Sparkle, Flash, Bang


It’s pissing down, its Halloween/Samhain and the skies are performing a spectacular sound and light show. It couldn’t get more atmospheric.

The result of the wonderful rain and lightening show is that I’m stuck inside for the day. This means daytime TV and cable films and Internet wandering.

I am a fan of the absurd and it’s amazing the weird stuff I can find when channel surfing. Today I stumbled upon a type of weirdness I hope never to stumble on again, ‘Sex and The City 2’. I didn’t even watch ‘Sex and The City 1’. I did watch a few episodes of the television series; I should say that John did if only to ogle at Kim Cattrall. I used to watch it in the background harrumphing at the self-pitying, self-indulgent bullshit the scriptwriters had these characters spout on a weekly basis. The film however seems to have gone to extreme lengths of fuckwittery. There’s only so much that I can stomach of some woman flouncing around in frocks as if trying recreate a Jack Vettriano painting, and apparently the Samantha character is evidence of female empowerment? Really? I’m all for being in charge of my sexuality and when I was single if I wanted a shag I went out of got one, but the Samantha person is a cartoon and the sexual vulturine behavior is just creepy, whether from a man or a woman. I’m pretty sure if Samantha were Sam and a man, he’d be decried as being a sexual predatory jerk.

Now, I am a small town woman, I have lived in small towns or villages most of my life so maybe that’s why the attitudes coming from these women are so alien to me. Are there really people so self obsessed and vacuous on the planet? I mean its not like the central characters are an exceptional clique, they seem to fit perfectly well with every other character, obsessed with fashion, shoes, bling, drama and being desperately scared of aging. So, why would anyone be scared of aging? The alternative to aging is being dead. I reckon I’ll take a few wrinkles, grey hair, increasingly creaking joints over being a pot of ashes over the mantelpiece.

Before you scream, “You do know its fiction right?” Yes I do, but most people acknowledge that there’s usually an element of truth within all stories, even fairy stories. I appreciate that fantasy is just that, a fantasy, and the late Sir Terry Pratchett said that people don’t choose fantasy to escape from reality but instead they escape to fantasy. That fantasy has to be somewhere you go and come back from as a different person. I can’t say I felt different after my SITC experience. Just sodding grateful that my sole aim in life isn’t to buy shoes and get fucked by as many faceless plastic mannequins as possible.

I’ll be honest with you, I lasted about 30 minutes into the film before I lost the will to live and went outside to enjoy the rain and watch the bullfinches fight over the few crumbs of cheesecake I’d left out for them. Sitting on the deck in the rain I had a few moments of missing John and reminiscing about how our relationship has developed over the years. The Carrie character in the film describes ‘sparkle’, that she wants her husband to sparkle, this means an endless round of restaurants, opening events and parties. WOW! I can’t think of anything more exhausting. Where in all that does it give you time to just enjoy the privacy and intimacy within the relationship? I mean what on earth could be better than a Saturday night on our stinky sofa, curled up slagging off ‘Strictly Come Dancing’, or sharing a bath on a Saturday morning after a soggy cold wet walk with the dogs. We don’t talk about anything particularly. It’s the shared experience of being in the same place at the same time, enjoying that connection that is only possible when you’re with someone who just gets you. It’s being with that one someone who knows that neither of you are perfect, but you’re perfect for each other.

That doesn’t mean constant ‘sparkle’. What it is, is when John sees that I’m tired or I’m descending into my bag of shit time and he knows that all I need is a cuddle, a kebab and a glass of wine. This was especially true during my years working at the Citizens Advice.

After one particularly harassing day with young Fred, forever known as ‘The Day of The Tea Towel’, John performed his magic touch of calm, of quenching the fires of fury and despair before an almighty explosion happened. Previously, one afternoon young Freddy Boo had eaten an entire tea towel, a pan scrub and half a cardigan sleeve and as with all things alien in a dog’s body they eventually work their way through to the other end. Naturally the aroma of cesspit accompanied this. I’d decided on a brisk walk the following morning with the little monster. Within 100 metres of leaving the house the little git squatted and to quote a beloved northeast expression, started shaking like a shitting dog. He squatted and shook and kept on squatting and shaking and if I hadn’t been so pissed off I’d have felt sorry for the little fella. He looked worried and did the puppy eyes of pleading mercy. He turned his skinny little arse around, still squatting and there was a poo and tea towel snake stuck between his arse and the ground. There was only one thing for it, to stick my hand in a poo bag and pull the offending article out of his bum. Not a drama really, I’ve had babies; I’ve had my hands in worse. It was then that a bus full of passengers pulled up at the bus stop where this little tableau was unfolding and they witnessed the entire event. I don’t know who was more traumatised, Fred, the passengers or me.

John walked through the door that night after work, saw the look on my face and said, “come on we’re going out”. By going out he meant to a small, unremarkable local pub which serves honest food, cold wine and there’s no smell of puppy farts. I could even keep on my manky old jeans and wear my favourite pair of knackered Doc Martens and no-one would give a flying fuck if I wasn’t in Gucci or whatever is the label of the moment.

Now THAT’S romance, that’s the sparkle. You can save your Hollywood lifestyle and endless excitement. I’ll take John, the dogs and a night of cuddles every single time.


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