Why I started giving a crap.

This might come off as a bunch of hippie shit, it might just be nonsense, I don’t care either way. Today I have made the heavy handed move of putting my name in for the London Marathon 2013. While this might be a brilliant idea in theory it means I’m probably going to have to physically work harder than I ever have before on something that I would have balked at previously. The reason I’m doing it is that I’ve started giving a crap.

As previously mentioned on this blog I was fascinated by the 27 Club and was sure I was destined to join them, I have realised that this would be inadvisable as I haven’t actually achieved any of the things I set out to do, I haven’t released any albums, haven’t published any books, I probably wouldn’t be welcomed by Jimi, Kurt and the like. This development has meant that I actually now have a lot more time to get things done, which means I would like to do those things in a fairly decent state of health hence why I have quit smoking and cut down on my drinking, and as it turns out socialising, in order to get these things done in a practical sense and also to try and limit my chances of getting cancer before I get to enjoy the fruits of my labour. Unfortunately for those in my immediate vicinity this has left me with a disgusting lust for life, which means I harp on about doing things. I get up at ridiculous times at the weekend and go running, I give my time and funds to charity and I talk incessantly about ‘the novel’, ‘the script’, ‘the EP’ etc. This is the kind of me that I wouldn’t have even managed previously. The whole thing seems to have culminated in deciding to enter the ballot for the marathon. It just feels like this is going to be the culmination of all that effort at becoming something better than my previous incarnation, perhaps it will be a religious experience, all I know is that my body has recently become a temple and I’m still trying to kick out the vagrants.

Why The Libertines will always be golden to me.

I was just having a chat with someone about my reckless years, and she cleverly linked it to my love of The Libertines, making a very good parallel between the ways Pete grew up having certain things expected of him by his military dad and once he got away from home just threw it all against the wall, got a band together with Carl, wrote some of the greatest songs of their generation and then blew the whole thing up again. My rebellion wasn’t anywhere near as productive or positive or destructive, but it has helped me grow out of it, and to understand it better.

This morning I received my copy of  the There Are No Innocent Bystanders documentary and I cannot wait to watch it, I’m a massive fanboy about suck things in fact. I was there at Reading when they played together for the first time in four years (I believe it was). The DVD is the build up to that, and the warm up gigs they did at the Forum. I’ve always loved the Libertines, they taught me a lot about making my own music, and the idea that just because you’re in a rock and roll band doesn’t mean you have to be cold and distant about it, they only ever had love and dreams, and until it all got blown away by drugs that is an ideal for a young man. They openly talked about literature and the wonder of the English way and it was just something different to me, and I fell for it headfirst, I’m still in love with it.

The thing about The Libertines is that it always feels like a tragedy that they couldn’t keep it on the straight and narrow, that they fell away at the top of their game, that it all imploded and you wonder ‘what if’ in the same way you do about the deaths of Amy, Kurt, and the others, or the way The Smiths folded when they were such a force. That’s the joy of it all, knowing that it’s all so finite, you make an album and it’s thirty/forty/fifty minutes of pure joy and that might be all you ever do together, in the Libertines case obviously it was two albums of pure joy (although having read Threepenny Memoir) I’m not sure Carl would agree with me. I love The Libertines because they could have taken over the world, but they just couldn’t do it, they were fallible, they’re human, they’re golden.

Fake it until you forsake it.

I like to think I have a pretty good bullshit detector built up through years of people dropping out on promises or trial and error or however else you learn these things. That’s why I have very little time for the fake and bake attitudes I see around me. I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with it, because this is personal preference but if a girl seems fake in her appearance then in general guys can spot it a mile off.

I was having a conversation yesterday about attraction and how there’s no joy in dating a girl just because she looks good on your arm, you need a lot more substance than that, I believe one of my friends described it as being ‘like going out with a vegetable’. If you have opinions then you should announce them, don’t worry about offending because that’s the wonder of the land of free press and freedom of expression, you can say what you want as long as you can back it up, so just stick to your guns, it’s right, it’s all right.

Now onto the issue of fake tans and sunbeds, there is nothing ‘healthy’ about that look, if you want to look healthy go for a run or eat some raw vegetables. We live in England, we have just come through Winter, you’re supposed to look pale, it’s your body doing that, trust your body, it’s right, it’s all right. The idea of a girl getting skin cancer in the name of vanity is also highly off putting.

So just be yourself, even if you don’t know who that is on a grand scale because I don’t think any of us do, just be the you of today, and we can have a rethink tomorrow.

The Only Way Is Anything But Essex.

While I appreciate the fact that The Only Way In Essex (or TOWIE as people insist on calling it) has brought a lot of people out of the gutter of wearing sportswear and taught them how to slick their hair over with the soaked appeal of the ‘wet look’ I can’t help but wonder where it’s heading.

