Festival Festivities

Posted: June 30, 2010 in Uncategorized

Leeds festival has been somewhat of a tradition. For five years on the trot, i have seen some amazing bands,drank a lot of warm beer and had countless campsite memories.After a three-year absence it’s time to head back and as i am leaving for Germany in September it’s only fitting the Summer is ended the way it should be. Having fun,seeing bands and creating absolute carnage. Here are a few of my most memorable moments:-

Aberdeen has arrived

The first year is a complete blur now. And for good reason. We were 18 and 10 of us rocked up all completely unprepared for what was a head of us but all perfectly equiped to make each others life a misery. I had accosted a tent straight from a world war 1 exhibition and took down pretty much nothing. With the pack mentality our friends had devoloped it was only a matter of time untill carnage arrived. Before the first night my one man,damp,and shite coloured tent was kicked to the ground and drowned with beer . ‘Fatboy’ had been scribbled in suntan lotion. I still slept there that night before sleeping rough in a scousers doorway the rest of the weekend. Wilson reminded me lately on how much of a mess i was. But i wasn’t alone. Everyone was on a mission to drink as much,smoke as much and be as loud as possible. Andy tore down all the lights,James wrestled and challenged people and i shan torches in peoples faces determined they were vampires. The rest? No idea….

Linkin Park and the Nu – Metal Era.

What does stand out from the first year was the bands.Blink,System Of  A Down,Metallica,Sum – 41,Less Than Jake,Alkaline Trio,Funeral For A Friend. I religiously loved the bands i listened too. I would go to gigs three/four times a week and this was at the height of  ‘the scene’ days.

Linkin park headlined the main stage and i was riddled with excitement. Hybrid Theory still to this day is one of my favourite albums. A bottle fight began before hand and it was pitch dark. We we’re fairly far back. When they finally came on stage the place went mad. I decided to crowd surf from the back straight to the front to get in amongst the action. I was floating in the crowd for a good few minutes. I felt like i was on top of the world as was thrown closer to the stage. I had a perfect view of the band. I had planned to slip in three to four rows back but that didn’t work out. I got dropped straight off into the mosh pit and got slammed. As i gathered my own space another crowd surfer got dropped straight onto my head.My neck had taken a fair knock and i was suffering.As soon as i got in,i needed to get out. The quickest way i imagined was going over the barrier but this didn’t look like an option at the time. I held my eye as if i got busted open and made my way back through the crowd.Everyone parted to let me through and i was back to where i started. In a sea of thousands of people i was surprised with how easy i navigated it. Amazing.

In a similar scenario that year Hell Is For Heroes played the Radio 1 stage  at the height of their popularity. The tent was crammed and absolutely electric. I remember climbing a light tower and throwing myself off in hope of the crowd catching me. As i was a fat bastard the crowd moved in fear of their lives,leaving me to slam myself straight to the floor. Ouch.

Riots

One year the festival decided to recruit a security firm from Glasgow who we’re actually glorified door staff. Over the years the security have been good value however that year was an accident waiting to happen.

Fires we’re put out without warning,tents we’re raided for drugs and generally the security threw their weight around in a place that could easily escalate into anarchy. There was a buzz going around the festival that everyone was to meet at ‘the hill’ on the last night and rebel. Soon fires had started,buildings had been smashed up and the Carling vans (filled with beer) looted, with crates being  handed out to the masses. I remember thinking it was about to get ugly.A burger van generator exploded in a steel bin,sending people to the floor.I felt the heat on my face from a couple of hundred yards.The people around must of been hurt.This seemed to be the cue for the shit to hit the fan. The security armoured up in full riot gear and formed formations. Soon a stand-off began and everything from rocks,bottles and fireworks were thrown. I remember a small group of security being blocked into a corner with torn down fences and pelted.It went on through the night and i sat on the hill working my way through a  crate of Carling with Joe. Suddenly the security charged and the crowd scampered. Anyone within striking distance was batted and shielded. We ran up the hill and got back to camp,hiding any beer we had. That morning i bumped into a guy who had lost his girlfriend during the mayhem. They we’re actually just trying to pass through and he told me he got dragged into a room and beaten up. He had a black eye and a bloody nose. He couldn’t find his girlfriend. It was a bitter end to a festival with an already bitter taste,however one i will certainly never forget.

Joe

The campsite at Leeds always has its banter. It had been quite mellow and low-key one year so we recruited Joe for the following. The combination of Joe’s dry humour,a bottle of cider and a blonde wig created a weekend of laughs. I had seen a lot of Joe that Summer and we just seemed to bounce well off each other. Me and Wilson got a huge kick out of winding him up. Getting chased by a sunburnt Joe with a blonde wig,carrying the threat of “Crocker – if i catch you,im going to punch you right in the face” sticks out well in my mind. He never did catch me but if he did find me i would have been crippled on the floor somewhere in fits of laughter.

