5 Signs You’re Dealing Poorly With Post-Uni Life

So here’s your life up till now:

You’ve got a degree.

You’ve got the kind of job you’d rather not have.

You’ve got ambitions for the future.


You’re still working out what you want to do with your future.

You’re stressing that your life is now stuck because your dead-end job forbids you from thinking ahead.

If any of the above applies to you, why not indulge in (what I think) are the five sings that you’re dealing with post-university life poorly.

  1. You’re Being Sucked Into Your Retail Job.

Apologies if you’re reading this and retail is actually your dream career, but hopefully you know what I mean. You may have aspirations to work towards something more creative – a journalist, a film-maker, maybe even a doctor or a teacher.

And yet on getting your degree, you find yourself stacking shelves or flipping burgers on a part-time basis while you scramble looking for any work experience you can find in your field of interest. But slowly and surely, you find your daily routine revolving around the 12 hours a week you put into your day job. 12 hours!

Just imagine that as a very long, single day at work – that gives you the entire remainder of the week to crack on with your dreams! But your dead-end job starts to eat you up, bit by bit.

  1. You Blame Other People For Your Current Position.

“It’s not MY fault this is the only job I’ve got!” “It’s not MY fault I can’t find any work experience!”

These are the questions you’re probably flinging out left, right and centre to anyone who’ll care to listen, and you’re right. It may not be your fault that you’re having to work in that corner shop for a few pennies. But it is your fault if you don’t buck up and work towards something you actually want to in the meantime.

  1. You Stop Looking For Opportunities In Your Dream Interests.

Moving on from the fifth sign, you’re probably, and slowly, putting yourself in a rut whereby you aren’t looking for work experience/voluntary/internship roles in your preferred profession anymore. That’s something you definitely need to snap out of – those opportunities don’t come around regularly enough for you to pass on them, thinking you’ll just catch the next one.

Just because you’ve got that damnable job staking shelves doesn’t mean you need to turn your back on what it is you actually want to achieve in life. Wasn’t that the reason you went for this job anyway, to fund your future?

  1. You Feel Ashamed That You’re Back Where You Started.

Unless you’ve been a smart-arse and gotten a shit-load of work experience/internships whilst at uni and managed to get that high-flying job that demands you MUST live in London, you’ve probably found yourself back in the family home – and bot does it feel weird.

You’ve spent the last three years living under your own rules, your own regimes, your own schedules. Now however, you’re back to working under the grind of your parents, and it does feel like all those years of learning how to be independent were a waste – somewhat.

  1. You’re Thinking Of All The Bad Things In Your Life (Some Of Which Aren’t Even True).

You’re thinking you’ll never move out. You’re thinking you’ll never get that dream job. You’re thinking the dead-end job you have right now will suck you in and won’t let go. If you haven’t got a job, you’re panicking that you can’t get that dream job or even a simple, normal job.

I’ve got two words for you:

Grow. Up.

I’m thinking the exact same things, and yet I’m also reminding myself to not take my own problems so seriously. You’re still in your early twenties for God’s sake – you’ve got plenty of time to work up some decent dosh with your shitty job, and build up whatever experience you can in your fields of interest.

And if anything, those years you spent learning to be independent (or as independent you can be with a cushy student loan) have taught you to be more respectful and appreciative of being under the family home – hopefully! You can now help out around the house when needed, and trust me, it’s very much appreciated.

So try not to moan so much about where you are right now. Just keep at it. Good things come to those who wait. Or, alternatively, good things come to those who stop whining, get off their arses and do something about it.

…and this is what it looks like inside. And this, and that, and this over here…

So, we now know what I want my dream home(s) to look like from the outside, now let me run the imagination tap and cook up what its going to look like from within…


This may well be too classy for me, but I enjoy the light, airiness this room offers.


This has a somewhat gypsy look to it – I like it!

10 jill barklem

I have no idea where I found this, but I adore this picture so much!


This couple look like they have the perfect life!


