The Blog The PhotoBlog The Current Robcam Image My Ever-Expanding Music Collection My Bookshelf NOT YET READY The basic info about me which you might need. She hates her job, but she won't leave. Instead she'll moan. Genius. Possibly crazy, but thankfully as inept financially as myself. My favourite blogging student lesbian. Not that there are loads. Just another student, raking his way through the daily pile of crap. Life in Canada. It's scarily poignant at times. Not preaching, more informing. With laughs, beer and tall tales. London's resident party animal and freebie fanatic. Can you feel the sleaziness? Yet another one of us blogging student types. Except he's funny. Sort of... Glorious b+w white photos of London and other places. Simply the most passionate blogger around. His days must be full to bursting with things to do just to put on the blog. A Scottish mother who loves the pipes. Read into that what you will. A great little blog by an American college girl. She even plays a British sport... Yet another of us blogging students. Yes, we really are that lazy. A Swedish (I think) guy who includes me in his 'Blogs As Literature' section. i.e. possibly mad. A London blogger who is fascinated by the overall concept of blogging. He's written a few papers on the subject too. One if the most dedicated blogs, a Londoner who gets up to fifty times as much stuff as I ever do. A British media student / graduate who loves his music. And his boozing. A disgruntled teacher, buried somewhere in Europe. A Canadian mother who seems to like my blog. The so-called Expert Analysis of this very blog, as spoofed by one of my ex-housemates. An American girl who has a thing for British guys. Fair play. An Aussie guy who used to be on a messageboard I was on a while back. The single greatest source of news the web has ever seen. And it's British! My source of Arsenal-related news and gossip. Also has fantastic forums. Where I get my mp3s. Oh-so-cheap and oh-so-easy to use. Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting. A US-based media watchdog. Where I get all of my torrenty goodness. Good forums for newbies too. Gathers together hundreds of news sources from across the web, and is the best place for instant news. An English political and media commentary site, with some brilliant articles on all manner of topics. Groups together all of the left-leaning opinion and editorial pieces from English-language newspapers across the world. Previous Blog List All Blogs A Random Blog Next Blog

Saturday, June 19

Finished! And Tired...

Yes, I'm posting at 6.45am. Do you think I got up early, or am still up from last night? Bear in mind that recently I've been struggling to get out of bed before midday, and I'm sure that you'll get the right answer.

Why, pray tell? That would be the fault of this shiny new blog where you currently find yourself. I pulled an all-nighter to get it finished, and I think it was worth it. In fact, I'm certain it was worth it. Just look at it, it's fucking cool!

I hadn't done much yesterday, save for spending a couple of hours devouring almost every single word in all 3 sections of the Guardian. That's a lot of reading, I can tell you. I watched some of the football, and then the new series of Bo Selecta, which is just as funny as the previous two.

A couple of my housemates were on the cider by this time, but I really wasn't up for drinking, and definitely not for getting smashed, so I went back to my room, threw on some tunes, and did a bit of surfing.

I then figured that I was bored and that now was as good a time as any do to a bit more on the new design for the blog. I scribbled on a few post-its, took some photos, and set about editing them in Paintshop Pro. From there I coded them into the blog design on my hard drive, and set about the arduous task of debugging.

The actual coding takes very little time, to be honest. What takes forever is perfecting the design and making sure it works as it is supposed to. Well, it takes forever for me, which I guess means I make lots of tiny mistakes when I code.

My biggest mistake tonight was accidentally deleting the entire stylesheet that contained all of the layout and attributes for the entire blog. Not a good thing. That cost me around an hour in having to rewrite the entire thing from scratch. Very annoying.

It was getting up to about 3am by this point, and I decided to just crack on and finish everything tonight, even if it meant pulling an all-nighter. I hadn't got up till midday, so I was still awake and able to concentrate. Hell, I'm still awake now!

I managed to get everything working at Blogger, and transferred my entire blog over to the gooneruk.com server. This took Blogger, without any participation on my part, the best part of 45 minutes to complete. I hadn't realise just how much I've written on this blog!

Anyway, eventually I've got it all finished, but I will probably be fiddling with the design for a few weeks more yet. I've got a couple other little additions to make, as well as some pages to create. Stay tuned...

Oh, and if anyone wants a website designed for them, let me know, and I will do it if the price is right!

Change Of Address!!!

This blog has (finally) moved to

http://www.gooneruk.com

Please update your bookmarks and any links accordingly, thanks! This will be the last post here, if all goes to plan...

Email me at rob[ at ]gooneruk[ dot ]com if there are any problems.

Thursday, June 17

Thank Fuck For Rooney

An uneventful day today, I'm afraid. I've been waiting for a call from The cambridge all day, but none has been forthcoming as yet (8.14pm). Gits.

The only event worth writing about was, of course, the football. Another dire performance by an England team, but at least we managed to win the fucking game. That should avoid any riots in Croydon and elsewhere tonight.

