Thursday, 10 October 2013

This blog, and other things I never get round to doing

Hmm. I haven't updated this blog since MARCH, which is such a long time that it's a bit like being dead, really. Maybe you thought I was dead, unless you follow me on Twitter, (@lucytweet1 if you like idiocy!). If you do follow me, you might have either wished me dead, or at the very least quietly muted me and browsed the Guardian for recipes for plum cobbler.

Anyway, I'm not dead, not yet, but sometimes I wonder about all the things I'll never get round to doing before I die. All that unaddressed stuff that everyone says they'll do but won't. Don't worry, I'm not talking about a Bucket List. It's much more stupid than that. Because these things are silly to even think about. You can't honestly say this stuff is left undone because of procastination, because that would suggest that you've attempted to do something about it. No, this is stuff that I will never get done, not in a million years, but I've still managed to convince myself that one day I will do them. These things form a layer of pointless, dormant ambition sitting on top of my brain, like skin on a custard. (Mmm, brain custard, a perfect accompaniment to Brain Cobbler.)

5 Things I Won't Do Ever

1. Become a captivating singer songwriter
Ok, so I made a record once, before my child came and RUINED EVERYTHING by asking for water and food and hugs and stuff. Actually, I made two! But the thing was, it was with people who did things like book the rehearsals and the recordings while I swanned in holding a takeaway coffee and complaining about being a bit chilly. On my own, I am A Person Who Owns A Guitar. I'm not even Annoying Git Who Plays Guitar At Parties, because my unique take on grumbling ovary alt-folk can clear a room. So, Laura Marling, don't worry, love, you're safe.

2. Write a sitcom
Since I was about 15, I've made about 3000 frankly pathetic attempts to write a sitcom. They're all crap. I will never write a Seinfeld, or a Curb Your Enthusiasm. I won't even write a 'Yus My Dear' with me in the role of Arthur Mullard. It distresses me that I will never be Tina Fey or Lena Dunham or Mindy Kaling - or Arthur Mullard - but it's probably for the best.

3. Reading Great Books
Yeah, I'll just casually drop some reference to Anna Karenina into conversation while we're having a latte at literary festival. Or I'll whip out A La Recherche Des Temps Perdu on the bus. Ah, who am I kidding?  I read Middlemarch last year and it nearly fucking killed me. There was hardly any shagging in it at all and not one single cameo by Kiri Te Kanawa or Nigel Havers. 

4. Skiing
I once went to a ski resort and I didn't ski. Even though I think skiing is dangerous and unpleasant, annoyingly, this is one of my big regrets. When my life flashes before my eyes, there'll just be a big film of me not going on a ski lift and not crowbarring my arse into any salopettes. I tell myself if I try to ski, then my life will come full circle and I will have faced my deepest fears. But there is NO FUCKING WAY I WILL EVER GO SKIING BECAUSE IT WILL KILL ME.

5. Helping the needy
In my mind's eye I have always been a pale, noble, almost saintly figure, running a hospital in Africa. Or someone who gives up my Christmasses to trade fruity banter and lukewarm gravy with the homeless. Sorry, poor people, but I can't be arsed. However I will sometimes send £5 if you grow a moustache/stop drinking/run a 10k on a Sunday morning - if I remember.

There are loads more other things I'll never do, like watching the Sopranos and Nurse Jackie, and finding the perfect red lipstick, and making a brilliant pavlova. I will probably never go to Australia. (It's far.) But 5 things is probably enough, and you're probably dealing with your own top five stupid things you'll never do, too. So I'll leave you to not do them while I get on with not doing any of my stuff. See you in March. xx

Friday, 8 March 2013


Apart from the fact that they don’t pay their workers and you know, child labour and stuff, I can’t tell you how much I love a pound shop. My heart starts hammering as soon as I see a giant pack of batteries, or a bumper sack of off-brand Mini Cheezers, or a discounted Cheeky Girls autobiography. Mops, pegs, brushes, magic expanding socks, diaries made of thin toilet paper – I love it all.

