Managed Shit

The dichotomy between good and evil doesn’t exist in a sense that there is no good and evil. There’s only consequences and perspective. From an abuser’s perspective, nothing wrong is happening and they need to take the actions they take to improve the lives of people around them. From the outsider’s perspective, an arsehole is taking his anger out on his girlfriend. With something like that, is inaction as dangerous as action? Getting involved could escalate the situation to Hollyoaks heights but not getting involved could do the exact same thing.

I was dredging through the comments of a Vice news article on Syria and it occurred to me that’s the same situation the world is in. Obviously, we did get involved and for a while it did very much escalate but now it looks like with IS routed, it’s getting better? If not better just more manageable. Is that what we strive for? Simply having shit managed rather than cured or resolved is, when you think about it, how we all deal with problems. A prime of example of this is fascism. While we thought Nazi ideals were crushed with Hitler’s Germany, the KKK is in 2017 touring around America like an angry, cancerous boy band.  It’s managed like the mental neighbourhood dog held back on a chain – don’t look at it, it’ll only bark louder. We can’t put it down as they’d always be debate on whether or not it’s humane and we can’t get rid of it as no one will admit to owning it.

Looking at it in a different way, we have food allergies which are the bane of my existence. I for one, love salted peanuts but unfortunately anaphylactic shock is an incredible piece of shit. We manage things like that by avoiding the foods we can’t eat for the sake of our gastro-intestinal tract rather than actively seek treatment. I heard about a very small test somewhere to cure food allergies by feeding sufferers tiny amounts of it to create immunity yet isn’t that in itself, extended management? Training our bodies to manage?

It’s a mental minefield that means all job titles should come with the ‘manager’ prefix. I was on a train the other week and a fight broke out between two passengers at Doncaster. One was drunk and the other had issues – neither managed the situation or themselves particularly well and everything went to shit very quickly. The drunk man went down a single punch and as he fell, decided to use my leg that poked slightly into the aisle as a ledge for support. The bruise has gone now.

However we manage the shit will have to do. The constant responsibility of managing the world around us in our best capacity is unknowingly fucking soul crushing. When the day of the apocalypse comes it’ll be because some turd somewhere shirked that responsibility to manage their reality. In the end, our management tactics, our choices, make us and the world around us whether we’re a drunk man on a train or an arsehole is taking his anger out on his girlfriend.


Managed Shit

Patriotic Accents

The other day I was compared to the character J.P from the series Fresh Meat. The character is the upper-class arsehole in the misfit student gang and played by comedian Jack Whitehall. This comparison, coming from someone I consider my closest friend, landed a little bit below the belt. It’s ironic even considering that I grew up in a working-class neighbourhood made up of council flats, and people who used to sell pirate copy DVDs at the pub, before Kodi came along and put them all out of business.

Thinking about it, my southern accent became more pronounced when I moved to the north made even more obvious by when people first met me in Fresher’s Week, I was asked to simply speak. To my surprise my drunk flatmates around the table would shout: ‘Oh my God, it’s like Harry Potter!’. The novelty wore off quickly like anything like that when I couldn’t return to my normal ways of dropping T’s and G’s on the ends of my words. Just listening to my northern friend when she came to visit my house in the south was amusing as she became very northern – Coronation Street northern.

It begs the question on whether actors over-do the British accent in the US. Perhaps people like James Corden, who perhaps would never had drunk a cup of tea before became an ‘avid’ tea drinker as soon as he got his own state-side chat sow. I’m not sure how he could have in all honesty – even if it does defeat my point -, I was only in New York for four days and ‘path’ became ‘side-walk’ for much longer than I care to admit.

While microscopic in scale, perhaps it’s a simplistic view of inbred nationalistic zeal in all of us. That strange pride in our place of origin that we become far more self-aware of when we’re not there. Personally, I hate the city I grew up in but strangely, while I’m away from it, I’ve never spoken as highly about it. It’s when I think about this, I actually understand the mentality of the football hooligan who pisses up a wall in France in the name of England and St. George. I don’t condone it unfortunately; my fair city was full of people like that. Yet if I can feel some pride about a place I hate and weirdly personify that in my bloody accent, maybe in a larger sense patriotism and nationalism is a subconscious function. Obviously, this is based on no evidence at all other than my own accidental growing snobbery saying ‘b-ah-th’ instead of ‘b-a-th’.

Patriotic Accents

‘Fear Thy Neighbour’

I’m sat here watching Fear Thy Neighbour which is a stark contrast from the UK’s Neighbour from Hell, and it strikes me that every situation seemed to have been escalated by guns. Now I’m not damning anyone’s right to bear arms but I can’t imagine a scenario in Channel 5’s typical demonization of the working class show reel, that wouldn’t go completely tits up with a Glock.

