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Friday, 10 August 2012

Star Struck
Astrology. What in the fuck, I must ask, is this all about? Because while I have never believed in this rape of the heavens via the Daily Mirror puzzles page, I've always been happy to let believers carry on their merry way. However, this week I was privy to a stunning display of astrological insanity via Radio 2, where some star-botherer or other attributed various Olympic successes to whether Uranus was being intruded upon by Neptune.
This makes me want to run through the nearest astrology convention with a sharpened telescope. Apart from the fact that astrology is a load of old cock, it's even more old and cockish when its used to explain modern sporting prowess. If you want to believe that your 40-something love life is shit just because your mother's waters broke on the 'wrong' date, you go for it. Knock yourself out. But if you want to believe that Bolt or Ennis or Dujardin won gold for the same reason then you are as bananas as Fifes's head office.
For a start, to believe that medal-winning Olympians are successful only because of their star signs is the equivalent of believing that you'll only pass your exams if you wear your lucky knickers. It's taking a sport - the product of science, discipline and arse-splittingly hard work - sprinkling it with fairy dust and announcing that success is down to the 'little folk'.
And if that's not enough to set you in retrograde motion, it's also deeply and pitifully patronising. Jesus, imagine being a sportswoman, nurturing your talent, practising for hours every day, travelling to meets and nursing injuries until you win an Olympic medal only to be told that the win was all down to you being a fucking Capricorn? I dunno about Pluto being in transit but I'm as sure-as-shit that my fist would be. Then again, the guilty astrologer would know this because they'd have predicted it in Grazia a week earlier.
In fact, such is my disdain for astrology that I don't even know Kraken Junior's star sign. That's partly because it has as much relevance as a bird taking a shit three thousand miles away. It's also partly because, for me, looking at the stars is about science. You know, the evidence-based pursuit that means one fuck of a lot more than the fictional representation of the night sky. Show me evidence that being a Taurean has influenced my career, depression and love of anchovies and I may start to listen. 
Until then, chart-twiddlers, no. Just no. Astrology does not have influence over the Olympics because, unlike the Olympics, astrology is based upon fuck all. Unless, of course, you want to line up the runners, swimmers and pole vaulters according to their star sign rather than country. But that would never work because astrology would also be put to the test and, by Christ, would it lose.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Bird Brains
No. Just no. I declare here and now that if one more Olympic commentator refers to the female competitors as 'ladies' rather than 'women' I will not be responsible for my distinctly unsporting javelin-based actions.
This isn't 195-fucking-4. It's 20-fucking-12 and the Olympics is populated with women who have sweated more viciously in the last seven days than most of us have in the last 15 years. They are powerful, competitive, driven, successful women who make 99.9% of the global population look de-boned and yet they're still spoken about as if they've tripped daintily from a Jane Austin novel.
Man, I despise the term 'lady'. It's as patronising as a pat on the bum and an enquiry as to if it's "your time of the month". And if it's not outdated enough in everyday life, it's as sure as shit outdated in the Olympic arena. You can almost hear the guilty commentators grumbling about how the sexual revolution was just down to hormones. Christ knows what shocks they've experienced as the competitors have lined up in lycra rather than crinolines or girdles. I dare say the 'ladies' have offered up their smelling salts and lace hankies to help revive the traumatised telly-botherers from their fainting fits.
Put it this way. If the women are ladies then how come the men aren't gentlemen?  You never hear the Olympic commentators banging on about how the gents are waiting for the starting gun or harping on about the chaps picking up the pace. Instead they're called warriors, strongmen, gladiators. All while the women - equally as supreme - are chucked under the collective chin like fucking kittens.
And yeah, I know there are blokes out there who are just bewildered by the whole thing. I've met plenty who think that the term 'lady' is a perfectly respectable way to address someone with a muff. Problem is that the word carries more connotations than Monty Don's wheelbarrow. For a start 'lady' attempts to segregate the 'good' women from the 'bad' whoever the fuck they're supposed to be. Then it bestows upon the unlucky recipients of the title the responsibility of having to behave in a particular, socially acceptable way. Finally, it's the equivalent of walking into a room full of women and shouting "Tits!" because the first thing you're pointing out is their gender. 
All of which means that the next commentator to refer to ladies will be the beneficiary of my more than unladylike behaviour. On second thoughts though, it won't be unladylike at all because ladies no longer exist. Krakens do, though, and this kraken is already sharpening her javelin.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

The Point
The trifecta
Sod storytelling. Last night’s bedtime chat with Kraken Junior included her question, “What’s the point of me?”. Then she asked what was the point of I, The Kraken, and of Conjugal Kraken. I spluttered out that the point of us is to love each other but you know what? I could have gone one fuck of a lot further. Much further. But then KJ would have had nightmares and scratched out her eyes. Here’s what I wanted to say but, in a rare fit of diplomacy, didn’t...

