What I found at the Conservative Party Conference. Husbands: none Career: 1?

I attend the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham where the Prime Minister Teresa May the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and the Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond were all speaking

If politics is Rock for ugly people then the party conferences are like going on tour. Rumours of sleeping around and extra marital affairs are rife. But in this febrile sexual and political atmosphere is it possible to find love?

I was extremely excited about attending my first ever Tory Party Conference where I was  trying to advance my political career – I am applying to stand as a local Councillor and want to become an MP. But there was another reason for my enthusiasm.  My efforts to find Mr Right through online dating have been as successful as a polar bear trying to find an ice floe in the Sahara.  And when I announced on a recent date with a promising man on lefty website Guardian Soulmates that I was a Tory he immediately ordered the bill.  I need someone intelligent and interested in politics – as since I became one of the London Team leaders for Britain Stronger in Europe during the Referendum campaign I have been mildly obsessed. Before the campaign I had never been involved in politics as no issue had moved me enough.

I had worked out long in advance my agenda (and outfits) for the Conference to fulfil my dual purpose of communicating that I am a serious politician in waiting but also, of course, look hot. I was obviously, going to attend all the main speeches by the Prime Minister, Foreign Secretary and Chancellor of the Exchequer. But I’d also selected a host of fringe events where I was likely to meet Mr Right. My Conservatives friends say it has long been received wisdom in the party that joining the Young Conservatives is a way of finding a partner and were optimistic at my chances.

The first event I attended was the Prime Minister’s and Foreign Secretary’s speech on Brexit.  This required a demure outfit and rapt attention to the speakers with no obvious ogling of men. I have to say I was slightly disturbed by the emphasis on controlling immigration. I do not want my cleaner or builder to go home. I then went to the Conservative Group for Europe reception as I am positively allergic to boyfriends who voted for Brexit. In fact my primary chat up line at the Conference was “which side were you on Leave or Remain?” Unfortunately there was no one I fancied at the reception. Next on my tour was the Conservative Friends of Cyprus reception – I have limited interest in Cyprus but a great deal of interest in Greek men. This required a slight change of outfit to show a hint of cleavage. As the Tories are now more egalitarian since the demise of David Cameron I had left all my designer bags at home.  The Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson was there prompting frenzied adulation and shouts of “Boris Boris Boris” from the audience a sort of Tory version of One Direction. Apart from obviously me who blames Boris for Brexit.

On the Monday I was going to attend the speech by the Chancellor of the Exchequer.  But at the last minute I decided this was a waste of time as the Chancellor is married and not really my type so I went to a meeting of pro-European Tories instead.

Then came the absolute crack pipe of my political and dating plans “How can Conservatives win the Black and Minority Ethnic votes they need to win in 2020.” The constituency I am interested in standing in as an MP has a high number of ethnic voters but also, as I am half Jamaican, I think my political soulmate would be another ethnic Tory. The Conservatives secured over a million black, Asian and Minority Ethnic votes in the 2015 elections and are closing the gap on Labour.  Alas there was no one I fancied at the meeting but I did get a picture with a black female Conservative MP who said she would help me get elected.

Me and Conservative MP for Maidstone and the Weald Helen Grant
Me with Helen Grant MP

My primary interest in politics is to work with the government in addiction and mental health so I went to an event about supporting families with these problems. I pitched my idea to help everyone who goes into a doctors surgery with an addiction or mental health problem to the chief executives of two of the largest charities in Britain and they were very interested.

On Tuesday I got up at the crack of dawn to attend a Conservative Group for Europe breakfast meeting. I hate getting up early but as openly pro-European Tories have been thin on ground since the Brexit vote I had to set my alarm. Alas most of the men there were not my type so I sat playing with my phone. I was then cheering various  Celebrating the Union speeches in the main hall (ie England Scotland Northern Ireland and Wales) – a union which seems to be remaining intact, despite the Brexit vote, as the Scottish cannot afford to leave.

There was then the photo with my local Conservative Association where there were some rather attractive men. Obviously I gave them my business card saying “we must campaign together.”

My final event of the night was a Conservative Friends of Bangladesh reception which required a slightly sexier outfit.  I have never been to Bangladesh and my knowledge of the country is purely based on what I have seen on the BBC news but I am very interested in getting to know some more Bangladeshi Tories. My local Conservative Association has strong links to the Bangladeshi community so I made sure I appeared in all the photos.  There was a rather attractive mixed race man at the Bangladeshi event who despite the fact that he was 10 years younger than me I managed to engage in conversation. I am sure I am not the only cougar at the Conference.

The final day was the troop rousing speech by the Prime Minister and the leader of the Scottish Conservatives “A Country that works for everyone.”  This was the busiest day of the Conference as many members come on a one day pass and I had therefore held back my most flattering outfit. The Prime Minister was wearing a rather sexy crimson dress and said the biggest challenge of the conference was whether the colourful Boris Johnson would “stay on message for four days.” The conference ended at one o clock but I had not booked my train until early evening in case I bumped into a likely husband and wanted to meet him for lunch. Alas I didn’t find a husband, but after four days of high octane excitement, decided I want to stand as an MP. If I became an MP my past is so colourful that Boris would look bland.

Top publisher says my blog is “funny” has “an engaging voice” and “lots of great material”

Sarah Savitt deputy publisher at Virago and former publishing director at Headline and Headline Review says I

Sarah Savitt, deputy head of feminist publisher Virago and former publishing director at Headline, one of the most successful commercial imprints in the UK,  said my blog was “definitely enjoyable to read” as it was “funny, fast paced and interesting.” She recommended making changes to the blog, which I’ve now turned into a memoir, so that is has greater “focus” and “structure.” She gave me three pages of feedback on the memoir and recommended I read nine successful recent memoirs and analyse them technically to see how they tell their story.

I am now doing this starting with best sellers “Mad Girl”by Bryony Gordon which also talks about OCD, bulimia, cocaine addiction and journalism and “Reasons to Stay Alive” by Matt Haig which deals with depression and anxiety. She said there were “many themes” in my memoir “from class and privilege and race (people constantly asking where you’re from) to mental health to your mother’s abuse to drugs and sex.” She said I need to “choose one or two things to focus on and weight the book towards those themes.” She said that it is difficult for people who are not famous to get memoirs published but that those that are published and “break out” and become successful have this particular focus.  After I’ve read the 9 memoirs I am going to start a re-write of mine.

I’m also starting a freelance journalism course in October to try to resurrect my freelance journalism career and raise the profile of my writing. I may do a course on memoir as well. The agent didn’t work out but given that the publisher said the blog needed a major rewrite to make it commercially viable this may be why.

The search for Mr Right continues of course unsuccessfully. I’ve been on a few dates but haven’t fancied them. I’ve signed up to various Conservative party events (I grew scales and a tail before the last General Election and was, alarmingly, diagnosed as a Tory) to try to network and meet an ethnic Tory Mr Right. I did go to an event on Wednesday and met an attractive ethnic Tory but he was only 21.

