Friday, 9 June 2017

Peaks and Troughs and then Low Low Tory Troughs

Well I always say I don't blog because I don't do anything blog-worthy, and today I ended up on the 6 o'clock news (and potentially the 10 o'clock news).

Another reason I lost my enthusiasm for blogging, is that I suddenly felt it was self-indulgent and that I was being very narcissistic, and I've just proven that theory by writing about the fact that my mug got on the telly rather than the results of the BLOODY ELECTION!

I honestly had lost all hope. Jen, Claire, Lauren and Kayt have ALL said to me this week that hoping is the worst part, and I realised they were right. I couldn't bear the disappointment of another crushing Tory victory, after daring to hope for a slightly different outcome.

I've been so angry this week, walking home from work (it takes 1 hour 45 minutes) to calm down and try to think zen thoughts. But I would get myself all worked up thinking about people voting Tory. Like... I get they might be super rich and have never met a poor person... but can't they imagine for a second what it would be like to NOT be super rich? Can't they screw their eyes up tight and really try to concentrate, and think about what it must be like to be poor in a Tory Paradise with no NHS and no free school meals and no fucking job opportunities and also no benefits?

And if they can imagine it and put themselves in everyone else's place for a second, then why would they vote Tory?? It must be because they don't have any empathy whatsoever.

The definition of a psychopath is someone who doesn't have any empathy, isn't it?

As for Tory voters who aren't super rich... well. What the fuck is wrong with them??

You can see my train of thought.

But then.

Whattdya know?

Not only was it not a landslide victory, but it wasn't a victory at all. It was a hung parliament - is it was anyone's game! Jeremy Corbyn *technically* had as much right to form a government as May...

I woke up to the sound of Lauren, Jen and Lauren's sister (who moved to London last week and got herself a job today, the streets are paved with gold I tell you) laughing and being loud and generally sounding excited.

I got out of bed to discover what had been happening through the night...

Labour had done really well, and all the doubters had to finally admit that Jeremy Corbyn has done very well.

I'm sorry but I hope all the senior Labour MPs who declared him unfit to lead, and who said that nobody would for him, realise now that it DOESN'T MATTER WHAT THEY THINK.

It matters what VOTERS think.

And especially young voters, this time round.

I'm not saying that in a disrespectful way, but it makes sense that if the majority of young people want something to happen, then it will be reality soon enough. That's the future. I hear you singing 'the children are our future' - and yes, that's exactly my point.

Can I just say, also, that a few people made jokes about Jeremy Corbyn coming off his allotment or making jam today... how lovely is that? With David Cameron, people were making jokes about how he put his penis into the head of a dead pig.

Anyway, I was buzzing OFF MY TITS this morning and went to work wearing a red lippy.

Labour HQ is really close to my office so a few of us went to cheer Jeremy as he came out and got into his car. It was mostly TV cameras, but there was a handful of supporters and we stood in the rain and cheered.

A woman asked us if we would mind asking a few questions about why we voted Labour, and that's how I ended up on the news! I was so enthusiastic, she actually said to me 'But Labour haven't won the election'.

But things turned out better than I ever hoped they would, because there would be so many more MPs in Westminster to battle the Tories at every step! And also young people showed they can turn up and vote, which is great.

It was such an exciting day. I felt like a weight had been lifted from my chest. The future might not be so bleak after all..

Until May decided to form a coalition with a party that seemingly beamed into our lives from 800 years ago. I feel really bad for never having heard of them. I literally had no idea that Northern Ireland were dealing with such a dangerous, bigoted party.

And Theresa May called them her "friends".

She's a fucking piece of work, that one.

I took this at 10 Downing Street earlier this evening - the people have spoken:

video



Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Rainy

God I love the rain.

