I have been thinking quite a lot lately about a relationship I’m in.
This relationship gives me pleasure, nurtures my emotions, keeps me company, but also leaves me full of regret and self loathing. To be honest, I’ve had enough. I want out. It’s time to dump.
However, this relationship isn’t that easy to get rid of. I can’t simply throw out the ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ line. You see, this isn’t a confessional for a love affair with a married man, but the relationship I have with food. Yep, food, the thing we all need to sustain us. I sometimes feel like I am being held against the wall, a little line of calorie laden hooligans holding me hostage.
My poor relationship with food is text book and I’m pretty sure a female thing. Now, as I approach 40 I realise it is time to free myself from the chains of the destructive relationship I have with emotional eating, my weight and my default reaction and subsequent regret when the resolve to eat healthily suddenly becomes, quite frankly, a calorie laden sod-it I’ve started so I will finish after show party. Food 1 Lorna 0, we lather, we rinse, we repeat. The regret arrives. The relationship becomes more destructive than ever before. The hips get bigger, the denial gets deeper.
Don’t get me wrong, there have been successes in this relationship, we have indeed had good times. Seriously, we are so good together, I mean, you should see us at dinner parties, barbecues, weddings. People simply wouldn’t believe the things that go on between us though, behind closed doors, not always, but sometimes, things are rocky.
It has to be said, there have been times when food didn’t occupy my thoughts, lately I have dropped a couple of stone, you have to be pretty disciplined to do that, but I find when the shit hits the fan in life, I hit the chocolate, not just a couple of chunks either. I swear, I’m like Willy Wonka’s poster girl, and quite frankly, I’m as emotionally fed up with it as my waistline is. For instance, I had some tragic news recently. Upon hearing the news, I was numb, silent, tearful. However, that day, I polished off so much chocolate I made myself feel sick and that in itself made me feel even more out of control.
The last few days though, it’s really been on my mind. So, in a bid to free myself from this emotional nightmare, I hit the internet to find out what other people do in my position. It was reassuring to read that it isn’t just ME that has this destructive relationship, but as many as 92% of women said that they have emotionally eaten at one time or another. In fact, my former flatmate and I would grapple over this all the time.
Me ‘I bought chocolate’ Her ‘WHY?’ ‘Me ‘Well it makes more sense to have it in the house then not. If it’s not there, I will just want it even more’ Her ‘But if I know it’s there I will eat it, if it’s not in the house I won’t eat it’.
Both of us were in the wrong here. Me for feeling like I have to have it in the house, her for feeling that she simply can’t have it in the house.
Meanwhile, the chocolate bars don’t give a crap. Because they are chocolate bars, they’re not real, they are mass produced and easily replaceable if one does happen to, well, you know, eat them all.
Anyway, the internet also told me that distraction is the key. Knitting is very good.
Now I know knitting is all trendy again, but I can tell you right now how things will go if I was to try and knit. I would start knitting, do it all wrong, scream, throw the knitting across the room, become totally outraged at myself, give up and head to the fridge/out for a cake/put some chips in the oven.
I guess the first part of any destructive relationship is admitting you have it, so I guess in a way this is good news. I am sick of the constant eat or be eaten approach to life (literally) I am sick of the regret I feel when I know I have eaten emotionally. That trance like state that throws me into the a state of loathing, which makes me feel rubbish about myself, which makes me eat, like I say, vicious, or should I say delicious circle.
There’s no big revelation at the end of this feature I’m afraid, more a realisation with a hefty resolve to tackle. But what I do realise is I’m not alone in this. So many of us turn to food at times of happiness, sadness, loneliness, boredom and stress. It’s a default setting, but I tell you what, it is one setting I am determined to re set.
It was 1987 and I was Fourteen-Years-Old. I was down in Somerset, away on holiday with my parents and my friend Sara. We didn’t go in for big posh holidays and were at a camping and caravan park, spending a sunburnt couple of weeks in the English countryside, embracing the delights of holiday camp entertainment and certificates for singing in the talent show.
At Fourteen I wasn’t the most confident of girls. Who is?
I remember the day I met Jay. Jay was from Manchester, he was Seventeen and having a summer away working glass collecting in the bar. Sara and I were in the cafeteria, eating chips after swimming and he was sat across at another table, with his work friend Ben. Both in their bar uniforms, getting some grub before their shift started.
