Sunday, 31 March 2013

Ramblings: Lie to Me


It seems to me that the world is full of false perceptions. I often sit on the bus and see people walking around in skinny jeans who clearly think that their bottom is a lot smaller than it is. They don’t appear to notice that the denim is strained to breaking point and that they look bulbous in all the wrong places. The same goes for the milky blue-white flesh of an unwisely exposed upper arm or the sportswear on a man who’s likely to pass out running for a bus.

I see people wearing thin canvas shoes in the snow and I think they must have a mistaken belief that it looks amazing. It actually looks foolhardy and like they haven’t got the money for something warm and sturdy. I once worked with a woman who seemed to not know that there was a back to her head. The front of her hair was teased upwards and immaculately coiffed and styled but the back was always a shoddy mess of bed rumpled locks. I see plenty of people who just need a kindly soul to tell them where they’re going wrong. I think this rule also applies to men who call themselves “straight-acting” on gay dating sites or who claim to be XXL in the genital area. That’s my experience anyway.

I have skewed perceptions that are perhaps, even odder. My first is that I often think that people are older than me. I can’t seem to get it into my brain that I’m aging and am no longer under 30. I look at people and think of them as middle aged and mature and then have a start as I realise that they’re probably the same age as me or younger. Luckily, I know my limitations and am not inclined towards the Whitney dressed as Britney school of fashion. I know that I’d look like a fool ramming myself into teenage fashions and I steer clear of jeggings at all costs.

My second belief is that I’m shorter than I actually am. I believe that lots of people are taller than me. It’s fine if they’re standing next to me. I’m not so stupid that I can’t see what’s in front of me. It’s more to do with memory. In spite of being six foot tall I remember events as featuring a much shorter me. It doesn’t take Sigmund Freud to calculate that I maybe have a tiny little inferiority complex.

My final skewed perception is one that I share with my people who put themselves out there on reality television. I believe that I can sing like a young Aretha Franklin. Regardless of the fact that people run screaming if I begin to warble and even I can hear the flat drone coming from my mouth, I know deep down that I have the voice of an angel. Perhaps I just need a lesson. It only needs to be a short lesson. Five minutes of coaching, maybe, and you’d be amazed at what I could do.  I’d pack them in at the 02 Arena.

Don’t panic though. I’ll restrict my crooning to the privacy of my own home for now. Your ears are safe.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Ramblings: A Relaxing Journey


I’ve never been very good at relaxation. Lavender makes me edgy, deep breathing makes me hyperventilate and massages make me want to run screaming. I’m not good on beaches or at lying in the sun (too beachy and too hot and sweaty). The only way I really relax is watching a film in the cinema, a play in the theatre or reading at home. Well, there is another way but that involves alcohol or prescription drugs and I’ve learnt over the years that neither of these are my friends any more.

Even day dreaming is hard for me. I’ve just returned from a weekend over at Paul’s house and was travelling back on the bus earlier. Dreary looking snow-bound scenes were bombarding my senses. There’s only so much snow that can look interesting: probably about 5 seconds of it. It’s especially uninteresting in March when it should be getting more Spring-like. I didn’t feel like listening to music or Radio 4 so decided to day dream.

I shut my eyes and tried to relax, managing to get comfortable in the coach seat. I decided to think about a nice warm Italian village, maybe Paul and I wandering round in a narrow sun baked street, nodding amiably to the beautiful people as they walked by and smiled approvingly at our fine attire. The problem is that my mind is full of snow. I’ve seen nothing but snow for 3 days now. I can’t get the snow out of my head.

Attempt two: Paul and I are walking round an Alpine village. The friendly locals nod, smiling, at our stylish tweed coats and we head into a warm cafe. The issue here is that in reality I’m on a bus. It feels like a bus. It moves like a bus. I can’t get beyond this.

Attempt three: I’m on a coach travelling through the Alps on my way to meet Paul. Bollocks. I’m suddenly thinking about skiers. I hate the thought of skiing and all those hearty types. They’d be on the bloody bus with me and would be riling me with their sporty talk and their apr├Ęs-ski fondue and schnapps plans. They’d all be sporting those nasty outdoor padded things. I can’t do this.

