Thursday, 11 February 2016

Leaky. Smelly. Assange.

I have a creepy fascination with Julian Assange and his office-turned-apartment in the Ecuadorian embassy.  Does he use Just Eat?  Does he have a woven bedspread?  Who buys his toiletries?  Has he watched literally everything on Netflix?  The following story, taken from Popbitch this week, shows they totally read my mind:
“Julian Assange is still holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy but, from everything we hear, it sounds as though he and the current Ambassador are having a few problems with regards to house rules.
The Ambassador has requested that Assange keep his door open in the company of any female visitors (sensible) but he has also banned him from cooking with garlic or onions because he hates the smell, and the people who do the laundry/clean the rooms are always complaining about how bad it smelled in there.
The sanction is playing havoc with Julian's speciality dish: a hot-plate spag bol he likes to cook for important guests.”
FASCINATING.  I can almost see him now.  It's not a four poster, it's a fold up Ikea number.  A couple of those Poang chairs (surprisingly comfortable).  A rail with some identical tops (hang on, I'm getting confused with Zuckerberg.  Do they know each other???).
Also: the Ambassador sounds a bit like my Uncle Mike.  But I guess the onion police are preferable to the US ones.  Hell, anything is preferable to the US ones.
As for hot plate spag bol, well: you can take the hacker outa Townsville, but you can’t take Townsville outa the hacker...

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

May it be blessed..

It's the voyeuristic murder case that has it all....the state of South Africa vs. Oscar Pistorius, accused of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp rather than, as he claims, shooting her in self-defence error.  Renowned, gold medal-winning Paralympians, even famously volatile ones, are not meant to go round killing their model girlfriends through locked doors in the dead of night...models, especially ones with enviable Instagrams, celebrity athlete boyfriends and thousands of Twitter followers, are not meant to be shot by said boyfriends whilst ostensibly having a wee. 
I have become slightly obsessed with Reeva Steenkamp.  Which means that I've been following the trial pretty closely.  In many ways, the protracted court process hardly matters - the sentence, for Steenkamp and her loved ones, is already dealt.  One minute a golden girl, brimming with happiness, darling of Instagram and Twitter and the SA cool kids' social scene, the next - the deceased. 
Reduced to the sum of her gunshot wounds, contents of stomach at point of death, amount of urine in bladder at same (a teaspoon, FYI, and CSI - this corroborates the idea that she was in the bathroom for its usual purpose), and texts read out posthumously in court.  "I am scared of you sometimes" she says in one, and the world goes into a frenzy (that proves it, he killed her on purpose!) 
Reeva is gone - but her social media profiles live on.  Which in part is what makes this case so compelling.  You can log into Twitter and see her last, sweetly hopeful posts regarding Valentine's Day 2013, in the early hours of which she became 'the deceased' - "May it be blessed!" she tweets.  You can check out her Instagram for an account of the year leading up to her death, much of it, by the looks of things, spent at fabulous parties with fabulous people wearing fabulous clothes.  You can see the very view of the sky she contemplated with a friend, just days before her life ended:
Reduced to the subject of endless online speculation, from the bitter Twitter trolls to the pages set up in her memory, peppered with pictures of her lovely face, profound-sounding quotes, and of course the now-ubiquitous video clip from her reality show Tropika Island of Treasure - - "I think (...) not just your journey in life but the way that you go out and make your exit is so important - you either made an impact in a positive and negative way"...all contribute to the impact of her being gone, irretrievably...she gets a voice, albeit in the most tragic way possible.  

I never finished this post.  About to restart this blog, I found it in my drafts.  Three years.  I still read about Reeva - force of habit, whenever there is a development I pore over reports.  But the facts can't be changed, and that's the thing about loss - it continues, irrevocable, even as we try to move on.  My dad died young, in 1980 - I still feel his loss every day.  The grandkids she will never have, the friends who will never meet another like her, and of course her shattered parents - they are the ones with the life sentence, not Oscar Pistorius.

Friday, 25 June 2010

Mermaids & Lingerie

Went to Westfield today, which basically took the whole day (poor D-Bubz!)  Anyway, I bought up most of the stock on offer, including a visit to Rigby & Peller who are currently having a sale.  I have always coveted their undies, in particular that kind of scaffolding-like corsetry that Gok Wan loves to squeeze his banger-tastic ladies into on his makeover show.

So I found myself a couple of cheeky little numbers (a few stages down from the actual scaffolding, thank christ) going for a vastly reduced price, and waited with an increasingly irritated baby for the salesgirl to get off the phone (no-one else visits without arranging a fitting, apparently) and give me the damn bras before I got even sweatier contemplating my overdraft and left.