The point of Kraken Junior:
To provide our local pharmacist with an early retirement to Antibes; to put my bras on her head; to make me hysterical with exhaustion; to marvel at the size of her turds; to squash bogies under my fingernails; to make me wonder what the fuck I am doing; to squander our savings on Tinkerbell costumes; to make me holler “eat your frigging mash!”; to ask me what water is; to weep with laughter at yellow cars; to scream with fear when I cut her toenails; to shout “bloody marvellous!” when she enjoys her food; to call the planet Uranus Uvuranius; to repeatedly try to bite my nose; to grill me about my periods; to limp theatrically and hysterically for hours after grazing her knee; to taste paint; to obsess over bubbles; to poke the cat; to call Hello Kitty, Kitty Hello; to shout for quiet when she’s concentrating; to go profoundly deaf when the telly’s on; to get sand on her teeth; to make us gigglingly happy.

The point of I, The Kraken:
To wonder what the fuck I am doing; to fold tiny clothes; to religiously shout “I’ve only got one pair of bloody hands!”; to be terminally confused; to never take a shit on my own; to clutter up the local psych unit; to ingest fistfuls of mentally stabilising medication; to provide our local pharmacist with an early retirement to Antibes; to read aloud The Gruffalo 361.3 times; to pretend to enjoy tea parties; to pick peas off the kitchen floor; to mutter “for fuck’s sake” under my breath and, occasionally, aloud; to drink rum exactly three minutes after bedtime, often from the bottle; to panic at rashes; to despise the beach; to hate other children; to explain why I’m screaming at other drivers; to worry about KJ becoming a whore/ junkie/ Tory; to hide on the doorstep; to ask “have you lost you bloody mind?”; to rage at the colour pink; to know that I’ll never fail to use contraception again; to become hooked on snotty cuddles.

The point of Conjugal Kraken
To stop our cave from forming its own chaos-based black hole; to teach KJ to count; to separate KJ and I during particularly hysterical periods; to keep KJ supplied with Cocoa Pops; to forget what a boys' night out feels like; to simultaneously watch cricket, build a marble run and mop up snot; to spot my imminent mental collapse long before I do; to shower with a small face pressed against the glass; to have no time to cut his toenails; to have his pate and his high forehead meet in the middle; to partake of a large slump at three minutes past bedtime; to moderate the mash-eating battles; to have greater patience than the rest of us put together; to agree that other kids are hideous; to be the administrative centre of the kraken universe; to suck his teeth with fury; to count the grey hairs on his chest; to have KJ stare at his knackersack; to weep with laughter at Viz; to have obsessively documented every episode of Disney’s Imagination Movers; to explode with pride.

Yup, on second thoughts perhaps I gave KJ the right answer in the first place.

