Friday, December 30, 2011

Is Bjork Bonkers?

Let's take bets. I'm only giving evens.

It's time for another of my Christmas Musical countdowns which, you may have guessed, is Bjork. So here she is singing Crystallline on the Jools Holland show back in November. I was fascinated by her performance - and the song has quite an addictive equality to it as well.



A pretty good song there me thinks. Strangely addictive. Bjork is defintely an original artist. But I have to ask - what the hell was going on with the 1980s' disco culottes and the platform boots? And that hair? She looks like she had an accident with some candy floss and a bucket of sick.

And what is this current craze with false eyelashes about? Apparently sales of false eyelashes have rocketed recently. To be honest, I think when you're eyes are so loaded up with mascara and lashes like Bjork it just looks like you've got two dead blowflies on your face or you've done a couple of rounds with Mike Tyson. I tried putting some on the other day and when I stepped back from the mirror I thought I looked like a zombified Zsa Zsa Gabor.

Cripes - I just looked up Bjork's wikipedia entry. We're the same age.

There for the grace of God, go I.

Anyway, talking of Bjork. I read this book earlier in the year. In fact, it might even have been last year.



The Blue Fox is written by a chap called Sjon, who also happens to write lyrics for Bjork. The novel is short and sweet and, like Bjork, strangely compelling. It's a fairytale about a fox and rather good it is too. Well that's probably putting it too simply but it is well worth the read. I got my copy from the local library as at the cost of 7.99 (at the time I considered purchasing it) I felt slightly annoyed as it is a mere 112 pages. I do wish these publishers would stop trying to screw us - especially with ebooks. I am, quite simply, not going to pay the same price for an ebook as for a paperback and no argument is going to convince me that I should!

Right, I'm going to go and get my boot polish out and scare the neighbours. I might even dust the windowsills  first and see if I can find some blowflies.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Indiana Jane Chronicles

One of the things I've noticed as I get older is that I spend considerably more time looking for things.

Unfortunately, the Fedora, the bull whip and the constant references to historical objects have not convinced Mr T that my quests are anything but acute memory loss. Not even all my diaries and notepads covered in scribbles and doodles have convinced Mr T that I am the next Indiana Jones.

Yeah, yeah I suppose my Ford Cmax isn't really a convincing Ark but, believe me, those keys to it are extremely difficult to find.

Although definitely not as hard to find as the Holy Grail. (My glasses.)

You know, the other day I spent a good ten minutes searching the tennis clubhouse for my reading glasses only to discover them on my head. I'm not saying I felt stupid but when someone asked me what I was looking for and I replied "my glasses" and they raised an amused eyebrow I had a feeling that were pretty close by. In fact, so close by that I actually touched my nose to see if they were poised on the end of my nose- where they have been known to be on the odd occasion. It actually turned out they were on the top of my head which, I suppose, is slightly more trendy - sort of Jackie O or Jackie Collins.

Only without the vast fortune and best selling novels.

Hmm.

But forgetting where you put your glasses or car keys isn't real memory loss is it? Everyone does that don't they? It's just a consequence of a busy life. Right?

Okay, okay maybe not. After all, you don't hear many pilots saying;

Good afternoon Passengers this is flight 306 to New York. The weather is fine and will be cruising at altitude of 35,000 feet and arriving at JFK at 16.00 hours. I hope you have a pleasant journey. Now, if everyone could just look under their seats for my keys we can take off....

Now I have a tradition in my house on Christmas Eve. Because I am so lazy organised I wrap all the kids presents on Christmas Eve after they've gone to bed. The theory behind this is sound - if I wrap them beforehand I can't remember what I've bought them so the only way to avoid buying duplicate presents is to keep them unwrapped so I can refresh my mind at various intervals throughout the year.

Now I can hear you saying I should write a list to remind myself - but think that through Readers. I might have a problem. Now, I have actually tried wrapping the presents before Christmas but that usually leads to confusion because, strangely though it might be - I usually forget to label them. This can lead to intense disappointment - I don't think Master Jacob has got over the year he got socks and a DIY book and Mr T got Play Doh and a whoopee cushion.

So on Christmas Eve this year as usual I started wrapping my presents. I wrapped them all. Except the two I couldn't find. Obviously. Every year I can't find something - but to be fair it is usually something relatively small which, after a few minutes looking for it under the influence of sherry, I decide to give up and allocate it to a forthcoming birthday. This means by August I will usually be able to find it.

