The Cinderella Chip

10 09 2010

Once upon a time, a young girl left her little kingdom of Melbourne to see the world. Her whole life, she had felt invisible, toiling away in the shadows of the beautiful blondes, and ravishing brunettes. A redhead in the rough. But when her chariot (well, plane) landed in another kingdom, that United one, she was suddenly no longer so invisible.

As she travelled the length and breadth of England, Scotland and Wales, visiting castles, drinking in pubs, it became apparent to her that her palid, ginger complexion was not so unattractive to these British men. In fact, she rarely spent the evening drinking in a pub alone without encountering a potential male suitor – or two. She was thrilled. Handsome men with accents wanted to buy her drinks, and found her fascinating.

But then came the problem. A young lady drinking and traveling alone was at risk. She had to stay in control of herself, a hard task when consuming pint after pint of beer, which these young Englishmen continually bought for her. Ladies who lost control of themselves, and allowed themselves to be at the mercy of young men with bad intentions, did not stay ladies for long. Or worse…

It was one thing to drink too much at house party full of friends (I mean we all saw the back of a garden bed once or twice in our youth), quite another to lose control in a small town in the middle of England where you knew nobody, and nobody knew you. So from deep inside, this young girl grew a magical internal switch, which she called her Cinderella Chip. So no matter where she was, when the time came and she was too drunk, BING! she would disappear, like Cinderella when the clock struck midnight. Suddenly she would wake up fully clothed in her own bed, and safe.

Yes, that little girl was me. And I won’t lie. I did some very unladylike things on that first trip around the UK. I may have breached the terms and conditions of a few hostels and B&B’s. But I met some great people, some of whom I still know, and somehow, through it all I came out safe and sound. Thank God!

These days I am much older and wiser, but even all these years later, the Cinderella Chip remains. I can be out drinking with friends, or at a gig, or a house party, anywhere really, but when I have drunk too much, something in my subconscious kicks in, and I’m outta there. In a cab, home to bed, safe. Half the time I don’t even remember the taxi (or in London, 2 tubes and a bus!), but somehow I said my address, paid, found my keys, got in the door, took my shoes off and got into bed. Sometimes I don’t even say goodbye, which freaks my friends out, But it can’t be helped. It is an involuntary, automatic reaction. My brain says “Home time!” and I’m off.

And to be honest, I thank god for my Cinderella Chip. No waking up next to someone you regret. No vomiting in club toilets. No need for your friends to take you home. Sure, it doesn’t stop you from waking up with one hell of a hangover, an empty wallet and a sinking sense of shame, but hey, at least you don’t have herpes.

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Breaking Up is Hard to Do…

18 02 2010

Not to get personal on you or anything, but I am currently staring down the barrel of a break up, after three years of “see you when you get home”, “what shall we have for dinner?”, “move over, stop stealing the duvet” bliss. So it occurs to me…. Break ups are rubbish if you’re a normal, everyday person. Because no matter what kind of upheaval is about to occur in your life, all the rest of it – work, friends, the tube, getting stuck in the rain, same old, same old – goes on.

If it wasn’t for the fact that I had to keep going to work to earn money, my break up could almost be romantic. I could book a flight to the South of France, and go work in a cheese shop. I could rent a house on the beach, and stare wistfully off into the middle distance for hours at a time. I could buy a house in Tuscany, and renovate it with the help of some Polish builders, have an affair with a dashing Italian and in doing so, rebuild myself. Wait, did that last one happen in a movie? (see above)

But it seems to me that break ups (in the romantic sense) are only for rich people, authors and delinquent movie stars. People who can escape to their house in the country, drink copious amounts of wine, and have long pensive walks in the countryside before they:

a) get a call from Paolo saying they must absolutely get themselves to Monaco, Hector and Flavia are waiting on the Piazza with a bottle of Moet;

b) are suddenly inspired, while watching a rusty gate swinging in the breeze, to begin writing their novel, which they do in a matter of weeks, perfectly timing the last chapter with the first bloom of spring;

c) Go on a drug binge with Tobey Maguire and Scott Wolf before checking themselves into rehab.

They are not for people who are depressed about their menial existences already, and who – despite several well-intentioned resolutions to do so – have never managed to save any of that money for a rainy day, and so have no means of escaping the banality.

No, we mere mortals have two options when heartbreak strikes:

1. Fuck it all, go on a bender, and wake up in a lot of debt responsible for a trail of shame, including, but not exclusively, shagging your exes mate, borrowing £50 from a friend for the rent and spending it on coke, and possibly having a chick pash with the Spanish girl who works at your local pub because she said she had some weed.

