An inspector fails to call.

June 15, 2017

I’ve just finished  watching a documentary about cultural signs and signifiers in Japanese culture, whilst it was mostly things that I already understood, gundam, gojira, yakusa, geisha and the like, it went into the notion of kannagara to a much deeper extent than I already understood. Kannagara is a philosophy linked to the Shinto religion, loosely translated it means something like community or social responsibility. In Japanese society  people are naturally respectful to one another and crime is virtually non-existent. From what I can gather, this situation exists for two main reasons, firstly because children are taught at school to respect and take care of everything they use, cleaning up after themselves and carefully folding and putting everything away, and secondly, shame and disgrace are seen as major no nos in Japanese culture and are things to be avoided at any cost. 

Shame seems to be an unknown sensation in the west nowadays, it seemed to disappear as an emotion with Monica Lewinkski’s presidential spunk splattered dress and Tony Bliar’s dodgy dossier and a slew of reality shows of the Jerry Springer, Jeremy Kyle, persuasion. In fact, the only time I’ve seen the word used lately is in the defending of those wrongly shamed for their weight or sexual proclivities. Some people really should feel ashamed though but it seems to have gone out if fashion along with self control, acting your age, knowing the difference between right and wrong and most importantly, knowing when and how to apologise.

I was sitting with a few local friends the other day and we were passing comment on how the attention various people draw to their own charity or community minded activities is directly proportionate to the size of their egos and inversely proportionate to the level of their actual talent. Did anyone actually do things for the right reasons? We didn’t think so.

I watched “an inspector calls” again recently and was wondering while I was watching it how it would stand up to today’s crop of the middle class, or indeed anyone. I saw a production in the eighties with Tom Baker playing the inspector, who was playing it for laughs. It was the strangest thing, being led through something that dark and chuckling your way through it and thinking about it now, that is probably what it would be like trying to get anyone to feel a shred of remorse now…. A sick joke.  By the way, if you haven’t seen the play or any of the movie versions I have included a link on the photo to the crib note version using playmobile toys for those with short attention spans. 

I can picture it now, the rakish fiancé would now be drugged up as well as drunk and the girl he knocked up whilst in his twenties would probably be fifteen and he would blame it all on a bad upbringing because his parents got divorced and wouldn’t buy him a scooter/pony/ back tattoo/whatever. The sister would claim to have some vague disorder that would prevent her from being civil to anyone, particularly lowly shop assistants and shrug her shoulders and proceed to snort another line of ketamine off the silver salver on the table with a rolled up twenty. The husband would chuckle at the thought of sacking the dead girl and wonder out loud if this would qualify him to be a bigger bastard than that bloke off the apprentice or those mouthy celebrity chefs and would it be possible for him to get on television. Then the wife would explain that her only interest in running the charity that wouldn’t help the girl who topped herself was that it was that she was only doing it so that she could network herself into some more paid work contracts and the girl’s situation wouldn’t have got her enough attention if she spent her precious socialising time trying to help.

The inspector would be sent away because someone had googled what to do and they would start quoting their rights at the poor spectre, then they would all drop an e and go out clubbing and then to a swingers party and shag a few strangers whilst pilled up before going out and doing something the next day that they are morally unfit to do, like look after vulnerable children or give advice to the unfortunate.

This may seem to be satire, but all I am doing is cobbling together various actual things that I’ve heard done by people who should behave better and changed the details slightly. In fact, I have toned things down somewhat. Sadly, I can’t help but feel that the world today has become a place where corruption and immorality are starting to become a baseline norm amongst certain circles and I can’t believe I am actually having to write this. I regard myself as pretty normal, not predudiced, not homophobic, I have no real religious beliefs to speak of, but I believe in right, wrong and having a conscience and I spend a lot of time right now being disgusted with people. When someone like me started being appalled at your behaviour, you know you are a bad person and heading for a fall.

All I really know right now is that I should have been born in Japan.


