Dog days are over


As my internal bodyclock ticks over to 22 years, I sit back and evaluate my life. The depressing fact is that If I were a dog, I would be 154 years old….and most definitely a pile of bones by now. As for me in human form, I sit here In penguin pyjama bottoms at 9.30 am on a friday morning; awake early to brush the remnants of  birthday cocktails from my pearly whites. The age of 22 is an odd one, the big congrats of 21 are but a distant memory, and the milestone of 30 is a dot on the horizon; all ages in between just seem to blur into one collage of expanding waistlines and receding hairlines. Every year I have the same conversation of “What would you like for your birthday?”, followed immediately by “I don’t want to just give you money.” Sad fact is, for someone my age, all you need is money. Birthday money gives you the illusions of granure, and blinkers the fact that you are still up to your eyeballs in student debt. So with it burning a hole in my pocket, I set out buying frivolous jumpers and fancy cocktails….it is nice to feel wealthy, just for the day.

I continued my life of luxury with a meal of my choice. Where did I pick? None other than my place of work. Don’t worry, I don’t work in McDonald’s. So instead of lingering on the ground floor, I ditched memories of my work cupboard and ascended in the lift to ‘THE 5TH FLOOR.’ A magical place where the people are pretty, the bread is warm, and the butter comes in unusual shapes. Dressed in my refinery we sat down for some nouvelle cuisine. Three courses for £9.95 you can’t argue really, even if the portions are miniscule. Microscope in hand, and tweezers at the ready, we tucked in to some 5 * food. I resisted the urge to kick my mother under the table as she stifled her laugh at the size of meals. However, I was slightly worried that if I sneezed it might fly off the plate and hit the businessman behind.  Disguised as the upper class, the two of us sat there, listetning away, and people watching. A woman next to us very loudly proclaimed that she had botox last week; probably not the best conversation when the tables are shoehorned together. Not only did I feel like I was sat on her knee, but that she was shouting it in my ear. After a surprisingly filling meal, (I stocked up on free bread)  it was time to hit the cocktails for my 10 hour drinking binge. We followed the businessmen, rich kids, and botox pumped women out, and left this world behind. My fleeting glimpse of the high life was gone.

My 22 years have taught me a lot, and I appear to be going through one of my ‘itchy feet’ phases. About once a year I get the incredible urge to completely re-invent myself. Right now I have gone through a slight quarter life crisis (assuming I live until 88.) For those of you who haven’t seen me I have embraced OAP status 40 years early. Forget dark hair, this season white is the new black! So as I write, I have a tuft of platinum blonde hair crowning my head. Cue comments from family about Rhydian from X-Factor, believe me that was not the intention. In fact I think I resemble an albino Yeti, leaving a breadcrumb trail of white hairs everywhere. My mother questions why I had not also dyed my eyebrows, as if to finish off my albino outfit. Whilst I do love my new hair, I am suffering somewhat. My poor sensitive skin seems not to live having corrosive bleach poured on it, and my scalp is now subject to some quite bad chemical burns. I know there is pain involved in beauty, but this is a bit much. Someone suggested I bath my hair in milk; I would, except I can’t bring myself to waste that much milk.

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Thoughts from the store cupbord


As another ten and a half hour shift dawns I resume my usual position. Lurking in a small cupboard, peering from behind a curtain like the neighbourhood paedo. Wedged between a coffee machine and dishwasher that hate me; they constantly hiss, spit, and poke at me, like toddlers with boredom. I count down the 630 minutes I will spend with a smile varnished to my face.

So this is what I can offer you today, sat on an upturned ice bucket, in my finest uniform; an angry iron crease disguised under a yellowed apron. Just like my service…a simple no frills blog. Apologies to those of you who may miss my pictures, I will find some extra witty ones next time.

My thought today then turns to summer, making a triumphant return. Today it has charged into Chester all guns blazing, hidden under the Trojan Horse of bad weather that has plagued us this week. Warm rays bake down on my platinum blonde hair, and reveal dirty brassy tones of Ron Weasley. My hair cries dye me! My bank baalance cries no. A few more weeks and Ron can be replaced by Draco.

The benefit of this new burst of summer? Moods are lifted,and the bright light reveals perhaps my favourite part…the decimation of the wasp population. Like a child with a magnifying glass, I take great joy in watching them writhe in pain on the pavement. The cold snap has taken these mighty predators of the sky, and turned them into mere shadows of their former selves. I stop each time I see one, hence why my walk to work takes so much longer these days.I’m sure they will exact their revenge and sting me next summer, watching as my allergy swells me up like a giant pink balloon.

