The Christmas Day Truce is OURS and the Sainsbury’s Forgery

This November of 2014, in the usual early run-up to the Christmas advertising frenzy (and I do mean ‘frenzy’- this term referring to the rushed absurdity prevalent in promoting the push), there have been the regular additions to the regrettable art form.

These have included the rather sublime idea of inserting a penguin into the scheme of things- meaning that sheer adorability is prevailing as it should not (when the panda’s gone- you really won’t care compared to the loss of your hair, or democracy). Thank you John Lewis.

Another has been the suggestion of ‘Christmas Dinner Tables Across The Nation’- with a cleverly-cut panning shot along several dinner tables- suggesting that Christmas is a time to be around the dinner table eating ‘our’ products with the people you care about, and that if you’re not– then something’s very wrong with you as you’re not part of our advert. Thank you Aldi.

Then Sainsbury’s did something for which I hate them.

And let’s not confuse ourselves with some minor definition, as though I find their actions really rather awkward for me to watch, possibly even to the point of annoyance.

I refer to hate of the romantic kind. I now detest the supermarket brand with a power inconceivable to those persons without any serious genital damage. After another fashion- I hate Sainsbury’s as though they sort to make profit from tales of the actions of my terribly-late ancestors.

The Christmas Day Truce- 1914

On the 24th of December, 1914, a century ago this year, there was a tragically temporary and soul-shakingly inspiring truce between the war-devastated men of Germany, France and Britain for several hours.

The Christmas Day Truce, as it came to be known, began as the realisation of the time of year dawned upon the entrenched soldiers in some field in northern France.

Hearing the German troops singing, the soldiers of all sides came to know that though different words were being sung in strange accents, they were in fact being sung to a comfortingly familiar tune.

There was a great deal of carolling across No Man’s Land on this day.

Time passed, and eventually a German soldier clambered from his hole in the ground, to stand tall as though as natural a thing as breathing-in deeply on a beautiful day, and began calling to the opposing side.

Startling courage, and utterly heart-breaking, when considering the likelihood of murder in the process.

The French and British slowly climbed from their own hellish holes, to stand as men in greeting a friendly neighbour they’d been sharing the same few square meters of land with for the past many weeks.

What followed was a mass evacuation of all trenches, as the soldiers walked through No Man’s Land, to meet their brethren on Christmas Day. The beginning few minutes of awkward niceties gave way to utter unity between all men there, with football being played (score unknown to us and probably debated by those in the know), barbers attending to all customers- no matter the language of their home, and exchanges of gifts, laughter and honest thoughts of the war that each nation’s generals would have ordered execution upon those “stirring up trouble”.

It was fear of this latter aspect of the day, as well as a grotesque concern that the men would not fit back to fighting well following such jovial meetings as football and spirits in No Man’s Land.

Therefore, as the light began to fail, troops from both sides were ordered to return to their trenches; the Truce was over.

Soon after, those troops involved in the Truce were replaced with battle-ready troops fiercely instilled hatred for their opposing nation’s mankind.

The war continued. Several years, and several million deaths down the cold and lonely road, the war came to an end.

The Truce of Christmas Day in 1914, however, was not forgotten.

It was remembered, as it is to this day, as a shining definition of humanity.

The men on that day made a choice, in the midst of horror, chaos and the ugly-probability that your most proximate friend would suddenly explode, to disobey orders and to lay down their arms, shake hands, exchange pleasantries and play football.

Haircuts and fears of not returning home. Madness of war was put aside by some outstandingly courageous men, so as to demonstrate unity as a species.

Note also that this was no event of Christianity ‘poking’ through the fog. This was humanity arching over No Man’s Land, certainly singing Christian hymns, but uniting over circumstance and shared traditions of their homes and their current circumstance across the continent.

They united in hope against our thus-far perpetual insanity of leaders in war, and that is not forgotten.

And this…THIS…is where Sainsbury’s needs to fuck off and read a book.

The Sainsbury’s Foul Forgery

The Sainsbury’s Christmas advert shows handsome, clean and apparently un-embattled men missing their loved ones at home, whilst they sit in a fairly well-kept trench.

One of them opens a care package from home to find a photograph of his best girl back home, and a fucking huge bar of SAINSBURY’s chocolate.

He smiles this tedious little Mona Lisa smile to demonstrate that he’s handsome and just like you…you cute little consumer you.

The hymns are then sung, followed by a BRITISH troop emerging from the trench first, to wish a Merry Christmas to the Germans.

Note, just fucking-well note, that in the Sainsbury’s forgery it is a British soldier to emerge first from the trench. This is historically inaccurate, but having a German being brave and leading the noble way probably wouldn’t have sold so well.

Nor would having the French present either, as no French are apparent throughout.

I feel that either Sainsbury’s doesn’t do business in Germany and France, or that this advert simply won’t be aired there.

From here on the handshaking is shown, the barber giving shaves is displayed, as is the famous game of football.

The day, as in history, comes to an end, and the two sides go back to their holes in in the ground.

A German soldier climbs back down his trench ladder and places his hands in his pocket. In there he finds a fucking huge bar of SAINSBURY’s chocolate.

Then something appears on the screen.

It is a logo.

It is a brand logo.

It says…SAINSBURY’S. #Christmasisforsharing

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………Eeew.

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEWWWWWWWWWWWWWW.

The revulsion was hard to fight through as I made efforts to vocalise my anger.

Branding The Christmas Truce by Sainsbury’s

In this advertisement Sainsbury’s have taken an astonishing example of humanity in history, in which men laid down their arms to shake hands, have haircuts and play football in the midst of the horror and chaos of war, and Sainsbury’s have smeared their logo over it- claiming this historical event for their own and inserting their own definition of the event over the top.

The meaning of the Christmas Day Truce, in the eyes of Sainsbury’s is: “Buy our shit. We’ve just played a touching piece of historically inaccurate footage prior to our brand name…so buy our shit.

Taking a truly inspiring historical event and smashing their brand name into it is the worst advertising I can think of. Those men that laid down arms to shake hands and play football that day, to later live or die, have been USED by Sainsbury’s to sell turkeys.

Can you think of a time when a company has perpetrated a lowlier act?

This is typical Association Advertising- the motion of airing a piece of footage, often totally un-relatable to the company paying for it, and then ramming a brand/product name on the end of it in the hope that the viewer will remember the name whilst enjoying the emotion instigated by the footage.

This is weak, uncreative, and in this case- thievery.

The Charity Effect- The Buying Of A License To Sell

There are those in favour of the advert.

There are those that feel that since Sainsbury’s are donating a portion of their Christmas profits to a charity dedicated to serving those suffering from the effects of war, that this is all therefore tolerable and decent.

The monetary amount donated to charity is not comparable to the amount of money Sainsbury’s will be making this Christmas.

The effect of the money donated is that Sainsbury’s have bought a licence to brand the historic event with their own name and to play with the facts and the heart of the tale in favour of selling their own Christmas products.

Sainsbury’s here are flogging the cuteness of the humanity out of the Truce so as to flog products. Flogging to flog, as it were.

If Sainsbury’s were donating money purely for the sake of commemorating the Truce and donating money to charity, then they wouldn’t put their brand name on it.

A beautiful event in history has been stolen to sell Christmas products.

It is in no way respecting the event- it’s about nothing but profit- otherwise they WOULD NOT HAVE DONE IT.

Sainsbury’s wouldn’t hashtag #christmasissharing, they wouldn’t put their name in the commercial and they wouldn’t alter historical facts for any reason other than to use the event for profit.

“The Christmas Day Truce- brought to you by Sainsbury’s two for one Christmas Crackers and Party Food.” Eeeew.

This is nothing but the most cheap and lowly thievery of an inspirational event that belonged to all of us…and still does.

From Here Onward

Now, I am extremely hurt by Sainsbury’s- but that is irrelevant.

I do not want that advert banned, nor do I wish to receive an apology from Sainsbury’s supermarkets.

However, I do feel that due is an apology to those simple men whose actions prior to their deaths have inspired people around the world for 100 years, and whose deaths Sainsbury’s have used to encourage greed and profit.

I will no longer enter a Sainsbury’s as I can Taste the Difference in morals here and there is a distinct muddiness that goes even deeper than that on the boots of the boys in their holes.

All that is left is to remember that the Christmas Day Truce is ours- being as it is a beautiful example of dignified humanity that must be taught to all. No generation must suffer to go without this essential demonstration of unity in the face of dictated madness.

And no company can claim what belongs to us all.

The Christmas Day Truce is OURS. And we will never forget it.

Sam


How to Use a Pumpkin Instead of Latin.

