Friday, 21 December 2012
Some jeans, some t shirts, a few jumpers, one good jacket, plenty of underwear, a white shirt, a black shirt, a pair of smart trousers, a pair of shorts, a suit jacket in case you have an interview to go to, some formal shoes, a tie, a towel, a toothbrush, some cologne, a razor,a blister pack of practically every basic medication you can imagine, a few items of jewellery some special keepsakes, condoms, lube, a belt, a phone charger, a laptop, and a favourite book you don't mind reading again and again for the lonely parts of the nights. If you have some extra space shove in a 4-way extension lead and a container of your favourite tea/coffee/whatever - these are always in short supply when you need them most. Hell if you're the sort of person who can carry a stupidly sized rucksack or maybe just only owns 3 tee shirts and 1 jumper, stuff a pillow in there too. Pillows are like gold dust for this kinda shit.
All of this fits in a 65 litre rucksack, with the exception of one of the jackets which you'll have to wear. That's okay, it's a good place to put your keys, wallet and phone that wont involve them ending up at the bottom of a pile stuff.
And that's an entire person's life, in one bag. Ready to go and movable at any point, to anywhere, via practically any method of transit. Everything else is a luxury.
Oh don't get me wrong. I'd rather have all my possessions, I'd rather have spare shirts, some other books to read, a tv and some dvds, my wok and my stockpot to cook in. And we can all pack up our life for a week or two when we're going on vacation. But sometimes you don't know where you're gonna end up, or when, or how, or what you'll be able to salvage when you get there. So it's reassuring to know that when I have to, I can fit everything about me into one bag that I can carry on my back and meets practically every travel weight and size in existence. Or it's kinda depressing if you think about it for too long. Let's not dwell on the subject...
Monday, 19 November 2012
I can't tell whether I'm sad, pissed off, or just fed up anymore. Either way I'm done.
I can't even hold the boy I love when the world decides to give one of us hell.
I'm saving 75% of my earnings each week to try and get enough to move but know realistically I'll never afford it any time soon
All of my friends seem to be facing their own hell right now and wont even talk about whats going on.
Hell some of them I'm not likely to really spend time with in any meaningful way until the new year.
I'm currently scared every day that the friend who is pretty much the only one getting me through things might not be there the next morning
I keep telling myself it'll be better in a year. At least I'll have a shoulder to cry on. But that's not definite.
And it certainly won't mean life suddenly gets simple. But right now, I really NEED something to go right for someone in my life.
Because honestly, i'm tired of trying so damned hard just to keep everything together, just to keep everyone from falling to pieces.
Everyone around me is currently working so goddamned hard and none of us seem to be getting anywhere or even just happy.
And the most I can currently do about ANY of this? Is rant on twitter in a vague attempt to let it all out and not go completely crazy
And there's just to much shit going on for me and the people i care about for that to work right now. So PLEASE, just STOP with everything.
/rant. I think. It hasn't changed a god damned thing, It hasn't helped. But sometimes you just can't fake that smile anymore
Sometimes you need to scream until your throat is bleeding its so raw. But I have flatmates and neighbours, so this is as good as I can do.
So there you go, that's what's happening with me.
Though admittedly, certain events have improved today considerably... watch this space....
Monday, 12 November 2012
My HIV strain didn't show any signs of specific drug resistance yay!
My CD4 comes in at 570.
My viral load is currently 90,000
For those not in the know, CD4 is basically a measure of how strong your immune system is - it's to do with white blood cells, you can go google it if you want to know more than that cause otherwise I'd fill several screens worth of text with information on CD4/CD8 cells and lymph nodes. I'm well within the normal range, so I shouldn't be about to die any time soon. There's also no urgent need to start drug treatment - but more to come on that sometime after Friday.
Viral load kinda measures what it says on the tin. In copies per ml of blood. The results can range from <50 a="a" aim="aim" and="and" any="any" as="as" asically="asically" ballpark="ballpark" be="be" body="body" dirty="dirty" does="does" drug="drug" easy="easy" elevated="elevated" eventual="eventual" evil="evil" expected="expected" fairly="fairly" hiv="hiv" i="i" in="in" infection="infection" interpret.="interpret." is="is" it="it" its="its" less="less" load="load" m="m" million="million" mine="mine" my="my" nbsp="nbsp" not="not" number="number" of="of" on="on" p="p" recent="recent" s="s" so="so" somewhat-high-ish-but-nothing-to-worry-about="somewhat-high-ish-but-nothing-to-worry-about" spreads="spreads" that="that" the="the" therapy="therapy" things.="things." this="this" throughout="throughout" to="to" treatment="treatment" undetectable="undetectable" viral="viral" work.="work." would="would" y="y" yet="yet">
Oh also my liver function is slightly above average. They took more blood for more tests.
These are great as a rough guide to where I am, but what is FAR more useful is the trend of both these numbers over time. The faster my CD4 decreases/viral load increases the more likely it is that I'll develop symptoms and the worse my body is doing at keeping the infection under control. (I would say fighting, but ultimately, there's no 'win' here, even on drug treatment, the best I can get is to suppress the disease to a point where it doesn't particularly affect my daily life). So basically I have to get tests for the rest of my life. I see the consultant on Friday and we'll work out then what the next step is, and therefore, how often those tests are likely to come and when I'm likely to know how good my body is doing against the virus.
If you want to know more about my results, ask me in person, or go google things. Either way expect information overload. I've kept it pretty short and simple here for ease of understanding.50>
Friday, 9 November 2012
No I haven't miscounted, there's an Aftermath 1 I've spent 4 days trying to write and it just won't come out.
Today was the first day I didn't have anyone to see, no one to check up on me, no errands to distract from my thoughts, and no friends to see to reassure them as much as anything that yes, I'm surviving (whilst telling you all just enough honesty that you'll believe me ).
I wanted that time, but I also didn't. I'm both very solitary and very social as a person. I need long periods of both in my life. Plus I'm very aware that I've spent the better part of 2 weeks now both avoiding the knowledge myself, as well as having to deal with everyone else, and the rest of life, that I've surpressed it everytime I've started to have any kind of emotional reaction to what's happening. There's been people around, I've been in the middle of a tube journey, I've been at work... So hopefully some time to myself would start me processing what has happened finally. I'm not saying I'd be ok in one evening. But the full impact of it all might finally start to affect me.
It didnt of course. Anyone who's known me for long enough knows I'm so good at surpressing emotions and lying to the world that I fool myself, and cause myself all kinds of problems because of it. So no, it hasn't hit me yet.
I did get some connection to recent events though. Mostly thinking about all the things im angry about. All the things that have hurt me recently, that have let me down, that I wanted to rail against but haven't, because there's no point, because I don't have the energy, because it wouldn't change anything, because other people have their own lives to worry about, because I just don't know where to start.
All the things I need right now are, for whatever reasons, unavailable. They're just not practical or possible. Even the ones I ask for. And no matter how much I strive to remember it in life, its always a nasty shock each time to have to realise all over again that to varying extends, you are always and ultimately alone in this.
The boy that is normally so sure of everything, and everyone; who doesn't get bothered by things the way normal people do; who always finds a way to to cope, is really not ok. So not okay that I just admitted it and told the truth about it. This is the hardest thing I've ever had to face. I am so incredibly scared and I can't even work out why. And the things I should be able to rely on to get me through this, just don't appear to be there when needed.
I'm tired of being strong. I was being strong about so much before this all even started. I am really not okay.
Tuesday, 6 November 2012
People keep telling me I'm brave.
I don't feel brave. I feel like someone who got kicked in the teeth. Being crazy and having 2 lifelong physical problems to deal with wasn't enough. Something felt I needed more. I'm not asking what I did to deserve this. I'm just not feeling brave. I'm feeling like someone who's scared and angry and is looking for as many kinds of outlets for that as possible.
