Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Potential Ensuing Narratives That Will Occour While I'm In Hospital

(C) Natalie Dee

So it turns out that my wisdom teeth have, for some time now, been involved in an extremely elaborate turf war in the various ghetto areas of my mouth. Apparently, there's kind of a Bloods Vs. Crips thing going on in there, to the extent that the violence is over-spilling into the white-bread suburban areas of my mouth. Obviously, this will not do. The suburban white-bread teeth pay taxes, damnit, to live in the part of my mouth with the good private schools and the expensive juice-bars. So on Friday, I am going to hospital and getting four teeth removed. This will hopefully restore peace and harmony to the ethnic tensions at work in my gums.

I know it's odd, but I'm incredibly excited about this. I've always been blessed with a clear bill of health: I've never broken a bone, because as I've noted before, my childhood sporting history was virtually non-existent. I've never been sick with anything other then chicken pox, and the last time I was in hospital I was six and needed four stitches in my forehead. I've never even been in a hospital bed before. Suddenly, without much warning at all, I'm going to be put under general anesthetic (the sleepy kind) and some men are going to take some things out of my face and then afterwards there will be jelly and perhaps ice-cream. AND ALSO the weekend off work. This is really, really exciting for me. What I find even more exciting is the potential adventures I'm going to have while I'm in hospital.

I Will Befriend A Kindly Older Jewish Man

He won't be kindly when I first meet him. In fact, he will be crotchety and difficult. The nurses will be frustrated with him. He will refuse to take his pills. He will be initially dismissive of me. He will eventually be won over by my elfin features and curious ways. I will remind him of his own children, who do not visit anymore and who are all grown up and are total assholes. He will have a menorah on his bedside locker. He will share his boiled sweets with me. He will tell me about Auschwitz. He will reminisce about his dead wife. We will form a wonderful connection. One day, I will come to see him, and one of the younger nurses will be folding sheets on his now empty bed. She will say "Hes gone, Caroline." and it will take me a moment to realise the enormity of what has happened. He will have left me something sentimental to remember him by. There will be a letter to me. It will also be sentimental.

Something Will Be Strangely Amiss With The Hospital Staff

I will notice that the patients around me are not getting better, but are in fact getting sicker and are dying at an unnatural rate. There will be a head nurse who wears her hair in a bun and who will be gradually revealed as a sociopath. She is drugging the patients and making them sign things that gives her and her whole operation loads of money, and then she kills them with incorrect medication and pillows and stuff.


I will not be able to sleep one night. I will hear the sound of a child crying, only this is not a children's ward. Hospital staff will be shady about this. I will finally press an old black nurse about it, and she will tell me in a mystical old black Toni Morrison way that this ward is haunted. I will eventually confront the ghost, who turns out to be the ghost of a little girl whose mother had Münchhausen syndrome. She will make me deliver a message to her surviving family, more then likely about the Münchhausen syndrome. Something else will happen. Her soul will then be at rest.

28 Days Later Will Happen

Monkey feces everywhere.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Everything I Learned About Being A Sassy Bitch I Learned From Elizabeth Taylor

So, in case you've been living under a rock or you don't have enough 20 year old girls on your Facebook newsfeed, Elizabeth Taylor died this week.

There's always a dizzying amount of fanfare surrounding stars who die suddenly, and the din is generally heightened if enough black-and-white movies were made featuring them. What people seem to forget though is that Elizabeth Taylor's death wasn't very sudden; the actress was 79, and had recurring health issues. She had also been an easy target for show business journalists since her fifties, finding herself the butt of any joke regarding child stardom, divorce, monogamy, jewelery, Michael Jackson, or general craziness. It's funny watching article after article being printed frantically about her. There are heavy uses of very vague terminology; "class", "elegance" and "grace" appearing chiefly among them. There seems to be this general idea that her death signifies an unnatural end to this.

I obviously didn't know Elizabeth Taylor; I don't even know a massive amount about her, or have seen very many of her movies. But I feel like I've read enough about her to know that Elizabeth Taylor was, in many ways, kind of a bitch. She made terrible romantic decisions. She married her dead husband's best friend, for God's sake. Who she stole off Debbie freakin' Reynolds. She aligned herself with friends and lovers who did very little for her career or her reputation. Obviously, there was Michael Jackson, but people tend to forget that she was steadfast friend to Rock Hudson in a time where AIDs was seen as a bi-product of a larger disease, known as homosexuality.

