Travel Blog 17; 5 Signs That You’re Growing Up

I turned 27 a couple of weeks ago.

Just had to let that opener sink in for a few minutes, I don’t quite know how it happened but I cant quite shake the feeling that this is all somehow Theresa May’s fault. I don’t know, seems like everything else going on at the moment is. This is not a political post though so I digress.

As a guy who lives in a hostel in Sydney in a dorm with 7 other beds, drinks beer and Goon most nights with Germans, South Americans and French people, smokes…Things. Listens to Hip Hop and proudly wears t-shirts emblazoned with Star Wars, Marvel, Super Mario and John Cena imagery its hard to admit that TECHNICALLY in the eyes of most civilisations I am growing up! As a guy who, in all honesty, fled my motherland with the full intention of prolonging this process its even harder to admit that its happening faster than I could have imagined and the signs are showing.

Now relax people we are going to have some fun here! I don’t have any grey hairs yet and I still find farts funny. Its just that as I sit here in a surprisingly comfortable bath robe that they gave me at a nightclub a few weeks back, for some reason, I cannot help but acknowledge the fact that I’m growing up. So what follows is a personal countdown of the 5 signs of maturity/growing up that I have recently encountered. Buckle up people and get ready for some references that if your younger than 23 you just might have to jump up and catch.

1. Beer Belly/Dad Bod

I swear to God when I was a kid I was the envy of every adult and adolescent in my circle. Even my teachers wanted to kill me, for other reasons aside from this but mainly because I could eat anything I wanted and wouldn’t gain an ounce. When I was in the swim team the instructor used to bring a pack of Polo mints to class and tell me they were for in-case I started drowning and this one time this tall kid 4 years above me put me through a low-level basketball hoop! I actually came out unscathed mainly because I slid straight through it like a needle through a thread.

The reason for the envy though was because although I had a body like a Timon I had a diet like Pumbaa! The trend of non-consequential eating continued until about 3 months ago when I stumbled out of bed to the bathroom, took one look in the mirror and was greeted by a very real voice in my head saying a very real thing; “Bozz you look terrible!” He was right as well. With my bald head, sticking out belly and less definition than an empty dictionary I looked like a white Skin from Skunk Anansie going into labour.

Gone is the care free diet. Don’t get me wrong I drink and smoke whenever the feeling comes over me (pay day, when I have to talk to girls, Sundays etc) but I’m trying to limit the amount of red meat, sugar and fast-food in my diet and although I slip and slip hard its starting to pay dividends.

2. Nightclubs Suck!

They probably have done for a while, particularly in Australia, but I’m just really not feeling the scene these days. I cant be arsed dressing up too much, the drinks are overpriced, the bouncers operate an ‘If Your Happy and You Know It Your Too Drunk’ policy and the music…Well that’s something else.

I haven’t heard any of it before! Hell, I didn’t even know what ‘Dabbing’ was until somebody in WWE started doing it during their ring entrance and its probably outdated by now as well. The other night me and a friend were standing around in a Sydney Nightclub as the DJ played, what sounded like 20 straight minutes of Lil Kendrick Dolla Sign until he randomly threw in one of my personal guilty pleasures; Right Thurr by Chingy. I hit the dancefloor like a Whale to a paddling pool and the shapes came out. Problem is that out of everybody in this place 50% of them might not have even been alive let alone listening in 2003 and after one run of the chorus instead of being told how he “Likes the way she looks in them pants” it was back to the Swag-Pack. This definitely never used to happen but the truth is musically my finger hasn’t been on the pulse for so long that I’m not even sure its still beating!

*And the music’s so bloody loud!……Jokes….*

3. Hangovers

Most people go travelling in search of life-changing experiences. This starry-eyed wonder is no exception but on the way I also went and found some life-changing hangovers. Up until about 5 months ago week-long benders were not uncommon. Yet its like something fell out of place inside me as now I find myself in a place where every time I choose to get on it I need to take into account the very realistic possibility that the next day will be a complete right-off. Do not schedule any work appointments, dates, sporting activities or social interactions of any merit the day after a sesh and for God-sake keep the route between you and the toilet bowl clear…

4. Less Tolerant

I actually don’t see this one as a bad thing. By less tolerant I by no means mean less accepting of any colour, race, gender, orientation, political or religious belief. I hate you all and I always have.

