grown-ups work? that I personally like to read in the voice of Mark Corrigan.

It’s been tough finding the energy to write here for a few reasons. Firstly I have become aware that my blog isn’t going to be taken seriously by WordPress with these naughty, naughty Google images. Sigh, but I love the images.

Secondly I was unemployed (that was a temp job before that I freaked out over… yeah, maybe I overreacted) and so spent each and every day writing long, tedious descriptions on why I was perfect for every job in the world. Thirdly, the pressure for these posts to be enjoyable made me crack slightly, and my hair fell out in clumps and blocked the shower plug.

was writing about my new phone. Yep. I felt like I was combing dried manure out of a horse’s tail. Don’t worry though, eventually (after I tried combing it with my own teeth and spat it everywhere, then cried) I cut the tail right off. So although it’s deeply saddening, there will be no phone blog post.

I’ve realised that I just have to write, and not think so hard, and possibly lower the quality of the posts in the process, nomsain? For any odd/crap blog posts of the future, and the fact that I just said ‘nomsain’ as a warning, I apologise. With all my heart.

So let’s start – I have a great post for you about Sex and the City. HAHAHA. No seriously.

Love, Corinne (of the Cloud named as such)

Wait – Is This a Place Where Grown-Ups Work?

Wikipedia – the source of all essential and fact-based knowledge – informed me that many people of my age are considered a PETER PAN GENERATION. Danaaaa. So, self-explanatory really; we play casual flute to a young Victorian audience, then frolic about with a couple mermaids wielding a knife the size of a chipolata, and we’re adorable.

Well… half true. Actually, for us of the Peter Pan generation, jobs are of minimal availability, housing costs mean we will forever rent or live with our parents, and serious life commitments are generally avoided like swine flu. This results in an embedded ‘Ah well, I’m too young anyway’ belief that can develop into a permanent mantra. Early marriage is a no, as are lots of children – and why invest too much of ourselves into a job we’re not happy in, winding up cynical and annoyed at where we’ve ended up? Nah, life is much more fun if you just… drift. No big decisions = no big mistakes. To Neverland!

Sigh. Ok, no then.

I’m going to precede this seemingly ungrateful spew by saying I survived unemployment hell , moved away and got a job – THANK GOD. It’s temporary but it is within the realms of existence: good thing. And it’s about time because, age-wise, I’m the oldest I’ve ever been.

So on the first day, I stepped onto my first commuter train and felt real life starting. It was good. I also heard my old duvet-based lifestyle of the Gods shrieking as it melted and steamed, like a cartoon in that goop stuff from Who Framed Roger Rabbit? It was terrible. It is now bound to an exquisite Heaven, where alcohol is the most Bargainy of Booze and microwaves ping for all eternity. Oh, how useful I felt as a student, attending a single afternoon seminar, or downing five Sambuca shots, poker-faced (well. Spraying… two); but alas (…Mickey Finns), those achievements are no longer the measure of my self-worth. This is the working world, and if, like me, you picked a degree without overly considering vocation because you thought ‘academia’ would be ‘versatile’ (LOL), you might find yourself in an office with a seventeen-year-old. A seventeen-year-old, spawnofLordSugar, motherf***ing business DON. Your value is no longer dictated by your age or your education, but by your professionalism, skills and experience. Yeah. EXPERIENCE.

It’s all EXPERIENCE up in here. Guys…EXPERIENCE.

'I'm here to make Balloon Penii, and your life.' - Experience*.

Back in the day, this was a magical word. It used to mean ‘Out of Body Experience’; ‘The Jimmy Hendrix Experience’. ‘Sexual Experience’.  It’s now a prick, and won’t show up to the party when needed. Qualification is done – it now sprawls out on the sofa feeling needlessly smug. Grammatical Skill, always life and soul of the party – duh. But when all-holy Experience arrives, schmoozing, squeezing shoulders, topping up the Babycham; that’s when everyone relaxes and performs at their best. Oh look – even ‘Owns a Car’ is here, shuffling in late as an afterthought, belching. Wow, it’s so happy in this made-up party, of like, stuff on a CV – it’s just really, really happy. Thanks, Experience.

So that was a forced analogy. But Experience is pretty forced, to the point where job advertisements often SHOUT IN CAPITALS HOW MUCH THEY WANT IT. I want to be work-savvy, and wise. But as the world makes growing up seem scarier, with its CAPITAL DEMANDS and exclusive access, the less I want to be a grown-up.

