Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Some people I know think that I am crazy to be having surgery next year. Particularly after a cancerous few years, these involved five operations in all, none of which were nice. However I am always up for something new, and am always up for something free (though I don't mind paying - like I am to have a new set of teeth in Brazil next Feb) and when you get offered the chance for some free cosmetic surgery well why say no plus as a project that's not for Bent and for something bigger and more visual (that's all am saying) it would be good for my career - not that you need surgery to be a roving reporter etc.

I had been told I could have anything done I wanted up to a certain budget. The ones that they had sent me the facts on were 'Intelligent Lipo', 'Non Evasive Face Lift', 'Botox', 'Chemical Peel' and 'Macrolane To The Penis' the latter didn't even seem bearable no matter what macrolane was. I never got to find out actually.

So off I went to see a specialist thinking 'oh this could be fun, you don't get the chance of this everyday'. I didn't expect it to open up the question 'how happy am I with my own body' which is a veritable can of worms. Well liposuction is of course and instant tick box, especially as this is a new form of liposuction that means less custardy lumps and bruising, yay, yay and thrice yay. That was not a hard choice to make. Botox, well why not lets give it a whirl. When I went to see the surgeon who is doing a non evasive facelift (no knives, no staples and only lasts six months) I didn't realise my faults would be pointed out so calmly and slightly bluntly. I am all for bluntness, if you are my friend... otherwise back off.

Bags under my eyes I could deal with, I am after all in quite a stressful job and at the moment doing two issues of the magazine in less time that we do one I have been loosing sleep. I don't give a monkey's about laughter lines as they show I have a sense of humour and laugh a lot. 'You know you could do with a nose job' he said 'looks like it could be smoothed out'. I wanted to tell him this is from when one of my delightful ex-boyfriends and I ended up in a fight and my nose was broken by him and broken back by a very handsome nurse and that actually I learnt a valuable lesson that day about men and this was a scar to remember it. I looked in the mirror, god do I have an ugly nose, self doubt started creeping in!

A few rooms later sat in my pants I felt like Samantha from Sex and the City when she gets covered in crosses going to see what she should have done to her face. Well this was my whole body, I looked like a noughts and crosses jumbo annual. This was thanks to Liposuction Man who I personally felt had gone a bit far. 'You could have laser surgery on those stretch marks' no, I haven't had a baby but yes after being on some certain drugs and lots of bed rest I am not the slender spring chicken I once was but life goes on and at least I am not dead. My patience was lessening.

'Oh and that scar on your back, we could get rid of that. The scar on my back is from a growth being taken from my spine, they filled it with a foot of gauze I will have you know... very impressive! I call this my war wound, yes its ugly some scar tissue is but it reminds me of something, well in theory it does, I cant actually see it most of the time. It reminds me of what was a very scary and worrying time in my life and how the horrid little vain nbitchy queen I was grew up and changed for the better - well I hope so anyways.

One thing that did lift my spirits, stroke my ego and make me chuckle (reluctantly at the time) was when he said 'so… will you be wanting the macrolane to the penis…' we both looked down to the offending article and he said 'oh no I see we might not need that' now as flattered as I was (I gave him the biggest smirk I could muster) I did want to say to him 'that nothing compared to when they thought I had something cancerous down there and the swelling caused the x-ray man to snigger'. I also wanted to add 'I have had one operation down there and seriously you couldn't pay me to do anything to that, unless death was the only other option'. I just got dressed and left in a flurry or grumpyness, so much so I never asked what the heck macrolane was.

Having taken some time to think on it I am still having a little lipo and Botox though just for research purposes you understand; I will still look exactly the same only slightly expressionless for a few weeks, but for now at least I am leaving it at that. What made me make this decision? Well...

After a bath and a soaking sulk plus some serious scrubbing to remove the surgeons felt tip marks from all over me I stood in front of the mirror and I thought 'do you know what, I might not be the buffest or thinnest of men, I might have scars and marks but my body tells a history of me and I think I like it just the way it is.' I have nothing against those people who choose to have full on surgery in fact I am going to be meeting a fair few, I am just not letting myself be put under pressure by any one or any surgeon to go that bit further.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Case of the Missing Parcels

I feel like I might have to become one of my all time hero’s and literary icons Sherlock Holmes for deep in the Tooting massive something odd and quite worrying seems to be happening. Letters are arriving at my home but now a whopping ten parcels have apparently ‘gone missing’. Should they have all been sent on the same day then I might think ‘oh a post box was set fire to by ruffians at a specific address’ or ‘oh dear maybe a postman or post van spontaneously combust’ but no as its on various different dates of these being sent it appears this isn’t the case.

In fact as Royal Mail have told me ‘if it hasn’t been 15 days then it’s not lost, some post can take 15 days’. Does this not scream of being slightly wrong? I thought we paid for first class stamps in order that they turned up the next day… not within the next 15? Maybe this is a secret only people working at Royal Mail know, like a secret handshake or non-specific nod? I think if this is the case it should be made slightly more public.

