Meine Reise nach Berlin!

22.3.17-25.3.17

Me and my fabulous friend Ellie have holidayed together many times. Our first excursion was to Amsterdam with some other friends of ours (or it could have been Poland first; I forget!) and then almost straight on to Poland, for the Heineken Open’er festival in Gdynia (Errr-mazing!). I mean it cost like £100 and we saw Rihanna and Arctic Monkeys and, like, we could have seen Kings of Leon but decided not to because they are crap. We met at university and fell in platonic love. From then on we’ve had city-breaks in Dublin, Oslo, and most recently Berlin: can I fill you in?

First of all, I’ve worked for Aldi, soooooooo I know a thing or two about this so-called ‘German efficiency’. Aldi is cheap. We know that. In all honesty, Berlin is one of *the* cheapest capital cities I have ever been to, hands down. I’ve not been to all the capital cities ever but I would approximate that I have visited 12.  Normally they’re pretty pricey, especially in the developed West. However, I didn’t feel priced out of activities, food and drink or transport whilst in Berlin. So, well done, Krauts!

They are indeed efficient. The trains run on-time and you’re never waiting long to be served. The very best thing they do is they bring your drinks to you :O No queuing, no barging chancers out of the way at the bar, no ‘garcon!’ *clicks fingers impatiently* (like I would..!). Oh no, none of that! A friendly person, normally a woman- such is the service industry- comes and takes your glass, asks if you will be requiring another beverage (I will require several beverages, fräulein) and brings it over to you, no fuss! Which reminds me: before I forget, STEINS. At risk of sounding quite hyperbolic, beer steins are the best thing about Germany. It just feels right.

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Like many other European capitals, the graffiti is on point in Berlin. British graffiti seems a bit shite in comparison. Perhaps we are just lazy, and as a result less creative on the day-to-day?

We stayed at the EasyHotel (that’s right, just like ‘EasyJet’) in the central area of the city, Mitte, with excellent transport links and within walking distance of the main station at Alexanderplatz. On Ellie’s list of ‘things to do’, which she had compiled using various travel blogs, was ‘Kreuzburger’, a frankly amazing burger joint which we thought we would find only in the hipster Kreuzberg area. However, there was quite fortuitously a ‘Kreuzburger’ on our street, literally 5 establishments down the road. Being vegetarian, I ordered a tofu burger, which I think was a mere €4.50; by jingo! It was hugea massive slab of tofu placed somewhat indelicately betwixt two rather large buns. Definitely worth every cent! I mean it doesn’t cost much less than that for a block of tofu… madness.

Working against chronological order, the first place we visited, before we had reached the hotel and which was situated right in the centre of Berlin outside the station, was a department store, ‘Galleria’. Famished, desperate for sustenance and exhausted from our early start, we slumped through the doors, hoping beyond hope that there would be some sort of hot, above-standard food; this looked like a fancy place, after all! Lo, we found such food, after seconds of wandering! It was this mad, kinda-fancy café at the back of the food hall, that served food from three menus- Thai, Italian, and, erm, standard cafeteria food- and of course, me being greedy me, I ordered from both the Italian and Thai menus (we ate it all). It was just delicious. Really, it was an amazing start to our trip, and set the precedent for the rest of our culinary experiences. I do have a picture, although it is shoddy quality due to hopeless lack of care towards cellular phones and their specs.

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Definitely dodgy quality going on here… not of the food though, Christ, this place was like a fuckin’ palace compared to Harvey Frasier’s or w/e

Gotta give the Berlin underground a shout-out. You can travel for free pretty much, however we saw the ticket inspectors from the safety of the carriage and there were a job-lot of them, so be wary! Travelling on the Metrolink and with Northern Rail, you wouldn’t think we were in the same continent! Our public transport is an absolute shambles, especially considering it’s at least double the price of the transport we used over in Berlin. In fact, the trains in Poland were better than the shite we get lumbered with over here. Anyway, I didn’t come here to talk about the state of public transport, except to say that in Germany, it seems to be very good.

Even the beggars are polite! Go to France, JE-SUS they will literally shove their wounded limbs into your face for change! but no, in Berlin they just politely walk on, much like our own beggars, but much more quiet. The streets there are clean as fuck, which comes as a shock for a northerner, all that wading through crap because the council forgot to pay anybody to empty the bins… None of that in Berlin!

I can see I’ve taken a turn for the worse here; let me steer us back onto a sensible path. Some low-quality pictures of landmarks, perhaps?

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A (rather blurry) view from the top of The Fernsehturm

 

 

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‘To Fence in the Berlin Wall of all Places…’

Being cool AS. FUCK. we obviously visited the East Side Gallery and pretended to care deeply about… issues and stuff. I wore a lilac bomber jacket to show solidarity amongst my fellow hipsters, aaaaaaand Ellie isn’t quite as fickle so she just dressed modestly but with that Scandi-style edge.

Jokes, we went for real to actually look solemnly upon the messages artists and regular bods had painted upon the gallery walls, often in painstaking detail and always wonderfully bright and really just magnificent. That particular image, I thought, was great, because I’m a sarcastic satirist myself most of the time. But it doesn’t do any harm to think about the ways we are all fenced in, moreover the fences we as a society build in an attempt to feel safe (getting real deep here guys).

