Reading Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle blog, you could quite easily think you’d stumbled upon the lady taking the piss out of herself, if only you didn’t know better. Confused at first by the advice and examples of the way in which Gwyn lives her life, you’ll wonder what’s going on. Ah, you’ll think, chuckling to yourself. She’s having a laugh. Isn’t she? The sense of foreboding doom comes crashing down shortly after. Oh no. No. She’s deadly serious.
When I was a kid, your parents just sort of bundled along and gave you some vegetables and at parties all of you stood in a line with your mouths open like seals, while the Mum of the birthday shook a bucket of sugar into them.
Gwyneth, mum of two in 2013, suggests:
Don’t feed your children carbohydrates.
Do feed your children carbohydrates if you’ve made them wheatgerm cupcakes yourself.
Don’t feed your children sugar, unless you hate your children. ?!!! Wondering why you hate your children so much right now?!!!
Do your kids know anyone who eats sugar? How can YOU get involved?
We’re all busy working Mums. Just like you, I can hardly keep up with the hullabaloo round Pal-Martin Towers! I like to grow my own fungi in the car and that way the kids can nibble on the way to school. That way I can handsfree with my local Rabbi, so I can keep up with what’s happening Jew wise. Having a friend of my aunt’s who was Jewish, it’s really important to me and the kids that we get involved.
Sometimes taking your kids to the same old classes, such as ballet and Scouts, can feel restricting for the parent child dynamic. So this season, I’ve expanded the kid’s classes to:
Arabic (Gwyneth’s Notes: ‘Mum!’ they said just the other day ’ Mum, I don’t think we’re going to need business French!’. A handy reminder that just because your children have completed all the modules in Accelerated French doesn’t mean you have to enroll them in the political and business negotiation modules. Out of the mouths of babes!)
Origami - such fun and the kids actually made Chris and I our new coffee table, so that saved us a pretty penny let me tell you.
Butter Churning - it’s actually a complete myth that kids can’t churn their own butter. I was just like you and thought, no hold on, my five and seven year old can’t be churning their butter. Especially as I don’t let them eat butter, I’m not Myra Hindley. No, I would just not buy it from Fortnum and Mason, like any other working Mum. But it was my good friend Michelle (Obama) who said she had her kids churning their butter from infancy. You can imagine my embarrassment! Some of you may know that my husband and I live part of the year in London, a city, God (s) love it, that whilst wonderful, isn’t known for it’s Churning! So twice monthly the kids and Clarissa ( SUPER nanny!) catch a plane to Amish County, Penn. Now I wouldn’t dream of browsing the Dairy aisle in Kensington ever again!
Vajazzaling - A fun friend of mine recommended this class for kids, just a really great way for them to artistically discover themselves, to loosen up a bit, and to break away from the sometimes stuffy confines of their academic schooling, which of course is one of the downsides of sending them to such a traditional English school as Hogwarts, Sometimes my friends tweet me pictures of their kids swinging Californian rucksacks to school, sneakers scuffing the sidewalk and I think to myself -’ Should I be doing that? Shouldn’t I be taking my kids to a school in Cali, with the palm trees and the poor teaching and gun crime, you know, an ol’ fashioned ordinary education?’ And then I think, no. Follow your own heart for your own kids. Let the other kids get shot at if that’s what their parents think is right for them.
I’ll finish today’s entry because Jay and Beyonce are coming round for a dinner party. Jay Z is wheat intolerant so Chris can’t do his usual wheat curry. We’ll probably all crack open a Guinness. Like every other working Mum out there, I like to stay up late with my mates and let Clarissa take over in the morning. Am I right Mums?
