Friday, 31 July 2009

So Be For Real

As I've been super busy this week (and practically Spano-esque in my consumption of cheapo energy drinks, thus obliterating the few brain cells my endless playing of Pokemon didn't destroy), I regret to inform everyone I'm totally phoning it in this week. That said:

I don't particularly remember what I read as a ten year old. Enid Blyton was a favourite, as were the esteemed Goosebumps books (my dad used to bring me back dozens from his trips to America. They had infintely superior looking covers to the UK editions. It was My Thing for a while). However, what I clearly should have been reading is this:

Maybe then I wouldn't have become the drinking-and-smoking-games-playing fiend I am today.

For what it's worth, I am in fact capable of posting something without relying on a youtube clip. I just wouldn't count on it.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

BOGOF: What vampires were you reading about when you were 10?

Looking back on what you were reading at 10 is generally both rewarding, toe-curling and woeful in equal measure.

It's rewarding first and foremost because people are often surprised by the sheer expansiveness of their reading habits at a young age. At first they might remember a few select readings that have stuck with them (for better or for worse), but given a few minutes and some gentle nudging, the reminiscing snowballs until they realize that once upon a time, life wasn't just a series of Big Brother episodes and album torrents. We used to read! How woeful it is to think that we read more as children than we do as big-brained smartypants growed ups.

Some of us still do, of course, but speaking for myself, I've yet to recapture that ridiculous hunger for books that I had when I was younger, before it was something I was obliged to do and something I wanted to do. It's a piss poor excuse to blame your lackluster reading habits on school "ruining" literature for you (it didn't, and you don't have much room to complain when you majored in literature in the first place), but there is a nugget of truth in the story. These days I read at an incredibly leisurely pace, picking up and dropping various books and juggling between Aisleyne's autobiography and Kafka as my interest waxes and wanes. At 10? I couldn't put something down once I'd picked it up, and I'd get through trashy little Point Horrors a day at a time.

I was prepared today to wax lyrical about R. L. Stine's Goosebumps series - repetitive spookfests for the '90s generation that followed the flawless ("flawless") Dan Brown rubric of a false climax at the end of every bloody chapter, some of them hilariously half-baked ("and then Billy opened his lunchbox to a terrible surprise - he'd taken his sister's tuna melt!") - but upon further inspection, it appears that was my pre-10 reading. And looking at their publication dates and the dates when I was in primary school, I really did get through them like a terrifying book vacuum, sucking in everything I could borrow from wealthier friends whose parents had bought them the books that filled the gaps in my own budding collection.

But that was pre-10. I was 10 in 1997, the beginning of Buffy's TV run and my unfortunate obsession with a sassy teenage girl who was actually 20something. So naturally the book I most remember reading that year is the perennial classic and toe-curlingly awful Halloween Rain, an original Buffy adventure that would later be pissed upon from great heights by the cruel canon gods (it establishes that Halloween is a very mystical holiday - fans of the show may scoff at will). It's a convenient choice for a number of reasons - it introduces my penchant for trash, my championing of genre fiction, and my need to make up for being absent last week without a note. Because, you know, vampires!

There are actually very few vampires in Halloween Rain. It is about Buffy's Halloween being totally ruined by some low-rent Jack Skellington bitch getting up in her grill. He's an evil scarecrow, possibly with a pumpkin head (because of course), and he's resurrected every year with...magic rain or something. Anyway, Buffy defeats him by drawing a pentagram in a barn with her lipstick, a brilliant tactic that showcases her post-feminist mixing of girly trappings with superheroine baddassery. When I was first reading this book I was asked to write a paper during class on "whatever book you had with you", so there's a good chance that 10 year-old me wrote something like that as an "analysis" of the book's climax in complete sincerity. Oh dear.

