Monday, 19 May 2014

Facebook censoring, and why it isn't working.

Any performer and model, myself included, will have had at least one or two of their photo's reported and removed. I've had my account suspended for a month in the past when someone decided to bulk report a large amount of my photos that can only be seen by those who are on my friends list, or subscribed to my feed.
It seems that it has become a purposeful thing to report someones photo's as an act of defiance, jealousy, or just to cause that person trouble, many people I know having been affected by the same thing on a number of occasions.

Performers are constantly battling the pastie ban on Facebook, something I regularly flaunt against as it as a rule is rather small minded, and also as I subscribe to the belief of why is it okay to see mens nipples, but not womens, even if they are bared for something as natural as breast feeding, which Facebook has removed photo's of in the past.
It has been widely reported on when Facebook remove photo's that are actually not offensive at all, usually something that the user has decided to share with their friends and family, the primary reason we are supposed to use Facebook, of moments of great importance to them.

Recently Facebook removed and deemed offensive photo's of a newborn baby that had been born with a rare birth defect, the defect meant that sadly the skull of the child hadn't fully formed in the womb, leaving parts of the brain revealed and causing Facebook to deem offensive.
Sadly the infant died only eight hours after birth, a great sadness to the family, but then faced emails from Facebook of the reported photos.
The family decided to repost the photo's as they were not only sharing this childs short life, but grieving together. This earned the mother a 24 hour Facebook ban.

A more recent event (the previous event happening in early March, and also not the only story of similar nature) in the last few days a woman in Italy decided to show her support, as many of us do via Facebook, for LGTB rights by posting a photo of two women kissing.

Facebook contacted the poster and asked her to remove this "offensive" image, and she rightfully refused.
This caused Facebook to threaten to remove her profile completely for "Violating the communities standards" as it was breaking facebooks rules regarding "Nudity and Pornography".
This is a stock image, and easy to find via a quick google search.

But how many of us have been "guilty" of sharing similar content, remember the same sex proposal in a hardware store that went viral?
We pretty much all shared that one. 

Ironically for Facebook, due to this coming to light the image above is now being shared widely across the platform as people share the resulting article from The Independent which features and automatically sets the previews to the offensive image.

So why are these things being reported? Why in this era is this still seen as offensive?
They all shout "think of the children" but isn't sheltering them from real life, and acceptance of others going to have a negative affect when you shield them from something, claiming it to be Wrong?

Earlier today while waiting in a post office queue, I as most do turned to my Facebook app to keep me amused while in the queue.
Upon opening the app one of the top stories on my feed was revealed from just a glance as a crudely drawn picture of Homer Simpson drawn around a womans vagina.
I quickly closed the app and hoped no one had seen it over my shoulder, assuming that I would want to look at such things.
I quickly forgot about it, assuming it would be quickly reported and deleted, disappearing from my feed.
Twelve hours later, it is still there, and on my laptop screen the full extend is revealed, cucumber and all..... My option is just to unfriend the poster as although I am not a prude, I don't really need to see cucumbers in such orifices. Plus I want to be able to continue to enjoy salads, and The Simpsons.

So why wasn't this reported, why did my eyes have to suffer something so gross twice in one day, and strangely on the same feed where articles posted about the Italian woman having her not at all offensive photo seen with such negativity?

Is it the friends you keep on Facebook, those who decide which photo's to report, or is it Facebook for agreeing to remove non offensive photo's, while keeping up photo's that are pornographic, or advocate violence, or are sexist and misogynistic? 
It seems my feed is full of previews linking to articles on animal abuse, with horrifying photo's that turn the stomach, and are quite upsetting to someone as sensitive as me who holds animals in higher regards than most people.
Actual pornographic content, like the described above?
Or photo's of Miley Cyrus' latest attempt to shock people by wearing 80's cut body suits, and throwing her legs in such a way that sells records, apparently.

Out of all of those things, I'd rather see my feed full of loving same sex couples fighting for their much deserved equal rights (on a side note, go Oregon!!), families celebrating and loving their children even if they only have a small amount of time to share with them, and yes, not on a similar spectre, but also ladies nipples, pasties or not!

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

The "Resting Bitch Face" post....

I have a condition.
One that has only just started to be talked about in recent years, and be noticed by the main stream.
One that has haunted me my entire life, made people avoid me, even made people hate me.

I have Resting Bitchface. 

