Friday, 31 August 2012

No more excuses

I passed my viva yesterday and am now on countdown to not being a student anymore. So I need to confront what's in the previous post. I keep telling myself that trying and failing leaves me no worse off than not trying at all so I might as well try but honestly I'm not convinced. While it's difficult to imagine feeling any more worthless than I do at the moment, I suppose it's possible and I don't want to experience it.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Decisions, decisions

Next week is my deadline for starting to try to find work so I have some decisions to make this week. Don't wanna.

Do I look for a job or stay self employed? Or just starve to death given that the effect of the past few years is to leave me feeling too scared, lacking in confidence and useless to either apply for jobs or look for freelance work.

Do I stay here or move back to London? If I do stay freelance, I don't think I can stay here because there just doesn't seem to be any work (available to me at least). And it's not like I've really got any kind of a social life or fit in at all up here. In fact it's got to the point where I feel so excluded I don't want to be here any more. But then with London, there's the whole expense thing, the paying for prescriptions thing, the Tube thing, the too many bloody people thing.

I don't feel excited or optimistic or driven or anything. I just want to go to bed and never get up again.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Got it in one

image from

Most Private Eye covers leave me wondering why they are supposed to be funny but occasionally they strike gold. This is one of those times.

Personally, the people I feel sorry for at present are the embassy staff. What appears to be the case about Assange's qualities as a houseguest is that he is utterly inconsiderate, contemptuous of other people's needs and property, apparently not that bothered about hygiene* and quite unsafe around women. It's all right for President Correa - he doesn't have to share a tiny apartment, possibly for many years to come with the creep**.

*If I can find the reference, I'll post it - it comes from quite a long article I read somewhere earlier this year or last year while Assange was still holed up in the country home of one of the saps that are now out the bail surety they put up.

** My personal view on all this? Assange =/= Wikileaks. I'm reservedly in favour of Wikileaks. Frankly if the conspiracy theorists are right and Assange ends up in an orange jumpsuit for the rest of his life, I won't lose a minute's sleep. If you're worried about your personal freedom, don't rape people***. It's not that hard.

*** I've been on the receiving end of the stunt he pulled with the sleeping woman. The three month's wait for the HIV test was not one of the better parts of my life.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Today, in not surprising

EDF was supposed to call me before 2pm to reschedule the visit. They didn't. Of course.

Sunday, 19 August 2012


Ewan Morrison wrote this the other day about fanfic (which is what 50 Shades is).

My view on fanfic? Creating a convincing character is one of the hardest parts of writing a novel. You think it's a 'homage' to use someone else's character*? That makes you both lazy and a thief.And I prefer that you keep your masturbatory fantasies to yourself.

*I feel that there are probably exceptions to this where the character is not the main one and it is being used creatively. Jasper fforde for example. Can anyone think of anything else?

Saturday, 18 August 2012

A question of modern etiquette

How does one tell friends that one would rather dig one's eyeballs out with a spork than read Fifty Shades of Grey without implying that one thinks (and one does) that their taste in reading is abysmal? I've tried 'I think it might upset me as I don't have a boyfriend' and have had that excuse tossed back in my face.

Also, it's prominently displayed at the Book Festival bookshop. This is wrong. WRONG. The Book Festival Bookshop is a place for the entire oeuvre of Canongate, for small hardcore Scottish publishers who wouldn't deign to sell in England, for children's books, for poetry and for small run hard to find non-fiction about history, philosophy and the like, not for softbound signs of the apocalypse and insults to proper authors.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

What the hell kind of a way is this to run a customer service operation?

Here's how EDF runs its appointments system. Like airlines, they book in more customer visits than there are actual time slots available. They send out a confirmation letter in which they tell you that if you miss the appointment, they will fine you. Then a week or so beforehand they bump some of those appointments. However unlike airlines, they don't bother telling you they are bumping you.

When you ring up 30 minutes after the end of the 6 hour stretch the engineer was supposed to arrive in, you get a half arsed apology from a call centre operative who clearly couldn't give a toss at the end of a long day and you are then rescheduled at the back of the queue in the same system, presumably to run the risk of getting bumped again. Earliest date, mid September.

At that point, I let the greatly increased irritability that depression brings get the worst of me and I went nuclear. You will give me a two hour appointment slot, next week on the day of my choice, I shrieked. No, I won't she said. Apparently that requires referring the decision upstairs to a special department and that can't be done till Monday.

Even I recognise that ripping my electricity meter off the wall and throwing it out of the window would be counterproductive. I will just say however that EDF have what is undoubtedly the worst customer service I have ever experienced. The comedy of errors that my switch over to them has been has been going on for an entire year. They make me think fondly of Ryanair, it's that bad. If it wasn't for the fact that I don't think I can face going through this again with another switch, I'd be out of there so fast the static would burn out the National Grid.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Stupid, stupid, stupid

What on earth made me think it was a good idea to go to a comedy show about love and romance? One with audience participation where people shared stories about all the lovely romantic things people have done for them? People don't do romantic things for me - they use me for a bit till they can't tolerate having me about any longer then they throw me away. Mind you, things don't appear to have been much better for the comedians. One stated that she had basically shut up shop after a bad breakup and the other admitted he'd never had a relationship.