I also love that, unlike the shiny doodads and pointless reactionary trinkets of John Lewis, it all comes with a moving whiff of Chinese warehouse. You’ve got to admire these shitty products. Unloved, piled high and viciously discounted, they’ve travelled the world trying to find a home. If that imported deodorant could speak, it would say: ‘Me and my family of lavender roll ons have been in a shipping crate in Shanghai for 6 months, wondering whether we will see an armpit again. But for just £1 you can adopt me and apply me gently into your crevices.’ 

And as a parent, pound shops are worth their weight in gold. Toys for other people’s children who you don’t know or particularly like? Check. Watery paint and newsprint colouring books? Check. And here’s a secret I only just found out myself. Poundland sell MIDDLE CLASS FRUIT SNACKS.  You don’t have to send Boudicca and Rafferty to school with cold chips and a biscuit any more! For one British pound you can throw in some Fruit Factory stringy things and give them one of their five a day like a BOSS. I even found some Dorset muesli in there the other day – admittedly the packet was thumbnail sized, but it was only a fucking quid. Suck on that, Mumford and Sons and Jamie Oliver and all you pork pulling artisan idiots. I might sleep under a motorway off ramp, but I know how to live!

Anyway, it’s a good job I have learned to treasure crap things, because they’re the only things I can afford. I can’t remember the last time I paid full price for anything. The combination of the financial crisis, a terrible government and working part time means I’ve become a bargain betty, a sales slut, a made in Taiwan fan. You wouldn’t catch me wearing Marni and Louboutins, because I am dressed head to toe in a massive bin bag from B&M. The best conversations I have involve money off coupons and 3 for 2s on jam.

Like the women who lived through WW2, who were still making cups of tea with powdered egg and making earrings out of potato peelings well into the 70s, I don’t think I’ll ever get over my modern day penny pinching. I will always be a Pound Shop Princess. You could give me a black Amex and Kanye’s pin number and I would still gravitate towards Poundland to fondle the washing baskets. 

Cheap? Yes - but I’ll have the last laugh. And I will also be the proud owner of SEVEN MILLION packets of Jammy Bodgers. Screw you, recession. 

Tuesday, 18 December 2012


Waiting for a kid to get over an illness is a bit like waiting for a BT engineer who said he would come at 8am but actually comes at 5.30pm the following day. You take the day off, you pace, you worry, you get frustrated, you watch TV, you flick through magazines and you look out of the window and think 'GOSH I REALLY WISH I COULD GET OUT OF THE FUCKING HOUSE BEFORE I DIE.'

My child isn't very well. Nothing serious  - just a non-specific and nasty winter virus of the kind most people get just before Christmas, the kind that makes mince pies and stuffing look as appetising as poo. As I write this, he's watching a Bugs Bunny cartoon and looking woeful. At 4 am he needed water, at 5 am he needed water, and at 6 am he woke up crying and dizzy with a temperature similar to the Earth's Core. Then we watched a Japanese cartoon called Monsuno, which is the shittiest programme EVER. After that there's been more telly, books, writing, a nap and some DS. Lots of moaning and wet flannels and untouched toast. We've been housebound so long I'm starting to feel like Grandma Bucket from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. What is the world like out there? Does it have many shiny things?

Of course, it could be a lot worse, and for many families it really is. This is just a standard issue ailment, so I can't imagine what it's like to contend with a long term illness. When your kid is ill, even with something boring, it feels horrible. I hate it. It's like you're hanging around waiting for an unpleasant invasive procedure sometime in in the not-too-distant future, like a colonoscopy or a smear test. You feel a nagging stress that no number of magazines about Anne Hathaway's vagina can quell. You can't relax, day or night, for fear of being woken up by a crying, overheating lump of unassailable distress. You can't detach yourself, because they are you, except you feel perfectly healthy, and you'd quite like to do something other than offer hugs and dispense Calpol, like go to the pub, or do a human pyramid, or ride a motorbike through a circle of fire. You are the opposite of Monsuno. You don't have monster power in your hand, and you don't control the battle. You have no power, and you can't even convert into a tarantula/wasp/turtle at the touch of a button, which quite frankly sucks.

