Celebrity shit.

For anyone who doesn't live in the UK, this person is Jade Goody and she sums up what is so very wrong with Britain's culture in a few very important ways.

Jade rose to fame in Big Brother, I forget which one because I only watched the first one, as being possibly the most stupid person ever to be seen on reality TV. Quotes from Ms Goody while in Big Brother include "Do they speak Portuganese in Portugal? I thought Portugal was in Spain." and "The Union Jack is for all of us, but the St George is just for London, isn't it?" . A remarkable triumph of education I'm sure I'll agree. Instead of disappearing into obscurity when she came out of the Big Brother House, Jade's star rose and rose. She got writing columns in crappy women's mags (presumably ghost written and spell checked by someone literate) and presenting jobs. She appeared on 'Celebrity Wife Swap', she had some children with another perma-tanned reality TV person whose name I've forgotten and she made an absolute fortune. In short, she was the epitomy of a new phenomenon – idiot worship, the raising up to celebrity status of a semi-literate dimwit who has no discernable talent or skill and who is famous for , well, being famous. Paris Hilton is another one although I doubt very much that she's as stupid as she makes out, which to my mind only makes the whole thing worse. Now intelligence is being touted as very much secondary to looks and ability to get on the telly and more and more young kids are listing 'be famous' as their ultimate career aim. Not 'be famous for achieving something' or 'be famous for my music' or whatever, just 'be famous'. Kids have now realised that the easiest way to big money is not to be clever and work hard, it's to be stupid and get on TV, just like Jade which is really, really crap. And it doesn't even last, they love to build 'em up and pull 'em down which is exactly what happened to Ms Goody. She appeared on Celebrity Big Brother, with, among others, Shilpa Shetty, a Bollywood actress and clearly the two didn't hit it off. Shetty kept fairly quiet and didn't shout but Jade behaved exactly as you would expect a pig ignorant chav to behave, she did exactly what the tabloid press had always lapped up before, behaving like an utter plank. She shouted, she heckled Shetty, she called her stupid names then eventually she made some very ill advised racially based remarks and it all went very wrong for her. The tabloids branded her a racist bully and called for her to be banned from TV, she got death threats, contracts were pulled and through it all you saw pictures and clips of a sobbing, bewildered girl who was too daft to understand why they'd loved her loutish, ignorant behaviour one moment and ripped her to shreds for it the next, she just hadn't got the brains to see or understand the boundaries and the press knew that but pulling her to bits sold papers and so they carried on. What they couldn't see was that their building up and pulling down of Jade said a lot about them too, about their fickleness and their ruthlessness. When the furore died down and she hadn't done anything interesting for a while, Jade pretty much disappeared.

But now she's back. She's across every tabloid, she's in magazines, she's made the news, the Prime Minister has mentioned her,she's done something that will sell newspapers again. What has she done? She's got cancer. Yes, the tabloids have taken her up again because not only has she got cancer, which in itself was pretty newsworthy, she's got terminal cancer which for them is even better because it's got 'ill celeb' and 'young person dying' all rolled into one. There aren't words to describe how sick it all is. Every aspect has been sold, her diagnosis, a documentary following her having treatment, umpteen 'Brave Jade's Cancer Hell' articles. Satan's Little Helper also known as PR twat Max Clifford has been brought in to stage-manage the whole thing, presumably to make sure she doesn't fuck up by saying something stupid and blow this tremendous money making opportunity. Jade's cancer is a gravy train for a lot of people. I don't blame her for selling all she can, she's got kids and she's trying to make as much as she can before she dies so she can leave them well provided for. Good luck to her, I hope she makes plenty out of it because a lot of other people are. No, the people I blame are the public, who are devouring every aspect of this girl's losing battle with cancer. What the fuck is wrong with people? Why do they want to read this? Why do they stare blankly at a documentary of her having chemotherapy like it's some sort of fucking soap opera? It isn't, it's real and this person is hurting. She's riddled with cancer and she's dying, how in the name of god can that be touted as 'entertainment'? It's the same vile fascination that led to photographers in Paris taking pics of Princess Diana as she was dying in the car, they knew the pics would sell for a fortune because people WANTED to see it. Why? It's sick, it's wrong and it shows a society that has been utterly desensitised until someone else's pain and suffering is just another entertainment to fill a few minutes of the day. When you look at this it's not hard to see that the veneer of civilisation is pretty bloody thin in places.


UPDATE:  this was the headline article in The Sun this morning. Words truly fail me, it's unusual but it's true. I cannot describe how utterly tasteless this is and frankly any journalist involved in the creation of it should hang their head in shame because they are a disgrace to their so-called profession. And that's before I even get started on how the paparazzi were able to get to Jade's house before the paramedics and how they knew the paramedics were going there in the first place.

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Things that stink today.