What I mean is less tolerance towards b*lls*it. Once upon a time I was the type of person that would run my mouth until it started sweating and losing weight trying to force conversation with people when I met them. The type of person that would hold my tongue tighter than a pair of tweezers when a person downright besmirched me for the sake of a quiet life and to not offend. The type of person that would become infatuated with members of the fairer sex and chase them blindly ignoring the way that they treated me like something that they stepped in, displayed insufferable personality traits or just downright weren’t interested.

Now if you are a reader who is also a Dyspraxic with their feet planted firmly within ‘The Spectrum’ then you will fully appreciate how exhausting the above can be. If your not just take my word for it; it f*cking is! People take the p*ss. Sometimes you do, sometimes I do, sometimes we don’t realise we’re doing it and sometimes we downright do. Sometimes people click and are meant to share good times and sometimes they just aren’t and this is fine.

Nowadays I make my mind up on whether to pursue a conversation with a person within the first 2 minutes and base it on a few things; eye contact, tone of voice, returning of questions and faith in my own judgement of character. If they don’t want it I’ll stop giving it after those 120 seconds. If a person moves my stuff, steals my food, wakes me up when I’ve got work or insults me personally they will know about it. Woman doesn’t want to know? She’s not going to and I don’t break my back trying to force a stone to bleed blood.

I suppose the long and short of it is I’ve KIND OF stopped giving a f*ck. Don’t get me wrong I still endeavour to be polite (no, seriously), endeavour to be kind and helpful (NO, SERIOUSLY!) and treat people with respect. I just expect it back and if you find the way that I strut around singing the music from my headphones enthusiastically, drape my Welsh flag across my bed in hostels when I’m on bottom bunks and how every now and then I just flat out do not want to be around other living things to be problematic then I don’t know what I can do for you buddy.

5. You’re not Proposing Are You!?

Yeah, my friends back home are moving on up like M People. Now I wasn’t one of those chumps who really believed he could go away for more than a year and everything would pause like an episode of Bernard’s Watch until I came home but this is scary!
Since leaving 2 of my besties have decided to tie the knot. I’m over the moon for them not least of all because they’ve chosen to do it with exceptional people who couldn’t have been more made for them and the stag doo’s will be heavy (better write off the next two days after those!). However as I tuck into my noodles and tuna and pour myself a glass of white wine that came out of a cardboard box with a bag inside this information does set the voice off again. This time with a statement along the lines of “S*it dude where’s your lady? Where’s your career? Where’s your Car and seriously do you really hand-wash your Draws!?”

Truth is this guy isn’t too hard to drown out but it doesn’t mean he isn’t there and it doesn’t mean that he isn’t a sign of the times. In the eyes of a lot of people me and my cohorts live a lifestyle that’s unorthodox. Believe me explaining it to the average 21-30 year old lady in Sydney is as much of a turn-off as handing her a handkerchief and asking her what it smells like. So I just tell them I’m an Astronaut and they don’t respond to that either. WHAT DO YOU WOMEN WANT!? Most job openings finish with a statement along the lines of ‘No Backpackers’ and like any of us could ever afford a car or regular use of the laundry machines!

Seriously though this last one is probably the biggest sign of growing up and it does hammer home the reality that nothing lasts for ever and at some point I will be forced to live a somewhat normal life. Hoping this doesn’t end things on a downer because on the whole my life at the moment is a blast, has been for some time and I don’t intend it to stop anytime soon its just that…27 man! Twenty-F*cking-Seven!

I’m Tha Bozz and that’s my opinion.

Travel Blog 12; In Need of a Second Wind

Although it might not be The Ritz, more like The Nits, I must say that my last hostel had some surprisingly strong Wi-Fi going for it. So strong in fact that I was able to use it to catch up on the previous weekends card of boxing. Predictably enough Anthony Joshua did away with Eric ‘ Upper Mid-Card At Best’ Molina in efficient fashion but it was Whyte vs Chisora that was the real highlight. Two very good but not quite great British heavyweights trading blows for 12 straight rounds and although they may have been gassed after 5 of them and neither would have stood a chance in a title bout you cant deny that it was exciting and both guys showed more guts than a Romero marathon.

