Review of the Decade

You remember that shit song Tony Blair liked? ‘Things Can Only Get Better? I am going to campaign for a rerelease. After a decade which saw global religious war, rotten aggressive military actions, erosion of my civil liberties, and economic collapse, which my daughter will have to pay for, it’s probably true now. Might write to John O’Farrel, see if he is pondering a sequel.

Panto, Tweenies, and Hebden Bridge Picture House

Do you remember when I went to see The Tweenies with Rachel? You probably don’t, why would you? I took Rachel to see The Tweenies Live. We had a wicked time, but it ended up costing me nearly £70, including train fares, merchandise, and tickets. It was fun, but it wasn’t the kind of fun that keeps you coming back to theatres to spend £70. Christ, I would object to paying that much to go to see a decent gig, never mind £70 to see 4 of the most irritating characters imaginable, singing ‘If you’re happy and you know it’, while waving a plastic light wand that cost a fiver, while the theatre merchandising company treat you like a walking cash machine.So I didn’t consider taking Rachel to the Panto. Anyway, long story short, I changed my mind. I went to book tickets for Snow White, at the Carriageworks in Leeds. Tickets are subsidised by Leeds City Council, and cost £6 for a morning show, or £7.50 to an afternoon show. At that price, I can consider the theatre as something to do with Rachel. And that, I think is the point in arts subsidies.Then me and a friend were considering stuff to do, next time we get together, and we remembered that my local cinema does elevenses, where you get a movie, a cup of tea(in a mug), and free biscuits, for £2.50. They show the major hollywood films, but also some really interesting films, you might not otherwise bother seeing. Again, thats arts funding. Hebden Bridge Picture House is one of the last council owned cinemas in the country.I moan a lot in this blog. I rant about the state of the world. But actually, I live in a country, where the arts are made accessible to people. Thats pretty good.


Instead of the usual list of resolutions, or a tired review of the past decade, I have decided to give you a list of words, which need to enter the modern lexicon in 2010.Redormification- to go back to bed.Neocoiffophobia -Fear of hairdressers.Fucktard- Perjorative term.Custard – Hybrid expletive, using ‘cunt’ and ‘bastard’, which can safely be uttered around children.Organochavs – New social group, often evangelical about fair trade produce, and recycling. Drive big cars, and spend a lot of time ‘travelling’ abroad, while air fares are cheap . Easily identifiable, as often wear new clothing, designed to look faded, shapeless, and combining fabrics like hemp, wool, and occasional embroidery.I may edit this post, to add new terms. If you can think of any you would like to add, just post, and I will oblige.


Neocoiffophobia. A very serious condition, for which we have only just invented a name.The fear of trying new hairdressers.I have had the same hairdresser, on and off for the best part of a decade. This man, has prevented me from making all manner of bad hair decisions, with a barnet that on a good day, has the proportions of Cheryl Coles hair, and the grooming and condition of Wurzel Gummidge.He once agreed to transform my hair into a glossy red bob, and when I sat, looking perplexed at the shoulder length layered dark blonde cut that resulted, explained that I would have looked a bit of a twat as a redhead, and that bobs didn’t suit anyone. A very wise man.He has, in the past,  agreed to see me late at night at home, when I have phoned him sobbing, after allowing a very fashionable looking young woman, at a very expensive salon in Manchester to make me look like a bad Rod Stewart impersonator. He has come to my house, after I let a mad lesbian loose on my hair with a razor comb, which I swear to god she bought out of the back of the Sunday Mirror.When in a fit of impulse, in my last weeks of pregnancy, I ignored his advice, and got the ill advised ‘easy to care for bob'(which by the way, did make me look like a twat, and was REALLY hard to look after), he was more concerned about my hair, than the newborn infant I had taken to visit him.I have consistently ignored his advice, I have regularly been disloyal(always resulting in disaster) and he has never tutted, even though he has a tongue as sharp as his scissors(also meaning that many appointments are waylaid, by the consumption of champagne and tea, and hours of gossip about our mutual ‘friends’). He didn’t even laugh, when I had him fix the badger like stripes left by a parisian colourist, and when times have been lean, has regularly undercharged me.I will count this man as my friend forever, but some recent health problems, mean I will have to find another hairdresser. I have left it as long as possible, but right now, my hair would not look out of place in a pre-raphaelite painting, and while that sounds lovely- really, on a 31 year old woman, entering the second decade of the 21st century, it’s beginning to look a bit silly.I am not someone who has many phobias, but the idea of trying out new hairdressers, and of allowing someone who doesn’t know me, probably doesn’t like me that much, to butcher my hair, while feeding me weak cups of coffee, after I have given ambiguous instructions, based loosely on a picture that looks nothing like my hair, fills me with dread.I think I may start a neocoiffophobia support group. I might see if he will come to my new hairdressers with me, and instruct them on what to do, when to listen to me, and when to completely ignore me….

New Dolls House Furniture.

Rachel has a dolls house. A huge, wooden dolls house from the Early Learning Centre. I logged onto their website today, to check out new room sets for it. They are all pink. Shiny, sugary bloody pink. Would you rather have this, or this. She insists pink is her favourite colour, and yesterday she told me that girls don’t play football. She is three. Where is she getting it?This was the ad for Early Learning Centre, mocking the dumb barbie dolls, that were about sales, and perpuating sterotypes. Sod it, I’ll go on ebay.

