here is distant

brains thrown up living room walls

A cold 'n golden lager, when a busy week is done. A glug of wine and recline, to serve a loved one. A day without drinking to make me feel clean. A homely sharp dose of gin, vodka then rum. A second day without drinking to make me feel cleaner. A G, a T, some ice, lime and sun. Another cold 'n golden lager. Orgasm.

The radio blares love and hurt to a room where everyone talks only of ancillary revenue. It's a room that makes me care about the stupidest shit. Sometimes I open my mouth and a sentence with the word liaise comes out and it won't go back in. Sometimes I close my mouth and grope a spreadsheet for one or seven hours. I spend the day around people who care deeply about ancillary revenue. Everyone is so bloody insecure because everyone is so bloody insincere. The whole thing is ridiculous and everyone pretends it isn't. I want to lie on the grass in the sun.

Alarm clocks don't work for me, so I season a duck and throw it in the oven before I go to bed. At 7am, the smell of the fucker burning his quack off awakens me like clockwork. I hop in the shower. A few years ago I stopped using shampoo as it damages the tips of delicate hair fibre strands. I use only olive oil now, which makes my hair glow throughout the day, and enriches the scalp roots.

I spend my first waking hour doing exactly the same stuff as I did the day before. I don't know if I should be trying to develop good habits, or making an effort to introduce some spark and spontaneity. People feel defensive or proud over their routines, but in my opinion, they are the epitome of comfort-zone; easy to fall into, but hard to crawl out of. Even though they can be productive and healthy, I find them tedious and depressing.

On day number 25 without sex it got to the point where I googled 'involuntary celibacy' to see if I could coin the phrase on this blog. Some sense was shaken into me on finding out 'involuntary celibacy' (incel) is of course the name of a misogynistic online subculture responsible for mass shootings and hate crimes. In my defence, even counting the days since my last encounter made me feel uncomfortable.

I hope that this shows blogging has the potential to provide me with some healthy self-moderation. At worst, this blog will at least document my slow decline into a new identity defined solely on who won't sleep with me. One day I'm googling involuntary celibacy, the next I could be using the word horny in my opening exchanges, and etching tally marks into my skin for every rejection I receive. At best however, this blog will allow me to identify and overcome the self-pity and self-loathing that seems to be festering in my writing at the moment.

In other involuntary news, I found myself at church this week. There's something quite surreal about a well spoken middle aged woman bowing to the supernatural before earnestly reading this to the room:

When this perishable nature has put on imperishability, and when this mortal nature has put on immortality, then the words of scripture will come true: Death is swallowed up in victory. Death, where is your victory? Death, where is your sting? Now the sting of death is sin, and sin gets its power from the Law.

The desk opposite me was empty, as my boss came to sit next to me, screwing up her nose as she did. It smelt. Not the kind of smell that jabs your nostrils violently, but the more subtle and un-delightful eggy kind, that lingers and loiters in the background. My boss soon moved and whispered into a colleagues ear. The sound of two people trying not to be heard could barely be drowned out by the sporadic clicks of mice. I smell. There was no one else it could have been round there. I stare at my screen but can't think about Excel.

I'm leaking sewage and everyone knows. It's what they all smell when I talk to them about bookings. My holes are valveless and I can't look after myself. Then everyone talked at once. All the voices were hissing over each other. They all tried not at look at me, so that I couldn't guess who they were talking about. Noses held, arms wafting and air freshener pumped. Aria brought in an egg sandwich for lunch and people were asking her to put it in the fridge. I closed the google search for incontinence with quite a lot of relief (but not too much, thank God).

I was checking the latest Instagrams today when my phone went all soft. My finger went through the touchscreen and out the other side, as if I were fingering a generously filled jam doughnut. The phone was turning to liquid and the latest Instagrams were looking blurrier than usual. They were all over my hands and dripping into the carpet. I called tech support but they said they only deal with software issues. I'll have to try and fix it tomorrow because I need my phone to send messages and do other important things.

If there was no such thing as football, I'd be eating grapes, reflecting on what went right. But here I am, spooning ice cream, patching together a themed life-narrative to diagnose the causes of my inadequacies. This is a blog post written by a graduate who still wants to be a footballer. This is a blog post about who I really am and how I'm really nothing.

