The Writer’s Block: A Writer’s Worst Nightmare

“I’ll write it at noon and if not, then I’ll write it tomorrow!” – one very unsuccessful writer

Every morning I find myself perilously rummaging through endless quantities of Google searched landscape photographs, motivational videos and other miscellaneous crap scattered around the web in the belief that if I search long enough, I’ll eventually stumble upon the catalyst of inspiration for my next article of writing – but this doesn’t always seem to do the trick, and it’s often the case that I’m left sitting stagnant at my keyboard at six o’clock in the evening watching an unspecified episode of Friends. Finding suitable inspiration to fuel the pen towards the paper (the fingers towards the keys) is the most frightening hurdle for any writer, and to overcome it requires strong motivation, perseverance, and a bundle of wasted time.

Procrastination is the most destructive human trait. It clings to us like that hand thing out of Harry Potter in Diagon Alley, wreaking havoc among every creative individual. Lack of inspiration is the direct cause of this harbinger of writer’s death, manipulating the writer into thinking that if they just watch one (or ten) more episodes of Breaking Bad and indulge in a hot cup of coffee (or five), then they’ll easily be able to at least start the next piece of writing that they’ve likely been planning on doing for weeks now. But the more it waits, the more the writer slowly begins to distance themselves from the final goal, lose momentum and fall into that bottomless pit of failure.

There’s one piece of advice I can offer to counter this anti-productive disease. In the words of a non-procrastinating bloke at Nike: “Just do it”. Three simple words with a very powerful meaning – don’t speak, run, walk, talk, watch or snore – just feckin’ dae it! And dae it well! I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t scrolled over to Facebook and/or YouTube at least a few times during the production of this article. However, as much as your phone is only a foot adrift from the prizing fingers tapping away on your keyboard, it’s crucial for any writer to persevere through the task at hand and win the battle against the temptations of Netflix and other related allurements that seem to taunt your frazzled brain while you fiercely try to complete that first paragraph.

Ideas are infinite, but sparking them is difficult. I guess the most common cause of the absence of a writer’s content is due to the writer simply not possessing any ideas worthy of writing about. This morning I woke up thunderously, hopped into a warm shower of ambition, devoured a bowl of sugary white porridge and then settled down on my bed for what I imagined to be a quick and easy writing session. It wasn’t until I’d opened up WordPress that it dawned on me, there wasn’t a single blip of an idea in my mind worth putting on the screen, not one. This can be fixed.

YouTube is the most powerful tool accessible to any human being lucky enough to be born into this new age of rising technology. A gargantuan library of infinite ideas and thought-provoking anecdotes will almost certainly bring an inspired pen to paper with over 100 hours of video uploaded to the site every minute. If you can’t harness some form of inspiration from this magnificent stream of endless multimedia content then you should probably seek some form of professional psychological help. YouTube is the ultimate inspirational learning tool. Vimeo is also fun.

If you can’t seem to provoke inspiration from YouTube and can’t afford a psychiatrist, then your best bet would be to stick in a pair of earphones, initiate a hasty exit from your house and take your idea-less body for a short walk in the woods, park, or even just through the streets. This will clear your mind and possibly ignite a few ideas that you never thought existed before, triggered by the crisp surroundings that put your monotonous bedroom wall and computer screen to shame. This genuinely works. Your bedroom probably isn’t too inspirational unless you have some kind of magical wardrobe that transports you to Narnia in an instant. The world is beautiful, enlighten yourself with its endless surprises.

I’m sure the words ‘never give up’ have been instilled into your cosmic brain on many occasions. The post-powerful phrase has unfortunately fallen into the same category as the words ‘sorry’ or ‘I love you’ – a category of words and phrases that have lost their original values due to the creation of Facebook and the ’emoticon’ which have diluted their impacting meanings. But the phrase ‘never give up’ is the most supreme advice for anyone yearning for success in any aspect of life. It’s simple, quitters never win and winners never quit. If you don’t find a way to muster up the inspiration to write and stop procrastinating, then you’ll fail. If you do however, then you’ll win. You could be a terrible writer with no ideas and the mind of a sea cucumber, but if you persevere, and relentlessly strive towards success, then you’ll win. If you don’t, then you’ll lose. Now get out there and write the next Hobbit.

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How to Become a Warehouse-smoking Junkie

“Happiness is the truth”

