Saturday, 30 January 2010

through a glass darkly

I've never commuted further than the bog before, but now I'm a proper 9-5 person, I'm on the Glasgow to Edinburgh train two days a week with 'society' - a bunch of malodorous, Metro-reading mouth breathers who'd need spellcheck to write their own names. It's not all that bad, of course - watching the sun come up over the Pentland hills and counting how many ugly people live in Falkirk is pretty entertaining - and there's nothing like a Scotrail service to make one ponder the true nature of time. Still, I do have one big problem with it - the lighting is ghastly.

No wonder you don't see Cameron Diaz sitting on the 7.48 to Bathgate, eating a cheesy croissant and doing the Daily Record crossword. In the triple glazed windows of a British train on a cold, frosty, pitch black January morning, even she would look like a total dog. So imagine what normal people look like. I swear, it's like a very boring commuter version of the Thriller video in there - double eyebags, quadruple chins, bulging, unseeing eyes, flapping jowls - and that's just me. These last few months my self esteem has been shattered, thanks to those blacked out windows and unforgiving florescent bulbs. You would think at least Scotrail could put some warm gels on the overhead lights, reflective foils on the headrests and perhaps a row of halogens around each window like you get in theatre dressing rooms. I am pushing 40 you know. Fucking amateurs.


Hipsters can't even be trusted to wear their trousers properly, so why they're allowed to have children is anybody's guess. I once interviewed a woman from the RSPCA on the subject of dressing up dogs in human clothing, and she agreed that anything that went against the true nature of the animal could be perceived as cruel. Well, the NSPCC is missing a trick when it comes to hipsters. Surely making your offspring listen to shit left-field music and dressing them in CBGBs t-shirts contravenes their human rights?

Today I accidentally stumbled onto an alternative kid's music event, too weak to resist the lure of free entertainment. It featured a) a creepy guy in a tent with a drum b) a 'kooky' girl with cat ears and a pathetic guitar amp c) a bearded folkie whispering sinisterly into a mic and d) some balloons. The place was crammed with hipster parents desperately trying to prove they'd not totally lost the plot, while their baffled, Ramones t-shirted babies listened to unstructured beats, tedious laptop noodling and general pretentious parping of the kind that made me want to sing 20 verses of Wheels on the Bus and punch everybody in the face.

Louis took it all in his stride by lying down on the floor and sucking on a bread stick as if it were a joint, but after about half an hour of this crap even he - with no critical faculties beyond not liking broccoli - shouted: 'I want to go outside' and tried to open the emergency exit. Needless to say, I was right behind him.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

I'm sew pathetic

My modest New Year's resolutions mostly involve learning how to operate the sewing machine my parents bought me for Christmas. My fear of sewing machines began at school, when we were instructed to make 'Maurice The Monkey' - a sinister wall-hanging organizer with a leering simian face. My needlework teacher cheerily told me that using a machine was easy - 'just like driving a car.' As I was 12 at the time, I was so freaked out by the idea of driving a sewing machine at 100 miles an hour down a motorway that I haven't touched one since.

It's sitting under my feet as I type this, being all sewing machiney, forever linked with the ghost of Maurice. But I know I have to get over this. I'm 37, and I'm scared of sewing. I've written a book about sewing, such is my admiration for those who can get behind the wheel of a souped up Singer and crank out some top quality place mats. I love all that post-modern hipster crafty lady bollocks where girls in horn rimmed glasses make tea cosies with FUCK written on them and sell them to other girls in horn rimmed glasses who make coasters with CUNT written on them. It's great! So why can't I do it?

Well I'm just going to have to learn, out of necessity. You see, since squeezing a human being out of my own tea cosy, my body is roughly the shape of a fat egg timer and I can't fit into skirts anymore. The waistlines ride up to my boobs, and the hemlines dangle hopelessly around my upper thighs causing a bottleneck of pure lard in all the wrong places and a full moon whenever I bend over. It's not a good look. So it has to be done. I'm going to get a pattern and some scissors and some 'thread' or whatever it's called and get that sewing machine out of its box. I just hope I don't crash it into a wall or get caught for reckless winding of a bobbin.


