Saturday, September 26, 2009

No no, no and no again!

I usually wake fairly early, irrespective of what time I've gone to bed, and find myself in the kitchen by 6am feeding the cat and making a cup of black coffee. I enjoy the peace and solitude of the early morning, knowing there's a good hour or more when I can do as I please before the day descends into its usual chaos. I find it relaxing, therapeutic.

Then, cup in hand, I usually wander back upstairs to my study, check my emails, read the news headlines and see if anything grabs my attention enough to make me want to read the entire article. Sometimes there is, sometimes there isn't. But what I categorically don't want to see is the likes of this;

C'mon, give a girl a break! I just got out of bed! What the hell is it? Is C3P0 experiencing an identity crisis? Is it a man or a woman? Or a man dressed as a woman? Or a woman dressed as a man dressed as a woman? I dunno, it could be some hideous creature straight out of a James Herbert Novel......

I turned, my pulse racing so fast I thought I would explode. Behind me was the most gross creature ever. It stood 6 feet tall (in heels), the fur on its shackles rising menacingly as I shrank back into the corner watching its heart beat like a rabid drum through its transparent thorax. It smelt of putrid rotting flesh that had been hidden in some dark tomb for a thousand years, anointed in the sickly sweet perfume of Eau de Joan Rivers. Fetid striped garments covered its spindly legs. Had it escaped from some secret government laboratory? Was it on the run? I pushed myself further into the recess, my body a damp quivering mass of fear as I felt fingers reach out and gently caress my hair. Vile, dark thoughts raced through my mind. Then suddenly through strange pouted lips it spoke..

"Babe.....you so need a haircut! That style so does not suit you! You just need a little flick here......"

No, no, no! This was beyond any of my worst nightmares. My hand scrabbled in the dark, I had to save myself from this fate worst than death -my hair and clothes remodelled by a celebrity fashion designer. Suddenly, I felt the cold plastic of a portable hair-dryer that had fallen from the creature's over sized pockets, knowing I was close to losing my mind I had to act quickly, I flicked it on, blasting it at his face...

"No, no, no...you absolute bitch!" It cried. "You've ruined my hair! When I see Trevor I going to tell him you're such a girl!"

Yeah, that's right folks. It was London fashion week last week. And if it isn't enough making some of world's most beautiful women look like complete idiots dressed in stuff any normal woman would laugh at now they've designated a whole day to make men look complete idiots as well. Blimey, when I saw the picture below I nearly cried;


You know I fail to believe any guy could feel good about himself dressed like a cross between a 6 year old school boy, his grandfather and Captain Scarlet. Yep, and I can tell you no woman in her right mind would find that attractive. We want men who look like men; a classy suit, smart trousers, a nice shirt. Blimey, we don't even mind shorts but for goodness sake get some that fit and don't look like they were made for Barbie's boyfriend.

And if that piccy wasn't enough to ruin my morning then I read that the latest fashion for men, as sold by Selfridges is Mantyhose. Now if if you can't work it out Mantyhose is tights - for men. For the really discerning guy you can buy these for a mere £70 in a remarkable 120 denier in beige, black and charcoal. Fantastic. Blimey I know Bridget Jones knickers are a turn off for men but let me tell you the idea of pealing off some guy's Mantyhose in the heat of passion doesn't exactly thrill me either. However, Selfridge's Director of Menswear says of Mantyhose;

This winter the city's most stylish men will have a secret weapon hidden in their trousers

Well there you go. Not the kind of secret weapon I'm interested in but hey I guess there might be some guys who want to keep their nuts from freezing on a cold winter's morning.

Oh yeah...and another thought about that second picture -no one mention the Hitler Youth pleasssssse.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Music Monday; We'll Meet Again

I don't think I can let today pass without mentioning a truly remarkable achievement in the music world.

Last week Dame Vera Lynn topped the British Album charts with her album We'll Meet Again, a collection of her songs spanning her lifetime in music. At 92, she is the oldest living performer ever to have held this position. What's more, Vera fought off the likes of The Beatles and The Artic Monkeys to take the No I spot and in doing so took the honours away from Bob Dylan who, at the tender age of 67, achieved the same feat earlier this year with his album Together Through Life.


