Days 1,469-1,475: I Didn’t Do It

Tue 08.01.13 - Mon 14.01.12: Dear Graham Hughes, Thank you for your application for 'First Surface Journey To Every Country in World'. Unfortunately, due to media reports that described that you snuck into some of the countries you visited, we cannot accept your application as a new Guinness World Record, as we, as an organization, do not accept any illegal activity in order to achieve a record. Thank you and we hope you understand. - Guinness World Records When I had gathered my aforementioned jaw off the aforementioned ground, my noodle went into overdrive as I attempted to suss out what the hell I was going to do next. THINK, GRAHAM THINK!! Okay. Calm. The only place I crossed a frontier at a place other than an official border point was when I foolishly attempted to wade across the the River Narva from Estonia into Russia.…

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Days 1,462-1,468: An Unexpected Email

Tue 01.01.13 - Mon 07.01.13: 2013 began, as all good years should, with a kiss. The cute redhead (that isn’t me) is my new girlfriend, Casey Turner. She’s a professional designer, artist and musician and she complements my talent set like Crunchy Nut Cornflakes complement VANILLA ICE CREAM (I demand you stop reading this for a moment and try that for yourself). She’s young, feisty, talented, sweet, witty, dangerous and blessed with a brilliant and cunning mind. We make quite a formidable team. And we’re both ginger. BOOYAH! Casey and I saw in the New Year at a house party off Hope Street in Liverpool. We had been invited along by my gorgeous friend Lorna Brookes. Lorna’s persuasive phone calls to shipping companies had been instrumental in the successful completion of The Odyssey Expedition. There was fondue and a stack of booze, it was all very…

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Day 1,452: Well, I’m Back

Sat 22.12.12: I had planned a long time ago to return to my hometown of Liverpool on the ferry. Originally it was to be the ferry from Ireland, but it would have been dark by the time I arrived, so instead I opted to hurtle around to Birkenhead and take the Ferry Cross The Mersey made famous by Gerry and the Pacemakers. Either way, I wanted to finish The Odyssey Expedition by ship, pulling up alongside the iconic Liver Buildings. The ferry was all but empty, not surprising considering it was a wet and windy Saturday afternoon – as well as the last major shopping day before Christmas. The Pier Head loomed into view and up at the terminal building I could see my friends and family waiting for me. I was met off the gangplank by some press photographers and a camera crew. While I…

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Day 1,364: The Measure of a Man

Tue 25.09.12: I can’t enthuse about these last six weeks enough. I’d be a fool to pretend that everything was rosy in my personal life: most of my family aren’t talking to each other, my dad is going in for some risky heart surgery next month (and – my usual bad timing – I’m not going to be here) and did I mention Mand and I split up? I probably should have. But on the other hand – The Olympics, The Roundhouse, Blur in Hyde Park, Dino’s Wedding, Hugh’s Wedding, The Paralympics, Noel Gallagher, Festival No. 6, Danny’s Wedding, coming third in the film quiz… INCREDIBLE!! And all of it, everything I saw, everything I did, everyone I met, I did so because I have the most amazing friends in the world. Friends who have been there for me through thick and thin, though this whole…

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Day 1,363: I Am Not A Number

24.09.12: Just before I jumped the train back to Liverpool, I met up with my top mates Dan and Stan for a swift half around the corner from Euston Station. Out the blue, Dan invited me to this weekend’s Festival No. 6 in the quaint Italianate town of Port Meirion in Wales. You know, where they filmed The Prisoner. This was pretty immense as Dan hasn’t invited me to a festival for years. Possibly because I made a drunken arse of myself a couple too many times at Glasto, V, Leeds, Download, Roskilde, Bestival, a billion free gigs where I was his +1... or possibly because (many moons ago) I thought it would be hil-arious to send him a text from his sister’s phone informing him that she was pregnant when she wasn’t. Would have been a hoot, that… had he not immediately rang his parents……

