Sunday, 30 September 2012

Can't cook, won't cook

See, here's the thing.

I need a hobby. I don't have time for a hobby but I need one nonetheless. This is because I am about to embark on the two most stressful months of my life, (exams, activism and a personal life which would drive St. Peter to genocide). I've all but decided that said hobby will be cookery, mainly because I can't cook to save anyone's life and secondly because it's flexible in terms of how and when I wreck it.

I have an idealistic vision of yours truly, resplendent in a gingham apron, smiling beatifically and shelling peas effortlessly into a sparkling stainless steel pot, to produce an acclaimed home made dish which is the envy of every middle class housewife in the village. So much so, that they will decline to enter their gooseberry jams and strawberry flans into the annual county fair for fear of humiliation.

I fear that this vision of mine is doomed to failure for lots of reasons really, but let me examine just two.


Quite a while ago now, a dear friend presented me with a gift of a cookery book, the short title of which might as well have been, "cooking for gobshites". Chapter one was devoted to "how to cook an egg". What could possibly go wrong ? Particularly when they even included instructions on how to cook an egg in a microwave, (for busy professionals, you know). Place the egg on a small saucer with a little water and place in microwave. Idiot proof really, except at no point did they say to remove it from the shell firstly. It may surprise you to learn that when I tried to "top" the egg with a small spoon the resulting explosion and coating of walls was enough to send my house mates into convulsions and that tale went around our social circles for far longer than I would have preferred.

Undeterred, and now in my own bedsit, I announced to a fellow student and good pal that I was going to cook her a Sunday roast dinner. Perhaps I chose to ignore her crestfallen expression, I mean nothing was going to get in the way of this ideal project. I produced lovely vegetables and gravy, all topped off with chicken which was a little bit crispy on the outside but I felt that the fact it was a bit pink in the middle kinda made up for it. After all, you can have medium beef, so you can have medium chicken, right ? Both of us were in bed for two days, with only a large basin and tender sips of 7-up for company. I did apologise.


As a pseudo-adult, I am now acutely aware of my highly addictive personality.

When Amanda and I were on the tour circuit, we both discovered a game on Facebook which at the time, was all the rage, Farmville. Suddenly, I had a farm to tend every day and most of my friends were playing it too. When it got to the point where I was spending up to two hours a day milking cyber cows and reaping cyber strawberry harvests just so I could "level up", I had to acknowledge that this was becoming somewhat of an obsession. With a heavy heart, I deleted my account although I would like it noted that I had the highest score at the time, hell I even had my own mechanical plough.

The early days of my recovery from Farmville were difficult and there were many times when Amanda had to physically restrain me from climbing a fence just off the A9 to deftly organise some bales of hay in an adjoining field. Indeed, come lambing time I still get the odd twitch and if I had my way, those lambs would be organised into groups according to size, weight and colour coded too. On even daring to present with such a twitch, Amanda sits on my head, surprisingly effective.(Truly, that woman will never know what she means to me.)

In real terms with my new chosen hobby, gone will be the apron, the smile and the award winning marmalade.

In it's place will be a woman demented, stomping up and down the galley at 2am and shrieking -


I am determined though. At this point I would usually ask you to "wish me luck".
Instead the mantra in my house when I step into the kitchen seems appropriate -

Good luck everyone.

LL xx

P.S : Hardcore activism begins mid-October, as soon as I have my horrendous exams out the way. You have been warned.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

On the subject of Rhoda Grant

Quite a while ago now, I took La Princess to see the new(ish) Katy Perry film. I was looking forward to it rather like I look forward to a smear test, irritating but necessary nevertheless. For the first part, I was mildly interested and just able to resist the infantile temptation to flick popcorn at random heads. Understand this, embarrassing your children in public is not a benefit, it's an obligation.

Imagine my pleasant surprise then, when I discovered what an immensely enjoyable outing it was. The film itself wasn't exactly oscar award winning, but what struck me was the way in which Ms. Perry dealt with the disintegration of her marriage to Russell Brand. She was in the middle of a gruelling tour and absolutely exhausted and one was left with the feeling that his treatment of her during the break up was nothing short of appalling. (Lawyer clients, quit twitching, I of course mean allegedly.)

There was a scene which will stay with me for a long time. Our heroine was lying on a bench where ordinarily she would have her make up and hair done before going on stage and she was crying. Now, I don't mean "crocodile tears and gentle dabbing of eyes with embalmed tissues" crying, I mean sobbing. The majority had no idea what was wrong, since she had been intensely private about her marital troubles and only the very closest to her such as her sister were able to give her some comfort.

