Thursday, 21 June 2012

A Year in Korea- "What's our next teacher's name? Is he black?"

Now I’m back in climes far colder and rainier, I’ve have plenty of time to reflect and write about my experiences. I still procrastinate, and achieve virtually nothing in the mornings, but I have the afternoons to actually get something done, rather teach/feed candy to young kids. I’m treating this as a final blog, despite the ever expanding list of topics that keep popping into my head when I reflect upon my time in Korea.

Anyway, the theme of this post is a bit of a list. An embellished list. The pros and cons of my year in Korea. While it’s great to be back and despite how much I berated their culture, there are a few things that Kim Jong-un’s neighbours offer that my beloved Britain just can’t…

What I’ll Miss

The little kids- As much as they often infuriated me with their lack of interest in what I had to say and their incessant pleas of “Teacher… GAME,” there’s nothing quite like knowing that, to some of these kids, you’re their idol.  For most of the real young’uns, you’re their first ever foreign teacher (for some, I taught them English from scratch). I can safely say that I changed their lives forever, by introducing them to the wonders of Simon Says, and my party trick, which was to throw them up in the air and catch them on the way down (three times per go). On my final day, I had a queue of twelve kids for this ride. They would also regularly sit on my knee while I was planning lessons. And one little girl, Kayla came in for hugs on every single one of my breaks during my final day. I was the epitome of the ‘cool teacher’.

The older kids- Middle school kids were a different kettle of fish. Making silly faces was out of the question. And a lot of them were too fat to pick up and throw in the air. So, I actually had to relate to them. Be a Jack Black in School of Rock kind of figure. Or like the teacher from Warrior. The results spurned some classic moments. The top of the bunch had to be when I asked one of my students, Sally, what she would do if she had one million dollars. She replied: “I would make you my slave. And then I would ride you.” In a move that was no way inappropriate, I then explained what that actually means, ridiculing her in front of the entire class. That one moment made my entire month. Other inspirational lessons I gave involved explaining that “negro” and “black” were not offensive terms, but “n***er” was the word that you can’t say. Cue the boys calling each other that word for the rest of the lesson. For some reason, they were desperate to have my replacement be black...

Free meals- Koreans are overwhelmingly generous. One time, my flatmate and I were eating out at a restaurant. A drunken man idled over to our table and began to communicate using the English staples of “hello” and “handsome man,” followed by a thumbs up. After a while, he beckoned his embarrassed son over to our table, and instructed us to drill him with questions. We didn’t mind- he paid for our entire meal and drinks for the entire night. When was the last time that happened to you at Nandos?

The weekends- Weekends are the main reason you should go to Korea. There’s so much to do, at such a low price. Rock climbing, skiing, trips to the beach, visiting temples, bungee jumping, playing football, eating out. In England, I only ever do one of these things- and the people I play with are a**holes.

The food- There are so many dishes to miss. Adding to beauty of their taste is the fact that they’re so cheap, yet actually pretty decent. For the price of a Quarter Pounder meal at Maccy D’s you can have Galbi (barbecued beef steak) with all you can eat sides, for example. Other cuisinary delights were bibimbap, samgyupsal, kimchi, bulgogi, mandu and pajeon, to name a few. I realise you have no idea what these are- that’s what Google is for. Plus, there’s not the thing in England where, if it tastes good, it will eventually kill you through heart disease. Just a minor advantage. I think that’s so many people smoke in Korea. Aside from cigarettes being ridiculously cheap, it’s population control. If they didn’t light up, they’d live to actually see the economy claw its way out of the recession.

What I’m not going to miss

Ajumas- The bane of my life. The rudest and most illogical people you’ll ever meet. An ajuma is technically a married woman in Korea, but we just use it to refer to old women. As they’re old, they’re unnecessarily bitter about something that affects them astonishingly little. Call me a scrooge, but I won’t miss them, elbowing their way to the front of queues, and just going about their daily business with about as much regard for others as music critics have for Nickelback.

The kids- When they’re in the mood, teaching is the easiest and most rewarding job in the world. But let’s be realistic, most of the time, they aren’t. The little ones are hard to control as shouting at them just makes them cry. It makes me feel like a big man, but isn’t exactly conducive to teaching. I resolved this with my teaching sidekick- candy. The trouble is, if you give them one piece, they completely forget that you gave it to them five seconds later, and immediately demand candy again, like it’s their God-given right. It’s not. Now sit down, you little s**t.
And the older ones, if you shout, don’t take a blind bit of notice. And candy is about as useful a sidekick as Robin. They just want money. Piss off …

Korean co-teachers- They’re supposed to be helpful. But the majority are either painfully bossy, or painfully useless. The bossy ones tell you to basically do your job for them- and seem confused when you’re not able to complete half of the book in one lesson. The useless ones will frequently ask your opinion, only to completely contradict/ignore what you say. In the beginning, it frustrated me with aplomb. By the end, I cared as much about the words that came out of their mouths as they did about mine.

