Bitch on the Blog

June 19, 2017

Mum is the word

The moment someone says “You remind me of my mother” is the moment my heart sinks. It’s one of the few black and white situations in life. Grey doesn’t enter the rainbow.

Rarely will anyone say “You remind me of my mother” and glow with the delight of that memory. Because, if you had a wonderful (grand) mother no one compares. No one. So it’s usually said as the ultimate put down. Because, after all, who in life is more important than your mother? Particularly one that didn’t live up to expectation?

It’s a line used in the negative, as a defense and an attack rolled into one. Why? I don’t know. Don’t ask Freud. He’ll give you shit.

The first time it was said to me I was only nine or so – said to me by a grown up man. Don’t ask. Grown ups are not all they think they crook themselves up to be. Still, and grateful to this day, it was one of those enlightening moments as to what to expect from both life and the future.

Today John told me that I remind him of his mother. The blow “You remind me of my mother. She was critical and self righteous” he softened by adding “And her valid points were often lost in those behaviours”. Let’s leave aside that being critical and self righteous are not “behaviours”, they are attitudes. John paid me a compliment – if in a backhanded, yet subtle, manner. “Mother” clearly being some gold standard by which women are measured.

Please do tell me about your mothers. Adopted or otherwise. Those you had, adored or loathed, those you would have liked to be the one and only in your life and those who were just that – your mother. The one you adored. The one who amused you. The one who exasperated you. Maybe all three for the prize of one. Before anyone tells me how “price” is spelled – I meant to say prize.

U

 

 

June 18, 2017

Shades of white

I am no good at drawing. Which is rather surprising since I come from a long line of people who actually made their living painting.

My father who inherited that most remarkable talent – though never made anything of it because he was more interested in pursuing other interests, once helped me out. I was about twelve. Our art homework was to do a portrait of a pirate (water colours no less – the smudge’s devil of all inventions). We had a few days. The worse and the more dreaded the task the more it’ll spoil not only your life in the interim but you’ll put it off to the last minute (deadline by another name). (Un)fortunately my father passed my desk (Sunday afternoon) as I was putting the finishing touches to a half hearted attempt at conveying both the cliche and the menace of a pirate (Johnny Depp my creation wasn’t – it was before his time). So, in a moment of charitable (or was it) intent, my father chucked my effort into the nearest waste paper basket and conjured up the most magnificent pirate ever. Took him zero time – not that he meant to ram home that I most certainly had betrayed the creative family line (on both sides). Not at all. He was far more interested in taking all my essays and other writings apart – even if they rated A* by assorted teachers. You want to know what my father called my teachers? Don’t. Repeating it would be flying in the face of my genteel upbringing and the manners my mother instilled in me.

So Monday was grand. My art teacher’s face lit up. He studied my father’s effort in detail. He was chuffed. He smiled. At me. After an artfully executed theatrical pause  he said: “Do tell your father that, on account of fraud, I’ll only give him a two” (a one being top mark). After that I can’t remember anything. Other than that I was always tops in the theory of art and art history. Brush to canvas? Forget it. Why would I? Know thy limitations.

Not to sell myself short and as befits my temperament, I did and do passable caricatures (of people). That’s about it.

As Karma has a way of biting you unawares,  most nearest and dearest to me, friends and assorted family, are masters of their chosen art. Occasionally forced to remind them, ever so tactfully, we can’t all be artistes. Some of us have to be the appreciative audience. The ones who do the clapping, the stroking of ego, the catchers of tears, the slayers of tantrums, the ones who write the critiques, facilitate you, marketeer your stuff.  And, BUY IT.

Whatever you do, please do not talk to me about gallerists. It was Basel/Switzerland, ca. 1997, when I fell off my chair on learning that a gallerist (the marketeer and provider of large swathes of wall and the monied) will take a  cool 66 % off your sales for services rendered.

