All that I am, all that I ever was…

I am more than my mental health. I am more than my homelessness. I am more than any one aspect of me. I am Addy. And this is…


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Ten people who inspire me…

In today’s installment of the Ten Time to Be Happy Challenge I’ve been tasked with sharing ten influential people. People who inspire me. People who fill me with joy. People who make me happy. The only catch; they have to be people I don’t know!

~ In no particular order ~

~ Click each image to enlarge ~

What about you? Are there any famous people (or not so famous people) who inspire you toward greatness?


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Ten positive memories…

After the darkness and depression of yesterday, I’m due some happiness. So brace yourselves for another installment of the Ten Times to Be Happy challenge. Today, we take a look back at some of the happy memories scattered throughout my life! :)

1. Licking the bowl

Some of my favourite memories in life revolve around licking the bowl. Is there anything better in life than being handed the dregs of a cake mix and being allowed to spoon the sugary, doughy mixture into your mouth? Whenever my mum or dad made a cake when I was younger, I was the first of us siblings in line to munch on the remnants of whatever recipe was being made. And nine times out of ten, it tasted better than the actual end product!

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A young Addy, loving every second of his cake mixture munching! :p

2. This is your life and it’s ending one minute at a time…

It had been a particular brutal and boring day at the North of Scotland Water Authority. I’d been working there for several weeks as a general office dogsbody. I hated the work. I hated the boring monotony of it. As the day drew to a close I decided I needed to end it with some excitement, with some happiness, before doing it all again the following day.

So after finishing work I walked the three miles to the nearest cinema where I chose to watch the film Fight Club. It felt strange watching such a film wearing a suit and tie, but as the movie progressed, I became spellbound. I didn’t care about what I was wearing or the banality of my pointless existence. I cared only about the story that was unfolding before me. When the movie finished I left the cinema dumbstruck. I walked back to the hostel that night in awe of what I had witnessed; the greatest piece of cinema that has ever been made.

3. Why does it always have to be snakes?

One of the happiest periods of my life were the three months I spent traveling the length and breadth of Canada. From May 2000 to August 2000, via VIA rail, I journeyed from Vancouver to Halifax to Vancouver to Montreal, having all manner of adventures and escapades along the way. Featuring heavily in these escapades was Annie, one of the brightest and most loveable human beings I’ve ever encountered. We met one balmy evening in the Rocky Mountain town of Jasper and became firm friends.

For a week we trekked, drove and swam our way around the various locations that made up this stunning part of the world. We boated on a crystalline lake, we bathed our troubles away in hot springs and, on one occasion, threw ourselves into a lake only to find some snakes enjoying their own dip in the water. They startled us, but fortunately, didn’t attack us. It was remarkable fun, hanging out with Annie, hours spent laughing, smiling and cajoling our way through waves of happiness. When the time came to part, it was painful, but inevitable, for nothing can last forever.

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Annie and I, moments before we discovered snakes in the water! :)

However, a month later, I decided to spend six days straight on a train in order to journey back to Vancouver to spend more time with her. It would be truthful to say that this was partly because I had fallen head over heals in love with her, but true to form, didn’t act on my desire because I found out she had a boyfriend. Such heartache, however, didn’t stop us from having fun. For seven days we tore up Vancouver. Relishing the Vancouver Folk Festival whilst sitting on a beach at sunset. Hurling seaweed at each other as we basked in the ocean. Hiking the stunning, breathtaking, Garibaldi Lake trail at Whistler and playfully threatening each other with spankings if our behaviour descended into mischievous territory.

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Annie and I; posing like the awesome pair we were at Garibaldi Lake! :)

I will never forget my time with Annie in Canada. She turned my vacation from spectacular to special and I will never forget the friendship we had.

4. Parental leave

I had been in Australia for two years. It was weird, being so far apart from my family, so when my mother and father decided to come for a visit, I was over the moon. I promptly organised for three weeks off work so I could spend as much time with them as possible.

We visited Melbourne Zoo, where my mum fell in love with the wombats and koalas. We visited the aquarium, where we all fell in love with the octopi and sea horses. With my girlfriend, Louise, behind the wheel of the car we traveled across Victoria; taking in the Great Ocean Road, Port Fairy, Halls Gap, the Grampians and Daylesford. We went for a two-day sojourn to the island of Port Fairy where we saw more koalas than you could shake a stick at and marveled at the gorgeous Fairy Penguins who come home to roost, night after night.

