Fancy Chinese Footwear

So here’s a bit of background for you, on the jazzy socks featured in Why Alice is *Still* Single…Probably.

Back when I was living in London I had the absolute pleasure of attending the Tate Modern’s critically appraised exhibition Picasso 1932: Love, Fame, Tragedy. It ran between 8th March – 9th September 2018.

I didn’t attend “1932…” until late on, days before it was due to close. Why? Because I’ll be honest, Picasso had never really been my bag. I appreciated his reputation and there’s no denying Guernica is a masterpiece of political demonstration, but otherwise I just saw the man as someone who took a lot of credit for not a lot.

Don’t shoot me.

In the end, it was a little voice inside my head that urged me to go, that I’d only regret it if I didn’t. (Also, because at the time I could get in for £5. Minor detail.)

I’m so very glad I went. For one, turns out the man is just as trigger happy on the paint brushes as I am on my blog. In one year he produced over 100 works of art (mostly of his mistress). Secondly, some of his work isn’t too shabby.

Don’t get me wrong, I still had questions. Most of my secondary school art projects were on par with Yellow Belt.

And yet God knows, you never saw my Art teacher praising me as the Second Coming. I took a snapshot and sent it to my Mum, she still insisted I keep the day job.

So what has all this got to do with socks? Well, sometime after the exhibition I was browsing the wonderful world of Far Eastern shopping when I came across some socks printed with the iconic painting The Dream.

I’ll spare you my cobble-dash description on this painting but yep, the way he painted the face is intentional (classic playboy Picasso). More information here.

Short story, shorter, I found a pair of socks online depicting this masterpiece (or, as the sellers called them, “style #3 sleeping lady”). Don’t ask how or why, it’ll be easier for us both. Neither did I enquire as to the copyright, given the same people were also selling “magic man” socks of Jesus.

12 million months later my socks arrived, looking something like this:

First observation – no way in hell were these made for a ladies foot-size 5 (EU 38). Definitely men’s socks. But still, the print detailing was alright and the image had been flipped. Without disclosing the price, (*cough* 99p), you get what you pay for.

I couldn’t wait to try them on.

Then I looked down…

Because the socks were bigger in size than expected, I’d had to pull them up higher, and because my calves are the size of tree trunks, the print was stretched-out even more.

Far from looking mellowed after a bit of artist lovin’, Marie looks genuinely pained from having her face stretched to that of a horse. And let’s not even go there with where that places Picasso’s perceived manhood.

Oh well.

I’m still gonna wear them though. I mean, Picasso socks! How cool is that?!

…What? What’s wrong?

Thanks Col, babe. xx


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The Shoes!

A video that perfectly sums up the state of my feet post Christmas party.

They’re ruddy nice shoes mind. I don’t think Swindon’s karaoke bar knew what hit it when I rocked up looking like this.


(Me with a work colleague – excuse the slightly psychotic look, I was blinded by the world’s brightest flash in Wiltshire’s darkest room.)

Forget an alcoholic hangover, shoe hangovers are now a thing in my world!

The shoes!!

Whichever way you choose to spend your New Year’s eve, have a good (and safe) one. I’ll probably be spending mine in a pair of fluffy slippers, a glass of Baileys and a sharing bag of kettle chips, stopping only briefly from writing to shout “is it 2020 yet?”. Literally, New Year’s Eve is my least favourite day of the year.

Anyway, anti-climaxes aside, happy New Year everyone! Here’s to 2020!


(I don’t know why I picked that photo, I had a browse through my WordPress image library/achieves and the memory from Cyprus in 2015 made me happy.)

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The Hole in My Shoe

I was walking back from work this evening when I realised my foot was soaking wet. It is a wet evening in Swindon (as ever), and I thought it was due to that. Turns out I have a gaping big hole in the sole of my shoe.