2. Or stick it out, stay in your job, have a couple of meltdowns in the toilet, get moderately drunk with friends, and sensibly plan your next move – be it new job, holiday or moving some place.

And given the latter involves planning, being sensible and continuing your life essentially as before without any serious wallowing or dramatically running away… Well, it just doesn’t sound romantic at all.

Sigh…. Drink, anyone?





Squashin’ the Pumpkin Myth.

30 10 2009

OK, so it’s autumn, and Halloween is approaching, which means one thing in the vegetable world. Pumpkins baby.

Now, I love a lot of things about the English – pints, bangers and mash, Sunday roast – and I have allowed my speech to become Anglofied almost beyond repair, much to the despair of my Australian parents. I say duvet instead of doona, sofa instead of couch, and trousers instead of pants, yog-hurt instead of yo-ghurt, pharmacy instead of chemist, and even hoover instead of vaccum.

And as far as veg goes, I’ll roll with corgette, aubergine and even peppers. But you know what. I draw the line at butternut squash. It’s a f*&^ing pumpkin! Sure, maybe it’s a butternut pumpkin, but it’s still a pumpkin.

Let’s look at the facts here people. They’re both orange. They both have tough outsides, and soft orange insides, with seeds. See exhibit a) and b) below.

butternut pumpkin

Exhibit A

pumpkin

Exhibit B

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And besides, a squash is something else entirely! It looks like this!

squash

This is a Squash. Fact.

And not only do the English call pumpkins squash, it  is also their word for cordial!

I mean, geez, is it just a word the English use for anything they can’t think of a name for?

“Hey, there’s this thing that’s a bit like a pumpkin, but it’s a funny shape. What shall I call it?” … Squash!

“I’ve got this sugary fruit flavoured syrup that I add water to. What shall I call it?” … Squash!

“Ok, so instead of playing tennis, let’s hit a ball around a room with tiny little rackets. Ok, cool. What shall we call it?” … Squash?

And so, in conclusion, I will continue to call all types of pumpkin (including the butternut) just that – pumpkin. Consider yourselves told!





The Robin Hood Investigation

29 10 2009

Ever wondered why they keep making films and TV shows about Robin Hood?

There have been so many versions of the story – with Robin having been played by (among others) Douglas Fairbanks, Errol Flynn, a fox, Sean Connery, Michael Praed, Patrick Berger, Kevin Costner, Cary Elwes, Jonas Armstrong, and now Russell Crowe!

I mean, he’s not the only interesting medieval character who ever existed. In fact, he might not even have existed! So what’s the deal?

Is it just that people really don’t know anything about medieval history? Possibly, but maybe if they made a film about an amazing medieval character like William Marshall or Edward IV, then people would know who they were. Did anyone outside Scotland know who William Wallace was before Braveheart?

I recently performed a comedy show asking these questions – and basically exposing Robin Hood for the overexposed, corporate whore he is. As part of my research I went to Nottingham, to research the Robin Hood legend. I chatted to locals about what they knew about Robin Hood, and medieval history (above), and even documented the visit in this film.

What do you think? Do we need to keep telling the Robin Hood story over and over again? Or are there any other medieval lives you think would make great films?





Mediocre’s Not a Dirty Word

23 10 2009

We’re all told when we’re kids that one day there will be something we’re really good at. Our talent. Our special thing. All we have to do is find out what it is….

What a load of shit.

But we’re kids. And kids are idiots aren’t they? They’re so gullible they believe anything.

They believe a fat guy, with a white beard in a red suit flies around the world in one night, goes into children’s bedrooms and doesn’t even touch them inappropriately.

They believe that when their tooth falls out, it’s actually worth money! And that a fairy comes around in the middle of the night, and collects it! Like some kind of underground nocturnal, slightly paedophilic ivory trade.

What do they think this so-called fairy does with the teeth? Peddle them on the black market? Who to? Baby piano makers? Fine purveyors of disgusting charm bracelets for midgets?

No, it’s much more believable that we have a special talent, and we just have to find out what it is! Then we’ll win gold medals, or play in World Cup finals. Then we’ll be an international pop star, be on Cribs, date movie stars, have a well publicised affair with the nanny, or flash our pants to paparazzi getting out of limousines.

You know… The dream.

That’s why so many idiots try out for X Factor, isn’t it? The bloody “dream”.

“I just want to make a better life for my kids.”