Aren’t you a little short…

May 3, 2017

It’s Star Wars day again and it is the first one without Carrie Fisher. It’s safe to say that Princess Leia (the true people’s princess) was the first love of my life, in that weird, fuzzy, muddled, way that seven year olds have crushes on character from films, television or baby sitters, I absolutely adored Princess Leia. As for Carrie Fisher, I had know understanding of who she was but I can’t help feeling that being attracted to the woman who became such a wonderful spokesperson for the mentally ill was an omen for my future.

As she cheerfully acknowledged herself, around the time of filming Star Wars, her life was a complete mess. It was a way to get out if her environment and away from all the triggers that set her off. I can see the beauty of that right now, the way the world changes but doesn’t until  it all becomes too claustrophobic to bear. 

There is this great myth that surrounds mental health problems and women, the Betty Blue, Ophelia, Sylvia Plath romanticism that goes on. It’s patronising in the extreme. I’ve met as many absolute life destroying horrors of women with both diagnosed and undiagnosed mental health problems, wreaking a trail of havoc through the world as I have mentally ill men who are the kindest, most gentle people you could meet. I have to state that I also know absolutely lovely crazy women and awful men too. In short, I’ve met people. 

Hollywood has been guilty of perpetuating so many negative stereotypes of the mentally ill, from Jack Torrence and his axe, Norman Bates and his mommy issues, the bunny boilers and single white females all add their weight to the myths and misnomers around mental health issues. Carrie Fisher became such a fantastic spokesperson for the mentally wobbly for all her honesty in dealing with what became all too public health issues. 

The problem that anyone who has, for the want of a better phrase,  gone a bit mad is that however crazy you get and however far from normal you get, the world is a lot madder. So much of living is about spending all your time doing things you don’t want to do, like going to work in fundementally pointless jobs to be given bits of paper in return with a promise scrawled on them so that we can give that promise to other people for things we mostly don’t need and to do things we don’t want to do. Society is an organised form of collective madness that we are obliged to buy into and once you have deviated from that norm it is so hard to find your way back to it as, from the outside, it is as clearly as bonkers as anything your wildest imaginings could cook up. Just imagine how bad it must be trying to find where normal is in somewhere as fake and transient as Hollywood, where imaginary is everyday, where rampantly inflated egos are tolerated and drugs are commonplace. 

Sixty seems so awfully young to loose someone so vibrant and with so much to contribute as Carrie Fisher, someone so honest and who did so much genuine good for others, but then the ways of the force are elusive and mysterious. May the fourth be with those of us left for many years to come.


Tears in the rain.

April 13, 2017

We have reached the point in history where the iconic movie  Blade Runner was set. In case you happen to have been living under a rock all your life Blade Runner a movie masterpiece created by the holy trinity of director Ridley Scott, science fiction writer Philip K Dick and artist Jean Giraud (aka Moebius). I feel like I’m standing at a crossroads here, there is so much to write about every aspect of this movie, the numerous directors cuts, to voice over, to not voice over…. and then there is the whole business with the dream sequence and the significance of the origami unicorn. Frankly, there are film theorists who could do a far better job than I would ever do, suffice to say its importance as an artist and culture arctic is immeasurable. 

I think the best thing for me to do that is to write about it in personal terms.

I was twelve when Blade Runner was released, far too young to see it at the cinema and that meant the long wait until it turned up on the television and sneakily watching it late at night, probably when I had to get up for school the next day. My parents had the, cliched, narrow working class horizons fostered by a diet of tabloid journalism and mainstream media and would have viewed a movie like Blade Runner as violent sci fi crap that I shouldn’t be watching and, too be fair, as someone in my early teens by then, that all I would have seen in it, particularly when watched on a fourteen inch colour tv with poor reception. I remember the end scene getting to me though, when, Replicant (genetically engineered superhuman with an inbuilt six year lifespan) Roy Batty spares the protagonist ‘s life only moments before his own cuts out. The speech is legendary and I feel duty bound to quote it verbatim.

“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.”