I was just walking back from Canary Wharf (please disregard this as a clue to my whereabouts if you wish to find my location and do me harm... to everyone else: yes, I live quite close to Canary Wharf) and my feet were slipping and sliding round in my ballet pumps (a problem I've had since ballet pumps became the spring/summer/autumn footwear of choice for 95% of English girls about 12 years ago - surprised they haven't sorted it out yet with some kind of water-repellent insole) and my hair was stuck to my face and my jeans were clinging to me and my coat was soaked through (the same thin 'parker' coat Amo lent me the money to buy when I first moved to Paris... it took me ages to pay her the money back, because that first year I got paid monthly, in cash, and every time she came to visit from Disneyland she never picked the day I got paid on, which was pretty much the only time of the month I was guaranteed to have a pocket stuffed* with crisp fifty euro notes) but I was thoroughly enjoying myself because - and I literally just said this in the first line of the blog post but I'm saying it again for effect - I just love the rain.

Phew. I bet you thought that parenthesis-peppered paragraph would never end. (Alliteration always reminds me of writing stories in Primary School. The lovely lion lolled around lusciously! Oh my god. I've just had deja vu. Have I said that exact same thing before in a blog post??)

STOP!

This is why I don't blog anymore, because I have so much to say that it comes out like a stream of lunacy/consciousness.

Basically, I was walking over the little bridge at Canary Wharf - it's quite futuristic especially in the rain when everything is slick and darkened, it reminds of La Defense - and I thought I'd really like to blog about the rain.

I guess I'm talking about spring/summer rain in particular.

I love the smell of it, before during and after, I love suddenly noticing how green everything is. I'm listening to the rain pour down outside as I type, and the sweet sound of birds singing underneath the sounds of falling water. The air feels fresh. Colours of the trees and buildings seem richer and more saturated, everything feels alive.

The thing is, it never rains in London. And I notice when it rains, so I know.

OH MY GOD the rain is so nice. I feel so vibrant, I couldn't wait to get off the tube and walk home in the rain, getting drenched and being surrounded by the noise and smell of a rainstorm. Well it isn't a rainstorm, but it is raining a lot.

I listened to a radio program once about people's accents reflect the landscape they live. So Welsh people have melodic voices that go up and down like the Valleys, Manchester people (used to) have quite nasally voices caused by the pollution from the cotton mills, and people living in the Midlands sound flat, like the flat landscape around them.

I'm wondering if it's the same with rain. You see it never rains in the South, and a lot of Southern people are quite dry.

Not the people I know, who like fancy dress and telling stories and going to sex techno nights with men on leashes (I won't tell you who it is, but it starts with a B) - and I don't even want to set those things as the barometers for being 'not-dry' because everyone's different and you can be 'not-dry' (moist? wet? both sound terrible) in so many different ways and yet.

And yet a lot of people in London are DRY.

I can't even explain why.

I could talk to someone about them buying a house, or about work, and it would be interesting. You talk to someone else about the same things and it's the most boring thing in the world. I guess people are dry and hard to talk to when there's no self-deprecation. I think that's it - if someone's telling you that they are really good at their job and then don't quantify it with a story about how they once slipped on a dog poo or something, then there isn't anywhere for the conversation to go.

I feel like this has been a really mean blog post but it's not about anyone in particular, I was just enjoying the rain and the thought came to me about how dry places beget dry people.

HAHA.

I've just thought about all the dry places in the world that have really vibrant cultures. I'll shut up.

Oh my god. Forget everything I just said.

I'm tempted to delete all of that but I want to try a new thing where I just write without editing and then maybe I can write more on Left Bank Manc.

So I'll leave it there for now. Please don't tell anyone what I said about dry places and dry people. I didn't mean it. I love London and I've met so many nice people, it's just sometimes I end up in the worst conversations with people and I'm normally not that bad at conversing. I'm never bad if I've got someone moist/wet to bounce off.

Let's stop there.

*if you can stuff a pocket with twelve notes... actually that sounds like a lot. I'll let myself have that. Although if I'm being picky the notes were normally hidden in rolled-up socks in my drawer and I'd only ever take one or two out... But I'm not being picky - back to the intro we go! Unless you're reading this at the end of the blog post... In which case, can you even remember what this asterisk is about??

