Thursday, 28 April 2011

The Trouble with Ms Jones

I am feeling more than a little put out by newspaper columnist Liz Jones, who has taken it upon herself to heap criticism for the second week running in her column, on that ultimate diva Beyonce aka Ms B, about her latest image reinvention, courtesy of a blonde weave.

"I wrote last week about her awful, straight, obviously false blonde hair - which looks even worse in this photograph - taken as she left the Hotel Costes in Paris over Easter.

This hotel is very gloomy inside, so perhaps she couldn’t find her comb. But this week I take issue with her Andy Pandy-style dungarees by Roland Mouret."

So in the space of what two paragraphs Ms Jones ‘dissed’ the multi-talented, too gorgeous for words Ms B in her opinion sporting bad hair and having a questionable dress sense.

Let's not forget that last week, Ms Jones spouted a cack-handed opinion about the 'effect' of Beyonce 'whitening herself up' on her young black audience, as she attempts to hold onto her hard won crossover audience.

Right about now is where I take my gloves off !

Just for the record Ms Jones, who died and made you the Head of the Audience Diversity and Good Taste Police Forces?

You are a 50 something woman whose current main claim to fame is - writing a column about your rather sad life, which was only ever really exciting when your way too young now ex-husband, serially cheated on you.

Any normal person would have dealt with this paintful,private matter behind closed doors, but you seemed to almost relish broadcasting your news to the world; like some avenging martyr harpy.

Even now having overcome the trauma of divorce and miraculously found someone else who wants to date you (God help him, for the man must be a saint!), once again you can't stop yakking on about it, even when he expressly told you to STOP !

I also write about my life, but the minute someone in my life tells me

"I'd rather you didn't share that",

I respect their wishes and stop. I’m not some sort of saint, but I have learnt that sometimes over-sharing can hurt the innocent.

There is no disputing that Ms Jones is undoubtedly a very talented, often touching writer, whose column I have enjoyed, but now it seems the milk of human kindness appears to have deserted her.

To her claim that Beyonce is slowly alienating her young black audience to connect with her crossover audience - Excuse me !

Forgive me for being so bold, but I can guarantee you aren't her target audience Ms Jones ! Even in these image focused times, if as Ms B does, someone markets themselves as a diva with a voice and who delivers consistently via live or recorded performance, wants to dress any darned way they please, either for themselves or their audience's viewing pleasure, then that their prerogative !

Instead bitching about the much younger, more talented Ms B, Ms Jones, why don't you just get and live your own life? I know your column is supposed to initiate debate and sometimes be downright confrontational, but really is this the best you can come up with?

Your hater ramblings are unnecessary and it’s just the type of cheat shot, gutter journalism that I don't expect from a once influential women's editor, who walked the line alone, on then unspeakable issues like super skinny models, long before it was 'fashionable' to do so.

It seems your column 'Liz Jones Moans' is aptly titled !!

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

I'm Over It !

Ok so I'm kind of done with all things Royal Wedding already. It could be the month long build up of anything to do with it.

The copious television shows about Diana and previous royal weddings. All manner of royal merchandise from tea towels to oyster travelcards. Deranged royal buffs camping outside Westminster Abbey since last week, desperate to grab a front row spot on the Mall.

Then bizarrely, both nationalist and Muslim protest groups, opposed to the wedding and each other, are currently both campaigning for the 'right to protest'on the big day, near Westminster Abbey.

And finally, there's the fact that our central London travel system keeps getting disrupted as rehearsals for the big day take place.

I tried to work out where my lack on enthusiasm about the wedding comes from and I realised its wedding apathy.

In my lifetime I have so far witnessed five royal weddings.

Diana's, Fergie's, Edward's, Charles's (to his former mistress) and Anne's (her second one being and here is a delicious irony to this bearing her royal station - to an ex-employee !).

Three of the unions remain intact - Edward's (yep he's still married to Sophie), then there's Charles and Anne (but they don't really count) as they are on their second ride around the wedding carousel and should know what not to do !

The whole country so the newspapers tell me is 'gripped' by wedding fever. And what will happen once the big day is over and done with?

We will be told to 'forget' the newlyweds, that is until the press update us with newsflashes from their honeymoon, their first rows, their children, their royal visits (home and abroad), their friends, their dalliances and in line with our British Royal family's current track record - their almost inevitable break-up or their staying together for the sake of the family moment.

With a relationship played out on a public stage from the first, I don't wonder that a lot of people like me are holding our breaths, hoping that this wedding will give us the fairytale ending we all want.

While I strongly support the Royal Family, its history and the wealth it generates every year for this amazing country I call home, I strongly object to the great British public being forced to 'contribute' to the wedding to the tune of £5million.

No kidding, that is what we as a nation are paying via our taxes for the wedding. In return we have been rewarded with a few extra days of work.

