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Dreadful Nonsense

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


31 May 2007

Our lovely cat, Smudge, died today, aged 18 years old. Last time I was home in Dublin, she climbed into my suitcase and peed all over my clothes. My suitcase will, forever more, smell slightly of cat wee, and I think that's what she would have wanted.

My About Me page really needs a major overhaul now, since it seems to have just become a memorial to dead animals. The lesson to be learned, Ladies and Gents, is never get all of your pets at or around the same time.

German Efficiency

25 May 2007
One more set of photographs from our holiday in Berlin, and then I swear I'm done. I did take so many thousands, I've got photos of some of the fantastic memorials they have dotted around the city, some very artistic shots that I took from the top of the Reichstag building that I think are fantastic, but are probably just nonsense, and a tremendous number of photographs of plastic bears.

This was my favourite thing about Berlin, besides all of the other things that I have already said on this blog were my favourite things: the graffitti.

I adored this one. It's absolutely huge, and located in the doorway of what looks like an abandoned building but is in fact a five-story multi purpose building which includes three art galleries, a dodgy looking cinema and a top-floor bar that has no windows, only gaps in the walls. This was my MySpaz photo for ages. This is what I think I look like. I don't.

I don't know why I liked this one so much, but I really did. I wanted to see more fat, cartoon versions of rappers, but there weren't any more in this building that I could see.

I also took tons of photos of what can only be described as quite pornographic pieces of art, which I'm not going to post here, because I think one of my god-daughters reads this occassionally and I don't want her becoming corrupted by sights such as those.

(And K, if you do read this, remember: smoking is cool, lie to your parents and virginity is for losers. Okay?)

Last one - we saw this from a train window when we were going from somewhere to somewhere else and I very nearly didn't get my camera out in time to photograph it. I love so many things about it, but mostly I love the fact that they helpfully put each president's surname initial on the body of the drawing, so it's clear who they represent. I'm not sure what point they're trying to make (and I'm not sure if they realise they've missed out a president) but I still really liked it.

Blue lines

22 May 2007
If anyone is still interested in mucking about with my template and making it look a bit better (although I'm getting used to it now), this is kind of what I'd like it to look like:

I took this picture in Kenwood House on Hampstead Heath, which different sites describe as "a feast for the eyes" and is certainly filled head to foot with paintings. We visited it because it was raining outside and it seemed like a good idea to stomp about a preserved cultural residence with wet feet. While He Who Only... was standing staring at paintings and doing his best to look cultured, I found this corridor off one of the rooms and decided it was the best place I'd ever seen. This is what I'd like my entire life to look like: straight lines, clean borders and for goodness sake, no clutter.

I win

20 May 2007
As, I'm assuming, a direct result of this post from last week, the idiots at Mars have taken back their decision to use bits of sheep to make their chocolate more tasty and will instead be joining the righteous in heaven when the day of judgment inevitably comes.

I'm pretty happy about this. Not only does it mean I can continue to walk around the moral high ground looking down at all the meat-chomping idiots shamefacedly stumbling about below, sucking on chicken knuckles, but it also means that I won't, as I had assumed I probably would, have to start eating chocolate bars in the same way that I occasionally used to smoke cigarettes - standing down dark alleyways, getting it over with as quickly as possible, eating mints all the way to get the smell off my breath and burying the wrappings in graveyards at midnight to take the curse away.

Which reminds me. Another thing I really loved about Germany was how much they had embraced the joy of smoking and weren't afraid to tell the world. Not for them to smoking ban in the work place. Not for them separation of the smoker and the non-smoker. Not for them thoughts of health or long life or even just cutting down on the hacking coughs. No. They celebrate all of the joys of smoking, in adverts such as this one which can be found everywhere you look:

Look at the three of them! They're probably at some kind of sex party, and they've come out on to the fire escape for a quick five minute breather before they go back inside for some horribly sordid, probably quite messy group sex involving implements and kitchen utensils.

I loved this poster, and actually developed a minor dance-for-joy every time I saw it. Which was quite often. Brilliant.

UPDATE: I've just checked the Mars website and noticed, along with their franky creepy and kind of Tony Blair-esq hand-wringing apology, that not all of their products are going to be vegetarian friendly from now on. DAMN THEIR EYES. In fact, only "Mars bars, Snickers bars, Galaxy and Maltesers" won't contain those bits of sheep. All the rest will continue to be the product of terrible sheep murder, probably carried out by people who, at the weekends, taunt the homeless.