I'm forcing myself to write things down and tell you what's going on because if I don't actively make myself do that I know I will close off, and run as far away from all of you as I can, and I won't even notice I'm doing it.
Monday, 5 November 2012
You know that phrase, 'today is the first day of the rest of your life'. Well that's true. They just don't always point out that might not be a good thing.
The last week has been all kinds of hell, and is one I won't be forgetting anytime soon. Friends, and loves, have had their worlds fall apart around them, and then mine started to crumble too.
Halloween is my favourite holiday in the entire year. It's a day when everyone goes to hell with expectations and taboo and the concept of what's acceptable and permissible and let's just go with it. We are given the liberty, for one day in the year, to be something we're not, or we always wanted to be, or just for the hell of it. We're given permission to gorge ourselves on candy, even when we're long past the age of knocking on doors for it and just go buy it from the store ourselves. And for one day, we don't cast those judgemental looks at people who eat some strange food, or walk down the street wearing bizarre clothes, or act crazy and play pranks on coworkers and the like.
Halloween is a day I always look forward to every year.
And then this year, this happened:
That's my rapid HIV test from the sexual health clinic last Wednesday. The top faint red line in the middle is the control. The second red line shows it was reactive.
So yeah, that's happening...
And today, the 5th November, I had the full bloodwork results back that confirmed this. So here's a post about that. It's going to be all over the place because that's what my mind is like right now, but there you go.
I guess first, why in the hell am I blogging about this and putting such a thing out on the internet?!?! Well, I know who tends to read this blog, and they're people already know, or would find it out or work it out sooner or later anyway. It's a way for me to articulate, and work through my own feelings and thoughts on the matter, and record the development of those over time. It gives me a way to say some of the things I might not be able to face saying in person. And the people who know me, or read my blog regularly, know I'm fairly upfront and honest about things. I'm not gonna insert something into a conversation for the sake of it, but if something's relevant I tend to have no problem being matter of fact about it. If something major is happening in my life and I'm thinking about it a lot, it's gonna end up on my blog one way or another.
So how am I doing? Honestly, I have no idea. It hasn't really sunk in yet. I'm doing that wonderful detachment and shock thing that tends to accompany such news, and that I'm a hardcore pro at especially. Occasionally a wave of emotion hits me, and all I want to do is cry. But I very rarely cry. I've mentioned that in past posts. And so far, I've teared up a little, but I haven't properly cried about it. It'll hit me eventually.
I had the appointment for the confirmation at 2pm today. Since about 2am this morning I was so completely terrified. I couldn't eat or drink anything I was so nervous. I've never been nervous like that. I don't get nervous by and large, but even when I do, it doesn't give me any kind nausea, just anxiety. But today I couldn't face anything before that appointment.
I spent the 5 days in between the fingerprick test and today's appointment trying to gear myself up to the concept. Oh sure, it might be a false positive, and I'd been on PEP not that long ago which can fuck with the readings. But everyone hopes for a false positive, and they are still very much the minority outcome. Chances are, if the fingerprick tests shows up, you've got it. Plus I found it easier to start the lengthy process that will be coming to terms with this 5 days earlier and then hope that I could breathe a huge sigh of relief today, than rely too much on what turns out to be false hope and get crushed all over again.
The weekend I got so high I couldn't think straight. And everytime coherent thoughts started to form in the back of my head, I went and got higher. And this worked for 3 days. Until some time in the early hours this morning. Sure, it might not have been the best or most advisable method of coping with the news, but it worked for me, so who's to argue? But eventually, morning comes, and you have to stop standing idly in that shower for no real reason, and turn the water off and face the fact there real world is still out there waiting for you, and doesn't stop.
The diagnosis is made all the harder by the fact that I was genuinely not expecting a positive result. Oh sure, I've been idiotic at times. If this had happened this time last year it would still have sucked, but I'll freely admit I was being stupid and wouldn't have been surprised by the result. But since January there's always been some kind of 'significant other' type figure in my life, and quite frankly, I take CONSIDERABLY better care of myself in all sorts of ways when I have someone else to worry about, when my actions directly impact someone else's life as well as my own. Yes, there had been the PEP incident a while ago, but I thought I was clear on that.
So I was expecting a non reactive result. The only other person I'd knowingly not used condoms with in those 6 months was definitely negative and known very well to me. Because of the fact that I'm a sensible boy and go get tested for everything every 3 months, we can basically pin my infection down to sometime in the last 6 months. I also see no point in denying that yes, I do have sex on drugs, and you probably all know by now I like my sex as rough as I can get. So it either the guy that resulted on me being on PEP, though I was topping so that's damned unlucky, or it's not outside the realms of plausible possibilities that condoms got torn without noticing. I'm usually pretty astute on these things - again, I might do silly things like have rough sex with strangers on drugs, but I have some sensibilities, and I do check that the guy has a condom on and replace them during long sessions etc, but I do have to be open to the idea that something might have slipped past my notice. I may take risks in one way or another, but they are calculated, and however it's happened, I can definitely count myself as unlucky, and the fact to the best of my knowledge and ability I'd taken all sensible precautions to stop something like this from happening, made the blow all that harder when it came.
To those wondering, I don't know anything more yet besides having HIV. They've taken a million and one vials of blood for all the various tests, I should have my CD4 count and viral load details next week. So check back here then
Of course, anything like this brings with it its own good things and bad things all wrapped up within it. I told all my closest friends about the reactive test. More people will end up finding out now that I've had it confirmed, but your closest friends are there to be the ones that support you through even the possibilities of bad news. My 2 best friends were with me the rest of halloween night, Thursday I met another friend and he took me for lunch for 3 hours. Friday I met another friend and got hugs from him before heading home to spend 11 hours playing video games so I didn't have to think too much. Saturday I saw an ex of mine who has been living with HIV for years, and he reminded me that he still gives some of the best hugs I've ever had, and promised me all his love and support, and the fact that I can talk to him as someone who will know EXACTLY what I am going through right now.
It had disappointments too. One best friend seemed to be oblivious to the fact that I was starting to breakdown, despite me actively telling him. Admittedly, I didn't respond to this in the best manner (my ability to emotionally articulate myself plummets quite spectacularly when in certain situations), and I have my own amends to make for that when the time comes, but plenty of people who knew me considerably less well could see something was up with me, and that my friend's actions were fairly poorly judged in the first place, so I know I'm not completely over reacting. The other best friend promised to come hold my hand today. The boy I really really want to hold me right now can't, so in his place I had the next best thing. The last thing I said to my friend was "don't be late". We arranged to meet half an hour early. And he still missed my appointment. The worst part is I don't even see the point of bitching him out on that. There is no amend to be made for that one. There is no next time, or making it up, the moment has passed, and nothing can change that. So no amount of wanting to punch him right now is going to change that either. If someone else wants to punch him on my behalf right now I probably wouldn't stop you. But he's a best friend, so knowing him, when he reads this, he'll punch himself for feeling so bad.
A few people took holiday days to support me today. I'm not entirely sure why. There's been no support for them to give. I understand one person's reason for taking holiday today. And I am really grateful that he did. But quite a few of you seem to have wasted holiday or lost out on wages for no gain, for myself or you to be honest.
It's funny to see who comes out of the woodwork. I haven't posted specifics on facebook or twitter per se. But I've posted tweets about the bad week I've been having, and some people have managed to put 2 + 2 together and come to the right conclusion. Various people are sending me messages and dms and so on and so forth asking what's going on, or indicating they have an idea and offering their support. I've commented on the following before, and I continue to find it funny/sad: that friends on a different continent, thousands of miles away, half a day behind, can keep up better with my life and offer more support and better words than people in my life who live 20 minutes away.
