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My story for the Yoga Teacher Training in Goa Scholarship Writing Competition

In Uncategorized on March 30, 2014 at 6:35 pm

The Reluctant Yogi 

I thought yoga was something other people did. Yeah, you know the type, those other people with the healthy year round glow and the ability to stand on their heads, those wheat grass enthusiasts with liberal attitudes to body hair. Those other people.  Certainly not me. I mean I didn’t have time for all that slow, self-reflective business, all that self -indulgent relaxation. My life was so fast paced and I moved so quickly, if you blinked, you would literally miss me.

 

My job in PR working for an international fashion label was more of a way of life. I travelled, I partied, I networked. Stillness was something other people did and relaxation of any sort made me feel positively guilty. I had to be moving, had to be achieving, I didn’t quite understand the value or see the merit in not-doing. Downtime was never an option.   I was a whirling dervish of caffeine and sugar. My life was a constant blur of canapés and cocktails, late nights and early flights. And if you asked me, I’d tell you I was fine, that everything was great. No really I was absolutely perfectly fine. 

 

Then one day the wheels well and truly came off the party bus. The warning signs may well have been there but I was far too busy rushing from one drama to the next, that I didn’t even notice, such was the disconnect between my body and mind. But things slowly started to unravel. I couldn’t sleep. My appetite diminished. I started developing palpitations and having panic attacks and visual migraines that were so intense, it was as if someone had dropped me a hallucinogenic.

 

I withdrew from family and friends, made excuses where possible and avoided contact with people I loved, terrified they might ask me how I was feeling, and even more terrified of my response. I was in a constant state of high alert and was petrified that if this was the way I was going to feel for the rest of my life, well, then I’d actually rather be someone else.

 

‘Have you ever thought about yoga?’ A friend asked over her de-caff latte as I skulled my third espresso of the day. ‘What you mean become one of those other people.’ I sniffed, trying to steady my shaking hands. ‘One of those other people with the rolled up mats and the lithe limbs and the calm and sunny dispositions?’

 

‘And your point is?’ She challenged.

 

Okay. So I didn’t actually have a point. My opinion was based on poorly judged pre-conceptions and stereotypes based loosely on a ropey yoga-cise DVD I was given as a teenager by a baby-sitter who was really into tie-die and crystals.  I just didn’t feel spiritual enough. The closest I ever got to spirituality was owning a mood ring as a teenager. The truth was I had a whole gym bag full of excuses about why I shouldn’t try yoga; the classes were too long, I’d probably get bored, it wouldn’t be a hard enough work-out, I hate incense, I’d be too embarrassed to um, ohm.

 

But the truth was I was scared. Scared of what I might find if I sat still and looked inside, what might be unearthed if I took the time to just sit and listen to what was really up, and let’s face it, something was most definitely up.

 

It took another full month and trip to a doctor before I decided to take the yoga plunge, having literally exhausted every other possible route and having ruled out various medications I was offered by my GP on numerous occasions.  Not to say that route is a bad one. It just wasn’t the one for me.  Besides which I had spent the last ten years feeding my body and brain stimulants in one form or another, so the thought of taking anything else, prescribed or not, just felt wrong.  My central nervous system was in protest and I couldn’t ignore it any longer.  It was time to get regain control of my breath, my body and my life. And so my journey began. Yup. The time had come. I was ready to become one of those other people.

 

I arrived late to my first class, having deliberated outside the hall for a full ten minutes. Hoping to go unnoticed, I tip-toed into the back of the room and placed my mat next to a very Zen looking older woman who gave me a wide and welcoming smile. So far, so good, I felt rather pleased with the fact I had managed to escape any awkward admissions of newby-ness and also position myself inconspicuously at the back of the room. But then much to my obvious panic, the teacher decided to move and position herself right in front of me, thus magically turning the back of the room to the front of the room in one swift move. The old yogi room switch-a-roo! Didn’t see that one coming.

 

Needless to say my first lesson didn’t quite go as smoothly as I’d hoped. I felt a little awkward and exposed, having no one in front of me to copy and unable to follow the Sanskrit names of the asanas she liked to throw out there.  It was a class that was taught by voice as opposed to movement, which in my obvious novice-ness, didn’t really help at all, as I genuinely thought a downward dog was something you’d find in a kennel.

