Let’s Talk About Class: Hierarchies of Taste and Gender

Fabulous article!

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Posh man: I ain't one Posh man: I ain’t one

Recently, I found myself at a wine-tasting session with a friend, only to be confronted with the embarrassing reality that I had no idea how to act “appropriately” in the situation. The whole thing wasn’t helped by the fact that I was wearing an outfit much like Julia Roberts circa Pretty Woman, as I sometimes care to do (it’s a great look). Trying to “be myself” rather than affect a more refined countenance turned out to be quite the faux pas in terms of the disdainful/pitying/embarrassed looks I got from other patrons. While on the one hand I was rather “f*** you” about it, it also later resulted in me crying into my pillow.

Ladette to Lady: teaching us how not to be working class Ladette to Lady: teaching us how not to be working class

Later, I came across this article about the UK’s Education Secretary Michael Gove, and his comments that

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Weary but still writing!

Greetings Reader!

I would apologise for writing daily and then only, but to be honest, I had to prioritise. Anyone who has been to Uni understands the all-consuming nature that final-year projects seem to take when the deadline is only two weeks away, and so I’m sure you’ll forgive my absence.

Having said that, don’t assume that because I’ve not been posting, I’ve not been writing. In between swings of panic and productivity, I filled a notebook of musings and rumblings. Stay tuned for quick-fire posting!

Today.

Having unscrupulously teased The Other Half for having ‘man flu’ all week, I have succumbed to what can only be described as the most torturous virus known to man or woman.

Slight exaggeration, granted. But I really do feel like poo on a stick.

My nose is both runny and stuffy, my eyes feel heavy and waterlogged, I can’t sleep for a mixture of coughing, sneezing and farthing (sometimes simultaneously) and to top it all off, I’m not even hungry. I think I might be dying.

Still, I’m going into work later, we’ve got someone round soon (with any luck) to make one more incremental step in finishing our floors and that dissertation isn’t going to write itself.

I found myself having a flashback earlier: I was back at home, lying on the settee, watching Frasier followed by Jerry Springer (this was obviously from the days before Jezza), while my Dad brings me chicken soup with bread already in the bowl, and Mum opening a bottle of Lucozade for me. I’ve got a hanky covered in Vicks, my nose covered in Vaseline and a plastic bag full of damp tissues, a half empty box of fresh ones next to me on my quilt.

It’s times like this, when I’m feeling all pathetic and sorry for myself, I really think I’m not quite ready to be a grown up yet.

This is only compounded by the fact that I’ve already preordered a Dominos using their mobile app for when they open at 11am.

Oh well. An hour long nap on the settee while I wait it is!

ICanHasBooCatLOL!!!!!!

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This is my cat. I say she’s my cat: in reality she’s the cat of my Tribe, the companion I had to leave behind in the familial home when I left in pursuit of an adult life.

Since I left, she’s not changed much: she still heads straight to the food bowl as soon as the front door is open, she still keeps a weary eye on the youngest member of the Clan (I think her rear end instantly clenches at the mere memory of the time the babe gave the strange blob of pink among the black fluff under her tail an inquisitive poke), and she still buzzes and dribbles if you scratch a particular point behind her ear.

The old girl is knocking on a bit now though. At 13, she’s something like 65 in cat years ( after a quick consultation with the Elders, we’ve tentatively agreed its 5 cat years to a human… 7 for dogs, right?).

Still. She’s lovely.

Free Writing for a Free Spirit…

There’s a practice I was introduced to when I was doing my A Levels which is the ability to write freely, wiithout limits, with few prompts, to the background of silence or soft music (the kind that you tend to hear in New Age shops that smell of incense and ever-so-thinly-masked-body odour). 

I can categorically say that I am no good at this sort of writing. I likes my punctuation, correct grammar (well, mostly) and, apart from a few glitches from writing too fast (that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it) I likes my superb spelling (Top in my class in Spelling since ’96, bitches). And, above all, I believe in writing purposefully, with a goal to reach and a target met. 

Free-writing doesn’t lend itself to nice, safe structures like those mentioned above, however. The idea is that there’s really no need to conform to those restraints if you don’t feel like you should. You write exactly what’s on your mind, however it comes out, free of judgement, censorship and editing. 

It’s been a few years since I’ve tried it. But, I tried it again this morning. There were a bajillion things going on in my head at once earlier. No particular reason. There just was. And so, for lack of anything better to do (other than burst into tears), I sat down and I wrote.

