Archive for January, 2009

Nothing to Fear but Fear itself?

January 24, 2009

Today Davey Wavey asked what is your greatest fear? And more generally what are you afriad of?

Well I’m scared of a whole hell of a lot of things.

I’m scared of heights, given something sold to hold on to and a reasonably sound structure I’m better, but not good – the ferris wheel on Princess Street is beyond me it scared the shit out of me and you’d think after going on it the once I’d have gotten over it and be fine, but no still scary. The Eiffel Tower on the other hand was OK because you were in a solid structure. The Arc de Triomphe steps scared me – with the seemingly on going nature of them – whilst the actual view from the top did not.

I’m scared of bugs, spiders, snakes, worms – all the typical creepy animal types, theres no reason for it whatsoever. With the exception of a few spiders, none of which I am likely to encounter regularly in Edinburgh, they can not hurt me, yet confronted with one I shall jump around the room like a lunatic wondering where the hell its gone – and I can genuinely not sleep knowing its still in my room somewhere I shall stay awake with some form of capture device (cup) trying to catch it whilst maintaining the maximum possible distance between us. They just make my insides shiver. God only knows how I am going to cope traveling as all our destinations including Oz and NZ are prob gonna involve me coming head on with a number of these creatures and in some cases (such as the rainforest) doing so intentionally.

But what am I scared of most? Well essentially I’m scared of growing old. Yes I realise its the most ridiculous fear, after all we are aging every second of the day, I’m aging as I type this blog entry, but it scares me and for a number of reasons. Firstly (as a particularly vain person) I don’t want to look old (as a particularly vain person I’d ideally like to better now), but the wrinkles, greying hair, loosing my hair, getting flabbier. Ugh!

But more so I’m scared of  growing old and achieving nothing. Dying and being rememberd for nothing. I want statues errected! A national holiday! Children in primary school taught of the life of Andrew Berrie, whilst teens inspire to the life that was. I want documentaries commissioned and books published. Ok so maybe thats a bit OTT, but I’d like to have achieved something, something notable, something that people will think “wow, thats impressive.” Life of late (I’ve just invented this phrase and I already love it – ‘life of late’) has been rather downward. Its the subject of quite a few depressing blog entries. Things just don’t always turn out how you’d like or hope and whilst my ‘life of late’ has been rather uneventful and not particularly distinguished I fear as I grow older I never achieve the things I hope to.

And the last reason for my fear of aging is that of being alone. It comes from a slightly broody place I’ve been in (one that will possibly make an upcoming blog entry and one I blame on Croxford somewhat and her continual use of the word ‘broody’ and suggestion that I have been ‘broody’ – god I hate that word). But I’m scared that as I grow older I’ll never find a love and as I grow older its only inevitable that I lose my friends to love – husbands, wives, significant others. I’m new to this whole love nonsense really I was perfectly happy being alone before, but recently I’ve been looking for more. And the idea of being all by myself in my old age with nothing but the tv and a laptop for company terrifies me.

So there you have it (a badly written and constructed blog of) my greatest fears. Now you know me just that little bit more than you really wanted to.

20th January 2009

January 21, 2009

…the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

A quote from Obama’s inauguration speech today (and one that actually took a while to look up) as I really liked it and felt it was an excellent sentiment for a new administration and for everyone as the year plows on. Lets leave the past in the past, think to the future and stop all the bullshit and just let everybody be happy for a change.

Anyways all in all I was impressed by Obama’s inauguration speech, what I found AWFUL was his pledge (?), allegiance (?) … the actual inauguration in which he first spoke over chief justice and then after correcting himself FORGOT the second half of what he had been asked to recite. It was cringe worthy – I actually hid behind a cover, as I happened to have one on me, it was that bad to watch. Thankfully he redeemed himself with the prepared speech, I can only assume he overlooked the recitation given he would be told exactly what to say and thought – how hard could it possibly be?

And talking of things that were bad – Aretha Franklin. Talk about being past it, she sounded like Bill Cosby on helium following a small stroke. She was incomprehensible. I’m assured it was the American national anthem, but it could have been her shopping list for all I knew. Given the very “future is now” theme of his speech I think he should just have got Beyonce (who was to sing at his Gala later) to sing the anthem, she’d have been awesome. I’m sure his kids would certainly have enjoyed it.

