Not your usual peninsula perspective
English Optimism, Russia, and the World Cup
I’ve never been all that interested in football (Or any sport for that matter) I am rubbish at playing them, I have absolutely nothing to say when it comes to talking about them, and I don’t even enjoy watching them (Unless that viewing experience is within a local pub with mates) That being said, here’s my sort of take on the World Cup.
It’s always been tradition to have a cheesy song to back us up within our world cup endeavours, and this cup is no different. The verses of one unofficial track “England's in my Heart” seem to have been ripped straight off of a football themed Billy Bragg protest song. While the chorus’ are straight up radio rock with extensive woah woah woahs to boot, though the lyrics seem to have been ripped from a random sentence generator filled full of relevant buzz words. It’s a cringe inducing nod to old school Dad rock. But is that necessarily a bad thing? Optimistic, catchy and overly self gratifying, surely the exact opposite to what our country truly stands for.
But hey ho we’re gonna kick a ball around and stuff so let's get positive.
It seems that every year, despite how shite we were the previous cup, the whole country is infected with football fever. ‘Maybe this year it will be okay? Things have changed!’, It’s like we’re in some sort of abusive relationship where no matter how many times we get pummelled into the ground, we just keep returning in hopes that things have gotten better. “Maybe going to Russia will fix our relationship? Who knows right? But he still loves me!!!” But I’m getting off track here…
Our stupendously stubborn attitude when it comes to never backing down as a country is admirable. Whether that be football hooligans not backing down in a bar fight, festival goers still camping out despite being knee high in mud, or over half the country refusing to acknowledge the economic benefits of a union due to media pandering and blatant xenophobia (Thought I’d throw a curveball there) You don’t even have to be watching the match in order to hear all about it no matter where you are. People will yell outside their window informing everyone that England’s doing well. Only the other day I saw a group of topless blokes with red crosses painted on their torsos running with their arms extended allowing the flag to trickle behind them. I guess in a sense, that’s the true magic of the sport, how happy and celebratory it makes those that follow it.
This self centred, yet strangely colloquial sense of optimism is what seems to define this time. (And by this time I mean this extraordinarily melodramatic month). Though on the upside, England appears to actually be doing quite well this year (Well, as I’m writing this at least). There hasn’t been any serious disconcerting occurrences within Russia despite fears of violence from football hooligans, and a regime extremely different to the countries that are attending.
I recently watched a documentary in which a Scottish comedian paid a visit to Russia before the world cup to learn more about the culture within the hosting cities, and to find out about how they were preparing to host the most coveted of worldwide events.
There were city wide classes dedicated solely to teaching the people of those cities on how to act when hosting the other countries. Russian football hooligans were told to stay indoors for the duration of the world cup and the comedian doing the documentary was not allowed to even interview a single one of them on the lead up to the cup.
Putin still does not condone homosexuals within the country either but has advised against discrimination for the duration of the world cup. I’m unsure as to whether these steps are positive, or whether they are proof of a country needing to be more accepting within their society in general, as opposed to changing their ways while others are visiting. Like those families that only make an effort to clean the house when they have guests around, changing the way in which they communicate, the way they cater, even possibly changing their views for a dinner party. Unsure as to what sort of conclusion this brings me to.
But hey, enjoy it while it lasts yeah?
Angsty Poetry/ Storytime Volume #3: Easter Sunday
Edmond G Gidian’s Whimsical Third Person Diary
Absolute elation filled his mind as he pranced camply out of his beloved bed chambers. Edmond G Gidian felt a glowing affection for everyday of our calendar year. But his love for this day in particular outshone the rest enormously. He’d describe the awe-inspiring glow to be brighter than that god awful blaring light emitted from his bedroom light bulb those horrifying few seconds after turning it on (After having been in darkness for a considerable amount of time). For it even outshone his passion for unnecessarily long sentences with unnecessary asides (Such as this one). So, without (much) further adieu he prepared himself giddily for this most glorious event. The most innocent hunt in the world held on this absolute tour de force of an annual holiday; Easter Sunday.
This hunt was not a violent one of course, oh god no that’d be horrendously out of sorts for Mr G. A pacifist to say the least he wouldn’t hurt a fly (Even if it was a persistent buzzy blighter). The hunt was for cocoa constructed taste bud enriching delights in the shape of eggs. St Vanian’s church had held the best easter egg hunts consistently and caringly every year for yonks now. So he knew exactly where he was embarking to as he glided out of his humble abode. Setting his internal navigation system (His sense of direction) to Saint Vanian’s
Edmond was not a religious man, nor has he ever been but the gentle God worshipping folk didn’t mind. In fact they welcomed non believers with open arms (As well as tea and biscuits). They are hugely humble and uplifting people. He could quite easily tolerate regular meetings in their presence if they weren’t so painfully square (And that’s saying something) For Mr G did not care much for human interaction. He felt it to be draining and unpredictable; two traits he didn’t particularly care for. But he would bear the humanity most happily on this day. He would delve into delicate audible dialogues daringly for this day defined with stupendous divinity.
He’s never been quite sure why this day fills him with such unconditional ecstasy. For the concept of an Easter bunny bewildered him. The idea of some widely known connection between this whimsical character and some chocolate eggs was completely nonsensical. Yet he believed the religious background to be just as preposterous (If not more so). But not being one to complain about or question unexplained happiness; he enjoyed the day thoroughly. Hovering in that innocent euphoria; allowing the white waves of pure pristine, cocoa bliss to rush through him.
Overall a resounding success, his feeling of elation did not recede. For Edmond G Giddian has experienced yet another spectacular day (And most definitely should be let out of here now for I assure you there’s nothing wrong with him; we talked it out).
Edmond G Giddian
Good progress Mr Giles thank you for sharing this, it sounds wonderful. Excellent read. However, I’m afraid you’re not ready to leave yet sir, but you are making sound progress.