Everyone says it, but my Mum is the best. My mum’s style of parenting is similar to that of a mountain ranger. Prepare for the worst case scenario upon each excursion outside of one’s duvet. 1) Asses danger for one’s children ( use internet and/or government recommended resources by all means. Maybe your local community centre is running a Fire In The Home class for example?) . 2) Warn children on said dangers. Try and throw in some examples of children you know who have died. 3) Sit at home and worry. 4) One day they will move out and then at least you don’t have to see their little faces everyday going out into the world and potential death. Good points: I’m the only person I know who’s Mum bought them snow boots . Not for skiing, I mean just for wondering around the United Kingdom. I’m the only person I know who’s Mum sent them special chain attachments for the bottom of their snow boots in the post. Good luck everyone else next time there’s a bit of sleet.
My mum saw danger in all things, including The Enemy - all animals smaller then a greyhound.
A child of such a household emerges slowly into the world, blinking in the sunlight, armed with a machete and wary of all sudden changes in the weather and strange men.
Once, when i was 22 years old I had to friend to stay at our house. He was taking the rubbish out. ‘Could you just pop two rubbish bags around it so that the badgers don’t get it?’ I asked.
‘Oh, could you just use two binbags, so we can keep those badgers out?’
‘The badgers. We need to keep the badgers out. Before they attack the bins, and eventually, the house.’
His face told me everything I needed to know and in that moment I realised. ‘Badgers don’t attack one’s bins, and potentially house, do they Dad?’ I asked. But I already had my answer.
The Media tells me a lot that I’m in a generation of apathetic drifters. Nobody cares about politics, everyone’s too busy watching young women from rich families release a sex tape so they can become famous and eventually have their own perfume. I’m not sure that’s true though. It’s true that no-one really cares about politics, but I don’t know if it’s entirely because Paris Hilton accidentally on purpose filmed herself being dry humped and we were all waiting to see what would happen next. I think it’s because as the years have gone on, we’ve all become postier and postier modern. We’re a generation obsessed with self awareness. We’re so self aware that the smallest of everyday tasks, such as feeding the cat, becomes laden with thoughts such as ’ oh GOD here I am opening the KruchyKat again like a DICKHEAD. What even IS a cat? This is so generic I would kill myself if it wasn’t so DONE already’.
If anyone dares venture an opinion on a political event, say if a group of friends are having a quiet pint and one person is asked what they think of Lambeth’s recycling collection policy, the askee always has to supersede their answer with ’ I mean I literally know NOTHING about this! NOTHING!’ . The spokesman then freezes after they’ve realised they screamed that last bit in a moment of panic. They just wanted to make sure no-one around the table was thinking ‘God Simon thinks he knows EVERYTHING about south London Recycling collection rotations and he it seems like maybe he doesn’t.’
I’ve even heard several people say things along the lines of ’ I think it’s kind of cringe to have an opinion on something political, unless you’re like, an MP, or I don’t know, Nelson Mandela.. It’s kind of arrogant, when you think about it. ’. So there we are. 2013 and we’ve taken self examination so far that caring about things is arrogant. People even shift and look uncomfortable when charities are mentioned. They don’t want to be seen supporting the charity du jour INCASE THAT CHARITY TURNS ABOUT TO BE WRONG ABOUT SOMETHING. And it’s a bit 70s, abit over, to care about other people anyway. Let’s all go and lie very still in a darkened room until we die.
The generation below me are evolving further still, or rather de-volving , going backwards, like tiny pre-Jurassic bacteria in the murky grey sludge of life. Whilst people my age are like crabs suddenly caught by an arctic drop in temperature, totally frozen and silent as we don’t know what the right thing is to say or feel, the life forms younger then me wear their ‘awkwardness’ like a fetishised badge of honour. Even the popular cool ones scream about how they’re such unbelievable awkward dorks it’s not even believable. They do have an opinion on stuff, they’re just too awkward to talk about it. My heart goes out to the real losers among them. It must be crap to see the teenagers in their pier group with shiny long hair and no spots and the kind of face that never lurched into grotesque formations on hitting puberty, take away being awkward and a dork and make it seem like endearing, if misconstrued modesty. ‘being awkward is all I have you knobheads’ the real geeks are probably internally screaming, ’ Don’t take that from me as well!’.
