Stockholm syndrome

I finally figured it, almost a week after I came back, I figured out why it’s been a very emotional (in Sophie’s words) return, why I just want to hide away and had absolutely no joy in talking to my mother about Stockholm.

It’s the first time in years – and I can even pinpoint the moment down to days – since I’ve been so calm and content about being somewhere. Just switching off everything, leaving all the things and people behind. Nothing and no one matters but walking down the narrow Stockholm streets or avoiding the crowds in the touristy bits, or laughing with Dick over whatever stupid happened that night. I need that, I really need it and I thought I deserved it, but it’s never enough, is it?

Stockholm was brilliant though. Sunny but cold, in simple shapes and all block colours. Hipsters running around pubs on Friday and the bartenders at the pool pub mocking Dick for not wanting me to stay for longer. The high bar tables, the almost broken nose, the damp afternoon grass in the park. The textures on the walls, the beer bottles everywhere, the best damn muffins in the world. The nude dude with the lute. The lift incident. Running after trains. The sounds of the city from the water edge.

I need more.

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When there’s nothing left to say

The end of the year approaches, and most of us are swept by thinking about and evaluating the last 365 days, and figuring out what to do next. That really is OK. I used to be one of those guys but not anymore. New Year’s resolutions are no more fun and they give me nothing to hold on to throughout the year to come. I instead have spent the last days planning my drunk New Year’s speech, just so my intoxicated brain has a backdrop for the sentences its going to create.

There is something else I have done though, and that was figuring out my general life direction after the graduation. Graduations are usually great time to get drunk, be cheer and appreciate the last 4 years of your life as not having been completely in vain. So this is what I did. After I got that piece of paper (oops, goatskin), I tried to figure out the actual lessons I learned during my first years in Glasgow.

 

So here they are, my list of valuable life lessons that have been more helpful than I’ve ever thought:

1. Always carry a pen with you
2. Nothing trumps the taste of Irn Bru in a glass bottle
3. Not everything that happens needs to be recorded and not everything that is recorded needs to be published
4. Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups
5. You really, really don’t have to be always strong .
6. Money is good. Money pays for you to explore your creativity. Also for food.
7. Work your arse off, in every aspect of life. Give your best. It’s totally worth it in the end (and even if others don’t appreciate it – *you* will know)
8. “Banal ideas cannot be saved by beautiful execution.” – Sol LeWitt
9. Do whatever makes you happy (as long as it doesn’t hurt other).
10. Do not ignore the importance of the right song at the right time.

Now last days of the year, and the only thing we have left is to get drunk, dance our asses off and tell 2013 to get the fuck out.

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a few thoughts on sasha grey’s the juliette society

I have never hidden my fascination with Sasha Grey. I follow her on twitter and instagram, and read her articles around the net. If you don’t know who Sasha Grey is (poor yous), SG in a nutshell is that she used to be a porn star, then stopped, but never really got far away from any sex subjects, which is OK in my book. She knows her sex, and she likes what she does, she has that rare passion that a majority of her former colleagues don’t share. I like how she is part of that wave of mainstream porn stars (James Deen, Stoya, etc) who have come up to show the rest of the world that being in porno is not shameful, and that they are having great fun, but also doing shitloads of work. Entertainment business is pish.

So I don’t know why I was so surprised when I started reading her début novel The Juliette Society, that it was all about sex. I mean, I was pretty aware that sex will definitely be involved, but my god, so much details made me blush while reading it. By myself. In my own room. I was blushing. And that is definitely a good thing. With all the 50 Shades of Grey bullshit, the world really needed an actual Grey to come and tell everybody how good sex works – and everybody should listen carefully and take notes. It is clearly visible where Sasha Grey’s strength lays in.

The problem with the novel is that it often doesn’t know whether it wants to be an erotic novel, a thriller, a melodrama, or a philosophical essay. It has parts of everything, and it’s all very well written, but not in the best combination possible. First you’ll get a lengthy and very distracting description of a sex orgy, and two pages later you’ll stumble upon a voluminous gathering of thoughts over the symbolism in Hitchcock’s Vertigo. Information is not well spread throughout the pages, and is sometimes hard to swallow. Some of the characters, questions and issues remain unsolved by the end of the book, and that could be annoying, to say the least. Did Marcus really have sex with Anna? Did he kill her? Did Bob kill her? Did Bob kill anybody at all, or he was just a pure moron? Was I the only person who figured out midway that Bob was the masked hot stranger? And other questions that bug my mind.

