Thursday, December 22, 2011

What You Are Almost Definitely Getting For Christmas

This Christmas is the first one of my adult life where, because I now work in the very seasonal yet ultimately fickle film industry, I do not have to work in retail. There are many great things about this, such as being able to mooch around at my own leisure, complaining about the service in retail. However, it also means that I don't get the chance to see what the public are buying for their friends, which I find very upsetting. However, I think I'm able to venture a few guesses. 


God, books are great aren't they? They make you look smart, they fit very neatly into your handbag and the really good ones have a few blank pages at the back that you can rip out or doodle on. I personally like to use these pages to draw pictures of horses, or even unicorns. 

Genuinely how I spend my time

I think books are a great present, but they take a lot of confidence to give. In order for it to work, the book has to mean something, preferably to you, and ideally to the other person as well. An old boyfriend once gave me The Picture of Dorian Gray for my birthday, and this worked on a number of levels, because (a) he loved the book (b) he thought I would love it too and (c) let's face it, he probably thought I had some vanity issues to sort out. 

Unfortunately, this isn't the nature in which enough people are gifting books. The book present has split into two categories, and you'll probably receive a member of each very soon. There's the now-a-major-motion-picture book, which is kind of uninspiring, and will generally be either PS I Love You or One Day. On the upshot, for every ten paperbacks you receive that feature a toothy brunette on the cover, you might get one copy of The Road or something.

The other, more recently trendy, category of book gifting is far more troubling. I'm talking about the books that aren't given in the spirit that you're actually going to read them, but rather with the intention that you display them semi-ironically in your home. They generally look like this: 

I bought you this because I know you like literature and I know you like jokes.

I bought you this because I know you like literature and I know you're an asshole

These books bother me. There's nothing wrong with giving someone a book 'as a joke', but here's the catch: the joke has to be yours. Mass-produced 'joke' gifts are a bit like other peoples farts. In that you have no idea why the benefactor is so fond of them, and they make you want to die.


You're a fan of PDLs (Public Displays of Literacy)


Reindeer Poo.


Are you a WOMAN? Are you interested in THINGS? Do you have BROWN HAIR? Why then, step into my urban market stall. I've got some premium Audrey Hepburn merch that you are just going to plotz over. We have calendars! 

It tells you what day is now. Is good price.

Everybody loves Audrey Hepburn. She's a phase, much like ponies, that every girl has to go through to reach the next platform of maturity. A couple of years ago, some people noticed this and turned this very beautiful, somewhat talented woman into a very, very annoying industry. There are Audrey Hepburn mugs, ashtrays, datebooks and handbags. Basically, if it exists, and it's used by a woman, Audrey Hepburn's face is on it. (Yes, even those. Probably.)


You are female.


An Anne Geddes postcard collection.

Sex and The City 2 on DVD.


Also known as a 'Snuggie' or a 'Freedom Blanket' (lolz, by the way) the slanket is one of the most celebrated inventions of the 21st century. If you're unfamiliar: it's a blanket, with sleeves. It pretty much the best thing ever.


You are unemployed.
You are generally regarded as being fat and/or lazy.
You have a blog.
You're fat, unemployed, and have a blog.

Will someone just buy me a slanket already?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Drink Spiking Brings Out The Best In People

For those of you that have been following this blog since its tender beginnings (and WORD UP to all twelve of you) you'll know that my adventures in drunkenness are known to be quite colourful outings. There was that time that I accidentally roofied myself with a Disprin, that other time I knowingly gave myself food poisoning and and all these other times that I have took the time to illustrate below.

I have been The Girl Who Can't Match Her Fake Tan To Her Face, and is for some reason having an argument about it:

I have been The Girl Who Is Having SUCH a Good Time, and Never Wants To Go Home:

And of course, like all girls, I have been This Girl:

What I'm trying to say is, I am someone who has been a thousand different kinds of drunk. I know the giddy highs from the dark, dithering lows, and all the Dulux-like subtleties in between.  Moreover, I know when my body is reacting inexplicably to situations as a result of my own stupidity, or someone else's.

Which is a really long way of saying, on Saturday night, my drink was spiked in a London Bridge bar.

Like all nights that end spectacularly badly, it began rather well. I had gotten off early from work, and didn't have to be in until late the next day. My housemate Danny had given himself cabin fever via Skyrim. If we were horses, we'd be the kind that chomp on the bit, kick at the stable door and trace messages in the mud saying "WE'RE READY TO GET DRUNK  NOW."