I normally don’t worry about post however one parcel is over one hundred pounds worth of books. I know, I know the sender should have sent them recorded delivery minimal, especially as they are now saying they won’t send replacements, I won’t mention names but Bloomsbury books you know who you are, whoops did I just out them? One email did make me laugh ‘seeing as we sent them to the address stated it seems pointless to send them again as they won’t turn up’ I can oddly see the logic I am still incredibly unimpressed. However its not just them its several other publishers and also some PR firms, I am wondering if the post man is going around with fabulous hardback or twenty resting on his trolley around Tooting whilst humming to Same Difference, Britney or Kanye West (aren’t I eclectic) blasting through his headphones?

There is a darker side to this that I am unsure as to whether to even open the can of worms to. All the parcels had ‘Bent Magazine’ written on, now I don’t play the homophobic card often its just seems odd that post merely addressed to me seems to arrive as long as it’s no thicker than a bill. It’s all very peculiar. They haven’t gone to head office in a random London = Leeds confusion, I have checked. Of course they could be sat in the sorting office with no ‘sorry we missed you card’ having been slipped through my slot, or maybe it went to another same numbered house on this road that is actually a separate road (complex but true) or maybe the shop has it next door? I just can’t imagine ten parcels getting lost on separate days can you?

With that I shall get my cape, pipe and deerstalker and go and investigate.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Special Needs Pets

I don’t now if anyone else watched this last night on the delightful channel 4 but it was one of the oddest TV shows I have seen for ages. ‘Special Needs Pets’ looking to the households who look after, well, pets with special needs. Now I am a bit of a cat lover and quite happily confess that I will possibly end up in a bungalow smelling of cat wee surrounded by forty cats (heaven help me when I do a feature at Battersea Dogs Home next week) in my jungle like back garden and home.

This show worried me, really worried me. Not in the fact that quite clearly these people loved their pets for indeed every single owner seemed greatly concerned for their pets but in some cases this bordered on keeping their pet for their own emotions and not for the fairness of the pet. Some stories were lovely for example Katie the Jack Russell whose brain wasn’t sending the right messages to her legs and was toppling over quite often. She was bought a wonderful dog like wheelchair for her back legs and was soon charging around the garden like a new born pup rather than a elderly dog and using a stair lift to get anywhere her wheels wouldn’t let her. I also loved the lady who might become a small icon of mine who was a veterinary nurse and who saved cats with special needs, she had twelve but wasn’t ‘a crazy cat lady, so don’t you say it’. I would say for ten of the cats it was fine, for two of them I had a moment of sadness one dragged its back legs and one just couldn’t walk properly and kept falling over. However she worked for a vet and so I thought she must have a good insight.

Two cases completely disturbed me. No not the masturbating parrot or the parrot who was balding from grief of the loss of one of his owners – did you know parrots are the pet most prone to mental problems? You learn something new every day.

The cases that disturbed me were one of a rabbit who was paralysed from the waist down and wore a nappy couldn’t walk and could only be kept in a fairly small cage, wrong, completely and utterly wrong. The woman made the valid point that you wouldn’t put a disabled person down, you could argue back some people choose to euthanasia in certain circumstances. The one out of all of them that to me seemed the cruellest was some idiot posh accountant whose cat had a horrific accident. The cat was left unable to go to the toilet by itself bar occasionally wetting itself. So the owner would pummel and push its stomach three times a day until it did its business. Now I have owned a lot of cats but even if you haven’t, it doesn’t take a genius to work out that if the cat is screaming and screaming while you have to empty its stomach its not really having a good quality of life… don’t even get me started on its nappy wearing. The owner said the cat had ‘dignity’ funny it didn’t want to cuddle him ever.

I know how hard it is to make the decision to put a pet down, I had to make the decision earlier in the year with Hoyden as she was clearly unhappy even though the vet said she could last a few more months, said vet did also make me feel like the worst cat owner in history for the second time, I’ll come back to the first shortly. It was horrible to choose whether your pet lives or dies but you need to be completely unselfish and think what’s best for the animal. I chose what was right for Hoyden even though it killed me inside.

There was one other couple I felt sorry for and that was the couple with the overweight cat Boris, I think it was called Boris? Their vet, like mine (this was when he first made me feel like the worst owner on earth with Thisbe Hoyden’s sister) told them that they were over feeding their incredibly fat cat and that they were killing it. I got really angry at this as Thisbe was huge, she made floorboards creak in fact I will add a picture so you all know how fat she was, and every diet I put her on she stayed fat. I played with her till the cows came home and to no avail. As you can now see…
People and pets, what can you do?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Under The Depths of London Bridge

I remember on Saturday night thinking quite clearly as I stepped down into the dark ‘the things I do for bloody charity’ that was in the 20 minutes calm before Polly, Mr B and Michelle were all screaming their heads off, I wasn’t screaming of course – far too butch and brave for that. You’re right I am completely lying I was screaming and a few seconds before the doors to the tomb closed you might have possibly heard me mutter ‘why did we f-ing go first, I might s**t myself’ it was by then of course too late.

