Monday, October 31, 2005

Screw it

If God and my husband (the two being separate entities, in spite of what Indian culture would like me to believe) think that they can dampen my enthusiasm for furniture and novelty candlesticks by sending a wayward shoe rack my way – they can think again. Allow me to explain.

We shifted house over the weekend. While our previous semi detached had a wonderful garden, 2 spacious bedrooms and a cupboard that housed all my 51 pairs of shoes (yes 51 – that’s not much if you think of Imelda) it wasn’t all that well acquainted with 21st century heating technology. So while my ballet flats were nice and warm in their tissue lined box, my tootsies were freezing. So move we did to a brand new flat with heating, lovely beige carpets and absolutely no space for my 51 babies.

So after moving in all Friday and most of Saturday, I decided it was more important to have a shoe rack than a fully functioning kitchen. So off we went to the local catalogue store and bought ourselves 1 nos. shoe rack. Flat packed.

Now my experience with flat pack till now has been of the Ikea variety. Easy to read instructions. That funny key they give you to fit it all together. Apparently it’s not caught on in the flat pack world.

This flat pack had more instructions than an RSS manual and told me I’d need a screwdriver, hammer and something else that sounded like bidawal. I think. Of course we had none of the above. Since it was too late to go out and buy them I thought well this is a good time to get out that Swiss Army Knife. The only other outing it’s ever had from my bag is at airport security checks when it makes the alarms go off.

Now while it did have a screwdriver – albeit a tiny one it had neither a hammer nor the other whatchamacallit. So armed with a stainless steel karandi (ladle) from my kitchen and a pair of scissors I began to put the damn thing together.

It took me 4 hours. That’s 240 minutes of trying to get bits of wood pulp out of my hair. A sixth of a day spent telling a thingamajiggy apart from a you-know-what it’s called (By the way, I still don’t know what it’s called). Precious seconds spent swearing, frowning, looking at things upside down and swearing some more. And after all that what do I get?

A shoe rack that stores only 16 pairs of shoes.

Friday, October 28, 2005


They're everywhere. Stacked under my bed. In the back of my cupboard. Lodged under History on my computer. (frequently cleared so my husband doesn't see) They send discreet mailers asking me to sign up - models revealing tantalising glimpses of what's on offer. When it's late at night and I can't sleep I sneak downstairs and watch it on TV. Sometimes for hours at a stretch. I know I can never have any of them – not even one. But I just can’t help myself.

It’s sad but it’s true as someone once sang, but I’m obsessed. (ok so someone didn’t sing the second bit – that’s my own addition.) There isn’t even a support group for people like me. And what would we say – ‘Hi! I’m so-and-so. And I’m a home décor addict?’ (This is probably where most of you lift your minds out of the gutter and realise that I’m watching Grand Designs and not Well Hung Downtown at 2:30 am)

But in a way – home décor is my porn. Till now, I’ve never really told anyone about it. I mean what would people think if I told them how my hand’s get sweaty at the sight of a Smeg Fridge. That my husband wants to commit me for getting so excited at the sight of an art deco mansion. And at the newsstand they get uneasy when I stand there, glassy eyed, gazing at row upon row of Home Décor Magazines (which might have something to do with the fact that all the lads magazines are stacked right above them)

So you’re thinking – how dangerous can an addiction to home décor be? Financially it can be crippling. I mean the number of must-have vases, tribal-chic place mats, enamel milk jugs and brass odds and ends I already have and continue to purchase every month is staggering. And men don’t like the idea of women getting excited in bed about some guy called Terence Conran. They also don’t understand what the fuss is about. To most of them (except the gay ones) there is no difference between Mies Van Der Rohe and Terence Conran. A coffee table is just a coffee table. It’s similar to women not being able differenciate between Jordan and Jodie Marsh.

It also breeds envy. When I go to someone’s house for the first time I no longer interrogate my husband about whether he thought the women their were prettier or smarter than me. The conversation usually goes something like this.

Me (trying to be nonchalant) So… what did you think?