I mean, hello.
 My favorite book about old Hollywood is called Scarlett O'Hara's Younger Sister, and it's written by Evelyn Keyes. An actress who, because she was never all that popular, was able to write a tell-all autobiography about her time spent in Hollywood that actually managed to be tell-all. Keyes lost two husbands to the whims of Elizabeth Taylor, yet still manages to hold a begrudging respect for her. If I may quote:

"I liked Elizabeth Taylor the first time I met her; I liked her at this, the second. What she is, she is without pretense. Spoiled? Of course. As the Queen of England is spoiled. But the same ingredients give Elizabeth Taylor a sense of self that makes her comfortable to be around. It also gives her the courage to fight for what she wants, and against things she doesn't like."

Evelyn Keyes: Quite sporting, considering.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, I think Elizabeth Taylor should be remembered. Appropriately. To put her up on a saintly pedestal with Audrey Hepburn would be to limit what she truly was; a truly magnificently sassy bitch. Elizabeth Taylor did what she wanted when she wanted, and people were just going to have to get in line with that or get the fuck outta there. The woman had eight marriages to seven husbands, and I don't think I've ever heard about her apologizing to anyone about a damn one of them. (Talking about old Hollywood actors always makes me want to swear more. Not sure why. It's quite concerning) As someone who can't tell there ass from their elbow when it comes to relationships, I have an enormous respect for that. 

So here's to Elizabeth Taylor. A woman who firmly believed that everyone should love her as much as she loved herself.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Story of the Charmless Man

Irish people are a peculiar bunch. A rather blanket statement, sure, but bear with me. Although Irish people are universally peculiar, and peculiar to eachother in their peculiarness, they do manage to have one thing in common. No matter what part of the country your from, you want your local celebrity to fail.


As a Cork girl, telling bitchy stories about Johnathon Rhys-Myers is a cultural inhertiance as embedded as the word "langer". Which, coincidentally, is a much bandied about term for Rhys-Myers. If your from Roscommon, you spend your life waiting for Chris O'Dowd to punch an air stewardess just so you can have something to take him down a peg or two. Ammo. I don't even want to think about what happens to Stuart Charlize-Theron-bedding Townshend when he goes home.


Maybe it's because we're from a country that has bitterly grown accustomed to people leaving for bigger and better things. I still remember my secondary school history book being predominantly concerned with the IRA, the Civil War, but most offensive of all, people fecking leaving. This is still most people's chief memory of the 80's; the warbling moan of yet another absentee generation.

And lo, Colin Farrel found America

I never thought about this until the other night, before which I assumed that everyone was conditioned to despise their local celebrities. A drunken encounter with my Swedish friend has shifted my perception somewhat.

After a rousing game of Soul Caliber and two even more rousing bottles of Austrailian wine, we flopped down to watch Family Guy (a tv show only remotely funny to thirteen year olds and drunk people) and were interupted by an advertisement for True Blood. As we peered quietly at Anna Paquin arrousing multiple forms of the supernatural, my Swedish friend announces that she went to school with Alexander Skarsgard. I don't watch True Blood, but I know enough about it to know that Skarsgard is a stone-cold fox.

At this point, me and Tom turn to our Swede and await the litany that our culture has come to expect. We wait for an impassioned speech about Skarsgard being an egocentric piggy-backing all-round douche. We wait for an anecdote about the time he beat her up and stole her lunch money. We wait to hear about the time where he spat in a teachers face, before crying "Do you KNOW who I AM?"

We wait. And we wait. And then we wait some more.

Era's pass as we wait.

Our Swedish friend eats her slice of pie, sips at her Smirnoff Ice and seems to be completely unaware of what is supposed to come next. Finally, we break the silence.


"Well, what?" she replies, bemused by our silence

"..aren't you going to tell us about him?"

"It was primary school. We never spoke. He was a boy."

Although we are both aware that opposing genders do not speak in primary school, this is far from satisfying.

"But you were in the same class as him. You must have heard something about him."

A shrug. She looks pityingly into our worried eyes. A celebrity without an anecodote explaining how they are a dickhead is a notion neither I nor Tom have had to deal with before. It is basically the adult Irish equivalent of finding out Santa isn't real.

