Friday, 27 April 2012

Shiny Shiny Peck Peck

I have some news, dear otterlings. The news is twofold, so I'll start with the most important thing first - I have a new jacket. Remember what happened the last time I bought a jacket? (link here -

This time I decided to go for a winter coat, regardless of the fact that we are almost in May, because let's face it - this is Scotland and sun is something we only glimpse for three days every year. So, with this in mind and my paycheck sizzling and burning a hole in my pocket, I chose a long military coat from Superdry. It's black. It's suave. It cost a lot more than I wanted to pay. Basically it was everything a coat should be, except that it has one massive design flaw - there are, for some totally implausible reason, zip teeth around the pockets. This does actually look quite pretty, but it means that every time I put my hands in said pockets, the zip teeth graze my skin rather sharply. It would be correct to say that I have in fact just paid £150 for a jacket which bites me.

The second part is, if I'm honest, slightly more exciting than my new jacket. As some of you know, although I didn't broadcast it particularly loudly out of sheer shyness, I was awarded the Cazart Short Story prize for February. This was one of the first competitions I ever entered, and it gave me a massive boost of confidence to push myself harder. I received news on Sunday that my entry into the Flashbang 2012 crime competition has now been longlisted among 24 others. I may not make it any further, but I'm amazed and totally grateful for the credit I can now add to my writing CV.

Otterkisses to all of you, and have a great weekend!

Monday, 23 April 2012

This Is A Blues Riff In "B"

We went on a road trip this weekend for the Cublet's birthday to Loch Fyne, which was a beautiful scenic place and only rained about fifteen times while we were there, which as a national average probably ranks pretty well. The drive there took about two hours or so and was accompanied by the aforementioned Playlist of Epic, which featured awesome songs like "Moves Like Jagger", "Ride On Time", and of course my favourite classic party anthem by Lionel Richie, "All Night Long". At one point, the Adele song "Set Fire To The Rain" came on. As I'm sure you all know by now, I like nothing being better than being annoyingly pedantic about things that were never meant to be taken literally, to comic (or possibly not-so-comic) effect, and thus the following conversation happened.

Sarahnator: Adele is wrong. I'm pretty sure you can't actually set fire to the rain.

Me: Now that you mention it, that is a logic fail - water does not burn, Adele. Where were you during primary school science class? I had issues with her other one, 'Chasing Pavements' too. I mean, you can't chase pavements. They're right there. It's like "oh where's the pavement? There. Done. Let's get ice cream."

Sarahnator: Don't forget "Rolling in The Deep".

Me: She's obviously taking notes from Rihanna's school of misinformed lyrics. I mean,  how deep? Deep like Charlie Sheen's despair? Deep like the Marianas Trench?  Could you even really 'roll' down there?

Since the other people in the car could only endure so much dickishness at that time in the morning, I eventually let this go, with a longing look and some swelling, wistful orchestral music. Our hotel was a charming little place just by the side of the loch, with winding stairs and lovely staff who patiently put up with our excited banter and vital questions about how late the bar was going to be open. Wetsoks and I were sharing a twin room. The first thing I did upon entering said room, naturally, was to run around touching everything and poking into every crevice while yelling about my findings to a tired Wetsoks two feet away.

Me: Hey look! There's an old style radio in here attached to the wall, but there's only one channel and it's playing Nelly Furtado.

Wetsoks: Turn it off! It's like a nightmare!

Me: You do it. I need to use the bathroom, dude.

I ventured into the bathroom for private time and a chance to peruse the selection of shower gels the hotel had provided. I was considering whether or not to don the shower cap or to keep it for a later drunken moment, when I heard Wetsoks calling me.

Wetsoks: Um, Otternator?

Me: Yes?

Wetsoks: The radio just informed me that Nelly Furtado is number 14 in the charts right now with "I'm Like A Bird"...

Me: Oh my god, we've travelled back in time!

Wetsoks: And a shit year too!

Me: The year is not my primary concern. The time travel is.

Wetsoks: 'It's not a question of where we are, but when we are'. Ha!

Me: Ugh, if we are ever in a  time travel situation then please refrain from using that. It's totally overdone.

Wetsoks: .....What do you mean, if?

