I am genuinely far too tired to write anymore than a sentence right now – but stay tuned, I will post an update of my tragic life soon!
I’m stranded over fifteen miles away from my house with no food, water or phone battery charge. But that’s not the full extent of my predicament; I’m also stuck with a lethal hangover and haven’t eaten since the night before. What do I do? I just keep on walking. But then the most embarrassing event unfolds…
At around three hours into my journey, about halfway down the main road leading to the bridge that would eventually take me across to my home county, Fife, I pass a school. I hate schools, and I always try my absolute best to avoid them at those awkward times when teenagers flood out. However, with no phone battery or watch to check the time, walking from the capital back to my house was a dangerous game because to put it frankly (gaha!), I had a more solid idea of what type of cement they used for the pavements than what time it was.
By this point in my journey, it would be a terrible understatement to say that I wasn’t in a bad state – my nose was running inexorably, my legs shaking like maracas and my entire body dripping with sweat – so when a blood-curdling bell sounded and around one hundred premature teenagers began pouring out of the exit of the school as I approached its passing, you can probably imagine the trembling shudder that ricocheted down my spine.
As much as I tried to avoid the army of students charging in my direction from the main exit of the school attempting to force my tired legs into turbo mode, it didn’t seem likely that I would be able to escape. Before I knew it, I was surrounded, scraping my legs along a pavement next to a bustling road with a battalion of prepubescent teenagers, all screaming and giggling their way down the the road as they headed to their normal semi-suburban houses. I would have died to have been able to cross the road in order to avoid the agony of looking like I was one of them, but I saw no opportunity as vehicles flew past at startling speeds.
I was trapped – a pack of what looked like thirteen-year-old girls blocked the front while a company of other loud male teenagers blocked my retreat from the rear. I was just waiting for a bottle of anything to slap me on the back of the head followed by a roar of laughter from behind. As embarrassing as it would have been to have been bullied by a group of young teenagers, it probably would have been worth it for a sip of whatever was in the bottle they might throw at me. Instead however, they all just stared at me as if I was some kind of giant hobo. I suppose I sort of was to them. After three prolonged minutes of running sweat, snot and pure embarrassment, I eventually shook myself free from the cluster as one by one they disappeared into unknown streets. Thank…FUCK.
With the relief of no longer looking like a child stalker, my levels of thirst seemed to sky-rocket as I stepped into the final two-hour push towards the bridge that would take me back to Fife. I could only hope that there was just ONE shop that had a bathroom with a water-running tap on the way. I’d already scouted four different shops, including one of the UK’s largest supermarkets, but to no avail. Even a mirage would have been nice as I walked like a lost idiot in the blazing sun. Well, I was a lost idiot.
Prior to thirty minutes of wiping an endless stream of snot from my nose, traffic lights and a lot more pavement, I reached the one thing I really did not want to see: a fucking motorway.
Quick summary of how I feel about the previous few months of my life:
My life no longer seems to follow the tragic comedy of any of the characters you may find in The Inbetweeners, but instead closer resembles that of a plot-line in one of The Hobbit movies – (spoilers) – a lot of shit goes down at the start but the good guys all go on to live happily ever after.
After months upon months of treacherous uphill struggle, cigarette scrounging, loose-change rummaging and the modelling of some of the worst clothes I’ve ever hung from my body in my entire life, I’ve finally reached what I believe is a major U-turn in the life of me, Frank.
I’m not quite ready to change the name of this blog to “The Glorious Life of Frank” just yet, but the grim title that this blog does currently exhibit probably won’t be very relevant in the coming months. After being sacked from my job at around Christmas time, I’ve finally found a company brave enough to employ me into a position that almost seems too good to be true – a full-time salaried position as a chef at a four-star country estate hotel shrouded in the heart of Scotland’s most stunning countryside, miles away from the darkness of society. The place also offers live-in accommodation and free staff meals!
Not only will I be able to bring the church mouse-worthy numbers in my bank account back up to first-world digits, but also experience the freedoms and excitement of departing from the nest for the first time. That’s right, I’m moving out of my parents house!
The thought of strolling casually into a shop and buying my own cigarettes, sandwich, video game, blue suede shoes, tin of beans, crate of beer, DVD, t-shirt, can of deodorant or any other normal consumerist item with my own money is a thought that strikes an uncanny grin on my face not pulled for countless months.
There’s a candidly high chance that I’ll fuck this life-changing road to success up, leaving with it an earthquake of a million pot holes, but that’s definitely a risk that I’m more than willing to take to reach the yearning pot of gold at the end. I’ve finally reached a U-turn on the slip-lane to failure on this rough road of life, and I couldn’t be more proud.