There was probably loads of other stuff we wanted to do, and Ellie really had researched the shit out of Berlin. She took me to this wonderful market in the trendy Kreuzberg area, but I didn’t take any pictures because it was rammed and I had decided by that point that my phone was too shit to take any more pictures. You are probably asking, ‘what research did you do, Africa? Where did you want to go?’. Admittedly, I did no research, other than asking my friend, who also happens to be a beer connoisseur, which bars I must visit to get my lips around a cracking craft ale.

The beer was very good in general, as you’d expect, but… I wanted some proper fresh, craft ale. So I went and got some! My absolute favourite bar by far was named Monterey Bar, in the Winsviertel area just north-east of central Berlin. The atmosphere was lovely, quite dark but cosy. The bartenders were wonderfully friendly, advising me on different beers, especially those NOT to buy. After sampling, I was so glad the American lady who was serving dissuaded me from purchasing an awful flavoured beer. I sat alone and read Morrissey’s List of the Lost (which, despite my undying love for Moz, is quite amusingly dreadful) and a local woman who was studying talked to me a bit. All in all, I had a lovely few hours there and would certainly visit again!

Earlier in the day, I found myself at Kaschk, which was also a recommendation of my friend and handily just a few streets down from the hotel. It resembled a craft-beer establishment you might find in Manchester or London: that kind of back-to-basics, we-have-no-money-oh-wait-we-have-fucking-loads-of-money hipster style interior, you know with long wooden tables and benches a bit like a medieval drinking hall but 1,000,000% more expensive. I had a great To Øl brew from there, though sadly I didn’t document the name. The bartender once again, it must be said, was so friendly, smiling and even bringing my drink and vegan banana cake outside to me! Really, I can’t stress enough how polite the Berliners were. So, so friendly.

As well as these gorgeous bottled beers I had the pleasure of sipping at Monterey bar, I also indulged in Yeastie Boys’ Digital IPA, Oskar Blues’ Ten Fidy and Death By Coconut

Okay so I’m going to have to throw in the towel here. I have just spied that I’ve written almost 1,500 words, and mercy me, I am shattered! Rather than lying to myself and saying, ‘No Africa, you are not a person who has short, fruitful bursts of energy, prone to decline, which then descend into fatigue and boredom, until ultimately you reach a peak of apathy from which there will be no return for many days! You are not this wretch, Africa!’, I shall shoow humility and throw my hands above me head in admittance. Like honestly I wanted to update my blog and I had loads of memories from my trip, but now all I can think of is how I chafed so badly that I ripped my favourite jeans 😦 we walked so much, I have loads more to write about. I am tired of using my brain and must desist!

I suppose I’ll conclude with a list of landmarks and tourist attractions followed by extremely succinct reviews:

  • Brandenburg Gate- quite impressive, good free tours in the square
  • Berlin Wall- it’s a must-see, esp. with a cheeky English tourguide
  • Checkpoint Charlie- pretty naff, really
  • Jewish Memorial- don’t go to take pictures of yourself doing yoga u tit
  • Berlin Cathedral- great if you like that kind of thing
  • Altes Museum- literally ‘Old Museum’, beautiful neoclassical architecture
  • Museum Island- not really an island
  • Fernsehturm (TV tower)- really tall, built by commies; definitely visit

 

Auf Wiedersehen, meine freunde!

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How to be Unsuccessful pt.3

…Getting the least out of your time

This week we will focus on time-wasting. In order to achieve the state of pure zen that is ‘unsuccess’, you must sit idly by as the minutes, hours and days fade away into obscurity. If you yearn to be forgotten long after death, to be left alone in peace, perfect peace, during life – to never be called upon for one use or another- then you must become proficient at time wasting! In order to not sound too conspicuous, we shall refer to it hitherto as ‘time-allowing’ (much more palatable). Yes, I definitely prefer that term.

‘Time is not a currency to be spent, it’s just… stuff, happening, or not happening, or almost happening’- me

We are grains of sand in an hourglass. You might be clinging on for dear life in the top chamber, unwilling to relinquish your grip on the past, but inevitably you hurtle through the chasm into the bottom chamber; you arrive there, so quickly, with nowhere else to go. You, this grain of sand, will live out your days initially on top of the pile (Yay!). But it doesn’t take long before you  are crushed, gasping for air beneath all the other grains. When (at last!) the hourglass is flipped, another rush and a push and… I think you catch my drift. The monotony of trying hard! Why not join the ranks of the unsuccessful? Fuck the hourglass, be a grain of sand on the beach. Allow yourself to be washed hither and thither by the tide; put the ‘be’ into beach, bro. Stay chill as you get trod on and carried away in the nook of some fat Brit’s veruca-infested big toe, because shit happens man!