Not everyone my age feels like a kid, but in countless ways, I do. This ‘working world’ is a parallel universe – one that was continuously moving whilst I wrote essays and chewed my sleeve. A world in which I’m now squashed among suit-clad citizens pouring from the commuter trains and marching briskly to their allotted stations, like ants into tall, concrete picnic baskets. I find myself mulling over memories of building a snowboy (last year), or accidentally squeezing my Ribena carton (yesterday), and when the boss leaves the office I want to shout ‘WHOEVER DOESN’T STAND ON THEIR CHAIR EATS BOGEYS!’ because I’m starting from the bottom, and having to make something of myself from scratch. Just like from Primary to Secondary, Secondary to College, College to University; every time you master your surroundings it changes, and before you know it you’re the clueless child again.

Advise me, oh Great One?

But despite the probable life-long emotional scarring, it’s not all that bad. I’m quite content in the assumption that the happiest working people still feel like kids too, putting their Career Masks on and thinking ‘I don’t know what the hell I just said’ after a big meeting with the Chairman. Maybe it’s not a grown-up job that turns you into an old git, but settling for mediocrity. Child-like adrenaline drives you forward, towards better things – just like when kids push harder on the swings to get higher, and when they jump off and stack it, just do it again. So that makes me feel better. In fact, it’s kids that should be piling into offices – they have a better attitude and get spinny chairs and everything. And we can pay them raisins. So… I can leave now, right?

*And that guy’s real name is ‘Party Guy’. Filth.

Call the Valentine’s Samaritans.

Oh, Saint Valentine, God love you, whoever you were, whoever cares who you were. I can’t imagine what you may have looked like, without checking Google. So let’s guess, using the acquired evidence. Tedious desire for everyone to love each other = probable loose woollen poncho; easier to force hugs with. Ugg boots, because comfort is key in regards to love, but with no expense spared. No doubt he listens to a lot of Lionel Richie and Celine Dione on a loop via cassette walkman.  I’d say that Saint Valentine is a wannabe Jesus in his belief that he is spreading love to all, saying ‘Good luck in your search’, to every Single in a creepy, lip-twitching way. Basically he’s the greasy guy working at Co-op who touches your hand when he passes you change.

I’m a lot less bitter this year about Valentine’s Day than I have been in previous years – does it show?

'Hot enough for ya Clintons?! Oh, BUUUURRRN!'

I understand that it’s nice to have a day in which you can celebrate (or be disappointed in) your wonderful, perfect partner(s? Love Polygamy?). But I’m going to channel a bit of Carrie Bradshaw here  – and I’m aware that many just crossed off, if they didn’t at the mention of a poncho – what day of the week is KISS/LICK THE MIRROR DAY? One could say it falls on the 1st January, a day in which you invest time and effort into your future self. Well that’s a lie, I’ve already warned you that January is a feeder and does not have your best interests at heart.

What are you doing this Valentine’s Day to save your soul? I’m going to dinner with my sister, a Marine Wag, and watching the new Muppets film for some of that inter-species eye candy that has become so rare these days. But if you need to call a Samaritan this Valentine’s, here are some ideas that you can either embrace, or spectacularly reject in order to feel some level of control, over anything.

Yeah.. *bites fist.

  1. Bath. Baths. Are. The best. Whack on some Barry White, because you have better taste than Saint Valentine, and soak in some sort of intensely scented ass’s milk. You are the Cleopatra of your own domain, and no one is going to burst in and pollute your air.
  2. Call. You have friends/family that are single? If you have legitimate reasons why you aren’t drinking yourselves into oblivion, then have a whole night of catch-up calls. Drink milk – it might squirt out of your nose when you laugh. If you haven’t bathed in it all. Mmm, milk.
  3. Star Wars Marathon Sex and the City Marathon. Typo.
  4. Slap Up Dinner. Steak, McCain home fries, glass of red, little dessert in a cute glass pot; now THAT is what I’m talkin’ about. Coming from someone who constantly relates food to emotions this may be one you want to ignore, but why? Tears make the best sprinkles.
  5. Nude Jive. Self-explanatory. No one should hate their reflection on Kiss the Mirror day. Nothing crazy, just a few air thrusts, some thigh slaps, y’know. Also if you’ve got some decorating that needs doing, a large naked arse covers a lot of wall space and creates a butterfly print that is just exquisite.

    'Roses are red, Violets are blue - me.'