So that's exactly what we did. We bought some beers, drank two each, talked about Lady Gaga, and then took the bus to a bar where Danny's co-workers had been since the afternoon. We all got along famously, in that warm "I know we don't really know each other, but I'm tipsy and you seem nice" sort of way. At around half-eleven, we moved to a second bar, and that's where things got weird.

Now halfway through my fourth beer, I began getting that feeling that girls get when they realize they're genetically undisposed to drinking beer. Which is to say, my burps started tasting a lot like beer. Ever the lady, I took a delicate lady-rest from my beer, left it on a window ledge in the pub's smoking area, and then turned my back on it. Yes, this is where everything becomes a giant cliché: every sorority-girl horror story, every Veronica Mars pilot episode ever.

As you can assume, I went back to my drink, I drank it, and then everything changed. The oddest thing was how quickly it all happened. In a matter of minutes I went from being my jolly self, to being unable to open my eyes the full way (which, if you look at photo two, shouldn't be all that surprising). I excused myself to the bathroom, and immediately slumped to the floor of the cubicle. Suddenly, getting up off the floor seemed impossible. This was really inconvenient, because within what seemed like seconds (but which I was then informed was fifteen minutes later) there were girls hammering on the stall door and wondering aloud if someone was having sex in there. I dragged myself off the floor, fell out of the cubicle, and flopped myself over the sink, and felt really, really content to just die there.

I might have just gone to sleep or tried to find the least exhausting way to kill myself, if it hadn't been for the small phenomena that is Bathroom Society. The oddest thing about girls in bars is that, when they're actually in, outside or around the bar, they are sworn enemies. On the dancefloor, in the bar queue or in the smoking area, that girl is the gold sequins see's you, the girl in the silver sequins, as the only thing between her and her meeting the love of her life that night. I know that sounds very flippant and incredibly shallow, but I'm positive a universal truth exists here. If that girl goes home that night without having had an erotically witty conversation with someone who later takes her number in a sexy yet dignified way, she holds you, and every other girl in the bar, wholly responsible.

And it's been happening FOREVER.

This is different, however, in the bathroom. While the dancefloor might be the battlefield, the bathroom is unquestionably the barracks, where inexplicably everyone is on the same side. Some of the greatest acts of stranger-kindness I've ever experienced have taken place in the ladies bathroom, where anything from "Do you wanna borrow my lipgloss?" to "Are you sure you have enough money to get home?" can genuinely occur. In this instance, the Bathroom Society that surrounded me knew that something was very wrong with the girl trying to sleep in the sink. They tried to talk to me, to ask if there was somebody they could call, and I tried to lift my head up off the faucet.

I tried to communicate with them, but my entire perception of the universe seemed to have split into very distinct layers. There was me, this core, tiny confused being. Then there was drunk me, who was even more confused. Then there was eight inches of plastic, that me and drunk me was trying to see the rest of the world through, and butting its head very painfully in the process. My body began to shake. I said three words to my party - Please go away - and promptly vomited everywhere.

Eventually, I left the bathroom, and was discovered by Danny's friend Debbie, who was part of the search party currently looking for me. Everything else from here is somewhat of a blur. I have a vague memory of saying goodbye, and then being propped up by Danny while he tried to find us a bus home. I even tried to text my boss to communicate that something was wrong, and that I might not be in the next day. (Fail, by the way: I managed to text the words "it don't make no sense", which seems like a racially dated thing to say.)

The next day was spent trying to do things, but instead getting violently ill and passing out. So was most of today. At some point, the thick sheet of plastic got gradually thinner and things started to feel normal. But during this 30-ish hour period, I came to an odd epiphany. Which is, hey, the reason why bad stuff happens to us, right?

Also the name of a rapper. Hilarious, by the way.

I moved here four months ago, kind of on a whim, and I knew one person. Danny. I didn't even know Danny that well, really: we had worked together for a short time years ago, and kept up a vague sort of friendship ever since. Somewhere along the way, he became the person that knows when something is wrong.

That, when I'm on some kind of inexplicable come-down from a drug I did not choose to take, holds a hair-dryer to my face while I'm shivering on a pile of warm laundry. That will check on me every few hours, and refill my hot water-bottle and buy me ginger beer that I will later puke. But hes not the only one: my phone's inbox has become a weird testament to the fact that I have a life here now. People hear that bad things happen to me, and they worry if I'm OK. After months of fretting whether my life in London would be any kind of a success, I realized that somewhere along the line it kind of became one. I have friends, and friends of friends, and acquaintances, and even though I don't know any of them as well as I know the ones in Ireland, it doesn't really matter.

