Wednesday, 30 November 2011

How did you lose yours??

The other day in the Dr's waiting room I read a magazine article about first loves. This is mine:

It all began with a purple orchid. Or at least the promise one.

His name was Ben. He was tall, blonde, hailed from Germany and smoked so much weed he was barely coherent. He was my first love. I'd seen him around but it wasn't until I'd been roped in by my art buddies to paint a huge mural in my sixth form centre at school, that our paths began to frequently cross. So after school, in the evenings I had begun trek back across town to school and wield my small paint brush. It was a garish collage of various sporting activities - painted originally in the 70s, across an entire wall, and we were updating it - with even more hideous colours. It was spring, the school formals were just around the corner and there was sense of excitement in the stale school air.

Every evening post study (he boarded at my school) he would slouch down to the rec floor (recreation floor) and muster a few sentences through his stoned stupor. I was bewitched. His long dirty blonde fringe swept across his face, hiding one eye. He told me he planned to send a girl a purple orchid as a valentine and proceeded to ask me at length what I thought of such displays of affection. I blushed, unsure who this orchid was meant for and then muttered some inane reply. (This was the staple of our conversations - he would be direct whilst obtuse and I would stumble through the chat avoiding the grenades, barely aware what I was saying). Anyway, this night, we chatted on while the others painted, and just as the bell for boarding bed time rang, he got up announced that he wouldn't be buying ME an orchid after all. Then he was gone. I know, what a twat. But I was hooked.

Every evening I would down tools and wait for his appearance - he would saunter in, all scruffy shirts and thick boots, his silver ring gleaming in the glare of the bright school lights. It was if it pained him to speak. He was monosyllabic, with the most intense stare I have ever had bear down on me. So, I sent him a valentine card, but my promised orchid never came. I felt foolish. He stopped me as I left the local coffee house - The Mad Hatters - and thanked me for the card - I denied all knowledge of it. Annoyed at my refusal to admit being the sender, he strode off - leaving me in the lurch as always.

Then one night - March 15th 1990 - he finally, finally asked me out. It was in the days when if someone asked you on a date - it meant you were 'going out' already. He was constantly gated (kept in school over the weekend) for bad behaviour - so we only got to be together a handful of times. His A levels were looming - he was repeating them and this time could not afford to fail. He was 19 to my 17 and seemed wildly exotic compared to all the dull Belfast boys I had known all my life. We would meet at The Empire - a musty pub with a cinema on the stage. We would sit in the gallery and kiss over cheap pizza and cold beers. I could barely eat, I was so full of butterflies and excitement. We got drunk and foolish and were barred from The Empire for fooling around in the toilets together. It was worth it. Every night he would call - at the beginning of our relationship I would get 70p worth - and by the end, maybe 25p... Calling him was a nightmare - in the days before mobile phones - the line was always engaged and when someone did answer it took them ten minutes to find Ben - and often he wasn't around - getting stoned in the rafters no doubt.

We always knew there was a clock ticking - the end of term meant he would fly back to Berlin and then head off to Manchester University while I remained in Belfast, with A levels to complete. I kept a diary for every day of our last month together - an ode to those tortured days of first love.

As the weather began to warm we would lie in Botanic Gardens opposite school, smoking cigarettes, hands entwined. I was in love. I didn't even know what love meant - but every minute of every day I thought about him. My stomach flipped every morning when he would walk past my assembly room and grunt hello. He came to stay at my house - separate rooms, and breakfast with my step family. He gave me a rose and my first orgasm. We wrote letters when he had to disappear to Sri Lanka (where his Dad lived) for the Easter holidays... I still have those letters.

By June, I was on the pill and debating when, not if, I would have sex with him. I was ready. I was prepared. He wasn't a virgin - I was. I prized my virginity - thought of it as a gift to give, rather than something to be taken. But I always imagined having a daughter and her asking me how I lost my innocence - and I always wanted to tell her - that it would be through love.

His A levels finished, as did our summer exams - a sense of liberation rushed through us all. My Mum went off to visit relatives, so my house was 'free.' I drank cheap wine and worried about whether or not it would hurt. He was famed for being well endowed - just to add to my fears. And yes, those are the things you think about before you get around to having sex at 17.

