Dear Art

Dear art,
It’s not you, it’s me.

I’ve been meaning to write this letter for a while old friend. It’s been on my mind for a while now and I think it’s only fair on both of us if we take a break.

I want you to know that it’s not because I don’t love you. You’ve been everything I could have ever dreamed you to be, and you were everything I ever wanted, for a while.

When I was younger I would think about you like some unachievable goal, I’d look at you and think you were far too out of my league and that nothing would ever happen between us- but I never let go. I worked and studied hard and finally I had you. And I wrapped my arms around you and threw myself into you and you completely became part of me. We travelled the world, we were poor, we were slightly less poor, you were my friends, my family, my social life- so much so that I started to forget who I was. But that was a good thing, it was what I needed, for a while.
But there’s someone else. And there always has been.
I remember that moment clearly, the deciding one, when I was in a meeting at school.
It was outside the drama studio funnily enough, wedged between there and the dyslexia room (how poetic) on a little table and chairs where I sat opposite a teacher who knew nothing about me but my name. The backs of my thighs were stuck to the chair probably because it was summer and we wore those inappropriate skirts.
This teacher (that one with the face of someone who drank too much whiskey who i bitterly resented for giving me a detention for having an untucked shirt), he asked me what I wanted to be. In those words. What do you want to be Josephine?
And I said. Well I either want to work in theatre or be a nurse.
To which he replied ‘theatre is not a stable profession I think you should be a nurse’
And in that moment I decided. I decided to go for you. I wanted to do everything in my power to prove the red faced man in front of me that I could. And I did. I found you.
But as the years went by and the stubbornness went in phases I kept thinking about nursing. About what my life could have been like if I’d chosen them instead. But I knew I’d made the right choice in you. I knew that you were the right choice for me then. And I don’t regret a moment of it.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that I love you. I love you with all my heart and I never want to stop being with you, but I want to try something else for a while, look at our relationship in a more ‘open’ way.
Maybe, in a while, we can look at this relationship as exclusive again (and I don’t feel bad in saying this to you since you’re not actually a human with emotions) but now I need you to be my friend, because this was a really hard decision to make and I need you. I certainly didn’t decide to do this because I wanted to lose you.
Some people haven’t understood my decision. You’re the wild option and they either think I’ve decided to be sensible because I can’t handle you or I’ve ‘come to my senses’ but that isn’t true, dear art, because I want to be a nurse just as much as I wanted to be an artist. Sensible, if anything, would not be moving to a new city and getting myself further into debt and trying my hand at yet another career (which I’ve been doing quite well at might I add) attacked by Tory budget cuts.
This is something new I want to try, my polyamorous relationship of careers.
My time with you will make me a better nurse, as I’m sure my time nursing will in turn make me a better artist. Or at least an absolute must have collaborator for anyone wanting Wellcome Trust funding. A nursist. Or arse. Only time will tell with that one.
I’d like to go back to the red faced teacher one day (I know which pub to find him in too) and say ‘actually sir, I did both’ but he won’t remember me, I’ll just be one of the many children he told not to do something creative and risky.
All my love, but definitely not a goodbye.



Incase I died but I didn’t.

Last week I had an operation on my neck and I thought I was going to die. I didn’t. But I am 1 1/4 inches taller. (note the line about not living through another Tory government)

Dear all,
I feel like I have to begin with something like “If you’re reading this, I’m dead” or something very cliché along those lines, or something less cliché but a bit more pretentious. “Oh woe, I have but karked it”. Or I don’t know, something else. But I think you’ve probably got the point. I believe this is the sort of letter where I’m supposed to be meaningful and delicate and sew some seeds of wisdom and poetic death wishes but since I’m already dead I don’t think we should be under any illusions that I was anything other than self centred, outspoken and inappropriate at the best of times. *And beautiful and amazing and talented and a funny funny bitch – yeah its arrogant, what of it, I’m dead I can say what I want

I suppose I just wanted to write you all a letter to say thanks. I was going to write lots of separate letters to individuals but I sort of lost interest and no doubt would have not written one to someone who would get really offended and not turn up to my funeral.

