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Solo Editor's Blog

Solo Editor’s Blog: March 3, 2009: A whole new kind of love!

love1The credit crunch is spawning all sorts of nonsense as people are going around saying that the crisis is forcing us all to be nicer to one another. Apparently even customer service in supermarkets, restaurants and the like has managed to scrape itself off the floor and is now operating at a whole new level. If the Celtic Tiger created mean wait staff who snarled at you when you had the nerve to order food, the recession is producing a completely different breed of servers who are so grateful to have a job that they can’t help but be smiling and obliging. Indeed. It would appear that just as we were horribly obnoxious during the boom years, our fall from financial grace has humbled us into behaving like decent human beings.
And on that note enter the random acts of kindness crusade, spearheaded by the Evangelical Alliance of Ireland. The message is loud and clear: love your neighbour! If you still have a house that is. But this is no joke. A year-long campaign – check out www.loveyourneighbour.ie if you don’t believe me – has begun to encourage folk to commit random acts of kindness at least once a month. Such deeds include putting the wheelie bin back in the drive for the old lady next door (again this is assuming you have a roof over your head), going for coffee with a work colleague who is often excluded (this one hinges on the hope that you actually have a job) or learning how to say hello in Polish to the immigrant that lives beside you. Again, there are more assumptions here, ie that the person you’re waving at is actually from Poland. How mortifying would it be if you went to the trouble of learning a Polish greeting only to discover you were hollering at a Romanian?
I’m trying to figure out how I can put all this advice into action myself. The wheelie bin idea is a bit of a non-runner ’cause I’m too busy every week trying to drag the ones in my own house out to the front gate to assist anyone else. Perhaps I should leave a random act of kindness note/suggestion to my neighbours in the other flats hinting that every once in a while they could maybe help me to get rid of the rubbish? In turn I will learn how to say thank you in Lithuanian. At least that’s where I think they’re from. I’m sure they’re very nice but they’ve never tried to speak to me and they ignored my screams in the early hours of one recent morning when I was burgled. Actually the more I think about it, this love your neighbour stuff might just work in my favour if people make more of an attempt to love me. Or even acknowledge me – that would be a start!

SOLO EDITOR’S BLOG: FEBRUARY 5, 2009
Supermarket, credit crunch and hope sex
supermarket-shoppingForget about love being in the air. The new thing is that it might be in the aisles. As in the supermarket aisles. Believe it or not, an Asda in the UK is holding a speed dating event for lonely heart shoppers hoping to find that special someone. And if that wasn’t bad enough, it’s taking place on Friday 13. On a romantic note, that’s Valentine’s Eve, but on a more terrifying note it’s also a date more associated with all brands of horror. Then again, what could be more horrifying than going to do a spot of shopping and getting caught up is some sort of rapid matchmaking session?
Apparently the night will kick off at 7pm in the store’s restaurant, where visitors will get a chance to meet a number of potential partners for a few minutes before moving on to the next possible soulmate. It’s not clear though what happens to any aspiring twosomes – maybe they take things to the next level in the fruit and veg section? They can always make their way then to the heath and beauty department to pick up some condoms, which, in these economically challenging times, are seeing quite a boom in sales by all accounts.
It turns out that increased sexual activity is a recessionary consequence. No doubt ’cause it’s free (well, usually). The global economy is on its knees, but as more and more people lose their jobs, they’re now finding the time to take up new hobbies, one of these being shagging. In America, in any case. It would seem that getting laid off ups one’s chances of getting laid, and credit crunch sex is bang in vogue.
Actually men and women Stateside are reportedly jumping on one another big time these days, regardless of unemployment. And who is responsible for this? None other than Obama. High on the euphoria of the new presidency, people are supposedly hopping into bed together at an alarming rate. ‘Hope sex’ it’s called, with one supporter telling a magazine recently that it feels like ‘a natural extension of our celebrations’. How nice.
Of course a lot of US trends tend to make their way to this side of the Atlantic eventually, but let’s be honest, not this one. Ever. You see the Americans got Obama and we’ve got Brian Cowen so there’s every chance a wave of chastity could sweep the country any minute now. In Ireland, hope sex is simply not an option – more like Cowen celibacy will become compulsory.

SOLO EDITOR’S BLOG: JANUARY 16, 2009
Mini-Me’s mini drunken relapse!
verneYou have to love Celebrity Big Brother. One by one they are all making a complete show of themselves. First it was La Toya, who seemed to be like a deer caught in headlights and about as intelligent as a plank of wood. Then it was Ulrika, with her uncontrollable sobbing on live TV on eviction night. For anyone who thinks she was crying with joy at the thought of being sent home, think again. She was simply blubbing with the fear of public rejection, which unfortunately didn’t come her way. And we won’t even go there with Tina chewing her toenails like it’s just a quirky habit she has.
Anyway, in the midst of all this Coolio continues to make a show of himself on an hourly basis, although his antics have become almost endearing now when you think of what we’ve had to put up with from the others. Like Michelle Heaton, for example, who has been in hysterics over the fact that Coolio is teasing her about fancying Ben (who actually has no personality).
Now whether or not Michelle does have the hots for Ben is irrelevant. It’s her reaction to Coolio that is so astonishing. You’d think the world had come to an end the way she was going on the other night. Wailing and sniffling in the diary room about how he is intimidating her to the point of no return. She can’t take it anymore, she howled, looking more and more unattractive by the minute. So why doesn’t she just go home?
But the biggest show of all so far has been Verne. Little cutie Verne, aka Mini-Me, who is suddenly not so cute after getting hammered on champagne. For those of you know don’t know, Verne is actually something of a alcho – well, a celebrity alcho, which essentially means you go to rehab after getting drunk once or twice, only to reemerge and continue to tipple away to your heart’s content. And then go back to rehab intermittently. All of which Verne has done. It was only in 2007 that he had to climb back on the wagon again after ‘suffering a relapse’.
Mmm. Has nobody noticed, therefore, that he appears to be having another one on national TV? Car crash telly has taken on a whole new meaning since Verne got twisted and literally crashed his scooter into the diary room door. Slurring his words and perving on La Toya, he had to be lifted onto his scooter by Coolio (told you the Cool man was becoming more endearing), who he shouted at for more booze.
But apparently this is nothing new for Verne. As a serial Celebrity Big Brother appearer, he got so out of his mind on the American version in 2005 that he peed in the house gym. On the first day too, no less.
I wonder will there be an intervention? Now that would be a whole new departure in reality TV. I can just see it – Coolio leading the pack, with each housemate telling Verne one by one how his drunken behaviour has affected them. Hilarious. Let the madness continue!

