The end of 2019 but this is mostly about Queen… again.

Tuesday 31 December, 2019

Not much has happened in the last two weeks, just a few odds spates here and there that make me think the universe is still on this Queen Alignment Haunting thing.

A few days after my last entry, I woke up after a nightmare at ten past 5ish in the morning. The first song that I was aware of being on the radio finished and then I Want To Break Free came on. Rather apt when you consider the fact I was only awake because I, ahem, “broke free” of a nightmare…

On the 21st of December, I woke up sometime during the traffic update on the radio. The first song after the traffic update was Radio Gaga. Later on that night I went to bed and the first song on the radio after I turned the radio on, was I Want To Break Free (yes, again). Also that day was the day the Sheltered Accommodation’s heating broke on my block, meaning we were all plunged into freezing temperatures and simply told to wrap up and stay in bed if possible whilst we wait for the repair team to be out within 48 hours to fix the problem.

We were told someone was on sight trying to fix the problem Monday afternoon, after the heating went off. They weren’t. Someone came out on the Tuesday – Christmas Eve – and we were told they call out team was staying there waiting for parts. They weren’t. They did try and fix it but unfortunately the boilers are so old, and for some reason the parts from the oldest boiler’s parts were used to frankenstein one of the other boilers and now there are no parts available for the oldest boiler. It’s that older one that’s broken, plunging all of the poeple on the same side of the building as me into freezing temeperatures. So eventually, late into the evening they had to leave. We didn’t get space heaters until the Saturday after Christmas!

On Christmas day, because the cold had kept me awake and tired on the Monday night into Tuesday, meaning I ended up having an early night on the Tuesday/Christmas Eve, I woke up at 7:23 exactly. 7:27, Thank God It’s Christmas came on the radio. A couple of hours later, after telling my mum about my Queen based start to the day, my mum found Queen’s concert in Montreal on the television.

Now my mum is a rather unflappable lady. In fact, she makes fun of Me for being rather, er, flappable. But she took one look at Freddie Mercury standing there on stage, in his very short shorts and nothing else, went a little bit red and couldn’t look at the television. I took pity on her and told her she could turn over. At what point in my life did I become the person who could handle seeing someone in not much clothing!? I don’t know. I suppose a lot changes in 10 years!

On the 27th of December, all traces of Christmas was gone from the music channels. Talk about mood whiplash. I’d just come to accept my Dad watching 24 hour coverage of Christmas no. 1s yet again, and then suddenly there wasn’t any christmas music at all on anywhere!

There was however a 70s Big Hits countdown on The Box, which my Dad put on quite happily. First song, starting as soon as he landed on the channel? Bohemian Rhapsody.

My Dad tried to explain to me that this is all the Green Car Effect, which as you know, I’d quite happily accept and wave away as one big coincidence, if it wasn’t for the timing. It’s not like I’m already listening to the radio and watching TV and whatnot when Queen come on and suddenly wondering why they’re on everywhere all the time, it’s that I turn the radio on, go to turn the radio off, enter a room, exit a room, put something on the telly and suddenly at that exact same time, Queen come on. Of all the channels and stations, of all the times of days, Queen could come on… it’s those exact moments I’m at the most opportune moment to hear them. Right? Not a second later, not a second before, not a different station. Of course I don’t actually believe I’m being haunted… But if there’s patterns in the universe that happens, then this is certainly a pattern.

Anyway where was I going with this? Oh yes. He tried to explain this to me by saying I could have watched a Duran Duran documentary that could have kicked off the Green Car effect for Duran Duran… rather than Queen.

To which I said, “Duran Duran? You mean the band with the Other Roger Taylor in it? Of all the bands you could have used to try and explain the Green Car effect, you used Duran Duran?”.

In the words of Jellyfish (the band, not the betentacled sea creatures) I think I’ve made my point.

And today, the latest and probably the last of this year… Again, nothing else to watch, and we live in a very maudlin household that doesn’t handle new years very well, the Box and a 1970s music video was on. I quite enjoyed the first few videos we saw but I started getting a bit bored at Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin and, unfortunately, Elton John with one of his lesser favourites of mine when I silently threw up a plea to the gods of music to please put on some Queen some point soon…

Well the gods – or is it Freddie? – heard me, because the very next song was Crazy Little Thing Called Love. Who’s that by again? Oh yes. Queen.

Green Car Effect? I don’t think so!

In other news, we finish up the year with an odd mix of same old same old, some Queen, and a hope that next year is better than this one and the previous two.


Piazza, New York Catcher by Belle and Sebastian

Sunday 22 December, 2019

Years ago now, my Good Friend got me into Belle and Sebastian. Or, to be more accurate, I liked a couple of songs without knowing who sung them and from him being a fan, I put two and two together.

Me and my Good Friend are sadly no longer friends, but the music he shared with me has stuck with me to this day. And in great Dan Rydell style, this one song stuck with me more than most, but not for the reasons you might think.

One very bad day in 2010, I put this song on and I “listened” to it on repeat for 26 hours. And yes, I was awake for 26 hours. Like I said, it was a bad day. And it was only a few sporadic listens over the next few days when I realised I’d completely misunderstood the song. I can’t work out how many listen throughs of the song I must have racked up, but because I only really absorbed sentences here and there and put it together like a badly made patchwork puzzle, the over all sentiment hardly got through to me. I thought it was about a man trying to escape a cult-style religion, not about a Baseball player’s life. I wish I could remember my Good Friend’s reaction to this interpretation.

