The Midnight Monster

Image result for bigfoot

It had been a bad night again. Not down to the meds this time. I think I’d fallen asleep around 11pm, laptop still on next to the bed. The air was hot from a day in the heatwave. The stone house had retained the warmth and was releasing it slowly, cooking me. A dog barked, waking me up. I kicked the duvet off and lay there on my back, naked, the dog barking and barking out the back somewhere. The thing wasn’t happy, wherever it was. There was aggression in its voice.

Behind my house is just miles of countryside. Probably ten miles in a straight line from my back door to the nearest house in that direction. It’s quiet, and sometimes you can see the Milky Way up there, and those fools in the Space Station. Noise around here means you should be alert. Noise doesn’t herald anything of any good out here. You learn to take notice of sounds when the nights are usually deep silence.

From over the hill the sound of Sheep baaaaaa baaaaaa, bleating and concerned. I got up and looked out of the window expecting to see a flock of loose sheep behind my house, or the pack of Wolverines chasing them. Nothing. I scanned around but the place looked still. Getting back into bed, I grabbed my Mag-Light torch, and wondered if it was worth going downstairs to get my axe – kept by the back door in case of emergencies – but I reckoned I needed more evidence and reason before I introduced a large sharp steel blade to the night. I turned off the laptop and fell asleep.

3am – I was woken hideously from a dream about riding Bill Gates around a Horse Track. Something had let out a yell outside. The dog barked again, scared, yelping. Silence, then a terrifying scream, something so cutting and bizarre that I reached for the torch without thinking. No animal I’d ever heard could make a noise like that. There it was again. A high pitched, blood-curdling shriek that sounded like it ended in a laugh. I lay there, heart beating faster, waiting for it to yell again so I could judge how far it was from my home and, more importantly, my open windows.

I thought of Bigfoot. Shit, he’d be able to climb into my upstairs windows without much effort. I imagined myself being dragged outside like the Skyscraper scene from King Kong, naked, flailing weakly as I was carried off into the night. No point worrying, I told myself, things will take their course as they always do. I waited until it was starting to get light. Nothing. No more screams, no more barking. I sensed a change outside. Birds were starting to sing, the darkness ushered out by the promise of another fine day. I got up and drew back the curtains knowing whatever had been terrorising me had gone. I was right. A beautiful dawn, orange sky, green trees, dewy grass, monster-less. I had survived another attack. In calm, rational, early morning serenity I made my way downstairs chuckling to myself at how stupid I’d been. Light makes even the worst coward braver than he was when he couldn’t see what was coming. Was any of it even real? When you have a psychotic mental illness that question is one you ask yourself a lot. And you learn to appreciate how much of a target you are. There are many monsters out to get us, real or imagined. In the dark there is no difference between the two.



Image result for irish travellers bare knuckle fighting

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

Image result for sheep incline cromford

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.

Cogito Ergo Sum

I never dream of being rich. Sometimes I think it’s because I’m happy with my poverty – less cash equals less ‘things’ and less stress. Less stuff means you have more time to think and feel that you’re alive. Cogito Ergo Sum, you see.

But enough about old French Philosophy and Latin phrases you can hang a noose on. These things aren’t helpful on the wide plains of life when a posse is closing in and you are riding a lame horse. Anyhow, Rene Descartes didn’t live for a single second longer because he realised he could prove his own existence. And neither will you.

I guess the real reason I never dream of wealth is that some day I’ll inherit it. The safety net is below me at all times. It’s an ugly truth and, actually, I’m not proud of it. But being crazy is easier when you go all the way – suicide attempts, symptomatic check-boxing, poverty, loneliness, alienation. In my experience you either go all the way in and accept the whole smorgasbord of mental illness, or you are derided by everybody. It’s easier to make snide comments behind the back of someone who’s half functioning than it is to mock someone laying in a pool of their own blood and vomit. Am I right? Of course I am. I’ve been there, I’ve lain there. Nobody laughed at my suicide attempts, but they were lining up beforehand to crack jokes. I suppose people got the proof from me that they needed. Didn’t make me feel any better either way.


Where does that leave us?

I’m not sure. I was alright about this whole thing until I started to think about waking up staring down at my own vomit. The stuffing has been knocked out of me now. What was I talking about? Wealth…yeah that was it. Seems so fucking stupid in the scheme of what is going through my head at the moment. The screen is blurry, mind isn’t still, body is itching to move out of danger. Yet I’m still typing. Bizarre.

