Sunday Sound Off: Kettle Chips?!

It was so wrong it put my head into a total spin. A maelstrom of feelings kicked up inside me and I couldn’t concentrate on what I was supposed to be doing. I couldn’t even start to begin to make it right in my head, and I couldn’t imagine the sort of devil in human form who had done it.

I mean really, Pickled Onion Monster Munch in the low tier? Squares in the shit tier? Do me a freakin’ favour. The so called ‘God’ tier is so wrong I don’t even know where to start. Popcorn is fine in small doses but is no match for a lot of the potato based snacks on offer, and Kettle Chips are too crunchy and cut your mouth. That’s a neggers cheggers from me.

Pombear are the staple of a toddler’s picnic and so might be revered by parents over the world but for me they’re deeply unsatisfying (apart from the quiet time they bring when around fiddly peeps). I’d wipe Walkers off the map below for resting on their laurels and then for going way beyond the pale when they try something new – nobody wants fish and chip flavoured crisps thankyouverymuch.

unnamed-4

Nik Naks get a tick, although the Rib ‘n’ Saucy flavour are obviously far superior. Space Raiders taste like cardboard and Hula Hoops are only good for a hangover – they lose points for being too small to fit on my fingers anymore. The crisp chart was bad enough, it caused all the dramz on Twitter and it spilled over onto Facebook and then… then it went too far and they took on the biscuits. *Shakes angry fist at the sky*

 

unnamed-3

As the wonderful Susie M said on Facebook, “It takes a person with absolutely no biscuit etiquette to put a Viscount in the middle tier! It’s the biscuit of all biscuits”. You tell ’em Susie!

Sunday Sound Off: ‘Belonging’

Controversial one this but there’s a new advert for the Army which really gets on my tits. There’s a soldier trying to climb into the back of a truck which keeps driving off without him whilst everyone in the back laughs. The tagline is ‘this is belonging’. Well if that’s ‘belonging’ then count me out.

Don’t get me wrong I love a bit of banter and can take a joke but for an institution such as the Army which has had issues with hazing and bullying before to lead with such a tagline is grossly irresponsible. The guy in the ad might well see it as ‘being one of the gang’ but what if he doesn’t? What if he feels as though he’s actually being singled out or bullied?

For the Army to lead their recruitment drive with that being a symbol of belonging to the team, isn’t that going to make it harder for those ‘in the team’ to step forward if they’re being victimised? It can be hard enough to stand up and say ‘actually, this situation is completely shit’ and this difficulty can be magnified in the world of military service but to add in the peer pressure of it being ‘belonging’? Bullshit.

Yes being in the Army can be a pressure cooker, and yes part of it all is being able to blow off steam and have a laugh but come the fuck on.

Maybe it’s just me. Maybe it’s reflections on the toxic behaviour I’ve experienced from ‘friends’ over the years where actually they’re being spiteful as all hell but it gets passed off as banter. Maybe the scars from my past are inflaming over this and nobody else thinks its an issue, but every time the advert airs the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.

I know I’m sensitive to the point of ridiculousness sometimes but it’s just gross.

Sunday Sound Off: Mood Hoovers

They suck the joy out of any situation and if they’re in a bad mood then it’s their mission to ensure everyone else around them is also having a shitty day. They sit there with their hangdog expressions, nothing can shift them out of their funk and the little black thundercloud hanging over their heads just keeps getting bigger.

You can try and cheer them up, or relentlessly beam positivity at them but as they’re basically Dementors in human form you’re going to fall at the first hurdle.

Everybody has bad days, everybody has those moments where they want to give the world a high five in the face with a chair, or a standing ovation with their middle finger but come the fuck on. Leave some happiness in the air for the rest of us?!

A long time ago I worked with someone I privately referred to as “the shrew” who would walk into the office and in the reverse of Pleasantville the colour started draining from the air. Nothing was ever good enough, everything was wrong, and boy did she let us all know it. Both barrels.

