Friday, 27 February 2009

Things My Brain Has Blocked Out For It's Own Good

The fact that I once saw an Agatha Christie play starring Dean Gaffney.

The Gaffney played a character with, shall we say, learning difficulties. So not much Method required there. Ahem.

I cannot remember what the play was called but it was an actual professional production and was on at the Lowry in Salford. A proper theatre. There were quite a few other people there so I am pretty sure that I didn't dream it.

The more I think about it, the more it sounds like an episode of pug nosed fatman Ricky Gervais' Extras.

Tonight is mum's night at 184. CBM will probably be on her best behaviour but will still manage to be silly and probably say something weird or tell us about one of her inventions. Or sing one of her songs. Or make up a dance for us.

I am making spinach, mushroom and pesto lasagne for the herbivores (just me, then) and Phina is making Gordon Ramsay's lasagne al fucking forno. And a dessert involving pears.

On Saturday I am getting up at stupid o'clock to fulfill my duties as the Ticket Master to try and get McFly tickets. They are being supported by David Archuleta 'runner up of American Idol!'. Is he the one who was a gay stripper? Or have I just defamed him? Don't sue me.

Saturday night we are going into Manchester for Mexican food. Mexican food can mean only one thing - daiquiris. Mmmmmm daiquiris.

Offensive joke for the weekend:

What's the opposite of Christopher Reeve?
Christopher Walken

(I forgot that Christopher Reeve is dead but just pretend that he isn't for the purpose of the joke - there is no celebrity called Christopher Alive)


Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Flippin' Pancakes

So yesterday was Pancake Day. Or to give it it's proper title, Shrove Tuesday.

Shrove Tuesday is used in Ireland, the UK, Canada & Australia to describe the day preceding Lent.

Wikipedia informs me that the word 'shrove' is the past tense of the verb 'shrive'. To shrive means to obtain absolution for one's sins by way of Confession and doing penance.

Shrove Tuesday is the last day of 'shrovetide' - which sounds like a folk band.

A traditional Scottish shrovetide food, apparently, is festy cock. Does that sound more like an STD than a foodstuff to anyone else?

Shrove Tuesday is associated with pancakes because they used up fat and eggs, the consumption of which was usually restricted during Lent.

I am giving up injecting heroin for Lent. Fingers crossed.

The batter about to go into the pan. Will it work? The tension was unbearable.

Yes it did work. One thumb up.

Our savoury pancakes. They were goat's cheese, spinach and tomato and herb sauce flavour. They tasted very good thanks to Pancake Master P.

These were our dessert pancakes, when the Pancake Master was feeling more adventurous and was not blaming the pan quite so much. This pancake was supposed to be a 'V'. I think it looks more like Pacman.

This was E's Mickey Mouse pancake. I feel this is a fair likeness. It passes the test.

This was my dessert pancake - a 'J'. I was most impressed by this.

For dessert we had the pancakes with ice cream, banana, nutella and maple syrup. Chan ate a ton of Nutella before the pancakes were even ready. I don't think the jar will last long.

The Pancake Master in action.
You have to tilt your head to the side to see it properly though as I can't be bothered finding out how to rotate the video.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Things I Really LOVE, But Should Know Better

Kelly Clarkson

I ♥ The Clarkson. I should know better. But I can't help myself. She speaks to me.

I should dislike her because she won American Idol. The only parts of that show worth watching are the audition rounds to see how deluded and/or mentally ill the wannabes are. Or how high Paula Abdul is.

On a side note, how old is the man in this pic of the side of my fat face at the Kelly Clarkson show at the Manchester Apollo? Clearly someone brought their dad along.

The Clarkson had no particular sob story - she wasn't blind, didn't have a dead parent, a dead dog, wasn't secretly gay but didn't want to tell anyone until after the voting process because then she probably wouldn't have won coughWillYoungcough - but she had a hell of a voice.

She released an album with the classic 'Since U Been Gone' on it - an anthem for our times if I ever heard one. Even featuring an exotic bird at one point (you know what I'm referring to E!). Other classics on the 'Breakaway' album include Breakaway, Because Of You, Walk Away & Gone.

Note how I even forgive her the 'U' in the song title and the fact that Breakaway was co-written by Avril Lavigne - that's how much I like her.

At the Manchester Apollo show, she was note perfect. And also suffering from laryngitis which led her to cancel the next night's show. What a trouper.

And she had a boyfriend who married someone else behind her back - what a bastard! I think we can all sympathise with that. And The Clarkson got a whole album out of that. In your face dickhead boyfriend.

And she was offered $5 million to take 5 songs off 'My December' but refused to do so. What integrity. Or stupidity. Everyone has a price - and mine is a lot less than 5 mill!

And last week she was in Heat magazine's 'Fat Celebrities -Look How Much They've Stacked On!' feature (I may have paraphrased that). I don't think there is anything at all wrong with the way she looks. I think she looks normal - and that is probably what makes her stand out from all the other lollipop headed starving celebs out there.

And she provokes this (double chinned) reaction in me. And I was also a tad drunk. And my right hand looks weird.

She is on the 'Live Lounge' on BBC Radio 1 in a few minutes. Exciting. I am even willingly listening to Jo Whiley (world's worst most mum-like DJ) to hear The Clarkson. The fact that it has just been revealed that she has an entourage of thousands is still not enough to make me dislike her. I'm sure they are all essential people. Cough.

I was there!

And check out Phina's mad music photography skills in the pics.

And Merry Pancake Day. Yum.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

More Things Which Live Under My Bed

This may just be of interest to me, but hey, it's my blog!