Hell, in the US show, most of the contributors are taking part some ten years or so after the events with one at least dead or in prison. Dom Littlewood’s show often takes place not even a year later and while wholly less interesting, Mr and Mrs X are still alive and well, still disgruntled with Mr and Mrs Y across the street. It’s hard to comprehend the actual physical danger in these peoples’ lives compared to ‘you built your fence to close’.

I have no doubt there’s any less danger in the UK than the US which perhaps has as many unhinged strangers next door. Our problem in the neighbourhood where I lived in was the ‘hoody’ gang who had planted themselves in the playground just in front of the house which was regularly set on fire. As a kid, I was terrified but when I return to the family home now, I see the same gang and its new members: kids I used to yell at as a prefect, and now they look as scary as horror movie’s bonus features disk. Would that scenario be different if those little fuckers where packing more than socks down the front of their tracksuit bottoms?

On the flip side of the argument if we all had those guns there’d be less of a threat. It’s almost as if for everyone, our homes are our own nation with foreign policies and different cultures even. Down to whether or not we choose to eat meat or even smoke in the garden rather than the house. This is where I understand the Second Amendment because the phrase that our homes are our castles is totally an understatement because they are at the most primal level, our nests where we choose to keep our families, our legacies, and precious belongings. If we had guns in the UK that arsehole kid outside probably wouldn’t have thrown crap at the windows and perhaps my parents wouldn’t have banged on their door. Say what you will for the second amendment, if it does anything, it sure does promote some level of politeness.

‘Fear Thy Neighbour’

Digestible News

I was in my local corner shop today, buying myself a weeks’ worth of Tilda boil-in-the-bag rice and something caught my attention. Aside from being diverted by the extremely good deal on Maryland cookies, I saw an array of equally depressing newspaper headlines. The York Press was reporting on a cinema closure; The Sun had some reality show gossip as major news on its front, drawing in those ever-diligent news hounds; The Guardian was perpetuating the claim that the Grenfell Tower fire was political murder and the front page of The Mirror looked like something from a scene in the film Idiocracy.

The depressing selection, like a satirical cosmic chocolate box, made me think about the newspaper industry on a whole. In the UK at least, most news outlets on the television make the claim that they are always ever impartial yet when it comes to our newspapers it’s a political free for all. Considering most of the major papers are owned by Rupert Murdoch, it’s not a complete surprise why the Conservatives won the election. On a side note, it’s becoming clearer that the influence of print journalism is dying as its readership, considering it was only today that a government was formed, nearly three weeks after the election.

My English teacher told me during the linguistics module of my course that The Sun has a reading age of seven years old. ‘Britain’s most popular paper’ happens to only be that because it’s the easiest to read similarly reflective to the LadBible’s online popularity. Perhaps the slow death of the newspaper is simply down to humanity’s growing laziness in regard to reading. Has it really got to a point where we don’t care about what we’re being told as long as it’s being served in easy to digest chunks? I can’t speak for other territories but I doubt the problem is local to this fair, green isle. Arguably, it can be easily transferred to rolling news channels, where the sound bite would be a far more powerful narrative to whatever agenda perpetuating it, than the actual story – enter all this damn fake news and click bait.

It’s going to be, and in a sense, has become a constant cycle. Readers will turn to social media news sources for sake of ease; the papers will adapt to accommodate the readership; the news channels will perpetuate the problem until an entire week’s worth of news can be boiled down to two words. Those words being: ‘shit happened.’



Digestible News

Two Pints of Guinness

I’m fascinated with time and space and the endlessness of both.  It surprises me that more people aren’t or aren’t constantly aware that no matter how human history may fluctuate, Jupiter won’t pause on its constant journey around the sun. I’m trying to uncover in my own head whether or not this fascination with the expanse is scientific or nihilistic. Is the nihilism just an extension of materialism, being an absence of spiritualism, or is it just the logical extension of logical existentialism? If that makes any sense at all.

Full disclosure, I’m on the crest of tipsy and these thoughts only seem to come to me after that second pint of Guinness. It’s a shame I don’t think about these things at any other time other than under these particular circumstances, similarly with the rest of the human population. The good thoughts, the thoughts that truly matter, only seem to come to us when we are elevated from our usual closed off selves. The classic British stiff upper lip doesn’t help with that but it makes any form of cerebral separation that more  sensual. Which in turn, makes our ability to talk out of our arses all that easier.

Say for example, the Cuban Missile Crisis went in another direction where the boats kept on moving and the hands of the Doomsday Clock kept on turning. Would the universe stop to weep? The answer is no it wouldn’t; not even our own Sagittarius A, at the centre of the Milky Way, would stop eating like black holes do, for even a moment to mourn our little species.

