Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Of Vests and Pants and Other Things

How important is matching underwear?

I say: Not very. It's definitely nice. But if bra and knickers are both, say, black and lacy, or white and satin-y, or yellow and made of cardboard, but not EXACTLY matching, that's ok. Right?

My bras Cost Money. I cannot, as much as I would like to, swing by Topshop and pick up a nice bra for a tenner. I have to go to special shops for special ladies. Well, actually just Bravissimo, which is the BEST shop in the world, ever, but is a little pricier than, say, M&S or Debenhams. My point is that I will always buy the knickers to match the bra, but I have WAY more pairs of knickers than I do bras, so logistically it is pretty difficult to always match the two. I would like to, though. I think it would make me feel somehow organised. I rarely, rarely feel like that. I would like to (gazes wistfully into middle distance for a little while).

(A small aside for our friends across That Big Sea. Knickers = panties. Not to be confused with 'knickerbockers' which are knee length frilly contraptions favoured by people of Yesteryear and Longago.)

On the same subject Bec says (and I have paraphrased): In a relationship she never bothers with fancy undergarment-y shennanigans. But out of a relationship it is more important because (and here I AM quoting) "you never know who is going to see them". I am relatively sure she didn't mean that to sound how it does when I write it down, and that she generally does have a fairly good idea of who is going to see her knicker(bocker)s from one day to the next. Nevertheless I know what she means. That the world of Singledom is one of potential, and potential means being prepared, and as good Scouts we know that this is very, very important. Which leads to the necessity of having Fancy Underwear to hand (as it were).

Basically what this all means is that Bec and I are going shopping. At Bravissimo, as we are both (ahem) well-endowed (I tell you, it's a pity for David that he is not our way inclined, or he would be having The Best Time Ever sharing with us lovely ladies). I am going to purchase some matching underwear. However, seeing as how most days I cannot even find it within myself to bother with matching socks, I am not sure there is much point. Bec insists, however, that I get some as she wants to splash THE HELL out on some and cannot do it alone. I understand this, it's perhaps a girl thing. Spending is all the sweeter if you know you're dragging someone else down with you.

I might perhaps steer clear of the yellow cardboard underwear, although I think it would be memorable and interesting. Maybe, on second thoughts, those shouldn't be the sort of adjectives one is bearing in mind when selecting underwear.

If anyone has any suggestions that are not too entirely filthy, for either Rebecca or myself in these, our formative single years, feel free to feel freely. I mean, um, feel free to make them. Oh, you know what I mean.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Titles: Overrated.

This sounds a bit.. strange, right, but I wanted to tell you anyway. It's cold in my office and I'm wearing a light coloured top. Everytime I stand up and go anywhere I have to do so with my arms crossed over my chest. This is somewhat impractical and I need some plasters, perhaps, or a thicker and darker coloured top. I was going to follow that sentence with "or some scissors", but I'm not that gross. Oh, um, wait. Nevermind.

Weekend One In Clapham was great. On Friday night I went out with my friends from work to get "resonated", which means "drunk" and which I think is a GREAT abuse of the English language, and which I will be using about six times an hour for the rest of my life. We had some wine and tequila (history teaches us NOTHING, people) and then I got on the tube, fell asleep, woke up in Morden (end of the line south on the Northern Line) and had to get the last train heading back north to get to my stop. It all worked out in the end, though, because I made it home and woke up post-resonation in MY OWN bed in MY OWN (alright, rented, but whatever) flat. On Saturday I drunk a whole cafetiere of coffee in about half an hour, and proceeded to stand in the living room 'dancing' whilst David looked bemusedly on and smoked out of the window (Um... I am a bitch and make them smoke out of the window). I was dancing primarily because I had just ingested enough caffiene to make an elephant box-step, but also partly because LOOK! It's Saturday! Morning! And I'm in a flat which I LIVE IN! Also we had a CD on which I got free with Music Week magazine which was called French Talent of 2006 and was really, really cool, apart from the odd regression into hardcore French rap, which: no, not so much for me, thanks.

Then the three of us went out Charity Shop shopping* and successfully purchased Nice Things.

* I mentioned this to my Dad and he said "did you buy any, then? Charity shops?" and I think this is a perfect example of why my sense of humour is so, well, dubious and Comedy-Uncle-esque. Yeah, thanks, Dad.

Then I went home, got ready and went out again. Into Clapham and then to a house-party. Which was All Good for reasons I'll go into later.