All you can do is wait. Wait for them to get well, and go back to normal, so you can shout at them about leaving things on the floor and tear your hair out and write moany arsed blogs about how they don't behave themselves. I cannot wait. In the meantime, could someone go out and get me a Dominos? Ta.

Thursday, 11 October 2012


Let me tell you a story about my mattress. (Hey, where are you going?). My mattress is vile. It's like sleeping in Spongebob's square pants. And when you breathe, you can hear the springs boing deep within, like distant bongos in the Congo. When I wake up, my neck feels like I've been attacked by bears. If I could afford to get rid of this mattress, I would stamp on it and take it to its orthapedic grave with a flame thrower, then I would call an independent inquiry into its reprehensible behaviour between 2009 and 2012.

Now I don't normally do promotional blogging things, but I NEED A NEW BED. I don't just want one. I mean, I want a spacious Victorian house in a leafy area and to be next Tina Fey and have the skin of a baby antelope and to be able to fit 20 Jaffa cakes into my mouth. But I'm OK if that doesn't happen. But this bed, I actually need it - like flowers need rain and Nigella needs Spanx.

So I'm going to use my blog to enter a competition to win a new bed from Warren Evans, and you my dear readers, are just going to have to deal with it. Warren, I've always imagined you to be a handsome devil with strong forearms and a checked shirt, who can fashion a comfortable resting place from a large tree trunk. A bit like that guy from Sex in The City with the dog, but with a more intimate knowledge of ticking and pocket springs. Please give me a new bed, Warren. My back hurts. Did I mention you have lovely forearms?

Anyway, Warren Evans wants bloggers to blog about you or your child's favourite toy that guards your bedroom at night. The one that keeps the monsters at bay. You can do it too!

My child sleeps with an army of toys of all different sizes, plus a machine that plays music and a light saber. But I believe I have the most effective deterrent against things that go bump in the night. I've slept with his toy for about 17 years now. He's called 'Ian' and he's 36 years old. Sometimes he rolls over and kicks me and farts, and good luck asking him to get up in the night to feed a baby. When he's awake, he's always talking and he could take the recycling out a bit more often, if you ask me. But when it comes to making me feel safe, Ian is the best toy in the world. He sleeps by the door, in case of burglars, and will always investigate imaginary noises if you scream loud enough. And when I snore (the scariest, most monstrous sound of all) he gives me a swift knee in the back and tells me to shut up. Bless him. Here's Ian, primed for action, like a tiger. (An unconscious tiger.)

So thank you Ian, for looking after me for all these years, and protecting me from the imaginary burglars. Thank you for being my bed companion and a nice warm person to snuggle up to. And just think, if we had a lovely new bed from WARREN EVANS, maybe you wouldn't sleep diagonally and push me into the pointy corner of the bedside table every night.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

If I was Chris Brown's Mum: A short play

Int. Day. A suburban living room. Chris Brown lies on a DFS recliner listening to his Skullcandy headphones and eating a packet of Mini Cheddars. Enter me, brandishing a large stick.


Chris: What, ma?

Me: I said, come here - and wipe that smirk off your face you suppurating little turd. No, c'mere a minute. *waves stick threateningly*

Chris: Don't do it, ma.

Me: I won't, Christopher. Because I believe in love and tolerance and equal rights, unlike you. I wish you were more like your father, Arnold Brown, the famous Scottish comedian.

Chris: Don't be hatin' on me, bitch.


Chris: Sorry, ma.

Me: Now I want a word with you about all these tattoos you've been getting. Firstly, they look like a 13 year old boy has been drawing wonky pictures on you with a leaky biro. Secondly, is that a poorly rendered image of Rihanna's beaten and bloody face on your neck?

Chris: No, it's just some random woman.

