Oh go on you saucy minx, you know you want to.

Well good evening,

Thanks for stopping by.

Might I say, you’re looking particularly dashing this evening – have you been working out? Or is it someone new in your life? Whatever it is, I have to say you’re positively glowing!

On a completely unrelated note – I have a bit of news! Remember back in January I made 12 New Year’s Resolutions? Well, one of them was to try and do a bit of fundraising for charity – and here I am in June actually doing it!

I’m taking part in an event in a few weeks to raise funds for a hospice that provides end-of-life care, mostly for cancer patients. It’s a great cause, so I’m getting involved in their 10 mile Midnight Walk. If you want to help me out you can donate safely by clicking the link below.

Donations of any size are hugely appreciated – even the price of a pint will get me that step closer to my goal!

So go on, click the link and do your good deed for the day. You really are looking fantastic, you know!


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“I Mean, You Can’t Even Have Morning Sex”

I have a confession to make everyone.

I strongly recommend that family members close the page now. [Don’t say I didn’t warn you]. Al-right, hold on to your hats, here I go.

I have pubic hair.

Phew! I am so glad I got that off my chest. Are you done retching or reeling in shock? I know that shock announcement falls somewhere between “I pick my nose and eat it” and “I lost my virginity to my cousin” on the disgust-ometer.

Whilst having tea with some lovely lady friends the other day, the topic came up as one of our number was off to have her vagina waxed. Apparently these days it’s necessary.  Necessary. It’s not something I’ve ever felt the need to do. Surprising as it may be, I have never felt the need to hand over any of my hard-earned cash to have a stranger spread sticky stuff over my nether regions and wax my pubes off strip by strip. It’s painful. And they make you go on all-fours to do your ass crack. Crazy as I very may well be, it just doesn’t sound like a whole pile of fun.

But somehow, it has become necessary. Why? Because if you just shave [and in a moment we’ll move on to why even that is necessary] “you can’t even have morning sex”. Really ladies? Is one nights worth of regrowth such a horrendous thing that you couldn’t let your other half near you? Apparently so.

The thing is, if and when I eventually have a baby, I’d like Daddy to be there for the birth. Now he’s going to have to deal with a lot in that situation; dilation, an umbilical cord, possible even involuntary pooping. If he can’t deal with the idea that a woman might have some pubic hair, I’m just not sure he’s going to be able for all of that. I need a man made of sterner stuff.

The idea that women should be bare is a relatively recent phenomenon. I’m blaming porn for giving men the idea that only a vagina with less hair than a 14 year old can be considered attractive. The pictures dotted around this post are from 1970s issues of Playboy and Penthouse and I for one think they’re pretty sexy. Don’t you?

Some would argue it’s more hygienic to wax or shave and I’m not going to argue with that. I’m not opposed to a bit of “maintenance” as you might put it, you certainly don’t need to consider me an advocate of Keith Lemon’s Jackson 5 theory! I’m merely throwing it out there that in a world without taboos, we accept that women were given pubic hair by evolution or by God depending on what you believe in, and it’s not necessary to get rid of it.

Your thoughts?