1. Waiting

I hate waiting. Seriously, it drives me daft. No matter how long I stare at the phone the sodding call hasn't come and even though I've refreshed my email about 4 million times, the answer hasn't arrived in there either. Why can't people just HURRY UP and make their minds up then tell me? I'm so frustrated that there's every chance I'll spontaneously combust before 5pm and then it'll all be fruitless anyway. Patience may be a virtue but it isn't one of mine and waiting is a king-sized pain in the arse. ARGHHH…phone still silent…..I need a gin and tonic.


2. My assignment

My assigment involves putting yourself in the place of a risk manager and advising the management board of a top-tier COMAH (dangerous substances) company manufacturing chemicals on the changes in legislation that will affect risk profile and risk planning. A random selection of problems I have so far encountered include: I know fuck all about chemicals and the associated legislation, I have no idea what being a top-tier COMAH site involves because I've never even been on one, let alone worked on one and I'm not a risk manager so I don't know anything about risk profile or risk planning. Oh and I don't really understand what the question is asking for. Happy days, it's all going really well on the diploma course…if I repeat it often enough I'm sure I'll start to believe it.


3. People who can't get their shit together

Ok Mr Useless, I have no problem booking some courses, although that is your job not mine and you're on a higher salary than me, despite being as much use as a dissolvable condom, but if you are going to ask me to do this, at least have the good grace to get your shit together and don't ask me for a load of incorrect courses that are all going to have to be altered several times after booking, making me look like an utter incompetant in the eyes of the training company. It's not me that's stupid, it's you and I've had an email from a site agent in my inbox for three days now, telling me that he has discussed his course with you and it is unsuitable. Would you care to explain to me why you haven't bothered to inform me of this discussion or would you rather dither around like a chicken on acid making noise but no sense? Thought so.



And the phone STILL hasn't rung. I am now understanding the meaning of 'itching with impatience'. No news is good news my arse. No news is no news and it's rubbish. On the bright side I do believe it's pancake day.

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Valentine’s Torture

Love it or hate it it's here again – yes, it's Valentine's Day. Once a day brought in to replace a pagan festival that involved goat skins and women who wanted to become fertile, now a shameful excuse for shops to sell slushy cards with nauseating messages inside and rack up the price of flowers until it's cheaper to acquire a gold ingot than a dozen red roses.

I've never been a fan of Valentine's day. Back in the days when I was single it felt like a celebration of what an utter loser you were if you hadn't managed to find a partner. People would tell you how many secret Valentine's cards you got and it was always more that you. Every TV ad featured slushy couples gazing into each other's eyes and everyone on earth seemed to have found their perfect partner with the notable exception of me and a couple of friends. It seemed that the whole world was looking on in pity as people would ask "What are you doing for Valentine's Day" and you'd ahve to answer that you'd probably stay in and watch the telly to avoid the sickening spectacle of everyone else being in a couple and looking at you like you had lice because you weren't.

It was only fractionally less grim than at my cousin's wedding when the bride shouted for all the single girls to come forward and try to catch the bouquet. Picture the scene: I'm hiding, out of the corner of my eye I can see that the only other single girl in the place is trying to subtly crawl under the buffet table tto avoid being noticed but my father is for once cooperating and standing still so I can hide behind him. For a moment I think I've got away with it but then…."Vicola!" Oh god it's my aunt, she's got a voice like a town cryer, all the sensitivity of a Chieftain tank and she's heading my way…"Vicola! What ARE you doing standing behind your father? You haven't got a boyfriend have you? Get up the front here. You never know, if you catch the bouquet you might even manage to find someone!" she bellows at a volume that makes the ground shake. Dear god let the earth open up and swallow me know…please? Everyone is looking on with a mixture of pity and amusement, my brother is laughing so hard that he can barely remain upright and the other single girl is clearly contemplating a headlong dash across the lawn to avoid a similar fate. I'm wishing I'd had the foresight to do that before getting clocked by Foghorn Lil.

Yes, Valentine's Day when you're single is a giant reminder that as a woman there are large sections of society that think that if you haven't managed to 'bag yourself a husband' by your mid twenties then you must be a horn-toed freak with breath like an ox, a face like a bucket of smashed crabs and all the personality of a King Edward potato.

So presumably if you're married it suddenly all becomes great and Valentine's Day becomes a heady celebration of your mutual adoration, the highlight of your annual social calender, right? Wrong. Because as Patricia Volonakis Davis has quite rightly pointed out, our expectations of Valentine's Day are all skewed because our idea of what what constitutes romance is utterly bloody bonkers. Why is it that I am still secretly slightly disappointed that he hasn't arranged to whisk me off to Paris for a private dinner at the top of the Eiffel Tower? I knew he wouldn't, he couldn't afford it even if he wanted to and if he did take me I'd probably end up dropping a fork off the tower, spearing someone and spending 10 years in Le Prison Francais for attempted murder. No, he does things like bringing me a surprise Curly Wurly from the shop because I like them, or offering me some of his orange juice. He picks me up from the pub when I've had too much vodka and am talking nonsense.