Because having twenty people who care about you is slightly more enlightening that one person, in a bar somewhere, who put something in your drink so they could maybe rape you.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Five Mothers That Have Freaked Me Out

As I've made no pretense about in the past, I am a total mommas-girl. Whenever a friend tells me a secret, it usually goes something like this.

Friend: Obviously, don't tell anyone about this.
Me: Well, obviously. 
Friend: That includes your mum.
Me: Aw, what? She won't tell anyone.
Friend: That's not the point. 

The point is, that if she wasn't six inches shorter then me, and in another country, I'd probably still insist on sitting in my mum's lap. That's just how it is. Being obsessed with my own mother has led me to being pretty interested in how mothers that aren't my own behave. Because you spend so much of your young life hanging around in the bedrooms of your friends, you come into contact with all the weird mothers on the weird mother spectrum, and below are some of the most common.

The ‘I’d Rather Have it Under My Roof’ Mum

When I was a teenager, mothers like these would crop up every couple of years, and at first you thought it was a God send. You are initially swayed by these mothers when they’re fixing you a vodka over homemade tapas and asking you – asking you – if you have a spare fag.  She reassures you that she remembers what it was like to be a teenager and that she knows you’ll be drinking anyway and she’d feel much more comfortable if it happened under her roof where she knows you’re safe.

I’ve italicized every other word in that sentence because this is total bollocks. She doesn’t really care if you’re safe, she just really, really wants to be liked by you. This in itself is a bit sad. These mothers tend to have a sense of arrested development, whereby their lives have never really moved on since secondary school. If they have any friends their own age, they’re the girls they went to school with. Amy Poehler’s Mean Girls performance got this woman pitch-perfect.

Mrs. George: I'm a cool mom! Right Regina?
Regina: Please stop talking.

You thinking this woman is cool will end the moment she asks you if you’ve “gone all the way yet”.

The Third Person Mum

“Is Caroline staying for dinner?”
“Is Caroline’s mother picking her up?”


The Battered Mum

The Battered Mother is one that crops up often on the Irish parenting scale, and you don’t remember her, because these mothers have long-since lost their sense of identity to their horrible families. All mums complain about spending all their time cooking and cleaning, but this mum has reached the point that cooking and cleaning is now all she knows, and will ever know, unless she has a mid-life breakthrough √° la Shirley Valentine.

If you haven't seen the movie Shirley Valentine, you need to .

These mums are the ones that can’t understand why you’re talking to them or asking them questions. You’ll discover this when your friend disappears briefly, to get their coat or whatever, and you’re stuck in the worst conversation you’ve ever had. This mum has no hobbies, or interests. She has not seen any good movies or read any good books lately. She has no opinions on Brangelina or Kate Middleton or Take That or any of the usually safe mum-friendly pop culture areas. She will, however, offer you a sandwich.

The Touching Mum

This might be a personal thing, but people who touch you too much freak me out. This mum will hug you when she meets you for the first time, and every consecutive time she meets you. She’ll call you ‘Honey’, and brush her hand off your shoulder when she walks by. Obviously, she’s not some kind of sex pervert, but she probably has some kind of affection deficit in her life. Or maybe she is a sex pervert, who knows.

The No Qualms Mum

The only thing worse than a mum who is only too aware of you being in the house is a mum that does not give a shit you are there at all. These are the mums that will openly scream at your friend about them failing an exam/coming home drunk/ leaving the immersion on. Meanwhile, you stand idly by, looking at your hands and wishing you were dead. This mum is a renegade, and she has no qualms about dragging you into family business if it means she might win an argument or make an incredibly vague point about respect. She’ll pause mid-rage, seemingly to catch her breath, and you’ll think it’s over. You’ll look up from your hands and find that you’ve somehow found your way into her field of vision.


There is no good way to answer this question.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Godmother: An Open Letter to My Pregnant Sister

Dear Jill,

So, you're pregnant. In many ways, this feels like an unspeakable betrayal on your part.  Me and you have always been like "Fuck babies!" "Yeah, fuck babies!" and for you to turn around and just LIKE GET PREGNANT, WITHOUT EVEN CONSULTING ME FIRST - well, that's just not on, is it?

But I'll forgive you. This time. In the meantime, I want you to think about an issue that's far more pressing: Godmothers. Yes, I know you're an atheist, and you won't even want your womb gremlin to be cross-dressed and presented to an audience of lapsed Catholics as a priest half-heartedly tries to drown it, but that's not the matter at hand here: the matter is Godmothers.

