Friday, 28 December 2012

2013 is the year I turn 40. FUCK YEAH!

I just read an article with a woman who turned 40 this year and has finally "accepted" that she is no longer young and has had to give up her youthful dreams, like going to acting school or becoming an über-tycoon. There are several questions here, not least of which are

1) Why did I waste time I will never get back reading such banality? and

2) WTF? If we all assign ourselves to the scrap heap or give up on dreams because of being a certain age then we are just conforming to the idiot dichotomy of modern life. Youth is the be all and end all and yet we have an increasingly "older" population?

Youth is precious simply because it is fleeting. So while it's nice and we should perhaps try to appreciate our time in the land of tight jeans and wild hair (not so much the tight jeans for me, I weighed about 19 stone for most of my twenties, but I did often have mad hair) shouldn't we bloody well value the fact that our shit gets wiser or, at the very least, we've failed often enough to start working that shizzle into a golem of self-advantage rather than self-sabotage at last?

I intend to be not young for a long fucking time. Maybe I'm lucky - Mr Y calls me the baby-faced assassin - and it's true, I don't particularly have wrinkles and people regularly think I'm about ten years younger than my not-at-fucking-all decrepit 39 years. But face is not fact. I am 39 and I will be 40 in about 9 and a half months. So according to that fool woman, it's time I accepted I'm not young and that I should give up childish dreams. Well, I say, fuck that shit. Fuck it right up the arse and out the ear. Realising that you're not as young as you were is like saying "hey man, this water is like totally wet" REDUNDANT. Age is meaningless. People die all the time at all kinds of ages, many of them far too young (quite a few far older than they deserved, naming no names). Rather than bemoaning our loss of years, we should be shouting "FUCK YEAH! I'm still here and I'm kicking that time shit in the BALLS!". The last things you are going to prise out of my cold dead hands are my dreams, youthful or otherwise. That's right. I'm going to rule the world, I'm going to write a best-selling library of books and  Benedict Cumberbatch is going to rub his balls all over his Oscar for starring in my movies. Or something. I'm going to outdo Bassey, I'm going to win gold medals. I'm going to do it all. Or I won't, whatever. But I'm always going to dream I can.


Friday, 21 December 2012

Sara Lunsford's Sweet Hell on Fire: A Memoir ...

I just read a fucking good book.  Then I read a couple of the reviews of it on GoodReads and thought "wtf?!" So I'll repeat what I said there and tell you what I thought.

Sweet Hell on Fire is honest and inspiring - rare traits in this increasingly disingenuous age. Talking about "narrative arcs" and "storytelling voice" in relation to a memoir like this is redundant, not to mention somehow snarkily oblivious, if you will. This is life lived (almost) one day at a time. You don't get arcs in life, you just get life.

Lunsford's account of her year is brutal and you get a no holds barred sense of a quest for self - or, more appropriately, the regaining of self - whether she thought she wanted it or not. It's quite something to sit down and open yourself up like that. There might well be some self-justification in there, but you'd have to be an insensate ass not to see that this is far outweighed by the honesty with which she deals with herself and her actions during her descent and ascent - she's human for goodness' sake!

I read it in two sittings. It showed me things about myself that I need to deal with, that I've been shilly-shallying about with for far too long. I need to dispense with my apathy and kick myself back into the game. Lunsford showed me how to own it. I'm not going to let either her or myself down.

Thank you, Sara.

Get the Kindle Edition here

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Alec McQuay's Spares

I read Alec McQuay's novella in one happy sitting. Mental. I loved it! It's a grim vision of what we could become peppered with humour that kind of makes you want to be there (in that way where you're comfortably aware of being on your sofa with a lovely cup of tea and the bathroom within easy reach) The characters are bizarrely well drawn (you read it, you'll see how appropriate that wording is) and the pace is electric. Another knockout brought to you by FoxSpirit and the only complaint I have, Mr McQuay, is that I want MORE! Ta.

And if you haven't checked out FoxSpirit Books yet, then here's a link for your to peruse at your leisure

Tuesday, 11 December 2012


Hurray! I'm in real live paper print! That's me holding the first printed book with my words in it! As though being included in the Fox Spirit anthology in the first place wasn't enough, it's gone from ebook to print. Avail yourself of a copy at Amazon toot sweets! Mine's the first story in there (and there's so many more to take a lovely weird bath in). You won't be sorry ... well, you might be, but only in a deliciously odd way.

Monday, 10 December 2012

I Stride Across Mountains

Something a little different from my usual fare, but my mind has been in need of a kick up the proverbial, so I did something healthy and focussed it into a poem. Get me!

I stride across mountains,
Take deserts by storm.
I sail through the heavens,
Strike camp on the moon.
I battle fierce ogres,
Fight demons of rage,
I tangle with shadows,
And strangle your shame.
For I am not timid,
Not tiny or small,
Nor will I be silent
Or frightened to fall.
I defy my adversaries,
My power is all –
I will not be transmuted
Into consumable form.
I am the wide ocean,
The sun and the rain,
I am forever and
Will never be tamed.

©Chloe Yates December 2012

Tuesday, 30 October 2012


Halloween is nearly here - my favourite time of the year. It's the real new year, baby. The veil between the worlds is at its thinnest and it's the time to remember those who've gone before, to remember what we have and to marshal hope for the future. It's also become a time to let your imagination run wild and what better to assist you in this spooktacular endeavour than pointing you in the direction of some right good reads.