We had been up drinking all night and Joe passed out around the 7am mark. An hour or two of sleep later we volunteered to get water. I remember breaking into a verse of  “I want it that way” by The Backstreet Boys to the whole of the campsite. Everyone joined in on a clap and sing along and when I’d finished received a round of applause by everyone around. It was Joe’s turn to partake in fits of laughter. I’ll not only never forget that night with him.I’ll never forget that Summer.

Joe you are sorely missed. Wish we could have done it again sometime. Hand on heart – one of the best ( and ugliest cross dressers) ever. Legend – Joe Park.

Foo Fighters

Was and still are my favourite band. The anticipation of them playing was incredible. Although i had to stand through an hour of Kings Of Leon which was hellish it was all very worth it. Crowd surfing to Learn to Fly,singing every song word for word and feeling on top of the world.

Magic. Just can’t beat that feeling.

Summing it up

Leeds has brought to me 5 of the best weekends of my life,so it is of no surprise that i have high expectations of Reading this year. I have met some amazing people and seen some and done some extremely silly things. Although I’m a bit older and i won’t be doing anything as daft i am certainly looking forward to seeing live music again and creating new memories and stories. Since it’s my last weekend in the UK before i move to Germany – I intend on going out on a high.

Have a great Summer everyone. Take it easy.

I was excited. China was where i wanted to go. I didn’t know why. I’m easily swayed, which in hand made the planning of my trip a dream for the woman at STA Travel.

“You know man,have you thought of  Baghdad?The weathers perfect this time of year and it’s a 24 hour party!”

‘Ermmm…..cash or card?’

But here i was,moments from the unknown and although a lot of emotions was streaming through my body I definitely knew i was ready.

The plane landed and i patiently waited in cabin traffic as everyone grabbed their bags. My belongings were ready hours ago. I stepped off the plane straight onto an airport shuttle bus,robbing me of a glimpse of Beijing. There was a group of young,English backpackers standing across from me but i was too stressed out to talk. I was soon filling out an arrival form after running around frantically trying to obtain a pen.Carefully i filled out each section with administrative style accuracy.Finally –  I was in Beijing.

I stormed outside with a spring in my step trying to disguise the fact i had never been before. I portrayed a man who had lived and worked there for years.I possibly may have looked like a man who hadn’t a clue and had ‘tourist’ written across his forehead, as i was soon accosted by rambling taxi drivers and hotel salesman.In fact I definitely looked more like the latter,sporting a t-shirt with a big pink bunny on the chest.

I found a guy from Norwich who looked just as ridiculous as me and poached a cigarette off him. As we both gathered our senses we decided to walk along a road with the intentions of flagging a taxi. I guess the feeling of self-control outweighed the logic of going to the rank. We swiftly received daggering stares from what looked like an army general as he put his rank through a series of drills. We had wondered onto private property and decided to head back.

On arrival at the rank  I tried to argue a price with a driver and swiftly walked away. I did so with a few others. I was warned of  getting ripped off and was overly cautious of this. Eventually it was a case of  “Fuck it – i want to get to the hostel”. A small man who spoke no English bundled my backpack into his car and i was off.A few miles down the road i was already aware I was paying well over double than what I should be. I didn’t really care. I tried to make idle chit chat. He didn’t. Every couple of minutes cleared his throat and spit out the car. He had one huge,black fingernail on his index finger. Would this same fingernail stab me in the neck? Surely not I hoped. It was gross. But a normality in China.

The city was HUGE. Way bigger than my imagination. It had massive and impressive structures. Not at all like i pictured it. It soon became clear why the driver kept clearing his throat. The city was shrouded in a cloud of smog. Next stop – bronchitis! Gather your organs on departure.As it turned out,I wasn’t departing anytime soon.We we’re lost. He had no idea where my hostel was and jumped out the car on a couple of occasions to ask hotel staff for directions. An hour-long taxi later I finally arrived.

The street was hectic but defiantly worthy of exploration. I couldn’t wait. I stepped out the car and paid the driver. I t was now triple what i should have paid. Again – i didn’t care. Out of nowhere some homeless looking man grabbed my bag and walked away with it. Rather forcefully i snatched it back. As it turns out he was wanting some cash for carrying my bags up the steps to the hostel. He picked the wrong time to find some cash from me,although i did find my manners and thanked him anyway.

In the hostel I tried to check in. The woman behind the counter was in no hurry. I was full of confidence despite the news of no record of my booking. Half an hour later.Still no clue. I wasn’t too bothered. I was too busy chatting to an English family who had also just checked in. I was grateful to talk to someone about the great adventure I had planned. Eventually after the receptionist made a few phone calls my booking was found. I didn’t doubt it was never there. I checked everything a thousand times before I left.