Stacey your personal support worker here at St Vanian’s
(Important notice: It’s June 22nd, not Easter Sunday)
Part Two: The Dysfunctionally Detestable (Dis)Order of an Urban Jungle
A Cautionary Tale Reflective of My Stupidity
After my brief respite from living near the town centre, I had returned possessing a certain sense of ease I had certainly missed. After one last deep breath from the rural air, I altered my dialect ever so slightly so as to blend in like the social chameleon I’ve learned to become. This is beneficial in general.(Though it’s more of a survival technique really nowadays)
Once I had arrived home I visited a close friend for a couple of hours, jokes were made, and a couple of drinks were consumed (Though not to an excessive extent by any means). I’ve never been one to be frightened of walking alone at night. Maybe it’s my time living as a student in Brighton, or maybe it’s the fact that it gets dark stupendously early growing up in the countryside of the Shotley peninsula, or maybe it was my previously overly voracious attitude to nights out that ensured this to be the case. Either way, it was a definitive bad move taking that particular shortcut through the alleyways alone to get home that night.
I was in the last ten minute stretch of my walk home when after turning a corner I saw directly ahead a group of four people. All hooded, all just sitting at the end of the street. Now I’ve never been one to be quick to judge, but in this situation it seems things would have turned out better if I had been (Which is an extremely sad fact to have to write). As I approached the end of the alleyway, I noticed their casual chilled out disposition swiftly turn to that of hostility. (This next part happened very quickly so I apologise if my recollection of it is particularly hazy)
One stood up first and approached me, with that distinctive juvenile swagger often exhibited by characters within a Guy Ritchie film. I just kept on walking calmly ahead striving to not gain eye contact with the person so as to not provoke any unwanted attention. I could not identify who this person was, neither could I properly see the other three, but my next memory is a harsh sting on the right side of my face. I recoiled in pain and just said “What the f***? Do I know you?” in shock, before another smack swiftly followed. This one caused me to fall onto one knee, gripping onto the floor with both hands disorientated I clambered back up onto my feet. There were now two standing in front of me. Another sharp blow to my face brought me back to the floor once again as I noticed drops of blood trickling onto the ground from where my teeth had ripped into my top lip. Two jaw clenching pulses of agony richoched through both of my arms fueled by the energy of two kicks almost immediately after. Then they were gone.
Once I had gotten back up they had vacated the area, they hadn’t stolen anything and they didn’t appear to have any ulterior motive. Before I had entirely stumbled home I ran into a couple of friends who escorted me the remainder of the way home, and I thought nothing of it. I had no description of the people, no understanding of why this happened and no way to really help progress any sort of investigation. Despite the obvious negativity of the situation, I was strangely enough one of the lucky ones.
Recently there have been a couple of serious incidents in the Ipswich area, one resulting in a man receiving more than ten stab wounds, and one resulting in the tragic death of a 17 year old boy (Edit: As I’m writing this there has been yet another stabbing, a 16 year old boy this time) However, despite how recent these incidents were, they are in no way a new phenomena, and are reflective of many occurances, of course just not in this area over the past year alone. The exact nature and details of the events leading up to these atrocities I can only speculate upon, but I’d be lying if I didn’t have a pretty decent idea (Maybe I’ll touch on those undesirable times in a separate article)
It’s just saddening how a culture of violence continues to thrive within what is such a beautiful area, a wonderful community. Petty discrepancies between those who’s living conditions are in reality ferociously similar. Although the beating I had that night was definitely not a good thing, it was most certainly a sobering experience, and one which I am not likely to forget anytime soon.
Although, as always, my issues are menial in comparison to the true nature of the problem. Until everyone collectively starts to acknowledge how pressing things really are, nothing will change.
Still, hey at least there’s still the countryside…
Part One: The Immeasurable Pageantry of the Outside World
A brief return to Chelmondiston, and a well deserved punch in the face.
After an extended period of time away from the tranquility of the countryside it’s very easy to forget just how tranquil it really is.
Away from the bustling semi-incomprehensible crescendo of busy streets, and into the thought provoking glare of open space obstructed only by the presence of nature. The dissonant hum of silence inciting nothing but purity and peace within all those lucky enough to take a deep breath, and listen.
A flourish of nostalgia streams through me, a tidal wave drowning all worries I had before. Leaking externally, a feeling to emulate with my outside presentation. An attitude spewing from my personage so that my mood even came to others by osmosis.
Oh how I wish that was really the case, but I’ll get to that in part two,
I had come back to Chelmondiston to visit my father, and despite a few changes to the household (It was a hell of a lot tidier than when I was there, no longer resembling a warzone between a lazy teenager and an obsessive compulsive) everything seemed to be just as it was when I left. I suggested that we go for a walk as we spoke, so I could properly take it all in.
So we did, a very slow walk mind you (Dad’s legs aren’t quite what they used to be) but that just added to the atmosphere, the sentimentality and of course, the conversation. A catch up chat of subdued, yet somewhat epic proportions ensued as we stood, on a small wooden bridge, overlooking a trickling stream in the blaring sunshine. It was almost alike to a scene within a low budget independent movie about family values, and the troubles that present themselves. The day was beautiful, and as I returned to Ipswich, I felt totally at ease.
Until later that night, I received multiple punches to the face...
Part two to come.
Musical May Day Is A Hit
Ipswich celebrated May Day festival for the 40th consecutive year making it the longest running May Day festival in the country.
Hundreds gathered in a local town park to celebrate May Day in a typically southern fashion (by which I mean nearly a week late). Despite the majority of the attendees not having the single faintest idea what the May Day festival actually celebrates.
A quick Google search informs me that May Day is an ancient Northern hemisphere Spring Festival, and in England often includes the usage of a Maypole to celebrate the Spring fertility of the soil. This in itself does sound rather old-fashioned doesn’t it?
Well Ipswich’s rendition of the May Day festival has ditched much of the old fashioned in favour of a varied display of musicality, and a celebration of various different cultures. The day overall was a resounding success. A friendly and welcoming atmosphere inhabited the area, and not once did I see a fight break out (That’s a definite win)
The sun was shining gloriously, illuminating all the pasty skinned overly confident topless white boys, leaving them strawberry coloured and scaly by the end of the second hour. Spirits were high as teenagers collected together in sun stricken, intoxicated musical bliss, and everybody collectively made a total tit of themselves. Families gathered too: children, parents, brothers, and sisters gracing the luscious green grass with a checkered picnic blanket. It’s always a rather nostalgic day being at May Day festival partially for this reason (But mainly because of the amount of people I sort of kind of have a slight grasp of knowing from years ago I awkwardly tend to run into). “Oh hey there, uh, you…”
It’s these simple days that keep a town feeling alive, so I am proud that our town still keep this festival going. Keeps bringing people together, so happy 40th Anniversary Ipswich May Day.
