Bipolar Life and Facebook – PART ONE

It’s funny how life has been treating me recently. At around seven o’clock last night I was squeezed up in the corner of my room on my laptop in a fruitful attempt to surpass round 92 on Bloons Tower Defense on hard mode, and ten minutes later, by some miraculous sequence of events involving Facebook and an ex-stripper girl I’d befriended while working in the capital in the summer, I found myself galloping down the stairs in the hopes that my mum would gift me with five pounds so I could embark on another wild night out in the freezing cold of the city. I literally went from being deeply engrossed in a child’s strategy game in the corner of my room, to ostentatiously sipping away at an expensive cocktail while in the presence of a painfully attractive ex-stripper in a bar in Edinburgh in a matter of an hour – I love you, life, even if you are chronically bipolar.

For many, Facebook is a volatile invention that has merely served as a catalyst for fiery arguments, heated altercations and a place for low-esteemed teenagers to vent their petty issues and post limitless pictures of mirrors. But for me, it’s a life-changing innovation that continues to shape my life in surprising ways. Without the invention of Facebook, many of the most memorable in my life would not have occurred (as tragic as that may sound) and last night was no exception.

I received a message from the ex-stripper for no reason that I can think of except that she must have been achingly bored. Why else would anyone message me? I hadn’t spoken to her on this beacon of communication for months nor had I seen her since the summer, but sure enough, I found myself immersed in the conversation for at least ten minutes before she invited me out into the city for a drink. As much as it would have been a dream for me to have grabbed my designer Emporio Armani jacket, hop into my new Bugatti and blaze off towards the city to meet her, I shamefully had to inform her of the significant financial turbulence I was currently enduring and that it would be impossible for me to meet her that night. But to my surprise, she offered not only to pay for my train-fare on the way back from the city, but also for all of my drinks.

Free drinks and train fare courtesy of a sexy ex-stripper girl in the city – a dream!

I could hardly contemplate what had just happened – I had to concentrate my eyes on the screen for at least ten seconds while a hard object simultaneously grew large in my pants before realising the glory of the situation. I fearlessly accepted her invitation and within a matter of seconds the dream of overcoming round 92 on Bloons Tower Defense was quickly thrown to the back of my mind and I found myself cajoling my mum into giving me a fiver before dashing towards the train station at rapid speeds to catch the next train. Although I remained pessimistic about accomplishing anything other than a hug from the girl, the thought of bathroom blowjobs and riveting sex was certainly a prominent one throughout the entirety of the thirty minute train journey to the city. I had absolutely no idea what I was in for – there was no plan as to what bar we were going to drink alcohol in, what alcohol we were going to drink or for how long we were going to drink it for – but due to the fact that there was indefinitely going to be alcohol involved, and a very attractive woman, this didn’t bother me in the slightest.

The only thing we had actually planned was for her to meet at the train station upon my arrival. I stepped off the train in a notion of sheer confidence, knowing that if I portrayed myself as a man of pride and self-reliance, my chances of possibly achieving as little as a snog would naturally increase as she saw me step onto the concrete platform.

When meeting up with a girl, I’ve always found that the mood and mindset I’m in ten seconds before meeting her is usually the one that persists throughout – whether it be painful awkwardness or upbeat confidence, it sticks like napalm in a Vietnamese jungle. For this night, I was in luck and the fear that I’d say something stupid or racist was non-existent. I was an emblem of confidence, and nothing was going to change that. Well, except for when I realised I’d just left my ten packet of cigarettes on the train and fell into a state of minor depression for a few moments.

However, hastily sweeping that under my carpet of sanguine, she informed me that we were going to go to T.G.I Friday’s for a few drinks – the exact location where I had met her and worked in the summer. I had no problem with this, except that I’d sort of left the place on bad terms. Losing my head on the busiest night the restaraunt had ever seen, storming out of the kitchen and then breaking into a ferocious flood of tears on the stairs is more or less how it went; so to enter into the place definitely seemed ominious; but being me, I did so anyway, and quite shamelessly at that. Free alcohol seems to beat down anything.

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The Sky is on Fire

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.

DSC00130 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.

DSC00126 The sky is on fire, people!

DSC00122

Returning Home With the Wrong Jacket – PART TWO

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.

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.

