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PSEUDO WRITER |A PORTFOLIO OF WRITING

pseudo writer A PORTFOLIO OF WRITING


PSEUDO WRITER |A PORTFOLIO OF WRITING

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Cat, one day hoping to make redundant the self proclaimed pseudo tag, is a writer of things journalistic, literary, dramatic, and for the hell of it, poetic. She loves 1970’s cinema, street photography, travel on a whim and sport of the strictly armchair variety.

Open University | Creative Writing

catrina_cochrane@yahoo.co.uk

Open University | Advanced Creative Writing

@pseudo_writer

Never far from the River Clyde, whether at home or work, she takes inspiration from that fascinating force of nature...the Glaswegian sensibility. Bringing her notebooks of pub and bus shelter conversations to life is what makes this little eavesdropper tick.

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Strathclyde University | How to Write for Stage and Screen

published mosaic magazine | 2013 catcochrane.wordpress.com | 2013


PSEUDO WRITER |A PORTFOLIO OF WRITING

pseudo writer CONTENTS

2 | meet cat 4 | ARTICLE

// To Drink, or not to Drink... that is not the Question // And the Winner of the ‘Best Original Faux Oscar Trophy’ Award Goes To. . . // the rushes on irvine beach ‘95 // an easter midsummer’ performance // The 1990’s: A Post-Rock’n’Roll Decade of Delights…and Dross // sad death of a high street salesman // all things bright and gingerful // mona through the digital looking glass // Thick-skinned Geordies? Hats Off and Coats On, Pet // clone baby clone // meet your soulmate on the 4.50 from paddington? // recession in a sapphic world

26 | snippets


PSEUDO WRITER |A PORTFOLIO OF WRITING

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PSEUDO WRITER |A PORTFOLIO OF WRITING

written articles pseudo writer


PSEUDO WRITER |A PORTFOLIO OF WRITING

To Drink, or not to Drink... that is not the Question Will our Scot’s resolve to have a drink ever be challenged by a price hike or ten? I have this thing about watching Coronation Street episodes from the 1970’s on You Tube. I’m more in it for the modern socio-history lesson than the fuel to my dodgy fashion and gawdy wallpaper fetish. Though what knocks me out most is the price of Ena Sharple’s milk stouts. I wonder how much of a dent 11½ p every Monday and Wednesday night made in her pocket? Half pences eh. Try asking a 13 year old to get his or her head round those. Long long gone are the days a pint, a bag of chips and your bus home totalled not a spit off a pound. Lucky if you can get change from a tenner for that same trio nowadays. I’d make a good Mrs Sharples in my own way, battleaxe-ing my way through the price of all and sundry, in the snug, on a week night. Minimum unit pricing on alcohol in Scotland became part of legislative law last year, though a challenge by our Whisky industry awaits its outcome outright. So the SNP came up with a formula; minimum price value x strength of alcohol x value of alcohol x 100, or in other words, the price of a carry oot’s going right up, Jimmy! Most of us like a drink – to varying degrees and let’s face it, can you count on one hand how many teetotallers (ex-alcoholics not included) you’ve known in your lifetime? Scotland’s not famous for its temperance movements. We get it when we see Moscovites drinking Vodka neat to ward off the chill. We don’t bat an eyelid when folk traipse through a Tesco queue with trolley loads of booze to celebrate the first sunny, t-shirt day of the year neither. And what other place on earth can you walk into an offie, ask for a ‘boattle ae wine,’ and if it’s not Buckfast placed on the counter, the staff need a talking to about product knowledge. Depicted as the happy drunk has always been the way of it. When the Tartan Army pulled down the Wembley goalposts in ’77, it wasn’t sober joviality that was behind it. At times we’ve overplayed the strereotype, on screen and in real life. And now the health experts say enough is enough. The newly formed Alcohol Health Alliance UK has made a point in urging the Scottish Government to go further in its crackdown. It’s evidence-based alcohol strategy for the whole of the UK takes a ‘no-nonsense’ approach in its recommendations regarding taxation, advertising, licensing laws, labelling and drink-driving limits. But it is minimum unit pricing that stands at the top of the tree as the Alliance lay on the pressure. Perhaps our consciences are really only pricked now and again when it comes to booze and health as a connector. Like when we’re at the doctors or filling in a life insurance form and it’s put to us, ‘how many units of alcohol do you consume per week?’ We’ve been bludgeoned with the recommended 14 units for women and 21 for men for a good while now, and you’re kidding yourself if you

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haven’t at some time fibbed in ticking that box, or saying it out loud, knowing that if the week only consisted of Monday-to-Thursday you’d be okay. Heavy drinking is a very personal sport. Whether you do it regularly in the bustle of a pub or behind the front door at home, it’s only one of two arms which lifts that glass, can or bottle to open lips. It’s by our own hand that we choose to booze, by our own refusal the notion to turn it down. Having grown up with an alcoholic father, I know too well what liquor can do when it grabs hold of a person. It’s sad to see anyone lose their job, trust of their family, self- respect and health by the culmination of an adulthood of lost count booze units. It’s hard to share, and even harder to live with the knowing that a parent has an alcohol related illness stamped across their death certificate. Now despite what the health activists and a few scaremongers would have us believe, not everyone that looks for value in their carry out is a big drinker. For every old alkie out there, there’s a young responsible drinker who loves to crack open a few bottles of Lambrusco Light only, with guests at a dinner party. For every teenager teetering on the verge of a boozy abyss, there’s a pensioner who stocks up on a good offer of a ‘24’ slab of cider, which will lie in the cupboard for half a season. There’s stereotypes, and then there’s looking beyond stereotypes. Those of which usually fall into the silent majority – responsible, moderated and fed up with being squeezed in every purchase they pay for. There’s a case for both sides of the desire to increase, and reject, minimum alcohol pricing, no doubt. Family problems, NHS referrals, crime et al are huge issues. As is the affordance of a responsible drink as a matter of personal liberty. The story will run, the issue seems endless, mostly because we’re Scots, and our intense relationship with the booze, has always been, well, just that. . .intense. Cheers. . .and good health!


