Saturday, 31 December 2011

"Welcome to the real world" she said to me, condescendingly. Or: How John Mayer potentially ruined my life.

So today was a fairly liberating day. I discovered a few days ago whilst in the beginning fuzzy haze of flu that my temporary contract at work was being shortened by a month. Like all self-respecting slaves to the pound, I just nodded my head and got on with my awful job, mentally preparing myself for the quicker-than-expected return of unemployment. But today, things got a little bit strange. Having been up most of the night because of this damn cold/flu hybrid, I found myself listening to John Mayer again. John Mayer was my normal night time companion until I got a real-life boyfriend and had to mentally break up with The Mayer but he made a spectacular return last night. And what a wonderful impact he made. I had almost (not quite but almost) forgotten how amazing The Mayer was/is and he couldn't have reminded me at a better time.

So this morning, I wake up, get ready for my last ever shift on the shopfloor from hell, and a creepy realisation dawned on me. I didn't have to work my last shift. Why should I? I had done nothing but work ridiculously hard for nine weeks to get the reward of "your last day is Saturday". No thank you's, no reward, no acknowledgement. So with the lyrics from "No Such Thing" and "Why Georgia" playing on a blurred loop in my head, I headed into the office and gleefully said my goodbyes. I cleared my locker and headed for the train home. And then my heart sank. I had potentially just ruined my life. Instead of going into the New Year with a job and money, I was heading into 2012 penniless and unemployed. Maybe this was what I needed to do in order to succeed in 2012 and if it was then, hell yeah, I'm a bloody psychic. If, however, 2012 is a failure then please do not blame me. Blame The Mayer.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Being Ill: A Timeline

  • My bed isn't made.
  • Panic that this fuzzy head feeling is a sign of death.
  • Panic that I'm about to overdose on paracetamol.
  • Spend 20 minutes thinking about how much I hate Lemsip.
  • Panic that the constant quick changes between ear ache, blocked nose, sneezing fit and dizziness is a sure sign of death.
  • Panic that I'm going to run out of paracetamol and ibuprofen the minute Tesco closes.
  • Panic that I can't locate the Vicks and/or Karvol.
  • Panic that I might infect my cats with my germs.
  • Panic over my sudden love and appreciation of Lemsip.
  • Is this real life?
  • Worry that my boyfriend will leave me if he notices the collection of tissues on my bed and bedroom floor.
  • Worry that sick days leave me with too much spare time to worry about things like my amazing boyfriend leaving me because I'm ill.
  • Panic that I'll never find a full time job because employers hate the way my nose has a strange bump that make up doesn't hide.
  • Ally McBeal is GOD!
  • Panic that this is definitely what death feels like.
  • And my bed still isn't made.

Amazing Songs That Nowhere Near Enough People Know Part One

k.d. lang - Constant Craving

Seriously, this song is amazing, with some of the most beautiful and heartbreaking lyrics you will ever hear. But pretty much NO ONE I know knows this song. Which is a shame. It's also a shame that if k.d. lang looked like Heidi Klum and was as straight as a ruler, people would actually care about her. But because she's not beautiful, and is gay as they come, she's ignored/unknown/ridiculed. Ridiculous.

Lemsip made me do this

Hi, I'm Amy (I'll step back and imagine you all saying "Hello, Amy" in return) and I have zero self confidence. I feel that the time is right to finally admit to this in order to break free from the shackles of an incredibly high level of low self esteem. Maybe it's the never-ending stream of Lemsip sending me into a drowsy state of revelations, or perhaps it's watching the horrifyingly realistic Never Been Kissed. Either way, I am about to bore you mercilessly about my consistent struggles to overcome this intense anxiety.

As a kid, I wouldn't shut up. I sang, I danced, I acted. I was the obnoxious, stage school-esque kid who annoys you at family parties by singing along to the standards loudly and proudly showing off my beautiful and graceful arabesque. Then something strange happened - adolescence, to be precise. Something inside of me decided that I had to hang up the ballet/Thespian shoes, stop dreaming of The Great White Way, and become a recluse. Whereas the 12-year-old me would jump at the chance to show up the pretty girls at school by forcefully claiming the lead roles in the crap school musical productions, the 14-year-old me bunked drama lessons, paralysed by a fear of having to do stuff in front of people that I didn't like, yet desperately wanted to like me. I abandoned my dreams and hopes of being Totally Awesome Amy in favour of Jane Austen novels, Morrissey lyrics and paranoia. (How I never turned to drugs, I'll never know. Maybe because drug addicts seem like social creatures, and there was no way in hell I'd be able to connect with people like that).

