On… Bombay Bicycle Club

Gnarly band. Gnarly new album. Gnarly Sunday morning song.

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On…. childhood movies

I was watching Back To The Future with Fox the other day, and impressing / annoying him with my ability to say all the lines, verbatim, a split-second before they’re said on-screen (“Stella! Another one of these damn kids jumped in fronta my car!”).

I’ve seen it about 6,214 times, because I grew up in Hong Kong, where television was incredibly, astonishingly bad. So bad that there was only one kids’ TV show, a no-budget piece of trash called Megaquiz (Gemma trivia: I was on the first ever episode).

So if we had something on video, I watched it to death.

At school, we bartered tapes of TV shows sent by cousins living in normal countries like they were gold dust. Saved By The Bell, Saturday Night Live, Beverly Hills 90210, Blossom… I watched those tapes so often I knew how long to press fastforward on the remote to skip each individual commercial break perfectly.

My sister and I were allowed to rent one movie a week each. And then we’d watch it non-goddamn-stop. And because the choice at the video store was not only outdated but deeply limited, we borrowed the same movies. Again and again. And again. And again. And… well, you get it.

An aside (what, you thought I’d write a blog post without an aside? Have we just met, or what?): when I was about 10 my mother picked a video for us and accidentally came back with a lovely movie about a lady mechanic looking for love. TOMBOY. It was soft porn. I kid you not. My mother will want me to point out that she realised during the opening shower scene that it wasn’t a jolly romcom and turned it off. (Between you and me, it was like 15 minutes after that that she realised.) This is the cover of Tomboy. In fairness, it was an easy mistake to make.

So, apart from Tomboy, these are the films that will always make me think of my childhood. And as a little killing-time-on-a-Friday present from me to you, all the original trailers.

BACK TO THE FUTURE

As mentioned, one of the most perfect films of all time. Can still quote every line. Will watch entire thing whenever it is on. Man, I love Michael J Fox, he’s so great.

My sister and her best friend Jackie really, really, really loved Michael J Fox. Not as much as they loved Val Kilmer, which brings me to -

TOP SECRET

This is an incredibly funny film, funnier than Airplane! (Or Flying High! Depending on where in the world you grew up. Note to branding people: STOP FUCKING DOING THAT. It makes life really hard for international kids when we don’t know which goddamn film we saw. Like Adventures In Babysitting: apparently in England it was called Night On The Town. I don’t know, because I wasn’t here. Night On The Town: Talk about a soft porn title. Actually, let’s add that to the list too, because it was awesome.)

ADVENTURES IN BABYSITTING

This is a great goddamn film. If you haven’t seen it, find it and watch it. It’s hilarious.

Also known as Night On The Town. Check it out:


Lamest. Poster. Ever. And shit copywriting. ‘After she finished with the crazy gangsters… cheating boyfriends… car chases… wild parties… climbing skyscrapers… staying alive was just part of the fun of… A Night On The Town’. Grow a brain, nameless copywriter from the past! The verb ‘climbing’ doesn’t fit, in fact, the entire sentence sucks ass. Also: why is there a picture of Brenda with the rat / kitten with the line ‘car chases’? So many things annoy me about this poster. And yes, I’m a pain in the ass when it comes to copywriting. I fight the urge to take out a red pen and correct bad copy everywhere I go.

CHARLOTTE’S WEB

Templeton the rat. Nuff said.

GREASE

Every girl I know would probably name Grease as their No.1 childhood movie. It’s not our fault: it’s the law. And it’s in the Bible. (It is.) (Maybe.) It’s just one of those girl things, like everyone wanting to be Claudia in the Babysitter’s Club and making up extended dance routines and one-act plays and forcing their mother and sister to watch them – oh wait, that one was just me? Okay. Anyway, I can still close my eyes and play Grease in my head, word-for-word. You probably can too. We all can. Like I said, it’s the law.

GREASE 2

The slutty cousin of Grease. Still kind of ace. Michael Carrington is hot. I totally would.

As an extra present, because I can’t resist: the Reproduction song…

…And the We’re Gonna Score Tonight song. Because IT. IS. AWESOME.

