Saturday, January 15, 2011

First Kiss

The Guardian has encouraged us all to be fondly nostalgic about our first kisses by pretending it's a "First Kiss Memory Study" to make it feel a bit science-y and not quite so self-indulgent. They don't need to make up science, though, because sometimes a bit of self indulgence is OK.

I have two first kiss memories. This is allowed, I have decided, totally arbitrarily.

I met Boy One at the local outdoor swimming pool. I don't remember particularly fancying him, I don't even remember agreeing to go out with him, although I suppose I must've done at some point. He was called Ahmed, I think, and he was nice, probably. My nostalgia is very vague on this, although I do have distinct memories of always paying for entrance to the swimming pool in 1p and 2p coins and the constant gnawing fear that a wasp had crawled, cackling, into my Coke can. Anyway, once Ahmed bought me some flowers (his parents had a shop, he told me, which explains how a ten year old boy could get hold of a pretty nice bunch of roses), and gave them to me in my back garden. I was quite surprised, although I think I was aware that I was supposed to be delighted and a bit swoon-y. He leaned rakishly against a tree and asked me to guess who he thought the most beautiful woman in the world was. I thought about this for a bit. "Sharon Stone?" I guessed. He shook his head, no. "Julia Roberts?" (This was about 1990.) Wrong again. I went through a few more lady celebrities. "Cindy Crawford? That one off Baywatch?" All wrong. I gave up. "Who?"

"You" he told me, proudly.

I was totally baffled. I was ten. I had freckles and skinny legs. There was just no logical way that I was even beautiful at all, let alone more dazzling than Pretty Woman or that one off Baywatch. He was, quite clearly, really stupid, I decided. I was just about to tell him this when he leaned forward and planted a kiss on my confused mouth. But it was too late. I had already stopped trusting anything he said. Boys must think girls are stupid, I thought. (I still mostly think this.)

Boy Two was a few summers later, at a party in a tiny, dusty hall, which seemed to meld seamlessly into the car park next to which it squatted. I wore (judge me if you must) blue checked hotpants, a white crop top and pale blue, high heeled jelly shoes. Go on, read that sentence again, then imagine the ensemble. Take a moment. I've come to terms with it, you can too.

All the girls were in similar outfits and the boys had that glorious nineties hairstyle known as 'curtains'. A friend of mine had found out that I had never "snogged" anyone before, and decided it was about time I started. Shy, and fairly ambivalent about the whole snogging thing, I entreated her not to tell anyone, but teenage girls are cruel and of course my words went woefully unheeded. Before I knew it I was being pushed out the back door of the hall with a boy called Lewis, who I found horribly unattractive but who had blond curtains and therefore counted as "fit". We stood awkwardly together, or at least, I was awkward. Lewis seemed to have a bizarre confidence which he wore like his orange-lined bomber jacket. My friend, of course had told him I had never done it before, and so he was about to initiate me into the delightful world of teenage "snogging". He, it seemed, had done it before, and to my considerable consternation began immediately demonstrating his expertise on my face. I knew I was supposed to close my eyes, and as I did so I wondered in horror whether it was meant to hurt this much and whether all the disgusting chewing was really necessary. After a while it was over, and as I tried to discreetly wipe the tide of saliva from my cheeks he regarded me, head tilted. "Not bad for a first time" he proclaimed, knowingly.

I wandered inside to find my friends, to lie to them about the whole spit/chewing fiasco. I made a strong, silent pledge to myself at that moment that I would never, ever do that again. Ever.

Tell me about your first time, if you like. (You can have two.)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Well, I haven't posted since 1986 (approx.), according to Blogger. I feel I ought to buy it flowers or something. It must feel very neglected. I want to tell it that I haven't passed it over for a younger, trendier, more streamlined version (Twitter), nor have I gone back to something old and dependable (actually seeing people with my eyes and, like, talking to their faces). I have just stopped interacting. Honest! I literally haven't communicated with anyone in any way for ages, I promise.


Life did go all whirly for a good few months before Christmas, though. If I had posted it would have been only to shake you by the virtual shoulders and beg you to help me, please sir/ma'am, help me before collapsing into your virtual arms in a weepy faint, my virtual mouth just a little bit open so you could pour some virtual gin into it.

The cat went and died, which was a pretty shitty thing to do, if you ask me. (Three years is not enough cat-time.) He was all weak and forlorn, staring at me and squawking, so I took him to the vet. The vet was called Bernard and had a very reassuring manner about him. Bernard gave me some pills and some disgusting orange goop to shove down his throat twice a day (the cat's, not Bernard's). It didn't work. Pony/Murko/The Cat needed surgery, which was a bargain at only £400, but we decided we would rather have a cat that a full set of kidneys so took him in. (I had to work that day, so Ben was taking him. Before I left I kissed Pony's tiny, sad little ears with an ugly, sunken feeling, and cried onto his head a bit.) He died on the operating table. We still owe the vet £300, but cannot even sell our kidneys now because we had to drink so much to get over the whole thing.

Other things that have died: my bike (Glinda) and my computer. Glinda has Back Wheel Disease, which means that no matter how many times you replace the back wheel inner tube she gets a puncture almost immediately. The thing about Back Wheel Disease is that nobody can work out the cause. Not me (technique: look at wheel, prod wheel, say "um"), not Ben (technique: take bike apart, prod, poke and scrutinize all parts), not numerous bike mechanics (technique: unknown, possibly involving smoking rollies and smearing hands and face in oil). It is a mystery, but one that is making me pay for buses and taking away the only form of exercise I get, unless loathing fellow passengers has some kind of aerobic value. My computer just inexplicably packed in. It isn't that old (although it is for a computer, I suppose). I haven't taken it to the shop where the clever computer people live yet as I know they will say HA HA YOU HAVE TO BUY A NEW ONE, IDIOT, and I will cry and offer them body parts which they will of course turn down. "Eye for an iMac?" I will beg, at which point they will kick me in the face, probably quite rightly.

So, poverty-stricken and catless, we enter this new year. Maybe I will blog more often about my devilishly exciting life, more likely I won't. Actually this is how most of my New Year's Resolutions always go. Maybe I will get really fit and be exceptionally attractive this year! Most likely I won't. Maybe I will save all my meagre earnings! Most likely I will fritter them away on pointless, unattractive things like food and shelter. Maybe I will write more songs! Most likely I will keep performing the same ones and hate them all. Maybe I will be more assertive with my resolutions, so as to instill some willpower and force myself into a glorious state of betterment and success! Most likely I will continue on in the same desultory way, reading and re-reading the same books, looking and thinking the same, until I die of Back Wheel Disease while being pawed by an oily bike mechanic with a rolled cigarette drooping from the corner of his mouth.

I did have my hair cut, though! So my 2011 promises to be much like my 2010, with the added pleasure of looking like an over-developed twelve-year old. Hurray! Happy New Year.