The Blank Stare of Ignorance

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Tom Cruise doesn’t believe in Psychiatry. I guess most of his mates have the same view. The more I watched his hideously chiselled face gurning and grinning and staring like a psychic in a CIA goat-killing experiment, the more I hated him. Most of what he said sounded like first year Psychology gone wrong – like the famous Stanford ‘Prison Experiment’, only this time cash was changing hands and the agenda was more psychotic.

Fuck….I know it’s dangerous ground – going into Scientology – but stumbling on that interview really kicked me in the balls. So here we are. Yes, I believe I’ve made it apparent by now to you: I see a Psychiatrist, and I’m prescribed Psychiatric medication. I have them to thank for improving my quality of life. The meds help sleep, allay panic and fear, and give me an emergency button to press when the time is right. In short, they work.

I can’t vouch for Scientology, I can vouch for medication. One solution is measurable and has been developed by thousands of intelligent medical professionals, the other is based on the writings of a Science Fiction Author. And here is a brief snapshot into that author’s (L. Ron Hubbard) mind, where he waxes lyrical about Psychiatry. I imagine he was masturbating furiously while he typed this one-handed –

“A psychiatrist today has the power to (1) take a fancy to a woman (2) lead her to take wild treatment as a joke (3) drug and shock her to temporary insanity (4) incarnate [sic] her (5) use her sexually (6) sterilise her to prevent conception (7) kill her by a brain operation to prevent disclosure. And all with no fear of reprisal. Yet it is rape and murder … We want at least one bad mark on every psychiatrist in England, a murder, an assault, or a rape or more than one … This is Project Psychiatry. We will remove them.”

Okay? Getting the sexual tension? Me too. For the record, I’ve never been raped by any one of my five [5] Psychiatrists I’ve been treated by over the years. Nor have I been drugged into ‘temporary insanity’ or felt that any one of them was trying to do anything other than help me. Hubbard wrote the above statement on a memo in 1966, but the smell of it is still strong after all these years. I don’t like it.

But let’s not get too far off the mark. I guess you suspect a cult leader like Hubbard didn’t quite stick to his own proclamations, especially where getting fucked out of his mind on chemicals was concerned? Here’s what his son had to say –

“I have personal knowledge that my father regularly used illegal drugs including amphetamines, barbiturates and hallucinogens. He regularly used cocaine, peyote and mescaline.”

Like Hubbard Snr a little more now? Me neither, and I have taken almost all of the drug menu listed by his son, so I should feel a sense of kinship. But then I’ve never tried to get people to part with their cash by feeding them stories of Aliens coming to take their souls to a distant planet. Only somebody really screwed out of their mind on a vicious cocktail of hallucinogens and cocaine would a) write the kinds of things he did and, b) think people would believe it. I watched stars form into the face of a great celestial dog once, but that wasn’t because I was finding the secrets to the universe, or having some kind of divine human insight into what it meant to be alive, I was just fucked on LSD.

Yes, I realise you can interchange some of the Hubbard-strength weirdness with some of the rantings in the Bible (and other religions) but no-one ever really set out to write themselves a spiritual fortune like he did. Most major religions are equally hilarious in parts, but that’s not through design, it’s through ignorance, or the lost myth of human experience told around campfires stretching back into the eons. They never began as cash-cows, even if that’s how a lot of them ended up. Scientology is different. It wanted your cash right from the start.

So where does that leave me and Tom Cruise? Well, he’s pretty much as insignificant to me as I am to him, and that’s the way I’d like things to remain. One of us is deluded, and the other has psychiatric problems. I guess that makes us more alike than I thought when I started typing in the candlelight, waiting for the stars to come out.



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Two hideous full size voodoo dolls – one white, one black – were sitting in the corner of the room. Leering smiles. One male, one female. My partner ran out of the room screaming. I woke up sweating, heart beating more than it should when you’ve taken diazepam and are expecting some sleep. It took a while for me to shake the image and the terrible sound of my partner in a state I’ve never wanted her to be in. I don’t mind me being the focus of some unworldly force, but my partner doesn’t deserve an inclusion into that sort of unholy scene. I try to protect her when the sun is out and when everyone can see the danger coming. I enjoy it, to be honest. But in dreams the whole thing is taken out of my hands, I guess it’s why I sleep badly. When I calmed down a little I put the light on and lay in bed wondering why I’m being singled out. I’m an obvious target, but I still think there are better candidates out there for multiple sleepless nights of sweating terror. After a while I went for a piss, but even in my bathroom I had goose bumps all over my skin still thinking of those dolls watching with their dead eyes.

