After a particularly heavy weekend in Rome that saw me relegated to the toilet for longer than is polite, it occurred to me that I have been drinking pretty much every weekend since the age of 14. That’s almost a quarter of a century of jagermeister, beer, red wine, consequent hangovers, junk food, and existential crises.
It’s kind of gross. My last baby tooth was yanked out by my drunk-ass self in a Paceville toilet, and since then my liver has been under permanent attack. Once, at the ripe old age of 15, and all in one night, I drank 2 bottles of red wine to myself, proceeded to throw up in a bar in front of all the ‘cute seniors’, got dropped by my equally drunk best friend down a spiral staircase, threw up again all over the backseat of some random guy’s brand new car as he was driving me and my friends home, got forced into a cold shower by my friends who put me to bed where I stayed until I (surprisingly) surfaced the next day with zero memory of everything except the embarrassing parts of the night before.
I have had high expectations of my body’s ability to heal itself for quite some time now and I feel like I’ve had my fun. I’m so unbelievably bored of it, and I’m at that age where what I do now will have a much more significant impact on my lifespan than what I did when I was in my twenties. So, for this reason, I decided to stop drinking for 4 weeks, primarily just to find out if I could. For all I know, I could be a raging alcoholic, I’ve just never stopped drinking long enough to find out. But this experiment was also a way to find out if there is anything else to do for fun that doesn’t involve drinking (or joining a gym, fuck off with that). After I was finished, the plan was then to return to drinking, but at a much more modest pace. You know, like what French people do.
So, after 28 days of not drinking, here is what I discovered:
1. People Are Shit
Oh my god. People are so fucking shit, how did I not notice this? Oh yeah, that’s right, because I was smashed the whole time. Going into a social environment as the only non-drinker, I could not believe how self-obsessed everyone was. Drunk people LOVE to talk about themselves. And in the most nauseating way, too. Here are just some of things that were said to me without even a hint of irony:
“I’ve travelled here, and here, and here, and there, and as a result I am an authority on every single culture that exists on planet Earth at the present moment.”
“I teach yoga. I’m pretty amazing. Look at my bendy body, look at it bending more than is necessary. Wow, right?”
“I have quite a lot of money, not to sound like an asshole.”
“My husband has quite a lot of money. It means I have the luxury of being flexible with my career choices. I’m currently on my 9th career move because I have experienced no repercussions as a result of lack of commitment due to all the money that my husband gives me. He’s really cool like that. He respects my need to be free.”
“I train for 2 hours every day after work. Feel how heavy my bag is. It’s because I have to change outfits 3 times a day because of all the activities I do. I also have to carry my lunch in there because I’m vegan, so you know, I have to plan my meals.”
“I’m quite important, as much as I despise myself for saying it.”
No need to despise yourself, everyone else is already doing that for you.
2. I’m Not Sure Pizza Is As Amazing As I Thought
Think about it guys. It’s basically just bread and cheese with some fancy ketchup. I think the only reason I like it is because I can eat it with my hands when I’m an immobile, onesie-wearing, hungover mess on my sofa, and I don’t have to feel bad about it because you’re supposed to eat pizza with your hands. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but there are actually better things than pizza to eat if you are willing to commit to cutlery.
3. I Actually Like Sundays
When I drank every weekend, Sundays were like a horrible no man’s land for me. You can’t go out on the smash because you have work in the morning, you also can’t do anything productive like exercise or cleaning because you’re hungover from Saturday night, so you kind of just sit there in your pjs feeling this horrendous guilt mixed with dread that the working week is about to start all over again and you’ve achieved literally nothing.
When you don’t drink, however, your entire weekend is one giant Sunday. And where before it was my write-off waste of a day, now it’s like I’ve discovered a whole new day. An entire day has been added to my week. It’s amazing!
4. I’m Thinner
The fact that my drink of choice is pints of 200 calorie beer advertised by Peter Kay, of course I’m going to lose weight. I consumed up to 1500 less calories over the course of a weekend.
5. I Can Be Productive When I Want To Be
I wrote this article, for example. Since I fulfilled my life-long dream of writing for a living, you’ll be fucked if you think I’m touching a keyboard after 6pm on any day of the week or at all on the weekends. I like my free time to be as devoid of words as humanly possible. Or so I thought. Turns out that it’s not that I don’t want to write. It’s that I can’t be arsed writing because, you guessed it, I’m hungover and my brain can’t create anything other than the minimum words needed to order a pizza.
Although I don’t want to replace drinking with fitness activities (because I just don’t like people who do that), I do want to be more active in general. So, now that I’ve stopped drinking temporarily, I have joined a trapeze yoga class which is kind of awesome because you get to hang upside down and swing about under the guise of exercise, plus the other day I did some kind of martial arts drill on the roof of a seafront house in Xemxija. I mean, Jesus! My instagram has never been so horrifically smug.
#innerwarrior #namaste #livelaughlove #beautyinnature #downwarddogkindaday
[Side note: Can someone tell me how to properly hashtag? I’m not sure if you put a full stop after the end of your caption and then start your hashtags on a new line, or if you don’t use a full stop (the horror) and just go straight into the hashtags? I’m becoming my mum it’s fine.]
6. More Sex
Not surprisingly, you feel less disgusting when you’re not drinking, plus you are thinner. What does this mean? Naked! Naked all the time!
7. People Say Mean Things When They Are Drunk
Someone said to me: “You look younger than what you are, apart from those wrinkles on your forehead. They kind of give the game away.”
Uh, thanks bitch.
And also this one: “I mean, I don’t know your financial situation, but I’m assuming you can’t afford to buy property in Ta Giorni.”
Assuming from what exactly?? My wrinkly forehead? I’m an oil industry veteran you fucking asshole. A VETERAN. OLD MONEY. VINTAGE CURRENCY. BLACK GOLD. You don’t know me. You don’t know anything.
Turns out I can’t really afford to buy property in Ta Giorni, but whatever. At least I’m not on my 9th career move and entirely financially dependent on someone who is quite obviously fucking the company events manager, and has been for some time. SOME TIME.
