Movin’ Out (Tim’s Song)

It will soon have been 10 years since I first lived away from my parents’ home for an extended period, and by ‘soon’ I mean ‘in two years’. Aside from university accommodation, I’ve lived in five places since then, soon to be six. The numerous indignant sixty year olds that no doubt read my blog will be asking ‘well instead of wasting money on agency fees and deposits by moving multiple times, why didn’t you stay in one place, and save money for a deposit on a house?’ And to those people I say, no, I can’t afford a deposit on a house, because in Bristol where I live, the average house price is now nine times the average salary, let alone my paltry salary due to me working part time, since working full time in an office would cause me to become so depressed I’d probably kill myself, which would at least ease the competition slightly for everyone else. My current plan is to rent flats until this blog reaches a critical mass where it becomes just so brilliant that people have no choice but to buy me a house in exchange for the privilege of reading it. Here’s an example of something pleasant aimed to cause chuckles, so you know I’m getting really good at doing this blog:

 

If animals worked like Pokemon, I’d definitely wait until my badger learned quick attack before I evolved it into a panda.

 

See? It’s something isn’t it?

For now though, I’m going to be moving in with my girlfriend, which may seem like a big step to some people, until you realise that you move in with your pets instantly and they don’t even chip in with the bills (unless they’re a duck. Jesus Christ I’m fucking nailing this blog). But each time you move, you have to re-evaluate all of your belongings, and decide if you’re happy to be seen loading these things off a van by your new neighbours. Would they mind watching me unload my ornamental gongs, or numerous instructional tomes on homemade air horns? One thing I have suggested which my girlfriend has vetoed, is to go to our nearest new neighbour’s door, and leave a pair of ear defenders with a note reading: ‘Hi neighbour! You’re gonna need these!’ with a cheeky winking smiley face. Obviously we won’t specify what they’re for, but hopefully they’ll make a disgusting leap of logic that leads them to worry about the imminent prolonged sounds of industrially loud sex. Little do they know it’s actually for the ear-piercing sobs of my girlfriend who will realise very quickly that living with me is misery. Such a sweet prank.

In the lead up to the move, I’ve unfortunately found myself watching a fifteen minute long YouTube video entitled ‘You’ve Been Storing Your Comic Books Wrong This Whole Time’ which I found to be a very presumptuous title. Granted, I’d been storing my comic books loose on the back of a flatbed truck travelling at 60mph on the M4, but they need to breathe don’t they? I plan on having a separate area in which to write this barnstormer of a blog/runaway train of verbal success, where I’ll likely store my comic books, so I have an area designated for writing and creativity to prevent me from being distracted. How could I expect to get any writing done in the living room with the distraction of a TV, or family and friends? I should stress that I don’t see this separate room as equivalent to a ‘man-cave’ – a concept which seems reserved for men who still use the phrase ‘she wears the trousers’, and apparently undertake activities so heinous and Neanderthal that the space in which it happens isn’t even afforded the designation of ‘room’, in case this attribution is somehow considered too feminine. Caves are mostly reserved for Batman and moss, so unless you’re in the spare room trying to work out the identity of the Joker while your butler bandages up your broken ribs, maybe calm down, or get photosynthesising.

 

Anyway, I have a lot of organising, flat viewing, and comic book storage methods to reevaluate. The first place we viewed had a landlord of a similar ethnicity to my girlfriend which she thought might give them a connection and give us the edge over other potential tenants. Unfortunately he seemed to answer any questions she asked by addressing me, the only white man in the room. So much for cultural kinship taking priority over societal sexism. When we explained our desire for the second bedroom to be an office, he also asked if I planned to turn it into a man-cave. I considered countering the fatuous suggestion by explaining I planned to actually turn it into an equally ridiculous racial enclave, instead of a gendered one. Although I’m not sure what the optics on the phrase ‘white-cave’ would be, so luckily I restrained myself. Anyway the living room was shit so we won’t be living there. I’ve asked my girlfriend to tell the next landlord who asks a similar thing that she plans on letting me have full use of the entire flat in a daringly modern move, but I don’t think she will. She’s the boss after all.

