I Still Love Uke

Firstly, just a quick thanks to all the people who commented on my last post, both here and on Twitter. It seems I’m not alone in my thoughts and it helped to get it all out of my head.

Just a quick update now – I’ve stuck a couple more ukulele videos up on YouTube, and here they are for your pleasure; I know my vocals aren’t getting any better but hopefully the uke playing is improving!

If you like them then please do rate and/or comment on them…and if you don’t, then…well, don’t. Like my Gran always said; if you’ve got nothing nice to say then don’t say anything at all. Simples.

On being single

I’ve been thinking about this lately and I’m not really sure why but I thought I’d try and formulate my thoughts into some sort of coherence.

First, a little background: I’ve only ever had three boyfriends. I’ve had the other odd casual relationships but not what I would call boyfriends. I went out with the first of these three for about three months when I was at Sixth Form. I was sixteen at the time and he was a year older than me (although in the same classes as me) and he was the boy I lost my virginity to – a rather embarrassing encounter which was never repeated with him. In fact the very same night I went out without him and met the man (for at 22, he was a man) who was to become my next boyfriend.

Yes, boyfriend number two was a whole six years older than me. Which if I’d have been 22 and he’d have been 28 wouldn’t really have been a problem but surely there’s something wrong with a 22 year old man going out with a 16 year old girl? Of course, at the time I didn’t think so and I couldn’t understand why my parents (and my brother) were so against us. As it turned out we went out for nearly two (mostly happy) years. Then when I went to university I think I grew up; I was at uni in Manchester, only a 45 minute drive from Blackpool and so my boyfriend came to stay with me the first three weekends I was there. He refused to come out of my room and socialise while I was trying my best to make new friends. So on the fourth weekend of university I went back to Blackpool and split up with him. Shortly after, he met another girl (also called Sarah-Jane, which is a bit odd), and proceeded to have to kids with her. Rather her than me in the end.

After that I made the most of enjoying my university years, and wasn’t really looking for another boyfriend. In between my second and third years at uni I went and worked on a campsite in France for two and half months, where I continued in the vein of having fun; whichever way that came. All in all I spent six summers working in France, and for the first three of those (and the ski season in between summers two and three) I never had any problems finding guys willing to sleep with me but none who wanted anything more than that. Maybe my willingness to oblige was part of the problem but I had pretty low self-esteem at the time and I think I used sex as a way of proving to myself that boys still found me attractive. 

Then in March 2001, I went back to France for my fourth summer season, this time as an Area Manager. On the first night of the training course I met a boy who was going to be working for me for the summer. We got on really well….and we ended up going out together (and living and working together) until August 2002, when he decided he didn’t love me any more. I was devastated and took a long time to get over it. In fact I spent the next few months trying to get him to change his mind. That never happened. We didn’t really talk at all for the next six months but the following summer we sort of got back to being friends again. In November 2003 we both moved to Dunfermline to work in the head office of the company we worked for in France. And at this point we embarked on a really rather ill-advised retro-sexual relationship. This mostly involved getting drunk and sleeping together every couple of weeks, but neither of us really wanted to get back together properly. For a year or so we worked together and got on really well (although the drunken sex stopped after the first few months)…and then it all took a turn for the weird when he got together with a friend of ours, who was also manager to both of us. They now live together back in England and have a baby…and I still find it a bit weird if I’m completely honest.

So anyway, that’s the back story; I’ve been single since 2002. And lately I’m not quite sure how I feel about it. I’ve always assumed ever since I was tiny that one day I would get married and have two kids, just like my Mum. I come from a a very unexciting middle class family; my Mum and Dad have been married 35 years and live in the house they moved to in 1983. They got married, had their first child exactly two years later, and me exactly two years after that (my brother’s birthday is four days after our parents’ wedding anniversary and is the day after my birthday), and that’s the life I always saw for myself. And that’s most definitely the life my Mum wants for me too. As more and more of my parents’ friends’ kids have got married, the more my Mum seems to wonder if her daughter is ever going to oblige. At least my brother got married last year and that took some of the pressure off me. 