Shopping- As a person with testicles, shopping is never an enticing prospect on the day’s agenda. In Korea, it has the appeal of a night in a jimjilbang (see last blog). Sales assistants stalk you from the moment you walk in, which is alarmingly invasive. They’re just there to help you, Koreans tell me. But, if I have a question for them, neither my Korean tongue nor their English tongues are well equipped enough to achieve customer satisfaction. However, I never did learn the Korean for “f**k off.” No-one to blame but myself, then.

The food- Though there were many delights for my tongue, there were an awful lot of things I couldn’t eat. Anyone who knows me will attest to the fact that I’m not a fussy eater. But most Korean food tends to have one flavour- burn-your-tongue-off spicy. You know how we buy chillies in bags of two or three? They sell them in packs of about thirty. They all go into one dish. It wasn’t good news for me because spicy food makes me sweat profusely.

Christmas- You can’t beat the traditional, laze about at home watching movies and Christmas specials on TV, while Mum does all the cooking. Well, I had none of that- I spent the past Christmas skiing. “Lucky you”, you may think. You’re probably one of those people who revel in the opportunity to get away from home and go on holiday at Christmas time. Well, you’ve got a crap family. I’m twenty-three, I know, but there’s still a kid in me yet. Half of me is twenty years old, and worrying about getting a job and what the future holds. The other half of me is three years old, and still loves opening presents in the living room with my parents.

Korean Culture- It’s interesting, sure. But ‘interesting’ actually means it’s so far removed from your own culture and ideals, that you can only tolerate it for a short period of time. Intolerant, am I?! I don’t see why I should tolerate some of the ridiculous things that Korean logic determines acceptable. Just because you are older than me, you don’t have a right to my respect. Just because I’m western, doesn’t mean I have AIDS. Why the hell would I want to sleep on the floor?!? I’m not a dog. Why would I want to eat sat on the floor with my legs crossed?!? It’s not school assembly. Just because I’m white, doesn’t mean I’m a Christian. Yes, I HAVE eaten lunch. I look tired?? Thanks, you look s**t too.

So, there you go. I hope you enjoyed reading the blog. It disappoints me that I can’t freely spout outspoken rants anymore, as people now actually understand me. Saying that, there are far more foreign food stores in the area now, that have popped up in my absence. With a little bit of research about the Polish, I’m sure I can come up with something that is fundamentally wrong about them also.

Anyway, I have to go now-I’ve got a doctor’s appointment to get this blasted tongue removed from my cheek. It’s been bothering me for over a year now...

Friday, 4 May 2012

Sleep tight, don’t let the naked Korean men bite…

I am now going to recall a story regarding a series of incidents from a Saturday night/Sunday morning just over a month ago. It’s possibly the most traumatic memory occupying my head. This is a horror story. A true one.

It all started after my football match on Saturday- a 5-1 victory. It had been a good day so far- good enough, in fact, I thought that it deserved a few drinks cap it off. So, off we headed, to Itaewon- Korea’s ‘Western’ area. The plan was to have a few drinks and watch the Premier League matches that night. We’d also been promised the prospect of girls from a team-mate. He’d hinted to me, with a casual raise of his eyebrows, that his girlfriend “has friends.” I was shocked- I had no idea women were such social creatures…

So, we arrived at the bar and ordered the pitchers. The football had already started, albeit a rather paltry attempt at an entertaining match. However, soon after a few glances round the room to check out the girls’ personalities, we were left distinctly miffed at the ratio of guys to girls. It was a bit like Elton John’s birthday party, if I’m honest.

However, eventually, the girls did come. However, they promptly left about ten minutes later, with no explanation. They were Asian- they probably had maths homework to do…

From that moment on, a series of unfortunate events began to unfold.

Incident 1

 I got up to go the bathroom as the football match was, I decided, in its least entertaining period. This just happened to coincide with the moment one of Sean’s (my team-mate) friends came over to talk to him. After my bladder had emptied itself of cheap Korean beer, I returned to the bar with optimistic low expectations that the game would improve. Anyway, on my return to the bar, Sean’s friend was gone. He then told me that his friend had asked him who I was as I walked past, and commented that I was “cute.” Great start to the night.

