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….
It’s my second week at my diet class. My friends have snorted when I have told them this, because I have to be honest, I’m not the best when it comes to dieting. But the need to get the lard off has taken over from the need to swig le wine, so alas last week I trundled to my local Methodist church to join up what I will now refer to as Chubb Club…
What greeted me was comedy gold. This is the thing I love about church halls; there is always something bonkers going on. I totally adored the woman who couldn’t understand why she never loses weight ‘I eat lots of hash browns, but they are potato, right?…. and well, lemons are free and the lemon drizzle cake is like, PURE LEMONS? No?’.
I LOVE the random characters that go along to these kind of things. It’s all so Jam and Jerusalem. I got weighed (oh lordy I nearly cried!) and then I stayed for what they call ‘image therapy’ where we discuss sandwich fillings etc and go through peoples weight losses and gains for the week. The cynical bitch in me softened ever so slightly and I found myself rejoicing with the crowd when Brenda got her 4 stone loss sticker. 4 stone in 6 months!!!. Go Brenda…
Other people really open up at these things. One lady is suffering from post natal depression so even walking through the door was hard for her, but she did it. I gave her a little hug on the way out as we were both newcomers and have decided to be ‘slimming buddies’ – others were talking about their bad weeks ‘the kit kats were talking to me’ said one… leaving me wondering if her fat hips weren’t somehow the least of her fucking problems.
But anyway, with that aside – I stuck to it all week, clutched my diet book like it was a totemic symbol of good and this Tuesday I went back and had lost 4lbs. Got a little round of applause and found myself giving advice, ADVICE! On flavouring pasta salads…. What.have.i.become?
A convert, that’s what, even if it’s just for the comedy element, and if I lose the lard along the way, well, bonus.
Wowsers. I have been a bad blogger of late, but really, forgive me. So much has been going on. I spent last weekend ‘glamping’ – glamorous camping to you, at my friend’s wedding. Although to be honest, I didn’t glamp, I stayed in a dorm of a beautiful country house, but I still sat on a hay bale and did the ‘sitting round the campfire’ playing the tamborine-esque style so, for what it’s worth, I am officially a glamper. I did the whole thing looking terribly glam…. Honest.
It was wonderful to see one of my best friends in the world so happy. She looked stunning, in a 60′s inspired dress made by her Aunt, who is a New York wardrobe mistress for the movies. The weather was out of this world and it was fabulous to see so many friends from University days. A real little reunion. I had an amazing time so thank you to everyone who made it possible.
Congratulations Nonnie and Brian!
I’ve been thinking quite a lot about my friendships recently. It’s a funny thing really. I read an article in Psychologies magazine last month about ending friendships and this weekend fabulous magazine was covering the same subject.
When I think of my friends it seems, unlike the men I go for (arses), I don’t have a ‘type’. My youngest friend is in her teens and my oldest friend is an 89 year old called Ivor who I met back in the day when I was a redcoat and he used to come on hols with his wife Joan. Joan is no longer with us, but Ivor and I remain great friends. He’s pretty cool. He is now deaf so we write as he can’t use a computer, and I adore getting his letters in the post.
I remember in primary school I had a list of ‘best friends’ – the top spot would often switch between Bev or Julie, dependant on my mood or if one of them did something to piss me off. I have no idea where they are now and have no desire to find out, but at the tender age of 7 they were my everything, until I found Nina – and they got bumped from the list.
So life moves on. I have friends who have been my mates since my childhood and teenage years. Friends who I met when I was travelling, or at college or university. I’ve had friendships which have become ‘toxic’ at times as well – but I have never had to nor could I ‘dump’ a friend, it’s just a case of letting it slowly fizzle out until you no longer see them. That isn’t without its heartache and I pride myself on the fact that even now, at 37, it is a rarity, but I cannot deny that I have lost contact with people through choice. It’s how it rolls.
