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Dreadful Nonsense

"I've read your blog. it's really funny. you should write a column." - Jon Ronson

29 June 2004
I was a naughty bold child and I have a confession to make: I've been spending money that I oughtn't have been spending. However, I'm in no way repentive.

Last month, the bank that I had been banking with in jolly old Scotchland, the one that's patronised by the British Royal Family (you can probably guess which one through the breaking of my very clever code there), the bank I've been with for over four great years, and to whom I had up until recently been handing over my monthly pay cheque, and been donating to them the interest charged on my mounting debt filled credit card and over draft - that very bank that I felt I'd built up a relationship with (a mutually abusive, co-dependent relationship, it has to be admitted, but a relationship nonetheless) - that there very bank only turned around and threatened to send debt collectors after me.

Now, I wouldn't mind, but I've been busy and ill and also busy, and they didn't have the grace to ask after me once, you know, just pop their heads around the door and see how I'm doing. They had my address. They had my phone number. They have my mother's maiden name and my social security numbers, both here and for the UK. But no, they couldn't be arsed. They didn't send me a card at my birthday, they didn't pop round at Christmas with a mince pie and some non denominational carols. What they did do was threaten me with legal action.

The only mistake I'd made in our relationship was that I'd stopped giving them money. I'd cut them off from my payslip, for the one simple reason that I don't get a payslip any more. Simple as that. If I was still getting a payslip, they'd be the fourth or fifth people to know, after Amazon and HMV and Schuh and eBay. If they had made the effort to get to know me at all, they'd've realised. But no. Only six short months after the last credit transaction had been made to my account, and they were after me, baying for my blood and/or the £450 sterling cash that I owed them.

Well, ladies, gents, davemum, I didn't stand for it for long. No. I did the only thing I could do in that situation: I asked my mummy to pay it off for me.

So, now I've learned my lesson. No trusting banks that make promises of overdrafts, bank loans, romantic weekend breaks, red roses or unlimited credit allowance. They'll only hurt you in the end. I swore that there would be no more reckless spending, that all would be kept in check, that I would be firmly in the black come Edinburgh time and that all my purchases for the month of August would be seriously thought through before carrying through the transaction.

And then last week I accidentally ordered series 4 and 5 of Buffy on DVD, along with Firefly.


27 June 2004
When I started blogging, it took me ages to find other weblogs that I was interested in reading. The first few that I found, just surfing through the recently published list from the front page of blogger.com led me to believe that all bloggers were either 14 year old American school girls who had nothing better to talk about than their high school schedules and what they did at the weekends (never anything interesting) or 20 something gay Americans who had nothing better to talk about than their jobs and who they did at the weekends (never anyone interesting). But eventually I found some people who were great writers, and I found some people who I'd met in real life and thereafter go to stalk through cyber space. The best of the bunch of blogs that I read are listed on the right hand side here, but I read other ones I'm not about to link to because the people who write them have told me not to. And still others that I read that I don't link to because they're extra special top secret and maybe one day I'll tell you, and maybe one day I won't.

But. The only thing that I can see in common with all the blogs that I read is the fact that, if I was forced to make small talk with any single one of those people, I think I'd do quite well, because they seem to be nice, eloquent, intelligent people who have tolerable views and probably quite good control over body odour and don't have smelly breath. It's a leap of assumption, but that's the leap I'm making: everyone in the list on the right hand side brushes on a regular basis.

When you blog, you can project any old image you like at all. You can even be completely fictional. I have known of a certain lady (Mrs D) who has expressed a certain interest in a certain gentleman, purely because of the content of his blog. I had to put her right, of course, since that gentleman, although being a wonderful and indeed gentle man, is also a bit of a lady killer (not literally) and a bad drunk. But naturally in his blog, he comes across as the most eligible bachelor in all of christendom.

The blog, if you like, could well be the dating agency of the early 21st century cliche, a thought I'm sure Carrie Bradshaw would have come around to typing into her product placed laptap while sucking on a fake ciggie in her underwear if she'd not been so cruelly taken off our television screens due to SJP become so damn old looking it was unfair to keep her on television due to the nightmares she was inflicting on all the innocent children.

So what I don't get right now is how I've gone from liking a person quite a bit to HATING THEM WITH EVERY FIBRE OF MY BEING purely because of persona they're projecting through their newly formed weblog.

