All This And I Didn’t Mention The Cockney Rhyming Slang That James Hunt Still Stands For

Turned on the radio this morning, forgetting I’d last listened to 5Live, not R4. The sound of a Formula 1 race is not a soothing way to start the first few seconds of the day. Brooooooooooom! Zoooooooom! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrowl! Sounds like the inside of my fucking head all the time. Don’t need it replicated out of the magic talking-singing box beside my bed. Off button is my new favourite thing.

It also occurs to me that listening to Formula 1 on the radio is a really rather pointless thing. Some sports just don’t translate. Surely you need to see the drivers who all look the same, in cars that all look the same, driving round and round and round tracks that all look the same, occasionally overtaking one another, mostly not, never crashing in horrific ways because that’s not allowed since Senna died?

I’ll rephrase that. Surely Formula 1 has become one of the dullest sports on earth ever since the death of Ayrton Senna because they became obsessed with safety? Yes it was tragic. All drivers’ deaths are terrible but they climb into the cars knowing disasters can happen. Or used to. They weren’t hoping it would happen and therefore make the race more exciting for the viewer or the gathered crowd. But they were brave enough to accept the risks. The risks are reduced these days. Deaths do still happen because fast cars and split-second decisions will never be an entirely safe combination, but the guys twenty, thirty, forty years ago were increasing their odds of being killed or seriously injured every time they climbed into the car.

Why am I even writing about this? I haven’t cared since 94 when, as I say, Senna died.  Brooooooooooom! Zoooooooom! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrowl! No, I haven’t turned the radio back on, my head is making those noises all on its own again.

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Filed under Anxiety, culture, Depression, History, Media, Radio, Sport

The Backwards Alchemist

Reverse King Midas turns everything he touches to shit.
The backwards alchemist transforms gold into base metals.
Bastard elves crap in shoemakers’ carefully crafted work.

How to believe in goodness
Or magic,
In a world that rewards avarice
And punishes the poor?

How to find faith in progress
When all evolution has done for me
Is supply me with the dexterity to kick myself
In the testicles
Over and over and over?

The world begins and ends this very moment.
The past erects a scaffold,
The present walks me up the stairs,
Puts a stinking bag over my head,
Pulls a lever.
At last the future dies.
At last I care no longer,
Hold no hopeless hopes close to my heartless heart.

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Weak End

I feel like hundreds of giraffes have been running around inside my skull, smashing their heads against my brains and shitting all over the place. It must be Saturday.

