My Life in F.R.I.E.N.D.S Quotes

So no-one told you life was gonna be this way

*clap clap clap clap*

As anyone who knows me even a little bit will tell you, I am a massive Friends fan. Remember FriendsFest in London last year? I was there with my own group of Friends.

And it was amazing.

So, a common question among Friends fans is “which character are you?”

My answer has always been Chandler with a hint of Ross… but then it got me thinking. I am probably like all the characters in different ways. Then it got me thinking again… would I be able to describe myself, my life and my personality, using only quotes from the best sitcom of the 90s?

Well, here is my life as told by F.R.I.E.N.D.S:

Every time I read an email with a grammatical mistake:

When I get asked to do something on a Sunday:

Sundays are for sleeping, eating, watching films and drinking tea.

See, Chandler gets it:

And when I don’t get invited at all:

Me in any meeting longer than 30 minutes:

Any meeting over 30 minutes should include an unlimited supply of coffee

When my work phone rings at 5:29 on a Friday afternoon:

And then someone answers and says “I’ll just get him for you”:

Every time I see someone wearing camouflage:

This joke will never not be hilarious

Me after one drink:

And then I drink some more:

When I really should go home:

The morning after:

And not long after, the existential crisis kicks in:

Don’t drink, kids.

When I make a cup of tea only to find there’s no milk left:

I accept no blame for this.

That time my lunch disappeared from the office fridge:

Meeting someone for the first time:

How my future wife will probably introduce me to her friends:

Penis jokes are always funny:

When you search Ugly Naked Guy in Google Images to write this post:

Me when F.R.I.E.N.D.S came to an end:

But I’m over it now, can you tell?

And finally, when Chandler summed me up in 6 words:

 

This was fun, we should do it again sometime.

DC

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My Life in F.R.I.E.N.D.S Quotes

Why I Hate Getting My Hair Cut

Today, I looked in the mirror and decided it was time. Time for the change I have been needing for months; a change that everyone who has laid eyes upon my dishevelled mass of duotone hair knows I have been needing for a while.

Yes, it was time for a haircut.

This may not seem like such a big deal. Okay, so you go and sit in a chair for fifteen minutes while some guy with scissors snips a few hairs from your head. Everyone does it. For some people it is an event to look forward to.

(Why!? A stranger washing your hair while you bend awkwardly backwards over a sink, their fingers violating your skull, asking questions you can’t answer in fear of getting a mouthful of soapy water. No thanks.)

Well for me it’s a f*cking nightmare.

Source: pinterest

And I let my fear gradually build. For weeks I’ve been finding the courage to sit in the chair. Eight years ago, I would have been proud of the fringe that caused partial vision. The back of my neck has been cosy during the winter months. But I’m twenty-four and there is no excuse for a messy, unkempt mass of hair. Or is there?

The problem for me is, quite simply, I am going grey. I have been going grey since I was about 16. I still remember that fateful day. Finding a small collection of greys on the side of my head, telling myself it was not real, that yes, my dad went grey young, but that doesn’t mean I will too.

I lied to myself.

So there I was today. A stranger buzzing his clippers over my scalp, asking me if I preferred ‘natural or square’ (FYI, I opted for square), using his fingers to estimate an inch-and-a-half off the top.

“Is that okay?”

How the hell am I meant to know? You’re the bloody hairdresser!

I was too focussed on my lap, shrouded with a black cape highlighting the masses of grey hairs scattered everywhere. And in that moment I knew it was all over.

People tell me to embrace it, accept it, everyone likes a silver fox. Think of George Clooney or Phillip Schofield.

I’m more of a Steve Martin. Remember your weird crush on Steve Martin? Of course you don’t.

Steve Martin discovers Just For Men (source: Film Stills)

Lead me not into temptation but deliver me from the hair dye aisle in Boots.

And so the main problem with haircuts, aside from another person touching my head (which is something I cannot bear), is that with each one I become greyer. It’s more visible.

I’m 24 and I’m at least one third grey.

Soon it’ll spread. I know it will. I am no longer in doubt. First, maybe, it’ll reach my eyebrows. Then, it’ll got to my facial hair, maybe further south to my chest, maybe further south still.

Who am I kidding? Maybe? Definitely.

So I am writing this while I still have more brown hairs than grey. Future Dan will look back at this and think It was a simpler time.

And there we have it. A quarter-life crisis in action. I know I’m still young, but I wish somebody would tell my scalp.

Not that I’m vain.

(Although I did notice ten minutes in that I have a resting double chin, but that’s a whole other issue.)

source: http://www.someecards.com

 

Why I Hate Getting My Hair Cut

Like a Pop Song in my Head

I hope that guy who sang Cheerleader ends his singing career now. I mean, he’s done his job. A big, summer tune with meaningless lyrics that manifests itself within all our brains and repeats on a loop.

