Monday, April 30, 2007


Today Monday is hurting me. I have discovered that, while four weeks temping in Luton is just about tolerable, the fifth week causes my soul to erode in a particularly painful manner.

As I stepped off the train this morning I felt my life get suddenly about twenty-six times worse. What, I wondered idly, the fuck am I doing? I hate office work, I hate Luton, I hate pretty much every aspect of all of this.

I have been trying this morning to force myself out of the depths of despair, thinking of positive things like music and forthcoming gigs and studio stuff, but only partially succeeding. I am spending rather a lot of today staring at walls and glancing despondently at the clock.

I did, however, have a wonderful weekend. On Friday after I escaped from Luton I sped into London to meet Mr Curly. We had some beers in Camden before heading into Central London to meet some of his friends, which was delightful. On the way home I was accosted by two men, who were nice to me, then less nice to me when I declined to hand over my telephone number, then suddenly lots nicer to me again when I gave it to them. Well, a version of it, at least. I sauntered off the train secure in the knowledge that I would not have to be "shown the sights of Milton Keynes" at any point in the near future, which was rather a relief.

The following day I woke up only slightly hungover. I took myself off to my piano lesson, then came home and thought about getting ready for my birthday party. I lay in the garden watching the freckles land gently on my arms for a while, talking to my parents and thinking about shoes before taking myself off for two hours of "getting ready", which involved lying on my bed, painting all but two of my nails (not deliberate), messing around on the Internet, talking on the phone and other such unrelated activities, as well as some showering/hairdrying/clothes-choosing basics.

A few hours later I was safely in the Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen, first gin and tonic in front of me, looking bemusedly at my semi-painted fingernails. During the course of the evening about thirty-five people showed up, and most of them bought me more gin and tonic. It was fabulous. They sang Happy Birthday to me (something I may or may not have prompted) and looked to be having a marvellous time.

The night was deemed a success, only clarified by the extent of my hangover the next morning. I was looked after by two of my nicest friends, with whom I hung around whimpering until well into the evening.

On second thoughts, perhaps it isn't surprising that I feel a little out of sorts on this sunny Monday. The thing is, though, that even in the sun Luton looks to me to be a particularly dreary and horrible sort of a place. I feel most upset by it today, and am wishing fervently that I was anywhere else in the whole world, bar perhaps Iraq, or Coventry.

Now I must trudge woefully back for an afternoon of heavy sighs and daydreams. If anyone would like to rescue me and show me a good time (although preferably not in Milton Keynes) I would really, really appreciate it.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Offices and Birthdays

What sort of a person dashes out of the office for lunch, having spent the morning staring forlornly at spreadsheets, only to hurry in to the nearest Internet café in order to stare at a different computer screen for an hour before rushing back to the spreadsheets? It bothers me slightly that this morning has been bearable only because I knew I had grand web plans for lunch. It also bothers me that whilst it has been bothering me I have also slightly looked forward to writing about it on the Internet.

I am clearly an Internet junkie. Oh well. It's cheaper than smack.

Other things I have done to make my temping less pins-under-the-fingernails terrible include the following:

- Identifying my Favourite Paperclip and lavishing affection upon it

- Writing 'BOOBIES' and 'BOOBLESS' on my calculator many, many times

- Making confetti out of the hole-punch debris

- Having wild and often very misguided opinions on all the varying aspects of the office gossip, most of which is regarding people I have never even laid eyes on, let alone formally met

- Developing a different characters for myself every day to send via text message to my friend Max. These have included Greta the evil German scienist who is semi-narcoleptic and fervently believes that sperm is good for the skin and hair, Tulip the Colombian flamenco dancer and Sally-Ann the apple-picker from the Mid-West, who has six fingers on her left hand and four on her right and can crush whole walnuts with her thighs.

- Watching the clock (this one does not work so well)

- Writing lyrics

- Perfecting my plans to take over the world via the medium of ponies

There are others. Mainly I am just trying to stay awake.

My birthday was wonderful. There was, admittedly, some temping involved, but I powered through it and was in Central London by five o'clock.

I met up with my friends Kirsten, Jessica and Kristen and we sped off happily to Balans in Soho for a happy hour cocktail. We sat there with our variously-coloured drinks in their variously-shaped glasses, me talking excitedly at a million-miles an hour and them smiling politely in between sips of their Margharitas. I saw Kristen slip off and have a chat with a waiter. A few minutes later he sashayed across to our table holding a plate bearing a generous piece of chocolate cake with a big pink candle flickering on top of it. I graciously allowed them to sing Happy Birthday to me before diving into the warm chocolatey deliciousness, but not before I giggled slightly at the writing around the edge of the plate. "HAPPY BIRTHDAY LANEY!" it proclaimed, joyfully. Near enough! I thought, before licking it all up in one go, as one is allowed to on birthdays and other special occasions like Christmas, Divali and Thursdays.

