There is a photo from the night the boy and I first got it together. It shows him in the foreground grinning in a grey jumper, which will soon become my favourite, and me in the background of the photo. There is a Marlboro Medium balanced expertly between my middle fingers and I am looking down at the ground whilst talking to another guy. I am completely oblivious of the photo being taken or of the boy who is standing mere meters away.
I near enough remember the moment because I was thinking about leaving to meet a guy I’d been on a few dates with who messaged me to ask him to join him in Fallowfield. Whilst looking for my coat I bumped into two troublesome friends who insisted I join them in putting the world to rights by combining a small bottle of cola with a big bottle of Jack.
It turned out to be one of the best house parties I have ever been to. Held above the One Stop Shop in a ten bedroom flat shared by seven lads who each had a love of the good life, people in Withington and far further afield still remember it fondly to this day. The party featured two live performances from The Schmatte Kid and another band as well as a pretty incredible DJ set which carried us through till sunrise the next morning. There were random rooms all over the house to chill out in, one of which had easy listening music and pretty fairy lights. The toilets were communal, the floor was our ashtray and anyone who came to tell the lads to turn the music down just ended up joining in the fun.
At about 8am I remember turning to my friend who had invited me and begging her for a spot to sleep. By this time we had completely run out of alcohol and though there was talk of trying to tunnel our way downstairs to get more drink the plan seemed a tad far-fetched and it was starting to feel as though it was time for bed. Although my friend is a lot more hardcore than me, as only good friends do she took pity on me and directed me to a place of peace upstairs. There was a couple of people passed out at the very end of the bed but being too tired to care I dived under the duvet and lay my head down. Soon I had drifted off into a sweet disco dream. All of a sudden I jolted awake upon feeling the duvet mov as someone clambered into bed beside me. Feeling more cross than cautious I turned over to find the musical Nazi looking back at me not at all anxious about his ungentlemanly behaviour. ”What the hell do you think you are doing?” I muttered murderously, “I am trying to sleep.” He looked back at me rather bemused and said, “But this is my bed.”
Rather than get into a Goldilocks and the Three Bears style argument or worse still risk admitting I had been mistaken in where I had laid my hat (I hadn’t, this was my fiendish friends idea of matchmaking) I turned to face the wall and fell straight back to sleep. Before I did I remember grumbling incoherently about how he had better not try anything if he didn’t want to find out the full strength of a girl in her third week of self defence classes. We fell asleep far apart but when I woke in the morning it was to find his arm wrapped around me and though I am not quite sure why I didn’t bother to remove it and fell back to sleep in his arms till nightfall that day. When I woke up he was gone, as were the couple from the foot of the bed. Feeling extremely confused, hungry and admittedly in need of some serious plonk plonk fizz action, I skulked down the stairs to find a host of people watching Black Adder. Thankfully both my friend and the boy were still about, he was dressed in jeans, a t-shirt and a dressing gown and looked dishevelled but still rather dashing. He offered me a coffee, his jumper and even let me join him in a mass Dominoes delivery order to the flat advising me on the most tasty of the options. We spent the rest of the evening together, not really talking just sitting close to each other. Though he never even tried to put his arm round me I remember wanting him too the whole time. We watched reruns and rubbish Sunday night TV till it got to midnight and I managed to force myself to get up and leave. Though he saw me to the door and waved me off down the street he didn’t kiss me goodbye nor say anything much about meeting again. I jumped into a taxi cab home, a treat to myself and a rare nod to safety precautions and rode back home where my own boys were waiting to tease me relentlessly about being a dirty stop out. It wasn’t until we both got into our separate beds that night that I realised I couldn’t stop thinking about him and he realised he had forgotten to ask for my number.
- Today’s dress is on loan from my Mummy. She used to wear it in the age of power dressing and the shoulder pads are terrifying but the cut is oddly feminine and the pockets placed in the side give it a tom-boy feel which I play up by pulling my hair back and wearing chunky statement Kurt Geiger heels which aren’t feminine but are the ultimate statement heel and hopefully stop me looking too twee. My hair is terrible, but I am tired today and what with cooking crumbles, going out for Sunday lunch and trying to catch up with reviews and blogs which suffered during last week I just can’t find it in me to make it better.