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Copping Out
Iggle, you're nicked
You know when you become so despairing that you want to weep openly while beating at the windscreen of the car?  That. Yup, that. And this time it’s over the absurd police reaction of arresting the Twitter troll who said of Olympic diver Tom Daley "You let your dad down i hope you know that (sic)".
Ok. Someone needs to explain this to me.  No really, because I haven’t got a fucking clue what’s going on. You see, when I went to bed last night I was living in the UK yet at some time in the night my entire house was airlifted across the globe and put down in communist China. So when I woke up this morning I found that someone had made a distasteful comment and been arrested for it. I know, I can hardly believe it either. 
Ok, so what this idiot said was nasty, ignorant and deeply hurtful. It was, hold on... no, that’s it. That’s all. He was a twat and he spoke his twatty mind and astoundingly, got arrested for it.
Either way on the basis of this I’m well n truly screwed. If I’m not doing porridge by a week next Wednesday you’ll have every right to ask why because if haven’t offended somebody during the course of my blog it’ll be a miracle worthy of Charlton Heston parting the Red Sea. You want distasteful comments? Then you’ve come to the right place. I’ve offended parents, shoppers, drivers, celebs, politicians, children, the elderly, the police and even my own mater and pater. It’s a miracle that the prison at Guantanamo Bay doesn’t have a wing named after me.
Put it this way. Take every distasteful remark I’ve made on this blog and award it one week in the pokey. That fuck of a long time behind bars. And no, I’ve never made a racist remark or said anything remotely discriminatory (well, unless you include discrimination against the global population of bell ends) but that no longer seems to matter. It’s now enough of a crime to just upset someone.
So what am I supposed to do in this new police state of ours? Start raving into my pillow rather than the blogosphere? Start suppressing that part of me that controls independent thought? Or perhaps fall into line and just accept what I am told because that’s what good citizens do? Well, I’m afraid I’m not prepared to do any of those things so the South Wales Constabulary had better cancel overtime because, if this is the way we’re going, it’s going to get pretty fucking busy around here.
One good thing has come from this though and that’s the speed of the police response. That alone has made me skip. Because when we recently called the police to report a crime it took them a fortnight to get to us (I am not kidding) because, they said, they couldn’t find our house. Oh, and there was that time recently when two other occifers found themselves in our garden because they’d “got lost”. Oooops, and I’m forgetting when we reported a crime and were told that it couldn’t be recorded unless we physically went to the police station first.
So, in the light of this trolling business, let the new vigilance of the police offer us hope that from here on in real crimes will be resolved swiftly and eagerly. Swap the words ‘causing offence’ with ‘car crime’ and use the term ‘on the street’ rather than ‘online’ and, Christ knows, we might start getting somewhere. Until then, get out your orange jumpsuits. Guantanamo, here we come.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Book Worms
One feed's worth
Whoa there! I'm reading Sue Townsend's The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year and it's like seeing the inside of my own head. Eva Beaver, the protagonist, sums up motherhood so pithily that if I ever had to give birth again I'd want her to be my midwife. At one point in the book she says of her twins, "I was thrilled to have two babies in my arms, but - and you'll think this is awful - after twenty minutes or so I wanted to get back to my book".
Jesus, do I know what Eva Beaver means. For the first three months of Kraken Junior's life she was a living, breathing book stand. Oh come on, I didn't know what else I was supposed to do with her. She may have been attached to a tit or a bottle at the time but she earned her keep by letting me rest Jane Ayre on her slowly fusing skull. If you shave her hair off you'll find a ridge, the width of a book spine, roughly near her crown.
Problem is that babies are boring. Really fucking boring. And I'm sorry but I don't subscribe to the Mothercare manifesto of gazing lovingly at my child for hours on end as a form of entertainment. Yes, babies are occasionally amusing and yes they do keep you busy but no, they are not a hobby or an intellectual pursuit. In fact, the first time I breastfed KJ I naively assumed it'd be a full hour of employment. Fuck me, was I wrong. It was ten minutes of wrestling my bleeding nip into her gob followed by 45 minutes of wanting to fill my own pupils with building sand at the boredom of it all. 
Books saved my rapidly curling bacon. In fact books provided the only real intellectual stimulant for the first six months of KJ's life because KJ as sure as fuck didn't provide it. Oh she provided drum-loads of mucus, shit blacker than an oil slick, vomit like yoghurt and an inspired reason for becoming deranged with sleeplessness but intellectual stimulation? No. I can’t say that was even a remote offering. 
Even now that she’s nearly five there are times when I demand that she shuts up for just five minutes, long enough to let me get to the end of any given chapter. Believe me, the merriment of Twinkle Twinkle wears thin after it’s been sung on a loop for four fucking years.
So thank Christ for the product of Sue Townsend’s fevered imagination. Eva Beaver has just entered my list of heroines at the number one spot. Babies? Books? Guess which one I’ll be having next.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Bag Lady
