28 November 2014

Borough Market & Bermondsey Street, London

London is a city that's been trading for a long time, for how long I can't give that answer. Southwark has changed rapidly but parts remain the same since the 1200's, I don't think the hipsters had pounced just yet? Bermondsey serves a certain sophistication even though it sits within a myriad of council flat projects. Borough Market and Bermondsey regrets nothing!

Noted as far back as 1276 London's Borough Market has been serving the city with fresh fruit, vegetables and much more for a very long time. From the authentic English food stalls I saw a strong presence of International delicacies ranging from Tapas to Ethiopian street food. London beats its own drum, transforming the timeless Borough Market bridging the gap from yesterday to now! Food has become fashionable all of a sudden with a new wave of artsy food on offer at London's number one market. Join the hype! Will you? Restaurants aren't my scene at all, I enjoyed a gourmet chicken and leek pie from one of the open air speciality food stands. Standing cheek to cheek with Southwark Cathedral the infusion between the two formidable structures sets the perfect spark completely! Truth be told the Borough Market is worth a look around even if you don't buy anything. Watch out for the crowds!

I'm no stranger to fancy food markets because I trusted the Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria in Barcelona, I dined on freshly fried fish, washed down with a ice cold glass of Spanish Cerveza. London's Borough Market served me a simple food experience with my gourmet chicken and leek pie but it was so super busy it was a challenge to find a seat or a pocket of calm. Denoting the craziness I know that atmosphere was there 100% in London! Barcelona's market being away from home showed me some spice but London won hands down because I was in and out without hassle. Oh those crowds on a Saturday afternoon are a challenge to say the least but nothing in life is given to us easy. Stand your ground, that's the only way to get what we want! Protecting Borough's Market has been in place since 1832 when the market's building's were declared as a Grade II listed property. In my mind market's don't have anything on Bilston but I'll give Borough Market a positive shout out!

SE1 has made its comeback! Once an area not to regard highly Bermondsey has been transformed with a tonne of trendy developments, restaurants and boutiques that are right up my street. Known for the location of Guy's Hospital, this corner of South East London is branching out into the big time! Touching the clouds with her razor sharp design the Shard added a luxury flair to Bermonsdey to build a new image with a brand new Shangri-La Hotel with its five star service it shines above the council estate projects to show that the Southside can be chic! I don't have that five star reservation fee so I'll just marvel at the Shard from a distance amongst the ever-changing SE1 neighbourhood. Let's give a big up to Bermondsey! Keep your hustle B!

Bermondsey has a great mix between up-town yuppie realness and council estate grind, I took some time during my last two visits to London to appreciate that there's another kind of Londoner who lives in the shadow of the Shard and Bermondsey Street something that I respected. If I lived in London I would choose Bermondsey but being a part of 'generation rent' I wouldn't be able to afford a redeveloped warehouse apartment, I would be be serving Southwark Council Estate overness! There's nothing wrong with being normal but with a city wage I'd quite fancy myself as a city yuppie type! Check out Bermondsey for yourself, its just down the road from London's Borough Market so there's no excuse. I know that the Shangri-La takes an interest in SE1 so hustle your grind!

Bermondsey Street is my kind of hipster London! I love Spitalfields and Shoreditch but Bermondsey Street had me from the second that I first saw it in June 2014! Made up of one concentrated street full of architectural gems that have been reinvigorated to perfection I bloody love it! Chic restaurants, boutique retailers and much more hipster goodness lines Bermondsey Street, anchoring a new generation of cool to this part of SE1. Word on the street is that Bermondsey Street wasn't the safest place in the area before the abandoned warehouses and outlets were snapped up by developers but nowadays its the place to be seen! Fuckoffe served me up a more than lunch, I felt part of a movement of New London with a unapologetic free vibe that felt amazing! Choosing a fruity fresh smoothie and a piping hot spinach and butternut squash soup, it was worth my coins! You need to Fuckoffe!

