Sunday, 13 July 2014

9 people you should delete on Facebook

(*Image sourced from and credited to someecards.com*)

That person you've always wanted to punch in the face. I'm not doubting that you're a lovely person (of course you're a lovely person, you lovely person, you), but even if you are the loveliest human being who has ever walked the earth, you are not immune to the idiosyncratic curses of social existence. There is somebody in this world for whom you have a perpetual desire to punch in the face. Who is it? Is it your weird, pops-to-the-shops-at-5am-to-buy-onions neighbour? Is it that friend of a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend who you met briefly for 5 seconds before deciding you'd rather sit on a cactus than ever converse with them again? Whoever it may be, there's every chance you've befriended them on Facebook to satisfy your unwarranted curiosity. You'd never actually punch them in the face, but you do think about it, a lot, and you sometimes slam cutlery on the table and huff about 'HOW ANNOYING' that person is, especially when their latest 'literally, they are doing my head in' selfie pops up your newsfeed. Delete them; I dare you.

The oversharer. Social media culture may well have influenced our attitudes toward discretion, however we do still have the opportunity to govern just how much we put out there. We don't have to shamelessly declare to the virtual world that we 'just had the most painful bikini wax eva, I'll be red raw for days! LOL!' or that we're, 'literally, sooooo angry rite now!!!!!!!!!! Tom just said someone else's name while we were having sex, literally WTF!!! Why are men so shit? So gutted right now ;(', or that we're 'just popping to the shops lol', 'just putting a load of washing in, same old lol', or 'just eating a ham sandwich lol.' 'Just deleting you because your unsolicited, boring updates are making me want to kill myself, lol.'

The guy who just commented on a Facebook photo you were tagged in in 2007. He may have made the transition from half witty message tennis on an online dating site to let's-get-each-other-on-Facebook-so-we-can-stalk-the-shit-out-of-each-other, or he may have added you on the basis of your mutual friends. Either way, he's just liked a pouty, freshly-turned-18 'LUV MA GALZ, GETTIN' ON IT, haven't yet learnt how not to dress like a massive slut' photographic cataclysm that you were tagged in 7 years ago. Oh hello, excessive mammary spillage and cheap, why-is-it-blue?! alcohol consumption; good day to you. As if his rifling through 1500 photos to find that one wasn't bad enough, he's commented saying 'propa gorgie hun, i would ;) xxx.' Get your trainers out; it's time to run for the virtual hills.

The serial complainer. One short scroll through your newsfeed is all you need to do to know that this cantankerous soul is having the WORST WEEK of their lives EVER. (Every week.) Their oven broke, they couldn't get a seat on the bus, their dog chewed their favourite pair of undies, 'the traffic is soooooo bad', Tesco ran out of cream crackers, they're disappointed with the English weather, they're too fat to get into that dress, too tired to deal with life today, and far too pissed off with Margaret from the post office. Their life is one giant 'FML'; the sharing of their daily gripes a window into their absolutely, positively horrendous misfortune. Can we ban these people from the Internet? Please?

That girl/guy who loves her/his 'PERFECT boyfriend/girlfriend sooooooo much foreva and eva!! Can't wait for the rest of our lives baby, mwah xxxxxxxx.' There's no quicker way to cheapen one of the most extraordinary components of the human experience than to urgently bare the grammatically incorrect desires of your bursting heart to a completely unmoved audience. Love is beautiful, I get that, but in its most raw, remarkable state, that beauty is bred from the frantic whispers between the sheets; the inclusivity, the sharing of laughter and toast and genitals, the spontaneous, creative declarations of affection between THE TWO OF YOU that don't require the approval of Brenda from Harlow, who you think you might have worked with 4 years ago at Pizza Express. You're going to drag 400 of us into this shit because you can't find a more creative way to express your feelings? Really?! 

The chronic inviter. Come and milk some cows on my non-existent farm. Click here if you want to read 25 facts about me! Come and play candy crush. Sign my petition that is absolutely going to change the world. Like this cause. Come to my awesome party. I'm Jesse McCartney, which 'I-can't-actually-sing-but-a-bunch-of-14-year-olds-fancied-me-10-years-ago' star are you? Which American president would you be best suited to for a coffee date? Which hors d'oeuvre are you? I'm an onion ring, HAHA. Come and like my page. It will change your life. Goodbye.

That girl you met drunk in the bar toilets in 2009. In the pre-Internet days, you would have lost contact with this girl almost instantaneously, but of course, Facebook allowed you to cement the gin-fuelled discovery of your unrivalled best friendship. You shared life stories that night, swapped vagina-related witticisms, and told each other that 'your ass looks AH-MAZING in that dress! Seriously! And those booooooobs, I would kill for boobs like that!' You lent her a hairbrush. She lent you some bronzer. You passed some toilet paper to her under the cubicle divider. You loved each other within 5 minutes. Guess what? You haven't spoken to each other since. It's time to accept that it's over.

Your one night stand from 2 years ago. You well and truly carpe'd that diem, and though you didn't initially regret the 5 minutes of mediocre intercourse that you shared with this handsome stranger, it's now become apparent that your fantasy idea of him was much better than, erm, the actual him. Unfortunately, Mr 'there-was-just-something-about-him,-I've-got-to-add-him-on-Facebook!' keeps posting vile Grandma jokes and photos of his cat in the tumble dryer. His virtual presence has initiated your shame and is doing little to appease it. Without Facebook, you'd never have known that this handsome stranger was in fact the creepiest person you've ever met. Congratulations. Remove him from your friends list; your dignity will thank you.

Jack Matthews. Who the devil is Jack Matthews?! Seriously though, do you even know who that guy is?


Wednesday, 25 June 2014

10 signs that you need to quit your job right now

(*Image sourced from and credited to someecards.com*)


You are really, really, really rubbish at it. If any of you have a Grandma like mine, you will have heard the phrase 'if at first you don't succeed, try, try, try again' on countless occasions. Unfortunately, such sentiment isn't always applicable to the reality of living as an actual human. You may well try, try, and try again, and you may well still be really, really, really rubbish. Welcome to the human experience. Being really, really, really rubbish is never much fun. Save yourself; I dare you.