The song We'll Meet Again, after which the album was titled, was still a very popular song when I was a child. It was first released in 1939 but such was its potency that on my last day at comprehensive school my entire class sang it. Of course, the real sentimental attachment to the song comes from its association with WWII during which Vera, and her song, became firm favourites with the armed forces.

Possibly, my generation is the last where We'll Meet Again will remain entrenched in our psyches. We are the last generation whose grandparents or parents fought in WWII. Our childhoods were full of personal recollections narrated by aging relatives, Sunday afternoons glued to documentaries like World at War (morosely narrated by Laurence Olivier) and evenings transfixed by television adaptions of novels like A Town like Alice and The Winds of War and films like The Guns of Navarone and Cross of Iron. The War, and all that it stood for, was still very much part of our recent history and, as a consequence, we were never allowed to forget the sacrifices that were made to ensure our feedom and liberty.

Nor indeed should we.

So the sentimental attachment to We'll Meet Again, a forces favourite, was actually still quite profound in my youth. But the sad reality of WWII was that meeting someone you loved again had the odds stacked against it. Relationships were often brief and painful, duty came before love and marriage and frequently a telegram on the doorstep would put an end to thoughts of any sweet reunion.

But of course the role of a Forces Sweetheart is to serve as a morale booster to armed forces in time of conflict. A role which many performers took, and still take, very seriously. Their job is to inspire as well as entertain and We'll Meet Again which ends on the words "And I know we'll meet again some sunny day" typifies this optimistic and encouraging outlook more than any other wartime song.

With the likes of (They'll be Bluebirds Over) The White Cliffs of Dover and When You Wish Upon A Star Vera Lynn has become the ultimate Forces Sweetheart. Initially, she competed with the likes of Gracie Fields and Anne Shelton but her longevity and the overriding success of of We'll Meet Again has meant that she has never relinquished the title. The current favourites Katherine Jenkins and Hayley Westenra might have all the big frocks and glamorous looks but you know what?


They just ain't Vera.



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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Dancing with Heavenly Stars

When I'm travelling or spending time in my kitchen most of the time I listen to the local radio so it was with sadness that during the news announcements I learnt of the death of actor Patrick Swayze.

I don't think there can be many people who haven't seen the feel good factor films Dirty Dancing and Ghost in which Patrick starred. They are both perennially popular films in which Patrick's characters Johnny Castle and Sam Wheat portray those attributes that we look most for in the opposite sex -love and devotion.

I'm sure Patrick, for whom there has been nothing but the highest praise as an artist and more importantly as a man, has left a wonderful personal legacy to his friends and family. It must also be comforting for his loved ones to be able to look back over his career and know that he brought joy to other people and made such a positive impact.

Of course, there are many wonderful books, films and TV shows in the media but the vast majority don't make us feel good in the sense in that whilst we may still admire them, they don't always touch the soul. Sometimes books or films may even make us cry or laugh but maybe still have a missing ingredient - that little extra something which says it can be beautiful to be human, to love, and often to love in the face of adversity.

When I think about the success of Dirty Dancing and Ghost I like to think that this extra element is why they are such wonderful films. If you look past the superficiality of the themes (dance movie/ love story) there is a lot more to them than at first meets the eye. Dirty Dancing might reveal in the dance moves but it also deals with the pain of becoming an adult. Baby (Jennifer Grey) is still very much a "baby" at the outset of the movie but by the end she has become a woman. To do so she has to step outside her known world and risk her family's disapproval. She has to observe the realities of adulthood; the conniving of some of the guests and teenagers, Penny's abortion, Robbie's betrayal. She has to decide where to place herself in the world. The fact that she experiences these challenges makes us appreciate more the love that grows between her and Johnny.

Of course, love in the face of adversity makes us feel good too, it makes us feel warm, joyful, courageous. Sometimes it even makes us want to sing and dance like in that spectacular finale to Dirty Dancing...

