Tuesday, December 16, 2008


I met this guy at a party when i lived in London. There were lots of pills going around and really good music.
We got chatting and there was a really good vibe in the room we were in. The party was winding down and most people in the room were doing the same. A guy wearing a luminous yellow jacket with the word PEACE on the back brought a tray in with a glass of water for each one of us on it.
He was (and still is i think!) my only ever one night stand. I told him that, but i don't think he believed me.
He told me i had a huge ribcage! Only a doctor could make that sound hot. And the morning after when i asked him if i could use his toothbrush, he said, "We just exchanged bodily fluids. Of course you can use my toothbrush."
Then he walked me to the bus stop. So sweet! He said "Look at us, all we need are some kids and a couple of dogs" (I'm allergic to dogs but i didn't tell him that as i was enjoying the mental picture).
He took my number but i heard nothing.
Ages afterwards at another party with the same group of friends, i saw him again. He said he had called my house and someone had told him there was no Nina Chadwick living there.
I had my suspicions as to which of the males in our house in Brixton might have done such a thing. When i first moved to London, i would ring up my friends at home and say, "You know that programme This Life, well i'm living in it!"
I gave him my number again, in eyeliner on his arm, but the moment had obviously passed.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Wish you were here

If you were here, i think we would have definitely gone out for a something to eat on Friday. Then we would have followed some good food, with even better sex. Probably just lain around reading the papers in bed on Saturday, with even more sex (as the sun shone into my bedroom). Tonight we would most definitely have been going to see the Vivian Girls at the Cockpit.

Note to self: must remember not to let the ones that get away become larger than the real-life loves.

On that subject however!!!.... As my current love-life is a bit dull, i thought i could tell you a few tales about some others that got away. These are a non-chronological mix of guys that i either did or didn't end up having a relationship/sex with. All they have in common is that for various reasons 'it didn't work out'.

There was this guy at a wedding that i was photographing. He was the guy who wasn't supposed to be there; a friend of a work colleague of the bride. Bizarrely, he had the same name as a prominent political figure in the middle east. Obviously i can't tell you who that was (just in case). I thought he was taking the piss when he told me.
He said he liked my hair (which was cropped pretty short at the time). He also said it had always been his dream to build his own house and to have a vegetable garden so his kids didn't have to eat chemicals. I felt like i'd been read like a book. Were my desires written all over me, or was that a complete coincidence that his idea of heaven was pretty damn close to mine? I gave him my number, but when he rang, i didn't answer the phone.
I have no explanation for this, but absolute fear. He was good looking, young and successful, easy to talk to and very interested in me. I was shitting myself, i couldn't even face the thought of talking on the phone, never mind going on a date. One of my friends called me a masochist when i told her that story.
I wonder what he's doing now.

Well obviously eating organic fucking carrots with a brood of well fed kids milling round him (none of whom have got holes in their socks)

Keep tuned in for more of my spectcularly unsucessful love-life.X

Sunday, November 30, 2008


In today's Guardian Oliver James laments that the 'youth of today' "are getting much more self-centred arrogant and disrespectful". His evidence is an American study that measures narcissism through surveys from 1979 to 2007. Apparently there was an increase of 30% during that period!!!!
James ends his article with the time-worn cliche that we'd better watch out lest "the egos of our youth have not been falsely inflated to the same degree as our American cousins."
THAT IS THE TIREDEST JOURNALISTIC CLICHE THAT GETS WHEELED OUT IN THE BRITISH PRESS WHEN THEY WANT TO GIVE THE NATION A PAT ON IT'S AGING BACK. It is a simplistic polarising of British versus American moral states; always used as a scare tactic, in that smug British fashion that just makes me want to leave the country.
He suggests also the increase in narcissism is "much greater in women than in men".
Oh dear Mr. James, women getting above their station, eh?
As he describes it, "There is an inflated self-estimation, imagining yourself to be cleverer and more attractive or powerful and compelling than is truly the case."
A bit like the over-inflated opinions of those lucky enough to be on The Guardian payroll perhaps Mr. James?
I would just like to offer the esteemed gentleman an alternative explanation. As a hardened adult narcissist myself (blogging, and indeed compiling a book about "me, me, me". Indeed, obsessed with my own love-life and the weaving together of all those everyday details that make me who i am.) For the record i am neither an "unreliable romantic partner, aggressive, prone to commit assault and white-collar crime, anti-social or selfish". But then perhaps that's my "distorted perceptions of my own abilities" to paraphrase.
My explanation is that perhaps the youth of today have been lucky enough to grow up with nurturing parents (again, as i like to think of myself). Parents who have learnt that the most important thing to a child's development-unlike those who grew up in the 70's and 80's- is it's self-esteem, and who have spent the first years of their child's life telling them that they can damn well be anything that they want to be, and that to love yourself is an absolute pre-requisite for being loved in return.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Children in Need

