Saturday, January 26, 2013


It's half eight on Saturday night. I have my computer on my lap and a gin and tonic sweating appealingly by my elbow. The radio is on and the rain is firmly on the other side of the window.

I can hear Ben upstairs, moving stuff about and occasionally swearing. He is packing to go to Australia for two months. He leaves tomorrow, swapping the rain on the other side of the window for sunshine that seeps through skin.

He and Dan are performing their fabulous show, Anthropoetry, in Perth and Adelaide at their fringe festivals, then popping over to Melbourne for a bit. I'm offering packing advice on request. "Yeah, one t-shirt's enough for two months", that sort of thing.

Every so often I demand a kiss, or a squeeze of the hand.


12.57pm, last Friday. In the staff room.

"Aren't you just really sad that Ben's going to be away for two months?"

"Yeah, yes, of course."

I stare out of the window, over the flat roof where ice slowly envelops abandoned footballs.

"But it'll be an adventure. I've never lived on my own in Manchester before. It might be fun."

1.58am, last Sunday. The Thistle Hotel, Glasgow.

Swathed in darkness, I lie, starkly awake. We had both drifted off during the film and then snapped awake, suddenly, during an infomercial about knives. It had taken us about six minutes to realize that we were no longer watching the film. We eventually did, and turned it off. Ben's breathing has become sleep deep, his back to me.

I'm at the bottom of a vicious, viscous cold. A snot storm is raging in all my facial cavities. My head's thundering, and the garish, clown-like visions of the infomercial are still echoing behind my eyes. Hallucinogenic faces leer out of my imagination, bearing knives and rictus grins. My heart flutters uncontrollably and, as I open my eyes wide into the blackness, colours dance and stab.

Tears begin to coat my cheeks, mingling with the mucus.

"Please" I whisper hopelessly into the black. "Please don't go. I don't want you to go."

11.40pm, last Sunday. My own bed, Manchester.

I open my notebook to write and a Lockets wrapper drifts out from between the pages. I have Asda own brand vapour rub smeared across the entire lower half of my face and am listening to the sound of my own laboured mouth-breathing. I feel, I reflect, almost the exact opposite of the woman in the Herbal Essences advert.

This time next week it'll just be me.


Every so often I demand a kiss, or a squeeze of the hand. I am trying to store them up. Two months' worth of tenderness, succour and thereness.

It'll be fine, of course. Two months is a tiny amount, of course.

I hope the rain stays on the right side of the window.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Easing Into 2013 Like a Hippo Into a Pool of Jelly

"You can see my front door from here!" I squealed.

Lydia and Lowri peered into the distance.

"And you can see your flat too, Lowri!"

We were standing on a terraced bit at the top of Lydia's new block of flats, even though the many, many signs all told us very clearly that it was "Private Property" and most definitely "Not A Communal Area".

"Oh yes!" said Lowri. "There are the little white lines around its windows."

She squinted affectionately at the red brick monolith for a moment. "Look at its little eyebrows" she added.

Lydia took a thoughtful drag of her cigarette.

"We definitely have to do the yoghurt pots thing. We could easily get string between our three flats. Easily."

We had been drinking coffee at Lydia's and had come out to scout the location for a filmette* we're making for our next Eggs Collective outing to Mother's Ruin Theatrical Spectacular in February. This, we quickly decided, would be perfect, although from a slightly different position you would get B&M Bargains and Moss Side Leisure Centre in the background, which was unanimously agreed to be a good thing.

*definitely not a word

It was bloody freezing up there, though, so we didn't stay long. As we made our way back down the spiral stairs to Lydia's flat we mused on the really important aspect of the performance: what to wear.


I came to a sad but definite conclusion this week: I should not be a Zumba teacher. This has little to do with my general lack of co-ordination/fitness/pep and a lot to do with my unfortunate tendency to go startlingly pink-faced at the merest whiff of cardiovascular activity. Every aerobics lesson I have ill-advisedly stumbled into has contained a bouncy, lycra-ridden instructor wearing some kind of bright pink endeavour. When I wore a bright pink top to a Zumba class last week I very quickly began to lose any t-shirt/face distinction. After a quick scan of the room I swiftly realized I was the only one suffering quite so dramatically from this affliction, even though Lydia was going through her own torment after receiving the wrong answer to the question "do you think there'll be a fag break?".

It's a shame in a way, because I think I would enjoy being a Zumba teacher. As a Zumba teacher you can make whole rooms full of people do absolutely anything you like, including something called "The Rocking Horse" and some very dubious pelvic thrusting to MC Hammer's Hammer Time.

I loved Zumba. Unlike normal aerobics where there is some kind of sadistic insistence on "getting it right", in Zumba you can just leap about and do what you want, as long as you don't get in the way of other leapers too much.

We are going again this week. I might wear a different coloured top.


Ben is going to Australia in a few weeks, touring festivals for two months with his show. Two months!

Two months.

I have a lot to do, and have made lots of plans. I am sort of excited to live on my own in my exciting city, close to friends, with loads of exciting performance and writing stuff in the pipeline. I am picturing myself as a sort of North-of-England, all-singing all-writing Carrie Bradshaw, only hopefully not as much of an unremitting dick.

I'm excited for Ben. I'm excited for me. But I'm also sad for us both, because we like each other lots and I really sense that he thrives on having someone to cook dinner for.


I haven't been blogging because I have felt weird about it. I have been trying to be all Business about it and think of this blog as a Promotional Tool but when I try to write about career stuff here I feel like a massive tool myself, so I think I'll save that stuff for my website (HERE IS MY WEBSITE) and write on here about things that wander through my brain, aimless and bemused as a cow in Primark.


Oh, yeah, and happy new year. May 2013 be your year, you bloody gorgeous winner, you.