This is why journalism is so ruddy annoying.
1. ‘feisty, eccentric’ - this is but a whisker away away from calling these five women ‘nutty tarts’*. Did the sub-editor done it? Awful, awful, awful. JUST BLOODY AWFUL.
2. These women have not ‘just arrived’ - Kreayshawn’s single was released in June last year, when she had a Guardian Guide cover feature. Dominique Young Unique has been kicking about for donkeys - albeit with little coverage, presumably because some div was waiting for another 4 girls with almost nothing in common (other than the fact that they are Girls! Who make music!) so they could draw a circle around all five and call it a thing. I write about bedwetter indie one day a week, and even I know who she is.
It would be nice if there was less of this sort of nonsense. In 2008/9 it happened with electro-pop, which was when I was first asked if I wanted to talk to a female pop star about ‘what it’s like being a woman in the music industry’. If I had a pound in 2009 for every time I was told about VV Brown collecting vintage Korgs as if they were bloody nazi plates, I would be doing my big shop in Sainsers at least by now. Point is, you wouldn’t write a feature about five men who all happen to play an electric guitar. ‘Women being able to play instruments and therefore owning a few’ is not a flipping trend.
I don’t even think journalists are to blame, because they know that in order to score a commission, you need to convince the editor that you have a NU FENOMINOM on your hands. And I’ve pitched this sort of rubbish myself. But it’s tiresome. So in 2012 I would quite like us to:
STOP DRAWING CIRCLES AROUND THINGS AND CALLING THEM THINGS
Or, to put it another way:
Next week, in TEH MEDIA:
1. Women Who Have Tits
2. Women Who Have Tits And Can Play B Minor
3. Women Who Have Tits And Can Play B Minor And Don’t Wear Mascara
4. Women Who Have Tits And Can Play B Minor And Don’t Wear Mascara Who Had Sex Once And Quite Liked It
5. Women Who Have Tits And Can Play B Minor And Don’t Wear Mascara Who Had Sex Once And Quite Liked It Who Once Shared A Cup Of Tea With Jeff Buckley
6. Really, Really Young Women Who Have Tits And Can Play B Minor And Don’t Wear Mascara Who Had Sex Once And Quite Liked It Who Once Shared A Cup Of Tea With Jeff Buckley Although Let’s Face It, He Probably Taught Them How To Play B Minor
I know this is the way the world works and it is emphatically not Paul Lester’s fault that features journalism works in this way. But the unmodern nature of modern times occasionally strikes you as rather bizarre.
* [‘Nutty tarts’ should be credited to Eleanor Morgan, who once said it in the general direction of my face. It still amuses me greatly.]
This is my favourite bit* of The Stepford Wives. It is the bit you learn off by heart at 17 and then recreate the minute you go round your friend’s house and find yourselves in the kitchen.
At least you do until your friend says, ‘If you say ‘When I was just going to give you coffee!’ one more time, I will rip that Fergie bow out of your hair and tell Darren Haslam that you binge eat scampi flavour Nik Naks at break.’
[In case you were wondering and even if you were not, ‘binge eat scampi flavour Nik Naks’ is a double-diss; inferring both a troubled relationship with food as well as a fondness for one’s own sex.]
You should not watch this video if you have not seen The Stepford Wives because it will spoil it. Although if you have not seen The Stepford Wives might I suggest your life is joyless and barren and that a marathon in which you put The Andromeda Strain and Westworld in front of your face should go some way to sorting this out. Also, how beautiful is Paula Prentiss here? Crikey me.
*This morning I cannot remember who sampled the ‘Yes! Yes, this! It’s wonderful!’ line at 0:58. I thought it was in Groove Is In The Heart or Theme From S-Express but it isn’t and if I spend any more time trying to work it out instead of doing hactual work someone somewhere will get annoyed with me and/or tell me off. If you can remember, please tell me on Twitter because it is driving me mentile.
[EDIT: It is sampled on S’Express’ Hey Music Lover. Thank you @martinwrites for pointing that out.]
