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  1. We've merged the 'Movies, TV, & Books' subforum with General Chat. Looking at how active both subforums were, we agreed it made sense to merge the two into 'General' since the topics fit together and one wasn't getting way more traffic than the other.

    We also reorganized the subforums a tiny bit: Renamed "Interests" category to 'General', and placed General Chat, Clubs, and Other Artists under that, and placed Welcome to Paradise, Advice and Brink of your Vision under 'Community'.

    We originally started splitting up subforums years ago when content was quickly lost because there was so much going on. Now that sites are slower, I'll be regularly seeing what kinds of changes make sense so that the community isn't too splintered.

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    Recent Entries

    E X H A U S T E D
    Latest Entry

    So, what the title says. I have been through some tough stuff these past few months  and this is my (hopefully) positive response.

    Anyway, one thing I connected with my older sister on as kid was comics. She recently had a brush with death, and although we have a not great relationship, I want to revisit the thing we connected over. It's supposed to be cathartic. 

    So, I'm drawing up some comics. They feature characters somewhat based off of real people I know. Every name has been changed.

    If you like, please comment. If you hate, please comment. Just please comment!

    Oh, and I know the drawings are simple- you're looking at limited skill here, hopefully after a while these'll be more visually appealing. For now, I hope the slightly Green Day related storylines will carry it. 

    If you want to read some amazing, professional comics, please read Hyperbole and a half by Allie Brosh, and/or Pearls Before Swine, by Stephan Pastis. These are amazing. So amazing. Totally, completely amazing. This is amazingly redundant. 

    Anyway, here is the first strip of the webcomic 'Sons and Daughters of Rage and Love'. Enjoy.

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    I hope you can read the text!!!

  2. Hello! My sister has started an online fundraiser to purchase supplies for her band students because her school doesn't have the money to pay for them.

    I wanted to share it with you all in case you'd like to donate to support the cause — anything helps! If you use the promo code "liftoff" during checkout today, your donation wll be matched by the fundraising website.

    https://www.donorschoose.org/project/making-a-stand-for-band/3030567/?challengeid=20848860&givingCartId=7019185

    I don't think many people realize how many teachers in the U.S. use their own money to purchase supplies, especially for elective classes like music and art that are seen as "non-essential" compared to the others. On average, they spend about $600/year on their own supplies, and it's worse in schools with lower-income students like the one where she teaches, according to the most recent survey from nonprofit adoptaclassroom.org.

  3. I got on stage, appeared on TV in Iowa, nearly got arrested in Vegas and finally made it to Oakland. This is the story of a dream I've had since I was 12 years old.

    My Rage, My Love, My Life #4: Champaign to Vegas

    Flight DY7015 touched down in New York on March 25, 2017.

    It had been six years, but the airport still looked exactly the same. There were still only three people manning passport control. My mum, Joy, still got dragged off into a side room for no apparent reason.

    We waited an hour in the cold for a shuttle bus that never came; ended up getting in someone else’s bus and paying the driver to take a detour. Police were arresting someone in the motel reception as we arrived, and the air was thick with the smell of weed. This was a quick stop before we headed to Champaign, because it was cheaper that way, but I’ll take any excuse to see my favourite city again.

    So the next day we took the subway into Manhattan, where someone had done two huge turds that sent everyone running out and into the next carriage. We followed, only to end up opposite the culprit. My rage, my love, some faeces.

    Google Maps had sent us miles out of the way. We didn’t want to pay for the subway again, so we decided to walk and saw the 9/11 memorials, then accidentally found Brooklyn Bridge before walking back and on to Times Square.

    As I looked out over the skyline that evening, my feet already aching, I had a feeling these were going to be the best three weeks ever.

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    Brooklyn Bridge

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    The foggy skyline

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    I wanted to take this photo since I was a kid with a cheap camera, looking at pretty night shots and wondering if I’d ever see that view with my own eyes

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    The St. James Theatre, six years after Green Day’s American Idiot closed on Broadway there

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    My imagination runs away, on this 8th Avenue Serenade 🎶

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    New York streets

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    Times Square

    A bus dropped us on a curb in Champaign, Illinois. Dim streetlights were reflected on the damp pavements as it began to rain. The transport Google Maps brought up in the warmth of my home was absent now. Apparently it was a two mile walk. We walked five times that in New York, so we began dragging my mum’s suitcase through blocks of telegraph poles, neon fast food signs, gas stations and not much else.

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    Rainy streets in Champaign, Illinois

    When we arrived at our hotel I unpacked my camping gear, ready to head to the State Farm Center. Before I could even use the toilet it flooded the room. I frantically grabbed my belongings, shoving them back in, then escaped with my underwear on a luggage trolley. By the time I unpacked it in the new room, it was clear I had food poisoning and wouldn’t be camping any time soon. Reluctantly I went to bed, hoping to sleep it off and setting my alarm for 5am.

    Not feeling much better when I woke up, I skipped breakfast and hurried to the venue, where I was #34 in line.

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    Champaign line, late morning: the first tent had apparently been there since noon the previous day

    I met old friends I’d made on the 2013 tour and new friends too. Caitlin from Indiana offered heart grenade cookies she baked for the show. I’m still sad I couldn’t try one, because the two of us ended that night being connected in a way neither of us could ever have imagined.

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    From left to right: Traci, Caitlin and Jen from Indiana, Nikki from Chicago, me, Nikki’s sister Jena (behind the pillar) and Fran from England. Lisa from Missouri is wrapped in the duvet.

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    Caitlin, who I first met at a show in Rosemont, IL in 2013, with the cookies she painstakingly bakes for every show she attends

    My mum joined me later in the day. It was her birthday and I’d done something I swore I wouldn’t do: I’d bought the VIP package for her. Believe it or not, she’d seen Green Day, in Illinois, on her birthday once before and it went horribly wrong. Since then she’d become disabled and this may well have been her last tour in the pit. So I swallowed my hatred of the VIP concept and shelled out purely for the early entry, barely eating for a month afterwards as my bank balance recovered. She was led inside an hour or so before us. I texted her to ask if she’d got her spot, but I didn’t hear anything back.

    When doors opened for us, the line turned to chaos. People who’d just arrived rushed the doors. There were elbows in my back and arms. As soon as security let me go I sprinted off into the stampede that led down the steps and onto the floor. I spotted my mum’s leopard print scarf in her favourite spot and crashed into her with such relief I could have cried. $400 well spent; even more so when the VIP next to her told me with a smile that she was going to find her son and offered me her spot. Others led me to expect the VIPs to be rude, entitled and unreasonably rich, but none were. I’m forever grateful to that lady and I wish I’d got her name so I could thank her properly.

    We made friends with Scott, the security guy manning our area of the barrier, who was both confused and amused by these English girls who’d come to Champaign, Illinois to see a band.

    It was another dream of mine to see one of my ‘second favourite’ bands open for Green Day, but I’d always figured it’d never happen. Now I was there, in America, watching Against Me! open for them. I’d partially lost my voice before Green Day even took the stage.

    When the Drunk Bunny stumbles offstage and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is playing, and I know I am about to see Green Day again, it’s like the butterflies of first love. I feel sick and giddy and my heart is pounding all at once. Billie Joe ran onstage first, running to and fro, then Tré pirouetting by his kit, then Mike Dirnt. Billie stood atop the amps, drawing roars from the crowd with flicks of his wrists. Then he was yelling ‘Champaign, Illinois!’ and Tré began playing Know Your Enemy.

    ‘I need some help! Who knows the lyrics to the song? Who knows the lyrics? Who knows it?’

    I don’t know what made me raise my hand. I’d never wanted to go up and lose my spot in the first song, and Billie wouldn’t pick me anyway – he’d tried several times in the past and I’d chickened out and changed my mind. He glanced at me, pointed and walked off again. When he came back, he pointed at Lindsey, a lady my mum queued with, then me.

    ‘She knows it?’

    Maybe I was overtired, or maybe it was just time.

    ‘Alright, get your ass up here! C’mon!’

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    Video by David Hardy

    I heard my mum shouting ‘oh my God!’ and Billie was grinning as Scott and Arturo, one of Green Day’s crew, hauled me over the barrier. Arturo lifted me onto the catwalk. I thought Billie was on the main stage. I stepped up and my legs immediately gave way. Only I could get on stage and fall over. I’d figured by then that Billie was actually on the catwalk. When I was back on my feet he beckoned. His face lit up with a grin as I ran and he held out his arms to hug me. It was one of the warmest hugs anyone has given me. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that.

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    Videos by David Hardy / lindsaybunny

    Then I was standing in front of 16,000 people in Champaign, Illinois, barely noticing the pyros exploding as I screamed ‘gimme gimme REVOLUTION!’ in an incredibly English accent; wearing a shirt from a Manchester show in 2009 with my coat still tied around my waist.

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    I walked back up the catwalk, knowing I had to stage dive. Billie was gesturing to the crowd to make sure they caught me. I could see Eddie and Arturo holding out their arms in case I didn’t jump far enough. Fear paralysed me and it crossed my mind to tell Billie I couldn’t do it… but I ran. I jumped.

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    Photo by Kelly Griglione

    Illinois caught me. It wasn’t scary. Crowd surfing was fun. I told my mum afterwards ‘I could sleep well in that position.’People high-fived and congratulated me as my feet hit the floor. It was packed and I didn’t want to be push after I’d been on stage, so I went to the side. Someone took a selfie with me and another guy bought me a beer.