For three long weeks I relished the chance to be with my parents again and it showed. They informed me that they had never seen me so happy. And at that point they were right. Things were working in my life. My relationship was strong, my job enjoyable and I had been granted the opportunity to show my parents around my adoptive home. It was happiness personified, those three blissful weeks.

5. Babe, I’m on fire…

This list wouldn’t be complete without the delectable Samantha. She whom I spanked in Adelaide. She whom I spanked even harder in Glasgow. But don’t worry, she was a kinky wee thing and loved every second of her butt roasting sessions. However much I loved our time together in Adelaide, my mania riddled mind means I don’t remember it very clearly. But I remember every second of our time together in Glasgow. I remember the one liners and sarcasm that flowed freely from her mind. I remember the atrocious karaoke session to Common People. I remember her obscure way of eating Sausage and Egg McMuffins. I remember how utterly peaceful and serene it was curling up on a hotel bed to watch My Neighbor Totoro together. And I remember with crystal clarity, the fifteen minutes I spent fulfilling her lifelong fantasy to the score of Nick Cave’s seminal Babe, I’m on Fire. Which is, without question, one of the happiest fifteen minutes of my life! :D

6. The Stornoway Way

I had never been to the Western Isles before. During the months I had spent backpacking around the country this particular district of Scotland had evaded me. So when Deborah and Elle invited me to travel with them when we decided to leave the hostel that we’d been long-terming at, I jumped at the chance to visit this beautiful, rugged and inspirational part of Scotland.

We rose early one day to catch the bus from Inverness to Ullapool, where we hopped on a ferry that carried us across the Sound to the port of Stornoway, on the Isle of Lewis. The hostel we checked ourselves into turned out to be a stinking dive, so a group decision resulted in us finding B&B accommodation for the second night of our stay.

We spent the second day of our adventure touring around the Isle of Lewis. Visiting the Butt of Lewis. Feeling awe-inspired by the Callanish Standing Stones and generally falling in love with this neck of the world. I loved Deborah and Elle. Not love as in sexual love. But love as in friendship love. They made me a better man. They made me like myself. And I don’t think they ever really knew of how deeply and firmly I cared for them. But they knew they made me happy. That was impossible to hide!

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Deborah, Elle and I; larking about in a Stornoway B&B! :)

7. A Link to the Past

I don’t have many happy memories of my teenage years. They were a particularly brutal, unforgiving and morose time. But I do remember with tremendous fondness the days I spent playing The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past with Meadhbh by my side. We both relished exploring the world of Hyrule, rescuing the princess and saving the land from the machinations of Ganondorf, so much so, that we replayed it almost instantly.

It was the first time I had played a Zelda game and it began a lifelong love and fascination with this stellar video game series. To this day, Meadhbh and I play at least one Zelda game a year. Reliving those heady days of old where we had nothing to worry about bar what minion was going to attack us next! :)

8. Elephant Love Medley…

People think I enjoyed managing the backpacker hostel I was once in charge of. To some degree, I did, but it was never what I wanted to spend my life doing, and as such, I spent a large portion of that period of my life seriously depressed and borderline suicidal. However, the leaving party that marked the end of my tenure in charge is one of the happier occasions that occurred during that period.

Myself, my trusty crew of employees and several special guests from head office, gathered in the hostel’s back gardens for an evening of sausage sizzles, music and merriment. I danced like a diva to Britney’s Oops, I Did It Again. I made a fool of myself during the (expected) leaving speech. I sung a killer duet of Elephant Love Medley with Grace. However much Kathy, and her subsequent abuse, has tainted my memories of that time, she will never take from me the awesomeness of that night. The smiles, for a change, were genuine.

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Grace, Kathy and I; impressionism style! :)

9. I am come home!

After six long years baking in the unforgiving Australian sun, I returned home to the UK in January 2008. It was a return borne out of necessity. My time in Australia had descended into a pit of mental illness, loneliness, poverty, homelessness and chaos. I needed the warmth of the UK winter to soothe my soul and renew my vitality to keep fighting this crazy little thing called life. After weeks of living in my parents house I decided the time had come to return to Scotland; the country where my heart lies. I sold my possessions like a crazy Ebay obsessed person in order to afford the two weeks I wanted and, on 14 February 2008, boarded a plane at Bristol airport to fly me to Glasgow, where I would catch a train to Fort William.

