Travel Blog 18; Just Think!

We’re living in a time where a lot of folks booze
Whether sitting in a bar or sitting in their front rooms
Some say its made for profit some say for fun
Some say its even made to keep the population dumb
It can loosen you up when your out with your friends
So you can finally approach that girl from your ends
Have a dance, lock lips, fall under the spell
Then wake up in the morning with a story to tell
It should come as no surprise I was a fan of the drink
Used to go through Whiskey till my nose turned pink
Jaeger Bombs by the tonnes, puking up in the bogs
Waking up without a clue how we got home from the clubs
Now don’t get me wrong it was all good fun
Cos we stayed smart enough not to leave in handcuffs
I know you’ve heard this and it sounds like a gimmick
But it always pays off just to know your limits
When your crowds buying rounds things get out of control
But try to keep your Ps and Qs try to balance your tone
If she just wont respond she just ain’t feeling you
Don’t persist don’t let the gesture get misconstrued
If your out and about and lose one of your friends
Take a second just to call them or a drop them a text
If your mixing your drinks your gonna get a sore skull
Morning after’s not for studying or visiting Mum
And if you see a sign of trouble don’t try to get involved
Don’t try to be the hero cos its not your job
You may think your the answer when you’ve got no hope
Plus the Bouncers get paid to stop fights you don’t
Wont bother saying don’t get drunk; you will
But try to keep below the point you turn violent and kill
Don’t try to walk home if its way too far
And for God Sake don’t try to jump in your car JUST THINK!

Most kids try drugs ‘cos they’re all the rage
I reckon most people have who are round my age
There’s nothing wrong with some weed once or twice a week
Laugh at jokes, eat Pizza, get deep, fall asleep
But you really need to think when your out in the street
When your looking for your MDMA and your Speed
Listen these things kill if you take them every day
But then again so does Macca’s, KFC and Subway
I’m not going to tell you don’t do drugs
But I’ll tell you to do them round people you trust
Like the type of friends you had since you were kids
‘Cos if you have a bad trip you’ll be thankful you did
If you don’t know what it is don’t put it in your mouth
Don’t snort it up your nose if you don’t know what its about
If your sniffing off a surface use a surface that’s clean
Don’t buy off a dealer that you’ve never ever seen
Don’t try to sneak the stuff inside of a bar
‘Cos if you get caught your leaving in the back of a car
Don’t take it at your job just to get through the day
If you cant go without then its time to walk away
to you its just a boost just to help you maintain
but I guarantee your boss wont see it that way
Have a good time and if its drugs your feeling
Do them at the right time do them for the right reasons
If your thinking that dropping will improve your night
Then why not drop something every once in a while
Nothing wrong with some dropping if your hitting the floors
Its just a problem when your dropping just to get out the door
Enjoy the rise but just consider the fall
Cos I can tell you coming down’s not pleasant at all
Don’t fall into the trap of doing drugs when your bored
And for God Sake only buy what you can afford JUST THINK!

I’m Tha Bozz and that’s my opinion.

 

 

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.

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…

Memoirs of a frustrated Barman

I work behind a bar on weekends and I enjoy it thoroughly. The money is decent, my colleagues are great fun to work with and most of the customers are fun to be around as well. You may have noticed the use of the word ‘most’ in that last sentence, well I hope you did because if I’ve lost your interest already I’ll likely never get it back. The word was used because there are a few customers that really seem to know how to push my buttons. Those buttons are big, round and red because they push them and they push them hard.

Due to the fact that I work primarily on weekends all of my shifts are incredibly busy. It is not uncommon for as many as 450-500 people to descend on the place at one time, meaning that speed and accuracy are important in order to keep proceedings peaceful and make sure that the punters get those 3 for £6 Jägerbombs that they’ve worked hard all week for.  Due to a combination of inebriation, cheap-skate mentality and in some cases a genuine belief that some punters have about the world revolving around them such speed and accuracy is sometimes difficult to achieve. What follows is a list, taken from first-hand experience, about the worst types of customers for a barman such as myself. Please let me state that such examples are taken from people of a very small minority, I fully respect and appreciate the custom of everybody at my place of work because you ultimately keep me employed.

“Oh, serve me next!” – Picture if you will, its around 12.30am on Sunday morning and like a nervous Elf on the wall of Helms Deep I am starring down the barrel of what seems like an undefeatable force. I am of course referring to the 400+ punters scrambling to the bar for drinks that they seem to want so badly that you would think they hold the key to eternal life, sorry kids it’s only a hangover you’ll get out of me.

As I’m rattling off orders at a rate that Legolas shoots arrows my attention can’t help but be unwillingly diverted to a noise coming from the end of the bar. “Oh mate/lad/love/Bozz serve me/us next!” Due to this loud, consistent and annoying noise my concentration naturally becomes divided and before long I’m getting orders wrong, which leads to orders taking longer and customers getting frustrated. As the frustration mounts, the crowd gets rowdy and the chance of any democracy is all but gone as the line has become a mushroom and nothing short of a free for all.

To the people who participate in what I like to call the ‘serve me next’ game, please think this through. You are stood on the side of the bar, making you all but invisible to me or any other member of staff for that matter. Due to you being out of my field of vision or jurisdiction if you will, serving you would require me to move away from my till to your location, take your order, prepare your order, give you said order, take your money for said order and then return your change, all while ignoring the punters right in front of me at the front of the line. Hopefully that awful case of comma splicing illustrates the fact that during a peak period of trade such an action is just not possible. Also yelling at me like I’m a disobedient puppy is not only a waste of time but also a little annoying. 