– Pharrel Williams

Blue cheese and Scrumpy Jack cider – an interesting combination of items that offers a night of unprecedented pleasure, tearful laughter and broken lighters. If you’re familiar with this combination then you’re likely on the same boat as me; a boat that is of a very old age, in dire need of a paint job, and possesses a gaping hole in the hull that’s causing the boat to sink rather expeditiously. However, if you’re not familiar with the two commodities above, and have no idea how these two items could possibly decipher a blissful Tuesday night in an abandoned warehouse with a friend, then you’re not only missing out, but you’re also probably not a junkie. Tuesday is the day of the week in which nothing significant ever seems to happen. It’s the day of the week that just seems to float by in the calendar without as much as a glint of purpose . Even Monday and Wednesday uphold more crucial purposes than Tuesday whereby Monday represents the beginning of another riveting week ahead and Wednesday signifies that there’s only half of the week left to endure before the next. But Tuesday however, only holds the purpose of informing everyone that there’s only three days left until Friday, nothing more. This is likely the reason that Jimmy and I received a lot of concerned looks last night in Asda as we where shockingly spotted by late-night shoppers attempting to drag two crates of Scrumpy Jack cider over to the check-out in the hopes that our Tuesday night would be considerably more eventful than that of any of the frowning onlookers. Perhaps another reason for the bewildered looks of passing shoppers was due to the fact that stuffed in Jimmy’s pocket was two grams of the most pungent, formidable blue cheese cannabis I’d ever had the pleasure of inhaling in my entire life. It’s eight o’clock on a Tuesday night, and Jimmy and I have decided to meet up at our usual spot in anticipation of our first smoke together in over a month. The rain is pathetically drizzling down and the crisp glacial air is fighting its way through the multiple layers of clothing that I had squeezed on just an hour before. Jimmy also looked the part. His shaggy brown cotton hat in partnership with his untamed patchy beard made him look like a drug-addicted serial killer, while I just appeared chubbier than usual due to the three jumpers and two pairs of trousers that I decided model upon meeting him. Due to not having a house to smoke in that night, we decided to rendezvous at the all too familiar abandoned warehouse just five minutes away from my house. After hastily dragging two crates of premium Scrumpy Jack cider we’d purchased just ten minutes before from our local superstore over to the entrance (gaping hole in the wall) of the derelict factory, we slowly began to trudge our way in. Directing ourselves through a pitch black warehouse on a Tuesday night in an ambitious attempt to the find the seating area we’d conjured up with a few planks of rotten wood and an ancient crate of beer the previous time we had smoked in there, was not a challenge for the faint of heart. The whole warehouse had been trashed by our junkie predecessors. Every inch of the floor was hidden by some form of rotten debris and the structure of the ceiling was bare and open. Sharp elements of splintered wood, shattered glass and twisted metal posed as common obstacles as we stumbled our way through the eerie corridors and rooms of the darkness. After taking a few frustrating wrong turns, we eventually managed to reach the pitch black room which we planned to reside in for the rest of the night. The room was stuffed with familiar aromas of corrosion, waste and smoked cannabis but our make-do seats still sat in the corner in immaculate condition, touched only by a few droplets of moisture since we’d last seen them. However, it was at this point that we realised a new challenge awaited us; the rolling of the joint. Of course, Jimmy had been rolling joints since his prepubescent days and had done so in almost every environment imaginable, but the ice-cold consistency of the night was clinging relentlessly to our numb fingers and the room lay in a thick blanket of darkness that not even a bat could survive in. The fiddly job of rolling the joint seemed impossible, even for the masterful joint-rolling abilities of Jimmy. There are three components required to roll a joint of cannabis: paper skins, marijuana (or pollen) and some form of ignition. Unfortunately, it came to light at this moment that not one us had remembered to bring any skins, adding to the impossible problem that faced us while we stood motionless in the centre of the visionless room. ‘Fuck! How did not one us remember to bring the skins!?’, Jimmy blared, enraged by our complacency. We began to recklessly hunt through the abundance of pockets that hung from our endless layers of clothing, digging up a Narnia’s worth of ancient receipts, empty cigarette packets and other pointless miscellaneous items that not even a homeless person could find a purpose for. To our own terror, not one of us had bothered to bring the first most essential item for any cannabis joint, the skins. A return to the superstore abruptly appeared back on the cards. One (or both) of us would have to trek all the back to Asda and purchase skins from the same woman who had reluctantly just sold us the cans of cider and cigarettes just twenty minutes previous to this dilemma. Jimmy hesitantly volunteered for the mission and I sat like a duck on the two corroding planks of wood, sipping away at a freezing can of Scrumpy Jack cider while he was destined to embarrass himself asking for one single packet of skins in the superstore at half past eight on a Tuesday night. I had an eternity to contemplate my life over the fifteen minutes that Jimmy was away. It was then that I stumbled upon a surprising revelation; that the only problems I really faced at this point in my life was the petty issues caused by a lack of money, such as that our lighter wasn’t working too well, or that we only had half a cigarette left to roll the last joint with, or that Jimmy didn’t have