I was of course back in the London Tombs I obviously can’t keep away, even after almost wetting myself with fear walking round the London Bridge Experience upstairs in the daytime with a torch and then screaming my head off down in the tombs where things come to get you. I don’t know whether going back down knowing what was coming made things worse or not? To see Polly and Michelle scream that much was a pure delight even if it did include Michelle walking backwards on my toes every ten minutes but not letting me let go of her, it was like a strange for of torture for us all. Last time was just the two of us which was bad but in a group its worse, in one room we were all screaming… at nothing but ourselves. Corporations should definitely take newly bound teams down there; I was hugging men I had never met before in fear, well that was my excuse.

The tombs were discovered when they were building what was going to be a Dickensian Restaurant Attraction. They were digging out one of the many vaults under London Bridge to build a wine cellar when they found skulls and bones, after tests were conducted they found that they were two different types, some were plague victims and they had come across a plague pit, others further down were skulls only with a hole in the roof… traitors for traitors gate. No sooner had these been discovered than odd things started happening and eventually a group of big burly builders quit in fear. (For the sceptical I have seen the invoices for jobs half done and the letters.) So the owners decided to make it into a scream attraction, I advise everyone to go its brilliant.

St Johns Ambulance had setup the whole spooky sleepover to raise money in a new and fresh way and it really worked. The first part of the evening was as have said going on the two levelled attraction before a delightful buffet. We then had time with a proper paranormal investigation team where Mr B and Polly looked completely unimpressed but Michelle and I got dowsing and also became an interrogation squad of sorts to the poor medium. Well I have always wanted to ask a medium so many questions so I didn’t hold back. I couldn’t work out if he thought I was being serious when I asked ‘can you switch it off, I mean they would talk to you all the time otherwise and you might be on the toilet or something?’ It was a genuine question, I remember before Bong died and he knew it was coming, he said ‘I will come and hover around you know’ I said ‘remember there is a time and a place’.

We then got a second walk around with Ghost Stories; the actor was really good the choice of stories wasn’t. I mean The Picture of Dorian Gray is a great story but is it a ghost story… not so much. There were some great stories just none that actually scared me, but in one of the rooms something did scare me. I got what I can only describe as a ‘bwuuurrrrgggggghhhhh’ really loudly in my ear and almost… well you can guess. No one was behind me, Mr B thought he had heard it sat on the floor next to me, I felt awful as I kicked him thinking it was him. We had a break and then did a séance in the depths of the tombs, they didn’t want to play, but then three members of the circle fell asleep and it was only bloody 3am!

We got back upstairs and realised that by sleepover they meant sleep, in my head it was ghost hunting until dawn. Everyone started scuttling off to sleep in safe warm rooms! Fortunately James the Manager I met before was on shift and after asking him a very important question (who had been kicked off the X Factor) as he had the internet. He then asked if we wanted a private tour just the four of us and him. It was great we went into private areas, walked the tombs in the dark was definitely my favourite hour and a half of the evening. Pretty soon though we were flagging so got out or sleeping bags curled up as a four in one of the dark spooky rooms and tried to sleep. I found the companionship of two suits of armour slightly off putting… but we coped and before we knew it, it was 8am, we’d managed it and we were hardcore.

Now if you want to sponsor us as its all done you still can (hint, hint) just visit http://www.justgiving.com/theghoulies you have till January, but the sooner the better lol.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Blindest of Dates

I have never really considered what it would be like to be blind; I have considered what it would be like to be deaf as one of ex-boyfriends Pete was deaf. My mum dated someone very briefly who was blind, well I think she dated him I might be wrong they might have been ‘good friends’, and I remember dancing with him like a crazy thing at a Wedding disco, he also told me of his parachute jumps. I suppose with meeting such a positive role model I didn’t think being blind could be that difficult, I suppose I thought it would be dark obviously however now the idea of not being able to read a book or use the internet or see my little siblings smiling faces.

Two things have made me think about blindness recently one was the fact that my mother at the ripe young age of 42 has found out that she is getting early cataracts (which could be hereditary) and could in her old age go blind. There have been a lot of tears partly because my mum still believes she is nineteen, she had a girls only disco in the pub she is converting for her last birthday and is throwing a concert for my step dad for his 50th in their field. Rock on ha! The other tears I think were frustration and also the idea that reading would one day not happen. My Gran reminds us that you will never read all the books you want to in your life. I can imagine my favourite writer releasing a book and me popping my clocks a week before, bugger. I digress… my mothers current state has made me think about how I would feel in that situation.

The other thing that made me think was when I went out for dinner at ‘Dans Le Noir’ last Wednesday for a function. The premise behind ‘Dans Le Noir’ is eating in the very pitchest of pitch black. The staff who serve you are all blind and the idea is you not only have no idea what you are eating but that you also experience what it is like to be blind. It was one of the most eye opening experiences of my life, quite literally, and also taught me a lot about myself.

Now I admit when I am in a group of people I am someone who watches rather than jumps headlong into a conversation. I am not nervous about meeting new people, it wouldn’t be advisable in my job and actually oddly at work I come out of my own more to build a rapport with an interviewee. With my friends I am quite loud blunt and up for a laugh. However in the pitch black, I swear you can see nothing, I found myself not only checking my own personal space but also going even more insular. Ten minutes before at the bar with a few cocktails in me I had been nattering to everyone. Now sat at the table I was saying nothing and actually sat elbow on the table (no one could see my bad manners) chin resting on my wrist and hand in front of my mouth. I felt completely vulnerable.