Again, you total pack of bastards.


18 May 2007
Last weekend, He Who Only... was invited, as he is now a fully-blown (steady now) celebrity, to play in a Charity Crickets Match, which is the kind of thing you'd expect to hear about Bruce Forsyth being involved in.

Here he is, doing his best Brucie impression:

In a former, much younger and less booze soaked point in his life, He Who Only... was quite handy with a cricket bat and one of those little round ball things, and he played for a variety of teams, some of which were quite important. I'm constantly telling people this, because it's very impressive to me, having never once been good at a sport ever. He Who Only... is one of those irritating people who's basically good at every sport he tries out. Apparently. I've only got his word for this.

Despite the fact that we have now been "dating" for almost three years at this point, I had never actually seen him play crickets before last weekend. He was suitably nervous about me watching him perform in the field, since apparently all of his virility can be immediately assessed through sporting performance.

Well, I'm no expert at the game but I was jolly impressed. He made a couple of fantastic diving catches during the first half, some of which even threw his crickets hat off, and I applaud any kind of unnecessarily demonstrative and potentially life-threatening sporting moves in what is essentially a friendly match between two sets of men (and one lady) who are old enough to literally know better.

This hole was there before we got there, honest.

The whole day was just fantastic, set in ridiculously beautiful countryside and on the sprawling grounds of a privately owned estate with breath-taking views every where you could look. In the distance, a glider plane was repeatedly launched and swooped about all afternoon, and just down the dirt track from the cricket grounds a mass of hens stood grazing. There wasn't another house as far as the eye could see, and the eye could see quite far in most directions. God, it was great.

In the second half, I became inadvertently in charge of the score board, as it was being attended to by a nine-year-old and a seven-year-old who kept wandering off to find some cake, and adding on runs whenever they felt the need.

I enjoyed the responsibility, and importantly didn't secretly add runs to He Who Only's... team score because I am both honest and worthy.

Next week we're going to Leeds to watch England play the West Indies (or "Windies", as I shall be calling them, because I know all the lingo). Expect some rivetting expert reports from that soon, probably.

Fish Bladders

17 May 2007
Oh my God, the world has ended for me, life has no meaning and really there’s no point in continuing onward. I am instead going to spend the days that I have remaining to me sitting on my bed, weeping and gnashing my teeth, occasionally breaking off momentarily to shake my fist at the heavens and at other times folding into a fetal position from which I will make no sound at all, and merely rock myself unconscious.

It turns out the Guinness isn’t vegetarian friendly. It’s got bits of fish bladder in it.

It also turns out that some chocolate isn’t vegetarian. It’s got bits of sheep stomach lining in it.

And do you know? I could have continued my life not knowing either of those things, had it not been for the fact that I’m a weak-willed, guilt-wracked Guardian reader, and I’m beginning to think that they secretly delight in upsetting vegetarians because really they despise anyone that holds the same opinion as they do. (I’m also working on the theory that the Daily Mail works in exactly the same way, although, instead of vegetarians, they are constantly trying to upset the white middle class bigots who read their paper.)

I applaud the Mars company for making the moral decision to announce that they’re chopping up sheep bits and adding them to their Milky Ways, really I do, but dammit all to hell, I could have happily continued to eat them forever more, often more than once a day, if the bastards had kept their dirty little secret to themselves.

Fish bits I may be able to tolerate in my food – I have to admit that, in the past, I’ve been half way through a salad before realising that it’s Caeser Salad Dressing on my lettuce, which therefore means that there are some ever-so-tiny bits of anchovies floating about in mouth, and I’ve taken the executive decision to push the rest of the meal aside and pretend that it’s not happening rather than start crying, make myself vomit and ruin everyone else’s dinner. But I’m not sure I can knowingly sit down with a Bounty or Maltesers any time soon and do the same thing because now I know it’s there, it’s going to make me retch, or at least feel as much guilt as I would while bludgeoning a Labrador puppy to death.

People, I’ve got few principles left in my life that I’m attempting to stick to. I’ve long stopped tutting at people who drop litter, I occasionally drink fizzy drinks from cans and then can’t be ARSED to bring them to a recycling bin, I once killed a man just to watch him die, but the corporate stains at Guinness are making it VERY DIFFICULT INDEED for me to continue to be a good person, and I’m standing on the verge of becoming a pescetarian JUST SO I CAN GET A DECENT DRINK.

