Anchovies in my pants

July 17, 2012

I buy my pants from the supermarket.

Various reasons. Frugality is up there, but I also retain a kind of front-bottom umbilicus to Twenty Years Ago Me, who regarded lingerie as an entry-level join-point for the forces of subjection (handmaiden: Spandex®). It’s a truth I stand by now – though for sure my capacity for outrage can be measured in inverse proportion to my need to look better semi-naked without surgery.

To which end I’ve been buying better bras – though that in itself is a tortured mission. I really, really don’t want a breasty spongiform carapace, but it’s hard to find anything that’s just bra, with no added porn. I want uplift, without Zelda. It’s really hard to find.

Meanwhile my pants purchase events occur every 6 months or so at Sainsbury’s. I’m prepared to splash out on an upper-body cantilever, but lower-body containment isn’t on my radar: there’s honestly no way I’m going to pay ten quid for a pair of matchy-pants that only the ambulance-man will see. For my abdo-pant requirements (special occasions only) I will continue to patronise Mssrs Spanx. For everyday, I’m happy with supermarket knicks, thanks; I wouldn’t be with OH if I thought he wouldn’t like me in own-brand (big) pants.

Thus it was (Telegraph style-guide bingo players, score 10 points) that I came to be in my kitchen at 9pm, unpacking my late-night shop and clearing the detritus of another working-day. Out of bin-bags – arses, another thing I forgot to buy. Not to worry, here’s an empty Sainsbos carrier I can use as a temporary bin. Let’s put it next to the other Sainsbos carrier containing the pants. (Child-related distraction) now let’s scrape this almost-full but very out-of-date tin of anchovies, rejected for the supper I’m simultaneously preparing, into the temporary bin-bag carrier. The one right next to the identical pant-containing one.

Now let’s wait a couple of weeks. Let’s watch helpful OH, following my massive oversleep, rifle through my Big Box of Pants to help me get dressed quick-sticks . Let’s see him retching as he scratches the snail-trails of oil and shrivelled, teeny-weeny dried fish bodies from his helpful hands, like a man whose wife has anchovies in her pants. Let’s see how he likes me now.

The protocol is that one ends a blog with an invitation to readers to share similar experiences. I’d like to see you bloody try.

Her Vadgesty

June 15, 2012

For those who haven’t been following the Fouffe-off®, here’s the context: Michigan state rep. Lisa Brown, apropos of yet another legislative attempt to reduce a woman’s capacity to choose how to deal with things which take place inside her body, told the  Michigan State House chamber that she was glad they were “so interested in her vagina”.

She was subsequently barred from speaking – am bit vague on details  and legislative context – but suffice to say she was penalized for using the word ‘vagina’.

Assuming you’re here via Twitter (and not because you searched ‘VADGESTY’, ‘Fouffe-off®’, or ‘vajayjay’), I think you and I understand why this is an issue. If you don’t, @naomi_mc expresses it perfectly here. In the meantime, I propose Lisa Brown for the position ‘Her Vagesty’. All in favour, say ‘let’s move in to the 21st century’.

Two other things pertaining:

First of all:
Citizens represented by the senator were denied democracy because their representative said a word out loud  Come in, @indexoncensorship.

Second of all (and admittedly tangential, but I thought of it today and I’m in charge of how issues are collated):

There’s a contradiction at the heart of Right libertarian thinking about abortion which isn’t being fully being exploited. In theory, the gun lobby should be #choice’s friend.
Get the government out of my life wrt the right to bear arms(the logical corollary being ‘the right not to bear arms’)
Get the government out of my life wrt the right to bear children (the logical corollary..)

Smartrarses, tell me if I’m wrong in the comments.

Finally — if you’re talking about the public-facing end – it’s VULVA.  Not vagina. I don’t know why we all have a problem with that word, other than the volvo thing.

PLUS I dare you to say vagina or vulva over the weekend, to someone who isn’t your other half. Most vulva-clenching example wins one of my old books with a personal message scratched into the curry stain.