Some say that “these days” (urgh) teenagers are a waste of life- a blotch of folk in the human tapestry- a clumsily-bred generation that do not know how to work hard and are satisfied with sitting-down as a pastime.

I can’t disagree, the only difference between myself and the elderly complainers here being that I’m not confused by new things.

In previous generations, the dead language of Latin was forced onto the young minds of school children who were to listen, repeat and bloody-well learn it if they didn’t want to receive the birch to the palm or buttocks. I feel…I’d have to choose the buttocks.

I suggest that the lack of option in having to endure this unpleasant practise of useless Latin, with no reason other than the fact that it built character, may have actually…built character. I’m not about the suggest that the benefits of Latin were the architects here, but rather the fact that no option but to proceed with the boring and inapplicable did.

Whether there is a decline in constitution over the past few decades or not, I recommend that those amongst us with the necessary true grit with which to achieve a little personal ambition…do it.

It must be easier whilst the competition is watching a dog do what it’s told. Think of it as reacting before the rest of the population was clever; their choice being not only one of lack-luster experience, but also favourable stupidity in the view of those looking to achieve.

As long as reality television exists; intelligent folk with be paid more than their dull neighbour.

I have found some personal reasons for living that I am particularly fond of. I am, however, unfortunately tragic in my outgoings owing to repeated attacks of that well-known opponent to progress (yet loving ally to sofas) known as procrastination.

Now whilst I might, should such a furry-occasion arise, be able shrug-off a tiger bite to the ready-to-shrug shoulder, it does not mean that I’m going to have the personal fortitude to keep retrieving that anti-tiger spray from my bundle as long as I can find something slightly less productive to do. Like brushing my hair. Or having a good hard think. Or watching that tiger get fascinatingly near.

Perhaps this is owing to my upbringing. I was only hit once, in a vicious attack by my father with a rolled-up copy of The Radio Times, which really did not hurt but the message was well conveyed. As it turns out, he wanted me to stop talking. The fact that he was wearing a kimono at the time made the incident doubly amusing, if only with a decade of hindsight to aid my guffaws.  My parents were and still are liberals in kimonos. They’re why I wear jumpers and they’re why I know who Desmond Morris is.

Oh…the middle-class…

I have wanted to find something to do that is hard, like the old days of hard Latin- for the sake of doing something monotonous and tough, mostly pointless, save for the strength gained from regularly doing something un-enjoyed.

So, I began to carry a pumpkin around with me. It’s fairly weighty, is a great conversation starter, can be applied to various situations (footstool, medicine ball and a humorous fake-head) and makes me stand out. And it has its restrictions; being that I have to place it done carefully before I vault whatever I seek to vault (I’m one of nature’s vaulters).

In the vein of making a difference, I think I’ve found a tactic for tackling obesity (a term I love if imagined to be happening physically. Picture those Greys on the television speaking with grandfather-clock sternness about the need to “tackle obesity” as though they have an urgent urge to knock the tubby to the ground and proceed to mount).

As a personal and, perhaps therefore, short-lived campaign to integrate my own idiosyncrasies with the sheer suggestion that I’ve had a tough-time at some point, I went about carrying a pumpkin with me whenever I went hither. And sometimes thither. Usually both.

‘Usually both’ was the point of it in entirety, as by injection some discipline into my life (via such means as a powerful wife that would offer me and my pumpkin no quarter to be left sitting, as well as colleagues at my place of work who are undoubtedly ‘wifey’ according to many pros and cons) might accomplish something a little further than my list up-till-now. Till now, the best of me had been realising that there’s no shame in scratching yourself with what you’re eating.

Two days back and forth I made the experiment last, with a somewhat weary arm and a multitude of gazes in the street, before I finally lay her down (leave me with an object for long enough and I’ll give it an appropriate gender for my ambitions) upon the 7th stair down of the flight in my house.

Then, the weekend began, and I somewhat ended. Responsibility and procrastination likely grin to one another, as one departs via the window and the other slams it behind them on entry. The pumpkin was ignored for the following two days, whilst I slept and ate- at times enjoying becoming confused. Then push-ups. Followed by more confusion. Pleasant.

The little black hole, which I had two days earlier considered something like a beauty-spot for her, had not merely ‘widened’ but… ‘gapened’, and this was sad. The pumpkin had wept.

This was saddening because by the evening of the Sunday, as I made my way downstairs to shine my shoes (I’m a good boy)- I could smell pumpkin in a way that I never had, nor had ever yearned to, before.

Fishy.

Fishy…to the point of anger.

The black-hole beauty spot, some form of puncture I was neglectfully ignorant of and likely responsible for, had leaked and streamed down her side and down, down, down the stairs of my home.

Fishy is a smell pleasant only when realising your nose finally works once again, after all these years. My nose had been operating well within its regular confines of appropriate sniffing, and so the fishy smell was both unwelcome and overly-pungent.

Of course, this was not actual fish- rather the stench of a penetrated vegetable rotting on the stairs.

As I said earlier: “Fishy to the point of anger”…and so I took it out the back of my house and taught her a damn good lesson.

With all my might, which is considerable when versus a pumpkin, I threw her (who was hurriedly returned to ‘it’) against the brick wall with a squelched thud so satisfying that I was tempted to purchase another pumpkin.

And here, sublimely, I was reminded of my childhood. A bag of shabby old golf clubs and a bushel of broad green apples.

The squelchy thud brought it all back.

My father, brother and I (and more lately my friends and lovers) have, with three-wood, baseball bat and at least 1 sword, brought a distinct lack of mercy to various fresh and rotting fruit over the past 17 years.

There is an excitement in the splash and spray of the fruit, as well as a taste to the debris which can delight or repulse you, good sportsmen or not.

The weapon becomes sticky, as do your hair, glasses and more-proximate friends. For a while, you are all flavoured. My preference is apple. Or pineapple.

Plus it spreads seeds in a natural, if irregular, way. My natural, if irregular, way.

Good exercise too, and- as again previously stated: the exhilaration is tremendous to the point of this…

You don’t want a cake.

Now then, now then, now then…here we are in a position where you are pumping your heart, your are eating a literal spray of fruit (albeit of varying freshness) and…you have the idea of burgers by far removed as a thing to eat as it has been violently usurped by being ‘a thing to do’.

So my suggestion is this:

  1. Take your cuisine-vice and then make your way to either a field or some disused location.
  2. Along with this bring a bat of some form- I recommend baseball.
  3. A music player of any kind, for this shall make it all the more jolly, though you may find yourself jolly enough.
  4. Be it pie, burger or chocolate cake, toss it high into the area, whilst your brethren stand back, and SMACK THE SHIT OUT OF IT WITH A BASEBALL BAT.
  5. Retrieve your breath. Remove remnants from your hair. Ensure your friends are coping with this well.
  6. Do it again.
  7. Enjoy the sensation of your heart in full motion and of cake, the now repugnant luxury of wasters, being far from your mind, mouth, stomach and baseball bat.

What you have there is a free tactic to override the enjoyment of eating unhealthy foods with the ludicrously good-feeling of beating it to smithereens.

With your friends and family it is a tremendous movement and celebration of not-eating-food together. You’ll think to yourself: “Damn I’m hungry, but it’s going to be so good when I go whackamamy with the chocolate pie! Gosh! Just gosh!”

And my conclusion is therefore that by the tough-time of carrying a punctured pumpkin to the point of it weeping juice upon my stairs, the vengeance distributed against a wall, and a memory recalled from a distant creative childhood…I have detailed an extraordinary exercise and weight-loss programme that is free for all.

There, is how to use a pumpkin instead of Latin.

Smooch,

Sam


Everyone’s dying…even Hamster

Famous folk have been multiplying for the past 20 years.

In a sense- everyone could be famous with the internet being such a method and audience for ourselves; talented or hilariously-otherwise.

However, the fact that the pop-culture hero has been an increased branding for an overwhelming number of people, it also means that those famous individuals of the past 20-30 years are starting to pop-their-clogs…and die.

That’s what’ll happen if you watch things as opposed doing things. Not that there’s anything wrong with listening to your favourite band or viewing a black-and-white classic, it just means that you’ll know who we’re talking about when we say a person has died. You’ll know the year of their screen debut, the theme-song of their most popular series and you’ll say again and again: “I remember him! He had that thing with the actress, you know her name, the one who had that thing with that actor. And that cult!”

These people become a part of your life; either as important cultural aspects for enjoyment or as alternative babysitters.

The twentieth century- with the arrival of great archival technology (the damned internet) we are now, all of us, far easier to remember. So long as we have a computer.

As far as we can see, our digital footprint is eternal.

So: well done us. I suppose we’ve achieved what the alchemists of immortality never could- we are forever.

Good.