enough money for his taxi home. These are only problems fought by people who sit at the bottom of the chain of society, the bottom feeders. For normal people, if a lighter stops working or they lose a few cigarettes, the problem is swiftly resolved with a casual five-minute drive to the nearest store for a few cigarettes and a new lighter, but for Jimmy and I, it’s a night ruining experience that involves a panicked walk to Jimmy’s gran’s house in the hope that she’ll have a lighter that can be smuggled from the counter of her kitchen. Every time we venture out together, there’s always an issue, and it’s usually derived from some for financial trouble. This caused me to ponder about what the future holds, and if I’ll still be craving this lifestyle in the years to come. Jimmy returned with a full packet of skins and a look of despair on his face. He’d been questioned over the purpose of buying the skins and asked to present formal proof of age before being allowed to make the purchase. ‘I’m never doing that again you wee fuckin’ dick!’, Jimmy cursed, the embarrassment still evident on his blood-red cheeks. ‘Got asked loads of questions and the woman looked at me like I’m some kinda fuckin’ drug addict or something!’, he continued, fuming by what he’d just had to do. All I could do was apologise and excite over the fact that in five minutes, we would be igniting the strongest joint of weed I’d smoked in over a month. To our own amazement, the joint rolled beautifully, with the skins unwrapping smoother than a babies bottom into an immaculate rectangular shape and the miniscule beads of cannabis crumbling delicately into the bed of nicotine and paper which proceeded to roll elegantly into an impeccable cylinder. The joint was ready and all that awaited was ignition. Jimmy proceeded to pluck a lighter from his jacket pocket and held the mighty joint up to his frozen lips. Click, click, click–silence. Click, click, click–silence.  Not a single spark flew from the dark grey metals of the lighter, not a single hiss of flame. ‘Fuck! What we gonna do now!?’, Jimmy spurted, still incessantly trying to force any form of fire from the forsaken lighter. Subsequent to around ten minutes of frustration and discussion of our next move, Jimmy furiously asked me if I had any money so he could march all the way back to the store once again to purchase another lighter. We both began scouring through our pockets, digging out crumbs of nicotine and cannabis from the depths of our clothing until eventually Jimmy stumbled upon the skins he thought he never had before and I discovered just enough loose change to buy the cheapest plastic lighter. Jimmy snatched the money from my brisk dry palms and stormed off through the engulfing darkness of the warehouse, clattering into metal objects hanging down from the ceiling like bats as he did. Once again, I sat in the stingy room of the warehouse, contemplating the future and what it may hold. Jimmy returned with even more rage in his voice than when he’d left ten minutes ago. Jimmy returned with even more rage in his voice than when he’d left ten minutes ago. ‘I didn’t have enough fuckin’ money so I had to pay the rest with my card!’, Jimmy ranted. I couldn’t believe it, Jimmy had actually had to whip out his debit card in front of the woman he had already seen three times in the previous hour and pay for the rest of the lighter with the crummy change he had left over on his card. ‘How tragic is that?’, I whispered him nervously, to which I received a look of disgust from the ashamed man. Nevertheless, the only thing left to do now was pop open another can, and inflame the fetid joint that seemed to be crying out to be lit. We lit the joint, and the euphoric sensations and emotions commenced. After a couple of cans of cider and the first joint, I couldn’t even engage in human conversation – Jimmy would toss invoking conversations of deep meaning and sincerity towards me and I’d just laugh hysterically in his face or stare at him as if he’d just spoken to me in Mandarin. My altered brain could only concentrate on the tunes of happiness and truth echoing through the murky corridors and halls from the rusty speakers of my phone. It might sound crazy what I’m about to say, but what I felt at that moment was genuinely the most euphoric sensation I’d ever felt in my entire life. Feelings of absolute relaxation and elation slowly began to shiver down my addicted spine, alleviating every burden of stress and pressure as it did, leaving me in a floating state, away from the corruption and exploitation of Earth, placing me in a nirvana of freedom, truth and paradise. I think it’s safe to say I was quite out of it, untouchable by any external forces and unable to even think about the walk home. We triumphantly demolished both crates of cider, and that’s all my memory permits me to remember. I was awoken abruptly the next morning to the loud thud of my laptop crashing from my bed into a heap of dirty clothing, cigarette packets and crushed cider cans. I love my life. The only thing that seems to frighten me at this stage is the uncertainty of the future – but that’s everyone’s worry, right? I can only hope that in the years to come these will be the sort of tales that I can enlighten my grand children with on some cold Tuesday night in a hospital bed attached to a feeding tube while I ferociously battle my late eighties. Youth is what defines you as a person. Youth is your one opportunity as a human being to indulge in the sort of lifestyle you choose – whether it be studying every night for a business degree that will eventually see you work in an office run by some sanctimonious bitch that treats you like a scrunched up piece of paper, or whether it be taking a gamble every night and doing something that will ultimately lead you to crawling home in the freezing cold of the night praying that your has mum left the front door open so you can raid the fridges and tumble into your bed. Life is short, and I plan to make everyday as joyful an experience as possible. Even if I am junkie, I still love my life, and everything that it entails.