This person is right now in a position where he or she could take to bed with every man, woman and even adult consenting pet in the country, due to frequent media exposure and not inconsiderable good looks. And yet this opportunity is being squandered on a daily basis by exposing more and more every day his or her complete inability to FORM A COHERENT SENTENCE or STICK TO A FREAKING TOPIC ALREADY or even HOLD AN OPINION OF ANY KIND OF VALUE OR WORTH. It's making me angry - why would you deliberately sabotage your chances of endless sex, money and general adoration by writing like a completely fuckwit on your own website, forum and weblog? The mind boggles.

25 June 2004
Okay. Just a quick round up of football gloating, and then we won't say another word about it, okay?

1. If you'd like to email the ref to tell him quite how wrong he was in all his decisions, he's helpfully got his own homepage, with email address at the bottom here.

2. This made me spit laughing.

3. This animation is funny, even if the punchline is a bit rubbish. Also, Frank Skinner singing. You may want to turn the sound off.

Fuck you all. You made me do this.



If I die, I'm coming back to haunt each and every one of you bastards.

I've decided on this flight I'm going to go for my own personal record of valium intake and have 15mg rather than my usual 5mg for pain or 10mg for flying. It's a fun experiment! If the flight doesn't kill me, the overdose might!

Susan, please note - meet me off the plane with some VERY STRONG COFFEE.

23 June 2004
I keep going to book my flight for Edinburgh, but seem to be unable to complete the transaction. I don't know why this is.

That's a lie: I know exactly why this is.

I've really got no choice about flying to the Festival this year. Even with the epidural (14 days to go), I wouldn't be able to tolerate the long hours of traveling needed to go by boat and train. I know this from repeated experience, since I've been doing that journey, from Dublin to Edinburgh, since 1997. It's just not possible this year, unless I'm willing to sacrifice the first week of the Festival to lying on the floor of our (admittedly really lovely) flat in agony. So I have to fly.

But. Every time I go on to aerlingus.com (I've decided to go with them because their safety record is better than Ryan Air (I don't know if that's true, I just made that up) and also because the stewards are much, much friendlier, and because you're allocated a seat, which for some reason makes me feel more secure, or at least makes it possible for my next of kin to be given the right set of ashes when the plane inevitably bursts into flame for no good reason half way through the flight... I digress) something stops me from going the whole hog and putting in my credit card details. And that something is my horrific fear of flying.

Now. I know some people have done crazy things like jumped out of planes for the sheer hell of it (or in the name of your Edinburgh show). I also know at least one of you took the extra step of blacking out for some of the parachute jump (and I do applaud that extra attention to detail). For me, just walking into an airport gives me enough of a panic attack and adrenaline rush to get me through life without taking the extra, especially stupid step of getting on a plane that's going to take off and fly in apparent disrespect of God's Law Of Gravity. God does not like to be defied, people. Really he doesn't. Look what happened to Lot's Wife.

Now it seems like every time I turn on the television, someone's talking about airplanes, and more particularly their ability to crash, or at least fall screaming from the sky. Seriously. I'm not just overly sensitive, or going out of my way to look for airplane related shenanigans with which to freak myself out. I was just channel surfing this morning and right there was a blonde American air hostess talking about the fact that there are only 6 inches between you and CERTAIN DEATH on a plane. Now the phrase "six inches" keeps flowing through my brain in a frightening manner never previously experienced. Even bloody Frasier tonight started with a rocky flight. Why does television taunt me so?

I thought I'd try to soothe myself with some dvd action, but now I can't even watch Dr Who, because the beginning of most adventures seems to start with problems with the TARDIS forcing them to crash land somewhere. I mean, I realise no one ever died from a crashing TARDIS (although I can't be certain - JC, did this ever happen?) but I keep thinking of tiny Adric in his pyjama costume hurtling towards the earth and the demise of the dinosaurs at the end of Earthshock and thinking... that could be me...

The death clock says I'm going to die on Tuesday, October 31, 2034. I don't believe them. (Although. Fucking hell. Hallowe'en, and only five days before my birthday. That's just mean. I bet a die of a heart attack brought on by a bratty kid jumping out of bushes in some kind of devil costume. I'm going to come back and haunt them)

I'll book it tomorrow. I will. And the day after that, I'm writing my will. In the next few days, I will be allocating some of my possessions to specific readers. Please leave any special requests in the comments section, and I'll get back to you.

19 June 2004
This is a rudey. Please leave the names for your bits in the comments section below. This will provide me with endless entertainment, now that Special Emma has been kicked out of the BB house.

shazzle's bits are best described as her "clammy den".