I’m left wing, obviously. I don’t think poverty is God’s just lottery, I don’t think immigration is a brand new invention for the 20th century or a sign that the apocalypse is on it’s way, I don’t think two fellas who want to get married is my business, I feel uncomfortable when forced to admit that Winnie Mandela has gone a bit nuts. I think society works better when you think about it as a whole, rather then an every man for himself scenario in which we’re all desperately trying to climb up the rockface of life, shaking the poor people who have grabbed hold of our ankles and watching them plummet to their death before bravely continuing the ascent.
But sometimes I get frustrated with the cardigan wearing broccoli eaters ( I’m re-claiming these terms) and the way in which we make excuses for everyone, and want to value the way every life is lived no matter how much that life has decided to shit on the rest of us. I get sick of wondering what happened in that persons childhood to make them such a pile of vomit masquerading as a Human Being, squeezing themselves into human clothing and mimicking our movements in the hope they’ll go unnoticed. I want to give everyone to a chance, sure. Who doesn’t? But it scares me where we’re living in a world where people like Chris Brown are just wondering around, getting on with his life. For some people, in fact for the majority of people on this planet, life treats them like shit. Life buys them some bath salts and Ferraro Rochet for Christmas when the rest of us got an Ppad and Topshop vouchers. But we all have a responsibility for our own characters, don’t we?
It’s worse when people aren’t technically criminals. Or maybe boarder line criminals. They’re just wankers. They’re just mean and cruel and cold hearted. The kind of people who treat people and things in whatever way they choose, taking pleasure in the pain of those pesky ‘other people’ the media talk so much about. They’re the kind of people who run around oafishly knocking into things, and when their behavior is questioned they wave around the ‘I’VE GOT LOW SELF ESTEEM’ banner, so that it flutters out behind them, like a medieval knight charging towards humanity with the lance of irresponsibility.
‘Low self esteem?!’ they want you to respond, horrified and in a state of shock. ‘LOW SELF ESTEEM?! I can’t believe this.’
Then, as you’re perhaps fanning yourself, or pouring yourself a large whiskey to calm the nerves, this sort of loser imagines you saying ‘You should have said before. I would never have criticised your behaviour Do carry on exactly as you were. Why, it’s almost charming now I know all the facts.’
Let’s have them all put down and let the decent people get on with things. Sorry sorry , let’s give them all a hug and knit them a iPad cover.
On Made In Chelsea the other night, a cast member got involved in a story line where she had to humiliate herself by trying to a get a guy who wasn’t interested to go out with her, in an exaggerated cartoonish way, involving her sort of drunkely trying to remove her dress in front of him. It was really reminded me of film I have invented for Joan Collins where she plays an aged stripper who thinks that’s all she can do until someone puts a blanket round her and leads of her stage and through her friendship with a young autistic boy she realises she has so much more to give. Anyway, she and her fellow cast mates are edited in such a way as to make them zombielike, unable to pronounce their words properly because their mouths don’t open all the way, dead eyes, so stupid it’s like they’ve been all been lobotomised by their ruthless producers.
Why do they go along with it, I wondered ( naively, I can see that now). It’s clear that what we’re seeing is acting of a questionably quality. If it was me and a producer was like ’ Listen, in this next scene, we thought it would be really fun if you just projectile vomited over your boss? It will just add a real sense of Joie de vivre! ‘, I’d almost certainly say that I’d rather keep my sense of self worth, but thanks anyway.
I’ve thought about it for quite some time.
I think the conversation goes more like this:
PRODUCER: ’ Hey listen, Saskia, we’ve been wondering if there’s been enough of you on Made In Chelsea’
GIRL: ’ What do you mean?’
PRODUCER: ‘Oh I don’t know, I just feel like the public want to see more of you. In that respect, we’ve let them…and YOU.. down.’