Last night I went to see Munich, which was fantastic. Beautiful cinematography and so suspense-ridden I nearly had panic attacks about four times. I went with Dan, who also enjoyed it, but who now has numerous nail indentations in his left forearm which will probably never go away, ever. It was scary, though, and if he doesn't want to be scarred for life he shouldn't risk going with me to see films whose main premise is 'induce panic attacks in the audience and cause them to forget ALL about their meticulously selected pick n mix so they have to eat it on the tube home, which just feels wrong'.

This week I have busy plans, including 'drinks' tomorrow night at which I will mainly be concentrating on not getting resonated, cinema to see Brokeback Mountain (or "Brokenback Cowboys" as my Dad called it) (I am cursed, genetics-wise) at some point, and a meeting with my friend who I am music-ing with. I will also be tidying my room.

I hope you had a nice weekend, and it sort of sucks that it's Monday, but hey, at least there's not another one for a WHOLE WEEK. Think of that, my friends. Think of that and smile.

Or perhaps just get resonated, and smile, your call.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Ignore the first paragraph of this post. It's shit.

I'd love to have some big skies to drift under, just for a while. The great thing about going away the weekend before last was the freedom from city life. The feeling of relinquishing responsibility and meandering through mud-soaked fields, chatting with friends old and new and gazing out over rolling English countryside. Feeling exposed to the elements, to the wind hurtling over the hills and the damp sunshine filtering through the scudding clouds.

I think I'm perhaps trying to over-poeticize (is that a word?) the experience, but the escape was real.

From the stress of rushing back from work on Friday afternoon, trying to pack for the weekend, pack my suitcases and boxes for the move to my new flat, shower and make sandwiches for the journey, and be ready to be picked up at five thirty, the escape tasted all the sweeter. Waking up in the top bunk in a dorm room of a hostel, surrounded by the other girls on the trip, and getting up to the heady aroma of sausage sandwiches and coffee. Wandering out into the kitchen to find people sitting around the trestle tables, chatting and laughing, and finding myself some coffee and joining them. It was quite startling to look out of the window and see countryside. Real countryside with hills and trees and grass, and livestock. In London the only livestock you get is the odd, disillusioned-looking squirrel.
People had parked their cars about half a mile from the hostel, so to get there we had to tramp through the mud along the path through the woods, carrying bags and wearing head torches, and then laden down further with what seemed like WAY too much beer, even for twenty-something twenty-somethings. You'll be shocked to find out that we coped, and that we even eventually had to switch to tequila.

By about ten thirty we were fed and caffienated, and ready to embark upon our walks. Now, there were two teams. Um.. I haven't told you of the Friday night and how the teams came about and what we did, because I am a bit thick and also tired.

On Friday I travelled up in Nick's (inexplicably flashy) car, with Andrew and Pippa. I had spent WAY too long making WAY too many rolls with fillings that were WAY too fancy for us. It was mainly because I need approval in any way that I can get it, and if somebody compliments me on my sandwich filling ability then, hey, what the hell, it's a compliment, it'll do me. We also had chocolate, a kick-y compilation CD that ranged from Guns N Roses to Goldfrapp, and beer (except Nick, who just got drunk on the fumes) (or so he claimed).
After one million and one toilet stops, some very loud singing and one exploding can which I imagine is still on the side of the M1 somewhere, we made it to The Countryside. I can't remember who it was that spotted the first cow, but that was an exciting moment, I can tell you.

After walking the half mile of mud to get to the hostel from the car park (a journey that caused Pippa to seriously question her decision to pack her gold slip-on shoes) we got to the hostel, to be greeted by people, beer, and a roaring (albeit gas) fire.

When all had arrived in a similar fashion (muddy and demanding beer) we sat around, chatting and catching up, meeting some of those people we hadn't met before and establishing sleeping arrangements. Pippa and I, because we're twelve year old school-girls, immediately grabbed two top bunks, only to later regret the decision the next two mornings when it dawned on us that perhaps, when hungover, a gymnastic feat involving ladders is not the first task one would necessarily like to contemplate.

After we all had beers on the go and were chatted out, we were put into teams. Now, you'll remember that this was a weekend arranged not, as you might assume, by fifty year old scout leaders with a dubious attachment to their eleven year old charges, but by early twenties-year old men. This was a METICULOUSLY arranged weekend, and it was all the better for it.

We got into teams and did a quiz. I am... sometimes quite competitive. Um... by which I mean that when my team came (A VERY CLOSE) second, there is a small chance that there may have been some sort of crossness on my part. Luckily someone had a strong enough desire to live that they quickly distracted me with a glass of Champagne, and a good thing it was, too.

Yes, there was Champagne. For the winners. Thankfully they did not have the temerity to try and prevent me having a small glass of it for medicinal purposes (read: downing half the bottle).

