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The 10 conversations in a Nightclub Toilet…

We’ve all been there. You’re in a nightclub, highly intoxicated on maybe too many shots and double Vodkas, but the urge to urinate suddenly overwhelms the urge to try and dance to Sean Paul. You decide to brave the crowds and take yourself to the toilets alone, awkwardly manoeuvring yourself between shufflers and body warmers, whilst secretly hoping that you don’t hear a song you love whilst you find yourself mid-wee/mid-balancing your head on the facing wall to keep yourself upright. You finish your business and somehow, in your drunken state, find yourself talking to a stranger. Now, ordinarily the thought of talking to a stranger in a toilet feels a bit pervy, but you’ve had mass amounts of alcohol, and you suddenly feel the friendliest you’ve ever felt, and yes, you would like to have either of the following conversations with the man wearing a slogan T shirt and a novelty belt 10 years too young for his personal wellbeing.

1) The “What’s your name?”: This normally begins with a sometimes-wet-but-hopefully-it’s-just-water-handshake. You’d like to know the persons name for reasons unknown to yourself at the time (and you just know you won’t remember it tomorrow), but when you see them outside in the smoking area in an hours time you WILL shout the name at them and shake their hands again, as if you used to bunk off Year 9 Geography with them.

2) The “Where are you from?”: You know the one! Why not be polite at the sinks and ask your hand-washing companion where they’re from? They’ll tell you an area you’re either familiar or unfamiliar with, so you either have to say something like “Oh yeah, I know where you mean!” if you know it, or “Oh yeah, I know where you mean!” if you don’t.  It was just a question mate, I didn’t ask for Google Maps.

3) The “What do you do?”: Once the above conversations have taken place with your new Toilet Best Friend, you may decide you want to take your fleeting-but-ever-so-strong-friendship to higher levels. You’d like to find out what they do with their lives. What do they do for a job? Are they at University? If so, where do they go and what do they study? You’re apparently interested in them to this degree and thus you come away from the conversation feeling positively enriched by what you just learned about the Film and TV course at Lincoln University.

4) The “How drunk are you?”: You’re bound to be loudly slurred at by someone asking how drunk you are at the urinals. You respond with how drunk you feel you are, with varying degrees of loudness. They will then tell you how drunk they personally feel whilst pissing all over their Vans. Clearly, we have a winner.

5) The “You look like my mate!”: You suddenly get accosted by someone shouting this at you…What are you supposed to say to that? Thank you? Agree with them that yes you do look like Pete? “Show him a picture!”…Honestly pal I’ll just take your word for it, I need to get back to my mates and do the dance to Candy. Priorities.

6) The “What happened to the drink deals?”: You get talking with a Mr Drunk McPissed on how the club’s more expensive lately, and reminisce over the glory days of 2012 when the drinks were half the price and you got amazing shot “deals”: “£1 shots or 5 for £5!’…That was never a drinks deal, it was just basic Maths.

7) The “You having a good night?”: “Yeah mate, you?” “Yeah!”

Right…Bye then.

8) The “The DJ’s shit isn’t he?”: You find yourself absolutely thrilled that you’ve bonded with a stranger who’s just as angry as you that the DJ decided to cut out Tinie Tempah’s rap in Earthquake. Also…Gangnam Style in 2014? Stop that.

9) `The “I could murder a kebab”: You find yourself all danced out, having what is hopefully your last wee of the night and bonding with someone over the copious amounts of junk food you’d both love to shove down your neck. All of the grease, please.

10) The Sing song: Somehow, you’ve accidentally found yourself part of a drunken, and quite frankly, brilliant, rendition of Wonderwall with a group of guys you’ve never met before. That won’t stop you though; you’ve waited your whole life to sing this song with a guy that looks a bit like a fat Liam Gallagher. You smash it, shake hands, and disappear into the darkness of the club, on an adventure to reunite with your friends which we all know, isn’t as easy as it should be.

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How to spot a Brit abroad…

How to spot a Brit abroad…

You know the drill: you’ve done the whole “I am just a normal person going on a normal holiday with my normal possessions” act as you anxiously pass through customs whilst trying to act as un-suspicious as possible, and have finally landed in your holiday destination.

Once you arrive at your hotel and dump your stuff in a heap on the ground in the corner neatly unpack and neatly hang everything up definitely neatly, you decide to go for a walk to check out the surrounding areas.

You pass a guy with a deep and even tan, who isn’t wearing a hat or sunglasses, but is wearing a pair of budgie smugglers so tight that it looks like he’s just singlehandedly completed the Aztec Zone on The Crystal Maze but didn’t have any available pockets to keep the crystals – well, he’s definitely not British is he? We aren’t that “at one with the sun”, nor do we have such a healthy relationship with our bulges.