Now my mind works in mysterious ways and as one of my few readers you may wonder how and why it managed to draw a comparison between the sight of these two pugilists scraping all the way back in Manchester and my current mind state and stage of my journey. It did though and I felt inclined to write about it, that’s kind of how it works for me. The main reason for this being that, like the once mighty but ultimately underachieving Dereck Chisora at the sound of the fifth bell, I am frankly gassed and although I have the urge to keep moving forward I feel like I could use a second wind.

Now don’t get me wrong my travels are nothing like a boxing match. I don’t get paid to do it and only 3 people in the last 13 months have tried to punch me and only one of them succeeded (and that chicks hands were so dainty and soft it could hardly be considered a punch) but mainly due to some culture shocks, serious jumps in temperature, a bout of illness and the fact that I’m not a massive fan of my current location a few days ago I seriously contemplated packing up, saying ‘f*ck it!’ and heading home. I mean just because Australia have accepted me doesn’t mean I have to go.

Its true though, this writer is not a big fan of Malaysia. Thailand was great; the weather was pleasantly hot, the booze was cold and readily available. The locals ,although basic at best when it came to English, were still relatively warm and helpful and it was impossible not to meet other travellers and despite what some will tell you the country is well organised and the locals play a fair game. Singaporeans are also cool and having my own local guide and friend at hand made the country a particular highlight for me. Alternatively and I must stress that this is PURELY my own opinion derived from my own experiences but Malaysia feels like a direct paradox. The weather is sticky and suffocating, drinking is frowned upon and expensive and perhaps most distressing of all; the locals I have interacted with are flippant, rude, unhelpful and, dare I say, rather prejudice and incredibly dishonest. Oh and they spit, by God they love a good hawk and even more so when it almost hits your shoes and the sight of some 5,3 local Malay-Indian lass in KL with a pair of the fastest, hardest and most dangerously accurate fists I’ve ever seen literally giving some poor European girl the Floyd Mayweather treatment (complete with head movements, foot-work and taunting!) outside a restaurant nearly had me packing there and then. Swear to God despite the predictable size difference Whitey didn’t stand a chance and it took 3 guys to eventually pull the local girl away, one of those ‘you know its bad but you just cant stop watching’ type of scenarios! That along with the way that they pretend they cant understand you when you ask them questions, allow others to be served before you despite you being ahead in the lines, tut at you in the street and purposely block your way on pavements to try and force you onto the road all leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Oh and I once caught one guy in a hostel trying to go through my trousers (no I wasn’t wearing them!) thankfully a fellow traveller dived in as well meaning that he won’t be trying that again anytime soon and some jelly-brained chick at a bus station purposely sold me a ticket to Singapore for the wrong date forcing me to pay twice because, you know, white privilege and stuff right?

Don’t get me wrong its nothing I cant handle. Having people stare disapprovingly at me as I walk down the street and trying to block my path is eerily like what walking down the school corridors was like back in Corpus Christi High and for all the flaws the women in this country are often incredibly striking, when they aren’t Mohammed Ali reincarnated and trying to do the striking, but it does zap the soul a little. Making friends in Malaysia is more difficult as there are generally less travellers, they seem less inclined to socialise (with the exception of Penang) and as mentioned the locals just don’t want to know meaning it can even get a little lonely.

Couple this with the aforementioned intense heat of Asia, the different food and the fact that a lot of local people give off a ‘We want your cash but make no mistake you aren’t welcome here’ vibe and treat and speak to you in a manner that would have the socialists and liberals of the UK up in arms if we did it to our visitors and the whole thing has got me feeling a little disheartened.

I’m finding it harder to get up in the mornings, I walk around in directionless dazes, partly due to my British-ness but also down to past experiences I hate asking for directions or help and, for the first time in years, I’m struggling to socialise. I’ve also developed a greater sense of paranoia towards strangers and although I’ve secretly known this all along its still tough having to witness first hand that double standards and the judging of people before you know them based alone on their appearance or race is not an exclusively western thing. In fact if anything and for a number of reasons they’re worse for it here. Who would have guessed?

