The Lunatics have taken over the Asylum

Again, wouldn’t normally be writing here on a Saturday but I’m off to town shortly, scoping out the place I’ll be performing at in few weeks time. It’s likely to be a fairly sympathetic audience, under the circumstances: safe space is a given, but I’d like the opportunity to give it a once over. I believe the technical term is a recce, and as there is a cafe there it will be a place to lunch at the same time. If there is a spot to leave a poster or maybe a flyer, that will also be investigated, in time for early February…

This thought however deserves being extracted from my brain, before potency is lost.

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I’ve always been different. That’s small letter for d and not big: difference existed in my consciousness from quite early on. What this meant however has altered over the years, and only now occurs reality of everything slotting into place. Because it has taken so long, certain games of catch-up with what that means require more work than others.

I have a lot to thank Penny for, and this is a case in point. I’d never heard of this organisation: a cursory glance at their public face shows nothing as to why this OP Tweet would be correct. Digging, however, turns up uncomfortable truths that make me feel physically ill. There is a dystopian future, not far from here, that could easily see autism first identified as a genetic shortcoming shortly before it is eliminated like Downs Syndrome, or anything else other people don’t consider as ‘perfect’ in human terms.

That is a world that frightens me, especially when other people react to the idea of difference with negativity right now. I’ve interfaced with two women this week, both in front-facing positions where they are paid to interact with members of the public. One was too embarrassed to publicly ask me a number of awkward questions despite it being her job to do so, the other so dismissive and frankly rude about the notion of difference that my previous respect for her effectively evaporated.

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We all deal with change in different ways. Many choose to ignore its progress completely: those keeping shows like The Grand Tour alive and well with their patronage, who’ll get annoyed at the idea of having to reduce their meat consumption to save the Planet… and the list goes on. Accepting the inevitable is not something many people can do well, whilst those are those who go too far the other way, instantly bouncing from one new fad to another without the first thought for consequences. Looking at you, Goop fans.

Ideal reality ought to exist somewhere in between the extremes, or that’s the theory. It never really does, because most of the ‘moderation in all things’ brigade never need to have their voices heard to begin with because living life is far more interesting and fulfilling than telling other people you’re doing just that. Oversharing, especially in public, becomes a hindrance, but without it the realities of abuse and violence true harmony will never be fully realised. If you open Pandora’s Box and give one person the right on Social media to be themselves, everybody has to be afforded the same privilege.

For every action, consequences are both blessing and curse.

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More and more, such moments become fuel for poetry or prose. Telling stories and educating via poetry, short stories and long form works has merit, and it can alter consciousness. The trick is not to allow other people’s casual prejudice to deter you. Everybody has the opportunity to learn and be a better person, it is up to them whether those changes happen, and how fast.

The last thing that needs to happen is to erase difference from any conversation.

Get it Right Next Time

What day is it again?

I shouldn’t be blogging today, Thursday is my day off, but so much has happened: there needs to be a record of where this next part of the journey begins. Without too much detail (which might come in retrospect, I dunno) yesterday saw a self-referral to a mental health organisation for counselling. Trying to work through my doctor has not produced either results or care that should be expected under the circumstances. This is a time of massive change within that particular sector of healthcare and my practice is run by doctors in their 70’s, so this is not as massive a surprise as it could be.

I’m able to function as a human being, depression being very much under control. My mental issues neither restrict or hinder daily life. I have developed a raft of coping strategies that allow an extremely competent illusion of stability and normality when high function and reasoning fail. Being a mimic is a fantastic means by which truths can be hidden, but there comes a point where this is not enough. Yesterday was the day therefore to go ask someone else to fix things that are so broken I cannot repair them alone.

The process has begun.

The Next Chapter Bar

My PT’s on her way back from a much needed holiday. All my health data has been shared with her via the Red Belt of Unavoidable TruthsΒ so, when she’s back in the game next week, we can start working out how I get stronger. That’s really easy: more hard work, less bad food, a desire to improve. Just gotta keep putting in the effort. Talking of which, it is Thursday, and tonight I don’t worry about what my belt is doing and just focus on doing what is asked.

The Next Chapter Bar

The first rejection of the year arrived yesterday, and it will not be my last.

I’m still angry. It’ll pass, and that has nothing to do with failing. It is everything to do with how that failure was communicated.

I wonder if the organisers of such endeavours learn from feedback or whether they consider anything constructively presented as nothing but negative criticism… Hang on, this is a metaphor for how disagreement plays out over Social media, isn’t it?

There needs to be more tea.

I’m Only Sleeping

Day 2:Β Welcome to the Age of Saying What I Really Wanted to Say.Β Today’s nugget of interest? I don’t like having my midriff uncovered. It makes me feel physically uncomfortable at present: is this a deep-seated issue or is it just too fucking cold to be wearing anything than about 35 layers? Leave that one with me.

