Saturday, March 20
I Hate Myself
No, not really. Just that image at the top of the page. It hit me the other day just how bad a picture that is of me, and I have decided to change it at some point in the near future. Until then, I have put up an interim image with me kind of scribbled out. If you want to see a better picture of me, click on the webcam image for a bigger version.
Memo to self: go hunt down the auto-upload webcam program...
Edit: I've managed to find that program, and I've set it up to run whenever I'm online, so you can see me in all of my internet-surfing glory. However, if you should see the following picture in the cam section, this means that I am offline or have forgotten to turn the webcam on.
If you do see something other than that picture, it means I'm online, or at least at my computer. Chat to me on MS Messenger with the following address (it's also where you can email me, should you so desire): wiltshiregooner(at)hotmail(dot)com
I've written it like that so various spambots don't read it and sign me up to a huge pile of spam. I'm sure you can figure out where the @ and . go...
Thursday, March 18
The Law Ball (And The Aftermath)
As I mentioned in another post (Finances?) last Friday (the 12th) I went to this year's Law Ball at the Savoy Hotel.
Yes, the Savoy Hotel. We're very posh, you see...
I'd arranged to go a mate's (Joe) house in the afternoon for a few beers and to get changed into my tuxedo. I didn't particularly fancy a 45-minute Tube journey, alone, in my tux, at rush hour into one of the busiest stations in London. Not that I don't mind being stared at: I love being the centre of attention.
We had a couple of beers at his place, got changed and went round to his girlfriend's to get them (her and her flatmate) and to take a few photos. A taxi (at flipping rush hour) took us to The Savoy, and we wandered on in.
Such grandeur! Such lavish scenery! Such sheer pomposity! I was made for this.
After a brief exploration (i.e. getting lost) we made our way to the right room for the champagne reception. Free champers is definitely the best thing ever. I always felt guilty when the waiters came round to top up your glasses and I still had half a glass left. A quick downing of the glass soon remedied that.
I chatted to a fair few people, including Ant, who had managed to fall over drunk before even reaching the hotel. Good effort! Oh, and in response to a personal request from Ant:
DO SOME WORK OLD MAN!!!
Who else did I talk to? Oh yeah, James, a friend of Girl and also someone I know half-well, asked me what (if anything) was happening with me and Her. I think I explained pretty well my position. and he seemed to accept it alright.
We then made our way into the main dining room, which was even more lavishly decorated and furnished than the foyer of the whole hotel. 'Plush' does not even begin to describe...
However, what is it with the inverse relationship where the more you pay for food the less you get? Admittedly, it's high quality food, but there's just not very much of it. You can go to a Wetherspoon?s, pay ?4 and get an enormous plateful of food, or you can go to an 'exclusive' restaurant, pay upwards of ?60 and walk out still feeling hungry.
Whilst salmon fishcakes and guinea fowl (what I ate that night) are very, very nice, they are rather small. When the waiters brought round the main course, consisting of said guinea fowl and this weird veg / bacon compote mix-thing, I sat there for about a minute, expecting the big bowls of vegetables and potatoes to be arriving.
They didn't, and I went hungry.
I was on a table with Joe, his girlfriend and her flatmate, and only one other person that I already knew. I thoroughly enjoyed myself though, chatting (drunkenly) to these random people and having a good laugh.
Oh, and Carrie, Joe's girlfriend's flatmate, managed to deposit an entire set of Savoy cutlery into her bag. I'm talking 3 courses worth, including a fish knife, a bread knife and a teaspoon. That's good thieving skills. Something to tell the children about, I imagine.
I had a dance with Tara, Joe's girlfriend, and was promptly told that I was a very good dancer. Bo!!
The rest of the night gets a bit hazy, although I do remember being raped by the bar prices (twice!). I mean, really, ?15 for a double Southern Comfort and Lemonade?! It wasn't even the nicest one I'd ever had.
I remember chatting to loads of random people (mostly women, if memory serves), but I'll be damned if I can remember a single word of any of the conversations. Alcohol, I love you (even at ?15 for a double!!).
I remember leaving, and getting on the night bus alone, and I remember seeing the Burger King at Piccadilly Circus, which made me incredibly tempted to go and get a Triple Bacon Cheeseburger.
That was the last thing I remember before waking up, cold, in almost pitch black, alone, still on a bus.
I sat there for about 15 minutes, shivering (I was only wearing my tux, remember) and trying to figure out a) where the fuck I was and b) what the fuck I was going to do to get home.
It was then that I noticed a large number of other buses parked around the one I was sitting in, all with their lights off too.