    I must have relived it a hundred times over in my head as I sang along and Billie yelled ‘Thank God for Champaign, Illinois!’ over and over and I thought, yes, thank God for Champaign, Illinois. Then in Knowledge, he pulled Caitlin up to play guitar! I was screaming so loud for her! Some guy was telling me ‘that sure beats what you did!’ and I was just shouting ‘that’s my friend Caitlin!’ She was amazing and now we’re forever stage sisters.

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    Once the show was over I rushed to find my mum and my friends again. As we walked out, several people grabbed me to ask what Billie smelled like. Then my mum realised she’d forgotten to pick up the crap that came with her VIP ticket and ran off in a panic to find it. In the meantime I bumped into Scott and he hugged and congratulated me. Outside, we said goodbye to Fran before going our separate ways to sleep before our journey to Green Bay tomorrow.

    Putting my hand up to sing with Green Day that night was, without a doubt, one of the best decisions I have ever made. Over the last seven years Billie has made me feel so welcome as he’s smiled with me, laughed with (or at) me and always remembered me, and I have no doubt that he knew what it meant to me. For that, for everything, I cannot thank him, Mike and Tré enough.

    I once was scared to death to live. Now I am afraid of nothing.

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    Being candid in Champaign-Urbana Bus Station, though the guy behind us wins the candid award

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    On the Greyhound to Chicago

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    Chicago from the Greyhound

    If you want an authentic Greyhound experience, Chicago Greyhound Station is the place to go. All Greyhound stations are a bit weird, but none of them are quite like Chicago. When we got off the bus, a lady was struggling to carry a large stereo and wasn’t sure if she could even take it on the next bus. I ended up helping her carry it into a back room. The staff said she’d have to pay $40 to have it on the next bus, so she told them they could just keep it and they eventually let her off. We really bonded over the experience. She met my mum and we agreed we’d go to Haiti together one day.

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    Searching for Mexican food during our next layover in Milwaukee, WI

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    ‘Let’s take a photo with the skyline to remember that time we went looking for Mexican food in Wisconsin’

    Our next transfer was in Milwaukee, where we had a while to wait for our last bus to Green Bay. None of us had eaten, so Fran and I went in search of cheap Mexican food. Google Maps directed us to Conejito’s. We hoped it would be a cheap takeaway, but it was a proper restaurant. What a let down Conejito was. We wandered down increasingly dodgy streets until we came to Food Mart. A sign on the door told us only three students were allowed inside at one time. There were only two of us, so we went in. Fran bought their last loaf of bread and I stocked up on their three for 50¢ honey buns. Mission complete.

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    Celebrating the acquisition of Pan o Gold bread in Milwaukee Bus Station

    We arrived to another damp night in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The venue was down the road from Lambeau Field. Green Bay Packers signs were everywhere. Our Uber driver told us that earlier he’d given rides to the ladies who prepared Green Day’s hotel rooms. My mum asked him if Green Bay has a city centre or anything else to see and he said no, there’s just the Green Bay Packers. I was really getting into the Packers. Partly to annoy my fiancée, since they’re a huge Oakland Las Vegas Raiders fan and hate the Pack. Also partly because when I was looking for cheap accommodation in Green Bay, all I got were photos of people in cheese hats. Now I was also in Green Bay to see Green Day, so why not? It was contagious. Fran was getting into them too. Go Pack Go.

    First in line was Josh from Chicago, who’d also been to Champaign. He was 100% prepared with a huge tent and camping gear, but he didn’t want to set it all up just for himself, so our arrival was perfect. He definitely saved us from freezing to death, because it continued to rain and eventually snowed. Instead of dying we just chilled out in The Tent.

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    In The Tent with Josh from Chicago, who we’d just met (note the Packers sign in the top right corner)

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    In my bivvy bag in The Tent

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    Tents in Green Bay, WI

    The snow was falling at full force in the morning. Our tent appeared on TV while we stayed inside as long as we could, before taking a brief trip to Taco Bell and Walmart. Neither me nor Fran had ever been to a Walmart before. What an experience.

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    Walmart in Green Bay: full of glorious Packers merchandise

    I picked up my tickets when we got back. This was the first time I’d done will call and when I passed the lady my burgundy passport, her jaw dropped and with a grin she asked if I’d really come from the UK just for a band. I said yes and she grabbed at her colleagues, shouting ‘she’s come all the way from the UK just for this show!’ before she laughed and wished me a wonderful night.

    The tent was stowed away, thermals were removed and we were lined up inside shortly before doors. It was a reasonably short run to the pit. GO! YOU PACKERS! GO! We made front row in the spots we wanted, in front of Mike. Seeing Against Me! open for Green Day was perhaps even more exciting and emotional than it was in Champaign. It was surreal – I was there, one of my favourite bands was opening for Green Day and at that moment, nothing could have made me any happier.

    The novelty of Green Day in Green Bay wasn’t lost on the band. Billie repeatedly announced that this was Green Day’s first time in Green Bay. They registered with wide eyes, as surprised as us, that this was one of their loudest crowds yet. The roar of the 7,797 fans in attendance rivalled a stadium and it fed back to the band, who played even more passionately than usual.

    ‘Rise up, Wisconsin! Wisconsin! America! America!’ Billie yelled, clutching the American flag as the lights cut out. I should have been at uni in England. Instead I was in Green Bay, Wisconsin, watching Billie Joe hold up the stars and stripes, alight under the spotlight. I don’t know what that meant to American fans, but to me, it was the realisation of a dream I’d had since I was 12 years old.

    The lack of cameras pleased him – a rare occurrence – as he exclaimed he couldn’t see any, and ‘we all need to rub up against each other and throw up in the taxi home.’ As we yelled approval for ‘she’s the cedar in the trees of WISCONSIN!’ we were all the same, from Wisconsin or England. I’d been smiling like a twat since Champaign, but Billie just smiled back with the same enthusiasm. In Still Breathing, he took a studded denim jacket from the crowd and wore it for the rest of the show.

    From that crowd to the editing of the Green Day sign so it said Green Bay, this was one of my favourite shows ever. The only disappointment was that no-one threw a Cheesehead on stage.

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    Green Bay the next day

    We couldn’t get tickets to the St. Paul show, so my mum and I had two days in Green Bay. Fran and Josh asked what the hell we were going to do. I wasn’t entirely sure. My mum knew there was a river somewhere and thought that would be a good destination, so we embarked upon a mission to find that and pasta, walking through endless streets that looked like the one above. Lots of Packers flags – beautiful. Of course, the snow had disappeared completely now we weren’t lining up for Green Day.

    We accidentally found the National Railroad Museum, which made me think of my grandpa who was a train driver and passed away the previous year. I was too cheap to go in, of course, but I hoped he was nodding appreciatively at this museum in Wisconsin. Eventually we found the river by walking into someone’s backyard without realising, but it wasn’t much of a view…

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    Phone pic ft. distant river, because this was apparently the only one I took

    Having truly experienced the height of tourism, we set a new course to Target, where we could find pasta. We’d walked past the same guy, enjoying beers in the sun for what was apparently his birthday, twice and the third time, he invited us to join him. Sadly, we were tired and hungry so we left our new friend behind. I hope he enjoyed his birthday.

    A few miles, a hill and lots more Packers flags later, we located Target and acquired pasta. More importantly, though, I was sure there must be Packers merch somewhere in this store. After wandering for a while and getting lost in the kids’ section, we found a small selection. I weighed up the prices and how awful it was, planning to take the ugliest shirt imaginable back to England, but alas, I was swayed by the lower price of a glittery NFL Teens shirt. Who cares? I had a Packers shirt! From Green Bay!

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    Walking back via Lambeau Field

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    Green Day confetti outside Lambeau Field, two days after the show

    Before we left the next day we went to Lambeau Field, where everyone thought we’d come from England just to see Lambeau Field. We had our photo taken with cheese, got certificates commemorating our first visit and overall, experienced true Packers bliss. No, seriously – I could not have been any happier than I was wandering the streets of Green Bay with my best friend and accidentally getting into an American football team, having slept in the snow and seen my favourite band.

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    PACKERS!!!

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    This is my town, this is my city, this is my life?

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    Waiting at Green Bay Bus Station, where there was a huge argument in the office, for our Indian Trailways bus back to Milwaukee

    It was about 15 hours to Des Moines, with transfers in Milwaukee and Chicago. The last bus, an overnight Burlington Trailways one, was going to Omaha. We had an interesting driver, who kept shouting ‘thaaaaank you for travelling with Buuuuurlington Traaaaaailways’ and gave out free water. On the way we passed the Iowa 80 Truck Stop, which is apparently the biggest in the world. People think I’m seeing the sights they’ve always dreamed of. I’m not quite sure they understand.

    It was about 6am when we arrived at Des Moines Bus Station, which was basically a hut in a parking lot. Neither of us had slept and our Airbnb was miles away, so we called an Uber. The parking lot emptied as we waited. Eventually a pickup truck pulled up and I realised that was the Uber. Wow, now we were getting in a pickup truck. The driver asked where we were going to check we weren’t ‘going to Ames or anything, because people pull that all the time.’ I had no idea what he was talking about, and was thinking that I once took an Uber from Kraków to Prague… but I was pretty sure we weren’t going to Ames, so I went with it.

