Monday, 28 June 2010

Woke up v early this morning and couldn't help checking out my in-box for new matches. There is something addictive about the dating website no matter how terrible it is. Anyway, found a classic guy who needed putting in his place. Here's what he says in his profile:

'I am an artist and musician. i love all genres of music, I am a black american i recently lived in los angeles however now i live in stretford. I have 2 sons 10 and 13 who live with my exwife who my best friend. I have lived in 4 countries usa, germany, japan, and uk. I love to cook, give erotic messages and i love to dance.

Actually, Im really looking for Ms Right, she's a Beautiful voluptuous, full figured, ginger/redhead friend and lover. She is a great kisser with a beautiful smile. She has a galaxy of freckles and pale irish complexion, she makes me weak in the knees! She is creative, witty and intelligent, she is kind and considerate. She is a lady in the appropriate places and the opposite of a lady in the appropriate places. Preferably she lives in or around Greater Manchester.

Olenka Diamond had to respond to that! Here's what I put:

'Hi there,

Just thought I'd let you know you will struggle to find a voluptuous redhead. Freckly redheads tend to be quite flat-chested but if you simply can't get turned on by anyone who hasn't got red hair some ladies might be pursuaded to use a dye. Personally I favour deep copper in autumn but I'm generally blonde.

If you don't mind I will also pull you up on your spelling of 'massage'. I am assuming you give erotic massages, not messages, which is what this is. You can also send them by text if you have the girl's number.

I hope you are enjoying Manchester. I have travelled to many places, but LA was never one of them. However from the shallow nature of your profile it is clear that the real kind of people who live in North England should go some way to helping you get over your past!'

I wonder if he'll respond?

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Beauty vs Age

How on the ball the universe is at humbling us. I have just read my last blog entry back to myself and I promise never to mock the young again. For Readers, yesterday I met with the man I described so positively and I feel violated at having done so. Call me naive, but it turns out this guy is an out and out liar.

I set off on my date in good spirits; walking boots at the ready, sunroof open, windows down, tunes blasting. I arrive at the meeting point, a car park just off a motorway junction half an hour's drive from my place, with a sense of trepidation laced with excitement. I spot him straight away and am slightly confused. He is in a clapped out old Escort, not a car I would expect someone in senior management at British Aerospace to drive. I pull up next to him, steel myself and get out of the car, as does he. 'Hi, did you find it OK?' he asks. Somehow he doesn't really look much like either of his photos but I can't quite put my finger on why.

'Yeah, no problem,' I say, glad he doesn't come over to peck me on the cheek or anything. Luckily he must already have realised I am well out of his league.

'So, what do you fancy?'he asks. ('Not you,' I think.) 'A small walk and then a pint?' I am one of those people who can't hide what they're really thinking. My face is a truly open book. I couldn't lie if I was being paid to, so I assume it was my pained expression which lead him to then say, 'Or do you just feel like going straight home?'

The honest answer? Tempting but no. I've only just come out. It's a child-free weekend and that's the last thing I'm going to do. Besides, I can't help feeling that to just leave right now is somehow rude and might send him into deep depression. So I sigh and say, 'Well, I'm here now. Let's go for a little walk then.' I roll my eyes theatrically so he doesn't think I'm coming on to him.

'OK,' he says, 'It's beautiful here. God's country.'

'Right,' I say. We're just outside Chorley, for Chrissake.

'Well, hop into my car then, and we'll drive to White Coppice.'

I firmly refuse, pointing out that my walking boots are in my car and therefore I will drive them and follow him. Five minutes later we have parked up a narrow country lane near a cricket field. 'A friend of mine owns this cricket club,' he says as I put my walking boots on, wondering how desperate I really am for a hike in the hills. 'And most of the land around it.'

'Is he happy?' I ask, unimpressed. He's wearing trainers, jeans, and a collared green Airtex shirt, unbuttoned to his chest, which far from rippling boasts only a small tacky gold medallion and pube-like white chest hairs. I'm relieved to notice he's carrying a bag way too small to hold an axe, gun, or any other potentially deadly weapon.

We start walking towards the start of a wooded footpath and I clock he is pouring with sweat. The back of his T-shirt is already soaked. You'd think that being Jamaican-born he'd be better adapted than most to British heatwaves. I am amazed at how insignificant his muscles are given how much he works out. I notice he's limping.

