Hello, I'm back!
Since it seems to be an unwritten rule that I can only blog when in the U.K. I'm starting again. I'm in Brighton for a week and a day, and so far have done very little of note. I've woken up, thrice; seen some friends and had coffee. But since all these things happened to occur in Brighton, that made me very happy indeed.
Ok, why I love Brighton. a. It's a selfconsciously silly place. Even when it's cold, rainy and uncomfortable, Brighton's a town that's content and confident in what it is. Saturdays in Brighton may be busy as hell, it's never terrifyingly packed. When I moved here two years and a month ago, I had no sense of what I was going to be doing here, apart from the facts: I was going to study here, and I was going to do stand-up. b. The stand-up scene is amazing. Everyone I met through doing stand-up, as an arrivée from the great big ol' foreign, with no confidence in my own abilities, was endlessly lovely and ended up actually being pretty fucking instrumental for my continuing stand-up at all. c. The city is absurdly beautiful. When I arrived on Friday night, after sixteen hours on a coach, I have to admit: I had a little cry. It almost didn't seem real, especially since part of me never really thought I'd ever make it back (For the reason of this, either ask me, or watch my 2015 Edinburgh show Can I Be Honest For One Moment (And Never Again After That)). But I have. Hooray. d. The ocean is there. I like the sea. e. The University of Sussex is a really cool place. One of my favourite places in the universe actually. I'm going to be there for a number of days from Monday, working on my BA dissertation (finalement) and meeting up again with old friends.
But first: I've been having lower back pain for a couple of weeks, ever since I first did boxing. Boxing, Jorik? You may ask? You don't seem like the violent type? I know, I'm a wuss. But I tried it out one evening, and I enjoyed it massively. It's the best workout possible, and even though I was clocked in the nose 5 times, I really enjoyed it. But I do think I may have pulled a tendon in my lower back. What you need to know is that I'm quite a tall man, 6'4'', so I usually am hunched over something or other anyway. Usually a book, often a laptop. Which is not good for one's lower back anyway. Thirdly, I'm on the way back from being really quite fat indeed, and most of me is packed around the waist-area. I admit, I'm a great hug, but it's not as erotically powerful as one would wish. Fourthly, I spent most of Friday on a coach, which isn't good for anyone. Meaning that by the time I'll get back to Amsterdam, my back will be fucked and I'll have to hire a prostitute to just stand on it for four hours, whilst I read Balzac.
Secondly, I'm really enjoying rekindling friendships and just chatting to people I mostly haven't seen for over a year. I've changed significantly, and mostly, so have they. What I appreciate most is the capacity for kindness that seems to exist, even when you've been away for such a long period of time. And the chats are really good. Like you'd expect adults have about their lives, you know. It's genuinely empowering and I feel that friendships are cemented and I even have found people who were allright with chatting for an hour or more with a strange Dutchperson. This can only be described as a good thing. To those people: endless thanks, you know who you are etc.
Today (the 22nd) I was to make my first foray back onto the Sussex campus. I bought a ticket for the train, but chose the discounted ticket, thinking my 16-25 railcard would still be valid. I was wrong. An incredibly friendly ticket inspector (I know, it's an oxymoron. But he genuinely was) kindly informed me that I was travelling on the wrong kind of ticket and in the friendliest possible manner told me I had to pay a 20 pound fine. I then told him I a. didn't have an address in the U.K., since I was just over for the week and b. my working bank card was a Dutch one. He then sighed and said: ok, this is probably going to cost us more in the end, and let me go! All of my ideas about ticket inspectors changed. I think I may be in love.
Sussex campus was a bit dreary. I expected to be hit by a deep sense of belonging and emotional connection as I had on Friday night, but it wasn't like that. I did of course remember everything about it, I saw the ghosts of my past selves swerve past (metaphorically, I am NOT psychotic) and it felt sort of right. But without the entire emotinoal hoo-hah that I initally expected. Sussex is still, you know, Sussex. I couldn't find a wifi connection either, since I'm now officially a past student. Ouch! The rest of the day was spent chatting to friends in and around Falmer bar. I tried to read some Beckett but I couldn't get through it. I just wasn't in the mood that I thought I would be. And so many of my friends from back then had, of course, already left. The Sussex I was at in 2010-2011 didn't return to me, as I vainly expected it to. Not to say it wasn't worth it. Going back tomorrow.
P.S. Oh, balls! I forgot about the Zombies! On Saturday, I spent most of the day in a Starbucks in the centre of Brighton, trying to read and failing. What surprised me in particular was that, after a while, people in zombie outfits started to walk past. There were people just walking with bits of their faces hanging off in a theatrical fashion, there were others who were more into it, shuffling in and out of view. One guy really went for it and started to attack the front window to get to girls who were sitting on the other side. But my favourite has to be the zombie in the banana suit. Gave a whole new meaning to compost. Amazing. Gotta love Brighton.