Friday, 30 March 2007
So, I'm kind of nearly finished my packing and must report. Earlier this month I raised howls of laughter at the suggestion that I might travel light, particularly from those who witnessed my gargantuan suitcase that I took with me to Finland. Well I've done it. The entire Flying Martini's luggage consists of one largeish rucksack, two small rucksacks, one handbag, one laptop and one child's rucksack. Ha! Read it and weep!
Just been on to the airport website to see if they are still making us put our makeup (and other liquids) in the hold (12 hours without reapplying lippy! The horror! The horror!) but they have relaxed the restrictions somewhat. You can take a certain amount of liquids but the must be in a Ziplocked bag. That's all well and good but I discovered this after going to Tesco this morning where I'm sure there was Ziplock galore but unfortunately little Somerfield in the Machar have none.
Improvisation is not an option, the airport site specifically says that only Ziplock bags must be used and I can only conclude from this that a sturdy Ziplock plastic bag is able to contain an explosion, thus minimising the threat to those in the vicinity. Who knew? Surely it's only a matter of time before the Home Office issues a directive that all people travelling to and from the UK (and indeed within our borders) must themselves be in Ziplocked bags, so as to counteract the threat of the suicide bomber. Genius!
Anyway, what the blazes am I doing on the computer? I've still got heaps to do before tommorrow and crucially only 30 minutes til the "Wonderpets" are over on Nickelodeon and Eve starts wanting to "help".
So the next blog may come from Thailand….
In the words of Russell Brand,
Wednesday, 28 March 2007
Let's look at why it's been the best idea Scotland has had since Mr Fleming found some mould in a coffee cup that he'd left under his bed, that he had an idea might fight infection. (We've invented all the best stuff by the way, it's easy to think that just because we're crap at football, we must be crap at everything else. As I write we're 1-0 down to Italy...)
So why is the smoking ban a top idea:
- You don't stink like Deirdre Barlow's thermal vest everytime you wake up from a night out.
You don't have to deny yourself an outfit cos it's dry clean only and will cost you £7.50 in dry cleaning everytime you so much as look at a pub or club.
- Friendships have been made as smokers stand together in the cold outside pubs…aw bless…I like to see the stats on how many weddings have taken place from people who met in the smoking area outside a pub. Just think they can go halfers on an iron lung…So beautiful.
- The pubs haven't gone out of business. People still want to go out with their mates. They are not individually sat at home on their own with 50 Malboro and a carry out.
- Young people are less likely to have a cigarette whilst pissed in a pub- cos they can't! (That's how I started- gave up in 1997) Again great to see stats on how many people's first fag was one that they lit the wrong end of, or set their hair on fire because they were hammered. The figures will be high.
- Dying of lung cancer isn't an occupational hazard if you want to work in the hospitality industry anymore.
- You never ever have to eat a meal in restaurant and nearly have a stroke getting upset about the git in the table next to you who lights up just as your meal arrives and blows smoke over your toddler sitting in the high chair directly in the blue smoke stratos.
- Public places are cleaner generally. White walls ARE white, not "nicotine sunset". And the seats in pubs are not like a pair hookers tights; grubby and full of holes.
- (Hooker's tights….my metaphors are so poetic, kind of Shakesperian, I think…"Shall I compare thee to a Hooker's tights, thou art so stained and full of bombers….")
- This is a corker. It's just not like Scotland to be a forerunner in the health stakes. We stink at everything else and are a nation of pie eating, binge-drinking liabilities, but we are a nation ahead of our time on this one. England still can't get this law passed. What's wrong with you people, if the fag addicted Scots and Irish can do it so can you! Now all we have to do to further improve our health is put a ban on the production of Lorne Sausage.
- You can now take your kids for a pub lunch. I would never have done that before. I once took baby Louis briefly into Ma Camerons as the staff had a present for him when he was born (John and I were regulars before our social life was severely curtailed.) Anyway after a fifteen minute visit where he was handed round the bar by cooing ladies, I took the boy home and his previously divinely smelling baby hair smelled of smoke. I was horrified.
- Can I just point out that I did not visit the bar at 11.30pm on a Friday night with the bairn…just in case any of you are thinking of phoning the "social".
