All Cragged Up: Part One

Recently I started playing electric guitar and started my own band, people asked me why did you get in to music? Well ladies and gentleman. A couple of girls in my past said that I was good with my fingers so I thought HEY why not play guitar…I mean that’s the next logical step right?

Only problem is now if I’m fortunate enough to go to bed with a lovely lady when I’m down there doing the business they roll over and ask what the hell I’m doing with my other hand (Act out playing guitar with face getting increasingly shocked). It’s tough to not get carried away. One second you’re there giving it your all and the next you’re eyes shut getting frustrated at yourself for playing the opening to Sweet Child of Mine wrong. She rolls over and asks if you’re okay and you just reply “Hmm is it a G or a C now?”…Instant mood killer, WHO KNEW?

But I tell you what, guys in the audience, if you are able to play a high chord on your girl…you are one lucky man.


Note: This is all part of a hypothetical stand up comedy show, not completely real life, not completely in my style of comedy delivery.


Mental Health Blog #35

Is this the start of the long awaited downfall/decline of my happiness? As I mentioned in Mental Health Blog #33, typically my life has sharp periods of ying and yang, ebb and flow, high and low, and in the past month and a half I’ve had a sustained period of positivity with what most would see as a supreme lucky streak. However the past couple of days the cracks have begun to show…and as yet that is all they are, cracks…

As I wrote about in my latest Adventures of One piece, I was meant to have gone to see Grease- The Musical with who I thought was a lovely girl called Abbie (Who I had been seeing for a couple of weeks). However, around four hours before the show started, when I messaged her to sort out timings and organise what would happen after the show…it was picked up by somebody claiming to be her boyfriend…a boyfriend who she had never mentioned previously and claimed to have only got with her in the past few days…hardly a long term thing, especially as she’s seen more than one guy at the same time. Massive kick in the teeth after both revealing some quite private information and me spending quite a bit of time and money organising the night. Nevertheless, I must march on and keep going as usual, keeping my bait in the water as I’ve deleted the old fish from all of my social networks.

Again going back a few posts, I wrote about how my “kind of ex” friend had begun a kind of concerning decline of their own. The gone weekend they uploaded a few pictures when out with friends at a music gig and generally celebrating Mother’s Day which got people talking, bringing me in to the fold yet again. None of us know if it was just a few cases of bad lighting or our friendship goggles had worn off, as they looked so different to how we had seen them just over half a year ago. Someone remarked that when posing next to their little brother and step sister they looked ill almost, with reminding features of a stereotypical druggie or junkie parent who you see on tv. Pictures at the gig next to their rather skinny/slim friends didn’t help that people thought that they had “grown” even more than first imagined. It became clear that in the social situation of hitting on a member of the opposite sex in a night club, they had gone from the person which made suitors nervous to talk to/the go to person, to the person who would have to be made sure are okay if their friend goes off with someone else. An example of this happened with me a year or so ago as in a group of five guys we bumped in to a group of three single girls. One of my mates wanted to make a move on the best looking girl in that group, however she wouldn’t get off with him unless her two (slightly less attractive) friends got with two of us. And as I was one of two of the only other single guys in our group I had to bite the bullet and take one for the team. Knowing my friends…or friend that they go out with, it is harsh to say but they are most certainly not first choice, or possibly even second or third, dependant on who’s with them. I hate that these words are coming out of my mind and keyboard as I’ve somehow become such a judgemental ass, passing comment on someone elses life but it is so hard to keep this sort of confused upset bottled up in my mind as they are such a great person who is seeming losing those amazing qualities a little more every day. For some reason I feel that if the universe listens enough it will somehow change things for them, like the power of positive thinking we see so much about…believe and you can achieve.

Well I’ve been the bitchy declining Crag Banna…signing out.

Adventures of One #3

Well this week’s events really did not go to plan, both for different reasons…

On Friday, instead of just popping to the DW stadium in time for the Wigan Warriors match against Hull FC (Who beat the warriors 22-20 despite a late resurgence), we managed to make a whole afternoon of things, firstly going to Liverpool to meet up with my friend before making our way to the match…four hours early. Despite being in the sun so long that I turned as pink as Mr Blobby’s backside, we managed to have a nice little tour around Liverpool City Centre, even watching an 86 year old man Rollerskating around despite recently breaking his hip. Needed two trips to McDonalds before going to the stadium to cut the waiting time down to three hours…and make a strong start to our McDonalds Monopoly boards.Got to the match and waited for the players to arrive, getting photographs with several of them until it was time to go in to the stadium an hour before kick off. For some reason despite sitting in the front row directly under the posts we found ourselves surrounded by children who couldn’t have been much older than 13/14. Nevertheless when my mate went in to full angry rant mode, I managed to communicate and have a laugh with them through the medium of pulling funny faces. Wigan were 18-0 down at half time and my mate had hit the advertising board in front of us so hard that he bruised most of the bones in his hand which then swelled up throughout the duration of the match which saw Wigan very nearly complete one of the biggest comebacks in recent years. Got slightly lost in Wigan trying to find my station home, as the outside of the building looked more like a shop under refurbishment than anything else. All in all a great day out, can’t beat watching and doing something you enjoy with the people who matter most in your life.

