Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Aches, ageing and a celebrity personal appearance in the garden

After many months prolonging the fact an engagement party tends to follow an engagement, William and I finally got our act together this month and invited people round. 

Gifts were given, drinks were drunk and we found the perfect solution to ensure all focus would not be on us during our back garden get together as we have a mutual dislike of attention.

By booking the most controversial Australian reality television star I have in my phone book for a personal appearance. 

In the midst of people celebrating our love, we thankfully managed to skip doing any soppy speeches of our own as our home became a bizarre, and slightly enforced, one man meet and greet.

Older relatives had no idea who our VIP was, younger friends enjoyed the novelty of a virtual villain stood before them and William and I smiled as our lives endured a tabloid worthy clash.

Alongside our minor celebrity, it also helped having a dog dressed up with a ribbon roaming round and an adorable baby nephew appealing to all in attendance.

The holy trinity of attention gravitating guests at any function while the hosts happily hide.

Away from our garden based gathering, these past months have mainly been focused around camping trips with Winston the dog, a couple of weddings and my own failing health.

It's rather ironic that after 20 plus years of living completely fearless, unphased by consequence and being annoyingly reckless, that the moment I have something to cherish, my body starts to shut down.

'Able bodied, but no longer able to do, the things in this life I'd planned for me and you.

As I grow taller, the world grows smaller, crippled by the realities I struggle to see through'.

I wrote those poetic words recently after an appointment where I paid for the pleasure of a professional practitioner to tell me the things I am not capable of doing. Things I already knew, but things I'd still push myself through while enduring the pain. 

In the grand scale of life, it's hardly the most harrowing of things to be told you can no longer train a certain way, that rest periods must be greater and my body now comes with a growing list of restrictions.

But it is certainly a reminder to me, and now you, that age creeps up sooner than you think in one way or another.

Aches last longer, hangovers hang around for days and before you know it, you're no longer able to bounce out of bed after a big night. 

There's an old saying I've always enjoyed: At some point your mum picked you up, put you down and never picked you up again.

Now, along those lines but even more depressing is the fact that at one point in your life you drank all night, danced until day broke and then went about your business as fresh as a daisy without even realising it was the very last time you'd do so.

Maybe you've already enjoyed your final all night sesh and haven't even realised so you will never endure another?   

There was also a time you rolled in the mud at a festival without fearing the clothes wash afterwards.

A time you stayed out on a week night and weren't scared of snoozing in work the next day.

A time you could operate on four hours of sleep, eat what you wanted without it showing and live on a whim while soildering through every adventure you throw yourself into.  

I type this as a man closer to 30 than 20 and a man who spends his disposable income on things like physiotherapy before fun.

Also a man that fears he may one day struggle to keep up with the children he dreams of having.

This isn't a memo to provoke ill-deserving sympathy, but more a post to remind you to have the fucking time of your life while you physically can.

Because the second your abilities lag behind your sense of adventure and logic comes before the luck of life, restrictions are set and you're forced to slow yourself down.

Wether ya want to or not.

To give this a less depressing end, Willaim and I would like to express our thanks for everybody that attended our party, pitched in with food and baking, brought gifts and gave us all the love.

Also congruations to both Sarah and Andy, and Emily and Ryan on your recent big days.

And lastly, thank you to Married At First Sight's pint-sized, sexually fluid, famously-always-feuding-with-someone, breakout star Nasser Sultan for kindly donating his time to stand in our garden.  

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Wedding planning, penis problems and surviving the Sydney winter

You know what the worst thing about planning your very own big gay Australian wedding is?

The realisation that you're going to be the star of the grand sparkling occasion. Along with your dearly beloved, of course. Who isn't much more pleased about declaring his love in front of all of our nearest and dearest either.

It's not out of shame, but more out of pure embarrassment.

I've been raised watching weddings on the TV filled with joy, love and Katherine Heigl excitably hoarding 27 Dresses. There's dancing, exaggerated drama and dodgy public displays of affection as your employed paparazzi snaps every single moment.

There's just, like, never much mention about how cringe the whole thing is? All them eyes focused on you while you try and conjure up some crowd pleasing words, which will soon be shared across everyone's social media.

As for the first dance? That can fuck off too. I'm a man that can barely do a drunken shuffle and no amount of apparent protocol will get me Strictly Come Dancing on my big day. Sorry, Will.

And then there's the slight problem that my fiancee and I both have penises.

Traditional church ceremonies may be on the out and unique union's between people of all backgrounds and identities may be on the in, but who's going to be the one walking down the isle and who's going to be the one waiting up front?

'I now pronounce you top and bottom,' the person officiating may as well say. Because no matter how we're looking at it, the one doing that slow awkward stroll is essentially seen as 'the bride.'

I may be joking, but it's also true.

As for the actual planning, things are going spectacularly. The majority of decisions were made in one afternoon and we chose the date on a whim after my mum started pestering to book flights. In my opinion, love should feel natural and require no effort, which is the same logic we're applying to our wedding.

William and I will be saying I Do on January 17, 2020.

It'll be an intimate outdoor affair north of Sydney with Nandos doing the catering. Hopefully, I'm open for sponsored posts on this blog for any brands looking, FYI.

With flights to Australia being pricey as fuck and us hosting our nuptials quite literally on the other side of the world, I have no expectations of people from back home coming over especially.