Fox Spirit is once again flexing its increasingly mighty wings and this Halloween the good folks there bring you the delectable oddness that is Weird Noir. Presented and edited by Kate Laity, that woman of many wonders, it's a trove of harebrained schemes, insidious otherness and black humoured fatalism. My story "A Kick in the Head" is first up - and it's my first paid story. So do a fledgling writer a solid and avail yourself of a little Weird Noir, if you're of a mind. You'll find many more reasons to read on once you've done your favour to me. Trust.

Brightest blessings sweetlings. Don't let the bed bugs bite.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Meet some of Weird Noir

As the dark nights draw ever in, there is a light upon the horizon: Fox Spirit Books will soon be releasing Weird Noir, of which one of my stories is a part. To meet some of the gang, check out the link below (my little snozzle about how I wrote the story is first)

It is going to be an Ebook first but depending on demand there might be some lovely pages to touch at some point. Tell them you want it in your hands, that you want to kiss my name and smell its print ... or some such. Get on it, troops!

Monday, 8 October 2012

Weird Noir: A Kick in the Head

I have more news! I'm so chuffed I've even missed the start of University Challenge! My story "A Kick in the Head" will be featured in the upcoming anthology from Fox Spirit Press, "Weird Noir". It's an honest to goodness book you'll be able to order and buy! For reals! See the cover art, by the inestimable Stephanie Johnson below - you can check out her stuff at and Fox Spirit lives, of course, at Fill your Halloween this year with odd goodness.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Leave the Pistol Behind

It's been awhile. I need to be a bit more disciplined with the bloggage, I guess. Still, here I am now with the exciting news that my story "Leave the Pistol Behind" (it's flash fiction so it's not terribly long or tiring for you to digest) was selected as one of the winners of Fox Spirit's ( International Talk Like a Pirate Day competition.

You can find the story here - Please read it and share it. Feedback is always appreciated by a not terribly confident writer.

Thank you!

Monday, 10 September 2012

Things that go bump in my head

I've been trying to get to grips with an idea for a novel that is possibly serious. I've been scribbling notes but it's still early days and it's all a bit up in the air for me. However, ideas for other stories keep on coming, ideas that I'm not sure at all what to do with. My favourite so far is "One Tonne Marlene and the Bat from Hell". These are the things that wake me from my slumber.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Queued The Raven, "Nevermore".

*I've tried to avoid spoilers but be aware that I do talk about the film*

I went to see The Raven at the NIFFF (Neuchatel International Fantastic Film Festival) last night. That famous Swiss punctuality hit the wall right off the bat. They made us wait outside 15 minutes past entry time - in any other country that might seem a sniffle of a complaint, but in Switzerland you get used to things happening when people say they will. Freakish, but true. It would have been fine but had the film run over we might have missed our train home. I digress. The other problem with being made to wait outside was the queuing.

Look, I know I'm English/British, whatever, and I know that makes some of my behaviours a little different from my fellow human beings, but for fuck's sake, how hard is it to fucking QUEUE?! It's a basic question of manners. I hope that the little pushing-in beardy ballbag and the tiny woman behind me who apparently couldn't see the large lady in a BRIGHT RED COAT STANDING DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF HER and consequently kept seeming surprised that when she tried she couldn't actually walk through me, get giant fucking piles. I hope they are primo with the itchy too. And those two are just the top of the list. Pfft.

Anyway, we finally got in and after more waiting around for someone to scratch their ever-loving balls or wotnot, the film began. Apart from the stalwart cast of British actors - all of whom were excellent - and the fine costumes, it was a bit ... shit. It wasn't terrible, I don't mean that, it was just a bit ... well, shit. Giant plot wank aside - and some of the holes, confusion and obviousness were resplendent with the seminal fluid - John Cusack was like a twitching Nic Cage pastiche or, indeed, a pastiche of himself at his most manic. His hair was worrisome. Black is not his colour - it doesn't hide the fact that he no longer has that plush quiffy goodness that used to serve him so well. I love Cusack. I'll watch anything with him in it but his performance was too bombastic, separating him from the rest of proceedings with an uncomfortable "elephant in the room" distance. At times I wondered if it was supposed to be a comedy - Cusack seemed almost like he was playing for laughs, but his enduring seriousness would suggest otherwise.

The whole "meta" thing was jarring too. The references to how only people like Poe and the murderer would appreciate such horrific stories because they're "like proper weird and shit" lacked only a turn to camera and a wink. Enough already. I know I like horror, big fucking deal. Save the Scary Movie shitdickery to the Scary Movie franchise. It belongs where I won't see it.

Possible *SPOILER* - the clue for who the murderer is comes not long into the film and if you've got half your brain switched on, it's very hard to miss. I fell down the plot hole and didn't feel much like coming out.  

All that said, it was a fairly good watch. I sound like a ballbag after bleating on, but it didn't bore me - as the Mister said last night, directors shouldn't be afraid to keep the running time down, and McTeigue didn't (although he probably could have cut another few minutes out here and there) Luke Evans in a frock coat was a lovely sight to behold. His carved granite face can be uber-serious (I find myself frowning along with him) but I always find him engaging, and he was none the less so in this. As I've already said, the rest of the cast were great and kept it together against the odds of Cusack's mummery. It could have been a much better film with more attention to the kind of plots Poe can fuck you up with and if someone else had played him. I give it 5/10

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Published Poems #2

Over at you can find two more of my poems. There's 'The Seven Deaths of Horatio McGubbin' and 'The Moon Who Would Sing a Sad Song'


Thursday, 14 June 2012

The Haunted House Dream

For years, probably since my early twenties, my dreams have featured a recurring motif - that of the haunted house. There's a main house that's nice enough but one of the doors inside always leads to a secret wing that's both scary and neglected.  Sometimes these can go on for miles. Many of the doors in the wing are closed and on no account do I want to open them. I rarely venture very far and try to make sure I know my escape route if I do go more than a few steps inside. Sometimes there are voices that taunt me or call to me, other times there are sinister noises from overhead, but always there is a weight in the air, a weight so heavy and laden with ominous portent that I'm almost certain I'm going to be smothered by it. These can be gut clenchingly frightening, wake-up-gasping, chest-clutching dreams. 

