Moving to Malta, Mind-fucks and Megabus Gold

This site has become a poor excuse for a gaming blog. For reasons out with my control I have been console-less for a criminally long time and so instead of writing about games, I appear to have turned my life into my very own, really shit RPG that doesn’t even have any dragons. I have the storyline quests (my ongoing articles in which I talk about becoming single, moving to London or going to Thailand to “find myself” only to find myself mostly drunk) and then I break them up with unrelated side quests, articles where I go on rambling tangents about inspirational quotes and why I dislike vacuous, happy people so much. This article falls into the storyline category and is about my newest quest that is so fraught with danger and intrigue that one might even class it as a franchise title of its own. The Oblivion of Elder Scrolls for example.

After coming back from Thailand refreshed and with a new outlook on life (and also discovering that it was impossible for me to afford to live in London on my own without returning to the days of living like a hobo student), I decided that it was about time I constructed a plan to find myself somewhere reasonable to live.  This development happened to coincide with a trip to Malta to attend my school reunion. I flew over in June last year and had a week out there that was so unbelievably, mind-blowingly, fantastically fucking awesome that I couldn’t even begin to do it justice in this paragraph. It deserves an entire article to itself which I will save for another day perhaps.

Anyway, the sun was shining, I was surrounded by old friends, intoxicated by dizzying nostalgia and thrown back to a time when everything was just right, where no one questioned my weird accent or love for the Eurovision Song Contest because everyone had a weird accent and a love of the Eurovision Song Contest. One night after a few drinks, Petra (a friend of mine from school who now lives in Croatia) told me that she missed the place and would move back if she had the balls to do it alone. It didn’t take long for me to realise that with no ties back home and a job that allowed me to live outside the UK, she might not need the balls. I could be one ball, she could be the other! We could do it together scrotum style!

I woke up the next morning bleary eyed, still very keen on the idea but expecting it to have become just another drunken plan that seemed excellent at the time but so difficult to execute that it would just disappear off into the horizon like all my other wild ideas do. I had forgotten, however, that we used to live there, we know people there, it’s familiar, they speak English, they drive on the same side of the road, they have Pastizzi, it’s warm. This wouldn’t really be too much of an irresponsible upheaval. This was, in actual fact, an entirely plausible idea and after deciding in Thailand to be a bit more daring with my life decisions, I felt like it was meant to be, that this might finally be my chance. To my delight, Petra felt the same and so we spent the rest of the year planning our big move.

That big move is in four days.  I am moving to Malta in four days. Holy Fuck.

Now this is by no means a forever thing, initially more like a 6 month tester of the Mediterranean island. It’s completely likely that work or life will get in the way and that sooner or later we will have to move on but if after the 6 month trial period I still like it, then I’ll stay for as long as I want to be there.

Before I could leave though, I had some things to take care of back home in Aberdeen. I had to sell my beloved car and say goodbye to all my friends up there. I decided for reasons beyond even my comprehension that I would take the Megabus Gold, a cheap and terrifying coach company that had recently put beds on their buses. Going to sleep on a bus in London and waking up in Aberdeen was too exciting a prospect for me to turn down. The flight is only an hour and a quarter but this 12 hour adventure sounded like much more fun to me.

I had grand expectations for this trip. Because I am a dickhead I actually packed a little sleepover bag like I was going to a slumber party circa 1992. In it I had pyjamas, a bottle of water, a small packet of Oreos, a book about colonial Holland (?), make-up remover wipes, deodorant, a toothbrush, toothpaste and about 18 different chargers because I am a filthy technology whore. All that was missing was Dream Phone and a book of madlibs.

For my journey I wore a sensible mint coloured jumper with a faux-jewelled collar and my nice ‘travelling’ jeans. I sometimes get a bit of hassle for my choice of attire when travelling but I’m pretty sure that I’m not the problem here, everyone else is. When I go to the airport I like to look nice. I wear my favourite, smartest clothes, I put my make-up on immaculately and put root-booster and coconut oil in my hair. “Why?” you may ask.  Well, because I’m away to go fly in the fucking sky that’s why. I’m going to walk into a lump of metal and I’m going to soar through the clouds and when I get off it I’ll be in another country entirely. I have taken about a million flights in my life and I still can’t get my head around how amazing that concept is and yet all you assholes turn up in your jogging trousers, shit jumpers and withered ponytails like you’re getting the number 2 bus into town to pick up your dry cleaning. It’s barbaric.

