All posts by Gemma

One or two assignments

More young people than ever are deciding that they would like to go to university to improve their career prospects – or, as I highly suspect, to delay actually having to get a real job and contribute to the society that has spoon fed them up to this point in their lives.

With university comes study, and also the need to live alone; probably for the first time in the lives of the majority of people who choose to go. This is an excellent opportunity for young people, and a true chance to let their hair down before they have to cope with the real world of work, taxes and other pressures. Yet, what do most students decide to do? Fucking moan about it.

You only have to look at Facebook to see it. Things like “Wow, I have SO much work to do” or “I have to get up SO early tomorrow” or “I’m SO broke, I don’t think I can afford to eat for a month”. The problem is that these students don’t appreciate the luxuries they have while they’re young, and while the Bank of Mum and Dad is still wide open for business. They’ll be in for a shock when they drag their sorry little asses to a proper job – one that requires genuine commitment – and have to work for a living with no way out of it.

“Wow, I have SO much work to do!”

No, you don’t. You attend lectures for maybe 30 weeks out of the year, if that, and do pretty much fuck all in between. You might have one or two assignments to complete during term time, and a few exams at the end of the year but, all in all, that is not a lot of work. Not to me, a hard worker in the real world. The problem is that you’re so fucking lazy you’ll leave everything until the last minute – you always have work to do, but you don’t actually spend very much time doing it, because it seems like a better plan to go out and get pissed, or arse around doing “crazy shit” round campus. If you stopped being so fucking bone idle, you might actually get work done before a deadline, and be able to chill the fuck out for once.

“I have to get up SO early tomorrow!”

Again, no, you don’t. Unless you’re an idiot who’s decided to get accommodation a million miles from campus the earliest you’re going to start is 9am. Which, newsflash, is not early. I’ve seen university timetables, with your 12 hours of teaching a week, plus several late starts or whole days off. You’re going to be in for the shock of your life when you actually work shifts that mean you have to be there for 7am, getting up in what must now seem like the middle of your night. So you know what, enjoy your fucking lie ins, because once you graduate you can kiss them goodbye.

“I’m SO broke, I don’t think I can afford to eat for a month!”

Okay, so this might be true. But the sad fact is that it’s your fault. University students get money for free. Money that hard-working taxpayers have paid into the system, or money that your parents have given to you – despite the fact that actually, you’re no longer a child, can successfully tie your own shoelaces, and really shouldn’t be relying on hand-outs any more. What’s so bad about getting a job anyway? In my day (how ancient does that make me sound, for fuck’s sake) we all had jobs alongside study, there were no parental hand-outs, and help from the government was minimal. And, to be honest, I remember being grateful for it.

So yes, your lazy attitude and lack of job doesn’t help, but what about your spending choices? You don’t have enough money to spend £10 in the supermarket, but yet somehow you can spend £30 on one takeaway meal, or the same on drinks on a night out. You need to sort out your priorities, and if you don’t, it’s your fault.

Ultimately, students need to get a fucking grip, or they’ll be faced with a very serious reality check when they leave their protected little bubble and enter into the real, scary world of adults. Student life is the most cushioned existence ever created – all of the freedom of choice of adulthood, with none of the real responsibilit. And still they fucking moan about it.

Just to survive

You only have to walk into any UK pub to overhear a conversation bashing benefits these days. It’s something that splits opinion all over the country. With the growing trend in what media experts are dubbing ‘poverty porn’, it seems as though people on the breadline are being made out to be the lowest of the low, the dregs of society, the absolute worst human beings you could possibly encounter. And that generalisation annoys the fucking hell out of me.

Sure, there are some people who are living on benefits because they either don’t know or don’t care about what happens in their lives, and they genuinely think that the best way to live is to effectively steal money from people who’ve worked seven days a week for the whole of their lives. Don’t get me wrong; I think people like that are absolute idiots – because they give the rest of those on benefits an incredibly bad name. But that isn’t the full story.

