Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Sleep of the week: Todd

It's that time already - this weeks, Sleep of the Week!!!

This is Todd. Well, he certainly sleeps like a Todd

I'm especially impressed by the way he uses the hand rail as a cushion. Todd is smart.

It's difficult to guess what he does as a job, but presumably something where your appearance is not relevant; radio?

A lot of men in London are grabbing themselves a pair of orange, corduroy trousers. Where from? Shall we find it and burn it down, as a mercy killing?

I like the way in which Todd is pensively interlinking his fingers - it adds a little elegance to the mix.

At Piccadilly Circus, he sprang up (thanks to his internal tube alarm clock), and left the train. Thus, I believe that he has resided in London for several years or more. This is very professional indeed.

I don't think he has a girlfriend.

Do you want to be his girlfriend?

I doubt he'd be difficult to spot in a crowd if you want to seek him out.

It's also possible that he's a spy. If someone said to me, 'Quick, you have to be a spy,' and I only had the contents of my own wardrobe, I might come up with something similar. The flat cap shields the eyes. The jacket has all the pockets you need to conceal weapons, and the orange trousers mean you're not trying too hard to be invisible. Perfect.

Do you think he looks happy? It's hard to say. But I don't think you can dress like that and be happy.

And that's this week's, sleep of the week!

Do you want to be part of this feature? Fall asleep in the same carriage as me, and see where it gets you.

Sponsored by Durex - protect it, respect it.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Feaster Bunny

To escape the concern that my late twenties see me rather stale and predictable in my ways, I occasionally seek out a weird and wonderful experiences.

Mostly, they end up being rather shit.

In fact, the most exciting thing about them is the telling, the little brag, the 'You'll never guess what we're doing!"

But then you just end up intimately pressed against a man wearing a wig and make-up, in a hot booth, being told that you have elegant ankles.

Have I got ahead of myself here?

Maybe a little.

I convinced Ginger Beard that we should attend the Harvey Nichols Feaster Egg Hunt.

First, we stood in one of the shop's many entrances for fifteen minutes, whilst actors (see below) told us how pretty we were.

Now, I like compliments, but it was intense, and Ginger Beard grew increasingly upset with their lack of interest in his outfit. We didn't like it when they cooed over us, but we really didn't like it when they lavished their attention on others. I was once more reminded of the horror of sibling rivalry.

After the bizarre intro, we followed the faux French parade up four sets of escalators, encouraged to freeze like mannequins. I was itching to trash the place. The sales pitch was that you could manically run around the store in pursuit of the Bailey's easter egg, akin to a posh Supermarket Sweep. I've never felt comfortable in Harvey Nichols, so I thought that I could comfortably destroy it under the guise of playful fun.

No such luck.

We partook in a series of unfinished parlour games. I approached 'Musical Chairs' with a level of aggression I'd never possessed as a child. I didn't know what the prize would be, but I was willing to kill for it. I was ecstatic to get down to the final three, only to be clapped and told that we were all winners.

All winners?

Even a five year old in a sack race can deal with the brutality of being proclaimed the winner or a loser.

Having said that, I'd of happily accepted the same prize, dealt to all three. But we got nothing, and the rage building inside of me took me back to a vicious Pog battle many years ago.

Oh sweet, sweet Pogs, how I miss thee.


Then a man took me into a booth and firmly closed the curtain.

It's not the kind of event I'd typically try and pull at, but when you've got it, you've bloody got it son.

So I went with it.

We took it in turns to pick out folded cards, concealing compliments. When my turn came, it was clear he was playing a hilarious joke.

"You have a beautiful complexion."

Thanks to harsh changing room lights, the fact that my skin resembled that of a thirteen year old acne ridden chump, was further on show. I bet it didn't say that on the card. Just like being back at school.

Where was my Mum?

I needed her, and she wasn't there.


We tried to make friends when we sat down for the six course feast. Because in London, you can instantly become friends with anyone, talking about all the fantastically cool things you're up to.

No one wanted to talk to us.

I feel quite bad, because the actors were great, and so was the food, but my innate awkwardness restricts me from enjoying most things in life. And frankly my attempts to be the kind of person who's happy to go with the flow, leave me an adrenaline riddled wreck. All that said, it was a truly charming evening!

