Saturday, September 13, 2008

This Post Was Meant To Be About Something Else Entirely

My efforts to bring on labour naturally - in advance of a looming 8am Tuesday deadline for induction - have turned, as you might expect, to the increasingly baroque and desperate.

So desperate in fact that I found myself attempting to spur my recalcitrant uterus into action by reading - or at least trying to read - that 'Wife in the North' book by Judith O'Reilly, which is based on her blog about how her husband knocked her up and made her move 350 miles from London to Northumberland and how unspeakably awful and intolerable the whole situation is.

'Wait a minute!', think I, not for the first time. 'My significant other made me* move 300 miles from London, and knocked me up, AND I have a blog - why haven't I got a book deal?'

The answer (apart from all the obvious stuff, like how this blog has no central premise nor narrative arc, and is in fact a fifth-rate ragbag of poorly conceived rubbish), is that I'm not a former journalist, nor am I chums with popular political blogger Iain Dale, nor therefore am I able to pull any 'strings' among the London 'media power elite'.

(Unless you count that phone call I had with BT the other day, during which I persuaded them not to charge me for selling me their BT Vision service because it turns out that our house is incapable of receiving terrestrial television - you see, this is exactly the kind of unspeakably awful and intolerable situation that would never arise in London, why haven't I got a book deal, etc. etc.)

Nor, to be fair, do I whinge very much about 'having' to move to Cornwall, because Cornwall is every bit as beautiful and idyllic as everyone always says it is, and because I'm quite euphorically happy here almost all of the time, and because, unlike Ms O'Reilly, I am capable of putting petrol in the car.

I did find her book better written than I expected, although the quote on the back cover describing it as 'Cold Comfort Farm with booster seats' is not only deeply misleading but also an outrageous insult to one of greatest and funniest satirical novels ever written in the English language. And I did cry at a couple of the more mawkish bits, but blamed this on hormones. And I do feel sorry for her in some ways, as her husband seemingly did make her and the kids move to an isolated spot in Northumberland and then continued to spend most of his own life in London. (You may feel inclined to draw your own conclusions from this, incidentally.)

But when I got to page 67 and to the third time she complains about running out of petrol in the car because her (absent) husband hadn't filled it for her, I lost patience with her CONSTANT WHINING and threw it on the floor.

Betty recently wrote that Ms O'Reilly seems to think that she is in some way representative of women in Britain today**. Personally I would hope that most women in Britain today are capable of identifying when the car is low on petrol (clue: the red light comes on), and subsequently of driving it to the petrol station and filling it. But then Ms O'Reilly is a Tory, and therefore perhaps more inclined than many to view herself as subordinate to her all-powerful, all-decision-making husband. The Tory worldview of women and their role in society doesn't make me particularly optimistic about our next government, I have to say.

Anyway, I couldn't help noticing that not even the physical effort of dashing a paperback to the floor had succeeded in prompting my waters to break, so in desperation I turned to the next book in the pile of '3 for 2' books I'd brought back from Waterstone's, namely Ben Goldacre's 'Bad Science'.

Which is actually what this post was supposed to be about, but I got distracted almost immediately. Dr Ben and his one-man Quest for Truth will have to wait until tomorrow.

Unless I'm otherwise engaged tomorrow, of course.


* I wasn't exactly uncomplicit in this terrible act of coercion.

** I've just noticed that Betty took umbrage at exactly the same bit as I did, heh.

20 comments:

jill said...

Oh, dear lord.

Does this mean that powerful people* adopting the language of victimhood in order to cry, "Oh, woe - poor widdle me - lookitmelookitmelookitme!!! I'm terribly oppressed!"** is not an American-only phenomenon?

That's too bad. And if it's something we have exported to the UK, I apologize on behalf of my country.

* People with money, status, education, connections, etc...

** We have this problem in particular with some of the odder subspecies of the Christian right, who can somehow simultaneously claim that the US is a "Christian nation" and maintain that they personally are persecuted for their faith without their heads exploding. It's quite a feat.

Vicus Scurra said...

What in the name of Kropotkin are you doing reading Tory books during pregnancy? Do you want to give birth to Virginia or Peter Bottomley?

janey33 said...

Ooooh, you'll love the "Bad Science" book, all the homeopaths and reflexologists will be getting their knickers in a twist when they read what he has to say about them! Carl Sagan wrote a book called "The demon-haunted world", along similar lines, his chapter on the creationists in America is quite chilling, especially in the light of the Sarah Palin phenomenon. Read books like this and become suitably outraged. You never know, that and a bit of absent-minded nipple tweaking and you could be in the birthing pool, puffing and panting, by this time tomorrow.

janey33 said...

Actually, talking of being outraged, I have just seen that soap powder ad, for the stuff that smells of "white diamonds and lotus blossom". Now I know that lotus blossom has a smell, but what exactly do white diamonds smell of? Eh, eh? Anyone out there who can enlighten me? No, that's because diamonds of any colour don't smell. Of anything. So why put that on a washing powder box? Do the admen think we're stupid just because we do our own washing? Aaarrrgggghhhh. (Ok, I'm off for a cup of tea and a pile of ironing, that'll calm me down!)