Marijuana, Valium, and The Sign

Over the past few months, and since becoming strongly acquainted with my best friend Jimmy, I’ve become quite accustomed to a combination of things that certainly doesn’t guarantee a night of premium comfort, sophistication and royal banter. When Jimmy first introduced me to cannabis, sitting on top of a giant metal sign in the middle of the night wasn’t exactly what I had in mind. But heck, we were only ever half a Valium tablet away from having a dreamily fantastic time on top of a traffic control sign.

How do I get myself into these situations? It doesn’t matter who I’m with or what I’m planning on doing, I always seem to end up in situations that no one else on my Facebook friend list could ever possibly get themselves into. This has advantages and disadvantages though because it means that it regardless of how monotonous I predict the night is going to be, I’m always aware deep down that a major plot twist is inbound and I’ll end up doing something crazy, like climbing a giant 20 foot tall traffic control sign next to a busy dual-carriage way.

Marijuana is the best thing that’s happened to me since my discovery of masturbation. Yes, it’s that good. The sudden injection of euphoric joy and comfort are sublime, and it hasn’t affected my everyday life in any noticeable way whatsoever. I can now officially call myself an apprentice ‘toker’, having been smoking at least 3-4 times a week for the last couple of months, a title I’m not sure if I can be proud of yet. The only thing that marginally concerns me about my newly found love for weed, is the idea that it’s a gateway drug – that it’s a drug that will lead me onto consuming other, more harmful drugs, like Valium for example. It’s also painfully expensive.

For those of you lucky individuals out there that haven’t got a clue what Valium is, it’s a small (often blue) anti-anxiety tablet prescribed by the doctor for people who struggle to sleep or for people (junkies) that require strong pain relief. I may or may not have devoured a full blue tablet last week due to an uprising of curiosity regarding the drug. Needless to say, after thirty minutes after taking the pill and a couple of joints, I was positively ‘rekd’ and could barely walk. It was a novel experience though, and as much as I try to stay away from tablets (because I know they could be genuinely harmful to my life) I’m sure it will happen again. I’m just not sure when, or where.

Jimmy and I have a very odd tradition. Every time we meet up, I always seem to end up manipulated into walking him half way back to his house, and en route, we pass this large metal traffic control sign – the ones with the big orange writing that warn drivers about traffic and weather. By the time we approach the sign, we’re usually in our own dreamy worlds and about a month ago, while passing, we decided to climb the 20ft. giant for the sheer purpose of feeding the unrelenting curiosity that was slowly chewing up our insides. We usually pass the sign at around midnight, when there is little traffic, but scrambling our half-zombified bodies up the freezing cold ladders (which only start halfway up the sign in order to prevent idiots from climbing it) and perching our cold skinny arses on the small metal platform where workers do all the electrical maintenance, is no mission for the faint of heart. Once you’ve committed to the climb, there’s no going back. And, you’re in plain sight of any oncoming traffic.

After reaching the top for the first time, hearts racing, we knew it was totally worth the risk of being caught and arrested. I mean, the view was nothing short of crap and it was achingly cold and damp at the top but the feeling that we’d actually just climbed a 20ft. sign and the world didn’t give a single fuck, was a feeling I’ll never forget.  We laughed hysterically the entire time we were up there, without a thought about how we would get back down again. That was the first thing in my life I had committed to that could genuinely have gotten me into a lot of trouble, and the thought of that gave me an authentic buzz I’d never experienced before.

One might have thought that after the first, second and third time of the pointless ascension up the sign, that the curiosity of the whole ordeal would have deceased. To our own surprise every time we pass that sign, a peculiar instinct kicks in and we’re off and up, trying our worst not to get spotted by the bustling traffic of the night.

A certain procedure is now unknowingly executed whenever Jimmy and I decide to meet up. To kick things off, we rendezvous at the grit bin located at the end of my street. Then, we head of to the stuffy old abandoned factory to smoke our blissful indulgences and talk about ISIS and other conspiring theories. And after that, we walk towards my local petrol station for munchies (sandwiches), trying to avoid eye contact with any sane human beings as we do. After this, Jimmy usually doesn’t have enough money left for a bus or a taxi (likely due to the petrol station’s extortionate sandwich prices) and therefore manipulates me into walking him half way back to his house, to which, I usually do. Halfway back to his house stands the sign. We then climb the sign, laugh, eat and smoke. These have been some of the best nights of my life.

I’m trying to enjoy every second of this crude lifestyle while it lasts.