Anyway. The next day we were in walking groups according to our teams, teams one and three on one route and teams two and four on the other.

Teams two and four ended up walking about ten kilometres. Teams one and three did about twenty. JUST GUESS which team I was on.

Go on, guess.

Yes, of course. The latter.

It was great. We hiked and hiked, people fell over, we played games, we gazed wistfully at the scenery. We saw pigs and cows, and imagined what would happen if you made a hybrid of a bear and a dragon. (For the record: You would get a Beargon. Ferocious, if imaginary creatures that have fur and can breathe fire. Oh yes.)
We went to a pub for lunch, then continued walking until about six, when we joined the other teams in a pub nearish to our hostel. WHERE THEY HAD BEEN FOR HOURS, NOT THAT I WAS/AM VERY, VERY BITTER.

Then we got taxis to the hostel, because we were tired, and apparently walking from the tube station to work does not constitute training for this sort of thing. Don't judge us for getting taxis. We had walked for ever and then had beer, and my legs had turned from jelly to concrete in a very short amount of time, which just feels odd.

Then there was the evening. There were jacket potatoes with chilli and cheese, and salad. There was beer and wine, frolicking and high jinks, high spirits and high-time-we-had-more-beer-episodes, and it was Very Fun. I remember having tequila poured into my mouth from someone standing behind me as I knelt on the floor, and then I remember feeling very, very sleepy about half an hour later.

I woke up the next day with a chest infection, but it was SO worth it.

It was great to get away. The people were awesome, and it was so wonderful to get out of London.

I was feeling a bit melancholic when I started this post, because I am still knackered. Now I'm feeling a lot more upbeat. This weekend will be the first in my new flat, and I am looking forward to it. Tonight I'm going out in Angel with my flatmates for someone's birthday, and tomorrow I'm going to a houseparty in Brixton, just around the corner from me. During the days I will loiter around Clapham and perhaps write some more of a song I've been working on this week.

I am steering clear of the tequila, because it gives me infections, but if anyone has any Champagne I will be your friend.

I am perhaps in an update-y kind of a mood, but primarily because I can't think of a good way to end this post.


Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Although I am still coughing:

I'm better.

I am tired, though, which is why this might be an uninspired and boring post. Imagine it written in yellow crayon. Annoying and difficult to read.

I was ill, and so I am tired. This seems logical. There are, however, a couple of other reasons for my feeling of lethargy and, oh, fuck it, tiredness. My vocabulary muscle has been draughted in by the Emergency Keep Léonie Awake Operation going on in my body.

I went up to Warwick at the weekend. In case I haven't told you before, Warwick is where I went to university, where they made me read Ulysses. I went up to see a show that the Musical Theatre Society was putting on. I did a HUGE amount of musical theatre when I was there, I think I was in about sixteen shows, and those in their thrid years now were first years when I was there, and so I have some remaining friends.

The show was called The Wild Party and if you are interested and want to look at their lovely website you can.

It's here, by the way: www.wild-party.co.uk.

It was wonderful, and the cast was wonderful, direction and choreography wonderful.

I went to the party afterwards and had a conversation that has taken about a year to happen.

Oh, you know what? Fuck it. I can't be bothered to talk in code, I am WAY too tired.

The post I wrote about exes for Blogging For Books? You know the one - I think I came across as having had more boyfriends than, oh, than, um, oh bollocks, than someone has had more of something that they have had loads and loads of. You know. There was one who broke my heart in retrospect?

I saw him. He is one of the leads in the show, and he was fantastic. He is an incredibly talented performer, and in this role he was breathtaking.

We haven't spoken for nearly a year. How very strange that you can have such an intense relationship with someone and then turn away and ignore it. By saying that I'm really not blaming anybody for doing that, because I know I have done it, as unnatural as it feels. Anyway, we didn't speak. Nothing. Then, on Saturday after the show I went up to him and I told him how very proud I was was of him. I knew it wasn't my place to be proud, I said, but I was nevertheless. He responded that it meant such a lot to hear me say that, and thanked me. That evening at various points (in time and in drunkenness) we talked, caught up, made peace with each other.

He told me that he reads this blog. Which is nice! Always good to have an errant fan.

It was transitional for me, and nice. I feel that finally I am able to feel good about that section of my life. I can be reminded of him and not feel a twisting pain underneath my ribs. Now it has been replaced by a feeling of bittersweet nostalgia, which is a different kind of pain, but a nice one.

Travelling back to London on Sunday evening I was exhausted. I certainly felt a sense of relief to be returning, although there is still a part of me that yearns for the simplicity and excitement of university. My life now is independent, if less straight forward. I understand the balances of it, the necessities I endure and luxuries I permit. It is my own, and I am responsible for improving it.