Winter is Here – And it’s Not What I Wanted

Winter is upon us, and for many nations around the world, it’s a time of lavish snow, snowplows, snowmen, snowballs and an abundance of other snow-related commodities. But for the few people living in the same county of Scotland as me, it’s quite the opposite. Just take away the ‘snow’ from the list of things in the first sentence and that should give you a solid idea of what kind of winter I’m currently up against – it’s going to be an interesting one to say the least. However, after many years of enduring torrential rain, gale force winds and snow flakes that are only able to touch the drenched concrete for a split second before vanishing into the soaked ground, I’m slowly beginning to accept that these are the sort of winters that I’m just going to have to get used to, and try my best to enjoy and survive.

I can’t lie, this sort of weather is perfection for me as a writer – perching by the fire on a cushion devoured chair by the roaring fire while the furious wind and rain try their absolute best to take the roof off, is a mildly therapeutic writing experience for me. The only downside to the severity of this gloomy weather is the fact that I’m unwilling forced to go through at least three cigarettes and a decent hairdo every time I step an inch outside for one smoke.

Despite this, there’s definitely a real sense of Scottishness that comes with this type of weather. Last night, I was forced to drag two very reluctant border collies on a walk into the woods at around eight o’clock at night – which promised a monsoon worth of rain, cyclone winds and pitch black vision. Of course, it wasn’t one of those experiences that I’d put on my resume, but despite its harshness, I somewhat felt like a true Scottish warrior as I battled my way through the slapping branches and leaves of the forest, as the two collies took flight behind me on two stretched leads.

The absence of snow around here is of course due to the fact that I live contiguous to the sea, which I’m yet to visit in these vicious months. I caught a glimpse of the fury last night while on my way to an interview for another chef position and oh boy is it not a force to be reckoned with – the treacherous wind and rain certainly pay great compliments to the unforgiving waves. It’s times like these that I wish I had a half-decent camera to capture these moments of mother nature at her most livid.

IMGP3423An Image I took last winter on the West Coast of Scotland showing off those bustin’ stormy waves!

This is the most riveting time of year for me. The weather gets frightening, the temperature of the house is heightening and every other nation on the planet is whitening! Why not us!?

Happy winter people, embrace it!

I’m Fairly Sure My Best Friend is a Killer – DRUGS & GIRLS

Work is tough. Especially if you’re forced to walk five miles to get home after you realise that there aren’t any buses or trains that run after eleven o’clock on a Saturday night. The five mile walk was daunting, but I had stitched together a few plans before hand involving a couple of tasty joints of weed and possibly a can of cheap cider, which made the hour and a half trek home marginally less painful than if I were to walk home to no plans, a cigarette, and a dry bowl of cereal. The plan was to meet up with Jimmy half way from my house to his, smoke a big fat joint (or two), gargle on some cider, and then part our ways.

However, this plan rather promptly took a U-turn after I unexpectedly bumped into my wise old friend Gordon who was lingering outside the Tavern. Expectedly, he generously asked me if I was interested in stuffing my lungs with the smoke of marijuana-class THC in the local park and without a second thought, I responded with a conspicuous yes, and began my march to the park, accompanied by Gordon, Gordon’s bike, and a seemingly limitless supply of happiness.

After a deliciously relaxing dose of weed, I informed Gordon that I was walking in the exact same direction to his house to meet my best friend Jimmy, so after a nod of approval from Gordon, we set off, embarking on another long walk, this time for two miles – but there was more weed involved (and girls, which I was oblivious to at this point) so the trek to meet Jimmy was still more than worth it. It was only after reaching the underpass at the end of my street that we stumbled across the girls – drunk, with questionable morals and a handful of pointless things to squeal about.

Sitting in the underpass were three teenage girls of varying size, hair colour and levels of intoxication, sitting on the bitter cold concrete, drinking cheap booze and snorting about things that Gordon and I could never possibly have been able to understand. Gordon was the first to dive into the action as he aerobically flew down onto one knee to engage in their indecipherable banter. I for one, imperceptibly engulfed in the nervousness of the idea of meeting three random drunk teenage girls in an underpass at 12:25 in the morning, stood casually at the back of him, waiting patiently to see what would inevitably unfold.

I stood apprehensively in the shadow of the scene for around five minutes before one of the girls, faintly beginning to look familiar, lost interest in Gordon’s cunning verbosity, thunderously struggled to her feet and invaded my personal space with a ducky smile and a glimmer in her eyes.

‘What’s your name?’, she asked.

‘Oh, it’s Frank, what’s yours?’, I stuttered, trying to engage in the coolness of the conversation.

‘Samantha’, she bluntly replied, still smiling deliriously.’

After thorough examination of her face, it dawned on me that this was one of the girls in the year below me at school.

‘Frank Dynamite!?’, she screamed, rapturously enthralled as if I had just told her she was pregnant.

‘Yeah, that’s me! I remember you from school, I belated, thriving to sound far more excited than I actually was.

‘Oh Frank, you’ve gotten quite good-looking over the years haven’t you!?’, she screeched wildly in her half-slurred tone.

I’m not sure how any man could possibly reply to that statement without sounding more vain than that of Simon Cowell.

‘Ah thanks, you too!’, I blurted. Subsequent to one of my best attempts at small talk, she beckoned a hug, which lead to an uncanny attempt at a snog – however, still buried in a grave of nervousness, I pulled out after a split second and asked her which direction she was headed for the night. To my surprise, she was planning on staying at her friend’s house who by total chance, lived in the exact same direction I was walking to meet Jimmy in twenty minutes.

Gordon took off after ten minutes having endured the achingly monotonous ‘drunk girl chatter’ for the previous ten minutes of his life that he would unfortunately never get back, and I was left stranded with the three girls for another five minutes before the blonde girl who I’d half-kissed, decided that we should walk on ahead and meet them when they eventually (if ever) caught up. One of the girls at this point was beyond hope of ever evading a hangover in the morning, shouting and screaming about the supposedly poor customer service she’d received an hour ago while trying to use the toilet at a petrol station half a mile away. Anxious to escape the blood-curdling squeals of the three girls, amplified by the echoes of the underpass, I swiftly swept away to the flank of the underpass and made a hasty call to Jimmy, informing him that I was currently in the presence of three teenage girls with extremely questionable morals and was walking back to their houses in the same direction I was meeting himself, who was currently already walking towards the meeting location in the freezing cold of the night. Enticed by what I’d just told him, he was convinced that he’d be able convert the night into a bonanza of sex, drugs and everything in between.

