Monday, 17 September 2012

No BoJo, No!

A recent YouGov poll showed that Mayor of London and flaxen-haired dubious heartthrob Boris Johnson is the voters’ choice to succeed Cameron as our next Prime Minister. 33% of Tory voters prefer him to any other prospective leader and 24% of all voters would elect for a Boris-led Conservative government, according to the Independent. With his re-election success as London Mayor and soaring popularity following the Olympics (if mine ears didst not deceive me there were actually cheers and chants of “Boris, Boris!” at the parade last Monday) it seems increasingly possible that he could be our next illustrious leader. Many are saying if anyone can save the Tories from being unelectable post-recession, as predicted by harbinger of doom Sir Mervyn King, it’s probably BoJo.

When Boris visited my university several years ago, my dad sternly warned me to be careful around him: “He’s a notorious womaniser!” he glowered over his newspaper. Having assured him that I strongly doubted Boris was coming north of the Watford gap with the sole intention of seducing me, I signed up. Being a person of sound mind and having dipped a toe in student politics, I was in the welcome party for him. He was charming and funny, wonderfully posh and very charismatic. He made love to us all (in the figurative sense, thankfully) and by the time he stood up to give his "why vote Tory" speech to the other few thousand students, we were all eating out of his palm. He spoke fluently and convincingly, and I found myself nodding along vigorously to god-knows-what dreadful anti-feminist policy, so spellbound were we all by his charms.

It is with this self-effacing, bumbling charisma that he wins over so many otherwise anti-Tory voters - the George Osborne boo-ers, the screaming anti-Thatcherites. It’s that mop of hair, ("It is, I fear, impossible to imitate, as it is a product of random and competing forces of nature”), the fact that he stole a cigar case from one of Saddam Hussain’s pals, his Dickensian turn of phrase, the numerous television appearances and his apparent disregard for the social norms of a Conservative politician. He makes us nostalgic for a bygone era, of vicars on bicycles, of saying “What-ho!” to strangers and re-adjusting one’s monocle as one chases down a brigand. (That happened. I’m sure you heard). However, we all know that bumbling Boris is no less of a swine for all his zip-line dangling and knight in shining bike helmet heroics. The man isn’t a buffoon – he’s a PR’s wet dream.

This puts the Tory party in a difficult position – internally he is said to be unpopular but he’s undeniably charismatic and well-liked by voters, which gives him the edge over every other politician to have walked the halls of Westminster since Screaming Lord Such shuffled off this mortal coil. A brief Wikipedia dig under the surface reveals a man who has been involved in nepotism, racism, Islamophobia, homophobia, expenses fiddling, extramarital affairs and fabricating evidence at select committees. Miraculously not much of this has stuck, and he has managed to retain his Wodehousian schoolboy scamp image despite the controversy and a less-than universally successful first term as Major of London (Olympics aside). Boris was reportedly widely disliked and unsuccessful during his stint in the House of Commons, mainly due to jealousy over his fame and disfavour in the party arising from his various Borisish antics. A Boris-led government would be divisive – his popularity, which would be unlikely to last with the public, is already thin on the ground in Westminster. Rumour has it that working with him is no picnic, particularly if you happen to be female.

Realistically though, he’d be a truly dreadful Prime Minister. Imagine him addressing foreign dignitaries as picaninnies (true story), or getting stuck in the lift in the Houses of Parliament. He can only just get away with this stuff as Mayor, and isn’t doing a great deal for the image of the Mayoral office. Being PM requires things like having people trust you to fix the economy without making a tits joke about it. He’s even more shifty when it comes to policies, since all anyone really knows is he disagrees with Cameron on, well, apparently everything. He’s all fur coat and no Y-fronts. Eurgh. What he actually stands for remains to be seen, which is probably the most concerning prospect since the Cuban Missile Crisis, given that the likelihood of his succeeding Dave ‘LOL’ Cameron is increasing with every zip line antic and successful sporting event.

