Thursday, 31 December 2009

On New Year's Eve and Why It Feels Me With Fear

Ah. Here we are again. New Year's fucking Eve. Excuse my bad language, but tonight is the one night of the year that I hate more than any other. Much like a werewolf only changes on nights with a full moon, I turn into a monster on New Year's Eve.

On any other night of the year I can be counted on to be a quite a decent sort of drunk. A happy one, a funny one, a bitchy one - but never a MONSTROUS one. Let me take you through a brief history of my New Year's Eve woes:

2002: my first legal drunken NYE saw me crying in the toilets. I don't remember why.

2005: a massive row with my then girlfriend lead to me flirting outrageously with someone else, alienating both the girlfriend and most of my friendship group.

2006: first NYE with current boyfriend - this should have been a perfect opportunity to impress his mates I'd not met before. Which I did. I impressed them with my Incredible Hulk impression as I stomped off shouting into the dark. When N finally caught up with me I delivered what can only be described as a bitch slap, followed by two woefully off-target kicks at which point he called the police. They rang him back, at which point I'd sunken into a pathetic blob on the pavement and asked if he was ok. Ever the gentleman, he apologised for wasting their time and said he was fine - to which they responded "Is this true or are you being made to say that?" OH THE SHAME.

2007: The shame was obviously not enough, for I repeated my performance on NYE 2007 (there were, however, underlying reasons for this one, but that's a story for another time). I believe the catalyst for my metamorphosis from Dr Drunk into Mr Mental was N's decision not to buy a kebab, which sent me into a downward spiral of rage and depression. The embarrassment doesn't stop there: N's patience (which is near limitless) snapped, and he called my dad to pick me up. Oh. My. God.

2008: In the early hours of the morning, the party was rocking and I was hiding behind a camper van. I had stormed out, before realising that I had no fucking clue where I was, so decided to hide from the well-meaning people searching for me. However, hearing N say "Leave him alone, he'll come back" put things in perspective. I'd become a joke. A walking caricature of everything that's bad about being drunk on NYE - so I left my hiding place and walked, tail between legs, back into the party. At which point I went about apologising to everybody profusely, including a bloke who was going to the toilet at the time. Apparently my heartfelt apology through the door gave him stage fright. Good. 'Cos he started it.

And this brings us up to date. I hasten to add that I am not a bad person. I am never violent, although I am frequently angry. NYE just messes me up in a way that other nights don't. I think it's because I drink to be drunk for midnight. I drink as much as I can before Big Ben chimes so that I won't feel like a prick singing Auld Lang Syne. Then the clock chimes, and I continue in the pace I'd set beforehand.

Tonight things will be different. Of course I will be drunk, but I will also be drink a glass of water between each drink. Hopefully, the monster will stay in its cage and I'll be able to have a nice night out like a normal person, and put all this silliness behind me!

Happy New Year 2010!


Wednesday, 30 December 2009

On A Quarterlife (or Afterlife) Crisis

I've just read the phrase 'quarterlife crisis' for the first time, on 20 Something Bloggers ( and it made me wonder: is this what's behind my recent technology binge? For someone who has been something of a luddite up to now, it is perhaps a little out of character to embrace this blogging malarkey. And Twitter. I'm on that too now. Not that I know anyone on there, but I still can't get enough of it. There was a time when I didn't think about where Stephen Fry was or what he was up to (he's back in London, by the way). And then the I-Phone - I'm downloading apps like there's no tomorrow. Where has all of this come from I ask you!? This time a month ago I was perfectly happy (or blissfully ignorant?) with a laptop for games and Facebook and a phone that could make calls and do absolutely nothing else.

Don't get me wrong - I like blogging and Twitter and am pleased to have discovered them, for they have a kind of real world value, a valid point - but the problem lies deeper. You see, doctor, the thing is, I'm worried that my wondrous new phone is unearthing an old me - one that I buried kicking and screaming after I left home for uni. GeekMe. The I-Phone has provided me with a funky little app for downloading comic books, and has also got me obsessed with a game in which you pretend to be vampire killing zombies. It's all a bit Top Trumps, with points for attack and defence etc, and a page with people you can attack for blood, with which you can buy new supernatural powers.

