Tuesday, December 11, 2007

for me ? how kind.....

Winter. The Arctic tundra of the outside world, the creeping darkness which awaits you in the morning and tails you home like a lost dog in the evenings, haemorrhaging money on Christmas presents, the limbo of the winter rains, 'variety' festive specials on the television.
Winter is the most dour of the seasons, the unwelcome drunk at a party who is sick with self pity.
I thought all was lost to the frost until I got home from the pub last night and entered the living room, which was cosy and warm, and all my flatmates and comrades were there under duvets, eating a takeaway and watching Watership Down with the fairylights on.
Mitton turned to me and said,
"Lenny popped round earlier and dropped some presents off for you, they're in my room."
"Presents ?" Suddenly, the chill of December melted away, even as I put the kettle on and prepared a brew.
Cartoons and curry and warmth and presents and tea and lowlights and friends*. It suddenly feels like Christmas to me.

*who eat all the chocolates out of your calendar because they don't know the difference between five and nineteen.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

hit me baby, one more time

To say I have an addictive personality would be a trite and reckless statement, borne of one or two examples which amount to little more than a current obsession. However, I am easily sucked in - usually to the most benign and habitual of pastimes - and once I'm there, I'm a bit of a goner.
It started with those ten-pence-pushing-machines - you know the ones, haunted by desperate, sad eyed cadavers with pocketfuls of change and a loose ambition - and perhaps it was the gaudy, flashing lights or slow, sultry way the drawers moved backward and forward over the scattered ocean of silver treasure, but I was hooked. It started when I was seven, and I've never forgotten the chink of coins hitting that small steel tray -which looks almost surgical - when the overspill is knocked forward. I won fifteen pounds in a 'jackpot' in St Ives once and had to carry the lot in the pockets of my coat for the rest of the night because the cashier, sullen in his plexi-glass casing, refused to change it for me. Fifteen ponds in ten pees is heavy, I warn you.
It lost its glitz for me in the arcade at Brighton, after I'd 'found my machine' - one which looked likely to pay something out - and had stood there with Ben for the best of five minutes.
"Oooooh ! Look ! I won !"
"Yeah, seventy pee. Nice one, and you only fed three pounds in. This is a right laugh."

I needed to move onto higher stakes. I'm addicted to smoking, which is something I'm hoping to crush in the new year, and booze, and caffeine, but ultimately, I like to profit, and unless you count heart disease, hangovers and the jitters as a profit, I needed to find something more. Don't get me wrong - I'm not trying to trivialise addiction, which, in it's worst forms, swallows lives and stability and rationalisation - but I can see it is in me, at least in the smallest dose. The thing is I never see it unless it's pointed out to me.

Two years ago I played poker with my family on Christmas evening. I'm a reckless gambler - anyone who has betted against me in Pontoon knows this; "Hit Me!" - but for me that just adds to the thrill. So it was I found myself low on chips and high of hand at about half past twelve that evening, desperate to win something.
I lent over.
"Mum. Mum, lend me some of your chips."
My mum, who had been WINNING ALL NIGHT refused politely, citing the rules of the game.
"Fuck the rules mum, come on, seriously. I have a definite winning hand here."
"You won't do this for your only daughter ?"
My sister looked flatly across the table at me, saying nothing.
"Alright, look. You lend me the chips, I'll win, I'll pay you back double. Double."
"No, Daise."
"Alright, cash then, I've got the cash right here, it's in my purse. No ? No ? Alright look, these car keys, I have these car keys against this hand, if I lose, you get the car."
"Those are my keys, and that's my car." Steve said, at which point I gave up, protesting, and went outside to worship the god of nicotine.

It's the same with the Playstation - oh Playstation, you beautiful device you - which I played so obsessively and relentlessly that I actually had to ban myself from owning one lest I lose another job because of it, not to mention the boyfriend who left me because I was playing with Leon more than I was him.

A while ago, Lenny and I were in the pub when he mentioned a game they had called Shut the Box. The premise is so simple it's almost insulting - it's a dice game, so no skill is involved, just the subtraction of numbers between one and nine. I'd never heard of it, so was clapping my hands with glee when Lenny brought it over.
"Shall we make this interesting by putting some money on it, say a pound a game ?" he'd asked, and I'd said yes.
Five pounds down and Lenny said he had to stop,
"I don't want to lose any more money," he'd said.
This struck me as odd - not that I was winning, I occasionally get lucky streaks, you should see me play pool - but because he'd stopped, entirely of his own accord, whereas I would have started scribbling IOU's and making empty promise for JUST ONE MORE GAME.

This came to a head last night in the Fortune of War in Brighton, where I was with some friends. There is a quiz machine in the corner, but I never really play those things, and hadn't really noticed it until Billy pointed it out.
"Ah, I really wish you'd been here the other night, Daise. I was playing that and one of the categories was 'Stephen King Books'. I got them all wrong."
I smiled.
"I'd have aced that."
"Yeah." Odge agreed, "You would."
"Might have a go myself." I murmured, and ten minutes later, was being manhandled away by Odge and Billy.
"Billy, give me some change, I need some change." I'd demanded.
"I can't Daisy -"
"Why ? You work here don't you ?"
"Yeah. It's just that you've put quite a lot of money into it already and I think anymore would be a waste."
"Oh come on! No-one knows the capital of Kenya." I implored.
"Nairobi." everyone answered.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

hanks in pants

Three, maybe four years ago my friends and I - our name was legion and we are many, if you like - decided to spend Christmas in our flat, and aim out going to see our families. There were fifteen of us on Christmas day, all chipping in money for drinks and food, which were both bountiful, and with one of us - thank you Meade - doing the cooking.
Over the seasonal period our over indulgence led to most of us sat on our collective arses eating and drinking our way towards cardiac arrests and watching ALL the Christmas fayre tee-vee had to offer, which mainly consisted of old Tom Hanks movies designed for the young, or the female or the stupid, or in some cases all three.
It would appear that Tom Hanks has it written into some draconian contract somewhere that every single one of his movies has to feature at least one scene of him in pants. So it was that in Turner and Hooch Hanks wrestles with a dog in pants. (Hanks, not the dog, that would be weird). In Big, he is seen strolling around in nothing but pants. Ever watched Castaway ? End to end loincloth. I've never watched it all the way through but I'll bet money Sleepless in Seattle features a 'heartwarming' scene whereby Hanks vacuously reprimands his young son while one or the other are in pants. Saving Private Ryan only ever led to the phrase 'Hanks in Pants with Tanks' and as for Apollo 13, I really can't comment, mainly because we got bored and put on some music.
It's a hell of a game, look out for it, and every time Hanks strolls onto the screen in his pants for seemingly no apparent reason - The Burbs - please do award yourself a point. Go on, you deserve it.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

"you, madam, need some discipline"

I have things to do, but being a procrastinator of almost epic magnificence I'm finding excuses to put off doing them all.
Like writing this piffle for example.
My apathy always reaches new dizzy lows in the winter, as the darkness begins to surround us a little more tightly in the mornings and the evenings and the weather mutates into one long wet, bone numbing day. At least that's the excuse I'm giving, that's what I'm telling myself as I flick through endless channels of even more endless vapidity without lifting my head from the arm of the sofa. Free Willy ? Yeah, I'll watch ten minutes of that until the One Hundred Greatest Pop Songs starts on TMF. Reckon I can get a good hour of that in before it's time for the Antiques Roadshow. And I'll eat at some point. I guess.
Meanwhile, here are the things I ought to be doing;
(a) Cleaning out the goldfish. They have taken to swimming against the glass of their bowl and occasionally flicking the surface with their tails trying to alert me to the squalor of their faintly orange tinted water. I know it's cruel. I know that the edges of that tank should not be furred up with algae. I know I should be able to see them through the glass and the murk. I know all this and I will do it.
Once I've done this.
(b) Get dressed. It's four thirty in the afternoon. I'm still in my night attire and while on someone else that phrase may sound sexy and alluring - "I'm only wearing a very thin, very short nightdress," - that, I can assure you, is not the case with me. Until someone makes a fetish film called 'Chicks in Oversized Tee-shirts and Knee High Socks with Bad Hair' that is. Then I'm your girl.
(c) Eat. Unless I can reach it from a prone position on the sofa, it's not going in my mouth. I've discovered I can slide a bowl of Maltesers towards my groping hand using my foot - thank you, dance classes, I knew you weren't in vain - and I can look pitifully at whoever comes into the room.
"Are you going to the kitchen ?" I ask in a lost little girl voice, "if you are can you please bring me in an apple/sandwich/full roast dinner with all the trimmings ?"
(d) Finish the short story I started a week ago. Deadlines are my nemesis. They come steaming towards you, blundering past everything else you've put off doing for weeks, announcing themselves in a thunderous voice that you were meant to have taken notice of five weeks previously. If a deadline had a voice it would sound like Brian Blessed. This is true.