Now when you are blinded your other senses magnify, the first few minutes after having followed the waitress loosing all sense of where I was and then having to work out how to sit on my chair and not fall off it I was astounded by how loud everything was. It was completely off putting. I just couldn’t think straight, I couldn’t hear who was next to me from someone on the other side of the restaurant because everyone talks louder to speak over everyone else. It almost makes your headache. I then spent a good ten minutes working out where everything was making sure I could feel where my glasses and cutlery where, I noticed I redid this every three minutes. It teaches you a lot about yourself and gives you a very rare insight that I will take away with me.

There was of course the food. Now while I enjoyed the idea of not knowing what I was eating the reality wasn’t so sweet, well apart from the desert. I did make the valid point that blind people do know what food they like and would choose something they wanted. However being up for anything I gave it a go. The starter started well… oh a lovely salad and then I bit into what I can only describe as warm crispy fat and not in a pleasant cracking kind of way, in a deep fried lard kind of way. I admit I might have heaved a little. The main course was better lamb, vegetables and some lovely chicken like mushrooms, kidney I can cope with liver I cannot, weirdly I could tell what all the flavours were, well so I thought. In fact bar a small incident of thinking a lime was a tomato it was fine. The pudding of Mango Sorbet and Chocolate Mousse was a doddle.

It wasn’t until the next day when I found the starter was foie gras and that the ‘chicken flavoured mushrooms’ were in fact snails that I suddenly felt slightly violated. It was certainly an experience though and bar a moment of panicking that ‘what if I go back in the light and I have gone blind’ I have never been so relieved to see the harsh glare of a light bulb. At least it prepared me for 12 hours locked in a tomb under London last Saturday night though... more on that soon.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Deidre Savidge... What A Coincidence!

I have never been a great believer in fate, although many people think my meeting my now husband was fate. I had been drinking at the Christmas Party at a previous employer’s from lunchtime and at midnight my assistant decided we must go to GAY. I wasn’t up for it to be honest. However, there my eyes met (over a sticky dirty drunken dance floor) Mr B’s and something fizzled. Mr B himself had been dragged out for his birthday by his friends when he had wanted a quiet night in. I guess both of us being dragged to a place we didn’t want to go and meeting is a kind of fate. Fate however is meant to be quite romantic and not contain the sentences of ‘sorry, who are you?’ or ‘seriously you don’t have to call me or swap numbers’ the next morning, but Mr B persisted but I have gone off on a slight tangent.

I am a believer in coincidence and I dont mean the 'what a coincidence' of Muriels father and Deidre Chambers. For example the fact that when Polly (my best friend of 23 years) and myself became best friends at school we found out my Mum and her Dad were at the same school together in Matlock, more of Matlock later. If I hadn’t been a believer in coincidence before this week has proven it.

On Saturday I went to see Blowing Whistles (which was ok not great, I do now have a large crush on Paul Keating though) and whilst Mr B took time to have a fag in the interval, I was reading my book when I heard ‘Simon!’ I looked around and there was the delightful Mr Burston and his husband Paulo. Now myself and Paul have bumped into each other at Spamalot and Joan Rivers on press nights, yet this wasn’t a press night it was just a random Saturday show. In all the theatres in all of the West End they had to walk into mine… what a small world but a beautiful one as I love Paul and Paulo and we had a lovely chat on the way to Leicester Square.

We waved them off as they descended into the Northern Line, whilst it was my call that Mr B and I have a Burger King, I am mid-ordering my Bacon Double Cheese meal when I hear a shriek of ‘Simon!’ and its my friend Holly Rose (she’s also a popstar, her version of Minnie Ripperton’s ‘Inside My Love’ is amazing and out next year) who lives in Hertfordshire and I haven’t seen for ages, well since the wedding. I think our ‘mutual love in’ and shrieking camped up Burger King no end.

However what has pushed coincidence into new heights was Tuesday. I had an interview booked with the lovely Christopher Green aka Tina C/Ida Barr. At work I am known for doing my research on the day or the night before as I like it fresh in my mind. So when looking on Wikipedia I see he is from Matlock, my home town, though I am technically Matlock Bath - believe me up there the valley dividing the two makes all the difference. So I phone my aunties and ask them if they went to school with anyone called Christopher Green? Now before you say ‘how rude, he is only in his 30’s’ can I add my mother is the eldest and she is 42, so it’s not that rude it actually makes sense. By chance when I spoke to Alice (she’s just had twins) she had and not only that, they were best friends at school.

So armed with this knowledge I met Christopher and told him and after saying ‘do you know how old you have made your interviewee feel’ and me explaining my mother was the teenage gymslip pregnancy the whole of Matlock talked about, we got on like a house on fire and best of all I have got them both back in touch, see it really is a small world. But is that fate or coincidence? You decide.

Oh and my biggest ever case of coincidence? It has to be when I bumped into my ‘big sister’ at a Post Box on Charlotte Street carrying a Chihuahua puppy and looking gayer than gay after having not seen her for about 4 years, that’s another story though.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Can Boys Write Mills & Boon?