Now please don’t get this twisted I am not trying to discourage people from visiting SE Asia, or even Malaysia, rather just exposing a few home truths that are not going to be exposed in the brochures, on the websites or by the travel agents. You will get heat stroke, you will get sick, you will get scammed and quite a few of the people there perceive you as a millionaire who has never worked a day in his or her life (when ironically their job consists of sleeping on a desk and telling people ‘no have’ or ‘don’t know’ in response to simple questions) so in their eyes you deserve such treatment and aren’t really a human being like they are. Not always the case but often enough to make it worth mentioning. Fact is that as rewarding as it is long term travel can become oddly stressful and can tire you out and you’ll certainly find yourself going through peaks and troughs. Mainly because when things do go tits up there’s nothing you can do about it. Most times its small things that are worth just laughing about but occasionally it can throw things into chaos and the lack of empathy from the people at fault can be enraging and believe me they are usually at fault.

Metaphorically I guess I could say that this stage of my journey is like that 6th round in the fight where exhaustion is starting to set in and I need to land something good to spur me on. However as mentioned, the situation isn’t nearly that desperate or strenuous and its important to keep that mentality in mind as even through the tough times being able to travel is a privilege. It is however a personal challenge at times and like our old boys Dereck and Dillian I plan to power through and go the distance. I just hope that Cambodia is bringing a different vibe to the party. Just calling it how I see it and have experienced it as always so I sincerely hope none of the opinions in this piece have caused any offense and as previously mentioned I am not judging entire races, religions, groups or genders; just the ones I’ve met.

I’m Tha Bozz and that’s my opinion.

Yes, this is a Star Wars Post!

Star-Wars-Weekends-Logo-2013

I haven’t posted anything in quite a long time and for this I apologise. I have no excuse other than things have been rather busy at the moment and as a result my head feels like theirs a comprehensive Megadeth reunion tour taking place inside it and my body feels like it’s been through 3 full rounds of professional boxing with the Mike Tyson from the 80’s whilst having my 4 different limbs tied to 4 different horses running in 4 different directions. Honestly, I took a look in the mirror the other day and thought that the person staring back at me was a vampire and it’s literally getting to the point where I’m going to the gym to ‘relax’, so actually I guess I kind of do have an excuse. Alas I do miss my WordPress account a great deal though, I’m getting pretty sick of calling it a ‘blog’ because the more I use the word the more it sounds like the name given to a fat, sloth-like water creature that resides in dirty lagoons, bathes in frog spawn and subdues its live prey by farting into the water but I digress. I do miss it because it’s therapeutic and believe me we all need therapy just ask my therapist and unfortunately simply walking out of my apartment and shouting a similar group of phrases to the ones you are now reading at the first passer by that I see is the type of behaviour that can get you placed in one of those rooms where everything is white and padded and your lunch is fed to you via syringe.

One thing I have noticed in my absence though is that the internet is rather rife with Star Wars related posts as of late. This is mainly due to the fairly recent news that Lucas has finally decided to step down from the position of Project Director of ‘Operation kill and butcher the franchise that we all knew and loved as children’ and has instead decided to pass the buck over to another party so they can do the exact same thing whilst he watches from the side lines. The other party is of course Disney and predictably enough this news has been met with a mixed reaction. I’m not going to throw my largely speculative and largely irrelevant 2 cents into this one because let’s face it; it’s pretty much just that isn’t it? Purely speculative and completely irrelevant, there’s a good chance the new trilogy is going to come out and stink worse than my Blog Monster mentioned earlier but my foot will be lodged firmly in my own mouth if it comes out and ends up being the best creation since the guy with the stick and the rock and I’ve spent the previous 2 years ripping the very concept a new arse hole.