If you are a ‘successful’ person, please, don’t get downhearted! One thing you can rely on from me, the author, is honesty. I apologise if you’ve spent years convincing yourself that you are happy in your success. I have often dreamt of a time where I am conventionally successful, upholding social norms and societal rules like great bastions of capitalism whilst men and women alike throw themselves before me in adoration, a shining beacon of the establishment; I am able to sympathise. If I can impress upon you one thing, one piece of advice, it would be this: Any day now you could get stabbed or hit by a van, and once you’re dead it’s all over for you, I’m afraid. You would have no idea what you had or hadn’t achieved. Yes, people may remember you fondly and fondle your memory, but you won’t know because you’re dead (which means unconscious, forever).

Let us take a moment to remember those poor bastards who worked their talented arses off only to achieve posthumous fame WHICH FYI THEY DON’T EVEN KNOW ABOUT BECAUSE THEY’RE DEAD (R.I.P)! The genius of Stieg Larsson, the desolate beauty of Emily Dickinson, Kafka, Van Gogh, Vermeer… Brilliant individuals who probably considered themselves pretty un-successful…


What was this post about again? Oh yeah, time allowing

At this point I would like to get us back on track. One drawback of being so mentally unchained is that your mind tends to wander; I have no need to tame it, it just is. But for the purposes of this piece I must! It can be a pain, you know, being so unsuccessful.

The plight of ‘success’ can be blamed on the rapid advancement of humanity. For too long people have concerned themselves with the future, developing new technologies day after day and panicking about what tomorrow will bring. It isn’t about to stop anytime soon, no matter how many times you say, ‘stop the world, I want to get off!’. However, you can combat these unsettling feelings by simply allowing time to pass, unscathed by your presence. I have devised a list which vaguely details some ways and means of time-allowing. And here it is:

• Start off each day with a couple of hours of doing absolutely nothing

• Never set alarms

• Enter free online competitions, NOT the ones on telly that cost a quid

• Read about deranged rich people, and congratulate yourself for not being one

• Go outside and sit down somewhere peaceful for what feels like a long time

• Find out if any of your friends are feeling low, then go and talk to them

• Write a list of names for your hypothetical children

• Visit a nearby animal sanctuary or shelter and pet the nice animals

• Experiment with different flavours of tea

• Forage for edible treats growing near your home

• Go to bed whenever you feel like it, listening to the radio if you so desire

• Invent some good jokes whilst sipping Glen’s vodka

• Have a nice conversation with yourself to find out how you are

Of course, these are just examples- there is an infinite number of things you can do which allow time to pass smoothly and peacefully! Personally, I like to sit and type myself silly, prosing away about mindless- let’s face it- shite, until I get bored; then I’ll play on my Gameboy, or watch Sailor Moon in bed. It’s actually really easy, being unsuccessful.

You can do absolutely nothing if you just set your mind to it! ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

YES!

On the 16th of February 1992, Angela Carter, one of England’s most valuable female writers of picaresque fiction, magical realism and cultural thought, died in London of lung cancer at the age of 51. In her obituary in The Telegraph, she was remembered for “the exuberant fantastic invention, the interest in archetypal fairytale patterns, and […]

via De Sade, Pornography and Women: A Reappraisal by Angela Carter — A R T L▼R K

Blazing Sod

Typing stuff when I’m high

(Sometime last week)


It is unclear why I did this. But I did do it, and I’m sharing it here because it could be entertaining or something to someone. You see, today is Singles Awareness Day* (or S.A.D HAHA LOL so funny -_- ) and fuck knows we need a laugh. I corrected the spelling mistakes, as there were too many; so much so that it wasn’t even amusing, it was just anxiety-inducing and ridiculous. When you’re such a failure that you can’t even muster the energy to update your blog series on being a failure… that is some meta shit. Christ tonight, I feel lacklustre! Anyway, please enjoy your brief foray into my kush-addled mind.

‘We’re all set to die. My middle fingers are numb I’m hoping my dad won’t come because I seem ill. Just tried to ‘hmmm’ in agreement, not going to work is it? I couldn’t communicate right now. Tickly needles are poking my eyes they’ve gone like piss-holes in the snow good Jesus this is strong shit. I look like I’ve been crying for days it just put Edward Scissorhands in my head it made me twitches. Oh no. Marc Riley talking you’ll be able to look it up online. Oops bad move new position shoulder hurts. Miss Oslo. Don’t wanna live there. Wanna be there. Stoned in Iceland no the supermart in Norway my inclination is right. Jeez I don’t even know my left from right jaw twitch there’s people talking to me, something struggles to keep up and in sync with my body.’

Smoke Responsibly.


*You might also be interested in Single’s Day, a Chinese festival celebrating… Well, being alone. Hilariously, it is held on the 11th of November, or ’11/11′, because there’s lots of ones in it and if you are single you are just one person and not two. Something like that anyway- pure bollocks.

How to be Unsuccessful pt.2

…doing nothing and feeling good about it.

 

Here, I write part two of the ‘How to be Unsuccessful’ blog series. Right now. Your eyes are seeing this in the future, when it’s finished.