Last night we watched Phina's epic performance as Elphaba in her Wizard Of Oz/Wicked mash up. It featured, in the finest English theatrical tradition, a man in drag playing Dorothy, a real dog playing Toto, the Wizard being dragged from behind a screen to reveal he was wearing stockings and suspenders before breaking into 'The Timewarp' and some very thinly veiled dick jokes. There were many children in attendance. Seriously. Pull on my donger, indeed.

And I have just eaten a very nice Moroccan Squash Tagine thing. 3 of my 5-a-day in one hit, so I am in a good mood. And I am now more determined than ever to actually buy a tagine. I digress.

The other day I also found a whole selection of my old school reports - let's see if my genius was recognised at an early age ...

The first report I have (CBM has others - she is very sentimental and has kept pretty much everything I have ever touched) is from the 1991-92 school year and was written by Mrs S:

"Jessica is an excellent reader. Her well written stories reflect her love of reading. She has used punctuation consistently and accurately. Her handwriting is developing and she has become much neater.
She has shown great enthusiasm for history and geography related work and produced extra written pieces at home.
Her artwork has been very pleasing, enhancing the classroom displays.
Jessica has made good progress in all subjects and has shown a particular knowledge of science"

For one, what the HELL was I doing extra work at home for?! I don't remember doing anything like that! What a nerd. For two, my artwork was shambolic. For three, I found all my old stories and am seriously considering typing some up as they are so funny it is almost criminal. And d, knowledge of science is what you get as the child of a biology teacher.

The next report is from the 1992-93 school year and was written by Mr P. I was 10 years old and my reading age was 15 years and my spelling age was the very specific 13 years and 4 months:

"Jessica writes very good stories which are interesting and entertaining to read. Her handwriting can be untidy at times.
Jessica is very good at mental arithmetic.
She also enjoys working on the computer.
Jessica enjoys PE and games and takes an active part in class lessons.
Jessica has listened to a variety of classical music throughout the year and scored 100% on her religious education test."

My handwriting had gone into decline - clearly I was not that bothered with trying to really 'kick' my 'kicking k's'. I am not good at all at maths now and need a calculator to add up. How ironic is the PE statement? I hate exercise in all its bastard forms. 100% in RE when raised in an entirely atheist household. Can you say black sheep?

My last Bruche report is the 1993-94 school year and was written by Miss B:

"Jessica has actively and confidently participated in class discussions, making valuable oral contributions, but she needs to develop a more cursive handwriting style.
Jessica has a sound knowledge of the four rules of number. She can interpret simple formulae and has recognised the inverse nature of division and multiplication.
Jessica has an enquiring mind.
In technology she has made some interesting design suggestions, but has often tended to lose enthusiasm before producing the finished product.
Jessica has played some games enthusiastically.
She has a good sense of rhythm and is becoming a discriminating listener.
Jessica has not particularly enjoyed religious stories."

Oral contributions. Snigger. I don't even know what the 'four rules of number' are. I presume the first rule is that you don't talk about the other rules. As to the inverse nature, what a sentence. I have no idea what it means. Miss B had the most RIDICULOUSLY neat handwriting so I am not surprised she thought mine was rubbish. I am no longer a discriminating listener as I will listen to any old gubbins. And my budding cynicism was already coming through at the age of ten with my dismissal of religious stories. How much can change in one year - from 100% to not particularly enjoying.

This report also had a feedback form attached to it which I had filled in thusly in my 10 year old wisdom:

"I enjoyed the trip to Quarry Bank Mill especially the Apprentice House and the gift shop. I like watching videos on history. I find it interesting. I am a non-artist, I only like some artwork and I only enjoy art if it is easy. I enjoyed making board games based on Ancient Greek legends.
I hate maths. I feel my handwriting could be improved and I hate Sports Day"

God, I was funny as a child. The gift shop? Classic. I probably added to my collection of neon erasers, rulers and pencils. And my handwriting on the paper was barely legible.

Then I went to the Big School and encountered some of the worst teaching in the known universe and some horrific teacher based anecdotes ("and the baby had a hare lip and a cleft palate") but also 2 or 3 teachers who had a big impact on me and who were actually good at their jobs.

In my time in 7H1, my form tutor described me as "a very self assured young lady, mostly very pleasant but can be the master of the 'cutting comment'", so essentially I was gobby and sarcastic when I was 11. And he was fat and slightly inappropriate.

Mr T thought my English work was "consistently accurate and showing flair and imagination", unlike his many accents which were anything but consistent or accurate. In German, I had the less than glowing "Jessica needs to improve her attitude in class". In my defence, the teacher (Mr Tenerife) had no control over the class so of course I was going to play up!

In physical education the only thing they could bring themself to say of me was that my "kit record has been good". I always had my red PE knickers handy! The frankly inbred music department praised my saxophone abilities, "Jessica handles and blows the instrument confidently". How can he have written that with a straight face?

By 1996, my 8H1 form tutor seems to be contradicting his earlier comments: "Jessica's appearance, as always, is impeccable, and she is as quiet and polite as ever". Hang on. I thought I was self assured and 'cutting'? Make your mind up! The appearance comment makes me think that I did not get caught up in the Great Skirt Length Crackdown or the Innapropriate Tie Length Pogrom of '96. He continues, "she is one of the more pleasant members of the form and always seems cheerful and bubbling with energy". Energetic? Me? Hmm.

In English, my "recent poetry compositions were especially impressive" and my exam result was 82% "top of the class". That poetry may be some of the worst poetry ever written - I am 99% sure that one of the poems was actually a series of Des'ree lyrics which I strung together for my own amusement and to see if the teacher would pick up on it. He didn't.

In music, "Jessica tried hard with the trumpet to overcome a problem of producing a good sound". Possibly the funniest sentence in any of my school reports yet.