I was also somewhat disapointed in his choice of Reverand Rick Warren, particularly given the lovely quote of his I have adorned this blog with, given his homphobic stance, very public opposition to same-sex partnerships that lead to its being overturned in California and pro life (anti choice) views among other things. I was also rather surprised by the amount of mentions to God, given what I was sure was supposed to be a separtion between God and State. Yet the Reverand obvious gave a long sermon, there were several references to God made by Obama himself, and Senator Dianne Feinstein (the party planner). Whats with all the religion?

Anyways thats just my short 2 cents on the inauguration. A worthy man of the White House has been sworn in and the largest mistake in the history of time (with the possible exception of Jurassic Park – ressurecting dinosaurs? what were they thinking? of course it was going to go bad!) has been removed and sent packing back to Texas.

Where am I gonna live?

January 20, 2009

So first off shout out to Matt Byrd, any reader who isn’t Ailsa is always a surprise, so welcome! I’d also like to take the opportunity to thank you for taking George Bush back from tomorrow (Tuesday) as we see Obama inaugurated and apologise in advance for all the ridiculous times you shall no doubt have inflicted upon your dear state for the next few years (til the next pretzel comes along).

So this week in my travel prep I have among other things been focusing my attention on the 6 month working in New Zealand stint. It had always been my intention to do this in Queenstown. Its always full of backpackers and international travelers and as such got lots of fun bars and activities to do. However, in doing a little more research on the matter I found there’s not actually very much to do in Queenstown. Its very small with only a permanent residential population of 22,000 and besides bungee jumping and skiing the only thing to do really is drink with all the backpackers. Now I love drinking, don’t get me wrong, any excuse for a drink. However, I don’t think I can just occupy my time drinking myself into a coma in New Zealand. As I will be doing hospitality events I was also forced to ask myself how many weddings/conferences a hotel could possibly have in such a small place? To this end I have decided to live elsewhere, so instead I am applying to work in … Auckland!

auckland shore

So this is Auckland! Doesn’t it look pretty? So some info on Auckland. Its the largest city in NZ with some 1.3million people, which ridiculously actually represents about a third of the entire population of the country. And is actually made up of Auckland City, North Shore City and urban Waitakere and Manukau cities among other areas- its just swallowed up the surrounding towns as its grown. Its not that crowded as a result of all this growing, whilst its about the size of London in terms of size the populations about a sixth. Auckland ranks 5th best city to live in for quality of life (Sydney where I’ll be working in afterwards ranking 9th) so that’s awesome. For those interested in the list you can check it here. As a comparison London came in at 39.

Whats there to do? There’s loads of nice parks, there’s beaches, there’s a massive marina, 3 harbours – seemingly everyone owns a yacht in Auckland – museums, art galleries, plus in true New Zealand style about a hundred opportunities to hurl yourself off various buildings and monuments on a bungee cord. Everything you’ve come to expect from a metropolis plus beaches and bungeeing. Can’t go wrong.

There’s also a number of universities and apparently over 50,000 INTERNATIONAL students to be found in Auckland so I should be in good company. I’ll find the student bars and get hammered – its my go to in any unknown situation. Plus its got funky bars like Minus 5, the ice bar, and plenty of gay bars to keep me entertained where seemingly the majority incorporate “drag floorshows or male strip shows as part of the evenings entertainment” – I know which I’ll be going to. I’m also amused by the fact the majority of the gay bars seem to be found on “K Road” given the gay community’s affinity for the drug.

So yeah, not a long post or a particularly in depth or insightful post, but an update on whats going on with me at the minute as I couldn’t find anything particularly insightful or humorous to comment on (and believe me I tried to think of something). So I hope that’s satisfied your cravings for blogness. Til next time. xxx

auckland_-_skyline

What Do I Do?

January 16, 2009

Ok so first of all I’ve put all of my epic travel itinerary on to my blog here for all to read. It is the largest most comprehensive itinerary ever written, SERIOUSLY, it is not for the faint hearted. You can check it out to the right under pages.