  6. Congregation of Super Best Friends. I mean this has to be the best Valentine’s cure ever. If you’re lucky enough to have an unattached posse willing to occupy the space around you on February 14th, congratulations, you have no reason to be reading this. Now line up the tequila slammers/Wii nunchucks/knitting patterns.
  7. Jungle Bed Bug. Girls… why not savour the fact that no one knows you’ve let yourself ‘grow out’ since… oh, ever. Completely cocoon yourself in soft, fleecy layers and watch… some very enjoyable movie. You’re a stranger to a razor, thus warmer than Chewbacca er… Jude Law in a onesie.
  8. Any Other Day. Get through work, an average microwave meal and a few mundane odd jobs; then when a romantic, saxaphoney M&S ad comes on, think ‘Oh yeah – forgot.’ Well done, you’ve done Kiss/Lick the Mirror Day proud. If you’re single that is; otherwise, you may have an uncomfortable phone call coming your way. Or worse. Best seal off your letterbox.

And don’t touch THE NOTEBOOK; what are you a Masochist? There is another way. Now go bathe, you sexy bastard.

'Thanks, man. ... cool if we milk your ass?'

I’m on the edge, of Gender.

And so came the big reveal. Sasha Laxton – the child raised as gender-neutral and referred to as ‘the infant’ by his parents – is actually a boy. Oh, well that’s nice. But is a little boy choosing to wear a tutu and play with some dolls that much of a revelation? What confuses me is the belief that the parents are doing something really profound and against the grain, or, as is the general consensus – crazy. Parts of it are, sure. Hiding his sex from people when his sex is just a fact – that’s crazy. Purposely dressing him in a girls’ frilly school shirt, just to prove that he isn’t wearing a boys’ version is as well. But the really weird part is the parents’ insistence that this media coverage is going to provoke some sort of social movement, and that they decided to make such a political statement through the medium of child. I’m struggling to not say that these parents are dumb.

Yvonne Roberts would disagree – she wrote in The Observer that Sasha is a ‘lucky boy’ and that being raised without the ‘crippling expectation’ of gender norms is ‘a rare freedom’. I completely understand that we can’t know to what extent we are moulded by ideals, and of course there are gender divisions, but are children really ‘crippled’ by them? Unless you are the unfortunate child of those disturbed parents who force their five-year old daughters to get a fake tan and eye-brow waxes, or yell at their sons for hating football, I’d say most kids hopefully have free reign to toddle all over the boy/girl spectrum.

'And I always take sweets from strangers!'

If we’re going to open fire on gender stereotypes in such an absolute way, then why not begin questioning every other stereotype we have? Probably a tedious and slightly never-ending task. Why not just bring another Mum into the equation and see if that produces a happier child? A monogamous two-parent family is also a societal construction. Why not go to the office in a sack shouting, ‘Suck it, society – suits restrict my limbs!’ and subsequently be shown the door once you engage in some lunges. Or sit in a breakfast cafe stating; ‘Eggs? That’s such a socially constructed norm. It’s crippling, that norm – I’ll have leather, you clone.

The two influential culprits constantly blamed in this debate seem to be toys and clothing, which is upsetting as I was always led to believe these were fun things. I had thirteen Barbies at my peak – honorable, I know. I also had a construction set, on request, with a cement mixer, a crane and builders; regularly played with my neighbour’s Action Man (Ken failed at the whole ‘tortured soul’ thing), and loved Grand Theft Auto. That hasn’t affected me negatively in life, I mean I only push grannies over in the street or set cars alight when I get really riled.

'Forget it, Ken... you weren't in 'Nam...'

Kids absorb what they see, but they also do what they want. My sister became a vegetarian at five when no one else in the family was. She ate a hot dog at fourteen when pissed and never looked back. She also loved cars, guns and Power Rangers. Something being in the boys section in the Argos catalogue never stopped us looking, and from what I can see, it doesn’t stop the younger generation either.

Let’s use a personal case study, which is obviously representative of all the world’s children and therefore settles my argument. My four-year old brother is much more boisterous than his eight-year old bro, yet he often waltzes into the living room wearing nothing but tights and heels. If he wants to mix it up, he might put his arms through the leg holes of his Thomas the Tank underpants and wear it as a crop-top. Really, he’s a creative genius. By letting him sit cross-legged in peep-toes as he leisurely watches Horrid Henry, we’ve let him know that he can wear what he wants. The healthiest of children are left to their own devices to experiment with their own interests and identity – where Sasha Laxton’s parents have gone wrong is in the assumption that every child is a brainwashed robot that obeys social expectation. I would give ‘socially constructed’ children a lot more credit than that. Just ask my bro how to make a one-shouldered mini-dress out of a pair of Spanx.