Make your coffee time different with a bit to eat and a chat at Fuckoffee?! It's a stunning place in more ways than one! Did I see that correctly? Bermondsey Street caters for the fashion conscious pooch with a dedicated doggy boutique and if children were on the cards I would take a look at that other store, no child of mine would look shabby! Time moves forward with a new trend, I hope the hipster vibe of Bermondsey Street digs its heels in good and proper! Staying overnight can be done along the Bermondsey hangout because the Bermondsey Square Hotel looked good to me. I might well catch a film at the Shortwave cinema in the square becasue it looks positiviely en-trend indeed. Affirmative! Trust and believe Bermondsey, I know you will stay fierce to be the top French Bulldog of the street! Endorse the Borough Market with its gourmet bites, historical worth and crazy vibe. SE1 is my hipster hangout, hustle 'generation renters' we can live excessively!

Why Don't You Fuckoffee?!

Joseph Harrison

24 November 2014

Back To The Beginning... Ealing, London!

Where do I begin? Upon my previous visit to London I revisited the place where I grew up to the age of five. Going back to Ealing in London had to be done, it was like tiding a cupboard that's been avoided for some time so I felt the need to get the task completed. Let's just say it was a day that I won't forget for a while! Would it feel strange to go back to the beginning? 

Catching the London Underground to Perivale didn't take much thought but as soon as the Tube had left the tunnel it was apparent I was almost back onto home turf, a place I hadn't been for at least nineteen years. I wanted to make the trip back to the place I grew up for many reasons, I don't feel the are right to share that now. It's my drama! Born on the 14th of November 1990 I grew up in Perivale, West London until I moved up to the West Midlands when I was around five or six years old, I was half hoping things would  not of changed in the surrounding area. To my delight nothing much had changed as me and my mum exited the Tube station. Seeing the larger suburban homes from the Tube station started to bring slight memories of my early childhood back. The weirdness hadn't kicked in at that moment. It's mad to think I have lived in Bilston for over eighteen years so returning back to Perivale felt really strange!

So out of the Tube we made our way through a park that I spent a lot of time as a young boy, I had to take a few minutes to take in the sight because I knew it registered a memory of some sort. That park saw some drama from when I was three years old, I was playing on the climbing frames with one of my aunties when I broke my arm for the first time. It was bizarre to think that the same climbing frame was remaining, I suppose it wasn't that long ago? It took me back to a time when I remembered going to nursery and reception, early childhood memories that I look back on fondly. I know deep down why we had to leave but like I said that's classified information! Bilston got me thinking mad, I appreciated being back in that scene for the short time we passed through. People always say to me that I sound too posh to be from Bilston, I just say oh I'm serving you my telephone voice. Maybe I'll go back one day? Let's all go back to the beginning! UB6, I found you Perivale! Yes!

We've all got that first home you sort of remember if you haven't lived there for a while? If you still live in your childhood home I'll try not to throw you evils! Tees Avenue was literally where it all began. It was crazy mad when my mum said we had made it to the street where we once lived. I do have memories of going to and from reception school and spending long summer days playing in the garden with my friend Barney. If I'm honest its like a delayed reaction thinking about these things. Life gets crazy so we all have to make our movements onto our next thing, I'm grateful for those fond memories but whatever really. So much time has gone past I connected certain emotions with my former childhood home but not enough for me to want a tour around to see if the kitchen look the same, it was good to go back. Life takes us in many different directions but its funny that we always go back to the start. It felt right! 

Some spend the afternoon at Madame Tussaud's with the waxworks or take a stroll down London's Thames Path but I was all about reconnecting with yesterday. Cards on the table I would say I'm from the West Midlands with a twist, its been my home for so much longer than Perivale but I always have that UB6 town printed in my Passport. Since moving from Tees Avenue me any my brother went back a few times but then life decided we wouldn't return until I choose my West London day of reflection. What would of life been like I still lived there? Would my jobs prospects be better being by the City of London? I need to take this towards a different avenue! Leaving the street behind us it was a shock to the parade of shops look so down-trodden and out-dated when I remembered them how to be when I was a boy. Do you have somewhere to return to? I say go go! Tees Avenue was part of my past so I'm going to leave it. We went forwards without a second glance. No mistakes, UB6! 

