Land of Fire and Ice (Iceland)

Iceland – Reykjavik ~2018

Life can move in very strange ways, and sometimes has a sense of weird irony that isn’t always immediately clear. Case in point, just a couple of weeks ago I was traipsing around Iceland (the budget frozen goods store) in a typical slovenly fashion, wearing scruffy sweatpants and a grim look like most of the shop’s inhabitants – my happiness levels raised only momentarily by the occasional must-buy purchase; cheesy garlic breads £1, double chocolate ice cream £1.50, enormous multi-pack of crisps £2. Time machine it to a few days ago and I am stood in actual Iceland, wearing no scruffy sweatpants (yes, I was wearing clothes, I’m not a maniac), marvelling at the natural beauty of the landscape and soaking in the living and breathing personality that this wonderful part of the world expresses.

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Not to ruin the picture I’ve just painted or anything…but I was also super pissed at how expensive actual Iceland is compared to frozen chicken nuggets Iceland. £10 for one diddy bottle of beer whut whuttt?! You could buy a whole deep-fried farm for that!

Iceland, the fabled “Land of Ice and Fire”, could not be more appropriately named…and it has to be said right off the bat that I give absolute props to any of the (just over) 300,000 people that despite all logic and common sense have decided to look pulsing volcanoes, feet upon feet of snow, regular sandstorms and much more not so fun stuff in the face and state, “I’m still staying. Fuck you.” After all, we all know the kind of effect that weather can have on people mentally, not to mention the physical obstacles of lava melting your toes.

*Insert moment of silence for all the lava toes lost out there*

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It seems that people in general are just as impressed and curious as we were beforehand: Reykjavik, which comprises the majority of Iceland’s population and trade, has been flourishing in recent years, with record numbers now visiting to see what all of the fuss is about. A record 1.73 million in 2016, up 34% from the previous year. These tourists probably come for the Blue Lagoon and the Northern Lights, sure, but I would hope they stay for the breathtaking fjords and the rainbows that dance precariously across waterfalls, for the fresh clean air and the naturally heated pools, for the 100% renewable electricity and tap water straight from a glacier…and then…when all of these incredible features have them stumped as to how they’ll ever return to ordinary cosmopolitan life…leave. Because how can any normal person afford to keep spending so much on soup and bread?

In all seriousness returning to ordinary life after adventuring around such a majestic part of the globe, has had be down in the dumps in a major way. I’ll probably try to cure this feeling by revisiting Iceland at some point…for some cheesy garlic breads, double chocolate ice cream, and an enormous multi-pack of crisps.

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The magic of Iceland, a place in which apparently a large percentage of the populous believe in trolls and elves, continues to play on my mind. There is a sense of unknown in such a place, an unreliability that doesn’t often accompany life in towns and cities – save petty drama at work, or news that someone you thought was great in a movie turns out to actually be a bit of a nightmare. There’s a freedom in not having the shackles of corporate life weighing quite so heavily on your conscience – because things like staying alive take precedent (big shout out to my fiancée for navigating many a snow storm and sheer drop on the road in a car the size of a cereal box).

Iceland = two big frosty thumbs up from me – just make sure you pack your thermals and remortgage your house to have enough cash to get a round of beers in.

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FIRST FEATURE FILM: Montserrat Madness

COMING SOON – the dramatic epic that is sure to rock the world: a tale of two men, one mountain, and lots of stress fuelled largely by a lack of fitness.

This really tickled me, and I hope it does for you too – in a world where it seems horrendous things happen all too often, it is joy and happiness which should reign supreme:

You really should subscribe to his channel if you are big on the YouTubez, as my friend is not only a talented young whippersnapper but is also offering free cakes to the first few people who get in touch with him. DISCLAIMER: you have to fly all the way to South Korea to pick up said cakes, by then they may be gone, also I may have made this whole thing up – but still, subscribe anyway? Thanks pals.