It must have been the lines about pagan holidays and devils to erase that planted the seed, but it was the “life outside the diamond is a wrench” that solidified for me. I imagined something like Scientology, with a big non-descript building in the middle of nowhere, in a diamond shape, where people gathered to worship their god. And how was their god symbolised? Well, the statue, of course. As in “The statue’s crying”, and “meet you at the statue in an hour”.

And of course, what’s a cult religion without it’s take on sexualtiy? “Piazza, New York Catcher, are you straight or are you gay?”, Who was Piazza? No idea.  What was a New York Catcher? A cult-member who recruited other cult members  (I liked The Orioles, in theory, but that was the extent of my baseball knowledge at that time). And this was clearly a cult based in New York. Yes, New York, you know, the city known for it’s… big open fields…? And they were clearly questioning his sexuality because he didn’t want to marry the women in the cult, and they wouldn’t imagine it was because he wanted to leave the cult, just that he might not be into women.

It all made sense at the time!

And of course a cult would focus on virginity… I misheard “the borrowed bedroom, virginal and spare” slightly. I thought “Virginal and spare” was talking about this Miss Private, and the “spare” was, well, her being the spare sacrifice, which they were giving to the statue.

Other things I mishead where:-
“The statue’s crying too and Willie May” – Who’s Willy May? Possibly the leader of the cult
“The Giants and Maxwell Play” – I’ve never heard of that one, must be a Pinter.
“You betcha boots religion’s first, and rest on holidays” – This one’s self explanatory
“He’s praying for a doorway back into the life he wants” – This poor guy wants to leave the cult!
“The confession of the bench” Must be a cult that’s taken some elements of catholicism.
“Meet you at the statue in an hour” – He’s either defeated, because of how Cults work, and will meet the girl at the statue in an hour because that’s when they’re going to kill her, or that’s it, that’s when their big escape is happening.

See, it all made sense!

This song was absolutely fascinating to me in those 26 hours. What a song! This poor Piazza fellow was imagining a life after leaving a religous cult based in a diamond shaped non-descript building. It was beautiful. I hoped he and this Miss Private would go on to be very happy indeed.

And of course, then I learnt that I was completely wrong and the bubble burst somewhat and my Good Friend explained the information I’d been missing. But I’m nothing if not like Dan Rydell and, like I said above, it’s stuck with me anyway. Mostly because I prefer my interpretation.

Anyway. This came to me because I was looking for Sports Night clips on youtube and an irrelevant video with this song came up and I thought it was too much of a freaky coincidence not to write up about it.

 


More Queen Coincidences

Sunday 15 December, 2019

I went a few days without anything odd happening and then, for the first time in 6th months of being stuck in bed due to illness and a broken wheelchair, I was finally able to eat tea with my family in the living room, in front of the television. I’d just put a forkfull of food into my mouth when Bradley Walsh, quiz master of new ITV show called Cash Trapped, asked the question of “Which opera singer did Freddie Mercury sing Barcelona with?”. I nearly choked on pie.

The next day I heard on the radio an advert for Queen Symphonic. I thought it was a sign! Unfortunately, wheelchair spaces for the Liverpool Philharmonic have all gone and whilst proportional seating is a blog post for another day, let me just say that just 16 spaces for a venue as well known as the Liverpool Philharmonic is ridiculous; Either way, obviously this was not a sign. I put down the phone, and a few minutes later Radio Gaga came on the radio.

The next night my Dad asked me if I’d told my friend about the tickets – I told him she didn’t even know I was considering getting the tickets so there would be no point. My Dad, massive fan of Christmas Music and watching the music video channels for the countdowns from as early as they start showing them, then put on the Top 50 Christmas Songs chart, just before #3 was announced.

It was Bohemian Rhapsody. I decided right then that I was buying tickets to We Will Rock You. I then became annoyed at whatever song was on the radio at the time before I went to sleep, so I switched back over to Absolute Classic Rock.

The next morning I woke up, went the loo, returned to my room and then Killer Queen came on the radio. A couple of more days passed without any coincidences, just mere Green Car effects of Queen being on the very station most likely to play them, until yet again I was sat in front of the television with my parents whilst they watched Cash Trapped. The question was “Who did Rami Malek play in the Queen Biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody?”. Later that night just as I as dozing off to sleep, good old One Vision came back on the radio. I was awake as long as the song was on, and then I must have fell asleep. I woke up to I Want To Break Free.

Earlier on tonight, whilst trying to fix a technological issue with my laptop and listening to music to drown out political conversations – and the election result is also another blog post for another day – I had to take a break to have a drink. I wheeled back to wear my water was, parked up and drunk some water. Just then an advert for a documentary that’s coming on about Fredie Mercury came on the television.

I could have easily delayed having a drink of water, I could have given up sooner waiting for a program to load and had a drink of water a good fifteen minutes earlier than I did, but no, the very minute I decide my laptop can do what it likes – like it always does – is the very same minute that advert came on the telly.

I promise at some point I will blog about something else other than these Queen Coincidence phenomena.


Haunted by Queen – Part 2

Wednesday 4 December, 2019

So of course, two days after my last post, it was sadly the anniversary of Freddie Mercury’s death. I’m not completely insensitive or deluded so much to say that this has been more than a coincidence, but again, the timing of this has been just a little bit odd.