I'm not sure when it grew into bitch face mode, but for the last fifteen years it has been somewhat of an issue.
I am always told by people that they thought me to be stand offish when we first met, some wondering if I for some reason hated them, but then claiming that I'm really nice when they got to know me. 
Why is this a shock? Does everyone think this? How many people didn't make the effort to even talk to me and now think of me forever as some stuck up bitch...?
I'll never know.

Even in my own family it has caused confusion, with even my own mother thinking I was giving her dirty looks for no reason, and causing a stream of confusing one sided arguments that ended with my resting bitch face contorted into a look of confusion which actually looks more bitchy than my everyday resting bitch face. 

Even my fiancĂ© used to worry that I was pissed off or annoyed with him and not knowing what he had done and not knowing what to say, sat fretting while I just watched whatever film or tv show I was currently enjoying at the time. 
Luckily now since I saw a video about resting bitch face and I laughed and said "I totally have that" that he finally realised that it was just my face.
My face is broken in a bitchy manner, like a tea cup with complex social issues.

I try to smile more when outdoors to avoid offence, but hating my teeth and wanting to hide them meant my face is twisted into a strange closed mouthed smile that is tightly clamped over my teeth, and possibly making it seem more like I suffer from Resting Smug Face, a disorder highlighted by celebrity, Cate Blanchett. 

So instead I must embrace it, and wear my bitchiness with pride, it has it's bonuses I suppose.
Charity clipboard holders tend to not stop me.
When I actually need to look "bitchy" I've got that look well practised.
It also doubles as a great modelling face, strong!!

So whenever you see me, please believe these are not dirty looks, and I do not hate you for no reason, just take into consideration that....well....I have a disorder.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Why I want to quit Burlesque, but Can't and Won't...

This is something I've been battling with for a while now, while all around me the scene shrinks, talented performers step down while others flourish for all the wrong reasons, it's undertones of bitterness, breakdown of community, and frankly it's competitiveness have become somewhat of a bother to me.

Whether you realize it or not, the scene is bursting to the brim with performers, and they are still coming, new fresh faces burst onto the scene with excitement every week, but it saddens me that they won't have the same support or experience as most of us many years ago.
While more and more performers join the scene, some bring a fresh style and voice to it, notably Aurora Galore, who's energy and wildness onstage has launched her into an exciting career, some bring back the classics, such as Havana Hurricane who embodies the burlesque revival lead in America in the early 90's lead by performers such as the amazing Dirty Martini, but while some of the acts may be new and fresh, there is a diminishing platform on which these acts can perform.

Nights are either closing down completely, others overrun with acts they don't have enough positions for, or reverting to private style dinner clubs where the acts perform regularly such as Proud, Privee, Cirque Le Soir, or The Hippodrome and create small sub-communities within themselves and the scene.
If you are involved in those you may be able to survive from the living you make there alone, but if not you still have a variety of gigs to flutter between.

Some of us are lucky enough that we can still live from performing, but maybe not making as much as just a few years before. Some step back, or use skills acquired in performing to gain what we refer to as "proper jobs", some even go back to studying and changing their career paths.
So why have so many amazing performers started to step back, or worse, out completely?

It is hard work to feel you have to compete, or change your style to keep fresh, especially if like me you are a stubborn lady who created a style for themselves and want to stick with it, or to feel that you have to constantly bring out new acts or implement new skills which costs a great deal, and when you aren't earning a huge amount why would you splash out?
I have spent thousands on my costumes, and I will continue to use them until they fall off me without prompting, because they have kept me going this far. Of course I do have acts in the plans but I bring them out when I'm ready to rather than rush out many new acts to keep pushing onto promoters.
Some performers may prefer to act in this way, constantly bringing out fresh acts and if that works for them great, but we don't all work the same way, and that's fine.

What about other elements of the scene however?
What about our private lives?

A lot of us have our private lives now very mixed up within out performing persona, this I know all too well having performed for nearly 9 years, and now about to marry a fellow performer involved in the scene. Most people have embraced our personal choices and accepted us without query, but some liked to ask questions.
Our private lives and choices were being picked up on, and usually by people we didn't even know.
We are performers, how does our personal time affect what happens onstage? To regular audience members watching the shows, they are watching the act, not whispering the chinese whispers they heard at another show.
So why is this part of our scene at all?

