I can’t pinpoint when it happened … but, it appears to have become common place to give or receive a kiss from clients as a way of greeting and this is causing me untold anxiety. I am not comfortable with intimacy outside of the friends and family circle and kissing constitutes just that, an affectionate gesture afforded to my nearest and dearest.
There are, of course exceptions and if Hugh Jackman lent in for a genteel smooch I’m not going to turn away, I’m reserved not frigid! Just in case he’s reading …
The Greeks may have invented the handshake but it’s the English who have adopted it wholeheartedly as our own – a sure sign of reinforcing our stand offish and diffident nature. The handshake originated in the 5th Century BC to show strangers that your hands were weapon free and therefore meant them no harm. If it was good enough for those warring Greeks why can’t it be good enough for 21st Century office dwellers?
There are many reasons why I’d rather not kiss a client, but the main one is that I am absolutely no good at it. Almost without exception I get it wrong;, if the kisser goes left cheek then I go right, if they go right I’m scrabbling around on the left-hand side of their face. And one kiss or two? Countless times I’ve pulled away to have a client making a kissy face in mid-air or I go for two and have a client lurch backwards leaving me looking like a sex pest, which I’m not as it would involve far too much touching.
The kiss gone wrong moment which still makes me break out in a sweat occurred when confusion over the left and right sides caused plenty mutual head wobbling and me kissing the client full on the mouth! Understandably she (thankfully it was a she) looked aghast and immediately played the ‘I need the loo’ card as she shot into the bathroom – no doubt to wipe the back of her hand across her mouth. After that epic fail we reverted back to handshakes.
Our Mediterranean cousins are able to perform the ‘kiss’ with such style and panache it seems pointless and a little patronising to try and emulate it, especially so when my own attempts are unbearably clumsy and gauche. As we’ve decided to leave the EU I am hoping that we will be told by Michel Barnier that we are no longer allowed to keep this patently European custom and all kissing must be replaced with the traditional British hand shake immediately. I will give that up willingly, but I pray he won’t be silly and say we’re not allowed to eat croissants.
If you’re looking for sympathy, don’t come to Vegas. Instead of a comforting arm around your shoulders she will give you a licentious hug and take your wallet from your pocket. She comes snapping and snarling at your heels waiting for you to be lulled into an appropriate state of awe by the sparkling lights and night-time sights and then delivers a devastating killer punch to your bank account.
She’s cheap, tawdry and vulgar. Hard-assed and calculating, she wasn’t conceived for your pleasure but her own …. how very un-pc!
It’s Vegas and Normal Rules Don’t Apply
- Walk down the strip drinking a tube of frozen margarita at 10am – no problem
- Topless nun touting to have her photo taken with you for the small sum of only $20 – go right ahead. I have to add this wasn’t a real nun, or at least I hope not – what a way to collect for the local orphanage!
- 6ft Transvestite on 8 inch heels wheeling a giant suitcase in one hand and a miniature Yorkshire terrier in the other – nothing to see here
- Heroin addict picking at imaginary fleas on his legs and howling at the sun – OK, that raised an eyebrow, but only mine. Everyone else walked past the spectacle of this troubled young man without a second glance
The Lady is a Tramp
The whole city is unashamedly obsessed with excess; eye-popping flower displays, multi-million works of art dotted around the hotels, acres of marble walls, intricate mosaic floors, gondola rides in the desert – everything in praise of the mighty dollar. If you have it you want more, if you don’t have it you gotta get it. A place where pleasure seekers and fortune hunters jostle side by side all looking for that one perfect evening they’ll remember forever, the one where they had the world/hooker (delete as appropriate) in the palm of their hand. A city where hedonism and narcissism converge, a potent combination of self-love and zero accountability.
I was given a flyer promising ‘Hot-assed escorts delivered to your room in 20 minutes’, I wanted to ask if they weren’t hot did you get them for free but husband wouldn’t let me. Prostitutes Deliveroo style, whatever next?
If New York is the city that doesn’t sleep, Vegas is the chronic insomniac who has gone on a cocaine binge.
