Tuesday, 19 August 2014

My New Phobia

In the past I’ve had a huge phobia of London. It’s dirty, smelly and far too overcrowded by humans. The layout makes next to no sense and to be frank the whole city needs razing to the ground and rebuilding in a more logical grid like fashion, much like New York. It just makes sense.

Bane Kitty should destroy London.

Me: Can you direct me to the thing?

New York: Sure it’s 3 blocks down, 2 blocks right.

SIMPLE.

London: Sure, it’s about half a mile down the road, then take a left at McDonalds, and follow that alley to the end but veer left when it forks. When you get to the roundabout take the third exit and go for another half mile. If you reach the Queen’s Head Pub you've gone too far.

What the what?

I digress.

Since working in Soho for most of this year I’ve mostly eradicated most of my phobia of London. I won’t get on a tube carriage that’s bursting at the seems with the collective offal of humanity. But I’ll get on ones that I wouldn't have before. Progress! However in the place of one phobia a new one must rise! Celebrities!

I've seen around on my travels:

Layton Williams who plays Stephen Carmichael on BBC3's Bad Education



Andrew Scott who plays Moriarty on Sherlock



King of the Gays, Stephen Fry



and today Arthur Darvill who played Rory Williams in Doctor Who


All seemed perfectly nice and approachable, I'm sure they wouldn't have stabbed me in the face with a corkscrew if I'd have asked them for an autograph, yet my reaction isn't to politely ask if they'd mind posing for a selfie, or signing my tits; my instinct is to haul ass.



I wonder if it's a case of my mind thinking "treat people how you want to be treated" so I don't bother them? But then again if I were famous would I feel shitty if people weren't asking for my autograph of a picture.

Who knows?!

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Suicide

I've been thinking of writing a piece about suicide for a while, travelling to London for work now I have been delayed more than a few times by someone who has decided Ealing Broadway is a nice place to be trisected and my sympathy for it was non-existent. This entry is thankfully quite different from the one I was going to write a couple of weeks ago.

With the loss of Robin Williams I've been thinking a lot more about suicide, don’t get your hopes up I'm not planning on offing myself. But typically my view on suicide has in reflection, been remarkably narrow minded to put it gently. My view was that it is an incredibly cowardly, selfish and stupid act. A permanent problem to a temporary solution and if people want to end their lives they should just get on with it and stop bringing people down. Even as I write this I cringe at just how cold and nasty I come across. Even in “Joey Nova” character it’s a little much to stomach.



A lot of my views towards suicide stem from growing up around someone who made more than one attempt on their own life and it generated a lot of anger within me. It was invariably me who had to make the 999 call and explain that again, they’d necked a bunch of pills and whiskey. No child should grow around this, and I have written previously about elements I've grown up and I'm not wanting to open up any old wounds with this post but in the wake of Robin Williams’ suicide, and reading tributes paid and articles around his mental health and what he was going through I realised I’d never really given any time to thinking of the flip side, the other person’s feelings. What makes someone feel so awful, so trapped and helpless that not existing any more is the best option?

I'm not going to claim to now be the most sensitive person in the world, nor an expert on suicide but I will say that my view has changed and I've realised it’s not as black and white as I’d painted it in my head. I suppose viewing it like that in such simplistic terms as a teenager made it easier to deal with at the time but it’s not a mature way to view the ever complicating circumstances of life as I grow up.

The truth is that we all have our demons, I'm definitely not exempt as I can think of a couple of occasions I've come very close to killing myself. In January 2010 I was driving to work and for a while I’d felt desperately low. I was in a job I hated, I’d lost someone I loved dearly and didn't know how to cope. I was driving along the M4 to work, crying and found myself veering toward the large concrete support under a bridge with a view to ploughing my car into it, I changed my mind at the last minute but to this day I still get a little shocked how close I came.

It seems obvious now to me, but I’d not even taken the time to match up my own experience of coming close to suicide with those of the attempts made by a family member, or even the people who decide that death by train is the best way to go. I'd never sat those things together and attempted to put myself in their shoes.

