Saturday, August 27, 2011

Oh Hai

So I've been a bit lazy on the blogging front again; I'm sorry. But if I had been updating more often it would have mostly consisted of "Dear God, I fucking hate my job" and "oh, look Daniel bought wine."

Also I want to apologise to my friends who have sent me emails and even letters that I still haven't replied to. I keep saying I'm going to, and hey maybe I will eventually, but I can't see it happening in the forseeable future. Facebook chat and skype is way better for me. I do want to talk to you all! I'm just unbelievably lazy. Let's make cyberspace dates! I have plenty of time on my hands now...

Last week I was getting super duper stressed about my job. I think it was a combination of high levels of stress for very little pay, being told what to do by Kiwis and it being the first work I had done since January. And let's face it, towards the end of working at Liquorice, I spent more time hungover, reading my book and drinking their tea behind the counter than I did doing anything that resembled work. So basically I was miserable and stressed at Sacred which all culminated one morning at about 8am, in an outburst of tears in front of my boss, while making sandwiches. Go me. I had always known I was going to quit and find a better job, but that pretty much convinced me then and there. Then my boss said I couldn't have time off when Mum and Dad will be in London and I was all "well fuck this place then." They hire all Australians and Kiwis (with the odd Lithuanian and Irish hipster) knowing we're on working holidays and will therefore work hard provided we're given holidays. It'd be nice if they held up their end.

So for the next few days whenever someone (a Kiwi bogan manager - she has a tramp stamp of a 'W' in the fancy tattoo font. Her name is Whytnee; I'm guessing it's in case she forgets how to spell it? Just a reminder to start the other letters flowing, maybe) asked me to do something all I could think was IquitIquitIquitIquitIquitIquit. Then I got more frustrated and imagined walking downstairs to where all the Operations Managers and owners of the cafe were having a meeting, yelling "Fuck you!", ripping off my shirt and walking out. But I was wearing a really crap bra that day, so I didn't. That just would have been embarrassing.

That weekend I had two days off in a row (first time since I started working) and decided to give up. I texted my boss, like a true adult. What follows is Quitting Like The Coward I Am 101:

Me: hi liz, i'm thinking of finding another job (i need to make more money) [and not hate myself so much] so do i have to give a week's notice or is it different because i'm still on the temporary contract?

Liz Sacred Cafe: Hey Sian because you are on trial contract its 24 hours but it would be good form to get a weeks notice

Me: can we meet half way and say wednesday is my last shift? [two days later]

Liz Sacred Cafe: ok.

Sure I should have kept working until my parents were actually in London or even got something else lined up. But...I don't really have an excuse for that. I'm 21? If the only things I enjoyed about working there were drinking with Carlos on the Saturday night closing shift, signing my name on the time sheet and walking out then I think I did the right thing. On my last two days I was all smiles. One girl, Adele, who often told me I never smiled (because I hated being at work) commented that I was too happy about quitting. Well, make up your mind.

And so began my days of unemployment. Which consist of drinking and lazing around in my own filth. Quite similar to being employed, really. Just I don't have to get up at 5am anymore. I am going to look for something else, obviously. I just haven't decided what. Legal suggestions are welcome. I've spent the day watching Breaking Bad and Blow, and actually considered entering the drug trade. But the whole lying to everyone, having guns shoved in my face on a regular basis and my daughter never coming to visit me in jail is a bit daunting. Maybe office/reception work because it starts at £10 an hour. I've never done it before but how hard can it be to sit on my bum and stare at a computer all day? I mean, I've had virtually no experience in that.

Daniel has also been hanging around Pepys (the name of our block of flats) a lot lately (more details later). On Thursday we took ourselves shopping on Bond Street (it's okay, Mum, I didn't buy anything), drank a bottle of wine in the park and then went home and watched politically incorrect comedy. It could be worse.

Oh also, last weekend my friend Jessie, from work, cut my hair. I wanted something like this but due to poor communication/lack of hair dressing skills/the consumption of several beers she fucked up my fringe. So now I wear it all messy with a scarf and tonnes of hairspray like this:

And yeah, that's a bit of bark in front of my face. Unemployment [wine] does strange things to you. It's the only photo I have and I ain't takin' one now. I didn't like it at first and flipped out (I got revenge on Jessie, by giving her a few "ironic" bald spots) but it's totally growing on me #I'mpuntastic. It's so much easier to cover my head in hairspray and mess it up than having to have a clean, neat fringe all the time. I don't know why I didn't do this earlier.