8. I’m No Less Cynical
It may surprise you to hear that cutting out the drink has not made me any less suspicious of happy people. Most people still annoy me, I still hate inspirational quotes, and selfies, and narcissism, and stupidity, and charcuterie boards. If anything, it’s probably made me worse because I can’t soften my tolerance with John Smiths.
So my conclusion after a month off the booze is that I’m definitely not an alcoholic, which is nice (I got drunk to celebrate), but I’m afraid that enduring any social activity without drinking is not possible for me at this stage. It’s not the physiological need to drink, it’s that everyone else is a problem when you’re sober in a bar. If I stopped drinking completely, I would have to stop going out completely and that in itself is not healthy for a fluttering social butterfly like myself.
Saying that, I have discovered a whole new way to spend my free time, and I really like it. I like trapeze yoga, I like writing, I like organising my life, and cooking, and phoning my mum, and being good to myself. So I’ve made a deal with my inner 15 year old to only go out when I actually want to, which is only about 50% of the time that I actually do. All that’s left now is to learn how to say no…
1. How on God’s green Earth did it take me almost two decades to notice that Jeremy Beadle had one tiny hand? Growing up, I saw more of him than my own father – and Beadle died in 2008 so why do I give a shit?
2. I wonder how many puppies are being mistreated right this very second.
3. Pretty sure I wasn’t this fat 5 minutes ago.
4. Watership Down.
5. At least I’m not pregnant. Although, people can still get their period when they’re pregnant. I could be pregnant. I should be pregnant, I’m fucking 35. Do I think this is a game?
6. Hmm, I seem to be suddenly incapable of doing my job. Let me stare at this pen for 20 minutes and get sad about over-laden donkeys in remote Morocco.
7. Oh my God, that text I sent two years ago to the guy I was casually seeing with the inappropriate joke that went down like a shit sandwich. How embarrassing. *Followed by me making an incoherent noise and touching my face like I’m trying to take my skin off*
8. Fried chicken.
9. Oh wait, I can’t be pregnant. I haven’t had sex in months.
10. I haven’t had sex in months 😥
11. None of this matters. I’m going to die of toxic shock syndrome next week.
12. I don’t think I ever want kids, everyone makes them sound about as fun as hemorrhoids.
13. I miss Super Mario Brothers 3. Let me cry about how much I miss Super Mario Brothers 3 because playing it on emulator is just not the same, and then I realise that I miss a game that never truly existed, which pushes me over the edge into the great abyss of depression where I contemplate if anything good from my childhood was ever real. What is life? What is love? What is Mario?
14. Whatever happened to Beppe off Eastenders?
15. Is anyone really happily married?
16. I should stop drinking. For a few hours.
17. I really need to write down all the awesome plans I have for my funeral and send them to my mum so she knows what to do when I die of toxic shock syndrome next week. The thought of someone else choosing my funeral song is making me nauseous.
18. I bet BBQ’d dinosaur meat would taste fucking delightful.
19. That was probably my last decent egg. Hello barren wasteland.
20. That story my mum told me in 1986 about a blind orphan that nobody wanted.
21. One month until my boyfriend moves here, which equates to one month until I begin my journey of transformation. I will become a new woman. I will stop drinking so much beer and I will join a gym, I will nurture a routine and I will moisturise every day. Our sex life will never fade. Ever. Twice a day for the rest of our lives is a completely realistic and sustainable goal.
22. There are no Wine Gums in this vending machine. What kind of “office” is this, and how do I join the Union?
23. Actually, I do want to have kids. I shall have a child who skateboards and will one day save the world and/or be good at drawing.
24. Who knew pancakes made such great spoons?
25. My boobs hurt. Definitely cancer. I think I’d wear a blue head-scarf if I had cancer, I’d wear a wig if I was going to something fancy though, like a wedding.
26. I want to get drunk with Adele and Jeremy Corbyn.
27. Everyone hates me.
28. I need to poop, but I am not in a safe enough space to commit to the unpredictable farce that is a period poop. Utter carnage that requires complete privacy. You got yourself in a real bind here young lady.
29. I wonder what it feels like to walk home alone at night and not worry about getting raped by every single person who walks past.
30. Didn’t get raped, which means it remains biologically impossible for me to be pregnant. Also means I still haven’t had sex in months.
31. The woman on the Secret Escapes advert is a cunt.
32. Time for a nap.
33. Why do I feel so unbearably awkward eating bananas at work? I’m not in high school anymore.
34. I’m not in high school anymore 😥
35. I am absolutely terrified of having kids. Some days I want them, some days I don’t. The truth is, I want them, but the fear of doing a bad job is utterly paralysing.
36. My uterus feels like it’s tumble-drying an arsenal of medieval weapons.
37. I should volunteer for a charitable cause, like having lunch with lonely pensioners.
38. Put the dungarees down. You cannot pull off dungarees anymore. No matter how much you might think you look like a white Lisa Lefteye Lopez, you are from Bridge of Don. You are not, and never will be, ghetto chic.
39. I am removing myself from all social media immediately. I am surrounded by retards.
40. Looks like I’ve successfully made it through another blood bath. Oh, the return of rationality is such comfort…although it’s still entirely possible I may be pregnant.
I haven’t watched MTV’s Video Music Awards in years. I don’t know what I thought was happening with it in my absence but I reckoned it would be pretty much the same as it used to be except with more hashtags and less plaid.
It appears I was quite wrong. I decided to watch it last night because I had a tube of Pringles to get through and I don’t feel as guilty when I accompany them with feature length things on the internet. It makes obscene Pringle consumption more of an accessory as opposed to a crime in itself.
As I got through the first 15 minutes of vague girl-on-girl action and bondage-themed outfits, it slowly dawned on me that I had no idea who anyone was. I know everyone says that when you get to my age but really, I barely recognised any of the names that won awards that entire night, I was genuinely surprised by this. Although expectantly weaker, I really thought I still had a grip on popular culture. I do not!!! Who the fuck is ‘Fetty Wap’??? And why does this person’s name sound like northern slang for a bit of cheeky masturbation?
