Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Temporary absenteism

I know. I am remiss. But I have a new mistress in the form of Facebook.

I will be back once I am bored of collecting friends in a frenzy of competitiveness. Just try it. When you spot one of your friends has in excess of 60 people who they are 'friends' with in the London network you feel this overwheaming need to go out and collect some more - your paltry 37 is no longer enough. I doesn't matter - even if.. you don't actually like them. Given I've never yet had that moment of pride where my phone's memory has filled up with numbers I guess I haven't got a chance against the rampaging friend greed that I see amongst some of my Facebook pals.

And I now feel the distressing need to update my status 3 times a day. Rachael is... Rachael is what? Mostly Rachael is clearly wasting her time on Facebook. But that gets dull after a while so you find yourself making statements like 'Rachael is.. feeling as rancid as a fetid dingo's kidney' (is it the kidney or the dingo that's fetid though?) or 'Rachael is surprisingly perky' (that's today's by the way). Most mindless of all? 'Rachael is trying to think of something to put in her status'.

So who cares? Certainly not my measly 37 *ahem* 'friends' that I've collected.

And still I wonder. When will I have something interesting to say? I suppose I will be back when I do.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

What a show off...

So, I went to the premiere of History Boys last night.

This is obviously because I’m (s)wankier than I look. And I’m clearly blogging about it because I’m just a little tiny bit up my own arse. But goddamnit, I wore a surprisingly elegant little black Reiss dress (it’s not surprising that Reiss do elegant dresses you understand – it’s surprising that I wore something elegant), proper grown up shoes with enormously high heels and I even accessorised – definitely a first for me. So frankly I think the blisters that resulted* give me the right to show off just a bit.

Anyway, it was a somewhat special premiere – because for once I didn’t slope up the red carpet sheepishly (in my more usual jeans and trainers) while pointing and laughing at last season’s Big Brother losers and playing one of my favourite games - trying to work out whether those skinny teens in the tiny weeny dresses who are clutching the arms of said BB rejects are expensive whores or just kids’ TV presenters who like their makeup a bit too much.

And the reason they weren’t there for me to mock?

Because the film is actually too good for them. It’s bright, it’s witty and I can see instantly why Alan Bennett’s script was such a roaring success in the theatre. Now this does mean that the occasional aside or delivery (from the original theatre cast) isn’t quite suited to film. But once you let that triviality go it’s great.

My favourite scene has got to be one of the play-lets within a play – all in French – and all in the subjunctive.

And what pleases me most about this scene? Apart from the fact that it’s genuinely very funny?

It’s the fact that despite heavily insistent pressure from LA box office junkies, Fox Searchlight point-blank refused to subtitle the dialogue. They’ve assumed that the viewer is intelligent enough to comprehend this schoolboy French (now do you get why the Big Brother crowd weren’t there?). And the flattery works for me. Pander to my intellectual ego. Please. Since the world (or Hollywood as some people call it) discovered Banksy I haven’t felt all that reassured that I’m a cut above the ready meal eating reality TV watcher. I’ve lost that smugness that comes from knowing that Lord Peter Wimsey’s proposal to Harriet is all the more romantic for the fact that the tense he uses (in Latin) presumes that the answer will be ‘no’. So, personally, I love the fact that this film, with its esoteric quotations, its intellectually superior 6th formers and its resounding lovie-ness is aimed right at me.

Who needs a chick-flick for feel good factor? I’m ready to make my third attempt at Satanic Verses I feel so intellectually up to it…

*Top Tuesday Tip: Scholl’s “Party Feet” don’t, in actual fact, work.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

One moment caller..

Well.. just look at that - my attention span clearly is limited.

Please bear with me caller. Work has a horrible habit of getting in the way of pontification - even in my industry (where it's so valued).

Normal service will resume soon.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The wine and fags probably tell a bigger story at this point…

The need to breed

One fine evening (not so long ago), myself and a couple of friends, whilst quaffing white wine spritzers, found ourselves talking about the biological clock. Admittedly we didn’t leap straight in there – with genteel decorum we covered off some of our more disastrous relationships, cackled quite a bit, quaffed a few more spritzers and had a significant work-related bitch before we launched right in. Nevertheless, it is fairly disturbing to me that this is the second time in about a year I have found myself in a fairly in-depth conversation that leads me to wonder whether or not I should feel the need to contribute towards the gene pool.