I know, I'm not doing myself any favours - on the off-chance there was a secret reader out there in the blogosphere, wondering whether this drivel is interesting enough to merit their time, the chances are they have by now packed their bags and moved on. But don't abandon me yet, imaginary reader, for I will beat this.

I shall concentrate my efforts on the cooler things in life; on reading, drinking, eating out and going to the gym. I shall leave myself as little time alone as possible without being accused of stalking my nearest and dearest, so as to avoid the temptation of this virtual world of the undead. I shall go to work every day, and embrace Real Life once more. Then I will have buckets of interesting things to blog about and Undead-GeekMe will be banished...until next time... (mwah ha ha ha).

Saturday, 26 December 2009

On Christmas Night

...and all through the house, nothing was stirring, not even a mouse.

And me. Because I'd got up to stuff my face full of crap in the middle of the night and couldn't get back to sleep afterwards. Perhaps my Christmas was a bit too merry, I'd eaten enough to feed a small country and drunk just enough to ensure that my night would be extra uncomfortable as the room span around me.

So there I was, laying on the two seater sofa, with my feet hanging off the edge and my neck bent at an unnatural angle, listening to my dad and my uncle snore at eachother across the landing. I soon became engrossed in their efforts to drown eachother out which went something like this;

Uncle: snore
Dad: snoore
Uncle: snoore-snort-snore
Dad: snoooooore-snoooore-snortsnort
And so on...

Then it hit me. Christmas Day has come and gone - that means that all the things I've been putting off until 'after Christmas' now need to be done. I need to get back to the gym (if I can remember where it is). I need to talk to my dad about how what we need to do now he's lost his job. I need to start paying off my credit card. This is why the post-Christmas come down is always so harsh, because nothing can ever be allowed to ruin Christmas and so is put off until afterwards, and by making sure Christmas runs smoothly and happily, we ensure ourselves a shockingly grim start to the new year.

Still, I'm not a total scrooge - part of me thinks a shitty January is worth it for that one glorious day of fantastic indulgence.

Bring on the crappy New Year!


Thursday, 24 December 2009

On Avatar

After a trying afternoon navigating the bustling walkways of Lakeside Shopping Centre* I decided it was high time to go and see the film that's got everybody talking. A colleague recently saw it, but had to sit separately from her friends. While she was moved to tears, they left feeling rather underwhelmed. As such, I wasn't sure what to expect. N accompanied me, but can't be relied upon for an objective opinion; he could start a cult with his enthusiasm for Cameron's films and saw Titanic 13 times at the cinema - he was bound to love it...

And so did I. Parts of it had me up in my seat ready to fight the evil humans away from planet Pandora, and I definitely want one of those flying lizard things. I've read mixed reviews - but I think everyone more or less agrees that it looks absolutely fantastic. It blows the only other 3D film I've seen out of the water. Granted that film was Final Destination 3, so I suppose it's not much of a competition - I've watched episodes of Bargain Hunt that have gripped me more. The storyline is decent in my opinion, though others disagree - I suppose the question is whether it's a case of groundbreaking effects saving, or obscuring, a second-rate script? In my most humble of opinions, I wouldn't say so. I can see why people do think that - at times it does get a little bit psychadelic-GreenPeace-eco-crazy, but it does convey an important and topical message, so what if it transmits it via a thoroughly enjoyable, if utterly ridiculous, sci-fi yarn? And enjoyable it is - a ruddy good film if you ask me. It's not as heavy on the romantic plot as Titanic was, so the environmental message does come to the fore. That said, there's enough action and drama to keep it from feeling like a lecture. The characters could be considered a little one-dimensional - the scientist obsessed with obtaining samples, the gun-ho general fighting 'terror with terror', the corporate whore obsessed with getting the goods no matter what the cost - but then they are supposed to represent something, aren't they? Which they do well - I physically hated the baddies, with a passion.