I used to make up lame excuses about having a curfew (which I didn't) or needing to do a Really Important Piece of Homework (which I didn't, because I always did homework the day it was assigned, like the geek I am) to avoid having to participate in social situations. I never went to parties, or got drunk with the other ugly kids, or even slagged off the teachers behind their backs. Because, you know, teachers totally have our backs. The stuff they're teaching us will totally come in handy one day, even algebra. Even when I became a social pariah and took up smoking, I didn't even join in with the other bad kids who smoked behind the sixth form block in case they criticised my smoking skills. The crippling fear of being uncool and unimportant led to me becoming the most uncool and unimportant teenager in the whole of South London. And that includes the kids who outwardly expressed their love for all things Star Wars/Star Trek/dinosaurs/space. My love for those things remained an awkward secret from anyone who wasn't my immediate family until I discovered blogging/Twitter.

And so it's led me to this. Talking incessantly to a blog audience that barely exists, doing a job I hate (that ends next week, leaving me unemployed yet again) and having to awkwardly come up with excuses to explain to my boyfriend that I don't really have any friends due to me hating it when people talk to me. I'm 20 years old and have finally decided that enough is enough. I don't want to be the socially awkward geek who has serious anxiety and depression. I'll be 21 in six months time and am really wishing I'd had this conversation with myself six years ago. I wish I had told myself back then that things WOULD get better. I wouldn't care what the prats at school thought of me. I would surpass my teachers' expectations by not having a kid at 16. I wouldn't become a drug addict. I would get a real-life boyfriend and not spend forever daydreaming at photos of Ryan Gosling. Yes, Morrissey would remain my god and "Please, Please, Please" would become the soundtrack to my life. But I would also be pretty damn cool. I would discover and fall in love with John Mayer long before Jennifer Aniston (take that, bitch) and I would totally fall in love with Zooey Deschanel before (500) Days of Summer.

2012 is rapidly approaching and I will finally break free from this horrible routine. I will get a full time job (wishful thinking never hurt anyone) and people will finally care about what I have to say. I won't celebrate sickness because it means a day off from work and the awful people who populate that shop. Instead, I'll like my job for once. I won't drag my boyfriend down by feeling too self-concious to step into a place at night filled with real-life pretty people. I won't be afraid of letting people know what I think of them. I will absolutely be the Boss Bitch of 2012. You read it here first.

New mantra...

I could totally run the world...

I've had the shittiest week so far. Yes, Christmas was amazing but it's just not quite the same when you're a) not a kid and/or b) poorer than a chav is Glasgow. Also, there was the obligatory torture of having to work late on Christmas Eve and work early on Boxing Day (seriously?! What the fuck is that about? Do I not have a family/hangover/bed to accommodate instead of pandering to the needs of the un-pleaseable middle class of Surrey?!)

Then, after two torturous days on the Customer Service Desk from Hell (TM), I suddenly become struck down by two incredibly mean late Christmas presents. First of all, I'm smacked in the face with the news that my contract now ends on New Year's Eve rather than the middle of January (thanks for the heads up!) and then I spent the best part of last night either coughing like an old aged emphysema patient or decorating my bathroom with vomit. Nice mental image there, right? You're welcome.

So I'm brought to this beautiful conclusion. I hate my job. I hate not being in charge. So I'm going to totally take over the world, a la Brain from Pinky and the Brain. After all, I do have cooler nicknames than Barack "Barry" Obama. And I'm pretty sure I'm taller than Nicolas Sarkozy. All I need now is a room full of minions and a huge henchman to help me rid the world of horrible, retarded bosses and Simon Amstell. Because no one likes Simon Amstell.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Tinselitis #10: The Final Countdown

Christmas will be here in just four sleeps. Over the past ten weeks, I've manically given a week-by-week rundown of my countdown to Christmas. Yes, the presents have been bought and wrapped, yes I've decided that the majority of Christmas shoppers are miserable gits, and, yes, it's been fun. But this week is about something a little different.