If all of Peter Cook’s comedy had died with him then I would not be the man-child I am today. Shakespeare would merely have been a dead-man who lived with inky fingers and Robin Williams would simply be a man who appeared to be in quite a hurry. Rather, Robin Williams was a man who taught me to laugh at such things as death (such as by suggesting that Robin was one of those rare men suffering from too many belts).

Looking back at his stand-up, post-mortem, I know that he might not have laughed owing to the joke being a tad-shit, but he wouldn’t have minded the cause. Humour is here to be forgiven.

These days, death is not quite the disability that it used to be. Communication ‘during the grave’ (since ‘beyond’ the grave might not be as far as some presume) is a lot less spooky than we might have thought.

But what of those without a computer or a Top 10 Hit? Like a Tudor electrician- a man who didn’t have much to do and didn’t know how to do it anyway. He is not remembered (not just due to him being fictional), but neither is the ancient caveman who had no talent for murals.

I’m afraid their memory must be only that the species is currently where it is. Without them, we would not be. And that’s all. Almost seems hardly worth being a peasant really. Other than this, all the tales and experiences of their lives simply fall in the beginnings and ends of eternity. Extraordinarily private moments and lonely thoughts in forgotten actions. Or joyous- yet still alone.

I have a hamster. His name is Hamster.

He’s just the best. My little champion. I’d trust him with anything- I’m sure he’d be on my side when the teeth begin to bite all around me.

He’s dying.

We’ve even got the shoe-box ready.

My wife made a point of putting it next to his little enclosure, to which I objected. You wouldn’t start digging the hole in full view of your almost-deceased relative; it’s hardly encouraging and equates to yawning and continually peeking at your watch towards the end of an evening with colleagues. To yawn and peek at my watch in front of Hamster with subtle nods to entering the shoe-box prematurely would be of no effrontery in the slightest towards him since he only hopes that I will continue to put him on my head when in high-spirits, though I could not bear to appear rude to such a comforting friend.

However, I’m sure to bury him somewhere smelly- he enjoyed busy nostrils. Plus I’m sure the foxes would appreciate the corpse to nibble on. I’m sure they’ll enjoy his once-busy nostrils too.

Or….or….I could use him for something. Like lobbing him at an enemy. That’d be pretty insulting.

Or I could render him for fat- that’s something I’ve heard you can do with the dead.

Personally I’d like to leave my body to science. Rocket-science.

But I’ll probably just bury him. In a shoebox. Old fashioned.

The only alternative would be that he didn’t die, in which case there’s no reason that anyone should die and now we are being wishful and fictional. I don’t know about you, but personally I adore to be able to swing cats, and the thought of that right being taken from me owing to the elderly-gentleman on my right eating up my elbow room with his sheer mass and numeracy freaks me out. That’s not how swinging a cat should be. It’s should be noisy, but it should not be compact. It’s expressive for all parties; just listen to it in motion.

With too many people comes too many problems, like we’ve always had. Our social-species is programmed to be concerned over how many of us there are. I’m not sure what the perfect number would be but whenever we dip below or rise slightly above, we worry we’re going to run out of oxygen or there aren’t enough of us to overwhelm a bear.

This is the ultimate issue however- running out of oxygen because too many new or old folk are inhaling.

This is one of those situations that can be solved either by murder or sex- thankfully not as one.

My advice to you all is to stop procreating. As politely as possible- we don’t want anyone to be offended by our sudden genital removal.

Although we’re not running-out of anything yet, we no longer have too-much as we used to. Remember all that buffalo and tuna? Well, although I’m sure you could go and get yourself a buffalo and tuna sandwich, the bread is becoming the easiest part of it and this is a negative.

In all seriousness, bread is peasant food and none of us are peasants.

Fuck bread. If you don’t pull it out of the ground or pounce on it from a super-secret hiding place then I shall remain uninvolved.

If this hamster dies then I’ll have to insist that this plant keeps the ghost going.

My last plant- Claire- had a massive stroke and died. If I’d have stroked her a little less heavy-handedly, she might still be blooming and green, rather than barren and an unpleasant shade of “You-did-this-to-me-Sam’ brown.

Hamster’s starting to turn a little that colour. A colour you can smell before you can see.

The new plant is a southern beauty named Barbara. And she will survive.

It’s what Claire would have wanted.

But what else is there to do aside from to die?

The ‘meanwhile’ is all that exists between now and then, so whilst I implore you to politely cease all procreation- remember that it is for the joy of swinging a cat as fervently as one’s human nature allows.

Be sure to live prior to what is likely unending-death.

Swing the cat and rub its tummy afterwards. Permit it to nuzzle into yours if agreeable.

Dance, sing, laugh, love and ‘all that’- but remember the point of man in the enlightened definition is to die upon your own terms: following the life you chose to have led or had died fighting for.

Either die fighting or loving, for that enormous shoebox coming to claim you will give no glinting eye nor slightest smile in concern for your words and deeds. Only those remaining on the blue-green rock have a concern for your passing, aside from one more: you. You are the greatest judge of a life well or poorly spent and my recommendation is that you give less of a damn considering the end and more of a moment exploding yourself all over everything you want to do prior.

If a man can choose and enjoy his poison then he is so: a man. Have you any idea of how much your body would prefer it if you were to continue what you’re doing: sitting? Even exercise is bad for you in the singular; only when it is regular is it of decent consequence. Your body craves for lack of danger in the form of you sitting most contently and eventually procreate. Sitting till procreation would be the dictation of your genes if only those predators would stop blending in with the Savannah-sofa and doing that splendidly provocative pouncing they do.

Why is it that only bad things (predators) in nature pounce, whilst pouncing is in all appearances and phrases a good thing? There’s nothing better than a physical pounce to make an argument memorable. Pouncing was how I met my wife. All of a sudden.

The people you love are on the final call of the stage, your parents and pets share a similar fate and you are sitting there- vaguely wondering.

Cease wonder and attack with all the ferocity that our species is known for, with aim focused mightily upon the experience of living with…only one more recommendation. Tolerate no tyrants, and enjoy the weather.

Tolerate no tyrants; forgive and love all weather for… really…weather is all there is.

Pounce.

Sam


How To USE A Panic Attack

There is a current format recently taken on since the death of Robin Williams to talk about mental health. The format is that there is no weakness in mental health.

Well, evidently there is. There is no benefit to mental depression; it cannot help. And of course, this weakness is nothing to be ashamed of- in the same way that a man may suffer from fragile bones, another might be unable to see in bright light, whilst one more continually feeds coins into a machine of bright lights- unable to stop, perpetually about to win (if the winning actually matters to a gambling addict when compared to the thrill of the risk).

These are weaknesses. The point is that there must be no shame in having them.

Of course, you might not wish to admit having them, nor should you at all have to, but openness is always an aid to diagnosis and treatment. In most of the West anyway- I wouldn’t recommend it in The Badlands.

However, the weakness of a mental illness is not what I aim to focus on here.

I’m going to make clear, from what I have learnt through my own issues, that there is a strength that can be taken up through the momentous energy of a Panic Attack.

I have suffered from these things throughout my late-teens up till now and they have been a despicable hindrance to my fun and pride as a young man.

My own triggers for a Panic Attack centre on being unable to escape- in terms of a great distance to make or a social obligation. If I feel I have to do something, or that I feel as though my comfort is a great distance away, then I feel a sharp energy beginning to flow through me, leading on to the failure of despair.

Other sufferers might recognise the other typical triggers such as: having little option in what is about to happen, fast and manic activity out of their control, and what we might regard as normal stressful situations (E.g. An interview, a test, receiving a large responsibility, public speaking…etc.).

When a person feels unable to control what is happening, they will feel a dark sense of energy coursing through them as the aspect of their stress they are focusing on becomes increasingly tense until the reality of the situation goes completely out the window like lost luggage and we suddenly feel as though we are one or more of the following:

  1. Having a heart attack (which makes our hearts beat faster, which feels like a heart attack, which makes our hearts beat faster, and so on via this tortuous psychological cartwheel).
  2. About to vomit. This also causes fear in that we might vomit in view or earshot of people, which at the time seems totally unacceptable in your mind and so goes further to cause you to freak out. Essential we fear vomiting on our friends, family and work colleagues.
  3. About to faint…in front of everyone…down some stairs or into the wedding cake (again- something which causes you to feel even more stress).
  4. Something else odd. Such as your head swelling and the pressure on the brain killing you, whilst also being obvious to passers-by who will surely mutter to each other: “That guy’s head was throbbing. That’s unacceptable! If he needs medical care we’ll have to ignore him”. This seems crazy, and it is.

It seems crazy because it’s not reality. It’s as crazy as your bountifully-imaginative brain can conceive.

You are not having a heart attack.