I loved burlesque, and for a long time it was a huge part of my life, but now I can feel myself stepping back from the scene. Make no mistake I am not quitting, and I have many great friends who I have met through performing, but the community is now so large that I don't even know the people who bother to talk about my personal life anymore, isn't that a little bit sad?
I'm pretty sure they don't know me either, but I'm always being told how straight forward I am, if people wanted to know anything about me they could just ask, I generally tell the truth.

Burlesque is my profession, I do it mostly for the love of it, but yes, I admit, sometimes I'm doing it because its my job. I pay rent, I have bills, I eat food, and burlesque pays for that as do so many others in the scene.
I don't have a part time job currently, but I wouldn't see it as a failure if I did tho others make that suggestion, it may help to reignite the passion for the art form I was once so obsessed with if shows were booked for the sheer love of it again, and I knew I could be happy and comfortable backstage.
And yes, I would still do it even if I didn't have to, despite everything said here, because I chose to make this my career, I worked hard to get to this point, I remember the early days with fondness, but also I will not let the downsides win.

Now lets build up this community again, we are attacked by outsiders enough (most recently the feminist 'debacle') that we shouldn't be attacking one another, we should embrace our differences onstage as thats what makes a show interesting, lets reignite our love for what we do all over again, and maybe, just maybe we can bring it back to life and save it for ourselves and revive this amazing scene.

We can be happy again?

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Definitive proof that you can't just 'Snap Out of It'

Exactly one week ago today, unknown to me my boyfriend had arrived in Liverpool where I was running a show in one of my favourite venues and rooms in Liverpool.
He had planned out and was gearing up to surprise me and propose onstage at the end of the show in front of my friends, family and show regulars. 

Of course I was happy and elated, but having been battling with quite a severe bout of depression in the past month, it didn't suddenly end once that ring was on my finger.
Of course I felt very happy but still the underlying darkness of depression was still there.
I wish I could say it all melted away completely and I was able and allowed by my mind to enjoy and feel excitement about the transition in mine and Edds life, sadly this is not a cure all method.

My mind and body have since been through the wars of severe mood swings, from hyperactively planning the big day itself, to having a day I actually couldn't get out of bed.
Stress levels are fairly high now we are talking budgets, plans, and sorting our finances trying to make everything we talk about a reality, while remaining the calm and happiness level we should be feeling isn't an easy task.
We vary between soppy cuddling and talking about the future, to Edd having to cuddle me while I'm upset and miserable. I'm lucky he is pretty understanding and willing to listen to me and how I'm feeling, and is pretty sensitive to my feelings, but then I feel more guilt that he is having to deal with me and my depression when really we should be in our honeymoon engagement phase. 

At a time when we should be feeding each other chocolate strawberries, I'm opting to comfort eat junk food.
When we should be at it like rabbits, my libido is at an all time low (this I feel most guilty about).
When I should be happily planning the event, pinning things to Pinterest, and looking forward to wedding dress appointments, it's hard to get out of bed, unpack my suitcase, or go out to work at shows.

So I take this as definitive proof that depression is something that really cannot be controlled, altered, or brushed aside no matter what amazing and wonderful things that happen within your life. 
This is why rich people suffer, the famous suffer, the successful suffer as no matter what your situation or point in your life still it lingers on to bring you down when you should be feeling your very best.

I shall continue the fight with my own mental health, and hope that when I walk down the aisle, the darkness has gone and I can start my new life with Edd full of enjoyment, joy, and a libido worthy of our honeymoon. 


Thursday, 6 February 2014

Is Social Media Not Social Enough..?

Recently I have set up a new blog, you can see it by following the link above (please go look, the rest of this blog will rant as to why).
Once it was set up I had to start the hoop jumping, getting it out there and getting it seen, and so I went with the usual go to for anyone trying to start up something shiny and new. I got straight onto social media.

When, eight years ago, I started out as a performer it was fairly easy to connect to other performers, promoters all over the world, companies in need of models and so much more. I made many friends and connections and this helped me to get myself out there just before the Burlesque Boom hit.
I've relied on mediums such as MySpace (yes, I've been doing it THAT long) and emails for the first two or so years, before moving onto Facebook after being told repeatedly in Paris that "all the Parisians use facebook now, MySpace is dead".
At first Facebook was on the more quiet side and only a few others had migrated over there. This meant you could really see everything and connect with people in a better way, it was great for those first 4-5 years.
As well as Facebook we started to switch up between there and Twitter, where no one understood how to reply to each others tweets, and it was a stream of out of context sentences. Ahh those were the days. Shortly after Twitter, Instagram popped out it's head and we marveled at posting photo's of our pets, before upgrading to turning the camera onto our own faces and birthing the "Selfie".