The big change on the home front is that as I am now almost completely recovered from the OCD and broken my ban on having anyone to stay in my house over the summer I am going to get a lodger. This will bring in useful extra income as well as give me someone to discuss world current affairs with. Of course due to my bisexual tendencies the search for a lodger has been fraught with problems. I was worried about fancying the prospective male lodgers who came along but it was actually a gorgeous Iranian woman with arresting green eyes who made me swoon. Obviously I couldn’t say “you’re too sexy to move in” so I just told her an elephant was moving in instead.

I now have the assistant to a Member of Parliament moving in who is very bright and interested in politics and crucially, given my previous campaigning for Britain Stronger in Europe, pro-European. All the lodgers were quizzed on their Brexit views and any prospective pro-Brexit people were executed.

In preparation for the lodger I am de-cluttering my house going through every cupboard and throwing out junk and the fifty tonnes of paperwork I’ve accumulated since I started writing my first novel.  Before the viewings by the lodgers every inch of floor space was covered in reams of paper from various re-writes of the novel and the blog and a rhino that I’d brought back from Sudan was watching my telly. I’ve now thrown out a hundred bags of rubbish which are sitting in my front garden rather optimistically waiting for the bin men to take them away. I’ve got so much excess paper I could actually start a re-cycling plant in my home.  The rhino is claiming asylum due to the civil war in Sudan so is now living on my roof terrace.

As part of my new political activities I went to the Conservative Women’s Organisation summer party on Thursday. I was worried that everyone might be white but in fact half of them were ethnic minorities showing that I am not the only ethnic minority in London who votes Conservative. Though curiously when I see black supporters of Donald Trump paraded in front of the cameras at his speeches I think “you are a traitor to your race.”  I can see that some black people in dying former industrial towns in the United States may warm to the Trump message. But in the UK it is aspirational ethnic minorities who vote Conservative. Now I look Jamaican with my natural hair obviously everyone thinks I’m a Labour party supporter.

After coming out on Facebook as a Tory earlier this year I will be revealing myself on the national media by attending the Conservative Party Conference in October. This is not just an attempt to network and further my political career but also crucially to find a husband. But my chat up lines will not be the bog standard “do you come here often” but the rather more focused “what do you think about Brexit?”

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Next blog post – Finding a husband at the Conservative Party Conference (or should I be looking for a career?)

 

 

10 Tips to avoid relapse when you encounter alcohol or drugs in work or social settings

I celebrated 11 years of recovery from alcohol and drugs at the beginning of 2016 and have never relapsed since I came into recovery at the beginning of 2005 by following these tips Following these suggestions I have been in countless situations involving alcohol and drugs and have never relapsed in my eleven and a half year recovery.

  1. Always have a couple of people’s phone numbers in recovery you can call if you feel triggered.
  2. In a social situation, if you think you are going to pick up, leave.
  3. In a work situation, if you feel you are going to pick up and cannot go home, leave the room for 5 minutes, make a phone call, pray, meditate or do some deep breathing exercises.
  4. Carry a list with you of the worst things you did when you were drinking and using so you remind yourself how bad it could get if you relapsed.
  5. If your job involves constant client entertainment, where you are under pressure to drink alcohol, switch to another role in the company where you don’t have to do this or find another job.
  6. If your job involves regular contact with your drug of choice, consider changing your job.
  7. Avoid social situations where you know you will see drugs, particularly your drug of choice. If someone brings out your drug of choice in a social situation, leave.
  8. Explain to your partner/close friends/family members how bad your drinking/using was and how terrible it would be for everyone if you relapsed. Encourage one person not to drink at social events with you or if they accompany you to work events. Then you have a non-drinking buddy to hang out with.
  9. If your partner/family members/friends are not there, there is often one other person who is not drinking because they are driving or on medication. Sit near them or hang out with them if it’s a social setting so you feel less isolated.
  10. I was advised in rehab not to drink non-alcoholic beer or wine or soft drinks out of wine glasses. Both can trigger a craving and you can end up picking up the wrong bottle or glass that actually has alcohol in it.Sign up for updates on this blogFollow me on Twitter            Send me a friend request on Facebook

 

10 Tips for dating a normal drinker if you’re a recovering addict/alcoholic

TIPSDATINGDRINKER

  1. Do not have alcohol in your home. I was warned early in rehab not to have booze in my house in case I had a bad day and reached for it. I think this is very good advice.
  2. Keep going to meetings or in touch with your online recovery community. You need to keep reminding yourself you are an alcoholic so you don’t think “my partner is drinking I will too.”
  3. Explain your behaviour when drinking to your new partner and that it would be a disaster for you and them if you went back there. This may encourage them to abstain from drinking when they are around you.
  4. If attending gatherings where everyone is drinking apart from you always have some people in recovery you can call if you get triggered. Tell your partner if you feel like picking up a drink.
  5. Exit as quickly as possible from the situation if you actually think you are going to pick up.
  6. Work on keeping a separate identity to your partner by maintaining your own interests, activities, hobbies including contact with all your recovery friends.
  7. If you start to think “I’m cured maybe I can drink again” read your Step 1 about the horrors of your addiction or any written work you have done in treatment or groups.
  8. Get more support in terms of seeing an addictions counsellor if you can afford it.
  9. Include other recovery people in your social activities or holidays with your partner, when possible, so you are not the only person not drinking and have support for your recovery.
  10. If you have a spiritual practise, some form of meditation or prayer, use it to ground yourself and ward off cravings. If not, check in with how you are feeling every day. If you are very angry upset or tired maybe avoid social situations where you will be exposed to alcohol.                                                                 Sign up for updates on this blog                     Follow me on Twitter            Send me a friend request on Facebook

 

Brexit the future for the UK, my recovery and my hair.

I finish my job as Team leader for Britain Stronger in Europe in Brent as the UK votes to leave the European Union and Brexit goes ahead

Having been in charge of the campaign to keep the UK in the European Union in one of the largest boroughs of London I was devastated by the result. The polls, the bookies, the markets and we ourselves all thought Remain would win. The fact that the Leave camp went back on every major campaign pledge they made within 24 hours of the results just made this defeat more galling.

Almost all liberals, progressives and outward looking people had supported Remain. The fact that we lost the vote said something pretty depressing about my country. Imagine waking up to a Trump victory? There’s been a 57% rise in reported xenophobic and racist attacks since the results of the vote were announced.

The Brexit vote has left the future of the UK very uncertain. The pound hit a 31 year low earlier this week, UK bank stocks have fallen by up to 24% on fears that they will no longer be able to operate across Europe and the FTSE 250 which covers the domestic economy is down almost 10%. Several firms have said they are making plans to move staff out of the UK. The City of London, the world’s largest financial centre and a source of massive tax revenues for the UK government is under threat.

There are strong parallels between supporters of Donald Trump – white mainly non college educated men who feel their jobs are threatened and wages depressed by immigration and global trade – and those who supported Vote Leave here. Although during the campaign Vote Leave carefully paraded their ethnic minority supporters when the results came through in the counting halls you could see most of their supporters were white. Brexit, opposed by every major political party, is a massive f**k you from the white working class vote to the political establishment.

