Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Scheduling mix up

In Downton Abbey the week before last one character was lampooned for putting something akin to boot polish in his hair to look younger and it sort of reminded me of myself because this year I’ve taken half-hearted steps to arrest the signs of age. The face I look at in the mirror is every bit 38 going on 39. For years I cheated age. Every year I’d get the students to guess my age and in aggregate they thought I was in my early 20s when I was in my mid 30s. Even Westerners got caught out. I remember being at a friend’s place in Beijing about 3 years ago and his American flatmate being shocked when I told him I was 35. He thought I was about 23. But I’d say in the space of two years it’s now all caught up with me. The hair is now greying and thinning, the skin less elastic, the eyes sunken so that a second bag is clearly defined. I don’t look a bad 38 but certainly not a good one. There are much better specimens-née 1975- out there than me. David Beckham, Russell Brand, Enrique Iglesias. Their far better diets and better genes make them look great at 38 but my body is showing clear signs of middle age. So what is to be done? Well I’m grateful to my body for the reminder that life is short. But that said there are 2 ways of approaching the 40s, 50s and beyond. Like a pot bellied aging man who has some sort of ceasefire agreement with the aging process or like a rock star. You are eternally under 40 if you are a rock star. Rock is a young man’s universe. So rock stars, as you know, dye their hair. Rock stars wear Converse All Stars, jeans and t-shirts. Where do I see myself in all this? Neither here nor there. My anti-aging regime this year has to been to buy a hair max comb and not use it, join the gym and stop going, buy a bottle of Grecian 2000 that I forget to apply, to take my vitamins only sporadically. And not eat 5 a day. I am definitely an unemployed, poverty line 38, not a prime of life, power citizen 38. Of course, I could do the gym and the diet without resorting to fakery. There’s something about laser combs and dye which is just not me. Your hair is supposed to fall out, that’s why it happens. It’s like leaves falling off trees in Autumn. It’s a beautiful thing and I dig it. It’s all part of the wheel of life. Trying to ignore middle age is like sun bathing in November. But here’s the thing. There’s been a scheduling mix up here. Middle age, I'm all for it, but I wasn’t supposed to look this age ’til I was 41 or rather, I’m not quite ready. I’m still in my 30s for goodness sake. So all I’m contemplating doing is slowing things down somewhat so that they happen at the right time. I’ll let you know if I use that comb again.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Stepping Up

If you’re not familiar with the format of this blog- if you’ve just joined us- you might not know that this a blog about being habitually single, being ordinary and chronicling my attempts to walk a bit faster in the rat race so that I fashion a life of fulfillment. However in the face of that I should make a confession.  I feel I should add- at the risk of boring my readers- that in fact for me trying to be more successful should not be a priority.  Yes I court success- measured as sexual happiness/finding a partner, scoring career goals and financial security, going to nice places, doing exciting things, surrounded by friends and so on...  But I can’t help feeling personally that that is all a bit of a red herring.  Above all I crave a world where people are kinder, more honest and more responsible and I know that starts with me.  You might say the two are not mutually exclusive and I hope they are not but I fear they are all too often. We often think achievements in art, sport and career are important. We get carried with all this.  Truthfully, I think they are in no way interchangeable with honesty, kindness and responsibility.  These just seem like fine words until you begin to realise that often you lash out at the world when your dreams are threatened and become dishonest, unkind and irresponsible.  In China they all think they should have a dream.  But a dream is something you need to wake up from.  As I continue to write this blog I’ll try to show how tough moral choices have to be made and how I’m actually a bit half hearted about the success game as we know it. 

Anyways...Saturday met Sue in Folkestone, then Burlesque in the evening.  But what is there to say?  Ok,bigger stepped in dog turds in Folkestone than Margate and a busker playing ‘Love in song’ by McCartney was a surprise.  Would definitely not have thrown 50 pence in his guitar case if he’d been playing BOTR or JET. Stephanie claimed town centre was 25 minutes walk.  Wasn’t even 10.  Little things like that baffle my logical side.  I don’t think it was reluctance on her part.  We chatted about the ghost venture in a cafe.  She wants to do a stake out at Pluckley Woods.  Shook her left hand with my left hand as her other had a cigarette in it. Limp shake, possibly limp meeting.  She sounded a bit like David Beckham.  “As I say, Folkestone used to be better than it is now,” she said with small variation several times.  Added on Facebook.  Her profile pic is one of her holding a cigarette but not possible to say which hand.

