Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Fuck you Tatty Teddy!

One of life’s major skills is apparently the ability to make quick decisions. Just bloody decide. Unless you are cutting a wire on a ticking bomb, what the hell does it matter?

Should you shoot down a hijacked plane with people onboard if it prevents it from crashing into a major city? You could call me on my mobile in the women’s pyjama department of M&S and I could give you an answer INSTANTLY.

But it turns out I wouldn’t then be able to choose a pair of pyjamas. Nothing to do with having just killed a planeload of people rather too hastily due to an innocent bearded man leaving his seat, but because M&S make violence-inducing pyjamas.

The Deranged range mostly has Tatty Teddy on it. Tatty isn’t so much tatty as almost dead. He’s got stitches like Frankenstein’s Monster’s all over him. I always rather sexistly wondered if Dr F’s monster had absurdly big stitches between his head and neck because Dr F was crap at sewing. I imagined his hemming must be appalling but having seen Tatty’s surgeon’s work, I realise Dr F was pretty good.

Tatty even has a spine problem on one of the pyjama tops and is engulfed in a giant snowflake. Sometimes he has tartan love hearts coming out of his head like thought bubbles and sometimes he’s asleep on a red polka dot cushion with the caption ‘Dreaming of you’. I don’t want him to dream of me. I don’t want to be infantilised by my pyjamas. Tis the season to be jolly but a snowman with a gingham scarf? Snowmen don’t barn dance.

I did a gig in Bridlington recently and the donkeys giving rides up and down the beach looked so sad I wondered if I could buy their freedom or claim I needed them to work in my factory (I’d been watching Schindler’s List). Donkeys are cute but I still don’t want a pyjama top with a giant E for Eeyore on. What is it with women’s pyjamas and animals that are a bit thick or injured? At least if the animals were bolder with more purpose – King Kong or shagging rabbits or banned dogs.

M&S also have a Poncey range. The Autograph range. Ooooh, maybe the designer has signed them. The website shows a very tall woman in a black satiny judo suit type thing with white piping on the sleeves. She looks good – sophisticated, chic, assertive..I tried them on and looked like a stunted bell-boy/end. The website and the label on them does state very categorically they are part of their exclusive range. Exclusive? Who exactly is being excluded? Who has been told they must await authorisation? I don't like being patronised by my pyjamas.

I’d been in M&S for what seemed like an eternity pleading with myself to just fucking decide, questioning whether I genuinely might have a meltdown. I gave myself 40 seconds to choose or just forget it. I finally grabbed something..from their Shagging range. It’s M&S shagging so it’s really the ‘bit lacy, not overly racy, can go in washing machine at any temperature’ range. The colour is quite muted and my flat gets quite warm so it’s practical. Jesus, I cant believe I'm justifying my choice..

Friday, 24 September 2010

you had me at "goodbye" part 1

My Blackberry buzzed yesterday with the message “Ha ha, we are freed slaves!” The sender was a 62-year old funster to whom I will refer as ‘Uday Hussein’. Alcoholics have birthdays based on when they last touched a drop of booze. Uday and I celebrate from the day when we last had a 9-5 job, which was 7 years ago exactly.

A month before our ‘birth’ I brashly told my sister-in-law I was going to hand in my notice in 11 days’ time. It was my first and only proper job. They'd recently promoted me and i was stupidly flattered. It came with a grand job title but sadly that's how much the payrise was too. Their view being that I was privileged to work for a trendy media company in Soho. My flatmate said I was like a prisoner dying to escape but gullible enough to hang around simply because I had been picked for the 5-aside-football team.

As I said goodby my sister-in-law goodbye she wished me luck for 11 days’ time “Why? What’s happening?” I asked. I’d already forgotten. I was clearly full of shit. But nine days later an email summoned me to a star chamber-like meeting to discuss ‘changes in company structure.’ Word on the street was that meant redundancies and I prayed the rusty axe with a diamante handle would land right on my head. Fuck me, it’s one of the few times my prayers have been answered.

My boss was trembling as he explained he had to read off a piece of paper to get the wording right. I developed an unexpected cockney tinge in my voice as I replied “You do what you need to do, matey mo. I’ll be fine.” It felt like being hosed in the face with freezing water on a boiling hot day.

His non-committal, placatory, patronising remarks and enquiry whether I wanted to play for the bigger job (that mine was being scrapped for) made me feel like a contestant on ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?’ Except that I was already sure of my answer, I'M OUTTA HERE! unless the question was ‘Who is the bigger twat – my boss or Chris Tarrant?’ “Hmm. Let me think. Tarrant has the answers written on his monitor in front of him but mocks the people struggling to work it out for themselves. My boss prints endless spreadsheets in 6 point without drawing any meaningful conclusions from them whatsoever.”

I must have been the company’s least painful eviction ever but I still felt a flicker of fury at the company’s ingratitude and inevitably began to question my ability to do the job and what the difference truly was between being made ‘redundant’ and ‘sacked’. I looked up redundant in a dictionary and it said ‘See Wikipedia, fool! No-one uses dictionaries anymore’. I’m a fan of progress, I knew the company needed to make cuts but it still hurt to think I’d worked so hard for a company that wanted to replace me with ‘The Jules 2.0’ or even worse and more likely - a ‘Nothing like me’.

