Why I Fucking Hate Segways

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If you’ve been to any major city in the last five years you’ll only be too aware of a new blight taking over our streets and plazas. “Ah-ha!” You might say. “You’re talking about those street dance troupes.” And you’d be right. If you like being guilt-tripped into paying for the pleasure of clapping in a semi-circle outside the National Theatre while some Brit School inmates take turns with a new interpretation of ‘Smooth Criminal’, then they’re great. If you don’t, they’re shite.

But I’m a talking about a different blight. (A blight worse than dance troupes, believe.) And that is of the segway. I’ve had the fortune of being on the road a fair bit over the last year, and without fail once you get in spitting distance of any main cathedral or square in the Western world you can guarantee you’ve got 15 seconds before a pack of straight backed, smug faced Dutch virgins and their parents glide past soundlessly past, looking for all the world like they reckon they’re nailed on for a part in the next Star Wars.

Mate, you look like you’ve got a couple of buttplugs in, and that you’ve stood up to get the full effect. Worse, so does your mum.

It’s not that I have a problem with these sort of things, per se. For instance, most big cities now have a Boris-esque bike hire system, and they are great. Yes, you have to deal with tourists trundling around with bikes that weigh more than (insert overwieight reality TV contestant of choice here); but at least they’re making a fucking effort and doing their bit at keeping the numbers down in the cardiac ward.

But segway users invariably hire in packs, and delight in taking some sort of high ground, as they’ve got the fucking right of way when you’re the one actually behaving like a human being.

There’s an even more foul extension of this now: that of the segway guided tour.  It’s sunny day, I’m on holiday.  Why would I want to spend part of that holiday not utilising legs that I literally spend almost my WHOLE LIFE with under a desk or being horizontal on a bed, whilst some local drama student harps on.   This all the while adopting the classic segway way gait: the gait that says “touch me, and I’ll get my butler to shoot you. He’s a negro, you know. They’re good with guns.”

And that’s before we get to the helmets.

HELMETS. Helmets to hover above the ground in predominately pedestrianised areas at a speed of absolutely fucking nothing an hour. I don’t care if it’s a health and safety issue; if you can’t stay up on a segway you shouldn’t be on one at all. In fact you shouldn’t, and neither should the rest of your hostel pals that have decided to blow a week’s beer money on a half a day’s rental of a device that will literally make every other person in this city hate you as you weave around them thinking you’re fucking Darcey Bussell when really you’re just a twat on a motorised unicycle (but not, cos that would actually be cool.)

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Guest Blog: Madam Trieste’s 10 Rules For A One Night Stand

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After writing my last post on the rules for a one night stand, I got chatting with a lady friend (just a friend) of mine who’s no stranger to a stranger-led bunk-up.  She wanted to give the single blokes out there a guide to getting a girl into bed, and how to act once you’re there. Gentlemen: listen up.

1) How to get a girl back: be open come out and fucking say come back to mine, don’t create an exclusive after party event that ropes in her friends and your flatmates, when you just want to get in her pants. She knows what she’s doing and if she’s going to come back and have sex with you then she’s going to do it anyways. So save your theatrics for the bedroom.

2) Back at the house: go straight to the room, no idle chitchat with housemates. We’re there to have sex with you so hurry up.

3) Initiating sex: don’t EVER say, go on touch It, its big isn’t it or guide my hand to your cock, I know where it is, I did year 8 bio, when I’m ready then I’m sure we’ll become well acquainted

4) Foreplay: it IS essential…..it’s not like the warm-up at a gig, there’s no rush to get to the main act. It must be successfully attempted if you have ANY hope of getting you end away!

5) Oral sex etiquette: it is NOT ok to guide my head towards your bellend nor is it ok to vigorously thrust your cock to the back of my throat, I will gag and chances are if I’m drunk enough (which I probably am to be here in the first place) I may be sick on your crotch, which ain’t a good look.

6) Happy slapping: don’t use your dick as a mini drum stick for a percussion band against a poor girls vagina. It does not turn her on in the slightest. All their thinking is I wish they would hurry up and put it in. In fact rule slapping out altogether.

7) Condoms: keep it safe y’all! Yes we could be on the pill, yes you can ask us but we still want you to put a condom on.

