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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Rehab? No, no no...

I am healed! Now I know that my stalking days are over! For I have, for the first time in my albeit short but incredibly staple-filled life, I have showed remarkable strength in the face of adversity and preternatural restraint in the face of a celebrity. Yes, I did NOT approach a celebrity in the street, point at them, and say: you're off the telly.

My brush with celebrities began when I was in my early twenties and the series The Office was being shown for the first time on TV. One evening I got on the tube home at Warren Street and, leaping onto the train, I bumped into TIM FROM THE OFFICE, otherwise known as Martin Freeman. Instead of tipping him the nod to let him casually know that I had clocked him, but was mature enough not to approach him, I went right up to him, pointed at him, and said: "You're Tim from The Office or some other such banality. Not to be put off by his non=committal yes, thanks and the fact his body language was saying something else, probably with four letters and ending with something that rhymes with duck, I continued: "I really love The Office. It's brilliant" (How I CRINGE now)
"Yes, thanks."
I was unstoppable. Someone should have, for the love of all that is good and true in this world, stopped me, before I asked: "So, what are you doing now?"
Tim-from-The-Office looked terrified. His voice went a little trembly and squeaky as his balls crept back up inside. "Er... I'm just going out with friends."

In my defence, I was actually asking him what project he was going to be working on now the first series had finished, but I was by then (alas! too late) too self conscious to try to explain. I sat down and contented myself with occasionally nudging whoever sat next to me and saying: "Look, that's Tim from The Office".

Since then I have met several celebrities and behaved most inappropriately. I have told Dermot McMurnaghan (the fit news reader with the static eyebrow) that I didn't realise he had to wear so much make up when he went on TV. Gyles Brandreth made me laugh so much that I ended up snorting tea out of my nose in front of him when I was interviewing him.

I have captain-saluted Richard Gere while he was surrounded by heavies and beauties and some heavy beauties). To his credit, he did salute me back, before he realised he didn't know who the hell I was.

This was at the same after-show party where I decided to drag a Canadian friend of mine called Helen around in search of celebrities to accost/rob/find out where they live so I could go home first and shave their cats. Poor Helen had to endure me becoming extremely pompous and pointing out our English stars in the room ("Look! That's the shit one from Steps, called H"). We walked past Vanessa Feltz who was talking to someone. As we passed, I became pompous again in the style of, as Gorilla Bananas has suggested, Rowan Atkinson as Blackadder. "Hey, lookin' good, 'Nessa", I said, pointing at her and nodding.
"Thanks" she smiled, before she realised she had no idea who the heck I was. But that was not the worst thing in the world. That came later, when I poured urine all over 50 years of British Film Making History.

We were standing around watching some boring dancing lesson from some overpaid wussbags Gloria Gaylord and Sebastian Schlong-Slinger Latin duo. I noticed an elderly lady next to me trying to stand on a chair so she could see. There was an even more frighteningly ancient mariner, with grey beard and weeping rheumy eye, trying to hoist her up.
"May I help?" I asked.
"No thank you my dear," she said, turning to me and beaming sweetly. That smile! Those eyes! It was...
"Honor Blackman!" I breathed in awe.
She smiled again, beatifically, Diana-like. I know I should have just bowed graciously, and remembered Santa Honoria as the one celebrity that did not request me to remain at least 100 meters away from her or any member of her family.
Sadly, I did not.
I said: "You recently won an award, didn t you? I read it in the paper."
Her eyes turned to steel, her Bond Girl smile froze into a sneer.
"Yes. Sexiest Over Seventy." She hissed venomously.

I shrank. I felt small, insignificant, unworthy. Rejected by Honor! What a disgrace. I think at least she could have been more kind to me, after all, I had initially offered to assist her...

I have often thought how different things would be now that I am an internationally-known (ahem) award-winning investment writer, venerated throughout the world and a favourite show-up at the opening of an industry envelope. Oh yes, if Honor and I should chance upon each other, probably at one of Elton John's tea parties, how different it would be now.

"Mermaid? Of Moorgate? I saw you in Oceans 25."

My eyes would narrow to mere slits as I gazed past her royal oldness. Perhaps I would brush my sleeves down nonchalantly.
"I love your work..."
"Do you now, Honor. DO you?" I would ask, licking the very tip of my finger and sneeringly smoothing it over my ever-so-slightly-raised eyebrow. "Not so proud now, are we, you scraggy-necked, crack-snorting, TV-sitcom rabid whore?"
"Please forgive me - I was wrong to have snubbed you. I did not know - how stupid I was..."
"You disgust me, you aged, drop-breasted harpy. You foul, death-dodging animated cadaver. You smell like the suppurating pus-filled passage of a dead armadillo. Begone!"
"Please - I didn't mean..."
"Dmitri? Luigi? Take this scrawny hag outside. If she should happen to meet with an accident, then it s not your fault. And bring her respirator drip back as a trophy."
And I would laugh the laugh of one who laughs the last laugh.

