Wednesday, October 15, 2014

I Got Rejected By A Homeless Lady

A few weeks ago after a show I was standing around on the street with a friend having a smoke when a homeless lady approached us and asked for some money. There are a lot of homeless people in Shoreditch, and while I was living in The Dictionary Hostel we'd get asked at least a handful of times every day for coins or food, but every situation is different.

If I'd thought about this sort of situation a few months ago: being approached in the streets by beggars multiple times a day, often by the same beggars, I would have guessed that the tendency over time would be towards hard-heartedness. Less, “sure thing man, good luck”, slowly giving way to more, “Fuck OFF! Why would I PAY you to interrupt me?!” If I'm honest, there have been times when I've thought both – of course there have or else I wouldn't have been able to think of something to say for both examples. Overall though, I think being asked more has actually made me more likely to stop and listen to one of these guys in any given instance, and more often than not give them a little money.

So when this lady walked up to me and my friend outside the Comedy Cafe in Shoreditch, and asked for money, I gave her everything that I had in my pocket – 14p. That's not a lot of money, and I was looking forward to my first paycheque the next day, so the fact that it was all I had really didn't matter that much to me. After the previous three weeks of serious day-to-day poverty and walking to work and gigs because I couldn't afford the tube, and stealing food from the hostel kitchen, and counting the cents in my tips jar, finally my first pay-day was coming tomorrow: at this point the next twelve hours was just a Victory Lap. It still meant something though. I knew from my walks to work and careful area-scouting that the off license just after the Old St Roundabout sells oranges for 29p, I knew that because I'd been eating those oranges every morning on my 55-minute walk through central London to work. 14P: it's not much, but every penny counts.

Except maybe not, apparently, because as I handed her the coins, the lady held out her hand and looked down at them, then looked up at me and said, “look, I don't know what to do with this.” Then she held her hand back out, and gave the money back.

I have a lot of feelings about this, my first instinct right now is to write a big “FUCK YOU!” But I think after a bit of reflection that the reason I want to react that way has more to do with the fact that I felt personally slighted by her not accepting my charity.
       “What do you mean YOU don't know what to do with it? I've been buying oranges with only twice that amount every day for the last three weeks motherFUCKER! Are you calling me homeless? I'm not HOMELESS! I'M A MAN!” Etc. Etc... the first thing I felt when she gave the money back was that it bruised my ego, and I wanted to take her into a muted room and sit her down on a couch and communicate to her how that made me feel inside, and I thought maybe I should do it with puppets?

Okay that's dumb, sorry.

After a few days of thinking about it I realized I was being a self-important douche and that I needed some other people's perspectives on what had happened, so I decided to go straight to the source and ask the other homeless people around Shoreditch what they thought, so I did. A few around Shoreditch, one guy near my work in Soho, and another guy I chatted to while I was drunk at Old St Tube Station (is chatting to a homeless person while you're drunk condescending? I don't know? Do they want to be chatted to? Fuck, being liberal is hard... I'm tired of constantly flitting between feeling evil and feeling like a pussy... anybody?). My survey turned up pretty much identical responses the five or six times I asked, that this lady who asked for money from me but then when she saw the amount of money I had to offer turned it down, was rude, and awful, and possibly addicted to drugs. That sounds like I'm joking, I'm not. Honestly, that's what they all said, only two or three of them suggested the drugs thing, but they all said Fuck Her, basically, and that she was a piece of shit.

So back at the Fuck You thing again huh? Although now for a different reason than I first thought. And now for a joke:

“She gave me the money BACK!... are they ALLOWED to do that?! I didn't know homelessness was a profession open to wage negotiation, how do I contact the union?”

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!! Oh man! Phew, fuuuuuuuuunnnnYY!

