Wednesday, 2 September 2009

The Oxford Street Branch of TopShop is a cleverly disguised circle of Hell

I went to a wedding on Sunday (and a lovely and happy wedding it was too) which obviously meant I spent the week beforehand desperately running from clothes shop to clothes shop growing more and more desperate as I realised I am ultimately doomed to never find anything I like ever. In fact, the chances are that if you spoke to me in the last week or so you'd have had to put up with at least a bit of whinging about how much I hate clothes shopping, and how dreadful the whole experience is.

So I just wanted to say it again here. I hate clothes shopping. Yes I do.

When I've mentioned this previously in the week, I have had at least three people respond with "Oh but all girls love shopping, don't they?". Side stepping the obvious urge to break things here, I will acknowledge that yes, the stereotypical view of women is that they love the shopping, can't get enough of it, love shoes more than men etc. I will admit that there was a time when I might have enjoyed it slightly, mainly when I was a teenager with a) no bills and b) no serious job, so I could wear what I liked because I didn't have to worry about not having money for other things or buying clothes unsuitable for work. Now though, I find it to be a poxy, mind-deadening experience of hideousness, and here are the fundamental reasons why:

1) The people who do like shopping. Shops are heaving with the sort of skinny, invariably blond women who absolutely adore buying clothes, presumably because everything fits them and they look great in everything. They can be seen grazing skinny fit jeans in Top Shop and fingering fabrics like their lives depend on it. True, it's not really their fault that they enjoy it, but it doesn't stop them getting on my wick (and getting in my way).

2) It's the same old shit in every single shop. This is probably the biggest reason I hate it. Seriously, I walked up and down fucking Oxford Street and halfway around Lewisham, not to mention all sorts of random shops I jumped in out of desperation and they all contained EXACTLY THE SAME DAMN THINGS. If you would like, for example, a mid-length skirt at the moment, you're stuffed. You could be entirely ready to accept any style or colour, or even be prepared to snip sequins off it for a wearable skirt, it won't matter because they don't exist anymore. Because, I suspect, it's not "in season". If you want gypsy neck tops in colours such as lurid purple and bright green, black leggings or smock tops, well then you're in luck because that's all there is. Honestly, the most depressing thing about high street shopping is the relentless assertion that you must all dress like the herd; get in line with the other sheep, because we can't be bothered to provide you with an actual choice.

3) The lameness of the shops themselves. The Dorothy Perkins that closed it's changing room an hour before the shop closed itself, for no apparent reason- two members of staff were actually sitting in it, having a chat, but they looked at me like I'd cacked on their gypsy tops because I wanted to try something on. Really? You expect me to buy something without trying it on? Perhaps if I was one of the size 6 blond brigade, this would be viable. The New Look with changing room doors like wobbly saloon doors, with an inch gap in the middle that everyone can clearly see you through. I expect most women have been in changing rooms whilst small children nip about randomly pushing open doors and yelling for their mum- I've always hated this, but in New Look it doesn't really matter because everyone can see your pale bottom and holey underwear anyway. And there's TK&Max, where 60% of the items you pick up will have holes in already or stains in odd places, and good luck trying to find an actual pair of shoes. No chance.

I did find stuff to wear in the end, and amazingly, I liked it (a long purple skirt, tellingly in a Marks & Spencers Outlet store- you can't find any long skirts otherwise, believe me!). But what it has left me with is a huge reluctance to ever go high street shopping again. And I don't think I'll be missing out, quite honestly.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

fly by postings

Well. Well! August has been both busy, and poxy, and it has to be said very little good appears to have come of it. Skipping over some of the shitty stuff I will launch into a hastily written update of where things are and where they may or may not be going...

Firstly, there's the new forum! Well, not quite so new now, we've probably taken the plastic covers off it by this point and scratched the cover a bit when we put it in our pocket with the keys without thinking, but it's up and running and groovy, and we're having plenty of good discussions, sometimes even Box Room related. We had some troubles with the url because it got fiddled with, so here it is in case you need it:

I now have three short stories up at and they've had lots and lots of views! Whee! I've had some interesting feedback about them, so big huge sweaty thanks to all the people who read them and risked their delicately balanced sanity. The newest one up is Goose, the short story I originally wrote for this very blog- yes, this very blog! Here's the link so you can read it in non-brain achey text, and marvel at a picture of me with a lovely basin haircut:

A Boy of Blood and Clay has somewhat ground to a halt. The maelstrom of cack that this month has been took a lot of time away from writing, and also put me in a bit of a depressive funk. The writing has started up again, hesitantly, but I'm starting to look over what I've written and where I'm going and... I'm concerned that I might have bitten off more than I can chew. I love the ideas in A Boy of Blood and Clay, but I have a terrible feeling it's all a bit ambitious. I'm beginning to wonder if this is the book I should have written three or four books down the line; at the moment, I'm not entirely sure I can pull this off.

I have two months to finish it. Two months before the manic, sugar fueled craziness of NaNoWriMo. I'm going to give it that long, and see what happens.