PSEUDO WRITER |A PORTFOLIO OF WRITING

‘The Drunken Scotsman’: there lies a truth in every cultural stereotype


PSEUDO WRITER |A PORTFOLIO OF WRITING

And the Winner of the ‘Best Original Faux Oscar Trophy’ Award Goes To... Although I didn’t think too much about it at the time, was I the only child who grew up in a house arrayed with ornaments that played makeshift for famous trophies, awards and gongs? The 12” super-heavy glass vase my mum kept for flowers she never received was dusted off at soccer World Cup finals and raised aloft in the back garden – all part of my beautifully depicted roleplaying victoire. A big silver platter that lay unloved in the bottom kitchen drawer was my Venus Rosewater dish given to the Wimbledon Ladies’ champion every first Saturday in July. There I’d pseudo gloat, standing on the grass or at the top of the stairs, imagining it was I being presented with sport’s most celebrated prizes. I’d dirty my knees and spray fake sweat from a water bottle for effect. Canned applause would cheer from the speakers of my Sanyo high fidelity. The moment was captured of my own taking by a 110mm film camera. My sporting dreams realised – if only in my own low-tech imagination. Such imaginary talented prowess wasn’t restricted to sporting occasions, oh no – so step in the Oscars. Though not quite technically an ornament, I’m sure til this day my mum never knew her 750ml cans of L’oreal Elnett were paraded in front of the bathroom mirror year on year as I made my Best Actress in a Leading Role speech. Lauded by Whoopi standing in the shower, cheered by Chevy leaning on the cistern, my acceptances grew grander as I grew taller, giving Gwyneth Paltrow a run for her money in the tears category. With the exception of Moonlighting broadcast late on Monday nights, the Academy Awards was the only show I was allowed to stay up late to watch on a school night. Those were the days when the Beeb held the UK rights and Sky TV hadn’t as yet monopolised our telly channels. If you google imaged ‘Oscar’ this week, it wasn’t necessarily a foot-high, gold plated piece of britannium that popped up first. Now that Mr Pistorius has been granted bail, perhaps the shinier of the two Oscars will jump back to the top of the Bing tree. At the ceremony itself, there’s bound to be the usual cheers, jeers, back slapping and front stabbing that’s become pre-requisite. I recently discovered there’s even been the odd streaker. In 1974, David Niven kept the cool and quipped, poststreak, that ‘probably the only laugh that man will get in his life is by stripping off and showing his short comings.’ Goes to show, even debonair, leading loveys can be catty on the big night. ‘The greatest promotion scheme that any industry ever devised for itself.’ - William Friedkin, Academy Award-winning film director and former producer of the ceremony.

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Not without its critics, Marlon Brando’s non-appearance in 1972 for his Best Actor award was probably the most striking rebuff. Having a bit of beef with Hollywood’s misrepresentation of Native Americans, he sent in his place a young lady called Sacheen Littlefeather to ruffle some. Joe Pesci’s acceptance speech for his supporting role in Goodfellas goes down in the annals – all one second of it. Documentary man Michael Moore having a go at Dubbya Bush for his part in the invasion of Iraq was another telly treasure. Some say there’s no place for politics at the Oscars, but hey, a sweet’s no fun without the sticky. ’The whole thing is a goddamn meat parade. I don’t want any part of it.’ – Academy Award-winning actor, George C. Scott. Love it or loathe it – and I LOVE IT - just as I did all those years ago, there’ll be a whole swarm of budding fantasists around the world standing in front of the mirror giving it gushing prattle with a big torch or a bottle of Lucozade in hand while their relatives bang on the bathroom door. That’s what the Oscars do to us plebs. In saying that, with only a day to go until the big night, I’ve as much chance as Daniel Day-Lewis of picking up an Oscar. See there’s one on Ebay and I’ve currently got the highest bid. . . Hooray for Hollywood!


PSEUDO WRITER |A PORTFOLIO OF WRITING

Housewive’s hairspray: A fantasy awardee’s favourite choice


PSEUDO WRITER |A PORTFOLIO OF WRITING

An Inclusive New Democratic Pope Scope? It’d Be a Sin Not To... So the Pope has only gone and given tinkle to heaven’s hotline to call in sick – permanently. With the start of Lent, here’s me quitting celibacy (again), while Big Joe gives up the Vatican, for good. It’s true, old age doesn’t come itself. But fair play, 15 years from a diplomatic birthday card from the Queen is quite a good run so far. If you’re old enough to remember your stint in the Hitler Youth, you know you’ve been about a bit. I’ll refrain from delving into what might be said of the Benny Legacy, that’s for wordy theologians to assess in the now and later. Though compared to Pope John Paul II, Joe had a short stint, perhaps struggling to match the charisma of the Polish ex-goalie. Nonetheless, remembering his surname was a cracker for crosswords and pub quiz sudden death rounds. Never since before the Reformation has a sitting pope left the building without having first popped his red leather pumps. A CNN correspondent based in Rome reported his retirement at the end of this month was “because of advanced age.” Some might say we live in an age that’s too advanced for the Pope. I imagine it’s not just the most liberal and moderate of Catholics who’ll pray that a new reign might enfold with questions being raised on those most humanitarian, and in turn, controversial of issues. Will a new papacy give license to the question of abortion, condoms and female ordination, in the cases of rape, over-population/AIDS, and sexual democracy respectively?

Can the Catholic Church give Jesus the last word?

Looking at the runners and riders it’s fair to say this is a longshot. The exiting Pope has, in his 8 years as head of the Catholic Church, surrounded himself with conservative yes men cardinals, as had John Paul II before him. It’s a shame the new Pope won’t be chosen via an X Factor audition style route. Adding to that, I can’t shake this vision of red buzzers in front of every pew dweller as the potential candidates wait in the vestry with their oral schpeel, fashion statement and contemporary dance routine at the ready. Only then will we know the new pontiff will be chosen on the premiss that the Vatican’s Got Talent. There’s a joke that only works in Glasgow due to linguistics. . . What happens when the Pope goes? Another wan popes up! Step up the two favourites for the pontificate, Cardinals Francis Arinze of Nigeria and Peter Turkson of Ghana. The latter has a Facebook page. Let’s hoping he doesn’t go looking for likes. A black man chief honcho in the White House and the Vatican? That’s modernity for you. On the flip side, both African candidates are known for their anti-gay stance, Oh Jesus, how progressive. If I had a one to one audience with the new Pope, the first thing I’d call upon is what Jesus said about

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homosexuality. Secondly, I’d like to know, would there be no whitewash in the Vatican when it came to covering up cases of sexual abuse? Though a crucial issue to gay Christians, you could argue that there’s not a lot of meat on the bones of the one about JC and the homos, as he said, well. . .nothing. The sexual abuse concern is undoubtedly tender and haunting still. At its peak the clergy played down the scandal in the exposed noughties by stating it was only 1% of priests worldwide who’d been defrocked or convicted of their sin. Well that’s alright then. Though hang about, that only fraction was made out of 500,000 men of the cloth. Initially covered up, that’s 5000 recorded cases of children or young adults experiencing a horror no person should ever come close to. The most defensive of Catholics might point out that in the US most abuse allegations overall stemmed from Protestant churches, though that does absolutely nothing to erase 5000 or more traumas from their conscience. In an attempt to make a link between homosexual tendencies and rear guarding abuse, the Catholic Church has instituted a reform due to “noting the preponderance of adolescent males (teenage boys) amongst victims of abuse, a more searching inquiry is necessary for a homosexually oriented man.” While according to the Economist the Church has also “prohibited the ordination of men with “deep-seated homosexual tendencies.” I wonder how contenders Frankie or Pete would like it if they were locked out the big house, with the Church citing for reasons of deep-rooted blackness? While I can totally appreciate that the Pope shouldn’t take his cues from modern society, which is the cry of orthodox, conservative Catholics; the gospels of the bible are the Church’s to claim, not to change. The voice of the Catholic divorcee, the gay female church volunteer, the Thornbirds-esque priest et al is looking to be heard and guided with love and compassion, rather than casted by stone and sent outside along with the farts in the wind. Surely it’s the pew dwellers and even the lapsed who make up the Church. So is not the power of the people stronger that the people in power? Am not talking about anarchy here, or throwing over the Vatican (though it would make a fun day out) but suppose the Catholic Church and the its new leader get with the times a tad. . .give me one good reason why woman cannot be ordained for Christ’s sake!? Before I take blasphemy to a new stage, to be fair, in the current shadow of Catholic sexual un-democracy, homophobia and secrecy, am all for quitting the celibacy for keeps, and finding love in a Popeless place.


