unlikeable lassies

I think most people who know me will appreciate that there aren’t many women I don’t like – as a sex I find them fascinating. Men are simple souls and it’s easy to know who’s good company and who isn’t; who I like and who I don’t. I’ve got around 20 good friends who are blokes and that’s pretty much as many as I need. Women though are different; they’re subtle, complex, vulnerable but strong, deep, generously-spirited, engaging and v different. Not sure I’ll ever fully understand women but I like them. Clothes shopping and watching major sporting occasions with them is trying (and being married with 3 grown-up daughters means I’ve done a lot of that) but I still wouldn’t want to not have women in my life for longer than an hour or so. So why is that that some women drive me nuts?

Take Princess Margaret. She is probably the only woman I’ve despised. Born into a privileged lifestyle at the taxpayers’ expense, she was haughty and highly opinionated and full of her own self-importance. Her retinue was the model for every modern diva. We came across her at a Children’s Royal Variety performance just when Take That were breaking into the music scene. The protocol around her was quite unbelievable; don’t talk to her without being spoken to, address her this way not that, don’t look straight at her without smiling, no smoking in her presence although she was a fag hag herself…’scuse me but by this stage she was a gin-soaked old shag-bag. How dare we address her as Margaret, even though she was being humped all the way from Kensington barracks to Mustique and back again. You could smell the hypocracy, and the rest, on her 20ft away. A vile woman.

Blimey, nothing as extreme as that to follow but there are other unlikeable women in the public eye. VB is awfully self-absorbed but she’s a family woman and successful so who am I to pass comment? Katie Price similarly and she’s married to a f*ckwit but undeniably she’s a strong woman and I respect them both for achieving a life-style which they’ve always wanted and clearly enjoy. I don’t know if they’re happy but I’m absolutely sure they wouldn’t give two frigs about my thoughts on their personal well-being. And quite right too.

But some women do annoy me intensely and I make no apologies. One is Kerry Katona; the other’s Gail Porter, sadly. Both of them are in that needy, neuroses-ridden, woe-is-me camp. Abuse, self-harming, drug addictions, overdoses, failed marriages, post-natal depression, suicide attempts, anorexia, eating disorders, bi-polar syndrome, physical assaults and so on. It’s as if only they can feel hurt and pain and no-one knows how they’ve suffered. Give me strength. If I have to hear Gail talking about the pain of living life with no hair one more time I think I’ll scream. It’s crap, get used to it. KK’s just a mess and why a major food brand would trust her with their corporate image and reputation is beyond me.

Gail on the other hand seems a tad more wholesome, certainly more attractive and less slutty but you sense it’s all terribly intense with her too. Her kid’s named Honey – it’s an OK name I guess (not as bad as some listed in my ‘celebrity naming’ post) but how many people do you know have been christened Honey? There was a horribly mawkish song from Bobby Goldsboro in the 70’s (‘I wake up nights and call her name. Now my life’s an empty stage where Honey lived and Honey played’…. retch) and there was the the girl drummer in the Honeycombs band in the 60’s and Honey Ryder in Dr No played by Ursula Andress. That’s about my sum total of known names apart from the fact that two other celebs have called their kids it – Jonathan Ross and Jamie Oliver and I suggest you go see the blog to see what frightful names their kids have. As names go it’s about as regular as Mistletoe. And that’s the appeal for celebs of course; unusuality = interest = media coverage.

But the thing about Gail that really got my goat this week was her interview in the Independent for the Traveller section. This is a simple give us your best holiday experiences etc as we plug your new book/film/TVseries etc. Chris (8 million listeners can’t be wrong – yes they can; they’re not yet fully educated) Moyles must be due soon. Anyway this week-end it was Gail’s turn. Where do you suspect her favourites are – America, Europe, Antartica? Nope. As a kid her first memories were with the family travelling through Ireland in the VW camper (nice enough) experiencing all those men with guns and lots of roadblocks. Eh? Not NI but Ireland mark you. Anyway not to be put off she had the ‘best time’. Oh good.

Next we hear her best ever holiday was at the Reethi Rah in the Maldives; she stayed in a water villa, pulled up the blinds and ‘jumped straight into the sea’. Sounds lovely. Later we hear there wasn’t much ‘else to do in the Maldives’ but it was still your best ever holiday right? Or maybe best-sounding? What about her greatest travel luxury item – it’s a Diptyque Opopanax candle…! Er, is that from Ann Summers Gail? What the….f. She says it smells really comforting in case she ends up somewhere really dodgy. Yep a candle is the first thing you’d cling to in those circumstances. Sounds a bit ooh er matron so I’ll just carry on.