I actually feel a little bit sorry for J.J. Abrams for being the guy selected to carry the torch for this new trilogy. The task of keeping the millions of ridiculously hard to please, not to mention, ridiculously disillusioned fan-boys happy is one that makes the prospect of Jedi training seem like a week long holiday to a five-star suite in Hawaii where, as Mr Michael once put it, the Club Tropicana drinks are indeed as free as the day is long and simply kicking your heels together gets you a free ‘massage’ from Freida Pinto and Haile Berry whenever you so desire it. The amount of damage that the recent trilogy has done to the credibility of the franchise has been detrimental in the eyes of some and it’s a little hard to argue with these people. Many people criticised the Ewoks in Return of the Jedi for being silly and pointless and saw the prospect of these 3 foot primitives armed with stones and sticks defeating a battle hardened army of 6 foot storm troopers armed with guns and a love of all things Dark Side to be ridiculous. It’s a fair point in my eyes, so the people responsible for The Phantom Menace respond to these criticisms by creating Jar-Jar Binks a character so unbelievably irritating that he makes Peaches Geldof seem bearable, so unbelievably racist and degrading that he makes the black fella’s in Cool Running’s seem factually accurate and so unbelievably stupid that he unwittingly grants the Dark Lord of the Sith who wants to destroy and rule the galaxy the authority and means to do just that. Not to mention that the character essentially ruined the career of Ahmed Best, a guy who is actually pretty damn talented and is really only guilty by association.

Then you’ve got some of the criticism centred on the character of Princess Leia. Some fan boys, particularly in A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back, describe her character as broody, obnoxious and generally unlikeable, again fair points. So the team behind the newer trilogy respond to these criticisms by creating Queen Amidala of Naboo. The first thing that you’ll notice about this character when you see her is she is royalty through and through and I mean the old school kind of royalty, caked in white make-up, flamboyant garments and enough ice to make the hottest room temperature drop. The second thing you’ll notice is that she’s an arsehole, again through and through. Her planet is being invaded by an army of soulless Droids who are under orders to kill anything that gets in their way and she says that she ‘won’t condone an act that will lead us to war’. Has it not dawned on her by now that while she sits in her fancy thrown room that war is already upon her? You can’t really be ‘lead’ to something that’s already banging on your front door and wiping its dirty shoes on your welcome mat. Even worse, when the senate vote to send inspectors to her planet to survey the situation she turns them down, stating that she wants the problem resolved immediately. Surely when the inspectors get there and discover the burning buildings, the 10,000 strong metal army and the fact that every politician is either dead or under house arrest the senate would vote to do something about it? This trail of thought doesn’t cross her mind though and the plot point is dropped quicker than the 3 ‘jobber’ Jedi that get cut down by Darth Sidious right before he gets totally owned by Mace Windu aka the only black guy in the galaxy.

What really takes the biscuit though is that while the Queen is unwilling to send her own people to war she is more than happy to see a group of unwitting Gunguns take up arms to fight a near indestructible Droid army instead whose only weakness is the inability to show any form of human compassion or emotion, which given the situation isn’t really a weakness at all, and the Gunguns are armed with beach balls that carry some sort of EMP energy and ride into battle on wild animals. What-a-d*ck!

There are many other ridiculous plot points that are present in the newer trilogy. Like how about the way that once the Jedi Council meet Anakin for the first time and sense his potential power but also how volatile and potentially dangerous he could be they decide to have him trained anyway and despite the obvious risks they put him under the care of a Jedi who just days before was only a Padawan/Apprentice himself. Or how about the way that they then choose to send this volatile Padawan to a remote location on a faraway planet to protect a politician who is as ridiculously good looking as Natalie Portman, seemingly just as horny as he is, and who most people Anakin’s age would give their left nut for an evening with let alone an entire film! Honestly, the Jedi quite frankly deserved to meet the end they did because of their ridiculous stupidity. How can Mace Windu call himself a Jedi Master, emphasis on ‘Master’ meaning intelligent and wise, and then go to arrest the Dark Lord of the Sith, a being so powerful and deceitful that he’s managed to blend in with you and escape your gaze for decades, and only take 3 other Jedi with him for back-up? He lives in a building that houses every known Jedi in the galaxy, take 10 other Jedi with you, take 20 other Jedi with you,  you know what take the whole bloody temple with you if you can I don’t really think the phrase ‘over-kill’ applies to this situation.

