Friday, 29 December 2017


I have been in London for a year as of right.... now.

It has been a whirlwind beat-down of reality which has flashed past like a naked man in a full length jacket.

I've been to new places, London, New York, Montreal as well as Dover... yes, Dover (never going back). I went to Toronto, Edinburgh, Helsinki, Tallinn, Belfast, Glasgow and.. gawd damn you Dover, you were horrible.

I called the police twice. No-one died.

I rode my first rollercoaster, then five more.. I remain unconvinced.

I performed in the Edinburgh Fringe. I performed in London. I performed in Helsinki.

I had a job, lost that job, got another job, went to New York for a job and through it all did not starve.

I did have financial hard times, but I dug myself out, I survived.

I played village cricket in England.

I saw Weezer live.

I tried out hospital A&E.

I met Stewart Lee.

I started running and still hate running.

I played in the Scandinavian snow on a frozen lake.

I rode the tube in my underwear.

I lost my business and was in all the papers.

I did 101 things with a 101 people and made friends with them all. Except the ones I didn't.

It's been an amazing year which I just feathered over with the lightest of brush strokes. It has been an exceptional time in my life and while I do miss much about home, I think I'm just starting to find my feet and this adventure is just beginning.

Sorry Mum, maybe I'll pop home next Christmas.

Monday, 3 April 2017


It's been a while since I arrived in London, 3 months of a blur in fact. A lot has happened, my life has changed and I have stories to share.

I should have shared them when they happened, but London doesn't provide the kind of downtime I had in the desert. Indeed rather than wonder what to do with myself, there is always something to do.

But before I get into wearing undies on the underground or who punched who in the face, I want to share some of the basic observations that make Mum's happy.

Everything is made of bricks. Everything.

There's insulation, double glazing and central heating.. New Zealand, these are things you could learn from.

Almost all the cars are fancy European ones, VW, Mercedes, BMW, Renault.. I'm beginning to forget what a Honda was.

People are quite happy to drive them up the centre of the road and park them every which way in all directions, road markings be damned!

London is pretty flat, there are a lot of cyclists and I haven't seen a single one of them wearing a helmet. Cyclists are also completely immune to the effects of traffic lights or pedestrian crossings.

The supermarkets are much cheaper than New Zealand, including the New Zealand produce.. figure that one out.

Dining out however is extortionate. I unexpectedly paid 18 pounds to satiate my craving for fish 'n' chips.. about NZ$35 for a piece of crappy fish, some chips and a lemon fizzy drink. Never again.

People love to talk about what part of London they're from, which part they currently live in and which part they'd like to live in. Welcome to the most boring conversation of my life and know that when it comes up, which it inevitably will, that's at least an hour you're not getting back.

Did I mention everything is made of bricks? I was constantly asked when I first arrived which parts of London I liked, but initially I couldn't tell one brick from another. While I'm now more aware of the subtleties, there's still an awful lot of bricks.

Public transport is king and it's marvellous. The amazing thing is how Londoners like to complain about it, a 3 minute delay is met with collective groans, with the astonishing fact there's a train every other minute seemingly lost on them. I would love to see what they thought of their transport after living in Auckland for a bit.

There are a lot less cats, or so it seems to me. I actually live near a cat which is famous for hanging out at the local mini supermarket, not that I've met him, but the fact he's so well known only adds to his mystique. They do have foxes and squirrels though! There's also an inordinately large number of sausage dogs which you share the tube, bus, supermarket and pub with.. people take them everywhere.

There are very few KFC's, unable, I expect, to compete with the plethora of cheap and nasty 'chicken shops' which are absolutely everywhere. One even has its own TV show, a hidden camera in a chicken shop which highlights the eccentricity of their clientele.

Shoes here are also much cheaper, people take them seriously and you don't often see anyone wearing anything that doesn't look new.

The weather is better than people think, it's certainly better than the locals make it out to be. I suspect too many trips to the south of France may have tainted people's expectations, or perhaps people simply revel in the one thing they can agree upon.. a commonality in deriding the weather no matter how good it may be.

Although it's frustratingly difficult to get clothes dry when the sun's not out or the heating's not on given my place has no outdoors of its own.

You can forget about having phone reception indoors.

And finally, despite driving on the left, they walk on the right side of the footpath.. ffs.

Anyway, I made a quick list of 20 stories which should have been told, so hold onto your butts, cause while some of it's funny, some stuff gets rough.


Soon after my violation at the hands of America, my heart still beating in my chest, I was winging my way to Britain.

Watching the sun set over the desert, flying directly over Las Vegas and Chicago as they lit up the night sky and then more than one ginger ale calmed my nerves. The empty, vast, bleak blackness of Canada and the Atlantic giving way to the surprise of sunrise over the British Isles.

I remember thinking as my eyes locked sight on land " this where I'm from", which was as strange to write as it was to think at the time, a sentiment I'd never previously considered and now feel I should have a DNA test to confirm.

Following my experience through transit in the USA, I was dreading whatever horrors awaited me at the United Kingdom border, then 'beep' and I was in, 2 seconds! 2 damn seconds America!

