See ya at the Gun Store..

There were times I am retrospectively thankful I didn’t have access to a gun. Lots of times. In fact, those occasions haven’t stopped. I have sat in utter rage, resplendent with tremors, grinding teeth, clenched fists, tense muscles, and wished I had my finger on a trigger and a quick route to someone’s house or place of work. Then there were the other times when I was just so very sad that I wished I had a .45 pointed at my head. Boom. All hurt gone forever. Whichever way you look at it, firearms are something which wouldn’t have enriched my life in a positive manner.

But I heard yesterday that Trump signed a Bill making it easier for people like me (people with mental health problems) to go out and buy a gun in America. Why did he do that?

I thought about the answer to that question this morning but I can’t fathom an answer which isn’t about Satanic Cults or some warped attempt to ethnically cleanse the USA. Nothing made sense. Guns on streets tend to kill folks when wielded by normal people, imagine the scene if a hundred thousand pretty mentally ill people all had an M16. Blat blat blat on every street corner, or lonely bedsit, or simply in a living room while the kids are asleep upstairs; one small sentence hastily scribbled on the back of a shopping list to explain why to the people who would want to know.

Trump has enabled a lot of death with that one signature. I can almost feel the death creeping over the Atlantic and oozing into my pores right now. It’s gun metal gray, and it stinks. The whole thing reeks of Eugenics.

I guess at my worst I’d have been on several killing sprees if I’d have been able to get away with them, and I’m positive my brain would have been blasted onto an off-white ceiling leaving rich hues and dripping bloody stalactites. I’m serious. Big things happen with collapsing mental health and guns. Ask a history teacher. They are one of the worst combinations imaginable. Much worse than macaroni cheese and sausages. They are a recipe for grief and death. Guaranteed instant results every time.

There are few things to thank modern politicians for, but living in a country where guns are hard to come by is one of them. Small mercies and all that… But this is the UK. Today in the US people with mental health problems already have a gun and some of them will die, or kill others, or both. Now the future is much worse for the Nutters, and the innocent bystanders, thanks to Trump. But we’re only the loonies, after all. Heading straight into Hell. See ya’ll at the gun store.

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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.

Guide dogs for the disenchanted

Prison dogs are divided into two types, for two specific jobs: the sniffer dog and the attack dog. There is no problem mistaking the difference. The sniffer dog is medium sized, energetic, and non-threatening, and the attack dog is large, mean, and leaves you with no sense of safety….at all. Then there is the greatest difference: one dog’s work is open for all to see, the other’s is taking place in the atomic nuances of the unseen and the undetectable (by humans, anyway). But the thing is, unless you’ve forgotten, all dogs have sharp teeth no matter what the type.

A dog is not just a dog until you get past the facade and down to brass tacks. When all is said and done, when threatened, all dogs will bite. Same goes for most entities, species, forms of sentient life, even Donald Trump, but especially voters.

I read this morning that his approval rating polls are the lowest of any President at any time, with the exception of Nixon on the day of his resignation following the Watergate scandal. That means he is thought worse of than that bungling fool Bush Jr, the stuffed owl of Ronald Reagan, and that fellatio-addict, Clinton. Take a moment, like Monica’s dress, to let that sink in.

And these ratings are before Trump goes about his ridiculous plans. This is the very best he will ever rate. The thin-skinned Trump won’t take this knowledge easily. It won’t sit well with him. He doesn’t even drink, so I guess the only outlet for the eventual frustration is going to be sexually assaulting women, or blowing something up at the end of a deep push on a button a long, long, way from the resulting hot blast. He didn’t really want to be President, and we are all going to rue that small and simple truth before this game is through. He is being carried by a misguided arrogance and a sense of warped pride that he saw the thing to the end, despite not even really being serious when he first put his name forward on the back of flagging tv ratings for his piss-poor ‘Apprentice’ show. What started out as a simple PR stunt turned into a monster that Trump couldn’t, in the end, override. He simply had to see it through or forever doom himself to self-imposed loser and failure status in his own mind. It was out of his hands from the day long ago when his brain told itself that money and power were the only symbols of success.

When Trump’s ego starts to rage and make petulant decisions that negatively affect the Bible belt of the USA, Trump voters will accept that they have been duped. They’ll also realise that they are stupid. And nobody likes to feel stupid. The next logical step is always anger. Genuine mass anger is a sight to behold, and we’ll see it soon enough.

But what do I know? I’m just a guy with a mental health problem who is sometimes let down by his own mind. In that regard I suppose you could say I’m a mirror image of Trump. The main difference between us, though, is that I’ve always had the ability to know a dog when I see one.