The banter was immediate. Well, as good as I was at banter then. Jay and I clicked immediately, me because I thought he was a dead ringer for Nathan from Brother Beyond, who was, in the 80s my heartthrob. For Jay, I don’t know why he liked me, a chubby blonde teenager being mouthy at him and singing Brother Beyond songs and giggling.
I told him I was Seventeen (fibber). We became friends that holiday, and shared nothing more than a goodbye kiss, but for me, he was my first kiss, and having never been kissed like THAT before, it didn’t matter that he lived so far away and was having his first summer away from home, for I was one hundred percent smitten.
When I returned home I was heartbroken. It was as if MY LIFE WAS OVER! He was SO far away, I would NEVER see him again. Nathan became forgotten and my pencil case was covered in ‘Lorna hearts Jay’ – I spent hours sobbing over his photo. His name carved into many a school desk.
The day I got home I wrote him a long letter telling him how I loved meeting him. A week later my mum brought a letter up to my room, slanted writing, with a Somerset post mark.
Jay had written to me.
This marked the beginning of a friendship/relationship that was more of a penpal relationship that anything else. We wrote every week for three whole years, every week, without fail. I grew up writing to Jay. I saw him once in this time, when I was in London and so was he. It was just as amazing. I was now Seventeen but he thought I was 19. It was the fib that kept on fibbing… We spent an amazing day in London and then we said our goodbyes after a night together.
Then we started writing again. By now I was working in my first job, having left school (or college, as Jay thought!) – it was a shitty job, working in the office of an antique furniture place. Jay was by now bar manager of a cocktail bar in a really big London hotel. In the day he would ring me in the office and I would be smoking at my desk and chatting to him, every now and then pretending he was a customer when the boss walked past.
In 1991 I moved down to Devon to start work in a holiday camp as a red coat. I was 18 by this point and finally had my own taste of freedom. Jay had met a girl by then, I had my own taste of being away from home. Time moved on. I met someone, I went to Uni, he met someone, we wrote a bit, called a bit, slowly lost touch. I heard he moved to Denmark. I moved on with my life, settled in relationships, went travelling, graduated – time passed until we were both living our lives but were no longer in touch. I still had all his letters (over 250 letters) and would sometimes get them out to read.
Remember Friends Reunited? The poor man’s Facebook? Well, we had a vague reunion on that which led to about 6 months of emails. By this time I was settled in London and Jay was living in Denmark, both happily.
Anyway. Facebook arrived, and Jay and I became friends on there, sharing the odd hello and message. More recently we started to chat about the old days. Then I mentioned I had always wanted to see Copenhagen and before I knew it plans were being made for him to travel from where he lives (three hours from Copenhagen) and meet me there.
So there-in lays the tale of my recent one woman weekend.
I can’t lie. Unless it’s about my age it seems, but catching up with the past is terrifying. I arrived in Copenhagen, which incidentally is a beautiful city, if you get the chance to go, do. The weather was FREEZING but I checked into my little hotel in Tivoli and was feeling very empowered by it all.
By Sunday morning however I was starting to wonder what I had done. Jay and I agreed to meet in the bar of the hotel. I honestly thought he wouldn’t turn up, still scarred by the time he stood me up when I was 17 and then sent me a long grovelling apology letter.
I didn’t need to worry, because turn up he did. It was weird, seeing an older version of him, a him that had lived in Denmark for years. Who spoke fluent Danish (still with a Manchester accent, phew). He looked like a different person. I guess we are both different people.
His observation of me ‘I can’t say you haven’t aged, but you’ve aged well’. – we went into Downtown Copenhagen and found a bar and talked and talked. He’s a lot more measured than he was; he was always a bit of a tearaway. He said if he hadn’t moved to Denmark he would have probably ended up in jail, and he’s probably right. Although I like to think I would have somehow kept him on the straight and narrow, had we not lost touch.
I found the whole experience of meeting up with my teenage love so surreal. He has different memories to me, but he remembered where we met, in the cafeteria and that I was really cheeky. He remembers I was pouring Bacardi into my can of coke and smoked Silk Cut fags. I have no memory of that. He also remembers when he met my mum and she was traumatised because he was vegetarian and she had cooked a roast. He remembers my big brother taking him to one side and ‘warning him off’.
