This Time.

I would have told you that everything you do is art – the way you walk, the way you talk, the way you tie your shoelaces, make your tea in the morning and the way you laugh, but most of all, the way you feel. That always felt like art to me. The way you saw through the layers of the universe at the glue holding everything together without any deep scientific or philosophical meaning but with the burned out black and white eyes of someone who never got a chance to be a child and I would have told you how aggressively innocent that made me feel sitting next you, like my soul wasn’t stained with the same mistrust and mistakes and how you made me feel like maybe, together, we could have stitched all our broken pieces into each others hearts and made them whole again.

I would have told you that I knew how you felt and that I too had knelt in the darkness of the early hours of the morning with blood and tears and vomit in the back of my throat and begged for the gods to take it all away, but you knew that, because we knelt together, red eyed and cold limbed, in the night, praying together for the boat to stop rocking, to stop throwing us against the walls of our world and hoping blindly that the icy water lapping around our ankles would stop rising. I would have told you that we were in the same boat and that I didn’t need you to tell me that it was sinking, but that I needed you to let me help you bilge the bloody deck and that way, maybe, just maybe, we might have reached the shore together, shattered and bruised, but breathing and by each others side and alive.

I would have told you that one day you would have been as happy as they made you pretend you were and that one day, close to the first one day, you would have found the courage to run away from everything that made you feel miserable and worthless and out of place and out of sync with everyone around you. I would have told you that you’d find your place, in amongst the freaks and the geeks and the burnt out weirdos, that there was the most wonderful little nook carved out for someone with words on his arms and scars on his heart. That somewhere, out there, there was a woman of breathtaking beauty who had been living her life just waiting to find someone who she couldn’t live without, and that that someone, well, it would have been you.

I would have told you that it’s never too late to be who you would have been and go where you would’ve gone and seen what you would’ve seen and loved who you would’ve loved. I would have told you that because I know how important love was to you, how you lived for it and ached for it. How you managed somehow, when love was low in my bones to siphon out the last of it and pull me back from the brink more times than I’d care to count and how the first time I met you, you were singing “All You Need is Love” to a piece of pineapple whilst you read your book and how your jeans were too big for you but still somehow too short and your Cookie Monster socks were showing. And how you hadn’t shaved or cut your hair and how completely unkempt but entirely lovable you actually were.

I would have told you that were you ever to leave me, that’s how I would have remembered you. Entirely untethered to the world and those around you, free whilst trapped inside a place that revokes your freedom and your smile, reading Dean Koontz because you knew it would make me talk to you and like you said, you were looking for a way to start a conversation with me. And I would remind you of how I came and sat opposite you and when I spilled my soup on my shoe and you smiled and asked me if I was stoned and then you laughed, fuck man, how loud you laughed and everyone looked at you but you were only looking at me. And then you told me to sit down and asked me what I was reading and when I showed you the cover of ‘Salem’s Lot you ripped up the conversation you had had planned in your head since the day you saw me and instead we argued for the entire hour in that canteen about who was the better author.

And I would have told you how I fell in love you as the leaves fell through the courtyard and your hair got longer and my scars started to fade. I would have told you that I fell in love with you in the most organic and plausible of ways because I never once had the urge to kiss you or to run my hands through your hair or to fuck you or to even hold your hand. I fell in love with your voice and the way you said certain words and the way you used to take the piss out of people without them noticing. I fell in love with the way you used to rub your earlobe with your thumb and your forefinger when you were nervous and how you used to put a kilo of butter on your crackers and insist that the cracker was just there as a vehicle to get the butter to your mouth. I would have told you that I loved how soft your clothes were even though we all washed our clothes in the same place but somehow yours always seemed softer. I would have told you that the night you held me in your arms when we were still strangers, whilst I shook and threw up everywhere and screamed that I wanted to die was the closest I’d ever come to feeling like I was safe until that point. And I would have told you that you were, and always would be, my best friend.

And I would have told you to stay, Joe.

And I would have told you that one day you would wake up at ten thirty in the morning on a sun drenched Sunday next to someone who loved you in all the ways I did and in all the ways I never did and that you would get out of bed and go into the kitchen and flick the kettle on and that everything would be okay. That it would have stopped hurting if you’d stopped picking at the wound and allowing those around you to keep it open with their own warped fantasies of how you should have been, because, man – you were incredible. In everything you ever said to me and everything you didn’t. You never told me that I was a bad person or that I was toxic to those around me and you never made me feel like the twitchy little junkie I actually was because you never saw me like that.

