Neither a borrower nor a lender be, for loan oft loses both itself and friend.

Just over five years ago, I was heading off to university for the first time. If I’m being honest, I hadn’t given it that much thought. Some had been dreaming of going away to uni for years. Others had a job that they were desperate to do and they had to have the academic qualifications to get there. Me? I took everything one day at a time and hadn’t considered uni until I got to sixth form really. I applied (more because everyone was, rather than out of great want.) What was I to study? I wanted to study English, but fearing I wouldn’t be good enough, I applied to do Sociology, which had a much lower entrance grade.

I think to do English at Reading, I would have needed BBB, whereas for Sociology, I only needed BCC. Needless to say, I got the necessary grades to study English anyway. I studied English and Sociology in my first year and after my exams, I decided that English was the choice for me.

How did I chose what university to study at? Well, I knew I wanted to stay at home. This wasn’t because I was shy or scared  to leave home, but it was a selfish desire to have my metaphorical cake and eat it. I didn’t want to give my horses up for three years. If I lived away at university, then I couldn’t have afforded to do that and keep my horses. Simples as the meerkats say.

I wasn’t too sure whether university was the right option for me, so I planned to defer for a year to see how I felt. It was simply the threats about the hikes in tuition fees that sent me to uni so quickly. When we went, it cost £1050 a year. The year after us, paid around £3000. I couldn’t afford to pay £3000 a year, let alone the £9000 a year that is being threatened now. I left university with about £10,000 worth of debt. I had around half of that money sitting in an ISA, but as it was an interest free loan, I used it to buy a (nearly) brand new car. With pink flowers on.

It’s quite scary that I am 23 years old, have no house or anything of great ownership to speak of, but I have a £10k debt. Yet, one of the girls I work with, did not go to uni and at 21, she has bought her first house and is getting married in four months. I’m not saying that I should have done that, but I have achieved nothing compared to her, which is most unfair.

It’s difficult to say whether going to university has helped me in the world of work. I’m not sure I would have got the job I’ve got as my first job, without the aid of a degree, but I would have had three years of income to build up to it. Regardless of that, I loved my three years at uni and without it, I feel that I would be a very different person.

So where does my experience fit in with the current student protests? I don’t think the education I received was worthy of paying £9000 a year. For those not familiar with the university calendar; the year is made up of three ten week terms. Each term has one “reading week”, which has no lectures or seminars to allow you to complete your assigned essays. You rarely had lectures or seminars in the final week of term either. Then, the summer term was mainly made up of revision time and exams. So in my first year, I had a pretty full on schedule, with at least three or four hours of contact time a day. But by the second year, that had dropped to 3 lecture hours and 3 seminar hours a week. And by my final year, I had a couple of 2 hour seminars a week. Now I don’t want to sound fussy, but is 8 hours of contact time a term really worth £9000? That means that every hour long seminar in my final year was worth about £600. Absolutely absurd.

I find it deeply upsetting that the politicians that are bringing about these changes were all educated in the countries finest universities without paying a single penny. In fact, a lot of them were given grants to go. And now they are pulling up the rope ladder behind them. It’s disgusting. I have thought about this all week, trying to work out why it changed so much and I think I finally have the answer. The Labour Party has spent the last ten years encouraging absolutely everybody to go to university, which has not only devalued the degree but also means that the country can no longer afford to pay for all of the futures doctors, nurses and lawyers.

The problem I see with the huge hike in tuition fees is that you are just as likely to put off the future doctors and lawyers as you are those who are studying for the sake of studying. I don’t have a perfect solution and I don’t know what to do for the best, but I think you have to distinguish between those studying for a vocation and those not. We are always complaining that we are perilously low in teachers, doctors and other key skills. So why not make their fees lower? Or offer generous grants? After all, they are going to be contributing enormously to the economy.

Having said all this, the loan repayments are taken out of your pay before you even see it and you pay so little back each month, that you will never really notice it. In fact, in 18 months of full time employment, I think I have paid off about £750. Assuming that I will have paid off £1000 by the time I hit the 2 year mark, then I will have paid off my debt in another 18 years. Then if we assume that sometime during the next 18 years, I may get married and have children, I will pause paying it back for a year or so. So, now I’ll be in my mid fifties and paying it back. Scary.

