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Merry Christer!

XXX ZX51688 US VS LENNON MOV-ZX5.JPG A ENTIt feels weird not heading to England. For the past four years we’ve spent the 2 weeks leading up to Christmas visiting my mum in the crazy home plus a couple of days soaking up London’s festivities before getting home in time to collect Riley, shut out the world and huddle together for Christmas Eve.

But having just visited my mum in October we’re staying in Austin for the whole of December. It’s hard to feel wintry when it’s 70 degrees outside and this suits me fine. I don’t hate Christmas I just wish it wasn’t 5 days before my birthday because this always leads to some rather maudlin end-of-year reflections.

Why can’t Christmas be at some other time of year? All the big holidays are back-loaded to the end of the year, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas. It’s like the old English buses cliche, you wait 8 months for a chance to eat and drink in excess and then three come along at once. And in the US the big 3 just blend into one another starting around late August. I think it would be far better if Christmas was moved and combined with Easter. It would be much less stressful for people traveling and more convenient for the Christiany types as they could celebrate the whole lifecycle of Jesus in one fell swoop AND cut the amount of time they have to spend in church. We could call it a hol(y)istic celebration. Do the birth in the morning and unwrap presents and then do the death/rising again/eating chocolate bunnies in the evening. Merry Christer everyone will proclaim. Happy Eastmas your annoying British friends will reply.

Retailers will be much happier under my brilliant new plan because they can now stretch Black Friday all the way through to Good Friday which will save the economy and probably destroy ISIS. And they wouldn’t have to close early on December 24th and the whole day on the 25th. Result.

The only other option is to change my date of birth. Erik has just changed his last name without too much difficulty so I’m sure this must be possible. Maybe I should change mine to my ‘Gotcha’ date. If you’re not familiar this is a hideous term that some loathesome person coined for the day in which an adoptive parent takes custody of or brings home their child. [Presumably having just won it from one of those claw-crane machines at the fairground. One more try and they could have won a plush panda]. Yes I really do hate this term.

But the whole Christmas/birthday combo thing is made even worse by having to listen to John Lennon’s rather judgmental and accusatory tone for weeks on end in every store or restaurant I go near. ‘And so this is Christmas, and what have you done?’ I don’t really feel like I should have to answer to a Christmas song, mostly because I fear that the answer might be ‘not a whole lot’. But if you’re going to challenge me with passive-aggressive lyrics then I’d probably say I’ve done more than spend a couple of weeks lying in bed and pretending that a ‘bed-in’ was a real thing. But I won’t because I’m not like you John.

I suppose your song does hark back to a simpler time when one could write lyrics about wishing a ‘…happy Christmas for black and for white. For the yellow and red ones let’s stop all the fights’. These days you’d better be talking about M&Ms.

And it’s perhaps a bit misleading to say ‘WAR IS OVER!’ and then in tiny letters type ‘if you want it’. That’d be like me holding up a giant sign saying ‘Free Cash Here’ and then in tiny type below ‘must bring own cash’. Signs like yours led some Aussie bint to write The Secret and spread all that wonderful baloney about the law of attraction. Given the world’s current state perhaps we should all stop asking the universe to bring us more death and destruction.

Perhaps I’m reading too much into it and you just wanted to write a christmassy song that was just very very slightly better than Paul McCartney’s ‘Wonderful Christmastime’.

But back to me and ‘what I have done’. This year I have, in no particular order, gained 5 pounds, taken a graphic novel workshop, sold my soul in an office job, planned some excellent events, written a new show, performed it in New York, got a mention in Time Out, made 2 trips back to England, been to the beach, written 18 blog posts, auditioned for a film, spent a week in Hollywood, wasted at least $200 on make-up products that I never use, cried in public, become menopausal, lost my ability to do more than 3 pull-ups, eaten a lot of Mojo Sweet ‘n Salty bars, lost 5 pounds, regained some of my soul and bought a bicycle.

How can I possibly top this list in 2016, my year of 50? Surely I won’t do something cliche and milestone-ish like climb Mt Kilimanjaro? Too predictable Gallant. Don’t do it.

 And for more on my plans for being 50 read yesterday’s post [NSFW].

Tragedy in Heathrow Terminal 3

Written at 11:00am GMT on Tuesday at Heathrow Airport. My instinct is not to post it. But then again my instinct was to go to England so clearly it cannot be trusted with decisions.

Heathrow terminal 3 security screening staff are a bunch of miserable twats*. This is what I wanted to tell them after I finished repacking my bag which they completely unpacked, swabbed and fannied about with on the claim of a suspicious object being viewed on the x-ray scan.

But as my dear friend Caroline pointed out, ‘airports are no place to suddenly find four and a bit decades of unexpressed assertion.’

