Sunday, 21 August 2011

Guinea pigs and Caitlin Moran wrecked my weekend

I have had a seriously crap weekend and I’m laying the blame fairly and squarely on guinea pigs and Caitlin Moran.

Years back when we visited a friend of mine in Italy, I got this revolting virus which left me with palindromic rheumatism. This bizarrely crap disease means you get totally random pains in random parts of the body at random times – so maybe nothing for months and then suddenly it hits you in the neck or the knees or wherever.  My ex-doctor and I played detectives on what could have been the cause and we narrowed it down to guinea-pig urine.  Don’t ask – you really don’t want to know but no, I wasn’t drinking it (at least, not intentionally). So now you know why I hate, loathe, despise guinea pigs. And if (heaven forfend) you keep the bastard stinking little shits as pets (why? why?), may I urge you to handle them and their piss with rubber gloves and industrial quantities of disinfectant.
Anyhow. Usually I take SAMe (S-Adenosylmethionine) and haven’t had a ‘session’ for nearly a year.  To be honest, I was feeling smug and figured I’d banished the damn thing from my body through sheer wishful thinking and force of will.  So I came off the SAMe while we were in Turkey (okay, I ran out and it’s relatively expensive so I didn’t bother to re-order).  And yesterday I got sledgehammered with pain: knee, neck, shoulders, both wrists, jaw.  Jaw?  Not on, not remotely on.  All of a sudden, in two seconds flat, I went from feeling pretty good about myself to ancient and crone-like.

And then I made the big mistake of re-reading my old books.  Not all of them but just bits of a few – and really, truly, I don’t think I’ve learned a thing in fifteen, twenty years or whatever.  So mind as well as body slapped me hard with a kipper. 
Never mind, I thought.  Lie on the sofa and cheer yourself up by reading Caitlin Moran.  Now I don’t read newspapers so she hasn’t really been on my radar.  I knew she was a columnist for The Times  and that she had a reputation for being funny and that was it.  Frankly columnists make me twitch (witness my pal, Liz Jones) but a friend recently thrust the book at me saying I had to read it. So last night I started reading and, despite myself, I started laughing…a lot.  She really is funny.  And smart. And self-deprecating.  And I agreed with everything she said. Everything.  Caitlin Moran and I are in total agreement on:

·         Bushes.  As in pubic hair. 
·         Porn. 
·         Feminism.
·         Sexism.
·         High heels.
·         Giving birth.
·         Children v careers.
·         Children + love
·         Strip clubs.
·         Weddings.
·         Shopping.
·         Gay men.
·         The music industry.
·         The newspaper industry.
·         Knickers.
·         Celebrities
·         Katie Price
·         Childlessness
·         Designer handbags
·         Per Una in M&S
In fact, I had to struggle to find something, anything I didn’t agree with. Yellow shoes. That was it. I can’t see a situation in which I would wear yellow shoes.  Though, feck, who knows? She’s probably right about that too.  I had to stop reading when she started talking about going out clubbing with Lady Gaga because by then I was just rolling on the floor in a foetal ball sobbing.
Shit. Shit. Shit. Caitlin Moran is 35.  Thirty-fecking-five.  I’m fifteen years older than her and nowhere near as smart or funny.  Everything I think she thinks better. She writes like a fucking dream. She’s got two kids and a wildly successful career and she sounds nice, really nice: she’s not a screwed up narcissist like Liz fecking Jones. Really I might as well stop writing and just post up chunks of her book instead with ‘I agree with Caitlin Moran’ scrawled at the bottom. 

So, there you have it. I spent the rest of the weekend feeling totally, pathetically, self-indulgently sorry for myself.  Hating guinea pigs.  Loathing myself.  And loathing and loving Caitlin Moran, damn her fecking 35-year old eyes, in equal measures.  


susie @newdaynewlesson said...

OH hun-you know that everyone has their own uniqueness and talent and I have heard quite a few people tell me how much they would love to be able to write like you. (I promise-I heard those words)


Frances said...

Oh, Jane, I am also reading How to Be a Woman, having convinced my library to buy the UK paperback before it gets published over here. I have been reading it, I actually was very reminded of your writing, and wondered if she had been studying your way with words. No joking here!

I am now two chapters from the end of the book.

Hoping that you will soon be feeling all recovered, and that your own very, very wise and funny words will continue to flow. xo

Anonymous said...
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Majid Ali said...

