You know that feeling. We all know that feeling. That feeling when every single person you see is just more than you can handle. That feeling you get around half an hour before it's time to go home and your boss comes in with something urgent. And for whatever reason it’s your problem. Joy of joys.
Or you’re in the supermarket and that person you sort of remember from school has waved at you and said hi… please mother earth swallow me whole.
Maybe you are out with your friends, it’s been three hours and, despite your unconditional love for the people you are with, you need a break.
Well maybe you don’t relate but corresponding with the release of Hermitage, here is my list of the top ten places I go to hide when I’m feeling delicate.
10 My Car:
Not everyone has a car but those who do know the wonderful peace of an empty car. Need quiet? Sure, you’re alone, silence is yours. Need to play something savage and drop tuned to the point where the strings are practically rubber bands? Sure, crack on, turn it up till the empty seats and your ears bleed. Do you want to scream WHY?! over and over again at the top of your voice until you can’t make noise at all… go see a counselor, but other than that fill your boots. It’s your car. Gary Numan was right; also it’s a cracking tune. The one massive problem with this is other people. I personally find myself very frustrated with the fact that nobody else on the road understands what the thing under their right foot is for.
9 The Smoking Area:
I don’t smoke (unless I am completely battered) which actually helps. You are that one guy not smoking in the smoking area, people rarely talk to you in that situation. Obviously this still works if you smoke. It’s worth mentioning this option works way better in the winter so wrap up. Added points if you don’t have a lighter.
8 Salt Lane (according to google maps):
Between Winchester and … Corhampton? Maybe, I don’t know. Either way it’s my old route home from work and it is more often than not blissfully empty. Had a bad day? Get on that winding road and make your smoking, knackered, diesel, Škoda sing. This road is everything that is fun about driving. Tight corners, mixed road conditions, loose gravel, wet leaves and sheep that one time. You need to be focused on what you are doing. This is not a route you take with an absent mind or a phone in your hand. I’m not advising you to drive dangerously, mind you. You can get away with hooning on the motorway because it’s a straight line, there is less to go wrong. You can still have fun. But mess up on this road and you’re going to end up wrapped around a tree waiting a looooooooooooong time for anyone to find you. Don’t be stupid.
7 The Work Toilet:
An obvious one and one you can’t over use. But, picture this. That person you don’t like is talking about their weekend or children or holiday plans, partner, boring pointless hobby etc, etc. You can feel your fist clenching, eyes twitching, you think you might be growling like an angry rottweiler but you’re not sure. Every fiber of your being wants to pick up the nearest impractically large object and ram it between their teeth. Now would be a good time to take a shit or pretend to shit. Just enough time to calm down and use the wifi to be baffled by the comments section of a Daily Mash article.
6 Loading Up The Car After A Show:
It’s rare that I’ll do this to avoid people, most of the time I’ll happily stop and chat but it’s a sure-fire way of making every conversation end very quickly. “Hey man do you want a hand with that?” and you answer “Nah mate I’m good, thanks though.”. Done. Such an easy and obvious solution, it brings you neatly back to number 10 on this list. I love gigs, I really do. Seeing people taking an interest in music and appreciating the effort that bands go to for these gigs fills me with real joy. It's just after being around that many people for several hours I think most people crave a little solitude. I know I do.
5 Behind The Couch:
When I was a wee little sprog/nipper/child and I wasn’t feeling all that social I would crawl into the gap between the back of the couch and the wall. It was dark and cramped, there was a strong smell of dog and sometimes our dog would join me. I would sometimes spend more than an hour back there. I felt safe and comfortable despite normally being incredibly claustrophobic. It wasn’t just behind the couch, I’d get under the cushions and stay there for ages as well and I felt safe. The rest of my family found this a little strange but just kinda let me get on with it. I don’t think I ever thanked them properly for that.
I am somewhere under Billy and that pile of cushions and pillows.