As soon as I opened the door to my room i threw my bag down and came over with excitement. I had made it. And I was proud finally be where I’d been talking about for so long. Travelling. I will never forget how I felt that day.

That night i couldn’t wait to see what Beijing was all about, albeit in one block. definitely a city best taken in baby steps.First stop was the supermarket. I always love food shopping in different countries.Simply –  I love food and find the whole experience exciting. There was no shortage of eye catchers in this store. A huge array of colours,packages,cartoons and just about everything you can vacuum pack in a bag. Elephant cock anyone? Just ask at the checkout. They probably have them stored next to the pickled alien finger and the steamed goblin scrotum.I grabbed a couple of bags of  “who the fuck knows” and played it safe with a pot noodle esq cup. A pack of fags and a few beers later I was ready to sleep off the jet lag. And that I did. A whole day and a half of it!

When i was finally up and running i began to think of the group i was going to meet the following day. I wondered who they we’re and I started to build mental pictures in my head of the fun we might have. It was all pretty exciting. I went down to the reception so I could query about getting to the zoo to take a few snaps of the pandas (also minimizing the risk of getting lost,kidnapped and sold for parts.The zoo was the safest place i could think of for a simpleton like me).I asked to get a sneaky glimpse of  tomorrows check in. As it was my groups names and nationalities were there in full few. Fabian from Germany,Jim from England, Adrian from Wales etc. The mental pictures i had before began to take a different shape.

The zoo was great. An oasis in a massively populated city which looks nothing like a zoo on the outside. I couldn’t quite believe it when the driver stopped. We had driven near an hour and it hadn’t even looked like we left my street yet. I was in awe of the sheer scale of this city. The zoo was just what I needed to break me in. I enjoyed my own company and enjoyed seeing pandas, which I grew up watching on countless wildlife videos I had as a kid. Amazing animals. The stoners of the natural world.

That night I had plans to make my own fun and see who the hostel had to offer for me. I necked a few beers and headed down to the Social room. I met a Canadian guy with his girlfriend and a Dutch guy. I remember sitting on the steps outside for hours talking to the Canadian guy,not really knowing that I would have these traveller style chats over and over again.

That morning i came down at 4am to watch the Celtic v Man Utd game on the big screen. The place was dead. The receptionist was draped over her desk,the security was slumped in his chair and the barman was passed out on a mattress. I gave the barman a budge and he leapt up. I offered him a bite to eat but he was too polite to accept. I stayed up and drank beer with him.

I got back to the room in the early hours. My body clock was still out of sync. I sat at the window and watched the world go by and worked through a pack of cheap cigarettes. I heard my room door open. Presuming it was the cleaner i took no notice. It wasn’t. I glanced over to the door as a man struggled with his things.It was Fabian from Germany,checking into my room.My group had begun to arrive.

Dust to Dust

Posted: May 5, 2010 in Uncategorized


‘Have you seen the news?’ my phone told me in txt form,rudely one Thursday morning.No i hadn’t. I hadn’t even seen sunlight yet or if I’d pissed the bed (neither being that common these days). Has Alex Reid chinned Jordan? The England football bus been fired at in Congo? Madeline Mcann found peeling tatties on a pirate ship? Not quite.However what did greet me was the news of a VOLCANIC ASH CLOUD the size of the whole country had shut down the majority of Europe’s airspace.

Now i would say i live in a fantasy world at the best of times but even this was a stretch for my imagination(however i was in Australia when the dust storm hit and turned Brisbane red. I remember how unbelievable i thought that was at the time). Hailstones the size of basketballs? Sure.A meteor shower? I guess.. Even if cats and dogs rained on me due to a Hurricane in a Chinese Food Market,id accept. But for as much disbelief i was in,sadly it was true.

I had booked a flight to visit Petra in Germany and for as much good luck I’d had on my travels i knew a bit of the other stuff would catch up with me eventually. Trashing the moped in Thailand wasn’t bad luck. It was stupid.Running out of money wasn’t unlucky.It was reckless. And with all the caution i had thrown to the wind,i knew my time was due for a dance with lady luck.And this was her treading on my toes.

I called her to break the news that it didn’t look likely I’d be getting to Germany anytime soon.She was upset. I watched the news all day for updates on the situation and as the hours ticked by,the situation looked even more dyer! Great. I was going mad and getting very demoralised sitting indoors.As my chances of a normal trip diminished and diminished,i made a decision not to bother going to the airport in the morning.I went out for a few drinks. The volcanic ASS cloud (chuckle chuckle) was 1-0 up. For now.

