Friday, 24 December 2010

Raise Your Glass

Today, Christmas Eve, at Midday I awoke on the kitchen floor with an open bottle of red wine beside me. It took me quite a few moments to figure out exactly how this had happened and despite the temptation to jump to the conclusion that I had a heavy evening the night before what in fact happened wasn't quite so debaucherous.

Whilst cooking our festive ham Lee and I treated ourselves to half a glass of the expensive wine my parents gave to us for Christmas, we then left it on top of the oven to 'let it breathe'. This morning whilst on all fours scrubbing the oven to get it spotless for Christmas day I found myself taking a blow to the head...

Luckily we only lost a splash of the wine, we'll be raising a glass of that wine to our friends, our family, and of course all of my readers and the bruise on my forehead tomorrow over Christmas dinner. What injuries will you be raising a glass to this Christmas?

Merry Christmas.
Love Cal. x

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Being Naked for Christmas

With Christmas fast approaching I’ve considered the possibilities of going naked for Christmas- and no, sadly, I don’t mean taking all of my clothes off and sitting by the Christmas tree. As fun as that might be I think it might be disrespectful to the spirit of the festivities.

I’m talking stripping down the costs of Christmas and indulging in the holiday spirit without spending a penny. Over the years, perhaps even long before my time Christmas has become increasingly more and more consumerist. The Christmas presents, wrapping paper, cards, food… the list goes on. Although it is nice to spend that little bit extra to make Christmas extra special sometimes we can be a little frivolous around the holiday season. The tag line for Christmas shopping has always been guilt free shopping, I don’t always feel that though, when spending money I don’t necessarily have to spare on loved ones I still have a niggling feeling of guilt lodged in the back of my mind.

I adore Christmas, and I even love all those consumerist bits and bobs that go along with it, but I’m pretty sure I could strip it all away and still have an enjoyable Christmas. My parents came over to visit from Spain recently and as we sat around watching T.V we shook our heads in disbelief as we watched a middle aged couple complaining about the economic climate; complaining that this year they wouldn’t be celebrating Christmas at all due to money issues. They went on to show how upset the couple were about the whole thing, showing the empty wall where the Christmas d├ęcor would usually hang. I found the whole thing absurd.

I understand the financial difficulties we have in this country at the minute, I even suffer them myself, however I don’t think that is a reason to completely write off Christmas. The aforementioned couple had a large house with expensive looking furniture and trinkets: I couldn’t understand why they needed to not celebrate Christmas to get by. They could still hang their Christmas decorations; they wouldn’t even have to turn on the Christmas lights if they wanted to save on electricity. They could play a board game or watch some Christmas T.V. Spending under £5 they could each buy each other a bar of chocolate or similar, wrap it, put it under the Christmas tree and have a mince pie. It just takes a little imagination.

I think it’s shocking that Christmas has become so much about money that people in difficult money situations believe they can’t celebrate it. Are people forgetting the nativity story entirely? I’m pretty sure Mary and Joseph weren’t rolling around in fifty pound notes.

Splashing out is always nice during the festive season, as long as we remember it’s not a necessity. Often when we have less money we are a lot more thoughtful with our present buying since we can’t spend a fortune on extravagant gifts and wrapping. It’s something worth bearing in mind while you’re doing your last minute Christmas shop.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Truly Madly Deeply

If you never got a chance to see me and Lee in Attitude Magazine, then look no further!

Saturday, 18 December 2010

One Rule

Everything is fair game between my friend LJW and I, she texts me inappropriate things and I reciprocate, she compares me to Liza Minnelli and I compare her to Dawn French. It's a two way street.

There is however, one situation where things get SERIOUS.

That is when a glass of coke and a laptop is involved. "I've got one rule!" I bellowed as she set her glass of coke down next to my new laptop. "No drinks near the computer!" she moved her drink to a safe spot before laughing at me and proceeded to mock my one rule with a serious voice for the following few weeks.

On one Saturday night, as she set down her mug of tea next to my laptop, I shot her a dirty look and said "One rule LJW! One rule!" I lifted up my laptop and set it aside away from the mug of tea.

While she proceeded to mock me she reached for her tea and knocked it half way across the room, hot tea spilling everywhere.

"And that is why I have one rule," I told her as I began cleaning the tea up from the carpet, the t.v, the sofa, the table and both of my legs.

In case you hadn't noticed, LJW and I have a podcast: Having a Trauma. Pop over to the Audio page to have a listen or listen to our latest podcast below.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Christmas Tradition

It’s been a while since I last posted, what with it being the X Factor final and all, I found my schedule a little full. – It’s the most important event on the calendar people- what I’m going to do with my Saturday and Sunday nights from now on is anyone’s guess. I don’t think everybody quite understands the passion my dear friend LJW and I have for X Factor: as we watch X Factor, then the Xtra Factor and then stay up all night googling Aiden Grimshaw, Wagner and One Direction while everyone else is pleading to go to bed, we remain fascinated.