You’re having a Panic Attack.

If you feel you’re about to vomit then go about it- you’ll feel grand afterwards and the tension will relieve itself.

Feeling faint? Lie down and attempt sleep. It will pass much like sleep does.

To begin with, your body is a sturdy thing (even if right now you’re telling yourself it’s not). It can, and always has, coped and in all honesty it would probably prefer it if you did pass out so that it can get back to being in control and sorting your innards out. As I said before, you are not having a heart attack. Rely on your body for the powerful and adorable little engine it is. Most chemicals and injuries unpleasantly introduced don’t stand a chance against a pissed off human body.

Most of what I listed above was a concern for your own physical health whilst, actually, the issue being fought is concerning how embarrassing this might seem in view of those around you- be they strangers you don’t know if you can rely on or old friends you don’t want to let down.

This is why talking about it helps- so that your friends know what’s happening and strangers might be familiar with what you’re going through.

If you’re not a fan of suffering from the Panic Attacks, my advice is to begin with the long-play strategy.

Diet and exercise.

For your diet, just eat healthy. You know exactly what I mean by that- we’ve all seen at least pictures of vegetables and fruit so go forth and acquire. However, the main part of this is to cut out that which actively deteriorates your wellbeing: caffeine and sugar, alcohol and tobacco.

These might seem to make you feel better; calmer. These things are addictive poisons only to be had when in a sound sense of mind and body. If you’re having a bad series of Panic Attacks, which can happen, then you should drink alcohol to the same degree as a patient with liver damage.

Exercising is a tremendous bit of medicine for the mind and body. Get your heart and lungs to hump each other and your skin to sweat you wet and you’ll feel the warm rush of endorphins throughout your body all the way down to your toes. Why do I mention toes? Because they’re a great distraction from a Panic Attack. Focus upon and give sensation to the toes (you’re welcome) and time will pass in your favour.

With a regular exercise routine of cardio and weight-lifting (particularly the buttocks- also very distracting to behold and get involved with and not just on other people) you will develop a much greater control of your emotions and what you do with them.

During exercise, you might feel a tad dizzy, breathless, as though your heart is jumping out the window and that body parts suddenly feel very light. That’s because this is normal. The only advice is this: remember that this is what happens to everybody during a workout and so you might as well try to enjoy it.

That brings us very nicely to the end of the long-term strategy (although a quick workout might help relieve some building tension in the short-term as well) and bring us to our immediate remedies for a Panic Attack.

Before I go into detail of the life-changing methods of ruling your world, here are some quick aids I have come by before arriving at where I am now:

  1. Remember what this is- a Panic Attack. Don’t deny it- accept it. Now we can actually deal with it.
  2. Study your reflection and remind yourself that this situation is actually fine and that it will end.
  3. A sudden sharp slap to both facial cheeks. Do it to yourself to regain self-control.
  4. Cold water applied to the hands, feet, face and (most effective of all) the back of the neck. Feels great too.

Going about the last two is a method of bringing you back to a sensible reality. As well as this, getting cold water and achieving a jolly slap will distract you from what unpleasantness you feel is happening.

Now here we are- the methods of dealing with a Panic Attack that will make your life a little better if you let them.

As it turns out, the key to your happiness is good body posture…

Sure- sitting up straight is just swell and all, but there are some other postures that we associate with some happy victory, which will win the day for us here.

First of all- smile!

Smiling is not only the result of happiness, but as you will discover by experimenting with yourself, it can be the cause of happiness too.

By smiling, our facial muscles are triggering nerves which release endorphins into our bloodstream, much as exercise does only a great deal faster.

Sit where you are now, and flash your pearly-whites for us (in other words…smile) and don’t continue to read or do anything else until you have about 60 seconds of hard, constant smiling under your belt. See you in a minute. Go.

See.

Not only are you feeling happy, but you are finding things genuinely funny. I’ll bet the first thing you laughed at was the thought of yourself sitting there with a silly smile all over your face, right?

That’s what I always laugh at first anyway.

So we have this- already a great help in treating a Panic Attack and a bringer of ‘immediate happy’. You can’t even get this in bottles it’s so good. It only comes in brains…

The next piece of treatment I learnt from watching a truly fantastic TED talk by the inspirational Amy Cuddy.

In her talk (which I’ve linked at the end of this article) she speaks of the various poses our species, and other apes, take part in when going through certain emotions.

For example, when stressed and nervous we literally try to make ourselves appear as small as possible via hunched shoulders and lowered heads (sound familiar?). This is a ‘weak’ pose.

When indulging involuntarily in moments of joy and pride (say for example: winning the race, getting the job or “SHE SAID YES!!!!”) we throw our arms up as though we were the ‘Y’ in the ‘YMCA’. Not as though you were a construction worker or a Native American of course…or even a bad boy biker. This is a ‘power’ pose.

Amy Cuddy put people through trials in which those in a ‘weak’ pose and those in a ‘power’ pose were asked to hold these positions for roughly two minutes and to then have fluid samples taken.

The results showed that those in a ‘weak’ pose had an increase in the chemical known as ‘cortisol’- essentially: ‘fluid stress’.

Those grinning volunteers in the ‘power’ pose were also tested and were revealed to have a significant decrease in their cortisol rate and a distinct increase in their testosterone levels- also known as liquid balls for the brain.

Testosterone, as you likely know, is a chemical that gives your body, brain and personality such ‘Oooomph’ that it has been regulated by sporting promotions and has even be known to do that thing that it does to teenage boys.

In smaller doses however, such as in the quantity granted by the ‘Y’ without the ‘MCA’, will bring about a sense of confidence and optimism- basically as good as you’re naturally meant to feel without enjoying the latter stages of a hefty bout of sex you can be proud of.

You feel good.

I know this not only from Amy’s marvellous talk, but from trying it for myself.

It works. You feel slowly filled with a subtle confidence and optimism that you can do as you please with.

And, once more, let’s do for ourselves some experimental self-treatment.

Stand, with your legs straight and your arms outstretched high as though forming a ‘Y’ with your body. Hold this for two minutes, and focus on something pleasing- like a Labrador or 70’s fashion.

Do this now.

See you in two minutes- I think I’ll take part too.

How social of me.

Welcome back!

As I said in my article on the feeling following skydiving… “I feel goooooooooooooooooooood”.

Now this might not feel quite the same rush as a 12,000 foot drop at 130 miles per hour. But I know I feel swell.

And so do you. You feel a little more ready to take up a challenge and to win, though losing is no loss. You feel like you got what it takes and that you could take it anywhere.

You’re in control and you feel goooooooooooooooooooood.

Amy Cuddy recommends that, when feeling the need before as stressful situation, you should spend two minutes doing this- wherever you feel most comfortable- and then reap the benefits.

My suggestion is that you do this ‘Y’, with a big old-fashioned grin, when enduring a Panic Attack.

These measures will go some distance in either helping you through it, or using that natural energy your brain sees fit to give you to do whatever you want with. Remember, you are in control and you feel goooooooooooooooooooood.

As I always say: “Mingle”.

Only now, rather than panic, use this natural energy of yours to distract yourself from the dire and inject yourself into what’s happening with a gusto that will make people either want to avoid you or try to meet you.

Talk to people and be involved in anything that is happening. Be interested in many things and you shall become what is interesting about many things.

And this is why I say that whatever psychological reason causes us to have a Panic Attack is no weakness- it is a strength. Within you there is an obvious power of energy that permits you to enjoy yourself via only a few very simple means of control…smiling and ‘Y’ing.

Smiling and ‘Y’-ing.

Great writing.

My final suggestion to you is that you no longer refer to these bouts of energy as ‘Panic Attacks’. Rather- do as I do, and know these cases now as ‘Power Attacks’.

In any case- however you choose to take my advice- be sure to talk to people and do not forget that the option to turn your ‘Panic’ into your ‘Power’ is entirely yours.

Congratulations on all that power.

Have a blast.

Smiling and ‘Y’-ing…

Sam

For Amy Cuddy’s brilliant talk, go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RWZluriQUzE


The Ice Bucket Challenge: Reasons ‘For’ And Only ‘For’.

Reasons ‘for’ and only ‘for’, since I’m unable to conclude with any reasonable alternative to dumping the cold and wet good-stuff over ourselves.

What follows is a reasoning behind the query: “Is the Ice Bucket Challenge flawless?”

It’s my query, and this is my answer. I’m not sure if you as a reader is even necessary at all- I seem to have done most of this on my own. But, then again, I’m all about a little dangerous socialising. Especially when…with ice

So, shall we?

It is fun.

It helps to raise money for ALS.

If it weren’t for this- ALS would not be as well known, nor (now) as well funded.