All my thoughts and love go to his friends’ and family.

I will say, though, that I thought, if this is some universe alignment/haunting thing – because I have no other way of explaining these levels of coincidences – I thought it would finish after the anniversary, and the few bizarre coincidences happened after that I could put it down to Green Car effect.

But then last night happened.

I decided to defer from my uni module. I’m really struggling, i’m not well enough to put my full capabilities to the work. As soon as I made that decision, I got up and I turned my radio on. The song that was on when I turned the radio on finished, and the next song to start was One Vision.

I waited for that song to finish and went to go the loo, which is by the living room. My Dad was watching Bohemian Rhapsody. I came out of the loo to the scene where they’re arguing over I’m In Love With My Car. I stayed watching a few minutes but couldn’t stay there for too long so went back to bed. About fifteen minutes later I realised they didn’t do the cupboard scene (Remember, the anecdote which seemed to have set this whole Queen Coincidence Enigma off) and went back in to talk about it with my Dad. By that point, for some reason, a Tony Hadley music video count down on a music channel was on instead.

So, Tears for Fears came on, finished, and then Radio Gaga came on after it. (Side coincidence – a thread went around twitter the other day asking which was your most controvercial Sci Fi opinion, and mine is that I think Metropolis, which has some very good bits, is actually boring over all)

This morning I woke up to I Want It All.

What is this message the universe, or maybe Freddie Mercury himself, is trying to tell me?


I’m being haunted by Queen

Friday 22 November, 2019

I know. I know. It’s a bold claim to make considering only one member is no longer with us on this plane of existence, but it’s true. Either that, or there’s a glitch in the matrix. No way could this be pure coincidence, or worse, the green car effect!

It all started two weeks ago when I read this interesting bit of trivia, which I don’t know if it’s true or not but it is amusing, about Roger Taylor. He was apparently so adament that his song, I’m In Love With My Car, should be on the B Side, that he locked himself up in the cupboard until Freddie and the rest agreed it would be.

So, Roger Taylor is not just an expert drummer and great singer, but he’s also a top notch negotioator too. (If the rumours are to be believed.) And that’s how all of this started.

The next day, I recieved Bohemian Rhapsody in the post from Cinema Paradiso. Coincidence? Glitch in the Matrix? Or, a message? I don’t know.

I watched the film, I loved the film, I then said to someone that, yes, whilst I like We Will Rock You (the song, not the musical – I’ve not seen the musical) by Queen because, obviously it’s a great song, I also quite liked Five’s version back in the 90s. Not to the point where I think it’s better, and it has it’s flaws (what were they thinking with that rap!?) but yeah, I can listen to it and I can sing along.

I listen to Absolute Classic Rock. Any Queen song can come on at any time. The next Queen song to come on after i said that, was We Will Rock You.

A few hours later I struggled to fall asleep, but eventually I started to doze off. And then Hammer to Fall came on the radio. I woke up about 10 hours later. The first song to come on after the song I woke up to finished? It was Hammer to Fall by Queen. Nature of a repetitive playlist? Coincidence? Or something more? I don’t know.

I explained to my brother that these wierd Queen-related things keep happening. Do you know what came on the telvision? An advert for a Visa card, which has Somebody to Love as the background song. It’s not unusual, they’ve been used in Adverts before – a furniture advert if I remember correctly – but the timing is a bit suspicious. Is it a green car effect? Has Queen just been everywhere all this time but finally I’m back in tune with them? I did have a Queen phase a few years ago, but it was more of a subphase to the 1970s/1980s kick I was on at the time and that’s a lot of ground to cover to know every little thing about every artist, and I think I just binge learnt about Meatloaf, Bonnie Tyler and Tiffany, and none of those artists ever seemed to follow me about during my day.

Well, a couple of days without incident went by and then I ended up watching a youtube clip of Ant and Dec where Ant’s a farmer wearing a giant wig and Dec loses it laughing. This one I brought on myself, deliberately, just because I needed to hear Dec say “It’s Brian May!” to Ant in a geordie accent. And then, I went the loo, came back to We Are The Champions on the radio. Could it be Green Car effect? Is this all just a coincidence? I don’t know. All I know is that later than night I wrote in my actual physical journal “This bizarre link to the universe needs to give me less Queen on the radio and more money”, and a split second after I wrote that sentence, Queen’s I Want To Break Free came on the radio. I think if the universe had any sense of humour, it would have actually given me “Money” by the Beatles (Or by it’s original performer Barrett Strong, or the infamous cover version by the Flying Lizards) but maybe this isn’t a case of humour.

Maybe this is all a message. What that message is, I can’t figure out!

And well, that brings us to today. Today, trying very hard to catch up on Uni work through sickness and fatique and major reconstruction works on the block of flats I live in, I had to take a break. I was falling asleep. I needed to laugh at something.

“I know!” I said to myself, “I’ll watch that clip of Paul O’Grady falling off his chair, that always makes me laugh” (sorry Paul O’Grady). And, this is tangenitally related to Queen but I’m taking it anyway. Do you know who was on the couch when Paul O’Grady fell off his chair? Matt Lucas, David Walliams and Anita Dobson. Who is Anita Dobson married to? Brian May.

I told my brother about this latest wierd coincidence, as tangenital as it may be, less than 30 seconds later “I Want It All” came on the radio.

