The Broadcast

I’ve been thinking more and more about the idea that everything is relative. Less of an idea, more of a proven theory courtesy of Albert Einstein but surely, if everything is relative, what does that make us? Human beings on Earth, shaping our little patch of reality through culture and science in ways that may seem alien to aliens and even ourselves. I got a glance of an article scrolling through Reddit that said NASA had received a strange radio broadcast not originating from Earth and are currently investigating its nature and origin. If Einstein is to be believed, is the whole point of that futile? Considering what may be a ‘hello’ from a being from say, Alpha Centauri, maybe a ‘fuck off’ to a being from Pocklington, Yorkshire, UK.

If the article is true and not another bit of wonderful clickbait, and NASA does identify extra-terrestrial intelligence, is that not a testament to relativity? In my opinion, relativity and perspective are two sides of the same coin if not the same, as truth is all about perspective as well as human history as I doubt that if the Nazis won World War II, Winston Churchill wouldn’t be on so many damn tourist coffee mugs. So, with that being said, truth is relative comparatively to empirical fact. Yet if facts are true doesn’t that make them inherently relative themselves for a historian or hell, even a simple true-false computer program. That in itself is an ironic notion considering that our brains run on electrical signals similarly to a computer – electrical signals that can be quantified into easy-peasy ones and zeros. Look out Elon Musk because the digital revolution happened way-back-when in the primordial soup, right?

Perhaps we are all just fleshy machines, each with fluctuations in programming along with error messages and decaying moving parts. We see ourselves as so much more. We see metaphysical beings with souls and a purpose in the cosmos. I see no purpose and the absence of purpose and the idea of the divine soul and most would probably call me a depressing twat. Yet doesn’t the freedom of having no purpose and acknowledgement of the finite give us all infinite potentials? Who needs gods when we are all gods in our own right, each of us individuals determining the advancement of an entire species and the physical landscape of the universe around us; creating, elevating, mastering and sometimes destroying. From what I’ve read, that pretty much covers what gods do. Hell, even Zeus was a bit of a fuck boy.

So, I hope that the broadcast from the final frontier did happen and the best and brightest of us do manage to decipher its meaning. To make contact with another species, even if it’s just for a single moment will change the world, humanity and just maybe our perception, and relativity in the universe. Single moments have a habit of doing that in our history. Maybe this one will be the decider to whether we are just meat bags clinging to the surface of the Earth or divine fucking entities destined to just reach out and tame the stars.

Like I say though, the whole thing could have been clickbait.

The Broadcast

Change?

A few weeks ago, I was writing about how much I missed old friends and that we are like a family. Today, after spending only a few days with them, I want to tear my eyes out like Sam Neill in Event Horizon. People in general should avoid making purposefully stupid decisions and also avoid people they don’t trust enough not to stop and think like The Office’s Dwight Schrute, ‘would an idiot do that?’ and ‘not do that thing’. It’s just another stark reminder to me and should be to everyone else, that the things that used to bother us at school will be the same at university and those at university will be the same later in life. Rose tinted glasses of nostalgia only go so far to hiding the fact that your friend is a complete liability when drunk or that another needs more attention than a Tamagotchi or will die as such.

Life’s too short for people to change.

That’s the truth. It’s a double-edged sword since we all don’t have the time to waste in our tiny lives, so little to make room for actual fucking character development only possible through sudden and unexpected dilemmas that were unbelievable even in Lost. It’s the cancerous little optimist in me, being choked on the smog of the reality of human nature, that always expects to be surprised when I come home for a few days. I always assume that I won’t notice the utter bollocks that’s thrown at me or if I do, I’ll be able to dodge it with an unwavering false smile – I was never a very good actor in the first place. My own unwillingness to change and accept is perhaps a perfect example of my point.

In York, I’m becoming sick of people the same way I was sick of the people here and it’s almost as if my own unrealistic expectations of what makes a half-way decent human being are far too high. They probably are as perhaps it’s a case of personal neuroticism that makes me so wishy-washy towards people. I fully understand anyone to has searched for pastures new and ended up in the same place they were before like demented infinity loop. It’s a daunting and horrible feeling in the gut because it makes me wonder, what if there isn’t a place I like with people I like? It’s the disconnection from the rest of the world that is a wholly lonely feeling.