You saw me when I didn’t even recognise myself in the mirror, but you were the mirror to myself that I could never look away from and I saw you break your own heart along side my own. And I would have told you that that day I walked into you flat and saw you on your kitchen floor, covered in blood, white as the sky outside I have never been so scared and so angry in my entire life. And that when I skidded on my knees through your blood, because, man, it was everywhere, and I took my hoody off and wrapped it round your arms all I could say was “no” over and over and over and over again because it was the only word that summed up just inherently adamant I was that this wasn’t happening. You hadn’t done this, not again. I wasn’t going to lose you, not again. I couldn’t be alone, not again.

But you did do it this time. And I did lose you this time.

Difference is – I’m not alone this time.

So I’m going to live, my friend. And I’ll miss you, hell, I’ll damn near go out of my mind wanting you back here with me where you belong but if there is one thing our friendship taught me and taught me well its that there is nothing I could have said to make you stay.

And there’s nothing left to say now but to paraphrase Kurt Vonnegut, whom we spent many hours arguing about, I hope that wherever you are now, that everything is beautiful and that nothing hurts.

Why You Gotta Be So Mean?

So it has come to my attention that I am not a very nice person and in my usual stubborn ways, I want to buck this definition as much as I can. Now the way I see it people are mean for three main reasons – persona, agenda and nature.

Sometimes people paint a picture of who they want to be in their head and if you were to ask them if they were happy with whom they are now, today, they would invariable say no. People don’t want to care, they don’t want to give a fuck what other people think about them but everyone does, in some way whether they hide it well and appear to have a chip on their shoulder, or if indeed they let everything get to them and publically break down to show that they are genuinely hurt.

I would have to say that yes, when it comes to persona I am more for the former than the latter definition of how people deal with judgement, but then again, if I didn’t care what people thought of me and more to the point, how people think I perceive them, I wouldn’t be writing this. The truth is that nobody is born mean, you are made mean and I for all intents and purposes have found that life is a little less jagged when you don’t take anything, including other people’s thoughts and feelings, too seriously.

Now I have come to this conclusion by trying to show people in the past how their actions have hurt me but then by way of dealing with the fact that they themselves didn’t seem to care, I seem to have mirrored the behaviour that tainted my outlook on life to begin with. I think we all take from each other what prevails most from someone’s persona. If someone is so abjectly nice to you, even a monster such as myself finds it very difficult to be horrible to them pointlessly or otherwise, because they are just far too nice to do that to. On the other hand if someone is really nasty to you, you find no fault nor cause for concern with your growing contempt and blatant dislike for said person.

Persona is the most difficult hand to shuffle because everyone has a different one, but suffice to say that what you project to the world is what you get back. If you are nice and calm, relaxed in tone and phrase then you are surely going to encounter less social friction in your life than if you are crude and abrasive or hostile in tone and phrase. The world likes nice people more, it has become what you are supposed to be, and that is why people who are a little less than nice, are people that you don’t particularly want to associate with.

Then comes agenda. Some people are mean because it suits them at the time but it isn’t really a reflection on the people they are, more so than the circumstances they find themselves in. If someone has hurt them, they will build up a shield around the soft, sensitive centre that they hold behind said shield, and will again, as in persona, mirror the way the world or that particular person has treated them.

This is when you see nice people turn nasty. It is mostly out of necessity and once they are removed from the situation that is causing them to harbour negative behaviours, they more often than not revert back to being the nice, calm collected people we all know and despise. Mean people have the same ability to change their persona’s according to what society demands from them at any given time. If this wasn’t the case mean people probably would never get a job, have any friends or indeed find romance in their lives – but they do. This is because however much we think it is true, mean people aren’t necessarily bad people.

And this brings us to the last thing that makes people mean – nature.  Some people are just naturally more cruel than others and the extremes of this can be seen in serial killers. One of the most remarkable character traits the appears again and again in the most deranged members of the human race, is that cruelness and charisma seem to go hand in hand.

This is why mean people can still function in society and even though they would probably have less enemies if they were nicer, they would most likely have no fewer friends. People who generally don’t indulge in the gooey side of life, who don’t make their way through the world with superfluous niceties and mindless etiquette, are refreshing sometimes because at the core of it, at least you know who they are from the beginning and you are not led on a rambling voyage of darkened discovery when you come to the realisation that every human being is both bad and good.

Some people choose to walk in the light and some choose to walk in the dark, and depending on your vantage point, the world is either a beautiful place or a harrowing hell hole. Nice people see the good things in the world, they see the joy, the majesty and the absolute awe of it all but mean people also have a lot to give the world. Mean people see the secrets, the corruption and the septic mess that boils underneath the surface of the nice peoples world.