And I know what they're about.


Fear of opportunities, of possibilities, of living my life. 

Well, the haunted house featured again last night - only this time all but one of the doors were open and the rooms had been decorated nicely. They were all airy and light, with nice bed linen and fresh flowers in vases. The closed door was a very tiny one in the ceiling. Mum and I didn't go up there because we wouldn't have fitted. We somehow knew there wasn't much up there of consequence. So we went down to the kitchen and made a nice cup of tea. 

It was a good dream.

Today, I feel as free of fear as I have done for ... well, for most of my life. It's funny what one small step, something you think at the time is inconsequential and might mean nothing, can do for you. So, yes, I have written more poems today. Onwards!

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Trouvez-vous ma poésie sur l'internet

A rather wonderful site called The Short Humour Site - - has published a couple of my poems. Go here to check me out! You'll notice that right above me is the right Honourable Kate Laity. You should check her out while you're there too.


That ballbag sonofabitch monkey Insomnia is trying to climb onboard again. 3 nights now. I haven't had a bout for a while - and nothing like I had for over twenty years, from my teens on. The most beautiful thing about insomnia is not having it anymore. When you suddenly realise you've been sleeping, that you can manage this, that you can function like a human again, it's a joyous thing. When it comes back, it feels a like a terminal persecution that only goes so it can come back and kick you in the arse. Hard.

Possibly the worst thing is that your first instinct is "this will never go, I'm trapped". You resign yourself to it, let it get under your skin and mine away at your sanity. Because you're tired. I can feel myself doing it already. And that makes me want to kick shit the fuck over. Because insomnia is not the bloody boss of me. It's an arsewipe symptom of other things. So now I just need to work out why I'm so keyed up. I hate it when I'm twitchy and anxious. It makes me an epic ballbag. Just ask the mister - not that he'd ever say anything mean, the sweet ... deep sleeping sod! Having Snore of the Dead sleeping next to you is enough to drive you out of your already addled mind. If he didn't look so lovely, I'd have to pinch him and pretend it was the dog. (FYI He never believes that when I try to get away with it)

Another thing about insomnia is when you tell people and they say "ooooo I have trouble sleeping" and then go into all the ways their's is so much worse and what solutions they have and how you should try them - because, y'know, you'd never thought of drinking camomile tea or taking a warm bath or any other of the million pieces of advice out there. "You know what would make me sleep better?" I think to myself on these occasions. "Ripping your head off and shoving it up your arse. Let's see how much sleep you get then" It makes sense at the time.

There's almost no comradeship in insomniacs. You can feel like you're really suffering, that no one else can know exactly how and when they try to tell you they do, you're automatically defensive. Sleep is so central to our lives that when someone comes along and tries to chip away at your debilitation with familiarity, you cling to it, to your experience, not wanting it just to be in your mind, not wanting it to be less than what it is to you - a big fucked up mess of that frustration and panic. The "best" insomniacs are the ones who say "shit woman, I know what you mean. Just go easy on yourself" and leave it there. If you want to talk about it more, you don't measure your sleep-deprived equivalent to penis lengths, you say how it is and the other person nods and empathises, but doesn't compete. They can tell you how it is for them, but not by cutting all over you and taking one of your comments and running off with it, like the night runs off with your peace of mind. If you're that tired you won't be able to keep up anyway.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Cold Baths and Coffee

Okay. I confess. I just sat in a cold bath and now I'm drinking a cup of black coffee. It's summer, my thighs are wobbly as fuck and I'm trying some fat burning shitdickery that's probably lies, but sounded logical when I read it through properly. I've never tried an actual diet thing, crash, mad or otherwise, but thought as I pretty much have no one to please but myself for a few weeks I'd give it a go. The best thing about it is that I get to eat shedloads. Marv.

Cold water is cold. I mean like "motherfucking holy shit that's fucking cold" cold. It's obvious, I know, but actually sitting in it - on purpose - brings a whole new clarity to the concept of coldness. Don't worry, I was very careful. I have a thermometer to check the temperature and light but warm clothes on stand by if I have to hop out fast. These days I am Cardinal Vigilant when it comes to my well-being. I've got to exercise in a bit and then not eat for a while. I imagine my only vocabulary by the time I get to eat will be curse words. And moans. Soft, withering moans.

Wish me luck.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

The Ever-pervading Bullshizzle Pt2

And now that I'm warmed up, how about all those who don't roll it white Anglo-Saxon heterosexual missionary style? The biggest group in our world is not the straight white Anglo man. It's EVERYBODY ELSE! We're the ominous Other that threatens the patriarchal Western hegemony bullshit munchers in Hollywood - not to mention a few other rather more important places (I believe it's Capitol Hill in the US and Westminster in the UK, and that's just for starters) Stop being afraid we all want to castrate you, you giant cigar smoking ballbags. We don't give a fig about your stretchy plums, maties, we do give one, however, about your real cajones, the kind that make a chap want to take chances, that make us want to breathe fresh air, experience new things, go out on a limb, or whatever other cliché you care to chuck out there. Shake that shit up baby, because come the revolution your bags of money are going to mean squat. Character and cajones. That's what we want. Now provide.

