Monday, 5 November 2012

The New and Original Way of Thought

Adam had always wanted to alter the world.

He wanted to affect how people thought. How they lived. But, to do this he would have to gain empathy. And he knew well enough that empathy was a difficult thing; the thought of untying his big, battered boots and slipping his size 13 feet into Mrs Patel Next Door’s silk slippers made him feel, uncomfortable. However, it was empathy that Adam knew he needed to acquire, and inspire in others, if he were to establish (as he called it) the New and Original Way of Thought.

For if he were to achieve it he would first have to slip perfectly into Mrs Patel's silk slippers, and he would have to let others slide gracefully into his big boots, too. 

Now, Adam was a normal person just like you or I, he was no messiah, no higher authority, no leader of men - he was merely a simple man who was bored of routine. But during the first few days he pushed himself and his mind to the absolute limit. He did things he would never have dreamed of doing, in order to see if what he believed in was actually possible.

It started with shock tactics: small, unrelated events that aimed to force people from their comfort zones and pry-off their knock-off sunglasses, just for a second, to really see something unusual.

On the first day he went to his local funeral directors and began to shave. He started with his hair and his beard, then his eyebrows and body hair. He removed all of his pubic hair last, left it in a pile on the floor and set a match to it. This horrified those that witnessed it, especially Dorothy; the moustachioed ninety-something who was flicking through a cremation catalogue at the time.

On the second day he went to a nearby public school and shot heroin in the playground to the bemusement of over-privileged, inexperienced children.

By the third day he had burnt all of his clothes and spent hours wandering around London in the nude, occasionally stopping to masturbate whilst looking through office windows at the private perverts: contemptuous, but secretly aroused. Adam spent most of that night and the next day in a cell where he refused to talk to the police unless he’d had an Arabic translator present. 

“I am on a mission from God,” he had said to P.C Brown during the arrest. She was new to the force and Adam knew it, he wanted to make her sweat.

“Suit yourself,” she replied, shifting nervously “I’m an atheist, but I still gotta to take you to the station.” When Adam felt her grip around his forearm he let out a piercing squeal right into her ear, which was enough to make her stumble backwards in shock. Adam had made a break for it but a more experienced P.C Daniels eagerly guided his baton to the back of Adam’s head and sent him crashing to the pavement: Knock Out. He received a caution for indecent exposure and was released the following evening, probably because of the swollen welt on his head and the dried blood all over the holey white plimsolls they gave him.

Adam turned back to the police station when he was outside and removed the borrowed shoes as soon as he could, they didn’t fit him. He threw them into a puddle and walked the long walk home, disheartened and contemplative for the first time since his experiment began. He pondered the events of the last four days, and suddenly felt stupid. How could he, Adam West, without money or influence, alter anything? Who would even want to empathize with a shoeless, idea-less moron? Why bother challenging the system at all?

So, with that, he cast aside his recent ideals and returned home a new man. A cup of tea, a couple of chocolate digestive and the Evening News: he was back to reality - A bus had turned over on the A295, there was a recent spark in the debate over Euthanasia - the usual meandering focal points. But then, in the dieing seconds of the broadcast, up popped Adam, bright as day, naked and glorious on the television screen:

“A man has made the headlines in Central London this morning,” came the reporter’s voice “with a naked salute to office workers. Officials say it was due to the effects of class A drugs, but, after amassing over a million hits on Youtube already, bloggers are calling him a ‘cultural revelation’, his acts ‘masterful’, and one writer went as far as saying ‘Why can’t more people throw off the shackles of society like this? Today this man made a profound political statement. He has truly changed the way I will continue to live my life. ’”  

And at that, Adam made a large, humble smile, popped on his size 13 slippers, and switched over to Eastenders on BBC 1. He had achieved, absolutely, N.O.W.T.