I blame the media, it's full of stories like Ashley Cole taking Cheryl Cole for a private shopping trip to Tiffany and paying for a new dress and a pampering session for her. Mind you, it could be because they spent last Valentine's Day apart because the papers were full of the fact that he'd screwed some kiss and tell slapper behind her back. I bet David Beckham is taking Victoria somewhere impressively expensive that ordinary people can't afford to go to. It never seems to make her happy though, she is the most po-faced woman I've ever seen. So perhaps grand gestures aren't all that, maybe after spending every night getting glammed up in case the media are about and swanning in and out of swanky restaurants, all you want to do for Valentine's Day is sit on the sofa in your tracksuit bottoms and no makeup watching a DVD and sharing a takeaway beef madras with your other half.

Patricia blames fairytales for giving us an unrealistic expectation of what Prince Charming should be. This isn't Cinderella, it's life and no matter how many twee stories you read the Prince Charming you end up with is going to come in drunk sometimes and snore all night, he's going to fart then giggle and try and blame it on the dog and sometimes he's going to do things that are so mind-bendingly irritating that you want to beat him into submission with a heavy based pan. At some point he'll sulk, at some point he'll shout and frankly if he dresses in full finery all the time and is permanently immaculate then he's probably homosexual.

Still, the rest of us mortals down here are feeling the pressure. It's like New Year, you are obliged to have fun and if you don't and someone else does you feel like you're letting the side down. This year my cousin is being whisked off to Chester for a romantic weekend with her boyfriend. I am not. So now I feel vaguely let down, even though it's their first Valentine's together and I don't even WANT to go to Chester for the weekend. Ridiculous isn't it? Most of the time my other half and me live fairly independant lives, we do some stuff together and we do some stuff apart. So why, for this one stupid day do I feel like he should be pining to be at my side, even though I know that if her were doing that it would drive me nuts?

Personally I think Valentine's Day should be banned for the sake of single people everywhere and ordinary couples. Perhaps we could replace it with "Do whatever you accompanied by someone you'd like to do it with" Day? That would encompass everyone and surely, SURELY it would be less pressure and less stress than the enforced love-in we're stuck with now?


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Sony releases new stupid piece of shit that doesn’t work.

Messing about on the internet while I was meant to be working I came across this which really made me laugh because it's so damned true. Having struggled for literally hours to work the Sony video player that came with our last television before giving up and accepting that I could only record something I was actually watching it struck a chord.

WARNING: I wouldn't play it at work if I was you, there's a LOT of swearing.

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It's all over the news, people are being interviewed, it's a national crisis. Slimy Ken Livingstone is blaming Boris Johnson, bus drivers are grumbling, the trains have stopped running, schools are closed and the newscasters are wearing their 'The End Is Nigh' expression. Surely it must be Armageddon? Perhaps the 4 horsemen of the Apocalypse have landed? Nope, it's much worse than that, London has had a few inches of snow. Despite the fact that Scotland regularly has drifts of the white stuff that are measured in feet and large tracts of Scandanavia spend most of Winter covered in it, London has 3 inches and suddenly it's headline news because the entire capital grinds to a shuddering halt. Bloody ridiculous. And today, the day after the snow, is all about 'Whose fault it is that London can't handle a piffling little bit of snow'. This is going to get old very quickly I fear.

I had a lovely time in the snow, college in the afternoon left me and the dog with the morning to play out and if there's one thing Geoffrey loves it's snow. He pounces on hillocks of it, barking like an idiot.



And if that gets dull then there's always digging……



The evening's entertainment was provided by Oscar, who is 7 and lives next door. As I was putting the frost screens onto the car I noticed the chap next door foraging about in the 3 inches of snow on the road. When I asked him what he was doing he told me that as he was bringing the shopping in from the car, Oscar had suddenly said to him "Why didn't you catch the key Daddy?". Daddy didn't catch the only copy of the front door key that they have since Oscar lost the spare because Daddy didn't know that a) Oscar had the key at all and b) He was going to throw it into the snow. Unfortunately Oscar then had a memory lapse and couldn't remember which direction he threw the key in so his father and the older son were spending some quality time fruitlessly trying to find a small doorkey somewhere in the snow covered street. Come 10pm they were still out in the blizzard, this time trying to work out how to fit the new doorlock they'd bought. Bless. Given that Oscar had only just been forgiven for the 6ft smiley face he drew on the carpet last week I can only assume that it was frostier inside the house than outside. This is another reason why I have a dog, not children. My dog will never draw a smiley face on my carpet. Well it's unlikely anyway.

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