Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Things that are annoying me right now

Just writing a boring list of things that are irking me at the moment, so I can get it out and move on to something more productive. I wouldn't bother reading if I were you.

  1. The fact that despite receiving thousands of pounds from me per year because of the happy circumstance that at one point she had more money than me and could afford not to rent herself, my landlady and her letting agent cannot get it together to mend my fridge.
  2. The extremely limited lifespan of food without refrigeration.
  3. My own extreme messiness.
  4. The filling of my nose and upper respiratory tract with mucus; the hacking and constant cough that results from my body's inability to deal with this relatively trivial infection.
  5. Girl clothes not having the pockets required to carry the simple supplies required to manage a cold, vis, the large and weighty burden of some tissues.
  6. My not at all unreasonable lack of knowledge about what I want to do with my life, despite the fact I am well into it and have perhaps two thirds of it left.
  7. The fact I have not yet found anything that people will pay me for that I care about (long term: I once got paid for a drawing and I saw the CMS, which was cool, but generally everything seems to be piles of boredom and distasteful tasks and trying to persuade people to enable you to do the things that they want the results of but don't want to engage with and I can't seem to care about ANY of it)
  8. The fact that around me are people who do not need to get paid and still get along OK
  9. The creeping suspicion that I might not need a rat-race job either
  10. The creeping-counter suspicion that transcending capitalism and the treadmill is a luxury of having support networks who are pretty established on said treadmill
  11. Guilt and distaste at these sentiments of jealousy towards people who have more than me, when I have more than many others.
  12. A conviction that I could be doing more.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Why I am not wearing a poppy

Death is awful. Death meted out by humans more so. 

I imagine myself on the battlefield, shivering, having signed up thinking I would be part of a show of strength, something proud, against darkness and evil, and I would come home. Realising that my 'fight' -  a competition to see who can throw away more warm, living, loving bodies - is against an enemy just like us, doing what they believe to be right, and the only way I can get through this is to throw more bodies down in front of me. Bodies that were men and women, bodies that had favourite foods and hopes and loves, it's them or me. If I believe enough in what I was told I mow them down like meat; if not I roll over and die. Those are the choices.  

I don't know how you come out of that human. I would melt down in that situation.

So I have time and comfort and support and love for conscripts, for people who didn't know what they were getting into, for people who signed up and regretted and ran. People who did dark things, trapped in those dark places and tormented after, throughout history and now; those people I feel for so much. For them I would wear a poppy, if it helps the dead at all. I have always felt that the most relevant part of the 'glorious dead' was the 'dead' part.

But not all soldiers are forced, not here, not now. Some come to it voluntarily, some enjoy it, some don't question or realise what they are doing. It's a profession that attracts bullies and sadists. People who choose to kill people. I cannot support that. Those people are the willing arms of those who lead us into war, they are the muscle that lets them do it, and every body sent home is another reason to fight more, because they dared attack our brave lads. (Our brave lads who firebomb them nightly.) 

Enlisting soldiers are, at best, a tool for governments to play at popularity, at machismo, at aggression. And the cost of using these tools - of psychiatric care, of rehabilitation, of physiotherapy, of funds for dependant wives, husbands, children, parents - should fall to charity? Governments have little in the way of morals - an organism reborn every 4 years has little time to develop a conscience - but the need for a cold hard line of cash to repair their toy soldiers might make them more cautious about breaking them. But no, a shaking donation bucket and a white feather shame campaign is the way to support children without fathers and fathers without legs or sleep.

We have sent our soldiers - all kinds of people from all kinds of backgrounds signed up for all kinds of reasons - into war based on misinformation, lies, and reputation; lacking intelligence, weapons and resources. They killed tens of thousands of civilians - the Iraq Body Count alone stands at more than 115,000 civilian deaths. We murderered and we created murderers and a paper poppy is not enough to staunch that wound. 

A red one won't even show the blood.

('But what about the World Wars?' 'Those soldiers died to keep us free!' 'You can only say that because the soldiers keep you safe'.. 

1. It's impossible to establish what would have happened if we hadn't gone to war, or if we'd fought differently, or smarter and with less deaths. Noone can know what would have happened.  

2. The fact that you need to go back to 1945 to cite a war that is commonly accepted to have justification does not inspire my confidence in military policy and practice over the last 70 years.

3. If my country can go to war based on no evidence and without a democratic mandate I'm not sure how free I am.)

Sunday, 4 August 2013

work sucks, as if you didn't know.

work sucks, as if you didn't know. I don't know how we did it, but we slipped and made a system where you give five days to get two. Yeah, on paper, on contract, it's only 35 / 168 signed away - as if anyone works 9 to 5 anymore. Oh Dusty, I'd kill for 9-5. It's 9-6, 9-7, 9-9 and only up.

but beyond that there's more, the trimmings eating in - the morning hauling up, the mute commute, the rare, endangered lunchhour for paying bills and sending packets. The team drinks, the gym because you don't have time to walk outside, the late night supermarkets where you buy what's left after the stay at home parents have descended for their locust offsprint, the trains that take their time back because work is what matters - before you're home again with nothing more to give.