On his death, the white dove that he was holding takes to the air as if his soul is departing his body, except does an artificially created being have one? The character had already met and killed his own maker, or God  if you like, some scenes prior to his own pre determined death. Unless you have an intractable faith in a God, it’s hard not to watch that scene and ponder our own mortality. Why do we set out to achieved anything when it all ends in our inevitable demise, oblivion and subsequent person loss of everything, our own worlds end with us. It’s classic existentialist territory and I doubt I had the full capacity back then to even try and wrap my head around it, that would come later after listening to the Cure a lot and reading too much Sartre, Camus and Simone de Beauvoir as a young adult. 

Watching Blade Runner as a young man in my late teens at home on a big telly, most likely with a spliff on the go, I took in the visuals a lot more. Having vague notions of a career in art,  I became fascinated by the clothes, the set design and all the props that made up the world that the movie portrayed. I think I may have been pretentious enough to use the word ‘dystopian’ but possibly not. By then, Blade Runner was a cool thing to talk about, in pre Google times, knowing things about things had a sence of value, whereas now I get the impression that being facile has an element of kudos to it… I hope I’m wrong. Knowing about the significance of the tiny unicorn left by Deckard’s door was like being part of a special club, understanding that the protagonist’s memories were as artificial as he was changed the movie entirely. 

When the Director’s cut came out in the early nineties I finally had the opportunity to see it on the scale in which it was intended to be viewed, rather than a tiny television screen. I took my then girlfriend with me and I actually drove there in my car, something I now consider a kindness to the rest if humanity for me not to do. I remember thinking that I wished that I had gone alone as she really didn’t want to be there and I was too concerned about her wellbeing to concentrate on the movie, it was a fantastic experience though.

Watching Blade Runner now as a middle aged man is tricky, as with a lot of movies, I have seen it so many times that it’s hard for it to have the same impact that it once did. I have reached a shakey truce with my own mortality, enough so that the concept of everything that I do being essentially fleeting and futile is just another annoying thing that I’d rather not think about that much. The idea that all my art is just some crap to be cleared out and taken to the dump by a bemused landlord rather than archived by a grateful world makes me laugh as much as it does cry and that is about it as far as existential angst goes. I look at the world outside and it is not yet the fever dream sprawl of towering buildings. The pluralisms of a mishmash of cultures aren’t there yet but it is starting to happen despite the feeble efforts of assorted nationalist and racist groups to stay firmly stuck in the past. The environmental nightmare of a world foreseen by Philip K Dick is not quite there yet but it is definitely in the post and we have utterly failed to find the wherewithal to colonise other planets and sod off to somewhere that we haven’t wrecked yet.

Most important to me personally though is that no one has made robots to the standards of J F Sebastian, the character I have always identified with and steadily seem to be becoming, holed up in a decaying apartment filled up with weird and wonderful things that he’s created. The really interesting thing about what imaginary  projections of our future that were filmed in the last century never imagined was the endless stream of people who did nothing but watch shit on the television and endlessly stare at their telephone screen. 

Ironically, of all the films set in the future, the most accurate so far seems to be Mike Judge’s Idiocracy, with the would overpopulated by stupid people progressively breeding more and more stupid children and the president of American being an utter moron but for style and a level of profundity, buried amidst a Hollywood sci fi movie, Blade Runner set a benchmark for it’s genre that still holds true today over thirty years later. 


Heaven, Hell and Happiness 

March 31, 2017

Over a year ago now, before all my health problems took centre stage, I did a little straw poll on Facebook as to what makes people happy. Mostly, when I put stuff out there on the dreaded socially media platform of doom I feel like Martin Luther, nailing his 95 ideas to the door of Wittenberg church, except I doubt I’ll get excommunicated for pointing out how so many people seem to spend their time acting like spoilt, overgrown children, well… socially excommunicated maybe. When I shared this particular post I got masses of responses and all of them positive, which was nice. What seems to float people’s boats mostly are people and places, which I found heartwarming. What was interesting was that nobody mentioned things, there were no material goods on the list which I found rather heart warming. What confused me though is how an answer like that came come across in the thing centric world in which we live. Perhaps all the stuff worshippers were too busy to reply, coveting their wares i guess…

What I am particularly concerned with right now is how what makes one person happy can make someone else miserable. Communal living is particularly difficult for this very reason. I have some lovely neighbours, thoughtful, kind, happy to help each other out… And then some that really aren’t. They aren’t evil or anything, but the things that they do for fun are antisocial in the extreme. They are perfectly aware of this and the fact that they do the things that they do with no regard to how it affects others is the thing that I find rather appalling, worse than the actual acts themselves. 