By the time I was 14, my "attendance could be better". However, I was "able to play the keyboard quite well, but numerous distractions hampered her progress" - like the fact that the teacher was never in the room. Or the fact that I was probably working towards Grade 5 piano at this point, so was not exactly challenged by playing 'California Dreamin' on a knackered Casio. I also did not "contribute a great many ideas" to the group composition project. C-. Ouch.

In English, however, I was the bee's knees. The teacher even saying: "I will miss her dry, dark sense of humour". In geography my USA project showed "a flair for deeper self-study", or as I prefer to call it, copying wholesale from books. I was also "developing an awareness of the fundamental questions of life raised by human experience" according to my RE teacher. Her class seemed to mainly consist of us watching 'Jesus Christ Superstar' or 'Escape From Sobibor' repeatedly.

By the time I was in Year 10, I had clearly worked through my attendance issues (4 absences all year) and was apparently "a lively and popular member of the form". I don't remember being either. I am also by this point "a very talented linguist". Yeah, right. In IT, with a teacher who referred to herself as Lisa B, I "can be chatty at times". I was probably chatting to the teacher about her upcoming wedding which she felt the need to update us about every 3 seconds. I may not be completely innocent though, as in geography the teacher "feels that Jessica chats too much in lessons, preventing her from completing her work" - I would have been chatting to Chan and telling her the answers.

In my final year of legally obliged school, I got a detention for being late. Rebel. But I still somehow produced another year of "solid endeavour". Simpovsky in history said my command of facts was "superlative" and my analysis was "faultless". I don't know what 'superlative' means, but I know that he was my favourite teacher ever.

My Viewpoint report (pointless moral and health education garbage) was most interesting as my Year 11 report was IDENTICAL to my Year 10 report. Hmm. Apart from the addendum that "Jessica is studying a module on suffering". How jolly.

My adventures at WHS continued until I was 18, through my own choice. Hoist by my own petard. Cue gratuitous 'Hamlet' reference as the memories come flooding back.

Snoop Bob writes that I am "always involved in social events. Jessica has become a seasoned traveller both in the UK and abroad". He probably saw me drunk at some point. He then had to write a little piece about us all when we left and for me he said: 'Known as a 'brain', mature, sensible and all things to all people - well, not quite.'

The book also has anagrams of all our names in it and I am 'A beck cruel mess, I jolly'. If anyone (who doesn't already know it) can guess my last name from that then they are probably a genius - my surname occurs in the UK in one in a million people. Literally.

My joint first favourite teacher ever Miss M really inflates my ego (like that needed doing): "Jess has commitment, enthusiasm and talent. She is a delight and really the model student!" I think she must have offered K - who was actually the best at English - her first born child! "I am aware that some of the exam texts have not been to her personal tastes, hence there can be an overt sense of criticism" CoughThomasHardyTheReturnOfTheNativeCough. "In many ways she reminds me of myself, questioning what is 'good' or 'enjoyable' literature." Not anything written by Blake Morrison.

Innuendo-tastic German report: "She lacks confidence in her oral work, though she certainly has the ability". An appropriately filthy note to end on.

As a reward for reading all this rubbish, let's listen to the wonky faced avocado farmer Jason M-R-A-Zee and wish we were anywhere but here.

Saturday, 21 February 2009

A Youtube Stroll Down Geordie Memory Lane

This is a major blast from the past - in a totally good way.

Damn you Denton Burn! He cannae see man!

But blindness did not stop PJ, oh no. He was back with a vengeance as part of Grove Matrix featuring PJ, Duncan, Frew, Barney and Marcus. And I am sure that I have seen Marcus as part of some crappy boyband at a Mizz roadshow or something.

This video also features some dance moves I'm pretty sure I pulled out at the school disco circa 1994.

After watching that video, how the hell did PJ learn those dance moves whilst being blind?! Pretty impressive running man.

My own heart broke a little during the next video. As an 11 year old, I considered Noddy to be pretty hot. Then he went to the cinema with Gary one fateful night. Gary invited Noddy to get a whiff of his aftershave, Noddy misread the signs and went in for a kiss. Poor Noddy.

This was absolutely shocking at the time - especially because Noddy had been shacked up with the improbably named Angel for forever and a day.

'You're sick man. Sick, I tell you!'

Fast forward this last video to the 2:40 mark, light a candle and prepare to shed a tear. This is the montage shown after Geoff's funeral. Geoff was the 'dad' of Byker Grove (just as Lou was the 'mum'), the heart and improbably-facial-haired soul of the Grove.

When he was caught in the explosion of the faulty air cylinder whilst returning to the evacuated building to look for Stumpy the dog, he was tragically killed. A generation wept. Why? WHHHHHHHHHYYYYYYYYYY? Stupid dog.

How disturbing was the school girl look? And how weird did Geoff look without the chin strap beard?

It was a sad day when the Grove shut its doors for the last time.

Ooooh Byker, Byker, down at Byker Grove, yeah! Hahahahahahahahahaha ....


I'm Ant
I'm Declan
A duo, a twosome
We've got so many lyrics we're frightened to use 'em

Watch us wreck the mic, watch us wreck the mic, watch us wreck the mic .... PSYCH!

Thursday, 19 February 2009

16 Year Olds Know Everything ...

Today I had to degrade myself in front of 2 government officials in my quest to get them to give me Free Money.

I put on my most formal tracksuit following CBM's words of wisdom - "You don't want to look too smart. They might make you get a job". I looked like I fit right in - I even wore my Ugg boots - though these stood out for being grey. And not fake.

As I was telling one of the women that I had no money, I had to produce my National Insurance number as ID. My card was in my purse which was at the bottom of my bag. To get my purse, I had to take out and place on the desk a brand new Nokia phone, a digital camera and an I-Pod. My purse is also clearly made by Radley.

