Hey Ya

Yesterday, I made three videos in one day. Once upon a time, it took me a week to do that just once. Of course, it helps that it’s just me that needs to be edited, and there’s no extra elements at play. However, we’ve entered a new realm after the chaos of Christmas, and there’s a desire to keep the momentum going for as long as is conceivably possible. In the middle of all this, it undoubtedly helps that there is nothing else to do that focus on working: no School Run, nor any real stress from my family.

I also made it outside to exercise. There was shopping done, though the reality in my supermarket of choice is that Brexit is having more of an effect on supplies than anyone is really letting on. After writing this, I’ll pull a yoga mat out and see if I can’t do an hour or so, because there’s undoubtedly some benefit in having a decent stretch once a week. Then, it’s just more of the same for as long as I can, because there is this feeling that if I do stop, everything will just summarily disintegrate around me. A niggle with my left inner ear is a case in point… it’s better now I’m awake and upright. Let’s see how changes in balance affect it, shall we?

No, I’m absolutely sure I won’t crumble, but just in case…

The disturbing thing about this email that I was sent was, undoubtedly, that its title was indeed an old Facebook password. This tells me all I need to know about how safe (or otherwise) the platform was back in 2009 and that I’m really very grateful I have nothing anywhere, any more, that is of any interest at all to Zuckerberg. The next job on my list of Tech Related Gubbins is to delete WhatsApp once and for all off my phone. After that, people will just have to text me. I’m sure we’ll all cope just fine.

The more I go off grid and force people to have to interact on my terms, the happier I become.

Making your Mind Up

I wrote a NaNoWriMo Novel in November, after nine years of false starts. Yesterday, I had a Zoom call with a friend who’s read it, and she’s urged me to enter it for a first novel contest whose deadline is this week. To be honest, there would not previously have been the confidence to do so. However, that call’s galvanised me into action and a week that was already quite busy has now become full-on as a result. Normally, adding onto an already packed diary would bother me, but now? It’s a challenge.

All of this becomes a stress test of ability.

Over the weekend I also finally finished two poetry submissions, and submitted something else that, again, I’d have never possessed the confidence to do previously. Thinking about what has changed between here and last year, very little actually has in terms of capability. However, belief is different, mostly I suspect because if it’s possible to do 500km in eight days, the strength is within to make these things happen when it matters. So, what is there to lose by pushing the extra mile.

I suppose there’s only one way to find out.

Having finally departed Instagram, this time for good, it still feels like the correct decision. After what happened in the US last week, and the undoubted contribution Facebook has made to general disinformation, there needs to be something done as principle. Therefore, I’ll be using Ko-Fi for pictures and art going forward, because it’s under my terms alone. Algorithms can do one: honestly, if it’s good enough in the end, where it happens won’t matter.

This is my future, and that’s all that matters.

It’s Grim up North

Everybody, at some point in their lives, should try and read or learn about both Ethics and Philosophy. The ability to be able to critically assess every idea you’re given is a life skill that a great many people could sorely do with attaining, especially before being given the keys to a social media account. Once you realise that ‘reality’ is only a definition and not necessarily the world around you? So much begins to alter. It’s the foundation of everything else in existence, underpinning enormous swathes of contemporary education, business and crucially entertainment. Let’s ask A Famous Actor to put both together for your mind-altering pleasure…

So, if time is a flat circle, it should not surprise those living through Covid that their lives are, amazingly, incredibly similar to those of their ancestors. But hang on, they didn’t have protest or media stars running their country… ah, but you see, they did. Just because social media has given so many a voice, doesn’t mean that this is the first time ever people have stood up for their rights and worked together. Your experiences may well be unique to you, but that does not necessarily mean those are unique in a wider context, and this is a crucial fact that it’s easy to overlook for expediency, as so many people are already doing.

All that has happened will do so again, unless history is listened to and summarily rejected/embraced, depending on which way you come into all of this. I’ve been at environmental activism since the 80s, and we’re still no further forward in some places than was the case back then. Ironically, the loss of coal as fuel was never the problem, it was how business and government sold it both as industry and a career that was. The echoes with this and finance as the same is not lost on a brain that can already see this forgotten in a decade.