A high achieving friend told me once that procrastination was just another word for laziness. I don't agree, and the moment I'm out of my vegetative state of inertia I'll argue the point with her, but not just yet. Five more minutes.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Committing Piscine Genocide

I know, I know, I'm unstoppable. But you know how it is when you have an uneventful Sunday night of doing very little in a warm place, wrapped up snug and womblike in front of a movie until you think, I'll just chip off to bed with Catch bastard 22, the book which never ends, and in doing so you take off your clothes and hang them on a clothes rail which lurches unexpectedly and fatally to the left, tilting over in horrific slow motion and smashing into your goldfish bowl which splinters open like a cracked nut with a terrific smash, spilling out a cascade of water and the audible fleshy thump of two piscine bodies hitting the floor where they flop about for a bit and then lie still while all around them is water, water everywhere and you, frozen barefoot in just your underwear can't move for the broken glass and can only watch them flail while water spreads out towards you like slow moving lava in a dark shadow and by the time, five minutes later you get round to picking them up by their tails and the bloody things are still alive and squirm in your hand so you squeal like a girl and shove them in a bucket of water while for the next three quarters of a cocking hour you are on your hands and knees for all the wrong reasons mopping up stale water and then you think to yourself 'Bollocks to this it's half past twelve, I'm going to get a beer.'

You know those kinds of nights ?

I fucking do.

small town blues

A little while back Philip J and I were discussing Small Town Mentality Syndrome. Having grown up in a city the size of a monopoly board I am well versed in the mechanics of gossip and rumour and the constant vigilance of the small townee. On more than one occasion as a teenager I'd arrive home to find that my parents knew more about what I'd been up to that night than was entirely comfortable, particularly as my good times revolved around spar cider, poppers and french kissing the local youth round the back of the cathedral.
Don't get me wrong, I like to gossip as much as the next lass, but there is something sinister and almost bleak about being the subject of the bitchery and snipery that sustains the Small Town Mentality.I'm known for my terrible judgement of both people and situations and therefore found myself against the better judgement of every single person I knew, on a flight to Asia to marry a total idiot. My friends tried to stop me. The regulars in the pub I was running tried to stop me. My own mother offered me money to not go. But I knew what I was doing, I was in love.

So when, four weeks and many tears later I arrived unwed back in Brighton, tanned and skinnier than when I'd left but feeling like a catastrophic failure and abysmally alone, it came as no surprise at all to find that everyone knew. Everyone. Even complete strangers came up to me in the pub;
"Ah, we knew it wouldn't work out. He was no good for you. We all thought so. Boys a fool if he doesn't want you etc"
"Who are you ?"
"Ah. We saw your picture in the shop there."
"What ?"
Turns out my flatmate Simon had put a poster up of me in the town centre with the words;
'LOST. A friend and a flatmate, last seen running away to Thailand with her head in the clouds'
because he knew, like everyone else it seemed, that it was never going to work out. Just like everyone had said. A few people had joked about taking bets on how long it would be before I came home - at least I think they were joking. The point being that the fact that it hadn't worked out made for very good story indeed, especially when you consider that the boy involved flew back to England before me threatening to kill a man I'd once had a fling with. Oh, how that paid off in gossip gold. It's all there, broken hearts, shotgun weddings, bikinis, threats to kill, if it didn't sound so fictional I'd write a book about it.

Back to the conversation. Philip had made a good point in that when you live in a small town with not much happening except the events of other people's lives you tend to get 'a running commentary' on your activities from others.
In this case I was meeting a friend who had moved away from Brighton recently and was only in town for the afternoon. We had about an hour and a half together before she had to go, which was time enough for a pint. Sitting in the beer garden I hadn't even taken my jacket off when I was hit with the question bullets flying out of her face.
" You're not going to tell about this man you've met than?"
"Which one ?"
"I hear you haven't written anything for a while because you've been drinking too much."
"Pardon ?"
"Is it true that you're getting dressed up as Led Zeppelin on the night of the tribute concert and performing the entirety of 'Physical Graffiti' in your kitchen and that you and Lisa have fallen out because you both wanted to be Jimmy Page?"
"That's not strictly true, no -"
"You still not sleeping I hear ?"
"Jesus - "
"Someone told me you were some kind of ultra vixen with a torture dungeon in your basement and a cache of weapons in the loft."
"Yeah, I suppose."

Turns out she was being fed this information through the many and various mouths of my acquaintances, and as she no longer lived in town she had specifically asked that any news was reported back to her with the speed and inaccuracy of a tabloid reporter. Which I could have been annoyed about. I could have pulled her up and told her that if she wanted to know about what I was doing all she had to do was ask and I'd tell her. But after years of living in a tiny, snub-nosed town I have developed the ability to shrug off all my gossip and laugh in the face of all the scandalous rumours. Particularly the one currently doing the rounds about me at the moment. I'm sure you'll hear about it soon. Just not from me.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

that van stank to high heaven though.

I have a wonderful image in my head, a static slice of frozen time.
Cornwall, a few years ago. Nine of us had miraculously managed to get a weekend off our various bar jobs and hired a mini-bus to drive down there for an experimental exodus out of Brighton. It was, and remains still, one of the happiest journeys I've taken so far - 'the devil fools with the best laid plans' Neil Young once sang but we were safe because we hadn't made any. Not one. Hence the first night was spent with nine of us sleeping upright and drunk in the van parked on Perranporth beach. The image in my head is that of us, windswept and tired, on the seafront down at St Ives on a brisk May morning the day we were due to leave. Alex John is looking pale and unhappy because a seagull had stolen her ice-cream and she had a bilious hangover from the local scrumpy. Tina is still drunk, and wrapped up in a bright pink blanket. Jon and Odge are to my left, discussing Fifty Cent with Gordon, who looks stilted and worn because he cricked his neck sleeping in the van on the first night. From here, stood on the beach I can see Amy and Burg writing their names in the sand. Finch is to my right, with a pasty, ignoring the fact that the temperature within it is close to that of molten lava.
It was here that I can remember feeling happy - happy in that content, this is bliss way - and hoping it was a moment I would never forget. We've banned ourselves from discussing that holiday now - particularly in the presence of anyone who wasn't there - because the stories and anecdotes are numerous and the in-jokes so inverted that they may as well be mythical, and anyone listening to us ramble on about it generally starts shifting in their seat, then their eyes develop a glassy sheen, then their jaws slacken and a runner of drool swings from their lower lip as they enter an advanced catatonic state.
Alright, it's not that boring. But like all the best things, you had to be there.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

aka 'big stupid nobchops'

If you're going to give yourself an alias - the sort of cool, razor-edged, law-breaking moniker used mainly by rappers and hustlers, always, always choose something which makes you sound, well, cool, razor-edged and law-breaking.
For instance, no-one is going to question the credentials of the Grym Reaper, Dr Doom or Ol' Dirty Bastard.
And you'd have to be an maniac to pick a fight with someone calling themselves Ghost Face Killah.
So in my childish way, it really made me laugh when, on Saturday afternoon as I headed off to the pub I saw that someone calling themselves Big Daddy G had tagged themselves all over the walls of one of Brighton's junctions. What made it funny, at least to me in some puerile way, was that someone had added '-ay' at the end of ‘ Big Daddy G’.
Ah, the comedy.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

such a load of old bono, all of it.

The other night Alan and I were having late drinks in the pub and we overhead a table having a ‘Ten Bands we Must see before we Die’ conversation, which led us, in our meandering, drunken way, on to a conversation of ‘Ten Bands we’d rather Die then See’.
I’d forgotten all about it until last week when I received this message from Al;

Alan - Oasis, Hard-Fi, Fatboy Slim, The Kooks, Arctic Monkeys, U2, Calvin Harris, Maroon 5, Hootie and the Blowfish, and Hard-Fi again (Cos I hate them so much)...

Which led me to respond;

Daisy - u2, sting, sting and u2 in concert , sting, bono and simply red live with jamie cullum, genesis, phil collins, mike and mechanics, razorlight, steely dan, ub40, fallout boy, my chemical romance, ub40 guest appearing at a lenny kravitz concert.
*deep breath*
akkon the ringtone menace, jack penate, sean kingston, katie melua, dave stewart solo with jamie cullum on the pia-pia-pia-no, collins on drums, and bono on vocals. it’s a super group.super shit that is.

and m-people, which I have just thought of. Bunch of insipid, lukewarm arse.