It’s a thought that entered my mind when I was in Islington on Sunday afternoon in a small bookshop, the melody of said Cheerleader ringing through the street, played on panpipes and tin drums.

There’s nothing wrong with a catchy pop song, but it has to be good. And definitely not played on panpipes and tin drums.

source: comicvine.com
source: comicvine.com

My problem is that I constantly have a song stuck in my skull, reverberating around my head, occasionally pouring out of my mouth without me realising. Sporadic singing is an unfortunate habit of mine. And it’s not so much a problem for me as it for those around me.

I mean, sometimes it is impossible to have a conversation with me because I will connect your words to lyrics and start warbling at you.

Friend: “I’m leaving.”

Me: “On a jet plane, don’t know when… Sorry.”

Friend: “Question,”

Me: “Tell me what you think about me… Sorry.”

Friend: “No-one told me!”

Me: “Life was gonna be this way *clap clap clap clap*”

Girlfriend: “Kiss me…”

Me: “UNDER THE LIGHT OF A THOUSAND STARS!”

Not to mention that everything is horrendously out-of-tune. I just can’t help it. It’s a disease – Lyricitis. And I’m not the only sufferer.

Because it’s contagious. I guarantee, you start hanging around with me on a regular basis, you will also start randomly bursting into song. Shout out to my ex-colleague who joined me in a rendition of Jolene every time we saw the name Maureen (which was more often than you might think).

source: pinterest
source: pinterest

I’m not a musical person, but my life distinctly revolves around music. There’s a song for every moment, person, memory and idea.

When I need motivation, my one solution when writing or working, is to be in near-silence so I can concentrate properly. But if I have to get in a certain ‘zone’, music is a great help. If I’m in a good mood and have to write about something sad, I use certain songs to evoke sadness. Vice versa. When I write about a character being angry, My Chemical Romance are ideal for bringing out all my repressed teenage angst.

The thing is, it doesn’t matter what your views on certain genres, artists or songs are – music will have played a major part in your life at some point, and it will continue to do so: Nursery rhymes helped you to sleep once upon a time, hymns were sung in school assemblies (is this still a thing?), Christmas carols and songs induce Christmas spirit and festivity, one song will always be remembered as your first dance at your wedding… Even funerals are heavily focused around music.

source: pinterest
source: pinterest

Everyone has a soundtrack to their life.

For me, it is any song catchy enough for my mind to remember some of the melody, at least three words, and not written or performed by Coldplay.

What’s yours?

Dan x.

Like a Pop Song in my Head

Writing from memory.

I have, since March, been working on a new novel.

As The Whisper That Rose Through Darkness ticks over in the background, this other book has somehow taken over. I feel immensely guilty.

Anyway, I thought I would start using this blog for more than just a few poems and the odd short story (let’s pretend it hasn’t been months since I uploaded either). Escape from Reality will also become a platform for me to just talk. About things. And stuff. You’ll see.

So, this new story.

It is boy meets girl, without the middle part. It is two young people in London, experiencing life. One is kind of famous, and the other is swallowed up in his own angst.

I want it to be funny and moving but, most importantly, truthful.

When I look back at being eighteen, I think of myself as a mess. I drank way too much way too frequently. I learned how to be selfish and put myself first in most situations. I made stupid decisions and shunned responsibility and somehow blagged my way through my first year at university.

I also remember how much I cared about, well, everything. Homesickness was a constant nag in my mind. Proving myself as intelligent was imperative to my happiness, to the point that I regretted studying French (foreign languages not a natural talent of mine) and almost resented having attended comprehensive school (although this was also a side-effect of studying alongside several privately educated peers). Most of all, though, I wanted everyone to like me. I wanted to please everyone and just fit in.

I even started speaking posh.

There was also a General Election during my first year at university and I was so passionate, so hell-bent on making sure all my friends and even some strangers in bars shared my political opinions, that the eventual result devastated me.

How times change.

Do I still care what people think of me? Hell no. Am I still passionate about the political party I support? Not really. Am I still selfish? Nope. Do I continue to resent the schools I attended? Not even a tiny bit.

I do still enjoy the occasional alcohol binge, though.

So writing in the perspective of eighteen-year-olds is challenging. It means I have to think back, dig into memory, and emulate those emotions. And there were a lot of those.

Remember how we all resented going to school and then, after one week of full-time employment, wished that we were back in the confines of educational institutions. The taunts of classmates, in hind-sight, more bearable than the mundanity of nine-to-five. The school holidays a distant memory after your first night shift. (I mean, some people miss it so much that they even grow up to be teachers!)

