This Would Be More Glamorous If I Lived In New York City.

jones

I have a friend who is incredibly astute.

“That’s the problem with being female in a big city,” she said recently. “You’re always either hunting for an apartment, a job, or a guy”.

Living in London is like living in the worst video game ever. You can’t pause, you don’t get a second chance, and you never die. Just you, and eight million other freaks, aimlessly wandering this damp shitfest of a conurbation, where the default setting is autonomic hyperactivity so high, there’s no way a discreet smile can be interpreted as anything other than life-menacing.

I didn’t realise they decorate the hamster wheel of compartmental destitution for Christmas. They do. In the really fucked up way that makes a rodent really excited, because the bars of his cage got a fresh lick of paint. Hey! You! Don’t be hoodwinked into toying with notions that your pathetic existence is meaningless and vapid. Look at all the things we have to offer! You can pay for your ride through tunnels of dust contactlessly. You get nectar points. Everything you drink is about to taste a hundred times better, because WE JUST STARTED POURING STUFF INTO CUPS THAT ARE RED!

The world also just got infinitely more exciting because Samsung have brought out a “notebook” that spontaneously combusts as its way of telling you it’s fully charged. I can’t sue for identity theft here, but dude.

I’m a writer.

We have two tools we can exclusively call our own. Notebooks and pens. We’ve been around for thousands of years. Ten minutes, you’ve been on the scene, and you’ve already violated the very elements that constitute us. Just behind “photographer”, everyone is (of course) now also a “writer”. I see them, polluting my headspace with their toffee nut proletariat, while I cling mercilessly on to my one remaining pleasure. Writing on 22×7 squared Clairefontaine notebooks with a brushed vellum paper weight of 90g/m².

Now I’m both angry and sad, because the fancy pink grapefruit I bought to cheer myself up was rubbish, and the £500 Waitrose are promising I can win in return for feedback is a sad lie. My postcode is too bourgeois.

 

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If the 80’s are in again, does that mean cringing is acceptable?

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I’ve decided to write a book on bravery in the chicken pen.

Mr Cluck Doesn’t Give A Fuck.

If you feel it infringes on animal rights, you’ll probably want additional ammo with which to load your hate gun.

Which I can take.

And you can suck.

I’ve already written cages and cages.

Next Stop, Deutsche Bank.

nextstop

If recent posts are doing a poor job sequestering my love for all things infantile, fine. This is my pram, these are my toys, and I’ll throw them how I choose.

In a world where little boys sit in glass-wrapped offices and rest their Helmut Lang elbows on mahogany desks, I’m calling bullshit. Why?

Because I am a lady who rides the bus. And when some clown freezes the Jubilee Line because retrieving his smartphone from the tracks seemed a “better idea between trains”, Canary Wharf also rides the bus.

The bus is an interesting place. Seat margins replace profits, Tartine et Chocolat gives Tom Ford the middle finger, and there is no UberSelect. It’s called “I put my coat there first”. For all the billions these heavyweights net in their high-rises, I’ve yet to see one of these fuckers come up with a counter-argument for the twelve year-old who was “sitting there first”.

And that is because the bus is the rail replacement service to childhood.

Everyone pushes to get on.

Everyone wants to sit by the window/at the back/on the convex bit that’s cool because it’s above the wheel.

No-one argues with the driver.

Shoving? He’ll call you on it. Press the bell when the sign clearly says someone already did? He’ll call you on it. And just like at school, if you’re the victim of bullying, eyes on the road, didn’t see a damn thing.

Food gets more interesting here, too. Fast food joints on the street won’t even register on your radar. But when that nurse pulls out a congealed tray of cold noodles? Noodles are the greatest thing CREATED EVER.

The older get priority seating.

They should get priority boarding, but no-one gives a shit.

Nobody should be littering. Everyone still does.

Someone always misses their stop. There is one acceptable reaction to this. Man the fuck up, and shrug it off.

If you’re on your way to an interview and on a bus, you’re probably not going to make it. To the interview, and you know, in life, generally. Still, retain what Google told you. Look like you’ve got it together. Sound like you’ve got it together.  Make eye contact.