I love the travelling parts almost as much as I love the destinations. I like to turn up at airports around an hour before I need to just so I can walk around and look at stuff. I sit in bars and cafes and people-watch, wondering where they are all going or where they have come from. The families with young kids who are going on “holiday” and yet look like they want to kill themselves before they’ve even made it through security, the business men and women who eat alone, pissed off they can’t smash some ales down because they’ve got some bullshit meeting to go to when they get off the plane. I then take myself off to the Duty Free and allow myself one luxury. It’s usually something shit by a designer that in any other circumstances I wouldn’t give a fuck about and try to find something that is within my embarrassingly low budget (“Excuse me, Chanel don’t do fridge magnets or keyrings by any chance?”), and of course I have to buy something made by Kinder and a Viz magazine. Then I get on the plane and have a grand old time. Maybe I was born in the wrong era, maybe I should have been Victorian. Remember the nick of them when they used to get on a train? Ball-gowns and all sorts. That’s how travelling should be, a magical event, and I will not relent even if it is for the god damn Megabus. I make the effort in homage to the wonder of travel.

Well I turned up at Victoria station and didn’t I look like a fucking retard. The place looks like visiting hours in a Turkish prison. There were people getting dragged out by police for not paying, others sleeping on the dirty floors and, my god, so much sausage roll consumption. I felt I’d misjudged the situation when choosing my outfit. I wished I’d dressed in my greasy work overalls, it would have been more reflective of my character after all.

I proceeded to get on the bus where the error of my ways became much more apparent. Everyone was wearing pyjamas already, they had gotten on the bus like that, and with no curtains on the bunk I had been assigned I had no way of getting undressed. I had to sleep in my travelling clothes and under-wire bra which was akin to sleeping on a roll of fibre glass filled with horseshoes.

As the bus pulled out of the station and made its way through the streets of London, I soon realised that falling asleep was going to be a challenge. The only thing between me and death was a 20 stone Glaswegian bus driver and there I was, lying disorientated in the pitch dark, flailing around like a new-born goat. Every time he hit the breaks my heart would race because I had no way of seeing if he was breaking for a traffic light or a fireball pile-up of dead bodies and shrapnel on the M25.

I did eventually manage to drift off and I arrived in Aberdeen unscathed the next morning. Despite my complaints, I would genuinely recommend using the Megabus Gold, it’s cheap and pretty hassle-free considering the length of the journey. Just don’t dress like a prick.

I had a few nights out organised so I could say my goodbyes and they were really great. Really. Great. As the time passed I found myself getting more and more upset that I was leaving. I have memories there and good friends and I know it inside out. Aberdeen really is a cunt. To make matters worse, I have been covertly seeing someone in Aberdeen for a little while. Remember that exotic holiday romance that I was fantasising about in my article about Thailand? Well, I got it. Except I ended up meeting someone out there from the fucking Bridge of Don. Who just happens to be awesome. A male version of me with more tattoos, an impressive book collection and an enthusiasm for the gameshow Pointless matched only by myself. He may actually be funnier than me too. Asshole.

To use an excellent analogy told to me by one of my friends: “Being from Aberdeen is like being in an abusive relationship; no matter how hard you try to leave, you just keep coming back for more.” So what started life as what I thought would be a poignant but mostly joyful departure soon became a complete and utter disaster area. There were tears at the airport and long, wistful, contemplative stares out of the aeroplane window as my home town shrank away into the distance. I did not have a grand old time on that flight and the clothes I chose to wear were decidedly more comfortable than usual.

“Stay here Jillian!” The city was singing persuasively to me from below the clouds. “Look what I’ve got for you! Friends, nights out with people who care about you, a potential husband and father of your children, dancing, going to the theatre, drinking red wine in your pjs and watching good movies, so much sex it will make your eyes water. This can all be yours, just say the word.”

But it’s a trick, and it’s not the first time Aberdeen has tried this one on me. You see, after a while the novelty of you moving back wears off for everyone and you don’t see people as often as you first did. It’s no one’s fault, it’s just the way life goes. Consecutive weekends spent dancing to Toca’s Miracle in Vogue will slowly become a 3 month thing, then a 6 month thing, an annual thing, before eventually ceasing altogether and as the weather gets worse you find yourself locked away indoors watching Escape to the Country and playing video games, desperately trying to transport yourself somewhere else, somewhere better. I’m not falling for it again. I can’t fall for it again no matter how tempting it is. I’m 34 years old, I have to get my shit together and this is my last chance to at least try the life I felt I’ve always wanted.