Incident 2

 In the same bar, about an hour later, a familiar face strutted into my view. It wasn’t a long lost friend, unfortunately- just my ex-girlfriend. She immediately began to act as though I’d wronged her in some way, by completely blanking me. It’s that kind of class that has made me pine for her on lonely winter nights…

However, to my team-mates, she was just another Korean girl. On judgement, I decided not to acknowledge her arrival to my friends, to avoid giving her undeserved attention. Her friends were also ignoring me- but, by this point, my friends had started talking and playing Fußball with them.

 I actually found the complete lack of social interaction with them pretty amusing- the awkwardness of the situation would’ve been right at home in any of Ricky Gervais’ work. In fact, you would have thought I was Greek and female, with snakes for hair- the mere prospect of eye contact with me was to be avoided at all costs. With my dignity hanging in the balance, I proceeded to stare at the closest friend, who was now talking to Sean. This was at the same table as me- it wasn’t like a weird perverted “across the bar” stare. I save them for women I actually like.

After a while, her face began to twitch- aware of the fact that I was looking at her. My next move was to break the ice with a casual “Hi! Remember me??” Sean listened, mouth agape, as I informed him of how we knew each other. When he asked me why I didn’t tell him before, I replied that this option was far more amusing for me. My other team-mate, Jason, also returned not long after that- having finished a Fußball session.
This is a rough transcript of our conversation:

Me: So, did you win?
Jason: Nah…
Me: Which one was your partner?
Jason: The shit one.
Me: Mate- I think you just played foosball with my ex-girlfriend.
Jason: NO WAY! That was Baby Boy??!?
Me: Uhuh.

I should explain at this point that she called me ‘Baby Boy’ during a phone call on a skiing trip with my team-mates. As my phone’s speaker is obnoxiously loud, my team-mates heard this loud and clear. I’ve been affectionately nicknamed “Baby Boy” ever since- I miss the guys so much…

Incident 3

 We had just about given up hope for the night, when a Korean girl just walked up to me and asked me if I had a girlfriend, right in front of my ex’s friend. Awesome. What balls. English girls would never do that… You have to usually buy them about five drinks before you even find out their name. Also, in Korea, they don’t do the “I’ll be right back, I’m just going to the bathroom/I’m going to find my friend to see if she’s alright” malarkey (post-consumption of said five drinks). She has about as much chance of returning as you do of convincing me that Dubstep is a credible genre.

Consequently, men all over Britain are left feeling incredibly paranoid that they vaguely resemble Timothy Spall. If she doesn’t fancy you after five drinks, the old ego takes a bit of a hit. Conversely, a night in a bar in Korea inflates your ego more than the banks inflated the British pound. Basically, as long as you’re white, you have about a ninety per cent chance of pulling.

Anyway, back to the night in question. Turns out this girl wasn’t hitting on me, as I originally thought.  In fact, her friend had an eye for me, but was too shy to make a move herself. Brilliant! The perfect escape route. As much fun as making my ex’s friend feel vastly uncomfortable was, there was a pretty young Korean girl sitting there without a white man. I had to do my duty…

Incident 4

So, after staying out ‘til 6am with my new Korean girl, who actually turned out to have an Australian accent (that I may or may not have thought was South African at the time), I headed for the cheapest possible place to get some sleep before my football game that afternoon. A jimjilbang. If you read my last post, will know all about them. If not, I’ll sum it up. They’re the Korean equivalent of a public bath house. With a barbers. And a sleeping room. And they sell underpants.

Anyway, in my drained state, I meandered into the JJB's dark room upstairs to get some sleep. I was immediately greeted by the vision of three butt-naked Korean men spooning each other on the floor. Astonishingly, this was not enough to put me off going into a corner to find a mat to lie down on. About a minute later, I heard a sound. I looked up, and they'd started giving each other a helping hand. So, instead of falling asleep to the soothing sound of waves gently breaking, I fell asleep to a soundtrack that would’ve made George Michael quite excitable.

Incident 5

If your mouth is still agape that I managed to actually get to sleep knowing that mere metres away from me, Korean men were searching for a happy ending, it pales in comparison to what my eyes endured upon waking up.  Just three hours later, I groggily opened my eyes and turned to the right. After adjusting my eyes, they were granted the sight of a Korean guy giving another Korean guy some oral service, about two metres away from me... That was the last straw- time for my exit.

