Struggling to put on a happy face Wear a Camilla mask!
20:46 GMT, 27 May 2012
Under the weather: Janet Street-Porter
Positivity is the big buzz word of the moment. Everyone’s ‘on a journey’ looking for ‘positive outcomes’ — like getting a job and paying the mortgage, or meeting someone they can spend time with.
To be honest, there has been little positivity in the Street-Porter household this week. My shingles (thanks for your supportive emails) has degenerated into a persistent stabbing pain from the right armpit across my breast.
I walk around literally holding myself together, or waving that arm in the air to distract from the nerves jangling inside. I look like I’m dancing, but it’s excruciating. I had dinner with a sympathetic Jasper Conran who showed me his own awful shingles scars on his iPhone. Mine never materialised.
To make matters worse, last week I had two operations on the other arm — one to remove a disgusting lump on the elbow that mysteriously appeared when I did Question Time from Scotland recently (I swear Alex Salmond planted a mini Scottish nationalist to grow inside me like the Alien), and the other removing a bone spur in my shoulder.
After spending a sleepless night in hospital, I went straight to work and did Loose Women in a long-sleeved top. My arm was in a sling when I arrived in Margate last Friday for the opening of Tracey Emin’s exhibition, but I left it in the car — I didn’t want to look like a sad victim next to glamorous Jerry Hall.
Tracey wasn’t exactly exuding positivity — her brilliant show is all about facing 50 (she’s still only 48), coping with no sex and the menopause — neither are problems that I can relate to, as I’ve been on HRT for ever and am a serial monogamist.
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Turkey's Eurovision song contest hopefuls used capes on stage
It isn’t easy to be positive. We’re surrounded by negative news — the euro crisis, the recession, children massacred in Syria, politicians we no longer respect. No wonder the Eurovision song contest attracted millions of viewers, a chance to wallow in three hours of mindless exuberant optimism, flag-waving, silly songs, ludicrous dance routines.
Sod the Spanish banking crisis, Jeremy Hunt’s battle to stay in his job, we can LOL at a bunch of Turkish chaps in capes making a boat out of their costumes and marvel at a male presenter whose ears look like Mr Spock.
Next weekend we’ve got the Jubilee festivities, concerts, street parties and a river pageant, and I’ve already bought my set of Royal Family masks from Tesco so I can spend three days impersonating Prince Charles (or Camilla). Katie Piper has written a new book Things Get Better, about coping with traumatic events. Normally, the old cynical JSP would be sneering, but after the pain of the past few days I’m more receptive.
I loved her advice to ‘stay clear of energy vampires’ — the people who constantly moan about their own misfortunes, but do nothing to change things. Sod the misery-mongers. For the next few days the sun is shining and if you see a red-haired woman waving her arm in the air, I haven’t been taking class-A drugs, I’m just dealing with my inner demons.
Until recently, British Airways allowed performers to take musical instruments up to 50in long on board and stow them in the overhead lockers. Now, the airline has revised their cabin baggage limit to 22in and fragile violins have to go in the hold. The Society of Musicians is furious. Strange that BA choose to promote their new flights to Norway using a beautiful inlaid stringed instrument, the traditional Hardanger fiddle. Let’s hope no one tries to take their fiddle on board.
How perfectly infuriating…
Pull the other one: Michelle Obama
Michelle Obama knows that to get her husband re-elected she has to reveal plenty about their life in the White House.
Once photographed shopping ‘normally’ in her local supermarket (dozens of security men were mysteriously out of shot), she’s keen to reinforce the myth they are ordinary folk like you and I.
The latest titbit she’s offered us about everyday life with the Obamas is that the President ‘tucks her up’ in bed every night. Please! This woman is too perfect.
She grows vegetables, works out in the gym, walks the dog every day, rarely drinks, shuns desserts, eats dinner at 6.30pm on the dot with the kids and goes to bed before anyone else.
It makes me long for a President’s wife who downed a cocktail or two, wore designer clothes and smoked — a combination of Betty Ford and Pat Nixon. Next, we’ll be told they pray together. Pass the sick bag.
The Olympic torch fiasco continues. Our so-called sustainable Olympics are a sham — a convoy of SIXTEEN vehicles is deemed essential to accompany each person lucky enough to carry the torch a few hundred yards on its meandering route around Britain.
Roy Barber from Norfolk writes to tell me that after my anti-torch rant I’ve been voted his official Olympic pin-up. Roy is planning to do his own version of the torch relay, with his wife holding a stainless steel toilet brush.
Next weekend, I shall be running a circuit of the garden waving a barbecue fork, which I will pass to my partner. No vehicles will be involved, although a glass or two or wine might speed my one-armed progress around the veg plot.
Shop queen Mary is a knit wit
Off the mark: Mary Portas
Why do all the pictures of Mary Portas’s plans to revitalise our ailing town centres feature big pictures of a glam Mary Portas in killer heels and statement jewellery — and the not over-flowing litter bins, dog poo, boarded-up shops and windswept shopping precincts that are the reality for residents of Margate, Stockton-on-Tees, Dartford and Bedford
Please remember that this is a former window-dresser who advises big retailers such as Westfield on how to attract the most customers. Retailers who have sucked the life out of the small traders in town centres. After publishing her report, she’s chosen 12 ‘Portas pilots’, places which will each receive a measly 100,000 of government money to help regenerate themselves. Wolverhampton plans modern ‘town criers’, Liskeard excited Mary with their plans for ‘yarn bombing’, covering benches with knitting.
I can’t wait. Walking around Margate, it’s clear what is needed. Housing right in the centre, care homes and old people’s housing on the High Street where residents can see the action right outside their front doors. Youth clubs in derelict stores where they can muck about and make noise.
Diddlng around with small projects won’t make a blind bit of difference. Town centres need inhabitants, not knitted litter bins.