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Bum.

Did I really just start a blog on my fancy-laid-out-pretty-site with the word ‘Bum’?

It appears I did!

And I say ‘Bum’ for good reason, because this wasn’t the post you were meant to be reading at all!

You were meant to be reading an amazing, impassioned post on music, Mogwai and the influence  music had on writing Gunshot Glitter, which I’d poured a load of energy, humour, thought and TLC into.  I met Stuart Braithwaite ( Lord God of Mogwai) a few weeks ago, and I wanted to regale you with the whole thing as all my friends know I am a huge, huge fan of Scotland‘s finest sons.

Me and The Lord God of Mogwai

(Me and Stuart Braithwaite from Mogwai filmed by my friend Trevor. What the blog was originally meant to be about. Look how happy we are!)

But you can’t because my laptop and memory stick packed in and I lost the whole lot this week along with some edits to Gunshot Glitter.

Not good. Not retrievable. Not cool.  At all.  On top of that Comet jerked me around.  Not going to bore you with that saga except to say, put your foot down when an early birthday gift machine arrives with a 3 cell battery when it was advertised as a 6.  You should always get what you pay for.  End off. I’m a Taurean and you don’t mess with a bull, when it’s been handed the raw end of deal. We dig in.  Grrrr.  And all that.  Tis sorted now ; )

So what do we have here instead?  I was just having a bath and thinking about a Twitter exchange I’d had last week with a social media expert laddio called Daniel Honey who told me about falling over a bin once, because he was so starstruck at having spotted hairy comedian, Bill Bailey, in the street, and then after having a good laugh at that vision, I told him a story of my own that made him sit up and take notice.  It’s right there in the title of this post. So, I was lying there in my Body Shop Moringa foamy glory, having a right old chuckle, and thought I know what I’ll do..

I’m going to share three of the most inexplicable things I’ve ever done in the last fifteen years instead.  Yes!  This writer who’s written a dark, haunting, gritty, emotional, genre-defying, contemporary read of death, sex, love and the consequences of your actions debut novel, trust me that is what it is,  that you’re going to read about if we ever have a summer, is going to shoot all her credibility in the foot, right now.

Except I’m not : )  Because I honestly reckon humility is sexy, and it’s good to have the confidence to laugh at yourself, and not stress about your face looking perfect all the bloody time, and whether that man or woman you fancy, will think any less of you for doing something that makes you come across as a bit of a muppet. Because the chances are, they’ve probably done stuff in life that’s far more embarrassing than you!  And I personally find beautiful people even prettier when they can make me laugh, and put their hands up, when they’ve been a doofus, it’s the other kind I can’t abide.

So, I’m going to make you smile!   I get the feeling we could do with that, from the things I’ve been hearing all around me this week –  and of course after the week I’ve had myself.  Some people are having a serious time of it.  And lordy has it rained in Blighty!!  Rain, rain, rain, bloody rain and wind and then a burst of all too brief sunshine and then another bucket-load of rain!  So if you’ve had a tough time this is my gift to you okay?

I’m going to tell you the story I told Daniel Honey and just for good measure, I’m going to tell you two and a bit more, and then I’m going to power up my new baby, Betty Blue, and soldier on with Gunshot Glitter.

Enjoy the post and if you’ve ever done anything you think is daft or dafter than this, speak now and share it with me.  I want to know!  I could do with a laugh too!!  No one else will ever know but me, you, and everyone else online.  But that’s alright isn’t it? ; )

 Okay. I’ll go first:

A) The Day I Decided to Water the Peace-Lily

I’m going to make a confession, I used to be really lazy with how I went about doing something and if I got away with it, I’d just keep on doing it. Why stop if you can wing it, right?  However, that all changed the day the day I decided to water the Peace Lily.  When I bought the Castle back in 1997, I was gifted many things in the name of house-warming.  One of them was a Peace-Lily; my old Uni friend, Mike, knowing my love for flora and fauna took me off to Homebase across the road and invited me to pick out a plant.  So I did.