- It's not cool to smoke anymore, it's just bloody freezing to stand outside with your legs turning corn-beef in your mini skirt and wedges. Mmmm attractive, girls!
- And what a hassle- nipping out every five minutes for a smoke- you'll lose your seat when you go out, and miss half of what's going on in the bar, and it being Scotland, you'll get your hair-do rained on or blown to hell and back. Not worth it.
- Are the tobacco manufacturers losing heaps of money? Let's hope so. They've had it pretty good for too long. You lied to us, cigarettes didn't make us sexy! They just gave us bad skin, brown teeth and buggered up our insides!
So long may the ban reign, and let's hope that Wales find it as good as we have when their ban starts next month. England are due to start it soon but still can't make up their minds about how far to go. Not the English as such, just the MPs. At the moment they're arguing over whether it's just for the unwashed or if the posh nobs in private gentlemen's clubs have to pitch in too. They are actually discussing this. In a serious manner. Like it's a reasonable argument. For real. No really. It's true.
So, here's Jerry's Final Thought:
It might take a generation to really make a huge difference to the nation's health but this is the best thing we've ever done up here. That and inventing the telly. (It's amazing the stuff you get done when there's no telly to distract you....)
Pinch of snuff, anyone?
Tuesday, 27 March 2007
Now I've looked into this and I can't believe that a bigger deal isn't being made. Is it ALL public photography by anybody, or are we talking about some kind of measures to protect public figures against the paparazzi? If the former then we must surely sign this petition to get this bill refused.
The petition is here if you feel strongly:
If it's the latter, then Victoria Beckham's career is at last well and truly over, and we can take to the streets and rejoice!
Beckham yesterday "Oh is that a camera, I hadn't noticed. Oh I feel violated" *Strikes a pose*
Doesn't she look like the Daughter of David Dickinson?
Mmmm still not sure. Don't we have press freedom? Why should this strata of celebrity and public figures be protected anyway? And I think it's a good thing that people don't have any right to copyrighting their own image. ( n.b. If anyone wants to get t-shirts printed with "The Misssymartin Misssives" and a big photo of me, then go ahead...and put me down for twenty).
So, is carrying a camera going to become as unacceptable as waiving a loaded gun around in a shopping centrewhilst foaming at the mouth? Do I have to clear the beach or get everybody on it to sign a waiver if I want to take a photograph of my own family?
We already have a situation in Aberdeen where any council owned amenity will stop you from taking a photograph of your own child. Ok, I can see the reason for banning photographs in a swimming pool, but in the ice rink? In a public park? Last year we took King Louis skating for the first time and like normal parents we wanted a gazillion pics of the Golden Boy flailing around for posterity. Within seconds of me producing a camera, a sixteen year old attendant practically rugby tackled me (artistic licence is a wonderful thing...) and declared that I could not take a photograph of my own son. I was unsuitably chastised and left to feel like a little bit ashamed.
So at first reading of this petition I was outraged at this FURTHER gross infringement of our civil liberties and of course as a teacher of television production and sometime video producer I was concerned at the potentially enormous ramifications. As it is i have to fill in umpteen forms to even take my students out the front door of the college! So I looked into the background of the chap who has lodged the petition, Simon Taylor, who is a photographer. You can have a look at his page too, if you want:
This is what he says:
"I have been been inundated with requests for details regarding the petition I have started at the Number 10 e-petition site. I have NOT said that a bill is in preparation, or that legislation is being prepared, but am referring to the ID cards proposed by various bodies which will serve to create an 'uber class' of photographer, and restrict the use of cameras by normal citizens. These cards will only further the suspicion and misunderstandings that many photographers already suffer." Not exactly clear is it? More digging required...
But no, it's not about celebrities, it's the latest ineffectual clamp down on peodophiles! It appears that in London Ken Livingston is proposing to erect sign that prohibits photography on certain streets of London to protect children. And apparently there will be moves to spread these "measures" further afield. Thank God for that! That'll show the bastards! Child pornography will surely be wiped out as a result of this! Well done, Ken! run kids, run free, the streets are safe!
no, this will only effect those people that these measures claim to protect. Families. So everyone is a paedophile if they have a camera? I can't take photos of my own family? I can't take photos of a street scene in which the general public with their kids are going about their business? Could I be looking at being physically restrainted by some Serpico wannabe as soon as I whip out the Instamatic?