Mean people see the world for what it really is because they also have the ability to see the world as nice people do. Mean people feel love, they experience joy and they are surrounded by beauty that if anything they appreciate more because unlike those blinded by the inherent social expectation of kindness, the comparison between light and dark in the world of the mean, is far more saturated.

So yes, I am not a very nice person and yes I accept that this is a result of my persona and what I choose to show the world, my agenda as in how I feel most comfortable showing my feelings in any given situation and indeed my nature. I have amazing friends, a wonderful family and an outlook on life that I treasure and it is the one reason I would never make myself nicer to bend to the will of anybody else.

I see the world for what it is, and with that view I can not only see when something is wondrous but I can also tell when it is withering. It makes the process of knowing what to live for much easier.

Her Song.

As a child, I had a lot of friends. Now looking back on it I don’t think that this was an accident. My parents made it impossible for me not to have friends. I started school a year early, when I was three as opposed to the accustomed four, as I was the fifth of the six children and the gap between my younger brother and I stands at just two years. So the head teacher, a man named Mr Jones whom I still hold in high regard, suggested starting little Veronika a year early to let my Ma have some time at home with my brother Phillip who would have been one at the time.

So I went to school before anyone else and watched at the end of that first year as the friends I had made went up into “big school” and I stayed behind in the nursery block waiting to see who I would get to make the journey with. I grew to have a close group of seven or eight friends, the majority male as I preferred wrestling to hair braiding. I also kept some friends in the year above me and therefore, aside from the teachers knowing me and my family well simply for the expanse of Harper children that they had educated, I had a pretty sociable start in life.

I went to Brownies every Monday and made my way through the ranks, even had my own special badge made for me as there was no badge for girls who attended Brownie camp three times (my birthday is in August, so I managed to squeeze that third time out before they booted me up to Guides!) and Brown Owl, a lovely lady by the name of Margot who used to spread brown sauce on her toast in the mornings at camp, cried when I eventually left. I had some really wonderful times there, and made plenty of friends.

Sunday school on a Sunday, Bible club on a Wednesday, swimming, camping, later art clubs and science clubs (and more Bible clubs!) even landing me with a Crest award at the age of eleven (they used to matter, now people don’t know what they are!). I was head of the debate team my first year of secondary school and I headed up many other bits and bobs through out my early adolescence, all safe in the knowledge that I was confident, reasonably popular in the more unpopular places, and that I had friends that had known me since I still had baby teeth.

Then something changed. My parents got divorced and I, along with my little brother now ten years old, was ripped from the bosom of my socially exalted little town in Hertfordshire and plonked rather randomly in a leafy suburb of Surrey, known as Weybridge. And I didn’t know a soul.

It didn’t take me long to realise that maybe, just maybe, this loneliness wasn’t a bad thing. I enjoyed having the time to myself with no clubs or concerts or choirs to participate in. I liked the fact that when I walked into my new school, no body needed to know that I was head of the Bible club or that my Ma had a rather fancy looking Crest award hanging in her hallway with my name on it. I could be whomever I liked, because unlike the little town I was socialised in, this town didn’t have a clue who I was, or who my family was. I was allowed then to either fade into the distance with a novel in my hand or set fire to the system with, er, well, a novel in my hand. Books are friends for life.

This anonymity and the power that came with it got me into a lot of hot water, that’s for sure. But at the end of it all when I look back with a daughter of my own, whom like her mother, hasn’t had the very best of anything in life and a few curve balls thrown for her tiny hands to catch even in her short life, I wonder whether or not I did the right thing by not sending to her nursery or forcing her into baby groups and the like. Because I didn’t. Oh no, Molly has been with me since the day she was born (barring work of course) and if I knew how to divide anything by anything, I would have home-schooled her for sure. But we need maths apparently. Numbers aren’t my strong point, so I couldn’t tell you why we need them exactly.

Anyway it was the idea of Molly becoming a member of society, a number and a name on a register, a child on the books so to speak, before she even knew where her nose was that sat unsteady with me. And like I’ve said, I was a very sociable child and I did all the things back in the early nineties that babies and toddlers and young children still do now – the clubs, the contests, the camaraderie – but I didn’t choose to do it. This is where I kept coming unstuck with my own child when it came to putting her out there, into the big, bad world.

The vast majority of friends in my life – I’ve never chosen. They have been lumped with me because they had the misfortune of being put next to me in a seating plan or deemed a suitable friend because I met them in a club that loosely grouped together a general plethora of freaks and geeks, all with vaguely similar interests. None of my friends liked Bryan Adams or Elvis Presley, and the amount of times I got asked who “the fat man” was on my walls still angers me today. (It was Meatloaf by the way.) Most of them didn’t read the books I read, if they read at all, and almost none of them knew what it was like to grow up in a tragically dysfunctional family that was full of love, and laughter, and anger (passion, as my Ma would say). None of them knew me.