Snug or what?

apartment therapy- gypset

Snug AND airy!

bohemian 4

If this is only the corridor, what could the rest of my future/dream home look like…?

bohemian 5

Nature’s bathroom!

bohemian 7

More of that gypsy charm going on here.

bohemian 8

And some more nature going here!

bohemian 10

And this is the living room (of perfection!)

Bohemian Dream 1

Some worldly influence going down here…

bohemian treehouse 2

And this is the library (!)

bohemian treehouse

From the looks of it, this might be the tower room.


Yet another den to add to the collection!


This could be the waiting room (let’s face it, my gaff is going to be THAT big!)


A rather snug storage room perhaps?


An extra bedroom – can’t have too many!


Those are some very odd… stairs?


My back porch!


More of that bathroom from earlier…


I love how fresh and green this area looks.


Another guest bedroom.


The (snug) kitchen.

-sigh- why can’t all of this be mine. Like, right now?

This is my dream home. And that one, and this one, and that one over there…

Being a recent graduate with a rather dead-end job and high hopes for what the future may hold, daydreaming is quite a big part of my life. I’m a born city boy whose currently living deep in the barren marshlands of Lincolnshire, and I often fantasize about genuine countryside.

Or at least, MY version of genuine countryside. I love collecting pictures of nature at its most tranquil, and think to myself “hawt dawg, that’s going to be my future home!” But then I move on to the next picture and I say the same thing, over and over again.

So here then are my dream homes…


I love how this little thing has a whole forest wrapped round it – almost gives a feeling of safety and seclusion.


This handsome number looks more like a den than a home, but is just as lovely. If anything, would it be smashing to have a network of little dens like these?


This certainly has a quirkier feel to it than the others, almost looks like a Hobbit home, size-wise. Maybe this is where I could keep my pets? Obviously, I’m going to have some!


My favourite of this little bunch of dreams – I love how it has a small lake around it, and I love how the light gives the illusion that beyond what we can see is something far more open. This does, however, look more like another den than a home, but what if you put all these little places together? Wouldn’t that be the best home ever? Either that, or the worst excuse for a Megazord.


Similar to the first one, this home looks the most robust and practical out of all these little buildings. Perhaps this could be my HG where I direct operations going on in all my other homes – because I certainly can’t pick just one!


Okay, so this isn’t strictly a house. If anything, it looks like some long-forgotten war wall-type thing – but wouldn’t it be a great place to explore, and maybe convert?


Who would need an alarm clock when you’ve got that river running past your home? And that roof, man – dat roof!


This looks like a much calmer alternative to the above, and it looks lovely. It gives the appearance of a gateway to adventure. Wouldn’t that be the best sort of home to live in?


Again, this one looks like it has adventure right on its doorstep. That may not even be a house, but having a home in this beautifully curved area of woodland is nothing short of perfect.


I love how the greenery wraps itself around this innocent looking home. Perfect for nature lovers.


Ditto for this one!


And lastly, this one. Its the most unassuming of the bunch, and retains that gateway to adventure feel. Those walls around the door look somewhat man-made, so who knows what may be behind it! I particularly love the use of perspective in this – just look at how the woodland is smothered all over the door, and how it looks as if it dwarfs the door as well.

With any luck, all these little pieces of nature will be mine someday, mine I tell you!

Being an Introverted Little Weirdo

So it’s a Thursday night. University is done, just need to graduate. Until I go home, and in-between my work-in-progress routine of freelance writing, I could be at the cinema or I could be in the pub. Instead, I’m sat at the living room table blogging – being the awkward, quiet introvert I’ve been for most of my life.

I’m writing this after spending the morning in Hull’s history centre, researching my great-granddad who has a business in the city. I chose to bury myself in books. On phoning my mum and telling of my findings, which were none, she rattled ‘why didn’t you ask someone?’ My response was ‘well, I had books.’ ‘You should have asked somebody!’ ‘Why do you think I buried myself in books?’

I think my introverted self can be traced to the lack of communication between my family. That, and being estranged from my dad. – cue opportunity for sob story – Sod right off. I’m not here to receive a pat on the back accompanied by a ‘there there’. I’m here in a feeble attempt to get rid of these thoughts in my head.