I must admit this weather has people confused; chavs unsure what to wear. Their pristine white summer tracksuit has been put away for winter, so they are stuck baking in black. I saw some sweating as they rode through town on their bikes; gathering together, they resemble a troop of young funeral attendees. Hoods up like a reverse Ku Klux Klan. The confusion has spread to nature: flowers pop in and out of their little houses, not sure if they’re meant to be dead or alive. Hedgehogs don’t know if they are meant to be on heat or in hibernation. After the monsoon related bank holiday weekend it is nice to have some summer back.

With thoughts of the seaside, ice creams, and strolls on Brighton Pier in my head I muddle through work. As I started my workmate invited me in, and like a doctor, offered me a seat on the upturned bucket. We skulk and hide, ever wary of the manager’s footsteps. Don’t work too hard evveryone.

I moustache you a question.


The Victorians had the right idea, rocking the upper lip facial fuzz. A sign of the gentry, dignity, formality. Sadly the moustache has slipped from the face of society; it  lies limp and lifeless on the floor. Only resurrected by the gun-sligning antics of Yosemite Sam by’Looney Tunes Repeats.’ Some of you may or may not know that I once tried to grow one myself. “I mean how hard can it be?” For November last year I attempted ‘Movember’ in aid of prostate cancer. An easy month of abandoning my top lip, leaving it to fend for itself. Sadly the result made me look like a slightly dirty, pre-pubescent Mexican boy. I am also sure that there will have been Mexican babies that were born with more of a moustache than me. Now…if there has been a ‘Beardvember’ I would have walked that, sadly it doesn’t have the same ring. For the time being, if I feel like having a moustache, I will resort to drawing one on in permanent marker, then regretting it in the morning. I highly recommend trying ‘Movember,’ as it is in a good cause, and I will be joining you again this year. Give it a shot…if you think you’re hairy enough.

There is an air of history as you look up at worn oil paintings of people gone by; sadly the last time moustaches were in fashion so were flares and the BeeGees. The demise of the moustahce lead to it seeming uncool, badly associated with your dad’s awful fashion sense. But the time is now….moustaches are back!There has been a small resurgence, prompted by the indie socialites of London. Tweed jackets, and loafers make a beautiful moustache accessory, so don’t be afraid to stand out from the crowd. My ‘facial fuzz of the week’ goes to Brian Blessed, more because I think the man is  legend, and felt like blogging about him. As for moustaches…. I say ditch the razor, whip out your Top Hat, polish your monacle, and take a leaf out of the upper middle classes. I would join you, if I could.

Fawlty Towers


The glamorous world of hotels, wining and dining, A-list celebs, meeting and greeting. If only this was the world I find myself in. Unfortunately it is not…… I spend my days (and evenings) serving food, dressed in what can only be described as cowboy attire. Each day I ride the bus into town dressed in an odd pair of slightly flared jeans, and a rolled up shirt. My H.R. manager reliably informs me that the colour is oatmeal, although I would say ‘maggot brown’ is a better description. For someone as messy as myself, a light coloured shirt and white apron are probably not the best option. Last week I found myself cowering in a corner, painted with the remnants of a raspberry pannacotta. Silently I slid out of the kitchen to find someone who could help me, whilst avoiding the wrath of the chefs. Luckily for me I am part of the outcast crew, a rag tag bunch of casual dining staff that escape the formal dining rules and regulations.

However, I must say, quite oddly, I am enjoying working at a hotel. We stand behind the bar munching biscotti and abusing  the privileges of free milk. Those of you who wish to dine with us would have to pay £1.40 for a cool glass of ‘moo juice,’ whilst we chug it back by the jugful.  I can whip you up a latte in no time at all, and if you are lucky, I might even get it right. As each customer comes in our faces light up with excitement, then change to one of judgement as they use our restaurant as a thoroughfare out of the hotel. In a quiet corner we stand and wait, bitching about who said what, and what that lady on table 8 is wearing. Perhaps my favourite part is ‘room service,’ allowing you a little peek into the lives of those you serve. The suited and booted who live out of a suitcase, and never leave the room, even in an emergency. The stag nights, and hen dos that sprawl themselves in a drunken mass of bras and pants, trying to avoid throwing up on the white carpets. Then come my favourite…the couples. You knock on the door…the awkward shuffle and hushed voices as they wrap themselves in a bed sheet; then the door opens and YOU are ushered in, never knowing where to look. Head down I drop the tray down and leave like a naughty school child, perfectly aware of what you were doing, and the obvious fact you are naked! I am sorry people, but if you order room service, you know someone is coming up. Save your sexual antics for dessert!