Who ever thought that a Labour govenment would be this ...well....despotic? I remember my friend's parents having their camera taken off them in 1980s Poland for taking a photos of a train whilst on holiday. This was the story they told to illustrate the restrictions of a communist way of life compared to ours back in the UK. And yet, this is the way were going over here. All because of a handful of people whom the govenment are at a loss as to how to control. People who are actually at home downloading nastiness on their computers, rather than hiding behind bushes with along lens trying to get photos they could easily find in a Kay's Catalogue.
Austin Mitchell MP has already proposed an early day motion against the start of a rather pernicious trend. Here it is:
"That this House is concerned about the welfare of children and supportive of all efforts to protect their innocence, but nonetheless considers that recent panic measures against photographers taking entirely innocent pictures of children and young people in public places is both unnecessary and unfair; believes such interventions slur both photography and photographers, from professionals to amateurs, in ways which can only inhibit photography, as well as diminishing the joys of this people's art, and imputing guilt to the natural and desirable efforts of photographers to still time, and record the beauties of the UK; further believes that the Mayor of London should think again about his proposal to erect warning signs in parks, and his preposterous warnings that digital photography used to `photograph children in public places in London' is some kind of threat, and that this is calculated only to create fear of photographers and generate an unnecessary panic about any photography at all in public places, as if users of digital and camera phones are all potential paedophiles; and commends the campaign launched by Amateur Photographer to warn against such officious and official follies and to protect photographers in general from victimisation and any imputations of guilt, about taking pictures of children in whatever open public place they happen to be."
Anyway, I don't know how any of you feel about this but I'll leave it up to you. Personally I think I remember reading somewhere that we live in a free society.
Sunday, 25 March 2007
I am so excited about it that everything else in my head is taking place in front of a pink neon sign flashing the name "Thailand" over and over again. Every time someone speaks to me I am kind of listening to what they say but in my head I've got my wee voice singing, "I'm going to Thailand! I'm going to Thailand!" over and over again like white noise in the background.
So this week I am warning everyone who may come across me that I'm pretty much going to be in annoying demob mode. I've got three days of work to go and I'm not going to be at my best. There may be quite a lot of the teaching method commonly known in educational theory as "F.O.F.O" (that's F**k Off and Find Out) in my lesson plans this week whilst I write lists of what I'm packing and go on websites that have other people's Thailand experiences to get me in the mood. Some don't use the term F.O.F.O, they call it "directed study" I believe, but they're fooling nobody.
I may even do a shot breakdown analysis of "The Beach" for my TV students masquerading as directing theory, when in fact it's going to be the equivalent of me watching Judith Chalmers on "The Holiday Programme" at home on the sofa with a box of chocs. I won't be choosing the scene where the shark attacks the bloke and they leave him to die, by the way…
(Of course if my boss is reading can I just point out that quite a lot of what I say in these blog is tongue in cheek and as usual I will be giving an exemplary performance this week, as indeed, all weeks.)
So I'm sorry if I bug you this week, or if I mention it a million times but I can't remember being this excited since I was a kid. Remember when you were a kid and you were going on your holidays or were excited about Christmas day and you would pee the bed? Just me then…..? Hang on, can I just confirm that I have not peed myself in excitement.
Again….tongue in cheek.
Any way, I will be keeping a regular blog whilst in Thailand and I hope that you'll enjoy reading it, even if you are all sick of me by then.
Friday, 23 March 2007
"According to reports, Melissa (the nanny in question), is planning to include details of Madonna's constant demands on her……Madonna also believes that the book will claim to blow the lid on her carefully constructed image and paint her as a woman obsessed with her age and failing looks".
"Ten Years Younger"
"What Not to Wear"
Gillian McBeast's, "You are what you eat"
McBeast...If this is what pumpkin seeds do to you, I'll pass, thanks..
These are only a few of the current telly programmes designed to make us all unhappy with ourselves. There are even more in early development as we speak:
"Get off your arse you fat cow!" (that's one I've got currently in development)
"Put down the Twix and Dance !"(to be hosted by Fearne Cotton, she turned up at my door yesterday and just walked in. Well she does appear to be in absolutely everything else, why not my actual living room?)
