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The Reluctant Twitter-Mentalist

Does anyone else find Twittering a little bit intimidating?  For those of us who always think about the funny thing we should’ve said, after the event, Twitter just rubs it in.  Worse, out of the blue, my husband’s suddenly an expert and he’s now more up-to-date with stuff going on.  He knew the Oscars winners even before we switched on ‘Breakfast’.

Don’t get me wrong, I like the whole concept of Twitter.  When my book Platinum came out in paperback, I decided to Tweet in character, setting up false Twitter pages for my characters, Frankie, Emma and Peaches. The intention was to build up a fan following, by wittily tweeting in real time up until the point where the fictional action of the story took over.  It was a good idea in theory, but almost impossible to carry out in practice.

But even though I haven’t tweeted for yonks, I have hundreds of followers on Twitter some of whom have pretty dodgy profile pictures.  For example, Peaches Gold who is a fictional LA Madam, gets followed by people like ArseWorshiper, DaddyStrokes and LadyClimax.  Yikes!  Needless to say, I haven’t ‘come out’ to any of them.  I’m a bit nervous of revealing myself to these people as a track-suit clad mum of three, writing books at home.

Talking of false online identity, I watched Catfish, the other day, which is an excellent documentary following a Facebook scam.  In my opinion, a much better look at the whole idea of Facebook than The Social Network (during which I fell asleep).  Why serve red wine to women in Arthouse cinemas?  What do they expect?

I bring it up, because everywhere I look there are articles and posts urging us all to stop Twittering and Facebooking and to remember how to ‘live in the moment’. Easier said than done. Where is this fifteen minute patch of the day, where I should be ‘sitting in a quiet warm room’ and ‘contemplating my breathing’? Are the people who write these articles having a laugh? Do they have children?  Or heating they put on in March?

So, if meditation it out,  maybe I should try another of their suggestions and play a musical instrument instead?  Maybe that might help to soothe away the stresses of my everyday existence. I mooted this idea at the dinner table and the whole family started giggling, or sniggering (these days the difference is cuttingly thin).

Undeterred, I dug my old flute out of the deepest recesses of the playroom cupboard, assembled it, and played.  That shut them up.  I was shocked that after 15 years, I could still do a reasonable impression of a snake charmer. Once I’d got going, I trilled out ‘Variations On A Theme by Rossini’, a shrill little number I played back in the last century for my Grade 7 exam.  That cleared the room.  And aha!  Yes, momentarily, I did experience a smug sense of peace.

Sadly, the flute is now back in the cupboard.  There were no takers to follow in mine and James Gallway’s footsteps. The Big One has just got an electric guitar and prefers strutting round playing ACDC’s ‘Back In Black’ or ‘Sweet Home Alabama’. That’s clearly cool.  Whereas a forty something woman playing the flute, equally clearly, is not.

Maybe I should go online for the solution.  Maybe there’s a support group of Facebookers or Twitterers out there just waiting for me to join their ranks. Maybe mumscanrock2.net.  Or flutemebabyyeah.com.  I bet even DaddyStrokes is a member of that.

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Undone outside

I’m always reminded of how delighted I am that I’m no longer twenty-three when I go and see Cheryl, my hairdresser.  She very kindly agreed to squeeze me in for a blow dry before ‘the rush’ on Saturday.

‘What’s the rush?’ I asked.

Cutting a very long reply short – apparently it’s when all the girls come in to be ‘done’ for their night out photo-shoot.   Photo-shoot?  Yep, you see they get all glammed up – their hair, make-up and nails ‘done’ –  and then they pose for each other taking staged party pictures on their phones to be downloaded onto Facebook later when they’re out.  Facebook, it seems, means boom business for beauticians.

Why don’t they just take pictures at the time in situ?  Well, you see, the lighting is bad in bars and clubs, the flash washes out your make-up, and your hair looks best right after it’s been blow-dried.  Being caught ‘not done’ in public is social death.  ‘Yeah, you can’t leave the house without being done these days,’ Cheryl warned me.

I thought she was being ridiculous, until yesterday morning, when we were rudely awakened by the recycling lorry at 7 a.m.  Swearing, we both raced out of bed. I got the lead, flinging on my tatty old dressing gown and manky slippers.  I scooped up the tub of bottles from the back and trotted up the hall with them, dribbling of red wine down my leg and over the carpet.

I darted outside and made it just in time for the lorry men, who scowled at me. Cheryl’s blow dry wasn’t holding out too well after five days and I had monstrous panda eyes.

I was about to hot foot it back inside, when I heard a deep, sexy voice.  ‘Hi, I’m Gareth.  I’ve been meaning to introduce myself.  You’re the writer, right?’

I looked up.  It was him.  The new neighbour. The ones we’ve been curtain twitching over for days.  The ones with a shiny black Merc with clean car seats. But they clearly know all about us too.

I clutched the neck of my dressing gown.

‘And this is Lucinda.’  He turned.  And there she was, coming towards us, all white teeth, slo-mo in a halo of perfume.  Lucinda.  Immaculate.  Hair done.  Make-up done.  ‘This is Jo.  The writer,’ Gareth said, looking between me and his gorgeous wife.

Behind them the recycling man emptied my black tub of bottles.  There was an almighty crash as they landed.  It went on forever.   ‘It’s two week’s worth,’ I said pathetically, shaking her manicured hand.

Social death.  I should have listened to Cheryl.

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