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50 Reasons to Visit Galway

  1. The Spanish Arch: The Spanish Arch, built in 1584, was an extension of the Galway city wall. These days however, the Corrib-side attraction is more commonly known as a summer-time drinking spot. “Sparch-ing”, as the younger generation call it, is a far better pastime than, say, going to lectures for the population of nearby NUIG.***
  2. Michael D Higgins: He’s an intellectual, a cultural theorist, a political scientist, a poet, a champion of social justice and human rights and now he’s our President. His origins are Clare and Limerick but Michael D has long been Galwegian by choice. We couldn’t be prouder to claim him for our own. My favourite MDH quote has to be on the Dail floor; in response to “We can’t all be intellectuals like you, Deputy” was when he said “No, but you can aspire to be”. The man has got style.***
  3. The Roisin Dubh: The Roisin is the epicentre of all things alternative in the Galway music scene. As well as live gigs, there are regular comedy nights, headphone discos, open mic nights and more in the infamous pub. Famed for its consistently original acts and for encouraging all kinds of new talent in the city, the Roisin is the live venue to beat in Galway.***
  4. Eyre Square: Eyre Square is the first impression people arriving to the city by train or bus get, and that’s no harm whatsoever. It’s a beautiful green area smack bang in the middle of the city that means different things to different people; On a sunny day you’ll find a totally laid-back atmosphere with professionals having al fresco lunches, kids kicking a football or throwing frisbee, groups of students eating ice cream and dossing and alternative types smoking whacky tabacky.***
  5. Salthill: It’s a little bit noisy and a little bit tacky in places, but on the odd occasion when we do get a bit of sun, Salthill is the first place that springs to mind. Whether you want a leisurely stroll along the Prom, a whirl on the Waltzer, a game of giant chess, a wander through one of the numerous casinos or for the very brave a dip in the ocean; the smell of the sea air and the atmosphere of family fun in Salthill is a huge draw for Galwegians and tourists alike.***
  6. Madam Bridget: Found outside the Imperial in Eyre Square since the dawn of time (or so it seems), cross Madam Bridget’s palm with a few euro and have your fortune told. The chain-smoking old lady is a Galway institution with many claiming to have found her predictions scarily accurate. Personally I’m sure I went to her on a dare as a teenager, but I would have to dig through diaries full of teenage strife to find the place I wrote her predictions down and see if any have been fulfilled.***
  7. Gaeilgeoiri: Galway has the highest proportion of Irish speakers in the country. We also have the only all-Irish theatre An Taibhdhearc, and it is without doubt the only place I’ve seen where even the ATMs will offer you the option of Irish. Gaelscoils are becoming more popular by the year and we’re delighted our Irish language heritage is still core to the Galwegian identity.***
  8. Massimo’s: Massimo’s is the best late bar in Galway, in my very humble opinion. There are nights when you want to sing or dance or listen to music and then there are nights when you want to get together with mates and have a good catch up. Massimo’s has a funky atmosphere, friendly staff and music that’s not so loud that you can’t talk, it’s the perfect place for a few drinks and chatting into the night.***
  9. The Tuam Herald: The Tuam Herald celebrates its 175th anniversary this year making it Galway’s oldest newspaper. Dating back to 1837, there are just three older newspapers in all of Ireland. Week by week, the family-run Tuam Herald continues to bring North Galway its news as well as championing local causes and events.***
  10. RAG Week 2012: If I had written this list a year ago I would never have considered including RAG Week, but 2012 in Galway has to go down in history. The year they “cancelled” it brought you the infamous ‘Who’s a sexy Garda?’video and a frickin riot outside Supermacs culminating in some nutcase letting off a flare. I think the moral is, if you survive it you’ll have a good story to tell. To paraphrase Limerick’s best known saying – that’s Galway cit-ay!***
  11. Monday @ the Galway Races: The Galway Races are the highlight of the city’s social calender and Monday is the highlight of the Races for locals. Before the Dubs arrive down flashing the cash and the poseurs start circling the Champagne Tent (or the Fianna Fail tent in days gone by), Galwegians get together to exchange tips, have a tipple and catch up on another year gone by. It has all the craic of the rest of the week but without the pretentiousness of the latter days and half hour bar queues.***