Titanium white greetings,

U

 

June 10, 2017

Hope

Filed under: hope,politics — bitchontheblog @ 09:45
Tags: , , , , , ,

This is what the Angel wrote on Thursday, the eve of the election, on the social media he uses. I feel compelled to publish this here for many reasons – most of which I’ll probably best keep to myself. Please do me, or rather the Angel  the courtesy to read this properly. Yes, you too, Cro. Don’t just skim it. This is written from the heart, from reason, on the spur of the moment, unadulterated. With hope in my heart, here goes the Angel (he is twenty five):

“It’s time to vote with hope, hope for a more equal and compassionate society – not a society which marches mindlessly to the drum of austerity and uses it as an excuse for endless cuts and heartlessness affecting the most vulnerable.

I want to vote for a country which isn’t the 2nd biggest arms dealer in the world funding terrorism and war through Saudi Arabia whilst claiming to promote peace. One which confronts the corporate elite and clamps down on corporate tax evasion, protects the NHS and doesn’t push people into poverty and 1 million people to foodbanks.

The tories would have you believe that this is the best we as a country are capable of and that all of the injustice and inequality is inevitable and can’t be helped. They’ll have you believe we should go forward without hoping for better, but without hope there is nothing. I believe regardless of what happens tomorrow the momentum and awareness Corbyn has gathered will only continue to grow stronger.

Cheers!”

 

U

May 25, 2017

Spoilt for choice

There is a regular program on Radio Four (BBC, Sunday morning) called Desert Island Disks. Someone of relative public interest is invited to talk about their life and, intermittently, ten pieces of music of their choice are played.  They’ll then be asked to choose one of them to take with them – don’t say the BBC isn’t generous – before being shipped away and with little hope to return. You are given the Bible. You may choose one other book and one (in numbers 1) luxury item. No, not me. I am not a luxury item. I am cheap.

It’s amazing what people will choose as their luxury item. For heaven’s sake – who needs silk sheets in the middle of nowhere? Take a Swiss Army Pen Knife instead. What would I take? I don’t know. It’s not likely to be allowed within in the parameters of the programme but most likely a never ending supply of my favourite fruit/vegetable. Which is … What? Trying to come to a decision will take some time – a most welcome interval to delay the evil departure.

So, what about you? What’s your luxury item, food or otherwise, to take to the desert island? Please don’t say a harpoon. Life doesn’t work like that.

Tom Hanks greetings, and don’t forget to squirrel away some matches and don’t let them get wet during your voyage,

U

May 24, 2017

Close up

Filed under: Amusement,Communication,Questions — bitchontheblog @ 18:19
Tags: , ,

Sweethearts. I never run out of words. Which is not exactly the bane of my life but, occasionally, that of those in the firing line.

So, in a reversal of fortune and to keep the lid on, rather than me babbling on about any subject under the sun and down the toilet, please do throw me a morsel. What would you like me to expand on?

U

May 21, 2017

Aunts and Uncles

Filed under: Communication,Ethics,Friends,Observations,Psychology — bitchontheblog @ 02:00
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Having recently been given the accolade that I “cut through crap” by a higher authority than the crappers I am dealing with on and off,  I have now adopted this as my motto. Which is no doubt why I am terribly popular with, among others, certain bloggers (none of whom comment here – they cry into their own snot stained hankies).

Let’s leave the lame to swinging their walking sticks wildly. And turn to matters that actually make a difference rather than dealing with the somewhat limited. If the boot fits let’s hope their narrow mindedness and blinkered views will give them blisters.

Where was I?

Sweethearts, if I were an agony aunt there would most certainly be agony. I don’t know why I do it but do it I do. Which is reading other people’s woes in  most worthy publications. These “problems” leave me – by and large – speechless. Obviously some do merit thought and consideration. Others? Others just leave me gasping with incredulity. Yes, so if I were an agony aunt heads would be bashed together to knock sense into which clearly has left the common, and a fist or two banging on the table. Remember – I won first prize for cutting through the crap.

Whilst the above is true – if you believe that you believe anything.

Interval. Several hours later…

Leaving what I wrote earlier to prove like dough I have been reflecting on who we, or rather I, ask for advice. And why. If I feel in need of a mega bollocking no barrels held I can rely on LSF (longest standing friend). If there is one person in my life who doesn’t mince his words it’s him. Come to think of it most people in my life don’t mince their words but he is extra strength.