SOLO EDITOR’S BLOG: JANUARY 6, 2009
The unleashing of Foolio!
The other day I was picking on La Toya. Today it’s the turn of Coolio. Or should I say Foolio? Because this man is possibly the greatest eejit that has ever been let loose on Celebrity Big Brother. He seemed harmless enough in the beginning, and perhaps he’s still harmless. But that doesn’t mean he’s not a gombeen.
Most of us have had the good fortune to not have heard of Foolio since 1995 when he released his ‘Gangsta’s Paradise’ on an unsuspecting public. Now, 14 years on, we’ve had to endure the sight of him on CBB singing this one hit again in a bid to showcase his talent. At the risk of sounding like Simon Cowell, he was woefully out of tune and wouldn’t make it through the first auditions on The X Factor. Neither would Michelle Heaton, but that’s another story.
Back to Foolio. In between a lot of crotch clutching and a compulsion to talk about his sexual conquests, he’s also found time to reveal that he’s been shot at ten times. And there we were thinking that 50 Cent was unlucky for being shot a whopping nine times.
Foolio has lived in fear of his life, but he’s changed now for his children – how many he has is unclear. And the only reason he’s recording now is because of the positive impact he makes on people’s lives. “My voice has made a difference and that’s the only reason I’m still making records,” he said.
There’s no praise like self praise. It’s not surprising really that his own website refers to him as a ‘multi-talented Grammy Award winning and multi-platinum selling artist, composer and actor…one of the most popular and successful rappers worldwide’. No mention of the fact that his ‘hairstyle’ makes him look like a plant.
And now Foolio is constipated. Yep. He’s had to request laxatives from Big Brother after complaining of being ‘blocked up’. It’s actually astonishing that he’s been afflicted with this problem considering the amount of shite he spouts on an hourly basis.
But bowel issues aside, perhaps the most disturbing announcement Foolio has made thus far is that he is going to write a book. Socialist Scot Tommy Sheridan apparently made him realise he should do this, even suggesting that Foolio devote an entire chapter to the women in his life. Tommy needs to be strung up for inspiring such a travesty.
Oh and one more thing. La Toya isn’t quite getting off scot free. She might be doing a good enough job keeping the lid on her Jackson looniness up to now. But her decision to put left over rice in a kitchen drawer may have just opened a can of worms.

SOLO EDITOR’S BLOG: JANUARY 3, 2009
Happy New Year, happy Celeb Big Bro season!
Happy 2009 to one and all. It’s that hideous time of year again – the beginning – when we all attempt to cleanse our inner and outer spirits by doing things like giving up smoking, drinking and eating. Gym memberships rise and sales of stuff that might bring happiness plummet. In other words, sufferance rules.
I don’t believe in self-inflicted misery myself, so I haven’t a notion of spending January abstaining from anything that I even remotely enjoy. And that includes Celebrity Big Brother, which I enjoy very, very much. So much so that I think I’m going to blog about it for the next few weeks. Beats talking about resolutions anyway.
I have high hopes for this series. I was not impressed when Channel 4 cancelled last year’s one, but I’m willing to let it go now that they’ve resurrected it with a whole plethora of spanking new ‘celebs’. You always wonder at the beginning who half of them are, but give it a couple of days and their star status won’t even matter. It will be all about the personalities.
Anyway, one night in and I have so much to say that I will package it as a series of comments/questions. I realise it might look like I’m picking on La Toya Jackson, but hey, if the cap fits…

– Upon arrival, why did La Toya automatically put her suitcase in the ‘private bedroom’?

– Why did former Sugababe Mutya turn up in a leopard skin nightie – and why did La Toya tell her that she loved it?

– Why is Coolio limping? I mean, I know that it’s a thing that rappers do, but why? WHY?

– Was Terry Christian always this sexy or has age made him more attractive? (I might change my mind about this in a few days.)

– Why was Mini-Me Verne made to drag in his own suitcase, which was at least half the size of him?

– Has Michelle Heaton consulted a stylist? She’s still tanned but definitely not as orange and she looked almost tasteful in skinny jeans and a black shirt.

– Why did La Toya tell Tina Malone from Shameless that being in the show was the best thing that ever happened to her? Happened to her? Surely she had a hand in making it happen?

– Why did La Toya tell Verne that she thought nobody could go to bed until Big Brother gave the go ahead?

– Why does La Toya seem so thick?

– Why did Terry tell Michelle she had an ‘Irish look’ about her and then bring Brendan Behan into the conversation?

Oh God…questions, questions. I’m demented from trying to find the answers. I’m going to have a glass of wine to help me. Again, happy 2009!

SOLO EDITOR’S BLOG: DECEMBER 12, 2008
Cancel Christmas?
It’s difficult to ignore the wisdom of Dublin taxi drivers, which is why I was taken aback the other day when one of them told me to enjoy Christmas as it will probably be the last. The recession, he explained, was going to hit the big time in the New Year, wiping out all festive fun. Forever. The only comforting aspect to this alarming news was that it was delivered with a hearty laugh that had me hoping he was just joking. Unlike the cabbie I met the previous week, who took doom and gloom to a new level entirely.
“It’s a mean, mean night out there,” he said as he took me into town.
“Really?” I replied, assuming there had been violence on the streets.
“Yeah,” he went on. “It’s going to be minus three later on.”
“Oh right,” I nodded. He was actually talking about the weather. And if only he’d stopped there. It was a mere ten minute journey to Stephen’s Green but by the time we were on O’Connell Street he’d confided in me that he had an hour’s drive home ahead of him and he was worried he would skid in the ice and end up in a ditch, lonely and undiscovered. Dead even.
“I can’t take this anymore” he told me and I wasn’t sure if he was fearful of the cold or his own impending death.
“Oh right,” I nodded again, even though at this stage I was contemplating getting out and walking. He was putting me off my impending pints. And then he announced he was afraid to buy a new cab.
“Sorry?” I said, far from apologetic. I was, in fact, wondering why the hell he was even considering investing in a different car. There was nothing wrong with the current one.
“The recession,” he elaborated. “They say it’s gonna be all over in January.”
“Oh RIGHT,” I nodded for the third time, ’cause now it was all starting to make sense. I was being treated to the taxi man’s vision of the future. Again. And it wasn’t pretty.
“Do you think if people have no money, they’re gonna take f**king taxis?” he asked. “If people don’t have jobs are they gonna f**king fork out cash to us? No they’re not. They’re f**king not.”
I was thankful he’d answered the question for me. And that we’d reached my destination. Mind you, I didn’t reveal to him that I was en route to a pub – for fear that would bring on another string of expletives.
But between the f**ks the message was clear – as clear as it had been from the other cab driver who was laughing instead of cursing. It’s all over in January, even if nobody is completely certain what ‘it’ is. And this Christmas may well be our final one, so we’d better make the most of it. Having said that, it’s hard not to suspect that we should really be cancelling our Yuletide celebrations. Was the whole Day of Pigs thing a sign? I mean, one minute we were happily ordering hams and the next we were mentally calculating the number of rashers and sausages we’d eaten at the weekend. Pork is poison, we heard, and it was like someone was trying to tell us something. Cancel Christmas perhaps? What’s the point in indulging when we all could be physically and financially contaminated come the New Year? It mightn’t be a bad idea to blank the season to be jolly. And stop taking taxis as well of course.