If you are a provider of feminine protection products and would like to license ‘Fouffe-Off’ click here

The Sound of Horror

October 31, 2011

Hey kids. Want to hear the sound of true horror on Hallowee’en?

First take your pumpkin. Choose your pumpkin with care – for example, it can’t be the first pumpkin you bought, because you’ll have left that at Sainsbury’s checkout when you were doing that way-ahead-of-the-game thing last weekend.

So take the second pumpkin – the scabby one that you bought at 5.03pm today. You’ve got ten mins before pickup-time. You’ll need to find the one knife in the drawer that cuts things.

YES it’s never going to be what you’d be carving if you’d been brave enough to develop an ounce of real creativity in your twenties, instead of crying in Soho and generally pursuing (possibly overtaking) the dysfunction train.

But that’s okay: MOVE ON. The kids are going to love this one; if this weren’t a key element in their happy ‘kin Halloween then you wouldn’t have gone back for mank-o-pumpkin in the first place.

And actually, it’s really looking pre-e-tty good. It gestures towards (but undercuts) the obvious pop culture references, without over-reaching. The irony is light-touch; and it’s not impossible, around these East London parts, that its nods to vintage Argento will be remarked upon.

When you hear your iphone go in the other room, and scramble to answer, you’ll have 2 – 3 seconds of actual real-life slomo as you note, switchback towards, and fail to catch the pumpkin rolling from the worktop. The dull plosive thud as it meets the floor is… well, it’s the sound of horror, as any sfx person will tell you.

August 25, 2011

Apple looms large in Twitter’s collective brain; I reckon 75% of the people I know there and on Google+ are Macheads. Today’s news – Steve Jobs steps down due to what is probably terminal illness <grim pun face> – makes me sad, because he’s a person with a family, facing really bad things.

But this whole business around The Succession – remember this has been going on for at least 3 years – reminds me that my relationship with Apple has always been mildly dysfunctional. Apple is an exercise in making people sell things to themselves, and there’s something about the way that brand tries to be a brand without being, like, “a brand” that makes me want to cry.  Here’s a piece I wrote a few months ago but which, for various reasons <discreet>, didn’t get published.

Apple Compound: You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave

So Apple’s unveiled its plans for a super-duper new HQ. The building, Steve Jobs told a meeting of the Cupertino planning committee in one of his trademark this-is-where-you-all-do-wild-applause presentations, will house up to 12,000 employees on a humongous 150-acre site that Apple bought from HP earlier this year.

There will be trees, lots and lots of trees –  and it’s got its own power-plant! And look, it’s in the shape of a giant circle – could there be a more yingy-yangy metaphor? A gathering of 12,000 like-minded souls in a nurturing-of-innovation environment which expresses its egalitarian drive to functional creativity through its circular form? Who the heck wouldn’t want to be a part of that?

Damn, I want to believe, I really do. But I can’t shake the feeling that, instead of being the architectural expression of Apple’s boundless energy and optimism, the building looks an awful lot like the bricks-and-mortar embodiment of their customers’ journey of disillusion.

Let’s unpack the allegory! You approach the building through that gorgeous landscaping. It’s minimal, but simultaneously really, you know, organic.
Through the sliding doors: boy, this first space is startlingly well-composed, so light and airy – it’s like no-one’s ever got the relationship between humans and buildings before!

Onto the next section. Hmm, the layout means you’ll have to make some awkward adjustments to your workflow – but still, in comparison with the last place you were at (a collection of ugly silos) it’s pretty cool! And look – the next space just along from here is just perfect.

And on, and on, as you move round Apple’s circular compound; alternately, spaces you love, and spaces with flaws so fundamental that, if it weren’t for the fact that you’ve already told all your friends that this place rocks some serious awe, you’d consider hurling yourself through one of those giant plate glass windows. Damn, the air-con is on the fritz again.

Back at the start of the circle: instead of exiting as you intended, you somehow find yourself herded, with a host of other souls, towards the up-escalator (there doesn’t seem to be a downwards one). Onwards you sail, up to Level iCloud, where, you finally understand, you will be locked for the rest of eternity. Going round, and round, and round.

