Falling in love with a stranger

These questions were originally published by the New York Times in 2015, and led to the youtube film at the bottom of the post.

1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?

2. Would you like to be famous? In what way?

3. Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?

4. What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?

5. When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?

6. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?

7. Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?

8. Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.

9. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

10. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?

11. Take four minutes and tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible.

12. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?

Set II

13. If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?

14. Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?

15. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?

16. What do you value most in a friendship?

17. What is your most treasured memory?

18. What is your most terrible memory?

19. If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why?

20. What does friendship mean to you?

21. What roles do love and affection play in your life?

22. Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner. Share a total of five items.

23. How close and warm is your family? Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people’s?

24. How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?

Set III

25. Make three true “we” statements each. For instance, “We are both in this room feeling … “

26. Complete this sentence: “I wish I had someone with whom I could share … “

27. If you were going to become a close friend with your partner, please share what would be important for him or her to know.

28. Tell your partner what you like about them; be very honest this time, saying things that you might not say to someone you’ve just met.

29. Share with your partner an embarrassing moment in your life.

30. When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?

31. Tell your partner something that you like about them already.

32. What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?

33. If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? Why haven’t you told them yet?

34. Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire. After saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be? Why?

35. Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing? Why?

36. Share a personal problem and ask your partner’s advice on how he or she might handle it. Also, ask your partner to reflect back to you how you seem to be feeling about the problem you have chosen.

 

Continue Reading

For those tracking statistics…

It looks as if nobody is reading the blog at all. I have 14 spammers per day, who hit the same pages without leaving a trace, and I probably know the only people actually reading personally.

Facebook and Twitter used to yield quite a few, as did linkedin, and there used to be a few direct readers checking in to whatever the blog said. Now, also because I tweet a lot less widely, there are no real readers by the looks of the statistics.

So, thanks if you have been keeping tuned in, but there looks as if this is a dying blog from the last couple of weeks or so. Youtube is doing marginally better, so I may concentrate more on the audio blog once I have filled in all the blanks that are worth filling.

I am having pretty much constant anxiety attacks due to the extended attack on my mother and I, and I am not sure how much more my health will tolerate, so everything is now very unstable here.

Am spending a lot of time de-cluttering as a result. I have nothing to prove in terms of my care for my mother, and I am not really in a position to carry on fighting to make myself ill.

Not a great period, and certainly not a productive one as I am worrying about how I will store all this stuff and pay for everything in the near future.

Continue Reading

More unemployed Furniture! The Conservative way!

Over the weekend, I have acquired another twenty one unemployed items of furniture, and another three items that I already have lurking in the studio require my attention. This is turning into quite a production line. My garden currently looks as if I am about to host a conference.

 

I now need another thousand pounds or so of materials in order to give the starving hoardes what they need to get back to work. This is turning into a production line, which is a new concept, considering the length of time I give every piece I make.

 

I could raid my savings, but I think this is a bad idea, so I am sorting through my wool stock to see if I can dredge up another thousand pounds worth of stuff to sell to pay for the new materials. I am an absolute skinflint, but this usually means I can do what I set out to do without having to borrow anything.

 

My friend has appeared to lend a hand, and so everything should move a bit faster. Basically the sewing is now going to have to move entirely to my bedroom, and the studio will now have to be given over entirely to the furniture.

 

Short term, the collections are now Sheep in wolf’s clothing, Jazz, and Beach, classified by the existing carpets, which take the longest. For each major carpet, I will be creating a chair, table, lamp, footstool, box and probably some cushions and mirrors/wall art. Thereafter the idea is that I present the Ina Disguise concept in style groupings, which should make more sense of my uncompromising attitude to design. My heartfelt thanks to Boris, I seem to be a bit more practical and mercurial than I was when it was a simple compulsion.

