Tuesday, 7 October 2014

The story of the hospital selfie

Here is said selfie. What a beauty of a photo. Here is the story of how this photo came to be...

For some background, it's important to remember that I'm a very accident prone person. I broke my leg when I was two, jumping on my parents' bed and then missing the bed (such genius, much clever. Wow), dislocating my shoulder, breaking two fingers, and then, last year, breaking my heel jumping off a fence to get out of a locked park (again, the genius is strong.) 

Anyway. So you're on holiday with a bunch of your best pals. You're in Budapest, in a ruin bar (an abandoned soviet office turned kickin bar/club filled with 'ruined' furniture, hence the name). In general, you are having an amazing time.


One of said pals, in fact your oldest friend, also the guy who told you jump off the fence that fractured your heel, tells you to stand on a bench that you know to be broken. So, taking into account the factors- same broken-heel guy, definitely broken bench, 'ruin' bar- what do you do? YOU GET ON THE MOTHERFUCKING BENCH, THAT'S WHAT.

And, of course, you fall through the bench (at this point I'm gonna switch back to first person, because this is getting weird). There was a blissful few seconds after falling through the bench that I didn't realise what the fuck I'd just done (I say blissful, but I mean, I was still in agonising pain)- and then I noticed the fucking huge hole in my leg. It looked like what you'd expect a bullet wound to look like. There was a bit of unattached flesh that had previously been part of my leg next to it. There was so much blood on my shoes I decided to leave them in Budapest. It was gross, basically. And it hurt a lot, so much that I couldn't deal with it right away.

To the credit of my two friends who were still sober (including the bloke in question, who told me to get up on the bench in the first place), they dealt with this new turn of events remarkably well, as did the bar, who called 999 or whatever straight away. One of my mates rode in the ambulance with me (after a nurse had stabbed me repeatedly and told me my skin was like a crocodile's while trying to get an IV in), while the other got a taxi to hospital. The taxi got there first (nice one, Hungarian health system). Also kudos to them as they managed to deal with an overemotional and crying Eibhlin. Which doesn't happen often (everyone I know will vouch for that, I'm sure).

Anyway, now we're at the hospital. I have no idea what's gonna happen. Am I gonna have my leg cut off? Am I gonna die? I DON'T WANNA DIE? Etc. etc. I get x-rayed at least 5 times, while my two friends are busy making a new friend- a Hungarian bloke who lives in Wembley, North-West London, gone back to the motherland for bit and ended getting into a fight with some gypsies and breaking his thumb (which was sticking out at a very odd angle), he also said that he liked London, apart from all the Jamaicans. While speaking to a Jamaican from London. Nice wan braaaava. Overall a very strange guy, not the kind you wanna be sitting with in a dark Hungarian waiting room at 3am, anyway.

Post x-rays, I'm wheeled through the waiting room into another room (my friends were on google translate and got “operating theatre”) I still had no idea what was going on. The only doctor who spoke English went to my friends- who were now (at least slightly) concerned about what operation was about to happen and told them the “good news”. He then came into the operating theatre where I was waiting, apprehensively, under my sheet (oh yeah, I didn't mention, the whole time at the hospital, while I was confused and high as fuck, I was just wearing a sheet and my pants. This is because I had to get my chest x-rayed as well, since I also managed to give that a solid whack too), as he came in to tell me the “good news”- I only needed four stitches. There was to be no real operating in this operating theatre, thank fuck.

So after the stitches, but before my IV was removed, I put my clothes back on and got involved in this now famous (at least amongst my friends) selfie!! WOW. GO ME. FOUR FOR ME.