I don’t want to spend my copious amounts of time off from work just existing, waiting for the wind to die down so I can go to Tesco, I want to go for runs along the promenade, I want outdoor yoga that I know I’ll secretly hate, I want beers at Exiles listening to Pink Floyd and writing articles on my terrace whilst looking out at all the jet-skis and boat parties. I want to eat better, sleep better and occasionally party harder. I’m leaving you Aberdeen and I can’t believe how much it hurts. I’m also leaving you London, my little rebound fling with your fun activities, endless gigs and delicious beer and that hurts too, but *insert generic quote about risk taking and facing your fears here*. I’ll see you on the other side my beautiful friends :)

Begin Quest!

Begin Quest!

On a side note, there’s a good chance I’ll have a spare room so you are all free to come and visit. Bring rowies.

Dearest London

Since I last posted there have been some pretty major developments in the mess that I call my life.  For a start I am single now, something that I know every 33-year-old female aspires to.  Saying that, in between the deep whistling noise coming from my cavernous wind-tunnel of a fruitless womb and the deafening tick of a suspiciously absent clock I can just about make out the unmistakable sound of adventure.  It sounds like pint glasses clinking, traffic in still air, the quiet roar of a distant aeroplane and fear, shit loads of sweaty, choking, all-encompassing fear.  Aberdeen has been good to me, I will miss it and everyone that I loved during my fourteen years there, but it is time to move on and where better to start a new chapter than in the coolest knife-crime hotspot in Europe…..Landaann baby!!

Although I have not long arrived here, my sister has been living here for quite a few years now so, visiting her regularly, I have come to get to know the city a little bit.  Now, you all know that I am possibly the least judgemental human ever to have walked the Earth, less judgemental than Jesus even because I don’t have an issue with the gay or the Jew*, but even I have made some observations that I think need to be addressed.  I have put my thoughts into an open letter to the city because I like to pretend that things are people.

Dear London,

  • What if I don’t want spinach or halloumi cheese in my food?  What then?  Do I just starve to death?  I don’t even know what halloumi cheese is but I know I don’t fucking want it.
  • Untie that pastel v-neck sweater from around your shoulders and stop judging me.  If I can’t stand upright long enough to successfully light a cigarette that I don’t even want to smoke outside one of your generic nightclubs then that is my problem, not yours.  You will only ever dream of putting your dick in my mouth.  Also, your shoes are really terrible.
  • Keep telling me how much you love my accent and exotic eye-shape.  A bitch never gets tired of hearing that shit.
  • Stop giving me things to put in my handbag.  I’m getting pretty fucking tired of having to clean it out every single day.  Tube tickets, train tickets, bus tickets, enough receipts to start a Belfast bonfire, plastic bags, chewing gum wrappers, empty bottles of water, flyers that I said I didn’t want but you still gave me, another bit of paper asking me to come to church and be saved or burn in hell for all eternity, wooden Starbucks coffee stirrers (I don’t even like Starbucks…..or coffee for that matter),  bobby pins, loose change, £5 notes, business cards for taxi companies, free pens, pictures of starving African children.  Please get a hold of yourself, I can’t take any more.

    The contents of my bag today after I left the house for two.  TWO. HOURS.

    The contents of my bag today after I left the house for two hours. TWO. HOURS.

  • Stop selling everything I’ve ever wanted within a mile of my house.  I spent £700 in my first two days here.  Okay, you don’t have to stop doing that if you don’t want to.  I love things.
  • Consider slowly introducing uglier women into your gene pool.  I feel it’s only fair that the population of London is a true representation of the population of the rest of the country.  We can’t all wear 6 inch Louboutins and crop tops on a bare Tuesday afternoon you know, if I want to go to the bank looking like a hobo then that is my prerogative.
  • Please continue to serve Timothy Taylor Landlord in the pub next door.  It’s the only thing keeping me alive here, I’m sure of it.  Well, it’s definitely not the spinach anyway.

    Timothy Taylor: The best thing to come out of Yorkshire since Sean Bean.

    Timothy Taylor: The best thing to come out of Yorkshire since Sean Bean.