For as down as i was it was a case of ‘Every ash cloud having a silver lining’ as on the Friday i got to attend Clappy’s leaving night which was good banter. I had rescheduled my flight for the Monday morning. I had hoped that it would all be last weeks news by then.It wasn’t. Mondays flights we’re also cancelled. Gutted. What could i do was now the question and not when i can fly? I couldn’t answer the latter. But i could certainly do something about the first.
After work on Saturday night i made the decision to leave for Germany early in the morning,by any means possible. Amazingly i had most of my journey booked within an hour.It went something like this -

* 7am – *Mega bus from Aberdeen to London arriving at 9pm.
*1opm – *National Express from London to Portsmouth arriving at Midnight.
Midnight – Get picked up from ‘Heff‘(girl i met in New Zealand and crash at hers).
*8:30am – Ferry from Portsmouth to Le havre,France arriving at midday.
*4:30pm – Train from Le Havre to Paris arriving at 6:30pm.
*10pm – Overnight bus from Paris to Augsberg Germany,arriving at 9:30 am.
*9:30am – Get picked up from Petra and drive a couple of hours to her hometown.

The mega bus was to be expected. Hellish! However i had a great feeling of adventure run through me as i soon as i stepped off. It was exciting. I was going to be in Paris the next day. I was going to see ‘Heff‘ again(albeit briefly). And i was on the road to seeing my girlfriend.

After rushing in a quick hello and how you’ve been,i got dropped off to the Ferry Terminal. I had time. Or so i thought! I wasn’t sure where to check in and the clock was ticking. I madly rushed around trying to find the desk. In true traveler style i just made it and was the last person on board. I could relax. I was going to be in France in a few hours. I wanted someone to talk too to see if anyone else was going on any epic journeys due to the Ash. No one fitted the criteria.
I drank coffee and watched ‘Cheaper by the dozen’ one and two ( by the way – waste of time. Watch me try to bowl instead.You’d get a better laugh).

As the Ferry Docked in at Le Havre i did the generic tourist action of running to the railings to catch a glimpse.It was hot! Off came the hoodie (which im sure in some way held up my jeans,as strangely i went the rest of the day with them half way down my arse and a wedgie). As i stepped off the boat the media we’re waiting to interview and film the hoards of travellers. I walked along looking like i was lost,tired and confused when in reality i was only two of those things. I had hoped to get interviewed but instead the media had chose to interview an American instead. I overheard him say he was trying to get back to LA and heard the airports in France were open.
Le Havre is Beautiful and i wish i could have spent more time there.Had enough for a cheeky pint or two and a plate of ‘whatever that guy has’ as the waiter spoke no English and then i was off to Paris. Again – Beautiful. But sadly no time.
The big stress of the journey was yet to come.

After a mad rush around Paris trying to find an Internet cafe (to print off a boarding pass) i flagged a taxi down and headed to the bus terminal. When i arrived i had an hour to kill. With a can of pringles,bottle of water and a printed boarding pass in hand i took a seat.Downstairs was chaotic. Hundreds of people were trying to get home. The cues were crazy. There was no one around to answer questions and the terminal staff were not only stretched to their limits but stressed and had lost control.

I went to get on the bus for the driver to shun me. I tried again only to be ignored. I was confused. He didn’t speak English. I went up and downstairs a couple of times and stared blankly at the boards, trying to figure out why i wasn’t aloud on. The bus was full and ready to go. I started to panic. The driver had had enough of me. I ran downstairs and found the first person that spoke English and waved my ticket at her reaching out for any help (just like everyone I’d seen an hour before). It suddenly dawned on me that i had to exchange my printed ticket for a plastic boarding card. The woman advised i ran to the front of the cue immediately. I did. Everyone seemed to understand. It must of been a regular occurrence. The ticket guy looked at me in disbelief and quickly did the exchange and told me to hurry. I ran upstairs as fast as i could and just caught the bus before it pulled off. I had made it.

After an overnight journey consisting of many stops,due to the drivers smoking habit and the need to clean his windows with soapy water at four in the morning i had made it to Germany!
But no Petra. Half an hour later – still no Petra,and no battery on my phone to call her.
I lumped a rock around and stretched my legs. I knew she would find me. She did and it was amazing to see her. She had driven up with her mum and i was greeted with a cup of coffee.
There was no time to waste and by the end of the day i had seen Petra’s home town and met her family. We drove to her town of work and the trip was finally over!For me and Petra – it was just beginning.

So to conclude – I’d say i beat the volcanic GASH cloud. How? Well getting to Germany equaled up the scores I’d say (despite the cost). And the fact it didn’t ruin my holiday tipped the scales in my direction. So pipe down smokey. I don’t give a shit anymore.