Possessive friends are the ones I find most difficult. I can’t bear to have my life interfered with, and despite having a blog and using twitter as a toilet wall there is (shock horror) quite a lot I keep private. Friends who continually interfere with my life annoy me. Jealous friends are difficult. Friendship is not ownership - people can do what they want (unless it’s sleeping with your husband/wife or stealing your credit card, you know what I mean!). Frenemies are difficult, the smiling assassins who slate you behind your back given half a chance, they fuck me off as well – they say keep your enemies close? I say get them as far away from you as possible, usually with an ocean between (or a patio above) them. *bitter much? Yes*
If it sounds like I don’t care about my friends then you are reading this all wrong. They are one of the most important elements of my life, have got me through so much, make me laugh all the time, make me look at things in a different way, are my family of choice. This is why this new theory of ‘dumping a friend’ frightens me. I actually don’t think I could do it. If a friendship is failing then it’s failing from both sides, so maybe it’s just not meant to be, right?
Telling someone I don’t want to be their friend anymore reminds me of school. When Julie and Bev decided enough was enough and outed me from the ‘gang’ after finding my best friend list and seeing their names scrubbed off it and Nina’s making the cut. True that.
It strikes me that friendship is a beautiful thing, a fickle, frustrating, heart-warming, beautiful thing that come and go in our lives, usually for a reason. Even if they go, it doesn’t mean they weren’t important at the time or that they didn’t leave ‘friendprints’ in your life, it just means that it was for a window of time only, short-lived but vital – for whatever reason people come and go through a lifetime.
I truly believe that friends are the sunshine in our lives and it is important to work at it, but if a friendship fails, then I say you just have to cherish what you had, however brief, and accept that some things in life are made to last and others are just fleeting. It doesn’t make them less important.
So if you have lost touch with someone who you really wish you hadn’t, maybe it’s time to pick up the phone and give them a call?. But if you lost touch for reason or a friendship has fizzled out, don’t feel bad. Just accept that the friendship circle is made up of many different links – and not all of those links are meant to last forever.
PS; to any friends that are reading this – LOVE YOU! *yes, even you!
Well I have been having a lovely little time of late. I mean, how great has this weather been? Hello. Who needs Marbs!
Things have been plodding along, deadlines have been whooshing past but I’m trying to be good, disciplined. The answer to freelance is to be your own HR department. It seems my inner HR department is very good at letting me go early. I have to work on this. I may have to sack myself at this rate.
So, the royal wedding came and went. I, for one, loved it. I woke up super early, as if it was my own wedding. I spent so much money on fizz, as if it was my own wedding. My heart beat so hard for Kate, as if it was my own wedding. I’m not a royalist as such, or I didn’t think I was, but I do have a soft spot for Prince Wills, so I have to confess that I was totes glued to the screen.
The bank holidays were amazing eh? It felt slightly like we had all turned up in Marbs for a jolly. I really loved the short weeks but like I said, I have lots of freelance work to do – doesn’t always lend itself to being productive, most clients don’t like the ‘but it was sunny and the wedding was happening and I can’t think straight after 25 pimms in the park’. It’s basically an adult freelance version of ‘the dog ate my homework’. (which did actually happen to me once, the dog did eat my homework. Nobody believed me, they never do).
Talking of dogs, I’m a little worried today. Sydney, Chihuahua of mine has had to have a little op, to stop him being so randy. He is OK, the vet has called and he is awake but my stomach has been churning over ALL morning. Anyway, it is what it is. I can’t wait to see him and give him a little cuddle. Poor poochy.
So anyway, another hot hot hot weekend is upon us. Apparently a warm front from Africa will hit our shores and it’s going to be in the 30s! so I best get back to the freelance work so I can go and enjoy the weekend.
Have a great weekend if you are reading this *waves at my mum. Remember, Eat, Rant and Play like nobody is watching.
I’m not one of those people who really gets that bothered by what I read in the paper. To be honest, when you work in press it becomes second nature. I have both written articles and placed articles so I understand how it works, but yesterday I read something that has really played on my mind.
The Independent run a story about depression. It talks about how experts believe that depression could be good for us, and in some cases we could even live longer. There is even a list telling the reader how they can harness the positive side of depression.
