Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Wednesday 19/11/14

On Monday night I go to the gym, where I’m supposed to work out my shoulders and back, but mainly my shoulders, because they have been a weak point for a very long time and it’s getting really embarrassing. I’m doing a set of new exercises that I’ve never done before and this really stressing me out, making me walk around the gym looking lost, holding an iPhone up that’s playing fitness YouTube videos, trying to make sense of it all.


For my first exercise, which somebody somewhere named standing barbell military press, I need a barbell. There’s one barbell on an incline bench nearby, so I walk over to it and start picking it up. Then some guy comes back and tells me that he’s still using it. Then I stand there again more lost, but now also disappointed. Then I notice that my straight gym crush who’s using a different barbell on a different incline bench right next to me is trying to make cautious eye contact and catch my attention, but in a very tentative way, plus I’m wearing headphones and he can’t really talk to me.

This seems like it goes on for an eternity if the feeling in my lower abdomen is anything to go by, but in human time and space terms it’s probably only 2-3 seconds before he actually opens his mouth, I remove my left headphone and he asks me to spot him for one last set, and then I can have the barbell if that’s what I’m looking for. This is exactly what I’m looking for and a little bit more, so I mumble “sure” and I go stand behind him as he's doing one last set of incline chest press while I breathe in each time he exhales in agony in the general direction of my face.

My straight gym crush is about 6’3” tall, has very short, light brown hair and an outdoor tan, the face of a G.I. Joe action figure but with hesitant eyes, and a tight, muscular, yet lean upper body. He also has really big, strong legs, perhaps more muscular than his upper body, which is pretty much my favourite thing anyone can have, and I assign this to him playing some particular, highly imaginary sport that mainly utilises lower body strength, even though my friend TN says that I’m just making this up because I want this guy to be a masc jock who kills it at sports, but it’s just probably the way he’s built.

For this exercise he was going for six reps, he said, but he only manages five, with my assistance only needed for the last one. We quickly recover from this highly sexual activity (in my head only, but still) by removing the weights from the barbell together.

“How many do you want on?” he asks.

“None of them”, I say.

He takes one side and I take the other, and he really doesn’t have to do that, so I stutter “thank you” and “thank you so much” an inordinate amount of times, as he goes between the barbell and the weight rack.

Then we’re done and I’m about to remove the barbell and take it away and he walks up to me one last time with a face that hasn’t shown any expression throughout our interaction apart from physical strain as he was doing his exercise, offers his hand for a fist bump, which I incompetently return, and says:

“Thanks boss”

I die a few deaths inside, and continue with my workout, both ecstatic and also devastated, in the way that you would feel if you knew you had just been touched by the hand of God…via a fist bump…while he called you “boss”, but having no way to tell if the experience will ever be repeated, or if that right there was your life peaking and you’re now faced with slow, excruciating drudgery until you finally expire thirty or forty years from now.

Later in the evening, I’m home alone and trying to pull myself away from refreshing Facebook and go to bed. It’s minutes before midnight.

I hear a knock on the door, and of course I know it’s my next-door neighbour (more about whom can be foundhere) and I seriously consider not answering, but she knocks again, more fervently this time, and I know this is just not going to go away.

I open the door and she storms in holding a candlestick. I am not making any of this up. She’s sorry she had to bother me, she says, unclear whether she’s more or less sorry compared to the other five times she did in the last couple of weeks with an urgent story of low-stake apartment building warfare somehow connected to her self-assigned role as neighbourhood watch official, but something really disturbing is happening and she needs my help.

I almost say, “what is it”, but in reality this is not a discussion where my input is needed, she can continue the dialogue for both of us just taking minor cues from my facial expressions or stance: half a raised eyebrow here, a minor shift of my eyeballs there, blinking, shifting the weight between my legs as I stand there otherwise inanimate, it all counts as my part of the conversation.

This time she tells me that she’s heard some noises and wants me to go investigate the apartment downstairs from hers, because she thinks someone is getting murdered very quietly, or having violent sex very quietly, both of which she thinks she can help with. I say no. She says, fine, if she goes downstairs and someone is getting murdered and she gets caught up herself I will have it on my conscience, and my silence must indicate that I’m fine with that, because she leaves, candlestick in hand and heads down the corridor.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Wednesday 29/10/14

You know when you’re born in a certain country and for some reason you have a massive issue with it and your only saving grace is that you don’t look typically like the rest of the population and you spend your early years, from ages six onwards, really, fantasising that you’re from somewhere else and were kidnapped as a young child and were brought there, then try to culturally appropriate other nations, starting with France, then the UK, then America, until you find yourself at 34 living 7,000 miles away from where you were brought up, with a different passport, a different name, a fake accent and not having spoken to person who grew up with the same mother tongue as you since 1997?
I have now received the results of the DNA test I recently did to discover my genetic / national ancestry. If we remember, I just wanted to have some Northern European DNA in me. I wanted to have some proof that I’d been adopted, and I wanted some explanation as to why I have blue eyes and pale skin and I’m not hirsute in a Middle Eastern way. I’m afraid I aimed too high. I’m afraid that I am, genetically speaking, the most Greek person that has ever lived on the planet. I’m afraid that my results are these:


I am only 0.5% “Broadly Northern European”. I am ready to die.
I am 74.3% Balkan (the peninsula where Greece is located) which is a pretty massive percentage, really fucking homogeneous, and a real shock result in a day and age where everyone is a mix of something. Not I. My ancestors appear to have only fucked people within a 10-mile radius and that’s about it. A further 12.9% of me is “Broadly Southern European” (which really means that they couldn’t identify which part of Greece that 12.9% comes from, let’s be honest) and there is also a 10.9% Italian, which I’m choosing to ignore because it’s only causing me to vomit uncontrollably.
Now, of course if I have to try to find a way to spin this, and I’m gonna, I can latch on to the modern Greek delusion that Ancient Greeks were fair, blond, and blue-eyed, and that the reason why Greeks look like they do now is a result of ethnic mixing with other (inferior) populations, and in particular Turks, who occupied Greece for 400 years, after all, and we’re pretty sure were fucking everyone left, right, and centre during that time. (I wouldn’t, because I’d rather die celibate than have sex with a Greek person, but those guys were weird).
Now, following on from this completely flawed logic (why would a population located in such a warm, Mediterranean climate be “fair”, for what is skin colour genetically, really, other than a reaction to the elements where the population is based?) and in coordination with my DNA results above (where I have 0% ancestry in the Middle East [Turkey], or any other ethnic population whatsoever, for that matter) there is just one conclusion I can reach. I am a purebred great descendent of Alexander The Great. The imaginary, blond one.
Is this better than being Northern European as I was desperately hoping? Definitely not. Is it better than being a genetic outcome of half a millennium of Turkish occupation? Probably yes. Will I use the sperm of whatever 6’1”+, blond, blue eyed partner I eventually get married to instead of mine to impregnate our surrogate, in order to forever banish my Greek DNA and avoid playing lottery with the eye colour of our children? Yes, yes, I will.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Thursday 16/10/14

The Independent did publish a review of my book in the end. Do you think they will mind if I copy the review here? Who can tell.

Will this make you buy the book? Probably not. It did make my Mum really happy and really proud though. Thanks, Independent.

And it made me happy, because it called me both highly intelligent and psychologically damaged in the same sentence. Who doesn't want that?

It also prompted my main boy TN to advise me that unfortunately if I want to sell any books, I probably have to write a novel filled with gay sex. Maybe he’s right. Maybe I will.

In the meantime here’s the review online and here it is copied and pasted below if clicking on that link is too much hard work.

Highlights of My Last Regret by North Morgan, book review: A Romeo and Juliet for the 21st century


Parke Hudson, the wealthy narrator of North Morgan’s second novel, closely resembles Maine in his first; he’s simply moved to Los Angeles.

The author has revealed that Parke is Maine’s son, though this works emotionally rather than temporally. It is business as usual in Morganland: high intelligence, deep self-loathing, and psychic damage combine in a dark morality tale.

The slender narrative concerns the push-pull of Parke’s relationship with his girlfriend Ryan. At 28 she is “five-and-half” years older than him, though you’d think it was at least couple of decades the way he goes on. Not only is she elderly, she comes from a “ranching background” – practically redneck as far as Parke is concerned. Surprising her at home in Albuquerque, Parke is amazed at how ordinary people live.

Like Maine, Parke holds down a job though he doesn’t need the money. A freelance games designer, he mainly sends clever emails to similarly embittered members of staff, and conducts low-level warfare against the new boss. “Oh how we loathe this guy. Theo Rothchild. No, not Rothschild, like the banking family … Never has a glorified middle manager originally from fucking Minnesota carried oneself [sic] around with such ceremony before.”

A series of wonderfully funny and appalling characters wander through this short novel. There’s Parke’s best friend Markus, who “looks like a crazed Nazi homosexual”. “Moneyed apathetic sociopaths … Markus has been my case study for that demographic throughout my life.” Perennially drug-addled, Markus’s  attempts to look after Frost, his new pedigree kitten, are as alarming as they are funny.

Dumping Ryan, Parke decamps to Coachella (deliciously described). Ryan’s pathetic attempts to monitor him via social media and texting make painful reading; I can’t recall a more devastating account of female neediness. For Ryan no capitulation is abject enough in return for male attention. But does she deserve rapey Parke? The story lurches to a halt with a shock ending which underlines the idea that Parke and Ryan are a Romeo and Juliet for the 21st century, where narcissism, solipsism and self-delusion have eroded the romantic ideal of love.

Despite being cold, snobbish and softly cruel, somehow, through his witty narration, Parke remains likeable. His vicious dismissals of Ryan’s family are hilarious, but the true satiric bite occurs when her brother turns on him. For once we get a glimpse of Parke from the outside, and it’s not pretty. This feels slightly less worked-out than his fine debut, Exit Through the Wound, but Morgan’s prose is as glitteringly alluring as before.



You can buy the book here

Kindle in the US (out now)

Kindle in the UK (out now)

Physical copy in the US (out 15th November)

Physical copy in the UK (out now)