8) Mr nice guy: DON’T ask me if I’m ok, if I wasn’t ok I would have alerted you to this fact. I’m not popping my cherry, this ain’t that special night. I just wanna get laid, good and hard so like Nike says just do it.

9) Cum moment: do not cum in her face, hair, tits and if you’re going to cum in my mouth a heads up would be appreciated.

10) After care etiquette: It’s polite to keep a packet of tissues close to hand please do not use my favourite panties to clean up you’re cum ridden cock.

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15 Rules For A One Night Stand

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One night stands are by turns hot, embarrassing, thrilling, funny, rubbish and weird.  You can end up having glorious, pole-axing pornstar sex with a person way above your station.   Similarly, you can finish your evening gently mopping the tears of the 20 year old you just awkwardly, and unwittingly, deflowered. (The latter is not a good place to be in, trust me.)

In-between there’s a plethora of ups, downs (literal), nearlys and nasties. With such a range of potential conclusions to your congress, it’s not always easy to know the correct way to behave before, during and after.  With this in mind, here’s 15 fail-safe tips to getting it right on the first and only night…

1: Think ahead.  If you are staying at hers, have a pre-determined exit excuse for the morning.  My favourite is “I’m baby-sitting my nephews.” (This has the associated benefit of making me appear relatively sensitive and responsible.)

The ideal place to make your excuse is in the cab, presuming you aren’t scaling the bases in the back. The same goes if she’s at yours. The right and proper time to tell her she has to leave by, is 11am.  If by some glorious twang of Cupid’s arrow you actually want her to stay later than the pre-allotted exit time, just tell her you made up the excuse.

2: Offer breakfast (they generally refuse). You will appear civilised, which will balance out that thing you asked them to do 6 hours ago.

3: Never jizz in her hair.

4: Avoid interaction with housemates/parents/pets.  She doesn’t want you to meet them.  Her coming out of the bathroom to find you rolling around on her landing floor nuzzling her dog’s belly and calling it a “fuzzy-wuzzy wuv dog” is not an acceptable form of foreplay.

5: Do not be shy in raising the question of going ‘back there’.  It’s a one night stand- anything goes.  However, do not raise that question-whether it be in the form of an actual question or a more physical form of probing- more than twice. You will seem/actually be rapey. The same goes for spanking and/or choking.

6: Girls: If you knew what I knew you’d have absolutely no intention of slipping me a digit.

7: Be nice, for God’s sake be nice.   Don’t be creepy, don’t go through her drawers, don’t turn on her laptop without asking first, don’t talk about your mum, don’t jump out from behind her bedroom door when she walks back in after her post-shag piss.

8: If you are being set up on a blind date on a weekend, you have an approximate 60% chance of having sex. If you are drinking tequilas by 10pm, this chance rises to nearer 97%.

9: If you are on drugs/exceptionally drunk, it will be deemed just-about-acceptable to have difficulty in maintaining/achieving an erection.  However, you simply must come through in the morning.  If you don’t you will a) leave with balls the size of Exeter and b) always be ‘that guy’ between her and her friends.  You may not think this matters and that you can get away with telling your mates everything worked like c(l)ockwork but Facebook dictates that the world is much smaller place, especially for women with funny stories for mutual friends about guys they know who are feckless limpos.

10: If you are given a number the next morning, for God’s sake don’t test it in front of him/her.  If you’ve been fake numbered, finding this out with the person in the room is almost as embarrassing as that time your mates found that bottle of fake tan in your room. (I get pale in winter, okay?)

11: Giving a fake name is also pretty dire. The same goes for lying about your job (a little exaggeration of the latter is virtually expected, however).

12: If we’re in a bar and I’m buying you a drink, I definitely want to have sex with you.  Ditto asking you about the book you’re reading, or complimenting any item of clothing you’re wearing.  I am generally a reasonably nice person, but in either of these cases I am 100% not doing it “just to be nice.”

13:  Come now, we’re never going to see each other again.  By all means turn your main light off, but let’s stick that lamp on eh?  One: it’s much, much hotter to see the other person.  Two: if you don’t I’m going to be poking around like a carrot in a cabbage patch.  Give me a chance.

