Down the Sofa of Memory, an Unhappy Birthday, and ALL THE PRESENTS

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Good morrow, my friends! It has been some time since my last confession/blog post due to the rolling migraine situation here at l’hermitage. Which is annoying, because I have so much to tell you about, and I’m sure lots of BRILLIANT ideas will have been lost down the sofa of my piss poor memory. Obviously, I have been doing very little, but I have been thinking a lottle about what I want to do for Have A Word in October… It’s in a proper theatre so there’s the opportunity for projections, props, what have you. It’s nice to consider all these things before probably opting to write something down then, er, read it out.

Never mind! Lets live for today and search the camera for the yesterdays…

First of all, there’s a little catch up from foreign travels before they become too old timey to comment on. It was hard to edit down all the stuff from Paris, and this is a shot I didn’t take until I was already home. It’s from the ‘in flight’ magazine they give you on Eurostar. Well, I don’t think they mean you to take them, but at least I took a whole one, whereas the woman next to me tore pages out, which may or may not have been disappointing for the next traveller. These magazines are kind of meh. But there were a couple of things I wanted to refer to. Here’s one about what the French call a Brazilian.

ticket de metro

What you may need to know is that the Paris Metro ticket’s metallic strip is rather more elegant than the London Tube’s. Not judging, mind. Don’t have one for you to see because modern travellers on the Tube use Oyster cards which don’t have a strip. They have a COMPUTER which is sending INFORMATION about you to the GOVERNMENT (this sentence is dedicated to Amy’s Dad. Click on the side bar and look at virtually any Lucy’s Football post and you’ll see what I mean.) Pictured is the back of a Metro ticket, which I have kept, in the spirit of throwing a coin in a fountain, as a promise of return. Though without genital waxing, thankingyou.

My other thing from down the back of the sofa of time is this little rig featuring a mozzie repellent from Spain. What you may not know is that European plugs are different from UK ones, although, confusingly, we do use adaptors for electric shavers though not much else, so I had one lying around. But it goes uppy downy so I had to find an adaptor that would make it go sidey ways.

con fused

We were eaten ALIVE every night by mozzies and it was only on the eve of the last night that we thought of buying a repellent. This one is basically just citronelle presumably gently warmed up – seems to work here just fine, which is good because we do get the odd mozzie on the Tottenham Costa and I’ve never seen these gizmos on sale. Damned if I was going to leave it behind, though I did miss a trick leaving the garlic. Frankly, it didn’t take me long to wish I had thrown out all my clothes and just stuffed my suitcase with garlic and cheese.

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Then there was my birthday. Being a monday, and last year having been a proper celebration, perhaps it was always going to be a non event at best, so things were surprisingly festive when Angie Nutt turned up with her balloons on birthday eve…

squeaky bouquet. note ten’s hand ready to restrain poppet from any inquiring bites

On the day lots of people sent me good wishes on the interwebs, and I even got some actual cards, and in the case of the Kirsties presents. One baked good being a hat, and one being a knitted pie.

the pie in question being a fairly accurate rendition of a mason’s pie, traditionally to be found in a scottish chip shop. my mum and her sister used to take them to the swimming pool and put them on the pipes for afterwards, calling them a ‘shivery bite’

the day started off well enough, with strawberries and cream for second breakfast. that’s last year’s present from phillip renshaw in the frame.

However, this perkiness did not last. I got a call from a friend who I chatted happily enough with for a bit, but then he started telling me what I “should” be doing about disability benefits and what I “should” be doing for myself. He meant well, but I started really spiralling while he was talking to me, and ended up saying that I couldn’t cope with the conversation and hanging up. I then went into the bedroom and had a proper howling cry, something which I know flares migraine, but which, for once, I indulged. A visit in the afternoon from Hazel and BJ who bore cake barely lifted me from the gutter, however, and what was worse was that the next morning I woke with the cold toad of depression squatting on my chest.

i saw this in the river and thought it summarised the downfall of my birthday rather well

Lets all sing along with Morrissey…

***

One nice thing that has happened is that I requested a CSI Helsingborg t shirt from my friend Mark whose band it is (of course it’s a BAND, did you think the POLIS are likely to give away their merch?) AND he sent me not one but TWO!

merch from sweden. i am well connected

Naturally, I had to attempt to take a slightly POLIS type photo – but in my half baked style you will just have to imagine a police badge instead of a camera, and while you’re at it de-domesticate the background, oh, and flip reverse the photo so you can read the T shirt. Thanks.

not photoshopped


HEY, YOU, GET OFFA MY CLOUD!