All that business aside, I’ve realised as of late how detailed different people’s Christmases are. The traditional things drilled into us year after year by our families make us incredibly unique. Our American friend didn’t know what a mince pie was, to which I shouted at her- oops. Mince pies to me were quintessentially Christmassy, without them I don’t know what I’d do: eat a chocolate Yule log, probably.

There are many things that make my Christmas complete, from the Coca-Cola advert on the tele and burning down the advent candle. A stocking on Christmas day and some sort of family film in the evening. Without these things Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas.

What I do find interesting though, is how my own Christmas traditions clash with Lee’s Christmas traditions. We were questioned just the other day at why we didn’t have a star or an angel atop the Christmas tree. We explained that I had to have a star and Lee had to have an angel so as to not start an argument we had neither.

Then there’s our Christmas dinner, I have to have ham and turkey where Lee has to have sausage meat, I have to have croquettes and Lee has to have parsnips. It’s a trauma, but I indulge in it, the more diverse our Christmas is the more exciting it becomes.

Embracing all of these Christmas traditions, introduced to us by family, friends and partners make our Christmases that extra bit special, and I for one welcome any new additions.

Then again, do you remember that advert with The Spice Girls the other year? Lobster for Christmas dinner... I threw my shoe at the T.V.

Have your shoe at the ready.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Shafted by a Redhead

The streets being covered in ice, although a little annoying (Oo, hypocrite), does provide a picturesque and eventful walk to and from university. Yesterday, as I made my way up an incredibly icy slope, I found myself staring at an incredibly attractive boy walking ahead of me. I noticed that his shoe laces were untied and although my mother taught me to never cavort with boys with untied shoe laces, his biceps were impossible to resist. He looked like one of The Wanted boys, but better…

You read correctly. Better than this.

I watched intently as I waddled along the ice, trying to keep up, watching his shoe laces flick upwards as he skidded about on the ice. Inevitably he eventually tripped over his laces, skidded around for a few moments and then collided with the floor with an almighty heavy thud.

I noticed a beautiful red-headed girl walking towards us, she had seen him slip too; we were thinking the exact same thing. I looked at her, she looked at me. It was a race to help the good looking man up off of the ice. Breaking into a slight run I glared at her menacingly, I slipped and skidded, my legs went in opposite directions, but I didn’t slow down. I must have resembled a rabid Bambi as I approached the terrified looking boy lying on his side on the ice.

“Alright mate?” I said in my best straight man voice and offered him my hand. I was slightly out of breath. He grimaced and batted my hand away, trying to help himself up. He got to his feet and toppled straight back down onto his firm buttocks – yes, I had noticed- I offered him my hand again, reluctantly he took it, mumbling something beneath his breathe.

The red headed girl looked at me annoyed. I pursed my lips at her. As I passed her she smirked at me and I swear to god slipped on the ice on purpose: I didn’t help her up.

Surely enough the boy with the large biceps ran to her aid and helped her up. They both laughed about it and obviously formed an instant intimate bond. As I looked at the sunlight shining over the houses I literally, and bitterly, watched them walk off into the sunset.

“Bitch,” I mumbled under my breathe- and that is why I owe my apologies to the red head. Who am I to interfere with your rom-com moment? Lindsay Lohan will be there to play you in due course. I’ll be played by Stanley Tucci. And the boy? Ashton Kutcher or similar no doubt. I’d like to name the film ‘Shafted by a Redhead’ – Sounds a little pornographic, but I think it fits. Don’t you?

Just remember next time you take a tumble on the ice, stay possitive. A muscle bound boy, or a sassy beautiful redhead may be on their way to help you up.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010


Lighting our advent candle every evening and watching it burn does get me wondering why we are forever counting away our days.

It seems there’s always something to count down to, whether it’s Christmas, a Birthday or a holiday. Don’t get me wrong I do get filled with excitement during the build up to these things, I just wonder why we are so frivolous in doing what is essentially counting away precious days of our lives.

I realise I’m only twenty years old and I’m not exactly short on time, I have a long life ahead of me and I’m not about to start clinging onto every day because it might be my last, I am going to try a little harder to enjoy each and every day though.

Who’s to say all these days in December that we count away by burning candles or opening cardboard doors won’t be just as good as Christmas day itself, or even better?

Don’t call me Scrooge; just remember that Christmas day is just another day. It’s only special because we make it special, and whereas Christmas wouldn’t be as wonderful as it is if we celebrated in the same manner everyday, doing something a little extra each day up to Christmas may make your count down more enjoyable.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Life Lessons

It’s taken quite some thought to figure out the best way to articulate what I’m about to tell you. I had to take some time before I attempted writing this to let the negative emotions die away. Otherwise I would have ended up blindly scathing those who wronged me rather than taking the positive approach to these situations that I like to pride myself upon. My mantra has always been that optimism will get you everywhere and negativity will leave you with nothing. Although in no way do I dispute this, I think it’s also important for me personally to understand and acknowledge that the reality in which we live is not always as perfect as we might hope.

After being at my new job only two weeks, I was treated in a manner I can only deem disgraceful. As with everything I do, big or small, I put my all into it. I have never been one of those people to just do a satisfactory job, I want to do a great job, whether I’m rewarded for it or not. The company refused to pay me for 12 hours of the work I had done, I found it outrageous and standing up for myself left me not only jobless but hurt by the discrimination directed towards me.