I'm a victim of my own over-indulgence in Radio 2.
Listening to Terry Wogan's 'Things that Money Can't buy' auction to raise money for the above on my way to work.
It could perhaps (more truthfully) have been called "Things that only money can buy.'
I'd like to know, just who is it that can afford to pay TEN THOUSAND POUNDS to take part in an episode of the BBC's Springwatch???
TEN THOUSAND POUNDS?? It takes me about eight months to earn that. I want to know, who are these people who've got that kind of money spare? Not even spending it on a round the world trip, or an extension on your house, or a small car....just spending it on a day out with Bill Oddie????
My social circle must be really limited, because no-one i know has that kind of money just lying around to give to charity. I want to know how they got it, where did it come from, and where did i go wrong? Is it something to do with where i live? Are the other half all huddled up in some secret location in the Cotswolds, keeping their money making secrets to themselves?
And that indulgence was modest. Someone paid about (was it 30 or 50 grand?) for a guitar lesson with Mark Knopfler.
For fucks sake. I must be really naive and i'd like to stay that way, otherwise the worlds imbalance between rich and poor would be just too much for me. I need to go live in a teepee because it's all wrong isn't it?
I heard someone say that giving to charity is a substitute for actually doing things in the world. So nurses, teachers and social workers, keep your wallets tightly shut. You've done your bit, let the other half do theirs.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Once in a while I set myself weird little challenges in my love life.
About five or six years ago, i decided to go and see Derren Browns live show with some friends. I bought two tickets so that i had to ask someone on a date- otherwise the ticket would be wasted.
We bought the tickets months in advance, so i thought it would be a pretty safe bet (although i'm not great at asking people on dates- hence the challenge).
A week before the show i met a guy at a Faversham reunion. He knew some people i knew, he was funny and a familiar type of guy (like the guys i went to school with). I emailed him after the night, but he made some excuse, and clearly wasn't interested. There was only one day before the show and so i sat next to an empty seat. The show was excellent, and at least i asked someone.....

Today i remembered that i have put a note in my electronic 'To-do-list' in my phone.
A couple of months ago (probably when i got a new phone) i made myself a note to find love by the 26th October at 9.00am.
Only three days to go then! No pressure!
A girls got to find something to amuse herself. I don't know what that's all about.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Someone to love and look after us

I can feel a similarity between how i feel now, and another period in my life. How i feel now, is eerily reminiscent of how i felt, living in London, a few months before my son was born.
I can remeber it so clearly. Sitting in the downstairs room of the flat i shared with my sister. We'd had a couple of great parties in that flat. The downstairs room was open plan, solid floored with a patio door onto our garden which was not overlooked.
I was on my own and sick of my own company. I had even started buying weed (as oppossed to smoking other peoples). Getting stoned on my own after work, wondering why my love-life was such a mess and realising that something had to change. And on New Years Eve, at the Dogstar on Coldharbour Lane, boy did it.
There are no material similarities. Now i'm sitting in the burbs, in my hometown, and it is also deathly quiet. I haven't smoked for years and over the last 12 months (following some symptoms too closely related to my panic attacks of two years ago) i have stopped drinking alcohol. I'm on my own, my son is upstairs sound asleep, and i realise that soon, i will be looking back on this period and things will be very different.
I'm not sure where i will be, but it won't be so quiet. There'll be more music and more conversation, there'll be more movement and more light. It will be difficult and totally new to me, i will take sometime to re-adjust, but it will be the family that i have been looking for since i was sixteen years old.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Letters of Love

I think i had forgotten what my blog was for.
Tonight i remembered that it was originally about saying those things that, for whatever reason, i was not able to say in person.
So here goes; this story goes way back, before any of this blogging business, before finding myself working in an office. I'm pretty sure it was 2003.
A friend had asked me to photograph her wedding (this is always tricky- not quite a guest and not quite a professional).
This is what i want to say to you, to explain, to make clear after all the crazy things i may have said that i did not mean. This is how it happened. This is how i feel.


