Friday, December 12, 2008


I am stroppy. I think it has something to do with the full moon, something to do with being in on a Friday night, and something to do with feeling so cold that I am constantly surprised to look in the mirror and not see icicles hanging from my nose. I am already wearing four jumpers, a hood and a scarf, as well as tracksuit trousers and the biggest socks in the world. Any more clothing and I would barely be able to move my arms enough to write a tediously whining blog post. It may or may not also have something to do with hormonal anguish, but I will snap you in two if you suggest it.

Everything is good (although for some reason I feel the need to say that with narrowed eyes and a snarl). Ben arrived back from Nepal with a tan and presents (you can read about his trip and things here). I went to the airport to meet him, and only just made it in time, in spite of the fact that he had missed the first flight and so was two hours later than planned. I was nearly late because I had decided to use the extra time wisely, by sitting in a gruesome station pub drinking horrible wine and calling everyone I know. I drank one glass, then headed to the bar to buy another. I had a horrible cold, so I sniffed as I ordered. The barman was a different one than had served me before. He leaned lazily on the beer taps and made a show of looking me up and down.

"I.D.?" he intoned, smirking.

I stared at him.

"I'm twenty-six. I don't have any I.D. as I don't drive, but, I'm twenty-six, so..."

His eyebrows crept upwards, and he smiled slightly, returning my incredulous look without blinking.

"I'm not serving you."

I explained to him that I had just been served earlier, to which he replied, "Yeah, love, but not by me. I'm the manager. I'm not serving you."

I argued further, then started rummaging around in my bag, hoping perhaps that my passport would magically appear. As I was looking down my nose dripped conspicuously onto my bag. I felt my cheeks flush red as I angrily wiped my face.

"Look" he said. "I'm twenty-six too and I get asked for I.D., so..."

"So you do believe I am over seventeen, then? But you still won't serve me a glass of wine?"

He shrugged again. I swore at him then, and went to the toilets. (Perhaps I shouldn't have sworn, but he was being deliberately obtuse and deserved it.) On the way out I was on the phone to my sister, and I saw him up a step ladder, putting up decorations. He caught my eye and grinned. To my shame I, without thinking, put my tongue into my bottom lip, in that age-old gesture of people under ten everywhere, and gurned enthusiastically at him.

I keep getting asked for I.D. in Manchester. I am not going to take it as a compliment, because it has been quite humiliating most times. I am pleased that I don't look older than I am, but I am not thrilled that on meeting me people assume that I am not old enough to drink, smoke or download porn off the Internet.

It is a strange thing to feel angry about, but then I am in a strange, angry mood. I have been glowering at things ever since I got home. Apportioning blame to inanimate objects and getting internally cross with people, not for things they have said, but for things that they might say (although probably wouldn't).

I went to the Job Centre yesterday, where the lady told me I "seem to have my head screwed on" before writing the word "waitress" in a little box on the screen. While I was waiting to be seen there was a fire alarm, so we all had to trek outside and wait in the snow for the security guards to decide that it was a false one. Once back inside I watched the staff and tried to guess who was going to get off with whom at their Christmas party.

I have a gig to prepare for, which is at Pizza in the Park in London next Friday. (It is not paid, so please don't report me as a benefits fraud like that woman on those adverts who somehow manages to iron guiltily.) I am singing some Christmas songs, and some other jazz standards, but right now I am feeling far too cross to even consider rehearsing. I am going to think about it crossly and hope that has the same effect.

I am too cross to blog. To stroppy to write anything other than that I am stroppy.

It might be hormonal, lady things that are fueling the fire, but I don't care. I am going to glower a bit more, eat my body weight in chocolate and then sulk off to bed. Although before I do I might phone up that idiot bar manager at the train station and ask him whether he believes that I am old enough to menstruate.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Classy Scum

Everything is crunchy. The snow sparkles invitingly, making me wonder whether one could make snow ponies instead of snow angels, and what sort of contortion would be necessary for such a feat. Out of my window there are trees stretching up into the blue sky, gilded by the sun. Washing lines arch this way and that, leaning at precarious angles over the thickly covered garden.

