Secrets & Lies


I used to be a singer in a band. I thought I was Debbie Harry. Please don’t tell anyone – if you do I’ll have to kill you – but I even tried the bin bag look once. I will be honest. I didn’t rock it. And it fell apart after 10 minutes anyway. I think Debbie must have used heavy duty bin bags, not Tesco’s value range.

I gave up singing with the advent of Facebook and Smartphones. I found that once anyone could easily create and upload a video clip of me, which my friends gleefully did with horrible regularity, I could no longer maintain my fiction that Debbie and I were separated at birth.

I don’t miss it though. I am an optimist so I took the chance to re-train, and now I am a drummer. Remember Stewart Copeland? The Police? Well, think of him a bit shorter, longer hair, boobies, banging the drums with gusto. That’s me, that is. I used to be a singer in a band, but now I’m a drummer. And I rock it!


I used to be a Bulgarian dancer. I know I said last time that I used to be a singer in a band, but that wasn’t true. I made it up. I made up the bit about being a drummer too. Does that surprise you? But I did used to be a Bulgarian dancer.

Oh heck, I was good at it. It involved plenty of belly wiggling and pretending to be in a trance and making shapes with my hands. I was the lead dancer because of my peculiar talent of being able to rock my head from side to side whilst keeping my chin parallel to the floor. Not everyone can do that you know. Sometimes I’d flare my nostrils too, but I don’t suppose the audience really noticed – I’ve only got a little nose.

I had to give it up because of the trauma it caused me when my skirt caught fire. Whoosh, it went up like… well, like a chiffon skirt on fire. It wasn’t my fault. The waiter normally blew the candles out before the finale, but this time he’d left one burning and my skirt caught it as I spun across the table top. It could have happened to anyone, so I didn’t blame him. His boyfriend had just dumped him quite publicly, in the middle of John Lewis of all places, so his mind wasn’t on the job.

I can’t hear Bulgarian music now without feeling the flames on my legs and the lumps of ice from the water jug smacking into my legs like glass. And the worst thing of all was that I’d got a bit behind with my washing and had my Bridget Jones knickers on and everyone, yes everyone, saw them. So that is why I say that I used to be a Bulgarian dancer. It isn’t something I do anymore. I don’t dance on table tops now either. At least, not without checking that the candles are blown out first.


I used to be a victim. I know I said I used to be a singer in a band, and a drummer, and a Bulgarian dancer. I made it up. Does that surprise you? But I did used to be a victim.

I didn’t do it deliberately. I was brought up to be polite and pleasant. That’s what I do. I became a victim by accident. And I wore bin bags, banged drums, and flared my nostrils whilst dancing, so they say (and as my nostrils are very small and won’t show up on the video clips even if I did flare them, who is to say what is true and what is false). But I’m not a victim anymore, and that’s the truth.

Once I stopped being a victim I became a survivor. It’s a bit like being a Bulgarian dancer, you’ve never heard of it before and you don’t know how it works but somehow you find yourself being it. It’s a bit of a ball ache being a survivor, so after a while you want to go on to something new. And if you’ve already been a singer, a drummer, and a Bulgarian dancer, what next?

Well. My friend Sue tells me that survivors are thrivers. And I’ve tried everything else, so what the hell, it can’t be worse than your skirt catching fire and showing off your Bridget Jones knickers, can it.

I used to be a victim, and then I was a survivor. Now I am trying out being a thriver.

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