Adding some Eastern promise to our day of discovery me and my mum took the E5 bus towards Southall Toplocks estate. Southall Broadway looked good to us, if you didn't know Southall is a diverse neighbourhood with a large Asian population from the Indian Subcontinent. You know I'm all about that International hype! I'm a sucker for some Indian food so I bought two veggie samosas to munch on. I loved the vibe of Southall's bustling high street with its abundance of sari fashion stores and curry houses. Leaving a spicy meal for another day I bought five pounds worth of Indian sweets because I love that Besan muchly! Southall is about ten minutes away from London Heathrow Airport so if I ever work at the airport I shall be looking for a flat to rent in that part of town! Our time in Southall mixed things up, for seeing those ghosts wasn't as cute as I thought it would have been. It was a life lesson to go back to the start. 

I couldn't get any closer to the beginning than see the hospital I was born at! Passing through on the bus to Ealing Broadway we saw the Ealing General Hospital and I even caught a glimpse of the maternity wing. It was strange to not remember somewhere when you know you were there once before, I definitely underestimated the day because it was down right crazy to see Perivale, Southall and Ealing once again after such a long time. I don't remember much from Ealing but it wasn't really Polish when I lived there, I suppose that European Union is the cause of that? So, its true that London means a lot more to me than I thought and I can identify why I strive to find interesting and alternative corners of London that are away from the central tourist traps. On a deeper level I recognise that I can enter the next phase of my life with the knowledge that I know the area where it all began. Thank you Perivale, Southall and Ealing for taking me back to the very start. That's it, I'm done! 

Never Forget Where You Come From! 

Joseph Harrison

23 November 2014

Peckham, London: No Fools Or Horses!

Only fools and horses? Peckham showed me something quite the opposite, now who's the blinder fool?! How many times, how lies? I must put the blame on the media and the lack of exposure on lesser known parts of London especially in the South East of the city. I know full well that London has many different sides but Peckham opened up my eyes for sure! 

Tower Bridge and Oxford Circus are okay but I challenge myself constantly each time that I visit London. After a recommendation I trusted the 78 bus to Peckham to see the fictional home of Del Boy and Rodney from Only Fools and Horses but was I mistaken? Yes! A fusion of Nigerian, Ghanaian and Jamaican culture fronted me without any warning, you know I favour some flavour in my life! I was left hungry after my visit to Woolwich in June 2014 so no one could test me! Absorbing the pumping Naija beats along the high street corner shops I loved life because that's my jam! I wasn't looking for a perfectly gentrified area because I know what that story looks like boy! Peckham, gave me nothing less than what I wanted. The new library looked swish but I was all about the unique shop fronts that are full of African fashion houses fit for the West African bride to be. SE15 this is the New Africa! 

My inner African queen knew where to go for a new fashion forward hairpiece or weave, save your drama for this South East London town to serve your legendary style! Someone told me a big fat lie, the television show Only Fools and Horses was actually filmed in Bristol but that didn't make any difference during my time in Peckham. The high street towards Peckham Rye served South East London realness with its infectious beat of people making their way around the town, I didn't see many yuppie types so that impressed me much! Compared to Woolwich I felt a more laid-back vibe even though the streets resonated a vibrancy that Woolwich possessed. Crossrail and the Docklands Light Railway has unevenly transformed that SE18 part of South East London so I saw the difference in Peckham for sure. The landscape changed so much from my Bermondsey beginning to Peckham High Street, its always good to see the message unfold that alternative London is cool. Step outside?