It is easy to see who is learning right now: there are undoubtedly those with absolutely no interest in anything except how their lives remain the most important part of reality. It makes perfect sense, of course it does, as the fear that results when forced to consider anything outside that sanctified bubble is both feeling and action I’m very personally acquainted with. Except, as a human being, fear is part of your growth experience. It is what makes people travel across the planet, urges them to undertake superhuman acts. To overcome your circumstances, to triumph against adversity is a victory against a very human emotion.

With fear under control, literally anything is possible.

I’ve spent a lifetime reading other people’s self-help manuals, looking at how to be happy. The one trick that nobody wants to tell you is that there is no cure-all: they all just hope you’ll make them rich. Once you decouple from the idea that someone else has all the answers, that buying stuff or treating yourself is all just your brain tricking you into a cheap dopamine hit? Honestly, it all gets an awful lot easier. The true reality is balance, and making sure fear never has enough fuel to destroy your life.

If you can manage all that and still feel happy? That’s a pretty decent life, right there.

Justified and Ancient

Yesterday, with minimal fanfare, The KLF released their most famous songs onto streaming services and YouTube. No longer will I have to keep Apple Music well away from my MP3’s and, finally there are versions of classics on an OFFICIAL KLF YouTube Channel…

Of course, there’s a shedtonne of fan-based stuff all over everywhere for these boys and their output, which was the definition of Proper Bonkers back in the day. I’m not going to spoil any of it for you but seriously, go read a biography or two of their lifespan and what they’ve achieved as performance artists, because legitimately being able to burn a million quid without compunction is worth the admission price alone.

Yesterday I also started an exercise plan that will see me record something for the entire 365 days of the year. Most of this is likely to be on a static bike, but until Gyms are open in my area again (which at this rate, let’s face it, could be May) there does need to be an upper body component that’s self-generated. 30 push-ups a day is now academic in groups of 10, now I need to be able to do them without a break. That’s the next task on the list, after which we’ll add some. Right now however, I am genuinely feeling the upper body workout from yesterday, which says to me that Good Work [TM] was done overall.

Also, I have streaks going in various places. It’s time to try and be on the giant wrecking ball with a single finger aloft, as opposed to being hit by it.

We have totally got this.

Telegraph Road

NaNo continues to write itself. I also have absolutely zero desire to do anything related to submission at all, right now. This won’t last but really, truthfully, we are not out of the woods yet, and there is a lot that could go horribly wrong by the end of the year. Eyes on the prize, people, which is not winning, but changing everything so it is better. Winning is a construct, never forget this.

Mostly I am here, healing. That’s what I’m doing. Moving onwards, forwards, with purpose and determination. Words must be written.

Musclebound

I had my last PT lesson for what may be the year today, because there’s a part of me that thinks that we won’t see hospitality open until 2021. If that is the case, there needs to be an exercise plan, that can be stuck to and that will show real progress. That means back to push-ups every day, and not just rubbish ones. Every push up has to be superb.

Therefore, starting tomorrow there will be lists and stuff recorded. I can do it all on Garmin to remember, so there is no confusion as to numbers and frequency. After that, I have a number of scheduled tasks that require completion, and after THAT I’ll clean and lounge about in no particular order. I have some other plans though. Right now however that will do.

It’s really satisfying to have gotten all the important shit sorted by 2.15pm though. Not gonna lie. This is strangely cathartic…

Fuck You

We’re working well right now. I have lots of plans, but very few of them involve stressing about paying people to validate me. We have officially reached the ‘fuck this shit’ portion of the year and December is already being planned, and will be taken as Holiday, because honestly I have had enough of sending stuff to people and getting not even the acknowledgement of failure.

What is becoming increasingly apparent is how bigger forces than I are dealing with the change in focus: no longer looking totally inward, many are beginning to realise the true consequence of their actions, or in many cases complete inertia. The rules here remain predictably intractable.