Now, about 4 months later, I am left with this kickass scar, a constant reminder that if I was a tragic hero, my fatal flaw would be a blatant disregard for my own safety. Stay chill y'all xoxo
(P.S. Nice batman PJ's, me. I rock) 

Saturday, 30 November 2013

The dictionary of Haggi

'Haggis wednesdays' (not every wednesday, nor always on Wednesday) are a thing in my flat. We have also named all of the Haggi (plural haggis) that we have consumed thus far. Here's the list:

  1. 'Ping': He was the first haggis we ever bought. (We being me and my kiwi flatmate, the only two consistent members of haggis Wednesdays). It was also shared by one of our French flatmates. Ping earned his name by exploding in microwave. Obviously. we then relocated him to the oven to finish cooking safely, without sticking to any mircowave walls. He was still pretty tasty.
  2. Roy 1.0: The original Roy. All Haggi are in fact called Roy, this is beyond dispute. We oven cooked him with potatoes and onions. This was a mistake as the potatoes took around 2 hours to cook. Not even joking. Anyway, this resulted in a blackened, crunchy Roy which was not atheistically pleasing. Although, once you got through the pure ash layer surrounding him, he was pretty fucken tasty. 
  3. Roy 2.0: again, burnt tae fuck. Precisely the same problem, only this time he went a bit rabid in the oven. White froth and shit. Not pretty. He also flaked apart as soon as we touched him, leading to the immortal quote "I'm just flakey like a Haggis". 
  4. Roy 3.0: We branched out into a more expensive, yet smaller Haggis. We assumed you 'get what you pay for' in terms of haggis (and meat in general). We also avoided the burnt/rabid haggis syndrome by actually cooking it the way the packet suggested. He was tasty as, but the problem was that he was less finely mashed than our usual, and therefore we could find identifiable parts of lungs and such. bleugh. 

Thursday, 31 October 2013

On the Accessibility of Classics

Alright, so I'm now a first year university student (sweeeeeeet as mate) majoring in Geography. But as I'm at a Scottish uni (Glasgow) I take two other subjects as well, one of them being classics.

Why choose classics? You may ask. It's a reasonable question. I don't live up to any of the stereotypes- the stuffy public school guy who's been to all of the sites spoken about on his summer hols. Naaah, I'm from inner city London (FPK all up in this!) and I had no real idea what classics even was until I picked as a dare for one of my a-levels. 

Yes, as a DARE. It was probably one of the best decisions I've ever made. As well as gaining 20 quid, I made some of my best friends at sixth form in my classics class. We all loved classics, and none of us had ever studied it before. 

Why did we love classics? Because of the stories, the characters, the myths. They were all so crazy and yet relatable. It was like seeing all the familiar plot lines in their first stage, it allowed me to glean so much more from popular culture, and most of all, it allowed for A LOT of banter. "Stop being such an Ismene!" Was a regular saying passed around our group while studying Sophocles' Antigone, and we nicknamed one of our non-classcist friends apoxymenos while studying Greek sculpture. Classics was probably my most enjoyable subject, and I assumed this would continue into university.

It didn't. 

Suddenly my lectures and tutorials seemed to be full of the kind stereotypical classics students. The people answering questions in tutorials use so much unnecessary terminology I'm unsure whether they even know what they're talking about. I feel like my not-posh-london accent is possibly causing people to look down on me. It's not as though we're covering any new ground in terms of the texts we're studying- the Odyssey, which I studied in my first year at sixth form, Theogony and Works and Days- at college we read the Theogony, and Greek Lyric poetry- which we were aware of in sixth form, although didn't directly suffer. 

The problem is the tone. The lecturers still seem to aim at the haughty public school student, although university is now accessible for a far wider range of people (in spite of this government's best efforts), and I cannot imagine any lecturer even trying to make these texts more approachable. I'm not asking for simplified versions, I'm just asking for some effort to be made for the teaching to move from the 70's into today.

Once you know how amazing a subject like classics can be, it's painful to see it reduced to it's old stereotype.   

Saturday, 13 July 2013

High Expectations

Some people say that films or television have given them overly high expectations of people. But surely music is the ultimate example of this. It leads to expect that everyone is as torn up and soulful and expressive as the great composers, that everyone is as passionate as punk vocalists, as intense as speed metal guitarists, as joyous as the choruses of the best pop songs. The list could go on. 

But surely, as I've previously stated, music is a shared experience. There's something intrinsically relatable about the music we listen to. Who's to say we aren't all as torn-up, soulful, expressive, passionate, intense, and joyous as the musicians who have set our expectations 'too high'? I'll keep believing in the average joe until he tells me not to.