I look back on it now as an adult who can and does choose her friends, wondering now whether or not I would have picked the friends I had as a kid, now that I am older and realise that friends are, for the most part, more work than they’re worth. Let’s just face it shall we? We’re all grown ups here and most of us usually end up with one real, solid friend that carries over from school into real adult life. One. Out of the thirty or so you amass by the end of your time in that bastard place. One.

And you know why that is? It’s because you didn’t choose them. The system gave you those friends, the years aligned and made sure that you would in the same class, year group, school as them. You weren’t friends in the sense of the word now that you pay taxes and buy your own cigarettes instead of pinching them form your parents. They were friends born out of necessity. The necessity not to be alone.

But where is it written that we can’t be alone? We’re born into a house full of people, we see them everywhere – in the street, on the television, in magazines and newspapers, our neighbours, our teachers, our parents, our siblings, our distant and immediate families, and the friends of those who already have them – we’re not (or at least I hope not) locked in boxes the second we dance ourselves out of the womb and only allowed out when there is a baby group about to socialise us in. There are peopleeverywhere and there always will be.

So why do we feel the need to build these social constructs for our children so early in life? How does it possibly make sense to expose children to opinion before they have learned fact? To show them how horrible people are before they can comprehend how good they can be? And how does it make sense to hand your baby, toddler, child over to a group of complete strangers (barring when you have to work of course) so you can saunter down to the café and complain about the world with similarly like minded “friends” that you have collected over cups of horrid coffee whilst your children wonder where the hell their mother has gone? To me, none of it makes a whole heap of sense. And I am speaking as a “socialised” child.

I wasn’t locked in a box, but I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t rather have been at home with my Ma and my brothers and sisters when I was spending time at a friends house. I’d also be lying if I didn’t state now and in no uncertain terms, that I didn’t have a child to give her away at the first available opportunity. I had a child because God has a cruel sense of humour and decided to test me with the most impossible yet amazing little person I have ever met. She is not the worlds to teach. She is mine to teach. How can I raise her with any other view point of the world other than my own when in the end, I only have my eyes to see it with and my experience to draw from?

I don’t care if my daughter grows up socially awkward and introvert, and to be frank, I don’t care if I get blamed for not “socialising” her when she was smaller, because at the end of the it all, when you strip away all the shoulds and coulds of parenting you are left with one overwhelming fact of nature, that my Ma learned herself the hard way. And that is that it doesn’t matter what you do and how hard you try to make a child be a certain way, their personalities regardless of their upbringings, will end up winning in the end.

I have had hundreds of friends in my life due to these social activities and the like. And now, in my twenties and a mother myself, I can count on one hand the people who remember my birthday or know what my favourite colour is. And three of them are my Ma, my sister and my brother. I didn’t even need to leave the house for some of the best friends I’ve ever had.

And another of these best of friends is my daughter who is a living, breathing testament to how she’s been raised, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer. And however she turns out, angry and angst ridden, or calm and confident, I will know, as will she, that she is the person she was meant to be and I will be able to sleep well as an old lady knowing that my daughter knew exactly who she was long before she was told who she was.

And when she feels it just to make her stand, I know she will do it on her own two feet and not propped up by a world of fools that in hindsight will seem like bad dreams. And she’ll know her song well, before she starts singing.

And maybe, just maybe, she’ll skip the horror of hitting puberty and not knowing who the hell she is. Because she’ll already know. From the start.

101 Things That You Never Knew You Always Wanted to Know About – Me.

So on every other blog I’ve ever had I’ve written a piece called “Me” in which I detail strange facts about myself in one long (very, very long) uninterrupted rambling sprawl. Sitting on the train this afternoon, I thought of a few of these posts that I had made and realised how much I have changed from “Me” to “Me”, so much so, that I don’t want to write another “Me” here on what I hope to be my last blog (because, damn, I’m tired of starting again).

Still, I think that effortlessly honest blog posts are hard to come by. Some are worried they’d be judged (and some should be worried about being judged) and some just don’t see the point. I get this overall impression from a lot of bloggers, similar to the vloggers on YouTube that put on a full face of make up and dress the top half of their bodies (because y’all know they be wearing pyjama trousers!) just to give an impression that is conducive to the image that they want to portray of themselves on the internet. I have no time for this. To paraphrase Twain – if you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.

I don’t try to be any weirder than I am, because, well…you’ll see.