I don’t know why it has taken me so long to get round to reading Clarissa Dickson Wright’s autobiography, especially when I have a special fondness for mad books by raging Tarquins. It seems to me you end up reading two books; the breezily unsentimental words on the page, and then, the gaps between them. Aristos, it seems to me, are capable of recounting extraordinary events with an unsurpassable amount of bustle.
Anyway. Spilling The Beans is completely batty and though what follows is no substitute for shoving the whole thing quite briskly into your face with no thought for the working classes, I do have favourite bits I was driven to underline in pencil. Do bear in mind the first one is on page two. Two!
// Lady Wright’s little black page boy complained once too often of the cold and she, while flown with wine, put him in the bread oven to warm him up; sadly the oven had not cooled down sufficiently and the page-boy died. //
// On my arrival I would be offered my usual, which was four double gins and two small tonics with ice in my pint mug. //
// He took me back to Chesham Street to show me his hunting buttons and that was how it all began. //
// I remember telling Gerald Durrell that I had eaten lammergeier, a type of bustard known as the Egyptian stone breaker and a very rare bird, and he was not very amused. //
// I picked up a claw hammer and told him to go before I knee-capped him. He went. I expect I seemed quite mad sometimes. //
//She was very good to me but sadly she fell for an ex-con with one eye who was into sado-masochistic gay practices. //
// It was at Selmeston that I first had occasion to cook peacock. //
// I had developed a habit of flipping cars into the ditch. //
// When the music stopped and I staggered to a chair, I discovered – heart attack my foot – I had broken my underwired bra! //
Goodness. If you haven’t read Mary Lovell’s The Mitford Sisters or Alexander Waugh’s terrific Fathers And Sons you really must. They don’t live in our world, and they don’t realise they don’t.
Drawing Bums: A Masterclass
I have long been pestering The Little Dude to draw me a picture of a bum for my office, as my sister has a family bumtrait in her downstairs loo and I have admired it for many a month. After much hectoring on my part he relented, and I present the work above.
As I live by myself, I qualified for an extra rear to complete the composition; which I need hardly point out represents the bum of next door’s cat. Although strictly speaking and if we are splitting hairs, this means the work is not a realistic representation of the number of bums in my house, because next door’s cat has not actually been in my house for ages. I can only assume it has gone off me because like most cats she is a big furry slag.
Drawing bums is a fine art, obviously, and like the rendering of wangs on all school or college books, whiteboards or desks it takes time to master. I also know from taking classes at the Rock School that it never, ever, gets old. But the main thing to take from all this is to remember that you should always have things in your office that amuse you - no matter how puerile - so that you can look at them at times of stress or torpor. Of course, I would not go so far as to say that the picture above reminds me of my own essential humanity, but I would be lying if I did not say it is regularly helpful in keeping my spirits buoyant.
Notorious sex warehouse Hobbycraft is a conflicting sort of place at the best of times; on the one hand: everything you could possibly ever want if you like to make, draw or paint stuff. On the other: quite a lot of what it calls ‘craft’ is more like ‘assembling’, WHICH IS WRONG. On the other: personal obsession with Dawn Bibby / the sex lives of anyone who phones into QVC Craft Hour. On the other: cutesification of all home-made art (especially anything made by women), the gingham pound, and whether it is helping The Woman Problem. On the other: run out of hands.
Essentially whenever I am in Hobbycraft I am confused, turned on** and want to shout UNCTFLAPS as loudly as possible. It was no different on Sunday. Then I saw the above item and realised the end of days is here and it is very, very real. I don’t know who would buy this for themselves but I can tell you there were not many left on the shelf so some poor cow is getting one for Christmas.
All I have learned from this is that crafters need to be very careful what they wish for, that they should not call themselves crafters or use craft as a verb, and that the feminists might as well give up and go home. Also, it’s a fucking horrible sewing box.
** No one is ever turned on in Hobbycraft.
I want an emoticon for the exact gesture this lady is doing. I am calling it ‘anguishface’. Anguishface is TM me, it is NOT THE SAME as facepalm or :/ or the detestable :-s and I invented it. You are meant to use it when something ‘well bad’ is happening but you cannot be arsed to write a whole tweet or pointless blog post headed ‘Thinkings’. In the same way that the people of Germany have single words that denote very particular situations or feelings, I do not think it is entirely unreasonable to want a simple emoticon that denotes ‘compassion’. But AnguishFace is ALL NU because you get to use it when you are really busy and do not have time to ring that person to check they got out of that burning house okay or survived that well bad fall off of that mountain or whatever. You might think this is not real compassion but it is, it is compassion for busy people and also while we are here can I just say I am definitely busier than you.