Where has seduced her do you think? I’ll give you 100 chances to get it. All wrong. She likes ….Uganda. Of course! It’s on all our must-see itineraries. Anywhere else? Cambodia – absolutely – and what were you doing there Gail? ‘Working in orphanages’ of course. As you do on your hols.

Worst experience? Flying with Holly in a twin-prop over South Africa which had to make an emergency landing, whilst she was ‘working with an animal charity’. It’s that last bit that’s just so toe-curling. Most of us tend to leave the heavy stuff at home Gail during our hols but, hey, good on yer for never relaxing. Always working eh! Worst holiday? At the Hilton in Tobago – of course. It ‘felt completely wrong’. What no charities to visit? Best Hotel Gail? Well the Reethi, yeh been there love, anywhere else? Oh yes Le Touessrok in Mauritius is wonderful. Ah an indulgence perhaps? Er not really, when Gail’s working for charities she ‘tends’ to stay in local B&Bs you know. Of course Gail. Favourite swim? She’d go back to Tasmania (natch) where she stayed in an eco-lodge. Is that like the water-villa? Apparently not as it’s on top of a hill. The swimming Gail? Well when she woke up in the morning she’d ‘go for a swim in the ocean’. From the top of the hill – must have been exhausting? Wouldn’t the pools at 20,000 great hotels, thousands of miles closer to home be more logically enjoyable maybe? Oh no.

Best meal? Go on have a guess – a lobster extravaganza in Portugal, a fusion menu in Miami, le Manoir in Oxfordshire, a great French restaurant? Of course not. Gail’s best meal was in Cambodia (again natch) which was spicy and because of her sensitive skin made her go bright red and all the people in the restaurant laughed at her. And that’s your best ever food experience Gail? For sure.

I was starting to get so heavily pissed off with this nonsense by this stage. But there were just a couple more questions. Dream trip Gail? Well there’s China, the Amazon and the Congo but it is ‘extremely dangerous there’. Well where better to take your lovely little daughter for a holiday Gail? You wouldn’t be saying these things for effect would you? Oh no, she’s really looking forward to taking Honey to Vietnam and Cambodia. To sample the excruciatingly hot spicy food? Oh no, ‘to revisit some of the orphanages she worked in’ (like there were hundreds of them).

Do me a f*cking favour Gail. For an attractive girl you really are a hard piece of work. Do you know the best meal I ever had? We drove down to the mid-Atlantic coast of France with a bunch of friends and kids. It had been a long day’s drive and everyone was wacked but hungry. It must have neen 8pm at night. I popped into a little local bar/brasserie and with faulting French asked if they could accommodate 13 of us for dinner. They said yes but said it would be tricky so could we forgive them if it was a bit slow. I said we didn’t care so long as the kids got fed and we got to have some drinks. We unpacked, refreshed a bit and headed back to the brasserie. They’d laid out a central table for the 13 of us in the midst of a flock(?) of seemingly indignant French locals. We didn’t care, nor to her immense credit did the restauranteuress. She brought bottles and bottles of decent local wine, beers, water and drinks for the kids. Then mounds of still fresh-tasting sliced baguette bread and butter and olives and oil to take the edge off our appetites. About the only thing she had left as main course was a local fried fish with frites, which every single one of us was happy with. Within 30 minutes she’d served 13 fish dishes and a huge, huge platter of frites which everyone tucked into. It was nectar. You know what? I popped back to ask about some puds for the kids and I came across the kitchen which consisted of a baby belling size stove – one small hotplate, one ring and tiny oven. And we’d just had the most delicious simple meal you could ask for.

She came out with some yoghurts or something for the kids and more booze for us. The locals disappeared one by one and we were there till nearly midnight with the place to ourselves, the kids all enjoying themselves until one by one they too all fell fast asleep. We asked for the bill. I’m not kidding, on the lives of my grandchildren, the whole thing came to less than £25. She wouldn’t accept a £20 tip but took half the amount. The equivalent of less than £35 for a fantastically tasty and filling meal for 3 families of 13 people. Now that Gail is a bloody memorable meal experience. In France, over the Channel, lovely country. No water buffalo or villas or fall in the sea eco-chalets, just fun with friends abroad. Simple and truly memorable. You should try it.



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