Jayne said...

I've just been over and had a look at the blog. Had to stop after a couple of entries in case I vomited - don't want to get sick in my keyboard.

Jayne said...

ps. What vicus scurra said

patroclus said...

Jill: By no means. The latest fad is for rich, powerful white men in the media to claim that rich, powerful white men in the media are somehow being set upon and disempowered by upstart women claiming equal rights.

I also notice the Economist has a column in this week's edition bemoaning the fact that rich, powerful, white men have never had it so bad, while women have never had it so good - this apparently based on the fact of Sarah Palin's appointment to McCain's running mate, as if this was what womankind has been waiting for since the dawn of feminism.

Vicus: I am treating it as a sort of 'know your enemy' training bootcamp ahead of inevitable Tory victory in the next election. Or I would be, if I'd made it beyond page 67.

Janey: Yes, I have finished the Bad Science book and I can imagine that the fearless Dr Ben will definitely be making some more enemies for himself. I haven't seen this ad, what with not having telly, but it sounds mighty ridiculous. Perhaps they meant Diamond White.

Jayne: I did have to laugh at the fact that a blog whose essential premise is how awful Northumberland is has a massive banner for 'win a luxury holiday to Northumberland' on its homepage.

james henry said...

I should add that, so as not to make any money for the right-wing journoblogwhoreelite, we totally stole the book from Truro Waterstone's - I used my inside knowledge to set off the fire alarm to create a diversion, then knocked over a pile of Napoleonic historical fictions on the stairs to make good our escape across the rooftops, eventually abseiling down the side of the Early Learning Centre (my friend Matt's the manager) with an improvised sling.

All that, and the baby still doesn't want to be born.

patroclus said...

My explanation was going to be that it was the free one in the 3 for 2, and thus I didn't technically pay for it, but that one's much more convincing.

wyndham said...

Hmmm.

patroclus said...

Wyndham, are you giving me your classic withering look?

rivergirlie said...

grrr! that perishing woman got so much publicity, it makes me GNASH MY TEETH! so far, i've racked up a reveiw in the peterborough evening telegraph for the latest offering. and that's all! if you're reading crap, i'll send you a copy. perhaps i can have the distinction of inducing labour.

Tim Footman said...

"this blog has no central premise nor narrative arc"

Of course not. It's a blog (and a jolly splendid one, IMHO), rather than a cynical trailer for a banal but lucrative memoir.

And don't get me started on 'oppressed' white men. I had them all over my last Cif piece, whining about family law and feminazis. Zzzzzz.

patroclus said...

RG: Yes, I think that ironically, with all our scoffing, us bloggers gave her far more publicity than she deserved - if she actually deserved any at all. I also notice that the objectionable Helena Frith Powell (the one who doles out advice to British ladies on how to look more French for £2,500 a time) leaps to her defence on Amazon, saying 'who cares if she doesn't know where the petrol station is?'. To which I would say 'her kids, probably'.

Which one is your latest, or will that give away your identity? I'd be happy to pimp it here, although Mr BC had to take your other one off me because it was frightening me! (I blame hormones, again.)

Tim: You don't think she - gasp - got the deal *before* she started writing the blog? That would certainly explain how she'd only been blogging for six weeks when the deal materialised. And thanks for the kind words about the blog - it occurred to me later that of course the blog has no narrative arc - that would imply that I knew what and when the 'ending' was going to be. I'm afraid I'm very much set on 'wibble' at the moment.

Betty said...

Strangely enough, my other half has *nearly* run out of petrol on a few occasions when we've been in the the countryside and the nearest petrol station has been about five hundred miles away and, of course, he has *forgotten* to bring his phone with him. Do you think he should ditch me and shack up with Judith O'Reilly? Who would be the real big girl's blouse in that relationship, eh?

patroclus said...

Betty: I think the only fair way of finding out would be for you and Geoff and Judith O'Reilly and her mystery husband to go on Wife Swap and let the nation decide.

From what I understand of the husband, incidentally, he's a strong and silent type who likes to gaze out moodily over the moors. You know, like Heathcliff. Or that poor lobotomised fellow from The Hound of the Baskervilles.

rivergirlie said...

yes, i'm attempting to remain all secret squirrel here, so thanks - but no need to pimp. i'll send you a copy anyway. sorry you were so frightened by the other one - and STILL she refuses to emerge!
the twins did duke of ed this w/e so it's been eerily peaceful. only 14 years for you to wait ... xx

paulm said...

I think the reason you didn't get a book deal is becasue your blog is rubbish...

Don't you?

patroclus said...

Why thank you Paul. Yes, I think that's what I said, didn't I?

paulm said...

Hmmm... sort of. Not really though.