I’ve always believed, and a large part of me still does, that if one stands up for themselves the right way then one will prevail. Whether in the short run or the long run I believe justice will be met.

The whole situation reminded me of a story my father once shared with me, I’m sure he won’t mind me sharing it, even if I don’t get it entirely right…

Long before I was born, as a young man, one of the jobs he partook in was being a waiter for a hotel. As he worked there for a while he got to know some of the regulars and had a very friendly relationship with them. On one day, as he went into the kitchen to collect some food he saw the chef drop some of the food onto the floor, put it back onto the plate and demand that it be taken out. When he refused, the manager was called. In a tight position, the manager had to decide whether to lose his chef or a member of his waiting staff. I don’t think I need to tell you who lost their job.

These things happen, I guess, and enduring them is just another part of life. I’m not going to roll over and play dead, I will fight for the money I earned and will fight against homophobia anywhere, particularly in a work environment, however I won’t dwell upon these injustices: The world is still the optimistic land of possibilities I have always believed it to be.

Despite the many obstacles to overcome, the many people who will try to push us around and the many environments that will attempt to conquer us, believing in ourselves and believing we are doing what is right is worth much more than anything else. I’ll remember what happened for a very long time, but rather than it being another reason to lose faith in humanity, I see it as a lesson learned and a further boost to push me onto finding the environment that I will thrive within.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Tonsil Tennis

As I was walking along the brook, admiring the snow I noticed two boys romantically kissing on the bridge, I considered going around as to not disturb them but it was already too late, they instantly parted and awkwardly walked in different directions without so much as a goodbye. Whoa, whoa, whoa, I thought. Don't stop on my account boys, by all means, please, carry on.

I gave one of them a friendly smile as he passed me, he looked down at his feet nervously. He must have assumed I was a homophobic gay basher, that's the natural assumption, I guess. It was nice to see a display of affection between two men in public; it's very rare that it occurs. I just felt sad that it was broken up by my presence.

The instinct is to not show affection with other men in public, it's kind of been drilled into us. Whereas I'm a lot more open to the idea I know the majority of gay men just aren't. I wonder if it's fear or something else.

For me, I find it quite rude to play tonsil tennis with another man in the presence of others, yet holding hands would be just fine. As long as I felt like I was in a safe environment. In other words, not walking through a grotty drug-dealer filled subway.

I wonder how much of those worries are present in heterosexual couples. I can't count the amount of times I have been made a complete gooseberry while a friend sticks her tongue down her boyfriend's throat. I know I wouldn't do that, it's just not pleasant. I think it's a very teenage way to act, teenagers want to show off their partner and want to show that they can 'make out' whenever they so chose. It's pretty unnecessary. For a romantic moment, a hello, or a goodbye; fair enough, but otherwise: just spare me the awkwardness.

It would be nice if we lived in a world where everyone felt free to romantically express themselves, but I guess that won't be a reality for a very long time. I think positively though, I'm sure there was a time when a black man kissing a white woman would have been thought outrageous. Feelings will change with time, at least i hope.

My message to all those heterosexual couples: Please, express yourselves; appreciate the freedom you have to do so. Just don't shove it down your friend's throat, it's rather unpleasant.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

I'm Dreaming of a Dry Christmas

I sat down opposite one of my dearest friends and the first thing I could bring myself to say was, “I wish people would stop complaining about the god damn snow.” She looked at me oddly for a moment and that gazed back out of the window at the snow. “I know, it’s well pretty,” she agreed.

We don’t get snow in Derby very much, when the rest of Britain is covered in blankets of pretty white magic Derby is bone dry. Last year the town five minutes down the road, literally five minutes, was covered in snow and we didn’t see a single snowflake. When it does snow, I like to appreciate it.

All day long, as I’m walking along the street, waiting at the bus stop, making small talk with the man who owns the corner shop, all I hear is complaint after complaint about the snow. The radio or the news playing ambiently in the background spouts repetitive nonsense about how the snow is going to devastate all of our lives.

Am I the only person alive who absolutely adores the snow? The moment I see small white flakes falling from the sky I know that Christmas is on its way and I’m filled with an uncontrollable sense of well being. So much so that Lee and I erected the Christmas tree early last night.

I know that a lot of injuries are caused by the snow, I know a lot of people can’t get to work and I know we can’t all afford to turn up the heating, but it’s going to snow so why not just enjoy it? Hundreds of injuries are caused by rain, wet leaves, even the sun (skin cancer) so why do we blame the snow for so much?

I was meant to be riding horses in the peak district today, but that’s not going to happen. I don’t feel the need to complain though, I’ll just build a snowman or start a snowball fight instead- that’s not childish; it’s just knowing how to have fun.

After all didn’t the song go I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas? If it was written in 2010 I’m pretty sure the lyrics would have been I’m Dreaming of a Dry Christmas…

Get out and enjoy the snow: It’ll probably have melted tomorrow.