Him Great food

Me And her…

Him It was really nice

Me Better than mine?

Him I’m not saying that

Me Don’t lie to me! I saw the way you were eyeing her… her side cabinets.

I then burst in to tears and refuse to talk to him for the rest of the night.

I sometimes try and go on cold turkey. I don’t take the magazines up to bed with me. I put all the channels on child lock. I give all the magazines for recycling. But I’m usually back to my old ways in days.

This time round, I decided to take up a hobby – you know find a passion that would divert my attention. So I thought exotic cooking! It’s therapeutic, I can eat the end result (leather sofas really don’t taste good) and it’s not as expensive as my other dirty little secret.

So I went to the John Lewis the other day to buy the basic things I would need for my new endevour. The range and variety I saw was staggering. The colanders. The frying pans. The cutting boards. The wine racks. And the books. Oh the books. Slender
Italians. Cheeky English Country. Sensuous French. Brassy Americans. Exotic Indian.

Who knew cooking could be so… exciting?

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


October 26th, 2005 is Blog Quake Day. Desipundit is calling out to all bloggers 'to make a small post about the earthquake, and direct your readers to a suitable avenue for donating to the relief efforts. '

If you're in the UK head to to donate. £15 can buy 4 blankets that will keep someone warm in the winter months to come. If you're a blogger do put up a post and help spread the word.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Ah crap!

Anyone who allows themselves to be described as 'The best advertising copywriter that ever lived' really shouldn't be taken very seriously. And thank god no one in the advertising world does. Apart from a few starry eyed junior writers who have read only HIS ads in the copybook, Mr. Neil French is widely regarded as a bit of a moron.

Neil French - ad guru, 'copywriter par excellence' and ego maniac has come up with yet another immortal line -'They're crap' - i.e women in advertising are crap. This was in response to a question on why women were under-represented among the ranks of sr. creative directors at ad agencies.

A good question - WHERE ARE THE WOMEN? While the number of female junior writers and visualisers is rather high, advertising is predominantly male in the higher echelons. Of course there are highly regarded female creative directors but apart from Ambience Publicis head honcho Elsie Nanji, even I can't name famous female creatives. Something I'm a bit ashamed of as a woman and copywriter.

But is advertising female friendly enough? After a stage it is hard being in an industry that requires you to be at it's beck and call every waking and non waking moment. I imagine it's hard being a mother and having to sit at office till 3 am cracking campaigns. It's not impossible - my fist boss was a woman who had raised 2 boys while rising through the creative ranks. She retired as Creative Director after more than 2 decades of working. But it's not easy.

Among my own contemporaries there are women with a fire in their bellies to get ahead. To become creative directors. To correct the imbalance. And I know they will do it. Because they are immensely talented writers, visualisers - THINKERS. Because they've made a conscious choice to succeed. They are not crap Mr. French, and for you to suggest such a thing - even in jest - shows us exactly why you are not the world's best copywriter that ever lived.

UPDATE Found this great write up by Nancy Vonk, Co-Chief Creative Officer, Ogilvy Toronto via Charu's blog. It says what I would like to but in a far more eloquent manner. Do read it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

ho ho ho

It's that time of the year again! When you leave home for work in the dark and return in the dark. The nip in the air is more like a giant piranha bite and as usual the heating has conked out and the gas company is pretending not to understand what you are trying to tell them. But who cares about all of that when there's Christmas shopping to be done? Tis the season to be jolly and fill up that shopping trolley!

You better not leave your shopping to the last minute this year! Remember what happened last Christmas when you gave your wife that air purifier - we know it still hurts when you pee. Why not try and dull the pain by at our absolutely fantabulous shopping centre. It's just like all the other shopping centres in the country - but better. Why? Because we say so.

Ladies, if you're looking for the perfect party dress we recommend the latest look of the season inspired by Hitchcock heroines - like Tippy Hendren in Birds. Pencil skirts, sharp jackets and perfect coiffures are all the rage. And to be really authentic, douse a bit of rodent blood on yourself and stand in an aviary. You'll be the envy of all your friends.

