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The world shrinks, contracts. With every gloomy year you lose more people. Everyone you have ever known spirals down. Eventually single digits. You try to stave it off, reach into the world, pull someone out. And they are special. You consider yourself lucky to have found them. But it doesn’t last. The friendships you tried to cultivate wither on the vine. And you’re forced to look at yourself and wonder if you ever stood a chance. Other people get married, divorced and still find someone.
But other people are not you. What people specifically want is not you.
You can’t make people like you. Imagine the bliss if you could.
You’re on your own, kiddo. As you always were.
Existence. That’s all you have left.
Every now and then I think of her. She was @littlemunchkin on Twitter.
We began chit-chatting, I can’t remember what about, but she and I just got on immediately. She used to call me Vince Mince. I loved her for that. It made me feel like I was her special favourite toy that she’d play with whenever she felt the need. I felt like I belonged to her and I was so very proud.
She seemed to be on top of it, though. I was never worried about her health because she was always cooking, always sharing her recipes with me, well, the world. Nobody who can spend that much time with food can be at risk, I thought.
She was so vibrant on Twitter! She had a fine, witty mind. I never tired of her tweets. She’d leave us with intelligent, wonderful things to ponder on as she signed off each night. I loved her (with a small ‘l’) and hoped one day I’d meet her.
And then one day a mutual Twitter friend told me she’d died. She’d been plagued by an eating disorder for longer than I’d known her. I think this is what took her, I don’t know for sure. I was devastated.
She was a good ten years my junior, I believe. You can’t just die at that age. A car accident, a shark attack, yes, but you can’t just die in your sleep. It’s not right.
She died in the last week of 2011. Thanks to Twitter you can experience her thoughts, wisdom and friendliness. You can agree with her, laugh with her, listen to her taste in music… enjoy her, as I did. Her favourites are still active, you should read them. If nothing else, it’ll give you a new respect for Will Carling. I know she would smile at my flippant tone here, so don’t judge me!
I’ve deleted my accounts a few times over the years, and so, my tweets to her are long gone. I’m saddened to see now that hers to me have also been erased by the passing of time. I now can’t relive our relationship and this has made me weep so much tonight. I miss her.
There’s a lot of people out there with eating disorders. You can’t fix them, you can’t make them eat more. If you try to pressure them they’ll run away. But you also shouldn’t say nothing. Be gentle, but push a little, from time to time. Show you care.
She was called Lucy Taylor. I never thought of her as that. In the world of Twitter handles she was always… will always be to me, @LittleMunchkin. She was my friend.
What’s brown and sticky?
I know what you’re thinking but you’re wrong. I recall the outbreak of this joke, probably in the early 90s. It was a good joke and I was as keen to spread it around as much as the next person.
And then all of a sudden it started to go wrong. People who didn’t understand jokes started spreading the wrong answer: a stick.
No, it’s not a stick. It couldn’t be. The whole point of the joke is that something is ‘stick-y’ ie like a stick. A stick is not ‘like a stick’. A stick is a stick. I have been railing for about 20 years, trying to get people to tell the joke properly. Every time though, someone will say a stick.
It was never a stick.
What’s brown and sticky?
That’s how the joke was originally told. A twig is stick-y. It’s not the best answer but it is the original jokesmith’s word and is thus, right.
sent me this spam comment. It’s so breathtaking in it’s sheer slipperyness I had to share it with you:
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If you’re a hacker, or perhaps a spammer, why not get in touch with ‘Teure Wanduhren’. Preferably in the most annoying way that you can. Give ’em a taste of what we receive. Just as a little ‘thank you’.
James Cagney was a hell of a guy. If you’ve ever seen the Billy Wilder movie “One, Two, Three” you’ll realise the man had a gift for comedy that has never been appreciated.
There’s a story of him being driven around Hollywood back in the Golden Years and his car stopped at the lights. In the next lane he saw Humphrey Bogart in the back of another car, picking his nose.
What would you do? I bet you wouldn’t have done what James Cagney did. He composed a poem and sent it to Mr Bogart:
“In this little town of ours, people see all sorts of primps and poses…
but movie stars in fancy cars shouldn’t pick their famous noses”
What do you mean you haven’t seen One, Two, Three? It’s brilliant!
So as an alternative to the Royal Wedding, here’s a list of weddings you can enjoy without being appalled by the Media people.
A simple rule, it has to be a TV wedding and not based on a literary adaption. We can’t have Harold Steptoe marrying Caroline Seymour because that happened in a movie. We can’t have Pride and Prejudice because it’s not a TV show, per se. Also, it must be a Wedding Episode. There does not have to be a successful marriage, people can be jilted, there can be a distraction which brings the proceedings to a halt. It can’t be a 30second scene, it must be a proper Wedding Episode. From the outset the episode must be about the Wedding!
