Archive for July, 2012

Give it three months and we’ll all be sick to the back teeth of the word ‘Olympics.’ Or will we? Are we about to experience something truly magnificent which will highlight this still fairly excellent country of ours, or are we heading towards a disaster of outstanding proportions, because let’s face it, when the British balls anything up, we do it in superb fashion, with the remaining ashes swept under the shag pile, never to be mentioned again.

Having watched BBC 3’s live debate show, ‘Free Speech: Olympics Special,’ it has come to my attention that perhaps I’m not alone in my misgivings and general dread of this forthcoming event. With incredible insights and thought-provoking interactions from the 18-26 year old audience, this show really manages to express the feelings of the general public; the little man in the background, the one waving from a distance; you can just about see him if you squint correctly.

One would expect (perhaps even hope) that when seeking financial support for such a prestigious occasion, the choice of sponsor should accurately reflect the affair. So who have the Big Dogs chosen? Among others, Nike (splendid) Adidas (excellent) Kodak (of course) Coca-Cola (um….) and McDonalds (pardon?)

How on earth are we meant to promote ambition, good health and fitness by plastering the walls of tube stations with the corporations who represent fast grease and that dreaded thing called sugar? Surely, as a means of complimenting the larger companies, a selection of smaller and more appropriate British businesses, who could have really benefitted from being associated with such an infamous extravaganza, would have been more applicable? Of course not; it’s all about the money, money, money. Has the predicted budget for the whole event risen dramatically? Anyone else noticed that 90% of the Olympic souvenirs are made in China? I rest my case, Your Honour.

I’m not sure I even want to open the ‘Jack in the Box’ that is the G4S disaster. Suffice to say it’s been labelled ‘unacceptable, incompetent and amateurish’ and whilst an additional 3,000 troops are being hauled in by the ear (alongside the 48,000 who have already been drafted in) not to mention the police officers employed to help safeguard the event, old Nicky BeltBuckles is remaining in his £830,000 a year doss-box because be still believes he is the ‘right person’ to ensure the contract is delivered.  The company itself has also expressed their reservations about a ‘loss of leadership.’ Leadership?! I only wish you could hear me snorting.

Ironically, it was the Olympic Games which were originally held to prepare young men for war, now it is the young men who are being recalled from war to prepare for the Olympic Games. This, of course, is after the Government have decided to make cut-backs amongst the military in order to ‘save funds.’ Some of these incredible men and women who risk their lives on a daily basis are only being offered a £500 bonus as a reward for cutting short their annual leave. They may as well have been spat upon, it would probably taste nicer.

The overall mood from the BBC3 ‘Free Speech’ debate was that the driving forces behind the Olympics event are fighting against the little people instead of running alongside us. The somewhat menacing and intimidating missiles which were dropped atop numerous residential blocks in Tower Hamlets under the cover of darkness with not so much as a whisper of warning to the residents living below caused understandable feelings of resentment and indignation. It was appreciated, by the oblivious inhabitants, that these weapons are perhaps essential for the safeguarding of the city and the games but what infuriated them most was the fact that they were not alerted of the impending rooftop arsenal, no warning was given, no communication was offered, no letter was sent, not even a post-it note. A little disrespectful I feel.

In true British form, the whole thing seems to be a bit of a shambles, but did we expect anything less? What astounds me most is that once again the ordinary, everyday man has been pushed aside in favour of the larger corporations. Smaller businesses (some of whom were based on the once thriving industrial estate which is now the Olympic Village) have been forced to re-locate or close with no financial help whatsoever. Instead, we are repeatedly force-fed the phoney patriotism in an attempt to rouse us into believing it’s all money well spent.

Akin to some adrenaline, caffeine or drug hit, this Olympic hype will no doubt come to a furious head in a blaze of (hopeful) glory only to come crashing back down to earth with a bump. Once the confetti has settled and the fat cats have lined their pockets once more, the general hysteria and drama will have all been forgotten and daily life with continue in exactly the same format as before.

It is time however, to push aside all this doom and gloom, return to the origins of this occasion and direct our attentions to the most important element; our athletes, our country’s superheroes, these incredible individuals who have trained beyond immeasurable lengths and who are no doubt exhausted, nervous and terrified of the forthcoming trials. It is these regular folks who are pushing themselves to herculean limits to prove that our country is still ‘Great’ Britain after all.

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Now I am well aware of the fact that I have yet to ‘make it’ (whatever, that dreaded phrase really means) however I fully believe that I am edging ever closer to my final goal, albeit at apparent snail’s pace. Throughout the endless trials and tribulations I have encountered along this difficult journey, I have attempted to compile a list of things to a) keep myself going and b) to impart as ‘pearls of wisdom’ to future generations as a guide to success. They are, thus far, as follows:

Find An Un-believer.

There is nothing quite as powerful as the notion of possible failure. Should you find someone (or unfortunately be tied to someone by the forces of blood) who takes great joy and satisfaction in reminding one of the constant knock-backs and pointing out numerous disappointments, hold on to them, albeit at a safe distance.