Men, we know how you love gadgets. How about a new cell phone as a Christmas treat to yourself? You can listen to music, download films, take and store pictures, download crazy ring tones, check the weather and news and even have simulated sex. We're not entirely sure you can actually make phone calls with it though.

Your kids are probably already writing their wish lists to Santa! Don't dissappoint little Mary Sue. Buy her a crying, smiling, laughing, bed wetting, totally life like doll - Pammy. It'll be great training for when she gets pregnant and has a real baby at 13. And little Tommy... what an angel. We have the perfect stocking filler for him - The dummies guide to being a yob and getting an ASBO. There's everything he needs to know about kicking people's heads in, robbing the elderly and setting fire to the neighbours car in it. And it will encourage him to read.

There are loads of other great buys for the family. Adult diapers for your ol' Mum who's in a home because you can't be bothered to look after her. A silver frame for that fab picture of yourself after the face and boob lift to send to your slag of a sister. A learn English in 10 days to give to the secret lover you have in Turkey who's 10 years younger than you are and can't understand a word you say.

All this and much more awaits you at our truly wonderful mall. Plus there are lights and decorations up that are contributing to the green house effect and could cause another hurricane soon. But who cares?We would have made all our profits by then and will be living in hurricane proof houses while you drown and die with all the crap you bought at our centre.

So come soon and avoid the rush! Credit card debt is waiting to embrace you. You're already spoilt children are waiting to become even more insufferable. Another excuse to get drunk and vomit all over yourself is here. Not that you need one.

And after it's all over. and post holiday blues set in - THE JANUARY SALES will be here. But that's in another brochure.


Monday, October 17, 2005

Mirror, mirror on the wall.

There’s something about trial rooms that I just don’t understand. Why do they make people look so damn ugly?

I’m serious. As I get ready for a day out and about shopping, I always look wonderful (and that’s an unbiased opinion). My skin is glowing. My hair looks glossy. My clothes are the epitome of chic (ignoring very rare fashion faux pas). C’est magnifique!

As I glide through row upon row of shoes, bags and clothes I feel as though life could possibly not get better. With my keen eye I pick out clothes that can only make me better. I make my way towards the trial room, and try to make the always-surly attendant smile – a feat that I am yet to succeed at. (Though I’m sure if they got rid of those fake nails and thongs that escaped from the waistband of their jeans – they would be a whole lot happier. But then that’s just me)

As I try on the outfit, a tingle of excitement goes down my spine. Somewhere near my lumbar vertebrae the tingle of excitement turns into cold dread. Because this is usually when I’ve turned around and discovered what my formerly radiant self has turned in to. It’s like those makeovers where the before is so much better than the after (but everyone still hugs and kisses the victim telling her she looks great.)

So there I am. In a new outfit. Looking like something even the cat wouldn’t drag in. My hair looks like it could use botox. My pores look like they’re being viewed under an electron microscope. And everything else just sags.

Does the management not know this? Are they unaware that their mirrors should be in the house of illusions at the local circus? Do they not want people to buy their clothes?

The biggest offender here is M&S. It’s like they’ve lit their rooms to highlight your worst features. And your badly waxed upper lip. Hey people who own M&S – no amount of Erin O’Connor advertising is going to help. No one is going to buy your clothes if they think they look like Sandra Day O’ Connor in them.

Now not all stores have got it wrong. There’s Zara that makes you look great in everything. Even when you don’t. I tried on a lycra t-shirt once at Zara. In the room it seemed to hide all my unsightly bulges and curves. Apparently it didn’t. When I came out to show my better half, he turned around and pretended to talk to a bald mannequin so no one would think he was with me.

Then there are the stores that do it right. Selfridges and Top Shop have never lied to me. River Island is another friend. Fab India back home stays close to the truth too.
So the next time you think you look terrible in the trial room, hold your head high, give the clothes back to the surly, thong revealing assistant and buy a wonder bra instead.

