I once again reach that time of the year where you will find me skulking around the darkened corners of Edward Boyle library. With all the grace of a baby elephant I stalk, looking for a free computer, or glaring until someone leaves. I interrupt my day with constant breaks of eating sweets, sticking Haribo to my eyes, making Francine laugh, and short bursts of Angry Birds. I was today asked:
“Do you do any work or do you just wander around the library all day”.
In short no…… the mere fact of being in the library manages to trick my head into thinking that I am doing work. In reality the time I spend in between my breaks is taken up by looking at things I cannot afford, drawing pokemon, and playing ‘spot the hotty.’ Unfortunately for the Level 10 computer cluster today’s offerings of ‘hotties’ were slim pickings. So the topic of all my current beavering is the issue of the Royal Family, as British as tea and cucumber sandwiches you could say. It is hard to imagine a Britain without the Royals, despite the arguments I feel that if they were abolished we would face a massive hole. For a start who’s face would go on the stamp, and what would we do with Buckingham Palace? All that room could be put to use as a safari park for the Aristocracy, observing them in their natural habitat.
If the Royals were abolished, then please send some of the money my way. Ironically the first thing I would like to purchase is a ‘Diana’ camera. I saw one on ebay, but my offer of £30 under the asking price did not go down well with the seller. I can see a promising new career in photography aslong as my chubby fingers don’t block the lense. There is something about using a reel of old film or and old camera that can instantly transport you back in time. Other possible careers I have contemplated while procrastinating from my essay are : ‘Paul Burrell’, ‘Kate Middleton’s footman’, and ‘Royal Correspondent.’ I can easily pull of the Jennie Bond of standing in front of Buckingham Palace in a pastel coloured trouser suit, gushing my love for the royal family, whilst the monarchy crumbles. I sometimes wish we could go back to the times of Henry VIII when the Royals were much more interesting: heads on spikes, headless wives, public hanging, eating swans. History back then just seems much more exciting than now. What I wouldn’t give to grab a bag of popcorn and go to public hanging, rather than be subjected to another ‘Step-Up’ film.
So after all my extensive (2 days worth) reading, what are my conclusions? The monarchy, outdated or institutional? In my eyes all the sex and scandal just make it more interesting, the historians will have a field day teaching the lives of Charles and Diana to the children of the future; who will play them in a film, an aged Robert Patterson and Hilliary Duff ? They may cost a lot of money, but they make for some excellent news stories and comedy fodder. My auntie in Australia does a wonderful Charles/Di impression, it is hard to distinguish which she is better at. They have the ability to crash cars, dress as Nazis, flaunt racism, even get accused of being an alien race…oh it is a Royal life! For the future, well the prospect that Prince Charles will soon rule the country is one of mixed emotions. He certainly has rather big shoes to fill to live up to the success of his mother. My new idea is bring Philip in as King, with Boris Johnson as his top advisor, then watch the hilarity roll in; If this option fails then the only king that I want to see ruling in future is ‘The Burger King.’ As for the Queen, I like Queen Liz, but she isn’t a patch on Freddie Mercury- GOD REST HIS BONES.
Like ‘The Great War’ it has been building, slowly rumbling away for weeks now. The Nazi regime litter our airwaves with propaganda, shop windows littered with posters, eyes filled with images of “cuddly wuddly teddy bears.” V-Day is upon us!!!
The streets of Leeds are barely recognisable under a blanket of reds and pinks, the sickly smell of flowers drifts towards you as you are bombarded with offers for your loved one. The window of Thornton’s is stacked with chocolate bears, ready to over the trenches and into battle; they wear the emblem ‘I Wuv U,’ branded onto their chest, their uniform of war.Soon it will begin, a great bloodbath, their heads bitten off, insides spilling out as their remains are tossed in the bin. The great bear massacre of 2011 will not be forgotten. Spare a thought for the teddies and bunnies, the true victims of V-Day.