I am also probably the only person who has ever sat in the Free Money waiting room reading a copy of 'The Fountainhead' by Ayn Rand.

It was clearly mass Free Money distribution time as I was leaving (incidentally the process was supposed to take an hour, I was in and out in 20 minutes) and I had to dodge the Staffordshire Bull Terriers and the Rottweilers like it was going out of fashion. Not to mention the kids ...

There were a disturbing number of people there wearing shorts. It was about 5 degrees at most.

I was given an official government document which had 3 grammatical errors and the almost-word 'freinds' written on it.

Before I could get the Free Money, I had to do a supervised job search. The search of all my criteria produced 4 matches. Three of these were dismissed by me and the last job was dismissed by the Free Money employee who said that she wouldn't let me apply for that job as 'someone with your CV should be earning more than that'. And what type of CV is that, pray tell? One riddled with lies? Full of gaps? Revealing a startling lack of previous employment? Affirmative!

The Free Money Centre is dangerously close to a Borders books. And like a crack addict drawn to the den, I found myself in there. I then bought three more books. I need more books like Angelina Jolie needs more kids. I got a copy of 'The Shack' purely so I can prove to myself that I do hate this book, as I hate it already and I haven't even read it yet. Does that make any sense?!

So I got home and yesterday, in the Alice In Wonderland style rabbit hole that is under my bed, I found my school leaving book. This is the book wherein everyone I knew at school wrote me a farewell message and told me what a fabulous person I was because nobody could bring themselves to write the truth. We were sixteen, we had such high hopes, we thought we knew everything.

I have been crying with laughter at most of it. We were so very deluded. And here are some extracts for everyone's enjoyment:

'We have had thousands of brill times I will never forget - bat cave, London, shopping for Stella, planning our future, saddo cider drinking, Scarborough, Mr T and many more'

Note the many references to underage drinking and the baffling A-Team name check.

'I can't write down how much you mean to me, you have been the greatest friend I have ever had'

I have not seen or spoken to this person in 8 years.

'We will have a top summer (not that we will remember much of it due to our alcoholic tendencies). Can't wait till we invade Paris and all the other places we plan to go'

Another reference to underage drinking.

'School has nearly finished but we will see each other after and when we have kids (even though I might adopt). I don't fancy going through childbirth.'

Thanks for that info Captain Unnecesssary!

'I'll always remember you as the slightly alcoholic vodka lover'

A pattern is beginning to emerge. And my parents had to read this book!

'Was mochten sie bitte?
Ich mochte 1 kilo Bananen, 2 kilo Trauben, 0.5 kilo Apfel, 1 kilo Himbeeren und 0.5 pfund Erbsen. Was macht das?
Es ist 15 DM

Why would someone write a German conversation in my book? And why would someone want so many grapes and raspberries? And the Deutschmark still existed.

'I hope you have a nice summer and enjoy yourself with everyone. Do try and get a tan.'

I guess my complexion has always been corpse-in-a-river then hasn't it?

'If you ever want to get away from the stress of life give us a bell and you can come and visit me in New York!'

It's a good job I don't get too stressed as you never did make it there did you?!

'Jessie paint a picture about how it's going to be'

The number of references to this fucking song are ridiculous. Yeah Joshua Kadison (whoever the hell you are), write a song featuring part of my name. To you, it's just a song. To me it's a lifetime of conversations along these lines: 'Jessie?' 'What?' 'Paint a picture...' Grr.

'We have had some mental, mental, chicken oriental times haven't we? Poo under the stairs, Mr Pigfield, 'I'm a tree', story writing, sleepovers involving Mike Myers, china dolls, shark shagging, streaking round the house, jibber jabber conversations and drunken mums. The list goes on! Sad cider drinking, the 'tent' night, witchcraft, Scarborough, the awards (the banana award), singing Spice Girls on the multi-storey car park.'

What a piece of writing. I have no clue what 90% of this refers to - bar the potentially libellous geography teacher reference. I don't even know why I was friends with this person. Wow. And what was the banana award? I don't like the sound of it.

'I think you're one of the funniest people I'll ever know - and you don't even know it.'

Oh, I know it.

This next one is from Chan:

'I've known you, what 13 years now? Wow, all those memories of Juniors and we even went to the same playschool. Well, I know we've never been close mates, but I wish you all the best for the future and hope we stay friends for a long time. You deserve the best - I'll never forget the help in geography'

Well, Channy are we close mates now?!

'Even though I know further education is a mistake and I know you will regret it for the rest of your life, I wish you luck for the sixth form and university (another big mistake). Next time I see you we can have another in depth discussion about Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock. I know where you live.'

I have let my WWF (I will never refer to it as WWE!) knowledge seriously lapse in the past 10 years.

'If I become a pilot, I'll give you all a free holiday to the Caribbean'

Well, I guess I'll be walking to the Caribbean as I know no pilots.

'You live in the same street as me, which is nice.'

Indeed it is nice.

'I have known you since infants and that's all I have to say about that.'

12 years summed up in one sentence

'I'll remember you as one of the girls to challenge my knowledge and win, but don't go spreading it around as you know that I am scared of people who are cleverer than me. I might see you at Oxford or Cambridge.'

You would not see me at Oxford or Cambridge. I am not that clever.

'Don't use my photo to fantasize about myself'

Something is wrong with this sentence. Besides the person who wrote it.

'In a few years I'll be a famous doctor, so just pop around to Cook County Hospital and I'll introduce you to all the docs'

I'll not hold my breath, eh?

'We wrote Mr Chinea hate letters in Year 7 about the ear on his chin. Remember when we used to pat our imaginary dog in the back of your dad's car. Oh shame.'

The joys of owning a Montego estate car. Seats in the boot.

'Remember when we all tried smoking and your mum took me home. We opened all the windows and hoped for the best'

My mum is going to read this so don't write things like that!