Nightly exploding volcanoes, dancing fountains, gondola rides, roller coasters going through hotels, there isn’t a show Vegas cannot perform. With iconic world landmarks dotted along the strip it’s not hard to dive right in and get swept along with the craziness that is synonymous with Vegas. Strap yourself in, it’s a bumpy ride and warn the bank that an unexpected overdraught is coming your way.
We went with no expectations, we were looking to have fun – we got it in spades.
Last Sunday we ventured out to see the Patriarchs of Punk – The Damned. Husband has had me listening to American ‘punk’ for years Sum 41, Green Day, Blink 182 and it was time to educate him on the origin of this music genre.
Last time I saw The Damned was over 30 years ago at the Hammersmith Odeon and on our way across to the Bournemouth O2 I wondered if they had garnered a vibrant new youth following in the subsequent years – the answer was a resounding NO!
The audience was predominantly male (around 95%) and middle aged. Bullet belts had been swapped with beer bellies and offensive T’s with checked shirts. Chatting to one woman she brightly told me that she’d seen them in the summer and loved it, “it’s like youth club for the over 50’s” and unwillingly I couldn’t have agreed more.
As the on-stage sound checks were completed and the house lights dimmed I had a niggling worry that I might be disappointed, if they were just a figment of some happy punk past but soon as the first chord was struck all concerns disappeared. They might have been around for 40 years but they can still play; old songs have become rock anthems, tight melodies and dare I say musical arrangements working in synergy with Dave Vanian’s silken and chilling voice which has improved 1000%-fold with age. He kept us spellbound with Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde then moving seamlessly into the explosive punk energy of tracks like Neat Neat Neat and New Rose.
For over 90 minutes we cheered, we sang along, we stomped for an encore and got two! And when Captain Sensible said “we still got it” for the briefest of moments we all believed him.
As we left, going back into the freezing night air – every band member commented on the cold, it must be an age thing – it was touching to think that behind the net curtains of Suburban Dorset there are so many angry, middle-aged punks who want nothing more than to ‘Smash It Up’.
As we roll into the 3rd week of January I am surrounded by the righteous and the sober.
It appears, without exception that everyone I know has given up something for the month of January and in some cases way beyond. Alcohol, sugar in all its forms, carbohydrates and dairy appear to the be the top choices of abstemiousness
I’m the sole survivor to emerge from this sea of self-denial, lounging on the island of indulgence (my sofa) with a drink in one hand and chocolate in the other bravely defying any attempt at weight loss. (Appreciate that I have overdone the alliterations, but I couldn’t let go of the shipwreck metaphor – apologies)
On the run-up to Christmas you can accept short days and cold dark nights with the promise of pressies, parties and decorations that twinkle and shine but afterwards, what then? January is usually a pretty bleak month and this year is no different, omnipresent grey; from the sky about 10 feet above to the muddy ground below there is little to no colour around, a monochromatic mood depressor. Even the dogs are feeling it, refusing to go for a walk, feigning sleep or hiding under the dining room table when I get their leads out.
However, the supermarkets provide some light relief to combat my January blues.
Being a woman of thrift and careful spending I find it impossible to walk past the yellow sticker shelves – quick sale, still fresh – without rummaging through for a bargain or two and January makes for a happy hunting ground.
Yesterday I picked up a bottle of sticky after dinner booze, 3 boxes of mince pies and five individual Christmas puds for less than a tenner. Combine this with the pint of double cream and two tubs of Quality Street (is it just me or did they used to be so much bigger?) three days ago and it’s a party for one! On opening the larder, husband remarked that it is actually a diabetic coma for one and I should start limiting my sugar/fat intake as he grazed on some saintly pumpkin seeds, look smug and admittedly quite a bit thinner than the start of the month.
I have made a deal with him, I will cut back on the indulgences when the sun starts shining again, although there is a niggling thought at the back of my head that when that time comes the fire brigade may need to crane me out the house.
Hurry up Spring, I can’t afford a mobility scooter.