But now to the point of my short blog entry here. As you can imagine traveling has a lot of technical issues, issues that I’ve now having to be paying attention to. Visas thankfully aren’t too much of an issue for us til South East Asia the others you can just pick up as you go along. Travel insurance is upsettingly expensive, as you must take it out for the entire duration of your trip (in my case 18 months) even tho I only want to take out the more expensive bungee jumping allowed travel insurance for the first 5. Its bloody rude! Yes it means whilst I’m working in New Zealand and Oz I’ll be covered and able to bungee jump and the like to my heart contentm however I’d rather have the cash frankly.

On the subject of cash another thing you need methods of payment. The other day I attempted to open a nationwide current account as their debit cards are commission free abroad, for some obscure reason they do a credit check … I was declined a current account on this basis. I wasn’t wanting a overdraft of any description (this was one of many questions of a long and lengthy questionaire) there would be no lending of any description, the bank could only possibly make money from my opening an account with them and yet I was refused. I didn’t bother in attempting to open the credit card I also wanted with them. I then tried to open a post office credit card (as it is also commission free) it told me they were unable to make an immediate decision and would inform me of it at a later date through the mail. Frustrated I thought I’d cheer myself up by opening a topman store card and taking advantage of the beneefits of this card when buying some new travel clothes in a month or so – I was declined the store card. Nobody but the most undesirable are denied store cards, I have opened many such cards for chavs in my time. I was not impressed. Thankfully I received a letter from the post office today with a pin number for a credit card so I can only assume they have accepted my application and shall be sending me a credit card. At what rate of interest and things I have no idea since they did not send such details so I’m still somewhat holding my breath, but I am hopeful. It does however still leave me in the annoying position of requiring a couple more means of payment.

I have also found innoculations to be quite annoying not in that they are painful or anything but in the riduclous manner one must attempt to obtain them, my doctors surgery like the majority in Edinburgh do not do them and they cost a fortune. Rabies costs about £40 per dose and you require 3 doses over a 3 week period. Given none of them are local I’m also going to have to be forking out ridiculous amounts to travel back and forth every week for a month. Not what one needs when attempting to save for traveling.

But what advice am I asking for you are asking yourself? What do I have to decide upon? My title would surely suggest such a decision and I can’t be asking for financial or medical advice, not when my main reader is one Ailsa Leslie. No I am asking what should be done with my hair? Its certainly not one of the great questions of life, it would not have trouble aristotle one bit. However, it needs cut, as hair has this annoying habit of growth, it has got to the point where it must be cut shortly, but what? Usually I have it cut to a medium length, dyed a beautiful shade of pale blond and straightened within an inch of its life, the dead inch of hair at the ends of my hair can attest for this, modeled on the gorgeous Mitch Hewer’s hairstyle or at the very least at some point inspired by it.

The delicious Mitch Hewer as Maxxie

The delicious Mitch Hewer as Maxxie

So I need a new cut. One that will travel easily. I won’t be able to colour my hair or at least as much as I do presently as the sun will continue to bleach any colour (and since I colour it pretty pale it’ll end up white). Similarly I won’t be able to straighten it every day. I wouldn’t want to waste an hour of each day straightening when I could be out seeing a new country, I won’t always be in a position to have access to a plug and lastly my hair doesn’t particularly like humidity, given the slightest opportunity to return to its curls it will jump at the chance so straigtening would probably prove fruitless. So the question is whos barnet should ‘inspire’ my next hairstyle?

Chace Crawford

Chace Crawford? He’s sexy as anything and Gossip Girl and his hairstyle could possibly be achieved through simple blow drying and hair product.

Cropped

A shorter spikier hairstyle perhaps? Should still be achievable with blowdrying and a hell of a lot of hair product.

Joe Jonas

Do I embrace the long hair and just wear it messier and use hair product a la Joe Jonas above?

Mitch

Or do I stick with good old Mitch and embrace one of his shorter styles? Even then in all cases there is the question of my hair COLOUR. Having it made darker strikes me as stupid as it will obviously grow out whilst traveling. Highlights should be ok as long as I don’t have them done too pale, but conversely I’m worried that if I DON’T colour my hair the natural red hues in my hair will bleach in the sun and I’ll end up traveling with an awful ginger colour.