Now Saturday…Saturday was meant to be a great date night…only about three hours before the start of Grease The Musical, I received a message through the girl’s snapchat, from her supposed boyfriend who she had gotten with a few days ago, so date off and a spare seat next to me which no one had filled. Nevertheless, I still went, stuck between a whole gaggle of girls (Just guessing that is the collective term) with zero leg room which left my knees screaming. And you know what, I still had a great time. Even though I’d only ever seen the film once, I sang along with most songs, probably to the disapproval of the people around me. I had a laugh with two girls next to me watching drunk people try to get up and down the steep stairway to the ladies toilets. A group of ten girls a couple of rows in front of us even got thrown out due to how much they were off of their faces. The girls next to me still made it an enjoyable time, keeping up the streak of talking to strangers even if they did think I was gay…Just like the gentleman who kept turning back to look at me when we went to leave the theatre. Him: Hey handsome, are you here alone?  Me: Uhh yeah I am actually.  Him: Woah deep voice, fancy some company?

It was at that point that I had to break his heart and break it to him that I didn’t swing that way, but I was still flattered nevertheless.

There may not have been any Summer Lovin’ (Or Spring Lovin’) but it was still a very much enjoyable couple of days. Only the one thing on next weekend, going alone, but will I leave alone? Who knows? I’ve been Crag Banna…signing out.

Mental Health Blog #34

Earlier today, I had my latest meeting with the Student Counsellor, and for the first time in a long while she managed to get me to be emotional.

From the start she told me how proud she was of me, which caught me confused and off guard. She explained that she meant she was proud of how I had managed to turn things around in the past six months, showing me all of the notes that she’d ever made about our meetings, bringing back memories of how in our very first meeting I had cried for about 5 minutes straight when describing how amazing my girlfriend was and made me feel. She noted that she was the key person in my life at the time, with the next page showing the email I sent her the day of being dumped. She went through, how for so long the main body of the conversations and meetings was her, and how I was struggling to move past her but she also wrote of how I dealt with it without turning to alcohol or drugs and was very adult and kind towards her during the whole period. Noting how close I was to quitting university five months ago with flashes of wanting to take my own life, she saw this as the biggest part of my progress, as well, I’m still alive, I’m still here and once again doing well in my work and securing placements. Early on she had fears of how I’d shut myself away and not make or stay friends with anyone, but now she sees that I’ve grown in confidence going out on my weekly adventures and being part of a tight group of five friends, getting along with many others.

Well I do live to grow, live to progress and live to prove people wrong… I’d have been doing myself an injustice not continuing to be who I was.

Also speaking about being who I am, in January I mentioned that over the course of 2017 I plan to put on ten pounds of clean weight. I started off on 152lbs, now I’m 156 (Well when I weighed myself two weeks ago) and my waistline has increased by an inch which has taken my body fat up by 2%, meaning I have put on a pound and a half in around a sixth of the year which means that I’m slightly behind where I need to be. Never the less, there is still a lot of time to change this and I’ll be able measure again towards the end of April.

Thank you for reading this rather jumbled post, I’ve been Crag Banna…signing out.

Mental Health Blog #33

Slowly making my way through writing all of the “Upcoming Posts” that I mentioned in previous pieces, I’ve realised how much I am being consumed by life right now.

While pretty much none of the things in life are negative right now, there is still a lot to do and a lot to take in with the week starting on Friday of immense proportions (for me). In the past week I’ve had a job interview which was successful, found out that I got a first on a group assignment, done another group assignment, visited Buxton, watched football with my best friend from back home alongside many other things. All rather positive experiences which no one would complain about… but where’s the catch. I’ve had a positive past 3/4/5 weeks, possibly even longer, normally I can never string together more than a few good days, yet alone weeks. Usually life has gone in a cycle; Be Optimistic, Achieve or Something Good Happens, Happiness is Stopped Abruptly, Few Days of Depression and Overthinking, Try to Put the Bad Behind like a Pheonix from the Ashes. As I wrote about in early 2016, this is nothing new normally having set backs with my long term crush or someone becoming ill in my family after what I’ve seen as a period of progress. Probably the biggest example of this back and forth came in September when I started this series. I had the best summer of my life, arguably the best I’ll ever have, and I definitely don’t know what I’ll do with myself this summer. I had great days out and adventures with my closest friends who reconnected from the various places around the country they now study and work at. In my eyes it was the time when I became a man, I became an adult, I had this incredible relationship which happened to just burn bright and burn out quickly but none the less all of that effort and experiences have been life changing. And after that time, after the best 9 days of my life and after the single greatest night of my life, I came to University in Manchester and I at the time I had never had depression like it, I could not settle whatsoever. I recovered about a week later, making a strong start to Etihad learning life…then I got dumped, which obliterated that. I tried to see positives and move forward…then I became blocked from everything. I brushed myself down and tried to make a positive start to single life by getting a job interview…and I suffered rejection yet again.