So there’s my story. And with religious news watching i heard many more. Despite the inconvenience the cloud didn’t take away from my holiday. In fact i would say it added to it. Can’t say I’m up for going it again anytime soon! I’ll take the plane thank you. However the long hours spent on buses and trains and the countless wasted hours spent hanging around on my travels definitely kept me in good stead.

For as stress full as it was at the time i laugh about it now. But it’s a bit to early for jokes. I should probably wait for the dust to settle…..

Leaving Home.

Posted: April 14, 2010 in Uncategorized


After years of procrastinating,months of saving and days of sleepless nights the time had finally come for me to leave Aberdeen.My family had gathered (despite their differences) to wave me off at the airport. I didn’t really want everyone there if I’m honest. My parents we’re hardly on talking terms,my grandmother and father hadn’t spoken in years and i was a nervous wreck. But not only was this moment in my life important for me,i knew how much it meant to my family, that i was finally taken the leap i always wanted to take. Before i had even stepped foot on the plane i could feel they we’re immensely proud of me.There need not be a flow of conversation (although my two grans could chat for all the tea in China) as my family knew this was my moment.I had said most of what i wanted too the weeks before. They had formed a delicate environment for me to play in as i took centre stage. There would be no drama. Just teary goodbyes that i knew I’d have to deal with and handle as i boarded the plane. My grandfather was a rock.A worldly man with countless great advice and kind words. If I’m honest i would of loved him alone,to take me to the airport and said my goodbyes to everyone else the night before. I knew he would of said the right things if and when i needed them. I wanted strength that morning. And i knew he was the source.But as it was my parents,grandmother and other grandmother came too and to be fair – i needed not worry. We shared a coffee,a few last minute chuckles and some mandatory travel questions – “got your passport?got everything you need?when does your flight get in?”etc.
My flight got called.It was time to leave. I had a flight to Heathrow and a connecting flight to Beijing.It was now time.
As we (as a family) took the short walk up to the check in desks i said my goodbyes. I can’t recall the order but i do recall the reactions. My grandmother was in tears (as presumed) as was my other.I remained strong. My old man was upset.I couldn’t recall ever seeing him upset.I harbour a lot of feelings on my dad.I kept it brief.We are both very similar.We both knew how we felt about eachother or perhaps just to proud to say. Amazingly i still stayed strong. Then as i approached my grandfather suddenly i began to crumble. My eyes filled up.My lip began to tremble and i was met with more wise words in which i sorely needed. He assured me I’d be fine and i would have the time of my life. It was almost as if i was getting into trouble for getting upset. We shook hands,exchanged a hug and i worried if i would see him in that great of health again. I then said a tearful goodbye to my mum. She of everyone was gutted i was leaving,yet she knew it was something i had to do. As she held on i said my last goodbyes and turned to the boarding desk,grasping my boarding card and passport. I marched on.They had decided to follow me down to the boarding desk! I continued to march on and waved my passport in the air as i carried on through.
That was it. I had officially left. But i was a mess. It was harder than i imagined it would be. I had played this scenario over and over in my head.I was always slick about it though – “Yeah I’ll give you a call on the other side – it’s all good. Don’t get upset. I’m off to get pissed and see the world.Back soon!”.I checked with the check in lady if i was in the right place. She assured me i was. I felt stupid for crying. I pinned a couple of Scotland badges on to my bag that my mum bought me from the gift shop earlier. I already felt like i was waving the flag for back home and i hadn’t even left Aberdeen yet.
The flight was only an hour or so but i was already anxious to get off,just so i could gather myself. It was full of business men and i felt out of place with my red eyes and Adidas hoody.
Stepping into ‘Terminal 5′ i began to feel alone. It hit home pretty fast that i was on my own. I walked around aimlessly looking out for shite tv celebs and drinking coffee. I had hours until my flight to China. But i needed it. I felt very self aware.I was protective of my bag.I had checked everything in it a thousand time. I read over my trip notes again and again,looking for possible stumble blocks and potential problems for my trip.I had no one to talk too. After being so overwhelmed with love and admiration i suddenly realised that this is what i was truly searching for.I wanted to deal with myself.I wanted to live in my own pocket. And i wanted to change.I knew before i left that only being on my own would achieve this. It had began.
The flight to Beijing wasn’t particularly memorable. It wasn’t like the movies where some hot bird sits next to you and you engage in meaning full,quirky chat for 10 hours. I had an older Chinese couple (who oddly owned a restaurant in Aberdeen).The gentleman spoke some English. His wife none at all. As much as i enjoyed engaging in idle chit chat,his breath stank a bit and he had a few bad habits. I spent most of the flight staring out my window blankly,waiting patiently for any sign of ‘a new world’.After 13 hours it came. The gentleman suddenly became very animated and excited – “look! The Great Wall Of China!” he said. Looking back on it I’m not sure what the fuck i was looking at but at the time someone could of said they we’re an undercover agent for the CIA and i would of believed it.I had played the same few songs over and over.I knew these songs would be etched in my memory forever. I picked them wisely. As we flew closer to Beijing i began to see hundreds of sky rises in huge industrial grids. I wondered how many people lived here and where they all worked.I had a couple of glasses of wine a few beers to calm my nerves during the flight. All i wanted was a cigarette. We we’re beginning to descent…..