 

So tomorrow I will dismantle the conference facilities in my garden, dismantle the studio and bring all the wool up to my bedroom for sorting, the studio will house the furniture and furniture materials, and I will have to look through what remains to find out which bits need to be smashed, which bits can be sold, and generally clean up the dust from the work so far. Then we will be cleaning the first pieces, moving the gaudi chair, which is a very old piece of work into the house for cleaning, moving the items which have been sitting in the studio awaiting my donating them to charity into my office area for selling off to pay for materials. I do miss my shoes, however. Life is better with shoes.

 

Now I am sure a considerable number of people will think that given that I take care of a very time consuming old lady and a giant property, that I am quite insane for putting this much work into creating more work for myself, but after the experience of the last twenty years or so, I think my future lies in directions other than unemployment and miserable penury followed by death.

 

Ultimately, I think the games will make more of a living, but in the meantime, making some funky entertaining grown up toy furniture to entertain the FT and Tatler readers sounds like a plan. I do need money for this angle however, which is proving to be a bit of a hurdle at the moment.

Continue Reading

Work, work, work

work, work, work

Serious personal problems but I can report that work on the next few items is going very well.
I have created a range of items that take a few minutes every day for a month or so, at twelve hour intervals, which take up a horrific amount of space, but once I have completed the prototypes, I will have products which can be made in batches and have a serious amount of added value.
Possibly a little fussy for modern tastes, but you never know, perhaps I will start a trend for the decorative.
Have managed to get almost a thousand pounds worth of stuff I had lying around up for sale, slow and steady sales have meant I can continuously invest in the new lines.
Not in the mood for sewing just now, so I am working on the visual novel, and considering whether I want to write.  I tend to go a bit full focus on writing, so the issues with the house are bothering me a bit too much.
It is amazing how free your timelines become when you make a positive decision to ignore politics. I am very sad that so many people do not understand the problems they create.
 
Ina

Continue Reading

Drunken Buffoonery – Wolfe’s Birthday

Here, I am, in probably my favourite place in the world, my mother’s house, on my own.  What joy!

 

Twisty is here, and is very kindly looking after mother, whilst I have a moment of utter selfishness, taking stock over the last nine years.

 

Nine years ago, almost to the day, my mother had a stroke whilst her other two daughters sat and watched it happen.

 

Nine years ago, the day before, the Banking Consultancy job ended because the banks went to the High Court to prevent them having to give people like you money because they had not done business properly.  I laughed as a room full of people wept over their lost mortgage payments, since they had given up their normal jobs on the basis of getting twice or three times the money they normally get.  Yes the class renegade was right, as usual. The world is a muddy, murky place.

 

The night following this, my sister called me to tell me that a random blood clot coming adrift was my fault, and that she was entitled to my home.  Apparently this is acceptable behaviour in my family.

 

The day after that, the other sister was let into the house to await news, and used the time to get keys cut to my home so that she could go through my belongings, threaten me and invent spurious stories to back up their claim to my mother’s money. You would think there was lots of it.  There isn’t.

 

Four years later, after a corporate scandal in which I earned my brother quite a bit of money by being honest, he ‘took control’ in order to attempt to take all the family money.  I was to live in a rented flat. My family are poison, and they tried to use me to rob their own parents.  I was so ashamed. You cannot really invite a gentleman to share a life like this.

 

I like to attribute my 160lb weight loss to David Wolfe, because by some irrational quirk of fate, I loved him, despite his many obvious failings.  I regarded him as someone who lacked, and needed the very thing he was trying to avoid.  I had no other reason to want to go on living, after finding that my family, who had never been very great shakes, were utterly worthless, self- obsessed and inadequate people who would cheerfully kill me for a tenner.

 

The reality was somewhat different.  I had a great deal of knowledge, gained over a lifetime, and I just happened to like him for a variety of deeply emotional reasons.  There was something about the pain that he inadvertently expresses that I plugged into very readily. My relationship with Twisty is along similar lines.  We share pain, and we share tolerance of things that most people cannot even touch in the course of their relationships. It does not always go well, but altogether it is a very healing and healthy relationship.