GIRL:’Oh gosh, don’t feel bad!’
PRODUCER:’I can’t help it Saskia! I should have been more aware of this problem from the start. You probably want to quit now, but listen, I thiiiiiiiiink I’ve thought of something to make it up to you…’
GIRL: ‘Go on…’
PRODUCER: ‘What if we did a fun storyline especially for you? I mean, the public love you enough! It would be something really light hearted and hilarious - maybe you could try and get Jamie to go on a date with you, and he’d say no, but it would all be a complete laugh!’
GIRL: ‘I don’t know…it sounds kind of like I would make a dick out of myself..? On national TV..? ‘
PRODUCER: ‘Whaaat? No way! I was just thinking it would be a great way to put you in the limelight, as your fans are so clearly demanding. I can see you now on the BAFTA red carpet, arm in arm with the Loose Women girls. But hey, listen, if you’re not keen, we could always try and think of something else for you…. maybe you could be in a nightclub scene in the background, while some of the more open-minded cast do stuff.’
GIRL: ‘I’m just not sure Gerry, my mum watches the programme..’
PRODUCER: ‘Oh, sure I get it. It’s just some of the other girls were saying a big storyline helped them bring out their own line of perfume…? I think Fanny is thinking about bringing out a range of lubes. I expect you’re one of those people who’s happy going to regular old work at a normal ‘job’. So sweet of you.’
GIRL: ‘Well if you’re sure it will just come across as us all having a laugh together, OK, I’ll do it.’
PRODUCER:’ Atta girl. Now go and take some cocaine while us producers get on with things.’
There are several great reasons, all made up by me, why private education is ruining the world.
1) There are many worse human beings in any other social sector of life, even I can acknowledge that. Dickheads are scattered evenly throughout the world, like dandruff through the hair of life. But the dickheads in private education are given the tools to SHOUT EVERYTHING.
2) Once I was in MacDonald’s at three in the morning and a guy in the queue in front of me called Hugo went round behind the counter asking to speak to the manager because the girl serving him said she had run out of chicken burgers. He was wearing jeans and a body warmer with those long pointy smart shoes, and he lifted the long flappy shoe ends up with a cross clown walk, like a banker falling on hard times and trying to find work as a children’s entertainer.
3) I accidentally applied for a gap yah prograhm on which all the other kids had been to Eton and Harrow and somebody told me I was the first person they ever met from a state school, with the enthusiasm and gentle kindness of David Attenborough with a new kind of fish.
4) People who are made to board become hard as nails and then they grow up to be prime minister and they hate poor people.
I don’t believe in psychics, mainly, but not entirely, because they’re making it up.
I don’t know when we how we became a world where you have to respect the crap that ‘psychics’ say. I think it started around the time millions of people voted for a lovely guy with quite a severe learning disability to be President of the United States, by accident, in 2001. Being the leader of the most culturally influential country in the world, he, and we can’t blame him for this, told the world that science was a bit of a drag. In fact, politics was a big ol’ snoresfest too. If you want to decide if you should go to war or not, just ask Jesus. Then you can get back out to the ranch asap before a homosexual tries to have sex on you.
I think maybe this encouraged mega bucks psychics of the world to crawl out from under their rocks and start embarking on sell out national tours, with T-shirts on sale for £9.99 in the foyet after the show, in case those people grieving haven’t handed over quite enough of their money. What’s worse is that there is still a prevailing culture where it’s considered disrespectful to question the validity of these people, or even ask for that smug, cruel and patronising thing - ‘evidence’.
How have they done it? How have you done it celebrity psychic Derek Acorah?! What’s your secret? How did you become so accepted you’ve got your own TV show?
I watched ‘Most Haunted’ last night.
Here’s how it works. Presenter Yvette Fielding goes to a building a night time (due to reasons, ghosts can only make themselves known at night) with Derek Acorah and some other fellas ( ‘parapsychologists’ etc) and a night vision camera. They all run around, and then Derek Acorah becomes possessed by a ghost for a bit.