Soon we were juggling between the many various social media outlets, plus emails (I have three separate email accounts), websites, Facebook profiles (two), Facebook pages (four), Twitter accounts (three), Instagrams (three), Blogs (two, of course, I already said that..!) and now, Vine, Bloglovin, Polyvore, and so many many more.
Are we juggling too much?

Trying to keep everything constantly updated, fresh, eye catching and informative while over so many different platforms is a job in itself, and these days it actually can be a job, but with everyone trying to push out so much information in the same places meaning it's all getting too lost?

As part of my building interest in my new blog, I decided to try out the facebook adverts because even with how many people liked and followed the page, I could see that the posts were still only being viewed by a very small number of people due to facebooks new privacy settings meaning posts only reach people if interacted with.
For a new site and a new page that's not likely at all.

Most adverts you could post for £3 to get a few more views and interactions, I've tried this on a couple and it does boost the number of views but even if it's been seen over 1000 times, the interaction numbers are still low. Today I tried to use the targeted adverts, aimed at women only, in a certain age bracket, who are interested in fashion, style, tattoos, high street etc.
I hoped this would help more people to find the page and boost interest in it too. Once the promotion was complete I can see a break down of how the advert helped.

32 interactions, may I add that this post had over 1000 views in the time it was live, and for every thousand this is what you may expect for your advert costs.
The costs of this advert? £5.00.

I decided to try this as more of an experiment than to actually get it out there as it is something I have noticed for a while. Companies asking people to change their setting so their posts can still be seen, people asking people to comment so they know who can actually still see their updates and many more similar. I can't see updates from my friends or companies I follow, but I see plenty of posts I'd rather not see with "shock value" and moanings of people I've never even met.
I have no problem with facebook moaning, I'd just rather know you first.

So is social media too full? Is there too much information on our many open tabs (I currently have eight tabs open this very second, and I'm also using my iPad) constantly streaming, so we pay less attention to the content trying to take it all in? If someone see's a sponsored post for all of one millisecond have they really seen it, and therefore that's seen as a success worth charging for?

Twitter these days feel like shouting in an empty room, Facebook shows you various strange and weird updates while the ones that may be of use or importance to you are hidden away, also MySpace is definitely dead (R.I.P) so is social media broken?
Do we need a new outlet, a new way of connecting with those we want to connect to?

What was once a great way to find others with similar interests, expand your mind with interesting discussions and articles, and stay in touch with your loved ones in a more relaxed environment has now turned into one giant loud rave like party, and those people you want to reach? Well, they're on the other side of the Rave.

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Depressions a Bitch, and So Am I

I haven't been to well lately, my depression gets greatly affected by seasonal shifts and this is something I've been aware of for years. Edd is also aware of this and is very sensitive towards helping me through these times.
My life is great right now, I have found the perfect man for me and we are so happy together, I've finally got savings in the bank which is rare for me, I've done some fantastic shows lately, have plenty of exciting things booked in, castings coming my way, got back to the weight I wanted after losing so much over the non stop December.
I should be on top of the world.

I have depression.
It makes no sense, it hits you when you least expect it without any warning or reasoning.
Sometimes situations in life have a great affect when your mental state is already significantly weakened by previous bouts, sometimes you could be having the best time of your life but still it lingers and tries to beat you down.
Generally I try to get on with it, ignore it, talk it through with Edd who is patient and understanding enough to listen and try to help, but other days getting out of bed is hard.
Those days I have to force myself to smile, to eat, shower, leave the house if I have no way of getting out of it. I can't call a producer with the reason "I'm too depressed to face outside" and this is also my job.
Having the extra worry of money wouldn't help and so I carry on.

The smallest things get my down lately, stupid fickle feeble unimportant things that would usually be a mild inconvenience, but to me and others with depression it feel like your soul has been sucked out a tiny bit more and replaced with the blackness depression provides.
I have been open and honest about my depression before, so I think most of my friends and family, and even some people who watch the shows know about the fact I can have my bad days.

