Chill-out time: one crinkled cigarette, one rusty lighter, one less than stable tripod and one camera of the bridge variety. It’s times like these that see me through the day.
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.
For a nineteen year old male teenager, being banned from your own local pub is probably the worst thing that can happen. I wish my goldfish had died instead. This is genuinely how I feel. ‘The Tavern’ was a big part of my life. Four nights a week after work I would scramble to the bus stop, hop on a bus, bolt to my house, throw on a shirt and any kind of cheap Christmas gift standard aftershave, and then bomb it to the tavern (all three metres next door).
Major tragedy inbound: Due to my best friend deciding to carry what he called, the ‘dankest stinky stink green’ (weed) he had ever obtained, into the pub, and then roll it inside the tiny bathroom located directly behind the bar, we both faced a permanent ban stating that we could never step through the glorious black pine doors into The Tavern ever again. Just like that, my social life was obliterated into a million small pieces and thrown to the dogs.
The Tavern was a delightful wee pub located right next door to my house – that’s right, my own neighbours have banned me from their house. Everyone in the Tavern knew everyone, it was a very diverse family of learned drinkers. The jukebox was cheap (free Mon-Tues) and the banter was as sweet as the cider. The owners even had a small dog named ‘Stella’ that would pleasantly weave in and out the vintage furniture greeting all the regulars to a belly-rub invitation and a lick on the foot. Honestly, this pub is (was) the best thing since Gangnam Style.
I later found out what type of marijuana my friend was carrying, and it turned out to be the premium ‘tangerine dream’. Research told me that this dry and crispy weed is one of the most pungent type available on the market which likely explains why the bartender scouted the toilets instantly after my friend came out. Admittedly however, after smoking the ‘dank stuff’ at a bench in the woods the same night I was banned, it did bring me an abundance of salvation which brought with it a temporary blanket of comfort (or forgetfulness) over the horrific events of the previous hour that would almost certainly hit me like a torpedo in the morning upon my awakening to a killer hangover.
That last sip of Blackthorn cider at The Tavern will stay with me for eternity. Sure, I could just go to my local Asda and buy a large plastic bottle of the stuff for a cheaper price, but the junkie-like, wholesale essence to the taste will never match the ice-cold taste of a pint of cider in the place that existed as a major component of my life for just over a year. Now the closest I’ll ever get to that beautifully varnished wooden bar is through sticking my head into the fireplace and listening eagerly to the classic jokes and fables of some of the more ‘experienced’ drinkers at The Tavern.
It wasn’t even the alcohol that most attracted me to the The Tavern. On a good night I would only be able to skirt around the region of 3-4 pints before falling into a great pit of drunkeness. To be quite honest, I’m more surprised that I didn’t get barred the night I stepped into the dangerous territory of having six pints and broke the bathroom door off it’s hinges. At least I actually had something to do with that, unlike the current reason for my ban – I never possessed the drugs nor did I try to roll them into a joint in the bathroom. But, if you fly with the crows, you get shot with the crows, fair enough.
My legacy at The Tavern has now deceased and my social drinking life has entered into frantic turbulence.
‘But Frank, there are plenty of other pubs out there?’, they say. ‘Fuck off’, is what I say.
Over the space of the last ten minutes, I’ve been contemplating my own life and where I stand as a human being on this strange planet. Basically, I’ve just judged myself. I’ve come to the conclusion that my life is nothing short of tragic (but in a sort of enjoyable way). I feel as though I could do a lot more, see a lot more and meet a lot more people. I like to think that I’m a very bright teenager that’s capable of doing a lot more than what I’m currently doing (sitting on my arse letting Netflix slowly devour my life). However, here’s the problem. Well, here’s a list of ALL the problems that have seemingly snaked their way into my life since I turned the age of eighteen last year…
In no particular order, here is a list of problems that range from serious (from my perspective) to possibly laughable (in your perspective) – don’t you dare. I can only hope that there are people out there that can relate to these:
1. I gamble too much (£100 gone last night)
2. I only have one and a half friends
3. I can’t seem to hold a job down for any longer than two months
4. I have been smoking marijuana for the last two months on a regular basis, and last night for the first time, I took a tablet of valium.
5. I have no money
6. I can’t see any future vision of myself
7. I’m fairly sure my best friend is a killer
8. I am a love/hate kind of guy, but it usually turns into hate after a sufficient amount of time
9. I have one ear bigger than the other
10. I smoke cigarettes, which bothers me (I still do it though)
11. Last night I got banned from the pub I live next door to because my friend rolled a joint in the bathroom
12. I have no girls in my life right now
13. I am not close to my step-dad, whom I’ve known since I was five years old
I’m sure I’ve missed a few, but those are all the only issues my mind can conjure up at this moment in time. The list will more than likely take pleasure in hitting the triple digits by Christmas at the latest.
Over the months to come, I am going to discuss these problems in more embarrassing detail and on the way, share some of the most mortifying stories that I force my face to wince upon even just thinking about them – there’s a considerable amount of roasters in there somewhere.
Before I go and smoke the cigarette doubt that I may or may not find near the compost bin at the back of my garden, I would just like to point out that I am in no way a depressed or even suicidal person. I love life and the sheer excitement that anything can happen at any time. I am a very positive and motivated (Well, I’m motivated to become motivated) individual. The reason behind the creation of this blog is to investigate whether or not there are other people out there that can relate to a lifestyle that is similar to my own.