Ben Fogg Makes Laugh

Meant to put this up a while ago: hilarious friend, writer, director, pianist, comic, producer, control freak/genius, Ben Fogg, has made some rather hilarious videos to help him gain er gainful employment. They really are funny. And he pixilates his privates. And I’m in a couple of ’em, of course (otherwise it’d be shit) (no, they wouldn’t have) ….


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Beverly Hills hit us like a naff old cloth. We’d had to move from our little Spanish paradise in Laurel Canyon for a week as the owners were hosting their friends wedding party. So we had consulted airbnb again, my boyfriend was keen to stay in Beverly Hills and I had imagined Beverly Hills was Miami, and everyone there was Eddie Murphy – so I don’t know why I wasn’t more averse to staying there.
We found a place with 5 stars for a little more than we were paying here, with a pool – classy, in a tacky way.

On our way down there we received a text from the owner, let’s call him Chad, imploring us to let him know if there was anything that he could do to make sure he got 5 stars, as he relied on it. Ok Chad, chill out a bit.

We cruised down the street where we were staying and arrived at a pink bungalow with flamingoes scattered about the small lawn and an American flag gagging for a breeze. I burst out laughing and started taking pictures like a spiteful little teenager. But it was like a John Waters dream house, plus I can show you what it looks like now ….

Lovely ....

Lovely ….

Mmm ...

Mmm …

Chad was out when we arrived so we stepped inside the gated pool area where we were staying, to find a bone yard of sun loungers, hundreds of them, laying in wait for some party, some joy that was only ever going to happen in the ‘70s and will now, never happen. Also, it turned out the pool was rotting and around it were statues of Joseph and Mary, staring at a baby Jesus. There were a few li-los floating around the stagnant pool, occasionally colliding with some maniacal plastic ducks wearing shades.


We stepped inside the “pool house studio”. It turned out, we had 1/5 of the pool house photographed. The room was miniscule, fragile and decorated in turquoise by a psychopath. Floral paintings covered in some strange gel goo, turquoise branches sprouting behind the kitchen cabinet next to the bed of horrors with a pillow reading “home is wherever you are”. I did not like this notion currently. Off to the bathroom – oh Chad. You installed gigantic red brothel lights in the ceiling, that when activated radiate so much heat you can feel your skin prickle, and when you look in the mirror you look like a child of the corn. The shower was beige tiles. The kitchen was a microwave and a minute fridge situated in the closet. Lovely.

We decide we need to leave and hit the streets, we bump in to Chad on our way out. He is cowering in his silver car doing Christ knows what. In his photo he looked like a 7ft clean-shaven jock, in reality he is 5ft, sweating savagely, a humiliated shade of purple, bearded and be-capped. Instagram is a strange beast.

“Oh hey guys, you like the place?”

I’m currently standing next to his collection of ashtrays, wiggling surfer men and dying cactuses.

“Yeah, it’s great.”

Always avoid conflict if possible, I am learning.

“Let me know if there’s anything I can do to ensure 5 stars.”


Why don’t you quit with the 5star thing Chad? Why are you piling on the pressure? Is it because you know that although quoted as on “Millionaire’s row baby” I’d rather be sleeping in that shed the guy on The Fast Show comes out of and says “This week I’ve mostly been …”. I start feeling anxious. He does not deserve five stars, but if we rate him badly, he rates us badly. WHY ARE WE TRAPPED IN THIS MORAL HELL?? It’s not good for my anxiety. Neither is all that blue.

We walk out expecting millionaires’ road or row or whatever it is, to be filled with classy cafes, expensive clothes shops maybe even the illusive “corner shop” found in England. But no, Beverly Hills is just a few Mobils, a couple of banks, some more ominous grey empty banks, some dry cleaners and a coffee shop.
Rodeo Drive is Sloan Street in the way that it has an entire street full of shops that I stopped wanting to go in past the age of 14 – you heard me Chanel. Rodeo also has a nice Italian ram packed with fake boobs and posers and really good food, served by traditional Italian-Mexicans.
There were also the La Brea tar pits – molten pits of tar that were unfortunately gated, who knows what might’ve happened if they weren’t.

Our main ambition while staying at Chad’s was to spend as little time as possible there, so my improvisation course at The Groundlings starting on the second day we arrived was rather timely, and fun. That took up two days a week, for the other few days we wandered around outside.
While wondering round Beverly Hills I noticed that at around 4.40/5pm it always seems to get a little cooler, the sky clouds slightly and the wind shakes the palm trees as if summoning a storm. This is when the crows of Beverly Hills come out, when the streets are mysteriously empty and the light a little less vivid than a few minutes a go. They crow and swoop and the whole thing gets generally spooky, which is when we would head back to our psychopath pad and watch The X Files to drown out the surrounding horror.

The horror finally ended on a very happy Monday morning and we moved to a haven in Venice the same afternoon where we had a whole house, a beautiful warm bungalow, bigger than we needed with a huge kitchen that made you feel like a fucking success, and a bush full of humming birds just in case you didn’t feel fucking magnificent enough. Fuck this place was great. I sunned myself and read Sylvia Plath and was generally inert for a while. Then wrote a poem about being inert and melodramatic, I think that was all I achieved in Venice.

If you look close enough you can see a humming bird ....

If you look close enough you can see a humming bird …. or maybe it’s a big black bee, but hummingbirds are basically the same size so use your imagination.

Then it was back to Laurel Canyon  where our lovely landlady was lovely and had fresh towels and lovely vibes for us.
The next day we were off to Joshua tree. OR were we going to watch the Maywether Pacaio (I can’t be bothered to find out how to spell their names) fight? I had tried, vaguely, to get us tickets to the impossibly and ridiculously overpriced fight – I think tickets were going for like $17,000 or something, like the price of a banana going up to $1 billion dollars in Zimbabwe. Except a banana is probably more useful.
Anyway, I had tried vaguely and failed definitely at getting us tickets, but my boyfriend was still keen to watch the fight at a bar called ‘Roccos’ – this was looking all the more possible as his uncle’s girlfriend had had an audition and already moved the trip once.
I was pretty convinced I wanted to see Joshua tree, not the Mani Pacio fight. Not that I was averse to the Paquiao fight – I had been willing to fight either one of them had it got us tickets. But seems as both those little lady boys couldn’t handle sidling up to this beast machine, the option of watching it on a flat screen with lots of people I don’t know and possibly don’t like, and alcohol, just wasn’t doing it for me. Not above camping out and lookin’ at bugs n’ stuff. I love bugs n’ stuff.
Fortunately for my bugs n’ stuff we were off to Joshua Tree! Hurrah! And only a couple of hours late as my boyfriend had sent our address while we were staying in Venice, now though, a film crew were staying there and we were up in Laurel Canyon (a nice 40 minute drive) as his uncle and girlfriend found out when they had a chat with the film crew.

But against all odds we got in the car and set off towards NATURE. THE WILD. THE GREAT OUTDOORS, the “wicky wicky wild wild west” as Will Smith once put it. I find myself genuinely craving to just go to the countryside and lie on the ground, I think more and more people are (not necessarily craving the ground contact I am but..), we’re realizing these cities we’ve built ourselves are little cages where we can be watched and controlled, and with the development of the internet where we are also watched and controlled, we might as well make the most of it and use it to make living in the countryside feasible rather than it just being another system within a system. Use it, use it goddamnit! Use it for your benefit, the benefit of your life not your tenuous social connections. This aside, I just find I need enough grass between myself and another person to be able to make mistakes, and nature is much more forgiving of those I find.

We drove down the hot highways out of LA – it was a heat wave that weekend, hitting about 100 degrees in the desert (who knows what that means but it sounds more impressive than centigrade.) We drove past Palm Springs with its 80s surfer writing and vestiges of plastic cups, metallic tattoos, cheap crochet tops and man bangles bought for this seasons Coachella. But we kept driving, and driving, and driving. The landscape slowly descending into exactly what I had been hoping for – desert. The first time I’ve been in a desert. We drove past the last Oasis towns of burger shacks and entered the National Park.
Now, when my brain is alert before my mouth I try to make the most of it and avoid looking like an idiot; so I kept it to myself that I thought ‘Joshua Tree’ National Park had a focal point of one very special Joshua Tree.
As we whizzed passed hundreds of trees stuck in sort of malfunctioning robot positions I overheard these were Joshua Trees. And from this I deduced there must not just be one giant one – it was funny how my level of interest in these malfunctioning robot trees peaked slightly when I realised they were what I had been looking for and so were basically famous.

Tell me that doesn't look like a malfunctioning robot ....

Tell me that doesn’t look like a malfunctioning robot ….

We stopped in Joshua Tree to have a beer, which I drank to feel the part, and sit on a large rock. By this time it was late afternoon and having discovered the camping site inside the park was closed, we needed to drive further off towards Cottonwood Mountains to find a place to camp.



It took about an hour and a half to drive through the park and come out the other side and by this time it was dusk – so we just decided to plonk ourselves on an area outside the park and hope we didn’t get eaten by bears or red necks.

FYI girls: bears are NOT attracted by your periods – it’s just more BS (bs look how American I am) that has been shoved in your brain to make you feel guilty for being yourself. Run wild. Be free, whatever time of the month. Bears will still eat you though. So still watch out for that.

Having set up our tent with surprising success, even with my involvement, we sat down to drink beers and light fires, a fire.
As the darkness swaddled us in to our little area, it really did start to feel wild, you could hear things rustling, the promise of a Brown Recluse just millimeters from your toes but you can’t see it so it’s almost like there’s nothing there.
I decided I fancied drinking some whiskey seems as I was in the desert. I don’t really like whisky it just felt like the right thing to do, so I drank it and didn’t listen to much of the conversation, just pretended I was some very successful male American writer back in the ‘50s. So I had a good time.

Sausages were cooked and I cant remember what else, I had a bun and some nuts. It all got blurry. Then I remember getting up in the middle of the night, the desert was floodlit by the moon, and I could see my way to go to the loo completely clearly, clear enough to see a little kangaroo rat sprint out of my way. Kangaroo Rats are the best animals on the planet – here is a picture that I did not take:


The next morning we woke early as we started cooking inside our tents from around 5am. So we lit a fire – to help the sun roast our organs – cooked some breakfast and hung out in the desert for as long as our hangovers would let us. I wandered around for a bit and found the coolest thing I’ve ever found – a desert crystal. Now known as ‘the lucky crystal’ for no other reason than I found it.

Yes thank you my fingernails are lovely x

Yes thank you my fingernails are lovely x

Not too much has happened since our return, work has had to take a front seat for a bit as even though its pretty cool to ‘drop out’ here, and you can wear all the clothes you used to wear when you weren’t homeless and still look trendy, I’d rather not. Not when I just got a lucky crystal.

Tonight I’m off to Warner Bros Studios to watch the filming of a new sit com the husband of a lady in my improv class is directing. Excited is not the right word as I don’t like leaving the house, but it should be interesting.
I don’t want to get my hopes up but I reckon if I act like I’m the most important person in the room and just pitch my unfinished sit com right in the middle of rehearsals, you could be talking to a very successful lady by the end of the evening – if you chose to call me.

Or I’ll just stay very quite, and get even quieter when people talk to me and wish I would complete at least one project in my life.