Big deal - I'd rather have my wedding contribution back pretty please.

To put the cost of the Royal Wedding into some perspective, compare it to the much more affordable £16,500, the average person in the United Kingdom spends on their wedding.

William's grandmother the Queen is a woman of immense wealth. William and Harry each inherited £6.5 million on the death of their mother, Princess Diana 14 years ago.

That sum has been invested for them both and has since gathered substantial interest - so why are we paying for this wedding?

Surely they can afford it and if not, why not cut their cloth and the day's lavish proceedings, to suit their actual budget, much like the rest of the country is doing in these economically challenging times.

I wish the happy couple great happiness and good weather (one of the things, even their money can't buy!)on their wedding day, but how I wish they were paying for their day themselves, like the rest of us have or will have (fingers crossed for me still!) to do.

Brighton Rocked !

I love a good Thelma and Louise moment, so when LL suggested myself and N joined her on a girls away day to Brighton, I was beside myself ..... Road Trip !! Well actually Train Trip !!!

We picked the best day of the year so far for it, boarded our train on time and arrived an hour later in Brighton.

After two aborted attempts to catch the tour bus - somehow we managed to get the tour bus times mixed up with the usual bus schedule - we were clearly all latte deficient !

Thankfully LL spotted our schoolgirl error, prompting the first belly laugh of the day, amid talking about the Olympics, singing Adele's 'Someone Like You' with feeling (N was on tip top vocal form!), finding a toilet and some coffee, before we all climbed on top of a retro double decker.

The wind gently danced through our hair, as the bus weaved through the Brighton streets. LL and I were desperately trying to decipher the crackly, barely legible recorded tour guide voiceover, while N happily snapped the beautiful scenery.

The man count as we walked to the Pier was fair to middling. Top marks going to a super vain brother, with a body surely carved by a diet and exercise regime, so strict that only a few other men out in Brighton that day, quite matched up to him.

If only I had two mega sized dressing gowns with me to cover up the oversized, super hairy man with man boobs, which disappeared into his supersize stomach. Or what about the man who must have been on a Stag do in his Borat style lime green mankini.

It was only my sunglasses that saved my eyes from this shocking, unprovoked body sharing.

We carried on walking to the funfair rides. I was fine on the carousel - a baby ride really, but such good fun.

I was even confident enough to balance, myself, my bag and my camera and grin in the direction of N's camera for a rather grim looking action shot - she and LL of course looked great, while I resembled a rabbit caught in very bright headlights !

It was on our next ride the aptly name 'Turbo' where my green gills just from sitting in the ride, betrayed me as weak stomached, height phobic diva, sharing quality time with two adrenalin filled playmates, who eyes sparkled at the very thought of being thrown into the air from a great height.

They never stopped laughing and squealing, a total contrast to my closed eyed terror, as the machine bounced us up and down, before catapulting us up to its highest point and then starting the whole awful cycle again.

LL and N took pity on me when we 'touched down' and we moved onto to chips and doughnuts on the stone clad beach, but not before I'd bumped into M

He looked healthy and happy, if a little red faced!. He was down for the day in Brighton with his missus, who was radiantly pregnant with buba no 2 and his daughter, who looked completely fed up about being kept in her pushchair.

By now N's feet resembled a chimney sweep's and LL had confirmed that thongs means flipflops in Australian (aka tiny g-string to us Brits) and had decided that she would ditch them to cross the pebbles, which she promptly did (instantly regretting it!) and looking like an unsteady baby deer, as she tiptoed into the sea.

I couldn't resist grabbing one of those row of bodies (well actually two of them) shots of LL and N when they returned from the sea, to laying down to gently bake in the sun!

Then we headed back to bus, missed our stop to the Brighton Pavilion, instead walking to it, photographing it and then heading back to the Pier for round 2 of the funfair experience.

This time I kept my feet firmly on the ground and a good job too. As LL and N waited to hit the waltzer ride we noticed that although everyone else had got off, one carriage was still occupied.

Two people got out, but one stayed in. It turned out the waltzer had turned the contents of her stomach all over her!!

A cup of water (for the sickee), disinfectant (for the carriage) and a mobile moment (with the sickee's mum) all happened, before the sickee emerged shamefaced and very grumpy, before a waiting crowd of wannabe waltzer riders, who tried to look at everything but her.

All I thought was it could have been me...but if there's one thing this diva knows.... it's her stomach limits !

The call of dinner led my stomach walking back to happiness, as we tucked into pasta, before catching the train back to London.

If this is how much fun three divas can have on a day trip to Brighton, then I can't wait to go to St Ives in May !

Saturday, 23 April 2011

The Value Of One Life

The death this week of photojournalist and acclaimed filmmaker Tim Heatherington has really touched me.

