Saturday, August 29, 2009

In Transit

I used to think, after 35 years on this stinking orb, that I knew the meaning of humiliation, but I hadn't - Simply put, humiliation is mistakenly leaving as a tip over twice the cost of the actual bill, realising ten minutes later, then sheepishly walking over to the waiter to ask for it back. The kitchen staff actually applauded when I did this, I still can't work out if it was irony, or mocking, or some bizarre Slovenian display of anger.

We are now in Croatia, where I am sat in my new hostel and it's pissing it down outside. I don't mind in the slightest. It was boiling hot yesterday as Martin and I traversed Tivoli Park whilst getting third degree burns, so a little British downpour suits me fine.
I probably shouldn't have asked the cute Australians I bumped into if I could steal some of their Aftersun. I didn't particularly endear myself to them as I stammered and managed to go redder whilst appearing incredibly cheap and cheeky.

It's a shame to have left Ljubljana as it's a charming place, a city in miniature with a tiny river flowing through a picturesque centre, and in the throes of a lively summer festival that (almost) made up for my lack of not pulling. My condoms are having a fantastic time though; last year they got to visit Poland and Hungary and the Czech Rep and Vienna, without so much as leaving their comfy little box, and this year appears to be no exception. They're clocking up as many airmiles as me, with the added benefit that they don't have to go near my aged, greying penis.

Today's train down was fun. Despite having a bladder as weak as a premature baby in an incubator, Martin nipped off to the buffet car for more water. When he came back, he took a chug of it only to freeze in horror, his cheeks bulging like a nut-gathering squirrel about to vomit as he ran to the window to spit it out. Dazed, he returned to his seat where he demanded I sniff the bottle.
'That's strong,' I said.
'Take a sip', he replied.
I did so, and gagged. 'This is fucking vodka!'
'Cheap fucking vodka,' added Martin, 'Or poison.'
'If you thought it was poison,' I screamed despite the two ladies in our carriage, 'why the fuck did you make me try it?'
''Cos if I die, you're coming with me.´

Martin returned the bottle to the buffet car once the stone-faced Croat coppers swaggered away having grimaced at our passports. Turns out he´d accidently been sold the chef's personal supply of "water".

Saturday night, and we are in Zagreb. I am about to leave this hostel's computer room and iron my shirt for the Big Night Out, except I am absolutely fucking shattered. All my sleep thus far has been minimal; I can't sleep when in transit so I hadn't caught up on the train, our previous hostel room was as hot as a Japanese POW camp (with a new Spanish couple to keep awake all night with my alleged "Depth Charge" ping of a snore, and an all-new cross between a gag and a cry of pain), and I was unable to sleep earlier as our beds back on to the hostel's common room, where half a dozen Welshmen were watching Hugh Jackman in some godforsaken movie.

So here we go. Frankly, if I'm able to so much as talk to Martin tonight, it'll be a miracle. And, oh good, we're about to drink heavily. We haven't done that yet*

(*yes we have, every day since landing.)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Ljubljana, Slovenia

I've just come to in a hot, airless room, with a couple of Spaniards and a Jap.

I'm in the very charming city of Ljubljana. Martin and I arrived yesterday to boiling 31 deg temperatures at an International airport that reminded me of a 1950s aerodrome (we walked through customs directly into a dozen people facing us in a small room, otherwise known as the arrivals hall.)

There's a touch of Eastern Europe about it - unsurprisingly - having spotted as the coach tore us into town a tractor kicking up dust down a dirt track as we passed crumbling monasteries, but that's been about the extent of the stereotype.

The city, a town really, will be doomed to fall under the braying, mooning belch of British stags before long, although it's not massively cheap so it may survive that yet.

Ljub appears to be in the final throes of a cute arts festival, meaning last night was spent walking alongside their tiny town river with their outdoor cafes and occasional tango displays. We'd sojourned at one such bar for a Union beer, surrounded by attractive young women who'd dare not look at us in case they'd turned to fucking stone. A shame really, as I'd packed for the first time my filthy rucksack full of smart ironed shirts. I had thought that this was a maturity on my part, a growing the fuck up to look smart for once, when in fact all that had happened, I'd realised as swaggering, tanned teenbollocks sauntered past in their shorts and polo shirts, was I'd hit 35 and cannonballed violently into pathetic middle age.