Now it’s 5am. Raining heavy. I’m missing therapy today. Things, generally, are confusing this morning – I’m bored, tired, frightened, lost. I thought at one point last night that I’d found the key to everything: I’ve been cursed. Some voodoo spell has been enacted on me, maybe in a previous life, and has followed me into this shitty incarnation. I wondered about making a witches bottle and burying it deep in the garden to ward off the curse. I haven’t done it yet, but I might. Stupidity doesn’t feel so dumb when you’re scared.

The previous owner of the house lived in Africa for a while. And she had died in my bedroom. Was she responsible? Was the curse focussing in on the wrong person now she’s gone? Will it return tonight with the sound of far away drums? Shit…. All the problems of the World are boiling down to the stares from two voodoo dolls in a dream. Terrorists, Trump, bodies blown apart, all reflected in those unmoving faces. It’s pathetic. Self-indulgent. I have a simple nightmare and it feels like a bomb has dropped in here. I’m quivering like a soaked bird on a telephone line.

-Now my therapist is texting me – she’s mistakenly put an X at the end of a message.

Send me prayers. Send me money. Send back my sanity.

Thanks in advance.





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The CPN cometh.

She cancelled yesterday because, she told me, the recent global hacking event scrambled their computer system and an ’emergency meeting, vital to safety,’ had been called. She had to attend. Beats listening to me bleating on like a 200lb half-dead sheep at shearing time. Hacking is the new graffiti. Painted in letters ten feet high all over the front of your house – “Infected – and he has secrets”

Which reminds me….. just turned on the anti-virus scan on my laptop. My writing/work laptop, not the battered bedroom one I use for soporific music and audiobooks at bedtime – the one I thought was broken, so kicked it twenty feet across my living room. It survived. It’s like a cockroach. Apart from kicking it against a stone wall, I’ve dropped it on a quarry tile floor, spilled beer on it, punched it, and mashed those keys so hard that sometimes I thought my fingers would end up electrocuted.  And the thing still works. Amazing.

This fancy new one I’m writing this on broke within the first month and had to be sent away for a new hard drive. It lacks the mental toughness to really be in here. Sometimes, so do I. But that’s not anything I can change. I have certain expectations from my laptops: I don’t have a dog to kick.

It’s been raining for three days non-stop. I’ve been drunk, and now I’ve groped for some diazepam to take the edge off the grey day and the visit of my CPN. She will notice my slowed down thinking and speech, but then I have a Psychiatric diagnosis assessed as ‘High’ and risk as ‘Moderate to High.’ I guess that’s a good enough reason to take meds. Therapeutically, you understand. Which leads me to think about the fact I have a new Psychiatrist – the third in a little over a year. And it’s a man. Bad news. Means plans are in place to accompany me to at least my first appointment with him. Terrible really, that I can’t be trusted, and can’t trust myself, in case he provokes or upsets me. What a let down.

And that’s that today. No weird news, no intention to self-harm, or crazy stories from the past, and no sign of Bigfoot. Just me at the same old desk staring out at the rain and watching for the gate to open and my CPN to knock gingerly at the back door. She’ll refuse a drink as always, give weird eye contact, read the riot act, then tell me how well I’m doing. It’s a hard way to make a living.

In the Village

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Here in the morning candlelight. Grey outside. Gypsies have moved into the area at the bottom of the rocks up from my house. The villagers are scared but I walked through their caravans and couldn’t see why. Polished milk churns. Fake squares of grass outside immaculate doors. Smiles. No fear.

I failed yesterday to convince my CPN to mediate with my Psychiatrist to get me on an experimental LSD microdosing programme. Nice try. At the end of her visit I thanked her for always taking the time to listen to my bullshit. I wished her luck and a peaceful weekend away from the crazies. When she left I locked the gate and took my meds. And prayed up high to something. Same words every time – ‘Stop the wars, the killing, hatred, spread love, care for the frightened, protect my loved ones, protect me.’

The prayer failed. War is still rank and carefree, missiles and bombs, and people burned alive in cages like rats for reasons I can’t make sense of. Humans stink, and the lock on my gate outside isn’t ever going to be strong enough to stop the stench and the terror from getting to me in here.

Is anyone out there, or is everyone in Subway reading facebook on their IPhone? Kittens falling over. Dogs laughing. Hideous motivational quotes dreamed up by assholes with no sense of shame or reality. Banter and the shitfest of unsophisticated communication rammed down throats till you can’t speak for yourself any more without saying ‘So,’ at the beginning of every sentence. A stolen and copied verbal tick. The right language to be in control and self-assured. Using the accepted verbal cues. These things are vital if you want to fit in – if a banal communion is your goal.