Of course, it’s not all doom and gloom. Being the type of person I am has gotten me where I am today – degree, writing jobs, writing/directing a film, and doing my best in being an all around creative/mature person. If only I’d get out more. Take a few more risks than I’d normally take. In the past, I’ve often thought that because my dad was never involved in my life that equalled to him not having any impact in my life or on my personality at all.

Nowadays, I think the opposite of that. Him not being a part of me taught me to take more initiative for myself, to be more responsible/independent for myself and myself alone. Additionally, I think this may add to me being an introvert. I definitely keep to myself more than taking the initiative to bond with other people. Not that I don’t have many wonderful friends in my life. There are handfuls of people who I sometimes turn to support, and vice-versa.

But I totally put self worth above all that, in the least selfish way possible. As one of my favourite writers once said – ‘Everyone who proves their self worth to themselves alone are worth more to this world than they can possibly imagine.’ I can’t quite yet tell if being both an introvert and self worth fanatic is a potentially toxic lifestyle or a sign of awesome independence.

I suppose the one thing that petrifies me somewhat is the thought of being so lots within my own self that I just become cut off from other people. I value being alone, and yet crave the company of others, even if it means just having the radio or television on. I also suppose I’m starting ramble beyond coherency. So here’s to being an independent introvert while loving having people around at the same time.

What To Do After You’ve Had An Awesome Dream And Can’t Remember It

When I grow up, I want to be a writer – a writer of adventure stories. So it’s only natural that a lot of my dreams find me stuck in some sort of adventure.

I’m sure this is a situation we’ve all been in – you wake up on a particular morning and you feel a mixture of sadness, annoyance, and yearning to go back to sleep. Not because it’s another day of work or school, but because the night before, you had the most spectacular, most fabulous, most awesome dream you’ve ever had.

You’re sad and annoyed not only because that dream is over, but because you can’t remember it was well as you should. You know it was a fairly long and big dream, yet for some reason, you can only remember about three second’s worth of that dream.

I’ve had this experience many times. I’ve had dreams where I’ve been lost on a jungle steam train that’s going over a bridge about to collapse, dreams where I’ve been trying to stop the take-off of a massive space rocket because some dastardly villain has upset the fuel tanks somehow, but I end up lodged on the rocket blasting off anyway.

There have been dreams where it feels like I’m lost between an Enid Blyton book and an Indiana Jones movie. So why the hell can’t I remember them fully?

Here’s a little trick to help you to try and remember those nights of awesomeness. As soon as you’re awake, write those dreams down. Even if it’s three A.M, even if you can’t fully comprehend what just happened in you head, just write down everything you remember. Once you’ve done that, focus as hard as possible on those dreams and try and recall the unclear moments. Scribble down what you can.

Now you can go back to sleep. And when you wake up at a more suitable time, you’ll go back to being sad, annoyance and yearning to go back to sleep. This is because you wrote those dream notes on a piece of paper which you left lying on the bed. It’s also because you left the window open just before you went back to sleep because you were in such a state when you woke up from your dream. It’s also because the cat came in to find a tasty looking bit of paper on your bed and gobbled it all up.

No notes, no memories and a slightly fatter cat.

All you can do now is pray that today will go as quickly as possible so you can snuggle into bed, close your eyes, and hope you’ve got another night of sheer awesomeness on the way.

A child, a weakling, a chubster, a snob, a Chinaman and his wife walk into a house…

And two years later, they walk out of the house.

‘Now then’, I ponder to myself, ‘what can I write about a bunch of people I’ve been living with during university these past two years who haven’t had much of an impact on me.’

Well I guess that’s a start. The weakling has already left for home, the rest of us are planning a final, farewell meal. Now don’t get me wrong, I love these chaps. But am I going to miss them once I leave?

