An Unremarkable Narrative of the Present

Nov 22


In 2003 Julie Powell was conducting her Julie/Julia Project, where she had set herself a time limit of 365 days to cook 524 recipes by her favourite chef Julia Child. Her story got turned into a book and eventually a film called Julie & Julia. I watched the film today and liked the feelgood aspect of it and its simplicity- it’s about a woman who achieved something.


I had to pause the film halfway through though as Alex rang me as he walked into town. During this phonecall I told him about how I’d like to get off my arse and achieve something – but I think the motivation from this was coming from the fact that I was hungry, the film had loads of delicious food in every scene and I couldn’t be bothered to go and make lunch. Prompted by starvation I eventually ate, but I found that my appetite for achievement had not been satisfied, I wasn’t just hungry, I was HUNGRY.


I needn’t go into too much detail now, but basically I have set myself my own challenge to be completed in a year. Though the prospect of making gorgeous fatty foods every day appeals to me (and no doubt to my friends and family) it would be too expensive and I think people would think it was weird that I’d gone all Delia. I’ve decided that I’m going to complete The Big Read. In 2003, around the time Julie was doing her challenge, the BBC compiled a list of the Top 100 books as voted for by the British public. They called it The Big Read. I’ve always liked literature, I even did it as a degree, but I’ve always known I should read more (it is not unheard of me to put down a book and watch the DVD version of the story in order to make a deadline – bad).


I’ve printed the list off, which can be found at this link and I’m going to mark off each book as I read it and hopefully have a chance to log down some of my thoughts about the literature I’m going to encounter. Don’t believe me? I even rejoined the library today and got out my first book, number 43: The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald.


Some of the books I have already read but I’m going to re-read them anyway – such as The Great Gatsby, which I read for A-Levels. Will be interesting to see how I feel reading the book for enjoyment and not academically. If you could call this enjoyment…..?


I hope I manage to complete this little task. If not, I am wary that setting myself such a task is a strong sign I am manic depressive and having an invincible phase. I also have a few other worries. What if I can’t find some of the books? Will I go blind? Will I become a hermit? How many papercuts will I get? All to be answered in due course, hopefully. Stick with me and I won’t let you down. If I do, I’ll bake you a pie from one of Julia’s recipes.



Nov 02

I can see how my Nana thinks I am quite the jet-setter as I am back from my second consecutive weekend away (not forgetting my little trip to Tenerife at the beginning of this month, mind). The weekend before last was a trip to Lancaster to visit friends who were lucky enough to drop out of their mother’s wombs a little later than I did and so are still allowed to be students. The weekend just gone was spent celebrating P Diddy’s birthday in London. When I say P Diddy, I mean Tom Brown, who is equally as slick, before a couple of nights by the Sunshine Coast, which as a comparison to Manchester is the Surface of the Bloody Sun Coast.

I can’t say that I feel like much of a jet-setter though. I was sat in front of a woman on the train today, I’d like to call her Mobileface, who was taking a million different calls trying to track down a DVD for her boss who was obviously loaded from a rich, high-flying company. Her busy busy lifestyle made me feel a bit jealous that I haven’t yet got a job and going round barking orders at people on telephones, smelling of coffee and wearing uncomfortable suits. I think I must have been approaching the old jobsearch with blinkers on this summer, maybe I had assumed that companies should be sending me their CV’s for my perusal before I settled on the ‘dream job’. My monetary situation is really becoming tight now and I’m looking at alternative religions before Christmas hits as an excuse to get out of buying presents.

There’s no denying that my weekends have been glorious, except for one moment this weekend when a bird shat on me. It was in Brighton, so it was a big seagull poo, and it happened when I was out shopping for and hoping to try on headbands. In spite of that, I love visiting people so much and I always find my return is a smack back down to reality, making me realise more than ever that I’m going to continue struggling if I don’t find some employment soon. Being able to travel to see my friends and my bf is really important to me but travel is SO expensive, even Mobileface said that to her mate on the phone and SHE had been buying gold bars at Harrods, truly. I feel like gobbing on posters advertising flights to Europe for 99p, when I can’t even get out my own back garden without saving and sacrificing.

To make matters worse, on the way to London, through no fault of my own (unless the traffic was a karmic retribution, which is highly possible) I missed the train I was meant to get down. I decided I was going to pray till my fingers blistered and hope that I got away with getting on the next train without buying a new ticket which I would only have been able to pay for with my kidney. Amazingly, I did get away with it but when the ticket inspector came round asking for tickets I had to use every bit of energy in my body not to start wailing, as I’m not a natural Artful Dodger type. Unfortunately, the woman in front of me admitted that she had missed the previous train and the inspector said buying a ticket on board should cost £200 but he’d do it for a casual £60! At that point my throat nearly dropped through my arse and the situation proved to me that God definitely had my back in that scenario which I am glad about, but a bit miffed that I must continue to celebrate Christmas as a thanks and thus will be buying presents this year. As this is the case I’m going to be asking for a jet pack powered only by good thoughts and I’m going to sack off national rail forever and use this instead.

It’s unfortunate for everybody most transport is extortionate and I can take solace in the fact that when I have a job things like that will be a lot easier for me financially. That still doesn’t make things perfect and maybe I’m complaining because though the price of travel is expensive, the real cost is the distance away from where I want to be. For this reason, a jet pack isn’t perhaps the answer to all my problems, and I should instead just ask for perseverance, the continuance of relishing time spent with my family and friends and maybe a lucky break. Don’t they say bird poo is good luck?

