Sunday, 29 September 2013

Give me £2000

Single and no-cohabiting people should be given £2000 every year - by law.

There isn't a politician in the land proposing this but when you think about it, it makes complete sense.

Let's start with food.  If, like me, you've spent a large amount of your adult life as a single person and that even when you are in a relationship, you're not living with your other half, you will have spent a lot on food.  Cooking for two costs less than microwaving a Tesco's "Finest" lasagne.  Thems the facts.  Add that up over a year and that's a lot of extra pasta pounds I'm spending.

It's not all about feeding yourself though, or the rent / mortgage money you save when you are in a couple (which is a huge amount - go on, get the calculator out).  It's the social things.  Couples have expensive things like weddings and this year I've been to four of them.  They were lovely occasions, but until there are Government vouchers being issued that subsidise my John Lewis Wedding List purchases, it's very expensive.  Remember, I don't have someone with whom to split that cost.

I will not be happy until the Government gives me discount vouchers for John Lewis wedding lists, cheaper ready meals and a massive subsidy on my rent.  I'm not being unreasonable in any way.  I'm just making it a level playing field.  Who's with me? 

Oh, and if they could throw in travel expenses to far-away weddings, and the abolition of single room supplements, that would be great too.  Oh and a pony.  That's not essential, but I think I could sell it off and make some cash.  

Monday, 23 September 2013

The curse of the awards show

It's good that Downton Abbey didn't win an Emmy award last night.  It means it will probably last a lot longer as a television show.

I find awards shows weirdly compelling.  I like to shout at the television set in righteous indignation when my favoured nominee doesn't win but I like to feel smug and self satisfied with my own taste when a show I bother to store on my Sky plus box wins.  If "my" shows win then I have exceptional taste.  If "my" show loses then the judges are inexperienced novices who don't know anything about what real entertainment is.

For those "lucky" enough to get a nomination the glare of the media spotlight is pretty intense.  The will they / won't win narrative is like an approaching double decker bus waiting to mow them down on the highway of showbiz leaving their bodies crush and sometimes immobile like a poorly constructed metaphor.

If you lose then you have to suffer the indignity of being "not quite good enough" and then have to be filmed generously applauding the winner.  

If you win, then you have to suffer the indignity of all the people who think you shouldn't have won shouting at their TV sets.  Or if you're Taylor Swift, the ranting of Kanye West.

There was one British winner last night at the Emmys - The Hour, a BBC drama about a current affairs TV show.  I love that show.  I'm delighted it won.  I feel smug.  

The BBC cancelled The Hour way before its Emmy win.  It won't be on TV anymore.  But at least I was right.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Impending birthday doom

I have a big birthday approaching.  I say "big" but let's be clear, the maths isn't important here - it's the attitude.  I can confidently report that my attitude is dreadful.  I don't want this age tag around my neck, I didn't ask for it and furthermore I resent its impending bestowing on my official documents so much that I'm considering time travel.

Anyone who has turned a significant age, whether it be 30 or 80 will probably have had the same questions asked of them.  I'm happy to give you some handy answers should you encounter them on the eve of a "big" birthday.

Them: "How does it feel to be turning [age]?"
You: "I don't really know.  How does it feel to be so obsessed with numbers rather than people you insensitive ****"

Them: "You don't look [age] at all"
You:  "Thanks, and you don't look sincere"

Them:  "What are you thinking of doing for the big day?"
You:  "Botox"

Them:  "What are you hoping to get for your birthday?"
You:  "Exactly what I got for my eighth birthday.  Off my tits on food colouring and additives"

Them:  "So how long until the big day?"
You:  "Enough time to be in a different timezone to you"

As you can tell, I'm taking it all very well.  I'm completely at ease with everything and everyone which is great as there are still a few weeks to go until the "big" day.  Now if you'll excuse me, I have to buy a moisurising face mask.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Book ideas

I know a lot of people in the self-development field.  There are a lot of good people who dedicate their lives to help others in a number of ways.  However, when you look at the titles of some of the books available in the self-help section of your local book shop, you could be forgiven for thinking most people in this field are in need of a serious reality check. 