It’s just frustrating to finish a book that has so much potential but it’s lost you because of the terrible quick end.

Having said all of that, I did enjoy the novel as a whole, and I don’t regret the £4 I paid for it. There are moments I’ll definitely remember and there are one or two things that I learned along the way. It would’ve been the perfect summer read, if it didn’t come out end of August. And I’ll keep following Grey on twitter, and enjoy the shit out of her face, and I really hope she finds a slightly better editor for her next writing endeavour.

PS. Was I also the only one to imagine her as the main character all the time?

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Neli and the online dating

I’ll just go ahead and admit that I have an account at an online dating site, and not that it has ever been a massive secret since I use my real pictures and all, but it’s still a semi-big thing. Most of the reactions I got were a variation of “But you are so good-looking!” Nowadays it feel like the topic of online dating is as taboo as it is to say that you are lonely. And the two things are seriously connected. Bear with me, this is going to be a long-ish post.

There is a good reason why online dating is considered alien to many people. I am among the children of the generation when internet itself was alien. I remember my parents telling me multiple times not to share any personal information with strangers in chat rooms, nor to arrange meetings with them. But then, that was more than a decade ago. Chatting was dodgy as fuck, you really never knew who was on the other side of the screen. I clearly realised that, as I had witnessed and participated in too many mock-chats when a group of my sister’s friends would gather round the computer after dark and present themselves as a, say, 17-year-old hot blond chick who is willing to meet guys at 11pm, and she would be wearing a white short skirt and a red thong. Yes, the guys (and me, actually) would go into such details. Now that was fun cause it was harmless. Just high-schoolers trying to have some fun at the expense of some poor fucker who’d go chasing after imaginary 17-year-old hot blondes. And trust me, hot 17-year-olds rarely arranged dates over the internet.

But that was many years ago.

Now it’s different. Sure, there still are dodgy chat rooms but in our day and age you should be more aware than ever about the dangers of hanging out on such places. However, a couple of days, when I told a friend of mine about my account, her reaction was that I was so brave for meeting people I know from the internet. I get her point and her worries but it comes as a no-brainer that it’s ultimately a thousand times safer to meet with a stranger at the pub than to be introduced to a stranger at a party and bring him home.

I also want to briefly tackle the issue with “beauty”. OK, I’m good looking, fine. But what does that have to do with anything? Many other people I view there are quite good looking as well. Of course there are plenty of creepy, dodgy guys with crooked smiles, or just people who are unattractive but sound like nice people. Also, there are the “nice guys” but I shall talk about them in another post. The point I’m trying to make is that online dating has gone ages ago past the “only uglies have accounts”. It’s not about the inability to score on a night out – mostly. It’s about timing. It’s about modern life. It’s about working long weird hours at a time and being too tired to go to the pub. Or to go to the pub purely to meet your pals – and only this, because all you want is a couple of pints and your bed.

And it’s also about loneliness. If any of you ever tells me that they’ve never felt lonely in their life, I’d call massive bullshit. It’s beyond me why people find loneliness intimidating to mention. What would other people think about them? Will they be perceived as needy, or too much complaining? Do they not have friends and family to spend time with? Of course they do. Of course we do. Of course I do. But my friends can’t make me orgasm. They won’t hold my hand on the street, or let me fall asleep on their chest. Can I survive without any, and all, of this? Yes, I can. But if I am given the opportunity – this opportunity being online dating websites – why shouldn’t I try to find someone interesting who would share my interests, regardless of whether it’s going to last for a week, 5 months, forever, or just a night?

So, with all that said, people – please, just go and explore yourselves and each other, and have tremendous fun with your stuff, and most of all – please let me and everyone else just explore our options, for better or for worse.

 

Soon: Neli vs the guys

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deadlines and charity bike challenge

In the words of that great guy Johnny Knoxville,

“That’s it, it’s over. We should probably head to the bar now.”.

My educational round is over (bar the postgrad which may or may not happen some day in the future), welcome the real world at 22, in a new country that is not new anymore, with a new job starting the day after my graduation (talk about symbolism), new future flat and new things that need to be experienced. Am I terrified? Of course I am. Am I excited? Fucking fuck yeah, I am. I think that makes me officially the first person in the family to stay abroad – excluding my sister who will do it as well, but is still under the ‘student’ sign.