Someone I did recognise was Britney Spears. She was there. Although she clearly had no idea she was there. Looking at her dead, fragile eyes blinking in the spotlight on stage, I think she was in a land created entirely by herself. One which featured double-denim sewn together with Justin Timberlake’s soft curls, a lifetime supply of fried chicken and possibly meth. She looked done, completely void, like she’d forgotten her child in a motel carpark and couldn’t quite decide if she could be arsed going back for it. It was quite sad really.
Another person I had heard of was Justin Beiber. Unlike Britney, he very much knew he was there. A harsh, jarring reality for him – it was as if he had suddenly realised how depressing his world was as soon as his performance started. I found it quite difficult to watch, I have more energy when I have one of my hangover-PMS combos. At the end of the song he literally broke down in tears, bawling his little eyes out because he is essentially a child and the entire world fucking hates his guts and wishes he had died in a fire as a baby. I give the poor kid 5 years.
Kanye and Kim. They’ve been done to death on the internet so I’m not going to talk about how they were dressed as if they were playing the part of foliage in a school play, or how Kim’s left breast is going to give me nightmares for the next 6 months, or how her face. Just her face. She’s younger than me, yet she looks like a permanently suspicious, swollen pensioner with chronic allergies.
No, what I will talk about is the “vanguard” award that Kanye won. I don’t even know what that award is or means or implies but the delusion of it all was bone-chilling. You see, Kanye West is a cunt. This is fact. He is a tantrum-throwing bully who thinks his job on this planet is to make empires cool again. He is comedy to the extreme. Before watching this year’s VMAs, I thought everyone knew this. I thought we were all in agreement like “Golddigga was an absolute smash of a song but let’s just make sure he never gets outside without being accompanied by an adult.”
I can’t believe how wrong I was. People are lapping this shit up! I know this because not nearly enough piss was taken out of him on the internet after his questionable, 11 minute acceptance speech. His ramblings were confusing yet dangerous all at the same time and preceded by an equally baffling introduction video which I have transcribed below:
“The artist aims for perfection. He wants to be the best. Every day is spent pursuing the images the artist dreams. When we see his work, we feel its energy. It transforms us. He advances culture by destroying what came before, so we can start anew. He doesn’t just feel. He follows his truth wherever it leads. If his honesty brings chaos, it doesn’t make him wrong, it makes him a person. It’s important to stay idealistic, to be vocal, to see the world through eyes of a child: free, open, full of wonder and imagination. He shares these dreams with us. We have to fight for our visionaries. We won’t go gently into victory. And we’re better for it.”
Well you can fuck off if you think I’m going to fight for Kanye. He wears ridiculous leather tracksuit bottoms and refers to himself as “God’s vessel”. Bear in mind that this was all pre and con-cluded by Miley Cyrus dressed like a dead clown-prostitute talking non-stop about how much pot she smokes like she’s the first person to ever try it. Completely surreal.
As the camera panned around the venue, the whole room looked like they were just holding it together and no more. None of them can walk unaided and they can’t move their faces at all. It’s like they know that at any minute all their collagen could expire simultaneously and they will fall to the floor en masse, smashing into a million pieces. “I’ve just got to make it through the next hour without melting, please don’t let me melt ’til I get home, people can’t see me in my true form.” The desperate, straining panic in their faces about the only thing the surgery can’t hide.
My experience of watching the VMAs after so long has left me feeling 20% sad that I’m so out of touch and 80% grateful that I’m so out of touch. I’m not going to lie, I feel a little bit like I’ve been discreetly booted out of a club that I used to be so knowledgeable and active in. I remember the good days when the ceremony was dominated by Beck, Rage Against the Machine, Tupac, Alanis Morissette, Tracy Chapman, Garbage, Smashing Pumpkins, Alice in Chains, Blackstreet, Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Dr Dre, Missy Elliot, Prodigy etc. The majority of whom had things to say. Last night I watched Nicki Minaj punch herself in the vagina about 20 times whilst singing about ass and pussy, how she is better than everyone else and hates everything that cannot satisfy her sexually or financially.
I went to bed last night with distinctly uneasy and apocalyptic thoughts – but is this simply a case of natural progression? Am I just becoming my parents who in turn didn’t want to become their parents? Is the same thing going to happen to my unborn child one day or is there something genuinely wrong with the entertainment industry nowadays?
I need to stop ending my articles with questions. I’m starting to sound like Carrie fucking Bradshaw.
It’s been over five months since I moved to Malta and all has been quiet on the blogging front. I would regale you with tales of my recent adventures but the honest truth is, with the exception of smashing down seven Jagermeisters one night and falling into a bush, I have been relatively well-behaved.
When you first move to a new country you find yourself mostly surrounded by strangers and as a result your social life inevitably takes a bit of a temporary nose dive. Combined with my weak attempt to save money due to the oil industry well and truly fucking me in the asshole and the Mount Doom-esque temperatures outside making my hair look like I have a ball of tumble-weed stuck to my face every time I step out the house, this has resulted in me spending a lot of time indoors on the internet whilst being blissfully caressed by my air conditioning. As a consequence, this article will mostly be dealing with things on the World Wide Web that are currently pissing me off.
People need to catch a grip of themselves. Cyberspace seems to have become a land of over-sensitive, self-righteous morons with a sense of entitlement that makes Mariah Carey look like a Salvation Army volunteer. Everywhere I turn there is a barrage of conflicting information on news and social media sites that is then defended by an army of keyboard warriors who think that winning an argument over whether gluten intolerance is actually a thing is going to be their Martin Luther King Jr. moment. Like if it wasn’t for them, the Diet-Nazi minority will not be able to drink out of the same water fountain as me. Or eat the same muffins. But you can’t eat muffins because they have gluten in them so maybe you should just step the fuck away from my muffins, go eat some lemongrass and listen to Natasha Beddingfield or whatever it is you lot get up to.