Yes, I know you have friends. Friends who, bizarrely, enjoy the company of infants. You probably think that this makes them worthy Godmother candidates. FYI: It doesn't. Here's something they don't tell you: people who like babies, more often then not, end up having babies. And if your baby's Godmother already HAS a baby, then why would she be interested in yours? She wouldn't be, that's what. She'd be way too interested in her own womb gremlin to care about when yours' first birthday is.

I'm not saying I'm going to care that much about Gremlor's first birthday either. I'm not even going to promise I'll remember what month it is. But I still think I should be Gremlor's Godmother. Here's why.

After you have your baby, the majority of the people in your life will no longer see you as the chimney-smoking, mojito-making, X-Files obsessing, Hugh Laurie-fantasizing, paranoid wreck you delightfully are. You'll just be a mother. I will never do this. I will never treat you differently just because you made a new human being using only the spare parts inside of you.

  • I will reassure you that it is in NO WAY tacky to smoke during labour.
  • I will never imply that your child's happiness is somehow more important than yours.
  • If you feel too guilty about slapping your child, I will gladly slap it for you. This way all negative association will be directly foisted onto me, and you can continue being the peacekeeping earth mother you will no doubt take a stab at being.
  • On the occasions that you are far too fucked-up tired to go, I will attend parent-teacher meetings and pretend to be you.
  • I will buy you rum and fags for your child's birthday. I will buy your child Ritalin.
  • When your child becomes a teenager, and it inevitably runs away from home, I will gladly book it a hotel.
  • When you feel like a negligent mother, I will remind you that our mother was once reported to a radio talk show for doing the macarena while driving.
  • I will still call you about my financial problems, and you will still be pissed off with me for only calling you when I have financial problems.
  • You can still hate my romantic decisions. I will not use your motherhood and marriagehood as an excuse for you hating them. I will not claim that you have somehow 'lost perspective'. My romantic decisions will still be as crap as they always were.

Love, always,


P.S. This contract becomes null and void in the event you name your child after any major TV character. I met a ginger baby called "Brie" yesterday.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Why I Suck At Fashion (An Anti-Fashion Fashion Blog) (FASHION)

Every now and then I catch my reflection in the blade I am almost certainly harming myself with, and I burst into tears. Who is this person glaring back at me? What happened to all that youth and charming naivety that once shone from within her? And more importantly, why does she dress like a homeless lesbian?

Ridiculous hyperbole aside, sometimes I find it truly alarming when I think about how hard fashion is for me. Especially when it really, really shouldn't be. For one thing, it's not like I'm an amputee. My body is, by everyday society's discerning, completely normal. AVERAGE. I've spoken about my inability to shop before, but I always thought this fault lay with me rather then with Topshop. I've changed my mind. It IS Topshop's fault, in the same way it is also the fault of H&M, River Island, Forever 21, Primark, Next and everywhere else I can occasionally afford to go to if I don't eat.

Problem #1: Breasts

I know this has been the elephant in the blog for some time now, but in case anyone wasn't quite aware: I have breasts. It's one of those things that occasionally comes with being female, and I'm told that when I'm ready to harness my impeccable gene pool onto another human life, they'll come in handy. Until then, they are absolutely useless, particularly if you're trying to find a decent dress. Let's get all fashiony for a minute and look at this dress that Topshop are currently doing.

OOOOH LOOK AT THE PRETTY DRESS. Now before the fashion bloggers start soiling themselves with words like "Yester-year!" and "MAD MEN!" there is one problem with this. Actually there's two. And they're both called "tits". Namely, where are mine supposed to go? I know for a fact that if I were ever to try this dress on, it would crush my boobs so far into my body they'd come out through my back. Yeah. Think about that for a moment.

As anyone above a 32B will know, dresses that come up to your collar are horridly unflattering. They make your boobs look huge, and not in a cool way. More in a "I've been lactating recently" way.

Problem # 2: Legs

Ok, so boobs are a problem. But what about Legs? Everyone likes legs, right? Sure, legs are cool. Unfortunately, they are yet another perfectly fine part of the human anatomy that the high street has utterly ruined.

(Courtesy of Read: THIS IS NOT ME.)

I'm 5"8. While that's not gargantuan, it's not short either, and it presents a lot of problems. For one, men are terrified of me. Well, they are in the intense fan fictions I write about my own life, anyway.  For two, clothes shops have apparently decided that the average height of a full-grown woman is 5"2. This means that what constitutes as a flirty mini-skirt on a short woman becomes a Slut Napkin on my tartily tall body. I find this horribly unfair. Why should I have to look outlandish just because I don't need a step ladder to get to the high shelf?