I’m never going to be able to eat Mars chocolate again though. You absolute bastards.


16 May 2007
Irritatingly, the same glitch that's stopping my posts from registering an author and a time is also stopping comments being attributed to anyone. Therefore I've turned off blogger comments for the time being, and will be installing the same comments that I had for the last version of the blog. Hopefully this will mean that the old comments that y'all previously left for me way back when will come back again, and also I should avoid some of the terrifyingly anti-semetic spam that's already been posted three times on the blog in the last 24 hours.

Thanks for leaving comments if you already have. I think in the meantime I'd like you to tell me how pretty the blog is looking through the mediums of emails and pesonal cheques.

Your patience during this time is greatly appreciated.


UPDATE: I've now put the Haloscan comments on. Unfortunately everything that's been said before now, both good and bad, have been deleted and lost forever. Sorry about that, especially if, like Lorraine or Carol, you've recently been hilariously funny in comments. Please feel free to re-post everything you've ever said before.

FURTHER UPDATE: Comments have, frustratingly, disappeared again. I think I've messed up the coding by putting them on two different blogs, and so will need to re-register and blah blah you don't really care. But yes. Sorry about that.

New Template

15 May 2007
Hello the ladies and the gentlemen,

Here at the Nest'O'Love, it's been a hive of activity all day as I've been sitting at the computer, upgrading the Beta Blogger template and then crying and attempting to throw myself out of the window when it turned out that that's a terrible idea. Once I'd calmed down and come to terms with the fact that my blog was ruined forever, I was able to go about some forums and work out how to revert back to the old blogger style templates, in order to put in some more simple template that I had found in the internet designed kindly by some lovely people who appreciate straight lines and fully justified text.

This is, therefore, the result of about four hours of work, three of which were spent trying to make one of the naff beta blogger templates look acceptable. I never quite managed to do that, but you should have heard the ecstatic cries of triumph when I managed to reduce the spacing between the list of archived months. I think the neighbours may think I'm having some kind of torrid affair while He Who Only... is out at work.

So, I am now experimenting with having titles and labels for my posts, as this template apparently accepts both. Let me know what you think about it, please.

Also, if you're one of those people who understands things like this, can you please let me know:

1. How can I re-arrange the archives so that it starts with the most recent first and goes backwards to 2001?
2. How the hell do I get rid of the stupid bullet points?
3. Why does it no longer say "posted by Shazzle at

'Ello, 'ello, 'ello

11 May 2007
Photo for today:

The joys of living in London and commuting out to North London every day on the same overland line that services a major football stadium means that every now and again, particularly when there's some kind of mid-week London derby happening, I got to be accompanied home by the police and a mass of chanting, frightening, drunken, fat football fans. It's always a joy.

The girl on the phone is calling to inform someone important that, according to the men singing two carriages down, Thierry Henry has many unusual sexual preferences.


10 May 2007

I'm planning on, very very soon, doing a bit old overhaul of the blog, with the primary aim of making it look not so damn ugly and actually legible on Firefox, since that's what we use at home and I'm bored of looking at it every evening and sighing.

Unfortunately, since I'm still a nonsense at html coding, I'm going to have to use a boring blogger template and try to work around it to make it more interesting. I've got some ideas about what I think the perfect blog template for me looks like - I've even got a photo of something I saw last weekend that sent raptures through me - but in the mean time it'll be quite basic. Basic is still good, I think.

In the meantime, I'm going to try and go through everything I'm holding in "drafts" and post it up regardless of how old it is. Therefore, here is the first in a series of photographs that have absolutely no relation to the post preceeding it - I present He Who Only... and his brother sitting on railings in Brighton. Many thanks.

OTB post

08 May 2007

*NB - It's very important to note that this entry is entirely my opinion and doesn't purport to represent the opinion of my boyfriend, who is a lot more rational than I am about things like this*

We were sploshing through the rain yesterday afternoon, walking through the torrential downpour, heading to Hamstead Heath because that’s what we’d decided we’d do on Friday (when it was sunny) and we were at that moment too angry to think about doing anything else.

The anger came from someone saying something nasty about something He Who Only… spent a good six months of his life making. To bring y’all up to speed, He Who Only… has written a radio comedy show with his boyfriend Kris. The first episode was broadcast last Thursday on BBC Radio 2 at 11.30pm and repeated again last Saturday on BBC Radio 2 at 1.30pm. It’s called On The Blog. You can listen to it here.