Guys, ‘Unlike’ is not the missing button under Facebook statuses, you are wrong. AnguishFace is the sign that says ‘OMG HOW TERIBEL’. You can use it when really really awful things are happening 24/7, day or night, wherever you are in the world - even if but especially when you are in the queue in Starbucks and this bitch didn’t listen to your order properly where do they get them from Lithuania and anyway you don’t have time for this shit. We need this emoticon. More than you know.
So. Rather than banning yourself from the internet because you do not trust yourself not to say something unbearably, slappably trite, use AnguishFace™. Yes, it is an emoticon in the same ballpark of wrong as laughing at funerals and yes, I will give you that, maybe it does look a bit dashed-off and feigned and maybe that’s not okay with you, Gandhi, because you think I don’t really mean it. I mean, if you were going to be a total dick about it maybe you would say it sounds suspiciously like fauxcern, the internet word for this exact same thing. I don’t really have time for what you think, I just want someone to plot out AnguishFace™ using keyboard characters maybe using an Owl or something because I don’t have time myself personally and it’s not like it has anything to do with me or it’s like happening to me, right now, in this room, that I am in, right now, where I am.
Here is a cat doing AnguishFace™. This is how I feel about your problems. I mean it.
Songs & Singles of 2011, So Far
DiS have started doing a countdown of their Top 25 Songs of 2011 So Far - all the contributors, writers and editors submitted a dozen or so. I’m not sure how many of mine have made the list, but the following songs are the ones I put my hand up for.
Metronomy - The Look
I did my ankle in dancing to this and I am happy to inform humans that it is a song that ameliorates any household task by 87%. I have done everything to it apart from that.
The Tallest Man On Earth – Love Is All
I honestly believe this is literally one of the best things I ever heard in like my whole life like ever. Even though it sounds like Dylan (and Dylan fans have done for Dylan, for me). But then I posted it on all of my social media backchannels and no one said ‘Thanks Wendy, you have saved my life’. And that is the problem with THIS COUNTRY.
Timber Timbre – Woman
Taylor Kirk’s music is terrifying and seductive in equal measure and I like any music about telling Dog to rack off and then running away to be well transgressive with other people who hate Dog too.
Tune-Yards – Powa
What an extraordinary woman! Powa is beautiful, nutty and rude. Like all Tune-Yards songs it fills me with admiration for Merrill Garbus, also jealousy.
Connan Mockasin – Forever Dolphin Love
This does not actually get going for about four minutes, which goes against absolutely everything I believe in. Ergo, Connan Mockasin makes the kind of music that makes me reassess all of the thinkings in my woman-mind. And while I should hate him for that, I do not. Ergo. It’s Latin.
Danielson – Grow Up
It is a non-dread song about therapy. Imagine!
Florrie – Begging Me
I am not the sort of person who particularly likes to draw attention to herself while out in public, but if you come to Norwich there is a good chance I will be listening to this while I am At Large. What I will probably do is not sing it as you approach me on the pavement. But once you are behind me and I cannot see your face anymore I will RWD to the chorus and sing ‘Begging Me’ out loud. I’m kind of carefree.
Matt & Kim – Cameras
It is a song about having so much fun there is no time to take photos of yourself. I wholeheartedly approve of this concept because I do not want to see what you did on Thursday with your wacky mates because ohmygod you were sooooooo pissed.
Young Magic – You With Air
Do try to get someone to snog you while this is playing very loud. I hesitate to used the word ‘swirly’ because ‘swirly’ has been given a bad rep by the chillwavers, but ‘You With Air’ is swirly. But not in the sort of way that makes you imagine a hippie girl dancing in an ‘ethnic’ skirt made of twigs.
