Wednesday, 30 September 2009


You know how Hollywood love the idea of the American Dream, the unattainability of it, the ridiculousness of it, and the ever-present knowledge that while it's commonly accepted that not all of us can be the top dog, most of us refuse to accept that there may be a glass ceiling there after all, and try as we might, we can't overcome it. You'd need one sledgehammer of a metaphor to get through that, trust me.

So what does it boil down to? If we can't be objectively the best that we can be, and if there's no set-in-stone marker to define who is a success and who isn't, what are the options? Basically a choice between lowering your standards until everything you do is "the best I can do" (which, while being a bit of a cop-out, is perfect valid when you consider that external opinions only have as much of an effect as we ourselves attribute them) or actually getting out there and beating everyone else at their own game. It's a shifting platform, not a level field, and if you don't make your move you'll get left behind.

"It's not about winning, it's about taking part," they say. "We're all winners here," they say. Pff...

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Chilling on the Blog: Freshers Week Retrospective

Once again I am unsure as to whether or not I did Freshers Week properly. A variety of drunken nights in and some drunken nights out all collecting to form some vague imitation of social discourse (I'm still forgetting names of people I see everyday). I'm pretty sure there's a group of girls who're avoiding me after too many doses of stupid-Nash, my liquor-loving counterpart. The price you pay for overconfident, ceaseless babble (and knowing all the words to awful 80s songs).

On the flipside, I have made some actual friends, and though I'm the butt of many a joke, jibe and jest, I don't mind, because it keeps my cider-soaked self at bay. It's disarming how streetwise everyone else is, all the sordid tales of years past, the drinking games (especially the infamous "I Have Never", a game impossible to win) and pool skills.

I've noticed two things, however; the language barrier of days gone by has evolved into full-scale segregation, and I still don't know anyone on my course. One of the few King's people I've met is a crazed imperialist sherry-enthusiast with a craving for the Congo.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Groups, My Liver, and the State of Affairs

I have a niggling feeling in the back of my mind more often than I'd ever care to admit these days. That small feeling that I'm being pulled hither and thither by my own occasional influences and the enternal suggestions of others into doing this and that which, in my day to day state of being, would never occur to me. Nothing which causes great alarm to others, but enough to influence what others think of me, and it causes a modicum of discomfort in my inner self.

I have no reason to drink as much as I do, and the relapse into semi-regular smoking is actively sealing my lungs away from the outside world. I'm turning into something which I dread, for fear of becoming something else. I don't know whether its worth knowing as many people as possible, because attracting a variety of worried, skeptical and downright freaked-out glances from others surely doesn't equate to making new friends.

So I'm choosing today to make my stance, and to say that I'll cut back on the drinking, the smoking and the embarrassing actions of my besotted self. And maybe I can piece something together of these watercolour days I find myself living.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Me No Speakey: That Beloved Language Barrier

I am uniligual, through and through. I know a paltry amount of words from a paltry amount of languages, predominantly to the level of "Hi" and "Bye", which means my international conversational skills are limited at best.

Now, London Arts colleges have an effect on internationally based students of attracting them over to Blighty with their bright lights and lingua franca; most UK-based Arts students get accommodation within their Uni (or at least, within halls very closely associated with their Uni) and internationals are placed in privately owned ones (again, gross generalisation, but to be any more accurate would require pie-charts and slideshows, neither of which you nor I have the patience for). Opal 4, my new residence, is a privately owned hall-of-residence, and it's listed as mainly for UAL (Uni of the Arts, London) students.

As a result, most of the tenants are from abroad and study the arts. Makes sense, right?

But this results in an unavoidable, natural inclination for people to group together and hang around with other fellow countrymen; most of the French people now know each other and hang about together, quite a few people from China have found each other, a vast collection of Eastern Europeans are in attendance, as well (and since their languages are quite closely related, they eke out a rapport instantly).

I feel like a foreigner in North London. Everyone speaks French. And the worst thing is when people I'm talking to, and hanging around with decide that something must be said, but only in French; they laugh, they chat, I sit there with a goofy smile on my face trying to follow along and failing miserably. It's dire, but I hope it improves. I'm just afraid that, with the necessity of English everywhere outside halls, people will decide that Opal 4 is now the place to share home-truths in mother-tongues.

English for business, everything else for fun.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

That Which Annoys: Part I

This series will be a collection of things that tick me off. These are the kinds of lists that lose you friends, make you enemies and generally decimate any chance you have of appearing impartial and open-minded. Because, like me, everyone has their breaking point. Mine just manifests in their own ways.