Uday’s case was different. She only had a few years left till retirement having worked there for over 31 years, loyally. She was the one who employed me in the first place. For her 30th anniversary the company gave her a cut-glass decanter with the company’s logo on it. It looked like something from ‘Terry and June’, although her Terry, to whom she had been married, loyally, for 25 years, had recently told her he saw no future in their marriage and asked her to leave their home in leafy Surrey. She had to be the one to go because the house was tied in with his job 'of local importance'.

Uday stood to lose her daily network of friends and an income. She told them she’d do any job and begged to stay on even if she had to clean toilets. While my productivity and commitment plummeted, she continued working efficiently but with the saddened pink eyes of a cornered mouse,. Then suddenly after a few days something happened – she became a giant mouse. On hind legs. With boxing gloves. And two fingers held up inside them. And a massive hard-on! Perhaps the realisation that she stood to get a nice tax-free lump sum helped. Or simply relief she didn’t need to be around for the final cut-glass monstrosity.

Side by side we signed on the dotted line and personnel got permission to fire off the emails announcing our departure. A few in the company already knew due to the office Big Mouth (who was later laid off herself).

The notifications reminded me of a film about anti-apartheid campaigner Steven Biko. Biko suffered a major head injury while in police custody, and was chained to a window grille for a day. Police then loaded him in the back of a car naked and drove him to a prison hospital 740 miles away where he was pronounced dead (thanks are sure better than any dictionary!). The authorities issued a statement saying he died because he refused to eat. He was the 20th person to die in custody in 18 months . Many of his friend’s deaths were explained away with ‘they tripped and fell down the stairs.’

The email explaining my leaving to the rest of the company said I was taking a career break. Uday’s one said she wanted to spend more time in her garden. With 3 offices and a fire door between us, I heard her scream “I don’t even have a fucking garden. I don’t have a place to live, you fucking morons.” Twas as absurd as claiming strong young South African men who hate apartheid had legs like defective slinkies.

I quite relished the feeling that we were public enemies to the system, and on our final day, the headline was that an American 'Intelligence' Agency had obliterated a major threat to Western civilisation by killing two of Saddam Hussain’s sons – Uday and Qusay. The names just stuck. The more trivial news was that 142 directory enquiries was being replaced by the heroic moustache heroes 118 118. It was clearly a day for getting rid of old regimes. In the middle of our farewell party where I made a speech citing Fidel Castro (“History will absolve me.”) and Uday was acerbic but cleverly diplomatic just in case she needed a reference, it was announced that my boss’s boss (my Grand-boss) had just been made redundant too. Apparently the order to reduce the people in my team had come from him, but then his boss (my Great grand-boss) had made him redundant because he didn’t really have much of a team to manage anymore. Ha! hoist by his own petard. People were getting whacked everywhere.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Taking the piss

I'm a regular person, toilet-wise at least. I have no need for weird products like Dulco Ease with women on ads being cagey about what the actual problem is or the product's for. "Things in the bathroom" the twit in the neck scarf says eerily. Huh? Oh you mean the psychopath behind the shower curtain!

So many ads for things aimed at women are bad rip-off's of Sex and The City but with the women being coy, overly excitable arseholes. Aside from anything, don't men need Dulco Ease? In these ads even pooing is an excuse for a mock gender war; at the end of the ad one of the women mentions getting rid of a pain so then her friend quips that she's better off without HIM. HIM! Get it? Not it, but HIM. SHE'S TALKING ABOUT A BOYFRIEND!! Then they all laugh like it's the funniest thing ever with their mouths wide open and their eyes shut like they haven't a care in the world - yeah, except she couldn't even say 'constipation' so it doesn't bode well for "things in the bedroom" "things at work" or "things" at all.

But anyway, regular, regular, regular, that's me and also the size of coffee I have at Costa. Drinking coffee, along with standing in bookshops, makes me need to go to the loo again and FAST! Sorry for this detail, despite my hate of the Dulco-Ease lady and wanting women to call it like it is, I'm not a fan of huge scatterlogical detail. Though I am chuffed I used scatterlogical in a sentence cos for ages I thought it just meant something to do with general untidiness.

My mother does scatterlogical detail big time (No time to explain this unless you have a couch I can lie on.). When I see my parents I am subjected to UKIP opinions from dad (an immigrant himself) and a 'pooing report' from my mother. Neither listens to the other properly and mention of Yakult's probiotic culture is likely to get Dad irate that Britain should have only one culture.

So after going to Costa today, I used the loo in Hammersmith Broadway, where the tube station is. I got my 30p ready to go through the turnstile thing and saw it said '50p'. FIFTY! FIVE-OH. You can buy a whole new kidney for that in..(insert place to offend). I don't wanna get all Victor Meldrew on your ass but come on (Eileen). This would have been the one and only time I could have staged a dirty protest. I didn't. Obviously. But i couldn't help myself saying something facetious (faecitious!?? sorry, this isnt turning into the social comment blog I envisaged) about hoping the toilets were made of gold.

At that particular moment in time I would have paid £1 cos i really needed to go, but how can the price jump from 30p to 50p? How can the cost of going to the toilet have gone up so much in 2 weeks? Is this a result of quantitative easing? Or Dulco-easing now fewer women are constipated?

I'm getting a receipt next time. I considered writing a letter of complaint but life might be too short and even if I got a reply it would be bollocks about the recession. I did a gig last year that I had in my diary as paying £100 in a gay nightclub on a rough estate in East London. The day before the gig, the person who booked me said it was only £50. When i queried it, she said it was because the pink pound had plummeted. Really? My gay friends assure me the 'whoopsie index' has not fallen that far.


this is a test

of the non nuclear kind