What I’m trying to say is that J.J. Abrams has an order ahead of him so tall that Treebeard would probably struggle to step over it and because of that I have to feel a little bit of compassion for the guy. If he gets back a few of the original cast members this is going to create problems, Mark Hamill is distinctly past it, Harrison Ford has become notoriously hard to work with and the last time I saw Carrie Fisher she looked like the sort of person who sleeps in until 2pm and puts whiskey on her breakfast cereal. Beyond casting and plot issues though is the perception of the whole thing. Let’s face it, most people think these films are going to be terrible and nothing less than something superb is going to change that.

All in all, I’m apprehensive. I’m not expecting these new films to blow my mind like the originals did during their re-release in the 90’s but I seriously don’t expect them to achieve the new levels of mediocrity that were achieved by The Phantom Menace. In order for me to truly form a fair opinion on these films I will go into them with an open mind, I hope others will do the same.

Are you a Star Wars fan? Are you NOT a Star Wars fan? Do you agree with me? Do you think I’m full of the brown stuff? Would love to read your thoughts so please feel free to comment and sub, many thanks!

Money in a Zip-bag

saving_money_on_ziptop_bags_s

I recently recorded a song called ‘Money in a Zip-bag’; it was written by yours truly, produced by Deeside Beats and recorded at Aerial Studios, Wrexham. Although I have not released the song yet I decided to send it to one of my harsher critics to get his opinion. Saying that this critic, who will remain unnamed, doesn’t particularly like me would be like saying that Adolf Hitler didn’t particularly like the Jews and ironically enough I sometimes get the impression that he would love nothing more than the chance to dispose of me in an orderly fashion. Due to the fact that I don’t own a single KRS-1 CD, have a single blemish on my non-existent police record and require a layer of factor 20 just to sit in the shade for 30 minutes in April this critic believes that like a deaf person at a listening party I simply don’t belong.

The critic sent me a harsh response to the aforementioned song citing that it is ‘shallow’, ‘materialistic’ and above all else focuses too much on money when there is apparently ‘so much more to life’. Believe it or not I recognised almost instantly that he didn’t approve of the song and my previous feeling of optimism bombed faster than the ratings of my last music video, yes it has now officially been long enough that I can find it amusing. Not only was I ever-so slightly disheartened by the fact that the feedback received was the sort of harsh that’s reserved for when you deliberately stab a full volume microphone into a god-knows-how-many-watt speaker when both objects are plugged in but also by the question it raised in my mind. This question was not whether or not I should get a few tattoos, pick up some ‘street slang’ and book myself in for a 6 month stay at Hotel HMP but rather one that referred back to something said by my critic in that is their really ‘so much more to life’ than money?

I will make it clear before I continue that I am for the most part of a completely sound state of mind. I have no desire to take any dirt naps of any kind and my therapist is fully aware that I frequently don shoes with laces on both feet and she’s perfectly fine with it. The comment simply got me thinking because I believe that when the critic made it that he was eluding directly to a specific line in the song. The line is ‘I want money from the street, I want money from the bank, they say it won’t make you happy, but I bet that it helps’.

Many people claim that money is the route of all evil, I disagree, being a complete and utter tosser is the root of all evil and that’s the case whether you drive a BMW or you drive your Mother up the wall because try as you might you simply can’t afford to move out of her basement and give her back the free access to her book club meeting room. It also seems to me that the majority of the people making this ridiculous claim don’t buy their clothes from Primark, drink their bottles and spirits with a straw and think that riding the bus is ‘beneath them’. The sad reality is that there is not a whole lot more to life than money as you don’t strictly need it to be happy but I dare you to try and be happy without it.

Disagree with me? Okay, I invite you to wake up tomorrow morning, quit your job and tell your girlfriend, whose father probably hates you by the way, that money is not important and all you need is love to be happy. If you manage to survive the monstrous tirade from your girlfriend that will inevitably follow and will involve said girlfriend transforming from a creature that resembled Tiara Banks into a creature that now looks more like Phillip Banks then strap in and get all of that sweet love that you can because you are going to need it.