CALAMITY JANE

Yeah, I don’t know why either, but this was a major Burgess childhood movie. Includes the song ‘A Woman’s Touch’, with the immortal line: “A woman and a whiskbroom can accomplish so darn much!”. We embraced it without irony. We were just nuts for Doris Day. Full admission: these days, I’m not Little Miss Musicals (My friends: Gemma! We’re all seeing Rent / Joseph And His Technicolour Dreamcoat / Cabaret! Wanna come? Me: No freaking way. Friends: YOU HAVE NO SOUL). But when I was little, you could place me in front of anything with a long-dead MGM starlet and a jaunty dance routine and I was transfixed. I was basically a very short gay man with a blonde bowl cut.

THE COURT JESTER

I give you Danny Kaye: the Adam Sandler of his generation. And, allegedly, Laurence Olivier’s luvah.

BYE BYE BIRDIE

This is such a great movie! You should totally find it and watch it. Like all musicals, it goes a bit nutso-slash-boring in the middle, with far too many long songs and dance routines instead of oh, I don’t know, plot / character development, but the first hour rocks. Interesting fact: the man who voiced Templeton the rat in Charlotte’s Web plays the father in this. (Okay, that wasn’t that interesting. Let’s move on.)

Also just for my sister: The Telephone Song. (“HUGO AND KIM?”)

ANNIE

Unlike most little girls, I didn’t want to be Annie. I wanted to be one of the nameless blond girls with their hair in braids who can do handless cartwheels in the Hard Knock Life song. Yes, I aimed low. I was also such a scaredy-cat that I never watched the helicopter-bridge scene. I’d hide and read Anne Of Green Gables or Malory Towers or something till I was sure it was over. As a result I am still not sure what happens in that scene. I think it’s something to do with the Sikh dude’s turban.

GIRLS JUST WANNA HAVE FUN

This movies pops into my head a lot, ie, when someone asks me ‘Do you have change for a twenty?’ and I say ‘Gosh, I don’t have anything smaller than a fifty!’ and then they look at me like I’m an asshole.

Again, made me wish I could do cartwheels. It just looks like such a cool thing to do, ya know?

OVERBOARD

Fact: Overboard was created to make kids obsess about it. Four kids having a crazy childhood? A reverse Cinderella story: the princess gets saved by the pauper? Mini golf?! COME ON! It’s also goddamn hilarious, ie, ‘a falsetto child?’ And the fact that she keeps calling one of the kids Roy. And the video cover had some seriously awesome liquidy stuff in the plastic wrapper so that made it even cooler.

SUPERGIRL

Man, this is one cheap-ass looking film, it must have cost about a buck to make. I presume Faye Dunaway dumped her agent immediately after it came out. But anyway, I thought it was amazing. The chick went on to star in Secret of My Success with MJF and Ruthless People with Judge Reinhold, Bette Midler and Danny DeVito.

DIRTY DANCING

Like Grease, a sleepover classic. I distinctly remember being at a sleepover and when Johnny tells the old cougar lady that he can’t teach her how to dance, a very precocious nine-year-old turned to the rest of us and said crisply: “That means he doesn’t want to fuck her anymore.”

BIG BUSINESS

I once won a pub quiz at university when the tiebeater question started ‘born in Hawaii in 1947′ and I screamed ‘BETTE MIDLER!’ My street cred was HIGH after that, my friends. HIGH. I only stopped loving Bette Midler when I saw Beaches, which, even as a child, I realised was fucking lame. Big Business features two sets of identical twins separated at birth and reunited in NYC as adults! The jinx are so high! But I can’t find a trailer, dudes. Sorry.

HEATHERS

This movie made me feel far cooler than I was. Also set me up for a mini-Winona obsession with repeated watching of Mermaids, Reality Bites, etc. I adored Winona. Then I grew weary of her. As did everyone. I also loved Christian Slater so much that I spent a long time training myself to raise one eyebrow. I combed Tiger Beat and Teen Beat and every other teen rag I could get my hands on and cut out photos of him, no matter how small. There is a photo somewhere of me at 13 in front of my Homage To Christian Slater wall. No, I will not post it. (Okay, I will. But it’s in Hong Kong. You wanna talk my folks through how to scan a photo, you go for it.)