There were various people clucking around her who were clearly unwelcome at that moment not because she was being unkind but because she just couldn't do the whole "air kiss" thing. Having sought solace with her closest, she took a deep breath, looked at her make up artist and said "START". Various voices arose into the fracas, "are you sure ? we can cancel the show". Her reply was simply, "I SAID START". Start they did and thereafter, she managed to find a huge smile from somewhere and went on to deliver an undeniably mind blowing performance.

I can relate to that. I know how she felt and I know what it took to find that smile and "KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON". Crucially, she wasn't alone and there was a huge amount of support in evidence. Thanks to those treasured people around her she found that last reserve of strength.

This week, Rhoda Grant announced her proposed change to the legislation in Scotland (link here) and when I read it I could have sobbed myself. Debunking the "statistics" quoted will not be an issue and together with her own comments, the whole paper made me gasp in disbelief. It is simply unthinkable that anyone in a position of supposed power could be so ill informed, not to mention doggedly determined to proceed on the basis of some seriously skewed beliefs and statistics.

But if I thought for one moment that I could curl up on a sofa and weep, not a chance. Once again, I am surrounded by those who truly care not to mention the army of activists who will fight to the death to ensure this shoddy and contemptible piece of legislation will never see the light of day. We will not be dictated to and no-one, but NO-ONE will take away our rights and our livelihoods. We are many, we are united and we are strong.

I said START.

LL xx

Thursday, 6 September 2012

On the subject of disabilities

(The following blog post contains graphic scenes of sexual contact with disabled persons, reader discretion is advised. If you think you may be affected by any of the content contained in this blog post, I suggest you feck off and read a blog about flower arranging instead.)

I have a client I see from time to time, let's call him 'K'. K is a young guy, very handsome, always spotlessly clean and smelling like heaven on earth. His emails send me into convulsions, he has the most amazing sense of humour and his wry observations on the topics of the day would outdo many contemporary writers.

Like most men, one of K's favourites is fellatio, he likes nothing more than for yours truly to peel off the layers down to lingerie with stockings and suspenders and get to work. He lies back in blissful abandonment, and enjoying every moment.

Every so often, I get a swift blow to the back of the head, something I'm accustomed to now. We seem to have developed a ratio around the whole experience, for every three or so thumps, there is one "sorry". K can't avoid smacking me, because he has very limited motor control of his limbs as a result of his cerebral palsy. In the end, we both usually end up in fits of laughter at the absurdity of it all, because that's all we CAN do really. How wonderful.

Many years ago and in a brothel far away came an elderly man and it's fair to say that he frightened small children (to coin a phrase) because he had developed a form of mouth cancer which back then, very little was known about. His treatment at the time involved cutting the offending tissue away, which meant that on one side of his face his cheek was missing and if you looked at him from the side, he looked like a sinister, grinning skeleton. His wife had died some time previously and as a result of his appearance he lived as a recluse, going out only every couple of days for messages. Once every couple of months though, he took a taxi to the parlour where I worked and I knew what he wanted.

I would thank him for my chocolates, light some candles and play some soft music. After that, he would drown me in baby oil and massage me from head to toe, every so often dipping his head just to inhale my perfume and bury his face into my neck. That was his treasured contact which he looked forward to so much. After about a year and a half of our appointments I moved to London but to this day I still think of him, a true gentleman in every sense of the word.

All of which leads me to the question, if the purchase of "sex" is banned, then what will become of those men who rely solely on sex workers for their needs, whatever they may be ? Can you honestly foresee a day when that elderly gent will be able to join a dating site and find a woman for a massage and a cuddle ? And what of K ? Will he ever meet a woman who can meet his needs and see beyond the exterior ?

It really angers me when I read the views of various writers who paint a picture of my clients as insatiable lust driven animals. A lack of knowledge on their subject is no deterrent to most of those critics. Let me be quite clear here, it's not a question of entitlement, not at all. No man is entitled to claim a sexual act as his right. On the other hand, I do believe that disabled clients ought to have the same opportunities as their able bodied counterparts, that's the differentiation.

If Rhoda Grant's new proposal is adopted as law, it will be a shocking indictment on just how small minded and blinkered we are as a country. It's time we recognised that not only is it impossible to "reduce demand" but also, "demand" is a very complex and multi-layered animal, as indeed is "supply", (best described as diverse in the extreme).

Frankly, were I a purchaser of "sex", I know I would find the notion of an ill-informed politician telling me what I can and can't do in the privacy of my own bedroom downright insulting. Ironically, to condemn those men I have written about to a life of solitude and loneliness on foot of a Victorian attitude towards the exchange of sexual services for money is hugely immoral in itself.