Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Blogging A to Z Challenge - A is for Arses and Aidan Turner

So it's day one of the A to Z blogging challenge. Having not prepared anything at all (standard practice on this blog) last night I threw the challenge down to my Facebook friends to come up with an "A" topic or I'd be forced to write a post on the subject of arses which obviously would include a massive tirade about the United Kingdom Independence Party leader, Nigel Farage. You see, Nigel believes the UK should be separated from Europe which is not a bad idea (in theory anyway) as those Europeans have caused us a whole heap of trouble over the last few centuries and I am not just talking about the French and the Italians constantly bragging about being the best lovers (get real) or the German fetish of blitzkrieging across Europe. I am talking about their awful habit of trying to inflict revolting food on us. Snails? Froglegs? Horse meat? Sauerkraut? I mean who needs that kind of shit stuff? We Brits like it simple: tea, bread and cheese. Some buns, maybe a pastry or two and some chicken drumsticks.

I mean how do you think Her Majesty has lived so long? It's down to a solid diet of chicken drumsticks and tea. None of that revolting foreign crap that the Europeans would have us eating.

Anyway, to get back to my story, I threw down the challenge, expecting everyone to say "We want you to write about Nigel Farage and arses!"

No really, I did. And I'm really good about writing about arses. Instead, I got a whole heap of words: acupuncture, anarchy, appaloosas (had to google that one - it's a spotted horse), amnesty, Aidan Turner (actor from Poldark), attractive, aristocracy, Apple iphones, Abba, archery and alcohol.

Obviously, the words Aidan Turner jumped out at me for obvious reasons.(Cough, cough). I felt I could write about Aidan in a very in depth (and possibly explicit) manner. The rest of my evening was therefore spent conducting (visual) research into Aidan. This is one of the problems of being a writer - the enormous amount of research we have to undertake is exhausting. For example, my last book contains a few sex-chat scenes so I had to spend weeks researching sexual terminology. It was extremely hard going and got me down I can tell you. My doctor wanted to put me on antidepressants like all those other crazed writers you hear about but I stood firm. "Doctor," I said,"I need to suffer for my art. How will I write a decent book if I'm happy on anti-depressants? Don't you know all the best writers are suicidal maniacs?"

Anyway to cut a long story short in the end he prescribed me some dark glasses and a tube of acne cream. It was probably cheaper to do that than arrange a course of counselling.

Aidan Turner bearded.jpg
Aidan looking dishy. Shame about the clapped out boat behind him but I suppose when you're desperate to depart France anything will do. (Picture courtesy of Wikipedia)

Oh cripes, I've just remembered the Blogging A to Z challenge guidelines were to keep the posts short at around 300 - 500 words. Ah well I've screwed up again. No change there then. Anyway, since I've started I might as well finish.

So, it transpired that my facebook friends (after I'd used my skills of perceptive analysis) really wanted to read a story about a naked Aidan Turner riding bareback across an attractive headland (That's across an attractive headland not with an attractive headland - just in case any of you ladies out there are getting too excited) which possibly might include all the other words that had been mentioned.

Some friends I've got eh? There I was wanting to write a simple post and I end up having to write a story. It would have been so much easier writing about arses.

Anyway let's get this challenge done. I've wittered on too long already. So here comes the story:

Aidan had a new part. (For god's sake, ladies, keep your minds on track! I am talking about a ROLE, not some sort of transplant.) It was an acupuncturist in a BBC historical drama called The Anarchic Acupuncturist. (They can be very unimaginative with titles at at the BBC - think Dr Who and you'll know what I mean.) In order to perform this part Aidan had to research how to use and manipulate needles. One of them, which he affectionately called "Arnie" was an especially big needle and he liked to practise with it a lot. So much so that, one morning, he was so absorbed in practising with it on his girlfriend he forgot he was due on set to shoot a climatic scene where he quits his job and sets up a rival acupuncture practice. (Remember this is a BBC drama - excitement is not high on the agenda.)

"Oh my God. I'm late!" cried Aidan.

"It's okay, it's okay," soothed his girlfriend. "It's fine by me."

"No, I really am late," screamed Aidan. "I must get to the set on time otherwise I'll never work at the BBC again. Then I'll have to work for commercial television and that would be simply appalling. It'll compromise my artistic integrity!" (Typical actor bullshit obviously.)

And with that Aidan grabbed his Apple iphone and rushed out of the house. Naked. He leapt upon his spotted appaloosas horse and galloped furiously across the attractive headlands towards the film set which was nestled in a windswept bay. (Where else?)

"Go faster! Go faster!" cried Aidan.

"Ah stop being a big girl's blouse," said the horse. (It was a talking horse obviously.) "I'm going as fast as I can. Oh, by the way, do you know you're naked?"