This is the second blog video I made during my trip to Scotland in 2008. The first can be viewed here.

The two weeks I spent travelling my old haunts (Fort William, Glen Nevis, the Small Isles, Loch Ness, Drumnadrochit, Inverness and Stirling) were manna from heaven. They were exactly what my ravaged, lonely soul needed. For fourteen days I walked the glens, explored the festivals and threw myself back into Scottish culture. I let the music of the nation soothe my soul and the literature of the country warm my heart. Being back in Scotland, after so many years apart, felt perfect. It has, and will always be, my home. And even though we’re apart once again, I know deep down I will return there one day. It is a source of tremendous happiness, serenity and inspiration; and it will live on in my heart forever.

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10. Mummy and baby…

There weren’t many happy times during my homelessness years. It was a constant battle to survive each day, so there really wasn’t much time or opportunity to crack a smile and enjoy life. But amidst the pain and torment, there were moments, moments that thrilled me, moments that made me giggle, moments that reminded me that we must always seek out the joy in life.

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Mummy and baby possum

One such moment occurred late one night as I was bedding down in my park. Out the corner of my eye I spied something moving, and sat back to watch a mother possum with her baby nonchalantly roaming through the undergrowth, seeking out tasty grass to nibble on. I watched that possum for nearly twenty minutes, merrily going about its business with scant regard for the smelly, bearded man sitting a few metres away.

~ All photographs in this post are © Addy Lake ~

~ You can read thirteen more of my happy memories here ~


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Ten places that make me feel positive, inspired and happy…

In today’s installment of the Ten Times to Be Happy challenge I take you on a whistle stop tour of some of the places that make me feel positive, inspired and happy. And surprisingly, most of them are in Scotland! :p

~1~
Glenfinnan, on the shores of Loch Shiel

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~ Glenfinnan, on the shores of Loch Shiel ~

I have Highlander to thank for this. My obsession with the TV Series during my teenage years was instrumental in my decision to run away from home in 1997. For some reason I needed to visit the location of my fictional hero’s birth. I needed to walk the glen that had featured so prominently in the episode Homeland. When I arrived in Scotland I walked twenty-six miles to Drumnadrochit, on the shores of Loch Ness, before catching a bus to the quaint town of Fort William (see 4). Once in Fort William I hopped on a train for the twenty-minute journey to Glenfinnan. And as the train weaved across the viaduct (made famous in the Harry Potter films) my heart skipped a beat at the most beautiful view I’d ever seen; the glen opened up, all eyes leading toward the loch, and the Highlander statue that stands at its tip. I was instantaneously smitten.

I have returned to Glenfinnan many times in my life. After that first visit it quickly became my favourite place on earth. I loved the serenity of the glen. I loved the beauty of the loch. I loved that it always provided me with such peace and solace. Although it is tinged with sadness (it being the site of a suicide attempt in 2000) it has never failed to bring me positivity, inspiration and happy fuzzy bunny feelings. I cannot speak highly enough of this magical place. It is a location that everyone needs to visit at least once. It is a site of such majesty, such ravishing beauty, it cannot fail to move you.

The following video was made in 2008, during my return to Scotland (and Glenfinnan) after six years in Australia:

~2~
Berneray

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~ The Sound of Harris, Berneray ~

When I first visited Berneray in February 2000, I fell instantly in love with this far-flung island of the Western Isles chain. A tiny island off the coast of North Uist, Berneray is blessed with a rugged beauty that few places on earth can match. Home to otters, a flower covered machair, and miles of unspoilt white beaches, you could lose days of your life exploring this magical, inspiring locale. As I have done over the years. But Berneray means more to me than just another ravishing Scottish Island. It was the place my life changed when I met Louise at New Year 2000, and it was the place where I lost my virginity, one wind-swept New Years day. And ever since that magical moment occurred, I have loved Berneray with an intense passion.