Is it worth it? Who knows. I stand by my decision to go to university, but realistically, I’m not sure it’s worth all that money. It took me a good 9 months trying to get a job when I graduated. Even for the most basic job, I would get turned down because they had chosen to take on the graduate with the years experience already. There was no way to distinguish between people as everyone seems to have a degree. It’s not what it used to be. Perhaps the government need to work harder on introducing more vocational and training courses, without trying to get everyone to go through the university system. That way, prospective employers can begin to distinguish between candidates once more.

I’m not even going to start on the rent -a- mob and the violent protests that are going on. I respect what they are trying to achieve, but you won’t get your own way by throwing your toys out of the pram.


(Golden)Twit Twoo, Here’s Lookin’ at You

I think this blog needs a little warning; if you do not use Twitter, some of this may be lost on you, but it’s childs play. Read on and you’ll see, it’s dead simple.

It’s that time of year again; the central heating is cranked back on, you lay awake all night coughing and then when it is time to get up, it’s pitch black and chilly. Bed seems like a much nicer option and I find it increasingly hard to get up on a winters morning. But this morning it was all different; I dragged myself out of bed after cowering under my duvet for a good five minutes. With stiff ankles cracking and sleep blurring my vision, I stumbled over to my laptop. Through the blur, I could see that not only had I received a #followfriday at 5.49am, someone had nominated me for a GoldenTwit award.

Now, I don’t really subscribe to this #followfriday mullarkey; does anyone ever see it and actually follow me off the back of it? I’m not sure that they do, but it’s lovely to be recommended by people. Even if they are your friends and you would make their lives miserable if they did not. It’s just nice to have someone saying something nice about you.

Until this morning, I wasn’t aware of The GoldenTwit awards. I had no idea what they were, but I was delighted to find that I had been nominated for one. I don’t have thousands of followers, but I like to think that all 116 of them were in for the long haul and enjoyed my twerping. So I clicked on the link to explore the GoldenTwits and I was welcomed into a world that celebrates the little things people say. Some of the best things have been said in 140 characters; there is a reason that the likes of Oscar Wilde and Mark Twain were so concise. Obviously not all of their best quotes fit into 140 characters, but that is why the likes of WordPress exist. Micro blogging and ordinary blogging go hand in hand; I couldn’t live my life in 140 characters, but it’s a great way to amuse and abuse your friends.

So it seems all the Twitter Greats have been nominated for the GoldenTwit awards; David Schneider, Mrs Stephen Fry and David Cameroon (@TheFuckingPM) are all there. I realise that I am not anywhere near their level of greatness, but I would be delighted if all my lovely friends voted for me regardless. (All is fair in love and twitter.)

When I went onto the GoldenTwit website, I discovered that I had to answer some questions, in order to win people’s votes. The questions were as follows:

Why do you deserve a Golden Twit award?

When tweeting, what are your objectives?

What have you achieved?

What’s your favourite Twitter application?

Why should people vote for you?

How would you describe twitter to non-tweeters?

Now it is all very well amusing people as a by-product of entertaining yourself and chatting to your friends, but this is a lot more scary. Answering these questions with just 140 characters is incredibly pressuring; suddenly I have to be funny on demand. Dance for me monkey! I like to think that my tweets entertain now and then, but I do not soley write them for that purpose. So I have spent my evening trying to work out the best thing to write? Do they expect me to be sincere or humerous? Did they want me to genuinely try and win people over?

I tried to answer the questions seriously, but in all honesty, I have not managed to achieve anything in my twitter life and I don’t really have any objectives for goodness sake. Twitter is a subconscious thing, it is like talking or thinking and not something I use for business. So, I decided to bluff over my obvious inadequacies with sarcasm and flippancy.

What did I write? Well, you’ll have to pop on over to to have a gander. (Oh and if you don’t vote for me while you are there… well, I will be having words. Except that I probably will be too embarrassed, so I’ll just ignore it in that irritating British way. But I’ll think some pretty nasty things.)

Hunger is the best cook and food the best doctor.

Being English, I adore food. It is as simple as that. I am tempted to finish this week’s blog there as it needs no further explanation. However, I feel contractually obliged, so I must continue.

I don’t really mind what food as there is a meal for every occasion. There is nothing better than cheese and onion on toast when getting in from a cold, wet and dark winters day show jumping. In the same way, a summers evening is made by a simple steak, salad and a few wedges. I think it is something unique about the British, that we shape every event or occasion we have by food. Spending two or three days with our nearest and dearest at Christmas is just too much for the vast majority of us to take, so we fill our time eating a year’s supply of meat, potatoes and chocolates. By filling our time eating all that glorious food, we barely have time to argue with the family before falling asleep in front of the Eastenders Christmas special.