So, Freddie Mercury, mate! I’m listening. I’ve got eyes and ears open! But I can’t figure out whatever it is you’re trying to tell me!

And, hell, i’m being presumtuous here. Maybe it’s not Freddie. Maybe it’s Roger Taylor, or hell maybe even John Deacon. It can’t be Brian May, because he’s quite active on Instagram.

Maybe, whoever it is, they’ve stopped communicating on our plane of existence and the only way they can communicate is through wierd coincidental timings involving me? I have a history of this kind of thing, after all. Maybe I am actually psychic! (or is it a Kind of Magic? hah hah hah)

Never for anything useful like Money or busses, no, but definitely if you want a film on television or a song on the radio, all I need to do is talk about it and your wish will be granted within 48 hours. Usually what happens is that I order an obscure film through Cinema Paradiso that’s not been on television in a while, only for it to be on television the day after I watch it on DVD.

Either way, whatever the message is, fellas, I’m waiting!

 

Edited to Add: The day after writing this blog post, I woke up very late and had a late start on my uni work. The uni work involves interactive videos, so I went to turn my radio off to hear them properly. Just as I reached out to slide the switch off at the back, Queen’s One Vision came on. Later on in the day my laptop crashed. I often sing to myself and as I finished one song – The Joyful Kilmarnock Blues by the Proclaimers – I started singing Bicycle Race. I picked up my phone, checked social media to find a friend had, just a minute before, posted a picture of Freddie Mercury with an inspirational quote about being yourself.

To add to this, unrelated slightly, but just as I sung the line “Jaws was never my scene and I don’t like Star Wars”, another friend posted about playing the latest Star Wars game.

What is this message and what am I meant to do with it?!

*This post is written almost entirely in jest. Though these freaky coincidences have been happening and does creep me out, I do not actually believe Freddie Mercury, or any other member of Queen, is trying to communicate with me through the power of bizarre timed songs on the radio or youtube video clip guests. But it is a nice idea, that out of all the poeple in the universe, I would be the one trusted to recieve an important message should Freddie Mercury or the other Queen Members find themselves trapped in the astral plane. Normally I’m not even trusted to pour milk out the carton.

No disrespect or offense is intended. Especially not to John Deacon, who now lives a quiet life out of the public eye and I almost didn’t mention him due to that fact, but that felt even more disrespectful to him as a person as well as a respected artist.


Weight Loss Journey: Re-Approaching The Last Hurdle

Saturday 2 November, 2019

So, I thought I’d update people on this little issue… This gets gross, so just, be aware. Turn back if you can’t handle icky, gross embarrassing health issues!

I was steadily losing a bit of weight by eating smaller portions, more veg and less potatoes and bread, cutting down on chocolate for unrelated dairy-digestion issues as well as weight… and then suddenly I had another spell of acid reflux that was more like choking on my own saliva than anything else. For six hours, I was regurgitating tiny remnants of food I’d eaten over the last two days – a bit different to outright vomiting, as vomit is (I believe) rejected and projected from your stomach, where as I had food work their way half way up my throat and get stuck, and hiccups that ended up in randomly projection of acidy gunk from… somewhere. My stomach? My throat? No idea. And after that night, I could barely eat for two months as eating anything solid, heavy, greasy, dry or soft and mushy would get stuck in my throat and come back up as chewed, digested bits in acidy gunk, a few hours later.

My diet for weight loss went out the window because I had to eat what I could, when I could. And the weight dropped off me. I don’t know how much, it might not as been as much as it looked, but it looked bad to me. It felt bad. It was also a worry that people who knew I was trying to lose weight would see this as something self inflicted, I’ve had those suspicions before when I had a blockage, but I was suffering, both then and now. For those two months, I wasn’t eating much more than cereal, bananas, chicken and over cooked pasta, chicken and rice, and peanut butter on toast.

I’ve had tests, all came back “normal”. Which means that i’ve been discharged and left to manage it by myself, because obviously if the tests say everything is fine, that means the symptoms aren’t actually happening… Oh to have a doctor like Gregory House!

It was the middle of august when I started to get an appetite back, and I felt I could eat without food getting stuck in my throat. Over the last two months i’ve managed to re-introduce food at more normal portion sizes than what I could over those two months. And I’ve put the weight on. And then a bit more, somehow.

And in these latest two months, I’ve only had an acid attack twice, and that was in the same week. Regular bouts of acid reflux are at the normal level of “every few days”.

And now it’s winter, which means being tempted with halloween themed cake, and hot chocolate, and roast dinners. I’m sticking to my idea of cutting chocolate out, it’s just hard when people offer me it becuase I’m known as the chocolate lover, and the cake eater, and I do love a good donner kebab. That one has nothing to do with diary, but I thought, whilst I was being honest… Though I haven’t had a donner kebab in a long while!

I just want to fit into my jeans again. It’s not about the numbers, it’s a third about health, but it’s mostly about my favourite pair of jeans.


I don’t understand reusable menstrual knickers

Saturday 19 October, 2019

Disclaimer: I have dyscalculia and every calculation on this post was carefully written down and calculated using a calculator, but my understanding of numbers comes and goes so there could be mistakes here and I welcome any corrections.


Thinx? Wuka? Modibodi? I don’t get them. It might be because I’ve not tried them, but a fair few youtubers have and they seem to be hit and miss. And I refuse to call them “pants” or “Panties” because I’m not American. I’m British, they’re knickers.