(thanks to Alan for making me laugh so much about it though.)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

insomnia's revenge - the awakening

It's four-thirty in the morning the night before the day I'm going to post this, or the morning of, if you're a bit of a pedant.
I've just been downstairs to make a cup of tea and stare glazed around the kitchen cursing my restlessness when I found myself drawn against my will to the flat black pools of the windows which overlook the garden.
I've said it before and will happily keep saying it until someone physically restrains me, there is something sinister about the middle of the night. On Sunday I woke up at three o'clock in the morning, paddling against the restraint of my covers and wondering why I could only see things in black and white.
" I'm colour-blind!" I screamed inwardly "I can only see in monochrome!"
A know plenty of people who get 'face at the window' syndrome - anyone who has watched a horror film from the eighties or early nineties will have some measure of this - when all you see is the spectre of your reflection peering back at you and somewhere out there, in the dark and the depths of the night the killer is prowling, stalking, knife glinting in hand, your eyes wander restlessly over the - ah Jesus! there he is, pressed flat against the glass.
The looming face at the porthole of your fears.
I spent at least five of my teenage years in a state of painful anxiety after being told by a 'psychic' that I was going to start seeing ghosts and that the first one would appear to me over my shoulder in my reflection. Thanks for that. I was a staggeringly insecure adolescent - as if there is any other kind - and would have happily spent hours staring into hostile mirrors and mentally pulling my image apart. Catching my own reflection became a terrifying ordeal, not only having to contend with the unhappy symmetry of my features but potentially the wispy face of a phantom hovering about the place, suggesting ways I could improve my hair. Whether I believe in ghosts or not, her words always, always come back to haunt me in these dark times, these alone-in-the-bowels-of-the-night times, when all I see out of the exposed kitchen windows is my own pale face, nervous and wide eyed, not just because of the roaming killer about to slam himself up against the glass but because the faces of the dead are about to loom up in the behind me as well.
It’s not as if I encourage meddling with the afterlife, I’m going to be seeing enough of it when I’m dead.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

i'll (not) get these in.

"Life moves pretty fast, " said Ferris Bueller, later to be sampled on the Gravediggaz Niggamortis album, "you don't stop to look around every once in a while, you miss it."

Ferris has obviously never spent a week in my company when I'm off the sauce, when time slows to a lame crawl and the only thing you're likely to miss if you don't stop to look around is my cells dying. A craving, like gossip, is hard to ignore, particularly if you regard the twin evils of smoking and drinking as I do, which is like fond old pals instead of for what they are. One, a hysterical displacement activity and insidious poison, the other an emotion sating, speech slurring social activity.
When I tried to give up smoking back in June it was as though someone had told me I could no longer breathe. I'd sit huddled in pubs with my friends, insanely jealous as they wafted smoke about the place and made roll-ups with nimble dextrous fingers, occasionally glancing at me and saying with sincerity,
"I'm really proud of you, Daisy, you're doing really well."

Well fuck well and fuck you. Fuck all of you, you giddy, laughing, smoking bitches. Those were my actual thoughts, and the beer didn't help because aside from narrowing my already shrinking willpower to that of a gnat, one without the other just didn't seem right.
I fell off that wagon so spectacularly you could have called it a stunt dive. One of those with men carrying panes of glass across a suspiciously empty street, stacks of boxes piled up in alleyways, cranes carrying dynamite toppling over onto firework factories, that kind of thing. So I'm determined not to do that this time. It's only day three, and I'm already discovering that eerie clarity of thought in which objects, perspective and people take on vivid new dimensions which - in my blurred and booze fugged mind - I'd previously never noticed. I don't look as though I've had my hair styled by Ken Dodd as I walk into work. I've found out that I do understand Catch-22, it's just a huge tome, and will be quite laborious. I've fed my goldfish every day instead of just when I remembered, and now they are no longer trying to propel themselves over the rim of their bowl. I discovered I still have a child-like enthusiasm for many things, instead of the dried-up cynical approach I'm familiar with.

I don't advocate abstinence - I don't advocate anything, I'd be a fool to try, especially since the last time -
"What's that noise ?"
"It's bloody Daisy advocating the merits of Paul McCartney. Let's get out of here."
- but I have to say, from my sanctimonious, smug little cocoon of sobriety I'm feeling pretty good. Especially when all those around me are suffering with hangovers. Drink up, losers.

Next week : I'll be back at Threshers, doing the weekly shop.

Monday, September 03, 2007

bushes on mushes

This is my third rewrite in recounting the events of my weekend, so surreal and magnificent as it was. If, upon reaching the end of this post you still feel adrift in a sea of implausibility I can only hold my hands up and say;
"Hey. It's how it happened."
Friday saw the return to Brighton of my friends Sam and Sam, the bi-titled couple who for reasons known best to themselves moved to Bristol over a year ago. The reason for their return was twofold - the World Beard and Moustache Championships were being held at the Brighton Centre on Saturday and Sam and Mitton's Marriage of Friendship at which I, as best (wo)man was to oversee the joining together in some kind of matrimony of these two best friends.

With me so far ? Good.

Friday saw much fun and drinking and the playing of the Minder theme tune in odge's pub, with me trying to usher everyone into dancing to Come on Eileen with me - it didn't happen. The next day dawned bright and sunny which was a shame as the light lanced my parched eyeballs and throbbing head at precisely eight thirty that morning and then stubbornly refused to leave, like an uninvited drunk guest, forcing me up and into a shower which needled my delicate self and left me wet and tingling. Truly, I was suffering, and I only had a few short hours to compose my self before donning my wedding outfit (pinstriped funsuit and tie, trilby, moustache, sunglasses. I looked like a cross-dressing blues brother. I looked like John Belushi in drag. John Belushi in drag after death. You get the point.)
Hoisting my sorry self in a taxi and across town, we finally entered the Brighton Centre a good hour and a pint later and by the powers of all that is hirsute and holy it was quite literally indescribable.
No, it really was, trust me, I've tried. Even photographs don't do it justice, I can only urge you to go and see the spectacle for yourselves and consider the dedication and devotion of each and every man to his facial accessory, and instead of wondering 'Why ?' just think 'Aces'. After all as the song says;
'Every girl loves a fella with a bush upon his mush'.
At least I think that's what it said. Certainly works in my mind.
At this point I'd like to steal wholesale an image which Sam conjured up for us in the pub later, that of Tony Hewittson and his portrait on the stairs. As you enter the Centre there are two staircases - one to the left and one to the right - I, like most right handed people consistently turned right upon entering the building and in doing so we found ourselves confronted each time by a portrait of Tony Hewittson on the stairs. Who he was or what he did I don't know but the artist has captured Tony in a suit, at a desk, on a phone. As Sam said later,
"When I die, I went a portrait of me riding a stallion into the vast depths of hell holding a flaming sword in one hand and a human head in the other. I don't want it to look as though I'm trying to get through to the marketing department."
It's a fair point. Perhaps the Brighton Centre would like to take this into account.
After being touched up by some very frisky gents in uniform - I said put your arm around me for a photo, not go for my tits - and marvelling at one very dapper gent (Number 17 in the Full Beard category) who pulled the chair out for his good lady wife and stood when she stood, was seated when she sat etc, I remarked on how it was a shame manners didn't exist like that any more. Mitton wrinkled her nose,
"It'd piss you off after a while, Daize. You'd end up bobbing up and down all night just to see how long it would take for his patience to snap."
Touché. And indeed, 'Tasche.
The wedding took place on the floor of or local pub's beer garden owing to lack of vacant beaches and was witnessed by myself and Gracie, a stout dog-pig with one of those wrinkled, flabby faces you can't fail to find distinctly unappealing. Then it was shots all round and a magnificent tumble from Lisa 'It's been a while' Mitton on the way home.

Their wedding night was spent with me in the kitchen arguing over whether or no Rod Stewart has ever been hot. (Answer: NO).

Me ? Drinking problem ? Nah, I don't have a problem with it.

Update: I’ve been asked to mention the tequila fuelled band which was formed following the wedding ceremony called Dog for a Witness in which I’m the lead singer. Looks like I’ll have to put my electro project Laser Love Guns to one side for a while.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

apples and spice and all things nice.

It's nearly that time of year again - October 21st is National Apple Day (or at least it was last year, I haven't checked the dates this year, I don't have an apple fetish or anything.)
Last year we took ourselves to Middle Farm, a working farm straight outta the Shire and hidden in the Sussex countryside, known for it's homemade cheeses, a monstrous shire horse called - and over two hundred different types of ciders, meads and scrumpies all for the tasting.
These are proper ciders and scrumpies - bitter and cloudy and in the case of the pear cider, a mild laxative. As Odge can tell you. Ten minutes with a 5ml tasting cup and you're already a bit heady, feeling the crab apple flush building on your cheeks and a slow, stupid smile rise on your face. It's homemade and cheap and sold in cleaned out milk cartons with handwritten labels plastered on the front. If it sounds overly twee that's because it is, and if, after quarter of an hour of standing in the low-ceilinged converted barn, surrounded by the musk of old wooden barrels and the tang of spilt cider you don't emerge swathed in gingham chewing a piece of straw then you haven't really done it right, and should keep drinking until you fall through the Cider Portal. Even the names themselves seem to thrust huge innuendos and charmless metaphors into your slowly blinking bovine face. 'Crippled Cock', 'Double Vision' and 'Mangled Perspective' might sound like pro-wrestlers, but the only parallel they have with them is that all may leave you with something either sprained or broken, depending on how long you spend with each one.
They also have an Olde Time Fayre (don't laugh) which consists of the kind of circus music and swirling giddy rides you only ever see in cheese based nightmares and 'drug trip' sequences in bad films. One of the stalls is a Olde Time variation on a shooting gallery with crossbows and arrows instead of air rifles which isn't only perversely dangerous when you think of all the Double Vision seeping into your bloodstream but hilarious, especially when Richard fired vertically instead of horizontally and speared the fairy lights in the ceiling.
No prizes for Richard.
They also have a huge selection of bantam hens, each and every one of which looks as though they are wearing a pair of feathered flares, which, once I'd had enough mulled cider (hot, spicy, sweet and embarrassingly potent) I could and would have laughed at for hours, if Sweetman hadn't taken me by the arm and dragged me away muttering,
"They're just hens, Daisy, they're just hens."
Everyone should go, and if you're not singing the duelling banjos from Deliverance and making ill-judged predictions abut the weather all the way back to the train I'll eat my straw hat.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