And before you go off thinking I’m some green fingered goddess.  I’m not.  I wish!  You’re talking to the well-intentioned serial killer of four Gardenia Jasmines.  I don’t dare even look at them any more and I love those fragrant houses of heady scent so much.

Don't. It still hurts!

Sigh.  Anyway, where was I ?  Right, Peace-Lily.  Yes.  It grew and grew, it got re-potted.  It used to sit on the microwave in the kitchen, but got so large the stalks bent under the shelves.

So, I moved it into the lounge and plonked it on the telly.  I had this Ferguson TV.  This great, massive, old stylee chunky thing that needed two people to lift it.  It weighed a TON.  It was solid and I loved it.   It was the first TV I’d ever had of my own.  I never had one in my bedroom as a kid like many of my friends did.  I never had one at Uni either, except for the time my friend Tryfon lent me his as he found himself too distracted by it.  I remember buying mine, ex-rental along with a video recorder for £150 as a deal package.  I was so chuffed with myself.

So the TV became place-holder to the Peace-Lily.  And the Peace-Lily, as it grew, got very, very heavy.  Lifting it on and off, to water it got harder and harder, so I started to water it carefully while it was on the TV.  Normally, I’d do it in the base of the holder, so the roots just drew in the water.  So far, dubious, but still on the right side of sensible, right?

I did this on a regular basis.  The TV was fine, because it was strong like bull, the plant got lots of natural light, and then one day I did something different. To this day I don’t know what possessed me to do it.  But I watered it from the top.  And the leaves which branched out, acted like a water slide at a theme park –  and sent the water over the side rather than down into the soil.  Yep, right all over the TV underneath.

I am Peace-Lily. I will kill your Television if you let me.

The TV did not like that very much and immediately stopped working.  It had a weird extra layer of glass over the front which the water had flooded.  I was absolutely mortified with myself.  I felt like the biggest doofus on the planet.  I was almost too embarrassed to tell anyone what I’d done.  But in the end I had to, as there was no way I’d know what the hell I could do to be able to fix it.  I confessed what I’d done to my friend James, and James, gallant man that he is took it away to have a go at fixing it.  He gave me an old Pye TV set instead to tide me over.  The poor Ferguson never came back. James ended up dropping it one day and it broke for good.  RIP Yasmin Selena’s 1st TV.

B) The Day I Decided To Call My Brother

It doesn’t sound that dangerous does it?  Making a phone call?  Unless it’s to someone in that movie in Ring which means of course they’re going to die in the next seven days, eek.

Back in 2009 I’d finished my last Marketing role and had booked myself a holiday to the Maldives.  After that, it was going to be Gunshot Glitter for the win!  It sounds very indulgent, but the recession had really, really knocked prices back. It was seriously a steal. Less than £900 for 2 weeks all inclusive with Kuoni.  Flights, food, everything. I’d not been back since 2003, when I’d worked out there as a teacher, so to me, The Maldives, has a home-from-home attachment feel.  It will always be special.

So I’d gone to Gatwick airport and I had time to kill.  Back then me and my older brother, Tariq, had hung out a lot in each other’s company.  (My work often meant it was more practical to stay with him in the week.  Commutes from the armpit of the universe could be heinous otherwise. )  We both share a very childish, off-kilter sense of humour, it’s very much a family thing.  There is a lot of silliness that my friends have loved being a part of when it happens.  For example, the time me and Tariq watched the same clip of Mrs Hertz in 70s B Movie –  The Manitou on DVD, starring Tony Curtis over and over again and just couldn’t stop laughing.  I still remember coming back from seeing Mogwai headline at Field Day with Steve and Trevor and us all watching this:

Watch the first four minutes. It’s cinematic gold it is : )

So what I did next seemed like a very natural thing to do!  Can you sense I’m trying to get you on side here?  I decided in my infinite wisdom it would be a right lark to ring my brother from the Ladies loo in Gatwick airport and get him to guess where I was calling him from!  I’m actually laughing typing this because it was such a juvenile thing to do.  I wasn’t even a kid when I did it! I was all of 36!!  And you know what happened don’t you?  I dropped my lovely Samsung U600 mobile down the toilet.  I don’t even think I was holding it, somehow it just jumped out of my jeans pocket.  And no, I had not done a wee or even worse a poo, thank God.  It landed with an ominous, terrifying plop in a clean bowl and I literally was rooted to the spot, staring at it thinking, did that honestly just happen?!