Who knows.

More soon. Stay excellent x

Oh and ps. Someone made a mockery of me while I slept. Here’s a picture of it:


LA Lesions …

Hello, I’m here. Hollywood, Los Angeles, named after me, maybe even by me. Historians just don’t know and I can’t remember.

I’ve been wanting to come here for years, for years before that, I thought I was better than America, but during those years I also thought those ‘Delphi’ hummus dips you get in every corner shop in London were quite good when actually now I realise they are revolting. I knew nothing.

Why or how we got here in the end is not important, plus I can’t be arsed to talk about it, so it’s not important as far as I’m concerned; and the flight, the flight isn’t worth repeating, for many reasons. Except I met a very nice girl reading Jurassic Park. So blown away by how nice she was I found myself volunteering for the Salvation Army in order to somehow make up for my lack of niceness. She did actually email me, I emailed her back, but now she hasn’t replied. Maybe she saw my blog? Struggling poets and dramatic fiends probably don’t make the best Samaritans … or that’s what they think. We actually make the best Samaritans. I’ll start my own Salvation Army – the ‘The Compassionate and Confused Rescue Team For Lost Souls and The Hurt’. If I had the money I would do something like that. It’s getting boring how little we care about people who aren’t us. Watching all these poor ill homeless people here, walking around uncared for by anyone. It’s truly awful.

But anyway back to happy LA. So, we land, it’s hot, I grab a Gatorade – it’s huge. I immediately decide I absolutely love America, then I look at the size of the chocolate here, and decide I’m moving.


The taxi to Laurel Canyon is basically all the money I have until I am paid by The Fashion Overlords. The meter just keeps going up, there is no roof on this meter! It’s been turned up to 11, it has it’s own mind and it is taking all of my bartering papers.

We escape the money monster and arrive at our beautiful little place in Laurel Canyon, did I mention? We’re in Laurel Canyon. The sun smattering us through the leaves, the outdoor courtyard waiting to greet us, the beautiful Spanish cottage, the toilet that fails to flush and is held together with part of someone’s necklace; all is as it should be.  It is decided this place is definitely cool when a casually placed Laurel Canyon music book on the bedside table with a foreword from Ray Manzarek is spotted. I already knew this place was cool, I tipped off Manzarek.

I keep this untrue information to myself and we settle in to the first night with American news and take away pizza, mine is vegetarian (my pizza), with a pesto (????) dressing, the pesto is made of mayonnaise and green food colouring. Make up your own mind about my pizza.

Sunday seemed like a fine day to head down to the beach, so forgetting the grace of über, we hemorrhage some more money in a taxi down there.  I got up at 6am, by now it’s almost 9am and we hit a beautiful art deco hotel called ‘ The Georgian’ or something to that effect. Bagel and cream cheese arrives, and we leave shortly afterwards. I spent most of my time there watching upper class American families drink bucks fizz and talk politics. It’s just like a Woody Allen movie, except not funny, just vaguely threatening. So just like a Woody Allen movie. Or maybe I’ve drunk too much coffee. There isn’t an upper class in America?

No one can threaten you.

We sit on the beach and watch a seagull eat some sort of unidentified jelly stingray thing, and then meander down to Venice strip. I am thirsty. People thought I had diabetes because I drank so much water (proud to say I’m now tested and I do not have diabetes, another win for my metabolism). Anyway, I’m thirsty, there’s no cute cafes selling frappucino raspberry slushies which is what I’m always in the mood for here but does not seem to exist. What there was was some bar with a guy with one leg asking us for ID and basically insinuating anyone planning on entering this bar needed to be a total legend, or have one leg.  I didn’t have my ID but did manage to recite my date of birth correctly, I failed however to deduce when I graduated college, or high school, or something, I think I said 2008, which is not at all correct but he lets me in.

I hit some lemonade pretty hard, the sun hits me harder, I can’t remember where we were trying to get to, I’m not even sure we knew, but we had to get there soon. I persuaded my partner not to finish his beer, for fear of becoming dehydrating under this blazing sun. Paranoid, he agreed and we left. The lemonade didn’t last long, and soon I was hot and thirsty again and now I could tell I was getting burnt. The sun is hot here, really proper scorchio hot. I’d been in England so long I’d forgotten that the sun is actually a flaming ball of molten fire particles exploding like nobody’s business and sending it’s fire rays down to my poor defenseless English shoulders.

Feeling vaguely faint I was distracted by a ukulele playing, I turn around and a man with curly black hair is beaming, strumming a ukulele on a Segway, leading a group of tourists (I think American tourists, I’m good at guessing nationalities) all on their segways down the loony fiesta that is Venice beach. They float past me, all mad, all smiling, and as some ecstatic cyclists drift past them as they drift past me and some restaurant is playing classical music and I’m going hypoglycemic I think, “this is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.”

We find a place that sells edible food. There are a strange couple of guys next to us, one older and Mexican, one young, sinister, friendly, redneck, and also maybe evil – giving off weird, drunk, shit vibes next to us and talking about his digestive tract too much, and then things that had or had not come out of it, as I try and eat my mezze platter. 

Then I hear them talking about us, they think were famous. I’ve been speaking to other friends here and it seems if you are British and wearing sunglasses, you’re famous. Fine by me. The sinister younger guy starts talking to us, I initially mistake curiosity for friendliness and think I have misjudged him, then he starts talking about moving here and just sleeping with another girl every night so he doesn’t have to pay rent and I decide, no I was right. The guy IS the creeps. My skin is crawling off of me remembering him. Oh and I forgot to mention he was also drooling a lot, and part of his miserable aura was the vibration of the end of a bender. Hideous creature. No point trying to find the light.

I pay, we leave. Like fucking legends. People are playing volleyball, women are complaining that their dogs cant go in to restaurants, men are dressed in green medical suits offering out some sort of Marijuana advice. I do not need any advice.

We wander for miles to find a Whole Foods. Miles, hours, seriously hours. A homeless guy starts shouting at some trendy kids walking in front of us, he’s bored and wants a reaction, the kids not giving it to him. Then the homeless guy takes the piss out of the kid’s “goofy ass hat”, the kid responds with “yeah, like your goofy ass life.” Which actually, as a come back is pretty funny but probably a little close to the bone, the homeless guy gets weird and starts some imaginary mutilation as he fades out of ear shot and I realise I’m burnt to a crisp, my boyfriends feet are exploding inside his trainers and I have a thirst that has started acting like a vacuum, stealing any moisture from inside my mouth to quench its thirst, leaving me looking as if I’d been trying to teach granny to suck lemons. And then, 2 hours after setting off, we find a Whole Foods. We buy a funk load of prawns and some asparagus, not much else useful, and head back to our sweet casa to Barbeque the living daylights out of these sea beasts. We feast on their flesh by candle light and drink ‘Cerveza del Pafico’ beers, I’d like to say in to the early hours but I pass out at 10.

I rise at 6am and feel fantastic. I drink enormous amounts of coffee, I sit outside, I nurse my red skin, I moisturize, I try and do some work, I bathe, I read, I try and do some work, I cook porridge with almond milk and feel incredibly satisfied by how healthy I am, dappled in lovely sunlight. I try and do some work, my boyfriend goes off to college, I draw a parrot and an eagle, I cook chicken soup, I lock the door, I put on Friends, I look at the clock, it’s 22.06, my boyfriend will be home soon, I have to let him in the gate with the beeper, oh and unlock the … I fall asleep. I bloody fall asleep. The next thing I know I am jumping to the door, I am at the door and opening it before I’m awake. I know something not awesome is going down, I can sense it, I let my boyfriend in smiling and NOPE.

Major fuck up Fitton, your boyfriend has been trapped outside on the street for 20 minutes, he scaled the fence risking an armed unit, to get to the door to find it locked. Fitton you did not respond to persisted knocking. You were as unconscious as fuck. Your boyfriend then went to the glass window to check you were in, alive, you were, you were asleep smiling, like a smug angel. Enraged, he banged on the glass, you did not wake up, you carried on smiling. He banged on the glass harder and smashed the window – you still did not wake up.

Unable to process this information at the time, I just poured a bowl of chicken soup as a peace offering, attempted to put some strands of loo roll on my partners bleeding hands as he talked of disaster and went back to sleep. And slept like a baby.

Who knows what happens for a few days, probably not much. I do some work, read, sleep, eat. I meet my friend in Soho House, which is not the open brick the Brit frequenter might be used to. Ever so trendy you enter through a car park … fine. If I must. The place is in a glass tower of aspiration, over-looking Beverly Hills. Vertigo entices you with every pane. We sit on the balcony and have a green juice, which I think is clover juice but apparently that’s just the brand. I’m disappointed and eat a croissant, the jam is fantastic. We stare at the traffic and chat softly. I’m tired and in awe. People behind us are talking of money, millions, and the Indian film market. I’m really glad I’m not with them. We order another coffee and stare at the scene for a bit longer, then leave.

We went to a Lakers game and ate a McDonalds, we ate Mexican food and Harry Potter chocolates that tasted like shit at Universal City Walk and  I sat by the pool at Chateau Martmont to meet another British girl moving here, made a new friend, drank a margarita in the afternoon – the results of which were fantastic. British men sat at the loungers next to the pool as we sat in the corner, grabbing the last of the light. The men laughed and chatted and smoked heartily, as if they were in some Old Boys Club in the 1800’s.


My boyfriend’s uncle took us to the Angeles Mountains and forest, which had the newest grass I’d ever seen and giant pine cones five times the size of your face – don’t pick them up to compare how big they are to your face though, as they are covered in Black Widow webs – so I learned. Anyway, as you can see I got very in the spirit of things up there.

Bendy roads like you wouldn’t believe up to the mountains, and people take these roads that are essentially just lethal corners like they’re in dodgems – with some imaginary security rail holing them on to the course. And then you have the reminders that this is not the case, there is no rail guys. As we wandered down one of the roads to the forest there were remnants of cars flying over canyons, broken trees, red glass smashed on the ground, papers strewn everywhere. Exam results, rules, instructions. All headed for the breeze.

The days feel longer here, chocolates bigger, there’s less resistance so you seem to have more time and it’s always sunny so life is just one big holiday – so long as you’re a freelancer working from home, getting work. I imagine as soon as I had to work in an office in LA my perspective would change quite dramatically, but for the reality I have created, I like LA.

America, welcome to me. Happy to be here.

Fitting in nicely ....

Fitting in nicely ….

The Art of Living …

Ah, living. Being alive is pretty easy, most of it is done for us by our little bodies, but living, what an art that is. Life can dance along smoothly like violets bobbing in a window box. But Life also has a habit of kicking you in the teeth, then sometimes if you deserve it, rubbing your face in the mud, then if you let it, it’ll waterboard you in a puddle for a while until you forget what it is to breath, then, finally it’ll electro-shock you back to upright; where you’re left standing, confused, hurt but all of a sudden much more grateful for what is right in front you.

Here are some pointers from someone who refuses to learn the easy way ….

Read Anne Frank …

Just do it. Again if you read it at school. You will realise how much you have to learn about life and other people, and how much you have to be grateful for, no matter how little you have.