We will never know what’s truly going on in someone else’s head. We’ll never fully understand their pain and suffering or why they decide to opt out of living. But what we can do is try be a little more sympathetic and understanding, and if nothing else that is one thing I've learned this week.


Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Where I Shower

I'm a big advocate of the shower principle. That being the best moments of brilliance come to you when you’re not focussed on the task in hand, and being rather brilliant if I do say so myself I do spend some time when at work not doing work things. I'm not slacking off, I'm just waiting for that diamond bullet of brilliance to come strike me in the centre of my forehead.

So here a couple of random places where I sometimes go to take my mind off of the task in hand, in no particular order.

1) io9.com
I like io9.com because it has a great mix of TV and movie information / spoilers, science and technology articles and more. I feel when I'm reading things on io9.com I’m possibly learning something, versus spending 10 minutes on buzzfeed.com and actually feeling the life draining from you after you’ve finished your 5th personality quiz to find out which flavour of tampon you are.



2) Iwastesomuchtime.com
Funny pictures, anecdotes memes and such. The odd bit of utter bullshit masked as fact which I invariably end up checking on:

3) HoaxSlayer.com
Did you know not everything on the internet is true? The amount of bollocks that I see shared on a daily basis on Facebook / Twitter where people just blindly believe is true is astounding. A quick search on Hoax Slayer or Snopes.com before sharing will make you look much less stupid.

4) The Adventure of Ollie Adkins (Instagram)
International man of mystery Ollie Adkins travels the world taking some of the most beautiful pictures I've ever seen. As someone who had previously never really seen the point of travelling I have had my mind thoroughly changed by the beauty Ollie manages to capture. I've badgered Ollie to start a travel blog and as yet he hasn't so maybe this could be a nudge for him to pair those lovely photos with some words. The mystery with Ollie for me remain:  how in the blue hell does he afford to go to all these lovely places?!





5) DenofGeek.com
A great place to find information on upcoming nerdy TV shows and films.

So that's a random 5, any suggestions?

Friday, 1 August 2014

Joey Nova: First Class

Last week I had an absolute nightmare with travel last week. Apparently in 2014 lightning striking a signal box can bring the country to its knees, and after 3.5 hours trapped at Paddington I thought to myself “fuck it, next week I'm buying a first class ticket”. Seeing the 3 or 4 empty carriages every morning whilst I am forced to stand pressed up against some land manatee with B.O. was just not going to cut the mustard this week and I felt I should compare first class with standard class, for science reasons of course.

Nope.

The cost of a first class week ticket between Reading and Paddington is double, with underground comes to  £249.30. Ouch, and they don’t even buy you a GHB laced drink first, or ask you if this rag smells like chloroform.

I have to say it makes your day a lot less stressful knowing you’re going to be able to sit down comfortably on any train you step on. The thought of greasing myself up so that I can board a packed commuter train after work on a Friday isn't high on my bucket list, so there is an immediate plus. A second benefit that I didn't realise is that there is a complimentary refreshments trolley which I didn't realise was complimentary until later in the week. Apparently the correct response to “would you like anything from the trolley” isn't “yes, can you fill this sack”.

However my absolute favourite thing about travelling first class is this:

Now I don’t wear a suit for my job, I look good don’t get me wrong. I mean I look really good. Hey, everyone! Come and see how good I look! But I don’t wear a suit. So when I first embark on the train in my jeans and t-shirt or shorts and t-shirt the first thing I notice is the other first class passengers peering over the top of their Financial Times or Daily Mail and looking like they've discovered a skid mark on a hotel towel.

You can almost hear them thinking “he doesn't belong in here with us”, “will someone come and move this person”, “UNCLEAN”, “VAGABOND” and so forth. Then comes the ticket inspector, and you can feel the electricity in the air as the other first class passengers lower their papers and are almost giddy with joy as the ticket inspector draws ever closer to me. You can hear them salivating as they expect me to be ushered out and have to do the walk of shame past them back into steerage from whence I came.

Then comes the money shot. The almost palpable disappointment as I produce my first class ticket. They watch with intent as the ticket inspector reviews it, looking for any sign of forgery or error. He finds none and their collective hopes and dreams of seeing me ejected are snuffed out. You can almost taste it. I certainly feel like I've eaten well afterwards; and that dear reader is my absolute favourite thing about travelling first class. Trolling first class passengers.