Problem #3: Legs, Pt. 2 - The Re-Leggening

Shoes. Shoes, in my opinion, can piss off.

I'm already tall. I don't need to be that much taller. So why, Shoe Retailers, do you need me to be? Look, I'm not a total lesbian. Something like this, for example, I can handle.

Aww. Look how good that is. I want to mother that shoe, it's so effing cute.
This, on the other hand, is terrifying.

Everything about this makes me wants to die. I look at this shoe, and I can already see myself wandering the streets bairfoot at 2.30 in the morning carrying them, trying to convince McDonalds to give me the food they would otherwise be throwing out. This shoe epitomizes sadness, and it's everywhere.

Problem #4: Exit Strategy

But CAROLINE, I hear you bleat, these are just going out/getting drunk clothes you speak of. What about everyday wear? Well, I'm getting to that. Let's talk about something. Jumpers.

What do these jumpers have in common? Well for one thing, they're adorable. I'm particularly a fan of the polar bear one. For another thing, they are very difficult to get OUT of.
Jumpers have been very "in" for the last couple of winters. The rule seems to be the more wintery the animal on your jumper is, the hipper you are. I have an absolutely bitchin' Snoopy jumper that is the envy of many. The thing that bothers me about this though, is that once your jumper is on, there's not much you can do about it. Once you're inside, taking off the jumper is virtually impossible, unless you feel like exposing your stomach to a room full of strangers. Which sucks, considering temperatures change a lot. You could have been very happy with your jumper outside, but now your inside, and the jumper is no longer necessary. What to do? I'll tell you what to do.

HOODIES. Hoodies are incredible. With hoodies you can adjust to your necessary temperature with the flick of a zip. You can even take it off without being utterly indecent. Imagine, a world where you're not being choked to death by itchy wool and ironic reindeer. That's a world I'm interested in living in.

Monday, October 10, 2011

the illustrated hum

Sometimes people ask me about the image in my blog header, and when they do, I tell them this story: On my 21st birthday, there was one person who was drunker then I was. That person's name is Chris. He looks like this:
You see now why I needed someone to draw something for me.
Chris was so drunk, in fact, that he vomited all over my kitchen floor. I'm told he did some other, equally embarrassing things, but unfortunately I was passed out on the floor of my parent's spare room, so I don't know what these things were.
Chris felt bad about throwing up on my kitchen floor (he shouldn't have, because honestly, it took the heat off me for a while) so as a gift, he drew me the header for my blog. I fell in love with it quite instantly. I vowed never to change it, unless Chris came up with something beter.
Chris later teamed up with my dear friend Emmet, who looks like this:
Please know this was well-intentioned
Together, Chris and Emmet began to make and review comics. (I like to think that my party was at least partially responsible for this.) Recently, they started a website for comics. It is a very good website. Well, it looks good. I find it hard to judge the content because I have an ongoing feud with comics. It's mostly because I'm jealous that when a brunette goes to a costume party, she gets to be the kick-ass Wonder Woman, while blondes are stuck with the lame-ass Super Girl. I mean, come on. Not cool.
Anyway, if you like comics - and chances are, you do, given how much time you spend of the internet - you should check out their webiste. It's called Cosmic Treadmill, and you can find it at the similarily titled I don't usually plug my friend's projects, but I think it's about time I thanked Chris for his wonderful drawing, and Emmet for the complete Gilmore Girls he gave me. Emmet, you are my complete Gilmore Girl.

This Is Why We Don't Hang Out

A lot of the conversations I have with my favourite girl friends are based on the collection of data about other girls.That probably doesn't come as a surprise to anyone. There's no use denying it: 'bitch' is far more fun as a verb then as a noun, and everybody is guilty of it. I bitch, you bitch, she/he bitches, we bitch, they bitch. It's hardly even a swear word anymore.

To our credit though, our bitching isn't really bitching: it's cataloguing. Our discussion is based on a particular type of girl, and she crops up in everyone's life in a myriad of different ways. She's not a bitch in the traditional sense: she doesn't necessarily try to score your boyfriend, endanger you professionally or borrow your shoes and stretch the shit out of them. She doesn't even get drunk and call you a skank. All of that is forgivable. This girl is toxic in a different kind of way, and I guarantee you've come across her. This is an open letter to "that girl", everywhere.

The likelihood of you being friends with someone should not depend on their gender.