The tell-tell sign of a good person is … 

When given a stick to beat you with, they simply, and with kindness, use it to help you clean up the mess you made.

Try and be that person and try and seek out those people. Trial and error here I’m afraid, my friends.

Be polite …

Passive aggressive politeness will do. It’s better than just rude.

Be grateful …

It is one of the hardest things to do sometimes, but you’re lucky just to be here. You’ve been plonked on earth and there is a lot of awesome stuff out there waiting for you, every single second.

Sometimes, as hard as it is to accept …

Love isn’t enough, if it isn’t enough.

Sexism is everywhere it only varies in it’s degrees …

… Look at the murders, the rapes, the hangings, the stonings, the abductions, the slavery. Look at the words used by “internet trolls” directed at J K Rowling in response to her opposition to Scotland’s independence, listen to how the man you love talks about women, listen to the words men use to hurt you, think about the CONTROL on however small or great a scale. Think about what being a feminist actually means. It means equality on a soul level, it means physical and emotional freedom, it means embracing what is is to be a woman and not letting anyone take advantage of that or take it away from you, and fighting for that right for all women, everywhere.

N.B. ‘Femen’, a “feminist” organisation who’s protesters get their boobs out and paint anti-Islamic slogans on them is run by a man. Make sense? Yes. A good way to combat sexism in Islamic countries? Er, no. Taking your bra off and shouting a lot isn’t very helpful, we’re smarter than that. Why don’t we stop using our bodies to prove our femininity and our right to be a woman and instead start using our minds? We’ve got complacent. Look around you and think about it. Then do something about it. We have to do something intelligent and considered about this. In developing countries it is obvious, in Westernised ones it is more cleverly disguised. Open your eyes.

You too guys.

Happy memories are often more painful to recall than sad ones …

You’ll probably feel this in a moment of sadness, so take comfort in that.

How did George Eliot write what she wrote, how did Isaac Newton discover all he did, how did Mozart create all he created, how did they all find the time to create what they did?

They spent time on their own.

Facebook …

There are  of course exceptions, but for the most part, it is one massive ego trip, it is Ego Land. A haven for those who need constant attention and adulation and reassurance and … it will ruin us all. Sorry, I genuinely believe we’re all starting to go potty. We’ve lost a connect to the people who matter, to where we ARE. ON EARTH. NOT IN THERE. You are giving so much of yourself, so much energy to this blue and white world of adulation and intaginable connections that are not real; they are far, far less real than the dreams you have at night.

If you like writing hilarious status updates, why not write them down and do something with them instead of giving them to nothing but “likes”, if you think it’s a good way to connect, why don’t you call someone or send an email or, shit, even meet up in real time.

If you like photos of yourself and your friends so much, why not see who’s around when you’re upset next and take few. They’ll be of the people who matter, who’s opinions of the photos, sadly are probably of less interest than of people one barely knows, because you already know they care about you. But we want more, we want more love, more attention from more people, more, more. However, if you just like messaging people and flirting on it, well, stay on it. It is probably the easiest facade for it.

Facebook, man, seriously. Can you even remember what it was like before it? It was all slower and everyone did not have their own opportunity to be Justin Bieber, and everyone was better off for it.

Not that this will change a thing, it’s far too addictive. I know that, but I want you to know that. See you there.

Learn when it’s time to let go …

Or Life will slowly slip it from your grip anyway.

Guilt …

… Is a pointless emotion. Feel all the remorse in the world if you should, but move straight on to atonement, it is far more productive and positive.

Someone I know received some fan mail from a mad old man in America, it said …

… Be kind to the world.

Say No …

… Learn it, and teach it to your children and anyone you love. Sometimes it is the most loving thing to do, and sometimes it is yourself that needs loving.

Every day …

Is a blessing. Seriously. Look out your window, no matter what you’re doing, no matter what the view, no matter what you’re mood, this is magic.

You can’t always get what you want …

… Which is so monotonous, painful and disheartening, but that’s probably because what you want would be even worse for you.

Don’t take the piss out of life …

… Or it will take the piss out of you.

Sometimes the things that happen, or the things you do that are not perfect …

Are far more enlightening than the things that are.

What happened to humility, what happened to fidelity, what happened to respect, what happened to women sticking together, what happened to men respecting each other, what happened to kindness, what happened to patience, what happened to faith, what happened to forgiveness, what happened to gratitude, what happened to selflessness, what happened to grace, what happened to education …

… What happened to the world not being about you. Or me.

If you don’t like your situation …

… Change it. Simple as. You are NEVER trapped. The only chains are of your own making and only take you to break them.

When the going gets tough … 

Some people run and some people stick around. Just know that when you have been left on your own in hard times, that you always would have been, it was just a matter of time. And this has saved some. Start again.

Mercy …

Maketh the man.

I say it everything I write but get away from it all and get out in nature and leave your bloody phone behind. Land is more magical than anything we could ever create, gives off the kind of energy that nourishes instead of drains.

Feel the full moon in you, feel the fire inside, speak with cool waters, see the innocence in men and bees. Fight for something GOOD. And believe in it.

Start now x


The Jolly Roger …

Pink Floyd have wafted vaguely through my whole life. Like a heady, psychedelic incense they have always been in the air. They infiltrated my consciousness through old stereos and tape decks and later, when my mother was aware I had a consciousness, through my mother.

My mother had grown up in Cambridge in the ‘60s. A model for Ossie Clarke, the first Flake woman, a purveyor of quick wit and a partaker of LSD, she was one of the cool cats. Stories of Leonard Cohen, Nico from the Velvet Underground and Pink Floyd just drifted over me, as at 12 I had no real concept of who these people were. I was a latter-day cool cat at this point and uninterested in the past. But post my highly acclaimed Ferbie, Spice Girls and Run DMC era, I got Leonard Cohen down by the time I was about 16, Nico – I’m still yet to do; I was about 18 when I first tried to heighten my awareness of Pink Floyd. I went with my sister to the Live 8 gig – had I already been a long standing fan like my sister, I may have enjoyed standing outside the arena listening to the echoed reverbs of 50 year old men, as I was not, I did not particularly. Pink Floyd’s ember was left to glow in the back of my brain a while longer.

Then at the age of 20 a flutter of pages re-ignited my curiosity. I thought maybe I’d enjoy the literature about them more than I had their music, so when the biography ‘Pigs Might Fly’ was released I pinched my mothers’ well-thumbed copy and took it up to London with me. It was moderately interesting for the first 50 odd pages, but having not enjoyed their music and with no real reference to who any of these people were, except my mother who was being referred to as “Mad Sue” by the middle aged, Henry Rollins wannabe of an author, there was little impetus for me to read much more.

At this juncture I’d like to point out I’m listening to Pink Floyd now and, I do think they’re music is a bit, well, for the sake of argument, we’ll say it’s not to my taste. Which disappoints me, I expected more from myself; but I now remember why I regretted syncing my iPod with my dads’ computer.

From what I’ve read however, I like them, I like their lyrics, I like their intention, I like their balls (as in chutzpa – grow up) and I’ve always liked the sound of Roger Keith (Syd) Barrett.

Roger Keith Barrett was born in 1946 in Cambridge. As a child he loved art and as his parents noticed his talent he started attending Saturday morning drawing classes at Homerton College and later attended the Camberwell College of Arts. A month before Barrett’s 16th birthday, his father died, which people reasonably suggest being a potential contributor to Barrett’s later mental instability. Roger Keith, became Syd after the old, jazz double bassist Sid Barrett. Both Barrett and Pink Floyd (as they would become) respectively dabbled in music and bands and Syd joined them in 1965 when they were called ‘The Tea Set.’ Barrett later named them The Pink Floyd Sound, after an amalgamation of the names of Pink Anderson and Floyd Council, who he’d read about on a sleeve of a Blind Boy Fuller EP. Barrett is credited with influencing their psychedelic sound and having all moved to London they became the house band at UFO – where all the movers and shakers got groovy and off their nut, and then later, The Roundhouse. They swiftly became the most popular band of the ‘London Underground’ scene. The band were offered a contract by EMI and their debut single ‘Arnold Lane’ went to number 20, despite being banned by Radio London, their next single ‘See Emily Play’ reached number 6. The bands increasing popularity and vast fan base also increased the amount of pressure on Barrett. He was famous, as his true namesake Roger might have suggested (Germanic elements of Roger mean fame.) Consequentially Barrett’s intake of LSD and his erraticness increased (bouts of depression and schizophrenia were reported) as his level of dedication to the band, as a group, decreased. It decreased to a level where a new guitarist, David Gilmour was brought in to cover for Barrett when he was either physically or mentally AWOL. Barrett’s involvement in the band continued to decrease and in 1968 he left. Barrett made a brief foray in a solo career, coerced by EMI but this don’t last long either. After touring with Jimi Hendrix, sporadic appearances on the BBC and interviews with Mick Rock in the Rolling Stone in which Barrett contested he “couldn’t find anyone good enough to play with” – after his tour with Hendrix, Syd flitted between his home in Cambridge with his mother and London and then finally moved back to Cambridge for good in 1982. On this final return, according to his sister, Syd walked the whole 50 miles back. He secluded in to his burrow, reverting to his love of painting and cherished his privacy. In 2006 he died of pancreatic cancer having suffered from type 2 diabetes for years. Artists such as Paul McCartney, Pete Townshend, Marc Bolan and David Bowie have all acknowledged Barrett’s influence on their work. By many he was and still is called a genius. For me, the first thing that pops in to mind at the mention of his name is a story my mother told me of how he decided to paint his bedroom floor, but started at the door so he eventually painted himself in to a corner. It sounded like something I would do, a sucker for affinity, I liked this kid from the off.

This image flooded back when my friend who works at the Idea Generation Gallery told me they were doing an exhibition on his artwork and love letters to old girlfriends. I was curious, I still wanted to know more about this man who had played an, albeit brief part in my mothers life. So I put myself down.

On the morning of the private view, Radio 4 was as it is always in my house, burbling in the background, Woman’s Hour were chatting away about burkas or something, when I hear the name ‘Jenny Spires,’ my ears prick up. Jenny Spires, one of my mother’s friends and one-time girlfriend of Syd Barrett is talking to Jenni Murray about the exhibition. This is all too exciting for me and I have to lye down for a while. I have a very fine constitution.

Against all laws of chronology, the evening of the private view came around. I, like many others, was genuinely excited to be getting this personal insight. So, to mark this special occasion I put on my finest Yasser Arafat-style bedroom slippers, a flowery little crop top and a leather skirt. Looking truly extraordinary I headed out the door. Within a few steps I’d tripped over. Muttering profanities at the pavement I look down to see the pavement was not culpable and that the soles on my dictator slippers had all but disintegrated.

No time to change them now, I’m making a concerted effort to appear something approaching punctual these days. So looking like a drag incarnation of ‘Steptoe and Son,’ I trip my way to the exhibition.

“Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town 
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way.”

I show me the way and we arrive punctually at 7pm, there are already hoards of people. As is the correct etiquette at a private view, I head straight for the bar and wash warm rum down my throat. One of Syd’s paintings stand out, a picture of two lions lion with a woman and two children standing next to them. I stare at it momentarily and then am jostled back in to the running commentary of …

“Excuse me.”