Saturday, 22 April 2017

HIYA LOVE!

JESUS I haven't written on here for the longest time ever, I know Left Bank Manc is kind of over but I can't bear to let it go.

Maybe when I'm an old lady I'll take it up again, and spend my retirement writing about my grey pubes and the queues in the Post Office. If my pubes and the Post Office haven't been obliterated by nuclear war by then. If I'm even alive and not just a sentient binary code floating around in cyperspace...

Do we still use binary code?? I have no idea how the internet works. All I know is when they offer me the chance to live forever in a computer I will say no thanks.

We are racing towards a dystopian future! Maybe that is why I don't blog anymore! Because what the hell am I supposed to say apart from isn't the news shit can you bear to think about the people of Syria because I can't!

Anyway. I thought about doing a blog after the attack at Westminster, because I work right next to it and I wanted to say 'Don't believe the news, my non-British readers'. London did not shut down. I couldn't get my normal tube home from Westminster, but everything was fine a few streets down at Victoria.

I'm not saying it wasn't extremely sad that those people died - I had to switch off an interview with the American woman who's husband had been killed, because I was crying and I just couldn't bear any more Sad News - but it wasn't like the terrorists had had any major impact on London.

Facebook sent me a notification saying 'Your friend Anna (who lives in Manchester and doesn't know whereabouts I live or work in London) has asked if you're safe.' So I selected the 'yes' option and the next thing I know, there was a bloody post on Facebook 'Left Bank Manc has marked herself safe in the Westminster attack' and I just thought for fuck's sake.

If people log on and see that some of their friends AREN'T safe, they're going to panic. I understand why Facebook has done the 'safe in the attack' thing when there is a large-scale attack, but when there is a very concentrated incident it does more harm than good.

It's not like they do it for every crime. Last weekend 20 people were sprayed with acid in a club in Dalston. Imagine the panic if everyone had started randomly proclaiming themselves 'safe from the acid attack that I was nowhere near'. (Don't worry most of the people suffered minor burns and are going to be ok.)

****UPDATE: The victims are not ok. It was so much more serious than I thought after reading the first article about it. Their lives have been ruined forever, it was horrific. I've just read a more recent article about the victims and it has chilled my blood. Those poor people.****

Anyway.

I didn't want to talk about scary things.

I'm actually applying for jobs at the moment and one of them was for a travel company. I wondered if I could link to some of my posts on here in my application... given the lewd, crude and disgusting content I think not.

Pffft.

I've been thinking about quitting my job and going freelance. The only issue is that I don't have any money saved up, and I have a few expensive things coming up (ie. holidays) in the next couple of months.. BUT if I went freelance I would get paid a decent rate, which would mean I would only have to work for one week each month to pay bills and rent.

Obviously I would need to work a lot more than one week a month, but I'm thinking short-term, just when I'm getting started, I could manage.

If I went freelance I would have more time to blog and work on my novel... Even if it never gets published and is a bag of shit, I think I'll feel like a failure if I don't at least write down the story that's almost finished in my head.

Should I quit my job?

It's becoming so boring and samey... I know there are worse jobs (I've had all the worst jobs, so don't even start) but life is too short to feel bored and lost and vaguely frustrated all day, right??

I NEED YOU TO CONFIRM MY LIFE CHOICES

I want to hand my notice in and go freelance. I do I do I do!

But also don't want to be super skint again, and panicking about finding work. I've spoken to a couple of people I know who do freelance copywriting/design and they say go for it.

Hmm.

Let's have a tune to cheer us up:




Thursday, 1 September 2016

Going Veggie

Guys I am so sorry, just checked the au pair forum and there were some new messages on there. I've replied to them all now, apart from the one about China... I feel this was more a call out to anyone's who has ever au paired in China and if I stuck my oar in it would just be for the sake of it really...

