My Secret Life

I was just watching James May’s Reassembler after a recommendation from a friend. I find it surprisingly enjoyable and somewhat how I imagine ASMR is for people who actually get it. I found it especially surprising since I watch almost no television but it really struck a chord with me. I think it is because I’ve always liked James May; he seems like a quiet but friendly person, and I like how he presents himself in Top Gear with Clarkson and Hammond. However, I’m not really here to talk about that. You see, having watched him reassemble a telephone from the 1950s I decided I would read his Wikipedia page, as I am wont to do with celebrities and things I find interesting, and I stumbled upon this article.

It’s an interview with him. A quiet interview for a quiet man, and, having seen a number of people do pseudo interviews on FaceBook with things like “4 names that I go by” I felt like this far better suited me, especially since I don’t go by four different names because I’m a normal person. Anyway, here goes.

The house I grew up in was in Essex. I liked the house, though in my teenage years as my mum grew more unhealthy and depressed and other things it became much more tense, along with the mounting pressure and stress of school. Nowadays, when I’m back, it makes me sneeze because we had damp and then had new insulation put in, and one of those two hits my sinuses with a feather mace.

When I was a child I wanted to be an accountant. Yes, it’s boring but my mum said that they earned lots of money and, to a pre-teen me, that was what mattered most. Incidentally, accountancy is my backup plan on account of my math’s degree.

The moment that changed me forever was my mum dying on the morning of my Psychology exam. I let go of everything childish after that.

My greatest inspiration is probably Kurt Cobain, though ask me in a few months and I’ll probably have a different answer for you. James May said that he learned a lot from his parents and, while I think I learned a lot from both and have a deep seated respect for them, they don’t inspire me.

My real-life villain is a guy at my old school who has very similar aspirations to me, but whose family was rich and who was in with the “popular crowd” and so decided to belittle me on the times we spoke. Then I joined the school newspaper and he was incredibly annoying because, obviously, he wanted to do writing too. The thing is that I’ve been published in a newspaper and on a couple of website and, as far as I am aware of, he hasn’t. That’s paid work, by the way, I didn’t just do it for exposure.

My style icon is probably Alex Turner. I would like to say Kurt Cobain but the problem with that is that Kurt Cobain is, whether he wanted to be or not, the image of grunge and I feel like I am much less grunge than he is even though half my wardrobe looks like the clothes you see him in. It’s fortunate then that the other half is just like what you see Alex Turner appear on stage in nowadays; shirts, jeans and blazers.

If I could change one thing about myself it would be how confident I am in talking to people. I’m an incredibly confident person on stage and when writing stuff like this because I know what I’m doing and I have my own formulas for pleasing audiences, but one on one or in a group of people, even online, I find it difficult to find things to say.

At night I dream of ladies present, future and imagined, not having to get up to do maths (I seriously had a dream the other day where I transferred course to do a music degree) and being a rockstar. Getting to sleep I always find quite difficult though so I usually just stay up until I am exhausted enough to collapse into bed.

When I look in the mirror I see someone who has a completely different past to what I’ve actually had. I don’t think you can tell I’m a poor kid from Essex with only 10 surviving relatives.

My favourite item of clothing is the shirt I always wear on first dates or the coat I recently bought. The shirt is a fancy designer one I bought years ago and, thankfully, still fits. I got it a few years before the designer hit it big so I got it quite cheaply and no one else has it but everyone recognises the name now because of one design that everyone has. The coat is a long, grey, woolen affair that goes really well with the scarves that have become a part of my character.

I wish I’d never worn any hoodie in public. Puberty wasn’t kind to me while I was in its grip and I had no nice hoodies, so any day I wore a hoodie outside the house was a bad day in my memory. Fortunately I rarely went outside while in this phase so not all my dignity was lost.

It’s not very fashionable but I like smoking. I don’t think I’m generically fashionable but I don’t look bad in what I wear despite the fact that I am known for the scarf I wear, so smoking it is. I can’t help it, I have always thought it looked cool.

You may not know it but I’m very good at drawing portraits and cooking, though not at the same time obviously. I’m sure I’ll put some art on here eventually but I have a collection of portraits of some of my friends from highschool. Those who would model for me anyway. It’s that an upsetting people, whether intentionally with words or uninentionally with my actions. On that note, why do women always say “I’m fine,” when you ask them what’s wrong even you know that “I’m fine” is the only inaccurate answer to that question that they can give?

You may not know it but I’m no good at languages. Seriously, fuck languages. I can’t get my head around them in the slightest and being forced to do German, French and Latin in highschool has left me with an irrational hatred of learning them, especially people who take them as degrees and especially especially people who teach languages.

All my money goes on games. I don’t actually spend much money on games any more, but besides drink that’s where almost all my entertainment money goes.

If I have time to myself I play dota, play the guitar and try and write songs and hang out with my friends. I will, in summer, takeup writing longform fiction again but, at the moment, I have very little time for that with the exams pressing down on me.

I drive nothing. I can’t drive. I can’t afford it. However, I do have a really nice bike which I now have in university and will be using much more in the summer.

My house is next to a nursery, the screams from which are slowly preparing me for my psychotic rampage. I do like it because I have a big room but it’s freezing even when we put the heating on, which is a rarity for us students.

My most valuable possession is my guitars. They were actually incredibly cheap guitars and I really want to buy a good electric one day but, for now, I have 3 guitars and, combined, they cost less than £240. One of my electrics is actually really good. My acoustic does the job but I want another one because this is roundback and was missold to me as a proper electro-acoustic.

My favourite building is any castle. I love historical buildings but looking round a castle is the tourist attraction for me.

Movie heaven is American Beauty. I only watched it for the first time last year but it had a really profound effect on me and I think it’s absolutely magnificent.

A book that changed me was The Road by Cormac McCarthy. It’s so bleak and depressing and it hit me like a bullet of sadness.

My favourite work of art any Degas painting with ballerinas in it.

The last album which I downloaded was Queens of the Stone Age – Songs for the Deaf. Queens are a friend of mines favourite band and, having started hanging out with him on a regular basis, I finally got round to listening to them properly and I really like a lot of their music.

The person who really makes me laugh is my best friend from university. God damnit, I don’t want to give names out and I think that’s a really shit answer anyway. Okay, in terms of comedians, it’s got to be Rowan Atkinson but not in Mr. Bean or Johnny English.

The shops I can’t walk past are board game shops. I really hate how expensive board games are but I can’t help myself, though I will never return to a Games Workshop ever again. There’s expensive and then there’s Games Workshop which is only slightly less costly than a divorce and slightly more than buying a house.

The best invention ever is the guitar. How boring an answer is that? The only other thing I have is antibiotics… oh god, why are my answers so predictable??? Fine then, communism.

In 10 years time, I hope to be living in a different country in a house that, if I don’t own, at least have been able to start paying for. Though, for my generation, that’s quite a lofty ambition.

My greatest regret is not being kinder to my brother. Not much to say there but, despite the fact that brothers are meant to fight, I was really horrible to him on occasion and I really wish I could go back and change it, but all I was doing was taking my insecurities out on him.

My life in seven words: A rollercoaster-ride that I’d never trade in.



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