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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

This. Means. War.

Not many people know this about me, it’s not like I harp on about it all the time but I was, literally, born to have a good tan. Mongolian Blue Spot, they call it, and it’s a real thing, you can google it. It appears like a birthmark upon arrival into this world, and is mostly seen on the bums of Native Americans, Polynesians and Asians. But the really exciting anomaly is when it appears on white folk, like me. Legend has it that if a Caucasian baby is born with a ‘blue butt’ as the Japanese call it, then it is nature harking back to some ‘dubious’ ancestry, as my family like to jest... Or that one of my great great great great great great grandparents just so happened to be Dutch Polynesian, according to my mother's scrupulous family tree climbing.

I am very grateful for my lineage. It means that I tan extremely easily, and I don’t mind trying. I’m browner of skin than my sibling, because they weren’t touched by the blue spot. It takes about four minutes for tan lines to appear. It’s a skill I’m very proud of, and as such, I’m very accustomed to worshipping the sun, as seen here, on a boat in Antigua, thank you very much.

But now, all hell has broken loose. Gareth and I, in our little chapel flat, don’t have a garden.  But we do have a little flat roof outside the sitting room windows, and on the rare occasion that I was at home on a sunny Saturday, I was partial to a bit of a lay down.

This morning, my landlord emailed me to let me know that the landlord of the flat below had spotted me sunbathing and demanded to know what on earth I thought I was doing putting all nine of my stones on his precious little roof. There was photographic evidence attached to the email. That’s right, he’d taken my photo.

Aside from feeling rather violated at having been watched in this voyeuristic manner, I’m absolutely devastated. I sunbathe, therefore I am. I can not not sunbathe. What will become of me? I’ll shrivel up and turn white, or worse, a kind of off-yellow colour a bit like jaundice, like I do in the winter.

I have two options and I’ve already advanced one of them, probably the wrong one but I was angry. I should have just started looking for other places to live. A bit of a bind, but sunshine is imperative.

Instead, I launched a counter attack on the other landlord.

‘He doesn’t want me to sunbathe? Oh yeah?’ I wrote, although slightly less childishly. I insinuate toughness now for comic effect. (I don't need to tell you that Gareth went over my email and 'calmed it down,' as he put it.)

‘Well, how about he gets his tenants in the flat below ours to shut the hell up once in a while? When they play Boyz 2 Men at 2am so loudly that the bass reverberates our floors, I’m pretty sure the entire chapel shakes. Oh, and while I’m at it, they’re using the car park for some wheelin and dealin’, there is litter everywhere and they probably smell. So there!’

I totally won.

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Friday, May 25, 2012

The KKK... (aka Kim's Krush On Kate)

Hi Kate,

You may remember me, I wrote to you when you got mazzered last April - thanks for the extra day off by the way.

I thought it high time I write in again. Check up on you. Are you well? Are you eating? You don’t strike me as the kind of woman who eats. I have a funny feeling there is a media embargo on publications discussing your weight, as although there’s a new picture of you in a beautiful dress every day, no one seems to write about the elephant in the room - your tiny frame. I am under no such embargo.

I don’t really have concern for your health so much as just really want to know how you do it. I would love to be a size nothing like you, but I keep accidentally splitting a bottle of wine with a friend and declaring pudding is definitely a must. I doubt you reach over when William's not looking and pinch the chorizo from his plate. I do that.

But anyway, weight issues aside, I really just wanted to say, god damn you get to wear some pretty dresses.

This one gave me a big dollop of green eyed monster. I’m getting married myself in a few months and when I saw this dress, I sent a link to one of my bridesmaids wailing at the knowledge that you had out-dressed me. I’ve got serious dress rage. This dress makes my dress look like I got it in F&F at Tesco. Which I bloody didn’t, as my poor mother knows, it was mega expensive. And now you’ve gone and made me want a different dress.

 I also loved this one. Again, you look damn fine in it. I can’t say I’m not jealous of your job, which appears to be two fold: Have great hair. Wear Dresses. I have hair that forgets to grow and no amount of Moroccan Oil will give it the kind of lustrous carefree flicks I pine for. And as for wearing dresses, never do I have the occasion. I did once dine with a king and I wore a dress then, but that was 12 years ago and I can’t really milk that forever. I really need some new banquets and black tie engagements to attend. Don’t suppose you want to throw some my way? I’m awfully good in social situations. I only once called a fat girl fat in a speech and I only once got so drunk I threw up in a plant pot. Ok, maybe twice.

Every morning, I make myself some breakfast then sit at my desk and use the cereal as justification to stop what I'm doing and check the Daily Mail. It’s a website I simultaneously hate and love. I hate it because the Mail hates women. She’s fat, she’s skinny, she’s confident, what a bitch. She’s lost her job, she’s lost her man, she’s lost her shoes, how embarrassing. Oh, and we’ve all got cancer.

