Unintentional Hipster

I just like wearing women's jeans, not eating animal products and writing shit nobody cares about. It was an accident, I swear

Archive for the tag “blog”

A Diary Entry-Lauterbrunne, Switzerland.

So it’s been a fairly long time since I’ve actually sat down and written anything on here, cause for quite a substantial period of time I simply haven’t had access to a computer where I could sit down and write stuff about stuff. I wholly intend upon finishing off all my, ‘What I learnt in…’ blogs, as I’ve been keeping a fairly detailed journal but for now it’s been a bit too hectic for such a thing.

Instead, I’m going to share one of my diary entries that I made whilst sitting on a rock over a freshwater river, in a tiny town in the Swiss Alps called Lauterbrunnen-I liked this entry and I felt that it was worth sharing this, or just that I wanted to share it (even if it wasn’t worth sharing. Unedited except for grammatical errors.

Like I said, this was initially written only for me to read. So it’s not clean and classy or whatever. But maybe you’ll enjoy a little bit of insight into my mindset 🙂

Aight: Go!

 

05/09/2012 – Lauterbrunnen

It’s so strange to be sitting somewhere, looking at something that you’ve only ever seen photographs of. It’s even stranger to try and appreciate the fact that most of thse pictures aren’t just pictures, they’re real things. Does that make sense? In my head it does…

I’m looking at these awesome, snow-capped mountains with their peaks pushing through the bottoms of the clouds with ease and trying to process that they are actually real. This is reality, not a photograph.

Toorrow, for the first time in my life, I will touch snow.

Tomorrow, for the first time in my life, I may just get to touch a cloud.
That’s like touching the sky man…or as close as I may ever come.

One can find it terribly difficult not to be wholly overcome by the sheer beauty of it all.  So why need one even bother trying?

The concept of, “I can’t do this, it’s too hard/too big of a job/too unknown,” seems to become far beyond untrue underneath the grandess of these mountains.
For some reason, I seem to have lost what little poetic touch that I have…Oh well. Man, I’m sitting on a rock, which for all intents and purposes, seems to be simply hovering over a roaring, fresh, springwater river (straight from the peak of the mountains! Should I…Should I drink it?).
In this instance, I feel like eloquence in a journal matters sweet, sweet fuck all.

I think I’m starting to get better now. Not in a just, “I’m not sad all the time anymore,” sort of way, but actually better. Better than I was before the sadness even started.

I’m still terribly confused and befuddled by so, so many things…but I feel okay.
Okay is good…right? Yeah.

It’s been, in truth, a really, really, really fucking long time since I thought so many things were possible for me.
A stable career.
A healthy lifestyle.
Best friends who you genuinely mean “BFFL!” with.
And last, but not least, a lover.

Everything most people could associate with a ‘normal’ life.
And though this mightn’t seem a big deal to most people I know, ever since I was fourteen years old, the concept of having anything that even mildly resembled a normal life seemed alien to me.

I was just too…different, I suppose.
Too everything that isn’t ‘normal.’

Sitting here, what I’ve just realized is that I’m far more different than I ever actually thought I was before.
But that’s cool, baby. I can dig it, y’know?

Cause there’s a lot to dig about being different. Why do you think the word is used to strongly around jazz and more forward-pushing styles of hip-hop and the like?

You dig it because it’s ‘fresh,’ it’s ‘cool.’ But these qualities are only ‘dug’ cause the things that make it fresh and cool reside in difference of it all. Difference is groovy, man.

I spend too much time focused on limitations and what things aren’t. Of course, an apple can’t be an orange and you’re only going to be disappointed if you expect it to be.
Do not, do not, DO NOT even get me started on the staring contests I’ve had with a block of tofu, just begging it to somehow become a sirloin…
…Where’s Dobby when you need him?

A limitation isn’t a bad thing, you know?
Especially the ones that don’t exist. Those are just perfect for what I’m talking about here.

I can only run this fast.
              Right now.
I can only write this well.
              Right now.
I can only love this much.
              Right now.

So much time…so much stuff to do.

But don’t ever forget Toby, my dear sweet boy, that scheduling a little bit of nothing can be a terribly good thing. It’s an important thing to do!

Toby Fredkin

What I Learned in Lagos: Part 1

Oh my lordy lordy lord.

Oh how I wish I could describe to you all how many different parts of my body are just aching with…let’s for the moment call it love? Not like…pretty woman love, love fo’ Lagos! Ohh it’s pretty there! Oh the girls are pretty! Oh the drinks are cheap!

Ohh my head…

I learned a lot of very, very strange things in Lagos. I call these strange because given the circumstances of where I was combined with what some distilled potatoes did to me shouldn’t really have resulted in me learning much…at all. But I’ve picked up some really valuable stuff in Lagos and I’m trying to put it into words. I’m still pretty yucky from last night, but I want to start whilst it’s fresh!