After cocktails we headed over to the John Snow pub near Carnaby Street, which is one of my all-time favourite pubs because it is cheap and a bit grubby with plenty of atmosphere. More people joined us as we stood outside, clutching beers in the warm early evening. I had a lovely time, then went with Sarah, Tom and Dan to get something to eat before heading home. On the train home I gazed out into the darkness and reflected that, despite my early morning misgivings I had really enjoyed my birthday. My favourite present was a Wonder Woman mug from Dan, which is now sitting in my bedroom waiting to be taken downstairs and washed up.

Tomorrow night I am having a Proper Celebration in Hoxton, for which I will put on a fancy dress and some sexy shoes. I will drink gin tell lots of people I love them. Which, of course, I will mean at the time.

Mostly, though, I am looking forward to getting back to the office to see how Favourite Paperclip is getting on and drink more milky tea until it is time to go home. Have a good weekend.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Every year it's the same. I get really excited about my birthday: tell everybody, plan outfits, dream of shoes (possibly unrelated). The week leading up to it is filled with plans and excitement. Then I wake up on my actual birthday and remember that I don't really like it very much. There is too much pressure, too much build-up and it is invariably an anti-climax. It was the same today. I shuddered awake from a dream in which I was a dinner lady at my old school (which sort of puts on perspective all the worries I had about not having achieved anything yet) and thought, Oh. I am twenty-five today. Huh.

I am going to the pub later on, but celebrating properly on Saturday. Before that, though, I am off to do some Birthday Temping in a Birthday Office, where I will Birthday Sulk until I get to leave. Early. Sorry, Birthday Early (which means really very early).

I must go and put on some Birthday Clothes (which is not the same as a Birthday Suit - that was deemed "inappropriate" by those prudes at the Social Services) and continue to wander around aimlessly until I am twenty-six.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Of Sun

We seem to be on the brink of summer. The weekend was so warm and balmy, and saw people across the country shedding their winter clothes in order to frolic with frisbees and drink warm beer from cans. It was warmer than last weekend. Properly warm, and I have the freckles to prove it.

On Saturday my Dad picked me up from my piano lesson and we drove down to Eastbourne. On the motorway I wound down the window and attempted to at least get a lorry driver tan by sticking my left arm out of the window, inhaling the aromatic fumes of the cars hurtling alongside us. I kept a baleful eye on the temperature gauge as it crept up, reminding me that all my friends were sunning themselves in parks and getting drunker and more sunstroked as the day went on.

We were going to Eastbourne, though, because we had to pick up my cello from the studio I had been working in, but do not anymore. Picking up my cello and was the last hurdle I had before drawing a line under that particular adventure and throwing myself with renewed enthusiasm into the next ones. There was a point in January when I realised that it had to end, because it wasn't going in the right direction and I wasn't comfortable any more with how things seemed to be panning out. It was hard. I felt horrible for a while. Directionless and uncertain, like I had squandered my time and energy on something that came to nothing. It felt like a painful relationship break up, in that I felt let down, disappointed and a bit lost. I didn't know where to try and place the blame, aware as I was that there wasn't really anything I could have done to have made things better, but still troubled by a nagging sensation that it was all somehow my fault.

This was compounded by actual 'relationship' issues, which made things seem even more bleak. I felt let down by two areas of my life, two specific people I had trusted to care about me, and it was all quite a lot to cope with at once.

On Saturday, however, I picked my cello. It was a sunny day, a weekend infused with positivity only marred by the incessant global warming quips coming from every angle. I saw a friend, Sam, who I had been missing since I no longer spent any time on the coast. I didn't have to face anyone I didn't want to and I felt oddly safe. My Dad and I ate fish and chips then ice cream on the promenade, after which I stood on the beach, picking up some smooth warm pebbles and holding them in my hands. People were splashing in the sea, others tucked in against the bleachers reading or just prostrated under the hot sun.