Yes. Just like this.

I fished it out, and wound layer after layer of loo roll around it.  This wasn’t the first phone I’d lost to a watery death.  My beloved Nokia got flooded out in the Maldives during an aggressive thunderstorm and I thought as I tucked the sodden phone away –  me, the Maldives and mobiles really don’t mix.  I called Tariq from a payphone and after laughing at me, he said there was a chance it might still work, to dry it out and see what happened.  So that was what I did.  Amazingly, he was right. Day by day, little by little, the phone seemed to rejuvenate and repair itself.

For every day of my holiday I would tenderly wipe the parts over and hold it up high to the AC Unit to give it a break from the humidity.

Not thinking about the Samsung U600 I almost drowned.

I remember that the space key between characters took 10 days to come back.  So it meant I was writing texts like a mad, intense person that read like this:

HiImHavingAReallyGoodTimeInTheMaldives…

So, I stuck full stops in-between all the words I think, as I’m not even sure if the capslock key was working by then?  Miraculously, on the day I flew home, fourteen days after the accident, the phone was fine.  In fact it’s still the model I use today.  No magic phone for me for now!  The only thing that never recovered was the torchlight facility and that was gutting, I loved that. But serves me right for trying to be all smart and ring my brother from a toilet in Gatwick Airport!  All things considered I know I got off pretty lightly.

C) The Day I Tried To Make The Castle Smell Nice… aka The Day I Set My TV On Fire

It only seems right that I save the best story to last.  And trust me I wouldn’t be sharing it with you if it had had a different outcome.  I’d be a religious zealot somewhere living out a life of purgatory for the guilt I’d be feeling!

I'd have set up residence here

It was Christmas Day, 2009 I think?  I’d been invited to spend it with my best friend and his family in Cambridge, but I couldn’t because I was ill.  I had a really bad chest bug infection thing, which meant my asthma would be really dodgy to boot and they had two gorgeous cats who could unwittingly finish me off, as there was no way I’d be able to stay away from them, as I love felines.  So I opted to be at home and watch TV and enjoy Xmas with the Browns on the end of a phone-line instead.  But I figured, why not make it as special a day as possible?  I decided I would eat well, treat myself and make the day as magical as possible.  So I got out joss sticks and placed them in strategic spots in the Castle.  I also got some rolled, powdery scent sticks out, which you light and then let smoulder. I broke a large handful and split them between two old Gu ramekin dessert dishes.

I put one on a TV and one on my Fridge Freezer and got on with washing the dishes.

About six minutes later I heard an odd ‘cracking’ sound, like something had snapped, it was really weird.  I’d never heard anything like it before.  I pondered it and then started drying my hands and then went to investigate. To my horror, the glass ramekin had shattered and the scent sticks were smouldering a red-hot,  burny, little treat and had melted a hole in my telly the size of a child’s fist.

I do believe the words ‘Fuck! Fuck, fuck!!!,’ might have passed my lips.  The set was off at the time and the hole was widening and melting by the second.  I honestly didn’t have a clue what to do.  It’s not everyday you melt a whacking, great, big hole in your telly!!  But my gut said that stopping the smouldering would probably be sensible.  So I got a dish cloth, wet it, rung it out and cleaned the debris off and cooled the TV down.  Then to add to the rabbit-heart-about-to-burst-in-my-chest explosion of stress.  I heard another massive snap from the back room.  The same thing had happened on the Fridge Freezer, luckily that machine was made of sterner stuff and thanks to a quick sprint over, no damage was done.  I realised the mistake I’d made was using the wrong kind of glass container.  I’ve done this before, this burny-scent-stick-thing, but in a double-layered glass vessel, which I’m guessing is better insulated to heat?

