•28 September 2011 • Leave a Comment

I had one of those moments yesterday, when I stepped out into a Barcelona street and started walking, and pressed play on the personal CD player I got from #249 during our weekend together on New Zealand’s South Island at the end of July. It was early evening and the city was hot and sunny as ever, and I was scanning my surroundings, taking note of my latest neighbourhood, bookmarking bakeries and fruit shops for future reference, reading posters in Catalan, and waiting at the lights for cars and lorries and motorbikes to pass. This song started playing on the mix I put together last week before leaving Leipzig. It was a song by the Canadian musician, and even though all I was doing was walking down the street, I suddenly felt kind of electric or something. Like filled with nostalgia and potential. I thought about #218, who’d introduced me to the song, and about how she struggles with depression sometimes, and yesterday in particular she was maybe in a cloud of gloom, but I was thinking how cool it is that we have this music in common and also a gazillion other things too, how we understand each other and share private jokes and look out for one another. How, although we are almost always in different countries, I’m looking out for her and she’s looking out for me and we’re in touch almost every day. And that’s special. Connections like these are special. I can feel invincible as long as I know that people like #218 are out there somewhere.

And I thought about the Canadian musician: another small part of my history, whose name crops up every so often; we haven’t been in touch for a few years but we could be. I remembered #129 and how we’d crush out on each other like crazy, tell each other “you kill me”, basically act like manic teenagers and revel in it. I thought of people I’d taken for granted and people who wasted my time and people who hurt me so goddamn much I couldn’t imagine not feeling the pain, the pain that eventually faded. It always fades.

I was kind of checking people out as I walked through the city, not with any real agenda but just for the hell of it. I mean, if the past year-plus is anything to go by then I’m never going to get action in Europe again anyway, but that’s okay because my life these days consists of pinballing around the planet on one-way tickets, and, you know, sometimes, just once in a while and without any longevity, stuff happens. And anyway I’ve resolved to be a little less opportunistic, a little more discerning. That’s not to say I have any regrets about all the people I kissed before, or indeed that I need to be looking at some kind of committed true-love scenario with anyone who’s yet to show up, but, times have changed, I guess, and quite considerably.

I thought I was good at being alone, but this past year has unlocked a whole new level of it.

So yes, I still have stories to tell here. But, at this time, I don’t feel like telling them. Maybe telling them would be like going home, and I don’t know when or if I will feel like committing to either.

I tell other stories instead. Some of them are over here.

And I keep moving, no end in sight, and even the bad days lead, eventually, to something good.


•11 January 2011 • Leave a Comment

#184 turned up at the Regent looking very eighties and I explained to him that after closing time the two of us were going to head up the Royal Mile and find ourselves a house party to get invited into. It didn’t work, although we met someone or other in the street – a friend of his? a complete stranger? Who knows – who had just left a late-night venue, and showed us the mark on their hand to prove they’d paid in. #184 and I shot in to the bar where #110 used to work. A solitary boy was cleaning up. “IT’S OKAY WE KNOW #110 WE JUST NEED A MARKER PEN,” I announced. He didn’t mind handing one over, whereupon #184 and I replicated the squiggle and marched in to the venue without attracting suspicion.

But it was packed and claustrophobic and #184 left me looking after his stuff while he went out to smoke, so I quickly got bored and said my goodbyes. I still wanted a party, but there wasn’t one.

Maybe it’s because I was pretty drunk by then, or maybe it’s because it was really like that at the time, but I remember the walk home as if there was haar hanging over the city. When the haar is in place, there’s a blanket of silence as well as fog, but I don’t know if it was quiet around me; I was listening to music anyway.

I passed someone who threw a shoe, not at me, just at nothing, and I made some sort of comment about it without sticking around to notice an answer. Apparently, though, #211 was impressed by my offhand response. He was walking the same route, and I turned round and started talking to him, and wound up taking him back to my place for uncoffee.

He had to have been more sober than me, and, as far as I can recall, he seemed like a generally decent person. I remember noticing that he was actually really fucking cute. He was a fourth-year student doing a placement at an organisation with which I was very familiar, and we had a whole bunch of stuff to talk about as a result, which we could have done for a lot longer if I hadn’t made out with him.

