Trap Pt II

My last post on Trap music discussed what Trap music is, where it came from, and how it’s developed. I saw on my WordPress stats that hardly anybody read that post, but enough people ask me about Trap music to make me think that there is interest in the genre, and as a white guy…

Tioman Island

I don’t really do beaches. Even when I lived next to Copacabana I only went there a few times, reluctantly, for the coconuts. To be happy on a beach, you must have absolutely nothing pressing to do in your life, otherwise how can you really justify lying down for hours-on-end just to get a tan,…

Trap

What is this “Trap” music that seems to be all the rage? How can you identify a trap song, and where did all come from? If these questions are keeping you awake at night, you’re certainly not alone. To help you sleep, here’s my latest blog post about Trap music. The Name Trap music is…

Proverbs of Human Nature and its Consequences

A base man states. A wise man waits.   Frustration provokes both great action and inexcusable atrocities.   Permanence is detrimental.   Anger at others is frustration at oneself.   Age is universal fate.   To betray yourself is the greatest sin.   Evil is to act beneath your better judgement. Good is to exceed the natural…

Britain

“A dog-eat-dog country full of cunts” was how one friend of mine described Britain, and though I would argue that there are plenty of Brits who aren’t cunts, I’d still like to see these words creep into the national anthem. I might even be tempted to sing it. I’m better positioned than anyone to criticise…

Scribe

Authors have it made. They work when they want, and even if they’re shit at their trade people are still impressed by the job title alone. More importantly, they can work in the pub without pulling a single pint. There was once a gang of literary masterminds in Oxford who went by the name The…

Gnocchi

Being European is the only exotic thing I have going for me. Aside from that, I am a dry, stocky man, pink in the face, shit in the kitchen. To share my continent with the stylish Italians, the fiery Spanish, the smelly French, the brutish Bulgarians and the stone-faced Germans makes me proud. Having spend 1/4 of…

9 Grand

It being Easter, and me being unemployed, I’m reminded of Brett’s quip from Flight of the Conchords – “when you’re unemployed there’s no vacation”. I would tweet that, but I only have 54 twitter followers – half of whom are young girls showing their tits and desperately adding everybody in an attempt to achieve just…

#G-Funk

I’ve never really enjoyed free time, the little voice inside my head reminding me that I should be doing something “productive”. As a result, over the years I’ve “produced” a lot of shit. Let’s take a meander though my failed projects of yesteryear, and then I’ll talk about a book I’m writing. 1. Dark Green…

Teaching Pt. II

I wrote a post about 2 years ago called ‘Teaching’ which has become something of my magnum opus. Though my blog has a modest readership, pieces from this particular piece have been quoted back to me by people I barely know. Clearly the subject of teaching piques the interest, and with my continued work in this…

Grappa

I’ve become quite the sommelier! I’ve had the good fortune of finding myself in the most revered wine-producing locations in the whole wide world, first in the Cote-Azur, then the Basquelands and now in the Piemonte region of Italy. What vinous serendipity 🙂 In light of my new found gastronomic sophistication, I now feel qualified to…

Torino

All right you little scamps, I’ll tell you all about Torino. I’ve been living here for twenty three days, and I’m pretty much Italian now, so it’s time for some Ghent-style insight into to city which is famed for Fiat Pandas, Juventus and Jesus’ supposed blanket. So here are 7 things about Turin that you NEED…

Pogonotomy

I have just deleted an entire blog post written about immigration because I realised I was becoming one of those pricks that comments on current events just to exercise their right to an opinion. I have right now taken a vow to never speak again on “important” subjects because, as Socrates said, “true wisdom is…

Italia

Italy and stuff. It rubs my rhubarb the wrong way when people ask me for the foreigner’s perception of British people. “No one really gives a fuck, so stop feeling so self important” is what I should say, but my private education has conditioned me to obscure the truth behind a curtain of diplomatic verbosity. I…