The fact is, meeting up with someone from such crucial time in your life, your teens, is never ‘just a reunion’ – Because seeing how the person has turned out obviously impacts on the memories you have of them – and makes you remember things about your younger self as well. It all sounds like it was a serious day, it wasn’t really, we laughed at the ridiculousness of it all, how our letters would get longer and longer. How he used to draw me little pictures of his day.
I described our meeting to my friend as ‘very George Michael’ – as in, I love 80s George, with his flicky hair and his dancing, but I don’t love 2013 George. However that doesn’t mean I won’t always love 80s George.
All in all the day in Copenhagen left me reeling a little bit. It was great, but in hindsight I’m not sure I should have done it. Old wounds were reopened, as well as old feelings, and nostalgia turned into sadness a little, which I wasn’t expecting.
When we said goodbye we both cried a bit. I guess it made us realise we are getting older and our lives have panned out differently to how we thought they would, in our sunburnt teenage innocence.
Oh, and finally after 25 years of fibbing to him about my age I confessed. He said ‘so what are you now then, 42 eh? – I was like… ‘Yeah, babe, about that, something I should probably tell you… ‘
My advice to anyone thinking of meeting up with their teenage love – approach with caution, because not only do you come face to face with them, but you also come face to face with yourself and then the sparks fly, and you are left feeling just like you did in 1987, but without a pencil case to write his name on.
Did you hear the one about the 39 year old woman who heads off on her own, to Denmark, on a fact finding mission for a book idea and to meet up with her very first ever boyfriend, who now lives there. He was kind of the love of my teenage life, we had a long distance love affair made up purely of love letters and sweet nothings.
Now, over twenty five years later we will be meeting this weekend in Copenhagen. Not like that, purely as friends and for old times sake, but my inner fifteen year old is screaming about this!
So watch this space as I find out if it will be amazing or if memories are better left just as that…
I had a great time over at The Ceme Conference Centre in Rainham for Essex Fashion Week on april 8th. The lovely organisers, twins Adam and Simon Ryan had kindly given us press passes – this was my first Essex Fashion Week and I wasn’t sure what to expect but, as an original Essex girl I was interested to see how shows such as The Only Way is Essex, acts like Olly Murs and 2Shoes (who incidentally are as lovely in real life as they seem on tele) have finally made people see what us Essex folk have long known, that there is more to Essex than meets the eye.
First and foremost, as a PR. I was all over it. I went along with Linzi Peel who was making somewhat of a comeback from series one of The Only Way is Essex, as member of girlband Lola. Linzi hadn’t been back to Essex since she left the band so it was great for her to catch up with all that has been happening since she left. Linzi herself is now presenting her own radio show and writes a column for Styled Magazine. She was interviewed and snapped on the red carpet – in my opinion, right back where she belongs.
Of course, most of the stars of TOWIE past and present were there, along with many of the Desperate Scousewives, Romeo from So Solid Crew, David Van Day and his lovely wife Sue Moxley – but it seemed star of the show was Nanny Pat – every time she popped out for a sneaky fag someone would be after her, for an autograph, a photo or a quick chat.
For me, being able to attend Essex Fashion Week was once again a step nearer recovery. Six months in and I am still on chemo but counting down now as it ends in FOUR weeks! which will be, in the words of lovely 2Shoes, ‘Totes Amaze’. I still get tired and I am still not fully back at work but life is starting to have a little buzz to it again, which is reassuring and gets me through the bad days, of which there are still many, but the less said about that the better.
So, I initially thought I would stay at Essex Fashion Week for a few hours, but the day was so brilliant we ended up at the aftershow party knocking back shots with some of the lovely peeps we had met during the day.
Amy Childs was a lovely as she always is. Whenever I see her at events she is always there, in the thick of the party, being chatty with everyone. I also met her brother, Wills, who is a singer/songwriter and one to watch in his own right.
The clothes on the catwalk were a mixed bag. My faves of the day were DressMeAlist (www.dressmealist.com) and the new collection from Amy Childs. There were also grown men in Onesies, but the less said about that the better.
Following the event I was sent the most beautiful necklace from a fabulous Essex based Jewellery company called Sparkling Jewellery (www.sparklingjewellery.co.uk) – I have been after a coin necklace (like the one Holly Willoughby wears) for AGES and was unsure of the designer. They have such a lovely collection, for those that love all things bling – go take a look!
In all it was a really brilliant day and really helped me start to feel like my old self once again. So to everyone involved in the event – a very big thank you from my little corner of Essex for all your hard work and for such a great time. Bring on Autumn/Winter I say!