It’s sadly very common, that lack of basic human kindness or politeness and more sad because, unlike the great problems of the world like poverty and hunger, it is so easy to fix. Every now and again I catch myself starting to act like a right old fart but I really do blame the parents. Having a modecum of empathy is such a simple thing to teach if you get to someone young enough, just explaining to someone that they are not the only person in the world and that their actions have consequences for other people around them. I’m not just talking about children or young adults here, I regrettably know people well into middle age uncomprehending of the basic concept that their actions actually have consequences to themselves, let alone other people.  Perhaps it is something about the town I live in or maybe it’s a generational thing but there seems to be a very noticable  trend for people old enough to know better to persue extremely attention seeking and self indulgent behaviour, often at the expense of other people. If that is what seems to be the general trend of people of my age and older, why should I expect any better of any of my younger neighbours? Maybe it’s just me, maybe i have unreasonably high standards of people and that is the hell that I live in….

I’m getting ahead of myself here but I’ve been pondering the notions of heaven, hell and happiness. How one person’s idea of a perfect day can be someone else’s personal hell. What can make one person happy can make someone else miserable and the only way we can find true happiness is to find a way of being happy in ourselves without the reliance of an external influence to do it for us. It’s easier said than done though. In my own experience a lot of the stuff that has been suggested to me to be a happier person sounds a lot like giving up. If the only way to be truly personally happy is to give up any sense of personal aspiration and just sink into a little life with limited horizons then that certainly isn’t for me. So without jacking it all in and becoming a Buddhist monk how can I maintain the happiness I have fought so hard to get and how can I build on it in the future? 

So what makes me happy now? Quiet, calm, the absense of worry stress and fear, a full belly, warmth a good book to read… Good friends are vital, and I mean GOOD friends, bad friends are a terrible source of misery. Putting pressure on you, destroying your confidence and self esteem, sucking away your time, draining your resources. Friends who give you bad advice are the worst, people who have axes to grind and do it through someone else’s relationships are particularly appalling. Good friends are priceless, you don’t need many, so long as those you have are wonderful. Having a loving relationship is even better but the fallout from the wrong one can be severe and cause more harm than good. Stuff can give you a fleeting sense of pleasure but it doesn’t last. What gives me greatest joy, the nearest to my idea of heaven, is the making of beautiful things, things of worth, things of meaning, things that will be here after I’m long gone. Be those things an image, an idea or some tangible thing I have made, knowing there are some good things of me in the world gives me a lot of comfort. A lot of people get that comfort from having children, knowing something of them is out there in the world, being childless, the option of living vicariously through my offspring is not open to me, I don’t think it is one that I would ever have done should I have had it. That can massively misfire though as not every child will grow up to be a wonder and an inspiration , although giving them that shred of empathy for others that seems to be so lacking now would be a really good start. We can only really live for and through ourselves and any other choice seems to ultimately lead to misery.

I’ve been pondering my idea of hell and you known what? I’ve probably already lived through it. Poverty, check! Beaten up, check! Soul sucking jobs, check! Abuse, check! Horrible illnesses, check! Someone has even written an award winning and tear jerking film about about one of the situations that I have been through twice, that tells you something. The sad thing is with horrible situations is the speed at which they become normalised and how quickly everyone else can forget. The thing that is even worse than that is when clueless middle class people decide to take what you have been through on as their cause of the month, having their little meetings and waving their silly placards before losing interest and swiftly moving on to the next cause celebre. The thing about hells is the lack of hope, the despair at how far your chances of a better future slides out from under you and how far behind you have fallen in life. Knowing how little of what others take for granted is allowed to you and even that is soon snatched away. For me, hell is just around the corner if I handle my life badly or indeed if some faceless beaurocrat or computer somewhere makes an arbitrary decision and wipes all that I have achieved so far out with a simple keystroke.

