Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Once the dreamlike dancing flames and embers of university have been swiftly and all too aggressively snuffed out by reality, the graduate is often left with a profound sense of anti-climax, insecurity and anxiety. No one could have prepared this fragile little fawn for what would be in store for them.

Is this world of seemingly insurmountable, unachievable and unattainable goals, really be what I'm left with after all, that genius I conjured up and poured out of my little brainbox during my time at "clever people school"?

Something doesn't seem right here. Yes, yes I have my piece of paper with "Bachelors Degree" embossed on high-grade 'luxury' paper, hot from the press of an industrial sized printer/copier... but where is my medal I ask of you? Where is my fanfare?! Where is my god damned knighthood for fuck's sake?!?

This, unfortunately, is the disillusioned expectation of the recent graduate. The unwitting sense of entitlement seems to shelter and seclude them from what is unfortunately "the real world".

There are some however, who seem to slip through the net like newborn kittens, eyes still closed, too fragile to see the light, their little mouths still suckling on the teet of wealth and inside opportunity. These are the 1%, "The Future Tories" as I and probably many others call them. Litters upon litters of Boris Johnson-esque felines all adorably flopping about, lapping up the spilled milk of bankers and hotel owners. Ahhh capitalism, yummy!

Alas, I am not a "Tobias", a "Hattie", a "Josie", a "Wills" or even a "Tarquin", no milky elixir for me. No I'm just "Mike" and like most Mikes I'm still getting to grips with this newfangled thing of job hunting. 

It's actually kind of exciting when you forget about all the drudgery.

Passion...(Part 1)

Whilst philosophising on life's great intricacies in my 2pm afternoon bath at my parents house (most unemployed 25 year olds will be familiar with this luxury), I had quite an encouraging realisation. A realisation that led me to this conclusion: most of my time is spent surrounded by sickeningly passionate people...

My first nominee for "The passion and optimism awards 2013", is one of my closest and dearest friends. 
His name is Matt.

Like anyone it seems, I can sometimes be a rather pessimistic person, often worrying about the past, present, future and everything in between. With Matt along for the ride though, my inner Woody Allan seems to dissolve and dissipate...but not before completely engulfing me first.

On one ridiculous occasion I had been, what can only be described as - “outlandishly showing off at a pool”. I was front flipping, backflipping, twisting, jackknifing, you name it, I was doing it baby! Unfortunately, as a result of an awkward landing, this tireless pea-cocking display was cut painfully short. Nasty, swirling, ice cold water had suddenly penetrated me, invading my right ear, sending a lightning bolt of relentless pain ricocheting into my brain. It felt like Voldemort himself was in my very vicinity and that I was that snot-nosed, scar headed little git Harry Potter.

My eardrum had burst completely. I had inadvertently achieved this by attempting to “huck” a double frontflip (my friend is from America, and when in his company it is customary to use such colloquialisms such as "huck" and "knarly"). I crawled out of the pool like a wet, bandy legged dog. It wasn't just the ear that took a battering, soon it was to be my whole credibility as a "grown man" as well.  

Whilst on our way to hospital, it wasn’t the residual agonising pain that I was worrying about most of all, no, I had much deeper concerns. Along with a presumably now internally bleeding ear, I was experiencing strange pains in the tendons and muscles of my arms.
A 'normal person' might deduce that this anomaly was simply the result of repeatedly slamming one's body into a pool of water for the best part of two hours...not me. I came to the insane conclusion that I must have developed some sort of...wait for it... degenerative muscle disease (yes really). You know, like that one Lou Gehrig had.

“Matt! Matt!” I exclaimed, “This isn’t normal is it?” “Maybe it’s life threatening?”.
I was rewarded with the only thing that I deserved at that point - disdain and laughter.
“I’m sure it’s nothing, but you can ask the doctor about it when we get to the hospital” he replied, after quite rightly mocking me in a sort of friendly sympathetic way.
Ah yes the hospital, where I’m going to receive a big excruciating jet of high pressured air into my already damaged aural orifice... but never mind that, what about this horrible disease I’ve just made up?!

Much to the dismay of my inner hypochondriac, the doctors reaction to my muscular related ailment was relatively similar to that of my dear friend, just slightly more sardonic in nature and without the outward laughter (he was laughing on the inside, I could tell).

So back to what I was saying at the start of all of this. It’s Matt's optimistic “it’s probably going to be ok, so stop worrying so much” attitude that personifies my American counterpart so much. He has a calming presence. Never a more relaxed, chilled out person have I ever met. It’s almost impossible to contemplate the negative whilst in his company and that is an attribute I wish I had.

I fear though, that for me, Woody Allen is here to stay. 
At least I have my friends like Matt to keep him at bay for the time being.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Parents... no matter how much you love them, or miss them in times of loneliness, or suffer pain when either of them is hurt, or further, yearn for their infinite maternal, paternal warmth...they still have the propensity to irritate, aggravate and in extreme circumstances, repulse you.