People were NOT giving money to charity- so the Ice Bucket Challenge DID help, and it is also worth mentioning that this money could have been given to any medical charity for the intention is a fine one.

We certainly could JUST give money- but this way is far more enjoyable and much more social.

The fun is the point that goes beyond the fact that this is a ‘craze’. We could have been doing this all just for fun…marvellous.

I apologise for the fairly abrupt writing style here- I am apparently feeling punchy.

Punchy.

It’s invigorating. The preparing of cold, wet substances and a bucket (I used a trough), the anticipation, the shocking sensation, feeling fucking awake and, finally, the pride in both achievement and the revelling of that which is silly. Not quite skydiving…but certainly in the same neighbourhood.

The main point for the ice-bucket challenge: it DID raise money- and since no one was harmed then there is no issue.

The second point- we should be doing this anyway. Similar to the ‘Neck-Nominations’ craze that swept social media. It is fun, a slight challenge, and gives you a chance to experience a new activity and sensation. We could have been doing this the whole time and it would be no bad thing.

A waste of water? Not really, no.

If it were then it would be far less than either having a bath, filling a water pistol, or going to a pool to swim. Just don’t do any of the items from that list if you’re worried. If you’re not worried about the tiny amount of water being ‘wasted’- then have at it…with ice. The waste of water is extremely minor, particularly when compared to the aid, spirits and hope it raises. This is no loss.

So, as I said, ‘have at itwith ice’.

There are some wankers.

Yes, there are some wankers…I could leave it there.

But I won’t.

There are some wankers that want nothing more than to be the centre of attention. We know who they are when we see them, we can just tell by their uncomfortable vigour that this is somewhat less than genuine in how it wishes to be perceived. Let’s leave them be- for at least the money was raised and no harm was done. Wankers.

All otherwise…this is jolly experience meant to be shared with buddies and profit those with motor-neurone disease. Even if there was no benefit to charity- it would still be a wonderful shared-experience that wakens the body and strengthens the spirit.

Perhaps next time you might do it alone- just for the feeling.

‘Just for the feeling’; what a reason!

Sam

P.S Of course- you as my audience are more than essential. No hard feelings. Smooch x


I’m about to go Skydiving and…I’ve just been Skydiving.

Tomorrow I’m going Skydiving.

That’s not the odd part.

The odd part is that I feel relatively fine…and I’m about to jump out of a plane.

I thought I’d give a commentary as much ‘as it happens’ as possible, so am starting with the night before the jump so as to give some insight.

Night before…’meh’.

I have a feeling I’m about to be develop a deep and loving relationship with parachutes and meeting the ground slowly, but am also sure that a sincere freakout is on the way, at 12,000 feet.

I’m hoping that the adrenaline and sensation won’t cause me to say something stupid afterwards when asked “What’s it like?”: “Uhm. Er. I…It’s like having the fan on”

I’ve heard that you’re supposed to scream as you jump- so I’ve been thinking that I might as well sing a song on the entire way down, it’s just a matter of fixing onto which song for the journey down.

Now, it’s about 10 minutes from plane to Earth, so I’m thinking either two songs with some supreme guitar solos (‘Freedbird’ or ‘Stairway To Heaven’) or three sweet songs to help with the plummeting.

Other than that I’m pondering the following: ‘Afternoon Delight’, ‘Breath’ (Pink Floyd) and ‘Why Do Fools Fall In Love’. For a 9 AM jump at this time of the summer- they should go down hopefully just as well as I do.

Other than that- all I have to do is make sure I’m wearing clean underwear (in case of post-mortem) and bid my loved ones farewell.

As I said before- I still feel fine, but have a sense I’ll be feeling distinctly unusual in about 12 hours time. I’m going to have to get up early. Maybe being sleepy will help with the fear. Sure as hell is a good way to wake up- don’t think I’ll bother with coffee.

See you tomorrow.

Sam

Day Of The Jump.

Day of.

I was supposed to wake up at 6 and awoke at 5 instead.

Last night my wife asked me very nicely not to die “Please?”- I shall do my best to do as she asks, as a favour to her to be later called in.

I have bid my friends a facebook farewell and now feeling pleasantly excited about the forth-coming experience, though I am also glad that it is apparently over and done with in the grand total of 20 minutes.

There were some thoughts floating about my head in bed as I tried to sleep, thoughts reminiscing my bungee-jump from a year ago. A feeling of missing a step for about 6 seconds and, far from a scream, a deep guttural lurching sound from my depths. Not quite ‘Afternoon Delight’ as I am hoping. We shall see.

Although I am fully confident that by mid-afternoon today I will either be sipping a celebratory drink with my co-jumpers or sitting back here in my living room do much the same as I am right now…but there are still those necessary nerves that I hope will be quashed by the adrenaline I know is also soon on the way.

So, until afterwards guys…

Sam

I’ve Been Skydiving.

I feel goooooooooooooooooooood.

Feeling good with a capital ‘fuck yeah’.

Let’s run through what happened to me a few hours ago.

I arrived early at the air-field, signed in to at the front desk, was made a provisional member of the Parachute Association (“I got my provisional!”) and promptly made my way to the nearest lavatory so as to use the hell out of it. I think I lost about a kilo in there.

I was weighed and measured and told to wait for a long time- about an hour, at which point I was sent to a post-jump briefing for those first timers amongst us.

Much like the ride for a roller-coaster, this was the most terrifying part of the experience. About an hour in all went by until I was called to be suited up and to meet my professional.

The suiting up, the brief plane-ride up to 12,000 feet and being tucked up into a flying tin with a dozen other leapers was of little consequence to the experience. Aside from when the winks and handshakes began making the rounds- bringing with them about a little comradery as though we were of some fellowship bound together to return to Earth smiling and alive.

I felt fine until my pro wished me luck- which I felt a tad disconcerting. Why would I need luck when, if the worst and squishiest were to happen, that would be your responsibility and, my word, my mother would make knowledge of your name and pursue you. I didn’t tell him that.

“When you get to the rim of the door, tuck your feet under the plane and scream”

Quite an instruction, which I looked to heartily obey.

We sat with our legs out of the plane, the noise furious, the wind awakening and the view endless, we rocked back…and then forwards…

The screaming, they said (and as I discovered), was very necessary as not to do so would result in a sky’s amount of air cramming its way into your lungs as you go hurtling.

I found this to be true, only the scream I made was not a conscious effort (on my part anyway), whereas the breathing certainly was.

The sensation of the free fall (lasting about 20-25 seconds) is about as much as you can feel with the entirety of your being. You don’t think- you can only feel. Feeling is all you can do, aside from the scream. “Remember to breathe” was not a sentence uttered in my head- it was an equation grandly smashed together within my noggin which activated my nerves and made my upper-torso go: “Breath now”.

This was not just a matter of air rushing in and your lungs trying to cope with that- it’s also because you’re getting distracted by the 130mph plummet that’s happening to you right now.

You fall fast. You really do. You fall so fast you forget things, like breathing. I descended so quickly I forgot I had brown hair and am male. That is some good falling.

As I was a tandem jump- I was required to have a stern pensioner strapped to my back, whilst this same poor gent was made to wear me as a belly and crutch warmer, a lifestyle I hold very little merit in. No one told me I would have to sit on this man’s lap as though he was an armchair. He was so armchair like, he was even pleasantly leathery with reasonable wear and tear.

This man was my pro and his name was Clem- a former cabbie who was convinced by a military friend of his to jump out of a plane for charity in 1981, a thing apparently unheard of at the time. On that first jump of his, Clem immediately arranged a sudden change of career and has been doing this ever since.

“It’s a good deal safer than being a cabbie” he told me whilst winding up the parachute. “I’ve never had a knife pulled on me in this job”. I felt inclined not to change this- Clem being a lovely guy and I didn’t wish to disrupt his quality leatheriness.

Following the jump, and the immediate manner in which one attempts to explain the sensation to others, you realise just how over used superlatives are. The sensation of the fall was far beyond such now-meaningless words as ‘Amazing’ and ‘Incredible’, this being why all I can think of for it is to say perhaps “Unreal” and to encourage others to try it. As I said earlier- all you can do is feel. At 120 miles per hour. Powerful.

My throat still hurts- the fact that I could hear my own scream (and I swear I could hear myself laughing as well) means that I must have been loud and my sore throat qualifies this as likely true. It turns out that your own personal volume is surprisingly easy at 12,000 feet. Why was I laughing- some sort of jolly hysteria perhaps, but I am left to assume that this speed is just funny.

Like when you receive, with no invite, a swift shin to the bollocks and your being is screaming at you: “SAM?! ARE YOU STILL IN CONTROL BECAUSE THIS FEELS LIKE YOU’RE NOT!” and all you can do is reply: “AAAAAARRRRRRGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHH THIS IS HUMOUROUS!”