The only good thing that has emerged is that a cross party alliance of politicians, trades unionists and the general public, many of them young, was formed which supported us being in the EU, transcending the tribalism of British politics.

A coalition of conservatives, Labour supporters and Liberal Democrats all supporting Britain remaining in the European Union form the word IN at the Big In in Hyde Park days before the EU referendum on 23rd June 2016

And from my personal point of view, the Referendum campaign – which involved me organising up to 70 events a week and in charge of a team of 100 volunteers – has been incredibly good for my recovery. I was described as a brilliant organiser and great with people by my bosses at Britain Stronger in Europe and discovered I had management skills I never knew I had. Although unsuccessful nationally, my local area voted 60% Remain, as did London as a whole which my boss said I had played a part in.

I have been extremely disorganised for most of my life. The only management job I had while I was working at the BBC was failing to organise a tea round. While I was training to be a reporter I made an incredibly poignant documentary in Argentina. Unfortunately I left it in the back of a cab in Buenos Aires and never saw it again. I then went on a reporting trip to cover the war in Sudan leaving half my equipment on the plane that went back to Kenya. I didn’t notice this omission for two days. When I was doing showbiz reporting, I would have a curling tong crisis and would often miss the start of an event. Then I would be so keen to get the right library pictures for a report that it would be ready a week after it was due on air. In Jamaica I scored a massive coup becoming the only foreign journalist allowed into the country’s one women’s prison. But I did no preparation for this expose and when I got into the prison my microphone was as dead as a goat’s testicle floating in a Jamaican stew. The last documentary I did for the BBC collapsed as my mind was turned into confetti by snorting cocaine 22 hours a day.

For the past eleven and a half years I have been in recovery I have supported myself from the income from my rental properties. I have done many building projects, some very large, but have spent most of the time writing about mental health and addiction. I have never worked for anyone.I have spent the eleven and a half years of my recovery attending various rehabs including the Priory and Hope House and St Luke's then the Waterview NHS Centre and building a house in Kensal Green and writing two novels about addiction and mental health as well as my blog bloginhotpants about addiction and mental health

But I have now decided that my organisational skills are wasted on just blogging, writing novels and going to meetings and therapy appointments. I was never involved in politics before the Referendum campaign. But I was passionately concerned about Britain’s relationship with Europe and had to try to stop Brexit. The Referendum campaign, with its constant interaction with voters, has shown me that I love politics and I have now been asked to stand for office by a major political party.

I have been asked by the Conservative Party to stand as a Conservative local councillor in conservative ward of Brent Brondesbury Park. In this photo I am addressing the Labour party activists in Brondesbury Park I am not joking when I say my ultimate aspiration is to become the UK’s Minister for Mental Health – the first government minister to openly admit they snorted cocaine 22 hours a day. I have written a bio and brushed up my CV. But given the political chaos the UK is now in, with leadership contests in both major political parties, I do not know if now is the time I can start working with the government. I will probably end up working for a mental health charity.

The Referendum campaign has also been good for my recovery in other ways. Despite oodles of treatment, meetings and therapy I have struggled to love myself in Recovery. But after the Referendum I was so pleased with my achievements I thought “I do actually love myself.” After existing in a bubble of non drinking 12 Step Fellowship people for most of my recovery, I have now had heavy exposure to people who drink. Every meeting and get together during the campaign took place in a pub or a bar. Everyone was drinking around me and I was not affected at all. When offered a drink I said to most people that I didn’t drink. There were only a few I told about my former alcoholism and cocaine addiction. But now I know I can happily socialise, work and even date people who drink without any problems at all. Politics is a heavy drinking culture but I am confident I can manage this fine. This opens up a wide range of jobs and opportunities to me. The new job whether in politics or a charity will be my “bridge to normal living” which AA talks about. My only stipulation is that I don’t want to have alcohol in my home.

On the romantic front things are a bit less rosy. Despite being 11 and a half years clean I still only seem to be attracted to addicts who have a background in drug dealing or drug smuggling. I have been searching, unsuccessfully, for Mr Right for the past four months. But when I did actually meet him, another volunteer in Britain Stronger in Europe, although I fancied him at first I went off him as he wasn’t dangerous or unavailable. I am going to do an intensive two week work shop with my best friend in recovery trying to work through and free from my attraction to these unavailable men which has plagued me all my life. I am also determined to pursue a friendship with Mr Right. As they say in AA I will fake it to make it, hoping I start fancying him again.

You may notice that my hair looks different in the initial photograph. After decades of covering my hair every time a speck of rain fell from the sky and amassing a collection of 10,000 hats I have now said goodbye to what Jamaicans call “Dry wedder ‘ead” and have let my hair go into its natural Afro state. For those of you unfamiliar with the politics of black hair this is not a small thing. Apart from when I had a nervous breakdown two years ago and couldn’t do my hair the last time I had my natural hair was when I was 16. Water and damp once the enemies of my hair are now my friends creating greater “definition” in my curls. I was very pleased when someone asked me if I was Jamaican the other day.

Despite my romantic problems, (and because of my new hair) the future looks brighter for me than it does for the UK. The options for the UK seem to be leaving the EU and its single market of 500 million people entirely in order to have complete control of immigration, an option favoured by the hardliners of the Leave campaign. It was controlling immigration that was the single issue that won Vote Leave the Referendum.

The other option for the UK, favoured by Remain campaigners, is the Norway option. Norway and Switzerland are not members of the EU but have full access to the single market and accept freedom of movement from other EU states. Freedom of movement is impossible for the UK to accept because of the results of the Referendum. The UK is therefore trying to negotiate a deal involving membership of the single market but controlling freedom of movement. This would be a first in Europe and might prompt other states like Switzerland to demand the same possibly causing the break up of the EU. It is therefore being resisted by other European states.

As the Prime Minister resigned when the results of the Referendum became clear, some of the potential Conservative Party leaders have even said they want a second referendum. And there have been protests throughout the country against the outcome of the vote. Well over 4 million Remain supporters have signed a petition calling for a second referendum on the basis that Vote Leave won the vote based on lies. The claim emblazoned on Vote Leave’s Battle bus that the alleged £350 million pounds a week we send to the European Union (actually £140 million a week) will be spent on the National Health Service was retracted immediately after the vote came in. As part of their election campaign vote leave said that the £350 million pounds they said we gave to the European Union every week which in fact was a lie as it is half of that would be given to the NHS if we left. As soon as they won the vote this promise was retracted as was their pledge to reduce numbers on immigration.Vote Leave now say they may allow anyone who has a job offer to enter the UK which would mean the hordes of cheap Eastern European workers who’ve flooded into the UK could still come in. British firms, claiming they cannot recruit British workers for low paid jobs now recruit directly from Eastern Europe. But this would enrage Leave supporters.

But the leading contender for the Conservative leadership Home Secretary Theresa May who will likely be the next Prime Minister has said there will be no second referendum and no deal to stay in the EU through the back door. I think a second referendum is highly unlikely.