  • Stop presenting me with an array of your most handsome men and then making them all Italian.  It’s disappointing.
  • Enough with the sirens.  If all these people you are saving have to die so I can read a book about Medieval England in peace then so be it.
  • Stop jogging on a Sunday morning, you make me sick.  Also, there is such a thing as too many yoga studios.
  • I am more than happy for you to continue to host what seems like a conveyor-belt of gigs by my heroes.
  • Oh, and keep looking like this.  You looked nice today.

    I Love Putney :)

    Putney from our window this afternoon.  I Love Putney :)

Kindest Regards,

Your newest parasite, Jillian xxx

*Disclaimer: Before people get all up in my grill saying things like “Jesus loved the gays and he was Jewish!” – I don’t care.  I know nothing about religion, I just make stuff up.  If it’s not based on fact then I’m doing it right.  My blog.

Too Cool for Driving School

After a lot of consideration, and at the grand old age of 31, I have decided that it is about time I learned how to drive. This will be a guaranteed shambles. The reason I am confident that this will be a disaster is because I have tried to learn how to drive before (when I was 19) and the following things happened to me:

1. At the end of an hour’s lesson with my elderly driving instructor, ‘Old Bill’, I stepped out of his car and noticed quite a lot of dark stains all over the driver’s seat. This confused me as I did not remember seeing them when I got in the car.  The mystery was soon solved when I got home and realised that, as a result of my period arriving a week early, I had in fact menstruated all over his car. Great. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, I knew the person who was getting the driving lesson directly after me – so if you’re reading this, Mark Lumsden, I am truly sorry for any permanent damage done to your jeans.

2. Whilst driving along a quiet country road one day, Old Bill pointed out a farm which was obscured by some trees. He explained in a secretive and disapproving tone that one of his other students had told him how this farm was sometimes used by homosexual men to meet up and have “relations”. I pretended to be equally shocked and humoured him with a Carry-On-Cottaging-style giggle before driving on.  

A good couple of months later we returned to this area and as I drove along the single track road, Old Bill asked:
“So Jillian, can you remember what I told you about this place last time we were here?” 
I hesitated slightly before saying “Uhhmm…..this is where gay guys come to shag?”
After what seemed like quite a long pause he replied “Uh, no. There’s a blind summit up ahead.”
“Oh.”

We pretty much drove in silence for the rest of the lesson which, considering he was the one who told me the story in the first place, seemed a little bit out of order to me. Maybe it was my choice of vocabulary that offended him or maybe it was because I prioritised farm-bumming over road safety. Whatever it was, I was highly mortified.

Eventually I felt confident enough to book my theory test. Being the young, carefree, fun-loving alcoholics we were, Billy and I thought it would be a great idea to attend a birthday party the night before said test (which I had stupidly booked for a Saturday morning). As was the case with all celebrations in late-nineties Aberdeen, the party soon moved to Amadeus; an unnecessarily large meat-market/nightclub famed for its foam-parties and chlamydia-coated bar stools.  

Back then, I used to get a bit annoyed when I saw Billy flirting with other women (nowadays I hold them down so they can’t run away from him) so when I saw him dancing with another girl, I gave him a bit of hassle.  This hassle soon turned into a full-blown screaming argument outside the club which did not resolve itself until 6am.  At 10am I was still half-drunk and, with no sleep, headed to the test centre. Needless to say I failed and decided there and then that driving was not something that I wished to pursue in the near future.

Almost twelve years later and I have pretty much had enough of being a bus wanker.  Here are just some of the experiences I have had on this increasingly disturbing form of public transport.

I have:
-Sat next to an old man who proceeded to shit himself.
-Had a little bit of my hair cut off by a pair of Bucksburn slags who were sitting behind me.
-Been slapped by a mentally unstable man in drag.
-Been dive-bombed by numerous wasps.
-Been asked by a Nigerian man if I would like to “go for coffee…..and then maybe sex?”
-Witnessed a drunk guy pissing into the heating fan.
-Overheard this conversation:

Girl: “Hey, excuse me, do you remember me?”
Guy: “No, sorry. Should I?”
Girl: “Kind of. About 6 months ago? Met you in town?”
Guy: “Sorry, still nothing.”
Girl: “Fuck you! We fucked in Union Terrace Gardens after the clubs closed you fucking arsehole! I had to take the morning after pill and everything! What the fuck kind of dick-head doesn’t even phone? I hope you get a fucking STD and die you piece of shit man-whore.”
Guy: *Presses bell* “Well…*awkward stretch*…this is my stop”.