The Streets – Going Through Hell
As much as Going Through Hell is absolute dogshit and as much as I feel like I must have gone wrong in order to like it, like it I do.
Here We Go Magic – Backwards Time
If I was working in HMV and if it was before they decided there was no money in records because all people want to do is pretend to shoot pretend people on ‘gaming chairs’ (‘gaming chairs’ = literally the worst thing ever invented), I would recommend The January EP to the sort of people who like Ariel Pink / good things.
Jamie Woon – Night Air
If you can get your head round the fact that Jamie Woon has essentially made a dubstep Craig David album (and I can), it is really good and I am definitely not just saying that because I spent £19.99 on the vinyl. Also, can I just say I am SICKAYOU genre snobs, because honestly, you dubstep fans really are the absolute limit. DON’T MAKE PEOPLE HATE YOUR GENRE BY BEING INSUFFERABLE AND HAVING A MILLION RULES ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE ALLOWED TO CALL THINGS. OTHERWISE PEOPLE WILL HATE THE EXACT MUSIC YOU ARE TRYING TO GET THEM EXCITED ABOUT. UNLESS THAT IS WHAT YOU INTENDED ALL ALONG. IN WHICH CASE WELL DONE EVERYBODY.
Low - $20
I find it quite annoying when you are trying to get your mind off of a boy because let’s face it, there are more important things (war/art/Dawn Bibby). And then a song comes along that is so wilfully simplistic, you feel that all the love you flung out before was puddle-deep in aspect and design. And that there is something inherently noble in having ideals about what love should be and why devotion - of all the courtly ideals - is the best and highest and most important. I am annoyed with Low for making me write this.
As for SINGLES, this is my (very) rough longlist for January-June 2011:
Battles Feat. Matias Aguayo - Ice Cream
Beat Connection - Silver Screen
The Beets - Time Brought Age
Beirut - East Harlem
Belle & Sebastian - I Want The World To Stop
Ben Westbeech - Falling
Bibio - K Is For Kelson
Body Language - You Can
Bonjay - Stumble
The Chain - Lostwithiel EP
Christian Aids - Stay +
Cloud Control - There’s Nothing In The Water We Can’t Fight
Cold Mailman - Pull Yourself Together And Fall In Love With Me
Connan Mockasin - Forever Dolphin Love
Cults - Abducted
Danger Mouse & Danielle Luppi - Black
Danielson - Grow Up
Darren Hayman And The Secondary Modern - Winter Makes You Want Me More
Deerhunter - Memory Boy
Donae’o - Check My Swagga Out
Dum Dum Girls - He Gets Me High
Everything Everything - Photoshop Handsome
Franklin Vs. Com Truise - I Know
Ghostpoet - Survive It
Gil Scott Heron - Ny Is Killing Me [Jamie Xx Remix]
The Go! Team - Buy Nothing Day
Grinderman - Palaces Of Montezuma
Gruff Rhys - Sensations In The Dark
Here We Go Magic - Tulip
Herman Dune - Tell Me Something I Don’t Know
Houdini - Foster The People
House Of John Player - Shyrite / Son Esqueet
Icona Pop - Manners
Idiot Glee - Let’s Go Down Together
James Blake - Wilhelms Scream
Joan As Police Woman - The Magic
Jonny - Candyfloss
La Sera - Devils Hearts Grow Gold
Ladytron - Ace Of Hz (Album Version)
The Leisure Society - This Phantom Life
Marry Waterson & Oliver Knight - The Gap
Marry Waterson & Oliver Knight - Windy Day
Matt And Kim - Cameras
Metronomy - The Look (Original)
Nguuni Lovers Lovers - Cheza Ngoma
Oberhofer - _Away_Frm_U
Okkervil River - Wake And Be Fine
Patrick Wolf - The City
The Phantom Band - Everybody Knows It’s True
The Phoenix Foundation - Buffalo
Physical Forms - On The Brink
Pj Harvey - The Words That Maketh Murder
Purity Ring - Ungirthed
Rss - Wife Her Up
Standard Fare - Suitcase
The Streets - Going Through Hell
Timber Timbre - Creep On Creepin’ On
Timber Timbre - Black Water
Toddla T - Take It Back
Toro Y Moi - Still Sound
Villagers - The Pact (I’ll Be Your Fever)
Warpaint - Shadows
Whomadewho - Every Minute Alone
Wild Beasts - Albatross
Wiley - Numb3rs In Action
Wolf People - Track 01
Y Niwl - Undegsaith
Young Magic Wav - You With Air
I no get it #9279234934
If you want someone to write something impassioned about your music, send them your music. I know it is knuckle-gnawingly hard but the brilliant thing is that although The Machine says you have to PR things in a certain way, you actually - W@IT IS THaT TEH SKY FALLIGN IN - don’t have to. I mean, if you don’t really want to give a person your song and you think they have the time or inclination to spread your song about the internet - for frizzle - like so much jam, then DON’T SEND IT TO THEM. Because that would be CRAZY, and you are not.