I sometimes ask the Angel for advice. Unfortunately, like his mother, he too is a cutter-through-crap. Coupled with a trait I peculiarly associate with the male of the species – namely, a certain amount of impatience and irritation at my follies. It doesn’t always make for pleasant hearing but at least I can rely on him telling me how he sees it. An often different and enlightening perspective. Yes, I like seeing things with fresh eyes.

What of the people you wouldn’t dream of going for advice to? In my experience they are the ones who tell you what you want to hear, not what you need to hear. Useless. Then there are those who haven’t got a clue about anything. They flounder and you don’t want to add to their feeling incompetent.

What I have realized, and it’s rather interesting, that virtually all people I turn to for advice are men. I am now in danger of treading on very hot coals. Yet fact is – or at least my life’s fact is – that men seem to have a way of getting to the nub of a problem where women tend to meander. Which, and to conclude this post’s original argument, is why men would make efficient agony aunts.

U

May 15, 2017

Reflection

Filed under: Human condition — bitchontheblog @ 05:26
Tags: ,

With her last reply Rachel has put forward an interesting observation. Namely, that she sees blogging, sometimes, as being in a “lonely” place.

Though I hope I know what she means I see blogging mainly as putting myself in an open and not at all safe place. Not easy for a person as private as I am.  To understand: None of my posts are plotted. They are, being self employed and working in the unadulterated company of my amusing self, what I call my “water cooler” moments. I take a break, throw something on the page and press “publish”. Brill. I feel fantastic. Till later. When I re-read what I wrote. If it was highly personal  I console myself that people’s attention span is barely greater than a goldfish’s and anyway, to use my father’s voice, him the investigative journalist: “No one is interested in yesterday’s news”. Or “old snow”. As consolations go it’s good. And not so good.

We put ourselves on the page. To do so means that we put a lot of trust and have faith in our readers. I won’t mention that marvellous British “benefit of the doubt” as I usually do. Nevertheless, I think we should employ that maxim more often than not. In my experience few people are after each others’ hide.

However, if there is one thing I have learned in blogland, and is what I believe Rachel touches on, that good will is hard to come by. Some say that it is the lack of, say, body language, facial expression, inflection in written conversation. Maybe. I’d say it’s lack of good will. I’d also say, and it’s a fact, that a lot of people are sensitive to anything perceived as the slightest hint of criticism. I use the word “perceived” advisedly. It’s a bit like family dynamics. Mainly mysterious. Though if you are the outsider looking in – oh my gosh, if only they’d let you, you could join all the dots and pinpoint everyone’s individual Achilles heel.

Before you tell me that the above is conceited – as is my wont – I too do have Achilles heels. Admittedly not many as my upbringing (and possibly my innate character) mean that a lot directed at me is water off a duck’s back. Which is not saying that I am impervious to slights. I am not. If I were I wouldn’t be human.

As an aside, and little to do with the above: I can’t remember the context this minute but some time ago Rachel mentioned being tearful. Despite my sunny disposition I am, potentially, on the verge of tears all the time. It takes nothing to make me well up. There you go. The human condition. Happy and sorrowful. Two sides of one coin. But then the world is full of both: Sunshine and Shit.

U

May 13, 2017

Cards being dealt

Filed under: Amusement,Communication,forward,Friends,Kitchen,Observations — bitchontheblog @ 10:18
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Housekeeping is good. I like it. A bit like stock taking.

So, on a point of housekeeping: Those of you I haven’t replied to recently my apologies. Please do not think that your comments go unnoticed. They don’t. I think them over and pen many a considered reply in my head whilst getting on with other things. Yes, if only I could decant my thoughts whilst leading the rest of my life it would not only be efficient it would bury you under an avalanche. Which would be a pity. Because it’s difficult to find that special tree in a forest, or a swine among my many pearls.