And I haven’t even started on the bloody night buses.

So anyway, last month, whilst fantasising about never having to get on a bus again, I re-took my theory test (sober) and passed (hero) and with next month’s pay will book a one-week crash course to get it all over and done with. The reason I have to wait until I get paid is because it is going to cost me 1000 fucking pounds. To drive around for a week! Looks like I will have to retract my bid for that clump of Justin Bieber’s pubes I saw on eBay and think of something a bit more affordable to get my mum for Christmas. I do feel it will be worth it in the end though, surely there is only so much I can embarrass myself in one week?

Sex & the City – The Cause of All Human Suffering

I remember when Sex & the City first arrived on our screens way back in 1998. I recall seeing a strange tutu-clad pink-wafer with disproportionately massive tits and a face like a stunt man’s knee getting deservedly splashed by a passing bus to the random sound of South-American piano music. It looked terrible before it even started but the hype was so huge that I completely and utterly fell for it. It wasn’t until about the fourth or fifth episode that I thought “Wait a fucking minute here, this banter is horrendous, what the hell am I doing? South Park is on and I’m watching this pile of mince?” Little did I know that this pretentious nonsense would go on to single-handedly destroy the entire female race within a couple of years.

Now, I’m from Aberdeen and if ever there was anywhere in the world that is the complete polar opposite of upper-class Manhattan, it is working-class Aberdeen. There is literally nothing in SATC that I can relate to and I am fine with this, delighted even. Unfortunately, a growing number of our female population have bought in to this delusion and literally nothing will get in the way of them appearing to be Kincorth’s answer to Carrie Bradshaw.  It is so painful to watch. They are skint and yet they spend what little money they have on designer crap to give the impression that they are some sort of high-flying, independent success story. I once spoke to a girl in a club who came out with this peach “Yeah, you know, I work for Dior so it’s really important that I look my best at all times, you could say that it’s part of the Public Relations aspect of my job, hnarf, hnarf”. Would you like to know in what capacity she worked for Dior? She worked on the fucking Boots counter. I’m not even kidding, that is a true story. I instantly disliked the girl, not because she worked at a Boots counter but because she spoke to me like she was some sort of fashion-industry heavyweight. I wasn’t inspired, I wasn’t impressed and I wasn’t envious – I was disappointed. Sadly it’s everywhere now, young women don’t seem to want to enjoy each other’s company anymore, all they are interested in is trying to out-do each other and it makes me sad.

Then there’s the fag-hag storylines. I am not easily offended and I’m not gay but sometimes I think the gay characters in SATC are portrayed a little too stereotypically. They are immensely camp, they always talk about sex and they generally come across as superficial fairies incapable of any intelligent thought. It’s so boring and has been done a hundred times in the 70’s (i.e. Are You Being Served) but again, girls in the real world pick up on this and run with it. A woman I know once asked me if I had any gay friends and at the time I didn’t so I replied ‘No’. She proceeded to look at me as if I had just pissed on her kids and screeched “Oh my god, you dont have any gay friends?? I have like three! You have got to get yourself a gay friend, they’re fab!!”. Since when are gay people an accessory? Surely you make a friend first and if they are gay then it’s a big gay bonus. You don’t make friends with a guy solely because he loves cock. Do you? It seems that this is indeed what a lot of these irritating females do and, again, I’m sad about it.

SATC has also ruined cocktails for me. I used to really like a cocktail, not because they are fancy and expensive and make you look like a sophisticated über bitch but because they get you completely fuckoed and taste all fruity and nice. These days I get nervous even saying the word ‘cocktail’ because when I hear other people say it they make it sound like some sort of achievement – “Me and the girlies are going for some cocktails! Honestly, soooo busy at work just now, I think we deserve to just chillax with a Cosmo or two, tee hee”. When all of this silliness first started I went along on one of these after-work-cocktail sessions and I left wondering just how upset my parents would be if I hung myself with their shower curtain. The conversation consisted of what I like to call ‘The 4 H’s’: Handbags, how busy & hard-done by everyone was, husbands & how annoying it is when they leave wet towels on the floor (although that is really fucking annoying) and how amazingly expensive & luxurious their last holiday was. It was terrible! I know these girls had more to give but they could not bring themselves to steer the conversation onto a subject that may have made them look a little less than perfect. All this because four fictional STD-encrusted whore-robots have decided that this is what women should talk about.