I'm sure normal people would've had a fabulous time.

I found their blogs, and they really did.

This is why I don't tend to write reviews.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Three blind mice (others available)

Some things aren't working out too well for me, and in most cases other people are to blame. I am to blame in precisely none of the featured cases. And though this is obvious, I think that it's important to stress the point.

Case 1 - Sleep

Unfortunately, when I'm tired, I'm horrible. This is genetically inherited. It obviously skipped a generation, as both of my parents remain reasonable and nice if unable to get a full eight hours. I can only assume that like me, one or all of my grandparents suffered from this condition.

It's a transformation, which sees me become a snappy douche bag, where I can neither be held accountable for my words and actions, nor reprimanded for them.

Now, Ginger Beard is fully aware of this, proven by the fact that if I am awful to my mum, she will turn to him and say, 'Oh dear, did someone not get enough sleep last night?'

And he will say, 'Afraid not Ann, afraid not." And then they feel sorry for each other.

So why, WHY ladies and gents, would he choose to wake me up last night with this:

GB: Gemma, Gem, wake up. Can you hear the mice?

Me: Wha? No. Go away.

*30 minute pause* (assumed)

GB: Can you hear the mice now?

Me: Shut up.

You know what, I wouldn't care if I could hear mice. I wouldn't care if Pinky and the Brain we're on our bed, plotting yet another ridiculous way to take over the world. I wouldn't care if an army of mice were holding tiny mice knives to our throats and demanding our finest cheese. Or if one was somersaulting in my hair, or running off with my much loved Tiffany lamp. Or a myriad of other unlikely mice based scenarios.


We discussed this at length the following morning.

Then we had a brief, but satisfying argument about shoe laces. Because that's what you get.

He's really lucky it didn't escalate. There have been past incidences (from both parties) that went way too far:

1. When Ginger Beard threw a packaged tuna sandwich at my face.

2.When I pushed Ginger Beard off a bus seat, and into the aisle.

I think we all know which hurt more.


Case 2 - Being a hero

Last week, I went out for a rather fabulous meal with my Mum. At some point we noticed that the couple next to us had gone, and left behind a scarf.

She looked at me. Of course she did. In times of crisis, everyone is quick to nominate me, to do what needs to be done.

Even though I had no idea how much time had passed since they'd gone home, I decided to run for the exit.

Now - and here's my question. Who puts a step in the middle of a restaurant?

If it hadn't been for that step, I probably would've returned the scarf, and received a handsome reward. Sadly, the fall prompted a considerable delay.

I've been spending a  lot of time recently with my friend JB. JB is a very good person indeed, always helping others and volunteering his time. The 'step' incident has firmly destroyed the plans I had earlier in the week, to be less selfish (inspired by all his do gooding.) I'm actually going to focus on being a worse person, and armed with needlessly interrupted sleep, this will not be too difficult.

Watch out.

P.s - my house is currently riddled with mice (who knew?)

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

The many forms of love

So firstly, (and I want you guys to know before I break it to Ginger Beard), I've fallen in love. And not in the traditional sense, with a human being, but in a kind of new agey way, with their blog.

I can't even remember how I met their blog, but that's how love works; it smacks you BAM in the face, and you're a complete mess.

Will Ginger Beard feel a sense of all consuming rage, mixed with unbridled confusion, that I can so easily replace him with a series of hilarious posts?


But as Alanis Morisette once said, "You live,  and then you bloody learn" (or something very similar).

If I had plans tonight, I'd cancel them, just to spend more time with this blog. And much like it is for loved up couples, who can recount the very moment when they 'just knew', I recognise mine. It was upon spotting that a pie chart (entitled 'My wishes' )  involved a segment labelled, 'That I had Jessie's girl.'

And if you don't understand that reference it's okay, because that means it's special for me.

And if you do understand that reference, and have also fallen in love with this blog, from a mere quote, let's get together and start a support group, ideally in London, but I guess we can work out the finer details at a later date.