Honestly, I'm not ungrateful for your support, it is appreciated, and it will be needed, in all its various forms over the coming weeks and months. But I also find it a little odd. Those people who are like the opposite of fair-weather friends. People who are rarely in your life on a regular basis, but are instantly by your side in times of crisis. The comments of good luck from quite a few people. Like this is something that be overcome. Oh I can get used to it and deal with it and manage it. But it's unnaturally something that is now going to impact my life, and the decisions i have to make in it forevermore. I don't get that sentiment. And frankly, I would trade all your hugs to be held by just one man right now. In the morning I have to ring work, and book myself to some shifts, and start earning money again, and be a grown up. When all I want to do is being that scared little kid cowering in the corner, hiding in the dark, pulling the covers over my head, with someone there to hold me until I've cried myself out so much I've fallen asleep from exhaustion, and tell me that somehow, they will magically make it all okay, in that way that you believe as a scared child. But that whole being a grown up thing means you can't do this anyone certainly you very rarely get the opportunity to when you want. You have to earn money, you have to face other people, you have to be pleasant and polite, and not start to cry every single time you stop for longer than 10 seconds, and some things can't be fixed, and some things aren't quite okay in the same way ever again.
People tell me they're here for whatever I need. I honestly couldn't tell you what I need right now, or what I want, and I don't think I could tell the difference between the two, or if there is one at this point in time. I know one thing I want. Desperately. And it's something I can't have right now. I have to wait for it. I have to be a grown up and sort it out myself and wait until the right time. And I hate that more than anything in the world right now.
But life goes on. It has to. Or you'll get washed away by the current as it goes past regardless if you don't at least attempt to *swim. I'll survive, I'll get over it, and I'll deal with it. There's just going to be some fallout for you all for a while before then. I guess this means no more cuts and bruises and biting and crazy rough sex for the guy who's basically a walking lethal weapon now.
At least I get to abuse this line with impunity in casual conversation now:
"I'm not just positive, I'm HIV positive."
Friday, 26 October 2012
He told me not to let them see my fear, and my worries, and my doubts, and to force a smile through it all, and grin and bear it, and to make them all think I knew what I was doing, that none of the things they said or did bothered me, that I would be ok.
And he told me that one day, when he was finally able to, he would hold me, and I could let it all go, and I could cry, and shake, and tell him all the things that scare me, and all the ways I never feel good enough, and he'd swear never to let me go, and that he'd keep it all a secret for me, and never tell anyone I'm just another scared little kid with a broken heart.
One day I will hold that boy to his promise...
Wednesday, 10 October 2012
I am sick of spending every night coughing and hacking my lungs up because I live in a house of smokers.
I am sick of the fact that even with my fucked up sense of smell, I hate the smell of smoke that pervades everything here.
I am sick of having to play nice for the sake of a simple life.
I am sick of the fact that I am only here by the grace of my friend, and that I can't afford to pay my own way.
I am sick of needing to rely on my friend for a simple roof of my head and food in my stomach.
I am sick of it constantly being freezing cold because the sash windows seemingly must be fully open all the time, leaving several good 3'x3' holes in the house.
I am sick of coming home to find the kitchen flooded, or my clothes soaked because it rained and someone couldn't be bothered to close the windows before they went out.
I am sick of never knowing what food there will be to cook with.
I am sick of whatever I buy disappearing before I have a chance to use it.
I am sick of having to factor in 30 minutes cleaning the kitchen before I can start making dinner, every single time
I am sick of having to devise my meals around what food remains, what space there is in the kitchen, and what happens to be clean.
I am sick of every time I do bother to tidy, it's back to the state it was within 24 hours at most.
I am sick of the cost of spending all day in coffee-shops, simply because it means I don't have to be in my house
I am sick of never knowing where I'm sleeping.
I am sick of never knowing who else is going to be staying here, of never even being asked so much if I mind
I am sick of operating a hostel for all and sundry when we already have 4 people in a 2 bedroom place.
I am sick of why one person almost always gets the bed, seemingly down to the sole fact that he moved his boyfriend in without asking and it became 'his' room.
I am sick of not having a proper space to call my own.
I am sick of the fact that the small corner I eked out for myself, by clearing other stuff , that no-one was using, I was asked to move before it had even been there a week.
I am sick of every time I leave it, coming back to find my keyboard, monitor, and speakers covered in cigarette ash.
I am sick of trying to fix any of this, or improve it, or tidy, or throw stuff out, or sort through it.
I am sick of taking regular 12 mile walks or making sure I come home so exhausted that I go straight to bed, just so that I don't end up physically hurting someone.
I am sick of keeping it all in and pretending this doesn't bother me.
I am sick of wasting my breath when nothing ever changes.
Monday, 24 September 2012
Acting silly to make me smile.
Remembering dumb stuff like me checking up on you whilst you're ill and I'm half asleep and it meaning a lot to you.
Monday, 10 September 2012
- In his mid 20s, will still play 'yellow car' with you out in public
- Can sit in the room playing completely separate video games for hours on end and still consider it spending time together
- Will curl up on a sofa for a nap in the middle of the afternoon with you, even its its a little cramped, and a little warm being so close, just so you can hold each other.
- Loves to cook for you, and loves having you cook for him
- Uses grindr to send you little things that tell you he loves you.
Never let them go :)
Tuesday, 14 August 2012
So for the last 6 months or so, a lot of my close friends have conspired against me, to bring a boy that I'm in love with to see me as a surprise visit. They put themselves out, excused themselves from situations, created distractions to fool me, kept their mouths shut through being drunk and high, and did all sorts of crazy things to do this for me. And I was a bastard and I found out 6 weeks ago. Even to the point I knew exactly what flight he was on and had the airport live departures board open on my phone the night he flew here so I could text him "I love you" just as he was boarding. And like the devil I am I said nothing and let you all conspire and think you were fooling me and play your little games. You were all so mad I knew. I made a very good, very polite, friend yell out "LITTLE SHIT".
Thank you. I love you all for it. Perhaps not as much as I love him. But from what lots of you have told me, it was worth all your scheming just to see the smile on my face when I'm with him. It's one of the sweetest things any guy, or group of friends has ever done for me, it's something I never would expected, and I never would have guessed it had I not found out from my own devious machinations. I'm genuinely a little bit sorry I knew, because yet, it would have been an amazing surprise. But even knowing, it was an incredible thing for you all to do for me, for so many of you to work together, for so long, in so many ways, just so I could hold a boy in my arms, and get to tell him I love him one more time; so I didn't have to wait quite so long again.
That's twice this year I have been forced to stop, been stunned and shocked by the generosity, understanding, and love of my friends, so much that a simple "you're awesome" to your faces wont cover it. I hope one day I can do the same for all of you in some way.
Monday, 13 August 2012
They don't happen that often thankfully; I know what tends to induce them and generally avoid those situations, but sometimes they can't be helped. Sometimes they're induced without warning during a depressive episode and I can't do anything about them. But I get them in other ways too; often they're related to social situations.
It's a point where the impressive amount of confidence I generally manage to exude completely falters, because it's not confidence in the slightest: it's all bravado, a lot of it, that actively overcompensates. And okay it does it well cause most of you assume I can get what I want easy and that I know what I'm doing. But as I say, it's all a lie.
One thing that really sets it off, and was the thing to set it off the other day, is being on my own in social situations. As an only child I need alone time, but it also means I'm less good in social situations. I don't necessarily need to BE with a friend all the time, but I need to know where they are, and have at least some vague sense of how long I'm going to have to fend for myself. I don't do well by myself, I tend to stand in the corner awkwardly. Even if I've been introduced to a group of people, I'm not good with people I don't feel I know well and am comfortable with. I'm never sure if they actually like me, or are just being nice and saying hi because my friend is there. I need someone else to initiate the conversation. I need to be introduced to people first. I'm not good at jumping in and putting myself out there. It's something I'm aware of, and I'm trying to work on, but for reasons I'll go into in the next paragraph, I have to take it in almost imperceptibly small steps.