You see somebody who isn’t working. What do you think of them? If you’re anything like the majority of judgmental shitheads in the country, you’ll immediately jump to the conclusion that they’re lazy scroungers who are good for nothing. But have you stopped to consider the fact that they might actually have a disability? You might not be able to see what this is, it may not be obvious to you, but there’s every chance that it’s there. They may spend the whole of their lives in pain, waiting until they are able to take their next dose of medication to ease their symptoms a tiny bit, without even having the positivity to hope that things could get better.

They might crave normality in their lives, and might spend every waking hour wishing they were able to get up and go to work, but knowing that they may never be able to. Instead they have to rely on other people – which might lower their self esteem even more, and will never be able to “contribute to society” in the same way that some people believe every human being should be forced to – no matter whether they’re physically able to or not.

You should also be aware of the actual statistics with regards to benefits claimants and the proportion of money that the government has to spend on them. The way it’s portrayed in the media, you would be forgiven for thinking that most benefits payments are given to the jobless, but this isn’t often the case. A lot goes towards the state pension, which is for people who have worked their whole lives and paid more than their fair share into the economy. So, do you seriously think that they should be made to hand back their pension and go off to work? I don’t think so!

And then there’s that lovely group of middle-class earners who take ‘child benefit’, because it’s their right to do so. They don’t need it but they take it anyway. And they’re often the ones moaning longest and loudest about scroungers. Lovely folk.

So, before you sit in the pub, talking shit about what you “believe” or what you think you “know” about the economy, benefits, and the way things work, just remember that really, you probably don’t understand even half of the full story. And, by tarring everyone with the same brush, you’re probably ruining the lives of people who need these benefits just to survive day by day.

You never know – you might be reliant on “the system” at some point yourself.


Technology is all around us. You can’t miss it, because most people are absolutely obsessed with it. Everything has to have something technical included – heck, we can’t even buy a watch without it having internet access, and it seems that everywhere we go people are becoming more and more attached to their gizmos and gadgets.

This is great, in theory. Because, moaner though I may be, I am all for the moving forward of the human race. Everything has to develop, and if that means making everyone’s toaster Instagram-enabled then so be it.

But what about when your technology lets you down? What do you do then?

Because the truth is that we’re all becoming a little bit thick. We don’t know how to do anything on our own. Only the other day, I was driving round the countryside, a place that I had never been to before, with my trusty Sat Nav blasting directional advice in my face every five seconds. And then, suddenly, the fucking thing packed in. There I was, surrounded by fields – unfamiliar ones at that – and the only thing my usually-helpful Sav Nav lady had to say was “recalculating, recalculating, recalculating”. But she never finished the job.

Don’t get me wrong – I am no irresponsible driver. Of course I carry a map. But what I realised on that day was that carrying it was one thing, and fucking reading it was another. I didn’t know which direction I was heading, I didn’t know what road I was on (Sat Nav was supposed to be taking care of that) and to be perfectly honest I don’t think I could read a map if I was paid to.

After a few minutes of utter panic, I managed to download a list of directions on my phone that I had to pull over and refer to embarrassingly frequently for the rest of the journey. So the iPhone saved the day. I shudder to think what would have happened if I’d had no battery – a situation I find myself in a lot thanks to my general state of disorganisation.

I am somewhat comforted by the fact that it’s not just me who doesn’t know what to do in cases of technological malfunction. Or at least I would be comforted if the situations I found myself in weren’t been so fucking irritating.

I am a keen fan of online banking. Honestly, it’s brilliant. You just log in, tell the bank where you want your money to go, and it’s there at the click of a button. But, sometimes, something goes wrong and you need to get in touch with the call centre staff. Oh now then, don’t we all fucking love call centre staff. The people who are clearly thrilled to be alive, to be sitting at their desk, taking our calls.

The one I got through to on this occasion was a particular pleasure – coughing down the phone without apology, asking all kinds of irritating security questions that I was certain I hadn’t set up, before going on to say, “Oh I’m sorry, we can’t do that for you at the moment, because our system is down”. What? I cannot pay a simple bill because their system is down? Well that’s fucking shit, because you have my money in that system, and you’re not letting me get to it.