So, 101, because that’s “the number” (and it sounds good, right?) facts, quirks, touches, about this blogger. 

Let’s go! 


1. I am very aware of my organs and when my heart beats too fast I feel genuine fear.

2. I suck my thumb pretty much all the time but especially when I’m tired.

3. I got married when I was eighteen.

4. I got divorced when I was twenty one.

5. I name plants that I own and read to them often.

6. I have a fear of being the first person to the train door and having the responsibility of pushing the button with people waiting behind me, watching o_O

7. I always (and I mean always) have headphones on when I am in public. Call it a safety mechanism.

8. I have voted every year of my life that I have been able to but I have always defaced my ballot paper, so, in essence – I have never made a vote that has been counted.

9. When I was a kid E.T. was the most terrifying creature I had ever seen. I regularly had nightmares about him.

10. My family have developed an umbrella term for all the messed up B and D movies we watched as kids that no one else on earth ever saw – we call them “Harper Films.”

11. I don’t like horses. I find them intimidating and unnecessarily large. Ponies are fine. In fact, ponies are awesome.

12. I have a five year old daughter named Molly.

13. In 2014, I legally changed my last named to Roland, after Roland Deschain from the Dark Tower books by Stephen King. I also entertained “Burgundy” which would have made my name…wait for it…Ron Burgundy. Say wha?!

14. I have intensely lucid dreams that I can remember with stunning clarity upon waking. Nightmarish erotica is my favourite genre of my dreamscape.

15. I am allergic to nutmeg. Lame, right?

16. I cut the sleeves off of almost all of my t-shirts, and off of all of my band shirts. I always wanted to be a Metallica roadie I guess.

17. My first real kiss was with a girl when I was fourteen and it was perfect.

18. I scream (and I mean horror-movie-the-dude-with-the-chainsaws-gonna-get-me scream) almost constantly. People find it hilarious, I remind them that I am (contrary to appearance) a lady and am therefore, entitled to scream at everything.

19. I loved pickled food. In the trinity of pickled goods roll mop herrings are god, gherkins the son and beetroot the holy spirit. Ahh, pickle juice. Damn, that shit’s tasty.

20. My birthday is the 20th August.

21. My middle name is Kyriaky, which is the female version of my grandfathers name Kyriakou, and also Greek for “Sunday” which was all well and good until I was seventeen and realised that I was actually born ten minutes into a Monday and not in fact, a Sunday. My Ma maintains that she did all the work on the Sunday and sticks by her decision to give me the wrong day of the week as my middle name.

22. When I was kid I went everywhere on roller blades. It was the 90’s and I was cool.

23. I have a tendency to veer right when I am walking due to an old injury to the leg on that side.

24. My favourite animal is an alligator.

25. I never do up my shoes and contrary to what my parents, teachers and peers have always said, to this day I have never once fallen or tripped as a result of this strange habit.

26. I wait for my toast to go cold before I butter it. No one likes soggy toast.

27. If I need to be somewhere and it’s less than ten miles away, I walk. People find it odd, my Ma thinks it’s dangerous and I think…most of the time, I think about dragons. With laser eyes! 😀

28. Peanut butter forms one of the sides of a magnificent food triangle in my life. The other two sides are marshmallows and Oreos. *drool*

29. I have cried five times when celebrities have died. The celebrities that elicited these tears were none other than Philip Seymour Hoffman, Robin Williams, Patrick Swayze, Keith Floyd and Ronnie Barker. The last one was particularly difficult as, as a child, my mother told me that Ronnie Barker was already dead. In essence – I had to mourn him twice. It still sucks to think about it.

30. I have an extensive knowledge of 70’s and 80’s power ballads. And I’m not ashamed.

31. I met the first boy I ever really liked (like, that) in an adolescent mental health unit. Ah, young love ❤

32. Withnail and I is the only movie that makes me feel better when I’m deathly ill.

33.  I hum or sing out loud when I have my headphones on in public. Some people like it, others think its weird and the man sitting opposite me on the train today apparently thought it was infuriating. Douchebag.

34. I randomly drop into what my Ma calls my “Forrest Gump” voice which is a mixture of Forrest Gump’s accent and Sweet Brown (the “ain’t-nobody-got-time-for-that lady). My mother in particular loves this voice and often makes me quote phrases from the movie to her when she’s feeling down. Her favourite remains “I guess sometimes, there just aren’t enough rocks.” A phrase that I plan on getting tattooed on me as an homage to the lady what birthed me 🙂

35. I am the fifth of six children including three brothers and two sisters that vary in age from 40 to 22.

36. My grandmother is the only Anastasia that I have ever met. It made reading the Fifty Shades of Grey books awkward, let me tell you that…

37. When picking out names for our daughter, my ex-husband and I entertained Sugar Magnolia, Lucy-Louise (after my aunt, Lucy, and my mother, Louise) or Lulu for short. In the end, we decided not to scar the child any more than she would already be with us as her parents and settled on Molly. I think she’ll thank us in the end.