 

 

 

Next time on the bandwagon, I completely flip this entry on its head, and instead of writing about ‘moving out’ I talk about ‘moving in’. What a talent.

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Paranoid Solutions

Everyone’s out to get me presents! – Optimistic Paranoia.

I know you’ve all been talking behind my back about when I’ll finally get around to writing about paranoia. Well here I go, so you can stop harassing me now. I assume that’s what’s happening. Otherwise I get a lot of strangers approaching me with very little pretext. I seriously had someone approach me last weekend who just wanted to ask if I thought true power was showing weakness or if it was showing strength. I’m not joking. I was sitting reading a book on a park bench and he walked up and asked me what I thought power was. I’d blame this hypothesised blog-voracious cabal for this sort of shit, but I honestly don’t believe such a baffling encounter could be manufactured for any purpose, aside from blind-siding someone before trying to convert them to Scientology. Anyway, now my Thetan level is balanced, I admit, I can only talk about paranoia in a general sense, not necessarily as a clinical condition. Lord knows I’m not qualified to attempt to educate on a mental illness, no matter how many TED talks I’ve read the titles of. Remember that one on being successful? Yeah I didn’t watch it either, but I’m pretty sure one of the tips isn’t to admit all of your weaknesses to a stranger in a park.

 

Paranoia’s obviously worse than just believing you’re unlucky, since that’s down to just being on the wrong end of chance. Although I suppose if your bad luck got so exaggerated, like if you consistently trod in dogshit every single day for a week, and it wasn’t even the same dogshit each time, you may start to think that there was some sort of deliberate design behind what was happening. You could possibly view the potential for paranoia as just a movement of the threshold at which you can no longer accept coincidence as the reason for unlikely events. In that way it feels like it goes hand in hand with believing conspiracy theories. Really the only difference is that a conspiracy theory suggests a concerted effort to cover up the truth, and hide what’s happening. So perhaps your daily dogshit dalliances are the result of a collective with a vested interest in stopping you from enjoying your walk to work. Or trying to turn you against dogs? It wouldn’t take a huge leap to then assume that the culprit would be cats with ties to the automotive industry. But personal paranoia can be just as outlandish, but also with only one perpetrator. For example I once went on a date with a girl who worked in a shoe shop, and rejected her advances at the end of the date. Since then every pair of shoes I’ve had has either fallen apart or caused the skin over my Achilles’ tendon to bleed. It doesn’t help that we went dancing on the date, and I’m wondering if the shoe problems since could be down to me somehow literally being cursed with two left feet. But in reality, I know that it’s because I’m cheap, and therefore rarely splash out much money on shoes, so end up buying ones of shitty quality. Or I end up not paying my way on dates I’m not enjoying, and see that as a pre-emptive rejection of an inevitable advance from my date.

 

I actually have a decent pair of shoes now, which I recently found out, are somewhat similar to the pair every single member of the Heaven’s Gate cult from 1997 were wearing when they committed mass suicide. The specific shoes were black Nike Decades, which Nike have since discontinued, apparently to distance themselves from a religious death cult. That seems paranoid. I don’t think anyone would have assumed that Nike were the official sponsor of mass suicide, anymore than people think Yale are the official sponsor of kidnapping. That is a non-connection that does not need to be stated, and if anything just sounds suspicious. On an unrelated note, no matter what you may have read or heard, I am not now, nor ever have been, affiliated with that pile of foxes outside my house. I know my silence on this issue has been deafening, but rest assured, any reports of my connection with said foxes is an entire fabrication, and as such I will be discontinuing my wildly successful fox-based t-shirt line to ensure there is no confusion. The fact that all of the foxes were wearing my t-shirts, is frankly unimportant and irrelevant.