14:  When you think about it, forgetting someone’s name is quite funny.  You’ve allowed this person being to engage in the most intimate act available to homo sapiens, and four hours later they can’t remember if you’re called Kevin or Karen.   Get over yourself. And if you’re not completely sure, ask. I know how drunk you were.  I bought you all those Jagerbombs, remember?

15: Condoms are everyone’s friend.

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The Secret Diary Of Harry Styles, Aged 29 And A Half

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26 August- 2023

Message from Cowell, saying he wanted to talk.  Sounded desperate. I didn’t call him back.

Spent the afternoon on the internet buying goji berries.

27 August

Spent the morning on the internet buying goji berries.

E-mail from Zayn. He asked me when I was going to come and see my goddaughter. He’s such an asshole. Reckons he’s such a spunk.  I told him Niall and I were at a critical point in our album and it was important we didn’t let anything distract us.

I called Niall to ask if he fancied a songwriting session in the studio, but he’s back on X Factor re-runs in the poolhouse. He’d just got to us doing Kids In America.  Little fella loves it so much I left him to it.

Potential album title- The Hashtag Strikes Back

28 August

First batch of goji berries arrived.  Spent the day in bed eating goji berries.

29 August

Woke up this morning and I’d shit half-digested goji berries all over my Charlotte Thomas bedsheets.  It was worse than that time when Klaxons came over.

I had a shower, told Conchita the maid there was something she’d best attend to upstairs, and jumped in the copter to my mum’s.   On the way to the heli-pad I popped my nose in in the poolhouse: Flack was tied up on a crucifix with “One Direction Stole My Youth scrawled over her. Niall was passed out on the chez longue, wearing one of our 2013 tour vests and a Taylor Swift mask. Duno where he gets this stuff from.  I did ask Flack if she was okay: she told me I had no right to speak in Niall’s presence.

Great to see mum, she keeps me so grounded.

30 August

When I got home I found this note from Conchita, quitting.  I thought after the incident with Klaxons she’d be okay with anything.

Mr Harry,
I just found your shit all over your bed.  I mean, what the fuck is that?  You leave this for me to do. You know how I feel about this sort of thing after the incident with the Klaxons.  I will clean and cook and do lots of things but I won’t clean up your fucking shit another time.  So I am leaving you now, you find another slave, asshole.

Please look after Niall.

Conchita

I was furious.  I called in at the poolhouse, thinking I’d pay Niall to clean up the bed.  They were both locked in the bathroom, though, squealing with laughter and listening to some old Union J tune.  I’m pretty sure dry ice was smoking out under the door.

I left the bed as it was and went to sleep in one of the spare rooms.

Potential album titles

Pop’s Dead
Pop’s Dead. Get This!
Pop’s Dead! Get This!
Pop’s Dead! Get! This!

31 August

Answered the phone for the first time in 6 months today. Cowell! What are the chances?! He begged me to agree to a reunion tour. I told him that Niall and I are working on our new album, we’re not interested and that Niall had been living in my poolhouse with Caroline Flack for the last two months.

He offered me a hundred million personally to do it, and another 20 million if I could get Niall to.  I laughed, said Niall was going through another crystal meth phase and would never agree.  He swore and hung up.

10 minutes later he rang back and asked for the number of Niall’s crystal meth dealer.

1 September

Watched the new series of the X Factor.  Would you believe it, but Zayn is a new judge?  They didn’t even ask me. I mean, how is that possible?  I was always the most popular one, Taylor Swift wrote Trouble about me, everyone knew my fucking name. He was just the one with the puppy dog eyes. So what about his diamond-cutter cheekbones? Cowell always said I was more important than Mozart.

ALSO, he said we might be going on tour.  I almost threw my goji bar at the telly.  I had to look at our Twitter followers to make myself feel better.  26 million to 16.  Nice try, Zayn.

2 September

Possible nicknames for Zayn-

Lame Zayn
Missed The Plane Zayn
Insane Zayn
Inane Zayn
Looks Like A Fat Kid Called Wayne, Zayn

3rd September

Most Affected By Fame, Zayn

Interviewed two girls to replace Conchita today.  No idea where PA wench found them but they really cut the mustard, looks-wise.  Ended up in the second Jacuzzi with the first, called Marie.  She was French.  She claimed she didn’t know who One Direction were.  I laughed and showed her the Best Bits DVD we released when we broke up (biggest selling UK DVD ever, hashtag h-um-DINGER) .  She seemed unimpressed.