38. I have never had any interest in learning to drive and cars, more often than not, terrify me.

39. I drink my coffee black with no sugar, my tea black with one sugar and my water at room temperature.

40. My toenails are always painted.

41. My daughter calls me Dragon more than she calls me Mum because I wrote her a book when she was three that explained how she came to be with me – a princess sent to live with a dragon to protect her from an evil wizard. The characters in said book were all based on her family members and friends, with the place names being plays off of the real places she has lived and been to. It took me a little over a year to write and illustrate the book, having to add characters when people had children etc. To this day Molly still calls me Dragon and argues passionately with anyone (including her teachers) who dares defy the book. The book was written as my rebuttal to creationism as a result of my kid telling me that dragons weren’t real because God didn’t make them in the Bible. Now, Molly swears by my book. Dragon – 1. God – 0.

42. I have the cover illustration of The Book Thief by Markus Zusak tattooed on my right forearm. It is my favourite book and is footed by the quote “I am haunted by humans.” the last words of the narrator, Death, in the book. The tattoo depicts the Grim Reaper dancing hand in hand with a little girl. Well, at least it’s not an anchor or a dream catcher right?

43. When I was fifteen I wrote an manuscript that came in at about 2,500 pages of absolute bollocks. It was about a teenage pot head called Dylan (yes, really) who ran away from home to explore the world. It was my first and last attempt at being Jack Kerouac and I have never written a story like it or as long as it again. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

44. When I was in school I wrote a paper comparing three film adaptations of novels to their original stories. The subjects in question were One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey, Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh and A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess. My English teacher gave me an A. My headteacher called my Ma in to ask her just what in the fuck she was letting me watch and read at home. I was fourteen at the time.

45. Fast Car by Tracy Chapman and Redemption Song by Bob Marley were the first two songs I learned how to play without music on a guitar. I tested this the other day and yep, I can still play them! (If nothing else…)

46. Allen Ginsberg is my favourite poet. And possibly my favouirte human being…

47. I always wear a watch and have a hard time dealing with, well, time and it’s terrifyingly transient nature.

48. The first vlog I ever did on YouTube was reviewing the horror movie A Serbian Film. Last time I checked it had 11,000 views. I learned many things from that vlog, mainly, never to mention the title of that movie on the internet…

49. I wanted to be an architect when I was a kid until my father, an engineer and graphic designer, explained to me how much maths was involved. That revelation shot that horse in the face and ever since, I’ve wanted to be a teacher.

50. I love the sound of trumpets, harmonicas and banjos.

51. When we were kids, my Ma would take my little brother and I to the Thames to swim because it was free and we were, well, we weren’t all that well off. I used to swim in the river with my steel toe cap boots (or “shitkickers” as my Ma called them) on my feet because I was convinced that I was going to tread on the face of a corpse thrown at the bottom of the river. My little brother (who swam barefoot because bitches be crazy!) maintains that he did step on the face of a corpse and thus, the little nook of the River Thames that we used to swim in, was named “Dead Man’s Croogy”.

52. My longest serving ringtones have been Pencil Full of Lead by Paolo Nutini, Hard Candy by Counting Crows and Lookin’ Out My Back Door by CCR. My ring tone at present is the theme to Rescue Rangers. Chip and Dale are also deities to me.

53. I shaved my head two and a half years ago when I randomly cut off my dreadlocks one surprisingly sober night. I could have had a full head of hair again by now but I genuinely loved having hair this short. Shaving your head, ladies, if it’s not on your bucket list – it freakin’ should be. Shit be liberating.

54. I have thirteen piercings, twelve of which have been done by my mother or brother.

55. I have brief dalliances with Freeganism when the mood takes me and go a couple of weeks living off of what I can salvage from bins and dumpsters behind shops. It’s definitely something that you should look into if you don’t care for labels that lie about the life of your food.

56. I love swimming but am terrified of water, especially the ocean.

57. If I don’t have my backpack with me at any given time, something has or is about to go terribly, terribly wrong…it’s like another limb to me.

58. I disconnected my internet for a year, deleted my Facebook (that I haven’t brought back from the dead since) and threw out my television for a year just to see if I would miss it. Truth is, I didn’t.

59. I am a total sun slut and regularly smother myself with olive oil in an attempt to cook my still living flesh right on the bone. On the flip side of that, I never wear a coat in the winter and am almost constantly too hot.

