Basic Instincts – just because you can’t see the ice pick, doesn’t mean they’re not a psycho.

Choosing to house-share via a website is a bizarre leap of faith. I mean, you email back and forth, arrange to meet and then if all goes well, move in a few days later. What on earth can you figure out about a person you’ve just met online that makes you decide you can co-habit? It’s speed dating on crack.

Of course, there’s the obvious things to look for; do you like the house and your room, is it conveniently located to where you work, does the neighbourhood possess all the amenities you’d be needing like a supermarket, bakery, brothel, I mean church? But does this person have an ice pick under their bed? Not so easy to check.

In one more week I shall be an unemployed bum yet again. Most people would be upset by this, but I’m quietly hoping I didn’t get that job I went for last week because a dose of unemployment will give me time to write. Plus without any money, maybe I’ll lose a couple of the kilos I’ve put on after four months being stuck to a chair for eight hours a day.

The job is at a university, helping manage flat rentals for students. They’re at the stage where they’ve lived with each other for a couple of months and personality clashes are beginning to show. Of course, all this has done is make me ponder my own disastrous colourful history of flat-sharing.

I’ve been through this process many times now. My decisions are usually based on nothing more concrete that a feeling, an instinct and, surprisingly often when I think back on it, alcohol. The first time I opted to live with strangers I was 26. The ad said they were looking for someone over 28 but I chose to ignore this. It was 11am when we met and within a few minutes they were serving me champagne. Three hours and many glasses later, I left with a new home.

Instinct paid off here and I lived happily there for three years, until one of the three housemates started a relationship with a manipulative psycho bitch and the house dismantled. Two housemates left and instinct failed me abysmally with the choice of replacement.

It’s probably my fault. I was, not for the first or last time, led astray by aesthetics. The best candidate of a bad bunch was also the prettiest. And at first he seemed fantastic, but it soon became evident that he was a habitual liar and, we came to suspect, a gay male escort. Continue reading

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Who Do I Have to ‘rhymes with truck’ to Get a Job Round Here?

Recruitment agencies – Angels sent from the gods to make your dreams come true? Or about as useful as a one legged man in an arse kicking contest?

I’m sure anyone who’s had even one go on the recruitment agency merry-go-round will probably choose ‘B thanks Eddie’ (sorry, you gotta be a skip to understand that one). I’ve had one interview so far in 2 months of searching and for some reason that agent has gone all Helen Keller on me. He won’t answer my calls or emails. How immature is that? Was he not told that part of his job is to tell people they didn’t get it? I’m not gonna cry. Geez.

Oh, wait. Before I start my proper tirade, let me show you a picture. Check this out.

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Can you see that? The mist over the water? Here, I’ll go closer.

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How spooky’s that? It’s called the Haar, the Scottish sea mist. Behind me, as you can see in the pic above, it’s a sunny, mid-twenties day. Crazy. Apparently later on (Autumn/Winter??) they roll all the way into town, giving the whole of Edinburgh a truly Dickensian feel. I can’t wait for that, although I’m not too excited about the potential frizz ball my hair will be from walking through mists all day. Still, I could wear a flowing robe and carry around a big sword and pretend I’m in Avalon. For example.

But back to being pissed off… Continue reading

The Job Hunt;rhymes with c…

Binoculars Job Hunter

If there’s one thing moving to the UK has taught me, it’s that I’m not nearly as amazing as I used to think I was. I’ve been slapped in the face by reality so many times over the past five years I’m surprised my cheeks don’t have the outline of a hand tattooed on them. A lot of the slapping revolved around getting a job, or not, as the case was for quite a while. As I head into my 5th week of unsuccessful job hunting in Edinburgh, my sharply deflating bubble of confidence tells me that maybe symbolic physical violence is not the best learning tool for me.

I mean, up until a few days ago I was thinking what the hell’s wrong with all you recruiters? Haven’t you heard of me? Nat. From Australia. The amazing employee any boss would be glad to have. Not ringing any bells? Well that’s bloody strange.

When I moved to London in 2008 I arrived thinking it would be easy to get a job. I’d join a recruiting agency, they’d talk to me, see I was intelligent, had some good references, good experience and boom – lovely job, nice location, good pay, thanks very much for coming. Queue 12 months of rejection, frustration and humiliation, but on the plus side, more interview practice than the average person probably gets in a lifetime.

Continue reading

The World’s Busiest Unemployed Bum

Well, busy I may be, but efficient I am not. It’s now been four months since I quit my job and although I have plenty to do to fill my time, I’m not exactly rolling in job prospects. All my fault of course, “working” from home is a mine field of distractions and now that winter has arrived, dark and cold mornings make it harder to fight the urge to stay in bed  “just a biiiiiit longer”. Luckily I have a kitten to make sure sleeping in past 8am is impossible.

So what have I actually done in these four months? Let’s see if I can justify myself.

I have had two photography jobs, one I’ve spoken about and was for a team at work. The second was a baptism, but since this was for a girl who used to work with me, again I’m not really reeling in the customers am I? It was a good practise though, and even though I was pretty much winging it, I think some of the shots came out well, thank bloody god.

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Then I twisted the arm of another guy from work and hijacked his little girl for an hour. Again it was good practise. I have no kids around me and am not what you would call good with them, so it gave me an insight into what photographing kids would entail. The poor thing was pretty scared of me and the big black contraption strapped to my neck for the first half hour, so her expression illustrates that fear nicely. Continue reading

Bloody Burgers and Posh Chips

I like movies. They teach me about the world, about life, about love. “The Princess Bride” taught me that your one true love will always forgive you for pushing him down a hill, “Requiem for A Dream” taught me that diet pills are a great way to get all the housework done. And “Blood Diamond” taught me that white men from Zimbabwe don’t like it when you think they’re South African. So naturally when Kevin Costner taught me that if you build it they will come, I left my job. I left the stable, responsible office job that not only gave me a regular pay cheque but a pretty regular case of the shits too. I decided there was to be no more daily grind for me, I had a plan. I planned to make money doing what I love.

That was six weeks ago, and that statement is about as far as the plan has progressed. I plan to make a living, but I don’t have a clue how. I don’t have an action plan, a business plan, or even a back-up plan for when all my savings dry up. And strangely enough, as much as I enjoy writing on this blog, so far no money has popped out of the disc tray when someone has hit the “like” button.

What I do have is scatterbrain ideas, one of which probably around a billion kazillion people are already doing and won’t make me any money for a long long time. And maybe not even then. But of course I am shrouded under the veil of naivety, conceit and lifelong love of uplifting and preposterous film scripts, so I’m sure my version will be the one in a billion kazillion that is successful. It’s a travel website of sorts, in the vein of Timeout, but cooler, more street, more in the know. Unfortunately I’m not cool or street and I don’t know anything. Continue reading