Simon Cowell

That is all.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Thomas The Necrophiliac Engine

Today my child added a dark Goth twist to the sunny world of Thomas The Tank Engine. Personally, I hate Thomas - he's not only an insufferable twat with a dreary Protestant work ethic, but he's completely rubbish at his job. Never a week goes by that he doesn't drop a shitload of rocks into a river or plough into a station full of children. Little blue prick.

Even so, the terrible theme tune - sang by a bunch of stage school eunuchs at a pitch which would give a dog a headache - is a big hit with my son. This morning he began to sing:

Thomas - he's the cheeky one
James is vain but lots of fun
Percy pulls the mail on time
Gordon thunders down the line
Emily really knows her stuff
Henry toots and huff and puffs
Edward wants to help and share
Toby, well let's say he's square

Except when it came to the last line, Louis happily sang:
'Toby - well let's say he's dead.'

It was the vagueness that was disturbing. (Hmm, yes - let's SAY he's dead. Actually Toby is tied up in the engine shed being roundly shunted by Gordon while the Fat Controller films it on his iPhone and sells it to

Will have to have a word with that boy before he starts pulling the legs off Bob the Builder.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Real life all-girl tribute bands I want to be in

The Iron Maidens
Lez Zeppelin

Although admittedly the Iron Maidens sound like a Tory trouser pressing service.


Whether I want another child is an issue which tediously grinds around my brain like an old lady trying to open a tin of tuna. I already have a splendid child, who is golden of locks and charming to boot (and more importantly - can fart on command and blame it on his dad). But it seems that it's a popular idea to have kids in a neat sets of two or more, in case they, you know, might want company during their childhood or a shoulder to cry on when their parents die - or some such pish.

The other day, we went to a baby's birthday party which reminded me a) how weird babies are b) how excited I get around buffets and c) how really, truly weird babies are. They are so unrepresentative of human beings in general that it's no wonder women lose their minds when they have them. Having slowly - but obviously not completely - regained my marbles after childbirth, I now wholeheartedly enjoy watching frazzled new mothers from the sidelines while holding a glass of wine and saying 'You'll learn!' in a loud voice. If I have a baby, how will I be able to do that? And more importantly, what if I have to stop drinking wine?


Earlier I was earwigging on a conversation between two girls on the bus, who were having a high spirited studenty chat about a great party they'd been to. As they talked about a gorgeous boy and recounted the party as if recalling a fabulous dream, I was taken back to a time when a night out really meant something. Then one of them started talking about some 'stuff' that made her teeth feel fuzzy and her hair feel like straw, and I realised they were TALKING ABOUT DRUGS. They then went on to describe STEALING A POLICEMAN'S HAT at which point my head exploded. Of course, I shall be informing the Daily Mail about this forthwith.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Lose even more weight! From your brain.

Despite spending several hours this week obsessing about my health (flabby, out of shape, loud creaking trap door noise every time I bend over), I refuse to subscribe to the traditional January obsession with weight loss. When it's minus OMG outside, grilled peppers and bulghar wheat will just not do. You must smother your face with stilton and slide down the nearest hill on a sledge made of pastry! You must buy a Remoska slow cooker from Lakeland and fill it with MEAT!

And let's face it, the incentive just isn't there. Yesterday I found myself subjected to the sight of 'actress' Hannah Waterman - a Z-list bloater who is now a Z-list Twiglet. Obviously she expects the universe to give a shit, which it does, but only because it wants to see whether she'll put the weight on again and explode during an episode of Strictly Let's Dance On Celebrity Ice. The thing nobody has mentioned though, is that her fake tanned face has deflated so much that she looks like a 90 year old Italian pensioner sitting under an olive tree in a SAGA holiday brochure. Weird.

Then yesterday I passed an advert featuring another ex Eastenders alumnus - Lucy 'Who?' Benjamin, a woman of such terrifying obscurity that her own mum probably wonders who she is. In the ad a miniaturized Lucy is sitting on what looks like a packet of tampons, under the headline 'Lucy's Secret.' The 'secret' refers to some ghastly over-the-counter fat dissolving pill which probably makes you leak lard out of every orifice. But still, at least Lucy is a real life weight loss success- she's now a dwarf who lives in a little cardboard box and drinks tea out of a thimble. Result!

Strangely, neither of these people have made me want to go on a diet.