Now my first time - on June 22nd 1990, wasn't great. Quick, painful and forgettable. He asked me for a number out of ten and I think I gave him a seven - when in fact I thought it was barely worth a 2 and I wasn't sure what all the fuss was about. The following night we had another go. Better, but no great shakes. But by my 4th time I'd got the hang of the whole idea and had begun to enjoy it. He taught me how to have sex, how to love and how to have a relationship - and for that I will always be grateful. My firsts in all these arenas was one of joy - and consideration and being cherished.

That summer I went to Berlin to visit him - my Dad paid for the flight after asking me of I loved this guy. I said yes. I flew to London then on to Berlin and he met me at the airport. His Mother met me in a bar, with with a rose between her teeth - she was not long out of a mental facility - that is the truth. She was vivacious, flirtatious and fun. She asked me what contraception I used and then announced that the first time she had sex she got pregnant and got VD. She said an injection cured both. I was expecting chat about school and hobbies - but with her, you always got the unexpected. She was amazing, open and a slight bit unhinged - telling us to vacate her flat as her lover was coming over and then would complain about sore nipples all evening.

We spun a line to my Mother that I was staying at his Mum's - when in fact we holed up at his Dad's empty apartment. We drank red wine, watched videos (I remember watching Rosemary's Baby in German and still loving it... and also Uncle Buck - what a combination. I read Riders and a book about sexual fantasies called 'My secret garden'). ran long baths, got stoned and made love for ten blissful days. Then I left.

At the airport I could barely see I was crying so much. That fucking Roxette song from Pretty Woman blared out from any radio I passed.... 'It must have been love, but it's over now...' Wearing his old tatty jumper and stubble rash, I said goodbye. Then a kind guy in the boarding lounge offered me a Marlboro red and asked me if I had 'thrown the apartment at him? Or getting divorced?' I couldn't even reply. I spent a lonely night at Gatwick airport, smoking endless cigarettes and pouring all my coins into phones as I sobbed to every friend who would listen.

I returned to grey skies and A levels, boring Belfast and life without Ben. I was lost. I went back to Berlin again, the following year and then to Uni... we hooked up again when I was 21 for one night... We kept in touch with letters and then emails - until he got together with a girl who had been a few years younger than us at school - and had always had a massive crush on him. I wasn't her favourite person. Then the radio silence began. I asked to be his friend on facebook and he ignored my request. It made me momentarily sad - I gave you my virginity and you can't me my facebook buddy?? But really, things are best left where they were. I will never regret loving him, learning from him and all the adventures we had. I was playing at being a grown up in Berlin and it paved the way for all my subsequent romances. The world opened up to me in 1990 and my life, and my heart, were never the same again.

Now I can I look Sproglette in the eye and tell her that I lost my virginity in love. So I kept that promise to myself. For all those memories of a wonderful angst filled first love - I thank you Ben. But I never did get that purple orchid...


If anyone wants to share their first love/losing virginity story, I'd love to hear it.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Just a catch up...

Sproglet made Sproglette into Marge Simpson and she wasn't happy...

Fri night - watching an amazing documentary on Prince. Man, I just love that guy. He has inspired me, comforted me, cheered me, and been my own little talisman, since I was 11. I wish he would gig over in the UK again. I have blogged manys a time of my love of the purple one, so I won't bore you all again. But whenever life is shit, I stick on Dirty Mind, or Sign of the Times, - and hell, nothing is that bad anymore, because there is always Prince.

Anyway, I digress. I haven't blogged in ages - not because of any dark old reason - just a lack of time. I've been doing a bit of script work for my old bosses - and between that and raising two small beings, Husband starting a new job and all that jazz, I barely get time to pee.

For example - I am now looking on ebay for Prince T shirts and watching Purple Rain - when I should be packing for a trip tomoz that I am SO exited about. I am off to Newcastle with my sprogs and Husband to see my good buddy who recently had twins. Meanwhile another schoolmate is heading over from Leeds way with her new baby and another from bonnie Scotland. Hurrah! While our babies all gurgle and our older boys run riot - we can all drink fizz and blether. Oh I just don't get enough time with my Ya yas these days (as in 'The Ya Ya sisterhood) so it is long overdue. But it does involve a 3 hour train journey with kids, so it aint all joy...