Curse ye no more…

Trump is sworn in tomorrow. It’s one of those moments in time that will be a) important in terms of world history and, b) a pinpoint of cosmic terror that I’m glad I’m not in tear gas range of. Nobody likes to be caught up in a riot, much the same as they don’t enjoy being in the way of a combine harvester. One side always wins. I’ve only ever been in one true riot – prison – and I was on the winning side. Didn’t mean I felt any better about the whole experience. Being a winner in a riot made me feel sick, like the time I watched four Police officers kick the shit out of some poor sap in a Holding Cell. It was all begging and screaming and the dull whacks of polished boots on restrained ribs; an unfair fight completely devoid of righteous motivation, or care of the consequences. I can still hear his sobs right now over the music I’m listening to. I was angry about the truth that day, but there is no truer lesson in winning and losing than losing your house and job on the back of getting sacked for being right…which happened eventually.

Trump is here. He’s in my world, my planet, on the street I live in, and in my home. He pervades the blue sky like a puke-coloured gas. He walks tomorrow into the most important job in the World and he is no more qualified than you to do it. It’s really happening, but some people will try to stop it right to the last. Make no mistake, there will be more people on the streets tomorrow than there were when Bush Jr’s motorcade had to accelerate along Pennsylvania Avenue, for the first time in modern presidential history, to avoid the baying mob waiting for him to step out and try and shake a hand. No, Bush was saved by the fact his Daddy had been President, and a former head of the CIA, and was so deeply connected with the corporate world that Bush Jr would always find powerful friends in any country except North Korea. Bush Jr was plucked away on inauguration day by a completely loyal Secret Service squad who accepted their place in the scheme of things. They understood the power of connections. Trump has connections, but they are transient and not linked to the true cabal of people who really run the show. He doesn’t have friends in the CIA, FBI, or NSA, and the FSB only keep tabs on him out of morbid curiosity rather than protection. He is alone at the head of the table of weirdos he’s assembled around him like he’s casting for a remake of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.

The local cops like a good fight no matter who’s giving the orders, but there are so many people wanting blood this time on every side that their focus may well be lost in the melee. Who hits whom, and why, may be a confusing mystery when the smoke goes up. And, in a just world, Trump will be at ground zero, right in the thick of it. But… as always “In the Kingdom of swine, the one-eyed pig is king.” It’s the default life setting. He will escape physical harm to lament on Twitter, drunk in the early hours, sitting on his solid gold toilet and trying to turn the whole shit-fest into something the stupid will swallow no matter what their sense of smell is telling them.

Yes, tomorrow there will be disorder. I am sure of it. His rabid hillbilly supporters, ravaged by cheap whiskey and right wing reports of phony rapes and killings perpetrated by Muslims, Mexicans, non-whites, non-Christians, will have their jaws firmly set against any funny business during the show. They will be on the look out for anyone to grind under their cowboy boots, and there will be plenty. The rest of the USA is unhappy. They can smell the friendly fire and they want to make it all stop before they end up raising kids in a bomb shelter in Nebraska. They are prepared to fight to stop a narcissistic sociopathic, racist, misogynistic, sexual predator from waltzing down that red carpet like Fred Astaire in front of his bizarre Munster family. Make no mistake.

If you are in Washington tomorrow, lock your doors. Lock them for some false sense of protection in the riot but, more importantly, lock them from Trump and all he is yet to do.

There will be many cracked heads, sore throats, burned protest banners, and sprinklings of blood tomorrow, but it is just the start. Of all that has gone wrong in my lifetime, the worst is still down the road, but it’s coming up fast for everyone. A riot can’t stop a crazed pig, it only makes him run for longer, and take greater risks.

Take cover. Dig that bunker while you still have skin on your back.

Never get out of the boat…

The first day at the festival hadn’t been great. I’d had a phonecall as we got near the venue to tell me that my beloved Grandmother had finally died: brain cancer. Then that night I’d attacked some guy at a Steven Malkmus gig who’d been barging into me, dancing too hard I guess. Enjoying himself when I wasn’t. I’d pushed him once and told him to stop it, but he pushed back harder and that’s when it happened. We were right at the front of the gig. Before Malkmus could tell us to ‘Cool it,’ I’d grabbed the guy by the throat and was holding him there. He’d gone all limp in my hand. Fully one hundred percent drained of any fight back. Lame and white with fear. His girlfriend was beating me with her fists but it didn’t register, all I wanted to do was to hurt. Someone screamed, Malkmus looked down from above us like a divine musical conscience judging me from the ether. The girlfriend ran to get security. I came to, let him go, pushed through the crowd, and went and got drunker in a shitty bar.

But that was all history. Tomorrow was a new, and bizarre, day.