Months Past

I was born. I grew up here and there, and was educated by various mothers and fathers, and a multitude of teachers and tutors. I remember myself at 18, not much of a man, a boy in a costume, a man’s costume, that didn’t much fit, thinking about what it would be like to be a Hero, or someone wonderful.
You don’t grow up on your own. It isn’t something that happens fast or slow, or noticeably. It takes a hundred thousand people to make a man - Two hundred thousand if your parents made you wear sun cream and sunglasses. My parents died in a tragic hot air balloon accident when I was just a baby. Six or seven or so. They had been surveying the countryside with their implements and their big ideas, saving the planet was the agenda, or some other such pressing matter, when a malfunction caused the canvas to set alight and my parents dropped into a cloud of flames, ceasing to exist at such and such a time in August, or September of 1994, in an area of outstanding natural beauty. ‘Protected’.
 But I wasn’t aloud to come that day, I had more important things to do, like arithmetic and literacy hour. Had they known that that was to be there last day on earth would they have taken me along? So they could see me, their only son, one last time before they perished? Probably not. They probably wanted life for me. Life. To grow and develop and sprout into a Hero, or someone wonderful.
The way it turned out, if I was a Christian, I would imagine they’d probably be sitting on a picnic bench in heaven looking down at me and saying to themselves “maybe if we had had a little longer with him, he would have grown into someone wonderful.” But as a son of science, I’m sure their eyes and brains have long since decomposed, and that they’d of hoped I wouldn’t be childish enough to believe in imaginary men in the sky.
Atheism doesn’t offer much for the imagination.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Falmouth Unpackaged.4 /// 5 HIT WAP

There are some things in this world that we just can’t predict, prepare or plan for. Like the tornadoes that ravaged the American Midwest this weekend wreaking havoc and causing untold destruction. Or the unprecedented blow to liberalism and free speech that came when the government ordered bailiffs to remove the Occupy protesters from outside of St. Paul’s last week. Or even that a human as completely inane, so unbelievably and inherently preposterous as Boris Johnson could be given the mayoral responsibilities for one of the most influential cities in the world. For four years too, quite possibly eight if he gets reelected in the coming vote. I just can’t imagine for the life of me why? It’s like giving a half and half man-ape the ‘Let’s Go To War’ button with a banana symbol and a dollar sign on the front of it and putting him in the White House for eight years…  

It’s our actions that define who we are, and our actions can often be unpredictable. As, for example, spending £1million pounds on one London bus defines Boris Johnson as a know-nothing-neanderthal who only got the job because he told Cameron that if he didn’t get it, he’d out the time they got drunk and messed around in a dormitory during their heydays at Cambridge. Just as David Attenborough didn’t become the world’s leading naturalist by sitting in his garden and attempting to mate a stray cat with a neighbor’s daughter’s guinea pig. He did it through sharing the screen with a family of African Silverbacks, orchestrating some of the most iconic wildlife footage ever conceived and not giving a shit about any of those exotic diseases like malaria, river blindness or jungle aids.

The psychological makeup of the human brain is so complex that it can make us want to do strange, often highly irrational, things. If it can make you want to hug a 500lb gorilla that could just as easily make a hat out of your spine, and spend a small fortune on a rectangle on wheels, what else could it do?  

Mystery over Mylor sponge eater.”

A whole lot of other weird shit too, apparently. So a story in the Packet says there’s a dental nurse in Mylor who’s been chowing down on cleaning products. Kerry Trebilcock, 21, claims to have munched her way through over 4,000 sponges and 100 bars of soap since she contracted a rare condition called, pica, in 2008. This is the disease that makes people crave to eat stuff like car tyres, soil and even light bulbs (probably a diluted version of what makes McDonalds seem appealing) and, I kid you not, she’s quoted as saying, “One day I will beat this and be able to have a shower or do the washing-up without feeling hungry.” At least she’s got the right attitude I suppose; all she needs is some confidence, a little self-belief and maybe a trip to a professional doctor to get her off the stuff, however Kerry did add that she still has “a one-inch square of sponge and three teaspoons of organic soap with each meal.” So whereas her addiction to soap and sponge is waning, she’s not completely clean of the habit, she’ll be the one at the Chain Locker with a pie and chips, and half-pint of fairy liquid.    