So what's been goin' on down my way? My once razor sharp memory is toast these days. Today I did a food shop and then - no card! Genius. Had to trek home again... Well, After I threw a fab Halloween party for myself, I mean Sproglet, well November happened and now it is nearly over and in between there has been an enormous amount of tea drinking, manys a mince pie shoved down my gullet, a few wobbly moments when I thought 'what the fuck am I going to do with my life?' and lots of joy as Sproglette now leans in for kisses and has become more Miss independent diva by the day. There has been a special row where I was so tired I threw a cup of (sadly cold) coffee over Husband and I now have a dining room wall to paint... Some Xmas gatherings coming up, the starbucks red cups are out and I have yet to partake, and festive spirit has begun ever since I took Sproglet to see 'Arthur Christmas' which only cost me £24 for two tickets. £24!!!!! Bloody 3D bollox. Plus some exiting movies coming up - Scorcese's 'Hugo', Fincher's 'Girl with a Dragon Tattoo' and then all the pre Oscar stuff...

The Killing 2 is on!! And a bizarre new series by the Glee team called 'American Horror story' which is NUTS. I'm mightily enjoying 'The Slap' on BBC4. A character gets an episode a week and I find it riveting. Which is why I sat up last night until midnight watching a recording of it... TV is back in the good zone again - so why go out?

A new year will soon be upon us and I have a feeling that 2012 may just be my most memorable year yet. For a few reasons - but we'll have to see. Cryptic I know. But I just believe in fate and I think the universe is aligning at the mo. Plus the happy pills are keeping me chirpy. People keep remarking on the fact I have lost weight - I don't see it myself, but my jeans are all falling off me, so I've been scouting ebay for a size lower... The weird thing is I worked my ass of for 6 weeks before a wedding in May of this year and then after it I kind of thought, sod it and just ate cake again. Then the weight came off. Totally odd. It's like when you don't think about it every minute of every day, then it looks after itself. Mind you post xmas I may have to take up running again.... euughhhhh...

Ok Purple Rain really has the worst script ever. But I don't care. I love it. Sproglet asked me last week if I wanted to marry Prince (as we grooved post bath to 'Raspberry Beret') and I said yes. He totally understood. I am bringing him up to appreciate all things Prince. So far he is non plussed. I'm working on it. And so I am off to begin what husband calls 'stage 1' of getting ready for bed. I have packing to do and washes to fold and just pockling do to and then papers to read so it may take a while. Oh and last news - my best friend is making progress! Hurrah!

Friday, 11 November 2011

The old Me

Yesterday I went into central London to Soho, to meet some buddies I used to work with. It was a drizzly, grey nondescript kinda day, but still I felt cheery. I rarely get into London much anymore and when I stride through Soho, it feels like I am walking in a life I lived many moons ago. I used to work at various TV companies dotted all around the area - and frequent the bars and cafes for long boozy lunches/dinners justified as 'expenses' in the good old days when TV companies had money. One street always takes me back to my first ever date with my Husband - in a cafe in possibly the campest street in London. He was getting the eye from manys a cute boy when I arrived... all those years ago. Other places take me back to our dating days - double cinema dates at the Curzon Soho, endless thai meals at Busaba, dinners at Cafe Boheme... Days felt long and full of possibilities.

Mainly it reminds me of my single days - stumbling from one bar to another - blagging my way into member's only haunts, and creeping down dark stairways to late night lock ins... It all feels so normal - I feel myself again - and then I remember I am boring Mother in the burbs these days.

The gang I met yesterday, I started to work with in 2008. My second career - whereas for them, mainly this was their first. So that makes me that bit older than them all - that bit further down life's track. Sometimes I feel like the freak girl who is trying to be this good mother at home - and then with them, I guess around anything job wise, I'm worker CM. The holy grail is trying to marry these two states. I listen as they talk of exciting new jobs and experiences - all of which are so foreign to me (I know virtually no one in the drama industry here) - I couldn't possibly take jobs that they have with all my commitments. So it is strange - on one hand I envy their ability to just have themselves to think of, while I juggle playdates and baby stuff, school activities and all the after school malarkey - and feeding and raising two kids - and on the other I know that at some stage I will be out of these woods and be able to jump into work again.