First on my list is this: Profile pictures with multiple people in them.

This is largely a Facebook-ism (where the whole profile picture thing is more crucial than ever: you're far more likely to make a new friend online with a friendly photo, as opposed to the distended anus of your drunken sex-face). If someone called "Ashley", or "Frankie" or any myriad of unfamiliar non-Western names then adds me with a profile picture displaying eight people, I don't know whether my new best pal is that strange man on the left, or the breathtaking girl on the right (prior knowledge would undoubtedly change my initial contact: "Hey there" for the former, "Heeeeey there" for the latter. As you can see, I'm a pick-up master)

The real-life equivalent of this would be eight people coming along, and introducing themselves to you in chorus with the line "Hi, one of us is [insert name here]; be my friend?". Surely there's cause for unbridled alarm?

Admittedly worse is the photo of said new friend and said new friend's significant other necking it off right there on your screen, everytime you want to talk to them. It's some sort of third wheel simulation, where nothing you do or say passes by without the judgemental appraisal of the kissing couple. Geddaroom, says Nash, vehemently (vehemence is my natural state of being when it's 8.30 and I'm already on the blog).

[I will add though, that even though the relationship status indicator on Facebook is known to be deceptive and often simply disappears instead of fessing up to the truth that said Facebooker has been dumped to high tide, the disappearance of the snogging profile picture always heralds hard times in a relationship. Life's a beehatch, eh? Should've just kept that charming smile from way back when as your Face-for-the-book and been done with it, but noooo...]

How to Get Ahead In This Fickle/Wonderful World

I've been giving it my all this year. No holds barred, utmost social peak. I've met more Uni people in the last few days than I did all of last year. And all the one's I did meet last year, are still around (and hopefully still like me, despite the whole film fiasco). So I'm doing OK.

I've found the trick, though, which is crucial and hopelessly undocumented; no instuction manual for freshers, just a case of pick up n' play. Mess these weeks up, you're through, say most. Anyway, the trick is this: drink, then talk, to anyone, anywhere, about everything. Literally. Because everyone you meet has qualified to attend university, got the gall to get themselves out into public, and is as much of a drinking, smoking renegade as you are.

You can't make bad friends this week. There is no "bad crowd"; there's only one crowd. And you must be in it. That's the golden rule.

Freshers everywhere, heed my call.

And if you're stuck in private accommodation, do exactly the same at your nearest halls, but travel more. Sucks to be you, huh?

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Chillin' in Tufnell Park

So, finally managed to get out and about with my hall-mates (OK, that's a misnomer for two reasons: a) basically none of them are in my halls, let alone my flat, so they're not exactly my neighbours, and b) we didn't go out, we went to the common room with drinks and stories to tell), How this all plays out tomorrow when sobriety kicks in again and we're all regretting the sordid jokes and anecdotes shared last night, who can say. A good night, nonetheless.

Also met up with Hedd, which was a nice thing to do; guy's been around forever, and always has a good batch of stories to tell. Burger and a beer later, and it's as if we haven't been hundreds of miles apart for the last bunch o' months. Classy, no?

Ash n' I have arranged our swap meet for giving each other our various knick-knacks (I have a bunch of her books and DVDs, she has some of my who-knows-whats). A civil, amicable way to move things along, rather than burning things in a fit of angst and snubbing any attempt to restore civility. We're good people don'tchaknow.

And that's basically all there is, apart from the whole finishing up that goddamn film, and going back to Cardiff tomorrow (or today? Still feels like Monday to me...); both of those are posts for sober-er times. Goodnights, boys and girls. If I don't wake up tomorrow, someone please arrange a nice (but non-ostentatious) funeral for me. With live, inappropriate music (ie. Vivaldi's Four Seasons; that'd baffle some people...).

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Countdown to Uni

You know that feeling in the pit of your stomach, that harbinger of impending thrills, chills and spills, of sights unseen, places untravelled, stories unheard; that tickling promise of wonderful, fabulous, glorious events, mishaps and revelations that await around a tangible, visible corner of your life?

This is not like that; this is the sick feeling of travelling miles from home to a familiar-yet-strange city and having to do it all over again.

I do plan to be more drunk, sociable and noteworthy this year. I plan to make something of myself amongst my new halls-mates (something I didn't have last year), whilst going to Fresher's week (which I missed last year) and having a good time with good people I live with (which I barely did at all last year....last year was balls.)