This week came the Chester races, or as I will now refer to it, Liverpool’s day out. Tangerine women sardined into red dresses, back fat spilling out, as their bald husbands scratch their heads and grunt an order at you. I lost count of the number of times an order came accompanied with the prefix ‘fucking’ or the suffix ‘mate,’ but it is all part of the job. Bearing in mind I have never worked behind a bar before, I found it odd that my new manager would place me behind one on the busiest day of the year. Putting the newest (and admittedly) most accident prone member of staff in this position, is like putting Jedward in charge of the Titanic. Like a whirlwind of chaos 4 of us whipped up and down the bar;  I fumbled, stumbled, and groped my way for two hours. In this situation you are too busy to apologise for accidently grabbing another staff member as you squeeze past them, and half hope they didn’t notice. I will await the results of the sexual harassment case, and keep you posted.

The repetition of people complaining “this is an expensive pub you’ve got here MATE” was met with my poshest rendition of “actually sir we are a hotel.” Then I would straighten my apron and move on to serve the next drunken slur. As the evening wore on so did the customers, a small welsh woman literally stormed off in disgust that we didn’t serve crisps. Apparently she was in such disbelief she continued to ask everyone else if we did crisps….seemingly she thought there was a great crisp conspiracy and I was hoarding boxes of McCoys to make a fort for myself. Finally 11 and a half hours later I was tired, sticky, and had a back tied up like a sailor’s knot, but I survived.  Like Edmund Hillary I collapsed through the front door and made the epic climb to my bedroom….at the back of my mind the ever nagging thought that in 2 weeks there are 2 race days back to back.

Loyd Grossman- Meal for one



 

I would like to start this post by saying…If only I could afford a Loyd Grossman meal for one! As I write this I look down into a cold porcelain bowl, staring back is Heinz Spaghetti Bolognese. In a naive hope of some ‘Heston Blumenthal’ magic, I attempted to jazz it up with some stolen spices from my housemate’s cupboard; safe to say my culinary skills have slipped recently. It has come round to that time of year when Mother Hubbard’s cupboard is bare, and the next installment of student loan is a dot on the horizon. Creaking open my cupboard and sweeping away the cobwebs I peered inside ; a  tin of spag bol, some dried pasta, Uncle Benn’s microwave rice.I am a massive fan of carbs, but even I draw the line at combining those, after all… NO CARBS BEFORE MARBS. The fridge is an even worse state of affairs, a barren wasteland of off milk, odd coloured fluids, and sprouting veg. Realising defeat I slopped the contents of the tin into  a bowl, then awaited the chirpy ping of the microwave.

 

So reduced to boredom, leftover spag congealing on my table, I turn to my old friend the internet. Unlike friends, the internet doesn’t go home for easter, It doesn’t fall asleep, It can always keep you entertained. Sad really that I am forced to justify why technology is better than real human company. On a related note why not combine the two, Robocop was pretty cool after all. The idea of a robotic super-friend; if you get bored of them, just switch them off at the socket. My small troop of friends have in fact all now left me, as has most of the population of Leeds it would seem. The streets are no longer littered with trendy indie kids. Like a nosey old lady I peer from behind my permanently shut curtains; the only thing I see out of my window is  the odd tumbleweed of  student rubbish. (a bus ticket, Greggs wrapper, dirty magazine, Nandos voucher) There is an awful eeirie sense that I don’t like. My best friend Francine has now left, but even yesterday we compared Hyde Park to a zombie apocolypse; we both concluded the best way to survive a zombie attack: Who would live longer, where we would go.. then finished the day by doing research and watching the film ‘Zombieland.’ This brings me nicely onto my favourite part of ‘Zombieland,’ the rules to survive. My particular favourite “Rule #32- Enjoy the little things.” It is sad that the highlight of my day today is washing my sheets, what kind of student am I? But when you have nothing to do, it is surprising how much clean sheets and a bag of mini eggs will bring you, give it a go.

Some days you just can’t get rid of a bomb.