Which reminds me, thank you all so much for being here/ look at the thousands of people who have traveled all the way here (the bars not free you know you stingey bastards)/ you really didn’t need to sacrifice that goat/looks like [insert person] couldn’t make the effort to come then [delete as appropriate].

I hope I’m not being arrogant here but I have a feeling one or 2 of you may be a little bit sad. So I just wanted to remind you that I had a great life. A fucking great one. And you were all there. You were all there making me laugh, bringing me flowers when I cried, learning dance moves to Kate Bush songs, letting me be little spoon, partying with me in hospitals across the world, singing songs at the top our lungs, falling in love so hard that we couldn’t breathe, making me do my dinosaur impression. I honestly don’t think I’d change a thing. Even this bit. Even the death bit. Despite it being in a sort of mundane and not very interesting way. Because if you think about it, I’ll never have to pay for another train fare. I’ll never have to fill in another Arts Council Evaluation. I’ll never have a hangover. Or have the shits. I’ll never have to live through another tory government or a Fast and Furious sequel. I’ll never forget to do my washing for so long that I have to wear bikini bottoms because I’ve run out of pants. I’ll never get an infected in growing toenail. Or have to watch an ex get married. Or over stew tea. Or get some really horrid disease that makes my eyes fall out. I’ll never have to pay council tax again. I’ll never break another heart, or have mine broken. Or be in pain. Or suffer. Or watch someone else suffer.

So really. What I’m trying to say is. Its ok you know. I’m ok with this. Don’t go away thinking “ she died before her time” or “she had so much potential” or anything like that because I have had a wonderful life. And I’ve done everything I wanted to do, and you’ve all shared it with me. And for that, you deserve to let go. Like I have.

And if, after some time you want to find a moment to think about me, and remember the times we had, let it be when you are urinating and its burning. Like a Pavlov’s dog sort of thing. And perhaps then you will remember me how I would like to be remembered, by making you smile in one of life’s nessecary but incredibly uncomfortable moments.

With all my love, respect and admiration

Jojo D Mc Mc

*I took that line out when I didn’t die, but I thought I should put it back in.

The Austin Effect

He was the coolest thing to come out of Watford since that scene in the beginning of Kevin and Perry Go Large where they’re in the town centre there.

Better than ginger spice, George Michael and Elton John combined- Austin Jepson was the greatest 13 year old that graced the surface of the earth.

He was in a band, he had a skateboard, he played football, he made jackass videos with his friends where he set fire to cans of deodorant. He made me feel things that only that seat above the wheel on the bus had ever made me feel before.
I used to imagine that Austin would cycle to my house in the pouring rain across Watford and throw stones at my window to get my attention. I’d look out and see him, rush downstairs past my evil mother (who doesn’t understand me and wont let me listen to Greenday in the car) and I’d run outside and let the rain water soak through my socks and it would be amazing. We’d probably even snog… with tongues.

He may have only said 4 words to me but I was definitely in love.

I probably invited Austin Jepson to every birthday party of mine between the ages of 11 and 17. And judging by my persistence, and personality, and every 80’s coming of age film, you can tell that I wasn’t top of his party list. And he never came. To any of them.

The one I remember most clearly is my 13th. Where I hired a hall for 100 people and 10 people came. Austin Jepson, as you can probably imagine, was not one of them. In fact, its safe to say that if I had been given a choice between Austin Jepson coming to my party and ALL OF MY LIMBS, it would still be Austin.

10 years pass with new hair styles, braces, boys and bad political rebellions.

And then one October I bump into Austin Jepson at a gig in Camden. He asked me out for a drink and I couldn’t make it and was about to away for a few months with work so invited him to my birthday drinks at a Weatherspoons. It wasn’t my actual birthday and all of my friends were pretty skint so I didn’t really expect anyone to come.

But Austin Jepson did.

Not only that, but Austin Jepson cycled across London in the pouring rain to come.

And he was alright.
He works in recruitment.

It wasn’t until the next day that I noticed, while my socks were still damp with rain from old shoes and a non central-heated flat, that it felt like yesterday that I was staring at the back of Austin Jepson’s head in science.

And yet if I went back to a 13 year old me then and told her that Austin Jepson comes to her 23rd birthday and he’s not all that, I would have never believed me.