Cheshire Cat

Posted: March 2, 2010 in Uncategorized


Having been back in Scotland for a month now you would think I’d be banging the door down to get out again. Surprisingly i have been greeted with mixed feelings on my return.Most people don’t really understand why I’m back in the first place. But i must say I’m pretty happy to be here (more on that later). Of course – not much has changed around me. Still the 300 tonne seagulls,snatching ice creams from chubby toddlers.Still dreaded hippies blocking your path,wrongfully judging and mistaking you, for someone that would give money to Africa after the 5th time of asking.Do us a favour.Just fuck off.And still the same junkie pestering you for cash,every time you cross a road.Could someone please give this poor man a pound to go see ‘his grunny‘.She has been dying in hospital for 6 years now. It’s only a matter of time.Have a heart!In fact give him a fag too. He deserves it for all his contributions to society. Three hours he’s went without breaking into houses,punching students and injecting in McDonald’s toilets.
But I wouldn’t go as far as telling him to fuck off. Jumping in front of the nearest bus would suffice.All three elements make the city look un tidy.
On the other hand i see we have a fancy new shopping centre in ‘Union Square’. Mixed feelings on this really. As much as it is impressive and modern,it is also something we didn’t really need.Ten more shit chain restaurants anyone? A lot of our locally owned restaurants and bistros are struggling to get by and the opening of these new glorified fast food joints isn’t helping. Obviously i am extremely biased but i am worried that Aberdeen is slowly losing its identity.And with the possibility of Union Terrace gardens getting mowed to the ground i am concerned this may be a step further in achieving this and driving another nail in. Will be interesting to see how many of these restaurants see 2011.However just to completely contradict my last point i will be checking out Yo!Sushi as i am a massive sushi fan.Although don’t worry Chef Jang. I will be back for your beautiful food in the near future. You are a legend.
Since being back I’ve realised i have a greater respect for my Country.For anyone that knows me well knows i am pretty passionate anyway,but now,more than ever i am proud of where I’m from. I guess being away has stamped these feelings in well and truly. But I’ve realised that whilst overseas i probably talked about where i was from on a daily basis.When you are constantly meeting new people from different Countries,you are constantly representing your home nation,as well as yourself as a person. So really where you are from becomes a big part of who you are.I’m just back from a little tour of Scotland with someone pretty special. Her name is Petra. She is German and we had a blast exploring places even i had never been. I felt like just as much as a tourist as her,roaming around castles,taking in the highlands and keeping an eye out for Nessy. We we’re lucky enough to get clear blue skies in a chilly February and we had an amazing time. I will be flying the flag for Scotland again when i go over to see her next month. Can’t wait to see her and Germany.
Still in tourist mode and still with a spring in my step i was walking down Union Street on the way home from work the other night. I was taking in the buildings and i realised i had never properly admired and really opened my eyes to the architecture that surrounds us. As dull as Aberdeen can be when its pissing down and freezing cold we really do have some grand,beautifully crafted buildings around us. As i was passing ‘the Howff‘ some older geezer stops me in my tracks. Thinking he was going to ask me for change i didn’t expect much when i took out my headphones. I was absolutely staggered by what he said to me.
I said “What’s up man?What you after?” to which he replied – “Aye just seeing if your alright mate. You look really happy.Keep smiling”.
I muttered out a “eh…cheers pal” as i walked away pretty shocked by what he said. I am under the impression that if you stopped somebody and said something similar anywhere in Scotland, you would receive a swift punch to the face,called a poof and have chips thrown off your head.So i tend to avoid complimenting complete strangers in the dark. And am i ok?? For being happy?? Jesus Christ. How miserable is everyone? Do we all believe that everything around us is shite? Is being happy in this City a foreign concept? Perhaps i will book an appointment with the GP.Maybe this happiness thing will catch on and start an epidemic.
The random stranger did infact have the desired effect though. I carried on smiling all the way home. So i guess in this case i guess if you smile,the whole world – really does – smile with you.
So folks that will wrap it up for now.
For those of you i haven’t seen around yet i know doubt will soon.
Untill then – take it easy.