Unless you're a parent or sibling then you best book that bloody flight. But for any friends planning their vactions for your next couple of years, here's your extended notice so you can swing by Sydney.

Other than the very brief wedding planning, there aren't many more updates to share and this travel blog has once again become void of any travel as I've settled back in Sydney following my European jaunt.

I survived the tail end of the Australian winter upon my return, and you know the worst thing about temperatures dropping Down Under is? They just shouldn't. 

Nobody moves to Australia to spend a couple of months with a slight chill. For British people over here, it's almost like the second you step foot off that plane you're entitled to 365 of soaring sunshine or you want your money back.

10 degrees? No fucking thank you, that wasn't on the tour guide. 

Spring has now kicked in though thankfully, shit is getting hot again and most of my days are spent with William and Winston the dog doing absolutely nothing but living our best lives.

It's quite an odd feeling that after over a decade of touring, parties alongside pop stars and shoving myself into the centre of all things showbiz, the thing that keeps me most content is coming home to a man I love and a dog I'd die for.

Bit of a dramatic end that, weren't it?

Thursday, 5 July 2018

A very British break, an impromptu proposal and getting engaged

As long as I can recall I’ve had an unfortunate ability to accidentally ruin the biggest moments that my life throws at me.

Speaking too soon, passing out before parties peak, premature ejaculation. My foot spends more time in my mouth than it does the floor and awkward is my most apparent characteristic. Which inevitably meant my recent engagement became an occasion that’s easier to refer to as ridiculous than romantic. My fault, of course.

William planned perfection and I destroyed that dream in a swift second of regret.

After finally arriving back to my family in Manchester for the first time in 15 months (via several small European reunions in my last post), it wasn’t long before Will followed to meet his soon-to-be in-laws while allowing me to play tour guide.

So far our relationship has existed solely in Australia. We swim, sail, sunbathe and spend our days surrounded by the people and places he’s known since the day he was born. We’ve built the type of life I never thought someone like me could live and dream of a future and family I never knew I wanted. Until Will walked in wearing his Birkenstocks with sustainable water bottle to hand, that is.

And although he may have had my heart since that first moment, Manchester will always have a hold of it too. Soz. So off to the estate I grew up on we went. Six days filled with family introductions, dinners with friends and days out across the country before I returned home to Sydney and he went to France on an agricultural adventure. As ya do.

“Is it okay if my friend Alisha and her boyfriend join us for our picnic in London on Saturday?” I asked over a lunch we shared with a girl Will had previously met while travelling America that was coincidentally now in Manchester too. Desperately trying to diarise as many people as possible in every second on British soil that we find spare. “No,” Will responded. “I want it to be private.”

I then quizzed, he then protested and we hit a wall as I couldn’t pencil her in while his friend wondered what was happening. Two stubborn gays with one sat on a secret. The conversation going in circles until something gave.

“Oh god, are you planning on proposing or something?” I, rather regrettably, joked as a conclusion couldn’t be found.


A very long, and very telling, silence.

Our American third-party in attendance looked away, Will looked embarrassed and I looked, well, I don’t know. Probably like a dick head that knew he’d just wrecked one of the most memorable moments he’ll ever have.

“Yeah I was,” Will blushed, while producing a ring from his wallet. We both laughed, he put the ring away again and the question wasn’t asked. Pushed aside for a later proposal as we attempted to brush over the blunder with uncomfortable laughter.

Thankfully the actual proposal happened a few hours on as we were falling asleep in my Mum’s spare room. “If I did ask would you have said yes?” Will whispered, as if I would ever have had an answer other than yes. His unnecessary insecurities making him even more adorable in the subtle moonlight that cast a shadow across the scene. “Of course I would.”

And down on one knee my slightly jet-lagged, now improvising, future husband went. 

As for the rest of my three weeks in England, they were spent amongst Loose Women, pals and pop stars while pretending to be a pop star. Carl and I headlined a slot at G.A.Y in central London just hours after watching Taylor Swift headline Wembley Stadium. She arguably pulled in a slightly larger crowd but I’m still waiting for an official head count.

And then I had a slight epiphany... as usual, bare with me on this one.

I left London, and the UK, all that time ago because I felt like I was trapped in a rat race I had no desire to run in. Everywhere I looked I watched people clawing their way up career ladders, fighting for infamy, desperate to be something. And I reached a point where I realised all I wanted was to be happy.

In my goodbye post on this very blog as I left everything behind to find just that, I described the capital as “a place where the people profit from pity and you can not afford to feel; a well-oiled machine that operates on fear while expecting failure.”

And upon my return I seen a genuine change amongst friends, family and faces I just sat and watched in the country I'll always class as home.

People prioritizing real life, relationships growing strong, work being something you leave in the office and life being something to enjoy - not endure. Well, either that, or everyone's just got lazy as fuck while the heatwave soars on with Love Island and the World Cup on everynight.

But for real, the biggest thing I've come to learn since I started this blog, is it's the smallest things in life that have the biggest impact - which seemed to be a mutual mentality during those brief moments back in Britain.

By all means aim, achieve and follow your dreams, but never lose sight of what will really make you happiest in the long run. Because at the end of the day, no one really gives a fuck what you work as, how many followers you have or how much you've got in the bank.

None of that stuff defines you - no matter how much you feel it should do.

PS: The wedding will be in Sydney so everyone get saving up please.