Although, at first glance, you may cling to their every word and begin to believe their negative notions, it will, eventually, become a driving force. The idea of total failure may well be a possibility but sheer stubborn determination should refuse to allow its ugly head to rear. I have come to the conclusion therefore, that these unhelpful and pessimistic cretins can be utilised as a force to push oneself further along the path to achievement.

Positive Beats Negative

I know it sounds all a bit cliché and sticky toffee pudding-ish but the concept of a positive attitude, especially in the face of adversity (see above) work wonders. There is nothing worse than being slumped in the depths of despair, working oneself up into a raving stupor weighed under the abuse of one’s critics which inevitably prompts the serious consideration of packing it all in. (You may have gathered that I speak from experience here.) However, this does nothing for a) one’s morale or b) one’s ‘get up and bloody get on with it’ attitude.

Should yours be a repeated mantra of ‘I am going to make it, I am going to make it’ sung to the tune of ‘The Sun Has Got His Hat On’ (we can but dream) or scrawling ‘I can and I will’ across one’s bedroom ceiling like some sort of crazed lunatic, the possibilities of inspirational techniques are endless. Keep hold of this optimistic viewpoint (even if self-doubt begins to curl its witchy fingers around your sub-conscious) and hold onto it like grim death or a long-forgotten comfort blanket; never, ever let it go.

Confidence

Having spent a lot of my childhood and teenage years being regarded as the ‘fat kid’ at school, I learnt the hard way that confidence is key. Regardless of whether you are a quivering wreck on the verge of melting into your new boots or your stomach has decided to purchase a never-ending ticket to some hurtling beast of a rollercoaster, it is entirely possible to appear cooler than LL Cool J on the outside.

No one notices the person cowering in the corner but all eyes are drawn to that someone who strides into a room, with their head held high greeting all and sundry with a smile, a firm handshake (none of this ‘wet fish’ business) and a polite ‘Good Morning.’ If inner confidence is not something that comes naturally, pretending to be such provides the same result. You may be dying of terror inside but no one else need ever know.

There’s nothing like hard graft.

This is rather straight-forward but it is can be very easy to sit back and wait for success to knock on one’s door. This is not, and will never be, enough. There is always more that can be done, always another contact or possibility that can be utilised. Do not be disheartened or lose confidence if, for example, you must make a detour into a temporary situation simply to realise your dream at another corner. There is nothing wrong with taking another job to finance your vision or a pay-cut to realise your aspirations. Every person who has ever reached any goal has had to graft and no doubt perform some ghastly undertaking (plucking chickens springs to mind) to pay their bills or realise some form of success.

What’s in a name?

Considering I can barely remember my own name most mornings, this is something I struggle with terribly. However, I cannot stress the importance of this enough. From the tea boy to the big dogs, try and retain the name of every person you come in contact with. I discovered this pearl of wisdom when observing the morning routine of an incredibly successful and wonderful person who not only remembered each person’s name but retained a small bit of information regarding their lives with which to engage them in conversation. Not only was the success of this person sky-high but he was exceedingly popular and could call upon anybody, at any level, for help, guidance or even a favour. This is something I will never forget.

Relax, Breathe, Live

Yes, work hard but it’s just as important to relax, remember to breathe and live every day. It is entirely possible to work 20 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year but before you have had a second to notice, your life will have sped past you in a flash of brilliance without a chance for a moment of enjoyment. Provided you are actually striving for success and not just marking a buttock-shaped spot on the sofa, ignore the critics and ‘know-it-all’s’ who berate you for ‘not working hard enough’ or lacking ‘stamina,’ it is just as important to make time for ‘thought gathering’ as it is to put them into action.   

Never Give Up

If you lie awake at night thinking about it, use every opportunity to day-dream about it, find it’s the only thing that excites your senses, causes your breath to catch, your blood to bubble excitedly through every vein and makes your heart go ‘bippety-boop’ then this dream of yours is certainly one worth chasing. A very wise man once said ‘It’s better to have tried and failed than never tried at all.’ I couldn’t agree more; never, ever give up.

It has come to my attention of late that the general public have an obsession with boxes. Each person and their relevant situation must fit nicely into a box of some description for the ease of comprehension and the sanity of others.

Following numerous discussions with friends and colleagues, it appears that my current position in life causes great alarm and horror. The conversations often go a little something like this;

‘Pia, are you married?’

‘No.’

‘Do you have a boyfriend?’

‘No’

‘Why not?!’

‘I don’t want one.’

‘What, why?! Don’t you feel alone? Don’t you want to get married? What about babies? You’re getting on y’know, tick-tock, tick-tock, you need to start thinking about settling down.’

Unfortunately, the idea of the modern woman who doesn’t quite fit into a box labelled ‘Married,’ ‘In a Relationship,’ ‘Single and Lonely,’ ‘It’s Complicated’ or ‘Waiting for Mr. Right,’ confuses people to the point of no return. No, I am not in a relationship, no, I am not waiting for the right person to come along and no, I’m not lonely or worried about it.