The first part of what I learned in Lagos is how crazy similar the concepts of confrontation and rejection actually are. Sometimes you are enacting stringent amounts of rejection by embracing confrontation and when you embrace confrontation, you’re rejecting something else.

Okay, I’ll rewind a little bit. I know I repeat myself a little bit but the reason that I’m travelling is to help me overcome some big and little problems, some involving questions of the self and some involving questions of others.

I spent almost my entire time in Lagos confronting one of my huge problems by adamently rejecting it (“The Octopus in the Corner”). I went out, I partied, I danced like a twit, I giggled at nothing, I slept on the beach. I did absolutely nothing and then I went out and went absolutely crazy.

I’m still not really sure if it worked or not. But it addressed a really interesting idea about the psychology or philosophy (probably neither, I just want to sound educated and stuff…) of how we behave in our lives. Everything that really reflects any major importance in our life is either a confrontation or a rejection. But in every confrontation, there is a rejection. I don’t think I’m making sense…

I thought about this because I was thinking over how I need to learn to say, “no.” I desperately need to learn it but I’m not sure that that’s going to be happening anytime soon! But I say yes to these others things to avoid having to confront the initial problem. It’s almost like procrastinating with feelings.

This is just a short blog, just a quick rambling of thoughts. There was a lot more stuff I learned in Lagos-I’m not sure if I’ll write it sooner rather than later but it will be out and about in the not too distant future.

Admittedly, I’ve never been to Ibiza or Prague or Tel Aviv or any other crazy party cities but when you go to Lagos, be prepared. It sneaks up on you and it does not want to let you go.

Toby Fredkin

What I learned in Albufeira

So, in case you haven’t noticed yet, I use my experiences gained travelling through specific little places through Europe as a means of growing and/or bettering myself. Then, I sit down for a little while, think about how these experiences have changed me and try to put them into words.

Just a litle precursor-I put all these things into words because it helps me to better understand it. Maybe I’m just lacking in sufficient enough memory to just think these things straight out in my head. Regardless, writing it helps me make sense of it. And I miss my friends back home so this is a more efficient way of sharing everything, since finding enough time when you’re constantly nine hours apart is very difficult.

So, Albufeira! I wish I had my computer so I could show y’all photos but unfortunately not. I’ve been here for two days and all I’ve done is walk through the most confusing series of country back roads I’ve ever seen (street signs? loljks) and walked along a few cliffs. Oh, and I found a tiny little beach that was essentially completely secluded from the world. Until a family of fifteen French people crashed my party and I left.

I haven’t been into the city (although I’ll pass through quickly on the way to Lagos-that blog is going to be messssssssed up) and only two beaches, but I’ve purposefully tried to keep off of the tourist trail here. Why? Because I don’t feel that most other people are attempting to gain the same things from their travels as I am. Not in a, ‘They’re doing the wrong thing!’ sort of way…I just kind of like being alone. I can’t understand the incessant need to gaggle that accompanies tourism, being silent whilst the waves crash in a cavern hidden between the cliffs is a wonderful thing.

And, whilst sitting on my secluded little beach, uninterrupted in the most part for three hours, I started geting my little lesson from Albufeira. And after waving goodbye to the Dutch couple with unpronouncable names, whom I’ve promised to visit in some unpronouncable Dutch city, I got it. I’m still slightly confused how to put it into words properly but I’ll try :

If you can’t fix it yourself, then find help. It’s okay to do that.

My first day I spent alone and it was a very healing and therapeutic day. I thought a lot, I did a lot of writing and got terribly scratched up trying to find hidden beauties off the beaten track. But I sort of began realizing that, whilst it is all well and good to try and find happiness in ourselves, it’s just as crucial to find happiness with others. I’m not specifically talking about love or any rubbish like that, just the happiness we find in connections with other people.

To say that I possess the capability to solely fix myself is absurd, I thought. And, however true or untrue this may be for other people, it’s the truth for me.

But, through the kindness of strangers, a long walk and a stolen orange, fresh of the tree in a back alley, I understand a bit better that maybe I’m investing too much effort into directly solving these problems alone.

So-the next four days are in Lagos. Which will be heinous. My problems-whichever part of my life or body they are attributed to (I’m talking about the heart or mind, cheeky), are for the next four days the ‘Octopus in the Corner.’

Maybe if I just don’t pay attention to it, it will go away? I’ve heard crazier.

Go to Albufeira my friends. It is just too pretty for words.

Toby Fredkin

What I learned in Faro: The Kindness of Strangers and Peace

I have never, not in my whole life of (admittedly very limited) travels been somewhere as sleepy, gentle and, most notably, peaceful as Faro in my life. Faro has been my first stop in Portugal before I trek around the coast up to Lisbon and Porto (via some shiny beaches, of course) and initially, I wasn’t too sure if I really wanted to come here.