Is it just me, or are the England team performing really badly so far in this tournament? We've got all of these great players, especially in midfield, and yet we persist in hoofing the ball upfield to two of the smallest strikers in the entire tournament. Is it then a surprise when the ball comes straight back in the form of an attack by the opposition.

Admittedly, with Switzerland, you can afford to not be too worried about these attacks, but against France and Brazil (remember Brazil?) these tactics just do not work. Sure, we defended resolutely against France for 90 minutes, but it was pure good luck that they had that many attacks to that point without creating too many chances.

Eventually, these tactics will fail, even if it is brought about by a lumbering donkey who shouldn't even be anywhere near the pitch in the first place. Oh, and by an overrated Scouser, who isn't as world-class as so many football columnists are falling over themselves to point out.

Yes, Gerrard's pretty good, and deserves a place in the England team, but he is not "world-class". And neither can he cope with the pressure this tag puts him under. But then these same columnists berate him for having a bad game. It's just the typical British press building someone up before knocking them down to earth with an enormous (front-page) crash.

Fuck it, while I'm in a pretty pissed off mood (just writing about the France game has got me angry), I'm going to bitch about smokers, for what seems like the millionth time.

Watching the game this afternoon in my living room, there were 4 of us: myself and 3 chain smokers. We had the window open, as we always do, but all this succeeded in doing was creating a breeze towards me. Cue big clouds of smoke heading my way.

And I really do mean clouds. At times, the picture on the TV, when viewed from my seat, had a lovely gray tint to it, due to the mass amounts of smoke in front of it. Mmmmm, can you feel the lung cancer?

But it's not the health effects that bother me most. It's the godawful, horrific, penetrating nature of the smell that the cigarrettes give out. How does it get itself into your clothes within seconds, but refuse to leave the fabric for days and days?!

My t-shirt now has that lovely, just-smoked-twenty-fags stench to it, and I know that I will have to put it in my laundry basket tonight because I will be unable to stomach pulling it over my head again tomorrow morning. I get annoyed that I cannot wear any t-shirt or top for more than a day before having to wash it, purely because of the smoky atmosphere in our living room.

And before you tell me to tell them to stop smoking in there, I have tried on a shitload of occasions, with absolutely no result. Ignorant fuckers.

But that is it, I am never ever living with anyone who smokes ever again. I am struggling to cope with keeping my mouth shut and not having a massive go at them every time they light up. We have a roof terrace for fuck's sake!

It does amuse me that one of my housemates, who only started smoking when he was 19 (he's now 23) and now chain smokes around 30 a day, has these tremendous coughing fits at least 3 or 4 times a day. I've even seen him bring up blood from them. Yes, he had a heavy cold a few weeks back, but this is a properly disgusting coughing fit, rendering him incapable of anything for a minute or two.

First thing he does after each one? Lights up another fag. I truly cannot get my head round the concept at all.

Which made it all the funnier when, on BB last night, Nadia was in tears in the diary room because she had no more cigarrettes left (after smoking all 280 she had brought with her in less than 19 days...). She was quite literally falling apart without a ciggy in her hand, which I found absolutely hilarious. How can you get to that stage with anything, especially the death sticks which make you stink to high heaven?

End of rant (for about the third time this week).

Oh, and finally, I would just like to say thanks to Maddy for the somewhat cryptic comment accompanying her link to here from her blog:
it's funny and for how arrogant he seems at times I really don't get offended, suprisingly. Maybe it's that english charm...

I swear there's a compliment in there somewhere!

Making A Good Impression

Yesterday was a pretty hectic day, relatively speaking. I managed to get a few things done that needed to be done, including checking that I was eligible for / was going to get an Erasmus grant.

This is a grant paid out of a central fund to all students who study in another European country as part of their degree. The important word here is 'grant', because it means that I don't have to pay it back. Ever. Quite a different state of affairs from the student loan set-up, where I'm going to be leaving uni with around 15,000 of debt hanging around my neck.

But such is life, I guess. You have to speculate to accumulate, or some other such whatnot. Thankfully, I don't even have to apply for this grant, it just gets paid to me when I get to Germany, which is excellent news for my lazy-assed self.

Germany was also an issue raised later on that afternoon, when I went for (another) job interview. This time it was at a pub on Goodge St, called The Cambridge. I'd never been there before, or even heard of it, to be honest, but I saw their ad on a website for London pub vacancies.

The guy seemed very pleasant on the phone, and he was equally nice when I went down to meet him. A 'proper' pub landlord-type, in my view. It was only a brief, chatty interview, and he seemed very impressed with my credentials and overall willingness.

I had to mention that I was off to Germany at the start of September, which he said could be the only sticking point with his employers. He, however, wasn't too fussed, because I (to paraphrase him slightly) would get him through 2 and a half busy months.

He had two more interviewees to see this morning, and told me that he'd give me a ring this lunchtime to let me know either way if I'd got the job or not.

Has he rang? Has he fuck. Cue annoyance on my part.

Anyway.

After the interview I walked down to Piccadilly Circus (it would have been awkward by Tube, and no busses went that way from that end of Oxford St), and then onto Piccadilly itself, heading for the big Waterstone's bookshop that is situated there.