You've started putting gin in your porridge. Pre 8am alcoholism has become a habitual remedy to relieve the pain of your obliterated soul. By 9am, you're just about ready to stand beneath the bleak and dismal cloud of disappointment that will haunt you until your shift is over. You might even embrace the benefits of your temporary delirium and cartwheel all the way there, slurring 'happy fwiiiiidaaaaaaaay!', even though it's Tuesday, and you haven't been certain of happiness since you won the school obstacle race in 1999.

You have serious job envy. You want everyone else's job but your own. As your fellow employed chums share stories about their 'AH-mazing', 'rewarding' and 'quite fun, actually!' jobs, you sit there, weeping on the inside, wondering when you might be able to offer the same exaggerated enthusiasm. If you did exaggerate, your job would be mild torture at best. Even your Uncle Margaret's job has newfound seductive qualities. Your Uncle Margaret taste tests duck embryos and fried tarantulas. Who fancies a pre-breakdown snack?

You avoid staff rooms like the plague. You can't think of anything worse than making small talk about 'the bloody English weather, shame we can't solve that with a flow process, ha ha' and listening to 'geeeeeeeeeeeeezA!' Gary's daily 'GUESS WHO'S GETTING SOME GASH THIS WEEKEND!' newsflash, which is always accompanied by a weird, celebratory fist pump. Not you buddy; not you. Your colleagues are the most irritating, insane, ridiculous human beings you have ever encountered. You find it near-impossible to offer pleasantries to the coworkers you never really liked, and so you spend your lunch breaks sat at your desk, alone, staring at the wall whilst you eat a bacon sandwich, cursing the spectrum of human creation.

You
don't look like you anymore. You've put on 10 mighty stone since you started this job; 10 stone of 'well, there's nothing better to do' custard creams and those 'if-he-says-gash-one-more-time-I'm-going-to-punch-him' bacon sandwiches. You have dull, grey hairs sprouting from your miserable scalp. You have premature wrinkles and persistent sweat patches. And as if you weren't already unattractive enough, you recently had to fight off your Grandma as she tried to deposit her speckled bananas into the bags beneath your eyes. 'I'm sexy and I know it,' said you, never.

Work life is so boring that you've started fantasising about mundane events. Your fantasies used to be fully reflective of your intrinsic, sexual desires. Every fantasy, at least, had the commonality of minimal clothing and somebody really, really, really attractive. Nowadays, you find that a warm crest of arousal presents itself at even the idle thought of going to the dentist about your receding gumlines. 'Let's get it on......to a toothbrush to reverse this periodontal damage'. Marvin Gaye would be ashamed of you.

Your excuses for being late/having time off are becoming ridiculous. This morning, you were late because you got chased by an eager unicorn who was keen to tell you all about rainbows and debate the existence of Father Christmas. Yesterday, you couldn't come in because you ducked into your wardrobe to pull out an old pair of clogs and ended up lost in Narnia. Your Granddad has died 12 times in 3 years. You have weaved an intricate web of lies, deceit and lunacy. You are bonkers. Your job has made you bonkers. Get out of there before the biscuity llamas thrust upon you their 2-year subscription to whacky-wooky-waheeeeey club.

You are under-appreciated/undervalued. For whatever reason, your manager thinks you are severely incapable of doing anything other than, erm, the shit jobs. Your job description consists of scrubbing cracked toilet seats with a decade-old toothbrush, sealing second-hand envelopes, and trying not to kill anyone. Your manager also calls you Steveo, even though your name badge, in hideous mauve ink, clearly reads 'ROSIE', and you have a vagina.

You are getting urges to do inappropriate things in meetings. You've become explicitly aware of the bizarreness of these mundane, superficial constructions of reality during which human beings try to adhere to the realms of formality and pretend that this lengthy, monotone speech about something completely disengaging is 'YARS, very engaging.'  If you hear 2 more managerial metaphors, you'll be taking your clothes off and performing a sole rendition of the Macarena. Call it a day. Your dignity will thank you.

You've started saying things like 'it's one of those days, 'FML', and 'I can't wait to get out of there'. In fact, you've not only started saying them, you say them all the time. You don't say anything else. You are an unconscious prisoner of your own hatred, constantly rattling on about the one thing that you can't stand talking about. You haven't had a proper conversation since last July. FYL, indeed.


Friday, 6 June 2014

Real life wizards


How many people did you come across today? How many people did you speak to? How many people crossed your mind, even if just for a cursory moment?

People. Our lives revolve around them; our friends, our family, the people we discuss the solar system and periods with in the office, the strangers we pass and smile at in the street, the crazy, drunk folk who become our 'best friends evaaaaaaaahhh' when they lend us a hairbrush in grubby toilets at 2am, the people who make our lives complete, the people we aspire to be like, the people we're engineered to love and the people we grow to love throughout the course of our existence. Yup, people are pretty bloody important, and for the most of us, will have become an integral part of our human experience.

I like people, I think we've established that. There are however, a certain breed of people who I am particularly fond of, and it is these beautiful, bizarre creatures who I would like to celebrate today, everyday in fact. Would you like to celebrate them too? You would?! Let's do it. Let's take our knickers off and do a cartwheel and feel our aliveness and privilege swishing around our chubby thighs. Let's revel in the perpetual brilliance of the real life wizards.

Harry Potter and Ron Weasley aren't real, I feel you. I'm never going to get my Hogwarts letter. (Can we just take a moment whilst I weep about that? Moment. I'm taking it.) But despite the obvious reality shift between Hogwarts, and erm, not Hogwarts, I'm certain that there are wizards within this world, walking, fleshy, animated wizards; human beings, just like us, and yet so remarkably unlike us all at once. I'm positive that as you read this your visual consciousness will fill your assiduous mind with the faces of your very own real life wizards. If I'm wrong, you can borrow my unicorn.

These people aren't necessarily people that we're in love with or having ravenous intercourse with. Whilst of course they could be those people, real life wizardry can extend to those we're not romantically involved with at all. Real life wizards are just people, people who to others might be a smiling stranger on the street, people to us who become nothing less than extraordinary as their cascade of raw and awesome magic paints our lives in the hues of our favourite colours. Mine are teal and orange and pink, thank you very much. What are yours?