I worked up a hearty appetite when I saw JB's Soulfood and Jerk Chicken Takeaway, it was a done deal. I ordered Jerk Chicken, rice and beans served with a side of coleslaw. Being greedy I opted for the large portion because I loved my soulfood! Captured to the right is my food, I didn't fancy any juice so I went for a vanilla Nourishment can. As I unassumingly enjoyed my Jerk Chicken I couldn't help listening to the conversations that were going on around me. Let's just say that Peckham mom raises her boy with a non-nonsense parenting approach! One lady just wanted Peppered Prawns! She was told to chill and come back a little later to get her desired dish. I tell you I couldn't finish my dinner but I made damn sure I enjoyed the rest a little later on that day. I appreciated the uncomplicated vibe of JB's Soulfood Takeway on Peckham's High Street, who really needs fancy food? It's all about JB's!

Peckham's other foodie options consisted of a selection of Nigerian takeaways and Persian infused cafes but I wasn't on that hype one bit. Flashing back to my experience with Nigerian food in Woolwich I have to say I had my adventourous palate to cope with the spice! I was served an intense plate of Jollof Rice and Beef at Tasty African on the Plumstead Road. Peckham came to the rescue with my Jerk dish because I wasn't up for trying something called 'Suya!' If you need some food therapy I say get down to Peckham for a wide choice of Caribbean and West African dining options. Have you tried anything daring from the Caribbean or the African continent? It doesn't take a mug to see London's West is getting more costly to consider property, a new movement of living has transcended upon neighbourhoods such as Peckham. I think a spot of regeneration would push Peckham in the right direction. See what happens when I  blog about places that have flavour! It's all irie SE15!

Peckham had me spoiled for choice when I was looking for some Jamaican Spice Bun! After pacing the high street and having some lunch I took a chance on Zara's Tropical market. I knew exactly what I was looking for, I'm no un-educated fool! Not lying, Zara's reminded me of a South American bodega with the selection of Hispanic food and drinks products. Finding my bun didn't take much thought because it just looks like a dark loaf of bread. Do I wish that I lived closer to one of these Afro-Caribbean food stores? Of course I do because I'm a lover of a wide range of foods from around the world. If you're used to your weekly humdrum shop to ASDA then I suggest you step away from the International aisle and get your life by choosing somewhere like Zara's. That wasn't a question! Thanks Peckham for reuniting me with my favourite Spice Bun! I just needed some cheese to go with my Bun loaf!

My day in Peckham left me with a feeling of hope and expectation for the future of the SE15 area. I adored the original Afro-Caribbean vibe that engulfed the busy high street that chilly November afternoon. The energetic and infectious Naija beats that filled the main road to Peckham Rye made me want to Azonto! Going hungry would of been a crime, that being a testament to my delicious and spicy Jerk Chicken dinner from JB's Soulfood and Jerk Chicken Takeaway hit the spot! I have to say the conversations I listened to gave me jokes because I've heard that real talk before! Get your lives together whilst in London, I don't have time for your feeble excuses that you don't trust places in London that are off the tourist map! Peckham just gets on with its grind! Who needs Del Boy or Rodney because those jokers haven't got a clue! Like I said Woolwich has its own hype but I still feel blessed that both SE London communities serve a flare of West African realness!

Peckham Is Only Getting Started! 

Joseph Harrison 

21 November 2014

My Birthday Flashback: 2012-2014!

Happy Birthday to me! Birthdays are cool but I got bored of a cake with candles, after all its one day that deserves a few strong drinks as time goes by! Seeing a new place sounds cool to me rather than asking for x,y or z for that b'day? Yes! I'm going to flashback over my over last three birthdays but did anything stand out?! Where will my next birthday take me?! 