I listen to myself and my only interesting gambits these days are child related - because that is what my life is filled with. I am turning into the person I never wanted to be - the woman who talks only of her kids. Maybe that isn't true - I can comment on trying to put a gypsy curse on someone even though I am no gypsy; gossip about ex colleagues; predict a winner on the X factor and throw in some opinions on various tv shows... But the thing that bound us together - work - is no longer in my life. Sometimes I wish they all had kids and could advise me how to juggle it all - but maybe by the time they do it they'll be well off enough to afford nannies and big houses, so they won't contend with the trivial issues that keep me awake at night.

It was so good to see them. For years they were my day in and day out family - I spent more time with them than anyone else. I was devastated when I had to leave them all last year - and beyond anything, they are fun. They make me laugh and rip the piss out of each other (and oh yes, me lots) and there isn't really a dull moment when they are all bantering away. I wonder if in my life I'll ever work with a team I love as much again. We had gathered as one of them is moving back to Oz with his lovely wife. It feels strange to think that he won't be around, even though I don't see him that often.

Yesterday as we left the restaurant where we had scoffed scones and tea (rock n roll baby) I spied some women at the bar necking martinis. For one second I remembered myself in a similar pose, all those years ago (1999/2000). My heart kind of sank because I will always miss those days - presenting kids tv until about 4pm (which meant larking about with my mates in front of camera and getting paid for it in all honesty) on Tottenham Ct Road and then sauntering either up to Noho or down to Soho, then hitting the bars, still caked in the on screen make up that would take 5 wipes to get off. There was no curfew, no worries about pennies in the bank - sure that's what overdrafts were for. Life was so carefree. When I walk those streets I remember myself, the bit of me that feels the most remote at the moment. Maybe one day, Ill be back...

Saturday, 5 November 2011

We are all in the gutter but some of us....

So did it turn out as you expected? Life I mean... Did you get the job you dreamed of, the partner you desired, the lifestyle you aspired towards? Or has it gone a little off kilter?

Reason I ask, is that I've been pondering this over the past few days - the fact folk assume that things will work out - and often they don't. Or rather they do, but not how you might have planned. Or the fact people are too scared to do what they really want to do and settle instead. So they wind up miles from where they thought they would be... maybe that's a good thing when they think the end result aint so bad at all. Others are filled with bitterness and resentment that their lives aren't quite as exciting, glamorous, fabulous as others.

Whilst I sort of subscribe to the idea that you get the life you ask for - I also see how circumstance and bad luck can ruin people and it isn't their fault at all. People rarely talk about their dreams though... In the Uk there is something terribly galling if someone talks up what they want to do - yet in the US this is positively embraced. Live the dream they say. I often think I was born in the wrong country.

Do people ever talk anymore about what they want - or is it all kept quiet, for fear of failure? Oh I hear weekly what folk would do if they won the lottery - but only one of my friends ever talks about his dreams and what he wants to achieve. He is determined and fearless. It isn't about showing everyone else what he can do - maybe a tiny part - but it is for him, so he can prove to himself what he can accomplish. One blog I love - The Girl Who, talked about what she wanted and made it happen. In life there are the talkers and there are the doers. I have always considered myself more of a doer - but lately I have been mothering and not doing so much. But I have a plan. Well a few. One is so sky high that is verging on impossible - but that is why I like it. I love a challenge. Life is all about the trying. You'll maybe regret the things you did - but more than that, you will regret the things the didn't. Like in 1993 my mates all hired a limo and went to Dublin to see U2. I said I didn't have the cash, being a broke student - and I didn't tag along. But I wish I'd gone, as they had a blast. They rolled up at some hotel where a wedding was going on, and the all the guests assumed that it was U2 in the limo, and not a bunch of stoned students... That is possibly one of my only regrets in life.

I wish I had more time to devote to all things dreamy, but with a Diva daughter and a son with more after school activities than you could shake a stick at... I aint got much time to do stuff. Only after 8pm when I am shattered. I'll have to make hay when the beasts sleep...

I wonder what you all dreamed, and if it worked out. I guess most people wouldn't even say if it didn't - who wants to face up to failing - or worse, not even trying.
But you know, I always think you can do anything you want. Anything. Focus, determination and a tad of talent - go a long way. Reach for those stars, or someone else will...