Seriously though, once I tried to get away from my feelings on the issue, and started thinking about it more in terms of how it could affect other people as well, what I came up with was this: begging is a pretty sad thing to have existing in the world. Asking for money from strangers, it's a pretty awful thing to have to submit yourself to, and so when you happen to be that stranger, it's a pretty shitty spot to find yourself in because you're then in the position where you basically have to (get to?) decide whether someone else is 'worthy' of your aid. It's shitty on both ends, and so it goes pretty much without saying that to initiate that sort of behaviour, you'd have to be pretty desperate, like, totally desperate. Begging should pretty much be anyone's last option, they do it only because they need to. Have to. MUST! (*POW!* Synonym!)

If this lady really needed to be begging out there that night, if she was really so desperate for my money, or someone's money, some stranger, just any money so that she could keep on living, then she WOULD have taken my 14p. But she didn't, which means she didn't really need it, which means that she's out there begging when she doesn't need to be. I'm not going to guess at what her reasons would be for doing that, but I will say that there are plenty of people out there begging for the exact reason that I've just described – they have no more hope left in them, and they are all out of options. To disguise yourself as one of those people, and then run around Shoreditch asking for money on false pretences is pretty fucking disgusting. So yes Homeless Lady, Fuck You. Fuck You for effectively stealing from those people. Fuck You for effectively stealing from the people you've accepted money from. And Fuck You for making me think about you for A WHOLE FUCKING MONTH! FOR MAKING ME THINK ABOUT YOU MORE THAN I'VE THOUGHT CERTAIN ABOUT GIRLS I'VE DATED AND SLEPT WITH. I do not want to sleep with YOU, Homeless Lady, so FIGURE THAT OUT!!

Phew... finally, some righteous anger. Oooooh that felt really GOOD.

Finally though, a few weeks later I was walking down Shoreditch High St and saw a guy under the overground bridge, sitting on a milk crate, sobbing bitterly against the wall. Clearly homeless, broken. I tapped him on the shoulder and asked him what was going on and he started railing off against people on the street that would come up to him while he was talking to someone like me who'd stopped to offer him some help, but then interrupt the conversation angrily saying that he didn't deserve their help.
       “ 'He's here every day!' they say” - is what he said, tearfully recalling how people who were about to offer him money had been persuaded away by other folk who apparently see him all the time. “But I only need 8 pounds to get into the hostel for a week and they wash your clothes and give you food and everything!” he wailed bitterly. I went across the road and split a twenty, then came back and gave him a tenner, meanwhile thinking “what the fuck hostel is this dude talking about and how have I not heard of it? I'm paying 15 a night... do you HAVE to be homeless to get that deal?...”

I've since heard from a bunch of people in the area that he is in fact under that bridge all the time. As soon as I stated telling the story about a crying homeless man at a party that night up the road in Seven Sisters, they knew exactly who I was talking about, and now that I remember him (ooooh that hurts, because before I made the effort to he was just white visual noise playing in the background. Ouch)... now that I remember him, I see him there all the time too. Crying bitterly, just like he was before when it made my heart hurt to look at him. But it doesn't anymore.

Homelessness is something I still don't fully understand. Of course I don't, how could I, I've never been homeless. I have read 'Down and Out in Paris and London' by George Orwell, which is a bloody great book by the way, you should all go read it so we can feel self-important together.... ugh STAY ON TRACK!

I've never been homeless, but I feel like I can empathize with feeling stuck in a shitty spot. Or feeling like money just keeps flying away from you and not knowing where the numbers go. Or feeling a little hopeless... so when a homeless guy (or girl, bitches can beg too!) comes up to me with sincerity in their eyes and asks for some help, if I have some coins in my pocket I'll probably, 50% of the time, grab those coins and hold out my hand. Because I still hope that out of all of them, someone is still trying.

Eugh. I'm an idiot aren't I? I'm paying for beer and heroin aren't I? Who knows man.

Peace, Taco.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

A Justification of Picking One's Nose

One of the great, treasured joys in my life is a good, thorough pick of the nose. I know it's gross or whatever, but it's also one of those minute social taboos where you know people can see it, but you're not shitting on a park bench or anything, so people just pretend not to notice. I like it that way, and I know most of you are squirming right now a going, “Dude, really? We get it, your nose whatever, but do you really have to talk about it?” Well no I guess not, but what the fuck else am I going to talk about?