PSEUDO WRITER |A PORTFOLIO OF WRITING

Red garb and white peenies: There’s sins, and then there’s cardinal fashion sins


PSEUDO WRITER |A PORTFOLIO OF WRITING

The Rushes on Irvine Beach ’95 The rushes. By 5 o’clock a melting film of amphetamine has settled via the base of my spine into the back of my skull. I slink against the fence perimeter watching the ticketless as they down more Frosty – every drop an affirmation they’ll stay beachside until post-encore and the drunk and ragged filter out. I lean with purpose, though I have none, in the everyday. A college dropout. A major disappointment. Waiting for another zero hour. My Levi’s snag in the rough of the fence, a rip to match the other leg, that one courtesy of a pill-fueled night in the Garage. Today is a far cry from the street corner and the Side Walk. If it had been a Led Zeppelin gig twenty years ago, the indie boys, the uni chicks, the neds and the nedettes would’ve been pursuing variations of free sex, free drugs and priceless rock ‘n’ roll. In the nineties the procurement of an erection and a line is a seller’s market. Only the music is cheap. The rushes years. Oasis, live at Irvine Beach. Wall to wall people, loose and vocal in Scottish layers. The Verve supporting. It’s a five hour extravaganza. That’s what I’m told after. Much has faded. And yet I remember every rush. I’m cruising with ‘Straight Pants,’ ‘Straighter Pants’ and a mangled bus ticket I must keep intact, or I’ll be swimming up the Clyde estuary to get home. Straight Pant’s mother won’t let me in their house – filthy gutties, cuss and socialism. Straight Pants wants to go travelling. She hints we’ll go together, yet she promises nothing. I know she knows I’m the only crazy person to take on the same adventure. She keeps me close, albeit pushes me away. She turns to Straighter as she doesn’t like me on rushes, my catatonic state. They block me out in the cold of their huddle. Straighter hisses at the travels, knowing I’ll never leave the Side Walk Crew. I’ll never let on that she’s dead right. Straighter hates the crowds. Why the fuck come then? ‘Nedvilleness,’ she declares, ‘tcheuchter ones too.’ Imported from Dundee, Kirkcaldy and further up, tough guys preening in Weller haircuts and Adidas trackie tops, hyped to the point of spit. ‘Tinks,’ she calls them. East coast boys making the scene, loitering with amphetamine intent, a chib at the ready, hitting on the Ayrshire lassies. I’m restless. For a bit of controversy I say, ‘Richard Ashcroft gives me orgasms.’ Straighter flinches like a spinster. I pretend am having a party in my knickers. Straight Pants shudders. ‘What is this?’ she says wiping my mud from her shoulder, ‘When Harry Met Sally, in a field?’ ‘Nah,’ I say, shaking more dirt down wind, ‘it’s Ain’t No Pleasin You. Chas and Dave.’

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There’s a young crowd on the horizon. Still buying Stock, Aitken and pishin Waterman when Screamadelica came out. At school they would’ve been big fishes, toughguy commandos of the playground. They look like pale rabbits in the headlamps, some about to whitey. Gallus isn’t as gallus doesn’t. They don’t stray near the big boys too soon. Standing back, assessing the duds, it’s not long before one of them is dared to ask if anyone’s selling speed wraps. They’ll be conned. Their first buzz, a baking soda headache. I’m detached, disassociated from the Straights as Swamp Song recedes and Acquiesce kicks in. I don’t know what it is that makes me feel alive, I don’t know how to wake the things that sleep inside… Ashcroft may be orgasmic, but the Gallagher’s are tantric. Different in the altogether from the Barrowland, ’94, when they were in the ascendancy. Now perched on the zenith, they hold the disaffected in the palm of their callused hands. It’s my moment, this very second. I slip to the inside pocket for another wrap, that in forty minutes will levitate me to a plain higher than the sun. The Straights bop co-joined in a two cider pint state of soberness. But this guy next to me is getting it. He winks, gurning a row of smashed non-teeth. A trackie foot soldier caught in the crossfire of Guigsy’s strident bass and Liam’s impenetrable warble. I’m not traffic, I am traffic. An unpretty segment of boomer youth in mosh formations, carving up turf under canvas. A fusion of locals, leftovers, shoe-gazers, attitude afficiandos, all sucked into the mesmeric sway of the Oasis magick. I feel the Straights shimmy further from my spot in the crowd. I’m happy to watch them stray. Useless accessories to my mindset atop the devil’s shoulder. I’ll see them again soon, clique of the Side Walk, but I’ll never forgive as they pretend not to pity my bedraggled bod, down in the book as a narcotic freak of loserville. Briefly, for this moment in time that is Champagne Supernova, I transcend their undeviating rigidity and dance to the beat of my own drum. Where were you while we were getting high? Filing out with Goo Goo G’Joobs ringing the dank coastal night, I realise I’ve become separated from my bus ticket. I head down the beachside alone, in search of some Frosty Jacks dregs, the perfect match for my last wrap. The rushes.


PSEUDO WRITER |A PORTFOLIO OF WRITING

An Easter Midsummer’ Performance Do I turn into a donkey in this play?’ one of the key players asks her director, at the commence of the Saturday Children’s Theatre workshop rehearsals for A Midsummer Night’s Dream. On a bright, cold Saturday morning in February, preparations for a new slant on the Bard’s romantic comedy have begun in earnest for the budding young actors and singers of this Bearsden art and drama group.

Life is like a butterfly: The girls making props for the show

Set among the leafy avenues of the East Dunbartonshire suburb, Kilmardinny House Arts Centre has, since 2004, played host to a continual cast of fledgling 7-12 year olds with a taste for the creative and theatrical. As resident musician, Tom Harold - a former BBC Proms/The Guardian Young Composer of the Year - loosens up the ivories, scriptwriter and director, Bob Young, limbers up the young arties’ vocal chords with a run through of 60’s soul classic, River Deep, Mountain High (neatly adapted into this modern uptake). With do I love you. . .my oh my ringing round the hall, workshop co-creator, Jo McMahon comments, ’we always see a surge in the children’s initial confidence during the twelve week period.’ The current winter/spring term, having started in January, takes in 3-hourly sessions every Saturday, with a start time of 10 am. Culminating in a final performance scheduled for April 4, friends and family will get the chance to experience a one-off showpiece highlighting the fun and good work of the previous 3 months. The workshops’ autumn term spreads over Saturdays from early September through to December.

