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.


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.

Ou est les food?

Sorry for absence without leave, but for some reason my diary became suddenly full the past few days. I will firstly update you with my Food Soc antics, a night of pig nipples, Mickey Finns, and toilet trips. For anyone in Leeds a visit to Kendall’s bistro is a must, tucked away in the far end of town, this quaint restaurant slips underground into a French cavern. Under the cover of candlelight you are ushered in to gaze at the menu chalked on the wall. One of my highlights was the unexpected starter of binoculars, we were informed that this was for the short sighted who couldn’t see the chalk menu; I was half hoping to take them home and become a peeping Tom. I made the decision of 3 courses, and half a bottle of wine for £23…this was my first mistake!

There was great anticipation for the three courses that lay ahead of me; the bread baskets flowed  (I always make the most of free bread), and I sloshed my half bottle of wine from what appeared to be a vase, into my glass, whilst I waited for my goats cheese and red onion tart. Goats cheese is one of those things on a menu I just can’t resist, I salivate whilst ordering it, then pounce on it before it even hits the table; if dogs produced such amazing cheese then I would be tempted to try that as well. On the subject of nipples I will now tell you about the main course: Pork Belly; unfortunately someone’s pork belly still had a nipple attached, I winced as the person opposite me quite happily crunched it down along with his crackling. This little piggy went wee wee wee, straight in my mouth.It was delicious, and I had just enough room for my pot au chocolat; but this wasn’t the last I would see of the pork belly, hunched over the toilet at 4am it came lurching back for another tasting. Perhaps it was the wine, or the bottle of Mickey Finns I had after dinner? All I know was it wasn’t green, and I could only see traces of pork, I must have been saving it for later. My only hope is my next food soc outing won’t be quite so….messy. Cat has now been elected el presidente, already she is whipping up ideas in her head how to get more members, we have already recruited Francine, so our empire is slowly growing.

I have spent the last couple of days in love….yes you heard it here first, I am in love…..with a computer game! I have become completely addicted to “Super Mario Galaxy.” I found myself with Wii remote gripped in my hand, straining at the screen like a zombie, minutes slipped to hours, before I knew it a whole day was wasted.  I quite happily flung the fat Italian plumber around space, battling little monsters that resemble  potatoes, attempting to rescue Princess Peach. The old format remastered for the kids of today, I drifted back to a time when we would play “Mario 64” on the Nintendo 64. Back in my day each game was a clunky plastic cartridge that cost £50, we would spend hours trying to do it, getting our dad to do the levels we couldn’t, then swearing when he made a mistake; each pixel took up most of the screen, but we thought the graphics were amazing. My obsession went even further, when I wasn’t able to play it I made Jordan play through Skype and let me watch, barking orders at him even though I was unable to make anything out; I even tried to watch a walkthrough on Youtube.  I have decided now  is the time to sever the umbilical cord, I was ratty and annoyed, if someone tried to talk to me I would snap, so I think it was for the best to end our relationship; sorry Mario, you’re not the man for me.

Today I have finally started the essay, the clouds may be heavy outside, but over me they are lifting slightly. In an almost trance-like state I began to type; my fingers furiously bashed at the buttons, pulling quotes from my reading, throwing in my own intellectual ideas. I read up on the 10 threats to journalism, opting for sensationalist articles, apparently “If it bleeds, it leads.”Barely any time had passed and I realised my essay was half done; admittedly it is probably absolute rubbish, but I feel I have made a start, and Francine seems impressed. Apparently I have ‘changed,’ this new Tom that does work, and tries hard, where is the real me? On my other work front things aren’t going so well, I repeatedly try to contact the mounted division with no reply, I told cat I had tried to contact the ‘Munted’ division, which caused a giggle as we imagined Herman Munster on a horse, fighting crime in Hyde Park. My head is full of creative ideas for what to do, so much so it is in danger of exploding, and spraying these ideas all over my walls. After this mornings marathon type I think enough is enough for today, I will sit back, watch come dine with me, and let the hours roll away. Tomorrow may be the start of the busiest  two weeks of my life. Record this, film that, edit this, essay that. To top it off on Friday we have a trauma workshop; the ethics department will subject us to the real life horrors of journalism, how I cannot wait to be in a room of screaming actors, and busy journalists….. roll on summer!