Girls who don't like girls. We've all met them. The interesting thing about these girls is they tend to be very thinly veiled girly-girls masquerading as some kind of 21st century tomboy. They wear mascara, but not foundation. They have a Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas poster. They pretend to laugh at Amy Winehouse jokes. But most of all, they proudly proclaim that they don't "get along" with girls. "All my friends are boys", they proclaim smugly.

Look sweetie. I appreciate that you have a lot of friends who are boys. In this female empowering world where one can buy a Nutri-Grain bar and the morning-after pill in the same shop, I think it's safe to say that having dude friends is pretty standard. But let me clear something up: If you can't manage to get along with half the world's population, you're doing something wrong. I don't know what it is, but you're doing it wrong.
My inclination to hang out with you is in direct proportion to how many photographs exist of you hanging out by yourself.

I can't tell you the amount of times I've declined a girl on facebook because I noticed how many pictures she had on her profile of her, hanging out, alone. One photograph is experimentation: two is creativity. Six is madness. An entire album is beyond redemption. There's generally some soft lighting, some eyeliner and a caption reading "So bored!!!!! So I took some photographs of myself."

Dude, read something.

Ironic signs about what a bitch you are doesn't convince me that you're not a bitch.

Oh, please.

Do not include me in your Relationship Theatre.

I'm friends with quite a few couples, all of whom I love dearly. Some of them have been together for years, and I look at them in quietly concealed awe, wishing I had the maturity to stick it out with someone to the same extent. And then there are other couples.

These people either exist on my social or Facebook outer circle, and seem to be intent on proving to the world how legitimate they are as a couple. Public declarations of love and/or giggling, puppyish hate. "Lucas you are such an asshole!!! DONT EVEN KNOW WHY I PUT UP WITH IT!!XX"

This is bad in an online context, but far worse in a social capacity.My friend Tash coined the term 'Relationship Theatre' when her housemates would refer to eachother loudly as "boy" and "girl" (as in "Change the channel, BOY." "No you do it, GIRL.") and encourage others to do likewise.

It's cool, don't ask me how my day was.

I know I listened to you talk about your boyfriend's lower back sprain for sixteen minutes, but it's fine, nothing interesting happened to me today anyway.

Your interest in vintage clothing does not give you a 'vintage' personality.

A trick boring people have come up with to disguise their utter dullness is to adopt vintage culture in a big way. You hear vintage and you think Biba, Mary Quant and Pucci. You shop vintage and you get moth-eaten polka-dot for forty quid.

I'm not condemning all vintage-wearers here: I know a lot of people who are interested in vintage clothing, and fare extremely well with hunting down good pieces at great prices. But far too many people I meet seem to think that paying far too much money for an average dress makes you a more interesting person. Fondling their hemline preciously, they'll generally make a lisping speech about who their style inspiration of the day is.

HINT: it's generally Audrey Hepburn.

If you come to me with a problem, I will listen to it. If that problem is "I think all my male friends fancy me", then I will tell you to go fuck yourself.

Fairly self-explanatory, really.

Friday, October 7, 2011


In Ireland, it's kind of understood that living in a state of perpetual adolescence is the done thing. It's a wonderful world to inhabit: you move out when your 26, realize what you want to do with your life at 29 and finally get around to joining that band/writing that screenplay/forming that cult when you're about 31. In the meantime, you've had a couple of kids, travelled Asia and instigated the early stages of liver failure. For so many blessed individuals, Ireland is a very damp, slightly racist Neverland. You can be forty and still giggle at the idea of buying a TV license.

Maybe that's why London is such a shock to the system. When I left Ireland two months ago, I was pretty assured that I was hot shit. MATURE hot shit. I had started a BLOG. I had written SOME SONGS. I ONCE PAYED A BILL. I was a grown-up. In a world of Peter Pans, I was the proverbial Wendy: I had copped myself on and gotten out of Neverland.

Or so I thought.

In two months, London has taken my naive notion of adulthood and whacked it over the nose with a newspaper. Everyone has the face of Dakota Fanning and the mind of Donald Trump. Days at the Best For Film offices could be spent quietly whimpering in awe as John (22) and Tash (24) managed to be young, nice people AND run a successful film website. Like ADULTS. It's not just them, though. Everyone I meet seems to have their lives suspiciously on track. Now that I've started working on a film set, this trend is getting particularly alarming. One minute they're complaining about the raisins in biscuits, the next they're conference calling Irvine Welsh. You think I'm being arbitrary, don't you? Well, I'm not. Because this happened today.