4 The Mini Box House:
In one of my old jobs, we had a room full of old stock that was stacked on pallets. For whatever reason it constantly needed sorting. In between other tasks, several of us would be given a list of this stuff to find and then work on. This was boring beyond words. This was around the time we had lots of polished brass table lights we were making for one of Donald Trump's golf hotels. (Fun fact: I folded a little square of paper with the words “made in Mexico” into every single one I worked on.) Eventually we got fed up of this. We found this huge box that even someone my height could comfortably sit in. Someone cut a door into it, then someone else did a window, we got a bit carried away. We ended up taking it in turns to have box time. It was great, I could eek out half an hour of reading when there wasn’t much to do and none of the management knew or cared. It doesn’t scream work ethic but it was the best part of my day.
Home sweet box.
3 Queen Elizabeth Country Park:
I don’t do this as often as I should but I love walking around in the woods. It’s so wonderful to be surrounded by trees. You get to make up your own little stories about how you’ve gone off the grid and become some sort of self reliant hunter gatherer out in… Queen Elizabeth Country Park. But genuinely, fresh air, bird song, crunching leaves underfoot and all that lovely stuff. Living in a city and working in an office you can’t help feeling claustrophobic and trapped. Everywhere there are walls and boundaries, signs, restrictions, people, things, adverts, lights, some sort of sporting event, royal weddings, Tesco value booze, estate agents, drunk people singing 80s classics badly, shops, royal babies, normal babies (just like royal babies except they have far less potential), vape shops, more sodding vape shops, Ed Sheeran!
Jesus Christ, modern life is a complete nightmare. Go out and walk around the countryside, dense woods or rolling hills, it’s really pretty and there is enough space to be alone for a bit.
2 The Library:
I love the library. To me it is this wonderful place where knowledge is stored, quietly. Mum used to read a lot, at some points because of her illness she couldn’t move all that much so she stocked up on books when she could. The whole family would all bundle into the car and go to the library. I remember it way more fondly now than I felt about it at the time. The library helped form a lot of my personality as it is now. I liked knowing things and having that quiet space to learn and think is very important when you are trying to figure out who you are and what you are into. The library gave me access to any fantasy world, brutal dystopia or far flung corner of the world I could want to visit. Any series of books I could want to read was there. In the non fiction section, any set of skills you could want to pick up were there, on paper. Just waiting for you to pick them up and learn. Crucially Portsmouth city library had CDs that you could borrow too which introduced me to music that I otherwise would never have found on my own. I have trouble imagining mum without a book in her hands and because of that being surrounded by books just feels safe to me. I suppose by extension I also like to hide in a good book.
1 Mum’s Garden:
On the 21st of June 2017 my mother died. I was utterly crushed by this. A lot of the time when I was upset or worried I would go to mum and most of the time I would find mum in the garden. She spent all the time she could in the garden planting and growing things, it made her so happy. We used to sit around watching the various animals and insects that came to mum’s little oasis in the city. She asked my dad and I to build her birdhouses.
We had one screwed into the wall, you could see it from the couch in the conservatory. As her health deteriorated she spent a lot of time watching the birds from that couch. Mum used to love watching the birds fly in and out of the house, when it wasn’t birds it was bees and damselflies. We dug out a pond, which attracted frogs and other things. We also found that in the summer Scout (the family dog) would wade into the pond, he loved that. It left us with an excellent smell to enjoy around the house, a subtle blend of wet dog and pond.
After building a greenhouse, we could have fresh tomatoes and chillies amongst other fresh and wonderful things. There is nothing like the peace I could find in mum’s garden. There was always so much green and so much life. Life felt far less hectic surrounded by things mum grew and cared for. On warm summer nights you could hear bats, which we found very exciting. A gentle breeze rustling through the assorted varieties of tall grass, the gentle buzz of many happy bees, bird song and frogs. I felt so calm in that garden, that it is my number one place to hide from people and will probably stay number one for a long time.
You can pre-order Hermitage from Lockjaw Records here and like Misgivings here.
Also make sure to like Colin's Punk Rock World and look out for our review of the album coming on Tuesday.