I'm not ready to share it with you yet! I think this stems from the relationship my brother and I had growing up. Whenever one of us accrued something that the other wanted, we broke it. And even though he never reads this, Lee, I'd like to take the time to apologise for ripping up your Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles posters. Because although the cellotape went some way towards improving things, those little heroes in half shells never looked quite right again.


I also took a circuits class for the first time! And when I say 'class', I mean that a colleague of mine, who is also a personal trainer, and refers to himself as 'The Smiling Assassin', and two other people who believed things would be okay, forced ourselves into odd and uncomfortable poses in the park outside our office.

Things were not looking too bright for me, as later that night, at approximately 9pm, I got into bed with a custard Muller Rice, and started to cry.

Ginger Beard: Are you kidding me?

Me: Owwww! Ow! Ow! Owwwwww!

Ginger Beard: Do you think this is an acceptable reaction?

Me: It hurts so bad!

Ginger Beard: You're twenty-six years old.

Me: Help me!

Ginger Beard: Do you need to go to hospital? No? Then stop crying. Right now. Shut it down. Shut it up.

And that ladies and gentlemen, is a small window, into the vast world of psychological abuse I experience each and every day.

If you would like to make a small donation, which can be put towards healing my weeping, emotional wounds, don't be shy.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Snow white and the seven commuters

I have worked out, (and it might be something to do with my alright A levels in Sociology and Psychology, that there are seven main types of London Tube commuter. Yes, sure, you can be a cross-breed, but try not to be; it's dirty.

1. The Fan.

Now, the fan loves nothing more that to get intimately acquainted with your belongings and body. These people are easy to identify, simply because you will feel them. When there's plenty of space in the carriage, or even a spare seat, they will still prefer to stay close, inhaling you, fingering the tassels of your bag (don't be crude please), rubbing up and down your...Enough! Essentially, they will sexually assault you, and claim it's accidental.

Tips - They're frightened off by direct eye contact. They have no balls (though oddly no issue with trying to find yours).

2. The Pretender.

They act exactly the way they would in the comfort of their own home. They are the ones who:

-Read their paper on your face (pretending you are not there)
-Let there kids climb up you/on you (pretending you are an empty chair)
-Board with a massive backpack, and insist on dramatically spinning round at regular two minute intervals and smacking your bitch up with it. (pretending they're not actually wearing a backpack)
-Hold onto the pole with their hand over yours (pretending you are the pole).

Tips - Kick off, go completely nuts over it. They can't ignore you if you push them into the gap between the train and the platform. It's especially effective, if you lean over their broken body and choose then to say, 'Ha. Mind the gap.'

3. The Dramatic.

Normally teenagers. You will find them:

-Alternating flawlessly between French and English, and find yourself absolutely fuming that your parents never armed you with any real life skills.

-Using the top bar of the tube for a series of pull ups.

-Vomiting. To be fair, it's normally more a thick trail of saliva hanging down from their lolling head, held by a mate at each armpit.

-Singing. Oh yes, and it's always the men. They tend do opt for a Diva classic.

4. The Zombie

I'd say this is the most popular type of commuter, and place myself firmly in this category. We're the ones who've shut down such a huge proportion of our brains in order to endure the trip, that we can hardly respond to anything. As we step on the tube, we say to ourselves, "Okay, the thirty minutes have begun. If you spot a seat, take it. Sit in it. Stare at things. That will be all." On cue, as we approach our destination, we begin to charge back up, slowly regaining our more impressive motor functions and speech. If you try and engage with a Zombie during this process, they will either:

-Jump out of their skin, and drop everything they were holding
-Initially reply to you with noise - along the lines of, 'Watghcfdf', before clearing their throat a few times, and giving conversation another go.
-Get incredibly angry. You have after all, interrupted their perfected survival state, and once more, brought them back down to the horrifying reality of where they are. Shame on you.

Tips - Leave them well alone.

5. The Sleeper

Easy mistaken for one of The Pretenders, the sleepers are closest to the fun-time loving animal, we have entitled - The sloth. Fascinating to observe in their natural tube environment, Sleepers will promise themselves for a few stops, that they are merely resting their eyes, before eventually drowning in a deep, mouth wide open, sunk in the seat sleep. Ah, bless. If you are lucky enough to spot one of these during a long journey, they will be the regular subject of the following exchange:

A "Do you think we should wake him up? He might miss his stop."
B "No."