Ahh, a bus station, I thought. No worries, I'll just wander round for a little bit and find my way to a bus heading back towards home. Easy, even in my inebriated state.
After a few minutes stumbling around (probably in circles) I made my way into the only building around. There was one big corridor with small rooms off to one side and noticeboards on t'other. It didn't look much like a bus station, let's put it that way.
This random guy then came out of one of the rooms and noticed me wandering around. "Did you fall asleep on the bus, lad?" he asked me. I sort of nodded in agreement and he asked me where I needed to be. In order to answer this, I need to know where I was first.
"Edgware" came the reply.
Now, my knowledge of London is nowhere near complete, but I know enough to know that Edgware is a good distance further north than where I wanted to be. A LOT further.
I said something like I wanted to head back towards the centre on a N13 bus or something. He then told me I'd need to take a train to Golder's Green and catch that bus there.
Just how fucking lost was I?!
He helpfully told me how to get to the train station, which I promptly forgot, and pointed me towards the main road.
My memory is blank again for a little bit, and the next thing I remember was ringing a couple of taxi companies that I had the numbers for. They were based close to where I actually live, and told me that they didn't go as far north as I was at the time. Like i said, I was very far from home.
It was cold, dark and raining, and I was getting very cold as I wandered around, trying to find a bus stop with a flipping map on it. They ALL have maps around my area, but seemingly not in fucking Edgware!
I eventually found one, and figured out which stop I needed to get one of the first buses of Saturday morning back towards Central London. It was by now almost 5.30am, which meant buses would soon be running again. All I had to do was wait around for another 15 minutes.
The longest and coldest 15 minutes ever in my life, I swear. So, so, so cold. I was hopping up and down on the spot, trying desperately to keep warm. I think I may even have been muttering to myself in an effort to convince myself that it wasn't actually cold and that I wasn't actually on the verge of pneumonia. All the while in my tuxedo...
The bus turned up, and I hopped on, hoping to warm up at least a little bit before I got home. But, of course, the bus was freezing cold due to it having been sat unattended at the depot all night, probably with the doors open or something. It was so very cold. This was a good thing, however, because it kept me awake so that I didn't miss my stop on the way back into Central London. I would not have been happy to have woken up at Victoria Station, once again miles and miles from where I live in West Hampstead!
By the time I stepped off the bus, it was daylight. I got into the house, and collapsed into bed somewhere around 6.30 in the morning. This is after getting up at 7am on Friday to go to a lecture!!! What a day!!! I slept until somewhere around 4 in the afternoon, and was so tired still that I had to go to bed pretty early on the Saturday night too.
The weird thing about the whole night bus experience is that the night bus I was on did not go to Edgware. It was supposed to terminate at Golder's Green, which to my mind would entail kicking off anybody who was asleep at that point. But, for some unknown reason, the driver didn't kick me off or attempt to wake me, and instead drove onto the bus depot in Edgware, where once again he failed to wake me. I wasn't even sat upstairs on it, for crying out loud!! I was downstairs, in the middle and in full view of everybody around... Meh, it could have been the most hilarious prank in that particular driver's career. Well done him.
The weekend was a total washout, as I was hungover for its entirety, as well as being absolutely knackered. All of my good intentions concerning cracking on with my courseworks went to pot, as I just moped around the living room for 36 hours. It wasn't just me though, it seemed like everybody in my house was just blehhhh. We all work so hard, you see. Ahem.
And yes, I know that I'm almost a week behind in posting here, but I've been trying (failing) to get these courseworks done. And I haven't got very far, so I could get even further behind in posting here. Apologies.
But, still to come: Dinner with a reporter from the Observer newspaper, who is writing an article about British blogging, including myself (hurrah!), my complete lack of a work ethic this week, and the rediscovering of my notebook accompanied by the joy of writing whilst on the Tube. I have such an interesting life, right?
Ummm, yeah. OK then.
Do some work old man.
OK, I'm assuming here that you've read the epic pair of posts from the past few days. If not, go read the sections entitled The Girl and The Workload before you carry on reading this. It'll make so much more sense.
Last Wednesday (the 10th), I made a decision which could very probably have fucked things up royally between myself and Girl. Whether things are fucked up permanently or just for a shorter period remains to be seen.
I'd been toying with the decision for about 48 hours, and eventually made it in the evening at around 8pm. It took me until nearly 10.30 to finally ring Her and tell her though.
What was the decision, I hear you ask? Well, dear devoted reader, I shall tell you.