"He was probably quite spoilt." she offers

Yes. Something to hang onto. Our spirits pick up again.

"..yeah? What else?"

"Well, he was from a very wealthy area of the city, I suppose all those boys were quite spoilt."

This is no good. On and on, we press her for details. We actually tell her to make up details if she needs to, but it only serves to confuse her more.  Where she comes from, seemingly, celebrities are so barely relevant that they don't even bear bitching about. We give up. Family Guy is over, the True Blood ad has come and gone again, and now Never Mind The Buzzcocks is on.

"Did you ever hear that story about yer one from the Noisettes?", Tom pipes up.

I'm all ears.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

To: London. RE: Issues

London, if I'm going to move to you, then we're going to have to clear some issues up first.

When did Starbucks become the epicentre of all business mergers?

Cork doesn't really have a Starbucks, only establishments that "Proudly Brew Starbucks Coffee", which as everyone knows, isn't the same. So when I went to a giant, proper Starbucks I was expecting what one normally expects from a coffee shop: I dunno, people hanging out and drinking coffee. But no sir. The Starbucks in Covent Garden. Contrary to belief, starbucks is not for hipsters. Its for professionals. Professional professionals. I was in there for forty minutes by myself and I couldn't concentrate on my book because i felt like such a deadbeat. And it was a HARD book. Everyone was pouring over spreadsheets and holding conference calls and probably had maths sets tucked away somewhere.

Why don't you find my mishandling of sterling endearing?

And for that matter, why don't you find anything folksy and Irish I do endearing? I can assure you, I've had great luck in the past playing up my down-home country charm. But somehow, you seem to be completely immune to my adorable inadequacies with your currency. Regardless of the amount of people behind me in that que, my inability to differentiate between 50p and £1 should evoke hugs and giggles, not sighs and eye-rolling.


Is your iPhone free if you live in London?

Seriously, I think I saw a homeless person with one.

How come whenever I use my Oyster card I seemed to be using it at the broken scanner?

When I got my Oyster card, I was determined I was going to use it the right way and not expose myself as a grubby hick in the same way I had earlier in the day with the currency disaster. I hung back before I went through the turnstile, and observed my fellow, far chicer, travellers use the machine. It seemed fairly simple. Touch card on sensor. Wait for door to open. Walk on through. Except for the fact that there is always one "broken" turnstile, and that is always the turnstile I seem to walk up to, urgently try to outsmart, and then am denied access from. For awhile I thought it was some kind of ethnic prejudice, which is totally unfair, because an Irish person hasn't blown up a bit of London since at least the 80's.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Men I Thought I Was Going To Marry

Like a lot of little girls, I had very specific notions about the man I was going to marry. Unlike a lot of them, however, I never based my decisions on strength, or attractiveness, or how many ponies he was reasonably able to afford. Almost all my pre-emptive relationship decisions seem to have been based on the minimal amount of effort I’d potentially have to put into them. I never wanted to marry a prince, because that meant going to a load of boring public events where school children sang at you. Marrying any member of Take That (hot then, hot now) would involve a worrying amount of competition from other women.  So I set my sights reasonably low. (According to my mother, very little has changed in that regard.)

A Naval Officer

I’ve never seen An Officer and a Gentleman, but I suppose I’m familiar enough with the iconic Richard Gere-picking-up-a-lady scene, and it’s probable my eight year old self was equally familiar. However, I don’t think my dreams of marrying a naval officer was based on being lifted by Richard Gere, although now it probably is. My desire had more to do with the fact that naval officers are gone like, 11 months of the year. That gives me 11 months to do whatever the hell I like, like getting my hair done and staring out to sea. Then pow, one solid month of being an awesome wife. Life doesn’t get much better than that. Of course, there will always be the creeping suspicion that my husband is conducting an illicit affair with his Lieutenant, but no relationship is perfect.

A Blind Dude

For awhile I was convinced that when I grew up I'd marry a blind dude. For one thing, blind people get the best dogs. They're always the fluffiest and smartest. Guide dogs have such a wise, official aura that whenever I see one I want to ask it to do my tax returns. But that's not all. If I were married to a blind dude I wouldn't even have to keep the house that clean or put make-up on, as long as neither me nor the house smelled that bad. There's great freedom in that. I think I could build a great intimacy with someone who didn't know how bad my skin gets when I fall asleep drunk with my makeup on.

