Swedish ‘Angest’, Binge Monkeys & Reasons to Live Alone

E-mail originally written & sent home in Oct 2004 –  I recommend that everyone who reads this reads it in the manner in which it was conceived (ie. drunk).

Rather unfortunate incident involving Buenos Aires passport control, 2 bottles of beautiful vino tinto and an Auckland-bound Goldapple. All rather amusing until the lone traveller (me) feels the need to take a photo – cue mucho aggression from Argentinian police. Check out sad little pink pillow.

WHERE AM I?: I’ve been living in New Zealand for 17 months now and it’s been nearly 2 years since I left the UK. I live in a hobbit pad (ie. v small room – in size and rent) with a mezzanine bed up a 7ft ladder in a huge, creative villa in Grey Lynn, Auckland – with a right ol’ motely crue of Kiwi folks and folkette…

1 x ‘Pharmaceutically experimental’ science teacher:
Has choreographed a has-to-be-seen-to-be-believed ‘face-dancing routine’ to the entire of The Beatles’ ‘White Album’. Weekends are for Acid, Nitrus & amphetamine-fulled benders. Tuesdays doesn’t move or talk, just plays repetitive droning chords on the bass in his room. Wednesdays emerges to sit on the deck drinking beer until you ask him if he’s ok – “No”. It would seem not. Thursdays, hyperactive. Friday… you get the idea. Have now learnt I can rid him from a room by the mere mention of needing a tampon (apparently this open-minded man has a problem with the word ‘needing’, rather than just ‘going to buy’ as it insinuates a necessity and therefore a bleeding-all-down-your-legs-and-on-the-carpet situation). Useful to know, and am surprised he is not worried about my cycle the amount of times I employ this tactic.

1x Tour Manager/ vegan with huge (and shaved) balls:
‘N Dog’ has just returned from a worldwide trip with NZ’s biggest rock bands. When he left 4 months ago he ate steak twice a day. Has bizarrely returned with a diet of tofu sandwiches and CC and dry. Can often be heard yelling “bloody woman, where’s all the ice gone again?” (I have a princess-ey dislike of warm water and he has a problem with my ice rotation system). Find it very amusing observing his ‘rock n roll’ parties when the heavily-tattooed band members come round for Mexican and the swapping of vegan recipes over homemade tortillas and muffins. Sooo New Zealand.

1x Alcoholic guitarist/ songwriter of one-man band ‘Bloody Mary’:
Fave activities include minesweeping the house’s booze, hollering “I’m an artiste” and throwing paints in a Kandinsky-esque effect all around the house, creating masterpieces that would give Freud a field day. Got so drunk on my birthday that he took off all his clothes at a bar until locals set fire to his pubes to get him to get dressed. In shame, spent his 30th birthday sober playing ‘Cranium’ (which house have unfairly banned me from joining for having a short attention span). A month later, fell of the wagon at an otherwise sophisticated seafood-fiesta at our villa, found a penis-shaped kumara (kinda like a Kiwi sweet potato), had too much fun with the vegetable and signed up to AA the next day. Hmmm, Virgin Marys from now on, eh bro?

1x Beautician/ Giselle Bunchen lookalike:
Aforementioned pseudo-artiste’s long-suffering girlfriend and the oldest 23 year-old I’ve ever met. Stunningly sophisticated, beautiful and vain. Drives an SUV (like driving a Range Rover/ Vitara in London). Used me as a guinea pig for her laser treatments – causing my ridiculous and potentially permanent wonky bikini line.

1x Malaysian club manager/surfer known as Randy Ho:
brings a bling-bling element to the house, but unfortunately also brings an RnB (yes, apparently it still exists) flava to the house. Managed to get a selection-pack type affair of chocolate bars strewn on my bed with an apology from him after he tried it on with me one night. None of the others are aware of this. It wasn’t even Christmas.