In case you cannot tell, I am clearly on the bandwagon of those who despise the day of St.Valentine. It is a day crafted by the mass corporations upstairs (I’m looking at you Clinton Cards!) In the end it makes the lonely feel lonelier, and the loved feel penniless. In my 21 years I have had one real Valentines, and that was last year….I spent it sat in bed, and we ate Pizza Hut Delivery. For me that was fine, with nothing else to go up against that makes it my best Valentine’s ever; quite sad really when you think about it! But for those poor souls who endure this every year it can only be described as bank account rape. Restaurant Maitre D’s eagerly stand in their windows, nose pressed against the glass; they await the poor couples desperately looking for somewhere to eat. Ushered inside your coats are ripped from you, you are shoved to a table, then before you know it you hear the pop of champagne and your glass is filled. As your mind still tries to come to terms with the whirlwind that just happened you take a glance at the menu…..Valentine’s special= £££. With it being Valentine’s you are forced to inhale your food at breakneck speed, so the next doomed couple can be churned it; 40 minutes later you are tossed back onto the street several dollar lighter and wishing oh so much that you were single!
For us Valentine Scrooges we attempt to avoid the day all together, that is exactly what me and my band of ‘The Lonely Hearts Club’ are doing. Hiding away like hermits, forced Valentine hibernation until it is gone for another year. Our novel idea (oddly thought of by someone in a relationship) is to host a Murder Mystery Party. We will be transported back to 1925, to a time where men were men, women were women, and Clinton’s didn’t exist (according to Wikipedia it was founded in 1968). Im not quite sure how it works, but you are all given a character, have to adopt their persona for the evening, and solve a murder. I will be putting my thespian skills into good use, and get royally drunk in the process. Tonight Matthew I will be playing Mustapha M’Stach- perhaps in reference to my failed attempt to grow one for Movember:
‘Beyond the fact that you are from the Middle East and that you are in some vague way connected to racing, no one know anything about you. Being a man of mystery at a time of murder is a very suspicious thing….’
Being as sad as I am, I have been working on a costume, borrowed a Fez, and decided my character is from Morocco. I even went one step further and learnt some Moroccan phrases, admittedly I abandoned this idea early on and just started doing a pretty offensive Moroccan accent. My one job for the party was to create a playlist of 1920’s music, have I done it? Have I heck! Mustapha doesn’t play by the rules
Now for something completely different, I came across several Valentine cards of Lazy Oaf ( a truly magical cave of wonderment). If my Valentine reads this, it is never too late:
I know the odds are against me, but my idea for next year is to find a Valentine, then send them a cow’s heart in the post. Why I hear you ask? My reasoning is two-fold..Who would want a silly paper heart when you can have the real thing? It shows I care, and you can make a meal out of it! Whilst I spend my evening quaffing cocktails and offending the Moroccans I hope you all have a reasonable Valentine’s. Drink lots, be merry, go out and procreate. I will leave you with my Anti-Valentine tune of this year ‘The Vaccines- Post breakup sex.’
5 hours 37 sleep, quite respectable, Thatcher would survive on 3. My gripe is not the amount, but the fact that at 8.37 I woke up, not needing to be in university until 1.30 pm. An hour and a half of law, followed by an hour of politics; to be honest I’m not going to pretend I do a lot, I spend the first 25 minutes concentrating then tend to doodle. Last week’s masterpiece consisted of drawing an Aristocat Aristocrat whilst discussing the revolution of parliament against King Charles…you can see why I chose to doodle. The usual morning sounds of my house drift under the door, the slamming of fire doors, the constant shout of names up and down the stairs; all of this is accompanied by the morning stench of cooked breakfast. Everyday I clamber out of bed with the odour of burnt onions and mushrooms clinging to my pyjamas,turning my stomach; like in case of fire I am considering stuffing towels under my door to prevent this infestation of smells. I click the switch and my air freshener kicks in, the luxury of buying an air freshener that changes smell every 45 minutes should not be overlooked. Students everywhere will be sick in their mouths at the thought of spending £5 on scented oils (not my most manly purchase), but at the end of the day it keeps the onion at bay, and is better than my idea for a homemade air freshener, hanging a piece of soap in a sock!