Every Christmas, I do something most wouldn't expect of me. Last year, I made a donation to a local charity shop. This year - spurred on by my wonderful cousin's wonderful best friend - I decided to make a donation to the Crisis charity. If you can spare it - which some can, some can't - then you can't go far wrong with buying a homeless person a Christmas dinner and somewhere warm to stay this weekend. Visit to reserve a Christmas dinner for someone. You'll be glad you did.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas 

Excerpt from

For many of us, Christmas is the best of times, sharing precious time with loved ones and friends. When you’re homeless, Christmas can be the hardest time of all. Cold, hungry and alone, there’s often nothing to enjoy, no one to be with, and little hope of anything better.
By reserving a place you will be providing three nutritious meals for someone like John below, as well as the chance to benefit from life-saving services such as health checks, housing advice and the chance to learn new skills and perhaps most importantly companionship and support to feel like a human being again.

If we can welcome homeless people in at this toughest of times, with the offer of a good meal and good company, it can be the start of getting them off the streets and out of homelessness for good, and your gift will be invaluable in making this happen.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Opinion: Little Mix

It's time for me to shamefully admit to something. Every year, I pretend that I couldn't care less about The X Factor/Britain's Got Talent/I'm a Celebrity, but every year I become hooked on at least one of them. This year was the turn of The X Factor (and I'm a Celebrity. Can't recall a bit of this year's BGT). Last Sunday saw Little Mix crowned the show's eight winning act, and first winning group, and they look a dead cert to be number one tomorrow with their not-as-awful-as-expected cover of the beautiful 'Cannonball' by the stupidly underrated yet amazingly brilliant Damien Rice.

Plenty of people have been quick to cry fix this year. From Kelly Rowland's amazing sick voice, to Amelia Lily-gate, there have been plenty of headlines made this year by the ever revolving PR door at Syco HQ but the win by Little Mix has probably topped them all. Yes, a group (a girl group no less) has finally won, but does it really need to have been a fix? Watching all of Little Mix's performances back (I admit that I only got invested on Sunday nights, the main shows went on far too long) it's quite apparent to see why they won. They delivered consistently good performances each week, didn't sound completely dreadful in the vocals department, looked like regular, normal young girls, and won over the elusive teen girl crowd. Although not a fan of their take on EnVogue's 'Don't Let Go' (I realise I'm in the minority here), I was completely in awe of their performances of Nelly Furtado's 'I'm Like a Bird' (a song that has been done to death on reality shows) and especially Katy Perry's 'E.T.'

In my personal, humble, and unwanted opinion, it was their performance of 'E.T.' that won them the show. The vocals were spot on, the dance routine was of a high quality, and the general staging of the performance was, quite simply, breathtaking. Despite favouring Marcus Collins, I was desperate for Little Mix to win. As a group, they would be best suited to the Syco/major record company mould: they would consistently put out catchy songs, fill a niche in the market (there hasn't been a UK number 1 by a girl group since the truly amazing 'The Promise' by Girls Aloud in 2008) and capitalise on the success of the show. Marcus, on the other hand, needed to lose in order to be free from the Simon Cowell chains. He needed to lose in order to prevent himself from becoming the next Steve Brookstein, Leon Jackson, or Joe McElderry (I didn't even have to Google those names! That's true X Factor dedication right there!). I have no doubt that Marcus will follow in the footsteps of JLS and Olly Murs and become highly successful. I just think that Little Mix needed to win in order to succeed.

Having read various interviews featuring the four girls, I've warmed to them quite rapidly over the past two months. Like many, I was absolutely horrified at the sheer outpouring of vile hatred towards Jesy Nelson who, in my opinion, is a perfectly normal looking, healthy individual. The four girls - Jesy, Perrie Edwards, Leigh-Anne Pinnock, and Jade Thirlwall - have an edge about them that The Saturdays et al don't have. To borrow a cliche from Louis Walsh, they're likeable. They don't dress like whores. Each one of them can sing (yes, some better than others, but who cares?! They'll get better as time goes on). Each one of them can dance. They have - from what's been portrayed - excitable, bubbly, down-to-earth personalities. None of them seem the type to send an ex-boyfriend to rehab, or proudly declare that they are the best thing since sliced bread when only two-thirds of them can sing. I'm proudly rooting for Little Mix to do well. So much so, that I actually went out and bought their CD single.

Looking at the other prospective girl group that's been thrown in our faces at the moment - Mathew Knowles' From Above - it's not hard to see where my allegiances lie. From Above recently launched their debut video for their debut song 'Not The Same Girl' and I was ever so slightly horrified. I won't post the link (you can search it up if you're desperate) but I will say one thing: If the roles in that video were reversed and it was a group of men doing to a woman what those five girls are doing to that one man in the video then there would be an uproar. I've grown tired of the girl bands we've had lately: all dolled up, gyrating around in stilletoes and singing pointless drivel. I want a down-to-earth, consistent, talented group that I wouldn't be ashamed to hear my little cousin singing along to on the radio. Yes, Little Mix are a manufactured group, but they're the best hope we have right now. And I, for one, can't wait to see them succeed.

