This is probably going to be the final entry in this blog.

A few nights ago I had a dream.

I was in the office in work, two co-workers were in with me, one just pottering in the corridor outside, I was talking my usual work-gibberish as if it wasn’t even a dream.

My phone ringing interrupted DreamDan’s monologue to which I answered, shushing my colleagues as if the phone call potentially promised pressing news.

Hello….?” I asked anxiously.

Interestingly, I couldn’t hear what was said on the phone, but I continued the conversation as if I could.

R….really?! Seriously!”

My free hand waving around excitedly as my colleagues all look on at me, clearly in this little dream dimension I had banged on about the anticipation of this phone call for a while.

Oh my god!!! Thank you SO much! Is….Is there anywhere in particular I’m going??………..That’s amazing! Thank you sooooo much!”.

I hang up…..

I GOT IT!” I scream as me, and the colleagues do a little hug and jump celebration. It was clear that DreamDan had landed a job abroad.

I woke up in my bed, duvet sprawled onto the clothes riddled floor, I check my phone, I’ve two hours until work and that familiar feeling of dread washes over me.

I set off to work, a now 45 minute uphill walk.

I sign in, and the same old routine begins again. Same odious, irritating, and bland customers I’m all too used to seeing on a daily basis as they follow the exact same routine themselves of gambling away their collected 20p’s and feverishly buy the cheapest ciders they can find. All the while carrying around a stench that can be smelt from half a shop away.

I return home, and essentially do little to nothing, unless some form of activity is planned in advance. I flirt with the idea of going to the gym, flirt with the idea of writing up a blog, heck, maybe push forward a romance that’s been on the cards for an actual length of months….But again, like every time…Nothing really comes of it.

I think I’m stuck in a rut.

In many aspects I have little to complain about. I have a litany of friends who constantly want to see me, I’m among the first invited to plans made. My colleagues are desperate in their attempts to get me on a staff night out as “it’ll be boring without me”

My love life, whilst a fucking mess is an entertaining one, and one worth writing and reading about.

Yet, here I am with this intense dissatisfaction in pretty much everything lately.

I can’t pinpoint when it happened. It’s recent, it’s lingering, and it’s fucking soul destroying.

I lie here, 4.30 in the morning the dawn of a New Year approaching, waiting for it to hit so I can try and make a decent start to it.

There’s an actual list of things I want to change about myself, my lack of drive, my lack of boldness, my lack of warmth, and these are just mental aspects.

I work in a place in which….On a good day, a really good day. I tolerate.

I see a romantic prospect wither away because I toyed around too much with it, or just lacked the balls to take it to any other step than ‘prospect’.

I look at pictures from just a year and a half ago in which I was bossing my weight loss journey.

And I look back to when my last post in this blog was posted…..June.

Odds are I’m going to abandon this one and start a fresh one come January.

I’ve always hated the saying “New Year, New Me”. But as this year, by all means a good year draws to an end, I welcome 2018 sceptically as I want…….I need this year to be the year I get my shit together, as I cannot allow myself to be this person much longer.

I just can’t.

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That Time I Nearly Drowned.

Memory is a strange old thing, really….

Taking a ridiculously late walk to Asda my mind wandered off into a familiar territory of guilt in regards to neglecting my blog. The content is all there, ready to be written…. Musings, rants, memories, single life posts, the full works. But that spark is surrounded by damp as opposed to powder kegs, heck even anything flammable would do right now.

Then, almost out of nowhere my memory piped up, almost tourette like with a solemn reminder.

Your dog died, like nearly 11 years ago to this day!”

Shit, so she did.

15th June 2006.

I remember three particular things happened. I had to sit a History GCSE exam about Native Americans.

England played and beat Trinidad and Tobago 3-1 in the World Cup.

My fat Rottweiler, Tiny died.

This all led to me hanging out on the waterfront with my friends. The same group, the same location. 2006 was my Summer of bliss which is still something I intend to write about. In fact, this particular post was suppose to come afterwards, but hey the timing is right….

Anyway…

This memory, triggered another just one year later!

Getting home at 3am. Dejected, and suffering from an epiphany of sorts… I wrote in my blog……My Myspace blog. (I remember because I wrote about the fact that it had been a year since my dog died, and of course the events I’m about to reveal!).

Our story takes us to exactly ten years ago.

15th June 2007.

2007 was a fucking blur of a year for me. I had transitioned from 16 year old shy Dan, to party Dan. There wasn’t even a stepping stone of ‘social on occasions Dan’. I had just thrown myself into the deep end of a social life.

It wasn’t unusual back then for ‘Party Dan’ to have his day completely derailed by a random invite to a house party. However with the time of year beach parties had become high on my list of frequencies.

The weather was poor, the UK as a whole was getting battered by storms and floods. Yet somehow, Plymouth had a nice subdue evening ahead of itself. I was online, surfing MSN. I was confident in the fact that I had nothing on tonight.

A random knock on my door. I answer. It’s Ollie.

Ollie, was pretty much an every day cast member in the show that was my life from 2004-2008. He pretty much plays a pivotal role in a lot of blog entries which include me drunk. Fuck, he’s already made an appearance in ‘That Time We Went Out On Valentines Night

Me and Ollie that year, thinking we were the shit.

He had not long received word that there was a beach party happening a mere matter of hours from now, and wanted to know if I wanted in.

Course I fucking did.

I dress myself in a summery casual attire, throw in a tee shirt to swim in should I have fancied it. Bought a 10 pack of VK’s (A poor man’s WKD if such a thing should even exist). And we made our way.

A good two hours later and we arrive. “Dan-zoooooooo!” I hear as I run into a sea of people I only really knew after one too many beverages. Hugs a plenty. It was the buzz that made the two hour trek worth it.

