27 Aug 2009

Esther Rantzen's Double Dealings - A Posie Rider Investigation

Ok so I'm now a journalist! Here's my first scoop - enjoy, be appalled, write a letter, torch a car! It's about CORRUPTION!!!

Esther Rantzen (TV star from such shows as, oh you know, Crime Watch or something, and general ageless gurner) has, as we all know, been campaigning to become MP for Luton South. Rantzen has sidestepped like a crab into the runnings following MP Margaret Moran's decision to resign after her embarrassing expense claims were revealed. Ignoring the blatant fact that it'll take more than a lute to save Luton (for lute read 'nuke'), Rantzen is planning a form of slash and burn in the wake of messy politicians, and has publicly called for greater transparency in parliament. Weirdly, however, Posie's prying has revealed that the clever minx is in fact the director of a series of complex secretive companies. Listed under her directorship is the eerily named, 'Jembex', which records show is a sinister Private Unlimited Company.

Now, not being an expert on banking, money, the law, or anything really (except feminism) I consulted Sharlene Spiteri (not real name) from Companies House, a sort of business museum on the river (next to a really nice pub). Huddled in the nice pub next door, and taking painful drags on her pastel blue Sobranie, Sharlene (this is a false name) was on edge as she told me the truth about Rantzen's dealings. Concealing her face with a russet pashmina, leaving only the barest crack through which to insert aforementioned Sobranie, she confessed that in the five years she had worked there she had only come across one other private unlimited company: "They are extremely rare," she said.

PUC's are unusual, she explained very slowly and a few times, because they don't have to file accounts. An obscure legal loophole, which, despite valiant attempts, Sharlene (real name Kate) couldn't quite enable me to understand, means that a PUC avoids any kind of public scrutiny by not filing records of how money passes in and out of it. It's like eating in the dark, she sighed, eventually. Now, this strikes me as very peculiar, seeing as Rantzen is attempting to rise to the dizzy heights of Luton supremacy on a platform of transparency (not a transparent platform, which would reveal altogether too much of Rantzen's private affairs (if she happened to be wearing a dress/skirt, which of course she might not be, even though she's a woman))

Interestingly, even though the company can obscure its monetary dealings from the worthy hack through legal skulduggery, it DOES still have to produce a register of shareholders. AND Jembex's shareholder list shows that other than herself, the only other shares in the company are all owned by Rantzen's three children: Jem, Bex and Will. Why Will? Because a second company - Wilcox productions - is also headed by Rantzen, but only has her children as shareholders. It allegedly is a production company, but my investigations prove that the only production it's invested in is the production of inherited wealth. What on earth is wrong with a nice simple trust fund? Aunt Lily never went through all this hassle and I'm doing just fine!

20 Aug 2009

A Year in The Mind of Posie

Well readers, those of you who have worshipped at the temple of Posie since those heady days of mid-2008 (is it just you Lara, or are there others too?) will remember that it is nearly a year ago that I was released from hospital after an unfortunate self-harm episode with a Bic disposable razor (in hot summer pink). The past year as been full of trials and tribulations: failed relationships (yes, Anna and I aren't speaking, it turns out the orchid wasn't mine) psychotic episodes, restraining orders and endless literary rejections (Harper Collins, I'm talking to you). I've also gained 5 pounds in the last two days, which I didn't even know was possible.

BUT on a positive note, this is one year in which I haven't been sectioned! Hurrah! To celebrate this fabulous achievement, I'm planning on writing a book, entitled 'One Year Off The Ward', or something else, not yet decided. I was inspired by this BBC article on Annualism an exciting new form of publishing which sees self-obsessed bibbles (usually journalists) confessing that they did one particular thing for a year which, in publishing circles, is tantamount to saying: I'll provide the text, you sell 50,000 copies and we'll let the public provide the critique. In shorthand - this is some money making nonsense here!

Some examples include Neil Boorman's Bonfire of the Brands where an oaf pretended he didn't always have his shirts fitted in kooky West London boutiques, or Hephzibah Anderson's pointless Chastened: No More Sex in the City, where she manages the extraordinary feat of not getting laid for a year. There's even specialist titles like A Year Without 'Made in China', in which one woman recounts her rollercoaster experience of looking at labels in shops and not buying certain things like funny little plastic gonks and Kikoman Soy Sauce.

