Goodbye

Yesterday, I got quite upset. It was a combination of things, culminating in someone who is really respected getting grumpy over my enthusiasm, for something which is really being looked forward to. Then I remembered the ‘opinions’ are not facts’ rule, and the ‘enjoyment is subjective’ sub-clause and it’s okay for people not to like the same things you do.

The bigger issue occurs when someone subsequently bimbles along and then tries to convince that actually, you are the problem. That opinion is unacceptable. The difference is in the wording. This is the correct mindset, notwithstanding it being held not to be the correct mindset. It doesn’t matter that it is logical, sensible and applicable. You’re wrong, because you don’t agree with the person who objects to you not agreeing with them.

Welcome to the Pedantry Circle of Hell, population those people.

I spend a lot of my life arguing with people like this. By all accounts, at my age, I should be a person like this, but that is absolutely never going to happen. There are plenty of other people making the dick moves in the World, they don’t need anyone else. So, this space is now one where lots of things will be considered, nothing ignored if it is done with civility and well-exampled.

However, yesterday I saw comments by people ignored or removed from my feed some time ago that just reinforce this attitude hasn’t altered for, in at least one case, a decade. This is not about being right for myself either: pointing a finger at someone else for their inability to alter themselves is no better than the reversal of the action. To be better, all of those things need to be put aside.

That’s where I’ve been falling down for quite some time.

The End

To be honest, I’d expected the Apocalypse to be a lot more fiery and unpleasant. Right now, it’s just fucking irritating.

All I can hope is that someone cares enough to stop all these carriages careening off their various tracks and into the abyss. I’ve been attacked by Government today for taking a COVID test so that my daughter didn’t panic even more than she did, and presumably if I’d have kept her out of school for 10 days to discover she had a cold they would have paid my fines for not having her educated.

This is the same Government that’s about to use the word ‘notwithstanding’ to try and circumnavigate decades of Northern Irish history, presumably because it assumes no-one really has the time or money to challenge them. This is, as a mate of mine unexpectedly summated, a dystopian nightmare, which shows absolutely no signs of abating.

Maybe we can have a break at Christmas to clear up a bit.

Would I like to know the end is coming? It gives me a chance to make peace with various demons. I can get a bit fitter, so I look okay in the coffin… except by that point there is nobody to bury you, or indeed to remember the lack of contribution you made. In that regard, maybe an impending apocalypse might make a few people pick up their game.

Let’s see what happens.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night

Once upon a time, I was thinking about a phone upgrade. The Huawei phone I had remained great: solid performance, but there’d been issues with the battery, then I’d dropped it and needed to replace everything on insurance. Looking at my contract, with three months left, I’d have to pay a couple of hundred quid to do so, which didn’t exist anyway.

I cast around for a bit, looking for a cheaper alternative. Apple was a non-starter. I didn’t want another Huawei because their own software was becoming intrusive. Someone (I do not remember who) on my Twitter timeline suggested I take a look at the Pixel 4a when the time came. There was an article about it in the Guardian that day. I linked it to Future Self as a reminder in December.

Then, this happened:

I thought maybe this was a scam, but no, that’s legitimately Google’s UK account. So, I did as I was told. I said hi, and via DM was asked to provide a name and address, which is when alarm bells started to ring. All my online smarts told me that stuff like this is normally a precursor to bad things happening. Fraud, crappy mail for the rest of time, that kind of stuff.

Some internal rationalization then followed: maybe they wanna send me stuff about the phone? Maybe it might be some kind of promotion? Hey, if it’s a money off voucher, this would be useful regardless. So, I committed. I wrote, in the instructions box they provided, ‘make sure you ring the bell’ because, knowing how Google Forms work, they’s just print out the address and the instructions to stick on the parcel, and then I’d know it was from them.

Fast-forward to last Thursday. Daughter’s first day back at school. Quite stressful all round. Getting ready to go on the School Run, a man appears with a parcel at the front door, on which my instructions are indeed printed. It is FAR TOO LARGE to be a phone and suddenly, I am more than confused… until I open it.

I am now the proud owner of a Pixel 4a. I traded in the old phone last night and so, as it happens, also in profit as a result of this deal. It’s a beautifully compact, very lovely thing and will be used to take photos with this week to see just how capable it is in the field. Thus far I am more than happy but remain a little confused.

Whoever it was who decided I was worthy of one of these things, THANK YOU. The drink and the snacks were lovely, and quite unnecessary. I’ll use it for as long as is possible and it will be very well taken care of, but for the record if you wanted an influencer, there are probably better tech people that could have been chosen. However, this solves the issue of replacing stuff. For that alone, I am happy.

It’s the little things that really make a big difference to people like me.

Across the Universe

It’s been an odd weekend. Once the negative test results came through on Saturday afternoon, a poem fell out of me that wasn’t really poetic until right at the end, but undoubtedly is now the most accurate summation of my life thus far. Considering your mortality is something that happens a lot as you get older. I did it a very great deal this time last year after coming out of hospital.

Today, I’ll be making a massive effort to eat healthier, and continue to do so going forward. I have an FTP test on Saturday which will redefine the next three months of exercise. There is a lot of work to do, both personally and professionally and it is time to stop mucking about and get on with the process of progression. I am ready to move forward.

I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life. The biggest ones never leave, are permanently rattling around my head, and it is sensible never to dwell on them for too long. There are opportunities now to be a better person, permanently, understanding that penance is never going to remove those actions, but as time goes on the moments themselves will become less relevant.

I’ll be having nightmares over that test on Friday. It’s more than likely that’s not the last one I’ll end up having to self-administer: this thing doesn’t go away now. The world has changed, and will continue to do so for years to come. There has to be a way to meet all these challenges with optimism, and determination. Redefining existence should be a regular occurrence.