If I end up on my own for any length of time, for whatever reason - maybe the friend I was with bumped into someone they know on the way back from the toilet and got talking to them - and being 'on my own' might be hanging out with a group of people I just met that night, but am too socially awkward to actually interact with of my own volition, that's when the panic attack sets in. At first I just get a little paranoid and agitated, with my conscious thought constantly wondering where my friend(s) is/are. This steadily builds up and after 5-10 minutes I'm constantly looking around hoping I spot them coming round the corner. My breathing starts to pick up and my heart rate increases to match. Around the 15 minute mark I get into real problems - by this point I am very paranoid, very anxious and trying to stop myself from hyperventilating and throwing myself into a full blown asthma attack as a result. My muscles shake but as I try and keep myself vaguely composed so as not to draw attention to myself and end up being 'the guy who had the freak out' I end up unable to move, and unable to speak except very quietly, because anything more than that and I'll lose control and the panic attack will completely take me over. And when the whole deal is I'm feeling uncomfortable in social situations, having a panic attack in the middle of one is rather obviously the worst thing I can do to make me feel any better about anything. Of course this then means that I can't even then go wander around to FIND my friend(s), or realistically ask someone else to go find them and impress upon them the importance of finding them and quickly without going into detail about the situation, and explaining such would make me lose control and I'd end up freaking out publicly. Catch-22
Eventually, when the friend does inevitably turn up, and I manage to calm myself down, or tell them what's happened and get them to calm me down, my entire body then hurts, as the effect of the strain on my muscles from where they were involuntarily shaking in panic that I was forcibly keeping as still as possible so as not to draw attention to myself suddenly hits as the feeling anxiety stops taking up all of my conscious thought process and allows me to become actively aware of the world around me.
The person who had to deal with my panic attack earlier this week had no idea about this aspect of me, nor should he have, I've probably told the above to all of 3 people in my life before, and maybe another 3 have worked it out through their ability to read people's emotions and mental processes without being told them. Again, the bravado-as-confidence that I normally display in abundance is designed to hide all this. So the fact that most people, even most of my closest friends, probably didn't know quite how bad I could get until they read this post is really just testament to how convincing I am with the impression of myself I intend to project, and for you to see, versus what's actually going on inside me.
And on highly related note, this is why I am nowhere near as good at getting boys/sex/etc as so many of you actually think I am. It involves putting myself in a situation, with someone I don't really know, or don't know how they're going to react to the prospect of a date or fuck, and even with a friend beside you, that's something you're effectively doing on your own. I find it almost impossible to pick up guys when I'm out - It's a crippling and paralyzing level of fear for me to go up to a boy and try and talk to him. I've been granted some modicum of grace by the internet, where you can idly message someone on grindr with a 'hey' or cruise someone on an online profile or whatever - I still get that painful stab of rejection when they largely don't reply, but it's at least something. I am not good at all at making the first move. Once a dialogue has been established, I'm fine, but that initial contact, that putting yourself out there, that making the first move; it's almost impossible for me. This is why I love the US. American boys and girls are so much happier and willing to make the first move, and culturally, it's not met with as much suspicion and hostility as a stranger coming up to you and saying hi is in the UK. Americans are a lot shier when it comes to full on flirtation or sexual issues, but that's the bit I am good at, and I am confident at, so it balances out well. And of course once they start talking to me, they hear I'm British and it all goes Love Actually and group sex instantly happens.
Monday, 23 July 2012
I was still going to work, because the advantage of my work meant if necessary I could close myself off from everyone and just delegate everything that involved actually dealing with people, so I didn't need to take time off from that. And very very slowly I started to get better.
And one night, a friend invited me out after work. It was just gonna be a few people, that I knew well, and they knew me and my crazy pretty well. I wouldn't really have to socialize in any real way. And I warned them I'd probably just stand in the corner and watch the proceedings. But it was a start. It would get me back out in the world and dealing with other people. Baby steps and all that
So after work I hauled my ass across London and walked into the bar, my friend who had invited me saw me and came and gave me a hug and had the sense not to ask in depth about how I was or force me to talk to people or anything.
And then two other people joined our group that I didn't know. Two of the most perfectly beautiful boys I have ever met in my entire life. They were both jaw droppingly stunning.
And my head was in such a screwed up state as it was, added to the standard intimidation around cute boys that you fancy multiplied by the fact these were two of the hottest guys I've ever met, that I wasn't even able to say "hi" or introduce myself for the next few hours, despite the fact we were clearly part of the same social group.
I've since got to know them both; I know their names and they know mine. And they are still two of the most beautiful people I have ever met, and I still have to secretly keep my jaw from falling to the floor every time one of them walks in the room, and I still wrack my brain every time I see them just to think of something interesting to say to give me an excuse to talk to them.
Monday, 25 June 2012
I'm short, scrawny, have crappy hair, a lot less self confidence than I appear to and yet I can make a man bigger than me, stronger than me, and capable of getting almost any boy or thing he turns his mind to, blush and smile through a simple text message.
Wednesday, 30 May 2012
Being told for 30 minutes to ask the same question over and over
Making stupid faces on the tube for 5 minutes straight
Kissing in front of all my friends
The most brotastic hug I've ever had
Waiting for signal to send a text, only to receive one that said everything I wanted to say the second I got out of the tunnel
Realising that all my wildest fantasies, and worst fears, were completely true.
Waking up to breakfast cooked by a naked hot muscled jock.
Finding time to make breakfast during a 3 hour argument.
Holding hands when nobody noticed
Waiting 20 minutes just for the chance to kiss each other
3 minute make out sessions in the brief period when no-one else is around to see
Never being criticized or admonished for my honesty, even when it may be better judgement to keep my mouth shut at times.
Getting each other drunk because it's the only way we're able to face saying goodbye.
Saturday, 26 May 2012
I met him at the train station, and we wandered around town for a while. We got ice cream and sat out in the sun whilst we ate it and people watched. Then we went to one of his favourite parts of town, and had a nice dinner together. We ordered different appetizers and swapped half of them so we could try each others. Yeah, you wanna throw up don't you. We got given free booze and got way drunker than we'd intended to. After paying for nothing near the amount we had consumed we went for a warm night time stroll around the city. He gave me a flower he picked in the park where his first boyfriend had asked him out. And then he dragged me off to a secluded corner down a dark road and fucked the hell out of me. Cause any kind of perfect night for me is obviously going to involve getting fucked in a public place :P After that we went to a bar and drunk even more whilst we talked about each other and fantasized about why we'd be so perfect together, and then I walked him back to the train station and waited with him until he had to leave. I got my goodbye kiss. And it was, completely, and utterly, perfect.
Yeah you can hate me now.
Tuesday, 22 May 2012
Friends keep asking me why I never seem to get on with certain people. It makes their heads hurt less if I just play innocent on that one...
Also, someone has no idea he keeps making me think of someone totally different. I don't like to destroy his happy little illusion. It's sweet though.
Friday, 4 May 2012
So Tuesday night I went out in Manchester and got very very drunk. As a result of this, at about 5am in the morning, I ended up fucking some random guy, without a condom. It was hot, and the guy actually already had cum in his ass, which just ended up getting me off more.