Well, no. It sounds awful, I know, and doesn’t do my introverted self any favours. Perhaps it’s down to why we’re all at university. Three of them are physics students, one a business student, the other a student of war and security studies. And then there’s me – the arty-farty creative writing and film student.

I chose to live with these people because, at the end of first year, I didn’t have any other options. Two, well three if you count the wife of one of the physics students, I’d never met before we moved in.
Yes, I lived with a married couple this past two years. And it’s put me right off marriage. Maybe I watch too much How I Met Your Mother, but the Chinaman and his wife struck me as just, well, not in love. It doesn’t help when the Chinaman said one day that he had cheated on her. Oh boy.

But it’s proved to be hugely entertaining living with people of this calibre. Pubs, cinemas, house parties and takeaway/Cards Against Humanity nights were fairly common and a lot of fun (even though the weakling refused to take part in the house parties. He’s petrified of social interaction to the point where he locks himself in his room).

Our highly different personalities clashed nearly as often as they complimented each other, and there are moments I shan’t forget. Such as all of us explaining to the Chinaman how you can’t leave half-eaten chicken carcases in the cupboard. Or… or… Ah, I thought I had more.

Oh well. At least only one of them was a genuine pain to live with. The chubster is just about the laziest person I’ve ever met. He skipped exams simply because he couldn’t be bothered to attend them. His room looks as if a pigsty exploded. And he keeps cats. Cats that he wouldn’t let outside. Cats that have overactive bowels. He’s one guy I won’t miss.

Yet it’s still been a highly liberating experience living with people who aren’t my family. Perhaps if I had ended up living with like-minded people, you wouldn’t be able to read this post from all the tears that would have poured into the keyboard from my eyes.

Either way, this is still another chapter of my university life drawing to a close. So overall, I shan’t miss the piled-up bins, the awkward silences whenever the Chinaman and his wife are in the same room, or the mixture of weed and cat-piss radiating from the chubster’s room.

At least this way, there are no tears. Perhaps it’s just typical male bravado that we shan’t miss each other. We all have our capes and we all love seeking out them pastures.

And guys, if any of you should ever read this, just be glad I didn’t write about those other times…

Post-uni life: Round One

You know that feeling you get when you wake up after a long night’s sleep, and it feels like you’ve only been asleep for a few moments? Well I’ve recently handed in my last ever assignment for university, and its how I’m feeling right now.

Three whole years have gone by, and they feel exactly like a long night’s sleep – i.e. a prolonged blink. So much has changed in my life, and I’ve changed with it. Actually, that’s a lie; I haven’t really changed at all. Rather, I’ve become more comfortable in my own skin than I ever have before. Being a student of creative writing and film studies and being part of my student TV team has allowed me to not only indulge in my passions, but finally release my quirky self amongst like-minded people.
Uni is now done, except for graduation. But until then, and after, what now?

My dream career is to be a professional writer/film-maker, and I’ve already bagged myself several freelance writing positions at various film/TV/sci-fi websites and magazines, so really my life right now couldn’t be better.

But deep down I feel somewhat petrified and depressed. Petrified because now that I’ve finished my educational life (I’m not planning to do any sort of Masters), I’m free to do whatever I want, and I previously thought I knew what I wanted. But here I am, waiting to go back home, and that’s where these feelings are radiating from.

In short, I don’t want to go back home. Home is a farm in Lincolnshire, situated between the countryside and the sea. We’re out on the marshlands, in the middle of nowhere. We’ve no shops, one pub that keeps closing down and changing hands and no neighbours. If you want some milk or the paper, you have to drive to the next village.

Three years living with everything within walking distance makes me feel like these past three years have been something of a waste. The idea of going back to nothing is hugely depressing. Now at this point, I think I can tell what you’re thinking. I should just stop moaning, get a flat, and live my life, right? Well that would be just too bloody easy, wouldn’t it?

My family is in tatters. My mum is not in the best of health and both my brothers are disabled, which makes living on a farm, complete with animals and outbuildings that constantly need looking after, just the perfect way of life. I myself am neither disabled nor in any ill health, so my mum is only too keen to put me to work on anything and everything an elderly/disabled person can’t do.

