Showing posts with label Books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Books. Show all posts

Friday, 7 December 2012


It’s recently dawned on me that over the course of the last year I’ve actually read quite a fair number of books. I started thinking about this as I was having a clear out last night in preparation for my exodus back north (which should be in the next couple of weeks, hopefully), and found a load of books in a box on top of my wardrobe. I say ‘my’ wardrobe – it isn’t really. It belongs to the landlord, as does the bed, the dresser and the bedside unit. And the carpet, curtains, walls and ceiling. I don’t actually own any furniture and after last night’s ultimate cleanse of all unnecessary items, it became apparent that I can squeeze all of my worldly possessions (excluding the Suzuki and my knackered pushbike, but including clothes) into 2 suitcases, a hold-all and three boxes. Seeing it all there in a pile is quite comforting, especially when you take into account my complete repulsion when it comes to clutter: useless ornaments, bags of stuff for ‘what if’ occasions...I hate it all, so in those bags and boxes (one of which is full of smaller boxes for my myriad gadgets) are only meaningful, useful items. But anyway, back to the books.

My most recent books I’m still not done with – Beyond the Shadows (book 3 of the Night Angel trilogy) I really only read on my Kindle when I’m on the cross trainer in the gym, and House of Leaves only gets a look-in when I’ve got a spare 3 hours to sit there and try to decipher what each individual page is trying to tell me. I did get a good chunk of it read last week during my well-documented National Express journey to Manchester and I’m really enjoying it...but the constant footnote references and the way paragraphs continue on previous pages and written backwards (yep, you read that right) does get a little annoying at times. I can see what the author was trying to do (after all, the book is meant to be made up of scraps of documents found in a big bundle so I’m guessing the odd layout is a way of conveying that (?)), but it doesn’t half grate after a few chapters. The different monoluges and fonts used to depict these I can deal with, but when you’ve got different chapters running backwards next to each other on the same page...well, it becomes more of a chore than a pleasure. Still, I’m sticking with House of Leaves because a) it's fantastic, and b) there are things alluded to in the story that are really intriguing and haven’t yet been fully explained. I just need to find a few spare hours. 

I briefly mentioned the Night Angel trilogy and I just want to reiterate how fucking cool the whole saga is. I’m about half way through the final book now and even though some of the story gets a bit muddy and confusing (and downright eh?!) in places, it’s still a cracking read. I feel like I’ve been watching an epic Game of Thrones/Lord of the Rings-style story unfold over the course of the three books – massive battles, genocide, betrayals, romance, rape, alcoholism, prostitution, suicide, magic, love,’s all in there. I can’t really praise the trilogy enough, and (as I’ve said in the past) that it was the first published work by Brent Weeks is testimony to the guy’s talent. Not sure if I’ll seek any of his other books out any time soon, but I’ll definitely remember the Night Angel books, and the characters therein for a long time to come. 

Other shit I’ve read this year: Robopocalypse. Set in a world where the machines have become self aware and waged war against the human race (sound familiar?), Robopocalypse is an account of the origins of the machines’ rise to power as depicted in CCTV recordings and diary excerpts etc. If you’re thinking Terminator rip-off, I’m not going to argue...although the way the tale is told through the recordings and written accounts of human battles with errant machines is totally unique. Well, unless you compare it with World War Z...but lets not go there. For now, anyway. Interestingly, Steven Spielberg (so I hear) is working on the film adaptation. Wonder if he’ll do it justice. And speaking of movie/book crossovers, I also finished I Am Legend this year too. I saw the Will Smith adaptaion before I’d even heard of either the book or the original Omega Man film, so all I had to go off when I started the book was the image of a sweaty, shirtless Will Smith doing pull ups in a dilapidated apartment block. The book, however, is umpteen times better than the film ever was, simply because the guy in the book isn’t some super-human beefcake like the guy Will Smith portrays. He’s just an average Joe who is scared shitless by all the zombies knocking about the neighbourhood, and who discovers through lots of trial and error and experimentation how he can fend them off. He also battles with boredom (I know how he feels) and alcoholism and loss. It’s a fantastic book – much bette than the (Will Smith) film. Still not seen The Omega Man though, so I’ll pass judgement on that. 