My idea of heaven? You could boil that down to a single word really. Choice. It would be nice to have a choice as to where I live so that I don’t have to deal with the aforementioned product of poor parenting skills that make such a bloody nuisance of themselves. The choice to go where I want and do what I want without it leaving me without food or the ability to pay bills before the harassing phone calls start. It’s not just about money though, it would be nice not to have to knock back half a dozen pills a day to keep me alive and relatively sane and it would be lovely not to have to cope with all their various side effects. In the grand scheme of things, none of those are that unreasonable are they? The only moon on a stick I really want is a life partner. Someone who, truly ‘gets’ me and accepts me for the person that I am and doesn’t try to force me to be a person that I’m not. Someone who would be as supportive to me as I would be to her. Is that really too much too ask? The answer seems to be ‘yes’ sadly… Granted, it would probably help if I went out more often…. But that is the problem of being an introvert, if I were to do the sad and desperate things that so many do to find someone, the endless hanging out in pubs, the joining things, or, God help me, go on a dating site, I would only find people who would happily do that sort of crap, who would be the exact sort of person I wouldn’t want to meet.  Granted, it works for some but for a misfit like myself, I would just fail miserably. The sad thing that I am slowly coming to terms with is that and match for an oddball like myself would probably be as equally strange and therefore any notion of a functioning relationship would be doomed to failure. There is a whole world of sadness, misery and pain out there, frankly, I would rather stay in with a book and a nice cup of coffee. 

The really strange thing about me (and this will probably flag up some major reasons why I’m still single) is that I look at dystopian films like I am Legend and  read books like j.g Ballards  The Drowned World and I think to myself, ‘that actually seems quite appealing’ I mean let’s face it, as a species, humanity has well and truly muffed it. We’ve overbred, overexpanded, we have a small proportion of brilliant thinkers and scholars, artist, writers, scientists and inventors doing wonderful things and a mass of bloody idiots. The moment I think I really realised that we deserved the future that it looks like is heading our way was when I saw one too many inarticulate morons mumbling incomprehensibly into their iPhone about their child’s maintenance payments and the not paying of them. The iPhone, a computer in your pocket, designed by a genius, operating system created by a team of geniuses, filled with semi conductors designed by geniuses, used to record complete fools lighting their own farts or gurning like loons on their drug binged nights out.  We have asked for our inevitable extinction.  I could see myself quite happily wandering though the twilight years of a doomed planet, as the trees and plants reclaimed the streets. Rummaging through the remains of supermarkets for the last edible packet of twiglets, using only Jeffrey archer and Dan brown novels to heat the fire through winter as I swan around whatever palatial home I have claimed as my own whilst wearing the British Crown at a jaunty angle, prancing about in looted adidas gsg9 boots that I could never justify buying in pre apocalypse Britain…. Bloody hell! I’m really getting into this, I could go on for hours. 

This tells me, and you, absolutely nothing about  anyone else’s  ideas of heaven, hell and happiness but an awful lot about mine and the rather strange workings of my head. Fortunately, I have neither the means, nor the inclination to bring about the decline of civilisation, nor would I do it if I did. I wouldn’t even fill someone’s flat with smoke or their airspace with unwanted music or noise. What does that say about me? What does it say about them? Who knows?


Sarah ?

February 20, 2017

Sometimes when you find out the truth it can be such a disappointment can’t it?

When you find out what is behind the lies you struggle to find something, anything, to understand why. When you realise that the truth is that there is just another sad, damaged, person in the world you just have to deal with it. It’s not like you haven’t before.

When I first read ‘Sarah’ by J.T LeRoy I, like everyone else at the time, took it at face value, a harrowing story of how someone had got away from a life of abuse and made a new and better future for themselves. Coming from my own, slightly less, messed up world it was always good to read about the ones who got away, not being dragged back into the same seething mess of humanity. Back in the dial up internet days of the 90’s, information was so sketchy and when, after two books, LeRoy disappeared it was just another mystery that couldn’t be solved.