SOLO EDITOR’S BLOG: DECEMBER 5, 2008
Dating advice from nine-year-old
Guys out there who are looking to snare a women need to know a few things first. Don’t show off. Don’t give out too many compliments as you’ll come across as desperate. And avoid the pretty ones ‘cause they’re a bit like cars that need a lot of oil. Wise words indeed and all the wiser when you hear them coming from a nine-year-old.
How To Talk To Girls is America’s latest bestseller, which started out as a pamphlet for a school creative writing project in Castle Rock, Colorado. Written by Alec Greven, who was all of eight at the time, it was sold for $5 at a school book fair before his fame started to snowball when his dating tips were picked up by the local media. An invite on to Ellen DeGeneres’s television chat show confirmed his newfound star status and the next thing he knew he’d been signed up to publisher HarperCollins. The 46 page book, based entirely on his observations of his classmates, is now a common sight on bookshop counters in the run up to Christmas.
“I saw a lot of boys had trouble talking to girls,” said the young author of what inspired him to start writing. Good to know that these difficulties begin at such an early age.
How To Talk To Girls is full of crucial tips on overcoming shyness, the importance of combing one’s hair and not wearing track suit bottoms, along with the usefulness of just saying ‘hi’ as a chat up line – or should that be word? And while not yet ten himself, Alec advises that dating really is for ‘kind of old’ people and should not be attempted until the age of 15 or 16. Although there’s a lot to be said for getting a head start because, as the lad says in the book, ‘sometimes it takes years to get a girl to like you’. Meanwhile, ‘the best choice for most boys is a regular girl’ because some of the lookers are downright cold hearted. And being the smartest boy in the class is not such a bad thing as it could well have girls ‘prowling at your feet’.
So how does the musings of a Colorado child apply to Ireland’s grown men? Well, it’s all quite straightforward really. The no showing off rule is easy because the boom years are over and nobody has anything to boast about now. Taking it handy with the compliments is no problem either because all Irish people – both sexes – are notoriously bad at any sort of flattery. As for opting for the ‘regular’ gal over the ‘pretty ones’ – that issue is a tad more complex. While most guys are a bit loathe to lower their expectations for the sake of a sure thing (unless they’re drunk of course), what Alec omitted to allude to in his novella was the concept of the wing man. Everyone knows that all a guy really needs to get laid is a ‘pretty’ target, her less attractive, ie ‘regular’ friends and one wing man, who should also be a bit on the ‘regular’ side if the operation is to be carried out successfully. It would appear that little Alec Greven doesn’t know it all. But not to worry – he has youth on his side. And in time he will learn. He will learn.

SOLO EDITOR’S BLOG: DECEMBER 1, 2008
Freezing weather, freezing pints
Just as Ryanair announces its intention to make an offer for Aer Lingus and merge the two airlines into God knows what, the two groups that represent the country’s publicans have joined forces to announce a one year freeze in drink prices in pubs – with immediate effect. When I first heard this news I assumed right away it was something to do with the recent spate of cold weather we’ve been having. A ‘freeze in drink prices’ made me think of the frost that was on the ground when I left the house this morning, shivering and miserable. And then I realised I had it all wrong. It wasn’t about iced beer or frozen daiquiris – it was about the burning topic of the recession – again.
The Licensed Vintners Association and the Vintners Federation of Ireland have presented a plan to help halt the slide in sales – no more hiking up their prices. How enterprising of them. They seem to be missing the point though. They’re already too high. And if pub owners are concerned about the continuing consumer trend towards partying at home, they need to do more than freeze the price of a pint.
This desperate measure has been revealed just days after one of Dublin’s top pub groups, Thomas Reid, had an examiner appointed to it, due to the fact that it is reportedly in debt to the tune of €26.7 million. For those of you who don’t know, Thomas Reid’s owns hot spots such as the Bailey, Ron Black’s, the Globe, the Harbourmaster and the Winding Stair restaurant – places that have been charging exorbitant prices for years now.
In fact the only time I was ever in the Winding Stair was a Sunday afternoon last summer. We hadn’t booked, which is of course a mortal sin in Dublin, however the hostess told us we could have a table for 70 minutes max before she would need it back. We were hungry so we agreed to speed eat, an arrangement that soon became irrelevant when the waitress who took our order forgot to pass it onto the kitchen. Their subsequent idea of an apology was not to discount the inflated bill, but to kindly tell us that we didn’t need to leave within the limited timeframe that had initially been given to us. In other words, they allowed us to dine in the restaurant as oppose to giving us the food to go. Nice. Makes you wonder really if the recession isn’t just about karma.

SOLO EDITOR’S BLOG: NOVEMBER 24, 2008
Oh to be old…
Every week of the credit crunch brings a something is the new something. For a long time now staying in has been the new going out, while more recently poverty has become the new property. Meanwhile, the middle classes are the new poor and bachelors look set to become the nouveau rich. It’s all a bit confusing, this trying to find your niche in society business, so you can imagine how disorientating it was to discover that OAPs are the new youth. Yep – never has it been so good to be on the wrong side of maturity.
Now we should have seen this coming – the over 70s debacle was a big, even massive, hint. Once the Budget revealed its medical card plans for this lot, out they came marching and shouting as if they were the new hoodies, generally presenting themselves as a public menace. And it worked. It absolutely worked. No sooner had their freebie been swiped from under their noses, than it had been given back, their reputations as a force to be reckoned with firmly established in the process. The message was very loud and very clear – don’t mess with the aged.
Now we hear that a new UK poll carried out by Intune, the financial products and services provider set up and owned by Help the Aged, found that 80 per cent of respondents aged over 60 take at least two foreign holidays a year while one in six enjoy enjoy more than four trips abroad. The results reportedly show that while much of the rest of the population is very busy tightening its belt for the economic slowdown, the senior citizens are not prepared to cut back on their vacations in the sun and actually want to live a more jetset lifestyle in retirement. Now that they have the time, and quite often the money, they are determined to enjoy themselves as much as possible.
Oh to be old. Most of us spend much of our lives trying to turn back the clock, but perhaps for the first time ever we wouldn’t mind pressing the fast forward button. Who cares about the grey hair and wrinkles? There’s always blue rinses and, em, soft lighting. Besides, what’s the point in being young and broke when you could be old and relatively well off? Take unemployment – what does it matter to the elderly? They don’t have jobs anymore. And mortgages? Sure they paid those off years ago. What do they care about negative equity?
Oh, OH, to be old. Between the banks going bust and cappuccinos becoming a distant memory, we’ve never been so enamoured with those reruns of The Golden Girls that we’re inevitably watching because the staying in is the new going out thing means our only recessional respite is the TV – for the moment anyway. Until we can no longer afford the cable. Not to mention those repeats of The Love Boat, which are the best ad ever for being for being of a certain vintage. Bertie had the right idea. Yeah, yeah, he’s not old old, but he ‘retired’ from running the country at exactly the right time and now he can spend his days going to book launches and the like. Oh to be even sort of old.

