A list of some things I’ve never done

I’ve got writer’s block again. But in the spirit of churning out at least two blog posts per month, I thought I’d write something even more pointless than normal. So here’s a little list of some things I’ve never done.

I’ve never really been into drugs. Like most people, I very occasionally smoked some weed in my twenties – which usually involved my pretending to be relaxed – but it didn’t get any wilder or more experimental than that. To be honest, it was usually other people’s experiences that put me off trying anything ‘harder’. A friend of mine once mixed drugs at an all-night music event in a forest, which led to the paranoid delusion that his own brother was intent on bumming him.

Finding himself trapped in a Kafkaesque nightmare crossed with Deliverance probably wasn’t the enhancement to the evening he was hoping for. Still, I suppose it addressed the age old dilemma: “I’m pretty sure I’ll have a great time tonight without drugs. But how else am I going to experience the unique terror of being sexually violated by a sibling?”.

Given that I suffer from heightened levels of drugless paranoia on a daily basis, I’m not sure I really need any help in that area.

Besides, I always thought that if I decided to experiment with some kind of acronym-named drug (e.g. COK – cocaine cut with a chicken Oxo cube and some ketamine), my experience would likely involve only a fleeting feeling of euphoria before I started to cram the contents of a fruit bowl into my underpants, while hallucinating that everything below my waist was a massive juicing machine. Then, thirsty from all the fruit cramming action, I’d innocently knock back a glass of milk, which would kill me instantly – in the messiest way imaginable. The autopsy would reveal that COK, when mixed with dairy products, causes the user to ejaculate from the eyes – like a sort of spunky stigmata – at the precise moment their heart rips through their shirt like an Alien chestburster.

For this reason, and the thought of thousands of commuters sniggering into their skinny lattes, as they read the Metro’s front page headline: ‘COK death man found with fruit in underpants’ – I shan’t be dabbling in any dodgy chemical fun. I think I’m past all that shit anyway.

I’ve always been slightly irritated by people who’ve been travelling. It’s nothing personal. It’s just a grudge born of basic envy. And the Internet hasn’t helped. It used to be that people would just piss off for a few months and occasionally scrawl a couple of lines on a postcard, detailing how they’d been mugged in at least two European cities and accidentally paid for a three night stay in a brothel because their translation device had been swiped at knife point. But now globetrotting friends can bring their inner and outer journeys into our living rooms via their specially created websites, Facebook groups and blogs, so that we can all enjoy their amazing adventures.

It means that while I’m commuting to work in the pissing rain, I can read about my friends’ meal at a Hanoi restaurant, where they had to poke a snake’s eyes out with a biro and beat it to death with their shoe, before it was pan fried and washed down with a blood cocktail (with complimentary tiger penis swizzle stick). Following their meal, they then accept a personal invitation from the mayor to perform karaoke for his ailing wife at his official residence. Crazy times.

It’s these kind of experiences that make my office-based anecdotes seem tame in comparison.

Sadly, while there’s still time for me to travel to beautiful places, I think I’ve missed the boat (sorry about that) in terms of embarking on a pan-European or global odyssey. For me, that’s a big tick in the ‘regret’ box.

I had a conversation about this many years ago with an ex-girlfriend. She went with the classic: “It’s the fear of getting caught that makes it so good.” My argument against was: “It’s the fear of getting caught that actually puts me off.”

Let’s face it, we’re the most surveilled nation on earth. Outdoor sex would inevitably lead to some kind of thermal imaging CCTV footage ending up on YouTube, with the derisive title: ‘Clumsy 20 sec shag – hilarious – ROFL!’. The only saving grace would be that, as my image would resemble a highly irradiated, trouserless Ready Brek kid, I’d be unidentifiable.

It goes without saying that sex is great. But as an impulsive act undertaken outdoors, it’s as unnerving and exposing as stopping for a much-needed poo at the only service station in the country trialling glass toilet cubicles.

And what about the practicalities? I mean, do people really have sex in the sea, for instance? Or does that just happen in porn? I’d be so terrified of thrusting my way into a field of jellyfish, or the middle of a regatta, that I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the experience. Does that make me dull and unadventurous? Probably.