I got in to London today at 7am after a presumably long bus ride that was rendered short and blissful by the second-last 10mg valium tablet of the pack of 12 given to me by my friend Kay the week I left Melbourne. I arrived at Victoria Bus Station, and walked for about 80 minutes with all my bags and sweat and organs and shit to my hostel just North of Park Lane and Hyde Park (CLANG NAMEDROP!!) and after hanging out for a while applying for barista jobs online I decided to go for a walk past Marylebone Station (CLANG!!) towards Fleet Street (CLANG!!!) before I transformed into a little toy figurine of an Artillery and... okay sorry I'll stop.

I'm a little over-excited I think... or maybe I'm not, I don't know. I don't feel the same sense of awe and wonder that I remember feeling when I first got to Melbourne, although maybe I didn't feel it back then either, and I'm just romanticising the past as often is so tempting.

“It would be nice to entertain the idea that I, Aidan Jones, am a trailblazing nomad beating down a path never before seen or even considered in the history of human experience... but that would also be completely fucking retarded.”

That's what I wrote last time, day one, July 11th 2012. This time I feel a bit more sure of myself, I know what I'm doing a little better, and I'm trying not to write so

Oh jesus I just realized I just quoted myself. Wow. Fuck. Sorry. Oh my god... anyway. Bah.

It would be nice to say that it feels like love at first sight with London, I mean that would fit the narrative perfectly: “young man travels across globe with twenty pounds and a towel, falls in love with city, wins life, dies surrounded by loved ones aged 85¼”. I don't think it quite is though, I just walked around today trying to feel that sense of wonder and awe, trying to tease it out of myself, but instead just feeling sort of content. I think it may be a case of, “let's definitely keep seeing each other”, rather than love at first sight this time. I will keep putting that phrase in here though, because even if I don't feel it, it's bound to turn up a few hits to my blog from popular Google searches. “'Love at first sight'? Oh I LOVE love!” LOLOLOL. While we're at it: “does he really like me?”; “why does it hurt when I pee?”; “how to make moonshine”. It's a numbers game guys, let's be honest with ourselves.

I meandered through the centre of the city today, my hostel being on the Western side and an interview for a barista job being on the East. The place just keeps going, I walked for almost two hours in a straight line and the rolling buildings four, five, six stories high just kept coming and coming and coming. I waited out the front of the cafe for like half an hour and did some writing, then went inside, made some coffees, chatted to the guy and got a final trial shift for Tuesday. I left feeling great.

Also someone from Melbourne said something really nice to me over Facebook chat, and so as I walked down more streets surrounded by looming stone giants my smiling turned to heel-clicks and I broke out into a weird, celebratory jog/skip for a few metres every block or so. It sounds dumb here, and I'm sure it looks dumb in person too, but I have fun guys, I really do. Promise.

I had a rest underneath this statue of some guy called Charles James Fox who I've never heard of and is more famous that I'll ever be, and noticed that my left foot hurt from all the walking – three hours. My body felt weird from the coffee – double shot: unnecessary. I was cold and hot at the same time, and couldn't figure out whether to leave my jacket on or off, or draped around my shoulders, or whether I should just throw it over a tree branch and abandon it forever. Charles James Fox eh? Good on ya, I wonder if old Foxey ever went for a bit of the Ye Olde Nose-Pick? Because that's what I did sitting at the foot of his grand statue there, looking stately, erected MDCCCXVI. I sat there for at least a whole minute, picking away, and that was the highlight of my first day in London.

If you're reading this and feel in any way connected to the things I've just said, then please walk down the street and click your own heels, or say something nice to a friend you love and admire, and if you see someone picking their nose call out to them, wave, and then give them a thumbs up. Because it's nice, and they've earned it.

Peace, Taco.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Smokers are Jokers

Today I climbed to the top of Arthur's Seat with two girls I met last night in my hostel, and then on the climb down I ruined any possibly lingering chance of getting with either of them by engaging in a lengthy conversation about our recent sexual encounters. A fair trade, I guess, to find out what Tessa and Amanda (well, Tessa mainly) have been getting up to in the last few weeks. Her soon-to-be-ex-husband smiled out of her phone from drunken wedding pictures, as she told us about a Welshman's... eguh actually no.

