You! Me! Dancing!

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Last night I staggered home pissed as a newt with tears of joy in my eyes. I was alone, getting rained on nicely, swaying around and laughing to myself. I was beaming in the street, looking up at every building and traffic light and how the multi-coloured flashing gizmos outside the spätis reflect off the surface of the road. I climbed the stairs to my flat and cackled, stealing and rearranging the doormats of all the flats on the floor below me; breathless with drunk giggles at such mild, stupid tomfoolery. My headphones were in, as they always are, and this song was playing, over and over.

You! Me! Dancing!

My friend Vic introduced me to the band/grammatical nightmare that is Los Campesinos! last year. I wasn’t so keen at first; wasn’t feeling Gareth David’s vocals – didn’t measure up to the guttural rasps of Joe Strummer, one of my heroes. But it’s grown on me. And grown, and grown.

That introduction! 90 seconds of gentle, floating chords, somehow building unchecked into a thunderous crescendo, an apocalyptic cacophony, it’s all too much, and then – and then – from nowhere – bright lights, clarity, melody! Drums and guitars and a sparkling xylophone tying it all together, jangling and smashing into one another fast and loose, so frenetic and desperate they could all burst into flame from their own energy and smash off the rails at any time into rabid white noise. That’s life, man. Right there. That’s everything.

And so last night I stumbled down the street to my flat overwhelmed with joy, because the right song always makes my heart explode. It doesn’t matter how fucked everything is, how lonely I feel, how stupid and hopeless in a foreign city with a shattered broken heart; the right song plays, and nothing – nothing­ – can get anywhere near me. It’s completely overwhelming and contagious, it’s whooshing over the towering brink on a rollercoaster – it’s beyond anything you can control, all you can do is hold on tight. I don’t know if other people feel this way or if it’s just me, but it doesn’t matter. Maybe I’m alone and weird, but it’s me, and I wouldn’t change it for everything because there’s not much I like about myself but fuck man – I cry from happiness at least a couple of times a week, and I cry from sadness about the same, and it’s exhausting but that’s just me and I love it; always has been, always will be, and I like feeling everything this much. So alive it burns inside. It’s just me. It’s Dan.

The song is steeped in 2008 mythology, crop tops and indie bands and singalongs in night clubs – the sort of antics that I miss so sorely in Berlin; fuck minimal techno and black clothes, all you lame-ass hipsters drowning in your nihilism and your cool apathy and your fear of ever having an original thought or a genuine feeling – Christ, I need the ecstasy of scream-singing into your best friend’s face, everyone covered in sweat and booze, the girls’ makeup all fucked and hair a mess and everyone skinny and skint and  wearing shit clothes because nobody has a clue how to dress.

And it’s this feeling that I just can’t let go of – the energy of it all, the mess, the clatter of being a daft little shit with an ego the size of a planet and somehow simultaneously an explosion of insecurities and mistakes. Being 24 – it just feels right. It feels good, it feels wonderful to not have to give a fuck, to have something to be angry about, a rage that you can’t put into words but just a sense of fight, all at once. And this song is as wild and stupid and fucking hectic as my own head on a Saturday night; those nights when you want everything at once and if you play your cards just right you’ll get it.

I remember those days back in Sheffield when I used to spend the days drinking with my best mate in the whole world, and we’d plan everything we were gunna do, and we’d dream too big and throw together grand plans and with the sun shining I always reckoned that we could have had the whole world if it took our fancy.

That’s what the best songs are to me – not songs at all, but bottled up feelings; captive rattling meteors. I have my world goggles that scream fire and my romance and it boils over sometimes and I get so wound up that my eyes fill up and I laugh out loud and I know in my heart I can change the world – and you’ve got to hang onto that, through everything.

Look, just play the fucking song alright, and tell me it doesn’t sound like all the youth and rebellion and uproar and violence and triumph and euphoria you’ve ever felt. If you don’t get it, you don’t get it; I don’t care, we don’t have to agree. It’s just me, doing me, being happy.

And I always get confused

Because in supermarkets, they turn the lights off when they want you to leave

But in discos, they turn them on

And it’s always sad to go, but it’s never that sad

Because there’s only so many places you’re guaranteed of getting a hug when you leave

And then on the way home, it always seems like a good idea to go paddling in the fountain

And that’s because it is a good idea

And we’re just like how Rousseau depicts man in the state of nature

We’re undeveloped, we’re ignorant

We’re stupid, but we’re happy

Today I Am Angry About: Brexit (Again)

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Here is my nuanced and articulate take on the process of Britain leaving the European Union:

It’s a fucking shit idea and we shouldn’t do it because it is blindingly obvious that it is going to ruin our entire country. And now, after one year of laughable ‘negotiations’ consisting entirely of various European politicians telling us repeatedly to fuck off, we are going to get our collective arse handed to us, adorned with fresh pink spank marks. BUT WHAT CAN WE DO?