Lister marrying the Gelf doesn’t count as the “wedding” lasts all of about 30 seconds and the rest of the episode isn’t about the wedding. There was Sheridan and Delenn in Babylon 5 but it wasn’t a proper wedding episode so I’m not counting it.
So here’s what I came up with:
Rodney and Cassandra (Only Fools and Horses)
Corporal Jones and Mrs Fox (Dad’s Army)
Sarah Jane Smith and erm… Nigel Havers (The Sarah Jane Adventures)
Gwen and Rhys (Torchwood)
Blackadder and Bob/Kate (Blackadder II)
Chance in a Million. Simon Callow & Brenda Blethyn – hurrah!
And other twitterers leapt in to help me out. Thank you, everyone!
@gingirl81 Ross and Emily (I’m guessing Friends. I didn’t watch the show!)
@Feliopolis Friends has three wedding episodes. If you count the pilot with Rachel jilting Barry
and the one where she’s a bridesmaid to Jennifer Grey there are two more.
@danosirra Kylie/Jason (Neighbours)
@tmdwp Donna’s two weddings in [Doctor] Who. (The Runaway Bride and The End of Time)
Ed Straker’s wedding (and subsequent divorce) in UFO.
After engagements involving many characters throughout Jeeves and Wooster, Spode
and Madeline marry in the final episode.
Oh, and surely someone’s said Father’s Day. Two weddings in that one. (Doctor Who)
@Sue_Stokes Robin and Marion (x2) in robin of sherwood?
(This is semi-correct. Marion did marry Robin(1) Michael Praed, but Marion went to an abbey as a nun when she believed Robin(2) had died. No wedding.)
@bluemoonjules Vince and Penny (Just Good Friends) In Paris.
Miss Ellie and Clayton Farlow (Dallas)
@M_robertson_UK Did you say Miss Jones and Rupert Rigsby? (Rising Damp) They are getting married but
something happens and it all goes wrong.
@spiffykates House got married to an illegal immigrant on a recent episode
Pam and Jim on the American version of the office
@malmo58 Theresa and Eddie, ‘Playing The Field’ series 1 episode 6.
Blackadder series 1 episode 4 – Blackadder is due to marry Miriam Margolyes and ends
up getting hitched to a wee lassie
Had the two Vicar of Dibley ones yet?
Does kids’ TV count? There’s a wedding episode of Worzel Gummidge.
(oh yes! It counts! Who giveth away this Aunt Sally?)
Had Denise Royle yet? (I’m guessing: The Royle Family? Not a show I watched)
2 wedding episodes in Gavin & Stacey.
Some ideas sparked debate! I suggested the wedding of Daphne and Donny in Frasier.
@gingirl81 noooooooooo Daphne and Niles. I love Niles. they got married twice coz of her mother!
Total Frasier geek here!
@katobell Daphne and Niles! She didn’t marry Donnie!
(which is true, but there was a wedding! Robbie Coltrane was there!)
Did Arkwright and Nurse Gladys Emmanuel (Open All Hours) ever get married?
@neversarah excellent question; I don’t think so. What on EARTH made you think of that?
Scott & Charlene… Didn’t Reggie Perrin get married, even though it would’ve
@bluemoonjules Reggie Perrin ended up marrying Mrs Perrin but in disguise
@malmo58 Open All Hours ‘Shedding at the Wedding’
@abby_queenofall Nellie Olsen and Percival on Little House on the Prairie?
@bluemoonjules Of Course Laura and Almanzo
Did Wolfie Smith ever do the decent thing?
then there are all the literary ones – Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre…..etc etc
(oh no! We can’t count those!)
well then that discounts Little House on the prairie
(Technically, haha. See I would include LHOP because it was more of a tv show than an adaption.)
@malmo58 No, Wolfie never got married 😦
Some I was helped with!
Me: Bobby Ewing and Cliff Barnes’s sister (whose name escapes me)
@Jo_simcock Was it lucy?
@gingirl81 Pam. he also married that April chick with big hair. I loved Dallas.
@Jo_simcock Ah you threw me-thought you meant bobby’s sister
Me: What about the Likely Lads? Was there a wedding episode?
@malmo58 Yes, Bob and Thelma.
@m_robertson_UK That’s a good question. I think not. I think it happens between TLL and WHttLL…..
@malmo58 No, it has a whole episode of WHttLL to itself, titled ‘End of an Era’
Me: Long-running shows seem to be the key. What about Last of the Summer Wine?
@Malmo58 Yes, in a Xmas special ‘Uncle of the Bride’.