Medication. That’s the key here. This post has turned from something bad to something worse. That is the way of things, generally, as it goes. There must be a DBT skill somewhere at the back of my mind. Nope. Can’t think of it.

I need to go out into the sunshine. Take a moment to think. Ground myself in the knowledge I’m alive. I guess Descartes was no fool after all.

Back for more

Image result for bigfoot

He’s out there again. Don’t ask me how I know, I just know. Bigfoot. I haven’t seen him yet this time but he’s up there in the treeline heading up into the nature reserve. He’s keeping hidden and he’s watching me as I sit at my large desk by a small window at the back of my home. This is interesting for a number of reasons –

  1. I live in the UK, where there just isn’t any Bigfoot legend to speak of.
  2. I don’t believe in Bigfoot.
  3. I am mentally ill.

With those points in mind it’s kind of uber crazy that I’m sitting here typing, watching up at the tangled mass of trees a hundred meters away, seeing nothing at all, but having the completely nailed on feeling Bigfoot is up there right now…right now. I’m watching for branches moving, something to be out of place, birds to fly up shrieking or, god forbid, he actually crashes out of the treeline and makes for me. Insane, eh?

I have seen him a few times in my life. He’s been a portent of doom or terror, usually hanging around when the going got bad as a kid. And he never really left. He’s a harbinger of bad things – except that one time where he just stood and kind of held up his hand to me, waving; friendly monster.

It’s ludicrous. I mean, intellectually, the whole thing makes no sense at all. And I’d like to hang all my thoughts on that statement right now, except I know he’s up there. I can’t explain it. I’ve not taken any LSD, or anything at all apart from the usual and some Earl Grey tea. You know how ridiculous this all sounds? Imagine typing it.

I can’t take my eyes off the treeline.

No birds around – is that a good thing?

Have I done something wrong? Am I being punished for it?

Something could live up there unseen, I mean it’s a big uninhabited place, the Derbyshire Dales.

Sometimes it’s a friendly feeling, having him around, but I don’t get that today.

What kind of effort would it take for me to go up there right now? Seek him out. I guess what I’ll do is have another cup of tea and let this pass, as it always does. There’s nothing to worry about. Calm is called for. This is a trick. A brain-screw. I’m safe and he’s not real. Like a malfunctioning brain or a Donald Trump speech, many things can fool you.

Out there at the Perimeter

  • A skeleton has been found in Greece nestled in a deserted cove or beach. The police think it is the last remains of Steven Cook, who disappeared there twelve years ago. They say a disposable camera was found with the bones. I wonder what the pictures are.
  • Donald Trump says we’re all liars and only he has the truth.
  • Tony Blair wants the UK to rethink its conscience: laughable and ironic.
  • The birds in my garden have started to watch me.

And that, my friends, is the news today. Full of bad intentions, bad outcomes, and even worse futures. There is little to smile about – even the anti-psychotics I’m prescribed are giving me headaches – and much less to get up in the mornings for. I’m constantly burning incense sticks in my house to try and drive evil away but the forces pile up some days against my doors like dirty great snowdrifts. They seep through cracks and into my home with supine intentions for me. It’s not a situation to be envious of.

In the dead of night I sometimes wonder if there is any point to anything good going on out there in the land beyond my triple locked doors. After listening to the neighbour’s headboard banging for a while until he reaches climax, I turn my good ear to the pillow and think of reasons to live. If nothing else, it gives me a sense of purpose. Sometimes I get up watch the stars out of my window, and blink in the moonlight. The universe deserves better than all of the above. Where we are is just on the dumb perimeter of something more magical than we’ll know in my lifetime. There’s just that big-assed fucking thing in the way. Call it mental illness, call it actually being awake when others are asleep in more ways than one. It’s an inescapable barrier which is dooming me to sadness. Right now I’m just stuck.



Sharkfin Blues Liddiard

Depression. Solid gold bottomed out bummer. Black as the eye of the night. Never thought I suffered with it myself but I guess that’s because there are other more complicated things thrown in the bucket along with it. Like lack of sense of self….or sense of time and place. Throw in that shitty music I hear when I’m stressed, and the hissing voice that tells me how bad I am, the odd hallucination, and we’re almost there. Fun times.