Boris is currently happily cycling around ruining London with reckless abandon shouting “Tally ho!” and jousting with the Prime Minister over runways, but move him into number 10 and give him access to that red missile button, and the situation becomes a whole lot worse. The best thing he can do for his Queen and country now is to take some kind of ‘National Court Jester’ dignitary position to keep morale high while we leave the economy to be fixed by a boring sod in Whitehall with a short back and sides.

I fear we may be stuck with him for a while longer, Britain.

Monday, 21 May 2012

On Living Alone

I ended up living on my own by extreme necessity of the imminently homeless variety. Happily that never came to pass and after much begging down the phone to wealthy relatives, I scraped together a deposit and rented myself a teeny weeny unfurnished flat about 18 months ago.

Although foremost in my mind when moving in was the opportunity to bring men home to 'my place' a la Sex and the City and be rather grown-up and cas(ual) about the whole thing, otherwise I was somewhat trepidated about the prospect, but it ended up being the best thing I ever did. Soon however I am set to leave my life of occasional-debauchery-but-more-often-marathon-Grey's-Anatomy-seshes behind for the bright lights of London, where only a salary of gazillions or an extremely rich relative helpfully shuffling off the mortal whatsit will allow me the same privilege. Here are a few things I will miss about living alone:

Pretending to be batshit crazy cat lady and sometimes actually being batshit crazy cat lady. This includes talking to the cats, talking to myself, talking to the cats when they aren't actually there (not to be confused with talking to myself), shouting at neighbourhood children, smelling like wee. (Not the last one).

Drinking gin or tea in the bath with Bach on full volume and the cats sitting in the sink gazing at me in wide eyed horror.

Wandering around naked; I have no curtains. The neighbours probably do not enjoy this but I am an exhibitionist.

Having an ongoing conversation with the TV.

Shocking my colleagues with the idea that I live alone, without a MAN to look after me or pay the bills.

An immensely smug sense of satisfaction at having my own place, even if in practise it's only 12 square feet of books and cat hair.

Goodbye little house. I'll miss you.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Dear Foxy

Dear Foxy,
(Can I call you Foxy? Thanks.) Oh Foxy. I read your godawful article for the Mirror last week and I’ve been pondering it ever since. What possessed you to pen such an atrocious, regressive piece of tripe?
Foxy, mostly I take issue with you whinging petulantly about women. Now, please don’t think I am all for some kind of sickly sisterhood. Just because we all have vaginas doesn’t mean we all have to be nice to each other. It’s not “us against all the men”. I take no issue with some girl on girl fighting. But I’m pretty sure you just made a sweeping sexist generalisation about all women there. Am I wrong?
You remind me of those girls at school who don’t have female friends, Foxy. They’re all “oh no, guys are so much EASIER to get on with. I’m WAY too cool for female friends, yah? I hang with the GUYS”. Fuck me, you’re cool. I wish I could be friends with the boys too. Oh wait, you do have female friends, right? DISCLAIMER! I HAVE SOME FEMALE FRIENDS WHO ARE OBVS THE ONLY EXCEPTIONS TO MY MASSIVE GENERALISATION!
It wasn’t awfully sporting of Amanda “personality-free” Holden and whatshernname off Strictly to share a video which most of the country has no interest in. It has shit all to do with them being women though. I don’t doubt plenty of men shared it too. So allow me to share something with you Foxy. Some people are twats. Some people are great. Some of the great people are men, some of them are women. Some of the twats, are men and guess what, some of them are women. Aren’t we all a bit sick of hearing this myth about women being nasty, Foxy? People are nasty. People get bored. Did we learn nothing from SamanthaBrickGate?
Ah, now we’re onto something Foxy. Just like the Daily Mail trolled us all with Samantha “all women hate me for being beautiful” Brick, have a rival red top struck gold with “all women are nasty cows out to get me”? Perhaps *whisper* you just aren’t a very nice person and that’s why you put people's backs up. Perhaps you’re paranoid. Perhaps you’re the paragon of charm and human kindness. I just don’t know. Anyway Foxy, I quite enjoyed some of your blogs. Some of them were quite good. You’re capable of rather more than a lazy, inaccurate, provocative column that you don’t seem to have an awful lot of conviction in defending.
And that’s it isn’t it Foxy? You didn’t really come up with that idea did you? I can just picture it now. You in the office with a sleazy editor, rubbing his thighs and growling “Yeah Foxy, your first column love. Let’s do something they’ll buy. Piss off the wimmin.” The Mirror wanted you to make a lovely big provocative splash that would sell them some papers. I’m sure you’ll claim that's not true, since it’s awfully exciting to have a regular column in a tabloid, but I suppose the Mirror wouldn’t have sold as many copies of “Amanda Holden and whatshername of Strictly are really mean.”
You can do better, Foxy. Making inaccurate sexist generalisations about womankind isn’t particularly helpful, is it? It isn’t hugely productive. It’s actually quite lazy and a bit of a sell-out. I don’t think you actually think women are held back by each other being jealous bitches, do you?
Have a little think about it.
Lots of love
Alice x