 

However I left that class feeling good about myself, if nothing else I had taken the first step and had stayed for the duration. I may have even enjoyed a couple of the asanas, and had concentrated so hard that for that hour and a half my anxiety had decided to take a well-earned mini-vacation.

 

Over the next month I experimented with various classes and instructors, from Bikram to Jivamukti by way of Yin. I read articles and watched You Tube instructional videos, given by supermodels and women like looked like supermodels on exotic beach locations.  I learnt how to breathe from my diaphragm and invested in my very own sticky mat to practice my chaturanga dandasana at home which for some reason I just couldn’t quite master. However, it wasn’t all plain sailing. There was the time at a hot yoga session where I woke up with my legs in the air and an instructor placing a dextrose energy sweet on my tongue to bring me around.  Or the time at restorative class where I woke myself up snoring to a room full of sniggering yogis. There was also the time at Jivamukti where, not listening to my teacher I jumped too quickly into a handstand and landed on the person in front’s mat, causing what can only be described as some kind of yogic Jenga.

 

It was a good six months of these yogic ‘flings’ before I settled into my own rhythm and started to establish a firm routine -clicking with both a style and a couple of teachers I loved to

practice with and still do today. And slowly I started to feel better about myself; I got stronger physically and mentally. All the fears and preconceptions I had about yoga were very quickly diminished. I was never bored, no matter how long or slow the class there was just so much to learn! As for my worry about it not being a good enough work out, well I only had to attend a powerful vinyasa flow class or a hot yoga session to alleviate any doubt. And was that soft line in my arm the hint of a bicep? And was I holding myself a little taller? Quite possibly, yes. And as for the ohm business, as it turned out I actually quite enjoy it. I’m still not keen on incense, but you can’t win them all.

 

My yoga practice was like someone gradually turning the dimmer switch to full beam on my internal self.  I became acutely aware of minute fluttering’s and areas of tension within my body. I learnt how to send my breath into tight spots and discovered that my hips were so tightly wound up, the first time I attempted ankle to knee pose I had to be helped up.  I started to view my skeletal structure as a series of tectonic plates that were constantly shifting and that I was able to observe to influence through my practice.

 

Yoga has become not only part of my life, but part of who I am.  I cannot ever imagine running to any gym class I might be late for, and yet time and time again I find myself running like the wind to yoga, not wanting to miss a single moment. I cannot ever imagine my life without my practice, and my only regret is that I wished I’d taken the leap sooner.

 

I often wondered why people often described their yoga practice in terms of journeys. But now I totally get it. It’s a journey without a final destination. A journey that takes you through yourself, via yourself, a journey you never want to end. It’s like having access to an internal poetry that I cannot wait to revisit.  My own journey reminds me of a song I was taught at Primary school, a song that you probably were taught too, ‘I Can Sing A Rainbow.’

 

There’s a line in this song I never quite understood and to be quite honest used to annoy me, which went, ‘Listen with your eyes.’  I remember as a child having what the heck moment when I first heard this. I’m sorry, listen with your what? Did she say eyes? Does she not mean ears? I remember asking my music teacher what she thought this meant and her shrugging a response about it being some kind of metaphor and that one-day, when I was older and if I was lucky maybe I would understand, maybe it would all become clear. And okay, as new age as this sounds, now this phrase sort of makes sense. Listen with your eyes. It reminds me of my yoga practice and the journey I have taken and continue to take.  It reminds me not to judge or make assumptions about things you don’t understand. It reminds me to be open to new experiences. It reminds me of those times on the mat when you feel something shift internally and you can’t explain it to anyone else no matter how hard you try, and you come away from class smiling or crying or laughing and part of you is transformed forever. And yes I understand that this probably doesn’t make sense, but as my teacher said all those years ago, it’s a metaphor and maybe one day if you’re lucky all of this will become clear.

http://www.tribe-yoga.com/india-yoga-teacher-training.html.

Autobiography Project #1992

In Uncategorized on June 12, 2011 at 5:01 pm

Extracts from my 1992 debut stab at an autobiography. I was just FOURTEEN, okay?

The Story so far! Page one and already I’m annoyed at my overuse of the exclamation point.

"It was a joyous occasion, Even my mum wept, but whether in a happy state or in a depression that's something I'd rather not know."