I completely loved the feature in The Observer today – ‘Meet the young woman who has made a career out of loserdom’
It talks about how a whole new generation of women are ‘taking to their PJs’ and turning ‘loserdom’ into a profitable art. Be it the female blogger who wrote about the realities of living with her parents – and got a book deal. The out of work actress who spent two weeks in her onesie and turned it into a one woman show, you know the drill.
But what interested me it how this feature finally seems to tell me what I have often wondered. That it’s not just me that spends a lot of time in my skanky clothes reading bits of the observer whilst stuffing a banana in my mouth and chain drinking coffee – secretly relishing the fact that I am not out, in high shoes, wishing I was at home.
Yeah, about home. Being ill has meant that I have had to spend a lot of time here – after a while, you start to detach from your normal world (Sunday night dread, leaving parties, work lunches, deadlines). Suddenly you are just at home, at the mercy of spending time BY YOURSELF. You have a choice, you either become best friends with the Loose Women, or you start to re-read books you love, you start to write, you start to remember YOURSELF.
I have really noticed this – not so much at first when I was really in pain and everyday was like running through treacle, but now I have started to recognise that to be a ‘female slacker’, you kind of have to learn the art of just being.
Believe me, there have been days when I have indeed indulged in daytime tele, nights when I have cried as I was too ill from chemo to go to a party, but of late, with the doctor constantly telling me to rest, I have started to listen. I have been reading, writing, and the other day I answered the door to the postman with a face full of smoky eye disasters, after trying to recreate a look – just for fun, just for the hell of it. I have dusted off my vinyls and have been listening to them. I look out of the window, just to look out the window, not to have a cheeky fag because I am so bloody stressed, like in the old days.
I confess, there may have even been some hairbrush singing – and I MAY have made up a Grammy acceptance speech, but I am TOTALLY BLAMING MORPHINE FOR THAT. (but I would like to thank my agent, and my parents’, and you guys)
Ahem, right. Anyway, as I was saying.
I have gone over to the shop in my PJ bottoms, and like the girl in the feature who talks about going out in her onesie, I also had a moment of ‘what have I become???’.
The thing is, when life really hits the skids, when you are really rolling in the deep (thanks Adele) sometimes you just have to go with it, and by going with it you really start to get to know yourself again – I really feel this is starting to happen to me, despite feeling poorly a lot. I am writing again, and not just this blog, but my book. I am making cards for people, having ideas again about what I would like to do when I am a bit better than I am now. I am starting to think about myself again, and to get creative with my time. Albeit from the sofa, under a slanket, whilst listening to 6music.
And here in lies the problem. Although I am not off through choice, I am starting to like it. I am starting to enjoy my own company – relishing reading chapters of novels, loving the fact that the Sunday papers can be read on Mondays, or throughout the whole week if I need to. I get frustrated of course that the only reason I am off is that, the reality is, I am ill, i have a lot of treatment, it is far from easy – but the new reality I am creating is of this strong, creative woman who has ideas and runs with them, eats cereal at 3pm, looks at volunteering opportunities overseas for when she is able to travel again, talks to family, like, REALLY talks. she makes cards, drinks coffee and eats cheese, naps, walks, talks, rests. I am really starting to like her.
It really is the little things that matter in life. It really is true what Virginia Woolf said, that sometimes, ‘all a girl needs is a book and a room of ones own’
So, to any girlies who are reading this, in their PJ’s, with their laptop on their burning knees, a cereal bowl beside them, a cat at that their feet – well, don’t feel down about it. It is what girls like us do.
If that’s loserdom, I am definitely a lifelong member. Maybe in some weird way, being forced to stop has made me realise that when I am ready to ‘start’ again, it will be very different to how it was before.
Now, it’s time for a nap.
So – the chemo that I am on has made my hair a bit shit. Basically, I am hopefully on a mix that means I wont lose it, but some of it has gone really thin, and I have been told, NO BLEACH.
Now, it has to be said, I’m a natural blonde, but a meh blonde, like ‘meh, whatevs’ – kind of like I have had some old ash chucked on my hair. I get through this by having highlights (two blonde to one gold) every 8 weeks.
Since chemo, my roots have got so out of hand that I decided to become a brunette. Now, I realise that this doesn’t sound like much of a big deal, but when you have spent your whole life not only being blonde, but defining yourself by it, it’s kind of a big deal.