Tucked away from the rest of the world, we sat on our beach drinking disgusting ciders and spirits. Despite the rest of the UK being destroyed by mother nature, you wouldn’t have thought for a singular second that poor weather could exist on this night.

Worth the lost dignity.

Going back to my opening blog statement, memory is a weird thing. You can forget where your keys are, the names of loved ones, and even meeting them. But some memories, even if they are inane at the time will stick with you…Seemingly forever.

Breaking off from the crowd, me and my friend Allan dither off to skim some stones because we had honestly never tried it in our lives. This attracted about three, maybe four other people to do it. All I really remember about them is that they were hippy-ish girls, and one was called Alice. Afterwards we sat on a large rock to just watch the sunset.

It was a beautiful moment, shared with predominantly strangers, using the knee of someone who I just met five minutes prior as a headrest. I occasionally ponder if that memory sticks out to them as well.

The night rolled on, until eventually it hit the one or two in the morning mark.

Alcohol now controlling most of my poor life choices, I decide to go for a swim. (I know…)

Like I previously stated, it was stormy in the UK, and just because we had gotten off lightly, it doesn’t mean the sea did.

The waves were fast and choppy, but Drunk Dan saw this as more fun, swimming into the waves and ‘taking them on’. Fuck knows how long I kept this up for.

Eventually, boredom set in and I figure it’s a good time to swim back to shore. We had a little bonfire on the beach. This bonfire to me was now the size of a marble.

Whoops, swam out farther than I anticipated” I thought to myself as I casually began to swim back.

Everything was going well, until I notice myself get heavily drawn back by the sea as a wave sailed over me.

I shrug it off and continue my swim.

Again, I’m dragged back and twatted by a wave.

A third time’s going to be a charm…I swim, this time with a bit more power behind my arms.

The third time, clearly not the charm as I’m dragged even further back.

I was now worst off than when I started swimming back.

Fuck.

There was an obvious panic setting in now as I’m just unsure how on earth I’m going to make it back to shore. To make things worst, the waves were becoming much more unforgiving in their assault on me, this time dragging me under the surface.

I love the sea. It’s probably why I related to Moana so much, I’ve lived 10 minutes away from it for my entire life. A lot of my time is spent just sat next to it. It’s a romance that’ll probably never fade.

But fuck me sideways, being alone in the middle of it in the dead of night is an experience I’m not exactly looking to repeat. Especially when you’re under water, and not even knowing what’s up or down.

My best efforts to battle the tide had failed, the best I could do was just stay afloat for now.

Thankfully, the waves had calmed down a little bit, but not enough for me to successfully make any progress in swimming back. I decided to just tread water.

At two in the morning, surrounded by water, darkness and under a sea of stars. I figure this is the perfect time to be reflective on my life.

I’m probably going to die” I thought to myself.

I did not see it ending like this. Not really a dignified way for me to go…Is it? I wonder if they’ll make something up to make me sound better”. I shit you not was my actual worry at that time.

Hell, if I wasn’t faced with my own potential demise it probably would have been an incredibly tranquil experience.

Another wave comes charging towards me.

Oh fuck off” I think to myself as I boost myself at the right time to swim over the wave.

Said wave had given me a little lift a metre of so forward.

The darkness surrounding me was lit up by a light bulb above my head at this point in time.

Another wave came, I kick myself up, and voilà! Carried a few feet further once more. Mother Nature, the same bitch who five minutes ago tried to murder me had just thrown me a lifeline.

It was a slow, tactical, and eventually quite boring bid for survival. Treading water, facing away from the shore and towards the faint lines of waves, I wait, boost and repeat.

After what felt like an eternity my toes flirted with the sand, but not enough to get a steady footing, I figure impatience will kill me so I still try and remain disciplined enough to keep up this winning tactic.

But, soon enough I get a footing! I’m able to walk! I make my way back to the shoreline, and collapse exhausted.

I’ve no clue how long I was there for, but a couple (Who I don’t even think were at the party) woke me up under the assumption that I was a corpse that had floated ashore. I tell them my miraculous tale of survival, pretty sure they didn’t care but I’ll be damned if they didn’t hear this heroes tale (though I left out the part of how I got there).

Reunited with my pals, who had spent a while looking for me before assuming I had just went home, the party continued for a little bit, before we attempted to get home.

As you’re aware it took us two hours to get to the beach. This was fine! It was a nice evening, and more importantly….It was daylight.

Three in the morning, the ten remaining drunk teenagers traversing narrow country roads in almost the pitch black. This was actually in the days before most phones had built in flash lights, too.

The odd car drove past, and I can’t even imagine how fucked up that scene must have looked to the driver.

The ten slowly dwindled down to just me and some Scottish guy, who walked through a supposed haunted woodland area. Once we left the woods it was just me to continue the remaining hour journey, soaked, sobering and questioning his life choices.

I went to a beach party about a week later so clearly I learned fuck all in this experience.

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Dan Is Socially Inept: The Second Compendium.

One of my first entries upon starting this blog was one which I felt advertised me in both the wrong and correct light. The Socially Awkward Compendium, a collection of previous Facebook Status’s detailing awkward situations in which I somehow skyrocket into.

New readers can find said compendium right here.

Where it all began.

However, this was way back when in July 2016. In the past nine months I’ve inevitably found myself in more shoddy situations that my own mouth have only made things a lot worst.

So, without much further delay. Here is the Second Socially Awkward Compendium….

1: JCB Horrors.

I’m in Morrisons and I just walked past one of those little kiddie rides.