Tips: Take a photo. I hear they last longer.

6. The Fighter

Has someone just punched you in the back of the neck? Is there no room in the carriage, but a woman has launched her small body at you, in hope that the sheer force of impact will create some? Is that man using his arse as a brutal, yet effective weapon? Then my friend, you're in the presence of a Fighter. Usually they:

-Have been commuting in London for five plus years, and no longer have any feelings whatsoever for their common man. In the early days, they wouldn't challenge a pregnant lady for the only available seat. But now, well, she's just collateral damage in the narrow tunnel of their goal.

-Look really, really angry. It's not a front. They will take you down. Try not to look weak. Try not to get in their way. Let it happen.

-Will hurt you. Yes, they're not about gently manoeuvring you round with little shimmies. It's brute force. It's elbows. It's a sharp kick to the shin. They've been training for this for years.

7. The Tourist

The Tourist has no idea what's going on. They might genuinely be a map wielding, tour of Europe Russian, but just as equally, they can be an established Londoner. The Tourist doesn't know any rules, not just the unspoken rules of the Tube, ANY rules. They move very slowly and never know where they're going. They consult each other and their phones at the most inconvenient of places. When their Oyster card isn't working, they remain at the barrier for a sustained period of time, pawing at it, shaking their little, clueless heads. 

We've all been The Tourist, but it's very important to grow beyond The Tourist.

Tips: Help them. And to enhance this tip, I'll share a personal story with you. When one of them tried to get on the train before I'd gotten off, I stepped very close to her face and aggressively asked, 'What are you doing?' and my words pushed her back onto the platform so that I could pass.


The Fan-Fighter - Molests you aggressively for a brief period of time.
The Zombie-Sleeper - Fakes sleep for escapism purposes
The Sleepy Pretender - Will happy let everyone bash them around, like driftwood in a strong current.
The Pretending-Fighter - Passively dominates. E.g. Wears a 'Baby on Board' badge without actually being pregnant.
The Dramatic Fan - Assaults you with the unnecessary size and scope of their gestures.

Others available.

Friday, March 14, 2014


Now, before I moved to London, I assumed that a good 70% of evenings experienced by Londoners' were painfully cool.

I thought, they probably can't help but glamorously sip away at Mojitos in Soho, on a sunny Tuesday night, then accidently wander into a Kasabian after party. It's not their fault. That shit just happens to them.

I've spent the past eight months patiently waiting for my quintessentially London moments. Did I nearly have one, when a fat woman hit me in the nose with her arse? Sure. Was I almost there when I walked passed Les Dennis, and my friend said, 'There's Les Dennis!' And I said, 'Who's Dennis?' Pretty much.

And then it happened, and it was sexier, and more fabulous than I ever thought possible.

Don't get jealous. It's one of those emotions that rots you from the inside. Nasty stuff.

I'll set the scene. (Have also changed names to protect identities).

Five of us are out on a girls' night in Shoreditch. We've reserved a private table, and we've booked a taxi. (If you haven't noticed, things are already bang on, stinking of London awesomeness).

There's GingerNinja (please note that the woman in question has no martial art abilities which I have witnessed, or has even shown me evidence of stealth, but I like the rhyme.)


I'm really struggling at this point because there's a second ginger girl. *Bashes head*. We'll call her StrawberryBlonde. The final character (aside from moi) in this night of almost unbearable London chic, is called ZumbaQueen.

I know that they all sound like really bad nicknames on a dating site (some of which would have drastically more success than others), but you'll just have to deal with it.


It's 7:30pm. BarbicanBabe has already knocked one of my six White Russian Happy Hour cocktails onto the floor. But it's okay, because we're in London, and we just don't give a shit about anything.

10pm. Happy hour has ended. ZumbaQueen is busting some serious moves. We've made friends with a group of men. I don't know where they're from. They don't speak much English. Roll on, good times.

11pm.  BarbicanBabe has had to evacuate the premises because she can't stay awake.