I hadn't really thought about whether you would be there or not. I was too busy with the technicalities of the event and the two positions i would be occupying at once during the weekend. But when you weren't there, i felt your absence in a way that was an absolute revelation to me. Ten years since we met, i did not believe myself to have any attachment to you aside from that history that you have with those people with whom you spend time with in the period before you have any responsibilities to houses or loved ones or children.
But when you weren't there, i felt it. It was the first time it had ever occurred to me, that although the people surrounding me at this wedding were now my friends also, i wouldn't know any of them if it weren't for you. I found myself wondering what i was doing here when you weren't.
I found myself talking about you to one of your friends. We talked about you in glowing terms. All the wonderful things about you suddenly seemed so clear and so present and so missed. I had always taken for granted the way that you took me into your circle of friends and asked for nothing in return. You could not have known at the time, but that was exactly what i needed at that time in my life- to be part of a family that was not my own, to not be in the place that i was when you met me, and to not be alone, to be safe in the crowd.
You did not do this knowingly i'm sure. It was just a by-product of the way you do things, of the way you move through your life.
I saw you shortly after the wedding and found myself (uncharacteristically) telling you that we had all missed you. This was the closest i could get at the time to the truth, which was that i had missed you, after ten years, for the very first time.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


This is my one hundreth post!
To bring us up to date, here's what's been happening.
This girl got made redundant.
Another agency got me a decent amount of work in this PRU teaching art.
I can't tell you how it feels to walk into a classroom as a kid walks out saying, "I don't fucking want you to teach me. Fuck off. Where's our proper teacher?", and for that same kid, to have written a poem by the end of the hour.
I can't tell you how it feels to get the boy who stands with his head to one side, looking into the middle distance of the floor, to join in your lesson by answering a few questions on a worksheet if you write them down for him.
Neither can i tell you how it feels to be offered a job and to hear that you were (by far) the best candidate, and would you like to start working with kids 'who cannot access mainstream education' in two weeks time?
I just can't tell you.
There are some things that i just can't tell you.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

I need a miracle

So, it's five years since the start of the war in Iraq and the Turin shroud might NOT be a fake.
I remember twenty years ago watching the programme that used carbon dating to 'prove' the shroud was a medieval hoax (those medieval pranksters and their smart-ass production of the first photographic image!). I added this revelation to my burgeoning list of "Things which confirm my suspicions that Catholicism is vicious lie".
Now it seems, the carbon -dating test may have been contaminated by various environmental factors, and indeed this may place the shroud as early as the first century. A conspiracy theorist might say, that maybe someone is desperately trying to revive Christianity in an Easter-themed production starring Rageh Omaar, who actually looks more like Christ should have looked than the Robert Powell imprint on that cloth. After all, Jesus of Nazareth, born in Palestine, was just as likely to be dark-skinned with curly black hair etc. etc.
Whatever it's origin, the shroud is interesting in that no one can work out how it came to host that image. I like that. In the absence of religion, i obviously need some unknowables in my life. Imagine a world where we understood everything! No mysteries to solve, no reason to keep on learning-dull as ditch! But when we come to a point where we can't explain; whether we call it God, or alien intervention , or the forces of nature we are up against the same barriers to "the truth".
Now excuse me, while i go to hell in a hand-basket.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Well, February the 29th came and went and i couldn't think of anyone i would like to propose to.
Not anyone i have actually met, anyway.
If i had happened to bump into Toby Kebbell, i might have asked him. Such a talented actor and so HOT!
As the manager of Joy Division, he was the most convincingly 'Northern' character in Anton Corbijn's film Control. He was hilariously northern in fact, which was a welcome relief from the otherwise sobering material in the film.
He was also incredibly, heart-rendingly good in Jimmy McGovern's The Street. His was the episode where he played a young man who had been released from prison after a sentence for murder, and was faced with the daughter of the woman who had died. The dialogue between the two was so well done, and could so easily not have been. It was free of cliche which i admired - so well written and played by both characters.
So, yes, i would definitely ask Toby Kebbell to marry me.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


So, i've got a couple of hours a week at my Big Break Job. To make this viable i am also doing supply in education.
Yesterday i got assigned another Pupil Referral Unit. One of the kids started off the day by systematically working his way along a row of windows and ripping the handle mechanism backwards until it cracked. By 10.30 he was going ballistic and was in the cooling off room. They asked me to take over door duty from a male member of staff: this involved holding the door handle to the room so that he could not move it up or down. In order to hold the handle securely i had to brace myself against the door. The kid was alternating between booting the door from the other side and yanking the handle up and down. The pane in the door was boarded to head height, so i could not see inside. Above that the remainder of the pane was reinforced plastic. At one point he put his hands up to the clear plastic and started peeling off a layer of glue from round the edges. His hands look like baby hands (he is after all only twelve years old). Then he went back to yanking the handle.
"Let go of the fucking door or i swear i'm going to fucking kill you when i get out."
I had already decided it was best to keep quiet. With both hands i could just about keep the handle horizontal.
"Your mum's a fucking prostitute. Your mum's a fucking prostitute on fucking prostitute street. Get off the fucking door you slag."
He stops pulling the handle and there's quiet for a minute. Then a glob of spit hits the plastic pane and slides slowly to the bottom. And then another.
"Will you get my taxi for me, I want to go home."