Mart and I went on to an intriguing bar full of (literal) skeletons to take advantage of their BOGOF cocktails. Ironically, around the time I was bemoaning to him that I'll never have sex again as I gain weight and turn more fugly, we'd somehow become ensconced in conversation with the two charming Slovene ladies sat next to us. This resumed for a good couple of hours until, unsurprisingly, and following that familiar experience of two women giggling among themselves in their own language for 10 minutes, they quickly upped and left.

Up until then, the night had looked rather promising. The town is suffused with attractive young women and requsite bars... and then we got a kebab and it all went wrong. We went up to a bar stroke club accessible via a streetside elavator, and it was rammed full of generic blokes in t-shirts. The girl sat next to us who I'd spent a good 20 minutes plucking up the courage to speak to looked utterly horrified when I did so. And by that point, we'd grown utterly exhausted.

Cue bed, 5 lousy hours sleep, and a hangover that hasn't quite kicked in.

I'm starting to think that bars are vapid, soulless places, and not the greatest of places to engage in meaningful discourse with the opposite gender.

Particularly if you're me.

COMING SOON: Culture, edifying perambulations in parks, all that bullshit...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Not Enough Hours In The Day

I am fucked, regrettably un-literally.

I have had so little sleep, my ears are screaming back at me.

I've balanced my cheque-book since returning from work stood on the train with my flies undone and my belt hanging off, done half a rucksack's worth of ironing, and I've not had time to reply to all my comments. Sorry.

I've stolen downloaded some music for my iPod, put on some more washing, and tomorrow I'm meeting up with a Uni friend I've not seen for about 10 years because she'd emigrated to Australia.

And I don't have time to write this, which is a shame as I've had an interesting few days, not least finishing my (Ha!) book and emailing the shameful pdf to a select few men.

I'd send it to ladyfriends but, well, the female characters aren't the most well-drawn of people.

Or that nice.

I did go on a singles night last week. I'd go into detail if I had the time or the energy, but I've neither. Suffice to say I'd got a free film out of it (I heartily recommend 500 Days of Summer, by the way - even if it made me feel ill because it reminded me of the turd I've spent two years trying to write), and managed to stand in a room making the most of 10 single women to every man by not talking to them as I hid in the corner with my Wingman Martin, looking petrified as we necked all much free booze as possible.

We got approached. We had nice chats. I found myself alone on a bus going home, wondering why I didn't talk to that group of single cute girls I liked.

Mart and I are off to Ljubljana in two days. Followed by Zagreb, and Sarajevo, and Dubrovnik. That is why I'm so fucking tired as I've been racing to finish writing a book beforehand.

And not sleeping.

And going to Singles events.

Not to mention having to work for a fucking living.

Christ, I'm tired. This post could've been sooo much better written. Kinda like my book.

COMING UP SOON: WHAT THE FUCK AM I DOING IN SLOVENIA????

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Unbearable Shitness of Writing

I am tired, so very, very tired. I have not long woken up, yet I desperately want more sleep. Despite that, I have to go to the office and do a ratty day's work so I can go home later and continue tightening the final draft.

Last night, I began cleaning up the first three chapters. It was badly needed. Badly needed. I now have 53 chapters to finish in the seven remaining evenings before I fly out on holiday.

Trouble is, it's only now that I realise the whole thing's shit; utter, turgid shit.

For a 'comedy', it's not funny. As a story, it's barely existent. That's what happens when you wing it and don't plan anything to the nth degree, hoping instead it'll just emerge. And now my name's all over it. That's wot I wrote. I've already prepped my friends to read it, and now I'd rather they didn't. I can picture them reading the first couple of pages and sighing as they stare at the other 235.

Great. Two years of my life up in smoke, for a bunch of literal shite. There was me, thinking I'd get it finished, get it published, and get a great new job doing something writey. That's sooo not gonna happen.

I want to sleep for a year. I want to have a book burning. I want to inject carbs into my urethra, and drink turps through a straw. I'm 35, single, and really, really terribly fucked off with it all.

And now I'm too tired to cycle to work so I'll have to train it in. I'm gonna be late.

Bugger.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Second Draft Is In The Bag

Apologies for the lack of updates, but I've just finished the second draft of my 'book'.

Now it's back to the beginning to re-write all over again for the final draft.

