Food Review & Competition Announcement: Deacon Brodie’s Tavern

When my friends message me to see if I want to go for food, the usual suspects pop up such as Nando’s, Italian restaurant, French cafe, or one of the billion burger joints in any city centre. Often we leave it until we go out and wander around the city, occasionally wandering into pubs along the way where someone will suggest “why don’t we get food here?”. This will often be followed by sighs and tuts before one optimistic fellow pops up and says “hey guys, we’re all hungry, how bad can the food be?! And look our table is right next to the bar!”. This will often be said 20 minutes before seeing a burrito that has clearly been chucked in the microwave for 3 minutes and looks and tastes like dog food in a wrap – I’m looking at you Wetherspoons!

Reputation is everything and “pub grub” is probably the lowest of the low in terms of food reputation so I was sceptical when I got invited to Deacon Brodie’s Tavern in Edinburgh. They let me take over their Instagram story for the day and if you have me on Instagram, then you guys know how much I do enjoy a boomerang, so I agreed to come along.

As I entered the building, it had that usual, traditional,  pub vibe about it and then I was greeted by a lovely member of staff. We were then lead upstairs into this beautiful dining room filled with traditional Scottish decor without being dreary or dated. We got seated right next to the window and I am such a nosey person, if I can sit at a window whether it’s on a plane or a restaurant, I will sit there so I can just look out it and take in the scenery and people watch. If you don’t sit, look at people and try and guess what their life is like then you’re a liar… Or maybe It’s just me. The best thing about the view was that it faced down onto the famous Royal Mile in Edinburgh, such a beautiful city with so many beautiful people.

We sat down, got introduced to our hostess who was such a delight and absolutely lovely who got us a bottle of water while we ran our peepers over the drink and food menus. I went on to select Nicholson Nachos as a starter and a chicken, chorizo & cider pie for my main. Yes, you heard that right. Chicken, chorizo and cider all in 1 pie! That is my 3 favourite things in a pie or my 4 favourite things on a plate if you include the pie – I was excited!

However, before I got to the main, I had to tackle the starter and I wanted something light and not too heavy if I was going to tackle the pie so I went for Nicholson’s Nachos. Whenever I eat out I often find nachos are more miss than hit, sometimes the chips are soggy, salsa is often flavourless but you eat them anyway, ’cause, well they’re nachos. However, seeing this elegant little bowl of goodness filled me with so much hope. The chips were drizzled in a cheese sauce with perfectly placed guacamole, salsa and sour cream topped with jalapenos. The flavours blended well with nothing overpowering the others and even the cheese sauce had a certain tangy buzz to it and the colours were just beautiful.

Although, the nachos were amazing, the portion size was a fair size. The nachos we got was shared between 3 people and it lined us up nicely. This is not a starter for 1 person but if you have a group, I highly recommend you go for this starter. The only way this could be improved is if they grated a little cheese on top instead of just a cheese sauce. But saying that,  although this may get an extra mark for taste it may have lost several for presentation. However, this video sums up my reaction to the nachos…

Next up was the main course, the moment we all had waited for – The chicken, chorizo and cider pie. Ugh, yes! And it was every bit as good as it sounds. The pie was accompanied by a beautiful mound of mashed potato, carrots and kale at the side of it along with a nice boat of gravy. Just look at that presentation…

You finished staring lovingly at the picture yet? It truly is the Mona Lisa of pies, it took me a good 5 minutes of picture-taking and genuine admiring along with another 5 minutes of being scared to even touch it because I didn’t want to ruin its appearance. When the time came to it, I cut firmly into this beautiful well-crusted pie and out oozed this brown/orange sauce. I got emotional. The chicken was cut to perfection, every time you ate and tasted a bit of chorizo it was a beautiful surprise each time. It’s like when you reach in a bag of Haribo and put whatever sweet in your mouth without looking and it turns out to be a cola bottle, a beautiful, beautiful surprise. I often find alcohol and food don’t mix, in my opinion, red wine doesn’t belong on duck, the same way beer batter should not cover sausages. But the cider gave the sauce inside the pie that tangy taste that makes your taste buds tingle. I could talk about the pie all day but I should discuss its plate companions – the mash was soft and fluffy, the carrots were cut to the perfect size, the gravy was well-seasoned and was made perfectly, not runny or too thick and the kale was, well, it was kale… Not much I can say apart from it was green and wasn’t soggy, I had soggy kale once and it was not pleasant. The portion was huge, I recommend if you have this then only have 2 courses – I would recommend a main and a dessert but If you go here, I recommend this “perfect pie”.