SOLO EDITOR’S BLOG: NOVEMBER 15, 2008
Credit crunch creating Bachelors/Spinsters of Finance?
With each day comes another recessional repercussion. Just as we were coming to terms with the early, evil Budget (especially if you are over 70), along came the news that, as more and more companies indulge in belt tightening tactics, the office Christmas party is cancelled. Not that we’re too bothered about the latter because, let’s be honest, the annual Yuletide knees up with work colleagues is always a recipe for drunken disasters and subsequent horrors. So calling it off altogether is actually a fine example of risk management.
Still, it’s reached the point where you wake up each morning wondering what is next. Well, I’ll tell you what – a marriage drought. Actually, possibly even a relationship drought. Because the latest news is that, according to a recent survey, quite a few single men in the UK believe the best way of surviving the credit crunch is to stay stay that way. And the findings are deemed to be bad news for millions of available women as it suggests that famous unattached men such as George Clooney and James Bond (even though he’s not real), are the new role models for millions of British bachelors during the economic downturn. A total of 47 per cent of those surveyed said they would spend more money than they currently do if they were to enter into a relationship, meaning that almost half of Britain’s nine million males could soon all become so-called ‘Bachelors of Finance’, according to Skipton Building Society, which carried out the research. A spokesperson even went as far to say that men are taking the view that having a partner comes at a financial cost.
We can only assume that the British Bachelors of Finance’s Irish counterparts feel the same way, which would lead us to predict a sharp decline in the industry of romance in the foreseeable future. And we can’t blame them really. It’s one thing to say that it’s cheaper to have another half to share the mortgage, bills and general cost of life with. But there’s nothing low budget about the rigmarole people have to go through in order to get to that stage. Dating is dear and in these hard times any extra expense is something we can all do without. Who needs wining and dining now that the boom is gone silent and every day is a rainy one?
Meanwhile, what about the gals? Is remaining single a less extravagant option for them too? It could well be – think of all the needless cash spent on preening before a night out with a guy who could be ‘the one’ but turns out to nothing but a big bore. Money down the toilet is that. And besides, if the Bachelors of Finance are going to be the nouveau rich (as opposed to the new poor, who are the happy couples with the redundancy cheques and late mortgage repayments), the Spinsters of Finance will be only too happy to jump on the bandwagon of affluence too.

SOLO EDITOR’S BLOG: OCTOBER 29, 2008
Barmbrack – sham or curse?

I had forgotten all about Halloween until some weeks ago, when I spotted a pile of pumpkins in Tesco, all selling at the same rather inflated price even though some of them were twice as big as others. I thought about buying one but then I realised I’d have no clue how to go about carving it because, you see, I don’t remember pumpkins ever being around in the Halloweens of my youth. We had turnips yes, but pumpkins? Not that I recall.
Of course there are a lot of things that are different about the modern day Halloweens. The ones of the ’80s were all about apples, which were covered with chocolate and colourful sprinkles. And dressing up as witches in pointy black paper hats that you made in school right before mid-term break. These days you’re either Sarah Palin, Barack Obama – or no one.
On the other hand, some things just stay the same. For example, we continue to be nuts and nuts. They’re still in a shell, they still make you choke, yet they’re still oddly addictive – and quite cheap too. And then there’s the barmbrack. (Or is it barnbrack?) I didn’t think they even made loaves of this anymore until recently when my mother offered me a slice, which I declined. And forcefully, I might add. I’m not sure anyone under a certain age actually likes the taste of this so-called fruit bread. Like the medical card debate, it’s more of an over-70s thing. I think it’s something to do with having a palate of a different era.
Anyway, after indignantly refused a piece of the dreaded brack – blackened crust and all – something on the kitchen table caught my eye. At first glance it looked like it should be attached to a key to the shed, and I casually asked what it was.
“Oh, it’s my ring,” my mother said – and she was actually smiling rather gleefully. “I got the ring.”
THE RING. That’s when it all came flooding back to me. Eating brack as a young girl, tearing my way through the slices I didn’t even enjoy, all in the hope that I would get THE RING – because this would mean I was going to be a bride! And I NEVER did.
I don’t know if the tradition has survived but back then the brack didn’t just include a ring either. Nope, there was also any amount of other objects such as a rag, a coin and a pea. So as the ring predicted your impending trip up the aisle, the rag was on hand to tell you of your future poverty while the coin meant you’d turn out to be rich. Meanwhile, the pea forecasted that you wouldn’t be getting hitched at all. Lovely. And of course, just as I never got the ring, I always got that hard green pea. Oh – and I habitually got the stick too, which, as it turns out, meant that your husband was going to beat you. What husband? Now that I think of it, it makes no sense. Before the age of ten, numerous peas had already crowned me a spinster, yet a couple of sticks along the way had me fearing my future husband. Who? Sure I’m never getting married.
I’m starting to think the whole thing was a sham. Or, worse still – a cruel, cruel curse. But that didn’t stop me jealously admiring my mother’s prize.
“Do you want it?” she asked me – in pity – as I examined it carefully. It really was very grubby, considering it had been in something edible.
“Er, no thanks,” I said and I fled the room before she insisted I take my one opportunity to sport a wedding band.

SOLO EDITOR’S BLOG: OCTOBER 22, 2008
Communicating Under the Influence (CUI) – where there’s a will, there’s a way

I am still on the subject of the Communicating Under the Influence (CUI) and am sad to say that Google’s Mail Goggles is not fool proof. Or, more to the point, drunk proof. I’m sure the techie behind the invention was delighted with his plan to prevent all plastered people the world over from humiliating themselves with booze-fuelled e-mails, but unfortunately he needs to do a bit more in order to save folk from the morning after horrors. Because you see, as I’ve been reliably informed, it’s as easy to remove Mail Goggles from your settings as it is to install it, and when you’re hammered and hell bent on making contact with the very person you should be avoiding, the first move you’re going to make is to un-install the very thing that is trying to prevent you from disgracing yourself.
There you are, sloshed on the sofa, tipsily typing like there’s no tomorrow. You go to hit ‘send’ and up comes the maths questions that you need to solve within 60 seconds in order to be allowed do this. So you try and answer them. Sure why wouldn’t you? You think you’re sober and the notion that you might be cyber slurring your words hasn’t even entered your head. And then you fail. The minute is up and you’re still mulling over what 71 + 13 equals and Mail Goggles tells you that it’s time for water and bed. An individual of sound mind would need this advice, but the whole issue here is that you’re completely locked, which roughly means that where there’s a will, there’s a way. Next thing you know you’ve saved the infamous e-mail as a draft, you’re taken Mail Goggles off your settings and you’re back in action with the send button. Not good.
Why is modern technology so determined to make it as easy as possible for us to CUI? Take the mobile phone. It used to be very simple – if you felt you were in danger of drunken dialling or texting while tippling, you just deleted the number of the person who could well be your target. But then Nokia brought out a newer phone, which still stores all recently used contacts regardless of whether or not they’ve been removed from your phonebook. Ahhh!
The obvious solution would be to just not get tired and emotional but that’s a tall order in these doom and gloom times. But with any luck the recession will have some sort of positive impact on this seemingly incurable problem. Just as people’s dietary habits have regressed due to the credit crunch – in the UK McDonald’s are seeing an additional two million customers every month and there has been an increase in fish and chip sales for the first time in five years – perhaps our communication methods might backslide a decade or so when mobiles were few and far between and the world wide web was an interesting concept, not quite so evolved, and certainly not the danger zone it has become in the late Noughties.

SOLO EDITOR’S BLOG: OCTOBER 12, 2008
Drunken mailing: step away from the laptop…

When it comes to CUI (Communicating Under the Influence), it used to be the mobile phone that was the weapon of choice. Many’s the gal or guy who has woken up in a haze of a hangover only to recall, with horror, a drunken dialling at two in the morning and a slurred message left on the voicemail of an ex. The sheer mortification that comes with the flashback is second to none, causing us all to bemoan the sophistication of modern times and pine for that humbler era when it was much more difficult to stalk someone in the dead of night.
Now, however, it’s not just the mobile phone we have to be afraid of. Nope. It’s the internet too. Between Blackberries and Broadband there are far too many of us with constant access to the world wide web, providing us with yet another truly dangerous way to commit a CUI. Which is why it was nice to hear the other day that the kind and considerate folk at Google are on hand to help with a new service called Mail Goggles. It’s all very straightforward really. You install it and it will then act as a sort of checking device that makes sure that you are really, really certain you want to send that late night e-mail. It’s method of checking is ingenious – you are forced to solve a few ‘simple’ maths problems after you click send in order to verify that you’re in the right state of mind. If you fail to do the sums, the e-mail remains unsent. And it’s kind of a given that if you are demented drunk, the chances are you will flunk the test and your dignity can remain intact.
By default, Mail Goggles is only active late night on the weekend (‘as that is the time you’re most likely to need it’), however once enabled, you can adjust when it’s active in the general settings. So, I’ve already installed mine. Hell, I’ll take all the support that’s being offered, especially when it’s free. I’m still trying to figure out what boxes to tick in the ‘select the days and times when you’re likely to need Gmail to step in and double check that you want to send that e-mail’ section, but I chose to install the most difficult maths test – just in case I’m better with numbers than I thought.
Mind you, this isn’t going to solve all drunken mailing problems. What if you have more than one e-mail account? I mean, I have Gmail, but I also have Hotmail and Yahoo. And they’re not offering me any options to save me from myself. Then there’s Facebook. You can send electronic messages that way too (not to mention making friends with random strangers.) A friend of mine who recently had a shocking experience with the drunken mailing reckons we should get an electric shock when we touch our keyboards when over the limit. It’s typing while intoxicated, she said, which needs to be dealt with. And she’s right. I have another friend who was so sloshed one night she could barely type, but she didn’t let that stop her banging out letter after letter until she’d created full words that turned into not-so-complete sentences, which she then sent to an old flame who is probably, she thinks, in another relationship by now. No wonder she woke up blushing the following morning.
Anyway, here’s hoping the arrival of Mail Goggles will start some sort of revolution in this murky area. Perhaps other companies will try to come up with ways of intervening when this sort of behaviour strikes? Because let’s face it, staying in is the new going out so more and more of us are drunk at home, the bottle of wine beside the computer. We’re pissed and senseless and think we need to send that e-mail. And, in fact, what we really need is for someone or something to forcefully tell us to step away from the laptop.

SOLO EDITOR’S BLOG: SEPTEMBER 23, 2008
A guiding light through singledom?

You can’t beat a good guide book and when I heard about Sarah Ivens newly published A Modern Girl’s Guide to the Perfect Single Life I was intrigued. I mean, it’s what Solo is all about – the pursuit of a flawless solitary bliss. The reason the book came to my attention in the first place was because there was a feature about it in the Irish Independent and I was invited to air my views, which I did – naturally (check out www.independent.ie/lifestyle/dumped-heres-how-to-be—single—with-a-smile-1480364.html. Don’t I – ‘journalist Karina Corbett (34)’ sound soooo wise?!!). I even posed for a picture and aside from the fact I look like I’m promoting a gardening show, it was all good.
So, I read the article and Sarah Ivens’ life does indeed sound rather fabulous, not least because she’s the editor of the US edition of OK! magazine – my dream job. Imagine – she was probably there the day Britney showed up to do that interview. Now, not the recent one where a rehabilitated Spears talked, boringly, all about her new life. No, the other one last year where a mid-nervous breakdown Brit Brit was apparently under some strange influence that saw her eating fried chicken, wiping her greasy fingers on a $6,000 Gucci gown, before her dog made a poo, which she wiped up with a Chanel dress. Oh what I wouldn’t give to have been a fly on that wall.
Anyway, Ivens’ cool workplace aside, she reckons all was not rosy when she found herself single again at 31 – unhappily so. And therein lies the crux of the book. She decided to turn her back on self pity and instead approach her new-found status with a sense of humour and a belief that this difficult period would pass. She used her time alone to do things like yoga in Mexico and ending bad friendships. All very uplifting, but then came the clanger! After a year of being unattached, an ex from Ivens’ college days reappeared and she’s now set to marry him. Jaysus! The author of A Modern Girl’s Guide to the Perfect Single Life is about as single as a double vodka and is actually en route up the aisle. I wonder is she planning on having kids? Am thinking if she goes on maternity leave I could cover for her in OK!…………..

PS: Even though I devoted last week’s blog to my determination to remain environmentally unfriendly, things are different today as I’ve just lost my Brown Bin virginity by putting the dregs of a spring onion (or a scallion as we used to say before the Celtic Tiger) into my brand new refuse collector. It was a rather refreshing experience actually and I’m now feeling more than a touch organic. In fact, all I need now is a few dreadlocks and my transformation towards being truly herbal will be complete.

SOLO EDITOR’S BLOG: SEPTEMBER 12, 2008
Environmentally unfriendly
Oh for God’s sake. Singletons have been identified as Ireland’s biggest polluters. Apparently, people living on their own produce 37 per cent more carbon emissions per person than couples and 59 per cent more than those living in threes – or should they be called triples? The study, which was carried out by Trinity College Dublin’s Centre for the Environment, found that the average person emitted 5.7 tonnes of equivalent CO2 a year. Single dwellers were responsible for almost 6.8 tonnes compared with 4.9 tonnes each for cohabiting couples and 4.3 tonnes each for households of three. One-fifth of personal carbon emissions were found to come from air travel and two-person households, followed by single households, were found to be the worst offenders. Single and two-person households travel the most, releasing on average 1.7 and 2.2 tonnes per person each year respectively, compared with the survey average of 1.2. Two major findings were that household carbon emissions become more efficient with numbers of occupants and that aviation makes up on average 21 per cent of personal emissions. The problem is that occupancy rates are falling and air travel is increasing – supposedly people without families tend to fly more. And why is that? Perhaps because they can?
All this unwelcome news comes to me in the same week that Dublin City Council presented me with my very own Brown Bin. Never mind that I don’t want it, it seems it’s not up to me. As if life wasn’t complex enough on a good day, I now have to remember to separate my rubbish into regular waste and household waste, the latter which goes in the brand new bin. I am someone who still resents going to the bottle bank so the notion that I have to put ‘garden waste’ (as if I have any) and ‘food waste’ into a vessel the colour of sh*t is just beyond irritating. It’s all in the name of saving the environment of course but these days the whole preserving the planet thing is starting to feel painful. I mean, what do air miles matter when most of us can’t afford to on holidays anymore? And what’s the point of trying to conserve our water when it’s raining all day every day? If you ask me, the environment has nothing to worry about.
Meanwhile, I’ve gone online to read about my new sh*tty, sorry, Brown Bin and I’ve discovered I can actually decline it – by forwarding my name, address and account number to the relevant address, stating the reason I do not want to receive the trashy item. Requests will be dealt with on an individual basis so I’m currently wondering how I could plead my case. Could I simply say that I refuse to divide my refuse? That I’m busy and I’d rather just pile everything into the one bin, if that’s OK with them? Probably not. I should accept that I’m stuck with it. There’s always a bright side and in this instance it’s that the Brown Bin collection is free for the first three months. After that it’s €2 a pop. Sigh, another reason to become environmentally unfriendly – it’s flippin’ cheaper.

SOLO EDITOR’S BLOG: AUGUST 28, 2008
The age of innocence
Now that Madonna’s world tour has kicked off and she is showing everyone just how fit and able she is at half a century young, you would think her determination to remain ageless would make folk think that 50 is the new 30. I mean, there she is in remarkably skimpy attire, gyrating like a woman of 25. Or 15 even. She’s so intent on proving to the world that she’s still got it, it’s probably never occurred to her that her drive and ambition has made her existence terribly boring. Yes, she can pull moves that would put a gymnast to shame, but all those hours working out, not to mention the organic/macrobiotic/whatever diet, must make life rather tedious. God forbid she would lose control.
But back to 50 being the new 30. I was sure this was a trend that had taken off, much the same as the way each season black is the new black. Not only is Madonna doing it for the older ladies, but shows like Desperate Housewives have given women of a certain vintage a good name. Miley Cyrus and her silly peers aside, age is no longer the defining trait of a person. Or so I thought.
Fast forward to a recent train journey I took, when I was lucky enough to plonk myself down beside three teenagers. Now when I say teenagers I wasn’t entirely sure initially how old or young they were. I am one of these people who thinks I still look about 21, therefore I am useless at telling other people’s age because I judge them all in terms of my own deluded image of myself. So these girls could have been anything between 14 and 20, only that from their animated conversation I quickly discovered that one had just turned 19 that day while the other two were 17. The 19-year-old had finished her first year in college so was full of worldly wisdom, which she was happy to dispense to her friends. And they were delighted to lap it up.
Actually they weren’t the only ones who were delighted – I abandoned my newspaper in favour of eavesdropping. It was much more interesting. I was fascinated to learn all about rooming options in university and whether or not it’s advisable to take on certain subjects. It was when they started discussing exercise that I was quite taken aback. I don’t remember being remotely fitness friendly in my late teens, but these gals were very focused on such activities.
“I really want to do more exercise next year now,” the 19-year-old declared. “It’s like, I feel so much better when I do it. I have, like, so much more energy. Except I’m trying to figure out when to go to the gym in college – I don’t like going early in the morning ’cause I hate, like, showering in the gym, you know?”
The younger two were of course nodding in an understanding fashion, before voicing an interest in trying out yoga and pilates. At this point I’d stopped even pretending I wasn’t listening and when the 19-year-old announced she needed start putting her make-up on for her date with her boyfriend, it was all I could do to resist offering her a loan of my mirror. Sure I thought it was Christmas. She spread all her products across the table and I was truly astonished at the standard of the range. From Lancome to Benefit, there wasn’t a Rimmel eye liner in sight. Nope. Everything was top class. Except for her blusher-applying skills that is, but hey, I wasn’t going to open my mouth. Well, actually, it was already open, but for different reasons because it was round about then that she came out with the whopper.
“You know, I’ve kind of reached that point where like I don’t even want to celebrate my birthday anymore,” she revealed, as she put down her lipstick and struck a pensive pose. “It’s like, you know, it just reminds me of like how old I’m getting.”
Again, the other two nodded, understandingly. Of course they are still only 17 but they felt her pain. In a mere two years time they will be facing the same dilemma.
So you see, 50 is not the new 30. Age is age and no matter what age you are they will nearly always be someone younger or older. It’s all relative really. Madonna is a spring chicken beside Liz Taylor for instance, but she’s an old hag beside any one of that High School Musical posse – I can never remember their names, possibly because they’re all as dull as our current weather. Even Paris and Nicole etc, while still young, are past it when you hold them up beside the new, younger, holier than thou Hollywood. And then there was me. While I am a mere child compared to an OAP, next to my travelling companions I was positively elderly. If yer woman thought she was getting on at 19, no doubt she thought I was about 100. Like.

SOLO EDITOR’S BLOG: AUGUST 22, 2008
🙂 We were on a break….

SOLO EDITOR’S BLOG: AUGUST 15, 2008
Popbitch-ing the McCauls
We’re mortified to admit that we’re rather enjoying Fáilte Towers. It’s kind of so bad it’s good. And it beats Big Brother any day, which is the biggest snooze fest since that squarey Mary Cameron won it a few years back. But perhaps the oddest thing about our new found addiction is how we’ve changed our minds about some of the contestants. That Jennifer Maguire one isn’t half as bad as we originally thought, and even Michelle Heaton is coming across as sort of OK! Yes, Michelle Heaton! We couldn’t bear her on You’re a Star, with her hooded eyes and orange slap. But here she is on the Towers and she’s grand. And then there’s good old Donna and Joe. Last week we were laughing at them, this week we’re, well, almost fond of them. So much so that we were kind of annoyed to see that they got a bit of abuse in the most recent edition of Popbitch – the free weekly celebrity gossip e-mail. Under the title ‘Reality show hell’, Popbitch told the world that in ‘Ireland’s Fáilte Towers celebs have to look after a hotel with ‘real’ guests’. So far, so true.
“The ‘stars’,” it continued, “include Brian Dowling from Big Brother (who is very orange and looks botoxed).”
Again, still true. It then went on to say that ‘the ubiquitously pointless Michelle Heaton’ was also taking part, along with ‘the gay and lesbian twins who screwed up the Irish Eurovision entry a few years ago’. How untrue is that? Donna and Joe are not twins and neither did they sabotage our Eurovision chances. Sure didn’t we send them there ourselves?
Anyway, irked and all as we are, we are slightly thrilled too to see that the McCauls have made it to the pages of Popbitch. Their star status is well and truly rising now and we’re predicting that the next stop will be Heat magazine at the very least.

SOLO EDITOR’S BLOG: AUGUST 4, 2008
Fáilte to the WHOs?
Even though I was looking forward (albeit in a kind of twisted way) to the opening night of RTE’s new series Fáilte Towers, which sees 12 celebrities running a hotel for just over two weeks, I ended up missing it and had to make do with tuning in to the second instalment instead. And, dare I say it, it appears to have the potential to be almost amusing. Although I have yet to find out if they are providing any single rooms. We are nearing the end of summer and Big Brother is about as interesting as looking in the neighbour’s window in the hope they might do something exciting, so a home grown attempt at a ‘reality’ show might be just what we need to get us through the next week or two of schizo weather.
Now, of course, it should be pointed out that most of the Towers celebs are hardly stars, but hey, that’s never stopped a show being entertaining. But seriously, most of them are in the ‘WHO?’ league. OK, we know Evelyn well ’cause she turns up on our screens regularly to tell us of the impending flash floods, but WHO the hell is Luke Thomas? And now that he has been evicted – oops, sorry, I mean he has ‘checked out’ – we’re destined to never know where he came out of. Apparently he was in a boyband called Keywest or something, which merely prompts us again to screech ‘WHO?’.
Unfortunately, we’re not as inclined to wonder who yer woman Jennifer Maguire is because she seems to be on a merciless mission to ensure we are all aware of her escalating fame. A finalist in the UK’s version of The Apprentice, Maguire is one of those aspiring cutthroat business women who sadly ends up coming across as a milder adaptation of ruthless Katie Hopkins – a previous Apprentice contestant. It’s a case of yeah, yeah, we know she’s a tough cookie, but how funny was it when judge Sammy Leslie of Castle Leslie told her she needed to learn humility by getting a job in McDonalds?
The thing about RTE’s new venture is that it reminds you of how so-called celebs actually enter the public eye because of reality TV shows and then remain there for the same reason. Take another one of the contestants – Brian Dowling. He won Big Brother in its heyday, went on to achieve moderate success as a presenter, but now he’s gone back to what he is best at – reality TV. Last year it was Hell’s Kitchen, this year he’s regressed to Fáilte Towers. Doesn’t he know that his latest effort won’t win him a presence on the pages of Heat magazine? Ditto with Jennifer Maguire, who has literally swung from one reality show to another. And as for Donna and Joe McCaul – well, they made their names (‘lambs to the slaughter’ as I recall) on You’re a Star a few years ago, now it seems they’re back for more. And to add insult to injury they’re not even classed as two separate contestants – they’re brother and sister you know, not Siamese twins! Michelle Heaton is kind of the icing on the cake though. She started out as a Popstars reject, who went on to become part of Popstars reject band Liberty X. Then she did em, nothing – oh, maybe a column with OK! mag? – before arriving in Ireland as a judge on You’re a Star. See? From reality to reality to reality. She is the queen of them all really. With all these reality TV show veterans popping up, what we really want to know is, WHERE IN THE NAME OF GOD IS FRAN COSGRAVE?
In any case, in these doom and gloom times, Fáilte Towers might actually entertain us, not least because of the Big Brother-style ‘crowd’ that congregates outside the hotel on ‘check out’ nights. Sure all we’re missing is Davina. Or a few more people in the audience. And judge Bibi Baskin, solo lady extraordinaire, is coming across as so graceful and professional that we’ve forgiven her for getting all tetchy recently when the Sunday Indo questioned her about her single status.

SOLO EDITOR’S BLOG: JULY 28, 2008
The Galway Races – Last Chance Saloon?
It’s that time of year again – Ireland’s largest racing event galloped off this week as hordes of people went west for the annual Galway Races. And with an estimated 200,000 set to make the journey, there will be no shortage of action. For those of you in the dark, the Galway Races are also known in female circles as Last Chance Saloon, ie if you’re single and you don’t score at the Galway Races, well – that’s it. You’re never going to score. Never. EVER. Which is all well and good were it not for the fact that the event apparently doubles as a major attraction for the glam girls of the escort business – who find plenty of volunteers among the male species doing circles of the track. (And we’re not talking about Rose of Tralee-esque escorts here by the way). Yikes. An article in the Belfast Telegraph has quoted an escort directory founder as saying that for these ladies, ‘there is simply no other event like the seven-day racing festival in the Irish social calendar’.
“It wouldn’t be the same without escorts,” said Patricia Albright. “Irish men have come to know they can always get lucky at the Galway Races. It is famous for attracting a massive volume of horny Irish men to the region. Galway will be flooded with punters from tomorrow, a great many of whom will be hoping to enjoy more than just a flutter on the horses. Even men who don’t normally avail of escort services know they are available in Galway during Race Week, because in years past escort agencies have blitzed the area with flyers. For many men, the Galway Races represents the best opportunity they’ll get all year to have a few days away from home – and with all the drinking and gambling going on anyway it’s only natural thoughts turn to other vices.”
So, there you go. What’s that all about, you might wonder. Do these so-called horn dogs not realise they can have their pick of the flocks of chicks on the lookout for their future husbands? Now, we’re not saying these guys have to enter into a contract to marry any one, but surely hooking up with a single and seeking race-goer is better than paying an escort for the pleasure of her company? It need not be a permanent arrangement, but for the week that’s in it, wouldn’t everyone be happy? Just to repeat what Patricia Albright pointed out – Irish men have come to know they can always get lucky at the Galway Races. GUYS – don’t you all know you can get lucky for free???! For God’s sake, take advantage! And put yer money away – don’t you all know there’s a recession?
Anyway, speaking of single gals, we were about to welcome Michelle Heaton to the wonderful world of solo-dom when we heard that she was, um, once again attached. Heaton, as you might recall, broke up with hubbie Andy Scott Lee about a wet week ago, however she’s since found love with some Irish ad exec. Seemingly she is now living in Ireland and getting ready to ‘star’ in RTE’s forthcoming reality TV show, Fáilte Towers, which, we admit, we are dying to see – for all the wrong reasons of course. She reportedly would like a part in Fair City too, although with the current economic downturn the national broadcaster will hardly want to add to the pay packet load. Still, there’s always hope that she might be cast as Bela and Rita’s long lost English niece. And it’s nice to know that we have a new celeb in our midst, seeing as we’re generally a bit short of them in this country.

SOLO EDITOR’S BLOG: JULY 21, 2008
The ire of Bibi Baskin
Could the threat of/the actual recession be making people angry? It just seems that there are a lot of cross people hanging about these days. Take Bibi Baskin. One minute she was all sweetness and light (well, kind of) on Saturday Night with Miriam. The next she was snarling at a Sunday Independent journalist over that ‘dirty little question that comes at the end’.
Bibi, you see, is currently back from India doing publicity rounds in her capacity as a judge on the nation’s new reality TV show – the hilariously named Fáilte Towers, which sees 12 ‘celebrities’ take over the running of a hotel for 16 days. Her Sindo interview, however, didn’t go all that smoothly, and much of the aggravation seemed to hinge on the fact that she was asked if there was anything missing in her life. There she is: Bibi Baskin – ‘a good-looking woman with a great career behind her, has a lovely hotel business built up in India, everything going for her..’. But. BUT? Bibi wanted to know what was with the ‘but’. That’s what I’m asking you, the interviewer told her, what would be your but…is there anything missing in your life? That people from the outside looking in mightn’t see, she clarified, but that you feel yourself? But, but, but, but. Never was a word more poignant.
Things went downhill after that. Bibi was offended because of the perceived inference. What she was really being asked, she felt, was if, but even, there was a man in her life. And there you have it – the reason for her fury. You can’t really blame her. Yes, she came across as tetchy and defensive. There was almost a touch of the lady doth protest too much going on. But still, perhaps she is content to fly solo and is sick to her back teeth of people enquiring about her having another half? Or, God forbid, a ‘better’ half. Just because Bibi is of a certain vintage and, as my mother would say, ‘never married’, doesn’t mean that there is anything or anyone missing in her life. Does it? No wonder she was practically livid, although she did kind of leave the side down by revealing her semi-rage. But then again, the whole recession thing might not have helped. Bibi spends most of her time in India now, at peace with the world, and she’s come back here to a torrent of doom and gloom. It’s surprising really that RTE is even going ahead with Fáilte Towers, considering that in the current climate we’ll soon no longer be able to afford to live in a house, not to mind stay in a hotel.

PS: Another nomination for Cross Person of the Week would be the wasp-like bartender in The Church on Dublin’s Mary Street…but more of that in the August issue.

SOLO EDITOR’S BLOG: JULY 14, 2008
Manic Mondays
Do Mondays make people crazy? I only ask because I witnessed numerous examples of lunatic behaviour today, which is Monday. This morning when I was on the bus, I saw a man standing at the side of the road with four plastic bags lined up in front of him. He had a bottle of water and a toilet roll, which he kept using to dab his face. He would then throw the used pulp into one of the bags. Very strange. Now, the only reason I got to observe all of this was because the bus had stopped, with no explanation being offered as to why we had ceased moving. Turns out we were getting a new driver, who was late. So we all waited. Anyway, he arrived eventually – and not in too much of a hurry, I might add – and we continued towards town without further ado, thank goodness. Until a rather rowdy passenger went to get off, giving the tardy driver a piece of his mind en route.
“You’ve made me 15 minutes late for work,” he pretty much shouted – most aggressively. “This isn’t the last you’ll hear of this, do ya hear me?”
Most unpleasant. Unnerving even. Yeah, the guy had delayed us. But there was no need for the yelling, especially on a Monday morning.
You see the thing about Mondays is that they are very tough. There’s no two ways about it. Everyone is on edge, emerging from the weekend, in the grips of the horrors that there’s a full five days left to the next one. What might be tolerable on a Tuesday is simply unbearable on a Monday. It’s a day that should be deleted really, if there was any justice in the world. By the time I got off at my own stop, my nerves were well and truly in shreds. I felt like I’d been an almost victim of Monday-induced public transport rage. And as I made my escape I was marginally comforted to notice someone who looked even more disturbed than me – a woman walking down the street with piles of conditioner in her hair. I swear to God. There she was, just ambling along like there was nothing amiss. Did she forget to wash it out? Was she so upset in the shower that morning that she accidentally skipped the final rinse? Yep. Mondays. Not good at all. Perhaps someone should start a Facebook campaign to have them eradicated entirely.

SOLO EDITOR’S BLOG: JULY 5, 2008
Solo Editor’s Weekly Blog is a bit non-existent this week as we are working on having the July issue of the mag live by this Monday, July 7! It’s all going according to plan so make sure to check back for a good read next week!

PS: Is anyone watching Big Brother? We are only dipping in and out of it..but when we do have the misfortune to dip in we go into shock. What is wrong with them all? It would make you long for the days of Jade Goody.

SOLO EDITOR’S BLOG: JUNE 27, 2008
Sweeping single statements of a Dublin cabbie
Dublin’s 98fm hosted a lively debate the other night on the highs and lows of singledom. Actually it was more about single women really and whether it’s better to get hitched or go it alone. In any case, I was on hand to air my opinions, which was pretty simple really – until a Dublin taxi driver felt the need to phone the show and treat us all to a glimpse of his own rather narrow minded viewpoint. According to Mr Cabbie, ALL single women are bonkers. Completely and utterly cuckoo. And how does he know this? Because he sees them all the time in the back of his taxi – en route to the pub/club/party and plotting like lunatics with one another about how they are going to hook a man. Yes. That is what the poor guy has the misfortune to have to put up with on a nightly basis. Single ladies, he claimed, are ALL off their rocker. It’s the lack of a man in their lives you see. They’re gone mental with desperation. Talk about sweeping statements. I felt like telling him that all taxi drivers are obnoxious chatterboxing know-it-alls. But then I’d be the one getting accused of making (semi) sweeping statements. So, I willed his comments to go over my head and did my best to rise above his rather demented rant. Sometimes these crazy gals make him laugh, he conceded, but more often than not they just get on his nerves. (I felt the same about him actually – he was making me laugh whilst getting on my nerves simultaneously.) As a happily married man, he said, he was simply astounded at their behaviour. Mmm. So there you have it. The single female population is just one big ball of lunacy. According to one Dublin taxi driver anyway.

SOLO EDITOR’S WEEKLY BLOG: JUNE 19, 2008
When someone goes ‘puff’!
Welcome to the first Solo Editor’s Weekly Blog, which is a bit late considering the mag went live on June 4 and it’s now June 19! Anyhow, moving on swiftly – we’ve just read on www.digitalspy.co.uk (great site for gossip about people even more trivial than Paul Danan) that ITV is planning a new series about identity theft. Here at Solo we’ve an interesting take on the whole concept of identity theft, which we feel we should share with everyone.
OK, so are we all familiar with the non-phonecall? When you meet a guy/girl and you go on one date. Even two. Or three. And then silence. He/she does not call when he/she said he/she would. This is a scenario otherwise known as ‘puff’. As in ‘puff’ – he/she has disappeared into thin air. And you’d be amazed how many people vanish in this manner. It’s astonishing in fact. Anyway, we wondered about this phenomenon for a long time and finally came to a logical conclusion. It’s quite simple really. When you date someone and then that person fails to call you, when that person just goes ‘puff’ – there is a very valid reason. Death! The person has clearly died. Sure what other explanation could there be? It’s so obvious we’re surprised it took us this long to figure it out.
So now you have accepted death as the cause of the non-phonecall, something else then happens. You see the name of your deceased ex turning up on a group e-mail. Or , worse again, on one of those social networking sites. One minute you think the person’s dead, the next you’re noticing that he or she has made a new friend on Facebook and has updated the relationship status to ‘single’. “What is going on?” you wildly wonder. “Am I losing my mind?” Relax, we say. No need to panic. Again, it’s all very simple, as our friend Anneliese explained. Bad enough that your ex is dead, but now the poor love has been the victim of identity theft! Imagine? Unbelievable, we know. Even shocking. But when you’re waiting by the phone that never rings, take comfort in this scenario. The person who has not called you is dead. Dead, dead, dead and the victim of identity theft. Sad, but true! And you have no choice but to move on!

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