On The Whole ‘London’ Thing, Which Probably Seems Quite Sudden But Was In Fact A Very Considered Decision

I don’t remember whether I already wrote about why exactly I came to London, or how. I like these diaries to have some narrative sense to them but I often worry they don’t, because I write them so sporadically and unevenly. So – here’s the abridged version of the whole London thing, for the sake of clarity.

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On Interior Design and The Brilliance of English Grass

I can’t remember what I wrote on this site about my trip to Latin America last year. I think I wrote good things – or at least, 90% good things with the usual ‘wahey’ shenanigans thrown in. In truth though, and certainly upon reflection, I didn’t love the trip. I definitely loved bits of it, like standing on an erupting volcano and swimming in a warm bioluminescent sea, but there was a heck of a lot of slogging to get from good bit to good bit – and not just slogging, but dangerous slogging. Like the bus ride to San Cristobal: a nightmarish twelve hours careening through dark mountain passes, being pulled over every hour by ominous squads of ‘police’ who wore revolvers but no visible badges. There was a lot of that. There was a lot of other stuff that sucked too, which I never wrote down and don’t really like to talk about.

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On Juggling and Denzel Washington

Started learning to juggle. Dunno why really. It’s just cool, isn’t it? When you discover that someone you know can juggle, you always find them a bit more interesting – a little bit more mysterious. Because who in their right mind learns to juggle? What’s the benefit? Surely it takes a very long time to get good at it – and who has a very long time to do anything these days, let alone whap a trio of soft balls endlessly from palm to palm? And then there’s the practical stuff: how did they learn? You never walk through the park and see a would-be juggler at the outset, teetering around with their neck craned skywards and arms windmilling, balls flying everywhere as they grimace and whisper ‘oh fucking hell’. If you see someone juggling in a park, they can already juggle well. Who trains them? There’s something a tiny bit magical about it.

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I Intended This One To Be A ‘Year In Review’ Type Thing, But I Immediately Got Carried Away Talking About How Much I Love Teaching

Because I don’t have any better ideas, I’ll begin by describing the room I am in. It is a bedroom. It is a bedroom in my mum and stepdad’s house, in Bardsey, in Leeds, in Yorkshire, in England. It wasn’t always mine, this room: it used to be Charlie’s, back when he was finishing Sixth Form and I was away gallivanting. For many years, I had no permanent room in this house. That’s changed now: this room is largely considered to be “Dan’s’ room”, because for the last year or so I’ve been living in it. Nice to have a room.

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AK ’23 | Last Legs Pt 2

Shit. How deep had my sleep been?! Annie’s flight was 11am, and we’d been intent on staying awake all through the night ahead of it. We’d failed, obviously – and as an extra kicker, apparently I’d been irretrievably catatonic. After everything – our three week adventure – we hadn’t even been able to say goodbye. My stomach twisted with guilt and confusion. Surely not. How?! 

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AK ’23 | Last Legs Pt 1

On our final day together, Annie and I spent the afternoon in a relaxed fashion: we found a cafe near Leah’s place and sat down to write and eat cake. It was a trendy, young place, Scandi-chic, far less intimidating than the bistros of central Paris with their chalkboard menus covered in dense, illegible scrawl. On one of the cafe’s exterior walls, facing a sidestreet, somebody had spray painted a vaguely left-wing proclamation in French, translating roughly as ‘down with fascism!’. A little further down the street, someone else had written ‘hipsters fuck off’.

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AK ’23 | The Destroyer of Molluscs

We did Paris stuff on our second day in Paris; tourist bits, lots of walking. I love walking in big cities – doesn’t matter how far. I love walking anywhere, just trundling along chatting and looking at things. It might actually be my favourite thing to do, now that I think about it. I’m 30 years old and I’d genuinely rather take a one-hour stroll through a park than spend five hours in some swanky rooftop bar with a pool. Annie is not as fond of walking as me, which is why I always have to lie to her about the distances it says on the map.

“So how far is it to this cemetery?”

“It’s just, uhhhh…” I glanced at my phone: 43 minutes to Père-Lachaise. “Another twenty mins or so.”


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AK ’23 | A Grassy Hilltop in Paris

“So you do all the maps and navigating and stuff. What do I bring to the table in this travel duo?”

We were in a taxi on the way to the airport, for an 11am flight to Paris.

“Don’t be daft. You contribute loads. You make me do things I don’t want to do.”

“Yeah,” said Annie slowly, looking out of the window as Lisbon’s trams and tiles flicked by. “Yeah, I do. I introduce you to a wealth of interesting new experiences.”

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AK ’23 | Ships in the Night

As the sun rose on our second day in Lisbon, I lay in bed dreaming a strange dream. It felt like an astral projection: I could see myself asleep in my bed, see Annie asleep across the room, but I was able to get up and walk around – and Annie too. I talked to the dream Annie as the real one slept.

“Let her sleep dude,” said the dream Annie. “Let’s go explore until she wakes up.”

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