I ask myself: what can I do?

A: Nothing.

Train of thought gone. Concentration fucked after, what, 312 words. Awful.

I’m going back to staring out of the window and watching for something that’ll never turn up. Blasted on meds, keeping a lid on it all in this tiny village high up in the British hills, dodging my elderly neighbour who only wants to talk. And to stop feeling lonely too.

Cruel questions

The decapitated wasp head still bit and chewed at anything in front of it’s face. Meanwhile, a little further away on the windowsill, the body arched and the tiny black needle stinger jabbed and jabbed. I watched the two separate parts do this for twenty minutes, sometimes prodding and leaning right in close for a better look. Was the wasp alive or were the spasms of post-death aping the angry feelings of a yellow and black soul? As an eight year old I couldn’t work it out. I still can’t, come to think of it. I guess I could look it up right now but I think it’ll change an entire perspective I have of cruelty, death, and the religious ideology of a warped little boy. And memories can’t remake themselves, I don’t care what some bearded Nobel prize-winner tells me after being locked in a laboratory for ten years. Lab chemicals can do strange things to a mind, and so can academic isolation. As an eight year old I tested things for myself: ‘O Lord receive this wasp…..shit, is it dead yet? Send me a sign.’ Nothing.

A poll of UK Christians yesterday showed that a little less than three quarters of them believed in the resurrection of Jesus following his crucifixion, and just over half of all Christians said they believed in Heaven/Hell/some form of afterlife. Is this important?

I don’t know. And I doubt you do either. There’s only one way of finding out and we’ll all get our answer to that particular sticky question in the end – heart attack, eaten by a bear, it doesn’t matter how you get there, just be assured you will eventually see the truth. Or not. One thing for certain is you’ll never be able to tell the answer to the rest of us back here scrabbling in the human filth of massacres, war, and enforced poverty. It’s hard to hear spiritual whispers when you’re choking on nerve agents or blown out of your hospital bed by a cruise missile.

Too many horrifying things in the News today. Too many to list and actively mull over with any sense of focus or clarity. Too much death and too many powerful countries circling each other waving bombs that could destroy the world many times over – wasps included. Why? The Psychiatrists tell me I’m crazy, but right now I wonder if it’s you instead. Why not? Indeed.

Today I will not torture anything or anyone, I won’t kill, and I promise I will try to stay alive. Questions are ok, but only if you are ready for the answers.


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Trouble is brewing. In a post-crisis diazepam haze yesterday I worked for a while then got sucked into YouTube and watching the opening blows of an impending Traveller war in the UK. Big scary men brandishing sunken-knuckle fists, talking quickly in Irish lilt, threatening each other in bizarre home videos – ramping up the violence, shaking with rage, shouting – while the people of the annual horse fair village of Appleby sleep less soundly in their beds.

A guy didn’t show to fight another guy. In the dark of a bad quality phone recording at night a stocky man in a balaclava ranted his piece to camera while waving a sawn-off shotgun. Then somebody called Tommy Joyce offered to dig up the recently deceased wife of another Traveller and fuck her in front of him. I stopped watching after that. I have too many wars of my own to get wrapped up in grave robbing and necrophilia.

I’m finding things difficult right now. It started yesterday at the high point of a long walk up into the hills. I wondered if I just had too much to look down on in all ways up there. Too much to view, with all the bad bits mixed into the good parts. Reflection and contemplation are supposed to be good, but I can’t stand it. Hence the panic, then the tablets. I felt so small and unable to change a single fucking thing in my life. I don’t know what I like any more, I just know what I hate.

Just read all that back.

What another load of self-indulgent whinging.

My CPN is due in a few hours. I’m lost and today is another write-off.

Some say that people enjoy wallowing in fragile mental states – that mental illness is whacky and kooky. Not me. It’s ruined my life. I am tired of fighting it all. I feel beaten-up, sometimes I’m bloody, too. I punched myself so many times last night that my stomach feels like a bag of minced steak. There is no air in here, the music playing in the background is the only thing that’s tying me to being in the present, able to type; got to stop looking up at the treeline and wondering what’s watching me.

A bad day. Things aren’t working out. Confusion. Marble works and mice, dugong swimming, help, Cortez the Killer, bright yellow flowers outside the window, apple blossom, grey skies, shark attacks, the eventual grey goo, mocking laughter, and a whirlpool up high above me, drawing me up.