But depression is something that people find debilitating. I looked down my nose at the depressed at first when I found out what my diagnosis was (Bipolar, then Borderline Personality Disorder) because I thought in the league table of being fucked up I ranked highly. I didn’t want to, it was just how it felt for a long, long time. But all that has changed. Depression is no better or worse than me, you, any Psychiatric diagnosis going – except maybe the Paranoid Schizophrenics who can’t be left in a room alone for even a minute. I guess they have the edge over my shit.

Like I said, I don’t have a true handle on the clinically depressed, because it ain’t me, but I think I know enough now to say I don’t envy them. Maybe their road isn’t my road, but at least I can see where it is on the map now. There was no epiphany, no single moment of realisation, just a gradual growing respect for those who can’t see the way past the edge of the foggy gloom. I’m taken on rocket rides through a series of emotions, out of control and intense, but just to feel sadness and nothing else….man…

There are so many of us out there whispering our stories out into the hurricane, blown away before they reach an ear. I’m one of them sitting here just writing this, but don’t give it a second thought. Do what you have to to get well; feel better; stay afloat. We are all we’ve got.

Like usual, I can’t explain myself properly, which I will punish myself for at some point tonight.. Love to all of you who struggle with the things in your head that don’t work as they should. We are many, and we are brothers and sisters in one mixed up battle to find some good in being alive. It’s the key to everything.

The final words on the subject are from Gareth Liddiard –

The Frying pan and the meds

“Nobody owns life, but anyone who can pick up a frying pan owns death.”
― William S Burroughs

“Do do do, come on and do the conga” – Black Lace

The above two quotes sum up the operating level of the world right now. On the one hand we have a superficial gibberish that provokes disbelief and rage, and on the other the stark truth in the fragility of life; in our case the frying pan has been picked up by the worst person possible…..and he’s heading your way with it raised above his head, bloodlust in his eyes, and a permanent erection.

I’m sick of the racist diatribe pounding out there in the ether. I’m sick of the politics of, well….hatred. I’ve lost faith in humans to do the right thing. I’ve even lost faith in my vocabulary to adequately explain how I feel about it all. At first I put it down to the more regimented medication routine I’ve been half-forced onto, but I think, if anything, the meds (Codeine, Pregabalin, Flupentixol, Diazepam) are helping, not hindering. Some might say it’s almost a dream medication ticket – Willy Wonka Gold, for a few really rabid med freaks – but I’ve come to the conclusion it’s helping me out of a hole at the moment.

Boo hoo, you say? I’ve got it tough too, Ben, you self-indulgent twat. Yeah, I get it. I make no apologies for it. In fact, fuck you. Empathy is the way forward if we are all going to get out of here alive. We have more important things to think about than horror story comparisons and league tables of the bad things in our respective lives.

There will never be another time like we have now to make things happen, to change the wheel and give the World a chance. Aliens may be on their way to put us down, and I can already hear Satan masturbating. The land is growing desolate while we grow fat and blind like lab mice waiting for our masters to chuck us another biscuit. Take notice of what’s happening before we end up in the grey goo of progress, or the searing heat of exploded plutonium.

No medication will help you then. Not even mine.

Supermarket Psychosis for Dummies

I was deep into the Supermarket – maybe a hundred feet from the entrance – right in the heart of the beast. It was busy. Grey-haired couples sloped by; arthritic legs and arms and weirdly angled heads, pushing shopping carts slowly but with purpose. Kids hung onto mums filling their silver wire vehicles with pre-packaged meals, chocolate and wine. Cheap wine; numbing the pain of the Saturday night marriage consummation re-run. Nowadays more extreme, but less satisfying.

Tired shop assistants handled the goods on shelving units stretching up into the sky. When two of them met, the conversation was solely about the whereabouts in time of their respective breaks. Shit work pays bills…only. Gossiping Pensioners swapped stories of recent ill health and death by the fish counter.

“He was only laughing that morning….   Shock to us all…  Doctor says I’ll have to have an operation…. Funeral… good turn out. Shame.”

The Tannoy cut the chatter with toned-down Nazi instructions for ‘all operatives’ to man the tills. Nobody moved in case they were sent to the front line and ground into chum under the weight of a trillion ready meals and gallons of cheap cider. The air turned to water. Faces moved along in symbiosis with the carts. Robot beings sent to watch me in the deep. I struggled breathing down here. They had to be avoided because the real powers on the surface were looking for me and guided these probes with their vehicles just to find out who was real. I was real. Yeah? No…get out.