"Oh my God, I've forgotten to put my clothes on!" said Aidan, tears welling in his eyes.

"Well, you're giving me friction burns," said the horse. "Can you hold on tighter and stop wiggling around so much?"

"I can't," said Aidan. "I'm carrying my iphone."

"Shove it up your arse," said the horse. "We animals are always having stuff shoved up our arses. It's no big deal. Haven't you seen All Creatures Great and Small?"

"I can't do that, I'm an actor, not a vet. I know - I'll put it behind my ear."

"Cool," said the horse, sarcastically. "Now you look super attractive. Oh look there's the ladies from the Women's Institute."

"Where?" screamed Aidan, panicking at the thought of the WI seeing him stark naked with an iphone behind his ear.

"Nah, just kidding," grinned the horse. (He was a very malicious horse) "I'll get you there on time. But I want a year's supply of hay and new spiky brushes otherwise I'm dumping you at the vicarage."

"Yes, yes, you can have anything! " said Aidan, aghast at the thought of seeing the vicar who he knew was female, weighed twenty-five stone and had a fetish for dressing up as Bjorn from Abba.

So the horse charged across the fields and cliffs until, breathless, he arrived on the set of The Anarchic Acupuncturist where the director was setting-up filming for the day and sounding off about cutbacks to his budgets because some twit had fired Jeremy Clarkson. The horse pulled up so sharply that poor Aidan couldn't hold on and flew off the the horse, spinning over its head, and knocking the director to the floor.

Aidan and the director lay sprawled on the floor.

"You're fired," shouted the director. "Look what you've done to my breeches!" (Note: all BBC directors wear breeches.)

"You can't fire me I'm your star,"  Aidan shouted in return. "You need me!"

"I can and I will. I will fire, fire, fire you!" said the Director getting back on his feet.

"You arrogant, self-important twit," said Aidan. "You think you know everything but without me and my fans you'll sink into oblivion."

"You're fired! You hear me? Fired, fired, fired!" shouted the director.

"Good," replied Aidan. "I shall work for commercial television and earn twice as much!"

And with that Aidan stormed off the set and started walking back to his small-holding which he'd purchased because, as a serious actor, it was necessary to have a weekend retreat away from the noise of London which might shatter his delicate artistic sensibilities. (Also, he had to walk as his horse had sodded off because he was fed up with all the histrionics and fancied a bite to eat down at the local stables.)

As Aidan walked home contemplating whether he should audition for the role of the archer in an upcoming ITV production called The Archer and the Whorehouse, a car pulled up beside him and a middle-aged, slightly rotund, but nevertheless still attractive woman, wound down the window and leaned across the passenger seat  to talk to him.

"You look cold," said the woman. "Can I give you a lift?"

"Yes, please," replied Aidan,  jumping enthusiastically into the car.

"Hey, aren't you Aidan Turner?"

"Yes, I am," said Aidan, a bit embarrassed by his nakedness but still somewhat smug that the woman, who was probably old enough to be his mother, recognised him. This meant his fan-base was growing and the BBC would probably overrule the director in a few hours and he wouldn't have to audition for that horrid ITV drama.

"Well, I'm Jane. But you can call me Janie. I'm an aut...optician." 

"Thanks, Janie. You're a life saver."

"No problem. I'll turn the heating up so you can get warm."

"Great," said Aidan. 

"I hear they're filming a remake of "Misery" around here soon," said Jane. "Is that why you're here?" 

"No. I'm not familiar with "Misery". Too young, I guess. It sounds depressing."

"It's a novel by...Katie Fforde. A romantic comedy. The title's ironic."

"Sounds interesting. I must get my agent to look into it," said Aidan, relaxing into his leather seat.

"You take a rest, dear," said Jane, patting Aidan's knee. "I'll get you home safely."

Aidan's eyes began to close and soon he began to drift off into a deep slumber.

"What a sweet boy," said Jane as she locked the doors.


Right that's it. This post is far too long tomorrow it'll be a lot shorter and the letter will be "B". If you want to leave a suggestion for tomorrow's topic please do, otherwise I might be doing B is for Bullshit - a topic very close to my heart. Obviously.

ps - I left some words out cos I forgot them. Ah well. You can't win them all.

Check out who else is blogging in the A to Z challenge HERE

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Let Down by The Guardian

I am on flu overload at the moment, readers. I have been alternating between hot sweats and cold shivers and have been barely able to speak for the last five days.

Mr T is thrilled.

Yesterday it was 8 degrees (pretty warm for this time of year in the UK) but I drove the boys to tennis wearing a yellow and purple woolly hat and a bright blue fleece.

I looked stupid.