It is with this love of food that I sit in front of the television, eating any old ready meal, watching Masterchef with such excitement. But of late, the BBC has come up with a new creation, which is just awe-inspiring on so many levels. The Great British Bake Off is a throwback to years gone by, where the most quintessentially middle class people take baking as seriously as you or I would consider world peace or poverty. Now I adore bread, cakes and all manner of baked delights, but I could never take it as seriously as any of these contestants. This is the reality show for the yummy mummy to get excited about. It is not the cooking that you or I would manage; oh no, there is an invention test, which requires them to create something wacky and wonderful, such as violet petal macaroons or choux buns with popping candy in. The next test is perhaps the most terrifying; the contestants are given the ingredients for a classic recipe, but they do not have the actual recipe. Over the past few weeks, they have had to bake all sorts of wonders such as cottage loaves and Cornish pasties sans instruction. Despite this hindrance, there have been no catastrophic cock ups. Of course, there have been the nail biting moments where pastry is soft, scones haven’t browned or bread hasn’t risen, but they have always completed an acceptable finished product, which is more than I would manage.

The contestants have all been wonderfully varied considering the subject matter. I was quite shocked by the amount of men that started the competition; whilst men generally make excellent cooks, I know that it’s a stereotype, but I don’t imagine them on the baking side of things. Gordon Ramsey isn’t known for his delicate touch in pastry making! Right back at the beginning, we had a Welsh bus driver whose cakes were the talk of the depot and true to his Welsh heritage he was pretty emotional about leaving. Every contestant has had their own special little quirk, which makes them so interesting. The most amusing of these was Jas, who had the most amazing Black Country accent, which seemed to disappear and then come flooding back in waves across the sentence.

It is not just the glorious way the contestants get so het up about bread or pastries that makes this programme; it is the timely interjections from Mel and Sue. Hosted by Mel Giedroyc (yes, that’s easier to type than it is to say) and Sue Perkins, this programme brings the southern, female, humorous and entertaining equivalent of Ant and Dec back together on our screens once more. Obviously, they are not comparable to Ant and Dec; Mel and Sue made great lunchtime telly back in the nineties and this is such a hilarious place to see them. Mel gets almost as emotionally involved as the contestants themselves and she looks quite bleary eyed as she tells them who has been eliminated each week. Whilst they are cooking, Mel and Sue float around chatting to the contestants with seemingly little purpose, often accidentally eating their ingredients or asking to try it just as the contestant has discovered they haven’t actually put the 5 beautifully separated eggs into the scones.

Apparently this programme has split the baking society into those who WI and those who don’t. The WI (bakers extraordinaire) has been up in arms about some of Paul Hollywood’s comments and decisions. The lovely Mary Berry seems to have avoiding the controversies, which pleases me for two reasons. Firstly, her salad dressings are the best salad dressings in the entire world. Secondly, I used to serve her regularly at Tesco on a Wednesday evening and she was quite lovely.

But for a naive weekend baker, oblivious to this controversy, the Great British Bakeoff is such a delightful programme. It seems to hark back to a bygone era. Maybe I’m back in my dream world hoping that lovely Middle England could be so lovely once again, but it’s true. They have gone to some beautiful places around the country and baked all manner of goodies that I would love to try. What’s to dislike about that?
Now to the important part; who do I think will win? Ruth, hands down. She has been the strongest from the very beginning, with Edd and Miranda as strong competition. I would say that Edd could pull it out of the bag, but I’ve seen the teaser for next week’s final; he is bent over with a towel to his face having apparently stabbed himself, which I think might reduce his chances a little. Only time will tell, but next Tuesday I will be in the deepest, darkest depths of Devon so there is a chance I will not see the final until Thursday. As long as no one tells me who wins in the meantime, I will enjoy the final when I see it.

The discovery of the real “you” does not lie within the journey, but in the packing.

Everyone talks about going travelling to broaden the mind or discovering the real “you”, but having spent an entire day packing for various different occasions, I have come to the conclusion that your inner self is hiding at the bottom of the rucksack.

Packing is, in itself, a journey. You begin, full of excitement for your forthcoming trip. You are resolute that you will pack lightly and not take unnecessary stuff with you. So you grab yourself a bag and begin to plan your days. Everything is going to plan, until one thing occurs to you: what happens if it rains? You have only packed for good weather! So then you grab a few jumpers and long-sleeved tops out. But a jumper doesn’t go with shorts, you’ll have to pack jeans as well.