And then Clem let loose the parachute and we slowed down incredibly and the only uncomfortable moment of the experience occurred- not the sudden grabbing action upon my testis, but the potent realisation of how fast my heart was pounding. Struggling to get one’s breath back and to allow time to process what just happened- you are bound by only one thought which cancels all worry: this is lovely. Messing about with parachutes.

Clem allowed me to steer as well- doing what are called ‘fast turns’: “Pull the right handle to turn right, turn the left handle to turn left, do not pull them both or we will crash, and don’t look directly down”.

To give an idea of the height and speed, four of these ‘fast turns’ (lasting about 5 seconds each) equated to dropping the height of Canary Wharf from top to bottom.

It was following the ‘fast turns; and now on the slow decent that Clem casually stated in my ear: “By the way, we’ve lost a highly important piece of equipment”

“Oh. Oh, okay, well it was a pleasure knowing you Clem…”

I realised that the ripple of terror throughout my being was surely lessened by the adrenaline I could still taste on my tongue, before Clem assured me the equipment was missing from the air-field only- not from us.

Upon landing and returning to the canteen the taste was stronger and I felt compelled to combat this with an orange ice-pole. At this point, with my certificate for jumping in one hand, my dripping ice-pole in the other and the enlightening sense of potential in myself and in the world made me feel as totally complete as I have in many years.

As it turns out, for future reference, I’m a jumper.

And ‘face-first’ is once more proven to be the preferable way to go about something.

On the ground Clem and I embraced, folded up the parachute, and enjoyed a brief debate about how natural this all was.

I argued that the Skydive itself was unnatural, but that skydiving was like a joke- the fear of uncertainty and shock followed by the relief of the enjoyable comfort that makes you laugh, and this was natural. That and the 130 miles per hour that happen to your face-first whilst you’re essentially just lying down, mixed with the accomplishment of curiosity- once more- a natural aspect of the dive.

Clem argued that super-markets were also unnatural and so we left it there.

“Is that the fastest I’ve ever travelled?” I asked Clem.

“Not if you’ve ever travelled in a commercial plane before, but it is the fastest you’ve travelled without mechanical assistance” he replied.

“Didn’t the plane help quite a bit in getting us up there then?”

I countered, for the sake of it really, and the debate began to ensue once more before the bus back from the field to the canteen arrived to collect us. As it turns out, squeezing an unfolded parachute into the front compartment of a bus is one of the more amusing things to watch someone attempt to do. Poor old Clem.

In summary…Skydive.

There we go, that should do it.

Maybe it will feel different next time, which will surely happen soon.

Thanks to Skydive Headcorn.

Sam


How To Remember Robin Williams

To begin with, I am sad.

I am three days over 25 and realised, as Robin died on my birthday, that I am getting to an age where people I grew up with, staples of the world I regard as being ‘daily’ to me, are leaving us by various means. Robin left by his own means, which I feel is fair enough, whereas I do simply wish that we had one more chance to say ‘thank you’. The final choice however was always his own- that is not the issue.

We may feel that owing to his last moments undoubtedly being ones of true despair, this is how we should remember him. But it needn’t be thought that his life was ruined accordingly. Nor should it be when we remember him.

He was sixty three years old. By far not long enough a time for treasuring time with those we love, but other than this; how many more years do you need? I think that 50 would do me nicely, and sixty would be great- thanks for the time, particularly in consideration for getting things done, and this is the point: Robin Williams got things done.

From a very young age he excelled, through the natural ‘different-class’ and speed of his comedic wit and persona but most essentially through the hard work that made the people we remember worth remembering. He was a young comedian at Richard Pryor’s comedy roast. You don’t think of him as having come from that era, let alone to be so highly regarded even back then, but he was. Don’t forget this whilst we also easily recall his later stand-up specials and, of course, his acting.

The fact that he straddled such a broad range of characters and genres is partly why we remember him so well. He was Mrs Doubtfire and the Genie whilst we were children, and as we grew we recognised him for his roles in the inspirational films of ‘Dead Poets Society’ and ‘Good Will Hunting’: films espousing finding your own path and celebrating life for how you live it. All whilst being painfully hilarious- giving us a chance to work out that guttural noise of hilarity that we so often yearn to yield and so rarely able to.

And this is what matters to me here- he was a man of tremendous success and acclaim and although I am aware that this acclaim is like dust on bone to a man suffering depression- it does mean that in between the worse bouts of the disease: he was happier than he might have been.

What I’m saying is that compared to others that share the disease of depression, although that cruel despair experienced is equal for all that suffer it, the times between bouts are not.

In between the sadness- Robin had his own happiness, his wife and child with whom things were no different from any other family’s love for one another. He had his career and his success which, though being no matter of consequence to his (here) fatal disease, it would have made things better between the worst of the tempests of depression. In the lighter moments, the knowledge that he was providing for his family well would have been of tremendous power, if only in the times of natural happiness.

Aged 63, loving wife and children, successful entertainment career, a long life of acclaim and interest. Robin Williams lived life, despite his condition, with a passion brought from appreciating what life is- at times joyous and always fleeting. I think it is an admirable way to live and though we all wish he was still here, had not died as he chose to and had simply not been alone on that darkest evening (for which fault can go to no one); his life was not one of woe. Often, like all of us, he was happy and he was content, at times obviously ecstatic and joyous- with the aspects of life we all hope for, though having a life-long disease.

What I’m trying to say is, although it pains us so badly to know that his last moments were of despair- that is not all his life was, and we should feel no despair because of this. There will be grief, and an unending sadness for his departure, but we there must also be acceptance in the knowledge that we’re all going to die, no matter our success, stature or condition. So let us live much as Robin did; to the full despite what tries to bring us down.

As far as I can see- Robin Williams was victorious in battling his disease owing to living the life he had. Our final moments are not all we are. I will choose to remember Robin Williams, not only as that unparalleled comedic tour-de-force and that distinguished actor (speaking of which, how much does that academy award pale in comparison to the distinction of how incompetent we are in explaining just how much he made us laugh? Apart from this description, which I feel is actually pretty on the nose. Nosed it!). I will remember him for having made for himself, amid those seas of misery, large islands of happy hope and love for life with family. I envy these islands.

Robin Williams- a sad death and a happy life. We could never understand the mind’s darkest hours, but we must think of those bright moments of his life. For us, we might assume his success was the best. In fact, I am certain that thoughts of wife and family were the successes he achieved that we should all hope to look back on some day.

And here, more than in any other medium, I say “Bravo Mr Williams”.

For living life as we all should. Remember this.

Sam

Post script.

This reminds me of Stephen Fry addressing the death of Peter Cook and the media’s response to his demise, purely as it reminds me that we should remember them for their own personal happiness. The link to the Youtube video is as follows: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQrTnhkQo5k

Also included is a link to Robin performing, and killing, at the great Richard Pryor’s comedy roast: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCVpJ6DFqao


How to Make Where You’re From a Place Worth Being From

To begin with- come from the countryside.

If you’re not from the countryside, then you’ll be town-folk, and that’s being negative. Stop it.

City-dwellers have this whole ‘about to be stabbed by a neighbour’ deal which just doesn’t pay off.

This sums up town-folk- people that do not know their neighbour and therefore have to assume that “they’re” probably going to mutilate “me” first. That’s why I’m cooler than you…my stabbing likelihood.

Then, because of this, we build ourselves up into these towers of incredibility via the mere foundations of: “Hey man, I’m from the city…my neighbour will probably stab me first so fuck you. You wouldn’t understand because your neighbours are probably all courteous and lending you sugar and such. Fuck you again”

Don’t be this- move back to the countryside with me and we’ll lend each other sugar. Having a tree nearby has always helped me.

The countryside used to be the wild darkness between the bright lights of civilised cities, a murkiness of strange noises, suspicious meat and probably too much incest (just a tad too much) that was to be traversed till you got to the nearest monastery where you could hear in the distance that same incest making those strange noises and suspicious meats a reality. In my opinion, incest leads to noise pollution and foul cooking at the least, as well as too many toes and not enough noses.

Unbeknownst to many of us know, the cities were not a helpful thing to happen as they in turn took on all of the previously listed reasons that the countryside was to be avoided.

Not that we should reclaim incest as a past-time or anything like that. Let’s leave that box of frogs be; before swaying in rocking chairs, playing the banjo and squinting becomes all that we’re good at. Let’s not limit ourselves to squinting and sibling-humping. I doubt it would help.

You want a city? Why? Why would you want to do that? Inconsiderate.

Because of the lights? Well, fine, I can’t deny that the city certainly has more lights.