“Hello! What’s your name?” It chirpily rang in a childish voice, so I thought naturally it’s a kid. (This is before seeing said ride)

Without a second thought, I turn around to “the child” and replied “oh it’s Dan!”
I then realise I’m instead talking to a talking children’s JCB. Pretty sure the staff realised too.

2: Phone Check

Dan is socially inept:

I head off to the shop, about 30 seconds into the journey I realised I left my card at home. So I do that stupid little ‘check your phone’ and turn around routine.
Upon taking my phone out, I take a few steps and put my phone back into my pocket. Doing so, I realise said card is in the other pocket.

Auto-pilot kicks in, I take my phone out AGAIN and turn around. Realising, in plain view of someone I’ve just done a full phone checking loop to loop in the form of a brisk walk.
I turn to them, and laugh.

Except I have a cough at the moment, which interrupted said laugh, so I basically stare this chap down and go “HAHHHHH” with extended wheezing.
I then pulled out my phone for a third time to write this status and I think I’m currently redder than blood itself

3: New Friend

In Wilko, came across this cardboard little prick, nearly bumping into ‘her’

Upon doing this, I let out a little surprised “whuuuuuuu?!?!” scream, nearly hitting her in the process.

In my panicked confusion, I realise she’s not real and somehow still make it worst for myself.

“Shit, sorry I thought you were a real person” I explain.

To the cardboard girl.

In front of people.

4: Glitter

In the newest episode of Dan is socially inept:

I’m in Morrisons, where like 99% of these idiotic situations take place.
Packing my shopping away at the self service, the childhood Mickey Mouse plush that I’ve had since I was one tumbles out my bag. (Rescued it from my Grandads, the reason why I had it)

“Oh, Fucking hell Mick, you massive idiot” I murmur aloud in panic as I retrieve him, already turning a few heads.

Not wanting a repeat of this situation I decide to use my bags secondary compartment. I see a t-shirt inside that I decide to move.
Forgetting that said t shirt was absolutely plastered in glitter from a party weeks prior, I whip it out. Glitter flies EVERYWHERE.
“FuckFuckFuckFuckFuckFuckFuck” my inner monologue screams.

The woman on the self service noticed this, so I naively thought of making light of it.

“………… Talk about a GLIT-tastrophe!”

Still could’ve been worst. I nearly said “Clit-tastrophe” but still, fucking hell.

5: Pringles

The belated ‘Dan Reed is an awkward mess. Christmas Special.

Just in Sainsburys once more, and our first problem was that I lived the life of an absolute mad man by opting to not take a basket with me. This of course leads to me juggling a heap of shopping around with me.
Our second problem was festive gluttony, as I saw some ‘Pigs in blankets’ flavoured Pringles. It’s now on the pile.

I walk down another aisle, and the Pringles loosen from my grip and is in a losing battle with gravity. “Ohhhhh!” I exclaim as I stick out my foot in a bid to sort of save them.

Anybody who has seen me try anything remotely sporty will know that me trying to save a tube of Pringles with my foot is a wasted endeavour. But in quite the plot twist, my foot made contact! Too hard, admittedly.
The tube ricocheted off my foot, and shot across the aisle like a fucking missile. Catching the attention of a nearby woman. (It nearly hit her, for one).
“I’ve got this” I think to myself.

It was easy, chuckle, say something like “Haha, whoops. I don’t like Pringles, apparently” and we’d all have a laugh.

Instead.

She looks at me, I look at her. As cold as the fucking heart of your ex, I say stone faced “I hate Pringles”. Shoot off and awkwardly pick them up.

2016 has killed a lot off this year. Prince, Rickman, Fisher.
But it’s absolutely fucking massacred my dignity.

6: Fuck off and leave me alone.

Today in work. One of my most uncomfortable scenarios happened. Someone’s fucking kid started talking to me. It went as well as you’d expect.

Kid: Oooooooooooooooooh, I don’t know what sort of chocolate to get.

Me: -Pretends to not hear him-

Kid: Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm, What chocolate do you think I should get?

He literally approached me, couldn’t feign ignorance here.

Me: Well…….What’s your favourite?

Kid: ALL OF THEM (Well that’s fucking helpful, isn’t it mate).
What’s YOUR favourite?

Me: Hm, I like Twirls, Or Double Decker. Oh! Boost is good too, but I only really have that when I’m hungover.

Kid: What’s a Double Decker? What’s a hungover?

Me: Oh yeah, you’re like….4 you probably don’t get hangovers (Obvs).

I then, literally just walk away.

7: Mistaken Identity.

Dan Reed is socially awkward!:

In Sainsburys getting vodka because that’s who I am as a human being now.
I’m with 
Andrew Rider, I assume we’re walking at the same pace, so I talk:

Me: Oh, bloody ‘ell trust me to be running late again.

No answer. But I assume he’s just a few paces behind me…… I continue.

Me again: Where the hell are you, anyway?

As I turn around, I notice that I’m not actually talking to Andrew it’s some bloody woman.
I literally recoil in horror.

“UHHH! YOU’RE NOT ANDREW!” I gasp, I then do what can only be described as a screeching laugh. Turning the heads of like, 8 fucking people.

Christ. This is why I drink.

8: Good Samaritan

In the latest episode of Dan Reed a socially awkward mess…..

Walking home, and deciding to buy some cookies, I walk past a frail old lady who’s in need of my heroics.
She asks me to loosen the cap of her water bottle for her, as her wrists are to nimble to complete the task.

This is where me going to the gym once every four months comes in handy as I open the cap with ease.

“Ahhhh there you go, that should save you some trouble, I hope” I say, handing her the bottle.

“Ohhhhh thank you so much!” she replies gratefully.

At this point it’d been a grand idea to just say “You’re welcome”. Like a normal fucking human being. But instead, and I shit you not I say….

