The Shining (Finland)

Finland – Lapland ~ 2013

You know in The Shining? When Jack Nicholson goes a little bit bonkers (to put it very gently), due to being cut off in the middle of nowhere? And you are left wondering whether the character was always a little bit crazy, or if the icy conditions turned him that way…well yeah, so I used to think that was an interesting story and great film (like the rest of the world!), but I didn’t rank it as a real life documentary study on mental health. That is…until I spent a few months in the wintry tundra of Finland last year…

Let me explain. You see this lodge really was in the middle of nowhere, with snow as far as the eye can see and only a few other buildings in the surrounding area. That means that employees were flown in to an airport in Sweden, and then drove to this log cabin to begin their toil…which was basically slaving away so that rich white people can enjoy a manufactured “get away from it all” experience. An obvious paradox, but that is not what this is about! Anyway, the food there was pretty uninspired, after all the kitchen staff had a limited stock of frozen items and were expected to whip up some kind of Parisian masterpiece three times a day, the guests always complained…I felt like telling them, “listen wrinkles! If you think YOURS is bad, then what slop do you think we get?!” But I refrained, over and over and over again…my fake smile becoming more and more strained as the days went on…

Fake Smile GIF

But there was light at the end of the tunnel! I heard that a new head chef was coming, and that he had all of these awards, and used to run a five star restaurant, and could fly, and make chocolate come out of the taps…basically people said this guy would revolutionize things, and we might get something more wholesome than reheated crispy spaghetti from four days ago. I wasn’t going to hold my breath. But you know what? He did! As soon as this cheeky Scottish chappie came bouncing through the door the food was markedly better, it had…it had…TASTE! I am not sure what he was doing, but it was working! By the end of his first dinner time he had already won over our taste-buds and our hearts! But unfortunately…the good times didn’t last forever, it was only a couple of weeks in to his tenure that he started falling apart, first he would scream at the other staff like a Gordon Ramsey wannabe, but then he became more extreme and odd in his behavior…one time he argued with me about the vegetarian option (which was fish?!?!) in ear shot of a customer who had requested it “HUUU IZ IT? THE FAT LESBIAN OUT THERE? SHE’S NOH A VEGETARIAN NEE WAY!” and another time I did a stock check of my bar and noticed two bottles of wine had vanished…I put two and two together when he was an hour late for cooking breakfast the next morning! Then there are the sexist comments, the racist comments, the…okay. There are a lot I could list, but suffice to say that he regularly made the waitresses cry and effectively made a shitty situation even shittier for just about everyone.

He was a prick, basically, but I certainly wasn’t expecting him to turn full scale mad. But one day his walls of sanity came crumbling down before our very eyes…he was late for breakfast as per usual, which is a bit of an issue when, errr…guests at the hotel expect to be fed in the morning…anyway, he started F’n this and F’n that – nothing unusual, sure. But then he decided to tell ANYONE who came in the kitchen to “GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY FUCKING KITCHEN, IT’S MINE”…well this was a slight issue, as what this Gollum-esque character had neglected to realize, is that waiters and waitresses needed to come in to fetch the food out…of course very quickly there were complaints from just about everyone sitting in the restaurant, both about the fact that they were not getting any form of service, but also about the manically loaded and profanity driven language that was coming out of the kitchen! I’m sure I saw an older couple hiding under a table…and a lady kneeling saying some holy Mary’s. Eventually the big boss was called. You seriously don’t mess with this bitch…I don’t use this term loosely; trust me she was the dictionary definition. She once asked me for water with ice, and when I gave it to her she said “what is this? Don’t you know I want three ice cubes, not four?” Basically, this was set to be an ultimate encounter of the most thrilling kind! “Errr, Chef – excuzzz-“ “GETTT THE FUCK OUTTA MY KITCHEN!”