Michael Flatley

I always tell people that John Cusack was my first ever big crush, but that's not technically true. When I was about seven, my next door neighbor had a tape of Riverdance at Rwanda. I don't know why, but for some reason I thought Michael Flatley was the sexiest man alive. I don't know if I used the word "sexiest" back then, but I'm sure I had some child-friendly non-creepy adjective I used. My Michael Flatley obsession is my only childhood crush that I genuinely can't explain. I think I just loved the idea of being married to the Lord Of The Dance. That would make me the Lady of The Dance, a title I'd still be pretty comfortable with. Unfortunately, I still have the rhythm of a spastic goose so the only chance of earning that title would be through marriage. Also, it's undeniable that Flatley has enough gold to keep my ponies in mink all winter long. 

All My Dad's Friends

My parents have a story they like to tell about me, they like to call it the moment they knew a life of celibacy was never going to be in my future. It's not really a story, more of a childhood character trait, that basically consisted of me following my dad's friends around the house. If I really took a shine to them, I'd follow them to the bathroom and waited outside the door for them so I could recommence the stalking process. I don't know how my dad's friends felt about this, but I do remember my parents having gradually less company over to the house as the years went on. 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Cupcakes Piss Me Off

I've never been good at fashion. I'm interested in it, sort of, but the whole thing seems to require so much effort that is beyond my level of enthusiasm. Frankly, I think I'm being chic every time I wear tights under shorts, so it's fair to say that I'm not really in the fashion loop. Or even the fashion Venn diagram.

I love Venn Diagrams

Despite my general ignorance on the subject, I've noticed a recent motif in the fashion world that I find weirdly unsettling. Cupcakes. Yes, unobservant or male reader. Cupcakes.

Earrings. Pendants. T-shirts. Dresses. Handbags. You can't open a copy of Heat without seeing these obnoxious little dough balls hanging off someone's body. I just don't get it. At some point in the last two years, cupcakes stopped being a delicious treat and started becoming the embodiment of the female psyche. I didn't know that cake could be a defining talisman of an entire generation, but the cupcake has managed it. By endorsing the almighty power of the cupcake, you are opening a Pandora's Box to all areas of femininity. They're kind of old-school, so you can feel like you're evoking January Jones in Mad Men. But that's not all! They also allow you to be the fun, flirty creative you always suspected you might be. Cupcakes are provocative. Sometimes they even have whipped cream on them. Sometimes Katy Perry straps them to her boobs and performs elaborate dance routines.

I first began thinking about cupcakes the other day when my significantly more stylish friend Susie murmured while reading a magazine "I liked cupcakes before they were cool." (As I recall, she actually did.)  It's undeniable that in the cool stakes, they seem to trump all other confectionery. Google "Cupcake Fashion" and you come up with almost six million hits, whilst "Brownies Fashion" receives a meagre 1.7 million. "Flapjack Fashion", the clear loser, gets you 231,000 hits.  Sorry, Flapjacks. Maybe next year.

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Friday, March 11, 2011

The Five People You Meet at Gigs

When I tell people that I was at a gig last night, the first mistake they usually make is that they assume they must have heard of them. They cock their ear, eager for a forthcoming musical discussion that alludes to that time they went drinking with the Coronas. Unfortunately, they haven't heard of the band I went to see, because more then likely, I haven't heard of them either. Even more likely is that I have no business being there at all, and that I was brought along by a friend, or a friend-of-a-friend of a band. For this reason, I find myself nursing cheap cider at half-filled venues rather a lot.

There are two types of gigs you attend: gigs you want to be at, and gigs you have to be at, because social protocall compels you to. There is very little crossover between the two audiences. People at a Mumford & Sons concert never feel like they have to be there because otherwise Marcus will feel rejected, and people at a Mopey Young Female and The Apathetic Three gig are not there because they think they'll have fun. At the second type of gig, you seem to meet the same people over and over, and the following are the ones that bug me the most.

The "Band" Photographer

By and large, I find it incredibly difficult to respect photographers. It's not a popular opinion, but to me, photography is one of the least inspiring art forms. It is very seldom that I see a photograph and marvel at the artistic direction that was required to create it. Don't get me wrong, I know some talented young photographers who take their work seriously. However, (and I know I sound like a cretin) but a lot of the photographers I seem to meet are people who hang out in otherwise arty, talented circles yet fail to possess a tangible talent of their own. Rather then work at this and instead settle for being The Funny One, they buy a ridiculous camera. With a giant lens. And a huge leather neck strep. And if their presence wasn't made clear enough, a large padded shoulder bag. For their equipment, you see.