Sometimes the stupid things that get to me amuse me in a strange and contradictory way. Yesterday I told Edd about how I was feeling, I laughed at how stupid it was and how it shouldn't have such an effect, not in the grand scheme of things.
After this conversation I took to my facebook, writing a post I believed summed up the strange things depression can do to your brain, as I mentioned before, people know about it and plenty of people I know also suffer the same or similar conditions.

Anyone who actually knows me would know this was pointing out how my strange brain likes to affect me, and that it was also seeing some humor in the situation with the summing up of such a status. Also that facebook isn't very important and is used for flippant comments and isn't to be taken to heart. That what I would have liked to think.

So today when I open my inbox to find this message, from someone I'm not sure I actually know, and who missed the point entirely it shocked me. Mainly because it's a fairly contradictory message in itself, but also at how much this person missed the point of above's flippant and unimportant status.
Firstly, it's boo HOO, not who, bad grammar.
And yes, being someone who reads the news, even writes about such events, gives money to charity, doesn't even eat any animal products, gives to the homeless, and actually does try to help others while being polite towards them, I am perfectly aware that there is injustice in this world.
Injustices that we would all like to be able to change but we all do what we can, we could all do more, we could end wars they mentioned all over the world and use the money that funds such wars to feed those starving and dying people mentioned in the same sentence.
I wasn't aware anyone was paying me pennies for my thoughts, useless or not. But I would like to think I wasn't a bimbo, especially as I'm working towards being a writer and am constantly working on practicing and improving it with such blogs as this one! 
Pretty sure my Genes are what makes me exist, if he meant Jeans it's okay, I bought some new ones yesterday to replace the ones that didn't fit right.
The flesh comment? I don't even know where to begin with that....

But it's the last sentence that gets me, take my prozac (I'm not currently on anti-depressants as I don't like the affect) to make myself happy, aaaand then.....kill myself.
Who knows what those pictures are even about.

I wasn't expecting such a reaction to the post I made, seemingly I'm such a bad person for briefly allowing my depression to do it's usual and get inside my head.
It doesn't matter that just last night, the same day I posted this I gave some money to a guy on my way home from a show, who then told me he'd moved to london only two months before, and this was his first week on the street. I sat and talked to this man in the cold and rain for 40 minutes, all about his life and situation and it really upset me that I couldn't do more to help him, or the countless others that I have given food and money to.  I'm a heartless and selfish bitch.

But this is one of the good guys, they care about the starving and dying people even if they might not go out of their way to actually do anything about it.
Instead they're busy at home sending messages to openly depressed people with helpful advice.
They tell them to Kill Themselves.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Last night I ordered a pizza....

After waking up with swollen tonsils, and feeling a bit run down all day I decided I didn't have the energy to cook.
After sleeping, recuperating, and lounging in my dressing gown all day I started to feel better. And hungry. For a change I ordered with Pizza Hut believing that having a brand name would mean the food would be slightly better too, generally I'll use an independant take away via hungry house or the just eat websites but marketing ploys got me when it appeared on Facebook due to someone else ordering with them.

So far it's a pretty standard lazy night in right? Finally it arrives, I learn this not by the bell in my flat ringing, or a knock on my door but my phone ringing, when I answer it an impatient voice tells me to "come downstairs". I didn't expect to have to leave so I was still wearing only a dressing gown, and nothing underneath. 
I told the driver this believing he would understand I didn't want to go outside in barely any clothing, and surely not protective clothing at least but still he demanded I go outside. This started to turn into an argument as he repeatedly and rudely shouted at me to come and get the pizza while I argued I was a girl on my own not really wearing proper clothes.
I feel I should point out by this point it was a rather unsexy towelling gown rather than a sexy satin type, I was not trying to seduce the pizza man as Edd was out of town, my life isn't a porno and me and Edd are faithful. 

After arguing for so long it was too late for me to put anything else on believing the pizza man to be at the door outside waiting and ran outside in said gown and ballet flats. He wasn't there. I looked around wanting to rush back inside as it was dark, cold, and getting late. I called the phone he rang me on to no response, till suddenly a young man on a scooter wizzed from around the corner, no where near my buildings door, and shoved a cold pizza into my hands (cheeseless if anyone was wondering).

I of course posed in my gown proclaiming that's why I didn't want to come outside, grabbed my food, politely called him a dick and then went back in. Upset with the whole matter I tweeted (as twitter is all powerful) the Pizza Hut account that I had to go outside while alone and undressed.
Read the tweet at the bottom first, before going from the top. 