Me: ..... Damn.

It was a wonderful weekend all in all, featuring much alcohol, many board games (including what we will now only refer to as the "Pictionary Incident", and a new card game called Ho-Bra which I may explain in a later post) and a Clemence Poesy birthday cake featured below.

Happy Birthday Cublet!

Thursday, 19 April 2012

The Taming Of The Stew

I cooked dinner for Wetsoks earlier this week - a nice wintery beef stew with lots of vegetables, which she eyed with some suspicion.

Wetsoks: (pointing) What's that?

Me: Leek.

Wetsoks: (pointing) And that?

Me: Carrot. Please don't tell me you can't identify most of the vegetables on sight

There was a short, awkward silence.

Me: Nevermind. Look, here's your plate. Now be careful, it's hot.

Wetsoks: Good god, it's like lava!

Me: Yes, it's hot. I just said that.

Wetsoks: (trying to eat) Volcano stew! I'm losing the first layer of skin from my mouth.

Me: (exasperated) Dude, just wait a minute til it cools.

Wetsoks: Oh, I mean to say - the Cublet and I chose some songs for the Sarahnator's list, for our road trip. She won't like them.

Me: I assume you've included lots of heavy metal, and Glee covers, since those are the things she hates most?

Wetsoks: Yup, I even put 'You're Having My Baby' on it.

Me: It's totally worth the rest of us suffering through that song just to see her face.

Wetsoks: I know.

Me: I love our friends.

I picked up my fork, and decided to test the stew. This, as it turns out, was a mistake.

Me: Ahh! Ahh! It burns!

Wetsoks: (calmly eating stew which is clearly still steaming) Yeah, it kind of does.

Me: I can't feel my tongue! It's burning my mouth!

Wetsoks: Chew quicker.

Me: That's your answer?! Chew quicker? So that it can scorch my insides instead of my mouth?

Wetsoks: Pretty much.

Me: I worry about you sometimes.

Wetsoks: ..... Stew's not bad, by the way.

Me: .....Yeah, I'm proud of it.

Friday, 13 April 2012

This Otter Pays No Lip Service

I'm going to go a bit gay for this ones, guys. Hold onto your hats. They say you've got to be cruel to be kind, in the right measure, therefore I have chosen to be extremely British and polite and reserved about it all. I'm sorry, I really shouldn't start my posts with a lie. Have at it, youngsters!
The Cublet and I were a little excited (with an additional healthy spoonful of fear) about the new season of Lip Service, which should be airing next Friday. After watching the first episode, sometime last year, I remember turning to my friends in horror and saying the phrase "good lord, this makes me ashamed to have ever touched a woman." I still stand by that statement. I apologise if that offends the Lip Service fan(s), but the show is a dribbling incoherent mess of plotlines and ideas, none of which ever really come to a satisfying or plausible ending, and most of which are casually ripped from the L Word - which is frankly a bad enough crime in its own way.
Now, I understand that for a lot of women, the L Word is the be-all and end-all of tv shows for gays. Perhaps it's because I'm only about 80% gay, and therefore manage to override this natural instinct to applaud even the most trite crap in the name of LGBT television, but look here - the L Word sucked. That's right. I said it. It absolutely sucked. If I wanted to recommend something queer to someone desperate for a fix, I'd rather offer the British drama 'Queer As Folk', written by the genius behind the new Doctor Who, Russell T. Davies, or perhaps the quietly amusing film 'Imagine Me And You'. In essence, I'd rather offer programmes and films that would clearly work even if the characters were replaced by heterosexual ones, because that means that it can stand alone as a quality product, which actually should be the main and most important factor.

I absolutely cannot stand the L Word. Listing the L Word as your favourite tv show is a guaranteed way to repel me both as a friend and a potential date (as it immediately makes me fear that you aspire to be like one of the utterly despicable characters - whether it is whorish Shane, who women are inexplicably attracted to despite the fact that when naked she looks almost exactly like a toaster on stilts, or Jenny Schecter aka Sarah Schuester aka The Most Embarrassing And Pretentious Excuse For A Novelist To Ever Ungrace My Television Screen. The only treasure in this pile of rubble is the character of Alice, played by the omnipresent Leisha Hailey, whose only real triumph here is that I did not want to strangle her character as badly as I did with the rest of the cast. Also, she's the cutest. Go figure) You have been warned.