The trailer is, frankly, shit. So let’s watch this scene instead:

It’s okay! It’s okay. He’s shooting blanks. (Titter.)

I’m sure I’m forgetting some absolute classics.

Even as I write this paragraph, I’m remembering She’s Out Of Control, My Stepmother Is An Alien, Teen Witch, Mr Mom, Mask, Foreign Exchange, My Secret Admirer, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure… but seriously, I have to get back to the day job (writing your next favourite book, my friends). You would not believe how long I have spent on youtube cackling at these trailers and then clicking through to best-of clips… And in case you’re wondering: I didn’t really get into John Hughes films till I was well into my teens and they were already retro. But then I OBSESSED ABOUT THEM. TO THE POINT WHERE I SHOUT WHENEVER SOMEONE EVEN SAYS JOHN HUGHES. ARGH. SIXTEEN CANDLES. FERRIS BUELLER. SOME KIND OF WONDERFUL. WEIRD SCIENCE. SO GOOD.

EDIT:

Trini reminded me about The Princess Bride.

YIKES! How could I have forgotten The Princess Bride? Such a classic that we watched over and over and over again. Have you seen it recently? The set looks like it’s made of cardboard. It’s also a gorgeous and hilarious book, written by William Goldman, who was also the screenwriter. In case you are interested. I hearted Cary Elwes, who recently surfaced with a beard and about two lines of dialogue in No Strings Attached. What the hell, Hollywood. That is WESTLEY. Aka THE DREAD PIRATE ROBERTS. Give the guy a decent part why doncha.

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On… character-abuse

The other night I read an interesting piece in the New Yorker about Anna Faris. (Read it here if you’re on an iPad.)

I can’t stop thinking about this excerpt:

‘To make a woman adorable, one successful female screenwriter says, “you have to defeat her in the beginning. It’s a conscious thing I do. Abuse and break her, strip her of her dignity, and then she gets to live out our fantasies and have fun.”… Relatability is based upon vulnerability, which creates likeability.’


Wow.

This is exactly – EXACTLY – what I do when I write. And yes, it’s deliberate. But to see it put in terms like that is kind of depressing.

My name is Gemma Burgess and I am a character-abuser.

Let’s analyse:

THE DATING DETOX, my first book, starts with Sass being cheated on at a horrific house party, resulting in her swearing off men. So even though she’s a flirty smart-arse with a lot of attitude, we know she’s just like us.

A GIRL LIKE YOU, my second book, starts with Abigail on a disastrous, panic-stricken date, so we can see that though she’s an investment banker who just left her long-term boyfriend without a second glance, she’s also just like us.

I’m currently finishing my third novel – the first in the UNION STREET series for St Martins Press, about a group of post-college girls sharing a house in Brooklyn through their 20s – and yet again, the protagonist’s life pretty much collapses in chapter one. I’ve plotted the second and third: again, a disaster followed by trials and tribulations followed by victory.

I also write romantic comedy movies. (In fact, I deliberately structure my books to be like romantic comedy movies: I read romantic comedy scripts, and books about plots and screenwriting, when I’m planning outlines. I write to entertain: heavily on the dialogue, light on prose.) At the moment I have three movie scripts that are in decent shape. Each also features a female character whose life disintegrates in the first 15 minutes. In one script, it happens in about four minutes.

See? Character-abuser.

I feel like such a bitch.

So why do I do it? Firstly, because I feel that a disastrous event is the fastest way to jumpstart the story and make you wonder ‘what next?’. (There are probably better ways, but I’m new at this, remember. I was an advertising copywriter for most of my 20s.)

Secondly, in a lot of chickflicks/chicklit books, it often seems like the main character is meant to be lovable because she’s a clueless idiot and I’m meant to feel sorry for her. And I’ve always hated that.

I don’t want to write about (or read about, or watch) clueless idiots. I want characters who feel real to me, who are funny (without being neurotic or crazy or pratfall-y), smart (not ditzy or streetsmart or too-smart-for-her-own-good), have real jobs (I swore I’d never write about a florist), work hard (without being harridans that sacrifice a lovelife for their corner office), who genuinely like men and sex (without being crazy sluts or insecure pining-for-their-devilish-boss types), and who are doing their best to figure out where they’re going in life. I want them to be funny, swear, drink, fuck, have real friendships, have a social life, make mistakes, dress the way real girls dress on a real girl’s budget, be a bitch/stupid sometimes, have a normal amount of confidence that isn’t lifted by a man alone, etc. A girl like you, in other words.