planes, trains and shitmobiles

We all have mental filters which means we only register certain things. The things we do register sink, sponge-like, into a consciousness bank, to be accessed at will. As a for instance, for me it's theme tunes, advert jingles, ghost stories. I can easily tell you that the ewoks theme tune from it's short lived cartoon spin off went 'we're the e-e-e-e-eeeewoks, one big happy happy family' or that no matter what you say-ay, the muskahounds are never far away. ay. (if I'm drawing on lots of childhood things here, which I am, it's because that was the last time I watched t.v with any degree of enthusiasm).
Other things simply skate off the surface of my brain like greased wheels on ice, leaving barely a trace.
I once asked an ex-boyfriend to explain to me how planes stayed in the air. Jason began describing, in great detail, the necessary schematics needed for flight - I heard turbines, velocity, something about jet propulsion, maybe ? Then I began to wonder whether or not bees could hear themselves buzz. After a minute or two, he paused and peered directly at me.
"You're not even listening, Daisy." He said, justifiably angry, "Why ask me if you're not going to listen when I tell you ?"
"Sorry." I'd said, turning my eyes into big round baby blues in an effort to avoid an argument, "It's just not sinking in."
Jason looked at me for a moment and sighed. "It's all pixies and fairy dust and magic." he said.
"That's what makes planes fly ?"

"No, Daisy. That's what's in your head."
It's not that I don't care. I can tell you that my friend Finch works with people with learning difficulties and that Odge is running a pub. But Lenny and Alex, who I regard with equal affection and a certain fondness, I haven't a clue about. I know Lenny is in his second year at university studying...uh...something to do with music, he has told me...um...sound production ? No, it's not quite right. I know that Alex works in the City, doing something very high-pressured and important with large amounts of money for an enormous salary. But even though he's told me, I still couldn't tell you his job title.
I have a filter for finances, something I've had all my life. Again, it's not that I don't care - left to my own devices I'd be bankrupt by now - I just don't hear it. Bank statements continue to go into the drawer unopened, balances unchecked, withdrawals unmonitored. Someone tried to go through it with me once and gave up in disgust when I asked he minded if I played the playstation while he carried on.
Like I said, it's not lack of caring, or ignorance, it's just the mental filters only process really useless knowledge and functionless trivia into the portals of my mind. It's why I've got no idea how music is transferred to a c.d but I could wang on to you endlessly about werewolf legends or futurama or goldfish.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

more than meets the eye

So, Transformers.
I've tried to see this film three times now at have been thwarted at each attempt like a lazy bluebottle. The first time I couldn't go because I was ill, the second time was because Lenny, who had so kindly offered to come with me when no-one else would, got drunk and forget to book the tickets. Then he dropped an even bigger bombshell.
"Actually Daisy, I've been meaning to tell you this." Lenny looked uncomfortable, his eyes dancing away from mine. "It's just that, well , I -uh - I watched Transformers at the weekend."

"WHAT ? Without me ? You bastard!"
"I'm sorry Daisy. It just happened, and I thought of you the whole time. I'll come with you to see it though, it was so fucking great I'd happily sit through it again."
He began explaining a scene to me in vivid detail until I said,
"Alright, alright, we'll go on Thursday."
So last Thursday Sweetman and I (and briefly my parents, who were visiting for a couple of days) were sat in the pub, itchy with excitement. We got a couple of pints, I was doing my Transformers impressions, my parents were asking what the film was - "So it's a bit like that car advert then, when the car transforms into a robot ?" - when my phone rang. It was Lenny, who'd gone ahead to get the tickets.
"Cinema's shut."
"Fuck's sake. How long for ?"

"Just tonight. I'm outside the pub anyways, so I'll come in."
In he came, and sat down beside me.
"Fucking cinema cunts," he was ranting, "titwanks -"

"Have you met my mum ?" I said stridently, pointing across the table. Lenny had the decency to look embarrassed and mutter something about being Irish and therefore entitled to have language which would make a docker blush. In the end we had a few pints and I did my Transformers impression to no acclaim.
The next day I got to work to an email from my friend Alex, telling me all about the film and skirting into the plot and certain memorable lines.
It's okay, I think, he hasn't really given anything away, and the plot isn't the reason I'm going anyway.
Then Sweetman calls me at work. He is hungover which makes two of us.
"Where are you ?" I ask, grateful that he's called. His voice is a soothing balm on the ache of my head.
"Seafront. Well, nearly."

I'm suddenly suspicious. "Why ?" I hate the seafront. "What possible reason does anyone go to that beach ?"
Sweetman, very quietly, "I'm going to see Transformers."
I nearly thrown the phone out of the window. I wanted to howl "It's not faiiiirrrrrr" into the receiver. I managed a "okay then." Sweetman reassured me he'd meet me after work for a Friday drink, and even persuaded me to do a quick decepticon down the phone. Later in the bar garden he was telling me about the film, all the best bits rambling out of his mouth in a neon blur until a slammed my pint down and said,
"Alright stop. I haven't even bloody seen it yet and I already feel like I know most of it."
"I'd defiantly go again," Sweetman says, eyes aglow like an eighties child, "It's fantastic."

On Saturday I'm gaying it up at pride when my phone rings. It's Philip, so I call him back.
"Hey, it's me." he says, unneccesarily, "Look, I've just called to tell you that a mate's just come down and ummmm, well we're going to watch Transformers in a bit." I have to steady myself against a wall. Philip has broken three ribs recently so to call him the name I was thinking of calling him seems a bit harsh. I swallow it back, but it's an effort.

"I'm really sorry, Daisy. I know how much you wanted to see it." it sounds like he's grinning. I tell him I hope he enjoys it and think I manage some conviction.
Later, I'm back at the house with a beer when he sends a text.
"They've just captured bumblebee!"
Then another;
"Oh my god! He put the cube in megatron's chest instead!"
Jesus Christ. Charlie Brooker once said that the biggest movie spoiler of all time was the DVD cover to Planet of the Apes with the statue of liberty's head sticking out the sand.
He should meet some of my mates.
Update: Cinema at eight thirty Wednesday. Nothing but the second coming will stop me.

Monday, July 30, 2007

fall apart in my backyard.....

For reasons I can’t fathom a friend of mine is planning a trip to Canada in order to complete a 600km cycle trek.
This morning he received an email from the organisers from which I have pulled the following text because it made me laugh:
Bear Safety
"Local bear expert Jay Honeyman will be giving a bear safety presentation as part of the pre-race briefing on August 12th. Jay will also have bear spray ($30), with holster ($40), and bear bangers ($40) available for purchase following his presentation. Sale of these safety items will go to support the Karelian Bear Shepherding Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting education and research to reduce incidents of bear human conflict."

First off, he’s called Jay Honeyman. Bear experts should be called Mike Grizzly or Frank Claws or Hardcore Muscles – Jay Honeyman sounds a bit, well, fictional, no matter how apt a name it is.

Bear Spray ? Brilliant ! That’ll keep a charging half ton grizzly at bay. At least you get to wear a holster as your throat is ripped from your neck and your head flung twelve feet into the undergrowth. Holsters make you look cool. Fact.

Bear Bangers ? Aces. I can only imagine these are thrown at the bear’s paws in order to scare it off, but surely the only effect this will have will be to make it dance on it’s hind legs. Which is surely illegal ?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

I write this with apologies to Amy Mead

I have many many many lovely friends. One of the loveliest and shortest is Amy Mead, aka shortarse, pixie mead or in my case Moo.
I am known for my fickleness, it seeps from me in unusual ways - I say I'll be somewhere and I won't, I promise something only to get the fear of commitment and dash it against the rocks of loyalty at the last minute - I can barely trust my own promises to myself.
I made a very quick decision in March to go back to university this year and in an unsurprising turn of mood yesterday have decided to defer, at least for a year. After all, I don't want to commit to not going either. Today I broke the news to Amy, while standing on the grimy pavements of London Road, buffeted by swarms of wretched hags and harridans, each screeching insults at the other as they passed me. Therefore the conversation went something like this;
Amy: "What do you mean you're not going to university, Dooks ?"

