Guilty Pleasures, everybody has a few…

Dear Pizzerias, chocolate makers, real ale makers, fast food producers, coffee houses, Rick Astley, other creators of cheesy yet glorious tunes (most artists active in the 80s, and you Carly Rae, and you Taylor Swift…) Thank you Tommy Wiseau, thank you Claudio Fergasso, thank you Chester Novel Turner, Edward D Wood Jr, Jean-Claude Van-Damme, thank you Troma productions, thank you amateur filmmakers everywhere.

You people are the ones who fill my life with colour, the ones who give me the utmost in pleasure. I love fast food, heavy ales, the sweetest of sweet confections. I love campy music, it always manages to raise a smile and warm the cockles of my cynical heart.

(as I write this I have the magnum opus of young Edward D Wood Jr, ‘Plan 9 from Outer Space’)


When we were safe…

I had left the courtroom and for the first time in what seemed like forever, I felt like the weight of the world had been lifted off my shoulders. It had seemed like an eternity since I’d known a peaceful life, one where I could not leave my family for ten minutes without fearing that it would be the last time I would have seen them. I should have known better than to tangle with loan sharks, I should have known that by trying to secure my families’ future via these vile predators, I had actually put more than just our home at risk. But that was all over now, consigned to the annals of a nightmarish history.

I picked up my phone and scrolled through the contacts until I found her, I felt a celebratory breakfast was in order. It had been so long since we’d felt able to go out somewhere for a good meal, and I had just the place in mind, the cafe where we first met five years ago. I’d got there early and sat straight in our booth, just around the corner from the counter, the smell of coffee and freshly baked goods brought with them a wave of joy. I looked out the window and saw my trio of angels standing at the traffic lights, the youngest so eager to press the button that made the little green man appear. I felt the phone vibrate again, without thinking I took the call, and a voice every bit as cold as the crisp morning air said something that sent ice through my phone and into my bloodstream.

‘Congratulations on winning the case, I expect that you think you’re debt problems are over eh? Think you’ve cheated me out of that £10,000 you owe me you snake?’

The traffic light turned amber

‘Well I have some good news for you Tommy boy, I’m a honourable man and I fully respect the word of the law. They say the debt’s illegal, and that you don’t owe me a penny. I accept the court’s ruling and from this day forwards, you can kiss your debt goodbye.’

…green, hands linked, they stepped out onto the road. Tears began to fill my eyes, but the emotion behind them had since changed drastically, I tried to motion to them to turn, to go back. But they simply waved back at me.

‘However this poses me a challenge Tom. Thanks to you, I’ve made a loss, and I’m not a man who likes to lose. It hurts me buddy, leaves a void, understand? Since I’m not allowed to take a penny off you, I’ve had to get creative about how best to solve this little conundrum, and I think I’ve come up with a solution which will make us even…’

‘RUN!’ I screamed through both the window and my haze of tears ‘RUN!’

I heard the engines rev. I saw the car hurtling towards it’s defenceless targets. I heard the screams, the sickening thud and the engines fade into the distance.

Do Today.

In short, there are times when you should wait and times when you should Carpe Diem. Currently, as I sit here writing this blog (and when writing the deeply personal previous Daily Post response) I have been taken back to times where I perhaps waited too long to do something, like enter short stories for competition or running for Students Union positions, only for deadlines to pass. There are times when you just need to jump straight in and follow your heart/desires. In the modern labour market, the emphasis is growing more and more on people being proactive rather than reactive. Rather than waiting for job offers to come along, it would be more worthwhile to volunteer to help out on projects, to help get your face and your work known. This is certainly something I wish I’d done whilst at Uni, just gone out and done rather than sit back and wait for whatever reason.

However, as I said at the start of the blog post, there are things that in my eyes are worth waiting for. Those things being truly rewarding relationships. I say this as a single man, but nevertheless, the best relationships are those which have been crafted over a long period of time. Relationships need time to build, time to allow those involved to learn everything about each other, to be able to look past the physical attraction and to build a mental connection as well. Relationships need time for people to discover each others’ foibles, weaknesses and insecurities and to learn to love the other for them. In love, good things do indeed come to those who wait, you will find the right one in the end and will be forever grateful for the time you invested.

You’re not quite a wizard, Anthony.

I come across my decade younger self waiting for me at the coffee shop. Bedecked in a wonderful wizards tunic made lovingly by my grandmother (black tunic pebble-dashed with silver wizard-y things, and a hat!) I say hello to younger Anthony and he says hello back, in a monotoned voice, not quite returning my gaze. Before I share a coffee and dispense my words of wisdom, I have a little fun. I joke that that was not a very energetic way to greet older you, pull your socks up and try again! Immediately, younger me reaches down and yanks his socks as high up his legs as he can manage, then says hello in a more enthusiastic manner.

