*RANT ALERT*

I get a lot of shit press releases.

Here are some stats I made up to give you an idea of the sort of thing that lands in my inbox every day:

  • 63% are written in a font so small I couldn’t read it even if I wanted to
  • 92% are at least twice the length that any decent press release should be
  • 87% of release titles include a terrible pun
  • 74% think that a very original and never been done before angle is the fact that the product was designed at a kitchen table by someone who has given up a high paid job to follow their dreams. What those dreams are exactly we aren’t really sure – create an awful product that doesn’t sell and become penniless perhaps?
  • 54% tell me all about this wonderful thing I absolutely must try – my life will not be complete until I have it – and then they offer to send me high res pictures. Now I know this is the done thing for print journalism, but I write a blog and don’t even need high res images. I want the THING. Don’t tell me how my readers would love for me to share it with them and then only send me an image. I’m not a teenage boy collecting pictures to hide under my mattress.

I had one press release this morning though that really wound me up, not because it was especially badly written, but simply because the product it was trying to sell was, as far as I could see, a complete rip off.

It was basically one small log, but for £25.

You heard me, £25. View Post

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I have opened up WordPress this morning ready to complain.

Not in a witty and charming way about something like car air fresheners, I mean properly rant about something, anything at all really. I can feel the tension across my shoulders, drawing them up closer and closer to my ears. I can sense that my jaw is set in a mildly scary way. If anyone was to get my order wrong in a restaurant right now, unlikely as that is at 8.59am, they would not feel good about themselves afterwards.

But as I mull over what vitriol to spew over the pages, sighing and snorting impatiently all the while, I stop myself. How helpful would that actually be? Would working myself up into a literary rage about something really do anything to solve my angst?

I doubt it. The act of writing is cathartic of course, but aside from that, wouldn’t it be better to channel things in a more positive way?

I agree with myself, although I am still full of stress and rage so in my head it comes out as cutting sarcasm. ‘Oh Josephine, aren’t you so very wise? People are definitely going to be reading this and commenting to themselves on how you are the first person ever to discover the power of positive thinking.’ View Post

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I know that it’s part of your job description if you work in PR to be as annoying and over friendly as possible, and mostly I am tolerant of this, but today I just couldn’t be doing with it. Seriously, if you send me an email today that begins ‘Hello lovely!’ please don’t expect me to respond with anything other than a punch to the face.

The email that sent me over the edge this morning went like this:

“Hi there,

I hope all is well with you! I’m already one flat white down this morning. Might go for a second coffee but I fear the jitters!

I wanted to share a lovely bit o’ content with you from the weekend…”

Ha ha! Coffee jokes! Now we are best chums right? Oh no, hang on, we’re not, because I don’t know who you are and you haven’t even used my name.

And ‘a lovely bit o’ content’?? What even is that??

I literally had no words, so as a reply I just sent this:

Annoying PRsSometimes people just need to be told.

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I mean actual fudge. Sweet enough, but sticky, soft and soporific.

Like this:

FudgeI have always been notoriously forgetful, not even able to recall whole conversations from only days previously, but I had thought it was an adorable sort of absent-mindedness – the sort you could laugh fondly about. Lately though it feels more like the worrying sort of slowness and makes you glad you don’t have a baby, for fear of leaving it behind in a supermarket trolley.

The irony of course is that I can’t remember whether this feeling is really new, or I’ve just forgotten that I felt the same this time last year.

It feels sometimes like there are vital connections not quite right in my brain. I can see things happening, but they are distant, like I am watching myself do them, laughing silently at my own ineptitude. I feel a little disconnected – both from things happening around me and internally – and it is quite disconcerting.

Aside from the usual things like not being able to remember the words for simple things like ‘bread’ and ‘cat’, two things happened this week that added further weight to my brain into fudge concerns. Firstly, I tried to buy a drink from a vending machine. A simple enough task you might think for a woman educated to degree level.

It looked like this one:

Vending machine

After figuring out how to put the coins in, I spent some time touching the picture of the bottle of Diet Coke, trying to work out why the drink wasn’t appearing anywhere, before realising I was literally just pawing at a picture like a not terribly well trained chimp and actually had to press one of the buttons at the side.

Thankfully no one was watching. For the second incident I wasn’t so fortunate.

I was driving through McDonald’s. (I don’t spend my entire life buying fast food and fizzy drinks, I promise.) I had placed my order and driven to the next window to pay.

I paid. So far so good. ‘Excellent,’ I thought to myself, ‘that’s that done,’ and I drove off. I was turning the corner back out into the main car park before I realised I hadn’t actually collected my food. I reversed awkwardly all the way back round to the final window, where a teenage boy with questionable skin was holding out a brown paper bag, looking confused.

“Oh silly me!” I said, trying to sound casual about the fact that I was clearly on the verge of dementia, grabbed the bag and drove off for a second time.

Seriously, what is the matter with me? Does this sort of thing ever happen to you or should I be making some sort of appointment??

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I walked into Taunton town centre this morning.

*stop the press*

It was the first time I had actually left the new house on foot since we moved in as Belle is still on crutches; our outings so far have mainly been to Sainsbury’s where she can wheel herself around in a complimentary wheelchair and we can pretend we are anywhere other than Taunton.

As I walked I tried to think of the positives of having moved out of Bristol. “It’s really handy,” I thought to myself, “that it’s only a ten minute walk to the bank for me to pay this cheque in.” In Bristol I had to go all the way down into the city centre for a branch of the Halifax.

And then I ran out of things. I had been walking for more than five minutes and there was not a single Boston Tea Party in sight and I started to cry.

I totally realise that crying in the street is not a normal reaction to not being within walking distance of a decent eggs florentine. I am clearly the most ridiculously spoilt, ungrateful woman ever, but I waited so bloody long to move to Bristol and even though no one apart from me seemed to like it, it was everything I ever thought it would be. It felt like home. And now I’ve left and I can’t help but think ‘SHIT SHIT SHIT WHAT HAVE I DONE??’

*stamps feet like a toddler who has been refused a giant candy floss*

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I do try to remember that I felt like this when I moved to Bristol as well, that it always takes a while to adjust to somewhere new, but that’s part of the problem I suppose, that Taunton isn’t new. I lived here for a few years ten years ago, and never really liked it much then. Ten years on and am I really simply back where I started, only older and more tired?

So I paid in my cheque – that really was handy – then it started to rain so I went to Starbucks and cried in there instead.

This post is an extract from my new novel – 1001 First World Problems to Experience Before You Die 

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