Me: "Stupid fucking bitch."
Amy; "Ey?"

Me: "Sorry not you. Some twat - yes you, you twat - is trying to push past me. Yeah, like I said, I think I've changed my mind about university."
Long, long pause. I could almost hear the depths of Amy's knowing, stupefied mood.
Amy : "Are you joking ? You're joking, are you ? Are you ?"

Me: (quietly) "No."
At this point Amy's language turned the air so blue I could practically swim back to work.
Me: "Look. I've really thought about this."

Amy: "I am never going to believe anything you say again."
Me: "Yeah you too, arsehole. Sorry, someone was trying to get past again."
Amy: "You always do this."
Me: genuinely affronted "Not all the time"
Amy: "I'll talk to you about this later."

Me: " Seriously I know what I'm doing this time."
Amy: "Whatever you want Daise."
Me: "I'll stick it up your arse in a minute mate. Sorry, someone was - Amy ?"

Nope, she'd gone. She's right of course, I do do this all the time, and the fact that she cares means a great deal to me. So I just want to say to Amy (and Lenny, who said he'd kick my face off if I didn't go, and possibly Big Al B who may read this at work and come downstairs and kill me) I'm really sorry.
Not that sorry obviously, just enough to get back into your good books.
Update : As an afterthought, a huge cheers with off licence beers to Mitton and Jason who put 'poo-shaped cake' on my list of reasons to stay. I just need to know...why ?
And next time, it'll be all about ME obviously.

Monday, July 16, 2007

kick 'em in the vice magazines

Being a westcountry girl a fairly large part of me is superstitious. Cows lying down ? Rain. Red sky in the morning ? Rain. Starlings flocking to the left ? Uhhhh....rain.
I’m terrified of lone magpies the way some people are of diseases and letters from the council. Lone magpies are an omen of sorrow, or in the case of Saturday night, indecent exposure and surrealism on a massive scale.
My favourite pub in the world is in north London - I found myself outside there with Alex on Saturday afternoon. I was going out later that evening so I was wearing the funsuit (shorts on the bottom, halter-neck on the top, bit like a waistcoat. business at the top, party at the bottom, I’m sorry.)
Alex was at the bar. A magpie swooped into view and strutted about briefly in that peculiar way they have, occasionally glaring at me with it's onyx eyes. "Good afternoon mister magpie," I intoned. It stared back so hard it was like being crushed by black ball bearings.
Oh dear, I thought, that's a bad omen.
The problem with funsuits is getting them off, and if the funsuit magic is working properly you will have someone willing to do that for you in no time. However, this was not one of those times. so as I struggled back into mine in the toilet I heard a tiny sound.
There was a button on the floor.
Shit, I thought, picking it up. shit. Oh, it's alright, it's a concealed button at the waist. No-one will notice. I’ll just do these top two up, and...
I look down with mounting horror. On the floor are the top two buttons, gazing balefully up at me looking for the all the world like the eyes of a magpie. I groan. Looking down at myself I notice two things, and they should really not be so noticeable.
Clutching the top together I scurry through the pub and outside. (smoking.) Alex is looking at me.
"What ?" he says. I show him the clutch of buttons in my palm.
"So ?"
"Alex," I whisper, "you can see my bra." (it is a good bra though, but still.)
"No I can't."
I show him the affected area.
"Jesus." he says, averting his eyes. "Jesus Daisy, I did not ask to see that."
"What am I going to do ?" I have a scarf with me, so I put it on. It is very narrow and hangs limply down. Alex shakes his head.
"If anything that's worse. It looks like a fucking arrow. You'll just have to keep your coat on."
Good idea I think, as I make my way to Camden. I’ll just keep it done up all night.
At the venue I am greeted by Dan and The Drummer Whose Name I Do Not Remember in the garden. Dan gives me a hug.
"You look hot."
"Thank you," I say, giving him a little twirl.
"No, you look hot. You're sweating. Take off your coat."
"I can't. I’ve had a wardrobe malfunction."
"It's alright, how bad can it be ?"
I show them. The Drummer Whose Name I Do Not Remember takes a step back.
"Yeah, keep the jacket on."
At this point I want to say that Anne performed as ever, superlatively, despite being pregnant and claiming to feel tired. She looked and sounded glorious and rocked the place out. Anne, you were awesomer (you see Philip ? I do listen to you) And aces. I threw some shapes to Apple Pie despite being perilously close to overheating and smiled smugly at everyone because Anne and I have known each other a long, long time.
At the end of the night I thought I’d catch the last train back to Brighton for a drink with Odge, so I made my excuses and left.
It was eleven o'clock as I reached the bus stop to take me to King's Cross. One hour and fifteen minutes later I am still sat there, surrounded by drunk students and the entire cast of Blazing Squad, also drunk.
Just as I’m gritting my teeth to nothing more then a fine white powder the bus pulls up. I get on. Blazing Squad do the same. The bus driver starts shouting about travelcards. They start shouting back. There is much to-ing and fro-ing of disses and accusations and the bus driver hits the switch. At this point the engine dies and the entire vehicle turns into a strobe factory, complete with klaxon. By now my head is in my hands.
Grudgingly, after a full ten minutes more of protests, Blazing Squad dis-embark, muttering darkly about popping caps in asses and generally sounding like the stroppy teenagers they are. And that's fine, but not on my time.
By the time I reach King's Cross I have missed the last train and have to travel to East Croydon, a journey which is slightly marred by the man opposite, gurning and licking his own eyeballs. I try to tell him when we are at East Croydon as it is the last stop. He reaches out to hug me into his sweaty chest. I scarper, and I’ve never even known what scarpering was before now.
Finally, the train to Brighton shrugs into East Croydon at twenty five past one in the morning. Odge is guiding me home through the magic of text messages, despite the fact I’m a full two hours late, and if it hadn't been for him and his amazing words ('anyone in Camden gives you grief, kick 'em in the Vice magazines') there would have been actual tears.
On the train I sit opposite a man so old and tissue skinned I kept checking the rise and fall of his shoulders to make sure he was still alive. He gave me a bit of a scare at Purley when he caught his breath but luckily he made the full journey without the intervention of the grim reaper. Opposite me to the left was Reggie Kray, at least as he looked in his fifties, all slicked back hair and clunky jewellery. Kray meets Saville meets, as it turned out, Rain Man. He kept muttering and cracking his knuckles and clutching his head. perhaps he was thinking about Barbara Windsor, I know I was.
An hour until Brighton some Welsh dimwad gets out his phone and proceeds to play tinny versions of the Star Wars theme, whooping joyously along with the Darth Vadar march and occasionally increasing the volume in case they couldn't hear it in the next fucking carriage. The resulting buzzing, unlistenable, unrecognisable mess was so far from the original film score I found myself looking hopefully at Reggie Kray, wordlessly pleading with him to go and do the gentleman's thing of smacking the Welsh bloke in the head.
Alas, Reggie was preoccupied with clutching his head and muttering. Too bad, Reggie.
I fall off the train and practically commando roll into a cab which takes me to Odge's. Poor the Odge. He has been waiting up for me for four hours with Man Flu and cheap beer. When he opens the door I am so slump shouldered, utterly dejected and quiet that he gives me a hug, plonks a can in my lap, puts on the first series of the Mighty Boosh and gets me a t-shirt to hide my modesty.
I sleep on his sofa, warm and safe and happy at last. On the way home in the morning I see two magpies, pecking around in some scrubland. two.
...and do you know what ? Sunday turned out to be an aces day. Bloody birds.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

aces outer spaces

I had to write this. I went for dinner last night with teena (who makes badass fajita, and that nearly rhymed).
talk turned to our respective ages;

teena: "…I just really feel that I’ve matured since then"
me: (snorting derisively) “Really ? where do you hide this new found maturity then ?”

teena: “Up my hole.”

One day I hope to be as mature as teena.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

all the things going bump in the night....

my sleeplessness is out of control, and when i do eventually drop off i’m treated to the kind of dreams usually only seen in cartoons starring talking mice.
(you thinking what i’m thinking brain ?)
currently my bedtime is like a form of extreme sport - the kind only whooping idiots do - and i’m genuinely surprised at how resistant my brain is to actually fucking switching off when i ask it to.
the way this has manifested itself is mainly in the words, in the writing (see the duck-legs story, and a particularly shite early effort of mine which spoke of tigers and white russians. think i destroyed it, it was a solemn cremation – poof! up in flames) and also revealed in my vacant expression as i float through the day like an embryo. i’ve no idea how far my threshold will stretch before i end up the walking comatose, snatching sleep from pockets.
the french for sleep translates as ‘the little death’.* that sinisterism alone keeps me awake at night.
if anyone has any remedies for this sporadic insomnia let me know. but knowing you lot it’ll be booze and valium.

*update - thanks to AaA for telling me i am wrong. he can expect a prize of sorts. sorry, did i say prize ? i meant chinese burn.