It’s received some awesomely excellent press coverage, and they’ve been drenched by a golden shower of critical acclaim from every broadsheet newspaper in the country, along with many listings magazines. He Who Only…’s Mum likes it too. It’s all been wonderfully positive, culminating on Sunday in an appearance on Pick Of The Week. That’s right. Pick Of The Week.

And then on Sunday He Who Only… came across this, and we were left so angry that we had to walk through torrential rain for 20 minutes before sitting in a sodden huddle on the train for another 20 minutes, because our brains couldn’t cope with anything other than suppressing the furious howling that threatened to erupt from either of us at any moment.

In short, a lady blogger has written nasty things about my boyfriend’s show, and I’m not happy.

But in longer than that, having very quickly checked her blog (which is helpfully linked right off this article), I got even angrier. You see, this lady seems so terribly upset about the way that she feels bloggers have been portrayed in the media. She feels the need to right this wrong by writing up some factual inaccuracies (Caroline Quentin hasn’t appeared in a radio comedy for over 7 years, for example) and dressing them up as journalism. She feels the need to defend all bloggers from the accusation that they’re all like the main character in the show (which is something the show never claimed to do – does anyone actually think that everyone who keeps a diary is like Adrian Mole? Or Bridget Jones? Or Anne Frank?)

And yet. She doesn’t care enough about this topic to actually mention it once on her actual blog. The one place you would assume she is free to express this self-righteous rage that has bubbled up from within. The one place in the world where her honest opinion about everything she wants to lash out against can be safely housed. But no, not a squeaky mention of this show that drove her to her 650-word diatribe. I believe this is because she doesn’t actually give a hot crap about the radio show one way or the other, and has actually just been paid to have this opinion. To use her very words: “Do I seem grumpy about this? Yes, I am. You bet your arse I am.”

I’d be very hypocritical to not point out right now that I’ve also been paid, in my shame filled past, to be angry about comedy shows I didn’t like. Like Anna, I’ve been given a word count and asked to do my worst. But the thing is, if I saw a show that I thought was fabulous, I also blogged about it. If I saw a show I thought was terrible rubbish, I also blogged about it. She, like me, has been blogging since 2001 – blogging about things that make you angry or upset or delighted or frightened or sleepy or hungry becomes second nature.

I’m pissed off about many things to do with this article, and also the gormless comments that followed it (I’m annoyed at the comments merely because most of them start with the phrase “I haven’t heard this show but…” – you know what? If you haven’t heard the show, fuck the fuck off and stop commenting on something you don’t have any right to have an opinion on, you vacuous numb wit).

Anna is of course entitled to hold her very wrong opinion about the show. She’s absolutely allowed to say that she doesn’t find it funny, and to give the reasons why (with the added disclaimer that she's not, of course, a comedy or radio critic). What I don’t think she should be entitled to do is to deliberately and wilfully misinterpret a radio show that two people have put a lot of time and effort into just to make some lame and absolutely unnecessary point about how not all people who use the internet are social misfits. We know that already, Anna. Please feel free to move on.

That last bit? It's just a joke.

06 May 2007
Okay, this is getting ridiculous. I keep setting myself all of these targets – if I blog up all of these pictures in the next couple of days then I’ll be caught up; or hunting out lists from other people’s blogs, thinking that might spur me into action (I was even eyeing up the Q&A that’s featured in the Guardian magazine every weekend - but that way lies madness). The problem lies, as it usually does, in there being one or two big things happening that I really want to blog about but that I can’t: obviously here I’m talking about work. I can’t blog about work, as I found out recently to my horror that potential employers are googling my name and finding this site.

You forget, you see, when you write stuff on your site that’s just up there to amuse your boyfriend or your sisters or your former housemate who now lives in New Zealand that other people might one day come across the crap that you’ve written and not take it in the manner in which it was intended. I like to think that the tone of this blog is one akin to the tone taken in late night pub conversations. Sure, you mean everything you say at the time, and it all seems like a really good idea, and yes, I am very pleased to hear that I’m your best friend and that we’ll be best friends forever, but no one actually expects you to go through with running the marathon or climbing Everest, even though the night before it did seem like a really good idea.

So stuff said here should always (a) be taken completely serious and (b) ignored completely, in exactly the same breath. Future potential employers should also note that I am very much a team player, but happy to work independently, and I want a job that’s both challenging and stretches me. I’m very flexible in terms of overtime and I do love to be kept busy. I’ll also give blow jobs for promotions.

Many thanks.