Luckily I grew out of killing my pets.

"The first pet I ever had was a goldfish. I thought it was really boring, you couldn't take it for walks or anything. I tried killing it but my nan stopped me."

Likes & Dislikes. I would like to point out that back in 1992, Michael Barrymore was still married to a woman and presented ITV’s number one family entertainment show Strike it Lucky.  Although, I still hate Blue Peter, I have since relaxed my views on art.

Likes: Byker Grove & Michel (sic) Barrymore. Dislikes: Birds & Chesney Hawkes.

I’m going to stand by my views on Beadle.

"The one person I really can't stand is Jeremy Beadle."

AB?  AB? Are you fudging kidding me Mrs. C?

I Ha(u)te Couture

In Uncategorized on February 21, 2011 at 5:04 pm

“You mean you don’t work in fashion? What Seriously?”

(Overheard, Lincoln Center, New York Fashion Week 2011)

 

Dip dyed locks

The only person that can really get away with this is Nicki Minaj and even then she looks like she’s been ejaculated on by Rainbow Brite. For a lazy girls guide, might I suggest some bleach and a bottle of  squeezy tomato ketchup.

Felt tips

Headwear

If your attempt at the above went  horribly wrong, you can always disguise your brittle neon coloured locks with some headwear.   A Turban in particular will do the job and give you that fashiony glamorous edge, like  Liz Taylor on bath night.  If you’re feeling really brave you could just rock a hair net like that woman you get your battered saveloy from down the chippy on a Friday Night.  No, really, this was an actual look.

Eee by Gum (Insert your own stereotypical Northern phrase)   

Misspel ur fashun Tweetz

If you do manage to get into a show, you must tweet as if your life depended on it, taking grainy back of head pictures on your Swarovski wrapped iPhone’s and uploading these immediately to every available social networking site.  The more ludicrously you spell the words and the more creative you are with grammar and punctuation, the more important you will sound. Who gives a fuck about spellign when ur sat secund row at Burberry Prosum? (Which I won’t be, regrettably).

Front Row Etiquette

If you’ve followed my advice above, you might find yourself on The Front Row. Or TFR as it’s cunningly abbreviated. You should see this as an opportunity to mentally rate the quality of guests using the internationally acceptable formula; French Indie Film Starlets  >  T4 Presenters < Kids Whose Parents Were Once Famous = Quality of  Front Row.  Remember, do not under any circumstance look as if you are enjoying yourself or more importantly,  the collection.  Mildly constipated should always be the correct facial expression. The IBS nine-yard stare is a look that you can work on in the privacy of your own home.  Add to this a pastel coloured Moleskine notebook which you should pretend to scribble in, along with perhaps a few sketches of the collection’s key highlights. Do not use this as an opportunity to draw pictures of willies, especially given the close proximity to other fashionistas*.  (Trust me, I learnt the hard way).

Ooh these dresses are really trendy*

The Fashion Macaroon

With as much originality as Frankie Boyle’s stand-up routine, the Fashion Macaroon has spread like pustulous acne across the fashion capitals of our World. They do taste nice though, if not a bit samey despite the crazy colours and pompous sounding names your outlet of choice has bestowed upon them – lavender dream anyone?

Please feed us something else

 
Abbrevs

If you really want to sound like you know what you’re on about then try throwing about a few abbreviations;  Vivienne Westwood becomes Westwood, Julien MacDonald becomes Julien and Christopher Kane becomes, well, you get the freaking picture. You’re FAR too important and busy to exert the energy it takes to say a name in full – plus this has the added benefit of making you appear like you’re on first name terms with the designer. Only you’re not and neither is anyone else.

The Fashion After Party

There are two things to remember should you find yourself at a Fashion After Party. That girl you were just hitting on was actually a guy and if you find yourself getting snapped by a I’mtakingyourpictureinabidtogetlaid.com fashion photographer then there are only two acceptable poses:

1. The cheek suck/Diana head tilt. Best accompanied with a slight lift of your free glass of  cheap Prosecco (cunningly disguised as champagne by being in a flute and being vaguely carbonated).

2. The peace sign two finger salute. Just pretend you’re a Japanese schoolgirl posing next to a Prince William waxwork at Madame Tussauds.  Alright you can stop pretending now, pervert.