Me: I can tell when you're lying, Christopher. Your lip wobbles and you get a squeaky bottom. Remember that time you stole a pencil from the pencil museum in Keswick and you followed through?

Chris: I didn't!

Me: IS IT RIHANNA? If you lie, there'll be no CITV FOR A WEEK!

Chris: OK, OK, yes.

Me: That's disgusting. I am ashamed of you. RiRi should have you murdered by a hitman and the crime scene made to look like a suicide *just a little hint for you there, love*

Chris: I'm sorry, Ma.

Me: Oh, you will be. Because until you get that monstrosity lasered from your neck, and apologise for your vile attitude towards women, you will be wearing THIS jumper. And you won't be able to go on the swings with Bazzo and Dobber from school for an entire month! Do you understand?

Chris: But muuuum!

Me: Enough! Now go to your room and think about what you've done. I have replaced all your offensive posters of naked ladies with pictures of leading feminists. So next time you have a hand shandy - and DON'T TELL ME YOU DON'T - you'll have to look at Andrea Dworkin and Camille Paglia with flecks of spit in the corner of their mouths, arguing about the third wave!

Chris: WAAAA! *slam!*


Thursday, 23 August 2012


I have been led to believe by other mothers - including my own mother -  that when your kids go to school, life gets easier. 'Oh, it'll be fine when he's at school!' they say, cheerily, when I complain about my stuttering, collapsing clown car of a career. 'Don't worry, he'll knuckle down and grow up when he goes to school!', they say, when I catch him sticking a pencil in his ear. 'You'll have all the time in the world - you can write novels and paint delicate watercolours and ride a dappled horse on a moonlit beach when he's at school'. And so on and so on.  But since he started his first half-day sessions on Wednesday, I am alternating between being busy, overwhelmed, bored, depressed, proud, happy, frustrated and having no idea what I'm doing. Here is a list of things that are freaking me out, in real time, right now.


1. First off, you've got to get up early EVERY DAY. No more putting on a Spongebob DVD and then returning to that brilliant sexy dream you were having about Paul Rudd. Did I say Paul Rudd? I meant, my husband* (*my husband, Paul Rudd). By the way, here's a clip of him and me, earlier.

2. My son's school appears to be obsessed with making them wear shirts and ties and smart trousers and having their picture taken constantly. Oh, the ironing, the sorting, the name tagging, the straightening and the fussing. I feel like a wardrobe assistant on Newsnight. ('Get me Clegg's trousers. No, not the grey ones - the GREY ones!')

3. It requires social interaction with adults in the morning! When you haven't even had your second cup of tea! Attempting to be funny! Making small talk! Asking after people! Remembering what they say! Gaaaaah! What am I? Graham Norton?

4. Where I live, there is a settling-in period at school, which means half days for 2 and a half godforsaken weeks. Half days of pain. Of teeny weeny rushed mornings, followed by tired tantrummy trauma and long, long afternoons. God knows how I find the time to write rubbish moany-arsed lists like this.

5. The trauma of change. I didn't cry in the playground, and I managed not to have a total meltdown in the school outfitters shop, or in the hairdressers, and I didn't even blub when I saw him for the first time in a pair of school shorts and his shiny new school shoes. But that doesn't mean I'm not deeply traumatised. I don't like change. I don't even like it when someone moves a piece of furniture, or I don't have my special pizza in Pizza Express, or they've run out of Frubes at the Co-op.

6. My child has started pretending he's a teacher. That means when I'm writing anything he asks me: 'do you do it this way?' *penetrating look* 'Or this way?' 'Do you start from the top, or from the side?' 'Very good!' It's weirdly instructional, like a junior Christian Grey. 'Would you like to come into my red room of Jollyphonics?'

7. Oh yeah, they do Jollyphonics. I will jollyphonics yo ass. That's A (apple, ant) S S (snake movements). My kid doesn't know whether he's learning to read or whether he's a reptile.

