During the miserly search for a journo job I held down a nannying job as well as poking my way through different freelance gigs. I didn't get it. I was freelancing, actively applying my training and doing it but I didn't manage to get an actual in-house job. Freelance is a schizophrenic lifestyle, symptomatic of a range of highs and gutter lows.
The reality is that the footage we, war journalists, capture in the field isn't always 'striking' or insightful. In many cases we are forced to stand a good way from the frontline for our own safety, or if we are on the frontline, we can't stay there for long... unmanned remote control drones fitted with high definition gyroscopic cameras will change the role of the war reporter.
After Bolt's experience in Glasgow he might well decide it's just not worth risking a casual chat with a journalist, or even making a joke for fear it be twisted. If that were to happen he will become what every sports journalist loathes: someone who trots out the same, safe, coached clichés which offer neither insight nor entertainment.
During the Arab Spring, the ongoing Syrian revolution and now the war in Gaza, I find myself to be more of a political activist than an "impartial" journalist because I do not see how I can "sit on the fence" when injustices are taking place right before my eyes. Am I at risk of being criminalised for mixing my political views and how I report news?
My family, it appears, are a 'bunch of ugly, sad losers'. My wife is so 'desperate' to leave me that she will '**** the next man she has a drink with'. My beautiful children are, variously, 'pathetic... spoilt... probably adopted' because I am 'unable to get it up... a waste of space... a miserable, untalented tosser'. Worst of all though, my kitchen is 'hideous'. So this is what being trolled feels like... The other week I wrote what I felt was a thought-provoking, if slightly tongue-in-cheek, confessional about my enforced 12-month sabbatical as a stay-at-home dad trying to set up a new business after sudden redundancy.
Everything's a marketing opportunity. Our existence is only a chance to prove how brilliant we are, and to congratulate our mates for their brilliance too... The fact is, the more we PR our lives online, the more isolated we become. With every 'Ibiza. Done' status update we move further and further away from meaningful relationships with our families, friends and lovers.
For 20 years I spoke through my skin because I couldn't find the right words. Instead of a best friend to play with, I had a pair of scissors. And instead of a voice, I got stuck on a merry-go-round of bottling things in and bleeding them out. The question I often get asked is 'why'; what could make me feel so low that I would want to drag a blade across my own flesh. Having had nearly two decades to gnaw over an answer, I'm still not really sure, other than - being brutally honest - I think I liked it. It wasn't about the injury I inflicted though, cutting never deviated towards sadomasochism, it was about searching for contentment.
Journalism is not a crime, but in Egypt it now seems to be tantamount to that. Egypt is already incredibly dangerous for journalists (behind only Syria and Iraq, according to the CPJ), and death / jail are becoming major occupational hazards for those daring to report on protests or indeed any anti-government activity. And the clampdown goes on.