Me: Didn’t Sam & Diane have a wedding? (Cheers)
@malmo58 Sam and Diane had an aborted wedding in Cheers. they started the ceremony, Sam pulled out.
So it would seem that most weddings happen in Comedy shows. Either that or Comedy shows are more memorable? I was expecting someone to mention a wedding in something like GBH or Edge of Darkness, but it seems Dramas are not remembered for their weddings.
Finally, some unanswered questions from me:
Did Lovejoy marry Charlotte the auctioneer?
i’m sure a few tv series had people being jilted…
Wait… didn’t Frasier and Lillith have a wedding episode in Cheers?
So if you don’t want to watch the Royal Wedding, why not dig out a DVD, VHS or any other version of one of these and settle down for a nice day of wine and confetti?
I’ve always equated Twitter to a conversation in the pub. You can’t control who talks to you. You may suddenly whip round and talk to someone you’ve just been introduced to. If someone bores you you’ll head to the bar as a quick excuse for a getaway. You’ll go and play on a trivia machine with a couple of acquaintances rather than join in a dull conversation about motorway junctions or mortgages. If someone isn’t doing it for you, you turn away. If that girl you’ve had your eye on is giving one-word replies you give up and don’t talk to her again.
On Twitter you’ll find people with only one particular interest. We’ve all met people on there who only want to talk about politics, or only want to talk about Doctor Who. You can try to talk to them about cooking or technology or anything and you’ll get little or no response. And like the Pub there’s always someone who wants to trump everything you say. You’ve travelled around France? They’ve worked in hospitals across Zaire. You’ve started to learn the bass guitar, they’ve been drunk with Oasis. In Zaire.
So you can follow or unfollow anyone you feel like. Twitter is a place of freedom. (Unless you’re a celebrity facing the unspoken blackmail of the ‘retweet my charity’ people.)
Some people react to this better than others. They’ll directly confront you with “Why have you unfollowed me? Was it something I said?”. Some will get this niggle and loudly broadcast “@joebloggs has unfollowed me. What a git he is“.
This make you feel guilty and awkward. But you shouldn’t. You wouldn’t stop someone on the way to the bar with “why aren’t you staying here to talk to me?”
Some will even say “I love reading you, but now you’ve unfollowed me I’m unfollowing you.”
Why does it have to be reciprocal? Do you have to have a 1:1 follower ratio? No-one is 1:1. For the record, I don’t follow back just anyone; they have to have an interesting timeline before a new follower is followed back. I don’t agree with “Team Followback”. I follow people who don’t follow me and I don’t throw a hissy fit about it.
If you feel strongly enough that someone is giving you a hard time you can block them. This really I hold as a last-ditch option, I rarely block people. Anyone can listen to my words unless they turn a bit mental. Everyone’s entitled to a hassle-free Twitter experience. I still recall one very classy actress who was chased off of Twitter by a voracious anti-fan who was deluging her with nasty unfounded claims about her sex life.
If I unfollow you, you shouldn’t take it as a sleight. Maybe we’re interested in different things. Maybe you’re too crude for me. I’m no prude but I don’t want to hear about your infant’s bowel movements every morning as I’m eating my breakfast. (I can’t even understand why you think anyone would be interested in that!) Maybe I don’t want to read about you “wetting yourself” as I’m drinking my apple juice. Maybe I talk to you but you give short replies. Maybe you never talk to me unless I talk to you first. I notice these things.
If you can’t take being unfollowed, don’t sign up to a service telling you of your Unfollowers. Especially, don’t message someone who unfollowed you less than ten minutes ago.
If I unfollow you, it doesn’t mean I hate you, we’re just not connecting. I shouldn’t have to answer for my choice, just as I wouldn’t confront you if you unfollowed me.
Whenever I meet a girl and we hit it off, it’s usually not long before I am placed in the “just good friends” category. We’ll sit at lunch having immensely enjoyable conversation and it won’t be long before the girl will bemoan her singledom and how she just can’t find a good man. I sit there wondering, “well what’s so wrong about me?”. To use the old Joan Rivers line, “What am I? Chopped Liver?”
Sometimes I’ll raise the subject saying that I too am available and how we could give it a go, after all we already get on like a house on fire. The answer always comes back, “I don’t see you in that way”. Time and time again it happens. I just can’t start talking to a girl without being shunted into the no-sex box, as though I’m an honorary eunuch. The ‘safe’ person they can be with and never feel that my perfectly-functional man-bits could come into play. Maybe they think of me like Barbie’s Ken. Just an accessory with nothing under the underwear. But we ‘love’ each other in that friendship way. No-one could come between us, right? They then go off with a complete bastard who doesn’t give a damn about them. C’est la vie.
