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Sunday, 8 May 2011


Mothers' Day is always a difficult time for me; because of social networking and the fact that I have a lot of American friends, I get to experience it twice.  Thankfully today a friend unwittingly provided a very pleasant distraction that allowed me to focus on less melancholic things.  She also encouraged/inspired me to return to this much-neglected blog, which I will endeavour to update more frequently.

This Mothers' Day, I am reminded of the time my teenage self inadvertently rented a movie with a friend that turned out to be nothing short of soft porn.  Of course, being teenagers, once we realised our error we kept watching.  My mother came in to the room to see how we were doing, noticed how quickly we switched off the video and decided to stay and watch with us, despite (or more probably because of) all our attempts to dissuade her.  I can’t tell you what the film was actually about as I spent the next 90 minutes staring at the carpet, though I do remember that there was an uncomfortable amount of panting and moaning. 

My mother didn’t say anything when the film ended, she simply stood up and left the room.  There was never any discussion of it, though from then on she did take an unusual interest in any movies I was going to watch with my younger brother and sister.

So, this Mothers’ Day, I raise a glass to my mother who I miss every day and who, despite suspecting me of sexual depravity, loved me anyway.

If you've had any awkward moments with your mother, I'd love to hear about them.  Please leave a comment below.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Better than a kick in the head?

"Mmm...It tastes better" – a slogan that doesn't really make me want to rush inside to try their ribs. Clearly their unusal honesty and lack of confidence in their food made it impossible for them to suggest that it was actually good.  Was "better" really the best they could do? And better than what?  Did the shop owner say to himself:

"well, I suppose if the choice is between eating our food and a piece of cardboard, I can say without a doubt, our food tastes better!"

Thankfully he was talked out of using "Better than cardboard!", which I imagine was his first choice.

Up the street is a closed down kebab shop called Kebabish. a kebab, but not quite? Maybe this was what Morley's food tasted better than.

Friday, 11 February 2011

A little early in the year for strawberries?

On the bus in to work this morning, I overheard the following telephone conversation (or at least half of a converstaion):

Smartly dressed man on bus:
"So, I've got my...friend on the other line. He needs to know if you're happy to pay the price for the, er...strawberries.

Right. Yeah it's two fifty per kilo. He's got half a kilo now and...

...yeah, 2 days?

Half a kilo! Half a kilo! You know how much that is! Just visualise it!

No, no, don't worry. I'll sort it out. I've got to drop off some, er...rubbish tonight so I'll pick up the strawberries after that."

Would I be completely off the mark in thinking that strawberries might be code for something a little less wholesome?

Friday, 21 January 2011

Favourite On-Screen Couples Part 3 - Dawn French & Jennifer Saunders

I grew up with strong abdominal muscles, partly thanks to these two so it is only fair that I thank Dawn & Jennifer here publicly.  This is them reading the re-translated transcript of a Hungarian interview with Madonna. (Thanks to RQ for bringing this to my attention)

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Favourite On-Screen Couples Part 2 - The Giraffes!

Voiced by the wonderful Sarah Millican and Jason Manford.  Oh how I laughed!! (Erm, I don't normally find domestic violence amusing)

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Seriously, America! Enough with the gunplay

Yesterday a 22-year-old man named Jared Lee Loughner opened fire at a public meeting outside a grocery store in Tucson, Arizona.  The main target was reportedly US congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords who was shot in the head at point blank range but is miraculously alive and still fighting for her life. Six others including a 9-year-old child were killed and 12 others injured when Loughner opened fire on the  crowd with an automatic weapon.

How can Americans feel safe knowing that the neighbour they argued with, the employee(s) they fired, the guy down the street ("he was always so quiet, kept to himself") who's about to have a psychotic breakdown, might be armed?  The US has the 4th highest (behind Mexico, Estonia and Brazil) rate of death by fire-arm in the world!  This is not a list anyone should/would aspire to top.  The suggestion that this universal "right to bear arms" is in no way linked to the tens of thousands of people killed every year by firearms in America is idiotic.  This brings me to the wonder that is Sarah Palin.

In 2010 Palin posted the map below targeting Democrats who had voted for Healthcare reform (because healthcare for all is a terrible thing? Still don't get it!).  In case the image is a little unclear, yes, those are gun sights and that is Gabrielle Giffords' name, fourth from the top.
(Via the Huffington Post)
I am not suggesting Palin meant for someone to actually shoot the Democrats on her list (gunsights? Really?!), or that she is responsible for this gunman's actions; but this, coupled with the tweet below (is it referring people to the above map?) could send out confusing messages.