We drove back and I tilted my seat right back, so that I could just see the cobalt sky and the tops of the trees blurring from underneath my sunglasses. By the time we reached home I was itching to share my elevated mood, so I went to Clapham, where my friend Pippa was celebrating her birthday. The pavements were teeming with people, the sound of voices peppered with the regular smashing of glasses as they were knocked from their precarious positions. It was a night of friends, of heat and of dancing. Of gin and tonic and loud conversation. A good night.

A blue sky Sunday followed, of course. I hopped on a train to see Bec in Sydenham, where we sat outside a grubby pub with sticky menus and discussed our lives in grisly detail. Neither Bec nor I could possibly ever shock each other by our antics, which is one of the reasons we get on so well. We picked things apart and attempted to put them back together again, every so often swapping seats to make sure neither of us just got tanned on one side.

Later that afternoon I headed to Camden, to meet Dan, Sam, Lucy, Luke, Max, Sarah and various others, to sit outside the bustling Edinboro' Castle near Regent's Park and drink beer. It was lovely. I love the Sunday night drinking feeling, and this really was an excellent example of why it should always, always be sunny on a Sunday.

I felt so happy on the way home. My sense of cheer was only slightly marred by the fact that I fell asleep on the train and missed my stop, which, as I live just outside London, can be quite a big deal. However, when I woke up and looked around helplessly, a nice Swedish man helped me through my confusion by telling me where we were and then waiting with me at the next stop for a train going the other way. He gave me his jumper to wear because I was cold, and generally talked me out of my irritation extremely well. A more cynical person might say that men are nice to strange women for one reason and one reason alone, but I am choosing to be impressed at his gallantry and grateful for the help.

I am exhausted now. Today there were a few moments of near catastrophe involving me falling asleep on my keyboard and therefore fucking up all the very, very important spreadsheeting I have been toiling away at for the past few weeks. I managed not to, though, so the Universe is safe for another day. This temp job is becoming more bearable as I am making friends now instead of feeling like the invisible temp who yearns constantly for an Internet connection just so she can communicate with someone. Monday is done for another week, and next week it will be my birthday so as a week it will be much more bearable.

When I go to bed soon I hope I dream of sun-soaked Sundays and sea-smoothed stones. I feel like I will see blue skies as I drift. I hope I do.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Some Photos!

(This post is all messed up, but if I hang around to sort it out I will be late, so please kindy just deal with it.)

I don't want to enter any more data! Why would you make me?

I am on the cusp of another day of woefully putting numbers places and moving bits of paper about. I spend the mornings wondering whether it is lunchtime yet, of course, and the afternoons waiting to go home. This is the curse of boring office jobs everywhere, I know.

Temping is a joy! Hurray!

I am going to cheer myself up by posting some photos from Paris.

Me and Impish Soph (doesn't she look Impish?):

The boys searching for something. I think they were looking for a big sign saying BEER.

A busy Parisian Sunday by the Seine.

The poster for Sophie's party. It was a slippery slope from here, really.

Impish Sophie, Alex and me. If you would like to know why I am waving like a maniac, please consult previous picture.

Now I am late for work. If I do not enter that data the world will crash down and we will be taken over by a race of giant Excel-loving Ants from Outer-Space. It's true.

Happy Friday.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

A New Joke! (But Nothing Else)

I am in the throes of attempting to write a post about Paris. For some reason I read back everything I write and sneer, immediately rejecting it.

I think this is because I haven't got Internet at my temping job so I am forced to blog on my own time, in which I would rather be watching Charmed or snogging boys. Or both together, which is the ultimate dream.

Until I write something that isn't stupid, I will leave you with my favourite New Joke:

There are two women sitting in a café. One says "Oh, God, fucking hell. My husband bought me some flowers yesterday."

The other woman looks confused and replies "Oh. I would have thought that would have been a good thing?"

The first woman shakes her head. "Are you kidding me? It means I'll have to be flat on my back with my legs in the air for three days."

There is a pause, before the other woman says

"Do you not have a vase?"

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

A Sad Au Revoir To Paris.

I am back from Paris. Exhausted but with an array of fantastic memories.

I have been thrown straight into a temp job this week, so have gone directly from fun in foreign lands to spreadsheets in Social Services. Luckily the coffee is of a very similar standard so I'm managing to cope.

The weekend was truly incredible. It deserves a long, photo-riddled post and will certainly get one as soon as I have time.

For now, though, I must continue to root through my wardrobe in vain hopes of finding anything suitable for an office. The outfit I wore today was pretty much the extent of it so I suspect tomorrow I will either have to go ultra casual (jeans), utltra smart (evening gown) or ultra slutty (anything else I own). It is an etiquette brainteaser indeed.