Hitting the high notes: Thomas (front) and friends singing with soul

With previous successful adaptations such as the Jungle Book and Aesop’s Fables under the belt, Jo adds, ‘those who’ve been coming for a few years pick up easily where we’ve left off from prior shows - while the new kids are usually up and running after the third or fourth rehearsal.’ This summer, a more condensed programme is set to coincide with the events of Homecoming Scotland. In a daily digest of 5-hour sessions during holiday weekdays, youngsters will get the chance to learn about the works of great Scottish inventors. An exciting prospect indeed for one current attendee, Thomas, 9, who exudes all the confidence of a seasoned pro. Thomas, along with his sister, Ellen, 9, is in his

second year of performing in the group. ’I’d like to be an actor when I grow up,’ explains Thomas, ’but if not, then I’ll be an engineer.’ After a short break for snacks, a small group makes their way into the art room where their enthusiasm meets with a plethora of awaiting art materials. As Thomas makes a beeline for the glitter and super-thick crayons, he recalls previous successful shows; ‘All us kids really get involved in everything that happens with the play. It’s great how we can make what becomes the stage, props...costumes too.’ Under the supervision of Jo and fellow community arts developer, Jenny O’Boyle, the children make a start on recycling a cardboard fireplace used in the groups’ last production, Cinderella. The ethos of non-waste is clearly an important message interwoven here among the paint splashes and curtain calls. Running into its 6 year, with a current register of 32 local would-be thespians on board, the workshop is likely to champion creative and dramatic pre-teen aspirations for some time to come. A further step in the process, Jo advises, is the start up of a similar workshop for the 13-17 age group. She suggests, ‘what could be better than the kids following on the progress of their good work and achievements here into their teens?’ When official word gets out about that one, the odds of finding a future Ewan McGregor or Kelly McDonald may be justifiably shortened.


PSEUDO WRITER |A PORTFOLIO OF WRITING

The 1990’s: A Post-Rock’n’Roll Decade of Delights…and Dross

Faux Pas Couture of the 90s bar none

I read somewhere recently that time is the mother of all biases. And there was me thinking that it was just a wee healer that waits for no man. The jist of the meaning didn’t click at first, but a bit like understanding the sensation of treading over hot coals, you have to put yourself in the right shoes. Last week while listening to Radio 2, I found myself bopping about to Pulp’s Common People. It got me thinking about how great the music of the 90’s was, and how that particular song has become an iconic reflection of the times. Released in October ’95, just a couple of months after the heat of the Oasis v Blur chart single race, it coincided with my first stints to the dancing as the term Britpop was just hot off Stuart Maconie’s lips. The daddy of all lanky poet laureates, Jarvis Cocker, wasn’t far wrong when he realised the band had ‘written something that had the slight pretensions to the anthemic.’

Throughout the 90’s we didn’t think we were amid any form of fashion revolution per se, as we skulked around with curtain hair (the lads) and lacquer sprayed demiwaves with optional scrunchie (the lassies) waiting for an equivalent to the mini skirt, a pair of platforms or a set of shoulder pads to define the decade. But you only have to watch a Les Dennis hosted episode of Family Fortunes to look back on what was really going on. Waistcoats were in big time, worn loose. Mustard and maroon was the ultimate colour combo. Everything was buttoned up, shirt and blouse wise to the gullet, though flowy from there on down. Tartan, check, lumberjack patterns, lime jeans, batwing sleeves; a litany of a la mode tragic when put altogether. And there was us thinking there was no particular trend. Just pull some 90’s photos out from the back of the wardrobe for an equal laugh and cringe to prove otherwise.

And in mid-bop it hit me, this link to time being the mother of all biases in regard to music. As for every Common People to hit the airwaves in the final decade of the 20th century, there’s a Tubthumping, a Mmm Mmm Mmm and a Barbie Girl turning up to ruin a 90’s compilation triple album. Chumbawumba? Crash Test Dummies? With monikers like that, it’s a wonder the demo cassettes got opened by their recording studio lackeys.

The 90’s is definitely not the only decade to suffer from the notion of time being a good filter. If you’ve ever caught an episode of Top of the Pops Seventies, currently doing chronological re-runs on BBC4 at the weekends, you can’t help but notice that there was some amount of dross ladened among the gems that made the decade of flares, feather cuts and kipper ties as tragic as it was golden. I hung around a long time for the series to reach the third week of January in 1977 to Sky Plus the show that was originally broadcast the day I was born. David Soul of Starsky & Hutch fame was pick of the pops that week with a song that was, well, no Bohemian Rhapsody nor a No Woman, No Cry if you know what I mean. I might’ve settled for a Waterloo, in comparison. As a sideline, halfway through I was freaked out to see Gary Glitter perform possibly the worst song I’ve ever heard. Clearly my birth week wasn’t a vintage one – but tuning into the show in the weeks after I realised it was similar mush to be persevered through to get to the climax of a Don’t Cry For Me Argentina or a Yes Sir, I Can Boogie. Folk that herald the 70’s as the best decade of post-rock’n’roll are children of the mother of all music bias, it would seem. Ultimately perhaps, it pads the suggestion that we only remember the gold.

My first memory of the 90’s musikwise was Beat’s International’s signature tune, Dub Be Good to Me. I recall skiving up the back of music class playing and rewinding and playing it on my chunkified Sony Walkman with orange-sponged earphones. I had no idea then that it was a rework by way of the S.O.S Band. And so marked the next ten years of released samples, remixes and woeful covers; read Vanilla Ice, Jive Bunny and Boyzone. A year later on a rainy Sunday night my ears fell upon Smells Like Teen Spirit, which for a worldwide gang of us was like hearing Rock Around the Clock or Love Me Do for the first time. It didn’t take long before the wardrobe was chocka of holey lumberjack shirts as the Doc Martin’s lay by the door. Three years later, I fell into the rank and file of Oasis trendies equating to a cleaner facade verging on the mod. You never realise while in the busom of it, but the age of 1721, it’s the time of prime. It’s the heyday years of dancing, parties, sex, broken hearts, finding a job, not finding a job. . .and if you’re lucky all backdropped with a fantastic soundtrack. While the world seems a smaller if not more complicated place that in the 90′s, I wonder what’ll be the Common People equivalent for today’s kids? My parents spent their courting days in the dancehalls of Glasgow in the era of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and the Kinks, of which I’ll be eternally envious of. But my time was most definitely the tail end of the last century. New Labour, Britpop, pre-internet boom. Days of heady optimism as I recall, as we counted down time to a new millennium. 14

The 90’s might not be looked upon as some kind of classic era in time, but for those who were teenagers during those years we’re likely to look back fondly on the decade that gave us Fu-Gee-Las, Naf Naf Jackets, Reebok Pumps and Flip Fantasias. With our rosy-tinted specs pressed against our noses, that’s just as it should be.


