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Dreadful Nonsense

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

Two hours and One lifetime

20 December 2007
For once, I didn't announce my impending tattoo-age, didn't try to get votes or opinions on designs or contents or locations. I didn't really discuss it with anyone, which is pretty strange for me - usually He Who Only... is bored beyond reason with endless back and forth before I finally come to a decision, and that can be on a topic like what I should eat for lunch. But this time round, it just felt right.

Well, I say it felt right. It felt uncomfortable for the first hour, and the last twenty minutes felt downright fucking agonising. Note to self: tattoos hurt.

So, ladies, gents, people who aren't my facebook friends and therefore haven't seen this before, may I present to you my red-raw, literally just finished, photograph taken by Mie, the lady who designed the tatt and then scarred me for life over a period of two hours:

I think you'll agree: it's fucking huge.

I had gone to a total of four appointments with Mie getting the design right. I brought the drawing in with me the first time, saying "I want to get this done", and she said, right, fine, I'll go away and do up a design. I came back for the second appointment, and she'd drawn something utterly hideous. The angel was facing the same direction; after that, there was no similarity. It was wearing a dress. It had feathery wings. It had a perm. It had eyes, and a nose. It was a girl. It was so disappointing, I nearly cried. I said, no, getting the picture out again - "I want this done". She said, right, fine, I'll go away and do another design.

For my third appointment, I came back with very low expectations and had pretty much decided it probably wasn't going to happen, at least not until I found someone who understood what I wanted, and then Mie whipped out the design and it was utterly brilliant. Not perfect, but the wings were right and the shape was right, the flow of it worked, she understood so much better what I was going for. So I corrected two or three things that still annoyed me, and then we were done.

The shading and size were entirely down to her - I couldn't quite picture it past what she had sketched, but I love the look of it now. Me and He Who Only... were staring at this picture last night (I obviously can't see it very well, even in the mirror, and I've already done some serious damage to my neck over the last few days craning to see it) and I love the way it looks like it's been airbrushed on.

Most of all I adore the way it just floats. It's just... there. It doesn't look like something that could have caused pain, it looks to me when I catch a glimpse like it's always been there. I've wanted to get this for about three years and I'm so pleased now that I have. People over the last few days have been starting up again with the "but you'll regret it when you're 60..." line again, and I am fucking looking forward to regretting it in my 60s, because that will mean I'm still alive. I hope to continue regretting it right up to my 80s, when you won't even be able to see it through my wrinkled folds. Picture that. Go on.

Yesterday and today, it's been itchier than I've been able to stand, and I think that's been worse than the pain from the first couple of days after. Flakes of skin are galloping off it and every time I give my back a gentle rub, it snows down disturbing flakes of grey and black. The colour looks to me like it's changed even since these photos were taken. It's less well defined, less dark and it's starting to fade back into the skin. Already I can put my hand on my back and am not able to feel where the wing is any more. Soon I'll forget it's even there.

In the meantime, I've now to go out and buy a whole new wardrobe filled with backless tops.

I thank you.

I don't know about you, but I've been drinking

08 December 2007
We've been together over three years now, and have been living together for over two and a half of those years. We've managed to pretend to like an awful lot of things that the other person likes, and therefore we spent much of our free time - the time not spent locked in an office forced to be polite to rich people for money - together. Sometimes I go to the gym, sometimes he goes to watch football matches, once a week I go to talk to suicidal people and he spends his time breaking and fixing my computer and laptop, but almost every evening we spent the vast majority of our time together: me invading his personal space and messing with his hair, him singing songs that he makes up on the spot about whatever he can see and telling me to stop touching him with my cold, cold hands.

Tonight, he is out with his male friends, having their Annual Gentlemen's Christmas Dinner, an event to which wives and girlfriends are explicitly omitted. I have spent most of this afternoon asking him what I should do.

I don't know, he keeps responding, do whatever you want to do.

Oh, that's fine for him to say - what I want to do is annoy him by messing with his hair and creeping up to him when he's not expecting it and putting my icy cold hands directly onto his kidney so he screams with the pain and shock of it. What I want to do is ask him the same question over and over until he leaves the room shaking his head. What I want to do is stare at him when he's trying to read a book because I know that puts him off. What I want to do is ask him to tell me about things like war and planes and military strategy and then have a lovely nap while he goes into unnecessary historical detail. What I don't want to do is have to entertain myself.

I've documented this already on this side, but damn you all to Hades, I'm going to document it again: I've lost the ability to entertain myself. When you live with someone who is literally paid to entertain the nation, you forget to flex the muscles that allow you to come up with your own amusement. I mean, why go out for something when you've got something better at home, as the meat-based, misogynistic expression doesn't go. And now that he's not here to irritate or to get me things when I ask him to in that whiny voice that I have, I don't know what to do.