So I haven't done much at all this week. In fact I've only just about managed to follow the Jeremy Clarkson debacle in the media. It's been fun counting how many articles on Jeremy The Guardian can post in one week and truly heartwarming to see them tackling the Clarkson affair with all the impartiality of a open-mouthed shark.

But today folks I feel let down - where oh where is the habitual anti-Jeremy rant? Where is it? I am at a loss how to fill my time between wiping my nose and coughing.

Maybe the lack of an article on Jeremy is cos it's the weekend? Yes that must be it - they must be saving themselves for an article on Jeremy's underpants next week.

Great! That's something to look forward to. For a moment I thought I was going to have to read The Mail to get some unbiased reporting.

*chuckles* (very quietly)

Monday, March 9, 2015

25 Bookish Things Males Have Actually Read By The Age of 25

If you're an avid reader, you've probably read one of the many articles advising you which books to read before you're 18/25/30/40/dead. Well, last week I came across a lively discussion on Facebook about the dominance of male authors in many of these lists. Unfortunately, some accusations about male misogyny were being bounded about. I was reasonably impartial about this accusation as I happen to like men (cough, cough) and probably read more books by male authors than I do by women authors.

However, this morning I have cleaned the Young Master's bedrooms and transferred the good Mr T's underpants from the bathroom floor to the laundry basket so I am not feeling so impartial. As a consequence I have come up with my own take on these annoying book lists. My list is called:

 Twenty-Five Bookish Things Males Have Actually Read By The Age of Twenty-Five.

It's not your standard list. Obviously. But it is, nevertheless, a very important list.

Right here we go:

3. Thomas the Tank Engine - A Cow on the Line. (Trains + farm animals = deep joy.)  
5. The Dandy (4th Dec 2012 - last physical edition - perfect collectible for every saddo Dandy geek.)
8. The Viz - any edition. (Ideal reading material for an intimate bonding experience between father and son.)
9. The leaflet inside a packet of condoms. (Any brand.)
10. The rear of a packet of Kellog's Cornflakes.
11. The dating adverts in their local paper.
12. The telephone numbers scrawled inside their local phone box
13. The menu at the local Chinese Takeaway.
15. The lingerie section of their mother's mail order catalogue. 
16. The Sun newspaper. (Available at the local barber's shop.)

Farrah Fawcett 1977.JPG
Farrah Fawcett in 1977 - the golden haired icon of a generation who had men drooling before lunchtime.
Picture courtesy of Wikipedia. (Public domain.)

17. Their exam results slip. ( Very briefly - before returning their attention to No 21)
18. The washing instructions on the jeans they haven't cleaned for eight weeks and the bedlinen they haven't cleaned for twelve weeks.
19. The product description on a Lamborghini Roadster.
20. The price tag and mileage on a 2002 Vauxhall Corsa.
22. The Google search results for Keira Knightly.
23. Captain Underpants and the Tyrannical Retaliation of the Turbo Toliet 2000.(Kid's book with universal male appeal.)
24 The alcohol content on a litre bottle of cider.
25. Their sister's diary. (Especially the section on menstruation.)

So there we have it. I think I have more than made up for all that male bias in those books-to-read lists. 

*Sticks tongue out.*

Also, if you want a darn good read by a female author read my novel. It's (almost) a work of genius. And a bargain price. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

Yesterday, as a treat for my upcoming birthday, one of my dear friends arranged a beauty session at a well-known cosmetic counter. I came away feeling glamorous with a bag load of purchases and freebies.

This morning I decided I should start a new beauty regime and duly applied my makeup as instructed by the beauty consultant. Afterwards, I went to my full-length mirror to inspect my work.

By God, Readers! I looked twenty years younger and almost half-decent. I was so thrilled I was ready to pack my bags and go in search of a toyboy. Hurrah, I thought, there's some life left in the old girl yet!

Then I decided to capture my rare moment of personal glory in a selfie.

Which was a very, very, very, bad idea.

The selfie, sadly, revealed the truth. When I viewed the photo I did not even recognise myself - I had turned from a well-preserved, perhaps even still vaguely attractive woman, into a miserable old hag.

What I am saying is no makeup can hide fifty years of living - I looked like a corpse who'd just slipped on a banana skin.

I'm now thinking of auditioning for the part of the hag in Snow White.

Please God be kind to me over the rest of my life-span. I don't have many years left. Go easy on me. I'm a good girl really.

Anyway, I'm off out to the builder's merchants. I need some concrete mix.

*There is no accompanying picture with this blog post as there normally is due to the potential adverse effects on my readership.*

My Nominees for the US and UK Elections and Other Waffle

It's the early hours of the morning, and I have had a large gin... Late-night alcohol is always a good recipe for writing gibberish. And...