Jessie is aaaaiiiiiiiight. We discovered we both thought the new Irish hipster guy at work was cute, until he turned out to be a pretentious dickhead with a girlfriend, and from then on our conversations have been dotted with "yeah I liked [this band] before they were really big...oh shit did I actually just say that?" "Yeah you did, you filthy hipster." When Tom Vek tours London again, we're going to go and see him with our new Hipster Approved Piercings.

Actually I'm going to share a joke with you that she told me at work. You've probably all heard it before but whatever, it's funny.
- Why did the hipster burn his mouth when he ate pizza?
- Because he ate it before it was cool.

Da boom ch.

I don't have a photo of Jessie yet, but I do have a photo of Yana.

Sam got me in contact with her while I was in Santiago so I knew someone in London. It took us two weeks to get together but she's cool. We have a common interested in Foals, drinking on the streets and bitching about shitty jobs and people who piss us off.

My flatmates and I still haven't found anywhere to live yet. But every few days we peruse, get annoyed at all the agencies (they charge way too much) and consider moving to another country. We'll get there. I mean, I've had a busy day of watching an entire season of Breaking Bad, putting a load of washing on, waxing my legs, having a 3 hour nap, painting my nails and eating two bowls of cereal. Actually, that's pretty damn productive. I deserve a drink after all that. Where is Daniel?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I Predict a Riot and now London's Burning; I Am An Anarchist so Fuck The Police!

It's okay, family and friends, I'm alive and relatively unaffected.

Last week a black guy, Mark Duggan, was shot by police for no apparent reason. His friends and family had a peaceful protest which got out of hand and turned into avenging his death by throwing rocks at windows and stealing a few Plasma TV's in Tottenham (North London). I came home from work on Sunday night, watched the news with Claire and Daniel for it bit, as it gradually got more out of control but went to bed and didn't think much of it. Other than how stupid they were for shitting where they eat and "Tottenham is ages away."

Monday afternoon Claire told Daniel and me that riots had started in Hackney (East London). She read it on Twitter but it wasn't on the news yet (apparently so more people didn't find out about it and join in). So Daniel and I went out and came back a few hours later to discover that it had gotten a little more crazy. Not to mention the rioters in Hackney were heading our way. So we sat and watched the news with our laptops open on Twitter and made jokes about the madness unfolding (someone said she was on a Riot Diet because all the shops were closed so she couldn't go and buy dinner) and wondered why all the police were standing around watching them rather than shooting them/doing anything. And then occasionally commented that it was way out of control. Apparently it spread so quickly through the use of Twitter and some private Blackberry messaging app. So we heard read about it 42 seconds after it happened. Yay social networking sites.

Rioting also happened in Clapham (South), Camden (North), Peckham (South East), Croyden (South), Ealing (West), Fulham (West) and Hammersmith (West), Lewisham (South), Woolich (South), Bethnal Green (East - where I live), Enfield (North) and then it spread to other cities in England; Birmingham, Liverpool, Bristol and tonight shit's going down in Manchester too. Windows were smashed, shops looted, buildings, homes, cars and buses set on fire, rocks thrown at police and apparently three police dogs were injured. I've read stories of people being violently stopped on their bikes and then had it stolen, being asked to strip naked in the street and have their clothes stolen right of their backs and even an injured guy being mugged while rioters pretended to help him. We could hear non stop sirens all night. It's strangely quiet tonight but every now and again a police siren screeches past near by and I've been able to hear (and see) circling helicopters since I got home this afternoon.

We all got a bit angry at the stupid, bored teenagers when we heard rumours that our Tesco up the road had been set on fire. I freaked out when rumours surfaced that they would attack Brick Lane - now where am I going to take visiting friends to make them think I know the city?! They had closed the Bethnal Green tube stop and the main streets to prevent more people joining the riot but it didn't get too out of control. But this video gives you a better idea. This is about a ten minute walk from my flat. Claire and Mei Shan decided to go and have a look. Daniel I decided to watch it unfold on Twitter and the BBC from the safety of the couch. They said they didn't see anything except a few burning bins and scary people [youths] walking around in hoodies.