Review: Bessie Turner- 22:22
Suffolk based singer/songwriter Bessie Turner releases eclectically confident debut EP through Holbrook based independent label Don’t Try Records.
‘Will it be morning forever?’
This question seems to accurately embody a lot of the themes within this EP. Feelings of insecurity and remorse, alongside affection and a shining glimmer of hope. The instrumentals span quite a few different textures, showing off careful attention to dynamics
An elegantly subdued picking pattern starts the record off as Bessie’s soulful vocalisations announce proceedings showing off a range of vocal techniques in an excellently subtle opener. Setting the tone for what’s to come as Bessie sings “Can’t see what I’m believing…” A distinctive sense of doubt, and hesitation seems to glue the tracks together with frank honesty.
Next up is lead single ‘Words you Say’, an upbeat indie rock song with an extremely infectious melody, and lots of twists and turns throughout. Turner’s confidence as a vocalist really shines through in this one. The performance in this track possesses more of a playful demeanor and the instrumentals come through with a denser texture.
This leads effortlessly into the sombre ‘Abseil’. The low tempo guitar part within the verse holding an almost hypnotic dissonance. Melancholic opening line “I’m worried I’m not gonna live long, I’m worried I’m not gonna try my best to keep you…’ reminiscent of tracks from Daughter’s ‘If You Leave’ . However, Turner’s distinctive vocal personality still shines through on its own merits. The constant building of the instrumentation grants the track with a sense of urgency throughout right up until it’s conclusion.
‘In my room’ comes next. A personal favourite of mine with more jazzy sensibilities and a more complex percussive pattern. Another infectious vocal melody inhabits this one beautifully accompanied by an exceptionally enticing instrumental part. The lyric ‘The cold on the pillow doesn’t sit well with me’ again inciting feelings of hesitation and dissatisfaction, but you wouldn’t know it considering the positivity of the tracks aesthetic.
‘Big Sleep’ seems to be the records emotive low point with its subdued refrain of “I’m feeling it again, I’m feeling ill again…”. The repetitive percussion throughout the verses seeming to replicate the feelings possessed within Turner’s lyrical themes. The subtle harmonies in the background grant this track with a subtle tranquility that hints at a certain contentness despite the blatant feelings of insecurity.
The EP comes to it’s conclusion with ‘Milinky’ which seems to be a direct sum of all the musical ideas present in the tracks preceding it. Male background vocals accent Turner’s vibrant melodies as the dynamics teeter upon the edge of subtlety and density with confidence. An excellent closer.
Joyful highs, and melancholic lows glue 22:22 together. A record of conflicting emotions that embodies feelings of anxiety, hopelessness and negativity as poignantly as elation, love, and contentedness. Turner’s soulful vocals soar over every track with a distinctive flare. This short bittersweet collection of tracks shows a distinct songwriting prowess and an excellent attention to detail within the studio.
It might seem like it’ll be morning forever, but if that morning is at all like this, then maybe that’s not so bad.
Not Just Another Day In The Office
There’s nothing disappointed me more than payday. Staring at that excruciatingly low number long enough, so that I can maybe attain some sort of psychic powers to alter the figures. Just one digit, one single minute digit to help me attain something.
Another month passes and my response stays the same. Just one digit. One minute figure would signify a whole paradigm change: I could get that new sofa; I could get my apartment renovated, new drapes, new trousers.The possibilities would be endless. But alas another month passes and there’s no luck in the psychic abilities department.
Maybe I should consider asking for a raise. But of course I won’t, not even I could argue a point for myself which justifies such a cause. I earn a horrible wage, for a low paying job. I work horribly, so fair is fair. Another month passes and still no change. I’m slowly losing the will to live and swiftly turning to nihilism.
I’ve been reading up a lot about psychics and ‘The Power of the Subconscious’. Apparently you can read a person inside out just from their hands. You can identify tiny details about their personality just from the look in their eyes.
Some claim that they can speak to the dead; that they can discover who they were in a past life. But there’s nothing about digits; just one little digit. The months continue to go by with each day of the calendar year mocking me. Mocking me with the way that the digits rise every day. Then reminding me at the end of the month when the number reverts to zero that pay day has arrived.
I’ve still attained no progression. I continue to think about asking for a raise but whilst still being ordinary I can’t possibly follow through with that.
That fact echoes repeatedly around my head as another month passes me by. Still no supernatural powers, and no bloody digits. Absolutely nothing of note to report, as per usual other than this ongoing hindrance that keeps itching at my sanity. So as I stand at the photocopier minding my own business (As I’m the only one who really cares to mind it) I notice Peter waltzing down the corridor like it’s everybody’s business (As it’s really quite hard not to).
‘Steve would you mind quickly copying these?’ he holds out an ungodly amount of paperwork and I struggle to fend off a look of disgust.
‘Sure’ I say monotonous. He gives an assured one sided grin, clicks with both fingers and points to me as if I’m The Man. As he would say before twirling off in the opposite direction.
He’s so cool and it makes me physically sick. But I suck it up and begin the tedious task of copying it all because I’m too polite to do otherwise. Staring glumly into the never ending abyss that is Pete’s sales reports.
Why do I help these god awful people out? They wouldn’t do the same for me. I don’t know this for sure as they only talk to me when they want something. I’m too nervous to start a conversation; let alone ask for a favour. So I guess I’ll continue brainlessly scanning their documents for no personal gain. It’s atrocious really but I suck it up and accept reality. That reality seems to just consist of long days. In bland looking offices.
Clearing up mess, for everyone else. Having only other people’s conversations as ‘entertainment’. That’s all my life is really; just being a spectator for other’s endeavors. Walking into rooms and saying nothing while I see others walk into rooms and say things. Occasionally stooping to do some photocopying, copying mundane pointless documents.
Dear God is this all there is to life? Is it just people walking into rooms and saying things? Forever. A huge emphasis on the mundane and a lesser emphasis on that which is interesting. If something’s interesting then it doesn’t happen a lot. If even at all. Is this what mankind has amounted to?