As my week of first class travel comes to a close I can say that whilst it was nice to be able to sit down and feel like a person while travelling, it isn't worth the nearly £250 price tag. I am still adamant that there should be no first class carriage, its unnecessary and the empty space available is shocking. Reduce it to one carriage if you have to have one and open up the space for the rest of the battery commuters.


Wednesday, 23 July 2014

10 Commandments For Travelling In London

1) Thou shalt shower in the morning and use thine antiperspirant correctly.
Shower properly, with shower gel. Get all up inside your business and do that shit properly. Then generously apply antiperspirant to your under arms and a general spramp over the rest of you can’t hurt. If you think you've put on too much, you haven’t. The smell of B.O on public transport is so pungent at times that it gives me a headache and it needs to be eradicated.


2) Thou shalt not bring thine largest and most cumbersome of items during rush hour.
I've been commuting to London for the last 6 months and I've seen people try to get on the tube with framed paintings, arm chairs and shopping trolleys. Think to yourself “is this convenient” before taking things with you on public transport.

Nope!

3) Thou shalt not place thine bag on a seat.
You can spot people who don’t commute as they are invariably the ones who place their luggage on the seat next to them (not in the overhead storage, not in the designated luggage areas) and act like I'm the prick when I ask them to move it so I can sit down. If you want to have a seat for your bag why don’t you buy a fucking ticket for it. Maybe dress it up in clothes and give it a name while you’re at it. Cretin.



4) Thou shalt not walk and read.
I like to think of myself as pretty coordinated, I don’t trip over often or bump into people. Cat like reflexes some may say, although they may be referring to the frequency of me licking myself, so I find it irksome to play “dodge the iPad twat” when walking around London. Put the fucking book / iPad / phone down and look where you’re going or I may start clotheslining people.

POW! Right in the kisser.

5) Thou shalt not hesitate to get on or off an escalator.
It’s not hard. Escalators don’t move at a dangerous speed, so why are you stood at the top of the escalator like you’re about to take a leap of faith into the abyss? Likewise at the bottom if you’re dithering about and have neglected to remember that there is a constant, never ending stream of people about to be rammed into you then quite frankly you shouldn't be allowed out of the house. Escalatards.



6) Thou shalt have thine ticket or card of oyster ready at the barriers.
I think this one pisses off the most commuters. How can people be surprised that they have to produce a ticket at the end of a journey around London? Have it ready and breeze through, I don’t want to stand behind you while you check all of your 4 bags for it. Likewise people whose ticket has failed and try more than once to go through. Get the fuck out of the way and go find an adult to help you.


7) Thou shalt not force thine self onto a packed tube car.
I've found the tube to be pretty regular, so when I see people running and diving onto an already rammed carriage it pisses me off. Look buddy, it’s already crowded and hot, the last thing we need is you, your briefcase and your backpack trying to force the rest of us into space where there is none. Wait the 2 minutes until the next one.


8) Thou shalt close thine legs.
I've seen this mentioned a lot lately on social media and I'm inclined to agree. Your balls aren't that big, you’re not saving room for cats, you don’t need that much space. Close your god damned legs.

Adorable.

9) Thou shalt not organise a school trip to travel during peak times.
It's summer holidays now so the worst of it is over but a few times over the last few weeks I've been trapped near groups of children taking up space, breathing, laughing and all manner of abhorrent child like behaviour. Surely more can be done to contain them in their daytime detention centres? What's the fascination with Piccadilly sodding circus anyway?!



10) Thou shalt not walk along holding hands.
Most pavements in London aren't wide. They are not able to cope with the volume of humans that come through London. In fact most of London isn't fit for purpose any more and it should be razed to the ground. There isn't the space to walk along hand in hand in blissful ignorance of the rest of the populace trying to weave their way around your insipid happiness. Cut it out.



Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Read The Velvet Rage

I've just finished reading what I can confidently say is one of the most influential books I have ever read.