What's yours? Enter your name:

18 June 2004
Today, for my own amusement, because Big Brother updates don’t have the fervour they had yesterday (and because the official BB site is offline so I can’t even read the official boring, Teflon coated spin on recent events), I have been answering the phone in a variety of stupid voices.

When I had decided to go back to work, I had been immediately offered two positions – one as a receptionist / typist at an accountants, and one as a full time receptionist in an office where they didn’t specify their nature of business, at least not to me on the first job run through. I’d talked this over with Mrs D, and we’d decided that, of all admin and secretarial style jobs, receptionist is the most fun and the most stupid. As a secretary, you get a lot of rubbish things to do, like faxing, photocopying, typing, filing and occasionally making coffee for people you don’t like. As a PA, it’s much the same, but with more pressure and occasionally having to talk to clients. As a receptionist, you don’t do any of that. As a receptionist, what you do is transfer calls, make calls and tell people to sit down. Most of the time, you don’t even have to offer them coffee.

I love being a receptionist – it’s like being in a play. You can be delightfully – sometimes to the point of sarcasm - nice to everyone you encounter all day, because generally they’re not the people you’re working with. You tend to just see people who come in for appointments or interviews, and the only prolonged conversation you’ll ever have with anyone will be with a courier coming to collect or deliver a package, and generally that’s just about the weather and lasts less than 30 seconds. All the while, you sit in front of a computer that’s been given to you for no reason at all, because for the most part receptionists don’t do typing. I think it’s to take up space on the desk, and so you can email friends in other firms to talk about how shocked you were at Jason’s apparently out of character behaviour last night, and didn’t Dan do so well trying to calm everyone down, and I wonder when Emma will be let out of the bedsit again.

I didn’t get the receptionist job though. I got the accountant typist/receptionist one, which means all the typing and photocopying of one job combined with the false smiling and the that’s-no-problem-at-all-ing. But it’s actually been quite great, there’s been fuck all to do, and I’m out of here in two and a half hours. It doesn’t half get boring though.

I’m trying to restrict myself to visiting only a few sites while here, so I’m limiting myself to the BB Digital Spy site, Popbitch, eBay and my three email accounts. I’ve also been reading Dave Egger’s new work in progress on Salon. Between all of that, I’m trying to stay off line as much as possible and so to make my own entertainment have begun answering the phone in a number of stupid voices.

Mrs D, while we were having the abovementioned discussion, pointed out this source of fun that had surprisingly never occurred to me before. Mrs D, because she is a dirty whore with the tarnished soul of one condemned to eternal damnation, explained that while answering and transferring calls – particularly when speaking to gentlemen callers, although this works equally well for either gender persuasion – one should speak in the manner of a phone sex worker. Apparently this distracts and entertains both caller and answerer in equal level, and occasionally makes the gentlemen callers forget why they were calling in the first place. Although this does sound tremendous, I’ve not headed down that dirt track just yet (although the day is still young). I’ve instead been answering the phone in the tone of my god daughter, who is seven and answers the phone at home as if any day now the call will be for her.

This kind of never ending enthusiasm seems to buoy up the callers, who seem to want to ask me more questions and give me more information than when I was talking like someone in a call centre in Glasgow – although this approach can be tremendous fun too. I’m sure that the people on the 11811 or 118118 lines (feel free to insert your own directory enquiries numbers here) speak so rudely and sound so bored only because it entertains them to cut people off mid-sentence and give them the wrong number 2 out of 3 times. I know that’s exactly the way I’d be if I worked there, and therefore I hold nothing against them and their minimum wage sources of amusement.

The point I’m making – and there isn’t one, so I’m not sure why I’m trying to round up this post in a neat manner – is that I’m bored with nothing to do.

17 June 2004
Quick list of Big Brother links, for those who didn't hear the story, have just heard the story, want to keep up with the crap that's happening, and can't get on to the rubbish Channel 4 site that is both overly sanitised and unable to deal with the traffic. (It was a slow day at work today. Thank the lord there was a rumble last night!)

The Digital Spy Big Brother site seems to have the most prolific and up to date coverage, including 15 minute summaries of the BB live feed. Experiencing problems today, like every other BB site. Includes full statement from Endemol about last night, along with nice summary of fight events.

Also, here a summary from someone else who stayed up all night watching the fight break out.

I've tried to find a link to the 2 minute unedited clip of the fight, complete with Victor screaming "Do you know who I am?" but I can't find it any more. If anyone has a link to it, let me know.

