If You Can’t Sleep, Learn Something

March 5, 2013 at 1:40 am | Posted in cooking, food, History, insomnia, internet, Ireland, Maps, Northern Ireland, Recipe | Leave a comment
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So. I can’t sleep. A fairly common problem for me, exacerbated by flu, a child with an unpredictable sleeping pattern and an overactive mind. So I decided that instead of aimlessly tweeting, I might take advantage of my insomnia and learn something. This is what I have learned:

1) The six counties of Northern Ireland;
2) The largest county of the Republic of Ireland;
3) The perceived difference between a Loyalist and a Unionist;
4) When the Act of Union was;
5) The 10 best Irish history books;
6) The 10 best Irish novels;
7) The recipe for an authentic spaghetti bolognese.

So, food & history: these are the things which keep me awake at night.

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The Perils of the Internet

January 9, 2013 at 1:49 pm | Posted in internet, love, men, relationships | 3 Comments
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Ah, the Internet (or t’internet, if you’re feeling affected). It’s revolutionised our lives, allowing us to browse shoes, men & car insurance deals effortlessly. It was J D Salinger’s dream, surely? For with the internet, one need never leave the house: just buy your food and friends online (don’t forget your vitamin D tablets).

But, and I concede that this is not an original point, I fear that poor old E M Forster, beloathéd of A Level English students everywhere, would have a (quietly British) fit. Only connect? Only disconnect, more like. Because the internet has reduced us to window shoppers, browsers of the browser; there is no need to pay up or or fully commit to anything, whether it be a pasta bake or a person. Not only have we been reduced, but our emotions and actions have also: we can like, follow and unfollow, block and unblock in seconds.

Internet relationships are unique, and I have been intrigued by them ever since I read The Powerbook by the wonderful Jeanette Winterson, surely a prescient novel given the fact that one in five people now meet online I have tried online dating, and I am trying it now, but mostly, I am bored by it all. I know that many have found love online, and good luck to them, but it is such a cutthroat process: it’s so easy to scroll through hundreds of people and not be interested, as though they were merely a pair of shoes. Don’t like the photo? Ignore the person. Simple.

I left Facebook because people have started to use it as a ranting forum, and I am considering leaving Twitter because dirty messages and declarations of love from strangers don’t really do it for me, thanks very much. For the internet is an enabler, like alcohol: it can make us too impulsive for our own good.

Oh No, Love, You’re Not Alone

May 11, 2012 at 9:23 pm | Posted in Friendship, internet, Loneliness | 6 Comments
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In this week’s Grazia, Bibi Lynch poses the question, ‘Have we become Generation Lonely?’. Or, as I prefer to put it, are we spending most our lives living in J D Salinger’s paradise?*

For I believe that J D Salinger would have loved how today’s world is enabling mankind to be ever more reclusive. He’d have loved internet shopping and online banking, and relished the fact that he need never leave his house again. Although conversely, I am sure he would have hated how much, arguably, writers need to promote themselves in today’s increasingly self-promoting society. Unlike Dickens, whom I’m sure would have been all over Twitter and Facebook.

I digress, however. Unlike Salinger, Lynch believes it’s time to ‘create actual – not virtual – relationships’. I certainly agree with her that, were we to keep it purely for housekeeping, the internet would be phenomenally useful. Yet she makes a good point when she says that those who think obsessive Twittering and Facebook stalking counts as a social life are ‘[D]elusional’.

But here’s the thing: unlike Miss Lynch, who, as a writer, may well while away a whole day having not ‘uttered a single word out loud’, as a bookseller, all I DO is talk. I talk on the till, I talk to recommend, I talk about books to my colleagues (obviously, sometimes I have to do dull officy things, but you get the picture). So when I get home, to my lovely little house which I have all to myself three evenings a week, I don’t particularly want to have any real human contact, thanks. Sure, I see friends a few times a week, and I enjoy their company. But I wouldn’t want it every night. If you know me (and I suppose by that I mean ‘in reality), you’ll know that I can be positively misanthropic at the best of times: I have been known to avoid acquaintances in the town as I can’t stand small talk.