I simply ask that you cue for the front of the bar like everybody else; most of the other customers won’t bite. Nobody is avoiding you intentionally but by hanging around the side of the bar like a bad smell you make the process extremely difficult for everyone involved, not least yourselves.

“How much is this…?” – Fast becoming the most common offenders on my list the “How much is this…?” crowd are frequently the metaphorical spear-in-the-side of most smooth operations. Again I ask you to picture the scene, the place is about as busy as it is going to get and the customers are storming the bar with all the eloquence of a Pig farm in a famine. I ask a customer what he would like and he responds with “How much is a bottle of VK?” I check on the till and inform him that a VK will cost £3.15. He responds with “How much is a pint of Fosters?” I breathe a light sigh of frustration and again check the tills; this drink will cost him £3.20. Keep in mind that there is an army of other punters behind him getting inpatient and he will now proceed to ask me the same question about two more beverages before making his mind up. All of the drinks in question have a price difference of around 10p and a further 2 minutes are spent waiting for him to get the correct change together.

The process of buying a drink shouldn’t be like doing your taxes especially when the price differences are so small that you couldn’t thread a needle between them. I don’t know the prices off by heart as remembering them is like catching every available Pokémon, unless you are just that damn good it is not going to happen.  I simply ask that you know what you want before you place your order and if you can please have the money ready.

“What have you got?” – I find this next group of offenders nothing short of unbelievable and before encountering them myself I probably wouldn’t have believed that such people could exist. A few weeks ago a lady walked into my peripherals and I proceeded to ask her the standard question “What can I get you?” The lady’s response; “What have you got?” I nearly swallowed my tongue in disbelief; did she say it to be irritating or perhaps funny? Was it the drink talking? All I knew was that I had encountered a rare breed and would be wise to proceed with caution.

I decided to repeat the question and it was met with the same response. This lady had walked into a bar, after 12am and was asking a member of staff during peak trading time what he served. It seemed as though she was implying that she wanted me to drop everything and give her an entire run-down of our entire list of drinks. The lady wasn’t exactly Sharon Stone, more like 20 stone so my patients was running low. “We serve alcohol, you know drinks!” I shouted this at her in a combination of frustration and utter disbelief to which she responds with “Yeah, what can you give me?” Believe me I could think of a number of things by this point.

After rattling off what must have been around 5 drink deals, the lady, who looked like what would happen if a Sea Lion bred with Adele finally chose something and was on her way. The sheer irritating stupidity of the situation still baffles me and it has actually happened on a few occasions. The average person wouldn’t walk into a take-away and ask them what they have, or when getting a taxi home at the end of the night answer the drivers question of “Where are you going” with “Where can you take me?” This is the same principle, I work at a bar and we serve drinks. We have menus, a visible display fridge and an assumption that every living human old enough to get in has at least a slither of common sense. I just simply ask that you enjoy yourselves but don’t leave your brain at the door because I don’t want to leave my sanity at the bar.

“Why won’t you serve me!?” – This one is pretty self-explanatory but it does come in a number of forms. Almost every night that I am working I have to refuse somebody service due to the fact that they are drunk to the point of regurgitating the last meal they ate or because they look like Justin Biebers long lost love child but still neglected to take ID out with them to prove otherwise.

If this situation does arise I just ask that you take it on the chin. Speaking of chins a punter once tried to re-arrange mine over an ID incident. The person in question wore the standard V-neck jumper, smelt like a D&G display cabinet and had the kind of gap in his front teeth that you could drive a tank through. After being declined service on account of having no ID by one of my colleagues he decided to take a chance and claimed to be a friend of mine, stating that I could vouch for him. Due to being partial to the idea of regular employment and a clean police record I informed my colleague that I had never spoken to the punter in my life and I thought that was the end of it, no such luck.

The punter began to hurl insults at me and even ‘offered me out’. I informed him that he could offer all he wanted but that I was busy. Around a minute later I finish serving a customer, turn to my left and standing out like an Eskimo in a Dessert there is the punter from earlier. It took a second or two for me to comprehend that he had now stepped over the threshold, so to speak, and was behind the bar a few inches away from me. This would have been the perfect time for him to make his move because my mind was around a hundred light-years away and I wouldn’t have seen an atomic bomb coming let alone his left fist. The insults and threats continued but before long his window of opportunity had vanished and two bouncers were throwing him out of the building.

The lesson is if you are unlucky enough to be declined service please do not react aggressively. The establishment’s decision is final and nothing is going to change theirs or my mind. It’s not a power trip we are just doing our jobs but at the end of it all if you do decide to become aggressive the only difference between us is five fully qualified bouncers, all of which are on my side.

In closing I will say again that I thoroughly enjoy bar work and have found it to be an extremely positive experience. It’s a sociable and generally light hearted job that keeps you on your toes and the staff are friendly and were very welcoming to me. However, if you do or think you may fall under any of the above categories or any that I’ve failed to mention please spare a thought for the people pouring you the drinks. As the saying goes, ‘where here to serve but where not your servants’.

Any thoughts, opinions or similar stories? Please feel free to comment and leave feedback. Many thanks for reading.