Feeling reckless I booked two Canadian trips in 2012 to Toronto and Montreal so I could celebrate my 22nd birthday twice. October brought my whirlwind weekend in Toronto, touching down at Toronto's Billy Bishop Island Airport  was a comfort to say the least! I saw the CN Tower from top to bottom, I was almost tripping from the viewpoint because I don't have a head for heights. Getting lost afforded me the chance to see Toronto's Chinatown and Harbord Village, offering me a fresh vibe compared to my New Jersey morning. Toronto took me by the hand, reuniting me with my Disney co-worker Alexandra who showed me a stellar night out! After our meal at Jack Astor's we pre-drank some more then hit Fly nightclub in the heart of Toronto's vibrant Gay Village. I had an amazing night but I'm not going to be trashy because a gentlemen never reveals that kind of information! Oh I also saw the Niagara Falls! 

November 14th 2012 arrived, I boarded my Air Canada Jazz flight from Newark to Montreal, Quebec. French Canada called me for a reason, the language didn't sound very modern but the French that I heard sounded good to me. Staying at L'Hotel I had booked a luxury room with a budget price tag that happened to be located in the heart of Montreal's Old Town known as 'Vieux Montreal'. Contrary to belief certain parts of Vieux Montreal date back to the days of 'New France' you know I'm all about a vintage vibe! Getting to know the city didn't take long for I had discovered the Metro so getting to Rue Sainte Catherine took a quick minute. My birthday celebrations were great if not a little random, well no one ever passes up a free dinner at a lovely Italian restaurant so yet again Canada loved me good! The Notre-Dame Basilica took me away from the North American continent if only for a moment, American life had got me crazy to see something European. Merci Montreal!

Time doesn't have to be an issue, I see those turning hands as a challenge to see as much as possible. My 23rd birthday beckoned as I had almost finished the first semester of my final year at University College Birmingham. I embarked on an overnight trip to Liverpool and Chester to catch up with my favourite North West city. That time Liverpool showed me the RopeWalks and the historic Chinese Quarter opposed to the iconic sights like the Liver Birds or the Albert Docks. I returned to Liverpool because I love that Scouse city, I always make time for my Disney friend Kat who lives in Southport. Her Disney Princess is growing into a beautiful girl, making our Disney summer seem like a while away! Liverpool sure brings the comedy!

Fresh from my second Scouse outing I took the Merseyrail down to Chester for the afternoon. As mentioned previously my previous birthday had been spent in Canada so I wanted it to be quintessentially British. The Clock Tower reminded me of the time element of the day so I made damn sure I covered as much as I could whilst in Chester. St Werburgh Street and the area around the cathedral took me back to the United Kingdom Pavillion at EPCOT's World Showcase. The Medieval architecture gave me a sense of disconnection with the city hype of Liverpool so I appreciated that tonnes. With the Welsh border close by I took a slow walk along the waters of the River Dee, I fancied seeing the borderline! Through my time spent in Liverpool and Chester I had a really good birthday! Yes!

London called me for a second time in 2014, I had something to celebrate this time though. My 24th birthday was very fast approaching and I had nothing planned so I was packed off to London. I'm not one for shopping but I really enjoyed getting spoiled by my mum with my Primark fashion purchases I liked that shopping trip. My actual birthday started with a terrible hangover but that didn't dampen my day one bit, or did it? Chinatown called for my usual Soho Bubble Tea and Dim Sum fix but that hangover sure returned like a reoccurring nightmare! Piccadilly Circus called me, I was on a mission to get some snaps because the early November sunset worked for me. Yeah my birthday was cool but I treasured the time I spent with my mum, we don't see each other as much now because of her work so that time was nice. With my new threads I had some work to do! Trust and believe London!