I meant to put this blog up a week ago, but with the whole Presidential Election and the fact I have had some new responsibilities at work and have two magazines to get done not the normal one, I got held up.

Last Sunday saw one of my favourite nights of TV in ages as BBC3 had a Mills and Boon themed night. You might be sat thinking where has this come from but it has always been a well hidden secret that isn’t that well hidden that I have a secret fondness for Mills and Boon. Yes I know, but I am sorry I have.

There were two brilliant shows, which if you missed… well you missed out, the second was a fabulous drama celebrating 100 years of Mills and Boon with a brilliant cast including my favourite actress Olivia Colman. Get watching it on iPlayer now. The previous first show saw the delightful and fabulous Stella Duffy take on the challenge of writing a Mills and Boon. She looked into the whole Mills and Boon phenomenon, and got to enter its hallowed halls, me jealous, never! She also met some fans and writers, it was fabulous. She also spoke to a man who had tried to write Mark Billingham, who now writes best selling crime. Helen Fielding started off trying to write Mills and Boon, did you know that? I didn’t think men could write Mills and Boon, a fact that stopped me trying to write ‘The Emancipation of Love’, now I know (I asked Stella) that men can. Well that’s opened up a whole new world to me and given me hope. I have dug out my old piece and I shall put below but first let me tell you how my love of all things Mills and Boon happened…

I can actually remember the first time I bought a Mills and Boon, I was about twelve or thirteen - my mother will be mortified I am posting this as she is an English teacher - I was allowed to buy any book in an odd antique market in Newcastle, I think I was having a major mardy and so Mum didn’t really give a monkeys what I bought. This wasn’t the same when aged eleven I bought a porn version of the Greek Myths accidentally, the irony being that my mother also teaches classics. So I chose a delightful red covered 70’s Mills and Boon the new covers have nothing on golden old era. I don’t think they had the ranges and spin offs that they had then they just varied the range with different colours, I have never seen a yellow one yet though. Other children got into Agatha Christie, Robin Jarvis etc, I got into Mills and Boon.

I have wondered if buying this book set the ‘he’s gay’ alarms going off in my mothers head at all. I wouldn’t have been obsession with the Spice Girls or dressing up in Polly’s Princess dresses aged five, or singing the whole Erotica album at the top of my lungs aged ten would it? Sorry I digress.

I don’t remember the full ins and outs of it or what the name of it was but I could guarantee I would recognise it if I saw it in Oxfam etc now. It featured a heroine with her perfect blonde bob pearl earrings and a black lace dress resisting the powerful domineering man, some could say it changed my life in one look I had learnt if you lean away from a man he will lean in. This has never worked but at the time I thought it must be an alluring pose… or something. I do remember a very racy scene where he tore her lace bodice with the force of his thumbs on her nipples. Until this point the most I had seen At aged thirteen that was quite something. I hadn’t really discovered sex quite yet then, I had discovered Madonna but I didn’t really know what she was banging on about.

After that it became a little secret obsession of buying secret copies (it felt a bit illicit at the time, I was living in Marlborough for god’s sake not much happened there) and divulging them, this stopped when I was about 15 and my pocket money was banned frequently as I was a toe-rag. I forgot all about this until at Milkround I met the lovely Michelle, we bonded at a work do where no one was speaking to either of us as we were knew, we then bonded on Mills and Boon… and Colin Firth. We even thought of writing one and eventually I started one, more of that later. Michelle and I became slightly obsessed and most lunch times would head of to Oxfam to see what new ones were in for the all too good price of 49p. How can you go wrong?

We also came up with the rule behind a Mills & Boon which were:
- The man must be rapacious, arrogant and possibly loaded they can also have an evil streak making the heroine question him, herself or the world in general.
- He must be gorgeous; in fact everyone in a Mills and Boon should be frankly.
- Mentioning a mans thighs in some sensual way must happen at least once every chapter.
- Women can be independent, not too independent though, unless they are the ruthless love rival.
- The ending needs to be happy tied up, not in a bondage sense, that’s Black Lace a wholly different title, if its not happy or inconclusive then its not a Mills and Boon.
- There can be a villainous man or a scheming vixen, no gay sidekicks but that should be rectified.
- Sex scenes are now welcome however these edge on Silhouette or simply porn, we like to leave the bedroom door firmly closed.
- Titles with alliteration like ‘Sensually Savidge’ and titles ending in ‘tion’ are bought more often.

So under these rules I started ‘The Emancipation for Love’ back in 2007, I have now dug it out again and here it is, it has been compared to early Jilly Cooper by Dom Agius, which I think is a compliment ha. While you read that I am off to read a copy of the superb ‘Queen of the Castle’. Enjoy!