True power is showing weakness, and true weakness is admitting that you don’t know what the fuck is going on, instead of imagining a situation where you’re always the victim of unrealistic and ridiculous systems. Maybe your weakness is literally your Achilles heel being shredded by a pair of Doc Martens, or being so susceptible to mass hysteria that you think suicide is the path to an alien spacecraft hidden behind the Hale-Bopp comet, which in a very literal sense is coming out to get you. But when life gives you sour lemons, doesn’t mean you have to drink the Kool-Aid.

 

 

 

 

Next time on the bandwagon, I’m going to let my intern Mike have a go at writing something. His most recent idea was ‘the unsung heroes in the war on dandruff’ so we’ll see how that goes.

See Myself and I

“You look how I feel.” – Pricks who don’t realise how terrible they look.

 

I don’t think you can ever truly know what people think of you, unless you were to fake your own death, and go to the funeral, and only reveal yourself after listening to the eulogies. Not because people would speak about you honestly, but because that would be such an obviously awful thing to do, you would at least know afterwards that everyone definitely hates you. There would probably be a freedom in that, knowing for sure that you’re hated, instead of worrying that someone might dislike you a little – I can definitely see the appeal of it. Okay, the rest of this blog will be peppered with awful false truths about me to turn anyone against me, so I can live in the purity of unquestioning hatred. Like the hatred I felt for that fly I killed that one time (God I’m awful).

A lot of value is placed on how we present ourselves physically. The phrase ‘look good, feel good’ only works to the extent that someone who shows no sign of physical illness is probably healthier than someone who does. But suggesting that putting a bit of slap on will drag you out of your depression makes no sense. You may as well put a bumper sticker on your recently crashed car in the hopes that the mechanic won’t write it off once he sees that ‘this vehicle makes frequent stops at your mum’s house’. Which is only half true. Sometimes I host.

 

In some ways I actually think the opposite can be true. I feel like people focus on their appearance as a way of covering up insecurities, which is not a condemnation, I do the same thing. Like wearing long sleeves because I’m self-conscious of my huge arms. Or wearing no shoes because I’m self conscious of my huge shoes. And now there’s the additional layer of a self-projection on social media to maintain as well, weighing in with a hot take on Twitter, or assuring people on Instagram that you’ve witnessed food. And the more you advance that dishonest portrayal, the thicker the boundary becomes between your real and online selves, making it harder and harder to penetrate the boundary if ever you need to genuinely reach out to people. Think of it like a window you can choose to leave open or one that you can keep adding glass to. Have you ever tried to break a double-glazed window? I have because I’m awful, and let me tell you, it takes a few tries, and if you try for too long, people come along and tell you to stop, even if you explain you’re just working out the realism of a future metaphor.

 

I do wonder if we’re on a constant quest to try to match the outside with the inside, or to trick the outside into the changing the inside? An outside in approach, hoping the make-up and clothes and moisturiser will soak in so deep that it pretties up our soul. Or certainly hoping that other people can be tricked into thinking that’s what we’ve done. But then what’s the alternative (aside from mandatory mood rings obviously)? Walking around wearing a t-shirt that says ‘I’m unhappy’? Because actually it kind of works to project confidence, precisely because our self-worth is often so tied up in how we perceive others to be judging us, whether that’s healthy or not (it’s not). But then it becomes an issue of from where we derive self-worth and happiness. And if it’s from others, for example in how people respond to attempts at insightful writing, then maybe it should be more about what we feel about what we’re doing ourselves. I shouldn’t care if people like this blog, I should just write it to the best of my ability so I’m happy with it. And to be honest, if you have a positive opinion of me after I’ve admitted to killing a fly, owning an awful bumper sticker and breaking a metaphorical window, well then that’s fair enough. Turns out I care so much about what people think that I couldn’t even bring myself to make up more heinous obviously nonsense examples in a blog that no-one reads. Christ, look at me. Whatever version this is.

 

 

Next time on the bandwagon, I submit myself to a series of double blind tests to determine the difference between Venetian and slat.