So when I first started writing, I quickly realised that if I wanted to keep my character as a non-loser, but make people like her whilst making her journey immediately compelling, I needed something bad-but-relatable to happen to her, fast, in order to establish a connection. And to keep her likeable, I needed it to be relayed in a first-person-present-tense, with a confiding, chatty tone of voice, so that the reactions and emotions feel immediate and real and personal.

And that’s what I did.

The result is more than just feeling sorry for her. (I hope.) We immediately recognise the universality of her experience. (I hope.) We empathise with her reaction/decisions and feel like we understand her / want to protect her. (I hope.) And – ta-da! – we feel euphoric when she ultimately succeeds and finds an emotionally satisfying happiness. (I really, really hope.)

I wonder if that’s emotionally manipulative character abuse? Or just an extension of how women make friends? We console each other – and ourselves – by sharing and empathising. If my friend has just been dumped/fired, I comfort her with similar stories so she knows she’s not alone. I always feel better when I know that what I’m going through is something someone else has gone through, and survived. Misery shared = bonding. So a disastrous event makes me care what happens next.

By the by, I also bank heavily on the hope that the reader/viewer finds my stuff so hilarious that they can’t stop reading/watching. But humour without plot and character is nothing. It has to all work together.

One day I might try to write, or plan, something that doesn’t involve an emotional Hiroshima before you know the character’s last name.

I wonder if it will work.

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On… an awesome trailer parody

I’ve been laughing so hard at this I have to share it.

First, in case you haven’t seen this, enjoy. Zero coherency. Strangely exciting.

And now watch this.

I actually barked with laughter when ‘Wocka’ happened. (I rarely bark with laughter. I chortle and giggle and HA! a lot. But not bark. I barked constantly during Bridesmaids, particularly when she fights with the little tweenie in the jewellery store. I bark when I read David Sedaris or watch Arrested Development or Eastbound and Down. I actually choked during Eastbound and Down once. I was drinking water and chose the wrong moment. I could have, like, drowned. Okay, this aside has become totally unwieldly. I find it so hard to end asides, have you noticed? It’s a real problem for me. Anyway, let me know what makes you bark with laughter.)

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On… stuff I’ve been doing

So, inspired by Cup of Joe, I’m going to post about things I’ve been enjoying in the past couple of weeks.

Now, I’ve mostly been feeding Errol and/or gazing at him in a nauseatingly adoringly way and/or catching up on sleep with coma-like cat naps. But the rest of the time I’ve been…

Writing my next feature for Tatler - follow them on Twitter at @tatleruk and, if you like, read my current story in the October issue (it’s a rather snarky piece called The Nail Files, but you try writing 900 funny words about nails, my friend – snark happens). Or, if you can, track down the September issue and read all about how Fox is my Boytician.

Craving returning to the edit of my next book, the first in the Union Street series. I’m starting on Monday and cannot wait. It’s the strangest feeling: I miss it, and the entire world within it, like a friend.

Feeling inspired by this post – again, by Cup Of Joe. (I like her.)

Thanking the Lord that these exist. They work. And they work FAST. And for this woman. Her book Baby Secrets is the shizzle. (I am so hip the lingo.)

Buying these, now that I know they’re still a sartorial option and the bump did disappear (see above). God! I’ve missed high-waisted jeans! And by the way, the fashion wasteland of the last 10 months was bad. I mean, I like clothes. Clothes like me. We’ve always been friends. But pregnancy clothes… man, they suck. What’s that? I sound shallow? Dude, I AM shallow. Did you not realise this by now?

Having baths with this whilst doing this. I read about it in US Vogue, so it must work, right?

Forwarding this to Fox as it is really goddamn time he learned to cook. He’s 33 for Pete’s sake.

Making one of these out of the 2,503 photos we’ve taken of Errol in the past few weeks.