A further adaptation (well, a character from a book that recently got turned into a TV series, anyway) that I got through was the Dirk Gently novel The Long Dark Teatime of The Soul. It was pretty good and is a strange tale about ancient Gods and the bumbling holistic detective Dirk Gently somehow (apparently at random) managing to solve all sorts of crimes by taking a holistic approach – that is, all things are connected...or something. It was in January that I read this book so it’s kind of faded from my memory somewhat...but I still recall it being entertaining. One book that I read that wasn’t fiction (possibly) was Tales From Development Hell – The Greatest Movies Never Made (updated edition), a book about films that were green lit by Hollywood bigwigs, in some cases had stars attached to them, and then for whatever reason failed to see the light of day. Really insightful and well worth tracking down if you’re a fan of movies (or movies that never came out, more appropriately).The first book in the series, The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies Never Made, featured a chapter on a novel called The Stars My Destination which I went on to purchase and read. I still think that book is the best science-fiction novel I've ever read.

Then there was The Strain, a modern vampire novel written in part by the director Guillermo del Toro, which again was pretty damn good (and nothing like that Twilight shit, before you start thinking I’m into vampires that glow in sunlight. Urgh.), but just got a bit boring towards the end. The Strain is the first book in a trilogy but I started reading the second book almost immediately and didn’t feel as if anything new was I let it go. I’m not one of these people who feels that if they start a book they have to finish it – if I get bored, I will literally just stop reading it. That’s not to say I won’t give it a chance to stop being get the idea (I hope). There were also a few HP Lovecraft short stories (The Horror at Red Hook, Shadow Over Innsmouth and The Colour out of Space) and a few random Sci-Fi shorts too. I hope this has enlightened you. If not, then please feel free to go and do something interesting for the next half an hour to restore the equilibrium in your life.

On a different note, last night I stripped the Macbook down and emptied a whole hoover-bag’s worth of dust and shit out of its innards. The result? A machine that now runs almost silently. Now, if Bristol Apple Store can sort out the broken keyboard thing...well, it’ll be awesome. I’ll find out soon enough.

Friday, 2 November 2012

House Share of Leaves

Started reading House of Leaves last night. Well, started from were I got to in the Amazon preview before it inexplicably jumped forward about 9 chapters, rendering the whole point...well, pointless. God damn Amazon not giving free books away. Who do they think they are? I must say that it's a good read though, if a little unorthodox in the layout department. There are about three different narratives going on at once, two of which take place solely in the footnotes of this report about a guy who's house seems to be bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. It's pretty fucked up, and the page layouts are all over the place – sometimes the footnotes start mid-paragraph in one narative and then you have to read that (and the following pages) before going back to the original passage you were reading. Sounds pretty confusing, and it is to be fair, but if you're used to reading several books concurrently (which is also what I'm doing now, the other two being Shadow's Edge by Brent Weeks and The A303: Highway to the Sun by Tom Fort), then it's fairly easy to get your head around. I started reading at around 8pm last night and was still going well past midnight, so that kinda gives an indication of how easy it is to get carried away by this story (stories?).

The multiple narrative thing isn't the only slightly unusual aspect of  House of Leaves' design. The way the text is actually presented on some (most) of the pages is really weird - sometimes it's in red and struck through, other times there are just a few words on the page. Some of the pages have the text arranged in bizarre ways, like all lop-sided or just in one corner - I've honestly never read anything like it, and I'm guessing that as the layouts get more muddled the further you read, it must be some kind of mechanic used to illustrate madness or something? I don't know, but it looks freaking cool. Any fucker tries to read this badboy over my shoulder on the train and they'll probably vomit. Which is nice.