A minute later, you walk past another guy who was clearly wearing a vest when he got his sun burn – you can see freshly applied sun cream smears on his shoulders that haven’t been rubbed in quite enough, along with a cap, sunglasses, and a pair of flip flops a size too big.  Now this man, probably a Kevin: is a Brit. Just how many other ways can you tell a Brit apart from the locals?

How confident someone eats an ice lolly:

You can tell where someone’s from by the level of confidence they exude whilst eating something that will be mostly melting as they eat it.  If you see panic on someone’s face and their Twister lolly is dripping down their arm by the time they’re only half way through – then they’re not a local and would most definitely be able to tell you what The One Show is.  There’s no technique learned there, we don’t even know what the sun does to ice, we only see it twice a year.

Burnt shoulders and the covering up of them:

We’ve all done it – forgotten to pay attention to our shoulders whilst creaming up and so after a day or two, they’re a completely different shade of red compared to the rest of you. Unless of course, you’re one of the lucky ones who goes brown instead of red, of which case – go away.  This then puts you in a difficult situation of having to protect your shoulders with your unworn vest whilst walking or sunbathing. I bet Juan would never forget to Factor 50 his shoulders.

The constant moaning about sand:

I mean, it gets EVERYWHERE. And then there’s the whole having to awkwardly manoeuvre yourself from the beach shower after washing your feet to avoid treading on more sand thing.  You find it in your suitcase when you get home too, and there’s just no need for it.  Ban sand. Ban it all.

The utter greed when you’ve paid for All Inclusive:

If you’ve paid for All Inclusive, then you bet your sweet Spanish paella that I’m going to be absolutely heaping my plate full of food at the buffet. It will be a small-to-medium sized mountain. I will drop bits of food on my walk back to my table, like a Spanish Hansel and Gretel. You make eye contact with someone doing the same thing and you just know…they’re probably from Clacton.

Day time drinking

It’s of course socially acceptable for Brits to drink throughout the day around the pool – “I’m on my holidays” is a valid excuse. 3 euro a pint? Yes, you see those stairs? I will probably fall down them at some point, to some very disgusted tuts from the German family over the other side of the pool who all have brilliant tans.

Indecisiveness in shops

Most locals will be able to walk into a shop and know exactly what they want. They’re used to it all and they don’t know any different. They pick up their chosen item, pay, and leave. Not us. LOOK AT ALL THE DIFFERENT FLAVOURS OF CRISPS? How can I possibly pick? You realise you won’t be able to get these once you get home so you spent quite some time weighing up your options. Should I just buy them all? Lays or Pringles? Hang on…they’ve got HOW many flavours of Oreos? What if I don’t like that flavour? Sod it, they’ve got a Kit Kat and we get that back home.

You then pass the freezer and are faced with the agonising choice of what feels like 100’s of different ice creams and ice lollies that you can’t get back home. I like a Maxibon but which of the 7 flavours will I like most? What about that watermelon slice shaped lolly? Which one will I regret not buying? If I buy two, which one will I not mind melting on the walk? You realise you’ve been in the shop for 9 hours and are now classed a missing person – in the distance: sirens.

Fanta Lemon

I don’t care what anyone says, Fanta Lemon on holiday is a completely different ball game to Fanta Lemon over here. The sheer elation felt when you initially realise/remember you can get served Fanta Lemon in restaurants or via a pump is something that never goes away. If you see someone ask for Fanta Lemon and they let out a little scream when they’re given some in a pint glass, then you bet your sunburnt, factor 50 covered, soon to be peeling shoulders that they’re 100% a Brit.

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Good News – It is Pay Day

1.Waking up on Pay Day like a little kid on Christmas Day who’s about to unwrap a brand new limited edition Pikachu Nintendo 64. You excitedly enter in your pin-code as fast and accurately as you can to check your balance until you see it…LOOK AT THAT NUMBER! LOOK AT ALL THOSE NEW THINGS YOU CAN NOW AFFORD! DO YOU REALLY NEED AN IPAD MINI? TOO LATE YOU’VE JUST ORDERED 3.

2.You wake up on Pay Day and eagerly check your bank expecting to see a satisfying number staring back at you that you’ve just spent the past month slaving away for…What’s that? £12.63? You haven’t been paid. You spend the next few minutes saying how much you hate your job, bemoaning the disrespectful way that you’re treated and how this would never happen to Shanice from Accounts and that you’re going to start looking for—Oh never-mind, it’s just gone in.

3.That shopping trip you do on your lunch break, and coming back to work feeling like Macklemore in the Thrift Shop video.

4.The night out that same day when you suddenly think you’re Secret Millionaire buying all your friends more drinks then they, quite frankly, deserve. Until you hear those dreaded 6 words on Saturday morning: “You paid by card last night.”…Shit.

5.After living off of Super Noodles and Rustlers for the best part of 3 weeks, feeling like The Wolf of Wall Street as you tuck into your first post-Pay Day Nando’s. Doggy bag for Mr Belfort, please.

