Dance, food, Health, money, Religion, strangers, Uncategorized

…guest speaker/bible/5Rhythms/ballet/£3,700…

Week 10

Day sixty-five

…been a guest speaker

I Day 65was invited to be a guest speaker at the Greenwich Series, an informal evening where speakers talk for 10 minutes.  The other speakers were from Amnesty International and Talk To Me London, an organisation making strangers communicate better – both worthy causes, unlike my self-centred adventure.

I had no idea how much I was meant to prepare.  Was it best just to get up and speak? Prepare a PowerPoint presentation? Printed hand-outs? Or perhaps an interpretive dance?  I decided just to talk.

As I started speaking my nerves took an unexpected hold on me.  The audience, gathered in the top room of a Greenwich pub, stared at me intently.  The more I talked, the more I was unsure what was coming out of my mouth, but I think something along the lines of “Blah Blah Blah”.  At the end the audience asked a few questions, which was kind. I probably should have done the dance.

I’ve been invited to talk again at the end of these 365 days. I just hope I’m not dead by then. Or in jail.

Day Sixty-six

…tried to read the Bible

I discovered it takes between 50 to 100 hours to read. I was expecting the bible to be easy to follow, considering how popular it is. I managed 17 pages.

At least I tried.

Neil’s book Review:
Title: The Bible
Publisher: Various
Price: free from most good hotels.
I was slightly overwhelmed by the numbers of characters and felt this book could have been shorter, however I certainly liked the snappy title and couldn’t argue with the price.

Day Sixty-seven

…tried a 5Rhythms

The basic idea is to move to the music however you feel, a bit like jumping around in a club without any alcohol.  At occasional points, a somewhat camp man whispered into a microphone in a slightly creepy way to “just move like the sea” or “feel like the wind” or “set your mind free”

At the end we all sat around in a circle, with a candle in the middle (not sure why), and were invited to talk about our feelings.  We sat in silence for a few minutes staring at each other until one woman whispered the words “thank you” whilst touching her heart. Yeah.

However, one middle-aged gent was rather disappointed.  “It’s not as good as my usual one in Oxford,” he sighed. “People seem to be less into you being touchy feely here in London”.

Day Sixty-eight

…had lunch at a members’ clubDay 68

I spent the whole time speaking in a gentle mannered voice.

I also kept looking around to see if there were any celebrities, wondering “who’s that guy?”

Perhaps everyone else was wondering that about me…

Who am I?

Day Sixty-nine

…Been to the BalletDay 69

BORING!!!

Next…

Day Seventy

…eaten a whole scotch bonnet chili, twice

having not learnt a lesson from my experience with the Phall curry on Day 28, I tried a Scotch Bonnet Chili.  It wasn’t as hot as I thought it would be, so I immediately popped another in my mouth – once again, I spent the whole night clutching my stomach just for the sake of a new experience. Idiot.

Day Seventy-one

…bathed in £3,740.Day 71

No, it wasn’t mine (in case the Inland Revenue are asking)

Advertisements
Standard
Acts of kindness, Crime, Dance, Dating, internet, Religion, strangers, Uncategorized

…shoplifted/Hare Krishna/Freemasions/Ninja Skills…

Week 9

Day Fifty-Eight

…signed up to a dating website

I’ve always thought internet dating was full of weirdos and perverts – so I gave it a try.

Match.com allows you to upload 6 profile photos, unfortunately I don’t have any of me working out or saving several orphans from a burning building, just lots of drunk photos, which is unlikely to entice the ladies.

If you wish to date me (I’m not paying for the whole meal) you’ll find me under the name neilfoster81 here: http://www.match.com

Day Fifty-nine

…committed to seeing something through to the end

It was New Year’s Eve.  I contemplated the ten months left of this challenge and came very close to quitting.  One of my Friends said “why don’t you just give in, that’s what you always do”.

Like most modern men, I have commitment issues – it’s not my fault, I blame the generation I was born into.  On New Year’s Eve 2014 I made a commitment to my friends to see this through to the end and not give up on it, something I’ve never really done before.

I’m excited about the year ahead.

Day Sixty

Day 60…shoplifted

I’ve never shoplifted, apart from when I unintentionally stole Pick ‘n’ Mix as a child, so I thought I’d give it a go.

It’s a lot harder than it probably used to be as every shop has cameras, so I had to wait until the shopkeeper turned his back.  I bought a bottle of water, whilst at the same time sneaking a Mars into my pocket – proper rebel.

Afterwards I felt completely guilty, so I’ve returned the pilfered confectionary item in post with a note apologising for my misdemeanour; I’m not quite a career criminal yet.

