Saturday, October 22, 2005

Sweet Sweet Music

Heading through Portobello Market this morning, feeling rather chirpy and more than a bit shag happy, I walked past a music stall. The track blaring out of the stall's oversized speakers made me feel like dancing, so I bought the CD.

Helen and I have been shaking our booties to it all afternoon. It's seriously good although CD1 is more mellow than CD2 if you're not heavily into dance music. I thought I'd share it with you... click here for a preview.

The Date

So first of all, big thanks to Surviving Online Dating - the dress and FMBs went down a treat. (Sorry, Positronic and Tony, but I decided to go with the female vote).

We meet up at the Portobello Gold (yes, Notting Hill again, but hell, I was expecting a sleepover and there's no way I'm running the risk of taking him back to my place - to say it's a dive would be an understatement). The Gold is this laid-back pub/restaurant right on the Portobello Road - looks like a pub when you first walk in but there's a restaurant in the back with a glass roof and so much foliage it feels as if you're in a jungle. I'm liking it, and I'm liking being with James because damn, he is so hot. You know how sometimes you forget the finer details when there's been a few days of absence? Well, that's how it is for me and as soon as I lay eyes on James last night it hit me like a punch in the face; he is seriously good looking and there's something else about him as well, maybe in the way he stands, or his mannerisms, but just looking at him makes me feel a bit funny. Which is kind of odd as I'm pretty laid back when it comes to guys.

So we're standing around for a bit while the waitress pretends that she's really really busy, and James goes, oh fuck it, I know where our table is, let's go sit down otherwise we'll be here all night. I'm like, sure, lead the way. James smiles at me and points upwards. My eyes follow the direction of his finger, up a ladder, and there's a bloody treehouse up on stilts in the corner of the room. Yep, it turns out that there's a table in there, really low, with cushions for seats. They call it the 'hippie table'. How cool is that?

I love being surprised and I really love it when a guy makes an effort - not in the flowers and chocolates kind of way, too boring, but when a guy shows he's put some thought in, when he does something with the express intention of making me smile. And it worked; that smile stayed on my face right through two courses, pudding, and two bottles of Rioja.

Then James gets close to spoiling it all by saying, so Sara, tell me why you work in a club? I don't want to be rude or anything but it's not exactly a career is it? I'm like, no, I don't think you could describe it as that. And he says, so what's the big deal? Why don't you get a proper job?

I have had this conversation many times over the years and I still find it as unappealing as the first time. But since I'm hoping to get laid tonight I decide I have to play nice.

James, I go, the very thought of being confined in an office for the rest of forever makes me itch. I tried it once and I didn't like it. I did not like being a tiny cog in a huge wheel. I did not like being told, not asked- told - to make coffee for my lardy-arse boss and then criticised on my coffee making skills, like it really makes a fucking difference in the great scheme of things if I brewed the bloody stuff for one minute too long. I didn't like getting the wild eye from the office bitch if I turned up late. And I really didn't like the general attitude that I should be grateful for the 'opportunity' - as if shuffling paper and trying to type crappy letters about nothing much was some kind of vocation rather than a fast track to Hell on Earth.

James is like, oh. OK. I guess that pretty much explains it then. I go, I guess it does.

But he doesn't give up. Halfway through pudding, he goes, are you planning to still be working behind the bar when you're fifty? Or do you have a fallback plan? I'm like, what are you, my mother? Let's talk about you James, because I have to be honest with you, this line of conversation is starting to seriously bore me. And there's nothing I dislike more than being bored.

I guess I'm coming off as a bit of a bitch, but the job thing really bugs me, and other people's reaction to it really bugs me, like I'm some kind of loser because I'm not willing to trade my freedom and my brain function for the prospect of a gold watch and a kiss on the arse in thirty years time... anyway, whatever... it's a sore point, let's leave it at that.

Fortunately it doesn't seem that James is easily offended so we get back into flirting and subtle innuendo mode - much more enjoyable - and as I'd planned, we end up at his place.

James goes, want to come back for a coffee? And yes, there is a twinkle in his eye. I'm like, no thanks, I don't drink coffee. He looks a little downcast. I feel a brief stab of pity so I decide to stop screwing with him and add; but I'd love to come back to your place for sex - if that's also on offer.