I begin to have a spout of depression until a single conversation, makes reality seem a lot more like fiction.
Wait what? Dialogue? Actual human contact, I’m not conditioned to this, just carry on? What do normal people do in these situations? Wait I swear that I’m normal. ‘Sir?
Are you still using the copier?’ Not just any human voice, a female voice! I look up to find a radiant smile beckoning me to make a response. Time seems to stop. In a split second I take in the entirety of her essence. The messy, ravenous hair-do that seems wholehearted, articulate, and planned. Spectacles dangling as rock climbers do from the crevices behind her ears. A turtle dove fabric smothering her upper half in unrivalled professionalism. A crow black skirt screaming for a visceral response.
‘Urm, I. I. I’m urm… Nope’ I make my frantic debut of a reply. I just continue to stand there blankly, astonished by the fact; she’s communicating with me. ‘So would you mind stepping out of the way?’ she continues..
Oh yeah sorry I’m not particularly practised in the way of human communication’ I say as I grab my paper and begin to leave.
‘Well that sentence you used just then tells me otherwise Mr?’ she awaits a reply.
‘Johnson, but just call me Steve. And your name is?’
-‘Sally, Sally Robins, pleased to meet you’ she holds out her hand. She’s not even slightly alienated by my presence; she must be new here. But I shake her hand politely and give what I believe to be a smile. It’s quite difficult to tell nowadays, I barely even manage a frown. Just an incessant glare of emptiness. But no I’m almost certain that this hand shake induced a smile. Well that’s new. With that simple act of friendliness, things are looking up.
-’Sorry but I’ve never seen you around here before, are you new?’
‘Lil’ old me? No no not at all, I’m one of the nameless fiends from the office below, y’know us outsider types’ ‘Sounds like my cuppa tea to be honest’ I say confidently. Hang on, confidently?
‘Oh a cuppa tea? Did you wanna?’ Woah she’s a little forward, I’m not prepared for this, how do actual people react in these situations?
‘But I don’t know you?’
‘Isn’t that what going for a cuppa tea is meant for, getting to know one another?’
‘How do I know that you’re not some sort of psychopath?
Well do I look like a psychopath?’
‘No… But they never do, do they?’
‘Well I suppose that’s a risk that you’re going to have to take. Exciting isn’t it?’ a confident smirk stretching across her face.
‘Okay yeah sure tea sounds nice’ God I feel like Casanova.
‘Good I’m glad’ she smiles ‘So I’ll meet you in reception straight after work?’
‘Yes you will’ and with that she struts away from the photocopier, her papers dangling carelessly from the grip of her red fingernails.
I’m usually pleased to see the work day end. That way I can continue my futile existence at home, watching Netflix and eating takeaway.. But not today! I have a definitively decent reason to be excited. In saying that, a sense of anxiety blankets itself over me. I realise that I haven’t been on a date with a stranger since I was a teenager.
Just be yourself I think to myself. I wait for what seems like years at reception nonetheless, until I see her walking down the corridor towards me. She seems hesitant at first, almost nervous and this eases my enveloping unease. As she approaches the door she flicks her brunette fringe to one side with her hand; puts both within either pocket of her coat. Pushing the door open she asks me
‘Right so what’s the plan Stan?’,oh my god she’s just as lame as me, this is possibly the greatest moment of my life. Not quite as great as when I first tried Nando’s but definitely up there.
‘Absolutely no clue I’m afraid, so I hope that you’re one for spontaneity’ ’
‘Spontaneity sounds good to me, I mean how boring would life be if everything was planned? It’s nice to not know sometimes’
‘But if no one has plans then how can anything go to plan?’
‘Oh everyone has a plan, they may not tell other people, they may not even know themselves. But everyone has a motive.’
‘Well what’s your motive Sally?’
‘Spontaneity’ she winks.
With that we walk out of the office and meander towards where we believe there to be a local park. But that’s just an assumption. (Everyone gets taxis or the tube to work nowadays). Talking to Sally is strangely easy. I’m normally rather socially inept, but this is not the case with her and conversation slides out. Eventually we do come across the school field to Two Rivers Academy.
I’m unsure whether or not to suggest that we climb over the fence to get in. Although I don’t have long to ponder on the matter before she throws herself over it. Poking her head over the top of the fence she gives a sort of one handed salute shouting.
‘C’mon then get over here amigo’ she does a terrible example of a Mexican accent. I find myself taking an extremely strong likening to this girl.
Alright alright, two can play that game senorita’ I declare as I climb over the fence and stumble towards the end. She lets out a carefree chuckle like an angel’s, and for a moment we maintain eye contact. This partially awkward moment is cut short by her grabbing my hand and running us into the darkness. We’re just running around a field in the dark, but this fills me with adrenaline. I can’t help but let out a chuckle in confidence as I run into the distance with her. She slows her pace and then turns around to face me, my hand still protected by hers.
Grabbing my other hand she veers sideways making us spin. An activity that I haven’t been initiated into since I was a child with my mother. We relish in the dizzying bliss, until the darkness ahead of us is a disorienting blur. So we lie next to one another on the damp grass without a care in the world, still hand in hand.
‘Tell me about Steve Johnson, the man, the maverick’ she says before a seamlessly rehearsed pause ‘The legend’
‘Well in all honesty there really isn’t that much to tell’
‘No c’mon you’re not getting out of this that easily, everyone has interests, loves, hates, everyone has a story’
‘I don’t. If I did it would be a blank page of A4 other than the word Existed, just a little bit off centre’
‘What were we saying earlier? About a motive.’
‘My motive is existing’
‘I didn’t realise that I’d invited Mr Ordinary out for a date’
‘You’ve not said much about yourself either though Miss Jane Doe’
‘Hey! Steal your own cliche Mr!’ she nudges me lightly in the shoulder. ‘And it’s impolite to ask a lady to reveal first in my books’
‘Well I’m a gentlemen so if you put it that way…’
‘For an anxious man of nothing you’re a little sure of yourself aren’t you?’
‘You’re absolutely oxyMORONIC. You do know that right?’
‘Was that a literary quip?’
‘An attempt at one’ she smiles
‘A rather futile attempt, I might add’
‘Stop stalling! I suppose I’ll have to ask you twenty one questions like a child eh?’