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Blaze was… well, HARD. 2 minutes in the red zone (according to my MyZone Heart rate belt) was enough to make me physically sick. Also, FUN FACT, you wanna see what an anxiety attack looks like from my heart’s perspective? Here you go:

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With the benefit of over two hours of deep sleep and a lovely long chat with my Physio I am much better mentally. Physically however, I am exhausted. There needs to be lots of tea and quite possibly a very large sandwich because really, truthfully, this needs to be more fun than it is right now and last night was not fun.

Weigh In:
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Next up on the list of priorities is edit the novel that I want to enter for various things. It’s in a corner and won’t come out right now, which is going to require some work from me that, probably up until yesterday I wasn’t capable of doing. Then, it is probably an idea to sit down with all the other half-finished pieces of work and set up some kind of priority order with them.

There’s a phenomenal amount of work to do on some: is it worth it? Should I be brutal and start from scratch?Β It will be considerably easier going forward to ignore a lot of old content, but some of it will have value. I’m going to need to learn how to edit again: simple enough, but brutality is not one of my strong points. It will help that this weekend I’m away and that my brain doesn’t have to think about anything important or stressful.

Yes, I really am very tired.

Not a Job

Day 7:Β Seriously, it’s only been a WEEK???

Giving blood feels like several months ago, not gonna lie, only a faint scar reminds yup, still recovering. Cycling has been a horrible, stressful bag of emotional stress as a result and today, after five hours kip (see the writing blog) there is no energy for anything except what’s on the Urgent List. Yes, one of those exists. I will knock off all outstanding gubbins, then throw myself on the sofa because if dinner is gonna be cooked from scratch, there needs to be more active consciousness than currently exists.

Time to go for simple.

All the decorations are still in the front room too, and one thing that should be done is to get them across the road to the garage so the front room is clear for YOGA. Gonna try at least once a week, maybe more, starting with my old MTV Yoga DVD before quite possibly finding summat better on YouTube. That’s what it’s there for, right?

Once there’s been a decent night’s kip we’ll get back on TOP QUALITY CONTENT.

The Revolution will Not be Televised

DAY 5: We interrupt our scheduled wibbling for the first of a series of planned observations of reality. This Saturday? It is time to remind you all about the concept of TRANSMEDIA and how, in the space of a week, that concept has utterly altered the entire course of entertainment.

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Bandersnatch is a work of undoubted genius, created by Charlie Brooker who remains right in the front carriage of the Sci-Fi Alternate Futures ARE STILL COOL EVEN IF THEY’RE FUCKING SCARY Hype Train. However, let’s be clear, other people have been doing this shit for years: ‘choice’ in fiction has existed in video games, books, even films for quite some time, well before this Netflix original came along. Working across platforms isn’t new either…

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So, why is everybody so excited? In the simplest terms, Brooker’s the first person to shove on a particular set of wheels and throw engine into the chassis that’s been crying out to be redesigned since it became apparent what computer code can do if you tell a story with it. Here is the fuel of pretty much every Sci-Fi future: one screen provides all.Β The thing that presents both news and offers entertainment also grants possibility to alter and shape reality as you see fit.Β Given the building blocks of a story, each individual gets to decide both victor and reward, with thousands of possible variant versions.

Television ascends again as the ultimate serotonin delivery device.

The bigger irony right now, of course, is that if you try and access Bandersnatch through the smartest of smart TV’s, you’re met with a compilation of Black Mirror protagonists from series past apologising that ‘sorry, you can’t watch this episode on this device.’Β If you want true interactivity, go watch TV on a Tablet, phone, PC, Laptop or Games console instead.Β The one TV ‘drama’ that will redefine storytelling going forward cannot be viewed on a dumb, flat screen.

Overnight, everybody’s non-code operated gogglebox got rendered totally and completely obsolete.

Gil Scott-Heron was a visionary, and non net-savvy TV companies might have a bit of a problem going forward. Well, not a problem per se, but organisations such as Sky will be looking long and hard at their set-top boxes, realising that catch-up TV is great and all that but they are yet again behind the curve. The day Netflix launch their fully interactive rival in collaboration with Disney and UEFA all bets are off as to what you’ll want linked up to the ‘TV’.

The future is no longer sending signals to a screen and expecting that to be enough.

Suddenly, TV has the opportunity to combine everything in the one place you want it. No more PC’s in the corner of a room: run it from the widescreen HD central screen, transfer it to a tablet before taking it everywhere. One core processor unit oversees and dictates every form of interactivity in your house. That same Home Entertainment Unit is Alexa’s search facilities and Siri’s voice combined with choose your own drama shows, themostatic controls plus lighting dimmer switches, with the kids homework and your favourite FPS, all voice activated.

Esports will vie for prominence with real sports, but not watching teams of young people competing via controllers. Live sports provide an unexpected new industry : all computer sports games will sign deals with broadcasters to provide means by which players can allow their favourite team to win both Cup and League. Interspersing historical footage with computer generated graphics so real, you’ll never notice the difference and suddenly,Β choose your own outcome versions of every sporting event in history becomes possible.