I picked the second one, she’s called Sandra. Brazilian. She said “That’s What Makes You Beautiful” is her favourite pop song ever.

4th September

Sandra quit this morning.  Knew I shouldn’t have asked her to clean my bedroom.

Spent the afternoon on the internet looking for goji berries.  I’ve sourced a new type from South-East China; the website bumf says they’ll stop me ageing better than plastic surgery ever will.

I’m going to send PA wench out there to pick me up a year’s worth.

Potential album title-

The Green Green Grass Of Rome

5th September

Cowell arrived at my house first thing this morning, on his hands and knees on the doorstep begging me to do the tour.  Says he’s skint, lost all his money on the fourth Shayne Ward comeback. I told him no way, but if he wanted a five grand he could clean my bedroom.   You should have seen the state of him when he was done. He went straight from my room to the poolhouse.

6th September

Cowell’s still in the poolhouse.

7th September

Still in the poolhouse.

8th September

Still in the poolhouse.

9th September

Still in the poolhouse, though pretty sure I heard him, Niall and Flack singing The Greatest Love Of All underneath my window at 4.17 this morning.

PA wench back with the goji berries.

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Nowhere: How I Discovered The Soul Of Europe’s Most Insane Festival

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I’m hauling a French dude that looks like Obelisk up a mountain in the middle of the Spanish desert.  He is tripping big fat acid-balls, blubbing like a newborn and generally making a scene.  I don’t know now, but will later have it translated that he is shouting:  “Even if the mountain was on fire, I would still get to the top.”  It turns out he fell in love with a girl three hours ago and believes she is somewhere at the summit.   Eventually, with the help of some others, I get him to the peak and he ambles off shakily, in search of his beloved.  I sit down with my group of new best friends who I barely know, most of whom are also on the same narcotic plane as the Frenchman, and watch the rest of the sunrise flare up over the side of the canyon to a soundtrack of wolf-calls and cackles.

It’s breakfast time at Nowhere.

Nowhere is the European off-shoot of Burning Man, a 1000 person experiment in creative freedom in the middle of the Spanish desert, somewhere between Barcelona and Zaragoza.  You will know immediately whether the words ”experiment in creative freedom’ feel you with dread or intrigue, and it probably won’t surprise you to discover that it delivers on all the possibilities suggested by such a phrase.  In 6 nights at the festival I was party  to (though was not necessarily always involved in):

An organised orgy
A tent full of people dancing out their “inner animal”‘ (nonsense, but endearing)
A man getting sucked off in a kid’s play  house decorated in voodoo dolls
A grown man dressed in an all in one orange pvc outfit stroking a flourescent mushroom (we later became good friends)
Myself in a mirror, wearing a flamenco dress, being taught how to flamenco
A woman telling me she wanted the Rapture to happen that night
Communication games (just nonsense)
3 men fucking in front of loads of people during Hot Oil Action
A band playing on top of a mountain at dawn
Fire (loads)
Drugs (loads)
A Maui buy dressed in a tutu and red and yellow striped stockings singing a touching acoustic version of Sweet Child O’Mine.
A 30 person pillow fight in the middle of an apocalyptic storm
More boobs and balls than I could possibly remember

This is by no means an exhaustive list and really only scratches the surface of what went on, but is intended to give you a taste because Nowhere, like all festivals aspire to but rarely achieve, is all about the experience, man.

It doesn’t have a line-up, per se.  If you want to watch Arctic Monkeys this most definitely is not the place.  Ostensibly, all the music is provided by the festival goers.  Don’t take this as a suggestion that there isn’t music, though, because loud sounds are playing somewhere at Nowhere 24 hours a day, whether it’s (surprisingly ace) live jams in the Jamboree tent, Balkan disco in the Garden of Joy, or disgusting wads of ketstep at Uber Town.

The latter two areas were not stages, but two of the biggest barrios at the event.  Probably 70% of the people at Nowhere are part of the barrios, something me and my friend were blissfully unaware of when we rumbled in on our lonesome with a transit van full of booze, sunblock and not a lot else.  It turns out these camps form the heart of the festival, and are mini-communities where everyone chips in some cash before, and time during, the festival. For that they get fed, shared shelter (which in the 40+ degree heat you most certainly need) and normally a big fat soundsystem.  As the day wears on into night into morning into sunrise, the music gets turned up as the fancy-dressed throng bounce from camp to camp, drinking, dancing and generally doing silly things to their brain for as long as they are physically able.