I have a cork notice board in front of me, with white paper covering it like snow. Lists of things to do, people to talk to. Songs to write and late night brainwaves that in the morning seem to reflect just a mental dead calm. I have a bit of paper with a flight number and time scrawled in blue Biro. Ben is flying back from Nepal tomorrow, and I am dutifully going to meet his flight. I have spent some time trying to work out something amusing to write on a sign to hold up at arrivals, but all I can think of so far is some kind of lewd drawing, to embarrass him in front of all the other passengers. It won't be that embarrassing, though, as I am quite good at drawing.

I am relieved that he is coming back. Obviously I have missed him, etc., but also, in spite of my fierce making of friends and experiencing new things, I am beginning to hit a bit of a plateau. Initially it was terrifying, then brilliant. Now it's just, normal. I was worried about making female friends, but now I have some. Ones I text and have had coffees and drinks with, and one who even felt comfortable enough with me to ask me whether my breasts are real (answer: they are actually imaginary. This makes bra shopping easier). All this newness and adventure has been fun, but now it is all settling down a bit, and I have run out of things to make happen. Now I am just a bit (dare I say it?) bored. Ben can come back now. I have forged a bit of a life. A start, anyway. I love Manchester, and I hope that these things I have started will continue.

On Thursday I went to see Sam Sparro headlining a cabaret in the Manchester Academy. It was sponsored by Smirnoff and they were handing out all sorts of "wacky" paraphernalia: top hats, feather boas, fake eyelashes, transfer tattoos, large inflatable musical instruments. On arriving at the event we quickly had to make a choice between standing at the side sneering in a cool fashion, or just getting involved. My latent desire to be Sally Bowles quickly took over and I was soon flapping my eighteen foot eyelashes from beneath the brim of my hat whilst a willing young man pressed a large skull transfer tattoo onto my upper arm. Thea underwent the same treatment. Every so often her husband Nathan would appear from nowhere, having escaped the confines of the sound booth, and whisk her up in his arms, kissing her and spinning her around. At these times I smiled at them and danced with a little more solo mentalness.

I took loads of pictures on my phone. It was in my hand for most of the night until I decided to briefly attempt to be one of those people who can experience stuff without needing to document it for the sole purpose of re-living it on the bus the next day, and put it in my bag (which was on the floor).

A few hours later, Thea and I were back at their house. Nathan had to carry on working until the early hours, but Thea and I had jumped in a taxi, whereupon I had regaled both her and the lucky taxi driver with my best Sally Bowles singing. (The taxi driver said "cor*, you should be a professional singer, love!" Score! That's enough validation to keep me going for at least a month!)

*He didn't really say "cor!", but I put it in because I somehow feel that all taxi drivers should say "cor!", really.

Just about to go to bed, I was fishing about in my capacious bag, searching for my phone. Suddenly I was sunk by a familiar sinking feeling.

"Can you call my phone?" I asked Thea, wearily.

She did. Straight to voicemail.

Once again I have managed to lose my phone/have it stolen.

I have been relegated to my old (camera-less, old stickered) phone, which is disappointing. I have lost my numbers. I have lost all the pictures of Thea and myself peering up from beneath our fake lashes like coquettish inflatable guitar-sporting drag queens.

This week I have also been informed that I will not be starring as an elf this Christmas, due to being formerly employed by someone who doesn't understand that promising someone two days work and then retracting it is not good at any time of year, but over Christmas it is downright horrible.

So, £200 down on budget, I have been looking around desperately for pre-Christmas work, only to find nothing. So I have signed on. I am now, as my friend Kate put it, "very classy dole scum". Excellent. I am dole scum. I must nip down the shop to pick up a copy of The Daily Mail and ten B&H. (Middle class stereotyping? What? Where?)

Some nice stuff has happened. I have found another music project to get involved with, and have also heard that I get my pick of songs to do at my Very Exciting Gig at Pizza in the Park on the 19th December. My little sister is coming home from Paris for Christmas with her delightful French beau. Ben is back tomorrow. There is crispy snow on the ground and some tea to drink. I have to go on the dole for a bit, but I have been diligently paying taxes for the last five years so, yeah, I can cope.

Dole scum, yes, but classy dole scum. That's what's important.