I couldn't believe it, I thought I'd wandered through the wrong gate, out a side door or into a toilet, but no.. I walked straight up to the gate, no line, beeped my passport through and that was it.. I was in.

So unexpected was the speed of my concession that I actually considered going back to check that due diligence had been served.

Sleep deprived, exhausted and still pumped with the adrenaline of the effort to simply be here, I suddenly felt calm. Our flight was early, my friends weren't there to meet me, I had a sit.

Ultra-aware, I scanned everybody, faces, clothes, I felt like a fraud.. did they know I was an outsider?

A face I hadn't seen in 10 years emerged through the crowd, hugs were exchanged, hot chocolates were drank and the nonsensical ramblings began in earnest once in the car.

The sun shone through on a brisk winter's day as we passed from highway to city, my wide eyes sending a bevvy of questions to my mouth, all of them garbled out, words missing, overlapping, my brain hardly bothering to engage my ears. This statue, that bridge, why is there an enormous purple plastic pipe running for miles down the side of the road pinned in a foolhardy manor to that rickety fence?

Here we go, off to Brighton to stay with my friends, except the car stops "We're here!".

My friends have moved, I live in London now.

Monday, 9 January 2017


Before I left New Zealand, I was interviewed for a podcast, a bit of insight into things I did

Just click the link Mum and make sure you have the speakers on. Unless you don't want to hear the sound of my voice, in which case just click the link and watch the little bar go across for an hour.

Thursday, 5 January 2017


My flight to Los Angeles was relatively non-descript, if you can get past the fact there's over 10,000km of open ocean between you and your destination and any fault will surely mean a long swim to oblivion, you'll be fine. There's not much to sea.

The stopover in L.A. was 2 hours, a chance to stretch the legs, get a drink, use a less fearful toilet and take in the surroundings of a place I'd not been before, airport or no.

I was in transit and having completed my transit visa (I did complete it in time let's remember) I was expecting to hop off and on my plane after it refuelled with little bother. How wrong I was.

Americans love two things, yelling at you and yelling at each other. The ground staff had both bases covered as the cascade of travellers from my flight were met off the plane. Thick Latino accents filled the air and at least one "you don't know me", I was handed a large teal transit pass and ushered onwards.

Downstairs was bedlam, the mayhem of the chaos causing me to run out of adjectives.

We were funnelled into queues whether we liked it or not, there was very little decision making on anyone's part.

The QueueMaster Retractable Barriers are functional yet affordable retractable belt barriers, which come with a 3 year manufacturer's warranty and key safety features such as belt lock and a slow retract braking system. An ideal low cost solution for forming customer queues and the Americans couldn't get enough of them.

No sooner would we be in line, than a belt would be removed here, replaced there, the entire flow of traffic splintering and wavering in a cacophony of uncertain groans and dismay. My teal transit pass could only buy me so many shortcuts, others were not so lucky. You felt like you were saying goodbye to family for the last time, would you see them again? You didn't know.

I was pointed to one of the American paranoia machines, despite only being in transit it would glean as much information as it could from me including pictures and fingerprints. The interface was cumbersome, the fine print detailed and the constant critiquing of the fact I hadn't finished in record time only added to the anxiety.

I reluctantly placed my fingers on the fingerprint scanner, rejected. A slip falls out of the machine and I'm told to move on. I didn't know it at the time, but the reason I was rejected was because my little fingers were too short.. yup.

Another queue, more tension, more yelling, more whiz bang opening and closing of QueueMaster Retractable Barriers than you have ever seen. You'd be in front of someone, then ages behind them, crossing in zig zags everyone exchanging looks of total disbelief, the how's and why's beyond any of us.

I was to be processed by a human being and the clock was ticking. My thoughts of a drink and a go on the toilet long since dissipated, the only thing on my mind was my travel insurance and whether it would cover this. I reached my man, no chit chat, what was my business here, I was grilled, fingerprinted, re-photographed, glared at and sent on my way.

Holy shisskebabs Batman, America is a ridiculous place.

Oh but if this ordeal was over, ushered through more doorways, narrow hallways, escalators and wouldn't you know it, QueueMaster Retractable Barriers. It was time to strip down, unpack all of your belongings and stand in a x-ray machine listening to the female staff have a good laugh. They laughed the whole time, for everyone, at least someone was enjoying this.

Suddenly in the midst of a grand hall full of food and beverages, all I could do was hustle past them, smacking my lips, staring longingly at the drinks on display. It felt like slow motion, but this was a race. My mind, body and soul still reeling from the effort to even get this far over the previous days, the world seemed surreal and cartoon like, but this was America.

My flight was a long way through boarding as I ran up to the gate, I handed over my boarding pass as the violation of the USA hit me. 2 hours I'd never get back from a nation I hope I don't see again soon.

Monday, 2 January 2017


I made my connecting flight.. just. JUST.

Sitting amongst the suits on the plane I became aware of how gross I actually was. Pret-ty gross.

I forgave myself and decided they had it coming because I can't buy a house. The sort of sound resolution of thoughts one might expect from someone so close to breaking.