What I really wanted to write about was smoking, I've been doing it again lately. Well, fuck for like two months now – it creeps up on you doesn't it, like friendship, or love for a small child. “Goo-goo-ga-ga I luv you I luv you”, says the cigarette.
       "I guess you can stay”, says the Me, “but ONLY for a few weeks!”
       "Goo-goo-ga-ga,” says the cigarette, clearly thrilled with the offer.

I said when I was enjoying the last weeks of my life in Melbourne that I'd just do it as a celebration: “fuck it, I'm doing everything else, why not now I've been off them for four years!” Well I'm still technically off them, I guess, because I haven't bought a packet, but today while climbing that small less-than-300m mountain (hill? It's not “a seat”, and in fact I have no idea why it's called that because it doesn't look like one either) I felt that tightness of chest and shortness of breath and Tessa ahead of me said “my smoking lungs need a rest.” I agreed with her, and at the same time admitted to myself that although she had paid for the pack in her backpack, we were in the same boat.

For shame, for shame. Smokers are Jokers.

Back in 2009 I used to coo that out to my friends while we were drinking at UniBar in Adelaide, out on the balcony with plastic cups full of Coopers that we were still pretending we knew how to like. “Smokers are Jokers guys AHAHAHAHAHAHA!” Exaggerated, mocking laughter. So they started putting cigarettes in my mouth to shut me up while I was drunk, and I took them because they were free and because I started to see why everyone thought they were so fucking cool.

They've really done a number on us these companies, peddling their wizard fire-sticks to us that burn our lungs and stain our fingers and make that gross paste-y stuff come out of whatever pink tube that guy squeezes it out of on the anti-smoking advert. They've really done a fantastic job making us think that these things are awesome, because that's what I genuinely believe. It's a beautiful cherry on top of that sloppy, Saturday Night Cake, late at a dingy bar with a pool table inside, beer in hand that I know how to like now because I taught myself... it really is great to have a cigarette.

So now it's a war between them and me. Between the people who would have my money off me, and the shirt off my back too I'm sure if they could, for some stupid little fucking fire sticks that hang out of my mouth when I'm feeling needy. It makes me angry to know that some company who wants nothing more than to use me like a plot of land to farm money off of has driven me so far away from my own self-interest that I know sincerely believe that this thing that they are selling me. This poisonous, addictive, pointless and utterly evil thing, makes me into a more interesting person.

Sigh. Cough. Sigh again. Smokers are jokers. Smokers are jokers.

It's tempting to say, “oh but smokers aren't the jokers, the joke is on them!” and that would be fine, and true, but it's too damn simple, isn't it. I'm sure there are some people that really enjoy smoking and feel like it adds something tangible to their lives, and is worth the years they are taking off of it at the end. I'm sure too that if smoking were not advertised as invasively as it is today and all the health risks were known, there would still be people out there doing it. Just like heroin, just like everything – there's a market for anything, and anyone will try something once.

So there's no joke really, there's some people trying to make money off of some other people like me, who resent being made money off of, and there are other people, maybe a less complicated folk, who don't find themselves bothered by these kinds of thoughts: not bothered – as I clearly am – with obsessions over power. Not constantly paranoid about it's role in their lives. From me, I say good on those people, and to the people trying to make money off of my weaknesses, I say fuck you they're mine, and get your hands out my pockets.

Smokers are Jokers... I think I might stop saying that.

Peace, Taco.

Friday, August 15, 2014

I Can't Focus

The world is so fucking hard to take in. In the early hours of yesterday's morning I was drunk and sent a message to the effect of “comedy is hard, life is hard, agh agh AGH! Sadthings HELP!?” to Melanie in France, and after passing out, awoke at midday feeling hungover but contrastingly happy about life. It was sunny in Edinburgh, and I went to the park to enjoy a sit in the warm grass, the length of which should surprise every weatherman in a 10km radius. After grinning while watching a young couple be in love with each other and giving them a round of applause as they walked off hand-in-hand sighing into each other's eyelids, I checked my phone to see that I had a response from Melanie. A beautiful, thoughtful, and concerned response to my saddened messages the night before.