PSEUDO WRITER |A PORTFOLIO OF WRITING

J Cocker Esquire: Man of the 1990’s, kitsch entourage ever assembled


PSEUDO WRITER |A PORTFOLIO OF WRITING

Sad Death of a High Street Salesman Woolworths, Comet, Jessops, HMV (almost) and now Blockbuster, WTF eh? To be fair, am surprised the Blockbuster chain lasted as long as it did. That 1990’s shop front design was dated in the Eighties, and did you ever visit a branch where the Slurpee machine wasn’t out of order? The administrators over the door of each of the above stands as a right sad affair for the UK high street, that’s a given. Very scary too to think of the accumulative job losses totalled between them. While not many will lose sleep or wail into their Shreddies at yet another high street shop demise, I’d assume there’s very few of us over the age of 21 who’ve never had a connection/affinity/ relationship with at least one of the above ex-traders. For years, Woolworths was a bustling mainstay of the shopping centre in East Kilbride, where I spent many a Saturday afternoon during school age. There were things you knew you could get in Woolies in the one visit, and more importantly things you knew you couldn’t. The place where you’d buy your pick’n’mix for the cinema, a pair of black shoe laces and a clothes horse to replace the one that had been on its last hind legs for years. To my memory, our town centre shop never moved round their merchandise, meaning you could lay a hand to the tan boot polish your mum had sent you a message for with minimum fuss. Rows and aisles of stock items imprinted on the brain that just needed the switching on of a natural, inherent Sat Nav at the door was all part of the Woolies experience. Looking back, the memory of it being the store from where you dared your best pal to do a bit of lifting made it the busiest knocking shop around, bar none. Sad times indeed that day Woolworth passed through the retail pearly gates. And who but a financial advisor with a crystal ball would’ve predicted it being the prototype of big company retail closures. At 18, heavy into my music, I was an old skool, proper Britpop kid. I’d spent a childhood recording my parents 1960’s albums onto TDK cassettes, thinking I was the personification of cool. To this day my anticipation of Oasis second album What’s the Story, Morning Glory? has never been surpassed by any other record release. That’s where HMV stepped in. I remember dogging college to get down to the store just before opening time. As the doors unlocked, there lay the CD albums stacked up. Me and all the other Oasis kids ran for the same spot. In 1995, it was still a buzz, that physical effort to procure the kind of music that just might change your life. I probably wasn’t as hip as I thought, as I should’ve sought my purchase from one of the reputable independent stores around Glasgow at the time. But HMV was there, solid, predictable and ready to take my money; each a pre-requisite in the days prior to online buying and digital downloads. The sticky summer of 2005 holds two striking memories, forever in my recall; the London bombings and a stint working part-time on the shopfloor for Jessops. My knowledge of advancing digital processes was a bit rusty, leaving me learning on

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my toes. Despite not enjoying the overall experience, a brief highlight was in selling a high end SLR camera package to my old music teacher, Miss Muir, fondly nicknamed Kizzy, (for Roots reasons). On reflection, the reason I picked up a great deal of selling advice was through listening to the passion and knowledge of my then colleagues. There was a bit of a geek thing running though the shop, and I remember one of the guys always reading the latest photography magazines just to keep abreast. The fall out of which was a genuine wealth of advice that was passed onto customers amidst nasty sales targets. Now the chain has come to pass, no Jessops equates to a limited number of places in UK towns and cities where you can excitedly fondle your camera with a load of expertise in your ear just prior to purchase. The same can said for the nice people at Comet (past tense), one of whom I bought a lovely laptop from minus the pushy. The sad truth of it is, for a good while, quality electonics have been available in supermarkets, with undercut prices. But try asking an Asda or Tesco general assistant the nitty gritty workings of an HP scanner, if you know what I mean. It may be too late to save the iconic retail names that have bit the dust in recent times, and God knows it stinks to high heaven that the UK taxpayer will pick up the tab for redundancy and holiday payments to their exemployees, but all the talk has encouraged me to do my bit and grab the last of my Christmas gift money hitting the high street this weekend. I wonder where I can get my hands on a fully functioning Slurpee machine…? Ah that’s right…eBay!


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Closing Down Sale: No UK high street goes without one


PSEUDO WRITER |A PORTFOLIO OF WRITING

All Things Bright and Gingerful What a red hot start to the year it’s been for us Gingers. Gingerama, Gingermania, Gingivitis. . . okay scratch that last one with baited (bad) breath, but 2013 is definitely looking rosy for the redhead. Despite all the ridicule and ginger pube gags, those damn flamehaireds are set to soar high in the next 12 months. Bringing some brightness to the winter blues, whilst evening up the slightly savage annual Kick a Ginger Day, 12 January saw Kiss a Ginger Day, giving licence for all those blondie, brunettey folk to pucker up and plant one on the carrot topped-freckly-blue eyed-wonderwith-the-nicely-framed-snooker-player-tan. The one day a year perhaps when a russet fetish avoids being given something of a slagging. To another end, two Gingers can get down on it minus the you can only pull each other type flannel that’s regularly flung at a cracking pair of coppernuts. On reflection, 2012 was the year of the Gingerman; read Greg Rutherford, Ed (how to so milk an album) Sheeran, throwing in Tim Minchin for good measure while we’re at it. But the Titian of the Year Gong must go to the handsome, up-top-copper-aglow that is Damien Lewis. You know Gingers have reached something of a summit when the face of America’s top TV drama walks out the theatre with an Emmy under his flaming oxter; his Gangnam Style celebration giving a new spin to the notion of a pale rider. Without activating the spoiler alert, the orange brick road is clear in 2013 for the women to take on what’s fast becoming the highly regarded rouge baton. Step forward Jessica Chastain, Amy Adams, and a Brave sequel – cherry topped with a Rula Lenska revival perhaps. In among all this Ginger back patting, there’s this oddity doing the rounds; Oddbins are offering a 10% discount on wine purchases every weekend in January for mums, journalists and bankers, Germans and, you’ve guessed it, Gingeroonies respectively. The only thirst revelling in this am sure is that of Rebekah Brooks, ready for going through the door with her fake Fatherland passport in hand. Crazy thing is, you just can’t decide whether it’s a lovely (if a little too smooth) marketing ploy rewarding those ‘apparently less loved’ than the rest of the population, or just pure downright prejudice on so many fronts. Are they trying to suggest that all Gingers are winos? That’s pure discrimination so it is. For a start, not everyone likes wine. I know I don’t. I wonder where you’d stand if you went into an Oddbins store with a See You Jimmy hat and wig on? Just how Ginger does a Ginger have to be? Would a strawberry blonde only get a 5% discount? Heavens to Betsy that the cuffs and collars would have to come out to prove it. Temper, temper you may say, but am going to write a letter to the head honcho of Oddbin’s. . .firmly asking that he discounts Southern Comfort next time.

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“If you’ve dated a redhead raise your glass, if not. . . raise your standards.” - Unknown Now everyone knows that dating sites are a minefield at the best of times, but there’s nowt better than spinning a twist on the whole malarkey. That’s why hotforginger. com, with its 30,000 single sexy signed up redheads, all looking for lurve, is living proof that it’s not all doom, gloom and frustration on the finding a mate front. . . There’s misery and despair as well. 30,000 eh? I reckon that’s the ginger popul-ation of Greater Paisley alone. Something I’m all for is Gingers procreating with other races to spread the red around the world. ‘Have you seen Red Singh, Ginger Ling or Carrot Panchez?’ This is the very kind of future commonplace question am talking about here. There’s something in the water this year that suggests the Ginger will soar the stratosphere, rest on the perch of world dominance, and take it all in our stride to boot. We’ll act it out. We’ll finally turn this world from a golden globe to a copper one. On that note, I reckon the only thing that could elevate the prestige of the Ginger even more at present would be if Jodie Foster came out as one.