This was for the bloggers meetup in the bar on the top floor of the bookshop (incidentally, kudos to the people at Waterstone's for having a bar in a bookshop. So much better than a Starfucks), which was going to be attended by at least 6 people, probably more.

Supposedly, that is.

There was only one other guy there when I got there (right on time, I might add, mainly because I'm never on time for anything), and he had to leave very soon after to go to another meeting somewhere or other. A nice guy nonetheless, but we didn't really get time to talk.

Two more people turned up at about the time he left, an American by the name of Andrew, and a fellow Englishman called Graham. Andrew had to leave pretty quickly as well, but we chatted about music for a while, and about how many hits each of us get (one-upmanship, methinks). A nice guy, so go visit his site.

That just left myself and Graham. A bit of a damp squib of an event, to tell the truth, especially as 6 people had said they were going t turn up, but Graham was a really nice guy, and we chatted for an hour or so about this and that.

He's a web editor (is that the right title?) at the BBC website, which made me instantly jealous, and he also keeps his own blog about music and his life. We chatted about our times at university (he left a few years back), and I asked him probably far too many questions about how he got into web design / editing, and the media world generally.

However, with only two of us there, the conversation eventually dried up, and we decided to call it a night somewhere just before 9. Like I said, a bit of a letdown for my first bloggers meetup...

Seeing as we were in a Waterstone's, I couldn't leave without having a quick browse of the shelves. I came close to buying a couple of web design books, until I turned over the thin volumes to be confronted by a 20+ price tag. Ummm, no thanks, I'll cope without that.

I made my way (half-an-hour later) to the bottom floor, and was just about to leave when I remembered that Graham and I had spoken about that Lynne Truss book, Eats, Shoots & Leaves. I've been after that book for a little while, because I am a stickler for proper punctuation, if not perfect grammar (i.e. my use of "me and this person" constantly).

It really, really, really annoys me when I see such things as the grocer's apostrophe ("lettuce's 2 for 1") and the complete misuse / ignorance of the difference between "its" and "it's". This book would therefore be perfect for me, and I fully intend for it to become my new bible.

I also picked up Bill Bryson's award-winning (Best Popular Science Book, or something along those lines) A Short History Of Nearly Everything, because I like Bill Bryson's writing style, and because it was evidently a good read. My final purchase (damn those 3 for 2 offers!) was Vernon God Little by D.B.C. Pierre, a novel which won the Booker Prize this year. I hadn't realised that it was out in paperback, so I walked out of the store with my little shopping bag full of 3 cool little books.

I got back home just in time for Big Brother, which was exceptionally good timing. I've got more and more into BB as the weeks have gone on, and I'm afraid to say that I am now (as of Day 21) totally addicted to it. Last night's highlights show was pretty uneventful, save for the reintroduction of Emma and Michelle to the house, which I have to say was beautifully stage-managed by BB. There must have been trebles all round after someone came up with the idea of them being under silver platter domes on a buffet table as the means of reintroduction.

There were a few of us in the living room, including a couple of Phil's friends, and they were planning to watch Apocalypse Now Redux. I was well up for it, but I also wanted to get to bed this side of Christmas, so I reminded (told?) them that it was over 3 hours long, and that it was already nearly 11.30. We eventually decided (note, it was a definite "we", not me trying to get my own way) to watch Narc, which was one of the DVDs I have at the moment from Mailbox Movies, a DVD rental website.

Narc was neither brilliant nor terrible, but it was worth watching. Definitely one to rent and watch once, rather than buy and watch a number of times. Ray Liotta and Jason Patric took good roles, but I couldn't help but feel that there was some over-acting going on in places. The twist on top of the twist at the end kept you guessing, which was the film's saving grace.

I felt pretty clever at spotting the twist early on, but was thoroughly surprised and impressed by the twist which then comes on top of the original. Well done those screenwriters.

And now we come to the highlight (well, ish) of the evening's televisual entertainment: live Big Brother. I don't have Sky here, so I can't watch BB live on E4 all the time, instead having to make do with the late-night hours Channel 4 gives us between 1 and 3 each night.

Fuck me, did it all kick off in there or what?! It was absolutely gripping television, even if the producers cut away from the action each time violence was threatened. You know how I feel about BB, and how I love watching people's lives? Well, this was more of the same, except this time we got to see the low points, the negative sides of those people. Fucking brilliant television.

This is exactly why I watch it. I want to see people being real, even if it is in a wholly artificial environment. I want to see their good and bad sides, their ups and their downs. It's the same with blogs. I have no time for those blogs who just link to news stories, or other 'cool' websites. Anyway, all of them are the same, they all link to the same stories and the same sites, as I discovered when reading the supposed British Blogerati on Tuesday night.

I prefer obscure, unnoticed blogs, where people are quite literally putting their lives online, without trying to present an image. Again, this is what I also try to do. This is why I barely have any links in my writing here. I'm not writing about what someone else has written, or something that is happening online, I'm writing about me.

