Azzurri Blues

I’m off to have some cake in a minute to console myself after Italy’s 3-0 loss to Holland. I can’t claim to be a football fan: I only ever watch it at international level and barely know my van de Sars from my van Nistelrooys (I guess you could call me a fair-weather football fan) but I have always supported Italy and do manage to get wrapped up in their matches. Hence, the cake. It’s okay though. Italy always start off slow. They *do* have a tough group but at least there’s no Zidane to contend with. So I’m hopeful...

On a completely different note, is it me or is there a sudden increase in really annoying kids in adverts? That kid in the Oreo advert that talks to the dog makes me see red; those kids in that count the Rice Krispies drive me up the wall; and even the new Petit Filous girl (with the thick eyebrows) annoys me. Am I alone in this? Am I the only person whose blood starts to boil when one of those adverts come on? I'm getting annoyed just thinking about them.

Ok, now I really do need some cake.


And then a hero comes along…

I’ve spent so long in front of my computer today that I’m almost cross-eyed. I’ve given up trying to be productive and am writing here instead. Do forgive me if this entry is more disconnected than usual – it is almost 2am.

So anyway, I had a conversation with an ex-colleague today, in which she commented that she was extremely surprised at how friendly I was when we first met because she “doesn’t generally get on with girls”.

The reason behind this is quite obvious: she’s absolutely stunning, which can automatically make other females bristle in her presence. Luckily, there are a few things that make me jealous and another female’s level of attractiveness isn’t one of them. Beauty doesn’t threaten me since I grew up with five beautiful sisters and am used to being the ‘average’ one in the room.

Intelligence, on the other hand, is a different matter altogether. Put me in front of a Riazat Butt (the Guardian's religious affairs correspondent) or a Tahmima Anam (Harvard-educated, award-wnning Bangladeshi author) and I’ll grumble with envy. It’s a good envy though because I have a lot of respect for smart women. In fact, I think it’s a shame there aren’t more strong females in the public eye – Asian or not.

I can name fictitious kick-ass women that I love – the women in Law & Order (played by Stephanie March, Mariska Hargitay, Angie Harmon and Diane Neal) are absolutely fantastic and represent some of the best female characters on TV – but ask me about real-life heroes and I can name only men.

Who can blame me when Margaret Thatcher, the assassinated Benazir Bhutto, Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton represent the strongest female figures of the past few decades? Yes, there are women like Mother Teresa who contributed a lot to the world and who were strong in their own way, but you can hardly describe them as ‘kick-ass’.

Suggestions, people! Bonnie can keep her hero, I need a heroine.


Silver Tongues

I cringe as iPlayer runs through the opening credits of Women in Black Episode 4 (aired Thursday on BBC2). Why? Because 10 minutes or so into the programme, I will appear in all my fatigued glory, full colour and extremely close up.

I don’t like doing TV. Don’t get me wrong – the process is fun but watching myself is always painful. In the past, I’ve prescribed to the idea that ‘Writers should be read, but neither seen nor heard’ but as I said in ‘The Second Coming’, I think I need to engage in shameless self-promotion more often and TV does that if nothing else. Though, luckily, on this occasion, the programme in question was genuinely interesting and insightful.

I do a lot of public speaking so it’s not like I’m one of those sweaty, nervous wrecks in front of an audience (let’s face it, if I can lecture 170 14-year-old boys, I can talk to anyone!), it’s just that as a writer, you’re expected to be highly articulate and wonderfully eloquent, which doesn’t really makes sense: I’m a writer. I write… and delete, rewrite, restructure and so on and so forth. You can’t do that when speaking!

I’ve had friends push me in front of audiences at parties, saying, “You’re a writer. You can make the toast”. Yes, as a writer, words are my tool (as Raef would say) but it doesn’t necessarily make me a good speaker.

As I watch myself on screen, I cringe at the close-ups and can see that I’m talking too fast. It’s okay though. As Hattie will probably point out, at least my hair looks shiny :)

Ok, Criminal Minds is on so I’m off.