The NotBBC BB5 thread makes interesting reading too.

Little Emma - who apparently has "learning difficulties", according to her mother - has recently been spotted in the bedsit, singing along to a walkman and looking as happy as a special needs child in a ball pool. The rest of them still look incredibly shell shocked, and not perfectly fine, as Dermot O'Diddly tried to pretend they were on BBLB today.

The Friday night eviction has apparently been called off. So lovely Dan may live to play peacemaker another day - let's face it, the house would be destroyed without him.

16 June 2004
SO excited!

Got home, got sister to check my email, found out I'm going to be in a book!

Eons ago, I submitted to the wonderful Idler website a short story about the crappest job I've ever had. They deemed it crap enough to appear in a compliation book of Crap Jobs (already listed on Amazon) apparently being published in October. I'm very excited by this.

You can find my job entry here, under the name "Rehab".

Well now. That's cheered me right up.

Day Three at Temp Job.

I’ve held off from posting at and about work until now because until now I’ve had enough things to do to keep me busy during the working hours, and enough pain killers and valium in my system to keep me off the computer during non-working hours. I was just remarking to my mother on the way in to work this morning – it’s a very odd thing to do, to willingly expose yourself to such a tremendous amount of pain, all in the name of normality.

You see, dear reader, things haven’t been going too swimmingly around Team Shazzle these last few days. Oh yes, Dave Eggers may well be on his way to becoming Husband Number One in a long line of husbands I’m fully intending to marry, but at the moment not even that is enough to keep me cheery long enough to give a crap. Work is fine, the people here in the office (where I’m typing this only because I’ve done all my other work already) are wonderfully friendly, the job is boring but with a variety of boring tasks to keep the boredom threshold just above suicide, and I’ve got the internet and that’s all that matters. But by the time 2pm rolls around – I’m only working half days – I’m in so much pain I can’t even think straight.

Yesterday when I got home I couldn’t sit or lie down for a full half hour, with the spasm of blinding pain that was running down my back. You’ve no idea how ridiculous or frightening that is. When your entire body is screaming at you to stop moving but you can’t because when you stop moving and try to stay stationary your body changes it’s mind and tells you to keep moving, forever, just keep moving, or else you’re going to freaking pass out and that would mean lying down and what would happen then? What then? Yesterday afternoon I couldn’t even cry it hurt so much. I couldn’t catch my breath it hurt so much. I couldn’t reach my fucking tablets it hurt so much, and when I did I was so tempted to take them all at once, just to make sure the fucking pain went away, but then a solo sane voice told me that if I took them all at once I’d probably throw up and the retching would kill me once and for all.

So I took the required amount and paced around the room for half an hour, keening like a banshee because I wasn’t able to cry properly, until everything relaxed just enough for me to curl up into a ball on the floor and stare at the Big Brother idiots practicing how to play football. This is how bad I felt: when BB Live stopped and the Efourum started, I wasn’t able to change the channel – Russell Brand was on my television and I was too far gone to do anything about it.

And then I end up feeling so sick with all the tablets currently swimming around my system, coupled with the flush of adrenaline that kicks in when the pain levels reach their record-breaking highs every day, and I can’t eat or drink anything. Which makes me feel sick. Which means I can’t eat. And so on. It’s not good for a lady to live on a diet of valium, ibuprofen, difene and paracetamol all day, but no one seems to be offering me an alternative. My mother wants me to phone my physio, but I don’t really see the point – the words of wisdom I’ve been offered while experiencing these “acute episodes” have included having a hot bath and doing some gentle exercise. The only gentle exercise I am able to take at this time is the bare suppression of hysteria, and I couldn’t even begin to think about reaching the taps to run the bath, let alone start to plan the feat of acrobatics that would enable me to get in to a bath once run. So I end up shouting at everyone who attempts to help or calm me because nobody in the world, no one ever in the history of the world has ever experienced pain like the pain I’m currently going through, so could you all just leave me alone so I can die in my own miserable peace.

Of course, after a few hours it all fades down to a bearable level and I have to apologise to everyone I know for not phoning them back or snapping their heads of or eschewing their generous offers of cups of tea. And then I have to lie on the floor with the dog who didn’t understand why I wouldn’t let her in out of the garden when I came home, and try to make it up to the cat for screaming at her when all she wanted to do was say hello.