If you're web-savvy enough to read blogs, I take you to not need pushing towards websites or news stories. Hell, if I want news stories, I'll go to Google News and read it there. A group of machines running algorithims do a better job than most news bloggers out there...

End of rant (again).

After the excitement (ahem) of BB, I ended up on the very cool BB forum at Digital Spy, reading the reams and reams of posts where people were expressing opinions on what had happened, why, and what was going to come from of it all. These are interesting times in which we live, as someone once said...

Just A Quick Note

OK, lots of stuff that happened today, but I'm tired and need to go to bed. I'll write it all up tomorrow.

What I did want to mention, though, is how UTTERLY AMAZING BIG BROTHER IS!!!!!!!!!!!

That half-hour fight / aftermath was some of the best TV that I have ever seen, and I absolutely cannot wait to see the highlights again this evening. I've also now become addicted to the Big Brother forum at Digital Spy, as well as their nearly-constant updates of activity in the house for those of us without E4 or the broadband net feeds.

So yes, I am now well and truly addicted to Big Brother. It's taken nearly 3 weeks for me to get properly involved in it, but I now fully intend to watch as much BB as is humanly possible. This will probably entail me getting obsessed with it and writing about here too, so watch out. Otherwise, use the forums at Digital Spy...

Tuesday, June 15

Literary, Moi?

Thankyou to Johan Olsen for the link, but I'm not quite sure if I qualify in the 'Blogs As Literature' section.

But thankyou anyway. I'll try to keep up with the acclaim that you've accorded me...

Can You Say Ultra-Shiny New Laptop?

I can!

My Dad popped up to London (or is it across? I'll go with up) yesterday, to see me, and more importantly (ahem) to bring me my new laptop that he'd picked up last time he was in Hong Kong.

It's a beast! It's got a better spec than my current desktop computer, and has the same size monitor (15") to boot. It was quite rightfully described in the review I read of it as "a blue behemoth", since it is both big and, erm, blue.

To be honest, I didn't do too much with it yesterday whilst he was here, since the football was on the TV at the time. Admittedly, it was only Denmark and Italy, but it was football nonetheless. I stand by my proud record of having seen all 8 games so far, and most of the action in each. There's been a few missed minutes here and there, but I'm not doing too bad...

After the football, we went to The Holly Bush in Hampstead for some dinner. I have to say that the food in there is exceptional, and worth every penny. Added to this is the fact that the pub is a great place, full of classic pub characters, and you have a perfect environment to spend an evening.

We were chatting away about anything and everything, mostly centred around my move to Germany this September. My Dad was / is worried about the logistics of the whole thing, and also about the sheer amount of planning that is going to be involved on my part.

Amongst other things, I need to:

That was yesterday evening. You'd have thought that I'd have done a couple of those today, or at least made a start on them.

*hangs head in shame*

Erm, no, no I haven't done any of them. As I write this, I can feel myself becoming both guilty and angry with myself for not kicking my ass into gear and doing these things that without doubt need doing.

On the plus side today, I managed to watch a DVD that I'd got through the post from my new rental company (Mailbox Movies, much more reliable than ScreenSelect). I'd been wanting desperately to see Spun for ages, and I still can't believe that I didn't go to see it in the cinema, just as I didn't watch Thirteen there either.

Never mind though, because it was absolutely fantastic. I read a review of it in DVD Review last month, where it got slated, but I was instantly hooked. It's the directorial debut of Jonas Akerlund, who has previously directed a shitload of music videos, including the seminal Smack My Bitch Up by Prodigy, as well as Ray of Light by Madonna. The constant use of lightning-fast cuts and awkward camera angles belies this past form here, but in my view it manages to translate to the bigger screen well.

The story is a relatively uninventive Drug Culture tale, but it is saved by the characterisation and the performances by the actors, Mickey Rourke in particular. He is The Cook, the guy who provides the other characters with their Meth, whilst engaging in various other nefarious activities. Somehow he lifts this character away from the stereotype which it so easily could have become, instead portraying an almost insane man that has very little care for the outside world, other than for a "tight ass".

What particularly grabbed me about the film was the short, manic, second or two that followed every occasion (and there were a lot) where a character snorted some of Cook's meth. This would usually consist of a close-up of one eye, but also with some frenetic camera and head-shaking, backed by some whizzing sound effects. You'd think this would get annoying, but it portrayed nicely on screen the instant hit and buzz that comes with doing the meth.

As I mentioned above, the camerawork was snappy, with some fantastic angles found at various points throughout. My personal favourite was the close-ups of the engine of Ross' car as he drove about. He was usually high each time he drove, and the quick revolution of engine parts showed his brain buzzing as the chemicals hit it from every angle.

I could probably go on and on, but as my last film review got slated somewhat, I'll stop here. I don't think I've included spoilers this time, but you never know. If you haven't seen it yet, go rent it and while away a couple of hours!

The rest of my day has been spent watching football on the TV, and updating my laptop with the various things that Microsoft considers "critical" to the operation of Windows. Roll on SP2! And yes, I realise that this has been quite a boring day. Better luck tomorrow, perhaps.

