Fuck.

The amount of work I’ve suddenly had to do has made me turn to writing for a little procrastination. The deadlines coming up, the endless barrage of shifts serving drinks to terrible people and most recently – and most unexpectedly – romance coming at me from all sides. I’ve got a to-do list bigger than the Brexit bill and my way of dealing with it so far has been as improvisational and as random as David Davis’ negotiation style.

Maybe it’s just an inadvertent play act of Californication where I, in this strange moment, am Hank Moody, ‘drowning in a sea of pointless pussy’ much to the dismay and disgust of myself and peers. A massive exaggeration perhaps with that quote yet it’s the only way to describe it. Perhaps the solution is a case of pick someone or none of them and learn to love them or the decision. Being alone or without company for a long time develops a strange status quo and now this peaceful lake has a great big fucking turd floating across its waters. All options lead to compromise and as Hank Moody would attest to, quite simply, the word ‘fuck’. Like David Davis, I’m going to make it all up as I go along and when it turns out shit yet bearable or simply bearable, I’ll climb to atop Clifford’s Tower and proclaim: ‘aha! This was my plan all along’ and hope it sounds convincing, at least for myself.

It’s so draining, the lot of it. The long nights at the bar; the fun yet ultimately expensive nights out and, work – the actual reason I came to university in the first place. Is this just what to expect at second year of university? A delicate act of keeping a torrent of shit at bay with a flimsy umbrella made from the skin off your back, all the while shouting, ‘this is fine, it’s all fine, I’m fine’. Or is that just life itself rather than simply university? It doesn’t help that every project that we seem to create – if you can call what we do on this course creating – ends up like The Room and without all the charm of The Disaster Artist. Professional dissatisfaction behind the bar and camera, and then again in the romantic life. Fuck, not even twenty and I’m crashing against the ceiling that my dad is hitting now at forty-five.

Time is the enemy now more than ever as there’s never enough of it, not enough for sleep or half decent decision making. I keep finding myself saying to people that I’m surprised there hasn’t been more investment into time travel research; like pull your fucking finger out, Elon Musk, I need at least a week to work out what I’d prefer to spend my time around: a vegan fringe, stumpy thumbs or a Geordie accent. A sentiment that probably makes no sense whatsoever to anyone existing outside the soap opera of my life right now, but strangely despite the even more strange context of this clusterfuck, the wind is blowing towards the vegan fringe.

In any case: I need to drop a memo to Elon Musk, I hear he’s quite responsive on Twitter.

Fuck.

Catching Up/Shark Bait

The last few weeks have perhaps been the busiest in a long time. Which, to be honest, isn’t saying much considering that in the last month I’ve seemed to have lived more life than I have in a year. At long last, I got a job: bartending at a dive bar in York. While it is perhaps not the best place for someone with an already very limited faith in humanity and an addictive personality to boot, it’s been surprisingly one of the best things I’ve done. So far being the ‘Shark Bait’, I’ve been referenced to as the ‘otter’ and as of yet, I can’t seem to work out if it’s in reference to my love of smooth pebbles – if it is, I have no idea how my work mates would know about it – or, it’s just I’m too short and skinny to be a bear.

It’s going rather well, as a way to meet new people, learn how to make drinks and most importantly, get out of the fucking house. That last part is becoming a problem considering tonight and the last are the first two where I have been absent from the bar since I started working there, on or off shift. A part of me feels like it’s a rite of passage for everyone who works at a bar to become a little addicted to the atmosphere or at least any place where you enjoy working. As someone who has only ever been a prefect or a pot-washer for six weeks, its strangely refreshing, terrifying and brilliant. It seems that every shift is like a slide at a water park: lots of build up; an uneasy gut before the rush; bemused life guards who know what you’re in for and then, wham. A torrent of drunk customers needing ID checks, cocktails, jaeger-bombs and a quick exit to throw up.  One thing is for sure: there are a lot of absolute wanker customers.

I took a break from the action last week and took a day trip to Leeds which I was told was the heart of sophisticated Yorkshire and I know now, to never trust a single lying word that comes out of that person’s mouth again. Despite the grandeur of the metropolitan city; the bustle reinforced by the difficulty getting an Uber to the station; and the endless fucking Starbucks outlets, the Wagamamas there does a real shitty job of a teriyaki soba. I’ve spoken about greener grass before and how in fact there is no such thing as greener grass and it’s all a self-serving fallacy, something wholly reinforced by how disillusioned I was with the place. While my friends claim that ‘it’s the best for a night out’, I don’t think you can beat a familiar gin and tonic in the bar you work at with people you can actually talk to.