X Factor and Rage Against the Machine

I watched X Factor. I did. I watched two or three episodes. If am honest, I watched it to see if Cheryls hair would become sentient, and start a revolution live on ITV.The kids involved, were pretty much indistinguishable from each other. Pretty, barely pubescent, clean shaven youths, interpreting modern ‘classics’, by using so much of their vocal range on each phrase-they rendered the tunes they were warbling as barely identifiable. Songs that tried to convey ‘real emotion’, but were served up as warm platitude lasagne(line stolen, blatantly plagiarised, and can’t remember who from!)I quite liked the pantomime of the judges arguing, and the clear difference between the budgets of the stylists for the contestants(New Look, Top Shop) and the judges(including that bizarre dress with the food processor wheels as breast plates from David Korma). If am honest, the cynical twitterthon which ran alongside each episode, made it hysterical viewing.I get people are upset by Cowells assumption that he owns the christmas No.1 spot. The man doesn’t give a shit about music, but has cornered the market in creating event television out of this mediocre dross, and I get why people are furious that he assumes that the kids he exploits, are entitled to the number on spot.But I won’t be buying Rage Against the Machines record. Mainly because I can’t stand Rage Against the Machine, but also because I can’t see why I would want to deprive this kid of his number one spot.The kid that won, did not win a million quid. He won a recording deal that cost a million quid, and this money is not the ticket to a life of celebrity and luxury.We all know he isn’t talented enough to become the big star, with the bright future, that he has been promised live on television. The million quid he has been ‘given’ is a loan, most of which has already been spent on the expensive 30 second spots, the tour, the distribution, the manufacture, and the production of this record. With a hefty cut for Monsieur Cowell and his cynical cronies. He will get a salary for a few weeks, and use of a luxury flat, and by mid 2010, you will struggle to recall his name, as he wanders into his local job centre. His record company will  make money, as will his ‘agent’, his ‘manager’, his stylists, the distributors, the TV programmes he appears on, even the people who supply the clothes his advance pays for.All the costs incurred by this record will be borne by this kid, and not by Cowell or the television franchise that has grossed tens of millions of pounds this series.If there is anything left over once everyone has taken his cut, he may get something. If his record grosses over £1million. Unlikely though.I say fuck it.  I won’t be buying Rage Against the Machine, in an effort to prevent this kid getting to No.1.If his record gets to number 1, he gets a brief moment in the sun. If he doesn’t, Cowell doesn’t lose. He has made enough money from the phone in lines, competitions, and advertising, that the sales of the record are a cherry on a very lucrative cake. He doesn’t care if this kid gets to No.1 or not. I hope I have him all wrong, and he doesn’t have to be reminded of his name this time next year, when he shows up on X Factor.So yeah, fuck it. Let the kid have his moment. The cynical marketing machine that created him, exploited him and his family, and gave him expectations that can’t be fulfilled=causes me rage, but I won’t be buying someone else record, so I can Rage Against the Machine.

Contagious christmas awe.

I have historically been a bit of a humbug. My childhood christmasses were nothing to be celebrated, and ill afforded presents often ended up at the pawn shop. I have been a stepmother for nine years, but christmas with teenagers is an orgy of consumerism. Which although fun, is not exactly magical. At work we described christmas as the ‘season to beat your kids up’-given the way alcohol and drugs excacerbate financial and emotional stress.I am admitting it, I never really got it.I was excited when Rachel had her first christmasses, but she didn’t get it-it was like pretending.THen this year-I got it. I now, completely understand. Christmas is bloody magical.If you could spend christmas, with a three year old, who is just learning what christmas is, who santa is. That there are films with santa in them. Whose worries about whether Santa would be able to come down our chimney, are sufficient that she would wake up to ask me to show her the chimney. A girl who absolutely believes that this magical man, knows whether she has been naughty or nice, and has reddrafted her letter at least 4 times.Someone who is counting down her advent calendar, with barely the ability to count, but who knows that the more doors that are open, the more chocolates eaten, the less sleeps there are before this amazing day.Who watches Santa Claus the Movie, and is so scared that Santa might be defeated by John Lithgowes corporate toy manufacturer, that she clings on to my arm, almost shaking, unable to bear the tension.Preparing for christmas with a 3 year old, is magical. I don’t care who knows it. So today, I am sorting my house, so that when she returns from her dads tomorrow afternoon, there is a tree for her to hang the decorations we have made this week. Knowing that upstairs I have presents, the presents she asked Santa for, and the presents she believes are a direct consequence of her good behaviour, and sudden willingness to have her hair brushed.THis is the first christmas that she understands, and thanks to her, the first that I truly understand.This is brilliant. Contagious christmas awe.

Dear Mr.Programme Controller C/O Cbeebies

I watched Sid making an awesome rocket picture this afternoon. By the way, congratulations on hiring Sid, he improves the aesthetics of Cbeebies.Sid put a piece of paper on the floor, squirted paint all over it, then bounced tennis balls through the paint. This looked brilliant. I totally want to do this. So does Rachel.Thank you for thinking to show this activity, happening in a roomset. Rachel now thinks we should do this in the living room.I am hiding the paints, and anything remotely resembling a tennis ball.If my 3 year old daughter attempts this, or any variant of this- I will be suing.Thanks awfully,Deeplyflawedbuttrying

Message from Santa….

Rachel got this message from Santa… This is very very exciting. And useful.While I may have been quick to dismiss the idea of Santa Claus, as a glory hunting twat, I may have been wrong. Do you have any idea how effective it is to tell Rachel that Santa will know when she is naughty? I don’t want christmas to end, I may have to start imposing actual boundaries and following through.

Ok ok…

..I try to avoid nauseating sentimentality-but sitting around, on a December Sunday, watching Miracle on 34th Street, in front of the fire, with a little girl who didn’t realise there were actual movies with Santa in them. That is pretty much reason in itself to become a parent.