Shining Mad GIF

Excited gasps from everyone. “What?! No, you don-“ “GETT THE FUCK OUT. THIS IS MINE. YOU STAY IN YOURS.” More excited gasps from everyone – possibly an “oooooh!” “I am the-“ “I RUN THIS, THIS IS MY AREEEEEEE-NAH!” And so it went on, until he stormed off in a red faced huff. Afterwards everyone looked very sheepish, and the guests still hadn’t been fed. So what happened? Well, the boss was forced to roll up her sleeves and whisk the eggs and fry the bacon herself! Of course the waiting staff had a fun morning, they shared “OOOOOHHMYGOD” glances at each other and whispered rumors when they had a spare second; it certainly broke the usual monotony of stacking sloppy plates, that’s for sure! But the story isn’t over my friends, not yet! Naturally this guy was fired immediately, I mean it was way overdue, but the bosses were forced to let a lot slide, as it is a pain to get a new chef all the way out to the Lapland wilds! Anyway, I guess this big kick off was the final straw, as they couldn’t not fire him. So as was routine in these situations he was asked to clear up his things and hop in the van with Kosta, who would drive him to Sweden where he would have to make his own flight arrangements…but, you see this wasn’t possible…he said he had literally no money, at all. So what did he do? Did he call someone to try and help him out? Did he apologise and attempt to win his job back somehow. Well, no. Obviously not. Instead, as they neared the small airport he took out his chef’s knife set, unrolled it, and held the largest blade to the driver’s neck… “I’M NOH FUCKIN’ GOIN ANYWHERRRR!”

Crazy angry GIF

(Dramatic pause) “I’M NOHH GOIN TILL YA BOOK ME A FLIGH AN GIV ME ME MONEY!” Well…of course he had went insane. Blame it on the weather, blame it on the situation, or errr, blame it on his brain…but either way, this guy had well and truly lost his marbles. But the driver, in a stroke of agility and genius, simply waited for a window of opportunity during one of his garbled ramblings, and slid out of the door – slammed it shut – and locked it from the outside with his keys. Phew, done. Feeling betrayed and even more furious than before, the now imprisoned chef unleashed a second knife, and started to slash violently at the dashboard, the steering wheel, the windows, everything…”RARRRRRRRR, I”LL KILLLLLLL YAHHHHHHH!” All while the Bulgarian driver (who spoke very little English, never mind anything with a thick Scottish accent) watched on, and finally opted to phone the police.

Phone Call GIF

(He never did tell me what he said whilst on the phone to the authorities…I mean…where would you start?!) “Hi…yeah…I have a guy in my van here. Yeah – little worried, he is violently slashing and stabbing at my dashboard…a-ha…that’s right….okay, so now he is biting and wrestling with the air bag…errr…can you come quick? Please?” So anyway, there we have it people! The Shining is real. Jack Nicholson really should be more vocal about it…after all, it could happen to YOU!

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When Depression Strikes.

I’m in a mood, a raging horrible mood – but it’s not my fault because you can’t blame me for the fact that everyone around me is a fucking moron. Can you? No. So there we have it. Also you can’t blame me for the fact that the person who made this chair I am sat in intentionally made it too high to slouch properly in, and too low to sit without hurting your back – well done fuckhead you messed it up in each and every possible way, congratulations. And you can’t blame me for making this fucking table which appears to be designed so that the user constantly lashes their knees off it whenever they decide to, oh I don’t know…move.

Oh God GIF

Imagine if your job is to design furniture…why would you design a steaming great pile of shit claiming it is ready for sale, and be happy to put your name to it? Wouldn’t you be embarrassed and ashamed of such a lousy lump of dog shit?

Perhaps they are  all watching me now, perhaps this is all some secret TV prank stunt bullshit, hahaha, let’s see if this sucker puts up with this fun-house carnival style seating arrangement! Oh the laughs, oh the giggles! Fucking bastards. Hate shit like that, can’t you just leave people alone and let them live in peace? Oh no, have to make your programme…have to make your viral vid. Scumbags.

So yes blatantly everyone is working  fucking extra hard to piss me off today, that much is clear. And yes I’ve had a lot of coffee but that has nothing to do with how irritable I may appear to be. Sorry, but why is there still a ‘MERRY CHRISTMAS!’ sign up in the corner of the cafe? It’s fucking June. Fucking dumb-asses – if I was to ask could they explain it? You may as well spit in Santa’s face, what disrespect – after all he has done over the years, and this is how you treat him? Should be bitterly ashamed. Christmas is cancelled for everyone working in this coffee shop, give them some coal and make them eat it. 

And why do old people talk so loudly during conversations – well shit, just in general? I’m not even sure if the women to my right are even together…because each and every one of them is talking at the same time – like, don’t they know the social conventions of a conversation, huh? Or did they forget that at some point? It’s supposed to be one person speaks, and when they stop it’s another person’s turn – not “ARRRR-BLAHBLAHBLAHBLAH” x fucking 3 all at the same fucking time! And what is up with old people having afros? I have never understood that. But perhaps that’s a different point altogether, I don’t know. 

