Seven Years of Self Deprecation Whoop Whoop

So. Big day. Ish. I don’t really remember doing it, but today is this site’s seventh birthday. SEVEN. We’re talking horcrux numbers here. Substantial marriage numbers. A long time.

I was going to celebrate with a Tweet, but I figured that I might as well get my money’s worth over here… also I just noticed that the current header that I don’t hate is wonky, because the photo I took is wonky.

Indifferent Ignorance dodgy header

I am going to leave it there to see how many people notice. Happy Halloween!

Very Chill Friday Nights w/Frank Iero

Today I was so busy I didn’t have a shower until 2pm, Frank Iero’s new record is playing and I still don’t hate this layout. I feel like that is more than enough excitement for a Friday, although I might go and add something to the sidebar to really push the boat out. I haven’t not showered in the morning for months, because one of the reasons I’ve not excelled as a freelancer is that I never took myself seriously as a freelancer and I’ve tried to change that with a SOLID ROUTINE, but… today I overslept. Quite a lot.

Look, I bought extra-soft pyjamas recently and my bed is very comfortable. My body clearly needed me to stay asleep and have a really weird dream about putting my boyfriend into the path of an oncoming train. Molly from Sherlock was the bad guy. Chantal Claret was there.

I don’t have a boyfriend and I’m pretty sure Molly from Sherlock is the only thoroughly decent character in the show. But it was almost nice to neck two coffees and two teas in about three hours while I tried to remember I’m supposed to be earning money – kind of a throwback to the shitty old days when I had clients who didn’t pay for four solid months and I’d stay up late frantically Googling ways to make my Etsy more profitable.

I don’t think I’ll miss that when I go to Asia. Wait. Did I mention I’m going to Asia? I can’t remember who I’ve told.

I’m going to Asia!

In January. With my younger-ish brother and a backpack. I didn’t want to talk about it until we booked tickets, but now we have and it’s real and I need external reassurance I won’t get lost in a town in Laos or fall into one of the jars at the Plain of Jars or accidentally offend the Thai people by saying the wrong thing about their late king.

I will definitely talk more about this in the coming months, but right now I can hear my pyjamas calling and I accidentally pulled my wrist playing with dumbbells, so I will leave this here.

May your Friday evening be as ridiculously low key as mine is. And let me know if you know a good backpack retailer.

‘Fuck Australia’ and Other Things I Might Regret Putting on the Internet (ft. #Parade10)

If you’ve followed this blog more more than about six months, you’ll have noticed that I can’t commit. To anything. Blog wise, I mean (whether or not I can commit to anything else is going to take another post). And if you were here before about three hours ago, you’ll have noticed that I’ve changed the layout. Again. Sort of. It’s brighter than it was. I got fed up with the overbearing header so I changed it to… a stock photo of a city that came with the WordPress theme. I’m not sure which city it is. It might not even be a city. The marketing person in me wants to go and make a branded header right now, but I like that it’s kind of anonymous. I might replace it tomorrow… I might not. NOTHING IS FIXED IN THIS WORLD EXCEPT MY DESIRE TO LISTEN TO MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE.

Speaking of.

Sunday was #Parade10, aka Lots of People I’ve Known for Years on the Internet Hung Out and Nearly Cried Watching Old Footage of a Semi-Vintage Band. I met up with people I saw at #Revenge10 and have actually tried to stay in touch this time. I met entirely new people and will try to stay in touch this time. Coincidentally Sunday was also six years since this happened. Six entire years since MCR debuted Danger Days at the Hammersmith Apollo and I heard The Kids From Yesterday and thought  ‘I think that makes me a kid of today’. Since I’m not quite at the age MCR were when they wrote Kids, I refuse to acknowledge that I’m not still, like, the youth, even though I feel fucking old when I look at the top 40 (is it still actually called that). But I guess the youth don’t partake in videos saying ‘fuck Australia’, so.

Upsides to the Falling Pound: £4.08 a Month Could Buy you a Dramatic Reading of this Very Sentence.

Good news!