And that’s where the problem lies. I don’t just feel obliged to help out, I feel trapped. I feel like I may not get out of that place until my mum passes away, and then I’ll still be trapped. Both my brothers are disabled to the point where they need constant care, and getting genuine care for them is a nightmare.

And I know nothing of how flat-buying works. Do I have the money right now to get a place of my own? Even if I do, where do I go? Do I stay within close distance of home? If not, does it make sense to go back home, find a waiter/cleaner job, save up and then bugger off?

But don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind helping out at all, that’s one of the rules of being a family. But my family isn’t much to write home about. When I was younger, I was immensely selfish and lazy, and learnt the hard way how being part of a family work. And I’m grateful to have somewhere to go back to at all. I think it’s just that I’ve outgrown it. I don’t need it anymore. I know how to look after myself now.

So I guess this is what it boils down to. Feeling trapped. Feeling like, although no-one says it, I’ll be stuck in the middle of nowhere with my life on hold. After all, how are you supposed to meet new people in the middle of nowhere? Ever since my dad died just over a year ago I feel, more than ever, like it’s my duty to return back home and forget everything I’ve achieved these past three years. What good’s a BA when you can help your brother clear-up all the horseshit in the field?

As I said earlier, I thought my dream was to be a professional writer/film-maker. Right now my dream is to have my own flat and have a go at life the way I want to, without feeling the need to get my mum’s approval. She left her home when she was 17. 17! I’ve spoken to hear a couple of times about getting a place of my own once I leave uni, even encouraging her to kick me out so I’ll at least have an excuse to go get my own life. All she can say is, ‘oh Fred, I’ll never kick you out’.

Is this what she’ll be saying to me in five years time, or ten?

So that’s my conundrum, another panic in the life of Fred. Maybe there are some people out there in similar situations? If so, we should just band together and form a society for the soon-to-be-mentally-and-emotionally-deranged.

Or else, we could just get a flat together.

Book review – Filmed in Supermarionation

I’ll be honest here, whatever I’ve written below, it’s totally biased. If I wasn’t biased, I wouldn’t have bought the book.

I’m biased because I believe that Gerry Anderson is the greatest film/TV producer you’ve never heard of. If you really haven’t heard of him (what are you even doing here?), he’s the chap responsible for those glorious 1960’s sci-fi marionette shows; Stingray, Fireball XL5, Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet, etc.

DSC00644He also dabbled in many other forms of TV/film entertainment, including live-action, hand-puppetry, stop-motion animation, Japanese animation, and CGI animation. As my description of him suggests, he’s a man whose achievements are often overlooked in the media world, so perhaps even before you’ve read it, it’s already a marvellous thing that some 40-plus years after his shows were first broadcast, there now exists an authoritative history on the making of Gerry’s marionette works.

Stephen La Riviere’s ‘Filmed in Supermarionation’ is not as complete as its name implies. It doesn’t cover every single production Gerry ever did, but does cover his marionette shows, from The Adventures of Twizzle (1957) to The Secret Service (1969).

As this is really the first book of it’s kind (aside from Chris Bentley’s individual works on Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet, and UFO), there have been countless tales of these shows that have passed down into legendary folklore, so it’s nice to finally set the record straight. And the book does more than that.

It both mixes and digs into the history of A.P. Films/Century 21 Productions, fusing archive interviews and freshly conducted correspondence/examinations – the old and the new, much like Gerry’s shows themselves, into one thoroughly enjoyable history lesson. A lesson that mirrors the surface nature of what Gerry’s shows always entailed: a potent cocktail of drama, excitement, adventure, comedy, and lots and lots and lots and lots of explosions.

Its beautifully presented as well, divided into chapters that cover each production and mixing in photographs and drawings, some already known to the die-hard Anderfan (such as promotional images for Captain Scarlet), but they gain a sweeter resonance when included in such a definitive, historical account as this.