So where was I last night? I was at my first ever drag show, not taking part I am sure you will be pleased to know! My friend Yaz was up from Lincoln, for some reason fabric shopping in Leeds; 6 of us spent 30 minutes traipsing around in the freezing cold, rain soaking into our clothes, trying to decided where to go. Leeds on a Sunday night= dead, even Yates’ declared that they were closing at 10.30. So after much debate someone finally snapped and said “can we please just pick somewhere to go?” It just so happens that the liveliest place in Leeds last night was Viaduct Showbar on Call lane……despite standing outside it for 5 minutes as we went in the door, the penny dropped for someone, they realised “Oh..this is a gay bar.” It was a truly odd experience, but I enjoyed it, good music, cheap enough, I just made sure Yaz timed my toilet visits; I said to her “If I’m not back in 2 minutes I have been raped, please call the police”. There was that surreal moment where you look up at the stage and see three men disguised as 3 women, singing ‘The Supremes,’ you very briefly forget that they are in fact men, and not women. We all found ourselves staring open mouthed as they spun around the stage, legs waxed, fake breasts bouncing… but we asked the question “where does IT all go?” This morning I am still asking the question, but no closer to an answer, my conclusion is that they must use A LOT of cellotape, and some very tight pants.
My dry mouth cracks open as I scan my new and improved (tidy) room for liquid, knocking the bottles off my side table I manage to grab a half drunk carton or orange juice; it quenches my thirst, but leaves that odd furry feeling in my mouth. The red light on my Blackberry illuminates the room, now shouting that I have a Facebook notification; it is the wife, checking in on me, seeing if I am still alive. ‘Alive’ is a very loose term for what I am at the moment, perhaps surviving is a more appropriate description. My body is rejecting me, growling and twisting, putting up a dirty protest at the toxins I have been pumping into it. I am sorry to inform you all I have been revisiting ‘Cactus Jack;’ like an old friend he welcomes me back in and leads me astray. I don’t know whether my teeth will drop out first, or my liver will pack up and leave my body? I am already planning my week ahead on a drink by drink basis. I was going to go to the local shop today, but I thought buying up 6 bottles of ‘Cactus Jacks’ in one go could result in breaking some kind of law about hazardous chemicals. I don’t fancy spending my weekend in jail, I don’t think I’d survive. The side of my Facebook is littered with events for this week; it is nice to feel more popular than you secretly know you are. The down side of this is that I can already feel my money hemorrhaging away, pouring out of every artery and down into the sewer; I sense my mum somewhere, watching me, tutting away at my money wastage. My hard Christmas slaving has been wasted, slowly the overdraft creeps up, and the bank balance drops down. My biggest outgoing at the moment is food, I am convinced Cat is trying to fatten me up, like Hansel and Gretel she plys me with opportunities for meals out and cake; however, I think she lacks the architectural knowledge to build a gingerbread house. I imagine that come summer she will have some kind of Hog Roast, I will be served up on a platter, honey glazed, an apple in my mouth. I don’t know what is worse, wasting your money on food, or wasting it on alcohol, I am half tempted to cut out the food this week and just go on an alcoholics diet….If I survive the week someone please book me in for the AA next Monday, it may be needed.