Walk through this

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Along the disused railway track, dawn sun and ghost chuffchuffing and furious imaginary steaming sounds from the engine shed at the top of the mile long incline through the woods. The view point was empty. Flowers on the ground by the edge, sheer drop, hills stretching into the distance. Down below over the other side at the base of the wall I could see a small pile of ashes in the meadow, a loved one’s final wish to remain up here forever. I know what human ashes look like – white grains, tears, too few to possibly have ever been a person. I was stressing about the weekend, not thinking of death so much, but still panicked and reached for the tablets in my rucksack for calm, still breath, wobbly walk, fuzzy logic, peace.

The sun broke clear on the towpath along the canal and back into my village in the clear air of a middle England morning, leaves beginning to break free of glistening buds in the sky above, spring, wild garlic scent, doubt, fear, self-loathing, no confidence, end it all?

Back home, music on, change into old nightshirt and sit at this desk with the birds outside hopping and feeding on the mealworms I’ve given them, waiting for the afternoon and the sunlight through the windows in front of me. There is no focus, nothing but the grim sense of doom and a fight against the jumbled thoughts collapsing into one another, whirlpool, oil slick.

The screaming brakes of a truck splits the music and howls into the distance down the hill and into the junction by the tiny collection of shops, heading out out out and away from the gravity of living up high and in danger. There is a whisper in here, in the dark corners, a mocking voice starts up and tells me I am worthless. Strung out, heart pounding, clueless and directionless, no response from me except to nod my head and accept all the confusion. Dead pan. Waiting for something.

The Summer job

‘God….when we’re leaving work I keep looking at her out of the corner of my eye sitting there next to me as I’m driving. I get a hard on.’

‘Yeah? Aren’t you a bit old for her, Vic?’ I replied.

‘I don’t care.’ He paused for a few seconds, playing an image in his mind. ‘You know, sometimes I think about raping her.’


‘I think about just pulling the car over somewhere quiet and raping her.’

And so that conversation ended. We were sitting in a work canteen in the hot summer of 1992. I was 18 and this was a shitty summer job at a bottle packing plant. It paid £1.09 an hour. I had to pack thirty thousand coke bottles into crates every day. Me and my work partner held the factory record – one hundred and fifteen thousand bottles packed between us in an eight hour shift. We weren’t proud. It was back breaking dirty work, but when you finished each afternoon you were too tired to go spend the money, so things mounted up until the weekends. Then I’d get wasted for two days.

The plant employed around a hundred men and women. It was the last stop before unemployment made sense in all ways. The employees were either elderly, infirm, or had some form of learning difficulties that were, as yet, undiagnosed. Then there were the drifters and the chancers – too slack to get a proper job, or fired from everything else up the ladder so they eventually slid back down into this cesspool. Nobody laughed, talking was banned, and the radio played over the sound of clinking glass at a volume where you could never tell what was on.

Vic was about late fifties. He had a big belly and smelled like cabbages. The girl he had been talking about was my age, pretty, and unaware of Vic’s fantasies. This had been a tough conversation to be a part of. Afterwards I felt dirty, complicit in a crime. I went to the girl and told her to watch herself with Vic when he gave her a lift. She laughed, but I noticed her at the bus stop after work that day. She took the bus home every day after that.

Vic never managed to get his hard on near her. I was sure he’d die soon of a heart attack anyhow. It was the kind of karmic justice I thought only right in his case. Painful death for Vic, and the people who had filled the toilet walls with at least a thousand wiped bogeys, bits of shit and, a few times, long dribbles of sperm. There was no hope in that place. Everybody had given up theirs a long time ago. It was the way of things in an ex-mining town. Jobs were hard to come by and taking one as low paid as this meant swallowing some pride for many. And, if you aren’t careful, before you know it you’ve given up. I could walk away back into middle class safety and education, the others were doomed to wiping shit on the walls and talking about rape as if it were the same as playing football after work. There was no hope for the people who depended on that place to pay bills and put food on tables. Where was Orwell’s noble working class? Sure as shit wasn’t in there. These people were a step away from ripping women to shreds and eating the remains. Every morning I’d clock in and pray that I wouldn’t witness something worse than the day before. They were three long months.

I left at the end of the summer and went back to college sorer, slightly richer, but feeling sick to the stomach that I’d maybe seen a slice of the real world for the first time. And if that was the case then I didn’t fit into it. What had we come to as a society when we paid peanuts to people and put them into an unwinnable situation where they felt so out of kilter? Was every work place like this? Was my future heading in the direction of jacking off onto toilet walls? I was confused, but at least I had some spare cash. Two weeks after finishing my summer job I had spent every penny of the money I’d saved from working there on drugs and booze; a pathetic middle class boy. Some people would say that was a waste, but not me. I never had to go back to the factory and I used those two weeks to think of everything I’d learned about the real world. Those thoughts became, in time, a self fulfilling prophecy, a mantra of sorts. ‘No hope for any of us.’