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Stumble And Fall

And dip!
Perhaps, having forgotten what emotional normality is like, let alone moments of high pleasure like the one I experienced earlier today on seeing Tony out and about again, I’ve also forgotten that highs can be succeeded by lows. No wonder I have craved blankness within the heart and soul. No wonder I have grown so readily accustomed to the drowsy numbness created by the cocktail of antipsychotics I am taking.
There’s a saying about football fans who are used to their team struggling yet when a good season starts to unfold still fear the worst: I can handle the disappointments, it’s the hope I can’t cope with. It’s pretty apt at present as not only does it perfectly define how I have felt internally for so many tortuous weeks but my own favourite football team are close to winning their first league title in 24 years with only 4 remaining games this season yet in my head I still play down the possibility of seeing the team lift a big silver shiny thing. Still expect that they might fall away as the final hurdles approach. I CAN handle the disappointments, in life, as with being a Liverpool fan.
Actually, no I can’t handle them. The football doesn’t truly matter. It’s sport. It’s distraction and more a part of the entertainment industry than most supporters like to admit. But in life I can’t handle disappointment and defeat any better than I can cope with the idea of triumph or success. I have spent an entire lifetime daring to dream and then realising I don’t trust in my own dreams and I definitely do not believe I am worthy of achieving them.
My youngest days were spent hoping the nightmare of my father’s emotional terrorism of the household would just stop one day and we could all get on with living nice, safe, normal, even quite dull lives. Which never happened. It took my mother finally finding the courage to leave and drag me – oh so willingly – along with her for the physical scenario to change. But internally the pattern was already set. Feelings of peace, of reasonable stability, instances of happiness, snatches of joy are all double-edged for me as I expect them to turn to shit at any moment. I am still expecting life itself to emulate the monstrosity of my father and bruise me, emotionally abuse me, to blot out the tiny glimpses of sunlight I’ve allowed myself to notice streaming in through a window.
As a teenager and in my twenties the persistent fear that life would act out this negative paternal role and destroy my hopes was something I defiantly, often aggressively fought against. There is little defiance left and my vocabulary is the most aggressive part of me (possibly always was). That’s what this latest breakdown has been about, just like every other period of sorrow and despair, of self-defeat and self-loathing. I don’t fight the world any more. I don’t stand up for the things I believe in. I don’t hope against hope that I will recklessly throw the windows open and let all of the sunshine in. I fight myself. Don’t dream. Don’t hope. Never enter any room that I can’t swiftly and easily walk right out of should I feel distressed, threatened or, worse, in case I might form meaningful attachments to the people and the things within that room.
I began to recognise and to try to work with and/manage this stuff some twenty years ago. Still haven’t found that magic bullet. Still sometimes just prefer to think that a cold, ordinary, close-quarter bullet between the eyes might be the only genuine solution. I did begin to believe I had made progress at one point. University brought me personal satisfaction and a form of emotional and mental redemption that few people can actually understand. It’s just reading books and writing essays, isn’t it? Maybe to many students, but to me the most wondrous thing was a phrase one of my professors used in my very first seminar. He told us to explore our minds. And so I did. For eight delightful years. Not always easy years but I found more satisfaction and more contentment in the reading and the writing and the fact that some of us gathered together to be both serious and frivolous about our love of literature than I have found in anything else except music and the laughter and skin-to-skin huggy, wholehearted contact with my children when they were very small.
The fight with my body is my fight with myself writ large. It is a physical simulacrum of the internal torment and self-hatred. No, I didn’t cause my ailments because of my mental instabilities: there are genuine medical reasons why my body is also a battlefield. All that ‘you create your own health or disease’ stuff is a load of LA horseshit. I know people fighting terrible, terrible health conditions who would be equally offended and outraged if somebody tried to tell them it was their own personal karma. That’s as bad as, in fact it’s worse than telling somebody with extreme depression or debilitating anxiety that the problem is all in their head.
But my struggles with my body mirror and act as a perfect analogy for my emotional and mental battles. Which is why I am on such high dosages of medication right now to try to stave off the increasing desperation and lack of hope for the morning, let alone the future, that characterises this malaise I have been and continue to be suffering from.
Stumble and fall. Every time. So tediously predictable. I stand up. I fall down. I stand up. I fall down. One day I will just lie there until rodents find my decaying form and I can serve a final purpose by keeping them alive.
Happy, happy, joy, joy.

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Most Unexpectedly

What a brilliant surprise. I arrived at my favourite coffee house having forced myself to get up and out, to experience some sunshine and celebrate the murder of a magician by some ancient Romans. Is it possible to do things under duress when you’re the one who has decided you ought to be doing them? If it is then I duressed. A lot.
I arrived at said coffee house and saw a familiar figure standing ahead of me. My dear friend Tony who had a triple heart bypass a month or so ago and has had all manner of complications and been back in hospital much of the time since, was standing there waiting to be served! A very welcome sight indeed, especially as I knew he was having a procedure to drain fluid from the lungs – one of the complications – only yesterday.
Even better news, after we’d had a sit in our usual place and caught up a bit with the various and varying struggles we’ve both been experiencing lately he had to go off to the hospital again. Not for further treatments but to pick up his lovely wife Dawn who has been pretty unwell herself and in the Royal Devon and Exeter for some time too. Hopefully over the weekend we will all be physically and mentally well enough to gather together for caffeines again, along with Darcy the Wonder Dog who must have been very confused by what’s been going on in recent weeks (she has, I believe, been looked at by a friend who owns Darcy’s cousin so at least the port little woofer has had family to whine to).
Another friend came in while Tony was with me so it has been a sociable spell. I am now exhausted but so very pleased things are improving a little for two very dear people. And with my psyche assessment looming and the meds at least stopping me from wanting to plummet from tall buildings things are a wee bit better for me too. Long may such small but significant progress continue.

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Ooh Be Doo I Wanna Be Like That Baldy Playright Bloke

Now Is Henry Winkler of our discombobulation.

Now Is Henry Winkler of our discombobulation.

These are words. They are springing from my fingers as I tap at a keyboard. Miraculously they then appear on my computer screen. Eventually I and all the other infinite amount of monkeys will recreate something already written. Perhaps we should write more original material instead?

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Some memories are grit in the corner of the eye;

No amount of washing,



Or rubbing at them lets them rinse away.



To which imaginary redeemer?

I’d sooner count the pebbles on the shore

Or beg the sea to wear me down to sand.

Forgiving and forgetting are internal,

Are diluted disinfectant,

Distilled from dirty, faecal-clogged unholy water.


Keep your gods,

You may have need of them

Should you start wailing in the dark.


I’ll wipe my eyes again,

Another pointless exercise:





And pleading with the sea to come

To wear me down to sand.

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