~3~
Inverness

Inverness-2008-0021

~ Inverness, Scotland ~

My home in Scotland. My love affair with Inverness began in 1997, when I stopped off there during my ‘runaway’ period. I fell in love with the river Ness, that winds effortlessly through the heart of the city. I fell in love with the islands, a chain of small islets in the middle of the river. I fell in love with the cobbled streets and myriad of independent shops that populated them. I fell in love with Leakeys, the finest bookshop I’ve ever visited. I fell in love with the music that played in pubs and clubs on a nightly basis. I fell in love with Craig Phadrig, a forested hill that dominates the skyline. I fell in love so quickly, so hard, that I began dreaming of this fair city. In 1999, during my backpacking odyssey, it was always my final destination; the city that I had chosen to make my home, and for many years, it was. I attended college in Inverness. I fell in love in Inverness. I lost my soul to Inverness. Even now, tens of thousands of miles on the other side of the world, my heart yearns for that majestic city in the Highlands. One day, I will return. That much I know to be true.

~4~
Fort William

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~ Morning mist over Loch Linnhe, Fort William ~

If Inverness is my wife, Fort William is my mistress. Many times whilst I was living in Inverness I would travel the 66 miles to this quaint little town to spend night after night in its warm, loving embrace. I fell head over heels for its location on the shores of Loch Linnhe, for its arts scene, for its mountain festival, for its proximity to the mighty Ben Nevis and beautiful Glen Nevis. Fort William burns in my heart. It always will.

~5~
Orkney Mainland

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~ Me, at the Ring of Brodgar, Orkney Mainland (1999) ~

I’ve only been to Orkney twice. Once in 1999 during my backpacking odyssey around Scotland and once in 2001, when I visited it with Louise and her parents. On both occasions I was overwhelmed with the beauty of this fair isle. I fell head over heels for its history, for the neolithic sites, for the serenity of Scapa Flow and its turbulent, tragic history. I fell head over heels for its fishing villages, Viking lineage and treeless landscape. This love was cemented when Louise and I appeared in the Orkney tourist brochure; gleefully smiling away in the shadow of Kirkwall Cathedral. Of all the Scottish islands, this is my favourite. It has always been inspiring. It has always filled me with joy and happiness. I love it. Truthfully and totally.

~6~
The Western Isles

callanish

~ Callanish Standing Stones, Isle of Lewis ~

Berneray (see 2) is the jewel in the crown of this archipelago. But it has stiff competition. My first visit to this island chain was in February 2000, when I traveled the length and breadth of it with Deborah and Elle, two friends I met in Inverness. I was overwhelmed by the Callanish Standing Stones. In awe of the mountainous Isle of Harris. And moved by the majesty of North Uist, Benbecula and South Uist. To this day I regret visiting Barra, the southern most island of the archipelago, but deep down I know that one day I will walk upon its unspoilt beaches. Like the Orkney Mainland, I carry the Western Isles in my heart, and regret living so far away from this magnificent collection of islands.

~7~
London

And so we leave Scotland and travel several hundred miles south, to the greatest city in the world. I have loved London for as long as I can remember. When I was in my late teens I would house-sit for my Aunt and Uncle, traveling the thirty minutes into the heart of the city each day to explore the history, architecture and art it had to offer. I would spend days of my life walking the stone streets of England’s capital, my heart singing with every mile walked. I would visit its plethora of theaters. I would wile away the hours in its shops, stores and shopping arcades. There is nothing you can’t do in London. There is nothing you can’t help but fall in love with. From the mighty river Thames, to the back streets of Soho to the expanse of parkland in the heart of the city. It is a wonderful, inspiring and altogether glorious city that burns in your soul whenever you are apart from it.

~8~
Melbourne

Melbourne

~ Melbourne ~

My home in Australia. For the first ten years that I was in Australia I lived in Melbourne. It’s laneways, coffee shops, wide streets and intricate inner suburbs were my home. And later, it’s parkland, alleys and litter strewn streets, my bed. My homeless period in Melbourne has stained my love of the city to some degree. The memories of this traumatic, brutal life tingeing my memories with sadness and rendering me unable to love the city as much as I once did. I used to be able to spend days exploring the laneways and streets of the city, engaging in the vibrant arts scene and wiling the hours away in its beautiful art galleries and museums. But now when I think of Melbourne I think of curling up on stone concrete for a restless nights sleep. I think of the abuse I received from its residents; words and actions that made me think I was less than human. I think of the pain and trauma that my mind and body went through during those dark, joyless years. But I still love Melbourne. I still miss is. It is, after all, my home in Australia. It always will be.

