Drink, Play, Loathe: Day 7.5, Venice After Dark

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Drink, Play, Loathe: Day 7, Venice by Sunlight

It’s 11pm and my last night in Venice has been spent in the hostel bar, after a lonesome meal by the canal on a candlelit terrace, where the waiter felt sorry for me and gave me free wine, with a wink. I was extremely humbled and grateful until the bill came and I found I’d been given free wine but charged 4 euros for a glass of tap water. Bastardo.

I was hoping to meet the Toronto girls from yesterday and chill, but they’ve gone to the opera. I had a look at tickets and they were around 40 each, so no. Instead, I sat myself at a central table in the hostel bar and nursed a beer, my eyes roving around the bar for a friendly face. A group of Spaniards in animated chatter, no; a rabble of droopy eyed Englishmen all attempting to charm the same one American girl, no; a middle aged Chinese couple knotted up in each other on the sofa, no. So that’s the kind of evening it was to be, then. I began to unpack my bag with a sigh, reaching for Kafka, my most loyal friend of late; a twisted, morbid companion, but a companion nonetheless.

‘How’s it going, mate?’ Continue reading

Drink, Play, Loathe: Day 3, Paris

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Drink, Play, Loathe – Day 2, Paris

Woke up at 3am because Aish, one of the Canadian girls, was talking in her sleep. Her mumbles continued for some time, then grew into tossing and turning, then thrashing, until at 4am she swung her legs over the bunk, dropped onto the floor, and sleep-sprinted out of the room in her knickers. Her friend Sarah jumped up and grabbed her, then must have remembered not to wake a sleepwalker, and simply followed her out of the dorm. I shrugged and fell back asleep. Continue reading

Drink, Play, Loathe: Day 1, Paris

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It’s just after 7pm, and it’s been a strange sort of day. I feel like I’ve done a huge amount, and yet due to my exhaustion none of it feels real. I’ve been dreaming.

After waking in Berlin at 4am, I landed in France at 8.30 this morning and got the train into Paris. I got very confused and lost in the station, and finally arrived at my hostel around 10.45, and tried to check in. The girl looked at me like I was a half wit. Check in isn’t until 2, of course. I took my backpack and slunk off into the city. I decided the Louvre would be first. Continue reading

Drink, Play, Loathe: The Trip

“Never go on trips with anyone you do not love.” 

― Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

So, I’ve been on a trip of Europe, and kept a diary all the while. If travelling is anything at all, it is unpredictable, and the trip I expected to have was, as is usually the case, radically different to the reality. Modern life is a series of spinning plates, and the more you age, the better you become at keeping them spinning. I am young, and youth is wonderful, but the trade off of so much freedom is that fairly regularly, largely due to my own gross incompetence at being alive, my plates come crashing down around me all at once, and I am left lying bruised and stupid beneath a heap of porcelain. Continue reading

Missing Havana

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Yesterday I was searching for some music to listen to. I was listening to Rodriguez, because I’m slow on the uptake of what’s cool and I’d only just heard the soundtrack to Searching for Sugar Man and loved it. I began poking around in different genres, and I stumbled across Buena Vista Social Club. I threw on their album, and sat still, amazed. Man, those guitars, those soft, complex nylon strings. Those soulful voices, those drums. Chan Chan. I knew that song, or I had once known it, somewhere far away. I’d heard it before, two years ago on the far side of the world. I put my head in my hands and closed my eyes and I was there again. Continue reading

A List of Shit I’m Going to Do This Year Unless the World Ends, Which It Probably Will, Because Donald Trump is a Moron

Yo yo, no pissing away time with introductory paragraphs on this blog. Nah, here we go, a straight up list written in an impassioned frenzy while listening to Thin Lizzy.