On the other hand, the lower you set your expectations, the less likely you are to be disappointed. There's always that.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

26 song lyrics (part 1 for 2013)

So basics, I write a song lyric per week in my diary, usually from the song I've listened to most that week. As we're now halfway through 2013 (where does the time go etc. etc.) I thought I'd continue last year's tradition and post them here.

Bitch the end of your life is near,
We built this city on rock n roll,
Fuck your romance I wanna pretend that Jenny Lee Lindberg is my girlfriend,
I got you babe, (babe) (babe)
Diamonds are a girl's best friends,
I'm a man of means by no means,
Well I feel, I feel alive,
She's an indie rocker and nothing's gonna stop her,
He was a skater boy, she said to you later boy,
I'm a survivor, keep on surviving,
Everything is A-O-K cos I'm as strong as an O-A-K,
I am a shaky ladder, intergalactic matter,
She is the dancing queen,
In 5 years time we might not speak,
You've done too much, much too young
It's a long road up to recovery from here,
We were born to be alone, everybody all alone,
Get up and get down and get outside,
She makes me feel like I could see for miles,
I'm walking on sunshine,
It's the circle of life and it moves us all,
I'm on my way down out of the woods,
I crashed my car into the bridge, I don't care,
Let's spend the night together now I need you more than ever,
If you're so special, why aren't you dead?
Pass me a glass and a half-smoked cigarette, I've damn near got no dignity left.

It's odd how these few words evoke the week/day they were written about. The power of music mate.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Books/Films in March


Divergent by Veronica Roth
My sister recommended this book, and surprisingly, it wasn't half bad. It requires a suspension of disbelief, however, as do most dystopian novels, and it's got nothing on the hunger games, but hey. In the future ravaged Chicago of the book, people are forced to chose one of 5 societies, whose rules you have to live by. It's a pretty weak premise, and it's not brilliantly written, but boy, does this woman know how to increase tension so much that you will need to read the sequel. 
Insurgent by Veronica Roth
Hence this book's presence on the list. Again, the tension peaks perfectly at the end, and the third (and motherfucking final) part of the series isn't published until the end of this year, which I'm actually kinda upset about. 
Hippolytus by Euripides 
AKA the last greek tragedy I have to read! Rejoice! Although I actually like them. So there. This is the most ridiculous of all the plays- and the others feature dragon wagons and eye-gouging, but this has two petty goddesses and a giant sea bull, so it wins on the weirdness scale at least. 
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley 
I actually really enjoyed this. Aside from me getting to feel better than you for actually having a read a classic, it was really well written, plotted, and pulled off the trick of making all the characters dickheads, but still making you care about them. Goddamit Huxley!
Post Office by Charles Bukowski
this book was nang. It's the story of this don (basically Bukowski in disguise) who has terrible jobs, has terrible sex, and has terrible hangovers. It's really not as depressing as I've just made it sound, due the badass dark humour running through it. Seriously, I'll never look at geraniums the same way. 