I tried positivity, I tried listening to her negativity (fuck me I wanted to drown in a bottle of voddie) and I tried ignoring her which gave her a complex and almost led to HR getting involved. None of it worked.

Then one night we ended up being the last ones left at the pub…

Ooh that sounds like the start of some bad lesbian fiction. It isn’t. And I wish I could say we bonded over a bottle and became firm friends. In reality I realised there wasn’t enough wine in the world to make it less painful spending time with her and resolved to never do it again.

Thankfully she left shortly after so whilst I didn’t work out how to change her hoover bag* I didn’t have to stare at her mizzog grill anymore.

Of course the other side of the coin is those “farts like caramel, unicorns exist, isn’t life WONDERFUL and JOYOUS” people who leap out of bed singing ‘Morning’s Here’ – they’re a different battle entirely.
*Tenuous metaphor for finding out what made her tick, not for punching her on the nose.

Sunday Sound Off: Competitive Hens

I’m not talking about our avian friends in some sort of Gladiator style battle, I am of course talking about when the dreaded email lands in your inbox, usually from someone called Fenella who drives Daddy’s Rangey and lives in the Royal Borough.

‘So it’s only going to be £1,700 each for two nights which is like totally a bargain yah? And of course the bride can’t pay for herself (durrrrr) so if you can all transfer me the money immediately (even though I’ve given you no notice whatsoever) that would be super! Of course this is only for the accommodation, you’re all going to have to get yourself to the Outer Hebrides, plus bring your own food and drinkiepoos, oh and also we’ll be hiring a Butler in the Buff, an on site masseuse and a Shamen for healing rituals in the garden. Such fun!’ 

I’ve been to a lot of hen parties in my time and thankfully the wonderful women I’ve seen off into the realm of being a smug married have had infinitely sensible bridesmaids. They understand that not everybody has unlimited funds, not everybody can easily get themselves to Arsefuck Nowhere, and also that the Bride would be having paroxsyms of embarrassment if she thought that they were being dicks about it all.

For a lot of friends who are also faithful hen attendees this is not the case. Forget Bridezilla, it’s regularly turning into Bridesmaidzilla. What you crucially need when organising a hen party is someone who can make sensible decisions. Sadly that doesn’t seem as simple as you’d first think. Instead in a lot of cases you get some fluff brained half-wit in charge who keeps throwing out more and more options all steadily getting more expensive whilst ignoring feedback before deciding on what they wanted to do all along and pissing everyone off in the process.

I went to a hen party some 4,000 miles away from where I live but thankfully there was no Fenella, there was just a lovely friend marrying a wonderful American who said she’d love it if I wanted to come. Key words there ‘if I wanted to come’ which of course I did and could make it work financially. There was no pressure, no dramas, and a cracking holiday at the end of it all. There can be a tendency for the people who stand up to the Fenella’s of the world and say ‘actually I’m really sorry but I just can’t afford this’ or who aren’t able to clear their diary entirely for each of the seventeen proposed weekends to be viewed as bad friends.

Forget all the times you’ve poured the Bride into a taxi, or held her hair back whilst she puked up cheap white wine. Forget the heartbreaks you’ve got her through before she met the one, or the wild nights where you’ve walked home as the sun comes up talking utter nonsense. Sorry lovey, but as you can’t make it to cocktail making classes in Outer Mongolia the last weekend before Christmas where we’ll all be performing an operetta about our friendship with the Bride which you have to attend six weekends worth of rehearsals for, are you even her friend?

 

Sunday Sound Off: Revenge Porn

Revenge is a dish best served cold, but best served on Instagram or social media? Heck no. Yes Rob Kartrashian I’m looking at you. Not only is it illegal, and I’m really hoping your family fame whore dollars won’t get you out of a custodial sentence, but it’s also morally abhorrent.

People will always send saucy pictures and messages, I’ll confess to being a fan of a fruity message in my time (no photos, that’s like Olympic level selfie-ing) but you have to be sure that the recipient isn’t a vindictive knobwang who will put your fanny on the internet should things go South.