So this is why I ask, what is the catch? What is the hitch? What is the cost to all of this? Is it the feeling that I;m having with a million things spinning in  my head at the moment? Is life waiting for the moment which I cannot afford to be down… which just so happens to be the week/eight days starting on Friday. I have a job interview on Friday before going to watch Wigan Warriors with one of my best friends, on Saturday I am at Grease- The Musical taking  a girl I’ve been chatting to on a first date, on Tuesday I will be doing another University Assignment Presentation, on Wednesday I shall be signing all of the paperwork to move into my new house in September, and finally on the second Friday I shall be at a Ghost concert.


This part isn’t something I really wanted to write about on here, but it is something that is playing on my mind. Now you’ve probably heard me mention similar feelings towards my ex (Who mysteriously copied the filter of my profile on to hers days after I changed and tried to start her own northern tour) before and how they are living life but there is a friend who seems to be taking that a step further. In the first year of University they essentially dropped everybody from back home aside from three or four people, picking up a new best friend and one or two acquaintances at University. In the second year and over the past summer, they have lost all apart from one person from back home although if she was in trouble there would be people who may help and they’ve pushed their uni best friend aside for one of their new housemates who features in every picture and photo, despite having the chance to be with 6/7 various people. From eight or so down to two people in the space of eighteen months is not a positive sign. Also the problem with putting all of your eggs in the “My Best/Only friend goes University with me” basket is that in just over a year when University is over, are you realistically going to stick together? You often see school teachers and doctors/nurses live together after University and their friendship continues in that way as they have experience working at the same place who are willing to take on multiple people each year at the end of their courses. But their course is rather specialised or unique, and only really active in the summer months and in all honesty there aren’t that many places (50 Max) in the UK that would offer jobs in this field. So with all people from their course and similar courses going for these limited number of jobs chances are they won’t both get in to the same place, and with their track record of losing friends it seems as though it will be tough for them to make friends their new place of work. Similarly if neither of them get in to the place of work, they will likely go back to living at home where their friend has their own lives and several old friends to be comfortable around and stick with…however as mentioned earlier, my friend or as they see it (someone  who I know), will not have anyone to really go back to, all because of this attitude they have now. I’ve been lucky in being able to maintain my amount of friends from school and possibly even add to and strengthen the friendships I’ve had with some of them. Also at University I’d say I’m in a group of 5/6 people but I get along with everyone. So rather than having a one or two person reunion I could potentially meet up with 10/15.

It isn’t just how they’ve been treating people that’s counter productive, there’s no nice way to say it and it may not be my place to judge but they really aren’t looking after their bodies and are getting “bigger”. This person is someone who back in Year 8/9 was an exhibition of fitness, representing multiple sports teams to a high standard, with abs that most guys would be jealous of. But now you wouldn’t even believe that they used to be like that, when we last hung out it was clear that they had changed somewhat as we weren’t able to play like we used to. Two of the things that they love doing most require immense levels of balance, strength, muscular endurance and at times flexibility to perform at a half decent level. I’m not afraid to say that I completely suck. Like at rock climbing I can only go up about 5-7 grips without needing a rest or falling off, equivalent to about 7/8 pull ups, this person who loves doing it has seen themselves get gradually worse, managing about 2-4 grips and a single pull up. I really don’t want them to give up on what they enjoy because they are being limited by their physical fitness, it is quite sad to see someone who could run wrings around most fall so sharply from grace.

One final thing is their handling of money is poor to say the least. In their first year of University their nonchalant attitude towards spending meant that they ended up with over a grand of debt and very nearly entering overdraft last summer due to more heavy spending without income. Sure, student loans and grants help and there’s always the student’s favourite bank of mum and dad but going out once or twice per week spending around £15, over the twenty or so weeks which have passed us at university this year means they’ve spent around £375-£400 already which is most of your money after equipment, rent and food. They complain online about being skint, so what do they do? Buy a watch which retails for around £130-£150.

I know they probably wouldn’t listen to me about this but I have to try something, anything, before it is too late and they go back to their old depression days, so if anybody has any ideas of how to get through, I’m all ears.

Apologies for that rant, I’ll try and get my next post out on Wednesday but for now, I’ve been Crag Banna…signing out.


