Tag Archives: Jilly Cooper

No.70: Help a family member

When there’s nothing else to do except eat and cry your way through your perpetual lack of employment sabbatical, it’s sometimes a relief to do things for other people that would usually make you go ‘JESUS H. CRUMBS CAN’T YOU SEE I’M BUSY!?!’

Right about now however, even Stevie Wonder in a backwards balaclava can see that you haven’t been busy for about 18 months and so assisting in your father’s removal of rotting leaves from the conservatory guttering and backing his car into the garage offer a welcome escape from listening to politicians talking about how ‘disgusting and unacceptable’ the London rioting is. And other variants on the words ‘disgusting’ and ‘unacceptable’. This is why they are doing absolutely nothing. All their physical energy and time has been channelled into ferreting through Thesauruses 24/7.

‘How about ‘we cannot countenance?’

‘Nah.  Boris used that yesterday.’


‘Too coarse.’

‘Beyond the pale?’

‘I LOVE it.’


I digress. One of this bloggers favourite things to do when otherwise doing shit-all, is help out in her sister’s excellent hairdressing salon. As luck would have it, she owns an old-school-still-offers-perms type salon as opposed to those shiny chrome-and-house-music heavy ‘studios’ called ‘KUTZ’ or ‘STYULZZZ’  where all the aphonic staff are given pay rises based on a pout and weight loss sliding scale. And can only cut your hair so that you look like the drummer from an emoband.

Directional: but ridiculous on a 3-dimensional human

Sweeping up bits that have been shaved off other people is satisfying and slightly sickening at the same time. Like squeezing out ingrowns from your bikini line or sitting though a whole episode of ‘Police, Camera, Action.’  But better than that is What Old Ladies Talk About. One, a 68 year- old woman, feared getting fag ash on her i-pad and  her online Solitaire habit (“I only smoke menthols though dear, they’re not so bad for you, are they?”). Meantimes,  her 74- year old husband – renamed Mr Teak due to his year round Menorcaised hue – is bemoaning how long it regularly takes to load his Facebook page from behind the latest copy of Reveal.

The one-liners you catch whilst passing through en route to the kitchen for yet more tea are superb. Honestly, you couldn’t make them up (and believe me my dear readers* – I haven’t.)

‘Oh yes, the end of her nose is fake. A Jack Russell bit it off’

 ‘There were 4 lesbians in here last week. It wasn’t as glamorous as it sounds.’

Lady 1: ‘He’s my best mate you know.’  Lady 2: ‘Except that time he sent you a text , saying he wished you were dead.’

‘She fell in the gap between the bed and the wardrobe.  Paramedics needed a sling to get her out. She was there until 4am. Literally wedged.

‘My grandad drank all the Sambucca and started harping on about his sex life’

Lady1: ‘My mate did this tattoo for me at home.’  My sister: ‘Ooh lovely. It’s a flower!’  Lady 1: ‘No, it’s a red indian’s head.’ My sister: ‘…would have been my second guess.’

And so on. I was especially fond of the fierce middle-aged woman that worked the Debenhams perfume counter and saw off a serial flasher by squirting his nob with CKOne.  ‘I hope it stung’ she snapped from underneath a magnificent crown of highlight foils.

Add to this the chap with 5 strands of hair and a crush on the junior stylist who pops in to book in a trim once a week and then runs away when anyone speaks to him. Oh, and the man who regularly pops by wearing nothing but a tee-shirt. Even in winter. Much to the concern of the ladies who – despite the fact there’s a bloke there with his John Travolta swinging free – care only about the pneumonia risk.

Once he’s back off-of his holidays (and so on), David ‘extra from a televised Jilly Cooper adaptation’ Cameron could do with visiting the nation’s hairdressing salons for a bit of policy inspiration. Therein lies the sort of  blue-sky thinking you’d pay middle-aged men who would like to pro-create with a whiteboard, tens of thousands of pounds a year for. The London riots, the NHS, care homes, the death penalty (most wouldn’t hesitate to erect makeshift gallows for the teenagers continually kicking their footballs against the side of the garage during Emmerdale), how to manufacture dog poo bags your finger won’t go through. All of it is covered amongst the roar of dryers and Radio 1.   

Actually, they should scrap the whole Tory party and just move my sister’s clients into parliament. Food for thought Mr Rupert Campbell-Black,  food for thought indeed.  And at least they’ll all have Newsnight-ready ‘dos.


*I am aware this plural is a little optimistic.

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No.10: Feng Shui your work Space

Here’s a fact: Ideas are not like buses and when you haven’t had one for ages, three will not turn up at once.  And as many jaded, unwashed  flancers, wreaking of Java will vehemently point out (whether asked or no, at any opportunity) great ideas become increasingly harder  to pluck out of the air (if The Marlboro fug that constantly surrounds a flancer’s head like some sort of cancerous perm can be termed as such) the longer you are in the business.   Consequently, having exhausted every prosaic route of idea generation it isn’t uncommon for the flancer to have a sneaky dabble in the <esoteric>.

These days almost everyone has heard of  Feng Shui.   However, if you have been cruelly denied a life of daytime television, it is the Japanese practice of placing one’s domestic shiz in a certain mystical formation in order to allow Chi* to flow round the coffee table and into the ‘love quadrant’ or ‘money quadrant’ depending on what you feel needs some serious Chi-ing up. And of course, Feng Shui-ing your workspace in a certain way (ie. further away from the  toaster and coffee maker. Probably.) can increase your creative capacity so much that before long you’re be vomiting out novels like the love-child of Jilly Cooper and PD James. Publishing whispers have it that some ‘eccentric’ magazine editors are so dedicated to this idea of genius mystically springing up once a certain pot plant has been re-housed, that when starting in a new, un Feng Shuied** office, they create merry hell by having walls ripped out, doors boarded up and small mechanised fountains added to every stationary cupboard. One editor apparently gets her hair Feng Shuied in order to maximise Chi flow to the brain.***  

However, as most normal media types are desperately cynical when it comes to the creative process, they will never admit to having FS-ed anything. A good test is to,  when visiting their workspace, casually comment on the unusual placement of a small plastic aquarium by their laptop.  You could bet a whole pound that they will casually exclaim: ‘oh! Some friend of mine is into Feng Shui and put it there saying it would improve my income.’  Now deviously move said aquarium. You can bet a jade tortoise that they will surreptitiously  shift it back when you’re off trying to find where they’ve had the toilet moved to so that it’s now in the ‘career quadrant’.


*This is ‘Life Force’. The plural of Chi, might be Cheese. But probably isn’t.

 **Not the most comfortable of verbs, granted.

***But perhaps I made this up.

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