Tag Archives: Twitter

No. 71: Get Your Hopes up. About Anything.

Rejection and disappointment can’t even be referred to as ‘large, unavoidable parts’ of flancer life. It would give them a pointlessly disproportionate amount of column space.  A bit like saying ‘Crikey, breathing, eh? My week is literally riddled with it.’  It’s a given. IT. IS. Pointless.

Nope, for flancers R&D are par-for-the course. The day-to-day. The NORM. Once, in the early days, dismay at their omnipresence may have been given supplementary airtime, back when enough Reality hadn’t yet occurred to usurp  positivity and optimism. Which, once dispensed with, left holes that were swiftly and expertly plugged by cynicism and pint glasses of rose.


The work is out there. Somewhere. And thus, hope can never truly die for the flancer – it simply languishes in a hospice surrounded by undrunk Lucozade.  And as any scientist that has placed electrodes on a rodent knows, the eternal promise of possible reward keeps intelligent life forms endlessly anticipating them.  Although it is arguably much easier overall to eventually obtain Red Leicester from a maze than obtain a commission from The Guardian Life&Style section. I know. I’ve tried.

Let’s stick with the laboratory analogy. The bell is traditionally Pavlovian and ironically it is with this that flancers associate with potential reward.  Email, front door, telephone, mobile: excitement ensues because all of these bells could mean WORK or MONEY. Or that you are a Labrador.

Hazards include:  the microwave, someone on the telly ringing a bell, your budgie’s mirror toy, the local landlord calling time (if you have phenomenal batlike audio capabilities)  or a person going past on a bike wishing to alert pedestrians to their presence. None of which mean work but will set off hope fuelled adrenaline and possibly the need to cry afterwards.

When it is one of the former, however, there will be much whooping and running out to the shed to see if there is a rifle you can fire into the air like an Afghan rebel. Or failing that, a car you can drive to the local Tesco car park for the executing of tarmac-burning joy donuts. Or perhaps a hairy mammal you can sacrifice on a fire to the Goddess of Professional Interest who has been too busy washing her hair and watching X-Factor lately to stop by much. She should by all accounts be omniscient, but The Goddess of PI just prefers directing her infinate attentions  away from you and at her leave-in conditioner and Gary Barlow. Which is fair enough really as he was always in charge of the boring end of the Take That stick and deserves a bit of Divine interest. Yay!  

Unfortunately for him, this is all made up in my head. If you’re reading Gary, sorry.*

Barlow: Only interesting to made-up, preternatural Divinities. And his accountant.

But  within seconds your hopes are shattered. Rather like Gary’s were just then. The doorbell  will have been that mad woman in all the mascara who owes your dad money because her mother backed her mobility scooter over the dog. The ‘phone was your nanna who thought she was phoning the hospital for a repeat prescription on her diabetes tablets (hours wasted due to her deafness and that deeply ingrained suspicious nature of the elderly convincing her that you were not her grand-daughter at all but a deliberatley obstrictive receptionsist. ‘Because the NHS are like that’.)  The email was notification that ‘@hotpants99  is now following you on twitter!’

And the person going by on their bike didn’t have a commission for you either. You checked.


*These somewhat eccentric examples of epic celebration are not definitive and may vary from flancer to flancer

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No.59 Talk to Yourself

Talking to yourself is all we had before Twitter. Fact*: Everything you see Tweeted was more than likely once only a thought that a person would mumble to themselves whilst emptying the washing machine. 

Hang on now, there’s a rum thought**. do serial killers Tweet?  ‘@HARTLEPOOLREAPER guD 2 c hEAd in wShNG mchne not ruStINg drum yEt : ) HaRHaR, etC’

Anyway.  Talking to oneself is an obligatory overflow conduit for Flancers because if not, their head would fill up with shite and yes, this would matter to you if you were the unfortunate bastard that called them after 17.00 on a ‘work’ day – simply to ask about when you were ever going to see that money you owed them in 2007. Instead of a positive response, you would be met with a Wall of Sound impenetrable enough to make you wish you were deaf and/or had written off that twenty spot, as you’d have paid double that not to have to go through this when your shepherd’s pie is in the oven getting burnt.