    This was my first Airbnb. The street was still dark when we tried to go in the wrong door and then got in at the back. I felt like an inefficient burglar. Everything was silent inside. I wasn’t sure which room was ours, and after almost walking in on someone snoring, we decided to sit on the sofa and wait for our host to let us know.

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    One of my favourite tour photos: trying to sleep on a couch in Iowa

    He woke up quite soon and honestly, I had no idea what to expect from an Airbnb, but Tony was the best. He made us feel so welcome. After getting 89¢ pasta in the store he recommended, I went for a nap because I wasn’t feeling great. I woke up with a dog on top of me at one point, which really improves the story, then my mum came to get me because Tony’s girlfriend was cooking and invited us to join them. I’m sad I still felt ill so I never got to try any of it, but at least my mum was having fun down there.

    Later Tony drove us to the Pappajohn Sculpture Park, so we could see that and then walk to the Wells Fargo Arena. We passed Green Day’s buses on the way. Didn’t bother them, obviously, but maybe I should have poked my head in and said ‘hi guys, just about to go and sleep on the street for you.’

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    A Packers hat, Sonic leggings, the Des Moines skyline and the venue Green Day played in one photo. What more could you want?

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    The Wells Fargo Arena

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    Outside the arena

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    #3 in line, Des Moines, Iowa

    We were 3 and 4 in line, behind Shannon from Iowa City and her son Levi. An hour or so later Fran arrived with Sara from Spain, who’d come on the Greyhound from Chicago with pizza. She offered me a slice so I took it. Of course, I’m lactose intolerant, so that really wasn’t a good idea. Me and Fran eventually decided to go in search of toilets. We were heading for the Holiday Inn we could see in the distance, but ended up at the Mercy Hospital instead. What would happen if we went into a hospital at midnight to use the toilet? We were about to try it when we saw a sign on the door saying only patients could enter after visiting hours. SAD. Next up was McDonald’s, which was closed. We considered another entrance to Mercy and then we saw it – a gas station called Quiktrip! Outside a policeman was clicking his gun and staring at us as we approached. Our experience became ever more American. The toilets were just open! I love Quiktrip. I recommend a visit if you’re ever in Des Moines.

    We got lost on our way back, walking into a dead end that we realised afterwards said ‘NO ENTRY’ but we eventually made it. Rain was beginning to fall, so we arranged umbrellas donated by Tony to cover us. The pizza was still tormenting me, but I was so tired I pretty much passed out and I actually slept nice and cosy in my bivvy bag.

    Despite the bivvy bag, though, I was still soaked when I woke up. Me and Fran made another Quiktrip to our favourite gas station to get food and use the best toilets, then went to get our tickets. In the line we met J’net from Oklahoma, who I first met in Costa Rica in 2010. We found out she was the original owner of my Brussels ticket and Fran’s Amsterdam ticket, and there we were meeting in Iowa.

    When we got back to the line a TV crew was freaking out over my mum, trying to attach a mic to her coat so they could interview her. A 58 year-old English lady who’d come to Iowa to see Green Day! They took a photo and filmed us too, so now I can say I’ve been on TV in Costa Rica and Iowa. Life goals = achieved?

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    A rainy afternoon in Des Moines, ft. Tony’s umbrella, a bivvy bag, camping chair and English people

    Before doors, Shannon kindly let us dry off, get changed and store Tony’s umbrella’s in her room at the Holiday Inn we couldn’t find before. When they opened the doors and held us at the turnstiles, the staff were – as usual – confused by why we were so nervous. The way to the pit was unclear and they’d opened multiple entrances. Once I was on the floor, though, I spotted Sara in front of Mike and crashed onto the barrier next to her. J’net was nice enough to let my mum in later and I swapped with Fran so I could be next to her. Sleeping in the rain = success.

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    I stole this photo from Sara

    Des Moines was probably where Against Me! got the best reception. One of the VIPs was actually singing every word along with me. I was so thrilled they were playing Dead Friend every night and that I got to scream along to I Was A Teenage Anarchist before Green Day. I never got bored of hearing Laura Jane Grace tell her story about how Green Day had influenced her as a child. It was the most sincere and real speech I’d ever heard from a support band.

    I ached a bit, had snuffles, was still calming down from the entry process and my socks were most likely wet again. The only thing that mattered, though, was singing my heart out, raising my arms up ‘to testify’ in Revolution Radio, beside my best friend with a passionate crowd behind me.

    I remember having both arms in the air, singing ‘are we, we are, the waiting unknown / this dirty town is burning down in my dreams / the lost and found city bound in my dreams.’ The first time that line really resonated with me was when I saw American Idiot on Broadway – I felt like Johnny, Will and Tunny, a life I wanted to escape burning down in my dreams, searching for the city of my dreams. I could still recall that but it was different now. That city could have been Des Moines, it could have been Kraków, but I had found it: it existed for two and a half hours in a packed room, the phone screens and lighters that illuminated the arena were as bright and beautiful as any city lights. I opened my eyes and saw Billie and Mike laughing. It’s OK, guys, I knew I looked like the woman at that Jesse Malin show who pushed to the front just to dramatically sing two lines of Lucinda.

    In King for a Day Billie announced ‘oh, I need a cigarette.’ Then in Still Breathing he reappeared in a personalised version of the jacket he took (and had to give back) in Green Bay. I am quite honoured to have witnessed the rise of the Forever Now Jacket.

    I found this compilation video from Des Moines and it really hits me like a punch in the gut, seeing myself on the front row, singing all night with the 16,000 people behind me. It’s still hard to believe any of this actually happened, but I guess that lost and found city really isn’t just in my dreams, not anymore.

    After the show, my phone had died so we couldn’t call an Uber, but we didn’t know the way back to Tony’s house. I tried waving at approaching cars and eventually one stopped. When the lady heard our accents, she launched into a rant about how there are too many Muslims in London. She had never been to London. I’m still quite surprised we got back to Tony’s alive. At 4am, Fran messaged me to let me know my mum was on TV in Des Moines Bus Station.

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    The ultimate in life goals achieved: Joy on TV in Des Moines Bus Station (iconic photo by Fran)

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    Me and Sara at Des Moines Airport

    The next day, Tony kindly drove us to Des Moines Airport and we said goodbye. I felt like I had a home to return to in Iowa. If you’re ever in Des Moines, you need to stay with Tony.

    Sara was also on our Frontier flight to Denver, which was a few hours delayed. Some people said it was bad weather, others said it’s always delayed. When we finally arrived in Denver, we got so lost looking for the airport bus that we considered an Uber. Eventually a guy from Idaho (I think?) saved us. Snow was falling, in piles all around us and the ground was icy when we got off the bus in Broomfield. We were planning to camp, but we didn’t know if there was room for us in the tents, and it was unlikely many people would show up until the morning. We decided to sit this one out and just went to our Airbnb.

    At 7am we headed back out. The line was a little longer; I think we were 11, 12 and 13. We met a couple we’d met before, at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in 2010. Sara tried to sleep on her air mattress while I chatted to George from Colorado, about video games and what songs we’d like to see most. Soon the staff put up barriers and moved us into four lines.

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    Fan art on the pavement before the show in Broomfield, CO

     

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    The line in Colorado

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    The 1stBank Center, Broomfield, CO

    I made it to the barrier on Jason’s side and managed to save spots for my mum and George (that was my best barrier spread of all time, actually). It wasn’t long until the whole room reeked of weed. We were getting the full Colorado experience.

    2000 Light Years Away was one of my favourite songs to see on this tour. I’d been in a long distance relationship for six years (seven now) and not going to lie, every time I would sing ‘I hold her malachite so tight, I’ll never let go, ‘cause she’s 6000 light years away.’ Billie often caught my eye, smiled and sang with me. Of course he had no clue about my thoughts, nor me of his, but it was wonderful to share that regardless. He is not just talking crap in his speeches about how music brings people together. I remember singing along to Waiting and it occurring to me that I, and hundreds of others there I’m sure, had waited a long time for this moment to come; and Billie singing those lyrics back at me too. I had woken up and thanked my lucky stars and I was living my dream.

    Being an English kid singing American Idiot in America is a strange feeling. Like I don’t really belong there, but also like I’m part of something completely alien to me at the same time. Green Day have that effect.

    George loved the show too and was glad we went for the front row rather than the catwalk. We said goodbye and went back to our Airbnb, before our flight to Vegas for our final show.

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    The bus stop in Broomfield

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    Las Vegas from the plane

    It was dark when we took off from Denver. The Las Vegas strip was a ribbon of light below as the plane descended. I had never wanted to go to Vegas, so of course I ended up there for Green Day. There was a long walk through a casino and food court to reach the MGM Grand Garden Arena. So far, Vegas was very strange. When we finally found it, we met Cheryl from Australia who we’d previously met in Costa Rica and New York, and we were back with Sara and Fran.

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    The casino we had to walk through to find the line

    A security guy soon told us we had to leave. He insisted we had no idea what shows in Vegas were like and that people came from all around the world (apparently he didn’t notice that we had, but I’m not sure what the relevance was anyway), then eventually that we could gather in the food court and line up outside at 7:30am. First we wandered outside and I don’t remember this, but Sara says she went to speak to some prostitutes thinking they were homeless and might know where we could sleep, and I tried to stop her but it was Too Late. It looked like the food court was the only option. I considered sleeping in a toilet cubicle and Sara went for it, but I didn’t want to risk the guy finding me and throwing me out for good, so the rest of us went to the food court.