The Skin I Live in 
This was a really great film. It had a lot of stuff I like in it- creepy characters (seriously creepy), a twist, and a director that I rate (my babes Almodovar). I can't say too much about the plot, because that would kinda ruin it for you. But if you don't like subtitles, then you can leave, cos this is in Spanish. 
The Kid with a Bike
AKA pretentious Belgian film. That's how pretentious it is, it's from fucking Belgium. Nothing other than chocolate and needless dead bodies from ww1 is from Belgium. It's quite good, but if the idea of a French language film about poor people doesn't interest you, then sure, there's no glamour there. 
True Romance
 I LOVE THIS FILM. Like, genuinely love it. It was written by Tarantino and stars Christian Slater, with a cameo from Gary Oldman that is the most ridiculous thing I've seen. Do I actually have to say more to make you watch it? Good.
How the FUCK this won best picture I don't know. It's entertaining, sure, but so is Easy A, and I don't remember that winning any oscars... It's not even vaguely accurate in terms of plot, and American actions were the reason Americans were stuck in Iran anyway, but let's not mention that. U-S-A, U-S-A!!! Lol jk, but that pissed me off a bit. It's not like I hated it, and I might just casually drop "argo fuck yourself" in conversation every now and again.
I'm not entirely sure why I watched all of this. The entire premise is just incorrect- that we only use 11% of our brains or whatever. In which case, why are head injuries so dangerous? Why is a brain tumor one of the most dangerous things to have? Pls, hollywood, pls author of original book, try harder. Don't bother watching this, it might even be good, but I spent the entire time thinking about the basis of the film being SO FUCKING WRONG. 
Ok, this is gonna make me sound really weird, but I'm really intrigued by the Zodiac killings in and around San Francisco  so this was the perfect film for me! Well, not exactly, I'm not the biggest fan of Mark Ruffalo. But from an impartial point of view, this is a good film, well directed (take a bow David Fincher), so yeah, tis good. 
 The Angel's Share   
Ok, this is a left-wing film about whisky making/stealing in Scotland. This is the perfect film for me!  I really, really enjoyed it, obviously. They steal the best whisky in the world by filling Irn Bru bottles with it. It what way could this not be the best thing ever? I've just made it sound really patronising, which it surprisingly isn't. It's all good. 
This is a film about code breakers in Bletchley Park during WW2, and while I am veryveryvery happy that there is a film about breaking the enigma code (FUCK YEAH, THE DEVELOPMENT OF MODERN COMPUTERS) I'd have appreciated it more if wasn't about a rather boring love quadrangle and more about science/beating the nazis. Jus' sayin'.   

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Books/Films in February


Antigone by Sophocles: Yeah, read this for classics. It's not even the best play I read this month. All the characters annoy the fuck out of you and then die. Much fun. 
Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan: A good book about a niche subject- the jazz scene in Berlin as WW2 broke out. I don't think the whole flashback POV didn't work for me, but hey. It was pretty awesome. 
Dead Aid by Dambisa Moyo: Read this for geography really, works on theory that large amounts of aid = dependency on aid. True story. While I agree, I don't think Moyo's idea of withdrawing all aid is a good idea- it would be better to restructure the aid that is given, so that it is given to the people who need it, rather than to governments (although I agree that investment in Countries is more important than aid. 
The forever war by Joe Hallderman: Badass sci-fi book. There's a reason it was number one in the sci-fi masterworks series. It is both exciting (there's a lot of explosions) and raises actual important issues e.g. what is the point of war? Why do we fight for a society no-one particularly enjoys? 
Love is a mixtape by Rob Sheffield: Like, oh my god, it's me in the future! (Hopefully my wife won't suddenly die, though) this is a true story of one guy and his tapes, and what the songs on these tape mean to him. It's pretty awesome. 
The Man who was Thursday by G.K Chesterton: This book was really weird and philosophical and cool and I still don't think I understand it. It's a pretty interesting meta-physical thiller, so if that sounds good, read it. 
Medea by Euripides: Bitches be crazy. She kills her own children to get back at her dickhead husband. Standard. And definitely better than Sophocles on the Greek Tragedy scale. 


Dogville: This film is pretty awesome, but it is also really long and will make you hate humanity (but restored my faith in Pasha's film taste)- also it made me actually like Nicole Kidman. So yeah, it's good. 
Top Gun: I hate to say this, because I know a lot of people really love this film, but it's crap. It's not even exciting. I'm sorry. 
Heathers: THIS IS AMAZING. It's like a violent mean girls- the main characters go on a darkly hilarious killing spree. The line "oh, fuck me gently with a chainsaw" in the first ten minutes. Winona Ryder is so fit. Christian Slater is so fit. And even better: THEY CAN ACTUALLY ACT! "Dear diary, my teen angst bullshit now has a bodycount." WATCH IT. 
Rampart: A film about a corrupt cop, which isn't very good, but it's certainly better than the 5.9 out of 10 on IMDB, I don't even know how that happened. It's more of a seven, though I probably wouldn't recommend it. 
 Zero Dark Thirty: I actually really liked this (though I still think point break is my favourite Bigelow movie, hands down). Jessica Chastain gives an awesome performance, and the script is excellent.