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Yes, this IS my most agreeable look when you say gingers are superior!


PSEUDO WRITER |A PORTFOLIO OF WRITING

Mona Through The Digital Looking Glass

Di Vinci’s Monda Lisa: They came, they saw, they clicked...filed and shared

When I was a kid I thought all the paintings on view in the Louvre Museum were housed in the glass pyramid that stands central to the grounds of the Louvre Palace. A bit like once thinking a piece of Hubba Bubba if swallowed takes 7 years to digest, I never questioned my logic. Alright, I fib – I’d actually decided on both of the above pretty much right up until the very day I took a trip to the world’s, like, you know, most visited Art Museum. It’s fair to say the semi-intelligent part of my brain didn’t consider how even the French, who easily pack in so much taste to their little round cheeses, could squeeze in all those art works and objets - only ahem 400, 000 altogether – into the vitreous 3D-triangled area, that is no bigger than a common or garden jumbo bouncy castle, to give you a dimensional idea. Another thing that failed to create doubt was the lack of ever seeing anyone move around the transparent pyramid in photographs and video clips. Why were there never any kids cupping their mouths up to the glass leaving a slobbery slaver? Or perhaps the windows were like those in old ambulances? You can see out but never see in. Or to coin Agatha Christie, did they do it with mirrors? Shattering my glacial illusions, our entrée was an apparently very conventional way of arriving at a premier league museum – via the underground shopping mall. The queues are something else and regardless of where you stand in line, there’s a recurrent feeling of being in the gangway, as folk cut across your toes enough times to leave you wondering if an invisible cloak is less Marvel and more fitting. The French don’t have a penchant for queuing cordially, hence you have to keep your wits about you. Turning to have a look at the merchandise, diverting your eyeballs from the straight ahead for more than a few seconds can land you behind a newly appeared hoard of parentless school kids and the odd, not so ethical nun. Once past security and all the other wee faffy bits, the Louvre experience enfolds into a truly beautiful thing. Halls and halls upon five floors of Italian and Spanish paintings that each could fit snug to the Barrowland dancefloor, Greek and Roman antiquities, sculptures and decorative art, treasures from all parts of the world. Religion in battle, battle in religion – wherever you look there is something of both. I found myself strolling through rooms languidly, pretending to know a thing or two about a thing or two, all in avoidance of the philistine on a smart phone guise. Excitement rises once aboard the first floor, and as luck would have it to room 7, where the most famous of them all resides. It’s an encounter, within an experience, wrapped up in a happening. The enigmatic Mona Lisa, with her no eyebrows and passport photo antismile, is undoubtedly the main attraction round these parts. Mounted behind her thief proof glass, I imagine

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that if you attempted to cop a feel, 5000 volts would whizz through you, such is the reverence she’s concocted in her time. You can’t help feel a bit sorry for the other artist’s work on display in the same vicinity, as none of it seems to get looked at, let alone a look in. Strangely, Mona’s situed in a much smaller room in comparison to the vastness of the halls either side, which only adds to the energy, the area having less room to vent-ilate. The elements are also conducive to folk randomly standing on your shoelaces, as once near the middle of the room you’re catapulted into the united nations throng of tourists surging after our Mona. In the age of 4G, Smart-Link(ing) and wireless photo sharing, there’s a click and run agendum that conveyor belts its way through this room. Wriggling our way to the front, patience is a virtue as it takes time to reach a clear view of the painting, which seems altogether small scaled compared to what you walk past to get to it. I stood there embracing my momentary clear path just before being herded on by overly efficient security. Which is when it hits me. It’s not the Mona Lisa that is the most interesting feature in the room, nor even the looks on faces as they look in her direction. It’s the way folk go about capturing the moment. Not with their own eyes do they take in the world’s most famous piece of art, nor with their mouths do they discuss what’s mounted before them. It’s the hands that do the talking, while fingers do the clicking. I stood and watched a young Italian woman encroach the barrier with her boyfriend, her iPhone already switched to camera. Round she spins, preening her hair as she hands him the bejazzled device. She poses, he clicks. She checks, he clicks another. And all the time she never looks Mona in the eye. Hardly gives her the time of day in fact. She’s bagged her moment, not in her mind’s eye, but in digital format. She utters something about a signale debole which I assume is some-thing to do with poor phone reception. With a double flick of the thumb on the screen, her satisfied mush suggests she’s just got a new Facebook profile pic. You wonder if that bitesize will last nearly as long as the 500 years Di Vinci’s original has hung around for. At that, it was time to slip out the side exit, taking one last look around at the mass of faces staring up at the cameras at the end of outstretched arms. Click, file, share. . .click, file, share. . . Making my way back into the real world through the pyramid via an escalator - crushing my dimensional illusions, yet in a good way – my last thought of the experience was to really wonder if Leonardo would prefer to like, share or comment...


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Is it Obama, is it the Pope? Mona Lisa’s smile draws the crowds


PSEUDO WRITER |A PORTFOLIO OF WRITING

Thick-skinned Geordies? Hats Off and Coats On, Pet Ever heard the one about ‘how do you spot a Geordie lass from a Londoner in January?’ The Geordie, scantily clad, sporting a bare-backed transparent halter neck top is teetering on opentoed sling backs found at the end of tight-less legs, adorned by skimpy hot pants. The southern softie, on the other hand, is packaged for a Siberian sojourn.

Coat-free angels of the North

It’s the stuff of modern socio-cultural legend, this vision of female Tynesiders braving the elements in sub-zero temperatures. Though one science research team has decided to cast the question, Are Geordie girls really more thickskinned? via an internet survey and a Newcastle Saturday night street inspection. Linda Conlon, Chief Executive of Newcastle’s International Centre for Life says ‘We decided to investigate the reputation Geordies have for not wearing a coat in even the worst weather. Is there a possible genetic reason for our bravery, or is it simply because we like to show off our finery on a night out?’ The survey poses questions such as when you go out on town do you wear a coat? If you don’t wear a coat, why not? What would persuade you to wear a coat on night out? People from which area of the UK do you think are the most hardy? I’m a bit of sucker for surveys (though usually more so for the ‘receive a free sample of something or other at the end’ kind). Hence I battered in my respective answers, which read thus; sometimes, sub-zero temperatures, North East. Hardly rocket science, though as I did make a beeline for the North East box, believing them to be the hardiest of British souls, it made me realise that the vision of Tyneside lassies in ’nice little nothings they’re almost wearing’ is an immediate (if not a tad stereotypical) one. Don’t know if they were Geordies - sincere apologies if they were Mackems - but on a return sail from Rotterdam to Hull a couple of years ago, up on the top outside deck in a freezing cold gale, myself and a Dutch friend braved all it all for a cigarette. While we highly insulated in woolly pullovers, coats and round the neck thrice style scarves, next to us were a group of girls in short minis, crop tops and strappy sandals not a suitable over garment in sight. My friend (who ironically hails from one of Newcastle’s many twin towns, Groningen) commented on the sheer, apparent craziness. Returning an hour later, we braved it all again, only to find the girls in the exact same spot as if they had never moved. Stubbing my cigarette out, promising to quit, (again) I had one last look and agreed with my friend that there were limits, and there were limits.