It was. And afterwards (no, I'm not giving you the details you bunch of pervs; I'm sure you can figure it out for yourselves) we had a bath together, with red wine and a spliff, and he washed my hair. Excuse me for getting excited but this is, in my experience, a rare and beautiful thing. Having your hair washed by a naked man, properly, with your head slowly, oh so slowly massaged, along with the occasional nibble on your earlobe, is an amazing feeling. Sensual, gentle, and incredibly, incredibly sexy.

As I type this I can still smell James' shampoo in my hair.

I think I kind of like him.

Friday, October 21, 2005

More questions, questions...

This one's for Surviving Online Dating, who said: How about the slinky dress with the FMBs? Lipstick says alot, what colour will you wear? Perfume? How will you wear your hair?

The slinky dress is one of my favourites. It's a great dress; I can just throw it on and it always looks good, and it doesn't need ironing - a huge plus as I'm kind of lazy. And with the FMB's? I think that might be just about perfect...

I very rarely wear lipstick. This might sound a bit odd but I never quite look like me when I have lipstick on, which kind of freaks me out. A slick of gloss is about as far as I go. I have no idea what that says about me; low-maintenance? I don't know.

Perfume? It's has to be Chanel Coco Mademoiselle; warm and subtly sexy. I'm not keen on my perfume entering the room before I do.

My hair? That's a tricky one. It does one of either two things; up or down. And since I'm not very good at putting it up I think I'll wear it down tonight. I would love to be the kind of girl who can do things to her hair, it looks as if it would be a whole heap of girly fun, but like I said, I'm kind of lazy. Now and then, if I've got a spare half-hour and nothing else to do (which is rare, especially since I started this blog), I blow dry my hair straight but that's about the extent of it. Any tips?

Surviving Online Dating also said: What things do you do for just YOU? It doesn't involve men, dating etc. Do you have girlfriends or a best girl friend? I get the sense you prefer the company of men.What inspires you-as in feeling good about yourself, makes you like the world, your job etc? How about your favourite childhood memory? Or you could just write about breasts-those are always good :)
Things I do for me: long, long, long baths, book in one hand and glass of wine in the other. I've also been known to smoke in the bath, although it's not entirely to be recommended as a soggy roach is not a pleasant thing. I like to stay in the bath until my toes turn wrinkly and/or I drop my book into the water (both are inevitable).

My best girlfriend is Helen - see the September archives for more details. Helen is my soul mate and would be perfect for me, except that, unfortunately, I am not a lesbian (well, I guess I could describe myself as bi-curious but that's about it). So, yes, I prefer the company of men to women when it comes to shagging, but in terms of pure friendship most of my very good friends are female; and they're all clued-up, fiesty, intelligent, and exceptional women. However, I do have one close friend who is male - I've known him since we were fourteen and he was my first snog. According to him it was that experience that turned him gay, although I prefer to think that the real truth is that he never recovered from the heartbreak of me chucking him and moving on to Eddie Soames from class 4b. I have posted about most of my friends on this blog, but not for a while. It's all hiding in the archives!

As for inspiration? Well, my main problem is that I haven't found it yet. I've been looking for that Sara-shaped niche for a long time. I know it's out there, somewhere, and I just need to get off my lethargic butt and hunt it down.

I'll talk about childhood memories and breasts some other time... :-) Right now, there's a hot bath calling out my name.

Questions, questions...

OK. So, this for my fellow bloggers who kindly answered my call for inspiration (see previous post comments).

Positronic asked - What are you wearing tonight?
That is a very good question, Pos, even if it makes you sound a bit metrosexual, and it's very topical since I have just been through my entire wardrobe trying to solve that dilemma. I'm suffering a bad case of choice paralysis (to steal a phrase from my one true intellectual love, Douglas Coupland).
So Pos, you decide. Here's the 'hot date' shortlist (bear in mind that I don't want to look as if I'm trying to hard):
- dark blue jeans, a sheer cap-sleeved top with a kind of ruching thing going on (sounds dodgy, looks great) and a kick-ass pair of heels
- a black wrap dress, kind of slinky, and a kick-ass pair of heels
- a denim skirt, top as above or a polo neck with a cut-out thing in the back, and a kick-ass pair of FMBs
But do guys really pay attention to clothes? Beyond checking out if a girl has a great butt? And you've got to remember that we're talking about the UK here... most guys don't have any interest in women's clothes (unless of course that's their own private peccadillo) beyond quite liking a woman in uniform (usually, and boringly, school girls and nurses, yawn).