That's all very well when they're taking pictures of birds and crap in their own time, but when they do it at gigs I find it immensely irritating. They always seem to go out of their way to let people know that they're the photographer and need to get things from interesting angles. This means that they will crouch and hop about in stupid ways, ask to stand on your chair and generally be a fucking nuisance to everyone.

The Friends of The Support Act 

Nobody feels good for the support act. As much as nobody is really interested in the main act, people are even less bothered about whatever the support act (generally a guileless singer-songwriter) has got to say. So the support act will generally drag some friends to the event, and these will generally be the kind of people who don't attend gigs very often, and think it's the height of glamour that their friend has been asked to play one to begin with. Mostly these guys will blend into the background, but occasionally you'll get lairy types who think they're doing their friend a favour by shouting their support so loudly it borderlines heckling. You hear a lot of childhood nicknames going on here. Expect "G'wan DAME-O!" to feature heavily. Think of it as supportive booing.

I was saying "Boo - Urns"
The Hardened Locals

As indifferent as you are about being at this gig, there are people in the audience who are visibly pissed off about it. These are the people that drink at this venue all the time and are thoroughly disgusted by the idea that someone might be using the same place to further their creative ventures. Cue filthy looks at the stage, complaints about the noise to the barman, and loud, repeated "Who the fuck are these guys?"

The WAGs

Maybe I'm just being a bitch now, but there is often a common air of "total cow" around the girlfriends of musicians. Bear in mind, some of my closest friends are WAGs, so this is by no means a blanket term. But bitchy WAGs at gigs are as easy to identify at gigs as they are at soccer matches.

They embody a sighing quality, and you often suspect that the only reason they're even there is to prevent a fellow hipster chick from preying on their bass-playing boyfriend. Who they've decided is absolutely irresistible, and must prove this by cooing at him throughout soundcheck.

The Smug Barman

There are two kinds of barmen that work at bars with venues. There's is the enthusiastic, music loving barman that is eager for a chat about the band in question, and then there's the smug, horrible kind. The smug horrible kind will spend the whole gig leaning bored and cross-armed against the bar, occasionally nodding or tapping his foot to show that he understands rhythm. He will talk to the band like they are unruly children. He will be intensely patronising and refer to the band as "lads" once to often, while raising an overgrown eyebrow. He will not offer to help with the amps. He will look kind of like Dave Grohl.

Dave Grohl Barman Judges You

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

This Far, and No Further

Last night, I feel like I came to a grim realisation about the success paradigm in Irish music. What made this epiphany even grimmer was the fact that it took place at a Fight Like Apes gig, a band that I have enjoyed, immensely, for a number of years.

If Quentin Tarantino joined a punk-pop band with a hermaphrodite Karen O and an aspiring Mexican wrestler, they would be Fight Like Apes. Fight Like Apes are two parts fun and three parts pop culture and the other parts come and go as they please. In 2009, they released their debut album Fight Like Apes and the Mystery of The Golden Medallion and every 20-something in Ireland promptly fell in love with them. They didn't sound like anything the Irish indie scene had come out with before, and that was exciting. They gigged anywhere and everywhere, and everywhere they went the same excitement seemed to surround them. These guys are gonna be huge one Hipster would passionately whisper to another. I know, would whisper back the other, now let's talk about Broken Social Scene some more. 

With FLA there was always this sense of gathering momentum, that they were just on the brink of something massive and they were going to take us all with them. Eventually they released a second album, the brilliantly titled Body of Christ and The Legs of Tina Turner. And well, basically it was the same sort of thing. The fun and pop culture was still there, but something was missing. When people talked about the new album, they agreed it was good, but something was strangely amiss about how they were talking about it. No-one was really willing to admit how even though it was everything the first album had been, something about it was profoundly unsatisfying.