So my official birthday had been and gone but I saw my London trip as one complete celebration so I had a plan to execute! Dressed to impressed in my new city chic threads I made it to London's former Olympic Stadium to see what was going down, followed by a gourmet pie from Borough Market and finally a stroll down Bermonsdey Street to be with the yuppies. The sun had set, I was ready for the night and I didn't plan on returning home anytime before the morning light! The London Underground took me to my kind of London, you've already guessed Soho haven't you? Hitting up the Village in the heart of Soho I made the most of the cheap drinks, I wasn't going to take that for granted on a Saturday night in London! If you're not ugly then you should recognise your good looks so I made the most of my genetic gain whilst at Village, mama didn't raise no fool! Were you at the National Theatre? No but I'm glad I looked cultured enough boo! Let's just say 24 is working for me B!

Keep Your Cake & Candles! I Just Want The Party!

Joseph Harrison  

20 November 2014

London With The Lights On!

London is the late night lady that you won't recognise, with that prospect I got myself down to London last week without hesitation. Within the madness of the capital I always return to London with a new thirst for adventure, intrigued to see what the next hype is! The Tower of London planted the poppies to remember the fallen, so London what's good treacle!? 

London put on a fine show for this years Remembrance to recognise the fallen and heroic souls who fought in the Great Wars. I got crazy when those volunteers started uprooting those ceramic poppies, I hadn't been on my travel grind properly so I booked a train without haste to see those specials. I was determined to get a few snaps with my new camera and to give respect to the fallen. My Great-granddad Tom fought in World War II in the British Army so I took a moment to remember him. It didn't take a fool to see that millions had come from far to see the sea of blood red poppies as they rested around London's Royal Tower. I wasn't about the Tower of London because I had done that all before. As I took my photos I got speaking to a couple that were admiring the open air exhibit to think how much revenue could have been generated if a fee was taken to access the site. Yes LDN, I know the cause was served. 

Every time I love your design, London is a shady lady who dishes out some dangerous love! From the poppies I didn't have a lot in mind to see because I had been down in the big smoke just a couple of months ago in June 2014. Would I be seeking for the New Africa again or something more hipster? Yes, please! Having no plan is better than having great expectations! If the truth be told I never thought I was going to see the poppies at the Tower of London because funds have been low and the monotony of applying for jobs in China had got me down! 888,246 ceramic poppies were planted to remember the servicemen of the British and Commonwealth Armies so I guess the endless sea of red justified the queue I had to wait in order to see them. Londoners generally don't have patience to wait but when tourists are blended into the mix I got mad B! Let's take more than two minutes to remember those servicemen, those poppies brought something lovely for the cause! 

Ready for Olympic gold I wanted to see the former Olympic Stadium in Stratford, East London. Yes, the games didn't last for very long back in 2012 but the Stadium is being modified to become the new home of London's own West Ham United Football Club so that impressed me that a new tenant for the gargantuan sporting facility had been secured. Aptly located in E20, a postcode that is shared with the fictitious EastEnders set from the BBC soap. The whole Stratford complex had me from the moment I stepped from that Docklands Light Railway train at Stratford International, that station had body for sure with its many platforms. In the midst of a reboot the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park has reportedly become the largest park in England? Nevertheless I did feel a sense of belated Olympic pride for London secured the bid and that probably won't happen again! Keep that E20 torch burning bright! 

Seeking something new I closed my ears because people had said Stratford lacked in excitement since the games closed but I was amazed by the expansive Westfield shopping complex, that huge lifestyle development took some going to walk around but I couldn't help feeling a number of the stores weren't meant for the average person? Call me critical I sensed that a new wave of living is coming to Stratford with a more business type vibe so I guess time may only be the test? Getting to and from the city to Stratford International didn't take much thought, I took the DLR from Canary Wharf through the heart of the East End of London then returning on the Jubliee Line to London Bridge. London is throwing a new kind of shade to the East End, reigniting a new alternative to city living without the insane rents of the central locations. Whatever happens I suggest a jaunt over to the Olympic Stadium and Westfield complex in Stratford because its major! Just go for Gold already!