Eventually she was done, and I thought I'd better ask, notorious as I am for changing my mind, if they were returnable.  Looking like she was about to burst into tears at the very notion of that kind of thing, she shook her head sadly and mumbled something about exchanging.  "Well that's OK then" I said, "I can come and change them for something else if they're no good".  At this, she looked even more sorrowful.  "No exchanges either.  If you buy it, you can't exchange or refund".  It was a bit like the scene at the end of Splash where Tom Hanks is getting all excited thinking he can go and become a merman and live with Daryl Hannah but still come back and visit his fun brother John Candy in the holidays, and she's shaking her head no, no because he can't ever come back, not ever, it's either/or (presumably the tail would be a hindrance).

So, it got me thinking.  Do mermaids, specifically New York-based ones, wear underwear?  No, SATC impresh over, it didn't.  But it did make me think about Splash, one of the best 80s films featuring a crimped mermaid ever.  In fact, THE best.  I watched that film so many times as a pre-teen that I was single-handedly responsible for destroying my mum's VHS video player.  I even memorised the lyrics to the song at the end, recorded it onto cassette so I could listen to it anytime (its a terrible dirge, btw, called 'One Fine Day'), and spent many hours squinting into the sea-bed at the end deciding I could definitely see Mermaid City in the distance.  Never mind that these days, Daryl Hannah is more often to be found smoking a zoot up a tree than being a fish, just as Tom Hanks spends much more time being jowly and unmasking dastardly religious cover-ups while being pursued by crazy monks, than he does running around Cape Cod trying to drown himself and yelling "Madison!"  Which pretty much sums up how wrong its all gone since then.....ah 1984, you weren't sinister at all.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Takes one to know one...

Catching sight of my reflection earlier - hair pulled back into knot, black tux jacket - I suddenly wondered if I was channelling Stella McCartney or, possibly worse, Kate Moss (never good to channel eye bags and too many fags, iconic face or no) and then I remembered that I am actually channelling Kate Winslet, so it's okay. (She too is a semi-secret smoker, I believe, as are Cheryl Cole, Kelly Brook, Paris Hilton, Emma Bunton and many others I don't know about, but she seems to be getting away with it so far.)

Except I don't have an Oscar to accessorise with, so I'll have to make do with my baby, who is golden only in terms of his hairline and aura (only?), and not think about the scarcity of comparisons between my life and least I've less divorce and children by just one the father, which makes me pretty much the aristocracy (doesn't it?)

Still, it made me think. Stella is around my generation, albeit a few years older than I (only three), and there she is heading up her latest collection, this time for the lucky kiddies whose parents shop at Gap Kids (and who are not averse to parting with £35 for a 1-season t-shirt), the latest in a long line of profitable collaborations and successful womenswear collections for the smug Beatle's daughter. And yes, I am aware that she was pretty lucky in terms of whose offspring she is, as its undoubtedly helped her to get where she is today, no matter what her people would tell you.

And her mate Kate is more of an entrepreneur than mere model; her friendship with tycoon Philip Smith and their Top Shop love-in is clearly based on more than his cash and appreciation of her as resident clothes-horse plaything - they're twin souls in terms of their cold-hearted business reach, and probably stay up til 4am discussing their respective plans for world domination, as if either were not already rather familiar with that concept in their fields. But they are difficult women to channel despite all that I know that is negative regarding them and their privileged circle - Winslet, whilst she'll have you believe that she, too, is one of the girls - just a working mum who has no time to play the drama diva at home - is as much a part of this circle as the others, and throwing on a black jacket and a hairband is where the channelling ends for me - mine has baby sick on the shoulder, and is sported to take the baby to the park. But somehow in the doing I absorb a bit of the sheen in my own little neighbourhood least I like to think so...

Ah the election. Daily spam count (which is 80% Tory, a bit like our road) is numbering x4 missives a day!

Monday, 26 April 2010

Cleanin out ma closet

I spent the weekend reorganising my wardrobe, bedroom, and life in general, barely emerging from trackie pants until Sunday night's shower when my hair rediscovered the fact that it is, indeed, blonde, and not a dusty dark brown. I also found some old pics, which is always licence to waste a happy half hour this case, the pictures of Brazil in 2004, including my 30th bday stay in a rather fabulous old colonial pousada in the city of Olinda (I used to want to call a daughter that, and D-Bubz could have ended up as Recife (pronounce the R like an H) if he were similarly unlucky. I have big hair, and a bigger hot tub. Anyways, it feels great to know that all my winter clothes are banished, and even my currently-too-small-summer-clothes have a place (bottom left side of bottom drawer). I've got rid of two whole binbags to charity, and am feeling very clothes-detoxed.

Also spent some of the weekend in the garden with the bubz, who had a lovely time playing with our neighbour's little girl, getting into practise for the arrival, a week late due to volcanic ash clouds, of his big sis this Wednesday. I can't wait for her to see how much he's changed, so that's going to be a lot of fun, and am expecting lots of moments like this one with Mehlina:
...he loves little girls and being mothered by them, and is incredibly docile as they drag him onto their laps etc.