The suspicious object turned out to be a round container of Aveda loose face powder. This was found early in the search but that certainly didn’t deter the security staff. It seemed to given them added impetus to completely dismantle my luggage. Perhaps they thought the powder was just a distracting decoy to something more dangerous. Because that would make sense.

Standing watching this grim-faced bint slowly remove each item from my bag and place them in a tray I was reminded of our aging and slightly senile family dog, a black Labrador called Squash, who at night would methodically remove individual cans of baked beans, spaghetti hoops, sweetcorn and whatever else was at her eye level from the cupboard in the kitchen. She would carry each can over to her bed and go to sleep and in the morning we would put them all back for her.

At the end of the search the woman dismisses me with a ‘thank you madam’ which I rightly ignore as I find it offensive to be called madam before I’m 50 and hypocritical to thank someone for destroying my careful packing for no proper reason. Not hearing a response from me, perhaps wondering if my ears are clogged with crack cocaine/Ponds face cream, she repeats herself in an even more pointed fashion ‘THANK you madam’. I pointedly put on my headphones.

I was planning to stride away blasting some sex pistols or other angry music but remember that I just recently pulled most of my music off my iphone intending to start over. I had a few podcasts on there but this was no time for Ira Glass. Luckily I had kept Queen’s Night at the Opera so was at least able to play Death on Two Legs and loudly shout (anger-whisper) the lyrics to no-one in particular. But for some reason I’d only kept part of the album so after DOTL I was left with You’re My Best Friend, the worst track Queen ever recorded, and Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon which was far too whimsical for the occasion.

Also still on my phone is the Ultimate Bee Gees Collection vol 1 & 2 (no idea how either got onto my iTunes). I was successfully channeling a Reservoir Dogs style menace-walk through the Terminal but then the opening to Staying Alive came on. It’s impossible not to swagger like John Travolta when this plays. So I am now sitting down and have spent the last 4 minutes silent-crying to Tragedy. The seating area is quite crowded but there’s a lot of empty seats around me.

Was thinking about cleaning up a bit and putting on some face powder on but wouldn’t it be more fun to tip a little bit onto my laptop cover, roll up a five pound note and start pretend-snorting? It’s Aveda powder so it’s made of lovely mineraly things which are probably very good for me.

My foot is now throbbing. I was so angry and tense when I left the security area that I kicked a pillar. I was going to kick the stupid Welcome to Terminal 3 banner but I am still sensible enough to see the potential peril/arrest in that. It would have been better if I wasn’t wearing Converse.

I’m going over to Café Nero now to see if I can score a sympathy coffee. This has become a new thing for me. On Sunday I had just arrived in London from a week at the home for the crazies in Kent. I was neither looking nor feeling my best when I popped into Pret A Manger for a coffee. The man looks at me, hands me my drink, smiles and says ‘no charge’. You might think that I would thank him and smile but no, I said ‘what’s that for?’. Because we both knew. I have now reached the age of the sympathy coffee. The man was young, I probably reminded him of his Polish mother after a back-breaking day of digging up potatoes. The sympathy coffee is the middle-aged version of a sympathy fuck. It’s done out of pity. Not that I wanted a sympathy fuck at 11:30 am in Pret A Manger but it would have been nice to be offered the choice.

Just back from Café Nero with coffee that I had to pay for. I am a red-eyed, tear-streaked, powderless hag. Just how bloody miserable and desperate do you have to be Cafe Nero? You heartless bastards.

This is all British Airways’ fault. I shouldn’t even be at this bloody Terminal. I was booked to fly direct to Austin on BA but for no given reason (shimmery eye shadow found in a seat pocket?) that flight was canceled and I got shunted/shafted onto American Airlines going to Chicago.

I go out of my way (though not to Chicago) not to travel on AA which is a dismal airline by comparison to my BA. I am now on the AA flight which looks the airline equivalent of something that was left in a back room to die. Old, shabby, worn down, rickety — and that’s just the plane’s interior. haha, I am a comedy subvert.

There is no working entertainment (except for the Julie Walters comedy characters masquerading as cabin crew) so am playing my album of 150 great British hymns and hopefully annoying everyone around me with my off key humming to Jerusalem. For another 8 hours.

*Not my first word choice.

The Middle Ages explained

Philosopher Alain de Botton is quoted as saying
“By the time we are 50, we are definitely in the suburbs of mortality.”

I like this quote a lot. It’s far better than all the bollocks about 50 being the new 10, etc. Isn’t it time we put an end to the late running of previous decades and got them back on track? Plus as I hurtle towards 50 I see mortality in different terms. It’s less something to be feared and more a chance to finally get some decent unbroken sleep. Continue reading “The Middle Ages explained”