~9~
Port Fairy

Port Fairy East Beach

~ East Beach, Port Fairy ~

This quaint little fishing village on the southern coast of Victoria, Australia, has always shone in my soul. From my first visit there with my parents in 2004, through to the traumatic breakdown I experienced on my last visit there in 2007, it has always been held with high regard in my mind. I love the wide streets. The expansive beaches. The plethora of outdoor activity. And the annual folk festival that fills the town to bursting. I love how the quiet allowed my soul to sing as I explored the township and fell in love with the inspirational arts scene that runs through the village. I miss Port Fairy. I used to go there often. Two, three times a year I would leave Melbourne to refind myself in this delightful town. But since the breakdown. Since the darkness that clouded my last visit. I don’t think I would ever return. Too much pain. Too many bad memories. But not even to dampen my love for Port Fairy. It will always be one of my favourite places in Australia.

and

~10~
The Wodonga Public Library

This is the only place in Wodonga, the town I currently call home, that I like. I visit it several times a week, losing myself amidst the stacks of books and piles of DVDs, allowing the knowledge and intellect contained within them to wash over me. I cherish how it soothes my troubled soul. I love how it calms my anxiety. I love how it provides me a moment of solace from the usual chaotic nature of my life and illness. I have always loved libraries, ever since I was a child, and Wodonga library will always be one of my favourites. And not just because I have a crush on one of the hot librarians who works there! :p

~ All photos in this post are © Addy Lake ~


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Ten songs that make me happy…

On this first day of the Ten Times to Be Happy challenge, it’s all about music, and ten songs that make me happy. Enjoy!

~1~
Applejack | The Triangles
This song used to be played extensively on 3RRR, the radio station my girlfriend used to listen to whilst doing her morning yoga routine. Whenever it came on, a smile crept across my face as it was a beautifully catchy tune that had me grinning from ear to ear. A perfect way to wake up.

~2~
There She Goes My Beautiful World | Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Beloved by each of my voices, this song is a masterwork of happy inducing chemicals.

~3~
Holding Out For a Hero | Bonnie Tyler
One of my favourite songs of all time. I used to listen to it frequently whilst writing my novel ‘The Ghosts That Haunt Me’ and have an entire scene planned out to it for the movie version of said fictional work. A gloriously upbeat, happy making tune!

~4~
Diva’s Lament | from Spamalot
Never fails to make me laugh. One of my favorite musical numbers of all time.

~5~
Many of Horror | Biffy Clyro
This song reminds me of my friend Samantha, who passed away in December 2008.

~6~
Oops I Did It Again | Britney Spears
My official “Canada Adventure” anthem. I have danced on a podium to this song. I have performed a striptease to this song!

~7~
Hearts of Olden Glory | Runrig
My favourite song from my favourite musical group, and one that will forever remind me of Scotland; that beautiful, rugged land.

~8~
Weak in the Knees | Serena Ryder
My favourite song of all time. Enough said.

~9~
F**kin’ Perfect | P!nk
Everything about this song is perfect. It’s beat. It’s melody. It’s message. A fantastic piece of music.

and

~10~
The Doctor Who Theme | Ron Grainer
The greatest instrumental piece of music of all time. It always heralds fun, adventure and happiness.


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Ten Categories, Ten Entries and Ten Times to Be Happy!

Tomorrow is the anniversary of when I was assaulted and raped in the South Australian city of Adelaide. So it stands to reason that I’m not exactly Mr. Happy Bear at the moment. So when I saw this blog challenge on Dearest Someone this morning I thought the fates had aligned, for it is exactly what I need at the moment. An opportunity to banish the nightmares, to banish the flashbacks, and focus on all that makes me happy. So over the next ten days I’m choosing to celebrate all that makes me happy. Why not join me on the journey! :)

The Master List

happy

Day One: Ten Songs that make you happy

Day Two: Ten Places that make you feel positive, inspired and happy

Day Three: Ten Positive Memories that you never want to let go of

Day Four: Ten Influential People or role models (people you don’t know!!)