8. Then there's the letters to the parents. So many letters, all in COMIC SANS. Oh, my eyes. I am font sensitive, people. I'm going to lobby the parent council to get them to switch it Arial as a matter of the utmost urgency.

9. I have a problem with authority. In that I'm obsessed with pleasing authority and not getting into trouble. This leads to much stressful faffing, trying to please a teacher who is about ten years younger than me and probably couldn't even beat me at a cut-throat game of Connect 4.

10. Did I mention the Comic Sans? 

Anyway, I'm sure it'll all be fine. I am in a period of flux. I'm sure I will get used to the rushing and the fretting and the letters and the homework, and when he gets to do full days, I will be on easy street, hanging out with the other mums, drinking Lambrini at the gates. Make it happen soon, though - I can stand any more worrying about creases in all those identical grey pairs of trousers... 

Tuesday, 7 August 2012


Now we're full on OlympicaddicksTM, there's never been a better time to feel shit about yourself because you've not spent the last 4 years running 150 miles a day in the rain with torn ligaments and tears of pain in your eyes. You don't have a xylophone midriff, you will never know glory, and the closest you'll get to gold is a box of Terry's All Gold from your Aunty Pat at Christmas (if you don't like the strawberry creams, I'll have them - ta).

As a result of the sheer emotional drama of the Olympics - which according to my Olympic Emocalculator outnumbers Cowell's singing dogs and the tearful journeys of X-Factor contestants by about 18,000 to one - I've noticed a seismic shift. A large amount of impressionable people have started Ostentatious Running. Whereas two weeks ago they were just running to tick off a lifestyle box and make themselves feel better about eating a large pie, joggers everywhere are pushing themselves, aping The Ennis and getting arse cramp. People with no previous interest in sport are throwing themselves over sandpits willy nilly. My own husband has taken up tennis, which is HILARIOUS. It's like the 'before' bit at the beginning of Casualty featuring cheerful builders putting up dangerous scaffolding as a baby goes by in its pram. It's like an Eastenders party. 'Bad Idea' is written through it like a stick of dangerous pointy rock.

Of course, by extension, the Olympics will also influence parents to force their useless, talentless children to practice a variety of sports against their will. This 'inspire a generation' line, cooked up by copywriters (who do nothing but sit in front of Macbook Pros listening to 'Tea Time Theme Time' on BBC 6 music and making up Lolcats captions) has put ideas into the nation's heads. Soon, children will be marched to velodromes and forced to train for hours going round and round on little Thomas the Tank Engine bikes, to the booming accompaniment of 'The Boys Are Back In Town' -  while Paul McCartney waves a Union Jack and gives two thumbs up.

Perhaps before we embrace this whole idea of Inspiring a Generation, we should have a good look at ourselves. We might like pretending to be an athlete when we go running, but we will never possess the skills and commitment to be one. It's a fantasy, a happy fantasy that might create a few good health benefits - or bad ones - but a fantasy nonetheless. I used to pretend to be Tracy Austin by batting a tennis ball against the back of the house because I LIKED HER EARRINGS - does that make me an athlete? No, sir, it does not. (Her earrings were totally awesome diamond ones, by the way, and they went really nicely with her tan). What we really need is more realism. Why don't we just set ourselves a goal we can stick to? How about 'Inspiring a Generation To Do A Tiny Bit More Exercise Before They Go To Greggs.'?

Equally, we really shouldn't get carried away and push our children towards disappointment. Not before we ask them what they think, anyway. My child is by no means swept away by the emotional and physical dramas of the Olympics. His attitude is both world-weary ('not watching the lympics AGAAAAAAIN') and slightly arrogant ( 'I can do that' he shrugged, as he watched Usain Bolt run faster than a comet). Occasionally, I can see a glimmer of inspiration, like when he pretends to go up on starting blocks and runs wildly out of the room and into a chest of drawers. But I'm not going to kid myself I have a Little Mo Farah. Like his Ma, he prefers to watch the telly and make sarcastic comments. It might not win him any medals, but we can still have a good time. As long as he keeps his hands off the strawberry creams.