Thanking hell these exist as breastfeeding would be extremely boring without them.

Enjoying this site, this site, this site and this site, on the above.

More soon. Am writing a long Q&A; blog in response to a bunch of email questions I’ve received over the past few months, so if you have any questions for me, bring it on.

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On… reading

Hello chaps.

Gosh, what an annoying start to a post. My apologies. I used to live with a couple of terribleh Sloaneh boys who used words like ‘chaps’ all the time. They called me ‘Burgo’ and had thousands and thousands of ‘mates’ called things like ‘Rotter’ and ‘Poo’. And those were the girls. No one has as many mates as Sloanes. It’s like they’re born with an in-built Yellow Pages with the details of every other Sloane in existence. It must be marvellous to be that sure of exactly where you fit into the universe. (Actually, I think it would be incredibly stifling and dull. But I digress. As ever.)

For les Americains, by the way: Sloanes = WASPy preppies. I went to school with Americans called things like Chet and Sailor who are basically exactly the same. It’s just that preppies have a lot more popped collars.

ANYWAY. This post isn’t about Sloanes and preppies, it’s about books.

I’m reading a lot right now in between being a 24-hour human snackbar for Errol and gazing at him in what is probably a nauseatingly adoring way, drinking as much water as I can without drowning, and sleeping. (The sleep deprivation with a newborn, by the way, is nowhere near as bad as everyone tells you. I slept far less when I was finishing THE DATING DETOX and then A GIRL LIKE YOU and working 9am to 6pm as a copywriter at the same time. Nor are the hormonal jags particularly severe. Okay: I cried when describing the plot of ‘Waitress’ to my mother, but it is a rilly rilly sweet film, dagnabbit. Anyone would cry. Yeah.)

This week I read:

BOSSYPANTS by Tina Fey.

Delightful, very funny, and not long enough. More please.

THE WIFE by Meg Wolitzer.

Hmmm… an interesting one. Exquisitely well-written but ultimately, put me in a really bad and sad mood. Without giving too much away, I think that was the idea: to turn every reader into a feminist. (Too late, sister, I’m already there.) Oh, and I’m also not sure why 1. The quote from Allison Pearson says it’s ‘funny’ – this is brilliant, sharp, smart book but not laugh-out-loud by a long shot or why 2. She’s packaged as chicklit when her books have a thousand times more in common with the likes of Curtis Sittenfeld than Lauren Wiesberger. Come on, publishing industry. Just because the writer has a vagina doesn’t make it chicklit.

BUSH FALLS by Jonathan Tropper.

LOVING THIS BOOK. I’m only 1/3 of the way through it so if it takes a nosedive then I’ll come back and tell you, but so far, I love it. LUFF. LURVE. I found out about it because a lovely woman emailed me and said she thought I’d enjoy it. And I am. (If you have a book recommendation for me, by the way, bring it the hell on: gemma@gemmaburgess.com) I dropped it in the bath last night and screamed with such genuine anguish that Fox came running to see if I’d fallen over. We dried it out overnight and I’m pleased to report it’s now a little weathered but still perfectly legible. (Yah. I bet you were worried about how that story was going to end.)

More next week when I’ve read more. How the devil are you?

EDIT: Update on Jonathan Tropper. Confirmed: he is awesome. Am currently knee-deep in This Is Where I Leave You and have all his other books lined up on my bedside table, waiting to take off, like little literary airplanes.

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On… Errol

So, I kind of had a baby last week.

His name is Errol.

And he is perfect.

SURPRISE!

Yeah, I didn’t really mention the whole being-knocked-up thing. For lots of reasons… it wasn’t the best pregnancy ever, but the details are not exactly lighthearted-blog-appropriate. I felt – and feel – extremely protective of him, which is you know, probably good, since I’m his mother and everything – and so I wasn’t feeling very, hmm, open. You know.

Plus, I kind of feel that pregnancy is mostly interesting to people who are knocked up, or maybe if it’s one of your best friends. Otherwise, it’s boring. Talking about cravings / kicks / scans / pain / problems / excited impatience is boring. Trying to find a midwife when you’re on holiday in a small French town at short notice is kind of exciting, but then again, it’s kind of not. (Midwife in French is ‘sage-femme’, by the way, which means ‘wise woman’… see? Boring.)

