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Blowing One Strumpet Voluntarily

Same old theme…

Okay, so I’ve covered this before, but I reserve the right to restate anything I’ve written before. So…

I’m more of a loner than I ever could have appreciated as a young man; for then, although I remember feeling different from the majority, I felt I had no option other than to follow the lead of others, simply because… well, because it’s what you do, isn’t it? You follow the leader, follow the crowd, which at that point in life, is the only authority needed. All rather simple really, at least in my particular sub-culture, where introversion and extroversion were yet to be invented; thus the introvert types who didn’t strive to display extrovert behaviours, especially the mass-participation kind, were perceived as shy, anti-social, miserable, or often downright weird. Okay, I can’t deny I can be anti-social, miserable and even have moments of “weirdness”, but none of it is to do with my introversion. Right?

I’m glad that’s settled.

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There is no excuse…

The usual reason given as to why I’m inactive on this blog is that I have little to say. But this is untrue. In fact, it doesn’t makes sense for anyone to say, unless they are consciously impaired; maybe in a deep sleep, comatose, anaesthetised, or indeed, dead. Then, a person might truthfully be lacking in thought. But given that I’m not permanently residing in any of these states – I frequently display signs of mental activity, albeit ever so slightly –  I have no choice but to admit, my literary inaction (how grand that sounds) is due to choice. My choice. I consciously choose not to write. But why?

I fear being thought of as boring, a fear, as they go, second only to the unthinkable, the irrational, but nevertheless fearful concern that there is an afterlife, and it is to be sentenced to an eternity of endlessly playing Monopoly, suffering with toothache, and listening to the caterwauling of Chris de burgh and his, “Woman in red”! Shudder! Anyway, getting back on course… I know many amongst you will claim that, like beauty, what’s deemed boring lies in the eye of the beholder, and I’ve no doubt this is true, but here I’m talking about my personal idea of ennui, of prose to avoid, like: posts listing “my day”, “my shopping list”, “photos of my breakfast”, “my plight in general”, “a particular aspect of my plight”, “a history of my plights”, “ my top 100 all-time worst plights”… ad fucking nauseam. And it’s this, being considered a member of such a group, that worries me most, especially as the past 3 years have been plight-intensive relative to other years. I’m talking of several minor depressions, death, job redundancy, major illness complete with major surgery, and the relegation of Aston Villa FC to the Championship division! So you can see just how plightful a 3 year period can be. So, although my life contained a plethora of events to plunder (in the literary sense) I was afraid of being considered a boring plight-monger, so I kept much to myself. However…

It has to be said too (and this is no secret) I’m lazy also. A procrastinator extraordinaire. And did I ever mention impatient? I know I did. This is why my written efforts, on those rare occasions they appear, alway fizzle out (precisely as this is doing), as hastily I find myself going at it like a stoat, so to speak, speeding towards the climax!

So there you have it… well, almost…

I don’t think I’ve introduced you to my self-loathing, have I? What’s that? Another time? Suit yourself.

A Life (first published 2005)

Once upon a time I had a brother. Being my senior by a mere
15 months we grew up together as virtual twins. In fact,
many people thought we were. In the early years we were
pushed around in a twin pushchair, and for many years
we were dressed the same. I never could understand the
confusion though, for in looks, as in personality, we
were as alike as chalk and cheese. It’s strange how others
see you isn’t it? I guess people don’t really look.

Terence was his full name, although he was always referred
to as Terry. Looking back I suppose it would be appropriate
to call him Terry the Terrier. He was possessed of a
restlessness that prompted him to keep moving. As a boy he
would often play on his own. Wrapped up in an imaginary world
I was never privy to, he would act out a highly animated
fantasy, leaping around, arms flailing, as if fighting off
demons. That’s how it seemed to me anyway. He called them his
‘actions’. That’s all I ever knew about them. As his life
progressed, I couldn’t help but make a connection between these
actions and other significant events.