Anyway, to cut a long hair story short (see what I did there?) - I did it. I now have a darkish reddy brown hair. It has made it look loads thicker, but I somehow feel ‘wrong’. Now, coming from a girl who has had her knockers chopped off, well, this should be a walk in the park. But it isn’t. I don’t feel like ‘me’ – I liked it when I first has it done, but now I feel wrong – like I am trying to be someone else, or wearing a wig, both events which I have done in the past – but this blog ain’t no place for THAT story.
Anyway, I am going to give it a week and see how I feel. I have my first night out happening on Wednesday. My first night out in three months. I am off to The National Television Awards – not even this dodgy bowel or a bloodstream full of chemo will keep me away from one of my fave nights of the year.
The only thing that could keep me away, in fact, is if my hair looks shit. So on Wednesday, just pray for a good day hair wise for me, otherwise we could have a right bloody drama on our hands, and nobody needs to see that.
Maybe once a blonde, always a blonde? or maybe even this head could be turned to believe that, really, the only way is brunette?
Watch this space.
I was really interested to read this week’s column by Lucy Mangan (who, incidentally, I am a complete fan girl of, I mean, she wrote a whole column on how fat David Cameron was getting, and those who know me all know about my DC rage).
This week she was talking about keeping a diary – with it being 30 years since Adrian Mole, who I was also a complete fan girl of.
Lucy says she has never indulged in such a ‘foolish habit’. I however, have kept a diary since I was 11 years old – and often look back at them and laugh. I have however also faced the humiliation that goes with it.
Lets face it. I am the youngest in my family, the only girl, with two older brothers, who are 5 and 3 years older than me. That in itself was a big enough challenge in life – teased relentlessly but with a constant cloak of brotherly protection around me, my childhood and teenage years were somewhat challenging. Boyfriends threatened quite a lot, my ‘quirky’ dress sense and what I then thought was ‘puppy fat’ ridiculed constantly by my brothers – my diary became a source of ‘getting it all out there’ – some may say like a childhood version of blogging.
You kind of have to picture the scene – my family is fairly ‘eccentric’ to say the least, but in the 80s my father was the local eccentric, who would walk about singing through the streets, painting our prefab house pink and black stripes and buying a bright orange mini. My mum worked in Woolies, on the record counter. Me and my friends would go in after school and she would say ‘here, stick this cassette in your pocket, the case is cracked’ – quickly followed by a ‘quick, my manager is over there, scoot!’…
We holidayed on holiday camps and ate white bread with oven chips every Saturday afternoon. My Grandparents lived up the road. It was council-estate heaven and hell all rolled into one, and there, in a little corner of suburban Essex, was where I was often found writing my diary.
I spent the whole of my childhood and teenage years in love with the boy down the road. It started when he asked me if I wanted to go and play football on the ‘wreck’. My dizzy twelve year old self thought this was the most romantic thing that had ever been said to me, even after arriving home with scuffed knees and matted hair after trying and failing to show the boys I could indeed play footie as well as them.
I wrote in my diary ‘ if this is what love feels like, I would happily be in love’. I was 12!
Between the ages of 12 and 14 I was bullied by a local group of girls who lived on my estate and went to my school. My diary became my therapist; I would come home and feel as though I had someone to tell. To share the hell that my teenage years were becoming. It was the sort of bullying that messes with your head. The ringleader would decide if the class would talk to me or not that day – so sometimes everyone was my best friend, other times, everyone would blank me.
I was egged and floured on my 14th birthday. I remember walking up the hill crying. Feeling like I had no friends, except the boy up the road, who I was madly in love with.
Walking home from school that day, boy up the road said to me ‘why don’t you just tell them all to fuck off?’. I remember this conversation well, and I said to him ‘if I do, it will make everything worse’ to which he replied ‘you are covered in pancake mixture, how can it get any worse?’…..
The entry in my diary that night read ‘Wow, Paul was so nice to me on the way home. He said I am popular but people are just scared of Michelle and Julie (real names! Bitches) . He says I need to stand up for myself, but I said to him, that would make everything worse, although how it can be any worse is beyond me’.
Anyway, the joy of keeping a diary and having older brothers is that they WANT TO READ IT, endlessly. I thought I was sorted, as mine had a lock. But it’s a little bit like the time my mum put a lock on the phone. We just bought another one, and the key would fit all. My brothers did the same with my diary.