 

It is a strange thing, to pick your knight in shining armour on the basis of their ability to deal with pain, but life gets complicated as you get older, and you are fortunate if you can find someone as special as David or Twisty. One has been blamed for nothing at all, on the basis of spite, and the other has been blamed for the state of the world, on the basis of plain, old-fashioned motivation. Life is always chaotic, because it is life , and chaos is the nature of life.

 

My current focus is on Boris, because Boris has gone as far as he can go without me. Boris will be shocked, but Boris will not be hurt, because hurt is not the nature of my work. I have enough love to give Boris, because Wolfe does not understand what I do, and neither does Twisty.

 

To clarify this rather abstract concept, I am positing myself as a kind of wireless extender.

 

I love, therefore so can you.  Go forth and love.

 

<script>
(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i[‘GoogleAnalyticsObject’]=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){
(i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o),
m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m)
})(window,document,’script’,’https://www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js’,’ga’);

ga(‘create’, ‘UA-72915918-1’, ‘auto’);
ga(‘send’, ‘pageview’);

</script>

Continue Reading

Fluffety fluff fluff

Fluffety fluff fluff

So, after our uncharacteristic booze discussion in St Andrews, Twisty Headed Man, my uncollaborative artist chum, and I have chewed over a few things and are now recovering from some very complicated cocktails with strawberries and ice-cream.

 

I have been asked for a post specifically on Scotland and Brexit, so you may get a bonus one  shortly, although I think I have covered my initial responses to the problems popping up in the news so far.  Those who want a nice concise thousand words or so may wish to tune in later.

 

The first email asking whether poor Boris is my new muse has arrived.  Twisty and I, since we were sitting in a restaurant which had papered its walls with Boris pics, surrounded by English visitors to St Andrews who all appeared to be big fans of his, tentatively discussed this last night.

 

My objections to this obvious and worthy development are as follows:

Do not mess with the foreign secretary.  The Secret Service can be really quite annoying. (long story)
Boris is very married, and my methods can be a bit intrusive should the recipient choose to allow it.
Boris does not particularly require dissecting.
The balance is not right in terms of benefitting both parties.
There are far more relevant artists out there doing much the same thing.

In my case, the process is quite holistic and emotional, and so I do not think this would be a good idea. Whilst I can see that the ‘strange hair, sane head’ thing fits with my modus operandi, I do not think that copious public speaking and quirkiness is necessarily the entry requirements, although from an intrinsic self-acceptance perspective, this could work out really well for me.

 

I do not do my thing entirely for me, however.  Somebody else can explain that one to poor old Wolfe.

 

Anyway, there is at least a year before I have to make a decision.  In the meantime, I think we are looking at someone who does a lot of talking, by the looks of things.

 

Continue Reading

Boris Johnson – Elvis on Mars

I know this is probably going to be unpopular, but I rather like Boris.  Boris shares many characteristics with my former muse, David Wolfe.  (you knew I would sneak you in somehow)

 

I have mentioned before that I managed to have an argument with his sister Rachel some years ago, as she is so far removed from everyone else’s functionality that she lacks the ability to converse or accept advice from anyone.  I was attempting to assist her in finding a new identity for The Lady magazine, a publication which I used to carry in the belief that I would be identified as someone who rated integrity above the usual concerns of self-aggrandisement and remuneration.  Little did I know that these negative attributes also apply to people who should really be above them due to their significant advantages in life.

 

I imagine that this gives me some insight into Boris.  His career to date would make anyone without an inflated sense of self and importance blush, but not Boris.  Boris cruises through life, is extremely well paid for being himself, and still we continue to forgive and encourage him.

 

I was considering a comparison with Dick Whittington, but I think Boris has now exceeded poor Mr Whittington’s achievements, and is likely, despite some unpopularity with certain Conservatives, to continue to exceed them.  Apparently the sky is the limit for this flawed but charming chap.