Terry would probably have been around 10 years old when we
first became aware of his ‘anti-social’ tendencies. From
nowhere came the revelation he had been caught pilfering –
stealing from cars. This came as a shock to myself and my
parents. Although we were working class my father was highly
paid by the standards of the day. We were well fed, and well
shod. Why would he want to do such a thing? Such was the
simplistic thinking of the times.

As Terry moved into adolescence and beyond, it became
apparent to me, if not my parents, he was ‘operating’
on a level different to myself, and indeed, anyone else
I knew. He was possessed of an undercurrent of agitation.
This manifested itself in the form of violence. He fought
frequently. I was witness to many of these occasions, and
I have to say, he was usually the instigator, and, more often
than not, the victor. Not being inordinately large in size,
he had the advantage of being an amateur boxer. With
encouragement from my father, he’d spent much of his schoolboy
days training at a local gym. But instead of channeling
his restless energy, it served to provide him with a weapon.

The story continues. In his late teens he was arrested and
charged with burglary. With a workfellow, he’d broken into
a series of houses. Nothing of value was stolen – as if he
did it out of devilment. Luckily, he was only fined. During
this time, he was in the habit of disappearing to London. He
travelled alone. To this day no one knows what his business
was there.

The inevitable happened. Like everyone else within his
immediate circle, Terry finally got married. To some extent,
the extra responsibility calmed him down, although he had his moments. He seemed content in his role as husband and provider. But life is never that simple. In
his mid-twenties he had a breakdown, diagnosed as paranoid
schizophrenic. My thoughts turned immediately to that young
boy, all those years ago, agitatedly working out his fantasies.

The ensuing years featured divorce, self-mutilation, and I’ve
no doubt, nightmares of a kind I could never imagine. There
was a constant procession of treatments and hospitals. A roller
coaster ride on the sanity/insanity spectrum until, well
into his forties, he reached an equilibrium. A combination of
medication and living conditions seemed to provide him with
the stability he required. For the first time since his
mid-twenties, he was able to function as an independent agent.
He looked good. Welcome back Terry.

Ten years ago this month, I received a telephone call from
Terry’s ex-wife. He’d been struck down by a cerebral
haemorrhage. He was forty seven years old. He was in a coma.
For two weeks, various members of the family kept vigil by his
bedside in intensive care. He never came round. Pneumonia
finally finished him off.

That’s his life in a nutshell. No humour you say? Oh yes there was.
Terry was the owner of a weird and wonderful imagination
which he often shared with others. As daft as they come.
Kind and generous too. I often catch myself muttering one
of his sayings or phrases, and it’s as if he’s still here
inside me. I miss him.

Silence is Golden…

Online, via chat, forums, or social networks, I’ve had little to say about music, to the extent on more than a few occasions I’ve been pointedly asked if I liked it at all. A strange question you might think, given it’s omnipresence in all of our lives, so much so, I’m sure, most of us take its importance as read. Though I’m a little concerned for some, who I’ve heard express their love for music in the most extreme terms [and usually, histrionic manner]: “I would just DIE without my music!”. A little excessive I think, though I get their point; but I have to remark that pre-twentieth century, the majority of people on this planet had access to little if any music, most certainly on an individual and private basis, and yet, somehow, despite this tragic omission from their lives, they somehow coped. Ahem… anyway…

I’ve said little about music because I learned a long time ago how personal it is. I found no matter how great an impact a particular piece of music or song made on me, I invariably failed when I tried to impress others of it’s greatness: “yeah, that’s okay”, they’d say, “but listen to this… how fucking great is that?”. But alas, in turn, in a similar manner, I’d fail to enthuse. Eventually, it sunk in: maybe it’s not so much that music has inherent qualities for us all to agree on and share in, perhaps it’s primarily about us as individuals, our particular psychology, our personal history. To put it succinctly (and to demonstrate once again, I know longish words): taste is largely idiosyncratic.