Most of it I can deal with but the day that SATC interfered with my food was the day it irreversibly crossed a line. Billy and I were round at an acquaintance’s house some time ago when one of the girls there asked if we would like any “nibbles and dips”, an offer we enthusiastically accepted. She returned with hummus & celery sticks. Now, I don’t know about you, but when someone says ‘nibbles and dips’ I think Doritos & super-chunky salsa not plants dipped in liquidised Middle-Eastern lentils. And why did she do this? To make us feel shit and to make her look all Charlotte York, healthy and ethnic. She was slightly fat, so I know for a fact she would have preferred pizza and probably phoned Pizza Hut after we left to gorge herself on an extra large meat feast and a 2 litre bottle of Pepsi Max. After exchanging a few horrified glances, Billy and I swiftly bolted, swearing never to return before nipping into KFC for a quick Boneless Banquet. See, if she had just worried less about what other people thought of her and more about having a good time then we all could have had pizza and a much more enjoyable evening.

You know when you look out of a car window and the repetitive scenery eventually becomes invisible? That’s what I see sometimes when I go into town on a Saturday night: A vast landscape of self-importance with very little in the way of good, uninhibited fun. I was working as a waitress in a restaurant across the road from a cinema when the SATC movie came out. The entire place was jam-packed full of clunge. One table that stood out (all be it barely) consisted of 4 women in their late 30’s discussing which one of the SATC characters they most resembled. The strain on their laughing faces as they shamefully slid their Primark shopping bags under their seats and sipped on their apple martinis was verging on nervous breakdown material. Unfortunately they held it together, but it left me wondering:

Would the world be a better place if all the Sex & the City girls died in a horrific house-fire or would the masses find someone even more basic to idolise?

—————————————————————————–

A collection of my personal favourite SATC quotes for you to enjoy:

– “Maybe some women aren’t meant to be tamed. Maybe they just need to run free til they find someone just as wild to run with them.” –GAY.

– “It’s really hard to walk in a single woman’s shoes — that’s why you sometimes need really special shoes!” –Oh, hahaha!  Shoes!

– “Are we simply romantically challenged, or are we sluts?”  –You’re sluts.

– “I have a date with a dildo.”  –Gross.

– “Later that day I got to thinking about relationships. There are those that open you up to something new and exotic, those that are old and familiar, those that bring up lots of questions, those that bring you somewhere unexpected, those that bring you far from where you started, and those that bring you back. But the most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you can find someone to love the you you love, well, that’s just fabulous.” –Fit?

– “Life is pain, life is only pain. We’re all taught to believe in happy fairytale endings, but there is only blackness; dark depressing loneliness that eats away at your soul.”  –That’s better, more of this please.

Scotland Haters – Stop Involving Me in Your Nonsense

In many ways it saddens me that I even have to have this discussion (and by discussion I mean I will be the only one talking), but I feel a responsibility to share this recent and unfortunate issue in an attempt to prevent it from escalating into violence.

Throughout my childhood and teenage years, living and working with people of different nationalities was never a problem for anyone. Aside from the usual friendly banter with some of the English kids – “We invaded and ruled over you for centuries” followed by the superb comeback “Yeah? Well we invented stamps…….and Tarmac” – the supposed rivalry was really nowhere to be seen.  Since becoming an adult 4 months ago, however, I have had nothing but ball-ache about the whole thing and really, I’m finding it about as enjoyable as a yeast infection.     

Here are some examples of conversations people have tried to involve me in:

At work:
– “Do you know what they’re giving us for lunch today, Jillian?”
– “Stovies”
– “Aw for fucks sake, what is the deal with Scottish people and stovies??  It’s just leftovers.  So disgusting.  Mushy, luke-warm, artery-clogging leftovers.”
– “Well I think it originates from back in the day when no one in Scotland had any food ‘cos you cunts ate it all. It’s considered quite traditional”.
– “Hmm, do you not think it’s about time you brought your traditions into the 21st century? You guys have plenty of food now, there’s no need to eat leftovers anymore”.

First of all, I didn’t invent stovies, stop talking to me like stovies are my doing.  Second of all, despite what people tell you, I’m not really influential enough to change the eating habits of an entire nation. Thirdly, you’re from Yorkshire, what the hell do you think Betty’s Hotpot is? Fucking leftovers. You guys eat the exact same things, changing the ratio of your ingredients does not make you better than me.