Like a great cloud of misery, winter has descended on Leeds, bringing with it a thundercloud of worries. The temperature drops, and the heating bill soars! The bright colours of summer, student parties, and free time are washed away; they run down into the gutter, replaced only by the harsh greys of concrete and assignments. I like to think of myself as pretty optimistic, however it is hard to remain so when you drag your sodden body into to uni for a one hour lecture, then miserably drag it back home. I look around, peering through the driving rain at the many like minded students; bravely they battle the elements, like gargoyles grimacing through the biblical flood. Even Noah couldn’t prepare for this week’s truly torrential rain, gutters overspilling, drains filling up, the ringing out of non-waterproof clothing. The streets are littered with the corpses of many an umbrella, turned inside out and discarded by their owners; bins overflow as new umbrella graveyards. Whilst friends splash around in Doc Martins or wellies I am forced to slop around in canvas shoes. If I had ‘William’s Wish Wellingtons’ I would wish for better weather.The onset of trenchfoot looks inevitable as my lesson is never learnt; everyday I seem surprised as my canvas Fred Perry shoes turn into sponge, then leave me hanging my socks up to dry when I come in. My mum always asks the question “How come you can afford alcohol, but not new shoes?” In all honesty I would rather walk around with a bad case of trenchfoot than miss out on the antics of £2 Savanna at the Faversham.
So here I am on a Friday afternoon, barely moved in 24 hours, catching up on a blog that seemed destined to gather dust in the corner of the internet. My best friend has gone away, and I am resorting to this. I had half toyed with the idea of going back home (to whatever home I have) to relieve the boredom of lonely weekends in Leeds. After all when the going gets tough…..the tough get going. A mountain of work has been sidelined by my new appreciation for the film ‘Jackass.’ On Wednesday I indulged in the 3D wonder of ‘Jackass 3D’, and since then have been watching the other films. The trick of Knoxville and co. is to get inside your head, sitting in your comfy cinema chair you think : “I could do that,” “That wouldn’t hurt,” “I could do that better.” The warning at the beginning complete with skull and crossbones means nothing to today’s hardened student. Who hasn’t accidently been smashed in the face with a bottle, or taken a tumble down the union stairs?
But it isn’t all doom and gloom, I would hate to think that my blog drives people to suicide; for the most part winter is a time to clamber into bed, snuggle down, and embrace your duvet. It is at this time that the television chirps brightly with those all too familiar Christmas tunes; you know the song, but have forgotten the words since your year 4 carol concert. The jolly red Coke Santa, or the dancing polar bears make a welcome return. Your television lights up as the bumper edition Radio Times crashes through the coffee table, I eagerly flick through the pages circling anything and everything I want to watch. When we were younger whole pages would be circled, if it was something good (Wallace and Gromit) we would circle it twice, or until the pen came through the other side. The miracle of Sky plus now means there is no need to mindlessly sit glued for hours in fear of missing Mary Poppins for the 12th time; You can come home from a drunken night out and watch Dick Van Dyke be a chimney sweep at your own leisure. We are no longer slaves to the corporate scheduling. The counter on Ebay’s website reminds me that there are now only 43 days left till Chrsitmas… Soon the streets will be filled with bustling market stalls, the smell of mince pies, and the glitter of cheaply bought council lights. There is the big rush that every town or city has about the turning on of the lights; they seem to compare their own offering to the Blackpool illuminations. This year Leeds City Council tosses us the sacrificial lamb of Shane Ward, there only to satisfy the young chav girls who remember his X-Factor days. We all pretend we won’t go, we all pretend it is a load of old rubbish, but we will all be there. So in conclusion, even with 43 days, no presents, no money, a tonne of work, and an expanding waistline, the little Grinch inside me will soon be dead. Happy Holidays everyone.