11:30pm. We're in the nightclub, in the basement. StrawberryBlonde and I have the dance floor to ourselves, and we look like we've attended numerous professional dance lessons. ZumbaQueen is laughing. That's okay. Let her laugh. We can't all be Queen's of Zumba. It occurs me, as we step up our routine to counter accusations that our moves are more hilarious, than they are smooth, that ZumbaQueen might merely be shaking as she throws up.

This is indeed the case.

It seems she has thrown up next to our pile of coats.

Sadly for GingerNinja, her coat had slipped to the floor, and is, as she herself described 'marinated'. ZumbaQueen is asked to leave, and we loyally escort her out. StawberryBlonde puts her coat on outside and discovers that it too, is covered in sick. She wears it anyway. It's very, very cold.

12pm. GingerNinja emerges from the bathroom. In trying to clean the coat (which it turns out is borrowed from BarbicanBabe), she has thrown up. Goes back to bathroom.

Vomited - 2
Wearing vomit - 2

12:05am - Man with strange plaited hat approaches StrawberryBlonde and says, 'Why did you look at me like that, you c**t?' Then turns to me, 'And you, you smiled at me.'

'Yes,' I say, with the level of confidence that only Gin, vodka, wine and rum can provide. 'I smiled, because I like your hat.'

'Are you joking?'

'No. It's fantastic. What do you do?'

'I decorate prisons.'

GREAT. After twenty minutes of telling him, in very specific detail, why I like his hat, he hugs us, and leaves.

12:30am - We've been in a pub for 5minutes. Someone says to me, 'Your friend is throwing up outside.' I go take a look at ZumbaQueen.

Vomited - Still 2
Wearing vomit - Now 3

I decide it's time for ZumbaQueen and I to depart.

And it only takes us three buses, and two hours to get home, which is lovely. Mostly it's lovely because ZumbaQueen passes out, and I hold her, so she doesn't fall into aisle, and get some time to reflect on how far I've come in life.

Number of girls who were not sick, or had sick on them/their possessions - 1/5

My secret weapon, is that I was sick the night before, and thus probably got it all out of my system.

It's almost too much.

Monday, February 17, 2014

That man is dead!


It's never a good start to a night out, when a man pretends to be dead.

It gets even worse when you end up in a morbid pantomime with the police.

To explain (for I fear those details alone don't quite provide the full story), myself and a friend were on the tube, no doubt nattering away about climate change, political unrest, or the like, when the driver stopped the train and made this announcement.

'To the ladies and gentlemen in the same carriage as two police officers, can someone please check if the man in the black puffa jacket is okay? He doesn't look very good.'

Thus began a series of moments, which would be quite nicely paired with a fast-paced, farcical bit of music, and Kenneth Williams.

The policeman were standing in front of the man in question, and struggled, for a sustained period of time, to locate him.

At one point (despite how much I really do hate the real thing) a few of us genuinely yelled out, 'He's behind you!!'

I suppose it didn't bode well, that the driver himself chose to ignore the policeman, and direct his plea for help at a bunch of London commuters, (which lets face it, would take your seat if you fainted and slid off it, by climbing over your listless body).

When they did manage to figure out where he was (having lost out on any chance of saving his life, had he been in need of it), they then tried to wake him up.

He did not wake up.

Collectively, as a carriage, as a cohesive unit, which required no words whatsoever, we all decided:

'He's dead'.

In my mind, I'd already attended my first support group. We'd hugged the woman next to him, understanding that she was suffering the most.

We'd even comforted the Policeman - 'There's nothing you could have done. Well, except maybe been a bit quicker in finding the only passed out man in a puffa jacket, instead of walking in tiny circles around his seat, staring at one another.'

When he did finally wake up, which was incredibly sudden, the rest of us exploded into a kind of hysterical laughter. We clapped our hands, and made friends, 'Did you think he was dead?' 'God, I was sure he was dead.' 'Hurrah, he's not dead!' It was lovely.

And trust me, when the standard interaction on those things, is having a large pair of breasts pressing into your back, experiencing the slow, wafting dance of someones BO around your nostrils, or being smacked round the head with a rucksack full of books - you fucking appreciate.