Keep Off

By June 17, 2011 Blog

Reading an interview with comedienne Victoria Wood, I was struck again by the similarities between binge-eating and anorexia. Speaking in The Telegraph of her struggles  with binge-eating, Wood comments: I was never hungry.  You’re not if you eat all the time. You never get that scary feeling of hunger.  You want your mind to be distracted. You want to put a wall between you and real life.  It’s like the drink or the fags or the drugs.  It’s all the …Read More

The Tyranny of Perfection

By June 16, 2011 Blog

From as early as I can remember I’ve tried to be perfect.  And it’s nearly killed me. Perfection tantalizes with the promise of completeness and rest.  But it consigns you to endless striving.  Perfectionism damns every effort before it’s even started.  More than that, it can prevent you from ever trying anything at all. And it kills the joy of endeavour and even success, because you’re only as good as your (next) project. I was reminded of this last night …Read More

Shades of Grey

By June 15, 2011 Blog

Life is never straightforward, is it? The papers have been filled recently with gruesome headlines about Georgina Allen, who is alleged to have bludgeoned her husband to death with a hammer. It was a monstrous and completely inexcusable act.  But is Georgina a monster? As more details filter through, the black and white newspaper images start to take on shades of grey.  Georgina left her husband in 2009 after suspecting him of infidelity with prostitutes. That’s got to hurt.  Years …Read More

Death To Hallmark

By June 14, 2011 Blog

Just been talking with a friend about greetings cards and how they never say the things you really want them to say. Father’s Day for example. I love my dad dearly, but ‘if dads were flowers, I’d pick you’ is not something I would ever say.  Or let’s say your mum always told you that you were a mistake. In this case, ‘you’re the world’s greatest Mum’ won’t hit the spot either.  What I’m really looking for is a card …Read More

Because She’s Worth It

By June 13, 2011 Blog, identity

Of course, the big news this week has nothing to do with Syria or the NHS.  It’s this: Liz Jones (columnist), has ‘finally got the face I’ve always deserved’.  A bargain too, at only £13,145 (and yes, that’s a comma in the middle, not a dot). Here’s what she got for her money: Botox Excess under-eye fat cut away and skin tightened Light treatment on cheeks and nose Three syringes of ‘filler’ to plump up mouth Own blood injected in …Read More

Two Ways To Live

By June 12, 2011 Blog

The relationship between mental disorder and genius has been raging since the days of Aristotle, who claimed that one could not exist without the other. It’s been particularly linked to the mania (‘high’ moods) that accompanies bipolar disorder.  Famous sufferers of bipolar disorder include  Van Gogh, Kurt Cobain, Stephen Fry, Ernest Hemingway and Vivien Leigh. Yet, as a close friend with bipolar disorder argues,  all the brains in the world aren’t much use if you can’t get out of bed. …Read More

The Parent Trap

By June 10, 2011 Uncategorized

They muck you up your parents.  They (probably) don’t mean to, but … One of my friends greeted the arrival of their daughter’s first period by announcing to friends ‘our little girl’s become a woman’. Glen tells me that his mum sent him off to college with the ringing valediction of, ‘Fly Glen, fly..’  Mine packed me off to school with a bowl haircut and skirt, three sizes too big, ‘to grow into’. On one of my first dates, Dad …Read More

Nothing To Talk About

By June 9, 2011 Blog

Over the next three days, the World Atheist Convention, guest-starring Richard Dawkins, is taking place in Dublin.  Now, I’m no fan of conventions, even  at the best of times. As  Roald Dahl observed, delegates often turn out to be witches (and as someone terrified of large herds of women, I can only say this – Roald love, how right you are). But, it’s more than that.  All these people  travelling halfway across the world  – but not to drink Guinness, …Read More

The Kids Aren’t Alright

By June 8, 2011 Blog

‘When I pick up my baby sister’, says Courtney, (aged 9),  ‘she smells of mould’. Courtney’ s not exaggerating.  Nor is she making a joke.  The ceiling of her white bathroom is covered in black fungus.  The damp is making them sick. Courtney’s not living in a third-world country with her family.  They’re in a condemned tower block, in a part of Glasgow. So why don’t they move? They can’t afford to.  82% of the local residents are impoverished.  Courtney …Read More

Boys will be Boys

By June 7, 2011 Blog, identity

Apparently in America, there’s a new craze for ‘birth parties’.  Here’s how they work.  Mum and dad poddle off for the ultrasound, but aren’t told the gender of their child.  Instead the stenographer picks up the phone and calls the local bakery to let them know the results. The parents-to-be  then throw a birth party, where guests are invited to come dressed in pink or blue, depending on what they think the baby will be.  After suitable merriment, the cake …Read More