And it's not just my year of fraught sanity which I'm planning on turning into a compelling narrative: it turns out there are lots of things I've done for a year now which could be newsworthy. Being a feminist and living in North London are obvious places to start, but what about my year of celibacy? Ok, that'll have to be next year (Anne's bra is still folded meaningfully in the fridge next to the milk) but the way things are going that'll be no-problem-o. I've also downed the booze content in the last year, only been to Hampshire 3 times and not assaulted anyone! (apart from Martin's son Jake, which I don't think counts because he's a minor???)

These changes, I can tell you, are MASSIVE in my life. Who wouldn't want to read about them? Hampshire Exhile or Ex-Hamp: My Life out of the Shire, are working titles at the moment. Also, it was just over a year ago I had the trust fund settled ... perhaps call for a Tom Hodgkinson-esq biopic in the nature of How To Be Idle, where I recount my day to day experience of doing absolutely nothing except for watering my window box a little before it died (due to neglect) and trying on all my dresses, but not going out in them, safely buffeted by the wealth of my aunties.

Ps. if anyone has any stories to share for inclusion in prospective My Year Failing to Get an Arts Council Grant (because I live in London and didn't fill the form in properly) please email me!

Ahoy there!

Sorry for my absence for the last week gals. It's been no doubt lonely without Posie in your world and I haven't had an easy time either. Its been tough, but after much timely deliberation I have decided that I am in fact a lesbian.

I've been on this cruise you see:

"A lesbian eco-friendly cruise?" I hear you ask. Yes that's right. It all started when Melody (landscape gardener to the stars, who is at the moment tending to Gwyneth Paltrow's organic vegetable patch) who is EXTREMELY zen / eco-friendly / earth-mother, suggested we go on this amazing cruise which uses absolutely no carbon emissions whatsoever! So we did and on board soon realised the the ship was destined for Lesbos island!

On board I met Anne, an artist from Suffolk. She's by far my social inferior, but you know what they say readers: 'love knows no bounds'. We haven't done anything physical yet, and its quite difficult communicating by letter all day, but I think I might finally be happy.

Lesbianism- I can't believe I hadn't tried it sooner (except that time in 2002). It's brilliant! Anne and I would sit around plaiting each others hair and sharing period stories. Heaven...

Toodles x

PS Anne if you're reading - thank so much for my painting: I love orchids!

11 Aug 2009

Oh Fuck Off.

Text Colour

Another 'latest bloody study about women' reels its ugly head once more...

Hi gals! Just when you thought science had unearthed every possible truth about women, another ugly American lab rat reels its ugly head to correct you. Now don't get me wrong, I don't mind rats and I actually love science (I got an A at GCSE!) however, one has to ask the timely question: do these people have a f**king clue what they're talking about?

Point in case: the latest research has shown that women who are optimistic have a 9% lower risk of developing heart disease and a 14% lower risk of dying from any cause after more than eight years of follow-up.

In comparison, cynical women who harbour hostile thoughts about others or are generally mistrusting of others were 16% more likely to die over the same time-scale.

First, what the hell does 'follow-up' mean? Is that a form of malnutrition? Second, I know exactly what category I fall into. Since my break up with Martin earlier this year I've been feeling so happy and content with myself that I think I might live until I'm 102! Ha ha ha hahaha. Yes. However, I also know how it feels to want to stab strangers, especially when walking down the street on a Tuesday morning in the rain with a stonking hang over, wearing no shoes having just woken up by a canal in the suburbs of Manchester next to a tramp with his trousers down. That certainly didn't do my life line any favours at all!

Also has science ever given any thought to what might happen to the lovely optimistic women when they're 'hostile' sisters run at them with nothing but a big grudge and a carving knife? They wouldn't live so long THEN would they smarty-pant science?

Everyone have fun! Love you gals!

Hugs and pugs x

10 Aug 2009

Achtung! Action for Archives.

Just a quickie, but I hope you'll help in the Action for Archives campaign! Academics, historians, literary types and other like minded intelligentsia are forming a campaign to stop bloodthirsty bureaucrats from pillaging The National Archives under the leadership of uber-bureaucrat and current Chief Plunderer of the Scroll Natalie Ceeney, who famously referred to libraries and archives et al as 'The Knowledge Industry'. My brain just cracked a little, I hope yours did too.

Please keep abreast of the activities of these zesty guardians of knowledge at www.action4archives.com and look out for their upcoming petition. Examples of depressing monetisation tactics at the expense of public services and the pursuit of truth to sign your name against include laying off specialists while rewarding management with pay increases, introducing parking costs, stopping access to microfilm records and reducing opening times.

They will be stopped and given a talking to and will mend their ways.