The British Home Secretary Theresa May who has said she wants to be the next Prime Minister of the UK replacing David Cameron and who has become the front runner in the race to become leader of the Conservative Party

The big news of the Conservative leadership race is that Boris Johnson leading leave campaigner and former mayor of London has ruled himself out of the race. This was after he was stabbed in the back by fellow leave campaigner, Justice Secretary Michael Gove, who said he was not fit to lead. Theresa May is now the clear front runner which could mean a female leader in the United States, Germany and the UK, something I would welcome.

Whoever takes over will have to find a deal that allows control of freedom of movement while trying to retain access to the single market. Otherwise our economy is f*****d.

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We lose the Referendum as Britain votes to leave the European Union

 

Britain well actually England and Wales vote to leave the European Union after a referendum on the 23rd of June

Shock and horror as wake up on the day after the Referendum to decision by the UK electorate to leave the European Union after vigorously campaigning for us to stay. Before I even switched on the news, I received a text message from a volunteer in Britain Stronger in Europe to say we had lost. I was not expecting this, insulated by living in the Remain bubble of London which voted 60% to stay. My local borough, Brent, where I organised almost a hundred events in the four days of polling week, voted overwhelming Remain. Feel out of step with the rest of England and am dismayed by what this decision means about my country. The liberal progressive outward looking forces have lost this argument. The Bank of England had warned that leaving the EU could cause a recession, higher inflation and unemployment. Almost every major British company came out in favour of Britain staying in as did the IMF, the WTO, and the institute for Fiscal Studies an independent think tank. The fact that all these voices, and that of the Conservative government which campaigned strongly to remain, were rejected suggests the British people value controlling immigration above their own economic self-interest. The job losses have already started.

I can see that a flood of Eastern European immigration since the European Union expanded may have depressed wages and that this could have been the deciding factor for people on lower incomes. And that people feel there is too much pressure on public services caused by migration. But EU migrants contribute far more to the economy than they take out. This extra money could be used to alleviate the pressure on public services. I fear the belief that leaving the EU will allow us to escape EU regulation will be proved to be a fallacy. If we want to export to the European Union, which takes over 40% of our exports, we will have to comply with their regulations.

And what does this mean for me? I have devoted my entire life to the campaign for Britain to stay in the European Union in the past few months. At its height I was coordinating and organising almost a hundred events a week. Before I got involved we were doing zero events a week. The campaign has changed my life. Before the only thing I was in charge of was doing occasional maintenance on my rental property and re-stocking my fridge.  But during the campaign I have been responsible for organising and leading the campaign in one of the largest boroughs in London with a team of well over a hundred volunteers.  I have been so efficient in organising all these events and people that no one knew I had any mental health problems.  The only management job I had while I was working at the BBC was failing to organise a tea round.

I cannot go back to my old life of just blogging and going to recovery meetings and therapy appointments. Since I have discovered these organisational and management skills I have to get a job in mental health. You might have thought it was a joke when I said I want to be the Minister of Mental Health but it wasn’t at all. The referendum will make this much more difficult as now the Leave camp have won their will be a purge of pro-Europeans from government. All my extensive activities for Britain Stronger in Europe will be anathema to the Leave Camp. But maybe as the Leave camp was accused of being racist and Xenophobic by its critics they will try to employ ethnic minorities to counter this claim.

Diary of polling week

Saturday before Brexit: all is quiet on the campaign front as it has been suspended after the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox a prominent Remain campaigner.  Spend the day publishing and promoting my blog on Facebook and Twitter. When this is over switch my attention to refining my plans for polling week where we will put on an unprecedented number of events. My house is now so full of leaflets it now looks like a Britain Stronger In Europe distribution factory.

Sunday before Brexit: A bloginhotpants type disaster as I am due to attend a Stronger In event for a thousand people to form the words IN in Hyde Park.

A thousand supporters of Britain Stronger in Europe which was campaigning for Britain to stay in the European Union meet in Hyde Park in Central London to form a human chain spelling the words in the Big In

As the email invitation says that the nearest tube is Queensway in Bayswater I spend an hour trying to find the event which is actually at the other end of the park. Arrive at the end of the event as everyone is leaving. Decide will keep this quiet from contacts at Conservatives In as will tarnish my new found image of promptness and reliability.  Spend rest of day planning activities for polling week. Pre-polling day activists meeting goes on till 10pm and is very well attended.  Excitingly a posh attractive Asian looking volunteer is at the meeting and I wonder if he could be Mr Right. Then see that my unavailable man antenna are clearly in force again as he is wearing a wedding ring..

Monday before Brexit:  Refining plans for polling day and polling week. This is complicated by the fact that I have to drive about 50 miles across Brent to leaflet at a school and am due to spend 3 hours at a meeting of councillors in Harlesden to make a speech about the European Union. Am now so blasé about public speaking because of the campaign that I spend not a second preparing the speech. Speak to the Muslim Labour leader of Brent Council who though not particularly tall is very attractive. Also, despite the White Man Apocalypse in which I’ve stopped fancying white men, I also thought the Prime Minister David Cameron was hot when I met him a week ago. I wonder whether I am attracted to power? Stay up till midnight refining plans for polling day and do not eat till after midnight. This obsession with the campaign is almost as bad for my eating habits as my previous 10 hour a day OCD.

Tuesday before Brexit: Still juggling last minute changes to events this week and trying to cram in more schools leafleting as they will almost all be closed on polling day. As I am spending 6 hours a day at events this is holding up the publication of my polling day plans. Have secured a ticket to the Great Debate between prominent Leave campaigner Boris Johnson and the leader of the Scottish Conservatives and first muslim mayor of London Sadiq Khan who support Remain. David Cameron is not taking part – critics say he is scared of losing to Boris Johnson. Am already late when get a call from one of the bigwigs at Conservatives In whose ticket I have saying that I must leave immediately as the doors are about to close. As me providing his ticket is great opportunity for hobnobbing with Conservatives and anger could be provoked if I fail to turn up, I sprint to the station and hold my breath for most of the tube journey. Run to the arena faster than Usain Bolt on speed. Have been hoping that can use the debate to find ethnic Mr Right but rush there covered in sweat with hair looking like a hedgerow. The debate is partisan so we only cheer those speakers from our side and try to compete with the extremely noisy leave supporters. Boris Johnson head of the Leave campaign finishes the debate with a call for 23rd June, the date of the Referendum, to become our “Independence Day” in which we “take back control.”  The Media and pundits say leave have won the debate.

Leader of the Leave campaign Boris Johnson has a debate at Wembley Arena with the head of the Scottish conservatives Ruth Davidson and the first muslim mayor of any major European capital Sadiq Khan who support Remain

Wednesday before Brexit: Still juggling current week’s activities and attending several events and have not published my polling day plans. Have therapy session via skype in which we reflect on the new managerial and organisational skills that this campaign has shown I have. Also that putting my head above the parapet by writing the blog and exposing myself to criticism has started to prepare me for the rough and tumble of a career in politics. Rush off to a school and do not finish my polling day plans till midnight. But have already confirmed with those volunteers who will be active what they are supposed to do. Again eat at crazy hour of 12.30 am which is just as bad as during my nervous breakdown. Debate about what time to set the alarm the next morning but eventually opt for a lie in. Need to be at my local tube station at 7.30 am and set the alarm for 7.29. Do have slight fear that if I do this the entire morning’s activities will fall apart but decide I have mental health problems and need my sleep.