The ironic thing about these people is that we were perfectly content before we knew that they existed. We never sat, swishing a tumbler of gin, desperately wishing that we could stumble across somebody with their face and their muted scouse accent and the same A-Z of qualities. We never missed the presence of this fine stranger or invented them in our idle mind on a mediocre Thursday. And yet, as soon as they were there, as soon as we felt the ardor of their presence, we sat, swishing a tumbler of gin, wondering how we were ever truly happy until they were a part of our lives.

These people, the real life wizards; they vivify everything. When we're around them, we laugh a little harder, we think a little deeper, we pursue our dreams that little more fiercely, we cartwheel with more enthusiasm, we confront our fears, we go for walks at midnight and stare out at the sea and think, 'YES! This is MY LIFE! I am and I can and I will...(insert further bursts of unwavering optimism and exclamation marks here)'. When these people are around us, they inspire us to be so much better, without ever thinking it or telling us that we need to be.

We're not stupid. We know that our wizards aren't immune to irreparable flaws; they entertain as many inner gremlins as the rest of us. They might be stubborn or crude or tell shit jokes or eat all of our cheese. They might take certain things too seriously or other things not seriously enough at all. We might look at them and envisage that they could easily be the most annoying bloody person that we've ever stumbled across. But they're not. They never will be. We're not blind to their shortcomings, but somehow, each flaw of theirs becomes a trail of spirited discovery, a joining of dots on their imperfectly perfect, grubby souls. Everything they think and say and do matters, and yet doesn't really matter at all, because we'll remain entirely captivated by them, eternally overcome by a bizarre and rare and precious and inconspicuous magnetism. It's never been as incredible to be human than when they're stood right next to us.

All too often, these people don't inhabit our lives for the eternity that we hope for. They come, spiralling out of nowhere, they inject their colour and wit and wisdom and they wave their metaphorical wand and wear out their terrible jokes and they fuck things up in the best possible way. And then they go, and life goes on, and we're still happy; we're happy because we met them; we're happy because our soul's been stripped and muddled and thrown back together; we're happy because we experienced this furious connection of hearts and minds and souls (and genitals, sometimes); we're happy because they're alive and we're alive and that's always worth celebrating. We're left with beautiful ruins, and not much cheese, and we feel an innate sense of gratitude to the universe because of it.

Call it fate, luck, or an erratic sequence of absolute, blind inconsequence. Whatever it is, even without capes and 'wingardium leviosa' and flying unicorns, it's magic. These people are wizards, the very best kind. Sorry Harry.



Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Tinder, chubby thumbs, & the concept of attraction


Last month, I downloaded Tinder. Those of you who have also used the app will be all too familiar with the 'no, no, no, hell no, no, no, ooooh, hello...' confab that accompanies a Tinder browse. For the less acquainted, Tinder has arguably become the most popular virtual matchmaker on the market, thriving on the promise that 'it's how people meet. It's like real life, but better.' Tinder pulls information from your Facebook (not so handy when you've been on Facebook since 2008 and have liked all sorts of erm, embarrassing shit), and presents you with potential matches based on your gender/age selection, location, mutual friends, and shared interests (oh, you like 'mooing at cows' too?! Moovellous.)

The formula is easy-peasy-finger-swipe-squeezy. If you're interested/intrigued/feeling a twitch in your genitals, you swipe right, and if you're not, you swipe left, catapulting anybody you so wish to into the virtual black hole of inconspicuous rejection. Two right swipes create a match, and once matched you can sit on the toilet and send messages to each other such as a casual 'hey Kathy, what's up!', or a hilarious 'how much does a polar bear weigh? Enough to break the ice! HELLOO!', or even an infinitely arousing and perfectly punctuated 'hi hun id love to put my dick in u u up for sum fun?' Yes please. Absolutely. U up for a personality transplant?

There are perks to Tinder. It appeals to the immediacy of 21st century living and sits seductively within our extraordinarily busy, technology centric lives. It provides cracking entertainment on a soul-destroying, mediocre Thursday in the office. The set up of the app filters creeps more-so than its online counterparts. And similarly to every other Internet dating initiative in this world, there are non-creepy, innately kind, witty, intelligent, 'not-going-to-take-my-clothes-off-until-at-least-date-seven' people using it, who are suddenly more socially browsable and accessible than ever, and absolutely free tomorrow night. (There's also a certain level of juvenile satisfaction to be taken from left swiping your ex.) I understand why everybody's skipping on the Tinder playground, I'm just not too sure that I like it.

Whilst the Tinderati keep telling me that the app's ultimate thumb workout is a microcosm of real life, there's a fundamental difference. Attraction, righteous attraction, is not bred from a static aesthetic. Granted, we can look at a photo of a total stranger and proclaim within a single, devilish second that we 'soooo would', but attraction as a concept is thoroughly undermined in the virtual world. In actual life form, we are not static. We do not carefully manipulate our presentation to the same degree. We are laughing and socialising and moaning and saying things and doing cartwheels and scratching our balls and seeing and knowing and doing and being. We are existing in our physical entirety, present and alive and animated, and it is this whole presence that determines our appeal to others. To put it simply, if you clock a handsome stranger in a bar and then realise that he's ordering WKDs and slamming his fists on the table, cracking jokes about f*cking his best mate's Grandmahe's probably not going to seem so desirable. He'll get a right swipe on Tinder though. The complexity of attraction and science and human cognition does not cease to exist just because Tinder ignores it.