“But I don't feel like that anymore?”

The relentless up-and-down sickness of day to day life is... well it's relentless is what it is. If ever I manage actually pin down one specific feeling at any moment in a day, I've learned that the best bet is that that feeling will be gone the next time I have the chance to take stock. It's like being below deck in a ship during a storm, and the light keeps flicking off for long periods of time, only coming on for a few minutes at a time, and during those minutes of valuable clarity I quickly scan my surroundings checking the position of the bed, desk, chair, chamber pot, stove, various spoons etc. The storm doesn't stop, but at least when the lights go out again I'll have something to go by. And they go out again, and again I'm tossing and turning below deck in the dark, fumbling around for a spatula.

That's why it's so hard to grasp at any particular thought for an extended period of time and flesh it out. That's the most frustrating thing, it's what keeps these posts flailing around the 1000-word mark, and what keeps me sending messages full of emoticons to the phones and laptops of friends across the world telling them that I just found a penny.

I read something yesterday about a guy who spent 18 months without a phone or computer or anything, and he made a great point that I've heard made before about how the internet is another dimension of our world. It's amazing that we are able to traverse this new dimension, full of information and entertainment, and connectivity to other people, but while we try to focus on this new dimension, the physical one we already occupy is still all around us, so we can never fully BE in one or the other. We're stuck in limbo, with one foot in each of these worlds, and therefore never experiencing anything. That's why these thoughts that I keep having come and go like lightning strikes, so bold and clear one minute, then racing away the next. A flash, a shadow in the sky, and then gone.

I had two great gigs yesterday, and met some cool people in my dorm, but I also read about the outbreak of police brutality and attacking of protesters in the US town of Ferguson. So I made new friends, and then was made angry by something happening overseas. And then I went for my walk, and witnessed young love, and clapped, and then it rained and my shoes got wet, and then I did some great gigs, but before that I had to flyer in the rain and someone was a dick to me. And I remember it all so clearly, I must have been up and down three or four times, and that's worrying because I know there's always a danger that with too much colour in a palette it can all start turning to grey.

I guess I just need to slow down a little with this life shit. Don't want to blow a fuse now. I'm wearing a really bright shirt today, for no other reason than the guys in my dorm were drinking Jim Beam at 10am, and I wanted to match their enthusiasm. I wish these blogs would turn out better, but they're really not right now, they're just coming out like quaint little travelogues, but I guess that's just one more thing that I'm going to have to be okay with.

Peace, Taco.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Forty-Eight Hours Later

When something happens – it could be anything – it's hard to say whether that thing that's happened is definitively good or bad. Even when you might feel feelings about it, and think a certain way, you can't tell whether your feelings are the right ones, or whether they're discoloured by some attachment you have to what's going on. Maybe there aren't even any right feelings, they just are. There. They just exist and you feel them and then they leave and who cares anyway because what the fuck even are feelings except thoughts made of fairy-floss for sissies?

And it's hard.

I promise this will make sense later, I'm not just telling you because it's funny, although that is one reason why I want to tell you that... yesterday, twice, I sat on a toilet and looked about in a panic, suddenly realizing that my cubicle had no toilet paper. Twice... some people don't even sit on a toilet twice in one day at all, but I guess I don't get to be one of those people. This is one thing I have feelings about.

The second time I was in a trendy bar in Liverpool and it was around 8pm, I had met up with Faye, a girl I met at a comedy show in Melbourne earlier this year, and another friend of hers to drink and be merry. I escaped my dilemma in in the toilet when I found a few scraps of paper on the windowsill. Afterwards we all left for her friend's twin sister's house, I played pool against some Liverpudlian (oooooh that's weird and fun!) guys and we got proper drunk. I woke up in the morning on a deflated inflatable mattress in a room that smelled intensely of mango-scented candles.