 

And now, it seems that our own dear Boris will be running for PM and leadership of the Conservative Party.  I have my doubts as to whether he is capable of dragging the party back to a position of popularity with anyone but the slightly more fortunate, but given his position, slightly outside the prefecture we have not enjoyed in the slightest, I am sure he would make a popular and entertaining PM, were the party to consider it.

 

Alas, the Conservative party like their candidates a little grey, and so I wonder if they will select him.  He seems to be a tad abrupt with those who actually work with him, despite the pleasing dishevelment and quick wit.

 

So, in order to endorse Boris, despite his repellent and extremely rude sister, I would like to suggest to the Conservative party that in order to be considered for any further terms, they should appoint the adorably grey Gove as Chancellor, ditch the appalling trio of Cameron, Osborne and Duncan-Smith to whichever Tory hellhole that most closely resembles a jobcentre, complete with terrified and hostile staff.  There they can enjoy the fruits of their own labours.

 

I am of the opinion that Boris planned to lose the referendum, and this is another in a long list of charming accidents.  I said in my previous post, and I will say it again IT IS NOT NECESSARILY A BAD ACCIDENT.  Like Boris, Britain is dishevelled, inventive, and fast on its feet.  Like Boris, Britain is well capable of making the best of a difficult situation, and like Boris, Britain is not always nice to those assisting as the country blunders its way through history.  He represents the country perfectly, and short of Scotland rescuing England from the risks involved in Brexit, he is the ideal solution to a problem voters created by opting for a risky but optimistic future.

 

In a future where the population is likely to become considerably more engaged and educated about politics, it will take a strong, charming person who admits and learns from mistakes, not a blustering, arrogant pair of giggling twits like Osborne and Cameron.  Whether you like it or not, we are well rid of the pair of them.  I move we go for the entertaining option, with a side order of sensible economic policy which benefits the people who have suffered most under a system which has bled small and medium sized business and domestic spending in favour of fat savings, fat business, and skinny prospects for most of the people in the UK.  We now have an opportunity for optimism, and I would like to see this optimism, this vigour and stimulation for growth which touches real people as soon as possible, so I say, let us encourage the wise fool. Boris is the best option England has got.

Continue Reading

Blocked again sigh

Hi David,

Have no idea how long ago you blocked me on Twitter, assumed you weren’t lowering yourself to look at my thousands of hours of work anyway.

 

yada yada bitter and twisted shite

 

 

 

Ina

 

 

 

 

Continue Reading

The sad tale of Marco Pierre White and son

msrco youngHere is Marco Pierre White, in an iconic black and white picture taken in the late 80s, before I started cooking.  He was an early influence on me, not because I particularly appreciated his cooking, but because he was initially famous amongst chefs for walking out of catering college when they attempted to force him to learn how to use a stock cube.  Back in those days, stock cubes were not good enough for Marco.  He wanted to learn how to cook, and went from this rebellion to becoming the most well regarded chef in the UK in a remarkably short time.

 

He was also well known amongst chefs for his hatred of women in the kitchen, as he had decided that it was a brutal job.  Some chefs like to play this game, humiliating people into learning tasks quickly to avoid either crying or being fired.  I have worked in these types of kitchen, in addition to the more serious, religious style of leadership, and I have to say when I ran my own kitchen, the rough-and-tumble style of leadership was something I grew out of very quickly.  It is tiresome having to replace weeping chefs on a frequent basis, so you might as well give them some time and space to make errors.  Errors are not only instructive for the chef, they sometimes result in more interesting results.

 

The third piece of information that I got first hand from people that worked with him, was that he was fond of employing young male Scottish chefs, as they would be unable to pay the trainfare home until they had been forced to work for him for two weeks or more, so he could behave as badly as he wanted to.  He liked to keep the meat in the garden after delivery, so that it was well rested, and presumably weathered by the time it got to your very expensive plate.  One of my favourite recipes of his, was his water vinegarette, which was one of those confidence tricks that you pull at the top end of the catering trade.  If you develop sufficient panache, you can eventually pull off presenting an almost empty plate, a good lesson to learn for your future creative exploits.