'I went over on my ankle in training this morning,' he explains.

'Are you sure you can manage a walk?' I ask, sifting for excuses.

'I'm fine, I'm fine,' he says. 'It's beautiful here.'

We carry on. The forest entrance is almost upon us and he stumbles. It's all I can take.

'I'm sorry,' I say. 'I don't feel comfortable about this. I'm not going on the walk.'

'Oh, right,' he says. 'Why is that?' He's looking at me lecherously now. I'm just glad his physique wouldn't be capable of carrying out his fantasies, forest or not.

'Well, I'm really in tune and this doesn't feel right,' I tell him firmly.

'In tune with what?' he asks.

'Oh, y'know, energies. I think you're lying about yourself in your profile.'

We're walking back towards the cars now and I couldn't be more relieved.

'That's interesting,' he says. 'What do you think I'm lying about?'

'Your height, for start!' I say. 'No way are you six foot two. You're not even six foot.'

'Um. I was six foot one last time I measured,' he mumbles.

'Well, either your tape measure is faulty or you have shrunk since. It happens in old age,' I point out. 'Because that's other thing you're lying about. You're obviously loads older than 41.'

He struggles to respond, and keep up with me. 'Look, it doesn't matter,' I say, eventually letting him off the hook. 'Isn't there a pub nearby we can just have a pint in and leave it at that?'

One of the brilliant things about being Olenka Diamond is that a party is only ever a phonecall away. We sit by a canal, he buys me a pint and while he's at the bar I text a friend in coastal Lytham, my home town - I am halfway there already and I know it is Club Day, the annual excuse for everyone to lie out on the green and get absolutely hammered. She calls back immediately urging me to come over. The place is rocking. I am saved.

I inform him of my next move, feeling I have been more polite than necessary given the circumstances. I think he is also somewhat relieved, and proceeds to bore me to death with talk of how his other car isn't working, how he designed a new type of Bentley in his last job, and how he converted a bus into a horsebox in the one before that.

I down my pint and break the speed limit by 20 miles an hour to get to the seaside party. Check out the photo. Who needs Glastonbury? Or dating sites, for that matter!

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Age vs Beauty

It's Saturday afternoon, Britain is experiencing a fantastically hot summer so if anyone starts complaining in September with the usual moan of 'Summer? What summer?' I will show them my entire tan.

My head is starting to get itself together after the festivities of last weekend at Stone Henge, but really I don't think I will ever be quite the same again. The whole experience has put me on such a high I couldn't face going back to being a mum so I handed the kids over to their dad till tomorrow or Monday, depending on what he deems appropriate. I figured the kids have already had two fabulous holidays because of me this year and now it is my turn.

Readers, I must report that being without my fantastic but demanding children for over a week it is incredible just how much time, energy and money I have got to lavish upon myself and my hedonistic persuits. I haven't had to go to a supermarket once. I haven't even had to do any shopping. The fridge still seems to have loads of food in it. I've only washed up once and the kitchen is still clean. For once, I had the time to tidy the house and spent a leisurely two hours doing so with splendid results which have remained splendid a whole 24 hours later. Of course, I wouldn't change having the kids FOR THE WORLD but to have a break like this, in the middle of a fantastic British Summer is thoroughly rejuvenating and I am sure will enable me to resume my mothering duties with a new found calm and inner peace.

On a lighter note, I have just checked my in-box on the dating site. There are so many messages to trawl through I doubt I'd ever find time to answer them all, but I am pleased to report that there are quite a few fit young boys out there who are interested in meeting me. They seem to think the age difference won't matter (just goes to show how much they still have to learn) but, bless them, I can't pretend the attention isn't flattering. Ladies, if you are trying to decide whether or not to sign up to a dating site here is an example of what you could have if you did: My youngest suitor is an 18 year old man from just up the road looking for a long term relationship, which in itself I find quite odd. He says, and I quote: 'I am 6'3, built athletic' (good start) 'i decided to message you because you are very attractive' (again, totally correct here) 'i know there is a bit of an age difference but age is just a number' Readers, am I the only one to think this really isn't the case? I mean, what does he think I've been doing during the two extra decades I have on the guy? How would he cope with my having had an acting career in Berlin after the Wall went down? Or with my widespread world travels? All the gigs I've been to? All the festies? Not to mention the countless lovers? Would he be able to converse with me about any of the zillions of books I've read? Or could he excite me with his musical knowledge or prowess in the kitchen? And equally, would I be interested in hearing about how exciting it is to smoke weed all night? I doubt it very much because age is more than a number, it is a measure of experience. Athletic build may go some way to compensating for all this, but I'm afraid I'm not prepared to take the chance. Sorry, love, I think it's a mum you need, not a long-term girlfriend who's old enough to be one!