Geraldine Day looked at the headline aghast; she was tearful and somehow also verging on rage in one complex emotion that she wasn’t sure that she liked. ‘McPinto Takes over Publishers Botherworthe Books’ she had heard rumours in the office, yet these had been flatly denied to all members of staff. That was the corporate world for you. I mean one minute they will tell you that you are getting a promotion and yet somehow its two steps down the career ladder from where you thought they were going to hoist you, she shouldn’t be bitter, it was unattractive, she just couldn’t help herself.
It was here however, the facts right in front of her very eyes, the words broke her heart in two; yes Geraldine Day was almost having a nervous breakdown in her late twenties over a headline. Oh, and the future of her job too. The small lovely independent company, she had worked for since she graduated in Fine Arts & Literature from Oxford with a first, had sold out and that meant she might have to. Worst of all was to whom they had sold themselves, had they no soul? McPinto Corporation a filthy capitalist institution that played with money as recklessly as it did peoples lives. She wouldn’t stand for it; the Germaine Greer in her soul suddenly reared its ugly head and didn’t stop for the remaining twenty minutes she was sat underground.
As soon as she got into work she ran up the four flights of stairs in her killer heels, thank goodness for her gym classes and athletic figure. She was heading straight for her bosses’ desk and she would tell Timothy Trothemheim exactly what she though of the whole debacle. I mean who the hell did he think he was lying to everyone saying nothing was going on and then letting her see (and her co-workers) some cast off part of the Financial Times telling her that her career might be over?
She barged through the door feeling high on her anger to find two people in mid conversation, neither were her boss, these were two people she had never laid eyes on before. The woman stood directly in front of her was dressed in the latest pinstripe Dior suit, sunglasses by Chanel were perched on her tightly pony tailed auburn head. She eyed Geraldine icily up and down as if assessing that the Primark dress and jeans combination was from hell and definitely should not be seen in the office. The words ‘and you are’ gently seeped out of her red lipstick coated mouth it was like poison webbing its way through the air.
‘I actually had the same question for you frankly’ Geraldine blurted out her words stumbling all around the room while she thought what to say next ‘where is Timothy I demand to speak to him now’.
The woman eyed her like a python eyes a mouse before it strikes ‘oh, you must be Geraldine, Geraldine Night or something like that’. Geraldine squared herself up to her new opponent; she wouldn’t be intimidated by anyone let alone this woman. What was she corporate Barbie or whatever children cut the hair off these days? ‘It’s Day actually’ she snapped ‘Geraldine Day, where is Timothy? I need to talk with him urgently’. Her voice faltered, the woman’s gaze however did not.
‘Timothy no longer works here… I would have thought you would have known that, but maybe your research skills need to be looked at in your next appraisal’ Geraldine could here the sneer in the heart of the woman’s tone ‘he has been made redundant with immediate effect… I am his replacement, your new boss so it would seem. My name is Stephanie Stark and I will be bringing this place up to scratch’ she looked Geraldine straight in the eye as she said ‘it seems this place is lacking in… well almost everything. Now if you don’t mind I am in a very important meeting, I think we will be having words later.’
With that she turned her back. Geraldine was unable to move, she felt like she had been winded, tears started to well in her eyes where had that empowered feminist speech disappeared? Stephanie turned to face her once more.
‘Anything else Miss Day? Maybe you could actually turn your computer on and get on with something rather than looking like a fish gasping for water as it flounders on a shore.’
Geraldine turned to leave speechless. As she did so she made direct eye contact with the other figure in the room. An electric bolt ran straight through her. He was tall dark and handsome. He was smirking at what he had just witnessed with a dashing audaciousness. His suit was cut to perfection and she couldn’t help but blush as her eyes were drawn straight to the cut of the top of his trousers and what seemed like a rather predominant mound. The fact that this man was devastatingly attractive which only made her blush more as her surveyed her a little longer than would seem fit.
‘Goodbye Geraldine’ he muttered.
‘Is she still here?’ Stephanie snapped, and Geraldine closed the door behind her thankfully covering her rosy cheeks as the hot flush swept over he body, her blood pulsating through her veins.