3am drag artist

Two bloodshot eyes hanging with punchbags underneath, the reminder of the night from hell I was subjected to last night. Apparently the walls on Mayville Street are constructed of paper, and the house from the road behind made good use of it. I am a great fan of Hot Chip, but unfortunately not when I hear “Over and Over” OVER AND OVER in the wee hours of the morning.

Hot Chip- Over and Over (Naum Gobo remix)

Despite the annoyance I have to admit there were several funny conversations, I could compile a dossier on my rear neighbours based on what I heard last night, names, what course they do, plans for the week…. even when they last had sex. So people of Mayville Place look out, me and my blackmail booklet will be coming to find you if there is another repeat of last night. My feeble attempt at hammering on the wall only provoked excitement, prompting them to bang along with the rythmn of the music and hurl abuse through the brickwork. They even had the decency to leave the music blaring full blast for me to enjoy, as they spent half an hour out the house, at the Co-op. This brings me onto the title of the blog…. 3 am drag artist?! The only boy in the group, ‘Danny’ as I believe, made the drunken decision to try on ladies clothing, while I admit to dabbling in it for fancy dress, it is not my first choice of attire, and one I am sure he will regret. I could hear him posing and pouting for his pictures, I conjoured up the image of a smarmy greaseball ;however this was as close as he would be to getting in a ladies knickers, he reliably informed everyone he hasn’t had sex for 2 months…. maybe it is your willingness to dress as a woman Danny?

I tossed and turned, bouncing in my bed on the broken slats,trying to find a more comfortable way to block out the noise:

(spread eagled, covers off, covers on, on my back, on my front, upside down, pillows on head)

I eventually resorted to counting sheep; like fluffy clouds they jumped over wooden fences, and I gently followed them for a peaceful recharge of my batteries.

Early to bed, early to rise, late to bed, late to rise. I won’t reveal what time I woke up, but it is safe to say it was nearing the afternoon, and it was time to lock heads in a furious ethical discussion. As we entered the room, late, it looked oddly empty; the usual class of about 20 had been whittled down to just 8 hardcore students. The volcano had claimed some, and as for the rest, deadlines… or just plain avoidance? As the room heated I began to wish I had chosen the last option, we regurgitated the usual opinions on racism and a journalists duty, but I found myself distracted. It is a sad state of affairs when you would rather watch two fat bald builders plant a tree, than participate in your own education.

I am fast considering just turning this into a food blog, 90% of my posts seem to be related to food in some way or another. As I sit here now I am in fact covered in chocolate. Smeared across my favourite blue polo are the remains of a Cadbury chocolate sponge, I lack the motor skills of a fully developed adult. I sat in my armchair and once again marvelled at Heston’s success; however I am not sure on a savory curry ice cream, or duck liver arctic roll. I most enjoyed his camel” Humpy meal”, but was disappointed over his lack of toy; I remember the days when happy meals were great, the toy would tie in with a Disney film, or you got a “Beanie Baby.Secondly, today has been quite the culinary adventure, I have been bullied into joining the food soc, taking my love of food to a whole new level. Perhaps I will become like Julie from “Julie & Julia,” blogging about all my food related adventures and becoming famous;perhaps I will write a cookery book, or learn how to bone a duck ( no you sick minded people, it means removing the bones and cooking it!) All I know is that tommorow we are taking a trip to France, in the form of a french bistro in town. 3 courses £16.95, beret not included; I am half contemplating drawing on a curly moustache and seeing what the reaction of my new food friends would be. I could even wear my stripey top, doubling up as both nautical and french themed. I have spent many years making fun on my french friend Lucy, so I will be sure not to inform my new embrace of her culture, to me she is still a baguette!

Fingers crossed tonight will bring a more restful sleep; all quiet on the western front at the moment, lets just hope it stays that way, otherwise I may have to combine food and sleep, and invent some hamburger earmuffs.

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