After conquering the “perfect pie” I was on the fence about getting a dessert, as much as I enjoyed the food, my stomach couldn’t handle anymore but fast-forward 15 minutes and the hostess was dropping off some dessert menus on our table. The 2 people I were with, were dropping out, they couldn’t handle it but your boy soldiered on and ordered a dessert – a chocolate fudge brownie with vanilla ice cream.  You know that way where you think you physically can’t eat anymore but somehow you see something just incredibly tasty and somehow you find a tiny gap in your belly? Well, that’s what happened here, look at this beauty!

The portion was considerably smaller, the fudge was warm and even more fudgier than expected. I watched the ice cream melt over the brownie and I had to at least have a couple of bites just to write this review,  I mean it would be rude not to… The brownie just melted in my mouth and even though I was full from nachos and the pie, I could have easily eaten another brownie! The portion size was perfect for a dessert and the flavours of the brownie and the chocolate sauce just came together perfectly.

After that, I spoke to the staff and thanked them for being such great hosts and generally just for looking after me and my team so well and also complimented them for the food. I then finished up and left a parting video on their Instagram, saying thanks to the staff for looking after me and also to everyone who was engaging with me on their Instagram story over on (@nicholsonspubs). If you tuned in then you know, that I announced a competition would be happening, well I can announce that is true and the winner shall receive a £50 gift voucher for Deacon Brodie’s Tavern in Edinburgh. You too can have the chance to have the same experience that I had at this lovely venue. Go on my Facebook (PookiepopBlog) on Monday, 1st May 2017 at 6 pm for all the information to find out how to win!

 

Enter the competition and you too could be as happy as me!

 

Conclusion

A great venue, that mixes traditional and modern that is based in the heart of Edinburgh overlooking the famous Royal Mile, with a charming decor along with great customer service. The food was incredible and the pie that I had is a pie that will live in the memory for a long time and the fudge brownie was just the perfect end to my day at Deacon Brodie’s Tavern. All the food on the menu is very affordable in terms of the quality and has changed my opinion firmly on “pub grub”. In conclusion, if you’re in Edinburgh and looking for a quality bite to eat but in a relaxed atmosphere then I highly recommend checking out this place.

You can find out more information about the venue by clicking here.

 

VENUE – 8/10

CUSTOMER SERVICE – 10/10

STARTER – 7/10

MAIN – 10/10

DESSERT – 9.5/10

VALUE FOR PRICE – 9

OVERALL – 8.9/10

 

Jay Carrington

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Advice to My Younger Self: Just Be Yourself

Psssst! You, yeah you. I’ll let you into a little secret. Gather round… Comfortable? Here goes…  I wasn’t the same person I was 10 years ago. Baffling, right? That’s not to do with me having multiple personalities or anything like that but simply, I’m finally comfortable to be myself, I’m a little bit weird, a little bit eccentric and I’m totally fine with that, in fact I love that. It makes me original and I’ve never been happier and more content within my own skin. My one main regret is I only wish I knew how to be myself when I was a teenager.

It’s fair to say being a teenager is a strange time, your hormones are hyperactive and every day at school seems like you’re starring in Mean Girls. Before joining high school, I was a popular kid from my town who was doing well with his football, a few rough edges but hey, I was doing alright. I was cool and when you’re a kid, that’s all that matters  – even if it means naff all now, though)

All of that changed when I had to make the jump from primary school to high school, a transition that is never easy at the best of times. I not only had to make the jump but I had to jump to a high school outside of my catchment area where I knew no one and I was no longer the “cool kid”. I was just a regular boy – and my ego didn’t like that.

All I had learned about being “cool” from this small town was being a bit of a joker, rebellious, loud and generally being a bit of a dickhead and anybody who wasn’t… Well, they clearly weren’t cool. So when I went to a high school in this posh village and struggled to adapt, I couldn’t understand where I was going wrong. It was all I knew. Why no one was warming to this chavvy mess, is beyond me…

 

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That popped collar should tell you all you need to know about who I used to be

 

So as I struggled to fit in with my new classmates, common sense would tell anyone that maybe I should stop being such a nobhead and just be myself, be friendly, be approachable, engage with people.