I read an article recently which was written by a girl who had sex with a number of women and then proceeded to get pissy because her friends were referring to her sexuality as being that of a bi-sexual or a lesbian. She said the following: “Just because I have sex with women does not make me a lesbian” and then started banging on about how she was tired of being put in a box and labelled. I mean, what am I supposed to do with that?
It wasn’t so long ago that being gay was taboo, abhorrent to the point of criminal, and now a substantial portion of the population, myself included, are proud to come from a society where these views are no longer tolerated and most people believe that everyone is free to love whoever they choose. It’s beautiful. But then people like that go and ruin it with, well, I don’t even know. I literally don’t know what she wants from me. By all means don’t classify yourself if that’s how you feel but for the love of God don’t be offended if someone catches you chowing down on vagina and assumes you are a lesbian. We’ve only just started to make progress and yet I feel that a minority of people are encouraging regression out of fear of offence.
Sticking with the subject of homosexuality, I was having a conversation a while back with someone who suggested that the fact I had never slept with a woman is because I am in some sort of denial, suppressing my true gay feelings with the implication that I was somehow ashamed. I am not ashamed. The reason I have not slept with a woman is because I am straight. Mad for the cock, wading in scrotum, inherently attracted to all things male. I don’t understand why to some people this is now not an acceptable explanation. I shouldn’t be made to feel guilty for not being gay. I’m straight for the exact reasons that homosexuals are not straight and bi-sexuals like a bit of both. Why must we debate these things to death? It’s unnecessary, a bit antagonistic and distracting us from the real difficulties that the gay communities still face.
Another issue that is getting more than its fair share of coverage right now is that of feminist extremism. Or is it aggressive feminine equalitarianism? Or feminazism? It’s gotten so out of control that I’m not even sure what I’m supposed to call it any more. You know what I’m referring to though, the women who are destroying my life by taking offence at literally anything that comes out the mouth of a man. It is embarrassing and it is causing me no end of problems at work.
For the majority of time that I am on a drilling rig I am the only female. Increasingly I have noticed that when I first arrive on a rig the new guys just have no idea how to deal with me. They don’t know whether to offer to help me with things in case I think they are assuming I am incapable of doing the job on my own. They don’t know how far they can go with their questionable jokes or general banter in case I report them for harassment and I sometimes struggle to be included in their social activities outside of work, presumably because they expect me to be a complete fun sponge.
The thing I loved most about my job is that we all help each other out when we can, it’s a form of bonding and I get to know my colleagues much quicker when they are not terrified to talk to me. Everyone knows how much I love a dick joke and yet I am denied this pleasure as a consequence of their unease. Feminism is supposed to help me and yet I worry that I could become alienated in my workplace as a direct result of it. I am not a “male sympathiser” I am just a person. I don’t give a fuck what sex you are, let’s just hang out and feel comfortable enough to be ourselves without the threat of repercussions.
In a lot of areas of course I support feminism, I’m not an idiot. I wouldn’t have the life I have now if it wasn’t for the movement and I am massively grateful for what women throughout history have done for us. The problem I have is that I feel it has gone from an issue of fundamental rights to an assumption on my personality. “You are a woman. Understand that we do not like drawing penises on people’s faces when they are passed out drunk, we do not like cooking and cleaning, we do not like sexualised or violent video games, we do not participate in games of cock-or-ball, we are not baby making machines – we are career-driven, independent, uptight, boring-ass bastards who are so weak that we have a meltdown every time a guy makes a distasteful quip about our periods.”
I am a woman and I will decide what I feel comfortable with. Believe it or not there is a side of my personality that is completely detached from the genital lottery, a part therefore that is none of your concern, so please stop taking my fun away under the pretence of feminist progress.
Veganism. Another area of massive bullshit. It’s not the concept I have a problem with, it’s the people who ruin it for everyone else. I overheard a conversation between two vegans in a pub not so long ago. One of them ordered a vodka and Redbull to which the other, sucking air through her teeth, asked: “Oh, so you’re not a full-time vegan then?” The other girl seemed a bit confused and replied that she felt she was. “Well you can’t be if you’re drinking Redbull” was the response.
What the fuck guys? For real? Out-veganing each other?? Shouldn’t you be supportive? You are such lovers of all living creatures after all. Shouldn’t you be nurturing a tolerant, welcoming environment within your strange chlorophyll-infused club instead of smugly ostracising the very people who are trying their best to join your cause? Jesus Christ. I felt like taking that poor girl for a steak. Only drunk “lads” from Newcastle try to out-carnivore each other, the rest of us are pretty non-competitive about what we put into our bodies.
Finally, I would just like to say that I categorically do not give a shit if you read a story from a book or from a Kindle. Apparently e-books to a “real” book-reader have become the iTunes to the hipsters of vinyl martyrdom who ride around Shoreditch on their Penny Farthings eating kale-infused quinoa and wearing ridiculous shoes. Sometimes I read physical books, sometimes I read e-books. It depends how near a book shop I am and how desperate I am to read a particular story. It’s what technology is for, it gives us that choice. The fact that people genuinely sneer at this would be almost comedic if it wasn’t so infuriating.
Sometimes I think humans have become far too self-aware. That there is too much berating advice, too much chastising, too many eggshells and too much pressure to be this enlightened being of egotism and pomposity who will always know better than everyone else. I often wish things were simpler, like that I was a dog or something, just playing with inanimate objects for hours then going to sleep blissful in the ignorance of anything other than basic survival and procreation.
Maybe I will join a cult like that one in New Zealand where they just feed and impregnate me. That removal of choice right now seems like such luxury! Of course this could never happen, I don’t think they have Wi-Fi so I’d have a terrible time but I’m sure you get my point. I’m fed up of wondering if I should feed my baby organic food (I’m not even remotely pregnant for fuck’s sake), or how I’m going to support myself financially when I’m too old to work or if I’ve eaten enough fish this week to combat the myriad of cancer risks I expose myself to on a daily basis.