There is next to no tourist influence on this city, even though I have still only met one person in two days who actually speaks Portugese. A few guided tour officials roaming about the place trying to sell boat tours to the beach in the vastest multitude of languages I’ve ever seen before, but that’s really it.

I chose to come and spend two days here because I really wanted to relax somewhere and get my head put on straight. The last few weeks for me have been very tumultous and confusing, a lot of things have changed in a very small period of time for me since Madrid. I guess that”s what we travel for, to help find ourselves somewhere that we are completely lost.

The first thing I learned in Faro actually began at Gatwick Airport, at 1am, trying to find the shuttle from the South terminal to the North terminal. I became wildly lost in what I can only imagine was the staff carpark, looking for this terminal. I met a French girl who was also flying out to Faro. We chatted a little bit, she was a very sweet girl. We finally found our way there in the end and we sat out the front of the airport for about four hours, just chain smoking cigaretes.

We talked about travelling to learn (she was living in London to improve her English so she could work as a stewardess), crazy and intolerant people in the world and some absolute rubbish. But if you talk with a stranger for four straight hours in the freezing cold with nothing but a few packs of cigarettes, some rubbish is bound to come up. She offered me cake and coke (the drink!) and it was nice.

We got to Faro and her parents were picking her up from the airport. I was terribly confused, I had no idea how to get to the hostel from the airport (there were no signs for buses or trains or anything else of the matter). I met her parents, they didn’t speak a word of English  but they were very sweet and bought me orange juice. Then, they drove me to my hostel.

Faith in humanity: very much restored.

Then, after a good nine hours of wandering the terribly beautiful and wonderfully boring streets of Faro, I came back to the hostel and met the owners. We went out to have a look at buying a guitar for the hostel, then for some dinner and wine. Today, they took me for sandwiches and coffee. They are a wonderfully sweet couple and outrageously hospitable. I don’t have any other word to describe how hospitable they are except outrageous, they’ve taken great care of me in the last two days, even offering to help me find gigs in Faro.

Mixed about with a few people in the hostel who have been very generous with their wine and cigarettes, I learned my first lesson of Faro: the kindness of strangers is truly limitless, as long as you show the same kindness back. Without these people I had never met before in my life, I would have had the most miserable two days here. I mean yeah-the sunshine is beautiful but it can only cure so much loneliness in a man. Never again will I take for granted how good people can be. This city has made cynicism seem like a joke.

The next thing I learned was on my very, very long walk through a very, very small town. I had nothing with me, barre a bottle of water and a packet of cigarettes. Nothing but me, a seaside landscape, the sun beating down and my thoughts. It was incredibly peaceful.

There is no way to be in this town, I feel, and to not be instilled with a great sense of peace about the world. Yeah, there’s good. Yeah, there’s bad. But here in Faro, there’s just peace everywhere.

So I soaked it in, and I began to come to peace with something. Now, these little black bubbles of spiritual disconcertion that have been hanging over me have not been come to peace with. But, I became at peace with the fact that I have to face up to them and ‘pop’ these problems. To me, I think accepting and preparing yourself to deal with your problems is as important as dealing with them in itself.

So, I have come to peace with the fact that I have to make peace. And I’m ready to do that now. What’s that, remnant teenage angst of an immature 21 year old? You wanna fight?

Bring it on bro. I’m ready for ya.

Toby Fredkin

What I Learned In Brighton

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Brighton is a wonderfully beautiful little city. There’s just absolutely no way to describe how swiftly and how heavily I fell in love with this place and I really wish I’d invested some more time in being there during my stay in England. Before I planned on traveling about Europe and returning back home, I had the full intention of relocating my life from London to Brighton in search of spiritual greener pastures.

So I’ve only ever spent three days in Brighton and I’m terribly unfamiliar with not only the streets and the nightlife but wholly unfamiliar with the locals. I mean, I’ve met a decent few people from Brighton whilst I’ve been out and about but not people from Brighton in Brighton, if you know what I mean.

Whilst I was in Brighton, I sort of began to develop a sounder understanding of what it is I wanted out of life, there was an atmosphere there that I simply couldn’t put into words. In a manner of speaking, minus the fact that it still has English weather, Brighton was exactly what a city needed to be for me. No more and no less perfectly suited for me.

First of all, it was jam packed full of music, veganism and too numerous to count shops promoting ethical consumerism and manufacturing. Just to stress again, I LOVE MUSIC, ANIMALS, MOTHER EARTH AND HUMAN RIGHTS! AND BRIGHTON LOVES THEM TOO! It’s dreadfully fun to imagine being somewhere where I don’t have to preach anything to anybody who’s curious because everybody knows! As I’m fairly sure people in most every language in the world but English say: Super Cool!!!!! Me and my best friend got lost on a walk from the Pier to Race Hill (where we were staying) and it took us well over an hour to complete a half hour walk, in the most heinous rain I’ve ever been out in in my life. It was a Wednesday night and every single bar and cafe we walked past had live music pumping. Amazing!
So, the obvious little part aside, down to the little things.