It’s one of many plans that are about to be set in motion.

The Boy in the Bubble

We are now in self-isolation awaiting test results.

Gonna take this opportunity to work on things away from the Internet this weekend. I will return on Monday.

Stay safe and WEAR A MASK.

Mirrorball

There will be a moment, not long from now, when I rationalise my personal timeline. That’s nothing to do with social media followers either: this is the task of writing down notable moments in my existence to check the voracity of events. The stuff I can remember is VERY clear, almost technicolour in its brilliance. Everything else… yeah.

Emotional overloads have caused holes. Some are deep and wide enough to have obscured entire years. It was one of the reasons I started blogging, if truth be told. It does mean making time to trawl through everything that still exists as litany to various pasts, and interests, and people who have long since been removed.

It’s why Facebook remains absolutely never an option.

This month will also be the one where I step away from anyone trying to sell the ‘Internet is EVUL’ line ON THE INTERNET in order to sell themselves. It’s becoming really quite easy to spot the idiocy here and you have two choices: embrace and fight or ignore and walk. If the person’s high profile, it isn’t worth amplifying their reach. Anyone else however and I’ll call them out.

People have always been disappointing, the world is full of idiots: if countless people mistake my politeness for a come-on or an attempt to seduce their partner? Nothing really changes in the long run except the baseline level of comprehension. We are miles ahead from where this was 30 years ago, sure, but it’s still the fucking Dark Ages. Make no mistake, if there’s stupid to be had, someone will always ask for seconds.

This month, I’m gonna aim for more interactions and less beef.

Anything else will be a bonus.

This Is How We Do It

Occasionally, there is a moment when everything is calm, quiet and still. If you are VERY lucky, within that will come a revelation that will alter the way you look at everything. I bang on about epiphanies, mostly because for so long now I’ve been rediscovering things about myself that it seems fair to suspect that other people had worked out for themselves years ago.

However, as has happened previously, there are moments when someone else inadvertently lights the touchpaper under your personal firework stash before casually walking away, singularly unaware that they were even the instigator of change. I’ve had these moments off and on for my entire life. Films have this effect on me: notably Brazil, The Fisher King, Empire of the Sun, Tombstone, Skyfall and most recently Arrival.

Arrival destroyed my linear timeline, and actually that’s no bad thing, because it’s given a quite fertile imagination a much better idea of when to work and why. As a result, this morning I went to the Gym, then came home before falling into some new poetry. Crucially, I didn’t let myself get too immersed. It was all about drawing the lines, then walking away.

I’ll do the same tomorrow, or maybe later this evening if I feel awake enough after cycling. The key is not to get hideously stressed by the process. We are going to adopt a ‘less is more’ strategy for the next few months, and see how things pan out. It was this attitude that ended up getting me a shortlisted work, when all is said and done, so that seemed successful.

I should be looking more at what works and focussing on that.

Music also has a quite seismic effect on me. This is in the MMXCI playlist, which I’m listening to during the editing process, and the lyrics have stuck with me for decades. It’s an anthem for a lot of people of my generation. At some point, you work it out. Everything finally makes sense, then you get to move forward to the next bit.

Welcome to the Next Bit.

You Know My Name

New month. I changed some stuff last night, on a whim, because this is apparently perfectly acceptable if you’re on social media in 2020. I’m also considering some more systemic alterations going forward. As this is the ‘transforming idea’ section of my Change Process diagram, anything is conceivably possible if I have the momentum.

Every year since I started my poetry journey, I’ve taken a speculative punt at the National Poetry Contest. For the first two goes, it was just that. This year I was convinced I could be good enough to at least have a chance. After all, if you can’t believe your own hype, who else is likely to? However, looking at last years’ entries, I remember how angry I got and then really, everything got a bit messy.

Yesterday, I put two entries to bed.

For some time there has been internal conflict over what makes a commercial success just that. I’m also very annoyed reading a lot of ‘current’ poetry because… well, it just doesn’t do the job of being poetic enough. Coming out of what has undoubtedly been a quite intense and emotional period of my life, working out the rhyme in reason has begun to matter rather a lot.

Over the last couple of months I’ve speculated with a ton of other styles of poetry and then, it occurred to me yesterday, that’s not how I do my best work. ‘Rock poetry’ is my best work right now, and by that I mean the poems I’ll conjure as prompts from an image a bloke on Twitter posts, approximately once a day.

Most of this has rhyme in it somewhere too, which is not de rigueur for most places at all and so, based on the considerable success of these works in a poetically sympathetic audience, a decision was made. One poem written in the moment, one written over time. Both submitted yesterday, and that’s it. No more stressing. No more letting it control both mood and thought. They’re gone now, move on. I won’t even know that I’ve failed until February FFS.

There are better things to be worrying about.

I Predict a Riot

Making things work is hard. Whether it be poetry, or relationships, or schedules, nothing is never easy. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying. The most difficult task you will ever undertake as an adult is getting everything right first time. If you see people doing it, they will have practised forever. Trust me on this.

I’m trying to write a poem for a Thing at present and at 8.35 it looked easy. Here, at 1pm, it is anything but. I know why this is now. The key to unlocking that as easy has finally manifested, after what will have been about two years worth of practice. I have to accept that I’m enough to make it work, and still can’t. It is my own confidence that defines it.

Believing in myself some days can be a hard ask.

In fact, if I’m honest, I’d rather have a sammich now than worry about stuff like this, and maybe that says more now than anything else I could possibly write on a Bank Holiday. So, let’s do that instead, and we’ll stop stressing over details for a bit, and when there’s summat worthwhile to write about we’ll come back and do that.

Excellent idea.