I guess you’ve got me there.

Still, it merely means that when you’re being annihilated by the neighbour you never knew- you’ll be well lit. Probably making it easier for your neighbour there. Good for you- enjoy your new hole. I won’t.

Instead of this- be from the countryside- make the city a place you visit every now and then to remind yourself what the ‘masses’ look like and to see a musical.

I can see that the countryside might not be the most attractive of places out of the two lurid possibilities so…make where you’re from worth your time.

I, for one, feel that this is a good reason to have a tradition.

Not the sour traditions that go on and on because the elders fear change they can’t control, but the traditions of carrying around flaming barrels of mead because it’s fun. It also scares the shit of the townsfolk.

Get yourself a tradition and, with it, fuck those that are not local with it. Consider it initiations for letting someone in your club house/tree house. Like setting fire to your shoes, running for the river, having a truly-necessary paddle and then get aggressive with the guest for not joining in. THAT’s a tradition. It’s also mental. Good.

‘Mental and good’.

You can quote me on that.

Make the countryside scary for the urbanites= Make where you’re from a place worth being from.

Everything we come to fear as naturally bred blokes and femmes is born from the country: ‘Jaws’ (as I’m counting beaches), chewing sounds emanating from the woods and bales of hay falling on us from an unnatural height for hay.

If hay could speak one word, then it should be “What?”

And it would be the height of humour from then on, every time it heard its name, a…”What?”…, would follow and then you’d have to get on with your day.

This would also be a fine way to intimidate townsfolk. It might not be a good old fashioned city-bred knife in the ear, but it has a tad deal more panache owing to the normally-passive and typically stationary object falling on you, temporarily flattening your obese-urban-wise-bundle-of-bones and then ‘replying’: “WHAT?”

If a bale of hay collides downwardly with a townsperson, does it make a sound? If we have our way- yes. How will we achieve this? I presume it would revolve around breeding the noisiest of the hay-species, though this might be a matter of a rogue gust misleading our hay-breeders as they hear the ‘swish swash’ of hay in the breeze and then making it fuck.

Let’s try again.

So, as far as I see it…we’re the ones with all the stuff.

Maybe not quite as many street-lights or dentists, but other than that…most of the important stuff. Like beef.

And mutton.

What if we kept it?

What if we said to the casual urbanite: “Hey. See this mutton? Well keep watching, because that’s all you’ll ever get to do with it”?

Or, just hand them a sheep and a pair of scissors and tell them to go about providing themselves with a delicious Sunday roast and a rather fetching woollen jumper. Those two things you’ll want to keep fairly separate- you don’t want to find that your jumper’s moulding or that your dinner is a size 40 inch chest size, and itchy.

Great- we’ll keep the mutton.

What else do we have?

The bees! “You bitches, it’s all for honey” and all that buzz (HA!).

Now I would recommend to you all that we do one of two things with the bees…

One. Keep them and their delicious produce to ourselves. I’m sure we could learn from them and though I have experienced such a thing as ‘too much honey’- I’d rather have too much than not enough.

Two. Sick them on the enemy. People will hear their hum and start to fear the countryside once more. Picture a bee in a leash. I hope you enjoyed that.

All we’d have to do is ensure the balance between keeping the bees complacent and getting them appropriately pissed off, like beating them with the flower we’re feeding them. Or we could do that little dance of theirs and convince them to gather ‘pollen’. Yes…‘pollen’…

Actually, I don’t know if I’d prefer to have bees collect pollen more than the alternative method by which flowers USE me.

The flowers, normally the fluffy ones, ejaculate onto me and my shoes (with all their flower-sperm hugging nooks and crannies) and then ‘let me go’ without as much as a kiss farewell or £50 on the bedside table. Then, as I walk away from the male bastard-flower, I meander into the female district of the garden where the female posies lie back and spread open their ducts (easy now) as though uttering a moan of: “Oh KICK me Sam! KICK ME!”

Which I do. With my flower-spunk laden footwear.

I’m being helpful.

Actually, here’s an interesting method of making the countryside a little spookier once more…

When urban guests visit, perhaps we could involve them in our procreation: just say “It’s the way we do it round here”.

That way the guys could spunk into the urbanite’s pocket and ask them to visit our most bestest girl, where and with whom they would be asked to expel their creamy pocket contents and say who sent them. With a bouquet of flowers obviously- we must maintain the romance of the situation. I guess this would be a ‘spunk-o-gram’ and please feel free to patent the idea. Imitate the flowers.

I know that’d intimidate me if a country man ejaculated into my pocket and then sent me away.

But why make where we’re from a place intimidating? Why be scary?

Entirely, because it’s attractive and that would be the start of respect, and then being jolly would follow soon afterwards. The countryside is a place of sunny people and this is largely to do with sheer character- let’s flaunt that, but let’s flaunt that after putting ourselves on the map first.

And why put ourselves on the map?

You’re bored- that’s why, and igniting your shoes and running to the river will liven up your day no end.

You’re just bored, and you have to take caution with not wasting the minutes that are yours by being either in a city with various foreign objects being thrust into you (in a bad way) or from the countryside and lonely.

I play golf with fresh fruit.

It’s tremendously refreshing, is fair exercise, spreads seeds, feeds the birds, makes things a little stickier and has an explosive spread of fruit-innards.

City-folk I’ve introduced this to have either loved it or hated it, and the ones that loved it have always come back for more.

This is tourism.

A little crazy, commanding a bit of respect, and the people come.

And then, with them and with the dispersal of fresh fruit, I am no longer lonely.

So, WELCOME TO THE COUNTRYSIDE, the true jungle- not a concrete zoo. Make yourself at home whilst we dance with our bees and no longer fuck our siblings. There’s a river over yonder for one’s flaming footwear, and make sure you keep your pockets covered at all times.

That tradition about the guys procreating into your pocket might be a problem as time goes by.

Speaking of avoiding loneliness- talk to your neighbour- they’re right there.

It’s my birthday and I just found out that Robin Williams died last night.

Mental health- we’ve got mental health and must keep ourselves healthy through the exercise of natural instincts such as dialogue. Though some of us will have an illness, such as depression, talking will help. People might not ‘get it’, but they might understand that they don’t ‘get it’ and will becomes that necessary ear for you.

Don’t be lonely.

Find a person and talk to them.

And for all the love that is out there, if someone starts talking to you…talk back.

There’s really not much else that matters. We’re a communication species, so let us luxuriate in the delicious medicine that it can be to talk with another.

My life, nor I doubt yours, would be the same if Robin Williams hadn’t talked with us as he chose to. I’m glad he did.

Make yourself and where you’re from the tourism that our species is good at.

In there lies a little hope for us.

Sam


How To Apologise For The 21st Century. Just Like This…

Yep. We will fuck up in a style that denotes how we refuse to see what sits in front of us. A little bit like World War 1.

The difference is, this time it will largely revolve around sugar.

Apologies for the sugar.

I swear that all that diabetes wasn’t my idea- it sort of just happened.

Whoever’s idea it was to keep putting sugar into things- identify yourself!

Yes. Stand up, you owe use a great deal of our own teeth back, and I WILL COLLECT.

I don’t really want to, I’ve never been overly possessive of my teeth or other peoples, but I do love calling in a debt, particularly when it’s a righteous calling.

Most of that sugar could likely have been left where it was. I mean, sugar- there’s nothing quite like it to sprinkle over your- whatever you want to sprinkle it over (perhaps your missus/cereal/foot)- but I feel that for the most part it could have been ignored.

It’s easy if your try- that’s why you get people who are slight. ‘Slight’ the classy variety of skinny.

Only, we’ve been made to remember sugar as though it is an essential aspect of our lives. It goes beyond being considered an aspect of our diet- it is now a component of our social circles.

“Who’s bringing the sugar?” is a phrase rarely heard but fits in nicely owing to the regrettable fact that we all assume that sugar will be bought to our gatherings.

Think of a gathering- any kind- you will find sugar is present in the pockets, handbags and huge gaping holes in the hinds of the teeth of those gathered. Klan rallies will have some sugar beneath the hood, politicians in the throne rooms of dictators will have luxurious access to the famous white grain, and children will see it everywhere.

The access to it, the ubiquitous presence of sugar, is why you may have that feeling that “life is shit- avoid if possible”.

Avoid sugar- it will bring you up and throw you down, in ways that pale in pointless comparison to crystal meth or crack cocaine, but it will ruin your innards and, at the end of the day, what else do you really have? Be proud of you guts- aside from your actions, they sum you up.

Your body has a great deal more sway than you might like to believe.

For example, you don’t want to vomit…but…whatever- it’s happening anyway and it’s up to you to deal with the cold, clammy aftermath with a mop.