Oct 20

I am undoubtedly a gregarious and enquiring person and today I feel very much a citizen of the world with a lot to learn. Perhaps this is because it is hardly a slow news day or because people devote more effort to their own thoughts when they’re in a midweek midwinter chasm, but I’m becoming really interested in everybody’s Twitter updates and Facebook statuses, which all seem to be contributing something valuable to me.

The majority of my Twitter Homepage is dominated by political opinion about the spending cuts which will be affecting the country over the next four years. To me it seems like the transition between the Labour and Conservative governments works like a good cop, bad cop system. Haven’t we seen this all before? Didn’t the economy eventually get restored but some people suffered? The nearest I’ve been to understanding the finances of the UK was once when I rode the Big Dipper in Blackpool – it simultaneously made me feel sick but also was a lot of fun and after the second up-and-down I could predict what was going to happen for the rest of the ride. History repeats itself.

And even more passionate than politicos are the sports fans whose lives are in turmoil, discussing the effect of Wayne Rooney leaving Manchester United. It seems to me that Fergie likes it when the United players keep their heads down and faces out of the press. It makes me think that during the elections in May when the political leaders were desperate for media coverage they should have done a stint playing for Manchester United and had some sort of illicit rendezvous with a babe (or another man if they really wanted attention). Conversely, naughty footballers should start preaching their political opinions whenever the press are hounding them and they’ll soon be left alone. People can’t really deal with public figures leaving their pigeonholes; just look at Katie Price’s singing career – doomed before it even began.

Speaking of football and politics, my friend said she had worked out how to solve the issue of the country’s deficit: every football player should donate a month’s wage to the country. There are obviously major flaws with that plan but it’s quite beautiful in terms of its simplicity. Kudos to anybody who would like to offer a rough approximation of the mathematics that involves, as I’m definitely intrigued!   

Ever so strangely, I’m even interested in people’s self-indulgent tweets and statuses. I’m taking time to click on the links celebs post to promote themselves and donating valuable eye seconds to read what people are eating for their dinner. I’m also excited at the texts I’m getting from people in classes or at work and looking forward to hearing more about their days.

There’s a lot to be said for technology but at the moment if I stop and think about it it’s creating a huge pretty collage of human activity and makes me feel like life is thriving a little bit more than usual today.


Oct 19

So I had an anonymous blog but that wasn’t really up to scratch because there was no general theme to it. It was just me dishing out my opinion on irrelevant topics nobody cared about and in a way slagging people off. I naively thought if I posted it around on a few websites, again anonymously, that people would become captivated by my three unremarkable posts and people would care what I would have to say. Alas, I’m not Perez Hilton and no-one cares what I have to say, so why not stick a name on it and some photos and let my loved ones read it, as they all owe me every fibre of their time and patience.


Well, I guess the hot topic at the minute is the elephant in the room named ‘unemployment’. It’s becoming very annoying as it continually feasts on the peanuts of my soul and shits rejection all over the carpeted floor of my self-esteem. After 17 years of non-stop education you might think my brain fancies a little rest and welcomes the change of weighty, complicated textbooks to weighty, complicated guests on Jeremy Kyle’s stage but I can assure you  that being unemployed is the worst.


Though they exist, I cannot type a million reasons why it’s so soul destroying, but here are three fundamental annoyances of being unemployed:

Obviously, no money. I am cursed with empty pockets and the desire to have a wardrobe filled with clothes (with or without the pockets, I don’t care). Having no income is rubbish because at least five times a day I go “Oh wait, I don’t need a job, I’ll travel” then I remember I can’t afford the tram fare out of Bury. Not to mention, when I do get a job I have some invisible massive debts thanks to the student loan. I have no idea where these debts exist or how to pay them but I don’t doubt that they will catch up to me.  The only thing in the world that doesn’t cost money is sitting at home and staring at my degree certificate.

Having no purpose in life. It kills me a little bit that every day I wake up to know that no-one needs me professionally. At uni I sometimes used to groan at the prospect of starting a day with a hundred meetings and deadlines but now I realise it’s much worse to wake up and think “no-one would care if I fell right back asleep”.

People expect better. As a high achiever and someone who got involved at school, college and university, people don’t expect me to be unemployed. I appreciate the concern when people ask “how’s the jobsearch going?”  but they don’t want to hear my bad news and I don’t want to give it. The only way around this problem is to fashion a sign that says ’lard arse’ and stick it to my forehead. It should say ‘unemployed’ but my forehead isn’t wide enough.


I can’t constantly complain though, because I’ve recently returned from holidaying in Tenerife and holidays are a bit like being unemployed, except in a warmer climate. If unemployment was like being on holidays then I would revel in jobless glory because IT.WAS. LUSH.  Just spending hours on end lay in the sun causing future problems for the NHS to deal with is a lovely way of acting unemployed. Along with pregnancy and being on your deathbed, holidaying is an excusable way of doing nothing and that’s a treasured rarity.


Also, the stuff you actually DO is unacceptable non-holiday behaviour. Doing nothing causes you to be unexpectedly sleepy; just call it a siesta and it’s a justified nap.  Eating and drinking to excess on holiday is excused by the simple phrase “I’m on me jollies”, which allows you to gorge away. And people laze around nearly naked. I definitely love that bit. I had the customary five minutes of worry before bikini time until I saw a woman who can only be described as Ursula from The Little Mermaid tenderly suncreaming her gargantuan breasts and thought “I’m definitely more Ursula Andress than Ursula Sea Witch compared to this confident lady” and so whipped off my sundress and was set for the scantily-clad week.


Before I go, I’m sorry for the length of this post, like all good English Literature students I am able to say a lot about a little. And I’d just like to say sorry if I’ve offended any unemployed people, as it is only unemployed people who will have had the time to read this and I don’t want to alienate my audience. I think I need you.