Now, back to the original topic - Lip Service. The Cublet very kindly provided me with the pasted synopsis for the second season, and we spent the best part of two hours emailing each other and making fun of it. The fruits of our labour are as below. I hope you enjoy.

“After a loved-up month on holiday in South America, Cat and Sam arrive back in Glasgow with a colossal bump. Having run away from her relationship with first love Frankie, Cat knows she must now face the music.”
Cublet: Hi. Isn’t my new girlfriend awesome? We just had an amazing time in South America. Remind me how the funeral home banging has been going? What? Erm, no, you’re correct—I have not given you a second’s thought.

Me: There is nothing quite like being banged over the buffet table at your favourite aunt’s funeral. It’s refreshing. Invigorating. And totally appropriate. Haven’t you tried it?

“It looks like Tess finally has it all: her first proper acting role, a fabulous new flat and a gorgeous girlfriend. Landing one of the leading roles in a big theatre production should be a cause for celebration, but things don’t go quite to plan on her first day in the job.”

Me: Tess can’t act. This is partly because Tess is a terrible character, and partly because the actress playing her is terrible and gurns ALL THE TIME. I neither care nor wish to see anything develop between her and anyone, far less the electrician who seems to be an L-Word rip off of whatsherface the carpenter who sleeps with Bette in season 1.

Cublet: How can you have landed an amazing role in a big theatre production—were all the real actresses busy? Why do you have a fabulous new flat when you clearly can’t afford to pay for it? How did you land a gorgeous gf when you’re hands down the most annoying character after FauxShane?

Me: A big theatre production... in Glasgow. Yes, that will totally launch your career! It’s just like Broadway! Also, why are hardly any of these characters Scottish?

“Locking horns with self-obsessed co-star Nora, it’s clear Tess is going to have her work cut out, dealing with constant put-downs and snide comments. But new friendship and much needed support come in the shape of Hugo, a cynical but loveable actor.”

Cublet: Nora will not fancy you. Nora will not bang you.

Me: That’s my new favourite phrase.

Cublet: I’m serious! No, Lip Service, no matter how much you’ll try to sell me this - IT WOULD NOT HAPPEN. But of course they are right in the realms of the L Word, so it will happen. Hugo will be an almost carbon copy of last year’s flatmate, except possibly gay, but equally as annoying and for some reason will be ‘in love’ with Tess. Or he will sleep with Tess despite being gay. Because, you know, that’s what gay men do when faced with a woman just that fabulous. An alternative potential storyline is that Hugo will bang Nora and then backstab Tess. Could LS be that clichéd? One given: Hugo will not be loveable in any way, shape or form

Me: Hugo will most likely be a complete berk and so will Nora. This will not stop either or both from pursuing Tess in some implausible way, even though she has no redeeming features whatsoever (see above comment regarding the use of gurning) and also already has a girlfriend and apparently a new crush on the doctor. How much can one totally one-sided bland character handle?

“Frankie and Tess are struggling with the rent for their new flat and go in search of a flatmate. Enter Lexy - a sexy, funny and straight-talking Australian doctor who instantly makes an impression on Tess. But she’s not the only one who reacts to Lexy’s arrival…”

Me: So everyone is going to try to bang Lexy, is what I’m hearing here. Why can’t they just all be friends? 

Cublet: Why have they rented a flat they can’t afford? Why would a hot, funny doctor want to flatshare with 2 people? Frankie wanting to bang Lexi is a given: she’s a female, and Frankie is Shane 2: The Two Towers.

Me: A doctor, even in Glasgow, can definitely afford her own flat. If it’s company she’s after, she could have got a kitten like all normal people. Also, lesbians should never flatshare if they haven’t known each other long, because situations like this happen and people get all dramatic and European and everyone cries.

Cublet: Um...

Me: Moving on!

“Frankie bumps into her former flame Sadie and offloads her troubles onto her. Sadie, who is down on her luck, decides to deliver some home truths.”

Me: She should deliver a slap to the face, because that’s what Shane 2: Revenge of the Fallen needs.