That was until last week… The truth can be so dismal can’t it? Tucked away on the BBC iplayer is the answer to the great nineties literary mystery and truth is indeed stranger than fiction. Turns out that Sarah wasn’t written by a cross dressing gay guy with hiv but a rather disturbed middle aged woman by the name of Laura Albert. Laura ended up pretending to be her own manager at public appearances, putting on the most appalling of Dick Van Dyke British accents that I’m amazed no one saw through. People want to believe though, we like a good heartwarming story do us humans and this was no different. Laura inlisted the help of her sister in law Savannah Knoop to play JT ( Jeremiah Terminator) in public and proceeded to watch from the sidelines as He/She became drawn into a world of A list celebrity. Things got out of hand and eventually it all blew up in their faces but not before a movie was made “the heart is deceitful above all things” directed by Gus Van Saint. I got hold of a copy recently but only watched about 15 minutes before I found it too harrowing and turned it off. I couldn’t cope, I wasn’t strong enough. 

There was a lot of anger at the discovery of this literary fraud, if that’s what it was. Anger that someone pretended to be a male child prostitute and that the dead mother Sarah never even existed . Like most stories though, the truth isn’t so simple and clear cut. Laura was abused as a child, raped from an early age by a close relative and then ended up in the foster system when her mother couldn’t cope with the trauma the abuse caused. Laura started writing as therapy and started to invent new personas for herself so as to give herself a bit of respite from herself. So whilst the stories of JT LeRoy aren’t ‘the truth’ they are ‘a truth’ and I feel personally are still valid as works of literature. 

I have been privileged to, on occasion, work with adult survivors of child abuse and I admire anyone who has the courage to confront their past and deal with it in a healthy manner. My own historical woes melt into insignificance with the stories I have been told and those almost destroyed me. Sometimes the true heroes aren’t those out drawing lots of attention to themselves but those who just carry on. I can’t criticise Laura for surving, for that is what she did.

There have always been pen names in literature, often created out of a societal needs when writers of a sex, gender, race or class find it necessary to hide their identity to break through a predudice.  Why should this be any different?

So long as an assumed identity is used to help, not harm, then what is the problem?

I guess when the dust settles it will, as in most cases, be up to history to decide.


Death is whimsical today!

February 13, 2017

Do you ever have one of those moments when you think you came up something only to realise that it was just lodged away in your brain somewhere and it suddenly popped out? Turns out that the above title to this blog entry was a phrase spoken by Gary oldman’s character in the film Leon. Damn! I wish I’d have thought of it! I was watching Back in Black earlier, a programme about the writer Terry Pratchett who died last year. He was always one for a beautifully turned phrase as was the much missed Douglas Adams. Writers of genre fiction can often be much maligned but I don’t  honestly know how anyone can survive in this world without reading something by each. Both Adams and Pratchett were both such wonderful observers of the human condition as was Jonathan Swift a few hundred years ago. Gullivers travels would have been quietly pigeonholed as fantasy back in Swift’s day, if there was such a thing, rather than a savage parody of politics, class and society of the Britain of the time in which it was written.

When I observe the goings on in my community, my mind is rubber banded back to the absurdities of the passengers of the golgafrinchian B ark in Adams’ A Hitch-hikers Guide to the Galaxy and their adherence to completely self destructive doctrines. The description of the volunteers at the Sunshine home for sick dragons in Pratchett’s discword also seems rather apt right now. Terry Pratchett was such a fantastic observer of people and had a wonderful insight into their motivations for doing what they do.

What came across in the programme was that a lot of what propelled Terry to be such a prolific writer was a deep seated anger at the injustice of the world. Being written off from an early age, he was determined to prove a point and used all that fire inside to do it. Those who knew him well said that the character in his universe of characters most like himself was the formidable Granny Weatherwax, someone who would do the right thing rather than the nice thing or the kind thing as both the latter often turn out to be a cruelty in the long term. Perhaps the best known and most loved character in the discworld is that of death itself, who is equally bemused and fascinated by the souls he meets. It is such a cruel irony that Terry met his end much sooner than was fair and in such appalling circumstances where the thing that powered that thriving world of characters disintegrated over the course of a few short years. That righteous fury pushed him to write a further seven books after his diagnosis, a testament to the power of anger used well. 

