Hello! My name is Andy and I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing, just like everybody else.
Welcome to my little slice of the internet, my e-portfolio/blog/ramblings which may or may not affect my future job prospects. About me sections are normally about the site author so I guess I’ll write a bit about me.
I was born in the city of Chester in the North West of England, but I wouldn’t get to experience the ‘Cestrian’ way of life for another decade or so. I grew up in a small village called Elton, a hamlet in Cheshire or Merseyside depending on who you ask. It’s claim to fame? The massive Shell Petrol Factory that still to this day pollutes the air – or the girl that went on trial for murder in the USA back in 1997. Nice.
My parents divorced when I was around six or so and my Dad moved to nearby Ellesmere Port, giving me another rough area to amble around in my future high-school years. I bumbled around my childhood as a hyperactive ginger addicted to football and video games; namely Tekken, Pokemon and Timesplitters. It was during this time I went on my first family holiday to Turkey and it blew my freaking mind being abroad. I went home and made a list of all the countries I wanted to visit using my Dad’s atlas/ the one my Grandparents bought me (there are conflicting reports). Fun fact: to this day I can name you any country in the world just by looking at its flag, so thank you atlas with ambiguous origin, you have made me a valuable asset to any bang-average pub quiz team.
I then attended high-school in Chester, and eventually split my life between my birth city and ‘The Port’. School was eh. I loved music like Blink-182, Rise Against & System of a Down. I grew my hair out and became sarcastic and mopey by choice, like every other UK teenager. I picked up the bass guitar to try and make myself cooler, it didn’t work. Mediocre GCSE’s and A-Levels (at the high-school sixth form) passed me by but I had a penchant for the written word and a love of geopolitics, travel and philosophy.
My family history can be traced back to the shores of the Mersey, we’re a mutt breed of Irish, English, Scottish and Welsh (and Baltic, as I would later come to learn). So, after dropping out of a space at another university, I came to my senses and studied International Journalism at Liverpool John Moores University after making it through clearing.
As a social space, Liverpool was phenomenal – from the nights I can actually remember. I saw so many bands I’d been dying to see for years, all the while abusing the airport to travel to places like New York, Amsterdam & Paris. I even part-timed at Anfield on the kiosks, and as a lifelong Liverpool fan it was a massive honour to work and witness Steven Gerrard’s final Liverpool appearance, even if we got thumped 6-1 by Stoke City. The place was a great experience and I loved my three years there.
I even got to intern on the Liverpool Echo’s sports desk, working alongside legendary writers like David Prentice and James Pearce, It was inspiring. They told me to keep in touch. I didn’t. Do I regret it? Hell yes.
The course itself taught me all the ‘intricate’ ways of sucking all the life out of my writing. But, I’ll admit it honed my conciseness and structure. Truth be told I wouldn’t be the writer I am today if I had gone elsewhere, and in the end I graduated with a 2:1 Honours degree so I’m not complaining. It was during University that I worked at a store on the Cheshire Oaks, and met who would later become the centre of my world.
Following my time on Merseyside I moved abroad to teach English. More precisely, at a Catholic school in the centre of Lleida, Catalonia, España. During my first weekend, I witnessed the Catalan independence vote. I saw civilians being battered on the streets by armed police as they partied maniacally with wine and sangria while it was all happening. It was my first taste of how exciting life could truly be, for better or worse. I’d be lying if I said I loved every second of my six months in Spain, but I wouldn’t change any of it for the world.
After working another retail job following my stint in Spain, I decided it was time to go on another adventure. I signed up to the International Citizen Service and became a WASH (Water and Sanitation Hygiene) Volunteer in rural Tanzania.
I lived in both the Kiberege and Dodoma districts in 5 week stints, the former a humid rain-forest region, the latter a desert with dirt the same colour as my natural roots. I laughed, I cried, I ate some weird tasting things, I slept in rooms filled with bats and ants, shared the bathroom with golf ball sized wasps and cockroaches while meeting some of the most amazing people who I would have never got the chance to meet otherwise. We built two fully functioning sanitary toilets, as we taught children about the importance of personal hygiene and the normality of women’s menstruation. Exhausted after completing the programme, I returned to the United Kingdom.
I managed to talk myself into a marketing internship based in the fantastic Baltic Triangle area of Liverpool. I also worked part-time at an escape room in the centre of Chester, which to date is the best job I have ever worked. Visit Escapism Chester if you ever get the chance!
Eventually I moved to sunny-old Blackburn to be with my girlfriend and I was offered a digital marketing job in Preston. It was in this corner of Lancashire that I started performing open mics at a small dingy pub and fell in love with it wholeheartedly. My guitar skills are always improving and I’m always scribbling down chord progressions and songs.
We moved to the village of Bamber Bridge, just outside of Preston about half a year later so I could be closer to work, and we built our own little home. It’s in the confinement of that suburban apartment that I decided to start up this website.
After a few months of enforced lockdown thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, we realised that the pair of us still craved excitement. Unfortunately, Lancashire wasn’t cutting it. We packed, sold and donated our things and headed to London.
I spent two action-packed and unemployed months in London, absorbing the capital in all of its mid-pandemic glory. In the end though, I needed funds and had to settle again. So, I took a job in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire that my friend from Tanzania hooked me up with – and plotted what to do next, which in the end was completing my debut self-published novella ‘The Toucan Man’ (which if you’re interested, you can purchase here). Finally completing a big-scale project was one of the proudest moments of my life, with both the praise and the constructive criticism giving me a confidence in my writing that I’ve not felt in years.
After trying and failing to move to Thailand, I managed to snag myself a dream job as a Copywriter in the contested territory of Gibraltar, which I now am fortunate enough to call home. From here I’ve been able to explore Andalusia like it’s my back garden and even got to spend a week volunteering in the Rif Mountains of Morocco. It’s this little slice of Iberia where I released my sophomore novel – ‘Sputnik’.
I’m a strong believer in throwing it all to the wind if you’re not enjoying yourself. Not only does it create great memories and stories to tell, you truly end up living your life for your own happiness. My advice? Why not give it a go, you’ll only regret it if you don’t.
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy your time on my site.
Countries & Territories visited:
🏴 🏴 🇹🇷 🇬🇷 🇹🇳 🇪🇸 🇳🇱 🇺🇸 🇫🇷 🇵🇱 🇦🇩 🇨🇭 🇮🇹 🇲🇨 🇮🇲 🇭🇷 🇹🇿 🇪🇬 🇬🇧 🇲🇦 🏴 🇬🇮 🇮🇸 🇨🇿 🇵🇹 🇦🇹 🇸🇰
Calendar years are funny things. Completely manufactured periods of time, where comparing the end of one to the start can be like looking at chalk and cheese and trying to find where the missing link is. If you ask me, the craziest part about this year in particular is the juxtaposition between the start and…
I don’t remember the exact day I discovered Console Warriors, except that it was the song ‘Vicious Fishus’ that I heard first. I was in school, living in a Chester suburb named Mickle Trafford, and at the time was obsessed with Brisbane-based indie band ‘The Jungle Giants’ and ‘Capisce?’ of SentUAMessage fame. This triad of…
Sometimes in life, you read or watch a piece of art that has a profound effect on you. For me, there’s been two, the first being The Wind up Bird Chronicle (and South of the Border, West of the Sun to a lesser extent), and it’s grim incorporation of magic realism and surrealism where the…