I shall conclude with the case of the professor Sir Tim Hunt who jokingly suggested that women shouldn’t work in labs because they keep falling in love with everyone and crying. A 71 year old Nobel Prize winner who has made significant discoveries in the areas of physiology and medicine reduced to being defined by a joke. Admittedly a shit, ‘ill-advised’ joke, but not one that I feel warranted his being torn to shreds, humiliated by the media and public to the point that he felt he had to resign.
It’s like the whole of society is expected to live by the standards of the most easily offended person, the one least capable of taking a joke. How is that fair? If we keep unquestionably relenting to these fucktards we are going to end up in a world without laughter and that, sir, is a world that I do not want to live in. Please, I implore you to stop trying to recruit me into your righteousness. I’m a lost cause, an utter disgrace of a human being, and no overbearing man, woman, lesbian, bi-sexual, gluten-intolerant, vegan, white, black, misogynistic, book-reading hipster is ever going to change that.
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 🙂
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.
I talk a lot about how much I dislike inspirational quotes. In fact, I talk about it so much that I am in danger of coming across as a permanently premenstrual, life-hating, turbo bitch so I thought it was about time I explained myself. Despite my sometimes cynical outbursts, I am actually an insanely positive person, optimistic to the point of disability, so my issue here is not with offering people a bit of harmless motivation in their lives, it’s that these quotes are everywhere, generally complete and utter bullshit and can sometimes even mask a somewhat more sinister motive.
The problem I have is two-fold. Firstly, the overshare. I’m talking about the people who are responsible for my newsfeed becoming an orgy of other people’s problems. I wonder if the quote-oversharer realises how they are perceived. Maybe they think that they are helping the social networking community by giving them a couple of hundred stupid sentences to read every day. Maybe they think “Hey, this doesn’t apply to me because I’m pretty happy right now but perhaps one or two out of my 500 Facebook friends are having problems at home and this will help put things into perspective.” No. Stop blanket-inspiring. Okay it might help brighten one person’s day but at what cost? What about the other 499 of us who would quite like the internet to be a light-hearted, frivolous way to avoid doing actual work at work? If you really feel like you need to help someone, statistically you’d be helping way more people if you just didn’t post it.
Or maybe the poster themselves is struggling with something and found a quote that relates to their particular problem. Again, why share it on my internet? Stop forcing your problems on me without my permission. I am far from heartless and love nothing more than giving advice if I know it will help, however I’d rather you picked up the phone and asked for my input rather than leaving cryptic quote-hints about your life struggle in my newsfeed and expecting me or someone else to pick up on it. If I could read minds I’d be hanging out with Magneto not decoding your status updates.
Then there are the people who every now and again will just have a colossal quote meltdown. Out of nowhere you get 10, 15, 20 inspirational quotes in the space of 30 minutes from the same person implying a multitude of issues including back-stabbing friends / bullies / inattentive husbands / repressive bosses. Please believe me when I say that this does not make you inspiring, this makes everyone think you are a fucking lunatic. Desperately over-posting how great life can be if you follow your dreams makes it look like you’ve just massacred your entire family and are clinging on to any mitigation you can find; “It’s okay, I found this quote from Einstein that told me if someone doesn’t appreciate me then they don’t deserve to be in my life. So yeah, they’re all dead now.”
Moving on to address the second problem I have with inspirational quotes: The content. The majority of these quotes either do not make sense or are just plain common sense. All too often I find myself asking “Da fuck did I just read?” It’s physically impossible for me to soar like an eagle over the clouds of my life’s problems and even if I could be arsed to grasp such a fucktarded metaphor, I’m still not sure exactly what it’s telling me to do. Talon a motherfucker? I genuinely have no idea.
Of all the inspirational quotes out there, there are two that particularly tug on my tampon, the first of these being “Live in the moment/Live for today” etc. The thing is, I’m not sure what other moment/day I’m supposed to live in. I woke up this morning and tried to live 3 weeks ago when I was getting drunk on German beer at Winter Wonderland, but guess what? I’m on a rig, it’s fucking hail-stoning outside and I just watched a roughneck do a rocket-snot out of his nose onto his boots then try to scrape it off using a selection of small rocks. Despite my best efforts, today is today and it’s impossible to do anything other than live in the moment no matter how good or bad that moment may be. If you think that the arrangement of a whimsical font printed on a backdrop of misty sunsets is going to help you with the bad times then…well, you’re gonna have a bad time.
The second type of quote that annoys me are the “deserve” quotes. These are real nasty. Things like “If someone doesn’t blah then they don’t deserve to be in my life.”
Fuck off. That is offensively passive aggressive and not very nice at all. You know full well that half of your more caring Facebook friends will be wondering if they are the cause of your public anxiety, but you like that. You like the drama. Instead of growing a set of balls and calling that person up to sort out whatever mundane issue you have, you choose to post a snide remark, thinly-veiled as a motivational quip to let all of cyberspace know that someone was a dick to you. This might sound harsh to some, but honestly, I don’t care. And if you are the kind of person who needs to post a weird quote in order to let me know that I personally pissed you off, then I’m genuinely happy that I pissed you off, you deserve it for being a pussy.
But the award for worst inspirational speaker of all time has to go to Marilyn Monroe. My word that girl can talk some amount of horse-shit. I don’t understand what the fixation with her is. Some girls see her as a symbol of feminism; a strong, no-nonsense, beautiful woman with giant breasts who used sex as a weapon and died in a pool of her own vomit after overdosing on the pills that she relied on so heavily to make her feel artificially happy. I like her movies, I like her face, I like her flirtatious, sexed-up 50’s image. I’ve always thought that she was beautiful and talented but not, in my view, inspirational. I’m reading Malala Yousafzai’s biography at the moment. Now that shit right there is inspirational.