What I asked Her consent / agreement to was to put absolutely everything bewtwen us on hold for 2 weeks whilst I tried to do all of my outstanding coursework and essays.
Yes, in hindsight a spectacularly uninspired and perhaps damaging move, but a decision taken nonetheless.
The reasoning behind it? I reckon it went something like this:
Although we hadn't spent an enormous amount of time together up until that point, I could tell that it was steadily increasing as the budding relationship blossomed. If that happened, I knew that I'd get so distracted from my studies that the work would just never get done.
I really couldn't take that chance. As much as I really like (love?) Her, I want / need to pass this yearof my degree. I will need to do these essays in order to accomplish this.
So, I rang Her.
She didn't take it brilliantly, although who would / could? The timing wasn't exactly exceptional either, what with it being the night before Her birthday and all.
It probably didn't help that She'd had a few drinks when I rang Her, but let's be sure about this: I do not blame Her in any way whatsoever for reacting like that, or for reacting full stop. There's just no way I can blame anyone except myself for being told that I'm "no better than all of the other guys". I'm not, I'm a guy, I can't help that.
I'm different in that I'm me. I'm not those other guys. And I don't want to be.
We hung up on pretty bad terms (OK, so very bad terms), and I have to admit that I came close to being in tears as I went to bed.
I'm not sure whether I was more upset at myself for killing off pretty much the first good thing in my life for a very long time, or at Her for perhaps not being as understanding as I'd hoped. I thought that because She liked me as much as She said She did, She would maybe be willing to take this small break in proceedings. Again though, I refuse to blame Her for this. It just would not be right to do so.
I couldn't face Thursday. I have a lecture with Her on a Thursday, followed immediately by a class with a couple of Her close friends, and I was definitely not in the mood for them. So, I hid from everything in my room and brooded. In hindsight, that wonderful analytical device, I probably should have at least rang or texted Her to wish Her a Happy Birthday, but meh.
On Friday, things seemed to improve somewhat. She texted me, to see what (if anything) was going on between us, and mentioned (apologised, perhaps?) that She was quite "alcohol-fuelled" when I rang Her on Wednesday night.
We seemed to sort things out, and are back on good terms so long as I "kiss [Her], even if it's just a peck on the lips" next time I see Her. I can cope with that, and I'm very glad that She doesn't hate me or anything.
This is less of a decision to do a positive act, more of a declaration of an intention to continue an ongoing act.
It refers to here, what you are reading right now. I have always been 100% honest with what I write here, and I don't want to change that.
It has become a little more difficult to write openly since I told Her about its existence, but I reckon that the last few posts have vanquished any anxiety that I was feeling. He says...
It was whilst I was on the phone to Her early last week that I came up with a sentence that is a good summary of the way in which I choose to write. The sentence?
"I disavow all editorial content."
I know that it sounds like I've disappeared up my own ass as I wrote that, but let me take a few moments to explain why I wrote it and what it means.
The basic principle it highlights is that I do not go back and edit anything I write once it has been written. The way I feel about this is that once you begin to edit something that has been written, you are attempting, however subconsciously, to present an image of yourself.
I don't want to present an image of myself or to show myself in a permanently positive light, I just want to present myself, to lay myself bare here and to let you make up your own minds about me.
No doubt some things that I have written here will have made you think that I'm a whinging, spineless nobody, but hopefully other things will have made you think that I'm a nice guy.
I could be both, I could be neither. I'm just me.
So basically, this was less of a decision to do something, but a reassertion to and by myself that all of my posts here are the absolute truth, and it is only very, very rarely that I don't write about something that has occurred in my life or happened to me.
So sleep easy tonight, children.
Wednesday, March 17
The Epic Post - Part 2
Apologies for it taking nearly a week to finish this post, but at least it's getting finished!!! Lots of random and cool things to mention in a later post as well, because it's been a relatively eventful few days. In the meantime, don't forget that Part 1 of this post (below) contains the following sections: The Strip Club, The Boredom, The Parents, The Girl and The Films.
Here, I present the remaining titles, in a slightly different order, being The Finances, The Workload and The Decisions. Apologies in advance if I don't quite get through to writing The Decisions, I want to make sure that that is written exactly as I want it to be, possibly the first time that I am going to slightly choose my words in order not to perhaps offend a certain reader (The Girl, if you must know...).
As I write, I am in a slightly better position financially than that in which I believed myself to be in last Friday. Before I explain the whys and wherefores for this somewhat miraculous change in my fortunes (geddit?!), I wish to provide some backgroud to the whole situation.