Isn’t it worrying that something as important as banking can “go down” without warning, and without any hint of when the service might be up and running again? Even scarier was the lack of knowledge about what to do in such an event. I asked if I could leave details, or could I get a call back later when things were working, and the girl on the other end just stuttered something about the system being down. Yes, I got that bit. So here we are, in 2015, unable to access our own money because “the bank is down”!

As a society, we’re fucking shit at doing things on our own. Our parents and grandparents had nothing like we do, yet they’d be perfectly capable of getting from A to B and sorting their own finances out without any help from technology at all. So thanks, technology. You’ve turned us into a load of incapable dunces. Do me a favour – if you want us to rely on you, which we do, at least fucking work.

Overtake me

I’m 24 years old, and I get a fuck load of abuse from my friends due to the fact that I don’t yet have a driving licence. Up until now, I’ve managed to convince myself that it really doesn’t matter too much. I can get the bus! I have lots of friends who drive! I like walking! The excuses go on.

Did you know that the average age to pass a driving test in the UK is 23 for a female? This is what I cling to when I’m explaining myself but, at 24, I’m creeping away from the average – so something has to change. I’m on the road, I have my L plates, and I’m well on my way to getting that licence that I’ve managed to avoid for so long.

Am I happy about it? I suppose so. I mean, journeys will be much more convenient when I can just go whenever and wherever I like. But the one thing I’ve learned, above everything else, is that the other people on the road are absolute fucking wankers. Seriously – I’ve never been one for anger issues, but just a few short weeks behind the wheel has changed that forever.

Cars are wonderful things. They can take us to where we want to be, and they can let other people know what we plan to do with their handy built-in indicator feature. Is this feature a new invention, you may ask? No! Indicators have been on cars for decades, so why the fuck does the entire country seem to have developed such an allergy to them?

I don’t like taking risks or living on the edge. I’m the ‘safest’ person I know, therefore I like to wait for a good gap at a roundabout. This is all well and good when people indicate – if you’re coming off at the exit before I’m joining, I can go! But they do not fucking tell you. It’s not much effort. It’s the flick of a wrist at most, and being such a load of wankers they can’t be out of practice, yet the action seems to evade them.

I also pride myself on sticking to the speed limit most of the time. Unlike the stereotypical learner who drives at 10mph pretty much everywhere, I have no problem with a bit of speed. I drive at 30 in a 30, 40 in a 40 and 60 in a 60 – but it would seem that seeing L plates on the back of a car just screams “overtake me”, no matter how fast I’m going at the time. It sounds like something you’d hear on Grand Prix racing. The revving of an engine, the sound as the car passes, and the gentle slowing of the revs as they settle back in front of you like the smug “I have a driving licence” bastards that they are.

I did achieve some level of satisfaction last week when I reached the top of a hill and found a speed trap on the other side – because the idiot who had overtaken me must have been caught, as he was going at least 80mph, which is just ridiculous. To the people who feel the need to speed past when we’re near houses or schools: get a fucking grip. You won’t bully me into speeding when there could be kids about, no way. Dirty your conscience, but leave mine alone.

So what have I learned from my driving lessons so far? Well, I’m a lot angrier than I thought, though my mood does improve the second I pull back onto my drive. Also, most of the road-based human population are utter dickheads, though I already had my suspicions about that one.

When explaining to others why I hadn’t learned to drive at the age of 17, I garbled a load of rubbish about how I was saving money, saving time, saving energy. Now I realise the only thing I was saving was anger. Perhaps I need to buy a punch bag before I head out again.

Nobody likes a show off

Smug Marrieds. Give me strength.

Years ago, the majority of people would have got married young, whether they liked it or not. And, sometimes, whether they liked their partner or not. Being married was just something you had to do. It was life, it was moving forward, it was growing up and breaking into the adult world.

People didn’t get divorced. Not because they didn’t want to – not because they didn’t resent every fucking breath their waste of space, fat, balding husband took – but because it simply wasn’t done. Married was married, for life, for better for worse.

Then – oh wonder – we changed. No longer was marriage necessary. No longer were girls expected to be housewives and look after children. It took a couple of wars and a lot of suffering, but people started to notice that, actually, women had more potential than just pushing out babies every few years. Women could work, women could thrive and, thanks to Maggie T, women could have a pretty good crack at running the world! It was great.