Notes;

* DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE SAY THE WORD ‘TRENDY’ OUT LOUD DURING FASHION WEEK OR USE IT TO DESCRIBE A COLLECTION.  The only person that should use this word is your mum when she’s bought a pair of slim-fit jeans from Next and she’s showing them off to you in the lounge before she goes to Bingo. ‘Ooh, do you like my Trendy jeans.’ This is really the only acceptable use-age of this word and even then it’s pretty dubious.

*NOBODY USES THIS WORD ANYMORE. NOT EVEN IRONICALLY. NOT EVEN THE DAILY MAIL.

Or alternatively, you could always read a book.

Valium Air: Flight DL040 SFO to LDN

In Uncategorized on November 22, 2010 at 5:25 pm

It’s hard to be taken seriously when you are wearing three red Delta airline blankets. At least that’s why I’m guessing the Air Hostesses (Air Hostessi?) are ignoring me. I do not have the air of someone who might be important, neither am I about to offer anyone a bunk-up in the toilet.

I imagine using the phrase Air Hostess is woefully un-pc. I don’t care though. It puts me in mind of the 70’s and those Cinzano ads with Leonard Rossiter and Joan Collins. Which if you care to remember, were awesome.



 

Sue the Air Hostess likes the man in front. That’s probably not her real name but she has a Sue-like quality that only comes from having a piece of Cinnamon chewing gum eternally present in the corner of her mouth like a little squishy maggot. That and her mousy brown tones that she takes up a notch with the help of a hair dye she bought at Walgreens. ‘Chestnut Flame’ it said on the box and showed a picture of a Sahara skinned woman with a tic-tac perfect smile.

After Sue washed the dye from the back of her ears and gave herself a rough towel dry, the reality was a somewhat disappointing ruddy sheen. Like a cheap Beaujolais held under an energy saving lightbulb. Her teeth were  still the same crooked shards. For an American, Sue did not have good teeth.

Sue keeps calling the man in front ‘Trouble’. He doesn’t seem that troublesome to me, although he did ask for non-dairy creamer. Perhaps in aviation terms that spells trouble with a capital T. Perhaps later he’ll flip and try to stab the Captain with the individually wrapped plastic tooth pick that came in the cellophane cutlery pack.

I hope not.

Je ne regrette rien… All the tattoos I never had.

In Uncategorized on June 6, 2010 at 8:33 pm

I’m thinking about all the tattoos I never had.

1988: The Heart:  Location: Upper Arm: Inspiration:  Brother

My brother was a soldier.  After a tour of duty in Northern Ireland, he returned to the family home many months later with some serious  double-gunned inkage. One being his blood type  written in stark serious font on his  wrist, (de rigeur for combative military types back then) and the other a more traditional Heart affair encompassing the words Mum & Dad in squirly Latin scroll.   Have you ever watched your mum trying not to be mad at something? I have and it’s hilarious.  WHAT ? YOU’VE HAD A TATTOO?  RIGHT, THAT’S IT!  COME HERE, COME HERE… OH, OH, AWWWWW…

Are you still mad, mum?

1993: The Scorpion: Location: Shoulder: Inspiration: Slutty Dancing Girl.

Holidays as a child were generally spent at various Haven Caravan parks in Cornwall.  It wasn’t quite as two-berth as Pontins,  yet neither did it have the social cache of holidaying at a Butlins- the  shining Mecca of cheap family gettaways. This didn’t matter, when you’re a kid anywhere that had a water slide and a vaguely heated pool was Living The Dream. At the teen disco one evening whilst trying to emulate the vaguely sexual dance moves of an older girl, who knew all the words to Snow’s Informer, I saw something  dangerously wild glinting through the strobe.  As she ground and wound her body (these are technical dance terms) around the polished floor, an eight legged athropod revealed itself to the room, perched precariously on her shoulder.   Flanked by a small gathering of Jazz cologned, doused & aroused teenage boys, I knew what I needed was a Scorpion tattoo.

This is obviously *not* Slutty Dancing Girl

1995:  The Celtic squiggle: Location: Lower Back. Inspiration:  Shirley Manson or The Spice Girls or something.