Attempt four: I’m on a coach travelling to the Alps to meet Paul and its 1934. The people of 1934 are thoroughly decent, well dressed and keep themselves to themselves. Oh. Hang on: do I really mean 1934? I like the Art Deco elegance but I also like the 50s chic, maybe a bit more. It would be nice to be ferrying a poodle or two on my lap. Poodles were quite hard to come by in the 30’s I think. I like the 40s too and the razor sharp New Look fashions but do I want to be travelling across war torn Europe. Won’t I end up involved in a spy ring or getting assassinated? Also, when were anti-depressants invented? I’d be nowhere without those. How about Valium? I may need it on the holiday if I get too tense about all those mountains and on reflection I don’t think it was invented till the 60s. I’ve never tried Barbiturates but they might do at a push for an extreme stress reaction. I’m pretty sure they were invented then as they were taken a lot in “Valley of the Dolls”. Hold on: when was that book set? I NEED GOOGLE, NOW.

I opened my eyes and scrutinised my fellow passengers instead. That’s always a pleasure. There’s a Polish couple. One man is much older: father and son or lovers? The younger one is balding though so maybe he’s older than he looks and has had work done. A man with a hospital wristband on: He’s either forgotten to take it off, has escaped or is wearing it permanently because he fell in love with a young nurse during an in-patient stay. What about the woman in the hat and big sunglasses: my guess is hung over, secret affair or she’s a celebrity.

You see, my problem is that I have way too much imagination peppered with a heavy dose of pedantry and a sprinkle of pragmatism. I’ll stick to reading for relaxation.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Ramblings: London Bound



I've been totally remiss this year in my blogging after last year's consistent postings. I'm falling back on the old excuse, my dodgy neck. It's still dodgy.

In other non-dodgy neck related news: I'm now much more excited about the impending move to London and start my new job there the first week in June. Cue frantic flat hunting early April onwards. I'm hoping to move down at the end of May with Paul following on at the end of June once he finishes University.

Exciting times. I'm coping with the thought of moving and am confident I can get through the logistical side of this. I'll keep you posted as to any nervous interludes and my success at flat hunting.

Ramblings: The Hirsuit of Happiness


I’m fairly effete and always have been, so the sight of me with a full beard by age 13 was quite an absurd one for all to see. This outward sign of my testosterone fuelled teens seemed like a paradox as I merrily whistled along to Madonna and made up new Shirley Bassey show routines in my head. I always felt that my early puberty was a complete curse and the bane of my life. I wanted to grow up glamorous and fey with a sculpted set of smooth abs, not be a virtual werewolf by 20.

 By the age of 15 I had legs that looked like they’d been carpeted, a fetching golden-red beard and a chest wig worthy of a 1970s porn star. I wouldn’t have minded so much if it had matched. Instead I had blond hair, dark brown chest chair and a ginger beard.

 I was terrible at shaving, always gouging chunks from my face and turning up at sixth form college covered in plasters and dabbing delicately at my face with blood stained tissues like a Victorian hysteric. Often I’d give up on the whole idea, adopting the ideology that if I continually ignored the hair sprouting from every quarter, then it might go away.

 It didn’t go away. I had to choose: depilation and regular shaving or find another way to carry the look off. As I wasn’t prepared to plait my back hair or adopt a Floella Benjamin beaded look, then painful, irritating hair removal was the only option.

 I’ve endured loss of skin through depilatory creams, nicks and rashes, waxing burns and sprains and strains from contorting myself round to reach the tricky bits. A long term partner preferred the hairless look so I spent hours each month painfully erasing every trace of hair growth on my chest and shoulders.

 I experienced an epiphany in recent years as I realised that at my advanced age (let’s just say I’m over 35) I can choose what I like. My preference on a man is for body hair as long as it’s not beyond the pale. I don’t expect any man to present me with a Mexican style handlebar moustache in his trousers. That’s just absurd. I actually find well tended body hair quite attractive.

So, I accept my body for what it is now and that’s that it’s hairy. It comes that way. If I’ve got the time, I trim and prune. Otherwise, I don’t actually care. Now, ear hair and my straggly eyebrows: that’s a whole different matter. That may take another 40 years to come to terms with.