Every relationship has a beginning. In the traditional American dating system, the home of The Rules, the beginning is usually quite clear to both parties. There is a first date which led on to a second, a third, marriage and children. In Britain, we tend to have a rather different approach to dating which does not involve asking a fellow whether he plans to have children in the near future by the time dessert has been served. Most of my relationships have begun by a night-time snog aided by a few apple sours or back in the day the toxic orange Reef drink. They slowly become something after the first meet, by the aid of a couple of texts and a meet up in a bar where you both sort of remember what the other look like but are still fairly surprised when they turn out to have had purple hair or a tendency to wear tight T-shirts which showcase their nipples. Although liaisons and nights spent sitting up chatting till sunrise are a common feature of the start of our relationship it is far less common to begin an affair with a traditional date. Relationships then in England tend to become official far more organically than they might in other cultures where booze is not the nation’s primary aphrodisiac.
As it turned out today was our actual anniversary I thought I would share the story of our courtship. It is a story most of our friends know and is happily lacking in sonnets and musical midnight serenades. What does feature in the tale of our coupling is a pair of “kinky” black suede boots, one of Manchester’s biggest cattle markets and an argument about Jack Johnson.
The first time myself and the boy made eyes at each other was when he played a performance gig at Jabez Clegg where I was working as a barmaid. The band was called Onions and though his other band The Schmatte Kid went their separate ways without ever really informing each other, Onions itself is still going strong today. Occasionally there are groupies at gigs which cause me a fair amount of annoyance but one can deal with them directly by planting a great big smooch on one’s musical man immediately after the gig, just as they come off stage. Admittedly this does mean one gets covered in performance perspiration but it really is necessary to mark one’s turf when there are predatory indie chicks about.
What was strange about the night myself and the boy met was that as I went amongst the crowd of annoyingly amorous students some of whom would try to “give me a hand there darling”, or put their paws on me, I couldn’t help but notice the drummer was looking over in my direction whilst he happily bippity bip bopped away. Reminding myself I had once managed to convince myself Justin Timberlake had given me the eye at a sell-out concert at the MEN I brushed the thought aside and continued to collect up the dregs and fag ends.
After the gig was over I was downstairs on the bar finishing up. I had grown a tad sick of the place as I had foolishly got involved with a guy who I worked with who was lovely but totally not interested in anything but a fling. This was fair enough but when it came to a rather abrupt ending I was left feeling rather uncomfortable in the work place. As it was he was luckily not there that night so I was feeling happier than I had done in days. A friend who I worked with, the cupid in this tale, Nicola Steele, was sitting with some friends so I went over to have a quick catch up whilst collecting the glasses. When I got over there I noticed the drummer boy sat across from her. He was dressed in a really lovely looking shirt and tie with his hair all nicely spiked up and a lovely big smile on his face. Whilst collecting the glasses from the table I stood behind the drummer and mouthed to my friend, though I do not remember this, “Who is he, he’s well fit.”
According to the boy before I had come over he had been considering whether or not to approach me and offer me a drink. After deciding I was far too much of a lady too be approached in such a way he voiced his thoughts to his friends girlfriend who told him that any girl wearing knee-high boots and fish net tights would not be mortally offended by such an intrusion.
In the end he chickened out. The next time we saw one another we were in a large group at Trof and he was acting like an eejot. After insulting my musical taste, he told me Jack Johnson was a talentless nobody and even yelled at me. As a result I decided he was far too arrogant and set off to meet a guy I’d been seeing at the cinema. I did not leave the bar however before I’d turned to him and called him a musical Nazi.
When he got home that night his friend asked him whether the girl he had spent the night insulting was in-fact the one he was trying to get with. His face fell as he said: “Yeah. I’ve blown it haven’t I? And indeed he had. I went to my date that night resolved to give the guy I was dating more of a chance; after all he might not set me alight but at least he didn’t yell at me.
- Today’s dress is another gift from my fairy god mother. I believe it is from Next and is lovely and silky. It is cute but low cut enough to prevent it looking too girly. As it was our anniversary and unfortunately pouring it down I put on some thick purple tights with hearts stencilled in to them and black knee high leather boots. Really I could have done with some brown as the black took away from the flirtiness of it and made it a little too harsh looking but I wasn’t about to ruin any shoes on the way down to watch the rugby at The Kings Head with the boy and an old friend.