But can friends have sex without emotional ties? I once house-shared with a couple of girls and one of them told me I could be her ‘tap’. We would sneakily have night-time assignations without the knowledge of the other girl (they were bosom pals). It was purely a physical thing, I was just there for when there was no guy in her life.
I have on occasion been with a friend on a drunken night out where one thing has led to another. The same thing happens: the sex is great, we both enjoyed it and… the next morning, the cold light of day (literally) seems to render the physical act an abhorrence (to her). There’s the avoided gaze, the retreat to several feet away. It’s clear guilt/shame. How could they have done something so wrong? With him? Urgh, what were they thinking? The great sex has been negated. It never happened, ok? A good thing has become a deep dark nasty secret.
I have a friend who is very sexually motivated. I’ve known her for years and we have had no-strings sex. It worked out well. Due to large distance it hasn’t been repeated, but she is unscarred by it. We still talk regularly, nothing has changed. Could it be that emotional maturity is the key? If we can accept it just as a bit of pleasure and enjoyment, would that make it ok? Who doesn’t enjoy an orgasm? You know how good it feels.
How often have you heard a married perso say their spouse is “my best friend”? Let’s blur the boundaries a bit and get rid of some of our self-imposed restrictions.
I’m open to discussion on this. Please leave comments (the lengthier the better).
I’m beginning to feel like a prude.
I think I should state that I grew up on a council estate. “We were poor but we were happy”. If you had pudding with your tea (dinner for you middle-class people) some nights then that was considered a luxury. There was a neighbour just down the road who had a car with no wheels up on those little ramp things under each axle. Stray dogs and yellow dog poo. Yes, yellow. Front lawns that looked as though they hadn’t ever been watered. Playing football using the trees as goalposts. Get the picture?
Yes, we were poor, some of our friends had rough families and we’d often tease each other with references to fleas. We were crude, we were not couth. If we were round someone else’s house we’d say Please and Thank You to their parents. Think Kevin and Perry. “yes, Mrs Patterson.” We had manners.
But what none of us dared ever do was swear in front of our parents. Such swearing we did was sporadic and infrequent. And what we very very very rarely said was the C-word. It was just one of those unspoken taboos. We knew it was very bad, we knew there was no need for it. The F-word was fine, who needed a nuclear option?
Nowadays things are very different. You can’t go a day on Twitter or Youtube without hearing it. It’s on all TV channels after the watershed, everyone on the internet seems to be OK with it. I’ve heard people on the street who pepper just about every f**king sentence with a f**king expletive as though it’s f**king impossible not to f**king swear at all. People with pushchairs are happy to say this stuff in front of their children.
When did this become ok? Why is this acceptable behaviour? It seems as though everyone on Twitter thinks it’s fine to use the C-word and F-word at every possibility. Calling someone a c*** has become the norm. I once said to someone that he was going to get a name as “The man who always calls people a c**t”. He later called me a c**t. But then he calls everyone a c**t. It’s his thing and his friends think it’s so funny.
As standards continue to slip it’s undeniable that this country has become much more violent, much less polite. You may think it’s just words, but I believe it does affect people’s behaviour. I always avoid people’s gaze in public as I fear that people are an inch away from “YOU LOOKING AT ME?”. I feel guilty if I look at a passer-by in case they may feel I’m challenging them. It used to be ok to keep from having downcast eyes when walking.
I was brought up to be polite, to not get in peoples’ way, to hold doors open.
But you can’t walk ten paces these days without having to swerve to avoid people who are not looking where they’re going. I can’t walk around a supermarket without people standing in the way of things, standing right in the centre of aisles or even worse right at an intersection of aisles. These people don’t care that others need to shop. They don’t care that other people can’t get past them. If you try to squeeze past you get glared at as if it’s somehow your fault and you should take a massive detour around another lengthy aisle.
I’m still old-fashioned enough to stand to the side and minimise the area I take up. As a fairly monumental chap I keep meaning to stand my ground when someone deliberately walks straight at me. They mean me to move out of their way because… well, just because. “Let ’em bounce off me then,” i say to myself. But I always move aside. I can’t help it, I’m too polite. Sometimes I get (silently) angry at the bad behaviour of others and glower at someone who’s just done something unspeakably rude. They may occasionally say afterwards, insincerely “Sorry” as though that makes it ok. Under my breath I say “No you’re not or you wouldn’t have done that in the first place”. Loud enough for me to hear, loud enough for them to hear that i’m muttering something. But I’m still too polite to call them out on it. Besides, if I did, I’d just get a mouthful of abuse. I would then become the one in the wrong.
Since when did everyone have to be so selfish? I know in London I have to adjust my behaviour because that’s just how London is. There you have to be pushy and strident to get anywhere. But outside London I expect better. And I seem to be alone in that.