And whatever happened to the charms of chance and spontaneity and 'accidentally walking into people', anyway? Whatever happened to a bloody good, half-romantic story? No matter how advanced technology may have become, we can't engineer the inexplicable.The magic of serendipity and unforeseen connection is never going to be recreated on a cracked screen, fighting against a migraine and 10% battery. I've spoken to a couple of guys on Tinder who genuinely seemed pretty awesome, but I found myself completely uninitiated after a couple of hours simply because it all just felt a bit too immediate, a bit too compromising of a worthy mutual experience. I'm not asking for the world-changing plot-line of a timeless, classic novel (that would almost be as cringey as my 2008 Facebook likes), but I do now know for certain that I really don't want to 'meet' a man in a virtual setting; a setting where I'm further delaying the reveal of his inevitable flaws and his potential desire to sleep with his best mate's nan. I'm also sick of swiping when I should be wiping. (Still up for sum fun, hun? )

Welcome back, chubby thumbs. I missed you.


Monday, 19 May 2014

How to be a bloody good friend

(Here's me being a pro friend.)

I often wonder how on earth I have any chums. I do, after all, ask way too many questions, laugh uncontrollably at my own jokes before I've even said them, and regularly rave about the fascinating development of my dog's genitalia. I even text photos of it to my nearest and dearest for my own juvenile entertainment. Somehow, despite my various shortcomings, I have been fortunate enough to stumble across other strangely wired humans on this planet who seem to enjoy my company. Hurray! Yup, according to the great delight and hilarity that it wraps around my daily existence, friendship is one of the innate pleasures of being alive. Do you have friends too? Let's talk about it. Let's celebrate it! Let's make sure we're honouring our fortune and being the best friend that we could possibly be.

Here's how to be a bloody good friend. You're welcome, world.

Remember that your friends are only human. (Unless they are dogs.) I think as humans it is important to accept and appreciate that we are all irreparably flawed. In other words, we are shit; the lot of us. Don't all panic at once, for many of us are also brilliant and funny and inspiring and marvellous and all kinds of fantastic, but it is inherent to our nature as such creatures to f*ck up every now and again. Don't form any kind of relationship under the expectation that it is always going to be rainbows and unicorns and kiss laden text messages. In the words of my idol-chum John Green, 'you don't get a say in whether you get hurt in this world, but you do get to choose who hurts you.' Be happy with your choices.

Be funny. Laughing so hard that you almost do an uncontrolled, enthusiastic wee on the carpet is one of the best feelings ever. Everybody needs a friend who can bring them such joy. Be funny, I dare you. Be the Bantersaurus-Rex from Banterbury. Fasten your seatbelt aboard the bantastic banter bus... Banter. Bant. ('BANT-AAAAAAH mate!') And if you're not the world's most natural local comedian; fall over, poke yourself in the eye, or humilliate yourself in public. Those are my party tricks.

Be there. If your pal is sobbing down the phone to you having some kind of epic, soul-destroying crisis, there should be no debate involved in the order of your priorities. Those hilarious videos of gymnast squirrels will still be there in the virtual domain once you've done your listening/sympathetic patting duties. Wake me up, before you go, go. GO. 

Listen to them. This ties in closely with being there during an epic, soul-destroying crisis, but be sure to listen to your chums during jollier times too. Granted, you may have heard the 'we have the same favourite film, O-M-G, are we soulmates or whaaaat?!!' story hundreds of times, and you might not share their Dyson hoover fetish, but it is these strange/irritating quirks that complete the characters whom we have chosen to love. Probably. We listen to them talk shit. They listen to us talk shit. That is the fundamental rule of brilliant companionship.

Always give back the things that you borrow. Sharing is caring, I feel you, but do give back any prized possessions that your pals have been kind enough to lend you. If you don't, you are at significant risk of being disowned, particularly if you are my friend and you have borrowed my ukelele. I find that the best time to return your friends' things is when you've broken them, spilt last night's chicken gravy all over them, or bought yourself an upgrade. (Unless you are my friend and you have borrowed my ukelele.) High five.

Have brain sex. Those deep, poignant conversations during which somebody reveals a certain depth or layer that you'd never previously had the pleasure of seeing or knowing are the conversations that cement everlasting friendships. Preach it. Get your snorkel out and appreciate your chums to the depths of their beautiful, bizarre, grubby souls.

Don't kiss them/sleep with them/confess your undying love for them unless you really, genuinely have mutual feelings for each other. Brain sex is one thing. Actual sex is entirely another. Want to know how to destroy a perfectly good friendship? Easy-peasy-genital-squeezy.  You might play it cool and decide it's 'HAHA-hilaaaaaarious and not awkward AT ALL', but once those lips/reproductive organs have introduced themselves, things will never be the same again.You will find yourself hiding/weeping behind the banana stand when you clock them across the aisle in Tesco. That is no way to live your life. You heard it here first.

Cuddle them. Get your oxytocin out. Squeeze them at every given opportunity. Thrust your chest/breast upon theirs and treasure them with your physical entirety. (Don't squeeze them so hard that they throw up/turn purple though; that could be counter-productive. And don't do this with exposed genitals, please and thank you. I'm watching you.)

Don't kiss/sleep with/confess your undying love for their boyfriend/girlfriend/mum/dad. Unless you've had a lot of brain sex and you are both immune to the woes of crazy humiliation, no friendship will survive any such drama. 'One time, I had this chum, and she slept with my dad and became my step-mum, and we never shared Wendsleydale at 2am or played 'the David gameagain. I'm so thrilled for them!' said no-one, ever.

Be honest. Whoever said that honesty is the best policy deserves a pat on the back and some free crumpets. Honesty is a fantastic and endearing quality, and in the long term, your friends will thank you for it. The moral of this story? If they look like a farm animal in that new dress of theirs, tell them. And if you're not brave enough to tell them directly, make disgruntled pig noises at them or throw them some hay. Oink.

Never turn up looking sexier than they do. This is another of my party tricks. Deliberate. Absolutely deliberate. You're welcome.


Are you a bloody good friend? How do you do it?



*The David Game is a game that I invented with my best friend. It is awesome. When I choose to share it with the world, your life may never be the same again.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

One day, we will be dead

I'm not sure what the protocol is in terms of writing a piece about death. Let's start with this simple and forthright message; we are all going to dieYup, there will come a day when every human being who currently inhabits this earth, including me, and you (sorry), will invade an unceasing state of total oblivion. There too will come a time when everything we ever thought and said and did and discovered will be forgotten. Even my amazing cartwheels.