They read it. All of it. The bit that said ‘Michelle rang me tonight, I am POPULAR’ the bit that said ‘why did Daddy have to paint the house pink and black, what is that about? I am the daughter of the local nutter, who lives his life in neon’ and including the bit where I wrote ‘if I am going to be bullied forever, what is the point of even going to school, of even carrying on’…
This caused my brothers to tease me endlessly, of course – but also threaten the brothers of the local bullies. I remember everyone was suddenly really nice to me. To this day I have no idea what they did, but they will still, to this day, tease me with the phrase ‘I AM POPULAR’…….
As time went on, my diary became a weekly affair. Through school, through my gap years, through university. I have all of the diaries I have ever written, and sometimes I read back and can remember vividly how I felt whilst writing them.
I still have the fag box that my first proper boyfriend wrote his number on. I still have a blow-by-blow account of my first kiss. (Keith) and my first heartbreak (Keith).
Even now, at the age of 38, and poorly, I still keep a diary. One where I share thoughts and feelings that I wouldn’t share with anyone else. I guess keeping a diary is ‘just my thing’.
The teenage ones are very cringey, and sad, and funny, and embarrassing, but they are mine. They are an account of my life then, and reading them now, well, it really makes me laugh. I’m just glad I don’t live with my brothers any more.
Oh, and by the way. I never did get a kiss from the boy up the road. The last I heard he was happily planning his civil partnership. Even then, I only seemed to have eyes for the gay ones!
Some things NEVER change.
PS I did eventually harden the fuck up and slapped Michelle so hard after she flicked ink at me that she fell and smashed her head on the corner of a desk. She was alright, but it was, without a doubt, a defining moment in my life…… #smugface.
Observations so far.
- I think I am cheering up a little, either that or the drugs are truly kicking in, but as crap as I am feeling I don’t feel as bleak as I did. This could be for any of the following reasons.
- The specialist isn’t talking ‘if’ I get better, he is talking ‘when’. He also said that going back to some sort of part time work by Feb isn’t impossible, even if it is writing press releases from home. This gave me a bit of hope.
- my appetite is a little better and I am coming to terms with my shit hair after buying some lovely scarves.
- I think I am over the shock of hospital and the 9 days of doom I spent in there.
- My mum gave my dad a home-perm and this made me laugh and laugh and laugh and laugh and laugh.
- I got sent some brilliant goodies from my dear friend Charls in Australia.
- I got sent a letterbomb from Lisa V. Too long to explain, but it made me laugh.
- I am starting to accept the things I cannot change, my health being one of them.
- I have an amazing consultant and trust him with my life (good job really)
- I am truly starting to believe it is what it is.
- I will always, no matter what, be a long-straw. My glass, no matter what, will always fill itself, even if it is with complan.
That is all. xxx
I am 38 tomorrow! how on earth did that happen.
The other day I was looking for something and I stumbled across a list that I wrote on my 21st birthday – it was 40 things to do before I am 40. Upon reading it I was taken back those heady days of my 20s, a time that were so utterly brilliant, and not just because my 30s have been littered with loss and ill health, but because I was quite frankly in my element. The first part spent working on an entertainment team on holiday parks, falling in love, living away from home. My early twenties saw me win a place at a fabulous university and meet some of the most wonderful people who are still in my life now. I learnt I can neck a pint and go from drink to drunk in 0 to 60. I fell in love with a comedian. I travelled. To be fair at the age of 21 when I wrote the list I am about to type up I really thought I was destined for great things, because my teenage dreams had actually come true.
Anyway, copied from my diary – THE LIST. By Lorna aged 21 (22/9/94) note to self – no particular order
1 Write a novel
2 Have a boob job
3 Fall madly in love with a non nutter
4 Move to the country
5 Go to Australia
6 Own my own home
7 Learn to play golf
8 Do voluntary work for a year
9 Have a baby
10 Get married
11 Learn to read maps
12 Do crosswords better (sic)
13 wear a size 12
14 write a column
15 get a dog
16 sing in a choir
17 ride a vespa
18 Buy a caravan
19 Be in a play
20 Hang out with family more
21 stop smoking fags
22 stop smoking weed
23 have a radical short haircut
34 Go to yoga
35 Become vegan and mean it
36 Visit Jamie in Denmark
37 live in a yurt
38 Perform at a poetry festival
39 clear overdraft
40 get a degree (may take the above longer)
So – out of those 40 I have done 18 of them. Can you guess which?