Not to be outdone, Poppet has been acquiring presents, too. Neighbour Paul let her have his dear departed doggy’s toys. Buster had clearly kept his presents nice, but you can see in the picture that Poppet has made a start on ripping the face off one of these already…

not the face!

And lastly in Tales of the Riverbank, we had squatted moorings! Yes. All the excitement here on the Ferry Lane Estate. Obviously, Poppet had to go have a little investigate and made friends with them, and I ended up giving one of them a pair of flip flops. I guessed her shoe size – 5 1/2 – which might sound weird, but that is also my size, so no, I am not about to reveal a foot fetish or a past working in a shoe shop.

squat – tastic

So, that will have to do in the way of a catch up. In the meantime, if that’s still not enough, here’s a tumblr collection for your further edification “elaine4queen.tumblr.com/day/2013/7/05

He can run but he can’t hide – Katrine and Hanne are ON IT!

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I am, as Lucy’s Football might say THE MOST EXCITED.

The pair of us have been watching/drooling over the Rayland/Boyd bromance in Justified. Ha! I was just looking for a trailer to share with you, but found this under ‘Rayland Boyd bromance’ and had to share. The quality is appalling, really, but it’s funny for anyone who’s seen it. And for anyone who hasn’t? It rather misrepresents the programme as a whole.

***

Anyway, the point is, that while there are many male friendships in the wide world of moving images, and even a fair few bromances, female friendship is kind of meh as far as I can see.

Imagine my pleasure when I was watching Borgen today, then, when the Katrine/Hanne friendship turns into SHENANIGANS!

the two journalists have hit a wall when a duplicitous businessman goes to ground… hanne cooks up a scheme that could flush him out…

this makes katrine pretty damn happy. she is on it like a boss!

I don’t even KNOW what happens next, I was so happy I had to screen grab and share!

Foam Slippers Redux

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I am not good at anniversaries. Even my 21st birthday was spent in the cab of a lorry in France. My friend Helen had got me a bottle of Orangina. Orangina was GREAT. We didn’t have anything as nice in the UK. As a kid I thought the war was AGES ago, but as the years went by I realized that even in the 80′s we were still very post war in lots of ways.

i was given these to wear in hospital. i kept them and brought them home to photograph

Anyway, last year I took an overdose of pills and ended up in the local mental hospital. Via the general hospital, I am told, I don’t remember it. My memories of that time are vague and very partial.

I’d had a hard year. Every year since I got ill has been a hard year, and I thought I knew hard years. I don’t suppose I was ever entirely at home with myself, but I had some good times, and with health comes the promise of future. Without health, well, not so much. I’d moved house in the early autumn. Ten had done all the stuff I couldn’t, and the difficult summer seemed to hold that seed of hope that moving might improve things. What I didn’t expect was a flare up of every single thing that fibro had ever brought me. Weeks of being bed bound with cystitis, constant running migraines, all sorts of everything. What had happened on top of this was that this time the previous year, going into the hardest part of the year I had started having a lot of suicidal thoughts and had gone to the doctor’s in a panic. I needed some support and was given it, and then had it taken away again. This played out over a few months, and in the early summer I saw a psychiatrist who said that I was taking too many different medications, so I started coming off them – unsupervised. The psych was on a ‘rotation’ I was supposed to see another one but that never happened. I moved without medication, knowing I was spiraling and since I was moving boroughs not only did I have to sign up with a new GP but would have to start from scratch with psych services.