Where were we? Housekeeping. My  recent and truly enchanting post on “arrogance” has gone awol (absent without leave). Which reminds me – I think it the height of, no, not arrogance but thoughtlessness how acronyms are used. A few days ago I read an article so memorable I have now forgotten what it was about. But it was interesting. Not least because the author kept going on and on and then some more with three capital letters which meant nothing to me. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Still, it made good reading which is quite an achievement when the reader has no idea what the writer is on about. Considering his – frankly shocking – last post Nick may like to pick up the baton and hasten the end.

Over at John’s a handbag dog with a bone not able to get her teeth into but (for reasons no longer unknown to me) an axe to grind tried to “savage” me. That was so cute – if incoherent. Should you, Sonata, read this, let me remind you of John quoting his mother: “Choose your battles wisely”. Unless, of course, you are dead set on losing not only the war but the battle too.

However,  the most unlikely person has not so much come to my defense (Rachel positively doesn’t like me – though I think we could be good friends if only she’d let me) but has a sense of playing fair. Her jumping into the breach was refreshing. I smiled, and your delivery, Rachel, was a subtle backhander for me.

Other than that, and remember we are talking housekeeping and ship shape, it’s all a bit rough round my edges here at the moment. I need to get to grips with a storm I had hoped to ride out. It’s humbling (and educational) when you realize that will (oh do I adore will) and wishful thinking do not always have the power to overturn realities. So, as Jean, the mother I adopted in blogland, will point out: The only way forward is to adapt. Which is true. Still, I am not a chameleon.

Off to do some housekeeping,

U

May 6, 2017

Sea Change

Have you ever got lost? I don’t mean in the metaphorical sense but its literal meaning.

Were you frightened when you did? How old were you?

I got lost twice in my life. Once age six or so. In Berlin which we had just moved to. My mother asked me to go to the bakers to get some fresh rolls. Not only was I honoured to be trusted with such a task I found a bakery. Bought the rolls. A bag full to bursting point. With a smell to match. Came out of the shop and stood in wonderment. There were all these high rise buildings caving in on me. Which sort of gave me something to look up to whilst trying to work out whether to turn right, left or walk straight ahead. After the first minute of confusion had worn off I was perfectly happy. I had visions of never finding my family again, being adopted by a kind fairy and living a life of bliss. Alas, it was not to be. Once I had realized I couldn’t ask anyone to give me directions since I didn’t even know the name of the street we lived on I just relied on my innate sense of direction. High rise or not. Never told my mother. “What took you so long?”, she said. Some things best kept to oneself.

The second was not that long after, and yes, we had moved again, when we visited the sea side. There we were, complete with beach hut and I went for a swim with one of those pesky blow up rings round my body. Don’t trust salt water. And don’t lose yourself in reverie. By the time I got back to the shore my parents, their friends and one sibling (tiny) had gone. I took it in my stride. Fairy tales are full of children, abandoned. Main thing in life is to keep your nerve. And let little surprise you. As I was trying to work out where to go from where I was my poor mother and one of our friends were running down the promenade shouting my name. “Sonny, Sonny”.

Apparently the current had taken me further and further and further sideways.

So? Did/do you ever get lost?

U

May 4, 2017

All is well

This morning I woke with a sense of foreboREdom. Don’t believe a word of it.

Package it as you like. I woke with a sense of doom. I didn’t so much have a head rush (when you get up from your seat too quickly), I was positively faint with my heart racing me to death’s door. Nothing unusual in that: Healthy specimen that I am, my body has always played out my psyche to its soma. I am sure there is a reason we have a solar plexus. If only to keep us nauseous.

Anyway, as usual, my optimism was surpassed by reality three hours later. And to think I nearly cancelled the appointment because I didn’t trust my balance to make it.

Never mind. It’s not the end of the world. And I’ll live – just in case you were hoping I’d leave you alone any time soon. I won’t. I won’t see you for dust. Or, maybe, I’ll see you, myself and the rest of the world more clearly. Which would be good, a great relief and a great saver of wasted energy.

Made me think, on my way back, how hope makes you postpone the evil moment. Because, as long as you don’t hold eye contact with reality, there is always that chimera “Hope”. I know people who have wasted their whole lives waiting in hope which, essentially – and please do contradict me if you think otherwise – constitutes the con of all cons.

Onwards and upwards,

U

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