It wasn't until I saw them last night in the Bróg that I finally realised what was going on. Irish bands are only ever cool when they're on the cusp of being great, because after that, there's simply no place for them to go. Snow Patrol went on to great things, but let's face it, if every Irish band that we swear are going to break through actually broke through, then Director and The Delerentos wouldn't still be playing the Mitchelstown festival every year. So instead of having their big NME moment, Irish bands spend their entire careers being "up-and-coming" but never up-and-leave. And that is why last night's Fight Like Apes gig was so sad. Because for years now, they've been touring the same circuit, to the same fans and somewhere along the way the energy that made them so potent became kind of lifeless and fake.

The odd thing is that I wasn't the only person who felt this way. The atmosphere was strained an uncomfortable, despite the fact that at the exact same gig a year previously, there'd be a room full of twenty-two year olds thrashing around like it's the apocalypse and there's a shortage on beans.  Now, I found I was comfortably able to roll a cigarette two feet from the stage. Despite how hard the gig tried to be light-hearted, I felt completely bummed out by it. This band had become as cool as they ever were going to be, basically hitting the roof of the Irish indie scene and were now floundering with what to do next.

So let's for a moment, take a moment for Fight Like Apes.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

This Is The Day My Life Changes Forever

Like virtually all people that write a blog, I didn't get out much as a kid. The majority of my formative years were spent alone in my bedroom, plotting illicit love triangles for my Barbie's* and filling notebooks with ideas of a Utopian world where animals did my bidding. To add insult to socially-retarded injury, I wasn't even doing very well in school.  All in all, as a kid I was kind of a dud. 

My parents, god bless them, tried their darndest to get away from the fact that they had spawned a total loser. Afresh with celtic tiger ambition, they began sending me to any and all after school activities to both a) strengthen my almost completely non-existent physical dexterity and b) school me to view other people as being more then just an obstacle between me and precious solitude. I only remember a few of these ventures; tennis, swimming and most painfully, dance, being the most standout crushing memories. My mother assures me that their were dozens of other attempts, so exhaustingly short-lived that my childhood memory hasn't even bothered documenting them. Eventually, they learned to just leave me do my own thing, and maintained it to be the most harmonious policy to take. 

Eventually, however, something emerged out of the mists that dragged my pale limbs into the sun, and probably just saved me from rickets. These magical things were called ROLLER BLADES. 

Basically the most awesome things ever

The kids in my park were going through a pretty major roller-blading phase in the mid-nineties. Like every estate there was a constant current of trends rising and falling, and I only seemed to ever partake in the  trends that required the least amount of physical effort. Even yo-yo's and hackeysack proved too daunting: Pogs and Pokémon cards I could handle. So how I actually got around to strapping on a pair of roller-blades is a mystery to me. It's entirely possible the whole thing was a bribe from my mother or sister.  However it happened, I decided that roller-blades were basically my chief calling in life. Not only was roller-blading something I could actually do but I was also good at doing it. And perhaps most shocking of all, sometimes I could beat other kids. 

Yes way.

And then, just like that, the phase past. Suddenly nobody cared about roller-blades anymore. I think scooters were the next hip form of pseudo-transport. I was crushed. If nobody cared about the thing I was good at anymore, then no-one would know I was good at it. So I kept roller-blading on my own. Occasionally I could coax Mags to come with me, but eventually there's a limit to what two loner kids will do for one another, and she stopped too. Eventually, my lovely pink rollers were discarded and let to rust. 


Whip It (2009) is basically the Citizen Kane of girly sports movies. Not only does it have an immense soundtrack, a fantastic cast and some gosh-darned snappy lines, but it's about a roller derby, for crying out loud. I've watched this movie an embarrassing number of times, and yet will never not be in the mood to watch it. Every time the credits roll, I pine and paw with my unrollered feet for a Cork city based roller derby team. 

*This came to a shuddering halt when I was about eight and my dad caught me staging an elaborate sexual encounter between Barbie and Action Man. Ken was away on business and Action Man had those huge arms and gruff demeanor.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Boner City

I'm a modern woman. I work a part-time job and buy my own clothing. I give my mother money for groceries. Sometimes I allow men who I am not married to escort me places. Sometimes this presents queries; issues such as "Am I being clingy?" and "Does he really want to hear about my collection of ethnically aware Beanie Babies?" When I am presented with such a query, I have to consult someone. The woman of yesterday used to consult her best friend or knitting circle. The Modern Woman consults her misogynistic male friend.