When expressing the idea that marriage has been removed from my ‘to do’ list or the fact that I do not consider reproducing an urgent task, I am greeted with faces of  shock and disbelief. Surely, a womans whole existence and reason for living is to become a wife and pop out a few kids?! No, dear reader, I do not believe this is so.

Love and marriage do not necessarily go together like a horse and carriage. I fully believe it is entirely possible to love someone wholly and completely without having to place a ring on their finger and repeat a collection of promises infront of a gathering of bored and thirsty guests. Nor do I consider a woman to be unfulfilled if she has not made full use of her reproductive organs. Gasp. I know, I’m well and truly on the outside of these damn boxes.

This problem also appears to apply to sexuality. The ‘Gay’ and ‘Lesbian’ boxes have been burst open with numerous fabulous people having either sat themselves inside or been placed in there by others. However, what if a person is neither one way or the other? What if they don’t fit quite so neatly into either box but are, in fact, attracted to both sexes?

‘But, surely, you must like one more than the other?’

‘No, not necessarily.’

‘But, you will inevitably swing towards one sex in the end?’

‘No, not necessarily.’

‘But how can you like both men and women?’

‘Because people do. Now shush.’

Discussing this idea with a friend of mine who would consider herself ‘Gay,’ opened numerous cans of wriggly things. Should she stumble upon a man of exquisate proportions who satisfied her every sordid whim and was a truly perfect match, would she refuse his attractive advances simply because she is in the ‘Gay’ box? No. Unfortunately, that hypothetical situation causes severe confusion, head scratching and comments of ‘But, you’re gay?!’

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m all for labelling. Notebooks, admin folders and tupperware are high on my list. I even possess a labelling machine and often go as far as to underline, highlight and colour co-ordinate. But I draw the line at labelling a person. As far as I am concerned, it makes no difference which way a person swings,  which religion they follow, who they choose to vote for or how they wear their socks; a friend is just a friend.

How we spend our time on this planet and who we spend it with is a personal choice. We do not need to place each other inside a box, label it and place it on a certain shelf simply because that makes it easier for us to comprehend. Whether we fall in love with man, woman, plastic doll or all of the above, the choice is ours. Should we choose to remain unmarried, celibate or a rampant nymphomaniac forever after, it is nobodys business but our own, it does not change who we are.

It’s time to unpack these boxes folks;  the contents are neither fragile and or simply this way up.

What follows are some small extractions from my brain. Brain farts, you might like to call them. Some ideas I’ve stolen because I like them.

Whoever came up with the idea of drinking a boiling cup of tea on a sweltering day was a lying barsted.

Some people were dropped on their heads as children. I think it’s quite clear for all and sundry that I was thrown in the air, hit the ceiling fan, bounced off the wall and fell out the window.

Nothing quite like having a good chat to oneself in the loo….only to suddenly discover you’re not alone…

Must remember, do not make eye-contact when eating a banana. Ahem.

Attention over-sized brolly possessors; please refrain from tucking said implement under the armpit in crowded areas; you may be in danger of spearing some poor lady in the hoo-ha should you suddenly come to an abrupt halt.

It appears that I’m probably the only person who can padlock her bike, clothing, earphones and

gym bag to a pipe in one foul swoop. In other words, I’m a genius.

‘Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be utterly ridiculous than absolutely boring.’ Anon

I really need to turn off my automatic ‘BLESS YOU’ offering to random, sneezing strangers; they often dont seem to know how to respond.

Overheard an exquisite conversation today which went a little something like this; ‘What I ORDERED was a tall, skinny Americano but what I actually RECEIVED was a tall, skinny almond latte. Can…..you….IMAGINE?’ Someone please call ‘Made In Chelsea,’ one of their bints has escaped.

Rather perturbed after not only spending the majority of this mornings commute with a penis pressed into my buttocks, but moreover that the attached male did nothing to remove it when I turned round with the glare of DEATH but THEN decided to follow me from the carriage, introduce himself as ‘Pedro’ and ask whether we could ‘chat’ for a moment….as if we hadn’t already been ‘introduced.’

Well-behaved women rarely make history.

I simply adore sitting next to a fellow commuter who is in the process of playing a solo

game of ‘pick it, lick it, roll it, flick it.’

I’m always comforted by the sight of other people who also wander around the supermarket muttering to themselves whilst dressed in their pyjama’s and carpet slippers.

There is nothing quite like being surrounded by a collection of grown men who still hide each others clothes, take the batteries out of each others watches and dissolve into fits of uncontrollable giggles when drawing enormous, spurting peni on the walls.

Just been contacted by a lovely young man who goes by the name of Abdelkader Khamis who has an exciting and lucrative business proposal…..namely the legal transfer of £22.5 million dollars into my account after which ‘we will share the ratio.’ The utmost discretion and a positive response is required. How exciting; seems totally legit.