The walk towards Jimmy that night was certainly one of the coldest and most irritating I’d endured so far, with the blonde girl who I’d semi-touched lips with relentlessly harping on about subjects that I couldn’t have possibly cared less about if I tried – such as the friends she’s recently fallen out with over a Facebook status, or the ex-boyfriend she wished she’d never broken up with. All I could do was hang tight, smoke as many cigarettes as I possibly could to pass the time, and pray that the faint sight of Jimmy would appear on the foggy horizon as quickly as the girl’s pace of speech.

The cavalry eventually arrived, with Jimmy boldly parading towards us in his dark blue cottons and his signature nylon jacket. Upon his sudden arrival, without a question, he was quick to squander any chance I might have had with the girl that night and latched onto her meaningless drunk conversation in a flash, charming her with his wits and superior height. Shortly after, I asked Jimmy if he’d brought the joints of weed, to which he replied; “I brought much more than just weed mate”. The girls face seemed to light up in an orgasm of joy and excitement as if she’d just found she’d received ten likes on the Facebook post she posted thirty seconds ago. Jimmy then began to unveil a mighty barrack of drugs – which consisted of a half gram of ketamine in one pocket, ten blue valium tablets in another pocket, and a two joints, one behind each of his hawk-like ears. It was going to be a chronic night.

Bridge of Nightingale (Photography)

1390592_683813938297754_1537600835_nThis is a photography series where I dig up some of the old photographs found on the half-broken netbook that I used to use and store my work on two years ago. Tonight, I present an image that I snapped on a muggy winter night of 2012 while cycling down the coast of North Quensferry, Scotland, in an ambitious attempt to capture a picture of the famous Scottish Forth Road Bridge, which connects the county of Fife to the capital of Scotland, Edinburgh.

Evidently, there was subtle editing applied to this image upon it reaching the netbook I was using at the time, hence the sleek plummy purple and garnet red colours that flow through the sky and water of this image. This not only invigorates the night scene with a sophisticated amount of energy and rigor, but also symbolises the pure tranquility and peacefulness that I personally felt at that moment, braided in the deep silence of the night.

Blue Streaks of Red (Photography)

23746_549056121773537_1062982094_nThis is an exuberant sunset study taken from my bedroom window one late October evening in the late autumn of 2012 with no equipment aside from a basic Pentax bridge camera.

I could have very easily boosted the depth of field before taking this picture in order to give the image a cheerful 3D profile but looking back, I’m very relieved that I didn’t as it’s the simplicity of this image that allows the viewer to concentrate more on the vivid colours of the sky rather than the detail of the trees and clouds.

But the most striking thing about this image by far is the vicious attack conveyed between the broiling hot colours of red, and the arctic glacier colours of blue, both of which are complimentary to the conflicting dark woodland silhouette that sits at the base of the picture, posing as a further contradiction between the splashy colours of the sky and clouds in this photograph.

It’s a Wonderful Life

Life couldn’t be any more perfect right now and I’ve traveled such a long way since failing all of my exams at high school two years ago. Boasting a delightful job as chef at an Italian restaurant with imminent future promotional prospects, I’ve got oodles of money, an abundance of loyal friends and a life destitute of problems and worries. I just can’t get enough of this wonderful thing called life.

Taking a large step back into reality however, life couldn’t get any more tragic. I’ve quite exceptionally regressed since leaving high school, I’ve lost my most recent job, I currently have one friend who I’m fairly certain is a killer, and I’m haunted by the sad fact that my bank account holds minus fifty pounds. The phrase ‘rock bottom’ is often shallowly thrown around in modern times by the common Starbucks coffee drinker that couldn’t connect to Twitter for ten minutes, or by the mother who’s son’s hamster just passed away, but I for one, as an enemy of caffeine and an owner of a live hamster (with a pulse), believe that the rock has genuinely struck the bottom – even perhaps crumbling the foundations as it came flying down at thunderous speeds.

Today was a solemn day for me and the future that I was so perilously trying to pave into a path of success. This morning, I was let go from my chef position at the Italian restaurant I had been working at for two months, and for one harsh but simple reason, I just wasn’t good enough. After dragging myself out of bed at five o’clock this morning, I forced myself to walk five miles as a zombie in the bitter cold for the best part of two hours in order to make it into work for 6.30 AM in time for breakfast service. All of this painfully cold walking was due to the ridiculous ‘Sunday service’  bus policy that some rich successful man probably implemented in a villainous attempt to make my life harder by running less buses on a Sunday.