I remember the first time I thought about things like this, I was fifteen which perhaps is when most people look to those twinkling things in the night sky and think only one thing: ‘Holy fucking shit.’ I felt like perhaps I was alone in how I responded being trying to connect those dots in the sky with the texts to hand being that good old King James Bible. Much to the dismay of my partner in science class, which was when I thought would be a good time to explore these ideas, I came to strange conclusion. The name Israel, as random as it seems, is not a name at all but a question through time in plain English. The only time I remember it is of course, after these delightful pints of bitter.

Is Ra, El?

Two Pints of Guinness

The Caterpillar

Being at university is a weird age and time where we’re all too young and poor to actually accomplish anything yet there’s never been more ambition in the room. On top of that, everyone is so carefully trying to reinvent themselves, to hide the fact that once upon a time the edgy artist was once the asthmatic sitting out of P.E. like the rest of us. I’m not saying people don’t accomplish anything while pissing away thousands both on the lectures themselves and up the brick cladding of a dive bar – they do. It’s just never you, it will always be a one-in-a-million story you see on Facebook which incidentally came about from one of those stories.

For the rest of us, it’s all about trying not to go completely broke and trying not to be drowned by our own panic, whether it be moral or otherwise. I’m at the end of my first year at university and coming to my second which, while demonstrating how much time flies when you’re treading water, has also demonstrated how much life can be lived in ten months compared to nineteen years. Maybe I’m alone in being totally, if not completely, disillusioned with the education sector as I was sold on the fraternities and sororities of the United States with a generous splash of good-times and repartee, not seeing those grey skies when everyone else sees a perfect baby blue. In fact, the only good times that I can say I’ve had in my university experience thus far is when I was as far out of my own mind as I could possibly go.

I’ve asked several friends about this to see if I was alone in being fed up of campus living and the resounding answer I received was: ‘maybe you shouldn’t have got involved with so many psychos’. That made me laugh because while I have crammed more life lived in ten months than nineteen years while being here, I have also met and stuck around with more of those edgy artists than some do in a lifetime.

It’s the realisation that the system isn’t broken it’s the people in it.

The situation is reminiscent of a James Bond movie: the villain makes it. While I can’t work out who the villains are until it’s too late or if I’m my own antagonist, in a twisted sense, I’m not sure if I’d have it any other way.  It’s not as exciting as MI6 and flying around the world, bedding Playboy models but in a weird way, it remains exciting. What shit will be flung at us next? It’s a strange, dandy misery where I can see the foetus of a great story being formed from us all. On the microscopic, it’s a story of personal development and a hypnotic adventure while on the gigantic, it’s all of human history interlinked and moving through time like Lewis Carroll’s Caterpillar.

The oddity and constant oxymoronic nature of life at a university in 2017 is, as I find to be, a microcosm for human life: everyone fucking each other; fighting each other; panicking about finances, and just generally trying to stay afloat. Or stranger still, like those one-in-a-million stories: changing the world.

The Caterpillar

Wishful Thinking

I wholeheartedly wish that I could believe in a religion. It’s a depressing thought that I like everyone else on the planet will end up in the cold ground whether it be in an overpriced, plush coffin or as a handful of dirt. If I were to be approached by the devil himself, I would be more pleasantly surprised by the confirmed existence of heaven than the sight of hell. Or perhaps when I kick the bucket through one too many takeaways, I reincarnate as a mayfly I would end up wasting the few precious hours of life that I would have shitting myself with laughter at the reality of it all.

Growing up it was either too little Catholicism and Protestantism or too much, with an Italian family and Church of England primary school. It was there I went to church every Tuesday hosted by the vicar from the Scottish Highlands that preached more about Braveheart and the Scottish National Party than Christ, our saviour. It was a sobering piece of satire to realise the godly men of cloth were more human than anything. At age six, it was when my first rejections of authority began to grumble underneath the small and chubby surface.

Since then, it has been hard for me to believe in anything to a point where unlike my peers, even the socialist dynamite, Jeremy Corbyn, sets my teeth on edge. It’s like the moment as a child discovering that Santa Claus was invented by Coca-Cola to boost winter season sales and the world of whimsy collapses. Mind you, don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking religion and while I see it as whimsical and just another nice idea, it’s not that for everyone.

It’s a surprising comfort for billions from Jainism to Scientology, people are desperately searching for meaning in a world that seems to generate horrible scenarios like a cosmic, random number machine. While it’s becoming fashionable in the new world of scepticism to shit all over the faithful, people don’t seem to understand the enormous room for the supernatural in our lives. Personally, if I didn’t have a few unexplained ghost experiences under my belt, I would be laughing at the supposed nonsense of astrology like the rest of them.

The big bearded man in the sky isn’t for me but is for others and that’s okay. It’ll be a bit shit when my ambivalence lands me in a pit of sulphur but even then, I’d find some comfort in being wrong.

Wishful Thinking