Perhaps, though, I should thank her rather than seek her not timely enough demise. In fact, it was probably Honor who set me on the path to recovery, although Alan Rickman, Gary Oldman and Jeremy Paxman have obviously conspired against me by deliberately putting pictures of themselves in my hard drive in unnatural poses with kittens and gardening gloves just to be cruel. But I know where you all live, oh yes I do, and I can see your bathroom from my van, Gary. Oh yes. Those staples in your sink, where do you thin they came from Gary, eh? Eh? Mua ha. Mua ha ha ha. Mua ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

But I have fought againt this natural propensity and I have won. For yesterday I came face to face with Ross Kemp, aka Grant Mitchell from Eastenders. And I let him pass. I did not even salute or throw a stapler at him.

I just looked straight ahead and went on my way. I swear that, as I walked down Oxford Street, the theme tune to Chariots of Fire began to play softly in the background. I was a conqueror.

Should that Gary come looking for me, offering me fine office stationery, I know I can gently, but firmly, turn him down. Not this time, Gary, not this time. And you know you re not allowed near me or a member of my cats. Please leave..." And I would smile, beatifically, saintly, as I waved Gary Oldman on his way to rehabilitation.

Saint Mermaid of Moorgate, patron saint of stalkers and weird religious nuts everywhere.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Papa, don't preach!

I was going to write a different blog but thought that what happened at church yesterday was so amusing that it was worth recording, and perhaps allowing myself a little artistic licence, for posterity’s sake. Firstly, because funny things rarely happen in our church, unless you count the time I got my finger wedged into the radiator at George and Helen Orlebar’s wedding, or when mum dropped a bag of maltesers down the wooden church aisle during the quiet moment in communion. People were still crunching them under foot a week later. Secondly, because it would be a lot shorter than the original blog.

Anyhoo. So there was the visiting preacher, who off-stage was a funny, affable chappy, but on stage, he was pretty dull, telling anecdotes with the charisma of a school nurse. Someone had obviously told him that morning church finished at 12:15 and the evening service, 7:45. He therefore obviously felt it his bounden duty to continue the sermon onto those times, instead of wrapping up at a reasonable pace and allowing good time for hymns, grace, banter and a cup of tea afterwards. The morning service was dreary enough, with mum deciding to yawn loudly at 12:15 and several other members decidedly clearing their throats, which is the universal mark of Christian disapproval. It wasn’t what he was saying that was dull, but it was the monotone he used and his lack of suitable and appropriate emphasis on his funny stories which meant that, even in our church, with its appalling sense of humour, no-one laughed.

The evening service was worse; his prayer was so long that (gratuitous name-drop here) Daley Thompson’s granddad fell asleep and, when we all said amen, he stood up for the last hymn, thinking the sermon had been said and done. Except veryone else was remaining seated for the collection. By the time the sermon had gone on for about half an hour, with anecdote after anecdote sandwiched in without a shred of variation of tone, most people were asleep. Even our more vocal Pentecostal contingent were not to be heard amen-ing or "that’s right"-ing anymore. 45 minutes later, the preacher seemed to warm up slightly and we thought he was wrapping up. Nu-huh. People started clearing their throats, rummaging in their bags and looking at the clock.

Then it happened. The preacher said: "Blah blah blah & And then Christ will come in Glory and bring the last days to an end." Immediately, one of our elderly gentlemen, a usually quiet chap, yelled out: “Yes, Lord, bring an end to all things.”
The church trickled to life with a murmur as some of us laughed aloud while others uttered holy “Ohs” (especially those who wanted to laugh but were not sure whether it would be allowed). The preacher blinked. The corner of his owlish mouth twitched. Then he started to chortle. “I think that wraps that up”, he said, and shut the Bible.


Pictures of Monty for The Hitch Here he is who wanted to see him, for some reason.


That Sink-ing feeling

I am so cute!

The finer things in life

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Blinds and Moet do not mix

"Why don't you get a man in?"

This is the usual response from my mother. For clarification, this is referring to my propensity to conduct late-night DIY, not referring to her other frequent and similar comment: "Why don't you get married and have kids?" This is to be translated as: "Where are my grandchildren?"

I've given up answering the second question. In fact, I give up mentioning the names of any male friend because if I do start a man-oriented anecdote, mum will say: "Why don't you marry him?" "Because he's gay" is the best response.

