Saturday, 25 October 2008

Between a Rock and a Wet Place

None More Black

Last Saturday night was unusual for us. Instead of the usual combination of take away Chinese and shouting at judges on talent shows we actually went out. The occasion was a charity bikers do at a local hotel, complete with a band called Chemical Metal. I'm not entirely sure what chemical metal is, but it sounds poisonous and heavy. The name implied that they played a curious mixture of The Chemical Brothers and Iron Maiden covers, but hey I'm all for cross over music!
With my rapidly fading hair colour giving way to greying (ie grey) roots it was time to hit the home hair dye. Against my natural cautiousness Vicky cajoled me into experimenting with black hair. So an hour's dying session later I now sport a colour that I have christened "smell the glove" as a Tribute to Spinal Tap in keeping with general rock theme for the night. After she had dyed my hair and managed to avoid my usual trick of dying everything but my hair, Vicky set about giving me a choppy style rock chick look for the night. In typical makeover style I wasn't allowed to view my hair until it was all finished. I wasn't really prepared for what I would see in the mirror. As I starred at the mirror I struggled to recognise the person looking back at me. The face in the frame did ring some bells. It had a curiously <KENOX S1050  / Samsung S1050>familiar, tired looking, wonky left eye. There was strange puncture wound scar to the right of the jaw. Perhaps it was the result from some long forgotten gun fight. (or it could have been just an abscess) These were only fleeting moments of familiarity though. The face I saw was round, almost moonfaced. The hair was short and jet black but most of all it was big. It had a funky messy style that framed the face. It was exactly the hair that a person would want for a glamish and rocky night out. I loved my look and for a moment fought back a tear so as not to ruin my painstakingly applied OTT eye makeup. It has been so rare that I have looked in a mirror and felt so gloriously womanly. Dolled up in sleeveless fitted top in deep turquoise under black lace that made a half decent stab at enhancing my all too inadequate bust. I added sparkly jeans to fit in with the rock theme. Make up was all eyeliner, mascaras, and deep red lippy the only concession to coordination was eye shadow that matched my top.
I was the designated driver for the night. Actually I'm the designated driver every night. This is mainly due to the fact I haven't drunk alcohol seriously and with conviction since university. My tolerance for alcohol is so poor these days that I have been known to complain of feeling drunk just sitting too close to an open bottle of nail varnish remover! The last time I recall being drunk, was a weekend in Blackpool a whole different gender ago. When, after just a few Biccardi Breezers I was to be found running across a windswept midnight beach, claiming I wanted to be at one with the sea! All in all it is best for this planet that I stuck to the driving not the drinking. As I picked the other girls up, my bubble of glee at my appearance, was pricked when I compared myself to Vicky and Debbie. Veterans of many a night out, they both looked fabulous.

When we got to the venue we met up with a load of colleagues from Vicky's workplace. Although I'm now a woman of 4 years standing (actually mostly sitting), I can still be a bit nervous about going out for the night with the girls. My nerves are not really about managing to pass or that I may get some abuse from some drunk waste of testosterone. These are fears that had faded with experience. To be honest , and this blog has to be honest or it is nothing. I can still feel somewhat ill fitting in a large group a girls. It is my insecurities neuroses, and downright social awkwardness that are the problem, rather than anything others do or say. So there I am sitting with a great bunch of girls having a great night with this nagging devil of doubt upon my shoulder constantly whispering ''what do you look like'', ''what do you sound like '', '' why did you say that? That's not what other girls talk like ''. I try desperately to ignore this fiend but I find it difficult and I end up being a bit quiet. Then, the others urge me up to dance and the shoulder demon takes complete control, with its poison of fear surging through me. ''You dance like a bloke... You will look such a fool... Everyone will be whispering, that you are a man... Why draw extra attention by dancing... You will probably fall flat on your face those heels ''. Although I desperately want to get up and shake my thing with my friends, I just end up declining all the urging and sit back, sipping on my diet coke while I watch on, like the eternal understudy to the leading ladies. I have often whinged about other people accepting me as a woman, but In the end the problem is me. I just really don't help myself. Still it was a good night out. The band was really good and played my sort of music that everyone seemed to dig, except for a 12 minute cover of a Rush track that left the dancefloor empty and a little bewildered.The night was in aid of the Andy Taft Charitable Trust