Tinselitis #9: Let It Snow..!

No matter how hard I try, I'll never be able to repress my insatiable desire for a White Christmas. And every year the British weather threatens to fulfil my dreams with tantalising tales of incoming snowstorms and two-foot deep snow. We've come pretty close in recent years - last November featured some pretty amazing scenes, and catastrophic travel chaos - but this years' weather warnings proved to be nothing but a damp squib here in London.

I eagerly watched the weather reports all week to see details of the snow in the northern parts of the UK and severe weather warnings issued in Scotland and northern England. Hearing that the snow would reach London on Friday, I headed to bed on Thursday in a fit of excitement, hopelessly anticipating the beautiful white scene that would greet me as I rose on Friday morning. What did I get when I woke up? Rain.

Stupid, slushy rain that is to snow as I am to Barack Obama. I'm slowly giving up hope of ever seeing a white Christmas in London. In my head, I've already drafted, scraped, re-drafted, and composed a stern letter to the Met Office complaining about their rubbish forecasts. We're only eight days away from Christmas Day, and I will be keeping an eye out for the snow I've been promised. If I don't get it, next Christmas might need to be spent in Norway. Either that, or I'll lose my sanity. (Or, at least, the little bit I have left).

Friday, 9 December 2011

Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want

And that isn't the John Lewis advert.

No. Stop it. Stop showing it. Stop lying about the way it made you feel all soppy and like the world's biggest prat. No. Just stop it.

I have NEVER seen a worse advert. And I lived through the 90s! I lived through Brit Pop, Girl Power, neon, and Barbie Girl, and have never managed to witness an advert worse than this godawful piece of mess that is the John Lewis ad. There is just so much wrong with this advert that I hardly know where I should begin venting my frustrations. The whole advert just makes my skin crawl.

But the biggest travesties are as follows:-

  • The choice of song.
I love The Smiths. I love Morrissey. I love Johnny Marr. And I love "Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want" almost as much as I love oxygen. It is such a beautiful song and it was the soundtrack to a particularly dire week earlier this summer that culminated in me sitting on a curb outside of a pub in Elephant & Castle crying in biblical rain. Because of that week, "Please, Please, Please" has become my go-to song for whenever I'm stuck in one of my epic "I hate my life" episodes. It is full of such sadness and desperation, much like the rest of The Smiths' back catalogue. It is NOT a song that is fitting for Christmas. And no one should dare attempt a cover version of such a bittersweet song, especially not the dreary mare who sings it in the advert.

  • The entire concept
No child in the history of the planet has ever been more excited about giving presents rather receiving them - fact. No child wakes up on Christmas Day and ignores the piles of presents that eagerly await to be savagely unwrapped in favour of giving their parents a shoddily wrapped box that may or may not contain the head of Gordon Brown (where has he disappeared to?!). It doesn't matter how amazing your parents are, you just don't care about them on Christmas Day when you're under the age of seven unless they're giving you a life size collection of Lego and a bubble machine (because we all know kids go batshit crazy for Lego and bubbles). So the entire concept of the advert instantly becomes void as soon as people realise that they actually know a miniature adult and are fully aware of their reasoning.

  • The snow
Yes, I'm aware that it's started snowing here in England in recent years. But it's not the pretty white Hollywood style snow that we get. It's not the pretty white, steadily flowing snow that's evident in this advert. In England (and especially London) we get slush. And when it is snow, it's never white for long. A culmination of pollution, rain, and trampy shoes give us a dirty, manky grey coloured snow that stops transport, closes schools, and gives adults the opportunity to skive off of work and make lopsided snowmen. Oh, and it never snows on Christmas Day. I know it's an insignificant part of the advert but my God it drives me crazy.

  • The previous years
John Lewis had a challenge on its' hands. Previous Christmas campaigns were amazing (such as the one featuring the Fyfe Dangerfield cover of "Always a Woman") and have become a staple in the Christmas programming schedule. The internet was buzzing with talk of this years' advert long before it aired with people desperate to find out how John Lewis would top the previous ones. We all waited with baited breath and exhaled with a massive sigh of disappointment. The fact is, as soon as John Lewis realised they wouldn't be able to top previous campaigns, they should have given up. Just put out a normal advert that highlighted what was available in their pretty shops. At least one highlight is that next year's advert can't be worse than this one.