I’m not trying to make a big song and dance about it, there’s some wild claims out there about how some of these products don’t work and they really only highlight user error or deliberate misinformation, but I just really don’t understand how it’s meant to work. There seems to be a lot of washing involved, and an assumption that you have ready access to a washing machine, and can dry them no problem.

But I’ve been looking into products available. First of all, I was shocked at the price. People on facebook led me to believe that you can buy a set of reusable period knickers for maybe £20-25, so I was shocked and appalled to find Boots sell one pair of the Thinx brand of menstrual knickers for £30 each. I went to the Thinx website, and I found the same prices, or a set of 3 for between £73-77, depending on your style. That’s a lot.

They do say if you’re not happy with them, you can return them within 60 days, no questions asked, so that’s something.

You’ve got to wash them on cold, which makes sense if you understand blood, you can’t bleach them, which also yes, makes sense, but you can’t put them in the dryer, they have to hang dry.

So you have 3 pairs of re-usable menstrual knickers for, say £73.13 because I’m an organic cotton full brief kind of person. And that comes with two heavy day pairs and a medium day pair. So you’re going to want to dedicate one of the heavy day pairs for a night pair… unless you just want to freebleed on your sheets… You probably don’t want to do that.
So, really, you’re going to need 2 sets for one period, unless you only bleed for one day. So that’s £146.26… Wait, what? Sorry, that’s £146.26!?

For that amount of money I could buy 146 packets of Always cotton for 99p from Bodycare! Or 42 packets of TOTM Organic Cotton for £3.36 from Superdrug. There’s 14 pads in the former, and 10 pads in the latter, that means for that amount of money I could buy 2044 always cotton pads, or 420 TOTM pads. Say I use 4 pads a day, for an average of 6 days a month, so that’s 24 pads a month on average. That means for that amount of money, Always cotton would last me 85 months, and I’d get less milage out of TOTM which would last me 17 months. What? 85 months is just a bit over 7 years!
How long do thinx knickers last? Well ordinarily you’re meant to throw your underwear out every 2 to 3 years for health and hygiene reasons, but is Thinx different? There is no information on their website as to how long a pair should last a person, or signs to look out for which show they may need replacing, unlike Menstrual Cups which are lauded as lasting for 10 years. So if you go with the general information for knickers, that’s max 3 years. I mean, you’re not exactly getting bang for your buck, here, are you?

Okay so in this scenario where I’ve forked out £146.26 for 6 pairs of knickers. That’s £24 per pair of knickers btw. Not exactly my normal price range considering I get multipacks from Primark…

So I’ve forked out this money and let’s start with a night, because who risks going to bed when you’re due on without a pad on? Sp I get up the next morning, I rinse it under the tap and then I put it in the washing bag. In this scenario I’m your average person with a job, not a disabled unemployed mature student currently unable to work. The Thinx knickers can take up to an average 8 hours worth of bleeding, but there’s a “heavy” pair and a medium “pair” and it’s hard to say how heavy a person is and how much a “heavy” pair can really take. Let’s say I’m the heaviest I am, in pads I’m changing every 3 hours, because even pads for “heavy” days say they should last 4 hours between changes, so let’s say this means instead of 8 hours, the knickers can take 6. So, i’m at work, I woke up at half 7 in the morning, which means I need to change my pair of knickers by 2 in the afternoon at the latest. Maybe you’re more likely to change them at a convenient time earlier than 2 depending on your break. Okay. And then so, depending on when i’ve changed them, i change again between 7 and 8 in the evening. And then I swap that out for another night pair of knickers and that day’s worth of knickers have gone into the wash. I’ve started with 6, and I’ve already worn four of them, and I’d be wearing the fifth over night. And I’m heavy for two days.

By description, I assume they’d last longer on lighter days, but whether wearing a pair of longer on lighter days is advisable, I don’t know, because I can’t find that suggestion either way on their website. It’s all about how they match up to tampons and pads per amount of blood, rather than an hourly kind of thing. You might be able to get away with 12 hours if you’re very light, if doing so wouldn’t cause a problem like wearing a pad or tampon might.

I’m not trying to sound difficult, but that means you’re going to need to do washing when you get home and hope they’ll be dry by the next morning, to take a pair to work with you. Now as a disabled person who doesn’t go to work, and has limited access to a washing machine and absolutely nowhere to hang dry them… I’d need a third set, I think? At an eye watering total price of £219.39?

I have never once see anyone say they need to buy three sets of Thinx knickers, so what am I assuming wrongly here? Or do you really need to be washing the knickers you’ve worn, every day?

For the record, for £219.39 I could buy at least 221 packets of Always cotton pads, and at 14 pads per packet that’s 3,094 pads, or 65 packets of TOTM organic cotton pads, and at 10 pads per packet that’s 650 pads.

I know what you’re probably thinking. “But they’re disposable! Is the cost so important when it comes to the future of the planet!?” and the problem is, with disposable ones, they’re low energy and I can depend on myself for the most part. I unwrap them, i put them on, I wrap up the old one, I throw it away.

