The Big Issue : Edition 579
#VENDORWEEK 25 JAN–7 FEB 2019 13 THERE ARE REASONS I don’t play poker. Gambling with real money? Are you mad? I could buy cheese with that. Also, casinos are evil, cigar smoke makes me nauseous, high stakes make me nauseous, and people who like poker seem as though they’d stab you for a nickel. But, most importantly, I have no poker face. You know that face? The deadpan one? Where you’re dealt a hand with seven kings, three aces and a line of cocaine, and you’ve got to not move a muscle let alone whoop and say “You’re going DOWN losers”? Yeah, I don’t have that. I used to. When I was being bullied at school I had a face like a shaken Etch A Sketch, all the better to not give satisfaction. But these days, let loose, my emotions play lightly across my visage like ripples on a pond. Or, you know, like a clown tripping over a mop and having live eels dropped down her trousers. Expressive. Or as my parents used to call it, “Stop drawing attention to yourself.” It doesn’t matter either way, really, in that no matter how close to our chest we think we’re playing those cards, everyone knows our business. No matter how stony-faced I played it, for example, everyone knew I was bottom of the pecking order. People know what’s going on, even when you don’t. My friend Simon was stunned as a doored cyclist recently when his wife left, even though he’d long been an arsehat. His mates had been taking book on when Linds was going to leave. I’m fond of Sime, but ooh self-absorbed and not a great husband. His top relationship strategy was to agree to things he had zero intention of doing, then act dumb when Linda was forced to call him out. “Nah mate, just tell ’em what they want to hear,” he’d said, when I put honesty and taking responsibility on the table. Literally everyone but Sime could see Linda’s plug- pull coming from Pluto. Anyhoo, I’ve been in denial myself. Oblivious. It turns out that everyone but me knew I was obsessed with chickens. Sure, » Fiona Scott-Norman (@FScottNorman) is a writer, comedian and will be sorely missed on these pages until her return. FIONA Chick Lit “I’m writing a book about chickens. I wanted to call it Book! Book! Book! but apparently that was confusing, so we’re going with This Chicken Life.” there were signs. Exhibit A: the numerous columns about chickens that I’ve written for The Big Issue. Then there’s the linen tea towel hand-painted with chickens that my best friend bought me for Christmas. And the novelty chicken T-shirt (“Too many chickens? No such thing!”) my mother- in-law gave me for Christmas. And the Christmas tote bag from MIL (“I dream of a better world, where chickens can cross the road and not have their motives questioned.”) And the romantic chicken card from my beloved, Greg. And that I genuinely appreciated the gifts, and not only have a print of a rampant French rooster over the conjugal bed, but also bought Greg a pair of underpants that feature a photograph of a crowing cock. Still. Define “obsession”. I’ve only got eight chooks, and yes they’re heritage and pampered, and I’m refusing to look at a house unless it’s got a back garden, but that’s just a spit in the ocean when it comes to proper chicken fanciers. Amateur. But then I only know that because I’m currently interviewing people who ARE obsessed. Who breed and show, who knit hats for chickens, who strap their pet silkie into a harness and take it for walks, who go on epic rescue missions to abattoirs. And I’m doing that because I’m writing a book about chickens. I wanted to call it Book! Book! Book! but apparently that was confusing, so we’re going with This Chicken Life. It’s portraits of Australians and the chickens who love them, and will be out with Pan Macmillan for Christmas. Which is exciting, but means I have to take time off from this column (Noooo!) to travel and write. I’ll be back, promise. Send chick pics to me via FB. Anyone would think I’m obsessive. Who knew?