There is a small glimmer of light at the end of this long tunnel – I’m getting another epidural on Wednesday, 7th July. I’m quite pleased about that, you understand, even though the thought of going back in to the creepy operating theatre freaks the living life out of me. The pain of the epidural can at worst match the pain I’m currently experiencing on a daily basis, so that no longer scares me at all. The effects aren’t immediate, but it’s all fairly quick acting, and I can’t wait to be able to do things like sit down for longer than half an hour again without the screaming agony of it all making me want to choke myself to death with my own eager hands.

15 June 2004
He heard me! He's coming!


Dave Eggers will be speaking at the Galway Arts Festival! I asked him to give me a sign, and a sign he did give me! He's here on 13th July, which is thankfull post- rather than pre-epidural, which means I may be able to stand up straight by then and look closer to normal than usual.

Dave! Eggers!

Of course, I can't think of a single person I'll be able to drag along with me. My friend Carol would come, of course she would come, but she'd try to keep him for herself because she's jealous of the real connection me and Dave actually really have. So unfortunately she's got to die before then.

Who will come with me? Any volunteers?

Dave Eggers!

12 June 2004
I nearly had a complete panic attack just now, when I logged on to Blogger, and this blog wasn't listed on my "dashboard". I've currently got 12 blogs that I participate in - listings, reviews, news and diary pages for Comedy Lounge; news page for The Mighty Boosh; The Inadvertent Twin which I swear will one day return; my OU essays blog which I'm sure is breaking rules of OU but what the heck; the 100 things and About Me pages that are so informative for new readers; Commuterland that I stopped posting to ages and ages ago; and one other blog that I'm actually going to delete - it was going to be comedy reviews of a local club that myself and Mrs D regularly attend, but I've decided not to pursue that idea thanks to something that happened in the recent past.

I've been thinking recently that I'd be willing to pay to keep my blogs on line now - although I might trim down the sheer number that I keep, unless you get a discount on bulk posting - just to make sure that it doesn't disappear one day without warning. And I really, really thought it had gone, and it really, really scared me. Freaky. I mean, I'd just open a new one and keep going, but how to redirect everyone? Especially since recently you've all started giving me such stellar advice. I'm currently looking up the Chinese symbol for "I only fuck foreigners" so I can get that tattooed on the back of my neck, thanks to JC for that wonderful, inspiring idea.

But that did give me quite the scare. I had to calm down by going to stand outside and listening to vague thumping bass noise coming from the direction of the Phoenix Park, provided generously by Red Hot Chilli Peppers. And considering how far away we are from that park, it's quite an achievement.

11 June 2004
I almost don't want to post today because the tattoo chat (see below) is just getting interesting, so please keep leaving comments about that - I'm really interested to hear people's reactions, particularly considering I'm not letting slip the actual image I've chosen, or the size of said tatt to anyone but Mrs D, who is off for her abroad time in a matter of hours (she's going to Greece) and so I won't have anyone to ask for the 16th time in a day if they really think it's a good idea.

This morning I exercised my right as a citizen of a democratic country and voted in three different voting type situations - European and Local Elections, along with the referendum vote on citizenship. I went along very early - 7.25am early, in fact - with my two best parents, all of us looking like scruffy street urchins that had mugged other, more respectable Irish nationals for their polling cards. There were quite a lot of people voting at that time of day, which seemed odd to me for a moment but then I realised that other people work for a living, and probably had places to go to this evening. I don't have or do either, so I had no reason not to hang about the polling station all day trying to make up my mind.

The polling cards were lovely, each of them helpfully having a colour picture of the candidate beside their name as well as a colour reproduction of their party's logo. It was like voting for who was best looking, although it reflects badly on the state of this nation's politics that I think the Sinn Fein candidate is the best looking of a particularly poorly turned out bunch. I won't reveal my voting preference, but I was both delighted and disgusted to find that I'd voted more or less identically to both my parents, differing only in the order to which we allocated our votes.

10 June 2004
This warning is very important to everyone who is about to read this post. If you can't keep to the promise that you are obliged to make before the second paragraph of this post begins, you should really look away now. In fact, I insist that you do. Do not read any further than this sentence if you're not prepared to keep all of the following a GREAT BIG SECRET THAT MUST NEVER BE DISCUSSED AGAIN.

In fact, let's all make a solemn vow right now. Right hand in the air, everyone. Left hand on heart. Repeat the following aloud (unless you're in an internet cafe, in which case hands in position and whisper):

I do solemnly swear that I will never disclose what is about to be discussed on this website. I will not bring it up in conversation with Shazzle the next time I see her, unless we two are alone in a room with no one else listening. I will not casually mention it in passing and I will never once mention it to any of her family, living or dead. If I am a member of her family, I will specifically refrain from mentioning it to her mother. If I am her mother, I will stop reading here. (Also, if I'm her mother, I'll let her get away with not paying her share of the phone bill this month.)

