Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Rename Me

I'm interrupting my usual blog posts for a quick (and hilarious) message.

Despite everything, I've decided there's not enough wacko in my life, and so I'm auctioning off my own NAME for charity.

The charity involved is the worthiest ever - last Christmas my Mum was hospitalised. It was quick, horrible and unexpected; but the staff at the Hospital were so supportive and brilliant. In order to do such a stellar job they needed specialist equipment which is only available in certain parts of the country. One of these was a NovaLung, a blood re-oxygenator. If we can raise enough money for them, they may be able to afford their own. It saved my Mum's life: no doubt it can save others.

And now for some FAQ fun:

Why are you doing this?

I’m raising funds for the Critical Care facility within Poole Hospital. Hopefully if we raise enough they will be able to afford a NovaLung, which was a vital piece of equipment in helping Mum through her stay in the hospital last year.

How do I submit a name?

You can talk to either Brawny or Xel when you see them, or you can visit my JustGiving page and donate online and email your suggestions to

Submissions will cost £1 each, with all funds going towards the Critical Care facility.

Are you changing your whole name?

No, just adding THREE middle names.

What are the limitations?

According to Deed Poll UK, there is a list of restrictions:

-         No obscenities (including slang or biological terms)
-         No titles e.g. Lord, Sir, Doctor
-         No punctuation, symbols or numbers, e.g. @
-         Nothing pertaining to criminal activity, racial or religious hatred

The restriction on first and middle names is 250 characters, leaving you lot 237 characters to play with. J

On top of this, I encourage you to be creative but not cruel – “Monkeyface” is funny, “Fatty” is not. Brawny and Xel will be vetting the submissions.
Can I name you after my favourite celebrity/product?

Yep! According to Deed Poll, I can be named after a celeb or a brand/trademarked name as long as I don’t start releasing material under that name.

What happens if someone has already picked my suggestion?

If you nominate a name that is already on the list, you can either think of another one or you can choose to re-nominate that name. You can’t knowingly enter the same name several times, otherwise it isn’t fair on others.

When is the draw?

My new names will be drawn at 8PM on Wednesday 30th November at my local. Video will be taken of the event, which will be posted here and on Facebook.

Prior to the draw, each name will be placed in a bag. I will then draw the names out of the bag one by one. I am picking THREE names in total. There’s no going back, and I’m stuck with what I draw whether I like it or not! To soften the blow, I will decide what order the names go in.

What happens after the draw?

After the draw, I will sign the Deed Poll forms under my new name and send them off. I will then receive the documentation to change my name legally with the UK Passport office and the DVLA. My Facebook name will be changed to display my new name.

Come on guys, get thinking!!!

Friday, September 09, 2011

I'd Do Anything For Privacy...Including 'That'

I like Meat Loaf a lot. I'm actually talking about the actor-slash-singer, but given the size of me you'd think I was on about the foodstuff.*

Let me set this post up for you right here. I've always been a sucker for theatricality: in fact I'm writing this before I dash off to rehearsals. I like fantasy and romance; stories where the guy conquers adversity to be with the girl who will love him for eternity (and dresses like an Ann Summers mannequin). I also like huge hairy guys. So although he's roughly between the age of my father and grandfather, I still have a bit of a soft spot for Mr Loaf.

And get this: Meat Loaf changed his name. TO MICHAEL. O_O
I'm not the type of rabid fan that saves up to buy chunks of their idols hair on eBay, but I do make it my priority to check out anything that Meat's been up to recently.

I went through it all: downloading his appearance on gameshow screamfest Don't Forget The Lyricswatching his alleged meltdown on Celebrity Appentice USA, catching him as a flustered bureaucrat on Glee's homage of Rocky Horror. I decided I'd have a little look on the web and find out what he's been up to recently.

I did begin this sentence with "imagine my horror", but that's a bit hammy. However I was frankly disgusted to find that there were videos of him fainting. Actual videos. People genuinely had nothing better to do while watching a gig that had been cut short due to Meat Loaf collapsing, so they filmed it while it happened.

As someone who frequently faints in public, I can honestly say that I feel incredibly angry about that. When someone faints, it's often a traumatic and upsetting experience: not just for the person who is ill but to those around them. It's often really shocking, because the last thing most people expect to happen in a normal situation is for someone else to just drop lifelessly to the floor.

Once it happened to me in a shopping complex, and my at-the-time boyfriend actually chased down and tackled a kid who had whipped out their mobile phone and started taking pictures of me.

How utterly humiliating!

I read an article of Charlie Brooker's detailing a man who had filmed his friend kicking a woman who had collapsed, while bellowing "THIS IS YOUTUBE MATERIAL". Thanks to that, I'm quite scared of becoming ill in public. What if I end up on the internet? What if someone robs me? What if my fiance isn't there to protect me?