“Ain’t no thing but a chicken wing” and wink, and I literally have no idea why.

9: Getting Around

Uh oh. UH OHHH….It’s that time again (No, not drinking).
It’s Dan Reed is socially awkward!

In work, serving a girl who is one of many with that bloody cough that’s plaguing the nation. She’s coughing dramatically.

Her: Ew, sorry! I’ll try my best not to infect you.

Me: Ahhhhhhh, it’s fineeeee. Odds are I’ve caught worst things off of women.

Her: Oh………Okay!

I took a while to register, I meant like, a cold, or the flu or some shit. Instead I pretty much imply to half of Stoke that I have a fucking STD.

10: Ice, Ice, Maybe

A long anticipated episode of Dan is socially awkward and should not be trusted in public!!!

I’m in Subway with Dan Naylor, I get a little cup for my drink and head on over to the new flashy drink machine they have.

I press the little sensor saying ‘Ice’ and put a bit of ice in the cup. I then press the bit next to it for Pepsi…..

Nothing… I press again. Again, diddlysquat.

Not wanting staff and customers alike to think I’m failing, I casually put in more ice. I press the Pepsi button again. NOTHING.

“DAN!!!! HELP!!” I laugh and scream in panic, to ‘Dan’ nearby.
Except it WASN’T FUCKING DAN, but some complete random, who’s been alerted to my stupidity.
I go over to the table, cup half full of fucking ice at this point.

Upon sitting down to explain my crisis, I look over and notice that drink machine is just a fucking ice dispenser that’s NEXT to the drinks machine.

I didn’t even need ice, it was freezing.

Hopefully, there won’t be a third compendium, but you know there will be. x

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April Fools Special! That Time I Stalked My Mother.

I am not a very mature person.

I’d love to bullshit you right off the bat and paint myself in a mysteriously sophisticated light, I truly would but unfortunately there has never been much of a moment in my life that has made me go “Boom. Grow up time”.

As a result of this, I usually find myself indulging in the more childish things in life. Disney films, playing with Lego, living in my own little imaginary world 80% of the time.

Sometimes if the mood is right, I’ll indulge in a prank.

Now, the problem with pranks these days is that they’ve been tarnished and torn to pieces by stupid Youtubers thinking it’s funny to steal someone’s phone in public, film it and then act the victim when they retaliate (“IT’S A PRANK BRO! THE CAMERA’S THERE!- Literally any video on YouTube lately)

So saying “I like pranks” can effectively make you look moronic, what happened to the old days of hiding in a closet and shouting ‘boo’?.

The secondary problem I have, is that I can range from exceptionally shit at these pranks, I once made a prank call only to apologise for calling the wrong number. To some sort of criminal genius who plans the next stage of a seven part plan more intricately than I plan my own life decisions.

Quick confession time, right off the bat.

Luke, if you’re reading this. You might remember this letter, chocolate bar, and subsequent picture you uploaded….

That was me.

I, one summers day got bored and thought it’d be funny to send my friend Luke an admirers letter from an anonymous illiterate girl. This was meant to go on for a few weeks with each letter getting more and more aggressive, up until the point where I was going to buy hair extensions and post them through his letter box. Sadly it never got past the “Send him half eaten chocolate bar” stages.

A few years prior to this however, whilst still living with my dear mother. I was bored at home. I could hear the obnoxious sounds of ‘Zynga Poker’ a Facebook poker game that she apparently decided to don a slight addiction to. For absolutely no reason whatsoever, I decided to call her via withheld number. I don’t know what I was expecting to happen, but it escalated. Her ringtone blared through.

WE FOUND LOVE IN A HOPLESS PLACE!

WE FOUND LOVE IN A HOPE-LESSSSSS PLACE!”

Oh, it’s a withheld number!” I hear the confusion in her voice already.

Wonder who it was calling at this time?” (About 9pm) I laugh to myself, and call again.

WE FOUND LOVE IN A HOPLESS PLACE!

WE FOUND LOVE IN A HOPE-LESSSSSS PLACE!”

They’re calling again!!” Mom nervously commentated on her phone as I started to call more and more, wondering how long it would take for her to at least answer.

I started off with five or ten minutes between each phone call, then as the time went on I escalated the frequency of the calls,calling again the moment I was sent through to voicemail.

WE FOUND LOVE IN A HOPLESS PLACE!

WE FOUND LOVE IN A HOPE-LESSSSSS PLACE!”

WE FOUND LOVE IN A HOPLESS PLACE!

WE FOUND LOVE IN A HOPE-LESSSSSS PLACE!”

WE FOUND LOVE IN A HOPLESS PLACE!

WE FOUND LOVE IN A HOPE-LESSSSSS PLACE!”

Her frustration only added to the hilarity I found in the situation, trying my best to ensure that she couldn’t hear me laughing through the other room. It didn’t take long before my mother took charge of the situation and took it to Facebook.

* You’re *Your

This, unfortunately for mother, only adding fuel to my fire of being the worlds most irritating son and the phone calls ran on. Why she didn’t turn her phone off I will never understand, she did however switch it to vibrate.

Eventually, her Facebook friends started to weigh in on the situation.

Each comment was celebrated with a new missed call as my relentless pursuit went on, knowing she was acting so cavalier on Facebook yet so irked in the realms of reality only made the experience more humorous to me at the time.

Sooner, rather than later though the Facebook facade broke.

Now, you may notice in the screenshot that I neglected to blur out ‘Hazzam Astif’.

This is because…….

I Was Hazzam Astif….

PHASE TWO.

Missed calls were funny, but it was time to up the game and give the missed calls a face, and subsequent Facebook to match.