But if you do want them to form some sort of relationship with your music; take it out into the world, use it to make boring things like their life much more exciting - in short, if you want them to actually know it and then try to find a way to convince other people of its inherent amazingness and agonise over how they can communicate that a song - a simple, ruddy song! - hactually makes the world make sense for the 180 seconds of its duration: SEND THEM YOUR SONG.
If you want people to respond to your music while sat at a computer, bearing in mind they are highly likely to be perma-twitching and hover-clicking on about three other things while they listen (ooh, Twitter, ooh, Facebook, ooh, Regretsy) and if you want them to think about the bit of nail varnish by the mousepad they should probably get rid of but hangon do we have any nail varnish remover in the house and ohwait is putting nail varnish on our macbook safe is it safe is it safe I wonder if Dustin Hoffman is actually nice he seems nice we saw him that one time on the telly and dearchrist remember that dentist who pretended to be Jack Nicholson in The Shining that was a bit weird ohlook trending bit so I am definitely popular - I mean, IF YOU REALLY REALLY WANT THEM TO DO THAT, don’t send them your song. Send them a link to a stream they HAVE TO BE SAT AT THEIR COMPUTER TO LISTEN TO.
Computers! They’re So Ackfing Romantic
I also highly recommend sending them a two page press release, a high-res picture of the lot of you up against some sort of ‘wall’, attaching the press release again as a PDF so they have it in a range of formats and then maybe say something about how Huw Stephens likes you and you are playing Huddersfield in May. DON’T PUT THE SONG IN MAN, put the live dates in a different colour font (woo swag yeh boi). And whatever you do, don’t be absolutely charming to them on Twitter so they feel predisposed to like you when your email arrives (hey, Golau Glau), don’t send them a personalised email, don’t put a writer-baiting compliment at the top of it because if you put one in you definitely have to mean it and FOR GAWD’S SAKE don’t make it simple for the writer to hear you because music writers don’t get many emails what with them being paid in Krugerrands and eating foie gras for elevenses and constantly packing their platinum trousers into Louis Vuitton personalised lugg-garge for weekends in Monte.
One thing I fundamentally do not get about Twitter is when normal, rational human beings get all eggy about who is, or is not, following them. I no get it, I no get all the hissy and the WHY, I no get signing up for unfollowing digests or the antsy checking. I would get it if it was about having a pash on someone and wanting them to follow you, because if they did follow you it would definitely mean they fancied you back and you are going to get married. And I am not talking about businesses or organisations who need followers to promote they bullcrap.
Surely it is simply the case that one of the following things is happening:
1. you are talking about stuff they already know
2. they hear about the stuff you talk about on other social networks / in ‘the world’
3. what they think Twitter Is For is different to what you think Twitter Is For
4. they don’t like exactly the same stuff as what you like
5. they are not the same as what you are
6. no man is an island
7. the times when you only see one set of footprints, is when I carried you [‘the LORD’]
Mostly, though, and nearly always, it’s 3. In which case, you know, IT’S A FREE WORLD MAN, so DON’T MAKE ME PLAY BY YOUR RULES. In my experience, it is almost never because:
7837. they hate you
But even if it is, honestly, who cares? Sing the libretto of my totally real, totally Italian opera. It is called Come I Dare Patootie Di Un Topo. Which is smartarse for ‘Like I Give A Rat’s Patootie’ (if you do not speak foreign). You can sing it to any tune you like! FREE SWIM.