Most people are in outfits of some sort, whether it be a homemade luminous vaudevillian creation, body art or the ubiquitous man-in-frock.  Dressing up is a very big deal; it makes Bestival look like a committee meeting. It even has its own Costume Camp barrio with rails and rails of outfits, which they lease out on a trust system wherein you promise to bring back whatever you have taken within 24 hours.  Unfortunately, judging by the dwindling number of outfits as the week went on, not everyone fulfilled their part of the trust bargain.

Why not just charge a fee for renting the costumes, you might say?  Well, at the very core of everything Nowhere is about is a strict no-currency policy.  You can’t buy anything there, other than the precious ice which is the only way of cooling down. Everything you want to eat, drink, wear or inhale has to be brought with.  It’s the reason everyone goes into barrios, and it sounds corny but it really does inspire a unique atmosphere.  Everywhere you go, people will offer you something.  Walk past a barrio when they are having dinner, and you can bet your arse someone will shout at you to come in. Ask someone waggling his finger into a baggie if you can have a bit of whatever it is, and he will say yes. Try and balance it up with some kind of reciprocal offering and you will be cheerfully waved off. People will thrust beers into your hands, melon in your mouth and suntan lotion on your back. I was a bit sceptical about it at first; I figured there would be some kind of black market of people selling bad drugs and dodgy fags, but there really isn’t. What went around really did come back to you, and in a world where £4.50 beers and ten quid burgers are the festival norm, it is a wonderful anomaly: it means every transaction is a friendship offering, and as the week progresses your circle gets wider and wider as you bump into the people you helped or were helped by.

The cynical amongst you might see all this as hippy-dippy, happy-clappy bullshit. To a certain extent I can empathise; the festival is full of the sort of people my dad might describe as a ‘bit off’ and there is a definite hierarchy of hippiness. In amongst all the love-thy-neighbour ideal was the occasional waft of institutional snobbery. A bit like going down Broadway Market without a beard, if you don’t go to Nowhere without dreads and an abandoned degree in Philosophy, you sometimes feel like a bit of an outsider.  Obviously, they’d probably say that I wasn’t being as open to them and they are probably right, but the people I met that were the most obviously out there, were often the most unforthcoming.  Maybe it’s just because we genuinely didn’t have much common ground.

Fortunately, and this is where Nowhere soars, there are more than enough wonderful people at the event that the odd grump is not an issue.  Everyone makes friends when they go to festivals, it’s one of the reasons they are fun. But at Nowhere I met a few people who I can genuinely see as enduring, long-term keepers.  There is a real community back in the UK of people that have been to the festival (they almost exclusively live in East London) and continue their friendships forged in Spain.  I suppose it’s natural that at such a relentlessly individual event like this you are bound to meet people that you have some sort of kinship with, but it really feels like people that go there have shared something, that they’re in on a secret.

As the week wears on, conversation at Nowhere inevitably turns to whether they would go next year and everyone says they would.  Somewhere around Wednesday I really wasn’t that bothered- I’d enjoyed the experience but couldn’t envisage wanting to sweat my way through another week in the desert, and frankly all the Communication Games had started to grate a little. But the morning I had on the mountain with Obelisk and the rest; it changed my whole perception of the festival and made me realise that it is genuinely what you make it. If you want to go crawl inside your brain and walk across mountains (real or metaphorical), you can.  If you want to paint yourself up like a devil and fuck strangers in front of strangers, you can.  If you want to spend your days doing yoga workshops and your evening’s star-gazing amongst a gaggle of mostly happy wreckheads, you can.  For the rest of Nowhere after that morning, whenever I saw someone that was up there, they all said how much they loved it, how it was their favourite festival moment ever. It was like we had our own little gang, that somehow we’d managed to pick at the soul of Nowhere and that underneath the hippy histrionics its soul is pure and good and unlike any other.  After that everything was plain sailing. See you for a sunrise in 2014.