War torn, limping, and with a face like a beetroot crossed with a cactus; I stumbled across the threshold of my house, returning from Leeds fest 2010, a mere shadow of my former self. Quite what persuades me every year to spend nearly a week cold,wet, and pining for a real bed is beyond me; however looking back I smile to myself and remember the many reasons I do it. It is constantly pointed out for the price of a festival you could quite easily go abroad and be harassed by exotic looking women lying topless on a beach, but for me and my friends we choose to be harassed by cider swilling chavs at 4am in a West Yorkshire park. Leeds Festival is an experience you will never forget, standing on top of a hill you look out across the festival, people swarming around like ants, dragging mountains of alcohol and crisps to their proposed campsite. My friend Sam came up with the ingenious/annoying game of asking people if they needed a hand with their bags; you could see their eyes light up as someone offers to relieve them of the bag that cuts into their shoulder, this was then cut short as he simply stands there and gives them a round of applause. Faces like thunder they would soldier on, dragging their life with them, cursing under their breath as we rolled around in stitches. It is true though for festivals, you do seem to take your life’s possesions. I am one person who can never underpack, I get there and spend a good few hours angry that the item I want to wear I left behind; my solution? Take everything. I think if possible I would probably take the kitchen sink to a festival, then complain I didn’t bring the bathroom one aswell.
It would take me far too long to reel off the items that I took, but top of my list every year is a ‘readybed’ (£29.95 Argos, currently out of stock at Chester Forgate Street.) It is the kind of invention you would see on Dragon’s Den, then hear Duncan Bannatyne grumble ‘Im ooot’ at. The premise is an air bed with attached sleeping bag, providing camping comfort and warmth; however the sleeping bag is wafer thin, so I end up taking another anyway. In total I think I took about 5 bags, one containing just food and alcohol, which required two of us to take onto the campsite. Before we even left one bag had ripped, so I spent the night before pricking myself with a needle, vainly attempting to patch it up; at the festival my shoddy stitches groaned under the strain, and I had horrible visions of my brightly coloured underpants rolling down the hill in front of hundreds of people. Luckily this year I used the transport of a car as an excuse to cram even more stuff into the boot. The look on Abbey’s face when I told her what I was bringing meant that me and Becki had to pack the car under cover of darkness when she was out, like tetris we tried to slot the bags in, making it seem like we had brought less. So as me and the twins pootled down the motorway in the tiny Volkswagen Polo, it’s boot bounced with camping chairs, wellies, a readybed, we knew we were on our way to Leeds 2010. Everytime we saw a sign for the festival Becki would scramble for her camera and try to take a picture; at 70mph her camera work was……..interesting, if anything else.
The early bird catches the worm, so the 3 of us stumped up an extra £15 to arrive a day early.As I stood in the queue I could feel the sun baking down on my exposed chest. My All-Saints reject, low cut top look would turn out to be my downfall as I am still nursing a very red chest. The twins said they would bring the aftersun if I took the sun tan lotion, unfortunately I forgot so spent the week after peeling my nose and being told “Oh…..you’ve got some colour!” I can’t complain though, this was the first year of any festival where the weather has held and i’ve not felt like a warthog wallowing in mud. The theory behind early entry is that we could get a good spot, set up the tents, and chill with a cider; but this also meant that on Thursday the lads would roll up, complain about our spot and tent erecting skills, then demand we find more space in the already cramped field. By Wednesday night the spaces around us were already vanishing, but they were bringing a 4 man, and 6 man tent with them! Last year space was so scarce Sam decided to lash his tent onto mine to keep it up, the downside of this was every gust would tug our tent with his, and our front door had now become part of his tent; I had to squelch through the squalor of his tent just to get to my own nice clean one. This year was no exception, his 6 man one looked a horse ready for the glue factory, it flailed in the wind, groaning, begging to be unpegged and let loose to fly away. Snapped poles stuck out from the top, like a giant middle finger to Sam and his many years of abuse. Me and Becki had it sorted though, a brand new tent, with two compartments, and ample porch space. I happily lay on my airbed and listened to the sounds of the others struggling, asking others to move their tents, just so they could squeeze in like an unwanted relative.