Apparently, there are two versions of the book - one in full colour, and one in greyscale. I've got the full colour version (complete with white crease down the black front cover - see the last post), and this is important (apparently) because the word 'house' always appears in blue type, as I've illustrated for your delight, dear reader; while other words appear in red, or red with a strikethrough. But the strikethrough is black. Which I can't illustrate because Blogger just don't do that fancy highfalutin shit. I don't know why yet (in the book, I mean), but I'm sure it'll be revealed. Or not. It's certainly trippy literature. Litripture. And just like that, I add another word to the English language. Maybe Lonely Planet would like to offer me a wad of cash for that one? Email me, guys.

I can see now, just flicking through the various chapters why this book could probably never be reproduced for Kindle (other e-readers are available) - I doubt it'd be able to handle the retarded (inspired) page layouts. Well, the normal black and white e-paper version couldn't, anyway. I mean, look at this shit:

is this a copyright infringement?!

That's not to say I'm not enjoying it - I wouldn't have been up till stupid o'clock this morning if I wasn't. I think it's a totally refreshing and completely unique book and I'm just stunned I'd never heard of it before last weekend. A true literary oddity, is House of Leaves. Or House of Leaves, as it should be typed.

Been torturing myself by looking at flats to rent in Manchester. It seems like such a stupid/petty dream to have, but I've never actually had my own place - I mean totally to myself. Since I left University, I've lived exclusively in either house shares or military accommodation. And these have meant that I have lived exclusively in a single room for the majority of my adult life (with the odd 2/4/16/32 man mess or dilapidated barrack thrown in). One room or locker with all my shit stuffed into it. 

So you can see why the very thought of having a kitchen or a separate living room fills me with the kind of excitement usually reserved for that point where you reach the zenith of a roller coaster's climb, teeter precariously for a microsecond and then plunge back earthward. Just the thought of having my stuff in separate rooms. A bookshelf. A fridge with stuff in it that I know won't go missing. Somewhere to put a desktop computer (it'll probably be a used Powermac G5 - oh yes). A desk. A couch! Fuck me, a couch. Personal space to do what I want, without someone else also being there. Without someone else leaving shit all over the toilet bowl, slamming doors at midnight, ploughing their boyfriend/girlfriend in the next room, just being there all the fucking time. My own place to have some relaxing time in, but also the freedom to invite people round whenever I want without the fear of a housemate or live-in landlord coming back and ruining it. Sigh. I'm babbling again. Some time soon(ish) though. And guess what? I'll be sharing it all here! Lucky reader(s?)!

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Nooks & Trannies

My book finally arrived at Waterstones and they promptly called me when it was ready for collection. Sadly, it appears that it's been used as a rugby ball. These probably sound like the ramblings of a paranoid schizophrenic, but I'm guessing the fact that I complained about the delay has played some part in this. The cover is all bent (with a massive crease down the front of the book) and the spine and back cover are scuffed to hell. Yes, I'm a little annoyed that a company as large and reputable as Waterstones can allow this sort of thing, but then again maybe it just got like this in transit. Either way, Waterstones have lost a customer in me - when you spend £20 on a book (a fucking book!), you expect to get it on time and in an acceptable condition. By God, what has happened to customer service? I've seen books on car boot sales in better condition that this supposedly new copy of House of Leaves. Bah! At least it's here though - which is the main thing.

I shall be delving into it later on this evening and imparting my thoughts on this very blog in due course. On the subject of books and bookstores though, I noticed an advert on TV t'other day for the Barnes & Noble Nook. Does this mean B&N are finally launching in the UK? If they do, they won't have to try very hard to kick Waterstones' arse judging by my recent experience - all they'll have to do is not send orders to wrong parts of the country, and then deliver said orders in a condition vaguely approaching 'new.' Oh, and maybe employ staff that don't have massive tattoos of the Batman symbol on their forearms (with matching batarang earrings) or look like Hagrid stunt doubles. Seriously, I'm all for people being individuals and shit - but at least try to make yourself look presentable whilst being 'individual.' There are certain shops where it seems to be a prerequisite that you've got bright blue hair and a luminous nose ring in order to get a job there. Gamestation is one such place. Why? I'm a gamer. I'm probably the biggest games geek I know, but it doesn't make me want to walk around wearing a ripped tablecloth and have a gravestone tattooed on my neck.

