Oh, high school.I learnt some great, interesting stuff there (and, let’s not be silly, also some really boring stuff too) but I also remember times I’d sit there weeping over my homework whispering to it “what is the point in you?When will I ever need to know all this?”According to my teachers I would need to know all this in the future.Well I’m living in the future now (it’s rubbish, no one has a hover board or is dressed in silver romper suits like we thought they’d be) and somehow a lot of that information seems to have fallen out of my head without my noticing.Turns out I probably didn’t need to know it, those fibbers.
In fact, most of what my mouldy old (read: twenty-something) brain remembers of each subject can be summed up in these sets of 5 words or fewer.That’s right, years of education, revision and tears can be squished into just 5 words.So teens, be comforted by the fact that many things, like school subjects, often aren’t as big as they seem at the time (in fact they’re only 5 words big) and so please just relax a teeny-teeny-tiny bit when you’re getting stressed about that chemistry test.And then ignore my advice because you’re a teenager and that’s what you’re programmed to do and I wouldn’t want it any other way.In fact I’d probably be a little bit insulted if you paid attention to what I say.Don’t listen to me, I’m just some patronising old lady on the internet.I would especially like you to ignore me as I still want you to revise – I do want someone to figure out cures for all those horrid diseases and I also don’t want your parents to track me down, show me photos of you on the Year 9 debate team and rabbit on about how great you could’ve been until I cry so hard I look like I’ve spent a day in a sealed room with only ice cream and an Adele CD.
We, the Society of the Deceased Kings and Queens of England, have been watching the recent discovery of the body of one of our members, King Richard III, with great interest.History has always remembered Richard as an evil King who ordered the murder of his nephews but show people a model of his face based on his remains and suddenly everybody thinks he was a nice guy.As the public is open to the past being rewritten, some of our other members have put forward a few requests about how they wish to be remembered.
King John would just like everyone to forget about the legend of Robin Hood, why keep on telling the same old stories instead of making new ones up?He also feels the same goes for Sherlock.John maintains that he was a generous King and not one who stole from the poor. He would also like to encourage William and Kate to name any future son they may have ‘John’ as he really is sick of the royal family thinking that the name is cursed.
King Henry is tired of being held up as the example of being a terrible husband.Yes, he had six wives but one died through no fault of his own, one outlived him and another of his wives was a dud because she did not match her portrait. But he doesn’t think that makes him a monster and would like you all to remember just how bummed you get when your internet date doesn’t look exactly like their profile picture. And you hadn’t even promised to marry them.
Lady Jane Grey
Jane would like everyone to stop disputing her reign, she says that although she was only Queen for nine days, those nine days still count and she should in fact be known as Queen Jane.The rest of us (with the exception of Edward VI) do not agree with this but we’ll just let Lady Jane have her fun, she’s lucky we even let her be an honorary member of this society.
Queen Victoria would like everyone to know that she was a right royal hoot, she most definitely was amused.Yes, she wore only black once her husband died but, after the first couple of months, it wasn’t because she was in mourning, the photograph had just been invented and she knew that black was the most flattering, slimming colour.
King Edward would like to reassure people that he would have made a fantastic King had he and ‘Queen Wallis’ been allowed to keep the throne.He is adamant that everything that is said about him, World War II and Hitler would not have come true, and he’s not just saying that with the benefit of hindsight, honest.
King George would like to point out that there is more to him than the plotline of The King’s Speech.Although he doesn’t want to appear too ungrateful as he is pretty psyched that Colin “Mr Darcy” Firth played him in the film and got an Oscar.
The lovely folks over at mamamia published my article on comparisons. Do you think Missy Franklin’s the female Michael Phelps? That Bridesmaids was the female version of The Hangover? Why not head over to mamamia and have a look?
Hello.How are you?I should probably start by introducing myself.I’m the New Year’s fairy.You probably haven’t heard of me because I don’t exist, but somehow that doesn’t seem to have stopped Father Christmas and the Tooth Fairy becoming famous. But, whatever.Even though you almost certainly haven’t heard of me, a lot of you sure do believe in my powers.You believe that when the clock strikes 12 on 31st December and the New Year rolls in, I have the power to sprinkle my magic fairy dust over the chosen ones and make your lives better.Silly humans.