“Aftermath with a mop”- the sign of a body having taken charge.

Indulge the body a little more in the direction of what it wants so deeply, not in the direction of slowly dissolving it in sugar.

Sugar makes you dissolve slowly, whilst being fast enough to ruin your smile and remove you liver.

Instead- do a little back scratching.

Back-scratching, where the metaphor works.

It feels great because we should be doing it frequently, whereas actually we are neglecting our body’s physically-social needs.

Scratching our backs (which is actually most of our body- remove it and we’d just be necks bobbling about upon arses) feels tremendous in a sort of “where’ve you been all my life” way, because our body expects it to happen and the scratch is supposed to be by another person.

Your back being scratched by another, from your body’s point-of-view, means social interactions, which means safety in numbers of more than 1, which hopefully means procreation, which finally in turn relates to some kind of meaning- I don’t know what- but that’s irrelevant for now- I’m talking about backs and what they want me to do for them.

What’ll happen if we don’t indulge in a little back scratching? I don’t know that either- maybe it’s already happening. Maybe it’s global warning? Maybe it’s all that sugar we’ve been dissolving ourselves with.

I recommend that you withdraw all wall-hanging backscratchers from your environment and go and get some good sturdy people that won’t abandon you when the flood water rises and you need a rub on the back.

Rather than filling yourself up with that gross grain called ‘sugar’, go and negotiate some community with your neighbours.

I’ve said this before- but doing this will really help you in basically all that you do (aside from being lonely).

If we don’t start to go about these natural instincts with the gusto that they deserve, and instead distract ourselves with the ugly-ugly, then- who knows what will happen next?

I’m not saying that Hitler just needed a pat on the back more often, but…fuck- maybe he did!

Then again, maybe that back of his being caressed (as it just might have been) actually encouraged him to do all that he did.

In which case- perhaps FDR needed his back to be scratched in order to enter WW2 earlier. I’m sure he could have created an industry out of it- Mr New Deal and all.

Either way- if we ignore these healthy natural instincts then we’ll without a doubt start to become a funny shape.

Take the Catholic Church and the repression of sexual instincts in male-exclusive communities.

Evidently it doesn’t work.

You know what I’m struggling to do? Finding another example of natural instincts being withheld, that’s what.

This means two things.

  1. The Catholic Church should stop it… (“STOP IT!”)
  2. In all other areas, we know that not doing what’s natural is bad for us.

So, I think we should all apologise for the what’s going to happen, owing to what we’ve done (or haven’t done) thus far.

Sorry for the sugar kids.

Sorry for not scratching your ancestors backs.

My fault.

(P.S. As for creating an industry to aid natural instincts being fulfilled; as I mentioned earlier with FDR…some of you are going to start thinking about prostitution. Well…if you can pay someone to massage your shoulders with their thumbs, why can’t someone be paid to massage someone’s penis with their vagina? Answer me!

And…obviously don’t get an STD or hit a prostitute as that’s a serious hole in my argument.)


Meditation and Home-Defence.

How do you make a donkey reverse? You make the carrot frightening.

Anyway…

I’ve had an urge, for a long while now, to arm myself with something beyond the pale of civilised means- such as doorlocks and kung fu.

Hence, I’ve now a bow and set of arrows lying atop my coffee table- making it a much more appreciated ‘bow and arrow’ table- which I hope to make available soon in a superstore near you.

Why would I acquire a bow and arrow?

Big cats.

Where I live, a county called Kent in England, we have ourselves a local legend about a puma-like big cat- that people of the area see the arse-end of as it, yet again, disappears- or they find the wreckage of a partially eaten, mostly dead chicken.

And, obviously, I need a new rug/pet and so will be seeking this massive feline out so as to ‘achieve’ it as such (I feel that ‘achieving’ could be a much more possessive and aggressive act…”I achieved you mum”), as well as to have some degree of vengeance for the chickens that I’ll never get the chance to meet.

Hunting. I’m here to hunt.

I have to admit that I’m much more of a gatherer though. I tend to pick up things as I make my way around the Earth, and then leave a little trail of items I’ve discarded owing to a matter of lacking pocket space.

However, the natural instinct that I feel within me to hunt is potent, and enjoyable.

Hunting. It makes eating a little spookier owing to the activity frequently revolving around murder and digestion in the forest. Not only this, but it also tends to mean you can wear what was your dinner after eating it.

This is harder to do as a gatherer in the more-traditional sense; wearing what you find, as opposed to wearing what you’ve killed, doesn’t work so splendidly.

Doing that with watermelons is frowned upon by most people who have a brow to frown with. Why? Because helmets, which is at the most what a watermelon can be, are only supposed to go on your head. Maybe feet. Not buttocks. Not testicles- no matter how scared you are of sudden impact to potential descendants, and dick/and/or/vagina.

I like hunting and, though my current kill rate is zero, my aim is improving.

My current aim tends to be at suburban pigeons, and they are as surprised as sweet hell to find an arrow swishing past them. They don’t need to dodge it, but they move anyway. There’s nothing quite like making a pigeon’s eyes widen.

Naturally, in the same fashion as in the United States, my weaponry is for hunting, but it undoubtedly has a practical purpose in defending my property and wife.

I would like people, and yes…of course…zombies, to know that if they should attempt to crash through my door as part of the massive horde…then they be met with a volley of whatever I can find when I’ve let loose all my arrows. Probably the longer items in my cutlery collection- meaning that people, and yes…of course…zombies, will find themselves impaled by the most mundane of domestic items.

And that’s why we need to relax.

Zombies at your door with a collection of arrows and broom-handles sticking out of where you aimed should not be something to look forward to for such a collection of us as we are.

Why do we feel the need to do this? Why do we feel as though we need a zombie apocalypse?

A chance to start anew.

Year zero.

From the moment that begins, you’re are 90% more interesting because finally something happened to you- and you’re likelihood of being some sort of hero in your own story is multiplied to a degree that matters to you.

Credit history lost, the waste of years lost, all that time in traffic gone, no longer such a thing as a migraine because you don’t have time…

With less people, you feel like this Earth is suddenly a whole lot larger and the chance of you making it yours are finally nearer to that 100% that you have always secretly craved.

And though this is not a flawed feeling, it is a lack of understanding.

The chance for you to rule the Earth is perpetually immediate, although obviously easier for some than others- but still ‘achievable’ (growl).

You just needed to meditate first…and then move along with the home-defence.

Ten minutes a day of silence, eyes closed, lovely posture and a focus on what you want is a way towards the wonders that you are meditating for. You will think more clearly, and you will be more self-aware and open to whatever comes your way, you will be willing to start something…a challenge is an opportunity to become and to learn. As for the soul, and all that…whatever- I feel it is a placebo that works for the personality.

The only aside of this from home defence is that you allow people in as freely as a public park- possessions will fuck you over and eliminate your pocket space. So let them go, in and out, forget your things so as to remember your people and yourself.

If you’re being attacked- then be equally violent back: meditation is a personal thing that is relevant to whatever you conjure up in your life. If your decision is to punch a violent attacker, then maybe a little mediation will aid you and your knuckles.

Defend yourself- certainly, and hunt often, but do not be prepared to shut yourself down and away as though the rest of the world is contaminated.

As much as we are our own species greatest predator, when one of us is endangered or infected, we are all our saviour and our cure.

I have a bow and arrow, for home-defence, hunting, and for acquiring that enormous feline that makes myths about my locality.

I also have a C# key, liberated from an abandoned glockenspiel.

I have realised that when creating a great impact with this key- it makes a deep vibrating sound much like that of a Buddhist gong

This reminds me of the time I travelled in Northern India, Himachel Pradesh, Dharamsala, McLeod Ganj, and I am temporarily transported to that place, by the temple, over-looking the valley of the lower Himalayas, and I am peaceful.

I am also ready to defend myself- which I had to as was attacked by monkeys shortly before hand, which is far less amusing than you are probably imagining right now. You might find it slightly funnier now though, as I tell you that they attacked whilst I interrupted their oral sex.

Fucking tourist.

So when I am attacked- I have a meditative aid to deliver a blow to the forehead of my unfortunate aggressor. It goes “Dong”, whilst the forehead makes an altogether crunchier sound.

What home-defence offers you is a feeling of preparation to deal with what is coming in your life. Meditation is an actual way of preparing to deal with what is coming in your life.

Mediation is a means of defending your true home- your mind, and herein is the link between the two, but the distinction between them is still constant: home defence encourages keeping others out whilst mediation espouses a yearning to enjoy other people so as to either invite them in or knock on their door.

Prepare your mind, not your doorstep, unless you are expecting some of those guests you’ve gone and acquired.

Host the world, neighbour to all.

Sam