It was hard to get appointments. I had rising panic. I felt like I was shouting for help – who knows, maybe it was just a whisper? Or maybe my shouting is someone else’s whisper. At any rate, eventually I had a home visit from *someone* – I forget who. I told her I needed a CPN (Community Psychiatric Nurse) to supervise me going on meds, since I was afraid of becoming manic. She told me that I wouldn’t get one unless I was hospitalized. By this time I heard ‘hospitalized’ not as  ‘turn up at hospital and tell them you need in’ but as ‘take an overdose and you’ll either die or get help’ which sounded like a win/win scenario to me.

This time last year, or, to be more specific, a bit later than that… I wrote this post and made light of it, rather. I was ready to show but not to tell.

I wanted to write this for two reasons. One, in a show of solidarity with all the other people in the UK who are currently literally being hounded to death by the current government’s sickness and disability ‘reforms’ and another to say thank you to everyone who helped me through that very dark time.

Ten, Hazel & Che, BJ, Lottie, Ian, Al, Lucy J, St Ann’s Home Team, my lovely friends on the interwebs, everyone who came to my birthday, Steven next door, my dad who wasn’t told at the time, but who takes me as I am whatever state I am in, my mum, my brother, Julie, who gave me holiday time in Brighton, and my darling little Poppet, this one’s for you:

This year has been so much better. Many difficult days, but better, always better than last year.

So-called Screensavers, A Stray Dog at Christmas, and Scary Santas

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The Guardian kindly offered us a seasonal selection of what they called, quaintly, “screensavers”. They’re not, they are desktop pictures, but never mind. So I chose this one

ai weiwei

which looked marvelous projected up in between our xmas viewings. We started off watching the rather bizarre little film Love of a Kind, then we ate some Chinese food, then we settled down for the main event which was The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. This, courtesy of one of the mystery Kirsties who I have mentioned before, and who like being mysterious, so mysterious they remain. Anyway, she’d sent me the set, and as it turns out it is the set I would have preferred anyway, featuring, as it does, Swedish with subtitles. We are now a third of the way through and thoroughly hooked.

I will now be changing our so-called “screensaver” to Cornelia Parker’s one.

cornelia parker

which will be less festive, but which I think will look super nice projected up.

***

Now then, though, I didn’t tell you what happened before that. We were taking the dog a festive walk to the chemist (I am awaiting, nervously, a shipment of triptans, which I knew I would run out of during the festive, bank holiday littered, season. And Lo, it has come to pass. I am now mid migraine and have officially RUN OUT.) Anyway, a guy with a dog said he’d seen a dog around without an owner and he asked us to keep an eye open. We found the dog and took it home. Poppet liked the little girl, and they played all along the towpath – until new dog FELL IN! It’s just as well we are on flood alert, because Ten managed to drag her out. We went home, dried off both dogs, fed newdog, then went back to try the chemist (who said to phone him on Thursday – I am on sodding tenterhooks, here) whereupon this guy said she was his dog and we had to give her up. I was quite sorry, her and Pops got on so well, and he seemed ill equipped to be looking after two dogs. He hadn’t brought a lead out for her and dragged her by the collar, and she did properly flinch at one point… still, nowt to be done.

***

And finally, our Amy of Lucy’s Football posted a link to something truly frightening.

boyoyoyoyoyoyoing!!!!!

A whole collection of 10 scary santas. In a fight against scary clowns I think the scary santas would have pretty good odds. And that is saying something.

I leave you with David Sedaris reading Six to Eight Black Men, which seems topical on more than one front right now.

Babs Cartland, My Day, and The Hindenburg Scale Explained

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Monday, November 12, 2012
Where is your favourite place to blog?

Dame Barbara Cartland was noted for her prolific writing, her title of ‘queen of romance’ and her hideous mask of make up which she continued to slather on til the day she died. She had a policy of wearing pink, and the legend is that she would lay on her chaise longue and dictate her novels to her secretary.

my role model

I, however, do not have a secretary, but I can touch type and I have a laptop. I almost invariably blog from my bed, with my secretary, Poppet, snoring beside me. Frankly, she contributes very little in terms of labour, though she knows some key commands that I don’t. When she stretches a paw over to my keyboard I often find she has done something I wouldn’t know how to do myself. Even though she has quite big paws, that make her look like she is wearing kick flares she can’t really type as such.