Anyway, I never mentioned that D-Bubz is now a bona fide model, with a Littlewoods shoot under his belt. I registered him with an agency some time ago, but have been unable to go to a casting until they texted with one a few weeks back that wasn't too far from me, so off we went, Grandma (who was staying) in tow. It took place in a studio in SW London and was relatively painless: he just had to try on a couple of outfits and grin at the photographer. Later that day, I caught Grandma flicking disparagingly through a babywear catalogue and saying somewhat darkly: "There's that Archie from the audition, pretending to be a girl under that pink blanket - says it all really" to D-Bubz, who didn't look too worried.

We got a call on the Sunday night that they would like him to come to Hove (Hove!!) the next day to take part in the shoot. Of course we couldn't say no, but it was a major mission driving down there on a Monday am, but eventually we got to the stunning location house right by the sea. It prompted a major fit of lifestyle jealousy on behalf of all the parents who were there (all pretty nice I must say, though Archie wasn't there - guess we pipped him to the post). There was a Monty, a Kitty, a Kiki and a Reuben. And my Dylan, the only one who couldn't sit up un-propped. Later that day, after a quick sojourn at the beach and on our ridiculously congested journey home, I got a call saying they wanted to use him again the next day back at the audition studios, so off we went again. Unfortunately, despite him doing his solo shot like an absolute pro, none of the crying which the other bubs were indulging in, the photographer couldn't get rid of a shadow on the background of his shots (he was lying down while the other precocious snotbags were sitting), thus all the potential outfits for him to wear after that were taken away for the arrival of the next boy baby, and my dreams of seeing him all over the Littlewoods catalogue all dashed, bar the one group shot from the Hove shoot. I'd also left my wallet in the car when I was dropped off, so had to beg for assistance and was granted a cab home (it was amazing actually and far beat getting public transport so thanks to the production team), which just added to my sense of being a stressed mum about town who forgot to wipe the puke of her shoulder.....anyway, not heard from the agency since, so just waiting for the cheque.

In other news, D-Bubz is now taking the odd bottle of formula, and seems to suddenly love it - hallelujah! With the slight drawback that as I'm using Nannycare goat milk formula (available in health food shops), when he voms it smells of goats cheese. But hey, at least I'm not having to get them out 4x times a day, its down to x3....far more discreet I must say....

Mother In The Hood xxx

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Torn between Supernanny USA or George Lamb's breakfast slot on 'surely they can't bin it' Radio 6 this am, I wisely plumped for the latter and got the usual excellently eclectic mix of old and new inc some seriously booty-shakin' disco. I always want to note down half the tracks although that's rather more like studying than entertainment. D-Bubz has feasted on water with watermelon juice, porridge, yoghurt and banana so I am feeling like a good parent, but this is often a temporary state. I can make myself cry just thinking about my failings thus far, and am not sure whether listing them here will be cathartic but for the record they include, 1) using baby wipes within days of his birth (you should only use water and cotton wool but the sink in his room wasn't connected to the mains and so I found out too late after our plumber's departure that I really needed hot water in there - that's actually a major failing on its own). 2) Giving him Cow & Gate non organic baby porridge at 4 months, instead of expressing milk and giving him Organix or something - when I switched, his poo got noticeably lighter. 3) Going silent and abstracted whilst engaged in changing or dressing him, often ignoring him for minutes on end. 4) These suddenly sound very trivial and I can't for the life of me remember the others right now, which is probably a good thing.

"The hallucinations were growing. Now, every time she turned from unloading the dishwasher in either the morning or dusk light, he was there, for a second. She had given up trying to ascribe this to a trick of the light, or her over-fertile imagination, it was too frequent and the clarity of the visions too strong. She was definitely being haunted, and the ghost was definitely him. She sensed no malice, but ever time her stomach churned with adrenalin, he seemed close enough to touch, to talk to, to push. But there was no way she was moving, or talking, or shoving."

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Flying without wings

Aside from the obvious issue of crushing the travel dreams of millions, not to mention making it tricky for acai berry devotees to get their fix down at that there Selfridges, it felt pretty amazing to see nothing but blue, blue skies for a whole six days (as well as just a tad eerie, but as a child of the action blockbuster, I quite like the feeling of the calm before the armageddon). As the world's planes were grounded, out came the sun, and The Orb's 'Little Fluffy Clouds' was oft to be heard in our garden (about as close to the husky-voiced angel from that track I'm ever going to get, unless the (clearly loving it) Icelandic prime minister is right and that was simply a rehearsal for the big performance to come imminently, in which case we'd all better get a little more seafarin' in our ways).

The D-Bubz, of course, had no idea why we were all getting so worked up about the lack of vapour trails, and continued to be gamer than Stu Francis post-cabbage hurl. Apart from when emitting puppy style whimpers, although what better excuse for acting like a baby than being one? So every time he looks at me imploringly while doing his best impression of the Andrex labrador pup, I remember that one day he'll be the one trying to get me to let go of his hand and refusing to submit to any PDAs. These are golden times, and whatever lies ahead - be it the end of air travel, the rising of the tides or the loss of the global bee population - my boy will face it bravely, and I will be by his side.