Lighterate asked - Why did your father take away your allowance?
Because I am a very naughty girl. Well, no actually. It's more to do with my new stepmother. I'll expand on this over the weekend as I don't have time right now.

and WDKY asked - Would you consider a long weekend in Florence?
That would be lovely, thanks WDKY. Can James come too?

Writer's Block

I'm feeling kind of bummed out this morning and I'm suffering from a severe lack of blog inspiration.

So, help me out here. Tell me, what do you want to know? Any ideas for my post topic today? Leave a comment...

Thursday, October 20, 2005



Just Say NO

I've been accused of glamourising drug use, so just in case I'm corrupting any of you out there, here's a picture of me taken the morning after a lost weekend.

There, that'll make you think twice before you hot-foot it off to your friendly neighbourhood dealer, now won't it?


James called me last night.

He called me just as I was about to start work, not a good thing since I was already running late. Nothing would please The Fat Bastard more than an excuse to fire me, and since my dad has cut my allowance recently (that’s a whole other story) I really need that job at the moment.

So I’m standing on the Tottenham Court Road, trying to think of a way to hurry up this phone conversation because the minutes are ticking away, when James goes, my friends think you’re lovely, by the way. I’m like, huh? Say what?

I mean, get real. There is no way on this earth that his friends are seriously singing my praises. I don’t need a degree in psychotherapy to know that we didn’t exactly hit it off. But tactful is the way to go if I ever want to get laid again, and boy, I so want to be laid again by James; this guy has really got it going on. So I’m like, Oh, that’s nice.

But then I can’t help myself, I fucking hate hypocrisy. I blurt out, and what did Kate say, James? Because I don’t want to be funny here but I got the distinct impression that Kate didn’t find me lovely at all.

I can hear his brain whirring away at the other end of the line. Then he goes, hmmm, well, Kate is kind of possessive of me. It’s just how she is.

I’m like, so what did she say, James? Go on, I can take it.

There’s another silence. Then he goes, well… Oh OK. Kate said that I can’t go out with you because you’re too skinny and too quiet. So I suppose you’re right. Kate doesn’t think you’re lovely.

I laugh so hard I nearly choke. Then I say, I thought so.


Anyway, we’re going out again on Friday night. On one condition - none of his friends will be there.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

What is the world coming to?

My day is ruined.

I just went to the corner shop to get my usual supply of smokes and the shopkeeper tried to palm me off with this dodgy silver packet instead of my usual Marlboro lights. I'm like, Benny, you know I smoke Marlboro Lights, what's with you today? Late night, was it? Benny goes, these are Marlboro Lights.

And sure enough, those sneaky buggers at Philip Morris have only gone and done a major rebrand without giving me adequate warning.

Doesn't customer loyalty mean anything these days?

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

A life-affirming experience of inutterable genius

There's nothing more boring than listening to other people's drug experiences but since I find mine fascinating and since this is my blog, I'm going to write about it anyway.

My first e.

Becca, my best friend at the time, was also my drug buddy. We started with cigarettes and cider at thirteen, graduated to spliff at fourteen, acid at fifteen, and then we were like, what next? We couldn't afford cocaine and heroin scared us, so it had to ecstasy.

So Becca and I go to the local nightclub (along with practically everyone from our year at school - there wasn't a huge amount of entertainment in the area where we grew up) buy a bottle of water each (a bow to the drug awareness posters of the time) and smiling slyly at each other, neck our pills.

Standing on the edge of the dancefloor, we wait to come up. Becca goes, do you feel anything yet? I shake my head, no.

Then we start to feel it. An almost imperceptible fraction of warmth running through my neck. A shiver up my spine. A prickle swirling around my scalp. A looseness to my limbs. A trickle in the stomach. And then... intensifying, gathering strength, knees buckle, golden syrup pours through my veins, jack-knife of molten something rips through my head, spine spasms, neck melts, eyes refracting, tiny bubbles of joy zipping up from my toes to my groin to my face to my... FUCKINGfuckfuckohmygodfuckingHELL ... and the tide recedes, leaving me gasping, trembling, warm to the core, amazed.