The other day, a male rang me on my moby at mum's house and when I got off the phone, she said: "He sounds nice, why don't you marry him?"
"Mum, that was our pastor."

But I have digressed. "Why don't I get a man in?" was the question that kept repeating like a record baby, round round, right round, in my cranium when, at 9:30 the other night, I decided to fix my living room blind. I'd successfully put a couple up a year ago, so I could fix this one... oui? After all, I can fix toilet seats Loo Trouble Anyway, the blind had been playing up slightly at the weekend, and by sunday it was, technically speaking, more screwed than Jodie Marsh at training camp for the US marines.

In fact, it would neither rise nor fall, remaining half-way up like the Grand Old Duke. The cords were jammed. This was not what I had anticipated when I went home on monday. I thought I could have just clambered up onto the bookshelf, untangled the cords and Bob's your uncle. Well, he's not. Neither was "uncle" Vern either, who wasn't really my uncle, and disappeared "downstate" when I was five. This was, co-incidentally, at around the same time a nice lady came to see me and give me my first Barbie.

But It Was Not To Be. Monday evening, I came home, opened the bathroom window, washed my face and put the cat out. Locking the door behind me. So, in bare feet, I had to go downstairs, and climb up the drainpipe to the first floor, open the window with one hand and heave myself up into the bathroom.

That was not the best start to the evening, especially as it had been raining. To steady my nerves, I sought the oldest rescue remedy known to womankind: Champagne. Men - take note - chocolate only works if a woman is: a) under 21, b) fat c) married.

Anyway, two glasses later and I felt bold enough to reassess the blind situation. It was really not a good idea. I almost untangled the cords, but realised that I would have to cut the end off one to enable me to feed it through. This having been successfully achieved, I then tried by the simple laws of physics, to use the friction and pull of the rotation system to re-thread the cord through. It did thread it through - but it would not come out of the other hole. After a few attempts, during which I dropped the scissors on my foot, I realised I would have to take the entire blind off. It was attached to the ceiling/lintel thingy and required a good deal of screwdriver-based efforts and another glass of Moet to get it down.

By now, I realised that I should have removed the trinkets from my bookcase top before attempting this feat. I now need two new mirror photo frames. Never mind.

Getting it onto the floor was easy. Until Monty sprang through the kitchen window and decided that this was a new game called "Let's sit on the blind and when mummy tries to pick up the cord, jump onto her arm, cling onto her hand with your teeth and every front claw, and give her the back-foot scratch attack." My arms look like a blind suicide attempt victims' thanks to this new and fun method of home entertainment.

The incident required a second/third/fourth Moet (starting to lose count, and blood). Managed to discover the secret of the pulley system - a clever and simple Archimedian technique. I love physics, it's so rational and basic. But then there was the problem of putting the blind up.

Of course there was no point in removing the remaining items on my bookcase which had escaped the first Night of the Long Blinds. Champagne glass number one of my best set is now at the local dumpster.

Holding it with one hand, and attempting to screw it back into those cheeky little rawl plugs is not a feat I wish to repeat. By 10:30 I was done. A whole hour of my life, wasted. Precious blood, sweat, champagne and tears had been shed. Never in the history of this world has so little been achieved by so few after so many Moets.

Of course, I was ravenous after my victory and decided to make myself a carbonara from scratch. I pride myself on never having bought a shop-made sauce in my life. Hence I am the carbonara queen. What I had not banked on was the fact that, another Moet later, I was wetting myself with laughter at a repeat of The Simpsons (the funniest episode ever, or was that the bubbly?) and only realised something was wrong when the fire alarm went off.

I had left the spaghetti in the saucepan, standing upright, and it had caught fire. There was only one thing left to do. with my lightning reflexes and a steady nerve, I picked up the nearest thing to me and poured the remains of the Moet over the gloaming pasta. It has to be said, it was one of the nicest carbonated carbonaras I have ever had the pleasure of making, and eating, in my life.

Or was that the Moet talking?

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Wish me luck!

I'm following in the footsteps of Errol Flynn, John Mills and Terry Thomas... no, I'm not joining a neo-Nazi organisation... but tomorrow, I shall be flying a Cessna 172 4-seater for the first time.

Captain Mermaid at you service, sir! Chocks away! 20,000 feet and circling... ME one-oh-nines at 12 o'clock... T-for-Tommy's hit... ratatatatat! That will teach you to follow T-For-Tommy down, you Bosches scum. AARGH! I've been tailed! Take that, Fritz... losing altitude...