Both these posts have been deleted from Palin's accounts in the wake of the tragedy in Tucson and Palin has issued statements condemning the gunman's actions (recent reports suggest there might actually have been 2 gunmen), but it's all a little too late if you ask me.  Her use of her inexplicable fame and influence (What were you thinking John McCain??) is dangerous and irresponsible.  And she's not the only one.  Sharron Angle, who thankfully was unsuccessful in her bid for the U.S. Senate has also talked about "2nd amendment remedies" against Congress.

If any good can come of this most heinous of crimes (A 9-yr-old child!!) it is that proponents of the 2nd amendment will rethink their stance.  Guns are tools of death that should not be readily-available in your local Walmart!  Make another amendment! Get the guns out of your homes and off the streets!

Friday, 7 January 2011

Favourite On-screen couples Part I - Nick & Nora Charles

William Powell and Myrna Loy made 14 films together, but my favourites were "The Thin Man" films.  They never failed to make me laugh.  Go buy the box set or add to your lovefilm or netflix queues. You won't regret it!

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

2011 already seems like hard work!

I spent a lovely Christmas by the sea with some friends and in a moment  of drunken optimism we decided to make lists of 20 things we would each endeavour to accomplish in 2011.  3 days into the new year as I lie in bed, surrounded by snotty tissues (not literally, they are in the bin where they belong), feeling terribly sorry for myself, I'm wondering what the hell I was thinking!

20 things is a lot!  And I haven't picked 20 easy things.  No doubt attempting to complete this list will (for the most part) be a lot of fun, but why couldn't I have left it at 10 things? Too easily swayed by my friends' enthusiasm? Too confident in my ability to do anything I set my mind to? Forgetful of the fact that I have no self-discipline?  Perhaps I realised that 2010 was a year of transition and I was finally in a position and (more importantly) had the desire to move my life forward, and making this list was the first step?  No, you're right, I'm not that insightful.  I'll blame it on the wine and sea air.

The list has been made, and as Lady Macbeth would say:

"Screw your courage to the sticking place, and you'll not fail!"

My List for 2011:
  1.  Learn Spanish (I haven't quite figured out how much Spanish I need to learn to fulfill this)
  2. Complete and pass 3 accounting exams
  3. Learn the guitar (See Spanish)
  4. Complete a writing project (I've started many, but as I said, I lack focus & discipline)
  5. Visit my friends in Bournemouth/Dorset at least 5 times this year (because they are good peops!)
  6. Learn to cook at least 12 new dishes well.
  7. Scale the heights at Go Ape
  8. Say what I think more often (I've been told I'm much too diplomatic)
  9. Write at least one blog post each month
  10. Eat at 3 Michelin-starred restaurants - one must be outside the UK.
  11. Initiate conversations with strangers (I need to get over my shyness)
  12. Do some form of exercise 3 times a week
  13. Spend a weekend in Edinburgh (I keep meaning to go and never get round to it)
  14. Holiday in a non-English-speaking country alone
  15. Pay off at least one of my credit cards (this might not be possible with all the lessons and eating and travelling, but it's good to aim high)
  16. Reduce my sugar intake (this might be the most difficult)
The eagle-eyed among you will notice that I have only listed 16 of the 20 items I said were on my list.  I'm keeping the remaining four to myself for now, but if you're lucky (or unlucky depending on your point of view), and if I actually manage to complete them, I might share more later.

Good luck with any lists you need to get through this year (feel free to share any goals in the comments below).  I wish you all a joyful and successful 2011!

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Lies, Damn Lies & Gay Stats!

Illustration: Finbarr Sheehy for the Guardian (Gay Britain: Inside the ONS statistics)

This week, the British media has been abuzz with the the results of a survey conducted by the Office of National Statistics (ONS).  The data apparently indicates that only 1.5% (726,000) of the British population identify as gay or bisexual.  This was based on a doorstep survey conducted on a sample of 263,000 (0.5% of the population).

So, what do these statistics tell us?

•    That only 1.5% of us will admit to being gay when confronted on our doorstep by a stranger with a clipboard.

•    That once again I (and everyone I know) have not been included in a poll.

•    Given the sudden drop in the British gay population – previous figures released by the British government suggested we were 5-7% of the population – maybe this whole deprogramming thing is working.  Our numbers are dwindling; we need to increase our recruitment rate people!

•    That considering the small sample size and that 3% of people did not respond (and that I wasn't asked), drawing any conclusion from these results is foolish.  And using these statistics to influence any policy decisions as some have suggested is idiotic.

If anyone had bothered to ask me (yes, I am a little hurt about that), and if I had deigned to answer the question, I probably would have said that I was straight.  I have only recently stopped lying to myself and my friends about who I am.  My closet was a comfy space complete with cushions and stuffed toys, I doubt a clipboard would have got me out.  And statistically speaking, there must be others out there like me.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Not married yet?! It's because you don't spend enough time in the kitchen! (Obviously!)