When low rise jeans peaked in popularity so did the classic Tramp Stamp, although back then it was for a fleeting second considered rather cool, (but then so were mood rings, ahem.) Often generically Celtic in design, it gave the wearer some kind of mystic 90’s kudos they were probably lacking and unable to chanel through the quartz crystals we had all gone out and bought.  This was probably the closest I got to actually getting one, but changed my mind at the last moment when some ink dude told me it would cost £125, but he could pierce my tongue for £30. Erm, okay then.

Overhang optional.

2000:  The Swallow. Location: Hand. Inspiration: Camden. Mostly

I spent a barely conscious portion of my youth working in a dubious fancy dress shop in the now commercially sanitised Stables Market in Camden Town. All the cool Nu-Rockerbilly chicks had these pretty little Swallows over their hands and necks. My obsession with this intensified when I was told that having them on your hands meant you had,  y’know, done time. Wow. How hard would I look if I had one of those?

Self-harm scars sold separately

2010: The Literary or Lyric  tattoo: Location: Inner arm/back of neck/Belly splash: Inspiration: I just like, wanna be really cool, like Peaches Geldolf and stuff.

For the past eight months I have been quietly obssessing about getting  Je Ne Regrette Rientattooed on the inside of my arm,  but I’m worried I’m going to regret it.

Thank you Sylvia, leave your issues at the door.

I’m destined to remain inkless…

Playground Prohibition. Reunited with Garbage.

In Uncategorized on April 28, 2010 at 11:22 am

When I was a child I used to collect things.  Stickers, the occasional slug and more worryingly, the silver foil from Kit Kat wrappers –  (I would use the miniature Iron from the Monopoly set  to smooth out the wrinkles.  I understand how weird this sounds now.)

It all started when I was given a Jem & The Holograms sticker.  Okay so I wasn’t given it,  I sort of took it, but that’s another story (truly truly, truly outrageous etc, etc…)

I soon graduated onto the Acid House smiley face stickers, which could  be purchased bizarrely from my primary school as part of the seemingly innocuous  ‘Be Smart,  Be Seen’ initiative.  The psychedelic connotations of an eternally-gurning face  beaming out from the school jumpers of a hundred screeching eight-year olds,  somehow and rather wonderfully  got lost in bureaucratic translation.

Accciiiddddd!

As our older brothers and sisters ran around a field waving their glow sticks in chemiluminescent exaltation,  us kids were running around the playground shaking our packets of Nerds and cartons of Um-Bongo in a dextrose delirium.

The smiley face united us in our pursuit of altered states, whatever our substance. Only no-one ever pointed this out, at least not in Plymouth.

And then, somewhere in 1986 during a clandestine playground tryst with an older boy, I was handed a card which changed the course of my life.  (I might be exaggerating slightly).

Behold the Garbage Pail Kids sticker collection.  Or at least what’s left of it…*

Sued by the makers of Cabbage Patch Kids for copyright infringement, can't think why.

I was immediately hooked.  Sucked in by the clever word play and grotesque  yet  humourous afflictions the characters suffered.  The fact that my school, jumping on the moral bandwagon of other schools, immediately banned them, simply added to their charm. (FYI,  those Smiley Acid House stickers were still being sold, go fig…)

This was our Prohibition. Garbage Pail Kids became the black market  must have every eight  year old child coveted. I once gave up the entire of contents of my lunch box (Cheese roll, packet of Quavers, Golden Delish, Orange Trio) for a Sticky Nikki. A fat faced, snaggle tooth child, buried deep underground as killer ants marched over her face and crawled into her eyes and ears, enticed by the gooey substance that oozed down her face.

Swapsies anyone?

*With thanks to my sister who kept my treasured collection safe all these years.

A pictorial meander through the procrastinating pursuits and lengths of which I go to avoid Writing.

In Uncategorized on January 10, 2010 at 4:44 pm

Baking. I am not what you might call a natural domestic goddess. In fact I rather dislike the term. Up until recently, the only time I would enter a kitchen was if I ran out of ice for my G&T.  Then one day,  in the middle of a particularly troublesome edit,  I was entered by the cake spirit. Two hours later, and a kitchen as white as a Tony Montana party, I ended up with a droopy batch of  24 fairy cakes.  Put enough icing on them and they’ll never know, is what I told myself. So I did. They tasted awful and yet I made my friends eat them, in front of me, watching their faces as they made polite  oohing and ahhing sounds. 