Becca and I stare at each other, mouths open with pleasurable shock, then we laugh, jump up and down, scream, and tumble onto the dancefloor. The rest of the night passes in a blur of colour and bliss and love and pure fucking delight at being alive in this very moment and living and feeling and touching and the astounding delicious delightful sensation of experiencing everything as if for the first time.

I've had many e's since, some good, some bad. I've seen fur growing from the walls, sunsets at midnight, rainbows in the bath, heard a dog say hello, had blackouts, hallucinations, out of body experiences and seen the devil in the eyes of a friend.

But none have ever got close to that first time.

Monday, October 17, 2005

My 1000th visitor

Here is the lovely Velma, my 1000th visitor, proudly displaying her rather classy lastnightidreamtofelephants award certificate.

Enjoy, Velma, enjoy...

The Dinner Party

I met James' friends last night. I can confidently say that we won't be setting up a mutual-appreciation society any time soon.

I got seriously sidetracked by the pub yesterday afternoon so by by the time I get to the King's Road and manage to find the flat where this bloody dinner party is taking place, I'm unfashionably late, mildly hammered and feeling more than a bit harrassed. And I'm also unsettled from thinking about Sam. Not a great start to the evening.

I ring the doorbell and James answers, looking very pleased to see me which makes me feel better for all of two seconds before I'm led into the kitchen for the Big Introduction. James goes, everyone, I'd like you to meet Sara. A sea of curious faces look up and there's a murmer of, hi. Then James thrusts a glass into my hand and disappears, leaving me next to this enormous rugger-bugger type with a neck like a bull and a face like a beacon.

Ollie-the-rugger-bugger spends the first five minutes laughing heartily at his own jokes - which, by the way, are about as amusing as a Brazillian wax - and gives me a blow by blow account of his latest rugby team triumph. Yawn. Then he asks me what I do for a living. I'm a barmaid, I say, in a West-End club. He's silent for a moment, a blessed relief, and then goes, har har har! He turns to Sophie (who, it transpires, has the misfortune of being married to this buffoon) and bellows, hey Soph, did you hear that? Sara says she works in a nightclub! Har har har. I'm like, yes so what? He goes, what? really? You're not joking? I go, no I'm not joking. And he goes, oh.

By the time dinner is served I'm already ready to go home. James pulls me into the chair next to his, thank God. On the other side of me is Kate. I sense immediately that Kate does not like me. She makes a point of speaking over my head to James, cutting me off when I try to get involved in the conversation. I notice that when she speaks to James, she smiles. She doesn't smile at me. Fuck her, I think, and leave her to her issues. I'm not getting into this. So I sit, drink, try to eat, and occasionaly tune in to the rest of the conversation.

At one point, noticing that I'm playing with my food rather than wolfing it down, Kate goes, no wonder you're so skinny. Don't you ever eat? Then she looks down at her chest, squishes her tits together and adds, James likes a woman with curves. Bats her eyelids, coos, don't you James? I just smile politely, while imagining how much fun it would be to feed her, bit by tiny bit, into the waste disposal unit.

I try to engage Penny, who's sat opposite me, in conversation about a book I'm reading, A Million Little Pieces by James Frey. She looks at me blankly and goes, oh I haven't heard of that one. Then she shrugs, anyway, I only read books on holiday.

When Kate finally relinquishes her monopoly on James, he turns to me and says, quietly, are you OK, Sara? You seem kind of quiet. Huh, no kidding.

These people all know each other very, very well. It's a bit of a closed shop, a happy clique, and it's obvious that I am very much the outsider. I am different. And that makes them nervous. They don't quite know what to say to me and I don't quite know what to say to them. Their conversation, which seems to revolve around children, their work, holidays and other people they know, punctated by in-jokes, is incomprehensible to me.

What the fuck is James doing with this lot? Is there something that I'm missing here? Is it me? He's the same person that I've got to know over the past couple of weeks, saying the same things, behaving in the same way, but he - it- looks all wrong in this setting.

I leave after pudding and before coffee. Alone.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Once upon a time I believed in love

Ten years ago I fell in love for the first, and the last, time.