The way the city is set up and decorated is beautiful. It’s nothing grand and magnanimous like London or Madrid (my only focal points) but it’s quaint and colourful. It doesn’t scream out, “Hey! Look at me, I’m gorgeous!” because it’s not that sort of place, but you walk through and just think, “Hey…Look at it, it’s gorgeous!” Yet underneath all of this understated beauty was this strange feeling all around me. And I simply couldn’t pick up where it came from…it was just…right. Kind of like when you can’t figure out the next chord in a progression you’re writing, so you just stick your fingers down in random places and push it out and get your answer.

Most of you will know I’ve been going fairly crazy in/on/about life right now and it’s been like that for a while, but every time that I sneak off to Brighton, everything’s just totally fine.

I had 99 problems. Brightoned up, got none.

What I learned in Brighton is very difficult for me to adequately put into words-it’s not like the Madrid or London or Sydney, which I’d find blogging on easier (to verbalize, not to get it right!). Most of what I learned was very internalised, it was very strongly to do with myself and not so much a grander scale of things.

I learned that no matter how crazy I am, there’ll always be a place I’ll fit in, even if it’s for not all the right reasons.

I learned that happiness can be as simple as jumping on a train to the beach.

I learned that no matter how much I learn about and struggle to obtain knowledge of what’s right, and then to practice is, I’ll always be wrong…

…And I learned that being wrong is most often the right thing to do.

And finally, I learned that I’m not as stupid as I’d always thought myself to be. Which was…well, nice.

How did I learn this from three days wondering through shops and a beach? I don’t know. Nor do I particularly care, I’m just glad for the experience!

I feel much better about myself after today. Cheers Brighton, I’ll really miss you! You really do Brighton up my days!

Toby Fredkin

Veganism vs. Health vs. Travel Expenses: A Losing Battle?

So I love animals.

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Through and through. If there’s one thing you know about me that isn’t I like music and I’m Jewish, I absolutely love the bleeding hell out of animals. All of them-even the gigantic spiders in my backyard that terrify me. So much so that I recently converted from being a vegetarian to a vegan. And I’m not going to lie to you, the journey hasn’t been easy on my body. Or exactly my wallet either. And now, in the coming month, as I prepare myself for a few months abroad through Europe-I have to try and decide what my priorities are.

Do my priorities lie within my life choices?
Now, I’ve had some very long discussions with a lot of people over time about what ethics one should live their life by…for the sake of me avoiding offending anybody and time we’re going to leave out religion (things that are specific to religion, not shared by religion and other) and talk about the other stuff. I’m a big fan of Mother Earth in its entirety. I’m also a big fan of animal rights and human rights, especially those of children. And maybe I’m just too accommodated to the life style but I find it completely impossible to live strictly to my love of these three parts of our world. My friend and I discussed this a while ago, there’s a little link to a blog where she talks about it here (these thoughts on ethical labor in here are pretty much exactly the same as mine so I won’t repeat them):
http://www.marleyisranting.wordpress.com/2012/05/29/yayyyyy-having-an-ethical-meltdown-2/

So let’s take me in my current situation: I’m vegan. Because my body isn’t particularly well-suited to this lifestyle, there are extra expenses associated with supplements and also, sometimes but not always, in finding an appropriately filling and healthy meal whilst out. If I was still living back in Sydney with my parents, that would be fine and dandy. I could definitely make enough money to support such a life style choice.

Do my priorities lie in my health?
If you aren’t already aware, by the by, one of the staples of most vegan diets are soy products, like tofu and soy milk. However, in high enough doses, soy can produce such a dramatic amount of estrogen that it makes men become irrationally moody, develop breasts and sometimes even become infertile. But soy isn’t the only viable substitute right?

That’s true, there are plenty of other sources of vegetable protein out there. But, again, my body is about as ectomorphic as it gets-I can put on or lose seven kilos in a week without too much difficulty-and that is in the 50-60kg weight class. So more money has to be spent to be sure I’m eating the proper foods and more than enough of them.

Or do my priorities lie in my experience?
And again, this is more than achievable in a homely setting. But here’s where the concern sinks in:
I want to spend the next three months abroad. I want to keep to a very, very strict budget in terms of my food. And I want to be as healthy as possible so as to be able to enjoy my trip as much as possible.

No matter whichever way I look at it, without turning my life into a heinously wild inconvenience in a country I don’t speak the language in, I can pick two of each of these three choices:
Veganism
Health
Low Travel Expenses.