If you are interested in going in 2014, check out Nowhere’s website

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Coke City: How Gak Is Taking Over East London

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The last time I met my dealer he said East London is known as Coke City, and that he hated driving round there because there was so many police.  He lives over South London, so I asked him why he bothered coming here at all, and he replied: “There’s just so much business around here, you have no idea.  I can’t not do it.  I’ll be out and have someone out for me, 12 hours a day at the weekend, minimum.  And there’s  hundreds of other guys doing it.”

He’s right; there are hundreds of guys doing it. They seem to getting more sophisticated, and they all know each other.  Call one and he can’t come for a few hours, he puts you onto his mate.  He’s not on tonight, but no worries, here’s another number, it takes a little bit longer, but you get there in the end and now you’ve got another number to call in future. Everyone’s in on the action.

There’s something in the air; take the 55 past Holborn into Farringdon and beyond, and suddenly the combination of trendies, trust funds, techies and dosh sees it become a bustling metropolis of recreational drugs hounds that see no difference in the procurement of a g than they would 300 grams of finest fillet.

It’s not so much that people are taking coke; God knows that’s been going on since some clever fella learnt how to render.  It’s the sheer percentage of people doing so, which is directly related to the ease with which you can get it.  Friends from other towns and areas have a right faff getting hold of anything; waiting on a phone call from a friend of a friend who knows a guy on Bluebell Hill who once shook hands with an Albanian who swears he’s got a suitcase of bugle back in Tirana. If I am in that area of London and it is between 8pm and 5am, Tuesday through Sunday, I and most of my social circle can get someone to drop off however much gak I want, wherever I am.

If this sounds like gloating or Big I Am’ing, I’m not being clear enough.  Bloc Party once released a tune called Song For Clay (Disappear Here) in which perennial indie diary-writer Kele Okereke yelps “East London is a vampire/It sucks the joy out of me.”  I’m not about to start wishing back the nights and afternoons I’ve had in back-bars and front rooms snuffling away like my life depended on it, but in the year or so before I moved away I lost count of the amount of times I had conversations with people around my way where they/I spoke ruefully about that 5am phonecall that seemed so right, and so easy, at the time. It’s the equivalent of wishing you hadn’t bought that last bottle of wine in the pub, multiplied ten fold.

I don’t think that we all need to be checked into the Priory.   Obviously if you aren’t someone that dabbles then you won’t empathise, but if you do there are some nights and events that lend themselves to getting something in; you plan for it, buy it in advance, book the Monday off work, whatever.  The nights that linger on the conscience (not to mention the wallet) are the innocent ones that start off down the pub, a few beers leading to a couple more and everyone’s nicely jingled and thinking maybe, maybe, maybe. Before you know it it’s 9am and you’re failing to put into words just why Springsteen/Strummer/Skinner has had such a profound effect on your life.

The reason it’s so popular round East is, at the basest level, a mixture of commerce and ease.  Money is flooding into the area, you won’t be getting any change from £600 if you want something with working appliances within 20 minutes of a tube.  In the slipstream of the artists and original beard-cultivators came the rest (i.e me), attracted by the music scene, the exposed brick-work and the fact that it’s generally an interesting place to be.  Hang around Broadway Market on a Friday night and it’s a Home Counties ho-down, with everyone looking like a cross between Hemingway and an Eastpak model. Don’t get me wrong, I love it there but it is what it is.

Chuck in the large numbers of ABC1 types, put them in the middle of a circling motorcade of dealers desperate to press little cardboard triangles into your palm and you’ve got a perfect  breeding ground for a growing market.  I don’t actually think that many people are developing real dependencies on the actual drug, it’s just the drug is an extension of the alcohol-dependence that is pickling my generation.   We all joke about it, pretend those adverts on the tele are wrong, but the fact is 75% of people I know in London are drinking 100% more than they should.  You can’t disregard the industry these people are in- mainly PR, TV, online- and the fact is a certain amount of schmoozing and boozing is expected.  But it doesn’t make it any less true, and in the same way that people before might have got tipsy and bought a load of shots, now we get tipsy, buy a load of shots, score some coke and keep going for as long as we fancy. The nature of coke is that, if you are so inclined, you are always to do more; it levels everything else out and bares its teeth to tired hearts.