It was then, proceeding a surprisingly successful solo breakfast shift, that I was sacked by a waitress who had received orders from the manager to release me from my position as a chef at the restaurant. Apparently, my attitude to work wasn’t satisfactory and I just wasn’t grasping the technique that was required. Voraciously holding back my tears of anguish, I tried to make the conversation as short and painless as possible and soon left to catch the bus that incidentally, I missed. Midway through my harrowing walk of shame home, a frightening thought emerged from the saddened shadows of my mind, that my rock had just smashed against the foundations of my path to success.

I’ve hit rock bottom for a number of reasons. For one, I’ve got a laughable amount of money and a questionable number of friends. I left my previous job on a mere ten hours a week and became unemployed for a few weeks, tumbling into significant financial turbulence. I only received a crummy two weeks worth of pay from the company I’ve just been fired from, which almost lasted November, and I now possess only enough money for a small bag of Space Raiders from my local corner shop – which I’m considering doing now as a numb to the pain of the tragedy I’m currently living.

Scrolling down my Facebook feed is painful business for me. Watching the fly, popular university guys and girls that I used to know from school post countless pictures of driving test pass certificates and relationship status updates is a soul-destroying task as I sit unemployed in front of a 22-inch TV watching Mean Girls on Netflix. I literally only have one friend, that’s not counting halves. I find it tough to find friends courtesy of my unique personality and after shifting from high school to college to the working world in such a hasty transition has left any friends that I did miraculously manage to make, left behind doing other (likely more successful) things. I can only hope that when/if I find a new job, I can finally establish that group of friends that I’ve been aching to have for years now.

Perhaps a more minor problem to add to the avalanche of dilemmas I’m facing at the moment, is the fact that I literally don’t have a single girl in my life right now. I was taking great pleasure in texting a girl who I’d met on Tinder about a week ago, but unfortunately, that turned into a frantic disaster after she accused me of being a ‘chronic liar’ after I sent her a quote from a video I saw on YouTube. She claimed that I had not seen the video on YouTube and that I had definitely seen the video via a link that was posted on her Facebook page about a week ago, deeming me indefinitely as a ‘stalker’. Looking back, it was probably the most brainless argument I’d ever fought in my life. Needless to say, I think it’s safe to say that no female’s beds will be seeing any action from me in the near future.

Life can only get better, right? I’m 19-years-old and I feel as if I’m wasting these ‘golden years’. This is the final episode in the saga of my ‘free’ teenage years and the perfect time to take advantage of the liberties that come with being young – like partying, socialising, meeting girls and not lounging around the house with a teaspoon of Asda price Nutella hanging out of your mouth. I’m never going to look as magnificently beautiful as I do now given the fact that I smoke like a chimney and devour food like an overweight horse. These are the critical years of my life for shaping my own destiny and securing a decent future for myself, and as far as my teenage years have gone so far, I’m definitely zooming towards a life of selling magazines on the street and smoking second-hand cigarette butts.

I can say this though – life goes on, friends come and go, the perfect girl will arrive (hopefully) and no matter what, I’ll stay relentless in my pursuit of success. I’ll always look on the bright side of life…doo doo…doo doo doo doo.

This Would Be an Ideal Location to Smoke Marijuana

It sounds radical, and I think that’s why I’m so enticed. Of course, I’m not sure how the smoke and embers of cannabis will react to the poisonous ozone that deciphers amongst the delinquent structures of the city of Pripyat, nor have I a clue to where I’ll muster up the cash and time to visit the abandoned sanctum, but after seeing a video on YouTube featuring a drone whizzing around the decrepit walls, buildings and bridges, I put two and two together and decided that this would be the prime place to smoke a joint (or three) of God’s most hankered marijuana, and explore.

I know exactly what you’re thinking, I need help – serious medical attention. And you’re probably right, but there’s only two things I truly yearn to do in the short life I have been gifted with on this doomed planet, and that’s to smoke weed and travel. For those of you that don’t know, Chernobyl is an abandoned city in Ukraine close to the border of Belarus. Reactor #4 from one of Chernobyl’s famous nuclear power plants exploded during a safety test in Pripyat in the year 1986, causing the ruined city of 45,000 people to be evacuated. Radiation now feeds on the ghostly city that now lays within the merciful hands of mother nature.

There are certain parts of the city that are still deemed acceptable for guided tours and other mainstream sight-seeing activities, but hidden gems still sleep dorment behind the forbidden walls and fences for those gallant enough to seek the many adventures that hide within.

So yeah, I’d just love to sit on top of one of those buildings and inhale a smokin’ hot one.

How Not to Text a Girl (or anyone for that matter)

I’m the worst girl texter in the world. This is one of a series of negative revelations I’ve had over the last week, one of the others being that I can’t talk to girls in real life either. I had an undying hope that maybe talking to girls in real life just wasn’t my thing and that I compensated for it with my inconceivably amazing texting skills. But to my own dismay, I suck at both. Like seriously, I am genuinely in full belief that I am some form of anti-female that automatically sends anti-girl repellents with every text I send.

I’ve been using Tinder and I began my journey with an armoury of confidence and an ambition to elope with some of the hottest university girls in Scotland, and now I’m currently debating with myself whether or not I should open up my criteria to men as well as woman in order to increase my chances of getting matches. I guess you could say it’s not going too well. However, I have had a couple of small slices of success in that I’ve managed to obtain a few girls numbers. Granted, most of these prospects went south after a few days of trying to lure them out for a coffee.