I went back to my flat in Clapham, and felt a sense of belonging. I chatted to my flatmates and looked around, trying to understand what it meant that this was my home. Looking at the train tracks that run past the end of the garden and knowing that this was my section of train track. Yes, you can hear the trains hurtling past on their way in between Waterloo and Paris Gare du Nord, but despite that I love the flat. The lounge has white wooden floorboards, and as well as two armchairs and a sofa it has a big dining table, which is great. My room has an alcove bit that you step up into and into which I am going to move the wardrobe, to create a Moulin Rouge-style dressing room. The flat she is lovely. We are going to have a party to warm the cockles of our lovely flat, and Bec and David (my flatmates) had fallen in love with the idea of having a 'C' party (for Clapham), which I am prepared to go along with. So far we are thinking that Bec will be Cleopatra, David either a Chimney Sweep or a caterpillar, and I will be Catwoman. These are by no means the final decisions, and we haven't even decided on a date. We're like children who, upon deciding to put on a play, spend hours and hours getting the costumes perfect and spend five unconcentrated minutes on the plot and script.

Oh, and you know the suitor? With the lovely flowers and the vibrating other present? Yeah, that's over. It wasn't going anywhere, really, and although I was the first to say it, I think he agreed with me.

At some point I'm going to write an entry about the sheer rip-roaring fun that I had the weekend before last, when I hiked TWENTY KILOMETRES IN ONE DAY and then drank tequila. Not now, though, because I'm tired and I need more coffee.

At some other point I'm going to write about my gig plan in further detail, for no real other reason than to clarify it in my mind, but not now, for the afore-mentioned tiredness-related reasons.

The most important news I have to impart, however, is that I bought a ring over the weekend, and I love it. It is HUGE and sparkling, and cost me £1.99 from Savers.

This whole post was just me gearing up to tell you that. I think you'll agree that it was definitely worth it.

Friday, January 20, 2006

It must be because I lied when I was seventeen.

I cannot think of any other reason for the Universe to punish me by striking me down with a chest infection, making it ease up a bit and then WHAM! Hitting me with a sinus infection.

(As an aside, I really enjoy starting a sentence, bringing it to an abrupt halt by saying 'WHAM!' and then finishing it in the next sentence. Partially because it is a very sophisitcated and cool literary device, obviously, but also because it makes me burst into internal renditions of Club Tropicana, which is just nice. I said internal renditions, so don't panic.)

Anyway, sinus infections are like really horrible hangovers without the empty tequila bottles and emergency tattoo-removal laser surgery. It even hurt to watch TV. That is some CRUEL illness, I tell you. Yesterday there were points at which I would have cheerfully exchanged a leg for some pain-free Charmed viewing.

In better news: I am on the mend! Which basically means I can go back to work, move into my flat, and wear make up again. I am still coughing, though, which I'm secretly pleased about because it means I can demonstrate to people that, yes, I am perhaps still a little bit poorly, but I am also a Very Brave Soldier who is Battling On Through and should probably be bought some treats at some point, and who should almost certainly have a badge or two made for her.

Anyway, I appear to be blogging on a Friday night, which starkly contradicts my cool, rebelllious wild-child image, so I must desist at once. I have DRUGS to take, though, so that's cool, right? I mean, antibiotics ROCK and you all know it.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


Léonie is currently suffering from a nasty bout of the chest infections, and is therefore currently out of service while she hacks up her lungs and feels very, very sorry for herself, and also writes in the third person.

I had a GREAT weekend away, but I am too ill to talk about it. I have not yet been able to move into my new flat, but I am too ill to moan about it.

I hurt. I'll write something soon.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Of Fears, Food and Fleeing

Three songs. One CD.


There are all these unnamed fears sloshing around in my brain. These fears can be summed up, rather neatly, thus:



I know I wrote a post (in the loosest possible sense of the word) the other day, which was along these same self-obsessive lines, but I am suffering. WOE IS ME. Sort of.

It would be so comforting if Sir Paul McCartney, to pluck a name at random, were here. He could put his arm gently around my shoulders and offer some words of advice and reassurance to get me through this period of self-doubt. However, there is rarely a Beatle around when one most needs him, and I therefore must struggle onwards with only the support of my family and friends to see me through.


Um.. anyway. I feel I digress from the real point of this post, which, clearly, is General Whining and Self-Pity. Oh, prehaps I did not digress.

My three tracks were all recorded on my IMac at home. Two are just a single track of vocal, and the other one is two tracks of vocal, in harmony. I have played them to one person, my friend Kate, and she liked them. A lot, she said. But she lies, which is why I'm friends with her. Keeps me guessing.