That's not all I was reading! Oh no! Aside from being busy not reading Harry Potter (I was such an iconoclastic little bastard and much preferred Ibbotson's The Secret of Platform 13 - guess I called that one wrong), I was also very busy ratcheting through my parents' book shelves for anything and everything. With me, reading was very much something I did to imitate them, precociously scurrying into the room whenever they were reading and grabbing something far too hefty for my little post-Goosebumps mind ("The Stand isn't as good as the TV series with Gary Sinise, mum"). At 10 I was likely getting addicted to Terry Pratchett, possibly the best introduction to the fantasy genre ever, and from there I worked on my Gaiman cred with the fantastic Good Omens, a nice little apocalyptic read that I should return to some time.

In other vampire news, my dad was a big Anne Rice fan, and yes I have since busted his chops about his combined love for homoerotic vampire fiction and Cabaret, but at the time I thought Lestat was very edgy. It worked well with my babygoth aesthetic. As did my mum's copies of the Hannibal Lector books, which I inherited with much glee around age 10. I suppose, looking at this reading list, that 10 year-old Andrew saw books as a way to indulge in the kind of crude, over-the-top splatterhouse gore that I wasn't allowed to watch on TV. I mean, reading about mutilation and blood-letting is far more cerebral and useful in a child's mental growth than just watching Saw, right? Right.

It's only natural, then, that a few years later I'd be declaring Jane Eyre my favourite book ever, its gothic romanticism a convenient gateway from Goosebumps to the kind of rags to riches troubled romance that characterised my foray into what I looked up to at the time as "proper literature" - I didn't have time for trash anymore. Oh, how we change.

I'd also like to break from this week's theme to point towards one of the first things I ever read. Recently I was discussing it with my mum, and as it was a rather innocuous poetry and storybook, neither of us could remember the title of the collection but rather a single poem from it. Lo and behold, when I returned home from vacation this week I found a shiny new copy on the kitchen table - My Best Bedtime Book, in case you're wondering - with a homemade printer paper bookmark on the page of the poem we both remembered. "Because I'm good!!!"
Let me share its sweeping and majestic beauty with you:

Llamas in pyjamas
Make a very funny sight.
They keep them in a cupboard
And they put them on at night.

They wore them once in public,
And the people laughed and laughed.
So now they wait until it's dark
For fear of looking daft.

Llamas in pyjamas
Are aware that they look silly,
But when they snuggle down at night,
At least they don't feel chilly.


Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Week Two: What You Were Reading When You Were Ten

If I were to talk with any degree of honesty about this topic we would be here all night. Because the truth is? When I was ten, I was reading everything. Ev-er-y-thing. I read under the covers at night. I read at playtime. I read all my library books in one afternoon and whined at my mum for the rest of the week to take me again. I read when I went to my grandparents' house, curling up in their attic surrounded by sixty year-out-of-date children's books about smoking teddy bears and golliwogs. I hid at friends' houses and read until they found me and dragged me off to play. Hell, if I was caught out anywhere without something to read (God forbid!) I would hold my hands together in the rough approximation of a book and pretend. And when you are reading in pretty much every spare second of time - which, when you're a ten year old, is quite a lot - you run out of age-appropriate things to read rather rapidly. So as well as Enid Blyton and Babysitters' Club and Sweet Valley High and Judy Blume I was also struggling (painfully!) through Jane Austen, freaking myself out with Stephen King, getting historically misled by Barbara Taylor Bradford (WW1 and WW2 - exactly the same, the 50s - amazing, the 60s and 70s - never happened and the 80s - chock full of shoulder pads and emeralds), and being preached at by the various religious tomes my grandma sent me home with, leaving me wondering whether my soul really had black stains on it.

Oh, and reading Mills and Boon.

My mum is many things, but she is not a reader. Neither of my parents are, actually; my dad has been reading the same James Clavell novel for the past fifteen years (to be fair, it is fucking long) and my mum would far rather be doing something useful than reading. She did, though, go through a bit of a phase of reading Mills and Boons (no, I don't want to think about why, thank you for asking) and as I will read shampoo bottles if they sit in front of me for long enough, naturally I got my hands on them.

I don't know if my mum knew I was reading them. I suspect she did - not much gets past her - but she has never stopped me reading anything. A Woman Of Substance was on the top shelf, ostensibly to prevent me from reading the gratuitous rape scenes, but when my mum found me reading it, she merely informed me that I was named after Emma Harte (and was NOT living up to my namesake, alas) and carried on folding the washing. So I can't imagine she was too worried about me reading Mills and Boons.