So thank you, Bibi, for your concern that I may be part of ‘Generation Delusional Lonely’. But if I wish to spend my evening in the company of strangers, after a day filled with real human contact, then I’m sure it won’t make me any more lonely than those who frantically fill their diaries with dinners and dates for fear of being alone. Aren’t they, in fact, the deluded and lonely ones?

*Couldn’t resist the Coolio reference: I’ve had a soft spot for him ever since I drunkenly asked him, outside Warwick Student Union, if he wanted to come to Tesco to buy wine.

I wasn’t looking, but somehow you found me…

March 1, 2012 at 5:39 am | Posted in insomnia, internet | 1 Comment
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Well, I can’t sleep, which is not unusual for me of late. However, unusually, I’m not working till 1315 tomorrow (or, erm, today), so we’re not exactly in long dark night of the soul territory.

This post on search terms comes to you after I read a similar post by this blogger (she’s a great writer and you should all follow her). Anyway, it made me think about the bizarre search terms which have lead people to my blog, amongst the more mundane involving my name and the blog name. Here’s a selection:

1) How do you know if a girly girl is in love with a man – mate, you’re asking the wrong woman, for I am not a girly girl. You will not find me in the kitchen slaving away baking heart-shaped buns, nor will you see me buy baby pink accessories for my vehicle.

2) Lolita porn – well, you seem to have stumbled across the wrong sort of website! Yes, I’ve made a reference to Lolita in a previous post, and I appreciate that this blog is called Sugar Baby Love. But that is after the kitsch 70s song, not a website where ladies of the night contort themselves in many and varied ways.

3) Motherhood prefab sprout – I have discussed both motherhood and Prefab Sprout. Why someone would decide to search those two things together, however, I have no idea.

4) Half siblings in love – must we go there? Let me clarify: I blogged about half siblings, not incest.

5) Eastenders lady with one nostril – I think this one might be my favourite.

6) Sugar baby wanted in Florida – honey, I am always wanted in Florida. But I suspect that wasn’t what you were looking for, was it?

7) Joy division baby love – ooh, that would have made an interesting cover.

8) Homemade sex tapes damien and “theresa” – I don’t even know a Damien or a Theresa, let alone whether or not they film themselves in flagrante.

9) Shugar baby love – you need to learn to spell.

10) Slut – nice.

11) Is Sweden really as gender phobic as Stieg Larsson indicates – in my experience, no. And I don’t think he suggests that in his books, incidentally.

12) Bergerac centre – do please tell me as soon as this is established. I feel very strongly that we need a Centre for Bergerac Studies.

13) How make dleray woman baby – I know the ‘dleray’ in question and I have no idea why someone would search this.

14) Sugar baby small town – good song title.

15) Pirt girl – they’re either genuinely looking for a female Pirt. Or they can’t spell.

16) Annie Wilkes birthday cake – let me guess: it’s got Liberace and a penguin on it.

Fascinating, eh?

The eReader

January 20, 2012 at 8:53 pm | Posted in books, German literature, internet, technology | Leave a comment
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Imagine, please, for a moment, that Bernhard Schlink is writing The Reader now.  And it goes a little something like this:

1) Michael meets Hanna, is violently sick. She cleans him up, he does a runner when he realises she’s ogling him naked.

2) Michael sends Hanna an ecard to thank her for clearing up his sick. She tweets him to say come over.

3) Michael gets himself all dirty repairing Hanna’s Mac.  They have passionate sex and then sext at regular intervals for weeks afterwards.

4) Michael begins reading to Hanna from his Kindle. It is compulsory for all German school children to have Kindles.

I don’t think I can bring myself to continue.

The EReader: coming to a bookshop near you soon.  Loving it? No, me neither.

Sweetness, I was only joking….

January 18, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Posted in Career, internet, Uncategorized, work | Leave a comment
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….or semi-joking, at least, about the Googling. Google away, if you are so inclined, particularly if you are someone who can help my career (which is pretty much one of the only three things I care about).  It fascinates me, the internet, this endlessly-populated and limitless population we’ve created.  Can you imagine if it ceased to exist?  It would be utterly bizarre.

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