Yeah... those fetuses will really bloat.

Now that Sasha is of school-age he may well become ‘conditioned’ into a stereotypical boy, but will probably grow up and choose what to conform to and what not to – and not because his parents gave him a couple necklaces and a unisex name. Bringing children up to be open-minded and accepting of differences is the healthier way to dissolve judgement, and what all parents should be doing anyway.

Either that, or Sasha’s parents should both wear dresses regularly to set an example to their son, rather than using him as a blank canvas for their own views and letting him be scrutinized by every newspaper (and blog) before he’s old enough to have a say. I hope that when he’s a top business man and potential clients mention that they’ve found some strange articles about him on Google, he manages to keep his cool, rather than launch the vase of Lilacs his Ma sent to the office.

'Mum owes me several pink frosted cupcakes for this.'

Anyway, I’m off to the New Look men’s section. Those unflattering shirts won’t buy themselves.

Nobody Likes You, January.

Apparently the 6th of January is the day in which most people break their New Year’s Resolutions. Well what do you expect? The 1st January comes one week after Christmas Day, a time in which we are Jabba the Hutt-ing to the MAX. And I have a theory as to why no one sticks to their ‘Eat Healthily’ resolution, despite the obvious reason that eating things is pleasurable. You can’t avoid it, it begins with C, and on Christmas day it’s piling up in front of you in a terrifying mountain… a delicious mountain. A delicious, stunning mountain.

It may be daunting at first. But in that delicate post-Christmas state, chocolate rules. I just Revel in it, all the time. Toblerone is always finished embarrassingly quickly, but I don’t make a big deal out of it. Every morning I reach for the Galaxy. Chocolate Orange segments have made me whole. I even got Roses – chocolate is so romantic, guys. But things got a bit… dark. I went to bed with some right Mingles (mostly one masquerading as an After Eight). I took Heroes to the bath; even the Fudges. And at Rocky bottom I actually spent money because I desperately needed that Boost. This is the ‘80% cocoa’ side of chocolate consumption. Even all these puns are creepy.

oh hi, I'm salty and delicious, packed full of vitamins, and good for you.

Don’t judge me, mate. I’m on the right Tracker baby, I was Bournville this Milky Way. By the way, I’m fully aware that the pun is lazy. Do you see what January does to a person?  I hate myself.

Expectant, overly optimistic, loathsome January. The supposed time for ‘renewal’ comes at the worst possible time of year. I didn’t even bother making any resolutions, cos I had my arm around my pile of chocolate at that time and I wasn’t going to hurt its feelings by declaring, right there in front of it, that I was going to replace it with fruit? These innocent, bite-sized blocks of love were plonked in front of me for free. That’s just rudeness. That’s just ingratitude.

The fact is, to lower the tone even further, that January is a stubborn turd of a month that not even edible presents can polish. Everything that makes the grim weather of December mildly tolerable, like twinkly lights, A Muppet Christmas Carol and the non-judged acceptance of a bucket of mulled wine, disappears as soon as the clock strikes midnight on the 31st. It’s still only light for about 8 hours a day, the wind is rudely sharp enough to shock your breasts…chocolate runs your life… everyone writes blog posts about how much they hate January…

A rare January fan.

Why would anyone want to make the equivalent of a ‘spring clean’ of their lifestyle, dead in the middle of Winter? If you live in Britain such as I, you probably won’t get a sniff of ‘spring freshness’ in the air for another sixty to eighty days. Trust me – March is the month; even its name is an active verb. And if you want to decide then to lose weight, you can tell yourself to MARCH TO IT! By July you’ll be bounding out in that Speedo, hitting Skeggy in style. What can January be turned into? I’ll tell you what – Vajanuary. The female equivalent of Movember. That’s all January has to offer, and it orders you to be ungroomed.

...Ok, Jan Fans and January should get a room already.

January is a bastard – it doesn’t give a crap about your health or attractiveness. It’s the number one month for S.A.D. sufferers and laughs in the face of everyone’s debt. Your only consolation is the chocolate harvest is sure to provide at least another week of plentiful, nutritious grazing. So just admit defeat; forget all the rejuvenation of self and all that. Order a pizza – something with a lot of meat and extra cheese – and eat it in bed with the electric blanket on full. And drizzle chocolate all over it. ALL over it.  That’ll do, pig. That’ll do.

