Friday, October 7, 2011


In Ireland, it's kind of understood that living in a state of perpetual adolescence is the done thing. It's a wonderful world to inhabit: you move out when your 26, realize what you want to do with your life at 29 and finally get around to joining that band/writing that screenplay/forming that cult when you're about 31. In the meantime, you've had a couple of kids, travelled Asia and instigated the early stages of liver failure. For so many blessed individuals, Ireland is a very damp, slightly racist Neverland. You can be forty and still giggle at the idea of buying a TV license.

Maybe that's why London is such a shock to the system. When I left Ireland two months ago, I was pretty assured that I was hot shit. MATURE hot shit. I had started a BLOG. I had written SOME SONGS. I ONCE PAYED A BILL. I was a grown-up. In a world of Peter Pans, I was the proverbial Wendy: I had copped myself on and gotten out of Neverland.

Or so I thought.

In two months, London has taken my naive notion of adulthood and whacked it over the nose with a newspaper. Everyone has the face of Dakota Fanning and the mind of Donald Trump. Days at the Best For Film offices could be spent quietly whimpering in awe as John (22) and Tash (24) managed to be young, nice people AND run a successful film website. Like ADULTS. It's not just them, though. Everyone I meet seems to have their lives suspiciously on track. Now that I've started working on a film set, this trend is getting particularly alarming. One minute they're complaining about the raisins in biscuits, the next they're conference calling Irvine Welsh. You think I'm being arbitrary, don't you? Well, I'm not. Because this happened today.

I've started monitoring the habits of my friend and beloved slumlord Danny, another successful adult. His movements prove suspicious. Every evening he comes home to me sitting on the floor of his room eating hummus, and then affably submits himself to an evening of Cost Cutter wine and Don't Tell The Bride. Something doesn't quite add up. How is Danny a succesful video journalist-producer-editor-thing by day, and an utter flake (like me) by night?

Things finally begin to make sense when Danny comes home from work one day visibly stressed. Handing him a cracker to dip in some hummus, I ask what is up.

"They want to take out my wank." he sighs

"Oh, right. Wait, what?"

"My latest video. It's about football games."


"There's a part where I edit together all the players' sound effects to make it sound like it's me having a wank."

"That's hilarious."

"I know. And the censors don't want to pass it."


"I know."

Danny doesn't want to give up on his wank joke. He goes in to work the next morning, and he fights tooth and nail for it. I soon realize that he isn't fighting because he thinks the joke is particularly funny, or because he feels that popular media doesn't talk about wanks enough. Hes fighting for it because he knows in his gut that it will work. Hes frustrated that his bosses don't see the universal benefit of the wank joke. The joke is his baby, and a rejection of it is in turn a rejection of him. He comes home from work the next day with a bottle of the slightly-more-expensive wine and a look of self-satisfaction. "It's in." I cheer. "I never want to say the word 'wank' ever again," he says, and I agree.

While Wankgate was occuring, I felt like I was learning some very vague but very important lesson about being a grown-up. It's not just a case of believing yourself - every eight year old with a Miley Cyrus CD believes in themselves - it's about respecting yourself. Respecting yourself so much that you're willing to make yourself look like an utter twat and say "wank" a lot, because you know you're on to a good thing.

If you're wondering how many times the word 'wank' appeared in this blog, it's eight.

If you're interested in the results of Wankgate, click here.

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