Sexy

Here’s a quick list of sexy people I know, and what it is that makes them sexy. I don’t really know why I’m writing this. 1. Daniel Ghent My brother’s naturally more attractive than me, but he reminds me a bit of that old painting in Italy that was beautiful in all the right and…

Trains

The French take pride in their trains, possibly as a fast-moving distraction from the military embarrassments of yesteryear. From what I’ve seen, most of the stations are located 2 miles out of the town centre, thus offering scenic walks between potholes and rusty billboards into an empty, dirty town centre. The Spanish are less boastful of…

Brilliance

After I was deservedly lauded with praise for an impressive marathon time, I’ve now decided to let my five blog subscribers in on the secrets of my various successes. I’m really good at lots of things, some of which can’t be learnt, but my list is sure to make entertaining reading (since writing is another…

Mandy

I’ve spent the last 30 months making a website in the vain hope that it would go viral and kick-start my online career. But hard work doesn’t pay off, and everyone knows it. A month ago, during carnivals, my friend Tom and I shared a bottle of cheap rum, then I stripped down to my…

Camino

How about some “old-school” travel writing? Throughout my 3 years in Bilbao I’ve noticed an endless stream of middle-aged backpackers clumsily make their way through the city centre, sporting maps, sticks, cameras and, on occasions, scallop-shells. I never gave them a second glance, since I usually listen to my iPod touch when I’m out-and/or about, and…

Funder

Next Wednesday I’ll start a 7ookm-long pilgrimage across Northern Spain in my 2-year-old running shoes. It’s called the ‘Camino de Santiago’, and I’m ridiculously unprepared. Most people use the walk as an opportunity for reflection, fulfilment and as a personal challenge. I’m doing it to get a six-pack and avoid paying rent in September. I’ve…

Hunting

August is my designated “home month”, where I’m home for a month. I spend my time eating my mum’s hummus and applying for sales jobs that I don’t want but it’s time to “grow up” and “start a career”, a prospect more terrifying than when I went on the prowl for deadly scorpions in Mexico’s…

Weaver-fish

This last month I’ve been officially unemployed, having decided not to return to Oxford this year. Running a summer camp leaves little time to reflect on life or go to the gym, so I’ve decided to bypass my annual flirtation with management in favour of teaching English to primary school girls in their pink bedrooms,…

Boomerangs

Apparently, I’m part of the “second boomerang generation”, the first being aboriginal tribesman from the early 19th century, who created a notoriously ineffective hunting tool. Quite appropriately, the boomerang generation has come back, although I know very little about boomerangs, a fact which became embarrassingly obvious in Year 4, when my class ‘design and technology’…

Marriage?

My brother got married last week, and as a belated wedding present, I’ve written this blog post. As far as presents go, this is on a par with the time I gave Mary an iPhone cover for her iPhone that she doesn’t have, or Miriam’s “impossible” construction puzzle that can’t be disassembled from it’s original form……

Gilbert’s Syndrome

  2 weekends ago I went on my brother’s stag night in Ghent. Missing work on friday and saturday cost me 225euros, the flight cost me 110euros, the stupid flemish language cost me 3hours, but there are some things money can’t buy, like finding your soonly-wed brother passed-out half-clad in a pink bunny suit at…

Teaching

I’ve managed to maintain a semi-hospitable environment in every one of my classes without raising my voice once or hitting the same kid twice. I’ve developed a few cunning techniques for keeping my half-human, half-monkey students in check. These tricks of the trade have been tweeked and twerked more times than Robin Thicke’s crotch, and…

Se7en

Basques have fought dictatorship and suppression for many years, and perhaps a few still feel a duty of violence. The King of Spain came to visit Bilbao on Monday, and the response was predictably hostile; rioters gave Bilbao Garbimen the option of overtime by smashing bank and shop windows and setting fire to bins. This…

Puberty

Puberty is said to be a child’s transition into adulthood, but in reality it’s simply when boys look old enough to go into pubs. Puberty actually starts at about 26, and is also referred to as the ‘quarter-life crisis’. Apart from shaving off any evidence of your first puberty, there are other measures any age-fearing…

Donuts

When abroad, you’re automatically reduced from “human” to “idiot”. Everytime you open your mouth there’s a huge risk of sounding stupid. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that rather than sympathise, most people will do everything in their power to make you look even more stupid. Take my year in La Rochelle for example….