Where do my priorities lie?
The simplest thing to do is obviously to not be vegan-this would result in optimal health and the ability to save a great deal on my food budget, since I could practically live off of tinned fish, bread and canned vegetables.

But that’s not the simplest thing. I love animals. I love them so much bro, like, you don’t even know! I could travel for a shorter period of time and eat healthy vegan styles! But then I lose out on so much experience. Not only of the food of the nations but also, I won’t be able to travel as far. I’d have to cut a few weeks out of my journey based upon budget.

And there will be very well educated vegans who will tell me that this isn’t the case. And for the majority of people-that’s true. But I’ve been to see a doctor. My body can’t support the lifestyle without having full access to a proper kitchen or finances for proper meals.

The obvious choice seems to be, “Oh, just eat less of the animal products, only eat them when you need to.” I know that I tell this to people who are trying to gradually become vegetarian or vegan all the time. And that’s wonderful that people try to do that-every little bit counts. But for me, I’d personally feel wrong half-assing it. It’s either all or nothing for me and it’s always been that way with everything I do. School, friends, love, ethics and diet-if I go for something I’m either all in or all out.

I think I have to take the logical choice…but I don’t know. Last Monday night, I sat on the steps outside my hostel, at 7am in the morning with my best friend and a pack of cigarettes after what can only be described as a very, very long night out and she held my hand while I cried over how I don’t want to stop being vegan.

First world problems huh?

To all my new followers (all what is so far today forty of you and hopefully more to come soon!), enjoy yourself! Leave as much love as you see fit! Or hate…I’d kind of rather not get the hatred but I’ll deal 🙂

Peace,
Toby Fredkin

Madrid Riots-Changing the World

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One of my friends took this photo from the balcony in my room at the hostel we stayed at in Madrid. This was later in the night, around 11:30. It’s just off of the Grand Via and, although the photo quality is a little poor (my bad, still learning to set the camera up properly), you can see riot police speckled everywhere and people running about. Earlier in the evening, all you could see were tens of thousands of people running to and fro-there were enough people to fill a football stadium with ease!

I’m considering creating a new category for my blogs after this and the last blog. If I did, it would be called, “The Wrong Life Lessons I Learned in the Right Places to Learn Life Lessons,” because that’s what I’m doing.

A quick little pre-cursor for anybody who may be viewing this blog under a different impression of what it will be-it’s not so much to do with the riots because realistically, we kept completely out of them. It’s about what they got me thinking about. Cool? Sweet. I’ll hop on with it.

Obviously, I’m one confused little boy. My life is awash with indecision and unmade judgements of things. The reason I’ve been overseas is to try and piece together the little puzzle pieces that is my future. Not the distant future, things slightly closer at hand. Though despite how much closer they may be, they’re still as difficult to figure out.

The main thing that’s been tugging on me isn’t love, because that’s just something I gotta leave alone for it to sort itself out. There are far, far more intelligent and emotionally mature men and women out there getting destroyed by the concept, so I’ma dust my hands and have none of it! And the “where” of everything hasn’t been a problem either-I figured that out over the last three months that I know where my home is-at least my home right now-the sunny and gorgeous Sydney. And I wanna be back there to get sorted on the thing that has been really grindin’ my gears…

What am I going to be when I grow up??

There are so many options and I definitely don’t want what I want two years ago (I guess it’s kind of good that I dropped out of university huh?). Two years ago, I wanted to work strictly in the music industry, although my path was undecided. I absolutely love and adore music in near all its forms, and the music that I don’t like I adore the fact that somewhere, people out there are adoring it, just adorable. And I still want to work in music I guess, it’s just I got thinking about something else.

The riots in Madrid occurred because the Spanish government passed a bill that would see huge and sweeping cuts to public funding all across the country, affecting most, if not all, public services. And the people were, quite obviously, a little bit unhappy about the whole ordeal. So all across Spain, people lined the streets to shout their protests. They weren’t having any of it for themselves or their fellow men and, in their seemingly infinite Spanish passion, they tried to change the world.

Change the world.

So the riots really got me thinking about the world-about how big and how small it is. About what the world actually is, how do we define it? And then once we’ve defined it, what do we do with it?

I would love to grow up and play guitar in a rock’n’roll or blues band. That would just be the coolest thing ever in ever. I’d just have such a whale of time-and one of the cute whales, like a killer whale! Ohh I feel a bit tingly just thinking about how awesome that would be!

But then I step back and think hey-I wanna have a wife and kids one day-I really want to actually be there for all of it, which I can’t do if I’m on the road all the time.

And then I step back even further and think, “Oi, Toby. Why are you looking at so much of this as just yourself? Isn’t there kind of like…a bigger picture at hand? Like the sort of thing that a-hundred thousand people line the streets to kick up their feet at?”