"Ugh! you're too ugly to live!" (Trinny and Susannah pick three random Fuglies and we phone in to vote which one gets executed. The others get made over)
I delete photos of me on the computer that I don't like (my mum used to rip up photos of her that she didn't like when the holiday snaps that came back from the chemists and we used to think her insane).
Madonna Last week
Madonna the week after
Madonna the week after that.
What of course we haven't seen is any pictures of Madonna ginger when the peroxide didn't take properly.I do this every year. I get sick of the blonde bits and can't be bothered going to the hairdressers, so I semi permanent my hair brunette and it ALWAYS ends up too dark. This happened this week, and as I remember it happened around the same time last year. Here I am:
No this is actually me, (not much difference is there?)
Now do you know who I mean?
I look like Siouxsie or a Banshee. Or worse, like that woman off the Daz ads and, Dream Team and Coronation Street. You know the one- looks like an even tartier Kat Slater from Eastenders:
Notice how though I say these things "happen" to me, like I've no free will. Well they do- something happens where my conscious gets a Vulcan Death grip and Inner Gill comes out to play.
Inner Gill has been messing about with my hair since we were aged 14. Inner Gill is responsible for disasters in the name of Henna, Nice and Easy, Movida, Sun in, Boots own Highlighting kit, Nutrisse, Rhubarb, Lemon Juice, Camomile Leaves (complete with greenfly) and Cochineal.
Inner Gill has single handedly caused the tears that follow when my hair has ended up shades of Cilla Black, to Annie Lennox ginger (circa 1983), to Myra Hindley blonde or in the sink.Inner Gill has cost me a small fortune in going to a qualified colour technician to get said disasters put right. Every time I colour my own hair it never works out yet Inner Gill cannot leave it alone. Maybe I should see an exorcist.
Years will go past where I faithfully go and see colour technician, Michelle who does a grand professional job for a not inconsiderable sum. But Inner Gill always lurks. I suspect there is also an Inner Madonna convincing her to tamper with her locks, put on silly bras and daft tights in an attempt to divert everyone's attention from the fact that like the rest of us she's human and starting to change with age.
At least my Inner Gill is not as bad as Amy Winehouse's Inner Amy- have you seen those awful prison tattoos?
Hmmm...at least hair can be cut off.....
Inner Gill's starting to look less malevolent as each second goes by....
Thursday, 22 March 2007
I asked for a topic this week and my respondents have suggested a variety of things but I have decided on one. Miss Georgie has asked me to blog on packing for yer holidays and I think since I'm on the cusp of my trip to Thailand that this would be a good idea and would get me in the mood. So here goes...
Last year there was a bomb scare at Heathrow in July and thousands of pieces of luggage were lost as a result. Friends of mine (A and K) were travelling back from
So even though Heathrow have a warehouse full of lost luggage with tags attached, it is too much to ask that they actually sort through it all and sent it back to the rightful owners? Apparently so, it's much easier just to fling the lot on a bonfire. I've stopped asking A about it as he starts to whine like a wounded dog and his eyes well up with tears.
This puts everything into perspective. Never pack anything in your suitcase you can't live without. In fact there is a lot to be said for not even having a suitcase! I'm serious!
Secondly, if you lose your luggage don't rely on your travel insurance to foot the bill. Recently my son left his Nintendo on a plane and as soon as we hit the tarmac he realised, but they wouldn't let us back on the plane to get it, no matter how much we pleaded. When one of the airport staff was dispatched to find it on our behalf, they came back empty handed. We put in an insurance claim complete with a police report as obviously someone had nicked it.
Two weeks later we got a letter back saying that we should have "acted as if we weren't insured" and we had been negligent and would not be getting our Nintendo replaced. What the blazes is that all about? We didn't reverse over the flipping thing nonchalantly in a steamroller, or deep fry it for a laugh or try to work it underwater! "Act as if we were uninsured?????" My blood is still boiling. I think I tore at the letter with my teeth growling, I was so angry.
So in theory, I'm of the opinion that you should always travel light whenever possible and that you should always have the things you can't live without in your hand luggage.