Except on the bus.

If you happen to be on the phone (which I believe these gargantuan office transactions at some point require), make sure everyone can hear you. No, louder. We like having our own little world hijacked by why you will or won’t be turning up to dinner, broken down into microscopic detail, then blasted through a megaphone. Make sure to repeat yourself. They might not have heard you the first time.

Make sure to begin your call with “hi, it’s me”.

No. Better. Leave it in a voicemail.

My popularity-guaranteed life coach services are available seven days a week. Except when I’m on the phone.

France never issued me with a birth certificate, so here is an approximate version of mine.

bc

I dislike how large corporations have ruined my ability to ever name my child Helvetica. That, and gentle nudges by friends who get I come titrated with just the right amount of quirk but on the whole remain sensationally dumb. It also appears naming your child after a font could prove problematic, regardless of the high yield it might generate.

And because names have connotations, but mostly because children use playgrounds as hosting venues for showing character being mean, we (the small population that think ahead) have to adjust to this ever-evolving carousel that claims to have tackled everything from gender to body shaming and yet, when I ask my friend’s six year-old why everyone hates Augustus Gloop, it’s still mostly because he’s fat.

Now I have a solidly starved child on the agenda, I still don’t have a name for it. And the more enter my head, the more I veto.

It feels noteworthy to mention attempting to alphabetise this list is literally the most technologically advanced task I’ve performed in a while. But stretching it to sub-categories seemed too much effort, so congratulations, baby.  You don’t know it yet, but your mother is both judgemental and lazy although that could well work in your favour as once she’s deemed you too pudgy, turns out she also can’t be fucked to feed you.

Also, knowing I’m too middle class to ever have enough children to fill this list makes me kind of sad.

Since a vanity license plate of A5HHLEY just drove past me, no. Ashley leaves a trail of drama and frappuccinos in her wake which now also rules out Martha because goddamnit, I will not raise a child whose destiny is clearing up milkshake splatter for £8.20 an hour. Also, Martha is always somewhere around fifty and I’m not ageist but.

Megan is a slut. As is Bree. Roxanne. Holly. Heather. Victoria. Shannon. Kristen. Sherri. Shelly. Amy and your baby face isn’t fooling anyone.

Jessica manipulates. That’s my thing.

Natasha has nice eyebrows but is a bully.

Christina is a non-sentient ectomorph ice queen who hides her parasitic persona by signing her name with hearts over every possible letter. Amanda is cute but dumb. Or both. Alison is a fucking riot but deep down I’d be proud of her because she can hold her liquor and I feel she’d make a good power lifter. Kylie will be a patented name within the next six months and every Connie I know is Chinese.

Sarah is boring. Sara is a bitch. All Joys are sad and all Hopes are failures. I’ll never have a grandchild with an Irene because she lacks sufficient body fat to produce her own offspring and Portia is a toss-up; the grandchild will be happy but not a guaranteed biological relative.

Very little about me is cute so cutesy would fail to be representative of family values. So no Claire. Lucy. Camilla (if I want pot pourri, I can buy it). Cecily (this isn’t 1812). Chloe. Ella. Hazel. Heidi. Lily. Madeleine. Adelaide. Anywhere on a map. Amelie. Annabelle. Avery. Bonnie. Daniella. Emily.

Grace is a fucking whore and Oona isn’t a name, it’s a goddamn emoji.

Every Stephanie I’ve ever met has some kind of personality disorder.

I’m not trashy enough for Skyler but not soignée enough for Agnès. Can’t vouch for what being a MILF is actually like, but being Stacy’s Mom is out and if you didn’t get the reference, fuck you and your new-gen shit. Anything that starts with a z is risky business. Impatience might be hereditary and I had a hard enough time at school waiting for them to get to r.

I remain equally unimpressed with google results on what millenials are calling their kids and further unimpressed that they even have kids at all. Only vaguely acceptable one I see is Milo, but mostly because The Phantom Tollbooth may well be the greatest book ever written and Milo is the perfect amount of inquisitive and normal.

Also, Milo is a boy. Which I hadn’t considered.