So, the first significant chance I’ve had with actually meeting a girl from Tinder, was with this cute English girl from Devon that was studying at some posh university in Edinburgh. Her texting style was fashionably unique to me – dirty. That’s right, an incredibly good-looking girl from Devon was talking dirty to me and I had no idea how to deal with it. But, being the beacon of confidence that I was at the time (this was a few weeks ago), I knew I was wise enough handle it, and believe it or not, we eventually progressed on to exchange a few suggestive pictures. Admittedly, a small piece of me was a tad apprehensive about this but I’m sure it was just due to the fact that I’d never sent or received explicit images before. After a few days of the most seductive exhchange of pictures Facebook has ever seen, we planned a ‘meet & greet’ session at her house the following Friday.

This was a golden opportunity for me, and a rare one at that. I was ACTUALLY going to a girl’s flat and WAS going to have sexual intercourse with her. As much as I couldn’t believe that this was actually happening, I prepared for the singular event comprehensively, laying out the exact outfit I was going to model three days before the event. Thursday swung around like a sharp axe and I blew all of my money expecting to get paid the next day. Waking up on Friday morning poorer than a church mouse was definitely not a riveting start to my day and I ended up having to tell her that I had been kept on at work and couldn’t make it. She never spoke to me again.

The second girl I somehow managed to ruse into exchanging numbers with from Tinder, was this small under-age 17-year-old with a broad Scottish accent – I only know that because I plucked up the courage to actually call her on the phone one night. When I first started texting her, everything was perfect. I wasn’t portraying myself as desperate, and she had a promising personality. My fingers seamlessly flowed from flirtatious letter to letter as every text I sent was triumphantly crowned with an equally fantastic text back. However, last night everything seemed to cave in and I’m quite certain I’m not the one to blame for it. In a matter of days, we went from casually chatting about meeting up for a coffee, to arguing ferociously over a YouTube video that she claimed I saw on her Facebook page due to me being a relentless stalker.

I sent her a text message with a quote from one of PewDiePie’s videos (never again), in the hope that she had seen the video, laugh and then ask me to marry her in Hawaii or something, but, by sheer coincidence, the same video had been posted on her Facebook a few days before and she viciously accused me of stalking her page. Enraged and baffled that she had called me a liar, I told her not to talk to me again. She hasn’t spoken to me since.

These are two prime examples of why I’m definitely the worst person at texting girls on the planet. I must have texted over 100 girls in my time, and from that I’ve had a mere two relationships, one of which lasting for four meager days and the other for around two weeks. Most girls I’ve had the privilege of texting in the past either think I’m too weird, a creep or a strong combination of the two. I like to think that I’m neither of those things and that it’s just the girl I’m texting isn’t smart enough to understand my clever jokes and cunning wit, but this is probably just me being a pretentious moron. I’ve tried going for the monotonous “Hey, how’re you?” form of chat enterprised by the “cool, normal guys” but it’s a challenge for me to keep my explosive personality in its cocoon.

The thing that bothers me most about this affront to texting, is that I’ve never actually had the grandeur of being with a girl that I actually fancy. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been with girls that I like and that I find attractive – well, one girl out of the two I’ve been with, but when you take into consideration how many girls I’ve had heart pains over, I’ve not been successful with one. Not one. I think I’ll stick to my marijuana for now. Love is worth waiting for.

I’m Fairly Sure My Best Friend is a Killer – THE HEIST

Check out the previous story to find out more about Jimmy as a character: (http://bit.ly/1vvLrXz)

This is a series of true tales eliciting the life of my best friend Jimmy, who generally makes a lot of poor decisions. You could very likely find far more twisted and thrilling tales fabricated into a half-priced crime book on eBay, but the purpose of these tales are not to revoke emotions of pure shock and inspiration, but to convey the literal truth about events that genuinely happen on the streets of modern society on an everyday basis.

A few days ago, I received a rather outlandish call from my best friend Jimmy, which began with him concealing something he had done in a state of desperado, begging me not to judge him for the outrageously farcical decision he had just committed to making only an hour before. All I could do was listen, and pray that what he was about to tell me wouldn’t turn out to be as dreadful as my how imagination was playing it up to be.

After making dozens of promises to Jimmy that no judgement would be inflicted upon him when he eventually unveiled what horrific deeds he had just embedded into his life story, the drama finally began to ooze out of his mouth. A spontaneous failed armed robbery with very lilliputian planning had just taken place, implemented by Jimmy and his unknown accomplice, whom I know nothing about. Upon listening to the tale slowly begin to slip through the phone, the first wave of emotion that hit me was the unrestricted shock and awe knowing that my best friend had just undeniably devoted himself to something that could easily have resulted in arrest or even death for him and his friend.