Perhaps at this juncture I should say that on April 20th this year I found a jewellery roll that I'd "lost" four years earlier.

It was in the same place I always put it.

I do not understand. I believe there is evil at work in our house. Or Mr T is trying to drive me mad.

Anyway, to get back to my story - there were two presents I couldn't find on Christmas Eve. But not the usual small presents. They were LARGE presents for Young Sam - a pair of boots and a fleece jacket. (He's a student now so I'm trying to encourage him to walk.) I tore the house apart looking for them - where does one hide a pair of walking boots in a massive box I asked myself? In the tumble drier? In the loft? Under the bed? Needless to say, I could not find them anywhere...

So after about two hours I was full of despair, so much so that Mr T kindly suggested that at some point I might have left them in the hallway and an opportunist thief might have taken them.

Bullshit. (I was slowly coming round to the idea that Mr T had thrown the boxes into the recycling without checking the contents.)

AND THEN I REMEMBERED WHERE I HAD PUT THEM...

In the laundry cupboard?

In the cloakroom?

In my wardrobe?

In the pantry?

No, Dear Readers. I remembered...

I had already wrapped them and put them under the Christmas tree.

Yep, I'd forgotten I'd decided to forget about my Christmas tradition and wrapped them several days earlier to make my Christmas Eve more restful. Supposedly.

Does that make sense? Or have you forgotten what I was talking about?

Anyway, what a balls up. Two hours wasted. It just goes to show that you should never ever change the habits of a life time.

So next year I'm sticking to wrapping everything up on Christmas Eve. And I'm not going to forget that I've made that decision. Hopefully.

And when I write to Santa I'm going to ask for a new memory.

And several pairs of reading glasses.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Dangers of Men in Suits

When I was a child I was a movie addict - I still am but now I have less time to watch as many films as I would like. My tastes back then varied from war movies, psychological thrillers and dramas to musicals where suited men like Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly danced the night away with glamorous leading ladies dressed in sequins and pearls.

These days, movies which contain dancing are comparatively rare and when you do see them the men are usually a lot more risqué in their clothing and dance moves. No woman can fail to smile at the thought of Patrick Swayze bare chested in Dirty Dancing but does he really beat Gene Kelly tap dancing in those puddles in Singing in the Rain? I once saw Tommy Steele perform the same routine at the London Palladium. I was so mesmerized by Tommy I even failed to notice his teeth.


Anyhow, I've noticed that suited men dancing are a rare breed in movies or indeed anywhere these days  - except perhaps weddings, office parties and such like. So I want to issue a warning: Ladies - if you are unfortunate enough to see one of these strange cavorting creatures, please take precautions as I've notice there are three distinct phases of  dance technique which all women should be advised of...

Phase One - The Slightly Inebriated Stage: Arms to side, fingers pointing like a wild-west shoot out, mild hip thrusting. Usually attempting to move rhythmically but actually inflicting heavy bruising on partner's feet - or if approaching the second stage - inflicting partial blindness. Also, the suited man is frequently miming (badly) to I was made for Dancinby Leif Garrett, Dancing Queen by Abba or, if you're really unlucky, Contact by Edwin Starr. If the opening bars of  Contact result in the suited man clapping and grinning like a Cheshire cat you should make a quick exit before he moves completely into...

Phase Two - The Wholly Inebriated Stage: Legs at right angles, arms waving up and down aka John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever, intense hip grinding and thrusting. Frequent screams, whoops and winking whilst rubbing crotch and whispering in your ear incoherent beer babble. This babble is usually an attempt to get your telephone number or (if married) a plea for sex in rear seat of your car - but actually sounds more like a recipe for Bubble and Squeak or a precursor to a heavy bout of vomiting. The opening bars of Thriller, Last Christmas or Hi Ho Silver Lining will result in the suited man performing rapturous applause or leaping up and down like pneumatic drill  or (worse case scenario) should the suited man have taken a toilet break, running from the bathroom doing up his flies screaming "This is my favourite song ever!" and grabbing the nearest person - which is usually the woman from HR, his maiden aunt or (if he's really unlucky) - his boss. He will then strut his way to centre of the dance floor and perform wild sexual gyrations whilst telling his new found dance partner that he loves them and wants to have their babies. This usually signifies - either the end of his career, the end of his marriage or a spell in rehab.