Several hours later in her local Sainsbury’s Geraldine reflected over the meat section at what a pig of a day it had been. Nothing had gone right from the moment she had left Stephanie’s office. All day she had been on tenterhooks waiting to be hauled into her office and fired, it never happened, in some ways she wished it had.
It was a game of power; Geraldine could see that, Stephanie had her exactly where she wanted… in limbo. Even her normal lunchtime gossip had been no fun. She would meet Charlie in the lift on the way down at 1pm sharp they would sit in the nearest park or coffee shop and put the world, and more importantly their careers, to rights. Charlie worked in HR and was undoubtedly her best friend in the company and her gossiping partner. They had bonded in a Fire Warden course the year before they both discussed just how unsuitable they were as responsible adults in a crisis. Charlie adding that ‘It would be most likely to be me setting the fire alarm off having a crafty cigarette in the toilets, or just being offsite in the smoking area and not being able to get in and save everyone, I shouldn’t be here.’
The only gossip that anyone wanted to discuss during the torrential down pour in the glass walled canteen over there creamy prawn salad was the take over and worst of all Stephanie.
‘Charlie I may have to leave’ Geraldine stated a prawn almost falling from her luscious lips. Charlie looked at her straight in the eye through the brown curly hair that Geraldine secretly envied. Who wanted long sleek shimmering blonde hair like hers? Charlie’s was so much more unusual and special, really eye catching if Geraldine was honest.
‘Geraldine honey, if you leave now you are only cutting your nose off to spite your face. You’ll receive no wages as we’re paid in advance and the merger could be really good for us all. I know, I know you hate McPinto Corporation and you would rather die than work for them but look for jobs over the next month, bide your time, you may even find yourself liking the new changes and systems.’
That was all very well for Charlie and her natural perm to say, Geraldine said nothing, just bit into that Chocolate Cheesecake and the fake canned cream a little harder than needed. That would be all she needed having to go to Stephanie and request for some time off to visit the dentist.
After lunch it only got worse. The glass walls meant Geraldine could see Stephanie watching her every move. This resulted in her tripping over her chair and sending files flying through the air, spilling coffee down someone else’s dress, sending emails to the wrong publisher eight times and dropping her paperweight on her toe and chipping that No.7 nail varnish she’d taken hours of coating on the previous Sunday to get it just perfect. Well she didn’t have any dates so there wasn’t much else to do, maybe read a book about how awful men were but that hadn’t become much fun over the last twelve months of celibacy.
Feeling like a meaty meal would only add to her problems Geraldine bought a large ready made Caesar Salad she certainly wasn’t going to cook. As she pushed her trolley through the vegetable section her eyes were drawn to the cucumbers and her memory to that dashing man in Stephanie’s office. Who was he? What was he doing working for McPinto Corporation? What was his relationship with Stephanie Stark? Why was she at the checkout with no alcohol in her trolley?
She arrived home to find two messages on her answering machine. One was from her sister Penelope who worked for high flying recruiters in New York. ‘Geraldine... where the hell are you? I have been trying you all day but the new receptionist says you no longer seem to be on the list of staff at Pinto Publishing? I have some urgent things for you, firstly Mum is back in hospital the prosthetic leg has been causing her problems, you really should be looking after her better, I am miles away what can I do. Plus with a marriage and children to keep control over I am flat out here. Secondly, are there any vacancies going? We could do with a recruiting deal on a merger like yours; it’s really most selfish of you not to have told me. Maybe you could ask that Charlie friend you spend an unhealthy amount of time with? Bye.”
Since her mother’s accident and father’s death Penelope and Geraldine had not had the best of relationships. Penelope had taken the first chance she got and flown to another country to work her way into the pants of her boss and now husband. She had left Geraldine to pick up the pieces of the crash that had left her father dead and her mother a grieving wheelchair bound widow. Now that she had children and a rich and successful husband, not only did Penelope like to tell her sister how busy she was and how she simple couldn’t help look after her mother, she also liked to tell her sister regularly how amazing having children was and how perfect her marriage had been and remained. Geraldine begrudged her mother nothing, but she hadn’t had the time to grieve her father, and her sister earning triple what she did and only work part time had built up resentment in her so strongly she no longer answered the phone to her. There relationship was now built upon angry voicemails and accusing emails.
The second message was from Charlie. The one person in her life who meant a lot to her and also the woman that Penelope felt her sister was having a lesbian affair with ‘well she does have a boys name and you haven’t had a man in over a year’. Charlie had phoned with news that she obviously hoped would cheer Geraldine up. ‘Hi Geri, its Charlie, oh you would know that. I am just phoning as I have heard that in honour of the merger McPinto Corporation are throwing a ball to help us interact and mingle with new and old faces. Better get your glad rags out sweetheart. Bye for now… phone me if you wanna talk clothes.’
That was all she needed. A party. What did she have to celebrate? She would have to mingle with the enemy, and no doubt Stephanie Stark would be there to watch her balls everything up. She’d have to go to the effort of making herself look impressive, buy a new outfit and not one from Primark; this would have to be special. She’d have to be on her best behaviour with the people that she wanted to see the least. Then a thought occurred to her, if everyone was going to be invited then maybe that mysterious gentlemen would be there. A smile crossed her lips as she put the TV on; ironically she turned on a very relevant film ‘Sleeping with the Enemy’.


The ball had been announced the next day and was to be held a fortnight later. To say the time flew by for Geraldine would have been an understatement. All she had heard day in and day out was who was bringing who, what person would be wearing what and who might pull who from whichever department. She was thoroughly unimpressed.
It had had a slightly positive outcome, dealing with Stephanie day in day out had built up so much aggression in Geraldine that she had taken up extra classes in Kick Boxing at the gym. As she surveyed herself in the mirror before work that day she had noticed her toned arms, still feminine, and her ample bosom looked fuller and perter. She had to smile at herself, tonight she would shine, let them try and grind her down, and she would show them all.
The positive attitude she’d had in front of the mirror was soon shattered. It seemed Stephanie had been biding her time. ‘Geri darling, could you come into my office please’ she cooed. Geraldine knew this was all an act, letting everyone see her being so nice was just an act before the sting in the tail followed.
‘Geraldine’ Stephanie snidely looked at her once the door was closed ‘tonight as you know is a big night for everyone at McPinto Corporation, and you and I are no exceptions. I hope you will be tastefully attired as I am going to want you to introduce me to everyone. I don’t have a PA as such and so would like you to do me the… well the… honour, I suppose of being my assistant for the night. I know we didn’t hit it off to start with, however I have been watching you and I think, well yes think, you have signs of promise. I may even need a PA one day, who knows.’ Geraldine was speechless all the way out the door and to her desk.
The sting in the tail had been there of course. Geraldine having the job of a PA would possibly mean more money in the short term, but would be a huge demotion in terms of her role now. How could the Deputy Fiction Manager go to being the Fiction Managers PA.? Geraldine felt numb, if Stephanie wanted her to play games with her she could. This however was pushing her to the edge. ‘She is trying to get rid of me’ Geraldine thought to herself. ‘I am not going anywhere.’ She would play PA for a night, she wouldn’t bite the hand that fed her, more like pass it on to a deadlier animal, something that would really devour the whole arm that fed it, if only she knew what or who that animal was.