Seeing that I have missed several months worth of storytelling – and stories I have plenty – I shall resume the tales of my Scottish adventures soon enough. But first, I need to get some sleep because tomorrow will be a silly day at work with plenty of workout and the reason why my bum is sore (it’s biking people, don’t get any wrong ideas in your heads).

 

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Glasgow Uni witch hunt, ca. 2013

Don’t get me wrong. I, as every human being with a bit of sense, find all the sexist stories from GUU absolutely disgusting and appalling, and I feel for the victims.

We’ve all heard/ experienced sexism firsthand, regardless of whether it was towards us, towards a friend or a complete stranger on the street. I have witnessed the three. Sometimes I’ve reacted, sometimes I haven’t. But this is not the point here. There is a witch hunt on the GU campus streets right now. People of every gender, ethnic origin, sexual orientation and skin colour were rallying on Friday against the widespread sexism in the whole campus but mostly in GUU. That had to be done, and I would’ve taken part as well, had I not missed it for 5 minutes, literally. And while I’ll be the first one to admit that I’d love to see every single person who shouted stuff at the two girls on the debates hospitalised, I’m not entirely sure there will be a point to that.

As I said, don’t get me wrong. I’m happy that people finally start taking a firm stand on the subject but let’s just for a second look at their demands. “Stop sexism.” Can you actually stop people of being arseholses? Unfortunately no, you can’t. And while I really wish it were true, sexism didn’t quite end in the 1970s, regardless of what some people say. Sexism didn’t end there, it probably won’t end ever. There will always be people who think of themselves higher than other people just based on how they look like or what their upbringing is. Does that mean that those people should not be reported and prosecuted? Of course no. They should be chased after and made pay for whatever they said or did. This is how it goes. But they won’t change. Do you know what else didn’t end in the 1970s? Racism. Seriously. It didn’t. Too many people are fucking racial bigots and I’m ashamed to admit that I have such in my family. But don’t worry, so do you. Regardless of whether they admit it or not.

Do you know what actually worries me here? The fact that many cases of sexism (and some of them were quite frankly borderline rape) were in fact reported and no further action was takes. Heck, they even tried to cover up whatever happened during the Ancients debate last weekend, and this is more worrying. If you want to be closeted racist/sexist/misogynist/arseclown, please go ahead and make your life living hell. But the moment when your bigotry is allowed to thrive, this is the moment when it is not (only) your fault anymore. You are entitled to your opinion, as wrong and terrible it might be. However, people who also and very importantly need to be chased after are the people working at GUU, every single one of them who ever witnessed an act of sexism/ any other -ism, and closed their eyes. Or even worse, ridiculed the victim, told them that they should suck it and get over it.

What I’m trying to say is, yes, please, keep on with the rallying and protests, keep on organising events and finger-pointing at the offenders, but don’t forget that there are people who let all of this happen, and they are as guilty of anything as the rest. Go fucking get them.

 

Next post: Sexism on the work place, because sexism is the new buzzword lately, and because I have some quite interesting things to share with you lot.

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Just wanna go ahead and write a very short post about the importance of being happy. I’m not saying that feeling shit/sick is bad but the past few weeks (month?) I’ve had one constant feeling of “low” because of things, and this is up to the point when I’m completely tired out of feeling like that. I had some past funny moments and that was good but I’m being chased around by the idea that I should be feeling bad – by one reason or another.

Today – and quite unexpectedly – one of the section coordinators told me there was a letter for me. It ended up being a “Thank you” card by one particularly nice customer whom I helped earlier this week. I’m not going to disclose how much she spent that afternoon but she spent 3 and a half hours shopping for her father. So, it was enough. Now, she didn’t know that I write those things down cause it’s part of my job , and just the fact that I spent most of my shift helping her is great for me. Most of the customers thank me, shake my hand, pay and leave – she kissed me on the cheek in front of the people on the till, and apparently made the effort of buying me a card and leaving it at work.

It’s one of those tiny things that make you aware that people actually do remember you, and even one sentence might have an impact on them. In this case I’m not sure this is just a tiny thing, I’d take it as a massive gesture that literally made my day and will kinda be a reason to look forward to getting back to work on Monday (post-all the things that will happen on Sunday). But just kinda.

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