The only downside to this new beginning is that when I move into my new home next week, due to the fact that the estate sits 13.5 miles from the nearest city, is that the WiFi is pretty much as weak as a newborn kitten – so I don’t think I’ll be producing much more content on this blog.
However, in the event that I do post something after next week, you’ll know for certain that I did in fact, fuck it up.
Congratulations, me! Feel free to not give a crap.
Subsequent to waking up at girl’s house on a harrowing Sunday morning with a lethal hangover and an empty wallet, I embarked on a journey that even Bear Grylls would have been proud of. With no food, water or phone battery charge, I trudged along the bleak pavements of Edinburgh in the vague direction of which I believed to be my house – merely sixteen miles away. Not only was I forced to walk through the capital and beyond, but the burden of crossing the Firth of Forth (a one and a half mile wide river connected to the sea) was also glued to my mind as I almost slipped of the side of the kerb while crossing yet another gloomy street. My odyssey was one of many obstacles, and I would have died for a McDonald’s cheese burger.
My first dilemma came only thirty minutes into the seven hour journey – unrelenting thirst. The drunk version of myself had spent every penny I had at the pub the night before with the girl so the convenient option of strolling into a shop and buying a bottle wasn’t available. This left me with two really quite shit options – to either find the nearest public bathroom and drink shamefully from one of the germ-ridden taps, or to steal a bottle of water from anywhere and everywhere in the ultimate heist of thirst – I did say both were quite shit.
As the sun blasted its rays onto my dripping forehead, I began to scout for any shop, supermarket or building that I suspected may be in possession of a cold-water tap. Surprisingly enough, I found one after a mere ten minutes of walking. Giant yellow letters spelling out Morrison’s, one of the leading supermarket brands in the United Kingdom, began to emerge from the trees obstructing my view and my face lit up in a way that it never had before – the sort of face you’d pull if you had just found your dog after it had been missing for a week. I stepped inside Morrison’s with a heavy ambition on my shoulders, but turned away just a few seconds later when I read the sign on the men’s bathroom door reading: “Cleaning in progress”.
What are the chances of that?
The woman’s bathroom was more open and free than Gandhi, and I was tempted for a brief moment, but my morals declined the opportunity.
The search continued for the next three hours of the journey, but to no avail. I scoured corner shops, mini-supermarkets, anonymous buildings, restaurants and I even pondered a few houses, but the sight of a tap never came into my dizzy vision for as much as I wanted it to. It got to the stage where when I entered a shop in search of a bathroom, I would actually stop by the cold-water bottle section just to stare in awe at the water for a brief moment before leaving. Sad, I know – I’m sure I could easily have scrounged fifty pence off a generous customer for a small bottle, but my confidence that day was virtually non-existent and I had no courage to speak to anyone, barely even myself after what I’d done to myself. Three hours of walking with no food, water or phone and I honestly felt like I was going to die, but I kept going.
I hate schools and I’m not sure why. There’s probably a high chance that it has something to do with the fact that I was mercilessly bullied from the first year to the last, but I’m still open to other reasons. I tend to avoid schools at all costs, and whenever I’m about to pass one, I glance at the time in order to determine whether or not it’s lunch time and I will get ambushed by a group of studious teenagers. I think there’s around the region of around three schools of different varieties on the path that I led home on my journey. I glided past one with ease, the second with only the sight of a few senior students, and the third, well; it was probably one of the most outrageously humiliating experiences of my life.
I really don’t want anyone to read that title and assume that I’m some sort of sex-trafficked whore that’s been imported to Central Asia on a barge run by a group of bearded women – although that does sound a lot more exciting than what my actual life entails. The title stems from a thought I had while walking in the woods a few weeks ago with my dog; the best time to unravel my eccentric thoughts. It began with the familiar thought that I’m not very attractive. However, to perk myself up from the demoralising thought of not being attractive, I began to comfort myself with the thought that I CAN and WILL be more attractive in the future. Megan Fox wasn’t a supermodel in her teenage years, was she?
I’ve got a number of attractivity-enhancing items attached to my body and ego that will help me with my quest to become the next Brad Pitt:
I’ll be wearing these until I’m at least twenty, but the investment of straight teeth is a valuable one in my pursuit of global woman domination.
2. Facial Hair
I need some of this, but it’s difficult when you have a face that resembles the softness of a baby’s arse. With the way things are going, I should have at least one patch of bum-fluff to shave off with pride by the time I’m twenty.