If I was to buy Thinx knickers, I would have to think about having enough between washes, I would have to figure out how best to dry them in a damp bathroom used by other people and the outlay of the cost. When will they start paying for themselves? Will they ever, if I’m forking out £219 every 3 years? It’s a lot to ask of someone to fork out a high financial cost as well as a high personal energy cost when there’s a lot more out of my control that effects these being viable. I could wake up tomorrow to a letter from the social services saying they’re revoking my care package all together, and then what would I do? And I’m sorry to say it but when it’s a choice between 9 knickers I’d need to wait on someone else to wash and hang up to dry for me that might only last 3 years, and 3094 pads which would last 171 months (14 years! Is that right?), or even 650 pads which would last 36 months, also 3 years, I know which sounds more appealing. At least TOTM promise their pads are ecologically friendly and plastic free.

Lastly, going back to a previous post, people need to stop recommending these as something else that homeless people can use. I see it less than with menstrual cups, but I do see it and I think this post highlights as to why menstrual knickers are hardly viable for the average person, let alone someone who is homeless! Asking someone who likely does not have much money in the first place to fork out the crushing expense of between £73 and £219 for not even a full week’s worth of period care, and then having nowhere hygenic to wash them, is cruel. And that offer only seems available online!

If you think homeless people should be using them, then I hope you have an open door policy on your home so they can use your washer and washing line in the garden to facilitate the wearing thereof!

Now if i am completely wrong, which I might be, I would like to know. It does feel a bit “mountain out of a molehill” here, and what do I know? I haven’t used them. But all that expense, all that work, that doesn’t seem viable to me, not in any reasonable circumstances. So I would also like to know if I am right, and this is exactly what you have to do to make menstrual knickers work for you.


Classic Movie Quest: “Pickup On South Street” and “Funny Face”

Tuesday 24 September, 2019

Pickup On South Street (Originally watched and reviewed in 2013)

This film start’s off when a lowly pick-pocketing thief, called Skip McCoy, lifts the purse/wallet of a woman called Candy, which, unbeknownst to the pair of them, contains a microfilm of top secret information that should have gone to a communist informant.

I mean with a set up like that, what’s not to like? Unfortunately… the second half of the movie.

The problem I had with this film, is that all but one of the characters annoyed me. Or, the situations they were putting themselves in that drove the plot. The familiar face and dry wit of Thelma Ritter, who in this film is playing a police informant called Moe, was the only character I liked the whole time I was watching. She’s not so clean herself, but she’s in the know. She’s a stoolie, and that’s what makes her useful to the police. Well, that, and the clothes she sells to them from out of a brief case.

The rest, though, really irritated me. Joey knows what he’s doing with that information, but he’s too afraid to leave his apartment to do it himself, so he gets Candy to do all of the legwork. Candy does what’s asked of her, no questions asked. Even when she’s had the wallet stolen, she returns to Joey and does more bidding for him. He wants her to go back out and find who stole the wallet, because obviously it’s that easy…

Well, it must be, because once she does find Skip McCoy, she gets a punch to the face, which knocks her out, and then when she’s fully conscious again, tries to turn on her charm to get the wallet, or at least the contents of the wallet, back.

And then she’s falling for Skip, and… Yeah, I don’t know. There’s something about starting a relationship with a punch to the face that doesn’t really go down well with me.

Even the good people I’m meant to like, the policemen; They annoyed me because they had Candy under surveillance and yet didn’t step in when she was being pick-pocketed, allowing Skip McCoy to walk off with the so called top secret information! How is that meant to make sense?

It’s no The Big Sleep.

2/10

Funny Face (Originally watched and reviewed in 2013)

This is a classic Audrey Hepburn film. Apparently. From experience, I do know that I’m not really one for Hepburn films, but I still watched it with something like an open mind. After all, not every single film on this classic film quest has been a bust!

So, anyway, Audrey Hepburn plays a philosophical bookworm, Jo Stockton, who gets targeted by the duo team of fashion magazine editor, Maggie Prescott (Kay Thompson), and fashion photographer, Dick Avery (Fred Astaire), after finding she works in the adorable book shop they’ve staked out as their place to do a photo shoot. But, Jo (Hepburn) doesn’t want anything to do with it! She doesn’t like the fashion industry, and thinks it’s a waste of time, and more importantly, they’re disturbing the books! Sentiments I agree with very much. The problem is, this is a romcom film, and even more, it’s a musical, so we inevitably know she’ll change her tune once worn down enough. (Pun only a little bit intended)

Like literally two scenes later, they spend maybe fifteen minutes in-film time together, Dick kisses her, she says she’s not interested and then sings a love balad about him.

Ahuh…

And then after they try and give her an impromtu make over, which she hates and runs away from, they all end up going to Paris together. This is after Dick Avery sings a song based on a back handed compliment that actually gives the name to the film. Basically, Jo said she couldn’t be a model because she has a funny face, Dick Avery then says (paraphrasing) says Maggie said the same thing but boy, could they use a funny face like hers!

Ahuh….

I didn’t last much longer after that. If someone could explain to me why they like this film, I’d really appreciate it.

1/10


Yes, we know about the menstrual cups

Thursday 12 September, 2019

If someone had told me at age fourteen that I would one day become so incensed by a sub-group of menstrual rights campaigners that I would write a blog post for everyone to read on the subject of menstruating and the right to choose which products suit you, I would have blushed and looked at you like you’d grown a second head.

But here I am, writing a blog post for everyone to see because a certain sub-group of menstrual rights campaigners have incensed me. Incensed!