In an ideal world I would wear only pink, too. but light colours are expensive to wear, and although she had a dog, I doubt Dame Barbara ever got really grubby playing ball with hers.

***

As for me, I started the day in the park with the doggie, watched The Mentalist, tidied the garden up as best I could after all the busywork from yesterday, and next up is bath time. I hope to do a bit of painting later, and I will update when I have something to report. For the past few days I have not had to take triptans, but that’s because I have upped my intake of codeine. I think my earlier experience of having some time off from migraining just from the preventatives was more of a weather based coincidence than anything else. For now, I have to do what I can with the tools that I have.

***

And – we’re back. Although I have done a fair amount in the way of TASKS today – including vacuuming the bedroom which really needed doing (how does a bedroom get actual mud on the carpet, it’s ridiculous) today has been regraded from a manageable Category 1 Hindenburg, to a get on top of possible flare ups as soon as possible Category 3 Hindenburg day. So it’s stopped being about possibly getting to some painting or the next bit of project garden to take some pain killers and get back to the bed and the hot blanket on the neck to try and get a handle on the situation before I end up like I did last week, with a bruise that made me look like Gorbachev and lots of referred pain and a series of small events that added together created a Category 5 Hindenburg.

The Hindenberg scale is based on a conversation I had in the thread with Lucy’s Football in this post she wrote last week.

how was your day in terms of catastrophe?

I have based the scale as expressed here on a like for like as described by NASA regarding hurricanes. I know, topical.

Here’s their scale, in case you can’t be bothered clicking;

Category 1: Winds 119-153 km/hr (74-95 mph) — faster than a cheetah

Category 2: Winds 154-177 km/hr (96-110 mph) — as fast or faster than a baseball pitcher’s fastball

Category 3: Winds 178-209 km/hr (111-130 mph) — similar, or close, to the serving speed of many professional tennis players

Category 4: Winds 210-249 km/hr (131-155 mph) — faster than the world’s fastest rollercoaster

Category 5: Winds more than 259 km/hr (155 mph) — similar, or close, to the speed of some high-speed trains

Who knew you could get such useful information from NASA? It’s not all teflon and biros that can work upside down. Okay, I have to stop reading the NASA site now, because I found a page where you can go and do space stuff if you are a US citizen and it’s making me feel all kind of sick in my stomach. Imagine working at NASA? It’d be as cool as having a degree from MIT before they jumped the shark and invented the facebook hug jacket.

***

ETA

A friend asked me on facebook what the other Hindenburg Categories looked like. This was my reply;

 i think a category 2 day is replete with obstacles. you know you’re not getting away with doing anything productive, battening down the hatches is the order of the day. 
a category 4 is full catastrophe living. priorities are eating and drinking and taking medication at appropriate times. and that is all you can hope for. probably you won’t manage it and you will compound your catastrophe in unforseen ways. 
we don’t even discuss category 5.

I started painting

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After my big paint supply shop a couple or three weeks ago, there has been a great deal of limbering up.

I had wondered how I might break through into making some marks after such a long break… and when Helen Lopez  was visiting the other week, she suggested just doing colour experiments to get a feel for the paint, and see how that came out. That sounded like good advice, and given that she has actually taught painting I reckoned on it being a tested method and a great way to learn about a new (to me) medium. (Acrylics have changed a lot since I abandoned them for favour of oil, and there’s a learning curve ahead of me.)