In the past few decades, it’s become less and less strange if women choose to go to university and get an education, and more common to put off getting married and having babies until the thirties or even later. We could have it all! A high-flying career during the day, returning to slip back into the life of blissful motherhood in the evening.

Heck, times changed so much that we didn’t even need to get married to be able to live with a man. Try before you buy, so to speak. It’s the best of both worlds really; you get to live with someone, and if you like it, you put a ring on it. If you don’t like it, you throw the fish back to the sharks and get the rod back out for another go.

But lately, just lately, there’s been another subtle shift. Thanks to the invention of Facebook (do not get me started on that) we can see what other people are doing and, more to the point, they can see what we’re doing. So we need to compete. We need better grades at school, hotter boyfriends, more fun, more money, and we need to be engaged. We need a huge ring on our finger, and then we need the Best. Wedding. Ever. It seems that we’ve suddenly been thrown back to a time where the twenties are the time to get married rather than to discover yourself, and it’s led to a resurgence of what many thought was in the past: the smug marrieds.

You know the type. You get invited to a girls’ night out, and she brings her bloke, because of course she simply couldn’t go for an entire evening without him by her side. And why should she, because she loves him! And loves telling you about it!

You have every stage of their wedding planning delivered to your newsfeed, with a million photos of the different things they could opt for: invitations, cakes, dresses (aren’t those supposed to be kept private anyway?) and the obligatory “I love you, now kiss me” selfie.

It gets no better once they’re actually married. In fact, I have a strong suspicion that walking down an aisle breeds a new kind of monster – one who thinks it’s perfectly socially acceptable to hound single people and pressure them into getting a ring on their finger themselves, whether they’ve found a suitable partner or not.

So my message to you is this: it’s great that you’re happy. It’s great that you’ve decided to tie yourself down during what should be the most exciting and interesting time of your life (in my opinion, anyway), and it’s great that you’ve met someone who you think you want to spend the rest of your life with. But please, don’t piss me off by shoving it in my face all the time. Nobody likes a show off. And I have my suspicions that if you were all that happy, you wouldn’t feel the need to shove it in other people’s faces anyway. You’d stay and have happy married times, in your happy married bubble.

If you take my advice, and leave me the hell out of it, I promise that if you become a statistic (I’m sure about 99.99999% of marriages end in divorce these days) I will open my arms to welcome you back into singledom. And I promise, there won’t be a smug bone in my body.

Eat some more turkey

Around this time of year, one of the most common phrases is “New year, new start”. You see it everywhere. On social networking websites, in general conversation, not to mention every five fucking seconds on the shitty soaps people insist on watching from morning to night every day of the festive period. What people don’t seem to understand, though, is that they say the same thing every single year – and they never actually manage to achieve any of the things they put on the list. In fact, the only thing they do is waste the time they spent writing the list in the first place.

And seriously, why make New Year your start date in the first place? This is no joke – I’ve heard people talking about things they want to achieve, in August, only to say “oh it’s okay, I’ll put it as my New Year’s resolution next year”. They could have achieved it several times over in the time between saying it and New Year, and by the time New Year actually comes, chances are they’ll have forgotten about it anyway.

And why do people think that waking up on that particular morning is any different to waking up on any other morning? In fact, if anything, it’s worse. Who wants to start a new fitness regime when they have the world’s worst hangover? Or when they’ve spent the past fortnight eating so much they can hardly move? Suddenly, running ten miles six days a week doesn’t seem quite such a good idea.

The one thing that really annoys me, though, is when people waste money on resolutions that they’re never going to keep. By this, I mean like joining the fucking gym. Sure, they can be great value for money. Where I live, it only costs £10 a month for gym and pool memberships – but that means nothing if you’re never going to use the sodding thing. And some people pay much more than me! Great, you’ll go every day for a week. That’s highly commendable (and don’t forget to post those workouts on Facebook, whatever you do! But trust me, that’s another rant for another day) but what about after that? What about after the first week, when you remember how warm your bed is, and just how cold it is to walk to the gym?