Home Versus Home

Posted: February 5, 2010 in Uncategorized


As i stepped off the plane,back in the UK,i was eager to keep the adventure alive. Who needs a hotel for the night when you can take an over night bus to Nottingham and three connecting trains back to Aberdeen?.A hot air balloon and a fighter jet wouldn’t of seemed out of place on this journey. I could of done with either!I mean the camel i ordered didn’t show as well as the dragon i left tied up.
Two whole days constant travel was a small price to pay however to see the look on my parents faces. The look of sheer relief more than anything else will stick in my mind for a long time. I knew i was missed and loved but the extent was more than anything i could of imagined. I thought i was going to have to scrape my mother off the pavement and throw her in the boot. She was utterly speechless. As she stared at me in disbelief, I felt like a used car being searched for bumps and scratches. Once i had ticked all the boxes and been smothered to submission there was just enough time to send her to Glasgow(i had caught her twenty minutes before she was due to leave from the station). She truly missed me. She is exstatic to have me back.
My dad on the other hand was typical in his reaction, which i loved. I went to the restaurant and got one of the girls to call him,saying there was a leak in the bathroom. Ten minutes later he comes down with a handy man,calls me an arsehole and sits down to have a coffee with me. Nothing changes! But in all seriousness he was just as relieved and you can tell he was so pleased to have me home. I m glad i came home unannounced.
It has been great to be home.For how long? I do not know. I have a few on going plans in the pipe work but nothing set in stone. For now i am happy getting my feet on the ground and seeing where the next few weeks take me. I guess i feel comfortable living like this as this is what I’ve know for the past 15 months.
It has been a journey of self discovery,special moments,laughs and lessons learned (mostly the hard way) however i can honestly say i have not one regret. Leaving was the best decision of my life. I am thank full for the people that made this journey memorable and success full.
I wouldn’t change a thing. And i know in my heart and more importantly to me – my head – that this is only the beginning. Let the ball roll on. Catch me if you can.
As i stepped out of the train station into the mighty impressive ‘Union Square’ i was self aware that i felt like a tourist. As much as i tried to see my home town all i saw was ‘another city’ and it was refreshing to see my home through the eyes of somebody else.
As i walked up Union street,en route to surprising just about everyone i know,i took tentative steps taking in the sounds,my surroundings and the culture shock. It took me a good day to even tune in to the accent again, which seems like such a foreign thought. It felt great to be home. I have no issues. However i have crossed a line that can never be back stepped. And i know that i will leave again. Its only a matter of time.
So why am i home so early? Well there’s a simple answer to that. Zero cash. I pretty much spunked everything i had up against the wall in Thailand. But god i had a great time doing it.
I already had a flight booked home so i guess i said “fuck it – I’ll have a blast whilst i can”.Which i did! And blew a two month budget in three weeks. Oh dear. Never mind. Once again – no regrets.
Well………one regret. Trashing the front of a rented scooter wasn’t too clever. Being hammered whilst on that bike,again – wasn’t too clever. That pretty much ended my trip early. Lesson learned.But to be fair i had been ‘riding’ my luck the whole trip and it was about time i had a little bad. I came to believe that good and bad things come in batches,and if bad things start happening it’s time to cut your losses and leave. And i was right too. I made it home with just enough money. If i had stayed any longer i would of been charging for blow jobs and selling fake watches. So living off my instinct – seems to be my guide. I will continue to follow it.
I’ve made one rule since being back which is not talking about travelling, unless someone asks you. I have so much to say that i feel like it could be some form of torture. You know when you barely know someone and they end up spilling their life stories out on you,because they need someone to off load on? – ‘Yeh so when i was four i got raped by a school of fish,whilst swimming in Benidorm‘. Well i think there may be similarities between the two except at the end of my stories you will probably smile as opposed to throwing yourself in front of the next passing car.
So folks if you are keen to hear some tales – just ask. If not – let’s talk about football or some dick off the tele.
So as i mentioned earlier there are a few plans in the mixer. I found all the pieces of the jigsaw i was looking for. Now it’s just a matter of putting them all together. The screws have been tightened and the wheels changed,and i feel I’m ready for action. Will just have to make a few pit stops first.
So folks – for now – i am back. I will see most of you soon. For those i don’t? I hope to hear your tales of travels afar. Without intending to sound preachy, i still firmly believe in this statement -
“The world is a book – And those that do not travel,read only a page”.
Go out and write your own story. It’ll be the most important book you’ll ever read.
Live fast – Die old.

Live Fast,Die Old.