Got anything bigger?
Dear Jesus, the drudgery of motherhood. The sheer drudgery. And you know what the symbol of that drudgery is? The change bag. The bag that every fucking mother on the planet has to lug about in case their offspring performs anything from shitting and puking to raging boredom. Why, when you find yourself knocked up, does nobody tell you that from birth onwards you'll be contractually obliged to carry a bag so large that it'd make sherpas weep into their own frostbite?
When Kraken Junior was a squalling sprogette I took to carrying a bag that, up until that point, I had used as a weekender. God, how I hated that fucking sack. Not just because it was heavier than an elephant's leg and fitted with a small outlet of Mothercare but because it was my first (and only, if I have anything to do with it) ball and chain. So vast was it that strangers actually laughed and joked about whether I was going on holiday, all while I smiled benignly and secretly wished them a slow and painful death. I muttered endlessly about dousing it in petrol and lobbing its burning form into the nearest playground.
Why in the fuck do we have to lug about so much shit when we have babies? I can honestly say that I backpacked through the Himalayas and the Costa Rican rainforests with less stuff than I when I just took Kraken Junior to buy a loaf of Hovis. You don't see women in Nigeria wrestling with small suitcases as well as their infants do you? And you never see the Inuits stuffing dead shoulder-seals with fistfuls of nappies, bibs, wetwipes and other associated tat. Why? Because they seem to have a grip on mothering in the same way we Westerners seem to have a grip on producing shit sit coms. 
It's a control thing I reckon. Having a child rips control from your hands a if it were the last vol-au-vent at an obesity celebration. Stuffing the nearest suitcase with Sudocreme and dummies makes you feel as if you've wrested back said control. The kid shits? Got it. The kid sobs? It's covered. The kid shows an aptitude for astrophysics? There's a map of the universe in here somewhere...
Personally speaking, there are two things that would never, ever make me spawn again. The ripping sound emanating from my vagina is one. The splitting seams on the change bag is the other. And yes, they are remarkably, agonisingly and messily similar. As are the obscenities I've spluttered at each. Vag? Bag? Bag? Vag? Believe me, I never want to see either again.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Pots of Toss
Know where you can stick that finger?
People can be such wankers, don't you think? Yes, wankers. And why am I telling you this? Because I am sick to shit of the theory, most oft-spouted at parents, that if they find any aspect of parenting so tough that they grumble about it then they should never have had kids in the first place.
What in the giddy pits of fuck does this even mean? At its best it's an opinion for the hard of thinking. At its worst it's an opinion worthy of the Third Reich. Put it this way, it's the sort of opinion that's banged out by either the Dail Mail or the Jeremy Vine Show. Like I say, the hard of thinking or the Third Reich. Or even hard of thinking members of the Third Reich. Yeah, yeah, that's more like it.
First, what in the fuck is wrong with making a major, life changing decision and then finding that aspects of it that are harder than you thought they'd be? Suddenly parents are supposed to be tele-frigging-pathic, not just making decisions to spawn but also seeing forty years into the future. Picture it now: "You know, I'd love to have a child but seeing as I'll be fucking livid with said child at 3.15pm on Monday 23 June 2026 I don't think I'll bother." 
More than that, what exactly is wrong with the people who make the "Then you shouldn't have..." statements? Fuck me, how joyful it must be to be so perfect that you'd never found the consequences of a decision difficult, surprising or plain old disappointing. Based on their clearly supreme powers of reasoning it's fair to assume that these arseholes also have perfect careers, relationships, hobbies and even shitting routines. So you know that job they took back in 2005? They have never ever had a single grumble about it. Not one. Otherwise, if they have, then they shouldn't have taken the job should they?
And finally, as they say, what in the frig is with this vow of silence that parents are supposed to keep? Because according to the 'shouldn't have' knob ends, once you've chosen the child-rearing path you must never, ever speak of the pains, gripes and upsets that you experience along the way. Even though every day of childrearing includes at least one moment of distress, such incidents must be tucked away like dirty secrets, just in case complete strangers find them distasteful. Heaven forfend that you should have a perfectly human reaction to getting three hours sleep, a cleavage full of vomit and an hour of last minute algebra homework. 
You know, I like to think that people who trot out the 'shouldn't have' line are the most pathetic creatures of all. They really do not have a clue, do they? Not only do they wrongly assume superiority over the rest of the humankind but they have the reasoning abilities of rotting owl pellets. They've clearly never lived either, obvious from their distressingly simplistic view of what it takes to live that life. If you've never made a bad decision then you've probably never made a decision and that results in one big bowl of fuck all. 
Expect me to prefer that to a life of highs, lows and surprises? Then I'm sure the Daily Mail or Jeremy Vine would love to hear about it.