So I think about myself a little bit…I’m a pretty smart guy, truth be told. I always have been. This isn’t me being conceited, just honest. I try and do most things (if you barre anything post-2am on Oxford Street…) with the absolute best intentions for everybody in mind, whether they be friends or complete strangers.

So um…why aren’t I trying to do this with my life as a whole? No no, refocus. Why aren’t I trying to do this with my career? It’s very difficult for me to put this in a way that doesn’t just sound wildly, in every sense of the world, condescending to other people but right now, I don’t think I want to spend my time working towards a career that won’t help other people. Now, this isn’t to say that music doesn’t help people but I really don’t think, unless I were to become a music teacher, that I would have the ability to impact on anybody’s world. Maybe my own, maybe it’d help me write a song to make a girl fall in love with me or help a student to do the same thing but it won’t change anybody’s world.

I want to change the world, whichever world that may be. I’d love to be a writer maybe, but I’m not sure how I could use that to help the world-maybe a generous reader could tell me what to do? I’ve been toying around with the idea of going to law school and working for Legal Aid, helping those who are unable to help themselves. I considered social work or psychology and in all honesty, I just don’t think that that’s what I want to be doing with myself.

Truth be told, I don’t think I’m strong enough to do that. And that’s okay, at least I realize that.

Thanks to anybody who stuck around long enough to read all of this! Not sure if anybody noticed really, but I talked about sort of defining what the world was. I learned a fantastic lesson about that from one of my friends, without her even knowing I pinched this knowledge ;D So my next blog is going to be about that.

It’s 5am and I’m not sure if I should bother getting some sleep or just rolling through the day and crashing early. Ehh, that’s a decision in my life that is, most definitely, unimportant.

Toby Fredkin

What I learned in Madrid

On Monday evening just passed, me and one of my friends from home hopped on a plane from London to Madrid to go and meet other friends from home, who we had(for the most part) not seen in months. Five nights and, by a rough calculation, seventeen hours of sleep later, I was back in sunny ole’ London! (Sarcasm aside, the weather this week is actually amaaazing[for London standards…twenty-seven degrees whoop!)

It’s the sort of place you go to and come home from rethinking-why on Earth have I been living my life this way?

Madrid was the first time in my life I’ve ever been to a place where the dominant language spoken was not English. Although I had briefly holidayed in Fiji when I was younger with the family, Madrid was my first real experience of being in a place that wasn’t strictly under an American/British influence. And really, although I know Madrid doesn’t stand up to other places in the world like India or Brazil, it was the first time that I had ever actually been anywhere so influenced by poverty. And it wasn’t a rampant or sweeping poverty but just hundreds upon hundreds of beggars and buskers lining the street.

In the main plaza, the Puerto de Sol, every day from around eight in the morning until the wee hours of the morning, there would be a group of ten buskers dressed head to toe in thick Sesame Street and Disney outfits. This is how these people made a living-they hung out in the square in these huge costumes all day and had tourists and kids take photos with them in exchange for some loose change. On my last morning, I sat in the plaza, eating breakfast and just soaking in a bit more of the beauty of the city before I left. I was there for about an hour and not a single one of these buskers had any success.
It was around 11am at this point. And, at a rough estimate, I’d say it was thirty-three degrees. Easily that hot.

And I know that almost nobody at home I know would ever, EVER even dream of doing a job like that without any certainty of payment. And these guys were doing it day in, day out, every single night and day I was there, they were there.

Then on the train to the airport, a guy who would have been no older than my brother hops on with an accordion and a little set of speakers and tears into some Ray Charles, Hit the Road Jack. He took a full blasted solo in the middle of it and holy shit, this guy was like Chick Corea on a keytar except he was playing the accordion. And he probably had no job-this was how he made a living. He would’ve made about 4 or 5 euros on that train trip. If anybody even remotely as talented as him was busking on Pitt St Mall, they’d have pulled in hundreds of dollars. It was strange to see, I suppose. I could never imagine putting myself out there like that.
Then again, I guess that’s why I’m not Spanish.

Money aside, there was the most amazing energy! (Except during siesta when everybody slept) Yet the whole place was so calm and relaxed. Energetic, bustling but without stress. And everybody so cheerful and in each others faces, but not in at all of a bad way. When people would come up to you and talk to you, they would be fully in your face but terribly polite about the whole ordeal.

Walking through the streets and parks, listening to the language with the superb backdrop that is the architecture of Madrid, it felt like I was in some sort of musical…or dream. Everything and everyone was just bouncy and charming and ahh!

These locals wondering the streets seemed to be living life in a way that almost nobody I’ve ever met has before: for the sake of living it. I saw it, I soaked it in and I questioned why I hadn’t been following suit.

So now, I’m trying to. A genuine, conceited effort.