The Ever-pervading bullshizzle of the Male Power Fantasy Movie et al

Epic bullshizzle. I just took a quick look at the Apple Movie Trailer page and the plethora of male power-fantasy movies or movies from a male perspective makes me want to punch someone in the face, female power-fantasy style (but obviously in a peaceful way as I abhor real violence ... ) I do love a bit of the Mad Man-meat Marauding (exhibit A my Facebook posting of The Expendables 2 trailer) but COME ON! How about a few big arse movies that aren't about flowers and hearts skipping a beat and coochy coos for women? Something with some BALLS, light on the ballbaggery. And fuck you already with your "come on Chloe it's not like that" BULLSHIZZLE. I already called it, suckahs (Anyone mentions Scarlett Johansson and I'll kick yo' ass in a Vegan style. You won't recover)  I don't even know what kind of film I want, but I know that I'd like something other than all that cutesy or even meaningful shit, not to mention elsewise other than a big arsed woman punching out fellas she'd never have a hope of smashing to the floor à la Angelina "Preposterous Jab" Jolie. A woman that fights a man has to be smarter, surely, be quicker and relentless rather than a "beat 'em down Josie" type.

There are films out there, of course there are, I've got eyes and a fairly well functioning brain, but what's presented to us on the plate of big film studios is some epically skewed ballbaggery. There are women out here. Women who don't plait each other's hair and wait for Prince Charming. There are women who don't have kids, women who do and kick ass too, there are all kinds of us. Now where's our bullshizzle, bitches?!

Friday, 4 May 2012

Advice to a young'un

There are many pieces of advice one could offer the yoof of today (and of any time) - from "be true to yourself" (such ballbaggery - try some lying to yourself first, because only then will you really understand that your way is better than the highway) to reach for the stars (and now I have S Club whatever in my head - music maestro, toots!) Well, such advice is all well and good but it's so utterly subjective and often pointless. I mean, most of the advice I could impart to a kid kicking it in the tower blocks and estates of South London would be about as valuable to him or her as that once given to me by a sixteenth century monk ...

I digress.

Anyway, if I was to give a young person some unsolicited advice, it wouldn't be about shining your teeth and crimping your gullet or wotnot. It would be this: Learn how to have a fucking good time on your own. If you can't occupy yourself, getting other people to do it will only make you into a raggedy annie ballbag. You are the master of your own ship, kids, so if your ship has no chance of making itself happy then what's the fucking point? What if everyone else died tomorrow? Would you be able to give yourself a merry chuckle now and again? I know I could - although obviously because I would be as drunk as the proverbial skunkery and high on sugar after the looting I would perform on the Chocolate factory and Supermarchés.

Being able to entertain yourself - hands out of your trousers young man - is vitally important. You are your only constant. Fact. So get on with the self-love. And now I have gone wrong (I only had one boddingtons, your honour ...)

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Relationship advice. Just this once.

Generally, I wouldn't be the go-to girl on relationship advice. I've had one significant relationship in my adult life (Reader, I married him) and a year long relationship when I'd just turned 18. So what do I know? Anyway, during a conversation last night with my friend Fiona, I realised that I do have some insight into what makes a long term relationship work (because, no shit, it's our 17th wedding anniversary on Sunday and this year we've been together for 20 years) Of course, I was pretty drunk and became overly delighted with myself for five minutes before meandering off into a tangental reel of other nonsense. So what is this nugget of advice, you ask? I can hear your bated breath from here.

Well it's this - "compromise" doesn't necessarily mean "sacrifice".

That's it, man. That's what I've learned.

Don't get those two bad boys confused. Too often, I hear people bandy about the term "compromise" as though it's tantamount to being branded on the forehead, i.e. this shit will scar you for life. No, it won't. Compromise is an agreement, on both sides, because you want to be together, you want to make it work. Oftentimes, you don't even know you're doing it. You go with the flow and work that shit out on the hoof. It's not one of you destroying your own life to make the other happy - you simply cannot do any such thing by making yourself unhappy. That's some fucked up thinking because, really, if your partner loves you, thinks you're a bang up fly dawg, or wotnot, why would they want to make you miserable? That, my friends, is A1 Ballbaggery. Capital B.

Of course, compromise isn't always easy, but it is necessary - and it doesn't mean ripping the arse out of things. You'll work it out. Because you want to. Because they want to. You don't have to rip out your heart and serve it up on a plate, but don't expect the other part of the equation to do so either. Roll with the punches and come up swinging, as they say, together. Find a way otherwise it's time for goodbye. Which is probably for the best.

Doctorin' the House - or, One Day, my PhD may come

I'm a student again. Well, sort of. I'm officially registered as an external student with the University of London's International Programme (Goldsmith's) which means that I basically have to teach myself a degree. I'm still writing and have planned it so I have plenty (or some, at least) time for both. Probably.

If only the vertigo would stop. The sudden stomach lurching knee-quaking moments where "WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?" shoots through my cerebral cortex and flashes its hot pink knickers in my mind's flinching eye. After all, I have a fairly easy life, on the surface at least. If I simply wanted to read books for the rest of my life, I'm lucky enough to have a husband who would support me. As long as I'm happy. But I'm not happy, not really. Autonomy isn't mine. I don't run my life, I often feel like I'm simply an appendage to his. He's the best person I know but he has his life and I need to remember that I have mine. Coasting along, constantly asking myself why I feel so unfulfilled - it's hardly a question with a difficult answer - has become about as much fun as grating my bum cheeks.