As above I seemed to spend most of my weekend in some sort of fancy dress; my friend Charles always wears a chicken suit, across the campsite you hear the shouts of ‘Chicken Man.’ It seems to work as some kind of pulling magnet, so when Sam offered me his Gorilla suit to keep warm how could I resist? On our trip to the car to gather more stuff there came the shouts of ‘Chicken Man’, but no shouts of ‘Gorilla Man.’ Whilst Charles had pictures taken with pirates, and hugs from girls, I trundled at the back looking like I was wearing a big fur coat. Sam asked one girl what she thought I was. Apparently the costume resembled a Raven more than a Gorilla, and didn’t have the pulling powers I required. We make an odd group of rag-tag people: Me, The Twins, Abbey’s boyfriend George, Charles ‘Chicken Man,’ Sam in his vintage BHS jumpers, and then there is Neil Murphy…… turning up on the Friday after impromptly deciding he would come, bringing with him a whole world of chaos. Clumsily he would stomp around the campsite like a baby rhino, first crashing into Abbey and George’s tent, then stumbling into ours and squashing my many packs of ‘Snack-a-Jacks’ and jelly pots. That was the unfortunate thing about having such a good tent, when it rained they would all pile into ours. One evening we fell asleep and it was left to me and Becki to drag them to their respective tents and tuck them in. I had pre-warned Becki about last year, going to Leeds with the lads is like one giant week of babysitting, excpet you have to pay to do it. Our trips to the arena were interrupted by toilet breaks, food breaks, sitting down, chatting up girls, and rolling cigarettes. Me and Becki invented the game ‘The old stand and wait,’ which seemed to become our most frequent activity. I would guess for my £230 ticket most of that probably went on standing still and nursing ‘the creche.’
To be fair though Sam was a lifesaver, his stove,burgers and sausages provided much needed warm food. I refused to pay the extortionate £5 for a burger, I would eat Sam’s day old, unrefrigerated, sat on burgers any day. Like a small schoolboy his mum had packed him off with food for all of us, cheese, sauces, a knife, and even some onions. I felt like royalty as we all sat round in our camping chairs, scoffing down a simply burger containing mainly cardboard and beef fat….. it is the simple things. In exchange for food I repaid Sam by waiting until he passed out, on his airbed I dragged him out of the tent, across the campsite, and left him in the capable hands of some chavs under a gazebo. 10 minutes later he stumbled back confused and dazed, then wouldn’t let the entire incident drop for the rest of the week. I also have him some of my ‘pixie juice.’ My wide variety of brightly coloured spirits in plastic bottles scattered around my tent, just the right size so I can slide them down my trousers and sneak them into the arena. The trick is to look for the steward not searching people, so last year I cockily strutted up to the barriers of the arena, a small plastic bottle stashed in my crotch. I took my chances and strode to a woman, just as the changing of the guards happened. A gruff man yanked me forwards and began the routine grope, I felt his hand graze the bottle in my crotch; big pause, we made eye contact, and he let me past. To be honest if you were searching a man and felt something hard in his trouser area, would you question it, or make him move on quicker? I tried my hand at making winegum vodka this year, unfortunately I only decided the night before and didn’t have time for the proper fermentation method. On the last night I sat in my tent and looked at the bottle before me, how desperate was I to drink? Chunks of undisolved winegum fluttered in the bottom, looking like what I can only describe as a dirty fishtank, I closed my eyes, and began to gulp.
I will finally get onto the music. Originally I wasn’t too excited by the lineup of heavy rock bands and people that I could only pretend to sing the lyrics to; each band would only have a few songs that I would bounce around to , then quietly tap my feet to the rest attempting to look cool. For me personal favourites were Weezer; the geeky lead singer came out on stage looking like the alcohol in his system was more than the blood. He staggered around with a spaced out look in his eyes, and jumped into the crowd. At one point he made a dash for freedom past security into the crowd, the camera desperately panned trying to find him; like a hoard of zombies hundreds of fans ran to mob him. 5 minutes later he returned to the stage, missing his glasses, and wearing a different hat. He kept the crowd entertained with covers of ‘Teenage Dirtbag,’ and ‘MGMT- Kids,’ in the middle of ‘Kids’ he flung on a blonde wig and did a cheeky chorus of ‘Lady Gaga- Poker Face.’