‘In all honesty that would help because I’m very much distracted right now’
‘Oh by what?’
‘What about me?’ she smiles
‘Can I be frank for a moment?’
‘Wouldn’t have you any other way.’
‘You are honestly the most beautiful girl that I have ever seen in my life, I’m still not entirely convinced as to why you’d be spending the evening with me. You could have the entire known world hanging on your every word if you wanted. I can’t keep my eyes off of you and I’m still convinced that I’m dreaming.’ instantly she punches me hard in the arm shouting
-’Stop!’ her smile growing ever larger.
‘What was that for?’ Then she kisses me hard on the lips before retracting and saying ‘Does that prove your assumptions Mr Cliché?’
I’ve been waiting for this moment. Ever since she spoke to me at the office (The photocopy room, the height of romance). Leaving the moment perhaps a little longer than I should, I begin to lean into her swiftly followed by her doing the same. Our lips collide in sweet subtlety then for an instant our glances cross one another’s . She places one hand behind the back of my neck as I place my hands on either side of her waist.
Leaning in once more our lips brush against one another’s but with more urgency. I wrap my arms around her and squeeze her tightly as I continue to kiss her. She tastes sweet, more sweet than I’d imagined. I trace my fingers up and down her back as I kiss down the side of her neck.
Placing one hand on the side of her face I use the one arm I have around her waist to pull her closer to me. She scratches her nails down either side of my back vigorously; with a force that I’m sure I’ll regret allowing in the morning. I place an arm under her thigh and lift one of her legs up; she instantly wraps it around me gripping us closer. I push her against the fence and she places her other leg around me. Holding her up with my hands on her backside I continue kissing her. Her arms around my neck. It’s been a hell of a long time since I’ve had anything like this happen to me and I can’t believe how fast it’s going. Has it always been this easy? There must be some sort of catch to this. I begin spiralling deeper into a negative thought process which proper turns me off. So when she leaps from my embrace and twirls around to shove me against the fence;I’m as flaccid as a mushy banana in the midday sun.
Her hands wander down my my chest, across my stomach, then up from my knees towards my crotch. I recoil. I can’t allow the ship with no captain to be boarded. He’s just not ready to sail.
’Oh is there something wrong?’ she asks as she stops in her tracks.
’No no nothing’s wrong it’s just’ I pause ‘It’s been a hell of a long time’
’Oh you haven’t already cu-’
’No no of course not’ I cut her short. ‘‘I just think that this is too fast that’s all’
’I know what guys are like, a girl tries to touch your manhood you’re not going to complain, so what’s the real reason here?’ she inquires as I can’t help but smile. I feel a total sense of trust for this girl, I know that she won’t mock me and so I tell her the truth.
-’Right I’ll be honest with you, I’m struggling to umm… reach umm full... volition…’
-’Oh… Well… Is it me?’ Her smile lessens.
’No no it’s not you at all! I’m just overthinking some things’
’You know what?’ she pauses briefly as that gorgeous smile stretches across her face once more. Turning around she swerves her behind slowly from side to side ‘I think I can help to get them off of your mind’.
She turns to face me and slowly lifts up the bottom of her shirt; placing it between her teeth.
She begins to make sensual but subtle circular movements with her hips. While she uses one hand to caress her upper chest, tightly packed beneath a jet black bra.
She slowly slides off her skirt, tracing down her curvature and turns around.
Slowly backs into me. I wrap my arms around her waist as she swerves her lower half from side to side. Sure enough; this works a charm. I lightly kiss down her neck and place both hands on her chest. I caress them as I lightly bite her neck. She turns around again, kisses me harshly and traces her hands towards my crotch once more. After a single bite of her lip:
She gets down on her knees…
Wait what? Dialogue? Actual human contact, I’m not conditioned to this, just carry on? What do normal people do in these situations? Wait I swear that I’m normal. ‘Sir? Are you still
using the copier?’ Not just any human voice, the voice of my bloody boss. Excitement swiftly turns to disappointment as I realise that due to Peter passing me his bloody documents to copy: I’m not at all up to date on my work. Goddamn it Pete! If he wasn’t so suave I would maybe stand up for myself.
’Time’s ticking Mr Johnson’ she says as she looks down her crane nose at me.
-’Oh yeah of course, expect them to be on your desk by the end of the day’ I pretend to smile., there’s no way that I’ll be able to do that. I try to keep eye contact with her but that’s difficult when her eyes are veering down at something. Although I’m unsure exactly what.
She raises one eyebrow before she looks at me, then back down, and then back at me.
Clearing her throat she says
-’Are those the documents rolled up in your pocket?’ I’m still unsure what she’s referring to.
‘Or are you just exceptionally pleased to see your boss?’ she continues. I realise what’s happening and don’t even need to look down before shuddering in embarrassment. But when I do; lo and behold I find Captain Johnson poking his head out to say hello.
-’Crap, sorry Madame I’m so sorry, I didn’t realise’ I say in a fluster as I turn around to reposition myself.
’Oh no don’t worry about it Mr Johnson, honestly I’m flattered’ she winks.
My boss is a grey haired woman definitely passed her 60’s, Dear god I did not sign up for this.
An excruciating two hours pass of frantically typing (Half of that riddled with typos) later. I’ve managed to complete these documents to at least a somewhat feasible standard. I enter into a dream like state once more. I imagine what this day would be like if she was in the office.
I’d be able to walk over and pass the remainder of the day quickly. Muttering sweet nothings in her ear while she returns the favour. We’d share a joke and laugh until our ribs hurt. The boss would walk past and probably tell us to ‘Shut your traps’. All that would do is make us laugh all the more. But as if by sorcery: (Or maybe it’s the power of the subconscious mind).
The boss trudges up to my desk, and veers over my shoulder; looking at the work I’ve done as a desk job robot.
’There should be a full stop after Statistics’ she says in a lightness that does the opposite of it’s intention.
’Oh yes of course, sorry madame’ I say as harsh as I can be without being rude.
’Don’t worry about it, you’ve corrected it now. I just wanted to leave you with some extra work’.
She places a tiny note upon my desk. Winks once more before turning around, and walking away in what she’d imagine to be a stylish manner. Now I’m not sure if I even want to read whatever it is written inside the note she’s passed me. So I try my best to ignore it.