For those of you interested in dating blogs, you are in for a treat this week because I am about to head to the hills for a walk with someone who sounds like he might be right up my street. We have spoken on the phone a few times and laughed a lot. He assures me he's not a mad axe murderer and I made him promise that even if he is he shouldn't murder me because I am in the process of getting my shit together to entertain the world en masse and therefore it wouldn't be fair on everyone else. He's solvent, tall, dark and possibly handsome, though it's hard to tell because he is handsome in one picture and not the other. What else? Oh, yes. Also athletic. Works out a lot. Loves music and dancing. And intelligent. Perhaps I've found someone on my intellectual level. The only snag seems to be that his current job is building bridges for the Americans to get into Afghanistan. Hhhhhmmm. Could this be the universe's way of testing my principles? I have already told him that i wouldn't do it if they paid me a million, but then, if he offers to buy me a drink and i accept, does that mean I am condoning the war?

Nothing is ever simple, but I reckon this is a guy worth checking out. Besides, since I didn't bother with Glastonbury this weekend and it is such a lovely day there's nothing i like doing better than walking in the hills and frying someone's head, so wish me luck xx

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Stoned Henge

Being at a party in the middle of a stone age monument is a truly out of this world experience. For 4000 years the people of Britain have been celebrating the Solstice right there and to still be able to do so now is amazing. What an incredible way to be part of the nation's living history!

The only downside is a heavy police presence, but as you can see from the photographs, Glasgow Fran had her own way of dealing with too many coppers and commendably only handed the helmet back when seriously threatened with arrest.

I can't write anymore today. My words have been blasted away and as I sit here trying to think of some I'm listening to BBC Radio 6 on and all I can really think about is whether I will get to Glastonbury or not...

Friday, 18 June 2010

Dates Update

Everywhere I go, people ask how the dating is going. To be honest, I have been so busy partying I forgot to meet up with some of my potential suitors from the website, and instead picked on random men in the pub. Pictured are a couple of memorable examples (ie the two i can remember).
As can be seen from the photos, both these dudes were very happy to be out with me. We 'clicked' immediately, had a laugh all my opinion, that certain something was there. But what is it with men and their inability to commit? Because, readers, and I know this is hard to believe, but despite the obvious rapport I've heard nothing from these guys since!

Luckily for me, because I have got so much going on in my life I can get over this. Obviously it is their loss and not mine, and I can absorb the experience and learn from it. My trust still lies fairly and squarely in the power of the universe to provide...we can see already what a tremendous effort is being made, so I heartily offer my thanks.

Of course, the life of Olenka Diamond is never quiet. These guys don't seem to realise how lucky they were I made time to accomodate them in my busy schedule. Because last weekend me and my partner in crime checked out the Ian Brown gig at Platt Fields Park. Since we paid full price for the ticket (£30) we were determined to get the most out of our money. The lineup was fantastic. My only problem with it was Mr.Scruff and Ian Brown were on at the same time and the whole thing finnished at 11pm. For the money, why couldn't they have kept it open till 1am and put the Scruff on after instead of charging everyone another tenner to go to some afterparty in town? Oh, I know all about residential areas nearby, but for God's sake, it's Fallowfield! It's full of students who like noise. Plus that park is massive and the dance tent was right in the middle. The truth is, no-one would have minded except of course the promoters who wouldn't have made as muuch money as they did.

Knowing we were under pressure to peak early, Glasgow Fran and I got off to a head start with a bottle of white while normal people were still trying to get out of the office early. Not us! We steamed into the park at 6pm, feeling like most people do at about 11pm, and began by whirling around to The Whip before heading to the dance tent and showing everyone in there how to party Manchester style. We should have been on the guest list for our efforts! Instead we got plenty of suspecting glares from Security thinking we were on drugs, but the fact is when you've been through loads in life and you're on a roll you don't need to take drugs to look like you're on them.