For the first week or so everything is great. You and your companion wake up whenever you see fit, you strut around the flat in your matching onesies, watch Jeremy Kyle all morning and spend your afternoons strolling around town with your other-half in your arms and that smug ‘don’t you wish she was yours’ look on your face. The sun is shining, the lager is cold and Wrexham FC are going to get promoted that is of course until rent day. Despite the fact that all of this warm and fuzzy love is sustaining you beautifully the landlord doesn’t quite share your optimism with regards to your current situation. Over the last week you spent all of your money on brand label onesies, I can’t believe they exist either, candle lit dinners and bags of those same green substances that you used to try and pass off as pencil shavings whenever your mum used to find them in your school bag because sometimes doing nothing can all feel like too much. The landlord puts up a notice of eviction, the lights go off and your girlfriend moves in with your best friend because she decides that without the perks mentioned above putting up with the friction burns that she gets off your facial hair, your beer gut and the way that you always leave your toe nail clippings on the bathroom floor is all too much for her to handle. You’re left in a sobbing state and you can’t even drink yourself happy because low and behold you have no money!

The point that I am trying to badly illustrate is that although money may not be the sole component needed to achieve happiness it is very hard to achieve happiness without it. I see people with no money on the street all the time, we call them ‘homeless’ and they look about as happy as a catholic priest locked in a 6×9 with 3 un-baptised homosexual couples obnoxiously ‘making-out’ in front of him while simultaneously being lectured by Richard Dawkins on the theory of Evolutionary Biology. The fact is that most of the things we do are centred on making money. I did 3 years of study at Glyndwr University so that I could get a decent job and make some good money. Granted, I went out and partied a lot but I wouldn’t have lost any points if all I did in the 3 years was eat, sleep, sh*t study and masturbate in fact if I had done just that I would probably be a lot more employable.

This post wasn’t written to make you feel sad and it sure as hell wasn’t written to plug my music, I have a Facebook page and a Twitter account full of unfortunate homo-sapiens for that which I am more than ready to flood with my obnoxious and irritating music-related statuses and tweets. The quote from my critic, who truly is the Roger Ebert to my Uwe Boll, just happened to get me thinking. All of the conventions of what truly make a person happy are unachievable without a substantial amount of money. The chances of a person marrying the person of their dreams, moving into their cosy love nest and raising 3 demanding children without money are about as high as Jordan winning next year’s World Cup, the country not the super model by the way. The person of your dreams is hardly going to want to stick around if your home is made of cardboard and your idea of a romantic evening is cuing up at the soup kitchen and handing your future kids a spear and sending them to the park whenever they get hungry may very well get you institutionalised.

In closing I will say that in my opinion happiness comes in many forms. I believe that in order to truly achieve it a person needs a number of factors to work in his favour but you would be a fool to believe that one of these factors isn’t the same one that makes you get up and go to work every morning. As a result wanting money doesn’t make you a bad person and getting happiness out of it sure as hell doesn’t either.

Completely agree? Completely Disagree? Please feel free to leave any thoughts below; all opinions are welcome and many thanks for reading.

Post-Student Life – The Harsh Paradox

graduation

As anybody who has been there and done that before will tell you, making the transition from university student to regular member of society is no easy task. This is because when the two lifestyles are put up against one another they have about as much in common as Dwayne Johnson and Johnny Vegas would have if the two compared body types. As I stood outside my home of 3 years with my roommates participating in the type of emotional goodbye that would make the average heterosexual passer-by point, laugh and shout ‘gay!’ the sad reality dawned on me, it was over.

Before you read any further I feel it worthwhile to inform you that this is not an informative piece. I am not the ‘answer man’; I am certainly not your mum and despite donning the cap and gown to make that final walk of shame over 14 months ago I am still struggling with the concept of moving on from student life.  A good metaphor to compare the 3 year binge of university to would be raising an animal such as a Tiger in captivity before releasing it back into the wild after 3 years. Taking the animal out of its natural habitat you feed it cheese burgers, cut its claws, groom its fur and let it sleep in a four poster all while it blissfully drifts through life pondering nothing apart from the way in which the tiger of the opposite sex in the opposite enclosure shakes its backside when it walks. Then when its third birthday rolls around you inexplicably dump it in the middle of the Indian Jungle with nothing but a prayer and watch as it pathetically attempts to stop itself being mauled to death by an aggressive Jungle Rat that it mistook for a chew toy. This is similar to finishing university as until I arrived at my university town I was unaware that life could be so good. Money seemed to routinely appear in my bank account exactly when I needed it, alcohol seemed to bond with my body on an almost cellular level and my closest thing to a job was a stone throw away from my halls and the boss still didn’t get angry with me when I no-showed!  A wise man once said that we can’t live in the past. Well I say screw the beardy git because he clearly wasn’t stepping into a new world where rent is £560 a month before bills, nights out and get-together’s with friends are like gold dust and jobs relevant to your new qualification are as easy to find as wild Pikachu’s in Pokémon Yellow.