My misogynist friend would never forgive me for revealing him, so for the sake of this blog post we're going to call him Eduardo. I enjoy asking the advice of Eduardo for two reasons. Because Eduardo possesses the exact sort of male brain the Cosmo woman lives to thwart. He sleeps with women that he does not call back. He tells them things he does not and will never mean. He hides their underwear and reviews it later.  So when I ask Eduardo his advice about what I should do in any given romantic situation, I can be reassured that (a) the guy I'm seeing will never, ever be as bad as Eduardo yet (b) that within all men, lives some version of Eduardo.

In my opinion, every woman needs an Eduardo in her life. Although I may not always use Eduardo's insights, they never fail to fascinate me. "When a girlfriend asks me how many women I've slept with," he begins sagely "the answer is always, always seven."
"Seven." he confirms "It's not a ridiculous number. It tells her that I take sex and intimacy seriously and what have you; but it also lets her know that I know what I'm doing. I know where everything is."
Does he not feel bad for lying, I ask.
"If she's asking, then she wants to be lied to" he responds instinctively.

Eduardo is to me what Justin Long was to Ginnifer Goodwin in that terrible movie. (Except without the getting-together-in-the-end bit, obviously)

A terrible movie which I have seen four times.
One of my favorite Eduardo-isms is his most recent pearl of chauva-wisdom.
"If you're ever afraid a guy is losing interest, there's only one thing you need to do to reel him back in."
I raise my ear.
"One text. Just one text. And all it has to say is "I'm at home, alone."
I'm disappointed. "Is that it?"
"Yes. Those words exactly. It's not an invitation to come over, though. It's just a message. I'm at home. Alone. BAM. Boner city."
"I'm telling you, Car. Boner city."

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Marianne Faithful can go away and die

Today, I'm going to write about something that has been bothering me intensely today. This thing falls under the vague stratosphere of musical blogging. I'd also like to mention that while I am within this vague stratosphere, I am also vaguely drunk, as I have had not one, but two pints of Bulmers original cider. (Two pints of cider is just the right amount of alcohol I can consume to remain whimsical yet still maintain the critical coherency to write a blog entry)


Today I saw the cover of Marianne Faithfull's new album. It looks like this.

I'm sorry, but quite frankly, I've never seen a more ridiculous contemporary album cover for anything, ever. You may remember Marianne Faithful as the self-proclaimed Kate Moss of "her day" and professional girlfriend to the musically gifted. Every now and then, Marianne Faithful releases an album, and her record sales are almost completely made up of posh mums and twenty-something girls who believe buying vintage clothing makes you a better person. Which I don't really have a problem with; kuddos to Marianne and all that. But just LOOK at this. "Horses and High Heels" is a pretty baffling thing to call your album by anyones standards. I'm not even sure what its supposed to lyrically represent. Horses.. so Marianne is.. earthy? Rustic? At the heart of it all, a down home country gal? But HANG ON A RUDDY SECOND. "High heels".  She's glamorous. Daring. She lives by no-ones rules. Marches to her own drum. Indulges in the occasional mars bar party.

I haven't actually listened to the album, and its safe to say I never will, so I will never know Marianne's true reasoning for calling her album such a dreadful thing. I can only stare at this absolutely bizarre album cover. It fascinates me. Who ok'ed this? Who thought this would be a good idea? Keep looking at it. Look at the horse. Look at the high heels. Look at the other horse, hidden in the shrubbery next to the real horse. Look at the crashing waves and vivid colours. What?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Memoirs of a Geisha: To Sir, With Love

Imagine a progressive all-girls Catholic school in the 1950's. Now imagine the Romanov children, post revolution, imprisoned by the Bolsheviks. If you somehow manage to breed the two mental images, congratulations. You have conceived a suitable template for my entire secondary school experience.

The secondary school I went to was unorthodox for a lot of reasons. For one, it was (and is) the only female private school in Cork. Parents of pupils payed a pretty hefty sum for their daughters tuition, and I guess they never really questioned where any of this money was actually going. Y'see, despite our tuition fees, our school that educated roughly 600-700 girls at any one time, was mostly made up of two old houses and a prefab. We didn't have any sporting facilities, or a real auditorium, or basically anything apart from a snazzy unifiorm that we were encouraged to keep looking as attractive as possible. From an outsiders perspective, it probably looked as though we belonged to a finishing school for future airhostesses. 