6.Responding to someone at work who asks you “You alright?” with “Yeah, its Pay Day!”, with that being part of a universal language understood by all to really mean “I don’t really enjoy conversations with you, but the fact I’m paid today to spend a month pretending to like you makes it all that more bearable…What about you mate?”.

7.Mentally working out how long you can make this pay packet stretch until you realise you have to start budgeting yourself a bit. What do you mean it’s your mate’s 21st next week? Maybe you’d better get off ASOS before you get too many ideas. You don’t want to be that guy at pre drinks with half a bottle of Frosted Jacks.

8.Of course, it wouldn’t be Pay-Day without informing Facebook or Twitter, possibly with a wide ranging array of Emoji thrown in for good measure. You go wild and throw in the thing that looks like a party hat with confetti exploding from it, and maybe even those hands that are either praying or hi-fiving…Who even knows any more? A girl you haven’t spoken to since Year 9 likes your status. Mission Accomplished, apparently.

9.Being 48% happier because you can now buy all of the things you want.

10.You work out how many days it is until your next Pay Day, even though today’s one hasn’t ended yet. (If I remove the weekends, then it doesn’t seem that far away!)

Paul Gold (@paulgold92)

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5 things Apple users REALLY want from the new iPhone

After months and months of rumours and speculation, the iPhone 8 and iPhone X were finally announced this month, with the latter undergoing the biggest overhaul since Taylor Swift stopped pretending she was nice. Some of the amazing new features are:

  • A 5.8-inch screen that takes up the whole front of the phone meaning you have even more phone to smash! It was very restrictive having only some of the screen to break, now we can’t miss!
  • FaceID – new facial recognition technology which will be how you unlock your phone and pay for things via Apple Pay. It’s so advanced that it will even “learn” your face under various transformations (glasses, make up, radical hair style changes, that drunken Mike Tyson face tattoo) – it’s not yet known if it will work for Katie Price.
  • No more Home Button – a staple of the iPhone since 2007, and replaced with a 3D Touch home button with the iPhone 7 last year. The iPhone X has done away with the trusty home button and instead you’ll have to swipe up to go back. I foresee a lot of repetitive strain injuries for thumbs in 2018.

These features are set to be the future of the iPhone, but for those of us who have had iPhones for quite some time now, are they features we’ve really been crying out for? I’m glad we can now make our own faces become “Animoji”, I can’t wait to make a cartoon poo talk, but what is it that people truly need?

1. Better battery life.
Every time an iPhone is released it comes with the promise that it has “X% amount longer battery life” than its predecessor. And yet, by the time you get home from work after leaving on a full charge, a significant chunk of battery is missing from that devilish little battery icon. What did I do? I only listened to the Best of 5ive. Twice. That’s a good whole 7 minutes of phone used, why am I now on 60%?

2.“Through the air” Wireless charging
The new wireless charging recently announced, which has been around for a while now, means you must lay your device flat onto the wireless charger to charge it and keep it there – so you can’t lay in bed on your phone whilst snooping on Instagram or Twitter now. What fun is that? Who wants to awkwardly manoeuvre themselves onto their bedside table just to use their iPhone whilst it charges wirelessly? I want to look at my phone, not do Bikram yoga.

I don’t believe that in a world where the technology exists to unlock a phone via your actual human face under all kinds of lighting conditions and facial changes, that you can’t also invent a small wireless attachment that plugs into the charging port of your iPhone, which then reaches a signal from a wireless charger plugged into the mains. That way, you can use your phone however you want whilst it charges wirelessly “through the air” up to a certain radius or so. Now you can stalk your ex to your hearts content without having to worry about losing battery life!

3.Group FaceTime
I mean, come on! How hard would it be? 4 corners of a phone, surely that enables FaceTime to go up to 4 users at one time? Let us plan Nando’s via Facetime instead of the group chat because SOMEONE never replies. Families that like each other would love this too.

4.Bring back the 3.5mm headphone jack
This is an obvious one. The decision to get rid of the headphone jack with the iPhone 7 is probably considered the most maligned decision Apple have ever made amongst iPhone users. Having only one lightning charging port, means you must plug your new Apple standard “lightning” earphones (or use your own ones plugged into the annoying attachment) into the same port you change your phone from. This of course does away with the once easy option of listening to music/watching a TV show or a film, whilst also feeling content in the fact that you’re also charging your phone.

Gone are the days when you could go on a lovely long train journey and know you can charge your phone (if you’re lucky enough to get a table/window seat) – whilst listening to whatever you wanted to your hearts content. It’s one or the other now. Not both. Unless you buy an attachment, but why should you have to? The phone costs more than a second-hand Fiat Punto, let me have the basic luxury that every other smart phone has.

