In particular, Ju Ju. Very stout, very bold, very surly, and very funny. She's so incredibly annoying, but I do love her a lot. Luckily, so does Patsington. As he said the other day, "I don't think I like Ju Ju very much, but I do love her." So he encourages her to sleep at the foot of our bed, despite the fact that she refuses to move so we have to sort of arrange ourselves around her. Also, she snores, in a rather hilarious fashion. Of course, I do like cats in general, and will always greet and pet a friendly feline if I encounter one on my travels, but Princess Arjumand has a special place in my heart.
The best programme on television. The writing is just astonishingly great - could Paul Abbott or Jimmy McGovern come up with a line as exquisitely funny as Norris's recent description of his lovestruck business partner Rita's behaviour behind the counter of their newsagent's ("she were fanning herself with the People's Friend like something out of Les Liasons Dangereuses")? I think not.
Nothing soothes my sprits more than curling up in a duvet with a cup of tea and reading something utterly undemanding. My comfort reads tend to be stuff in which you know nothing truly awful or upsetting will happen - this includes everything from school stories to Georgette Heyer. Comfort reading is my cure for almost all ills.
Chicklit.com has changed my life. If it weren't for deborah and her site I wouldn't have discovered many of what are now some of my favourite books, but most importantly, I wouldn't have met most of you. It was cangetmad - whom I met on Chicklit, of course - who lured me over from Diaryland back in 2002, and she was perhaps the first of the many Chickliterati whom I have come to consider dear and valued friends. Since then I've got to know many more of you, and met lots of you in person, and that would never have happened if deborah hadn't set up a site for women who love words.
I love Meg Cabot's books. They're perfect brain candy. Also, she once sent me a big box of books that hadn't been published over here after I interviewed her, so even if she started churning out nothing but shite, I would always think of her fondly. Plus, her blog is hilarious.
Comedy and comic writing
Most of my favourite books and films are funny ones - or at least serious ones with some funny bits. Sometimes I worry that I really am a very shallow person, because while I do love great profound works of literature and cinema (hey, I chose to study German at university thanks to a 26 hour German epic film about avant garde music students), my heart is always captured by stuff that makes me laugh. From P. G. Wodehouse to The Mighty Boosh, from E. M. Delafield's The Diary of a Provincial Lady to Jill Tweedie's Letters from a Fainthearted Feminist, from Hancock's Half Hour to Black Books, I am all about the comedy. Even when, as in Sweet Valley High books and the glorious Trapped in the Closet, it's unintentional.
Ever since I learned to read I've read, written and drawn comics. I think it's one of the most versatile and powerful storytelling and artistic media available, and I am faintly bewildered that the great comic writers like Alan Moore don't really get the mainstream critical credit they deserve. Like most girls of a certain age in this part of the world, I started off reading the Beano and the girls' comics like Mandy, Judy and Bunty - my sisters and I will still make references to the likes of the Honourable S. J. (aka Sarah Jane Cheatwell) or Miss Angel (in fact, barsine made me a Miss Angel badge, which is a treasured possession). In my teens I moved onto "proper" comics, a progress aided in 1990 when leedy borrowed her friend K's then-complete set of Sandman comics, which I read in one go sitting on my sister's bed.
From then there was no stopping me, really, and in my early years of college I frequently experienced the always slightly odd situation of being the only girl in Forbidden Planet. I've done my own comics since I was a kid, and still do, although I really should put my head down and finish one of the long ones. After all, I owe the comic genre quite a bit - one of the reasons I noticed Patsington in the library was because he was reading Sandman comics and had a copy of Arkham Asylum on his desk. Okay, so nothing really sparked between us for another six years, but still! Perhaps if he hadn't had those comics on his desk I wouldn't have noticed him and we would never have become friends and I wouldn't be writing this at our collective kitchen table right now. So thank you, comics.
C***y family, the
Because my family are the only people I know who are as loud as me. Also, while obviously I have a very similar sense of humour to most of my chums, there are some things that only my sisters and I will find funny. Schkipom-de-bo!
The only chocolate I really like. So there!
And finally...cangetmad herself. For introducing me to livejournal, and for being one of the coolest, kindest, smartest and bravest people I know. Also, for making a fantastic baby!