If you never hear from the mermaid again, it's because I've crashed in a blaze of glory. But it would have been a wizard prang - what a way to go, celebrating my 30th in true Brit style... Roger, wilco, over and out...

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Honoured (?) by the ghost of the Hitch

The Ghost of The Hitch

Well well well (three holes in the ground). I have received fame from the keyboard of a prolific blogger (click on link above)

This is the last time I tell ANYONE my dreams. Except Lily Allen, who would be thrilled with that picture. Go Lily!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Chrome Effect Wood Toilet Seat

Blog Dedication: This, I guess, is for Gorilla Bananas who has berated me for my lack of vulnerability.

Five days and three toilet seats on the same bowl. That has to be a record, right? Saturday I finally got rid of the old toilet seat, which had split down the middle and provided a resting place for each cheek. It took about four hours for me to get the old one off, partly because the previous owners were dumbnuts who obviously hadn't heard of using WD-40 in the bathroom, and partly because I had to keep going out and buying various MAN-TOOLS (no pun intended) to get the durn thing off.

One hand-saw, monkey wrench, B&D pliers, can of WD-40, three cloths, four broken nails, a screwdriver and a litany of rude words later, I lifted the lid on the old white telephone and put the new one on.

Except it was not really new - I'd had it sitting around for a few months and consequently the silver do-dad thingy was missing from one side. I cleaned the entire flat looking for the silver do-dad thingy, to no avail. As a result, three days later, the new one broke with a vengeance as I not-too-gently lowered my tired ass onto it as I stumbled, blear-eyed, out of bed at the unhallowed hour of 5:30am.

As you can imagine, I was not too happy about this state of affairs. Toilets are supposed to uphold pillars of society such as myself. Seats are supposed to stay down when they need to be down. Seats should not callously give way beneath you when you are mid-stream. There should also always be a continuous stock of toilet paper ready for every emergency. I understand that this is a female's perspective: for men, toilet seats are supposed to be up, for no other reason than that the older men get, the less able they are to pee straight and therefore need that extra 0.5 cm circumference gained by lifting - and leaving - the seat up. Men do not always need toilet paper, I was once informed by an old flame. We'll call him Simon, for that was his name. Upon exiting a public loo when out one evening and finding me waiting patiently for him with a bucket of popcorn, he gallantly took the bucket in one hand, and my hand in the other. I had a suspicious thought.

"Simon, did you wash your hand before holding mine?"
"No, but it's okay, I didn't use that one. I'm holding the popcorn with the hand I used."

Who said the course of true love ne'er did run smooth? (That was rhetorical, by the way). Anyway, he was right. It runs in a dribbling, wavy yellow line.

That evening I was late home from work and, to my surprise, saw a Woolworth's open next to the bus stop. I had a crisp craving so went in. While in there, I noticed it had a significant homeware section. As I had only three days before guests descended on me, expecting a fully functional toilet, I thought - "Can it hurt to look?" So I ventured between aisles of Chav-Plastic bathroom accessories, sporty dolphins frolicking on tasteful white loo brush holders.

And then I saw it: A Chrome Effect Wood Toilet Seat. Stifling my questions as to whether it should have been "wooden" instead of "wood", I was thrilled. My bathroom is white and the palest ice-blue, with touches of silver-painted wooden mirrors, handles etc. It was the perfect toilet seat for me. Happily, I picked it up, grabbed a bag of Doritos which were precariously balanced on top, and made my way to the till.

While in the queue, my mobile rang from the deep recesses of my handbag. Tilting my arm slightly to reach it, the seat in its box slipped, and I instinctively clasped it to my chest. As I did, the doritos fell off. I bent down to pick them up. Before I had the chance - HE picked them up for me. Ladies, his eyes! Youngish, well-built, salt and pepper hair, chiselled features, and beautiful, soul-searching brown eyes. I melted instantly. "Remember to be vulnerable" I thought, as GB had informed me in an earlier post that men like their women to be less violent and more gentle and vulnerable. I smiled and let him pick up the packet.

"Thank you" I smiled and whispered.
He smiled back. "You have your hands full", he said, and glanced down at my prospective purchase.

Namely, my chrome-effect wood toilet seat, clutched lovingly to my heart.

His smile disintegrated slowly and was replaced with a quizzical look.

"My toilet seat broke this morning when I sat on it and I have to fix a new one on tonight" I gibbered.


And that was the end of what could have been a beautiful romance. You can't blame him really. No-one clutches chrome effect wood toilet seats like that. Single, vulnerable girls do not buy or fix their own toilet seats. Well-bred, vulnerable girls certainly do not get their toilet seats from Woolworths at 8:30pm on a Wednesday evening. No, it is no use. Alan Rickman will just have to accept me for who I am, staples, chrome effect wood toilet seats and all. At least we will never run out of toilet paper.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

To stalk, or not to stalk?