I once boarded a flight in LA (yeah, that’s right – Los Angeles) and was unnerved by the sound of a pneumatic power tool directly beneath my feet. If I was a ‘glass half full’ kind of bloke I would’ve thought that, maybe, when the airline caught wind of my boarding, they decided to hurriedly send out a team of their finest engineers to reinforce the structure of the aircraft specifically around my seating area. However, as I’m a ‘glass three-quarters empty’ kind of bloke I began to panic that it was Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work Day in the U.S., and that a rogue 8-year-old boy had slipped his engineer father’s supervision and started to remove  a series of bolts vital to the structural integrity of the aircraft. You know, for a prank.

You might have gleaned from this little preamble that I’m not a fan of flying. But that was just ground-based anxiety. At 30,000ft, fear grips me as tightly as a mother grips a grubby child when wiping their face with a spittle-soaked handkerchief. Still, flying on a plane as a passenger – to get from A to B – is something I occasionally have to do to sort of get places.  But flying on a plane simply to jump out of it seems like total madness. I wouldn’t have the guts to jump from the cabin door of a flight simulator.

I’ve always been fascinated by the fearful ‘celebrities’ who leap from planes on I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!, as they always tend to land and express a desire to do it all over again. That’s like someone holding a gun to their temple in a game of Russian Roulette, nervously pulling the trigger (only to mercifully hear the click of an empty chamber), then feeling so exhilarated that their brains remained safely tucked away in their skull that they excitedly ask if they can have another go.

Whether skydiving for charity or to tease out the latent adrenalin junky in me, I don’t think I could bring myself to do anything that ran the risk of my being scooped up and buried in a trifle bowl.

Between the ages of 16 and 19, I really wanted to start a band. The urge began during my crimped hair Cure phase, when I was utterly captivated by the rawness of Three Imaginary Boys, and endlessly watched The Cure in Orange on video (their two nights at the Théâtre antique d’Orange in 1986). I dreamt, not of  being discovered by an industry A&R man after years of gigging in spit-and-sawdust pubs, but of performing in ancient Roman theatres, with blood red and lavender continental skies melting around me (and the band).

The only problem with my dream was this: I wouldn’t have had the guts to jump up in front of an audience of strangers if I was on fire. I’d just sit quietly on the fringes gently crackling away, hoping no one would notice me, until I resembled the charred crumbs of bread that collect at the bottom of a toaster.

I remember feeling slightly encouraged when I first saw Oliver Stone’s The Doors, which depicted Jim Morrison facing away from the audience during an early performance, while he built up his confidence. Although, I probably wouldn’t have had the guts to even do that. I’d probably end up sending the band to the venue and have my performance live-linked from a secure location, like a minor giving video evidence in a sex abuse trial.

Needless to say, the band didn’t happen. I just played guitar in my bedroom a lot and wrote pretentious lyrics. I was the most nervous front man the world never got to see. Because if I had followed through with my dream, the likelihood of my walking out onto stage and literally following through was always a strong possibility.

And with that, I shall leave you.



Filed under Memories, Personal

4 responses to “A list of some things I’ve never done

  1. Well Andy, you’ve done it again!! A very amusing “anecdote” well written and most enjoyable. Told you before, you should be writing for a living. Well done…

    • andytoots

      Thank you. I’m glad to see you accepted my offer of becoming resident commenter on this blog!

      But I just want to check: you’re happy doing this for free, right?

      Good, that’s what I thought. I’ll meet you back here in a few weeks when I’ve written some more rubbish. ;o)

  2. Erica

    Brilliant post Andy!
    I am right there with you on the drugs, never bothered and never really wanted to. I like a drink or two, but drugs? Not thanks.

    I disagree on the outdoor sex though. Probably because as a teenager that was the only place I could do it! You just have to pick your spot + be discreet 😉

    I didn’t do the year out travelling either – I do sort of regret that, but I was so naive I probably would have got into a lot of trouble by accident. So it’s for the best that I missed out on that!

    You really should blog more often – you have a great way with words.

    (Incidentally, sex in the sea? Not just for porn…)

    • andytoots

      I thought you might put me straight on the outdoor sex thing! If I could pick my spot, it would be probably be Bouvet Island…in a thermal tent (technically still outdoors)…and in disguise.

      I’d love to blog more often, but:

      (a) I’m notoriously lazy
      (b) I’m routinely bereft of inspiration
      (c) See ‘A’
      (d) Not enough people read this rubbish to make it worth the effort.

      But your comment is quite lovely. Thank you!

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