Last week I wrote- somewhat on a whim- a blog about my great success in unsuccess and, for reasons beyond my comprehension, promised more of this sort of thing. It would be more sensible of me to say ‘down with this sort of thing’ and sack it off completely; I know how deeply and irrevocably apathetic I am. Nevertheless, here it is fuckers, ‘how to do nothing and feel good about it’ xoxoxoxo

The Start of this Article

We have arrived at the beginning of the second instalment of… whatever this is. Notice how I haven’t planned a jot of this piece; can’t you tell? I seriously haven’t written anything in preparation. For the truly unsuccessful, plans are daunting. Plans (even thinking the word is making me feel nauseous) are for people who care about the future. Can you plan the present? No, not unless you planned it already, in the past. The present is as it is. Live by this mantra, and the road to unsuccess shall be smooth and not very long.

Time

Time is the enemy. Now, I don’t mean to make a habit of quoting the bible in these posts, but here I am again, quoting it!

‘Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise,

making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.’

 

Ephesians 5:16

There you have it, even God thinks shit’s evil. Forget that part about ‘making the most etc etc’; 2000 years ago, making the most of every day meant, like, having a dump somewhere sanitary, or taking rags to the market to exchange for a loaf of bread. Life is more complicated in 2017, and I think the author of this ‘bible’ book would understand that we are now rendered incapable of ‘making the most of every opportunity’, either because a) there are way too many opportunities, or b) there are literally no opportunities. Take the dating app, Tinder, for example: if you made the most of every opportunity on there, you’d shag your way through half the town (not that I would know). But if you made the most of, say, a couple of opportunities, you’d retain some dignity and hopefully be clear on the ‘VD’ front. Opportunities are like flies: they probably congregate around a steaming pile of hot shit.

In a simpler time, you’d be forced to work for a pittance, perhaps marry and reproduce and drink the hours away and claim a plot of land, before working some more, until you were on death’s doorstep. And that was that! Easy! Nowadays, there is just too much choice: work, don’t work, kill yourself, smoke pot, work from home, DSS, steal, get your tits out… It’s all too much! Why settle for less, when you can settle for unsuccess?

Obligatory Heading

Middle-class and struggling to comprehend ‘unsuccess’? The good news is ‘The Guardian’ did an article a couple of years back about how doing nothing is actually good for you… It must be true!

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/jan/09/five-reasons-we-should-all-learn-to-do-nothing

The bad news is… well, there isn’t any bad news! Just don’t read too much into it. Or of it. Actually, don’t read it- I didn’t. Do nothing. Live out your days watching Homes Under the Hammer, Four in a Bed, Judge Rinder and The Chase; you’ll learn a lot, but more importantly, you’ll do nothing. Feel like cooking? Great, cook up some fine grub! Need a nap? Sweet! Take a well-deserved nap. Want to get disgustingly trashed and wake up in a skip? Why not! Your immediate surroundings are your oyster when you just. do. nothing.

Letting go of Responsibility

Responsibilities are basically obligations. As Elvis Presley once said, ‘There are too many people that depend on me. I’m too obligated. I’m in too far to get out.’ That is some deep shit. Such ‘obligations’ led this man to die on the toilet. If The King saying bleak-as-fuck shit like that isn’t enough to put you off having responsibilities forever, then I’ve got my work cut out.

The main thing to remember is to never, ever, have children. Spawning children is a sure-fire way to land yourself in a rather large pile of responsibility. You are obligated by law to take care of them. The best way to ensure that you are unfruitful is to not have sex. However, if we live our lives doing nothing, thriving in unsuccess and obeying the whims of the moment, we might find ourselves faced with a sexual opportunity. My advice in such a situation would be to go ahead with the activity, but put a cap on the old chap if you want to do anything which invites the risk of making a baby.

Careers are also a big no-no. Careers work via intricate bribery, and are inherently evil. You found your dream job- yippee!- where you get paid to do something that you kind of enjoy- alright!- and all you had to do was sign a contract! Ea-sy! In that contract, however, you will not find details of how the company’s management will pressure you to work many unpaid hours because ‘that’s how you get noticed’ and progress. Neither will it alert you that Barry in the HR department is a prolific sex-pest. You’ll never read of how Hilary will noisily sip her seemingly endless cups of coffee at the desk next to yours; the hours will turn into days, the days into years and the years into a life of regret, wincing at every sip and gipping as the coffee-soaked breath full of disdain saunters into your nostrils. You will probably own a house, and consider yourself at least more successful than the pleb next door, who FYI doesn’t even have a conservatory with heated floors… But was it worth it? At all times, you must ask yourself, ‘What would I rather be doing?’. If the answer is anything other than what you are currently doing, drop it and start doing something more enjoyable. I can guarantee almost 100% that you won’t be able to make a career out of the more enjoyable thing, but who cares?

And that, ladies and gentlemen, concludes this week’s ‘How to be Unsuccessful’.

Stay limp, peeps!

 

 

How to be unsuccessful

…your weekly guide to being a slacker.