I want to tell you all about the delights of my day. About the interview I had with a small locally based paper who are looking for a senior reporter with multimedia skills and the ability to hunt down a story. After having a little think however I think it is probably best if I don’t; I am scared of getting my hopes up and so hopefully one day soon I will be able to share the experience with you as even if I don’t get the job it was without a doubt the most enjoyable interview I have ever had.
For the first time in weeks the family and I are getting on rather well. There was a great energy in the home which only a near full house can provide. As my mother and brother attempted to unnot a 50 meter climbing rope sausages were sizzling in the Aga which me and my little brother kept trying to pinch even though we were due to head out for dinner. Even the giant and I were getting on quite nicely thanks to him taking my attempts to steal one of the four cars in the drive in good humour. My new tact to get a car back is to just keep asking for lifts everywhere, so far it is having little effect but I shall persevere.
When you come from a large family; the giant, the mother, two sisters and one brother chaos and high decibel chatter is just as soothing as a lullaby. At University I used to put on regular Saturday morning brunch clubs to try to recreate the family unit of my childhood home where we all attempted to have a nice dinner but inevitably tiffs would break out and by the end of the meal our mother would lose her patience and demand we eat in silence. Although the most fierce rows took place around the table they were also, and I think I speak for all of us, the location of our happiest memories and the place we learnt to speak up or get sidelined. When there are four women in a household your ability to communicate becomes so acute you are able to skip quickly between different conversation topics, finish each others sentences and send the males into near meltdown by a sudden succinct tongue lashing about the need to put the toilet seat down gosh darn it.
During the week I managed to book us into Ascoughs, Market Harborough’s greatest restaurant. They do a great set menu for £15, less during the day, where you get two courses, plenty of vegetables, potatoes of the day and the all important baked that morning bread roll. Although I have been on several occasions with friends, family and former lovers never before have myself and the boy been together. As today was our four-year anniversary I was delighted when I managed to get us in for a 9.15 setting, usually you have to book up to a month in advance if you stand any chance of getting a table, even on a week-night.
The boy was too kind to say, but just before I went to meet him at the station I checked the time of our meal in the diary and realised my mistake. It is in-fact not our anniversary till tomorrow. Oh dear. As it was we had the table booked and I had spent too long on my make-up and prettifying myself to cancel the reservation so I thought I’d just not bother mentioning it. The meal was utterly fantastic, apart from one unpleasant moment during my starter when a piece of pancetta lodged itself in my gum and I had to run to the toilet to stem the blood. There is crispy then there is just cutting, the boy for once even let me give them feedback on this culinary assault which was present enough as he never usually lets me.
I love going out to eat with the boy, especially when we have been apart for some time as we have hours to catch up on what we have been up to. He had also had an interview so we chatted late into the night and were the last to leave the place at midnight. I am a terribly slow eater, mainly because I am a chatter box and when I was young I was always put on the slow eaters table which I think is just a recipe for an eating disorder. I hate rushing my food particularly when it has been put together so carefully as it is at Ascoughs and can’t bear rushing a meal, I do not see the point.
Other than the lovely food, what I love about going on “dates” with my love is the little gestures he makes to show he still cares; he pulls my chair out for me; helps me into my coat and once I have decided what I want he will even order for me. In spite of all the feminist bravado there is something terribly romantic about such gestures and it is lovely to relinquish control, though I always am the one to taste the wine. We had a lovely evening but are both terribly tense about the result of our respective interviews and although we wanted to share our experiences we were both trying so hard not to get our hopes up particularly as the jobs we have applied for will place us further apart. The die is rolled for both of us, they are our dream jobs but I do wish they were in the same Zip-code.