Are we all sworn to secrecy? Excellent.

Now, here comes the great big secret that you're not to mention to me in real life, no matter what situation we find ourselves in. If you meet me on the street, pass me by as I'm hi-jacking a car, are in the cockpit while I'm flying a bi-plane, happen to pass while I'm smuggling orphaned children across a war-torn country's border or are the spy to whom I am selling the secret blue prints, I don't want to hear a word of it mentioned. This, above all other things, should root out once and for all who reads my blog and who doesn't.

Ladies, Gentlemen, Mother: I'm getting a tattoo.

I've been considering a tattoo for ages - years, in fact - and have just stumbled across the realisation that the perfect thing for me to get tattooed upon me has been staring me in the face for the last four years or so. It came to me in a sudden flash of inspiration and since I thought of it I've not been able to think for very long about anything else. I had a discussion with Mrs D about it, and she seems to think it's a great idea. She had some sterling advice about where not to place tattoos upon the body of a lady, for ladies apparently age and stretch and sag in later life, and she pointed out that when you're forty you're going to have to go to important dinner dates with clients of your husband's, and you're going to inadvisably wear strappy dresses, and nobody likes weird creepy ladies in their forties with stupid butterfly tattoos on their shoulders.

Ideally, I'd like to get my tattoo imprinted right across the point in my back where all the disc problems are, since I spent a lot of my time clutching that very point and trying to alleviate the pain by seemingly pushing the disc back in to place - since I'm apparently going to spend a large part of the rest of my life doing that, it'd be nice to have a pretty picture to be pressing against. However, I'm not entirely sure that would be a medically sound move on my part, so I'm going to check with my GP and my consultant before doing that.

I've also decided that I'm going to get it done in the first week I'm in Edinburgh, because then it'll have three weeks to heal over before I come home to continue swimming regularly. I'm really excited at the thought of it. I found an image on the net and have printed it out and have been carrying it around in my wallet for the last two weeks. I get a little giddy every time I look at it. It's going to be great.

So. Dear readers. Please leave your comments as to whether or not you think this is a good idea. Also, please let me know if you've got tattoos, and if you've ever regretted getting it done. And where they are on your body, and what they're of. Thanks much.

09 June 2004
Fringe programme is on-line today. These are the comedy shows / shows involving comedians that aren't necessarily comedy that I would like to see:

Adam Bloom - Entertaining the thought
Alex Horne - Every Body Talks
Andrew Clover - Storyman
The Andy Warhol Syndrome - Jenny Eclair
The Award Winning Robin Ince - Star of The Office Series 1, Episode 5 (first bit)
Bad Play 2 - Worser Play
Bill Hicks - Slight Return
Boothby Graffoe and the Following People
Spencer Brown
Brendan Burns
Chris Addison - Civilisation
Alun Cochrane - My Favourite Words in My Best Stories
Colin Murphy - Miraculous
The Consultants
Freedumb - Phil Nichol and Janice Phayre
Gary Le Strange - Face Academy
Glenn Wool - Relax
H-BAM - Stop fistfighting, you're pregnant
Russel Howard
Jason Byrne - That's not a badger!
Jeremy Hardy
Jeremy Lion's Happy Birthday
Jim Sweeney - My MS and Me
John Oliver and Andy Zaltzman - Erm... It's about the end of the world... I think you'd better sit down.
Milton Jones - A Rough Guide
The Joy of Wine - The Black Sheep
Laurence and Gus - Men in Love
Lee Mack
Stewart Lee
Little Howard and Big Howard in: At Home With The Howards
sml, Med, LRG
Micheal Legge and John Voce in The Conversation
Miles Jupp Presents The Lost and Lonely Rebels
Nice Mum
Noble and Silver: A Man
Dara O'Briain
One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest
Paul Tonkinson - War Stories
Planet Corduroy - Marcus Brigstocke
Richard Herring - The Twelve Tasks of Hercule Terrace
Rob Bryden - The Keith Barret Show
Simon Munnery's AGM
Simon Munnery - Buckethead
Simon Farnaby - Lessons Learned Driving A Tractor
Sven Stacy - Showbiz Agent
Andrew Maxwell - This Is My Home
Mark Thomas
Tim Key's Luke and Stella
Tony Law - A Tony Law Show
The Trap
Uncut Confetti - John Hegley
Ben Willbond
Will Smith - 10 Arguments I Should Have Won

That's 53 shows lined up at first glance. Last year I saw 74 different shows, and also found time to see GUD about 7 times. There doesn't seem to be one individual show that stands out as one I'll have to see that many times this year, but there's always the unexpected. And anything where at any point anybody sings, I have to see that at least twice.