It sounds bizarre, doesn't it, that it should feel necessary to promote such information when its sentiment is the most intrinsic part of our human experience. We have all loved people who no longer exist. We all know those hideous feelings of devastation and grief and the pain of desperately missing somebody who is no longer physically present. Yet still, there's a makeshift social umbrella of fear and taboo that attaches itself to the word 'death', leading us to either brazenly ignore it, or even to vilify the concept. We rarely talk about it. If ever it allows itself into our active cognition, we try to bat it away with thoughts of rainbows and unicorns and what we're having for dinner tonight. Of course, that's a very natural human approach, because 'shit, argh, we're actually going to die,' is quite the damning realisation, but really, it's the only definite realisation that we can ever have about our future. All that was once different will become eternally the same.

It's all too easy to revel in the assumption that we'll have the privilege of growing old and wrinkly and sprouting silver hair and reminiscing about those raunchy things that we got up to fifty years ago (did anyone ever actually indulge in a little tomfoolery behind the bike sheds?!), but unfortunately there's no guarantee of such luck. There is vibrant injustice and overwhelming fragility in our existence; if you get to experience the marvel of a maturing body and a bus pass, embrace it, I dare you.

Most of all, I dare you to do the following; accept that you are going to die. Don't dwell on the reality of it or cry about it or start letting your assiduous mind invent scenarios as to how it might happen,  just accept it and use it to live your life better. Seek inspiration from it when times are good, take comfort in it when times are terrible. Say it out loud every now and again. Think it and realise how extraordinary it is to have consciousness and the ability to think it. Look at your naked body and know that one day it won't be blessed with the inhabitancy of your bizarre, beautiful mind and a bunch of useful organs that allowed you to wake up this morning.

The explicit acceptance of our own mortality is all we need to see life differently; to know that most of the things we stress about aren't important, to understand that adventures need to be pursued now, that there really is no time like the present, and that sometimes having 'too much to lose' is an invalid excuse because through the simple art of respiratory success we're already at our most stripped and vulnerable. It sounds terrifying, and it is terrifying, but it's true.

Appreciate that however different we may be as individuals, we live in a whirlwind of specical* sameness. No matter how funny or smart or awesome we are, the universe, quite frankly, does not give a shit. It it not here to please us. It has no sense of obligation to us; no favourites, no special rules, no conceivable consideration towards our plight. Our only true significance on this earth lays in the eyes of those who love or look up to us. We owe those people everything for making us matter in a world where really we do not matter at all. Let's cherish those people and make them laugh with our terrible jokes and do our best to make their voyage into oblivion, as well as our own, as gratifying as possible.

As human beings, we are unquestionably brilliant and insanely imaginative and ridiculously capable and irreparably flawed and perpetually fascinating. We are all of those things but we are not wizards nor superheroes. We are entirely mortal. I can't promise you much but I can promise you this, that this moment, right now; this exquisite and terrible pocket of precious time in which we can all share in the pleasure and awfulness of our prevailing survival, in which you read this that I wrote for you, will one day become nothing more than, well, just that. Nothing. Carpe that diem whilst you still can. Live your life as well as possible. Chase your dreams. Tell the folk you love that you love them. Eat pizza. Enjoy ravenous intercourse. Laugh so hard you do a little wee. Be nice. Have hearty chinwags. Ride unicorns. Do the macarena. Pay compliments. Help people. Don't have a breakdown when you spill gravy on your best shirt. Be awesome. And do cartwheels, lots of them. They won't be as good as mine, but the universe won't hold it against you.



*This is a word that I invented for the sake of this post. Pronounced 'speesh-ic-all', it is an adjective derived from the noun 'species', which describes our mutual state of existence as human beings. I think. It made sense in my head. Carp'ed that diem, yes I did. 



Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Dear Men, RE: Girly nights in...



(*Image sourced from and credited to https://www.someecards.com*)


Dear Men, 


RE: Girly nights in.

All too often, when I tell a man that I'm having a 'girly night in', whether a friend, a romantic interest, or even just a colleague I'm making small talk with, I can't help but notice the subtle cognitive ignition of devilish expectation. Yup, those 3 insignificant words seem to conjure up an entire world of foolish misconception. Is it not about time that you were cruelly welcomed to the reality of what happens when us ladyfolk dedicate an entire evening to the celebration of our mutual vaginaship? Yes, it is. You're welcome.

Contrary to concupiscent fantasy, girly nights in are not erotic events. Sorry. There's no skimpy lingerie, no flirtatious pillow fights, and absolutely no sudden realisation that we are in fact ravenous lesbians who conveniently fancy all of our best friends. There's no ripping of each other's minimal clothing, no enthusiastic snogging, and no raunchy 'spin the bottle'. At all. Ever. 

Whilst you're optimistically fantasising about a photo opportunity for the Ann Summers catalogue, or the opening scenes to a dodgy amateur movie, we've actually rocked up looking entirely shit. And by shit, I also mean ridiculous. Toss those thoughts of provocative undercrackers aside; we're probably all wearing onesies or snowman patterned pyjamas or old, comfy tees that are at least four years old and playing host to last Autumn's onion gravy. And we haven't brushed our hair. Or washed it. Our eyebrows are dishevelled. Our make up is smudged. Our calf hair is so long you could knit a jumper out of it. Is anybody else feeling the warming crest of arousal? Still want us to send you a 'cheeky snap'? (You do? Get help. Go. Go now. Talk to Frank or something.)

We may have told you that we were going to detox, and we did have genuine intention of doing so, I promise. We planned to take a gentle meander through the aisles of an upmarket food store and stock up on face packs, marinated salmon, expensive salad and green smoothies. As it turns out, we took one step into that food store and turned into overexcited woman-beasts with an insatiable desire to line our stomachs with all of the saturated fat and sugar that we could get our hands on. We actually ended up buying an entire caseload of wine, six greasy pizzas, garlic bread, chips, a massive chocolate cake, and of course a barrel of ice cream to dip it in. Girly nights in make us insanely hungry, hangry in fact. If we're not eating for the duration of the evening, something is very wrong indeed. Would you like us to bring you back a slice of pizza? You would? Oh, you delirious soul. 