I told Fran on the way in that I always have to be at the front for gigs, and my wish was sure her command. We got to the front of the Hacienda tent to watch A Certain Ratio (who were totally brilliant) and then we got right to the front of the main stage to watch Ian Brown. In the very park his dad used to take him to play when he was a kid. AAAAhhhh. Bless. The vibe was fantastic. I don't think I could have been anywhere else in the city that night apart from right there, boobs squished over the barrier, surrounded by tall young lads protecting us from actually breaking our ribs, taking full advantage of security guards' chests and arms as they sportingly leant over us to help crowd-divers into safety...and Ian's voice was all there to boot. What more can I say, it was Manchester at it's best, especially once we got the poppers out...

If you've got your finger on the pulse of the UK party scene like me, perhaps I'll catch up with you on my next jolly. This weekend I am heading off to Stone Henge to celebrate the Solstice. Yes, this coming Monday is the longest day of the year and although I have never been to the celebration at those mythical stones, when it comes to Mid-summer's night I always have a vague feeling that I should be. So this year we're off, a car full of lovely ladies in search of a spiritual experience. I will of course update the blog if I return x

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Class War

Can someone tell me what is happening to the good old British Festival? An institution of our culture, it seems to me that these vast showcases of creative talent are swiftly becoming an utterly middle class affair. Long gone are the days of paying for a ticket if you have the money, or paying an enterprising scally a tenner to get in over his ladder if you haven't, we all know that. But until last weekend I still harboured a hope that a small festival on the independant, non-commercial circuit would retain some vestige of bygone free-spiritedness.

Embarking upon a weekend at Sunrise Celebration in Somerset I was sadly proved wrong. It begins with the extortionate ticket prices - for me and 2 kids, £170 just to be there for three days. I totally understand it costs money to set up a couple of bars and a bouncy castle in a field, but really, £170? When there are no headlining acts you've ever heard of apart from Zion Train and only two medium-sized fields to hang about in, full of activities which in the main cost extra money to do? That doesn't include our food & drink budget (£50 in a supermarket before we left), petrol money (£80) and then the £130 which went on living comparitively frugally once there. It doesn't take a genius to work out for the same expenditure we could have had a weekend abroad.

Of course this kind of budget immediately excludes any of the free-spirited nomadics who used to make up the essence of such an event. They have been replaced by teams of reluctant security officials scouting for fence-jumpers. Gone are the gypsies with their colourful horse-drawn homes! Only to be replaced by hordes of spoilt youths with access to their parents' credit cards.

On the upside the kids did have a great time running free in a highly safe environment. The weather was tanningly hot. And we did see a couple of brilliant dub reggae bands. I have walked away with a headful of fabulous music and a list of new bands to Spotifty. But I have also returned with a sad nostalgia for a golden, pre-credit crunch, pre-health & safety obsessed era of the free-spirited festival which it seems I will be destined to only reminisce about to younger party-seekers, agape with awe as they listen to how it was in the good old days.

Is such a moan an indication that I am entering early middle-age? How long will it be before I confine myself to the comforts of the firepit in my back-garden, complaining about the dirge of commercialisation like anyone who was lucky enough to go to Glastonbury when that first started? It's only forty years on, but thanks to the onslaught of capitalism, the growth of a sue-happy society and Festival Guides in Sunday supplements, already that idyll seems unlikely to be anything but ancient lore.

The whole experience has inspired me to write a festival poem which I promise to read to myself if I am ever in danger of staying at home instead of going to one:

a festival wouldn't be a festival
without its journey
without thinking you're getting lost along the way
without traffic jams and a hint of confusion
without decadent raves and their mashed-up illusions

a festival wouldn't be a festival
without its packing stress
without trying to decide how to dress
then lugging it all across tent-filled fields
with a comforting sense of the slightly surreal
knee-deep in mud without an umbrella
re-assessing the value of your warm cans of Stella
striving to pitch tents in the pouring rain
waking up the next day in search of your brain

and it's all worth it when you're near the main stage
dancing around completely engaged
squished up close next to a total stranger
you've lost all your mates and feel no danger
getting sweaty in the dance marquee
to the deep bass anthems of a new bourgeoisie
then lounging around in rare sunshine
sharing coveted bottles of wine
staggering back to the tent at the end of the night
hanging out, talking deep shit by dawn's firelight

who cares if you don't get any sleep?
who cares if your phone stops its bleeps?
who cares when the reason we all bother to come
is to shake off reality, celebrate and succumb

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Give Picasso a Chance...