Perhaps Mark Zuckerberg’s dream of a connected Earth is accidentally alienating further the disconnected. Life without internet in 2017 is an inconvenience at best and isn’t that the perfect metaphor for connectivity to a human being? Boiled down to clicking ‘like’ on a mildly funny Facebook post. Is the lack of a ‘dislike’ button more telling than the presence of a ‘like’? Maybe if we did have one, our self-destructive nature would see the ‘dislike’ turned into a declaration of war and those community notice boards on Facebook would turn into battlegrounds. Would poppies bloom from our screens out of the ruined soils of the digital no-mans-land?

That was possibly a bit of a tangent but the point still stands. Is it those who see people for who they really are the ones who end up alone? I for one don’t buy into the hopeful modern-day morality plays that Hollywood keeps pumping out. In our limited existences change is totally futile because the changes we make to ourselves or hope others will make have such an equally limited effect on the landscape of our own history, hell, even human history. Let’s all through away that totally misleading optimist in us and all that hope that leads to nothing but disappointment and subsequent frustration in people. We should all be able to stand up, and firmly say with confidence and absolution to those unchanging people: ‘you guys are fucking annoying’.

Change?

The Waiting Room

I was in a hospital waiting room today and while I’m ever grateful for free healthcare, the hospital and people in it, made me feel like John Simm in Life on Mars. For someone who struggles with being grounded in reality at the best of times, it was a real struggle not to feel like Walter Mitty. It was also, in another sense, totally grounding – being faced with the lump that at the time could also be my own mortality. Now I know it’s just a blocked saliva gland and I was panicking for months over nothing, but the point still stands.

Those grounding moments that we all have put things into perspective like never before from appreciating the little things to the big things. It sounds wholly cheesy but for me, sat in that boiling waiting room with the world’s largest collection of elderly Northerners, I began to put things into perspective. I’m less stressed about looking for a job brought about by my realisation that maybe I’m overthinking it and overselling it like the bloody lump. Or perhaps my own job hunt was just a personal distraction from what I need and what I need is something to alleviate the boredom. It’s true that idle hands to the devil’s work because in my case it’s chewing my nails to shreds and the beds really need time to recuperate if I decide to hold on to my dignity and not go to the nail bar.

Just looking around in the waiting room with all the people and their loved ones made me think about the future and that dreaded horrible realisation that maybe I do want someone. I’m disgusted with myself, taking pride in independence – emotional or otherwise -, solitude and existing in a strange aura of ambiguity that I’ve been told I have. Problem is, I like perhaps millions in this situation, have no idea what I actually want from that. Maybe it’s an underlying problem with our own ideals of perfection within relationships and companionship that can never truly be lived up to. Or maybe perhaps, most of us are too willing to compromise rather than do the braver, selfish thing of saying no to compromise. As a partial-subscriber to libertarian beliefs, the latter makes way more sense. Lets’ consider for a moment the people who seem to get through marriages like toilet paper; are they happy? Fuck no.

It’s all one big journey and when it comes down to it, we all need to learn to read a fucking map. We may all look at the roads in different ways but in the end, they all end up the same way: a coffin (or an urn but that’s less dramatic). I’m not judging what people do with their time but when constantly faced with death’s door, like the fossils in that waiting room, why not inject some fucking spontaneity. Take a risk, take a road not travelled because why not? I’m sure I’ve definitely said something like this before but perhaps the repetition is the universe trying to tell me something. So, if I want to effectively tell my friend of eight years that she looks hot in her new Facebook profile picture in a weird cryptic way to not totally look like a creep, dammit, that’s what I’ll do. As long as it’s not hurting or bothering anyone else, where’s the harm in getting up and doing what the hell you want to do?

There’s my new mantra and perhaps one for us all: ‘why the fuck not?’.

The Waiting Room

A Vengeful Jack Russell

When stuck with a problem in our surroundings there have and always will be three options. They are: defiance, ignorance or apathy and finally, find pastures new. Unfortunately, all require some level of effort; even being ambivalent to it all since the problem will stick around like herpes and it’ll still kill the mood  – again, like herpes. I’m facing a problem right now and my fair adopted city of York seems like cross between a fish bowl and a prison cell. The company I used to keep has definitely come back to bite me in the arse like a vengeful Jack Russell.

The feeling of being totally trapped and spooked by shadows is something that’s universal through history and the uncomfortable air of it all marks the difference between existing and being allowed to live. That’s what it comes down to for me and perhaps others considering the unnecessary crushing cruelty of reality that seems to shit on you at every turn. It’s like reading an expensive academic textbook that has no good information in it, but you have to read it to make the most of your investment. Thinking about it, that analogy is a bit wishy-washy but the point stands. To make matters worse, in some cases, people who find themselves at the shit end of the stick will inadvertently create more problems for themselves trying to find that cure for their particular herpes, accidentally spreading it like peanut-butter in the shit sandwich of life.