Come to think of it, tomorrow should be pretty cool, because I'll be going to that Blogger's MeetUp in the evening. I'm quite looking forward to that, if only to meet Reynold, a paramedic who blogs the events of each of his shifts. He writes so clearly, and speaks with such distance from any deaths he witnesses that I want to ask him how he can do it without getting emotionally involved somewhat.

Monday, June 14

Oh, And One Other Thing

Something I completely forgot to mention happened to me on Saturday night, which I think is worth writing about.

I was just about to go to bed when I thought I'd have a look in my wallet on the off-chance that there was some money left over from Friday night in there. There sometimes is, although more often there is merely an empty space.

This time, there was no money to be found, but I had a look at my receipts, because I figured that I must have gone to the cashpoint on my way to McDonald's at the end of the night.

Imagine the sheer blind panic, if you can, of finding a receipt for a 100 withdrawl at 3.47am in the wallet.

Imagine then the panic as you realise that you don't have 100 cash anywhere. I had about 4 of coins on my table and that was it. I rifled through the pockets of my trousers that were still in a pile on my floor, as well as checking my screwed-up shirt and even the inside of my shoes in a vain attempt to find this missing wad.

But no, nothing. Not a penny. I was up shit creek in a big motherfucking way. I couldn't remember going to the cashpoint, so there was a distinct possibility that I may have withdrawn 100 and not remembered it.

I went downstairs to the loo, splashed some water on my face in an effort to calm myself down, and went back to my room with a slightly more rational mindset. I re-examined the receipt, and noticed that the account balance printed there was somewhere up around 1200.

Put a minus sign before that, and you'd be closer to my current bank balance. This was the first clue that the receipt might not have been mine.

The second was the number printed in the top-left corner. Although it didn't specifically state that it was an account number, it looked very much like one, and more specifically not my account number. I have a numbers brain, and I know all 3 of my 8-digit account numbers off the top of my head, along with their 6-digit sort codes and the 4-digit PINs (it's not 'PIN number', because the N means 'number'! Too many people make that kind of mistake, the eejits.).

Relief set in slightly, but I was still worried that it could still be mine. The quick answer would have been to hop online and check my bank statement at the HSBC website, but my computer was turned off and I was very tired. It could wait.

Plus, I was still very hungover...

I got up the next morning, went into the living room and cajoled a housemate into letting me grab the Internet for 2 minutes. What a fucking relief to find that I'd only withdrawn 10 at that time. I don't know what I would have done if I had taken out 100.

I had visions of me in my drunken state throwing the money up into the air, or giving to some random tramp for no apparent reason. Thankfully, I'd only withdrawn a tenner, and spent less than half at McDonald's. Thank fuck for that, except for the McDonald's bit.

Another Day, Another, erm, 2-Day Hangover

Hangovers don't last for two days, right?

Mine fucking well did. Although my head wasn't hurting as bad this morning as it was yesterday, I still had a lingering hangover-headache which stayed with me for the rest of the day.

It also seemed to be amplified by the smokers in my household. Our living room was pretty damn smoky today, even though we had both windows open for the whole afternoon. It seemed like my head pains would get worse every time someone lit up, which was almost constantly. I live with one chain-smoker and another guy who smokes a lot, certainly a lot more than usual.

I've given up moaning at them though, it really isn't worth my time and effort because they are so indignant and ignorant. And I put money on them reading this and then bitching to me about saying that. Fuck it, whatever, they know I absolutely hate smoking and hate the fact that they smoke in the living room, but they also know that non-smokers are in the minority (just) in this house, so we have to have smoking in the living room. But such is life.

Well, such is life amongst smokers, at any rate.

Anyway, there was only one reason to get out of bed today. OK, two if you include the cricket, but basically there was only one. Can you guess what it was?

HOW THE FUCK DID WE LOSE THAT GAME?!?!? HOW?!?!?!?

Honestly, HOW THE FUCK DID WE LOSE THAT GAME?!?!?!?

I blame Emile Heskey. I also blame Sven for letting Heskey get anywhere near the pitch in the first place, but mostly I blame Emile Heskey. He cannot play football. EVERYBODY except Sven realises this. I hope they absolutely crucify him in the papers tomorrow.

HOW THE FUCK DID WE LOSE THAT GAME?!?!?!?!?

It would have made such a great start to the tournament, and to the summer overall. But fucking Emile fucking Heskey had to make a fucking stupid fucking challenge in a fucking dangerous position, with one of the world's best free-kick takers on the field in the opposition team. You absolute fucking moron! Fucking donkey, stay off the field! Even if Sven sends you on, tell him "Sorry, but no, I am a shit player and don't deserve to wear an England shirt. I will not do this country the dishonour of playing for their national team."

And don't even think about getting me started on Gerrard's backpass...

Another Day, Another Absolute Fucker Of A Hangover

Oh dear God was I hungover on Saturday!!!