Now before I get started, I know it might not sound like it, what with the straws issue and now this, I really do care about the environment. But I also really care about people and if i was to put something first, it was would be people above senseless ideals. The idea of recycling is always reduce, re-use and recycle. Nowhere does it say “Make a one size fit all solution to the detriment of a lot people”. For example, if you don’t need a plastic straw, great, don’t use one. But you don’t get to tell disabled people who do need plastic straws to find another solution… Well, unfortunately for me, you do get to tell people that because of the international bans that are happening everywhere. But this isn’t about straws, this is about menstrual cups. And the menstrual cup brigade keep coming on to posts, into the threads, on facebook, twitter, blog posts, charity articles, and vomit their hivemind all over it: “Use menstrual cups! Why not use menstrual cups! Give them menstrual cups! Take away choice and replace it with a menstrual cup!”

We get it, Martha, you love your Menstrual Cup so much you don’t just want to marry it, you want us all to marry it too. Like a cult.

For those of you don’t know what a menstrual cup is, a menstrual cup is an egg-cup shaped sillicone cup with a short funnel, which you stick up your, erm, “ladyfloo” (Look, I’ve got better with this sort of stuff over the last few years but you’re going to have to bear with me here, I’m not Jackie Collins) during your period and it collects the blood. I believe you have to empty it every 8 hours, or sooner if you have a heavy flow, but unlike tampons, there’s a low risk of toxic shock syndrome.

But the menstrual cup, however great for these people, is not the one size fits all solition they wish it to be, and I am quite frankly thoroughly sick of it being suggested every time a period-related issue comes up.

It is not going to help homeless people on their period, because not only is it still cost prohibitive to buy, there are a lot of hygiene related issues when it comes to being homeless. Even when given free ones, you have to think about cleaning it, you have to think about sterilising it, and you have to think about storing it. It is not good to just “wipe it with a bit of tissue” like I keep seeing suggested! I’m not a microbiologist, but I think the last thing a homeless person would want is to be made sick by a bit of remnant tissue fibres and dried blood being shoved back up inside them when their own hands don’t feel clean enough to even handle applicated tampons. And homeless people have their stuff stolen, confiscated, ruined and set on fire on a regular basis.

It’s not going to help girls staying off school because of period poverty, again because the cost is prohibitive, and you’re asking twelve year old girls who might not even be comfortable with tampons to handle something like a menstrual cup – by these people’s own admission, there is a “technique” to it – at a time when their bodies are changing. They might have strict parents, or strict religious parents, or helicopter parents with boundary issues who do not allow insertable period products which means they couldn’t wear them even if they wanted them.

And thirdly, it’s got to be about choice! And what I keep seeing from the menstrual cup brigade, is that they see these as all individual problems all solved with this one thing. Too poor to regularly buy period care? That’s okay, one up front cost of £20 and you’re set for 10 years! Kids can’t go to school on their period? Get them a menstrual cup! Amazon workers can’t have bathroom breaks to deal with tampons and pads? Don’t worry, the menstrual cup can be used for 8 hours! Long journey and a tendency to leak? You can’t leak with a menstrual cup (you absolutely can if it’s not inserted correctly or your flow is heavy)!Oh the environment’s suffering at all the disposable period care that makes it into the eco system? Solve it by only ever using one product for the next 10 years! Let’s ignore that you might need to clean it and use something in your underwear whilst it’s being cleaned.

That’s the menstrual cup brigade’s modus operandi. They ignore a lot of things. They ignore what they themselves know – Everybody is different, and because of that, everyone needs different things. The size and shape doesn’t work for everyone, just like tampons don’t work for everyone. On a very personal note, I have almost always exlcusively used pads because I can not use tampons. I’ve used them twice, I am not compatible with them, and cups are bigger and take more handling to insert. I’d rather freebleed than try a menstrual cup.

There’s a “technique” that some people, no matter how hard they try, can not “master the art of”. And, by the menstrual cup brigade’s own admission, sometimes you have to use a different type. Now a quick google tells me the Mooncup is £21.99, the Lily Cup is £18.99 and the Diva Cup is £24. So that’s someone, who might not have that kind of money, forking out at least £65 to try something that might just not work with their body? Bodies are so different! Why are people, in this day and age of understanding the issue with “for women” clothes sizes, and diet advice and medication is more dependent on an individual basis, so ignorant to suggest this one solution can work for all body types, all flows, all lives and all priorities? It doesn’t!

I am barely scraping the top of the issues I have with the menstrual cup brigade here!

I have seen them say charities should hand them out to every kid who starts their period and they’ll be set for all of school. As well as the issues i’ve already covered, ignoring the matter of simply choice, am I really reading that a bunch of adults think a child who could be as young as eight use a menstrual cup!? I mean we’re talking the practical sizing issues of this, and the emotional trauma of starting puberty young. At least lillets do nice small pads aimed at tweens in cute packaging. It’s inoffensive, it’s non-confrontational and it, or at least it is aiming to, convey the message “you might have started your period, but you’re still a child!”. I can’t see them being able to manage that with a menstrual cup. I’m not sure I’ve even seen tampons aimed at tweens.

And yes, at the forefront of this, is choice. It doesn’t matter if the menstrual cup brigade can bulldoze over issues such as pracitcality (Ask a cafe for some boiling water!) and hygiene (just wipe it with a tissue!) and home life situations (tell your parents you make your own decisions! Your religion is oppressive!), they can not bulldoze over the simple matter of choice.