A prime example of this is perhaps my own fuck up. In an attempt to ignore and be apathetic towards my situation, I’m realising that I have inadvertently alienated a good portion of the support network that I had which could have had helped me out of this grave that I’ve seemed to dug for myself. It’s probably too late to do anything about it and I’m going to have to take responsibility for that level of destruction. I can even trace back this whole situation to a poor decision back in October when I got myself into a relationship more toxic than the atmosphere on Venus. Self-realisation and responsibility for that is, in my opinion, a good first step and maybe that’s something for everyone to take away. Looking back and retracing your steps to the root of whatever problem is perhaps, the only true meaningful way of moving forward.

Admittedly, moving forward is always going to be an uphill battle where you’ll have shit raining from the heavens upon you but at least the first effort would have been made. Finding the motivation for the climb up the hill, or out of the grave, or whatever analogy you like is unfortunately, perhaps, the hardest part. Being miserable becomes habit and almost ritual, which is something you don’t learn about in those PSHE lessons in school. Thinking about it, maybe they did teach us but I couldn’t tell you the name of a single person who paid attention.

A Vengeful Jack Russell

Beyoncé Culture

I saw something that offended me terribly on Facebook the other night. It was that someone who I knew and someone who I cared about for a time just updated their status to being in a relationship. Reading this it definitely sounds like a personal admission of jealousy, yet honestly, it isn’t. This is an expression of sheer disappointment. Why is it, in my generation is everyone searching for ‘the one’ already? I mean, come on, people! It’s almost as if it’s a backwards step with everyone devolving into penguins trying to find life partners to keep our eggs warm than be the natural mammalian predators that we all are and do whatever and whoever we want for as long as possible. The problem isn’t a gender specific thing, I know plenty of men and women, and variations thereof, who I hear constantly whining about lack of a girlfriend or boyfriend. I for one, blame Beyoncé.

Everyone out there seems so hard to ‘put a ring on it’, and the young and free of the 21st Century are becoming far more traditional. I saw a study recently (don’t quote me on this, I saw it on Facebook) that said that this generation is having sex for the first time later and later than ever before. I’m seeing more and more documentaries pop-up akin to the sadly more and more common place 40-Year-Old Virgin. Strangely in the era of super-STDs, we also seem to be having an epidemic of sexual repression contrary to what the masses may think about young people – students in particular.

It could be that I generally associate with the particularly socially inept sect of my course, but I’d say most have never had a relationship yet alone slept with anyone. It’s a win for every worried parent about their child at university as well as a win for a budding comedy writer. Yet I’m worried about the personal development for these people and if they are to be a microcosm for young people in the UK in general, the future as well. Everyone’s living life in a strange sexless Hollyoaks storyline where those who embrace sexuality are often ostracised and relationships and romantic politics is the key to a happy life. Fuck that.

Unconsciously, we have, on the majority, waved goodbye to the free-loving of the sixties to usher in this new era of accidental repression. People are replacing human contact with more and more porn and body-pillows with anime girls on them, while simultaneously slagging off whatever sex won’t notice them sexually. On the other end of the spectrum we have the serial lady-killers and man-eaters who are frowned upon by nearly everyone so much so, that these people form packs that you can see a mile off. Even now, these people are pairing up like seahorses, something personified in total by the reality-TV train wreck, Love Island.

A prime example is being told by someone that they have commitment issues, only a week later being told that they love you. Obviously because I’m the idiot this happened to me and I had no idea what to say other than: ‘oh, that’s nice?’. I’ve never known a worse turn-off but apparently it works for others as the very same person just updated their Facebook relationship status. When did things become so unnecessarily complicated and all about commitment and feelings? The answer is August, 2009, the date ‘Single Ladies’ was released and infected the world with expectations of the instant gratification of saying yes to the purgatory of premature, long-term emotional and physical commitment.  Fuck you, Beyoncé, and your damn catchy song.

Beyoncé Culture

Humanity Market

I realised today after handing out my resumes with an unusual cheery demeanour that in a sense, no matter what job you are in or even if you are unemployed, we are all sales people.  Whether we are good or bad we are all individually pushing a product whether it be overpriced cinema tickets or ourselves to another human being – who perhaps, are selling that they are disinterested in what we have to say. Even the classic phrase ‘I’m not buying what you’re selling’ encapsulates everything about human life right now: whether we buy or sell.