“Do you mind if I just squeeze past.”

“That was my foot.”

“I’ll pay for the dry cleaning.”

A perpetual pigeon in a room of storks, crowds make me nervous, but nerves muted slightly by the Sailor Jerrys I slalom my way through the crowd and head straight to the love letters. They are almost childish in their romanticism, their lack of restraint, with ink pictures of stick couples left for the girlfriend to fill in.  Which she does. The majority of his letters are to his girlfriend Libby Gausden, a smaller portion to Jenny Spires, which they had kindly donated to this exhibition.

We go outside for a cigarette and I regale the fascinating story of my battered shoes. The artist currently known as ‘T-Bone’ remarks:

“That’s what happened to Syd.”

“What did?”

“He tripped over his soul.”

Bar a few lines from Syd’s love letters I am quite positive this is one of the loveliest things I’ve ever heard.

With that in mind, we head back in but unable to concentrate properly as my magpie eyes find it impossible to direct their gaze anywhere other than Noel Fielding’s be-jeweled cape, we leave. I promise myself I will return another day.

As that hilarious old chap, Fate would have it, a few days later I receive an email from my mother and subsequently Jenny herself, saying that she would like to meet me and take me to a Q&A, it is at this moment I am alerted to the fact that the exhibition was actually a bi-product of a new biography about Syd Barrett, aptly named ‘Barrett’ by Russell Beecher and Will Shute.

On the day of the Q&A, moments away from the door I receive a call from Jenny asking where I am. I see a woman outside the gallery from behind and make the calculated assumption, as she was also on the phone, that this was Jenny, I cringe as the panto inside me blurts …

“I’m behind yooou.”

Jenny turns round, and either ignores or doesn’t hear what I say. She smiles and gives me a kiss. She tells me it’s lovely to meet me and to come inside. Having not smoked all day I make a quick apology and tell her I’ll follow her in while I clumsily balance coffee, tobacco and liquorice papers. As my mothers elected spokesperson on this earth – I don’t quite feel I did her justice here, and even less so when I discover as I enter the gallery wafting out smog-like smoke from an over-packed rollie, that Jenny wanted to introduce me to people.

The familiar feeling of vague embarrassment and guilt washes over me as I assert I wouldn’t have smoked had I known.

We look at some of the art and pictures, there is one of Syd in a room where the floorboards are all painted bar a mattress-shaped corner in the room. I tell Jenny the story my mother told me and she says that, yes, this is the room. I liked this, don’t know why. Jenny then walks me over to one of her letters, next to it a beautiful picture of her and Syd staring at each other with respective intent. Sunlight coming in from the window behind them. I look at Jenny now, her profile looking at her profile 40 odd years ago and I could see the same girl. The smooth curve of her nose and her soft cheeks. Syd had been a lucky man. We walk away from the picture and over to the scattering of people, while discussing the popularity of the private view Jenny, with amused humility says ..

“Yes, it was very funny, Graham Coxon asked me for my autograph. Should’ve been the other way around really shouldn’t it?”

I disagree.

I meet Russell, who is tall, with a kind voice and sporting a luscious head of raven coloured hair. A conditioned Noel Fielding.

“This is Jade, Sue Kingsford’s daughter.”

It turns out Russell as well as co-writing this book, had also made a film called  ‘A Technicolor Dream’ in which my mother featured with a daffodil in her mouth, I profess this is the only part of the film I’d seen. He replies..

“Probably the only part worth seeing.”

I’m sure it’s not, but it makes me laugh.

I head over to the bar, a delayed reaction. Men, ever ahead of the game, are drinking beer, I go dead continental and get a glass of red wine. While a pretty girl struggles to find a corkscrew I start talking to the man next to me, no idea what I said, but it was probably idiotic. I progress from idiocy, to condescend him and say ..

“So what are you doing here? Do you work here or something?”

“I wrote the book.”

“Ah, right. I see….”

This is Will Shute, co-author of the book. He is young, with a shaved head, glasses and a nervous intelligence. As with Beecher, I gauge his intelligence not from the fact that he has written a book (whilst doing a PHD) but from his self-deprecation (which unlike Beecher I haven’t quoted, but it was present.)

He asks me to ask a question.

I hate asking questions at things like this, someone usually asks my question first (and uses shorter words than I would,) or I worry I’ll do something embarrassing while everyone’s looking at me. Like sneeze or spontaneously combust. But I’m no deserter, a loyal soldier I pry my brain for a question, and then remember a quote beneath one of Syd’s paintings I read while I was pretending not to look at Noel Fielding’s cape. I let the quote soak in the soup that is my brain as I find Jenny and sit down.

Jenny has a wonderful warmth about her, I wanted to nestle in close to her – but felt this might be creepy. So, I sat up straight, crossed my legs (as far as my brash, skin-tight, acid wash jeans would allow) and waited for everyone else to settle down.

The publisher of the book, a man who seemed lovely, but whose name I forget, introduces both Russell and Will and gives us a little breakdown of the schedule. This mission accomplished successfully he heads off to the shadows, or where they would normally be, and allows the limelight of our attention to drift over to the writers of the book. They sit next to each other behind a table displaying the immaculate books, two examples of the editions. One in orange leather with Barrett’s signature in green across the front, and another in emerald green leather with one of Syd’s illustrations of a turtle in brown stamped in the middle, had I £70 that wasn’t already owed to some hideous conglomerate, I would have gone for the latter.

We hear how Will, a renowned Barrett art aficionado, had come on to the book by word of mouth. Brain Werham, a wonderfully dressed man in a jade-green suite who also curated the exhibition had passed Will’s details on and thus, the book as we know it was made. The Q&A varies from repartee between the writers and a woman who went to art school with Syd, questions of what colour the paintings in the black and white photographs were, why they had decided to write the book – which is because when Russell made ‘A Technicolor Dream’ he came across so many of these rare and undiscovered photographs and paintings that he felt they should be shared; and then, all of a sudden, it was my turn.

Automotive Systems are go!

I shoot my hand up. They ask someone else.

Don’t remember what they said, I took it personally and was too busy telling myself not to take it personally to listen to either question or answer.

Automotive Systems recharged, I fling my hand in the air again. I am granted a nod of acceptance, this is it. This is my moment. I direct my gaze at Will and wax lyrical …

“There’s a quote underneath one of the paintings that says “Roger was influenced by Roger” what do you think that says about the variation in his work, that we can see.”

Will says he liked this quote too, good man.

He actually misinterprets my question, but his answer is far more interesting – he goes on to say that although Roger was influenced by Roger some of the variations in his style have been compared to, well, I forget whom. But people who would be interesting if I had the slightest iota of knowledge about art. But Will says he can see consistency in Syd’s work. He has a finer eye than I.

What I actually intended was (in retrospect) to try and get Will to do an Oprah style psycho analysis of Syd; in that if “Roger was only influence by Roger,” and his work is so varied was Roger himself in a constant state of flux or change? Or did the variation in his art say nothing about his instability and reported schizophrenia; he just did what he felt like at the time. But as much against art critics philosphising the meaning behind the artist painting certain things as Miró – I wont even attempt to answer my own question, because it pales in to insignificance really.

The Q&A over we are invited to be shown around the paintings and letters by Will and Russell. I slip out for a cigarette to find Russell and a man who was from the Belgian parliament (as far as I remember) outside. We make jokes, forgettable ones, but oh how we laughed.

I head back in and am introduced to Brain, the man in the jade-green suit who is tingling with excitement. He offers to show me around the paintings but first asks …

“Guess whose suit this was.”

“I don’t know … James Bonds.”

“Kevin Spacey’s”

I smile and he shows me the inside of the breast pocket that confirms, the suit was indeed Kevin Spacey’s. I am suitably impressed, as was Noel Fielding apparently, but then I always knew we shared a similar taste in clothes.

Brain’s excitement is tangible and contagious. I can’t help but get excited. When at first glance, admittedly, a lot of it looked like the random sloshing of paint on canvas – or paper, they reveal themselves to be, after more considered studying and direction from Brian, quite considered. Blobs that look like blobs reveal themselves to be large stones from a park in London, a darker, purple version of the blobs are the stones at night. A little blob inside the blobs is not actually a blob, but a very accurately depicted (in it’s precise colouring) specific type of lichen that grows on the stones. A wash of orange and red in thick acrylic is the burnt orange candle that stands next to it. Child-like skills such as painting over wax are used. Every painting is much more intentional than I’d initially realized. Like his letters it is, in my opinion, their childish romanticism that makes these pictures so, well, I’m going to say it, touching. In the knowledge that he was such an intelligent, sad man, the infantility of his art has a very endearing yet melancholic lilt, to me anyway.

But like I have any fucking idea what I’m talking about anyway.

To read about this man and his art by people who actually do know what they’re talking about, go here ….

And because I promised Brian I’d plug it (that’s right you two readers – mum that includes you,) make Brian’s day and go down, it’s a truly lovely insight in to a small part of a wonderful mans mind ….

Bestival: The Great Decline …

It was that time of year again, the waning sun burning a deeper, hotter orange,  setting earlier, weighed down by the load of summer.

September heralds my birthday, Fashion Week and for the last two years, Bestival. Lexxi had got the tickets months in advance, and having had such an amazing time last year, we were pretty excited.

In the months that had proceeded our last adventure a lot, and also not a lot had changed in my life. September had meant new beginnings more so than ever last year and Bestival felt like it had already become a right of passage.

In preparation for our expedition I packed porridge (so I wouldn’t have to buy any food) some vegan green protein miracle sachet things, some hash I had splashed out on the night before and an enormous bag full of around 7 different outfits, of which I wore none.

All seemed like it was going to plan.

Until it stopped going to plan.

Lexxi had to work late on Thursday night, meaning that unlike last year we would be heading there on the Friday.

A day late.

This was the beginning of the end. This small ripple in our journey would smash it’s way through the entirety of our adventure.

I met Lexxi at Waterloo. She was eating a burger and informed me she had brought everything I might forget – sleeping bag, anorak, wig ….


We bought our train tickets and started our journey.  The train ride was uneventful enough, unlike last year I had mastered the lock mechanism of the toilets and we arrived at Portsmouth Harbor as the sun started to shatter it’s way through the clouds.

With a healthy sympathy discount off our ferry tickets we climbed aboard.

The sun was higher in the sky than last year, but fewer people on the sun deck.

There was less sense of adventure.

There was less romance.

We were a day late.

We arrived on the Isle of Wight at Ride, a picturesque little town I would have been quite happy to stay in and while away a couple of days in the dated hotels and fish and chips shops, but we trudged with the rest of the stragglers to the ‘Big Green Bus’, some of them almost retarded with excitement, others drinking neat Vodka from the bottle.

I put on my shades and did not engage.

No sir. I am no fun.

The press line at the festival gates was empty, as was the woman at the kiosk. She looked at me. Waynes World on acid. She did not like me. 

Woman: It’s £40 for her …

Lexxi: What? It was free last year …

Woman: She’s your plus one? It says on the email, £40.

Lexxi: It’s Jade Fitton

Woman: Fitton?

Me: Yeah.

Woman: Yeah it’s £40.

Me and Lexxi: We only have £30.

After a few minutes of persuasion.