On a training course:
– “Up to anything exciting tonight, Jillian?”
– “Billy got a recipe for haggis soup from a guy at his work so I think we are going to give it a bash”.
– “Haggis soup?? Haggis…………soup?…………..Bloody savages.”

Well, sir, if you bothered to take a few minutes of your time to have a conversation with me, you would realise that I too think that haggis soup is quite a strange thing to eat. Also, if you knew anything about Scottish culture you would know that we love being referred to as savages, so thanks!  Now I wonder if you will look that smug when my dog is savaging your testicles?

This one is my favourite…..

At the pub:
“Why are Scottish people so genuinely happy when we lose at football?  We support you guys when you play.”

Firstly, stop whining and grow a set.  Secondly, of course you support us, you know we will lose. It’s like supporting that forest-dwelling rapist, Wagner.  You only voted for him because he was shit. If he had actually won the X-factor and released an album, you would not have bought it. We would support England if they were shit at football, but they’re not, they’re pretty good.  At the end of the day we are jealous and will openly admit this. When you lose it makes us feel better about our shocking lack of sporting talent.

You may be surprised to hear that it’s not just people of other nationalities who bore me with their jovial snobbery.  I have had numerous conversations with Scottish people who bizarrely think it’s acceptable to attack Aberdeen.  Yes, I get it, Aberdeen is a shit-hole – I whole-heartedly agree – but last I heard Glasgow city centre wasn’t the picture of utopian sunshine either. I don’t mind when people say Aberdeen is horrendous. What I do mind is when they say it in a tone that implies that everywhere else in Britain is on a par with fucking Monaco.  It clearly is not!  Britain as a whole is a terrible place and every town is fundamentally the same.  Same junkies dominating the queues at the local Spar, same generic high streets with the same shops, same ned-kids playing Cascada full blast on their shit phones at the back of the bus and the same greasy, fat, 40 year old women chasing their 25 kids around Iceland with a claw-hammer.  Don’t tell me I’m shit when you are clearly just as shit.

I appreciate that there are some hideously racist Scottish people out there (as there are in every nationality) and our food is questionable at times, but if you really feel so strongly about it I suggest that you either stop moaning at me and take it up with them or, like me, try not giving a fuck.  Do you have any idea how much energy it takes to repeatedly defend a country?  I cant be arsed hoovering never mind fending off constant digs at Scottish society. And before you start, no, I am not one of those weirdos who fantasises about wanking violently into William Wallace’s beard – I love taking the piss out of Scotland and by constantly attacking it you are denying me this right.  It’s petty and it’s rude and while I’m here, get some hills, your freakishly flat landscape makes me clammy with discomfort.

Scotland – Stop Growing on Me Like a Fungus

Ten years ago, if you had asked me to describe Scotland in three words I probably would have said something along the lines of “worst place ever” or “fucking shit fuck” or, if I was particularly pre-menstrual, “worse than rape”.  This is because for most of my adult life I have not been Scotland’s biggest fan.  I was removed from here at an early age and as a result don’t really have that strong sense of patriotism you get when you have lived in the same country all of your life.  Recently, however, there have been some interesting developments which I suspect could signify a thaw in our frosty relationship.

When I lived overseas, I was the most die-hard Scottish person you could find, probably because I was the only Scottish person you could find.  I’m not going to lie, the release of Braveheart in Malta when I was 15 did nothing to hurt me and I milked that fictional motherfucker for all it was worth.  For weeks I had American kids coming up to me at school saying “Wow, I did not realise you guys went through so much”, to which I replied “Yeah (*sigh*), if I’m honest you know, yes, it has been a long and arduous journey fraught with repression and violence but I like to think we’ve come out of it a better, stronger nation” whilst shakily pointing to a scar on my forehead I got from a rollerblading accident – or as I liked to call it “the English”.

In Tunis, at around the same time, I distinctly remember welling up during a St Andrews day party when a bagpiper came into the room (I was totally shit-wrecked on wine and could hardly see, but let’s just say for the sake of discussion that they were the tears of national pride) proving that I did have it in me back then, Scottish was something I wanted to be.  Little did I realise that this was because I had unwittingly adopted some sort of foreign, romantic image of our country:  “We have hills n’ shit, people carry fish around in baskets, awesome!”, etc.