So, I’m unemployed, depressed and stagnating in my own b/o and it got me thinking, ‘what do I want to do? What does ‘successful’ mean?! Why am I such a loser?’. I’m sure you know how it feels. But do you know how it feels to be ‘successful’? What if they’re just as unhappy and unfulfilled? What if they’re more unhappy?! Did you ever think about that? No, because you only think about yourselves. Fortunately for these hopelessly successful types, I’m a great empathiser, and as such have created a guide in order that these non-flounderers can escape their lives of achievement and attainment. Hold on to your arses, because this is about to get enlightening…

What is ‘unsuccess’?

Good question. ‘Unsuccess’ is a feeling of complete freedom: it is being on the weather-vane of life when everybody else is stuck in the basement, trying to get out into the cold, stony air of the church.

You see, to be successful, people set themselves ‘goals’, some long-term and some short-term. They aspire to be something. Or they’re lucky, lucky bastards who attract good fortune. Or they clamber over the backs of others without so much as a second glance at the trail of dismembered, flaming lives they’ve left behind. Whatever means a person uses to become ‘successful’, the embargo normally consists of:

  • Completing tasks that feel too much like hard work
  • Doing stuff, a lot
  • Talking to people you don’t want to talk to
  • Conversing with people who, quite frankly, make you want to eat your own hand (or hands, depending on how unbearably nauseating they are)
  • Not sleeping as much as you’d like
  • Wanting to get to a ‘spiritual place’ where you ‘couldn’t give a rat’s bollock’ about what other people think of you whilst simultaneously caring an obscene amount about what people think about you
  • Hating yourself

Needless to say, it is awfully stressful. The pursuit of monetary wealth is most commonly to blame for such pointless escapades, and we will first deal with how not to be wealthy in our quest for unsuccess. Further instalments of this guide will be delivered as follows:

Week 1. Money: who needs it? (This is week one. You’re reading it already)

Week 2. How to do nothing and feel good about it PLUS letting go of responsibility

Week 3. Ways and means of procrastination: how to get the least out of your time

Week 4. Dealing with criticism from family, friends and society

Week 5. I am unable to plan this far ahead

Let us deal with the concept of ‘money’. What is money? ‘The love of money,’ according to the Bible ‘is the root of all kinds of evil’ (1 Timothy 6:10). Money is currency, normally in the form of coins or paper notes or numbers on a screen. Hundreds of years ago, people didn’t need money really. They grew and farmed their own food, and exchanged it for other types of food from people who farmed different food to them. People had sex and babies appeared and they guessed that the babies wanted food and to not be too cold because that’s what they wanted. There weren’t any mirrors, except maybe lakes and ponds, so they weren’t arsed about shaving or putting make-up on or whether their trainers were laughably tragic… they just got on with it, in much the way that I try to.

Then, the Lydians, of Lydia, which was situated in Ancient Turkey on the Aegean Sea, decided to mint coins. What happened, right, was people kept bartering and exchanging stuff, for example a slab of bread for a fish, that sort of thing. But things kept going off, and there weren’t any use-by dates back then, so it was kind of a con. Long story short, some civilisation invented money and the idea caught on. Fast forward about 2,600 years, and shit’s fucked up: people exchange other people for money- heck, they even exchange money for money! Just imagine: you acquire a note worth 5 pounds sterling (that’s our currency)- a £5 note, if it pleases you- and then you sell the note for £6. Madness has pervaded our world; people buy money, it’s possible to purchase an avocado in Hull… Such madness brings about confusion, unsurprisingly, and people feel agitated.

Quite simply, there are just too many things to spend your money on. It is often better to reach into your pockets and find nothing, thus depriving yourself of a packet of Maltesers (which aren’t even from Malta), than to reach in and find a tenner which you would probably exchange for a sharing bag of Doritos, a tub of sour cream and a large bar of mint Aero, leaving you feeling fat, and ashamed.

Now, if we follow the natural arc of this piece of continuous prose, the next question must be, ‘If money makes you fat, ashamed and unhappy, then how do I acquire less of it, thus relinquishing the burden of responsibility thrust upon me regarding the monitoring of my expenditure?’. Very good question, reader. In order to not get money, one must not have a job. If you’re struggling to cope with the extreme freedom that comes with being unsuccessful, you can have a job which pays the bare-minimum required to survive in wherever it is you live and eat tinned mushy peas each day, cold. Best case scenario, a kindly family member or friend will take you into their home so you may keep warm, preferably for free. If nobody cares about you, or they get on your nerves, one must simply find somewhere to squat, which is also free. Sheds, abandoned buildings and treehouses are fantastic to squat in, if you’re short on ideas.

This week’s instalment is at risk of becoming even a slight success on my part, and I must draw it to a close. If you truly are one of the world’s great unsuccesses, then you won’t be reading the next chapters because you don’t need to and you wouldn’t want to anyway because it would require too much effort. Otherwise, same time ish (but probably not) next week, and have fun experimenting with poverty!

Peace out!

Unemployment > Employment

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Being unemployed is shit, it’s true. But only because you cease to be financially stable, unless you’re a lucky rich bastard. My existential dread constantly tests the bounds of my desire to earn money. Really, what does it mean if I have 2306 pounds sterling on a screen? I could withdraw it, and then I could feel it. But the feel of it wouldn’t feel like how I imagine the number 2306 would feel; i wouldn’t be able to carry 2306, because it’s a big number. My age-number is 24, which is roughly 100 times smaller (I don’t do maths) but my mass is more than the mass of 2306 pounds sterling. Don’t go trying to prove me wrong because I probably am but it’s really not important anyway, you waggish twat.

