What if you did every single deal that came up on Groupon?
For the past 18 months I've been doing a new Groupon deal every week. It wasn't meant to be like this. I was meant to do just a few initially, but it snowballed, and here I am: addicted. Since November 2013 I've done everything and anything: spray tans, baby scans, alpaca trekking and on and on and on. In June I’m off to America to go bull-riding and alligator wrestling. I’ve lost the plot.
Why am I doing all this stuff? Like most new beginnings it started with asking myself a new question, “Why is my life so boring?” And then acting on the simple answer: because I never try anything new.
It was time to get a life and Groupon was my tool: a Narnia of discounts, spontaneity for beginners. And since then I've become a Lord, suffered colonic irrigation, and moon-lighted as a bee-keeper. From a deep rut I’ve emerged a better man, resuscitated by the oxygen of new experience.
This is a book for anyone who’s wondered if they could be doing more, living better, having more fun. It’s about not settling. But not just that, it’s also about having a genuinely authored life: a life in your image. Along the way I’ve asked myself lots questions: why am I like what I’m like? Could I be any other way? What if I’m just a product of the experiences I’ve had? Your life is not yours unless you’ve chosen it, and a choice only means something if there was an alternative: something to choose between. So I set about trying everything. And this is my story.
Yesterday I underwent colonic irrigation. And it was the worst day of my life. I’ll be surprised if I’m ever more embarrassed than I was at Acqua di Acqua in High Barnet. I went alone. Believe it or not, it’s actually quite hard to find a buddy to do colonic irrigation with you. I mean it’s not an easy sell, “Hi mate, what you up to this afternoon? Fancy having your anus flushed out?” It was so easy to sign up for, just a few clicks of a mouse, that I hadn’t really considered the consequences. I was going to have gallon after gallon of water pumped into my intestines by a stranger, using a tube inserted into my rectum. In doing so, 26 years of bum gunk would be disturbed and flow out of my arse, and then run past my head in a transparent tube, like some sort of faecal Generation Game.
I had thought of hiding some stuff up there, you know, to surprise the therapist. Something like a small plastic dolphin, or a message in a bottle, or maybe my keys? Then when they flowed down the tube I could loudly proclaim “So that’s where they were!” But I didn’t. The only preparation I did was some light sobbing. On the morning of the colonic I was totally dreading it. I’m ashamed of my bum-hole. It’s hairy, dark and prone to sweating. Like a badger in an airing cupboard. For some reason I have this weird suspicion that my bum-hole might be worse than everybody else’s. But off I went.
The clinic was on the first floor of a LA Fitness gym. It was further from the station than I imagined and I got lost. I asked a lady where LA Fitness was, she immediately said “Oh you’re not having a colonic are you? They do them there you know! OH MY GOD! Are you having a colonic?!” I reassured her I wasn’t, “Oh God no! A colonic! How embarrassing! No, no, no, I’m here for Zumba.” She gave me directions and I arrived just in time. That’s where the indignity started.
In the reception area, I was handed a form to fill in. At the top was the usual name, address, phone number spiel. And then there were some more personal questions, including: “How would you describe your stools?” I just thought, “Oh I don’t know! Through the medium of dance?” If my shits did internet dating they would describe themselves as “Shy but outgoing after a few drinks”. But there wasn’t a box for that; it’s almost as if they hadn’t considered poos going dating. The only options on the form were:
Loose Diahorrea (FACT: this was the working title for “Loose Women”)
I didn’t answer. A lady sat opposite me in the waiting area caught me dithering on the question. “I put fat sausage!” she said proudly.
My therapist, Katerina, a beautiful Polish girl, came over to me in the reception area: it was my turn. She showed me to the room and shut the door. There were three rooms in total, all linked to the small reception area. She explained to me that we all carry around 8kgs of waste in our colons, before emphasizing “Which is equivalent to a large cat”. And I said, “I am so glad you put that in cat terms. Because I was lost! Just to put my mind completely at ease, what’s that in hamsters?”
The bed itself was plastic and shaped like a pedalo. Around halfway up was a stiff plastic tube. “What you need to do is lube up the tube with this, and insert it into your anus. When you’re done, ring the bell.” This is going to sound mad but I was delighted at this news. I thought she was going to stick the pipe in for me, but now I was saved from this particular embarrassment. She left and I got undressed from the waist down. With the tube up my arse, and a white towel concealing my offal, I called her back in.
What's the most powerful question in the world?
Tuesday, 7 April 2015
I just reached 70% so thank-you. Andy Winter was the legend who hoisted me onto this crucial plinth. I will be writing to you all individually at the end of this process to thank-you personally. Almost there!
Last week, I wrote about the event John-Paul Flintoff and I held in East London. We hubristically called it "Change Your Life In an Instant", and it was all about how asking yourself a new…
A very modern experiment...
Tuesday, 31 March 2015
Crowdfunding a book is hard.
I'm about 5 and a bit months in and I've managed to scrabble to 68%. I'm a few pledges away from the crucial 70% mark, at which point the data suggests it gets a lot easier. (People like to back a winning horse.)
So what works? My original plan was to drip feed funny, well-written content through blogs and sites like Medium, using social media to gather hits which…
This Monday, March 30th
Thursday, 26 March 2015
Just thought I'd let you know about a free event I'm hosting on Monday with another Unbound author, John-Paul Flintoff.
It's called "Change Your Life in an Instant", but don't be put off by that self-helpy title! This is an interactive event where we hope to dive into the most powerful questions a person can ask (both themselves and others), and how to have conversations that change…
Valentine's Day 2060: a modern love story
Monday, 9 February 2015
I killed her in the end. She’s the fifth woman I’ve slaughtered this year. I had no choice really, she really was immensely tedious. I think there was a bug in her software or something, which you get with these cheap robots. She kept telling me the same dreary anecdote again and again. I won’t bore you with all the details, but basically the story was about how she once met a man whose surname was…
Thursday, 30 October 2014
Yesterday I underwent colonic irrigation. And it was the worst day of my life. I’ll be surprised if I’m ever more embarrassed than I was that day at Acqua di Acqua in High Barnet. I went alone. Believe it or not, it’s actually quite hard to find a buddy to do colonic irrigation with you. I mean it’s not an easy sell, “Hi mate, what you up to this afternoon? Fancy having your anus flushed out?” It…
These people are helping to fund My Groupon Adventure.