Then I got inspiration from  this poem, Oubilette from Out of True by Amy Durant of lucysfootball fame. In the poem she writes about obliterating unwanted people from her past;

I can’t catch up on something I don’t have. I spent
a long time putting them all behind me.
There is no catching up to do. I have forgotten
their names and their faces; there is nothing left
of them inside of me except what they did to me,
the scars they left, the traps they set that I seem to
stupidly trip with every misstep.

and I recognized the feeling… For me, it’s not just people, it’s events, it’s my own actions and my own weaknesses. It’s my relationship with the restrictions of my illness, life regrets, a disconnect from my past art work, all sorts of things. I, too, wanted to put the past behind me and insist on the present. I grabbed a sketchbook from 2003 in which I had written and I began to paint.

a kind of ‘palimpsest’ after ‘oubilette’ by amy durant. elaine axten 2003-2012

There’s another thing. When I was a young thing at art school a preferred method was to draw, then tear out whatever passage in the drawing was working for me, glue it onto a new sheet and carry on working. I had been wondering exactly what to do with old work. I don’t want to keep it, and it doesn’t reflect who I am now. My plan had been to simply document and dump, but there’s a third way – cannibalize what can be used, paint over the pain. obliterate the clinging past. Acknowledging that the past exists, but insisting on the present day. Insisting on not telling the sad old stories over again. Creating a kind of palimpsestic form and letting the past peek through, but not letting it dominate.

There we have it, then. Here is the first image I have made in what turns out to have been six years – i just googled my last exhibition, and it was Silly Cow in 2006. Even that more recent work is worlds away from who I am and what I want to do now.

In short? GAME ON!

migraine is a lonely frog, a look around my garden, and poppet’s bliss

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Migraine Awareness Month #6:   Name That Tune! Choose a theme song for Migraine disease or your headache disorder. See if you can find a YouTube video of it for your blog post. 

gah! what fresh hell is this?
okay, i’ll bite. here’s clarence henry with aint got no home.

because migraine is a lonely lonely frog.

“National Migraine Awareness Month is initiated by the National Headache Foundation. The Blogger’s Challenge is initiated by www.FightingHeadacheDisorders.com.”

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so! today i went in to my garden to take some snappy snaps to show you. this was inspired by a conversation i had with my friend lara on facebook. she lives in LA so our gardening experiences are going to be a TINY bit different. now, i have a tiny garden, and it was in pretty good shape when i moved in here in september. i swapped flats, so have had quite a bit of contact with the former tenant, olly. i have stuck with his basic mixture of a couple of slightly foreign structural plants and a load of native wild flowers. i cut a lot of stuff back in the autumn, as per instruction, and aside from that it’s mainly been weeding and a bit of moving things around.

first up, possibly a bit daft, i “weeded” this patch to sow wild flower seeds. that’s right. i pulled up wild flowers to plant wild flowers. as amy would say; WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED?

i put down the chicken wire to protect the area from poppet, who likes to sit in bare mud, and who has previously used this area to bury bones.

on the table in pots is a whole lot of lettuce i bought from lidl.

it came in a tray of compost. i think you are supposed to snip, eat, discard. but looky here! if you plant out afterwards it all grows again. nom and nom.

also in a pot is this thing

which was in the ground and all chewed up by the many snails i seem to be cohabiting with. i dug it up, cut off the frayed leaves, and put it in a pot. new leaves are looking good. no idea what it is. my mum says it is a heebie??? i image searched this, and found a lot of different images, none of which looked like this. so – whatever. it’s attractive enough, i say it lives. (it’s like being a roman emperor, having a garden!)

now, i am QUITE EXCITED about this little chap

because when i first visited it was in full bloom. i know what it’s going to be!!!! it is a self seeded nasturtium. and it will grow all over the place and produce pretty orange flowers. HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY!

the dark leaved little one here

is a strawberry plant. my friend hazel brought me three in the autumn. two didn’t survive because of my assistant head gardener. i planted them in the way of her route to the fence where she goes to say hello to passers by. i’ve got some sweet peas trying to grow up there, but i think there will be a distinct GAP where pops likes to sit.

well, it’s her garden too.

i am discovering that some plants mind being moved more than others. lots thrive when you move them but this one… this one *didn’t*.

so, i can say with some confidence – don’t try and move poppies. they give up the ghost. and you don’t want to see ALL  THIS SADNESS going on in your garden.