Housemates

Having spent the last 9 years skipping between homes, I find myself well-equipped to discuss to dos and don’ts of flatsharing. Here is my 5-step guide to transform yourself from “housemate from hell” to “ok housemate”. 1. Don’t steal. Much. I learnt the hard way. After a long hour at Plymouth University library, I came…

Poi

“I’ve done Mexico, Central America, Perú, Colombia, and Brazil.” What we learn from this is that when you’ve been to a country and seen 2 of Lonely Planet’s Top 10 recommendations, you’ve then “done” the country and need never return. Instead, you can tell other boast-hungry travellers where you’ve “done” and then smile knowingly when…

Manchester

I left sunny Bilbao on 23rd December sporting a sweaty T-Shirt, my bag stuffed with cheap crap (presents for the family which I’d cleverly protected from airplane damage by slotting them between dirty socks and boxer shorts). I’ve never been much of a giver, but luckily for me it’s the thought that counts, so Mary…

christmas

I can’t bloody wait! I have my brother to thank for my love of Christmas. He used to throw awful tantrums if there were any changes to our household festive traditions, and nothing’s changed. Here’s my family check-list to make sure my brother’s bottom lip doesn’t start trembling…. 1. Pillow Case full of presents at…

Gyms

To settle quickly in a new location, I do three things: 1. Find a house 2. Find a job 3. Find a gym. Without all three, survival is impossible, and those who criticise gym-addicts are simply venting their own frustration at having a crap body and being too lazy to do anything about it. I…

Aizkora proba

To be a true-blooded Basque male, you need old clothes, thick stubble and massive muscles. Now that my wardrobe is aptly moth-eaten, and my face is sandpaper-smooth, I can focus on getting that ever elusive 6-pac. Here’s a list of favourite regional pastimes to turn your Corpus Fattus from “munter” to “hunter”… 1. Aizkora proba…

Bilbo

Most travel websites offer a “must see guide” to different cities, but instead of banging on about the Guggenheim museum and San Mames stadium, I’d rather offer an alternative insight into Bilbao life. With no further ado… Top 5 sights in Bilbao that you can’t avoid. 1. Chinos Where England offers corner shops run by…

Shithead

Since Spurs can’t seem to score, and snakes are hard to come by in the Basque Country, I’ve had to find other things to pique my interest. 1. Hashing. I like beer, and I like running, so it’s no wonder I like hashing. Hashing is a new global phenomenon where groups of people run together,…

Tzantza

I’d very much like to write a blog about the police. I don’t always comport myself in the most responsible manner, and confrontations with the police are more common than I’d like. Saying that, it’s always bloody exciting. After each incident, I think to myself “what a great story for my future grandchildren”. However, now…

Quotes

Ryan Shaw Ryan has a penchant for unusual words and strange expressions. The cornerstone of our friendship is based on an uncanny ability to use a stupid word at the wrong time. When settling down for a 7-hour-long ‘Breaking Bad’ marathon, he politly asks me to switch on the “convivial” lighting while he tucks into…

Woodlice

When I was young, I was extremely fussy (or “Tikismikis”, as the Basques would say). I almost exclusively ate white bread, with no crust, squashed up into dough-balls. I actually resembled a dough-ball when I was young. But that’s nothing compared to my brother… he used to eat woodlice. He would flick them about until…

Miles de Millas

My mum likes reading my blogs so I’ll keep going. She’s the reason for my misplaced self-confidence. “You write so well you could be a writer”. “You draw so well you could be an artist”. She lies so well she could be a politician. So I’m back in Euskal Herria, where individuality is necessity. They’ve…