Like this blog post I guess.

It's just for the sake of it.

Just to say I am now a vegetarian.

The last time I ate meat or fish was over five weeks ago. Oh, actually ate a fish pie two weeks ago but kind of had to, it's a long story... (Basically I was at Phil's granny's house and it was the only thing in the house to eat and I didn't want to make things difficult.)

My reason for going veggie?

WELL SINCE YOU ASKED.

No, I haven't watched Cowspiracy.

But it is to do with the environment. I feel like going veggie can actually help, maybe. A little bit.

I mean, there's not much we can now to slow down the oncoming apocalypse. Recently it's begun to feel more real than ever to me.

Displaced people, war and panic, extinct animals, seas rising and the earth quaking...

Really it would take a seismic change to make any kind of difference, and who has the persuasive power to talk the world population into planting more trees, ditching their cars and accepting more refugees into their country?

It feels desperate, like nothing one person can do could possible make a difference.

But I've been reading studies on climate change, and if everyone in the world reduced their meat consumption to World Health Organisation guidelines (160 calories of a 2,100 daily intake) then we, the planet, could reach our carbon emissions target by 2050.

By reach target, I mean reach the targeted reduction - not reach a higher volume of carbon emissions... Keep eating those greens for our beloved greenhouse in the sky, guys!

Sooooo... I'm thinking: if everyone eating a little less meat helps the environment, then one person cutting out all meat would help a lot, right?

And of course there's the animals themselves.

If I was an animal, and someone was going to turn me into a pie, I'd want an unseen arrow through the back of my neck as I skipped through the forest. Being caged or chained for life is worse than death.

That is the long and short of it.

I used to eat free range stuff but I don't trust it any more. I'd happily eat meat direct from the farmer, if he/she could tell me about its long and happy life in great detail but I don't think even farmer's markets are like that.

I'm still drinking milk and eating cheese, which does bother me but I"m trying to buy only organic milk... cheese not so much, but that is my next step. Only cheese from farmer's markets, where I can ask about the cows.

I'm not bothered about eggs if the chickens are happy when they lay them. I don't think the chickens have big plans for their unfertilised eggs, to be honest.

So far, transitioning to a vegetarian diet has been relatively painless. My mum asked me if I was developing an eating disorder when I told her over the phone, but everyone else has been very understanding.

I've tried loads of new recipes and I'm finding out interesting things about food. For example, you can get enough iron in your diet form dried apricots, lentils and chickpeas. On the first day I went veggie, it was mainly because Claire told me she had turned veggie.

AND I DO EVERYTHING SHE DOES.

No, it made me realise that I wanted to try it and I'm so glad I did.

I did get a craving for sausages, mash and red onion gravy last week, so I bought Linda McCartney sausages, which my vegetarian cousins have always loved. However, I checked the box afterwards and they contain palm oil which is TERRIBLE for the environment so they're off the table.

To be honest, I should probably start being more ethical about everything I consume. No fruit or veg that's been flown in to the UK, Fairtrade cocaine etc. etc.

One step at a time.

And because I've bored you with my vegetarian chat, here's a song to send you to sleep. If you love 10 Things I Hate About You, you'll recognise it...

I like to think it's about my conflicting loves: Needoe's lamb chops and the environment.

I don't think I could actually go to Needoe's Grill now I'm a vegetarian. I might turn savage and leap across the table, snatching hot bones and gristle and bounding out of the door with them hanging out of my mouth.

It has actually happened before... This isn't technically the first time I've been a vegetarian. When I was very small, my mum and my dad were vegetarians, and so was I...

One day they took me round to my nana's house and she insisted on giving me a bone with a tiny bit of lamb on it to try as I'd never had meat. The way my dad tells it, I loved it so much that I ran and hid under the table, gnawing on it like a little animal, and my nana shouted "Look she loves meat!"

Anyway here's the song!

