Cublet: We don’t know Sadie. Do we know Sadie? Wait - who cares?

Me: Sadie was the estate agent – remember when Shane 2: Attack of the Clones shaved her in one episode that terrified us to our cores, because it looked like her hand was going to slip and there was ominous music? I remember. I REMEMBER.

Cublet: Shaved her where?

Me: You know. You know.

Cublet: I still don’t remember. Or care.

Me: In my opinion the most improbable thing about this show is still that Laura Fraser's character ran after a mugger. Ran AFTER the guy who just mugged her. In Glasgow. If the show was at all realistic, he'd have stabbed her and left her to die on the vomit-and-gum-splattered pavement outside a Greggs.

Cublet: Lovely.

Me: Honest depiction of life. That's all I'm asking for.

Cublet: You’re not going to get it here.

Me: Fine. Nora will not bang you.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Roller Derby Rumble

I attended my first roller derby event with my friends yesterday (as a spectator only, I hasten to add, since I would in all likelihood be knocked over by even the tiniest opponent due to my lack of balance and low BMI) and was pleasantly entertained by what was happening. I mean, I didn't quite understand what was happening, but I knew that there were girls in shorts being rather violent. I couldn't help but warm to the sport, although I maintain that it is never going to replace ice hockey as my favourite modern-day gladiatorial equivalent. This conversation took place about ten minutes after the game had begun, and please bear in mind that none of us had seen such a sport before.

Me: Dude. Where's the ball?

Wetsoks: What ball?

Cublet: There isn't one.

Me: No ball?! But... how do they score points?

Cublet: They skate around and then, um... well, it's something about overtaking people. Those ones are called Jammers (pointing out one person from each team who has a star on their helmet)

We watched in silence for a few moments while Wetsoks googled roller derby information.

Wetsoks: Okay. Ah, I see what's happening now! There is one Jammer, one Pivot and three Blockers per team.

Me: I don't... what?

Wetsok: (patiently)  The point is for the Jammer to get past the blockers - who as you can clearly see are  "stitching" although they can also do something called "cross-stitching" - and then overtake the group for a lap. Every time they pass the group again, they get a point for each member of the opposite team who they overtake. Each shift is called a "jam" which lasts two minutes.

Me: (perplexed) I still don't... Dammit, Carol Vorderman, this doesn't make sense.

Wetsoks: Stop calling me Carol Vorderman!

Me: Then stop being a genius.

Sarahnator: Your momma's a genius. In bed.

Wetsoks: Think of it like Quidditch.

Me: There's still aren't balls. I need balls to make sense of it.

There was a horrible moment of confused silence before we broke down laughing. In conclusion, roller derby is very fun, but I would prefer it with balls. I promise that's not a euphemism.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Party Like Lionel Richie

Wetsoks approached me yesterday at work, took my hand very carefully and spoke in a confidential voice.

Wetsoks: Now, I don't want you to get upset-

Me: Oh god, why?

Wetsoks: Something has happened-

Me: What?!

Wetsoks: Ronan Keating and his wife are splitting up.

There was a brief pause.

Me: Um. I thought they already had.

Wetsoks: (laughing hysterically) Don't you even care?

Me: No. I mean (grinning evilly) it's only words. And words were all he had to take her heart away.

Wetsoks: Ha! True dat.

Me: I guess maybe she didn't say it best when she said nothing at all.

Wetsoks: Indeed. And on a completely separate note, I'm thinking we should each choose 13 songs for the car journey to Loch Fyne on the Cublet's birthday.

Me: Why 13?

Wetsoks: Because (here please imagine someone yelling a lot of numbers very quickly, because this is essentially what happened) which makes sense.

Me: Okay Carol Vorderman, calm the fuck down. 13 songs. I bet you'll love my choices.

Wetsoks: On second thoughts, I want to be able to veto at least three.

Me: No veto.

Wetsoks: One veto.

Me: No veto. It's going to be 80s disco all the way. Hope you like partying like Lionel Richie. All. Night. Long. I might even wear my tshirt which says exactly that.

Wetsoks: VETO!

I exited the room.

Wetsoks: VETO! VETO? ....Dammit.