Plenty of skin on show outside a Newcastle nightspot

I can’t help but think that if the answers of the aforementioned survey do follow lines of stereotype, then the questions could be regarded as somewhat rhetorical. Nevertheless, the idea of Geordies actually having thicker skin (and not in the insensitive to criticism kind of way) is a curious one. Could it be linked with the undiluted bloodlines which can be traced back to the 5th century Angles of Denmark? It was this dauntless Danish/Germanic tribe which, having raided via a North East landing, gave England its name (originally meaning the Angle land), and from who the unique local dialects of Northumberland, Durham and Tyneside all primary owe their origins. So could it be, from the legacy of the profusely dense

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pelts of these invaders, more impenetrable through history than, say, those other southern softies, the Romans, that today’s Tynesiders can afford the luxury of ‘no coats?’ To many of us, in this bizarre attitude to (not) wearing a coat, we envisage an image that may haunt these people in later life, with the onset of arthritis and or/rheumatism. Another, more delicate, hypothesis is that girls in Newcastle carry more body fat and therefore don’t need the same outer coverage. Previous studies have shown that those in the North consume more fat than their southern counterparts which could provide more insulation. There’s also that king of the swiggers’ myth that downing alcohol makes you warmer. Though, science states along the lines that if a St Bernard rescues you in the Swiss Alps with an alcopop in place of a cigar, it’s better to hug the hound for heat than drink the hooch by the pooch. Maybes aye, maybes no to all of the above, pet. But from a more practical contemporary angle, you only have to ask a typical Saturday night reveller their take on it. Lesley, one (very slim, might I add) of the local scant-clad brigade, and seemingly proud of it too says, ‘There is no need to take a coat out! You get dropped off in a taxi at your destination of choice, whether it’s by the Quayside, Central Station or the Gate. All the bars are of very close proximity to each other so you spend very little time outside. Then at the end of the night, when you have drank and danced yourself silly, you leave whichever bar you are in and fall into one of the many waiting taxis.’ There seems more wisdom in these words than in the need for a socio-scientific survey perhaps. It’s true that the arrangement of Newcastle’s drinking and dancing hotspots are tighter than the get-up of its female inhabitants. Neither are they conducive to the round the (ale) houses kind of pub crawling found in other UK cities. Two friends, Antony and Patrick making their short trip from pub to pub in the city’s Collingwood Street are keen to join the debate when it‘s put to them. ‘It’s the salt of the North Sea,’ Antony quips, ‘that cures and toughens our skin up here on the North East coast.’ While agreeing with his pal, Patrick (or PatRick as the Geordies amusingly pronounce it) adds, ‘It’s nothing to do with the girls being any different than any other town. It’s more about Newcastle having a decent public transport system with the Metro and plenty of taxis - something many other cites could learn from.’ With that it seems logic prevails on the skin-soaked streets of a typical Saturday night on Geordie turf. A new auxiliary to an old idiom springs to mind; Coals to Newcastle. . .Coats to London, anyone?


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clone baby clone It’s not an uncommon experience, that of believing you’re seeing double. I went to school with a set of lovely boy twins, and do find ‘twinage’ per se quite fascinating. Though, a neck jolting double take at a set of triplets at your 9 o’clock is quite something of an aesthetic anomaly. In a state of spaced out peeps watching - with a killer hangover in tow - on Glasgow’s pretty little scene strip, John Street, behold to my eyes three young lesbians dressed head to Conversed toe the same…and I mean the same - as in Xeroxed, identicado, three peas stepped out a pod stylee. Barnets…shoulder length, pre-requisite angular, flash of blonde through the long diagonal bang, check. Tight white vest, khaki chinos loose-at-the-buttocks-slim-atthe-ankles, adorned with a jazzly belt buckle of an eagle of some sort, check. White pristine All Star lo-tops with not a speck, I say not a speck on any six of them. The only mere digression from the duplication on duplication was two of the girls having their sleeve tattoos on the right arm, the other on her left. Bonded by same sexuality, indeed... Allied via a triple handle on Sapphic trendiness, more so. Related through blood ties…er no, even a blind man would argue that toss. Definitely more carbon copy than family dead ringer, and as Left Arm dipped both hands deep into her pockets creating that don’t mess with me curved back, slant of the head look, it was all too much when the other two echoed the same slick move. I thought my previous nights’ Jaeger was going to hit the pavement such was the wave of overdelicate queasiness. Not jealousy mind, even though Left Arm’s butt looked better in chinos than mine. So this is the thing, I don’t do sheep. And these three had left themselves lambs to my slaughter as they dragged their carcasses along the street. Was it the sequel to The Boys from Brazil with a lesbian lick? Less portentously, a bit more Salt n Pepa and Spinderella minus the puffers and dance moves? They were pushing it out femme and pushing it a wee bitty tough - they pushed it real good. Whatever their motives, this outward exhibition of young cloned lesbianism underpinned by fashion had me writhing a tad. Yet as one wave follows another, the next rip tide through me was one of envy. Not jealousy mind, even though Left Arm’s butt looked better in chinos than mine – no, more a subtle malignity stemming from a pride in showing off their sexuality in a way I never had the bravado to do at the same tender age. Babies in prams, the average grandpa and most folk in between

probably wouldn’t inwardly scream TRINITY DYKE ALERT! But other lesbians would. And it made me realise that we were a Doc Martin and a dungaree short of any kind of cool iconic look back in the nineties that signalled ‘Am a young gay woman, little bit insecure, but mostly very sure.’ Fashion back then was so baggy, green-jeaned and mauve-mustardy topped, and that was just the lads. A symbol of an ‘am a dyke’ haircut was a number 2 with an optional Tin Tin quiff. And shoeage? Well I remember feeling a bit homo avant-garde with my navy Kickers boots , yet never managed to pull off any image other than a confused tom-boy. Funny how a writhe can make way for a limp wave and a solidarity fist shake in half a fell swoop. Giving a solid clap to their femininity and three muffled cheers to each for their pseudo-coolness, I was again at peace in a crazy world. Of course, had one of the vests fist-shaked back, the other two would’ve had to follow suit. And that left me thinking, when was the last time I saw sheep perform a mini Mexican wave?