I’ve spent the last eight years thinking that all I wanted was a boyfriend and wondering why I couldn’t seem to find one. Now I reckon I’m pretty average – at 5’5” I’m not that tall, but I’m not that short either; I’m neither fat nor thin; I don’t think I’m very pretty, but I’m not ugly either…so pretty much average then. I’m quite intelligent, I’ve got a ‘good sense of humour’, I have lots of different interests – and yet there’s clearly something about me that makes me shag-able rather than date-able. I’ve tried various methods to meet new men over the years; new hobbies (although there is rather a dirth of straight men in the world of amateur dramatics) , a new job (all right – finding a man wasn’t the only reason I changed my job, but it was a consideration!), and about 18 months ago I bit the bullet and gave internet dating a go. I did get some interest and went on three dates; the first, although very entertaining and erudite online, struggled to string a sentence together in person (and he was too short!) The second was nice enough and we got on quite well, but even with the benefit of a second date I just didn’t fancy him. The third one, I did fancy, and I thought we’d got on well but it turns out he didn’t have the same opinion as me. And after that I started going to lots of comedy shows and gave up on my online search for love. So now I’m back to my previous ‘if I’m going to meet someone, it’ll just happen one day and I shouldn’t have to do anything to make it happen’.

And the point that all this has been leading to…lately I’ve been thinking; I’m really quite happy on my own! I’m very independent; I’ve been living on my own for over 5 years (apart from a couple of temporary flatmates) and I really like my own space and being able to do exactly what I like, when I like. Maybe it’s selfishness but I rarely have to consider anyone else when making plans, or in my day to day life. Being in a relationship seems to involve a lot of doing stuff you don’t really want to do. Take my brother for example – he has to watch Eastenders (I can’t think of anything worse!) and the other day he had to eat Chinese food even though he doesn’t like it. I can watch whatever I want on TV, and eat whatever I want, get out of bed whenever I want, go out when I want, and go on random trips around the UK to see comedy shows when ever I feel like it. And at the moment, my freedom and independence wins. Of course, I get a bit lonely sometimes but I have lots of friends to talk to, either in real life or online. And there are times when I’d like someone to give me a cuddle when I’m sat at home on the sofa but that’s OK. I just can’t imagine what my life would be like if I had to make room for someone else in it.

And like I said, I always assumed I’d have kids but I’m not at all broody. I know I’m only 31 and there’s plenty of time but at the moment I don’t really get the appeal of babies. Quite a lot of my friends have kids now but I’m just not that bothered by them. Maybe if I do meet a man one day then my opinion might change, and I can’t say the prospect of maternity leave isn’t appealing, but slowly my view of myself in the world is shifting and perhaps I will be one of those people who just never has kids.

I think what I’m trying to say in all this, is that I’m pretty happy with my lot. Maybe one day I’ll meet ‘Mr Right’ whoever he might be, and maybe I won’t. And that’s OK by me.

So far so good

Two weeks into the New Year and so far my good intentions are holding out. I’ve not had any booze since New Year’s Eve and only one tiny piece of Dairy Milk in the last ten days – and I’ve lost 4lbs. Yay me! I even went back to my dance class tonight – which I haven’t been to since September. I’ve still got a way to go so I just need to keep it up now. My bridesmaid dress for Claire’s wedding arrived at the shop so I had to go and try it on on Saturday – I think it was very mean making me try it on just after Christmas but it still fit which is a bonus. It’ll look better when I’ve lost a bit more weight though…and it’s not getting fitted for another six weeks so there’s still time.

I’ve also been keeping up with my other blog http://everydayjustme.blogspot.com/ which does exactly what you’d expect – it’s a picture of my face everyday. Some of them were taken not long after waking up and you can definitely tell! Other than that and some slight hairstyle variations I reckon I look pretty much the same in every one. It’s a bit weird to be honest seeing all those pictures of my face – and that’s only two weeks in, I’m not sure what I’ll think if I keep it up for the whole year…only one way to find out though.