Do you remember the tune?!


And what about Ghost? It's another film where there is as much pain as there is love. Patrick Swayze's character, Sam Wheat, is murdered early on in the film and as a consequence he comes back as a ghost to protect his lover, Molly (Demi Moore), from the grasping colleague who was the cause of his death. It's a terrific film which goes from sadness and tears, laughter and slapstick to a finale where the early grief of Sam's death is replaced with acceptance, and even happiness, as he leaves Molly to continue his journey into the afterlife. There is a sense that love conquers all, that death is only death in the earthly sense of the word, that life and love continue. Sam's final words as he retreats into the light are;

"It's amazing Molly. .........The love inside, you take it with you.......... See ya."


So if you've not seen Ghost or Dirty Dancing you really must find the time. They are films that make you have faith in the human spirit.

On a final note, I've never seen a ghost. But if it's true that they are unhappy souls wandering the earth looking for resolutions then, from what I've read about Patrick Swayze, there is no reason to suspect that he will be doing anything but dancing amongst the heavenly stars.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Always on my mind...

No not Nissan Micras. Although they have been featuring in some hideous nightmares I've been having lately about being trapped in one whilst a deranged man beats on the driver's window. I'm not sure about the significance of this is but you know it sure is spooky. Particularly when the man leans through the window and says " Hereeeeeee's Mr T ! "





Nope, Nissan Micras are not what has been on my mind - it's toilets. Yes, toilets. Yep, ever since Mrs D sent me that email I've been thinking about toilets. Maybe you fellas out there don't realise how much time us girls spend thinking about the bathroom, cleaning the bathroom, in the bathroom and indeed looking for the bathroom. Hell, I even dream about the bathroom! Hmm.. Okay... I admit I'm a bit screwy so maybe that's an exception to the norm. ( No comments please.)

Unfortunately, after you've had kids things aren't what they used to be despite all those pelvic floor exercises. Damn all that pushing and shoving during childbirth! After I endured a 2o hour labour with Master Benedict (which is pretty unfortunate for a third child) I was screaming;

" Just get him out! Out, out, out! Don't you know what this is doing to my bladder? Oh God, pleassssssee let him come out...........Pass me the forceps I'll do it myself...."

I'm not saying it was tight squeeze, but afterwards I walked like John Wayne for a month.

Yep, anyway you can "Squeeze, release, squeeze, release" as much as you like but after childbirth when you've gotta go, you've still gotta go. Am I right Ladies? No wonder celebrity mums just adopt or elect to have caesarean sections - they've probably been beaten up by some poor mum desperate to get to the front of the of the queue for The Ladies and have subsequently decided old age wearing incontinence knickers isn't the way to go....

Anyway, back to toilets. Well, after that news from Mrs D about not being able to flush loo roll down the toilet in Cyprus I went into full status Red Alert mode about the sewerage system in Cyprus. Oh my God, I thought, what if it the loos are so primitive in Cyprus that they are just a hole in the ground - like they have in France??

Okay, I haven't actually been to France. But according to my informers in the French provinces it can be a little "basic." (So no plans to go to France next year- obviously.) Anyway, "basic" is not good for me; I'm a high maintenance bathroom girl. I see a quality bathroom suite and not only do I feel relaxed and chilled I feel kinda .....

Umm.....yes....well back to toilets and Cyprus.

Well as you can imagine not having flown since 1973 I was a little bit nervous. However, it wasn't until our flight was called and we started to walk down the long corridor to our departure gate that I began to feel really apprehensive. My heart started to beat a little bit faster and I felt excited and frightened at the same time. I guess I've not done too many daring things in my rather ordinary life and, for most of you, I know flying is probably very mundane but for me it was whole new experience. The sensations were a bit similar to the feeling I used to get before taking exams -scary but irresistible.

I think, very possibly, I was the only one giggling (almost hysterically!) as we took off and gained altitude. Master Sam didn't seem too bothered, Master Jacob looked a little tearful (being a sensitive little soul) and Master Ben ( a super cool dude) just had that expression that said;

"Yeah, right. So what? When we gonna get engine failure so I can learn to sky dive?"