  12. Burke’s Buses: Have you ever tried flagging down a Bus Eireann bus at a random point on the route from Tuam to Galway? It doesn’t go well. They’re all about their planned stops and their rules and regulations. Not so with Burke’s – it may be annoying when you’re in a rush that they stop roughly every half kilometre to pick someone up off the side of the road, but when it’s you you’re damned grateful! And all for the princely sum of a fiver. Typical of an indigenous Galway business they provide the friendliest, most reliable and best value bus service in the West.***
  13. The Saw Doctors: Together 25 years now, the Saw Doctor’s have eighteen top 30 singles including three number 1s. On one level, the Saw Doctor’s are just a really good country-rock band with a cult following. On another level, a close look at Saw Doctor’s lyrics over the last two and half decades gives a reasonably comprehensive modern history of Galway and Ireland: coming of age, doubting religion, recession, emigration, disappointment, hope and friendship. And they managed to show the younger generation that they’ve still got it when they covered the Sugababes ‘About You Now’ and had a number one hit with it!***
  14. Shop Street: Shop Street is the epicentre of Galway city life. The pedestrian street bursts with the energy of shoppers, tourists, students, buskers, workers and families. A mixture of high street shops, somewhat kitch tourist spots, street entertainment and leading on to the popular pubs of Quay Street – it is a veritable melting pot of life and culture.***
  15. The Guard: If you haven’t seen Galway based film the Guard already, stop what you’re doing right now and buy, rent or download it. Now watch it and come back to me. From the writers of In Bruges, it stars Brendan Gleeson in another dark comedy following a small-town cop as he attempts to deal with cocaine smugglers, prostitution, a dying mother, a gay colleague moved down from Dublin, a couple of murders and a ‘Yank’ over from the FBI just for good measure.***
  16. Silver Strand: If the hustle and bustle of a beach day in Salthill doesn’t suit you, fear not. Silver Strand, just a few miles away has beautiful views out over Galway Bay and is very popular with families. It has a shallow, sandy beach that you can swim in at low tide if you’re feeling adventurous!***
  17. Padraic Joyce: By the time I moved to Galway in 1998, Padraic Joyce was already a household name. He won his first All Ireland Football title in that year against Kildare and like a fine wine, has only gotten better with age. He captained the team in 08-09, has the All Star and a Texaco Footballer of the Year accolades under his belt and continues to play for both his county and his club Killererin.***
  18. Leo Moran: Now I’ve already mentioned the Saw Doctor’s but I have to give front man Leo Moran a shout out of his own. Not only is he incredibly down to earth and always has time for a chat, Leo is a fantastic ambassador for Tuam and all of Galway. He is known for lending a hand behind the scenes to a number of worthy causes, especially the Tuam Volunteer Force.***
  19. Lady Gregory: Hailing from just outside Gort, Lady Augusta Gregory was an instrumental part of the Irish Literary Revival and the development of cultural nationalism. Her homeplace in Coole Park was an important meeting place for members of the Revival including William Butler Yeats. Together with Yeats and Edward Martyn, Lady Gregory was a founding member of the Abbey Theatre.***
  20. The N17: This is a bit of a personal one really, but in a way the road immortalised by the Saw Doctor’s “stone walls and the grass is green”all the journeys of my life – literal and metaphorical – began on the N17; trips to Galway with friends as a teenager, turning off at Claregalway for Limerick where I went to college and Shannon where I left the country alone for the first time. Travelling with my thoughts and dreams indeed.***
  21. Sally Longs: Everyone has a Sally’s story. Mine involves running away from Bikers in there after agreeing to play a game of doubles pool and then foolishly allowing someone else to take one of my turns. My personal dramas aside, Sally Longs is a rock/metal bar on Abbeygate Street famed for its art work, its live acts and indeed its clientele – well worth a visit.***
  22. Supermacs: According to my intensive on the topic (scanned the Wikipedia page) Supermacs was founded in Ballinasloe after Pat McDonagh failed to get planning permission for a pool hall in the town. We’re delighted he didn’t, because thirty-something years later Shmax is Ireland’s largest indigenous fast food chain and an essential part of any Galway night out!***
  23. Monroe’s: If you go to only one place for Trad music in Galway, make it Monroe’s. With live Irish music 7 nights a week it is the go-to destination for music lovers.***
  24. Ladies Day @ the Races: Okay so as I said above Monday and Tuesday are the locals favourite days at the Races, but I’d be lying if I said we weren’t a bit drawn in by the glitz and glamour of Ladies Day. It’s all about the dress, the accessories, the hat, the champagne for this Lovely Girls Compeition. Horses- what horses? Today is all about the style!***