Even worse are the people who drive to the gym, and then spend an hour walking on the treadmill. If this is you, well done. Not only are you wasting money on your gym membership in the first place, but you’re also wasting fuel and time – when you could have just opened your front door and gone for a fucking walk for free. Honestly, nobody will charge you for walking around where you live! It’s amazing. That way, when you decide to give it up, you’re not stuck in a 12 month membership that you’re going to resent paying for the rest of the year – only to keep signed up the following year because you’re motivated again and have decided that “this year is the one”.

Basically, you need to face the truth. If you’re going to stop smoking, you’ll be able to do it at any time of year. Don’t do it when you’re likely to be tired, broke and hungover from Christmas. It’s clearly never going to work. If you want to get fit, get fucking fit when you decide to. Honestly, exercise is much more fun in the summer anyway. Who wants to start running outside in January? Nobody. If you’re going to lose weight, lose weight. It’s not rocket science; nor is it something you can do for a few weeks and then just magically be thin forever.

Waking up on the morning of January 1st (or, if we’re being realistic, probably the afternoon, or even evening) is no different to waking up on any other day. You can go for a run – but you can do that any time. Writing a list of what you’re going to do is just setting yourself up for failure, and wasting the time you could have spent doing the things on the list, so just do them. Wake up, and learn that if you can’t do something one day, you’re not going to be able to do it just because you’ve unwrapped a new calendar.

When you’ve actually changed your life, feel free to brag (keep it quick, please) but until then, shut the fuck up and eat some more turkey.

Without breakfast

Roses are red, violets are blue, if you can’t hack ‘single’ then fuck you.

A month in the life of a serial dater:

I love John so much. He’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me.

I cannot fucking believe he cheated on me, the prick, what do I do now?

I’m so glad I’ve found Steve, he’s actually my life, he means the world to me.

If this looks familiar to you – the same people posting soppy statuses about different partners in the space of a few weeks – then you must sympathise with me here. You have to because, quite frankly, it’s fucking pathetic.

I don’t know if people have always been like this, or if Facebook has made it a million times worse by rubbing it in our faces, but why do some people have to be so needy? Why do people – particularly women in their late teens and early twenties (sorry to generalise) – feel as though they’re nothing unless they have a partner on their arm? They jump from partner to partner and, dare I say it, bed to bed, all the while trying to convince themselves that time alone is useless, and time with a partner, any partner, is better than the alternative.

Look, don’t get me wrong, I know. I know there’s a time limit on things, ladies. Your clocks are ticking – we can practically fucking hear the things echoing through your Facebook posts – so you want to find Mr Perfect to knock you up, take you down the aisle and change your light bulbs. That’s great. But why does it have to be now? Why, when you have the whole world at your feet, do you feel as though you need to settle down and find the partner who you’ll be with for the rest of your life?

They say life’s short, but if you’re with the wrong person, it can feel very long. Rushing into saying I Love You, Will You Marry Me, and Shall We Skip The Condoms is the relationship equivalent of hitting someone on the head with an iron bar and being sentenced to life inside. Fine – date if you have to. I’m a modern girl and casual sex can be great fun, but that doesn’t mean I have to marry the guy! In fact, usually, it’s for the best that I don’t.

Another newsflash – you don’t have to be head over heels in love to have sex. It’s just sex. Okay so I’m sure it’s great with a soul mate, but it can be just as fun as a one-off with the kinky fucker from that local band, too. And trust me, once I’m done with the kinky fucker, I’m happy to send him on his merry way. Without breakfast.

You have so much life to live, so many lessons to learn. Have fun, live a little. Don’t spend so much time looking for love that you can’t see what’s there to be enjoyed right in front of your eyes. Most of the time love catches you when you least expect it anyway, so you’re pretty much wasting your time looking in the first place.