They were helpful enough and I filled in the form linked with great detail of the rudeness of the driver and how unsafe I then felt in that situation, also that the food was actually awful. It really was, if I'd known I wouldn't have gone outside at all as I couldn't eat it anyway.
With the twitter account being so helpful (I think it's American ran and they care more about the customer than British stores it would seem) I hoped the email back would be conclusive and the matter would be over. 
Sooooo, that's a no then. They are more worried that their male drivers on scooters may be more unsafe than a girl on her own waiting outside in the middle of a housing estate wearing only a dressing gown. I've been told by previous drivers from Domino's pizza that they may get mugged so don't go in, but then I was fully clothed so wasn't as worried.

Does the small amount of money the drivers may carry, considering most people pay online nowadays, and the small risk they may get mugged in a building where the halls and generally empty?
Independant delivery men run the same risk yet have no problem delivering to the door of the flat, working as often as late as we do take aways are a now weekly luxury and have always been this arrangement of them being delivered to our door like take aways are meant to be. 
Yet my safety is less important then they maybe £20-£30 the driver carried? 

Some may say I'm blowing the going outside out of proportion, but in a society where women are conditioned to think that rape or assault could be just around the corner, and that we would then have to take the some blame due to what we wear or the state we may at that point be in, I would expect such large companies to help lower that risk to their customers. 
I feel fairly safe in the area I live, despite it being London, but have in the same grounds of my building in the middle of the day been hit on and flirted with in a rather aggressive manner by what is essentially my neighbours. 

After speaking to me on the phone he could have assessed the situation called for him entering the building, where a Middle Aged cockney geezer would have no trouble going out at that point, even if only wearing a fluffy bunny gsting. 
Multimillion pound companies wouldn't really be dented by the possibility of some money or pizzas being stolen where endangering lonely women could have severe implications to those individuals.

I suggested that should be the case but have since heard nothing back.
Getting that £12.00 would at least be nice, and thank god I got back in safely. 

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Guarenteed quit smoking tip - get your teeth pulled....

So yes it has been a while since my last posting. December is a busy time for performers, and I also disappeared to hamburg for a week to see the guys from Briefs (you can read my review of their show in a previous post) as my beloved Edd Muir was joining their tour.

But I am back, holed up in hackney flat and waiting for spring to set in.
A bit of time off is somewhat useful lately as I've dealt with tooth dramas, article now to follow...!

I've always hated dentists, since I was a teenager when train track braces were affixed to my teeth and was handed a scary looking metal implement with restraints. Not a kinky item as that would be illegal given I was only 14, and braces generally don't go hand in hand with fetish. 
This is a confession, I had a head brace. 
It was something I only had to wear at night thankfully, although my mum would regularly remind me to wear it when I got home whenever I had a guest over. (She will try to correct me on this as I know she is reading it, hello mum send money, but this is what my memory tells me)
It was painful, it was humiliating, and I hated it. I would wake in the morning to find it taken off and on my bedside table. Awake me hated it, but unconscious me seemed to want no part of it.
Alongside the headgear I had to have regular check ups, tightened braces, elastic bands, the works, and believed my dentist had nothing but hatred for me. If I was him I would have done too as my nervousness seemed to pass itself into a nervous gas which would resonate loudly around the white office helped along by the plastic fabric on the chair forming an unbeatable bond of volume and humiliation. 
This went on for two years until the braces finally came off. 
I was excited seeing other girls braces removed to reveal amazing straight perfect white teeth. A diet of American tv convinced me that braces gave you that perfect smile that every one wants and I too would join the ranks of the perfectly toothed. How wrong I was.
My teeth were now weakened, ridged and chipped. They were a bit straighter but even another year of wearing a retainer didn't help me to believe that all the pain and agony was worthwhile, from having four teeth removed just to have the braces in the first place, to the sleepless nights, jaw pain, and having to brush and floss while at school while the prettier girls use the hand driers to get their 90's wispy fringes right. (Note: I was an ugly duckling) 

