HOLLY MIRANDA SMALE

Writer, photographer, "rapper" and general technophobe takes on the internet in what could be a very, very messy fight. But it's alright: she's harder than she looks, and she's wearing every single ring she could get her hands on.







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Tuesday, 28 April 2009

A ticket to anywhere.

Every time I try and concentrate on something, somebody shouts walkies or shows me a biscuit and I end up spinning around and around in a circle.

Ten minutes ago, I received a phone call from my friends at the BBC. A phonecall that - while extremely pleasant and fun on the whole, because both girls at the BBC are extremely pleasant and fun on the whole - contained a spiky barb that got stuck right in my foot and sent me into various fits of panicked barking.
"Great news," Vari dropped into the conversation roughly half way through when I was relaxing and lolling around on my bed (this is where I spend most of my time these days. I've become an accomplished loller). "We've been given a full hour for the documentary, it's at 9pm on BBC 1 and they've brought it forwards to July the 1st!"
"Eh?" I said.
"It was going to be 40 minutes and 12pm in late Autumn, but the BBC love it so they've extended it and brought it forwards!"
"Eh?" I said again, no longer lolling in the slightest.
"It means you'll be a key central character, there'll be loads of air-time of you and millions will be watching," Vari said. "Isn't that fantastic?"
"Umm," I said, not wanting to sound ungrateful. "Can I call you back? I think I might need to go and be a little bit sick, if that's okay."
"Okay," she replied cheerfully. "Oh, and if it's alright we need to do some more footage now to show what you're up to. This could be your ticket out of here, you know."

After I had been a little bit sick - and it was not okay - I sat back down on my bed and tried to get my legs to stop wobbling. To put it mildly, I'm petrified. This isn't vaguely exciting: the only thing getting me through the BBC process was the knowledge that - as I hadn't gotten into the final - I'd be squidged into a three minute window, and by the time the documentary aired I'd be somewhere in Asia, spraying my huge, pus filled mosquito bites with antiseptic.

Apparently not. Apparently, it's going to be very, very public, and I'm going to be very, very much in England. Every second of humiliation - every single inch of under-arm that I forgot to shave before waving my arms enthusiastically around in the air - is going national, and it's going national straight after a news full of (probably) people dying of various animal-themed flus. Now - every time I close my eyes (and I'm doing that quite a lot now, in the hope that when I open them again either I'll have disappeared or everyone else will have done) - all I can think of is the umpteen (in fact, all of them) shots where I said or did something stupid. Shots where I cried, shots where I got dumped on national radio, shots where I ran about a field in shoes that were too big and therefore ran like a completely pansy-pony. It's all I can see. Never mind the fact that my hair changes colour - from bad to worse - consistently (and at one, key stage, goes bright orange): I'm wearing my pyjamas for the majority of shots. Something I really wish I'd cared about at the time, because I know I'm going to damn well care when half the country sees me in full baked-bean stained glory.

I didn't want this: I have never wanted this kind of attention. I wanted to be good at something worthwhile, not prancing around making dumb-arse comments like some little fame-hungry girl wearing ties around her breasts.

The worse part, I think, is now. The bit where I have to show that I'm not a loser: that I have mysteriously landed on my feet within the last few months, and now am a fully fledged person getting ready to fly. I'm not. I've spent the last two weeks feeling lower than I have in years: desperately procrastinating and trying to finish a novel I hate (it is awful), trying to get out of bed even when I don't see the point and unsuccessfully job-hunting when I can't even get a job sticking pieces of paper in to other pieces of paper. I haven't even been able to blog, because when I sit down at the computer all I want to write is Aaaaaarrrrrgghhhhh I succcckkkk. I'm broke, I'm single, my skin is a mess, I'm terrible at writing, terrible at making videos (see the air-balloon video for a good example) and I've never felt like such a failure. 

So a documentary of me saying stupid things and looking ugly is going to culminate in the voice-over: "Holly is still single, still living with her dad, still in debt, still trying to find work and still writing her piece of shit novel that nobody in their right mind would ever want to read. And look: doesn't she think she's all that?! Look at her prancing around and calling herself a 'writer'! Laugh! Laugh at the monkey!"

I'm scared. I'm really, really scared. I'm so private, and I don't want everybody knowing how I feel. I don't want everybody knowing what my fears are, or the fact that when I'm embarrassed I get a rash all over my neck and my chest. And they're going to know: they're going to eat their dinner, watching me stumble over all my words, and they're going to know. My loser-ness is going to go public, and I'll never be able to write again. I'll never be able to work again, more importantly. Who wants to employ somebody who thinks she's better than 'that'?

"This is Holly," my old boss said at a party I was at on the weekend. "She was a runner-up for The Best Job In The World, you know."
"Oh I know," the girl I had never met in my life before said. "I've seen the video and I read the blog. My mates read the blog too." And then she looked at me. "You're kind of infamous," she added.
My old boss laughed.
"Infamous?" she said. "Don't you mean famous?"
The girl I had never met before looked at me for a few seconds.
"No," she said calmly. "I meant infamous." And then she went back to her drink.

And that, I think, says it all. The only ticket I want or care about is the next one out of here. If somebody wants to send me one, I am going to put myself on the next plane: and I don't really care where it goes, as long as it's nowhere near a British television.