Hopefully I won’t still be asking my mum for cigarettes by the time I reach my twenties. Money makes the world go round, and it prevents the embarrassment of asking a girl to buy you a drink because you spent all of your money on getting to the pub.
I want to be an astronaut, but I’ll settle for coffee boy for junior customer service advisor’s assistant’s apprentice if the money is right.
This is a key investment for any girl that attaches themself emotionally to a guy. I still laugh at the planet Uranus and I don’t think I’ll be able to accept it as just another planet in our solar system until I’m at least twenty-one.
By the time I reach twenty-one, I want to be at least eighty-five kilograms of muscle steel and sex appeal.
I seem to magentise the odd attractive girl from time to time and I’m convinced that it can’t be because of my current affairs or appearance. Girls must surely see me as some sort of manly investment. I may not hard to get in with right now, but by the time I hit twenty-one, I should be a mature, wealthy, enterprising philanthropist with a dainty beard and an uncanny smile that only Zac Efron will be able to compete with. Walking in the woods is dangerous thinking time…
The balance of life on this planet is so unbelievably toxic and frustrating. It seems far too easy for one to get themselves into a shitty situation than it is for one to get out of a shitty situation and this is something I’ve certainly learned the hard way. One moment I was blissfully snogging the face off this girl I’d recently met on Tinder outside one of the most beautifully decorated flats I’d ever set foot in, and just four hours later, I found myself trudging along a closed off pavement next to a bustling motorway while pitifully swigging from a half-empty (it definitely wasn’t half full) bottle of lukewarm Volvic water. I’m undecided whether or not I believe in karma but if it does exist then it definitely doesn’t work in the same way for me as it does for the rest of the human race. For me, it’s been a sort of spontaneous canon that spurts out pleasure and pain in unpredictable sequences at any random time. I digress, but the fact that I ended up trekking sixteen miles from Edinburgh to my house last week definitely helps my case: that life’s a bitch.
It all sparked from the origins of what I believed was going to be an immaculately superb weekend – and it sort of was in many aspects. I set off on the train to the capital to meet up with this girl I’d been flanting (flirtatious banter) with on Tinder for the previous few weeks and we went out into the city for more than a few drinks and a banterful time. The whole night seemed to flow astoundingly smooth and I even ended up staying at the girl’s flat for the night which on its own certainly breached my pessimistic expectations of me stumbling drunk to the train station at midnight with my trousers down at my ankles in a hopeless attempt to catch a train. As fantastic as my time with the girl had been, I still awoke from a deep slumber at her house and somewhat knew that the day ahead of me was going to be tough. A splitting headache accompanied by an unstoppable temptation to throw up all over her beautifully white cotton bed sheets was quite an explicit sign of what was to come – hell on earth.
The most painful thing about a hangover is not necessarily the piercing headache or agonising stomach pains, but the feeling you acquire when you dive into your pockets and find nothing but a measly collection of bronze coins and an empty cigarette packet. Unfortunately for me and my legs, I’d blasted all of my money at the pub the night before and to my own demise, train stations in Scotland don’t accept crumpled cigarette doubts as a valid form of currency to purchase train tickets. My only option: to ask the girl snoring to my left for a fiver so I could catch a train home. I could easily have done this, but I seriously didn’t want to strip myself of the title of ‘cute stud’ she had coined me as the night before and replace it with something of an annoying leech for her cash. So to avoid the shame and embarrassment of asking her for cash for my train, I decided not to – and left her house an hour later having only taken a few sips of water from her bathroom tap. I had eaten nothing.
It was around twelve o’clock in the afternoon and the last blip of joy from the day came from an intensely passionate kiss with the girl who knew little of the impending disaster of which I was about to embark on. Oh, and my phone had also died – not that it was useful anyway given that I had no texts or calls to use. The only useful commodity I had at my disposal was my unrelenting motivation to make it home alive. Edinburgh is sixteen miles away from my house and there are many obstacles in the way inclusive of one of the busiest motorways in Scotland and a gargantuan bridge known as the Forth Road Bridge which connects the capital of Scotland to my home county, Fife.
Upon beginning my trek in the vague direction of which I believed would lead me back to my house, I was only slightly parched and barely hungry; but after a quint half an hour of walking, the thought of H2O and homemade macaroni cheese became torturous in my head. The alcohol in my system had drained every drop of water from my body and the glaring sun overhead seemed to fry my sweaty forehead unforgivingly. It became quite obvious that if I was to make it home alive, I would need to find some source of water; whether it be through the cunning act of theft in the sketchiest corner shop I could find, or through the less than graceful deed of gargling water from the tap of the men’s bathroom in Morrisons or Tesco. You know your life has taken a turn for the worse when these are the only two options of salvation on offer in the inferno of tragicness that I found myself in. I travelled on through the craggy streets of Edinburgh, winding off into unknown lanes and alleys in search of water and the distant house that probably didn’t give a shit about my horrendous ordeal.