So I've laid out the groundwork. I started/contributed to various discussion groups on Facebook, I've befriended a few new faces (replete with conversation, and shared anticipation) and I've bullied my parents into letting me move in only a day late, rather than just shy of a week (that's Sunday, for those who keep inviting me out in Cardiff for next week). El coolio, no?

This post makes me seem a bit weird, though. Luckily, no-one reads this thing...right?

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Revolution/Metros: One of Those Nights...

[Another post about a night out (albeit this one being written whilst sober and contemplative, and therefore less likely to be inflammatory/interesting).]

Worth mentioning the queue outside Revolution (Revs to the affectionate locals); it can be fairly impressive. You'd think we were a massive congregation eager to gain entry to hallowed grounds, instead of the young and reckless 18-24 demographic that exists purely to drink and pull. That said, Revs is probably the Mecca of Cardiff students on Wednesdays; everyone goes there, and everyone loves it. Apparently.

Thing is, once we got in (including a queue jump that put me roughly 80% closer to the door than if I'd gone to the back of the line like a good boy, it still took the better part of two, cold, sober-as-a-cadaver hours), all that awaited was another torrent of standard club music, a dash of cut-price drinks, and a critical mass of the drunk-n'-loving-it crowd. "What a party," you might say; "what great times you must have had," you might think. Nah. Average as it gets, just busier. Why Revs is so beloved is beyond me, but that's probably because I'm imbalanced, or something. Clearly.

Although seeing some of the old Howell's gang was nice, especially some whom I hadn't seen in a damn long time. Revs isn't great for catching up and chatting, but it'll do, I s'pose.

Mike and I got fed up fast, and ditched the happy-go-lucky revellers in Revs (and Nick, suffering from various ailments, elected to go home, I believe). After a short, impromptu sprint down St. Mary's Street (the rectum of Cardiff), we found ourselves outside Metros, which is very loveit/hateit.

If Revolution is the Cardiff student's Temple of Solomon, Metros is its Golgotha. It's a stinky, stuffy, sweaty, nasty dive of a place, and I wouldn't have it any other way. My kinda joint, where the music's good, the bar staff are plentiful and friendly, and the conversation is worthwhile. Met a host of people, told a host of jokes, and Mikey did his thing with the girls whilst I indulged in some third wheel scoffing over cigarettes. Met Sam Newman again, too, which was nice (she even remembered me, my short-lived band, and our enigmatic/awful first-and-last performance).

Ended up in/near Roath, at the house of a group of charming ladies who befriended Mikey and I; the rest of the night dissolving into funny anecdotes, exchanging of music/TV show/movie preferences, and the ever-present sounds of other housemates having social discourse of an entirely unsavoury manner.

Then Mikey disappeared in the middle of the night, and I scared a returning tenant as she encountered me asleep in her bed. Fun times, lads n' lasses.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Oceana Part II: James Corden

[What follows are further ramblings from a drunk-but-sobering-up mind. Any offense to certain comedians is purely unintentional (but understandably likely)]

We were in the Disco, Mikey and I, grooving along with Henry Tonks's madcap party crew (including some familiar faces from the Howells gang), when we spotted Danni and Sarah again, sitting and chilling by the wayside, like a pair of particularly watchful sparrows on a washing line (poetic? Nash says: yes). We moseyed on up to them and asked them what's the dilly-oh, to be battered with the frantic reply of "We met Smithy from Gavin and Stacey!". Mikey and I decided this was worth a trip to the Iceroom, and so it began.

He wasn't hard to spot, a pretty hefty guy grooving along to whatever-balls-was-playing-at-that-moment. All by himself. Which was weird, I reckoned; surely he'd have a massive entourage of cool cats to hang with him all night long. Sure, every minute he'd be spotted by a new group of drunken kids and be drawn into a photo opportunity, but you could see his face palpably drop every time it happened. "I tried to get out, but they pulled me back in..."

To be perfectly fair, he wasn't having a hard time getting the attention of the chicks (or, to his dismay, the guys, who constantly jumped on him, then ran away laughing like small children). Pulled like a mofo, he did. Power to him I guess (Note: while normally I'm totally for treating women like, y'know, people, in certain circumstances it's worth just telling it like it is. Guys are like this, y'see.)

He strikes me as the quintessential guy-who-knows-everyone, the one who's friends with them all, but doesn't throw his manhood around like DWP benefits. I know a guy who was known and loved by everyone in Year 13, but didn't get intimate 'til Uni kicked off (although whether this is by choice or through relentless failures is beyond my knowledge). Hell, I'm making reckless assupmtions and generalisations throughout, so take what I say with a dash of salt and a sympathetic ear.