For the first time today there was a little bit of spring in the air and as I looked out the window whilst passing the snow-capped hills of the peak district I was lifted. Today’s dress is another vintage buy by the boy. It causes quite a stir on the train when I take off the polo-neck underneath it revealing bare shoulders and even a little bit of back. Once again the journey is depressing as much because of the unsightly clothing mishaps; legging lovelies and the ever-present ugly footed Uggalugs. The dress causes quite a stir when I take my coat off; possibly because I have had to remove my cashmere black polo neck to try to deal with the constant wave of nausea. Admittedly it is the middle of winter and I am wearing a dress better suited to a day on the beach during the 1940′s so I can forgive the looks of surprise at pale bare skin but what aggravates me is the bitchy looks. Although I find the Uggalugs and the front-rump pioneers distasteful I do try quite hard to never show any outward hatred towards them. After all the poor things have been misguided by the fashion press who are clearly all in on a hilarious joke to see just how awful people will dress in order to follow fashion; the answer it would seem is very.
The difficulty I have with women, especially those with boyfriends with no subtlety or tact who stare quite happily at one’s arse with no shame, is the girlfriend will usually blame whoever her man is staring at, tossing their hair and a few evil eyes rather than berating their blundering idiot of a boyfriend for the indiscretion.
Women are strange when it comes to men. I have known plenty of strong willed women who will crumple into a wreck when there is a man around, behaving as though they were straight out of a Thomas Hardy novel. So many friendships fall apart because of a boy getting in the way and we betray our own sex by getting into the bed of another woman’s man and convincing ourselves no one will be hurting as a result of our decision.
I do not blame women who fall for married men. Marriage and love lend confidence to a man and when one is told they are beautiful and intelligent it is difficult to resist being flattered. I am in no position to judge the other woman having once had an extremely brief run in with a man who told me he was in an open relationship, fortunately I soon found out he was the only one in the relationship aware of this arrangement and I backed off at a hundred miles an hour. The problem with being a mistress is one is allowing oneself to be second best, to feel guilty and even jealous at your lovers real partner. There are for better or worse plenty of men to go around and never should one man think he is as wonderful as to deserve more than one of us. Women are strong, intelligent, powerful and beautiful; why should a man be allowed the best of us if he feels we only deserve a half of him or God forbid a quarter or a tenth.
The other thing I notice whilst in transit is the lack of gentlemen still about. I sit opposite one idiot who after speaking at his wife or girlfriend for ten minutes, telling both her and the poor carriage about his very important crown case and how he hated himself for it but just couldn’t stop looking at the red-tops to see what all the hullabaloo was with those dreadful types. I had a very heavy bag, because I am soon hoping to start-up some swap-shop events and also fingers crossed have a stall at Leicester’s Vintage Market in March I really needed to bring a lot of stuff back. Back in the day all I needed to do to get a man to carry my suitcase or put it on the rack for me was pout and look around helplessly. Usually there would be some nice fellow who would carry it down the steps for me with a smile and a “there you go darling”. It was wonderful now however whether because I have started to lose my youthful looks or more than likely because many people are disassociated from the world around them thanks to mobiles strapped to their ear and iPods which tune everyone out do not notice damsels in distress. I do like to be independent and am all for women’s rights but what’s wrong with expecting men to behave gallantly. I make the effort to dress in a feminine way and feel generally better for it. Why then can men not hold open the occasional door, get ladies petrol when they run to empty, change our tyres or even carry our children’s cot down the stairs; just look at Kevin Costner in The Untouchables, he had a gang war and prohibition on his mind but still paused to help a lady in distress with her pram. I do realise there are exceptions to the rule all of my own male friends are gentlemen in general even if they do not behave to me as one because as far as they are concerned I am not ladylike enough.
These days one depends much more on the assistance of women for such tasks, as when we are not sleeping with each others lovers we are a terribly kind and caring lot. When myself and my friend were in London trying to manoeuvre a buggy and a fair-few shopping bags up the stairs it was another lady who helped us get her safely to the bottom. When my car ran out of petrol on the A6 bang in the middle of a four-way junction it was a lovely lady who got out and helped me and my mother push it safely to the side of the road whilst others beeped at us in annoyance. Female solidarity is essential and there is nothing quite as powerful as a bond between women; once it is forged it is never broken in spite of meddling males, disagreements over fashion choices or even the time she went and broke your best bracelet and hid it so you’d never know, sorry Hannah!