Look pretty, taste like horse shit.

 

So, the baking led to eating more, so to counteract this I started… 

Running. Like the wind. Or rather like a mad thing with dodgy ankles. I would awake early, dressed like an extra from an Eric Prydz  video and lap Victoria Park. I even started talking to squirrels. They never talked back.  On numerous occasions, fellow joggers (all men) actually felt the need to stop me in the park and lecture me on my unusual technique. Bizarrely they all used that word, unusual. It kind of freaked me out. Obviously  I didn’t listen.  And a week later, I did this to my ankle.

Doc's diagnosis; prod hard with finger, 'yeah, it's sprained.'

 

I think I took the picture as I had a fleeting idea I would try to sue someone – obviously I had been watching far too many Claims Direct adverts. 

So, running was out of the question, and as I couldn’t walk  I had to find other distractions, which of course led me naturally onto my next obsession…

Wildlife documentaries. Or more specifically an unhealthy fixation with any programme involving Whales. And when I say unhealthy, I in no way mean, sexual, let’s get that straight. I’m not one of these women who gets off on mammals or travels to Latvia just to marry a bridge.  I just enjoy watching them, preferably with a soothing Attenborough voice over, envying the solitude and serenity they seem to create. I also learnt lots of Whale trivia, which I thought up until this point I would never use. Did you know that a Whale can bend the tip of  its Penis to facilitate mating?  Don’t ask me how I know that. I just know.  So, when the Whale thing got a little bit weird. I decided I needed to  get out more…

Cycling.  So I bought a bike from a bloke in Bethnal Green.  It’s green and heavy and the brakes don’t really work but I loved her so much, so I called her Stacey (before that annoying song) and would take off for hours at a time, infuriating motorists with my devil-may-care un-proficient road attitude. Not being able to drive, I had no concept of lanes, amber lights or junctions. In fact it’s a miracle I am still alive. My main problem with cycling was other road users. In particular, I refer to the White Van Brigade who would, without exception and sometimes quite vehemently berate me on a daily basis about my incorrect seat height.  ‘GETYOURFACCKKINNSEATUP…’  being my particular favourite. 

'Oi love, yer seat's too low..'

 

Then winter hit, so I moved onto…

Expanding my mind, man.  Not with drugs, (that’s like so ’94) but with workshops usually run by men that moisturise.  I actually went to a lucid dream talk, in the vain hope I could harness the power of my dreams, embrace my Jungian shadow and enlighten my waking reality. However,  ever since then I have been so excited about going to sleep that I have developed insomnia. So,  instead, I stay up and watch…

World Darts. What other sport are you actively encouraged to drink lager?  The players, caricatures of themselves huff about the place, perspiring into polyester shirts that bear their sporting monikers.  Like Ted Hanky,  or  The Count as otherwise know.  A few nights ago I watched him defend his 2009 title, don his trademark Dracula’s cape, barely containing his bulging beer belly, and taunt his opponent as he stepped up to the oche to the background of a techo track.  He lost, but how I laughed.  

Ted Hankey (real name). The Count (not his real name)

 

Which leads me nicely onto …

This post. Yet more procrastinating. Now excuse me whilst I get back to work.

A quick Opium fix for my friends…

In Uncategorized on December 7, 2009 at 10:37 am

Opium Magazine’s iphone bid to revolutionise reading & cause light wrist injuries.

For those of you uninitiated in Opium. Where the hell have you been?

I am of course referring to the New York based journal of literary humour and not you understand, the illegal plant based narco. 

Today the clever guys across at Brookyln’s HQ officially launch Opium Magazine’s brand spanking new iphone application, Opium’s QuickFix with Jiggle Technology, available at the iTunes store for just $1.99!  

Not only does it give you an exclusive story each week penned by the talented Opium collective it also  gives access to OpiumMagazine.com’s archives, by doing the aforementioned wrist jiggling thing (imagine yourself  trying to free some coagulated ketchup from a bottle, only with an iphone and not an actual ketchup bottle.)

They’ve also roped in the humour writer Jack Handey of Deep Thoughts fame  who is penning a story exclusively for the launch. If that hasn’t got you hovering your cursor over this link where you can buy the application then quite frankly I give up…

*Disclaimer. The actual reading of Opium magazine may well induce the same altered state of consciousness and psychological dependency as the drug, however its a lot healthier and cheaper than Opiate addiction.