Crashed on the sofa with your other life waiting, looking at you accusingly, and no appetite for anything but telly pap. I can't be an inspired artist in the two hours before bed, even when I force myself to stay awake because I don't want to give in and abandon consciousness until the next drudgeday starts.

occasional midweek oasis when i steal in the bars, the nightclasses, the fights, the gigs, the music the . i overdo it, up and out at the sniff of real life, and the morning doesn't matter, until it does, with the shame and the sickness and the excuses to visit anywhere that's not fluorescent lit and consensus airconditioned. moanday morning, swearing off, no more life except in designated living zones.

The big glimmering weekend, the mountains beckoning all slogging weeklong trudgedays finally to the foothills of friday nights, I barrel into the fresh springs, and drink and drink to lose the inhibitions i nurture in cubefarms to regain fringe views and political heat and forget that 54 little hours later i'll be waiting to have my head held under again.






What a way to make a living and not live.


more things i wrote and didn't post at the time. I need to work on that, huh.

I don't want to go back on the medication

I don't. I don't want to be a symbiote again, dependent on the chemicals and the doctor's whims to get through the days. I want my lover to stay with the woman he met, not a pathetic hybrid, a new fake person.

But I've lost happiness. How can you lose happiness? What sort of stupid evolutionary fuckup is this? What is the point of this stupid emotion?

My tears serve no purpose. I don't suffer for a reason, I don't draw motivation from it: in fact I do less as this salty, sobbing mess than I ever did before.

I have no purpose to my life and at the moment my missions are not cry in front of people and to try and stop eating at some point.

Medication is a crutch. But crutches are there so you can keep going.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

When the levee breaks

Another thing I wrote and didn't publish. Publish now.
 I woke up yesterday crying and I've been crying ever since. My face is blank but my eyes are streaming like a widow who's just had a facial. I asked them why but they won't say. Bastards.

 I've been feeling pressure building inside me for days. Not explosive steam pressure, smooth relentless pressure of sheets of green water, death soup, pushing against a crumbling tired dam.

 My water table is rising. I'm a skin bag now and every step I take squelches. When it reached my throat yesterday I clammed up, trying to choke it back, but I had to breathe sometime and it overflowed past those blocks.  Today it reached my eyes and they were the ones to crack. They gave out on me and leaked, the weak bastards. With each lurch forward the cold water sloshes against my sockets and blurps out of the bulging lids.

 Bits of me sail with it as the stream lurches out, escaping the mineral traces that make even the weak skin bag I am more than water. Sweeps and seeps away the molecules of flavour and flecks of cheer suspended in even a wet thing like me. Straight out of my traitor eyes my core goes, lost in osmosis as my diluted self pools on the ground.

 I can't find the spring the water comes from, but I know it's deep and strong enough to fill me up again and again, rinsing my innards transparent and taut as tumours. The water passing through me grinds me smooth. Nothing but a tubeworm in the vent.

 Maybe my eyes know where the spring begins, the source of the torrent reaming me out. But the flimsy bastards wouldn't tell me, would never help me. My last levee against the formless flood and they quit.

Save yourselves if you like, fuckers: you'll not last long teteering on the flow leaving me. You'll fall, and lie, and molder like sad olives in the puddle that was us before you cracked.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Urban de-spray

So I wrote this a while back and didn't publish because I'm a lemon, but I still like it so it's going up.
Do you like graffiti or not, London?

You commission graffiti artists to decorate the Olympic village, to put up themed street art in skate parks. If you're paying a tame painter to do something on the theme of community then their command of spray paints and perspective is amazing, and it's so gritty, and urban, and emblematic of your regeneration project.

But the minute the artist is doing it because they have something genuine to say, because they want to put their stamp on their environment, to spend their time and money and risk their liberty in order to communicate with every goddamn passerby in that neighbourhood - that's malicious mindless vandalism. Got it? If you're not being paid (or being Banksy, for some reason the sole graffiti -artist- around) it's mindless and it's meaningless. If you want to be recognised as an artist with a message you need to be a corporate sponsor's baggy trousered hand puppet.

Never mind that the corporates already own the billboards, the screens, the papers, the public transport network. They own words like love and beauty and summer and they use them to sell chips and face cream and souvenirs.  In return for your expression, your daydreams on the tube, they'll decide what you want and you can give them your money for it. Motherfucking bargain of the motherfucking year.

But their greed and their power is their weakness. They are so greedy people shut down. stop noticing their clamour as they shout all the time for you to like them, follow them, flash your loyalty card, buy your children their cuddly toys, because you can't ever care enough for their exponential profit projections. 

And that's why they're interested in graffiti because they think we haven't noticed them leaching it yet. They think we can't tell the difference between someone's urban improvements and an exploration of brand values rendered in pantone matched colours. 

They think we're stupid.

And now they are scared that their poodles - and hey, I got nothing against tame graf artists, poodles gotta eat, man, like the rest of us - might still have a few teeth. Right at the back. Usually saved for grinding Supa-Dehydrogenated Texturized Meet-U-Like biscuits, but maybe they could skin a nose or two. So they wire their mouths shut.