Finding ‘Hazzam’ was pretty easy, just go on any celebrities Facebook and find the strange, yet inevitable Indian Facebook comments. E.G “lad gaga u r gd singer I luv u plz vist mother”.

Go to their profile, and just go through a few friends and eventually you should find a perfect candidate.

This was our boy Hazzam.

I had made Hazzam quite the fan of my mother as you can tell, all I had to do from this point was log into the same Poker room as her and consistently nag her. This resulted in me getting banned from ever playing Zynga Poker again, or rather Hazzam.

It was a worthwhile effort though, mom was now aware of this Indonesia dream. I heard the gasps of horror as she saw the obsessive status’s.

To top that off, I also sent her this delicate message.

—————————————-

please don’t be angry from me because i have a low leavel in english.

morning to 21 or 22 of night and iam always in net in this time.

i hope meeting you soon.

please don’t forget me.


i don’t know why i say this maybe iam in love you are shiny star an i like u much in poker, do u feel same  

It didn’t take too long until I started to overhear talks of possibly calling a non-emergency contact number, which led me with the very real question….

How far am I willing to take this?

Unfortunately, that question was never properly answered, as nature called and I had to wee, passing the living room and

 seeing mom in a state of confusion was more than enough to make me burst out laughing at immediate sight.

She figured me out.

And that was the immediate end of Hazzam.

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That Time We Went Out On Valentine’s Night

Valentines day 2016.

9.21am.

I woke up, still in the clothes from the night before, minus the fact that somehow through the mysteries of said night I had changed shirts and worn a fluorescent yellow tee shirt that had not been worn by me in over three years. Shoes still neatly tied, belt firmly attached to my waist.

The world was spinning, my throat dry, I was cradling a saucepan that was holding my vomit inside. “Fucking hell”. I thought to myself.

Meanwhile, that same morning, thousands of women woke up to breakfast in bed, flowers, and all sorts of the gestures of love and appreciation.

Two hours of searching for my keys that I again, had drunkenly lost resulted in me abandoning the diet for the day and going to Mcdonalds.

On the way back, carrying my chocolate milkshake and Big Mac meal, I approach a simple pigeon, a lonesome wayward soul like myself. I continue walking, yet the cocky piece of shit doesn’t fly away. Hangover pounding, and remorse building in my stomach as the sambuca reminds me of my mistakes lead me into a battle of wills with the feathered fool. I am not moving two inches to my left for a pigeon, no way.

I get closer, and s/he still doesn’t fly off, this pigeon’s either hungover too, or just essentially had enough shit for the day and subsequently saw me as the perfect bloke to stand up to.

Long story short, I tripped over the fucking thing.

Prick

Prick

This may sound like a bad start to the morning, but let me tell you there have been worst ‘morning afters’ from drinks inspired by Valentines day.

February 15th 2008.

Not sure what time. A.M

I woke up, in my bed, world spinning, the sound of bins being dragged across the cobbled streets is like a nuclear bomb in my ears. My friend Ollie is in the same bed, I’m once again wearing a different tee shirt than the night previous. Only difference being, this one’s white and covered in my own blood.

We’ll get to that moment, let’s talk about the night before however.

Valentines Evening 2008.

8pm.

Nathan comes round to my house, it’s a nervy evening, I’m shooting back Irn-Bru WKD’s like it’s my job as we await Luke to arrive. Ollie has already met Dan and Webster and it was just a case of the six of us meeting up.

For myself and Ollie, this was business as usual we had spent the summer of 2007 illegally drinking and somehow actually managing to do it down town, the rest of our group however, this was…If memory serves correctly their first venture down town, and even so it was without a doubt our first outing down town as a group.

The first step: All of us, six weird looking seventeen year old guys getting past the doormen. I’m pretty sure we strategically planned the order in which we went in, oldest looking at the front, youngest looking in the middle, and another oldest at the back as if the older looking of us were smugglers or something. Nonetheless we all got in.

Seventeen year old me was not the heaviest of drinkers, even to this day when people drink their Carling’s and Fosters and other variants of alcoholically enthused sweat, I still always go for the fruit ciders. However even that back then was considered too grim for me, but I couldn’t in good faith order a WKD in a bar and try to be convincing as an adult human being.

I instead opted for the most lethal fucking cocktail English Sterling could afford.

Another fun fact about seventeen year old me! It didn’t take a lot for me to get drunk, and certainly not much more to get fully wasted. Realistically the WKD’s would’ve done the trick, but instead I was glugging down a mixture of Vodka, Gin, Schnapps, Cider, and whatever else they thought would fit into a pint glass.

It didn’t take long for me, and the group to get social.

Dan, Ollie, Me and Webster that night.

Dan, Ollie, Me and Webster that night.

It started innocently enough, just our group merrily singing to the likes of R. Kelly, and the bloke who sings about doing shit throughout the week, I honestly can’t remember who it is.

The rest of the downstairs bar joined in, believing we were the ringleaders of this impromptu karaoke session, we continued to bellow our obnoxious voices throughout the evening.


I’m not sure what time it was we got there, but disaster struck. I had ran out of money. The night seemed incredibly bleak from this point on, as my drunk self couldn’t quite handle the prospect of not getting another cocktail within the next fifteen minutes.

Desperately, I get to the bars cash machine and check my balance.

February 15th 2008

00:01AM

I had just been paid. £800 Had just been safely deposited into my bank. The night was in full swing again. I order two more of the vicious cocktails. The rest of my group have also been hit hard by them as they go their separate ways. Ollie tries to desperately pull, Luke and Webster go to the establishment next door, Nathan had left hours ago, and me and Dan (Naylor) figured we’d introduce ourselves to the other patrons.