Thursday, 3 May 2012

On being filthy

Sometimes, when I fancy getting off on something really, really hot and well written, I go and read @girlonthenet's blog (here). You should too, as long as you aren't easily offended or at work. It is graphic and gratuitous, gloriously filthy and wonderfully eloquent.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Body Image and Sex: guest blog for LYYB

Becoming a woman is a bit like becoming celebrity, only more traumatic. This is either a celebrity in the sense of Kate Middleton (desirable and constantly imitated), or a celebrity a la Rupert Murdoch (loathed and constantly criticised), depending on what you look like and how popular you are. You go from being an uninteresting skinny child, more or less left to your own devices, to suddenly being incredibly fascinating to everyone the moment your tits and hips start to appear.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

The real cost of capitalism

I've been thinking about capitalism. I'm not an economist or an expert in politics. However I never let lack of knowledge about the subject stop me from forming an opinion, so I have come to the following conclusions:

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

On having a vagina

Today I read an excellent blog piece (which you can read here if you want to) on Samantha Brick-gate, the column by Grazia and Daily Mail "writer", where her self delusion reaches previously unattained levels when she claims she is just too beautiful for any women to want to be friends with her. Sob sob, ahem, yes we're all sure that's why women don't like you, love. The author of the blog explains just why this is so hilarious far better than I could, but something she says in the final paragraph particularly stuck with me.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Book Review: The Hunger Games

When I was little I didn't want to be a ballerina, or a princess, or a train driver when I grew up. (Ok I wanted to be a train driver a bit.) Instead I wanted, as I solemnly told my parents at the age of five, to be an author. I still do. I read voraciously everything I could get my hands on, Edith Nesbitt, Lewis Carroll, George MacDonald, CS Lewis, Madeleine L’Engle, Tolkein. I loved fantasy, adventure, peril and heroism, and I spent much of my childhood living half in the real world and half in the world of dragons and battles and princesses and rebellions and epic journeys. And for as long as I can remember I wrote stories and poems and songs. I dreamed of adventures and put them on paper.

Thursday, 22 March 2012


If you have been living under a rock or as a sack-wearing hermit, you may still be unaware of uniladgate, the scandal surrounding online ‘Lad’s’ mag for presumably sexually incompetent male university students that endorsed rape on the grounds that most go unreported so its worth a try if a girl is reluctant to give it up. Subsequent twitter storm saw the filth-ridden Unilad brigade shut down the website, sadly depriving a generation of Fosters-swilling, socially inept Soccer AM addicts from a communal wank-fest in their shared kitchen. This vile piece of internet mud is now back with us, bringing us such delights as “If you want the gash, spend the cash”. FYI unilads, neither wearing £10 cream Primark chinos nor referring to young women as “gash” will get you anywhere near one. It more or less cements the fact that you will not have sex with anything other than your hand for many, many years. Still, their online poll “are you glad we’re back” pleasingly showed that 60% of their visitors were not, and their advertising space remains woefully empty. We can be grateful for small mercies.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Why we still need the NHS

A few days ago I was rushed to hospital  by ambulance with a suspected pulmonary embolism. I was in intense pain, the GP I saw first was brilliant, and the paramedics were superb. They were calm but concerned, they took me seriously, they asked me what pain I was in and what I relief I wanted. They apologised for taking 45 minutes to reach me - they said things were very stretched. They drove me carefully but quickly, one of them held my hand as we went over speed bumps because it hurt so much.