I'm talking the single worst hangover that any human being has ever experienced in the history of the world ever, with the possible exception of Van Gogh when he woke up with a splitting headache and one less ear than he'd started the night with. I managed to keep both of mine attached to my head, and all of my teeth too.

Nevertheless, I was in pain. So much pain. The type of pain where it feels like your brain is trying to escape the confines of your cranial cavity in every single direction, since it has somehow swelled overnight and needs more room. This would be the intense ache from the inside of your skull.

Then there is the intense ache from outside of your skull, since there is now a 360 degree vice attached to your head just above your eyeline, squeezing towards the centre in an effort to produce a South Sea shrunken head without going to the trouble of you being dead first.

Then there is the pulsing ache when every single artery, vein and capillary above your neck swells to ten times its original size with every heartbeat. Notably, your skull doesn't change size, and nor does your skin, resulting in even more pressure all around your head.

Finally, there is the intense searing pain above your eyebrows every time you either open your eyes or look in a different direction. This is the worst pain of all. There is no escape, and you sometimes cannot help but have your eyes dart in the direction of some movement, resulting in another sharp burst of agony. This usually coincides with a heartbeat, so that you are already crippled by the extreme swelling of the various blood vessels circulating the vile, alcohol-riddled and oxygen-crippled blood to your battered and abused brain.

Somehow they manage to keep the pain-recognising part of your brain working just fine, but don't provide the areas which govern rational thinking and problem-solving with sufficient oxygen to enable them to realise that paracetamol would be a good solution.

And this would all be before I've even made it out of bed.

I woke up, laid there in pain for a few minutes, and then summoned the strength / stupidity to open my eyes and check the time on my alarm clock. My eyes stayed open for all of about 3 milliseconds before slamming shut, due to the inability to cope with the pain that they provoked.

Eventually I managed to get a good look at my clock, to see the time was 4.30 in the afternoon. Shit! This isn't good. Still this hungover at this time in the afternoon? Bollocks.

I'd been woken up by the general noise in the house, such as the TV and the coming and going in the corridor outside my room. I figured that I'd better get up, so I grabbed my towel, and headed out of my room into the living room to say hello before diving into the shower.

Hold on a minute, the cricket has only just started! Surely it can't be 4.30 in the afternoon? I went back into my room, checked the clock on my phone and discovered that it was only just after 11 in the morning.

This would be why my hangover was so bad. Usually I sleep through until around 1 in the afternoon after I've been to Phase, escaping the worst effects of any hangover. Not today, evidently.

A shower would do me the world of good, I figured, it always blows away any cobwebs.

I spent the entire show leaning on the wall, moaning softly and trying desperately not to be violently sick. The shower was, erm, not having an effect.

Within 3 seconds of stepping out of the shower, I knew that I was about to be sick. I quickly wrapped my towel around me, stumbled to the loo, and threw up the entire contents of my stomach. And then a few internal organs, for good measure.

I fucking hate being sick, it's the worst feeling ever. This was the first time that I'd ever thrown up the morning after too. I've only thrown up due to alcohol a couple of times, and always at the time of drinking. Being sick when sober / hungover is even worse than throwing up whilst drunk, mainly because I'm usually so drunk by that point that I can't remember being sick, save for the evidence of a bit of, erm, splashback on my shoes when I wake up.

Mmmm, memories.

I struggled back upstairs, got dressed and settled down into an armchair in the living room with a big bottle of water. Rehydration, that was the key. I drank nearly a whole litre of water in the space of half-an-hour, and would have quite gladly drunk a hell of a lot more, had I not had to go back downstairs to throw it all up straight away.

It was still quite cold, that was the worst thing.

There was only one thing for it: I had to go back to bed.

Trying to get to sleep was another thing entirely. My stomach was still churning, my head felt like Thor had given himself a day off from creating thunderstorms, and was instead using his hammer on my head, and I was incredibly dehydrated / thirsty. Basically, not a good state of affairs to be in when trying to fall asleep.

But fall asleep I somehow did. I woke up again sometime around 5 (my football-on-TV radar kicked in for the Portugal-Greece game), no longer feeling as queasy, but with Thor still punishing me for some crime I'd committed against the Norse gods. I sat in the living room, in tremendous amounts of pain, hungry and still so very dehydrated.

I managed to hold down some water, which was a good sign, so I took a big step up and put some chips in the oven. This was a risky decision, and could have all ended in tears. Thankfully, I was able to eat them without any bother.

The evening passed by in a daze, with my attention being split between the intense pain on the inside of my skull and the intense pain on the outside of my skull. A couple of housemates went down the pub for a swift beer, but I was in no fit state to go anywhere near any kind of alcohol.

By midnight, I was starting to wake up, although I wasn't feeling any better. A quick bowl of tuna-mayo seemed in order, and once again my stomach was able to keep it where it was supposed to be. I watched a bit of TV (cricket highlights, F1 qualifying, Big Brother), and rolled back into bed sometime around 2.

Sunday, June 13

Another Day, Another Drunken Night Out

"A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day."