  25. Galway Crystal: Galway Crystal is one of the West’s best known and loved traditional crafts. According to the website, their Master Craftsmen are continuously inspired by the sheer beauty of the surrounding countryside – Connemara, Galway Bay and Lough Corrib – and influenced by the wealth of history and folklore which is synonymous with Galway, the famous City of the Tribes.***
  26. NUI Galway: Having attended and loved the University of Limerick, all modern with its glass lifts and sloping walls, walking around the NUIG campus is a completely different experience. Steeped in history, the Quadrangle hosted 63 students during its first academic year 1849-50.***
  27. TG4: While the vast majority Ireland’s national media output is confined to the Capital, Galway boasts TG4 – our only dedicated Irish language broadcaster. Since it began broadcasting in 1996 TG4 has won praise for its ability to mix Irish language news, drama such as the ever popular Ros na Run and sports commentary with popular US shows winning it 800,000 daily viewers. It has also been a launching pad for the likes of Sharon ni Bheolain and the Seoige sisters who have gone on to great success since.***
  28. An Taibhdhearc: In addition to having the only Irish broadcaster, Galway also lays claim to the country’s only all-Irish theatre company. For many of us, our first experience of An Taibhdhearc was a day out in school to see the plays you were supposed to be studying for Leaving Cert. Looking back, we were and still are lucky to have such a facility in our fair city, and I for one intend to make much better use of it in the near future!***
  29. Galway Girls: Mundy’s cover version of Galway Girl was the most downloaded song in Ireland in 2008 and it’s no wonder. In addition to the catchy tune people can of course relate to the lyrics – you’ve never seen nothin’ like a Galway Girl. We’re fiery, witty up for the craic and but for a slight departure right about now we’re modest.***
  30. CUBA: There was a time when it seemed all roads lead to CUBA if you were out in Galway. Many were shocked when CUBA and the Cellar fell victim to the recession in 2010, as it was literally and figuratively such a central part of Galway nightlife. It’s a little while now since I have had the privilege of a night out in Galway but I believe the doors have now opened again under the name of the Eyre Square nightclub.***
  31. The GBC: Whenever friends from any other part of the country move to Galway, one of the first places they choose as a meeting point for lunch or coffee is always the GBC. It’s central, good value, quality food. It’s simple, but that’s the beauty of it.***
  32. The Omniplex: Again, this one might just be personal to me, but back in the day before the EYE opened and everything was in 3D, the Omniplex held a special place in my heart. A quick trip to Lidl across the road with notoriously bad fake IDs and in we went to the film of our choice armed with a bottle of cheap paint-stripperish vodka to go with our large cokes and 18s film.***
  33. The Arts Festival: The Arts Festival is a world famous explosion of colour, theatre, puppetry and sound. Over two weeks the festival features the Macnas parade and shows for all ages and tastes. In 2011, there were 162,000 attendances at 176 performances, talks and exhibitions in 27 venues over 14 days. The city comes to life with crafts, street theatre (more than usual), drama and dance confirming Galway’s place as the true capital of culture.***
  34. Students: Galway has a huge student population and they are a large part of what gives the city its life. Between NUIG, GMIT and GTI, students add a youthful and diverse feel to the city that you just don’t get in other places. From time to time that may make it feel a little out of control as in the case of RAG Week mentioned above, but 99.99% of the time students make a positive, vibrant contribution to the city.***
  35. Fairytale of New York: This may be a tenuous link, but I’m claiming Fairytale of New York for its Galway reference. The Pogues tune featuring Kirsty MacColl is popularly known as the best Christmas song ever and what are they boys in the NYPD choir singing about? That’s right, our own Galway Bay.***
  36. Farmers: When you go off to college first you go to great lengths to shake off the buff/bogger title, but let’s face it ladies when it comes to choosing a fella there’s nothing sexier than a man with road frontage!***
  37. Christmas Market: While summer in Eyre Square is all about short shorts, ice cream and frisbee, winter in the Square brings with it the Christmas Market, ideal for picking up stocking-fillers and trinkets. And of course after a good mosey around, there’s no better way to finish off the day than with a warm cider – to keep the cold out.***