Politicians are the perfect example of sales people in their human disguises to hide their true lizard appearance. Obviously besides that, they sell ideas and policies and speeches on a global scale making them perhaps the next evolution of your humble letting agent turd. Even Alex Jones of InfoWars is trying to sell you reality whatever the fuck it may be coming from him and I still can’t work out if he’s real or just a character like Keith Lemon or Borat. For example, earlier this year we had Theresa May selling the line – God knows why – ‘strong and stable’, a product which fell flat on its face and the people who sold it to her were promptly fired. So as Palpatine from Star Wars put it, ‘ironic’. Jeremy Corbyn isn’t doing too badly, only recently selling pints along with policies and socialist soundbites at Glastonbury.

The terrible, yet actually at times useful, Tinder is an example of people selling themselves en masse to other people for either the classic ‘good time not a long time’ or ‘something long term and serious’. Those four or five photos, description and a favourite song has led to perhaps the greatest open human market ever. It’s an actual manifestation of a clear late-stage capitalist society that we live in where literally even romance revolves around the act of selling and buying.

Maybe it’s not a totally recent thing and maybe as human beings we are all fundamentally buyers and sellers whether we choose to be or not. I’m out selling myself to potential employers for a job while perhaps a thousand years ago a nomad would sell themselves similarly to a chieftain to be a part of the tribe. Which by the way, is an excellent analogy that can be applied to anything like trying to convince the popular kids at school that you’re cool enough to sit with them.

So in conclusion, we are all prostitutes. Literally every time we open our mouths to tell an anecdote we are selling someone on that story for payment in respect, belief or anything. While there’s a taboo about being a sex worker and constant debate on whether or not it should be legal, the point, when you really think about it, is moot considering none of us are any different fundamentally. Whether you be an Evangelical priest or a nightclub owner we are all selling something and ourselves. No one is clean or exceptional in this massive thriving orgy we call human society. Just check out Tinder and see for yourself.

Humanity Market

Buckethead

So, the battle for net neutrality is waging in the US and while protected by EU legislation, I still look at it with the same look that you give to a fully-grown man passionately kissing a body pillow at comic con. It reads simply as ‘what the fuck’, which in this context isn’t even a question anymore it’s become simply a statement at both the man with his body pillow and the late stage capitalism we all find ourselves in. Having a television in the UK requires you to have an expensive licence to pay for the glorious BBC and in-part, Channel 4, and that alone makes me want to throw the thing out of the window to claim back the one-hundred-and-fifty-pound fee. Which in turn, makes me far more irritated by the fact –  as a hopeful immigrant to the US someday – that soon Americans will probably have to pay that bit extra if they want to go onto Facebook as part of some weird social media package lovingly brought to you by Comcast.

I was watching an interview with our lord and saviour Kevin Spacey when he said something to the effect of that sometimes he thought that the story lines in House of Cards were at times unbelievable, something he was proved wrong by the evolving political and social environment of the USA. It goes without saying that at some point that the strange satire is no longer restricted to the US and becomes a global thing where politics has become more of a scripted reality show than Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Just take a look at the recent UK election when Theresa May’s ‘strong and stable’ nation came crashing down and became the ‘coalition of chaos’ that she warned would happen if votes were cast for her rival. The night, for me, was summed up by the line-up from Mrs May’s own constituency where she stood on the same stage as actual Lord Buckethead who then dabbed.

Surely that’s the metaphor for our current political climate. Lord Buckethead dabbing gets thunderous laughter while Paul Ryan does the same in a bit to say ‘hello fellow kids’ and the reception is cringing faces. Every day a new scandal about the Trump family emerges from the woodwork and everyday people jump to defend him or attack him throwing around words like ‘libtard’ or ‘impeachment’. It’s got to a point where I find myself living in a Monty Python sketch and like The Meaning of Life, it’s starting to get old and drag, becoming more and more nonsensical.

I try not to talk about politics – try and fail. It’s a polarising subject mired in hatred and most importantly: irony. The irony most explicit comes from a single headline: ‘Donald Trump voter despairs as Mexican husband set to be deported’, courtesy of the Independent. Another nail in the coffin to demonstrate how darkly comic the world seemingly written and devised by the League of Gentlemen – just today I was asked by the barber, ‘are you local?’.

Buckethead