Posted: December 11, 2009 in Uncategorized

Not really blogged in a while guys. I’d love to tell you there was some deep and meaningful reason for this,however the real reason is much more simple; I abused my laptop into submission. Countless temper tantrums,moments of rage and frustrating lash outs resulted in death for Miss Packard bell. The other appliances in the house warned her of my violent nature. The vacuum said i had sucked the life right out of her.The microwave said i kept her cooked up inside. But at the end of the day the washing machine had the last say, on her short, yet help full life. That’s right. My behaviour ‘spun’ out of control (chuckle chuckle snortle snortle) and i placed the final nail in an already abused coffin – I poured beer all over her. Her last days we’re spent catering to my every need. In fact she did so in such a manner that after half an hour of mindless surfing,she would collapse and breakdown leaving me only blank and vacant stares. Since the sad loss of Miss Packard Bell i have been whoring my time out to Josh’s laptop when he isn’t in. Blogs seem to come to me when i least expect it. And unfortunately timing hasn’t worked in my favour. Therefore my writing time has been limited to passing thoughts and drunken ramblings in my head. I do recall saying in my last blog that i would attempt writing a book. This dream hasn’t faded. However in order for me to succeed i would need to set aside some serious time and treat it as a chore in order to gain any ground. I seem to have accustomed writing,with a keyboard as opposed to a pen and paper,therefore if i wanted to succeed i would need to take that avenue,instead of scribbling drafts and notes. A clear mind and a laptop (preferably not connected to the Internet) is what i need. But unfortunately i tick neither boxes at this present time. Watch this space folks. This may change in the future.
I had a few thoughts ready to go for this entry but they have escaped me. One thing that has stuck out though, is the ever impending doom of leaving the shores of Australia for good. Now i am excited to get home. I wouldn’t go as far as saying im exstatic about it, but i am ready.
Before i left i set out in my head what i wanted to achieve by leaving. And to break it down into easy,digestible chunks it was ;- To sort my head out,grow up,and take a grip of my life and lead into a controlled direction. Have i achieved that? Well yes. Nothing major has happened in the grand scheme of things. Im not becoming the first guy to step foot on Mars or created a cure for cancer but i have really shaken myself up a bit. Iv’e lived in people’s pockets,lived in my own and made friends with people, i wouldn’t of had the time for back home. I have calmed down immensly and gained a control over myelf i felt i had lost before i left.I have become very proud of the person i have become. I realise that sounds incredibley self indulgant but i see no problem in taking pride with change. People are stubborn. People are set in their ways. It takes alot to change a person. And even more so for a person to change themselves. I believe that if either or is achieved – then it is an achievment in itself.
I have three weeks left in Australia,then i will be hitting the shores of Thailand for two months,on the way back home. I don’t regret anything i’ve done. Iv’e came to believe that everything happens for a reason. However i do regret that i will not get to spend more time with the people i’ve met. I could not of asked for better friends in Brisbane.Iv’e known them all less than a year but they have left a lasting impression on me. These guys don’t, but will know,how much i have appreciated them and how sad i am to leave them. I coudn’t of asked, to stumble across a better group of lads and i want to thank them for everything they have done for me.
From here i am not lost. I have plans. But of course – nothing is set. A lot can happen in the next couple of years. But the bottom line is,it will all be about the hospiltality grind,and saving as much cash as possible to piss off for another period of extended time. Too much good has come from leaving. I can’t possibly justify not leaving again. Where however? – is in the air just now.
Christmas time is upon us already and i guess its time to be merry and all that bullocks. To be honest folks,being away from home for it doesn’t bother me that much. I know it will bother my family,which is understandble but for me (a 23,soon to be 24 year old guy) it’s not a big deal. As long as everyone’s in good health it’s all fine. I don’t know who i will be spending mine with yet. But rest assured. I will be drunk,i will be fine and it will be fun. No stress. The way christmas should be….
There has been one major issue as of late,which is my sleep pattern. I have always been one for random shit during the night i.e – Sleep walking/talking,night terrors,nightmares,hallucinating etc. It comes and goes. Lately it has gotten worse. From people to spiders i have seen it all in my dosy state,and to my annoyance,kept me up most of the night. There’s alot of factors that can mold how my sleep goes. Heat and alcohol seem to be the main two. However it has came to my attention that restlessness can account for that too. Anything on my mind,good or bad;for example – knowing im leaving soon,plays apart in my night also.
I’ve done it all the past. From talking to imaginary people in my room to sleep walking through corridors. But lately it seems to be kicking up again. So much so that i can’t remember the last time i had a good nights sleep.
When i have a girlfriend or at least sleeping next to someone these things seem to go away. Also and understandbly so,when i am paraletic i am completly dead to the world. No shock there.
It’s becoming a concern for me. So much so im thinking of getting it looked into when i get back.Have i taken drugs? Not madly( Although it’s no secret i was a massive stoner for years). Do i drink too much? Perhaps. But does that equate to this bizarre behavour? Im not sure. I’ll keep you posted on that also.
So folks i guess i will wind this one down. Only 10 or so weeks untill i crash land on the shore of the UK again. So you will be seeing me pretty soon. I am looking forward to it. A bit tentative about it,but definatly looking forward.
Take it easy folks.