I waded through the soupy water and pushed a cart away near the first signs of land in the vegetable aisle. “Fucking hunters,” I caught someone say. It was me. I was talking to them all as I passed their hideous raptor faces. Gripped my basket tight, then dropped it by the exit. In the car park the sky came down and I had to sit by a low wall to stop my head hitting the ceiling of the world. The cars coughed and wheeled around the narrow lands beyond the cash machines, searching for the unwary. Faceless drivers hunched over under the weight of the demonic orders they’d been given. It was all just a matter of time…

Light closed in.

When I opened my eyes again the sky was back to normal. A woman stopped to watch me sitting there, looking homeless and out of place right outside the Church of The Eternal Supermarket. I was just a heretic, not fit for prayer in the Temple. Best way.

Fervour (Attic part Two)


‘There’s a war going on out there, Ben. Today the battle is raging and you need all the help you can get.’

Man….he was right, even if he didn’t know which direction the battle was in. The over-large cycle helmet, trousers in cycle clips at the ankles, and functional backpack made him look like someone vulnerable. The thing he was clutching in his left hand as we talked looked like a wooden ninja star. I joked about it but he was deadly serious.

‘It’s a holding Cross,’ he said. ‘It wards off Evil.’

I stopped laughing. He was deep into it. Against all other failures to understand people, one thing I know is you should never piss on someone else’s religious beliefs, no matter how bat-shit crazy they may appear. I mean, fuck, who am I to judge anyhow? I’ve seen things flying about, heard voices, been tapped straight into some supreme being’s femoral vein more than once. Tolerance isn’t just something you know you should exhibit, it’s something you feel. 

He was on my Team, I was his boss – laughable really – and he was a Police Officer at the end of a long and boring and fruitless career. Now, following a seventies conversion by the Rev Billy Graham at a huge open air Christian love-in, he was into his beliefs in a big way. The penny dropped when he told me about the holding cross.

‘Oh….yeah….I suppose. Martin, do you really think there’s a war?’

‘I have no doubt.’ He stared right at me with purpose and religious affliction. Unblinking, full of fervour and powerful New Testament gibberish. ‘Satan is testing us all. His time has come and we need to be ready to fight; mankind needs to be ready.’

I said I had to leave. Conversations like that were unhelpful at the time when I was heading back home to piss into a glass in an attic room for fear of coming out of the room and facing world. It was easier than having to talk to my girlfriend, and helped avoid those eyes of hers she always used like Jedi mind control. It was a self-imposed exile that was serving a purpose. I was getting sicker. What I didn’t need was to feed images in my mind of Satan rearing a thousand feet over my cul-de-sac while the dark early morning hours chugged by like greasy black slugs. No. Who does? Martin didn’t know my backstory, it wasn’t his fault. I liked him. He even bought me a bible one time – one of those expensive leather bound ones. He’d signed it “I’m so happy you’re in God’s Team now.” I couldn’t tell him I wasn’t. I mean, how do you go about making someone like him understand that you don’t believe what they do without that someone getting hurt? These things have, in my experience, a tendency to turn violent from time to time. Messy, protracted, shouting, shoving. All bad, however you look at it and whichever side you’re on.

I watched from my attic skylight that night. The sky was clear. I could hear my nearly ex-girlfriend downstairs in the bedroom on the phone telling the guy with the spiders how much she was looking forward to fucking him again. She really wanted his cock so badly, so she said. In my mind his member was already there and she was speaking those words right into it in the warm night. The stars were barely visible over the artificial streetlight dome cast up by our shitty new estate. I looked for Hercules with his sword and shield and belt and massive frame. He held sway over the sky. He’d deal with Satan alright, if he did manage to show a horn or two around here. I found the outline of his belt up there but couldn’t see much more than a bit of one leg. He was useless when faced with a couple of orange street lamps. Satan would murder him with less trouble than my girlfriend was going to have with that “huge, gorgeous, pulsating cock,” downstairs. Walk in the park. She was a fucking machine, when she was in the mood.

Next day, Martin took me to one side and told me he’d heard a sermon last night. The Preacher said we needed to get serious with our lives, the end was in sight – Fire raining from the sky; ‘Blessed is the one who stays awake and remains clothed, so as not to go naked and be shamefully exposed…Then they gathered at the place named Armageddon. Don’t forget that, Ben,’ he said.

I agreed, out of cowardice, but he was wrong. There was a lot of nakedness, and more, going on but there was no end in sight for me at the mercy of any fantastical being. Just the little man-made tablets I had stockpiled at home. Held in one trembling hand. Stigmata-free.