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    Me and Fran in the food court

    I was exhausted and fell asleep without even realising. I woke to screaming in my ear that I was going to be arrested. A woman claiming to be a manager was yelling and waving her arms. Apparently we’d all be arrested if we didn’t move. Sara’s pillow was on the table and she was pointing at me and screaming ‘that girl even has a pillow!’ We tried to explain that the other guy told us it was the only place we could line up, and eventually she agreed we could stay as long as we were awake. If we fell asleep, the cops were coming. Sara eventually reappeared, having had a mediocre nap in the cubicle. Katy Perry’s Roar was playing over and over on the speakers. This was bad. The others remember a constant stream of Johnny B. Goode but all I remember is Roar. I have nothing against you, Katy, but please never roar within a 10 mile radius of me, ever again. In the end I must have fallen asleep for another 15 minutes and when I woke up, Yaz and Becky from England had arrived. A while later, Traci who we’d met in Champaign joined us, too. At 7am we decided to live on the edge and go outside 30 minutes early.

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    The line in Vegas, 8am

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    The road back to the venue when I went to find (reasonably priced) food

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    Green Day poster in the MGM Grand, where we first tried to line up and got kicked out

    After going to find food that wasn’t $30 for a small portion, my mum and I were taking photos of the Green Day posters on our way back when we found lizziebix and her husband. We first met her at a show in Rosemont in 2013 after knowing her for a while on GDC, and were reunited in Vegas with big hugs.

    Back at the line, the British crew was joined by GDC's Second Favourite Son. There were now six of us and a flag. I guess it’s not untrue that people come to Vegas from around the world for shows…

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    The British Crew from left to right: Becky, Yaz, Fran, Second Favourite Son, me and Joy (photo by Second Favourite Son’s dad)

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    The line in Vegas: getting longer

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    Joy and Fran in the line

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    Everyone, as known on GDC: Lauren, lizziebix, sara_gd, BeachBum, Dirty Rotten Bastard, Yaz., basketcase4933, solongfromthestars, Second Favourite Son and finally, Taylor and Becky who I don't believe are on GDC (photo also by Second Favourite Son’s dad)

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    Last photo of the line before I took my camera back

    We were lined up beside the VIPs an hour before doors. VIP was sold out here, which meant 100 people in front of us. We weren’t sure how this would work out and watched them running in nervously. Our security friend from the previous night said hello, then a guy called Bill made a speech about how he understood how long we’d been there, and would be making sure we were let in fairly. Doors opened and I expected a stampede, but Bill really did stop it as best as he could. I was in and ran for my life. I ducked and dodged security and other fans and ran and ran until I was spread over the barrier in front of Mike. My fellow Europeans followed in a row. Maybe some of the VIPs didn’t show up, but who cares, we got amazing spots. Despite the food court experience, I was genuinely impressed with the staff at doors.

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    On the barrier

    This was the last time I’d see Against Me! with Green Day – probably the last time I’d ever see one of my second favourite bands open for them. I was so tired I felt like I might melt into the metal of the barrier, but it didn’t stop me screaming I Was A Teenage Anarchist until I could barely breathe. Then they were gone, the Drunk Bunny was on, we were all singing Blitzkrieg Bop; The Good, the Bad and the Ugly was playing, Tré was on, then Mike – wearing the Otis jacket – then Billie. I felt like I was still asleep in the food court, dreaming when Billie yelled ‘Las Vegas, Nevada!’ and we all raised our arms in response. My voice was hoarse and my arms ached as I sang along to Revolution Radio. Billie began the Holiday bridge with ‘Nevada, Nevada, place your bets!’ After Youngblood, he reluctantly announced ‘I’m kind of getting used to this Las Vegas Raiders thing’ before adding ‘fuck you I’m from Oakland.’ A permanent smile was plastered on my face at this point, even when he attacked us all with his stupid water hose in 2000 Light Years Away.

    I don’t know if it’s inappropriate to bring this up – or to say this at all – but seeing Still Breathing here was incredibly moving, because this was the very same arena where the iHeartRadio meltdown happened. I avoid saying I’m proud of Green Day because I’m not sure if it’s even a fan’s place to be, but I was. It was a metaphor to me even about myself, that I made it through against the odds to experience this wonderful tour and so did my band. We were all the same. If that’s what Billie wanted when he wrote the song – for it to be an anthem that brings us all, from every walk of life, together – he achieved it in my eyes more than I can even explain.

    I screamed my heart out to Forever Now with all the love and happiness my heart could hold. It was a thing at this point that no matter where I stood, Billie would sing ‘I want a new conspiracy and the silence of a thousand cries’ at me, and I would scream it back.

    Ordinary World resonated with me in a way it hadn’t before. People assume I have it all, because I’ve travelled, as they assume the lines ‘baby I don’t have much / but what we have is more than enough’ are insincere coming from Billie Joe, because he has money and fame. In reality, I have my mother, my fiancée, the adventures I’ve had through Green Day and very little else. None of it is even as perfect as it seems. I don’t know what the future holds, and there will be times I struggle to carry on again. But one thing I knew, then, is that those dreams of a better life – I didn’t need them anymore. Because what I have, these memories that will be with me forever, is more than enough.

    As Billie played the first chords of Good Riddance, there were tears streaming down my face. When I stood atop of New York, thinking these would be the best three weeks ever; still that child looking off on the horizon, the son raised without a father aside the mother barely keeping it together, who dreamed an impossible dream of following Green Day across the United States… I had no idea that the realisation of that dream would be as absolutely wonderful and dare I say, life changing, as it was. I can never thank Green Day enough for what they have given me, from inspiration to adventure to happiness I never imagined possible. I love this band and all they have enabled me to do and feel with all my heart. I am not a sappy person and do not express my emotions lightly (believe it or not), and this is the raw truth.

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    I’m still alive

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    After the show. Photo stolen from Yaz. I don’t remember who took it (sorry)

    Many of our friends were carrying on to the last show in San Diego while we stayed in Vegas. I would have loved to join them, but it just wasn’t financially possible. We said our goodbyes outside and headed back to America’s Best Value Inn for some well-earned rest.

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    Tour was over, but the adventure wasn’t. To get the cheapest flight home, we were staying in Vegas a few days and then flying to Oakland. Perhaps Vegas and its overpriced food courts were not my dream destination, but I learned to enjoy this place Green Day brought me to as we wandered the streets, into shops where we couldn’t afford anything; found the Vegas sign; discovered ABC Stores, the cheapest place on the strip and most importantly, I may have been too cheap to go inside the Shark Reef Aquarium, but I managed to draw out my bank balance twice (at a store called Super Liquor) in order to buy Vegas the Shark from the gift shop.

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    Palm trees ft. Super Liquor

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    Sunset in Vegas

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    In the Vegas lights, swimming with the SHARKS until we drown (soz that isn’t even Green Day)

    On our last day, we escaped Vegas on a bus for $4 and set out on a search for Clark County Wetlands Park. We couldn’t afford any exciting day trips, but I was determined we would see something. It was quite a good idea, actually.

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    Clark County Wetlands Park

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    Walking back to the bus stop

    We left Vegas early in the morning. Even the airport was Vegassy. What a bizarre place. Anyway, even though Annabelle, my fiancée, is from Oakland I had never been (we met at a Green Day show in Birmingham, apparently thanks to my hair, which was a luminous red frizzball at the time). After six years it was finally my turn to be looking around as I walked out of arrivals before running into their arms.

    They took us first to Lake Merritt, while they gave us directions on what to do if someone pushed us in, before a tour of the best places to get shot. A city council guy pulled up on a tractor to ask my mum for a cigarette, we passed a man saying to himself ‘gonna round all the girls like in World War II, then kill ’em all, boom!’ and another passionately singing as he wandered around. Not so different to Nottingham, I guess.

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    You wouldn’t even know Oakland is a shithole!

    Next up was Rudy’s Can’t Fail Café at the Fox Theater. This was completely surreal. I was in Oakland. Eating at Mike Dirnt’s café.

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    Rudy’s Can’t Fail Café

    The Fox Theater is not just a historic building in Oakland, but a stop on my dream Green Day tour too: it’s where they played the iconic third show of the 21st Century Breakdown Tour, one of the only times they played the album in full. 21st Century Breakdown is my favourite album of all time, containing my favourite song of all time (¡Viva La Gloria!), and the only album I will ever claim changed my life. It was also where February 19th was declared ‘Official Green Day Day’ in Oakland, during a celebration of Dookie in 2016.

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    The Fox Theater

    We walked on up Telegraph Avenue (the Avenue in Stuart & the Ave.) until we came to 40th Street. Broken Guitars, the guitar store Billie Joe co-owns with Bill Schneider is here, along with 1-2-3-4 GO! Records; where Billie Joe built the stage with his son Joey and Green Day played an early show for ¡Uno! ¡Dos! ¡Tré!. It was later where the pop-up shop for their Oakland Coliseum show was. They had Insomniac on cassette and I was tempted to buy it, but I eventually went for a 1-2-3-4 GO! Records shirt instead.