We crack open the wine, which usually corresponds with the start of a a film in which stars an actor whom we would all happily ravish; a film that we will have no recollection of come dawn, a film that will be watched for no longer than the opening scene before one of us makes a hideous, animalistic mind thrust towards said actor and the conversational tidal wave begins. We tend to start off with a few pointless toasts just because we like how sophisticated the sound of clinking glasses makes us feel. 'Ohhhhh Hannah, you fell down the stairs and only broke one of your toes? That is AH-MAY-ZING, cheers gals!!'

We always tell you that we're not talking about you, but that's a firm fabrication of the truth. Have you ever actually believed that? (You haven't? Right?) Of course we're talking about you! Even if we presented you with the jolly 'nooooo, don't be silly, all I bring to the conversation are book reviews and thrilling political debate' cabaret, we're definitely talking about you. If you have caught our fancy, taken us on a date, confused us, aggravated us, or tried to sleep with us within the recent past, be certain that you are undergoing some animated group analysis at the hormonal house party; terrible, heavily exaggerated impressions and all. (If you are Irish, we have a particular knack of making you sound Indian.) We are trying to work out why you're so bloody cryptic, we are swapping dating stories, and we are occasionally taking a group vote to determine whether or not you'd be a hit with our nan/whether your naked body could cheer us up during a nuclear war. We also talk about your genitals, sometimes. Sorry.  

As for us getting naked, I'd be lying if I said we went the entire evening without the revealing of any flesh, but if we are taking our clothes off, it's only to show each other our eternally advancing love handles, to admire our impressive food babies, or to remove an irritating pizza crust crumb that's somehow ended up wedged within our cleavage on the inside of our onesie. One cannot even begin to describe the intense degree of irritation that a stray, spiky crumb can bring to an undeserving breast. I know, that warm crest of arousal is back, isn't it? Who wants to go on a date with me?

By the end of the evening, a satisfied silence has descended upon us; a silence that indicates that we are at least twice as drunk as we anticipated we were going to get tonight, and definitely in no fit state to talk to you. Or acknowledge you. It's not you, it's me. Or is it me? Who am I? 

I hope you are now as aroused as I wasn't whilst writing this spoiler. I'm off to make a jumper out of my calf hair.

Love always,

Kathy B 


Sunday, 9 March 2014

Things that I am rubbish at


We live in a world where narcissism prevails. We'd never upload an Instagram selfie where we have uncombed eyebrows, an unruly barnet and a 'what-the-f*ck-am-I-doing-with-my-life' expression, we're encouraged, naturally of course, to exercise and promote the things that we're good at, and we often find it difficult or embarrassing to accept our shortcomings. I, however, entirely champion that it is essential to do so. Being crap is a side effect of being human, and being human is the most liberating and wonderful and terrible and hilarious experience that we shall ever encounter. We are perpetually fascinating creatures and we should take pleasure in exploring the colourful spectrum of our own existence. Preach it. Be rubbish at something, I dare you.

Here are some things that I am rubbish at.

Singing. I love to sing. I do it at every opportunity, which I perceive as pretty much every single moment of my life. You name it, I've got a song for it. Once upon a time, whilst getting a pizza out of the oven, I even sang 'crispy, everything about you so crispy', to the tune of Liberty X's 'just a little.' You're welcome. My life is a theatre of lyrical ingenuity. Unfortunately for those within a certain radius, such lyrical prowess is compromised by my atrocious singing voice. If you imagine the most hideous rendition of everything, my version is decidedly worse. I am the operatic lovechild of Justin Bieber and a cat in labour. In fact, one of my dearest chums once told me that they'd rather eat a spoonful of their own faeces than ever hear me sing again. I told her that everybody hurts, sometimes.

Lying. Honestly is undoubtedly the best policy. I've never really seen the point in telling massive porkies (who even brought pork into this?...Mmm, pork), but sometimes, it is inevitable that I will release my inner criminal and tell a little rascal white lie. Some people are brilliant at it. I am absolutely not one of those people. If I tell a friend that she looks 'ah-mazing in that dress', she instantly knows that she looks like a farm animal. 

Being on time. I am an Olympic medallist in being late. Somehow, the perfectly adequate window of time that I have to get ready for something mysteriously flitters away from me. By this, I mean that I get distracted by my bed, or my furry son, or marmite toast, or The Jeremy Kyle show, or by doing an unplanned Macarena. Time-to-leave o'clock becomes half-naked-insane-fluster-shit-shit-shit o'clock. Tick tock. Bernard, get your watch out.

Brushing my hair. My hair tells a story. It tells a story that I slept in a bush, even though I didn't actually sleep in a bush. (Unless of course I'm taking a selfie, in which case my hair tells a different story. It tells a story that I slept with Charles Worthington, even though I didn't actually sleep with Charles Worthington.)

Waving. I don't know if it's because my hands are so small and podgy and pathetic, or simply because I've overthought the matter so much, but I am the world's worst waver. Seeing someone I know at distance always fills me with nauseating dread. What constitutes as a socially acceptable wave? Side to side? Up and down? A static palm? How high should I lift my arm? Life is full of mysteries.

Comforting crying people. I love those deep, poignant conversations during which somebody reveals a certain depth or layer that you'd never previously had the pleasure of seeing or knowing. I'm good at having emotional brain sex, at least, until somebody cries. What does one do? If I offer a sympathetic smile, I might look like I'm enjoying their pain. If I adopt my own sad expression, I may only fuel their weeping fire and turn us into a bundle of inconsolable chaos. If I do nothing, I'll look rude and uninterested. And my body, what do I do with its many limbs?! Do I lean in to deliver an awkward pat? Do I hug them? Do I rest my hand upon theirs? Why does doing that always make me feel like a pervert? Such situations thrust upon me an overwhelming degree of inner panic. Regrettably, inner panic makes me laugh, awkwardly, for a substantial period of time. I always end up looking like I'm laughing at the crying person, which is definitely the worst outcome for everybody involved.