Maybe I'm panicking a little. But when does whipping out your camera phone become acceptable behaviour? Obviously, being famous doesn't stop it: if anything, it makes it worse.

Fans might argue that they were doing Meat Loaf a favour. "We're highlighting his plight," they might say (in my head, as I try to reason with my white-hot fury). No, you're highlighting an unconscious man receiving medical attention. If he was conscious, don't you think he'd yell at you to stop?

But they don't know any better. I'm half expecting Sky News to run a feature on this, which ends like this: "Well that's all we've got time for, but remember: if you have any snaps of unconscious or injured celebrities, please send them to"

You think I'm joking? The other day I was browsing news sites, and I managed to see a photo of the late Amy Winehouse's dead body. She was covered in something thin, possibly a bedsheet, but the contours of the body were very visible. It was incredibly disturbing. The next few photos depicted Big Brother contestant and Amy's close friend Aisleyne Horgan-Wallace breaking down. Not 'breaking down' as a figure of speech, actually falling to the ground and weeping.


I'm not going to call for all-out boycott of the news. What I will say is this: the media has crossed boundaries, and has somehow justified the treatment of public figures as shallow entertainment vessels, even when they are in moments of dire need. And that attitude is spilling over into the public, so that the label now applies to all people. Someone collapsing in the street is now an "event".

I'll just leave you with this: the next time a person passes away or passes out, I don't want to hear it. I don't want to see it; I don't want to see their friends and family crying, I don't want 'tributes' to them comprising of stock image photos of them and vox-pops of the coroner. Time to stop. NOW.

*That ain't a dig at myself there; I like the way I look. If you'll pardon my conceit.

12/6/09 YouTube, user 'PattiRocksVideos', retrieved 9/9/11

3/4/11 YouTube, user 'Amordril', retrieved 9/9/11

Thursday, September 08, 2011

News Bump

Twitter was rife with activity on the night of MTV's Video Music Awards.

Not that I knew anything about it - despite owning a smartphone, whenever big news goes down on Twitter, I seem to be miles away from it. The only thing I did catch was comedian Peter Serafinowicz's fake-joke back at the beginning of the year. (Google it, go on, I dare you).

But apparently people were using their 140 character limit to tweet about Beyonce Knowles; thankfully nothing involving Kanye bloody West this time but because she is pregnant with her and husband Jay-Z's first child. Which is truly lovely. No, it is! The world of celebrity is fickle; weddings never go without a hitch (pardon the pun), marriages dissolve like a urinal cake in a monsoon and people indiscreetly whack their neighbours and steal each others' offspring. It's like Eastenders, only with less David Essex.

All right, so maybe it's not quite that bad (although all of that has actually happened on Eastenders). But no sooner did she announce her pregnancy did some big mouth come along and accuse her of padding her bump.

Celebs have been accused of worse - remember the "has-she-hasn't-she" debate over whether or not Britney Spears had a boob job? Or if that really was Jennifer Aniston's real hair? But as I read this story I could hear the "AW, CAAAAHMAAAAAAAAHN!" building up inside me.

Here's the thing: pregnant women, from my limited experience, are not 'textbook'. There is no guide saying "This is what you will look like at six months", because it will all vary. It depends on the mother's height, shape, size, amount of body fat, how big the baby is, etc. It differs.

I'm not that naive. She may have padded her bump for extra exposure. But I'm willing to bet that her team of stylists knew she was going to announce her pregnancy that night, and tried their hardest to dress her in a way that showed her bump prominently. I'm betting that if it was padded, it was padded in order to draw more attention to the area - if she did only have a tiny bump when she announced her pregnancy, would the responses have been any less mean and disparaging? Instead, I might be writing about a blog that said "She's not really preggo, look at her tiny bump".

At the time of writing this, Beyonce has yet to comment - and good on her. She's spent her life in the media circus so she's learnt to neatly step over great big turds like this. Plus, the next few months will be crazy for her and Jay-Z, right up to the birth. Everything she does, says, wears, buys and eats will be picked apart. And I imagine she will be looking down at the flying comments and remarks, throwing her head back and laughing.

And as for the people who still think she's padding: OH NO! This is the first embellishment anyone has ever made, EVER!!!! Does this mean that Lady Gaga didn't really die on stage? Does this mean that Eddie from Iron Maiden isn't real? They all deserve to be, like, humiliated publically! Because we plebs have never worn push-up bras or suck-in underpants or fake lashes or anything like that, EVER!

(I'd like to point out that although I have linked to GLAMOUR Magazine online, I am not accusing them of anything at all. If you read that article they have provided a fair account of the story, and coincidentally are one of my favourite magazines.)

^ Article from Glamour Online: Jenn Selby, 08/09/2011