There isn't anything really to whine about. I am just very, very skilled at bypassing that fact and going ahead and doing it anyway. In fact I am at good stage if I think about it a little more closely. I have three tracks, enough for a decent demo. I am sending them away to two people whose musical know-how and songwriting skills far exceed mine. Both of whom are good friends, and both of whom have offered to help me out. If the tracks are mostly shit, they will find the good bits and help me make those into a bit longer good bit, which hopefully will then transmute seamlessly into a song full of good bits, otherwise known as a 'good song'.

Everything is steamrollering ahead for the Big Move Into Clapham. I am excited. I have finally allowed myself to be excited. I have ordered posters from the Internet. I have booked Monday off work in order to move properly, because I'm going away this weekend.

Oh, did I mention that I was going away this weekend? I am. To a place caled 'Matlock', which is not in London. I don't know where it is. I am told it is in a place called 'The English Countryside', but not by reliable sources. A friend from home has arranged this excursion, by booking out an entire youth hostel, and emailing all his friends asking them if they want to go. It will be lots of people I know, and some I don't. We paid £40 each, including alcohol and food. Which is Cheap! We will go on the Friday evening, and.. Well I will just copy and paste the email he sent around.

Mademoiselles et Monsieurs,

Here's another update before the ACTION weekend. It covers topics as far and
wide-reaching as Transport and Agenda.


Attached you will find a spreadsheet with drivers on it. If your name is on the
list, you've agreed to drive. For the rest of you please put your name down
against where you want a lift from and with whom and we'll try to manage it all
in 8 cars (absolute maximum 9 parking spaces at the YH).



9pm onwards – People arrive

10.30pm - Introduction to the ACTION weekend and short game

11.30pm – Drinks/Free time


9am – Breakfast

10am – Depart for walks

5pm – Rendezvous at local Public House for pre-dinner drinks

8pm – Dinner

9pm – Drinking and free time


10am – Breakfast

11am – Clean Hostel and depart (we must vacate by 11.30am)

Day activity TBA

3pm - END


Kit to bring with you (maybe ask Santa if there's something you don’t have):

Sturdy shoes


Warm clothes (hat, gloves)


Water bottle


Cash (may not be a bank nearby)

Chocolate (rations)


We'll sort out rooms when we get there, but there are 1x2, 2x4, 2x6. We'll need
to write down which rooms we are in for fire safety. The hostel burnt down
about 20 years ago, so we'll need to be careful it doesn’t happen again!


How tough will the walks be?

They will be a good day out in the countryside are nothing to be scared of – we
are not scaling the Eider so you’ll be fine.

Will I have to do any chores or help out?

Yes. There are 22 of us going so we will be nominating people to help cook and
clean. It won’t be for very long and it’ll be good fun so please do it when

Do I need to bring any alcohol?

No. Everything is provided.

How much fun will I have, on a scale of 1-10?


What if I have any more questions/suggestions?

Get in touch.

This is, I hope, an email laden with irony. Some of us may have at one time or another been in Scouts, you see, and this is a 'take' on it. I really, really hope.

It think it'll be fun, though. I'm really looking forward to getting away from London. As much as I love it, and I do, the prospect of leaving it for a bit is warm and squashy and amazing. Also, I don't have to pay for alcohol! Hurray!

I have another reason to smile. He knows who he is.

And ALSO (Good Lord I have lots to be happy about!) I had the most amazing sandwich-related experience OF MY LIFE today, involving a Super Club from Pret, which was all kinds of wonderful followed by a most satisfactory apple.

What I would like most of all in the whole world ever is to know that my songs were, in some tiny way, a fraction as great as that sandwich.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Two Things Before The Weekend Strikes:

1. It is a nice thing to have flowers delivered for you at work. Flowers that are white and pure, like me. It also precipitates the necessary 'smug tube ride home with flowers', which is fun. They were from a certain suitor. The flowers, unlike the last present he bought me, do not vibrate.

2. I read this on a funny blog and thought it was funny so I am using it to make my blog funny. Because I am a Stealer Of Funniness.

"Granted, I don’t have to eat sand for dinner due to poverty, but I had a “rich-people problem” so I’m going to bitch about it in a rich-people way: on my blog."

Oh, the blog was http://anonymouscoworker.com/.

Happy Weekending.