HMV is another one. Actually - wait an fucking minute, there's a trend developing here (I think). Gamestation. HMV. Waterstones. All shops I've been in recently where at least one member of staff has had black lipstick on (and their sex didn't seem to matter). Curious. There's definitely some kind of link or correlation going on here...but I really can't deduce what it is. I suppose all of these stores sell electronics of some form...maybe that's it? I don't know, but it seems to be the de rigueur for somebody whose job it is to stand around offering (usually incorrect) music or games or book advice to middle aged people in beige trousers and brown NHS spectacles.

I seem to have gone off on quite an unexpected tangent there...but speaking of the Nook, it looks like quite a nice e-reader/tablet thingy. But seeing as I've already got both a Kindle and a BlackBerry Playbook (a device which also allows you, I don't think I've got much need for one. Maybe I'll go and ask the steampunk goth working in Rumbelows for his/her advice.

I recently bought The Click Five's second album Modern Minds and Pastimes. If anyone in the UK knew who The Click Five were, I'd probably get kicked to death and then set alight, but thanks to their total lack of presence here, I'm good (for now). Basically, TCV (as they shall henceforth be referred to) are what would be produced if Rivers Cuomo ass-raped any one of McFly. They're a band who sing ever-so-catchy pseudo indie/pop and sing it fucking well. I've had their first album for ages (can't remember where I even got it from) and most of the tracks are pretty hummable, but then a few weeks ago I bought their third album off iTunes. My god - what a record. So on Monday night I paid another £7.99 for their second album...and it's easily as good. Want three albums of toe-tapping power pop? TCV should be your first port of call.

Other recent media-related good shit I've encountered: Seasick Steve (music), Moneyball (film), Warehouse 13 (TV series). Seek them all and thou shalt be rewarded.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012


Had my second Bond-at-the-cinema experience last night. Yep, went to see Skyfall. The only other time I've been to see a Bond movie at the pictures was when I went to see Die Another Day, which was a pile of shit and incidentally Pierce Brosnan's last outing as everyone's favourite nymphomaniac espionagologist-amajig. Take from that what you will. There's probably nothing more to take from it than it was the end of his movie deal, but hey. So Skyfall, then. I have to admit that I've never been the biggest fan of these 'new' Bond films with Daniel Craig. Casino Royale (even with it's fucking awesome theme tune – cheers Chris Cornell) was a bit of a mess in my opinion and Quantum of Solace...well I didn't even bother watching it after a) I found Casino Royale such a laborious slog; and b) most people who saw it (including friends who are massive film geeks) told me it was really confusing. Skyfall then, is a welcome step back in the right direction for the franchise as far as I can tell.

The pre-credits sequence features one of the best chase scenes I've seen (even if does traipse across the very same Istanbul rooftop as Liam Neeson does in Taken 2), and is easily as memorable as GoldenEye's opening segment (y'know, where Bond rides a motorbike off a cliff after a falling, pilotless plane, defies terminal velocity to reach and climb inside it and then wrestles it back into the Tina Turner's epic theme tune kicks in. Fucking ejaculatory stuff right there). I also feel special mention must go to Adele's theme song here too. The one for Quantum of Solace (Jack White and Alicia Keys, if memory serves) was a hideous, out-of-touch mess, so kudos to the director/producers/whoever for getting someone who can actually sing and write music to pen the score for the second most important section of any Bond film.