60. I sometimes go three or four minutes without blinking and don’t notice until either someone tells me or I feel my eyes drying out.

61. I have been single for two and a half solid years and have been surprisingly content with my alone time.

62. I have broken many bones including my wrists, arms, collar bone, leg, fingers, toes and ribs.

63. I feel intensely uncomfortable when I am near anything riddled with holes – honeycombe, ant hills, old stone – *shudder* it’s making me feel sick just thinking about it.

64. My name at birth was Veronika Kyriaky Harper. My parents didn’t like me.

65. I cannot stand twilight (the lighting, but the franchise is…let’s not get me started aye?) Either turn your lights up or down, what is this perpetual dimness?! Are you trying to seduce me sir?! Turn the light up or turn it off! Ffs.

66. Poorly maintained notice boards irritate me.

67. I am a quote hound (I even have a blog dedicated to just book quotes) and always have a notebook in my bag that I write these quotes in on the go. Last time I checked, I own seventy one of these quotenotebooks. I also like inventing words like quotenotebook.

68. I am almost always speaking in metaphor when speaking with meaning.

69. I do not believe that family is forever, more than I believe that family is something you can and should choose. Abandon those that weigh you down and replace them with those that set you free, whether or not their spume made you or their womb cradled you. Run free, dammit! Forge your own future with those who love you now, as they did then and will forever.

70. I cannot sing. In theory I can, so I should really say that I cannot sing well. A close friend came to the conclusion that this is why I listen to people like Tom Waits and Bob Dylan, theorising that when I sing to them I cannot sing badly because they already sing horrifically to begin with. I couldn’t fault his logic, but to me, those men sound like nirvana ❤ (the state of being rather than the band.) In

71. I have always wanted to visit Moscow, Maine and Madagascar. That fact that all these places begin with “M” is coincidence and has nothing to do with the illuminati…wait a second – is that an inverted triangle in the letter M?! :O

72. I am not-so-secretly in love with the YouTuber, Rob Dyke. My post “When I Dream of Buttermilk” was actually a direct retelling of a dream I had about him. I dream about him a lot…it’s creepy, but I can’t help it. He makes me feel, well, something. I’m not sure what but it’s nice. And that’s enough.

73. Depending on what catastrophe has befallen me depends on who I call to shout at. If I’m crying or worried it’s my Ma, if I have some hilarious or horrific gossip to share, it’s my sister and if I want to shout and rant and rave, it’s one of my two best friends. And when I am scared or down, it’s my kid. She always knows what to say. Lately she’s been telling me to “upload Skype” a lot. I don’t know what that means but she when she says “munch bunch” it damn near breaks my heart.

74. I used to use Facebook like Twitter so I now I use Twitter like I used to use Facebook which is apparently how Twitter is supposed to be used.

75. My favourite font is Times New Roman. I’m a purist.

76. I have a recurring nightmare that I have had since I was a kid that I am in a canoe on a Indian river and I fall to the bottom of the river and look up to see the universe in the water above me. I always wake up petrified and confused. Sometimes there is a whale, sometimes there is a shark. But always the same boat, the same river, the same universe. I can feel the fish swimming against me as I write this and it makes me want to scream.

77. Many people have accused me of listening to the most depressing music they’ve ever heard. I don’t know how to feel about this accusation….

78. I genuinely enjoy doing laundry. No, really, I do.

79. The first thing my mother ever taught me how to make was a white cheese  sauce and I still make it the same to this day, much to the appreciation and delight of those that request it.

80. I cannot stand jelly or any thing that is set with gelatine. No thank you, sir! right

81. I write with my right hand but do almost everything else – including brushing my teeth and texting – with my left hand.

82. When I was eleven my parents had a real life shouting argument about which language I should learn at the new school I was attending. My mother fought for Spanish saying that it was the most commonly spoken language in the world and would be most useful in everyday life, my father vouched for Latin, maintaining it was the root of all language even if my mother damned it as a dead language. In the end I learned Latin, because dad won, but as the adult I am now, I know more Spanish than Latin so I guess mum won eventually.

83. I am very particular about the way I use condiments and only use ketchup on three things (and I mean ever) – scrambled eggs, sandwiches and chips from the Fish and Chip shop. No exceptions.

84. Every Christmas I bake for the neighbours in an attempt to distract myself from the panic attacks I have annually during this particular festivity. Last year one particular neighbour weighed the gingerbread cookies I made her and well, six kilograms of biscuits in a week would be weird but it was Christmas for chrissakes! (Is that a pun? I hope it’s a pun!)