That’s how I feel right now. If I could be eighteen again, I probably would. Okay, I never could decide if I was ecstatic, content and happy, or miserable, lonely and desolate. But man, life was good.

So, the point of this blog post? I’m not sure there is one. Except, sometimes it’s healthy to remember how it was to be young. It’s even okay to wish you were back there, living it all again.

But also it’s important to appreciate that, and this will go for, like, 95% of people, you are a better person now than you were when you were eighteen. If nothing else, you are more you.

Anyway, after 600 words of procrastination, I’d better get back to writing this new novel.

Laters,

Dan x.

Writing got me like

Writing from memory.

Why I Wrote My Novel

People have been asking me why I decided to write a novel, or where I found inspiration for that particular story. So, I thought I would do what I do best and write a blog post to answer these questions. In my usual manner, I’ll be as honest as I like.

Let me tell you about the last two-and-a-half years of my life.

October 2011. The sun beamed down on a school playground, the children laughing and shouting and generally being kids. I was in my bedroom, which had once been the school’s medical room but had since been hurriedly transformed in order to accommodate a 20 year-old, British student on his third year abroad (i.e. they put curtains up). I had been living and working in a small French village for nigh on a month, teaching teenagers my mother tongue.

I had had a particularly bad day. The pupils didn’t care about learning English (and why should they? Cast your memory back to your own language classes at school – no doubt they were spent smuggling sweets or throwing balls of paper at the back of some other kid’s head). Equally, I did not care about teaching English. I was there because I had to be. It was part of my university course – a course that, at that time, I regretted applying for.

And so, as I listened to the excited buzz of a school playground from my hollow bedroom, staring at the anti-bullying posters pinned to my walls, trapped within four walls with no internet, no television, nobody to talk to – no distraction from self-pity – I broke.

Long story short – I was on the verge of coming home, quitting France, and quitting my degree. I would have booked a flight home there and then… but I had no internet, which I now realise was a good thing. Because I slept on it and a few days later found a room to let in a nearby town. I picked myself up, pulled it together, and decided to stick it out. Of course I did, because that was my only logical option.

And then I remembered something that I had ashamedly allowed myself to forget. I wanted to be an author. I always did, ever since I was a child and used to turn sheets of A4 paper into mini-books. But the thing is, education got in my way. I went to school and sat my GCSEs, AS Levels, A Levels which all permitted me access to university and more learning, exams and essays. Sure, I could have done a course in Creative Writing or something, but my passion for French was fast-fading and I was relieved that my love for literature remained.

That’s when Max was re-born. Max was the character I always wanted to write about but whose story I had never decided. Spider-diagrams and mind-maps and pages and pages of notes later, I finally had a story to write. Well. half a story. I had the fantasy: a made-up world with invented politics, magic and mystery, relationships and history. But I wanted to write something modern, something truly up-to-date that teenagers right now would be able to relate to.

That’s when I invented Light on the Landing. The boyband that I plonked smack bang in the middle of a fantastical tale of good versus not-so-good. And the rest of my time in France I dedicated to these five fictional musicians, running a secret Twitter account that allowed me insight into popular culture, social media, fangirls, fanboys and fanfiction, shipping and otps, parodies and fakes… you name it.

The following year, I wrote dribs and drabs, planning out plot twists and character developments, while preparing to finish my degree for that piece of paper and an extra few lines on my CV (or at least that’s what it felt like, because all I wanted to do was finish my bloody book!). I was almost half-way through, although I didn’t know that at the time, when I graduated.

Since then, I have had two full-time jobs in shops. Which was kind of my plan. I wanted to get any job I could so that I would have time to write and complete my first book, not having to worry about moving away from Salisbury or training for a new career. And I did finish.

A month or two ago, I wrote the final word (Time). A few weeks ago, I edited and formatted and basically did all the stuff that I had been avoiding. Draft 2 became The Lighter That Shone Like A Star. One week and four days ago, whilst really hungover due to me pre-celebrating, I published my novel onto Kindle.

 

lighter cover

 

Best feeling ever. Best day ever. (Hangover aside).

And so, there it is. The inspiration for writing a fantasy novel? Escapism. It was my escape from France, from the pressure of university, from reality. It quickly became the centre of my universe – and it still is. I know my characters better than I know myself, and I could write about them forever. The five lands – Hurburt, Terexe, Salmont, Rysked and Naegis, are like five other homes. I have obsessed over every aspect of the story, because it is one that I have been waiting a long time to tell.

As for the sequel, I have started it and I cannot wait to see how it turns out.

My degree felt like an obstacle, but if I had never studied French, I would never have lived in France and I would have never had the time or despair to begin my book.

So, check it out. My Facebook page, Twitter account, and the listing on Amazon.

Thank you,

Dan

 

Lighter Selfie

Why I Wrote My Novel