The Good, The Bad and The Brasilian. Part II

Here’s the second installment of the hugely popular “Good, Bad and Brasilian” series. Sorry mum. The good Bras: Start as I mean to go on. The bras here are quite remarkable; they open from the front, and have just one latch. I can open them with one eye on the TV: Never been a big…

The Good, The Bad, and the Brazilian

After the moth incident, my hands have stopped shaking enough for me to write a new blog. I will list…. just red the bloody title. The Good Fruit: Cheap and tasty, like…Caipirinha: this also gets you drunk quickly. Thus, it’s better than fruit. Speaking of fruits…Free gym by the beach: After a work-out, for a…

Everything in Brasil has a big ass

It’s not just the women who have junk in their respective trunks. Here’s a video of me with a MASSIVE moth, and it too had a big ass… Women in Brasil are famed for their asses, and love to show it off by wearing thongs more akin to dental floss than clothing. I’m not complaining…

Swollen Tramp Fingers

I got robbed twice. In one morning. This morning. *After a night out with Daniel (my student) and his stately amigos, I got on the wrong bus and didn’t go directly home. After getting off the bus somewhere I didn’t know, I trusted my bullshit sense of direction and stumbled down a dark alley….…. I…

Santa Teresa

Here’s a video tour of my house in Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro.  When I’m rich, I’ll buy a mansion in Santa Teresa and spraypaint the crap out of it… coz that’s just what people do here:                               There’s something poetic about…

Oil and Gas

I was told before leaving for Brazil that it would be easy to find work in a gas company, but that was all a load of hot air! Finding work was neither easy nor pleasant. As mentioned before, most English teachers are Brazilian, and most Brazilians are shit at English… I succinctly call it “The…

Gringo

In Bilbao I was affectionately labeled “Guiri” by my most, and “fucking guiri” by Jon. But it was all love. In Rio, on the other hand, the term “Gringo” is employed to describe any foreigner, and said with a slight sneer. I’ve generally been warmly received, but unfortunately for my ego people (girls) don’t get…

Bandits and Tramps

Brazilians are known for their relaxed attitude to nearly everything, and are happy with what they’ve got. There’s a homeless lady who lives outside my house. She gathers different materials from rubbish bins and constructs a new nest every night, meticulously aligning cereal boxes and rotten timber to make.. well… a carefully constructed pile of…

Dirty Dancing

I’ve never thought highly of men who “know how to dance”. Anyone who’s seen me pull out the robot knows I got moves, but stick a girl in front of me and she’s apt to lose a toe. In a strange way, there’s something extremely homosexual about a good dancer – only a gay man…

Tudo Bem

Depois de ficar aquí uma semana, aprendí muitas cosas. Lo mais evidente é la maneira de morar dia-a-dia. Eu vi os multidões no metro a hora de pico, os churrascos nas ruas, capoira nos parques y macacos nas árvores. Continuo procurando trabalho, mas tenho oito horas na semana, nao e mal depois de so cinco dias de pesquisa. Uma posição de…

Fanta? Sprite? ……Marijuana?

The mélange of different social classes in Rio is quite amazing, and racism and xenophobia appear to be non-existent. Take a photo of a group of friends here and you have the perfect front cover of a university prospectus. There’s no standard Brazilian skin colour, so I almost pass for a local… I think the…

Thongs

It’s my third day in ‘e cidade maravilhosa’. Here’s what’s happened. After a 12 hour flight in which I watched Rocky twice and read my Rio handbook countless times, I finally arrived. To get to the hostel, I had to book a taxi in an office, get a receipt, show the receipt to some random…

Waiting

Preparing for Brazil has been eventful. First, I needed to convince myself that I wanted to go, so I went on google images to see Brazilian girls on Copacabana beach.  Naked. Then I booked my ticket. Over the past five days I’ve been using the website ‘Ta Falado’, to learn Brazilian Portuguese. It’s a funny…