After enduring a train journey to the capital in order to meet an ex-stripper I’d befriended in the summer while working at T.G.I Friday’s, I found myself at the entrance to a place I never thought I’d gaze my eyes upon ever again – T.G.I Friday’s. A fantastic restaurant to many, but a sanctuary of horror for myself and my self-esteem. There are literally hundreds of pubs, bars and other alcohol-selling hotspots in Edinburgh, but by my tragic luck, the ex-stripper had directed me towards the exact place I’d ridiculed myself in just a few months in the past – let’s just say that while working a shift on the busiest night the restaurant had ever seen, the pressure of relentless service slowly emancipated into a hellish purgatory of sobbing tears and shameful tribulation and I stormed out of the restaurant mid-shift with a wet face and minimal dignity.
She must surely have heard of the breakdown I had in the summer at this place, surely! I mean, she still works here to this day for fuck’s sake.
Regardless of the embarrassment that lurked behind the black pine doors of the restaurant, it was the ex-stripper that had kindly offered to pay for all of my drinks so I had little choice but to humour her choice of settlement on that cold night. With a slight pause and a grimace on my reddening face, I opened the heavy doors and advanced straight towards the bar with a burst of adrenaline flowing through my veins. I whipped my phone from my pocket and began meaninglessly browsing Facebook in an attempt to distract myself from the impending doom that awaited me. Waiters and other familiar staff members filled the room, floating from table to table as I hurried towards the bar with my phone plastered to my vision. As much as I was expecting the indefinite looks of horror and disgrace from each and every employee I’d worked with in the summer to shoot daggers through my skull as I darted towards the bar, this was shockingly not the case.
I meandered towards the bar, the ex-stripper following closely behind, my eyes darting in every direction and my ears tuned-in to any murmurs of laughter or gossip that may begin to fill the room. I painfully recognised the bartender as someone I’d regularly exchanged small talk with while working here.
“Hey, can we have two pints please?”, I asked solemnly.
“Sure thing bud’, Tennents yeah?”.
The bartender calmly poured our drinks, without as much as a whisper emerging from his mouth. He clearly didn’t give a flying fuck about my unorthodox presence, and this sort of bothered me. After all the thoughts of horror and apprehension that had flowed through my mind over the previous ten minutes, not a single recognisable person could even bother to give the slightest shit towards my dilemma. Ten minutes flew by and not one ex-colleague of mine had even batted an eye at me, not one. A waiter I shared lunch with a few months ago even accidentally brushed against our table as she glided past, but still, not a single odd look or malicious word was directed towards my shattered ego as I sipped cautiously on my pint. As much as I would have loathed it if my expectations of crude frowning and awkward stares were correct, I was sort of hoping for some kind of bemused reaction from my fellow colleagues. Oh well, life went on.
I enjoyed a pint with the ex-stripper before indulging in some of the more costly beverages displayed on the drinks menu. A few cocktails later and the ex-stripper and I were in delirium. As tragic as this may sound, the two hours that proceeded the clenching awkwardness upon entering the restaurant were probably the most enjoyable two hours I’d had in years. A blissful optimism swept over me as thoughts of sex and other far-fetched fantasies began to conquer my mind. For most nineteen-year-old guys, the notion of taking an ex-stripper out for drinks in the capital is almost certainly a guarantee of some form of sexual contact, but for me, the tragic one, it was almost certainly wishful thinking.
I wanted two things to occur at this point; either that we would venture off to a night club for another two hours of delirious intoxication, hence increasing my chances of waking up at her house the following day, or that we’d take the direct route and head straight to her abode. Either way, the alcohol in my system forced a very strong desire to wake up at her house the following day. Contrary to my own endeavours however, the ex-stripper disappeared onto a bus soon after and I found myself staggering solo back to the train station at eleven o’clock at night with a crinkled cigarette hanging out of my mouth. I was inexplicably fucked and the escalators leading down to the platforms were an immaculate symbolisation of how my night was momentarily about to plummet downhill.
After surpassing the escalators, tipping my head up to the looming electrical boards to identify my train was more than challenging given the state I was in. But it wasn’t long before I was able to identify the correct train, and not much longer after that before I realised it had been cancelled. The last train back to my house had been cancelled due to “someone being hit by the train” and I was therefore trapped in Edinburgh for at least another hour before another train, only stopping at a town close to my house, would arrive.