When i'm back home at the end of the day, i ring a second recruitment agency i have joined, to see if they have got any work for the rest of the week. The consultant is patronising in that fake-friendly way that recruitment consultants do best. She says that they are really quiet at the moment and tells me she's got a day teaching Urdu if i think i can do that. I can't work out if this is a joke or not.
"I'm not being funny but....", my most despised piece of contemporary bullshit, "your CV.'s a bit boring."
I wonder how much she gets paid - probably twice as much as i have ever earned per annum- and i think: but she's got the key. She's the woman who knows just how to condense a person's life and work into one or two sides of A4 in order to snare that all elusive prize of the average UK salary.
I reply in my best fake-friendly voice, that of course i will email it to her ASAP, and thanks for that, speak to you soon, yeah. I'm sure she can feel the insincerity and probably even the expression on my face.
And then i think: Fuck you. I wouldn't rewrite my CV for you if you were the keeper of the last job on earth.

Monday, February 11, 2008


Recently, i have strongly felt the presence of my future love.

I have seen the tiny hotel that we will stay in one weekend in my favourite area of Yorkshire.
Some weeks ago i truly experienced the absolute certainty of how it feels to be held and to know that this person will be with you always.
Yesterday as i turned around, i was convinced that he would be standing right behind me.
And today at the Turkish Baths, i knew he would want to come with me next time.
This evening i felt him groove around my kitchen to the The Flaming Lips.

He is so close, i have the taste of him on my lips, he is almost within touching distance, and i meet him in my dreams.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


I' ve been going through some more boxes and i found one of my old diaries. This one starts in 1990 and ends in 1995 (not written every day of course). In fact i'm going to give myself the benefit of the doubt and say that it looks like i only wrote in it when i was feeling down. I flicked through a few entries, but mostly i couldn't bear to read it.
In fact, to be fair, it starts off as a travel diary: i'm writing about my first trip to the US. It was my second year of university and my sister and i went to visit our friend who was studying in Memphis. We smoked enormous ammounts of southern grown pot (they grow it between the crops we were told). We hogged the joint without realising because we were used to the slow burning of resin mixed with tobacco, and this fresh green stuff just zipped down to the roach before you could say "pass the doobie"(this joke is purely for our lass and the American lady in question).
We went to Graceland and New Orleans: "Well I love the Beatles, but Elvis is King...". We got snowed in- real, deep, fluffy snow that surrounded the tall pines of Tennessee and made the roads treacherous.
I fell in love with the US: with the apples the size of your head and three different types of the same brand of beer; with Jack Daniels and Preservation Hall, with pistachio ice-cream and thrift stores; with fried chicken at the Loveless Motel (but not grits); with Southern hospitality and with swamps and the Mississippi (M-I-SS-I-doubleS-I-doubleP-I).

31st December 1990 So: you go into the city centre; you change your dollars back into pounds and the girl asks you where you've been. You're not even aware of the date and you hand in your films and your pockets are empty again. It has already become a memory, a categorised section of events in your life that must be put away to continue with the next. You go to The Faversham and you find the old requirements and preparations second nature. You get there and see people and talk but you don't explain, and you feel like you've lost it- it hasn't touched you. You're desperately trying to remember things to make you feel something, but your body is celebrating New Year, and it finds no difficulty in spending the night with D. when you thought you had yourself under control.

The question i would like to ask this girl is: "Why do you 'not explain'?"

Friday, January 18, 2008

What have you done today to make you feel proud?