I've started monitoring the habits of my friend and beloved slumlord Danny, another successful adult. His movements prove suspicious. Every evening he comes home to me sitting on the floor of his room eating hummus, and then affably submits himself to an evening of Cost Cutter wine and Don't Tell The Bride. Something doesn't quite add up. How is Danny a succesful video journalist-producer-editor-thing by day, and an utter flake (like me) by night?

Things finally begin to make sense when Danny comes home from work one day visibly stressed. Handing him a cracker to dip in some hummus, I ask what is up.

"They want to take out my wank." he sighs

"Oh, right. Wait, what?"

"My latest video. It's about football games."


"There's a part where I edit together all the players' sound effects to make it sound like it's me having a wank."

"That's hilarious."

"I know. And the censors don't want to pass it."


"I know."

Danny doesn't want to give up on his wank joke. He goes in to work the next morning, and he fights tooth and nail for it. I soon realize that he isn't fighting because he thinks the joke is particularly funny, or because he feels that popular media doesn't talk about wanks enough. Hes fighting for it because he knows in his gut that it will work. Hes frustrated that his bosses don't see the universal benefit of the wank joke. The joke is his baby, and a rejection of it is in turn a rejection of him. He comes home from work the next day with a bottle of the slightly-more-expensive wine and a look of self-satisfaction. "It's in." I cheer. "I never want to say the word 'wank' ever again," he says, and I agree.

While Wankgate was occuring, I felt like I was learning some very vague but very important lesson about being a grown-up. It's not just a case of believing yourself - every eight year old with a Miley Cyrus CD believes in themselves - it's about respecting yourself. Respecting yourself so much that you're willing to make yourself look like an utter twat and say "wank" a lot, because you know you're on to a good thing.

If you're wondering how many times the word 'wank' appeared in this blog, it's eight.

If you're interested in the results of Wankgate, click here.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Throwaway Comments That Make Me Feel Like Shit

The thing about moving country (there are many things about moving country, obviously, but this is one of the things) is that you find yourself being introduced to people a lot more then you're used to. In fact, the majority of your social circle are people you don't know all that well, which is something I've never had to deal with before. It's only natural that people make assumptions about you, and it's only right that you should be terribly offended by them.

The more I've had to correct people on not being from America and not being an alcoholic, the more I'm forced to think about the various points in my life where I've been tempted not to correct people, just to save myself an awkward conversation.

"I always thought you were an only child."

My friend Johno and I orbited the same social circles throughout our adolescence, but only really hang out now that we both live in London. As a result, we only kind of half-know each other. Recently, when I mentioned my brother in passing, he expressed great surprise.

"You have a brother?"
"I have brothers. And a sister."

"You always struck me as an only child."

"Do you realise how offensive that is?"

"It's just that you carry yourself in a way that makes me think you had no-one to play with as a child."

I'd muster the energy to be more offended if this were the first time I'd heard it. A boss I once had (whose key asset to the company was passive-agression) once announced the same assumption. While I tried to mask my sudden violent urge to smack her in the face (is that an only child thing, too?) I asked her for an explanation. "I dunno. The way you talk or something."

Apparently I act in a way that suggests I may have been raised in a cardboard box. I think I brought this all on myself. Sometimes I think even my family forget I'm not an only child. Very often, perhaps too often, one or more of my family members will say something like "Peter Nagle is moving back to Cork!"
And I will say "Who is Peter Nagle?"
And they will say "Peter Nagle. He lived next door to us for eight years."
And I will say "Oh."
And they will say "For fuck sake, Car. SWITCH. ON."

"What part of America are you from?"

The part that feels very embarrassed for both of us right now.

"How long have your parents been divorced for?"

I once very briefly dated a guy with divorced parents. (N.B: The relationship was not brief because his parents were divorced, but rather because he was bat-shit insane and once shouted at me for apparently getting crisp-dust in his eye) While sympathetically nodding my head to the story of his childhood plight, he suddenly came out with "So, how long have your parents been split up?"
When I told him that my parents have been happily married all my life, he looked surprised. I asked him why he thought my parents weren't together, and he just shrugged, but he gave me a look that I've become very good at recognizing. It's a look that says "I just kind of looked at you now and worked backwards."

"You have a boyfriend? As in, actually?"

No, 'Brian' is my CAT'S NAME.

Well, hes one of them.

"You're kind of more of a one-on-one person to hang out with"

What in the hell does that mean? Is that even a compliment?

"I think you might be slightly autistic."