Please for Christ sake help this poor boy from Haiti

Blackden trust said...

Used to have guinea pigs (used to have all manner of pets excluding reptiles) so a bit astray here but yes and totally f-ing yes about Caitlin Moran. I love the book. I read her and spend an unhealthy amount of time agreeing with her and, as if it were possible, I am even older than you are. I am however bouncing around jauntily just now as Ian has pointed out to me that I seemed to believe I was 57 when I am actually 56. So that's nice. An extra year for free.
She was home schooled I believe. That's where our parents went wrong.

elizabethm said...

Sorry, that was me. Can't even have truly mysterious alias.

Nora said...

I'm feeling a lot of sympathy for you, but isn't it great when we find someone we can strive to be like? And we do, in our own unique way, so don't you give up voicing your opinions. I think you're fabulous just like you are and I look up to you quite often. I just get tongue tied sometimes and can't say it.


Rob-bear said...

Dreadfully sorry to hear about your palindromic rheumatism. I always thought my aches and pains came from chronic depression. Maybe there is a different cause. Perhaps I should investigate that.
Caitlin Moran. She is to you, as you are to me. Funny. Smart. Self-deprecating. Even worse, I’m fifteen years older than you and nowhere near as smart or funny.
Great weekend at the Bear's den, reading that.
Blessings and Bear hugs for your week!

Anonymous said...

I've never come into contact with a guinea pig. They remind me too much of rats and we get enough of those in the barns. OH enjoys destroying them, says it's very satisfying. Guess I won't get a guinea pig then...

CJ xx

Anonymous said...

ps and lots of sympathy. You're a great woman, Jane, and I'd heard of you and Not Caitlin Moran or Liz Jones. And I love your books. be you, you are magnificent.

Alison Cross said...

I love Caitlin Moran - worth paying a pound to get behind the Times paywall for on her own!

She's on twitter and is usually hysterically funny. Just one of those naturally clever, funny, good-looking people.

I should hate her ;-)

Sorry to hear about your rotten pain - hope it leaves you soon.

Ali x

Exmoorjane said...

Thanks all of you lovely people... and Majid, I wish I could help but you picked the wrong woman - try Caitlin Moran.
Crystal - rat urine is another cause of PR - so, yup, right on the money (though I quite like rats).
Shit no, I'm not going to follow CM on Twitter- that would be rubbing salt in the wounds. And, actually, I finished the book this morning and found I do disagree with her on a couple of that's okay...

Anonymous said...

Pain is just another form of pleasure. Its opposite, to be exact... :o)

Exmoorjane said...

JC: I hate you :)

D.J.Kirkby said...

How did your doctor figure out that you had PR? Poor you!

Isobel said...

Do hope you're feeling better today. The info about guinea pigs was a complete eye-opener - had one when I was at school in the 1950's and didn't have a problem. Is this a new development, with modern guinea pigs, I wonder? Whatever, thanks for the warning.

Sessha Batto said...

And I always feel like I should just post a link to your blog and say - "I want to be Jane when I grow up".

Why not try flipping the way you look at it . . . look at your agreement as a validation of tour youth and hipness ;)

As for the pain - I empathize. I get through most days by reminding myself that pain tempers me, like fire tempers steel, making me strong and flexible to survive.

Exmoorjane said...

DJ: took ages...had a hunch and rheumatologist confirmed (as far as ever they can - no real test).

Isobel: don't think it's new - just pretty rare (or people don't make a connection) many causes for weird viruses..

Sessha: I love you.. :)

Barbara Silkstone said...

Jane, Where have you been all my life? I'd like to believe we were separated at birth or else living in parallel worlds. You are a pistol.

Barbara Silkstone said...

Sessha... I'm borrowing this from Celia Riverbark:

What does not kill us, makes us meaner.


Northern Snippet said...

Yes its a really funny book.She is brilliant,though not sure I agreed with her solution to the porn industry.

Lyndsey said...

Love, Love, Love Caitlin Moran and 'that book'. Have also just been told by Amazon that 'Spirit of the Home' has been dispatched. That makes everything even and right with the world, yes?

Jenny Holden said...

What a strange little blogging world we live in: I was drawn to read this blog by a link that I only saw because I follow Hen4. And here I find the great and good of Purple Coo! Oh, and I love guinea pigs :o)