Feathered friends

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I’m just typing this for the sake of typing. Spent the morning reading Jack Kerouac, listening to Charlie Parker, Metallica, Primal Scream, and reading the depressing news that is ever-Trump. He’s a verruca on the sole of every foot.

It’s raining today, and colder. The birds have started shitting in the meal worm feeder I’ve stuck on my window near my desk. There goes a Robin, darts in, evil glance at me, eats, turns, watches for predators, shits, leaves. Pretty much sums up life at the moment.

I’m waiting for my girlfriend – we’re going to a tiny cinema up the hill tonight to watch the new Trainspotting movie. I am tempted to overdo my meds; seemed the right thing, on the face of it. But on reflection it’s  a crappy hipster thing to do: just trying to tie myself to the last movie by virtue of getting fucked up. I’m balder, fatter, more tired, and haven’t learned a fucking thing in those twenty (20?) years. We’re going with two of her friends – one of whom is a schoolteacher, the other an insurance salesman. They are pretty decent humans. I must remember that nobody wants to hear about the time I spent a week in a Belgian forest with Tyson Fury and his extensive family. Or that I met serial Killers in jail. Or that sometimes I wish I was dead. It’s been a strange life. Too much to explain, even if I wanted to. Laugh in all the right places, that’s the key. Then spend the rest of the time trying not to disassociate, or feel bad for being alive.

Right, that’s enough. I’m beginning to wonder what the point of this blog is? I know it’s self-indulgent, but does it serve another purpose? Is it the last will and testament of a fucked-up old man? A manual of how not to do things? Is it a diary, or a train-of-thought diatribe consigned to the ether, with no readers, for no good reason?

BAM – the fucking Robin slams into the feeder, evil intent, trying to frighten me – it succeeded. My fingers reached for a brass candlestick on my desk. The birds are relentless today. Anything could appear next, harassing me, laughing at me sitting here at my old desk in the cold in an old jumper, scowling at the screen. My fingers are freezing. I am out of ideas. Will this ever end?

Round One

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The first Trauma therapy session was a mixed bag. I like my Psychologist – she’s very intelligent, empathetic, and doesn’t mind challenging me when she thinks it’s appropriate. It’s a good therapeutic relationship. She’s excellent at her job. the problem is not with her, it’s with the subject matter. For an hour yesterday I reeled off a few examples of things which happened a long time ago; shrugged them off like nothing, like I’ve always done. They are stories which I won’t go into right now but the script will be familiar to many. They fall out of my mouth like an alcoholic telling a room about the time he last got drunk. It was easy. It’s always easy, and yesterday felt no different while I was going through the details – actually saying the words.

My Psychologist stopped the horror stories at the end of the hour and asked me what I was going to do afterwards. I told her I felt like getting drunk so I didn’t have to think about what we’d just talked about. That, or take more pills than usual. I had a headache and I was telling the truth. I expected a tut and a metaphorical slap on the wrist, but she stared at me for a few seconds then said: ‘This therapy is not an intellectual exercise. This is about feeling and how you feel in the time between sessions. Now, it might be the case you feel awful, but you need to sit with it and watch those feelings with the mind of an inquisitor. Why do you feel like that? Got it?’

I got it alright. But I walked out of the hospital and into the sunshine feeling pretty good that the process had started. I felt positive. The world was going to get better. I got in the car and tried not to think about what we’d talked about for the past hour. I would drive to my girlfriend’s and enjoy my evening with the family, path to healing started. The good feeling lasted about twenty minutes. Then a cold, unfamiliar type of anger began to rise up from the inside of my chest, stone-faced, primal. I could have murdered somebody, anybody, if they gave me the slightest reason. The coldness of it shook me. I stopped at a garage and bought booze, knowing I hadn’t got my psyche right to do what my psychologist asked and just watch the emotion. Things were too far gone for that. Medicine was needed. Under the counter. Off-prescription charts. Safe old obliteration.

At my girlfriend’s home I felt safe, but there was an inner something that had woken – one of the old monsters I’d shut away for many years. He/it was back. I marshalled it into it’s box with some beer and codeine and locked the gate. I didn’t want to feel that old hurt. There, in plain sight for the first time, was a glimmer of the root of the thing.

Good Therapy is powerful, so they say. This, I now believe to be true. Where it ends is still a mystery, a bit like a Prizefight or a Primal Scream record. This is just the start, chillingly. Already I feel punch-weary. Round one to the past.