Sunday, January 30, 2005

What I Did In Bed Last Night

The weekend colour supplements must surely be the biggest waste of paper in the publishing industry. Basically just advertising milch cows, they rarely contain anything of real value. At least Guardian Weekend puts all the best stuff together at the front, including Guy Browning's excellent How To... pieces, but sadly no more Julie because she took the Murdoch shilling and ran.

But in bed last night, too tired to tax myself with a book but not tired enough to fall asleep, I found myself continuing to read on automatic pilot to the end of the magazine. Thus it was that I found Gareth MacLean recommending a men's shoulder bag from Monsoon for £60 (guaranteed to get tongues wagging in the village) and a battery-operated flosser and toothpick which, according to Gareth, will change my life.
Er, I don't think so, Gareth darling. But you're forgiven because you look like a Glasgow rent boy and write like an angel. You could probably change my life and, as it happens, I do have to floss a lot. Strange that you should have such an intimate knowledge of my cavities. Bring your little probing gadget round, Gareth. We could both floss together. Floss, floss, whirr, whirr....expectorate.

Then I was moved to tears by Rebecca Hardy, writing about the scandal of alternative therapists who bully their patients. Tears of laughter.
Ms Hardy paid £40 to an 'aura healer' who poured scorn on her life and rubbished her friends. She left humiliated, poorer and, one hopes, wiser.

Then Jon Ronson's piece gave me a strange feeling of deja vu until I realised I'd already read it in his blog a few weeks' ago so quickly on to the 'We Love Each Other' column which should really be called 'Tell Someone Who Gives A Fuck.' Alan is a bingo caller with sweaty palms and in love with Emma who thought Bingo! when she saw his balls in the air.
Apparently you can't say 'Two Fat Ladies' any more (Two Women With Obesity Issues doesn't have quite the same ring to it.) But Alan puts some sparkle in his voice when he calls. How do you do that I wonder? I once did a course on how to put a smile in your voice on the telephone but I sounded like someone making obscene phone calls and I had to be moved to invoicing before the police put a trace on the company's line.

Next, I carefully studied Matthew Fort's recipe for Linguine with courgettes and biltong. I've never seen biltong in the village Co-op where they give you funny looks if you buy garlic. "Got a cold, dear?" said the checkout lady one day as I bought a bulb. And a girl in Somerfield was thrown into flustered confusion at the sight of my broccoli.
"What is it?" she said.
I told her.
"Yes, but is it a fruit or a vegetable?" she said.

Facing the recipes was an ad for something I've been fighting the urge to buy for ten years: an electronic pepper mill. The manufacturers boast that, like more interesting types of magazine, it's suitable for one-handed use. I nearly weakened this time because it was 'buy one, get one free.' If it had doubled as an electric flosser my cheque would have been in the post.

Finally, as my eyelids drooped and I began to slip into unconsciousness and dreams of an aura healer called Gareth who force-fed me biltong and then flossed my teeth while two fat ladies held me down, I discovered that organic wholefoods are good for bacterium vaginosis - good news I suppose for all those muesli-eating, wholemeal bread-baking Guardian women.
And in the unlikely event that I ever start playing for the other side, I shall be indebted to Emma Mitchell for telling me that a healthy vagina has acidic pH with a population of beneficial bacteria. I shall ensure that, in addition to condoms, the bedside cabinet contains one of those garden soil-testing kits. After all, Alan Titchmarsh, who always says that gardening is sexy, recommends that you check the pH before you plant your seeds.
Hang on, darling, I'll just get my kit out.
No, sorry, it's never going to happen.
I'd rather floss.
On my own. Manually, if necessary.

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