That said, it was, a very stupid, drunken mistake. I can be off my face in chariots on a saturday night on whatever substances and still maintain an awareness of risk, but apparently enough drink and I'll stop paying attention. Now, of course, this isn't the first time I've fucked bareback. When I'm in a relationship I almost always don't use condoms when I have sex with my partner. I have, in moments of poor judgement, screwed around with people I know and ended up not using condoms. And yes, even in a relationship both myself, and my partner have messed up and admitted to making foolish mistakes. However in those cases, it was what could be argued as a calculated risk. Mistakes to be sure, but the people I was fucking around with were people known to me, people I could be fairly confident of their sexual health, that I could be relatively certain got tested regularly, would inform me if I needed to be informed of anything, and were contactable if I needed to contact them for anything. Tuesday night was a random guy, who I don't even know the name of, who was clearly not particularly selective in his choice of partner, and may have had anything, it wasn't really something my alcohol addled brain considered important to ask at the time.
So now I'm on PEP, which for the few readers of my blog who don't know, is basically anti-retroviral medication for HIV. Not because I have HIV, but because PEP, if given within 72 hours of possible exposure to HIV and taken for a month may reduce the chance of contracting it, and frankly, in this instance, I'd rather be safe than sorry. My relatively frequent visits to the US, and eventual schemes to move there, would become significantly harder, and in some instances impossible, were I to become positive.
Again, for those who don't know, I'm now basically on a month long course of some rather horrific and horrible medications, all of which come in big pills, and tend to cause nausea, vomiting, muscle ache, tiredness, diarrhoea, as standard acceptable and expected side effects, not to mention the severe ones. It's 3 pills with a meal and 2 other pills 12 hours later. On top of that I have extra pills to combat the diarrhoea and nausea that have to be taken on their own schedules. To get all this took 4 hours in A&E wednesday, 3.5 hours at the STD clinic today, a fingerprick HIV test, 7 vials of blood taken, a full sexual health screen and I have to go back to the clinic next week for further tests and again at the end of the month long course to have all the tests done all over again. USE CONDOMS KIDS!
So far I've been pretty lucky. I've had a fair amount of nausea and of course cause my digestive system is special that leads to some pretty damn painful and intense muscle spasms as my intestines all cramp up. No diarrhoea yet but my digestive system definitely doesn't like these drugs so I'm expecting some horrors there sooner or later. I fell asleep for 3 hours earlier today I was so drained of energy and my muscles and joints are all achey all day. But that's getting off pretty lightly compared to what some people get on PEP. To top this all off the anti nausea pill I've been on numerous times before and it actually makes my body fairly ill, especially once I've been on it for a few days and the dosage in my system builds up. So I can not take it and be ill from the HIV med induced nausea or take it and be ill from the supposed anti-nausea pill. Fun huh? That said, I've found eating helps to combat the nausea, so I'm basically gonna get fat right in time for the summer. And right now, I don't have any nausea - on my last dose I took the 3 HIV meds and the anti-diarrhoea pill but not the anti-nausea one, so maybe I try that again tomorrow and that might lead to the least amount of side effects. Maybe. If I'm lucky. Wishful thinking and all that... Again, USE CONDOMS KIDS
It's actually kinda funny/interesting/potentially disturbing that a lot of people assume because of how I talk about sex, my approach to it, and the kind of sex life I have - things like going to bathhouses regularly etc, that I'm already positive and barebacking with anyone and everyone who asks. I'm not, I have some sensibilities, I have some standards, as with my kink and life in general, I may engage in risky behaviours and activities from time to time, but they are all calculated risks. I am negative, and I have no wish to become positive, stuck with yet another debilitating life long condition that is effectively terminal sooner or later, and requiring constant medications that come with endless amounts of side effects just to more or less stay alive. That's not me criticizing anyone who's positive, that's me saying its a horrible illness to have, and as I said, whilst the chance of me contracting HIV in this instance may be fairly minimal, I'd still rather be safe than sorry.
At any rate this may put my attendance to Full Fetish this weekend into question :(
Thursday, 26 April 2012
"Nina Katchadourian whiles away long plane journeys by locking herself in the lavatory and pretending to be a 15th century Dutch painting. The project began spontaneously on a flight in March 2010 and is ongoing…"
But god damn it anger sex is hot and solves issues.
Imagine it. Your boyfriend, girlfriend, asexual limpet, whatever pisses you off somehow. You're screaming and yelling at other. You'd really really like to introduce their face to your clenched fist right now. Or smash their head against something. Nobody would notice a dead body under the floorboards right? They make you so mad you wanna kill them, cut them up, and then jump on all the pieces until there is nothing left but pulp because sometimes they can be an inconsiderate jackass. So you grab 'em, and you hurl 'em against the wall. And they cry out in pain. And you slap them across the face and drag them across the room with far more force than could ever be necessary and you really dig your nails in and bite down on their skin making sure to sink your teeth in....
And the next day, when your horrified co-workers ask how the hell you got all those bruises, you reply "Oh I had anger sex with my boyfriend." And suddenly, it's TOTALLY FINE, and everyone understands.
Because anger sex allows you to beat the shit out of each other in a socially acceptable manner. Of course I'm not condoning any kind of abusive relationship, physical or otherwise. But sometimes, you really don't want to give a shit about their happiness, sometimes, you really want them to be in a bit of pain, and even more, you want to be the one causing it. And when you both wake up with bruises on your hips and your ass from where you were slamming against each other so hard the bed probably broke, you'll both have a smirk on your face, because you did that, you caused them that pain and every time they wince slightly for the rest of the day it's gonna make you feel better about whatever the hell it was that you can't remember you were arguing about in the first place. Plus you got to have some fucking fantastic mind-blowing sex in the process.
I totally understand why my ex wouldn't have anger sex with me, but man did that piss me off to the point where I just wanted to fuck him more :P
Wednesday, 25 April 2012
Now in fairness it's just a natural evolution of the standard alarms lots of people have on their phone, made for a world where everything can be connected to the internet and there's always an app for that. But it's the first time I've seen a fully integrated complete system like this. And from the looks of it, it's very well put together. Sure it's a little creepy and obsessive to check video feeds of your kids coming home from school and being able to lock them out of the tv room until they've done their homework even when you're not there, but like i say, as a random piece of future style technology it's kinda interesting.
Monday, 16 April 2012
It also makes life interesting when you meet someone who is okay with it, because in all likelihood, they are also polyamorous and this leads to an interesting problem, which to be fair, applies to pretty much anyone, it's just a poly people are open about it...
One day, that person that you love so much, that you would do anything for, that you would die for, that is worth everything you have and are, that loves you all the same back, is going to meet some one. And they are going to love them just as much as they love you. They are going to want to move heaven and earth for them, they are going to want to change their entire lives for them, just as they do for you. And that can be a really hard thing to accept, even when you admit you're completely capable of doing it yourself. It's not necessarily jealousy, it's not possessiveness, but the hardest thing can be watching someone walk away from you because they love someone, and you watching them go because you love them.
If you can accept it though, boy it's a good ride....
More specifically, I love being the big spoon, the one to hold you in my arms. Yes, I'm a little guy, and a sub, and a bottom, and I really really love being held and a guy wrapping his arrms around me as he gets into bed (and feeling his cock against my ass :P), but honestly, there is no greater, simpler pleasure for me in life, than having a guy fall asleep with his head on my lap, or curling up against me as we watch movies, or letting me hold him in bed, to be the one that gets to effectively say "you are mine to protect, and i will always do that for you". And maybe the size thing is something to do with it, that a guy a foot or so taller than me will feel so comfortable with me, that he trusts me so much, he'll go okay you're small, okay i might choke half the life out of you as i fuck your ass, but now, in this moment, you get to be the one that takes care of the other in the relationship.
It's definitely a sign of trust and affection on my part. I hate people leaning on me, falling asleep on me. It's a childhood neurosis thing, being small people always use me as rests and it pisses the hell out of me. For the guys i really care about, i'll let you rest your head on my shoulder, and fall asleep on me, because i'm happy just to be with you, and any amount of mental irritation, or physical discomfort when my arm inevitably goes dead, is worth it for those boys.
