Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The really really bad book I just read

I just spent the last two weeks reading a Kathy Reichs novel.

Now, this may not seem anything other than your normal reading experience but really, it wasn't. You see, it was only a year ago that I swore I'd never read one again because they are so alarmingly awful. I mean, genuinely quite dreadful.

So, you ask, why on earth would I pick one up again? When there are a million and one books calling my name from the pile Nick keeps adding to next to my bed.

It's quite simple: the first one I read was tremendous. It was gory and thrilling. It was charming in its attention to forensic detail. It was unputdownable.

It was the first inhalation of crack to a bored mind.

Everyone has their secret trashy writer. I thought, after the debacle that Evanovitch descended into, I'd found my new secret love. So I ran out and bought the next one, which wasn't quite as good.

Then the next. Which was borderline annoying. Then. Well, put it this way: even crack becomes really REALLY fucking fucking FUCKING shit.

For those unfamiliar to the Reichs world, please, let me enlighten you lest you fall into my trap of trying to replicate that first hit and come away with the ultimate sensation that we all die. Just some not soon enough.

Okay. Basically, Kathy Reichs is some forensic pathlologist lady. She has about a million degrees in subjects that would make the rest of our eyes dry out. Some of the stuff she knows about is only known by about three people in the world and the other two probably spend their entire life reading books and wearing things that you really shouldn't allow near a naked flame.

Not for Kathy though - oh no.

Consider the inside cover picture.

See Kathy. (You may have to cock your head - I'm not so hot on technical things. Not like ... Kathy)

Kathy is petite. Kathy has a little face with big, shiny eyes and well-styled, blonde hair. Aside from the abundance of well applied make-up, this woman is pretty normal looking. If it weren't for the smug, tugged up corners of that measly mouth: I know everytfuckingthing in the world and look ... I also write novels whilst sawing through old bones and talking about flesh slippage. I also have a cat.

Consider Tempe Brennan, Ms Reich's erstwhile, plucky, bright as a button leading character. Tempe is slim, she's blonde, she's the - ho ho - wrong side of 40. She has well-styled blonde hair. She applies her make-up carefully. Sounding familiar.

Tempe works in the same labs as Ms Reichs - South Carolina and Montreal - she has the same phenomenally loaded degree shelf gained from the same universities.

She has large blue eyes which blink sadly when she thinks about her failed marriage and her cat.


As if the commitment to no imagination when it comes to creating a character isn't enough, Reichs then goes on to make her the most unbelievably stupid person you have ever met.

For Point 3, let's look at what this super-intelligent woman does:

Every single case she works on ends up in her being strangled, beaten, thrown off cliffs, practically raped or burnt to a crisp in her - oh no not the JC Penny pants! - underwear. Because she, quite simply, never ever fucking learns. This woman refuses to take heed of the police who are saying: someone wants to kill you, don't go back to your apartment. Even when someone who wants to kill her has smeared this intention on the wall in her Chanel lipstick. Oh no, Tempe has always been right when she's said it's just some drug addict who's broken in and stolen things for drug money. Like the secret file which holds the key to the identity of the killer. We all know how well they sell on the black market.

No, Tempe will eschew police surveillance because she doesn't need it. Don't be stupid. Although, on occasion it's because her - the imagination that created this will live on forever - on-off affair with a police officer makes her too proud. While we're on that, really, can anyone get enough of a relationship that's on-off spread over seven books and filled with Helen Fielding style angst? I mean, when a man tells you he loves you in the first chapter or so, that's definitely the time to go off in a mood for the rest of the story because he didn't suggest dinner.


She's a bright one, that Tempe. She leads with a great example.

These two pretty much sum up the extent of my utter frustration with the publishing world.

Reichs is a multi-millionaire author. And she constructs sentences like this:

A doctor's surgery. Two kids are sitting in the corner at a table colouring in: "The crayons were placed equidistant between then." EQUIDISTANT. Phew.

A missing witness. "Where was she running to in the dying embers of the day." Dear diary, Today was kind of tough. Jimmy didn't talk to me and when I tried to talk to Melissa I only found her after the bell rang and she was all the way across the playing field. I mean. Where was she running to in the dying embers of the day? Love Kathy, aged 15, nearly 16 and I can do it then.

A multi-millionaire writer.

Next: We introduce John Grisham to humour. It'll be wild.

Monday, December 19, 2005

I am my own self-fulfilling prophecy

I’m behind in my posts.

Which is just the way I like to be.

Not for me the smugness of timely fashion. Oh no. I must type like a speed-freak, sweating with deadline fever.

Once or twice I’ve completed something ahead of time and let me tell you this, it wasn't the same. The mild, blink-and-you've-missed it sense of satisfaction was a bottle of Kaliber to a lush. It was nothing compared to the white heat of getting it in just before the bell goes.

I am late for nearly everything. I turn everything in in a turmoil of damp bumbling blathering. I am the queen of tube delays and empty printer cartridges.

Which is why I really am a beacon of light in today’s mediocrity.

You see: it’s about triumph in the face of laziness. About having produced 1000 words during the ad breaks of Friends. It's about staying in when there's a pint with your name on it about 500 meters down the road. About not staring out the window. Not listening to one more song. Not reading one more chapter. Not watching that documentary even if it IS educational. Not eating a bit more or drinking a bit more.

I am faced with a million reasons why I could never’ve made it that, quite frankly, I deserve a medal for even showing up with clean hair.

I am tardy but I am there.

Mostly in low-cut tops.