'I hope you achieve everything you want in life cause I know you'll reach highest of all'

I am such a crashing disappointment.

'I've known you for a while now and can't remember ever having an argument. Which is weird as I like to argue with everyone!'

That is very true - you do like to argue.

This is from E:

'Do you remember the Noony impressions? Quite poor weren't they? Except for the time I had K's 70s glasses. Talking about Noony, I bet you're glad she left - or maybe not. I always remember you revising IT and geography in Food Tech - but then the witch came and you could revise no more'

'I remember the improvements you made to the 'To Kill A Mockingbird' book in English. It looked really cool so if you can't decide on a career maybe you should design covers for books. Only kidding! You're too clever for that sort of job'

Or for any job, it seems.

'Hello luv. I'm sure that I will see you next year in the Sixth Form. I will probably not get to know you better than I already do because we don't chat much.'

What an opener and what a closer!

'Give me a ring when you get married or are making millions of pounds per year'

Why would I do that?

'The only time I talk to you is when I'm stuck on my work and I'm asking you for the answer. Only joking.'

He wasn't joking.

'My cat is called Jess'

Thanks for that.

'Thanks for being such a great student'

Oh, Mr Simpson. Sigh.

I dread to think what I wrote in other people's books - I am essentially making fun of what other people wrote but when I was 16 I was the biggest moron of all.

I also don't remember being as naughty as others seemed to think - I don't think I did that much underage drinking. I am certainly jealous at the loss of my ability to never have a hangover - those days are long gone.

I was quite unpopular at school - hard to believe, I know - but looking back on it now, whisper it, it doesn't seem that bad.

Let's get rid of this nostalgia by listening to some Alphabeat shall we?

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Fridge Analysis

What would Sigmund make of the 184 fridge?

Let's examine it more closely.

The fridge door contains:

2x wedding invitations - this shows that most people we know are getting married. Apart from us. And only one at Anfield.

1x hen party invite - this means we can dress up as cowgirls and get drunk

3x Ohio University magnets - this shows that US colleges are way ahead of the merch game

1x Barack Obama postcard actually sent from Chicago - we follow US politics more closely than our own

1x Beatles 'Revolver' magnet - this shows that I got this free with The Guardian and thought: 'Hmm this will make us look cool. Stick it on the fridge.'

1x Sir Troy Of Bolton poster - this shows that my Heat magazine subscription is well worth it. And that as a fictional character, Zac Efron is way more bearable than in real life. And look at those eyebrows.

I have defaced the picture so that he is sending Phina a Get Well Soon message. And lo, her recovery was swift.

1x piece of Edward Cullen fridge art - and I think that I lack creativity. This shows Edward requesting to live in Chan's new house. So long as she promises to never get a dog called Jacob. If you look closely, you will see that on attempting to glue the pic to the red card, I accidentally decapitated Robert Pattinson. Oops.

1x glow-in-the-dark 3D Mount Rushmore magnet - this made South Dakota worth it

1x Otters Holding Hands magnet - this made Vancouver Aquarium on a Saturday afternoon worth it

What does the inside of the fridge tell us?

We like wine. A lot.

We have recently played Lindt Chocolate Roulette

We live mainly off olives, humous, salsa, tzatziki, pesto, coleslaw and potato salad

That one bottle of Becks has been in the fridge for ages

Juice was on offer in Asda

Paging Dr. Freud!

Monday, 16 February 2009

Disturbing Publishing Trends

1. The Misery Memoir

I HATE these books.

It is like a competition to see who has had the shittiest, most abusive, most God-awful childhood.

Who is buying these books?! I don't think I have ever seen them on sale in a normal book shop - only the supermarket. So the educationally sub-normal then.

The covers of these books are the most manipulative things EVER. Usually some Bambi-eyed, blonde haired child looking right down the barrel of the camera with the title and author name written in a font which looks like a child's scribble.

As for the actual titles, 'Please Daddy, No!' or 'Don't Tell Mummy', it sounds like something you would hear (and laugh at) on an episode of Brass Eye. Simon Hoggart totally gets what I am saying when he suggested the best title for one such book would be 'No, Grandad! Not On My Face!'

I am not suggesting that child abuse is funny. But what are we gaining from every man and his dog telling us that they are the pillar of virtuous rising above? Surely we could get this message from just one such book without the flooding of the market which has followed?

What kind of masochistic, misery magnet would choose to read tons of these books? Not even Morrissey.

2. Chick Lit

Millions of trees die so chick lit can be published. And they really shouldn't bother.

I actually like sappy romances if they are well written and the characters are not ridiculous - I own 'The Notebook', people.

And I am not saying that everything I read is high brow - though obviously 99.9% is - but poorly written chick lit makes a John Grisham pulp fiction seem like Tolstoy's 'War And Peace'.

I am talking about the books with titles referencing finding a husband, shoes or shopping. So, pretty much all of them then.

The 'plucky' main character (who will have a name like Arabella Wedgewood-Cheesecake) will be some single 30-something who is seemingly a functioning adult and will invariably have a good career, friends and an hilarious semi-functional family, but they will be waking up in a cold sweat convinced they will die alone and decrepit because the only way to be truly fulfilled is to have a husband and children.

The husband may initially enter the plot as some sort of toxic bachelor who has to be tamed and forced to settle down, but it will all be worth the effort in the end. He will also probably have some ridiculously Grey's Anatomy 'McDreamy' style nickname - which will make me hate him even more.