Win Liner

“There are two tragedies in life, one is to lose your heart’s desire. The other is to gain it. And the third is not being able to count.” – George Bernard Shaw

Success can be measured by any metric you want, if we’re talking about personal success. It doesn’t extend to any kind of success, because then you’d end up with a situation where your older brother starts changing the rules of Subbuteo halfway through in his favour, turning you off the concept of football for the rest of your life. And then where are you when the World Cup rolls around again? In a hinterland between wanting to feel more included, and wanting people to think you’re intellectual and alternative because you claim to hate a game that’s symbolic of a wartime Christmas truce in no man’s land you fucking commie. Even the rules of success in football are quite nebulous. If it’s the game itself, the rules have changed a few times, my sources tell me, from requiring a clear gap between the last defender and the player receiving the ball from a teammate, all the way to having to use more politically correct language on an unamplified pitch than the President of the United States. And of course Raheem Sterling’s gun tattoo is a complete no-no, even if it’s there because his father was killed with a gun, and he got it as a reminder never to touch a gun in his life. Just think how it could be interpreted by young, impressionable fans who would apparently be more affected by a gun tattoo they can barely see, than the racist terrace chants still in circulation. David Beckham literally has a tattoo of two almost naked children on his arm. He claims they’re ‘cherubs’ and represent two of his sons, but as we’ve learnt, an uninformed observer’s ad hoc interpretation is what really counts, and I think that in reality, this tattoo is tacit approval of paedophilia. This man is a role model, and frankly the narrative I’ve constructed inside my own head disgusts me.

 

Personal success is whatever you want it to be though. Any of those lists of ‘5 things all successful people do’ are usually overly literal, unrealistic goals like ‘get up at 3am’ or ‘be a white man’, either one of which only ever happens by accident. More important would be to identify what success means to you, if it’s to earn a lot of money, complete a certain artistic project, or just to be happy. For example, being a stand up comedian makes getting up early a terrible idea, because you have to have late nights. The ‘white man’ thing is pretty universal though, unless your idea of success is to be a symbol for the oppressed and underrepresented. Jesus somehow managed it, although he didn’t start out white. Now that’s dedication.

Even if you’ve set a low bar for yourself, success rarely happens overnight, unless you’re the narrator of the song ‘Monster Mash’, and your goal is witness the Monster Mash. In fact a lot of truisms about success are nonsense. It’s metaphorically true that most pursuits are a marathon, not a sprint, but that’s also true of being a professional sprinter, which is a marathon in terms of it being a long term career/time investment. A better one might be ‘Success is the research, time and irreparably damaged test subjects put into developing a cure for a disease, not just having a natural genetic immunity.’ Not pithy, but tediously accurate, and what better metaphor for not only success, but also this blog.

There is one innate, atavistic impulse for success that trumps all others, for most people at least, and may in fact be there as an end-goal that any other goals are only there to facilitate. And that’s that filthy sex stuff. It may be weird to think of copulation as a form of success, and weirder still to explain that during the act, but it’s the ultimate evolutionary success. Even non-procreational sex, since your balls (I say that since I personally am ball-laden, but really I just mean the royal balls, which includes ovaries) don’t know that they didn’t just contribute material towards half of a person. And that feeling of satisfaction can certainly feel like a sprint, especially when compared to the daunting marathon task of achieving success through any sort of creative means, which I suppose is what leads to the hilarious portmanteau act of procrasturbation. Short story not going anywhere? Take a break to feel genetically successful.

 

I wasn’t expecting to go off on a wank-tangent in this blog, but I like to think that I never begin with set boundaries. If I did, I may not have decided to write about sex, masturbation, David Beckham being a paedophile, and The Monster Mash, which would have been awful.

Success only exists with boundaries, unless my metric is that it has no boundaries. Which of course means that I’ve just imposed one. So I suppose this blog exists in a superposition of good and shit. Pointless, with out of date references and constantly under a state of self-examination. My blog is the Eurovision Song Contest.

 

 

Next time on the bandwagon, I finally go it alone, without the help of my blogging entourage. No editors, no managers, no fact-checking interns, no groupies. Pure, unfiltered Tim. At last.