We decided to go to the on-site cinema to watch a film none of us had even bothered to read a single word about. It was the middle of the afternoon. We were sober. All we knew was it was being introduced in person by Crispin Hellion Glover (Marty McFly’s dad in the original Back to the Future film). We queued, but there was a mistake – one of the staff thought we were a band playing at the festival – and we ended up going into the cinema first and sitting on the front row about two feet from the tiny stage and screen. The rest of the front row was empty at first. We were laughing about Crispin – his dad had played an assassin in one of the Bond films. I heard a noise beside me. A guy in big platform leather/metal shoes, wearing a ripped t-shirt, old jeans, bald head, six foot five, mean expression, was standing there looking at me with his four long-haired friends. I pushed the seat next to me down and patted it, giving him a little wink and a nod. It was a joke, but he didn’t laugh. He just sat down hard next to me and growled a bit. He stunk of booze.

Crispin appeared. He looked like he’d been dipped in oil. For half an hour he gave a bizarre slide show/performance three feet from my face. He was gurning, slathering, oozing around the tiny stage, simpering into a microphone. He introduced his film by saying he’d financed it himself and filmed it in Bulgaria. He told us the theme was one of disability and boundaries. I was ok with that.

Five minutes in, my friend nudged me saying ‘Ben, we’ve got to get the fuck out of here. Something very wrong is happening and we’re in the middle of it.’ Strong words, but he was right. The film was a B Movie style story of a guy with cerebral palsy who just happened to be a paedophile going around raping children. The lead actor actually had a scene where he got his cock out and genuinely fucked a girl who was wearing calipers. No-one could quite believe what they were watching. All two hundred or so of us sat open-mouthed. Someone behind me left. It was like watching a shark attack.

There was something on my shoulder. And snoring. The big guy next to me had, even in the middle of this horror, fallen asleep on my shoulder. The film climaxed with a final rape and murder. The house lights came up. Crispin bounced onto the stage for a Q&A session. Nobody could think straight, let alone speak. Then a voice – ‘I’ve got a question, Crispin.’

‘Yeah?’

‘Do you wish hoverboards were real?’

Nervous laughter. Crispin, chained to a cult classic seemingly forever, unable to be appreciated for the art he’d always wanted to create, put his head in his hands.

The guy next to me woke up and pushed himself off of my shoulder. I left. It had been an appalling afternoon.

That evening I went to watch Sunn o)) while the others saw another band somewhere else. Sunn o)))… Look them up. It’s indescribable apart from telling you that the lead singer (singer is the wrong word….grunter? priest? Satanist?) wore an outfit that made him look like the statue of liberty after thirty years with a heavy Crack habit. Lasers shot from his fingertips in the smoke. The low frequencies of the music made the hair on the girl next to me move and vibrate. It was the most awe inspiring gig I’d ever seen. As their set finished, they pulled back their monk cowls and the singer took off his mask. It was the guy who’d fallen asleep on me in the cinema that afternoon.

In a haze I went straight out to their merch table and bought a cd. My subconscious was shattered. I probably would have done anything anyone suggested. There’s only so much your spirit can take.

That night I got drunk in a bar with a guy from Cincinnati. He was watching an American Football game dressed as an orange bear. It had been that kind of day.

Demons in the dark.. Election special

 

Just up the road from my house is a place called Demon Wood. An elderly neighbour told me that its name comes from an incident two hundred years ago when a miner was trapped in a small lead mine in the wood after part of the mine collapsed. He stayed down there in the complete dark for seven days, licking water from the rock. He also started hallucinating. He saw demons and evil pictures of monstrous events. When they eventually rescued him he couldn’t be reasoned with. He’d lost an important part of his mind down in the earth.

That miner, legend goes, took the best part of a month to stop gibbering and running away from those Demons whenever night fell. He was a broken man with no future in the lead mining business. He had seen another view of the world.

The local community took pity on him, and they also gave the name Demon Wood to the site of the lead mine. Today I can still see the small mound that marks the top of the shaft down to the Demons in the deep. I walk past it maybe three times a week. I’ve never seen any evil up there. But this morning, things are different. Evil is everywhere.

I watched the Presidential election results come in first thing. The images provoked the same sort of feelings I remember having when I watched the second plane hit the twin towers some fifteen years ago. There was nothing but disbelief in what I was witnessing. I shook my head slowly from side to side like it might rock something malfunctioning back into place. It hasn’t. It won’t ever, I guess. This morning, despite the codeine and pregabalin, the story of the miner came back to me in the rainy first light. He had had a total loss of any capability to filter what was real and what was just a hideous hallucination – a complex process of brain death, subjugation to sensory deprivation, loss of faith in everything in front of his eyes – and now only the evil remained. And that’s the overwhelming feeling right now: only the evil remains. This is all just so terrible that it can’t be real.