I get up at 4.30am on polling day to organise my team of 65 volunteers from Britain Stronger in Europe for all the activities of polling day including leafleting tube stations, schools Ark Academy in Wembley Kingsbury Green Primary School Sinai Jewish Primary school in Kenton St Mary’s Church of England Primary school Neasden St Joseph’s Catholic Junior school Wembley and Harlesden High Street, Wembley High Street, Willesden Green High Road and Kingsbury High Street

D-Day Polling day: Wake up at 4.30 am as I cannot sleep and decide that, if I am going to get myself together for polling day and then coordinate everyone else, I’d better get up straight away. Start hassling people at 6.30am by text to make sure they are going to turn up to the morning’s events – leafleting at all the major tube stations in Brent – and have all the campaign materials. Disaster looms over the morning as there is torrential rain. But after I send an encouraging text to the volunteers only one person out of dozens who have been deployed fails to turn up.  When I call several of the primary schools we are supposed to be leafleting later that day they appear to be closed. We have to do a quick reshuffle to visit those that are open. Vast numbers of people turn up to the campaign HQ to volunteer so we have loads of extra people for our activities. Although I had imagined that I would be campaigning all day, to use my persuasive campaigning skills, realise that cannot do anything apart from being on the end of the phone to coordinate people who cannot find each other. Disaster strikes at 4pm as my internet goes down just as I need to email everyone the canvassing sheets for the night to go around door knocking and “get out the vote.” Eventually sort this email problem out but not till after some heated rows with other volunteers. As everyone starts with the door knocking my day starts winding down and I start to think about dinner. All the feedback from the door knocking is very positive so I go to bed shattered but optimistic.

The next day after the result feel like I am hallucinating in the gym as my life has gone back to normal. There will be no more meetings for me with the Prime Minister and the Mayor of London now the campaign is over. Indeed the Prime Minister has resigned. Instead of being in charge of organising a hundred volunteers and almost a hundred events a week I am now solely in charge of confronting my fears of terrorists on the tube to get to my therapy appointments on time. Have various conversations with political bods about future career in politics and am asked if I will stand as a local councillor. But get no reply from my voicemail message to Nicolas at Conservatives In. I guess I’ll have to take a rain check on being the Minister for Mental Health.

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I meet the Prime Minister David Cameron and ask him for a job as the Minister for Mental Health

As the head campaigner for Britain Stronger in Europe in Brent I go to a rally about the EU referendum with the Prime Minister David Cameron and the mayor of London Sadiq Khan

Day 87. Wild excitement as my turbo charged political activities to keep Britain a member of the European Union continue. Go to Britain Stronger in Europe event I have set up and the hottest volunteer of entire organisation is there. Of course this is not entirely coincidental as he was first person I called to come. Although he doesn’t look so good in daylight (he is white and without a tan) decide that he has lovely smile and invite him for tea after the event. There is another volunteer there but this is good cover as being in charge of my local area I cannot be too obvious in my romantic ambitions. Ask hottest volunteer if he wants to come on pub crawl to target young voters on Friday night. He says he wants to come and stays for tea much longer than expected. But as he is tall and very good looking and normal can he possibly be single?

Day 88. Efforts continue to achieve Lazarus like resurrection of journalism career. Read women’s magazines all day to try to pitch story about record numbers of women having 1st child over 40. After finish phone pitches and emails,  spend all evening working on blog which, very excitingly, a top publisher has agreed to read.

Day 89. Show my therapist my phone pitches for women’s magazines as she was the Art Director of Vogue and throws in all stylist related queries on accessories for free. Decide will include in pitch to Psychologies magazine that I was previously pretty crazy but avoid mentioning this in emails to other magazines.

Day 90. Sarah my friend from Divorced from my Drug Dealer Anonymous comes to stay as she is temporarily homeless as she can’t stay at her parents’ house as they’re not getting on. Feel incredibly disturbed to have someone in the house overnight for the first time in 3 years. Because of nervous breakdown and 10 hour a day OCD have not been able to have anyone to stay.  But her staying is sign of OCD recovery. Remember how she rescued me after breakup with ex-armed robber by offering me her floor to sleep on so very happy to see her.

Day 91. Go to Vodka for Breakfast Anonymous in Notting Hill in search of hot blue eyed secretary. But decide that, instead of arriving late and being on my phone the whole meeting like the week before, I will put my best foot forward ignore phone and share something inspiring. You do have to appear to be grateful and recovered member of the fellowship if you want to pull someone well. He does have a lovely voice and looks just like dark version of ex-armed robber. But do get feeling at the end of the meeting that he doesn’t want to speak to me and may actively dislike me. Maybe my shameless quizzing of his economic potential by asking what he did the week before has put him off? Hopes of finding real man in real life are dwindling and think will have to go for a sperm donor.

Day 91.  Wonderful interview with lawyer for over 40 first time mothers story. She tells me that if you go to a Norwegian sperm bank you can not only get a photo of the donor but an entire “dating video.”  This is totally like my idea in my screenplay the Fish Tank Babies and resolve will phone Norwegian sperm bank soon. Only problem is Norwegians are blond and blue eyed and was looking for ethnic sperm donor.

Day 92.  As hottest volunteer is coming on Britain Stronger in Europe pub crawl with me decide will pay emergency visit to the hairdressers. Have wildly successful pub crawl through local area spreading message of benefits of Britain remaining in the EU, and obviously trying to pull every hot guy I see with my new chat up line “Have you thought about the European Referendum.”  Decide that hot volunteer is fantastically intelligent as well as very attractive and that he would be perfect sperm donor. The only thing is he doesn’t know this yet. And I can’t try to persuade him until after the referendum as the question “Can you leaflet Asda Brent Park on Saturday and then will you be my sperm donor” may strike him as odd.

Day 93. Go to another Britain Stronger in Europe event with Sarah where the former Labour party leader Ed Milliband is speaking. Manage to slip in some rubber necking to see if anyone I fancy is there and do spot a very attractive half Japanese Tory who unfortunately is only 18.  Hot volunteer from my local area is at the speech and I obviously ask him for coffee afterwards. Unfortunately so focused on capturing him as a sperm donor that miss the opportunity to speak to the former Labour leader.  Inquire about hot volunteer’s housing status and find out he is renting a room, ie has even less money than the ex-armed robber.

Day 94. Leafleting session for Conservatives In in South London (Tory group campaigning to stay in the European Union) in which I meet a Cabinet minister and we get on rather well. She invites me to an event with the Prime Minister the next day and although I am completely shattered I say I will try to come.  Have organised very successful community meeting for Britain Stronger in Europe with one of its head honchos which many people turn up to, including hottest volunteer. Everyone at the meeting breaks into applause thanking me for all the work I have done for the campaign. Am so exhausted barely make it through the two and a half hour meeting but limp home afterwards.