The movie calms down somewhat after the intro but the storyline is unmistakably 'old school' Bond, with an unknown enemy wreaking havoc across London and Bond returning from oblivion (along with a cracking new cast playing familiar character roles) to kick ass. There are also some genuinely funny bits too (the chase through a rush-hour Underground station and train, for example, is brilliantly done and the humour is very subtle but was met with a crescendo of laughter from the audience), but this is matched with some 'how the fuck is Bond gonna get out of this' juxtaposition. It's a really good entry in the Bond series and a true return to the action/thriller genre that the franchise so desperatley needed in order to coax back punters who, like me, have probably seen most of the films, but aren't die hards. Oh, and my opinion of Craig's Bond has been altered by his performance here – the character is at times frail and references to his age are chucked in here and there, as well as his (obvious) reliance on drink and women.

It's hard to see how the next Bond film will top Skyfall, but it needs to in order to compete with all the other spy-based shit that's trying to usurp him as the master of the genre. We've already had the Bourne films and Mission Impossible series, and no doubt there'll be more of them to come, so hopefully we cinema-goers have a lot to look forward to. One thing's for sure though – whenever Daniel Craig passes on the mantle, his replacement will have some damn big shoes to fill.

I took my Suzuki Goose for a service on Friday. As I suspected, it actually needed a bit of work as it looks as though the previous owners (both here and in Japan(!)) had never actually had it looked at – just ridden and ridden it to oblivion. As such, the oil that the mechanic drained out of the engine looked like treacle and it needs a new back brake disk and possibly a new chain. It's still legal to ride, but that shit costs money. In my defence, I instructed the mechanic to order a new brake disk and ring me when it arrives so he can fit it. Has he called? Nope. So fuck him. I'll go to a more reputable place to see if they can beat his quote, which was a tad high, considering his workshop is primarily a place that deals with gardening equipment and lawnmowers. Still, the service he did carry out has resulted in a marked improvement in performance for the Goose. She seems to run that little bit smoother, with less backfiring at high revs in a low gear, and he also sorted the headlight out. So it's not all bad – he just needs to sort his customer service and pricing skills. And maybe buy a pack of breath mints.

In a totally unrelated matter, I stumbled across a rather intriguing book this weekend. Or rather, I stumbled across a reference to a rather intriguing book whilst reading something online. I took this reference to Wikipedia and from there a bit of an obsession has developed. Basically, I was reading something on and the author made a reference to a book called House of Leaves. I read up about this House of Leaves and found myself absorbing the whole Amazon 'look inside' preview. I knew that as soon as I'd read the synopsis (I won't even bother here – it's way too complicated...but look here for yourself and tell me it doesn't sound awesome) I had to have it. So I've been and ordered a copy from Waterstones. The girl behind the counter who took my order said it should be ready for collection at the local store by today at the latest, but because I'm in Gloucester (incidentally, the only branch in the West Midlands not to hold a copy of House of Leaves), I know for a fact that it won't be there when I go in at lunchtime. That's because Gloucester, in every way imaginable, is a shitty place to live and this is just one way of illustrating it. But I've already covered that at great length. Unfortunately, the arrival of House of Leaves in Waterstones (whenever that may be) means that my current book (the second in the Night Angel trilogy) will have to go on hiatus.

Oh, and happy Halloween. If there can be such a thing.


As predicted, I went to Waterstones at lunchtime to collect my book and they didn't have it. To add insult to injury, the 'customer service' guy didn't even know when it'd be delivered for collection! I was told on Monday that it'd be there today! There is no way it takes 3 days for a book to be sent from one Waterstones branch to another, especially when the one in the next town has a fucking copy! Just another reason I hate Gloucester with all my heart. I looked on the Waterstones website to see which local stores have copies of House of Leaves, and yep - you guessed it, every single branch in the entire county (and the surrounding counties) have 1 or more copies of the fucking thing sitting on shelves. Just not the one here, where I live, in this miserable shit hole. God I can't wait to leave this:

Gloucester 'city' centre, October 2012

Waterstones just called me. My copy of House of Leaves was sent to the Yeovil store instead of the Gloucester store. I guess its an easy mistake to make, seeing as the words Yeovil and Gloucester look so fucking similar.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Frying Pan

Just looking at my calendar and I've seen that I only have five months left to endure in this dump. That's a relief. I was beginning to think this misery would never end. I don't know why I do it to myself, I really don't. I wanted to leave the military because I was sick of being surrounded with people with whom I couldn't have an intelligent conversation, and now I'm surrounded with...well no-one. I believe the phrase is 'out of the frying pan, into the fire.' 