I’ve spent so much time in my life fucking about and it’s cause I feel like I don’t know what the meaning of my life is yet, what the fuck am I meant to be doing with myself? Where am I meant to be doing it? Who am I meant to be doing it with? And I’ve spent so much time over so many years trying to figure this out and on that sleepy Saturday morning just before I hopped a train to the airport, it sort of hit me.
“Hey bro, you’ve been doing this shit all wrong.” None of that junk really matters that much. Gotta stop being such a self-entwined little bitch and just enjoy myself. Do things with my life of course-but stop worrying too much over the who, the what and the where and more on the how.

So I’ma try.

Next blog will probably be about how that’s all going. Truly ravishing stuff huh?

Peace out, have a good week everybody!
Toby

Personal Expression

So I grew up kind of weirdly, I won’t lie to you guys. There were some things that went very awry in my younger years, and I guess that a lot of them are realistically still going on now to this day. But I guess I’m still a very, very long way away from being anywhere near grown up, however long it is that I’ve spent pretending that I’m more mature and more understanding and more grown up than I should be.

It wasn’t anything weird my parents or any of my family members did. It would have been nice to have been something so simple, but realistically I can’t blame them for anything. I feel like if I went to a shrink they’d be completely dumbfounded cause there’s just nothing. Yeah, we had some fights. Nothing dramatic. Yeah, we had some money issues but we’ve never, ever been without anything.

And it certainly wasn’t anything to do with bad friends. My friends growing up were great-nothing out of the ordinary. I cared too much for certain friends and took on a lot of their pain and problems as my own yet it was in a very stereotypical way. You know, leaving my phone on at three o’clock in the morning so my crush could call me in tears to have somebody to talk to about her devastating boyfriend issues (“He didn’t say he loved me today omfg my life is over.” “Well, anybody who wouldn’t love you would be insane.” “Aww thanks! BFFL!”).

And it wasn’t poor luck in romance. Yeah, I went through some pretty bad relationships and developed what can only be described as an intimate relationship with fear of rejection, but I was a teenager. Of course I was going to get cheated on. Of course I was going to date girls more mentally unstable than I was, with whom I was simply too incapable of taking care of myself to take care of them as well. If any man hasn’t dated a woman who is crazier than he is, he’s probably been dating the wrong women. It’s the crazy that makes the love real.

It was some sort of self-entranced, artistic soul, bent on a discovery of things that people weren’t willing to talk about and share with me. Things that I didn’t understand and could not live without knowing. Experiences that nobody really need inflict upon themselves. But I was comfortably middle-class and without any objective-or even subjective-reason to feel how I did. And if I was feeling things that were realistically reasonless, what difference would living the experiences that should make me feel that way make?

The self-discovery that immanently presented itself to me over time through those things I constantly subjected myself to started to sort of…twist away from the end goal it should have reached.

They didn’t make the feelings any worse. But they didn’t make them any better either. Things started to sort of crack. I got really confused, because all of my emotions seemed be dictated under absolutely no logical formula. Good things happened-bad things happened-neutral things happened-it was all the same. But the way I felt was never dependent on it. Then the confusion ceased because it seemed that the confusion was just a slight figment of my imagination as well.

Now, this was only a phase. Admittedly a very long phase-and I think my conscious mind is far more to blame for that than my unconscious mind ever could be. But something cracked during that time. I sort of became somewhat unattached from my own emotions-I liked to try and focus on what I knew was real and at that time all I knew was that I really liked bourbon and cigarettes. I started losing a connection with how to express myself with other people. Words would flash about in my head and then they just simply couldn’t materialize in my mouth.

I lost a lot of friends. I drove a lot of lovers away. I alienated my family. I completely lost myself.

I immersed myself wholly in the guitar, adamant not to lose all forms of self-expression. I lived my entire life within a few notebooks sprawled all over my room and word documents slyly hidden all through my computer. In those, I found I was actually able to understand why things were happening and what they were doing to me and the others around me. Shit started to make a bit more sense.

I started my first blog-it was on Myspace. I used to get people arguing every single point I made, questioning the basis of my “knowledge” and then having other people who agreed with it argue with them. It was nice, I felt like a successful, coloured blogger on youtube. I used to publish all the songs I wrote on there too-in hindsight it was a terrible idea (if you can’t tell already cause you haven’t been reading my shit for very long or at all, I’m a dreadful poet…but I like doing it I guess and I’ve always liked to share things I liked). Haw well.

I couldn’t express myself through any other medium. I spent so much time in my regular life pretending like nothing was wrong, so when things began going right I couldn’t remember how to show emotions because I’d spent so long trying not to. To this day, I still can’t cry. I’ve cried about three times in five years-not including the time I got caffeine poisoning on the side of the road at two in the morning on Oxford Street waiting to play a gig.

It’s funny how things go. So many years after that last blog-here I am again. Finding myself brimming with emotions befitting a thirteen year-old girl and having to take it all out on a blog again. Jolly good then.