This genre reached its nadir for me with the publication of 'Mr Darcy's Diary'. OK. Let's consider the publishing exec's reasoning behind this one:
' Well, women loved 'Bridget Jones' Diary' didn't they?' (Incidentally, I consider that book to be approx. 523.32% cleverer than pretty much all other chick lit)
'And they also loved Mr Darcy as played by Colin Firth in the BBC adaptation of Jane Austen's 'Pride And Prejudice' didn't they?'
' Well, and call me a maverick if you will, how's about we combine the two?'
' Yeah, I know I'm good.'
' Like printing our own money, my friend.'

I guess I want a book with more action in it and a more three dimensional set of characters - not something which could conceivably be my real life (minus the career, friends and functional family) at some point in the next 15 years!

3. The Celebrity Book

I love to hate celebrities.

I have never read an autobiography for the simple reason that I do not like anyone enough to want to read about their 'amazing' life - although I have on my 'to-read' pile Nelson Mandela's autobiog as I think it is technically illegal to hate him.

Nicole Richie - and is there a more pointless form of celebrity than being Lionel Richie's adopted daughter? I mean not even his biological daughter. Who's next on the A-list? Madonna's butcher? That Guy Who Once Walked Past J-Lo? Her With The Face? Him With The Hair? - wrote (and I use the term loosely) a novel called 'The Truth About Diamonds'.

The plot can be summarised thusly: Hollywood wild child becomes famous for being famous and is a bad role model in pretty much every aspect of her life that you would care to examine. So far, so high concept, Jerry Bruckheimer.

What pushes me over the edge (other than the fact that this book actually EXISTS) is the fact that the front cover - and remember that this is a novel, kids - is a massive photo of Nicole Richie herself and that the book has a middle section featuring 20 glossy full colour photos of, guess who, Nicole Richie.

Now a glossy photo middle section really enlivened my reading of 'Jude The Obscure' by Thomas Hardy. And I loved the glamour shot of Lousia May Alcott on the cover of 'Little Women' as much as the next girl, but Christ on a bike, the British Library is keeping a copy of this book for the Nation and posterity. If a 'Fahrenheit 451' type scenario ever surfaces, I know what we can use for kindling.

Now if Paris Hilton (or insert other disposable airhead here) ever wrote a book all by herself and editors, publishers, agents etc. left it completely untouched, THAT is a book which I would buy.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Feminists ...

This post is for you if your name begins with a 'G'

It is for you if you live with the lovely K

It is for you if you once lost a watch and some sunglasses in Lake Windermere

It is for you if you booked flights to NYC only to find they had moved to Dubai

It is for you if you think Chan's mum is a fox

It is for you if this picture makes you ask the question: 'Does anyone need some help?'

Behold, feminists in action:

Thursday, 12 February 2009

♥ Things I Would Rather Do Than Celebrate Valentine's Day ♥

  1. Be locked in a room for all eternity with only a copy of 'P.S. I Love You' for company

  2. Find that my interior monologue had been replaced by Bono's

  3. Wake up to find that I had travelled back in time and was now The Elephant Man, John Merrick

  4. Work as Naomi Campbell's maid

  5. Be adopted by Michael Jackson

  6. Join a gym

  7. Watch Adam Sandler's entire body of 'work'

  8. Have a radio that could only pick up Jo Whiley

  9. Touch a live fish

  10. Have every single news bulletin for the rest of eternity read by Natasha Kaplinsky - if any newsperson deserves to be covering cat fashion shows, Anchorman-style, it is she

  11. Read a book written entirely in textspeak - OMGZ LOL HOTT !!!11!!!1!!

  12. Watch Pete Doherty perform live

  13. Legally change my name so that it was spelt Jhessyka or some other unconventional monstrosity

  14. Listen to Nickelback's entire back catalogue

  15. Become a Scientologist

  16. Have another dream in which I was marrying The Leprechaun (Gaz, I hold you fully responsible for this!)

  17. Do another law degree

  18. Watch nothing but ITV1 for the rest of my natural life

  19. Hack all my limbs off

  20. Be in McCormack's drama class again

  21. Pick the winnning lottery numbers only to realise I had forgotten to buy a ticket

  22. Appear on Maury Povich admitting that I had 75 potential babydaddys

  23. Give Hallmark Greetings PLC all of my money - BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT YOU FUCKING WANT, ISN'T IT?! *Exhales*

  24. Attend J's sure-to-be-fantabulous 21st :)

This is a lovely song though:

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Top 8 Things I Have Seen In New York City With My Own Eyes

8. Harry Potter's Wand

I saw the play Equus starring Harry Potter. He took all his clothes off at the end and it was very, very awkward. I will not lie, I leant forward in my seat when I saw the clothes start to come off. I thought it would be a blink-and-you'll-miss-it flash. But no, the nekkidness lasted a lot longer than I thought it would and there was WAAAAAAAAAAY more moving around than was strictly necessary - cartwheeling over stage blocks and such. Put it away, Potter!

Flo is also adamant that Julia Roberts was sat about 4 rows in front of us - I maintain that it was just a ginger woman.

7. The Guacamole Ninja At Mama Mexico

I have never seen an avocado chopped so beautifully by a small Mexican man. Would bring a tear to a glass eye.

6. The New York Rangers vs. Washington Capitals

2-1 Rangers, Henrik Lundqvist First Star. God damn, my memory is good. Enhanced by foam finger related shenanigans.

5. Wicked

The best musical I have seen in a long while. Listen out for me singing along horrifically to Defying Gravity, Popular and What Is This Feeling? All the while complaining that the goat man is, like, the worst character ever and should be cut from the musical.

4. Pink Dog

A poodle which had been dyed pink by its slightly deranged owner. The dog's spirit has been clearly broken. Captured by Miss J's mad camera skillz.

3. Arms & Armour at the Metropolitan Museum

It took us on a magical mystery tour of the museum as we, Scooby Doo style, seemed to be passing the same grandfather clocks, pot plants, suits of armour etc. But it was well worth it. Never have I wished to be a Samurai so much!