Adventures of One #2

This week, I did not have to travel too far and I had two special guests come along with me on my adventure as Northampton Town Football Club played Bolton Wanderers at the Macron. My guests were my best friend, Ben and his Dad (Teacher and part time Tony Pulis lookalike), Bill.

It was great to see them both again…even though it had only been three weeks since I saw Ben. As common with Northampton Town matches, the fans and chanting were better than the actual content of the match. No more evidence was needed of this other than that I began to lose my voice after the 20th minute. Cobblers fans were in full voice, making the three home stands look like libraries. Despite being pre match underdogs and defending most of the first half, we took the lead mid way through the second. Later on Bolton showed why they used to be in the Premier League and pegged us back to one a piece. For some reason the Bolton fans thought that they had won the World Cup and began celebrating and chanting furiously. The dubiousness of the refereeing grew over the second 45, giving away a contentious penalty which proved to be Bolton’s ticket to Victory Town (Just off the M6, before the merge with the M60)… In the final minute of injury time Northampton had an equaliser wrongly ruled out for offside right in front of us making the result that little harder to take despite little expectation.

The travel home was cosy to say the least with most of the rail fans cramming on to two already packed carriages. But it did help me continue my streak of meeting people on my journeys. With more chanting and heated debate about the refereeing.

Cannot wait for next weekend when in a double header, there will be two doses of Adventures of Two…

I’ve been Crag Banna…signing out.

Mental Health Blog #32

In the past few days and weeks people ask me two main questions. Who/what is Crag Banna (Is it an alter ego)? and What do I feel about my ex going on repeated nights out trying to find somebody (Trying to keep up with her more popular housemate)?

In response to the first question, Crag Banna, as I may have posted before is a creation from a misspelling of an exes name on a school trip which she got annoyed by and being the kids that we were, we teased her slightly on it with all the fun in good spirits. In the end we saw it has her hard working, sensible, almost boring side as her real name and Crag Banna was the wild-child, fun, laughing party animal. I had a t-shirt made for the Sixth Form Olympics which had Crag Banna on the back and with her distancing herself from the name I, in a way, adopted it. I wore the t-shirt in my first year of university and began to get called it.

In the spirit that it was meant, Crag Banna did become my alter ego, like her, with it being my fun, joking around side which does random and crazy things like a bundle of energy which struggles to be restrained from bouncing off of the walls. This is a side which only normally comes out when I’m around other people who I am close and comfortable around. On the flip side my real name is what I feel I should be called when I am calm, reserved or even depressed. It is that side which comes out when alone, feeling down, or with a girl I like, being gentlemanly rather than firing off inappropriate jokes every second for a cheap laugh.

I wish I could be a combination of the two all the time rather than be distinct opposites, however that isn’t how alter ego’s work. I wish that I didn’t have to be that kind of attention grabbing person when out with close friends, regardless of how much I love to see people smile and hear them laugh. I wish that I would be able to have a calm, relaxed, thought provoking conversation with one of my close friends. However I wish that when I am alone, instead of feeling down and depressed I can be fun and in a way enjoy my own company and not be so shy around girls that I like.


Now the second question. How do I feel about what my ex gets up to or tries to get up to (As she is often unsuccessful)?

Of course there is brief shattering or glass in my mind where once again you are reminded that she is no longer mine and that she may be off with someone else giving that temporary sickness feeling. But after about 10-15 minutes that disappears because I realise that she is happy doing whatever she is doing. As someone who once loved her, if that feeling was true, all I ever wanted and will want for her is to be safe, healthy, cared about and most importantly happy even if that is not with me around. She’s certainly going to be happy if she manages to get a one night stand (although that feeling is temporary), it isn’t anything that’s going to risk her health, in those moments she is cared about and kept safe by whatever guy she’s with, however there’s always that knowledge of the feeling of loss, and possible desertion/disrespect the morning after. However I have no control over any of that. Even if I had some massively horrible feeling after seeing her with someone (Which I have not to date but I know one night stands don’t need selfies), what am I supposed to do? Message her saying, “Hi, it’s that guy you broke up with like 6 months ago, please don’t get off with him”? I don’t think so.

Would I get jealous if I saw couples kind of pictures with her and a consistent individual? Yeah, I probably would but then the above applies yet again, and also there is the hypocritical nature of me feeling that way or trying to stop anything. I have had one night stands, dated a girl for a month, been chatting to others and that is not going to change in the near future so what right do I have to say, “Yes, I can date and sleep with others but you can’t”.

Until then, none of that is relevant, and I’m just content that the platforms to see/communicate with each other are opening/remain open. And with this I can cast my eye and try to care and protect from a distance. As a quote once said, “It’s not about deciding to walk away, it’s about deciding who you love from a distance”.


And that is what I shall always continue to do, as I am Crag Banna…signing out.