Day Sixty-one

…listened to a meditation tape

To get the New Year off to a good start, I received a speeding ticket from the police.  I now have three points on my driving license, which I’ve never had before.  I was always told as kid that points mean prizes, so I’m quite pleased.  In the eyes of the law I’m now three points closer to being a Bad Ass.

To help me relax after this unfortunate news I tried listening to a meditation tape, it didn’t work.  It was basically just the sound of nature with a softly spoken woman saying “you’re in your secret place”.

Each time I tried to relax a really loud woodpecker kept making me jump, making my secret place quite stressful – I won’t be going back.

Day Sixty-Two

Day 62…visited the Freemasons Grand Lodge

I don’t know much about the Freemasons, apart from that it’s a very secretive organisation – which is why I don’t know much about it.

I discovered there’s a small museum in the United Grand Lodge, their HQ in Holborn.  You can visit the museum if you ask at the reception desk, but you have to sign in and they watch you closely.

The plethora of Freemason artefacts on display still didn’t really explain what they’re all about.  The whole time I kept thinking, if this was a movie I’d accidentally uncover a secret, my apartment would be bugged and men with guns would start following me.

I was given a tour of the Grand Temple.  It was impressive, but I was still no closer to the truth.  However, to my surprise, the tour guide suggested perhaps I’d consider becoming a member; he asked nobody else in the group.  He took my details and said he’d pass them on when I’m ready – if you don’t hear from for a while, then I’m being bugged and the armed men are coming.

Day Sixty-three

…folded a t-shirt in 2 seconds like a Ninja

Day Sixty-four

1528552_781065705241364_1171771393_n…chanted at the Hare Krishna Temple

I was informed the Hare Krishna’s (or “a bunch fruit-loops” as my Nan once called them) have a service/get together on Sunday that’s good for newcomers, so I went along.  I was expecting someone to greet me and explain the basics, but nobody did, so I sat on the floor in their small temple, just off Oxford Street, and tried to copy everyone else.  I felt like a bit of a prat, but I don’t think anyone cared as they were more concerned with Krishna.

At one point, after lots of chanting, a large curtain was drawn to reveal some deities.  Everyone stood, banged cymbals and danced; I must admit I got into a bit, despite having no idea what was going on.  At the end, three hours later, they asked who was new and why they were here.  I put up my hand and explained about my yearlong challenge and they all spontaneously clapped, which I felt was a very gracious, but I guess that’s what they’re all about.

On my side quest, to understand religion, I’m starting to realise gathering as a group to be selfless and share some common principles may be a very beneficial practice, but I’m still not convinced there’s a God yet.  The Hare Krishnas were very lovely people; they gave me a free Indian meal, making them one up on the Christians who just offered me coffee and cake.

HARE KRSNA, HARE KRSNA, KRSNA, KRSNA, HARE HARE

HARA RAMA, HARE RAMA, RAMA RAMA, HARE HARE

Standard
Dance, drink, Uncategorized

…been to an early morning rave

Day 39Day Thirty-nine

I’ve never really been a ‘morning person’ and, to be honest, I’m not very fond of ‘morning people’; the types who leave parties early so they can wake up at 6.30am to energetically jump up and down proudly declaring ‘Good Morning!!!’ to the world to the absolute annoyance of all us night owls – I’m possibly just a little jealous that, unlike me, they haven’t slept most their life away.

My friend Jasmine had told me about an unusual event called Morning Glory, which is not a male dayspring adjustment in one’s pyjama bottoms, but a sober early morning rave party for workers before they hit the office.  We both booked tickets for it a month in advance (it’s surprisingly popular) and I was excited yet also concerned, as I love a rave but hate getting out of bed.

Unfortunately the timing of my never done before experience was rather poorly planned as my previous day’s activity was to arrange a ‘piss-up in a brewery’ and pissed-up we certainly got.  I had to be at Morning Glory at 6.30am, an hour’s journey from my house.  I don’t really remember going to bed, or indeed setting an alarm clock, but somehow I woke at 5.30am and headed straight out the door.

At first, I wasn’t hung-over, in fact I was still completely smashed from the night before and ‘up for it’ thanks to that deceiving inner voice that says “I don’t feel drunk at all, actually I’ve never felt better in my entire life”, of course twenty minutes later, as always, that inner confidence dramatic diminished and the world’s biggest hangover kicked in.  I was stuck on a commuter train heading to a morning rave with a load of well rested city workers – things were not looking good.