2. Blake!

Hey buddy! Blake willingly took us to a Chinese fake bag dungeon, bought us a donut for breakfast and found a Cold Stone for dessert. But he cannot top the list - though he was there for magical moment number one.

1. Rob Schneider at Bubby's in Tribeca

At brunch on a normal Sunday morning, my life was forever changed when Blake leant across the table and discretely whispered, 'Don't all look at once, but I think Rob Schneider just walked in'. What. A. Spot. I mean, Rob Schneider! That is a ginuwine, bona fide D-List celebrity, right?! It is one of the few regrets I have in my life that I did not approach him and say something moronic like: 'Ohmigod! It's you! Oh, Adam Sandler, I LOVE your movies!'

His face had a lovely plastic sheen to it and his hair was really thinning. What a guy. The fact that he has somewhat of a career, I think, deserves our admiration. Especially when it comes coupled with such a palpable lack of talent.

Monday, 9 February 2009

CAKE & The 4 Other Food Groups

Wednesday was birthday day. Hence the hil-a-rious candle arrangement and the feast of dips and the Tesco own brand pink champagne - first purchased over a year ago for someone else's birthday.

'Shall we put the dips actually in the chip and dip tray?' 'Nah, it's more washing up innit?'

Thursday is a day of the week with a 'y' in it, hence more booze. And some chocolate cornflake things from M&S. Mmmm.

Getting wine woozy on a school night. Rebels.

Top tip: Don't read the last chapter of a book you have been trying to finish for 18 months whilst drunk. You will only have to re-read it in the morning. If you still have the power of vision.

Friday must be Wii night. It was also jelly night. The jelly was not setting and had to spend time in the freezer. Maybe a little too much time - as evidenced by the crust of ice forming on the top.

It was very much Pimms o'clock. In fact, it stayed Pimms o'clock for about six hours. Recognise the jug K?!

American Drinking Phrases Which Sound Like Deviant Sexual Acts: Double Fisting. Apparently, this involves having 2 drinks on the go at the same time - one in each hand. I remain unconvinced.

I also enjoyed wearing my mouse slippers.

And the jelly turned out all right in the end with the help of some squirty cream and hundreds and thousands. (Why the fuck are they actually called that?!)

Here you can see what happens when you cannot operate a digital camera. Chan clearly didn't want to do any karaoke. And you can also hear me offer to sing 'I Want You Back' by the Jackson 5 with anyone who wants to do that.

That was not a good idea. As anyone with ears can imagine.

Saturday was Six Nations Day. Hence the drinking started early - at 3pm.

England beat Italy 36-11. Good times. My irrational hatred of Danny Cipriani and Lawrence Dallaglio surfaced regularly. And they weren't even playing. Dicks.

It was soon Nacho Time. And a song was made up - 'Nacho Man' - to the tune of 'Macho Man' by the Village People. You can never have too many nachos. Or be too gay.

I also got to wear gold shoes. A day involving gold shoes is A Good Day.

At 12 at night, we decided to take the drinking to a bar rather than just the living room. This involved many a pervy man - most of them wearing wedding rings. WTF?

This was the anthem of the evening - air drumming at 3am. Great song, set-yourself-on-fire awful video.

On Sunday, I took a trip to Willowpool where I ate some giant pancakes filled with cheese and spinach. See fork strategically placed for scale of epic pancakeyness.

And I ate a Cream Delight. By myself. In birthday week, food has no calories, alright?! Jesus.

Then the week ended with us going to watch Bolt 3D. Rhino The Hamster may be my new hero - "I'll get my ball".

And I had my picture taken wearing my 3D glasses (I'm not Stevie Wonder in *real* life)

Friday, 6 February 2009

Look Who I Share A Birthday With ...

Yep. It's American 'adult' actress Hillary Scott. The things Wikipedia leads you to. It is the gateway drug of the internet.

According to the oracle Wikipedia, she first became interested in pornography at the age of 11 when she got cable TV in her bedroom. I don't think I knew what pornography was when I was 11.

She worked in a bank selling mortgages for two and a half years before becoming 'bored'.

She appeared on the Howard Stern spoof show 'Inside The Porn Actors Studio' - which actually sounds a lot more interesting than the pretentious gubbins hosted by major league tosser James Lipton.

Her vital statistics are, and I quote, '34C-26-36 (34B before implants)'. And she has an eye-watering '420+' films to her, erm, credit.

If easily offended, do not read on.

Some of her films include:
  • Straight To The Sphincter 2 (!)
  • Good Girls Gone Black
  • Anal Nitrate (Nice pun)
  • North Pole 60 (60?!)
  • Neo Pornographia (I like to think this was an attempt to go arthouse - I'm thinking monochrome and subtitles. Possibly whilst wearing a beret)
  • Mad At Daddy 2 (That just sounds disturbing)
  • Lethal Injections 3
  • Jessica's Jet Set (I am not in this)
  • I Can't Believe I Took The Whole Thing 4 (You think she would believe it after the fourth time)
  • A Good Source Of Iron 5 (Spinach? Steak?)
  • Down The Hatch 15
  • Destroy The World (That may be the funniest - how random)
  • Chocolate Melts In Your Mouth And In Your Hand (M&M reference)
  • Almost Virgins (Hahahahaha!)
  • Britney Rears 2: I Wanna Get Laid
  • Prying Open My Third Eye (Dear God!)
  • I Pervert (Probably better than I Robot)
  • The Female Gardener (I have literally no idea what that title is referring to)
  • Face Invaders (I don't remember playing that in the 80s)
  • The Apprentass (You're fired!)
  • Hillary For President
  • iTouch Myself (Up to date with modern technology)

But Ms Scott is not just a star. She also directs. These may be 3 of the least obvious pornographic films ever made. But she's made 'em.