I should have just gone home when I shed that uniform, but I thought I knew better, thought I could just transplant myself into a new town and instantly have friends and a social life and all that other shit you think you'll get when you move to a place with other sentient lifeforms. I found out several things the hard way – the most obvious one being that there aren't many sentient lifeforms in Gloucester, and the ones that do exist don't speak to you if your accent isn't the same as their weird medieval drawl. 

Honestly, it's driving me fucking mental – all I can think about is going home. It's got to the point where I can't even focus at work because all I can think about is how much I despise being in this town, how much I hate them all. Just walking down the street forms a ball of pure hatred in the pit of my's taking over my life. I guess it's because there literally is nothing else in my life apart from going to work and going to the gym/running. That's it. That is my existence. And it's horrible. True, I get to see my girlfriend a few times a month...when I brave the horrors of the motorway/wind/rain and mud-strewn pot-hole riddled 'roads' for 3 hours every weekend (well, 6 hours if you factor in the return journey as well) on the motorbike. I'm so fucking fed up...probably why I'm struggling to actually find anything to write about other than how shit everything is, because at the is. It's like nothing else exists except my desire not to live in this place any more. Fuck the job, fuck everything – just get me out of here. 

When I do get a rare moment of clear level-headedness and actually think about my situation, the answers seem so clear and easy to grasp: jack the job and fuck this place off. Surely mental well-being and a social circle of friends and family is far more important than having something to put on a fucking CV?! I don't know. I'm just pouring my slightly mentally-deficient thoughts out onto the internet. Hopefully, I can look back on this in the future (much how I sometimes look at the archived posts and recall what I was feeling at the time I wrote them) and then laugh heartily (or maybe maniacally) about my ill-fated decision to try to make a life in a new (crap) town. Anyone who is thinking of trying this themselves should think long and hard. In some cases, it may be a risk worth taking, especially if the new location is a town or city that actually has a pulse. If it isn't though, think about how you'll cope with the long evenings of your own company and lack of anything to fill your time with. You'll probably end up hating your very existence and start writing overly negative, world-hating blog posts about your experience. 

In other news, I did finish the book I've been reading. It's called The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks and is the first book in the Night Angel trilogy. I usually stick to science fiction when it comes to literature, but this book is a bit of fantasy novel set in a Tolkien-esque world of magic and war. It tells the tale of a young lad who is brought up in the slums but ends up becoming a kind of assassin's apprentice, and ultimately a master of killing (with a few magical powers too) that can (probably) change the fate of the world. It's a great read, and I recommend it to anyone who likes to root for the underdog. I've just started the second book in the series and hopefully it'll be every bit as epic as the first one.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Books and Boredom

Hello there. Me again. Finished my book yesterday - Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell. And what a book it is/was. It's an account of the trials and tribulations faced by the author as he tries to eek out a meagre living whilst looking for work in Paris, and then later living as a tramp in London in the late 1920s. Reading it, you'd be forgiven for thinking the book is a factual account of Orwell's personal experiences (indeed, I though it was), but upon researching the book on the net and looking at Orwell's biography, it appears that the tale is a work of fiction. Fiction based in fact, but fiction nonetheless. Which was a bit surprising considering the amount of detail Orwell goes in to when describing his various situations throughout the story. Fact or not though, the book is a fantastic read and you'd never guess it was Orwell's first proper novel if no-one told you. I was a little sad when I finished it - kind of like how I felt when I completed Zelda: Ocarina of Time. I played that fucker from start to finish in about 2 weeks whilst I was in the first year of my A Levels, and when I finally restored the land of Hyrule to it's former glory, I was gutted. Gutted because in the back of my mind a little voice was saying "now what?!"