i was going to move this fern

because it’s the same colour as the wall just now (though it will turn green). however, there is ivy growing behind it, and at some point that ivy will take off, and then it will have a green background. the daisies on the right of the picture were ones that i moved. they didn’t give a monkey’s. which is good, because there are lots of them and they grow quite tall, so good for a bit of instant colour and structure.

now, lastly but not leastly, this ferny thing is a native riverside plant.

it wants to take over the entire garden. olly says that he asked for advice about it and was told he should “make friends” with it.

it’s not going anywhere, but i am not terribly sorry. it grows places where nothing else would live, so it brings to life a corner of the garden that would otherwise just be london clay and rubble and stones. i spend my life pulling it up elsewhere, as did olly, but i don’t resent it because it’s doing a good job in the bit where it’s welcome.

now that i am a gardener i spend my life praying for rain. gardening makes a crazy person of you. fact.

***

today’s the day poppet gets her stitches out. she will enjoy going to the vet’s. she’s a hardy little beast and rarely complains when vets do something unpleasant/painful to her. also, going to the vet is a happy thing because ALL THE CATS.

she doesn’t really play well with cats, so getting to be in the same waiting room as them is the best treat. cats are always in their carry baskets, so she can smell them and often see them, but she can’t get to them. and this is different to being in a walk because the proximity is sustained.

bliss!

libraries, poppet, art stuff, colourbox, scottish referendum, gardening, instapaper, tea, workfare, cooking.

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1. soooo… ANGRY at this. sneaky FUCKERS. and not in a good way. what body of people moves *things* at 2am when they feel comfortable and legal and whatnot with their decision to do it?

almost particularly when those *things* are BOOKS. BOOKS! people! stripping a whole library at 2am. and now i am really going to swear.

MOTHER FUCKING FUCKERS.

2. poppet all better, and taking the best seat in the house (well, garden).

harraw!

she’s doing well. i think the ear with the stitches in it might get itchy at some point and i will have to put the lampshade back on but she’s mostly NAKED and happily putting it all behind her. and yesterday we went out with mark and charlie, so she had lots of bull terrier fun with her young luvvahboy.

3. these look like some groovy sites for sharing your creative journey. not being active in the visual art world i hadn’t heard of most of them, but i have seen the colour one before. big fan of colour/color.

4. play some more of that colourbox stuff again!

*

5. so much for 2012. you’d think it was the END OF TIME the way people are going on about it. there will be life after the olympics, and there is a whole nother EVENT to look forward to. or, at least, there is for those that are interested in these things. september 2014 heralds a referendum on scottish independence. the debates are starting now. you can read a bit about it here if you’ve a passing interest.

IN THE 70′S THERE WAS A REFERENDUM FOR A SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT. ONE OF THEIR SLOGANS WAS “IT’S OOR OIL”.

i don’t live there any more, as you know, so will not get a vote. on the one hand, it will be bad for england if scotland becomes independent, at least in the short term, because MANY more people vote tory here. on the other hand it may radicalize people even more than the occupy/banking crisis/workfare stuff is doing already. and if scotland did become a kind of english speaking scandinavian country that would be kind of cool.

for them.

however, there is another side of NATIONALISM. as amy from lucy’s football  likes to say “what have we learned?” well, we have learned that nationalism can get a bit RACIST. yes it can.

think ON, scotland.

6. i’ve had my mum visiting, for the past few days, from scotland. we’ve been having a heatwave and have spent most of the time in the garden. this has meant that i have started FIDDLING with things. i’ve moved plants around, de-strangled some of the things i’d like to live, and banished the ferny thing to the bit where there is just london clay and pebbles. nothing else will grow there anyway, and it looks nice. you just can’t let it ENCROACH is all.

ferny thing. nice enough, and welcome in the pebbly clay, but a bit of an encroacher.

most things that i have moved have seemed happier where i have put them. all except a really sad poppy which hung it’s head tragically post move. it may rally overnight or it may not. i’ve not moved a poppy before.

i’ve put in some of my neighbour’s herb robert, and am excited about it. you can have the leaf tips as a tea.