Literally, one by one. We approached each group at each table and shook everyone’s hands introducing ourselves. Looking back, that was probably the most obnoxiously confident we ever have, and will be, simply on account that it’s not been done since.

A good portion of the hour or so we meet some people and discuss the events of British TV Series Skins, as I declare my interest in a girl that later in life went on to be my girlfriend for seven years. More on that in later blogs.

Oh fucking ‘ell Dan’s POURING ‘IS ‘ART OUT!” Naylor screams as I’m pretty sure the hopeless romantic in me tries to literally pick up dating tips from the bar staff.

The love lesson however was soon interrupted by a returning Ollie with his signature ‘Shit’s going down’ grin.

What’s up?” I inquire. “Oh Luke and Luke are getting started on!” He laughed nervously.

WHAT?! WHY?!

Me and Naylor go into helpful friend mode and rush to our friends aid, not before rallying half the fucking bar to come with us in our fight against injustice however. Next thing I know, there’s a good eight of us marching towards Cuba, by most definitions the skankiest bar in the entirety of Plymouth.

Thankfully, there was no riot as Luke & Luke had appeared to settle the fight themselves and harmony returned. Me and Naylor then discovered that we hadn’t introduced ourselves to the upstairs bar yet.

This eventually led to me and Naylor sat in the corner with two women, possibly at this point in time in their late twenties. One looked like the only payment she had ever received in her life was heroin, the other was donning quite the melted face. Nonetheless me and Naylor were nothing short of lovely and for some really fucking weird reason told her that we were part of a duet named  ‘HappySad’

Wart dahs ‘Appeh-Sahd sing den??!” the melted faced lady inquired rather viciously.

Oh all sorts, mostly acoustic….Because you know, there’s just uhhh, two of us…in a duet” I smiled trying to make my blatant lie as believable as sin.

Go onnnnnn, sing us a song then!” heroin girl made the request that both me and Naylor knew was coming. Fuck.

The two women sat closer, me and Naylor looked at each other, years upon years of singing Sum 41 had led us to this very moment, it was go time, to somehow create a fake duet within twenty five seconds notice.

Dan….HIT IT” I shout out.

Naylor starts to strum his imaginary guitar as he literally loudly hums the opening chords of Sum 41’s ‘Without me’.

 “Du du du DUH DUH, du du du DU DUH DUH, Du du du DUH DUH, du du DUH, DUH DUH DUH DUH”

I look pensive as I try my best to seem convincing enough of a tortured soul to write the lyrics I soon start to (badly) sing.

I don’t want this mo-mennnnnnnnt

To ever ennnnnd!

Where everything’s nothing.

Withoutttttttttttttttttttttttt

youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu

To save you reading, and subsequently me typing out the entire lyrics, we got to about halfway through the song before they requested we stop.

I’m not sure if it was well received because whilst they requested us to stop, they still had no problem in informing us that they’d ‘eat us for breakfast’ which to this day, I’m not sure what they meant by.

For some reason the one with the melted face then started licking Naylors hand but I thought it a grand idea to not ask about that.

When Webster met HappySad <3

When Webster met HappySad ❤

More alcohol and random meetings went on til about 4am. The night is a blur on account that it was nine years ago (Holy fuck).

Me and Naylor left the establishment.

Luke (Webster) had disappeared.

Luke (Rapley) had gotten himself mugged by a taxi driver.

Ollie was around somewhere.

Me and Naylor were arm in arm skipping up the road singing (seeing as we’re a famous duet now) Ring of fire.

DO DO DO DU-DO DO DOOOOOOOOOOO

DO DO DO DU-DO DO DOOOOOOOOOOO”

During our amazing singalong however, we couldn’t quite help but notice the ground was making it’s way to us, incredibly quickly.

Then it instead dawned that we were just falling over. We hit the curb with a solid thud, and burst into laughter at the stupidity of the situation. We get back up, Naylor stays up, I fall back down. I do not get up.

February 15th

6am or something.

I woke up, dazed, confused, and cold. The usual hangover surroundings of my room is replaced with an unfamiliar sight.

Instead of waking up on my cosy bed, I woke up on a random sofa. “Uhhh?” I drunkenly grunt in my confusion. The only thing in this room is the sofa I’m lying on and a table. There’s no other furnishings of note, not even wallpaper. 

I clamber off the sofa, and explore the house I find myself in. I enter what I assume to be the kitchen, again no furnishings nor white goods,  just a table, one chair and on the wall written in faded red paint….

BUSH WILL KILL US FOR OIL”

Well fuck, I’m certainly out of my element here.

Heaps of questions start to circle around anxiously in my head.

 “Where am I?”

How did I get here?”

Where the fuck is everyone?”

Is this how the great ballad of Dan Reed ends?”

I figure there’s no point freaking out just yet and I explore the rest of the house. I hear voices upstairs. I slowly and nervously take each step as I confront my fate, I open the door.

A group of people, in a perfectly furnished room are playing ‘Sing-Star’. One of the girls turn around

Ahhhhhhhh Dans up wooooooo!

Okay, so they know me, maybe I drunkenly introduced myself mid-black out?

I ask where the fudge everyone is, and I’m led to the door. Miraculously, Naylor and Ollie are outside with a random worker from Subway. I’m perplexed but relieved nonetheless.

Apparently the totally unfurnished room wasn’t cool enough to smoke in, so they had resided outside during my unconscious time. I take the fresh air and sunrise as a good enough hint that it’s time to puke. Whilst doing so, my would be rescuers returned to the house with more fucking alcohol.

In for a penny, in for a pound I guess.

 

My hero, apparently.

My hero, apparently.

We go into another front room, that thankfully actually has more than one grotty sofa in it. One of the people we’re drinking with takes out a fucking tattoo needle.

