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The Polaroids are, uh … in my other coat.

I still exist.

Poetically. Philosophically. Physically.

Yes, faithful Wuckers. I’m alive and advancing. Dwelling in ye Old Blighty. Enjoying a rather tepid summer and yet another Phoenix rebirth!

You see, following the attempted annihilation of my character ‘n’ career by the most recent in a long line of Vaders, I boarded a plane bound for London, set for a month-long holiday …

Soon, I was in Paris.

Sitting at a sunset rooftop bar with a pina colada in one hand, bread ‘n’ olives in t’other, and a view which stretched clear across Paris to the Sacré-Coeur. Around me sat tourists holding American, Australian and French conversations over wine, beer and cocktails (respectively); opposite: a dude with a bright red mohawk reminiscent of Frenke Potente in Run Lola, Run.

It’s the little things.

As I waited for a friend to arrive so we could begin our time in Paris … a time filled with flea markets, a tower de Eiffel, and giggle-filled train rides … I pondered that it may be this visit where I finally fell for Paris. Perhaps ’twas my frame of mind, my frame of past, or the fact I was without ties … but the sun on my skin made promise of possibilities. Much like the sun of Italy and Greece had made promise (and delivered on) before.

Bien sur, the first thing apparent of Paris (aka apparisent) was how succinctly it shone back at me mes inadequacies.

Behind the bar was a beautiful, tanned, lyrical French man. Tousled hair. Golden beard. Wearing a throwaway t-shirt likely plucked from the floor of a sparse, sunlit loft which spoke (in French, no less) of youth and freedom. A worn guitar no doubt sat expectantly propped against a wall, open shutters nearby, a winding Blonde tangled in sleep nearby. This was the kind of man every woman imagines falling in love with; the projected trajectory of said relationship easily fitting into every romantic comedy ever promised.

Across from me: an ordinary looking geek avec acne and polo shirt, bent over laptop.

My story held neither, of course.

But travel is akin to physically walking onto the 5km-square blank page of a giant sketchbook, where characters and roads are drawn before your eyes, unexpected and inspiring. Infinitesimal. Suddenly you remember what life can hold, if you have the courage to stand up and demand joy. It suddenly stretches out before you, not as a threat, but as a playground.

And so. Mon ami et moi traversed Paris, climbed the Eiffel Tower at midnight, made videos of us bouncing along the boulevards, swept along on good times and endless laughs. Indeed it was the trip where Paris and I became friends; or, as the French say, “tell me whom you frequent, and I will tell you who you are”.

Then we set fly for Malta. Backward in modern amenities, yet forward in beauty and scope – it proved equal parts stunning and maddening. We jet skied on the Mediterranean, zooming out to sea at 40km per hour, jumping self-made waves and getting seasprayed, as the whitewashed square houses of the shoreline whizzed by. We laughed til tears ran down our faces, and drew the eyes of sane folk who knew not of the wonderful secret of whimsy.

Then back to London to visit my cousin for two weeks before (supposedly) returning home …

Cue: Flashback.

Three days before I departed, I made the sudden decision to give notice on my flat. This way: I wouldn’t have to pay rent while away and could extend my holiday if a wayward whim did sidle up (as they are want to do). Consequently, my last two days were spent in a hive of hustle – cutting off bills, organising movers, madly packing and cleaning. I put the entirety of my life into two large storage lockers which drove off to an undisclosed location (presumably my subconscious) the day afore I flew. Headlong towards oxygen and a large question mark made of puffy white clouds. My decision half drawn and left unfinished as I boarded my flight to London, I had effectively released my last tether like Bullock of Gravity lore.

Who says you can’t make and execute a major life decision in two days?

And so, flashback over … when it came time to return to the life I left, there was nothing tangible to return to; and instead, I stood in England – possibility and curiosity before me.

That was a year ago.

So! Now I live in London. With office work officially, squarely in my past. Because, dear Wuckers. I did it! I landed a contract on a long-running television show. Not at entry level, oh no. But as an assistant director – on the floor – where the ACTION! happens.

Can ya fucken believe it?

 

I can’t fucken believe it.

I’ve been in the job eight months and it has indeed been a baptism the likes of which Joan of Arc has never seen. The majority of staff have been there from the start and navigating the resulting factions has been akin to attending a high school designed by Tim Burton on a particularly virulent acid trip. My average day is 13 hours, which is physically fairly nuclear. But I’m in it, Barry. Oh so innit. And I have credits! An actual motherfucking profile on IMDB, which makes me finally, formerly, established in the industry.

I know this all sounds annoyingly Disney but in truth, it’s been much like stepping into a tornado with farcical faith it’ll drop me off in Oz miraculously in one piece, like a kindly windswept taxi driver … my ruby slippers placed nearby. Indeed I am in Oz, but my ruby slippers are up the arse of an unlucky munchkin and the yellow brick road is closed for repair.

But, in my high stakes game of Tic Tac Survival, I am indubitably surviving. Nay, expanding. And no, not like Mr Creosote in Monty Python’s Meaning of Life. 