7. you know what i like? instapaper. can’t remember where it was recommended, but i have been using it lots. it’s great for people who end up with more tabs than they can even see on their desktop. with it, you can just save a page for later IN THE CLOUD and happily close some tabs. it’s like having a good memory. most pleasing.

8. here’s something for our ken;

it isn’t credited on tumblr, which usually means i won’t post, but it’s too good not to show at least my blogging homies. 21,059 reblogs, as well! i wonder if the OP even knows that… no hits on tineye either.

9. you may notice that i yammer on about ‘workfare’ now and then. if you are not in the uk you might think ‘what on earth is she banging on about?’ especially if you don’t realize i am seriously unable to work for a living. here is a guardian column in which the writer covers quite a few of the things that make me worried and ballistic by turns.

10. sorry to whoever i nicked this from on twitter, but here is a hilarious tumblr pipcooksthebooks where the eponymous pip shows us the difference between the ‘showroom’ version of the dish and what it actually looks like when a normal person tries it. you have to click through. i’m not even going to try to find my favourite.

no tax on tampons! troops out now!

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when i was a young thing i used to be very politically active. i mean, i still have an opinion, and i still sign petitions and prompt my dear friends on the internet to sign too. i am following the stuff about the nhs and workfare and occupy, but i couldn’t actually go on a march, it’s all i can do to exercise my lazy brown dog.

we evidently have a budget announcement imminent, since people are tweeting about cigarettes and tampons. yes. tampons are taxed as a luxury in the uk.

in the 67 student marches in europe a popular chant was ho ho ho chi minh. fatigued by the earnestness of those around them, the somewhat anarcho madchops situationists used to chant hot hot hot chocolate instead. when i went on marches in the 80′s they were quite often trade union or political group led. so what would happen is that if you couldn’t honestly walk with the wheel tappers and shunters or the socialist worker’s party then you had to walk at the back with the raggle taggle band of anarchists.

situationist graffiti "it is forbidden to forbid"

having experienced this a few times, and being that i was an art student and a bit of a fan of the situationists and a bit of an anarcho-feminist (whatever that actually was) i liked to chant no tax on tampons, troops out now! because it had a bit of va va voom about it. thinking on it now, you could still use that chant. there’s still a luxury tax on tampons and although ireland is not the hot potato it was in the 80s we certainly have troops abroad bleeding our money and propping up the work of the 1%.

here’s a little ditty i remember from my days as a student in liverpool in the 80s. the butcher’s apron.

so, what else is new? well, i have been ATTEMPTING to get my poor brain around some advanced bloggery. for a kick off, thanks to amy at lucy’sfootball i now have a blogroll.

(lookatit! lookatit! it’s right here on my page, to the right)

if i have failed to mention you on it and you want to be on, let me know.

i had also become a bit fed up of not knowing how to embed tweets, so she kindly told me, and when i actually get around to doing it i will share, i dare say. however, the reason i have not got straight onto it, like i did with the blogroll is that i got sidetracked by storify.

when ken at lahikmajoe took us to berlin on twitter he also posted on storify. now, the way that twitter and other social media works on storify is a WHOLE NEW THINGY THING, YOU GUYS! i didn’t notice it at first, but all the live stuff is still live – so you can reply to or retweet tweets, for instance from a storify story! so then, of course, i got TOTALLY waylaid into trying to work that stuff out. i mean, it’s different from a regular blogging platform in that you don’t get to personalize your blogging with visual themes, but when i read this post from dr no cuts i suppose my cursor just must have landed on a tweet and i realized i could re-tweet it right there and then! the excitement! i can’t tell you. it is not an easy learning curve, and i haven’t posted a story yet, but i will. it seems particularly appropriate for political or current affairs kinds of topics, and is quite a different kind of blogging, and i feel a little sick thinking about how fab it could be.

so, and relax. here’s a picture of a swan i took this morning.

and that’s all for now.  ooh, except, perhaps, to say – do check your fire alarms. if you don’t believe it’s important read this cautionary tale from our friend andreas, who might only be alive because of the power of baby’s lungs.