Twitter’s just changed the rules on DMs. Used to be, you could only DM someone who was following you. This seemed sensible, and pretty good proof against the kind of nutsoid stalking which makes you feel that the perp is right now ringing your front doorbell, and will shortly get down on hands and knees to screech your name through your actual letterbox, leaving it smeared with mascara tears and spittle.  This kind of stalkiness can make you feel all upset and vulnerable, even though you know it’s just the internet; and I suspect that goes for slebs with vast followings, as well as we normals.

So this latest move, which allows any old body to DM any verified account, seems, you know, counterintuitive. Truth be told, celebrities, whether high or low of brow, are the glue which bind us to Twitter. Stands to reason that the higher the follower count, the bigger the cohort of crazies that follow, and the more stuffed to the gills your email is going to be with ‘Message from Twitter: A. Dangerous-Loner sent you a direct message.’   And, oh look, here’s Google+, with its novel capacity to control and contain what you give and receive, through the medium of circles. Smells like a celebrity exodus (I call it a ‘celebrexodus’, for the snap of it; and I’d like you to join me in that).

Twitter, though, is probably not anxiously wringing its hankie.  Because brands, who also have verified accounts, would like customers to have the means to make complaints a bit less loudly and publicly. They’d really like that, because this social media thing can get awkward quite quickly, and their jaws are already all ache-y with smiling and pretending to chillax.  And Twitter is betting, probably quite sensibly, that its future lies with brands.

It’s all here

If Steve Jobs’s emotion-receptors hadn’t been decommissioned during his last upgrade, he’d doubtless have been experiencing crushing embarrassment this week, after it emerged that the new iPhone 4 – whose launch had attracted the kind of wild hyperbole usually reserved for…well, every other Apple launch – stops working if you look at it a bit funny.

Read more writing at eModeration blog.


June 28, 2010

Hello again.  Here is a piece I wrote for Labour Uncut about the grimness that was my presence in the audience of Face The Audience! with Nick Clegg and David Cameron.

The wedge sandals were really the only good thing to come out of that day.

is here, folks.  In case, by some extraordinary misfortune, you missed it.

There were lots of comments, and a surprising number of them weren’t mad.

I like to write in a smartarse stylee. It’s where I feel most comfortable. Facetiousness is my friend.

To be frank, my world would pretty much have to go tsunami before I’d let go of the bobbing raft of superficiality, and go it alone in the deep and scary seas of really-meaning-it.

But the fact that the LibCon Coalition’s first thrust, in the icky matter of How To Deal With Women,  has been to bestow the right of anonymity on those accused of rape? Truly, you are shitting me.

The reason that rape victims have historically been protected by anonymity is that pretty much every culture and every class has a structural inclination to believe that women ‘ask for it’ .

This is such a self-evident truth that women have been protected IN LAW (that’s quite hard to organize, by the way) from the contempt of their own communities. They’ve been acknowledged to be at such a disadvantage in terms of how this crime is prosecuted, that they’ve been set apart from the victims of every other crime. In law.

Scuttling around the damp edges of culture, in the nooks and crannies of libertarian respectability, are those who say “NO FAIR! Despite the fact that any reasonable person would look at the rape conviction stats and cry, or hang their head in shame and fear and despair – I WANT PARITY!”

I despise these people. They’re not only misogynists, they are thick misogynists, and thick misogynists are on page 1 of my Big Book of Tossers.

Rape victims aren’t being treated differently from rape defendants, you dumbarse. They’re being treated differently from the victims of other types of crime. The law has said “Is there a difference between a complainant of rape and those who allege other types of crime?” and thought “Yes, actually, there is. For the cultural and social reasons delineated above, we need to give a special Shield of Justice to rape victims – because god knows, looking at the stats, they freakin’  need it.”

This shameful legislation says “Ah come now. Women lie about rape – all the time! So often, that the law must protect rape defendants MORE than they protect any other type of defendant.” This proposal says WOMEN LIE ABOUT RAPE, WE ALL KNOW THAT.

For. Crying. Out. Loud.