I'm trying to be objective - I'm basically picking holes in something for the sake of it now, but it's hard because I bloody loved it. I think it's a film that has and will continue to divide opinion, but I do recommend seeing it, at least so you can make your own mind up.

Look out for the Derek Acora lookalike heading up the baddies...and ponder whether it's wrong to fancy an alien?

Yes, it's wrong.


* I have a friend who has developed a way of coping with walking through crowded streets; pretend you are a space ship flying through an asteroid belt. Although I zoned out before I had fully absorbed all the rules (it gets quite complex - the different 'moves' all have different names, and I lost track) I must admit to trying it. Something to keep commuter rage down long as there are no lasers involved.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

On Peaks & Troughs

The view from my seat at Fulham FC's Craven Cottage as Man Utd begin the long journey back up north with their tails between their legs - 3-0 to FFC! Who saw that coming? I certainly didn't. Don't worry, I'm not going to rant about Fulham's mesmering football skills or how Roy Hodgson's black & white army eased to victory over last season's league champions, but it does deserve a mention.

Not least because yesterday morning we had some bad news. Although I had convinced myself that the recession was over and that everything was on its way back to normal (ostrich-head-sand?) it is still claiming its victims. My dad lost his job, which is never good news, but hearing the news while surrounded by piles of Christmas presents was surreal. Still, it's not all bad - my mum is quite ill so it may be that this is a good thing. It will be nice to know there's always someone with her, keeping an eye out. It will be tough, of course, but we're all being very stiff upper lip about it - no wailing, weeping or gnashings of teeth in here, just some crossed fingers and furrowed brows.

That's why yesterday's STUNNING victory was extra special - it's not often Fulham can be relied upon to offer a completely relaxed experience to their spectators, but yesterday it ran like a dream! It was just what the doctor ordered in a way - a distraction, an entertainment. I followed the game with a copious amount of alcohol at a friend's flat. I would fascinate you with amusing anecdotes, extracts from our witty conversations or moments of note, but so much was consumed that I don't remember a thing. All I have to show for it is a killer hangover, about 40 photos of myself taken in front of the bathroom mirror and a missing watch. I fear my watch may have fallen off on the journey home - a victim of my graceless clamber over the fence separating the lanes of the A127.

And that just about brings me up-to-date. Best get to bed as it's my last day at work tomorrow (until 2010!), so I want to avoid my usual 8 o'clock sprint to the station and get in early...HA.

Take it easy,


Friday, 18 December 2009

On Being Snowtally f**ked

Yet again I find myself writing from the comfort of my bed while my colleages are hard at work!

The UK has once again demonstrated a fantastic inability to function in any atmospheric conditions other than overcast with light drizzle. I'm not just ranting at the powers that be either, I include myself in this. If the weather decides to do anything remotely interesting, I don't really know what to do.

So last night, after a couple of drinks in a pub in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, I was possibly the most useless person to have around when N's car couldn't make it up a steep hill due to the snow. If we'd left when it started instead of gawping at the pretty white snowflakes landing in the sea we might have been ok, but we didn't - we made sure we stayed in the pub until the bell, and then frolicked in the fresh snow for a while. This meant that by the time we made it back to the car, not only were we knackered, but also bloody freezing and soaking wet. Sensible. So, we got halfway up the hill, before N's noble steed packed up. I then witnessed a parade of people that crushed my faith in humanity almost entirely. One man stood and watched while I slid around behind the car - when I asked him if he could help he said he didn't really fancy it. ABSOLUTE TOSSER. Car after car went by and nobody helped. Some laughed, some gave advice, most looked straight ahead but nobody helped. THEN FINALLY, through the snowfall, a knight in shining armour appeared and with his help we managed to get on our way.

For all of two minutes, at which point we hit another hill. Three attempts and an hour and a half later, we cleared hill # 2! Hurrah! And slid into the kerb, damaging one of the front wheels. At this point we were both sitting in a nervous silence, listening to each revolution of the wheel praying that it wouldn't fall off. Actually, I'm not sure I prayed, but at one point I was exercising the power of my mind, thinking "If I just imagine that the wheel won't fall off, it won't, and all will be well. All. Will. Be. Well..."