1x Media whore:
Yes, that tis me. It seems traveller-waitress-candlemaker-producer is a logical progression. I’ve managed to get sponsored til next year as a TV Director for the top production company in the country by the Producer of ‘Once Were Warriors’ – she of “cook the man some fucking eggs”. She’s now senile (potentially explaining her fondness of me). Have even been given a couple of trainee directors canyoubelieveit? I’ve been in my own workaholic world, working like a bitch (yes, granted – on heat), harder and longer hours than even in London.


I turned 27 last week – and ended up crying (for the first time in over a year) at my party at an intelligent, hot and, most importantly, prospective shag – embarrassingly he was a tee-totaller. Funnily enough, I don’t think it was my tears that put him off so much as when I tried to cuddle the coi carp in his pond-slash-water-feature outside his apartment. That really unsealed the deal.

He was repulsed, and I wrote up some resolutions quicksmart.


The Swedish have a word that we English have no equivalent of – for the emotional alcohol-induced hangover you get the ‘day after the night before’. You know – the sick to your stomach feeling that you’d done or said things you shouldn’t – with people you normally wouldn’t – you wished you could remember, but you couldn’t. And then someone reminds you. And you wish they fucking hadn’t.

Welcome to my world, a world ruled by King ANGEST (pron.- orn’ger’st).


Tests were done to show effects of drinking on monkeys. The alcoholic primates had fucked up internal organs but their brains were fine whereas the binge monkeys’ livers and kidneys were normal, but they had a form of brain damage. Hmm, 6 of one, half a dozen of the other. I think I may be a binge monkey.

I just found something I noted down after a night ‘on it’ recently:

I don’t like… hurting myself, forgetting things, losing things, losing myself, spending a fortune, being unable to converse intelligibly and eloquently, not listening to others speak, not learning from my mistakes and… Angest.


I will not drink every time I am in a bar, during the week I can have coffees instead. I will find a social life not revolving around alcohol. I will not think about the next drink when I haven’t finished the last. I will order water and soft drinks… or I will buy the most expensive glass of wine on the menu to tempt me to sip rather than down. I will not drink alone. I will go home with friends rather than be last woman standing. I will drink slower instead of accelerating in speed…

I will know when to stop.

It’s time to put down the binge monkey.

"My name's WIlly and I'm a Binge Monkey. Don't Judge me. I'm thirsty."


Around the world us British girls are known for our boozing. In NZ they have the stereotype that we like warm beer and burnt fried fish as well as being slappers… (well, 2 out of 3 ain’t bad.).

Ooh, Angest: I blame my roots entirely for the morning I woke up naked in the presenter of NZ Pop Idol’s bed, having lost my shoes and hearing the next day (after walking to work barefoot through the city) that he’s apparently gay… I beg to differ. And then I had to call him as I’d left my house keys at his. He offered to drop them off at my office. Remember, this country and city is small, small, small. It is too underpopulated for this kinda behaviour. So, I told him to pull up outside my workplace and I’d run out. I looked to my left and the most conspicuous ‘Pop Idol’ logo-embossed van pulled up outside my production office – and his celeb head popped out: Ooh, Angest.


I really shouldn’t mention what a nightmare it was to have these guys turn up when we advertised a spare room recently…

The first guy, Ben, told us within 5mins how he is working on saving the world’s energy and thinks mankind is too narrow minded, but was hesitant to mention he works in advertising. Then kept looking out the window at a car parked nearby, eventually explaining that his ex left him for a woman who lives 2 doors down and he reckons she is trying to steal his sperm. Honestly, you couldn’t make this shit up.

And then there was Sunshine, the Conservationist. Would probably get along if I could just get away without her finding out I make reality TV. Yes, reality TV… there, I said it.

Pigeon-holing is judgemental. About a year and a half ago I decided (faced with the prospect of 8 days on a boat) to make ‘Top Trump’ cards of many of the characters I’d met on my travels eg. Inga the Swedish virgin, Thomas the German Communist, Kate the Trustafarian from Kent, etc (you might have met them?).