I have found that I, Mrs Nice, have turned into a psychopathic, stapler-wielding stalker girl. Not that I've actually followed someone. Oh, I did, last Thursday. Okay. I am officially a loon. Lock up your chest of drawers and hide your laundry basket! Keep your cat in at night and never leave a saucepan, a rabbit and a packet of OXO together in the same vicinity. Mermaid is a stalker and she may be able to see your house from her van.

I realised this fact about 1/2 an hour ago, which is roughly five years after the rest of the world accepted the fact I was a serial werido with a penchant for jokes about poo and a frightening story about knives that I use to scare off drunk City boys who try to chat me up on the tube.

By the way, if you want to borrow the UBER-FREAK story to scare off unwanted admirers, it goes like this.

Keep your eyes fixed firmly on the victim's jugular, head slightly tilted and a sinister voice like Mr Burns, accompanying the words: "Do you like knives? I like knives... I have a whole collection under my bed... The smallest one is called Christina after a friend I had called Christina."

Suddenly, look up from their neck, stare them in the eyes without blinking, and say: "SHE GOT STABBED".

If they are still remaining in close proximity to you, start gazing at their parting and continue: "I have a very big knife too. It's called Ben, after a tall friend I had. HE GOT STABBED TOOOOOO."

I used it once on a fund manager I was having lunch with. He did not want to divulge any details about a company merger and I really needed the story. What's the point of taking a journo to lunch if you don't dish the dirt? So I told the story to him, while the PR I was with silently pissed himself and the manager - the honest truth - backed his chair up so far away from me that he hit the wall behind him and was still trying to back away even though he could not get anywhere. His little legs were desperately working away at the marble floor, trying to propel him into safety. Aw, bless. He's a very good friend of mine now, is Aidan.

I even have a knife named after him.

I've digressed. No I DON'T have a massive knife collection under my bed. I don't have a knife collection at all. Yes, Christina, Ben and Aidan are all still very much alive and living a long, long way away from me.

But back to stalking. On a level from 1-10, with 1 sounding like the "knife" sound from Hitchcock's Psycho, and 10 sounding like the theme tune to Jaws, here are the reasons why I think I am a stalker:

1) I have actually found out where Alan Rickman lives

2) I thought about standing outside his house and "accidentally" bumping into him

3) I would staple a man to my floor to prevent another one getting away.

4) I have followed a man off the train. Okay, now this sounds worse than it is. He was young, handsome and kept smiling at me all the way on the train journey. I was interested. He was also interested. Given that he had 10 mins to speak to me, I was pretty miffed when he got off one stop before mine, opened his mouth to speak, and then left the carriage. I mean, I don't LOOK scary and I'd not mentioned the word "Knife" or "stapler" or "Severus Snape" once. WHY are men such cowards? In the US and Canada, they're really forthright and will approach a girl regardless of the consequences. In England, they just tremble their lips slightly like Hugh Grant in one of his ground-breaking, Oscar-award-winning psychological foreign film noir roles, and run away. Some have been known to say "Hem". What is with men in their 30s? Get a life. Anyway so he started to get off, and I thought, well, give him another chance. I got off too. I know the area really well and I needed to use the big Sainsbury's anyway. I've not done that before. No it was not successful. The ginger-haired twat.

5) I keep the telephone numbers of ex boyfriends. I never use them, but I keep them. you never know.

6) I dream about Alan Rickman, Gary Oldman and, lately, Jeremy Paxman. Oh yes.

7) Getting married seems increasingly like a dumb idea to me. I might just become a mistress. Men don't want to get married anyway, and if do, they're only going to be like the ones I end up with all the time and expect me to pat them on the back and whoop like a cheerleader every time they fart. Even if my farts are better.

8) I would definitely approach a nice-looking guy in a bar and ask for his number. For you, this might not be a crazy thing to do. For me, this is a sea-change in the way I approach my potential conquests. I usually run away and hide.

9) I'm starting to think violence is the answer to most of my problems. I've started to listen to all my old 1980's heavy metal albums for the first time in 15 years.

10) I have not eaten a bar of chocolate for four weeks, being fixated instead on fantasies. When a woman eschews chocolate as a form of stress-relief, the world should be very worried.

So... I think I am a stalker. I am sorry, all of you. Forgive me.

But I am also thinking - is this really such a bad thing? I'm sure Alan would love some hair clippings. Which do you think he would like most? They're from head, armpits and elsewhere.