We landed in Auckland, I picked up my bags and half ran with them from the domestic to international terminal.. because in New Zealand these things are seperated by an open air maze of carparks, wire mesh, prefab huts and wheelie bins which stretch on for roughly a kilometre.

I had made it in time to check in for my flight, the relief was immense! Until I tried to check in anyway.

Despite numerous paranoid queries to the airline and friends about what paperwork might be required for passing through the United States, no-one mentioned a transit visa. But the woman at check-in did!

I was boned.

Off to the service desk I trolloped, giddy, vision blurred, smell.. apparent, and so so embarrassed about the visa. I could see the attendent behind the desk's face droop, just as the woman at check-in's had when my lack of a visa become the topic of conversation. "I can give you options.." here we go "We charge $50 to do it plus US$14 for the visa.. or you can do it yourself on your phone and just pay the $14." Now that's what I call options volume eleven. "I'll take the latter."

With time running out, I probed through the ridiculous American forms and how well they displayed on a phone. "How many hairs do you have on your right arm?" - "What was your Grandmother's dog's favourite colour?" - "How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck was a terrorist?"

Finished. Paid. Sent. "You have not qualified for automatic passage" which I show to the ground staff "That never happens." Of course it doesn't. "Your application will be assessed and you will hear back from us within 72 hours" - US Government. Well that's handy as my flight closes in 17 minutes.

A sort of slow imposing dread finally starts to creep over me as the woman at the counter types in one thing and another "No." she says to herself "No." again.. she pats the keys and squints into the screen "This never happens." I'm half listening, mostly clock watching, my thoughts have turned to who I can ask to pick me up from Auckland airport and what people will think of me when it comes to light that I haven't left the country. I feel sick.

I'll never know who my hero was, their name, their age.. but they knew mine and somewhere in America they hit the green button. With two minutes before my flight closed, I popped up "Approved."

With a total air of disbelief and visibly emotional I shunt myself through the automatic doors and onwards..


I'd been on the phone with the airline earlier in the day for reasons unrelated to my departure, however they'd picked up that I wouldn't make my international flight on my current connection.

Their quick thinking and attention to detail was appreciated, though the time I would lose in the run up to leaving my house forever was about as welcome as a slap with a wet haddock. The woman from the service team assured me she would sort it out and placed me on hold..

"Good gawd fuck" I thought to myself, just as I'm now thinking "I hope my Grandparents have the ability to censor swearwords in their minds". But swearing was required at the time and not relaying that now would be dishonest, which is surely the lessor of two evils..right?

The service team is back with options.. "We can change it for you for $280 or you can book a new flight for $299". Now that's what I call options volume ten!

I sat for a moment, I was too worn down, if I looked at that bit of floor a bit longer, maybe it would swallow me up? "Sir?" "Yes, right, well, the $280 option I guess" I said with as little conviction as is possible to convey a decision of that nature, it's like "you can eat this dog sick or cat shit".. "I'll have the shit thanks."

I'd lost time, I'd lost money and I'd lost self respect from eating all that shit. Not that I really ate any shit, that's not a past-time of mine, but I really want to rub in how bitter I was and it certainly felt like I had anyway.

Feeling not very well, I doubled down the effort, which was exactly like when you're already running, tell yourself to go faster and fall down in a heap. I did not get everything sorted before I left and I really can't apologise to my flatmates enough for that, at least I didn't leave piles of cat shit flavoured vomit anywhere.

I haphazardly packed my bags, got them downstairs and they were placed in a taxi on my behalf.. where I also eventually ended up. I'd frantically staggered there, soaked in sweat, twitchy and miserable, completely out of touch with my surroundings, we were off to the airport.


I've been working towards getting to Britain for the last 3 years, chasing my crazy dream like the two foxes I just saw chasing each other outside my window (they have foxes! OMG! squeee!)


The last few months especially have been hard yakka, working two jobs, paying double rent, trying to sell my business, getting rid of my other worldly possessions.. did I mention 'trying'?

I wasn't able to sell my business before I left and the upshot was a lot of running around to make sure it could continue operating in my absence, like the squirrels frantically running around the garden (Squirrels! holy fucking shit! SQUIRRELS! errrmmmeerrggeerrhhdddd)


It meant the run up to my leaving really did become a sprint. In the last few days I regularly stayed up past 4am trying to dot t's and cross i's.. which was part of the problem, I could no longer tell my arse from my elbow.

I chose to stay home for Christmas rather than spending it with the family, not because I wanted to, but because I simply wouldn't make the finish line if I lost two days to be with them. I had fights with friends and family alike in those last couple of weeks, I was emotionally drained, mentally fatigued and incredibly unfit (that's not news to anyone) and I hit the wall.

I spent a lot of time staring at two things like any decision I made was life and death and would alter the future of the world. I churlishly goaded myself whenever I stood still unaccepting of any time spent on my elbows.

It was a hard farcical grind and if there had been judges present I wouldn't have made it to the second round. I was a mess on that last day, a sweaty, exhausted, emotional, quixotic mess. For those I wasn't able to see on that last day, you're lucky, that would have been the grossest hug you've ever had.