On… things I wish I’d known at 18.

1. Don’t dye your hair. Seriously, GemGem, trust me on this one.


2. White wine is not for drinking without food.

3. Hummus is not food.

4. Stop fighting your parents about university. They are right. You need a real degree. And you’ll learn the important art of bullshitting when you’re writing English and History essays. This will give you a huge advantage when you start working as a copywriter in advertising.

5. Read over everything you write four times, then read something else or sleep or walk to clear your mind. Then read it again.

6. Then read it again.

7. Sometimes formerly nice people become fuckwits. This isn’t your fault.

8. Every James that ever comes into your life will be a fuckwit from the start. This isn’t your fault either.

9. You are right: there is more to life than writing copy to sell people shit they don’t need. But it is fun. And fun goes a long way.

10. The answer to ‘how many sequins is too many?’ is ‘any’.

11. You will live with a succession of crazy people in various shareflats around South West London. This will be very stressful at the time but make for funny stories later on, so hang in there.

12. There is no such thing as witty jewellery.

13. Relax. Everything will turn out fine.

Any more to add, my people?

EDIT: By the way, this wasn’t meant to be a Back To The Future 2 Sports Almanac ‘Ooh La La!’ post (um, if you’ve seen BTTF2 you’ll know what I mean). I mean, that created Bad Biff. I wouldn’t want to create Bad Gem, even if I did end up with my very own self-themed casino. But I do wish I hadn’t fucked with my hair. It was a really nice dark honey blonde and I’ve spent the past decade trying to get it back. And I wish I hadn’t underestimated myself as much as I did, as I worried about so many things that weren’t worth worrying about… Though maybe I had to, in order to become moi. Gah! We could talk about this forever! You know, this is kind of a stupid post. Sorry.

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On…. 13,000 trailer hits

The Dating Detox trailer – made by me and a cast of friends over the Easter weekend for a budget of pretty close to nil – has reached 13,000 hits.

I hate to keep blowing the same mucky old trumpet, but just in case you’re new here (sit down! can I get you a drink?), you might like to check it out.

www.thedatingdetoxtrailer.com

It’s kind of like a (very, very, very) short film: a scene from the book that I hope is both amusing / compelling / a perfect sneak peek at a few of the characters. Let me know if you like it. (Not if you hate it. It’s too late for me to change it now.) I’m in it, by the way. I’m the crying girl. We had to stick about a pound of tear gas, or whatever it was, in my eyes, before I looked even mildly upset. Apparently my tearducts are tough as nails.

Read more about the making of the trailer, and the answers to FAQs.

In other news, I sent the final copyedited version of A GIRL LIKE YOU to Harper Collins this week. I promptly collapsed with relief. (I didnt really: I’ve got a little freelance job writing about angels for an ad agency in Marylebone, which is pretty time-consuming, but at least I am very near the world’s best Topshop. Angels are the new vampires by the way. Totally.)

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On… The Dating Detox, The Musical

Imagine if life was like Glee – not for the daily faux-climax (the club is threatened! Oh, the club’s okay. The club is threatened AGAIN! Oh, what do you know, the club’s okay. Scooby Doo plots had more dramatic variation. If it wasn’t for those pesky kids, etc) but because of the spirit, humour and of course the songs.

These are the songs I’d put in The Dating Detox, The Musical.

Some are in this list because I listened to them a lot when I was writing it, and a few of them slipped in to the copy. Some, I just think are ace songs. And some are featured in the trailer. (Haven’t seen the trailer? Dude! You are missing out. Click here.) I’ve had all of them in a special Detox playlist for awhile, and it’s high time I shared them with you.

The Dating Detox Playlist

Lisztomania – Phoenix
Get Over It – Ok Go
Here I Go Again – Whitesnake
I Get Around – Dragonette
Dancing With Myself Nouvelle Vague (the Billy Idol version is great too)
Short Skirt/Long Jacket – Cake
That’s Not My Name – The Ting Tings
99 Problems – Jay-Z
Sweet Child O’ Mine – Guns N’ Roses
Bad Reputation – Joan Jett & The Blackhearts
Don`t Ask Me – Ok Go
Only the Good Die Young – Billy Joel
Kung Fu Fighting – Carl Douglas
Our Lips Are Sealed – The Go-Go’s
My Delirium – Ladyhawke
You’re So Damn Hot – Ok Go
All Night Long – Lionel Richie
Love Is a Battlefield – Pat Benatar
If You Leave – OMD
Here Comes Your Man – The Pixies
Happy Together – The Turtles*

It’s a pretty standard Gemma playlist: a bit of angry rock-pop, a bit of new wave and hair metal, a bit of OK Go. I am nothing if not predictable, as my mother always says.

By the way – whoever recommended The Like on the last iPod post, thank you very much. I The Love them. (Sigh.) So bring it on, my people. Any more Detox-y songs to recommend?

*By the way, this was one of my wedding songs in April. Everyone sang it during the ceremony. It is impossible to not feel joyful when singing this (admittedly mildly ridiculous) song at the top of your voice – try it.