Day 95. Wake up after early night feeling refreshed and dash off to South London to meet the Prime Minister. Of course other people will be there but am looking so hot I am sure he will only have eyes for me. Use build up to Prime Minister’s speech to scout around room looking for BSE volunteers I fancy. See tall rather fat man and shamelessly go up to him. He eyes me up and down and we start talking. He is not perfect as he was smoking which I hate and has a belly at least as big as the ex-armed robbers. But he is very posh and I wonder if he is single. Shove myself to the front of the crowd that is waiting for David Cameron. He is sharing a platform with the new Labour mayor of London, the first muslim mayor of any major European city, Sadiq Khan. Although the Prime Minister has previously said that Sadiq Khan was an extremist this seems to have been forgotten as they join forces to promote Britain’s membership of the EU. David Cameron is very attractive and decide I will ask him for a job.  As he shakes hands with the crowd after his speech I put forward my proposal that I will be the government’s new Minister for Mental Health. When he questions my qualifications I tell him to check out the blog.

Day 96. Preparing for key speech I am going to give to Labour Party activists in my local area to try to get them to campaign to stay in the European Union. As my local constituency has a 29,000 Labour majority they pretty much have the whole area sewn up. As I grew scales and a tail before the last General Election and was diagnosed as an incurable Tory I have limited understanding of the concerns of Labour voters. Speak to highly intelligent Labour Party activist from Stronger In  about what to say in the speech. After I’ve spoken to him discover he’s still at school. The great thing with Stronger In is that everyone is highly intelligent and interested in politics. Is very similar to being at the BBC. Speak to hottest volunteer about content of my speech which he says is very good. .

Day 97. Spend whole day preparing for speech and reflecting on the fact that I have actually met someone very attractive who fancies me ie the hottest volunteer. But now I realise he is definitely interested in me my interest in him is waning. He comes to support me at the Labour Party event (my first ever political speech) and I realise that I don’t fancy him anymore.  As he is tall, dark, handsome, brilliantly intelligent and very nice this suggests that my sex drive is only activated by people who are dangerous or unavailable. Is this the real reason why I am still single?  That I don’t actually want to find Mr Right? Maybe I have “intimacy issues” and actually like being on my own…

I address a meeting of Labour Party activists in Queens Park in Brent about the benefits of the UK staying in the European Union according to the Bank of England the Confederation of British Industry the Institute for Fiscal Studies and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and DevelopmentSpeech at Labour party event goes very well but I leave disturbed. Something is clearly very wrong with me.

Day 98. Spend whole day concealing I am a Tory while speaking to Labour councillors in my local area about campaigning in Stonebridge which was previously one of most notorious areas in Britain. I ask the councillor if my car will be stolen if I park there but he tells me I will be fine as long as I leave before dark. Have put on fake tan so look more ethnic for Stonebridge but am not sure how my expensive boarding school accent will go down. Hottest volunteer is coming (he wants to do all my campaigning with me!) and am going to have to face fact that here is a a gorgeous man, much younger than me, brilliantly intelligent and really quite into me that I have somehow gone off. Am I afraid of a functional relationship?

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Next week: Absolutely no idea….now I’ve met the Prime Minister maybe I’ll meet Barack Obama as well!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More than 20,000 hits on my blog in a year after trying to make it as a writer since 1999..

I score more than 20,000 hits on my blog on WordPress US addiction site Addiction Unscripted and LinkedIn in less than a year

With some notable exceptions, my comedy writing career hasn’t been much of a success till now.  I started in 1999 with a sitcom based on the psychedelic antics of the acid dropping Buddhist monks, hippies and resident Clown of The Happy Hippie commune I’d stayed in when I was a teenager in California. The action was translated into inner city Peckham in South London, which in 1999 was far from gentrified. The main character, Helga who was brought up on a snail farm in Germany, had been dumped by her husband and reluctantly decamped from Prime Central London Belgravia to Peckham. When she’d got into her rented flat, she’d discovered Buttercup, an ageing hippy and tech nerd drop out from MIT,  meditating in a cupboard.  He’d been living in parks for seven years before that. They set up a Hippie magazine Ecology and soon word goes round London that anyone who can provide a service to the commune or magazine can get free accommodation. Various oddballs such as Kirk the “body guard” a former US marine who’d survived a nuclear explosion in the Pacific but said sayonara to his sanity afterwards and Dick a gay stripper turn up. Those of you who’ve read my post “Dropping acid with a bunch of Buddhist monks in California” will recognise the scenario. But the sitcom was much more political lampooning various left wing and politically correct activist groups.

The magazine is focused on various good causes  such as Amazonian Indians, Native Americans and trees. But is actually a load of rubbish based on a misunderstanding of Buddhist, Hindu and Native American philosophy. They engage in missions with various groups such as the Animal Liberation Front where they attempt and catastrophically fail to liberate 20,000 gerbils who are having bad perms on their eyebrows. Fuck ups are fundamental to the group. After printing a solid gold issue commemorating the death of the Dalai Lama (who’s unfortunately still alive) the magazine is stormed by hordes of angry Buddhists and they have to flee for their lives. The story charts the dot.com boom and bust as they set up a website in hiding, masterminded by Buttercup, who transforms from a downtrodden hippy to an Internet Entrepreneur.

The characters set up a hippie website that deals with various good causes including Amazonian Indians, Native Americans and Tree Conservation. They still spend their days dropping acid in the commune

The website with chanting, hallucinogenic effects and various new age philosophies becomes a massive cult hit with clubbers who are so stoned they think it’s really deep.  After the website is valued at £100 million pounds Buttercup launches a coup trying to sell it to Google. This is thwarted by the dot com bust but a talent war breaks out with companies trying to poach Buttercup who ends up earning a million pounds a year.

I sent the script to Curtis Brown, the premier TV writing agency in Britain and got a personal letter back from Ben Hall the man who’s now their CEO saying he had greatly enjoyed the script and that he was “very impressed with the craft” with which I wrote.

Ben Hall CEO of top London literary agency Curtis Brown writes me very positive letter about my comedy script

I also sent it to a friend, a senior TV comedy producer who’d worked with many big names, such as Lenny Henry, who said I “definitely could write” but that the sitcom would not be commissioned as it was too similar to existing sitcom Hippies.

But reading through the synopsis I wrote in 1999, now in 2016, I realise that the story was very funny, quite political and very topical.  If only I had had the persistence that I’ve developed in recovery plodding on with my writing career despite multiple setbacks I had enough material for a comic novel.  I bitterly regret all the energy and good ideas I wasted that came to absolutely nothing because I didn’t plough on with the idea.

My next project in 2001 was completely different – a short film that was a gothic horror story about a young couple who, while having sex for the first time in a romantic woodland setting, realise they are next to a corpse. The corpse looks exactly like the girl. She falls apart after the discovery unable to touch her boyfriend or share a bedroom with him. The girl is later haunted – or imagines – the voice of the dead girl echoing around her bedroom begging her to come back to the wood where she committed suicide. There are hints that the ghost may be that of the living girl’s sister. The girl goes back to the wood, after her boyfriend fails to stop her.  When she is in the wood the ghost suddenly says that she does not want to leave the girl. She invades the girls head saying she will never be alone again for a second, and the girl starts screaming realising she is going mad. The film ends with a flashback of the living girl gloating as she pushed her little sister out of a top floor window as a child.