Phase Three - The Totally Legless Stage: There is very little dancing in this stage which is characterized by vague head movements, mouth opening and closing like a fish and saliva dribbling from the corner of the mouth. The man usually collapses onto the floor at this stage with other suited men of a similar disposition. The sign of impending group male unconsciousness is when they all form a long chain sitting behind each other, legs apart, and rock from side to side to the tune of Oops Upside Your Head by The Gap Band. As the suited men start to sway from side to side and wave their arms to the rhythm of the song the hypnotic effect of the motion takes effect and, one by one, they keel over and slip into a deep coma.

It is at this moment a wise woman puts a ten pound note in her suited man's pocket and drives home.

So there you have it; how men in suits are a danger to society. Hmm...this has been a rather a long-winded way of me getting to round to playing another of my Christmas Musical Countdown. The Song I'm going to play is Give Me Everything by Pitbull and features Ne-Yo, Afrojack and Nayer. This song is definitely in my top three songs of the year as it's such a great  party dance tune. It also features Pitbull in a suit. I'm not sure what it is about Pitbull but strangely I find him rather attractive. It must be the music influencing me because after some serious consideration I'm pretty darn sure Pitbull is in Phase One....






Anyway, if you don't fancy Pitbull and some modern dance music why not try this - Gene Kelly in Dancing in the Rain.










Friday, December 23, 2011

Dear Santa No 2

Dear Santa,

There was something I forgot to mention yesterday.

Please, please, please can you not send my boys any Lego. I know it's selfish of me to ask but you have no idea how many hours I've spent picking up those darn pieces. Once, I even got trapped under the bed for three hours trying to rescue a miniature Lego Star Wars light sabre. I know I shouldn't have put on weight but frankly if Lego didn't exist the world would be a much safer place. Then there's been times I've got up in the night with my insomnia only to find myself hopping in agony in the hallway whilst emitting a silent scream having trodden on a rogue piece of Lego. Then there's been the countless hours I've been forced to spend building replicas of the Taj Mahal, the Houses of Parliament and the Eiffel Tower. It's not easy building those things - I mean have you ever tried building a circular dome with Lego? No?  Unless you've got the patience of a saint, a large bottle of whiskey or astigmatism you might as well strap yourself into a straight jacket.

There's also been all those times I've rescued pieces of Lego from about every human orifice possible. I'm only glad I invested in a Dyson vacuum cleaner because the suction on those things is remarkable. Oh - and there was the time I electrocuted myself rescuing a piece that had been surgically transplanted into the video machine inside a large lump of Play Doh.

So please, please, please Santa no Lego. The only type of Lego I like is the one below which is another of my favourite songs of the year. And just in case you're confused the chap in the video is Rupert Grint from the Harry Potter movies and, by the way, he needs some decent jeans too.

Thanks again.

Lots of Love,

Janie

Ps - No bloody jigsaws either.




Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Dear Santa...

Dear Santa,

I haven't written to you in a really really long time but this year I have a very special request. I am desperate.  I have not been able to find what I want anywhere and I need some help.

Please, please, please, please can I have some jeans that fit? You know - those ones that stay up without a belt and super glue and don't regularly fall down showing your arse to the whole world.

I don't think it's much to ask and I have been a (fairly) good girl this year and well I don't really want to trouble Him Upstairs. Cos the chance is he's more into robes and wings and stuff and I reckon on your 364 days off you probably ditch that red gear and wear faded denims. You probably look really cool - a bit like a trendy Kenny Rogers. Only with Reindeer and an unhealthy interest in elves.

Thanks - I'll leave out a really big mince pie.

Big Kisses,

Janie





Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Musical Countdown No 2

What I want to know is how a ten year old boy can be such a lethal weapon? This morning the boys missed the school bus and as a result I was subjected to a car journey of extremely odious proportions. I literally felt sick! In fact, I had to open the windows and speed up from a stately 50mph to 60mph just to get some fresh air circulating in the car. Then, to top it all, Master Ben says;

"I didn't get sent to the Headteacher when we had sex education."

"Oh yes? And why were children sent to the Headteacher?"

"For laughing and giggling."

"And what did you do?"

"Oh, I just pulled this face."

Mrs T looks in mirror and sees THAT face. The "Mr Smug, I know it all, are you really wasting my time with this?" face.