So now, you’ve got more outfits than you have days and your empty suitcase is surrounded by piles of clothing. You’ve lost control, you start throwing all your favourites in, just in case. You’ve put a swimsuit in, not because you’ll have a chance to swim, but you don’t want to be caught without. Then you’ve got a coat, jumper and thick trousers, because you never know when the weather will turn. In the Med. You’ve got both pairs of flip flops, not so you can go out with solely flip flips or flop flops, but just so that you can decide on the day, which pair you will wear.

The excitement of going on holiday is starting to fade as you realise you have to decide what to take. Suddenly your bag seems woefully small and your clothes inadequately large. You sink down on the bed, bored of all of this, dreaming of it being finished and getting to your destination. You lose all will to pack and distract yourself by turning your out of office on, making sure your bank account is correct and all those really important, but unnecessary things.

In a moment of panic, you turn reluctantly back to your packing. Sensibly, you throw some stuff aside and then work out how to cram everything in. It is only when you’ve just managed to inch the zip closed, by lying across the case, that you realise you’ve forgotten underwear, a toothbrush and your toothpaste. The next mission, should you choose to accept it, is to start trying to poke things in through that gap in the zip.

I can talk about this so knowingly because last night I packed a bag for a 2 day stay in Edinburgh followed by a week in rural Scotland, working at Blair Horse Trials. Thankfully, for the main, this involved work clothes, which have been printed especially for the occasion. Easy; although, last year, it did rain like a dog, so I have packed a few extras to try to stop myself from drowning. Then I have thrown a few nice clothes in for Edinburgh and my GHDs for the trip. Where it starts to get difficult is that I will be at V Festival immediately before, so I have had to work out what I will need for both and which bits I can take where. It has been a logistical nightmare, and that is before I started packing ten boxes full of lab equipment and all of its accoutrements for the work side of it.

What have I discovered today? Every packing experience takes you on a journey of excitement, disillusionment and disappointment. Forget the holiday, I’ve travelled enough before I’ve even left.

To Love or Not to Love; that is the question.

This week, I have been challenged to write a love letter to myself and in the absence of anything better to do, here I am. I often find that I can’t resist a challenge, but I am already worried about how this is going to go. Either, I will find I have nothing to say, or I will talk about how wonderful I am and sound like an egomaniac. But then I thought about it and decided ‘in for a penny, in for a pound.’ I am writing a blog, which is incredibly me-centric, so it can’t get any worse.

Dear Bryony,

One of the first things I noticed about you was how quickly you seemed to inflate and deflate in the presence of others. Like a balloon, the more people blow you up (you can stop those thoughts right now), the higher you seem to get. Yet it just takes the tiniest prick (ok, maybe I meant that double meaning) to send you flying back down. Everyone assumes that you are loud and brash, always wanting to be heard over everyone else, but I know you better than that. You live off the praise of others; the minute people laugh at your jokes or pay any attention to you, you blossom like a flower, full of stories and compliments for everyone. But those that go up must always come down. I see the way you react to people’s comments. You cannot take a compliment as it is meant, you expect there to be a hidden agenda in there. You pretend that those comments don’t hurt you; Bryony, she’s a clown, an idiot, it’s water off a ducks back. But deep down, you remember those comments. You remember exactly who likened you to Ugly Betty and you remember the exact date that someone told you that you had a mono-brow and a moustache.

Of course, you wouldn’t dream of telling us who that was or when that was said for fear that it might cause conflict or an argument. Sometimes I find it hard to understand how you can come across as loud and confident, yet you can be such a timid mouse when it comes down to it. I find it quite endearing how you seem so desperate to protect yourself that you will do anything to avoid confrontation. You need to learn to choose your fights. Certainly, choose them wisely – there is no need to fly off the handle at everything, but sometimes it is worth just pointing out to people, that you were a little offended by something that they have said or done.

You set such high standards for yourself and everyone to live by, but you have to remember that we all travel at our own pace. Just because you live life in fast forward, don’t force that on everyone else. When someone is trying to help you, accept it and instead of going sulky or silent because you haven’t managed to complete it on your own, smile and thank people for their help. Never drop your own standards though; the way you strive to achieve everything is brilliant. The time and dedication you put into your horses is a great way of channeling that energy and giving you a great understanding of winning and losing. Everyone who has grown up with horses knows all about losing; they are great for character building.