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    Broken Guitars

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    1-2-3-4 GO! Records

    We briefly went to see Lake Merritt at night before getting back. Annabelle was pretty sure we were going to get killed. Very romantic. We planned to order pizza, but ended up eating Tostitos instead.

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    Nightfall in Oakland

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    Fuck you I’m from Oakland England. Photo stolen from Annabelle.

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    West Oakland Station, the station in Welcome to Paradise (‘a gunshot rings out at the station’), from the BART

    On our final full day we took the BART to San Francisco. I wanted to see Golden Gate Bridge again and take my Tails action figure to Mission Street before we left. The Bay (80) Bridge is a Green Day sight too – it’s where Billie Joe’s nickname for his wife, 80, comes from and the band have talked about knowing they were home after grueling tours once they saw the bridge.

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    San Francisco Port Authority

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    The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge

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    San Francisco skyline

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    Golden Gate Bridge as night fell

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    Oakland lights from San Francisco

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    Golden Gate Bridge at night, another photo I’ve wanted to take since I first picked up a camera

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    San Francisco at night

    Annabelle insisted we had to see their bridge at night too, because it’s prettier than Golden Gate, so we did. I will admit they were right just this once.

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    The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge at night

    We ended up at Lake Merritt one last time before our flight home. It was a beautiful day and we made it even better by stopping off at the dodgiest McDonald’s I’ve ever seen. Annabelle bought me an Oakland A’s shirt and my mum a mug at the airport, before we accidentally got into another baseball team.

    Adding Oakland to our trip was pretty much an accident, when flights from Vegas disappeared, but I am so happy we did. Not only did we see a few of the Green Day sights, but there was a time I thought I would never walk those streets with Annabelle. Long story short, they were diagnosed with stomach cancer in 2013 and at one point told they had three weeks to live. I cried until I could no longer feel my hands or head the first time I heard Still Breathing; because hearing ‘my head’s above the rain and roses / making my way to you’ was when it finally sunk in that I was not going to lose my fiancée, that one day we would walk the streets of Oakland together. Without Green Day we would never even have met. Now that dream has come true.

    Maybe Oakland is a shithole and I’ll eventually get shot, but it felt like my second home and I can’t wait to go back and see Christie Road, Gilman St. and the other Green Day sights.

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    Lake Merritt before our flight home

    I arrived back in Falmouth from Gatwick Airport in the evening. Nothing had changed; the same broken train still made a stupid noise that kept me awake. The dock horn still went off at exactly 7:30am. The same runners passed me on the pavement. But something was different.

    The next day, I sat on a bench on the seafront, overlooking the gentle waves. The sun was shining, and birds were skimming the water below. It was beautiful, tranquil and probably more than I deserved. Because I still found myself longing for those dingy Greyhounds, a tent in Wisconsin, the puddles in my bivvy bag in Des Moines, the streets of Oakland. I knew later I would struggle to sleep in my own bed and, for a few minutes, I genuinely pondered sleeping on the cold metal of that bench.

    I didn’t, and I walked away. All my life I’d had this voice in the back of my mind, telling me I want to go home and it was then that I realised it was absent. Because I have found my home in those tightly packed rooms, on those cold streets, wandering Oakland with someone I met through this band, from England to Poland to Champaign to Vegas.

    I know I’m irresponsible. I know I’m not normal. I know that the consequences I faced because really, I couldn’t afford this at all and shouldn’t have taken the time off, are my own choices.

    But this is my city of shining light in my ordinary world. It is where that I’ll live until I die, and I’ll walk to the end of the earth and afar before I leave this buried treasure behind.

    This is my rage.

    This is my love.

    This is my life.

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  4. I Wrote This Song for You

     

     

    I wrote this for song you.

     

    I hope you didn’t have me confused

    with someone who throws moments like this away. 

     

    While I have your attention, 

    there’s oh-so-much I’d like to say.

     

    What if I told you that when you smile,

    I feel compelled to do the same?

     

    Or, what if I told you, that when it snows I’m happy 

    because I’ve seen your face glow while the white-crystals fall 

    softly above you on the trees.

     

    I don’t normally like the snow, but these days 

    you have me swearing that I do. 

     

    What if I told you that your almond eyes 

    have my heart jumping every time

    they catch mine?

     

    That your voice grooves

    through my ears

    like a snake charmer’s song.

     

    Or, that your touch on my arm 

    turns the air electric.

     

    What if I told you I love 

    the way clouds of smoke move 

    cursive from your lips?

     

    Smooth as the rhythm of your hips 

    dancing in the moonlight. 

     

    What if I told you that I’m feeling 

    especially honest tonight?

  5. One of the most common new year's resolutions is to exercise more, a change that could be implemented at any time of the year. The beginning of a new year feels like the perfect excuse for a fresh start, and to change something about yourself you've been meaning to for some time. But of course the popularity of this gives rise to offers, which makes more people leave it until the start of a new year to go to the gym. And thus the circle of new year's resolutions continues ad nauseam. 

    One Hogmanay, standing in our garden watching the fireworks celebrating the start of 2012, I I had a magical moment.Thinking about the upcoming year, the end of high school, the beginning of university, my prediction of a new Green Day album in september (I didn't quite predict the other two albums they released that year though). Would I manage to make friends? 

    I started making lists of good things that happened in the year, and thinking what the coming year could bring.

    Five years of Hogmanay parties later, and I'm back living with my parents. And back to the old Hogmanay traditions. A game of monopoly (this year Edinburgh edition), and outside watching from our vantage point the various locations that set off fireworks across the city. Hearing people from other gardens yelling "happy new year" and yelling back at the strangers. The live broadcast on tv.  

    This time. This time, I started the year by considerably thrashing my family at monopoly, although any other year it would be my sister that would win. 

    So my 2017? I finally saw Green Day live – twice, although it was meant to be three times. I graduated university with a masters in chemistry. I made friends. 

    And 2018? That's another story. My hopes are that I finally start HRT, I go to Oakland (if we ever decide where to stay!), I get a tattoo, and hopefully I get a job. I also aim to write more, but I'm unsure how that project will end up. 

  6. undefined

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  7. Writings and shit

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    Lady Darkling
    Latest Entry

    It's such a shit feeling when an artist you admire dies. It's this weird state of mourning, where you didn't really know the person, but at the same time, you did. You knew their art, their music, you knew what they were like on the other side of a camera lens, you've fallen asleep to their voice.

    And now they're just... gone. It's hard to comprehend how real it is, because for me the change isn't discernible or immediate.

    But fuck does it hurt anyway. I haven't stopped listening to his music since I heard, and I keep crying at random times. It's unfair, so goddamn unfair that he could help me and so many others to pull through, but we couldn't do the same for him.

     

    My reflection is cast on the closing elevator door
    Looking worn out but, even like this
    The reason why I still blink my eyes and breathe
    Is it for me or am I chased?

    -

    Tell me honestly, you're feeling so lonely
    Tell me honestly, you know you can't go on like this
    How long have you been alone?
    It's awkward to meet my own eyes in the mirror
    For me, for me, for me

     

    Rest in peace Jonghyun. Your music has and will continue to help and inspire me, you seemed like a wonderful person, and I'm so fucking sorry you had to go through so much pain. The world has lost a great musician; your memory will live on.

    Onwards, I suppose, for the rest of us.

     

    Moods: that weird state of mourning

     

    Stay Dirty

    -Pari

  8. Starving The Voice

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    I don't know if The Voice is something that we are all born with, which only flourishes under the right circumstances. However, I know it has been active since I was old enough to form an opinion of myself.  I  remember thinking I was ugly and unlikeable at the very beginning of primary school. Throughout my childhood and my teenage years, The Voice grew stronger and more powerful, fuelled by the harsh words of my fastidious, traditional parents and bullies. At first, I believed The Voice was my friend. It pushed me to excel academically and to be an obedient daughter. It apparently protected me, the socially awkward kid, from any harm by reminding me I was just no good at making real friends. Yet, The Voice never rewarded, but only punished. No amount of A* grades, first class degrees and graduate job offers could convince The Voice to tell me I was worthy. They were all just a fluke. And if they weren't a fluke, The Voice would take all the credit.

    The Voice became steadily more and more intelligent. It adapted to changes in my environment, and found ways to thrive. When I left home for university, I also left the bullies and my oppressive parents. Very quickly, I became more outgoing and sociable. By reminding me constantly of the shy, overweight teenager I once was, The Voice pushed me to make friends and to be a good friend, all under the guise of so called high self confidence, high self esteem and good social skills. It picked apart my appearance, alluding to the callous remarks of the year ten boys, who told me I was so ugly that I would never find love. I lost weight and started wearing make up. I got more attention and met my (now ex) boyfriend. The Voice congratulated itself.

    I fell absolutely, hopelessly and deeply in love. For a year or so, I was so happy. The Voice lay dormant for the majority of the time, making only very occasional, flimsy remarks. But it was far from dead. It was just weak from a lack of negative events to fuel its purpose. Then it had its greatest chance yet. My boyfriend was white and non-Muslim, two features I knew my parents would not tolerate in any partner of mine. Thus, I kept my relationship secret for a year, uncertain of how to convince them that he made me happy. I felt guilty for keeping him a secret and even worse for lying to the two people who brought me into this world, but I knew telling them wouldn’t be easy. The Voice awoke from its slumber, more aggressive than ever.

    “You selfish, undeserving bitch. You’re a fucking coward.”