Now, I am all about learning from experiences, I really am. I understand how things can make you stronger. But this article has led me, for the first time in 5 years, to want to talk about my experience with the illness.
To be honest, I am not one of these writers that wants to bang on about illness and turmoil. I don’t want to be defined by things such as depression, or the physical illness I am still recovering from. But for once, I am going to indulge myself in the hope that it may strike a chord with someone who is suffering in silence.
It was 2006 when I was hit by a severe bout of what has gone on to be clinical depression. It came after a catalogue of events that were obviously, bit by bit depleting me of any strength. It didn’t come on slowly though, it was like being hit by an invisible truck. I remember feeling empty, not happy or sad, just empty. Like I was looking at my life from behind my own eyes. I would wake up crying, but I didn’t know why.
Up until that point, happiness was my default setting. It was as if that setting has been turned off. I suddenly found myself in a place so dark I didn’t know what I was doing. I would put one step in front of the other, but that was about it.
I went home to my mum and dad, thinking ‘they will know what to do’. We racked our brains over what could have brought it all on. My mum tried to build me up with vitamin supplements and sachets of spa tone, maybe I was anaemic?
After a few days, it was apparent something was very wrong. The decision to see a doctor came after I fell to my knees sobbing in front of my dad and told him I needed to be sectioned. He didn’t know what to do; his confident, happy go lucky little girl suddenly needed him. Really needed him.
They didn’t let me down. I went to doctors, I remember my mum coming in the room with me. The doctor diagnosed me with a severe mental breakdown and clinical depression. Community Mental Health teams were called in, tablets prescribed. “Do you want her to go in hospital” asked the doctor to my mum. I could not even speak at this point. I was in shock at just how bad I felt. Mum said I was going home with her. Hard to believe, but even though I was in the grip of a breakdown, I knew how ill I was. I always thought if madness struck, I would be too mad to know. Not true it seems. Depression isn’t madness, its illness.
And so it began. The slow process of recovery. It isn’t like recovering from flu. It was long, it was tedious. Nine months off work, followed by the decision to leave my stressful job. Unable to function in my flat, I went home to my parents. I would spend days just lying in bed, not through laziness, but through the inability to move. I remember my mum sitting on the bed, brushing my hair. I remember thinking ‘I know I love you, but I can’t feel that I love you’.
I was emotionally numb for 15 months. I felt nothing. I knew that I had to start to build my life up again though, so I started to become a remembered version of myself. I attended therapy as an outpatient. Anti depressants didn’t work. Me being stubborn, I was treatment resistant. So my recovery was without any form of medication.
Slowly I moved back into my flat. I has been paid for 9 months from work, and although I left my job, I went in for a day or so a week as a freelancer. Slowly I built up more freelance work. I still felt robotic but I was a newer robotic self. Not the girl that wasn’t showering, but the girl who was showering, who was functioning, but wasn’t feeling.
Waiting for depression to lift takes a long time. It goes so slowly and at times my mind would frighten me. The same mind that used to laugh, write, go to festivals was now telling me that it couldn’t go to the train station in case it made me do something awful.
Despite all this things started to happen that slowly made me realise that I was getting back to some new type of normal. I started working in a press office that was full of some the most amazing people. I made amazing friends and we would go to lunch each day. These girls (and one boy) were my saviours. They didn’t know how ill I had been but slowly they brought me back to life.
I remember the first time my emotions came back, 15 months after they day my depression started. It was so strange, I was at a drinks event and I had already planned to stay for one then slip away, when I suddenly thought ‘why are you going Lorn? you are having a nice time’. Suddenly I was shocked at hearing my own positive internal dialogue again. It was like greeting an old friend.
Since then, I have had times when I have been scared that I was going back to that dark place, especially when I was ill last year, but so far, so good. I will not suffer in silence. I feel happy and sad like the rest of us now. I have a great job, my own PR business and people who inspire me everyday to remain well.
When I was ill with depression, my mum used to text me with the words from a Take That song ‘my heart is numb got no feeling, but why I’m still healing, just try and be a little patient’.