There are many things that make me smile in the world, and there are all sorts of things that I enjoy, but this is the simplest thing, that will have me grinning the entire time whilst it's happening. I love it and it's important to recognise the little things.
Wednesday, 4 April 2012
It's very weird to think I've only been here a week and a half, and I have 2.5 more weeks to go. Oh sure the week in Vegas will fly by. But I've already been to 4 different cities, through 3 different airports, on 2 coach journeys, stayed in 4 different houses, and I haven't even hit LA yet! Boy when I travel, I sure do travel!
As a random experiement, as I like doing things like this, I've been seeing how far I can get through this trip without actually needing printed paper confirmations. This mostly started because I don't have a printer at home, and by using my smartphone email, I can usually provide whatever documentation is required if they actually demand to see a copy of it. Luckily for most places, some for of ID, reference number and/or payment card is all I need. If you haven't travelled in a while the new suite of airline smartphone apps is amazing. You can upload your flights, check in, pick seats, search for upgrades, get terminal map layouts, download QR code boarding passes, track your bags, check for delays, get gate numbers in advance, and do pretty much everything imaginable using them. So far I've crossed 2 international borders (3 if you include the fact I flew over Canada), one ocean and am currently in the process of traversing the entire United States, using nothing more than a QR tag on my phone screen and my passport. I got my foreign currency by showing them my ID and the card I paid on, I picked up my NY Rangers tickets using my ID alone. I don't need an A-Z or transit map anymore as I can download it all to my phone using apps for the MTA in NYC, MBTA up in Boston, and I'll get the LA app once I land, just as you can use the tube app when in London. And now I can write this up, and check twitter, and even get my foursquare checkin, all using wi-fi at 30,000 feet. Digital Age, eat your heart out.
Okay so we don't have hover boards yet, but the fact I can travel 14,000 miles, including everything else associated with being abroad and travelling, using just my phone to cover everything. My mum even asked if I wanted her to bring out my travel insurance documents when I see her in a week - I already have them all downloaded in pdf form on my phone. All my music is on spotify, all my friends are on AIM, twitter, facebook, MSN, Skype, whatsapp etc. I can log in to Gaydar, Recon, Manhunt, A4A using apps or the web browser. I can download the weather, load up maps in case I get lost trying to find somewhere, use GPS navigation if we're in a car, I could blog from my phone, I can use word and excel and power point, anything that's not ON my phone is in my email or dropbox, both of which I can get to, I can even apply for jobs whilst I'm away using various apps and the browser. Pretty much all we're missing at this point is the public retinal scanners to replace my passport as ID, and we're in the future that's written about and on our tv and cinema screens for so long. The architecture just isn't as shiny, that's all. This has all been coming together for a long time, but I personally feel like finally, it's at the point where everything is becoming seamless, and I'm starting to be able to do whatever I want, however I want, as it suits me.
Monday, 2 April 2012
They remind me of University libraries, the rooms are big and bright with lots of people working and, with power, and personal desk lamps, and high ceilings and giant paintings on the walls. And you don't need any access card, any sign up, anything to be able to enjoy this. It's a very hard feeling to explain, but I don't find similar places in the UK, and I certainly don't find many UK libraries at all as inviting as the ones in the US.
As I said, I'm in New York today, I got in yesterday afternoon and went over to my friend Jarrod's place in Astoria. We went to Madison Square Garden last night to see the New York Rangers play hockey, in case you hadn't guessed from my twitter and facebook posts. It was my birthday present to myself which I bought about 9 months ago, I spent $350 on the tickets, but fuck yeah was it worth it. They lost their game, but it was amazing to see MY TEAM, which I love, and follow, even to the point of keeping up on the scouting reports for next season's prospects like a really dedicated sports fan - playing live. On home ice. They didn't play as good as they could have done and it was a shame I didn't get to see them win, as that's likely the only game I'll ever get to in my life, or at least for a good few years, but I loved every single second of it, even the guy throwing homophobic slurs at players who was sitting next to me. If I drunk beer I even would have gladly paid the $10 a bottle price.
Wandering round NYC today, I did all the tourist stuff like 2 years ago, and I'm only here for about 36 hours so there's not much I can get up to, I'm mostly just having fun walking around the city, I went to some of the gay shops, there's a rather impressive Rufskin boutique who sell some really beautiful jeans that I just can't justify at $160 even thought they fit me PERFECTLY. I got to visit the Nasty Pig store which was awesome, the guys in there are REALLY HOT, and I found out even I love Nasty Pig rubber, it feels great, doesn't have that rubber smell (which is one of the things that turns me off about the whole deal), and their rubber trousers are only $140 which is pretty damned fucking cheap! They even do them in a 28" waist which is awesome. They don't fit great, so I didn't buy them, but it was worth a visit to the store, if only just to make Adam jealous :P
I also got to visit Big Gay Ice Cream, who I've been following for ages and all through their recent store purchase and fit up so was really eager to head over and get something. I highly recommend the Mermaid - ice cream, key lime curd and graham crackers. I just wish I was here more days so I could go work my way through the entire menu over 2 weeks or so.
Currently wandering the streets of 5th Avenue, then might head over to Penn Station, then down to Wall St AFTER business hours when it's a little quieter, then maybe back up to Central Park for the museums. I've only been going 4 hours and I've probably walked 80 blocks already. I'm impatient when it comes to the metro, just like I'm impatient with tubes and buses in London, so I just tend to walk. I'm really looking forward to being over in California again, current forecast of 70-80 degrees whilst I'm there so if I'm lucky maybe I can go hit the beach and find some cute surfer boys to play with (not on the beach though, sand gets everywhere, it's not pleasant) Will need to find some power i.e. an empty starbucks eventually to recharge laptop and phone, but I'm having fun. Missing certain peoples obviously, but I have several ideas of presents to bring them back and I'll probably be arranging some Skype dates when I'm kicking around in LA later in the week.
Sunday, 1 April 2012
Yesterday was another day in Providence, with my Ameriwtin Lauren, her sister, Terence, and a guy called Derek who was nice enough to offer me some crash space for the night - he lives in dorms which are bigger than most London flats. Granite worktops, stainless steel appliances including a dishwasher, spiral staircase, partial open plan layout, a great view of the Rhode Island state house. Clearly I was a student in the wrong country.
Incidentally, I must remember whilst sitting in a public setting, that half of my twitter followers avi's are not suitable for general viewing :P
We now return to our regularly scheduled programming. We went to see The Hunger Games finally yesterday, it involves 3 hot boys (and a perfectly okay girl that's just not my type) dressed in tight clothing, being set on fire, trying to kill each other, and generally getting covered in dirt and blood. As a point of advice, you should never ever go see a film with me and Terence and allow us to sit next to each other because we will make snide comments at each other and giggle throughout the entire thing. It gets right to the not-so-climactic ending and Terence suddenly yells "booo" and I burst out laughing in response. Not as bad however as when Lauren, whispers to me "I want some guy to put his finger in my gash". Score one to Lauren for managing to creep me out in the middle of a cinema screen. We then went to Dave & Busters for trashy food and arcade games, which put me in kid mode and I was happy. I made the most of my last day with my New England friends because I knew I was leaving them, though at least this time, I know I'll be back in 3 weeks. And thanks to Derek offering me a place to stay, I didn't get murdered in my sleep by Terence's ex, who I don't seem to get on with particularly well - no surprises there then.
Off to New York, very very excited for Rangers hockey, I'm sitting in section 101 so it's going to be amazing. Taking the friend I'm staying with as a thank you as I have a spare ticket anyway and he's never been to an NHL match. NYC and LA will no doubt signal the return of the Eddie you all know and love, so watch my twitter feed for entertaining boy stories. Then I can go be good again whilst I'm with my family over in Vegas.