Like most boys in the country, my relationship with football started early. There was enough space in our garden for my brother and I to play our own premier league games, and our neighbours were patient enough to throw our wayward shots back over the fence. At school, wayward shots were usually just underneath an imaginary crossbar. Every lunchtime my school-shoe skills would earn me serious social currency.

I could do things with a football. I could bring the ball from in tow to on toe and then weave at speed leaving a defender rooted to the spot. Football could make me move without thinking, and it made other people like me. If I scored a goal, I'd win a high-five. Otherwise, I'd get some vocal affirmation that I'd done something good. On the pitch I was worth something, I was valuable.

I lost touch with the football boys when they started using lunchtimes to flirt instead of kicking a tennis ball. We'd still play together for a team at weekends. It was cold, muddy, and the midlife-crisis dads cared too much if we lost. Football training was fitness training, where we'd mostly warm up or put down cones. Sundays consisted of car shares to villages and attempts to win headers against post-puberty teens twice my tiny size. My love for football didn't come from this team spirit or winning matches. It came from being absorbed in the ball at my feet and how I could use this to win respect off other people.

At 16, things changed. All of a sudden I was meeting people who didn't know I was good at football. This shouldn't have been a problem, but my persona on-the-pitch had become an important part of who I was off-the-pitch. Football had made me notoriously cheeky and dangerously cocky, which are not qualities that go well with someone who's painfully shy. Embracing post-childhood football is to absorb the bravado of sport into your identity, which wasn't me.

I took a disinterest in following football. As a child I'd been a keen supporter heavily invested in the results. In adulthood, the emotional investment needed to support a team seemed absurd, and amateur punditry became boring. I could still enjoy watching good football, but didn't care about player stats or which team won. It could have been part of growing up, a slip in mental health or just because my team got relegated. I felt distanced from those who cared about the beautiful game, despite the fact that football was what made me happy.

That was 5 years ago. I'm 23 now. If someone asks me what my hobbies are I'll still tell them football, because it's true. But 2 minutes later I have to say that I've no opinion on the ludicrous display last night or if Arsenal were trying to walk in. In school, I needed football to make friends, but now I need friends to play football.

I spent thousands of hours playing alone in the garden; at school; at weekends and round the house moving from room to room with a ball at my feet. Football was how I socialised, how I made friends and how I had any self-esteem. Football was my social crutch, and in adulthood it was taken away. Every time I meet someone new, they don't know I'm good at football and it makes me feel inadequate. If football didn't ruin my life, it certainly didn't prepare me for it.

I had an amazing bath. It was so hot in there I was sweating. I had to introduce each body part to the water, one by one. My genitals were buoyant and my muscles blended into the water. Water surrounded my ears until the podcast man was saying sounds, not words. Head tipped back, eyes closed, my breathing holes rode the still surface of the pool. The stillness was broken with a swoosh as I emerged like a fish in water. I rewarded my body by scrubbing it all smooth with clean bubbles. I felt naked and happy.

I was 20 or one of those other ages everyone says they want to be again or for the first time. On Wednesday afternoons I'd do half an hour's walk from my house to an office, where I'd volunteer for the afternoon. The nicer the weather, the worse I'd feel. When the sun was out, the city was full of people, frisbees and laughter. There wasn't any escape from the shame I felt when confronting my unhealthy levels of social and sexual frustration. So I wrote a poem.

a nice assumption from your face sweet, it tells of charm within hidden words, unlaughed laughs tomorrow's touch, tender skin

See my glass, three metres high. Come to me. Break it down. Or my hunch, it's not disproved!

a grim grey cloud i float around

This isn't a blog post about the future of retail. The role of my title is not to attract or inform, but to chronicle.

Back in June I was sat in an office so open plan that even the distant horizon was lined with desks. It was late in the day, and the employees were going home or somewhere else to enjoy a rare English heatwave. I had earned my seat there by saying shit like

I was drawn to the opportunity

At the time, I was sat thinking

Any society that can make someone feign interest in the changing nature of retail is unforgiving, yet somehow financially rewards my personality that doesn't like to be invested in anything.

Around me, two lads in their 20s were using their free time to talk about the future of retail. They were passionate and genuine as they bounced around ideas and opinions. We were the only ones still around, and I felt uncomfortable with nothing to add. My ears were obviously listening, despite the pretence of preoccupation on my face. I hoped they wouldn't say anything in my direction, but was also mad they didn't see me as worthy enough to join in. I felt contempt for their spark and intellect. I didn't belong there but nor did I know where I did. That's why it hurt.

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