If one person out of 6,775,235,700 humans on our planet does not want to follow you on Twitter it is not the internet equivalent of them tripping you up in the Home Ec. corridor in front of Mark Weston from Form 3b. IT DOESN’T MATTER.
Related: don’t ask people to tit for you when it is obvious that the whole point of Twitter is that it is a MERITOCRACY. Dude, let The People tit what they want. Even if it is an observation along the lines of OH MY DOG THE DAILY MAIL ARE EVIL HOLY SHIT (WHO KNEW EDITION).
As if to prove that internet chains are endless, as well as that you can make a link between yourself and a handsome acting man in very few webular steps, here is just one of yesterday’s internet pootles:
1. Take delivery of lovely gift from delightful citizen: Roby the Robot
2. Goggle: ‘Roby the Robot’
3. Happen upon abominational, grotesquely designed, iPhone app
4. Goggle again, locate vintage toy site. Find Roby The Robot is name given to affectionate copies of Robby the Robot, off of Forbidden Planet
5. Goggle: ‘“Robby the Robot” wiki’
6. Find Robby the Robot is said to represent Ariel from The Tempest
7. Goggle: ‘Ariel the tempest wiki’ (despite studying it at A Level, FOR SHAME)
8. Find Ben Whishaw has played Ariel
9. Love on Ben Whishaw in woman-mind for few moments
10. Find Ben Whishaw sings on soundtrack to The Tempest
10. Listen to Ben Whishaw (here)
11. Decide Ben Whishaw sounds like Owen Pallett
I don’t know what I learnt from all this. But I am not sure I care when there is a robot in existence with my name on it. Also that I own it. And that there are humans who do not use quote marks when Goggling! (I never want to snog a person that does not use quote marks when Goggling.)
The Unbearable Poignancy of Everyday Life
Of course it is amusing when old people don’t know how the modern world works. But maybe they don’t care; maybe what you consider to be important is so much hay to them; maybe you’re not as smart as you think; maybe there really are things they know that you don’t because they have been around for longer (imagine!); and maybe they laugh at us, dicking around on the internet all day and considering worselves sophisticated because we comment wryly on MOON PIG ADVERTISEMENTS.
Still, there is something wonderful about what happens when you apply the more formal ways of a bygone age to today’s carefree and (effing incessant) interaction. Which is why some of my favourite things at the moment are:
1. Voicemail Sign-Offs
My dad says ‘MESSAGE ENDS’ at the end of voicemail messages. As if it were a telegram, as if I won’t otherwise know that he has finished, and as if a phone were some sort of jam-jar-style time capsule one speaks into. And which you have to remember to put the lid back on to.
HAVE YOU PUT THE LID BACK ON YOUR PHONE?
2. Voicemail Introductions
‘Hi! It’s Mum here! Anyway. Ring me back!’
Marvellous, marvellous stuff. I happen to think this this is better than:
I mean, how often are you getting phone messages from mature ladies and thinking ‘Is that MY MUM? Or just A LADY?’. All the time.
This morning I saw an old person write their whole name at the end of a post on someone else’s Facebook wall. Their whole name! Adorable. – Wendy Roby.
And let me tell you right - especially you younglings – let me tell you, when you get older, right, you’re going to get a bit soft round the edges. And all your sharpness, all your TRENDY BOLLOCKS and ALL YOUR CAREFUL, ARTY FARTY POSITIONING, let me warn you people, one day, and bear in mind it will CREEP THE UCKF UP ON YOU, it is all going to FALL AWAY.
And one day, you are going wake up and realise you have turned into the sort of person for whom the poignancy of everyday life is inescapable.