I can see how this would look absurd on the news from another country (Mum suggested I go home with them in a month and my Kiwi manager's Dad called her last night to say "get out and go to a hotel; I'll pay"). London is huge and yes it's spread everywhere but it's not like I can hear rioters burning the cars on my street (although some people can, I guess). Everyone has been advised to stay in doors tonight (businesses closed early and staff were sent home to avoid the riots before they started) especially as police are now planning to use rubber bullets [finally realised they should do something other than stand in a line and retreat]. More police have been brought in from all over the country and there are now going to be 16, 000 on the streets but I'm guessing the number of rioters [teeny thugs] will have grown as well.

It's strange. Horrible and surreal and devastating that people's lives have been ruined and completely ridiculous that a huge city has come to a standstill over a bunch of fifteen year olds. The atmosphere on the streets is just weird. I always wondered what it would be like to live in a city where things like this happen, but this isn't what I expected. Such a weird vibe. I guess the difference is that these kids don't really have a reason for rioting other than wanting a new pair of sneakers. They're bored youths (youths are bad; young people are good) from the poorest boroughs with nothing to lose. I'm not sure if it's scarier that people do this when they have something to fight for or because it's not raining today. At least this amazing woman has a solid opinion.

But seriously everyone, I'm fine. Don't freak out, I'm not going to get caught in a petrol bomb. The streets aren't safe at night at the moment, but I'm perfectly content spending my nights at home. The Bethnal Green tube station was open again this morning and tourists got in my way on Oxford Street on the way to work as usual. And they're all oblivious (possibly scarier?) to what happened last night #ihatetourists. This morning huge groups of volunteers even went out into the streets (at least definitely in Camden) to clean up the mess.

In other news, Daniel and I have decided that he, Claire and I will move out together into our own three bedroom flat so we can get a micro pig and a dog when they get back from China. We have to be out in five weeks.

Now, where did I leave my hoody?
[I'm going to watch True Blood]

Saturday, August 6, 2011

At least your life isn't as bad as Sian's

Sorry I've been a bit negligent of my blog lately; I've been pretty busy. Busy working a shitty full time job and busy socialising with my flatmates, Daniel (Vancouver), Claire (Liverpool) and Mei Shan (Sydney). Well, one of them anyway. Most nights when I come home from work Daniel greets me with a bottle of wine and a spliff and he tells me about his fabulous life working for Burberry and his past job as a flight attendant. He really does have some cool stories to tell. The kind of stories that can't be told over one bottle of wine. I learnt pretty quickly that there is no such thing as "one drink". Although, I guess we all know that, really. It has meant that I have gone to work hungover many times since I started.

Not that they care. They're generally all hungover too, anyway. So I work at this Kiwi cafe in Soho (or according to Daniel, "fake Soho") called Sacred Cafe. For most of my time there I wash dishes. And then get a fifteen minute break for my seven to nine hour shift. I know this is illegal in Australia, but I'm pretty sure it isn't in England. There are so many people looking for work that I guess they can just treat you however they want. And they do pay 7p more per hour than the pubs. Daniel has said that it's easy to fine a job in London but keeping it is something else. If you're shit, they'll just fire you because there are so many people looking for work that it won't be hard replacing you.

I was going to write a post last week about how much I hate it here. How I walk into work and immediately think about how I have to find another job, not because I only make £6 an hour and because Daniel said I should, but because I hate the people I work with. I may as well be in New Zealand - if I get a Kiwi accent you have permission to hunt me down and steal all my possessions/brutally murder me, given that all my possessions don't amount to much at the moment. At least I'd get paid more for the same work Kiwiland. When I hear an English accent I actually get excited about talking to someone from England.

I'm mildly happy to say that work slowly growing on me. It is shit and stressful, but they're all pretty friendly, I've even made friends with some of them and at least we're all in the same situation. None of us are hugely fond of London (it's so fucking expensive and hard work!) and we all drink a lot because we can and because we'd go insane otherwise (sorry Mum). I got to go on the coffee machine the other day, which I realise isn't that exciting to most people (as if you can talk, you're reading someone's blog about all the shit things that happen to her - how great can your life be right now?) but it really made my day. It was stressful and I kind of sucked and had to ask for help when four separate orders came in at once, but I really enjoyed having to think and use an actual skill rather than making my hands dry from being in hot soapy water all day. I know I can get back to the point where I relish having fifteen orders at once and I know it will suck getting to that point, but I'm looking forward to it.

I'm still learning about becoming a real person (it's only been two weeks since I got a job and a flat!), and have discovered that no matter where I put my bread in the kitchen it will end up moldy before I get through half a loaf. I eat a lot of bread. This baffles me. Mum, how did our bread not go moldy?