So let's start with hand luggage. Essential items for my lot are:
- Credit card
- Baby wipes
- Travel docs
- Clean pants
- Contact lenses
- Essential medication
- Travel Guide
Take all this stuff and I'm good for twenty four hours. So why can't I apply this to my every day life? For example, you should see the state of my handbag. This is what's actually in my handbag right now:
- £6.89 and a twenty cent trinidadian cent coin
- Credit card
- Debit card
- Two packs of paper hankies
- Heaps of makeup in a makeup bag
- Three emergency fallback lipsticks
- Copy of Grazia
- "Suite Francais" by Irene Nemerovsky
- The kittens' identity chip registrations
- A toothbrush
- A plastic bangle that Eve got free from a Barbie magazine
- Five biros (one leaking)
- An exploded blusher that has coloured everything pinky brown
- A roll on deodorant
- A Christmas card(?)
- A hair band
- A hairbrush that CSI would have a field day with
- A tube of Mars Black acrylic paint
- A paint brush
- A train ticket to
- Car and house keys
- Lip balm x 3
- Miscellaneous receipts
- What looks like a forty year old tampon.
So there's theory and then there's practice. Will I pack the essentials next week or will the baggage operative struggle to get my case into the hold? Watch this Myspace.
There is a certain couple of people in my Myspace friends list that went with me to
Monday, 19 March 2007
My friends Keith and Sarah had a lovely wee baby girl, Katie, this morning and I've just been in the Matty to see her with my sister. What a peach! Lovely…. Lovely…. Lovely! Nothing like a newborn to turn a woman of child bearing age a wee bit mental.
But let's go back nine months to when the first of three babies born this year in my circle of people was born. My wonderful niece Peggy was born and I was going up to see her for the first time. I took my husband aside before we set off.
Me: "Ok when we see this baby IF I look like I might even say anything suggesting that I want another, then take me straight out of the hospital and slap me about until I change my mind. Hose me down with cold water if you have to"
John agrees but secretly thinks, "Me and the boys will definitely be back in action. Just watch"
So… we go up and I held Peggy and it was great. She was (is) so lovely and amazing but nothing hormonal happened. Yay! I was free! The "I want one now!!!!!" voice wasn't there in my head. What a relief. It was wonderful.
So as we both feel we've done our bit for Scotland and produced the future first independent Scottish female Prime Minister and the future scorer of the winning goal of the World Cup for Scotland (against England, of course) and the most handsome boy in the world, we start to weigh up our options mainly based on the property market, wanting more long lies and not being arsed with the hassle anymore.
So a few months later John and I have decided to cut and run as far as the baby game goes (if you know what I mean- No? OK it begins with a V and ends in an ectomy). We're finished, the womb is closed for business and the ball bags are for recreational purposes only.
So tonight when I go up to see her Babieness of Katie I'm a little worried. Will the voice come back? And if it does …..what a nightmare!!!! I want to go and see Sarah, I want to go and see Keith, I want to go and see how their little boy is doing being a big brother, I want to hold the little tree frog and smell her little velveteen head….but I don't want to hear the voices. I'm scared!
I'm sweating as I go up the stairs, I make cheap jibes about the amount of teen mums hanging about outside in their dressing gowns smoking beside their Kappa clad boyfriends to keep my mind off what might happen. We walk past the door that you go into to deliver and both go " Wooooo! Remember going through that door, what a nightmare! Never again!"
But I'm still thinking "No, little voice please don't make me go crazy!"
We go in, we visit, we hold, we fuss, we commiserate about sore bits, we kiss proud and knackered dad, we make big deal of big brother and the voices stay away.
Phew!.....And we're clear!
Warning: some of you might object to some of my views. But I must rant, it's my blog and if you don't like it I'll take it home with me. So nahnahnahnahnah!
God, I'm a miserable old bugger but I can't STAND Comic Relief. I wish they'd just make us all just pay a straight Direct Debit into a Comic Relief Stealth Tax bank account and spare us the bad telly. I don't know if this idea is something that would get me any votes in a general election but I think if we had a special secret ballot on this single issue we'd be looking at a landslide.
OR we could put on re-runs of Dad's Army the whole night and just put a telephone number at the bottom and then we might have a chance of a laugh or two whilst some cash gets raised.
There's so much I don't like about it and other nights like this (Children in Need et al). Can I list them (it's a while since I did a list, I'm getting withdrawals)?
- By just appearing in a sketch show Big Stars think they make it funny- eg. tonight Sting's on the Vicar of Dibley, Tony Bloody Blair is in "Catherine Tate" and Kate Moss is in "Little Britain".