Burlesque was a bit brash.  The entertainment for the masses version.  Burlesque body, Panto chassis.  There was a Chinese woman all dressed up in 20s finery on my table who throughly enjoyed it, tho.  One joke from the compere: ‘This is my mother I’ve got something to tell you outfit.’  There was a topical joke about Scotland and Rolf Harris but I forget what they were.  One that applied to me, calling Margate ‘Housing Benefit Office on Sea.’  The Winter Gardens theatre is another legendary theatre.  Beatles played there 3 nights in a row and Gerry and the Pacemakers playing in October.  Very grand interior, over looks the sea.  Blah blah blah.

So to last night, I think I had a realisation.  I had a bit of time to think because my door continuously slamming neighbours downstairs were having a party and it ran ’til about 4.00 AM.  Then the fire alarm went off and didn’t stop until about 8.  The realisation has been churning for a few weeks but last night it really felt settled.  In a sense, I’ve always lived in a fantasy world.  I’ve imagined that a life that feels like it’s got underway will materialise.  But it hasn’t.  It’s true that as unemployed layabouts go, I have some exciting projects on the side.  A novel, a film, an album, a documentary, two GCSEs, a bit of Chinese self-study, 50 odd short stories on the go and this blog to name about half the things I’m working on.  But these can break as much as make me.  My refusal to focus on any particular one, but instead switch between them and Yahoo cat videos and hours of Youtube hasn’t helped.  But where is it all going?  The realisation was- I suppose- that I’ve got to step up a gear.  I know I can do it.  It will take a level of maturity and concentration that I’m not exercising as yet.  It’s a bit like Liverpool.  They can either step up to the plate or they can watch one of the real contenders hold it aloft.  But whichever way I slice, dice it, mince it or marinate it (to use the full expression taught me by Rev Q) I can’t rely on psychics, a sense of entitlement or hope to see me through.  I’ve got to focus diligently and patiently on hard stuff and not expect results this season.  In case you’re thinking this clashes with the first paragraph- no, no, no.  Not completely.  In my chaos, there is order.  That diligence includes doing all the responsible and honest and kind things too.  I hope.

Friday, 19 September 2014

And I didn't say anything about Tinder

Ah, Friday night with Radio Jedna and a cup of tea.  Things could be worse.  But still, High Fidelity is a getting-ready-to-go-out-show and most Friday nights I’ve stayed indoors.  So it’s never without a tinge of regret that I’m not in Prague when I listen to it.  Going out somewhere.  I lived in Prague for a year and I’ve been back many times since.  So many that I’ve now lost count.  Where am I now?  I’m in a holding pattern.  I’m in a decompression chamber.  I’m in a cocoon.  And when I emerge I’ll flutter my wings- show the girls how bright the colours are- earn revenue, pay my taxes- die.
Ok, that depressing thought over with let’s get the news flash going.  Rev Q is back on board.  He had to be, I had to swallow my pride, ‘fess up, I had been a little hasty.  I started chronicling the comedy or errors yesterday, but there was more to come.  I don’t have the will power to tell about all of them, I’ll just paste this evaluation of a Life Purpose Reading that was given to me by Althea.