I've been afraid for most of my life, or so it seems. In reaction to the fear, I've bedded down into the comfort of my marital security and nested there like a legless elephantine-gestating-bird. Or something. However, amidst all that apparent safety, I've become lost. I'm halfway to the witch's house and the birds have eaten my breadcrumbs (actually I probably ate them and that's why I have a tummy ache, just to make matters worse)

It's time, as they say, to do or die (figuratively speaking, natch) I'm in much better shape than I have been in years, both mentally and physically; I'm the same person but improved and souped up, still afraid but feeling it and doing it anyway. This is in no small part down to the fact that in the past year or so things have changed, things and people around me have opened my eyes. We have a cracking group of friends who have shaken me up a bit (whether they know it or not) They've blown the cobwebs out of my recumbent brain and have made me want to take charge of my life again. My dear friends on the much-maligned Facebook (a facility that has practically saved my life over the past few years) have also stimulated and inspired me (Matron) I'm lucky to know a lot of smart and interesting people, many with a lust for life or, at least, a lust for not pissing their's right up the wall. They've inspired me to stop skulking in the shadows like an embarrassingly cheesy ballbag and come out into the open, to not be afraid to realise what I want, to say it out loud, and to go after it. They've made me be myself again. I like it.

My dream is to get my PhD and enter the halls of academia. That path might be open to me, but if I fail or if I deviate, at least I've tried, at least I'm living. It's a cliché, perchance, but all clichés ooze truth. Living in a world of constant wondering (what if, what if) is a ball aching way to exist. It grinds you down and robs you of your zest. And everyone needs a little zest.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

A Grand Plan

I confess my attitude to weight loss is hardly what one might call "hard core" but it is working ... at the same rate as mountain ranges are formed, admittedly, but still working. Lately, however, I've lost a bit of focus. While changing my lifestyle is good and "dieting" is bad (or, rather, setting yourself up for a fall in the long run) it has meant that I seem to have forgotten just how much weight I still need to lose. Yes, I've done really well. Yes, I've lost 7 stone or so which is exactly what I needed to do and I should be pleased with myself. But not too pleased. Maybe I can't play in the front row for England anymore (that's a self-derogatory rugby reference) but that doesn't mean I'm done.

Thusly, I have come up with a plan. A refocus, if you will.

One week on Tuesday, it will be 70 weeks until my 40th Birthday. If I lose 1lb per week (0.5kg) I could potentially lose 5 stone (approx 32kgs) in total. That's slightly more than I've been planning on, which makes it seem eminently "doable".

So, challenge issued and challenge accepted.

Bon voyage.

Monday, 16 April 2012


I'm going back to University. I've already bought books, even though I can't register until next month and most people don't start until September. I have notebooks, pens, all sorts. I'm good at that. Getting organised, sorting out what I need. The thing I'm not very good at is the rest of it. I can buy a great folder or a right shiny exercise book, perfect for whatever I need, but can I actually USE it? Can I study? Can I do what I should? Generally, I excel at not doing what I should, I'm an absolute Ace in that department. Give me a rule or an obligation and I'll have flouted, broken or ignored it within five minutes, tops. Even when it benefits me. ESPECIALLY when it benefits me. I get this odd feeling in my stomach, like butterflies if butterflies were partial to lead boots, and the urge to do the opposite takes hold of me. I can't concentrate for toffee, never have been able to. How in the Bejesus Derby did I ever get a Master's degree? Luck. Must be. And WHAT THE GODDAMNED HECK DO I THINK I'M DOING ANYWAY? Shizzle. I need a little raft to take me to a little island where I can live out my little days just reading and mooching and doing little else.

But that's the trouble, isn't it? If I just sit and vegetate, if I don't push myself, don't try to live the life I want, do the things that I believe are the right things for me to do - whether or not my collywobblers try to tell me elsewise - my life will be a little life. Not worth a mention. A footnote to the lives of others. If I didn't care about that, if I didn't want more, then that would be just fine, but it seems like a big barrel of meh to me. I've never thought of myself as having ambition, never felt like I was entitled to it, but that same rudderless rebel within tells me that I'm no stinking footnote (at least it has some use, I guess) I'm the goddamned main attraction in my own life, for the love of Galactus.

But I've still got the collywobbles. Still got the little voice that says "You're an idiot if you think you can do it. It's all just another waste of time, you pointless girl". Fucking collywobbles.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

An Amendment

I'm not sure I made my point in that last post. I made A point, but perhaps not THE point I had in mind. I got carried away with myself, I frequently do. My point was that I've realized that I'm ALLOWED to feel aggrieved. Someone might well see the same set of circumstances in a very different light, but my perspective is not negated simply because it's mine. I have a right to feel imposed upon or injured (I'm bowdlerizing Emma, it's a terrible habit) just as anybody else does. I shouldn't immediately jump to the conclusion, which I all too often do despite my bluster, that I must be the offending party and that my hurt is simply covering embarrassment or wotnot. Sometimes people are fucking shitty. Sometimes people should be called out on it, but sometimes you need to walk away because it will never be made right. But that doesn't mean you don't have a right to feel hurt. You are and I am entitled to our own perception and reaction. And fuck anyone who says otherwise. They're probably ballbags.

Bygones. Finally, bygones.

The large woman on Supersize vs Superskinny last night really reminded me of someone from my past, someone who I haven't had contact with in a long time (and they will know me by the trail of the offended and the aggrieved) I'd been thinking about trying to get back in contact (I doubt I'd get any response) but this timely reminder changed my mind. 