What a selfish little shit. I busted a gut to get here tonight and you’ve gone and thrown yourself in front of my last chance of not having to walk home tonight.
After half an hour of perilously waiting for the wrong train to take me three miles from my house, I sort of began to wish that I was the one that had been hit by the train – it certainly would have made my life a lot easier than it currently was and I probably wouldn’t have felt any pain due to the significant amount of alcohol I’d consumed. At this point, I would have died to have called up the ex-stripper and inform her of my horrific situation in the hopes that she’d feel sorry for me and invite me back to her house; but once again, life decided to slap me in the nose and my phone had decided to die on the way to the train station. I sat helplessly drunk on a freezing metal bench amid the bustle of the train station for nearly one and a half hours before my train finally arrived.
I careened aboard the train half-lashed and tumbled onto the nearest seat to a gloriously warm comfort only to be remind myself of the three mile trek that fate had paved for me upon my exit from the train in just over half an hour. It would be a cold, miserable end to my night and I could do nothing to help it.
I hate you, life.
It’s seemingly rare to stumble upon an above average sunset in these dark months. However, while casually perched on my bed attempting to conjure up another blog post a few nights ago at around half-past five, I noticed a rather intense glow begin to sprawl its way over the side of my wall through my window. Thinking it was merely a street lamp turning on adjacent to my house, I strolled over to my window to witness one of nature’s most riveting shows – a gargantuan sun of orange melting into a muddy red sky.
I wielded my camera with haste.
But upon capturing the first few rays from my window, the battery died, and I found myself engulfed in a hideous state of frustration and anger.
Fuck! The most extravagant sunset I’ve ever seen in my entire life and it’s slowly dying away before my eyes!..FUCK!
I tensely waited, placing my camera battery on charge for five minutes while simultaneously watching in terror as the sun vanished before my eyes. By the time my camera had sufficiently charged for use of three minutes maximum, all that was left of the awe was but a tiring sky of sleepy red and orange. However, to my own surprise, the unrelenting glow of the sky began to seem somewhat more excitable than when the sun was still sinking. I sprinted gallantly outside to the large field behind my garden for a real peak. What I saw was inexorably stunning. The sky roared orange above the city two miles from my house. With at least three minutes of battery left and the sky already beginning to transition into darkness, I snapped as many pictures as I could.
Although my camera may not have done much justice to this explosion of warmth in the sky, I still didn’t see the need to apply any filters or colour boosts to any of these images.
“Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom” – George S. Patton
Life is one tough cookie. For many people, it resembles that of listening to your favourite song at full blast on a pair of expensive headphones without a care in the world – you’re casually perched in the warmth of your living room listening to that new album by that new band you seem to adore and there’s not a soul to say otherwise. I once wore those expensive headphones, and oh boy would I blare that music. But then one day, quite abruptly, the music stopped. It just stopped. And a huge menacing fist came whirling round the back of my head, slapping me inexorably on the back of my scalp; hence striking the headphones from my head and sending them tumbling to the cold, desolate floor of nothingness, crushing them into a billion one-celled organismic smithereens. The end of the ludicrously expensive headphones, and the end of music.
If that doesn’t strike you as a vivid enough analogy to convey the way my forsaken life has played out over the last few months, then you’re probably too rich, famous or successful to contemplate the life of me, Frank, the bottom feeder of society. To put it simply, I don’t think there’s a single aspect of my life that I could proudly define as ‘successful’ (whatever that means). I yearn for success, but while I spend the majority of my days worrying about where I’m going to acquire my next cigarette, I’m not entirely sure where I’m going to find this ‘success’, if even it exists.
Anyone would say that it’s not a sensible idea to share any segment of your financial details with the rest of the world-wide web, but in all honesty, I would feel far more woeful for the guttersnipe that attempted to hijack my bank details than I would for myself. In fact, I’d be relieved to see someone take possession of my bank account. Perhaps then I could get away with blaming the legacy of ‘financial fuck-ups’ I’ve constructed over the last few months on them rather than myself. Over the last few months, I’ve watched in peril as the cute numbers of my Santander bank account have descended below freezing. As of ten minutes ago, the numbers displayed on my online bank account hold the precise balance (or lack of) of ‘£-71.46’, and it’s not reaching paradisiacal temperatures anytime soon.