Last weekend my sister answered what will probably be the second most important question she will ever be asked:  “Do you take this man to be your lawful wedded husband…?”.  She did!  (In case you were wondering, the most important question she will ever be asked will probably be “Would you like an epidural?” to which she will undoubtedly answer, “Yes! NOW!”). 

Weddings, though wonderful things are hardest on the unmarried women who are forced to attend because of family loyalty or friendship or the ridiculous notion that catching a bunch of flowers means they’ll be next down the aisle.  We get to spend the day answering one question over and over from all the married guests:

“So, when are you getting married?”

Did they want an exact date? Or just an assurance that it would happen in their lifetime?  Skilled as I am in the art of dodging difficult/annoying questions, the sheer volume of people at this wedding made it impossible.  So I’d answer:



“Why? Are you asking?”


“I’m sorry, who are you?”

In Ghana, an unmarried woman in her 30s is a cause of concern or suspicion, while an unmarried man in his 30s is still sowing his wild oats – sometimes going back to Ghana is like time travelling to the 1950s…without all the hats and cigarettes. 

I’ve lost count of the number of times my father has ordered me into the kitchen – “As a woman you should be in the kitchen. Know what is being prepared.  Get more involved!”.  First of all, my father should know by now that starting any sentence with “as a woman” is the best way to get me to ignore anything that comes after.  Having said that, being the dutiful Ghanaian daughter that I am, I did pass through the kitchen on my way out and noted that the cook was doing something with a chicken.

Actually, I have no particular objection to kitchens (in fact I quite enjoy cooking) and I might get more involved if my father’s wife wasn’t quite so territorial.

And while marriage isn’t currently high on my to-do list, I’m sure that if I was ever to meet the “right” person, it might be something I would want to do – in a very quiet understated way.  Unfortunately when I do get married, I have a sneaking suspicion that my father will still not approve, but that’s a subject for another post & possibly a therapist.

In the mean time I will continue to sabotage my brother’s relationships (he manages this perfectly well by himself) so I won’t have to go to any large family weddings for a while.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

The Gay Civil Rights Movement Isn't About Sex!

Marshall: “Frankly, you can’t equate being Black with being Gay. Moreover you CANNOT equate the Black Civil Rights movement with this so called, "Gay Civil Rights" movement.

Its [sic] really really insulting to us Black Americans.

I don't care if you want to have sex with a man if you are a man. I don't care if you want to have sex with a... woman if you are a woman, but don't politicize how you enjoy to have sex.”

When I accepted a friend request on facebook from the husband of one of my sister’s oldest friends, the above diatribe was certainly not something I expected or wanted to see.   I immediately hid all news posts from the author so that I wouldn’t have to be subjected to such hatred again.  But I didn’t remove him as a friend or respond. 

I have friends and family on facebook who do not know I am gay and I wasn’t ready to put my head above the parapet.  In addition, some of my friends on facebook are gay, and by responding to this I would be allowing this nonsense to appear in their news streams.  So I did nothing. 

After a restless night during which my mind kept returning to facebook & Marshall, I realised that doing nothing was not acceptable, so I logged back in and responded as follows:

Marshall, it is very early in our short facebook friendship for this sort of disappointment.  Too many of my friends are gay for me to have this sort of thing appear in my news stream again.  And quite frankly, I don’t want it there!

While it is really wonderful that you don’t care if a man wants to have sex with a man or a woman wants to have sex with a woman, the gay rights movement is not about sex.  And it is “really really insulting” to gay people that you have reduced it to this.

Civil rights are the rights of individuals to receive equal treatment and not to be discriminated against.  In the same way that you do not wish to be discriminated against for being born black, a gay person does not want to be discriminated against because they were born gay.  And before you interject, homosexuality is not a choice as you suggest.

Throughout history, gay people have been discriminated against and persecuted simply because of who they are.   They have been beaten, killed, abused (physically & emotionally), ostracised by their families & friends…why would anyone choose that?

You might argue that while you can’t hide the colour of your skin, a gay person can “hide” the fact that they are gay.  But why should they have to?  All they want is the same rights that you have – to live an open and honest life without fear, to fall in love and get married, raise a family and know that if anything was to happen to them, their family would be taken care of.  Is that too much to ask?

“Freedom, respect, dignity and economic and social equality” are what African Americans fought for – why would you want to deny these to anyone else?

Friday, 27 August 2010

How to Appear Unhelpful

This is more of a plea for help than an instructional post - I have no idea how to appear unhelpful.  I’m the person in the street that people stop to ask for directions – if they knew what little sense of direction I have, they wouldn’t bother.  I still get lost in the building I’ve worked in for the past year!

The other day at the airport, a man stopped me to ask where he could find some tea.  I was holding a packet of M&Ms - the ones containing peanuts, in case you were wondering.  Do people who buy M&Ms invariably buy tea as well? I looked around worriedly wondering if I was dressed like I worked there. I was not.  There were about 6 people in the vicinity who did work there and who probably had a better idea where the tea was kept.  I kindly suggested he try speaking to one of them – he looked confused as I walked away.