I still find it kind of strange. I find it incredibly easy now to put my feelings into words. Of course, they don’t really possess the poetic brilliance of…well, a poet (am I making my point here?). But I say what I mean and it’s efficient. I find it near impossible to raise my voice in anger and difficult at best to cry in joy. I can’t cry and my eyes won’t show anything. But I can verbalize everything.

You won’t notice a waver in my voice between I hate you and I love you. And you’d never know which it was until you heard it.

This has been a very personal blog for me, take it however you please. I felt like sharing another little piece of my life with y’all, friends or strangers or otherwise. It’s been on my mind for quite a few months as of late.

Hope the coming week treats us all well, wherever in the world we are.

Peace!
Toby Fredkin

Frenz! Or “Friends”, for those illiterate in internetspeak.

Let me start this blog by saying I’M NOT SICK ANYMORE YAY! Well, I am still sick but not as sick as I was before-I can do stuff now! Like eat! And breathe! And kind of smoke…the whole trying to go off of being vegan thing by getting ethical milk and eggs has taken a slightly poor turn..I’m fairly I’ve become lactose intolerant. But this is meant to be a nice blog, I’ll get back on track.

This is a blog about friends, family and home…

I have never, not at any single point in my life, been homesick until now. I have also never missed anything so debilitatingly as for it to make me confine myself to my room watching “Big Bang Theory” for hours on end because it reminds me of how they always used to watch it at home but I’d never join in. I guess that’s a bit specific but you get the idea. Please, don’t misunderstand me and think that I’m saying I haven’t missed anybody when they’ve gone away, I’m fairly sure I cried on a Netzer camp (a Jewish youth movement-they’re groovy you should all check them out! So vegetarian and happy!) when I was ten after just three days because I dreadfully missed my mummy. And if you’d ever met my mummy, you’d understand that’s not a sad thing at all to do. There’s no way for me to describe how nice she is without divulging my more instinctual Australian attributes, so I’ll just go ahead and say it. My mummy is fucking lovely.

I feel really stupid writing stuff like this sometimes but it’s really strange for me. I always hear about people saying, “you don’t really realise what you have until it’s gone.” And I’m like, well obviously duh. But scrap anything more than that really, really hot green-eyed girl I dated in the 11th grade for a few weeks and broke up with for next to no reason, I never really..got it I guess. And now here I am, today officially marks me being in London for two months. And I am just so enamored with everybody who I don’t have with me right now and it’s really, really painful. It’s really unfamiliar too. I just…I really miss everybody.

I feel like one of those really sad, little teenage boys/girls who has just had their heart broken. No matter where I go, what I do or what I try to occupy myself with they’re still not here. Every character on tv reminds me of my dysfunctionally functional family. Every animal reminds me of my ridiculous friends I’ve compared to memes. Every tree reminds me of that stupid little tree-hugger that won’t get out of my head (yeah, you know who you are. Asshole.). Every song makes me sad. I guess listening to Angus&Julia Stone to write a blog about people back home was a bad idea..I just miss ’em is all.

I miss knowing where the hot clubs are.
And I miss having those friends I could call who would always go there with me or take me to a house party instead of going there.

I miss knowing where to find specific types of food.
Especially having asian supermarkets closer than three train lines away (which in London isn’t that far, it’s just annoying).

I miss having my parents yell at me all the time for drinking way too often.
And now I hardly drink anymore because if it’s not upsetting them, what’s the point?

Guess you just really don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone eh? But it’s still there…I could always just…well, pop back? I mean, I could just not get my visa replaced and trek about for the next six months and be home in time for Christmas.

But that’s not what I’m going to do. In the words that I taught my very own mother, I’m going to (and please excuse the swearing again) “harden the fuck up, cunt!” God I’m a bad influence. Whatever. Yeah, I’m going to harden up and remember-I saved up to be here. I’ve dreamed of coming here for so long. And yeah, I left to try and forget about unfulfilled life and love goals and then found myself chronically ill. It’s just cold you little pussy-you’ll get used to it. And yes, I feel like crying every day but can’t. It’s just a bit of homesickness-you’ve been lazy in making friends-go make out with more lesbians. Seriously, that will solve everything. Make out with way more lesbians.

Just…harden up bro. Remember, we always shine brightest through the black, not the blue.

Not going to bother editing this. It was more of a blog to myself than anybody else. To my friends at home-I really do miss you all dearly. I wish the poetry I was writing about you was good enough to be shared, but it’s not. Don’t let that make you think that I don’t love you, cause I do. I’m just a shitty platonic boyfriend, I show love with thoughtful gifts, not beautiful creations. You’ll deal.

The same way that I will.

I love you guys. Taken me a little while to really realise it, but I do.

Peace out,

Toby.

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