But maybe she should have been. Not because I was having impure thoughts - not for Mills and Boon, God no. Even at ten, I knew it was utter cheese. Back then I was having more impure thoughts about Aladdin and Gilbert Blythe than I was about Mills and Boon style hunks (hell, what am I saying, I am still having impure thoughts about Aladdin and Gilbert Blythe). No, I don't think reading Mills and Boon novels at ten taught me too much about sex (my cousin's more! magazine had that dubious pleasure) but I think what they did teach me was, to be frank, absolute tosh.

Let me demonstrate (I apologise in advance for the horror that you're about to read):

The silken heat of her drove him to the brink. He managed to stave off his own satisfaction only by focusing every ounce of his thoughts on her. Her needs. Her wants. Ignoring the heady scent of floral fragrance and warm woman, Nathan concentrated on finding just the right touch that would please her, make her forget her own name. He elicited gasps, moans, and sighs, but only when he plucked the sweet centre of her with his finger and thumb, and drew her nipple deeply into his mouth did he find the hot button that made her whole body tense and tighten.

In my *mumblemumble* almost a decade *mumblemumble* of having sex, I have never forgotten my own name. At least, I don't think so. I can't say my own name is really at the forefront of my mind when having sex. I also do not have a "sweet centre" as I am not a humbug (plus if it's in the centre, you need to see a doctor) and if I do, I certainly would NOT want it plucked, thank you very much. But as an impressionable child, I just assumed that this is exactly what sex with Gilbert Blythe would be like. Well, I don't know about you, gentle reader, but there is very little plucking of any sort in my sex life, and I can't help but feel that's how it ought to be.

But,if I'm honest, my ten year old self can't help but be just a leetle bit disappointed.

Monday, 27 July 2009

Week Two: What You Were Reading When You Were Ten

What was I reading when I was ten? As an English graduate, I'm duty bound by a canon of classics, and as a children's literature nerd I'm bound further still. As a science fiction/fantasy fan, there's a whole other set of set-texts I should be name-dropping. Peter Pan. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. The Last Unicorn. The Once and Future King. Even a couple of Goosebumps or books from the Point Horror series would suffice.

But, really, mostly what I was reading when I was ten were Babysitter's Club books.

The Babysitter's Club was a long-running series spanning some 131 books, and multiple spin-offs. Initially, it was about four teenaged lesbians - Kristy (the butch), Mary Anne (her bookish lover), Claudia (the art school dyke) and Stacey (the uber-femme) - who ran their own business, capitalising on the irresponsible nature of the parents of Stoneybrook who were too cheap to shell out for a child minder, but didn't mind leaving their children in the charge of a bunch of hormonally charged thirteen year olds.

Later, the core four were joined by Dawn (the hippy), Jesse (the token, erm, dancer) and Mallory (the twat), and a couple of associated babysitters, of whom I was most interested in ferosh Jewish princess Abby, and Mary Anne's merkin, 'boy babysitter' Logan, who didn't go to meetings because all his friends would call him a 'douchebag gaywad' (or the eighties equivalent).

Further to the pre-amble, the series wasn't without it's science fiction elements. The girls spent the entire series - spin-offs included - in a sort of eigth grade time loop, which incorporated multiple seasons, an unholy number of trips abroad (I'm pretty sure these bitches went to DisneyLand twice), people moving to the other side of America and then coming back a couple of weeks later, and an unseemly number of plot-convenient births, marriages and deaths.

I guess what was appealing to me about the books was what was always meant to be appealing to their female pre-teen target market: the books offered me an insight into a world of boyfriends, glamorous outfits (detailed in full, hysterical detail over at What Claudia Wore) and even more glamorous histrionics, a world that - as an overweight gay boy with a less than keen interest in personal hygiene - I was never to be a part of.