People who read this short story said it was “gripping” and “a real page turner.” When I sent this short film into the National Film and Television School in 2002 they immediately rang me in Jamaica to ask me in for an interview.  Unfortunately as my mother was devastatingly ill in Jamaica I could not come back to England for the course.  Again, although I had had such good feedback on the film, I did nothing to get it produced.

The height of my comic writing career came when I had a series of 10 short factual comedy dramas about Jamaica broadcast on BBC Radio 4 to an audience of millions. These dramas which featured up to 15 characters, each performed in different accents by myself, were broadcast between 2001-2004 while I was living in Jamaica. But when I crashed out of my journalism career because of my cocaine addiction this avenue was permanently closed. In any event although I could arrange and perform the truth artistically in these dramas (which were broadcast on the “From Our Own Correspondent” programme) they had to stick closely to the facts.

My next fictional project was more ambitious: a feature film script called “The Fish Tank Babies.” This was based on a short comic story I’d written detailing my reluctance to get pregnant as “you waddle around like a walrus whose eaten too much dairy milk and can’t even pee or have sex properly afterwards.” Modern women I said were “badly designed” as “Thousands of generations of harpy-like fashion editors have liposucked our hips from the requisite 76” to 36″ inches. The solution I said was either to “return to a deeply unfashionable Stone Age sillouette or “Start growing babies in fish tanks”

The film is a satire on a glamorous driven career woman in New York, who is incredibly obnoxious but has a “perfect” life who wants children but is horrified by birth. Until very recently because of my lifelong eating disorder I could not contemplate getting pregnant and wanted to have a surrogate birth. The film also takes the piss out of the American pharmaceutical industry, as the main character is the Creative Director of an ad agency that produces glossy ads for products like “Nolaze” that treats a condition called “Morning Attention Deficit Disorder” or MADD and “Perfect” that deals with the symptoms of an epidemic disease called Limited Imperceptible Friction Energy or L.I.F.E.

Conned by the perfect commercials she creates, she decides she wants children and discovers that scientists in Japan have grown goats in artificial wombs. This last fact is actually true!  In my film the Japanese government are engaged in a top secret project to rescue their national economy by raising the IQ of the population by ten points.  By removing the element of pregnancy and birth they are trying to persuade the most intelligent and successful people who have the fewest children to have the most. The fishtank babies can also be mentally stimulated twenty four hours a day with Einstein’s theory of relativity piped directly into the tank, alternated with bursts of Mozart and soliloquies from Shakespeare. She emails the project and is amazed when three scientists from the Tokyo Ministry of Technology turn up at her door the following day. One of these is actually an undercover white supremacist, Smith, who has infiltrated the project trying to spread a blond haired blue eyed gene throughout the world. She goes to an Elite sperm bank to hand select the sperm donors who all produce glossy “dating videos” to attract the women. Of course everyone she chooses is over 6 foot, has been to Ivy League Universities and successful in their chosen field.

This has peculiar resonance with my own life at the moment as I want a sperm donor (preferably over 5 foot 10) who has been to a good university to create genius frozen embryos. This is to preserve my ability to have my own biological child as I am 46 and my eggs will soon be past their sell by date. The fertility clinic said a sperm bank in California has donors that look like film stars but I was horrified that you can’t get any photos of them. The honest truth is I would love a dating video of my sperm donor!

As the fish tank baby technique in the movie is experimental they have to create eight embryos in fish tanks to be sure some survive. Unfortunately all the babies survive and Sandra cannot bear to terminate any of them.  This causes her life to fall apart and for her to be sacked from her job after she asks for maternity leave without being pregnant. The children are incredibly advanced, crawling within a few days, speaking after a month and also have special powers like crawling vertically up walls.  She takes her employer to court for unfair dismissal and the babies at three months old give evidence in court to prove that she is their mother. The appearance of the children in court produces a media storm.

The main character softens during the film becoming more and more attached to the babies and swops her TV Executive boyfriend, who can’t get it up, for the caretaker of her building who is an impoverished writer but intelligent and actually cares about her.

After the white supremacists get wind of a plan to move the project to Tokyo they launch a plan to abduct all the babies and kill Sandra. But the babies with their special powers and the scientists outwit the commandos who are arrested by the police. The family including the caretaker end up in hiding but happy in a South American country.

My friend who is a comedy producer said that the central character was not attractive enough for the audience to care about her and that there were elements of the story that were unrealistic. She said the central character needed to be humanised and the slapstick toned down. She also suggested I could write it as a novel, which I did nothing about.

Reading this script in 2016 I see it has many good elements. Again with the slightest whiff of discouragement I abandoned the project and didn’t try to do anything with it.

Despite the chaos and trauma of my life between 1999 and 2005 when I got clean, I have lovingly preserved every one of these scripts that I have written as well as the short stories.

Although I almost killed myself with my cocaine addiction and bulimia and was forced into treatment at the beginning of 2005 by my family I still preserved every one of the comedy scripts and short stories I had written back to 1999

Considering that I didn’t keep a single receipt from the £300,000 building project I did to build my house in Notting Hill this is pretty amazing.

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Once I got into recovery I was so caught up with trying to stay clean and dealing with my mental health problems that I had little time for writing. But the dramatic events that had happened in rehab, including my getting it together with an ex-armed robber pimp and drug dealer who’d forgotten how long he’d spent in jail, stimulated my imagination. When I moved into a dry house on the edge of Notting Hill, the crazy shenanigans of the residents which my boyfriend referred to as “Lunatic Lane” inspired me to start writing again. But I only made a few notes before I became obsessed with a major building project to completely re-build a house.

After the building project was finished, I started full time on my first novel whose drug dealing hero/anti-hero was inspired by my boyfriend and where the central character was a journalist who had dropped out of her career because of her cocaine addiction.

The story starts with a talented young actress, Aurelia, on the brink of Hollywood fame, ODing in a crack house.  She comes to buried underground and, after a desperate struggle to escape, suffocates.

The other characters embark on a darkly humorous odyssey of addiction to avoid their feelings of guilt around her death.  Her mother, Lady Olivia, realising she has not been perfect as a parent, decides to organise a perfect funeral instead. A cosmetic surgery addict, she has a series of mishaps at the hands of various cowboys on Harley Street.   Aurelia’s father, Charles, a sex addict, who’s sexually abused Aurelia, becomes hooked on violent porn and sex with prostitutes. He persists in believing he’s a decent person, who’s basically misunderstood.

Aurelia’s sister, Charlie, an Oxford graduate, is the only member of the family whose life is not controlled by addiction. She is struggling to make ends meet as a journalist in New York, where she’s a rising star on a gossip column, poking fun at self-important celebrities.

Resolutely anti-drugs, she nonetheless gets drawn into the seedy world her sister inhabited as she investigates her death.  But she leads the police to Colin – the man responsible for Aurelia’s death.