Thursday, January 05, 2006


I stole the idea from Kelly and am doing this for Blogging4Books. Blogger won't let me do a link in the word and so I'm just going to do the link Stone Age-style, like this:


The connotations of the word 'ex', when you consider it, are quite diverse. The first, and most pertinent to me at this particular moment, is the word 'ex-post'. I can apply this to my situation today, because this is my third attempt at starting this post. I keep pressing the 'Escape' button on my keyboard. By accident, you understand. Maybe the previous posts just weren't meant to be, you know, but I quite liked them, and there is no doubting they are a heavy influence on the way I am dealing with this right now, but I am trying to move on and treat this as a brand new post.

Ahem. Anyway.

There is a benign sort of an ex. There are certain situation where the little prefix signifies a reduction in power and diminished ability to harm. Sometimes, if you add these two little letters, the word you add them to gets smaller, becomes less forceful and important.

Two examples of this are the phrase 'ex-boss' and also 'ex-lecturer'. Your boss can fire you. You boss can reduce you to a whimpering heap of please-I-need-the-money-to-feed-the-family snot and tears. Your boss can stumble across your blog and fire you for it. Your ex-boss, however? Your ex-boss you can mock whole-heartedly. Your ex-boss is the fodder for anecdotes, for stories involving scandals in offices of yore, featuring the persecution of the innocent (you) and the tyranny of a cruel and heartless witch or warlock who will stop at nothing to make your life a sizzling hell (your ex-boss). Because it goes without saying that, and I think this applies particularly if you're English, stories of your own, hilarious misfortune are enough to perk up any social gathering.

You lecturer or tutor has the power to fail you. FAIL YOU. We live our lives in fear of failure and here is someone who can write it down in Satanic red pen and hand it to you, at the same time branding it onto your heart for ever and ever amen. Incur the wrath of a lecturer and you have to do extra classes, extra exams, extra reading, extra ANYTHING just so you do not fail in their eyes, and therefore the eyes of the Educational System To Which You Are Enslaved. But an EX-lecturer (can you see where this is going?) no longer has the power to brandish his or her red pen at you. Once you have got your degree in your back pocket and have spent a whole day of your life trying to balance a square black plate on your head, they can't hurt you. They can't get to you any more to demand that you read Ulysses whilst standing on your head and dancing the tango. Again, one for the anecdotes, for the amusing dinner parties and for chuckling knowingly to yourself at the mean law lecturer in Legally Blonde.

Harmless. Benign. Innocuous.

The other type of ex, however, is far more dangerous. This is the situation in which, at the same time as adding two tiny little letters to a word, you are adding so much significance to a person. I am, of course, talking about when somebody becomes an 'ex-boyfriend'.

It is difficult to know where to begin. I can honestly say that some of my most traumatic experiences have involved ex-boyfriends. "Crikey!" I hear you cry. "What a very sheltered life you must have led!". I might reply to you thus. Well, actually firstly I would take a moment to congratulate you on your use of the word 'crikey' for I feel it is underused. But then I would reply that yes, perhaps I haven't experienced real trauma, in comparison to others. I am not, however, overplaying the depth of pain I have felt in relation to ex-boyfriends.

I could start at the beginning. I could tell you about the first boy I loved, who, despite being quite dull and really 'into' Geography, had me entranced for years. I went out with him, finally, after years of me longing and him kissing other girls at parties where I had dressed for him and only him. He was nice to me, we talked on the phone about Geography, then we broke up. Which was fine.

(This isn't the traumatic part, in case you were wondering. I'm not that sheltered.)

I could tell you about my first six months of university, in which an ex-boyfriend made my life so difficult that I started to doubt my own sanity, and was moments away from transferring to a different university, until a true friend stopped me going and helped me believe in myself.

I suppose I could list all the boys/men I have counted as 'boyfriends'. Two have been six foot four, one South African, one half Gibraltan, one half Lebanese. One born in Belgium, but who claims he's Welsh. Three pure Brits. Most around about or just under six foot. A snowboarder, a skier, a singer, numerous students. Most have been really, really nice people. I wouldn't say I 'go for' bastards.

Three have lasted for longer than a year.

Two made me cry for what seemed like a lifetime.

One, just one, broke my heart.

I think that my heart was broken in retrospect. It was broken, not by a boyfriend, not by someone close to me. Not by someone next to whom I woke up every morning, whose lips I kissed and who gazed at me with affection and love. Not by someone I adored. Whose jokes I laughed at and who was blinded by love enough to laugh at my jokes. Not by this person who I would have defended to anyone was my heart crushed.

It was done by a stranger, by someone unfamiliar to me. Someone who, when he adopted that tiny prefix, not big enough to even be a word in its own right, lost everything he felt for me. He was no longer someone familiar, someone who cared, but in the space of time it would have taken to draw the curve of the 'e' and the final, decisive stroke of the 'x', any love he had for me just fell away from him, like he was shedding a particularly heavy skin.