OK, so my Friday wasn't quite at the same level of sheer grandeur as The Return Of The King, but it did take on a somewhat similar epic quality. Well, sort of.

It all began, as these things often do, with a brief exchange of text messages on Thursday night, with a mate of mine (Sketch) from back home in Melksham who has just moved to London for a year to work. I have a feeling I mentioned this in my post on Thursday, but I might as well make sure I've got the back story covered.

He's working down at Canary Wharf, in the big tower there doing some kind of banking job, so we arranged to meet after he'd finished work on the Friday. I figured that seeing as I was heading to Canary Wharf just as everyone would be leaving the office, I'd better put on at least a shirt, if not a tie.

Basically, I looked half-decent on Friday, with my short new haircut, a nice shirt (sleeves rolled up, of course. I fucking hate wearing anything long-sleeved), a classy pair of grey trousers and my black shoes. Like I said, I made an effort.

But fuck me, is Canary Wharf an impressive place or what? I had to wait outside Sketch's building for a few minutes whilst he finished work, so I snapped a few photos of the high-rise buildings on my phone. They'll be up on the PhotoBlog tonight, along with various other pictures from the rest of the evening.

Sketch came to meet me pretty soon, and we made our way to the first bar of the evening. This would be at 5.30 in the afternoon.

It was really good to see Sketch, as I hadn't spoken to anyone from back home for a good 7 or 8 weeks before Friday night. We spent ages swapping stories from our unis, and reminiscing about (drunken) times back home in the 'Sham. We also found time to visit a good number of bars at Canary Wharf.

There are a surprisingly high number of them, and seeing as it was still daylight, it was a bit of a surprise when Sketch got a phone call, looked at his phone and saw that it was nearly 10 in the evening! Ummm, can you say 4 hours of beers without noticing?

We Melksham guys don't mess about when it comes to sinking a few beers. I reckon by that time we'd had 6 or 7, but I can't really be sure. And do you know what the best thing was? I hadn't fallen asleep! What with my recent track record, that's a half-decent achievement.

Sketch had to get back home by then, so we said our goodbyes, and I hopped back on the Tube, heading back towards my house in Northwest London.

Obviously, this goes via Central London, which is where my uni is located. Friday night is Phase night, as I'm sure you're already aware, after my numerous posts from the morning after each night. This Friday was the last Phase of the year, but I wasn't really planning to go.

Of course, a few beers does funny things to a guy's mind, so I jumped off the Tube at Westminster, went outside the station and rang a couple of my housemates who I thought would be there. The first wasn't, but thankfully (or maybe not, considering the hangover on Saturday) Leigh was already there.

In my slightly (read, quite) inebriated state, I made the inspired decision to walk the relatively short distance from Westminster station to Temple, which is approximately half a mile, along the river. You can't get lost.

I got so lost.

It took me nearly half an hour to cover that half-mile distance. It didn't help that I left Westminster station by completely the wrong exit, and ended up on a bit of Whitehall that I didn't realise. I took my bearings by Big Ben, and walked in a direction that I thought was the right way to go, bearing in mind where Big Ben was.

However, unbeknownst to me, Big Ben has more than one side to it. Shock horror, but Big Ben is a 3-dimensional building, and you can thus be facing a side of it, rather than the front. This screwed up my sense of position and subsequent direction...

I wandered for what seemed like ages, occasionally stopping to look at a handy map in this area of green in which I found myself. I didn't realise until I looked the area up in my A to Z the next day, but I'd headed north-west from Westminster, had a good walk around St James' Park, and eventually ended up in Trafalgar Square.

Trafalgar Square I recognised. I knew that I'd got a bit lost, but I couldn't go wrong from here, could I? All I had to do was walk down the Strand to my uni. It was a straight road, easy as pie.

I promptly took the wrong turn off Trafalgar Square, heading back down Whitehall towards Westminster station once more. This time, I realised very quickly that I'd taken a wrong turn, and was able to turn down the next street on the left, in attempt to get back to the Strand.

I thus found myself at Embankment station, where I should have got to about 20 minutes earlier. From here, I made it to King's without getting lost again (I followed the river. It's big and wet, and you can't miss it. Well, you can't miss it twice).

The savvy amongst you may be asking yourself, why didn't I just take the Tube from Westminster to Temple? Well, yes, that would definitely have been a better idea, but beer does play these tricks on you. Walking around in a short-sleeved shirt at 11 at night? Yeah, that's definitely a good idea! I swear beer sometimes conspires against its consumer...

(For those of you who like maps and a visual guide, here is a map of the area. I started at Westminster tube (bottom-right), and wanted to get to Embankment tube (top-right). My route was as follows:
West to St James' Park; North in the park, past Duck Island to The Mall; East to Trafalgar Square (where it says Charles' Statue); South down Whitehall; East along Whitehall Place back to the river. Like I said, a fucking stupid way of doing things.)

On the plus side, however, I did take a few photos in St James' Park, including a fantastic one from inside the overhanging branches of a lit-up willow tree. They're on the PhotoBlog by now.