However, there were no Korean girls to whisk me away this time- it was a complete sausage-fest. Like being back at Secondary School, but with a far greater proportion of schlong actually on display. Anyhow, as I stood up, I looked around in the hope that others were in an equal state of “what the f**k just happened?!?” Turns out that about 75% of the room were getting some morning glory...

Incident 6

 As, I was hurriedly getting dressed, a Korean man came over and started hitting on me. Oh, hell no!

Korean Louie Spence: Hiyaaaaa! How are youuuuuu?
Me: I’m fine.
*I shoot him a look of “stop looking at my c**k*
Korean Louie Spence: So, do you know where the…
Me: Why don’t you go and ask your friends upstairs.
*I swiftly pirouette and prance away*

So, in summary- probably the most c**k-infested night of my life. I doubt I’ll ever see penile density of that magnitude ever again. And that’s fine by me. I don’t even want to look at my own anymore.

Oh, by the way, I've since found out that it's notorious for being a gay jimjilbang... To all of my friends in Korea- thanks for the heads up.

Monday, 19 March 2012

And the winner is…………… A Black Guy.

Thank god. It’s over. Three hours and seventeen minutes. Not of pain- that’d be lying. The last thirty minutes was very painful. The rest I found surprisingly enjoyable. It was probably just the dehydration making me delusional. However, despite the positive outlook, you can rest assured that I’ll be running no more than 10km for the rest of my time in Korea.

The following bullet points are an outlook on the marathon experience:

  • The worst part of the marathon, believe me, is the first half an hour after you finish. I was a maze of confusion and my legs were thoroughly confused as to what the hell had just happened. I tried to stretch, but could feel nothing. I wanted to collapse on the floor, but couldn’t bend my legs for fear of cramp. Add to that the fact that I felt like I needed to throw up, at a time when taking on as much food as possible was vital. Paradise.
  •  The race is surprisingly easier than the training. With tens of thousands of people around you and the race-day adrenaline, it’s much easier to keep going than training solo in the snow at -17 degrees Celsius. Though, I did miss the rabid dogs and suited up businessmen chasing me.
  • I used more Vaseline in the race preparation than I ever did in my bedroom as a teenager. I owe a lot to its lubricating qualities that my thighs are not currently the colour of Heinz Cream of Tomato Soup right now.
  • People will pay to see you suffer. I’ve raised £767.90 so far, with more to come (apparently). The donators have been from various continents, and have been fantastic support. When family and friends have poured their hard earned cash into your cause, then you can’t help but feel duty bound to repay them with a top performance on the day. And some of you weren’t half generous! Also, that Tom O’Rourke chap who donated £150- what an outstanding Samaritan he is…
  • In anticipation of the big day, I invested an entire morning last week to create the perfect ‘Marathon Playlist’ for the race. It was truly awesome- just a load of angry metal and rap. Loud and offensive stuff. Designed to piss me off. Race day arrives. Forgot to sync it to my iPod.
  • My race day preparation consisted of listening to Ricky Gervais Podcasts and ingesting a large proportion of fifteen quid’s worth of goodies I’d purchased from a “Paris Croissant” bakery the night before. So, amongst all of the ultra-serious Koreans who were stretching and whatnot, there was a white man guffawing while eating bread. The Kenyan guy who won it did exactly the same thing- trust me.
  • There were more laughs to follow- early on in the race, several Koreans had obviously prepared better than me and were skipping off into one particular side alley to relieve their little Generals of duty. This alley happened to be slightly uphill. The result was a river of piss.
  • I nearly missed the transit van to put all my spare clothes in due to a half an hour wait for a pre-run dump. It was a risk I had to take- I don’t think Koreans would have been as accommodating to a river of chocolate brownies.
  • I’m too fast to capture on camera. I had my photographer friends there, ready to capture the big moment as I entered Jamsil Olympic Stadium for my big finish. What I have instead is a photo of me from behind with a cartoon elephant on my back.
  • The winners, unsurprisingly, were of African origin. It got me thinking… Paula Radcliffe is a medical marvel. Apart from her, can you think of another white person who’s won a marathon?!?
  • Somehow, I have acquired pain on the top of my feet. Sports-scientists amongst you- discuss…
  • What did I do after the marathon? I hopped on the subway to go find a public bath house so I could chill out with naked Korean men for the afternoon. This was coupled with a sports massage that involved the guy standing on my hamstrings. Bliss.
  • Korean people are very considerate when you’re clearly in a lot of pain. When I hopped on the subway post-race, I had high hopes for a seat. But no, the ajumas (married Korean women) clearly deserved the seats as they’re not the young whippersnappers us marathon types are.
  • This sentiment extended to the bus ride. The bus was so cramped that I had to stand next to the entrance door the whole way. When the driver stopped at the subsequent bus stops he would gesture frantically for me to get out of the way and utter some nonsense in tongues at me. I responded ever so politely with “Well, where the f**k am I supposed to go?” He would eventually give up and just open the doors anyway, squishing me against the windscreen. I heart Korea.
  • Ten weeks of training- that’s all I needed. Well, eight actually. I spent one week side-lined by a cold of man-sized proportions. Another week was spent unable to walk due to severely bruised big toes, which caused my big right toenail to fall off. The left one looks likely to follow suit…
  •  “The wall” is not nearly half as bad as people make out. Sure, I was running on empty for the last 7km, but your body is far tougher than your brain gives it credit for. Despite my hamstrings’ best efforts to halt me by way of cramping, I smashed through the exhaustion with a combination of angry metal, testicular determination and tiger blood.
  • Would I prepare better next time? Actually give myself the recommended twenty-five weeks of training? Probably… not. I loathed all ten weeks of the training. Why would I want to put myself through an extra fifteen weeks of it?!? I’m happy to rely on mental grit, pure willpower and Charlie Sheen. Training is for Kenyans…