So what do I do people?! Leave your comments.

The Red Pill or the Blue Pill?

January 10, 2009

So another blog inspired by an Ailsa Leslie conversation – I mentioned how everyone’s favourite gay blogger (no not me) Davey Wavey had asked the online world, or his small gay corner of it anyway, whether they would want to be straight if they could change their sexuality. Like “do you give or take?” this is usually among the first questions (impolite) straight boys ask when they cross paths with a gay boy. And whilst one might argue this as evidence of a society that still looks upon the gay lifestyle as inordinary, wrong (… an abomination) it is probably most perpetuated by the fact my answer was yes, I would if I could be straight.

Cut to a look from Ailsa simultaneously exuding shock, disbelief, confusion and above all horror. “Why?” (I paraphrase) And it was when confronted with this question that I actually had to think. My answer had largely been one of instinct like “do you want dessert?” the answer springs forth before your brain has put down its book and realised you’re having a conversation with someone. And so is it something I feel deep down? Or is it society making me feel that I’m out of the ordinary (in a bad way not a  Superman type way)? In truth I think its a bit of both.

Being gay brings with it its own pressures, much like any other minority, you get your welcome pack, your membership card and your own personal pandoras box of problems for the rest of your life. Whoo! It starts with bullying at school. Now whilst its true that everyone is bullied at school, nothing gets the blood pumping in a red blooded straight boy than finding a gay to pick on. And whilst most bullying tactics are shed as these delinquents grow older the inane desire to bully gays somehow manages to cling on and continue into adulthood. And in many intensifies, whether this is the result of a vast testosterone imbalance or a losing football match, for whatever reason gay bashing is perfectly acceptable behaviour for straight boys among themselves. We’re secretly trying to get it on with them, converting them, generally making their manly macho world more gay and they don’t like that so lets hit them. I’ve had the misfortune of being hit in the face twice for no other reason than being gay on one occasion the guy actually stopped and asked me if I was before proceeding to hit me. And (ex-flatmate) Petey has been properly beaten up, if his face had been an apple it would not have got past EU regulations it was soo bruised.

Besides the hostile actions of others there’s the emotional ones we must make ourselves. Coming out is horrendous. End of sentence. It is one of the worst feelings in the world and yes it is a feeling as well as an action, because it is in these situations that you genuinely have no idea which way things are going to turn out. Having never had that many friends that are boys I’ve been lucky to avoid many people that haven’t taken it well, but in all honesty people that take it too well are just as bad. The point I am trying to make is that you tell people to have a better relationship with them, not to create an entirely new relationship. My telling you isn’t me,  in some kind of way, trying to subtly suggest you buy me some drag outfits, its me not feeling uncomfortable of mentioning some things or feeling the need to omit.

But the largest hurdle is that of society and society I apologise because you do get all the blame these days – ASBOs, binge drinking, knife crime. But its the honest truth I don’t feel comfortable being me, it isnt an internal dispute of emotions (well it is but not in this case) its me feeling uncomfortable going on a date, holding a guys hand, save for some places in Newcastle I’d never feel comfortable kissing a guy in public (in a non alcohol fuelled setting). You can feel people’s eyes burning into the back of your skull and it makes you feel like a bit of zoo animal.

I think being straight would just be easier. I’m not saying being straight is easy. This Ailsa Leslie was sure to point out. But these are a set of problems/insecurities that are unique to being gay. I’m sure straight boys have their own, but in the grand scheme of things and in my blatantly biased opinion mine far outweigh their own, they for a start are in no way a minority. Were we to be comparing the problems of being gay with being black, then I’d debate on the issue, infact let me feel more secure in the fact that I do not belong to a number of minorities. But I doubt any straight boys have been looking up which countries they’ll be traveling in they can safely admit to being straight. And infact Arron (Croxford’s boyfriend) has managed to make me even rethink my thoughts here, as his thoughts on the countries I should be more careful of are different to ones that I thought I should be. Which of us is likely to be the more accurate? The subject of any abuse or the boy who is possibly more likely to understand the straight boy thought patten? I guess we’ll find out.