It’s not your job to curate your content but other people’s to remove it if they don’t like what they hear. You can absolutely be critical of said content, but expecting people to change it is unacceptable as it is a) theirs and b) you need to respect the work. That ‘respect’ can mean constructive criticism, creating your own version of reality or indeed just rejecting the work completely and leaving. You don’t get to demand it changes.

I kopped so much grief as a Gaming writer on this stance. Gamers ‘have a right’ to demand change. If it doesn’t work, the Devs HAVE to fix it. No, really, they don’t. If they choose to because economically half the player base fucks off in protest? Different scenario. That’s not like a book or a TV show where you make the creative decisions and people just have to live with it, and do.

Entitlement has fucked so much of modern existence. It really has, and the people who fucked me up over it will never be forgotten as a result. I have a list of people that could be cited, confidently blaming for a number of mental stutters in the last decade. It’s easy to see how fandom attacks and warps the fabric of our daily existence.

Except, learning the value of moving on is something so many fail to do.

So, this is me, moving on. You were warned well in advance. Some old stuff is coming back, some other stuff going away for good. I’m tired of the assertion that you somehow have to preserve some level of content civility, or else people won’t listen. That’s bollocks, it really is. I’ve seen how people like Mona work. Her reach, her work ethic, her honesty.

This is the future more people should be aspiring to.

Good with my Hands

I’m behind on some things but ahead with others, and to fix everything is a case of concentrating for a bit and moving forward. Some stuff I am still in the habit-forming period of existence, others were just not summat I’ve wanted to do, particularly. Patreon is keeping up to date, which is what matters most.

Video, as it happens, is going extraordinarily well. Gonna redo my Patreon introduction as a result of a tech development today. Should have another video poem finished for Friday. Honestly, all going GREAT, but the best thing of all undoubtedly is exercise. I am now exceeding 2018 levels of fitness. More importantly, Strava is doing good work at reminding me :D

Nine days ago I was beginning to push at 2018 levels. Last night, when I tried and took 46 SECONDS off my personal best… Yeah, there’s a change. I’m gonna keep working at it. Protein shakes are really helping. Muscle mass is on the way up. I got off the bike and felt stronger than has been the case for a LONG time.

More news as it happens.

Breaking Glass

Most years, before my birthday, I sit and work out whether I feel anything has been achieved. This year it’s an odd satisfaction within me as I sit here, typing the phrase ‘yeah, you know what, this is getting somewhere.’ The potential for everything to change in a heartbeat has never been so obvious, permanently sitting behind an eyeline well aware of what is playing out in plain sight.

A lot of this really is ridiculously unfair. People dying who shouldn’t be, could be saved, must be remembered. The good, oppressed and marginalised by those who think freedom is their privilege when it is everybody’s right. Somewhere in between is everybody else, doing their best, struggling to make it all work. Some people are failing, others succeed, and all of this, like it or not, is as it has always been.

Except, in all of this, there are the beginnings of revolution.

I feel quite flabby right now, both literally and metaphorically. Lots of bits of my body are changing, places that have been fat spots for literally decades. There’re areas of working practice that also need work, and those will be addressed starting today. Eventually, everything does find a level, and with enough thought and consideration, you can untangle even the most difficult issues.

It is time to move on from introversion, which for a while this year nearly derailed me completely. Lockdown has taught me many things, the main one being that nobody is listening, most of the time. The trick is to just keep talking and eventually, stuff sticks. Being aggrieved that people aren’t, or they don’t thank you, or all this other shit is unnecessary energy expended. Just keep on, keeping on, going forward, doing the Thing.

In time, it all works out just fine.

The people who really care still do, are here to support and are, willing to help propel forward plans that are less belief and more confidence with every passing day. Knowing that this is a righteous path also helps, but never should that feeling prevent you from being the better person. Everybody has something to teach you, especially those who think they have nothing left to learn.

There is a storm coming, and many people will not weather it well.