What’s it about?
The Velvet Rage is about recognising the power of shame and how it controls a gay man and if left unchecked will dominate and destroy a gay man’s life.

Sounds deep, is it relevant to me?
Well we all  know a gay guy who can’t hold down a relationship flitting from one to the next, or a guy who’s every waking minute is spent on Grindr arranging fucks? I'm sure we all know a gay man who constantly has to show off their latest purchase, boyfriend or how perfect their life is? We all do and they are all seeking one thing that they feel they lack. Validation.

At first I felt a lot of it didn't apply to me, the initial chapters focus on the expectations placed on gay men in their youth by their parents and I'm thankful to say looking back I never felt any of the expectations to be straight, get married, have children.  My parents always said if any of my siblings and I were gay that was fine. But the more I read on I did recognise characteristics that are quintessentially me; Flying off the handle and cutting people out at the drop of a hat? Going into rages and taking things personally? Sound familiar?

The reason why gay guys do these things is to avoid shame. We've become so overloaded with shame we’ll do anything to avoid it and block it out. Alan Downs writes that a lot of gay men have casual hook ups because it’s easier to fuck and chuck without the fear of being rejected then it is to let someone in and get hurt, which makes sense but it’s not healthy or authentic. In the past I've used Grindr, sent a body picture and more often than not been blocked on site and it really upset me. After reading The Velvet Rage I realised that in part it’s my fault for looking for validation in a place that is demanding perfection to alleviate their own insecurities.

Is it long?
It’s less than 300 pages. I'm sure you can manage it. No pictures though sadly.

What did I learn?
My key take outs from The Velvet Rage are:

1) I will never, ever use Grindr ever again. I'm in a relationship now but if I ever become single again I will not be using Grindr. Guys on Grindr are not conducive to good mental health, reading The Velvet Rage you’ll understand why and you’ll probably agree with me. Everyone on there is either overwhelmed by shame or over compensating for it. People over compensating for shame who spend every waking moment in a gym or will only give you time of day if you’re an Abercrombie & Fitch model are only going to erode your self-esteem.

2) Be more accepting of others and myself. I'm not perfect, and neither is anyone else and while I may go off the handle if someone has wronged me, it’s very rare that they've set out to piss me off. Stop taking things so fucking personally.

There are more lessons in the book, for example like how to live a more authentic life which I'm going to try work towards doing from now on. But I urge anyone who has taken the time to read this blog regardless of sexuality to buy this book and gain a better understanding of what it’s like to grow up gay in a straight man's world.

You can buy the book here, and I urge you to do so!

Thursday, 10 July 2014

A Solution To The Daily Mail?

This week saw George Clooney post a rebuttal to an article publish by the Daily Mail that said his fiancĂ©e Amal Alamuddin's mother objected to their marriage on religious grounds and that traditions of the Druze religion would result in the death of the bride. Some pretty alarming stuff right? Aside from the fact that Alamuddin's mother isn't even Druze it's clear that the article was rooted in absolute fiction.

Fuck 'em up Cloontang!

It seems that the monkeys smearing fecal matter on their keyboards who are employed as journalists have carte blanche to write whatever poorly researched, ill informed, asinine drivel that they want without any fear of reprisal. They publish a literary turd and move on to the next set of lies without consequence.

I propose a solution.

My solution is simple, we make up news stories about the journalists of the Daily Mail. Assuming they are using their real names, which I'm going to guess are also fabrications we publish hurtful, damaging, sensationalist stories about these cretins. Hell we could even do something the Daily Mail "journalists" have never done and do a little research into their lives and blow the smallest most minute detail out of all proportion.

Some suggestions for nonsense stories could be that Steve Doughty spends his evenings wearing a makeshift Batman mask that he wears while midget sex workers defecate on his chest and paint the Bat symbol in human excrement. Or perhaps the long suffering family of wonky eyed writer Shona Sibary have had enough of being written about and photographed doing sad faces and have had a restraining order issued against her. Maybe sidebar of shame contributor Eleanor Gower, so obsessed with celebrity love handles has her excess fat sucked out of her arse and pumped into her brain?

The possibilities are only limited by our imaginations!