There will be a backlash, of course: Traditionalists will shun all new style visual media and return to VHS, Laserdiscs and DVD’s as the only version of entertainment that matters. Books will become their own unique currency, with people hand-producing their own versions of great historical novels with unique, personal twists. Then, there are those who’ll have original TV signals directed directly into their optic nerves, eventually choosing to spend the rest of their existence

only as brains in jars…

As a writer, it’s fun to consider the consequences of things such as Bandersnatch in a wider context. Undoubtedly, the effect of social media on news and entertainment is beginning to alter how the collective consciousness absorbs information. With such new possibilities on the horizon, conventional TV will have to undergo some fairly significant changes in order to embrace such technologies, but if there’s enough demand, it will happen.

Old style TV units and broadcasting mediums are on notice. Aerials on houses will become a thing of the past. Everything is heading towards a future where ‘smart’ and ‘interactive’ beat everything: whether that’s through a fibre connection or via satellite is yet to be decided. The next year also gives Netflix, Amazon and the digitally native platforms a massive advantage over traditional TV. If I were Disney, for instance, I’d DEFINITELY be looking at launching my own dedicated streaming service to take advantage…

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Expect a Disney ‘make your own TV show’ very soon indeed, and once they start it, we’re all doomed.

Sunrise

DAY 3:Β I’m aΒ  recovering addict, trying my best not to sound like an evangelist. It’s a tough ask, some days, especially when the weight of evidence shows how gullible I was. Companies are to blame for feeding addiction, and in due course one can only hope common sense will prevail… but don’t bet on that. However, if as individuals we are unable to discern truth in our own shortcomings and failings, all is lost.

This, in a certain light, utterly is confirmation bias at work. Someone else (as a result of my flagrant disregard of The Community) is already indignantly decrying this attack on freedom of choice, and that’s absolutely fine. However, if you continue to throw money at companies whose entire modus operandi is to get you to do just that, stop complaining they don’t cater to your tastes. That’s when you take your money away and go elsewhere. No really, that’s how it should work.

If it doesn’t…? Who has the problem here, exactly?


I do love my gaming friends. Some have moved on, others staunchly remain wedded to their MMO’s of choice and all of them wear gaming as a badge of honour. It is how you know if someone’s gonna grasp your point of view or not: meeting gamers makes a ton of metaphors applicable in any conversation. It’s the difference between awkward and relaxed, almost instantly.

Currently I have a History of the InternetΒ poetry collection under submission and once it is summarily rejected (because half the references will be lost on people judging) I will go about getting it published myself.Β This is what I am. Like it or not, good or bad, there is never the means to separate gamer from woman. It’s why indignation rises over cheap stereotyping, that this same stupid, pointless rhetoric hasn’t gone away for the 40 years I’ve played.

This whole ridiculous argument isn’t about women being good at games, it’s about women being good at ANYTHING and part of me wants that association to be 360 No Scoped back into the 8 bit age. I don’t fucking care how good or bad I am, I deserve the right to play unchallenged.

This is a fundamental problem with Humanity that really should have been fixed by now.


Rejecting a space which is specifically designated as one in which performers may do as they wish is artistically limiting, Kanye.

You need to listen to more people, mate.

The Sun Rising

DAY 2: I’ll just leave this here.

Sugar cravings are non-existent. Sleep patterns are a lot less fraught after a couple of weeks off the routine, but as I miss order so very much, and without it everything suffers, it is time to be up at approaching ‘normal’ before cracking on with the plan. Yesterday went fabulously well: poetry’s already scheduled to archive, I have a month’s worth of Motivation stacked and ready to post, Short Story is already ahead of the curve.

Today, we’ll see if we can’t get the YouTube stuff organised too, remake some website headers, before creating a ‘form’ for scheduling so that I can cut down on the massive number of PostIt notes and random pieces of paper required to make each new month happen. Call it being overly picky, or perhaps just wanting to be more environmentally sound… but it should be doable now. The routine is set, but can still be flexible.

HOPEFULLY this will assist in making weight loss and meal times less stressful. I have my first recipe ready to go. It was either a) safe with burgers or b) risky veg and YES I’M GOING FOR B because nothing changes when you’re safe. This is a line in the sand, and it will go on being pushed and redrawn, but it won’t be walked away from. I’ve wanted to do this properly for decades. It will happen.


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The other promise is to my husband, who’s been pushing me for years to expand my mind via podcasts. I’ll be honest, there’s normally just not been enough brain-space to process stuff like this between everything else that’s upended mentally over the last few years. Now, however, I feel comfortable enough to give it a go. I’m listening to 2017 podcasts, starting today, then we’ll do last year so I’m caught up to current.

After that? We’ll take a trawl through the archives and see what looks interesting. I’ll be back to you on how it all goes.

Oh, and I’m gonna exercise later, because I haven’t lifted a heavy weight since Friday.