When I’m unemployed, I feel a sense of freedom. It’s almost like the fear and uncertainty is freedom. Perhaps my entire life I have been lied to: perhaps monetary wealth does not bring freedom. I think there is something terribly wrong with the system. Let’s say for example, I walk for days to Hull. I want to go to… Rotterdam. God knows why, but for arguments sake, I do. And at any rate, it can’t be any worse than Hull. If I manage to get onto a ferry for free, either sneak on or somehow blag my way on (should that be ‘shag’?) and I get caught at the other end, the payment, providing I had no money, which I don’t, would be my freedom. But did I do anything morally wrong? I don’t think so. I just got on a boat, much like how this dog is just a little tired and is using a tortoise for a ride

Money complicates things, is the point I am trying- rather appallingly- to make. I’m kinda, like, so over money right now. I just don’t get it. It’s not just a currency anymore, it’s the rules, and I’m totally not cool with that.

Anyway, it’s late and I’m chatting utter bollocks, and without actually trying to sound ‘clever’ or ‘deep’, I have managed to sound like I am trying to sound like I’m clever and/or deep, but I assure you this was just the thing in my brain and it made sense to me a few minutes ago. Alas, on reading it back it smells a lot like bullshit. Pls forgive me and forget you ever read anything.

XOXO

^.^

Bombus hortorum This was a special treat when this large bee with a very long tongue (yep, bees have tongues) visited my garden, for I have not seen one since. Sometimes called the ‘Small Garden Bumblebee’ (despite it being one of the largest species) or the ‘Long-tongued Bumblebee’, it has two yellow bands on the […]

via Garden Bumblebee — Pete Hillman’s Nature Photography

The Shit that has Just Hit the Fan

(‘the Fan’ being a metaphor for my life, and ‘The Shit’ being the life that happens in and around said fan/life)

This year, if you follow the Gregorian calendar, which I am trying to distance myself from coz I’m so fucking hipster, I have made a rather large (but if you’re me, colossal) change to my life.

Actually two changes, the second of which I will mark thus; *BIG CHANGE NO.2*.

For the first time since I was 18, which was only 5/6 years ago but seems like aeons, I am going to move… home. Oh and btw you’re gonna have to put up with loads of long-winded, precarious and quite frankly pretentious sentences if you wish to read further, I mean hullo I’m going to be explaining myself and trying to poke fun at my own misery at every twist and turn- it’s grrrrrrrrr8.

Home is not the same home I left to go to uni and, spiritually, Manchester full-time. That home has been and gone like lots of homes I have inhabited (woe is me). This home, however, is my home, that has been my home since I was born, albeit mainly at weekends, and it has a certain gravity about it. It is my grandmother’s home, and it was my father’s and late uncle’s childhood home. I’m missing the point here. O nostalgia; longtemps longtemps, Oú va le temps.

That’s my pretentious goo oozed, right there ^

I feel terrible, and excited, and scared, a little confused, a touch mad, and I think hopeful. I think. If you’ve been reading these writings from my mind then you’ll know all about stuff. Also if you know me you’ll know because I am basically an open book, with a secret compartment that houses a smaller, darker, leather bound volume that NOBODY has access to except sometimes me and even then it only sees the light of my mind for about 5 seconds and I put it the fuck.back.

So this year I got hit by a car (lol) and I was soooooo pissed and then when I got better I just got pissed in a drinky way, and went to councelling and tried CBT (like with a person not a computer what even is that) and am on some sik meds. I’ve already wrote about my CBT experience if u wan kno bout it, it was bangin’. So I will write no more here. Even though I am without a doubt more enlightened about the experience now than I was even at the time, but I’ll be ridiculously more enlightened about it next year which makes me think there’s no point ever discussing anything with any relish because you’ll just feel embarrassed and oh so immature about it down the line.

We’ve got onto the motorway of this piece now, the big heavy carved heart, leading to some pretty slapdash junctions and those kind of roundabouts that don’t even have a garden or sculpture in the middle. *BIG CHANGE NO.2* I have, for the past three years, had a fantastic partner, a really compassionate and laid back individual who coped with my outbursts and could even calm me down. And I was calm. Until I realised that, hold the fucking phone, I’m STILL not happy. Turns out that life wasn’t about finding ‘the one’. ‘The one’ would turn up 10 years too early. For me anyway. I’m not fine. And what I’m doing isn’t fine; using a human being with his own life to sort out as a comfort blanket. Like a steady boat, anchored in a treacherous sea, I was stable. But then, off the boat, out there, past the waves and the whale shit and the seaspray, there’stuff. That I might like. Or detest. But I might SOMETHING. And that’s too much something for me to ignore.