You have the right to choose what to use with your period care. And whilst I’ve seen the menstrual cup villify anyone who explains their issues with the menstrual cup, blaming them for not doing it the right way, not using the right product, not having the right body, and downright eviscerating anyone who says it’s simply something they choose not to use, it doesn’t change the simple matter of fact that you have your own rights and your own voice. Don’t let them take away disposable pads, disposable tampons and plastic applicators like the straw brigade took away our straws.

And if you’re reading this thinking “Well I just like to suggest to people there are options”, here’s the problem, you’re not the only one making the same suggestion. If you think by now poeple don’t know about the menstrual cup, if you think your ability to use one means everyone has the ability, the practicality, the financial stability to use one (or two or three), maybe just try one thing before you barrel on with that suggestion: Ask them if they want a suggestion for an alternative first. Because I can tell you, they probably don’t. Homeless poeple don’t, school children don’t, charities working with vulnerable people don’t. They just want people to have better access to the products that they are already familiar with.

Just, stop.


I’m bored with alphabetizing my DVDs

Friday 3 May, 2019

Sometimes when I couldn’t sleep when I was younger, I used to rearrange my CDs. It would be like a rota of late night organising to see me through my insomnia, until I felt tired enough to sleep. Sometimes I would swap from them being alphetised by artist and band, to alphabetising them by album names. Sometimes I would rearrange them so that all the bands beginning with “The” would be alphabetised so that the second word was what was counted – The Beatles came under B, The Beach Boys came under B, The Beautiful South… also came under B…. I guess I like a lot of bands who begin with B. Oh, I also like The Ataris, and they would come under A, and of course, The Proclaimers, who would come under P. So now we all know how the alphabet works, I’ll move on.

The VHSes were put through similar flights of my fancy, in the day during school holidays. We didn’t have many (as in with case and cover) because we tended to tape off the telly (and we had loads of those!) but at one point my parents were members of a VHS club, and I don’t know what the terms and conditions were or even why, but every month for a while, we got a fancy schmancy full on VHS (as in not taped off the telly) through the letterbox. This meant that we had Stephen Seagal films, James Bond films, various thrillers and the occasional rom com. In fact, it was the sudden prevalence of Romcoms, which my parents did not watch, which led to my parents ending their subscription to this film club in the end. But, thanks to that club, we did have 4 Weddings and a Funeral, While You Were Sleeping, and a Tom Hanks one I can’t really put a name to. And what I used to do was, I would rearange them from alphabetical, to rating, to genre, to colour of the case – and it used to annoy the crap out of me that so many James Bond films had that black and gold spine, but then randomly one was blue!? And then, after my Dad bought some tapes from the local renting tape shop’s closing down sale, we also had two oversized white VHS cases, which was even worse than blue! How was I meant to keep our tapes in some sort of order with that?

I’ll tell you how, sometimes I also rearranged by height.

Anyway, lately in my life, it’s been a bit stressful.  I’ve not been well, i’ve had problems with my wheelchair, I’ve been trying my hardest to keep my head above water on my degree, and so as a source of comfort, or maybe just plain old disctraction, I’ve been itching but unable to rearrange my DVDs. I’m physically no longer capable of kneeling, sitting on the floor, or bending. So if I want my DVDs arranged, not for a whim but because I’ve been on a DVD sale purchasing binge (hello, CEX 10p DVDs! And also hi charity shops that sell three DVDs for £1!), I have to wait to have time with someone – usually my PA – to put them in the order for me.

But lately…. alphabetising hasn’t felt “right”. Like with the CDs and the VHS, I need to change it up and around a bit. I can’t physically do it myself right now, but if I was able to…. I’m unsure as to how. As in, I don’t know which order I should change it to.

I considered by rating, but they actually changed the rating system in 2002, so I don’t want to do that on principle of not liking 12A as a rating. I think it’s ridiculous and just very, very unneccesary.

I could go by colour, and I’m tempted to go by colour, I have a couple of pink spines there that would make it interesting, but there’s a lot of black spines too and I can see that being a problem for directing people to the right movie for me.

I’m extremely tempted to arrange by genre. I feel like the boredom of alphabetising is shoved over quite forcefully when I think of arranging by genre! It’s exciting to think about! I’ve been alphabetising my DVDs for 10 years! By genre will be a new experience! But it’s also complicated. Which genre goes first? Do I alphabetise the genres? I plan to alphabetise inside the genres, as in 10 Things I Hate About You would go before 27 dresses in the romcom section, so it would make sense, but should Romcom come before Thriller, for example?

And exactly what genres are there? Because I look at my DVDs and I see (some) romcoms, I see animated Disney, non-animated Disney, Disney Pixar, I see 80s classics, I see Sci-Fi, Sci-Fi comedy, Sci-Fi kids. I’ve got fantasy movies, pirate movies, animated pirate movies, comedy, horror comedy, slasher, drama, period drama, drama musicals, musicals, kids non-animated musicals, thrillers, coming of age, and historical fiction!

What genre does Attack the Block fall in to? Horror, Sci-Fi, Coming of Age or Comedy? Does anime deserve it’s own genre, or do I put Endless Walts under Sci Fi? Is Fame a musical, an 80s classic or a coming of age movie!?

And then there’s the few “inspired by comics” movies that I have, do I put them all together in one section, or alphabetise them into Sci Fi too?

I just don’t know!

It’s exciting times at The House of A Failed Journalist.

Anyone have any suggestions? I’m all eyes!