My brother is 39, a reasonably successful actor that spent a large chunk of his younger days hacking it around London’s nightlife; he reckons that the culture of coke didn’t exist in the same way when he was my age (28).  Yes, Noel, Alex, Brett and Bobbie were all getting loaded and having a good time, but for the lay-person the scene was more amphetamine related- night outs were about the actual night out.   But now the night starts when you get home and there is a mini-nation of perennial caners in Coke City, with gak leading the charge.  One of the reasons I was glad to move to Brighton recently was to give me space from that scene, to put distance between me and the man who was always happy to take my calls. I haven’t done drugs since moving away. For a lot of people it will take something similar-whether it be relationship/job/health- to break the cycle.  Let’s just hope it’s nothing too serious.

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The Best Places To Get Laid In London On Valentine’s Day

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There’s a number of ways to approach being single on Valentine’s Day.  One is to deny its relevance, moan about it being a marketing racket for Clinton’s and spout a patronising diatribe at anyone who is enough of a lemming to acknowledge it. In my experience, the people that do this are also the sort of people who claim not to have cried since they were 11, but secretly bawl themselves silly to the last episode of Friends.

Another (healthier) way is to shrug your shoulders and assume that something will come round the corner sooner rather than later, and instead be thankful for the other ways in which your life fulfils you.

The third is to see it as a gilded opportunity to meet members of the opposite sex; ones that, due to it being the day it is, might just be feeling more needy and vulnerable than normal (which, if we’re being honest, describes most of us).  So for those firmly in the latter camp, these are the places you want to find yourself circa 11-1 Thursday night/Friday morning.


1- Arts Club- 50 Frith Street, Soho

On any Thursday night- let alone a Thursday night that also coincides with Valentine’s Day– this place has been proven in tests (conducted by yours truly) to contain the capital’s highest volume of drunk people that work in the media.  The music is all sorts, but it’s not going anything to be anything you haven’t heard before, and the booths lining the room are perfect grafting territory for those that don’t like to do their dirty work on the dancefloor.

2- The Dolphin- 165 Mare Street, Hackney

I’ve written about The Dolphin before, and it really can’t be emphasised just how easy it is to talk and meet people in here.  Basically every single person that is out past 11pm and lives between Mile End and Old Street will be in, and they’ll be here to talk to strangers who may or may not be lying about how many people read their blog.

3-Troy 22- 22 Hanway Street, Near Tottenham Court Road

A club the size of your front room; it gets so busy in here that it’s hard to dance without falling into someone, which is of course a good thing.   The music varies between motown, rock n’roll and crowdpleasers; it’s entirely possible that you’ll end up skanking on the seats that surround the diminutive dancefloor.  I once met a girl in here who told me she wanted to give me a foot massage;  she did, and 20 minutes later we were fucking in a car-park.  It’s that sort of place. (In a nice way.)

4- Slagbox @ The Shacklewell Arms, 71 Shacklewell Arms, Dalston

Slagbox have been running nights for a year or so. The concept is that everyone is given a numbered badge when they enter.  If you see someone you like the look of, pop a little message to them in the big tumbler set up by the organisers-including your own digits of course- and over the course of three ‘rounds’ they’ll read out said memorandum to the crowd.  If the object of your affection thinks you’re alright they can then come and say hello.  Everyone acts like they don’t care if they don’t get their number read out, but they definitely do. Rich hipster pickings.

The Tram And Social- 46-48 Mitcham Street, Tooting

If this piece was concerning any normal Friday or a Saturday night, you’d be reading about The Swan, a famous dive in Stockwell that has a crowd slutty enough to make up for the puke-strewn state of the  venue itself.  It’s the sort of place that has a Foo Fighters tribute band and still sells pints for 3 quid, which perhaps explains why it’s physically impossible to walk out of there without some South London scrote tossed over your shoulder.

Unfortunately it’s not open on Thursdays, so the Tram and Social gets the nod instead. Which. in many ways, is a good thing because this is the nicest place on the list by quite some distance.  It’s cavernous, literally a shed the size of the Pyramid Stage.  It’s one of the best bars this side of the river, and for those that don’t really want the grime of the Dolphin or the jazz-hands of the Arts Club, it’s the place to be as sheer law of numbers dictate that if you buy enough tequilas for different people, one will thank you with a cab-ride home.

The smoking area of any Sam Smith’s pub

If you can’t score here, you’re better off at home with that Friends box-set.

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