I ended up having a little bit of a conversation with myself on paper.  

Now don’t get me wrong, there was still quite a lot of punctuation. The spelling – as far as I can recall – was immaculate. But before I realised it, I had covered two sides of lined A4 without looking up. And when I did look up, I felt a lot calmer. Somewhere in the furious scribblings, I had managed to soothe my frantic mind, answer a few questions and, more importantly, carve out enough space in my crazed little head for a bit of focus. 

Subsequently, I managed to create and interpret two graphs, read the abstracts of four papers and write 500-odd decent words of my dissertation. And all before lunch. I was quite pleased.

I’ve come to the conclusion, therefore, that sometimes it’s okay to hit the pause button on things to do something as mundane as blanking out for a bit and writing. For me, that little – I think I was only doing it for like 15mins – blurt out onto paper was just enough to allow some breathing and thought. I’m a bit (read: a lot) of a stresshead at times. I think that once I’ve had that moment to just get it out of my head and onto something else, that 15mins of time not doing something important is enough to get me in the right frame of mind to do something important, moments after. 

Very interesting. Yes. 

The Tribe Weekend

Having changed jobs, my weekends are becoming a lot more free. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m supplementing my student finance with a fantastic job at a local fish and chip establishment. While the drawbacks include stinky clothes, stinky hair and a stinky car, the perks are that I leave the house at 3 and am back by 9 twice a week for enough cash that I can afford the odd takeaway and an additional alcoholic beverage or two. Plus, this is only twice a week, NOT including Saturday or Sunday. Absolute bliss. My boss has got it right. 

So, this weekend I’ve had my entire brood over to stay. Again, as I’ve mentioned before, I’ve missed them loads. 

Now it’ll be agreed all round, I think, that it was a bit of a tight squeeze. Fitting eight people in a two-bedroom flat is some feat, but we had the saving grace of a guest bathroom and a spare mattress, so it wasn’t too difficult. I think the youngest members of the Tribe actually quite enjoyed camping on Merlymoo’s floor and had great fun staying up past their bed time! 

Although it was great seeing everyone, what I enjoyed most of all was having them all under my roof. I liked being able to make cups of tea, sit on the settee watching telly and really just showing off the life I’ve made for myself up here. It felt good being able to have my parents over and – hopefully – show them that they’ve made a someone who can safely boil a kettle (and do it without hot chocolate powder.That’s another story.), provide sustenance (albeit in the form of sugary treats for the little ‘uns — for the car journey home, of course, I’m not silly), pay bills (well, as well as any student can), and generally succeed at this thing we call “Being a Grown Up”. I hope that they can sort of go away feeling relieved that so far 1/5 have successfully flown the proverbial nest and can fend for herself. Perhaps, (maybe… okay a definite possibly maybe) they feel like now they don’t have to worry quite so much. Not that I give them cause to worry anyway, I think, but I don’t know. 

Now, I’m sure it’s made little to no change in my parent’s infinite capacity to worry (haha!), but it makes me feel better, at least. I sort of feel like I’m making some, tiny, incremental way to easing their stress-heads a little bit.

We’ve got the flat to ourselves today, though. So if you’ll excuse me, I will be forgoing the studying today. I’ve behaved like a grown-up for the past two days, so today is a day to sit in my pyjamas and watch the Little Mermaid 3 times, consecutively. Maybe have a nap. And some chocolate. 

“We’re just going to use the loo and then we’ll be leaving…” ~ Every member of the MerlymooTribe EVER.

Having lived with my Tribe for nigh-on 18 years, I know all about the well-established routine for vacating the house to meet with relatives. There is one part of this perfectly executed, minutely precise routine that is particularly infamous: the phone call made to those receiving us to let them know we are on our way.

These words have been spoken by nearly every member of my Tribe since the dawn of time. Any time we are due to meet friends or relatives, we are just going to “use the loo/brush the kids hair/put make up on/lock up/get in the car” (delete as applicable) and then we’ll be on our way.

Now that I am the relative that my Tribe is going to visit, I’ve come to realise three things:

  1. It takes six people approximately 45mins to use the facilities and then manoeuvre into a car.
  2. In the time it takes for these six people to use the facilities, there will inevitably be approximately 3 people who have yet to put their shoes on, 2 who’ve had their socks put on incorrectly and at least one person who needs to “quickly grab something from upstairs”.
  3. All in all, my family will never arrive any less than two hours after the time they said they are likely to arrive.

I’ve missed them so much! 😀