The Jury's in<KENOX S1050  / Samsung S1050>

As I write this bit, I am sitting at the desk in a well appointed hotel room. Thursday and Friday found me down the smoke overnight. As a newly elected regional convenor for my union, it was my first regional convenors seminar. We were staying in the rather grand, Jurys Inn just off Oxford street . It was designed by the famous architect sir Edward Lutyens, famous for (please insert some of his other famous buildings, or at least bluff some.).
At first, it was a chastening experience. From used to being the big cheese in a small pond (can't beat a mixed metophor), I found myself in a group, all of whom were much more experienced, far better informed and distinctly more articulate than I. So for once in my life I turned my pontificating down a notch or two (it used to go all the way to 11). As I looked round the table it was like being in a room of minor celebrities. Everyone of these people, I had seen at one time or another up, on the conference podia, plying their trade and speaking passionatly. I felt I almost knew some of them, just as when you meet a celebrity on the street you think you know and own a piece of them. Of course I didn't really know them but I was heartened that a few remembered me from my maiden conference speech this year (To think it was actually my maiden speech as a maiden!)
Anyway I soon settled into my company and surroundings. The room we using was called the library. Mainly because it contained a load of books! What with the erudite commentary on such lofty issues as European social directives and <KENOX S1050  / Samsung S1050>tacklinkg child poverty the whole affair had an academic ambience. Coupled with that because each of us was from a different region it was a bit like a low rent United Nations with different languages replaced by all the major dialects of the UK. The best part of the seminar was the dinner event. We had pre dinner drinks and an evangelical speaker on Child Povery at the dinner. Perversly the drinks were in The Chapel and The semon with the dinner was in the Library. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole event and came home enthused about my role in the Union and determined to get much more involved at a national level.

A Stroke Too Far

This morning I went swimming again for the first time in a week. Its not lack of motivation but opportunity that has got in the way. While struggling to find a clear path through the bobbing water treaders I started to think it was time for a new stroke to be invented. After all we've had Crawl, Back, Breast and the poor relation and far too difficult Butterfly for ages. I initially experimented by combining back and breast stroke which ended up with me colliding with everyone in my path. I also toyed with swimming on my side with similarly poor results. However I am not deterred yet and will try more next time, after all 2012 is but a few years away and we have the chance to include a couple of new sports.

Joke of the week : curtousy of Michael, Vicky's cousin who joined us for a curry last night (I had to make do with omelette, on my diet) : How do you turn a duck into a soul singer? Put it in a microwave till it's Bill Whithers

Capybara fact of the week : Capybara's Latin name is, Hydrochaeris hydrochaeris.

Fat Watch latest: Down 2.5 lbs to 25 stone 3.5 pounds

Stock Market latest : Down 500 points to "We're all doomed !"

.....and finally.....

At least I got a kiss this week

<KENOX S1050  / Samsung S1050>


alan said...

Lovely photo, I see no wonky eyes or anything else wrong with the girl in it!

Read of Blackpool years ago in a Sunday Times and thought it could be fun; you are the first I've heard mention being there!

For some reason your description of your meeting had me thinking of "The Girl in the Cafe"...a movie that should have become more famous than it has.

The last time I got in a pool I thought I was in pretty good shape, and was exhausted in just a few minutes; it wasn't even a large pool!

That's a nice number for this week's weight drop, and means you have a nice trend going over all!

Congratulations on all counts!


Billy Whizz said...

Another joke of the day.

I was in town yesterday and at a 2nd hand shop I saw a TV for sale at £1 but with the label "volume stuck at maximum".

I thought "I can't turn that down!"

Penny M said...

Rules for life:

1. Never, ever, dance! No one can actually dance, it is always a dreadful mistake.

2. If you are going out with people who are likely to get drunk, make sure you are the sober one - it provides essential blackmail material

3. Never wear yellow

4. Don't have a career in advertising

5. Never have more than five things in a list

Jenny Harvey said...

Those are indeed excellent rules Penny.
1) The only dancing I have ever really done is syawing playing bad air guitar as a long haired student.
2) I have ideed got a huge amount of blackmail fodder stored in the dark recesses of my mind. Particularly about my brother Billy
3) When I was littler in the 70s both me and my brother had Leeds United tracksuits in yellow. No idea why, guess they must have been cheap.
4) I think I can avoid a career in advertising. Although I once handed out flyers on the street so does this count!
5) I will try
6) ooops sorry!

Billy Whizz said...

Ooh those tracksuits. Why???? What was it all about? We lived in Stoke, why on earth would we want yellow Leeds United tracksuits.

As for the blackmail fodder, how can you damage my already deplorable reputation. I believe we've had this discussion on this blog before.