    And so, after a year of dating, at the beginning of my third out of four years of university, I came clean to my parents. As expected, they were furious, and not because I’d kept it a secret. The exact chain of events is long and difficult to explain exactly, but in short, over the course of the next year, they did everything they could to punish me. They emotionally manipulated me, withdrew what financial support they could and kicked me out of the family home where I grew up and would have spent my summers and Christmases in between university terms. They stopped speaking to me entirely. The Voice turned on me.

    “This is what you fucking deserve, you cretin. This is all your fault.”

    It seemed as soon as I told my parents, my relationship with my boyfriend began to falter. At first, I thought it was due the newfound long distance between us, as I had started a yearlong degree related internship, and he a PhD in different cities. He grew callous and disinterested, rarely coming to visit or allowing me to visit him, and constantly making snide comments about my intelligence, appearance and family. Through my tears and heartbreak, The Voice matured drastically.

    “Oh stop crying, you weak bitch. It’s just a joke. You expect too much from the world, you spoilt fucking cow.”

    I finished my internship and returned to my university city for the final year of my course, to live with four of the best friends anyone could hope for. Throughout the last four years, these people have supported me emotionally and practically, and I would not be anywhere without them.

    “You don’t fucking deserve them. Why don’t they just let you rot on the fucking roadside?”

    Their love and support helped me to see how unhappy my relationship was. No matter how much I told him he was being unfair or hurtful, he would not change/ After two and half years together, just before Christmas last year, I left my boyfriend. It was an agonising decision. I had made the effort to tell my parents about my life choices, at least partially for him. Now it felt as I was throwing it all away.

    “You weak, flaky c***. You think you can do better? Bullshit. Don’t fucking cry. You broke your own fucking heart.”

    But heart broken I was. Shortly after the break up, my housemates popped out for some groceries, leaving me alone for all of half an hour. I remembered I couldn’t even call my mother for support. The dreaded feeling of endless loneliness and a distinct lack of purpose started to arise. The walls felt like they were caving in. I started panting, then sobbing, as the feeling of abandonment began to overwhelm my senses. I collapsed on the floor, beating the ground with my fists and getting more and more frustrated when it didn’t give way. My housemate found me in this state. I still remember how immediately soothing her embrace and gentle instruction to “let it all out” felt.

    Barely a month later and now in 2017, I half-jokingly joined a popular dating app, and met a rather arrogant but attractive man who chased me relentlessly. He held utterly appalling views with regards to women and non-white people.

    “You’re never going to get any better, hun. Who the fuck do you think you are?”

    Unsurprisingly, he disappeared more or less as soon as he got to sleep with me. He told me I was too aggressive and not feminine enough for him to want to consider a relationship with me. The fact my parents didn’t speak to me also made him think I was crazy.”

    “Too fucking right. You need to know your place, you arrogant, entitled bitch.”

    The new year did bring some good news. I graduated with a first and got an elusive graduate job near London with one of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies.

    “You. Are. A. Fraud.”

    With some encouragement from my friends and also The Voice telling me I was a cold hearted c*** if I didn’t, I invited my parents to graduation, making it clear that, while I was single, I would happily date outside my race again. My dad turned up and a month later I went home for the first time in almost two years. I thought it meant peace.

    That summer, I moved down south in preparation for new job, which started in September. I also met a friend of a friend, a genuine and lovely man, at a festival in Scotland. We spent three days together. Although it would have meant very long distance, I was determined to see him again. He took a long time to answer my texts, and eventually stopped contacting me altogether.

    “Why the fuck would a true gent like that want YOU? Disgusting trollop.”

    As I started my first permanent graduate position, and started to experience the stresses of modern working life, The Voice employed a brand new tactic to keep me down: fantasy. It was like opium for my sense of reality. I was on the way to achieving my concept of perfection: an idyllic middle class family life, everlasting love, financial stability, and a fulfilling career. It was all I thought about – this journey to obtaining self worth through specific achievements. And my would be festival lover could be the leading man. We would not be apart if it were not for circumstance.

    I clung onto this ideal for dear life for months following my trip, using it occasionally to distract me from the constant fear of being found out as an incapable, useless fraud at my new job. Then I fell out with my parents again. They told me they still couldn’t accept me or my life choices, that my successes were mediocre and unimpressive and that I would end up alone and a failure. As I walked away from my childhood home once more, I was utterly heart broken. But I was also angry. The Voice took a softer approach this time.

    “You *could* prove them wrong. You just need to achieve perfection. I’ll let you off. But nothing less.”

    I lived and breathed this fantasy future. It was so much more attractive than the present, seemingly so much more in my control than the bleak past. I started to adjust at work. The Voice wasn’t going to reward my progress.

    “Everyone here can see how lazy you are. Stay late, you pig.”

    One day, I kept telling myself, we will meet again and fall in love. The Voice didn’t correct me at moments like these. I was allowed to lie to myself, so long as I was aware there was a gold standard I had to aspire to, that I had to desperately want in order to achieve my worth.

    This false sense of contentment, which led me to believe the counselling therapy I was now receiving was working all too quickly, inevitably shattered yesterday. Social media can be a poisonous thing. Our would be lover had found another. Upon investigation, it would appear he probably met her shortly after our weekend together.

    “Fucking knew it. You would fucking repulse a nice guy like him, and he was mad enough to give you a chance in the first place! Oh, don’t get upset, you pathetic, selfish bitch. Be happy for people that are better than you.”

    The ideal is over. I am faced with my reality. Single and alone in an expensive dreary commuter town, in a demanding graduate job, still many years away from the elusive senior positions and without the support of my family. I am forced to come to terms with the mediocrity and imperfections of my lonely, unimpressive and hateable existence. The Voice doesn’t care how far I have come. It only cares how far I have to go. It tells me everything will be just fine when I complete a list of actions, only to reprimand me when I complete the job, but don’t do any better.

    But today was the first time in a long time that I accepted the present as being the best dimension for me to focus my attention on. It is the only time I truly have control over and can only be as happy as I am willing to make it. It was the first time in a long time I have ever made the effort to forget the mistakes and pain and the regrets of the past. It was the first time I tried to succeed in the present and for the benefit of tomorrow, without living entirely in the future. That is how I want my life to be.

    To continue doing this, I need to kill The Voice. It won’t die with a single shot or a stab. It has to be starved slowly of the negative thoughts that arise from unfortunate situations. It will be a long, hard road. But I have spent somewhere between 15 and 20 years torturing myself by allowing it grow to the monster it is today. I can’t take it anymore. I know how bad it could get if I let it consume me.

    “I don’t want your sympathy

    I don’t want your honesty

    I just want to get some peace of mind”

    My friends and their families have supported and loved me through all of this, but their genuine kindness will not pull me through this alone, as grateful as I am. Silencing and killing these lifelong demons myself now is important.

    “I don’t want to hear it anymore”

    I’ve had enough, and I am ready to change.

     

  9. A few weekends ago I stumbled upon a really cool neighborhood in Hamburg that's basically the punk leftist heartland. There's cute little shops, cool restaurants and street art everywhere. I fell in love instantly. :wub: If I could choose anywhere to live, it would probably there. In the first two pictures there were a few people watching a footballame in front of a bar. The second picture honestly isn't that good but I had to take it secretly because I loved his vest. I was kicking myself for not telling him that and later after exploring the neighborhood I was sitting in the train and fantasizing about complimenting him, and just in this moment he walked past my window at the station, and yet I never saw his face. :( 

    I also randomly saw a feminist protest in the city which I immediately joined. I haven't been to any protest in so long (not because I don't want to go, but because I never know when there are protests in the city). It ended in front of the coolest building I've ever seen. It's called the Rote Flora (the red flora) and it's an old theater that's been occupied by leftists since the late 80s. 

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  10. New lyrics. Enjoy.

     

    Paper Alcohol

     

    I don't bow to hurricanes

    When the need strikes,

    you gotta take the reins

    Soak up the poison, choking me

    make me do things you wouldn't believe

     

    Impulse or reason,

    Moderation or greed

    Believe in the sickness

    Believe in me

     

    Chorus:

    Paranoia

    Unable to be cured

    Leave us to die

    At the whim of the absurd

     

    Rebounding coil

    Incentivize the pured

    Leave the young to cry

    From the pike of the torturer

    -------------------------------------

    I can see it now

    We're the ones left behind

    A touch of the mortal

    Cut even shorter from those unkind

     

    I can feel it now

    An obsession man-made

    The caress of the bank

    makes the world afraid

     

    (Chorus)

     

    We are animals

     

    The chain has been linked

     

    We are animals

     

    Spinal tensions, we blinked

  11. Hey guys, I'm Nico and welcome to another episode of Nico Talks About Stuff!

    Today's topic is something that annoys many people: Censorship in video games.

    Well, I think it's okay if a few things are cut out of a game to have them allowed for ages 13 and up, but the part where I think "What the hell?" is the fact that even 17+ games are getting cut.

    I mean, here in Germany, it's clear that they think underage kids are stupid and have never seen blood before, but if they really think adults are as stupid, I'm thinking "Whoa... what world do you live in?"

    Of course, there's the blood censoring:
    Character: *gets shot* Oh my God! I'm bleeding to death! I'M BLEEDING TO DEATH!
    Player: Dude, there's no blood anywhere...

    But that's not all. Some shooters go as far as to make the corpses just... disappear.

