I hate the name of this series but I can’t think what to rename it, so here we go. (Yes I am on holiday right now. I did some magic. I am on a beach and probably asleep.)
Why isn’t my youth like that. Where are the denim jackets? The masses of people? The bowling alley that isn’t scummy? My local bowling alley is a shithole with way less gays – or it was in 2009, which was the last time I bothered going. I don’t much like denim jackets. Also, is it just me or are half the people in that video too young for tape recorders.
This video summed up my psyche before my psyche was my psyche. I love the word psyche.
Today is 25 years since the start of public access of the world wide web (thank you for my jobs, Tim Berners-Lee) and I wanted to find something to encapsulate why the Internet is so important, but to be honest I think this shit hole of a website does the trick. I can’t find evidence of what it looked like back in 2009 (shout out to anyone who put up with the luminous green type) but here are some other gems from the last six and a half years.
I am still so proud of that tagline. I only got rid of it when I started The Webways and wanted to avoid brand confusion. (October 2011)
Oh god that’s where my graphic designing started. Also, shout out to Sweet Pea! (October 2011)
I don’t know what went wrong here, but I do seem to remember archiving it on the Way Back Machine so I could remember it in years to come. High five, 17 year old me. (December 2013)
This was a total accident. I was playing about with new theme ideas, because the Bueno one (see above and every post for about five years) wasn’t supported by WP any more – I didn’t realise that I had activated a new one, not just previewed it, and couldn’t get the original back. This was as close as I could get to how it was, and I’m still not sure how I feel about those circles. (August 2015)
My Goth phase. (October 2015)
And that concludes this post, because I have to go use the Internet to look at crap people have written on a micro blogging site.
Last week I got philosophical/grumpy about what it’s like being mere mortal during the Olympics, and in the spirit of WINNING THAT GOLD MEDAL, here is a list of ambitions I would like to have fulfilled by the next summer Olympics. There are other, more personal, things as well – but these are the things I want to brag (and complain) about publicly between now and summer 2020.
Finish a screenplay
And then have it optioned in record time by the BBC and win five BAFTAs. Obviously.
It doesn’t have to get anywhere (statistically, it would not get anywhere). I just want to finish one before I qualify for OAP cinema tickets.
Publish a book
I’d love to know the odds of getting a book published next to the odds of having a screenplay made, but since I would be responsible for almost all the content of a book, as opposed to one of many, many people making a film, I prefer my chances of actually holding a novel in my hand. Plus, I’ve had more practise. Still gotta double check how to spell practise, though.
Earn enough at 1-3 jobs that I don’t need 4-5 jobs
Travel to every country in the EU before my lazy arse has to fill out paperwork to do so
Britain will have Brexited by Tokyo 2020, and there’s nothing like a deadline to spur one on to visit Slovakia while it takes minimum effort. Where is Slovakia.
Travel to basically everywhere
I could probably stand to miss Baghdad, Aleppo and the North and South Poles, but places I haven’t been to yet that I want to write postcards from include but are not limited to:
The Colosseum in Rome
South East Asia
The Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland
The Edinburgh Fringe Festival
Learn (or rediscover) a sport that doesn’t bring back horrible memories of PE
They never taught us aerial yoga, maybe I could try that… or trampolining. Ooh, or dog walking.
Pass my driving test
Possibly this is cheating because if I pass my theory test on Friday I will technically be half way there. Then again, I started learning in 2014, so let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I strive for Maggie Stiefvater-esque skill and style, but I think I’m going to be more like this:
I have some deadlines to attend to (and theory to study for) so I will leave this here and maybe revisit it on a periodic basis to brag/complain/mentally compare notes with the athletes aiming for Tokyo. Do you have any goals or four year plans? Let’s compare ourselves to Olympians together!
I’ve been having really odd reactions to the Olympics so please help me out and tell me if you’ve experienced anything similar (no, I’m not talking about checking out the Team GB diving team, although I do encourage you to do that). When I’m watching TV, usually with a plate of food or a cup of tea, I either think:
This is so incredibly inspiring. Look at that perfectly regular human being who has worked their bones into dust for four-plus years to become one of the best sportspeople in the world. They are so deserving of our attention even if they don’t win anything because they are a testament to the human spirit and work ethic. I think I will put down my food and do my physio and go for a run tomorrow.