A few of the girls had gone back to Charlie’s to get ready for the nights events. Geraldine however had to go home via the hospital to see her mother. Her mother had gotten progressively worse over the last few weeks. The doctors said she just didn’t want to get better, she wasn’t dying she just wasn’t living.
Her mother had also noticed the physical change in her daughter but there was also sadness in her that she had not seen before. She had pressed the issue but Geraldine had stayed firmly tight lipped about anything to do with work. Her mother had said she felt no ill will towards McPinto Corporations for the accident, but Geraldine would not listen. She was just like her father, stubborn as an Ox.
Geraldine arrived home, shoved a Korma for one in the Microwave and wallowed in some good old self pity. A bottle of Buck’s Fizz later and the food still in the microwave and she felt a great deal better. She applied her make up with care but a slight drunken finesse, she suddenly realised she was late threw on her dress ordered a taxi and made her way to the ball. Tonight she would be Cinderella and she would have her prince without all that losing of shoes nonsense, she certainly wasn’t losing these shoes in a hurry they were Dior.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Barmy for Barack Obama

As I type this I cannot help but give a little giggle, the man on the BBC has just announced that its ‘so tight, and in places that it shouldn’t be that tight’, in a slightly tired haze you could be forgiven for thinking he is talking about something else, he is in fact talking about Florida and their projections for the presidential race. Now I am not normally one for a political blog, but sitting up and watching it, you do feel like you are hopefully watching part of history!

The coverage has been appalling on both BBC and ITV with both the old doddery sods adlibbing and coming out with some very random statements, especially over the whole ‘race issue’ with even some of the roving reporters getting very muddled over whether what they have said is PC or not, you have also had a lot of miserable old buggers bemoaning everything which is always positive in what might be a hugely historic moment.

In fact the news has just been announced with California and Virginia’s Obama is now the President of the United States. It’s actually a bit emotional, the crowds reactions and everything, tears of joy. My own first thoughts are ‘wow that’s amazing and so needed’ and secondly thank god Bush has finally gone and can become something of a distant memory, only sadly for America I think he will be a scar on their lands and history bigger than the San Andreas Fault frankly! See I can do politics.

I have been watching the whole presidential debate from a far since the primary run between Obama and Clinton, and I will admit I wanted Hilary to win it, I even bought a t-shirt I wore with pride in Philadelphia earlier in the year. However, if it couldn’t be here it HAD to be him; I mean could McCain actually live long enough to make it to the White House, or even the corner shop? Plus he is on Bush’s team and frankly I would rather live the apocalypse than see them stay in charge, and if they did I feared they would. There was one other person that I would have quite liked to have had a president but I don’t think it would have been wholly appropriate. http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=k4WDjuiQmxA

I am watching McCain now the line ‘it is my fault we have lost, not yours’ isn’t that what happens when you dump someone, rather than when you loose the whole race to be president. Plus like a true Pantomime they are booing Obama’s name, what a bunch of twats. Oh and now they are cheering Palin a woman who every time she opened her mouth made me think I could run for Vice President… and made Paris Hilton actually almost look like a superb Vice President let alone president. Oh hang on she will go for it next time wont she, am talking Palin not Paris, well that will be some serious comedy to come then, I am sure Obama is quaking in his boots.

I can’t wait for Obama’s speech. Why are people already being so negative, so far I have heard ‘this will be the briefest honeymoon period in Presidential history’ and that ‘it’s the black vote, people are voting for change’ and ‘Obama has Bush to thank for this no one else’. Oh knob off.

Yes, the fact that Obama is the first black President of the United States is brilliant, its historical and its something I know a lot of people never believed that they would see in their lifetime. Yes, George Bush completely messed up America and pretty much tried to infect his poison into the whole world (thank goodness Blair has also gone) and everyone had a very bitter taste in their mouth, including his fellow Republicans from the comments we have heard tonight. The fact was the man was pure evil, but shouldn’t Obama be getting credit for having a great campaign, for having the right values, for being inspirational, likeable, and decent? No that wouldn’t be normal politics would it. I wonder if one day we will get a female or gay president… or both, mind you according to rumour that would have been Hilary wouldn’t it. (I said according to rumour, I am not liable.) So before I watch Obama’s acceptance speech and head to bed, to wake on a dawn of a new era, I raise a toast of my cup of tea to Obama from over my hot cross buns, and leave you with a picture of the new President of the USA!
Oh a little note, I know some picky minx is bound to say ‘your blog is on Tuesday but it was written on Wednesday’ I am writing this on American time! Ok? Lol!