I used to walk our dog every morning before school. At this point I was going to a crammer in South Kensington since I'd been kicked out of the local high school the year before; I used to get up really early to make sure that Jack got a good run in before I had to leave to catch the train in to Central London. So Jack and I would head up to Richmond Park shortly after sunrise, the best time to be there - so few people around that that the fields belonged to us. It was something I looked forward to, even when it was raining, even when it was freezing cold.

Most mornings I would see the same guy jogging, following a similar route to Jack and I. A few weeks passed, by which time this guy and I had moved on from pretending not to notice each other, to nodding hello, to saying hello. One morning he stopped to catch his breath by the duck pond and Jack bounded over to him and stuck his muzzle in the guy's crotch. It was the perfect introduction.

Sam and I met up for a drink that night. I guess we connected in all the right ways because that night I ended up at his place - we stayed in bed for the next three days and by the time I left his flat I was totally in love with him. Madly in love. Crazy in love. The sort of infatuated headfuck all-encompassing love that it's only possible to feel at the age of seventeen, when tomorrow seems a long time in coming and a year fast forwarded might as well be another lifetime.

Sam and I stayed in our bubble for the next three years.

Sam graduated when I was nineteen, the year after I'd failed my A'Levels for the first time. He got a job and we moved in together, into a flat on the Holloway Road. All I wanted at that point was Sam. He was all I cared about, all I thought about, all I dreamed of. Nothing else mattered. That tiny flat made me feel safer than anything else ever had.

In hindsight, I was blind to anything that didn't fit the blueprint I'd etched out in my mind.

Three years after we met, something clicked out of place. He became distant, angry, irritated, tense, short in words, long in angry glances. He stopped meeting my eyes. He stopped holding my face when he kissed me. He stopped holding me at night in his sleep. Nothing I did made it better. Nothing I did brought Sam back.

I started to feel the cold.

The night everything dissolved, I should have been in Brighton. I was due to go down to visit a friend for the weekend but I cancelled at the last minute. Sam was acting weird and I wanted to be with him, decided that we needed to talk, thought maybe if I could just get him to talk then it would be OK, we could get back to where I wanted to be.

He didn't come home after work and I couldn't raise him on his mobile, but I just figured he was out drinking. So I waited, on the sofa, TV on, bottle of wine. Waited for him to come home. Waited for him to come home in the hope that I would see something in his eyes that I could cling onto, that I could pull that something out of, reignite, make things whole again.

Lying in bed still waiting for Sam to come home. Hear the key in the lock, the sound of stumbling, banging, something being knocked over in the hallway. I smile to myself; Sam's drunk. I get out of bed, stand in the open doorway, wait for Sam to come into the sitting room. He doesn't. I can still hear sounds in the hallway. I am about to step forward, to go see if he's alright. A girl tumbles through the door, laughing, her face turned towards Sam who's right behind her, pressing up against her, he's laughing too, looking at her. And then he puts his hands to her face, holds her face like he used to hold mine, and he kisses her, deeply, like he used to kiss me.

I start to shiver.

I start to feel more sick than I have ever felt.

They must have heard me, must have heard my fucking heart cracking, shattering, falling to the floor in a thousand million tiny pieces, because they turn, look straight at me. Sam's face goes white, mouth slack, still holding on to the girl. Hot red tears spilling up falling splashing down my face and as he meets my gaze all I can see is shock, anger, annoyance, and maybe possibly a hint of shame. All I can see is a black gaping hole where the love used to be.

I won't go into the long and tedious details of the fallout, recriminations, harsh words, spitting out blame like bullets, me moving out, the days weeks months I spent crying under my duvet, walking through the world out of step, a monochrome, joyless, numb fucking existence. I won't go through the details of how I found myself again, reclaimed myself, built myself up again brick by tiny brick, filled out my skin as Sara; Sara-separate-from-Sam. All I will say is that it took me a long time to feel normal again, and once I got back to that state I promised myself that would never never never never happen to me again. I would never allow myself to lose sight of who I am and who I want to be. I would never allow myself to be consumed by someone else, to the point that life wouldn't seem worth living when they decided to walk away.

But I still see his face when I close my eyes. I still sometimes smell him on strange passing skin. And it still makes my heart skip, despite myself, if I see an element of him, a walk, a word, a gesture, a look, in someone else.

That was really hard to write. I'm feeling kind of bummed out. But life goes on.