Well eventually, after we settled down at cruising altitude and I'd recovered my composure, I began to think about the really important issues. Like;

Where are the toilets?

Is the one at the front nearer than the one at the rear?

Will there be loo roll?

Will it flush?

Should I go before we land or try and hold it and risk wetting my knickers at customs?

Did I remember to put spare knickers in my hand luggage?

How many pairs?

Disposables??

Okay, the list could go on and on but after finally deciding I would break cover and make a dash to the loo another more important question popped into my mind...

How the hell does anyone "do it" in a plane loo???

Yes, you know what I mean; The Mile High Club.

Cos what I want to know is how the hell do you "do it" in one of those tiny loos they have on airplanes? And who would want to anyway? Because I just can't see the attraction of rumpy pumpy in a pokey little closet.

Well, not unless your name's Boris Becker.

Now correct me if I'm wrong - but is there anything attractive about the idea of cavorting in a cesspit with your nose pressed up a no smoking sign and your leg stuck down the u bend? I don't think so! Knowing my luck, if I tried it I'd probably end up with my knickers on my head and my arse stuck in the sink....

" Emergency, emergency. This is flight 101 from Gatwick to Pathos requesting an emergency landing at Frankfurt airport. We have a woman stuck in the sink and require immediate assistance."

"Confirm your altitude Flight 101."

" 29, 000 feet and losing altitude fast- the taps are on."

Yep, those loos are seriously small! Surely, surely, only midgets can make out in them? I guess, just for once, Tom Cruise has an advantage over Pierce Brosnan cos I reckon even I met Pierce with his flies undone on board a 747 I'd have second thoughts about dropping my knickers for him.

I would drop them for Tom though -but only if he needed a parachute.

I'm a generous gal in times of crisis.

Anyway, logic says you'd have to be truly overwhelmed with desire (or lacking in a sense of smell) to indulge in such activity.

You know - I'm thinking the airlines are missing a trick -since they appear to sell virtually everything on board a plane including raffle tickets, sandwiches, earphones, duty free and even train tickets why don't they just sell tickets for The House of Horrors and give everyone a guided tour of the loos? I mean everyone likes a good fright don't they? In fact they could recreate an airplane loo and stick in The London Dungeons. Now there's a money making idea.....

Oh well, this blog has gone on to long. And I haven't even mentioned the loos at Pathos airport!
Another day perhaps...

In the meantime, here's the comedian Lee Evans who also has something to say about on board loos. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The View From My Driveway.....

Yes, I'm back from my holiday! Now before I get started on my encounters with the Cypriot sewerage system, precarious roads, ear infections, turbulence and other matters relating to my travels I need to get something out of the way.

This......

Yes, you've guessed it. Another bloody Nissan Micra (Sport edition). Parked opposite my driveway.

And yes, it did provide good sport. But probably not the kind the owner was envisioning.

Now let's be truthful if you owned a Nissan Micra, or indeed any car, would you park it opposite my driveway?

Personally, I blame Pierce Brosnan. If he didn't keep sending me those piccys of him in his tux and those steamy emails I would never lose my concentration. The problem is as I'm reversing I get this picture in my head of Pierce's butt and then WHAM, BAM there is sudden collision.

Unfortunately, it's not the one I'm imagining.......

Ah well it's been a hell of an 18 months. About everything that could have gone wrong has gone wrong and I've gone from an unblemished driving record to an insurer's nightmare.

But you know I try to keep going. I really do. So after I beat the living daylights out of my neighbours bin, ran up and down the road with fury, ranted, cursed, sobbed and drove up my driveway with such fury I left tyre burns I decided there was only one thing I could do.....

Get reversing sensors.

I'm just hoping that this last episode will be last in a long cycle of gloomy incidents that have plagued me for the last 2 years.

Cos you know, even clowns cry.

Postscript

Yeah, okay that was some real self pitying stuff. I better get my act together - otherwise I'll never get that contract with L'oreal. Right, where's the vino.......