 He starts to tattoo some random girl, who in turn returns the favour and tattoos him. 

Subway guy turns to me, the seventeen year old who had just spent the best part of an hour passed out and puking from copious alcohol consumption.

Hey Dan, tattoo me!”

In for a penny, in for a pound I guess.

Tattoo guy hands me the tattoo needle, I press something and it vibrates, on account that I was giving someone a ‘piece of art’ that would last for a lifetime I really do struggle to remember what happened.

He asked me to draw/tattoo a skateboard on his calf, because… And I quote “He likes skating”. I’m a shit artist on the best of days, so imagine his disdain when a skateboard, a pretty easy thing to draw even for a blind seven year old, ends up looking like this….

I'm not even overreacting for comedic effect either.

I’m not even overreacting for comedic effect either.

The guy masked his disapointment in his immediate shit tattoo quite well I like to think. Feeling the buzz in the situation I think I tattoo Ollie (Though I honestly can’t remember) however, Ollie turns to me.

Dan

I can see what’s coming…. “Lemme tattoo you!”

In for a penny, in for a pound I guess.

And instead of saying “No” like a responsible human being, I instead say. “Hey Ollie, let’s do THREE Tattoos!”

And three tattoos he inks onto my skin permanently.

One tattoo being the nickname ‘Danzo’ on my left shoulder.

The second being the ‘Heartagram’ symbol from the band ‘HIM’ (I know)

And the third, and I have this to this very day. A fucking smiley face on my chest.

See?

See?

No word of a lie, I not only accepted these tattoos with a smile on my face (and now chest), but I was actually elated with them at the time. I could have been a walking advertisement on why underage drinking was a terrible idea.

The night/morning soon dwindled down, Naylor had gone home whilst me and Ollie took a slow sombre walk back to my house. It must have been eight in the morning at least, because school kids were at the bus stop. I literally gave some a pep talk on why they should never drink, despite the fact that just a year prior I too was a school kid.

I went home, put on a clean, soon to be blood soaked shirt and called it a night. Not really knowing just what the fuck happened to the rest of the crew that night, one of the Lukes woke up in the middle of a village apparently, whilst the other stole a door mat.

Whilst it was a rough feeling the morning after it was one of those landmark nights that shaped how the rest of our years, and drinking patterns would go. So all in all, it was probably the perfect valentines

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That Time I Got Conned By A Christmas Stall.

I love Christmas.

I love most things about it. The silly decorations, hearing Slade 6000 times a day, the general festive glow and aura that fills the air. Pretty much everything.

Christmas shopping however, is something I’m in two mindsets on, I suppose it depends on the general mood, or day but I can either be on a roll and be fantastic at it, or alternatively I can be like myself a few Christmases ago.

Our Story takes us to 2014.

It was a cold, rainy Thursday afternoon, I was in town making an attempt to get some Christmas shopping done, it was a bleak and disheartening experience I had a never ending internal conflict on just what to get people or even where to start searching for such a matter. I still had an everlasting list of things to get matched with a long list of people to buy for but the two dots just simply wouldn’t connect.

At this point, I knew what had to be done. I put the ‘Purchase Gates’ theory into practice.

I wouldn’t expect you to know about the ‘Purchase Gates’ theory because I have literally just this second invented it, but I’m pretty sure it’s relatable enough to catch on.

The Purchase Gate theory (c) goes like so…

You’re in town, you need to get some shopping achieved, maybe it’s for other people, or maybe you need to buy some fancy new clothes for a Christmas night out? Either way you’re in town and nothing’s quite catching your eye.

Then, against all odds you pick something up on a whim, in my case it was an Avengers belt, upon picking up the Avengers belt however I notice some whimsically themed ‘fast food socks’ that may as well be bought also. On the way to the checkout I figure that a plain tee shirt could come in handy somehow so pick that up too. “Oh, here we go….The gates have opened now!” I’ll think to myself.

You buy one thing, and suddenly much more will become appealing to you, The Purchase Gates open up, things take your fancy much easier and suddenly you become more practical in your purchasing pursuits.

Back to our cold, rainy December Thursday I decide to just find a small purchase to merely open up the gates, nothing too extravagant but enough to get the ball rolling, as a result I decide to check out the Christmas stalls that range from exotic foods, to handmade jewellery with everything in between. One of these stalls seemingly specialised in onesies..

Every variation of onesie you could imagine was there, Penguins, Dinosaurs, Pigs, British flags, even Minions before this ridiculous fucking Minion obsession began to plague the nation. That’s when I saw it….

Stitch, from Lilo and Stitch in onesie form.

“Holy shit”

I figure on this cold day, this cold, rainy Thursday that the perfect opening purchase would be this, I approach the stall, approach the Stitch onesie and look slightly to the left of said Stitch onesie, and that’s when I saw it…..

A fucking Pikachu onesie.


“Ohhhhh shit!” I thought once more. Sorry Stitch mate you’ve already been relegated, as within an instant let my heart choose the electric mouse.

“Hey there, buddy how much is this one here?” I inquire, hope and soul filling my eyes as I gaze upon this wonderful piece of bed wear.

“Ten quid for small, fifteen for large, mate” he replied possibly wondering why he even bothered to suggest small judging upon my child like gaze.

“Awesome, I’ll get large…do you take card?”

“Nah, cash only, mate”

“………”

“……..”

“Alright, be back in a bit”.

And with that, I gallivant to the nearest cashpoint, images of me chilling in my Pikachu onesie fill my mind, I almost feel the intense warmth from the soft satisfying material. I withdraw twenty pound, I rush back to the stall, the guy must have been having a slow day because during my absence he had already taken the liberty of retrieving a pre-packed onesie and already bagging it. We make the exchange.