Please, John Lewis, don't make it worse.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Fix Factor?

Every year there are a million and one rumours flying around about The X Factor. But I think this one might take more than the usual bit of explaining to subdue.

Earlier today, HMV added a new CD single to its pre-order section. Said single was labelled as The X Factor Winner's Single. And it's artist? Amelia Lily.
Amelia Lily, dubbed the "Comeback Kid". Picture credit: Now Magazine

It's no secret that each year The X Factor has each of the three (or four) finalists record their own version of The Winner's Single, but I personally can't recall a bigger cock-up than this before. In fact, I've been watching The X Factor since it began and I can't recall a more controversial series than this one.

Sure, each year has it's fair share of controversies (the obligatory boy/girl bands hastily put together at Boot Camp, warring judges, contestants who already have record deals) but this year seems to have every type of scandal possible. There was obviously Frankie Cocozza - who's early exit paved the way for Amelia's return - the "battle" between Tulisa and Kelly, the "battle" between Tulisa and Mischa B, Kelly Rowland's infamous sick voice (which I will definitely try out at some point in my life to see if it gets me a day off work) and Kitty Brucknell's constant struggle to be the world's most annoying woman. So after reviewing the HMV mistake (which has, conveniently, disappeared whilst the site undergoes maintenance) I'm almost convinced that it wasn't a mistake. It was a genuine marketing ploy by Simon Cowell, ITV, et al. After all, the initial thumbnail for the single was nestled between One Direction and Leona Lewis, two of X Factor's most famous alumni.

Take a look at the image below and decide for yourself whether it's a genuine mistake, a fix, or a clever placement to gain column inches for the failing show. Personally, I'm rooting for Little Mix to win with Marcus coming second. At least he might have a decent chance of having a career to match his talent then.

Tinselitis #8: Bad Scissors!

I am oh so proud of myself. Today, in the space of an hour, I managed to browse, select, purchase, and wrap the presents for two whole people. Amazing. They look so pretty in their perfect little silver wrapping paper, and then in their beautiful little gift bags. It will be heartbreaking to give them away.

There are only two shopping weeks left until Christmas, which means that despite my best intentions, I will still be out buying presents in the week leading up to Christmas. To counteract that, I'm going to be especially proactive this year.. By stocking up on wrapping paper and stocking fillers from Boxing Day 2011 all throughout the January sales, meaning that this time next year, it will only be the main presents that need to be bought.

I'm leaving it short and sweet this week (I'll be back with a vengeance next week!) and shall depart now. I'm leaving this for you, though. In honour of the horrid weather we're having...

Monday, 5 December 2011

It's all about this Amy..

Rewind, if you will, to last Thursday night. The day after my last Tinselitis post. Now, I was extremely busy doing my normal, regular Thursday night routine.. Travelling to Kingston to meet the Other Half from work before coming home to settle down into bed to watch American Dad. A regular, ordinary Thursday for me. Except the most bizarre thing happened that night. My blog literally exploded that night (well, not literally, but I'm known for my slight exaggerations). As I innocently logged into my account on Friday morning I discovered the strangest thing.. My overnight unique views had grown from a fairly modest number to the thousands. I sat bemused for ages, desperately trying to figure out whether my Tinselitis posts were really that good (they're not) or if someone had spammed the URL somewhere.

Turns out, I was wrong on both accounts. Instead, my blog name had attracted a vast amount of attention for the wrong reasons. You see, Thursday night saw the launch of a "reality" show on Channel Five. Yes, Five. Titled "It's All About Amy", it follows the hapless-yet-people-still-find-her-lovable Amy Childs from the secretly brilliant/awful The Only Way Is Essex. It turns out that people were obviously heading to Google after the premiere of the show to ask themselves, "exactly who is Amy and why is it all about her?" That simple, innocent pondering led them here..

Let me clear a few things up for those who may still be confused. I'm Amy (last name withdrawn, unless you stalk me on Twitter or Facebook). I'm 20. I live in Battersea. I have a dude named Valentine. And I look like this...
I have never, nor will I ever, participate in any form of "reality" show accompanied by the brilliant Yazz song that I'm not too ashamed to admit I know every word to.

The other Amy is Amy Childs. She's 21. She's from Essex. I don't know if she has a dude, but she has a hanger-on by the name of Claire Powell. And she looks like this...
The name is pretty much the only similarity. I don't have blow-up body parts. I'm not orange. And I don't vajazzle. I also don't believe that there is only 12 months age difference between the two of us..