 

Nah, mate. This spotty, hormonal, testosterone-filled walking ego was not going to bow to common sense. Clearly, I wasn’t being enough of the nob, I needed to up the stakes – it was embarrassing. It was so embarrassing to the point I pretended to not know who the Foo Fighters were and I kept repeatedly calling them “Food Fighters”. Bad times all round.

I had subconsciously developed a “small town” mentality and I played football with the usual “lads” who engaged in the classic “locker room banter”. Yes, locker room banter was a thing at 12 years old – apparently, if you used anything other than Lynx Africa shower gel you were instantly a homosexual. I’m not excusing myself for being a bit of a douchebag when I was younger, I was just easily influenced and going from being super cool and popular to not very cool and popular was incredibly difficult. It was a very confusing time

It took an inspirational Infinity on High album by Fall Out Boy to push me into my next phase -emo/scene. Whatever it was, that album changed me and I got inspired to pick up a bass guitar. Although I had some very questionable hair, it definitely made me a better person. I was more open-minded, I was pleasant, I was polite, I was friendly and funnily enough, I was less of an angsty teen. Sadly, this came after I left school but in the space of a year, I had changed massively and I started to reconnect with some “friends” from high school. By friends, I mean people who let me sort of mooch around with them at lunch but now, I have such a respect for those people who didn’t want to see me by myself – even if I was a bit of a cock.

 

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I became so much closer with these guys after I left school

 

Looking back now, at the ripe old age of 24, I’m now much more comfortable within myself, who I am and what I stand for. I understand now that being polite and friendly isn’t a sign of weakness or vulnerability but actually a sign of generally just being a good person. I realise now that being who you are will make you feel so much better about yourself and not only that, people will often like you if you are yourself. I know it may seem a tad cliche but honestly, if there is one thing I could tell my poorly-styled younger self, would be JUST. BE. YOURSELF.

The only person who told me that was my mum but when you’re a teenager you often don’t take your mother’s advice or you don’t appreciate it as much. It’s not been until I’ve grown up and looked back at the advice my mum has given me in the past to realise that my mum has been right about most things. I’m sure there are people who are currently going through the same situation or can at least relate to this article in some way. If you’re struggling to fit in, honestly just be yourself and let people love you for you. I wish, someone had told me that other than my mum and maybe I would have been a lot happier during my school years.

 

*This article was written in 30 minutes and inspired by a lot of wine and a meeting with my old school friend.*

 

Jay Carrington

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E Awards 2017

As most of you know, I disappeared in November to work on my event with a beautiful bunch of people from Edinburgh Napier University, that event was the Harry Potter Horcrux Hunt and you can read more about it here.

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It was a cool event to put on but I never thought anything more of it until our group received an email from our lecturer in January. Obviously, when a lecturer from your previous semester emails you, you’re naturally going to panic and assume you’ve failed – or maybe that’s just me and my crippling self-doubt. The email from our lecturer told us that she loved our event and had put us forward for the Student Event/Festival Excellence award at the Excellence in Events “E” Awards 2017.

That was in January and there are literally hundreds of student event groups in Scotland so again, we never thought much of it, until 3 weeks ago…

We received an email from our lecturer telling us we had been nominated for our event, it was nice to be nominated for an award and know your work is being appreciated. Also, I hadn’t been nominated for an award in a good few years since I knocked the music career on the head. It meant a lot for me personally, as someone who sees their career in PR and studying it. To even be nominated for something that reflects your future career, it does make you feel good knowing you’re on the right track in life.

We even found out that 2 of our competition were also from Edinburgh, including one from our very own Napier, which was quite nice knowing I made the right choice to come to this university/city. It goes to show, how important it is to choose the right university and city that will be best for your own career, rather than the most accessible. I can’t help but wonder that if I stayed in Glasgow, would this still have happened? I doubt it…

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The big day arrived and of course, anyone who has lived in Britain knows how bad the traffic is between 4pm-7pm. Now, imagine being on a motorway between the 2 biggest cities in Scotland – I lowkey think we would have been quicker walking. We arrived fashionably late and found our seats, just in time for the winner for our category to be announced…

WE LOST.