I love it best when you are away from other people; you are funniest in your natural state. The way you look at the world and can’t help analysing what everyone says and does is amazing (if on the cusp of OCD territory.) You seem to see through people’s nonsense and have a charming way of humouring them. The way you watch television and take such delight in picking apart the shooting or the storylines seems absurd. The way tv and comedy interests you fascinates me; you have such flagrant disregard for a lot of programmes, yet it only takes the flick of a switch to turn you back into a squealing geek. I don’t know many people who have such a large (and peculiar) dvd collection. You have two copies of Spaced for crying out loud! Who needs two copies of anything? Going and seeing live comedy is a bit like picking a scab for you. You really want to go, but you aren’t sure until you get there whether it is going to hurt like hell or make you feel better. It seems that there is nothing worse than seeing a bad live performance. Thankfully, you are more selective about what you see these days.

Don’t ever put yourself down; you have built yourself up on this hill, surrounded by a moat and 500 soldiers to protect yourself from the world. Don’t live your whole life scared of failing – you cannot miss out on everything in case it doesn’t work. Take the risk, jump from the high dive, stare down the barrel of the gun, pee into the wind. (Yes, Friends fans, I have borrowed the wise words of one Mr Tribiani there.) You don’t want to get to retirement age and sit in the home telling everyone that you could have been an award-winning writer, if you’d have stuck at it. Sure, you will probably not get anywhere, but it is always worth trying. I know that this year you have stuck your neck out; you are writing a regular blog and a play. Next year’s challenge is to write a story or a novel. It might seem too much, but try. You might surprise yourself. Do something to make yourself (and us) proud. I know you can do it, so bite the bullet and have a go. Don’t push people away if you think they are getting to close, embrace it and enjoy it whilst it lasts.

Now I know that you’ll keep this letter and pick out everything that might seem like a shortfall of yours, but instead look at them as quirks and what makes you, you. You are so positive about everything else, be positive about yourself for once.



Is this how Shakespeare felt?

Despite a love of English literature as a whole, there are obviously some parts than I love and some that I loathe. I have never been a fan of poetry; obviously there are some parts that I really like, but they tend to be the simple stuff like Betjeman. (If you ask anyone what poet they really like, I guarantee you that it’ll be one they studied. Noone seems to travel outside of their studies in the world of poetry. I find it far easier to name poets that I dislike; Pound, Bishop and Dove are ones that spring to mind. (I can just hear my personal tutor at uni telling me off as I write this.)

When it comes to drama though, I’m a completely different kettle of fish. I love drama of all ages and types. I love the good old renaissance stuff – Shakespeare, Marlowe, Jonson and that malarkey. Then the modern stuff is brilliant too – Pinter, Stoppard, Osborne and I could go on, but I risk losing my (one) reader. I don’t know whether it is because you can visualise drama in front of you and can envisage how the characters would react or whether it is just because I’m too stupid to look for the hidden meanings and messages in all that dreary poetry. You can shape drama however you like; half of the interpretation can be created in the performance. (Wow, my old tutor, Grace would be proud of me.)

I also love performance, whether it is comedy or drama, I love seeing something live. Seeing something live always involves risk, especially in a lot of the improv shows that I like to see – they could mess up, but surely that’s the excitement? If you get to see them make a mistake or corpse, you have seen something that hundreds of others have missed. I would rather see people take the risk trying to create something amazing and failing slightly than see something mediocre that is the same, night on night.

I think this is what was running through my mind on the evening that I volunteered to write a play. Whilst I was at uni, I had a go at writing some comedy and scripts with comedy compadre (and ex-blogger) Jo. Sadly, we only realised about our common love and ambition in our third year, so we never managed to be a part of any tacky uni revues or the such like. Still, we spent far longer on our uni based comedy than we did on our actual work. It didn’t come to anything, but we had such fun writing it and imagining it. So in a momentary pause between all the mad things I am trying to cram into my life at the moment, I sat down on twitter to find the Director of the Nottingham Comedy Festival asking Jo to write a play. The phrase that comes to mind for what I did next is “speak in haste, repent at leisure.” I daftly volunteered that we would write a play. But Helen, the lovely NCF Director, seems to have taken us very seriously. She has offered to cast it and direct it, which means that we really do have to write something.

All of this sounds like I don’t want to do it and I do, but I’m petrified. For a start, I am so manically busy for the next month, I can’t even remember my own name without getting in a flap, let alone penning a play. But the most terrifying part of it is, what if it’s appalling? What if it turns out that neither Jo or I can write for diddly squat? I’m not sure that I’m ready to find that out just yet. I really love the modern style plays where it is very static and not much happens, which is handy as they say you must write about what you know and it turns out, I know very little. Seriously though, I really like the kind of plays where very little happens and I happened upon the scripts of Jim Sweeney’s plays on his website, which has been a godsend. The way the characters speak sounds so natural and it made me realise that not that much has to happen to make a really interesting story.