The use of motivational quotes to help you in your daily life does work for some, even me on occasion believe it or not (my personal favourite being “nothing tastes as good as being thin feels” except Banoffee Pie obvs…..and curry…..oh and maybe KFC). For example, you might be out for a run and sweating so hard that you feel like your ass is melting down the back of your legs but you have a little sentence tucked away in your head that helps push you through that wall. That’s great and I believe that it works but there is no reason to repetitively post it online every time you do some exercise. This is what it looks like to everyone else: “I’m jogging, I’m a better person than you because you are not jogging.” Don’t be a quote-cunt.
I guess what I’m trying to say here is be inspired. Be inspired by words, art, literature, history, sport, whatever you want, but for the love of God pipe down, print it off and stick it on your wall. What works for you doesn’t necessarily work for the entire fucking internet and I know I’m not alone when I say I’m tired of my newsfeed being hijacked by the same old weak, lazy, vague nonsense every day of the god damn week. But I’m not one to sit here and moan, oh no, I’m a do-er and I have come up with a top-notch plan to bring this all to a well over-due end. The next time you find yourself googling for inspiration in the form of a quote, replace the word “quote” with the word “meme” and post that instead. Please, it’s Christmas 🙂 xx
Over the past year I have been making some serious progress through my bucket-list of singledom. I have gotten drunk in Norway, Paris, Cyprus, Malta, Aberdeen, Yorkshire and London. I have been a token minge on a stag weekend in Frankfurt, had laser eye surgery, my teeth whitened, my tonsils removed, been heavily tattooed and am currently in the middle of getting most of my pubes lasered off for all eternity. I have had some pretty spectacular experiences, and a few terrible ones too, but without a doubt this year has been one of my most exciting.
I made this list when I first left Aberdeen at a time when if you’d asked me if I wanted a husband I would have said something along the lines of: “I don’t remember saying you could come up for air sunshine, this bitch don’t pay you to talk.” Recently, however, the once distant thoughts of vague maturity have been creeping steadily towards the forefront of my consciousness and it is for this reason I felt it important to have one last self-indulgent adventure before I began focussing on maybe calming down a little bit. This adventure came in the form of a three week trip to Thailand and Cambodia with the most inappropriate human being I know, my sister Lisa.
Lisa had already been in Thailand for 3 months at a fat camp (or as she put it: “It’s a fucking fit camp”) so the plan was to meet up in Bangkok for a few days before we left for a week in Cambodia followed by ten days island-whoring off the west coast of Thailand. As is customary for any sort of Dingwall-organised activity, it all went to shit on day one when I arrived at my hotel expecting her to be there waiting for me like an excited, dribbling puppy. Instead I received this phone call:
“Hey, it’s Lisa. I’m still in Hua Hin, I had prawns last night and just shat all over the bath mat. I won’t make it to Bangkok until tomorrow.”
Luckily it was pretty late and after nineteen hours of travelling I was feeling decidedly sticky so all I had the energy for was a shower before I K.O’d for the night. Lisa and her flaming butt-hole met me the next morning and after a bit of shopping we began planning which ping-pong show we were going to go see that night. Because that’s really why we’re all here isn’t it? What’s that? Temples? Can a temple shoot a dart at a balloon from its moist loins? No. Fuck your temples.
I was excited about this, Lisa had told me about one girl she had seen who was firing bananas out of her chonch and trying to catch them in her mouth but she was so shit at it, they just kept hitting her in the face. This was a pretty special mental picture and one that I wanted to witness for myself so we climbed into the nearest tuk-tuk with a high-five and an enthusiastic cry of “Let’s go see us some titties!”. We decided to go to Nana Plaza, “The World’s Largest Adult Playground” and see what it had to offer.
Upon entering the place (a courtyard surrounded by strip clubs) we were immediately accosted by a barmaid/prostitute who was determined to get us to drink in her bar. It was the only one without naked, borderline-adult females prancing around so we decided to have a drink there before going into one of the clubs to see a show. I ordered a jagerbomb because I needed to find my nerves. I was pretty terrified. All around us were western men pawing at depressed looking young girls. There was a lady-boy walking around in lingerie with one gravity-defying tit randomly hanging out of her bra and a bunch of creepy American guys playing Connect 4 with some prostitutes. Cheers guys, right in the childhood. I used to love that game, now it will forever be known to me as Connect Whore.
The barmaid came back over, this time with a friend, and both women started talking to us. They asked us where we were from, said they liked my lipstick and then began telling us how difficult their lives were what with the whole prostitute thing, their only other option being to starve to death in a remote village. My sometimes shocking naivety and overwhelming desire to talk to strangers meant that this was a bad place for me. I believed most of what they said and even felt sorry for them at times. Until this happened:
“It is so good to talk to woman as friend instead of man who want jiggy-jiggy all the time……unless you want more than friend? You and your sister together, I give you good price? You buy me drink first?”
What the fuck lady? So this whole relationship has been based on a twisted web of lies and deceit? You told me you liked my lipstick, I bet you say that to all the girls. Take your herpes and smashed-up vagina and get the hell out of my sight.
I needed a piss and to get away from these assholes quick so, being the caring sister I am, I left Lisa on her own and went in search of a bathroom….except the only toilet in the place was at the wrong end of a strip-club. I drew back a stained, worn, velvet curtain and tried my best not to let my eyes adjust to the darkness. Didn’t work. There in front of me dancing on a stage were three topless girls in bright white underwear with the deadest eyes I have seen on an alive person, bearing more than a passing resemblance to that creepy fuck who climbs out of the TV in The Ring. Sitting facing them were three Arab men, all whiskey-lipped and rapey-eyed, staring holes through the girls whilst they gyrated unenthusiastically against a dirty wooden pole. I just thought of all the vaginal splinters and aids and wondered how the hell I was supposed to go pee without catching something terminal/being murder-raped. I got to the toilet and hovered above it until my thighs were trembling (about 5 seconds. I have no muscle tone), managing by a matter of millimetres not to piss all over myself. I drip-dried because of course there was no toilet paper and got the fuck out of there. Lisa was still getting propositioned when I got back so I just looked at her with Shrek Puss-in-Boots eyes and said “Can we go to a normal bar now?”