Ah well, it was fun while it lasted. There were free glasses of wine being passed about, so, every cloud and all that, eh?

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We did our obligatory post-event mingling session, a few pats on the back from individuals, shaken a few hands, congratulated winners and drank a lot of some wine. Considering we hadn’t eaten all day, we treated ourselves to a Nando’s for getting at least nominated – Everyone eats when they’re sad, don’t judge us!

We left soon after and it gave me time to think on the journey back to Edinburgh. I have more belief in my ability and although we never won, we did not bad, in my opinion. That is all the inspiration I need to push on and go and do even better next time. It’s amazing how such a little thing, such as confidence can make a huge difference to your own perception of things. It doesn’t need to be an award nomination, even just a nod or even a simple “well done” can make all the difference. Just a simple acknowledgement that you’re on the right track, it can put you in a good place mentally. If you’re reading this, and you know a colleague, classmate or just anyone in general who is doing good, tell them, let them know that they are. It could make the world of difference to them.

Before I go, I just want to say congratulations to the Robert Gordon University students for their Aberdeen Student Festival and also a huge mention to my partners in crime, Jeanie, Misbah and Rachael who were great to work with. Here’s to next year!

 

Jay Carrington

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September: The Month Of Independence & Homesickness

One full month has passed since I broke out on my own to become the ultimate student and by that, I don’t mean getting my head down and studying all the time. The ultimate student is your stereotypical student, the sort of guy who can go for a night out with £5 in his bank account and come back with £10, a pint glass and a traffic cone.

The first 2 weeks of living by myself in Scotland’s beautiful capital were amazing, I met so many new faces,  went on a pub crawl, started my course, went flat shopping AND HAD THE BEST TIME OF MY LIFE! – I am falling even more in love with this beautiful city.

Even though I am such a mummy’s boy, my mum did literally everything for me besides washing me it seems. At home, I paid no rent, I always had food on a plate for me – and in large quantities as well, dishes cleaned themselves and so forth. However, there is nothing quite like having your own freedom. If you want to go a run at 2am on a Sunday morning, you don’t need to explain to your mum that she doesn’t need to worry. If you want a friend to come over for a couple of drinks and raid the cupboards, you don’t need to worry about your mum coming over in her dressing gown and having your mates giving you a nudge and a wink.

When did I become an adult, doing adulty things?!

3 weeks in and this holiday-feeling was still going strong… That was until I received negative feedback from my lecturer about a group activity and it felt like a massive kick in the stones. Usually, I can shake off things like that and learn from it. However, I got back to my flat and the realisation that I’m living here, in a different city, by myself, for the next year. Sob.

Homesickness is such a sucky feeling and unexpected. One minute you can be on a massive high and the next you can feel super lonely and isolated. I’ve met some lovely people here but it’s not the same as being with people you’ve spent years bonding with.

To anyone who is in a similar position, all I can recommend is not necessarily calling your family – that made me want to see my mum more, but speak to your new friends around you, especially if you live in Student Accommodation because they too are experiencing the same things and emotions as you. My homesickness only lasted a night and I felt so much better after a good night’s sleep and some junk food.

So if you experience homesickness do these 3 things:

1) Talk to people nearby – in your class, flat, block, work (people who are in the same situation or recently were)

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2) Food – put down that salad, throw away that bottle of water. Go and get yourself a great meal. Curries, pizzas and burgers are generally a good shout washed down with a fatty milkshake.

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3) Sleep – a 1-hour nap is not going to cut it, this time, you need at least a solid 5 hours under your belt. For me personally, I always feel so much better after a great sleep.

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*If you have followed the steps correctly then eating a lot of food (2) will make you really sleepy anyway (3) which means when you wake up, you can reheat your food and eat some more (2) *

Moving swiftly on, for one of my university modules I need to put on an event. For my event, I shall be putting on a Harry Potter scavenger hunt in the city of Harry Potter, Edinburgh in the middle of November (TBA). So if you like the idea of walking around a beautiful city, being a Harry Potter nerd for a few hours and also drinking then stay tuned on my social media as the event will be fully announced in the next week or so.

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Jay Carrington

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Week 14 2016: The Week of Sexual Health

Last month, I found a rash on my foot and thought nothing of it until I told my friend who proceeded to tell me the worst story you can tell someone as overdramatic as myself.