All in all, the only good thing about my pregnancy was that it had a deadline. But the birth was pretty damn great – I had Errol in Switzerland, where the hospital system is about as close to perfection as you can get. I had a c-section, which was absolutely wonderful, and I’m breastfeeding, because, you know, I’m a liberal wench and I think formula is evil. See? All you non-mothers out there are wincing and saying ‘overshare, GemGem, like, gag me with a spoon’.

Anyway, I don’t think baby blogging is my bag. Other people do it far better than I ever could. I feel the same way about weddings: I posted a few photos of mine here, but I wasn’t about to bore you with like, the menu plans and table centrepieces, you know? It’s just not my bag. I blog a bit about writing and a bit about reading and a bit about me and a bit about stuff I like and always, above all, I blog with the aim of entertaining you. So I’ll write a bit about Errol, but I promise this won’t become a blog dedicated to his bowel movements, or whatever.

Having said all that, I understand why people do blog about their babies, as the urge to hold him up for the world to admire is overwhelming.

Look at him! Isn’t he beautiful?

It’s hard to write about babies and baby love without sounding at bit pathetic and/or insane. We’ve all seen formerly normal friends become Facebook babytards. You may have seen those online baby forums where mental women bang on about ‘DH’ (which I thought stood for Dick Head, apparently it’s Darling Husband) and ‘DS’ (Darling Son) and ‘DD’ (you can probably guess). Come on. Did they hand out a lobotomy with the epidural, or what? I read something once where Julia Roberts wrote to Oprah, of all people, about her newborn twins, saying they woke up ‘smelling of promise’. Lame. I was like, gag me with a fricking spoon, Roberts. Stop gushing.

But I’ve tried for the last 20 minutes to write about how I feel without gushing. And if writing cliché-free, non-gag-me copy about happiness / love / joy is hard in books, then in real life, it’s nearly impossible. My apologies, Julia.

So I’ll just say it once, very quickly, in a low voice: I am so happy.

And my friends, you should see Fox. The man giggled yesterday. Irish men don’t usually giggle, unless the better part of a bottle of whiskey is involved.

The moment I saw Errol… I can’t explain it. I’m not a good enough writer. He’s tiny and calm and thoughtful and happy and perfect and…. oh man. See? I can’t explain him. Words are not enough.

In an attempt to avoid death-by-adjective, let’s just say Errol is perfect in every way, more than I could ever have imagined was possible. He’s tiny and sweet and warm, with a habit of making happy little sighs when he’s sleeping and mewymoans when he’s feeding… My heart is full.

xx

EDIT: Okay! More photos. Now these are just a couple from the first few days – mostly in black and white as, well, we were feeling arty. Also I looked like shit. I will download more in the next few days and post them. I swear.

This is the full shot of the one above. Tiny and sweet.

Errol at one day old. He is nestled in a bonding band thingy that the hospital gave us. I am so in love with said thingy that I want to wear it everywhere and wrap my favourite people up in it. And I mean that in a totally non-kinky way. (This is taken with my crap phone, by the way, thus the graininess. My mother has already requested I sharpen it up with Photoshop. How do I tell her I just do words?)

Trying to be arty. Two days old. As soon as I fix said Photoshop skill deficiency, those pesky freckles and wrinkles will be gone and I’ll sure as hell sort the eyebrows out. Mine not his. And maybe add a jaunty hat.

Witness the artiness.

Again, my crappy phone, but cool shot, huh? This is a tired, stubbled and unusually serene-looking Fox resting in his hospital-issue camp bed (6.3″ man, 5.10″ bed = fun fun fun) with three-day-old E-Dawg. I love this photo. I love that hospital. I love my doctor. I love Fox. I love Errol. I love you. I love everything.

More photos to come. Also, the books that are sustaining me through the feed-sleep-feed duskiness of this week.

EDIT! Okay! One month later and I have had requests for more photos of moi preggers and Errol. As ever I am happy to oblige. Now remember, if you are not baby-lovin’, don’t read on. I am probably about to be a babytard. What can I say. I love him.