The first time I'd found myself trapped in a toilet was just after eating breakfast at some diner, it was £6.50 and fine – everything sort of tasted the same. I tore out a page from my notebook this time – reminiscing about Bolivia where I learned that trick – and then pulled up my pants from the floor to hear the unexpected PLOP of my phone dropping into the bowl. My knuckles may have brushed poop – it all happened so fast I can't remember exactly – but when I got it out it was broken, so an hour later I bought a new one.

Before that, in the morning, I went for a walk from my hostel, which I had booked for the wrong weekend but luckily, upon arriving the night before managed to secure a bed at anyway after five minutes of gripping terror at the prospect of having spent £21.50 to take a cab from one place I wasn't allowed to sleep at to another. The stroll took me through thirty minutes of bleak semi-industrial blocks, fenced off areas, and a highway without crossing lights, in the rain, which definitely became heavier the further I walked from shelter.

The night before I had been on a flight from Geneva to Liverpool which left at 9:45pm, I ordered a chicken soup because I thought it would be nice, and “some water” because I thought it would be free. Neither turned out to be true, and after paying £7 for the two and taking a sip of my water I contemplated the depths of my own righteous fury, which distracted me for the rest of the flight and well into Liverpool's John Lennon Airport, where I finally realized that I had left my three-pound bottle of water on the plane.

So yeah, these are all stupid things and mostly my fault, and I keep noticing myself in these situations and genuinely laughing at my dumbfulness... and then I get confused, why am I laughing? Phones cost money. Bums need to be wiped. Sleeping on the street on you first night in a new country is not a thrilling adventure, and £7 is a lot of fucking money... I am reacting strangely to this world.

Like right now I'm sitting in a dorm room at a hostel with five other guys, none of whom are talking to eachother, and one of whom keeps clearing his sinuses in that really gross INWARD-SNIFF way that I admittedly have been guilty of before, in my feebler moments. I am fuming with rage right here, but I can feel how unreasonable my negative reaction to this all is – I keep looking around wide-eyed like someone is going to turn to me and go, “I KNOW RIGHT! This dorm sucks haha! Let's go get cocktails!” But they don't, they just keep watching movies and scratching their various itches and that one guy's sinuses just keep needing to be sniffed clear while he sits on his bed eating CHIPS!!?

Really though I think I'm just feeling a little isolated, delicate, and precariously alone.

At the airport, in Geneva, just before walking through the security screening gate, where I would clumsily pull my laptop out of my bag and unwrap the towel that I keep around it for padding. Before I lost my first bottle of water and my almost-new can of deodorant to the border patrol. Before I hurriedly stuffed books in my pockets to make sure my hand-luggage would be light enough to travel after hearing that oversized bags would be turned away, and before I knew how stupid the next 48 hours would be. Before all of that, I shared a hug, and a kiss – the last one – with Mélanie Cartal, the girl I fell in love with three years ago, and have second-guessed ever since. We shone under fluorescent lights. That night we took one last breath, and then closed the book, and ended our story together.

It's... intense. You know? Because for three years I've held a tiny hope for me and her, and that doomed flame has kept me going at times, but that night we extinguished it, because if we're both honest with ourselves, it was never going to burn again on its own anyway. There is sadness there, but also joy because now for the first time in almost three years, in that part of me, I think I just may be right with myself.

I don't know why this guy with his fucking chips is making me brainstorm efficient strategies for night-time murder-suicides, or why I'm laughing while my life, which I have packed into two bags that both pre-date my high school graduation, is falling apart around me, those feelings confuse me. But thinking about the end of that thing that ended on Friday, strange and indefinable as it was, that's not confusing, it's just hard. It means that I'm feeling slightly shaky right now, because my heart is a little bit broken from doing the right thing for once.

Oh my god he just fucking sniffed again I'm actually going to burn this fucking place to the ground.

Peace, Taco.

Monday, July 21, 2014

I'm Arrived!