However; my curiosity eventually peaks and so I open up the note.
I’ve seen you sitting there a while
When I do I can’t help but smile
A shy man of an envious style
Saddened by work, an extensive pile.
I see the way you look at me
There’s only one way it can be received
I noticed you standing as hard as a tree
So would you like for us to be?
Mr Johnson I can be your leaves
The instant I read it my coffee vacates the premises that is my mouth. I’m not too bothered by the words at hand, in fact I find the prospect to be quite amusing. It’s just. That rhyme scheme. Not a single change of pace, not a single turn or sense of surprise; just a bland attempt at flattery. It’s blatant that she’s been out of the game quite a while but then again so have I. Exercising the idea in my head extremely briefly I realise how daunting of a prospect it actually is. The kind of situation that requires frank and immediate action.
So on the back of the note I roughly retaliate:
I forgive you for your mistake,
That was not the impression I intended to make.
Attracted I seemed to be,
I’d rather just throw away the leaves.
Day Tripper Leads To Uncomfortable Brief Encounter
Walking through the town centre should be a simple task.
A usual happening to occur in day to day life, for there are hundreds, maybe hundreds of thousands who do the same each day with no complaint.
Yet to some people these situations have an extraordinarily large sense of unease to them. Whether that be due to lack of self esteem, the fear of confrontation or just a general terror in regards to social routine. Sadly I quite often happen to be one of these fearful inverted narcissists (Will get to that later). The prospect of passing through any sort of situation without being directly reprimanded is the reality, but in the mind of a fellow nervous tweeker the sentiment is outright preposterous.
Am I walking funny? Did I just trip? Oh I definitely just tripped.
Should I stare blankly ahead avoiding eye contact at all costs? Or should I scan the area like a terrified land surveyor? What if I come across somebody that I know? Oh darn it! Quickly, look away as if you haven't noticed them, run the opposite direction?
Nope it’s already too late and they are upon you.
“Hey how’s it going man? Haven’t seen you in ages,” comes their friendly introduction, inciting a terror that chills me to the bone. A brief pause of about two seconds feels like an eternity, as a frog clambers it’s way down the cylindrical tightness of my larynx. There it lays endless spawns of hesitation that will be sure to come to life in the near future.
“I’ve been rather well actually thank you, yeah it has been ages! You still at uni?” But against all odds I’ve done it. Knocked it right out of the park and formulated an adequate social response, not a stutter or stammer in sight. But gotta be careful now, I can’t get cocky, it ain’t over yet.
“Yeah of course. Same old dorm, But I’ve gotta go now though anyway man sorry, in a rush to catch a bus,” he says, leaving me with a huge sense of relief and elation. He’s bottled it.
“Not a problem mate, another time.” I wave (somewhat suavely.)
For in almost all cases our anxieties and worries happen to be just those. They don’t tend to be reflective of reality in any sense. Overthinking in and of itself is rather surrealistic. Applying over analysis to the menial, and juxtaposition to the downright simplistic. Making faulty connections within the brain and paying too much attention to the futile, too much attention to oneself. Which brings me back to inverted narcissism.
Narcissism is often characterized by a grandiose sense of self, extreme admiration and often over inflation of one’s capabilities and talents. Also characterized by the belief that nothing is ever your fault in the case of failure. Inverted narcissism however is characterized by a similar sense of self centeredness, except in a negative sense. These frequent anxieties and worries are inflated to the point of panic in some cases.
The general belief that criticism is being thrown at you directly even when you have absolutely no case and point in matters. A person is laughing over there, they must be laughing at me, that person just gave me eye contact, he must have bad intentions, why am I being criticised? This strange anxious phenomena of believing one’s self to be the centre of the universe is one of the main ideas that amplifies anxiety.
However, this is never the case. Everyone lives their own lives, nobody is focusing on you. For you are not the centre of reality, you are not even the centre of this small section of reality. People’s minds are preoccupied with an abundance of personal matters, opinions, and recollections. Once this fact has been identified, it doesn’t seem so preposterous to not be so self conscious.
To accept the fact that everyone is of equal importance, and to make an effort to be a functioning social member of society.
Oh damn, I hope I don’t run into anyone else I know.
Angsty Poetry/Storytime Volume 1: Serotonin
Determination, and the confidence to match.
Euphoric, and unquestionably a catch. .
Temporarily, engraved with the need to be
Delectable, present, ever so charmingly
Connection, never before felt unquestionably.
Beautiful, our pathetic sky so holy.
The glow wavering, a steady fine descent.
We find that the best times are the ones we have to rent.
Wanting. Hatred for the mild inconvenience
Negativity, over thinking provides no innocence.
Predominantly rules, a tyrant over my
Troubled head regretfully, clouding up my mind.
Disdain, interpretation speculation
Treachery, determination desperation.
A careless separation, lovingly prepared,
No heartless wretched boy, who had found himself ensnared
He longs for
Chemical imbalance, he had no idea
Depletion, confusion, anger, fear.
Misinterpretation, emotionally numb
Reset, regain, that spark as bright as the sun.
Angsty Poetry/Storytime: A Precursor
I’m considering making a regular feature on here to season the blog a little amongst the irate rants and speculation.
The feature won’t actually have any sort of set structure, it could be a random poem, a bit of prose, a bit of a song, whatever I fancy actually. It’s what I’m now going to call Angsty Poetry/Storytime (Though that name is likely to change.)
You see I’ve been a little idle lately. Well when I say a little, I really mean a hell of a lot. Spending hours incessantly binge watching Netflix shows, and Youtube videos is not an enriching way to spend your life. Plus, drifting through life with a sense of perpetual sadness has never been a goal of mine.
It’s also gotten to the point in which I can no longer just call this a momentary lapse in reason, a spontaneous negative funk; unfortunately it seems more like a downwards spiral. (And to be honest I think that point was arguably reached years ago). Attempting to formulate this temporary dubiousness into some form of creative energy is a surefire way of sort of getting through things. But since my guitar is currently in a rather negative funk of its own (By which I mean it’s absolutely knackered).