I've got a list as large as my own arms of what I could be doing: writing an essay on person-centered counselling, for a kick off, or cleaning the bathroom, watching the french film my friend gave me for my birthday or finally finishing the book by Dave Eggers that I started reading in August. I could be answering the first of the questions on the genetics course that I've singularly failed to keep up with, or I could be cleaning up the kitchen cupboards. Scrubbing down the bath that the plumber has left filled with muddy footprints. Staring at the Christmas decorations. Sleeping. I could be doing all of these things. And yet. I'm basically just sitting about, at a loss.

It's so strange to reflect on the fact that, three and a half years ago, I didn't think that my life was missing anything. I didn't feel a gap that needed filling or any kind of urge to run out and find me a life partner, and yet now that I've got someone that looks like he may well fill that role, I don't know what I ever did without him and his ridiculously brilliant hair or his stupid songs or his irritating habit of pairing up his socks when he puts them into the wash basket, or the way he manages to literally flood the bathroom just by washing his face. I didn't have these things before, and I didn't think I needed them, but now that I've been left without them for one evening, I don't know what to do.

Ver Batum

06 December 2007

I got a voicemail from my landlord, asking me to call him straight back.

The transcript of the conversation:

“Can I speak to [name of landlord], please?”
“Who’s calling?”
“Shazzle from [name of building]”


“He’s not taking any calls.”
“Oh, he just left a message asking me to call him straight back.”
“Oh. I’ll check.”


“He’s not taking any calls.”
“Okay. Can you please let him know I returned his call?”
“I just told him that.”

And then he hangs up on me.


02 December 2007
Today, thankfully, there were no more tree-based disappointments. Waking up with this morning's hangover, we braved the wind and rain lashing North London and took the five minute stroll up the road to where, once more, we expected a large choice of trees - and the Best Christmas Tree You've Ever Had! if the poster was to be believed. Any tree would be an improvement on yesterday. And trees there were!

Loads of trees! We considered about three trees before deciding definitely on the fourth. Oh yes, we said to each other, this one's all fat at the bottom and has lots of layers, and hmm, yes, we nodded at each other, this one's also all even around the base and goes up in a pleasingly even manner and, mmm, absolutely, we wisely agreed with each other like the tree experts we definitely are, this is the one for us. This one. This massive six foot tree right here.

It was only the nice little Scottish man said that we'd have to pay £38 for the monstrosity that we'd chosen that we saw the error of our ways. For a start, it was far too tall to fit into our flat, and also it was far too big and fat the fit into the space we have in our flat for trees, but most importantly, that is far too much to pay for some dead wood.

So instead we got this beauty, and I think you'll agree we chose very wisely:

We also, because we're so very, very cheap, decided to fashion our own stand using a washing up bowl and some bricks stolen from the building site next door. It's worked out very well. This is He Who Only..., beginning the first of the many hundreds of thousands of "tweaks" he will apply to the tree to try and get it straight throughout the month of December and, hell why not, way into January as well:

And then I got to work.

I love me some sparkles. My entire house would look like it was decorated for Christmas all the year round, if I didn't think that it would take the specialness out of this one month. But I'd quite like to be like the shops, and start putting up decorations in October, rather than having to wait until December. (That one unexpected extra day without decorations yesterday? That nearly broke my heart. I spent some time with a suicidal lady last night and all I could think was "Huh. You think you've got problems? I DIDN'T GET A TREE TODAY. Yeah, that's right. I know suffering.")

BUT ANYWAYS. Here's the tree by the time I'd finished jumping around like a six year old on crack:

This photo simply doesn't do it justice. It looks so great, I cry a little bit with joy every time I look at it. And it smells delicious. And every single bit of it twinkles a little every time a bus goes round the corner outside and the building shakes. I can't wait until the road works start outside tomorrow at 7am. I'll be in the front room with the curtains closed and the lights off, just watching the magic of Christmas and wishing I had some puppies to cuddle and share the joy with.

As always, Mr Tony Bear is taking pride of place as Our Christmas Bear. He loves the attention.

He's not quite the traditional fairy at the top of the tree, granted, but let's just say that Mr Tony Bear is a Confirmed Bachelor, has a lot of close male friends and prefers the single life. If you know what I mean.


01 December 2007
The plan had been to get up this morning for 8am to head down to the church at the end of the road which has had a sign up in the car park for the last three weeks, which has promised Christmas Trees - and not just Christmas Trees, but "the best Christmas Tree you've ever had!" which is quite a big promise. Thankfully, we dumped that plan at around 1am last night, when we finished our last beer and realised that shopping for a Christmas Tree first thing on a Saturday morning while still drunk would have been quite silly.

Instead, we wandered up at a more reasonable 12.30pm, complete with hangovers, and realised the car park was still filled with promise, rather than Christmas Trees.

Tragically, the Christmas Tree delivery so eagerly anticipated by most of North London had not arrived. There are no trees.

Therefore, I'm currently sitting in a flat filled with anticipation and unhung baubles. These baubles, I must add, are some of the best decorations I've ever seen. Look at them. They look like your hangover just threw up: