You can’t beat a good story. Especially ones that illicit shrieks of amusement and/or horror from the audience. Over the last few days I’ve had some wonderful moments of sharing stories (not one of my own, one shared via the best of oral traditions – in the pub). There’s nothing better than a gaggle of people hanging on your every word and responding in the right way at precisely the right moment…

Sadly, the particular story in question only really works in a face-to-face context so isn’t particularly good blog fodder. (This is why I was especially pleased to have an unexpected coffee with Katie of Bristol yesterday – she was most amused, as was the rest of Baker St Starbucks’ basement…) All I can tell you is – like most stories which amuse innocent Christians – it involved nakedness and a great calamity.

In other titillating (yet completely nonsensical to those who weren’t there) news, here are some quotes from last weekend that are rather good when taken completely out of context:

“I can’t ravish someone if I have no breath”
[This was actually to do with breathing technique when singing the word “ravish” – of course.]

“I’m sorry, have we crossed from Ely into Eastern Europe?”
[On emerging from a ‘snicket’ (yes, first time I’d come across that word) onto an exceedingly pot holey road.]

“The thing is, to get it to make a good noise, you have to blow the bagpipe really hard. I was rather good at that…But the really good thing is that you use the same fingering as for the clarinet, so I knew what to do.”
[I’m not entirely sure why I was surprised that so much could be inferred from bagpipe playing – I really ought to learn when to keep my mouth shut.]

[What you get when an 18 year old takes up the challenge of rapping within a worship song…we were all somewhat taken aback at this new way of referring to the Lord.]

“And then they offered me a sausage sandwich!”
[The brilliant last line from another (nakedness involving) story.]

If you see me in the next few weeks and are interested, just remind me to tell you the story about the basement – you won’t regret it.

Form: Body & Paper

Though there is plenty of evidence to the contrary, I actually quite enjoy filling in forms. Not sure if it’s because I get to talk about myself (I have a blog, I clearly have a narcissistic bent) or because I rather like processes – but sit me down with a form and I’ll happily fill it in. [The big exception to this rule being a very long form asking very difficult questions which took me all of 6 months to complete!]

I find that sometimes the new year, or fresh starts in general, puts me in a mood to do slightly atypical things…like thinking about becoming a redhead (I go through this phase sporadically but have never actually done it), or getting contact lenses, or changing my entire wardrobe, or finally learning to wear heels…anyway, you get the picture.

This is probably why I find myself in front of my laptop, staring at an application form for a certain TV show. No, not Big Brother or Britain’s Got Talent – but Gok Wan’s baby [am trying to decide whether to write it as an acronym to avoid unwise googling…] HTLGN. Not that I’ll ever get round to sending it off, and really, do I want to appear on TV naked? (It would probably be highly unwise for any future career plans!) 

But, the concept is amazing and the questions on the form are actually quite useful in evaluating your attitude towards your body shape. There are probably few women who would turn down the opportunity to go shopping with Gok – in fact, I bet most would love a gay best friend who could fulfil that role in their life. Who wouldn’t want the chance to change their image, explore new looks in total safety, discover what actually suits them and learn rules about dressing that will stay with them for life?

Maybe a TV show’s not the way to go…? [I can almost hear the cries of “y’think??!” coming back at me!]
Perhaps I need to employ a personal stylist for a day or two? Or perhaps, I could get this all out of my system by having another drastic hair re-styling?

Anyone fancy becoming my own, personal Gok?
Anyone else fancy downloading the application form?
Anyone wondering where the Liz of 2009 has gone and who this alien is in her place?

On trains, it is best not to…

…watch movies with lots of naked people in – it makes your fellow passengers wonder if you’re watching porn.

Had I had internet on my journey to the shire, my facebook status would’ve read:
“Liz chose the wrong film to watch on a crowded train – SATC simply looks like porn to the casual observer.”

Sex and the City isn’t the only, seemingly innocent (ok, not so innocent, but it’s hardly an 18!) that this is a problem with. Love, Actually can also be a bit of an issue, what with that storyline with the naked body doubles. (My sister realised this on a train up to Preston a couple of years ago.)

The other problem with watching stuff in public is reacting to it a little too strongly. Like my habit of applauding when something I’ve wanted to happen happens…I actually did that when I watched Luke & Lorelai finally get together (Gilmore Girls) on the way to Exeter months ago. I guess laughing’s ok – in moderation; shouting at the screen probably isn’t; crying is usually problematic…maybe all I need is some self-restraint. Such a shame that quality’s so hard to come by!

How much is too much…

Specifically, nakedness in the gym.

I’ve belonged to the gym long enough to have got used to a certain amount of nakedness. The women who walk in/out of the showers; those who leave their clothes off till the last minute so they can moisturise every inch of their body; simple changing of clothes…

But today, not only did I have to contend with a women who chose to blow dry & style her hair totally starkers, but another who went to the toilet nude – and LEFT THE DOOR OPEN!!

This second one threw me, just slightly. I’d gone in to the bathroom to do my hair and as I looked in the mirror I saw this vision (bad vision) behind me and was aghast. I may even have gasped. All I could do was flee into the adjacent stall and wait for her to leave. Honestly, who does that??

Perhaps it’s just because it was Saturday. Saturdays see a different clientèle at the gym – some might even say ‘freaks’. Because let’s face it, who actually has time/inclination to go to the gym on a Saturday morning?

Ok, I do. If I’m free on a Saturday, I want to go. It’s quieter, chilled (unless the Finnish Personal Trainer’s working) and it gives you an inner glow that comes only from burning calories whilst most other sane people are still sleeping/eating huge breakfasts. You know what else is good on Saturdays? A couple of episodes of Gilmore Girls and enough time to do a decent manicure. If that makes me a loser, I don’t care.

Thank goodness I was fully clothed…

…when the fire alarm went off at the gym this morning.

Actually, strictly speaking I wasn’t in the gym. I’d just arrived but immediately went out again, joining the throngs of sporty people gathering in the lobby. I was extremely grateful that I hadn’t arrived minutes earlier, else I’d have been half dressed when the alarm went off.

Or even worse, been in the pool/sauna wearing only my swimsuit.

Or, much, much worse, been in the shower with no clothes on.

Fortunately, no one emerged from the gym scantily clad. (Well, no more scanty than they might be on a treadmill.) And everyone was kept warm by the crazy (but lovely) Finnish trainer, who distributed extra towels and launched into an impromptu aerobics session.

Comedy. Thank goodness it’s Saturday and the neighbouring offices were empty.

On the subject of fire alarms & inappropriate clothing, colleagues of mine were complaining earlier this week that they had two nighttime fire alarms at an overnight meeting. What’s the protocol for going out in pj’s when working? What if you don’t happen to sleep in pj’s? With many of my colleagues, that’s a mental image that does not want to be cultivated!