Umm, then go home and look after them! Don’t leave them with their Gran while you try to win a souped up karaoke competition. Which if by some miracle you manage to win, you will be flown all over the world – well, driven around London in a Black Cab – while your kids sit at home reading about all your previous sexual exploits in The Sun.

“Daddy what’s a blow job? And why were you giving one in the toilets of an Essex nightclub?”

And they’re always crying aren’t they?

“I just can’t go back to my normal life after this, I just don’t want this dream to be over.”

Jesus! Put a lid on it! In no time you’ll be back in Blackpool, busking for pennies on the pier, and getting drunk to numb the pain of your broken dreams like the rest of us.

Because frankly, the closest most of us will get to being the next Mariah Carey is warbling Dreamlover at your local karaoke night… in an outfit you borrowed from a hooker.

And guys, the closest you’ll get to being David Beckham is being forced to wear the metrosexual shirt your wife got you, while you acknowledge to yourself that your best years are clearly behind you, and try to remember where you left your testicles.

But why do we have to feel like failures for being normal? Why can’t we just be happy to be average? Why can’t we just accept that we’re mediocre and that’s OK?

I mean gone are the days when you were happy to take an apprenticeship with the local cobbler, or candlestick maker, and married buck-toothed Jenny, the vicar’s daughter. Partly because we don’t live in a Dickens novel.  And partly because we all aspire to be more than we are.

And if you can’t be bothered striving for this elusive dream, people are always calling it settling, don’t they?

He’s settling for that job at Mcdonalds, despite the fact he left school at 15, and is semi-illiterate.

She’s settling for Wayne Rooney’s ugly cousin, despite the fact she closely resembles a bulldog in appearance, body odour, and drool control.

Well, maybe it’s not settling, it’s just not being a greedy fucker. Not overreaching beyond our humble capabilities. Accepting our own crapness. Fishing in our own, slightly contaminated pool.

Think about it. Not everyone can come first, or win the prize. And yet we always celebrate winners – like it’s not enough that they have all the talent. They have to get all the prizes too?

I think there should be prizes for mediocrity. Inspiring people to the greatest heights, nay eschelons of mediocrity.

Just imagine it, the Mediocre Awards, or the Crappys, hosted by Jamie Theakston and Kerry Katona. The hosts will be dressed in George by Asda, with all the guests sipping on Tesco brand Spumante. Mmm, tangy.

The Crappy’s would be the height of mediocre entertainment. Everyone who is no longer anyone, would be there. There’d be a live performance by Gareth Gates, and special appearances by, 5ive, S Club 7 and Hear’Say – all reforming just for the occasion. They’d be lipsyncing of course, but at least they’d be giving it a go.

“The first award for the night would go to Sarah, for working in a call centre for an entire year, without swearing at any customers or management, or gunning down all her colleagues in a Falling Down style rampage.”

“Our next award goes to Josie, for getting into Textile Management at Croydon Tech because she achieved the prerequisite D in English and Basic Maths, and remembered to submit her application form.”

“The award for best actor goes to Ted, who in one evening told his girlfriend that her bum looked great in her jeans, she was a great cook, and that he quite liked watching Sex and the City, even though they were all blatant lies so he’d get his end away. And he did. What an inspiration.”

“And our final award goes to Kevin, for managing to successfully call in sick to work 3 days in a month without raising suspicion that he was actually hung over on every occasion, and spent all 3 days playing play station and smoking bongs.”

“Oh, unfortunately Kevin isn’t here to accept his award, he is apparently ill tonight.”





The Australian, the Englishman and the Last Chip.

15 09 2009


I’m an Australian who has been living in the UK for the better part of 5 years.  I no longer have a strong accent. I have been going out with a lovely Englishman for 2 and 1/2 years. I work with mostly English people. And, due to a strange passion for British historical towns, I have probably seen more of England than most English people.

Yet, in spite of this, I still meet English people – and sometimes quite cultured and intelligent ones – who assume that because I’m Australian, I share a room in Shepherds Bush with 7 other Aussies and a Kiwi. They think that despite appearing like a normal person, the second they turn their backs I’ll be throwing on shorts and thongs, tossing some snags on the barbie, and cracking open a Fosters in front of the cricket.

But the truth is I’m really a rubbish Australian. Don’t let the residual twang fool you. I don’t talk about shooting roos in my ute. I don’t root Saffers in the dunnies at the Walkie, or drink Snake Bites and spew on She Bu Green. And let me put this out there before we go any further. I honestly don’t care if we lose in the cricket or the rugby. The only reason I ever want us to win is so I can avoid having some fat geezer with a cockney accent give me shit about losing! “Alright darlin’, Australian are ya? We killed you in the rugby last night”

“Oh I’m sorry, does it look like I have a penis?… Or that my name is Wazza, Macca or Deano?”