“Here you are, mate” (I’m not over exaggerating his overuse of the word ‘mate’ by the way)

Cheers pal, have a lovely Christmas”

“You too mate”

I continue a successful shopping trip, the Purchase Gate theory proves a success once again, I return home, and I wait.

I wait til the darkest hour, of this cold, rainy Thursday. I wait til the fatigue of a long day kicks in, I wait til I finish preparing a perfect hot chocolate to accompany the debut of this onesie.

The hot chocolate is prepared, the rain as if knowing of this moment intensifies in volume, I retrieve my Pikachu onesie and prepare to get into it…The ultimate unveiling goes south very quickly….

It was a fucking Tiger.

No, not a real tiger although let’s face it, it would have been a much better story.

I look in pure horror at this monstrosity of an excuse of a onesie. It was the most stupid Tiger I have ever seen in my life.

Do you know what I’ve never seen? A yellow fucking tiger. Yet here was one, in my devastated hands. Every tiger I can think of, whether it be real or fictitious has actually been orange, you know…The actual colour of tigers. Maybe if the packet had actually said “Striped Lion” or “Not Pikachu” I could have probably let it slide but the fact that someone had the gall to call this a tiger really got my goat.

Look….

This is a tiger

This is an Orange

This is Frosties mascot Tony the Tiger

Three very different entities on this mortal coil, Animal, Fruit, and cartoon. Yet all three share the defining feature of being fucking orange.

This. Is the closest example to the onesie I got I could find….

Tigers don't even pose like that.

Tigers don’t even pose like that.

The only thing separating it is the fact that on my onesie, instead of being cute, the eyes were soullessly white with a shit attempt at smaller black pupils.

A tiger isn’t even striped like it’s depicted in the onesie, I’ve never seen something, that’s meant to be a tiger look so different from a tiger, fuck they’re actually close to making it look like Pikachu than they are an actual Tiger.

I go to bed, onesie-less and irritated. Not to worry however, I figured that I may as well just simply return the onesie the next day.

So our story now takes us to a cold, dreary Friday. I walk into town, same bag placed in my hand twenty-four hours later.

It was an ever so simple plan, go in, explain the situation, possibly get judged on what business a 24 year old man had getting a onesie of a character from a childs outdated tv series, have a good laugh and return home. There was however one very crucial setback.

The stall had vanished.

“…………………………Oh” I thought to myself. Maybe he’s just not set up yet? I concluded as I continue the rest of my day. A few hours later I return, and it’s still not there.

The stall never returned.

To this day, as far as I know the stall is yet to return, I’m absolutely positive that I am the victim of what is now, and will always be.

The perfect crime

The onesie heist.

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The Last Of Us has turned me into a filthy, filthy hypocrite

This posts contains serious spoilers for The Last Of Us. Don’t be dumb and read it if you’re playing through it.

Four in the morning, slumped on my living room floor laying up against the front of the sofa, PS3 remote in my hand, still gripped readily as I’m still anticipating some sort of curve ball.

Maybe I was living in denial for a brief second that the game ended on such a cliff hanger, maybe I just didn’t want the experience to end, fuck knows. But I was so on the edge of my seat that I literally wasn’t even on the seat any more.

The Last Of Us, was in my recollection the first, and so far only game that I wanted to immediately go through again but literally couldn’t because the original play through emotionally drained the fuck out of me.

The narrative by now is overdone. Infected people fucking shit up in a post apocalyptic land, but people are the real threat, someone can’t get infected, yada yada yada, it’s been done before.

The Last Of Us though delivered this with with an extra dose of brutality, letting you briefly play as Joel’s lovable daughter before killing her within about twenty minutes.

The moment the prologue comes to an end you’re already aware you’re in for one hell of a fucking emotional roller coaster. There were tantrums, tears, anguish, a few doses of happiness, and all out fear throughout the game. Worrying about the fate of a character the moment you met them, whether they’d die, turn evil, or make it through the affair.

I could compile a list of my favourite gaming moments, and fuck it. I plan to in a future blog post, and The Last of Us can easily fill up a few. Sarah’s death, Joel’s rampage through the hospital to save Ellie, encounter the Giraffes.

So once the credit came rolling in, my reaction was a lot like everyone’s….

………….What the fuck?”

You’re left tittering on a cliff. Even though there was no obvious cliff hanger the questions were left dangling in front of you with no means of any answer in sight.

Joel and Ellie’s story was littered with highs and lows, and every single part of me wanted to return to TLOU’s universe.

Here’s the thing though, I was more than happy to leave Joel and Ellie as a mystery. As far as I was concerned their story was over, they’d live happily ever after with Tommy and that was that. Ambiguous or not.

Plus, a destroyed world 20 years in the future is ripe with possible storylines.

I was itching to play a campaign as Ish (Ishing to play, you could say) the guy who lived out through notes in the sewers.

You could have played as a simple Firefly in their rise to fame, or Ellie’s mom and Marlene in the early days.

Hell, The Last Of Us has Universe has thousands of stories to tap into. Even Joel’s as a prequel, everyone probably has an ideal scenario in their head.

Now we’re here. I’ve just found out about The Last of Us Part Two. Reuniting with Ellie (After what would appear to be quite the killing spree) And Joel.

It’s like seeing two old friends you’ve not even thought about in a while, but the moment you see them you remember the good times and just want to spend the afternoon with them again.

Everything I once thought about leaving Joel and Ellie as a mystery, about their story being done, my desire to still play in that universe but as someone else has been disproven in a two minute video.

I’m prepared to get my heart broken by Naughty Dog again. More than fucking ready.

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