Monday, 20 February 2012


I am currently at my friend's house in London feeling extremely poorly. Its just a nasty cold, because I've been working too much and its winter and I haven't eaten enough vegetables lately. So while she is at work in the city, I fester miserably on her sofa playing on iPhone 4 and catching up with my blogs. While browsing on her computer, I stumbled across her anonymous blog, so after some internal wrangling I read it.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Dos and Donts of First Dates

"Lets get so trashed we don't remember this tomorrow darling!"

It's not like I've been on a lot of dates. But I see everything as a learning opportunity and that's really all that some of them were, at best. I haven't had one in a long time. (Or a date, HA. You're welcome.)But I'm going on a really important first date soon, and lying in bed this morning contemplating how I can achieve being as little of a total dick as possible, the following rules of first dates came to mind.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Why being a writer is hard

Being a writer is not easy, in and of itself. First comes the question - who can categorise themselves as a writer? Do you have to be paid for it? Published? Read? Write with a certain regularity? Ability? In one sense I suppose we are all writers. But I am going to go ahead and work under the premise that writers are those of us who write for an audience.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

How not to have bad sex - vol 2

So I told you I'd write a post about my friend who is sleeping with a boy who wears skirts.
I would like to add that at the time when she told me, I was sleeping with a boy who has a life-size Alexandr the Meercat tattoo on his leg which he got for a bet, so despite my screeches of laughter, I didn't really have a leg to stand on. So to speak.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Dates I have known vol 3: Metal Guy

I know I said I'd blog about my friend who is sleeping with a boy who wears skirts, which I will get around to, but first I want to tell you the story of my first ever date.
It was with Metal Guy. I'd completely forgotten this whole experience until my new friend Mike started talking about balaclavas and woods. This may be the reason why I wanted to block it out.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

What Bob Marley told me

Have you ever had one of those experiences where you feel like the universe is speaking directly to you? I just did, today. I was sitting in a coffee shop and I looked up as someone came in, and got that feeling you do when you miss the step in the dark. I thought for a horrible second it was my ex boyfriend who I was horribly in love with then horribly heartbroken by. (I might have mentioned him, just once or twice). It wasn't him, but there was something about this man's face that really reminded me of him.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

A serious blog post about boobs

We all like boobs. Some of us are lucky enough to have them.
This one is for the girls though, because I have lately noticed an alarmingly large number of women leaping around the gym/countryside with breasts swinging wildly asunder and I feel I must tell you all something Very Important.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Why I am a runner

When god made me, it was not running he had primarily in mind. Belly dancing, making love, having children, ridings horses, maybe even power gymnastics, yes. Athletics - not so much. I found sport at school indescribably tortuous, where leggy pre-adolescent peers (I hit puberty unreasonably early) sailed past me in both the literal and figurative sense. I was a bookworm, and sport, the domain of the male or the thin, was a world from which I was definitely excluded, and those who were in it let me know that. My failings in these areas I knew let others down too, on the hockey pitch or the circuit. So I welcomed with open arms the day I left school and turned my back on the sports field and the athletics track forever.