Some people really do treat you wrong and those people, no matter how much they think they're the wounded party, can fuck off. I was hurt and I was let down. I'm allowed to say that because that's how I felt. I did shit wrong, no doubt, but the vitriol and the abandoment that I was treated to outweighed that billy bullshit. For a very long time I blamed myself entirely. I felt embarrassed and guilty even though I knew it wasn't all down to me, that I had certain problems that someone who cared for me would not condemn me for. I'm allowed to own that, to think enough of myself to say "I wasn't the only one in the wrong actually. You were shitty too. You should be ashamed of yourself. My behaviour might have seemed unacceptable to you but, if you'd known me at all, it was understandable, if not palatable. If you had really been my friend you would have weathered it because god knows I had to weather your ballbaggery often enough." Besides, I don't need that kind of weedy arsebiscuit hanging on me, sucking my energy. My demons aren't gone but they are currently cowering in a corner licking their wounds. I'm strong. I survived. Clinging onto tiresome worries about bygone shitdickery can only hold me back. 

So I say, enough. 

The small stuff doesn't need my sweat. And that episode is small stuff now. Bygones. Over. Done. Thank you large lady from Supersize vs Superskinny. I hope you get healthy and stay happy. You've done me a massive favour (no pun intended) You made me feel approximately 800% better about something that has been weighing on me for several years. I feel free of it. It took its own sweet bloody time. 

This session of whining was brought to you by Self-Indulgence Inc.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Hoodwinked by the Chuff Weasel?

Hold on a minute! While I was running this morning I caught the sticky flatulence of George Osborne on the pinnacle of journalism that is Daybreak. He was talking about how the Old Age tax allowance freeze and abandonment would raise a massive - I repeat MASSIVE - £1billion. That's a shit load right? Well, if I remember correctly, yesterday when he was talking about the billion quid the 50p tax rate had garnered, it was dismissed as negligible. And I guess the decrease in Corporation tax is neglible also - as it's only going to lose £550 million (you know, half a BILLION quid) Because it's going to encourage business to stay in the UK and help growth, right George? Well, from what I can gather (and I will admit up front that my knowledge of the mechanics of these matters is indeed negligible) it seems that there's little to no evidence that cutting Corporation tax helps growth at all. And as to decreasing the tax to keep us competitive in the international market, well one has to frown because apparently (my thanks to @joncstone on Twitter) it's now a full 18% less than the US, 16% less than Japan, and 8% below Germany. It puts us on a level with Ireland, Iceland and Hungary - financial safe havens indeed.

Smoke and Mirrors, baby. With a side of ballbag.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

NHS Reform

Honestly, you're a fucking idiot if you think the damage the government is inflicting on the NHS is either repairable or a good idea. When you pay for your own healthcare (insurance or not) - and that's if you can afford the premiums (I'm sure no one will try to make money out of that ... !) it's so much easier to not go to the doctor, to ignore the little niggles that you know you shouldn't ignore at all. You'll wait instead until your cock drops off or your heart explodes, and forget about calling an ambulance in an emergency - do you know how much those fuckers cost? Shitdickery at its height. The rest of the world admires the British NHS. That's right, "admires". So let's cack on it and destroy it with our meaty fists of greed. Shame on you, Tory bastards and Liberal turncoats.

Monday, 6 February 2012

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Shit Muncher

This morning was spent in a haze of procrastination under the guise of “research”, and during my “research” I came across the above article. This kind of thing always catches my attention but probably not for the reasons the writer intends. I regard them as an invitation to partake in the increasingly popular sport of shit munching. The article really reads, 

"Dear Plebs, please come munch our shit. It is nutritious and will aid your neuroses in ways that don't seem much at the time, we're just frivolous fun after all, but will nevertheless try to get under your skin and make you question yourselves, just like all the other ridiculous shit that you get bombarded with every day but means jack all. Thank you for your time. Now please fuck off and feel bad about yourselves." 

It's a genre of article that is designed to fuck our shit up. Mcshizzles like Cosmopolitan do it all the time. "Better sex", "Why doesn't he want you?" "How to make him want you!” "Even better sex!" - a thinly veiled didactic pissantry that in reality serves only to confuse and undermine.

I think I can consider consider myself as being in a successful (certainly so far) long term relationship (getting on for 20 years *choke splutter*) but that qualifies me for nothing. Good for us and all that - I genuinely believe that committing to anything, not just in respect to love and companionship, should be celebrated (and that includes committing yourself to cutting your losses; those decisions are almost invariably hard as fuck) - but mine is not a template for anyone else's relationship. 

In a world of increasing homogeneity *shudder* this kind of article comes thick and fast. While we're told that the family unit has changed/is changing and that it's okay to be on our own or whatever, we're also slammed with these proclamations about the holy grail of long term security and love. As though anyone really has a clue. People can lecture you all they like about how they "make it work", but I'd be willing to bet good money they're making that shit up. Truth is, in our case, the only thing I really know is that we stick together. We don't give up when it's hard, we don't walk away and wander around in that greener grass over there. Not because we stand before a jury of our peers and declare ourselves to be committed to working things through, noble soliloquy from the male lead and all, but because the thought of not being together sucks ass. Simples, as they say.

So much energy is wasted in making judgements about other people's relationships, whether that's from a negative “it’ll never work” or a positive “what’s their secret” perspective. Futile rubbish. You can’t really explain why one person falls for another – common interests and lust are all very well, but that mysterious kick-in-the-gut spark is usually what seals the deal. You can't share secrets about "how to make it work" because the variables are never the same. Even if all men were uncommunicative ballbags and women uptight harridans, the variations on these stereotypes would still be in their millions, making any rule, or set thereof, redundant.