The excruciating crunch of a lettuce leaf, the agonising dribble of olive oil down an endlessly wagging chin, the unrelenting shovelling of food into the tireless gaping infinity that is the human gullet. Acres upon acres of swirling harvested crop swilled down with ravenous wide eyed gulps, all with a mouth full of smashed up shrubbery... the whole family-farmyard-like grazing experience is enough to drive the saintliest of saints completely stir crazy!

These are my personal gripes with my own family life. Trite though they may seem, especially when compared to some of the most awful things that some families have to endure- domestic abuse, divorce, constant arguing, football on the telly etc - none of these qualities (if "quality" is the right word) are those of which you could attribute to my family.

No, to me, my problems are much worse!

To the outsider, my first paragraph might allude you to the conclusion that my parents are nothing but a pair of fat, gluttonous oafs if it weren't for the reference to lettuce and olive oil. No, on the contrary they are quite healthy living, generous, loving and wonderfully supportive people, hellbent on making my life as easy and luxurious as possible. But step into my obscure nonsensical brain at dinner time and they become barbarians, culinary sinners, sloth-like neanderthaulic cretins, dinnertime dunces! I do love them truly, madly and unconditionally though but there is a monster that lingers within me. Something unshakable, unintelligible.. evil even.

I have already concluded long ago that either I am correct in my analysis of my parents eating habits, that they have indeed somehow regressed after teaching me basic table manners as a toddler, or that I am simply 'mentally all-wrong inside' and in need of help (most likely and unwantingly the latter). 

There is however, a scientific term for what I have and apparently it's called "Misophonia".

I cannot stand unnecessary noise. Whether it be as simple as the screech of a table leg being dragged along a polished floor or the unforgivable snort and hock of someone overcoming a cold. All of this, some may say, is rather rich coming from a man (boy) who is constantly plugged into an iPod, iPhone or some other listening device designed to blast noise into his earholes... but before you condemn me to the same accusation, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I protest!!! Im sure you'll understand that this is only in effort to bludgeon the constant irritating din that is the rest if the world!?!?...

Oh you don't understand?

Churlish and unreasonable you say?

Oh dear...

By now you will have realised my mental illness, exceeds just the dinner table. It's spilling out into my daily life. Take this anecdote for example:

The last flight I took, I was consumed with rage at an 8 month old baby's screams of terror as the tin can of imprisonment it had found itself in roared angrily into the oncoming shimmering abyss. "How inconsiderate" I thought to myself. "Here I am on my way, flying through the heavens to my awaiting paradise in the sun, and this little fucker is ruining it all! How will I ever get to sleep on this luxurious, low-cost Ryanair, journey of a lifetime now?!?". 
I comforted my ego by convincing myself that the rest of the cabin crew were somehow on my side. In my mind exchanging knowing glances with the pretty Spanish air hostess who's eyes seemed to reply with the compassionate words - "Si si, I feel your pain".
The plane landed and after having stuffed my 6' 3 frame into my allocated letterbox sized space between the two seats and awakening from lolling my head back and forth for an hour in a feeble attempt at a mid-flight nap, I had all but forgotten about the little tot...my rage was probably now focused on something probably far more important...probably.

But who am I kidding? I've recently realised (and perhaps known all along) that I spend far too much of my time fussing over life's simplicities. Maybe it's a sub-conscious defence mechanism to stop myself from worrying, or being angry at the things I'm supposed to be paying attention to.

I don't like this part of my personality. I loath it with every inch of my being. I feel like Bruce Banner from The Hulk and that my "green monster" is my incapability to withstand any minor annoyance or sound. 
Maybe I shouldn't be so worked up about it though, I haven't publicly allowed these annoyances of mine to enter or disturb the consciousness of any other fellow human beings...yet

Until that day comes, I suppose I just have to work on accepting people, situations and 8 month old babies... 

I think everyone has their own "green monster". Everyone is a bit Banner-esque at times and like ol' Brucey, I reckon we're all trying to find our own antidote as painstakingly slow and arduous as it may be... I know I am.

So for now, however begrudgingly, I'll see you at the dinner table.


A pigeon pruning itself doesn't know it's disgusting. It thinks it's making itself beautiful for the opposite sex (or maybe the same sex! I bet there are gay pigeons too)...and the sad thing is, that it is. They are in fact quite successful at mating. One look at a main square anywhere in the world will tell the dullest of dullards this fact. 

Walking around with shit-stained feathers and a Coca Cola ring round a gnarled up stump which nature intended to be a functioning talon...this my friends, is the fashion sense of the noble pigeon.

The other sad thing is, their state of being is relatively man made. Would they be as disgusting without us feeding them endless supplies of festering toxic garbage and polluting their once pristine plumes with suffocating automobile fumes?

Probably, yes. Although most likely not to the same extent as their current co-inhabitant state.

But digression aside. At the end of the day, it's still a disgusting pigeon. You wouldn't see the majestic swan walking down the likes of "Las Ramblas" or "Oxford Street" donning a colourful H&M bag as some sort of tokenistic "haute couture" piece of headwear.

So next time you are making yourself look pretty in the mirror, just think to yourself...which one are you? A pigeon or a swan?

Chances are no matter what your conclusion is, you probably won't know the answer...