7 Aug 2009

Flaneusette technique

I've been reading a lot about psychogeography and, inspired by what I read in Peter Ackroyd about Islington's interesting past (did you know it used to be a diary farm? Fabulous!). So for the last couple of days I've been wandering the city in a PCP addled stupor (can't get opium, must make do) and keeping this journal of my voyages. More to follow!

Day one

I'm walking around feeling nothing. I trip and everyone helps me up. There's nothing to see here, I've learnt nothing. The city isn't melancholy today. I'm confronted with a chugger I recognise, we went to college together, we arrange to have coffee later. No one minds me today. The air is circulating up these aisles, I'm a heartbeat, I'm welcomed. I'm keeping the city alive, in its loop. Everything is in order, it's just as I remember. Everyone has been in these places before, they're filed, I want to make a sketch. Everything is forthcoming, the light touches everything, the grid is illuminated. When the clocks chime I chime with them and then we get to our knees and share as one this remarkable sensation of absolute purpose, absolute belonging, a composite beast who's extremities more in syncopation, we've eliminated the selfish gene and like a slime mould slug we relinquish precedence to those of us designated as a head and they direct us. We've given ourselves over to the city, each other, its past, we're hugging the kerbs familiar with each speck of grit we're pressed up against its canyons and our fat is rolling into them, what fat we have. There's a city in our minds as pure as stone that even we can't alter, it connects purely to itself, unapologetically presents, and we walk its streets as real as any others and the light touches it everywhere and it's everywhere and is like anything, palpable and recognisable in its stability. Each speck of grit belongs and all surfaces are touching. I didn't grow up in the city and find this all refreshing, it's a solid and I like to jostle with all its atoms there are no A roads here, there are no wet fields along the A40. I like its dead voices, they outnumber the living, they remind me of aunties. I like the flows and the ley lines and the impressions of heat left by strangers for whom I have an infinite regard. Someone has just followed me forty paces to return a sheet of paper that I dropped on purpose. They weren't even being sarcastic. I tell them it's a note and when they read it they find it's an incredibly personal letter directed to them, offering sensitive advice about some issues they're dealing with in their life at the moment. They say it's been an incredible help. They ask me to go to bed with them so I do.

Day two

The next day I am out walking the streets trying to collect things I find, I'll make a scrapbook. But tomorrow there'll be a parade, some nationalist thing, followed by speeches and music, so the streets have been decorated and swept, they've even moved on the homeless and the children who sometimes ask you for pens or try to sell you cigarettes. I'd brought an extra muffin to give to one of them but now I eat it myself. I consider leaving a record to somehow sully the streets. It would mean anyone coming along after me would be more successful in finding ephmera, but I don't have anything. All I have is a crumb of muffin which I drop and see fall into one of the big tarmac canyons which yesterday I think I might have been vigorously licking, where there now isn't anything not even those tiny rounded bits of broken glass. But before I leave I see an impossibly swollen ant appear and carry the crumb off. I follow him with my eyes for a while but he's going in the opposite direction so I leave.

to be continued....

4 Aug 2009

Laptops for Girls

After my FWord featured article, Pity in Pink, hit the internet at the beginning of the year, you would have been forgiven for believing that the purveyors of PINK LAPTOPS might have rethought their strategy of tarring all of femininity with the same pinkish brush. You'd have been wrong, however, as this new PC World ad featuring the Dell Inspiron demonstrates.

I can't find a way to embed the video as it's on this slightly creepy Dell based blog (seriously, who cares?) but please follow this link to explore yourself, or if you're not sure, let me give you a run down. The advert begins with a slightly incredulous female voice, who tells us 'My world is fashion', what she means isn't exactly clear - is she a designer? Or a seamstress? Or just really into clothes like, you know, a woman. Either way, it is really quite important to her that everything she owns is colour coded. But how can this be achieved with something like a laptop, which you only generally have one of unlike clothes and shoes and dresses which come in lots of different colours and which you change frequently? Scream! Should she, for example, buy the pink Dell Inspiron to go with her pink shoes? Or the blue one to go with her blue jacket? Shit! Which one? Best go with the pink really. And why? Because MY WORLD IS PINK. And fashion. Her world is pink and fashion. Where does she live? Really, stop keeping us in suspense, what does this woman do??

They don't need to tell us what she does, or why her world is made of Pink and Fashion, because she is Everywoman, a competant and non-individualised figure with whom it is easy to identify. We can identify with her because she likes pink, and shoes, and laptops that are the same colour as our shoes, like us.