Friday, October 14, 2005

things that shocked me

Here in no particular order are things that either shocked me, surprised me or made me go 'Oh!'

1. Islamic Law states that rape must have male witnesses who are willing to testify that it was rape and not consensual intercourse

2. Charlotte Church's new hair cut got on the front cover of the Daily Mail - deemed more important than the Asian Earthquake

3. The Turbine Hall at The Tate Modern has a new installation by Rachel Whiteread. Called EMBANKMENT, it consits of 14,000 casts of the inside of different boxes. And looks like this. I have decided to ask the Tate to commission an installation of my used tissues. I too believe it will invoke a sense of mystery as to what the balled up wads of tissue contain.

4. The girls in my office apologise for everything. 'Oh Sorry can I borrow your pencil?' 'Sorry but can I brief you about something?' 'Sorry but would you like some Tea?'. But they refuse to apologise for their incompetence and very existance.

5. Sometimes I spend an entire 1 hour train journey thinking about things, but when I try and remember what I was thinking about I can't.

6. Japanese women apparently spend 45 minutes twice a day, so that's 90 mintues ie an hour and a half on massaging cream in to their faces.

7. If you key in the words 'woman and guilty' on - a picture search engine - you'll find that most images are of women stuffing their face with cake, standing on a weighing scale or eyeing fried chicken. The runner up was of women in bed with men - implying that she was cheating on someone. There were hardly any images of women in jail or standing trial.

8. That many of you have actually continued reading this posting in the hope that I may actually have something intelligent to say at the end of it all. Which I don't.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


I wonder what's happening to our right to freedom of speech. Have we become so intolerant of other people's ideas and opinions that we have to resort to hooliganism to be heard?

Read this and the links it points to to find out what I'm talking about.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

purple mohair and other crimes

Ever looked at something in a store on a mannequin and thought ' God I'd look good in that'. So you try it on and in your euphoric bubble of 'I've discovered the look of the season' you convince yourself that this is the closest you've ever looked to Lily Cole or Erin O'Connor. You then proceed to shell out your hard earned money on a pink and purple, mohair wrap that honestly leaves you looking more like a multi-coloured dust bunny than a super model.

So this past Monday I decided it was time to let the world see what a fashion diva I am. That I too could be bold and daring in a country that's given the fashion world geniuses like Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen. So I accessorised my black trouser-ethnic top-red sweater outfit with my very Scottish looking mohair cape. The look was William Wallace meets Phoolan Devi in black chords.

Now all was well till I got to the station. Probably because I couldn't see the startled glances from passers by and the mothers who were shielding their toddlers from the abominable pink snowlady. But the minute I boarded my train, that was when my troubles (as always) started.

The train was jam packed with commuters. I caught sight of a free seat between two dark suited City types, their noses buried in the FT. As I wedged myself between them, my carefully draped wrap looked more like a tent caught in force 5 gale. The noses buried in the newspaper began to twitch, and soon I was shielding myself from a sneezing storm caused by the tiny strands of mohair that had made their way to the middle aged nasal cavities reddened by the autumn chill.

Matters were not helped by the 'I look like a supermodel and have a 3 digit IQ' woman in the sharp suit and original Fendi bag who chose to sit right opposite me. If ever I have wanted to throw myself in front of speeding train, it was then.

The wrap spent the rest of the day in my bag. I figured I'd rather freezethan look like a giant cat that's been violated by children with crayolas. Who knows, maybe blue skin will be the new look of the season.


  • Coloured tights and brown Doc Martens
  • Bermudas that had stripes on one leg and stars on the other. Yankee Doodle gone wrong
  • A fringe/flick/bangs that would not have been out of place in a Cindi Lauper video
  • Green nailpolish that looked like I'd dipped my fingers in sewage gunk
  • A sweater dress that changed my figure from pear-shaped to Coca Cola bottle

PS. If you see a naked, cold, pissed off looking Angora Goat anywhere let me know... I have something that belongs to it.