I could just have a boy.

Oh, please. Who am I kidding.

Little Girls In Pretty Boxes

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Camden Council wants to reward me for recycling, a law which is already punishable with a penalty fine. For recycling all my cardboard and paper, they’re going to give me vouchers. For local cafes. That sell coffee. In paper cups with cardboard sleeves.

Particularly like that their little scheme involves sending “bin spies” which is cool because I’ve never been to Russia.

Royally gutted finding out the whole recycling process actually consumes more energy than is efficient or good for the planet. The one thing that made me feel really good. And tangibly, not distant, yeah, someone, somewhere down the line now finds their twice-daily 20k hike for water 0.4% less taxing but I’ll only remember I even agreed to it when I check my bank statement.

Actually good.

I don’t donate money to Africa. I haven’t inspected the quality personally, but I get the feeling Sierra Leone’s warlords have enough platinum plating on their M16s to be getting on with. I like to think my vaping adds moisture to flowering plants and also, it helps educate children on how trains used to work. I can’t measure my carbon footprint because carbon isn’t visible and I often just wear socks.

So I’d recycle, which made me feel good (N.B. Camden Council, still do).  And I don’t do things by half.

Tins are for amateurs. The real pros can spend a solid five minutes evaluating which parts of the soup container are really truly recyclable and which are purely there to fuck with your head because yes, it’s plastic but not that kind of plastic. Thought you were gonna hoodwink me, there? THINK AGAIN, MY FRIEND!

I know your lids like the back of my expert goddamn hands. I see your semi-permeable membranes of witchery and I will not be fooled. And though there are so very many other things I could be doing with my five minutes, I’m happy to be your green bin bitch because not only did I get soup, I got dopamine for being such a good girl.

I think they also offer vouchers for independent stores. Who probably sell soup.

This will never end.

Oh. Right.

I couldn’t find a picture of a recycling bin that wasn’t either weeping with McDonald’s overflow or so achingly patronising, it made Lucky’s cumulative 40k water trek seem comparatively dignified, so here’s a picture of mummy and baby elephant. They have a forthright march because they’re off to the sustainably sourced dump.

 

Well, The A41 Has Two Lanes Closed And There’s No Tube. Guess We Could Take The Replacement Bus Service?

r66

Why is there no remotely approaching cool equivalent of American sub-culture in this country? What, we don’t eat enough Yakult?

Not that I don’t harbour a genuine adoration for the Britpop era that shaped whatever it was I was doing in my teens, but while our ears were all taken care of, I’m not gonna count unshaven dented lager can and acid-wash as an excuse for not washing at all as culture injection. You had it good, America. Black denim and chrome to the bone, devils that made it all the way to Georgia, fuck it. You didn’t stay in Compton, you made it out.

Ok, so your restaurant culture is a joke. If the origin of the word “entree” really is so subtle, your conclusion could only be that it’s definitely the second course, then you’re dumb fucks and so are your “appetizers”. (Perhaps I’m being harsh. This is after all the country that when it comes to horse riding, has to specify which part of the horse it’s riding). But you have mac and cheese at your KFC and even though no-one in their right mind goes to a fried chicken shop for pasta, it sounds nice.

Kid Rock heads out West. So he slightly by-passes the rodeo because if you’re Kid Rock, “West” is the Playboy Mansion, but we head west, we’re in Bristol. There’s a castle there and probably a river, but I bet the KFC’s shit.

You have honkytonks that serve moonshine. We have old man pub that smells of carpet and serves black crap in a pint. And we like it?

You have proper biker culture. All out. Prison gang, tattoo-branding, fuck the helmets, you want loose cannon? Bitch, guns are legal, here. Yeah, the open road, hair in the wind, sun looks good on chrome, doesn’t it? Yes. For the two whole days per annum we get of that. But it’s all cool, man. We can group out and fuck shit up all the way from Midsomer Norton to Chewton Mendip. Stop for a tea break and a slice of Victoria Sponge and then, fuck it, it’ll be dark by then. Best pack umbrellas and get the bus back.

And this is why I need a pick-up truck.