    They... disappear. Where to? And more importantly... why?!

    But video games are not the only victims. Movies and TV series have a hard time here too.

    Let's take Naruto as an example. Here is a picture of a scene from the original version, and here is a picture of that same scene from the European version. Wow.

    Something else in Naruto: Censored dialogue. Instead of...

    I... will kill you!
    Haha, we'll see about that!

    ...we get this:

    I... will degrade you!
    What? Dude, you can't do that! I'm the highest officer! Do you even know how long it took for me to work my way up?!

    But sometimes, in the US, things don't get better. For example, let's look at One Piece. This is the original version, and this is the 4Kids version. The gun was replaced by a fucking toy hammer...?

    What is that? That's so stupid! That's like if I would replace a rifle with an umbrella or something...

    Then, there are some changes that I just can't understand. Just look at this. What the fuck? Definitely not racist. At all. I don't even wanna know what was going on in their heads.

    Here's my personal opinion: Of course you don't need to show kids a head bursting open or something. But I think blood should be shown. Why? Come on. There's some guy that gets cut open by someone, and he doesn't lose any blood? The kids might think: "Hey, that doesn't look too dangerous!" and they might do it themselves.

    "Hehe, does this hurt? *stabs own foot* Oh... my G-- wait, what's that red liquid? I was fooled!"

    Yeah, I think it's more risky to cut it out, because you should know the consequences and learn out of them!

    What do you think about our German censorship? Write a comment down below! See you next Sunday!

  12. Spoiler

    If you told me I'd be loved one day
    I'd laugh, turn around, and walk away
    This feels nothing like reality
    But still not my fantasy
    How did I deserve to get here
    With you my problems
    Seem to disappear
    I was at my worst, now at my best
    My mind won't give you a rest

    Everything feels so right
    We can rule the world tonight
    You're everything that
    I could ever need
    I'll never leave

    I know you more than anyone else
    I care more about you than about myself
    When I was lost in my own despair
    You were the one who cared
    They all said the same thing every time
    But still I couldn't make up my mind
    Now I’ve made my choice and now I know
    I’m never letting go

    Everything feels so right
    We can rule the world tonight
    You're everything that
    I could ever need
    I'll never leave

    I have had no regrets
    Not one since I said yes
    I found my answer at last
    This is one wild ride
    The best of my life
    Can this go on until the end of time

    Everything feels so right
    We can rule the world tonight
    You're everything that
    I could ever need
    I'll never leave [x2]

     

  13. Trotsky
    Latest Entry

    Here I stand
    More or less intact
    Sunshine on my back
    In fact, I'm fine
    I'm getting by
    One reassurance at a time

    I would write myself
    A battle hymn
    And sing the words
    Day in, day out
    But self-talk
    Has a self-defeating way
    Of burning out
    And seeding doubt

    I stare down my demons
    But they don't tend to flinch

    The guilt, the insecurity
    And all this fucking baggage
    If there's one thing that I've learned
    It's that this shit is made of plastic:
    Throw it all away
    But it will stay right where it lays
    It takes so much longer
    Than a lifetime to decay
    It's in the way

    In the ocean of the mind
    It flows into a garbage reef
    Soda cans and grocery bags
    A monument to grief

    An image of the struggle
    To move on; it would resemble
    The visage of an old dog's foggy eyes
     

  14. Smoldering Panda
    Latest Entry

    Hello there. (As ever, apologies if my rant goes left, right, up and down and I don't claim to be a expert in anything. I'm also going out first draft-no proofreading writer.)

    Chapter/Verse/Hymn 2 - Pre-Consultation. 

    I always imagined therapy to have a big chair to lie on. Y'know, just like the movies or TV.  Turns out not, maybe when I get to my first proper assessment.

    So today was my pre-consultation aka "We booked this appointment for you months ago, remind us why you are here, has anything changed?". And because nothing has really changed mentally, some good stuff has happened recently - thanks to you six. You know who you are. But I'm at this stage in my life for a reason

    So after assessing over stuff with a professional (which I wrote in my first blog) it turns out that indeed I do need therapy - so my next appointment will be the real thing. Turns out after assessing all the stuff I told them/questionnaires/doctors references, there are four points they will focus on and officially diagnose:

    Anxiety - Fully expecting anxiety, it has made me physically sick and the idea of social interacting (eight times out of ten) with people has me scampering for the nearest dark place.

    Depression - Not really surprised, it has always been lingering around for many years now, hopefully will find a way to combat it so it fucks off entirely.

    OCD and Bipolar - These are the surprising ones - after looking them up through Google (the scariest thing you can do) I find it now somewhat related to myself and how I've been acting recently.

    So, now I wait for my first appointment and hope to crack the glass ceiling, to put some wood on the fire. 

    Here's to trying not to give up.

    Liam.

     

  15. Hi all. I just wanted to come on here because I haven't posted in a while! :)

     

    I have been inactive online due to multiple things...here are some:

    • I have been incredibly ill since September 17th. I was admitted to hospital for sixteen days and am still ill. I was told everything in the book; that I'm allergic to mushrooms, that I'm pregnant, that it's more kidney issues, kidney stones (which I had before, it wasn't that pain), etc. I have a fischer on my colon which is over 2" in length and am suspected to have chronic appendicitis. I was supposed to have surgery but was sewn back up because they said the surgery would split my colon. I am still in immense pain and going to multiple appointments weekly.
    • I am trying to lose weight. During the past year and a half I was on a very serious steroid to help with my kidney issues. Little did we even know my appendix was causing the infections in my other organs. Now that I am off of the steroids and switched to Cipro, I have been able to lose a lot of weight :D Not at my old size yet but so close and I am so proud of myself! My vegan lifestyle helps a lot with that to be honest. My face feels a lot less puffy when I sleep and my pants don't feel tight anymore. :D <3 
    • I have been in placement. I am in placement for a mental health agency in my city and it truly has been the best experience of my life, apart from any Green Day concert and meeting Tom. It is a lot of work but I am learning so much and really expanding on my social work skills! :) I hope I get hired here, it is my dream job.
    • Placement is 24 hours minimum a week. Classes are 10 hours a week. I work 10-20 hours at PetSmart a week, 4 hours a week with a client, and 4-8 hours a week with another client. All of my free time is used to do homework and talk to Tom and see my pets...also work out and build on my resume. :P
    • I have been applying for Master's programs. :) 
    • I have been applying for graduation awards.
    • This week I started going out with friends again and trying to make memories. :D 

    And yeh! That's what's up with me. Mainly the two first things but I just wanted to let people know I'm not dead. :P I have some of you on Facebook and I love hearing from you all. I still am in love with Green Day (listening to 86 right now), and still stay updated. I am trying to improve on my mental health and physical health a lot and just want to cross that finish line to graduation! :D I miss you all and can't wait to be more active when I'm graduated. :wub: 

  16. Fike speaks

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    now the summer of 2015 was only a small spark.   after returning home and listening to green day i began to find other good punk music  i found a love for nirvana as well

    a few bands include : the dead kennedys, the Ramones, Greenday, rancid, sum41, some blink-182, the offspring, and a few other random punk songs 

  17. Hey! A long time ago when I was more of a regular on here, me and an old friend of mine (@Idlewild. in case he ever comes on again) made lists of the most influential albums to our bands' sounds! Another friend ended up doing it later too, and mine went through various edits! I haven't posted an edit of it in a long time, and this time I'd say it's the final version! As I used to say all the time back then, there's a difference between "favorite" and "influential". All of these albums would make it onto a favorites list, just in a different order. lol You'll notice a lot of them are a similar style, since it's mostly alternative and punk rock in there, but you'll see a few oddballs! At least some element of every one of these is probably in my music somewhere! lol

    EDIT: You'll notice that there's some comments from 2014 on this. That's because I can't delete fucking blog posts or get rid of old comments, so I had to edit my old post! You'll also see that the soundtrack to Repo Man used to be on here. Not that I dislike it now, but most of the stuff on there is already on this list under different albums (Suicidal Tendencies, Circle Jerks, etc). :P Anyways, here's the list:

    01. Nevermind - Nirvana
    02. 1,039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hours - Green Day
    03. S/T debut - Bad Brains
    04. New Day Rising - Hüsker Dü
    05. Chronic Town EP - R.E.M.
    06. Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables - Dead Kennedys
    07. Bug - Dinosaur Jr.
    08. Trompe le Monde - The Pixies
    09. Wasting Light - Foo Fighters
    10. Bleach - Nirvana
    11. Copper Blue - Sugar
    12. Staring at the Sea compilation - The Cure
    13. S/T debut - The Clash
    14. S/T debut - Suicidal Tendencies
    15. In Utero - Nirvana
    16. Insomniac - Green Day
    17. Sleep, What's That? EP - Crimpshrine
    18. Quit Talkin' Claude... EP - Crimpshrine
    19. Turn It Around! compilation - V/A
    20. The Real Thing - Faith No More
    21. Angel Dust - Faith No More
    22. Boogadaboogadaboogada! - Screeching Weasel
    23. Apollo 18 - They Might Be Giants
    24. Forbidden Places - Meat Puppets
    25. Workbook - Bob Mould
    26. Hate Your Friends - The Lemonheads
    27. Hectic EP - Operation Ivy
    28. Bivouac - Jawbreaker
    29. No Control - Bad Religion
    30. S/T debut - Rites of Spring
    31. Split LP - Nar/The Lizards
    32. IV EP - The Lookouts
    33. Play Cell - Tilt
    34. Static Age - The Misfits
    35. Paranoid - Black Sabbath
    36. Is This Real? - The Wipers
    37. Red Roses for Me - The Pogues
    38. Goodbye Ellston Avenue - Pinhead Gunpowder
    39. Back from Samoa - Angry Samoans
    40. Zenyattà Mondatta - The Police
    41. Nothing to Fear - Oingo Boingo
    42. Ride the Lightning - Metallica
    43. (GI) - The Germs
    44. Scott Pilgrim OST - V/A
    45. Split LP - The Faith/Void
    46. S/T EP - T.S.O.L.
    47. It's Alive - The Ramones
    48. Group Sex - Circle Jerks
    49. New Traditionalists - Devo
    50. Mr. Tambourine Man - The Byrds

  18. NickTheToaster blogs about stuff

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    NickTheToaster
    Latest Entry

    So this is a blog! Pretty cool, I guess.