 

marconow

 

This is a more recent picture of Marco Pierre White, who is now famous for advertising stock cubes.  He apparently believes that everyone, like the fawning media, has forgotten his initial claim to fame.  The Dorian Gray picture to absorb his having sold his soul for money has apparently been lost.  Perhaps his son sold it to pay his bills.  As you can see, he is not a happy man, but he is reasonably well off.  This is not a good advertisement for giving your life up entirely to your dreams, and it is not a good advertisement for years of creating top end dishes.  He is only 8 years older than me, and I can honestly say he could easily be confused as being my father, the difference is so marked.

 

marcoson

 

This is a picture of Marco Pierre White Jnr, whose current ambition is to create Marco Pierre White III, as he can think of no other way of pleasing his unhappy father.  He has no idea how to please him, because his father has spent all these years chasing glory at the expense of loving his son, who has recently been suckered into a TV appearance, to pay off bills that he ran up running wild as a result of his exhausted father taking his credit and debit cards away.  He does not have to work at anything, he is under pressure to maintain the family name, and he has absolutely no idea how to do it.  He speaks in a breathy, Marilyn Monroe voice and attempts to please others by filling in the silent gaps with tales of boyish glory as he has no idea how to command respect or earn any genuine admiration from others.  What this young man needs, is a father who does not obsess about his own need for admiration, and who is willing to spend some time giving him some self worth.

 

What he does not need, is publicity whilst he grows out of doing the sort of stupid things chefs do in their time off because they have extremely limited time to come up with a good story to bring back to work.

 

Raymond Blanc did it, David Dempsey, Gordon Ramsay’s late chef, did it, hundreds of talented chefs have destroyed their own lives doing it.  Relieving stress by performing the sort of stupid male stunt that only other men even smirk at as they go about their long and sweaty day, is not particularly smart.

 

Working people 80-140 hours a week is also not smart, because as someone who has actually done it, despite the misogynistic views of people like Marco Pierre White, I can tell you that you completely forget how to function as a whole person.  It takes years to get a sense of perspective back into your life.

 

People are not machines, and Marco the father needs to drop everything to give Marco the son the time and reassurance he clearly needs to grow into a whole person.  Right now he is confused, worthless, and will not live long without some actual love from his father.

 

Discipline is not always the answer, but in this case, spending some time on a small island with no facilities would do the pair of them the world of good, because the evidence suggests that neither of them retain any connection with reality, and their tiny place in it.

Continue Reading

FTAO Ina Disguise Blog readers

Hi,

 

Just a note to say Amazon is causing me some problems with getting the stolen book removed, and I am busy at the moment developing the marketing side of things, and getting the blog onto youtube, minus a few strategic posts that are really just here for Google and Wolfe rather than tag generating publicity.

 

Studio work progressing and I need to focus on the programming languages if I want to get ahead with the digital side of things, which requires a different mindset than writing and sewing.

 

Made a video for Wolfe yesterday, for the first time in about three or four years, so evidently I am feeling better about myself.  Hopefully he now understands me a bit better, but who can tell? If not, no loss in trying I guess. Am thinking of doing a series of more general comedy nagging posts.  Unfortunately, nagging requires a face, and Ina has no face, so if I do it, it will probably be under my Second Life name. (my real name is even more ridiculous than Ina Disguise)

 

Have entered one of my once a decade randy (horny) phases, so who knows what mischief is going to ensue with the creative work, since I tend to pour it all into that.  I will probably be looking a bit different shortly, as I usually metamorphosize during these phases.

 

The blog will return shortly, when the workload is up to speed, unless something dramatic happens that I feel the need to notice.

 

Thank you so much for all support so far.

 

Ina

Continue Reading