Ten years old. I have a problem on my hands. Hmm.

Here's another of my favourite songs of the year. Reminds me of someone I know who looks as sweet as pie but is the devil is disguise!


Friday, December 9, 2011

Christmas Musical Countdown

Phew. I finished my IT course and passed. I've done two courses this autumn; the IT course and a teaching course. I haven't really decided what I'm going to do with the qualifications but one has to be practical and should I need to return to work they could prove valuable. My heart lies with the arts and I've always leaned towards creative expression be it with theatre, music, art and of course, writing. Unfortunately, the realities of life means that often we don't get to do the things we want to do most. There's probably a good chance I will always remain the frustrated artist!

Anyhow, now my courses are finished and I am beginning to make my Christmas preparations I thought it would be fun to play some of my favourite musical tracks of the year over the coming days. I'm a pop gal so don't expect any big surprises. So I'll begin with my current favourite - which may well turn out to be my favourite of the year - it's called Up by the hugely talented James Morrison and the equally talented Jessie J.  This is the sort of ballad that inspires me and makes me want to create, to dig down and reach those emotions which sometimes result in my more literary style of writing. Yeah, I know it doesn't happen very often. Enough said.

Enjoy.


Thursday, December 8, 2011

IT bores me to death

I have found the cure for my insomnia!

It's called Information Technology. Yes, the reason I've been silent lately is I've been doing an IT course which I have to finish by Friday.

And it is boring the pants off me. It has literally been sending me to sleep. It's so dull and mind numbing. There are pages and pages of stuff on screen that I have to work through (which are set at a pace that even a snail would be twiddling his feet impatiently) that I have been quite literately falling asleep at my computer. After about 15 minutes my brain begins to switch off, my eyes glaze over and my head hits the keyboard.

Amazing. All those herbal pills and milky drinks and bangs to the head I've tried to cure my insomnia with and all I had to do was take an IT course. The only trouble is I don't really fancy doing IT courses for the rest of my life. How dull would that be? I might become a technology geek and entertain my dinner guests with incredibly witty stories about how I solved a major technology meltdown by switching the computer off and then switching it back on again. (Yeah, the usual stuff technology geeks do.) Knowing my luck though, I'd probably end up dreaming about giant bullet points invading the earth or being buried alive by sheets of excel spreadsheets or being trapped inside a PowerPoint presentation with only Tom Cruise for company.

Anyway, all this excitement (yawns) means that whilst I've been getting some good sleep it's major panic stations as I still have a tonne of work to do by Friday (that's Friday as in TOMORROW) so as usual when it comes to exams I will using my favourite technique of flying by the seat of my pants. Unfortunately, technology is not a subject you can bullshit which poses me with a bit of a problem really.Hmm. Any ideas? Apart from failing? Sock it to me folks - I'm opening to any constructive ideas for cheating and blackmail.

Well that's my news. Mrs T, Housewife Extraordinaire, is on the verge of being bored to death by a technology course. Only wish I'd taken that pole dancing one instead. I feel sure I'd get more jobs offers with a pole dancing qualification.

On the other hand... (looks down at thighs).... maybe not.


Friday, December 2, 2011

The Journey (Flash fiction)


My hands grip the gate, the cold frame slides open like a mortuary drawer. I slip through, exhaling. It snaps back into place like the sharp recoil of a gun.
            A path lies before me, a stretch of pebbled stones giving way to sodden grass and soil. Branches of tall trees hang heavy, trailing like the tresses of a lover’s hair. A grey mist meanders, its cold, clammy fingers caressing me until my clothes cling like a second skin.
            Mud squelches around my feet, sealing my presence. Sharp thorns and sneering faces taunt me from the dark recesses of the forest. But there is no other path, so I push my hands deep into my pockets, taking comfort in the smooth metal my fingers encounter.
            My feet drag and my limbs ache as the path inclines. Sweat trickles down my face. I glance back, my body tingling as the track appears to close behind me. Yet I cannot falter, it’s the day I’ve waited for. The day of reckoning. I shiver and the silence hums like a mother’s whisper, cajoling me onwards.
            I see him waiting on the crest of the hill, a shadow in the twilight. I clench my fist; feel the imprint on my hand.
            He stretches out his hand towards me. I draw out mine.
            We are face to face for the first time.
            And, as a soft light rises, I place the rosary in his scarred palm.