I don’t run for charity or challenge myself with ice, but if you’re feeling generous, a Dodge Ram or Ford F450 will do just fine. Just leave it in front of the door.

I’d come to you, but I still have a bit of a tan from the summer and well, that clown “running your country” might not let me in.

Breaking Bad

brush

1989. Three years old. My father had one of those 80s computers with the big slots for floppy disks that weren’t even floppy because the world was so focused on some wall, it’d lost the ability to describe shit. For those of you who don’t remember, the 80s was an embarrassing mess of oversized everything where everyone was fabulous and frizz was something you actually wanted. We were past black and white, not yet at the sepia renaissance, Bill Clinton was warming up for getting laid, a lot, and there was no internet as we now know it, just “R” and “A” because we didn’t really have enough room for RAM.

I’d say 1989 was the year the prodigy began manifesting. Coins in the floppy disk slot. Bread in the CD drive. Again, for those of you whose birth date suggests you can’t possibly be a day over five and yet somehow just turned twenty, fuck you. And you can find your own stupid explanation. It’s called Google.

Not your conventional gift, breaking shit, but then again, no-one breaks shit quite like me. If you’re not quite following me, I’m the kind of girl who breaks the anti-breaking device. And I started early. See the picture below? 1990. Aged four. School trip. Those cool swirly sunglasses everyone is wearing? They were purchased ten minutes before the photo was taken. Three guesses which kid I am and why I’m the only one not rocking shades.

deauville

I should clarify. This ‘gift’ that is breaking stuff is about as heavy duty as the cases I have to purchase to protect everything I own. Actually, scratch that (literally). It goes as far as vetoing purchasing most things people own because I’ve learned buying shit you’ll break within a day does not constitute proper ownership.

This isn’t some kind of metaphor for commitment issues. I’m fully committed.

To breaking.

Examples of things I do not own because I cannot:

A watch. I wanted one badly, so a close friend ran a beta on me with the most child-friendly piece of canvas-strapped plastic crap Swatch could come up with. Lasted thirteen days.

Proper bracelets. I’ve sort of hacked this one to hoodwink people into thinking I’m sophisticated and stylish because pearls themselves? Sophisticated as fuck. Then everything kind of deflates because you’ve really got to grasp a lot of straws to find the sophisticated in elasticated pearls. So as it stands, no upgrade until I am responsible enough to own a set of four in a row that aren’t now two because someone broke the adjoining string.

Sometimes I wonder what Microsoft would make of me, just stuck in a giant room “testing” shit. For the record, this occurred in totally accidental circumstances in the incident now known as “this is why we don’t leave her alone in a lab at MIT”. Or maybe they anticipated my arrival on earth so got all their biggest guys together, sat them down and that is why we don’t have Microhard.

Unless twitching your nose counts as moving, this is me, near-motionless.

The air around me moves, phone falls on floor. Bend down to pick up phone. Drop vape. Which is useful for making decisions in seconds that some people can easily agonise over for weeks. Like purchasing a Lenovo Thinkpad Edge purely on the basis that it underwent military-grade shock testing. If that shit can survive Baghdad, it can survive me.

It did not.

So in the spirit of being a girl and having wishlists, fuck Rick Owens jackets and all the beautiful things Lagerfeld has come up with for yet another season- see what I did, there? Passive aggressive plugging, too. Yup, I’m a proper girl. I’m going full practical, here. In memoriam of all those that died and will die, we’re looking at:

Microwaves (on my fourth), hair clips, glasses (both kinds), laptops/printers/scanners, ice-maker bags, fridges, nail clippers, power steering, routers, the plastic glue to prevent me breaking routers, coffee machines, blenders, jacket zips, all zips, disposable cameras, real cameras,  chip and pin machines, cheese, replacement headphones, cigarettes, anything fragile and wrapped because I’ll get excited and shake it, the internet (I got there first, Kim).

This also times in well with all the self-love blog posts out there, what with us living in a time where everyone is beautiful and flaws are actually assets

I have no flaws.

I did, but I broke them all.

Think I’m exaggerating for clicks? Click this.

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