My favourite book in the series was Claudia and the Sad Goodbye, because it detailed the aforementioned glamorous outfits (Claudia's penchant for earrings shaped like, like, a dog and a bone, or a telephone and a thirteen year old girl eating chocolate and crying, was totally chic to my ten year old mind), Claudia's constant bitching out of her sister Janine for saying smart stuff and not being a giant fuck up, and, also, the death of one of my favourite characters. Goodbye, Mimi.


Friday, 24 July 2009

Sexy? No No No

"That's one of yours, isn't it?"

This was my mother's comment in relation to an advert on tv for True Blood, the latest tv series about vampires, and...Anna Paquin vaguely trying to convince the world she's a total actress and everything.

It's not, however. It's not one of mine, and unless I hear extremely good things about it to persuade me otherwise, I'll probably have nothing to do with it. And why? Because I've realised I actually quite loathe vampires now.

It's not the mythology; vampires have a broad and interesting range of rules to operate by and do neat things with, story-wise (flying, repelled by religious accessories, super strength, can't come in unless invited, sparkling etc). It's more to do with the fact that when I hear there's a new film or tv show or book about a vampire/vampires, I can pretty confidently bet it'll be about a lone, brooding, misunderstood fello who hates his nature and wants to be like us lucky, beautiful, brave humans. And he'll be "hot".

If vampires are ever going to be interesting again, they need to be Scary first, as opposed to Sexy. When was the last time we had a genuinely Scary, Non Sexy vampire? No other popular monster trope suffers from this, they're not burdened with the Problem of Sexy. Werewolves aren't Sexy, witches - with the exception of Halloween costumes aimed at slags - aren't Sexy. In fact, there's a fun "Who Is The Least Sexy Witch" game to be played with the cast of Charmed, Melissa Joan Hart, and the cast of The Craft(Winner is tied between Holly Marie Combs and Neve Campbell - with those two around such a competition takes on a gymkhana element).

Angel, Edward Cullen, Lestat, my pop culture intake has been officially overloaded with sadsacks with 'technically good' physiques who just need the love of a good woman to rehabilitate them. When oh when will vampires stop being pouting, vacant drips and get back to being genuinely frightening monsters? I don't want to see brooding hunks mumble and whine about their blood lust as a half-baked allegory for sex or whatever, I want Nosferatu, I want Buffy, hell, even Are You Afraid of the Dark did it better:

So there you have it. I will resume my (passing at best) interest in vampires only when they stop being surly boyfriends that unhappy fat girls can dream about.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

They say you are a man of good... taste.

Well, I'm going to get ALL OUT OF ORDER if I post now but having spent the entire day dressed up as a pirate, whizzing to The Isle of Wight on a speedboat and playing rounders in the rain (n.b. not all of my days are this exciting and/or bizarre, alas) I am just about ready to fall asleep on my laptop so I think I should probably go ahead and share my thoughts on this week's topic with you all.

So. Vampires. Vampires. Well.

I'll level with you here, people. I'm not one for vampires. Whilst you were all watching Buffy and drooling over Spike or Angel*, I was thinking "hmm... I quite like Joss Whedon's snappy dialogue. Shame he's wasting it on a vampire story. I wish he'd write something else, like, oh I don't know, maybe a good space western?" and fangirling over Pacey Witter. And it wasn't that it was fantasy - I stuck with Charmed to the bitter (OH SO VERY BITTER) end and loved every minute almost every minute at least a solid third of it. And then there is Twilight. I haven't even read Twilight. And that's not because I'm a literary snob - I am, after all, the girl who rereads the Anne of Green Gables series once a year and has a whole collection of Phillipa Gregory novels lining my shelves. I haven't seen the film, either, and it's definitely not because of any lack of interest in Robert "I look remarkably like a foot and yet am RIDICULOUSLY attractive anyway" Pattinson because he is ~*~dazzling~*~, as they say. No, it is just because I cannot muster any interest for anything to do with vampires. It's like Doctor Who - on paper, it ticks all the "relevant to my interests" boxes. But in practice? It just... washes over me.