Ohhhh it was frozen, lolz. I'll start doing that. I tried to remember where Mum kept the bread and couldn't place it in the kitchen. Next to the Vegemite? No. On top of the olives? No. WHERE?!

But I'm on my way to getting a National Insurance Number and I got my bank cards the other day, although all my pay is still in my underwear draw because I get paid in cash while I'm on trial so they are essentially useless at the moment. And I'm not sure how my brain will go memorising another PIN, given the drama it caused when I forgot my last one. I'll get there. And like everyone else in London - I fucking hate the tube. It's hot and cramped and expensive (£27.65 for my seasonal pass which lasts a week). If I never had to go on the tube again, I'd be happy. But it does get you there faster than the buses.

On Tuesday I had Coffee Training which was actually really good. I knew how to make coffees from my first real job at a cafe but that was two years ago so I am significantly out of practice (thus the high stress levels when I'm on coffee and more than two orders come through at once) and Sacred likes to make sure that everyone makes the same coffee, which is totally fair enough. I was taught on the job at Glengarry Coffee house but it was pretty brief and I picked up the fancy things from other staff members who had come from other cafes and had been trained properly/I taught myself how to make latte art by watching youtube videos. So I really enjoyed the interaction and being taught properly.

Anyway! After work I had arranged to meet Lloyd, Dave, and Akash who were travelling around Europe and had come to London for a few days. Lloyd of the Ludachristmas fame; I stayed at Dave's in Seattle; and Akash is a friend from Perth who I often chat to on facebook about life and shit. We all go/went to UWA. So I went to the toilet to change out of my uniform (shortly after buying red hair dye; my hair is so rank right now. Every second girl in London has red hair but it took me two and half weeks to actually find red dye) and as I pulled my shorts up (yeah, it's that warm in London now, who knew London got warm enough for shorts...I don't like it) I realised I had dropped my phone in the toilet. This is the second time I've done it. Last time I was quite drunk so it was somewhat excusable and also continued to work and as far as know (I sold it to a friend) is still working. This time I dropped a decent phone in, that I paid $100 to buy and £20 to unlock from American T-Mobile. I realised it had died when the screen went white five minutes after fishing it out of my own piss and then continued to vibrate continuously the whole tube ride to meet the guys. I finally got around to buying a new one yesterday and have the same number.

So after drinking with LloDaAk (not a great name, but it will do) on Tuesday I went to work on Wednesday a bit/somewhat hungover which everyone else found entertaining. I went straight to bed when I got home, which was after 10pm, even though Daniel and his friend wanted me to join them for "a drink". When I woke up on Thursday I thought I was dying. I wasn't that hungover, I was just exhausted from my past week of drinking and sleep deprivation. I was pretty sure I had conjunctivitis and was stressed like I was seventeen and TEE was happening all over again. Consequently, I thought about calling in sick to work; I would be no use in this state/isn't conjunctivitis highly contagious? The only reason I didn't call my boss was because I dropped my phone in the toilet and couldn't. Well, guess I'm going to work then, I thought, as I gazed at my looking shitty self in the mirror through my stinging and gluggy eyes. I had a nine hour closing shift which meant I would have missed out on seeing the guys on one of their last nights in London. I was sad, but also secretly happy for my liver/all other organs.

It was pretty painful, but I got through it. Things started looking up when the power cut out and didn't come back on. I did the dishes in the dark the old school way - ie with out the dish washer (damn being the new girl!) and then was let go early because they didn't want to pay an extra person. I was annoyed about missing out on two hours of pay but it meant I could see LloDaAk and their friend, Grace Woodroofe, play in Camden. I had been told about her but never heard or met her before. She's pretty damn amazing and not at all what I expected, although I have no idea what I was expecting now. When she introduced herself ("Hi I'm Grace Woodroofe, from Perth, Australia") to the audience, I was at the bar (naturally) and one of the bartenders said "Where the fuck is she from?!" to which I replied "ugh...the same place I am? Awkward!" Seriously, dude? There are possibly more Australians in London than there are in Australia and that's the joke you're making? I get it, it's not Sydney or Melbourne, but I know you know at least four people from Perth. You probably live with two of them. Whatever, give me my beer, Camden Hipster (have you realised that all the hipsters have moved to East London?).