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Day 1,351: High Flying Birds

12.09.12: So the last two weeks have not been particularly merry ones. But, on the bright side, I’ve been able to spend time with my dad (and… er… let him beat me at Trivial Pursuit) and I’ve been able see my friends and have a good mooch around my city. I was invited by my mate Steve to the annual Hollyoaks barbecue, Brian and I came third in the infamously difficult Fact Cinema Film Quiz (sample question: “Who Directed Caddyshack 2?”) and, let’s face it, the Paralympics were BRILLIANT. Last Sunday morning, nice and early, I made my way down to the Big Smoke, London, or ‘Kings Landing’ as I’ve decided to call it from now on (a place awash with incest, vice and vile plots). I arrived in time to catch the end of the marathon and met up with Matt Eland and his mate…

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Day 1,338: We’ll Always Have Paris

30.08.12: Let me just say this: I have the best mates anyone could ever hope for. Within 5 hours of my arrival on Saturday 11 August 2012, I was celebrating my return with Dan and Stan and Matt at an exclusive Olympic athletes party with free booze at the Roundhouse in Camden. Dan got us all in for free through his press credentials (ever read a review of Doctor Who on the Guardian website? That’s my Dan!). I got to see some actual gold medals. It was very exciting. Within 24 hours of my arrival, I was in Hyde Park watching New Order with me auld mucka Lindsey who works for The Royal Parks. Free entry and, again, free drinks. Later that evening (and a little bit tipsy) I ended up randomly meeting Jude Law: And have Damon Albarn practically sit on my knee to sing…

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Day 1,319: The Last Refuge of a Scoundrel

Sat 11.08.12: They say that patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel. I don’t necessarily believe that. I think home is the last refuge of a scoundrel. Today this ginger scoundrel is coming home. Coming home to my family and friends, to my girlfriend Mandy, my city of Liverpool and to the nation that I know and love. You’d think spending three and a half years travelling would make me more cynical about my home. I meet ex-pats who spit vitriol on my sceptred isle, they’ll go off on one about the lack of discipline, the joke that is public transport, the fact that the country is far too left-wing/right-wing, moan about immigrants, moan about taxes, moan about windfarms/mobile phone masts/X-Factor/dogshit/speed cameras you name it. Hey, but some people like to moan, that’s their prerogative. But I don’t see it that way. Where they just…

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VIDEO: Last Exit To Serbia! (2007)

In the summer of 2007, myself and Stanley "Stan" Stanrydt, two grown men with the mentality of 13 year olds, set out on an epic journey across the heart of Europe in search of music, beer, broads and a decent sausage. In a Mazda sportscar we christened 'Traci Lords' (she was underage but could still squeeze us both in), we shot through France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Slovenia and Croatia in order to arrive in Novi Sad, Serbia, for the rather epic Exit Music Festival, held in an ancient fort on the Danube river. There we watched the likes of the Beastie Boys and many other bands that I vaguely don't remember. After four days of drunken debauchery, we sobered up and decided to take the long way round back to the UK. So we went to Sarajevo and Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Dubrovnik…

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Days 974-984: Conspiracy Nut Cornflakes

01.09.11-11.09.11: I was a kid in the eighties. I grew up with the distinct possibility that at any moment the Russians might take a dislike to the latest Madness single or something and destroy the entire world. Films like Red Dawn and When The Wind Blows didn’t help. My brother Alex and I would waste entire summers digging fallout shelters (which invariably ended up as two foot deep puddles of mud) and learning to fend for ourselves in the field across the road, seeing if we could live off ‘rations’ of sugar and ketchup sachets stolen from Little Chef, you know: just in case. And then one night, suddenly and unexpectedly, the Berlin Wall collapsed. All that fear, all the paranoia and all the neuroses that the Cold War had instilled in my and my parents' generation had gone. The sword of Damocles that had dangled…

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