Watching Pokemon in bed


Life is good =]

Having fun isn’t hard, when you’ve got a library card


Fangs for reading


Lying in darkness, arms across my chest, curtains closed,hiding from the sun outside. My metamorphosis into vampire is complete,  I can’t even remember the last time I ate a loaf of garlic bread. So shut in from the outside world, and looking for a distraction, I decide to write about the phenomenom of ‘the fanged ones’ (prepare for a lot of pictures of mouths). The Dracula of days gone by, would turn in his crypt at the sight of a high cheek boned Robert Pattinson; Dracula was happy hiding in his crumbling castle, not leaping from tree to tree, or shopping at Dolce and Gabbanna. The modern vampire can be found surfing the internet, or sipping back a blood latte in Starbucks. The high collared cape has been done away with, in favour of  a cut-off leather jacket; the typical bald head, replaced with an elvis-eque quif, plastered in hair wax. Their fangs are no longer sharp and pointy, hidden behind a pair of braces, and worn down by all the coke they drink. To compare the vampires of modern society to ‘Bram Stoker’s Dracula’ is like comparing chalk to cheese. So where did it all go wrong? When did vampires go from the stuff of nightmares, to a teenage girl’s wet dream?

The blame lies with you Stephanie Meyer; vampires are supposed to suck blood, not suck each other’s faces off. Secondly Twilight is the only ever instance when you have seen a vampire sparkle. I miss the rugged,wrinkle faced, rubber masked vampires of ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’. Sarah Michelle Gellar was a massive childhood crush, we even had a dog named after her. Sitting down on a weekday evening with my brother and sister we would watch: ‘Simpsons’, ‘Robot Wars’ , then ‘Buffy’. After watching each episode we would screw up our faces and burst into the lounge hissing at our mum (we were an off family). But looking back, it is shocking how much sex and violence they got away with on BBC 2, all before 7.30.  Still the violence in Buffy is not a patch on the ‘Friends’ alternative of ‘Buffay the Vampire Layer:’ “Buffay are you going to plunge your steak into my dark places?”

Little bit of Wikipedia information for you, Count Dracula is based on Vlad the Impaler, sometimes called Dracul, he would impale his victims; and so was born ‘Bram Stoker’s Dracula’, a book I had to study for GCSE English .Our teacher was somewhat of a sexual deviant; she would sit on the table in knee high boots and tell us about all the sexual references in Dracula. The way the women handle a steak represents their penis envy; how the biting of a neck, and flow of blood represents a man penetrating a virgin. We had great fun going around the playground spreading these scandalous rumours like they were soft porn. Despite writing an essay on it, I never actually finished the book; in class I would read a page under the table, pay attention for two minutes, then read some more. My teacher would take the book off me and put it on her desk, luckily there was a large pile of them on the window sill, which I soon made light work of. Finding a good quote, or getting the gist of the storyline I wove it into an essay, which to this date is one of the best I’ve ever done.

When you look at vampires in popular culture it is hardly surprising no-one finds them scary. Here is a list of some of the least scary vampires you will ever come across:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Count Chocula– Anyone who advertises children’s cereal is about as scary as the cocopop monkey. Also, all that sugar would rot his fangs.

Grandpa from The Munsters– The Santa Clause of Halloween. A jolly old man, who needs to get his dentures out before he can bite you.

The Count from Sesame Street– He would rather count bats and sing songs before attacking you…enough said.

Hollywood can still give the odd scare. The film ‘Let the Right One In,‘ and remake ‘Let Me In.’ have the power to make vampires great again. A creepy girl vampire who becomes your best friend, then goes around chomping down on people who bully you…who wouldn’t want that? Lets get back to the days where vampires genuinely scared you, nowadays anyone can write a vampire novel. According to family sources my uncle in New Zealand is writing his own vampire story, whether or not it will be a best seller remains to be seen. T.V. is saturated with bright eyed homoerotic vampires from ‘True Blood,’ or ‘Vampire Diaries,’ two shows that I avoid with a barge pole; as I once read: “Edward Cullen is not a vampire, he is a fairy.” In a fight between Edward Cullen and Count Chocula, my vote goes to ‘The Count.’I still like vampires; I like those little pink/white fangs you get at the cinema, and I like fizzy fangs from Sainsburys. I like Buffy, and  I will watch Count from Sesame Street for a bit of nostalgia, I even occasionally watch Countdown. But, the only current vampires I like on T.V. are Vampire Weekend; so I leave you with them, and wish you good luck, don’t have nightmares…….Mwuhaha.

 

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