Being sexy. I once got so nervous about talking to an attractive man at a bar (does anyone else struggle with so-attractive-that-I-turn-into-a-creep syndrome?), that the first question he asked me was whether I was having a hot flush. Similarly, whilst under the influence of far too much gin, I went wild and gave a guy I was dating what I assumed was a suggestive wink. He thought I had lime cordial in my eye.

Having a concise shower. I make the most definitive life decisions whilst massaging my foamy 'pits in the shower. Yes, I do. I've probably got to be somewhere to be in half an hour. I definitely won't be there in half an hour.

Using my telescope. I've always been insatiably curious about space, particularly the night sky. It's a mad, awesome scattering of stars and planets and darkness and the unknown and natural epic, and it absolutely blows my tiny mind every time I look at it. A couple of summers ago, I decided to go all out and invest in a telescope. Since having my telescope, I have seen the craters of the moon for a magical 10 seconds. The remaining hours have been spent gazing at the house guttering, endless tree branches, 44 take-offs from Gatwick, and at least two of my neighbours getting changed. I am astronomically useless. 

Controlling laughter. Farewell, kind readers. I'm too busy ROFLing and LOLing and LMFAO. Chuckle, chuckle. Did somebody cry? 




What are YOU rubbish at? Tweet me your thoughts: @kathyb5710

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Funny things I have heard in the office: part 2

(*Image sourced from and credited to someecards.com*)

I have worked in an office environment for almost 3 years now. In other words, I have spent almost 3 years of my sacred youth attempting to establish some kind of socially acceptable existence as an 'adult' and failing miserably. It turns out that formality never was my forte, and as professional and knowledgeable and helpful as I can try to convince people that I am, the truth is that I am just awkward and juvenile, spending my working days masking my ill-preparation for adult life with a pencil skirt and a 'wow, that is a truly fascinating flow process' facial expression. How did this happen? Why have we, as a society, introduced such tedious constraints on our time and wellbeing that we must immerse ourselves in regular, and potentially mundane employment, in order to adhere to and fund an 'appropriate' course of existence? Why do people get so aroused over flow processes?!

There is however, one marvellous thing about potentially mundane employment in an office. Offices are filled with human beings. Offices offer vibrant, comedic snapshots of the perpetually fascinating spectrum of human creation. Offices are conversational playgrounds within which personalities never stay suppressed for long. People are not naturally creatures of formal habit. Last year, I came up with an awesome project and started writing a list. Though colleagues have come and gone, I have since been relegated to the 'naughty' desk in the corner, and the team fridge has started growling, one thing remains the same. People in offices say funny things. You're welcome, world.

Most intellectual culinary insight

'You can put mustard in gravy!'
'Doesn't that make it taste of mustard?'

Most intellectual culinary insight, part 2

'Mars Bars in the freezer are delicious.'
'Doesn't that make them freeze though?'

Honesty is the best policy

'Are you all there?'
'I don't think so. I ask myself the same question everyday.'

Getting in the Christmas spirit

(Whilst watching the office premiere of a Christmas TV advert) 'OOOOOOOOOH, BELLS, I LOVE BELLS!!!'

Where perfume companies missed a trick

'Mmmmm, this elastic band smells really nice. It's kind of like rubbery petrol, ahhhh...'

The office English class

'Okay- clauses. So you have independent and subordinate clauses.'
'And Santa Clauses.'

Rachel Riley, eat your heart out

'Mindblank! What's 52 minus 3?'
'49?'

Getting in the Christmas spirit, part 2

(sings) 'Little donkey, little donkey, on the duuuusty road... Shit, that's a tune! That's definitely my favourite Christmas song of all time.'

The most pointless statement ever

'I'm so related to my brother it's unreal.'

The office French class 

'French numbers are pathetic! Why can't they just be in English or something?'

The diminishing of hearing at 5pm


'I need to get home and find my tickets!'
'You need to get home and fold your knickers?!'

Getting in the Christmas spirit, part 3

'I'm actually making something for the Christmas party this year!'
'Animal noises don't count, you know.'

On the eve of being eternally single

'I've joined the B and Q club!'

The art of urinating


'I love a calming wee.'
'Oh right, what's that then?'
'Oh, it's just a wee you have when you need to calm down...'
'What other types of wees are there then?'
'Erm, there's probably like, an actual about to wee yourself wee, and maybe a wee you have when you don't really need a wee but just want to contemplate your existence on the planet or whether you should eat straight or crinkly chips tonight.'

The awkward compliment

'You don't really wear many actual colours, do you? You kind of suit black and grey.'

The awkward medical advice

'Ah man, it really, really hurts! You got any Ibuprofen?'
'Yeah of course, I've got some you can have. But I do know something else that might work! When you get home, sit in a dark room, shut your eyes, and pop a syringe in it. It might feel a bit weird but it should flush it all out!'

The awkward selfie

'Woah, look at your profile picture! Do you want to get your cleavage out anymore?! You slut!'
'Oh shh! Is it really that bad? You're making me so paranoid! I'm going to have to change it!'
'Oh hang on, can you just wait until I've saved it?'

Wishful thinking

'You can't burn calories from thinking, can you?'

Most optimistic observation of the human race

"Gosh, people; they're really quite dim aren't they?"

How to be a novelist

'I'm thinking of writing a book!'
'Oh wow, that's awesome!'
'Yeah, you'll have to write it though.'

How to be supportive

'I'm so nervous, but I guess the only thing that matters is that I'm not last... But if I am, you've still got to cheer me up by clapping and cheering, yeah?'
'I'll laugh.'

When colleagues become friends

'We put a frozen potato dolphin in her wine at the weekend and told her it was an ice cube. Then the bits started flaking off and she had a breakdown.'

Monday afternoons

'What does this say?'
'It says...Up yours!'

The most pointless apology ever

'I'm sorry to interrupt. I'm not sorry to interrupt.'

A moment of scientific enlightenment 

"Do we have inner eyelids?" (blinks rapidly) "No, we don't. We just have one, don't we?"

Most intellectual culinary insight part 3

'What actually is a banana though? Is it like, a flower, or the reproductive organ of the plant or something?'

Monday afternoons, part 2

'You know where it says perking parmit only?'