Monday, July 02, 2007

roosting in the eaves of the mind

Many, many things scare me. Many, many many things. My age. Flying without valium. The fact that our sofa doesn't lie flush with the wall so that if I'm watching anything scarier than Doctor Who I can imagine how easy it would be for someone (or something, thanks Stephen King) to crawl into the triangular gap and wait amongst the dust and the dark, waiting for me to relax a little, or for a lax curl of my hair to spill within it's clammy, callused grip. The eventual death of my cowboy boots. Zombies. Voodoo. The diabolic creaking outside my room between three and five every morning. This is true, it's like a bothersome spectre running up and down the corridor. In fact that last one wouldn't be frightening at all, it would just be annoying were it not for the fact that it happens in the dead of night, where your tired, overstretched mind will believe anything. It's why it's called the dead of night, not the 'lovely comfort zone' or 'the hour of rapture and good cheer.' No, it's the dead of night sunshine, just past the witching hour, and that noise isn't a tap dripping it's the slow steady hammering of the evil leprechauns breaking in through the cellar to steal all your toes and teabags and because it's the dead of night suddenly that idea has more plausibility then it would at any other time.
I am writing this late, not quite the dead of night but certainly day is in it's terminal stages.
My room is on the ground floor, facing the street. Our road is very posh, and very quiet and there is rarely a squeak after say, ten o'clock at night. The other night a cat miaowing on a window sill just past midnight received a record number of residential complaints and a petition to have it's voicebox removed. I signed it.
There is a man whistling outside my window. Perhaps it is a solitary drunk tunelessly picking out the notes to 'Two Little Boys', heading home after another late night. But the crashing dark doesn't want me to think that. Oh no. I have him in my head now, tall and stooped and irregularly shaped, like an amorphous shape squeezed into a man costume. His puckered lips are wet and his nose is bleeding. His shifty eyes don't leave my lit window, and his hands are deep in the pockets of his long coat which falls into pools of shadows by his feet. In the gloom you can almost see him smiling a little, a grin like a slit throat. Each note withers and dies as he croons it out.
And he's probably controlling the fucking leprechauns in the cellar as well.

Friday, June 29, 2007

go on mick, give it some stick

i love chas and dave. i really do – i dragged a group of protesting, clamouring friends to see them at glastonbury (“i don’t want to go – it’s not even the real dave!”) and from the moment they showered the crowd with the opening chords to gertcha, we were all doing the lambeth walk in the mud and the rain and the rain and the mud. actually i lie about the rain – the sun came out and continued to shine throughout their set, like a benevolent blessing over the pearly kings and queens and cockney rock.
sadly, while dancing in the rain may seem vivacious and buoyant, like the animated replicants seen in trainer/soda/feminine hygiene product commercials it invariably leads to fever, the chills and the shivers, not to mention the type of lurid dreams i‘ve only ever witnessed during the ‘drug trip’ sequences in cheap films. the kind which don’t involve emilo estevez dancing, however.
so if this post appears a little disjointed and blowzy it’s because it’s how i’m feeling. i blame the chills (they’re multiplying) and the tiredness. also my mate the brain, who sent me an email earlier which led to us (well, me mainly) discussing how we’d look if we were zombies. i reckoned i’d look like a cross between an ac/dc groupie after a heavy night crossed with a wilting goth girl. in terms of wounds, i imagine both my arms would be intact but i may have a slight limp, owing to a twisted ankle. oh, and both my eyes would be pure white, with two tiny dancing black dots, no bigger then the points of a pencil floating on the surface.
basically, in death as in life i would be a bit scruffy and maudlin, and a bit of a pussy.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

story 7: what the ducking hell ?

*a note on this. i do not know what i was doing or what i was aiming for when i wrote this. i should be clear-headed - i haven't smoked or drank for a couple of days (maybe that's why) and i've been sleeping better than usual...so i don't know what went on here. it's messier than a crime scene. i do like it, in a way. but i also apologise...*

Her looks were average, but she had the legs of a duck. Slightly bowed, flat footed and webbed toed. The skin on them was scaly and tinged a vagrant orange like a boiled sweet sucked to a sliver on the tongue. When she moved the anatidae limbs caused her to stoop slightly, feet splayed slightly outwards, her rounded buttocks twitching and swaying in a neat waddle. There were soft downy feathers on her upper thigh in tawny browns, and no matter how often she plucked them they always grew back, bristling through the livid skin.
I can help you, he’d told her as she’d waddled through the park one morning. Trust me I’m a surgeon.
He was too, Dr Evern Dem Swiss no less, the swizz, the cheat, the fraud. Lara had looked down at her squat limbs, no thicker than a child’s arms and nodded tearfully. She had never dreamt of being any different but now that Dr Evern Dem Swiss had planted the seed of the idea it sprouted inside her gut with probing blind tubers. Seven days later she had arrived at the home of Dr Evern Dem Swiss, her feathered appendages tucked neatly beneath the folds of a long skirt.
The good Doctor had opened the door carrying two long, painfully sharp looking knives. He struck them purposefully together, drawing each wicked blade along the other with a metallic whicking sound. They had greeted each other, and as Lara had stepped through the door she noticed the smell of damson plums, rich and cloying.
Jam ? She’d asked.
The doctor had shaken his head. Plum sauce he’d answered, and furrowed his brow. To go with the pancakes.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

good news everyone

when hungover, there are really only three cures.
more alcohol or strong coffee.
if the first two are unavailable, i strongly recommend futurama.
it works.

a big thanks to all my fiends

it was my birthday on saturday – thirty crept into bed with me at midnight on the fifteenth like a sinister uncle and woke me up on the sixteenth with a nudge and a poke. (i’ve just read that sentence back and i apologise.)
i had much fun and a slice of cherry pie, from which the filling was spilling in scarlet juices. i wore a moustache and kissed all my friends, and applauded finch’s carrot cake, which slayed us all at dinner. i managed to walk the distance home in heels until mitton pointed out how well i was doing at which point i stopped thinking happy thoughts and the heels became a handicap.
i wanted to thank everyone for birthday joy – however the reason there is a photo of lenny attached to this post is partly because he had a hand in making it super (like a hero) but principally because he emailed and asked why i never mentioned him here. so here he is, ladies and gentleman – it’s lenny.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

failing not to kill people

two things. alright three, if you count my birthday on saturday when i will be thirty (count ‘em) years old.
the other two things; i’ve just been reminded of the tee-shirt sean wears in the 1980’s film monster squad' which, essentially, is the goonies with added comic book monsters.
it is red with yellow lettering on it and it reads;
‘stephen king rules.’
oh yes. if anyone knows where i can locate one of these puppies please let me know.
thirdly, the last story my friend the marvellous sweetman read of mine (‘lady de mort did not believe in ghosts’) he had finished and had said, very sweetly, as is his nature,
“i’m looking forward to reading a story you write which doesn’t involve death, ghosts, pirates, highwaymen, monsters, vampires or werewolves.”
then he had gone to the bar. i’d thought about this, and had asked him what he meant on his return.
“just be interested to see what you were capable of if you wrote something…grown up.”

“grown up?”
“you don’t think i’m grown up ?”

“not you. just your subject matter. i like it daisy, i’m just interested to see you with something a bit heavier.”
i think sweetman may have seen the twitch beneath my right eye at the point because he’d rapidly changed the subject and bought me a pint.
so last night, with this in mind i sat down to write a short story without the subject matter of a scooby doo cartoon. it is, i feel i have proven to myself seven pages later, not possible. it started off well, i liked the characters, they seemed to slip into their roles easily, nice and loose like clown’s trousers.
suddenly, with no prior warning i felt an inexplicable urge to imbibe them with terror and kill them off in terrible ways.
this is scary…it was meant to be a nice story about two brothers.
i don’t know where i get it from but monster squad and the goonies must surely take some blame.