I have often thought of writing my own self development publication but haven't yet decided on a good name.  I think every good book starts with an inspiring title.  Here are the titles I have so far discarded with a brief description of what I thought the book might be about if I wrote it):

You are your own pom pom (about championing yourself)

Twerking Out (it's an exercise book based on the dance craze "twerking")

Giant's Pauseway (about taking long holidays. Not really self development. Just liked the title)

Are you your own someone else? (How we take inspiration from others and integrate it)

The Seven Habits of Nuns (learning from religious orders)

Less is mwahhh (A guide to dialling down your luvvie tendancies.  For actors)

There, They're, Their (a calming book for the gramatically obsessed)

I'm still awaiting a publishing deal.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Conformity sucks

A family in Canada have decided to live their lives for a year only using technology that was available in 1986.  At first I thought it was a terrible idea and that they will be robbing their children of valuable real world skills but then I decided it may just be the making of those kids.

Firstly, it may extend their attention spans and abilities to be more present.  If you've ever tried having a conversation with someone who is constantly checking in on Four Square, tweeting their lunch and liking statuses about Miley Cyrus on Facebook then you appreciate people who are able to be a bit more "present".  We like people who give us attention and these people tend to do better in life.  

Secondly, it reminds me of something my parents did that changed my life.  When I was 10 years old my parents got rid of the television for the six week summer break.  School was out and I didn't have any access to a TV set.  I was ten.  I was freaking out.  I was a dramatic child.

My parents wanted me to read more and get more fresh air and I know this is the moment where you expect me to say they succeeded in their goal but they didn't.  I don't remember reading any extra books and I don't remember skipping through fields and breathing in the summer air.  

In that summer I discovered the radio.  I heard a radio DJ having fun and I thought "I want to do that".  Everyone thought it was a phase and that I was being a starstruck kid.  I proved them wrong.  I had to argue with teachers and careers advisors about it, but I proved them wrong too.  

Despite my dramatics at losing the television for six weeks and me trying to guilt-trip my parents into thinking they had committed a gross act of cruelty, what happened gave me an enthusiasm that gave birth to a career.

Conformity is over-rated.  Never underestimate the power of doing something different.  

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Types of people you find in a coffee shop

We've all bought the dream that the coffee shop is the place to hang out, be cool and enjoy life.  But what lurks beneath the surface of the occupants of the caffeinated temple of dreams?  Here are some of the people you will find in your local coffee shop today:

1)  Awkward couple
These are the people who sit there in silence staring each other out.  He clearly drank too much last night and she hasn't been able to articulate how annoyed she is about this so has dragged him into town despite his hangover.  At some point he will clumsily knock his coffee over and she will be very passive aggressive about mopping up the foam of his latte.  They will be divorced by 2016.

2)  Social media guy
He runs his own social media business and is currently managing the twitter stream for a chain of independent sandal shops.  They are his biggest client and his is tearing out what remains of his hair, trying to think of a new thing to say about sandals.  The sandal shop has 7 followers.  One of them is a fake Jesus account.

3)  Sales lady
She's hit her target for this month so she's having a Caffe Mocha.  It's usually double espresso so that she can stay sharp.  She's the sales guru in the company.  The rumour goes she once persuaded a client to give her a house as commission.  She's utterly charming until you ask her about religion.  It's at that point she tries to convert you to a cult in which she holds a very senior leadership position.

4)  The dude
He's got a golden tan, wears very trendy clothes and is no stranger to the gym.  He sits there, legs spread wide, in a power pose, waiting to make eye contact with you.  It doesn't matter if you are male or female, he wants to get to know you and have you buy him coffee because he's so good looking.  His last bank statement said he owed a sum of money comparable to three years' salary.

5)  The writer
He's sitting there observing all these people.  He's judging them and making up back stories.  He will probably blog about these people.  He will get upset at the lack of retweets his blog link got on Twitter and will wonder if his writing style is too emotionally distant.