5.Completely indestructible.
I’d like to be able to drop my iPhone (by accident, I’m not a monster) and not have to experience that 5 second slow motion moment (as sponsored by Michael Bay) of turning my phone around to see if the screen has cracked. Those moments are some of the worst moments iPhone users can ever experience. Why not use the stuff they make tanks and bullet proof glass out of? Don’t give me the “but it’s expensive and we need it for the War” excuses – If Siri can book me tickets to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi then you bet my phone can survive concrete.

Paul Gold (@paulgold92)

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Facebook and its many faces

Illustration courtesy of Ruth Pickering

The way we use Facebook is ever-changing throughout the years as more and more social media platforms are launched. Who needs to read a status when you can see a caption on Instagram with a filtered-beyond-all-recognition picture instead? But no matter how long you leave it until you decide to log back into Facebook, some things will just always be the same upon your return. How many of the following examples do you recognise from your friends lists?

The Attention Seeker

Amy has “checked in” at the Hospital. The accompanying status reads “Oh my god – can’t believe what happened! So shaken up and scared” – she chucks in various emoji’s to let us know the true extent of her plight. Someone she hasn’t seen since Year 11 comments “you okay hun? Xx” – Amy replies “Yeah I’m fine, don’t worry about it!”. What do you mean you’re fine? Obviously, you’re not…And the people that don’t know you very well are all reading this, please let us know what kind of drama happened; I’m on my lunch break and could do with some light reading. Don’t be so selfish, Amy. WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU’LL INBOX THEM LATER?

The Narcissist 

Jamie has just finished a work out. Naturally, he wants everyone to know this. Otherwise, just what’s the point in going to the gym if that person you met in Zante and still have on Facebook to this day doesn’t know about it? Up goes a picture of him in gym gear. “9th workout in 9 days done! Not showing any sign of slowing down either #gainz” – That’s nice Jamie dear. Remember, muscles can’t buy you friends.

The Rayban Tagger

Getting tagged in a photo of a load of Raybans for sale. Nah, you’re alright mate, haven’t seen you since we were 12, most people start with “Hello!”.

The OTT Sickening Relationship

You know – those couples who’ve only been together a few months who call each other sickening names like “pudding” or “pumpkin” in constantly uploaded pictures and heartfelt posts dedicated to them every time they do the washing up. They can’t leave the house without a Pic Stitch collage going up confessing how hard the last 7 minutes have been. We get it, you’re in love, now stop with the poetry and get in an argument with them so we can all read about it. (DISCLAIMER: THE WRITER OF THIS ARTICLE IS PAINFULLY SINGLE AND BITTER)

The Middle-Aged Mother

You’ve got your friends Mum on Facebook. You know this because almost every other day, her and the rest of Mumsnet will flock to comment on a meme she shared about needing a big glass of wine.

I could do with a big one too…….. A glass I mean! Hehe ;-)”

“Oh Sue! You are SO funny! Hugs to you and the boys!” 

The Part-time Politician / Full-time Farmviller

Mark loves Farmville. You know he does because he’s very proud of his crops and his sheep and all that farmy jazz. He invites you to play it every week but you deny his requests because you like to think you have some kind of life. But…what’s this? An election is coming? Mark puts down the cyber fertiliser to post his political propaganda and his calls to end terrorism. “It needs to STOP!” – and just like that, we have world peace. Well done Mark.

The Vague

You’re scrolling through your feed trying to avoid the countless Herbalife Harry’s and “my kid did a thing look how cute my kid doing the thing is” posts, until you come across a gem like “Great, I really need this don’t I. Thanks a lot” – Who is this person thanking? What do they really need? Come on, don’t leave it there! TAG THE MONSTER! How will we ever know what’s wrong? What will – oh wait, hang on, I’ve stopped caring and I’ve scrolled past. Kevin’s having another kid, isn’t that nice.

The Humble Bragger

A picture of hot dogs or legs on a beach somewhere. The sun beautifully beaming away in the background “How’s your view?” Michelle asks. Well, ‘Chelle, seeing as you’re asking, it’s pretty crap actually – I’m currently looking at a picture of someone who’s never paid for their own holiday, thanks for asking.

The Minion Quote Poster

“I love my children more than anything” – that’s lovely but why is that quote on a picture with a cartoon minion next to it? What’s the relevance? What exactly does the yellow creature add to the equation here? They’re everywhere with so many famous quotes attached to them – it really takes away from everything brilliant Winston Churchill ever said if people start thinking Dave the minion said it.

That Person Who Really Loves Cars

James never uses Facebook, he never likes anything, he never comments on anything, yet the one thing you can rely on is the sporadic changing of his profile picture to a fancy sports car. Nice one James, but we can tell it’s not yours because I saw you last week driving a Fiat Punto. And we can see Ronaldo in the driver’s seat.

Paul Gold

Twitter: @PaulGold92