Day Five: Ten Books/Movies/Creative works that have ‘changed your life’

Day Six: Ten destinations that you would love to visit

Day Seven: Ten of your favourite historical moments

Day Eight: Ten of your favourite foods (and why!)

Day Nine: Ten of your favourite photos! 

Day Ten: Ten ways to get yourself out of a rut. (To cheer yourself up!)


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009. 25 Things That Make Me Happy

Yesterday, courtesy of my 365 Day Blogging Challenge, I depressed myself by writing about things that made me sad. A post that only served to remind me just how lonely and depressed I am at the moment.

Thankfully, the challenge isn’t dwelling on this, so here are twenty five things that make me happy. It’s not a complete list, but a nice cross section of the things that make me smile and feel wonderful.

1. Charles De Lint

“I finally figured out that I’m solitary by nature, but at the same time I know so many people; so many people think they own a piece of me. They shift and move under my skin, like a parade of memories that simply won’t go away. It doesn’t matter where I am, or how alone–I always have such a crowded head.”

De Lint has been my favourite author since I first discovered his work in the early naughties. An old friend I met whilst backpacking mentioned him and for months I kept my eye out for any of his books. Unfortunately, he is not widely available outside of North America and it took me nearly two years to come across one of his books. This book was Memory and Dream and I found it in a charity shop in Inverness for 50p. I carried this book around with me until 2009, when I lost it courtesy of homelessness.

I haven’t had the opportunity to read De Lint since, but if I can get back on my feet, the thought of several new books to read puts a smile on my face.

“Wondering’s healthy. Broadens the mind. Opens you up to all sorts of stray thoughts and possibilities.”

2. Jacket Potatoes (with butter, cheese, broccoli and cauliflower)

Mmmmmmm, yummy.

3. The Legend of Zelda

If I had the money I would go straight to the store and purchase a Wii and a copy of Twilight Princess so I could spend the next several days in a blissful state of ecstasy.

4. Wombats.

Just look at them. They are awesome embodied in marsupial form.

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wombat (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

5. Articles

No, I’m not made happy by separate clauses in legal documentation, nor specific bits of clothing or household paraphernalia. I mean well written, entertaining, thought-provoking articles of journalistic, opinionistic merit.

6. This blog post from Fringewalk, because it makes me smile every time I look at it…

7. Glenfinnan

Despite it being the location of a dark moment in my life, there hasn’t been a single time I’ve visited this beautiful place when I haven’t felt pure ecstasy.

Glenfinnan. Loch Shiel and the memorial to the...

Glenfinnan. Loch Shiel and the memorial to the Jacobites. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

8. The female posterior.

I’m not going to apologise for this as I don’t expect women to apologise for their own lustful desires. I happen to think the female posterior in any shape, size or form, is magnificent and you’re completely mad if you don’t

9. That moment when you realise the book you are holding is special.

We’ve all had a moment such as this. You’ve selected your book, maybe from a review or recommendation, perhaps from just browsing the shelves of you local book emporium. The cover looks interesting, the blurb intriguing, but you know not what it may contain within. As you start reading it you smile, promise yourself one more chapter, then two, four, then you realise what you’re holding is something magnificent. Something that will stay with you always.

Quest for a Kelpie – Age 8, Scotland – Under the duvet with a torch

The Crow Road – Age 21, Scotland – On the shores of Loch Shiel.

The Hotel New Hampshire – Age 21, Canada – On a train between Edmonton and Toronto.

The Stornoway Way – Age 26, Australia – Small park outside Fitzroy library.

Thirteen Reasons Why – Age 30, Australia – Kings Domain, homeless.

10. The Virgin (by Gustav Klimt):

11. Photography

If I had the money I would go straight to the store and purchase a Wii and a copy of Twilight Princess so I could spend the next several days in a blissful state of ecstasy. But before I allowed myself to be cocooned in such a state, I would swing by a camera store and buy a brand spanking new D-SLR with multiple lenses so I could reignite my passion for photography.One of my strongest emotions is how calm and focussed I am when viewed the world through the lens of a camera. Lost in my desire to capture the beauty I see to share with the world.