This sort of thing happens to me all the time.  I might be the only person wearing earphones and a scowl on a street full of people and I am always the one people approach for assistance.

What can I do to make this stop?  Earphones and scowling doesn’t work! Though to be fair, my scowls are pretty ineffective in most situations – they usually just elicit laughter.

Why is this such a big problem you ask? Well, I’m a worrier.  Given my poor directional skills, I worry that I’ve been unclear as to which way they should go or worse, sent them completely the wrong way.  I worry that somewhere, someone has turned down a dark alley that I’ve sent them to and been mugged.  These are completely irrational worries, I know, but I never claimed to be a rational person.  In fact, I fully accept that the opposite is true.

Nonetheless, these are the things that keep me up at night – that somewhere, someone is lying bleeding in the street, cursing the day they ever asked for my help.

Why Aren't We Moving?

Traffic! Caused by idiotic people doing idiotic things...

...and, er cows!

Wednesday, 11 August 2010


Last month, while I was lamenting my single status and thinking thoughts like - if I am no one’s significant other, does that make me insignificant? I decided to take my lack of significance into my own hands and signed up to a couple of internet dating sites.

So, obviously I began my quest for significance with Guardian Soulmates  because I’m a bleeding-heart liberal and thought I should find someone similar.  I actually considered that for my profile heading – “Bleeding heart seeks similar for, er, bleeding”.  I quickly reconsidered.

Setting up an internet dating profile must surely be one of the circles of hell Dante neglected to write about. Staying single must be better than having to decide (and state for the public record) my level of attractiveness – they should probably change that question to “exactly how vain/deluded are you?”  Or add as an option - “well, you’ve seen my picture, you decide!”  I decided above average was the safest option, though I later realised that most people say they want people who claim to be attractive or very attractive. Above average apparently doesn’t cut it.  Sort of explains why there are so many single people failing to find their ideal mate doesn’t it?  I wonder if anyone ever says they are below average? (Must do a search to find out).

No sooner had I stumbled over that obstacle than I was presented with another – describe your ideal match. Male or female? Now, I’ve been single for a long time (mostly by choice) could I afford to strike off a whole gender?   Did I want to date women? Did I want to admit that I wanted to date women? Was I just including men for appearance sake? I selected male and female and moved on.  Already my head was pounding but I had come too far to stop now.

I then had to write a few words describing myself and my ideal partner.  Would this be a good time to show off my comedic skills? They’re a bit of an acquired taste.  My sister always tells me to keep jokes to a minimum when I first meet someone to improve the possibility of a second meeting.  This probably explains why I’m still single – jokes keep slipping out.

I eventually decided on something that was short and (I hoped) at least a little charming.  The usual stuff – what I’m like (easy going, friendly etc.), what I like (eating, cooking, movies) – and ended with what I was looking for:

“Looking for someone to have adventures with - the kind that involve discovering new places, new people, slaying a few dragons (ok, fine no dragons - killjoy!) and discovering each other.  Let’s start with hello and take it from there.”

I know this is exactly the sort of thing my sister warned me against, but I couldn’t help myself. And I suppose it’s best that whoever responds knows in advance what they are letting themselves in for.

I then submitted my profile and waited nervously.  By that I mean went about my normal day-to-day activity, I wasn’t literally sitting staring at my computer screen hitting the refresh button every 10 seconds (really!).

When I went on line the next day, my profile had been viewed quite a few times and had even been marked as a favourite by some, but I had received no messages.  I decided to be a little proactive and did a quick search of the people who matched my criteria.  There were two women with interesting profiles and attractive pictures (there were more, but these particular two grabbed my attention first – I guess that answers the male or female question).  I marked them as favourites and proceeded to write them each an introductory email. 

Both emails I thought were friendly, tailored to the specific individual based on what they’d written in their profiles and expressed a desire to get to know them in some capacity (friendship, relationship etc.).  I sent the emails off and waited eagerly.  Each day I checked my messages and each day I was disappointed to see that had not received anything.  I could see that both ladies read my emails on the day they were sent, yet neither had responded. 

Two weeks passed and still I had had no response.

I had also not had any messages from others despite being one of their favourite profiles.  What the hell was that about? Were they waiting for me to write first?  What about the two women I’d written to? Was my message and profile so unappealing that they couldn’t even bring themselves to reply just to say thanks but not interested?  Did no one ever teach them how rude it is not to reply when someone takes the time to send you a message?  The hope and excitement I initially felt when I joined the site gave way to self-doubt and (very mild) depression.

Now I’m back to feeling insignificant again and waiting for the people I’ve marked as favourites to send me an email.  And all this for the bargain price of £25/month.