Possibly worse than those always on the lookout for love are those who are looking whilst already in a relationship. You know he’s not perfect, but you don’t want to be alone, so you’ll stay with him until someone better comes along. Bitch, that’s not fair. You might not love him, but you never know – to him, you might be ‘the one’. You’re stringing him along when you know you want something more (whatever ‘more’ might be), yet he knows nothing about it. If you know you don’t want to stay with him, quit while you’re ahead, before you have a ‘little accident’ that ties you to him for life.

Have fun, get fucking wasted, you’re young. And if love comes along great. But do me a favour – stay with him at least long enough to get to know him before you label him ‘the best thing ever’.

A new type of monster

Picture the scene: it’s the summer holidays, in the centre of town. Teenagers are laughing and joking with each other, high-fiving and smacking each other on the back to show appreciation of their shared humour. They sit, sharing a bag of chips and a can of coke, pushing the limits of their curfew before running to get the last bus home. They shake hands, or hug, planning to meet again the following evening – they have to plan ahead, as none of them have any way to contact each other apart from when they’re out together.

Sound familiar? Unless you’re old enough to remember the eighties and early nineties, probably not.

Fast forward to 2014, and it’s a whole different ball game. In fact, forget ball games – unless we’re talking about FIFA 15, it’s unlikely that kids these days actually realise that there’s such a thing as an actual, physical ball that teens of the past used to kick around crowded playing fields.

Thanks to the invention of social media, which is available on almost every device we own (who the fuck needs Facebook on their TV anyway?) we don’t have to see real people any more. We can chat all day and night if we want to, without having to leave our chair. We don’t have to live great, exciting lives, because all we have to do is post a status saying how great our lives are and everyone believes it. How easy is that?

When social media was born, people saw it as a fantastic way to stay in touch with long lost friends and relatives. What they didn’t realise is that some people are better off ‘long lost’. What about that ex best friend who’s now married to the ex love-of-your-life? Do you really need that rubbing against your face? That favourite primary school teacher who turns out to be a bit of a creep, and posts photos that barely cover his modesty after a few beers on a weeknight. Remember your Auntie Mary, who you saw once a year? How old is she now, 80? Are you enjoying seeing her flirt shamelessly and openly with your friends? When did it become okay to communicate like buddies with people a quarter of your age who’ve you’ve never met?

And social media has created whole new breeds of human: the keyboard warriors and the over-sharers. These are the types of people who post things without engaging their brains (man have keyboard, man no need brain) and then end up posting again complaining about how their first post was received. Not well, usually.

Keyboard warriors will complain about anything and everything. Fallen out with a friend? Facebook needs to know about it. Had a shit day? Facebook needs to know about it. And the best thing is, if you fancy a bit of attention, all you have to do is post “SO FUCKING ANNOYED!!!!!!!!” and you’re sure to get messages asking what’s up. Sometimes from people you don’t even know.

But fear not – you can be cool about this. Keep your dignity intact. Simply reply, “nothing, I’m fine”, oh man of mystery. Seriously, why post in the first place if you’re going to do that?

And nothing can start an argument better than an ambiguous status. I was once on the receiving end of this after posting a “so annoyed” status (my toaster had broken – yep, that’s all). A girl actually sent me a message asking whether my status was about her. I hadn’t spoken to her since 1993. She got quite upset about it, and ended up blocking and deleting me. She was a social-media-born drama queen so it was probably no bad thing, though I do find myself wondering what she’s having for dinner from time to time.

The over-sharers. Oh, sweet night, the over-sharers. When I was a child, if I’d wanted to show 900 people what I was having for dinner, the stamps would have set me back a bob or two. But social media has unleashed a new type of monster. Showing people your plate (they usually look shit) now takes a split second, as does showing people your new car, new hair, new boobs. Oh good.

We don’t need to know how much you’re studying, when you’re going to the gym (typing it does not mean you’re ‘ripped’, guys), when you’re using the bathroom or how often you wank. Some things are better kept private, for the good of us all.

Fair enough, social networking has its benefits. If I want to tell everyone that someone’s a twat, it’s much easier. But, in turn, does that make me a twat? Does that make me just as bad as them? Am I ‘one-of-them’? Please no. I’m getting out while I still can, while my reputation and sanity is, on the whole, intact.

That broken toaster was really fucking annoying though.