None of these people are known for their comic timing, much less for having a sense of humour. So a gormless A-lister just standing there while Dawn French mugs is top comedy? No it isn't- Am I laughing? Are you?
- Bloody Kate Thornton is on it. What the blazes has that nasty little peroxide Pekingnese got to do with comedy (ditto, Fearne Cotton)? Were there no funny women for the presenting jobs?
It was wishful thinking to believe that Thornton had been sacked from all telly but somehow my brain thought that. When she appeared on screen I nearly telephoned Ofcom to complain. Sorry folks, she just got binned from the X-Factor. She is the most insincere woman on telly. Even La Hurley looks deep and caring next to her. A natural charidee night host.
- The guilt trip bits. This is where celebs go and cry in front of dying AIDS victims and try to look humble whilst not really doing much or staying long. Ricky Gervais is at it this year. He has as much compassion as an NHS doctor's surgery receptionist. False and excruciating! You can practically smell the disinfectant the celeb has been doused in before and after…
- Celebs are the most coked up, narcissistic, self centred bunch of low-life brats. They couldn't give a shit about folk in wheelchairs, poor kids or victims of famine.
Tomorrow most of them will be hosting corporate do-s for obscene amounts of money, or spending between them the combined total of all Comic Relief money raised in the Boutiques of Notting Hill or
I remember hearing Jonathan Ross banging on about how he couldn't be arsed with the whole thing and found it tedious and that each year he'd hosted, he hadn't donated a single penny. This was on his radio show. I went right off him, but believed his every word. The bastards will pile on the guilt trip to us overdrafted- to-hell-and-back punters though, won't they?
- The way they make you wait hours for the "comedy" bits. If you sit on your bum in front of all the dull stuff they'll reward you with a clip of a sitcom you don't even watch normally but it's got Jude Law guesting. In between stints of banging which ever PA he's been assigned for the evening and inhaling
biggest export. Colombia's
- The way you can't even escape it by going out to the pub because people are out there with curly wigs and buckets being even less funny than Lenny Henry (no mean feat). Best just stay in and get the use out of the DVD, play cards or write a ranty blog that no-one will read as it's Friday night and everyone's out getting hammered and being harassed by folk with buckets and face paint.
If you want to give, give to Christian Aid, or Medicin Sans Frontier or the Red Cross- they just take your cash and use it to look after people. Full stop.
Not a Sting in sight.
I have tried to find a photo of me outside the Tricou house in the dress in 1990. Listen I warn you first, I looked a bit different back then. OK, are you ready? Brace yourselves....
Sweet Child O Mine! I got this from a website about ghost hunting in New Orleans and apparently Tricou House is full of them, not least this ghoul in the dress! I tell you, I like to think that at least me and pal Jo looked half way decent (but that could be rather wishful). But standards have slipped somewhat. They obviously can't get none the of the staff to wear the sodding thing and are asking homeless hobo women to fill the post. Am I being mean? C'mon look at the photo!
I sent the blog and the pic to Jo, the only person who would really understand (since she also did the dress from time to time, but hated it, whereas I relished everry second). Here's what she said:
"very few things make me laugh out loud but you seem to be pretty good at it!! Where did you get that photo?? Is it for real?? I am laughing so much I am crying. You will be famous one day Gillian - you should write a book - NOW!!!! that woman is clinically obese!!!!! ha hah ahahahahahahaha!"
Funny thing is, I remember the lilac dress- we never wore it as it was too big but it was there which confirms my suspicions- they do have the same dresses seventeen years on and by the looks of it they haven't been dry cleaned.
Hopefully Jo is looking for the actual photo of me in the dress and maybe one of her too that I can post to counterbalance this one. Hey hang on!! You didn't ACTUALLY believe that photo was of me!
How very dare you!
The things we'll do for cash...
The other day a couple of my graduates popped into see me in college fro a cup of tea and a chat about their work experience in London (they are now both at Uni….so proud!) Of course now that they've had a taste of TV work the two of them are hooked and can't wait to get stuck in for real. One of them was at a production company for six weeks and during that time he pretty much had to turn his hand to anything. Now this company produced a lot of stuff, for a lot of different people- from MTV to FHM to certain Adult Channels. Well, someone's got to make it happen, I suppose. Anyway as the work experience guy my student found himself manning the reception one week to the next week having to do a photo shoot of a wide range of sex toys. All this unpaid!