This uniquely talented, committed humanitarian had devoted his life's work,to focus attention upon the world's war zones, evoking powerful images of the fighting factions and the impact of their actions upon the civillians.

For his efforts he was rewarded in turns with suspicion, respect, fear, acclaim, hate and much love.

He ultimately met his death in Libya this week, making those less brave of us to go there, aware of just how lucky we are to live in a democratic nation that grants us; as of right, free speech and free will to decide who governs us.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

The Morning After

Ever since Sex and The City captured our imagination, we have all had a SATC moment with our girlfriends.

Mine came when I met with LL, AA and S, who if I'm honest in the whole time I've known her, has distinguished herself as being one of the most boring people I have ever met - even the trumping MC's replacement!

This time she was like a more loose flakier version of her self, who was surprisingly funny with it. The reason - alcohol and the walk of shame that follows a woman who makes it to work by the skin of her teeth after 'one of those nights'.

While our table service was crap ( understaffed, disorganised and clueless as to how to serve a small roomful of diners), our conversation more than made up for it.

Inevitably work came up as both AA and L shared the joy of no longer having to deal with E. E either loves you or hates you. There is no middle ground and being at the sharp end of his wrath, is like being caught in a trap, from which the only way to escape is to eat your own limbs.

While AA looked great, I was rubbish hearing how much her confidence had been eroded by E. It was all the more painful, because she is such a warm, talented individual.

L is firmly on at the other end of the E trap and is now in a role where her talent and opinions are valued and if she just manages to avoid acting on her office crush (hot, moody and unobtainable and therefore dangerously attractive), it could be a transforming gig.

She delighted us with gossip that one of her former heads of department (a colleague of E) actually asked her to come back and work for her - oh the delicious irony !

By the time our main arrived with all the urgency of an injured tortoise, we were on fire, erupting with laughter and being that special type of rowdy only women can ever achieve; which is when S stepped up with her hot date debrief.

She met James Bond ( nicknamed due to his Scottish accent and immaculate dress sense - suited, booted and super tall).

Now before I get all heated about why nearly everyone I know seems to get a result via internet dating - her date was of course smack bang in my peer group hottie category - who of course on the prowl for a young hot mess.

By the end of night a hot mess is exactly what she was, so mischievously drunk that she couldn't resist telling him that she was a nano second away from 'mounting him' !

As it was, she just made do with a hot and heavy make out session and some pretty naughty nightime sex texts, that made for very, very interesting morning after reading !

Having laid out her store and after much prodding by us S admitted she wants to convert JB in a boyfriend. AA the baby of the group who has just got married then mentioned the 5 date rule that clinched her a husband

Date one show up, make it clear you are interested - but don't go home with him.

Date two - make sure you look so hot it hurts, a chaste lingering kiss goodbye, but go home alone.

Date three - the activity date - find out what he's made of, reward his efforts by an extended snog fest and of course leave'll call him!
Date four - the one with the dinner and the wine - make out all you want and know the drill......leave.

Date five - aka Back of the net....if you can't play it cool anymore ...don't.

Result - one boyfriend wooed without even knowing it.......!

Arrr if only life was that simple!

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Laughter !

A crack up day at work....but for all the best reasons H. H is a 60s child who just like Twiggy still looks amazing. She's a bright, bubbly Brummie, funny as hell and regularly comes up with gems that make you laugh aloud at their sheer silliness.

She came up with a one today. On opening her new headset, which she was mega excited about, she decided it warranted a full inspection. Examining it closely, turning it over and over, upside down and then right side up, she exclaiming innocently....

"Are these headphones left handed?". We all cracked up.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

The One Where I Go Offline -But Only Where Dating Is Concerned !!

While Big D is off climbing Kilimanjaro, I have conquered my own mountain and I am delighted to say that my final online dating subscription is finally up. I thought I'd cancelled all of them, but this is the very last one.

I dread to think how much money I have wasted in my search for Mr OK.
Notice how he's gone from Mr Perfect, to Mr Right Now, to Mr Ok - see how I have been crushed....or just realised that I had to lowered my expectations to meet my apparently not so hot man pool.

But dating money pit aside, I have to admit I feel a huge sense of relief. For all my declarations of being young, free and fabulous, after a while, even when you are annoyingly optimistic like I am, eventually it does get you down when yet another carefully considered email is ignored by the charming man (or you thought he was) from his picture.

Then you wonder why the only guys who do contact you or you actually go out on dates with, turn out to be weird, unsuitable, vaguely nuts or so totally not your type. That's when you wonder what you put in your profile to attract them.

I turned to advice from RA (a two year dating internet veteran)whose internet dating has at long last, resulted in her finding the rather lovely fireman (who of course was the one man I know about online who was actually looking for a relationship not a transition playmate, a sympathy shag or a yes woman).