I hope everyone is doing well, I have had a whole lot going on lately but haven’t forgotten about all you lovely people…I have Barcelona (Spain) to write about, Gdansk (Poland) next month, and a couple of weeks on the road in the USA in July…so let’s have everything crossed that I get my act in order and come back with some silliness after that – there’s bound to be a couple of tales. Till then, peace and love people – peace and love x

Jogging into the Abyss

It was the night before jogging and all through the house, my excitement was stirring – maybe soon I’d have a spouse. But then I awoke and with the toll of the alarm…my body was unwilling – getting fit, had lost it’s charm.

I’ve always been full of half-good ideasyou know; spontaneous expensive trips abroad instead of sensibly saving, new unnecessary shoes instead of paying the council tax bill, pizza for both tea and breakfast whilst still expecting a six-pack to materialise – that sort of thing. The sort of things that can be somewhat cute and quirky when you are younger, but unfortunately start to seem silly once the boring grip of age takes a hold.

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Now any choice I make seems HUGE; so huge that I often feel anxious even thinking about the what-ifs and the maybes…so huge that I occasionally feel like reverting to childhood where most decisions are made for you – so huge that I put huge in big massive capital letters so you know I’m not fucking around. Yeah, that huge. 

Leaving South Korea last year was one of those choices as it meant I was essentially hanging up my travelling boots and strapping on something a little smarter – simply put, I had loved it but it had run its course. And yet still I felt unsure of what would be, and there seemingly wasn’t much in the way of helpful articles out there other than people stating stuff like: “you will feel like a stranger in your own town”, “no one will understand you”, and “you will never ever feel like you have a home ever again”…

Great, fab, brilliant – shall I shoot myself now, or is that also a service you offer through your delightful blog?

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But listen it’s not all doom and gloom – so don’t for a second start believing those dreamy lost fucks online. You are still you after all…in fact you are the best version of yourself that you have ever been, it’s called growth and experience people! Those big choices define who you are and mould you into the person you will be…sure they take some getting used to, but it’s worth it in the end. Your life is irrevocably different as a result but that doesn’t mean it’s suddenly total dog shit:

Case in point I thought it was a black and white sort of choice I was making by returning to the UK after adventuring around the world. You know, leaving the “traveller” lifestyle behind and getting a “proper job”, aka trading in a vibrant and fun life for a boring and tedious one…as if I was fully expecting that the powers that be were readying the  drill to forcibly redesign me as a droid devoid of human emotion, and in doing so erasing all of my weird and wonderful memories…such a cartoonish way of looking at things!

I’m still me, and I’m still making stupid choices – trust me you don’t trade in your motivations at the door (just this year I’m going to Germany, Spain, France, USA, and potentially Canada…) How’s the saving going? Piss off, pal. 

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What’s my point? Oh yeah, choices. Life is what you make it people..sure I wallowed for a bit (I am a complainer first and foremost), but now I’ve got a terrific job in content writing and communications for an amazing little charity who do tremendous work (worth checking them out here)…and you know what? Things are pretty great. I’m not a stranger in my town, in fact I love that I know people and that they know me – this is my home, but being away and coming back makes me recognise that home can actually be potentially anywhere. I love that fact, it makes the future a little blurry…just as it should be.

Don’t worry I’m never going to stop with the stupid choices – I mean if I did, what would I share with you delightful chaps on my site…movie reviews? Come on.

Actually…that would be less stressful for me – as my most recent stupid choice means I am set to run a half-marathon in support of my charity  this year. Hence the 6am wake up call, and aching limbs. Urghhhh if legs could cry mine would be moaning like Myrtle – and I’m only two days in. SEND HELP. 

Banter with Buddha

New year’s resolutions are often mocked for how ridiculous they are….after all they are the result of arbitrarily linking the end of the year, and the start of a new one, to the thought that you will suddenly metamorphose into a bigger and better you with close to 0 effort. You’re not a Pokémon, and as a result such a thought process is doomed from the get-go. The sad reality is that real change comes from…real…change, and that’s that:

‘Everyday feel like the one before. Hunt the money, don’t hunt the hoe…if you do what you always done then you get what you always got, you dumb buffoons!’ – Gunplay (Gangsta’ Rapper,  and gardening equipment enthusiast)

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Well said Gunplay, and that’s exactly it – as hacky as it is to joke about, resolutions are going to remain as fickle dreamy ideas if we don’t institute real changes in our lives. Which is exactly why I made the leap last weekend of buying 4-ply toilet paper as opposed to 1-ply…I just thought; “John – you can do this…you deserve this. You owe this to yourself – pick it up.” And I went for it, I pushed through the pain barrier, and intend to keep it up for the rest of the year.