But at the end of it all he's been offered freelance work once he graduates, so the payoff is there. So next time he has to photograph a dildo, at least he'll be in it for the money. So it started me thinking about my first jobs, and stuff I've done working for the man. A list. There are a few but one thing sticks in my mind.
I once dressed as a Southern Belle (Gone with the Wind Style) outside a
The Tricou House was a restaurant/bar/nightclub in
Two dresses to choose from- one red, one apple green. Both stank of B.O. I'd like to think that some poor lassie is standing outside the Tricou House now with that green dress on (I favoured the green) and there's still some Gill sweat in the pits, cos I'm sure the buggers haven't had them dry cleaned since 1990, when I wore it. One thing's for sure, Scarlett O'Hara would NOT have pulled Rhett Butler in either of them.
I could have avoided the dress completely and worked the restaurant for big money but I was shit at it. You see, waitering in the
1. American Christian Whites- tip well ( a combination of feeling guilty about slavery and wanting rub their comparative wealth in your face)
2. American Jews- tip ok but only if you've absolutely busted your hump and everything was faultless in the extreme. Often complain about the quality of the food, and then the small portions (Copyright: Woody Allen)
3. Europeans (and they don't include the Brits in that)-Always tip but not enough.
4. British- sometimes tip but not nearly enough.
5.American Blacks- don't tip at all or tip next to nothing- to be avoided. The waiters (also black, remember) would do anything to avoid serving a table of blacks or be openly disappointed if allocated one.
6. Australians- you could juggle their dinner plates, bring them their meals in double quick time, shower them with witty banter, shovel the food into their mouths for them and wipe the corners of their mouths after and you WILL NEVER BE TIPPED. Oh and if you're Scottish they'll take the piss out of you accent for good measure. ( I found that out myself)
7. A special mention for fat people of all races. Difficult to tell if they'll tip but one thing's for sure the fatties are there for the "All you can eat soft-shell crab and shrimp for $15" and you're going to be running back and forth to that kitchen for re-fills all night and they aren't going to move from that table until they go blind or pass out. You're stuck with them for the night. The waiters called them "Salads" which is an abbreviation for "salad dodgers", I believe. Bizarre thing, they always order a diet drink…mmmmm…
So, all over the world there are holiday snaps of people with their arm round a Scottish fake Southern Belle outside a restaurant in
Oh, I also had a frilled brolly but I wasn't allowed to use it as a weapon. And strangely for
More nonsense as it occurs…..
There's nothing else that will make you feel like an underachiever than googling your own name. C'mon it's very sad but we've all done it! (and if you haven't, do it!)
You think it'll be a laugh to see all the other "Yous" and you get a bit of a rude awakening as you realise that all these other "Yous" are doing so much more of note than the real you is. Look at my list, it's damn depressing. Among the world's many Gillian Martins, we've got:
1. Gillian Martin, professor of German, Trinity
2. Gillian Martin, illustrator of the books and poems of Edward Lear
3. Gillian Martin, top female cyclist
4. Gillian Martin, Behaviour Specialist with the Callan Institute for Positive Behaviour
5. Gillian Martin, Senior Adviser at the United Nations Foundation and former U.N. Assistant Secretary-General
6. Gillian Martin,
7. Gillian Martin, top Badminton player
8. Gillian Martin,
This is the start of the road to madness!
It could be worse though; the list could be full of serial killers, porn stars or ruthless dictators, so I suppose I can take solace in the fact that there's some good work being done out there in the name of "Gillian Martin". I mean you'd need to feel sorry for anyone called Genghis Khan, Myra Hindley or Joseph Stalin. Though, I doubt any Mr and Mrs Khans have looked down on their newborn and exclaimed "Let's call him Genghis, he looks like a little Genghis, don't you think, darling?"
But what a nightmare if you innocently name your child your favourite name and then some person sporting the same moniker becomes notorious in some way. What would you do? Now I'm sure that there's unlikely to be any Mr and Mrs Glitters out there with a son called Gary, but what about all the Thomas Hamiltons out there in the UK, or the Maxine Carrs, or the Peter Sutcliffes or the Abul Hamsas?