And so, I made the extremely selfish* brave** realistic*** decision to end the relationship. It was and is difficult. I don’t want to let go, and it’s hard to bear the thought of my life without my Fox. I feel incredibly lonely much of the time, even when I’m in good company (except when I got some class As, which isn’t healthy really, is it?). But I felt lonely anyway, I felt lonely cuddling and watching *insert HBO series* in our cosy bed. I feel like an absolute bellend. And a user. Lest we forget a slag. At least I’m more aware now that the me that feels these unfriendly things must evolve into the me that thinks I’m bloody spectacular. At the very least I’d like to be the me that doesn’t hate itself.

*if you’re me

**if you’re some other people

***if you’re the better half of me

There’s that awful cliché, ‘it’s not you it’s me’. Surprisingly apt in this situation, and yet I still lose sleep over whether he really believes it. It’s not a belief it’s a fact, but facts differ from human to human to tree to root to pine marten to egg.

(I’m not sure how to link this so I’m not going to, you only need to know that it’s related and hopefully you’ll deal with it)

Bae2K15 Polly got me to make a list of goals, short term and long term. Here’s a little peek, maybe some of these apply to you:

1 month-

-better sleep pattern

-exercise regularly (shit son I got a titanium ankle)

-write to schools for experience

3-6 months-

-Feel motivated to do and learn again

-be more confident around roads

1 year plus-

-Pay off overdraft (sept 2016)

-Start PGCE or Go travelling

If I live at home, rent free, and have some alone time i’th’ills to contemplate what it is to be, and how it feels to be 23 and not have all the answers (My dad hit me with that zen bomb) then these goals are so much more achievable. This is what I thunk and I think I’m right in thunking still.

(Can we just hold up and think about how ‘thank’ is completely unrelated to ‘think’ and ‘thunk’? Unless ‘thank’ IS a colloquialism somewhere, a past tense, past participle of ‘think’…)

I wasn’t treating myself fairly. I’ve got to admit, getting married and having a family and a sturdy house, that is not me and it might never be, but it had some certain appeal because it looked like the shiny happy people that were doing that were shiny and happy. And they smelled nice. Alas, the deep pit of despair I had dug and filled for myself had to be addressed; I had a chat with some good friends and I was like, yep, time to get into that pit and splash around in the possibly toxic algae that had formed over what felt like aeons of suffocating neglect.

Some people are those people that want to be in love, and thrive from the intricate support network they weave around each other. And it works, and they feel successful and really bloody happy, thank you very much. I want to be in love. But for the first time since I was 16, I looked into myself and I was upset. It is clear to me that I sought out relationships to fill a void, and not addressing that gaping hole for over seven years had been destroying me (sounds a bit drastic I know but I live in my body and my head and it’s proper wank sometimes) I see no life for me without anxiety, no matter if I had one amazing human being who loved me or 20,395,000 people who hung onto my every action like a fucking goddess and kissed my toes as I sauntered through life.

I am mad, I’m actually crazy, I know it! Ask anyone, I’m a nutter. I can barely control my emotions and self-hatred with a nice concoction of drugs and therapy. The week before my period who knows what person animal or inanimate object will feel the vitriolic wrath of mybadself. Hmmm, I thought, not a great foundation for a dependable partner. And I realised then that I can’t have anyone depending on me. The decisions I make from now on need to be made for me, yes it’s selfish, I’m not alluding that I am any other way. But theres SELFISH and there’s selfish. I think I’m the latter. Feel free to correct me.

I cried whilst I wrote this, and I cried when I expressed my needs and regret to Robert, and I cried just before when I hoovered the flat. I cried because what I am feeling is true. Homer Simpson hit the nail on the head when he said ‘It’s funny cos it’s true’. And also when he said ‘hehe look at this country U.R.GAY’. Except in this case, it was sad because it was true. Just in case you got confused.

It needs to be said; people who don’t sympathise with mental illness can fuck right off. Depression makes people voluntarily take their own lives! Death is often a welcome release from the torture of living in one’s own mind. Have you ever seen Woody Allen’s ‘Stardust Memories’? The opening scene is hilarious and poignant as it perfectly demonstrates what it feels like to be in the head of a depressive…

It’s hard to admit because people often take it the wrong way, but much of my life is spent wishing I weren’t alive. Often I’m completely lacklustre. Having social anxiety disorder doesn’t help; all I want to do is mope or sleep or read or write and even though my socialising meter is depleted HEY GUESS WHAT make all the plans possible with everyone AFRICA because if you don’t talk to people + go somewhere + crack jokes + booze then you’re day is wasted Africa so what are you waiting for???!

Steering us wonkily back onto the course of whatever this piece of writing concerns, yeah- I had to get myself out of a relationship because it was soooo typical of me to have great people around me and still feel like shit. I like the people I try desperately to keep around me. However, I don’t like me and I can’t for the life of me understand why all these intelligent, charming, kind, beautiful people want to share little pieces of their lives with me. A dialogue with myself goes rather like this:

“You’re shit Africa. Remember that one time when you nearly achieved something? Ha but then you gave up, cos inevitably you would be a failure, remember that?”

“Yeah.”

“Good times.”