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On… my internet diet

I’ve been going over my copyedits.

Copyediting is when a person with supposed eagle eyes goes over the manuscript and spots things like, oh, I don’t know, someone getting a drink twice in a page, for example (my characters make that mistake a lot, the little boozehounds).

I’m not sure that the copyeditor really gets my writing, though. One character said ‘ballache’ and the comment said ‘is this French?’

Recently I’ve been thinking about my internet diet and wondering what other people look at regularly. What blogs do you love? What sites can’t you live without (or, let’s be honest, you could live without but would much rather not)? For me, these sites are all creative diversions. I browse to clear my mind after or, actually, between writing. Kind of like recess at school.

www.topshop.com – amen

www.twitter.com – don’t knock it till you’ve tried it

www.mrstrefusis.blogspot.com – lovely, warm, thoughtful (but not self-indulgent in the least, unlike so many) blog – and she loves Jilly Cooper so is clearly a kindred

www.refinery29.com - consistently awesome fashion styling

www.nymag.com – yes I live in London not New York but there’s something delightfully inclusive and happy about this site, and I love their newsy bites in The Cut, Grub Street and Vulture

www.talliroland.blogspot.com – london debut chicklit author who blogs brilliantly

www.gofugyourself.com – funny as hell

www.chicklitreviews.com and www.novelicious.com – someone in publishing needs to employ these girls; their knowledge of the chicklit market is truly awesome and their reviews are ace (not just saying that cos they were nice about The Dating Detox, I pinkie-swear it)

www.adsoftheworld.com – stimulates the creative juices

www.thehuffingtonpost.com – smart, in-the-know news-n-diversions

www.sheerluxe.com – first port of call for any birthday / christening / christmas shopping

www.i-escape.com – for pretend boutique holiday planning

www.vanityfair.com – just a brilliant read, and the VF Daily blog featured moi so obviouslah is especially awesome

www.goop.com - I love her, so there

www.dailycandy.com - like having a clued-up (albeit obsessed-with-the-cool-kids) friend who tells you everything everyone else will be doing this weekend

www.thrillist.com - kind of a daily candy for boys

www.makeupalley.com – i never buy any makeup without checking the reviews here first

www.lettersofnote.com – interesting/odd/important/fascinating letters that always make me sigh and think, in a good way

What about you? What are your favourite sites for playtime?

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On…. summer playlists

Don’t you find that iPods are such needy things?

They need constant attention, especially if you’re like me, and replay songs over and over and over again and thus tire of them stupidly quickly. Then I have to wait to find a new song obsession and set aside an hour, usually on a Sunday, to make a themed playlist for said obsession. (Do you do this, too? How else does one keep one’s iPod fresh and juicy? I don’t know. I am probably going about it all wrong, I know.)

So. This is my new Hot And Sunny Summer playlist. Now, before the slating starts: I know my taste in music isn’t for everyone, in fact, one of the biggest fights Fox and I ever had was when he accused me of being an iPod Nazi at parties*. But these are my favourite songs…. for at least the next 10 days.

Shout It Out Loud – KISS
Here I Go Again – Whitesnake
The Boys Of Summer – Don Henley
Love Bites – Def Leppard
Tweedle Dee – LaVern Baker
Thunderbird – it says ‘Various Artists’ so who knows
Jukebox Baby – Perry Como
California Gurls – Katy Perry
Saturday In The Park – Chicago
Animal – Def Leppard
Jenny / 867 -5309 – Tommy Tutone
Oogum Boogum – Brenton Wood
Cruel Summer – Bananarama
Gimme Little Sign – Brenton Wood

Any ideas for more summery songs?

*I actually think people at parties welcome an iPod Nazi (though I’d call myself more of an iPod Enabler), as otherwise they might forget that gems like Express Yourself by NWA or Wild Thing by Tone Loc even exist, and that would be a tragedy, n’est-ce pas? Fox’s point was that sometimes people want to listen to their own iPods. My replying point was: but my iPod is better than theirs. He then said: see, that’s what I mean, you are an iPod Nazi.

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On… Eastbound and Down

Eastbound and Down is about an ex-baseball star called Kenny Powers forced to retire to small-town America. But God, that doesn’t even begin to describe it. Think this might be the funniest show I’ve ever seen. Awesome, awesome, awesome.

Check this out if you’re interested www.kennypowers.com

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On… shopping

My new SheerLuxe blog is up! (Warning: The Maje Dress features… again. What can I say, I heart it.)

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On… a new dress

I think you should all know that I am in love.

You know when you find a dress you love? Like, really love? It happens rarely, for me. I very much like most of my clothes, only tolerate some of them, and outright hate a handful. But never mind all that, they are past flings, forgotten: I have found the one.

That’s right: I love this Maje dress so much that I can’t stop talking about it. It completes me. I am the man who will fight for its honour. Hold me closer, tiny Maje dress.

So I have to share it with you, even though it has nothing to do with writing or reading or uh, anything. I would write more but I have to go now and kiss it and see if it wants anything for lunch and then maybe wash its hem with my hair.

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