You see the New Year isn’t anything all that special really.It’s essentially one day turning into another.It happened last night and the night before and every other night going back to whenever the world began (and we won’t get into that debate on the internet).But people still say “This new year is going to be the best year ever”.For some reason you lot think that life will suddenly get better at midnight – you’ll be more attractive, funnier, smarter, better at putting up Christmas Tree lights than you were the previous day.You see the New Year as a fresh start and, frankly, that’s a loada baloney.
How many of you have had really great or rubbish years that started or ended on January 1st?Almost none of you, that’s how many.Life doesn’t work in calendar years you ninnies, great opportunities can occur on 25th April or 2nd October or any other day of the year.
You lot also expect me to give you motivation to keep up your New Year’s Resolutions.Are you mad?I know the year is suddenly 2013 and that’s exciting and blah blah blah but why on earth are you trying to get healthy in January?If you live in the Northern Hemisphere then January is the most rubbish of all the months – it’s cold, dark and there’s no Christmas to look forward to.So why are you promising yourself that you’ll run 5 miles a day or give up alcohol, cigarettes and chocolates?Just ride out January and February underneath your duvet in your nicely heated living room and then start thinking about changing your life in March or sometime when the weather’s a bit nicer and you have other things to distract you from your nicotine cravings.Don’t put so much pressure on yourself and this “New Year” before it’s even begun.
So, Happy New Year and all that, I wouldn’t want you to think I was a total scrooge, but just remember that it’s only another day, I don’t really exist to make your life better and you can make changes whatever day of the year you fancy.
If you’re following me it’s probably because you read one of my HelloGiggles ‘From Our Readers’ articles so you might have seen this on their website. Just in case that isn’t so, I thought I’d link to this article I wrote about the 25 days of Christmas that the lovely HelloGiggles have published. Why don’t you have a gander and maybe even a comment.
So some of you might not have seen a John Lewis advert.You might not own a TV (what?) or you might hate popular culture (what?) or maybe, you know, you’re from a country where they don’t have John Lewis, I don’t know.If you want to read all about John Lewis then you can click here, but if you don’t want to get stuck in an internet loop where you click endlessly from one link to another, appearing hours later wide-eyed and not exactly sure what you’ve spent your time doing then here’s a short description of John Lewis: Department store, 39 shops throughout Britain.OK, good.
John Lewis has recently got into the game of making adverts that people talk about.They’re on the ball that lot.They know that people will happily sip their cup of tea whilst skipping through the adverts of shows they’ve recorded while advertising agencies cry at the fact that no one’s watching their adverts, so they’ve stepped up their game.There’s the advert where the woman grows up, the one where the kid’s waiting for Christmas, the one with the split screen and the one with the snowmen.
All these adverts, though, follow a pretty strict formula.It’s almost boringly similar.Luckily for you I’ve written that formula down so you too can make your own advert that everyone in Britain will be talking about.Maybe you have a business selling old video games on eBay or you’ve opened a new café and you just can’t afford to pay the big wigs to create an advert especially for you but with this I’ve given you the tools to do it for free, you lucky ducks.
Pick an old song
Don’t have modern music on an advert.Are you ridiculous?You need to get a song that was out in either the 70s or 80s and then you need to get someone else to sing that song.Because nothing says authenticity like singing someone else’s song.You don’t want them to sing it exactly how the writer of the song first envisioned it though, you need to change the arrangement around a bit, if it’s not slow already then you need to slow it right down.It’s important that you ‘strip it back’ and ‘make it real’ and ‘make it your own’ and all the other clichés that X Factor judges use when they’re complimenting a singer.