They help.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Waiting for men to arrive ...

Seeing Antony reminded me of Rufus and just how damn good he is. Man - that boy is a fireball.

This is him last week. With French & Saunders. Dressed as Santa.

I love taking a trip into Wainwright World.

Btw. This won't always be about Rufus.

I will also talk about Friends.

And ...

No. Just Friends.

But not Just GOOD Friends because I only vaguely remember that and would I be wrong in thinking that it didn't share the youth or glamour?

I'm home today, waiting for my sofa to be delivered. As all of us workers know, getting stuff, big stuff, delivered is a major pain in the arse. Or getting things fixed or read. I've used three of my precious holiday days to sit around the flat, nose pressed to the glass waiting for someone to turn up. Most of the time they don't, or they do but they don't have the right tools. Or they're so fucking stupid that it really is quite incredible their thumbs are oposable enough to hold those stupid electronic handset things:

"Your name?"

"It's on the form."

"I need it for this. Your name?"

"It's on the ..."

"Your name?"


"M ... O ..."

"No, no. L. It starts with an L."

Blank look.

"It's LLLLucy. LOOOSEY."

"It says on the form Lucky."

"No, it doesn't but I'm impressed you know that word. Well done."

Blank look.

"I've got the wrong tool."

But today, the NTL man turned up when I was still lolling bed, enjoying the early Will & Grace double bill. Half an hour later and one wee (why was I worrying that the bath towel was on the floor when he was in there? Why was I worried about what the NTL man would think about my househusbandry? "Gasp! The towel's on the floor! I shall miswire this slovenly woman.") he was done. An hour later, just after my shower, the water meter man turned up, figured out which pipe was mine and fitted the water meter.

By midday all the loose ends in my new home had been tied.

I now have my phone line - seriously, the last guy didn't show and the one before that connected the line so I couldn't use it but he and his friends could, running up over £300 worth of calls to mobiles and Jamaica. Cue me on the phone to NTL: Do you think I'd be sitting here in this cold snap, freezing my arse off if I had friends with a house in Jamaica? To be fair - I love NTL's customer services. They're bloody ace. The service itself it's laughably poor, but I've actually made £70 quid out of them which is actually not bad. It's more than I made in Kings Cross that snowblown night and I didn't have to wear a miniskirt. I love them there at NTL. They're like the best, friendliest people in the world. And they're always so sorry. God BLESS them one and all.

Now I'm waiting for my sofa to arrive from Habitat. It may fit into my room, it may not. But the amount I've paid for it, if it doesn't, I'm moving out and living on it. Fingers crossed this winter's mild.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Gig Report

Last night we went to see Antony & The Johnsons at Shepherd's Bush Empire.

We spent a lot of time taking pictures of the ceiling.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

My First Post

Perhaps, one day, this blog will be the most famous blog in the world and I'll be earning millions and have the male cast of Hollyoaks as my bitches.

Or not.

Chances are, in two weeks time I will've forgotten all about this and be drunk in a gutter somewhere bemoaning the fact that I have no creative outlet and I'm suffocating, just suffocating, in admin.

So. I'd best start as I mean to go on for the next two weeks.

Howabout I do it like Bridget:

Cigarettes: 1. It was foul. But I couldn't resist its tarry love.
Units of alcohol: Who knows? And more importantly whoever does will NEVER be on my team.
Food: I've been to my gastro aunts for lunch so, as usual, I've consumed the cheese aisle in Basingstoke's Waitrose.
Weight: More than a bag of potatoes but less than a car.

Oo, I think this thing works.

I went to Basingstoke on the train which I loved. Train journies are ace. It's the only time you can just sit and stare at nothing without people asking you if everything's okay at home. I always feel compelled, though, to booty myself up with all kinds of activities to pass the time. None of which I even glance at. Still, I pack books, magazines, notebook, my pod, make-up and a mirror so that I can track the progress of age underneath my eyes. One thing I don't take, though, are those puzzle books - bumper editions full of wordsearches and crosswords and 'Mary lives on the third street away from Brenda, Brenda lives on Duck Street, Dawn lives exactly as many roads up from Mary as does Dave. What street has the most porn?'. I also absolutely hate Sudoku in that it features two of my least favourite things: numbers and being an anal fucking nob. Those people who do the really hard ones on the ten minute tube journey - that's right, expand your brain as you practically pop with despair because you can't get the last square and that means that something else is wrong and it's all just so awful. Or make a big old show of finishing it by flapping your paper and sighing with the satisfaction of a new mother. If completeing a Sudoku makes you feel like that then my guess is you think that James Blunt is the best singer-songwriter of 2005. It's pointless, it's fucking irritating and it's completely unoriginal. Try counting the fibres on the seat infront. Far more satisfying and infinitely more productive.

Anyway, back to the train.

I was told off by a terribly aggressive woman who had more than a little whiff of lesbos about her when I left my bag on my seat to talk to my boyfriend on the phone in the bit that separates the carriages. Apparently a small, burgandy LK Bennett bag is the perfect vehicle for bombs - I think it was the decorative bow on the front that tipped her off.

I went to see Rufus Wainwright this week. I wish he were straight. It annoys me that he'd rather sleep with my boyfriend than me, especially as Nick's not even up for it.

The gayness of Rufus is up there with American foreign policy when it comes to injustice. (Get me. I'm political AND blonde. the queue starts here, boys.)

But still, if Rufus weren't gay he'd probably be James Blunt.

Maybe life is fair after all.