Well. It’s been a while hasn’t it? So much has been going on; mainly I have been on my back, by a pool, in beautiful Turkey. Arrived home last night, but more on that in the next update because I have been itching to tell you all about my day as a Take That fan.
For those of you that may have been living on the moon or who may have miss spent their youth sitting in a dark room listening to The Smiths and smoking Marlboro (me me me me me!) Take That were the biggest selling boy band of the nineties – adored by millions, a helpline was set up when they split up for the throngs of young girls who felt as though their hearts had been battered with a mallet.
Fast forward to 2011 and last week I found myself at Wembley going to see the boys in concert. Back together a good few years now – they have gone from a 4 to a 5 with the return of (scream!) Robbie Williams.
Now, those who know me know that I tend to favour festivals over stadium gigs, campfires over under floor heating, Guardian over the Sun. I loathe organised fun, and I hate queuing up for anything.
However, I adore my flatmate, who is simply THE.BIGGEST.TAKE.THAT.FAN.IN.THE.WORLD. When she offered me a ticket way back, I thought it would be fun. However, I have learnt that you do not mess with TAKE THAT FANS! man they are a scary breed. L, my flatmate awoke at the crack of dawn and was up at Wembley first thing in the morning to join the queue. I had already informed her that a) I don’t do that sort of thing and b) I would just meet her later… however she kindly informed me that the chances of having my head kicked in by fans who would be overtired from camping overnight was very high if I thought I was above the Take That fan base and jumped the queue…
This left me with a dilemma. I either rocked up later and sat anywhere, hence not only being at a Take That concert, but being at it alone whilst my friend rocked out at the front, or I swallowed my indie girl pride and I got up to Wembley hours before the gig and queued up. Well, always gung-ho about these situations, I arranged with L that I would get there before 1 and see if I could get into the queue. L being a total expert blagger had befriended the girls in the queue around her, so upon my arrival, she met me and, could it be magic (see what I did there) I was in! This is where it got really interesting. People really are fanatical; it was something I haven’t experienced before. Hoards of girls sat on lilos, blankets, munching picnics, all friends for now, till the doors open. As one fan said to me, ‘I’m nice to you now, but later on, see ya. It’s every woman for herself’. I swear I also heard her crack her knuckles.
At 5pm the doors open! the excitement mounted, security tightened. I was scared; I was scared for my life. After scanning the tickets I have never seen so many people RUN SO FAST! Running through Wembley to get to the barrier, to be near the ‘boys’. L, being as I already mentioned THE.BIGGEST.TAKE.THAT.FAN.IN.THE.WORLD legged it, I lost her… she was gone. I was just starting to panic when I saw the bright blue case of her iPhone being waved in the air… she had made it to the front and saved a place at the barrier for me, ME! Me of 6 music listening, Glastonbury going, never bought a Take That album in my life fame (although not famous).
Stood at the barrier, taking in Wembley was an amazing sight. Being at the front was amazing even before the show started. I started to think maybe I should get to my Elbow gigs really early, but then I realised us Elbow fans don’t really do that…..
Anyway, back at the barrier the pushing had started. It was still a couple of hours till the gig started, I had already had words with the big gay lad next to me, who was here to see ROBBBBBBBIEEEEEEEEE and had a whistle that I so knew he would be blowing in my ear later.
We couldn’t move, or wee, or anything. But before we knew it the support act, Pet Shop Boys were on and I found myself singing along and loving it. But the spectacle that was Take That were still to arrive on stage.
What a spectacle it was. They were absolutely brilliant. So brilliant that I nearly cried, so brilliant that when I heard someone shouting ‘I love you Howard’ I was surprised to hear myself shout ‘so do I’. I have never heard screams like it – being at the barrier suddenly seemed worth it, and I suddenly ‘got’ why L had got up so early and sat on concrete for hours to get here, especially when I got a wink and a little handshake from Gary. As I looked at the people in the gods, who couldn’t see a thing, I suddenly realised that maybe, just maybe, that today I had become a Take That fan, albeit one that needed a wee, and maybe not as cool as I thought I was, but for once, I actually didn’t care.
Thanks for talking me into it L. I owe you – mosh pit next time, on me….