That person is my age. That person is five years younger than me. What was I doing five years ago? I was blogging about MCR, which has clearly propelled me into a fascinating, rewarding and financially secure life. That person has more visible muscles on their stomach than I do in all my limbs. I’ve been curled on Instagram checking out Team GB’s diving team for approximately four hours and haven’t done physio for days. But I’m actually just going to eat some carbohydrates and compare myself to a world class gymnast, and feel bitter that my PE teachers were nearly all so shit that I’ll never know if I could have been able to do a somersault.
Sometimes I veer from one reaction to another in the time it takes an athlete to fall off a pommel horse. Sometimes I eat carbs then do physio then eat more carbs. Is anyone else experiencing this? Is there a cure?
One thing I do like about the Olympics is the idea of working in four year cycles towards a goal. Athletes aiming for the Olympics have a clear deadline and an ambition that will get them out of bed when they would rather be anywhere but where they are, and I could do with that – or anything that would help me focus on something that isn’t my growing resentment toward everything I’ve ever done to ensure I’m a money-strapped freelancer with a broken desk chair and a complicated CV.
This isn’t me drowning in self pity; four years ago I had just finished my GCSEs and was in the middle of learning that supermarket bread wanted to kill me, and now I’m a healthier-ish indie writer who was self employed at 18 with zero debts and a burgeoning business. Not many 20 year olds can say that they decided what they wanted to and immediately did it. My life is not terrible.
I’ll be 21 soon, which is basically the last giant birthday I’ll ever have where I can ask for things without being a dick. Also, I’ve been clearing out some cupboards recently and noticed that I own a lot of shit. I own too much shit. Emphasis on ‘shit’. So I thought I’d make a little list for my loved ones to refer to when scratching your heads in the Yankee Candle aisle. If you’re unsure as to whether a potential gift could also be shit, put it back and write a cheque for a leishmania charity. (Please do not ever buy me a Yankee Candle.)
My 21st Birthday Gift List
Car insurance. As in, mine.
Patreon support. If you were going to spend £5 on shit I don’t need, pledge that much over however many months you like. Then I get to upgrade my blog and you get art and no one has to clean their cupboards out
Etsy support. If you were going to spend £5 on shit I don’t need, spend that much in my shop then send your friends everything you bought (for the love of God please do not give it back to me)
A book shop gift card. Not Amazon. Not iBook. Something for a shop where I can smell the products before I buy. I fully intend on contributing books to said shops, and I won’t be able to do that if they’ve all been put out of business by tax-avoiding conglomerates amirite
I have lived through several Olympic cycles, and I can actively remember the last three (Athens: I was in Greece at the time and the Greeks were so into it. I was eight and hated sport. Beijing: I was in Greece at the time and the Greeks were less into it. I was 12 and hated sport. London: I was in Greece when it started and couldn’t believe nothing broke at the Opening Ceremony. I was 16 and hated sport).
Now I am 20 and have gone for three runs in the last month. Three! I still hate sport, but have learnt that the Olympics are relevant to my other interests, so I thought I’d put together a little guide for everyone who has bad memories of PE but wants to get their money’s worth from the TV license.
Activity 1: Sit on the sofa, yelling at the TV
Usually I do this during the news. Now I can do it during the 500000m semi sprint or whatever it is Mo Farrah will win. Check out the schedule for a sport you think you can really get into while eating popcorn/shouting.
Activity 2: Check out attractive people
I’ve done a quick recon (read: Googled volleyball) and here are just some of the sports with maximum exposure to god-like muscles. NB: some of the competitors are minors. Check who’s still in school before you do anything weird.
That one with the people who run and swim simultaneously triathlon
(Added after a couple of days of observation) Rowing
The Olympics is basically a free way to explore your sexuality, yes?
Activity 3: Explore multiculturalism
Does anyone know exactly where Samoa is? Or St Kitt’s and Nevis? Or Kazakhstan? Me neither, but I’m going to find out – and I’m going to cheer on the refugee team and holler at random people I’ve never heard of from countries with zero funding when they come last, and curse at the Internet when Boris Johnson someone makes an inappropriate comment.
Activity 4: Pretend you know about sport
‘Yeah so the American women’s football team is really spectacular… did you know there’s a record number of out LGBT athletes competing at this Olympics? Hey, I read that one of the girls in the GB shooting team uses pink cartridges…’
I did zero research to write that. Unless you count scrolling through the news when I don’t want to work as research, anyway. I also did zero exercise.