I am a student, and have therefore become accustomed to living in what could be called dire financial straits. It doesn't bother me that I cannot live in quite the lifestyle that I had back with my parents, because there are many, many more plusses that come from not living with them.
In the last month or so, however, I have slipped from my position of at least being comfortable even if not exactly free-spending.
I have had to properly skimp and save, to count every penny and to make every penny count. I have reverted to a diet of almost purely staple foods, and have had to deny myself most of the little things that often make up my day: newspapers; the occasional coffee in Caffe Nero; alcohol; watching football in pubs; the list goes on and on.
No doubt a large part of this is due to my reluctance / refusal to get a job. I really can't find the time to fit one in, and I can't find one which I particularly want to do.
I've done so many shit jobs in the short time that I have been able to work that I no longer want to do anything that I don't particularly enjoy. I've done monotonous, cold, hot, wet, smelly and all-round horrific jobs before. Now I want to do something half-decent.
Try explaining that to a mother who constantly tells you to go to the local Sainsbury's and apply there. I'm sorry, but supermarkets are where I draw the line. I've never worked in one, and I don't intend to. I know enough friends who have worked in a supermarket and have told me how bad it is to know that I do not want to do it.
I'd even be happy to work behind a bar again, that was a good place to earn some spare cash. Meh, I should probably start making some phone calls.
Anyway, by this Friday I was down to my last ?50. I was going that night to the Savoy for the Law Ball, so I knew that I'd spend a fair wedge of that there.
And then it hit me: I don't have an overdraft. I've so far managed to get through 18 months of uni without one, whereas most of my housemates have at least one, if not more.
What a great idea! Instead of going out and getting a job, I'll just launch myself into another round of debt on top of my student loan. Genius!!
I went to my local HSBC on Friday, armed with an official letter from King's saying that I was a a student, in an attempt to convert my normal bank account with them to a student one with an overdraft, They took my details and letter, and told me that I'd hear back within a week whether I'd been approved or not. It's now Wednesday, and I've heard nothing yet. Boo.
Ah, I thought, this delay was going to cause me problems. I had to buy a 50th birthday present for my Dad, as well as post it home, and also I had to feed myself for a week. A ?60 phone bill due to be taken out of my account didn't exactly help matters either.
So, when I mentioned in passing on Friday that I was basically up shit creek, I meant it. In a big way.
My saving grace happened on Monday. I remembered over the weekend that in January I had put ?100 into my savings account for exactly this situation. The idea was that I'd forget about it, and then have some money for the Easter holidays after I'd exhausted my normal account by stretching it until the end of term.
Great, I thought, the answer to my problems for a week or two at least.
Playing at the back of my mind though, was the nagging suspicion that I'd already transferred that ?100 into my normal account and thus spent it. This nagging suspicion was toying with me, mocking me for being so stupid.
Imagine my relief when I checked the account online on Monday to see the ?100 proudly sitting in the savings account, with the added bonus of 15p interest. Yay, a whole 15p.
And that is about it. I'm still in a pretty crap position, and I certainly need to get a job, but hopefully this overdraft will keep me afloat. And yes, I will get a job soon. Just not a bad one. Hopefully.
I'm really not in the mood to write a huge amount here, but suffice it to say that I have 3 pieces of coursework and 1 other essay due in within the next fortnight. A total of about 12,000 words to write, including 1,000 in German, as well as all of the relevant reading to do.
Admittedly, it's my own stupid fault for leaving it until the last minute, but that's always been the way I've worked. It's just that now I seem to have lost completely my work ethic, which usually comes on strong when I've got a big pile of work to do.
There's just sooooo much reading to do for each piece! I've got a stack of articles concerning the difference between offence and defence in the criminal law, and they are all relevant. The problem lies in picking out the relevant sections within each article. Then I've got to somehow convert all of that into an essay. Yay.
Repeat for a piece of coursework about alternatives to prison, and also for a critical piece of German writing. Oh Christ am I going to be a bundle of laughs over the next few weeks.
It is with the workload in mind that I reached the first of two decisions. But the story of those will have to wait until some other time, because right now I'm hungry and want to go home. I'm in the library, you see? Sort of doing work, but not really. I'm so dedicated to my studies...
Monday, March 15
Apologies - I Was Drunk And Hungover
Yes, I know that I haven't got around to finishing that epic post from below, but this weekend has been a bit of a washout blog-wise because I was very, very drunk on Friday night, in bed all day Saturday, and doing some work / cleaning today. I shall try to finish it tomorrow, but no promises. I've got courseworks to do, don't you know?!
OK, so that blatantly means that I will be spending a couple of hours writing on here tomorrow. Meh.