You’s ALL Woman

This might become a series, as I often lick the arses of certain females. I’m not going to sit here and claim that this article takes into account all the amazing women in the world right now – ones that have accomplished mind-blowing things and get little to no recognition for it. But we all need those women that make you want to sit up, spill your cuppa tea and yell ‘YEAH! CHECK OUT MY THIGHS, I AM TOTES A WOMAN!’ I’d like to call this phenomenon ‘The Beyonce Effect’ – most potently felt during Glastonbury 2011 as the goddess Beyonce Knowles vaporised the crowd with her big-haired, hip-popping, voice-pelting awesomeness, and made every man, woman and child chant ‘Praise Be, star of DC.’

BEYONCE knowles

I would never write a song with the lyrics ‘I am here to serve you’, or go on a cayenne pepper and syrup diet, no matter how much I wanted lickable abs. I’m not saying our B hasn’t made some odd choices. But the reaction among humankind when Beyonce bounded onto the stage at Glastonbury was, quite clearly, one of intense awe. Social Networking was full of general ‘I will turn for you Beyonce’, ‘Beyonce is fucking the best in my life’, ‘PUT GLASTO ON’, ‘ALREADY HAVE, MIND BLOWN’ etc., etc. The truth is, Beyonce has that Monroe-esque aura about her that says ‘I am big-thighed and hot’ but with an added extra  – a truck load of POWER, baby. That POWER that makes men want her and women want to be her. She can take on a gold-sequinned Vegas-style blazer and make it seem a good choice. She can gyrate to hell so that, let’s be honest, everyone watching wants impregnation by her womanseed – yet smiles and bows afterwards in a way of pure class. She can glide onto the stage at the X Factor final, casually open her mouth and completely obliterate the obvious winner back to the ranks of ‘nobody on karaoke night’.

You’re standing in a club and bam – there’s a tidal wave of body-popping, fists up, elbows out – and you know what song it is. Then later at the bar, the guy next to you is suddenly showing the back of his hand, then the palm, then the back a second time. You nod – you know what he’s saying. Everyone knows what he’s saying. That my friends, is what you call a REVOLUTION. And that’s why Beyonce should even make men want to be a woman.

FLORENCE Welch

There’s something so effortlessly magical about Florence Welch. Every twinkly harp-plucking intro sets about leaves and flowers and stars and moons and mini-Cupids floating around any room/train/car in which you’re listening. She is Alice in a musical Wonderland, so delicate and whimsical, yet laced with some deceptively strong liquor. Her haunting voice emanates with such abandon, yet total control; like an artist throwing a bucket of paint at a wall and somehow it looks awesome. Her slight androgyny harks back to Tilda Swinton in Orlando, Queen Elizabeth I, or just any pale-skinned red-haired monarch that sent the castle staff quivering. And most people trying to carry off Cosmic Love‘s pink, light-studded dress would look like a bargain-bin Candy Floss Barbie, yet she owns everything she wears without shamelessly flaunting anything.

Florence relies solely on voice and presence rather than knickers and pussy-popping (no offence B); that’s just not her style.  To me, anyone that has creative talent whilst redefining the image of beauty is a gem; with added shine because she’s British. We need more of these. I always watch her videos with a slightly open mouth. Then get an urge to go to a windy cliff edge, and stand in a Jesus stance wearing a see-through cloak.

CAITLIN Moran

God. This woman is my idol. Anyone who knows of her work will know that there is no need for me to advertise why she makes me proud to be a woman, but for anyone who isn’t – I knew Caitlin Moran as a journalist who wrote a weekly column in The Times Magazine. My Dad always saved them, so that I could huddle up with my stack and inhale her like a drug. It seemed vital to my life to read about which Muppet she would sleep with (Gonzo btw), where Charlie and Lola would end up in adulthood, and the reasons why R2-D2 does actually have sex appeal. I loved her already, without her book. Then she released ‘How to be a Woman’, and it seemed like every argument I’d ever had about ‘what girls are supposed to do’ was put into print – and she was on MY SIDE. My sister probably got sick of me this summer as she tried to tan in peace, and I sat up and said ‘IN YOUR FACE’ about once every three pages. I’m probably the 15487th person to say this, but Caitlin Moran is me. And that’s the effect she has on women – they all realise they aren’t alone.  She’s worked her way up from nothing, she writes in a clever, witty way that’s accessible to everyone, and she should be read by every woman and young girl as soon as possible. But one stupid thing – she wrote ‘I was never going to be an inspiration for anyone’. Well she inspired me to keep writing, question the norm, and instead of starve myself, buy a ton of sexy underwear whilst pigging out on cheese. You do the math.

 

Who makes you feel AAAWWWLL Woman?