Hi Althea,
Thanks for your lovely reading. I'm figuring you might be curious to know how accurate it was. I'll take you through it.
You are an artist. A highly creative person.
Correct so far. Most of my time is taken up with creative pursuits.
I see you as creative in:
  • Cooking
  • Photography
  • Writing
I have no time for cooking, I'm far too busy with projects that mean something to me. If I could just eat a pill each day I would. I'm not a bad cook when I put my mind to it but it takes me about 3 times longer than anybody else. I've taken lots of photos in my time but I mainly don't see the point in it and just follow the crowd posting the odd pic on Facebook. It's one of the artistic pursuits I put the least store by.
And also, you live near some expansive, beautiful land. (Since I get readings from all over the world, I’m not sure where you live.) But I do see a ranch, horses, just land that expands for miles with dots of homes, rather than a congested area like New York, or suburban sprawl like Atlanta. It’s like the ranches in Texas, or flatlands like in Australia.
I live in Thanet in England, which is a highly congested area but I'll award one mark because it is by the sea and I suppose you could say that that is the expansive bit. However, dots of houses, no. Ranch, horses, no.
That’s the kind of place you need to live. Living in nature will inspire you to take your skills to the next level. Become a professional. Do videos. Publish your own books.
In short, start your own business, combining all of your passions. And spend A LOT of time outside. Nature is what inspires you, and increases your spiritual connection to God.
This is not really nature. Thanet has bits of nature and I do appreciate them but it is mainly urban and suburban. Does nature inspire me? Not....exactly. I love nature but l love architecture and cities too. Artistically nature is not particularly inspiring, spiritually it isn't my first port of call either- music is my first love. Yes, I've had a special experience in a beautiful place and the setting helped but it was a holiday romance so... for me who I'm with is the most important thing. I like what you said about starting a business that combines my passions because I have a big problem with consolidating my 30 or so interests. However, most of these require me to be indoors.
Your life will only get better with age. That, I can promise you. Your 40s are going to ROCK. You are going to wish you had been born at the age of 40 .
Hope so! :-) But I cannot comment on this as it's a prediction.
Overall, 4/10
Thanks again for the reading,

Hugs, J.

Perhaps Althea's reading will make more sense with the passing of time but for the time being Q is my kind of guy.  I’ve studied his faults but now I’ve learned to let them pass.  This time I won’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.  His let’s make lots of money philosophy doesn’t sit with me as well as might with his other clients but I am lazy and I need some one to kick me.  I am glass half empty, I need someone glass totally full.  Rev Q is outrageously optimistic.  He seems to think I can get a job that pays 3500 pounds per month by January.  Actually I don’t think he thinks that at all.  I think it’s all an act to get me off my butt and see how far I go.  But we did spent quite a bit of time last night going through jobs on British websites.  If I tried to shoot something down, he’d say- you can do that- you have transferable skills.  And he got a text from one of his clients saying she’d just got a job as an exec, so it seems he has a track record.  He said all his clients are successful and I wasn’t going to fail on his watch.  He asked to look at my CV and quite rightly identified things about it which “suck" and gave me homework.  Make fifty pounds by next week, and fix my CV.  Then I'm going to apply for 9 jobs a day.

So this might work.  And besides, the guy gave me a 90 minute session last night, it was supposed to be 7-10 minutes.  This is dedication, no? 

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Sold my star player

Sacked my tarot card reader (reasonably nicely) and immediately felt it was a mistake.  I’m not too concerned as to whether the REV Q is ‘genuine' or ‘fake', or something in-between: he was great to talk to.  You’ve got to take the rough with the smooth and I didn’t take the rough, which is that he is very poor at the little courtesies like replying to messages!  I ordered a 25 dollar gig to keep him sweet- rather than a 5 dollar one- which is really all I wanted and he messages me to suggest Friday.  So I message back to suggest a time and then days later nothing and when Friday comes nothing and so I go on Skype and he’s not there.  As he’s already marked the gig delivered I mark request modification to keep it live and he immediately messages on Skype to say he is going off into the mountains with his boyfriend, he’ll do the reading in 2 hours when he gets there.  3 hours later, nothing.  Next morning no message of apology.  Of course, he has an excuse, he was miles from anywhere with a signal, wifi etc which is very plausible in the big ole US of A with its millions of square miles of wilderness.  Now as this is a repeat of the first gig when he didn’t answer my message and I had to request a modification to get his attention.  I’m beginning to see in the cold light of day that he doesn’t check his inbox and maybe that’s because he’s very busy or...fill in the blank... and it should be weighed up against how great he is when you actually get to talk to him.  I guess I was also a little wary of him because in my first (and last, as it turns out) session with him he said to me that my next gig would be a money tree reading, which I could order off his website.  I checked out his website and saw the reading would be 99 dollars and for a while this put me in a quandary.  He was trying to up sell from 4 dollars (his profit on Fiverr) to 99 by the power of suggestion through Skype.  Well it didn’t work.  I’m too cynical. 