So when I say my heart was broken in retrospect, I mean that my heart broke when I looked back and realized in a startled epiphany that the transition from 'boyfriend' to 'ex-boyfriend' meant that there was no obligation to care anymore. He wasn't expected to wonder about me, to think or care about me, so he just, didn't. He just stopped. Like that. Easy.

By having that 'ex' in front of his former title he stole power from me, he handed me humiliation, rejection and confusion in a pretty little bag, just the right size to be slotted neatly into the hole in my chest where my heart used to beat. I didn't want to be with him anymore, I knew that. I could not, however, cope with the fact that he simply forgot about me after he put down the phone.

I hated it. I hated every single moment of knowing how little I meant. I am, and will always be, an excessively proud human being. It is not something I count as one of my better traits, but I am competitive and pig-headed and very, very proud. I get annoyed if someone mocks my short-comings. I don't like people teasing me. I wish that were not the case, because I am fairly sure I am able to laugh at myself, but it just has to be when I want to, when I say so. I like to win. If I feel humiliated or embarrassed, I take it very, very badly. Even if I pretend not to, I do.

The fact that someone else had made a decision to stop thinking about me, to reject my offers of friendship and break my heart with silence upon silence, was almost too much to bear. I hated having all my power stripped from me, I hated always wondering why, why I wasn't even worth knowing, and yet knowing deep within myself that there was no possible chance of finding out.

I hated having to resign myself to the fact that there are some people who can just switch off caring about someone else. I am not one of those people. Sometimes I wish I could be. Think how easy it would be. Admittedly this would probably mean having no meaningful relationships with anyone except the face looking back at you from the mirror, but it would protect you from the worlds of pain you risk whenever you love someone. The hold they will have over you as soon as they become an 'ex'.

Perhaps it's only my particular make-up that forced my hand in this. My pride, fear of humiliation and propensity to overthink things all put their heads together and come up with the idea that to be an ex of mine means you can drain me for guilt, worry and confused pain.

This is something that ex-bosses and ex-lecturers rarely do.

I cannot, however, think of anything I would change about my relationship history. Luckily my first ever 'love' means that no man will floor me with his knowledge of landslides and contour lines. If I hadn't ever been with the one who made my first year of University so very difficult, I wouldn't have made the educational decisions that I did and so wouldn't have met certain people and had various opportunites that I am so grateful for. If my heart hadn't been broken I wouldn't have been able to re-build it the way that I have, the way that I like it.

Perhaps this, seemingly malignant version of 'ex' is not so harmful after all. As much as I have my heart broken and break hearts myself, I will never be able to stop myself falling in love, or in like, or in my-God-you're-hot-can-I-kiss-you-now-please situations. To have a team of exes, none of whom are very much like each other, is to have have felt things, and felt things deeply. These things last with me, they are part of me and who I am.

I am grateful, very grateful, to be someone who doesn't stop caring about people and thinking about people once they are no longer directly within my line of vision. I know that my pride and my propensity to overthink things will mean that I am always asking questions and fielding doubts about myself and my relationships, but I don't mind that so much. I won't fight it, it is who I am and I am proud of it.

I want to be someone with exes, ex-boyfriends, ex-lecturers, ex-bosses. Because to have exes is to have experiences, and I happen to think that they're quite good things, really.

I would end this post with a terrible pun, but I fear that it would result in an ex-readership. Which, you know, would not be so excellent.

(Get it? Ex-cellent?)

(I'm sorry. I just ruined it, didn't I?)

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

What if...?

I fail.

My songs are shit.

I never escape.

The flat doesn't happen and I live at home for ever.

The flat does work and I move in and lose control of my finances.

I've already lost control of my finances.

My songs are shit.

I become so competitive that I lose myself.

I stop caring about anyone but myself.

My dreams are only fantasies.

It never happens.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

I wish that the first post of 2006 could be funnier.

I have so far managed to stick to EVERY SINGLE ONE of my New Year's Resolutions!

I know! Isn't it wonderful?!

The trick here, children, is that whilst I was distracting you with the flagrant over-use of exclamation marks I was simultaneously making really stupid New Year's Resolutions. See below for reference.

NYR 1. I solemnly resolve to cease chasing elephants down the street whilst one or both of us is naked, brandishing a pink stick and shouting the word 'SPANDEX' in capital letters.

NYR 2. I solemly resolve never again to put my shoes on my knees and walk around on them pretending to be a 'little person'.