What did NOT wash over me, however, was the awful, horrible experience of watching Bram Stoker's Dracula as directed by Francis Ford Coppola. When I was younger, I owned a fabulous children's book called The Great Baked Bean Scheme (no, really, it's great). This book featured a really bad director who was based on Francis Ford Coppola. As I got older, I watched things like The Godfather and American Graffiti and I wondered why he had this reputation of making bad movies. I mean, if you ignore the small matter of Godfather III, this man has made some wonderful pieces of cinema, right**? But then I watched Bram Stoker's Dracula and all became clear. Because dear GOD, that film is awful. Awful. Irredeemably awful in every respect. And here's what hurts the most, kids: Keanu Reeves is irredeemably awful right along with it.

Let me be honest. I watched Bram Stoker's Dracula, just like I have spent countless hours watching other equally shit films, because Keanu Reeves is in it. I have been a Keanu Reeves fan since I was six years old. My cousin and I would watch Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure and argue over who we liked the best (Me: Bill, her: Ted. Later on it would be me: Stephen Gately, her: Ronan Keating. SHAME.) at least twice a week. Later we established that our interest was in Keanu Reeves himself (and it was not an innocent interest) and spent many a hormonally frustrated afternoon lying in the dark watching a variety of films in which Keanu Gets His Shirt Off***, including - you've guessed it - Bram Stoker's Dracula.

I have defended Keanu Reeves to the hilt, guys. I have argued that he CAN act, he's NOT dumb, he's very DEDICATED and HARD-WORKING and EVERYONE SAYS NICE THINGS ABOUT WORKING WITH HIM. I have watched Chain Reaction more than once. Hell, I have watched Jonny Mnemonic more than once. But I cannot find a single redeeming feature about his performance in Bram Stoker's Dracula. From the accent**** to the awkward interactions with Winona Ryder (skip to about three minutes in - Winona, incidentally, also cannot act and yet gets a lot less flack and a lot more minor roles in massive sci-fi franchises, dammit), it is hideous. Cringe-worthy. A terrible, horrible nightmare from which I cannot wake up. A bad dream in which I realise that my lovely Keanu - whom I have loved, supported and defended for nearly twenty years***** Actually. Cannot. Act.

My worldview? Shattered.

And so that is why I don't like vampires. Not because they are scary. Not even because I find them dull. But because whenever I see a vampire, hear a vampire, even am simply reminded of vampires - all I can hear is Keanu Reeves saying "Me-nuh!" in that godwaful crime of an accent and the love I have carried with me for twenty years is shattered once more.

And that hurts more than a two-fanged bite from Gary Oldman.

* Yes, that is an OR. You are either a Spike or an Angel fan, and which one you choose says a lot about you.

** Assuming, that is, we let him off for producing Sofia, who in turn produced the FIVE HOUR LONG MUSIC VIDEO that was Lost in Translation. UGH. Direct quote from my brother when we finished watching it: "Well, that's three hours of my life I could have spent doing something useful. Like cleaning out the shower drain. Probably would have been more entertaining, too."

*** This was our main criteria, but Keanu Gets His Bum Out, Keanu Looks Dead Muscly and Keanu Has Some Form Of Homosexual Contact With River Phoenix were also popular recurring themes. Sadly less prevalent in today's cinema landscape.

**** What do you mean, he's not doing an accent in that interview? OH YES HE IS. That is as good as it gets in the movie. Eesh.

***** Holy crap I'm old.

Monday, 20 July 2009

We start as we mean to go on

So, this week's theme is vampires. Which I'm sure I'd have something very illuminating to tell you about, if it wasn't twenty to twelve and I didn't have an eight hour bus journey ahead of me at eight o'clock tomorrow morning. Consider this a placeholder. My scintillating wit will be with you in due time.

Friday, 17 July 2009

I Like To Say Things and Eat Stuff

My name is Dan, and I will be your Man Friday. I mean 'man' in the loosest sense of course, as there's not inconsiderable evidence I'm actually a fourteen year old girl trapped in the body of an early-mid-twenties man.

I work for an international chain of toy shops I for legal reasons shouldn't name, but I can tell you it's headed by a giant cartoon mouse and is responsible for original characters like Ricky Rouse and Monald Muck. I spend most of my time there frantically trying to compensate for other people's idiocy, and secretly crying in the toilets like I'm in an episode of Party of Five.