I always forget how different gay culture is over here, it's not that it's unmanageable, just the unwritten, unspoken rules are subtly different and I always have to forcibly remind myself that I need to act differently when I'm in the US to how I'm in the UK.
Also, why does it not matter who I'm with, why do late night conversations always involve me talking about sex??? Honestly it's not like I even try, I think it's just cause I'm quite open and honest about it, and if it's relevant to the conversation I'll mention something sex related, so I guess that both prompts it, and makes other people feel relaxed about the subject, especially in the US where sex is still a hell of a lot more of a taboo subject that in the UK. And as always, I can always go with the fact that due to the friends I tend to hang around with, if I haven't been there and done it, someone I know will have, all the good and bad. Hey if it promotes a better understanding of practically anything to do with sex, I suppose it serves its purpose.
Oh gee great, I'm in the bit of the route that does not, in fact, have wi-fi access. 51% on the battery, though the battery icon makes it look as though it has about 28% remaining so I'm not entirely sure which to trust. I may just save this as a word document to be on the safe side.
I have also just recieved an ominous message from my parents saying they have news that will help my financial situation - I know they didn't win any of the $600,000,000+ lottery draw as I bought the tickets for that, but hmmmm, curiouser and curiouser.
What's new with you lot? I miss you all, especially certain people. The next week or so is going to be hardest in some ways, I'll be hanging out with my California friends and spending time with them, but I'll be missing all of my UK gays and most of my best friends in the US are in MA so to leave kinda sucks. If I get all emo on twitter you know why.
If you're in NYC, LA, or Boston and want to meet up send me a message. I've made lots of new friends already in Boston and the Cape and I'm really happy just to meet people for a simple coffee. I have time in all 3 of those cities so let me know. With enough persuasion and/or financial aid I could make it to surrounding areas such as San Diego, or elsewhere in Mass. I'm hoping to have a nice big farewell dinner on my last night in Boston before I get my flight home and it'd be great to see anyone I've met over the last week, or even just say hi & goodbye to people I have yet to.
Also, there is a rumour going around the Providence Drag Brunch that I give really good hugs. It's all true, every word. So long as you don't really need kidneys in the long term.
39% and may need battery for other things so gonna save this, shut down, and upload whenever I get the chance later today. Make that a sudden drop to 15%... My laptop really is fucked.
Saturday, 31 March 2012
Thursday, 22 March 2012
There are certain things I cannot post right now, because they would complicate matters. I have and am writing them down; those posts are delayed and will appear at some point in the future when I can disregard the consequences of my actions.
Thursday, 8 March 2012
However much I try, I just can't get into 'Unworthy Of Your Love', or 'November 22nd, 1963' though. Oh sure, there are songs in the musical I'm not huge fans of, but I can at least get them into my head and think about what I wanna do with them and such. Those two however I just can't come up with a single decent design idea at the moment. I don't like them at all. They're just dull points in the narrative to me. Hopefully that mindset changes at some point...
Monday, 5 March 2012
I miss you so much. It hurts. Like hell. Every single day. I know I made my choice and I stand by it and don't regret it and you've even stated the situation couldn't be changed nowadays. And that's fine, but I still miss you. I still love you. I still want to be with you even though I can't. I miss the feel of you. I miss your smile. I miss how easy we fit around each other. I miss curling up against you in bed even if I knew I'd never sleep. I miss how you'd buy me Oreos and Hersheys and chocolate milk when i'd had a bad day. I miss that you made me genuinely want to be a better person. I hate that I've barely seen you since. I hate that it's so hard to see you, because every time I walk into the same room as you I get the same feelings I got when I saw you for the very first time. I hate that lets be friends is hardly what you could call it. I hate that I still hurt for you so badly, and yet I know it doesn't work. I'm scared you'll stop loving me. I'm scared for when you find someone else and I have to accept that although it was my decision, your life is no longer mine. I wonder if this will ever get any easier for either of us. I wonder if we'll just drift apart, like people who went to school together, fundamental to each other's lives for so long and then relegated to 'emotional baggage'. I love you. I miss you. I need you. I want you. Please be mine.
Saturday, 3 March 2012
The last major bit of design work was now a year ago, for a show that launched January 2011. So I miss design; in fact as much as I love PMing, I love going back to the other roles of crewing every so often, LD, LX/SX op, flies, even simple set building and painting; I feel it makes me a much better PM by going back to these roles once in a while, and I do honestly love looking at a lit stage, or a piece of set, or a particular effect and thinking "I did that, I made that happen" and sure PMing allows you to do that about the entire show, but sometimes its nice to have something distinctly tangible or demonstrable to do that with.
When I see a show, like most technicians, I spent most of the time not looking anywhere near the stage; i'm looking around at the rig, mentally noting how they've done certain cues, what jarrs with me, what i'm impressed with... directors seeing shows tend to do the same in terms of the blocking, deliverance, and well, direction. They just have the advantage that they can do the actors the courtesy of looking in the direction of the stage whilst doing so.
So I decided to do a fantasy design, which are just another way of doing practice - it involves going through almost exactly the same steps as when designing for a show that actually goes up; most of the design you never actually SEE until a few days before the production, most of it has to be in your head. If you're lucky you might have access to some powerful and expensive visualization software, or you might just draw it out and colour it in. Unfortunately I'm not that good at drawing, I can envisage it in my head just fine, and I can write out all the technical information to translate that into a lighting plot, but it does mean I won't be able to post any nice pretty pictures of what I've come up with on here.
So instead, this is more a series of blog posts about the process I'm going through in my head. Maybe other LDs out there totally disagree with how I go about it - design is a very individualistic process and everyone does it in different ways; by and large most designers respect this fact about each other, though of course it does make it difficult if you have to work with opposing styles and methods. At the very least it should serve as an interesting record for my friends that read the blog as to the sorts of things I get up to in my working life.
I started by looking for ideas, if I'm going to do an imaginary design I'm going to need some kind of show to do it about. I see no point in trying to design for one of the big name things, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Evita, A Streetcar Named Desire, etc unless I happen to have some outstanding unique never before done idea, I am not afraid to admit there are far far better designers out there than me (for the record, the 2 LDs I have the most admiration for and go to see shows just on the basis of their involvement are Max Keller and Neil Austin) and they are probably already working on the big shows (in fact, Neil Austin is the LD for the current Broadway production of Evita), that's not to say I don't want to work on them, just I know what I'm good at, and I know what I'm ok at, especially at a high end professional level. So I asked twitter for some ideas, and a friend suggested the musical Assassins, which so far is a distinct possibility for me, though it has its problems as I'll go into. From my own ideas, I would love to work on a Dario Fo play, so am rereading through some of those that I have, however due to the performance space Fo had access to, they are generally single settings with no scene changes, and have very scripted lighting design, naturalistic indoor room scenes, or special spots etc for phone calls etc, which brings me to my next point...
The beauty of design is you can completely let your ideas run away with you. Anyone creative in whatever sphere they work and however they create will always tell you it's better to dream big and tone it down, than be trying to cover inadequacy with greatness elsewhere. And yes you can completely ignore all scripting, and all stage instructions, and all suggestions or hints that a performance should be conducted in a certain way, but at the end of the day, tropes exist because they work; their familiarity means we understand what is being conveyed through certain information and why it has been put into that particular place in a specific manner. So yes I could redesign a Fo play to be completely different, but a lot of the design that is scripted is what most designers would do anyway, because purely and simply, it makes sense. The idea of lighting design, of any design, is to instill certain ideas in the mind of the audience, and evoke certain responses from them as a result. Lighting is used to demarcate the boundaries of rooms, to show the passage of time, to reflect mood, to highlight a out of character moment or foreshadow future events. If you do it right it should be so unobtrusive the audience doesn't even realise the lighting is part of what is evoking their reaction, they will put it all down to good acting. Such is the manner of being a theatre tech that we all accept and embrace as part of the job description, if you've done your job well, no one should know you ever exist. At the end of the day, you could work very very very hard to create a sense of danger, aggression, anger, heat, with some unusual design, and if you've got a good idea, then go with it, but red is a warm and angry colour to most people, just as blue makes things feel cold and stark, and green makes people look ill if used in a period drama piece. Standard design techniques, like stereotypes, exist because they work, so don't try and reinvent the wheel.