Yep, that's a hole alright

Two thoughts crossed my mind when I saw the hole, 1) ‘great, another thing I need to buy’ and 2) seems like a good time to write my piece about how I got to be where I am. How I got from a sunny graduation in Southampton to a bedroom in Swindon with rain pouring down the window. Linking a holey shoe to that is something only my mind can do.

At the point of graduation I was was actually what you might call one of the lucky ones. I’d got the perfect graduate level job which, before you fill your head with misconceptions, wasn’t a job on a graduate scheme.

A tip to the not-so-wise, just because someone says and makes something out to be true, it doesn’t always follow it is. I sat through numerous humanity career talks during my time at University, either through choice or because they tacked it onto a compulsory History meeting. They all followed the same format.

Firstly, the speaker introduces themselves with some fancy title, e.g. ‘head of humanity careers’ or ‘assistant vice mentor of student career support, aid, engagement and publicity’. Job titles that scream ‘my line manager left me alone with the name-card creator one afternoon, and now I’m not allowed to be near fancy equipment by myself’.

Next, they’ll scare you. They’ll tell you the job market is at it’s worst yet (even if the day before jobs are up ten-fold), and that a degree isn’t enough to get a job. It’s at this point some careers folk may put on spooky voices. Go with it, it’s probably the only chance they get to use their redundant Drama GCSE.

But just as you’re quaking with fear they’ll offer you hope, that there is a way to save your career soul. Cue 25 minutes of generic information about ‘transferable skills’ and ‘internships’ and yada yada. You’ll want to bring either a notepad or a pillow because you’ll certainly need one or the other for this bit.

Apparently 90% of all graduate level jobs are found on graduate schemes. So, if they’re anything like Southampton humanities, careers will make everyone stand up. This forms part of a exercise to show you that even though 200 people can apply for a grad scheme, one by one (quite literally) you’ll be ruled out for the job and made to sit down. In the words of Augustus Waters/careers advice (delete as appropriate) ‘it’s a metaphor’. Eventually one person will get the job. All you’ll learn from this exercise is that you fall into the too-stupid-to-fill-out-the-application-properly group, and the person who gets the job doesn’t actually want to be on a grad scheme anyway.  Enlightening stuff.

Careers Advice Tom then says his farewells to a grumbling group of students. If ever there was a modern-day, poor-man’s Shakespeare, career talks take the mediocre biscuit. As useful as a cold cup of coffee.

So, as you can tell, I did not get my job by standing in a crowd of 200 people while my line manager yelled ‘be seated!’ like a Roman Emperor. I applied, was interviewed and, though triumphing at both, I got a job working as an Assistant Retail Buyer.

The day before graduation I travelled down to Swindon to look at house shares up for rent. It had to be the hottest day of the year, and I scheduled in several different house viewings at opposite ends of the town. I can only say I thought Swindon was smaller than it was. It was on that day that I pitched up at my current house, hot, sweaty, and exhausted. It was in that beautiful state I met Sheri (the Hospitality housemate). I’ll tell you more about her and my other housemates soon, but not now this second.

Deposit placed, contracts signed. On the 11th August 2014 I would formally enter full-time employment. By mid July I was one of the few graduates who knew exactly where they’d be six months from now. Starting the job hunt before the crowds and spending hours on repetitive experience questions actually paid off.

Ergh, look at myself, this turning is into a corny student-success story. Give me a folder and a university branded hoodie and I’ll turn into a state of permanent prospectus pose (which is a real condition. See those happy students on University prospectuses? Behind those bleached smiles and sparkling eyes, they’re crying. It might not be obvious, but they’re crying inside.)

That takes me up to August. Christ, 750 words and I’m only a month into graduation. Ok, I promise things speed up from here, keep an eye out for part two of this epic tale of this grimgrad’s prequel. Any thoughts on University career talks? Feel free to comment.

This could be the awkward moment when I discover only Southampton’s Humanities Department do poor career talks, and that everyone else’s feature flame throwers, dancers and John Barrowman on ice…