I tried watching The Only Way Is Essex last night to see what all the fuss is about and once I’d come round from the estuary English coma it knocked me into I realised that the whole thing is about lifestyle, it completely echoes efforts across the pond like The Hills (I think that’s what it was called, it was on T4 on a Sunday when I was too hungover to change channel). The whole thing is very corporate and idealised and it’s just not how the majority of people are able to live their lives. It reminded me of the credit card yuppies of the eighties and nineties who just charged everything to their card to make them seem like a big shot when really they were serving as a clerk or assistant somewhere.

I think what people need to recognise is two fold; if you are from Essex you want to avoid this stereotype as much as possible, the characters are single dimensioned jokes and it’s all quite embarrassing, you are your own person, not Arj (or is it Arge?). If you aren’t from Essex then you need to appreciate that the majority (as in anyone who isn’t funded by ITV) doesn’t live like that in Essex, or even in Billericay, or Brentwood, there are good honest hardworking intelligent people trying to do what they can and be who they can be and not got caught up in this latest parade.

Saying that I do enjoy the disgusting bastardisation of the English language, it gets me totes emosh.

Take the power back.

I have massive issues with feeling powerless, I’m not sure if it is something that everyone suffers with but I’m sure it’s more than just me. I think the problem stems from being a child, it wasn’t adults who made me feel that way though, it was other children. Adults quickly cottoned on to the fact that I was a reasonably bright child and could be talked to as such, I’m sure there were the usual levels of condescension but I was too young to recognise or acknowledge those. The problem I had as a child was that I was physically weak, which is something that matters a lot when you’re a child, I’m not physically strong now by any means but I’m better than I was, and I’m mentally prepared for things I couldn’t comprehend or block as a child. I was always picked last for teams, or ridiculed for being thin but I didn’t classify it as bullying because it wasn’t about me being a different gender, race or creed which is all I knew of bullying. The power that is taken away from a child by being told that they are weak is pretty brutal, and a complex that I still deal with on a day to day basis. If I don’t get my way I consider that to be as the result of me not being seen as a man, or for seeming weak and that people can take from me without any reaction. Now it makes me angry, that’s the difference.

I’m currently in a position where a big decision could be made for me and I’m fuming about it because it’s not on my terms, I can’t even state what it is because it’s just a heavily circulated rumour at the moment but it could effectively fuck me over quite a bit.

So the important thing to remember is that when I get bent out of shape about things, it’s because they aren’t on my terms. Keep on that straight and narrow and we’ll be fine.

Hair (Let the sun shine)

I’ve been battling my hair for a decade now, I grow it and them I cut it and them I grow it again. It never gets really long, it just gets big. I inherited the Jewish curl on my mothers side and boy does it show.

The fact of the matter is that I always debate the idea of cutting it again as though it is the end of the world, as if it will never come back which as long as nothing terrible happens isn’t likely. I think I’ve got to a point where it isn’t necessarily cool to grow your hair, but I’ve never been one for being cool. I don’t know what it is, I guess it’s become a part of my personality, but previously smoking was considered to be part of my personality and I cut that out. I think the problem is that I associate having short hair as being caught out by ‘the man’, it’s quite a seventies view, I believe it was Dylan who said that the more hair you have the less there is on the inside to muddle up your brain, I like that idea.

I keep threatening to shave it, which would be quite the event, I believe I should try and raise some money for charity if I were to do that, and I’d probably end up single (my girlfriend wasn’t a massive fan of the idea). I don’t know, I’m babbling.

Basically this is a conversation I’ll probably have in another six months when I get tired of sweeping fringe out of my face, circle of life and all that.


Less often, but better.

So I went out on Saturday night, for the third time this year at a guess, the other two I remember were birthdays (a friends and then my own). It still hasn’t completely won me back. I was worried that it was just me who thought the place was mostly populated by wankers but my girlfriend commented yesterday that she thought that was just the way she saw it because she wasn’t that drunk (whereas I was away on the wings of Jagermeister). I don’t know what it is that’s changed, and can therefore settle that it must be me, it isn’t what I want anymore, it just doesn’t really appeal and getting up early and heading out was like being murdered, I had a head full of broken bottles, I felt like I was falling apart and althought I had a wonderful day it was marred by the fact I couldn’t actually think straight which means as I write this on a Monday morning I feel like I’ve lost my valuable weekend time.

I was out for lunch on Saturday when a friend said to me that as you get older your attitude to going out changes; you go out less often but to nicer places and I for one cannot wait for that stage of things to start, I’m not saying I want to be said in the first class dining room on the Titanic (I’m sorry, I watched Titanic yesterday and I’m going to draw from it whenever I see fit) but the thought of going to places for the enjoyment of company and the substance of the experience feels me with all kinds of joys for my future, I know there are steps before that but quite frankly I’ve had enough of groups of lads with their arms round each others necks chanting Seven Nation Army (especially when it is an abysmal dub-step remix. Savages.