While other students were doing their ECDL, we were getting classes in flower arranging.

This is actually a rather accurate representation of what we got up to.


Not that I'm seriously criticising the place. The one thing about my secondary school was that as long as you were basically polite, you could do whatever the hell you liked. The teachers were more like doting aunts then real authority figures. New teachers were pretty rare, and I always thought that whenever we did encounter a new teacher they were always at least a little weirded out by us. It wasn't that we were snobs, exactly. We were just so intensely sheltered that we found it difficult to fathom a world outside our own. The whole situation was very Never Let Me Go except with less organ harvesting and more ski holidays.

We had one male teacher at our school, and to this day some of us still even wonder aloud whether he was actually a teacher or not. Every secondary school seems to have one of these. Those faculty members that strive somewhere between caretaker and educator, always inexplicably there yet never actually imparting and wisdom or fixing any windows.  To protect his identity, I'm going to call him Mr. Tea.

Mr. Tea does not look like this.

Mr. Tea really had it rough. Nobody was 100% on how he ended up at our school; for the most part he just seemed to dodder around, accepting the general abuse bestowed on him by his students and colleagues. The more dominant rumour about him was that as a young man, he had trained to enter the priesthood, until he fell in love with a woman and was forced to leave the order. I say "rumour", when truthfully, we gleaned this information from his poetry that he would occasionally give us to review. We mocked him mercilessly, the poor sod, yet it never seemed to dissuade him. The most inspiring thing about Mr. Tea, aside from his choice in ties, was the fact that absolutely nothing seemed to dissuade him. Day after day, he'd show up, "teach" religion and substitute all the classes that our stylish, somewhat maternal teachers weren't bothered with.
I feel terrible about it now, but those substitute classes was where tormenting Mr. Tea turned into a competitive sport. In our all-girls private school, there were two ways of earning your Badass stripes. You could get an older boyfriend and suck face with him outside the school, or, if you didn't feel like doing that (I did) you could bully Mr. Tea. Both situations gave you adequate lunch-time kuddos. 

This was even less romantic in real-life

On one such of these merciless assaults on Mr. Tea, Mr. Tea decided he would fight back, with the previously unheard of tactic of moving me and my best friend Mags to the front of the class. If any other teacher had done this, i'm sure we would have taken it as a cautionary measure and behaved ourselves under the watchful gaze of one of our coffee-scented Amazonian educators. But this was Mr. Tea, and we couldn't believe the audacity of his trying to discipline us. At the same time, I think we were feeling a bit smug that our behaviour had gotten so far out of line that we were being singled out amongst our fellow abusers. 

Being at the front  of the class merely meant that we were closer to Mr. Tea to really fuck with him. The second he turned his back to write his futile lesson plan, I took off my shoe, my sensible 3-inch office heel (I still can't get over that we wore those to school) and threw it at the board, missing Mr. Tea's head by a quarter inch. Incredulous, he turned around and asked who threw their shoe. Silence.

Miraculously, he turned back around and continued writing on the board. Pissed off for the lack of reaction, I decided to throw the other shoe. The same reaction ensued, except now Mr. Tea started blithely accusing the girls in the class he randomly assumed must have thrown the shoe. For some reason, neither me nor Mags were suspected. Why it never occured to him to look for the girl who was now barefoot, I'll never quite know. Maybe he thought someone would eventually come clean, but what is far more likely is that he was just an exceptionally dim man. When he finally resumed the lesson, Mags decided she'd get in on the action and took his Irish book, lying open on the desk. When it finally came for him to read from the book, he stared blankly at the oak surface where his book once was. 

I wish, so hard, that we really had replaced his book with flowers. But we didn't.

Noticing that Mags now had a book where she once had none, he began, triumphantly accusing her of taking his book.

Tea: "You! You took my book, you faggot." (I'm fairly certain this is verbatim)
Mags: "...sir?"
Tea: (on the edge of sanity) "GIVE ME MY BOOK BACK."
Mags: "Sir.. this is my book. You didn't bring your book today."

To make a long story short, he believed her. And when class ended, and I collected my abandoned shoes, he figured out that I was the one behind the shoe scheme. He furrowed his brow, shook his head, and went to his next class.

The worst thing about this story, is that in the years following, Mr. Tea always seems pleased to run into me.