Sunday, June 10, 2007


i went to see nosferatu last night, courtesy of my kind friends finch and rich as a pre-birthday treat
i love, love, the scrolling, jittering quality of this film, almost like a stop-motion animation.
the only reason i’ve posted this is in order to use the accompanying picture, which i used to carry round with me, when i was
(a) much younger
(b) a goth (for about five minutes)
beautiful, isn't it ?

all the drinks were free! (up to half nine)

hello thursday, i love you. you're like friday but with more anticipation and less pressure. you hover at the end of the week like a fleeting fancy and your nights just tickle me.
on thursday night i attended an awards presentation in london, (the observer eco awards, and no of course i wasn't up for an award, which is what my mother assumed when i spoke to her). i was there as a third choice 'date' to my former flatmate and friend with the superlative hair, simon. by all accounts he needed someone he could go with who would scrub up well, behave herself and not neck all the free drinks like they were going out of style. when she fell through he asked me. (ba dom ba dom tish!)
things went pretty wrong on arrival when i grabbed a glass of champagne and a beer from the tray at the door, and was about to take a bloody mary too until si gave me look which said "please. it's not going to run away, you can't drink three drinks at once."(i can, especially if they're in the same glass).
after failing to mingle and failing to not smoke in that order i managed to bore the very arse of some girl by talking to her about the worm bin at the bottom of our garden*.
me: yeah, we've got a worm bin bla bla bla rubbish bla bla bla worm bin bla bla compost dooby dooby doo worms bla bins bla bla
her: yeah that's fascinating. do you mind if i stick this glass in my eye to liven this conversation up a bit ? would it even matter to you if i did ? tell you what, i'm going to chip off now and you still won't notice. yep, i'm over here and she's still banging on to herself. bye!
me: worm bins bla bla bla
i scared danny dyer by popping up whenever he least expected it like old episodes of columbo - i know i'm a bit of a stalker, but this was purely co-incidence, and the look of mounting distress on his face was quite funny so i kept at it.
by the end of it i was quite drunk, telling the girl who was filling up the champagne glasses;
"thatsh great, can you leave me the bottle ashwell ?"
and she did, by the mercy of the lord, she did.
however i was nowhere near as pissed as si, who, as well as seemingly losing his navigational skills, had taken to doing his double handed 'invisible pistols' at passers by.
"to the bus." said i.
"no, too drunk, too drunk. to a hotel!" said he, and so say all of us for we did. here. to be fair, despite our smart dress we looked as though we'd both been mugged by world weary punks - my hair had transformed into a tina turner fright wig and si had only one eye open - so i can't blame the staff looking at us suspiciously, and it wasn't until i woke up this morning, feeling just that tiny bit closer to death that i remembered thinking it would be funny to try the pauline quirke lie (see post 'pauline quirke has stigmata') on some poor bloke the previous night. he looked like he wanted to call the police. he should have been grateful that i wasn't telling him about the worm bin, frankly.
ow, my head. it feels like it's been scraped clean and replaced with mucas and dirty water. i don't know how i got to bed - i do know that there was none of that funny business, thank you very much, i retain my ladyshipness even under the slew of alcohol - and wasn't sure why i had a stomach that was threatening to violently revolt but i do know that when i bordered the bus at six thirty in the morning to get to victoria, wearing last night's snazzy little number, stone fox heels (see photo) and sunglasses the bus driver didn't want to let me on.
"you have ticket ? let me see ticket."
i showed him the ticket, praying i wouldn't be sick.
"you can't work here.""what ?"
"you not working here."oh jesus, let me die in peace can't you ? my stomach is really jittery and my head feels like it's got ram-man running around inside it.
"no, i'm not working here.""okay."
i think he thought i was a hooker. the only other people on the bendy bus were two old woman sat side by side like plump batton hens and an emo boy of about thirteen with a slipknot hoodie on, so if i had been 'working', trade would have been pretty slow.

*thanks for the advice, mitton. ("what shall i talk about if someone tries to talk to me ?" "just tell them about the worm bin.")

Sunday, June 03, 2007

really leaving las vegas

with reference to the post below (brighton pier), i took this picture yesterday.
the game they are playing is called elvis in vegas.

it is a ten pence pushing machine.
they are using cups of change just like they do in casinos.
this scene is about as far removed from las vegas as it is possible to be without building a parallel universe and climbing inside.

you ask too many questions....

i'm endlessly fascinated by things, those little shivers of curiosity - if you mix these together, will it taste like watermelon ? who let the dogs out ? why is ben fogle ?
once, when i was seven years old a friend and i stayed up all night playing wonderboy on the sega master system (and that other game with the dwarf and the axe - 'dwarf blade', maybe ? 'golden axe' ? alan, you'll know.) we were waiting to see what the world was like at four o'clock in the morning. it was, we subsequently discovered through bleary eyes, dark and quiet.
another time in my early twenties i met up with my old friend ben dobson, and the conversation meandered lazily towards my ex-boyfriend with whom i had been devastatingly smitten for two years, and his new girlfriend. like a fool, i asked "what's she like ?"
ben lets out a long, low whistle;
"imagine helena christensen, but with long blonde hair and a bit shorter, my god, she is a hot piece of ass, and really funny too."
then, on seeing my horrified face, you could almost hear him back-pedalling;
"oh no, no daisy, i mean - she's not you right ? you have a wonderful personality."
(incidentally, if you're reading this ben, the best time to try and reach me by phone is not three thirty, four, four fifteen, five and six thirty in the morning respectively. what are you, nocturnal ? seriously though, we'll talk soon.)
subsequently this weekend i have discovered many things which i previously did not know, had in fact spent most of my adult life wallowing in the not knowing, perfectly happy.
(1) the pier in brighton is, even if the sun does have his hat on hip hip hip hooray, the World's End. i went in there yesterday wrapped in a thick layer of happiness and walked out under a obsidian cloud of despair. if house of the dead cannot save it, nothing can. in summary, to out and out steal a phrase from a very funny man - Luckless Proles.
(2) i discovered, courtesy of one of my more sexually enlightened friends, what it is like to have a seven man orgy, what to expect on visiting a dingy fetish club and (apologies) what it feels like to fist someone (like the lining on the inside of your mouth, apparently. stick a fist in there, you're close). i staggered away from that conversation.
(3) that if you give up smoking, as i recently have, nothing, nothing, nothing and nothing can replace it, or stop you thinking about it. or needing it.
(4) that simon, another friend with superlative hair, once continuously and silently farted in front of juliette lewis in an airtight booth, until she made her excuses and left.
(5) that working on a film is no fun, combining long hours and severe discomfort, leaving you pale and short tempered and almost tearful, as my flatmate the mitton has proved. i was jealous at first mitton, now all i can do is offer you tea.
screw it, it's the weekend, let's all have a cup of tea.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

too nice, too stupid or both ?

when i first left the warm embrace of cornwall and moved to london at age nineteen i was nice to everyone – utter strangers, unconscious drunks in gutters (he hated me for it, admittedly), numerous belligerent strays - until one day, on the quiet top deck of the seventy-three a man wanked into my hair from the seat behind me.
i only discovered this when i ran my hands through the wet ends.
on friday, when i went to the v&a for the surrealist’s ball (question, how was it ? answer, really really weird.) a man approached me with what i at first thought was his cock in his hand but which in fact turned out to be a carrot held at groin height.
still, even when i thought he was holding his erect penis i smiled genially.
am i too nice, or too stupid, or both ?
you were right odge, i never learn.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

world's worst liar

ahhhhh, my idiocy knows no bounds. i am a bunglehead.
just meant to send the following text to my friend the mitton;
“what time do you want to meet at the v&a ? about seven, maybe ? i have told my boss i need to leave at three for an ‘important appointment’…har har har i am a terrific liar*.”
yes. i have sent it to my bloody boss by accident. he hasn’t noticed yet – with any luck he won’t look at his phone till three. i can see him from where i’m sitting.
this is not very good. i am looking at going on eternity leave.

* this is a joke. i am the world’s worst liar. i blush, stammer, look wildly around and generally cock it up.

**update attack: my boss has just walked past me three times. on the third he looked at me. suspiciously. more bulletins as events warrant.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

rn’b rubs me up the wrong way

i’m suffering through the worst radio station in the world – i say suffering, not silently you understand – and have now earnt myself the nicknames ‘grumpybones’, ‘miserablist’ and ‘old granny shitflaps’ by my colleagues.
“cheer up,” they’re saying, “it’s only a bit of music.”
i don’t often get angry and almost never in situations when it’s justified – cheat on me and break my heart and you’ll be forgiven after a couple of hours and an earnest apology. borrow a tenner and with enough protracted assurances, i’ll never ask for it back.
but in this instance i’m making an exception. rn’b is the lowest denominator, the worst type of soulless dirge generated by idiots for drones. each song a repetitive mirror of it’s predecessor.
if i have to listen to much more of dj totally dangerous and mc utterly streetwise’s* toothless, threatless, unhazardous bile, their very blandness covering up the fact that they are musical charlatans, then my friends, i may contract distemper. i’m on the verge.

*i made these names up.
** now playing ? it’s the fucking black eyed peas.

Monday, May 21, 2007

all back to myspace

officially i am now a myspace geek. i said it would never happen, and looking at my dismal friends list (five, including the statutory 'friend' who is sent to everyone on joining. five, and two of them are the same person.) it's hardly likely to develop into the dizzy orgy of friendship i've been led to believe it is.

Check me out!

do what you want with it....