Friday, 29 July 2016

Gypsy

Longtime readers will know my inappropriate love of Romani traveller culture.

I'm aware that it's disgusting to romanticise a marginalized ethnic group...

But now I can happily say that my family were travellers a few generations ago, so I kind of feel like I am allowed to love traveller culture again in a non cultural appropriation way. Yey!

My mum's gran always said her family were gypsies who ran a travelling fair, and everyone put this down to her being a bit of a storyteller and dreamer. I really feel for her, as I often tell people things that are COMPLETELY true and because they are so fantastical they don't believe me.

Like the fact that cats and dogs can smell epileptic fits and low blood sugar in diabetic people, or that the National Trust and other businesses use dowsing to find water and underground structures...

It's not my fault that I'm so tuned into the fantastical.

Anyway, my uncle has discovered that my mum's gran was telling the truth, as I always knew she was in my heart.

Her mum and dad were 'horse people' and they met at Appleby (for non-British readers - it's a famous horse fair, where travellers traditionally met their husbands and wives). I can't remember which is which, but one side of the family had a circus and the other had a travelling fair.

So there you go. I'm not sure if they were Irish travellers or Roma originally, but I don't think they came from Ireland which makes me think Romani.

I wanted to share my news, because it makes me so happy.









Thursday, 14 July 2016

The State (of things)

Remember when I suggested taking all public school boys and putting them on a reserve away from normal people?

Well everyone thought I was joking and NOW LOOK WHAT'S HAPPENED.

Britain has been split in half, racists are running riot on the streets and a man who was sacked from being a journalist for 'making up quotes', a man who campaigned for LEAVING the EU and then admitted he rather liked the EU, a man who was once got stuck on a zip wire waving tiny flags, is our Foreign Secretary.

When I found out we'd left the EU, my heart broke. It doesn't feel the same, it wasn't an overdramatic knee-jerk reaction - something has changed forever. The things I used to love about England don't really mean anything anymore, it's like a sheet of rose-coloured laminate has slipped off and they mean nothing.

Obviously I missed my family and friends when I lived in France, but I also really missed the misty moors and hills, busy streets lined with Indian and Punjabi restaurants, tea and Victoria sponge cake in quiet caf├ęs filled with old ladies, pubs and fish and chips by the seaside...  

All these places and moments I romanticised, have now lost their appeal. I know it might be because I don't miss them anymore, because I'm here, but I don't think it's just that.

When I found out we were leaving the EU, I was at Glastonbury. Jen stuck her head into the tent and woke us all: "We've left the EU and David Cameron's resigned."

I burst into tears, and waked round the campsite crying my eyes out. It was so surreal, never in a million years did I ever think it would happen.

I know it sounds prejudiced, but I really think any public school boys (or girls) found to be harbouring political ambitions should be moved to a grand old house out of the way, where they can play polo and eat lovely food* - it wouldn't be cruel, I respect all human happiness - but absolutely under no circumstances would they be allowed to interfere with the running of the country. 

We could tell them that the Palace of Westminster hast been relocated to Norfolk while it's being refurbished.

It's just not appropriate for them to be in charge of normal people. Case in point: When David Cameron resigned, he was caught HUMMING A LITTLE DITTY to himself as he walked away.

Behind closed doors, he should have been crying. He should have leant against the wall, screaming and swearing, "I've fucked it all up, I've fucked up so much." But instead he sang a merry little tune to himself and said 'right' - as in 'right, what's next?'

He doesn't care because he doesn't have to. He's too privileged and rich, so he never took it seriously. It's hard to accept that something that meant so much to so many British people - and European people who were sad that we left - meant absolutely nothing to those responsible...

David Cameroon resigned in high spirits - now he can concentrate on making more money, without worrying about the public interest in his tax avoidance schemes.

Disgraced Boris Johnson is the fucking Foreign Secretary.

Oh, and the new Prime Minister has a serious problem with the European Court of Human Rights.