Perhaps it was my homemade winegum vodka talking, but I enjoyed Guns ‘N’ Roses much more than I thought. Shouting until my voice was hoarse and forcing Becki to pull a hat over her ears. I spent the rest of the evening wandering around singing the Pink Panther tune because Guns ‘N’ Roses had played it; the whole crowd’ du du dummed’ and clicked along with it. Axl Rose was of course fashionably late, in the cold August night you could see people huddled round fires waiting for the final headliners to arrive. The arena had turned into some sort of shanty town with the bedraggled look of everyone, making them look even more like a giant colony of tramps, clutching their cut price booze to their cold chests and booing whenever someone made an announcement saying they weren’t ready yet. We spent most of Guns ‘N’ Roses set discussing the possible sexuality of Axl Rose rather than the music. Eveytime the pyrotecnics went off I would jump out of my skin and send winegum vodka spilling down my jumper, luckily it wasn’t mine; so In Sams woolen BHS jumper I drank the dregs of the winegum vodka and returned to the campsite knowing tomorrow we would leave. This was not before Becki argued with the man in the van that I had got more chips and mayo than she had for the same price, happily I scoffed mine down and trotted back to the tent smuggly.
Next morning with an early start me and the twins stood atop the hill again and looked out over the wasteland of tent skeletons, exploding gas canisters, and discarded pants. The days were long and the evenings were cold, but Leeds 2010 is just as good as it has ever been, and it comes down to the people you are with. If anything the things like sitting around all day playing ‘paranoia’, eating canned fruit, and using the toilets make it. People always complain about the Leeds toilets, but for me they aren’t that bad. You go in, you read the graffitti “Eddie Murphy is a good actor,” try not to catch the person opposite in the reflection of the sewage and you leave. There will come an inevitable time though when you need a number 2, or as I called it ‘a pinecone’. Secretly you reel off the toilet roll and hide it in your pocket so no-one knows; checking around you skulk to the toilet and try to find a cubicle that is accessible, let alone squattable. We met a steward called frosty who told us that Leeds festival was moved to this site in 2007 beacause in 2006 at the old site someone had blown up the toilets during a riot. I think you would need more than a paper toilet seat to protect you in that instance.A personal highlight though was going to the toilet, opening the door and finding someone had already laid down a nice fresh loo roll toilet seat for me, then finding 20p on the floor and reliving the tale in graphic detail to my friends; things like that make festivals all the more bearable . My only regret is not visiting the human carwash, I had dreamed of standing there being lathered up by a sexy woman then blow dried in a nice warm shower with normal water pressure. In reality though it looked like standing infront of a crowd and being rubbed down by a balding Yorkshireman called ‘Phil’, or ‘Dave’ Every year we say we won’t go back, but like a moth to a bulb we are still attracted to the mud sweat and tears. Goodbye Leeds… see you in 2011?
Time flies when you’re working your arse off; it is hard to believe that the days of June are already melting into July, and I feel like my summer is wasting away. For those of you who don’t know I have been recruited to the Sainsbury’s Produce Mafia, an elite team of men and women who bring fresh fruit and veg to your shelves, then cover up the empty spaces when there is none in the back. However my duties don’t end there… I spend my days directing lazy people to items they could quite easily find; the pure idiocy of customers really does amaze me, in the past week two people have asked me where the ice is kept. Hiding the venom about to spew from my mouth I must then drag them right to other side of the store to the freezers, then angrily jab a finger at the location where the ice is kept. One woman who asked me exclaimed “Well, this is further away that I thought,” I had to bite my tongue to stop myself shouting “YES..WELL ICE IS NORMALLY KEPT IN FREEZERS, NOT FRUIT AND VEG CHILLERS!” Yesterday a customer tried to ask me for flax……. confused I gave her a glazed look and thought she was looking for flex, for a plug; Fact of the day: She then went on to boringly explain that flax is a kind of ground corn for your cereal. I am half way through my second week of an 8 week stint here on produce; Stu has already said he has my back if any of the staff give me any hassle, and I feel accepted into the ‘family,’ I have become a master of precariously placed produce. By day I balance Peppers, by night I crush boxes.