So, after some brainstorming and waking up in the middle of the night, I have had some promising ideas. Now to turn those ideas into a reality in between the bouts of regret, self hatred, doubt and diminishing confidence. I’m sure everyone has the same feelings before they begin writing. Is this how bloody Shakespeare felt before he started his first play?

Fancy a Game of Life?

One of the things that is definite about modern life is that if you create something that captures the public’s imagination, the remakes, spin offs and franchises will fund you well into your retirement. For some reason, unbeknown to me, the American audiences are unable to watch the original British version of something; they need it to be remade especially for them. Do they not know how much we lived off American sitcoms as teenagers? Watching the new series of Friends was such a ritual – it was played on Sky a month or so earlier than it was on Channel 4. I clearly remember that Hannah’s next door neighbours had Sky, so they would record it onto a video for Hannah and then we would all borrow it after her. Sure, there were some jokes that we wouldn’t fully appreciate because they mentioned places in America that we may not know, but it was all about watching people from a different culture. We were able to believe that six friends could live this affluent lifestyle and do nothing but drink coffee in America. Had it been in England, we may not have believed it. Anyhow, many tv shows have been remade: The Office, Teachers, Life on Mars and very nearly, Spaced.

Some of our best loved stories have been remade for film; I ask you, how many more remakes of Sherlock Holmes do we need? It has nearly caught up with Robin Hood now. We saw how mad Simon Pegg and Jessica Hynes (nee Stevenson) got when they thought their beloved baby was being pilfered from under their noses, so think how old Shakespeare must feel. His plots have been used from here to Kingdom come in stories, plays, films and songs; Westside Story and Ten Things I Hate about You to name but two. Of course, Shakespeare didn’t have the ideas first; he nicked them off some other bugger first. Stealing and “redefining” stuff is a great part of our culture; it always has been and it always will be.

Bearing this in mind, I started to think about our childhood games. They modernized Austen’s Emma into Clueless to appeal to the kids, Pride and Prejudice became Bridget Jones Diary, so why can’t we rework our board games? Think about it logically. Cluedo was quite ahead of it’s time in some ways; it had respected members of society accused of murder. I’m not sure that there are many games designed today that would accuse a Reverend of murder. There are other parts of the game that need modernizing though. Have you ever met or read about anyone who has suffered from the menace of the candlestick? Perhaps Chloroform would be a better substitution? Although I’m not quite sure how they would represent that in miniaturized form.

I plan radical changes to the Monopoly set. Instead of collecting all four train stations, perhaps you could buy a parking slot for your bike at each station? Then we could scrap the income tax and replace it with the Congestion Charge. Another thing that would have to be introduced was Community Service; in this day and age, you never get arrested and sent straight to prison, you always get the choice of community service. So, perhaps instead of going to jail, you can miss two goes whilst completing your community service? I think we should scrap the old fashioned ideas like winning a crossword or a beauty contest and replace them with things like “you got through to the second round on X Factor” or “you’ve won Big Brother, lose a life (if you have one) and win £500.” The negative cards could include “you had far too much to drink last night and had your bag stolen last night. Cancel your credit cards, report it to your mobile phone provider and lose £150.” We could compromise with “You have bought a new iPad. Go forward three steps, but lose £300.” Another of my favourites would be “You made the mistake of trying to go down Oxford Street during the Christmas rush, miss a turn”, perhaps followed swiftly by “You were cautioned by a Community Police Officer for aggressive pedestrian activity, pay a fine of £100.”

The Game of Life is another game in drastic need of modernisation. For a start, you could introduce the growth of polytechnics and further education colleges. When you get the choice of which way to go, you could then discover that you thought your university was reputable, but now they are running out of money and have closed your department down; miss two goes whilst you protest and then take a lower paid job at the end. This could carry on with things like “you forget to register your baby for school before it is born, watch it plummet down the social spectrum. You don’t miss a go, but will have a guilt ridden life.”

I get very upset when the things that I love get remade, but I think that board games could be so much more fun this way. Imagine your eight year old son proudly telling you that the murderer was the Reverend with the Cloroform in the loft extension. It would make life so much more entertaining. I’m all for this idea; who is with me? Together we can bring the big companies down and create Tomorr-opoly or Not Got a Fucking Clue-do. Happy days.

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