Motherin’ – so far, at least – is a hell of a lot easier than pregnancy. And babies are kind of easy, too. The past month has felt a bit like having a friend come to stay who keeps getting wasted. You just have to check on him regularly, make sure he eats when he’s supposed to, hasn’t soiled himself, do his washing, etc. One of my friends described her kids as ‘really cool flatmates with attachment issues’. Seems pretty much on the money.

Okay, first: preggers.

This is me at 38 weeks. Thanks to some pesky hip problems, walking – and in fact sitting – wasn’t really a thing for me by that stage. My ass was pretty much permanently attached to that sofa, laptop precariously perched on cushions so I could write. I am lucky I didn’t end up looking like Jabba the Hut, now that I think about it. It’s probably because I was very sick almost every day for about seven out of the nine months. Seriously, I don’t know how bulimics do it. Throwing up is a NIGHTMARE. I threw up day and night, at home, in taxis, in supermarkets, doing yoga, on the street, in passport lines at the airport, in bed. I threw up when I ate and when I didn’t eat. I threw up when I was reading and writing and sleeping. Basically, I threw up. Anyway, back to the photos.

Errol Fletcher (Errol after Errol Flynn and Fletcher after the Chevy Chase movie Fletch) (yep, seriously) is just the funniest, sweetest, calmest little dude.

We just realised, by the way, that in Fox’s hometown of Cork in Ireland, people with a strong local accent pronounce it Earl. Pretty funny. (Fox dialled down his accent when he moved to London. Apparently the Euros in his office couldn’t understand a word he said. The moment he touches home soil, however, he becomes as Cork as they come. Lots of ‘how yas’ and ‘happy outs’ and the odd ‘feck’.)

Self-portrait of me with Errol last night.

I realise this photo looks like it was tinkered with because I’m so ghostly pale, but I swear it wasn’t. iPads take weird photos – something to do with having the pixel-quality of a nokia phone from 2001 – and I’m kind of a pale person. (I stopped fake tanning at about 34 weeks when it took an entire Vichy tan tube just to cover me. No, really, it did.)

And a few new ones from this morning, when he was feeling very serious and thoughtful.






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On… Kindle sales

NEWSFLASH:

A GIRL LIKE YOU and THE DATING DETOX are both insaaaaanely cheap on Kindle (£1!) – but only for the rest of August!

They’re currently in the Amazon Kindle bestseller lists (woo) at 14 (doublewoo) and 34 (triplewoo, but a smaller woo, like a woolet) respectively.

And if we can get them into the top 10 it would be really, really amazing and do wondrous things for my future career. Like, stupendously wondrous…

Now, you know I wouldn’t normally ask you this, but if you can, please download one or both for your Kindle or Kindle for iPad or from the Apple Shop and I’ll be your BFF. For serious. FOR EVER. I will hold your hair back when you are sick and lend you my favourite shoes and talk about your ex/boss/hair for as long as you like. Pinkyswear.

After August the prices will start going back up – so don’t miss out…

Thank you and sorry for asking a favour. You know it’s not really my style but it’s just a teeny weeny one…

Click the links to download…

A GIRL LIKE YOU

THE DATING DETOX

EDIT: Good God. Have just found out that A GIRL LIKE YOU is no.2 on the UK Apple iStore – second only to ONE DAY by David Nicholls. I am not yanking your chain. Anyone can buy it – all you need is an iTunes account for your iPhone, iPod, whatever… The same deal goes for eternal BFFism if you do.

SECOND EDIT: Wow. It’s now Thursday 25th, and A GIRL LIKE YOU is no 13 across the entire Paid Books Kindle UK store, no 12 in Fiction and no 8 in Contemporary Fiction. And THE DATING DETOX is no 31 in entire Paid Books Kindle store, 29 in fiction and 15 in Contemporary Fiction. Thank you everyone who bought one. You rock. x

THIRD EDIT: I promise not to update you every time they jump a notch on Amazon – I mean, seriously, no one cares that much, I know – but this seems blogworthy: A GIRL LIKE YOU and THE DATING DETOX are BOTH in the Apple iTunes Books TOP 10! xx And yeah, that’s a double kiss for you. I’m a total slut like that.

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