Surely it couldn't be time for yet another bank holiday weekend..! It felt like only moments since the last one and I'm still struggling to remember how I spent that, so it must have been good (a-hem).

This weekend brought with it the opportunity to travel, namely to Liverpool to see the new Picasso exhibition at the Tate. It's on until the end of August and well worth a visit. There was me, expecting a couple of large, colourful, obvious Picasso's and hundreds of pencil sketches/newspaper articles, but in fact was pleasantly surprised to find a wealth of the master's fine works, curated from all corners of the world.

Although you don't need a passport to get there, I was pleased to note that, like India, the UK is diverse enough for me to feel like I was abroad when in fact I'd only spent an hour getting to our destination. Being unfamiliar with the city, Rock Star Friend and I positively buzzed off checking out maps, asking friendly locals for directions and riding the tube, which I never even knew existed there.

Once we'd been suitably wowed and inspired by the exhibition itself, and particularly by the final room containing paintings produced during the last decade of Picasso's life, we had properly earned a pint (or several), so off we went in search of the real Liverpool. We had an Indian and proceeded to the nearest proper pub, which, as abroad, happened to be an Irish bar. It was so accomodating we didn't get any further and spent the rest of the night with a selection of colourful local characters including a jolly gangster who performed close-up magic to us at the bar and a guy called Keith who used to run a record label and wouldn't at first believe Rock Star Friend had once refused Kurt Cobain a lift across the Nevada desert for health & safety reasons.

The whole day was a welcome break from the gruelling dating schedule I have been subjecting myself to since signing up to a dating website. Oh, yes, it didn't take the universe all that long to begin delivering my first order, that of securing a selection of quality lovers. It is of course the selecting of them that may take quite some time. And of course, fulfilling the condition of 'quality'. But so far my experience of etheral fishing for men has certainly been both entertaining and interesting from an anthropological point of view.

Of course there are some people out there who insist on aiming for dates well out of their league, and although I'm flattered by their efforts, I have found it appropriate to be perfectly honest in my responses. Surely it is my duty to do them a favour by letting them know, as kindly as possible, where it is they are going wrong.

Readers, if any of you out there struggle with letting prospective dates down gently, here is a stunning example you can use as a template if required:

Thanks for e-mailing, but... (this goes in the title bar)

...if your profile is anything to go by, I'm afraid I would be far too exciting for you. Also, it is off-putting to ladies that you are wearing sunglasses in your main photo. And what is the relevance of the picture with the weedy, leafless tree against a bleak landscape? I am no psychologist, but this pic combined with the About Me section where you begin by describing yourself as 'nothing special' speaks volumes to a prospective female. I am sure you are indeed a 'very genuine man', but I would suggest you amend your self-image to get more hits. It's a rough game for the best of us but I reckon once you're happy with yourself you will deffo meet the right chick (best friend and lover all in one??? It's what we alll want!) especially with your DIY skills. I am a modern woman with my own tolkit, but I always prefer a fit bloke coming round to sort my plumbing out x

Little did I realise the guy in question is an oil-rig worker and seems to have lost his sense of humour as a result, but still, I'm sure it must have nicer for him to have received my response than none at all.

I must admit the emotional strain of meeting virtual strangers with a view to performing acts of physical pleasure has been both exciting and strenuous, especially when I found myself vetting two different guys in 12 hours. But the upside is securing oneself a place in the Zone. After months of sensual wilderness, as a result of on-line flirting whilst I am, for example, cooking the dinner, I find myself floating through reality (or my approximation of it) exuding irresistable pheromones to members of the opposite sex.

I now have men jostling to sit next to me on the train. I have lifeguards at the swimming baths pleading to serve me avacado and sardine sandwiches on my next trip to the seaside. I even have gorgeous men introducing themselves to me in the gym with flirtatious handshakes. Surely it can only be a matter of time before a concrete lover manifests himself from such a melee of competing interests!