Well, it was a bit hit-or-miss there as to whether or not I’d ever be allowed to return to the joys of the blogosphere, but yes, after much wrangling, internet caféing and free wifi-ing, the cool cats from TalkTalk Internet have come into the Über Flat, drilled a shitload of little holes, had some fibre-optic fun and viola, the miracle of (second) life continues.
Well, sorta. I’m still obliged to steal wifi from my neighbour, because, well, the hyper-efficient technicians won’t be ready til THE 12TH OF NOVEMBER to finish the job (!!!!!!) which is a rather poor show. Apparently it's thanks to the postal strike which is currently ravaging Britain. I don't really understand how slow letter delivery stops me
So how the bally heck have I been? Well, thanks for asking Mum, but basically since I’ve moved to facking Landin my life has taken a turn for the hectic. I made the move, bad back and all, got settled, and lay on my bed, relishing the fact that I had an apartment. Being the crazy son-of-a-gun that I am, my flat-mate Sparky and I decided to have a ‘crazy housewarming party' a video from which I will put up soon :)
Then, London life began. To begin with, let me just inform you that my post-grad course takes up an oppressive six hours...every other Saturday. That’s right, I’m so hardcore my course can’t even be on a weekly basis. Using the power of mathematics that this means I (theoretically) have, on average, 165 hours free every week.
Things I’ve learned #1: Con + 165 hours of free time = Con the Weird Sociopathic Caveman.
For a week I lived a weird sorta-unemployed/sorta-kept man existence, tottering about, unshaven and feral, trying to capture urban foxes and rogue pigeons in my nocturnal haze. Too much time in a city where I really have very few friends meant that I was alone, with my thoughts, all the time. Not good.
I did actually go on a date (as mentioned below) with a lovely young lady who I drunkenly met on the bus (see story above) but after a rather eventful evening, she turned the gender table round and played the ‘That Bastard who never called me” card that I have previously played in my life, allowing Karma to amble up to me, laugh coldly, then kick me square in the bollocks.
Ugh, women are pigs.
Anyway, yeah, so I had tonnes of free time (I had so much free time, I weighed how much free time I had: 178.64 metric tonnes of time, to be precise) and had turned into nocturnal savage (or rather reverted to my truer, nocturnal savagey self) big deal. Sparky, with infinite patience took me to Ikea, and tried firmly to nail the final hetero man-love nail into our tiny gay coffin and I became a housewife. Now my house is filled with flat-pack furniture that all has a name. My desk is called Kistrud, the soft furnishings in the living room all have names like Scandanavian popstars and there was once a famous tennis star called Bjorn Borg.
So yeah, following the advice of the man-wife, the mother, several ex-girlfriends (who still ‘look out for me’) and my thrash NY gal-pal, the Novelista Barista, I decided to get a job.
Job #1: BARWORK
Okay, so I tended bar all through college. It’s a perfectly good job, and I'd never for one second look down my nose at anyone who decided to do it for a living. It’s pretty tough, and despite all the hype, it’s not glamourous in the slightest. On the plus side; there’s always work for a trained bartender, and the induction to a new job doesn’t tend to take longer than inspecting the beer cellar to see which pump system works with the kegs, and becoming acclimatised with the Cash Register. However, picking WHERE to work is often the most important thing. I’m Irish, and I live beside an area called Kilburn. 20 years ago that would have been the start of a joke, but now thankfully the area’s a little more diverse. The remaining Irish community are typically a little older, the majority in their 40’s-50’s, and I went to work in their pub.
Yep, not some trendy gastro-pub, or an understated favela, I choose one of the only proper Irish pubs in Kilburn; a dark, sordid grief hole that caters to the local expat community. Three things about the expat community in Kilburn:
1) They’re tough, very tough. Most of them came over as construction workers in the 60’s and 70’s and spent the years since working 15 hours days, drinking themselves blind and spending the rest of the time getting arrested by the charming not-at-all-anti-Irish constables of the Metropolitan Police during an era when the Irish in Britain were viewed the same way that ANYONE Arabic/Middle Eastern is viewed by the gun-toting chaps in US airport security – with deep suspicion. These expats are of a slightly more sturdy breed.
2) They drink. A lot. Most are what we would now call ‘functioning alcoholics’. I did a few of the not-at-all-depressing morning shifts, and for a while I was convinced that some of the customers were suffering from severe Parkinson’s disease, they shook so much. These same people would drink a few pints and after a while be as eloquent and witty as an Oscar Wilde/Charles Bukowski smoothie. Most of the punters would come in straight after work and sit, drinking with an assembly-belt efficiency before tottering home hours later.
3) They don’t like change. I was the youngest of the barstaff, a little sprat of a thing, and I was also a very obvious interloper. Being professionally not-very-tough and also coming as a graduate with a weird hybrid accent meant that I was very obviously not ‘one of the lads’. When people asked what I did, and I said either ‘Trainee Lawyer’ or ‘Writer’ I’d either be called a bastard or a queer, before getting a cuff on the shoulder and having something growled at me to the effect that I ‘was alright for a Northerner’.
Anyway, I liked working there, but the hours weren’t enough to financially sustain me and I kinda spent two weeks in the habit of drinking every day after work, which is something I’d rather avoid if I don’t want the old ‘drunken Irish’ stereotype thrown in with the rest. Also, in a bizarre twist, a man calling me a 'cunt' came in one day waving a saw around because I had apparently refused to serve him...live is made up of the little spontaneous moments though eh? The boss also was a bit unpredictable, a 51 year old hormone-grenade preoccupied with The Change. She’d either be incredibly sweet or yell at me for nothing at all (eg – shouting at me for the amount of overspill caused by too much pressure from the gas system. Seeing as I’m not really qualified to tamper with an elaborate underground gas system, I was at a bit of a loss to respond.). When I told her I was quitting, she sulked with me for 6 hours, then gave me a hug and told me I was welcome to drink there any time. Crazy Menopause.
Job #2 TELESALES.
Do you have a soul? Feel like it’s a little too much of a burden? Fancy having little pieces chipped away on a daily basis? Then you should try telesales. Ugh. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I enjoy spending 8 hours a day in an overheated underground office calling strangers, so to get paid for it is a treat.
Ps – unsurprisingly, I quit this job too. That’s right, yesterday I left the place, and I don’t ever think I’m likely to cold-call an unsuspecting member of the public to persuade them to do ____________.
So here I am, right back where started, a bum. I still have my soul though, and there’s a really cool girl I met recently at a party. We’ve texted a bit, and I’m gonna be loosey goosey and keep it cool.
So, how are y’all?
Ps – I know this is a helluva long post, but I’ve been away for too long . I’ve missed you so much, faceless void of hyperspace...let’s never spend so much time apart again, okay?