Poetry and Prose will have to do the trick. I’m unsure whether my attempts at fiction and frivolous attempts at poetry really have a proper place on this blog, but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
The upside to this is that it will force me to spend my time actually creating things, and allow me to experiment a little bit. Some pieces may come across as a little heavy to begin with so my apologies if I give any of you a serious personality disorder. I will try to keep it light most of the time.
The realisation that I’ve become a lazy layabout is surely what I’ve needed to escape this little hole I’ve dug for myself and get on my bike.
I just hope that whoever’s reading this enjoys the ride.
Panic Is Snow Joke
There’s panic across the streets of Ipswich as what can only be described as ‘a little bit of snow’ has meandered its way through Suffolk with devastating consequences in what I’m now deciding to name ‘Snowegeddon’ (I know, my originality knows no bounds...)
The late comer to the winter season has shocked all those in it’s wake, with many believing that Winter was just far too cool for the party, after turning down years worth of Christmas invitations. Winter had originally decided to arrive fashionably late. But after an overly comprehensive round of pre-drinks, the conceptual entity instead chose to arrive once the party died down, when no one actually wanted them there in an outrageous bid to terrorise hundreds of farmers.
Needless to say, inhabitants of the peninsula all over are absolutely devastated by the anti-social behaviour inhibited by this tyrannical shell of what used to be a rather tranquil season. Responses varied widely, with the bottom end not really being all that bothered, and the top end of annoyance being a total blanketing sensation of absolute slight irritation.
A man in his mid-forties who had just done a snow angel for the first time in 28 years however was absolutely elated at the situation. He’d always wanted to make his mark on the world, and being British he wanted to ensure that that mark was covered up almost as soon as it was ingrained.
Hundreds of parents were shocked to discover that the ice scrapers created by their teenage children in resistant materials classes at Holbrook Academy just weren’t quite going to cut it, resulting in their first trips to B&Q since before they had kids. People who only seem to talk about the weather in day to day conversation on the other hand had an absolute field day, and were seen for once in their lives as ‘somewhat interesting’ and ‘worth responding to’.
The people in charge of putting grit salt on the roads had to interrupt their multiple year long hiatus and come out of hibernation for a couple of days, for it turns out that they weren’t a mythical creature afterall. Elderly people all over the country who had been saving their heating for the inevitable collapse of the Tory government had to dip into their pensions so as to not die of hypothermia, while Jeremy Corbyn’s allotment suffered the largest net loss of Muesli since the early 70’s.
That all being said, the peninsula has become enveloped in a beautiful pure sense of pristine elegance (Well in the areas that haven’t already turned into that slushy nonsense) and that is quite enough to make anyone smile.
Social Media and the Impending Zombie Apocalypse
Social media is arguably one of the most useful new developments in modern communication, frequented by millions upon millions of people on a daily basis. Although it can be an efficient tool in the progression of modern society; it may also be the most degrading mythical succubi to ever inherit the earth, at once corroding and belittling the development of mankind as a whole.
Now it seems that the vast majority of the known world has got over it’s strange fixation with zombies. The fictional creation has been cropping up within films, television, and advertisements constantly over the past few decades, despite not actually being the most intriguing of creatures. It’s okay now though, this trend seems to have died down a lot recently (Aside from an excessive amount of series of The Walking Dead)
Wrong! We have not gotten over this fixation, for we have become that which pop culture seemed to warn us against! Dawn of the Dead has always been a satirical cautionary tale of what’s to come as opposed to a horror flick. Only this time it’s not consumerism that our behaviour implies, (although I’ll maybe do an article on that another time) it is instead how we consume in regards to social media. Some of us have caught the virus, succumbing to the animalistic nature of the modern media, we ‘React’ to posts with subdued emotion, as Zuckerberg’s mindless drones, without even so much as a smirk of recognition upon our faces.
So as a result you undergo the graphic Machiavellian onslaught of absolute bull (And the most degrading display of absolute bull at that) While scrolling down my newsfeed I see depression, heartbreak, classless attempts at humour, pain, exaggeration, stupidity, fear-mongering, further stupidity and pathetic attempts at immoral sex appeal (You hard to please bar stewards you). As an intelligent human being, you tend to see through this horrific freak show of human interaction and just move on with your day don't you? You just continue scrolling until you find something of worth. Right?
Apparently this is not the case with the so called majority. All this mindless rabble is liked millions upon millions of times. Which, in my estimation, means that millions of people have genuinely taken a liking to the content. Either the majority of the population on Facebook is compiled of morons (likely) Or there's people that just blindingly like everything down their newsfeed no matter what it is, paying attention to the popularity of the post as opposed to the actual content (Equally as likely). Just liking and sharing, liking and sharing like a repetitive re-administration of the Ebola virus.
I’m not saying that there is nothing of worth upon the pages of social media, it’s just a horrifying shame that you have to wade through all of this shit in order to access it. Genuinely interesting, insightful, and informative content is present all over the internet so perhaps a few large dosages of that could inject some sense into the borderline senseless majority. Social media can be a miraculous tool for sharing joy, an outlet to present creativity and genuine excellence with all those around us. Some of us just need to learn to use it right.
Or perhaps you could go back and watch another episode of Mrs Browns Boys, I’ve heard it’s the height of comedy...
Rural Beauty, or Juvenile Disgust?
Growing up in a rural area is undoubtedly a beautiful thing. Whole days spent out on bikes, out on walks with friends across sprawling hills and luscious scenery. The ability to explore, years spent finding those perfect spots. Leaving the house with a single pound coin, and still managing to return with change. The simplicity of a rope swing dangling rather precariously from a tree. The scent of the fresh air. As I write all of these statements, a distinct sense of nostalgia presents itself to me.
However, nostalgia is an inherently positive feeling often perpetuated by the glare of rose tinted glasses.
Through the lens of hindsight I began to realise that I’m only remembering the good. There were an awful lot of negatives to growing up in the countryside too. The gorgeous musk of country air, often accompanied by the rancid smell of manure.
Days upon days of doing absolutely nothing when the few people who lived in my village were busy. Nearly getting shot by farmers when taking a shortcut to the reservoir (Although admittedly, that one’s still rather fun)
Matters only get worse as the teen years arrive. Hormones run rampant through the bodies of teenagers, replacing their old, innocent mannerisms with different wants, desires, and needs.