Went to Wikipedia, found this: "James also appears in milk adverts in the Czech Republic and also is seen sitting in a deckchair in an advert in Saudi Arabia." Awesome.

I tried to figure out a way to qualitively say "I've met James Corden" without falling into hug-him-photograph-him mode. I went over, said "I imagine you're getting a lot of attention tonight"; he shrugged, "It happens"; I shook his hand. For a moment, I was totally Z-list friend-of-a-celebrity material. Then it was over. So I wrote this blog post to immortalise the whole thing.

My posts ramble when I drink. If you've got this far, go do something better with your time.

Oceana Part I: Blacking Up

[What follows is an account of frankness and sincerity hitherto unseen in most posts of a personal nature by impressionable youths of today. Alcohol plays a part.]

It's weird being a coconut in Cardiff (for those wondering, coconut is a term many Indian and Middle-Eastern Asians that I know use to signify a person who's "brown on the outside, white on the in"; I'm neither Indian nor Middle-Eastern, but black people are actually categorically brown, so there). An acute case of classic jungle fever mixed with a distinct lack of innate dancing skills and effortless charm promised me by the cool black guys on TV, leads to a social black hole that I cannot escape, for it is I. Awkardness, thine name is Nash.

Oceana is the flagship club for all non-aggressive clubbers in Cardiff; it's full of assorted themed dance-rooms (the Disco and "Iceroom/Icehouse (depending on who you ask)" are the main ones, with a weirdly serene tropical themed place downstairs, and the seedy-as-hell Boudoir). They play clubbed-up Top 40 songs and various retro classics from yesteryear. As you can imagine, it's great for white folks.

The only black people I see are the invariably Nigerian (I've asked them all where they're from, always Nigeria) guys in the toilet, and the weird stalkers who follow Danni and Sarah around. Occasionally I see some brothers-from-various-mothers kicking it old-school (or something) in the Iceroom, but this is rare. Regardless, they stick together, like a predatory cloud. I shake hands with them, pretend to be cool, but they soon see me for the phony that I am.

I drunkenly sing along to Britney Spears and Queen, but don't know the words to songs by Jay-Z, Dizzee Rascal or Whale-without-the-"H". Evidently I need to black up a little.

I smile at others; white guys give me a smile back, hug me, shake my hand, dance with me, because being seen with black guys is awesome. Even I think I look cooler around black guys. Then I remember that, considering my condition, I'm always around a black guy. Great. White girls, however, always give me a certain look. It basically says "Oh shit, a black guy!", followed by a quick retreat to familiar territory. Crude of me to say it, but this is a bad situation to be in. "We like our own kind 'round these parts".

Any flak directed at my seemingly-non-PC remarks can be directed towards your nearest gal-pal.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Want Some MOR from Life, Huh?

I forget when my last post was; needless to say, this blog idea is floundering at roughly the same rate as I predicted it would. It happens, I guess. Need to keep some sort of account of my life (the Life and Times of Nash, The Guy), but it turns out I'm not one for reckless record-keeping. But that's fine, at least this thing might stand the test of time, whatever happens to end up being written in it.

So yeah, music's taken a turn for the middle-of-the-road averageness that plagues the DAB radio stations that housewives and Southern belles listen to (unless I'm crudely mistaken, and they're all beings of diverse and bewitching musical tastes). This could be a problem, given my hopes of becoming a songwriter of note and substance, but then again, more people are likely to listen to me, now. Come for the sugar, stay for the cavities. Lowest common denominator alsways works; fact of life. I tell myself this to make myself feel better.

Also I've started going out a bit more, re-adjusting myself to single living, which has its ups (that loose and malleable feeling of freedom that seems ridiculously appealing, but doesn't really do much in and of itself) and downs (I've realised that I have a lot to say, but no-one to say it to). Everyone's entitled to that one naive relationship that you totally know is gonna last forever 'cause it's so darn perfect, but eventually evolves into an awkward waiting-and-hoping-for-better-times. This was the summer of our discontent, a rainy, cold, vaguely depressing time.

I've also noticed that travelling abroard over summer seems to herald a break-up. Second time this has happened, wouldn't you know it.

I also wonder, if it rained non-stop for weeks, would the Millenium Stadium eventually turn into a huge swimming pool? Because that would be awesome.