I guess it wasn’t meant to be, but I always kind of wondered afterwards if there would’ve been scope if I hadn’t made a move so early on. After a little while he stopped and looked at me with concern and said, “Did you say you were out with your partner tonight?” and I explained that no, #184 was my partner in crime, which was a totally different thing. But he made his excuses and left not long after, and no contact details were exchanged, and I didn’t suggest it because the atmosphere had already turned awkward. Maybe I’d made him feel uncomfortable – he’d come back to my place ostensibly for conversation, nothing else.

I filed him away in the back of my mind. There was every chance I might pass him by on the street sometime, but I already wouldn’t be able to recognise him. I was still in the middle of figuring out whether I was actually seeing #210 or not, though, and #184 and I had a whole lot more drinking to do.


•16 October 2010 • Leave a Comment

I’d shown up at a party in Marchmont with #184, though he subsequently revealed that he had no recollection of the night, due to customary obliteration of self with alcohol. Our host, Gavin, was all out of glasses and handed me a plastic measuring jug so I could embark on my second bottle of wine.

I contacted #210 to get her take on what happened next.

Continue reading ‘#210’


•5 October 2010 • Leave a Comment

Back in 2004, #129 and I sat in a basement bar and bluffed a group of wholesome American girls that we were brother and sister, in between compiling lists of all the people we could remember having kissed. My list was scrawled on the back of a flyer, crammed with first names in no particular order. Four years later I used it to jog my memory when compiling the more exhaustive list that serves as basis for this blog.

#86‘s first name appeared on the list twice and I wondered whether he’d been double-counted by mistake. I couldn’t remember anyone else with his name. I put it at the end of the document under “Outstanding Issues”, which meant I pretty much forgot about it.

Which is why #209 is in fact not the #209 I was planning to write about, but whose blog entry should instead probably have been written around the #100 mark. I was only reminded of his existence by chance last week, and I find it particularly galling that our encounter, which I still do not really remember even though it sounds perfectly plausible and I have no reason to believe it didn’t happen, must have taken place around ten years ago, completely fucking up my attempts at chronology. The fact that he was a Cop Shoot Cop fan makes it all the more perplexing that I forgot him.

Here, then, is all I know about him, as supplied in a chat with #96 last week about my potential impending move to Transylvania:

#96: #209 (who you might remember…) stayed out in Bulgaria for a bit. he refused to go there in the winter. pretty inhospitable.

me: #110 (who you might remember?) (i am not sure about #209?) lived in bulgaria for a year, so yeah, winter sounded pretty intense. have asked her for further details

#96: #209 came up to visit from london once and the two of you got to know each other better in the front room after me & #83 had turned in for the night

how can i possibly not remember this? please furnish me with a description

#96: tall, good looking, big boots, probably a very severe undercut at the time

me: holy fucking crap. did i definitely get off with him?
something sounds DIMLY familiar

#96: big cop shoot cop, foetus, etc fan

me: oh my god where is my memory

To conclude: when people ask of my blog, “How do you remember them all?” the answer is, clearly, that I don’t.


•11 May 2010 • 3 Comments

It wasn’t like I really had an agenda when I met #208. Generally when I am travelling overseas, I do not get off with other people, no matter how much I may want to. (See, for example, Australia 2009. “What a hot accent you have,” they didn’t say. “Here, have some action,” they didn’t say.)

#208 was a waiter at a restaurant that #235 had recommended to me. He was very nice – I mean, yes, it’s usually a good idea for waiters to be nice to customers, but he was nice to the point of insisting #110’s girlfriend used his phonecard when she needed to make a call. When we finished dinner, I asked him if he could recommend any good bars in the area, and he said he was just finishing his shift, so he could show us in person if we liked. Sure.

The rooftop terrace at Ritim was a good choice, and I got even happier about it when the DJ played Goran Bregović and Athena. #110 and her girlfriend and I drank a lot. #208 didn’t. I remember something about his friend showing up and trying to grab #110’s crotch, so we did our best to avoid the friend, which made for a weird dynamic.

#208 mentioned that closing time was approaching, and we looked at each other sorrowfully for a moment before I decided what the hell, and kissed him. This was a good idea for about a minute but then I realised that I was dangerously close to getting married. I declined to go home with him, so he negotiated with a taxi driver to get us back to our hostel, and phoned to make sure we’d arrived. I felt uncomfortable about all that: it was nice of him, but I was capable of looking after myself, especially when travelling with two friends (and also it cost me money to receive calls while abroad, and I wanted to preserve my credit for actual emergencies). The next day, he phoned to report that he was finding out about boat tours on the Bosphorus, which we’d mentioned in passing was something we’d like (but couldn’t really afford) to do. “Is that your boyfriend?” asked #110 in that disparaging tone she has, and I marvelled at the fact that I’d barely hit Istanbul before needing to have The Talk with somebody.

