Under Pressure

Firstly, why do I get lambasted any time I say I love Under Pressure by Bowie and Queen? I know it’s not their best work but it’s still a frickin’ good song. Yes, that beat is responsible for the travesty that is Ice Ice Baby* but it’s so infectious, it has to be genius.

Anyway, back on topic… Contrary to the post title, I’m not actually under pressure of any sort, which is kind of the problem. You see, I need pressure to get things done. I never used to be like this. I used to be the kind of person that did things that needed to be done as soon as humanly possible. I used to pay bills as soon as they came in or put in a load of washing as soon as I had a drum’s worth or submit my columns a week before they were due for print or buy a winter coat in the Autumn. Now I’ll almost freeze my arse off before draggiing it to the shops.

I think I know when this change came about. I spent 2007 at Asian Woman Magazine and the experience changed me. It was so intense, so full on, so 100% 24/7, so unbelievably demanding, I felt like I was spending every second of my life fire fighting while juggling a million different things. Now take that description and times it by ten and you’ll get a rough idea of what it was like. It was as traumatic as it was exciting, and it taught me the real meaning of working under pressure. 

After leaving (as much for my health as for my sanity), everything calmed down to the point where I felt like I was living in slow motion. After that kind of existence, “normal” life seems stripped of adrenaline – bland and sort of tasteless. It took me a long time to come down from the highs of that type of life. One of the things I haven’t got back, however, is the ability to pace myself. Now I need pressure to be able to work so I leave everything until the last minute. I spend days procrastinating, knowing that deadlines are looming but I wait and do nothing until the axe begins swinging over my head. It’s a terrible way to work but I haven’t managed to snap out of it.

The reason why I bring this up is because I have six months to finally get the second book wrapped up. Six months isn’t actually a lot of time for most authors but to me, it seems like an eternity. And that worries me. I don’t want to suddenly snap into action in May 2009 and find that a month isn’t enough to perfect the book. I want to work on it today and tomorrow and every day, and polish it to the point of perfection. Instead, I find myself procrastinating. 

I’m going to try and stop being this flake I don’t recognise. I’m going to try and go back to the person who was organised, stable and knew exactly where she was going and what time she was getting there (though I don’t know if I’ll recognise her since she never spoke in the twattish third person).

I’ll buy my winter coat and take it from there.


* I actually also think Ice Ice Baby is a good song but admitting that kinda dilutes my opinion about Under Pressure… and makes me look like a bit of a troglodyte.


Under a Woman's Skin

I bought The Writing’s on the Wall, I went to see Destiny’s Child at Wembley in 2001 and I marvelled at BeyoncĂ©’s talent and ability. But, as her fame and ubiquity grew, I went off her because I got a little sick of hearing her name. It was only recently when I watched the video to If I Were a Boy that I was reminded of just how talented she is.

She puts across a simple message in a striking way: If I were a boy, I would be a better man than you.

It struck a chord because I’ve been at the wrong end of that kind of relationship. Anyone who has dated a superflirt will know what I mean. 

People have called me a flirt. Some say I‘m a little flirt, others say I’m an outrageous flirt. Some say I flirt insidiously, others say I flirt indiscriminately. One has even said that I flirt with girls as much as I flirt with guys. But, no matter how much of a flirt people think I am, I’m nothing compared to the superflirt. 

Every woman reading this will know a man like this. He is the one that girls flock to at a party. He is the one that is charming and funny and disarming. He may not be the best looking guy at a party but he’ll be talking to the best looking girl while you look over, quietly gritting your teeth because he’s meant to be with YOU. 

He will dance with a woman, compliment another on her hair or her eyes, tease another about how short her dress is, all the while tripping others up with his dimples or crooked smile or whatever secret weapon he was bestowed with. These men see nothing wrong with their behaviour. They think it’s harmless fun and label their women as insecure if they complain. 

And that’s why Beyonce’s video works so well. It asks the simple question: how would you feel if I behaved the way you do? The video might make a few superflirts question their ways but I don’t think they can help themselves; I actually do think it is in their nature and I’m not exactly a great believer in The Changing of Ways.

To the women who are in this kind of relationship, I guess I’d say I feel sorry for you because I’m no longer stuck with a superflirt. 

But I’m also a little jealous of you.


Now, the Backlash?

It took me a while to warm to Barack Obama. I hadn’t read either of his books and didn’t know enough about him to hail him as the Saviour of America and All That Is Beyond like everyone else around me.

The turning point came when I heard him talk about Iraq and Pakistan – not because his foreign policy resonated with me, but because he pronounced ‘Iraq’ correctly instead of calling it ‘eye-rak’ like Bush et. al. I know the reasoning is silly, but I *have* previously admitted that my political opinions are based mostly (if not entirely) on strange reasoning and irrelevant factors – my mantra during the US election was ‘McCain isn’t a leader. He has no neck!’.

Obama’s win was definitely surprising and inspiring to many people, but he’ll have to be something between a saint and a superhero to live up to the hype. If we know anything about the media, it is that they build people up because they love tearing them down so much.

Can Obama survive the backlash? Yes (he can). Can he really soothe the world’s ills? I doubt it, but I hope he has the strength and mettle to be a principled president. I hope he is sympathetic towards Palestine and diplomatic with Iran. I hope he makes things better. There’s no reason why he can’t. He does, after all, have an ample neck.