So, having lost my talisman I was flush with cash (25 dollars) but unlikely to plug the gap with a player or players of commensurate calibre.    Two I ordered had to be refunded when the sellers said they couldn’t deliver.  One was a Lenormand reading.  Only allowed to ask one question.  Ok, my question was ‘When will I meet my next girlfriend.’  Seller replies she can only give advice on how to increase my chances of meeting.   For the most part I can advise myself on that.  Gig cancelled.  Other gig was a woman who promises to increase your confidence around women.  15 minute laser session.  Having advertised that she does Skype readings she says she’s not allowed to do them.  Gig cancelled.  I had a time-management coaching session with a woman in Dallas which felt amateur but something good may come from it if I follow her suggestions.
They amounted to, check out the The Pomodoro Technique, (wonder if she googled that as lesson prep), dig deep inside yourself to ask yourself why these things are so important and take some time out to go to a bar and be around people so you can charge yourself creatively.  Rev Q where are you when I need you?   I was hoping she would take charge and talk some sense into me like Alex Ferguson.  She left me feeling a bit ermmm, ok.  Like Alan Pardew?
(My sympathies to him).   Ok, enough football metaphors.  I’m not even that into football anyway.  Bottom line is, I don’t want to knock her confidence or damage her business so 4 and a half stars.  Plausible deniability.

Ok, one iffy deal.  Four to go.

Friday, 12 September 2014

iphone schmyphone

First science class on Tuesday. Before I went I had tea (as in early dinner but also had a cup of tea) at a cafe in Canterbury Road.  A man sitting on a motorbility scooter asked me if I’d seen the news about the boy who had a hammer in his head.  I said no.  A tall drug addict I’d seen bum a drag on a cigarette at the bus stop walked in and asked for something, then walked out again, pulling the hood of his hoodie up over his head.  I wondered if it was the same guy I saw in the Job Centre who drenched one of the staff in a volley of expletives and insults.  Later I took a bus to the campus at Broadstairs.  There were 12 students including me, 10 of them female.  Turns out it’s only the foundation course so maximum exam grade will be a B.  On Wednesday they delivered the Thanet local newspaper to our apartment building and I picked up a copy and saw the hammer in head story.  One guy attacked his gay flatmate as he slept.  It was quite a colourful story but no less so than the one I’d read the week before.  I had my first Maths lesson Wednesday.  Class was full and this time many more men though possibly still out numbered by women. The teacher kept having to speak over the students at the back, which really shouldn’t be necessary in an evening class.  Had my second gym session yesterday, this time focusing on my arms.  Some of the weights chosen for me had to be reduced.  Shortly after I got back from the gym my Samsung S5 was delivered.  I waited until the launch of iPhone 6 to see what it’s spec would be and it’s still using an 8 mega pixel camera with HD video.  As video is important to me the UHD with 16 mega pixel stills you get on the Samsung wins hands down.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Moan day

Had to phone up my fitness instructor yesterday and re-schedule my second session because I haven’t recovered from the first one I had on Saturday morning. He seemed understanding, “I did push you quite hard” he said. The fact is, I can hardly walk. I hobbled down to the doctor for my first appointment in Margate, re: my acne- which has been with me for 20 years and flared up on my chest of late. My new GP is an attractive young woman still in training.  She asked me if the acne affects my moods.  I said it does to some extent because I'm not presentable and she responded by asking if I’d like to book another appointment with regard to my moods- (i.e would I like anti-depressants). I said if she was talking about anti-depressants (she was) I prefer to generate positivity under my own steam. She asked to have a look and I undid my shirt buttons then did my shirt back up putting the buttons in the wrong holes and sat for the rest of the appointment in an odd posture, trying to cover up the fact that I’d done this whilst feeling sure that she was conscious that I had done so and was thinking about it. I met my step-dad at midday at the station. He’d come over to help me sand and stain my shelf. I’ve got to apply the final coat tomorrow and put it up, which will be a first. Whilst we were doing this I got a call from Sue. She is trying to start a paranormal group in Folkestone and I rang her up yesterday to say I was interested, having seen her online ad and we agreed to meet in 2 weeks. Today she was ringing me to ask if I wanted to be a co-founder. I asked her what the entails and she said I would be above the others but below her in the group hierarchy. What others? There aren’t any as yet. I’m a little apprehensive of where this is all going but I've always wanted to join a paranormal group and here is one almost on my doorstep so I think it’s best just to meet and see what happens.
Later, we went into town and the highlight of our afternoon seemed to be a tour of the German cut price supermarket Aldi, though looking at overpriced fridges in the Heart Foundation shop came a close second. We had a nice meal in The Gallery, a cheap gastro pub with 6 HD screens. Well I did. I enjoyed my feta cheese stuffed pepper and garlic bread, David said his steak was too chewy.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Dating for losers