The Talk was quick and painless, I suppose, but still not fun. I met him again along with a local friend of mine who I’d been looking forward to catching up with; I sat in the corner making awkward conversation with #208 whilst secretly wishing I could join in with everybody else. “I think we should just be friends,” I ventured finally, and he agreed, and then I said I’d e-mail him when I got back to Edinburgh, and then I totally never did.


•12 March 2010 • Leave a Comment

Once upon a time, I wrote about music a lot. This was partly because I liked music and I liked writing. It was also partly because, at the tender age of fifteen or so, I had figured out that the best way to avoid getting ID’d and thereby actually get into the gigs I wanted to go to was to get myself on the guest list.

I wrote for a local newspaper, and then I wrote for a national magazine, and I set up my own zine and started dealing with record and PR companies directly. This was all pretty cool given that I still spent my days at school grumbling about authority, arguing with conservative kids, and generally being sullen and cynical.

The thing was, though, I was totally bluffing my way through it. In particular, I had never been a musician myself and couldn’t even identify the correct musical instrument half the time. But I was a teenager, and therefore I knew everything, and bluffing was just fine, and it seemed that people liked my writing enough to let me away with it. And so I blagged more and more, because I could. A few years previously, I had turned down my parents’ offer of a CD player because I couldn’t envision ever being able to afford CDs. Now I got them all for free.

I still had this blagging mentality by the time I showed up in Edinburgh. I’d barely been in town a week when I saw #207’s band. They were playing on a rooftop on the Royal Mile one afternoon, and nine people got arrested. Here’s me, eighteen: OMG, THIS CITY IS AMAZING!

So I talked to him and blagged my way in to his gigs and got some demo tapes and whatnot. And I never ever got around to writing a word about his band. My plans to relocate my music zine to Edinburgh faded; I got sidetracked by university and by writing about queer stuff.

“Sorry about that,” I said to him a few years back when we ran into each other again. “I was such a bullshitter.”

“Not at all!” he exclaimed. “I just thought you were really creative and dynamic.” I was kind of stunned to think I’d been that good at bluffing, but okay.

Continue reading ‘#207’


•10 March 2010 • 1 Comment

My first memory of #206 begins with me in a tent inside the Forest, meeting #128 for the first time. It was the week of artistic space rearrangement and we were leaving gifts inside the tent in an effort to interact with the art. We were with a mutual friend, who we’ll call Emma. From beyond the tent we heard gleeful shouts of “We’re in the paper, we’re in the paper!” It was Emma’s stepdaughter and her friend #206: there was a feature on them as young activists. I loved the bit where one of them talked about going to the Faslane blockade with the intention of not getting arrested: they decided they would just skip around handing out sweets instead. “But it turned out that was a breach of the peace …”

I started to see the stepdaughter and #206 at parties and events. They had a habit of talking in stereo and they enthused about my tattoos and squealed a lot. It felt weird to run into these schoolkids everywhere and be aware that I was significantly older than them, but that was okay. I couldn’t help comparing my experiences growing up in Northern Ireland to theirs growing up here, and how they had spaces available to them where they could grow as activists and do fun creative things, and they always seemed to be involved with something cool. I guess I managed okay back when I was at school, but I think there were fewer options open to me, and maybe some of that was just an accident of geography, in that I didn’t live in a city.

Anyway, so time passed, and then eventually it was the day of the clegs and #205 was making out with me. Drinking continued. I danced with #184 to The Knife. “Nine,” he said. “Who is leading?”

#206 was avoiding someone, an ex-girlfriend or some similarly awkward person. She asked me to look over and let me know if she’d gone. “I think so,” I said, not entirely sure who I was scanning for. “Good,” said #206 and kissed me, taking me by surprise. “How old are you now?” I asked her. “Twenty,” she said, and I’d barely spluttered a “!! !” by way of response before she added “Nearly”, and kissed me again.

I felt kind of weird about it even though technically there was nothing wrong with it, but I guess that didn’t last long because I subsequently made out with her a few times. I don’t know. We run into each other when we’re drunk; it happens. I don’t think it’s one of those things that really needs to be analysed.