This is why, on social network profiles, I smile and at the same time get irritated, when I see long, long lists of a persons musical preferences (the same is done with books and movies). Does anyone truly believe that you can tell ANYTHING about a person by knowing the music he or she likes? Liking similar tracks, books, or movies is coincidence, and has as much significance as having a liking for bananas or a favourite colour. In my experience, you like someone despite their tastes. Personality I’m sure, is not culture-dependent.

Not that I’m leaving this post without paying a little lip-service to my “musical history”, and “history” it is, as the musical content was impossible to evaluate. I’m talking of a Beatles concert I attended, circa 1965 (yes, I’m that old). Courtesy of two girl “friends”, who queued all night for tickets, I was able to go witness this historic event. I heard little, apart from a few snatches of the verse in “Nowhere Man” (the tour was in part, promoting their new album, Rubber Soul), but it was nevertheless, an experience. And before you ask the question, no, I didn’t scream!

So… music and I? I believe myself to have have wide eclectic tastes, having no preferences genre-wise. Indeed, when it comes to live music, I’m happy to watch a virtuoso performance on the spoons. But then, very often, live music is something else, and is arguably less about the music and more to do with tribalism, quasi-religion, or at the very least, fulfilling the need to “belong”. But that’s another argument…

For those of you who know anything about musical notation, you’ll know all music is punctuated by pauses of varying lengths, and in it’s own way, a pause is a peculiar kind of note; so It’s fair to say, silence is an integral part of music. I’m sure if you were to take out these gaps, what would be left would be noise, plain and simple. Which brings me to my point: come on folks, let’s hear it for that much misunderstood and much-maligned phenomenon, silence.

I’d just DIE without silence.

Slap a doody ding dong

It’s all too easy to take life and ourselves too seriously. For this reason I recommend engaging, at least occasionally, in the age-old regime of silliness.

Daftness, as a discipline is broad. There are, and never have been, hard and fast rules as to what constitutes, “acting the pratt”; but as a general rule of thumb, it steers clear of the clever, being nothing if not: an antidote against the dangers of intellectualism; a cure for pomposity; a salve to steer us clear of arrogance; and a needle to prick the bubble of vanity.

Phlappat, phlippet, badoing!

In this all too serious world, silliness acts as a safety-valve to release health-damaging tension. I use it to counteract my tendencies to slip into pretentiousness, often seen on this very blog.

Throot!

A typical ‘silly’ I use throughout the day is to substitute, “furry muff”, for the phrase, “fair enough”. And recently I’ve taken to thinking of my lunchtime fare as, “sand wedges”, or, “sang widges” (Children know, understand, and revel in this kind of “silly”). So…

Remember, for the sake of your physical health and your sanity, don’t take life too seriously; come on, you know it makes sense, don’t laugh…. I’m serious!

Gershplunkenheit!

Birthdays? Smurfdays! ( First posted – 09/11/2011)

I don’t understand Birthday celebrations. Throughout history, billions upon billions of people have also had them (Birth days). So what possesses us think our own is so distinctive?

It was too long ago for me to remember, but it’s a safe bet my mother screamed, or at least uttered a stifled moan, as with one final push, she painfully ejected me from between her bloodied thighs into the early morning air of post-war Britain. The year was 1949 during the month of March. For the rest of the country, rationing and re-building were the order of the day, but for me, as with every newborn child, I was unconcerned by anything other than my immediate problems.

The first priority of any newborn child is to protest loudly at such an undignified introduction. And who can blame it? Anyone familiar with the aftermath of a particularly violent and bloody brawl in a vat of jellied eels will understand this – to be smeared in this vile, slimy, gunk, and be naked to boot, is… well… I ask you! And then of course, there’s the process of acclimatisation; getting to grips with this strange, new, and potentially dangerous environment you will come to know as The World.

Birth is a violent and rude introduction to this planet. What it isn’t is a seismic shock reverberating around the Universe, foretold by angels, and feted by allegedly wise geezers bearing gifts. We come into it as we go out: insignificant and usually gasping for breath. If you’re lucky enough to survive the first day, each and every day thereafter is special. These are the ones that concern me. As I write, this day and each one thereafter, is the most important day of my life.