Ultimately this question is entirely moot. You can’t change your sexuality, as much as people may like to think otherwise, and as much as “straight-acting” gay guys always like to say that their sexuality is entirely separate from their personality that is a load of bullshit. Your sexuality, along with the way you have lived and a number of external factors have lead to what makes you you. They are inseperable. Changing your sexuality would change your personality and that I’m not prepared to give up. So perhaps I’m answering the wrong question, not would you change to being straight if you could, to would you rather have been born straight. Although even then, divided on the issue of whether you are born straight or whether it is external factors you’ve still got a rather complex question there. And besides if there were a pill to switch you into a beer swilling, football watching straight boy I can only imagine the mark 2 “coming out” conversations…

To Do List

January 6, 2009

So much to do so little time

  • Book Inca Trail
  • Finalise NZ work application
  • Go to Doctors for innoculations
  • Book flight to London and hotel room for the night
  • Purchase travel insurance
  • Purchase digital camera
  • Purchase new phone and investigate SIMs
  • Purchase backpack and travel essentials
  • Purchase clothes to take traveling
  • Open new credit cards
  • Open new bank account
  • Sort out things to ebay
  • Decide what to do with hair/ get hair cut
  • Plan leaving the country events
  • Plan leaving Debenhams thing

New Years Resolutions

January 5, 2009

So its that time of year again the time to look at the past and make resolutions for the future, a time to try and better ourselves. So seeing as its been a while since I’ve been blogging it has only been a post or 2 since I made some post uni/ start of rest of my life resolutions. They were:

  • To have an improved sex/love life.
  • To travel
  • To get fit
  • And to figure out what to do with my life

So how have I done so far? Since I wrote that post I’ve had sex with a grand total of zero people (I’m not even going to say how long its been, because its depressingly long ago) in no way can it be said to have been improved. The love life is still non existant – no surprises there –  but I have been on 2 dates. The first was a relatively successful date, just with a guy that I wasn’t particularly attracted to, but we had a lot of drinks, had some good chat, I had a very good very alcoholic raspberry cocktail, where the only mixer was crushed raspberry. The second date was no where near resembling successful. He was firstly annoyed that I was 5 minutes late as he’d got there 10 minutes early, he was then annoyed there was no where to sit, so we got take out, he was then cold outside so we did some obscure walking tour of the city centre, we then had a brief look in replay and firetrap, and inadvertantly dissed my outfit, by announcing a dislike for pale jeans and black shirts (which is just what I so happened to be wearing) by this point I was tiring of this date so insisted upon drinks, he claimed he didnt have enough money so I said I’d buy his drink, suffice to say the date didn’t improve much and so I was drinking a lot, which meant he was drinking a lot, which meant I was paying for a lot of drinks between him and me. I think I ended up having better chat with the bar tenders. At the end of the date he asked me back to his … I have absolutly no idea what date he was on as it was clearly not the date I was on. So overall consensus slight improvement. 2 dates are better than the 0 dates that had preceeded them that year.

Travel has been going pretty well… well, I’ve not actually done that much traveling yet, had a nice brief few days in Paris that were really nice to get away and just be somewhere else, and Paris isn’t a bad place to engross ones self. But the travel plans and bookings have plowed on and this St Paddy’s Day (17th March) me and Lucy shall be departing this dear country (UK) for (many) pastures new – good times. Consensus – vast improvement.

Getting fit … well lets not beat around the bush, its not fair on the poor old bush, I’ve done nothing. I briefly was doing sit ups etc and doing some dance related exercise every couple of nights, but it didn’t last too long. Mostly because I was knackered by the time I got back from work and my dad would be staying up longer than me when I was wanting to exercise in the living room. Consensus – awful awful failure. So I downloaded a 20 minute workout by everyones favourite fit gay blogger Davey Wavey that I intend to try and do every night – 20 minutes is doable. 3 months before I leave I could be fit by travel time… maybe.

And figuring out what to do with my life – well it was a rather grand resolution, but I am still fairly sure that I want to do events organisation, but the whole point in travelling besides the obvious seeing different places is to try and figure out what I want from life and the resolutions were rather meant as a kind of 2 year plan so I’m willing to overlook this one. Consensus – I’m exactly where I was before.