Then I’d probably feel bad for being rude to him, so I’d say, “Alright, come on, let’s have a pint, we can argue about sport, you can tease me for calling trousers pants, and then you can drive me home in your black cab”.

Not that I think all cockney geezers drive Black Cabs. Some of them own pubs, or run Pie & Mash shops.

The funny thing is though, for all the obvious ways I’m not Australian, after so many years here I have discovered a few subtle ways that I am actually Australian. First, when I’m sharing chips, and there is one chip left in the bowl, I will eat it that bitch. Be warned.

English people don’t do this. They’re so polite that they leave it. So polite that sometimes I just want to slap them. But if I did they’d probably say, “Ooo, thank you, I was nodding off there.”

So they leave the last chip, and the waitress comes and takes it away and noone gets it! I don’t get it? It’s just a chip. It’s not like drinking someone’s pint, or stealing their bike, or groping their wife during a powercut and claiming it was a poltergeist. It’s a chip. You eat it!

Now, I don’t think I’m rude here people. I’m polite, within reason. I don’t go up to complete strangers in pubs and pinch their chips. (Although haven’t you always wanted to? Just nip past on the way to the loo, “What in the world is that?!”, and just pinch one? Well, I’ve never actually done that.) And I don’t sneeze on the chips, accidently on purpose, so nobody else wants to eat them. I don’t wrestle them from the hands of autistic children.

I will happily and politely share, until the chips dwindle to a remaining, solitary one. I will give everyone a good 2 minute buffer of opportunity to take it, and then if nobody does, it’s mine. You snooze, you lose. It’s a dog-eat-chip world out there folks, and guess who’s the … dog. (Oh, hang on…)

I guess there’s just a big difference between what is rude to Australians and to the English. Queues for example. They love them. We hate them. We’ll do anything to avoid them. Oh we’ll wait in line, if we have to. But my English boyfriend, Chris, will practically have a panic attack if a crowd of people surge towards the door of the Eurostar check-in without queuing. His face gets red, a vein starts throbbing in his forehead, and then he starts muttering righteous indignation. Almost inaudibly, of course. He wouldn’t want anyone to actually hear him.

“Oh yes, lets just all rush towards the door, shall we?”

“No no, I’ll wait for other people to go first”.

The other day my housemate, Andrew was eating chips. He had loads of them. You know, a minimum chips from the chippy could feed a small African nation. Or almost satisfy John Prescott. And so he offered me one. And I took it. Chris was also offered one. But he said “Oh no, I’ll wait until you’ve finish eating Andrew.” Subtly implying that I was rude to take one.  But I was offered one! It was rude not to!

Of course, when Andrew was finished there was only one chip left. So Chris obviously had to leave it. It must have been excruciating.

I ate it though. Didn’t want it to go to waste. I hate seeing a potato die in vain.

But that’s the difference. It’s not that I’m rude. It’s that I have a different perspective on what rude is.

You see, even when there is a queue, we have a different take on what’s right and wrong. To an Australian, if you arrive at a gig or a festival and see a massive queue, but your mate is up the front, that means you can join them. Stroke of luck! It’s fate, it’s meant to be. They were saving us a place all along. Sweetcakes.

But my Chris won’t do it. He thinks it’s unforgivably rude.

“But that’s pushing in.”

“It’s not pushing in. My friend was saving us a place, we’ll all go in in a group anyway”.

“The people behind will think we’re pushing in though.”

“The people? The people you don’t even know? So you want to go to the back? You want us to queue for an extra two hours, just so you don’t have 2 people you don’t know think you’re rude?”

“Yes… please.”

So we go to the back, and we see some dude in shorts turn up and join his mates in the queue. And what do the outraged people behind them in the queue say? Nothing of course! Oh, in their heads they’re thinking, “There is a queue here buddy!”, “Didn’t your parents teach you not to push in?”, “Bloody Australians, put on some trousers, you queue-jumping convict”. But they don’t say anything.

Now an Australian would say something. But they’d blatantly be inside already with a snakebite, talking about the rugby.





Welcome!

14 09 2009

Hello, welcome to my new blog!

I have only just set it up, so this post is just to say hi – and watch this space!

If you want anymore info on me and my comedy writing, please go to http://www.lucy-watson.com, or http://www.myspace.com/lucywatsoncomedy.

Cheers!

Lucy x