Thursday, May 17, 2007

pauline quirke has stigmata

i am a child. certainly in terms of juvenile humour. i’ve recently started telling people that the diabolic gwen stefani single 'the great escape' is a new single by carol vorderman called ‘3 from the top and 4 from the bottom’. you’ll be surprised - if you can maintain an air of contrived insouciance long enough – how many people believe this. especially if you crudely cut and paste a cover together and send it to people attached to an email as proof.
i mention this because a friend has just rung to tell me that not only did hmv not stock the carol vorderman album ‘another consonant please carol,’ but they’d never heard about it. i told him it was out on geffen and that he should contact the record label in case they have delayed it’s release – i can’t tell which concerns me more, the fact that a friend of mine believes this or that he’d be prepared to part with money for the wretched thing.
now i’ve begun telling people that pauline quirke has stigmata. no reason except it amuses me. unfortunately i can’t seem to muster the requisite expression to deliver this with the required impact and as a result have succeeded only in looking faintly puzzled as i tell people – more conviction is required but it’s very difficult... try it, and if only one person believes you, you win.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

taking a leaf from the book of mitton

i confess. i’ve let myself get sucked into all manner of things in my time – lame relationships, worlds of survival horror, meerkat manor (i blame bill nighy) – but it’s been a long time since anything grabbed my attention quite like My New Favourite Thing™…
…visiting museums.
yes. not for me the blurred, giddy world of high profile parties and waking up in a sticky pool of something on sunday afternoon with one shoe off and my ears ringing.
no sir.
saturday afternoon i was at the brighton museum, primarily because they had a gypsy fortune telling machine* almost identical to the one in ‘big’ and i’m a sucker for all the hoodoo nonsense. week or so before i was hawking round the v&a like it was going out of style and now i’m genuinely excited because i’m
off to the natural history museum next weekend. perhaps it’s my age, but i prefer to think it’s the exquisite thrill (thrill possibly too strong a word, there) of looking at something of great beauty, or sheer hideosity and coming away feeling like i’ve actually been informed about something.
it’s a way i wish i’d felt more as a kid instead of discovering smoking, cider and french kissing round the back of the cathedral.

*it was out of order

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

story 6# the vaininator

take the case of micheal laftley. i put a ‘drink me’ label on a bottle of hair tonic and he did – now he has a lustrous mane of thick brown hair lining the silken column of his throat and can’t breathe without sounding like a blocked hoover. food gets caught in the bristles on his pink trachea and remains there trapped, fragments of omelette and sandwich.
amanda was nineteen and convinced her thin lips crippled her otherwise extraordinary features. when she found out she was allergic to cats she wiped her wizened chops across a tabby, feline back. Her lips mushroomed into bloated pink.
amanda suffocated on a furball when she was twenty-five. sad day.
garth was a being of almost unbearable physical beauty – a tight cheeked Adonis almost biblical in his sculpture, he would regularly leave his bedroom door open so that the russian housemaid could let her gaze linger on his chiselled, taut buttocks as he dressed. vanya would peer with her furtive, thrusting glance through the doorway, and garth would see her slavic gluttony and it would please him.
over the years she siphoned over forty thousand pounds from his various accounts and, when his buttocks were slapping fatly at the upper reaches of his thighs, deflated cheeks gouged with deep creases, vanya raised a glass many miles away and toasted his wealth.
vanity makes fools of us all.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

just do it

anyone else think that in the new nike adverts where the exercise junkie repeats the words "i'm addicted' they should have just left the '-ted' off the end ?
honesty in advertising people.

stay awake

holy toast. i'm not well, and like all unwell people i'm lying around on the sofa under a blanket, griping and moaning and watching dvds. until this afternoon when i watched a horror film so bland and shockless i found myself doing all of the following things during it;
~watered the plants.
~watched a carrier bag flutter on the railings outside my house for ten solid minutes.
~read the payment instructions on the back of the gas bill.
a few years ago, when i lived in a flat known as greyskull, tina and i made the fundamental mistake of renting a dvd based purely on it's cover. i thought nothing could match the insult on my intelligence that was th13teen ghosts but somehow stay alive managed to simultaneously insult my intelligence and waggle it's tongue in my face.
a third of the way through the film i was practically screaming at the telly - 'how did this get green lighted ? how ?' what was the pitch for god's sake ?
"yeah, it's like, a cross between resident evil, hollyoaks and like, final destination, the trilogy, yeah ?"
actually, that at least makes it sound interesting. what it was, as far as i could tell though i did have a fever, was a gcse drama with high production values.
the gang's all here - gawky teen, goth girl called october, kooky chick, snoopy, charlie brown and linus, all struggling under the weight of the towering cliches hurtling form their purty lil mouths.
adam buxton once wrote a very funny guide to dialogue (as director ken korda) and i swear, it was as though the hormonal scriptwriters had lifted it straight from him;
"something bad's happening. something really, really bad"
"what the HELL is going on here ?"
"we're in the bitch's back yard, man"
"he was run over by a horse drawn carriage!"
(honestly, i am not making this up)

now i love computer games. and i love horror films, even shit ones. but the two should never merge because the terrifying, mewling afterbirth it creates is so god-awful i found myself pleading aloud for even the most likeable character to hurry up and die. the point of the film is that they start playing a game, which releases an evil spirit, which then starts killing them off in the game, and then in real life exactly as they did in the game, except they stop playing, but then the killing continues and...you get the picture. at this rate i can look forward to being eaten by zombies, killed by a pig-masked maniac with a chain saw or tumbling off a cloud if stay alive knows something we don't.
...what really made my tongue unroll in awe was that at the end of the film (i'm not ruining the ending for you, the film ruins the ending for you by existing in the first place) the killer computer game hits the shelves of department stores all over america, so next time...it could be you (provided you part with the forty quid to buy the game in the first place). the marketing executives must have been fisting each other with cheques at the thought of this franchise tsunami - watch the film, buy the game - what's that noise ? why, it's bill hicks spinning in his grave.
words alone cannot describe the body-popping, traffic-stopping awfulness of this film. watching it can. i now have a copy of this film, given to me by a - now i think about it - relieved looking and smirking friend. you can have it. anyone. anyone at all. give me your address, i'll pay the postage.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

story five# privet, no peking

we ate roast chicken and drank red wine in bed. the meat pale and slippery, steaming hot, grease staining the duvet in irregular little islands. he wrote his name, drunk, on my arm and fashioned a nervous plait in my hair as i lay back on all the pillows, stacked beneath me imperiously. earlier, he’d claimed he didn’t need one and lay curled on the swell of my breasts instead. i taught him how to curse in spanish and he’d told me not to show off, then smiled, teeth stained claret.
as the night faded and the empty bottles rolled off the end of the bed whenever we’d moved our feet i’d asked him why he’d done it.
silent, for a moment, but he didn’t sigh as i’d expected.
he told me because he’d needed the money, that he’d been desperate.
my fingers smelt of roast chicken and his chest hair. i told him i’d have lent him the money if he’d been that desperate, that he’d just had to ask.
then he did sigh, and rolled over, snagging the covers.
in the morning his name had blurred and bled on my skin.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

facial slot machine

….not, as you might expect, the kind of thing you find only in hardcore porn films or the fevered imaginations of teenage boys but a game on the irresistible ‘bishi-bashi special’ which i found myself playing on saturday morning, just as the beginnings of a hangover were gnawing at the edges of my fragile mind.
(a quick moment of thanks to my friend alex for meeting up with me at the weekend, laughing at my salary, letting me drink all his beer and allowing himself to be dragged by his girlfriend and i to an exhibition the next day even though he clearly suffered from the fear throughout.)
jack white once said that he didn’t trust anyone who didn’t like led zeppelin – i can appreciate this, and moreover said something very similar on friday – i don’t trust anyone who doesn’t find the adam & joe show funny.
moreover, i also don’t trust anyone who…
(1) …uses the word ‘eclectic’ to describe their bastard musical taste – ‘eclectic’ means diverse, so say diverse, or tell me it’s broad. don’t tell me it’s eclectic or i will wash your mouth and ears out for you with carbolic soap.
(2) …tells me that they think pornography is degrading to women – i say this mainly because i once had a boyfriend who said that with such weighted sincerity it was quite sinister – i later found his stash of jazz mags under the bed.
(3) …lists which countries they’ve done – “oh yeah, i’ve done burma, done vietnam, did norway in ninety-six.” did what to it exactly, you preening nomad ?
(4) ….des’ree. des’ree and all who sail on her. “oh life! oh life! oh life! doo,doot doot dooo...” goodbye, des’ree, turn the lights out on your way down.
(5) …tells me to grow up. i once had a friend who didn’t let the fact that he was seven years my junior stop him giving me measured advice on exactly which aspects of my life i needed to focus on, otherwise i’d never get a mortgage/learn to drive/see forty. reality is usually so far down my list of priorities it’s been squashed in at the bottom, in really cramped writing.
(6) …every single person on the sunday times rich list.
(7) … plays, or enjoys the sound of the jazz saxophone. ‘curtis stigers’. mention the name to me and i will visibly shudder right before your very eyes. do it twice and there may be a bit of sick.
there is more, but reading this back i’ve realised it looks like a self-indulgent exercise in ostracizing myself from all my family and most of my friends so i’d better end it there.
(8) …except for people with clammy hands. pasty, damp hands and chubby fingers, handshake like clutching the thoughts of a dying pituitary gland. don’t trust ‘em.