Let’s just take a moment here to specify what talking to oneself isn’t. It isn’t just you, the flancer,  having two halves of a lengthy conversation, where you apologise for butting in on yourself and change whatever side of the table you’re sitting at depending on who’s turn it is to speak. If you *are* doing this, stop sucking in Haribo, snap your elastic band, call that number the nice lady that smelled of antibacterial hand soap left on a Post-It next to the phone and check the washing machine for heads.

No, indeed, talking to oneself as a flancer predominantly indicates saying things like: ‘now, what was I doing?’ or ‘Fuck you, Microsoft Windows and your inability to cope with doing 2 things at once. Jesus. I only ask you to do 2 things: let me get online and open a Word document. That’s IT.’  Or ‘ok, next this broadsheet feature, then coffee, then that piece for the New York Times’ *** 

Most of the time however, it’s barking: ‘Right!’ in an organised tone at five-minute intervals as if somehow this verbal cue will get you to peel yourself away from Trisha and earn some fucking money. It’s surprising how rousing a well-voiced ‘right!’ can be.

Never trust anyone who doesn’t talk to themselves. If even they can’t stand their own conversation, that doesn’t say much about what they’ve got to share with you, does it? Somehow, it’s not natural. It is possibly worth checking in their washing machine as well.

Do not fret if someone gives you a look for talking to yourself in their presence.  This is because if there’s someone else in the room and you’re talking to you they’re only making a fuss because they’re miffed that you’d rather talk to you than them. 

And for Flancers, they would rather listen to themselves than anyone else, 97% of the time anyway.


*If you think about it long enough and drunk enough you’ll soon see that really, it is.

** Proof that you can even talk to yourself whilst blogging.

***Haha. In your DREAMS.

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No.30: Consider Organising Your Accounts

Every flancer has a brown A4 envelope under their bed. This envelope contains precisely 34,583 receipts. And its name is Depression.

Every year at around about April-ish, the flancer panics and considers running away to Aruba because the envelope calls (just before the accountant does. For the ninth time). Every year around about June-ish there is Olympic-Standard Procrastination. And every year around about September-ish there is lots of sobbing and entire boxes of wine drunk to try and stamp out the treacherous brain cells that insist on reminding you of what could happen if you do not sort your shit out.

Sometimes though, after a head-blow or some seriously A-Grade boredom, the flancer thinks, ‘ooh, I might just give next year’s accounts a preliminary tickle…’  A gallon of stomach-chewing coffee will be brewed and some Kendal Mint Cake eaten in order to fortify the flancer against the contents of The Envelope. ‘Rather start now and reduce the horror come May,’ thinks the flancer smugly, buffered by the escape-hatch-thought* that they can sack off this madness whenever they want because it’s only November.** Flancers, incidentally have and use so many escape-hatch-thoughts throughout the course of the working day that the thought-escape-hatch hinges are wafer-thin through constant deployment.

But the gaping flaw in this ‘plan’ is that flancers are  the most disorganised creatures ever to spring forth from the hands of the Lord.

Flancers are just not programmed to get things done in good time. In good time means: ‘before I suffer serious comeback for repeatedly putting this off.’ And so, whilst truly intending to begin ordering their accounts, the following scenario will occur: A Facebook status of ‘Am starting my accounts!’ will be posted in order to crow to other flancers that you are indeed a paragon of organisation.  This will then be Tweeted. The search for The Envelope will commence (cue small internal fanfare – or if like me you spend quite a lot of the day alone and thus talking to yourself – external fanfare)  but first you happen to unearth your cuts book. You will read your cuts book with a nostalgic half-smile, realise an hour has gone by and re-commence the search. You will then find a photo album of your student days and then a copy of Vogue from 1997, both of which will distract you for a further two hours.