It’s not a great start to my day. But I love it because the side panel of celebrity goss feeds my hunger for pictures of famous people with pretty dresses and great hair. Then I hate myself for loving it and love myself for hating it. Most mornings, you’re on there, because you’ve been to another Gala or red carpet event. You’re on there, looking thin and gorgeous with your bouncy hair and your frocks. And I think to myself, hmmm. That’s a nice dress. Nicer than my wedding dress. And I get a bit jealous. I turn to Gareth, future husband, also checking the Daily Mail, but probably not because he’s stalking you, and I show him your latest dress. And he says: ‘yeah great’ without looking over. I’m sorry Kate, I don’t know why he doesn’t show more interest, it’s terribly rude. I mean, does he not realise how well you work a Jenny Packham?

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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Brussels Vs Brussels

I did not realise when I decided to go to Brussels to visit some friends, that Brussels would be competing against Brussels, as I had quite blocked out that I had been there once before. It was only as we stepped out of the Eurostar, or ‘Le Eurostar’ as I like to call it, that I was hit with a sudden feeling of familiarity. And not of the good kind. Because last time I was in Brussels, I was in a bad place. Thus, it was very important to me that this trip was better than the last. And luckily, it just about scraped by with a few more points, so that’s good.

Brussels trip number one was six years ago. That was when I thought I was being really rock and roll and decided to go out with a complete and utter dickhead, who happened to sing songs and thought himself a rock star. I also thought this of him, hence my letting him treat me like crap.

Nic Dawson Kelly, or, as my friends and I soon started calling him, Dic Foreskin Crappy, (Ha! We won! My friends sure know how to nurse my broken heart) was, he told me, on the verge of stardom. I’d met him at a gig and gone a bit weak at the knees as he swooned about on the stage, looking like a cross between Bob Dylan and someone with special needs. When he started talking to me at the bar afterwards, I thought I’d hit the jack pot. Me! Out of all the women in the bar that night, he picked me! Gush.

So then me and Dic Foreskin Crappy (we actually C-bombed his last name but there’s no need to be profane here) started seeing each other. The sex was awful, he chain smoked Marlboro's in my flat even though I told him not to and he never asked me a single thing about myself. I was constantly on edge because I was so very aware that this guy was on the brink of stardom. Fern Cotton had mentioned him on Radio 1 and he was mates with Jamie T. Apparently Jamie T was a big deal. I didn’t even like Fern Cotton, but still, it filled me with nerves.

I could also see he was a tortured soul, and I really wanted to save him. The classic move - meet a dickhead, try to save them. So I stuck it out.

One week in, he suggested we go to Brussels, just for fun. Even though I didn’t want to because I didn’t really like him and being with him just made me feel shit about myself, I said yes. It could be a chance for him to see me be brilliant, I’d drink fruity beer and we’d have loads of fun in a new city. Then maybe he’d be nice to me.

So we boarded the train and he starts ignoring me slightly more than usual. We get to Brussels and he continues being the moody prick I should have politely declined on night one, only now we’re in a foreign country, and he doesn’t want to walk about and look at buildings or drink beer, or try some chocolate, or speak French, or anything fun at all. He just wants to be a jerk. I’d left my phone at home so couldn’t even send heartbroken messages back to Cesca in return for some comforting love and reminders that somewhere, back in the UK, someone thinks I’m brilliant.

The trip was a disaster. No wonder I forgot it. Blocked it out. At one point I asked him what was wrong and he poetically explained his dilemma. ‘I’m an artist,’ he said. ‘You wouldn’t understand.’

No, I didn’t understand what it’s like to be an artist, on the brink of stardom. Shortly after this, we parted ways. It wasn’t pleasant. He refused to give me back £100 he’d borrowed, so I got my big brother to open a can of whoop ass on him. (It’s terribly convenient having a big brother when men are mean to you. Jae has been protecting me since James Perry bullied me when I was nine. He doesn’t even punch them, he just gets all big brotherly on them and they run away screaming like girls. Dic repaid the £100 he owed me precisely 11 seconds after I got my big brother involved.)

As le Eurostar arrived in Brussels this time, I was accompanied by one of my best mates, Olly, and my future husband, Gareth. Well, what a difference six years makes! I’m now about to marry a man on the brink of stardom. He’s an artist, of sorts, but not a jerk. He hates Fern Cotton and had to remind me who Jamie T was for the purpose of this story. He gets me and I get him, and together, we had a great time in Brussels, with our amazing friends, drinking fruity beer, trying local chocolate, speaking French un petit peu and looking at buildings avec our eyes.

The friends we stayed with, Will and Laura, were exceptionally lovely hosts. Here's a picture of me and Laura being happy in the famous square. I can't share any pictures of Dic and I in Brussels because he was too busy being a tortured artist to smile for the camera.

 We drank Will and Laura out of house and home but they still hugged us when we left. We played Boules, we talked about atheism, families, politics, lobbying, photography, journalism and festivals. And we had a lot of fun doing it. Brussels won, while Brussels lost.

I saw the weekend as a marker of how far I have come since last time. I’d even wager I’m the more famous one out of brink of stardom Dic, and lowly fan Kim. After all, I’ve been on telly and I once spoke to Lizzy Cundy on the phone.
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