I order us both a coffee (a mocha for me, and a hot chocolate for my junior counterpart) and sit down to business.

‘What I’m here to tell you, is that life over the next ten years is going to be very much like riding an almost physically impossible rollercoaster.’ I decide that being straight with my younger self is the best way to go, hearing the hard truth has always been the best way for me to learn and change.

‘First and foremost, High School is going to be a reasonably unpleasant time, kids like us, damaged through no fault of our own both physically and mentally are seen as fair game for the immature workings of the teenage brain. You will feel that every whispered comment, every bit of laughter, every private exchange between friends will be at your expense. Taunts and even the occasional physical attack will occur, but you must always remember that you will make it out OK on the other side. You will be fine, there will be times when you break down and made to feel lower than the belly of a dead and buried snake, where tears will flow, but you will make it through. My one piece of advice would be to carefully consider who you choose as friends, because if not you will make some terrible choices (although admittedly it will be friends of those you choose as friends who will show the most intolerant attitudes, those who will not accept you because of the way you are. But once again, you will be fine, there will be good days and there will be some happy memories. However the most lasting will be the negatives.’

I notice 12 year old me’s face fall slightly and I put a reassuring hand on his shoulder.

‘Once High School finishes, life improves. Sixth Form is by and large filled with decent memories. One piece of advice I would give is perhaps choose your A-level topics a little more wisely and with a bit more thought into where you want to go once you leave, or perhaps even consider going to a different college. AS-Level Biology is going to be hellish, perhaps you may be better off trying your hand at Performing Arts or perhaps Law, or perhaps try a more scientific route. By and large though, Sixth Form is pretty decent. However I would recommend getting some ID sorted as soon as possible, and for GOODNESS SAKE, take it easier at the Sixth Form ball (English version of Prom), embarrassingly drunk will not cover it!’

‘Getting into University will be one of the best things you do, even during the time where you will struggle for jobs, you will still never regret a second. It is the place where you truly find yourself, where you meet the best people you ever will have known. You will live, study and socialise with some great people who will help you to come out of your shell. Again those, on some nights take it easier with the drink, embarrassment will not cover it (and one particular meme will always float around on the internet for all eternity, go easy. You will love your graduation day, whilst also hating it. It will mark the end of a great period in your life, one which you may struggle to let go of whilst you stagnate back in the village you came from, back with the parents, and one where joblessness and living on the dole seems an unfortunate end to such promise! Another piece of advice, run for the Student’s Union committee in some form (never president), because it will be something you will regret at nights when writing blog entries about meeting your decade-younger self.’

After this, younger Anthony begins to perk up and a smile forms across his face.

‘I guess my advice for the next ten years is this; don’t be afraid to express yourself, be the person you are today back then, have a laugh, make jokes about yourself and your (ahem!) shortcomings, run for more drama productions, run for more extra-cirricular activities. When you go to Uni, same thing again, run for everything you can, get involved with the student paper, student radio, students’ union committee, find a part time job. Snatch every opportunity you are given and never, ever, EVER be made to feel less of a person because of the way you were born. You are capable, you are smart, you can be talented and you will find a way in the world.’

Test before you request!

The year is 2214, and some intrepid antique collector purchases the dusty old murky hard-drive of your humble narrator. In his curiousity, he purchased the strange mythical relic and immediately teleported home to show his Kryten-esque android and demand answers. What is this? How did those savages in the 21st Century get by using such basic technology? Who do you think owned it? The android offers to run the hard drive through his oral socket. What do you think they would find?

First of all that this hard drive once belonged to a gentleman by the name of Anthony …

The contents indicate that he was a youngish man, I would also assume he was single, given the presence of this risque material.
He must have worked from home, in some kind of marketing capacity, this drive is littered with databases and quotes and enquiries etc. He must have had a penchant for writing, as there are several stories here. However he must have been quite unfocused as these don’t appear to ever have been finished. During the period of time the hard drive covers, he must have been a desperate job seeker, as there are several copies of his CV. Evidently he enjoyed periods of ‘fun’ (the spending of time in a profitless, non-practical way) in between his work/failed storytelling, as I can detect several saves of an old game known as ‘Football Manager’ (clearly he spent a lot of profitless time on this!)

Upon completion, the android regurgitated the relic and handed it back to his owner. ‘Sure is fascinating to see what life was like back in the 21st Century huh sir?’

Should this ever really happen, I’d be genuinely curious to know how those in the 23rd century would view how we lived back here in the 21st?