So maybe you will be at a car boot sale, and maybe you will be crouched down, knees on a field, talking to some old dear about making clothes. And she will have bothered to sew all her spare buttons on separate bits of card to present them properly and she will have put a price label on all of them, so that you can spend the next five minutes - maybe longer - trying to work out which gaudy 80s ones will be most amusing to wear and reappropriate. Because half your wardrobe is ironic. So here it is, this is it, you with your clever reappropriation of things; your re-framing and your this angle and that angle because everything is context, to apply context is modern, and you are so wonderfully clever. The old dear and you will agree that the buttons in your hand are the best ones, ‘Ooooooo, those are lovely’ and ‘Yes, they’re great, aren’t they?’ and ‘Here you are, dear’. And you will walk away; oddly warm, as if hugged by the past.
I WILL SOLVE YOUR PROBLEMS FOR YOU OLD WOMAN
Later when you are in bed you will think about those buttons, how long it took her to sort them out and if she was alone when she did it, watching something with John Nettles in. You will be lying in the dark, spectacularly missing the point, wondering how long it takes to sew them and wondering if it is worth the effort when she is only charging £1.50 for six leather buttons that would cost a pound each if you went to Lewises. You should be asleep, but sleep will not happen until you have mentally assembled six leather buttons to a bit of old cereal box using a hole punch and string and no needle. Until you have worked out if your way is quicker, less sad. I will solve your problems for you old woman!
THE HUMAN SPONGE
You see, in many ways living on your own and being childless is an amusing curse; the world spends a lot of time telling women in their thirties they are decrepit old freaks. And a failure at life ‘in general’. But this dislocating lack of framework, the fact that it is Just You, the fact that you have more time than humans of your age are meant to have also gives you a wonderful perspective on what the rest of the world and Proper People (families, marrieds &c), are doing.
When someone has spent all day running around after a four year old, maybe they can’t see just how powerful it is when that same four year old and you, (pointless, childless and purposeless you!) share a joke. In this joke, they are a customer at a beauty salon and you its batty proprietress. ‘Eeeeee, what are we going to do about these corns, our Mary?’ you say, and your heart breaks when they look up at you because they don’t know what corns are. And they do not have corns (they are four), and they know their name is not Mary (they are a boy). But somehow, wonderfully, they sense that this game - this nutty make believe - will be best played, and at its most magnificent, if they ramp it up, take it further, and dodder about like an inane, harridan. Let me tell you, four year olds are the best at jokes; they are instinctive, unembarrassable creatures. And you will laugh harder than you ever thought you could, looking at each other, wondering how to better each other’s last lines.
Being - or sometimes feeling - that you are separate from the world - or at least, from its conventions - is not a curse. It affords you a pertinence and an acute awareness of the small things, that is both humbling and joyous.
[This was meant to be a post about Odd Future.]
[Imagine it was a post about Odd Future if you don’t like posts about the emotions you humans call emotion.]
[My nephew is going to draw me a picture of a bum for my bathroom. It will say ‘bum’ above it.]
[I do realise parents are capable of experiencing this happiness too. It’s the poignancy that’s different. Go back to the bit about the buttons. That bit is good.]
[When you are moved by something incidental, you know what? It is O-KAY.]
The temptation to cast oneself as a helpless unfortunate in one’s diary is acute, I think. I like to ramp it up as high as it will go. It reminds me of doing French A Level, when we were tasked with reading an (as far as we could see) entirely tedious novel about an orphan boy to whom a series of extremely nasty things occurred. ‘Pauvre little Alain Robert!’ we said. He had rien de love, it was well bad.
‘Pauvre little Alain Robert!’ became something of a catchphrase - I remember a favourite friend saying it with an exaggerated sadface. It was the sort of thing you should always say with the back of your hand to your temple, the sort of ‘Ay, me!’ exhortation one uses when one is overcome by an O’Hara-style - and entirely overinflated - sense of injustice. I think it may have been something our teacher kept saying (she had a keen sense of drama), but I can’t be bothered to verify it. How you choose to remember something can sometimes be as interesting as how it actually happened. (He may not even have been called Alain Robert).
Anyway, I am pleased to tell you that this morning’s diary entry is exactly as all diary entries should be. Which is to say; furiously written, and masterfully cast. I play the heroine magnificently; billowing this way and that on the storm clouds of love; subject to the vagaries of dastardly villains; at the epicentre of my own, six-part Technicolor biopic. I think all diaries should be a little bit insane. This is precisely why they are not meant to be read by other people.