The title of my blog does in fact refer to one of my colleagues ‘Joe.’ Apparently he was put onto produce because he was removed from ‘Beers, Wines, and Spirits’ for being too dangerous. It is far to easy to get ahead of yourself, swinging the dollies around and going at excessive speed around the shop floor; I even find myself making the odd vroom vroom noise, or imagining what it would be like to plow into some of the customers. You would expect that if you saw a massive dolly full of potatoes towering over you, you would get out of the way? However most seem to speed up towards you, stubbornly refuse to move, or park their trolley at an awkward angle blocking my path like Gandalf. The result of these customers has lead me to twice run over my foot with a full dolly of potatoes, then limp around the store like a pirate for half an hour. Any way back to Joe…… one of my new produce friends asked if I had heard ‘The Gas Story’ yet, “No,” I replied with intrigue. According to legend Joe had an argument with ‘British Gas’ many years ago over an unpaid bill, adamantly Joe declares that he hadn’t used that gas so wouldn’t be paying, the result? For the past how ever many years ‘British Gas’ has cut off Joe’s gas supply and he has been living off canister gas; however, my favourite part of the story is the amount of compensation Joe has figured out he is entitled to. Due to the cost of gas, inflation, more inflation, general inconvenience, the figure is in the region of £1.2 million pounds; the best bit is he refuses to get a lawyer for this case, because they are too expensive.
In just under 2 weeks I will be sunning myself on the beautiful Croatian coastline, any country with a goat in the national flag suits me just fine, it is just a shame you can’t pick your company; a week in the sweltering heat with my brother and sister will definitely lead to blood-shed, or me hurling one of them over the balcony. But I can’t complain, a free holiday is a free holiday, all I need to do is rustle up some spends from the ever depleting overdraft; I won’t get paid from Sainsburys until the middle of my holiday. Fan-bloody-tastic! All people keep telling me is how hot it is going to be, and how much I am going to burn; I burn here on an average day, so Croatia may well be the death of me. As I count the days away I realise 2 weeks is nowhere near long enough to slim down to fit into my Mankini, the gym and pool seem a distant memory; I have conned myself into thinking hurling potatoes onto a high shelf is a replacement. All Mankinis aside I wear something more suitable, a long pair of shorts that leave my thighs a milky white; however my Dad’s swimwear leaves little to the imagination. I have horrific flashbacks to childhood holidays with him strutting down the beach in turquoise and pink Speedos; I joked with him about this the other day, but he replied that they were packed and ready for action on the Croatian shore. I will be placing my towel on a different beach so not to associate, or find a nice normal family that can adopt me for a while. Me and my Dad’s girlfriend Jane decided we will find bars, and spend our days there. Perhaps I can’t fit into my Mankini due to the amount of cocktails I have consumed recently; I just can’t resist an ice cold Mojito, that is until you inhale a piece of mint.
Well today is one of my few days off, I am resting my sore feet, soaking my ruined hands, and generally complaining, trawling through YouTube looking for random amusement. I have developed an obsession with Acapella, I definitely want to include it in mine and Francine’s radio show. I found this on YouTube, if you know the Zelda games you will like this, if you are not a nerd then I apologise:
Although the weather is beautiful I am hobbited away inside, curtains closed like a shut in. I have a craving for both pink lemonade, and X-Men 2, so will spend the afternoon enjoying both in my Pyjamas.Keep enjoying Summer everyone.