A raft of mini-cabs pull up at the gates of the exclusion unit. I ask the Headmistress what i need to do. She shouts that i need to go down and lock the gate, and if any more taxi's arrive they'll have to wait. Then i need to go round making sure that the right kids get in the right cars. As she is talking she is also asking the cab drivers who they are booked for, and then she puts a name card on each windscreen. I need to collect the cards once the kids are inside the car. I ask the nearest driver who he is booked for, because he doesn't have a card on the windscreen. He tells me he is booked for Shauny.
The kids start coming out of the building and are shepherded into the cars one by one. Some cars start their engines up once their passenger is inside but the Head shouts to us to tell them to turn their engines off: they can't leave until everyone is inside their car. Turn your engines off and stay put. Shauny is coming out of the building and i motion to him that this car is his. He tries to get in the front and the driver locks the door and motions for him to get in the back. My voice breaks half way through, but i say it anyway, "If i don't see you again, look after yourself won't you Shauny?" He doesn't look at me, and keeps his head turned to the other window. All the kids are in the cars, the Head gives a signal, the gates are unlocked and the taxi's pull away in rank and file.

Shauny's been sent out of the classroom. He couldn't keep still. He kept getting out of his seat and leaving the room without permission. He'd also tricked me into letting him through a door; then his friend ran up behind me and somehow they managed to get into an area where they weren't supposed to be. Now were sitting in the assembly area. He's been told to sit down and finish the work that he nearly started in the classroom, but he can't keep still. He says he wants to talk, so i make conversation. I ask him about his old school, and what it was like, and his friends and his family, and what he likes to watch on TV. In between bits of conversation he gets up and rattles at the security doors and asks me to give him the key fob so he can get out. I just carry on talking and when he rattles the door too hard i say to him that the school will get him for criminal damage if he breaks anything. A couple of members of staff come through the room and shout at him to sit down and do as he's told.

I follow the group of five to the classroom and i am introduced to each of the five boys in the class. They immediately start making jokes about me, throw a couple of nicknames around between each other and ask me if i am a lesbian. Within the first five minutes, three of the boys have left the room. There are teachers in the corridor at the time, so i stay in the classroom, and while the two remaining boys throw insults back and forth i try and get Shauny to concentrate. I ask him questions about the task he has been set, and when he answers me, i say, "Okay write that down then", and he does. It's hard to pick out his answers because they run together with the stuff that is flying between him and the other boy, making them laugh and distracting them from what they're supposed to be doing. But he finishes a whole piece of work, even though he's only written a few lines, that's all he needed to do, and he gets his bonus points.

I'm late, so as i come into assembly the Head-teacher asks me to sit down, and i try and work out who's who. and who's doing what, to get my bearings. She makes some announcements and then goes through what will be happening in school today. The kids are given certificates for various achievments, but they don't get out of their seats, the Head reaches over instead and shakes hands with them and tells them well done. She hands over to the music teacher who asks everyone if they are ready to sing. When the group answers with a straggle of thirty or so yes's. He asks again, "Are you ready to sing?" and this time they answer with more conviction, "Yes" He presses a button on the laptop, making short movements upwards with his hands and arms for them to sing.

I look into the window of my mind
Reflections of the fears i know i've left behind

He sings the next line loudly before they do,
I step out of the ordinary
and then with them
I can feel my soul ascending
I am on my way
Can't stop me now and you can do the same
I think, oh fuck, i'm going to cry, and i join in -hoping this will stop me.
What have you done today to make you feel proud?
It's never too late to try
Too late a tear is escaping from the corner of my right eye.
You could be so many people
If you make that break for freedom
What have you done today to make you feel proud?

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Bathroom portrait

She sits, naked and shivering, hunched over on the toilet-seat in the pitch black bathroom of some complete stranger. She is drunkenly checking the phone-book of her mobile to see if there is anyone who will come and rescue her on New Years Eve.
There is no one.
Fuck, fuck, fuck. What had she done this for? He was too drunk even to open the front door. She had had to take the keys off him and open the door herself. Of course, then the alarm went off.
She looks at him.
He yells, "I forgot to ask him for the code..."
The guy punches in his friend's date of birth and the alarm stops.

Now she just wants to get out of there.
She looks to her left. A light comes on in the window of the house next door. The neighbouring bathroom is directly opposite this one, almost within reaching distance. Through the pattern of frosted glass she can see a woman in a strapless red dress with mid-length dark brown hair. She is moving around the room, brushing her hair; looking in the mirror and performing other small rituals that cannot be distinguished through the glass.
Her arms then make triangle shapes at either side of her body. A couple of movements and the woman's naked body is outlined clearly. She begins to wash.
It is mesmerizing. Silently but absolutely mesmerizing. She is convinced that a man will soon walk into the scene. Why would such an attractive woman be on her own on New Years Eve? However, the woman continues to wash alone. She leaves the frame for a moment, and then returns wearing another garment, a robe? One more sweeping movement around the room and she exits to the right.
The window opposite returns to darkness.
She uses the light on her mobile phone and goes to look for her clothes.