In an episode I watched, one of the other guys, Dave, was just standing there and then fell over and started saying that a ghost was kicking him in the ribs. Cut to ‘experts’ talking to camera saying things like ‘Now we’ve got this extraordinary evidence of Dave being kicked in the stomach, we can say that ghosts are real.’( rueful laugh) ’ I think we’ve just proved any naysayers out there wrong’
My Nanna was a professional psychic, as in she provided messages from dead people and visions of the future in exchange for cash. She always had a little bottle of gin in one hand, the kind shops pretend are novelty Christmas presents but are really for alcoholics to take to work and get them through the school run, and a rosary in the other.
1) She’d ask you if you knew a Dave. You would say no. She’d ask you if you knew a Steve. You’d say no. If this went on for longer then 7 names without you saying yes, things would start to get tense.
You would think ’ Come on Nanna, you can do this!’, because everyone wants a psychic to be right so it isn’t awkward. That’s partly how they get away with it. She’d try one more name and just when you were thinking ’ I can’t believe I don’t know a Malcolm! Who’s that guy who went out with Sheila once! And they went to Florida on holiday! What the fuck was his name?!’ she’d say, with solemn gravitas, ‘You will’.
( Incidentally, it’s just like that when you go to see most psychics. Everybody wants the experience to be as non embarrassing as possible so both client and clairvoyant spend most of the time trying to finish each other’s sentences and nodding)
2) She loved predicting automobile accidents - ’ Somebody you know with a red car will have some minor problems with their exhaust at some point.’
3) Sometimes if you were having an argument that ended with a stony silence, just as you leaving to go home, she would raise a hand psychically to her temple and say ’ Watch your breaks’.
It’s all fine in the abstract.
But raise the idea of ‘Talent’ being a subjective and that successful people are actually just very confident hard workers, and it goes down like a cold sick.
People do not like this. Don’t bother checking, you’ll regret it. Especially people with kids. Even cool, nice people with kids think their kid is different from all the other kids, and that difference is called TALENT.
Look at my kid, they tell themselves. Look at my kid do stuff. Look how well he does it. Look at him on his little tricycle . He’s like a tiny Buddha, just bringing peace and understanding to other kids.
People are fairly non-plussed as to whether their kids are hard workers, it’s way more important that Jesus gave them a talent at birth.
Ask your parents now if you’ve always been good at…. then name something your family has attributed to you as Your Talent. Let’s say Contemporary Dance.
They will nod sagely and say yes. They’ll make up some bullshit story about your legs being longer then all the other babies and that you pushed one tiny foot, toes perfectly pointed out of your mother’s body before the rest of you came out, or that your first word was “musicality”.
But maybe you just worked harder then all the other kids in Contemporary Dance for Beginners? Maybe you were about average, you just had loads of encouragement. Don’t bother raising this point with your parents, you’ll only upset them.
I was thinking the other day about parents evenings, especially for really young kids. Why isn’t it enough for the teacher to say ’ Look your kid seems fine, he knows his numbers, he’s nice to the other kids, very little trouble in terms of wiping his own bum. He just gets on with it really. Now go home.’
Why has every kid got to be special? Where does special get you? Special gets you kids who think the X Factor is a career choice, or if you’re a page three girl for long enough you can go on ‘I’m a Celebrity’, then bring out your own bikini range, then call yourself a business woman on Twitter and if things start to seem abit quiet a few years on you can always do a sex tape.
We should reward the kindest children or the ones or the ones who aren’t really annoying. That’s a talent.
When you don’t believe in God, and something amazing happens, and the chances of that thing happening are incredibly small, and it feels like a miracle, the temptation to say ‘Thank God’ is overwhelming.