Understand this. I have had, for the majority of my life, absolutely no intention of breeding. Ever. Not at all. Not even if I had the last fertile womb space up for grabs on the planet. The prospect of pregnancy has always been on a par with that scene in Aliens for me, and frankly I am way too selfish to be able to envision spending my hard earned pennies on a creature that won’t be having a decent conversation with me for nigh on 30 years.

So I have spent a significant proportion of my life avoiding babies. Furtively edging away when that maternity-leave friend comes back into the office with their offspring to the coos and delight of what appears to be every other female in the building. Looking alarmed when the cousin (the one you used to climb trees with and ordered around mercilessly) enters the family event with a gaggle of toddlers in tow (Surely they can’t all be hers? She’s only about 20 isn’t she?) I usually bolt out to the kitchen and go as far as offering to wash up in order to avoid the inevitable ‘Would you like to hold her?’. Because generally speaking – No. I wouldn’t.

But here’s the bit that seems to have confused me. In my last relationship, I almost got as far as wondering about it. I started to look at other peoples' babies and think that they were ‘kind of OK’. Indeed, shortly after my abrupt exit from said relationship, the above picture was taken [NB I seem to be unable to upload again. Will try in a separate post] and while I may claim that it was only the 3 glasses of wine that got me there, I’d be lying. That baby is lovely. She’s absolutely gorgeous. I liked holding her. You can tell from the picture – I’m smiling for heaven’s sake. And I’m just going to edge away from that thought before I start coo-ing again.

Now I occupy an undisclosed area of my early thirties, so do some of my friends. Some of my friends are older than this. And there’s a whole bunch of scenarios that they are facing..

Couple number 1:
Never wanted children. Travel the world, spend their money on themselves. Are still totally and utterly in love. But now she’s reaching late thirties she’s wondered.. Does she want kids? He’s OK. He can change his mind pretty much any time.. but can she?

Couple number 2:
She never wanted children. He always did. On marrying she agreed that if he wanted them she’d have them. But post marriage it looks like he’s the one with cold feet – and he’s the one putting it off. Which is all fine with her – except (again) she’s beginning to bump into the next ‘which age bracket are you’ tick box.

Couple number 3:
She split up with a younger man that she loved passionately – because he couldn’t commit to the fact that he would ever want children – he certainly didn’t want them now. So now she’s with someone she doesn’t really love (don’t get me wrong – they’re happy – she’s just not in that earth moving territory) and a year and a half on she’s the one putting off having the kids. And she’s wondering – would she have been better off just going with the love thing and missing out on the kids?

Couple number 4:
She always wanted kids. But she’s got a second time round man who’s already got them and doesn’t want more. And she’s come to feel fine with that – because she went with the being in love thing. You’ve just got to wonder – in ten years’ time – will she still feel the same way?

And me:
Single. So apparently not facing this dilemma at all. Surely I can easily fall back into those old patterns of child avoidance. But the worry is that given my recent (and radical for me) shift from ‘keep it away from me’ to ‘Awwww, she’s lovely [insert cooing] but it’s only your baby I like’, is there an indication that I am also subject to the tick tick boom syndrome? What do I do if one fine day, three years from now I wake up with an uncontrollable urge to procreate – and no partner to oblige?

There’s no obvious answer to this one. Except to assume, from the couples that I know and the decisions that they’ve made, that my choice to remain without child isn’t actually a fixed thing. That it’s going to be dependent on the man that I meet and the priorities that we have. As a couple. Not just as individuals. And to hope that, wherever that takes me – nappies or Napa valley, I’ll be happy with it.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Feminist tells us to 'Just fake it'

Fay Weldon...

Yikes. Whilst avoiding doing anything approaching revision* this weekend I went into a frenzy of newspaper reading. This, you understand, is guilt free work avoidance. Keeping abreast of the world being any person's moral duty. Admittedly this probably doesn't cover the News of the World, the National Enquirer or Heat magazine, which were also consumed avidly alongside the Times, the Observer and the Guardian (my my how many assumptions are being made about me now?!) but I do feel this gives me a more rounded view of the world from lots of different perspectives (ahem). Besides, there was more chance of me being able to finish their crosswords.

Anyway, the 'Yikes' of the opening paragraph refers to the astonishing news (Observer 3/9) that Fay Weldon, bastion of feminism, has instructed us that we should 'fake it' in her latest novel 'What makes women happy?'.