Thursday, 16 February 2012

Falmouth Unpackaged.2 for 5 Hit Rap Magazine

Almost everything in the papers these days is about money, or more precisely, the lack of it. We’re supposed to applaud this Stephen Hester guy for setting precedent and refusing his £1 million bonus from the RBS despite the fact that he’s still getting the £100,000 a month or so in his salary (from the taxpayers!). He only did it because of the overwhelming amount of political and media pressure placed on him, have you seen how much he looks like a severely depressed, post-accident Humpty Dumpty since he did it? I’d give him an I’m-not-actually-a-twat badge if he could survive just one week in London on a student’s allowance. As if the MPs have the right to preach about the value of money as well? Those out of touch, often-sweaty politicians were all too happy working out how much it would cost in expenses to stage a swimsuit contest with the Middleton sisters in the House of Commons, just a few months ago.
Carrying on with the theme from last issue (comparing the ‘real’ news in the mass media, to the beautifully meaningless stories that can be found in the Falmouth Packet) I want to use this section to comment upon how ridiculously irrelevant the mass media has become, how farcical this zeitgeist of fear actually is, and how there’s so much in the world to enjoy if you just use those little, beady things attached to your face and look around. It’s a salute to those stories that really, actually matter, to the stories that touch you on a positive emotional level and not just a we’re-going-to-mind-fuck-you-because-you-can-read one, because that’s just not what it’s about.
I chose this story because, contrary to journalist law, it immediately made me smile. As I’m sure it will do to most of you. Except maybe first year students. And sober people. The headline: A year after being devastated by fire, the final touches are being made at The Pandora Inn before the historic pub opens its doors once more. Like a phoenix, seemingly mirroring those iconic images of burning shops in the London Riots, the Pandora rises triumphantly from the ashes. Even amidst this ‘debilitating’ recession, a little Cornish pub in Mylor can dust off and pull itself back to its feet - meaningless in the greater scheme of things, but totally more relevant to you than an obese guy at the bank. Isn’t it? Tell me your not going to get out to The Pandora the first chance you get? Yes things may be tight, and yes, maybe you don’t have the cash to get that sweet flat overlooking the harbor, but at least you’re in Cornwall, and at least you got a couple of pennies to have a Sunday Roast in a truly beautiful spot.

Breton Interview - Spindle

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Falmouth Unpackaged - Article for Falmouth based 5 Hit Rap magazine

It seems now more than ever that the media are adamant to portray themselves as dishonest, bloodsucking parasites with a thirst for human misery. Whether it’s the perpetually printed stories of nursery related gang stabbings, constant news reports reminding us that the Eurozone crisis has fucked our collective bank accounts, or just that Old Rupert Murdoch is masturbating to your sexy phone calls, they want to shock you into buying newspapers and scare the public into mental submission.

The evil mass media!

The closer you get to London the more horrifying the stories become, as if the capital were some sort of rapey black-hole that sucks all innocent life into a parallel universe of corruption and vice. And the thing is London isn’t that bad, England isn’t that bad, the world really isn’t that bad. It’s when you look to smaller, local newspapers that you actually realise that England isn’t on the brink of anarchy, it’s as dull as looking at David Cameron’s face. So I asked to write a regular section in 5 Hit Rap Magazine that looks at that most prestigious of Cornish publications, The Falmouth Packet, to show the world that England isn’t a cess pit full to the brim of racist, knife-wielding peadophiles, it can actually be quite a regular place with mundane day-to-day goings on and a hoard of amusing cultural oddities.

I’m just going to jump straight in with an article I found a couple of days ago to highlight this exact point - bearing in mind this is news, in an actual newspaper.

The headline read as follows: A girl was forced to call 999 after getting her foot stuck in a railing in Falmouth this afternoon. I mean isn’t that just beautiful. You’d think that was some sort of ironic joke if you saw it in the Metro or the Evening Standard. The poor girl; had to be rescued by the fire brigade, cut out with specialist equipment, obviously humiliated by the ordeal, so what do The Packet do? They tell the whole fucking town! It’s unbelievable.

Who remembers when the gas tank blew up on the docks last year? That was massive Packet news, the whole of Cornwall went mad, people were evacuated, there were explosions and smoke and fire and people crying. Sounds pretty dramatic right? Well, with all that in mind one of my friends lived next door to the docks, Railway Cottages, didn’t even wake up, she literally slept through the biggest Cornish news of the year.    

Whichever way you look at it the big papers have to fabricate and exaggerate to sell, whereas local papers just inform you about what’s been going on around you. I think what I’m trying to point out is that you can buy into all the media hype, you can fear for your pension and you can constantly look over your shoulder for that bespectacled psychopath with a dildo and a machete, or you can just find humor in the subtle things and try to enjoy what you see rather than worrying about what you read.