Perhaps the most towering of the endless list of worries I face in this glacially cold period of my life is the fact that I’m not employed by anyone, so the lack of coins in my bank account are definitely staying relevant to that of a church mouse’s for a considerable time longer. I’ve drifted from job to job over the last six months in an audacious attempt to locate my passion in life. I haven’t discovered it yet. Well, I have, but I don’t think there’s a booming niche for the one who sits on his scrawny arse from dawn to dusk watching clips of Breaking Bad on YouTube and devouring curry-flavoured pot noodles. That resource, ‘cash’, is the most vital resource on the planet for human order and society, and I currently have minus none.
Money is arriving soon, it always does. And that will be the end of my problems, right? I can continue my less than extravagant life of drugs, alcohol and paid Netflix and grow old with those commodities. However, there is one other critical issue that may jeopardise that perfect life plan – I’m not in possession of a bank card…or a wallet…or any form of identification. By some miracle, I managed to lose all three of these essentials within the space of one night due to unforseen levels of alcohol and marijuana invading my system. An entire wallet of cards that gave me credibility as a human being on this bedeviled Earth, and they’re all gone, sitting comfortably on the shelf of another thieving societal bottom feeder that probably has higher digits in his bank account than I. Of course, the entire armoury of cards that sat contempt in the emptiness of my wallet, waiting for their turn, is fully replaceable – at the expense of the money I don’t currently have.
As a final stab at the wound of problems bleeding out my life at the moment, all of my monthly bills are beyond overdue and I recently received a threatening text from the company that allowed me to send SOS texts to my mum at three o’clock in the morning on a Saturday night stating that if I don’t pay the ancient cob-webbed bills within the next few days, then they’ll be forced to delete my phone number from their system and ask for the rest of the bills on the contract to be paid up front, which I thinks mounts to around one big one. The sudden deletion of my number would be both a tragedy for me and the abundance of girls on Tinder that I feel would definitely have wanted my phone number.
However, with every down, there’s an up and this has genuinely been the case over the last few months. With the absence of money and success, I’ve found my eyes opening up to things that I never thought were as important before – books have been read, family members bonded with and I’ve seen my appreciation of the vital things in life surge past my appreciation towards the materialistic items that I used to spend most of my time around. Now, the three most important commodities in my life consist of the roof that protects me from the maelstrom of wind and rain overhead, the wood-burning stove that blisters in the living room, and my mother, whom I’ve learnt a lot about over the previous months. And perhaps the most invaluable possession that I’ve come to welcome the most is this blog; it seems to be my only way forward in this dark period of my life. I do miss Netflix though, I really do.
7:45 AM. I’m slumbering like a wild hybernating bear when all of a sudden my subconscious ears hear the words “woah, look at that sunrise!” cascading up the stairs and into my room from below. My mother found it bewildering, so there’s a strong chance that I would too.
Inspired by her words, I sprung out of bed, grabbed the camera sleeping at the end of my unit, flung open the window and caught the sun dancing with the silouette of the trees.
Stepping into old man Gordon’s house was like entering into a temple of zealous relief. Protected from the maelstrom of rain and wind that battered the creaky walls of his house, I wheeled around for a few seconds before sitting down on a sofa that seemed to absorb the bottom half of my body, and all of my problems. Gordon pranced around for a few minutes, meandering in and out of rooms doing things I couldn’t even imagine. My brain was fried, and I could barely string a sentence together. Gordon’s living room seemed like the only important room in the house, with every other doorway barricaded with heaps of unwashed clothes, vinyl records and other undefinable clutter. It dawned on me that this exact room was where Gordon had spent most of his days – a sleeping bag and an electric blanket lay sprawled out over the other sofa and a mountain of greasy plates and cutlery sat stacked on a small wooden table adjacent to his make-do bed. The only other noticeable items in the room were the old-school TV in the corner, a stained mirror on the wall and a cabinet full of crockery that hadn’t been used in decades. All of these items seemed to freeze in time as I sat stoned and motionless on the sofa, awaiting the perfect moment to beckon Gordon’s armoury of drugs.
‘Do you not have a bed upstairs Gordon?’, I asked, confused about Gordon’s absurd sleeping arrangements. Gordon’s head sank slightly. ‘Aye ehhh, I don’t sleep upstairs anymore, too many bad memories’. Feeling slightly shameful that I’d asked, I nodded my head briefly and proceeded to pose the question that surrounded the real reason I was there. ‘Got any pollen, Gordon?’ Without a word, Gordon whirled away into the kitchen and returned with a chipped bowl full of crumbled up pollen. ‘Thanks Gordon, I really appreciate it, honestly’, I said, trying my best to justify my unexpected presence. ‘No problem at all like, really, it’s no problem at all’, Gordon replied with a noticeable sincerity in his tone, making me feel slightly less paranoid than before. Gordon pleasantly handed me a pipe and I began to load up it’s ashy chamber with pollen. ‘Do you use that old record player over in the corner there much?’, I asked. ‘Ehhhh aye, every night’. Without another word, Gordon took a few large steps over to the record player, pressed and twisted a few buttons and nozzles, and sat down on the opposite sofa to the magnetic sound of David Gilmour’s electric guitar.