So, eventually I made it to my uni, bought a ticket from a friend of mine who was working the door that night, and headed upstairs to meet my housemate. Thankfully, he was still about, and we headed further upstairs into Tutu's.

Leigh, my housemate, was also fairly pissed by this stage, and so it was straight to the bar for another beer. Actually, I think it was Snakebites this time, although memory from now on is a little hazy.

I do remember a couple of things very clearly though. The first was my relief at seeing a sign at the bar which said that their card machine was broken, so they couldn't accept any credit or debit cards, and couldn't give cashback. Everyone was told to go downstairs if they wanted more cash. I knew that I'd be too lazy to go all the way down three flights of stairs and back up, just for money to buy alcohol, so that was a good thing, especially bank-balance-wise.

I then headed upstairs, where I bumped into my fans. You know who you are. You all love me...

For those who don't know, a few people from my course read this blog, and are apparently quite addicted to it. How very sad. ;) (And no, I'm still not going to stop putting little comments to myself in brackets. I like putting comments to myself in brackets, even though they might make me sound pompous or whatever. How did Wales get on in the Rugby World Cup, by the way? I forget these things)

I took loads more photos, of them, and of the dancefloor and of a load of random things / people which I don't remember seeing at all. I was getting quite drunk by this point, if I wasn't at that stage already. By now, I'd switched onto the double Southern Comfort and lemonades, which the (fit) bargirl managed to get right at the second attempt (I can completely understand how you can confuse someone saying "two double Southern Comfort and lemonades" with "two double whiskey and cokes". It's an easy mistake to make. She was so very fit though).

Another quite random thing happened whilst I was standing around upstairs with a few of the guys, chatting about random shit (mostly me and my blog, if I may say so myself). This random (sorry, I keep using that word, but this truly was random) girl came up to me and just, well, kissed me.

Cool, no worries, she was pretty good-looking (I think), and she thankfully didn't use the word "buff". In fact, I don't remember there being any exchange of words at all. What happened next was quite strange too. Her friend, a pretty brunette, then said something along the lines of "that's not fair", and then proceeded to kiss me too, before they both walked off.

I gather that they were on some kind of who-can-pull-the-most contest, but that's fine with me. Just so long as I wasn't the "champion" of a pull-an-ugly-guy contest, I'm not too fussed. Actually, that couldn't have been what happened, because Ant was standing nearby. He would have been a worthy champion.

The rest of the night becomes a bit of a blur, with a few stand-out moments. I'll do my best to remember those and describe them briefly here.

A friend of mine from halls last year, as well as from my course, was working in the club that night, and I spent a good 10 minutes or so chatting to her about, well, I've no idea. All I do remember is that I was talking to her for a while, or more probably slurring at her whilst she talked to me. That's a much more likely scenario.

The next clear memory is being in the shots bar, strolling up to the bar to find a couple of mates buying a few random little shooters. I was offered one, and had it down my throat before I'd even bothered asking what was in it. That could have been a very stupid move, because I will throw up instantly if I drink tequila or most whiskeys (whiskies?), but thankfully this was just a mixture of Bailey's and Creme de Menthe, which slips down very nicely.

Whilst in the shots bar, I think I remember chatting to Mike, amongst others, about the idea I'd had for a website called King's Stings, which would be in a blog format, but would be a place for all sorts of gossip about King's students to be posted. The idea came from a combination of PopBitch and the quite hilarious (true) story of this guy I know at King's who quite literally shat himself after drinking too much one night. There are photos to prove the first instance of this happening, and many, many witnesses to the second (yes, SECONF) occurrence. Of course, he doesn't know that we know, which makes it all the funnier. I might write up the full story at some point. If not, it will be the foundation of King's Stings. Why did I have the idea for this website just as I'm about to move to Germany?!

What else happened? I remember waving quite manically from the balcony at someone who I thought I recognised on the dancefloor, but evidently was someone else, judging by the confused and disturbed look on her face before eventually returning my wave. I do that too often when I'm drunk, thinking I recognise someone but it actually being someone else.

The next thing I vaguely remember is going into McDonald's on the Strand, as I was heading to the bus stop. Yes, shame on me, I know, but I hadn't eaten all day! That could go some way to explaining the drunkenness, come to think of it. It was as insipid and crap as I remember from my last trip to McDonald's, which must have been over 2 years ago. I told you beer conspires against its consumer. It even impinges on any morals that they have!

I think I got the night bus home, although I can't really remember. Come to think of it, I definitely did, because I remember fiddling with the ticket machine at the bus stop for fucking ages, trying to get my coin back out of the slot. I'd put it in before I remember that my tube pass was valid for the bus journey, and then spent a good 5 minutes trying to shove my fingers in in an eventually vain attempt to recover it.

No doubt if I did I tried to talk to everybody on there, and probably made a tit of myself. I don't mind, I can't remember, so it's all good. I think I got home sometime around 4, which isn't too bad...

And that would be Friday night. Just wait until fucking Saturday morning...
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