12. The fact that so many people have become obsessed with Forty Shade of Grey

…when Anne Rice was doing sadomasochistic erotica far better twenty odd years ago.

13. Sleepy Lizards

Just look at them. They are cuddly cuteness embodied in reptile form.

14. James Kelman

“Ye wake in a corner and stay there hoping yer body will disappear, the thoughts smothering ye; these thoughts; but ye want to remember and face up to things, just something keeps ye from doing it, why can’t ye no do it; the words filling yer head: then the other words; there’s something wrong; there’s something far far wrong; ye’re no a good man, ye’re just no a good man. Edging back into awareness, of where ye are: here, slumped in this corner, with these thoughts filling ye. And oh christ his back was sore; stiff, and the head pounding. He shivered and hunched up his shoulders, shut his eyes, rubbed into the corners with his fingertips; seeing all kinds of spots and lights. Where in the name of fuck…”

When I visit a country I have a thing where I try to read as many authors from that country as I can. During my time in Canada I read: Wharton, Cohen, Atwood, Coupland, Huff. In Australia: McGahan, Winton, Micallef, Carey, Garner, Halligan.

During my first months backpacking in Scotland I submerged myself in the works of MacKenzie, Prebble, Gray, Stevenson, Welsh, Burns, MacKay Brown, Doyle and James Kelman.

The latter of which I fell in love with. Recently, whilst browsing a Lifeline op shop, I came upon a novel called Kieron Smith, Boy and let out a small squeal of glee. A new James Kelman novel I had yet to read! I have now read it, and I love him even more.

“Parks were on the other side of the river. One was one way and the other was the other and they were both good. I liked them. Usually we went to the other. It was a big walk and ye went different roads and there were closes to go through and sometimes there were good jumps out the back. But if the other boys were there and saw ye it was a fight…”

15. Flannel Pyjamas

If I had the money I would go straight to the store and purchase a Wii and a copy of Twilight Princess so I could spend the next several days in a blissful state of ecstasy. But before I allowed myself to be cocooned in such a state, I would swing by a camera store and buy a brand spanking new D-SLR with multiple lenses so I could reignite my passion for photography. And with this camera nestled snugly in my backpack I would go to a store and buy a brand new pair of flannelette pyjamas so I could be all cosy when I returned home to play Zelda and think of what photographs to take, possibly a series illustrating how awesome pyjamas are.

16. Flanel Pyjamas (being worn by a woman)

There is nothing sexier, nothing more alluring, nothing more beguiling than a woman wearing pyjamas. Lingerie is all well and good, but in pyjamas, the female form takes on the air of mystery. What delights doth lurk beneath that shield of fabric?

The imagination, far and away the single greatest aphrodisiac known to humankind.

17. Shaun Micallef

The man is a genius, see for yourself.

18. Hugs

Who doesn’t love hugs?

English: Photo of two people hugging on free h...

19. Kisses

Depending on the circumstances, hugs will often lead here.

Kissing Black-tailed Prairie Dogs (Cynomys lud...

20. Sex

Yep, hugs lead to kisses which leads to sex which leads to…

21. Going Down Under

Few things make me happier than savouring the succulent delights of Australia’s secret gardens. Horticulturally speaking, of course.

22. The Doctor Who Theme

How happy this tune makes me :) Specifically the assault of emotion that overwhelms me whenever I hear it. Memories of childhood, of teenage years, of my ex attempting to distract me from watching it by naughtily removing her clothing. Joy at being able to visit strange new worlds and befriend wonderful new people. Bliss at the dialogue and plots the writers weave. Frustration at The Beast Below. Pure unadulterated hate at The Horns of Nimon. Confusion over why Tom Baker is so beloved when Troughton and Tennant are far superior. Speculation over how brilliant Colin Baker could have been if not lumbered with such a ridiculous outfit and atrocious scripts. Lust over Amy, Sarah, Ace, Victoria, Nyssa and Zoe. Oh, what a terrible place this world would be without this show.

23. To Write Love on Her Arms

A non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide.  TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire and also to invest directly into treatment and recovery.

24. Skittles

25. Comments

What? Comments make me happy. So why not bring some happiness to a guy’s life and tell me the things that make you happy? How else will I know how to bring joy to your life?