So I arrived in Paris. “J'ai arrivé”... which apparently is wrong; it's “Je suis arrivé”. It didn't take long for the memories to start flooding back: being alone, in a foreign country, where you do not speak the language, is not only terrifying, and a source of constant embarrassment, but also potentially very fucking boring.

The journey was from the plane, to airport, to regional train, to metro train, to street in the centre of the 10th district of Paris. First there were bi- and tri-lingual signs, and announcements in French, English, and Spanish – it's as if this country could tell that whenever I hear a language other than English, my monkey brain reaches for the only other thing I know, and starts spouting spectacularly adequate Español. This includes while ordering at a French restaurant, and while talking to Parisian police officers. Dickhead. Slowly the industry and dirty train-yards give way to dense residential flats, French graffiti, French people, French signs. The announcements were in French, and French only. I began to rue the last few weeks when I had continuously put off making a start at learning this god damn language. Je ne parle pas français... and feeling like a piece of shit.

The hostel was named 'Friends Hostel' – I'm still trying to figure out which linguistic category this name occupies. Is it irony? Is it a joke? Is it just completely irrelevant? The best analogy I can think of right now would be if you started working for a lawn-mowing company called 'Friends Lawnmowers'. Sounds descriptive sure, but then on your first day no one speaks to you about lawnmowers, or at all, and after telling you that you'll be sharing the keys for your lawnmower with five other people (lawnmowers have keys), you walk into the Lawnmower Room (LR) to find that actually all of the lawnmowers start on their own and the key has disappeared anyway. And then you go on break, even though you haven't done any work yet, and there are a bunch of other people in the break room who look like they have also just started today, and no one knows where the boss is, or who he is, his name, or what he even looks like, and for some reason everyone is speaking Spanish. When you finally get back to the LR (picking up the industry slang ('Jargon' – OOOOH!!) quickly) you find that the lawnmower you were supposed to be using is being used by someone else, but not to cut grass, they're just riding it backwards like a dumb, stupid horsey-horsey, and you're like, “what even is this fucking company? I don't hate it, in fact I'm having quite a good time... but I feel like this is not the way things are supposed to work, and I'm sure someone, somewhere, is mucho is disappointed.”

Well that's what 'Friends Hostel' in Paris was like. That, and they have a lot of stairs.

It was a in a pretty shitty area of town, and it wasn't until my second day that I actually realized this wasn't all that one of the most famous cities in the world had to offer. Honestly, for about a day and a half until I ventured into the tourist district with all the museums and statues and junk, I thought the whole city was full of criminals (or at least dudes whose eyes move quickly) splashing themselves with water from the road because it was a little hot out. The whole city. It's not just that though, there's also a river... ha. ha. ha. Okay I promise I won't do that again...

It's strange going from the clearly demarcated and meticulously planned cities of Australia to somewhere that has evolved over several thousand years. There are no neat, parallel roads and parklands dividing the CBD from the suburbs... I got lost on Magenta and Stalingrad streets for seriously about an hour. Walking around in circles. I went into some huge church – Eglise Saint-Laurent – and listened to some French priest deliver his sermon for about twenty minutes. HA! I'm sitting here right now laughing at myself sitting there trying to attain some sort of peace from sitting in this huge building while a French man droned monotonously about Jesus Christ. To be honest, it was just nice to sit down... maybe that's what church is about? I'm not as anti-religion as I used to be. I found myself appreciating it on SOME sort of weird level and the whole experience is still a little obscure to think about.

I'm getting off track.

Highlight of day two was drinking two bottles of wine with Katie from Wollongong who I met on the walking tour I did in the morning. We sat on the banks of the Seine with all the other French hipsters and talking about life, comedy, writing, boys and girls, and the cheese that I had left in my bag since our first leisurely drinking session that afternoon: she refused to eat any as I had no knife, and was cutting it with my South Australian driver's license (FULL Drivers License, thankyou). Then I got lost on my way back to the hostel, and thighs chafing red as the rose we had drunk in the sun that afternoon, I wandered the Northern parts of the 10th district of Paris, France, past the homeless sleeping under the train line, and finally made it home in time to pack by 2:30am and set my alarm for 5:30. Trains to catch in the morning.