So we have established that if I were a footballer I would be playing in the bottom division or non league, as indeed I would if I were actually playing football.  Staring into the barrel of sub mediocrity as I am, I guess it’s no surprise that a book called 'The definite guide to meeting, dating and dumping, if necessary' fell into my hands.  It is common sense but knowledge is a funny thing.  You don’t exist in a state of knowing or not knowing like binary code records things as on or off, but sort of knowing.  And sort of knowing is knowing but not knowing.  So sometimes to have things spelt out for you helps.  Some things you might take exception to.  I would never hit a woman or fart on a dinner date or but I was only reasonably confident of many of the book's tips.  It’s like so many things in life.  In effect, this book is like stone soup.  It really asks you to provide all the ingredients- nice car, nice job, nice teeth, nice clothes, nice manners but it’s magic is that it may persuade you to provide them, just like the clever old woman or soldiers depending on the variation of the tale, persuade the mean villagers to stop hiding their light under a bushel.  What a wonderful metaphor that story contains, an all time favourite of mine.

Monday, 1 September 2014

New month, new strategy. I had a tarot reading the other day- my first in over 16 years- and the oracle seemed to be saying that I'd have a girlfriend by January at the latest. But it’s like the joke about God and the lottery ticket, there is some effort that will be required on my part. I must say I have seen some nice looking women recently and over the weekend that inspired me to seriously consider areas I can work on. When I went to withdraw the rent on Friday I was served by a woman of Indian or Pakistani descent, I would guess early thirties. She was average looking-very non symmetrical- but I was strangely beguiled by her. There was something about the bone structure around her eyes that I found very attractive. She may be married, we may have nothing in common but I would like her to know just for her own sake that she is my Miss Natwest.

Then when I went to the letting agency to pay the rent I met a fair haired woman of a similar age who was plump and ample and is a freelance TEFL teacher. The lady in Natwest was now a vague memory. I had now seen absolutely where the bar had been set for me. She was just exactly the size I like and had a sweet and gentle manner about her. If she was way too high for the likes of me then I’ll have to make sure this doesn't happen again by jumping through a few hoops until my Badoo rating rises from the 4.00 it currently rests at when I’m in the UK (I average about a 7 when I’m in Prague- somewhere in-between in China).

I actually started thinking about what my whole life has been so far. I never really refused many- I didn't have that luxury- to to put it another way I never had strength in depth, as they say about football teams. Now supposing I were a 10 and not a 4 of course this would make things easier. I’d have a far larger catalog to select a match from.

As things stand, there is a lot of work to do. I’m podgy, spotty, broke, carless, getting on a bit and not very visible either to those who may be interested in my potential. Of course, I don’t envisage bumping myself up to a 10. What is a 10, anyway? A premier league footballer? Matt from Downton Abbey? Colin Firth in his heyday?

Let's put rock stars, actors and billionaires in one group and call these people 10s. We can say that a TV producer, high profile lawyer, property developer, art dealer etc is a 9. They hang out with the famous but aren't famous themselves. At 8 just below these are people who are wealthy but less glamorous. They still drive nice cars and live in big houses. Maybe they run a marketing company or are a barrister or something but they don't quite have the cache of a 9.

You know what, I haven't even got to 7 yet and I'm thinking I'm lucky to even have been rated a 4. Actually until recently my rating was indeed less than 4. You'd think ratings are based on looks but I just don't think it works that way with girls. They'll be picking up on all sorts of other subtle things, like the clothes I'm wearing and what they can see in the photograph that give an indication of my net worth, self-respect and ambition. So let's forget this talk of how far I might be able to improve and say that significant improvement is the goal.

I went for my induction at the leisure centre at 10.00. Did my back in slightly I would say.  You're not supposed to strain yourself in an induction.  I also had a hair cut and bought 2 shirts (every item of clothing one pound) in the Cats in Crisis charity shop (I was very very discriminating) and flirted a bit with a Lithuanian mother who was working in the shop and had her daughter with her. My flirting skills are non existent really. I simply talk to someone and if they like the look of me they will be naturally receptive. Judging by her friendly response I might be as high as 7 but it must be a Slav thing, see what I said earlier about Prague.