It was with these fantastical notions that I returned permanently to Scotland at the age of 19.  I was excited about it, I could go into town and buy decent clothes, things would generally work as opposed to be broken, life was going to be good.  I think it took about 3 days before I realised that I had just made the biggest mistake of my life.  I got a job at a local pub and in the space of a couple of days someone had called me a “yankee cunt”, a junkie had stolen my wallet and I had seen my first ever ecstasy pill.  Bearing in mind that at the time I had the street-wisdom of a Fritzl sister, this was a highly confusing environment for me.  Up until that point, I thought heroin was a fictional substance made up by Irvine Welsh to make Trainspotting an interesting read.

Looking back now, I can see that I must have been pretty annoying.  I sounded like a Californian cheerleader (really did not look like one) but was telling people I was born in Torry.  Bar a few of the locals at the pub, people were generally not very convinced by me and I don’t blame them, I was a fucking weirdo.  To make matters worse I was struggling to adjust to a life where suddenly I didn’t have any of my friends around me.  I tried to do things like go to college and speak to people in the bar I worked in but at the end of the day I had nothing in common with anyone, turns out no one is interested in talking about Maltese bus drivers or this one time at the British Club.  I think people may have mistakenly thought I was posh too, which is hilarious/offensive – I would be lying if I said that I haven’t pissed in a bottle at T in the Park and put it inside my jacket as a kind of make-shift heating device.  I don’t think Kate Middleton has ever done that.  Anyway, the fact of the matter was I had to get some friends, and if they all happened to be cats then that was just the way it was going to have to be.

It was right around this time that I met Billy (thank God, I fucking hate cats) and Christ knows what made him able to withstand what must have been the excruciating embarrassment of introducing me to his friends and family (I want to say it was my shimmering personality but I did have sex with him, so it was probably that).  For the first year or so, I don’t think much of his friends were clambering over each other to start a fan club; I didn’t take any drugs, I talked a lot, nothing I said was very useful, I dressed weird, I loved the Eurovision Song Contest, I swore constantly and was generally not very feminine but unfortunately for them I wasn’t going away.  Through perseverance I discovered that people can change their minds if you literally give them no other option and now I look upon a lot of them as my good friends.

Over time, my accent slowly began to return to a semblance of Scottish which made everything a bit easier and after about five years I had the foundations of a social life.  Despite this, I still absolutely hated the place and used to dream about leaving every day.  The weather was terrible, there was nothing to do, there were drugs everywhere, they were expensive, people moaned constantly (a bit like what I’m doing now) and no one really spoke to each other.  All of these things made me want to get the hell out of here and to top it all off, I absolutely hated my job at the time.

When I turned 25 I decided to do something about the situation.  I applied to study Geology at Aberdeen University in the hope of getting a job in the oil industry so I could get the fuck out of this hell-hole and back into the comforting arms of an obscure foreign country.  I got accepted and began what was to be four years of good times.  In our class there were people from all over the UK and abroad, none of whom knew each other so we were all in the same awkward boat.  For the first time since returning to Aberdeen, I was considered a local.  It was a very weird feeling because I still felt like a dirty immigrant but it was a good weird feeling.

During the course of my degree I made quite a few friends and was relieved to discover that I didn’t have to force myself upon them like I did with Billy’s poor friends.  We went on numerous field trips together and these were tremendous.  Not only was the banter so good that it was, at times, physically painful but I was starting to see all the hills and people carrying fish around in baskets that I had imagined all those years ago.  I had been so preoccupied with not killing myself I had forgotten that there were parts of Scotland better than literally anywhere else in the world.  I spent eight weeks on the Isle of Skye for one of my uni projects, for example, and it is now possibly my favourite place in the universe.  If you had told me a decade ago that out of everywhere I had been I would like a cold, remote Scottish island the best, I would have taken an angry shit in your front garden.

I now work offshore and get to spend two weeks of every month at home in Aberdeen with Billy and my dog, an arrangement I am pretty happy with.  Over the past few years I have found myself fantasising about leaving this country less and less and looking forward to the Wizard Festival and my annual trips to Skye more and more.  Billy and I want to buy a house this summer and because we are old, crusty and beginning to smell of death, we have been thinking about getting somewhere in the countryside.  The other day he said to me “The way you’re talking you would think that you were happy to hang around here for the next ten years” and, after swallowing some sick, I told him that I think I am.