It all seems too much like a sitcom, part of me isn't that angry because it doesn't seem real. They're all just characters, and it's an elaborate storyline. Next week's episode will be better, I reckon.


*All funded by them, of course. This is a serious proposal and I've thought about how it would work, and the money would not come from the tax payer.


Sunday, 22 May 2016

Let Your Socks Relax... and Strippers in the Office

This was going to be a post about my tidy bedroom and then I just realised I have something else to talk about...

On Friday somebody got a stripper into the office for a girl who is getting married.

It was horrendous. The stripper was really uncomfortable, the girl was really uncomfortable... I cannot believe it actually happened.

They told the girl she was going to have a meeting with a new client, and the meeting was being filmed and streamed live in a room next door. Everyone was told to go in the room... and then when the 'client' started stripping everyone rushed in. Including me.

I kind of wish I hadn't, but I thought it would be funny. In my head he would be an old fat man in a pair of hilarious leopard print underpants and he would be really confident and loving the attention...

But he seemed like a sad man, who would have given anything to go back in time and refuse the job.

I ran out of there when he got a bottle of baby oil out, but apparently he ended up completely naked and waggling his willy in the bride-to-be's FACE. There is video evidence to prove it. I wonder if she will sue??

Anyway, this was supposed to be a quick post about my tidy bedroom.

Have you heard of the book 'The Magic of Tidying'?

The author is Marie Kondo, a Japanese Tidying Guru. She promises that after reading her book and completing the KonMari tidying method, you will never be messy again - ever. The basic principle is 'throw everything away that doesn't spark joy'.

After reading the book, which is in turns brilliant and insane (she tells loads of anecdotes about past clients, that I think are stories she has invented to back up her point), you put all your possessions on the floor and, one by one, hold them and see if they 'spark joy'.

If they don't, you thank them for their time and efforts, and get rid of them.

That's it.

Once you have decided what you want to keep, you need to make a place for it your room. Marie Kondo promises that you will find a place for everything once you're finished - as you will miraculously have thrown away the right amount of stuff.

This certainly happened for me. If I bought more clothes I don't know where I would put them, as I have just enough space for the things I have kept. I gave so much stuff to the charity shop - things I actually thought would make the cut, like a grey pencil skirt I wear all the time for work. When I held it in my hands, I felt nothing, so I gave it away.

The idea is that when you've finished, you'll only be left with clothes you really, really love. The only problem is that now none of my clothes go together. But they do all bring my joy!

My gold sequin hot pants. My cloak. My turquoise dress from Chinatown...

I didn't give away many books as I didn't have many to start with, but there were a couple of books I'd bought at airports that brought me no joy...

My room is so tidy now. Everything has a place, as you can see.

Here are the before pictures:




Here is a photo of all my clothes piled up on my bed - the point of no return:


And here are some photos of my lovely new room:


Your bag carries your things around all day, so Marie Kondo says at night you should empty your bag and give it some downtime... 

This sounds insane, but actually makes sense. I used to assume things were in my bag when they weren't. Now I have a place on my desk drawer for purse, keys, tube pass etc. and I pack my bag every morning, so I know for certain what is inside. 

Also taking the weight out of your bag means the handles aren't being strained when you're not using it, so it will help it last longer.


For the same reason as above, Marie Kondo believes you should fold socks gently and not bunch them up into potato-like balls. They look after your feet all day, and so they deserve some relaxation time in your drawers. The practical reason for folding them like this is to help save the elastic.

I haven't really nailed the folding method yet, but you can see from the photo above that it does save space when you fold everything - even jeans, tops and dresses - in Marie Kondo's special way.





So that's that! Thought I would share as when I was reading the book, I kept looking for Before and After photos online.

I have always had problems with mess. My room gets into such a state and then tidying becomes a huge job that takes hours and hours to complete. I've got rid of so much stuff, and I don't regret giving any of it away.

I am very low on knickers actually...