So, while the various inhabitants of Kokiri Village and Hyrule Castle were engaging in an eternal dance of victory, muggins here was sat there wondering how the fuck he was going to continue to fill his evenings. And good as it was, I'm not the kind of person who completes a game, only to start again and repeat it. What's the point in that? You've already seen everything so why do it again? OK, so I didn't catch a massive fish in the hut on the shores of Lake Hylia...but who gives a fuck? Reminds me of Metal Gear Solid on the PSX. Yeah - it was a fucking incredible game...but do I really want to replay the entire thing just because Snake is now wearing a tuxedo? I think not.

But going back to Down and Out in Paris and London, I feel that it was such an amazing book and painted such vivid images in my head that I don't think I can read anything else for a few days. Just need to get over it's brilliance before I start on The Road to Wigan Pier. I've also got Animal Farm (as mentioned t'other day) and The Clergyman's Daughter to read, but I've never heard of the latter so may read that last. It seems that I've become slightly obsessed with George Orwell in recent months, but I suppose an obsession with a dead author and his work is more desirable and less destructive than an obsession with drugs, booze, prostitution, crime or vandalism...right?!

I also managed to get hold of some second hand HP Lovecraft short story collections when I was in Bath (love that place) a few weeks back, and I've already smashed through some of them. Slight deviation from Orwell, being horror and all, but they're very good. Noticed severe over use of the term 'waning' when describing the moon...but who am I to argue with the creator of Cthulu (pictured above, yesterday)?!

On a different note, I've started road running again. Went on a few lengthy runs at the start of last week whilst I was up in Manchester, but running through a city like that is fraught with perils - namely busy roads and bus stops crammed with people who simply refuse to get out of your way even though they can see you coming a mile away with your luminous yellow top on. Running in Somerset is somewhat more enjoyable (if running can be described thus) due to the quiet lanes, stunning scenery and over-powering stench of cow shit that wafts like a wraith across hill and dale. Well, maybe not the last point, but you get the idea. Been for three Somerset runs this week and will be embarking on my fourth today. I'll be doing it at dinner time just so I can get off this godawful base for an hour or so. Small pleasures.

Been thinking about my future over the past few weeks. Well, my employment future. I'm quite unhappy with my current job and can't decide whether to put my notice in or not. I really miss city life and wouldn't mind leaving the navy and going to live somewhere like Bristol and just working in an office or a shop or something. Sounds a bit dull, I know, but I really miss having some kind of stability in my life. As it is, I never know where I'm going to be from one month to the next - even now I have no idea how long I'm based in my current location so I simply can't make any plans or think about my future on a personal level. It's quite unsettling not to know where you're going to be in a year's time...which may be great if you're 19 and have no worries in the world...but when you're almost 30 and it's a little worrying. I've got no home, is what I'm getting at, and it's an awful feeling knowing that there's nowhere you can retreat to when things get a little stressful. Hmmm. Leaving the relative security of the services right now just because I don't like my current position may seem a little hasty, but that's just how I feel. My next draft may be fucking awesome and actually live up to everything I thought being in the navy would mean...but so far, I'm decidedly unimpressed with the lifestyle and the levels of abject boredom I'm privy to. Wouldn't mind working on an oil rig or something to be honest, but where does one start when trying to transfer into a career like that?! Something to think about, for sure.

Until next time, bitches!