Also I walked down the Champs-Élysées, climbed the Arc de Triomphe, saw Napoleon's tomb, the Eiffel Tower, and the Mona Lisa in the Louvre. Getting swindled by Parisian grifters was better though, but that's a story for another time. I'm going to lie down now, I'm feeling a little tired.

Peace, Taco.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Okay Okay Okay! I'm Leaving Already

This last week has been probably the best week of my life.

From going out to a horrible bar at 1:30am on a Thursday, after having two great gigs that night, and meeting someone amazing, to reliving old memories with old friends from Adelaide in a loud nightclub on Friday, driving around until 10am on Saturday, and passing out in my room surrounded by friends. Saturday night, the best comedy night I've been to out of a solid pool of around 500 or so in my last two years in Melbourne – a night all about ME(?!) no less, oh the gratuitous ego-stroking. My parents were there, and everyone DESTROYED and I was reminded how lucky I am to have found the community of people I have in Melbourne and the friends that surround me. Rob putting a smoking log from the fire inside his jacket, me selling Mark Bozworth's washing powder to the highest bidder in a final, deliciously sweet act of revenge. Getting a frankly terrible portrait made of me by a girl in a bar who “[doesn't] smoke, but I do smoke weed, because I'm an artist.” and showing it to people in the line at KFC at 4am. Sleeping on my floor again. Waking up with a numb shoulder and fear in my heart, realizing that everything was almost finished.

Listening to a history podcast about a Manson-like siege in a German village in the 1530s while lying sprawled on my rug-covered-with-fitted-sheet and waiting for 3:30am. Watching Germany win the World Cup. Getting drunk again, and again, and again, and again, and thinking my body was about to give up as I danced on the beer-soaked floor of the German club until 10am Monday morning – someone painted their flag on my face, and for a few hours I didn't care, I just wanted to be part of the celebrations.

In theory, I hate conga lines.

Seeing my fam – Mum, Dad, and Brother – off with a throbbing hangover and jittery from the shakes as we sipped coffee and prepared our goodbyes. Giving my Mum a Hug.

I found the best fucking laundromat in Melbourne that night, it has a cafe and phone chargers and a communal laptop and WiFi and Blackadder playing on the TV and a back yard smoking area and you take washing powder for a dollar a scoop, and you put the dollar because no one is looking and you don't want to feel like a bad person. I had a great conversation with my ex-girlfriend/divorced wife Rachel, and she is doing great. I had a solemn goodbye to Jess, who is having a hard time right now, but I know she's gonna pick it up, cos she a strong, modern lady. And boy, that chica can SING!

My last gig was on Tuesday night, my last night in Melbourne, and I had a good one. And then Oliver Clarke CRUSHED the room and closed by singing a frankly moving love song to a sandwich and I could not stop laughing. Then we went to Noodle Kingdom and acted out noisilly, and a busker played No Woman No Cry on the street so I sang along with him, and the homeless man next to us didn't quite know the words. Some guy in the toilets at Exford put his phone in his mouth to do up his fly, and I commented on the brilliance of his move, because I'm always scared if I try it the phone will fall out, to which he replied, “yeah man, I've got a pretty deep mouth.”

Of course you do...

This last week has been the best week of my life.

Now I'm sitting here on my bedroom floor, looking at the writing on the walls that Luka, Blake and I painted ourselves nine months ago, scrawled on a handful of drunken nights, messages to myself from these last frantic days in Melbourne. I'm sure I can be forgiven for feeling very, strangely scared. Out into the abyss again... just when it was all getting to feel comfortable.

Thankyou to everyone who has been a part of my life for the last two years, it's been amazing. Don't worry, I'm leaving already, I promise I'll stop talking about it soon.

And now I will quote from one of the great poets of our time, the inimitable Prodigy, of Mobb Deep: “To all my niggas: get the money, frontin' niggas: get deceased.”

Sorry for cursing.

Peace, Taco.