Armed crudely with a large screwdriver, Jimmy went on to inform me that his attempt at stealing over £4000 worth of marijuana from a 25-year-old man’s flat had failed when they discovered that the front door of the man’s house was locked. “I told my mate that we could just have come back later when the door was open but he wouldn’t listen and the man barricaded up the door so we couldn’t get in!!!” Jimmy cursed in an embittered tone. We just had to abort mission and run for it!, he yelped in fury. I tried my absolute best to be as supportive as possible towards him without condoning the idea that robbery is a brave and prideful dance. Yeah mate, but you shouldn’t have done it, stupid idea! What if you had been caught?, I warned. I dunno, there’s still a chance that I will, he said. It just depends if any of the neighbours called the police or if screw driver is found in the trash, continued Jimmy, still beaming with vibes of frustration and anxiety. I continued to ask him a question that I quite blatantly knew the answer to, what inspired him to do it. Hardly expecting him to say Derren Brown or Prison Break, he responded in a flash telling me that it was “obviously all for the weed”, that acquiring such a bountiful amount of the green would somehow make his life near enough perfect for a prolonged amount of time. At this moment in time, although I knew what he’d attempted wasn’t the brightest of ideas he had ever came up with in his life, I more or less selfishly began to envision the dreamy green sea of happiness that we might have shared if he had been successful in his actions. I hardly thought that could ever have been possible though.

As the conversation proceeded on, I figured out that the game plan for him and his associate was to locate the man’s house, gain access to the house by either walking through the open door or by stepping past the unfortunate weed grower as he came to the door for an unexpected mail delivery – pain. In a hasty operation, they would then snip as many plants as they possibly could and then leave with the organic goods stuffed in a plastic bag. I put it to him that there could easily have been resistance and that he could have ended up seriously injured or killed, but Jimmy scoffed at the advice saying that if the man had tried anything, he would easily have just been smashed or slashed. It’s not like he was a hard c#nt or anything, I know the guy and he’s just a wee p#ssy!, Jimmy proclaimed. Will he not come after you?, I asked nervously. Eh naw, he doesn’t know who I am and even if he does find out then he knows exactly what will happen to him if he comes to my door, Jimmy declared. What would you do?, I inquired. Just stab him in the chest and slit his throat, Jimmy asserted. I’m not having strangers turning up at my gran’s house, that would put them in danger and I can’t have that, he added. In conflict with myself about whether or not what he had just said would actually hold true to his actions, I proceeded to ask him if he regrets what he had just done. To put it bluntly, he said yes.

The only thing that concerned him after the aborted robbery, was the fact that they could easily have been busted for what they’d done and have nothing to show for it. They had literally risked their lives and received no award for it, not a gram of weed or penny. The only way Jimmy could possibly get caught at this stage (four days after) is if the screwdriver that he was carrying on him at the time was discovered in the bin that he cunningly dumped it in upon leaving the scene of the heist, which is smothered in sweaty fingerprints and evidence. But it’s not just the law that Jimmy needs to be concerned about, it’s the man he attempted to rob and his associates that puts him in a much more dangerous place.

On a lighter note, this has definitely got to go down as one of the most hilariously awful robbery attempts in history. It literally must have only lasted for thirty seconds before they were frantically sprinting down the streets empty-handed. It’s not even as if they couldn’t have seen that coming, of course the door is going to be locked if the man is growing £4000 worth of illegal goods in his house. Perhaps a more reasonable excuse for a failed heist would be that the resident was armed with a shotgun, or that the police unexpectedly showed up. But no, the front door was locked, disabling the mission absolutely.

From a moral stand point, Jimmy justified his actions by saying that the man was a criminal, and therefore deserved to be robbed. I suppose, the man is growing and selling weed illegally without paying any tax contributions towards society, but, I’m not sure if what Jimmy did really puts him at a higher prestige. I mean after all, what Jimmy committed to doing puts him on exactly the same pirates boat as the man whose house he attempted to invade, as a criminal. Aye, but I don’t just go around stealing from the old or innocent, it’s just criminals or people who deserve it, he certified, defending his case. I took this with a pinch of salt as the phone conversation began to elude into a pointless debate over whether or not what he did was justifiable. To conclude, Jimmy is my best friend, and I can only stand by the choices he makes. I can only hope that this a learning curve that will prevent such irresponsible acts of stupidity from occurring the future.

Winter Wonderland (Photography)

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This evening I found myself curiously rummaging through an archive of lost content discovered on a forsaken netbook that I hadn’t seen in almost two years. Along with finding a massive heap of useless pictures and videos from my earlier teens and more porn than any man knows what to do with, I stumbled across some old pictures that I’d snapped with a bridge camera two years ago. And I am genuinely stunned by the quality and creativity of the work that I had little confidence in at the time. It wasn’t until now that I realised that these pictures might legitimately be worth sharing.

Here’s a photograph I snapped during the winter of 2012. One of my best ever photos, taken merely with a standard Pontax bridge camera while out and about in the snow one blissful winter morning.

Trudging through the vast blankets of snow, and completely unaware that I’d be digging this picture up for an online blogging site two years later, I captured this winter scene only while passing a small slip street while trekking to a more desirable location for photographs, the forest. It wasn’t until I was back into the comfort and warmth of my house with a sweltering cup of tea by the fire that I realised, the other pictures that I had taken in the forest that morning were nothing compared to the split second I’d captured on the way to that location.