I just can't resist the bright neon lights of Piccadilly Circus, the iconic logos just make me say 'Wow!' Embrace the electric love of London's mid point with Theatreland on one side and Regent Street beckoning close by its a hectic centre of energy. Part of my birthday trip I made sure I got a few close ups of the Coca-Cola infused lights for the November sunsets worked with me not against me. I wasn't looking for no million pound girl because London, she serves up something special unlike her American sister! New York City offers the craziness of Times Square, yes its an advertisers paradise but its overwhelming in one respect. London has to be my chosen city this time around! Yes, I remember now of course Leicester Square stands a short walk away from the vibrant shadows of Piccadilly Circus I love that side of town muchly! I spent my 24th birthday in London, I didn't want no cake with candles I loved LDN! 

Respecting the poppies gave me some focus to the cause and on a more personal level so I appreciated that to the highest. Being a part of my passport I regard London as a special place, it never leaves me no matter how much time I spend away from our English capital city. Going for Gold wasn't that difficult because I was fortunate enough to see the former Olympic Stadium in Stratford. Comparing to my last visit I felt more chilled out, I didn't have the summer temperatures like in June to guide me for long periods of time before the sunset. South East London will be on the cards, with a serious flashback to West London so keep your eyes peeled for my next installment of London blogs! London with the lights on sure looks pretty splendid, she's strong and a winner but above all London shines brighter than a diamond! Gentrification is happening in London so we need to shine a light back to the beginning. Piccadilly Circus you better keep your lights on all night long! Yes!

London ... She's A Shady Lady! 

Josep Harrison

6 November 2014

2014: Do You Want The Truth or Something Beautiful?

Don't worry about me, in this very moment I'm plotting my next move in life. This year has been crazy and confusing but I know greatness has been achieved so far. 2014 has been the year that I rewrote the book in many ways but difference is showing me to embrace life in the moment. From Manchester to endless job interviews, it's time to set the record straight. 

Manchester came through at the beginning of 2014, I had some research for my Dissertation to carry out and I wanted to love life that January weekend. University was coming to the final frontier with my ten thousand word Dissertation keeping things interesting. I used the experience to my advantage, I needed some first hand field research for my paper. Canal Street hasn't seen the last of me! I wanted to graduate with honours but I was on a mad travelling hype during the final semester of my closing uni year in Birmingham. Bristol and Bath impressed me much with its realness, those Roman Baths served up exactly what I wanted. Birmingham life got me crazy, into the flow of my uni work I couldn't control that urge to shake my cakes on the dance-floor at the Village Inn within Birmingham's Gay Village! Downing another drink at the bar on a usual Saturday night, I wasn't ready to give up my nights out B!

It was a family affair due to my younger brother loving life in his first year at University College Birmingham, he enjoyed his first throw of university life but we turned it up every once in a while! The fire was burning bright in my eyes, I had a dream to become a flight attendant for Emirates. I obsessed with the application, driving everyone near me to distraction with the fine details because I wanted that gig so much. My friendship with Kelly grew with our Chinese New Year celebrations in Southside, she knows I will throw shade on others. February and March took a change for this blog, I fancied myself as a hotel, food and theatre blogger with the small writing gigs I secured during the first throws of my final semester at UCB. I stayed cool at the Rotunda, ate well at Coast To Coast and critiqued a show at Wolverhampton's Grand, endorsing those businesses through my independent hype! Graduation was in the back of my mind but I should have just stopped stressing! Let it will be.

This final modules kept me going, it was a celebration to hand in the next assignment. I chilled my approach towards lectures because I had my study game on! Cheltenham and Dursley took me away from Birmingham to reunite with a dear friend from freshers 2010, I will no longer desire the taste of Pear Cider. I don't brag, I serve and inform and if you don't like then get gone! OK, I got my European hype on because you know I was tripping when I got that bursary fund. Berlin, Hamburg and Bremen showed me a full packed five day city experience. I bow down to Germany, she's a fierce competitor who has a story I listened to. It wasn't a joke that I didn't get a job with Emirates, I'll stay nice for I had a plan to execute. I knew that 2014 afforded me the summer of experience with multiple foreign trips so I took a trip down to Stonehenge with a pit-stop visit in Bristol, yes I embraced my situation.