I live in Manchester, a city which is primarily known as the place Eastenders characters go to die, and is responsible for Boddingtons (and the greatest advert ever), Sarah Harding, and people what talk funny like in Coronation Street.

I like fictional fierce British women, drinking gin and pretending I'm a Jackie Collins character, and villainous blondes. I'm also addicted to buying pretty notebooks, action figures and dvd boxsets of tv shows.

I dislike teenagers, Megan Fox, and women who insist on walking around with their enormous umbrellas open when it's barely even slightly drizzling. THANKS A LOT FOR NEARLY DECAPITATING ME, LADIES.

I think Drew Barrymore in Donnie Darko is wrong, the most beautiful phrase in the English language is not "cellar door", but rather "beautiful robots, dancing alone".

In summary and in conclusion, my life's philosophy is best summarised by Lois Lane when she says:

Black Lois

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Sorry I'm late, I was stuck in traffic.

Hi, I'm Andrew, and I'll be your Wednesday. I think today is actually Thursday, so my apologies to my more punctual bloggers and bloggette, but yesterday I was stuck on the M62 washing my hair while the dog ate my homework.

I am currently self-employed as an unemployed person, but I've only been a university graduate for nigh on 48 hours, so I think I'm still in the period where this is somewhat acceptable. The climax of my university career saw me writing a very big essay on the likes of George Saunders and Tao Lin (I actually adore Eeee Eee Eeeee), which you would think is all you need to know about me since it paints something of a damningly hipster-tastic picture. It gets worse, though - I also wrote an essay on The Shining, did a close analysis of a scene from Blade Runner and mentioned Twitter in an exam on Serenity. Honestly, it seemed like a good idea at the time.

All of that said, I am currently reading Aisleyne Horgan-Wallace's autobiography (the moral is that you better know yourself, little girl), my favourite TV shows at the moment are Gossip Girl and True Blood, and I think Pokemon games are a fun time. I like to think I tread the thin line between pretentious, ironic hipster and sincerely trashy trash heap.

Everything else you need to know about me? I like avocados, shiny shoes, listening to whatever Pitchfork and Popjustice tell me to, animated gifs, pulling a Mystery Science Theater with rom-coms I hate, and worrying about whether I'm getting my five-a-day. I dislike my obsession with my hairline, the declining quality of The Simpsons, the fact that some of the things listed by TLC in the song No Scrubs apply to me, and cherry tomatoes. I hate them most of all.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Just be thankful I haven't used any footnotes. Yet.

Well HELLO there.

I am Emma, the female portion of The Gretchen Weiners Book Group. I live in England's Ancient Capital™, Winchester. We like to call it England's Ancient Capital™ because then it seems as if we're famous for something other than tired commuters, rosy-cheeked public schoolboys and herds of polite French exchange students. Oh, and the graveyard Joss Whedon used as inspiration for Buffy, which seems more relevant to my target audience. When I'm not avoiding herds of French exchange students, I organise parties for dentists, which is both more and less interesting than it sounds. I used to be a children's bookseller but had to quit because I could no longer afford to feed, clothe and house myself (oh, alright, it was because I could no longer afford to feed my DVD habit; it was about the essentials, at any rate). I still have residual guilt over resigning from a job I loved over something so mercenary. But then I look at my Dawson's Creek - The Complete Collection box set and feel slightly better.

Like Our Illustrious Leader, I wanted to post a picture of myself so you had some sort of image when composing your hate mail. I was torn, though, between two choices: this one, which so perfectly illustrates my default setting of looking down my nose at most things in a Hermione fashion, or this one, which sums up my posting style to a t. Yes, I am a squee-er. I am ALL CAPSLOCK, ALL THE TIME. I take too long to say what others (hello, previous post which is about half the length of mine ALREADY) can say in a few short sentences. I love pop-culture and I am not ashamed to get all squeaky about it.