La Riviere’s style of writing is engaging as well, never reading as too stuffy or pretentious, and its clear he’s as much a fan of Gerry’s work as the fan whose writing this review (possibly even more.). His writing bubbles with the enthusiasm you’d expect in an Anderfan (we’re a hardcore bunch; you can’t just be a casual fan of Gerry’s. It’s like being a Kamikaze pilot – all or nothing.).

Overall, it automatically wins as the best historical account of Supermarionation, because it’s really the only one! But fortunately, its more than a history lesson, it’s really comes across as a thank you to those who created these wonderful shows. So pick up a copy, sit back, and as that old saying goes, ‘Standby for action!’

Dealing with a Desmond, a ramble.

I haven’t written a ramble on here in ages, but this is more of a panic than a ramble.

Just to give a bit of back story, I study Creative Writing and Film Studies at Hull Uni, and I’m in my final year. I’d love to finish Uni with a 2:1 degree, but it looks like I’m heading for a 2:2.

Now, the general logic behind a 2:2 appears to be that those achieving a 2:2 are those who were more than capable of achieving a 2:1, but they spent more time listening to the waiters in the Union bar rather than their lecturers.

I assure you this isn’t true with me at all. Many’s the day (and night) I’ve spent toiling away at assignments, only to receive a lower than hoped-for grade.

My dream career would be to become a writer of scripts for TV, poetry and stories, and I believe I’m making small yet significant steps towards this. I’ve spent a whole summer, and this past month, working with several independent TV and film companies. I’ve had/will be having a handful of my poetry published in anthologies. I’m an exec member for my student’s TV station, Hullfire TV.

Obviously, these little achievements beef my CV up no end, but my main cause for panic comes from my mum’s high expectations of me. My elder brother achieved a 2:2 degree from Lincoln Uni in Business, and my mum was initially disappointed with this (maybe now due more to the fact that he’s yet to do anything with his degree). Not having gone to Uni herself, I managed to assure her that a 2:2 was still worth the three years he’d spent studying for it, as it’s still an Honours degree at a decent level.

Another cause for panic is the assumption that an arts degree like mine is easier to study for than a degree like my brother’s. It’s bad enough to be studying, quite literally, a ‘mickey mouse’ degree (Hull does offer a module in Disney Studies, which I did’t plump for).

But I’m trying to think of the positives of all this. For starters, my degree, should I get the dreaded Desmond, would still be an Honours and would be better than a Third, pass, or fail. Given that I’m aiming for a career within TV, some might think it odd that I chose to study at Hull, as its predominately theory based modules.

But I think differently. Studying theory modules required me to get off my arse and go hunting for practical work experiences in TV and film, which I’ve achieved a fair bit of.

I feel that the further I get in life, the less it’ll matter about the specifics of my degree, but right now I just feel like I’d feel disappointed with the degree level I’m likely to get. I feel that it’ll say ‘you did okay, but you could have done better, and you know you could of’.

If anyone has any words of advice, or any words in general to offer, then feel free to comment. I probably need the reinforcement, although right now I feel more like I need a hug.

So, yeah, I think that’s it.

Ramble over.

Panic continues.

Apologies and Updates

Not that anyone is foolish enough to take a serious interest in this blog, but I do apologize to anyone who DOES take an interest in it, and to myself, for the lack of posts this past month.

Uni, student TV and work experience are taking up a lot of my time, but in the meantime, the good people at United Press have decided, God help them, to publish one of my earlier poems in a new anthology of theirs.

Slinky Green will be featured in their new collection called Bringing It Home, and will be released later this year.

Plus, a recently written essay of mine, one that examines why the cult classic sci-fi puppet show Thunderbirds doesn’t get much academic attention, is also going to be published! The people of Andersonic magazine, a magazine that focuses on examining the works of Gerry Anderson in a serious, critical light, announced the FAB news to me a few days ago, and, needless to say, I’m bloody chuffed!

So sorry again to those who, for whatever reason, actually like the things I ramble on about. Hopefully I’ll return to writing more rambles in the near future, as my poetry has taken over from them somewhat.

Keep on scribbling!