And it was, in the end. Eternal thanks to the man who helped on hill #1, and the second man who stopped to check we were ok on hill #2. To the man who watched and laughed, and the chavs who nearly hit us speeding the other way, I hope you got frostbite.

ON A LESS BITTER NOTE, series 1 of E4's Misfits has just finished. In my most humble of opinions, it was fantastic. It was SuperSkins - fantastic young actors, a gritty setting and a plot that allowed them to explore comedy, action and, towards the end, drama. I am biased as I do like homegrown talent but this was one of the best new programmes I've seen in a long time.

Happy SnowDay!


Wednesday, 16 December 2009

On Caviar & Comics

Tonight was my work Christmas do. And it was quite a do. Having had a couple of days off, I went to the office, glanced briefly at an inbox full of troublesome e-mails and then headed off to the Covent Garden Hotel for lunch.

We were told to dress up (unusual for an office full of Converses, jeans and hoodies) and I'm glad I did - the hotel is beautiful. We were shown to a private room in which I was not the only one impressed by the cloth wallpaper...or wallcloth perhaps. I'm sorry, I don't know the correct term. The food was fantastic. I had caviar for the first time - not much I hasten to add - a small helping on top of the rémoularde which accompanied my starter of smoked salmon. Fear not - I'm not going to run through the menu, but for a born and bred Essex boy I feel caviar in a swanky hotel is something of a milestone :) In all honesty, there wasn't even enough of it to really taste it - what I did manage to separate from the rest of my meal felt a bit like I was eating tiny bubbles. You can take the boy out of Essex...

Then went on to the pub - so please excuse any glaring spelling errors, 'tis not my fault but the fault of the good brewers at Becks Vier.

When I left this morning, sliding along the pavement like Bambi on the ice due to some new shoes I bought with my birthday funds, it was so cold my fingers nearly fell off and each breath hung in the air. I'm not moaning though - I love winter. It is my season of choice, and not only because it houses the joyous anniversary of my birth. I think everything looks better in winter. Lights shine brighter, homes look more inviting and there is a lot to be said for knitwear and winter jackets. I think winter suits London, and after some drinks in the pub, I took some time out from my desperate laps around Covent Garden Market in search of a public WC (I'm sure somebody's tampered with the signs, I was on a wild goose chase for a good 20minutes) to take some extremely festive photos on my new phone!

Yes, new phone. I am now a card carrying member of the I-Squad and have to admit that I love it. I don't know how I functioned with a phone minus all the clever little applications you can download - although I am trying to stay aware of the fact that they are money-making machines, Apple is terribly efficient in offering you applications that do exactly what you need, exactly when you need them. I MUST BE CAREFUL.

Saying that, I downloaded a clever little app that lets you download comic books which I'm really impressed with. I'm not a massive comic buff, but it's quite interesting how the designers have made use of this new platform when laying pages out - pressing next doesn't necessarily take you to the next page, but zooms in a different part of the current spread, or zooms out to show more, so that you bounce from speech bubble to speech bubble like you're watching a tennis match. Very clever...

The particular comic that impressed me was called 'The Stuff of Legend' by Mike Raicht and Brian Smith, illustrated by Charles Paul Wilson III and published by Th3rd World Studios. The artwork is breathtaking - all in sepia tones which is in keeping, I suppose, with it's WW2 setting. But while WW2 rages in the background and is rarely commented on directly, a battle on a smaller scale forms the main storyline - that of a group of toys, come to life in The Dark (a world inside their owner's cupboard, full of abandoned toys) on a quest to rescue the boy who owns them from the Boogie Man. It may sound odd, but give it a go - I do recommend it.

Anyway, I'd best be off - have to get in early tomorrow to actually deal with the e-mails I 'filed' this morning!