  • Anal Princess Diaries 1 AND 2
  • Extreme Asshole Makeover

What kind of animal do you have to be to have watched 'The Princess Diaries' and thought, 'You know what this could do with? Some hardcore sex!'?

As for Extreme Makeover, I like to think that that is the Home Edition and it features Ty giving a kid-with-ADHD-hopped-up-on-sugar blow-by-blow (!) running commentary.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

1983 = Vintage Year

Yes, the year of my birth.

What a year. MCMLXXXIII. Year of the Boar (or the ‘Bore’, in my case). Year 2527 on the Buddhist calendar. And 1975 in Ethiopia. No, really.

Some interesting stuff happened way back then:

  • The musical Annie was performed for the last time on Broadway. Don’t worry, the sun will come out tomorrow.

  • Apple released its first PC.

  • Giovanni Vigliotto went on trial charged with 104 counts of bigamy. He would convince women that he lived far away from them and would ask them to move to be with him. He would then help them pack up their house into a moving van and say that he would make a head start and would call them later. He would drive away and disappear into the sunset with all their stuff and sell it at flea markets. What a man!

  • Disneyland Tokyo opened.

  • The £1 coin introduced

  • On Coronation Street, Deidre breaks up with Mike Baldwin and returns to Ken Barlow. Deidre’s best husband was clearly the tragic Samir. Free the Weatherfield One!

  • Stern magazine published ‘The Hitler Diaries’. Poor, misguided Stern.

  • Margaret Thatcher elected for a second time. WHY?! Because of this we have had to pay for our university education. Bitch!

  • The Nintendo Entertainment System goes on sale. Many hours of childhood spent playing Duck Hunt, Mario & Bubble Bobble follow.

  • Microsoft Word first released. And that fucking paperclip has been pissing people off ever since.

  • Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ video is first broadcast. If only we knew then what we know now.

  • McDonald’s introduces the McNugget.

    • Notable births include:

    • Taylor Hanson. Lead singer of hairy family band Hanson – whom everyone’s brother thought was hot until they were told he was a boy.

    • Lee Ryan. Lead singer of Blue and good value for money on Never Mind The Buzzcocks. Most fondly recalled for his views on 9/11: “Who gives a fuck about New York when elephants are being killed? What about whales?"

    • Cheryl Cole. From out of Girls Aloud. She’s so hot right now she even makes her conviction for racially aggravated assault look sexy.

    • Luke McAlister . All Black rugby player. Minor obsession.

    • Mika. Freddie Mercury impersonator.

    • Amy Winehouse. Professional mess.

    • Nicky Hilton. Even more pointless Hilton sister.

      • Notable deaths:

      • Karen Carpenter

      • Tennessee Williams

      • Ira Gershwin

        • At the cinema:

        • Return Of The Jedi

        • Terms Of Endearment *vomits*

        • Flashdance. What a feeling.

        • Trading Places. Early pre-fat suit work.

        • Mr Mom. Sweet Jesus.

        • Risky Business. Tom Cruise before the insanity and the couch.

          1. On the turntable and in the tape deck (and all on my ipod – Sting shame!):

          2. Billie Jean – Michael Jackson

          3. Flashdance (What A Feeling) – Irene Cara

          4. Let’s Dance – David Bowie

          5. Every Breath You Take – Sting

          6. Karma Chameleon – Culture Club

            • Things that happened on February 3rd – my actual birthday day:

            • Buddy Holly killed in a plane crash in Iowa. The day the music died. And Lou Diamond Phillips’ career began. La Bamba, anyone?

            • Gertrude Stein born

            • Norman Rockwell born

            • The Texas Tornado born (having a brother obsessed with WWF as a child has just caused me to laugh out loud at this – less funny is the fact that he is now dead. Are there any wrestlers, other than Hulk Hogan, left alive?!)

            • Warwick Davis born – legendary performance in Willow. My favourite performance of his, though, is as the Leprechaun in the film of the same name, back when Jennifer Aniston had her old nose.

                • I have just Youtubed Leprechaun and found a clip from Leprechaun 5: In The Hood. The leprechaun does a rap in some kind of strip club and has developed an English accent. WTF? I literally have no words for this!

                • Pope JP 2 meets Mother Theresa in Calcutta. If only Diana had been there too …

                • Phil Spector and his fright wig arrested for shooting a woman in the face

                My birthday haul, in no particular order:

              • Shiny new ipod to replace the one I have now which has a screen that you can’t read and which randomly turns itself on, causing Wham!’s ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go’ and other such, ahem, classics, to blare out of my bag at the most inopportune moment

              • ‘The Host’ by Stephenie Meyer. Twilight addiction writ large.

              • ‘Revolutionary Road’ by Richard Yates – with non film adaptation cover, thank you very much. Snobbery in action!

              • ‘Kavalier & Klay’ by Michael Chabon

              • Guys & Dolls DVD

              • A screwdriver with 9 (count 'em) interchangeable heads. 'For the new house'. Thanks Mum. Honest.
              • Monday, 2 February 2009

                All About My Mother

                This is an actual conversation that occurred between my sainted Mother and I:

                Jess: Would a cat just eat a whole fish though?

                Mum: Oh yeah. I mean, in the wild they stand by rivers and catch fish with their paws don't they?

                Jess: What? Cats?!

                Mum: Yeah! I've seen it on TV.

                Jess: Are you sure it was cats?

                Mum: They were by a river!

                Jess: Are you sure that it wasn't bears?

                Mum: Oh yeah. It was bears.

                My Mother is a school teacher. Like Whitney Houston, I believe that children are our future.

                They don't stand a chance. Pass the crack pipe, Whit.