I am also excited at the prospect of late night drunken brawling at The Establishment, Spank! ("You love it!"), Late 'n' Live and any other late night shows, along with sitting in the Library and Brooks Bars, and generally staring at the famous.

07 June 2004
I was reading the latest wonderful Dave Eggers short short story in the Guardian magazine yesterday. I only got around to reading it yesterday, because Saturday was spent doing the following:
1. Bringing god daughter to cinema to see latest Harry Potter film.
2. Dissecting film and meaning of film with said god daughter after film.
3. Traveling in to town to see JC and Mrs D.
4. Watching JC on stage, at one point locking the entire audience in to the small sweaty room and suggestion we all have a massive wank. (Nobody seemed to go for the idea. That said, no one seemed to protest against it much either.)
5. Standing in strange bar being chatted up by a man called David who said he wanted to "upgrade" my "happiness". David also said I was the most "natural and beautiful" woman in the bar. I later asked Mrs D what this meant. She said she thinks he meant I had the least make up on.
6. Trying to catch a taxi on Camden Street. For about 4 hours.

So, I was reading the Dave Eggers short short story on Sunday morning while Mrs D chirped down the phone at JC. Mrs D was trying to sound like she wasn't hungover, just to taunt JC who quite obviously was. For the record, I most definitely wasn't, but valium can help to overcome any symptom of any illness ever, so maybe I was but didn't notice. As I read my lovely short short story, I realised that for the first time, Dave had used my name in print, and this must therefore be both his way of acknowledging the special love between us, and also a proposal for my hand in marriage.

I immediately grabbed the phone off of Mrs D and asked JC if he thought this was so - I would have asked Mrs D, but I was looking for a male perspective, and Mrs D has a habit of laughing at the more ridiculous of my questions, whereas JC tends to humour me to the point of encouraging the darker recesses of my madness. Instead of answering the question, though, JC just wondered if every man I was going to marry was called Dave.

And he had a point. Although I hadn't agreed to marry the David in the bar, I have to admit that any man who can find the time to compliment me on my lack of makeup deserves some kind of acknowledgement. The best and most fanciable Dr Who in the world, Peter Davison, had the good grace to at least have the "Dave" sound as part of his name. And even just yesterday morning, my current fiance Dave texted me to apologise for abusive text messages that he had presumed he had sent the night before while drunk. I received no such text messages. Therefore, this Dave was willing to apologise for things that he hadn't even done. Imagine what kind of groveling would take place when actual, real, tangible aberrations had occurred? I could get DVDs and diamonds bought for me on an almost daily basis!

As I was saying to Mrs D the night before she was to go out on a big date, we are neither of us getting any younger - she herself is aging particularly badly, although I'd never say it to her well-worn, lived-in face - and we really should already be married ladies at this stage, able to let ourselves go.

So, this is a public acceptance to Dave Eggers' secret proposal of marriage to me. Mr Eggers, if you could email me to let me know you've received this acceptance, and will be winging your way over to Dublin to begin sharing your wealth with me (for that is what happens when two people are married - the rich one gives the poor one all the money), that'd be great. If I don't hear from Mr Eggers within the next week, my engagement shall continue with the current owner of my heart, Mr Dave from niCe mUm. If I do hear from Mr Eggers, Mr Dave from niCe mUm shall be promoted to be my secret bit on the side, and I shall have everything I need.

04 June 2004
Must. Get off. Computer.

Must. Stop. Surfing.

Must. Stop. Changing. Templates. On. Everything. I'm. An. Administrator. Of.

It's seriously one of those days. I can't peel myself away from doing utterly useless things, like changing the settings on things so that the right time is shown. And stalking Paul McDermott across the internet. And singing along to the same song, over and over again. And trying to find a print out of the symbol I've decided to get tattooed on to my back in Edinburgh. And not actually doing anything I was supposed to do today, and not really being bothered.