Woman: Ok. You can go through but you need to bring back the other £10.

We walk off.

Me: Does it really say £40 on the email?

Lexxi: Yeah but it has every year. We’ve never paid.

A day late.

Me: Right. We’re not actually going to go back and give her that tenner are we?

Lexxi: Nope.

Me: Sweet.

We get to the bag search point. I am first.

Man: I need to search your bags.

He opens my hand bag to find a lot of books and note pads

Me: Nothing but good literature in there my friend.

Man: Do you have any alcohol?

Lexxi: Yes.

I look at her. This is not the right thing to say. He looks at her like this is not the right thing to say.

Lexxi: I mean, no. No, just Coca-Cola.

Lexxi has put the rum in my bag, I know she has nothing on her, and he only suspects her.

Me: I don’t have any – can I go through?

He has half-heartedly searches two of my bags, but is eager to move on to Lexxi’s and find the liquor.

I pass.

He finds no liquor in Lexxi’s.

Man: I don’t understand where this alcohol was supposed to be.

We shrug and skip off, elated by our successful deception. Fuck the system. We just side stepped it.

We headed off down the sunny hill ready to wander the path to the camp site. Happy, as the sun began to set.

Happy and alone.

A day late.

We turn the corner. We are the only ones to turn the corner.



Detectable only by their sniffer dogs.

Sniffer dogs. Shit. The hash.

Lexxi also has a small amount of weed on her.

There’s not much we can do here except let it happen.

I walk first.  I walk alone.

The black Labrador catches the Moroccan incense emanating form my pocket and follows me, but starts sniffing my crotch, I try to make our like I’m a bit disgusted by this perverted dog.

Then it sits down and looks up at me with its doe eyes. It looks like the dog I had as a child.

Nice doggy.

It’s a trap.


A rotund woman runs over and grabs my thumbs in some strange sort of Chinese finger trap.

“I am constable blab la bla”

Police officer: Do you have anything on you you are not supposed to?

Me: No …

This was supposed to happen.

Police officer: We are going to have to take you in and search you.

The police officer drags me back up the hill, with her flakey looking young blond side kick.

Police officer: Have you been around anyone who might have smoked anything?

Me: Yes.

Police officer: Who?

Me: Me.

Police officer: What?

Me: Weed.

Police officer: When?

Me: This morning.

Police officer: When was that?

Me: Ummm … about an hour ago …

She takes me in to a white cellophane camp erected around the back of the festival like area 51.

Individual cellophane search booths.

She instructs me to look up at the cctv camera they have placed at the entrance. She speaks well and looks like every hockey teacher I ever had.

Waynes World on acid.

Asking for trouble.

Police officer: Can you remove your hat and glasses please.

Me: You mean my disguise?

She laughs at this as I remove my disguise.

I look in to the camera. It’s like being back at a casting.

A day late.

I am funnelled in to a search booth and put my cap back on as her spineless counterpart with her festival wellies and perfect manicure struggles to spell my name, address, and in fact, all the words I say.

This annoys me. She is quite clearly an idiot.

The police officer takes off my jacket. The hash is in the top right pocket. It’s the first place she looks.

Police officer: Top right pocket Miss Fitton.

Me: Yeah … shame that. Are you going to keep it?

Police officer: Yes.

Thinking that as she had enjoyed my last joke so much I hit her with another.

Me: You guys are gonna get so hiiiiiiiiiiiigh.

I think she is laughing as she bends down to search my bag. She must be coughing as she looks up red faced.

Police officer: I don’t think you are taking this seriously JADE!

Me: No, quite right, I don’t really know what’s going on here if I’m honest.

She informs me I am being given a caution for the hash and if they find anything else they will take further action.

Me: There’s nothing else in there.

Police officer: That’s what they all say.


I’m one of “them”?

I am not one of them.

She flicks through the psychedelia of Timothy Leary looking for more drugs.

She flicks through the irony.

She starts riffling through my porridge and vegan treats.

Me: Dietary requirements of a drug fiend.

This really pisses her off.

Police officer: You might think this is a joke, but marijuana ruins lives.

I realise it’s probably time to wind it down a bit. I assume she has seen some terrible case of marijuana addiction. Later I find out what she really means.

I decide to get her back on side, I start questioning the law, acting interested, we agree that booze is indeed probably more dangerous than weed, but none the less, one is illegal one isn’t.

She informs me of how she got someone earlier for having a large quantity of what he thought was MDMA, it turned out when they tested it it was actually a class B substance, but, because the guy had thought it was MDMA they charged him with that.

She laughs as she tells me this.

Me: So you charge for intent? That’s interesting. Good thing I didn’t think that hash was anything else.

She then reveals “Marijuana itself doesn’t necessarily ruin your life, but we can if we catch you.”

I don’t like this.

Marijuana is such a fucking harmless thing, when it’s not skunk, and when you’ve bought it so you don’t have to drink yourself in to a fucking stupor at a festival.

Me: Oh right. Ok.

Police officer: If you’re found in possession of marijuana again you won’t be able to take your family to Florida.


I won’t be able to take my family to Florida if I get caught again.

Fuck you bitch. My family will have many happy trips to Florida. They just don’t know it yet.

Police officer: Who was this hash for?

Me: Me.

Police officer: Only you.

Me: Yes.

She gives me a copy of my caution, but as far as I’m concerned I leave empty handed and full of disappointment as to how we live now. The laws that are enforced on the individual. I would watch a stand up called Peter Cain the next day who would put it all rather well.

We arrive at the camp site and find a good spot, same camp site as last year, just a day later.

Lexxi was a cub scout and takes control of the tent as I smoke and make rums. I was only a hindrance last year anyway we both agree.

I make a spliff with Lexxi’s weed and we head out in to the night.

We dance around like maniacs to non-descript bands. We find a tent playing Paul Simon, and leave when they stop playing Paul Simon. We smoke more. A man comes out of the artists area and apparently sees my “beauty” even with my disguise of no make up and nerd cap. He kisses me on the cheek and walks off wafting aftershave. I find this unnecessary. We make up our own songs. We smoke more. And end the evening with tea and porridge. At the tea que is a big bear. We are very stoned.

Lexxi: Don’t look the bear in the eye.

Sound advice.

I don’t.

The next day I wake later than Lexxi and she hurries down to the press tent to charge her phone as I crawl out of the tent covered in oats, my face plastered with it like I’d come out of health spa.

I put on my cap and head to the toilets. My back feels like I’ve been sleeping on rocks with no pillow. Funny that.

I arrive at the toilets. Queues of people.

Fucking people man, why have we not evolved past this.

I go in and retch.

Don’t look down.

Back in the tent I start writing, people walk past admiring our pretty girly tent, even guys. One guy walks past …

Guy: Nice tent.

He spots me, writing, and puts on his very best Terry Jones doing a woman voice …

Guy: Dear Diary …

I laugh.

Lexxi comes back after an hour or so and we make our way to the forest, our favorite area last year. All summer dappled green leaves and nice hippies playing music.

There is little sun today.

The forest had been pillaged the night before.

It’s smattered with beer cans and plastic bags.

We smoke a spliff. Lexxi looks great in a sequin dress and lots of jewels and make up. I have been coerced in to wearing a blue wig under my cap. I look like Trailer Trash Mermaid.

We spot a tarot reader that does readings for donations.

I take off the wig.

Lexxi goes in first. She comes out looking happy.

I go in. There she is. My mystical buffer. Roxy. In a luminous hue of turquoise, sequins and khol eye liner, the coach is small and warm, there is a scented candle burning.

She shuffles the cards.

Then I shuffle the cards and split the pack.

She talks about my love life first, the news she has for me is disappointing, so not a surprise.

Then with the rest of the cards it just feels like she’s clutching at straws.

Roxy: You are worried about a young person.

Me: No …. I don’t think so.

Roxy: A baby maybe? 

Me: No ….

Roxy: There is a very young energy here. You are not worried about a baby? A young child?

Me: No … not that I know of.

Roxy: Ok well maybe a miscarriage.

Alright Roxy. Thanks love. Enough. I’m done here. The police officer told me I wasn’t going to be taking my family to Florida, you’re telling me I won’t have a family.

Let’s get our facts straight people before we start saying shit we might regret.

I leave, disappointed, and listen to Lexxi’s good news.

We head to the press tent. What a fucking let down. Everyone in there is a disappointment.

Turns out music journalists don’t look like they did in the ‘60s.  Now it’s become just another job, like all the other jobs. They’re all bad clothes and no charm. Expressionless muted skin and faded denim with features you’ve seen a thousand times before. And here they all are in the mint green crushed velvet tent, syphoning through images of nobody bands to the ether.

No fucking kid in 50 years time is going to google this shit. This is for the zeitgeist and then lost for eternity.

I look around.

Everyone’s tired and over their job but they keep it so they can tell strangers and pretend like they’ve made some headway in life, when actually all they feel is empty, impotent aspirations.

There’s a guy lying on the pillows looking like he’s given up.

Lie back and close your eyes.

Pretend your back at home.

Then open them and get up and go through the motions in the rain.

Fat from too much healthy takeaway.

Skin bloated with Berocca.

There’s not even fucking free water here. There’s nothing but a waste of space.

We head back out.

I spend 5 hours in the comedy tent, steadily drinking rum and laughing at a few. I finish the rum. It’s all the booze we have left. It’s around 7pm on the second night.

We leave the comedy tent to head back to ours for a bit. Swarms of people are coming back out as the night starts to swallow the sky.

This is the witching hour.

They’ve already lost it but they’ll keep going. They’ll keep going all night and all day tomorrow if their hearts are still beating.

We get back to the tent, I put on another coat and Lexxi umms and ahhs as to whether she should take the gems on her face off.

Lexxi: Should I take these off?

Me: I really wouldn’t worry about those love, out there they’re all so fucked they’re seeing stars anyway.

She agrees.

We smoke again.

I lye down. I want to go to bed. Lexxi is also tired. Its about 10pm.

Me: We can’t go to bed now …. Can we?

Lexxi: No, Snoops on.

Me: Ok.

We get up and make our way back out in to the night. In that time it appears everyone there has taken a serious amount of pills, and everyone seems to be coming up and going over at the same time.

Everyone but us.

There are two girls dressed as starfish. One so pilled up she can’t look at anyone in the eye, because her eyes keep rolling back in to her head.

I am transfixed by her.

Snoop Dogg is shit.

These girls are with two guys who don’t seem to care that this girl is so fucked she is at risk of losing her eyeballs. Just as long as they wake up in the same tent. With staggered regrets.

The girl wobbles over to talk to us. She asks if we have a “Pwrogrwamme.”

I am so horrified I just stare open mouthed. Lexxi informs her we do not, because even press didn’t get them for free now.

We’ve had enough. We buy a cup of tea and head back to the tent.

I look up at the sky when we reach our tent.

Wow, look at those stars.”

I think I must be the only person looking up at the stars.

We get in to the tent and start rolling again. Lexxi has more weed than I’d realised.

A guy walks past our tent with a group of friends …

Guy: Woah … look at the stars!

His friends ignore him, but he has restored something in me. I want to get out and hug him.

We sit listening for a while longer, and as another group of guys go past another man says “Those stars are epic.”