So any new resolutions? Well it would seem the 3 top resolutions in our great nation (UK) are to stop smoking, to get fit and to not bother making a resolution because they’ll never stick to it. Well isn’t that motivating? Summarises a rather apathetic nation. So I thought I’d think big:

To find my confidence again. The one thing I said Newcastle had instilled in me was confidence. I’d gone knowing no one (besides my dear Crox) and by the end of my time ended up narrowly loosing an election, if nothing else I had gained confidence. But looking for work and being thrust into the real world shook it all up again and rather knocked me back, knowing no one again, and I dare say I’m already feeling it a bit again having left the store and knowing no one again and being unemployed.

To be happier in myself, so my moods have always been rather up and down, I’m ecstatic I’m depressed, but this past year has rather been one of largely depression. March sparked a downward spiral that continued for quite some time and only levelled off sometime whilst at Debs. A lot of this has been external stuff, but a lot of its been internal stuff, once that downward spiral kicked off I was hating everything around me and everything about me. This year I’m gonna try a lot harder to not let these things upset me.

Get fit!! I don’t care if its the second most popular resolution or if its one I’ve already made – It needs to be done. If not for the simple reason I will otherwise die attempting the Incan Trail if not just backpacking around the world. But I wanna be fitter, be happier in how I look and be more confident in how I look.

So there you have it. Wonder how I’ll do…

Sorry I’m shit at blogging

January 4, 2009

Ok, so largely for Ailsa, as I do believe she is the only person to read my blog, here is a blog entry for her viewing pleasure.

Today has largely been a day of reflection, convenient one (highly cynical person) might think given that my last post was over 3 months ago, but true nonetheless and largely prompted by none other than the inspirational, intellectual and awesome Gilmore Girls. I am not joking.

Yesterday was my last day at Debenhams anda ss much as I joked about how I’d cry at the end of the day and how my skin could finally be allowed to breathe free of filth from the store (actual filth not the employees, altho there are a few filthy minded individuals to be found in the store) I was genuinely sad to leave. The work wasn’t always great, it was often tedious, frequently monotonous and almost always tiring, but it soon felt like I’d been there no time at all. I made really good friends with everyone and I’m going to miss not seeing them everyday. When I started working at Debenhams I was saying how lonely lunchtimes had felt, because I didn’t know anyone and I was by and large waiting an hour to get back to work. But for the past few weeks I’ve been waiting in anticipation of lunch and some good chat with the peeps from downstairs, combined with some scrubs or friends viewing and a good boots meal deal. And whilst I’d only have been able to stay for another month and a half I’d really have loved to have been kept on. Alas it wasn’t meant to be and I’m back where I started 3 months ago – unemployed and not knowing that many people in the city.

So I started in a rather reflective mood, anyways back to the Gilmore Girls, in the episode Rory is doing her finals, receiving rejection letters from employers and is generally at a loss about her future. Cut to 7 months ago and I was in the exact same boat and 7 months on I’m still on a road thats resulted from it. Losing my election for activities officer all those months ago was genuinely one of the most upsetting things I’ve ever experienced, after investing months of time into planning, execution, my manifesto, surverying students and discussing points with various activities officers round the country, I can honestly say its the one thing I’ve wanted most in my life and I finally knew what I wanted to do, after years of having no grasp on a future career. To say I didnt take it well would be an understatement, I  locked myself away for about 2 weeks, my mother sent my brother down to actually make sure I hadnt killed myself and I largely flunked my exams. The year that had looked so promising in February had turned to crap and saw me back in Edinburgh planning my escape to foreign lands.

In this new year the future is looking as promising, with a year and a half of traveling within reach, but in the shadow of last year I can’t help but feel that its all going to turn around and end up a disaster and prove nothing but expensive. Time will tell.

You can always tell the days when I’ve been down a memory lane mood, they usually involve an alcoholic beverage, sappy tv programme and bordom. These days are also the ones that lend themselves most to blogging and for this I apologise, so I leave you with this quote from the Gilmore Girls to end on a happy note and which I hope to prove true: “set backs do nothing more than set us up for future successes.” So as 2009 plows on let us hope for a better year than the one it has followed.

Drew x