Yes, be nice to each other - if you care deeply about one another, why would you not be? Yes, talk to each other - again, caring deeply = worth the effort. But all that other horseshit in the article? Pinch of salt. It probably doesn't apply to you. It doesn't to us. Secrets? I can't lie to Mr Y to save my life, I'm brutally honest and open, and it works. Sit down and make a fucking road map for the future? What for? We usually can't plan much past next week ... but, then again, if that's what floats your boat, why should you not? Get your cartography on!

The thing is, none of us know much about any of this carnival of fools. We have little to no idea why some relationships work and why others don't. We're all flying by the seat of our clichéd pants and articles like these are fillers, not pointers. Don't waste your time worrying about what you're supposed to do, and get on with the loving and the living. Or working, or helping, or painting, or skiiing, or whatever the fuck you like. You’re the only one who can feel what’s right for you at the time. It's your life, whether you live with someone (or someones) else or alone. Your choice. Your rules … actually, fuck rules. Rules suck.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Mr Hardy

The RSC are putting on an evening of the poetry of Thomas Hardy. Here's the link to the event:

Sadly, I'm going to miss it, but it has reminded me to reread his poetry because I haven't done so in ages. Hardy's poems are what really made me fall in love with English Literature. I studied them for GCSE and although I had been a rabid reader since I was but a scrap of a thing, I'd never connected with the subject at school. Not really. We read Far From The Madding Crowd, but Hardy's prose left me cold - I've tried since, I really have, but still with the meh. His poems, on the other hand, turned out to be a revelation.

On the surface, they might seem homely, but often they are twisted and wonderful. Many of them make me want to dig him up and slap him upside the head, but the impotent angst is just too addictive. His first wife, Emma, died suddenly and although they were estranged her loss hit him hard. He began churning out acres of mournful poetry about her, every line aching with his futile remorse. Remorse, you say? Yes, indeed. But how is that so? I don't recall him living out the rest of his life in heartbroken solitude. No indeed. This spurt of industry was in full effect when he married his second, much younger, wife, Florence (who had been his secretary) It seems to me that he spent most of his marriage to her bemoaning the loss of Emma. Quel ballbag. But my, they're good poesie.

Try any of his work - in a step away from his marital shitdickery, Convergence of the Twain, about the sinking of the Titanic (or, more to the point, about how Nature was just waiting to fuck that shit up) is one of my all time favourite poems:

      In a solitude of the sea
     Deep from human vanity,
And the Pride of Life that planned her, stilly couches she.

     Steel chambers, late the pyres
     Of her salamandrine fires,
Cold currents thrid, and turn to rhythmic tidal lyres.

     Over the mirrors meant
     To glass the opulent
The sea-worm crawls -- grotesque, slimed, dumb, indifferent.

     Jewels in joy designed
     To ravish the sensuous mind
Lie lightless, all their sparkles bleared and black and blind.

     Dim moon-eyed fishes near
     Gaze at the gilded gear
And query: "What does this vaingloriousness down here?". . .

     Well: while was fashioning
     This creature of cleaving wing,
The Immanent Will that stirs and urges everything

     Prepared a sinister mate
     For her -- so gaily great --
A Shape of Ice, for the time fat and dissociate.

     And as the smart ship grew
     In stature, grace, and hue
In shadowy silent distance grew the Iceberg too.

     Alien they seemed to be:
     No mortal eye could see
The intimate welding of their later history.

     Or sign that they were bent
     By paths coincident
On being anon twin halves of one August event,

     Till the Spinner of the Years
     Said "Now!" And each one hears,
And consummation comes, and jars two hemispheres.

Of course, there's a lot more to Hardy than my pithy but sadly superficial scratch at his surface might suggest. So, I urge you to read his poetry. I really do.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Reading - not the town

As it's just about the anniversary of my reading my first proper book (Jane Eyre, I was not quite 5 and a half and just a smidge precocious) I thought I'd do a little blog about reading.

I love Reading. Have I ever told you that? It's my number one hobby - no wait, it's more than a hobby. It's so much a part of me and who I am, that it's more like a part of my DNA than a thing I do. I have to do it, like breathing, to stay alive. It was and is my first love. I'll be reading until my eyes stop working or I die. In the case of the former, then I'll learn me some braille and get that shit on! In the case of the latter, I won't be around to mind much. I'll be too busy being stardust. I'll have a go at reading pretty much anything. Noir, SF/F, Romance, Horror, Biographies, Religion, Philosophy, Art, whatever. It's all reading to me and I need it in my brainpan. I want it all. That said, I have finally learned to put something down when it's just not doing it for me. You know, the times when you look at a book that's been sitting there for a week and you feel like your fingers will snap off from its sheer weighty not-for-youness if you so much as try to pick it up? Some books are just like that for me, but I used to make myself finish them regardless. Now, however, I'm not so sure there's enough time left for me to even get through all the books that excite the shit out of me, so why would I bang my head on that brick wall of book just because I "should finish it" - yikes, I can hear my mum's voice saying it to me! She's the Evil Queen when it comes to books; that woman cannot let a book go unfinished. She's a word sucking machine (and that's just one more reason why I love her) I'll give a book a fair go, but I'm not finishing it if it looks like it'll finish me first.

As with any great love, however, there are problems. Books make me panic. I have a lot of books. I mean A LOT - I confess that I tend to judge my friends on their attitudes to reading - tell me you don't read and I'd really rather you left me in peace. Sometimes I look at them, the books not the philistines, and I get palpitations. What if I can't get through them all? What I've read in my 33 year reading history is still only the tip of the iceberg anyway, so what if I can't finish the ton I have here in my apartment and can never even get onto the next step of "everything else"? The panic flutters in my tummy like exam morning anxiety and I know I'm going to fail. I can't read everything. No way ... but then that little voice, the one that so often gets me into trouble, pipes up. "No," it says, all sweetness, " but you can try". And so it goes.