For anyone going through depression now, that is exactly what I would say. Depression wasn’t good for me, like the article in the Independent says. It was awful. But it didn’t make my life hell, it made a few years of it hell. It’s hard, but it can be managed.
You just have to be brave, and very very patient.
Growing up in Essex is something that, unless you have lived it, is quite hard to explain. I grew up in a part we used to call ‘The Golden Triangle’ – a little place called Chigwell – on the borders of Buckhurst Hill and Loughton – home of those Birds of a Feather Essex Girls Sharon and Trace.
Ahh, ‘The Essex Girl’. If you wiki the term this is what you get:
“Essex girl” is a pejorative term used in the United Kingdom to imply a female is promiscuous and unintelligent, characteristics jocularly attributed to women from Essex. It was widely used throughout the country, gaining popularity during the 1980s and 1990s. Unlike “Essex man“, which developed as a political term describing aspirational working-class voters in the south and east of England who voted for Margaret Thatcher, Essex girl did not carry political connotations.
The stereotypical image was formed as a variation of the dumb blonde/bimbo persona, with references to the Estuary English accent, white stiletto heels, peroxide blonde hair, over-indulgent use of fake tan, giving an orange appearance, promiscuity, loud verbal vulgarity and to socialising at downmarket nightclubs.
No comment on the above, except that it could only have been written by a man, from 1840, but I guess the Essex Girl label is something I carry through my life now. Even today, at the age of 37, I was told that something I said was the most ‘Essex’ thing they had heard in ages. I have done that ‘being a teenager in Chigwell’ thing, have fake tanned within an inch of my life, I did indeed own white shoes and canvas boots and an XR3i in white. I was on the guest list at ‘Faces’ the first night it opened, way back when, early nineties me thinks. I drank Archers and lemonade and would smoke my Silk Cut at Room at the top or The Ilford Palais, or Fifth Avenue as it was later known. I would mess around with those boys from Valentines High, the naughty boys from the wrong side of the triangle. We would cruise in the X to Brentwood occasionally, but it wasn’t as cool then as it seems to be now. We tended to favour driving over Hainault Forest or Epping Forest Country Club where we would park up and have a snoggage, as we liked to call it back then.
I would have my hair highlighted at Upper Cut in Chigwell, would go to the ‘Apples’ the local gym and perve on the many footballer celebs that were cropping up in the early nineties. I craved a flat in Chingford and was quite partial to the odd fantasy of having my boobs ‘done’ and my teeth whitened. In Essex, it’s easy to throw cash at someone or something to make you feel brand new.
However, I also went to a highly respected university, gained a very good degree, carved a career and now run my own business – all that Archers and lip gloss with the little ball on the end never killed my brain cells it seems.
So it’s with sheer delight that I can happily say that I ‘totes love’ the ITV2 show ‘The Only Way is Essex’ – set where I grew up, it follows the lives of ‘real people, although some of what they do has been set up for your entertainment and Jack Tweed is lurking just off camera’.
The reality show, now in its second series, has become somewhat of a sensation. Viewers can follow the antics of lothario Mark and his long suffering girlfriend Lauren. Mark’s best friend Arg and his long suffering girlfriend Lydia, Kirk and his not so long but clearly suffering girlfriend Popey. The cast also feature beautician and ‘managed by Claire from CAN’ Amy, her dancing cousin Harry and their friend Sam. Throw in a few more stereotypes to the mix, plastic surgery fan Chloe, her cousin Joey Essex and his long suffering brain cells “the PM? It’s that geezer innit?” Oh, and a few parents and a Nanny Pat and there we have it. The Only Way is Essex.
I think the reason people love TOWIE as it is lovingly called is because they simply cannot believe people like this exist. But I however know different. I am watching everyone find out what I already and have always known.
That the only way really is Essex. You see, you can take the girl out of Essex, but you can’t take Essex out of the girl. Now pass me my effing fake bake babezzzz, cos you is just well jel.
*takes another little piece of my heart now baby