The only alternative is “‘I’m really pleased Timmy wasn’t killed like so many other small children that go missing”, or ” With all those cigarettes he smoked despite numerous health warnings from both friends and medical proffessionals, it’s a wonder Jim survived that heart attack!” or “You didn’t get fired! I think most people would agree that, considering your incompetent behaviour, you probably deserved to”.
There’s something that sounds callous about suggesting that what happened is just luck and I don’t know why.
Maybe it’s just there isn’t another phrase? If someone says, tears of relief flooding their eyes, beads of stress still visible on a greying brow, ” The tumour is benign!” you can’t say ”Hurray!” , it sounds like you’re taking the piss.
But when something bad happens, we don’t say ”Huh. I wonder why God hates you? Odd”. Then it’s just bad luck.
Sometimes I’m not sure luck has anything to do with anything much at all. Sometimes I think ‘lucky’ people are just harder workers, more driven or mostly have a comforting blanket of self belief that cushions them. They bounce off things like they’re in those large inflatable Zorbing balls that people roll around in on stag dos. The rest of us, saddos like me, are the kind of people who get insulted then retire to their room to stare out the window for a year and think on it.
Once we ‘ve had a lovely old mull on what it is somebody of no importance probably didn’t even say, once we’ve really worn-in our pyjamas and our chin has formed a delightful romantic groove in the palm of our hands and we’ve thought several times how like Virginia Woolfe we are, except for the achieving anything, we might put the kettle on. People like us call successful and famous people ‘lucky’. I expect, that actually, it’s not luck, nor even ‘talent’ but just an ability to not be too bothered if someone does or doesn’t like them. A bit like Stalin, or everyone in Slytherin.
I spent 10 years swinging wildly between thinking ’ SOME PEOPLE ARE SO LUCKY AND I’M SO HAPPY FOR THEM I REALLY AM’ and ‘Lord, it’s embarrassing when people don’t care that someone in the world might be thinking they’re a dick. I feel sorry for them’ . If it doesn’t stop now I’ll be a mad tramp like figure, long-forgotten comb snapped off in my hair thinking all the people who have actually written anything on their type writer as oppose to using it as handy place for my pet mouse to live are just wildly madly lucky.
Or God is super keen on them.
After spending many years thinking Earnestness ( people who sing with their eyes closed, you know the sort of thing) was a crime that should be punishable by death, I long for it’s return. Or at least some kind of straight-forwardness that I believe might be dead, or at least in a critical condition coma. I don’t know what you call this new thing where people try to make things sound ironically cutesy to show that they don’t really mean it and don’t mind if whatever they’re saying is rejected? Cuteisms? ADORWABLENESS? Talking like a child to appear kooky and interestingly detached?
Promotional Facebook statuses used to say things like “Come to this play I’ve directed.” Now Yoof of Today (TWATS) say ’ Come and see some lovely actor types do things I’ve told them to do this evening folks! ” . Instead of asking someone if they want they’re free to join you at the pub, people say ” Who be out to play down Camden way this evening?”.
Now, what exactly is the POINT of all this?
I believe it’s three-fold.
1) Look how interesting and creative I am! Why, event the smallest sentiment is like taking a journey into a funfair holding hands with the small Pixie of wonder. And I don’t even know it. I think I’m just regular old dweeb. I’m probably just going to put on my cardigan and kick up some Autumn leaves with some homeless guy or something. His name is Mr. Jimjams cos he only wears pyjamas. He’s pretty wise.
2) If you don’t want to come with me to the pub that’s fine because I WAS ASKING AS A JOKE I can’t believe that wasn’t obvious, I meant let’s go to the ‘pub’ as a sort of social experiment anyway. What does it even mean, going to the ‘pub’? IS there a pub? Can one go anywhere when one really thinks about it? Who even cares? God, caring’s weird.
3) Thirdly, if you want to say ‘Everybody, I would like you to know that I have friends. Do YOU have friends?’ , you can just say something like ’ love my ladies’.
Goodbye. I have friends. DO YOU?