And so I avoid dentists. I hadn't been to one for ten years as all they would tell me was about the lack of enamel left in my teeth and how there was ridges in my teeth, I knew all of this already and it was all thanks to braces. 
I avoid smiling fully, talking in a way that may show my teeth and became very self conscious of them but suddenly a pain began.
My wisdom tooth had decided to surprise me by coming through unnoticed and immediately starting to rot inside my mouth, I could feel my pulse inside my head and it was utterly relentless. 
After a few days of this Edd decided to take action, calling for an emergency appointment and walking me into the dentists, a dodgy looking two roomed shop front in hackney where the receptionists teeth made me question the quality of this dentist. The dentist found the problem and advised me to go straight to the London dental hospital at 7am the next morning, along with a note that had the word urgent underlined all of two times.
To make it easier for them he decided to take some X-rays, the machine however being so old that the arm would move it around as soon as he turned to push the button and causing him frustration. So much so that he swung the X-ray machine into my face where the tooth pain lay, sadly this didn't dislodge the tooth...

The next day we rose at 5.30am to get across London, believing that we needed to be there for 7am to get seen. Handy tip for everyone, the walk in emergency dentists doesn't actually open till 8am. 
An hour was spent shivering, smoking, and wincing in the cold and rain of a January morning while more and more people turned up to join the queue. 
Second in the queue we hoped the process would be quick and we could go back to sleep as we were both performing that night, we sat, we waited, we took turns going outside for yet more cigarettes, and we waited some more. Finally about 9.30ish my name was called and my tooth was looked at. The X-ray revealed that the previous dentists could not take an X-ray as he had missed off the actual infected tooth. 
So back I went to wait for the X-ray technician. His contraptions to help get the X-ray were somewhat scarier than I expected. Flashbacks of metal head gear popped to mind which quickly lead to other flashbacks once it started to hit my gag reflex. (You can stop reading now mum) 
I yanked it out of my mouth before gagging while he had to audacity to look confused, his girlfriend has my sympathies. After a second attempt with a smaller contraption the X-ray was done and it was time to get the deed done.
Finally I was in the chair wrapped in a plastic bib, with only one dental technician at the ready to pull out the pain inducing tooth. The injections began which I hate and the numbness set in. Alongside the numbness came the drool, this is when a second technician came along to wield the suction device. 
The pulling started along with the crumbling of the tooth meaning the suction device was now sucking up pieces of tooth when not attaching itself to my tongue. 
That's when the third dentist got involved taking turns to wiggle the tooth with metal pincers which couldn't quite get the grip and jangled around the rest of my teeth. I didn't like this. 
Pulling and pulling the tooth did not want to come out, this is when the fourth technician cam to hold my head, pat my hair and tell me I was doing well. In my drugged mind I started to wonder if I was at the dentists for tooth pain or if I was being put down. Just call me Redbeard. 
After half an hour of four dentists playing around inside my mouth the tooth gave way, and all but two technicians disappeared. 
They showed me the problem which was that my tooth root had gathered some kind of lovely infection around it doubling the size of the root and leading to possible facial abscesses. Great.

Now the after care which she waited to tell me while I was waving from side to side under anesthetic and shock, the usual salt water rinse, soft foods, no alcohol etc....then she hit me with the big one. 
"No smoking for 48 hours." 
What?! This couldn't have been mentioned before so I could chain smoke a whole packet in preparation?! Can this be used to get me off any murder charges in court as it may now become an issue?!?

Nothing helps you stop smoking more than the impending doom of infecting what was an already painfully infected area, and with a name like "Dry Hole" it scares you away even more.
I was shocked at how I didn't scratch out eyes or collapse into a heap of withdrawal crying for those 48 hours. I may have been a little more tense than usual, maybe even a little short tempered (this is a regular occurrence anyway) but generally I got on with it. I was okay.
Even when told e-cigarettes and nicotine gum were also a no go and my choice was cold turkey, I somehow managed. 
I counted the hours and started to feel more happy with managing to keep my head while suffering not only facial pain, but nicotine withdrawal. I even managed to do a show later that night and another the next day while not killing anyone. 
It's been 4 days now since I had the lovely experience explained in detail above, and while I have since had 4 cigarettes since I could smoke again, I have thrown all four away before they were finished as the taste was disgusting. Even Edd is now down to only 2-4 a day when we were previously on about 20 each per day and we've been using the same pack that was bought Friday morning before the dentists yanked my tooth. 

So while the pain, early mornings, waiting around, lack of being able to drink for a week, and everything else I have suffered through this past week I'm now on the road to kicking the cigarettes.

And all it took was a hole in the head.