You cannot eat an English degree, which is a terrible shame. Despite my toy Uni accolade, being paid to write has so far mostly eluded me in life leaving me broke and hungry. This is not a metaphorical hunger to succeed or impress my peers, it’s an actual, physical, belly-rumbling hollowness. But I am determined that something I write can and will, and sort of must, eventually earn me a job, or some money, or some bread.
There are two main skills I’ve accidentally garnered over the years. The first is spurred on by a dangerous curiosity in matters most people would be happy not knowing. What happens if you drink 100 cups of coffee in one day? Do most cannibals bite their nails? Can you hypnotize a hypnotist? etc. Once intrigued and if I can’t find a satisfyingly conclusive answer anywhere, it is almost second nature to personally find out myself, usually to a point of reasonable obsession and not at any unnoticeable physical and financial expense.
I once pondered for instance whether in today’s hyper-preservationist society, where the WWF constantly reminds us of the dearth of pandas and jaguars in our suburban middle-class lives and the pandemic of veganism continues to spread like cholera, if it were possible through any and all means to eat one of every animal. Not content to leave the answer at “probably not”, I amassed a generalized list of the main 172 species squatting on our globe and began to steadily work through the insane taxonomic menu now stuck to my bedroom wall. From exorbitant slivers of crocodile in some grandiose London eatery to barbecuing a mouse in my back-garden I sampled 46 different creatures in 3 months before relinquishing the project mainly due to lack of money.
I jotted these various taste tests and trials down which you can read here if you like, although this was a few years back so it’s pretty puerile and crude and garrulous stuff and essentially a sort of Channel 4-brand of writing as opposed to the BBC of syntax I strive for today.
In a similar vein during a period of watching too much afternoon television I became curious as to how difficult it is to win a gameshow, and also the pedigree of folk who apply to be on them. Naturally I became too engrossed in the idea to not find out and so began a sequence of excruciating televised ventures, from forcing the Masterchef judges to endure my horrible, horrible cooking to achieving some pitiably low score on Countdown.
If it interests you an account of my uncomfortable experience on BBC 2’s Eggheads can be read here, but this is more than enough reminiscing. There have been countless other matters I’ve maniacally pursued in search for closure, flippantly disregarding massive debt if it means getting to appear on Britain’s Got Talent or savouring a fresh zebra salad.
My second aptitude is conducting various ruses and general devilry on the Internet for my own amusement, at which I’ve grown fairly proficient. Since first going online and realizing the anonymity and scope for troublemaking it offered I’ve had innumerable different e-mail addresses and Facebook accounts for the vast crew of fake personas I’ve brought to life. Amanda Davies ensnared the licentious unfaithful males of Facebook. Chester Oswald baffled the greedy profligates who responded to his Gumtree ad as a lonely and eccentric 86-year-old seeking an heir. I’ve pretended to be casting agencies, dominatrices, and for a short spell, Justin Bieber, so by now have a decent amount of experience in wreaking online acrimony.
This thing called a WordPress, then, I hope to fill with various articles, experiments, ploys and diatribe that put these two skills to good use, sometimes simultaneously. My attention span can be pretty short so this’ll be a place to store lots of smaller, short-lived ideas rather than constructing a blog around one big mission only for it to fall into half-built disrepair when either the journalistic trail goes cold or I lose interest, removing the possibility of lone fans stuck Miss Havisham-style checking on a daily basis the account of a project I abandoned months previous.
The more I write I figure the larger the portfolio of quasi-respectable work I can amass to eventually coyly slide onto the desk of someone in charge of giving writers money. Essentially I’ll be posting nuggets onto here ad nauseum, trying to filter out the dross and pump the better stuff into this Ideastap, also freshly created today, for prospective employers to peruse and hopefully one day say “that boy, that boy there, he deserves to eat.”
If you want to use anything written here or have me write something for you, particularly if it involves money or general sustenance, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.