The truths are many, and they matter right now on this sofa. Coupled with the lies, they feed the hive-mind and they whip up the cosmos in ways we’ll never truly work out until it’s too late. If Aliens weren’t interested in our World yesterday, then….listen… You can hear the sound of Flying Saucers being cranked into gear right now. And when they get here I’ll be the first in the queue to get a lift. Shit, I’d even take a bit of laser-beaming or probing on the way just get out.

I always had faith in humans to do the right thing, to light the right torches and shine in the most needed dark places. Carry each other. Help. We are living in times now where that sentiment is dead for the foreseeable future in the places that really matter – The minds of too many people. We are each others enemy. We cannot be trusted to look after the world. Brexit/POTUS/Tory victories/Right Wing power growth/terrorism/religious intolerance/selfishness/money-accumulation/whipping the poor, just go to prove to me that the roof has collapsed on Planet Earth. I can’t make sense of any of it.

The miner sat in the dark and watched the demonic horror overwhelm him. He was powerless. Today, I am he.

Trump and Me

“Donald Trump is a fool.” Is that the right term? I thought about that question a lot last night when I was an hour into a good-natured argument with someone about the limits of excusable ‘stigma-shielded’ behaviour.

Is Donald ill? I don’t know the answer. I have pretty major suspicions, but I can’t be sure enough to bet heavily on an outcome of any psychiatric tests. That’s the crux of the thing: he really could just be a racist, misogynistic, ignorant, fool. But what if he was mentally ill?

I don’t know about you, but I am mentally ill – that’s what people with lots of letters after their names tell me. Doesn’t matter who it is, their gender, or what country they grew up in, the result is always the same after I answer their questions. In fact, they don’t even have to overtly ask me anything, so it goes. A few minutes talking to me and it’s apparently obvious to people well trained in these matters. But I don’t know the things they do. I didn’t even know I was screwed until they opened my eyes to the overdoses, the drugs, the cutting, and the punching, the anger, the hallucinations and hopelessness. And don’t forget the perpetual emptiness. They didn’t even have to dig into my past. When they eventually got around to that rotten barrel it was rubber-stamped so hard that I woke up three weeks later. I was so stupid for not realising it all. Man, I could have run for Office if the net hadn’t dropped…

But back to Donald. For arguments sake, let’s give him a personality disorder diagnosis of, say, Anti-Social and Narcissistic personality disorder. Ok with you? Let’s imagine – stay with me – that it’s a nailed on diagnosis. The man is ill. He looks to get help this week. How does that make you feel about all the hurtful shit that’s come out of his mouth over the past eighteen months? Better? Worse? I mean, after all, he’d be ill….yeah?

When I look back at my life (I’m old, but not in a wise, elder-of-the-tribe way), I can easily remember some of the awful and hateful things I’ve said when I’ve been really ill. I’ve threatened strangers in the street with violence for tiny reasons that made perfect sense at the time, I’ve said the most atrocious things to people I’ve known well. I have punched men who didn’t deserve it. I was untrustworthy in my beliefs and my view of life when even slightly psychotic – still am. From the outside, to the unknowing, I was/am a monster. But I’ve got that diagnosis to frame it all; hang it all from (no pun intended). Plus, I’m in treatment. Donald isn’t.

Officially Trump isn’t ill, so I guess we must treat him accordingly. He’s running for the Presidency of the United States of America. He’s condemning Muslims, Women, Mexicans, the Poor, and anyone who is from a demographic he perceives as weak. He’s a predator.

Trump is out there in the world, undiagnosed, free, on the cusp of putting one of his tiny hands on the Armageddon button. And millions of people (right this second the polls suggest 42% of Americans are intending to vote for him) support his version of the future. They forgive the bile that’s been spewing out of that tiny orange mouth. My supporters can be counted on one hand. Genuinely. I’ve deserved it. I’m officially unwell. There are pieces of paper in large files which will tell you just that. But it’s completely fair. I got caught. Trust me, it wins you no friends.

It’s the oldest rule going – crazy is ok, until you really are crazy. Crazy is as crazy does. It’s defined not so much by the behaviour, but by the reasons behind it. To diagnose is to confine all errant talk and action to simply…’mentally ill’. I guess that’s the real root of stigma: diagnose and be damned. It’s why Trump still has support. He’s dodged the silver bullet, and the white coats. He is free to spout his crap until his eyes roll back in his head like a shark’s while he’s chewing off Miss America’s left breast. It doesn’t matter if he’s the most dangerous man since Ted Bundy. It’ll all be brushed under an expensive carpet anyway. Until you’re caught, you’re free, right? Especially true for the poor. It is very hard to get a psychiatric diagnosis to stick on someone getting out of a private jet they bought themselves.

Trump and me? – One of us is aiming high, with hope. The other is Travis Bickle.