But in outlook, dear friends. In trajectory.

Once more into the breech, dear friends!

Ah, Wuccans! How to build a bridge across the vast butt-crack of time; to create a proverbial g-string so that we may traverse what has passed and is past with words, wucs and euphemisms? To appropriately update you on what the fuck I’ve been up to while my blog grew hair and mould in the most shady of places? I know not where to begin.

When last ye loyal folk virtually saw me I had jesuit jettisoned my cynical self from a life I loathed and was set to embark upon a new journey. Not unlike that of plucky Bullock in Gravity – ‘twas a journey of unknowns, rabid fear, hallucinations and eventually … hope.

Translation: I decided to pursue THE DREAM.

Well, dear friends. I did. And I do. Pursue.

In the time I’ve been away – I wrote and directed my first short film and entered it into competition where, much like James Franco’s dulcet dignity, it sunk quickly from view and was never seen again. I worked on a plethora of short films as an assistant director. I moved from my beloved flat into a hovel de freedom and decorated said sows ear with craftiness and cheer. I started my new job on the goatee’s chin of the film industry and proceeded to meet all manner of fantastical humans who have worked with the likes of Jackie Chan, Billy Zane and Brad Pitt. (Sure. It would’ve been better to have actually met Jackie Chan, Billy Zane and Brad Pitt but THIS IS REALITY, PEOPLE!) Said humans would systematically lose their shit and visit vomited emotions upon my head in a tangy technicolor rainbow where the only gold to be found at fairytale’s end was metaphorical chunks of upchuck corn. But, hey!

Progress.

To be said with some irony.

Imperative to note while sketching said vomit for you to technicolor in is this: the first year in pursuit of contentment was the most confronting, blunt, traumatic and rewarding I can ever remember. Each growth spurt and subsequent proverbial stretch mark ran deep in discomfort, and yet. I became the happiest version of myself I’ve ever known.

I was a misanthrope no more and instead found a well of peace within while my exterior life continued to swirl around me in shades of ambition, growth and disquiet (for each inspires the next when living in actuality over the fantastical). I became a sunshine Sally who annoyingly argues for heroes and humanity with staggering sincerity. I made friends at the rate of an affluent and effluent Bieber and spotted nary a gunslinger among them.

Life was good.

If that all sounds a little too Disney to be true, I recently discovered t’indeed it was. Or. That is to say: the peace I found was not a resting place so much as a transient barge regularly encumbered by unwanted callers … one of which recently tossed me overboard.

So! If we could map my traverse through said universe via gift of movie metaphor (of course): what remains is a mix of Private Benjamin mired in boot camp, broken to the core but set to rebuild into a stronger, sinewy self; followed by a Dead Poets Society drama of tears and triumph; and ending with the Karate Kid where I’m surrounded by loveable characters who lift me high as the music swells, heralding of hope and happiness ever after.

But, no.

Happiness ever after requires constant maintenance, dear Wuccans. Villains who refuse to be written out. Sad days. Dead days. Wucked days. In truth, as we circle back to this chump two years on, I am but a phucken phoenix one more.

Yep! This pretty much sums up my life right about now:

You can’t handle the truth!

I think my mojo has sprung a leak.

I can hear the soft whoosh and whine of it deflating, like an airbed long used by porcupines. Though, my hope is it’s more of a falter than ‘flater and will rise again (like John Mayer from the ashes of dignity and seldom silence).

I have applied for a multitude of jobs this past month, with a view to leaving these fuckers, this industry and (Tori Amos willing) office work entirely behind. My resolve resplendent and my direction decided, the path before me remains as oblique and maddening as the plot of any Oliver Stone movie. I have trawled endless websites in search of my escape hatch, yet only the tiniest slivers of light promise exit. With no space large enough for me to fit through, I’m left to Mary Lennox; to peek through the vignette and wistfully wonder …

‘What’s through there? How do I gain entry to the secret garden?’

I don’t suppose I’ll be granted cobwebbed key via recondite room in the downdrafts of my metaphorical mansion, but that would feel most fitting. The descent of any avid moviegoer is the expectation to live in plot rather than real life; where musical montage bears the only reference to hardship and editing is your most fair-weather of friends.

Ironic then, that it’s into film and television that I foray … at the entriest of levels whilst attempting to keep my salary sane and thus refrain from becoming one of the great unwashed. If only I knew which of these vine-covered vignettes would take me there. If only poetic rhetoric were a stepping stone, rather than a sinking one. But I suspect my missing montage aint gonna crack it. (Fuck it.)

Back to reality then, with no more a starling Sentimental’s lament!

My next attempt is to piece together a living – one part old job, one part new. Part-time flagellation to support my daydream dazing and pursuit thereof. Lego careering, I like to call it. Such is the yellow brick road upon which I set my ruby slipper, with some sense of urgency and rising panic. For, in recent days, my workplace has become home to a pack of jackals who have my juicy hindquarters in their sights. And, as my fellow comrades resign and leave me behind to weather the storm solo, I can feel the last vestiges of my fortitude slip seemingly from sight into the Lake of Shining Waters below.


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