No I didn't regress to no high school student I loved my life down in Birmingham's Southside. After joining the UCB LGBT Society at the beginning of my final year at university I worked it out in the clubs that I approved of. Intermission, I hit Coventry and Lichfield for the afternoon to prove the haters wrong! Handsworth and Benefits Street opened my eyes to a side of Birmingham I had ignored. We celebrated the advent of the legalisation of same sex marriages in our rainbow style, donning our hen attire whilst marrying the night because we rejoiced. My workload from university needed some let up, I would work on 4,000 words then turn it up on a Friday and Saturday night at the Village Inn. Birmingham Pride 2014 beckoned, filling my cup I enjoyed my Pride weekend to the fullest with a class act hangover that lasted three days after the weekend. I wasn't looking for any approval, the hands of time moved faster than words could say, I was on to the next thing! Uni done!

Looking for the main attraction I took my life down to London for a quick minute, reconnecting with my parents and seeing another side to the city of my birth. School was out, the bags had been packed and my Thomas House room had been locked. London gave me some breathing space to seek that adventure out! My summer took me back to Bilston, living with my Grandparents until the next phase commenced. I called upon some sources to afford me a summer to remember. I got my 2;1 degree from UCB, I booked up a shameless weekend to Blackpool. I reported on the first arrival from China into Birmingham Airport, memories sure did reignite from my Newark placement year! Life changed so much but I wouldn't let it go up in flames!

I returned back to Birmingham in August prior to my Geordie getaway, I missed that trick! Student life disappeared without any warning! The Angel of The North showed me which way to go, her cast iron self instilled some strength within during that Newcastle time. I snapped a shot with Beauty Killer at Eazy Street and appreciated the Tyne Bridge with time burning like a raging fire. Feeling free for a small period of time I silenced the crazy with an afternoon in Shrewsbury, you know I was on that Ramen Noodle hype! Autumn pounded the alarm, I owned the streets but didn't break any dishes in Stoke-On-Trent. I had to challenge the ordinary because I was getting crazy as the month progressed. London I thought we had a deal?! You know there's always something new in my life! Get it B!

September brought my time, I had a duty to 'sissy that graduate' making my way across the stage at Birmingham's Symphony Hall to collect my degree. I had kicked up some fuss to get my paper sooner to get my ass onto the next hype. Striking up the band I said farewell to my university journey, making peace with Birmingham to realise the wait was completely worth the drama. Feeling like dancing I returned to Wolverhampton for Wolves Pride 2014 to enjoy a day and night of celebration for my home city. Since July I have blogged about the comeback city from my own perspective. Blogging has been hard due to my location and lack of funds but I have made my mark no matter what! This year might not be over yet and this entry isn't a sweeping judgement of what has already happened I just want to recognise whats gone down because I have a whole lot more in the pipeline! I've got this! Let get it!

The time is now for a change, I want to challenge myself with a new beginning. I worked in America without the knowledge of creating this blog. I have every intention of taking this blog to the next level in 2015 and beyond! I'm not sure which direction things will go but I have a thirst to get back out into the world. I seriously underestimated the prospect of looking for a job, my cushioned existence at university put me in dazed state of mind, it has been a bitter pill to swallow! I have love and admiration for Bilston but that West Midlands town doesn't inspire or give me life, so I best secure some employment then I'll have the funds to fly! Christmas 2014 looks to be a London thing because I shall be spending the festivities at my parents pub in the big smoke. London has been my crutch to escape to but I need to get my life already! 2014 has been a blessed yet stressful year with many twists and turns I wanted to serve this blog with truthfulness. Do you want the truth? So, that's it!

Trust and Believe!

Joseph Harrison