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Pink Floyd were wrong about "The Wall" -There's no way in hell I feel 'Comfortably Numb'...

So, a training update for you all.

With only five weeks to go until the goliath of all fitness tests comes around, I’ve upped my training regimen. What started out as a challenge I was looking forward to conquering with relative ease, has now turned into a dark cloud of dread.

Why? Well, for starters, I only gave myself about ten weeks to train. Check any marathon training plan and you’ll see it’s mapped out for twenty-five weeks. So, I making up lost time- and it’s taking a great toll on my body. I’ve encountered no end of roadblocks which have stunted my already ridiculously too short training plan.

First, as you already know from my last entry, there was the excruciating pain on the bottom of my right foot that I acquired after about a week into training- just a few eight mile runs. So, I had to take about a week off to let the agony subside, and wait for my super-duper new running shoes to arrive. (Incidentally, they’ve actually done the trick!)

After that, I decided to take my training to the slopes and do a weekend of skiing to let loose. I should’ve kept to the roads as the old crap-tastic rental ski boots left me with a black right big toe. This, once more, left me with about the walking ability of Stephen Hawking. When I decided to cut said nail, to see if I could get closer look at the damage underneath, a whole mess of red and white fluid erupted all over everywhere and left the nail a nice yellow colour. R.I.P.

I had to get back to training, and hard. So, I took the new shoes out, in the belief that they would caress my feet and all would be great in the world again. After an hour, they left my heels, ankles and soles bloodied and blistered. Money well spent. (Note: we’ve since developed a close bond, and they’ve agreed to be nice).

Next up, if you think England is bad for snow right now, you don’t realise how lucky you are. I’ve been doing all the aforementioned training in the white stuff, Rocky IV style. But I don’t have Paulie to motivate me, just inconsiderate Koreans blocking the path, and dogs (so small they might as well be cats) chasing me. At least Paris Hilton has the courtesy to put hers in a handbag…

Yesterday, actually, I had a Forest Gump episode on my run with only three miles or so to go. I overtook a Korean businessman who was walking along in front of me. About five seconds later he began to, in full suit and tie, start jogging behind me for about the next ten minutes. In the film, it was perhaps inspiring. In real life, it’s ever so slightly creepy. But actually, it worked. Before I overtook him, I was praying for the end. After, I spent the last part of my run thinking “Must… not… let… Jackie Chan… overtake… me…” Come the actual thing, there’s gonna be hundreds of them- I’ll be just fine, then.

I’m still not finished, though. The final impingement upon my efforts is still bothering me right now. All the intense training has weakened my body and left me susceptible to disease. As I write this, I’m delirious on account of Man Flu. As, if running half marathons as mere training wasn’t sapping enough, I now have no energy and a constant headache to motivate me to the finish line.

But don’t worry guys, I’m staying positive.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

There are plenty of things to look forward to this year- sex trainers are top of my list right now.