Wracked with guilt over her sister, who she adored but also envied, Charlie becomes addicted to alcohol and starts dabbling in cocaine. After several Absolut disasters, she crashes out of her career in journalism and relapses on cocaine. She starts doing peculiar sexual favours for older men – including a man disguised as a cocker spaniel, nicknamed “Mr Woof.”  But, after a brutal experience with two clients, she gives up cocaine again and goes to stay at the house of her best friend, a loving normal family, to try to sort out her life.

Colin, whose life has been blighted by sexual abuse and his mother’s alcoholism has been caught and goes to prison, where he’s using heavily.  Eventually, the heroin stops working and, overwhelmed by guilt, he attempts suicide. He is introduced to a “listener,” an older prisoner who becomes like a father to him. He starts attending meetings of Narcotics Anonymous and gets clean. He also learns to wash.

Unable to stay off drugs, Charlie starts a relationship with a Jamaican drug dealer in Notting Hill. After a while, he says his life is under threat and needs her to bring a parcel of cocaine from Jamaica.  After being forced to return with the drugs, she realises she is pregnant. She leaves the dealer and gives up drugs.  But she continues to drink and, after the baby is born prematurely with a heart defect, it is taken into care.  On the point of killing herself, she decides she will give up alcohol instead.

Just as he’s about to flee the country, her father is arrested and charged with attempted murder after he’s attacked and almost killed two prostitutes.

Charlie cannot stop drinking and tries to get into rehab. Her father will not pay. She gets funding from her local council at a rehab bristling with ex-cons.  After a procedural cock-up, Colin arrives. They clash repeatedly in group.  But Charlie realises Colin has changed and that both their lives have almost been destroyed by guilt.  After they leave, they become much closer and, eventually, kiss.  Charlie’s father is convicted of attempted murder and stays in jail. The baby recovers after an operation on her heart. And, as Charlie is now off the booze and drugs, the social workers say that, if she stays clean, she can be re-united with the baby.

The exciting news with this novel was that the Editorial Director of a major publishing house was interested in the novel and had agreed to read it when it was finished. I set about writing the novel with absolutely no clue how to do. And when I had finished the gargantuan 250,000 word first draft and enrolled on a course in novel writing, realised it would have to be completely rewritten. After doing this I sent it to the publisher where it was read by everyone including the Editorial Director who said:

“It is a multi-layered novel which deals with the desperate consequences of addiction through a complex family drama, successfully weaving the two together. There are convincing darkly comic moments and characters. Despite the appalling situations all the characters find themselves in, there is a sense of hope threaded throughout the novel, which offers an uplifting message to a very serious topic. Overall, I thought it provided a real insight into addiction and exposes the sad truths behind it but it would be too commercial for our list.”

I then set about trying to obtain an agent for the novel. While I was waiting to hear from agents about the novel I started writing the sequel “Hippy Ever After” about the relationship and adventures of Charlie and Colin as they try to build a house and life together in Notting Hill. The blurb for this novel was as follows:

Celebrity neighbours, punch-ups with a minor royal and a basement full of exotic sharks…..

When unlikely couple Charlie and Colin choose to build a nest in one of London’s most fashionable zones they get a lot more eggs than they’d bargained for.

Will their love survive the chasm in their backgrounds and bank balances?

As well as the dark forces that are trying to drive them apart..

And will Colin, whose only home was a crack house, avoid cracking up?

When I showed the synopsis to my ex-boyfriend it was so close to my life with him he said “are you seriously telling me this is fiction.” Those of you who have read my blog posts “When celebrities destroy your house and cut through your bedroom door with a carving knife saying “we miss you” and “Armageddon with the ex-armed robber” will have an idea of the story. Though of course the big difference between my life and this novel is that I did not build my house in Notting Hill, with its constant interruption by celebrity neighbours, film stars and soap star lodgers with my ex-armed robber boyfriend. It was my house in Kensal Green, which had no celebrity involvement, that I built with him. I wrote this novel in a blaze of creativity at the end of 2013, writing 75,000 words in less than 5 weeks, as I knew a major building project was coming up on my rental property and I would not be able to write for a while.

As I prepare for a major building project on my house in Notting Hill I complete my second novel writing 75,000 words in less than 5 weeks

In fact I had a nervous breakdown because of the building project and as my boyfriend, who I was still involved with, was having a baby with someone else. So I was not able to write anything for almost a year.

As I wrote Hippy Ever After so quickly I have only just read it now. Although it is a very hurried first draft and needs a lot of work it is funny and has potential. After I recovered from the nervous breakdown I got back into the first novel.

A friend of mine had said that if I wanted to be a writer I should be promoting my work on Twitter. I thought “I’ve got nothing to promote so I’ll start to write a blog.”  I was really only doing it to kill time while I was waiting to hear from agents about my novel. I started posting bloginhotpants on WordPress almost exactly a year ago.

From the beginning the reaction of readers was different to my previous work. I had many hits on the blog from my first post on Facebook and comments such as  “hilarious,” “sad, funny and shocking,” “Lord Byron’s got nothing on you,” and “this is very good you should turn it into a book it would be a best-seller.” Later readers commented that I was “changing their lives by revealing these intimate details.”

I had had absolutely no engagement with social media prior to writing the blog. I was not even on Twitter and never posted on Facebook. When I started I didn’t even know how to send a Tweet but did a social media course.  I gradually learned how to use social media to promote the blog coming up with funny posts on Facebook and Twitter. I acquired almost 4,000 followers on Twitter. I read everything I could get my hands on on how to increase traffic to your blog.

This year I started posting on a US addiction website and Linkedin so most of my 20,000 hits have come in the last few months. The big difference between the blog and my previous writing, apart from the comedy dramas for the BBC, was my level of dedication and persistence. I treat the blog like a job doing a little on it every day. And now I have been writing it for a year I have basically completed a memoir. I still want to get the blog published but feel a tremendous sense of fulfilment from my 20,000 hits and the wonderful comments I’ve got from readers.

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Next week: Clearing the infestation of serial killers from my laundry basket, chest of drawers, wardrobe and even the deep freeze – my recovery from a lifetime of OCD.

100 Word Writing Exercise – my life changing recovery from OCD

 

Christmas at Cheddar Gorge Youth Hostel Somerset England in which I have massive steps forward in my recovery from OCD. I overcome my OCD phobia of sharing plates and cutlery with people without the implements being sterilised also overcome my OCD fear of the house burning down not scanning any documents before I went away and didn't check the wardrobes for serial killers another OCD fear

The crumpled paper and tinsel meant the end of a triumphant Christmas in which I’d had several earth shattering steps forwards in my battle with OCD. I have managed to go on holiday with people I barely know and share cutlery and plates with them despite the absence of a Proton Particle Purifier (aka “dishwasher”) to kill the imaginary terminal illnesses they might pass on to me. I’ve been to the doctor 15 times since I’ve been back but have been assured, after a battery of tests, that my broken toenail will re-grow. He did diagnose me with Hypochondria Type B, which I fully suspect is a terminal disease.

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