Sod's law of course means that instead of just enjoying being with him, she is still refusing to believe that doesn't have a secret wife and kids stashed away somewhere, or some other deep dark secret.

Yes the rest of us are wondering why she doesn't just calm down and enjoy not only the fact that he's smart and fun, but that he plays a mean game of find my helmet !

After she had reviewed my latest potential suitors with rolled eyes and I told her I was over the internet she replied.

"I couldn't agree more. It still amazes me the guys who contacted know sometimes I'd sit there looking at their faces,reading some pretty offensive, sexual emails and think to myself " really think you should be with me!".

I'm doing the same thing now looking at these guys and I look at you and you can do so much better! You definitely need to take a break like I did, otherwise it can really get you down!"

I might add at this point that RA is a 5"6, rosy cheeked, curvy ash blonde hot mess, with a chest large enough to defy gravity, but not so glorious that she can't see her feet! She's like a sexier, funnier much more adorable Bridget Jones.

If that's how she felt before the fireman, then hell I'm not in such bad company!

I'm not sure what's going to happen next, but it definitely doesn't include waiting for a mail alert in my inbox. I am going back to dating old school!

You know, your friend says "I have someone who's perfect for you" . Of course they never are, but its always amusing to find out just how desperate your friends think you are!

Then there's events (this year we have more bank holidays then you could shake a stick at!) and dare I say general networking to find a guy.

Internet dating is great - you are thrown into a pool with hopefully like minded people and if you invest enough time,money and energy, there is just a chance you might find someone you like.

Or you can build your dating confidence. Find a shag buddy, or hook up with the one to get you over the one who broke your heart.

Or like me you can learn about yourself. Deal with those unrealistic love aspirations and emerge aware that you don't have to flog a dead horse, just because you think you should.

You do deserve one of the good guys and maybe having giving it a good go, the internet isn't the right place for you to try and find him.

Update on MC's replacement - smart, homely and bless her little heart, still as dull as dish water ! I've reloaded my ipod.....zzzz !

Thursday, 7 April 2011

What Price Love ?

I am as everyone knows a hopeless romantic ! Despite all of my love hangups, I truly believe that there must be some mad man out there for me.

However, sometimes we are attracted to people who are bad for us. Last night I got a call from one of my best friends.

I can't go into detail because I gave her my 'no blogging promise' (it's either that or I'll end up with no confidences or friends!), but our conversation took me to the question

Why is someone that is logically 'bad' for us, so darned attractive?

Is it the denial element - we want something we can't have or is it simply a case of wilting willpower ?

I am the original 'Chemistry Queen' - that elusive spark has led me to do crazy things and pursue guys who had toxic branded on them and in their defence, guys who promised, offered and gave me absolutely nothing, despite my very best efforts.

Hell I even dated an alcoholic for a while - which is ridiculous as I am tee-total. In that instance I ignored what was blindingly obvious to everyone except me. Love. Lust. Raw emotion can only take you so far, before reality bites.

I get soulmates. I get electric chemistry. I get being gripped by a violent passion or an overwhelming sexual desire for someone. To be with them. To get wrapped up in the excitement of their touch.

But not if it means that the sacrifice made to attain it, is essentially one-sided and potentially self destructive in terms of your emotional well being and in some instances even your livelihood.

When love is right it can be one of the most powerful emotions in the universe, but that power can easily become diluted and destructive if you forget to protect yourself and base your love in practicality and reality.

Not every great passion is destined to end in a fairy tale.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Tenants and Newbies

Finding a new tenant is going pants. As you all know initially I was underwhelmed when C moved in, but he ended up becoming a really good friend (yes, we still talk, but he won't let me blog about him!)

Little did I know how hard it would be to replace him. In the last few days I've interviewed a DJ who wanted to take over the shed so he could play his decks. A student who wants to leave home and was looking forward to sitting on my sofa on her day off to'veg' while she watches daytime TV and the most scary one....a lady who was looking for a 'lovenest' for her and her boyfriend who her family hate.

Obviously my search goes on...

MC's replacement has joined us. She seems nice enough, but from the contact I've had with herself so far,I am hoping that she'll spark up asap, otherwise I am going to have to stick some more tunes on my ipod.
Oh how I miss S and J !

And what of MC, well just as I predicted he's another JO.

"That's a shame, because you two got on so well" said E.

"No it's not!" I said laughing.

"He's young, ambitious and he's got a life. Why look behind him, when he got everything in front of him. That's fair play in my book. him".

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Making Dreams Come True !

So I've been a little quiet of late but with very good reason. If you are trying to land your dream job, keep your present one (my contract is up for renewal imminently and I really want to stay put), hunt for new 'living friendly' tenant and trying to find a new home for Pop closer to me, then you'd be a little knackered too.