Festive wishes,


PS What a rant - Christmas - caviar - 'why I like winter' - new phone - comics - sorry, will try to be more structured :)

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

On My Birthday


Today is my 25th birthday. I've booked the day off work and I'm currently lying in bed doing...well...nothing. I've been thinking about this for a while and have now decided to bite the bullet and start a blog. Apologies for misleading title - it's not brave, nor anything massively different - but I do have my reasons for entering the blogosphere:

1 - The last few years since I graduated have passed in a blur - of course there have been stand-out moments but a lot of the things I did have fallen by the wayside and been forgotten. This strikes me as a massive shame, and I'm hoping to remedy this 'going forward' (management speak!) by recording anything interesting so that I can look back on it later.

2 - 'THEN KEEP A DIARY' I hear you cry. Well, I could, but I know I wouldn't keep it up. Plus, I have a theory that everybody else's lives sound incredibly interesting when you read about them. I read a blog recently and thought, " lead such a cool life," and it pushed me to reflect on my own. I'm in something of a rut at the moment - I don't feel like I'm going anywhere particularly fast, but despite this, I am having fun. I'd like to write it all down so that I can remind myself that my life is interesting, too. The possibility of somebody, somewhere, reading what I've written and finding it worthy of their time (which, one day, may happen!) is what attracted me to this particular platform - does that make me an exhibitionist??

3 - I live and work in London and I love it. It never bores me, becomes commonplace or dreary. I love being part of a city that has so much energy and I'm sure my escapades around the Big Smoke will feature somewhere.

In short, I've reached a stage in my life where, for the first time, everything's quite clear. I'm at the bottom of the career ladder - but at least I'm on it. I don't get paid that well - but at least I have a job. I've been with my long-suffering other half for nearly 5 years now, and at last I have matured enough to play an equal part, rather than run around causing havoc and heartache like a teenage tornado. Things are decidedly more settled than they ever have been - which is good, because that gives me more time to amuse myself. :)

So...this is a turning point I suppose. The future's bright and all that...


Monday, 14 December 2009


A selection of lines that caught my eye while reading...

Norman Collins - London Belongs To Me

"And the people. They're London too. They're the same Londoners that they have always been, except that from time to time the proportion of refugees has altered a little. At one moment the doubtful-looking newcomers are the Huguenots. At another the Jews and it is the Huguenots who are the Londoners wondering whatever London is coming to. They're all Londoners - the French and Italians in Soho, the Chinese in Limehouse, the Scotsmen in Muswell hill and the Irish round the Docks."

"Real Londoners - some in love, some in debt, some committing murders, some adultery, some trying to get on in the world, some looking forward to a pension, some getting drunk, some losing their jobs, some dying, and some holding up the new baby."

Edgar Allan Poe - Ligeia

"There is no point, among the many incomprehensible anomalies of the science of mind, more thrillingly exciting than the fact...that, in our endeavours to recall to memory something long forgotten, we often find ourselves upon the very verge of rememberance, without being able, in the end, to remember."

Jonathan Safran Foer - Everything is Illuminated

"He removed several pages of death certificates, which were picked up by another breeze and sent into the trees. Some would fall with the leaves that September. Some would fall with the trees generations later."

"The Wisps of Ardisht - that clan of artisan smokers in Rovno who smoked so much they smoked even when they were not smoking."

"Your train ride appeased you?" I asked, "Oh, God," he said, "twenty-six hours, fucking unbelievable." This girl Unbelievable must be very majestic, I thought."

"It's like your name, you don't notice it for so long, but when you finally do, you can't help but say it over and over, and wonder why you never thought it was strange that you should have that name, and that everyone has been calling you that name for your whole life."

"...once you hear something, you can never return to the time before you heard it."

"I do not think that there are any limits to how excellent we could make life seem."

James Scudamore - The Amnesia Clinic

"A chaotic bus rattled past, a burst of salsa music escaping from its windows. I thought how it might have been the same one that had dropped us off three days and a million years before."

"You're nothing but a patchwork, you know. A patchwork of what's happened to you."

"Even as I waited for the plane, I could feel my memories beginning to solidify and coalesce into picture postcards."