I like to think of myself as a moderately social person. In my younger days you could often see me languishing about clubs in the early hours of the morning, surrounded by many a chum. My social activities at present are rather more tame, but get out and see people I do. When I don't feel like seeing people, I do what any respectable person would. Retreat to the sofa and watch TV until my eyes bleed.
Sometimes however, there is an incongruity between what I want to do and what my friends feel like doing. I would like to do something, and they would like to do nothing. This is a period of high personal vulnerability. Bearing in mind I also have literally no initiative when it comes to organising my social activities and tend to just wait for people to contact me. It's at THIS precise moment, when I'm sitting along in my house, waiting for my phone to do something, that this then occurs.
I scuttle over to my phone, imagining all the fun I am going to have with my as yet unspecified friend.
Enjoy a salad
Watch a movie
Partake in healthy, outdoor pursuits
Laugh at your friend's really old phone
Then I realise who wants to talk to me.
I don't know HOW O2 knows how I'm feeling like this, but they always do. Because of the already sad feelings brewing inside me, the blow is is particularly crushing. The pièce de résistance occurs when the offending text is informing me that I am out of calling credit. It's like O2 is saying to me
'Not only are you a loner, you're broke as fuck too. Have a nice day :D'
This may sound like a bizarre topic of conversation, but I swear it makes perfect sense and has nothing to do with real tumours. It could quite easily have been called 'Musical Fungal Infections' or 'Musical Tapeworms'.
In order to properly explain what a musical tumour is, first the 'Scale of Music' needs to be discussed. The Scale of Music is a simple way of classifying popular song and is comprised of two extremes. At one end you have your high brow thinking man's music; James Blake, The Knife, Bjork, Postal Service, anything by Laurie Anderson. The sort of bands you quote at people when you're desperately trying to impress them.
At the other you have your gratuitously cheesy bubblegum pop. The Venga Boys, Blue, The Glee Soundtrack. The sort of stuff you sing along to at weddings and when your doing housework. Stuff at this end is hardcore guilty pleasure, you love it, but that love is tinged with self loathing.
In the middle lies the Twilight Zone, Top 40 bands which in no way are going to alter your perception of the Universe, but are a far cry from Gina G. Bands like Coldplay, Maroon 5 and the Arctic Monkeys. Inoffensive 'four chords and the truth' set-ups. It's within THIS zone that the musical tumour is born.
A musical tumour is an artist, band, or even a song that you DESPERATELY don't want to like but eventually do. They grow on you against your will; like a tumour. My most recent encounter with this phenomenon at the hands of the ginger haired guitar swinger Ed Sheeran. When he first began gracing the airwaves of British popular radio stations I was all like:
Three Short Months Later......
This pattern has repeated itself many times. Over the Summer I had to begrudgingly accept that I did like Coldplay, after a long period of solid scorn.
The most bitter pill to swallow was my emerging love of The Smiths. For years I had hated the Smiths, and I had not been quiet about it.You could almost define me as a person by my hatred of The Smiths. You know how some people are good listeners, or enjoy painting? I hated The Smiths. It was universal and all encompassing. It's what I did.
Sometimes I feel that my own particular sense of style has resulted in me missing some of the more crucial fashion opportunities available on today's high street. Being as I am, both pretentious and stingy, there are only a few outlets that can effectively cater to my needs.
This has left me with a slightly warped view of the high street, both in the availability of items present, and what they should cost. As I am very used to the two extremes of the shopping experience, ie getting specifically what you are looking for (the internet) to rummaging through stuff that smells like cat pee and hoping for the best (charity shops). Subsequently I find traditional shops a slightly baffling episode. I've got a bit better over the last couple of years, and now quite enjoy high street shopping. It's nice to wear clothes that don't make me look like I should be pushing a shopping trolley full of plastic bags. Every so often however, I overstretch myself, and attempt a shop that is far, far outside of my sphere of understanding. I resent these brands from a distance, but these resentments are primarily unfounded. Every so often I decide that these prejudices are foolish and I should face them head on and conquer them. It's not good to go through life holding such opinions with no experience to back them up.
There is one sub sect of the market for which I hold a particular hate. The Jack-Wills/Abercrombie and Fitch corner. They sell comfy looking clothes for £60 a pop. I don't understand why that is a fashion statement, to look like you've spent less on your clothes than you actually have. Take Jack Wills jogging bottoms. Jogging bottoms were created to mop up your sweaty arse while you exercise. That is literally the entire reason for them existing and you're willing to fork out two nights out equivalent cash for the privilege of looking like you may have a sweaty arse. But not any more, because your magnificent jogging bottoms have soaked up those bodily fluids like a motherfucking champ.
I feel like this based on almost no personal experience so off I popped to a shop that displays all of the qualities I have described above and more. Hollister.
I hate Hollister. This was the primary conclusion that I drew from my brief but highly impressionable experience with it. I don't understand it. Any of it. More than anything else, it's the OPPOSITE of what you want from shopping. Here's my basic requirements for a shop:
Hollister does not fill ANY of these requirements. Here's what shopping in Hollister is like:
I think the idea was that you were meant to feel like you were in a cool house party. But also shopping. This is a combination that doesn't really mesh. After being accosted by shop assistants who were trying to be my friends, I blundered around looking for something, anything that I could relate to. The shop was set out much in the style of a labyrinth. I feared I may grow old and die there. Layout aside, I then decided to focus on the clothes.
Nothing was apparently for sale. This made deciding whether or not to purchase something nigh on impossible. I'm assuming that Hollister caters exclusively for those who are financially independent, and don't have to worry about silly things like how many noughts are on the end of something before they buy it.
I got scared, and left.
In conclusion, I do hate Hollister for god reasons. And furthermore, I will hate it from a distance in future
This is a post about the most annoying/terrifying things that have ever happened to me on trains. A lifetime of travel by railway has given me a wealth of anecdotes and opinions. Enjoy!!!
1) One of the things I have frequently experienced during my time as National Rail's Bitch is the train grinding to a complete halt due to signal failings, cows, leaves, snow, or maybe even death eaters on the line. Who knows. Either way your not going anywhere fast.
Life however moves on around you, and this can make you extremely resentful of anyone who is getting anywhere faster than you are.
2) Missing Trains
The hardest part is pretending that you didn't really want that train anyway.
3) The Time I thought the end of my days had come.
The other two scenarios in this post are fairly gross exaggerations of fairly mundane events. This however is probably the most faithful recounting of an episode in my life that I will ever tell.
First: Lets set the scene.
I was in a very overcrowded train on the underground Victoria line heading towards St. Pancras station. I was travelling back up to university after the Christmas holidays, and an overloading of thick woolly jumpers and DVDs meant that my bag weighed about 11 stone, also I may have been hungover. I don't normally like travelling on the underground, and this was exacerbated by the fact that it was a Sunday and most of the other train lines were down for repairs. I was wedged in place by the shear force of everyone pressing against me. I probably could have lifted my feet of the floor and remained upright.
Bearing all this in mind: the train then stopped in the middle of the tunnel and the lights went out
All things considered, I feel I handled the situation remarkably well. I stood there patiently, waiting for the fireball I knew was about to engulf me. It was my destiny to die here wedged between groups of tourists and trenchcoat masturbators. The other people on the coach were clearly feeling the same; we exchanged a nervous giggle as a group. It is important to note that you are more likely to witness man colonising Mars than you are people acnologing each other on the London underground. I more sure than ever that I was going to die.
And then the lights came back on.
I had felt better than that before I can assure you.