Anyway just as I was about to throw in the towel and consign my life to the no-mark scrap heap I eventually found who I believe to be the original Gillian Martin (that's me) on Google. Two entries, in fact, about the same thing. They were about my exchange trip to
Here's the link:
And even though I had to go nearly twenty Google Pages in to find me, it made me feel okay. I haven't written any theses on world peace, I haven't found a vaccine for nothing, I haven't had my works published, I haven't therapised any hands, or even beaten anyone at badminton - but then that's not my game is it? I'm a teacher and if there's one thing I'd like a bit of kudos for, then that's it. That trip was one of the high points in my career and I think I can speak for my students who said it was the best thing they ever did at college. We had a blast and even learned some stuff. Even if it was only Finnish swear words.
Anyway, that's my excuse for not being an over achiever! Let's just hope that none of those other Gillian Martins goes bad and spoils it all for the rest of us!
I remember when we were young, we shone like the sun....
Current mood: rejuvenated
Last week I answered the eternal question as posed by eighties rock pigeon, Simon Le Bon "Is there Something I should know" with the somewhat smug and pseudo enigmatic answer, "Yes, once you hit 35, you calm down a bit and it's all quite funny really."
But there's blogging mileage (or bloggage?) in that statement yet. What happens to you when you hit 35, really? Because something certainly does, and that's why I really like being the age I am, even though a lot of my students are filled with pity when I tell them I'm 38, like I'm telling them I've got a year to live. I get the statement, "You're never 38!" a lot and I'm sorry if some of you take me relating this fact to you as being conceited but, I don't really think it's actually a compliment. The statement says more about them than it does me.
First of all, THIS is what 38 looks like! That over there, that photo to the left! Pretty much all of my friends of 35+ look as old or as young as I do. I'm not flipping Cliff Richard! Even Cliff Richard isn't Cliff Richard anymore!
Also, if you are able to look ok at 38 it probably means that like me (and my dad before me) that at the ages of 18-25 you looked like a kid and would often have to produce ID in pubs, explain to bus drivers that you weren't a half-fare, and couldn't get a member of the opposite sex to look at you as you looked like a newborn baby. A distressing thing indeed at that age.
I met up with two of my best girls from University in September in
I looked at the photos of me and nearly wept. I looked so horribly geeky and young. And at the time I thought I was Airchie Pluff. Here was me thinking I was flipping Tank Girl when I was more like a character from the Bunty! I thought I was cutting edge Goth hotpants but instead I looked like I'd raided my mum's make-up bag and then fallen asleep in it. I cringe thinking about it.
My dad was the same, he had to grow a beard for his wedding day as he was worried he might not be able to have a lager shandy at his own stag do or my mum might get arrested for child molesting. (Sorry, is that a bit sick?)
And anyway, get a grip! 38 isn't old! This is the only big drawback of working with the yoof of today- they think that life ends at 30. If you make any current popular culture reference they practically fall off their seats! My 16 year old cousin Peter was open mouthed when we told him that we'd seen Nirvana live (twice actually…see, I told you I was smug). Well, for those 17 year old emos wearing a Nirvana t-shirt and thinking they are the coolest thing since…well let me tell you that had he lived, Kurt would have celebrated his 40th birthday last month. He's be the same age as yer da! Ha! Ha!
In fact to counteract how sorry young people feel for us old timers in our 30s, I feel sorry for them being so young as, generally, it's full of being broke, having to live in shitty flats, getting dumped, not being able to handle your drink, being put under peer pressure to do all sorts of things you don't want to do, being a fashion slave whether it suits you or not, not having a clue what to do with your life and living with your folks. Thank god I'm not twenty anymore! Being twenty sucked! (Check me out using teen vernacular like a good 'un!)
Anyway as I reach for a my botox, and facemask made from freshly squeezed ocelot glands, check out these rather fine specimens who me and my thirtysomething buddies keep good company with.
Jennifer Anniston (38)
Cameron Diaz (36)
Brad Pitt (42)
Jude Law (35)
Gwen Stefani (38)
Not bad, eh? Oh and I know Brad isn't thirty something but I'm trying to prove a point here!
This is isn't over. I'll be going on about this again…mark my words. Unless senile dementia gets to me first.