Come this Saturday me and the boy will have been going out four years. In spite of me having a fair few up and downs and in all honesty a couple of quite serious breakdowns during this time, I think the reason we have come the distance; aside from the fact that he has the patience of a saint and we still quite fancy one another; is because we have always right from the start applied the basic vows of marriage to our relationship. Now, I’m not one to say that marriage is essential to make a relationship work; I have plenty of friends who have got along quite nicely thank-you very much without ever feeling any urgent need to put a ring on it; but nevertheless I think that relationships work best when you apply principles such as “in sickness and in health”, “for richer for poorer”, and unless you have a really very cool/ liberal lover, “forsaking all others”.
When myself and the boy first met I was flat broke and though I was not looking for anything serious as tends to be the case we accidentally went and fell in love. At the time I was spending all my spare pennies on cigarettes and alcohol and because he was a sweetie and probably because he didn’t want to see me lose my rather curvaceous figure he kept feeding me fry ups and insisting on cooking me dinner. I remember one day when I was about to set off for home he slipped me a tenner to go and buy food. Ten minutes, 20 Marlborough mediums and a bottle of red later I came to the conclusion that yes 12p chicken noodles were a suitable source of nutrition.
Although he was the provider at the start of our relationship by the time I graduated I was making a tidy enough package so that if he was skint we could dip into my privy purse to pay for cinema outings, bottles of wine, nights on the tiles and steak.
The boy graduated two years after me, not because I am seeing a toy boy you understand but because he was rather more keen in being the drummer in every Mancunian band around the way than getting all academic. It was because he was still a student that when our one year anniversary came round, I ended up treating us to a holiday to Rome and when we were too lazy to cook it was me who paid for us to eat out in West Didsbury, Manchester’s one stop haven of heavenly cuisine.
When I lost my job though, both times, it was the boy who helped me pick up the pieces, kept me financially afloat when I was too proud to go to the job centre and who even helped me search through the rubbish to find a new role.
Although most of our relationship has been spent just below the poverty line we have always found ways to entertain ourselves; games of Scrabble where JB, Onions lead singer always wins; games of monopoly where I always win; tea and music; my ever more elaborate attempts at dinner parties for ten even when we have no table; gigs; walks in the woods; running (failed after one attempt when he smoked throughout whilst I had a series of small heart failings) tennis, technically not necessarily legally sound movies and more gigs. Although we loved it when I was making a tidy package money never brings happiness and as Neil Sedaka’s wife says to him in Laughter In The Rain, “Sometimes I miss the cold days.” Struggling together is terribly romantic and there’s nothing quite like playing cards through the night with nothing to fuel you but a pot of decaf tea.
The other issue is of course the sickness and the health. Luckily the boy is fine and dandy other than the occasional sulk and the dreaded man flu, according to the boy he has single handedly fought off swine flu and is a pillar of strength in the face of modern medicine most of which he views as being in some way linked to a conspiracy of making us weak. Maybe because of this, when we first met I waited till June to come clean with him about my crazy. I didn’t want to scare him away and if I’m honest I thought I had completely recovered, love does wonderful things for your brain and your body; eating becomes a chore and your entire mind turns to mush. if you don’t watch out you end up boring all of your friends to sleep by talking about how fabulous your lover is. Luckily however, by the time me and the boy got together I was a cynic about love and when he etched the words “I love you” on my back I told him to, “Get a grip”.
When I told him about my poorly head it was because I had decided to come off the anti-depressants I’d been taking for two years. Buoyed up by love and the wonderful newness of it all I didn’t think I needed them. With his approval and no advice from any medical practitioner I came off the drugs. Within a month I crashed so hard and so fast that some days I couldn’t even look in the mirror because I felt so ugly and frustrated with what I saw. I put on weight and because getting out of bed was so hard I would sleep for hours and rather than looking for work I would watch West Wing episodes convinced there was no point trying because I was useless. In the end I had to move home so I could survive. The boy did try to support me but he was still a student and one part-time job shared between two people equals not a lot left to live on.
With the help of some friends in the know, my family and the boy I managed to pick myself back up but it wasn’t easy. Every time I go down hill it is always the boy who has been there over these last few years who is there straight away to drag me back up again. Every time I get poorly he’s there to wipe away my tears, calm me and convince me that the world is a good place and that things will get better.