And so the police - servants of the people, keeping us safe and orderly - go find an urban artist  - who's done work for the olympics for Christ's sake, that's how they know where to find him - and tell him he can't have paint. Can't travel in his city. Can't go near the bloody Olympics show that you've sold to the world on the strength of all us urban cool cats and handbag dogs. 

You'd make cool Britannia hobble her patent-stiletto'd lambeth walk on cut hamstrings because you're scared that your fucking people might have feelings and expressions that your fucking branding partners don't approve of.

Some might say that a country exists for people, not to generate profits for synthetic entities.

Others might say: fetch the markers

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Nowhere Notimes (part 3)

Oh my gosh wrestling is fun, and the Northern boys are really giving it their all: but it's hard to be half hearted on a trampoline.


Chris asks me if I'd spend 10 minutes digging. I say sure, but I know I'm going back to painting my beloved toilets with Natalie afterwards.

I go to join the guys - a team of 4 working to fill in a trench. It's mid afternoon and rather hot in the desert, and there's a lot of dust that needs to be shifted to fill that space. It's also booty short day. 

So the first thing visitors to the festival see is a row of us shifting dust and flashing flesh. People shout encouragement and ask when our calendar will be out as they drive past. 

Goku welcomes newcomers 'to Nowhere, the festival of the working class', and you can see a flicker of concern pass across the hippies' faces when they think that maybe they've signed up for a week of digging holes rsather than hedonism. Naturally, we don't reassure them. 

The hole never seems to be full and we're stuck into the repetition of digging now, with our hands doing the action despite the blisters coming. I'm getting tired, and these guys were digging long before I came to help out. The sun pounds down, but we don't want to leave the job undone so we count off. Just fifty shovelfuls more. Another fifty. Another.

And eventually, the hole is filled and we have saved at least two hippies from breaking themselves falling down holes. We are working class heroes, we tell each other, and are rewarded with a cold beer and an extra helping of tomatoes at dinner. 


We're drinking martini on top of the toolshed, but becuase I'm up there with French contingent, olives are provided.


I touch Raven's arm and ask where he got his scars, stupidly not remembering that it might be a painful question. He tells me about getting run over in Thailand, being broken and unconscious for weeks and his mum choosing to leave him there in the country he loved rather than fly him back to Ireland. And he tells me about his healing and the care he had from friends and strangers there, showing me a bracelet made of tiny knots in single strand cotton thread. Each one is a day his friend fasted and prayed for him. 

It's a personal story he told me and I feel like I pried. I joke he's a cyborg now (though technically he is). He smiles and chats but there seems to be sadness under there. 

I think about robots and taking on someone else's pain selflessly. Would machines do that for us? I remember the eastern art which is all over the place, and draw a golden robot on a lotus. 

For an hour I'm lost in sepia markers and watercolour, and people tell me what I'm doing is good. Normally my art is private, because who would be interested to see it? But here they can look if the want, and apparently they do. Raven likes it so I cut it out of my sketchbook and give it to him. 

A funny sort of gift; feels like it was never really mine anyway. A product of the dust.
I like to think of it on his wall in Ireland, a piece of me in a place I've never been. 

"Those are the most beautiful toilets we've ever had. They're like us - pretty on the outside, but underneath seriously fucked up."


There's a bearded cowboy sat on the living room art car I like the look of, so I climb on up and pounce on him. He seems happy about that, and he's in assless chaps and goes by 'assless chaps' as a name, so that's easy. On his other side is the Weimar styled cabaret host I spent the early evening appreciating. who regaled us with his opus 'baby shark' earlier. 

Balloons fly over us, tethered to the car and buffeted into our faces by the wind. 

Arkem starts up 'balls in my face, balls in my face' and the rhythm is like a nursery rhyme or a train.. Balls in my face, I join in, and we chant it out over the dark desert filled with revellers like stumbling glow worms.

Balls in my face all over the place running out of space it's a disgrace all these balls in my balls in my balls in my face
I'm dressed as a fusion of warriors from across the world, in a chain mail bikini with my body painted in blue swirls like Celtic woad, my face in moko, my hair in a Mohican. This is how I want to look.


Nicholas Immaculate, resident camp king of decor, is having difficulty with his headpiece - it won't adhere because of the heat, and he can't possibly be seen without something dramatic on his head. To avoid having an undecorated head, he asks me if I'll do his face paint  as I 'am the only one he'll trust with it', concerned about being attacked by floral hippy designs.

I am insanely flattered, but also nervous, because this man has taste.

 He sits on the floor and I paint his head in candy neon stripes and swirls - he enjoys the feeling of the brush on his head and we talk about his house and boyfriend and upcoming moves.


I'm drinking cappuccino made by Martin outside his camp's cottage, discussing alternative financial methods for government funding beyond the issuing of bonds. Martin is trying earnestly to stop making coffee for people, but cannot say no to a pretty young man.


I didn't know Joey, but I fucking hope that if I go before my friends, they write my name on everyone, drink to me, and insist that my favourite song gets played 3 times in every set.