**  In recent focus groups for the testing for the app, ‘enjoyment of literature rates’ soared by 221%, whilst ‘literacy-based wrist injuries’ were reported by 21% of the testers. But don’t let that put you off, there are worse things you could be doing with your wrists. 

Buy it here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/opium-quickfix-with-jiggle-technology/id329397228?mt=8

Learn about Opium Magazine here: http://www.opiummagazine.com/

6 reasons why you really really should come to the Brick Lane Anthology launch party tonight and a picture of said anthology.

In Uncategorized on December 3, 2009 at 3:26 pm

1. There’s nothing on T.V. I’m serious, I just checked. Well apart from maybe Callum Best’s ‘Brought up by Booze’, which in no way is desperate attempt to stay in the public eye and make money out of his father’s death under the guise of charity. 

2. I shall be sporting my new bowler hat.  It has an ‘N’ on it and I like it very much. I like to think that in it I give off a Molly Ringwald in Pretty in Pink type of vibe. The harsh reality is more Stan Laurel in Another Fine Mess.

3. Beigel inspired canapes. Yup you heard right.  Delightfully Doughy little sweet magic O’s of goodness. Watch me unceremoniously pick bread out of my teeth and leave red lipstick marks all over its whiteness.

4. Get down with the kids on Britain’s coolest street. Laugh as flocks of tight jeaned, fake oversized NHS spec wearing American Apparel loving St.Martins grads scamper by drinking Polish vodka from Londis’ carrier bags. 

5. The public house we’ll escape to after is but a  2 minute stumble away, where I believe they serve ‘beer’, ‘sprits’ and ‘wine’. 

6.Oh and the book. An anthology of short stories, poetry  and amusings from the wonderfully talented Brick Lane Tuesday Night Critique Group. Come down and meet the authors, we are a wonderfully diverse motley crew…  

Mr Woolf explains it far more eloquently than I do : http://www.blog.nquentinwoolf.com/?p=269

6. And if you still need convincing. Always, always remember the power of the beigel. 

East Side Books, Brick Lane . 8pm.

Secret Diary of an Unlikely Rapper

In Uncategorized on November 20, 2009 at 12:00 pm

About a week ago I confessed to knowing all the words to Ice Ice Baby and was totally unprepared for the media furore this confession would create.  Okay, I might be exaggerating here slightly. I got a few emails and one anonymous voicemail message from an as yet unidentified source, slurring the first verse down the phone. And BTW, whoever that was, for the record the lyric is;  flow like a harpoon not flow like a baboon. I’m still wondering how that would work.

If Brooke Magnanti aka Belle De Jour aka Acceptable Middle Class Face of Prostitution, can come out as a sex worker and emerge relatively unscathed, then surely I can be forgiven for my secret obsession with crass songs containing inappropriate raps? Like Brooke, it has become important to acknowledge this aspect of my existence.

Just to clarify here.  I’m not actually coming out as a former prostitute, although to be fair I did work in advertising for some years and sometimes it felt quite similar. That is, the pretending you like someone because they have given you money, not the having sex with strangers bit.

I don’t think anyone would look at me and immediately think RAP. I am about as hip hop as someone who grew up in Devon on a schizophrenic musical diet of Meatloaf (thank you older sister) and Adam Ant (thank you older brother) and has my DAB radio tuned to Classic FM.

Whilst I’m in a confessional mood I may as well admit to the rest. It doesn’t stop at Vanilla Ice. It is also the John Barnes rap in New Order’s, Love’s Got the World in Motion and when the mood takes me, The Shamen’s Ebeneezer Goode. (Naughty naughty very naughty.)

Over a decade later I still find myself getting all Van Winkle and reciting the lyrics whenever I reach into the freezer.  It’s a curse as much as a blessing.  Luckily though, this has meant I can never enter an Iceland  for fear of bringing on a Vanilla Ice style meltdown. Every cloud, eh?

A perfect storm of feelings and circumstances drew me out of hiding. And do you know what? It feels so much better on this side. Not to have to tell lies, hide things from the people I care about.

Brooke Magnanti aka Belle De Jour. http://belledejour-uk.blogspot.com/ November 15th 2009.