Sunday, 20 March 2011

Saturday 20th March 2011: Talking Failure #1

Hello. Just saying something very quickly to bring you up to speed. This blog will be a bit longer than the usually. Then I hope to keep one every day, apart from every week. That is because of lessening impact of essays and uni work and intensifying moments of boredom, that usually spark beautiful moments of creative genius and sometimes, a depressing mountain of self-loathing, and NOTHING in between, as yet. This one will hopefully be the first one to actually strike that balance, as well as being quite pragmatic. I start with a thing that actually happened to me last night which will show you that even after quite a complimentary review in a student newspaper, my overall existence is still more of an embarrassment to the human race than anything else.


(FX: fanfare)

Yeah... The best-visited entry of this blog could be followed up by either of two things. One: I would stop, as success had clearly gotten to my head. This would be quite ironic, since that specific blog was the only one not actually written by me. Therefore the greatest number of people to ever visit this blog did so just to read someone else's words. This in itself as well as me not being able to recognise this fact would already be funny. The other way round this short and intense burst of student-newspaper based success would be the very English route of self-deprecation*: I could show all of you that I'm still the pathetic failure I always was.

* Note that the word route in the phrase: "the very English route of self-deprecation" is of French origin, reaffirming the statement of self-deprecatory intent. Oh yeah, I rule. In footnote-form.

Last night, I was invited to a party. Oh, yeah. That's how I roll nowadays. I had been there the night before, in a small post-gig drinks thing, without the necessary end-of-run pomp and circumstance. Just some drinks, then I left at about 1, to try and get some much-needed sleep. I was promptly invited for the actual afterparty, on Saturday night, which would take place in the same house. That wouldn't be a problem, I'd take some bottles of wine with me and the good times would doubtlessly roll. So around midnight I left, having learnt to never be too early, since I certainly have been that one annoying person who would turn up at a party 3 hours before it would actually kick off. I put the wine in a bag-for-life and I started cycling towards the aforementioned location, which I would remember, having been there less than 24 hours beforehand.

The short bike ride was uncharacteristically eventful, with a group of 30 or so young people who can't have been younger than 15 but looked about 12, walking past Sainsbury's and stealing a shopping trolley. One of their number had been democratically selected (or plonked in by the mob, depending on your ideological perspective) to take place within that famously unnavigable mode of transportation, and chucked out into the street. Luckily, this young man only shouted a lot but did not harm himself at the quite forcible exit he made from the trolley, which, gathering speed, was rolling in my direction. Fortunately I then remembered I was on a bicycle so I sped up and avoided death, bodily harm and the ridicule of 30 teenagers.

At arriving near where I thought the party would take place, I looked for anything recognisable on the quite similar houses. Unfortunately, nothing was there. All houses looked embarrassingly similar and I couldn't recollect which specific wrought Iron fence I had used to lock my bike onto only a day before. I then remembered that I actually live in the future, so I pulled out my mobile phone and called one of the people that I knew would be there, so they could open the door for me and I wouldn't have to knock on every single door like the socially awkward 10 year old I still actually am and be shunned from every household in the street, at this hour, like some kind of modern day Joseph (but holding a pink bike lock as opposed to a donkey). After considering that sentence, I heard an ominous voice: 'You have not enough credit to call this number.' Yeah... Suppose I'd better head back then.

I cycled back home, embarrassed at my failure. As I crossed the road, I saw something that looked like a fight. Four people huddled up in a corner, shouting at each other. When I stopped to see if I could help (from a safe distance, of course*) the four ran apart, with a man and a woman walking past me, him scolding her in a drunken voice. "Why did you do that?" &c. As no-one had actually been hurt, I just raised my shoulders and left the scene.

* Oh, how hypocrisy the man doth make; he withers like a snowman in a tan salon. - (Booyah!)

Back home, I remembered that, even though my phone based communication had stupidly faltered, I still had facebook. So I decided to wait and see whether someone I knew would turn up on fb chat, providing me with the necessary house number so I could still go to the party. I waited for 45 minutes, and nearly fell asleep twice. Then a friend did come online, having left the party herself minutes before, and she provided me with the house number.

I thanked her, and repeating the number several times in my head (attaching colour, sound and type of woodland animal to it as aide-memoires), I set off again. This time, the now ridiculously familiar ride was notably less ominous, so I could just turn up and it would all be fine.

I got to the door, took the bottle of wine out of my coat pocket (yeah, beat that!), took off my coat and rung the doorbell.

I could hear some commotion coming from downstairs, so I rung again.
I tried knocking. I tried blatantly waiting for someone just to turn up. I even tried looking through the letter-box and saying hello, but I stopped immediately when people walked by who could very reasonably think I was some kind of mental case who got off on molesting letter boxes. With their tongue.Even without sexual connotations you'd have to admit that something like that is indeed pretty sad.

I gave up. Clearly, I wasn't cut out for this. I had failed at the hugely basic concept of going to a place and entering it, without much trouble. You know, like people actually do. But not me. I got home and fell asleep nearly instantly.

Yes. That's the story of how I failed at life yesterday. I'm not proud of it. But it's got it's own uncanny form of beauty.

If you're thinking: 'Hmm. Maybe Jorik is letting small defeats get to him in a slightly unhealthy manner.' You'd be right. I do have a penchant for these kinds of things. But weirdly, they are also the building blocks of comedy. Humour is inherently connected with failure, with loss and with coping with the idea of an imagined future that will never happen. I love failure and I think it's a beautiful way to connect with other people. Most of my comedy is indeed about that very subject.

As some of you may know, I am trying to write a novel. I have been doing so for nearly 2 years (with initial ideas and sketches being written back in mid-2008, even) and I intend to finish it, of course. I'm about 25000 words in, and since my Uni work has relented a bit,I hope to do a bit more over the next few weeks. I hope to finish it next year, when I am deported back to Holland to finish my degree (sad smiley face). But there will be a party going down before that time, so don't worry (happy smiley face). The location of which I do not know yet, although someone might have to help me with, you know, getting in to the place and such.

The other reason this blog is so unrelentingly obsessed with failure is that my book happened to be about just that. So not the obsession first and the book second. The other way round. Since this can be described as a futile defense against anyone saying I copied this idea off Kathryn Schulz (whose 'Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error' I intend to read over the Easter break), errrr... yes. That is partly why I'm saying this. I was first Schulz! Feast on that! No, you can't, cos you're an inherently big fat loser. (which must be the most curious criticism she has yet received for her work).

But really, I would really like to say Thank you for bearing with me, Thank you for all the nice reactions to the review and I hope to blog a bit more often, now I actually have the time to do so. Also, I will talk about why I like failure a bit more. Probably.*

* Note the inherent danger of a notorious failure stating his intention to do something a bit more often. This can only go wrong. Ah well. Let's just wait and see what we get.

P.S. Do you fail on occasion? How do you feel about that? Let me know on the comments-section right down here!


  1. Oh Jorik. How tragic. Possibly for the best though - I was drunk last night and as such would probably have ended up hitting you in the face.

  2. I was wondering why you weren't there!