And so, 40 minutes after we arrived, we left that terrible place a pair of failures. I, more than anyone, wanted to regale you with tales of banana-induced black eyes and cigar-puffing uteri but it turns out the reality of these awful shows were just too difficult for me to stomach, and for that I am deeply sorry.
Next stop, Phnom Penh.
Phnom Penh smells of burnt matches and eucalyptus with just enough B.O. thrown in to be noticeable but not offensive. After a day of sightseeing in the capital we headed north to Siem Reap, a city which is home to the most ridiculously beautiful temples you will ever see (yes, Nana Plaza made me change my mind about temples. Marginally less paedophiles for a start). We got ourselves the cutest, chubbiest little tour guide – think the Wilderness Explorer kid from ‘Up’ – and set off to the Angkor Wat Temple at 5.30am for the sunrise. It was worth it, looked like this:
For the next couple of days we mostly partied in Siem Reap’s premier night-spot ‘Pub Street’, a 90’s throwback area of town with graffiti covered grunge bars, awesome old skater tunes blaring out onto the street and super friendly locals serving you every cocktail you can imagine (one of whom used to work on the rigs in the North Sea….aka free shots for Jillian!). I could have stayed forever, I really loved it, but sadly our time there had to come to an end so we flew back to Phnom Penh before enduring a three hour white-knuckle taxi ride to Sihanoukville, a relatively isolated backpacker’s beach resort on the South West coast of Cambodia.
I was looking forward to this place. I had visions of arty, bearded, beautiful, bare-footed men playing beat up guitars and feeding me bullshit about how they had come here to find themselves. In this vision of mine I would believe said bullshit, fall temporarily in love with one of them and we would spend the next three days having red-hot sex by candlelight, perspiring in a thatched beach-hut perched on unblemished white sand, only stopping to drink beer, eat phad thai and skinny dip in the shimmering turquoise ocean (ideally an ocean that contained no seaweed or things that could kill you).
I was mistaken. Turns out “backpackers” is now a catchment term for any dickhead who is on holiday. Sihanoukville is full of these cunts:
It was horrendous. No one there was over the age of around 23 or had any idea how to survive in the real world. Even the beards were below par. They were the hipster kind, the ones that are trimmed so short that there is zero chance of getting any food stuck in there and is usually set off with a pair of oversized sunglasses despite the fact that the sun went down five fucking hours ago. It wasn’t looking good for us but we had to make the best of a bad situation so we joined an organised pub crawl….for children apparently. Lisa and I felt like lepers and no amount of vodka redbull buckets would help this. The place was an unashamed meat market, inebriated teenagers everywhere trying their hardest to either impale or be impaled. Just as we were about to give up and leave, however, one of the guys from the pub crawl came over and actually started a conversation. Disappointingly he was a 20 year old overly-muscular, waxed, tanned, vest-wearing, guido fucktard from Ipswich who could barely string a sentence together, but at least someone was talking to us. Unfortunately, after only being in his company for about 10 minutes he came out with this little gem:
Guido: “Hey, can I like, you know, come back to your hotel room babe?”
Me: “Uhmm…….no, that’s weird.” (Secretly smug. Thinking I’ve still got it, foolish youths still want a slice of this nubile pie)
Guido: “Sorry, I didn’t mean to come across as a creep, it’s just…well…I’ve always wanted to try a cougar.”
A cougar??? I’m fucking 33 years old! A childless, unmarried, free spirit of eternal youth, you chlamidia-ridden sack of mental illness.
We left, and I put two layers of Lancome Vissionaire on my face before going to bed that night.
The next day we decided that we would head to a different beach to avoid the throbbing masses of gap-yahs and guidos and managed to find one that was a bit more suited to a pair of rancid old dried-up cougars. We spent the day sunbathing (or in my case shade-bathing, drenched in factor 50, sweat pouring down my beetroot face), eating banana crepes, smoking menthol cigarettes and drinking iced tea. We watched the sun set whilst infatuated couples walked hand in hand along the beach with their love all up in our faces and for the first time since leaving Aberdeen, it almost made me want a boyfriend. I will admit that I did get a bit philosophical about my future for a minute there on that beach, but it was short-lived. I soon composed myself and convinced Lisa to go to an open-mic night of poetry in one of the rock bars nearby. She was sceptical having never been to one before but I knew from experience that these can either be terrible cringe-inducing affairs or really quite impressive. Either way you’re going to have a good night.
We turned up at Santino’s Rock Bar where a young (and very brave) Canadian girl was standing alone on stage reciting profound yet amusing poems about childhood, adulthood, how life is yours to live how you choose and fuck what anyone else says. I liked it, it felt fitting to my relatively new-found circumstances. After she was finished, an older Canadian gentleman with a braided beard and long grey hair took to the stage. I wasn’t sure what to expect from such an eccentric figure but what came out of his mouth was as hilarious as it was unpredictable. One of his poems was about his younger years in which he would give girls crack in exchange for sexual favours. “Air-tight” and “skull-fucking” are only two of the multitude of phrases I can remember from that performance. After he was done, I did my usual thing and annoyed the complete stranger for copies of a couple of his poems so I could share them with you (couldn’t get my hands on the skull-fucking one though, soz):
Surgically Altered Self Fulfilling Prophecy
It started with falsies and a hair dye When she was 12 And she hasn’t been true to herself since 3 breast enlargements 2 reductions Excessive amounts of nips and tucks A brutal physical exercise routine Never feeling quite good enough But by now Nothing can hide the age And the only benefit I have found After all these surgeries Is she gives great gummers But never swallows Still Not quite good enough
Things to do at a Hostel or Guest House
Watch the parrot play with the pen Shower, wash your shirts Because they don’t get dirty Just yucky and stiff Pick a banana Watch it ripen Then eat it Disassemble your hairbrush Clean it And put it back together Remove the sleeves of a shirt Stitch by stitch Instead of just cutting them off Make a pipe from a papaya stem Make a grasshopper from a papaya leaf Watch the tide roll in Watch the tide roll out Go for a swim in the ocean Peel and split a coconut Drink the milk Put a chunk of coconut on the ground Watch the ants eat it (That’ll take a week or two) Wear the remains as a pendant Number and mark your beers Before putting them in the fridge See if there is a beer thief Or you just get too drunk and forget Try to figure out who is fucking whom If any at all Fill the newbies in on the scene Pick up after someone But don’t do their dishes Sharpen the kitchen knives And be a hero to everyone If you are bored You have found the limits Of your imagination
What a guy! We ended up having a brilliant night that ended with us sitting in a tree-house bar watching a Thai reggae band – and just like that we had salvaged our trip to Sihanoukville. Just in time too, the next day we were heading back to Thailand.