85. I am useless at playing video games myself but have spent hours (possibly years) watching my brothers and in more recent years, random men and women on YouTube, play them. I am actually, rather infatuated with many games that I have never played myself but know inside and out such as the Fable, Prince of Persia and Assassins Creed games.

86. I don’t like people touching my ears. So don’t.

87. My drink of choice is a bottle of Budweiser and a short double of Jamesons. Yeah, I thought I was a cowboy for so long it never really left me and now *sob* it’s too late.

88. It takes me a really long time tell someone that I love them, so much so that my last boyfriend actually confronted me about it after six months of dating and no L-Bombs. I find the word itself a precious thing and do not throw it around in regards to true face to face feelings. It’s something strange that only those who know me intimately know about me.

89. I was a vegetarian for six years not because I gave a hoot about animals or was on a health kick, rather than that I convinced myself, as a result of the messed up shit I’d read and seen, that whenever I bit into meat that it was human meat. It took me years to get over this strange eating disorder and still to this day if I find a vein or piece of cartilage in my mouth or on my plate, I instantly lose my appetite. Weird, but true.

90. Due to the almost incessant stimulation I require to function as a regular human being the rest of the time, when it comes to sleep, I need absolute darkness and absolute silence to drift off. Even a blinking light on a laptop or the sound of the boiler can make me toss and turn.

91. I can touch type and don’t really know how that happened, but it happened nevertheless and people find it impressive. I find it more productive than impressive but nevertheless I have actually won awards for the keyboard karate. No, really, I have. Three to be exact.

92. I have accidentally dedicated much of my life to becoming a walking thesaurus, with some friends and family members calling me instead of just right clicking the word and hitting the synonyms tab. I like that they do it, it makes me feel awesome, I just don’t understand why they do it.

93. My immediate family, and immediate friends of the family, have never (and I mean never) called me Veronika. I have been known as Flump or Flumpy for longer than I have actually had my given name with my mother calling me Flumpy from birth and taking well over a month to come up my actual name. My nephew and niece have been taught to call me Aunty Flump. Yes. That’s actually true. Other variations of my name have been Purple (Purple Ronnie), Ronseal (the varnish, yes, that’s actually what my sister calls me a lot of the time) Burgs or Burgundy (Ron Burgundy) and Do-Do-Ron-Ron (my Ma finds this hilarious). But Flump has never fallen out of fashion, much to the amusement of my siblings and the devastation of my grandmother who insists on calling me Veronika to prove a point. You go, Nan!

94. I wear crocs and I am awesome.

95. I have to have sunglasses on when the sun is out or my eyes pour with water and I get immense headaches. I am almost one hundred percent sure this is because I am part Mogwai.

96. I very rarely use my debit card when paying for something in a shop because I have an unreasonable anxiousness about using money that I cannot see. I am also extremely nervous when paying for something with change as money, as I have mentioned, makes me nervous in general. It’s probably why I’m okay with not having any…

97. When I was a kid I used to make my older and younger brother dress up as the other two members of The Kinks, whilst I donned my fathers waistcoat and took the lead making them perform the song Lola over and over again in our living room until I was satisfied. It was one of many of the first “dafuq?!” moments in my parents experience with me as their child. In hindsight – dafuq they doing letting a seven year old belt out a song about a man accidentally shagging a tranny whilst she herself is dressed as a dude?! These people. Honestly.

98. I have very little left of what was my childhood home for reasons too long to go into here, but one thing I do have is my Womble, Orinoco, who is and always has been, my spirit guide. We’re connected. And I love him, dearly.

99. The first thing I did when I got home the day I got married was take my wedding dress off and put it in the bin. Shows you how happy I was with that arrangement I guess..

100. I freakin’ love roller coasters and anything else that makes me feel like my stomach is going to fall out of my arsehole.

101. I used to keep a picture of Jesus that a homeless man gave me when I was thirteen, in a snuff tin. I used to carry said tin with me for most of my adolescent years until, one cold December day when I was seventeen, drunk and angry, I threw that fucker in the Thames. I think about it often though. And more so, why the hell I carried the damn thing with me so long.


So there’s me in a rather large and splendid nutshell. 

It’s been lovely getting to know you.

I think we’re going to get along.


“Shiny Charizard.”

“Hank and I had met when we were both mature seven year olds in primary school and our friendship had begun with a rather vicious fight that ended with the two of us sitting with our parents in the head teachers office and a trip to accident and emergency. And what do seven year olds fight about, exactly?

Pokemon cards. More specifically, rare Pokemon cards.

And Henry Rosenbaum had had his eyes on my Charizard for weeks.”

From my current manuscript “Rooftops.”