I love these guys. I shout it out to them. It pleases them.

Girls stagger past talking about boys. I want to throw the stars in their faces and wake them the fuck up. Look around you, you idiots. Fuck the stupid guys. Who gives a shit if he likes you or not.


We go to sleep bemoaning the increase in dance music.

I wake at 7.30am, it is pissing with rain.

I go back to sleep.

I wake again and 9.30am and get up.

We need to get the fuck out of this place. I don’t even want to stay for Elton John.

We had completely run out of money, but fortunately we’d bought a return ticket for the bus, that when I asked 10 of the 15 people who worked there it’s hours on Sunday morning, though none of them actually knew, including the bus driver, they all guessed around 6am. It was now about 12pm.

No. Your ticket is not valid on this bus.

Me: Why?

Oxfam woman: It’s only for the Big Green Busses and they don’t start til later this afternoon.

This whole thing is a fucking farce.


Lexxi: How much is this bus?

Irrelevant, we have no money.

Oxfam woman: £4.50. Apparently this has happened to a lot of people.

No shit. The festival has felt like a scam the whole way through. But it’s not a scam. It’s just a fully functioning business now and I want out.

We try to get on the bus with no money. The driver is relatively sympathetic but instructs us to go and see his bosses who are sitting in a van behind the buses. We explain our situation. That we have no money and are trapped.

Man: Would you ask a taxi driver for a free ride? I mean what do you think we’re running here?

 Me: I thought you were human beings and might treat us like ones.

Man: We are human beings.

You’re the wrong kind mate. We walk off.

What are we going to do?

I decide we must hitch. That’s fine I can handle that, it actually seems like a good idea. So we walk to the gated entrance.

Security: You can’t come through here.

Me: We’re leaving. 

Security: You can’t leave here on foot.

Me: Are you being serious? We can’t LEAVE?

Security: Not unless you’re in a vehicle.

This is too much. It’s like a fucking detention camp. I want to scream, but instead I breath.

We manage to jump on another bus going to the other entrance. Away from where we need to go, but at least away.

We meet a nice couple who let us in their taxi, trusting we will pay them at the other end.

Human beings.

We spend the rest of the journey with this lovely couple, and it is not an effort to spend the 4 hour journey home with them. They had had an equally hit and miss time and were the kind of people who are just good and nice, and funny.

I liked them a lot more than I think I let on. But that’s where I always screw up.

We part ways and said goodbye. Lexxi and I high five for getting out alive, and then we too part ways.

I get on the bus feeling a little deflated by it all. But also quite happy to be me. And quite happy I had hated it all.

I remember something Kirshnumirti said ….

“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”

Then I must be profoundly well.

But Bestival, you can do one mate.


To contact:

How To Spend Summer In The City …

Choosing to spend your summer in London is like choosing to spend your life with an unstable narcissit. There will be days when the clouds lift and you let yourself think “maybe it can always be like this.” We start dreaming of what our children might look like, laughing and playing in the sun, we lie in fields of bluebells, we drink gin and tonics in a can and it tastes like ambrosia.

Then, all of a sudden comes the storm, it’s pissing with rain, someone’s shitting on your from a great height and you’re drunk and alone.

And your beautiful children are two wet cats.

Maybe it was something you said. Don’t cry sweet prince(ss), blow your nose, chuck the cats and read this …

Screw public transport, it’s full of sweaty maniacs…

Cycle and feel the breeze.

However, it is inevitable you will find yourself on packed, sweaty tube at some point …

… In which case, take heed from the sweat lodges of Peru, throw in some Ayahuasca and let’s see what happens …

Want to get that exotic feeling without leaving the country?

Contract a tropical disease.

Take out your headphones …

Summer sounds different.


Pick your own food and eat it, connect with mother earth …

… or mother pavement, depending on where you picked your chicken bone.

(Seriously though pick a strawberry, pick a tomato, just go to one of those naff city farms and pick some food and eat it in your MOUTH, digest that sweet gem – you’ll feel like a superhero.)

Balls to white wine, it has been the downfall of many women …

… Stick with gin and tonic, just don’t screw about and put lemon in it like a scrubber.

When stuck inside working while it’s hot outside, don’t resist things that are quintessentially British, they’re nice* …

Don a straw hat, have a scone (they’re like 50p) and turn on the cricket while you work. Alternatively, put ‘Ill Manors’ on and listen to the voice of a generation no one wants to hear from. Up to you, mate, it’s your reality.

* Except for invasions, slavery and dividing countries will-nilly.

It’s summer now …

Let go of what happened in winter. Blow it up if you have to … (and then quickly blow it out and put the charred remains in a special little box you bury for aliens to find.)


Love picnics? Hate the weather?

Well now every day can be picnic day thanks to cucumber sandwiches, hard boiled eggs, gammon and lemonade. Enjoy outdoors in the sun with Enid Blyton or alone, in your room, with the lights off. Crying is optional. But if the gammons that goddam good, well, let it out baby

Can’t afford a Virgin holiday to space?

Have a psychedelic experience (dusk is a nice time to do it) and take a return trip to inner space. There’s a whole other universe in there.

Go to as many roof top gatherings as possible …

Your proximity to the Gods will ensure underlying divine-like euphoria, and the altitude will ensure the alcohol goes straight to your head.

(N.B – Not a good time to take psychedelics.)


Flies. Bloody flies. Making you look bad in front of your dinner guests …

Not if you’re a canny business man. Pay homage to Damien Hirst’s most shit piece of metaphorical bollocks ever and dump a dead cow/spouse/co-worker in your living room and educate your dinner guests on the cycle of life. They will be both fascinated and enlightened. You can continue the tour with your bathroom cabinet, sink, anything really as long as you’ve had a couple of lines of coke to ensure a perpetual flow of pseudo-intellectual bullshit.

(If you have in fact been infested with butterflies – count yourself blessed.)

Don’t cry for Evita …

You are not Argentina.

Play badminton … 

Tennis is a game of lies.

Eat outdoors at every possible opportunity …

Eating indoors in nice weather is for normal Spaniards. Eating afuera you are instantly transmogrified into Penelope Cruz; your relation/waitress/shrubbery becomes Javier Bardem and you laugh as you drink the sweet wines of your country. Then you touch each other’s tanned hands and feel their heart beating softly inside their hot raised veins as the breeze tickles the hairs on your wrists, and the homeless man that asks you for change is an old friend from the town you both grew up in and you laugh and embrace and cry together.

Guaranteed. Every time.

Get wet …

You are 60% water. Find some and relax in it’s cool embrace. If your lido is extortionate and/or filled with wankers, go to Hampstead ladies/gents ponds, sit by the sprinklers, get a on a river boat, dip your toes in the canal, have a pond party. There are no end of charming ways to contract dysentery and stay cool.

Don’t be lazy. Stop hating on yourself … 

Make an effort to be as happy as you can possibly make yourself be. Don’t rely on the weather, or other people to do it for you.


So, as with all dysfunctional relationships, when spending the summer in Britain keep your expectations low (ideally have no expectations whatsoever) thank the heavens for small mercies and when the sun comes out, get burned ….

A Guy’s Guide To Girls …

Think you have women sussed and then all of a sudden you have your nice Afghan rug pulled from beneath your feet?

Think it’s a waste of time even trying to understand women?

Think there’s nothing to understand?

Think you have women sussed and you’re standing on solid ground?

Think again.

Think of women as mysterious (ahem) spirits, I am the buffer, the Ouija Board if you will, between you and the other side.

 Don’t be scared. Grab a glass and sit down ….

“You’re not telepathic” … 

You don’t need to be. Let’s say you did 10 things today, one of them has fucked her off. Bear in mind it could be the one you think she doesn’t know about.

If she talks like a baby …

… advise her to see a therapist, and ask if her mum’s single.

If she thinks it’s funny to fart and burp in front of you all the time …

 … throw your drink over her.

If she has friends that are only girls … 


There’s no point trying to pull the wool over a woman’s eyes …

 …. She can see when she’s been fleeced.

Girls have heard it all before …

It has always been assumed that women are the ones susceptible to flattery. That with a few sweet nothings women are left in a state of nirvana, itching to take off their knickers. In reality, for the most part, women are rather dubious of compliments and even find it uncomfortable. Men however, thinking they are superior to such whimsies are very susceptible. Be careful, it leaves you wide open to manipulation.

During an argument, don’t say … 

… “My mother would never have done that.” Because, well, here’s hoping there’s a lot of things your mother never did.


Women with healthy relationships with their fathers are ….

… rare and wonderful creatures. Cherish them.

If she’s on date 1 with you ….

 … it doesn’t mean all that much, she’s scoping you out.

If she’s on date 2 …

 … she’s already made up her mind as to whether she likes you or not. She does.

DISCLAIMER: Make sure she’s aware these are dates, otherwise it could end up a little embarrassing, for you. 

Man up and try being a gentleman once in a while …

… hold doors open, offer a woman your seat, help a woman with her luggage. It will do wonders for your character and you never know, if you stop acting like a slob, maybe the girls will too.

Take a hint …

… otherwise you force women to be unpleasant, and in the other respect, obvious, and we would rather be neither.

Do at least try not to stare at other women when with your wife/girlfriend ….

… everyone (except you) finds it awkward. Especially the other woman.

If you work out …. 

… please god for everyone’s sake, don’t wear tight gun-grazing tops. We are not impressed.

If you’ve got a tattoo …

… don’t roll up your sleeves/wear shorts in winter so we can see it. So. Lame.

Playing games is for dum dums…           

 … if she likes you, she likes you. No amount of not calling her will increase that, and visa versa.

Inside every woman is ….

…. a scared little girl. So give your mum a hand once in a while.

Smart women tire of stupid men …

…. as stupid women tire of smart men.


Nice guys don’t finish last ….

They just have to play the (really) long game.

You can however be too nice …

… A woman wants someone she knows would fight for her life, not plead for it.


Be honest ….

… a woman’s optimism should be her grace, don’t make it her down fall.

Feminists are …

… better in bed.

Put yourself out there …

… the worst she can do is tell you to go back from whence you came, and there’s probably someone else back there waiting.

“A man wants to be a woman’s first love, a woman his last”.

Guys like to know how many, if any, loves there were before they entered your life, girls are less concerned with who and how many have come before them, but who and how many come after.

Don’t threaten or throttle …

… unless she has a knife. Or you’re a fuck.

If you think she’s special ….

 … make her feel it.

Don’t ever underestimate what a woman is capable, no matter her past or present situation …

… she will always prove you wrong, for better or for worse.

If she doesn’t have a sense of humor about herself …

 … she doesn’t have a sense of humor.

When we’re in love ….

 … we’re all as mad as each other.

We’re not here for very long, might as well be nice to each other while it lasts; as a wise man once said, “60% of the time, it works every time,” much like karma. x

Keep them keen

A Girl’s Guide To Guys …

Men are from Mars, women have penis envy. You’d think with those truths we’d have them all figured out, but we don’t.

Or, we didn’t …

I have observed both sexes at all ages, compiled the data, ignored the anomalies and uncovered the facts.

The following are a few little pearls all women should have floating around in their consciousness (if you don’t already) …

Guys who like cats …

… Like bitches.