While I have been busy and am set to be busier with university work, I hope to get more involved in writing. Every day that has passed and I haven’t exposed my whiny bullshit to the world, I feel like a bad Catholic guiltily glancing at the confessional booth. Which ironically, as an agnostic in a spiritual if not Catholic family, hopping from one existential crisis to the next, is exactly me. On the positive, the time I no longer have is being filled by actual real life not just festering in my room getting angry at things I have no control over.  Still, I can’t pull a good pint to save my life – all froth no ale. Also, did I just coin a new idiom? I’ll be throwing that one about the bar that’s for sure.

‘Shark Bait’ for the win.

Catching Up/Shark Bait

Taxi

For the past few days I’ve been entertaining family who stayed here in York. Out of that time, the stand out moment was when a taxi driver expressed his dismay at another driver not moving when the traffic light turned green. His words were ‘you couldn’t make it up’, ‘you couldn’t write this’, ‘this is something absolutely unbelievable’ and my personal favourite, ‘from being a taxi driver for twenty years, I’m still stunned at how incredible drivers can be’. My take-away from his apparent level of shock was: Christ, you must have a really boring fucking life.

It was depressing it really was and that became so ‘incredible’ that I forgot about the initial annoyance I felt from having to wait for the driver in front to move. Moments like that remind me of why I came to university in the first place. It wasn’t to get a meaningful degree or to make some kind of impassioned difference in the world, it was to make sure that I had somewhere to go that wasn’t working a similar nine-to-five where some prick driver becomes something ‘you couldn’t write’. I’m up to my neck in debt and I think it’s a fair trade off because otherwise I’d be stuck in a dead-end town that Nigel Farage called a slum, working with my mother and step-father in a regional based vending machine company – quite possibly coming home every day complaining about how much of a bitch Carol is like they have for fifteen years.

I haven’t been writing as much as I would have liked recently perhaps waiting for some sort of inspiration without realising that I always have something to write about. That being every time I walk down the street, sit down in lecture, hell, buy an overpriced hot chocolate from Costa, I’m reminded that I’m not back home. It’s not being stuck in a purgatory made normality. Understandably, it makes me sound like a prick with a superiority complex the size of the US national deficit, but is that not the whole point of ambition whether it be to win The Apprentice or just to be able to live a life of one’s own choosing?

My mother keeps telling me to remember where I come from like every other clichéd escapist story who has left home to find pastures new. Yet I like every other cliché will be eating my words the day the debt accumulated by that ambition will land me in a nine-to-five. To be fair, from what I hear, Carol is a massive pain in the arse.

Taxi

The Caterpillar

Being at university is a weird age and time where we’re all too young and poor to actually accomplish anything yet there’s never been more ambition in the room. On top of that, everyone is so carefully trying to reinvent themselves, to hide the fact that once upon a time the edgy artist was once the asthmatic sitting out of P.E. like the rest of us. I’m not saying people don’t accomplish anything while pissing away thousands both on the lectures themselves and up the brick cladding of a dive bar – they do. It’s just never you, it will always be a one-in-a-million story you see on Facebook which incidentally came about from one of those stories.

For the rest of us, it’s all about trying not to go completely broke and trying not to be drowned by our own panic, whether it be moral or otherwise. I’m at the end of my first year at university and coming to my second which, while demonstrating how much time flies when you’re treading water, has also demonstrated how much life can be lived in ten months compared to nineteen years. Maybe I’m alone in being totally, if not completely, disillusioned with the education sector as I was sold on the fraternities and sororities of the United States with a generous splash of good-times and repartee, not seeing those grey skies when everyone else sees a perfect baby blue. In fact, the only good times that I can say I’ve had in my university experience thus far is when I was as far out of my own mind as I could possibly go.

I’ve asked several friends about this to see if I was alone in being fed up of campus living and the resounding answer I received was: ‘maybe you shouldn’t have got involved with so many psychos’. That made me laugh because while I have crammed more life lived in ten months than nineteen years while being here, I have also met and stuck around with more of those edgy artists than some do in a lifetime.

It’s the realisation that the system isn’t broken it’s the people in it.

The situation is reminiscent of a James Bond movie: the villain makes it. While I can’t work out who the villains are until it’s too late or if I’m my own antagonist, in a twisted sense, I’m not sure if I’d have it any other way.  It’s not as exciting as MI6 and flying around the world, bedding Playboy models but in a weird way, it remains exciting. What shit will be flung at us next? It’s a strange, dandy misery where I can see the foetus of a great story being formed from us all. On the microscopic, it’s a story of personal development and a hypnotic adventure while on the gigantic, it’s all of human history interlinked and moving through time like Lewis Carroll’s Caterpillar.

The oddity and constant oxymoronic nature of life at a university in 2017 is, as I find to be, a microcosm for human life: everyone fucking each other; fighting each other; panicking about finances, and just generally trying to stay afloat. Or stranger still, like those one-in-a-million stories: changing the world.

The Caterpillar