Too much information

'Sometimes it's nice a bit of sexytime, but sometimes it's just a pain in the ass.'
'Erm.'


You can check out part 1 right here!

Do you work in an office? Do you hear funny things too? Tweet me your thoughts: @KathyB5710

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Frederick Albus



I am a mother. Don't look so alarmed. I am not with child, as such. No human being has, nor will, until I have learnt to truly appreciate the marvel of human reproduction, boisterously slide his way into this world via my love canal. Nope. No way. That kind of thing just isn't for me.

I have, however, become a mother to a furry little son. Yup, on Saturday 15th February 2014, my life changed. Family, chums, readers, fellow humans alike; allow me to introduce you to Frederick Albus. I know, 'cracking name', I hear you. Have you noted the literary, wizardly connotations? Do you think it's the most awesome dog name in the whole wide world? (Don't answer that.) Shall we all just call him Fred/Freddie for short? Yes, okay, let's do that.

There are cat people and dog people in this world. According to the wave of great uneasiness that I feel when a cat so much as darts a sultry glance in my direction, it's safe to say that I've always been a 'doggy person'. I've always had strong faith in the power of canine companionship and I can't imagine a life without it. When we lost our family dog Annie before Christmas, I could do nothing but drink cheap wine and weep (and I mean tears-snot-boo-hoo-I'm-a-drunk-sad-raving-mess weep) for an entire week. I was absolutely heartbroken, but having had the opportunity to reflect on just how extraordinary every moment with Annie had been, I knew then more than ever that I wanted my own dog.

And hurray, now I have him. I have a Freddie. He is an 8 week old Bichon Frise/Yorkshire Terrier cross. He is small and bear-like and chubby and funny and loud and irritating and awful and wonderful and disgracefully cute. After just 4 days together, I'm almost certain that he loves me more than anything else in this world has ever loved me. (I know, the boy has issues.) And despite the fact that I am covered in scratches and urine and wearing chewed shoes, and that I have forgotten what it feels to actually sleep of a night time, oh, sweet SLEEP, where art thou, and that I have asked myself at least twice-daily why the devil I ever thought this was a good idea, I am completely, head over heels in love with him, and I am so excited for the adventure ahead of us. Perhaps one day he'll even write his own feature on this blog. It will be pawfect. Chuckle, chuckle. (Do excuse me, I am exhausted and delirious.)

What do you think of Freddie? Do you think he's cute? When I sent a photo of him to a particularly brutal manfriend of mine, aka the world's worst local comedian, his response was, 'he looks like a scruffy, unappealing little shit. They do say dogs look like their owners lol.' I was all set to fight my corner, and then I remembered that I'm covered in scratches and urine and am wearing chewed shoes, and that my under-eye skin could be sold by Tesco to carry groceries, and that I haven't brushed my hair in 4 days. Oh, the joys of puppy parenthood. Perhaps, we'll save that debate for a different day.

Tweet me your puppy tips, pretty please, or if you want me to irritate you by posting a zillion photos of Freddie a week, you can also stalk us on Instagram. @kathyb5710





Wednesday, 12 February 2014

You were 'bone' a hero


What does it mean to be a hero?

Every 20 minutes, somebody in the UK is told that they have a blood cancer. Once upon a world-changing moment in 2012, that somebody was one of my best friends Emily. She never saw it coming. None of us saw it coming.

We live our lives in bubbles. It doesn't mean that we're naive about the risks associated with living; we know how cruel the world can be. We witness terrible things happening around us and we see the pain of other people. But by nature, for the sake of our own sanity, we just don't live our lives with the expectation that such terrible things will affect us personally. And then they do, and suddenly that bubble bursts and we're welcomed to the explicit dreadfulness of the human experience. We are immune to nothing, and that includes blood cancer. It could happen to our mum, our dad, our brother, our sister, our son, our daughter, our neighbour, our best friend, anyone. It could happen to me. It could happen to you. It could happen to the person you love most in this world. One day, any one of us could find ourselves sat before a consultant, being told the news that will change everything. 'You've got blood cancer.'

On Friday, thanks to the extraordinary work of the Anthony Nolan charity, Emily underwent a bone marrow transplant. A 34 year old man from Germany, a total stranger to us all, became one of the most important people that has ever walked this earth. He became one of my heroes, and he will never know the significance of my gratitude. There are never guarantees with blood cancer, but this transplant has given Emily the best possible opportunity at kicking the hideous ass of this disease once and for all. And this remarkable stranger has given her so much more than just his awesome bone marrow. He's given her a chance, hope, a future, the opportunity to chase more sunsets and get out in the world and live the life that a 23 year old should be living. He's given her the most invaluable gift of all; time. I never knew it was possible to love a stranger so much.

Unfortunately, there are not enough people on the register to provide a match for everyone. As it stands, there are many people in need of transplants who will never get them. Emily was one of the lucky ones.

What does it mean to be a hero?

You don't need a superpower, outright fearlessness, or cheese-grater abs to be a hero. You don't need an insane, fictional lifestyle or viral media coverage. You don't need the expert skill of kissing passionately whilst upside down. You don't even need a funky, skin-hugging costume and cape. Nope, the truest of heroes are the people who walk among us; the people who can give a mother their daughter back or a daughter their life back, or a life its future back. The truest of heroes are those who don't even think of themselves as heroes, but who become heroes in the hearts of others during pain and adversity, just like this 34 year old German stranger has to me. By existing, we all have the potential to become one of those heroes and to do something absolutely extraordinary. It's in your bones, quite literally.

I am the cure for blood cancer. You are the cure for blood cancer. Make a difference, I dare you. And if you're not inspired to do it for Emily, or for me,  or even for yourself, then do it for those people who matter to you, the people that you love, the same people who one day may need their own hero.

We are fortunate enough that most lifetimes are made up of lots of 20 minute intervals, but we are unfortunate in that we will never know when that world-changing moment may be ours.


You can read more about Emily here, and can find out more information via the links below:

http://www.anthonynolan.org/
https://twitter.com/AnthonyNolan



Tweet me your thoughts: @kathyb5710









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