  38. Occupy Galway: This one may be a bit controversial, but I’m proud of Occupy Galway. They may not have achieved any substantial gain this time around, and I know a lot of people just think of them as smelly hippies, but I’m glad we have people around that care enough about sustainability and accountability to stand up for it.***
  39. The Corrib: The Corrib is a beautiful river flowing right through the heart of Galway. There’s something very soothing about watching the fishermen nearly thigh high in water over the quincentennial bridge stand still for what seems like hours on edge to get the catch.***
  40. The sing-songs: There’s no sing-song like a Galway sing-song. Whether it’s your Aunty’s 60th, a lock in at the local or sitting above the rock face at the back of Laurel Park, it always ends the same way. You’ve got two good singers that know the words and hold everything together while the rest of us drink and dance and join in for the chorus. Sure you wouldn’t have it any other way.***
  41. The tourists: Tourists in summer provide what students do the rest of the year round, the buzz, the energy, the diversity. There are parts of the world where tourists are looked on as an annoyance or an inconvenience but in Galway we simply love it. The bigger the melting pot the better.***
  42. The Macnas Parade: The Macnas Parade is one of the most highly anticipated aspected of the Arts Festival each year. Beginning at the Spanish Arch and making its way down Eglinton Street to Fisherman’s Fields, each year has a theme. Last year’s theme was ‘This Fierce Beauty’, a concept clearly taken to heart by these ‘lovely ladies’.***
  43. The Film Fleadh: Directly before the Arts Festival comes about, Galway hosts Ireland’s leading film festival over six days. It brings together film buffs, directors, actors and critics from all over Ireland and the world in a unique, intimate setting. The central goal of the Fleadh has remained unchanged over the 24 years of its existence – to bring film makers and audiences closer together. For any lover of film and the Arts hitting Galway for the end of the Film Fleadh and the start of the Arts festival is pretty much heaven.***
  44. Claddagh: There are few Irish girls who don’t have a Claddagh ring, usually givento them by a close friend or family. Originating in the village of Claddagh just outside Galway the heart symbolises love, the hands symbolise friendship and the crown represents loyalty. As time has gone on, the Claddagh ring has also become a symbol for pride in Ireland and pride in Galway.***
  45. Street Performances: One man bands, human statues, balloon artists, unicyclists, break dancers – you never know quite what you’re going to find walking down Shop Street and through the Latin Quarter but wherever you see a semi-circle of onlookers go and join them for twenty or thirty minutes of free entertainment.***
  46. Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop: Located on Middle Street, Galway, one could spend hours if not days mining for treasures in Charlie Byrne’s new and second-hand bookshop. From crime novels to college texts and everything in betweeen, Charlie’s is the ideal place for a mooch if you’ve got an hour to kill.***
  47. The Rest of the West: As you can no doubt tell I’m very proud of all that Galway has to offer, but another major advantage we have is being a gateway to the rest of the West. Croagh Patrick, Achill Island, Rossespoint, Sligo town and the Burren are all beautiful places with their own charms, and they’re only a stone’s throw away.***
  48. The Bog: Now you may not think of the bog as the ideal day out, but for those of us that grew up in rural Galway it’s a place full of cherished memories. Sure, we bitched and moaned at the time, but looking back now it’s all sunshine, sandwiches, sitting on top of a trailer and laughing. And where else can you get a tan and and get toned up in the space of a week 100% free!***
  49. Lorraine Higgins: I want to state at the outset that it’s a coincidence that both politicians mentioned are Labour. I’m a huge fan of Labour Senator Lorraine Higgins; she’s intelligent, articulate, well presented, hard working and ethical – In other words, she is everything I’m looking for in a new generation of politicians. She lost out in the last General Election but put in such a good show that she was nominated to the Seanad by Enda Kenny. I have absolutely no doubt that she’s going to be an instrumental policy maker in years to come and we’ll be proud to claim her in the town of the Tribes.***
  50. Galway Bay FM: Back in the day before we all had iTunes plugged into every aspect of our lives (I’m talking 2003, here) a fundamental aspect of weekend sleepovers was the tunage – and the requests played – on Galway Bay FM “It’s the late night love hour, with Corrine Gavin” Every week without fail she played Sinead O Connor’s ‘Nothing Compares to You’, usually with a dedication like ‘That one goes out to ClaireBear from TomTomz who says he’s so sorry he didn’t text her back after school, he ran out of credit but he still loves her forever’… Ah, it was a simpler time!