When my train arrived at my destination, I discovered I’d accidentally entered the venue’s details into Apple Maps on my IPhone rather than Google Maps.  Apple Maps annoying upheld its reputation of being rubbish by guiding me to completely the wrong place.  I had to walk for thirty minutes in the freezing cold and, as I’d left my home with such drunken urgency, I was wearing hardly any clothes.

I finally got through to Jasmine, who’d not been answering her phone, to be informed she was still in bed, had overslept and wasn’t coming.  I was actually a little relieved by this, I was close to being sick, so I was happy to turn around and head back home, but annoyingly I then reminded myself that not attending the rave would be contrary to my personal yearlong challenge I was attempting; it’s at that point I started to hate myself a little.

It was quite an unusual experience arriving at Morning Glory.  There were entrance barriers outside, Bouncers on the door and the sound of vibrating windows from the loud music inside the warehouse type building.  It looked like a normal club set-up, only all the revellers were sober and had just got out of bed.  The crowd looked more like young trendy bohemian types than the city workers I was expecting.  A lot of them were wearing pyjamas or onesies and either had painted their faces or were covered in a lot of glitter, bizarrely I felt a little overdressed.

Once I got past the entrance barriers and opened the door to the club, I was greeted by a woman who proudly declared “Good Morning!!!”, so I responded by saying “Morning” back, but as my hangover stepped up another notch the feeling in my head towards her was slightly less jovial.  She said to me “I would give you a hug, but I’ve hugged so many people this morning”.  I suddenly become paranoid as it dawned on me the real reason she wouldn’t hug me was because I still stunk of booze and looked remarkably like a tramp.

I thought perhaps I’d survive the whole thing by finding a dark corner in the club and just bop gently to the music on my own, however it didn’t quite work like that.  When I entered I discovered the brightest lit club in the world, a smoothie bar and lots of jolly ‘morning types’ jumping up and down.  I took a ‘selfie’ to prove I’d been there, if only for thirty seconds, and then left to catch the morning rush hour train home.

In conclusion: if you organise a piss-up in a brewery, then make sure you organise the next day properly too.

Standard
Dance, Fitness, strangers, Uncategorized

…been to a Lindy Hop Dance Class (and looked like a right prat)

Day Thirty

Dancing seems to have got popular once again.  The ‘hip-hop’ youth of today can earn ‘big up massive respect’ from the rest of ‘da gang’ by body popping and flinging their arms around in a style similar to dance troupe Diversity – essentially they’re all just doing the Robot from the 1980’s, but they weren’t around then so I won’t judge them.

I must admit I do like ‘throwing some shapes’ on the dance floor and I always think I look pretty cool, although I imagine I look more like I’ve just mastered ‘dad dancing’.  As much as I like waving my limbs around in a club or at a wedding, organised sober dancing is very much out of my comfortable zone.

I’d been invited to learn how to dance in a 1930’s fashion and was quite nervous about attending my first Lindy Hop class.  I knew Lindy Hop was a form of partner dancing so I was expecting to make a complete fool of myself in front of a group of coordinated dancers.

At the start we were split into two groups, Leaders and Followers.  I was really hoping to be a follower and just copy someone else, but being a man I was told to learn the leader’s moves – bugger!  Once we learnt the basic steps we were told to find a partner and instantly I forgot everything we’d just be taught as, once again, I was too busy in my head worrying how much of tit I looked.  I partnered up with a friend who I knew was also a complete novice and hoped we’d just get through the evening without anyone noticing, however after three minutes my plan failed as we were told to switch partners and to my horror I realised eventually I would be dancing with every follower in the room.Day 30

The second partner I had didn’t seem to know what was going on either so this filled me with a bit more confidence, but as I was supposed to be leading I imagine it was mainly my fault that we both got completely lost.  Another dance partner seemed really unimpressed by my complete lack of co-ordination, I think she was expecting me to be a bit more Frankie Manning, founding father of Lindy Hop, but instead I was a bit more like Boris Johnson at a disco – I apologised profusely.   I must admit I quite fancied one of girls I was forced to dance with and every time I partnered with her I turned into an awkward bumbling idiot, bit like Hugh Grant in one of those many films where he plays an awkward English prat – I’m not sure my moves impressed her in the slightest.

By the end of class I actually quite enjoyed myself.  Despite still having no idea of any of the steps, I came to the conclusion if I smiled enough nobody would notice my legs were in a giant knot.

If you fancy dancing around in a retro style with a load of strangers, then I’d highly recommend visiting: http://uptownswing.co.uk

ON TO THE NEXT NEW THING…

P.S. I apologise for my attempt at ‘street talk’ at the start of this post.

Standard