Karma in a Large Bottle of Volvic Water – PART ONE

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.

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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.

How to Become a Warehouse-smoking Junkie

“Happiness is the truth”

– Pharrel Williams

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

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.