My head still spinning, I felt a blanket of nausea creep over me as I pressed the pipe up to my lips and ignited the end with a lighter. Taking more drugs while you’re high is generally a terrible idea; you seem to lose touch with your senses and drinking and smoking becomes harmless in your own mind. You could be sitting there smoking cigarette after cigarette, joint after joint, one per minute, and you wouldn’t feel the effects until long after. As the pollen buried in the pipe’s chamber began to glow a deep muddy orange, I began to inhale the thick husky pollen through the thin brass tunnel of the pipe. Usually I’d only draw smoke from a pipe for less than two seconds, but the formidable effects of the drugs I’d had earlier rendered the senses in my mouth and throat useless and I drew on for more than seven seconds, stuffing my capacious lungs with drugs to the max. An amusing dizziness cascaded down through my body as I shakily passed the pipe over to the hands of Gordon for his turn on the draw.
It wasn’t long before the room was plunged into a thicket of silver smoke and the conversation between Gordon and I descended into an animalisitc notion of trash-talk, every sentence stumbling out of our mouths and blasting off all four walls of the room before finally hitting home. The harmonious sound of Pink Floyd glided dreamily through the background of our indechiperable antics as I slowly faded away from the reality of Gordon’s lethargic chatter and slipped into a magnificent trance conducted by the incredible symphonies echoing through the room.
This is a farce. A total fucking farce. Is there anybody in there?
My thoughts rapidly began to circulate around a few wild conspiring theories before my head sank slowly into the smooth fabric of the abyss of Gordon’s sofa. I fell asleep, totally isolated from the whispers and threats of the outside world.
I awoke only a few times throughout the night to the abrupt sound of Gordon’s brutish snoring, the loudest I’d ever heard in my entire life. His lungs and vocal cords at full throttle, his heavy breathing would gradually emancipate into an unnatural wheezing similar to that of someone frenetically sawing dark, heavy timber. I would look over to the sofa where Gordon slumbered every time I awoke and would see nothing of him except the pathetic tuft of grey hair that stuck out the top of his sleeping bag, glowing in the shine of the street lamp outside his house. At times I was convinced he wasn’t there, but once the snoring began again, I wouldn’t question his presence. The wind and rain relentlessly thrashed against the window throughout the night but it seemed somewhat feeble in comparison to the noises Gordon was producing.
A crack of light attacking the gap in Gordon’s blinds awoke me at ten o’clock in the morning. It seemed early, Gordon still wrapped up like a burrito in his cocoon of endless sheets and blankets. Apprehensive about waking him, I rose from the sofa and crept over to the door, thriving to avoid the crunchy debris scattered unpredictably across the rough carpet of the room. I pulled down delicately on the rusty handle of the front door, one millimetre a second, audaciously trying to avoid disturbing the sleeping beast. Just before the door was ready to slide away from it’s stubborn frame, Gordon’s croaky voice frighteningly emerged from the room I thought I’d seen and heard enough of for the last 24 hours.
‘That you off, Frankie?’
‘Yeah, need to get home before my parents start wondering where I am!’, I proclaimed, trying my best to sound calm and unworried by his sudden awakening.
‘Ok, ehhh, do you want a jacket?’
‘Yes, yes I would, thanks Gordon.’
I flung on the large Russian jacket that Gordon had bestowed upon me and left without another whisper.
Last night was more eccentric than the two occasions of Christmas and New Year combined, and I’m still unsure of how that’s even possible given the fact that I was planning to get mortal on both of those bitter nights. I’m the type of person that wanders on out into the world in anticipation of a quiet night in the pub or a subtle movie night with a close friend and then somehow ends up outside in the freezing cold trudging along an unknown pavement, stoned out of my face at three o’clock in the morning with someone else’s clothing on. Everything seems to spiral out of control by twelve at the latest, and nothing ever goes to plan. Drugs, alcohol and snoring old men have unexpectedly devoured the last 24 hours of my life, and oh boy have I learnt a lot about myself.
I’d been grinding the same video game for most of the day, occasionally taking a break to smoke the odd cigarette in the garden, and I was slowly growing anxious of what the night ahead held in stock. Once plans begin to swirl in the air, it’s all I can think about until the plans eventually transition into reality – anxiety really is a bitch. Jimmy and I were planning on indulging in a quick smoke after he had finished work later on in the night and I was more than game given that I hadn’t inhaled a Jamaican roll-up since Christmas eve.