I feel a deep sadness that it will probably take another hundred years or so for the world to get the true significance of what Terry Pratchett achieved, a Dickens for our times really…. I feel sadder still that reading has become so relatively devalued as a pastime. What makes me happy though is that these people ever existed, the writers, the thinkers, the day dreamers, the film makers, those with a singularity of thought to see the world around them and interpret it anew and in some way, beyond the petty dreams of politicians and empires, it is the stories and the pictures that live on. I find that a comforting thought. 


Me, Daniel Blake and a bunch of hypocrites.

October 25, 2016

I first started writing my thoughts about Ken Loach’s film , I Daniel Blake a week or so ago when puff pieces about it started appearing in the media and on Facebook about it.

I gave up when it started sounding like a particularly long bout of Tourette’s Syndrome. It’s hard to condense three years of abject fear into words without your emotions taking over and even harder under the circumstances I shall now describe.

I walked ignorantly into my first sham of a work capability medical. At that point in time, even having a general conversation with anyone would bring me out in a cold sweat, let alone being quizzed by a complete stranger. You can read the horror stories all over the Internet and mine involved a humiliating inquisition, a letter landing on my doorstep two days before Christmas, pulling my life out from under me, plunging me into a year of constant doctors visits, trips to support services constant fear and extreme poverty followed by a traumatising appeal where i had to not only sit before a judge and still form words but answer everything as I would have done almost a year before. I cannot describe what hell it was but I would be lying if I said I wouldn’t wish it on my own worst enemy, I’d wish it on quite a few of them as I think a bit of empathy and humility might do them some good.

I had some wonderful friends around that time and there are fantastic support networks amongst those who suffered at the hands of the government and a bunch of private companies out to make a fast buck at the expense of people’s suffering. As well as knowing who your friends are, you soon learn who they aren’t and I find it deeply offensive just how many people who remained intentionally and blissfully ignorant at the time I was living in terror on a daily basis have since jumped on the right on austerity bandwagon.  It’s cool to be right on again now, everybody is doing it, the social life is great and, hey, it’s a great way to go on the pull.

I would like to see the film, it’s on at the local art house cinema next month but as of three thirty today (Tuesday the twenty fifth of October) I’ve already spotted about five hypocritical shitbags who I distinctly remember being conspicuous by their silence around that time are planning to go. Not only that, I’m poor and I can’t afford ten pound for a ticket. One of the groups that suffered worst under the first attacks by the department of work and pensions was the mentally ill, a group of which I am sadly a member. We were easy pickings, not having any of the annoying X-rays, blood work and paper trail of physical ailments and when we complained, well, we were a bunch of nutters! So who is going to listen to us? But over the years, we got organised, became experts at the the politics of victimisation and dpac (disabled people against the cuts ) became notorious for the effectiveness of their direct action. Meanwhile, labour did sod all, the usual left of centre mobs did sod all and nothing was reported anywhere in the mainstream media. 

But suffering mental health problems, recurrent depression, anxiety, social phobia as I do and prone as I am to having breakdowns, wobbles and meltdowns I am amazed by the number of the supposed great and good locally who have gone out of their way to not only make my life a misery and to this day perpetuate situations to still make my life uncomfortable and make sure various other people don’t communicate with me in public for fear of their judgement . I’m not saying my behaviour has been perfect but , hello! Mental health problems, mitigating circumstances, I mean…

Anyway, I already spotted a minibus load of totally hypocritical bastards going to see this film and no doubt that figure will go up to a coach load. I won’t check again, it will be far too depressing, I already know I can’t go. So to all you self righteous, Internet curtain twitching, road crossing, blanking me, gossip spreading shit bags, I hope the springs from those plush cinema seats pop out and stab you in the arse hole and you choke on your popcorn so you spend the next month with rectal bleeding and breathing through a tracheotomy tube. 

To everyone else, have a lovely time xxx mwah!


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