Don’t worry, I’ve got this. Continue reading

Today I Am Angry About: Guns in the USA

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Do you ever gaze around you and feel disgusted with the world at large yet agonisingly powerless to do a damn thing about it? Yeah, same (and if you don’t – pull your face out of your gooch, man. Political apathy is for fucking dweebs and I’ve got no time for that shit).

There are a million topics ricocheting around my cranium right now, and for the sake of my own sanity I’m going to articulate one of them below, with nice little subheadings to save you the sheer exhaustion of proper reading.

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I once fired a machine gun in Las Vegas when I was 21 years old, because I was young and I thought it’d be cool, because Hollywood. It wasn’t cool, it was boring and terrifying, somehow simultaneously. I pulled the trigger, it made a loud bang, and suddenly there was a hole in the face of a human-shaped target. Truly, a thrilling experience well worth the violent deaths of thousands of schoolchildren. More than anything, I was just very aware that I was holding a heavy metal tool that was created solely, solely­, to kill. If I aimed it the wrong way I would kill someone, or myself. Continue reading

Sex and Insanity in a Haunted Hotel

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Part One: The Reunion

Two weeks ago I reconnected with someone from my past; a girl I loved once, very much. I hadn’t planned on it – I was simply sat alone one lunchtime by the canal near Admiralsbrücke watching the swans, enjoying the last warmth of the autumn sun, when I was clobbered out of nowhere by a brutal realisation. I owed this girl an apology. A really, really big apology. Maya tore me to ribbons, without a doubt, but her actions were the fallout of the explosion of my own idiocy. Continue reading

Just A Wonderful Quote

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I’m reading Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Every single line in the book is worthy of being typed out and framed in a gallery. It’s absolutely gorgeous and tragic and wonderful. I read the quote below this morning, near the end of the book. This one really struck out at me.

“You know, you’re a little complicated after all.”

“Oh no,” she assured him hastily. “No, I’m not really – I’m just a – I’m just a whole lot of different simple people.”

Prague Day 3: I Did Something Terrible

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MEGA QUICK RECAP: On Day 1, Alfie, Dave and I were forced to sleep rough. On Day 2 we irritated some Australians.

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It was our last full day in Prague, and so far our breezy trio had seen not one jot of the city – save for the various doorways and alleyways that we shivered in trying to snap up a wink of sleep in the midst of the bellows of Storm Herfna or Heroshi or whatever it was called. Crap storm anyway. I’ve had more ferocious bouts of wind. Goodness, aren’t I rather forthcoming and jubilant today? That’s what happens when I have my first coffee in a week. Better than crack. Not that I’ve ever smoked crack. As far as I know.

ANYWAY. Continue reading

Prague Day 2: Pissing Off Australians

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After our sleepless storm-hammered odyssey the previous evening, Dave, Alfie and I were finally allowed to crumble into our bunks at 3pm. I awoke three hours later; I was overtired and couldn’t sleep for nauseating nightmare flashes. It was dark and we’d missed the whole day, and we didn’t have the will or the strength to venture out again that evening in search of a party. Being homeless in a foreign city during a storm tends to quench your thirst for adventure a little. Continue reading

Prague Day 1: Sleeping Rough (or, What Happens When You Rely On Dave To Book Your Hostel)

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Dave had been prodding me in the ribs and asking about Prague for a couple of weeks. Petra and Leslie were driving down there for one night over the bank holiday weekend, and he wanted to road trip down with them. I wasn’t super keen – seemed like a long way to go for one night. However, a week or so ago I went for a beer with Hannah, and she mentioned she was heading down as well on the same weekend. Well, this was starting to sound more like a party. I told Dave next day and we booked a coach to Prague on the Saturday. We would dick about for a couple of nights, and Leslie and Petra would meet us on the Monday.

I was originally going to end that introduction with the tired old hook, ‘what could go wrong?’, however if you know me or have read anything at all on this site, you’ll know that really, that question is redundant. Of course everything went wrong. Of fucking course it did. Continue reading

Advice for the Average Depressed Millennial

millennials and depressionIn Berlin’s infuriating glitterscape I know three entire people who have written their own manifestos. Three: Annie, Emily, Dave. I like that; set down on wax who you are, what you are for, how you justify your existence, and what specific pains and lessons the earth has wrought upon you to fashion you into the sentient rib-eye steak you are today. The attempted manifestation of the blueprint of an individual’s soul; after being inspired by my friends, here is my own, about a subject very close to my heart; the sickness of my generation.
Continue reading