Well done if you’ve made it all the way to here, and thanks for reading.

Follow me on twitter @kate_harr

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An Irish solution

My, my, has it been a month already?

Between the search for – and eventual beginning of – a new job the time is just flying.

This weekend I’m home in Ireland and typically I have come down with a horrible head cold. I’m sweaty and snotty and headache-y and miserable.

I tried a variety of painkillers to make me feel better.

I tried regular tea, green tea and vitamins.

But the only thing that has gone any way toward improving my health or mood so far is hot whiskey. I’m not a big whiskey person, but should you find yourself in this situation I thoroughly recommend it:

  • 1 generous shot of Jameson
  • 1 slice of lemon
  • Cloves if you want to get fancy about it, but they’re not really necessary
  • 2 spoons of sugar if, like me, you don’t really like the taste of whiskey
  • Top it up with hot water

It reduces your symptoms making you feel a bit better and gets you a bit drunk making you feel happier – talk abut a win-win situation.

Now excuse me whilst I drink myself into a stupor. It’s medicinal.

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Making the Most of your ‘Erotic Capital’

Would I have a job by now if my hem line was a little higher or my top was a little lower?

According to Samantha Brick in today’s Daily Mail I would be several rungs further up the career ladder by now. Here she is, the saucy minx.

She claims that if you look after your appearance and flirt just the right amount with your male superiors – without actually going as far as sleeping your way to the top – you’ll zoom past your colleagues who simply show up and focus on doing their jobs.

Brick claims that not only did her investment in her looks and ‘erotic capital’ advance her career, it has also led to a huge amount of flattering attention from men in all walks of life. Downsides? Her first marriage failed because her husband ‘couldn’t deal with her success’… or possibly because he didn’t like it how his wife openly flirted with any man in sight for the sake of a promotion or a bottle of champagne.

Brick, 41, has also lost many friends over the years due to their ‘jealousy’ of her looks, but it seems more than possible that it’s also something to do with her smug superiority complex.

Twitter is abuzz with people making fun of her. Many are simply rolling their eyes at the thoughts of all this fuss over an article in the Daily Mail. So is there anything to it?

Simply put, yes.

I’ve been wrestling with this all morning (one of the rare luxuries of being unemployed), but despite the fact that every feminist bone in my body is screaming ‘NO’, the more I think about it the more obvious it seems.

We judge people by how they look all the time. Low cut top and a short skirt? Slut. Pastel coloured skirt-suit? Classy. Blonde? Dumb/Have more fun. Short hair? Lesbian. We make a million judgement calls a day about people based on nothing more than a cursory glance.

Is it right? Hell no! But it is a fact of life.

When we go for job interviews we shower, do our hair nicely, wear our best clothes and make ourselves up. Why? Because we want to put the best possible image of ourselves forward. Because we understand if we go in jeans and a t-shirt we will not be taken seriously.

And what Samantha Brick is talking about is keeping that level of effort up even after you have the job, so that you will continue to be seen in the best possible light and you will get promotions and people will like you.

I recently left a job where it was suggested that I was chastised for not wearing high heels, and I term that misogynistic bullshit, but I still went in there every day with freshly washed and styled hair, make-up and nice clothes because I was in sales and I understand that no one wants to buy from someone who looks shabby!

More controversially, Brick talks about spending time and effort flirting with her male superiors. When you put it like that, she sounds like a silly bitch – but she’s writing in the Daily Mail, she’s being paid to be antagonistic!

What she’s really talking about is a game we play with our bosses all the time to be looked on favourably. We pretend to care about their kids, their holiday in the south of France or their stamp collection; we compliment their new haircut or outfit no matter how awful they are and no matter how unfunny or inappropriate they are we laugh at their jokes!

This storm in a teacup is happening because what Samantha Brick calls flirting, most of us would simply call sucking up.

Brick seems like an idiot to me, she’s not half as good looking as she thinks she is, nor as successful. But all she has actually done is create a bit of controversy with the language in which she made two points which are in fact truisms

  • If you want to be successful in your industry, look the part and you’ll get promoted
  • Get on well with your boss, take an interest in their lives and do whatever you can to get them to like you and you’ll get promoted

So ladies – are you making the most of your erotic capital? And men, do you allow yourselves to be manipulated by those that are?

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5 Reasons Poker is the Best Game in the World

I won 70 dollars in the first game of poker I ever played in Boston, and I’ve never stopped loving it since. I’ve played with family, in casinos, with college friends and in the pub for small money and (relative to my income) big money, there’s no game in the world like it and here’s why.

  • It’s incredibly cheap entertainment

    Buy in for a fiver. Maybe another five if you buy back after a bad beat or top up during the break. Ten pounds/euro/dollars and you’ll easily get three or four hours of fun. You couldn’t have a night out or go to the cinema for that price, you can barely have a night in for that price!

    Now if like me you choose to have a few vodka and tonics as you play that will set you back a few quid more – but that’s entirely at your own discretion!

  • It’s a great way of getting to know people

I can’t think of any other game where you’ll find nine people from backgrounds as diverse as they come in poker playing together… Young, old. Rich, poor. Male, female. Clever, stupid. Quiet, extroverted. You name it, you’ll find it at a poker table. And they all have a story to tell. You might not hear it the first night you meet them, but play poker with the same group of strangers a few weeks in a row and they’ll come; the wars they have fought in (literal and metaphorical), how they met their wives, what they’re calling the baby when it comes. Genuinely fascinating stories week on week from people who you almost definitely wouldn’t have met in any other context.