    I'm not sure what I'll put on here, probably just whatever comes to mind. If there's anything you'd like to see, then you can message me and I'll see.

    New here, so anyone who wants to reach out and chat, go ahead please!

  19. Green Day – Nimrod: Feature.

     

    In 1997, Californian band Green Dayreleased their most underrated but diverse record in the form of Nimrod, an album bubbling with hooks and dark edged lyricism. The band had to prove they were still relevant after the disappointing Insomniac, a record which did have its hits, but never hit those meteoric heights. Dookie did so in 1994. That opus brought Green Day into the limelight, a light so vibrant and crucial.

     

    Dookie was a statement of intent, a colossal compendium breaking boundaries, a piece of punk layered with snotty nosed mellow drama. It truly rooted Green Day into the big time, overthrowing their past records. But, as they grew, tensions did too, and the band was banished from Gilman Street, a punk club where many acts nurtured their souls and tweaked their sounds.

     

    As Green Day prospered, many people became distant, fans who loved the band walked away. This is when Green Day became a goliath act, securing places at biggest festivals. But, as they put their pen to paper, their punk laurels were fading. Not to say that the band was forgetting their roots, they just had to grow, they had to burst and breakaway.

     

    Green Day was a major label band when they signed to Reprise in 1994. Some people think the band shot to fame with their seminal record American Idiot all those years later. So the act was making millions well before Jesus Of Suburbia was constructed, they were flying the punk flag through the flurry of scepticism.

     

    And Nimrod pushed Green Day into the light even more so with a ballad that shook the world. That melodic heart-puller is Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life). It’s a song many play at their wedding day, it’s a song which resonates and showcases lead singer/guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong’s impressive writing talent. 

     

    Good Riddance sent Green Day onto the airwaves, although it angered the punks and estranged. They were blasting the band for their decision to put a ballad on one of their albums. They thought the act was selling out, nipping at the arms of greed, shooting for the pot of gold. But, Green Day didn’t surrender and moved on up regardless. 

     

    Nimrod may contain one of Green Day’s most poignant scores, but the record as a whole is punk infused. Nice Guys Finish Last is a blistering, guitar driven masterclass. Redundant mops up the fragments of punk’s inner core, and cools it down as Armstrong sings with ease and great tone. Reject is a fast-paced pile-driver, it’s in your face. So many of these songs return to the punk days. And that shows us Green Day aren’t leaving their signature sound to rot, they never have cascaded into bubble-gum pop territory, they have tweaked it, adding more complexity. This complexity is heard on American Idiot. A record which saved the pioneers from truly derailing. It’s an album many hate, but many people love the diversity it showcases.

     

    American Idiot may be Green Day’s most popular and audacious LP. But there’s flashes of this magic on Nimrod. The true intensity it creates, the darkness it exudes is believable. It may not be Green Day’s magnum opus, but what it is, is something which strikes punk into veins of those seeking a thrill.

        

         

     

     

     

  20. 9876gwen
    Latest Entry

    Man its been a long while since I posted one of these on here but not time better than the present, right? So ever since I started college, ive been having more people coming up and saying they thought I was still in high school or that I look like I still belong in middle school(im 19 btw). What's worse is that most of the people who say that begin treating me like a kid who's still in 8th grade or something. Like, they treat my thoughts or opinions on a matter like they're invalid because I look like im a child and apparently a childs opinion doesnt matter. It's really demeaning and confidence crushing ya'know? Like for example, the last date I went on with my boyfriend was horseback riding, we had to sign this waiver saying we wont sue if we get hurt or whatever, the lady who gave us the waiver almost made my boyfriend sign the parent/guardian part until we gave her a strange look and she asked for my age, she acted surprised and apologized =/  Or sometimes older people will shoot us dirty looks because we are holding hands. Not to mention the NON STOP carding I get. Just about anything that could require ID I get asked for and extensively questioned, some times accused that im using a fake. Sometimes I just wanna scream "Im an adult, stop treating me like a little kid!" I already know im going to be looked down upon in the workplace when I get a job because im young/ look young, that im going to get the barrage of child jokes. Anyone else struggle with something like this? Like why do most people my age look like models in their mid 20s?

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    For those who don't know, Blue is a Japanese 1981 daphne blue Fernandes RST50 "Revival" Stratocaster with a maple neck. It has a 7 screw hole pickguard (as opposed to a 11 hole).

    Unfortunately finding this model in daphne blue is next to impossible, I've only ever seen 1 or 2 other ones and they weren't for sale. Because of this I decided to settle on getting one in any colour and just having it repainted. It took me about a week to find the exact model for a decent price. Most places wanted $700+ for the guitar even though that model isn't worth that much. After searching through ebay, Reverb, and other trading posts I eventually found one on an online store in Japan. Unfortunately they wouldn't ship to Australia but luckily for me, I had a friend in Japan will to help me out!

    The guitar arrived a few weeks later and looks fantastic! I forgot to take pictures of it before it went off to get painted (it's currently being done now) but here's some ones from the online store :)

    vExulSr.jpg

    fBM1Wkq.jpg

    R9iLxNR.jpg

    Up next - Part Two: Painting & Relicing

  21. Hello, fellow GDCers. Thanks for all of the well wishes through all of this craziness with my dad.

    The latest on my dad is that he will have to go through chemo and radiation starting on September 11th. Surgery was unable to remove all of the cancer, so the doctors now want to do radiation to remove the last of it which they believe they can do. They had to remove one of his jugular veins during the surgery as well as a muscle from his neck to his shoulder that has now limited the ability of him to raise his arm above his head.

    Swallowing is an issue for him at the moment and he's on a liquid diet until he can get his swallowing under control.

    So, today...my mom called to tell me that she has a tumor on her throat and that she will need a biopsy to see if it's cancerous.

    I honestly don't even know how to process all of this. Between my dad's cancer, his confession of an affair 15 years ago and now my mom maybe having cancer? In a dark way, it's almost become comical. Nothing fazes me anymore and I just laugh at awful news now because it's become so ridiculous.

    Anyhey. Life is swell and I can't wait to see Green Day in 12 more days.

  22. What I Lost

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    I have a new blog post up on my new website: www.whatilost.net

    Again, it's about losing 93 pounds over the past year. Enjoy!

    ?format=500w

  23. Comrade
    Latest Entry

    Somehow I've suddenly not posted any writing here for coming up to a year.

    EDIT: I liked this when I saw it again and did a little rewrite, changed up the middle stanza and made it a little more reflective. I like it. I've not been writing much - I've not had vast amounts of inspiration - but the more my year in Sheffield fades in the rear view mirror the more I'm drawing from it, the more I see it did for me. 

     

     

    Northern Soul 

     

    Said she was down from Glasgow  

    And out looking for a bit of a rascal  

    Who’s up for dancing all night on the tables; 

    Someone who ain’t all hung up on social labels,  

    She’s dressed up to the nineteen nineties; 

    Cargo pants and an orange velvet crop top 

    She got for cheap in a Dev Street second hand shop, 

    Matches her hair, could make the night stop 

    She thought “I - I can see it in his eyes, 

    He’s only in it for the prize” 

    But Oh darling I –  

    I see it in your eyes 

    ‘Cross all the spilled beers you look alive. 

    Can I take you home? 

     

    And I can't promise if you come 'round tonight  

    That you're gunna have the night of your life.   

    And you know this isn't more than it seems;  

    I never said it, but you know where I've been,  

    You've been there too, so try me tonight. 

    Your mates are jealous and they're off picking fights.  

    When I see you there's one thing that I know; 

    You've got some spirit, you've got a northern soul... 

     

    All linked arms singing Come On Eileen 

    During the verses I catch her eyeing me  

    While her friend’s friend makes his move and  

    Leans in for the kiss and only gets his girls’ hand… 

    In mine, she turns around 

    The whole crowd cheers us on,  

    We forget about the song… 

    And Darling I –  

    I see a little green in your eyes 

    On this night, in this light you look alive  

    Oh let’s go home? 

     

    “I like that you seem suave… 

    Tell me all your stories 

    And we’ll stay up ‘till the morning” 

    Oh Darling I –  

    I kissed her body and I told her  

    All the things that make me older  

    And she laughed 

    And rolled a little closer; 

    “This’ll just be another story!” 

    Darling I 

    Feel so alive. 

     

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