{August 17, 2009}   Monday hangovers

Usually my journey to work is the same as every other public transport commuter’s: the monotonous trudge to the bus stop, a frustrating wait for a bus that should’ve been here fifteen minutes ago, and then the familiar and routine drive to the office. Sometimes, though, the trip in is entertaining in ways you’d never expect, for the tiniest of reasons.

On Saturday night, as I was walking home from what was, in and of itself, a pretty bizarre night out, I came across a ginger-haired man passed out in the street in a pool of his own vomit. Several people just walked right by him before I found him, but I figured I might as well stop and see if he had any money in his wallet, or at least steal his shoes. He didn’t, and his shoes weren’t the right size, so instead I just called emergency services and waited with the drunkard until the cops arrived to bundle him into the back of a van. End of story?

Nah. Two days later (today), I get on the bus and lo-and-behold, who do I spy? It’s our poor ginger drunkard from Saturday night! And he looked pretty rough. But just to make it that bit more amusing, he had a Sterling t-shirt on, thus indicating he was a Sterling employee. And I was recently helping a friend write a complaints letter to some furniture company over an employee’s behaviour towards her while she was buying a sofa. It seems like these furniture salesmen in general might have a few social problems. They’re an unruly bunch.

So I’m on the bus, with the still-hungover Sterling employee sitting in front of me, and I look out the window. Outside is a middle-aged man, who also looks very rough (it would appear that everyone’s hungover today), trying to bite open a 10p ice pole he’d just bought. Now, who buys an ice pole at 8am? Well, I happen to know the answer to that question.

It was my birthday, I was a teenager. I went out with friends, got wasted, spent too much money and couldn’t afford to get the bus home. So myself and another guy slept in a flat doorway for the night, like proper vagrants, because another friend of ours declined to let us actually come inside. What are friends for, right? Anyway, we woke up in the morning, completely parched and still broke. We spent the best part of half an hour scouring the streets for spare or dropped change, checking phone boxes and gutters, and eventually managed to scrape together – yep, you guessed it: 10p. And so, dehydrated, throats aching, we went into a newsagent and bought ourselves a 10p ice pole, snapped it in half and sucked down some cola-flavoured bliss. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever been that relieved.

And so now, when I spy a rough-looking dude in the street, fumbling with a cheap-ass ice pole in the early hours of the day, I know exactly what it means. He’s hit hard times. I can relate. And it amuses me that I’m able to make that connection.

Okay, so maybe my journey into work still wasn’t exciting. But honestly, when you’ve been doing this sort of tedious routine for years and years, any distraction is welcome. So I’m just going to convince myself that this morning was exceptionally interesting, and post this blog on that note.


{July 21, 2009}   Writing

Creative writing talent falls into two very simple categories:

Will: If you write creatively, telling stories and what-not, statistically you’re generally a young male, between the age of 16 and 25. There’s a compulsion to do it; you have no real choice in the matter. It’s like a pressure in your head: if you don’t tell the story, it’s like it’ll either burst in your mind, or melt away before you can grip its potential. I think all decent creative writers have this sort of… compulsion, for lack of a better word, to tell tales. And if they’re not doing it, it’s like some sort of withdrawal. It itches at you until you cave in.

Time: And this one’s the clincher. In your teenage years you’ve all the time in the world, and if your will’s in it, you will write. But you will write garbage, largely, because you are inexperienced. This isn’t an insult, it’s just the way it is. Writers always say, you write about what you know. And at 19, you know fuck all compared to what you’ll know at 25. If you’re 19 and reading this, you’ll think I’m talking bullshit. But give it six years and revisit the point. You’ll see what I mean. The worst part about this is, as you gain your essential experience for writing and better relating to your fellow humans, society takes your free time away from you. Because now you’re in a full-time job, pouring your energy and time into making that job work out. You no longer have free time on your side, and you’ll lose that compulsion. It just ebbs out of you. It comes back, now and again, whenever you take a holiday that’s longer than a weekend, but ultimately you’ve lost your grip on your muse. Your muse can’t talk to you while you’re working, and it doesn’t have the energy to influence you over a mere weekend, most of which you’ll spend drunk or hungover.

And that’s writing. I always wished I could write more, write better, connect to people, tell stories you’d care about. But the construct of the working world has taken that from me, and now you can go fuck yourself. My stories stay in my head, unfinished and wanting.

{January 11, 2009}   Yeah so

The people you work with are just people you were just thrown together with. I mean, you don’t know them, it wasn’t your choice. And yet you spend more time with them than you do your friends and your family. But probably all you’ve got in common is the fact that you walk around on the same bit of carpet for eight hours a day.

{January 10, 2009}   A stern warning

I was in Zavvi yesterday, doing my bit to ease the company through its clearout liquidation sales, and I picked up a couple of DVDs. I bought one DVD based on the premise, the blurb on the back, which sounded interesting enough for a horror movie:

“The Deaths of Ian Stone:

Ian Stone encounters a mysterious creature and is forced into the path of an oncoming train. Rather than facing certain death, Ian finds himself reborn into a new life where he is murdered each day by horrifying pursuers and will be forced to die every day until he can solve the mystery of his own life.”

The Deaths of Ian Stone

The Deaths of Ian Stone

For £2.50, I thought sure, why not. So I bought it and I watched it last night. After I patiently sat through the duration of the movie, all 84 minutes of it, I pressed the eject button, removed the disc, and made sure I would never watch it ever again.

The Death of the DVD

The Death of the DVD

This film starts off promising and, for the first 30 minutes or so, is actually pretty good. But it rapidly devolves into steaming pile of shit after that, when it transpires that our protagonist, the charming Ian Stone, is not a poor human in a bad situation, but rather the strongest “Harvester” ever known; a kind of immortal vampire that feeds on fear – until, of course, he finds true love and learns to feed on that instead, turning on his own kind. So they punish him by somehow stealing his memories and killing him over and over again. It’s never really explained why reality shifts on each death and he starts a new life all over (in order: hockey player, office worker, cab driver, an ex heroin junkie, a current heroin junkie), each less appealing than the last.

The Harvesters alternate between looking like normal human beings, albeit with a tendency to stare at you like a lunatic, to clouds of swirling black death with claws, to characters that look like they just walked off the set of the Matrix, kitted out in latex and sunglasses. And it is impossible to fear a man wearing PVC, no matter how many claws he has. He just looks like a berk.

From this...

From this... this? Seriously? this? Seriously?

Worse, when Ian Stone rediscovers that he’s a Harvester and becomes the harbinger of death for his own kind, I thought his “dark avenger” look was silly instead of intimidating. He looked like a Slipknot fan with too much make-up on, in dire need of a shower. I wish I could find a picture of how laughable it is, but a Google image search isn’t turning one up.

Anyway, I’ve droned on about this enough. Don’t rent this movie. Don’t buy this movie. I’ve shattered my copy of the film, and I’m going to keep it in my collection as a constant reminder not to impulse-buy films, even if they are at clearout sale prices.

et cetera