My college companion, Jen, told me a story of how her friend ended up getting a rash on his chest and felt really run down and exhausted – I had a rash on my foot and felt run down and exhausted due to having a bug. Her friend went to get checked and it turns out her friend got diagnosed with HIV. Of course, my mind went into overdrive and I panicked  and before I know it in my head I have planned my funeral, died and experienced life as a ghost. Considering you are meant to get “checked” every 6 months or so and I haven’t been checked in 2 years I felt it was probably for the best that I book an appointment for myself ASAP.

I made my journey to the health clinic on Tuesday by myself and I stood outside for 15 minutes before growing a set to go in. I don’t know about anyone else but I find it quite a daunting experience because it is sexual health is still quite a taboo subject. It doesn’t matter if you get spotted going to one of these places, the most important thing is that you’re as healthy as can be. It’s better to be safe than sorry. I was only in there about 10 minutes for a full check-up.

In those 10 minutes I did the following:

  • Answered some simple questions about my sexual history
  • Drank some water
  • Peed in a small tube – and accidentally on my hand.
  • had a needle stuck in my arm and had some blood taken.

When I left, I got handed a bag of condoms and sent on my way feeling so much better that I had been checked. Of course, it is a bit of an inconvenience but 10 minutes out of your day is nothing in the grand scale of everything. If you do have something it is better for it be caught sooner so it can be treated.

Be safe, don’t be silly, wrap your willy.

For the past month, the city of Glasgow has been in mourning due to the murder of 15-year-old Paige Doherty. An absolute tragedy where a young girl can’t even walk the streets in broad daylight so when I was invited to attend the charity event to raise money for Paige’s funeral and family I wanted to go and show my support. The charity event was  created by a young girl called Emma Docherty where they had local singers and dancers come out and perform. If people want to donate they can donate here and on social media feel free to post a picture in memory of Paige by using the hashtags “#purpleforpaige” and “#poutforpaige”

On Thursday, I started planning my first video blog. I don’t want to say too much about it but I have been invited by Renfrewshire Council to take on a project that will be up posted in the next few weeks and I am super excited for it. I can give you one clue and that it will involve lots of food and beer. I’ve been wanting to start doing videos for a while but I’ve been super busy with coursework to start it which makes me super sad. Hopefully this Summer I will have a few videos up.

Anyways, I’m off to do more coursework because that is literally what my life revolves around now, instead of being in England with mates, I am in my room doing coursework. I only have like 1 more month left but it is absolutely dragging in now.

Hope everyone else is having a better Easter Holidays!

 

Jay Carrington

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Week 13 2016: The Week of Confusing Humans and Talented Friends

Attraction can be confusing. Have yYou ever been attracted to someone that you shouldn’t be? I have and it sucks.

You know how it is, you meet someone nice, exchange a few words and crack a few jokes, then you see that person more and more often until you the highlight of your week is seeing them, she adds you on Facebook, she messages you on a one-off asking a trivial question, conversation progresses, flirtation is in full swing, she follows your Instagram and Twitter, you follow back, you snoop on her Instagram and BOOM! Like a Roberto Carlos free kick to the John Stones, her last picture is captioned “me and the boyfriend” lol u wot m8?

Obviously, you can’t tell her you know she has a boyfriend due to being a social media creep ’cause that’s… Creepy. Turns out she has a boyfriend but going through a “rough patch” and she’s invited me out for a night out next week and me being a normal human being make horrendous decisions whilst consuming alcohol. You’ll find out next week how bad my decision-making really is.

On another note, regarding love interests, I think I have another admirer. They are funny, they like Katy Perry, they like to sing… Only thing is they’re a guy!!! Obviously, I’m not attracted to him, nothing against him, I just don’t find dudes attractive – except Zac Efron (He was Troy Bolton!!!) except I’d kinda want to sit and have a pint with Zac and sing Breaking Free than have him hanging out the back of me to be fair. Anyway, back to my original point, this guy, met him once, he’s a friend’s friend but he does make some questionable comments such as being “stripped and ready for bed” and then offering me to come and join him which makes me slightly uncomfortable. I do kinda want to say something but I don’t wanna be THAT guy and he would be all like “Dude, it’a just banter, can’t you take a joke?!” I can take a joke, honest. It just doesn’t come across that he is actually joking. I told one of my friend’s and he says I should tell him as it is more “sleazy than funny”. I’m just not a guy for confrontation though.