Impatiently meandering around the warm floor boards of my parent’s house, seeing the word ‘Jimmy’ suddenly appear on my phone as it vibrated to the sound of Led Zeppelin’s Black Dog, I hastily answered the call and proceeded to stuff an old pair of shoes onto my restless feet and scrunched an extra jumper over my frazzled hair as I did. Despite all of the morbid fears I’d had previously that Jimmy would cancel the meeting – the fear that Jimmy’s mum’s hamster would spontaneously die that night and he’d have to stay in and comfort her, a shower of relief trickled over my head as soon as I heard the words “Meet at the tire at eleven” zoom through the phone from Jimmy’s mouth. Just as I trundled out of the front door and onto the sparkling frosty pavements to leave however, I had a peculiar thought – I’m probably addicted to drugs. Wearing nothing but two cheap jumpers and a crinkled pair of jeans, I began my odyssey towards the tire.
There’s something quite frightening about walking through the frost-bitten streets with the desire to smoke illegal drugs at an old tire behind a local rugby club at eleven o’clock at night. Four miles of walking in the stagnant wintry air would certainly not be worth it for anything but drugs and I found myself strutting along the pavement at turbo speeds just to ensure that I was at the tire before Jimmy. That walk to the tire was certainly the most intentional walk I’d ever done in my entire life. Accompanied by two cigarettes and half of a bottle of red wine I’d found in the fridge from Christmas however, and the the four mile trek was over before I knew it.
After Jimmy’s silhouette slowly emancipated into a real person through the thick fog of the night, everything seemed to flow considerably smoother than on previous encounters. Aside from a dodgy lighter deciding not to function of a couple of occasions and Jimmy thinking he’d forgotten the skins for a brief moment, I couldn’t have asked for a more enjoyable hour of smoking marijuana at a rugged old tire on a Sunday evening. I sat contempt for the entire hour with my arse half-stuck to the ice polished rubber before Jimmy lumbered back to his house only half-stoned. I however, after just a couple of joints, was inexplicably wasted, my mind flickering through a million fiery thoughts at once.
I can never have enough. Every time I remove myself from the warmth of my house, it doesn’t matter what I’m doing or who I’m with, I’m always thinking ahead to conjure up exciting plans for after. I hate going home, because going home late at night always represents the end of an enjoyable time, a transition into a dark, dull house of nothingness – I can’t put the TV on, I can’t venture out into the back garden for a smoke and I can’t even flick any lights on in fear that I’ll wake up the likes of my boring family members. If I’m at the pub enjoying a few pints of Scotland’s finest beer (Tennent’s Lager), then I’ll constantly be battling away on my phone or to a friend beside me for an action plan afterwards, whether it be going to another pub or intoxicating ourselves further with drugs. As I stood lone wolf at the tire, vacant of any form of rational thinking, it dawned on me that I could probably get away with a late night visit to my unorthodox friend Gordon’s house and enjoy a harsher smoke from the discomfort of his garbage-engulfed sofa.
Gordon is one of the more dodgy characters in my life. A rusty old man worn down by society, Gordon lives a quiet, solemn life in a decayed apartment swallowed by the past. He’s played quite an important part of my life for at least six months now, having been a regular at my local pub for most of his days. Of course, Gordon’s cave would never have been my first choice of dwelling for the night, but I always knew him to consistently be in the possession of drugs so the plan was essentially set in stone in my head as I perilously began to walk up the street towards his apartment.
Passing through Gordon’s large black steel gate and descending the cold bulky steps leading to his front door injected me with a familiar buzz. The only thing that frightened me as my clumsy feet clanged thunderously off the rusty clutter that lay scattered throughout his garden was the possibility of him not answering the door and having to perform the walk of shame back to the darkness of my house in the glacial conditions that clung to the air like thick glue. Standing at Gordon’s chipped white door, I realised there was not as much as a trace of a doorbell or any other form of sounding equipment. If there’s one thing you should probably avoid doing at midnight on a Saturday, it’s knocking on the doors of people who least expect it – there’s a high chance that Gordon thought the DEA were ready to raid his house of drugs the moment I battered the blurry white glass with my clenched iron fist. To my own surprise however, the door popped open with a loud thud just six seconds after I’d knocked and Gordon cheerfully beckoned me into his humble abode for a standard night of smoking cannabis and woeful banter.
“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.
“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 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.
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!
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.
This 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.
This 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.