Which links in with my next point…

  • Getting a read
    You really get to know someone at a table, even if they rarely say a word. Some things you get to know soon – are they bluffers or do they only call with the nuts (the very best hand), do they go on tilt after a bad beat (let the outcome of a previous hand effect how they play the next one). How do they stack the chips they have? Messy chipstack = loose player! When they’re running out do they go down fighting or cling on as long as possible? There’s a lot you can tell from how they play a hand.

  •  The thrills

I have never taken a penalty in a Premiership League football match or performed a concert in front of a sold out audience at the 02, so I can’t tell you how poker compares to that – but I have done a bungee jump so I can tell you that the feeling you get looking down from the top of the crane as you’re about to jump is comparable to the one you get when you go all-in. How many callers? Flop, turn, river…. The exhilaration if you’re stack is doubled, the disappointment of the loss – it’s roller-coaster stuff. No two hands are the same, no two games are the same.

  • It’s completely unpredictable
You can have two aces in your hand and you’re far from guaranteed to win. You can play  with 2-7 off-suit (statistically the worst hand in poker) and bring home the bacon. Think you’re in the money with your straight? Didn’t notice the flush – it’s all mine, baby!

As Jay-Z says in Forever Young “you get a new hand soon after you fold”. Lost the hand? No problem, they’re already dealing you a new one. Lost all your chips? Throw another fiver in the pot and buy in again. Lost the game? Play again next week. Try not to worry too much about the post-hand analysis. Maybe you played it right and got unlucky, maybe you got it wrong and you’ll know better next time. That’s the way the game goes.

Not to mention, it’s one of the only games in the world where you have a good chance of going home with more money than you arrived with!

Any fellow poker players out there? If not – why don’t you give it a go?!

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Get a life, you desperate biatches!

Living with four of your BFFs is a LOT of fun.

Ah St Patrick's Day, fun was had. I can't find a picture of all five of us!

Most of the time.

But I’m not going to lie, there are challenges.

One of the main ones is finding something all five of us like to watch on television. So far all we’ve got is the Big Bang Theory. So we watch that. All. The. Time.

A genius, a pervert, an Indian, a blonde and the nerd that loves her. What's not to love?

There are two episodes of that on each day, so for the rest of the time we “compromise”. I watch a lot of crap that makes me want to stick needles in my eyes… I can only assume the others do too. But the worst, the one that makes me want to shake the participants and despair for my generation and women everywhere goes by the name of Take Me Out.

For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure, here’s the premise: One arrogant guy goes up in front of 30 spray-tanned, false eye-lashed, hair-styled, skank-ily dressed girls, mostly in their twenties. The girls get to know him a bit, and if they like him they can leave their lights on.

That prat in the middle of them ,with the very Irish-sounding name Paddy McGuinness does mini-interviews with the ladies where they bat their eye lashes, flick their hair and coo awful cliches about why they’re the perfect  girl for him. In return, the guy has a video played about him flaunting all of his best attributes and a variety of friends outlining why the girls would be lucky to have him.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not opposed to dating shows in general. I was raised with Cilla Black’s Blind Date and I’m quite partial to ITV’s Love in the Wild. But on this one, as the rounds go on, the girls get more and more desperate.

They plead to be picked. It’s embarrassing. They crack out kitch, scripted answers that make me die inside. Most of them are already flaunting their “assets”, so to grab the attention of their potential date they start out flirting but end up on a desperate tirade of desperate desperation. (Sorry, I’ve been drinking Sex on the Beach for the past 6 hours, my vocabulary ain’t what it used to be)

Most of these girls are young, smart and attractive. If I met them in any other context I might even confuse them for women that have respect for themselves. I can understand that they might be a bit battered and bruised by the dating scene, but here are some alternative steps they could have taken

  • Have a friend set you up with a nice, normal guy
  • Join an online dating site/go speed dating
  • Invest in a vibrator
  • Chance a new bar, join a club, get to know new people any way at all!
  • Take in a number of cats

Any of the above would get much more respect from me!

The show is a misogynists dream. Women prostate themselves, compete with each other, doll themselves up and dumb themselves down…

I’d love to say more, but I did mention about the cocktails… so I’ll end this particular rant here.

Do you have to put up with house mate’s/family’s horrific tv choices?

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