On one poorly head occasion when we somehow found ourselves at A and E after a particularly bad reaction to Sertraline, (the name still gives me the shudders), we came face to face with a psychiatrist who had obviously decided he was not a fan of women. After deciding, from looking at me rather than my notes you understand, that I was anorexic with father issues he banned the boy from hugging me, told me there was nothing wrong with me and then finished by telling me I should just go ahead and give up then and live in a mental health ward. Thankfully both the boy and the psychiatrists assistant realised I was just extremely anxious in a very scary place and needed to get some sleep and the boy got me the hell away from him before had a chance to lock me up and throw away the key.
I have never forgotten what he did that day and acknowledge that what ever happens with us in the future, without him being by my side that day I could still to this day be living in a closed ward, misdiagnosed and miserable overseen by the most tyrannical mentally unstable medical professional I have ever come across.
We never signed any contract when we got together but both of us always find a way to work it out, scream it out or just forgive regardless. I like to think that its because he like me knows that whatever our problems with us when its good it’s so very good, though at times we can of course both be wicked.
Release Date 01/03/2010 (Communion records)
By Elinor O’Neill
A Communion is defined as a joining together of minds or spirits, and although this compilation may put the fear of God into non believers with its religious connotations, the album is not a religious outpouring. Communion is a collection of fantastic folk artists, whose music, whether you are atheist, Jew, gentile or Christian, pulls something spiritual from the deepest reaches of your soul, and has more substance than static.
Jay Jay Pistolet’s ‘Vintage’ Red sounds as though it’s been lifted straight from the Juno soundtrack, and with classic lines like, “You’re a cashmere sweater, a handwritten letter”, it won’t be long before it’s merged into an art house movie.
The one song with strong religious metaphor throughout is Stokes William’s ‘Zion’ which claims influence from Christ himself. It is an uplifting little ditty which would be well suited to a sing-song around the campfire.
Brendan Campbell claims he sounds like “me”, but his track ‘Maudlin Reverie’ is so heavily influenced by Irish folk, that anyone with Irish blood will feel a pull back to their country so intense you would be forgiven for thinking The Saw Doctors were at work.
Mumford and Sons’ ‘Sister’ is a brilliant ballad which makes use of organ, right on reverbs, and heavenly harmonies to build a life affirming track inspired by the angels themselves.
Although there are few female vocals, Elena Tonra steals the show with ‘Peter’, a melancholy tune with incredible lyrics and a sad message of unrequited love; her voice is strong and simple, and you feel she has spilled her soul into this one.
Most fun is the brilliantly named Beans on Toast’s, ‘Things To Do Before’ You’re Thirty, which will crack you up with its near spoken lyrics about parachute jumps, sex and drugs.
In all there are a few tracks which stick out, but taken together it is impossible to say a bad word about the whole; for which I am relieved, as, being someone with the fear of God in my heart, it feels rather unchristian to slate music of the soul during lent.
Release Date 08/03/2010 (Distiller Recors)
By Elinor O’Neill
Sound of Guns have been touring with Adam Green prior to the release of their new single, Alcatraz. Though they were talented musicians when they visited Club Academy in Manchester last month, they never got the crowd going in the way Green did. This was because, unlike Green, they couldn’t help but take themselves too seriously, and looked as though they were sulking throughout.
Looking at the information which accompanies their single one wonders if their management is to blame for their failure to just put a smile on it, apparently their music consists of riotous gang vocals, but one look at these skinny jeaned, floppy haired, frowning five-some is enough to reassure oneself that neither The Bloods or The Crips will be needing to work on their trash talk to take them on any time soon.
Alcatraz is decent enough, and will be lapped up by lovers of pop-rock and (again this is from the press release) “power chords”.
Though it has been beautifully mastered, lyrically it lacks the substance for musical longevity – but on the plus side it is great fun to jump about to.
Everything one reads about this group is complimentary, so I do hope they stick a flower in their guns and enjoy the fast-flowing river of positive critique they have been receiving; if they don’t, I fear they will fail to attract anyone other than the miserable-fringed- fair-weather-few.