NYR 3. I solemnly resolve to stop being a regular performer in "River Dance: Even Grannies Are Bored Of It Now" staged on a Tuesday afternoon at the Lower Dotford Church Hall, just before the Coffee And Bourbons Society's weekly game of 40/40.

You see? You too can feel good about yourself if you just follow my lead.


I hope you had a lovely Christmas and New Year. I really did. By the time I finished work last year I was like this:


In my head, I mean. On the outside I exuded the sort of cool that you can't buy. Trust me, I did. Anyone who tells you any different (um... that would be anyone who has ever met me or to whom I have ever explained my 'Charmed is the Best Programme In The World Ever' theory) is lying or insane or both.

So I was EXCITED! Like THIS!

It meant that, when I woke up on Christmas Eve (!) I was really excited (!) even when I realised that I had left 75% of the presents I had bought for my family at work (!). I am not EVEN joking.
No matter, I thought, I will just re-buy them! Hurray! And then take back the ones that are at work! Although I know myself and I have never successfully taken anything back in my life because I am a combination of scatty and lazy that is at once endearing and really, really annoying.

So off I went, towing Sophie (sister) (impish) behind me and making lists which I lost within, oh, seconds, and I actually achieved my shopping within mere hours.

In my family we do a thing where we draw a name out of a hat and we each do a stocking's worth of presents for that person, as well as individual presents to individuals. So the stocking is opened when we all leap out of bed at the crack of dawn and stand pawing at the sitting room door until we are allowed in (read: drag ourselves out of bed at eleven, fighting our furious hangovers and wrapping the last minute presents) (the best was the year Sophie woke up in a pile of her own vomit) (she might not say that was the best, but it was, it really was).

I had to do Alex (other sister) (also impish, though). I think I did alright. I got LOVELY presents. My Dad had me, so I got everything I asked for. Scarf, gloves, lip gloss, pony. Well, perhaps not all of those things. Apparently they were out of lip gloss at the pony shop.

There were boots. (I am avoiding saying 'I got' because I feel like it'll make me seem grabby and like Veruca Salt) The boots are GREAT and have really high heels and are my best friends. I tell them everything. I've told them all your secrets, so be nice to them.

There was also a 'voucher' from my parents for £150! To spend on clothes! I am going to spend half of that on bras.

My favourite present was a poster for my new room in my new flat. It is a poster of the Charmed girls. I know, I know, I'm a loser, but you don't understand. I love that show and won't hear a bad word against it. I don't like Shannen Doherty, but I like Rose McGowan and Holly Marie Combs and have a massive crush on Alyssa Milano, and magic is good! And demons are bad! And stuff! For some reason watching Charmed makes me feel good. It makes me want to wear lipgloss, have a great rack and learn marshal arts. It gives me a lift. Again, I know, I am a loser. But it's something, and now I can look at this poster EVERY SINGLE DAY! Also the person who gave it to me is a really hot guy who is also nice. He also gave me something else but I am way too shy to talk about a vibrating rubber duck for the bath in a public forum such as this.

My favourite present that I GAVE was perhaps the pair of striped sparkly knee high socks for Sophie, or the necklace for Alex which I'm not sure she really liked that much but WILL, dammit, because it's lovely.

New Year's Eve was cool, went to a bar in Angel with some people. It was fun, except that there was no countdown. I like a bit of heathily built up anticipation, you know, a bit of "ten... nine... eight..." in a robust if drunken chant. But not so much at the Cool Bar (that wasn't it's name, I've forgotten the real name), no, it was more like everyone dancing and then WHAM! New Year! (By which I mean it was very sudden. Not like we were dancing, and then suddenly we heard Club Tropicana and then it was New Year. You knew that, though.)
There was some muttering and looking at watches going on, people saying things like "well, I DO set it a couple of minutes fast, you know, or you just never get places on time...", "should we call the talking clock?" and "have we got time to do another shot of tequila?", and then suddenly they turned off the music and everyone huggged and poured their drinks down each other's back and tried to find someone to snog who wasn't already heading to the toilets to stand with their back under the hand drier.

I had someone to kiss.

It's either my lip gloss wearing or my marshal arts skills. Or... no, can't think of anything else.

Hasn't this become a long old post?

In other news:

- I have written three songs, enough for a demo and a good start towards a set's worth. I am tentatively quite pleased with them.

- In two weeks, if everything goes to plan, I will be moving to my new flat. I really, really hope everything goes to plan.

- I am going to have a FUCKING BRILLIANT 2006. I feel it.

- I even like my hair a little bit.

- My fingers have started to hurt a bit as I've typed this all in one go without stopping, and I need coffee as well. Perhaps I'll update.

- Happy New Year, oh thousands-strong readership.