The outside world doesn’t seem all that appealing anymore, exploring becomes a distinctive chore, and nobody wants to be that uncool kid who still enjoys country walks. The town centre suddenly becomes more appealing, with it’s grotty sense of highly populated glamour.
Long gone are the days where a quid would get you through the day, swallowed up by the cold, metallic embrace of the retail high street. Friendship groups widen, house parties suddenly become the centre of attention, the sprawling countryside is replaced by the somewhat artificial menagerie of the park.
It is often the case that with teenage years, we lose track of the sense of excitement and tranquility emitted by the countryside. Despite, in some ways, (even if just in a subconscious sense) striving to get back to it.
But then there is another turn, (now some people have this turn a lot later than others). With maturity, the countryside suddenly becomes more appealing again. House parties are replaced by nights out camping by a fireside, exploring once more (Although admittedly, now sometimes with the accompaniment of a wee bit of inebriation).
Conversations that last an entire night across an incomprehensibly broad range of topics. Strange nonsensical theories about the nature of reality swiftly followed by often bitchy comments about that which is shamelessly menial. Laughing so much that your guts would hurt by the end of it. These experiences, and situations are what come to shape us as people.
The way we spend our spare time, the bridges we build, the relationships we cement with those leisurely encounters. This, all with the backdrop of the uncompromisingly beautiful sanguine elegance, of a sunset, receding into the horizon of an angry farmer’s field.
When it comes to my leading question, perhaps I find myself leaning more upon the side of rural beauty.
For Those Who Want to Perform, and For Those Who Want to Listen
Having been a busker singer/songwriter type for what’s almost bordering upon the excessive at this point, I’ve come to know my way around all of the local open mic nights.
I’ve gotten to know the performers, as well as the hosts, their likes and dislikes (along with their drinks of choice in some cases).
Open mics are a great way to branch out, for the aspiring performer. A way to polish their ability to perform live, to practice in front of a loving and accepting audience, and a way to collaborate with fellow minded (and opposingly minded) musicians.
They’re also a guaranteed great night for those who want to listen. Always a friendly crowd, lovely bar service, and all manner of music to listen to. Anyone can come along, just arrive and sign up on the night if you’d like to perform.
The Shotley Rose is known for hosting great gigs, with a wide range of musical genres performing. Similarly the Bristol Arms is looking at bringing back their open mic nights, which has seen contestants from X-Factor and The Voice sing, as well as well-known peninsula performers such as Jimmy Nunn (pictured).
The Wheatsheaf is owned by a renowned Suffolk musician Kev Durance and they often end up up just jamming'.
That being said, here’s a list of the regulars in town:
The Grinning Rat- Every Tuesday Night: 8:30- 11:30
The Salutation- Every other Thursday Night: 8:30-11:30 (8th February, 22nd February…)
The Duke of York- Every other Thursday Night: 8:30-11:30 (15th February, 1st March…)
The Steamboat- Every other Friday Night: 8:30- 11:30 (9th February, 23rd February…)
Cult Cafe Bar- Buskers bench 24th Feb, 17th March. Jam Night- Every other Thursday night (15th February, 1st March…)
Battle of the Buskers
Walking through the town centre the other day, I heard the luscious sound of somebody playing a guitar solo along to a 12 bar blues scale. The sound echoed throughout the entire high street, a distant echo to begin with, then with a pristine clarity.
As I walked past the performer he gave me a nod in recognition of the fact that I was walking with a guitar. With that; a sort of silent truce came to fruition. I continued to walk to the opposite side of the high street, but the sound still rang out in the distance.
I felt it to be somewhat rude to play and drown out his sound (Even if it was just that of a distant echo).
So I waited. I sat and listened to the man play from a distance.
The volume almost eccentrically loud in comparison to the size of the minute amp emitting it. It was relatively late in the afternoon, I knew that soon it would be too late to start performing. If I was to get anything done, I would have to act now. All manner of approaches I could take came to mind; I could take a space on either side of the high street, to drown out a small segment of his audience with my incessant howling. I could take a place directly opposite him, aggressively strumming my guitar with direct eye contact in spite.
I could wage war upon this tyrant, dominating the background hustle bustle of the Felixstowe high street!
However; with me being a very typically polite British rural type: The way in which I acted was just to walk by him again passive aggressively. Ensuring he knew I was walking by. I then sat myself closer to him, and he responded thusly.
He told me that he had noticed me walking by, he asked my name and shook my hand. I returned the sentiment, and then we spoke for a little while. I mentioned to him that I thought his playing was immaculate, and that I didn’t want to be as rude
as to busk in a similar vicinity to him. To rob him of part of the areas his sound so swiftly enveloped.
He told me that I should’ve just told him to shut the hell up and move on. That he wouldn’t have been offended in any way whatsoever, for he had been there for three hours already. He offered me his spot and I took it appreciatively.
Guess it didn’t need a war after all.
Who The Hell Cares...?
Shotley Peninsula and The Ever-Changing Blog of Local Knowledge...
... is surprisingly not the name of my new meta fictional avant-garde one man play/art installation. It is actually just the pretentious way that I'm starting off this blog. It will soon be filled with pieces about local life, but in the meantime, here's a continuation to my extremely meandering introduction.
When I was asked to start working on my own blog, my immediate response was a sort of baffled glare. What on earth was I going to write about? But after a little bit of further thought I began to realise that this question wasn't exactly one of importance as Who the hell even cares anyway?
All of a sudden the prospect enticed me, grabbing my attention with a tractor beam of endless possibility. I could change the vast landscape of journalism forever, I could do whatever I wanted, and the world would stare on in awe of my prowess and indefinite sense of style. But maybe
I'm getting ahead of myself.
For nothing would actually change. The earth wouldn't stand still on its axis to witness what is essentially an angsty youthful type, word vomiting a stream of consciousness into a website commissioned by Write For You, but I digress.
So, what am I actually going to write about?
Good question absent voice in my head transferred into the form of italics!
Well all sorts really, I’d like to touch on my experience growing up within the Shotley Peninsula. Whether that be through anecdotal storytelling, (non fictional or otherwise) or whether that be through poetry. There will be interviews with local bands and artists, as well a little bit of local journalism if there's some smaller stories worth telling.
So watch this space if you feel that way inclined. (Show me who the hell even cares anyway)
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