Men who have read a book called ‘The Game’ will try and get you on a ‘Yes Ladder’ …

… Don’t. It’s not as positive as it sounds.

If you like him …

… he will disappoint you. That’s just the way it is.

If he doesn’t have a job …

… Wait until he has one. Poverty is not romantic, especially when you can’t afford candles. Trust me.

If he trims his pubes …

… He has too much time on his hands.

If he shaves his pubes …


If he gushes about how much he likes you on the first date …

… odds are he won’t like you that much by the third, because he likes his idea of you.

If he plucks his eyebrows …

… He’s depressed.

If he’s married …

… he’s married.

Don’t go out with men with (active) addictions …

… addictions are more costly, time consuming and destructive than another woman. His existential agony is not romantic. Well, it is, but it’s not conducive to a nice time.

If he irons his jeans …

… he’s repressed, and probably a sadist.

Smart women are suspicious of good-looking men …

…. As smart men are suspicious of smart women.

If he never seems to be on Facebook …

… He’s always on Facebook. He’s a lurker.

He dumped you?

He’ll come back for more. It is but a matter of time.

If he has more female friends than male, it is not adorable …

…. It’s a sign he’s either a bit of a tart, or slightly flaccid.

A man of great words is fine … 

… A man of great deeds is better. Never believe the hype.

If he has long hair …

… he’s not free, he’s having an identity crisis.

Inside every man …

… is a scared little boy. So stop looking for daddy.

Guys who go in for v.dramatic PDA are drunk, or attention seeking  wankers…

… Next time, open your eyes and check where his are.

If you’ve set your sights on the man you want to spend the rest of your life with, don’t sleep with him before he’s fallen in love with you …

… but if you do, be a little bit shit in bed. Otherwise he’ll find you frivolous and intimidating.

If he wears low Vs …

… He will have a tiny penis.

If a nice guy is nice to you …

… He MAY not be depressing. He may just be nice.

Don’t chase a man … 

It’s naff.

Stay calm …

However great you think he is, he’s just a human. And all humans start off as bum holes. You started off as a bum hole. Let that put your situation in to perspective.

This is all science, so 100% accurate and no room for error. It is verbatim.

Up next … A Guy’s Guide To Girls ….


Agent of Distraction ….

A few moons ago the universe did something pretty funky. Venus was in Pluto, the Sun was in retrograde, the stars had aligned and got me an agent; my own personal Charon to slide me down that dulcet river of advertising.

I’d always hoped my agent would be a short, elderly gentleman, preferably Jewish and in New York, but beggars can’t be choosers. I have a kismet bulge, who, as a mystical buffer I assume to be proficient in telepathy and other forms of subversive communication. My kismet bulge did however, say she’d just call me to get in touch.

From this I deduced that all I had to do for my life to miraculously change, for gold to rain down from the happy heavens was, wait for her to call me and get me a job. I waited, and one week later she called me.

She’d got me a casting.

Having been a producer in a past life, and therefore on the other side of castings, I was aware of the potential to be ridiculed at this casting, and so I felt a little trepidation, but came to the conclusion that the ridicule was worth it for all that bullion I was about to get. I confirmed my attendance.

The night before the casting I went to bed early and listened to the closest thing I have to whale song, Norse Myths and Legends (awesome). I slept soundly, and by soundly I mean badly. The next morning revolved entirely around the casting, nothing else mattered, this was definitely a big deal. I turned up to the Spotlight Casting rooms early, looking as preened as I’ve ever looked (I bought hair serum) and sat down to fill out the form I was given by the receptionist (I had had to alert her to my presence, she wasn’t very tuned in, universally speaking).

I waited not nervously, but anxiously for about 10 minutes, then a faceless voice called from the next room  …


“Shit. I’ve got that name, that’s probably me,” I thought.

I got up and was guided in to the steamy bowels of the casting room by a young gentleman who will be partaking in this experience with me. I hadn’t been forewarned I was going to be interacting with someone from the opposite sex, but I’m a really versatile actress, so I took it in my stride.

The young gentleman was quite good looking but because he was at this casting I found him so depressing I could’ve cried.

Casting Number One – Orange

This first casting was for an Orange advert being released in Romania and I was being cast as an ‘Amelie-esque’ character, aka ‘cute and clumsy’.  The casting director informed me that the young gentleman was to be my boyfriend, lucky guy. In order to showcase our relationship we had to do all the things couples normally do; we had to mime smelling roses, mime looking at ducks and hardest of all, mime an atmosphere of the most divine and mystical of the worlds occurrences, love.

Oh no sorry, I forgot, I had to mime cycling a bike.

I didn’t get the job. I did take it personally. This awkward experience was an orgasm compared to what was to come ….

Casting Two – Heinz Tomato Soup

They were looking for another “Amelie-esque “ character (who knew I as so ‘cute and clumsy’). In the mood board they’d insinuated this was to be a real classy advert, Audrey Hepburn in ‘Breakfast at Tiffanies’ was the reference. I walked in to the casting room looking the part, class incarnate baby. Hire me UP.

In the room a rather large woman sits on a large blue sofa. Another woman sits a few feet away on a stool, camera angled in my direction. The large woman says …

“Hi Jade, if you could stand on the green cross.”

I am blind and nervous and can’t see the green cross so just stand in the vague direction her eyes jutted at (not the green cross).

“No, on the green cross please.”

“Sorry I’m a little blind, where is the green cross?”

“Right there.”

She points again with her eyes and this time I see it. It’s about two feet to my left. I stand on it and am instructed to go through the motions. Name, agent, profiles, side to side. I do this. It’s going well. Next she indicates to a bowl on the other side of the room …

“We brought a bowl in because we thought it’d be helpful…”

“For mime eating soup” I think.

“… If you could actually wet your face, as if you’d been in the rain.”

“So I’m, like, apple bobbing?”

“No, no. If you just splash your face a bit …”

“Oh ok”

I splash my face a bit; I think I’m pretty wet.

“Is this ok?”

“No, really wet your face!”

I feel a failure already. I didn’t splash enough water on my face. She must think I’m a ridiculous pussy. So in an effort to redeem myself I really go to town with the water, now my face is dripping. She instructs me to go over to the corner of the room and I become aware I am craning my chin forward to avoid wetting the mac, kind of defeating the purpose of wearing a mac, but some strange instinct comes in to play and renders me incapable of allowing any drips to fall on me. I imagine I looked a lot like Keira Knightly in ‘A Dangerous Method’ for the first few minutes.

She instructs me to go over to the other corner of the room and …

“Walk in to your house, relishing the novelty of the rain outside and the warmth inside, then take off your mac and leave it on the chair.”

I do this and feel I do this rather brilliantly. Rain relished, hands rubbed, coat on chair.

“Now look in to the camera and pretend it’s a mirror. You see your reflection and are surprised yet amused at your appearance, your mascara’s a bit smeared but let’s have fun with it.”

Oh man I love fun, but this isn’t fun, I am starting to find the experience embarrassing. I look in to the black shark-like eye of the camera lens and have as much fun looking at it as I possibly can.

“Great, now start making faces at yourself,” she says.

I start making faces at the camera, I don’t like making faces. I’m starting to find this experience really embarrassing.

“Now if you could take off your top as you get ready to go in to the bath”.

Oh great. This sounds familiar. Make me feel real small then ask me to take off my clothes.

I don’t require much persuasion and I take off my top. I am wearing a bra today, thank Christ.

“Now, you look in the mirror”

I look at the bastard camera.

“And you start playing with your body.”

“I’m sorry?”

“Just play with your body”.

“Oh. Ok. Right. Like … move around?”

“Yeah but really play with yourself, then the mirror will turn in to one of those fair ground mirrors and you play with that.”

I stare in to the black hole of the camera lense, it’s vacuum sucking my soul out of my terrorized eyes.

“Ok. Yeah. Sure.” I hear myself say. My soul has left my body and is watching my mouth moving from the corner of the room, and it’s cringing. My fucking soul is cringing.

I start wiggling around in my bra. I hate wiggling around in my bra. I get so embarrassed I don’t know what to do and before I know it. I’ve just pulled double guns out of my pockets and shot them at the camera.

“Ok. Thank you. That’s enough now.”

“Sure, sure.”

The director and camerawoman ignore me and start talking about what coffee they had for lunch, I don’t know if I’m supposed to leave straight away …

“Can I put my top on?”

Of course I can put my top on.

I scramble to put my top on, getting arm in the wrong sleeve, brain slowly destroying any confidence I have left as I leave the room.

The director blows me a kiss. I mean, what the fuck?

I bump in to the doorframe as I leave. Then smoke two cigarettes one after the other. (Friends and family, this was before I quit, still not a puff).

I saw the advert on television recently. At no point does the majority of that happen.

Casting Three – Post Office

Fate and public transport ensured I successfully made it to the grotty Hackney casting rooms for this next casting. This one should be simple. I’m just playing a girl watching T.V.

I go in, and am instructed to casually sit down. The director’s the first vaguely attractive director I’ve had since these started.

Must. Impress. Vaguely. Attractive. Director.

He sits down and observes my position on the chair; I have casually swung my legs over the arms of the chair. I would never do this in real life but I must at least act casual. Uptight doesn’t sell stamps; or life insurance, or whatever we’re selling here.

He approves my position and says …

“Now, pretend you’ve drifted off watching T.V then something … like an explosion … wakes you up for a few seconds then you go back to sleep”

I have done this in real life a thousand times, every time I try to watch ‘Blade Runner’ in fact. Piece of piss.

I do it.

“Yeah that’s great but if you could act a little more surprised when you wake up …”

I felt his direction was a little on the nose, but I take bad directions like a little Gretel and do it again. I am seriously surprised by the explosion.

“That was great, thanks”

That’s it? I feel used. Mediocre. I get up and move to leave as he says …

“Have you got a tattoo?”

I do. It wasn’t and never will be my finest hour.

“Oh yeah, but it’s a bit shit really…” I say as I back away towards the door.

“Let’s see …”He says insistently.

“Oh no, you don’t want to it’s just stars.”

“I’ve got stars …”

“Then you’re an idiot,” I think.

I reluctantly show him as I continue my quest for the door.

“You should cover up,” he says.

“What?” I think. Firstly, I couldn’t be wearing more clothes and secondly, you were the one who told me to roll up my sleeves. Confused indignence has obviously washed over my face as composure seems only to orbit my personality and then, once in a blue moon, eclipses itself.  Either way, it rarely sees the light of day.

“With tattoos …” he elaborates, having read the confused indignence of my face.

“Ohhhh I thought you were implying I wasn’t wearing enough clothes …” I reply.

He laughs, so does the girl in the corner with the camera. I turn red and walk out the door. Another successful casting under my belt. Yes.


Casting Four – Pepsi

Somewhere in the universe stars are exploding, planets are forming, comets are colliding; I am back at the Spotlight Casting Rooms and in the waiting room on a surprisingly warm late September afternoon. I am being cast for the part of ‘Traveler Girl’. How hip and cool of me. For I have been traveling, I am a girl, I am wearing denim cut offs again; you’d never know when I went to India I didn’t find myself.

I wait.

They’re running very late, which was good news as so was I. So late though, that when it comes to the last 4 girls (of which I am one) we are all called in to the room to be given our directions at the same time, to save time, but the time is already lost.