^true story. Admittedly I wrote much of this drunk but I was sober right now when I wrote this part. Perhaps this piece screams WHITE FERRERO ROCHER-EATING FEMALE SEEKS PITY AND VALIDATION FOR POOR CHOICES MADE IN LIFE I don’t know I’m not you.

So there we have it. I have explained myself, to myself (and you) for myself (not you, although I hope it might help or at least make you feel like you’re not the only mad person who’s ever lived). I feel much better now, ta-ra!

CBT RIP :'(

Most people who happen upon this blog will not know me well enough to know that I have an anxiety disorder. And those that know me will, generally, be surprised to hear that I am diagnosed with Social Anxiety Disorder. It’s complicated.

In a week’s time, I will have had my last session of CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) with a lovely therapist named Polly. It has been fucking wonderful, distressing at times and deeply rewarding. For anybody who struggles with achieving happiness or contentment, or maintaining sound mental health, I can’t recommend it enough. Unfortunately, mental health is not top of the agenda in our society and in many societies across the world; thus, we have a disparity between services available and people suffering. And a record number of people in the UK are turning to anti-depressants. Blackpool had the highest prescription rate in 2012/13. No shit Sherlock!

Events that I initially considered to be unfortunate have in fact revealed themselves to be extremely beneficial. Yes, I have some metal in my ankle. But if I didn’t suffer a little I would have never gained such speedy access to private mental health treatment, and for that I am extremely lucky because it has changed my life unimaginably.

So I’m not really sure where I’m at here, as per, but let me hit you with some knowledge- I chat a lot of shit. Where my mind is at various points of the day, let alone the month, is anyone’s guess. I have written, typed and verbalised many ideas and opinions that, actually, aren’t me. And I don’t know why! Well, I do. But anyway… a few months ago, after being on some BOLLOCKS SSRIs (Citalopram, it’s wank) for some time, I decided they weren’t the answer for depression, anxiety or negative thoughts. That was a absolute bollocks. At that point, I must have had some mad rush of adrenaline after recovering from the hit and run, I dunno. But they do work IF you find the right one for you and IF you have talking or meditative therapies alongside.

I started on Sertraline a few months back, because my councillor suggested that it would be a good idea, to help get my head back in the ZONE. In my ZONE. And today I was two days late collecting my prescription. And GET THIS I chatted loads of bile, felt really down on myself and am still a little convinced that nobody likes me. Coincidence? Sure sure my brain has got used to having enough serotonin or whatever the fuck they do, so I guess it was withdrawal blah blah blah but actually yeah.

‘Is this going anywhere?’, I hear me cry!?

Ummm Oh yeah. So I’m not really sure where I’m at here because it is SO. BLINKIN. DIFFICULT. to keep track of what is going on in my mind, especially when I lose a thought in the silent abyss that fills the gaps (it’s like getting put on hold; pretty sure that’s the meds)

Please don’t think that I think that I’m some messiah of depression and that I think I can cure you of your anxiety. I can’t, and it would be great if somebody telling you ‘Oi! The way to inner peace is to love yourself’ actually BOOM made you the most content person ever, but unfortunately we don’t learn things from hearing them once. I’ve heard Rupaul say ‘If you can’t love yourself how the hell you g’on love anyone else’ *at least* 30 times and it STILL hasn’t sunk in.

I believe we’ve all been let down by the education system, been moulded into anxious little beings who struggle with the concept of happiness. We see it as something achieved outside ourselves. We have been educated that gaining wealth, possessions, praise, friends, lovers, medals, diplomas WHATEVER will bring us happiness and fulfilment. But they don’t.

With each year that passes and each book I read and each meditation I try, I have realised that only inner peace and love can give you happiness. If you are not compassionate to yourself it’s so difficult to be so to anyone else. Conversely, somebody who detests themselves until they are deeply unhappy will set out to do the same to another human/humans. Sometimes there is hatred inside and it makes me angry. I hate myself, and it drips out until it pours and in the aftermath I’m ashamed and brimming with regret.

Polly told me today to be compassionate to myself. To take my time, live in the present. And to draw up a plan of how I’m going to cope when I feel the self doubt lurking. Realistically, you can’t stay in therapy forever. There aren’t enough affordable therapists, for a kick-off. There’s homework and crying and appointments and… stuff.

I’m terrible at linking my writing together despite most of my degree directly pertaining to that very study, the study of writing, writing in English. So I’ll end on a few points (in colour!1!!!) that I think it will be helpful for you if you are like me, or you might think it’s a load of vague hippy bollocks if you’re even more cynical and unhappy than I am…

  1. Don’t strive for perfection, perfection doesn’t exist. If you can be bothered, strive for excellence, and if you can’t that’s fine too.
  2. Be kind to yourself. And you’ll find yourself acting like a cunt less and less. Eventually, you will love who you are and be friends with yourself and never be a cunt to anyone ever again.You’ll be like Jeremy Corbyn!
  3. Be more like Jeremy, but not Clarkson or Kyle. NEVER them.
  4. Good vibes reverberate.
  5. Understand that equality means different things for different people, and act accordingly (not related to above ramblings, just sound advice whilst I’m capable)
  6. Put you Christmas decorations up whenever the hell you want if it makes you happy.