I'm not enjoying the Festival at all this year. The only thing that's been half way enjoyable involved warfare, pillaging and death.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Unnatural child: 2

I don't know if anyone watched the BBC's Young, Bright and on the Right but in case anyone did and is wondering, nothing appears to have changed in 28 years. It was exactly like that, down to the Nazi songs and port. I actually found the programme incredibly difficult to watch and had to pause it (iPlayer) several times to let the nausea die down. Was I really that obnoxious? Yes, probably. I was on OUCA committee for two terms (I came top of the ballot in every election I stood in) and only began my slow move to the hard left after I'd been 'knived' by someone if not more ambitious, certainly more adept than me. In many ways, I deeply regret spending that time on student politics when I could have been doing something else like student drama or journalism (did you think I was going to say voluntary work? I haven't changed THAT much...) On the other hand it was the only period of my life when I was consistently happy and having fun. I'm not sure what that says about me. But those now frighteningly repulsive people do undoubtedly explain why I didn't carry on being politically active afterwards.

I also retain my university allegiance clearly because I found the Cambridge lad so objectionable I could have punched him across Parker's Piece whereas I rather warmed to the Oxford one, despite how objectively speaking, his behaviour was so much worse.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Cautionary tales: 3

In a rare bout of optimism, she was foolish enough to think that she could change careers late in life to one that paid more than the minimum wage. She chose something she'd been good at when she was younger but whether through age related atrophy or early onset dementia she wasn't good at it any more. This left her so lacking in confidence that she was unable to manage any kind of work so she survived first by selling furniture, then by selling the cats to a Belgian waistcoat manufacturer and then by selling her flat. She moved into a dustbin where she shortly died, crushed under half a hundredweight of unwanted flyers for an amateur drama group who failed to sell any seats for their performance of Macbeth (the three thousandth production of that play that year at the Fringe).

Monday, 6 August 2012

Cautionary tales: 2

The success of her poorly written trilogy about sadomasochistic sex took her as much by surprise as anyone but she was even more surprised when one of her readers, an unmarried gentleman from Tooting, whose failure to marry or form a normal relationship probably had something to do with his propensity to take everything literally, abducted her one day from her newly purchased £3m mansion. He confined her in his basement, which if not red, was certainly somewhat painful for there was nothing else in there but his electricity meter, not even a bed. He disciplined her daily, applying a hairbrush vigorously to her matronly and capacious haunches and fed her using the gavage method. At one point the police thought they might be able to locate him when he posted a photo to Twitter which showed in one corner the serial number of the electricity meter next to her reddened and scarred rear but unfortunately he was a customer of EDF so to this day she is still missing, although this is not viewed as a major loss to the British literary establishment.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

A failure in online stalking

Having had the deeply traumatic experience of seeing the gentleman who dumped me last year a couple of streets from my flat just over a week ago in the middle of a work day, I hastened to LinkedIn in order to check whether he'd landed his dream position at [big bank] just round the corner from where I live and I would therefore have to move. The inconsiderate ass turns out not to have updated his profile since 2009 and is still listed as working for the company he quit (or was booted from, I am unsure which) in 2010. I am now too scared to go out in case I see him again.

Lunatic fringe pt 2

On top of the catastrophic loss of self confidence about my abilities and misery about being single, I utterly hate the way I look at present and a lot of it has to do with that wretched fringe, which I only got because of the cliched desire to change my hair after being dumped (as if I didn't feel bad enough). If it weren't for the fact that the only attractive (to men) thing about me appears to be my hair, I'd go and get a peroxide crop. This photo may explain a lot. Note also the double chin, huge conk, jowls, gut and general encroaching aging. This was taken in late May, rather sooner after the operation than was sensible in retrospect and shortly before I had a complete breakdown, for which that fringe may be partly to blame. The monkey quite rightly looks very unimpressed.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Unnatural child

My father was a Tory. My mother was a Tory. My brother is somewhere to the right of Attila the Hun, seemingly unaware that as a yurt dwelling, benefit cheating, illegitimate child having and deserting, non-working, washing-refusenik, mohawk-wearing-in-his-40s waster, he really ought to be hanging and flogging himself,  my cousins are Tory. I think my aunt was Liberal but from the libertarian extreme right wing side of the party.

I used to be a Tory until I grew up and started thinking about things. I can't help feeling that if I were still a Tory I'd be a lot less angry and depressed but however hard I try, I just can't. One of the things that worries me about the SNP is that I suspect an awful lot of them are really Tory at heart but with an overlay of hatred for the English.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

I think I prefer severe depression

Now I'm feeling a little bit better I'm capable again of thinking about all the things that made me depressed in the first place. I'm not sure why this is supposed to be an improvement.