Actually, scrap that non-superficial judging resolution. It was fucking hysterical, they had crappy caricatures drawn and everything.


My mother always told me to wear matching underwear in case of an accident.

I’ve now had 7 car smashes-slash-accidents-slash-near-death-thingeys, the most famous being ‘the one’ of ‘97 which’ll be a familiar story to most of you… 24hrs of hedonism, a 4am sunrise expedition and 1 over-the-limit boyfriend (although I don’t know if you can call them that when they have a girlfriend) = down a valley, over a well, into a lake… and shock. Not only for me, but also all those in the hospital. Not only was I not wearing matching underwear… but no clothes either.

And all I kept chanting over and over was… yes: “My mother told me to wear matching underwear in case of an accident and I’m not wearing any”.

I’ve generally learned to wear pants now, but the other day I made the mistake of rushing to work without any on. Sure enough, not 100m from my house a policewoman jumped a stop sign and I slammed head into the side of her car – completely T boning her. The VW that has been my only consistent travelling companion for the last year is now a complete write off… gutted. Still, I got 4 days off work with whiplash (so went to the NZ Good Food & Wine exhibition and got caught by the work lawyer whilst tasting hot chili sauces and caipirinhas, but that’s another story).

I’m going out to buy some knickers. There’s a lesson in this for all of us.


So, I split up with Dim (you know, ‘Dick Cock’, ‘Cock Dick’ – discovered his real name Richard and that his surname Norweigan-or-Yogoslavian-or-summat for cockrel). I got a classic case of the 3month itch (not physically, but emotionally in my usual commitment-phobe type way). Went home and told my housemate who retorted “But he’s gorgeous. If I didn’t have a dick I would fuck him myself”. What have I done? Why can’t I hold a good man down?

No, I couldn’t carry on. There’s little point in spending so much time stoned with a person that you spend all your time watching DVDs and bumming around with them, forgetting to make yourself happy with the things that you’re passionate about – even if that just means leaving the house.

The only guy I’ve been slightly attracted to of late was on a completely superficial basis. After I met him at a gig one night I looked him up on the internet* and found out he is quite a big DJ in OZ. So I ‘gave in’ to his text flirtations.

*investigating people on the Net is not something I make a habit of**
**that is a downright lie

After our ‘tryst’ he flew back to OZ I thought it’d be funny to send him this e-mail-slash-poem…

my car is deaded
after I t-boned a cop car
which killed it
I got shock
and whiplash
have a throat infection
glands like golf balls
and can’t swallow
insert gag here
thought i was gonna have a baby and
have approx 60 bites from
bizarrely all since you left
anything you wanna tell me?
… do you have fleas?

It is difficult to read tone in e-mails. I read this as ‘I am a witty, interesting type who you should definitely want to have a 2nd night stand with and introduce to all your wicked musician pals when I get to OZ. Even though I don’t want you, you should want me’. He obviously read it as ‘I am a psycho bunny boiler’ and replied with…

“I told my girlfriend that the bites I have were bruises from a fight”

Girlfriend? Oops. This is becoming a recurrent theme.


In Buenos Aires I bought a white top that says ‘Director’ in huge red letters on the back. I had grand ideas of wearing this to job interviews in NZ, but didn’t.
Cos they would think I was a cock.

Anyways, I wore it yesterday. And happened to be sent to TVNZ (equiv of Beeb here) to help out on a show there. They all thought I was a runner, cos would a director actually wear a top asserting their position?

No, unless they were a cock.

And that same bloody day I bumped into the very cool presenter of a ‘Brass Eye’ type TV show ‘Eating Media Lunch’ and tried so hard to say something sensational. What did I come out with? “I’ve been sitting on concrete” Omigod. Try again. “… when I could have been sitting on something soft”. I give up. I am officially pathetic in the face of an intelligent and hot man. Thinking before speaking really is an admirable quality. Where can I hook up for some?

'Eating Media Lunch' Jeremy Wells - he's allergic to watermelon, but on the upside, seems to like dogs


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