  • Join a gym, get fit again, develop buns of steel, abs of marble and guns of granite.
  • Join boxing classes in order to become DEADLY with my fists to the point where I need to get them registered as concealed weapons and obtain a permit to have them on me at any point.
  • (Assuming Donald Trump doesn’t accidentally-on-purpose destroy life as we know it) Buy a moped for whizzing around the city like a bat out of, uh, Leeds.
  • Visit 10 new countries, specifically including Morocco because I want to ride a camel drunk through the desert while scream-singing ‘Arabian Nights’ until everyone tells me to fuck off.
  • Visit every club in Berlin, because it’d be rude not to.
  • (If we are not incinerated in a nuclear holocaust courtesy of bumbling onion-hakwer Donald Trump) I will sort out the damned hole in my tooth that has been on/off hurting for about a year.
  • Convince my dad that Jeremy Corbyn isn’t the bastard he bizarrely thinks he is, and that Socialism is actually quite a good and pleasant idea.
  • Do not sit quietly and tolerate any more pro-capitalism arguments that are silly and nonsensical, including:
  1. Socialism is just leeching off rich people! (No it isn’t, but capitalism is leeching off poor people)
  2. It’s always been this way! (No it hasn’t)
  3. There will always be rich people and poor people! (No there won’t)
  4. Socialism will never work because of human nature! (Nope, humans are a product of their environment)
  5. But it’s my money! (Kim, there are people that are dying)
  • Stay angry, stay passionate, hold onto my ideals, and advocate positive change in the world.
  • Keep listening to the Clash.
  • Make a shitload of weird new friends.
  • Take up graffiti. Seems fun. I could write choice Clash lyrics. Or draw dicks!
  • Try out a new haircut (just kidding, I’m not going completely mental).
  • Make an arch rival, a nemesis, someone who I can occasionally do battle with, etc. I feel like it’d be a good motivator.
  • (If Donald Trump hasn’t already destroyed literature and held mass book burning rallies) I plan to read ridiculous amounts of books and get really smart and stuff.
  • Either buy a guitar or fly my own over from Blighty. Start a fucking great band and make songs about how shit everything is and do Joe Strummer proud.
  • Get more articles published – Vice and the Guardian are the two I’m aiming for, and they have thus far met my pitches with agonising silence. God dammit.
  • Keep in touch with my friends back home and don’t change into an arsehole just because I live in Berlin now.
  • (If there are any left that haven’t been hurled into camps) I will help refugees, help the homeless, volunteer and try to make things generally better.
  • Get involved in more political activity, maybe get arrested and shot for my beliefs after making an incendiary speech that echoes down the annals of history and eventually leads to the uprising that will free the poor and downtrodden from their shackles, something like that, idk.
  • Never pay that stupid rail fine even if it means I am slung into a gulag and forced to swing a pickaxe for the next 80 years. FUCK THE MAN.
  • Be a successful vegetarian. Learn to cook wicked veggie meals and get buff off of vegetables and prove everyone wrong that said I would fail miserably and look unhealthy and be all pale and skinny. I will eat no meat and I will be a bronzed Hercules.
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‘Look, it’s cold in here, okay?’

  • Pay off my overdraft and for the first time in five years have a bank balance that doesn’t start with a ‘minus’ sign.
  • (Assuming Donald Trump’s greasy fake-tanned finger hasn’t slithered all over the Big Red Button and turned all to ashes) I plan to become more attractive. To either sex. All attention is good.

And last but not least, the most noble of my aspirations for the coming twelve months: get laid in a Berlin nightclub. But, again, that’s not likely to happen, as we will probably have all been machine gunned to death by swooping drones because someone on Twitter called Donald Trump a bull-frog-throated cock ring with a voice like Porky Pig that looks like someone skinned the Honey Monster, then reanimated it’s swollen corpse using a brain taken from one of those small yapping dogs everyone hates.

Good grief, what a visual metaphor.

The Berlin Diaries – New Year’s Eve

After three weeks at home in Leeds for the Christmas holidays, I flew back to Berlin on the 31st of December at 4.45pm. My lovely grandad gave me a lift to the airport, and thanks to 17 years in the military his punctuality is such that it goes way past being sensible and gets rather ridiculous. Four hours early, then, I checked in and sat drinking Guinness and reading until my flight – the last flight out of the airport that day, as everyone who wasn’t a moron had already got their flights out of the way, not saved them for last thing on New Year’s Eve.

Continue reading