You are now up to your nipples in dust bunnies and decide, hey – you may as well clean your room. Then, why stop there? Clean the house. Stop for a coffee. Hem some curtains. FB and Tweet something spitefully witty about H M Revenue & Customs.  Answer some emails. Maybe start knitting a bag to keep The Envelope in when you find it.

You then remember The Envelope and why you started looking for it.  You will also remember that The Envelope means sitting there, head in hands for hours thinking: ‘what the chuff did I spend £15.46 on in Argos on the fifteenth?’ Cue the silent workings of the extremely well-oiled escape-hatch-thought hinges.

And then the phone rings and interrupts you. It is your accountant on your case. Because it’s now actually April. 


*Escape-Hatch Thoughts: ‘I have plenty of time for this and will do it later.’ ‘This is totally good enough.’ ‘They will never know I made that up.’ ‘I deserve a break – hey, I might burn out if I’m not careful.’ ‘A long walk and a coffee is good to recharge creativity.’ ‘I think I’m ill.’

**Unless of course you decided to sack off this year’s dealings with your pushy accountant for online self assessment and are now seriously considering how ‘doable’ prison is rather than going anywhere near The Envelope.
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No. 16: Twitter

Oddly addictive, bizarrely pointless – no, not Jedward – but Twitter AKA: ‘Inescapable sentences from my dull life.’  It is the mysterious site upon which not just bored, ego-fuelled flancers can inflict the aforementioned upon the eye-owning world at large but any old boring git in possession of hands and a keyboard.  Social Networking has plucked many a flancer away from the precipice of alcoholism and depression (and arguably has driven many to it, if they have erroneously FBe-friended someone from a murky past that insists on constantly informing them ‘What Sort of Fluffy Toy They Are’  and relentlessly demanding that they do the same.  SOD. OFF.) 

We get it, of course: Social Networking is a reality that we can  merrily hack and slash like some kind of virtual plastic surgery of our lives so that we look prettier and sound wittier (or have more work) than we actually do in good old (real) life.  Everyone spends at least 20 minutes of their day editing and re-editing their ‘status update’ with more care and attention to detail that a sub with OCD, so that its hilarity and adroitness will make people fancy them*. 20 minutes.  That’s longer than most of us spend on personal hygiene.

Given this, Twitter (which is effectively  ‘status updates’ without the Facebook) still doesn’t make sense and I must be the only flancer in living, workless memory that doesn’t get why**. I experimented with it, thinking that perhaps, like The Wire, you had to persevere with it for a while before it all became clear and you wet yourself on numerous occasions, so engrossed you were that your body permanently gave up trying to alert you to its fundamental processes.  Six months on: blank drawn. 

As previously pointed out on TTDIFWYB***, flancers try not to reveal the extent of their social networking for fear that everyone will find out that they don’t do anything all day. Twitter makes discovery even more inevitable yet astonishingly, they still embrace it with open, er…fingers.  Arguably, the inherent vanity of the flancer (or any human being actually) means that they can’t help wanting to announce every single pointless thing they do, textually parading  everything from the ego-fuelled perceived impressive (‘did telephone interview with Stacey from X Factor!’ ) to the actually definitely un-impressive (‘best breakfast ever’****) to the obliquely unnerving (‘Fanny caught Potsy by surprise. BIG DEATH APPROACHES!’)

For me, FB still romps home with Gold in the great Big Procrastination Olympics.  But I make sure there’s at least 3 hours between every entry so I don’t look utterly sad and workless.


*Go on, deny it. Surely this is the point of Social Networking?

**shamelessly promoting a blog, aside.

***The ultimate anti-acronym: ie. it takes as long to type as the actual title in full. 

****Actual Tweet. From Stephen Fry, from whom we expect bigger things than this.

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