We are then called back in to the room one by one. I am third. Lucky for some.

I go through the motions, name, agent, profiles. Then have the instructions repeated to me – she sees potential. She hasn’t seen me in motion yet.

“So now you’re looking across the scenery and you follow a trail of Chinese tourists with your eye line, then you see what we will be the drink vending machine and a wishing well, and you react with surprise and then excitedly tell your friends.”

This could go awfully wrong I think. Ignore the casual racism. Be casual. Underplay it. I mime scanning the Brazilian horizon, searching, following those Chinese tourists and then I see the machine and the well and mime excitement …

“Oh fuck” I hear myself saying, excitedly.

The casting director interrupts me now excitedly smiling at my imaginary friends.

“Yes, no, you can’t say fuck”.

“God no sorry, got a bit carried away”.

She laughs.

“No that’s fine, so if we can do it again and just look excited, don’t actually say anything”.

“Ok sure”.

Just look excited I think. Pretend someone’s just told you marijuana’s been legalized I think.

So I’m there, scanning the horizon, checking out the Chinese tourists, there we go … and oh my god one of them’s just told me marijuana’s been legalized. I react accordingly and in my excitement mouth the words …

“Oh wow.”

I am allowed to excitedly relay this information to my imaginary friends this time. She then says.

“And one more time and this time if we can have you just not saying anything”.

It is only in writing this down I appreciate the busy woman’s patience with me.

I do it again, but take it down a notch, pretend someone’s just told you you’re having someone’s love child. So, horizon, Chinese tourists, Chinese tourists …. Chinese tourist informing me “You’re having someone’s love child, congratulations”. I allow smug surprise wash over me, and tell my friends.

“Great.” She says.

“Great.” I think.

“Now take this bottle of water and turn so we have your profile and have a few glugs of the bottle.”

I know what this is supposed to look like, I can picture it, I’ve seen the adverts. And the adverts didn’t look like this. I glug, I know it’s a little lack-luster, there wasn’t enough hunger in that thirst for Pepsi. I proceed to leave and head in to China town, I buy some Softmints.

Casting Five – Cruise Ship

I get an email from my agent, by this point I realise she is saving the telepathy for the big jobs, as this one is a casting for a cruise ship. Great. I already know I’m wrong for it but rearrange my life in order to confirm my attendance anyway, because you never know. Chance and possibility are wonderful if timid little wallflowers.

I arrive, it’s in a soulless church off Tottenham Court road, and the waiting room is a corridor. There is no receptionist to buffer me in to this world. Just a pile of paper, one of them to be mine, to pick up and fill out. I go to change first. There doesn’t appear to be any alphabetization, to them calling in so I figure I won’t miss much, or be missed. I could ask someone what I should do, but I’ve already mad e a sweeping judgment of the crowd and none of them look like people I want to engage with. So I smile and head to the bathroom to change in to some appropriately floral summer garb. The bathroom is hideous, like an old school bathroom.

I come out of the frosty toilets looking the vision of summer, then notice as I sit down and change my shoes that the nail polish on my toenails has chipped and my new shoes have given me a rather charming blister on my big toe. Good thing I’m not wearing flip flops I think.

I trudge in to the gloomy hallway and am asked by a guy with an alarmingly low V and a skin graft on his nose what my name is. I tell him. He’s had a sun bed recently I observe. He’s a fleshy red and has gelled his hair an “accidental” sideways, but probably what some people would find good looking. I am informed I’ll be doing this with a guy, and there the guy is, a vision of vanity. He is tall, has dark hair and is very good looking, He is pale and his skin is luminous. He has plucked his eyebrows. I am instantly repulsed.

I walk in with him in to the big cavernous gym-esque room and deciding I don’t give a shit about this anyway, decide it might as well be amusing. I give them all a big “Hello” and one of my best goofy grins.

The guy and I are informed that we are playing a couple in love and on holiday, on a cruise, this is so fucking me. I look at my love interest as he professionally delivers his details and shows off his profiles. I’m about 3 feet shorter than he is and feel a little inadequate, maybe they’ll decide it’s adorable. I do the same with as much grace as I can muster. We are then instructed to imagine we are sitting on the deck of our cruise ship sun bathing and looking forward to our Sangria and Chicken Kiev supper. The whole idea is so far removed from any reality I have experienced, but I look at my shiny boyfriend and think I might as well give it a go.

I recline and imagine the buzzing strobe light above me is the hot sun my alabaster skin has been longing for. I close my eyes to enjoy it’s warmth.

I hear my boyfriend chatting about cocktails and shit.

“Mmmm … yes darling, did you bring the factor 50?” I interrupt.

The room laughs. Really?

“No I don’t think so” He replies and moves on “Look at that, not a cloud in the sky …”

“Ok well maybe little Manuel can get a hold of some,” I continue. I open my eyes and pretend to look at the sea. “Oh and look, dolphins, darling, just for us …”

He takes the dolphin line and runs with it. I switch off and smile serenely.

Then we’re instructed to look in to each others eyes with a loving understanding that we are having the best time and have probably had a lot of sex on this fantastic ship of dreams and glory. I look at him and feel depressed. I look at him and smile, my eyes trying to find his but faltering over his gleaming skin and around his perfect eyebrows.

They say ‘the look’ is great and ask me to take off my shoes because the director has a “foot fetish”. Not for long mate. I take them off. In the harsh light of the strobe they do not look good. If you’ve ever seen Roal Dahl’s Witches, you’ll understand my problem here.

We’re told we’re done and can leave. My boyfriend mutters in his silky voice if “They always have to be this embarrassing”. “It would appear so” I reply but he’s not listening, not really anyway. I get changed and look at the long line of people waiting for their opportunity. I smile at all of them.

Casting Six  – Blue Dragon

My agent contacts me, she chooses to use an official medium again, email.  BORING.

I do, of course, have to rearrange some things in order to go to the casting, but that’s fine. This feels like destiny. They’re asking for a rock chic, I’m wearing leather trousers. Hello! This one is in the bag.

I arrive 10 minutes before I am scheduled to in order to give me enough time to fill out forms. I arrive to find a very small room completely packed with Chinese women. I look around. Something about this is not quite right – I head up to the pretty receptionist who is midst buffering three excitable Chinese women. I am not a Chinese woman.

“Hi, I’m here for the audition, the Blue Dragon thing,” I say.

“Oh yeah, hi sorry, we’re running an 45 minutes late.”

“Forty FIVE?” (I accentuate the wrong word, making it sound like had they been forty-two or forty-eight minutes late I would have been fine with it).

“Yeah sorry about that. If you come back in about an hour that would be great”.

Sure. I don’t have a life, I’m not supposed to be working. My life revolves around infinitesimal possibilities such as this. I will waste an hour of it doing nothing productive and return.

I try on a fantastic leopard print jacket, but don’t buy it. The hour was, as I had anticipated, unproductive.

I return, the casting room is now filled with pretty young white girls with varying interpretations of what a rock chick should look like. Some of them appear to have confused rock chick with prostitute, but whatever.

I go back over to the receptionist and inform her I have returned, that’s right, me. I’m back. You want me?

“We’re still running an hour behind.”


“Yeah sorry”

I’m about to get huffy as a woman who is evidently the casting director leans over to the receptionist next to me. I’m not sure if she senses my drama queen vibe but says to me,”I’m so sorry we’re normally so on time.”

I switch to charming in front of the receptionist, I feel a fraud

“Oh no it’s fine, I’ve been making the most of it perusing new coats. It’s been very productive.”

“Oh great …” then she starts talking about Christmas shopping and I switch off and look through her.

I stand waiting in the packed room full of young girls, who, like young girls have started chatting inanely to each other. Some of them keep smiling at me, inviting a smile back, I don’t return the smiles. I just look away.  Having established myself as queen bitch and completely unapproachable to all these amiable young ladies I am finally called in, with two other girls.

The advert has a ‘Wok God, John Smith’ in it. We are his wannabe groupies. It’s a room full of people and it’s quite hot. We face them. They’ve been eating sushi, I smile at one of the better-looking men, happily aware the most he can do is smile back. No opportunity for inane chatter here. We are here for their entertainment. It’s been a long day and they look like they couldn’t give a fuck. You know what, I’ve been waiting for two hours to do this and I’m starting to feel the same way, but I’ll hold on a little longer.

The director is a nice enough middle-aged man and he explains this will be like a news report and we talk in to the camera with the responses to his questions. We’re very excited to be there. The other girls seem quite quiet. We give our names, agents and profiles. I’m the tallest which is nice.

The director asks the first question …

“How did you hear about John Smith’s, Wok God’s sauce?”

I can feel the girl next to me bubbling up, effervescent with saccharine excitement and then the foaming sweet bile comes out of her mouth and I turn, something inside me has flipped, hope and joy have just been switched off. I hate her …

“Oh god, I just heard it on the radio! And I was like! Oh my God! I HAVE to come DOOOWN! I, I love him SO much!”

The other girl starts bubbling up. My mouth is wide open. I can’t believe this is happening. I will not be joining in.

Girl 2: “Oh yeah no, I was with my friends in a pub and they told me and we were like “Let’s all come down TOGETHER!!”

There’s a pause. This is where I’m supposed to come in. I look in to camera and there’s a bit of me that thinks, be smart, do what they want, but the other part of me knows I can’t do it without being sarcastic. So I don’t smile, I look into camera and say, “Er, yeah I wasn’t invited. I’m not really welcome here…”

There’s a laugh from the director. The laugh descends into a chuckle from the rest of the room.

“There’s always the next question,” I think, “I can bring this back.”

The director asks the next question: “And what will you do if you meet John Smith?”

Girl 1:  “Oh god I don’t know. Kiss him …”

Girl 2:  “No I will kiss him!”

They actually start arguing about who’s going to kiss him, I stand there for a minute and can’t help but giggle. I can’t do this. It’s too fucking mad. So I just stand there. Gob-smacked.

Then the director turns to me and asks, “And what would you do?”

I look at the camera, and slightly more deadpan than I’d intended I reply, “Die.” He looks a little alarmed by this comment so I extend it, “I don’t know … eat his food? Kiss him?”


There’s chuckles again.  This lot are pretty willing to giggle I think. Fuck it. I’m going to be stupid. I’ve already blown it.

“Where have you come from?”

Girl 1: “East London.”

Girl 2: “Shepherds Bush.”

Me “Bognor Regis.” I couldn’t think of anywhere funnier, still everyone laughs.

The director then asks, “And how long have you been here? Some people we here for hours…”

Girl 2:  “Yeah I …”

Girl 1 interrupts: “I’ve been here since dawn …”

Screw you bitch, this shit gettin’ NASTY.

I interrupt “I’ve been here all week. Camping. Outside his door.”

Girl 1 interrupts me “I …”

I interrupt her back “I haven’t washed in a week”.

Now everyone’s laughing, quite a lot.

We’re all pretty confident Girl 1 gets the part but it doesn’t really matter. I had a great time right? It helped to pass the time, distracted me from the looming unknown.

And I got to be the tallest person in a room for the first time in my life.

N.B. I was fired by my kismet bulge shortly afterwards.

Bitch, please