Some words… (first posted, 18/10/2006)

Have you ever wondered about the phrase, “complete arsehole”, as in, “he’s a complete arsehole!”. It implies a hierarchy of “arseholeness”, with complete arsehole top of the tree above other “arsey” usage.

First contender, I think is “arse” – “he’s an arse”. This is less severe and suggests a tendency to occasional lapses into unacceptable behaviour, but is okay for much of the time. Then we have, “silly arse”. Used mainly here in the UK, and is no doubt the mildest form of all – “oh she’s a silly arse”. Used, when the subject does or says something mildly unacceptable, or unconventional, and can be used affectionately.

Moving on we have, “An absolute wanker”. This implies a level of wankiness unchangeable for all times and all places. Thus, the absolute wanker you have in your office (don’t be shy, admit it, we all have one, it’s a statistical law) will be viewed as such in France, the Steppes of Central Asia, the court of King Henry VIII, or a cave in the neanderthal period. Associated relative levels though, will vary. It is possible to be a bit of a tosser on the factory floor despite being viewed as a promising MP by the labour party. Mildest derived usage – he’s a knob.

“Total twat”. Tricky. This implies there are lesser levels, or components, which together, make up the total twat. I can’t think of any regular usage, but perhaps, “oh don’t be such a clit” would fit the bill? Or, “what a labia she is”. It needs more thinking about.

Oink!

I’ve got nothing to say about love. Even less to say about relationships. Art bamboozles me, and religion… well, what’s all that about then? But despite this lack of qualification (which we all have more or less) I insist on having my say.

Human beings, I think, are driven by the “Will to be noticed”. As just another species of animal, we grunt, we squeal, and  parade in our finery like peacocks. So here’s me, no different from the rest – Woof!

Another Saturday… ho hum…. (first published 06/01/2007)

The weekend sucks like a [insert the figurative word or phrase of your choice]. The weekdays suck too but that’s mainly due to work. And in any case, the current Saturday evening suckiness outsucks all other sucky days by a factor of ten… easily. If I had to quantify its suction power I’d equate it to a hundred whores giving head with each receiving a substantial bonus for showing eagerness and enthusiasm. Added up, that’s some mega-sucking!

There is some good news though. I had the compelling desire to delete this site but somehow, I didn’t. Those of you who know me of old will appreciate what a display of personal growth this is. Had this desire occurred 12 months ago I’d have done the deed faster than Britney Spears removes her knickers in a nightclub. Hurrah for Don!

I love the idea of re-inventing myself though. For a moment, let’s just forget all the bullshit spoken about loving ourselves and being happy with who we are. We don’t always feel that way, do we? Okay, I know, I know, not so long ago I spoke of how gorgeous I am… but that was then. Gorgeosity is relative. When the bowels are emptied, the body rested, and you’re basking in the aftermath of the first shag you’ve had for a while, you’re bound to feel well disposed towards the whole world including yourself (although I suspect a critical component is having Uranus in line with some other stuff, but I have no expertise in that area). So recently, falling short in one or more of those critical areas (mind your own business) I’ve been feeling a tad below par. And it’s then re-invention seems like a good idea; in theory at least. In practice though, I’ve found, when push comes to shove, I begin a new blog and am surprised to find it’s still me, pouring out the same old stuff. No matter how hard I try, I just can’t seem to shake myself off. Dammit!

So here I am, on this silent Saturday evening, assessing the suckitude of my situation, and the sadness of my predicament – I must be the only person on the planet with nothing to do but sit at a computer, and bang on about how shite everything is.

By the way, thanks all of you who expressed concern for Ratz, my little mongrel who’s currently indisposed due to illness. I’ve passed on your kind words and he says, ‘Rrrrrowf!’. Translated this means, “I’ll still bite you, you bastards if you get too close to me, cos I’m a grumpy old fucker!”. Well… I told you he’s an arsehole.

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