Welcome- to 2012. This is sure to be the most culturally devoid entry you’ll ever see. There’s literally nothing even remotely related to Korean culture here. It’s not that they haven’t offended me greatly, or defied logic yet again- I just have other things on my mind right now. You could look at this with an optimistic mind-set and conclude that it’ll be free of racism. Well, I hate to spoil those pleasant thoughts- but it’s not. Don’t look surprised.

So I guess, as you read this, that ninety per cent of you have already given up/never actually tried in the first place with your New Year’s resolutions. Well, I only made one. And I’m sticking to it. Those of you who are friends with me on Facebook will undoubtedly know that I’m running the Seoul Marathon in March.

My reasons? Well, it’s the type of thing I’ve always said I could do quite easily- running long distance has never really ever troubled me. I have a signature technique that I’ve coined ‘The Gear’ – it involves me setting my pace early on and being able to maintain said pace for as long as I desire, without ever tiring or being out of breath- it’s pretty much human cruise control. “The wall” doesn’t even exist in my world. Coming soon in March 2012- Tom O’Rourke goes to an all-you-can-eat buffet of words.

More importantly, though, it gives me a chance to raise money for a worthy cause- Alhzeimer’s Society. My family have been directly affected by dementia and, as the money I raise will go towards helping other families through it, it was a no brainer as to which charity to choose. Why put myself through the punishment of twenty six odd miles just for self-satisfaction? I have plenty of that already.

So, how’s my training going so far? Well, it’s going fantastic. According to my iPod Nano, I ran a half marathon in sixty-five minutes on Wednesday- just seven minutes shy of the world record. Not bad- for a non-Kenyan. And I have no reason to doubt the accuracy of my iPod’s ‘built in accelerometer’…

However, such astounding pace has come at a price. The morning after, I woke up to a weird throbbing/tingling on the bottom of my right foot, which has meant I’ve had the walking ability of a Korean businessman under the influence of soju. Doctors would, obviously, advise me to rest it and such nonsense- but with only eight weeks to go, such advice is obviously meant to be ignored. Plus, if I didn’t run, I’d have time to write another blog- nobody wants that.

Instead, I have my own solution and theories, acquired through the findings of the wise people at Google search engine. The culprit for my pain is, obviously, my running shoes- my Nike Frees are simply not up to the task. So, I’m doing exactly what Nike wants me to do, and switching to their Lunar Eclipse models- according to a totally neutral statement from their website, they’ll bless me with “a plush, bouncy ride when running those miles.” As sexual as it sounds, I’m a believer.

So, now we’ve done with the resolution portion of this blog, I must tell you about the great start I’ve had to the New Year. So far, my Xbox has broken on me- twice. Also, my schedule has changed so I’ve been dumped with an extra class and three extra hours on my (previously nice) Monday timetable. Turns out that the Mayan calendar was right after all.

Let’s address Microsoft and their malfunctioning man’s toy first. When, I returned from snowboarding on January 1st, I thought I’d dabble in a spot of FIFA after an absence from the game of a month or two. I figured I deserved a bit of finger exercise after the amount of falling over and looking cool I’d done during the weekend.

Well, Bill Gate’s brainchild saw red after I decided to obey the ‘system update’ message I was presented with when turning on the machine. On its self-initiated restart, the power light flashed three life threatening blinks of death. This is more commonly known as the Red Ring of Death to people who consider socialising a Saturday night spent playing Call of Duty online, with their ‘friends’. Bonus points if you wear one of the headsets.

So, I then resorted to the trusty ‘Craigslist’ website and enlisted the help of a repairman who offered to fix it for £45. Fair enough, I thought- a price worth paying to avoid doing anything productive during my evenings.

 When it was delivered to my apartment this Friday, I unwrapped it like a child on Christmas day, and plugged it in. Lo and behold, the red lights had been replaced with an emerald shimmer that prompted an outcry of “F**k yeah!” Just like on Christmas mornings from back in the days when my presents didn’t have a logo of a half-eaten apple on them.

Fast forward to a couple hours before writing this blog. I thought that I’d spend the afternoon brushing up on my FIFA skills as, while I beat my flatmate on Friday, it was not the complete and utter massacre that I’d been expecting.

Well, as I turned it on, another message popped up on the screen offering me yet another system update. I clearly hadn’t learnt my lesson, and duly obliged with my Xbox’s request. Upon the console restarting, the red light lights beamed out with pride yet again. That repair lasted about as long as Kerry Katona manages to stay thin for any one period of time.

So, that, in essence, is why you’ve got this blog early. Not in two months, as I’d planned. Because I’ve got nothing better to do. In an ideal world, I’d be 5-0 up against my flatmate right now…