Recently, me and the aforementioned not-cat Brian (also known as Sweeney, because Brian is his slave name) went on a holiday to Kerry. I want you to picture the scene for a minute. We're lying on a beach, the air is balmy, the sea is salty, the marram grass is prickly and unwelcoming. He turns to me and says

"I think you might be slightly autistic."

"Excuse me?"

"You have trouble recognizing people's facial expressions."

"No I don't! What the fuck? What is wrong with you? What kind of thing is that to say to someone?"


"That is horrible. You are a horrible person. Fucking hell. Jesus."

"See! You're so bad at recognizing people's facial expressions you don't even realize that I'm obviously joking."



"But by that logic you still think that I'm..."


Long pause.

"You're the autistic one."

Sometimes it's nice to know you're not in it alone.

P.S: Some of you may have noticed that my blogging has gotten a bit infrequent lately. If you simply need chunks of Caroline in your cereal everyday you can find me over at the rather marvellous Best for Film. I post news stories every morning, and you can read my longer stuff here.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Shoebox (All That You Can Leave Behind)

I used to think that you could derive great meaning and insight into a person by examining the things that surround them. This theory, as it turns out, is total cock. Examining someones Scarface poster and artfully displayed Tarantino-heavy DVD collection tells you nothing about the twisted individual they really are, and the sooner you accept that, the better. Because as I had to learn the hard way, people are not what they appear to be, but what they leave behind.

The apartment I live in isn't really an apartment, in that it's more a few converted rooms above a Ghanaian food shop. But it's bright, and airy, and the rooms are big and the dryer works. Our landlady has also told us that we're only allowed take our bins out in the dead of night, which is concerning, but we've decided to label it as kooky and not think about it any further. In much the same manner, the room I live in isn't really a bedroom as much is it is a large closet. But it has a bed, and a couch, and a wardrobe, so I'm not complaining. I'm also not complaining about the tiny rent I'm paying.

There is one thing I am complaining about, and his name is Travis. Travis and I haven't met, but I already know that I despise him. Travis is the guy who used to live in this room before me. I know his name, because of the "Sorry You're Leaving, Travis!" cards he left in his wake. He abandoned these, plus some other miscellaneous crap, in a shoebox in my closet. Here are some reasons why if I ever meet Travis, I am going to murder him and then vomit on his corpse. If you're reading, Travis: I'm completely serious. I am going to murder you.

He Owns A Sexual Position Di

As most people learn fairly early in life, anybody who owns "hilarious" sex game paraphernalia is a categorical douche and deserves to die.  This is the first thing that caught my eye in The Shoebox.


Travis, I don't know if you got this as a gift in a stag-night goody bag, or as a heavy handed hint from your former girlfriend, but either way spending your first night in a new apartment being forced to ponder your predecessors sex life is NOT COOL. Not only do you own a sex dice, but further investigation of the sex dice reveals that it was created by someone who has obviously never seen another human being.


He Buys Envelopes and Then Never Sends Letters

I don't know if you can tell from this picture, but Travis bought and discarded a pack of 40 envelopes. He did not use a single one. This means that Travis intended to write a letter but didn't, or did and didn't send it. What kind of a bullshit move is this? Who is awaiting Travis's letter?

He Left His Teddy

Have you ever gone into a second-hand bookshop, opened a book and found a hand-written inscription? They often say things like "Saw this and thought of you!" or "Thank you... for everything xx". Me and my mother have a long standing agreement that we buy these books whenever we find them. It sounds like a bizarre thing to collect, but I think the main reason we find them so interesting is because it amazes us that someone would give away a book that somebody else had attached emotional value to.

I feel the same way about this bear. People don't buy or give bears lightly. They're totally useless, and there really is no good place to put them. How are you supposed to even react when someone gives you a bear? You say thank you, and "awww", obviously, but you can't just put it down. You have to snuggle it until the person goes away, because they have to know you're using their gift.

Regardless of how stupid teddy bears are, you have to acknowledge their meaning. The person who gave you that bear probably knows how stupid bears are, but wanted some small way to let you know that they think about you, fondly and a lot. And for anyone to just abandon that bear, in a shoebox... well, it's just not on, is it?

He Reads Dan Brown Books (and not even The Da Vinci Code)

Seriously Travis? The rest I could forgive, but this is just not cool.

The shoebox had a few more choice items, such as a bar of soap and some golfballs, so me and Danny decided that there was only one thing that could be done: we posted an ad in the "free stuff" section on Gumtree.

If you're interested in taking the shoebox, you may want to hurry up.

Because the world is a screwed up and awful place.