Other things I love: how fast they talk in Gilmore Girls, baroque pop, Jasper Fforde novels, alphabetizing, knowing all the words to Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, older men with dark curly hair and green eyes (hello Rufus Sewell), spending more on giftwrap than on the gift, music from Disney films, Amanda Seyfried, pretty packaging, and movie trailers that give me goosebumps. There aren't many things I don't like, although I sometimes wish there were more. I am not very discerning. I have sat through Gilmore Girls Season Seven more than once, continue to watch Big Brother despite overwhelming pressure to the contrary, and genuinely believe Mamma Mia! to be one of cinema's finest accomplishments. These are not the acts of a person with taste. Just so you're warned.

I think the most important thing you need to know, though, is this: When I left the cinema after watching Mean Girls, I did not leave wanting to be Cady, even though she had the looks and the brains and the friends and the man. I left the cinema wanting to be Regina George. I think this blog - my part of it, anyhow - is for those people. Those of us who secretly - or not so secretly - want to be Queen of the Plastics.

Monday, 13 July 2009

This is me, then

Hello. My name is Michael and I live in Glasgow.

I'll be your Monday.

I currently work in a school uniform shop. It is the source of my gladness. My degree in English Literature has really come in useful, particularly when it comes to folding cardigans and dealing with women on the verge of a nervous breakdown because the fabric that they use to make the trousers is a slightly different shade of brown to the fabric that they use to make the blazers. I've just finished a post-graduate course in Secondary Teaching. I don't want to be a teacher.

When I grow up, I want to be a writer, mostly because I want to be able to wake up at noon and spend all day at my computer, in my pyjamas.

I like watching telly, reading books, and listening to music aimed at girls half my age.

I don't like people who move too fast, people who move too slow and bad writing in any medium. And when people mistake my sister for my girlfriend, as if my handbag isn't fancier than hers. Oh! And when people walk down a narrow path in a row of four, like it's The Wizard of fucking Oz, and they don't hear you when you say excuse me because they're too busy chatting up a storm, and then you're late for work and your boss is in a right old mope with you for ages.

This is one of the best things I've read all year.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Sorry, I was washing my ferrets

I didn't realise we'd already started! I like the layout very much, and am quite happy with any day, though I feel obliged to claim Thursday since no one's asked for that yet. And I'll endeavour to be more punctual in future, sorry, and that.

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Reporting for duty and all that.

Do we have to call Michael "Sir"? Bagsie I'm his favourite who gets to, like, clean his boots and whatnot. Especially if that means I won't get told off so much when I post an entry ENTIRELY IN ALLCAPS. You know I've got it in me.

Also a special hello to Andrew who is the only contributor I don't know, I think. HELLO. I am Emma and I often post in allcaps. It's like a disease.

(I am listening to a playlist consisting of Hairspray, High School Music, Mamma Mia!, Hunchback of Natre Dame and The Little Mermaid as I post this. Appropriate, no?)

The layout is good. I suspect I would have made it far too pink. The title, though, is sheer genius. I am imagining Gretchen fell out with the Cool Asians and started hanging out in the library. What group are we part of? (I am totally voting for "Girls Who Eat Their Feelings", btw).

I would like a weekend day I think. But am happy with anything, really. Eee.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Good morning, angels.


I have no preference when it comes to days, the middle of the week is the middle of the week. Tuesday or Wednesday might be good.

The layout I quite like! It definitely says "book group", but does it say "Gretchen Weiners, heiress to the Toaster Strudel empire"? I'm not sure.

If We Get Codenames, I Call Dibs On 'Super King'


I rather like the layout, it's classy and understated, with hints of a life full-lived. It's the Fern Britton of blog layouts.

I'm happy with any day, but I suppose if I had to choose I'd like Friday. That way I could shout "SOMETHING FOR THE WEEKEND" at the start of every post. Or maybe Thursday?

Avengers assembled!

How brilliant. If everyone could do a quick post and say i) which day of the week they'd like, and ii) what they think of the layout, just so I know everything's working and... stuff.

Anyway: I'd like Monday, and I think the layout is totally hot, in a my-Gran's-kitchen-in-the-seventies sort of way.

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