I’d like to think that he’ll will be single for the rest of his life, that this bout of dickish behaviour will serve as a clarion call to all women everywhere to avoid him like the plague but I can guarantee it won’t. When their daughter Dream is old enough she’ll be in a living nightmare when she realises Daddy put Mummy’s nudie pics online for public consumption. Couldn’t he have mustered up enough respect for the Mother of his child to leave the evidence on his hard drive where it belonged?

Social media is instantaneous which can be fab when you want to know what the new guy in Eastenders has been in before, or where the nearest pub selling gin is but in situations like this it can prove fatal. The red mist descends and you go for the jugular and then for most people the guilt sets in and posts are whipped down (never fast enough to avoid the deadly screenshot however). For Mr Kartrashian though, once his Instagram account was nixed he hopped on over to Twitter and continued the onslaught. If guilt is about what you’ve done, and shame is about who you are, then this is a definite case of shame shame know your name.

The moral of the story is by all means take pictures of your twig and giggleberries but unfortunately you have to be prepared that be it by hack, by ‘harmless’ sharing with friends, or by a vindictive twat who needs to be locked up there is a good chance your growler could end up on Google for all the world to see.

 

The Aftermath

So, how does it feel in the aftermath of a crash and burn?

I’m not back to full strength by a long chalk but after some ‘me’ time over the weekend curled up in bed sleeping, reading, and staring at the wall as well as time with family and a couple of bracing walks along the beach I’m definitely feeling better than I was on Thursday. I still feel dead behind the eyes and my limbs are heavy as anything but my facial muscles are capable of smiling again which is definite progress.

I feel exposed though.

I’m fully clothed so don’t get any visions of me flashing my pants at you all but returning to the office the day after you’ve hit your depressive nadir and spent the morning snotting all over the place before throwing your hands in the air and saying you can’t cope leaves you feeling rather vulnerable indeed.

I felt awkward walking down the stairwell with the guy who ended up going to the Libya thing without me, there was an elephant in the room and I had to bite my tongue to stop myself apologising. Apologising for what exactly? For having depression. Ridiculous. It’s not like I want to have this after all.

So many people have held their hands up to me since Thursday and said “yep, totally know how you feel”. Some have done it on social media, some have done it privately, some have even done it face to face, but every single one has been very brave. It’s a crying shame that people are described as being “brave” for talking about mental health but for the time being that’s how it is. For the time being. Because the conversation about mental health isn’t going to go away.

In closing, to the person who said I should be less open about this so that I can attract a man?

Fuck that noise. Seriously, get fucked.

What Would You Do?

Yesterday I witnessed a horrific assault in broad daylight. On a busy thoroughfare at rush hour.

What would you have done? Would you have put your head down and scuttled past? Would you have carried on painting the wall in front of you like the very dedicated decorator who was approximately 2 metres away from a man getting the absolute shit kicked out of him?

I had pulled into a parking bay at the side of the road to answer my mobile when I saw the attack and in the split second when I realised what was going on opposite me I debated honking my horn to try and scare three people stamping on a man’s head but then what if they ran over to me? Then what? Sure I was in my car and protected but still, who wants to open a whole world of pain for themselves if they can avoid it. I knew I couldn’t drive on and leave this guy getting his face smeared across the pavement so I pulled my car forward so that I wasn’t directly staring at the fists and feet flying and called the Police.

It’s not the first time I’ve called the Police after witnessing a vicious assault and I would do it again in a heartbeat. The last time involved going to court as a witness against one of my neighbours, a teenage girl, who had delivered such a kicking to a student at the local University that the victim had to endure surgery to fix her jaw, her nose, and two broken cheekbones. But I’d still do it again without a moment’s thought.

I’m not some sort of vigilante or superhero who is going to wade in and get mouthy or punchy to stop someone getting hurt, I wouldn’t have put myself at risk yesterday by leaping out of my car and running over to haul the men off but I couldn’t have walked away, my conscience wouldn’t let me.

I was amazed and saddened at the people who pretended nothing was happening.

What would you do?