- Thin Bra
- Busty women
- Market Harborough Job Centre… very nice
- trouble in my mind notation
- Catholicism in Lost
- Rio Ferdinand’s Summer Outfit
- Designer dress transvestite
- Does a woman dress for attention
- Chav wedding
I have been having a bad few face days this week.; there has been an attack of dry skin and even God forbid a spot. When I was a teenager I was lucky enough to never get struck down by acne and other than sporadic attacks of eczema I felt rather smug about my skin. When I reached 24 I was struck down by a series of spots which I had no idea how to handle. Thankfully Clinique were on hand to royally ravish me and fleece me of every spare penny I had by persuading me that a miracle cure could be found within their treatment plans. I must have given them easily a few hundred pounds in the one year I subscribed to their skin care screw-over and though I have a nice make up bag which has the same pattern as this dress (another Valentine’s vintage buy from the boy) none of the products made the slightest bit of difference and in the end I returned to using clean and clear and Freederm. At about a quarter of the price and a lot longer lasting, within weeks I was back to being a smooth skinned albeit slightly skint girl.
Today’s photos are a bit of a disaster due both to the lack of make-up and artistic differences with the photographer who kept telling me to smile and not cover my forehead with my hand or hair. I have excluded the picture where I tell him where he can canter away to but the grumpy expression is proof enough of the tiz. Today I was in rather a mood due to the lack of food in the house and having once again had an accidental lie in. Since the start of this project I have made an effort every day to smother myself in lovely creams, brush my hair at the very least and most importantly of all slather myself in make up. Today largely because I got up late and also because I forgot about the photos until nearly midnight due to a dreadful game of never-ending Scrabble; at one stage I had three Ts a Z and a W. If only I had an F I would have tried putting down a WTF word or what the fuzzle for those of you not in the know.
My mother has always had an amazing collection of cosmetics and so from a young age I always had access to good quality cosmetics. Although she has threatened over the years to put a lock on her door or the cupboard she usually relents and gives me enough testers and barely used bits and bobs to make up a pretty fantastic collection of my own. My sisters never really taught me how to do make up, they both had pretty incredible skin and so with just a lick of mascara and some Nivea Visage they looked like all Irish natural beauties.
I started wearing full make-up on a daily basis from the day my sister died. In the morning the house was descended upon by a host of people who came to lend a hand and offer words of comfort and casseroles but in spite of the hive of activity below decks I remained determinedly asleep in my parents empty bed. I thought that if I kept my eyes closed I could convince myself that it had all been a horrible dream, and that in the early hours of the morning I had not really kissed my sister for the last time and neither had I stood with my family by her side watching our darling Cathy slip away. When my mother’s friend finally managed to rouse me I forced myself to suck it up and get on with it, we had guests after all and I had two broken-hearted parents, a sister and a baby brother who were all consumed with grief and the god damn unfairness of it all.
I decided then and there that if I could just keep it together it would all be alright, I painted my face artfully having been shown how to do so by my mother back before the dark days had arrived. I used thick foundation, powder, bronzer and concealer to cover up the dark circles and force my face into some kind of stability. I heard someone call me downstairs and darted eyeliner and mascara on to ensure there would be no way I could cry and in doing so let my sister down who had been unbelievably brave. She was gone but there was so much to do, all I could think of was that the house was going to have to be cleaned as people would be coming to pay their last respects; the body stays in the house in Irish families until the funeral so everyone can say goodbye; and there would be guests coming to stay with us so someone needed to be there to make tea.
I can’t remember the rest of the day much, I know that we all somehow got through it; somehow we accepted plates and dishes at the doorstep; made the calls that had to be made and thanked people for their words which at the time we barely even heard. I remember at one point during the day going over to one of my oldest friends house along with her cousin and laughing which looking back on it now seems insane but it definitely did happen. When the night came though and everyone had left I remember going in to see her, my older sister who I loved so so much and I remember seeing a book on the side, a stupid Marian Keyes book, Last Chance Saloon which I had read to her up until a few weeks before when she was still conscious. I don’t know why but it was then that it hit me that I was never going to be able to laugh with her again, read her books or even argue with her and I just lost it. I cried every molecule of make-up off knowing then that time might heal one’s wounds but there is always a scar. You never get over it you just learn to live with it eventually, but even now though I thought at the start of this post I could talk about it without breaking down, just thinking of her and all the world lost when she went, I feel my heart-break all over again, the wound splits and I just can’t bear to paint on a perfect face when the pain is so raw it actually aches.