Traveling: Part 1

Whenever people talk about traveling my gut instinct is to brush it off as middle-class extravagance and I just want to make it very clear that this is not that. I worked a silly number of hours at a shitty retail job to make it happen (and I still went into my overdraft lol). I’ve had a few people assume I was from London recently and I feel like I have to make my working class background very clear.

A few years ago, after a breakup from my first-ever long term relationship, I went traveling on my own. I ended the trip in Cologne and stayed at an Airbnb with some friends so we could go to Gamescom. I can’t really remember anything special about Gamescom itself, except from briefly meeting the American Truck Simulator devs. They asked if I could name every expansion to Euro Truck Simulator 2 in exchange for a t-shirt and… I’ve still got that t-shirt to this day. My friends and I got drunk on cheap white wine and pulled an all-nighter on the night before our flight.

November 21, 2023 personal traveling storytime

Mick Lynch

I went to an RMT workshop at TWT a few weeks ago and they were passing around a box of pastries to share. I was the last person in line so I kept the box on my knees only for Mick Lynch to walk past and say I wasn’t being very comradely” keeping the pastries to myself.

This has kept me up at night every night since

November 20, 2023 personal storytime tweets

Taking Your Audience With You

On October 5th 2023, I gave a talk at Magazine Street about applying independent web principles to independent publishing.



Nick Srnicek, Platform Capitalism, 2016

Van Dijck, Poell and de Waal, The Platform Society

ZineMonth Stats, assembled by Luke Earl

Build Your Own Fan Club: How To Use Your Email List by Chris Zukowski, 2019, Game Developers’ Conference

October 5, 2023 academic talks

An Airbnb in Copenhagen: how I went TikTok-viral and teens from the UK said I had the affectations of a cokehead

The second time I went interrailing I booked a reasonably-priced Airbnb in Copenhagen as a stopover on my way to Norway - the date of my stay coincided with my birthday so I decided not to go for the cheapest option.

I knew something was wrong as soon as I turned up: there was a 3ft Buddha statue in the window looking outwards and a TV hanging above him. Stepping inside, my spacious one-room condominium was split in two by heavy-duty curtain. There was a copy of Hokusai’s Great Wave (it was, at least, 6ft on the diagonal) hanging on one wall and a full-height mirror leaning against the wall opposite. The light switches by the door only turned the TV on to display a massage price-list.

Behind the curtain was a massage bed and accompanying accoutrements. Behind the mirror was a light switch, hanging, its live wiring exposed.

The true kicker was the bathroom: there was no bath, there was no shower. It wasn’t even a wet-room. I messaged Anna, my host, to ask about the lack of any kind of washing facilities and she answered with a simple I left you a bucket”. And there it was, under the sink. The tap was extendable: I had to pull the tap out of its socket to turn it into a quasi-shower head.

I recorded the whole thing to upload to my Instagram for my friends to see and laugh at it, and then a few years later I uploaded it to TikTok because I’d remembered what happened. The video went viral and the main takeaway a frightening number of those hundreds of thousands of viewers had was that my sniffle betrayed my raging cocaine addiction.

It was my birthday the next morning and I spent it crouched in a small plastic bucket showering with a bendy sink tap. There was water fucking everywhere and I didn’t actually feel that bad about it.

September 25, 2023 traveling storytime

A Nigerian-German in Liechtenstein

I stayed in a hostel just off Liechtenstein’s one and only main road - it was flanked by meadows and mountains on either side. There was a bloke unpacking in my dorm and I gave him the usual you alright mate?” and he shot back with a fucking hell! you’re not from around here, are you?”. It turned out that he was in Liechtenstein for an international martial arts competition. Later, it also turned out that during this same weekend was Liechtenstein’s Independence Day. The two seemed linked. Maybe the international martial arts lobby was desperate for tax relief.

Later that evening I met my two other roommates: a Dutch lass living in London and writing a book and a lovely bloke from Berlin with Nigerian-German heritage. While our martial arts friend was out scrapping with the locals, we drank a lot of white wine and tried not to melt in August heat.

The next day I went to watch the Independence parade and followed it up to Liechtenstein’s castle, where I had a pint with the Prince of Liechtenstein. He even paid for it :)

I was the first back at the hostel and could hear the kindly Berliner arrive before I could see him; he got on a bus to a nearby Austrian town where a group of old Bavarian women accosted him and pressured him into buying a set of authentic cream-coloured, leather lederhosen. He considered it for a second, remembered that it was Liechtenstein’s independence day and thought to himself: when in Rome. Mind, the Liechtensteiners don’t wear lederhosen.

His lederhosen squeaked as he walked and he had to peel himself out of it in the evening. He came back to our room streaming with tears of laughter at the mistake he’d made walking around the richest, whitest parade in Europe as a black man wearing cream-coloured lederhosen.

September 25, 2023 storytime traveling

Oral Tradition

In the third year of my filmmaking degree I realised that my screenwriting lecturer was a bullshitter. What’s worse is that I also realised I kinda admired it; it didn’t really matter if the stories he told were true, only that remembering them makes me howl.

One week, he needed a last-minute sound recordist for his PhD project. Having zero interest or experience in sound recording, but having quite a lot of interest in spending the day with this man, his 15-years-junior fiancee, and their baby, I decided to volunteer.

On the day I wore my brand new white trainers. Experimental musician-slash-actress Keeley Forsyth was there, too. We spent the day driving around Halifax and walking through fields, and alleys, and ginnels, and mud.

At midday, on a staircase running up the side of a pub and towards an overpass above it, he bent over to tie his shoes. His glasses fell off his face and into a tidy pile of literal shit. He picked them up, gave them a sniff, assuredly proclaimed this is human shit”, and threw them aside.

During the drive back, he explained to me the one time someone had cursed him. Famed actor Donald Sutherland, specifically, had cursed him because he refused to foot the bill for a £150 bottle of wine. Donald ordered the waiter to open the bottle and pour a glass; he dipped his thumb in the wine and leant over to draw a cross on my lecturer’s forehead. Whether the curse has come to pass I don’t yet know.

My brand new white trainers were fucking ruined and, in retrospect, I think I got cursed by proxy.

But that was one of the lessons of film school I’ll never forget: stories are fun. I love to embellish and pretend and reframe and bullshit, sometimes. All you have to do is call it oral tradition and nobody bats an eyelid.

September 16, 2023 personal storytime