After a long-ass day of travelling we finally arrived at our modest beach bungalow on Phi Phi island. I had been warned about this place. People who had been there had said that I wouldn’t like it, it was full of tourists and tacky beach parties. I wasn’t so sure, we had been having a pretty subdued time up until that point and I was ready for some shameless touristy fun. At the weekend we headed to a fire show at one of the beach parties where I discovered that no matter how hideous the man, take his shirt off and make him throw bits of fire around and I will instantly want him on me.
They had a limbo competition too, the rules of which were simple: girls do it topless for a free bucket of drink, guys must do it naked. A total chubster decided he would go naked for a free shot but unfortunately for us he approached the limbo thing from the wrong side meaning that all his junk in all it’s magnificent, wrinkly, dangly glory was right there in our faces. I felt like we deserved the free bucket. The music they were playing was out of this world; dance tunes from years ago that you loved but had forgotten even existed. Needless to say I got suitably smashed and thought that getting involved with a fire hoop would be a great idea. I thought I was pretty heroic, successfully managing to run through the flames unscathed…until I woke up the next morning to find the back of my leg stuck to my sheets. I still have the scar but I quite like it, it reminds me of one of the best nights of that trip.
The next day we headed to the harbour colossally hungover for an overnight boat trip to Maya Beach, the place where the movie The Beach was filmed. Thankfully everyone on the boat was also hanging out of their arseholes so we didn’t have to engage in too much conversation. When we arrived the sun was just beginning to set, and being on the only tour to offer an overnight trip meant that our small group had the whole place entirely to ourselves. Facing out onto an unbelievably beautiful bay, we all lay around on the sand in a little semi-circle whilst our guide brought out his guitar and prepared to provide us with some tunes to accompany this breathtaking backdrop.
All around us were couples lying in each other’s arms, the air was still, the sea was washing softly over the sand whilst the sun set over the violet horizon. It was the most romantic moment I have ever experienced. The guitar started up and just as a tear was about to plop out of my eyeball, our guide (whose English wasn’t very good) started to sing that sentimental classic “Fuck you, you ho, I don’t want you back.” I’m not kidding, he couldn’t even sing either. He was screeching it at the top of his lungs, completely oblivious to what the lyrics meant. Lisa and I were absolutely destroyed, we laughed way too hard for way too long. He was going “Cam on guys! You know dees one right? Seeng along!!!” Oh, and we did.
After he was done, and with that ice-breaker on the beach having turned out to be more of an ice-obliteration, we headed into the trees for a BBQ with our new friends. I forced down a vodka redbull bucket but was still not feeling too hot so I was a little relieved when it was time to row back to our boat where we were sleeping for the night. When we got back on board, our guide (who was now not surprisingly my hero) suggested we go swimming in the deep, jet-black, terrifying, monster-infested sea. I was not up for this. I decided to stay on the boat instead and watch as a crazy German guy from the group jumped off the side.
What happened next I did not expect. In this part of Phi Phi there are little plankton swimming around that light up when they are disturbed so when he jumped in, the sea lit up all around him like he was swimming in thousands of tiny little diamonds. It was like something out of mother fucking Avatar!! I was beside myself and jumped straight in after him. We all splashed around in there for as long as we could, the thoughts of ravenous great white sharks and, more importantly, any hint of a hangover rapidly disappearing.
We got up the next day and sailed straight back to Phi Phi harbour where Lisa and I were catching a boat to Koh Lanta, an island to the East of Phi Phi. This was the last stop before I headed home and after all the excitement of the trip so far, the plan here was to do as little as humanly possible for the last three days. We stuck to the plan faithfully, so much so that it’s given me fuck all to write about but it was awesome. We ate, drank, swam, turned up at a dog shelter and walked some dogs, had massages and slept in pretty fancy bungalows.
When the time came for me to fly home I was well-rested and more than satisfied that I had made the most of my time in these two top-notch countries. When I first booked this trip I was excited, I expected it to be similar to some of the other places I had visited (and loved) in that part of the world. But none of them were even close to Thailand and Cambodia where the scenery is so ridiculously stunning I felt as though I had been transported into an Elder Scrolls video game. The people there are so genuinely happy too, even the ones who have nothing, a quality that no doubt has a foundation in the Buddhism they practice – a beautiful philosophy that makes all of our religious fighting and flagrant materialism an embarrassment.
When you’re out there you very quickly find yourself adopting romantic notions about living there forever. Who needs things right? All we need is love and $3 a day to eat phad thai! We could totally do it, why can’t we do it? Let’s do it! It’s like they have some sort of airport-sorcerer waiting at arrivals casting mind-fuck spells on you at passport control. But like most spontaneous and irresponsible ideas, those dreams disappeared almost as quickly as they arrived. Lisa headed back to her fit camp in Hua Hin for 2 more months where she lost a total of 3 stone and became a badass at Muay Thai. I went back to London with a revised set of priorities and a clearer idea of what the fuck I want to do with my immediate future.
And so my ‘Bucket-list of Singledom’ Quest is complete. I’m not sure which achievement I’ve unlocked, probably irreversible organ damage, but I’m excited for the next level. A level I shall call “I Should Probably Stop Fucking Around and Find Somewhere to Live.”