Use the colour red
What colour do you think of when you think of John Lewis?Green?Me too.That’s because the carrier bags they give you are green and their logo is green and other things about them are green.But don’t use the colour that’s associated with your store you crazy cat you need to use the colour red.Unless the colour of your business is red then you should switch it round for the advert and use green.Basically just don’t use the colour that you’re mostly known for in your advert.
Don’t have people actually use your shop
In the John Lewis adverts how many people do you actually see in the shop, or going into the shop or even just walking down the road with a John Lewis shop in the background?None, that’s how many.Even the snowman just travels to a city and looks up at something but we don’t know what.Perhaps he’s looking up at Keith Tucker’s hat and scarf emporium.You need to be confident enough to believe that people don’t need to be shown the place that you want them to go to, they’ll figure it out.
But still give off a message about your shop
So don’t show them your business but instead inform them about your business.But don’t just give them the facts, that’s too boring, make people infer things from the adverts.For example, I know that John Lewis only sell red womenswear (except for white wedding dresses), that the staff at John Lewis apparently can’t gift wrap, that for some people they will have to cross fields and streams and climb mountains to get to their nearest John Lewis store and also that John Lewis has somehow mastered the art of time travel.
So there you are.Just remember those points when making your advert and you’ll have people weeping over it and increased sales before you can say ‘formulaic’.(Though in all seriousness the John Lewis adverts (and John Lewis itself) are pretty darn good. Go buy stuff from there!)
So the elections are over.“What elections” you might ask “the Colnbrook with Poyle parish council by-election?” And to that I have to reply “No, you ninny, that election’s far from over!Everybody and his Chihuahua knows that’s on 15th November.I’m talking about the American Presidential elections”
Yes, after God knows how long of talking about it and then doing something about it we finally know who America’s favourite middle aged man is, it’s Obama.The question now is what on earth is going to be on the news?News editors must love the US elections, just find a person, preferably someone who looks irate, point a video camera at them and say “Romney, Obama, healthcare, economy” and just sit back as they basically do your programme for you.If they start flagging just poke them and whisper “Clinton” and they’ll be off again.
So, what should the news channels be covering between now and March when the campaigning for 2016 will presumably start?
OK, so no one ever stops talking about the economy and the recession and interest rates and other words that get accountants’ pupils dilated and make me want to crawl up into a ball.But at least when they’re talking about America’s economy they’re not talking about ours.But now I imagine it’s going to be all doom and gloom in the run up to Christmas.Lots of stories about how Jimmy won’t be opening a box with a Furby in this year and his little eyes will start to fill every time he sees an advert for one on TV.Trust me Jimmy, you’re not missing out.I thought Furbys were ridiculous and annoying and immature when they first came out and I was their target audience.As a former child I can honestly say that playing with bubble wrap is way more fun.
Lots of people probably couldn’t name Ed Miliband if you showed them a picture of him and automatically grab the remote whenever they see a newsreader shuffle their sheets, but promise them some footage of a “talking” animal and they will sit through the Latvian paint drying championships to see the promised one
Sports Personality of the Year
Remember back in August and September when stories were coming out about how people in London were actually smiling at each other and, ever so occasionally, saying hello to strangers without the stranger assuming they were being prepped to be mugged and that was all thanks to the Olympic Spirit that infected even the most Meldrew of Victors?Well wouldn’t it be nice to feel that all over again, especially now in the winter, with lots of footage on the news of who could be the Sports Personality of the Year?Yes, we all know that it’s just a little trophy and it’s probably been prepped for Bradley Wiggins’ name but I’ll accept any excuse to be shown footage of people in Stella McCartney outfits beating the rest of the world set to the sound of Elbow.
The Colnbrook with Poyle Parish council by-election
Haven’t you read The Casual Vacancy? This could be big news. And we can’t just be yanked off elections cold turkey – we’re not that strong.