Even more so if I’d told her that I blossom at 18 and Austin goes out of fashion for you about the same time that that tattoo of yours will then I would’ve believed me even less.
Regardless of how we feel right now I can promise you that we won’t feel the same way in 10 years time.

Whether that’s heartbroken, or lost, or lonely, or gutted that breaking bad has ended, or feeling like you’re life would be so much better if you had those doc martens, or worrying about that project that’s not really happening for you, or stressing about bills, or friends or boys or girls or just completely wondering what the hell it is we’re doing with our lives we will not be feeling that specific feeling in that specific way in ten years time.

Well maybe we’ll will still wonder what we’re doing with our lives but we’ll have probably figured out by then that it doesn’t really matter unless we’re happy.

Things that seem unachievable will one day seem like nothing.
Things that we thought mattered, one day, will not.
There is always time to change and learn.

And perhaps by the time I reach 33 I’ll stop finding men attractive because they set fire to deodorant cans.

There’s always time.

*extract from Clerke and Joy’s Tips for the Real World

“A little something to wake up to ;) xxx”

I received a “dick pic” via text a few weeks ago and following a debate/competition for witty responses, I replied with a picture of the m25. Needless to say, he didn’t respond. But I thought long and hard (pardon the pun) about it and decided I should tell him why it was uncool. Here is the essay that Rachael Clerke and I sent him in the world’s longest text message:

Dear X.

Firstly; sorry about the M25 picture. Secondly; here is a short essay I’ve written for you. It contains some advice about women which may explain why I sent you a picture of a road instead of one of my body.

You probably won’t like it much, but if you want to take it seriously (and take women seriously, or care about them), it will help you in the future.

1. Don’t ruin all the fun by jumping the gun and sending a picture of your dick. That takes all the excitement out of everything, and the waiting is so much of what can be good. Half the fun is in the work. Now I already know what’s in your pants. I wasn’t desperate to know that, and I’d probably be all right if you left them on for a while longer. I think you may have defeated the point. Don’t give the game away too early: it makes you come off a bit desperate or like you watch too much porn.
2. I’d already kind of told you I didn’t want to play that game and I never implied that I wanted to wake up, hungover and tired, to a picture of your penis. It was out of the blue and unnecessary and you could actually get in trouble as it’s technically sexual harassment and indecent exposure. So, in future, if you have exchanged only a few texts with a woman, it’s probably not worth the risk of being reported to the police. I don’t think you’re a sex offender, I think you’re harmless (and probably a bit ignorant about the fact that that’s totally not cool) but the next woman you send it to might not feel the same way.
3. It’s not a great idea to send pictures like that to people you don’t know well because it’ll probably get passed round their friends and the internet.
4. Life and sex and women are not like they are in porn. They are not the faceless vagina/penis shots. They are not girls who explode in excitement from being in the same room as a penis. They don’t have the constant need to change direction and act like Usain Bolt on speed. Life and sex and women are so so much better than that. Porny dick pics are not sexy.
5. Don’t be too pushy. I know I said it was charming but it was also on the verge of creepy and a bit rapey; my friends were actually a bit scared when you screamed after me into the changing room. There is also nothing cool about asking to come and stay at mine while you’re entering my number in your phone. Especially when I’ve already said I’m visiting my parents.
(6. Aim for better chat than “hey baby xxx”. I know you’re capable of it. Try the odd funny anecdote and see how it works for you.)

You’re probably feeling a bit embarrassed right now, that’s all right. You’ll get over it. We all do stupid things that seem like a great idea at the time so don’t lose any sleep over it because you’ve probably learnt your lesson now.

You’re good looking, you’re hot, you’re funny, you’re cool, you’re nice and you’re a pretty average skateboarder. But I probably wouldn’t send any more dick pics willy nilly (pun intended) because you’re smarter than that and you should respect yourself more.

People find personality hot too. It doesn’t mean they necessarily want to have a relationship with you, but it does mean you can make someone fancy you without just wapping your cock out.

So don’t send dick pics/cock selfies/penis photos/member moments. Especially don’t send them to hairy-armpitted, argumentative, liberal, bolshy feminists like me.

Lovely to meet you, and all the best and good luck in your future endeavours.

Jojo xxx

Ps. Make your bed.