Not inspired by that? Okay…hard to please, jheez…what about this instead: last night I visited a Buddhist centre to attend a meditation class. You see to speak seriously-ish for a second I hate the idea of just plodding through life, with horse-blinkers on; simply living out your allotted days until you expire, never really experiencing things, or for that matter enjoying what you actually have in the first place. Groundhog Day, Groundhog Day, Grounhog Day – DEATH. Yeah, no thanks.

So I wanted to try new things…at first I thought of horse riding! I would be like Aragon stomping around the place – striding across the open plains of…Sunderland. I even Googled local stables in my area, and there was one close to my work which came well recommended. Ideal! I would finish work and then go play with-ah-shit…you have to be under 12 stone. Back to the drawing board you HUGE FAT GIMLI LOOKIN’ CRETIN!

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Ahem…so the next idea was meditation – and as there is no weight limit rule for sitting on a cushion on the floor, I figured it was ideal for me. Regular readers of my articles will probably protest this, but I am a little bit of a hypochondriac. No, no…come on. I get stressed out easily and then exaggerate about the severity of my situation, I can’t sit still, I tell people about my toilet paper habits. I mean objectively speaking I am strange sort of guy! So anything which could help de-stress me would likely mark a positive step in the right direction.

I went along with my sister, my friend, and his girlfriend – who at the last second decided it wasn’t for her. She didn’t want to talk to people, didn’t want to do the meet and greet, didn’t want to have to introdu – “WAIT…WHAT?!”  I hadn’t even thought there would be any sort of social element – I don’t want to be in there doing trust exercises with my genitals alongside total strangers (or whatever the hell they get up to in there). She was going to go off to a cafe instead, de-stress with a book and a good cup of coffee. What the hell was I doing? Why wasn’t I doing that? I don’t even like the smell of incense this incen-

I went anyway. You know I used to think that sitting was the best thing in the world, aside from maybe lying down…but let me say this, it was one of the most uncomfortable sitting sessions I may have ever experienced. It actually makes me wonder whether meditation classes are just a bunch of people packed into a room pretending they don’t have pins and needles the whole time: “Think of a looooved onee-send your love to them” YOWWW MY BIG TOE IS RINGING – “feel the energy of the universe pulse through your body” – ARGH IT’S TWITCHING AND TWITCHING – “let your body float into a state of pure posiiitivityyy ” – RIGHT THAT’S IT – LOST ALL FEELING – WILL NEVER WALK AGAIN.

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I have been back a couple of times though, actually I think I am going again tonight – so somehow the feeling that I would never ever get to walk again wasn’t enough to put me off. There must be, after all, some good to it, ey? So what if whenever I close my eyes and try to think of waterfalls instead it’s just flashes of painful childhood memories, peppered with looming doubts about the future – that’s great, that’s normal, that’s…I like that, it’s great…it’s…

…off to cry now (whilst standing up), tah tah! 

Love you all, old and new -and I truly hope you have an absolutely magic 201, are any of you try anything different this year? Going to try and get more articles out for you whenever possible. Shout out to Meagan for giving me a nudge!

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Eating in Bathrooms

There are a fair few things in this life that are not okay. That list seems to be getting exponentially larger with every passing day, but currently includes the likes of; kicking people in the face (unless you are a professional face kicker), driving as fast as humanely possible (unless you are a professional fast car racer), and being an ignorant bigoted racist dickhead (unless you are Donald Trump). Now another thing I would throw in there, and I’m sure you would too, is eating sandwiches in public bathrooms…

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DISCLAIMER: Although I’d rather you didn’t – you are free to eat sandwiches in your own clean bathroom. The world will still judge you harshly for it, but then again – you are probably not going to tell anyone are you? It’ll be your little secret held away from the judgemental eyes of the world’s media – fearful you will be nicknamed “The Pee-Pee Pepperoni”, “Ham and Cheese Bare Knees”, or “Ugly Naked Person Eating a Sandwich”. 