It's quite a surprise. For years now, I've fretted about the fact that I do, in fact, fake it. Quite often as it happens. And I thought I was wrong to do it. Each time I imagined hearing a choir of feminists (along with Cosmo magazine) screeching at me that I shouldn't. That I was letting down the side. Which, to be fair to me, is probably enough to put any woman off her stride.

But in all seriousness, years of women's mags had made me believe that I was supposed to be a writhing mass of multiple orgasms. That any sexual encounter that doesn't end in mind blowing choirs of angels and a wobbly earth is frankly a bit of a failure. And that in the unlikely event that I’m not in a state of convulsions when I get round to the post coital cigarette, that I should be making my partner’s night as bad as mine – by letting him know that he’s just failed to satisfy me.

Something stops me. It’s not just that prudish streak that makes talking about sex something quite uncomfortable for me or even those hammered in good manners that make me apologise to people who walk straight into me. It’s the fact that even without the orgasm I like sex. I like the feeling of someone else losing control over me. And if my apparent loss of control is going to speed that up, make their experience more exciting.. then why the hell not?
Deep down I don’t see a problem with this. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe I should have been listening to those feminists and not pandering to the male ego. But now Fay Weldon has backed me up I feel a huge sense of release (no pun intended). I can get on with enjoying sex, put on my performance and relax. The quickest route to not having to fake if the women’s mags are right.

Meanwhile I leave you with the Observer’s collection of feminist quotes to think about.

‘In a patriarchal society all heterosexual intercourse is rape because women, as a group, are not strong enough to give meaningful consent’ Catherine MacKinnon, author.

‘People call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat or a prostitute’ Rebecca West.

‘When a woman reaches orgasm with a man she is only collaborating with the patriarchal system, eroticizing her own oppression’ Sheila Jeffries

‘A good part – and definitely the most fun part – of being a feminist is about frightening men’ Julie Burchill.

And you can find the article here http://books.guardian.co.uk/news/articles/0,,1863834,00.html

Again with the ‘Yikes’.

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*I’m supposed to be doing exams in a week. I’m still not sure why. Something to do with the mediocrity of that career I would imagine.

Friday, September 01, 2006

What's in your shopping basket?

Cocaine. Or as I like to call it: methyl 3-benzoyloxy-8-methyl-8-azabicyclo [3.2.1]octane-4-carboxylate

A purloined topic for the day today. Yes it’s shocking, I know. Even more outrageous is that this particular pontification is stolen from the ex. But it’s a goodish topic to rant on and given I entirely failed to come out of the relationship having appropriated a cashmere jumper or two from his wardrobe, I feel I do at least have the right to nick his point of view.

And here it is.. cocaine is bad and people are hypocrites.

So first up – cocaine is bad. Now I’m not talking about those well known symptoms of ‘Oops, where did my septum go?’, ‘Who took my bank balance away?’, ‘Why can’t I have a normal relationship?’ Or even my personal favourite of ‘Why are people looking so very bored when I’m talking about something that’s really really interesting?’.

I’m actually talking about cocaine as a trade… whole villages in South America addicted to the side products of cocaine manufacture. Unable to work at anything else and stuck in that poverty/addiction trap that those rather charming drug barons so kindly introduced them to at the tender age of 7 when they really should have been whining over their maths homework. If only the village had a school. Those same drug barons that hang out in the south of France on yacht number 3.

And then second up - people are hypocrites. This is the bit that really gets to me. I work in an industry where, as people would assume, cocaine usage is pretty prevalent. Where clients turn round on car shoots in Budapest and demand that the creative team go out and get them a gram (Yes – I know someone it happened to. Yes the client was a cock. No, he never did get his coke) and I’ve come to notice that these same people - who disappear off to the toilets with monotonous regularity on an agency night out - also buy organic foods because they think they are good for them, because they don’t contain nasty chemicals, because it’s natural. So, how come they happily pollute their bodies with methyl 3-benz.. (oh bollocks to it, I can’t be arsed to type it out again)?

Adding insult to injury, these are the same people who buy free trade coffee and dolphin friendly tuna – they happily pay that extra premium for happy chickens, frolicksome lambs and a longer living Flipper. But bollocks to that 10 year old who’s working 19 hour shifts in a cocaine factory in order to get his next fix.

It’s just wrong, damn it.

And now that the rant is out of my system I’ll get back to pondering whether the gallon of white wine I consumed last night really was the devil’s urine because it certainly feels that way today. At least I know only a few New Zealand grape pickers suffered to make me feel this bad. And thinking about it, while my head may hurt, I’ve still got a firm grip on my nose cartilage…