When I was in my third year of university, the crippling depression that had been hanging over me for most of my life finally gripped me in its icy fingers and pulled me under. I read things about depression all the time, but they never tell you what it actually feels like. Let me tell you. To me, it feels like slow, unending drowning. It is waking up in the morning and clinging to the first few seconds when you've forgotten anything is wrong, and the wave of despair when you remember everything is so wrong it can never be right again. It is rocking in the corner sobbing because the world looks so distorted by your own misery and hopelessness you don't recognise it. It is feeling utterly isolated from humanity and like eating anything or putting one foot in front of the other is physically impossible. Some days it is the cold absence of any feeling other than nausea. It is staring helplessly unable to communicate all this to the person telling you to pull yourself together.

I had episodes throughout the year, much of which I don't remember. I got a degree. I got a temp job which turned into a longer job which turned into a highly pressured, exciting full time job. Somehow from somewhere I pulled the ability to perform well at work. The depression subsided, then my job ended when we lost the campaign we were working to win, and I was pushed into an admin job. The depression found room to come back. I was angry and hopeless by turn, I would have regular crying breaks at work where I would sit in a bathroom cubicle and cry silently pools of tears onto the floor which threatened to drown me, like Alice. I had a tumultuous and destructive relationship. It ended, I found myself almost friendless and almost homeless, I had a miscarriage, I hit rock bottom.

I saw a doctor and she made me come back to see her twice a week, just to talk and talk. She prescribed me some medication. I was still frequently considering knocking at deaths door, begging for relief. One day for no particular reason I got onto the dreaded treadmill at the gym and ran for four minutes. It didn't feel nice. Later that week I ran six. Then ten. Fifteen. Twenty. Every extra minute became a milestone, a victory. I would get to the gym, put my headphones in, climb onto the treadmill and run away from my head. It was painful, it was hard. Like I said, I am not built for running. More than that, I would notice every day that my mood was better, that I felt almost happy sometimes for hours after running.

Gradually I persevered and week after week, month after month, the number went up until I was running for an hour at a time. Its totally addictive - once you start beating yourself, you have to do it again, and again, and again. You dream about the treadmill. You start looking at long, flat roads wistfully. It's weird. An hour probably doesn't seem that impressive to some of you. But to me it sounds like a hundred miles. Because I couldn't run five minutes when I started. Because it gave me some space from the screaming agony of my mind. Because on that treadmill I am another person - I am an athlete.

It gave me a reason to live, to get back on that treadmill and chase the miles, to feel the comforting beat of my feet on the rubber, the glorious ache in my thighs, the sweat that would run down my neck and the steady pump of my heart telling me I was still alive. I feel a great affection for my imperfect body at this point, for its strength and its endurance. I feel the rush of endorphins, of adrenaline, I feel my hear soar and take flight.

That's why I'm a runner. I'm not very fast or particularly good at it. But I never give up, I never compare myself and I never fail to win. Because every day I am still here, I'm still fighting for my life.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

How to cure your insomnia

I spent years suffering from really bad insomnia, particularly as a student.
 It was horrible. You have not known loneliness if you haven't lain awake, night after night, sweating, dreaming of sleep, getting up again and again and again to try and convince your body it wants to go to bed. Watching the sun rise can be beautiful, but not under the circumstances of a) having been at work for two hours already or b) having seen it set recently without any sleep in-between. It is utterly isolating, and you find yourself spending night after night alternately masturbating then watching air disaster footage on YouTube.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

How not to have bad sex

I've been fortunate not to have had much bad sex in my life. I have avoided one night stands and my bedpost notches are surprisingly few. (I'm picky, what can I say.) However I recently had some spectacularly bad sex, so bad that I feel I need to warn you all how not to have sex that bad. Ever.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Dates I Have Known: vol 2

Soldier guy
I met Soldier Guy on a free dating website, the clientele of which tend to be less...washed.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Dates I have known: vol 1

I met my last boyfriend online dating. Until he went a bit nuts and broke my heart, it was a wonderful relationship. But I don't want to tell you about that - I'd much rather tell you about all the dates I had before I met him.

Monday, 2 January 2012

A short story about dating

A good friend of mine, let us call her Sarah, has lately recovered from a broken heart (in fact, everyone I know seems to be recovering from a broken heart these days) and she is now venturing back into the world of dating.