Unemployment stinks and rocks in equal measure. The main thing that can be said for not working, and not being able to work, and being willing to work but not able to find a job that suits, and being too lazy to actually work when you do feel okay and being too poor to do anything other than sit on the internet all day is that it really lowers your sense of self worth, but also lowers your ability to really give a toss about it. I am currently embracing my ability to stalk Paul McDermott across the internet, and being quite pleased about it. The Fringe Programme emerges in a matter of days, and I'm crossing all of my appendages that Sulid Gud will be attending August.

Now. To more serious matters. I went back to the child genius doctor who so kindly pumped me full of steroids, anti-inflammatories and anesthetic and called it an "epidural" last January. I saw him yesterday at the hospital, to explain to him that, even though I've now finished physio and hydro, am doing my pilates (nearly) every day and am stretching, exercising, swimming and praying as hard as my little soul will let me, my back is getting worser and worser as the days go by. The eventful day when I tried to go back to work and ended up having to get Mrs D in to town to rescue me was mentioned. My inability to take my socks off on occasion was also brought in to play. The increased use of valium was not mentioned, because I like valium - Valium Is Fun, Kids! - and I didn't want him spoiling my buzz. The intrepid child doctor - does anyone remember Dougie Howser MD? Like him, only younger - took a tiny look at me, asked me to touch my toes (which I can still do with ease) and decided that, yes, he would give me a golden ticket and shove some more steroids right in to my back "in the next few weeks". After that, he said, he was cutting me off for a while.

So hoorah! Rock on Edinburgh! By then, I'll be able to walk, dance, fall down, stand up, jump about and feel no pain! Well, not much pain. Some pain. But not enough to stop me from chasing Paul McDermott down a dark alleyway and bundling him in to the back of a van.

02 June 2004
This might come as a shock announcement for some of you, and be seen as quite a rash decision by others, and possibly even some of the more weak livered of you might faint on the spot at the very idea of this, but I'm going to go ahead and tell you anyway: I'm learning to drive.

I came to this decision not through choice but through a complicated sequence of events. More and more since moving back to Dublin it's been impressed upon me how important it is to carry round proof of your identity. For little things, like buying a mobile phone. For bigger things, like every time you're stopped by the police and/or arrested. And carrying around your passport is a risky business these days, not merely because my photograph isn't the most flattering and I don't like to flash it about all too often. So, I thought to myself, what I'll do is get a driving licence. They're cheap, they're easy, they're durable, it'll be a doddle.

I'm 27. I've never had a driving licence in my life. This is really over 10 years late in arriving, when I think about it. I've been very relaxed about it up until now. But I thought, heck with it, I can't pretend to be a student any more, so I might as well pretend to be an adult.

I mentioned in passing a few months ago to Mrs. D (who, incidentally, doesn't seem as interested in her husband as she once was. Expect a name change soon, Mrs D fans) that I was considering getting a licence, and she of course pointed out to me about these pesky road rules and the fact that we now have to take a written exam on them before being issued with a provisional licence. I ventured the guess that I'd probably breeze through this exam, and she ventured the same thing, and we then sealed in blood a bet of a full THIRTY EURO that must be handed over to the poor simpleton who doesn't manage to pass the full driving test. Oh, okay, not in blood.

I then went ahead with the theory test, which I naturally passed without a bother in the world. No bother at all. Just passed it there and then and went on my merry way. Really, it was that easy. Mrs. D, on the other hand, seems to have hit some kind of stumbling block in terms of her driving abilities, in that she DIDN'T pass the test. And therefore doesn't even have a provisional licence yet. The fool. The non-driving fool.

But then once that had been done, I'd sent off all the forms, certificates, proof of ID and required cheque, it all got a bit out of hand. Yes, I had a lovely bit of paper with a quite-dodgy-but-not-as-bad-as-my-passport photo of me. But then my mother had to go take it a step too far - she's started to teach me to drive.

So far we've been out on three "lessons". These "lessons" consist of driving, on the way back from the gym, to the big carpark in the race course. There we swap seats, she talks me through mirror, clutch, ignition, clutch, first gear, hand break off, clutch, accelorator, car stalls, hand break on, neutral gear, ignition, clutch, first gear, hand break off, accelorate far too fast and go jumping off down the road. Once I can get the car to start at all, you see, then we're off on a winner. I'm good with the speeding up, the going from first to second gear, the turning around (lesson one - "never take your hands off the steering wheel!" - was screamed quite loudly and shrilly at me), and the coming to a complete stop without stalling the engine. It's all, Susan confidently assured me last night, about the clutch control. I'm going to remember that and pass it on to Mrs D tonight. I'm sure she'll be pleased to hear.