On no longer being part troll. Physically, I mean. And other stuff.

If, like me, your mind goes everywhere all at once, you’ll like this entry. All the things, in roughly this order: feet, chairs, books, tv, tea, films, film writing. Add running to the end of that, and you’ve basically got my daily thoughts on a loop.


I am celebrating Foot Freedom. I have had disgusting, verruca-ridden, hard-skin-covered, avoid-sandals-at-all-costs, must-wear-flipflops-for-other-people’s-safety, troll feet for about 14 years now. But not anymore. After years of tried and failed home remedies, expensive over-the-counter shit and much foot shame, last year I realised that now I could afford it I had no excuse not to go to a podiatrist. So I did. That was last March, and now, after nearly a year of freezing, dry needling (literally poking my feet with needles) and various lotions, I’ve finally got the sign off on fully healthy feet. They’ve been cleaned and softened and I’ve probably gone down a shoe size. I have not had my nails polished, though, because I went to a podiatrist, not a beauty parlour. I’m going to do that bit at home.

When I say troll feet, I don't mean one of those cute bitty things with the sticky-up hair. I'm talking Norwegian, here.
When I say ‘troll feet’, I don’t mean one of those cute bitty things with the sticky-up hair that you collected in the 90s. I’m talking Norwegian.

Does this sound over the top? Maybe. But where other people are perhaps embarrassed about hairy backs, or can’t eat in front of their partners or whatever, my problem has always been my disgusting feet. Socks on, always.  I only take shoes off in the park if I can sit with the soles pressed to the ground. Last summer, when it was so hot that sandals really were the only option, I spent an inordinate amount of time quietly trying to suppress shame and paranoia. Having healthy, not-disgusting feet is a big, big deal for me. There’s probably a whole separate post to get out of this, but I don’t really want to subject readers to that sort of in-depth information.

This week started out productively

Well, going back to work nearly killed me because, after three weeks of the lazies, I can’t get up in the morning or go to sleep at night, so I’m exhausted. Also, as usual, other plans are brewing in the back of my noggin and they’re very distracting. But before Tuesday evening, when I suddenly barely had the energy to move, I had a fit of doing things that I swore I would do this month. (I actually swore I would do some of the things nearly five years go, but that’s beside the point because they’re finally done!) Like the kitchen chairs, which are now beautifully and eclectically upholstered in a sort of yin-yang pattern, and painted blue. I did that upholstering on Tuesday morning, along with a fair amount of cleaning and dog walking. That morning was clearly an anomaly because now I’m back to smacking my alarm eighteen times and then freaking out at 8.30am when I’ve missed the train.

Lena Dunham and Judy Blume

I listened to this podcast (here) of Lena Dunham in conversation with Judy Blume, which was absolutely fascinating. Judy Blume is perhaps even better known in the US than in the UK? I’m not sure. I think growing up more of my friends read Anne Fine and Robert Swindells here, but Judy Blume is the author my sisters and I swallowed up alongside them. We re-read Tiger Eyes (shortly to appear as a Lifetime Movie) over and over again. Not to mention Blubber, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret and oh, I can’t start listing every book. But we did.

Praise be to Dunham for bringing up a few things with Blume that are/were precisely what many of us experienced when we were growing up and reading everything we could lay our hands on. They cover kids reading books deemed to be too old for them; they cover sex in children’s books, and the way that as a kid you find the ‘interesting bits’ in every book and have them marked out in your mind. (There’s a line about ‘sweat pooled in her bra’ in Tiger Eyes that I still remember because ‘bra’ seemed to be so illicit a word when we were young.) They also discuss the weirdness of being in respective positions where people pour out their embarrassing and heartfelt stories to them without prompting. I have great respect for Dunham – she works hard and deals with a lot of shit. I think a lot of people confuse her with her character in Girls. I don’t love everything she’s written and done, but I like an awful lot of it and I think the best is yet to come. And Blume is, well Judy Blume, which says it all. Worth a listen.

I’m writing this in one of my favourite pubs, by the way, on a Saturday morning, and the lovely blokes at the bar are making me a pot of tea right now. I’m very happy.

The Corporate Life of Walter Mitty and other disappointments…

There’s a massive list of films that I (we – CM too) need to catch up on. This week we made it to The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and, last night, caught the remake of Carrie.

Walter Mitty was a disappointment. I admit to being fully sold on the lengthy trailer that was everywhere before Christmas. The sweeping landscapes and the dreaming and the music caught me (yes, even cynical ole me) and I wanted to watch this film and be lifted up and inspired to go on great travels and look at the world with new eyes. And it tried, oh it tried so hard to do this. There were a couple of really good moments (er, spoiler alert?) – the standout, for me, being when Mitty decides to catch the ‘copter. The look of utter shock on his face as he clings to the helicopter, that expression of ‘Did I just do this?’ was perfect. The characterisation worked as well. I found it totally believable that this quiet man would have the grit and strength to undertake the journey he did, because it takes grit and strength to give up your life plans at 17 to support your family. I know people just like the evil boss (his name escapes me right now). That Sean O’Connell turned out to be fairly normal and practical rather than a mystical type worked wonderfully.

But, unfortunately, all of these smaller, strong things, were undone by the sheer scale and gloss of the film. It was the marketing and money that ruined it. Papa Johns, KFC, Life, Time, Stretch Armstrong, EHarmony. I object to adverts trying to tug my heartstrings at the best of times (I’m looking at you John Lewis and Coke). Obvious emotional manipulation in the name of corporate sales turns me into an unfeeling iceberg, and, ultimately, that’s what happened with Walter Mitty. I wanted very much to love it, but the gloss and the name dropping left me feeling hollow. I came out of the film thinking that, no matter how much you try to open yourself up to the wonder of life, there will always be an interrupting phone call. There will always be a brand name to see you home. Ugh.

Martin Blank can tell you all about that...
Martin Blank can tell you all about that…

Really, the less said about Carrie the better. Props for having the budget to show the destruction of the town in full scale and doing it with a fair amount of glee, but apart from that, I think I’d just like to forget that a few of my favourite actors were in it and look to their next films, which will obviously be great.

Better film writing now available

The Prince Charles Cinema has launched its new film blog, Jeff Goldblum’s Laugh (I love that name). Aside from reviews and analyses of films, they’re covering any number of other film-related subjects, both seriously and tongue-in-cheek. They’ve been prepping this for the past few months, and the result has been worth waiting for. If any of you have ever checked out Badass Digest, you’ll like this. I can’t even pick a single entry to send you to. There are currently ten writers, each with their own style, so there really is something for everyone. Just drop in and enjoy it.

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