In other news I’m enjoying being back at university, despite the tedious drive to Glasgow, which was made even more difficult last week with the freezing conditions. I’m just making the most of not having a huge amount to do at the moment. I managed to get my assignment done and handed in on time, despite typically leaving it until the last minute, so I’m just waiting for the result now. We don’t even get a grade for it – it’s either pass or fail….and if you fail you get a chance to rewrite it anyway! Anyway, like I say, I’m making the most of not having too much work at the moment because in three weeks I’ll be back on school placement for another six weeks. And that will be six weeks of very hard work indeed! 

Before going back to school though I’ve got a(nother) trip to London planned to see Michael Legge and The Trap in their sketch show ‘Los Quattros Cvnts’. (It is pronounced ‘cunts’ but they didn’t have the balls to actually call it that because it wouldn’t get listed anywhere!). It should be really good fun – I meeting Nic (@nwoolhouseuk who stayed with me during Edinburgh last year) and Lorna (@lornalily who lives in Ireland and who we’ve been talking to on Twitter as she is a fellow Precious Little podophile, as we’ve been dubbed). It just seems perfectly normal now to meet people (and we’re all sharing a hotel room too) who I’ve only spoken to on the internet. And once we get over the initial ‘oh, so that’s your voice’ weirdness I’m sure we’ll have a whole heap of fun. Although I’m supposed to have given up the booze I’m not even going to pretend to myself that I won’t be drinking on that night!

Lastly, a couple of things you should really have a look at. First of all, Tim Minchin’s amazing nine minute beat poem; Storm, is being animated by some lovely people who are keeping everyone updated with their progress on a blog here. I love all the ‘kinetic typography’ as it’s know in technical terms and you can see some tests on the latest blog entry. You can also see the trailer that was previewed at TAM London last year.

And very finally, this is something that my brother posted the link to on Twitter. It’s a reproduction of a book published in 1972 called ‘2010: Living In The Future’ – with a bit of added commentary from the blog author. Some of the stuff is a bit mental; ‘There are no beds, no tables, no chairs. The floor is made for sitting, sleeping, and walking on.’ But some of it is remarkably accurate – the bloke who wrote this in 1972 basically predicted supermarket home delivery, the internet and ebooks. You really should take the time to read it all, it’s brilliant!

I Love Uke!

I may have mentioned before I got a ukulele about three months ago and surprisingly I haven’t given up like I did every time I’ve tried to learn the guitar. I still love it and I try and play every day. I’ve even made a few videos so you can see how I’m getting on. 

And here they are – for your viewing pleasure. I may add some more to my YouTube channel at some point so do subscribe if you like.

New Decade, New Year, New Me?

Here I go again. Today is the first day of the somewhat obligatory New Year diet. You may remember I managed to lose over a stone and a half between June and August last year. Unfortunately, what happened between September and now was that I’ve put a stone of that weight back on again…so today sees me return to the scales, and the diet. This means once again I am giving up booze and chocolate for the foreseeable future. I managed 66 days without either last year so I am aiming to better that this year. I know some people would say why give it up all together, it’s all about moderation. Not for me it isn’t; I’m an all or nothing kind of girl. My mind doesn’t know the meaning of moderation you see. I can do complete abstinence without too much bother but give me a bar of chocolate and ask me to only eat one piece and there’s no chance! And as far as booze goes, I’ve always been a binge drinker in the finest British tradition. One glass of wine you say? Well what’s the point of that??

The other issue is exercise, of which I have done next to none since September. For this I blame starting at university and the total disruption to my routine that this brought. Oh, and also my laziness of course. So this week I will also head back to my dance classes. I have to do this before I go on my next school placement in five weeks because I know if I leave it until then I’ll never go back. 

At the moment I’ve got no comedy trips planned any time in the near future, I’ve got no parties to go to, and no imminent celebrations; which is all a bit dull for me, but also means I have no excuses not to get my arse in gear and my body back on track.