Besides all of that relationship nonsense, on Saturday, my good friend Emily Middlemas supported ’80’s band Hue and Cry at Paisley Town Hall and I could not be prouder of her. Even though her audience was older she totally rocked with a band behind her, watching her owning the stage was such a proud moment. At only 17, she has such am amazing talent at not just singing  but also songwriting. It is so difficult to succeed in the music industry but if anyone deserves it, it’s young Emily, she just has the full package. That day I was out with one of my good friends Ryan Lawrie who recently won Capital’s Top 40 Future Breaker competition and I could not be prouder of the pair of them.

Next week the Easter Holidays begin and I want to hopefully escape out of Scotland for a day or 2 and do some stuff. If anyone has any ideas of things I can do or places to visit mainly in England over Easter then get in touch at enquiries@pookiepopblog.com or my social media channels posted below.

Jay Carrington

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Week 10 2016: The Week of Well-Earned Rest and Realisation

What a week it has been! A week full of alcohol, gigs, parties and a LOT of napping.

On Saturday, I attended the Single By Sunday gig with my friend Angel Gold who was supporting the band at the Classic Grand in Glasgow, a great performance by Angel followed by a night out with everyone’s second mum, Vicki Gold. A woman who is just so honest and hilarious, genuinely can’t meet a nicer person. We all went to a bar in Glasgow to celebrate Vicki’s birthday where my good friend Ryan Lawrie, joined us as well. Ryan keeps me sane, he’s just so relaxed about everything. Do You get those people that you can be your natural, stupid self with? He’s  one of mine!

We ended up catching a taxi back to my friend Daniel’s flat for the McGregor vs Diaz fight and if you know me I’m not your typical laddy lad. In that flat, I was surrounded by a bunch of “geezers” watching people knock lumps out of each other, drinking beers and betting on the fights. I actually lost count of all the man-points I earned that night!

Of course,  McGregor wasn’t on till like 5,30am or something ridiculous, mix that with the copious amount of Jagerbombs I had consumed prior to climbing into my bed and I never slept till 9am… ON MOTHER’S DAY! Fair to say I slept till deep into the afternoon and my mum was not a happy mummy when I woke up, so she went in a huff because we missed our reservation at an Italian restaurant, but your boy just went and ordered a Domino’s and that put a smile back on her face.

Fact: A Domino’s pizza makes everything better 

Since I have worked my wee butt off for the past week, I got a week off from college, apart from a feedback day on Thursday for which I was basically told my group is cruising towards an A. I also had a week-long holiday from my work so I made the most of my week off from doing anything.

I watched all the Hunger Games movies except for Mockingjay Part 2, I fell in love with Katniss and got frustrated  Peeta, I also watched my first RuPaul show and I loved it. Who would have though a TV show about Drag Queens would make for such great entertainment? I definitely need a Drag Queen in my life the way girls need a gay best friend, maybe a straight guy needs a Drag Queen in theirs.

On Wednesday, I got invited back to play football with some of my brother’s workmates since I shined last week bagging myself a hat-trick. This week, 10 minutes into the match I tore my hamstring, tried to go outfield and scored with my first touch before i went to ground and had to stay in goal like a big boulder. I was positioned like a Snorlax in the middle of the goal, it was awful. I could barely walk and the pain was super intense. So the last 3 times I played football I have injured myself:

August 2015 – Broken foot

2 March 2016 – Bruised toe

9 March 2016 – Torn Hamstring

Maybe football isn’t for me… I feel like Tomas Rosicky – and not in a good way!

Anyway, before I go if I have any Americans reading this. Don’t vote for Trump. It was funny at first, similar to the way Tony the Tiger or Coco the monkey from the Coco Pops commercial would be funny seeing run for Presidency. Then you realised people are actually being serious and that is incredibly worrying. Bear in mind, the last time someone had such strong hatred towards a certain group of people, he ended up in power and orchestrated the last mass genocide. It’s 2016, can’t everyone just all get along and be friends, why is racism even an issue?! I keep forgetting, for all rational thinking people like myself, there are a lot of irrational idiots.

 

Jay Carrington

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