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Austerity Measures

Well here we are, only 10 days into the month of August and already I'm worrying about having no money. How? Well, it's down to my age old problem of going out on the piss and spending way, way too much money. It's something I do far too regularly for my own liking and it's got to fucking stop sooner rather than later. Here's the scenario: I go out on a Friday or Saturday night. I plan to spend a set amount, say £30, so I take it out of the cash machine before the evening begins. A few hours later and after several pints of lager or cider, I decide that I'm not drunk enough yet (I'm probably smashed already, I hasten to add) and then proceed back to the cash point and draw out another ridiculous sum of money. Cue more drinking, ridiculous behaviour and waking up in the morning with a massive hangover, feelings of regret and a gigantic hole in my bank balance. And this destructive cycle has happened not once or twice, but thrice this month so far. And I'm fucking sick of myself for it.

Granted, the nights out I've had have been pretty good, but this is besides the point. By the middle of the month, I don't want to be scabbling around in the dirt for enough money for some petrol, a loaf of bread or a day out. It's no way to live and after next month's trip to Paris (more later), it fucking ENDS.

The nights out? Well, the main one was a trip to Bristol that culminated in a stay in a backpacker's hostel. It was a really good night out to be fair and I always enjoy taking in the experience of an unfamiliar city, it's just that the excursion signalled the start of my week of unbridled spending. That was on the Friday. The Sunday saw me take a car trip up to Manchester and the petrol wasn't exactly cheap, and the following few days were a flurry of nights out, meals and trying to entertain myself while various friends and family members were at work. As a side note, I must stress that whenever I do go back home, I kind of feel obliged to go out with alarming regularity simply because I have various groups of friends that are totally unconnected and others who can never make agreed meetings due to working hours etc. I obviously feel honoured that people actually want to see me and make arrangements to do's just that it all adds up price-wise. Which leads to my current and rather boring predicament.

Anyway, I'm back at work now and I fucking hate it, but what can one do? At least sitting here and writing this crap, worrying about what I've done and how I'm going to survive the rest of the month means I can't go out and blow the meagre sum I have left on ridiculous, wasteful and unessecary sheight. Urgh. Speaking of work though, I believe I only have around 5 months left in this truly hideous position before I am 'drafted' back into my actual, trained branch. I can't actually put into words how happy this makes me feel...but more about this (maybe) in a future post.

Anyway, must try to stay positive and learn from my mistakes. Although changing the habit of a lifetime will be tough. But tough it must be, or I'll never break this fucking horrendous cycle. I need to start saving, so that's what I'm gonna do instead of go out drinking and wasting money. You'll see. In exactly one year from this post, I'll tell you how much I've managed to save up. Mark my words.

Next week (Monday) I'm off to see the final show of Jimmy Carr's UK tour down in Weymouth with my lady. Actually really looking forward to it. I saw Frankie Boyle live in Bournemouth a few months back and he was brilliant so I'm expecting similar things from Carr. Well, he's pretty funny on TV so I'm guessing it'll be more of the same at his live show, right?! Knowing my luck though, Jimmy Carr will fall ill the day before the show and we'll have to endure an hour and a half of Lenny Henry instead as a back-up act. A man so unfunny he makes cancer look like Shooting Stars.

Random interlude: I had no idea Scott Mills, the Radio 1 DJ, is a big gay. I read it on this thing called the 'Pink List' on the Sunday Telegraph website when I logged on to the internet this morning. I thought it might have just meant he was a gay icon or some shit, but when I looked at his Wikipedia page, it confirmed that Mills came out in 2001 and now prefers the cock. He kept that quiet. Let me clarify that this in now way changes my opinion that the guy is the most tolerable of all the cunts who spout their shite on that godawful station, I just found it quite suprising. Probably won't listen to him anymore, like, but hey. And for those who can't tell - that was a JOKE. Not the gay bit...the not listening bit...erm...

Cough. Anyway.

Decided to smash though all of George Orwell's back catalogue after reading his classic 1985 last week. I've already read Animal Farm and bits of The Road to Wigan Pier, but that was years ago so I'm starting again. This time, however, I'm starting with Down and Out in Paris and London....something I'm likely to be next month if I don't try my damnedest to save some of the remnants of this month's wage to supplement my/our jaunt to the French capital at the beginning of September.