Then, of course, I'm handing it out to a few friends while I holiday in Slovenia, Croatia, and Boznia & Herzegovina in ten days, then I return to read their suggestions and re-write the bastard again.

Hmm. That was quite boring. Sorry.

I've gained weight.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Happy Days

My old mate Chopper has handed in his notice at his job. In doing so, he's spent the better part of two days trawling through ten years of saved emails.

Imagine my delight to have been sent these descending order gems from days gone by:

On work...

From: Ebola, Fweng [mailto:Fweng.Ebola@shit-exam-board.co.uk]
Sent: 11 September 2003 17:55
To: 'Chopper', et al
Subject: Whoops

Seeing as you chaps are fond of my petit faux pas, here's my latest.

All has not been well at work. In fact, it's been dire. We have a new manager and we fell out a few days ago when she yelled at me and I yelled back for longer. We hadn't spoken since, until this afternoon when we had a formal 'one-to-one' meeting to discuss my behaviour. She saw by my folded arms and cynical stares that I wasn't happy. Eventually, she gave me the chance to speak.

I now regret using the phrase, "I feel as if I'm continually shat on by a great big managerial arse from above", said as I looked upwards and waved my hands about, as if protecting myself from metaphorical faeces.

That comment was then added to her list of reasons why I'm crap later on in the meeting.


On returning from holiday...

-----Original Message-----
From: Ebola, Fweng [mailto:Fweng.Ebola@shit-exam-board.co.uk]
Sent: 18 June 2003 11:16
To: 'Chopper'
Subject: RE: Sleaze League Table

Well, the women are absolutely stunning, and the men were all fat, ugly, and shaven headed meaning there were huge discrepancies as models dated the hideously mismatched. I still didn't stand a chance though; the Hungarian language is impenetrable. I also saw two of the most beautiful women I have ever seen in my life, ever, in all my 29 years. I just couldn't bring myself to talk to them, which is probably just as well.

Don't have a clue how much I spent - was all funded by Barclaycard. Got clipped by the Russian mafia in a seedy strip club too. £10 a bottled beer and a demand that we had to spend about £50 each before we left which we argued about until we were threatened very seriously with hospitalisation. For some reason, I was the one sent out into the night to get money from my own account.
McDowall then got a picture of me passed out on the sofa stark bollock naked which I can't say I approve of.

Snogged an Aussie girl who looked like the asian one from the Sugababes though, which was nice but very brief. Think she had a boyfriend back home.
I have got the worst post-holiday blues of my entire life. I want to go back there immediately.

On unemployment...

From: Ebola, Fweng [mailto:Fweng.Ebola@personal-email.co.uk]
Sent: 01 August 2000 22:39
To: 'Chopper' et al
Subject: Self-obsessed rant

Well, I've been unemployed for five months now. I've been through a whole gamut of emotions since leaving [television] with its staff of arrogant, humourless, work obsessed, personality-voided automatons. At first, I dived into the happy hedonistic world of doing nothing and loving it. Takeaways every night, booze, shopping sprees on a lazy weekday afternoon, basically all the selfish mundane shit I couldn't do because I was stuck at work.

Then the money ran out. I'd piled on loads of weight and my job search was going nowhere. Cue a couple of months in complete depression - nothing to do, feeling like a waste of space, thinking that those former work colleagues who called me a "belligerent little shit" were actually right.

Then I joined a gym, blah blah blah, and now I feel great. Just thought I'd let you all know.

Fine - I'm lonely and I crave attention.

On ex-girlfriends...

-----Original Message-----
From: Ebola, Fweng [mailto:Fweng.Ebola@bbc.co.uk]
Sent: 03 December 1999 12:37
To: 'Chopper'
Subject: Jolly season my well rounded arse

This is the last paragraph of the last email that [My first girlfriend] sent me after a frenzied day of emailing yesterday-

"I can't have the love of my life dangled in front of my nose and not be able to have him. Its not your job to be here for me or look after me or watch out for me anymore. You want the clean break, take it, I won't hassle you again.
I hope things work out for you.
Bye
[My first girlfriend]."

* * * * * *

It was great to be able to read the ghosts of relationships past today, almost ten years after she wrote that. She has long since married with children and no, things didn't work out for me. Karma's a bitch.

Cheers for the trip down memory lane, Jamie!