The point is it’s weird. But there’s just something about public bathrooms that makes the act way more weird. Most of them I have ever been in scream: “GET IN, GET OUT. DON’T TOUCH ANYTHING. NO CRUMBS ON THE URINE!” Don’t misunderstand me, apart from the grunting guy in the stalls there isn’t much noise; I was simply suggesting that the oddly sticky floor, the foul stench, and the altogether horribleness of the environment makes for internal screaming so loud you can almost be deafened.

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All of that also makes for a place not okay to munch on a Subway sandwich. Especially if you have another hand steadying the ship (I mean penis.) as you wolf down your lunch.

If it isn’t already obvious I witnessed this, and I still don’t get it. How busy are you mystery stranger? What is going on that you need to multi-task to such a degree?

I really wanted to know, but he already had so much going on.

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Express Yourself…

BFF – LOL- ERRRRRRRRRRRR…

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Tried not to be freaked out by these faceless clones…after all it’s not their fault that Marks & Spencers are so out of touch with what it is to be “down with the kids’!

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Green Screen Queen

Don’t you just love the internet?! I know I do. Just a few years ago a bizarre outfit choice by a celebrity would remain as just that – something that was briefly whispered about before been forgotten forever.

“Why would she wear an illuminous green suit? Is it a throwback to her favourite member of the Teletubbies in an attempt to be down with the kids at age 90?”

Who knows for sure. But whatever the reasoning it can now become so much more – thanks to the wonders of our technological age, and the fact that the costume is as near to a Star Wars movie green screen as you can get…here’s a quick rundown of some of the best I could find, and a brief supporting explanation of the outfits:

1. Yummy Pizza Queen:

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This has totally changed my perception of the Queen as before now I will admit I had never considered her to be delicious…but in this pic, smothered in melted cheese and layered with pepperoni I can confidently say – yum. 

2. Milky Way Queen:

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In a collaboration with little known fashion designer Neil deGrasse Tyson this piece hints at the Queen’s plans for the future; to explore and conquer the entire universe. Please note that although the explosions look like stars…they are actually nukes. 

3. LSD Queen of Rainbows:

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The Queen has recently returned from a royal visit to Amsterdam where she reportedly stayed in a hostel. Initially she was pissed off at having to stay in a dorm alongside eleven strangers – but after a few hours she was at one with the world and her existence. This piece was created as a wearable collage of her trip experience.

4. Queen of D…Aubergines…Eggplants…yeah:

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The Queen loves Instagram, and the lady’s emoticon game is strong. What more is there to say really?

5. Queen of the Cat Ladies:

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Somewhat jealous after seeing more people search for “cute photos of cats” rather than “cute photos of the Queen of Great Britain and the Commonwealth” she decided to collaborate in order to boost her follower count. Personally I think she looks great…this is certainly a boon for devout cat ladies everywhere.

6. Queen of Old Simpsons’ Marathons:

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The Queen is just like everyone else! She eats (exclusively from Waitrose, and Marks and Spencers) she drinks (from the tears of your jealousy) and likes nothing more than to sit in all Sunday watching old episodes of The Simpsons whilst quoting all of the best lines!

7. Queen of Arcade High Scores:

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She is currently planning a royal visit to Tokyo to show the reigning Japanese champions what’s up. She thought a visual aid such as this may provide her with an edge.

8. Queen of Anti-Monarchist Mu…errr, this is getting weird:

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Errrr…it’s her favourite song?

Hmmmmmm…so anyway, which one was your favourite? Well aside from the pizza coat – because that’s an obvious one.

But whatever your answer I hope this brought a little joy to your weekend! I’d pick this over doom and gloom, or petty trolling anyday! 

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Please buy my collection of stories! Get it in paperback here – or on Kindle here! ALL proceeds go towards Macmillan Cancer Support!