Sadly even I cannot stop the inevitable and the fact is that once university is all said and done you do go out and get a real job and soon find out that the real world ages you quicker than a strawberry in the Sahara. It also brings with it a number of inconveniences and harsh truths, all of which were never more evident than a few weeks ago. Due to my decision to stay in the town that I conducted my studies, a great deal of my friends are students and one of them was celebrating his birthday at his digs and invited me to the occasion. The alcohol was flowing and I felt loose enough that I could happily approach the prettiest girl in the room but not so loose that I was ready to rip my shirt off, leap on the table and serenade her with a verse of ‘Most Beautiful Girl in the World’ By Prince, I have done this in the past by the way. All was right with the world until one partier suggested graduating to the ‘hard stuff’ which is a rather fitting title for Vodka as it hits me in the head harder than a brick wall. Not wanting to be ‘that guy’ I proudly declared my approval and threw the shots down my neck, my complexion and state of mind changed almost instantly. What was once the equivalent of a leisurely stroll had now grown to the equivalent of the London Marathon. I sat for around 5 minutes with my head in my hands and about as much acknowledgement of my surroundings as a blind man during a game of ‘I Spy’.

I did finish the night but that is not the point. During my university days an evening like this would have been routine but the morning after this night it felt like SlipKnot, minus the talent, were playing a set in my brain. What made it worse was that the students who had arisen around me seemed to be coping a lot better with their predicament than I was. I had never felt more like our Tiger friend mentioned earlier than when I realised that unlike my partners in crime I did not have the luxury of being able to write off this day and there was a list as long as my arm of places to go and people to see on my schedule.

The dark clouds continued to loom as I checked my balance on an ATM and realised that my already dwindling finances had hit a new low and beefing them back up would be difficult as the money ferry had passed me by at the start of January and as a result such extravagant nights of alcoholic indulgence were no longer within my budget. Even on student nights you find that spending a fortune is as easy as reaching in your pocket, pulling out the notes and handing them to the bar lady who started the night as a decent ‘7’ but is by this point slowly climbing the ranks. Such financial hardships are only made more real the first time you receive a letter off your local council, your new worst enemy, informing you that council tax is due and unlike the fluffy characters at the student loan company these guys are not willing to wait until you’re financially stable before they get it.

What makes this predicament even worse is the fact that after university it takes either an absurd amount of time or the type of magic spell that would have Albas Dumbledore scratching his beard and asking ‘what the hell is that!?’ to bring any form of normality to your sleeping pattern. As a result when I finally returned home after a day of trying to convince the outside world that I spent the night with my slippers and an episode of ‘Don’t tell the Bride’ rather than sprawled out on my friends floor I could not settle down to sleep. I do not live a life of leisure by any means but I could spend my days running laps with Usain Bolt followed by sparring sessions with Floyd Mayweather while simultaneously filling out MC Hammer’s tax forms and discussing the economy with David Cameron and still not be able to get to sleep before 2am. Regular sleeping patterns go to the grave with university and getting them back seems about as likely as Natasha Bedingfield winning a musical achievement award.

All things said I am incredibly thankful for my 3 years in university. I met most of the best friends I have and had some of the very best times. However, as is the curse with most good things like holidays, relationships and your favourite recreational drug once you don’t have them anymore it’s very hard to move on. Giving up the university lifestyle is even more difficult when the simple reality dawns on you that the real world is just plain boring. This is where the difficult dilemma of mine and no doubt a lot of other ex-students stems from, the real world just isn’t as much fun and at times it is very tempting to go back to old habits. As it currently stands I and a number of my good friends will likely go down as the weird old guys in the club, still trying to hang with the young crowd and telling everybody how we were much more ‘hard core’ than they are. We get older and they just stay the same my, my…