Yesterday husband and I visited the Terry Pratchett exhibition at Salisbury Museum, we were among a wide demographic of Terry fans from children in wizard costumes to Discworld aficionados sharing their knowledge freely and loudly! People had travelled from far and wide to experience the exhibition and learn more about their favourite author, the Godfather of Imagintastic.
Until I met husband I had not read a Terry Pratchett novel, the majority of the novels take place on Discworld, which is a bit like our own except that it’s flat and is supported by 4 elephants who ride on the back of a turtle called the Great A’Tuin – sound implausible? Not really when you consider President Trump, driverless cars and the rising popularity of suicide bombings. In fact Discworld seems to be an infinitely more sensible place to reside rather than our own planet right now.
It’s not just the fantasy planet but the complexity of the characters and their back stories that inflames our imaginations. He transports us back to our childhoods without belittling and makes us sympathise with situations without feeling pity, he is an expert in ‘headology’. On a first read the plots appear to be light and frothy but scratch the type slightly with the edge of your fingernail and the letters will tumble away to expose a darker sentiment and the grubbier aspects of the human character emerge in all their horribleness. This combination of light and shade makes your read a journey through light and shade guided by a mouth-watering lexicon of frivolous fantasticalness.
Whatever the age of the book, his satire is contemporary and razor sharp and if you can read one without laughing out loud you may well be ‘breathily challenged.’ I should know this because our bookcase has one full shelf dedicated to Terry Pratchett printware – I’ve read each one – and his co-writers and I cannot begin to describe what fate may befall me if I move them out of alphabetical order!
Be More Terry is a slogan that Rob Wilkins and Stephen Briggs came up with to remind themselves they should try to remain true to the way Terry Pratchett would handle situations that life might throw at us and so in this spirit my resolutions for 2018 are:-
Embrace the marvellous, fantastical and absurd
Belly-laugh more frequently
Thumb my nose at bureaucracy
Encourage my imagination to starting rioting in full technicolour
Invent words and use them with such confidence that people believe they are truebegivens
So wherever 2018 leads you and whatever you may accomplish please do it Being More Terry
Terry Pratchett exhibition is on at Salisbury Museum until 13th January, if you’re nearby take a peek – it’s worth the visit.
Holly wasn’t feeling particularly festive and it didn’t seem like there was anything we could do to change her mind.
I couldn’t help but sympathise with her, on my pre-Christmas food shop I was mowed down by a very grumpy pensioner on a mobility scooter and was nearly crushed to death by a biscuit display! Honestly, who stacks the metal, yes that’s right metal, biscuits boxes to over 8ft high and 4ft deep. It wouldn’t have been so bad if it was my trolley that connected with the metal biscuit mountain and then I would have felt somewhat culpable instead I felt light-headed and a little bit bruised as tins showered down on my head and bounced around me. The real miscreant had already sprinted off like a hit and run professional and therefore it was me that had to endure the tuts, raised eyebrows and small tight supercilious head shakes as the caring and sympathetic – NOT – shoppers went by kicking biscuit tins out of their way.
By the time I got to the bread counter I asked the slicer that considering many Mothers were giving their kids a bag of crisps or chocolate from the trolley as an inducement for good behaviour, would the same understanding approach be extended to me if I started necking from the bottle of wine that was in mine, apparently it would be fine but only if I shared it with her. She looked as enchanted as I felt and she warned of worse to come, last year apparently there had been a physical fist fight over the last stalk of organic Brussels – the manager had to intervene and got hit with a bag of jumbo peanuts for his troubles, he was assaulted!!
The shops are shut for one day only but on 22nd December at 8am my local supermarket looked like Armageddon was around the corner and food shortages would take hold any second. I managed to get in and out in 35 minutes, 10 of those had been spent queueing and not forgetting the time spent rubbing my skinned shin and removing fragments of custard cream from my hair
New Year celebrations – forget it! I’m not going near a shop until mid January and so between now and then we’re living on Christmas left overs and tinned spaghetti, who knows I might even find a personality in the bottom of my cereal box along with the quality toy.