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I’ve really struggled to make my Patreon profile something that’s distinct from my other pages, and to think up rewards and goals that are fun for everyone. I don’t have any distinct reasons for having a Patreon at the moment; it used to be up there to fund research projects specifically or admin fees specifically but I realised I was probably overthinking things (this has been a theme in my life lately). So, as my life plans are no longer concrete and I’ve decided not to stress out about work any more – at least not to the point I used to, where I would have such high expectations for a blog post that a five thousand word essay wouldn’t cut it – my page is currently a tip jar. If you like my work, pledge a dollar. Cancel it the next month if you want to. I’m not sure what I’ll be making in the near future, but you’ll be helping me make it… especially if making that thing  requires an overpriced train ticket, overpriced printer ink or an overpriced evening class.

As I don’t have any particular plans, the goals section is now about you guys, which it should have been all along. If we reach five dollars a post I’ll do a dramatic reading of an old blog on the tubes; if we reach fifty I’ll read an old fan fiction. If it ever reaches a hundred I’ll make dramatic blog readings a thing indefinitely. I do not completely understand the ins and outs of the pound’s recent fall in value, but I do know that if you pledge today in sterling you could watch me read this out loud for less than the price of lunch at Costa Coffee.

It’s a no brainer, innit.

If you have any ideas for good rewards, let me know what you would entice you and I’ll see if I can add it in!

So Marie Kondo Probably Has Competition

It’s been a week since I last blogged oops. I’ve got a genuine reason instead of the usual ‘I couldn’t think of anything to say and that GWay gif is wearing thin’; I’ve been so busy the week has flown by. And because I’m feeling smug, here are some of the things I’ve been up to lately:

Getting really well acquainted with my local postbox

I’ve had the busiest week on Etsy since February… there’s just something about Halloween that makes people very open to stickers which include the phrase witch ‘n’ bitch.

Francesca's Words Hell's Belles Halloween stickers

Clearing out ridiculously overstocked bedroom cupboards

I can’t show you a photo of my newly organised shelves, because I don’t really want to admit how many toiletry bags I own, but let’s just say that binning a handful of broken hairbands and two years’ worth of Private Eyes (don’t worry, I recycle), putting one adhesive hook into a wardrobe and buying a couple of plastic filing cabinets is both good for your mental health and ridiculously tiring. I’ve even put an empty box in my room to fill with things I don’t need any more, and as a natural hoarder I’m quite surprised (and totally ready to #humblebrag) that I’ve filled and emptied it about four times. I’ve still got clothes to go through, a couple of cupboards that I’m not brave enough to look at yet and way, way too many socks… but I highly advocate browsing Pinterest for cute storage ideas and going through your shit occasionally.

Oh I went dancing

Solid tens. Also, I won a pamper day in a raffle. Pretty sure it’d take more than a day to rescue all my cuticles, ease out the knot in my shoulder and cleanse my inner soul, but you gotta start somewhere…

Reading Game of Thrones

So now I understand the fuss about Ned Stark.

I must dash, I have stickers to post. Oh and if anyone has any tips for getting a lot of storage out of a small space, hit me up.

Turns of Phrase That Can Go Fuck Themselves (part one, probably)

Look, we all hate certain words and phrases. Here are some that make me automatically loathe the person using them.

The word ‘poorly’

One is ill, or sick, or unwell, or puking, or suffering from a mild boat of putrid throat. I don’t think one is ever really poorly, because it only seems to be brandished about when well-meaning adults want to tell you about a serious illness but don’t want to frighten you with actual details.

We got it at school when teachers told us how ‘Michaela is feeling a little poorly today’. Translation:  ‘Michaela recently drank chemicals from the science kit in the toy box and is now vomiting blood but we don’t want you to panic.’

‘The dog’s a bit poorly at the moment, he’s in with the vet.’ Translation: ‘we’ll probably have to euthanise but we don’t want you to cry until it’s absolutely unavoidable.’

Or it’s used during stories of when I was in an incubator getting my left lung drained. ‘Oh darling you were quite poorly!’ exclaims Theresa. Translation: Theresa is not emotionally equipped to express what she’s thinking without using the words ‘that’s completely shit and the world is fucking awful sometimes’.

Theresa, I won’t mind if you say ‘that’s completely shit’. Because, even when you are trying to prepare your nine year old for the possibility their beloved pet is about to go on his final walk, there is rarely a kind way to cover up the truth. Maybe find an alternative word for shit, though.