I did the nearly impossible.I completed a Sudoku. I even put all the numbers in the correct spaces.I achieved the unachievable almost a decade after I was first introduced to these pesky 9x9 boxes in a maths lesson.Everyone in the class was given a sheet full of them, back when people didn’t really know what they were and they didn’t appear alongside the crossword in newspapers.My friends got the hang of them within minutes of receiving them “Well the 9 obviously goes there because there’s a 9 on that line and one on that line and one in that column and blah, blah, blah” I just sat and looked at the page and occasionally I would think I’d cracked it only to realise there were three 3s on one line and that didn’t seem like it was right.
It was on that day that I decided I hated Sudokus.They were stupid, they were barely mathematical.You could substitute the numbers with letters and it’d still be possible to do it, if you could do it.I remained cold as Sudoku fever swept the nation.Carol Vorderman was keen on it for a while, there were books of the puzzles sold and I just maintained that they were stupid whenever someone spoke about them.
And then last week, for some odd reason, I decided to fill in a Sudoku to prove that I still couldn’t do Sudokus.That there was something in my brain preventing me from completing that grid.But the unthinkable, the unimaginable happened, I actually completed one.And after that I completed another one, and another one and few more after that.
Suddenly, I’ve become that person I hate.A Sudoku person.A person who likes to put numbers in squares.I still think it’s a bit silly and not as intelligent as a crossword (don’t even get me started on how difficult crosswords are) but I think I’ve been bitten by the bug.Only a very small bite, mind you.The tiniest bug nibbling at the tiniest bit of my little toe, but still enough that when I close my eyes as I go to bed, I’m completing imaginary Sudoku grids in my mind.
This week I finally unlocked whatever had been locked. I am the master of the (easy level) Sudoku.If only the teenage me could see me now, she’d be so…….not interested.
So, Mr Spider.I see you, you see me.I squeal or make some other noise that is disproportionate to your size but I don’t care because you’re a spider and I hate you and you’ve come to ruin my day. It’s as if you knew that it was already a bad day, that things had not been going the way I wanted them to and I was already a sad advert or an Adele song away from crying and you’ve busted in to make my already bad day even worse.
So I quickly leave the room and rush off to get the spider-catcher gadget I bought that means I don’t have to dirty a glass and find a sturdy enough piece of paper in order to scoop you up, I can do it from a distance with a special machine. I grab the spider-catcher, I rush back into the room and…..where the hell have you gone? I look all across the floor for you, and can’t see you anywhere. How did you move that quickly? It’d be like me running 800m in 20 seconds.You must have had help from the daddy longlegs I sometimes see hanging around in here or some other insect like that because there’s no way that was a one man job. But anyway, it doesn’t matter because all that matters is that I can’t see you. I know you’re in this room somewhere, probably laughing at me as you eat one of the dead moths that’re in here as I’m too scared to pick them up either as they’ll inevitably disintegrate in my tissue when they do.
The thing is spider, now that I know you’re somewhere in this room, I can’t sit comfortably again in here until I know that I’ve caught you or until enough time’s passed that you must surely be dead. I’ll be watching TV and my eyes will be constantly flicking towards the floor, wondering if you’re going to scurry across. And I won’t ever be able to leave the door of the room open again because then you could move and be anywhere in the house.And I might not even be able to tidy that room again because what if I come face to face with you? No, I’ll just have to let the dust layers pile up.
And what annoys me spider is that I wasn’t going to kill you. Can you not see I don’t have the stomach for that? All I was going to do was move you outside.Yes, it’s a bit chillier out there but there are so many more things to eat outside the house than inside it, you must have seen what a terrible cook I am. But none of that matters now because I didn’t manage to get you outside, you’re in here somewhere and you’ve got the upper hand and you know it. You’re probably only 4cm big but I’m moving my life to fit around you. It’s like having a child, except that you won’t look after me in my old age, or do funny things like laugh whenever someone sneezes.But there’s one thing I can do, spider, I’m not going to watch any David Attenborough documentaries where you can see your cousins and feel a little better and a bit less homesick, in fact I won’t ever put a nature documentary on.Instead I’ll leave I’m a Celebrity or Bear Grylls or any other insect eating show on and I’ll occasionally come in and eat a steak just so you remember where you are in the pecking order (even though I am scared of you)