So a Dario Fo would be lovely to work on, but possibly quite dull to work on when I have the whole realm of theatre to imagine a design for. Assassins is a musical which allows me to be a lot more creative, but suffers a serious setback in that I do not have access to a copy of the book, whereas I do have copies of the scripts for multiple Dario Fo plays. This isn't necessarily a HUGE problem as there are detailed synopses available online and I can of course listen to the soundtrack as much as I like which is where a lot of the interesting design work would be and where most of the important plot points happen, but it does rather complicate matters. For most Dario Fo plays, and Assassins, I have not actually seen a staged version of the shows, which in some ways limits me, but also means I'm not constrained by preformed ideas other than what the script/music suggests to me in and of itself. The major downside in this is I have to give a basic consideration to all the other areas that would normally be covered by other people, that a LD works in conjunction with, but it means they can focus purely on the lighting without needing to come up with ideas such as blocking, set design, costuming etc all of which affect the lighting. I don't need to plan these thigns out in detail, but I do need to have a basic concept of what the show might look like staged in my head in order to do the lighting plot and that's harder when you're starting at square one. At least my PM experience means I do know the basic concepts of all these different areas, as that's sort of my job as a PM, to pull all the different strands of the technical requirements together, get them working with each other, and orchestrate presenting the whole thing as a single uniform project.
So that's basically where I'm at at the moment. I'm thinking about Assassins, doing a lot of work listening to the soundtrack, which tends to be the starting point of design for any musical, and rereading my Dario Fo plays to see if anything jumps out. Basically I'm in that great and fundamental starting point of design work - sitting there looking like I'm doing nothing, throwing things at the wall inside my head, and seeing what sticks. Design is a long process that never finishes and is generally kept in check by things like deadlines and budgets. Probably some time next week I'll pull out some sheets of paper and start drawing some very rough sketches (which is advanced as my draftsman skills get and like my handwriting, tend to be fairly indecipherable to anyone except me, but if you're lucky I might post them) of sets, stages, things like that, and post some more thoughts on how the whole process is going.
Comments muchly appreciated. Is anybody reading this? Is this in the least bit of interest to you? Did most of this not make sense to you because I'm talking about things which tend to only make sense if you work in that industry? I know its a blog mostly written for me and my random thoughts, but it is nice to know you're all out there and what you think occasionally.
Monday, 20 February 2012
Thanks for leading me on, but this time I'm gonna be strong,
I wish you weren't too scared to speak your goodbyes cuz
The truth is I wish you well, thanks for saving me from hell, I owe you one of the few I got left of my nine lives, well,
I can't help that I want to see you again,
But it takes two to start a string a long song, and only one to make it end.
Friday, 17 February 2012
That should answer a lot of questions.
Wednesday, 15 February 2012
Parks and Recreation
Pretty Little Liars
American Horror Story
Into the Wild (film)
Saturday, 11 February 2012
So right now, I'm not about to break, I've calmed down, and I've let go a little bit, and I'll be good for another few days. But I am having to do the sensible thing, and turn round to people, good friends and point out I don't have time for their problems right now, because I can barely keep hold of my own. I don't mean to be rude, and I will get back to a better state, but right now, I need you to be friends to me, because if I end up like I was about 6am Thursday morning again anytime soon, I know exactly what will happen, I wont run away, I won't commit suicide or anything like that, my mind will just break, I will go into complete emotional shock. I could feel it on Thursday. I could sense my emotions, I knew there were there, but I was totally detached from them, it was like when I astral project. I could basically poke a rather large part of me that was my emotional reaction and know it was there, but I didn't feel it any way. I'll end up like that for a few weeks if I'm not careful, so if I talk to you regularly and I'm now not, sorry, I'll be back, I just can't cope with any of you right now, you'll have to look elsewhere, and if I don't talk to you regularly and you find I'm not, I've decided I just don't have the patience to try with you any more, that's the way life works.
It's nice having someone to sleep next to at night again, it's nice just being able to see him and smile and kiss him. He's a big superman geek and that's all kinds of sexy to me. I have to stop myself from seeing him all the time or I'd never get ANYTHING done, but that's good in a way :)
So naturally I'm terrified. Because I'm a typical boy and don't deal well with the whole commitment thing. Dating I love, dating I'm good at, relationships make me panic. I start second guessing my feelings. Whether I feel too much, whether I don't feel enough, how I feel compared to them... And then when I have doubts I start to wonder if it's all worth it, if I'm not convinced it's going to work, if I have to question things, if I'm that unsure of myself, it's usually for a reason, and if all that's going on then why not cut my losses early, save a few broken hearts, or at least not shatter them into oblivion at any rate, and end it all now rather than 3 months down the line. But then I know that this is all just my paranoia over how I'm feeling and being terrified of the whole relationship thing and at any rate if I don't try I'm never gonna get to that point where I find that 'one'. But then what if it's not my paranoia and there is actually some genuine thought in there that's real and will only grow to be a bigger concern at some point. Like I say, full blown paranoia, I second guess my second guessings. It's not fun and leaves me very confused as to how I feel.
In some ways it would be easier if I just carried on in that dating limbo, but then I know the whole me sleeping with other guys or casually mentioning I'm in love with someone else thing would probably fuck things up and really screw up something with a guy I liked, so as troublesome as it is, it's usually a lot better for me to have that "what are we doing oh and btw you should know..." conversation sooner rather than later with a guy
Then again part of me feels I already met the perfect guy, I just can't have him. And I know that he's agree in a heartbeat on some levels but I also know he's not interested in some ways. It's complicated and just... ugh. But regardless I suppose he's not an option, I should really get that into my head, but that's never gonna to happen. See my lovelife is not fun. It is awesome, but if any of you wanna take it of my hands and deal with the headfuck, by all means go for it.
I have no idea how Paul is going to cope with me going to America for 4 weeks, not to mention Terence coming over here for a week. I mean he says he's okay with it and he realises there are things he can't give me so as long as I come back to him then he can cope, and that's almost perfect, but theory and practice are different, and I know I am not an easy person to be in a relationship with and I know what I ask in a way is actually hugely unrealistic and definitely unfair, but I've seen me when I try to not do this, and it leads to me on the verge of a total meltdown; ex-Chris can probably attest to this. I'm a mess, but I'm a lot more of a mess when I try to be normal - even the docs agree trying to medicate me would go HORRIBLY HORRIBLY WRONG.
Umemployment is pissing me off, as is being broke. At that point where I'll soon be going for any job rather than something career related. Luckily, I'm quite good at getting any job, but still I'd rather have something career relevant. Ah maybe I'll just fuck off out of the country on a cruise ship job for 6 months. save money, get a bit extra on my CV, etc. I'm sure Paul would LOVE that. I'm at that annoying point career wise where I'm overqualified to do the general jobs and underqualified to do all the stuff I'd find really interesting at this stage, so you just end up in limbo. Plus of course there's no money in the arts and such. Though it's also equally depressing to see people the same age as me and how wildly successful they are. They probably don't see themselves as successful, but it does tend to make me feel shit and like a massive failure. Irrational I know, but it happens. Why, WHY could I not have found a love of accounting and audit hmmm? That said, there are sneaky plans in the works, so watch this space...