People who say ‘pee’ instead of ‘pence’

As in ‘the Browns have pawned their grandma’s china and earned themselves thirty four pounds and fifteen pee.’

No dude it’s written 15p

because it is an abbreviation

the word is pence

as in, Mike the dickhead governor.

The word ‘bugbear’

You could say the it’s my bugbear.

Tim Minchin Jesus Christ Superstar
I have no idea where this is from but THANK YOU to whoever made it you gem.

But seriously where did it come from? ‘Pet hate’ makes sense. We all have little, ultimately insignificant irritations in our lives that we love to moan about. We adore and cherish these little dislikes, and sometimes we cultivate them into something we’re known for, like ‘never chew with your mouth open in front of Sally’. Mine include: my neighbour who got a driveway but always parks in the space the rest of us could use, Tumblr users who forget the world exists outside their ideal of it and people who think I’ll embrace Brexit. Oh, and the word poorly. We need pet hates because they distract us from big hates, like Donald Trump’s supporters, and if we focused on them we would wish we were dead.

But bugbear needs to fuck off.

What are your most hated words and phrases? Do other people even have any? COMPLAIN BELOW.

Christmas in September, and Other Small Ways I Damn My Soul to Hell

I wasn’t sure of a lot growing up – books disintegrate in the bath some days, but on others they just go crackly and if that’s not a sign the universe is a risky place, I don’t know what is –  but I was sure of one thing: Christmas marketing in September is for wankers. There is a pure and fiery place in hell for the motherfuckers in charge of Clintons and Smiths and Sainsburys who decide to introduce Christmas stock before schools go back. Before Halloween. Before I’m ready to put my shorts away and get out my scarves.

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Winter is coming, hiss advent calendars and crackers. The year is nearly over, whisper tablecloths and novelty teapots. We want to access your bank account and bleed you dry, murmur the fake Christmas trees.

DIE IN A HOLE, I retort as I browse for factor 15 or Halloween confetti or regular teapots. YOU WILL NEVER CONVINCE ME THAT CHRISTMAS SHOULD START UNTIL AFTER BONFIRE NIGHT.

I feel like this every year. It’s bad enough that Christmas is expensive and loses its magic a bit more every year; I won’t be bullied into buying cheap seasonal cushion covers. And yet recently I’ve realised that I’m well on my way to becoming a giant hypocrite. I preach, but I don’t practise.

Because here’s a fact they don’t pin to gondolas in Debenhams: when you run a shop, even a tiny one on Etsy, Christmas has to start in July at the latest. It has to. Because if you start it any later, you may as spend the rest of the year with your feet up, picturing money you’ll never hold going down the drain.

There’s stock to order and goals to set, last year’s stats to analyse and shipping times to work out. There’s Black Friday game plans and seasonal packaging, contingency plans and Instagram graphics.There’s custom orders versus regular ones, craft fair table decorations and notes on scrap paper as you calculate how much cash you can tie up in products that might sell. If you’re an artist and you carve out time in your day to make art, you carve up that part of the day to become an accountant, a marketing manager, a PR officer, an HR admin – even more than you would the rest of the year. You worry over minute photo details, because that’s where the devil lives, and rewrite product descriptions until you fall in love with a postcard you’ve seen every day for a year. You sign up to newsletters to learn about ‘streamlining your shipping station’ and ‘managing your brand’.

You actually find it kind of fun, because the aim is to earn as much money from your art as you can during the most affluent time of year… and if you were happy just to make the art, you wouldn’t have started an Etsy shop.

By the first of October, you think you’ve got it. You’ve got notes and stock and to do lists and you can picture yourself emerging from the January sales with triumphant fistfuls of profit that make those fourteen hour work days worth it.

And then you remember –

Halloween is in a few weeks. It’s supposed to be your dry run.

You’d better dig out last year’s stats and grab your confetti. The time for targeted marketing isn’t 6th November, it’s now.

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You’re all getting little plastic bats if you order from me until the 31st. You might get little plastic snowflakes in November and December. There’s money in the nation’s pockets and I’d rather it went to me than to Debenhams.

I probably deserve to get cheap seasonal cushion covers for Christmas, but I promise I will never try to sell you a novelty tea pot.