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MEET YOUR SOULMATE ON THE 4.50 FROM PADDINGTON? On or around public transport have never been places for lesbians to ‘meet’ women – discuss. One morning earlier this year, the following bus ride became a good case in point. Of course, (and presumably off course) the 8.05am arrived at 08.17, no shock there. As a mathematical side-thought, I’m sure I’ve stood for an accumulative fifth of my adult life in bus shelters and another two-sixths aboard double-deckers. Eeeks to that! As I boarded my 66 that day, a lassie with a pram came scuttling down the aisle, leaving me with no option but to press myself against the driver’s Perspex, like a slug down a pint glass. Sluggishly, I was beaten to the bit by two schoolgirls who flounced themselves onto the last empty spring seats like a set of co-joined twins. Left upright, I moseyed around the pole next to the Metro stack trying to look unperturbed. And then she caught my eye. A lovely wee Sarah-Jane Potts doppelganger, all wrapped up with a thick woolly scarf and a highlycharged smile. I met her gaze twice in rapid succession. There was I attempting to look all ultra-cool, just me and my pole... The intenseness of the moment (for those who’ve seen the movie, Shame, please compare now) was broken by co-joined twitter. ‘Am sure I seen that driver up the dancing last week,’ one of them chirped. ‘Never seen him before in my puff,’ her pal said. ‘Did you put the last of your Lanzarote euros in the box?’ ‘Aye, he was that busy checking me out, he didn’t even notice.’ ‘You’re full of it, so you are. I put two of my sunbed tokens in… daftie must really fancy me then.’ It was impossible not to turn around and catch a glimpse of the source these crazy utterances came from. In all the distraction, Wee Woolly had left her seat and was in the process of alighting, before a second head-swivel gave me time to realise. Shuffling away, she left a draft of uber-sexiness on the pavement, as my mini prayer was answered in the look up. Even the condensation on the window couldn’t hide that coy little upturn of her lip. I gave a double-raising of my eyebrows to suggest ‘same place, same time tomorrow… 8.17am - late but sharp.’ Did I see her the next day, or the day after, or the day after that? Did I ‘eck as like!

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A double-dose confirmo that bus shelters and train tables are just not conducive to the art of picking up women. Fact! On a whim a few years ago, I decided to get away by taking a trip to London. I don’t know what I was thinking as it was the middle of November, and even the Japanese know to keep their Nikons in the cupboard and go play tourist on better days than in November. It was too late to sort a flight leaving the same evening from Glasgow, so I got myself booked up on the overnight Megabus (or Vengabus as my friend refers to it). Seated and settled, I prayed with fingers literally crossed that no one sat beside me, at least no one weird… Aaargh, why me!? His name was Doody or Dodo or some similar daft moniker. He ran his own mobile phone covers racket, gave me a lesson in silicone casings and in the dead of night tried to feel me up with a slimy little hand that was in turn crushed by mine own with more ferocity than a titanium nutcracker! Til this day I’ve maintained that getting touched up on a coach by a woman I find absolutely repulsive surely must be more of a lesbian badge…at the very least a better story to tell on a second date. It’s kind of like saying, ‘yes, men know to keep clear, but to women, well I’m merely irresistible! Cue guffaw. Another point of the tale here is that if there’s a single hot dyke on the same mode of transport as me, likelihood is she’s in Carriage B, while am trying to keep myself entertained with sudokus and Radio 2 in Carriage F! And needless to say, the planets won’t be aligned that day, hence our buffet cart trips would never collide. In making a stand, I’ve decided a way of resolving this whole issue is to purchase a decommissioned London bus, funk it up with a mini bar, a few velour-covered couches, soft lighting and send it on a speed dating tour of the nation’s towns and cities with an FHQ banner on its side. Only then will us single lesbians ever be in with a chance of finding someone aboard public transport…with the choice of just popping on for a feel up!


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Recession in a Sapphic World Spare a thought for the poor lesbian. I don’t mean as in the pity kind - there’s enough of that already. I refer to ‘poor’ as in skinto, rookedarama, on my cute, but skinny ass. Pauperised and romancing don’t work well together. I was really broke one time, but wanted to take this girl out on a second date. When I asked what I could get her from the bar, and she said, ‘I guess I’ll have Champers,’ I said, ‘Guess again!’ That’s a reminder never to woo a high maintenance lesbian, flush or not. A thrifty tip for the striving, single lesbian student is to get a hold of one of those big Havana cigar tubes and fill it with bees. A smashing cost-effective vibrator in summer, boom! But you know you’ve hit rock botty when you find yourself in the Give Blood Bank just for the biscuits. True enough, it was a bit cheeky writing in the suggestion box, ‘Any chance of a coated biscotti next time?’ But we’ve got it good here, haven’t we? What a wonder the NHS is. I have an American friend. One of those real hypochondriac C-a-l-i-f-o-r-n-I-A types - as American as a cheeseburger in a Chrysler singing Yankee Doodle Dandy. So she lives by this one thing, that if you can’t afford a doctor, go to the airport wearing a clunk of concealed jewellery. You’ll get a free x-ray, a breast examination and if you mention ‘bomb,’ they’ll give you a colonoscopy. She’s the best hypochondriac doing the rounds - always got the remedy ahead of the pain. That’s the thing about dating on a budget - your standards dip a tad. I went with this girl who thought she was a mad gangster bitch. We had this thing when we were bored and stuck indoors, we’d listen to rap music backward. So Snoop would take a cap out of yo ass, the dirty chick would go from hoe to hope, and Warren G and Nate Dogg would get Unregulated. She had to go, for her immaturity if nothing else. The last straw was finding her using my Duplo toys for ice trays.

Once past the dating days - though not past the debt years - it’s always tricky that realisation early in a relationship that your girlfriend earns a lot more money than you ever will. Call me bitter, but that stuff really starts to annoy the hell out of you, and every little thing she does simply grates. In your head you’re thinking, ‘Check her out, scrubbing the pans of beef stroganoff sauce that she made us for dinner tonight.’ And who does she think she is. . .going online and sponsoring a barefoot orphaned child in the Sudan. For the sad lesbian who’s acquired one payday loan too many, a sure fire money making scheme, if you have a six hours a day put aside for it, is the surveys racket. Surveys 4 U, the Survey Monkey, the Survey friggin Bistro!!! I’ve done them all. 50 credits per every hundredth morsel of private data given to Big Brother and marketing mad conglomerates, which equates to a free salad at Nandos and one entry to the next Reader’s Digest prize draw. It’s perhaps more tantric a career than quick fire, right enough. Talking of surveys, they say 4 out of 5 people suffer from their homosexuality. That means one enjoys it. . .so it may as well be me. And remember the next time a government think tank asks ‘what do you attribute your gayness to,’ give it the straight up answer. . .Luck!


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PSEUDO WRITER |A PORTFOLIO OF WRITING

"The Horseshoe Bar...the only pub in the world where you fall out legless, from the waist up." "If this is your first visit to Glasgow...you're welcome to it."

"Straighten your wee face...who stole the bubbles out your Irn Bru?"

"He's got his 'up tae nae good face' on." "Glasgow...head, shoulders, knees and toes above the rest." "Runs through Possil like he's got a Ford Cosworth in each ankle."

"Buckfast at Tiffany's."

"Muffin top and Camel toe on the Savoy dancefloor? May as well throw in a coo's lick to complete the trio."

"I dae my bit for the environment...even carry my triple-pack deodorant aerosols home without a poly bag." "By God, am fair burstin! "

"Where sheepskins and cagools do a rerr trade in summer."

"A Glasgow obituary...Peter Reid deid from Parkheid. Ford Escort for Sale."


PSEUDO WRITER |A PORTFOLIO OF WRITING

28

Pseudo Writer  

A collection of writing by Cat Cochrane

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