So I have absolutely no idea what the hell I'm doing here. I work a shitty job to (barely) pay the rent and spend any spare time I have drinking and sleeping. I have always worked shitty jobs but it's always been so I can afford to do some thrift shopping when I feel shitty and to have a few (and then a few more) pints on the weekend. But now this is what I do. Thirty five to fourty hours a week. I know that it's completely normal for twenty one year olds/recently graduated students to have absolutely no idea what they're doing with their lives - in fact I was even looking forward to that freedom - but it is strangely...fucking scary. I'm not used to not saying "well maybe during winter holidays, or maybe once I finish uni..." This is it, now. I can do anything, this seems to be what I've chosen and I'm not particularly impressed. I know it's pretty great that I'm in another country (not Perth) and being independent but does that mean much if I'm not enjoying my life as much as I was before I left Perth? Having said that, I know that if I went home I'd get sick of everything pretty quickly. The same people doing the same things (and people - sorry, friends. Actually from what I've heard, a lot has changed in that department. Go you!), arguing with Mum and Dad about feeding the dog (fuck, I miss Bobbi! I'd happily feed her twenty times a day to have her here right now) and emptying the dishwasher and the ridiculous drinking laws (street drinking is illegal here but everyone does it and no one cares - much to Lloyd's entertainment).

I guess it's about time I referred to the title of this blog. I woke up this morning to an email from my landlord, sent to the three other people in my flat, saying we all had to get out ASAP because he has to move in. I've been here for two weeks. It's been the one thing I have absolutely loved. No matter how much work, the tube, the ridiculously windy and confusing streets of London pissed me off I knew I had my own room (with a double bed! I've been spoiled!) and amazing flatmates to come home to who share their days, wine, weed and tips about living in London with me. After travelling and then couch surfing for my first two weeks in London I was so happy and relieved to find somewhere that was my own; I can try to explain this (I think I did in a previous post) but unless you've travelled a lot (I realise I haven't travelled that much) or couch surfed when you weren't travelling (ie otherwise you'd be homeless for two weeks) my complaints probably don't mean as much. Most of all I felt relaxed and welcome around Daniel, Claire and Mei Shan and they were well on their way to becoming my family away from my family. Two weeks and we all have to move out because he needs (wants) to refurbish his place. At least your life isn't as bad as Sian's.

This morning (midday) we all crossed paths over breakfast and talked about what a douchebag our landlord is. They all mentioned that it was especially shitty for me because I just moved in. I was too upset/shocked that another shitty thing had happened to me. THIS ONE ISN'T EVEN MY FAULT IN ANY WAY. I was so close to tears that I just made some kind of lame non-committal facial expression and then went to work in a shitty mood. Work was actually okay. One of my favourite managers was on which meant I got to eat whatever I wanted for lunch (instead of only ham and cheese, double cheese or a BLT panini - trust me, there are way better options) and we all started drinking vodka and 7up at 6pm - I shouldn't admit to that, but whatever, I was going to look for another job anyway.

My immediate reaction to the douchebag landlord thing was, as usual, to go back to Perth, and then I thought about how much everyone else bitches about it and how much I would too, given enough time. Then I thought I could go somewhere else. London hasn't grabbed me yet so maybe this is a sign (lol how many signs do I need to not be doing what I'm doing?). Daniel, who just landed his dream job with Burberry in China (massive promotion) will be moving to Shanghai in a month (so he's the least inconvenienced, the bastard) and Claire is planning on going with him, suggested that I also go. Shit, I thought, I could go to China. I haven't even travelled around Europe yet. Isn't that why every Australian lives in London for a bit? Then I thought I could go to Sweden for a bit and hang with Lloyd, but I wouldn't last long, money wise, so I remembered Mum saying something about someone or rather getting me a job in Berlin as a tour guide. Which I would totally do because it's Berlin, but a) I would be around tourists for way too long/every day and b) I'd have to learn German which is the most unattractive/ridiculous sounding language ever. Just cough up a fur ball and I'll work out what you're trying to communicate to me from that instead. So I have decided to find somewhere else to live and stick it out in London. Also because Daniel and Claire said I should.

We have a meeting with our Douchebag Landlord tomorrow night, so I will keep you updated.

By the way, the last link is from one of Dylan Moran's stand up shows, Like Totally. You should watch the whole thing which is all on youtube. And his other one, Monster. And Black Books, the TV show, Dear BBC/A[ustralian]BC deprived people. He's my one of my fave comedians. Next to Tina Fey. Yeah, that good.

Peace out, drama addicted freaks.