Can't Handle GIF

I started doing pretend typing for a bit there because some guy was staring at me and I didn’t know where to look. So I just ksdojasdopsadkaskljasdjksdankjasdnjksdakasdksa, until I sensed that he had sat down and had finally remembered that it’s rude to gawk at people you don’t know. No fucking Christmas for him either, coal for him too. 

And why do people take selfies? Okay obviously  I know why, but there is no humiliation in it any more. I really miss embarrassment, it kept people humble. My laptop just tried to change selfies to selfless, oh the fucking bitter irony.

If I had a rope I would probably lynch the horrible fuck to my left who is screaming down the phone to some sorry sap. He’s slapping the table with every sentence, as if it is fucking punctuation or something – well I wonder how he would like an ellipses of hammer blows to his skull? Probably wouldn’t be fond of that.

Murder GIF

Ahh, I feel a little better. If only people would stop slamming the door. God, I hate people – well no, I love people – I just hate each and every person in this specific area. How unfortunate that the most annoying people ever created have congregated in one spot. Lucky me.

I need fresh air. Goodbye.

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A Day of Feelings

I have realised that we go through various feelings in any given day…at least I do…it’s very rare I have a completely ecstatically joyful day, or a terribly woeful one. There are patches that trip me up, and situations that most certainly help raise a smile…

…let’s have a little look at a few of them, shall we? 

1. When you have to battle to drag yourself out of bed in the morning…one side of you knows you should – the other half doesn’t care! But jobs, and bills, and rent – and all that – urgh.

Wake Up GIF

 2. When something doesn’t quite work out the way you wanted…the first sign of a not so perfect day…frustrating to say the least – can’t I just go back to bed and not deal with anything?!

Soda GIF

 3. When dealing with your first inexplicable idiot of the day…take a deep breath – in, out, in out…now drop the hammer you’re holding and keep walking.

Fart GIF

 4. When something goes right for you, and you feel more self-confident than Jedi Obama…

Obama Jedi GIF

 5. When the hunger pains set in…and no one is safe – NO ONE! Am I hungry because I’m bored, or bored because I’m hungry? I can’t remember…BUT GIMME THAT!

Butterfinger GIF

 6. When your boss asks you to work late…you may smile brightly, and say “sure no problem!” But really you are thinking…

Queen Liz GIF

 7. When you finally get out of work, and your time is now completely your own…you can do anything…the world is yours!

Dance GIF

 8. But…then you fall in love with a stranger on the commute home…

Love GIF

Nevermind, there’s always tomorrow…

Well that’s my lot! Did I miss any important ones? Let me know!

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Mixed Messages

You can’t win em all…

MIxed Messages

Play good music at my funeral, and have a few drinks in my honor. That’s all I ask.

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Lost Marbles

I think I may have just lost my marbles…not literally obviously – I mean I don’t even own marbles in the first place, so it would be impossible to literally lose them. Also I’m quite careful with things, especially with particularly precious items – and I’m guessing they must be pretty fucking special marbles if people bemoan misplacing them quite so much. And make such a huge hullabaloo even when other people do the same with their own…

So yes…metaphorical marbles. I may have lost mine. Although I must say I wasn’t certain – so naturally I turned to the glorious all-knowing oracle we know and love – The Internet…she had this to say:

Losing Marbles

Well I’m not living under a bridge like poor Jimmy, but I do still feel slightly mad. I left my house today needing a change of scenery, I told myself I’d find a cafe so I could continue. But I didn’t find a cafe…well I did actually, I found several – but I didn’t stop. I just kept walking, and I was like “well, that was a cafe? Why didn’t you go in? What’s going on here?!” But I wasn’t listening to myself, or more to the point – I was, but I was ignoring my own queries every single time I passed a perfectly good place.

Just wandering around, then waiting for the lights to change – and then across the road I’d go, then down a street, then around a corner, and on again…and again, and again…sometimes seeing the same faces of stranger’s – who looked bewildered at having spotted me three times in fifteen minutes. I tried to look like I had direction. Like I had an urgent appointment. A business meeting…a lunch date…something that normal people do…

I feel deranged. 

And all of this was poorly glossed over by the music that trickled out of my earphones. A droning crooning…about hearts falling off things, or into things…or something along those lines anyway. It began to grate on me, so much so that I would shut it off completely, if it wasn’t for the fact I’d hear the world’s external sounds. Better this, than that. 

But where do you buy marbles? All this coffee, and no fucking marble shops – I haven’t even heard of a marble shop now I come to think of it, have you? 

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