So there we are, maybe 2010 will finally be the year I conquer my food demons. It’s unlikely, I can but hope. And I have a bridesmaid’s dress to look awesome in this April and for now that is motivation enough.

The Year of Change

2010 eh? A lot has changed in my life since this time last year. At the start of 2009 I was working for the Bank of Scotland, in a boring job, with no real plans for the future. In my second ever post to this blog I wrote about my lack of any ambitions or any real plans for the future. But by the end of April I had applied to do the teacher training course which I’m now in the middle of. By this time next year I’ll have been working as a teacher for four months, and hopefully enjoying it!

The end of 2009 was a good one as far as they go. On the 30th December I got the train down to London in order to go to the London Comedy Improv Christmas party. This was one of those things that I wanted to go to, my sensible head told me it was a bit ridiculous to spend over five hours on a train each way just for one night of comedy, and then I got a bit tipsy one night and booked a train anyway. And luckily it was worth it. LCI regulars Tara Flynn and Brendan Dempsey were in charge of proceedings with guest performers Tiernan Douieb, Kirsty Newton and Briony (whose surname I’m trying to find out). Ewen Macintosh was supposed to be there too but couldn’t make it because of the weather – although I don’t know where he was trying to get there from seeing as I made it from Scotland! I’ve never been to any improv before but it was very funny and I really enjoyed it. Everything the performers do is based on suggestions from the audience, and they even used a couple of mine. Tara and Brendan were very funny, and evidently very experienced in this kind of improv comedy. (And incidentally, they were very welcoming and seemed genuinely delighted I had come all the way from Scotland to see the show). Tiernan was really good too – I’ve seen him do quite a bit of stand-up now but never anything like this and I thought he was great, and was glad to see in his blog that to do more improv is one of his aims for 2010. The highlight of the night had to be the film noir musical nativity that rounded of the show, I really have never seen anything like it, and probably never will again. After a low key Christmas it was great to have a night out with my friends and lots of laughter. It’s just a shame the regular LCI nights are mid-week and what with uni and school it’s going to be pretty impossible for me to get to another one any time soon.

I got the train back home yesterday and remarkably it was on time and uneventful. I went round to my friends’ house for our (now getting to be traditional) New Year’s Eve celebrations. Once again I was the only single person with three couples but since virtually all my friends up here are in long term relationships I’m pretty used to it by now! We had some food (and plenty of cider), played bowling and tennis on the Wii and then after some champagne at midnight we played our (also traditional) SingStar – I’d bought Claire SingStar Take That for her birthday the other week; mostly so we could play it on New Year’s Eve. We somehow managed to stay up until 4.30am and then I spent a somewhat uncomfortable night on their sofa, which some how manages to be very comfortable to sit on but incredibly uncomfortable to sleep on. It wasn’t helped by my very blocked up nose which forced me to breathe through my mouth which created a mouth drier than the surface of Mars.

The first day of this year has been spent doing nothing more strenuous than eating, sleeping and watching the second part of the Dr Who special which saw David Tennant leave the series and regenerate into Matt Smith. As I said in my post Christmas blog, for some reason I have resisted watching the new Dr Who but I’ve actually enjoyed this two part special (despite not really understanding what was happening) and I think I might be tempted to start watching properly when the new series starts.

And finally, in other news, I’ve started a new blog for the new year which you can find at http://everydayjustme.blogspot.com/ . It’s an entirely unoriginal idea but one which interests me; the plan being to take a photo of my face everyday for the whole year and see if I change at all. I’ve been writing this blog since February (admittedly a bit sporadically) and I’ll be continuing to do so. The idea is that the photo blog is just for the pictures and I wanted to keep it separate from this one.

So there we are; 2009 has been an exciting and fun filled year for me. I’ve made and met lots of new friends through a shared love of comedy (and Twitter!), I feel like I’ve laughed more than I’ve ever laughed in a year before, I’ve been on loads of comedy-watching adventures, and I’ve actually done something about getting a career and a plan for the rest of my life. I’m just hoping that it all continues into 2010. 

Thank you all for reading, I hope you stick with me in the year to come.