But I was mortified at myself.  My poor, beloved, blameless TV, which I’d bought brand new back in 2004, expected me to be wise and take care of it, and I swear I felt so guilty, like a bad mum who’d let their kid roll of the changing table and crack it’s head on the floor, when her back was turned.  I honestly meant my TV no harm!  I just wanted the Castle to smell really nice on Christmas Day.  Not of burning plastic!!  The real thing I was absolutely cacking myself over was whether my poor, beloved TV still worked.  I agonised over turning it on.  I had visions of my flat blowing up if I did.  I peered inside that cavernous hole to see if any circuits looked dodgy, but I really couldn’t tell.  After a while I decided to just go for it.  I switched it on.

Amazingly it worked, it was a huge relief you have NO idea how good it felt. I might even have hugged it and whispered how I’d never let anything as bad as that ever happen to it again.  I was so grateful.  I get really attached to things and feel a real sense of responsibility.  So that was a memorable Christmas Day to put it mildly.  And as for that hole, it’s a permanent reminder to be a bit more careful and you can’t actually see it, as I have fat-bottomed big Russian doll whose hiney, fits quite neatly over the hole.  But if you ever visit the castle, if you ask me nicely I might well show it to you.

Now you see it...

...and now you don't!

So, there you have it. Three tales of pyromaniac danger, juvenile doofusness and how it doesn’t pay to be a lazy soul when watering your plants. Tales that showed I took Ned’s Atomic Dustbin‘s mantra of ‘Kill Your Television‘ a little too literally!

So I’ll stop there. Except for this, as everyone likes a bonus deal. Here’s your bonus.  When I was 24, I once hammered a nail into the wall above my bedroom light switch, because I wanted to hang a postcard of a semi-naked Courtney Love feeding Frances Bean Cobain above it.  I am a huge fan of Hole. Brixton Academy 1999: Gig of My Life!

Woman, you were almost my undoing!!

It turned out, doing this was not a good idea, as all the lights immediately went out through out my flat.  My friend Mike was so concerned when I told him I’d seen a big spark of blue when it happened, he asked me to stay still and not touch anything until he arrived.  And he didn’t live around the corner, he lived in Essex.  The guy was a true knight in shining armour to be honest.

Over the years, I’ve learned to be a lot more savvy, sensible and practical you’ll be happy to hear.  And if you’re not relieved to hear it, trust me I am! So, when you’re an adult and you think you know it all, and your: sky-high, hi-falooting-tooting Mensa level IQ, qualifies you to be a smug so and so, who sits there with steepled fingers, in judgement of the world, with a serious looking Twitter/Facebook/Google+/Blogging profile photo, and you’re smarter than that bollock you read about in the news, who managed to skewer his other bollock on a churchyard railing, trust me there is nothing as sobering as dropping your fancy, swish phone down the toilet to show you who’s boss in this Universe!  And believe me, it isn’t you!

Even if you airbrush all your photos to within an inch of their lives. You’re never going be perfect. But after you’ve got over the embarrassment, the blushes and the desire to bury your head in shame, and go ‘Aaaaarrrgghhhhh!!!!‘ – you’ll laugh. Because face it, it’s funny.

And humility is sexy, people.  Never forget it : )  It makes you warm and approachable with all your human glory and dignity nicely intact.  People who are cool with who they are and have a bit of humility, when they get it oh-so-very-wrong, but don’t let it slow them down too much, are the sexiest people of all I reckon.  Because you’ve got to live a little instead of worrying about what other people think all the time. Sexy people are only cool most of the time, not all the time. Even Ryan Gosling does a poo, just because I’ve never seen it doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen!

So those are my stories lovely reader of my blog.  I hope you enjoyed them. Now, it’s over to you, if you’re feeling brave ; )

Yasmin Selena ; ) xx

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