Then there are other times, when I look around my rooms (there are books in every one, except the bathroom after a most unfortunate incident) and think, "this is it. This is how life is supposed to be. For me. Look at them all. I'm going to read that one, the cheeky minx, and you can smile at me all you like over there, you big black spined gorgeous, because you know I'm not going to miss out on you either."

I dream about books, I smell them, flick through their pages, touch them with my fingertips and sigh.

This is why I spend the majority of time on my own.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Skiiing - an aside

At the ripe old age of 38 and after living in Switzerland for nearly 6 years, I went skiiing for the first time yesterday. I only fell over twice, a result, but I have to confess that at times in the first hour or so, I would happily have poked the ski poles where the sun does not always make itself known and stomped off in a huff. But I had forgotten how stubborn I can be when it comes to these things and kept on going. I wasn't ready to ski on the slopes in the afternoon (Yates gave me the stern face before telling everyone no, I should say) so I spent an hour soaking in the sun in the freezing cold on top of a mountain in the middle of the Alps. It was a beautiful thing. I was so tired when I got home that I only managed to make it through twenty minutes of Sherlock before dribbling a sufficient amount to wake me up and send me off up the little wooden hill. 

I woke up this morning to find that my chest had clearly been stamped on by a giant. It soon became apparent that I was never going to be able to sit myself up again because my arms appeared to have been subject to the same gigantic mistreatment. The same story sung itself from almost every inch of my screaming flesh, except the bottom of my feet which are peachy. All in all, it was brilliant! One of the best feelings I've woken up to for years. It's easing off now, stretching exercises seemed demented but boy were they worth it.  The serotonin stimulated by my day of sweating, swearing, skiiing and sunbathing has left me slightly high and very determined. I'm going to run later, in training now donchaknooo, and I'm going skiing again at the end of the week. In the meantime, I'm reading some skiiing advice and watching videos, because I'm going to become a proficient skier, baby. Oh yes indeed. BOOM!

Friday, 13 January 2012

Love is Not All

Love is not all: it is not meat nor drink
Nor slumber nor a roof against the rain;
Nor yet a floating spar to men that sink
And rise and sink and rise and sink again;
Love can not fill the thickened lung with breath,
Nor clean the blood, nor set the fractured bone;
Yet many a man is making friends with death
Even as I speak, for lack of love alone.
It well may be that in a difficult hour,
Pinned down by pain and moaning for release,
Or nagged by want past resolution's power,
I might be driven to sell your love for peace,
Or trade the memory of this night for food.
It well may be. I do not think I would.

                                                            - Edna St. Vincent Millay

This is my favourite poem. It addresses something that is very important to me; it sets forth an idea of Real Love™ It's not the ridiculous hearts and flowers of impossible expectation, but the kind of love that lasts, grows, strengthens. The kind of love that you don't know you want, or know that you should expect, until you have it. It's flawed, sometimes angry, sometimes confusing, sometimes it is the most tender feeling you will ever know, and it is able to grow because of the very flaws that would make many turn their backs on it.

Love is a funny thing. We all want it (or mostly all) and yet it seems so elusive and delicate that our clammy hands can never quite get hold of it - not without breaking it anyway. To many, it's a dream, a hope, and it often ends in disaster and heartbreak.

Here's my theory. Something smooth and perfect has the tendency to be brittle. Something flawed is often hardier. Love works when you understand that the person you love is not perfect and never will be - and that you yourself are a thing of imperfection should not be ignored. Love is the deal you make, the point where you decide "you know what? I don't care if you X, Y, or Z, I still want to be with you, even though that X,Y or bloody Z keeps coming around like a scheduled train. I can live with it. I have to live with it, otherwise it would mean being without you and that just doesn't sit well with me. Sometimes I do want to cave your skull in with my shoe, but those times pass and when they're gone I remember all the reasons why your skull is beautiful just the way it is. When those jolly old chips are down, I might fight to save myself, I might tread on you to get to the surface or sell you out to make sure I'm okay. It could happen, I'm not perfect. Neither are you. But I do not think I would."


It's been a week since I saw it, and I have to say that I'm very glad I did go to see Shame. Cracking acting. Really cracking, from both Fassbender, who's getting all the attention, but also from Carey Mulligan. They both actually "acted" and for the first time in a while I was watching people on the screen, not actors pretending. I hate when you watch a film and you're distracted by who's in it, rather than being taken along with the story or situation. There was none of that pretty tying up of loose ends; McQueen doesn't even try, and that's part of what impressed me - that and that there was no attempt for a bad ending either. Hollywood these days seems to try to establish credibility by replacing a trite happy ending with a "dark" ending ... which ends up being every bit as trite most of the time. In some ways it has a cathartic end, but, on the other hand, one does wonder if this isn't simply how the obviously damaged brother and sister carry on, that they're stuck on this merry-go-round.

It did keep going round in my head, however, that this might have been a much different film if Fassbender's character had been female. It might not have worked with a female protagonist as its reception would certainly have been much different. There likely would have been more than a few "Cor blimey's, she gets her tits out, cracks one off in the toilet every five minutes and goes around nobbing all the time, fnar", and the amount of cellulite on her thighs would have been red circled in every publication with crayons.

Shame is an observation. I can't say that I liked it, but it did stay with me. Made me think. Gads, I might actually have loved it, but I'm still not sure I liked it. Which is a result. A good film doesn't have to be liked. It just has to be watched.