Jilted John

From presidents to paupers, there are points in existence where things don’t go your way. Those of us who don’t have the ability to make people do what is required to maintain sanity, however questionable in legality that might be, are forced to deal with consequences. This can be a particularly tough ask. Who am I kidding, it’s incredibly stressful and difficult. Being asked to act completely contrary to character because circumstances dictate might well appear selfless, sure, but the potential for destruction is strong.

It has been a tough week for lots of people, as uncertain future beckons for many.

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What can you do to help other people? Well, the number one thing NOT to do is to make their trauma all about you, which is what a number of Social media commentators have managed to demonstrate very successfully across the week. Sensibly a lot of people haven’t done Twitter at all, and all power to them for sensibly getting on with the task in hand of healing themselves before trying to take on the World. Learning when to walk away from contentious situations is half the battle to beating them.

What has happened this week is an awful lot of other people stepping back from themselves, to reassess what they do and how it happens. This is, all told, a really good way to help other people too, because there’s the space and ability to ensure your responses and support is the right kind of words and deeds and not fuelled by ideas or concepts that don’t fit the particular situation. For those of us who are very emotional however, this is the worst time of all.

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You want to go and help, but know if you do that emotional instability is far more likely to make things worse, so you are forced to sit on the sidelines and bottle everything up until it becomes possible for you to not react in a manner that is hugely counter-productive for everybody. This is where meditation, mindfulness and objectivity come into their own, and why sometimes someone like me just won’t take part in your discussions. If you’re hoping I do and it doesn’t happen, you’re not being ignored.

This is knowing you’re no use as help when you can’t help yourself first.

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It’s why I’m eternally grateful to people like @SwearTrek for giving me the means to express incredibly complex forms of upset and anger in simple, colourful animated pictures, because the rest of my life does not have such simple means to do so. It’s become the ability by which sanity can be maintained when everything around me is in tatters. Being unable to express yourself is incredibly frustrating. Knowing what the problem is and being unable to solve it is even more soul destroying.

These are grown up problems, and have been left unsolved for far too long.

The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead

Day 1: Fell off the wagon. It happens. The trick is to get back and try to stay on. Here we go.

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Not every idea is brilliant. Occasionally however you’ll see pick up on what somebody else says and realise ‘bloody hell I could do summat with that.’ I had one of those moments this morning, and have just spent the past two hours making sure that when the time comes (and it will) this idea gets used well, and with style.

There’s a lot to thank you for Ian, but I suspect this moment of brilliance will be the one that sticks with me the longest. It’s certainly the story that will be told when someone asks me ‘so where did you get the idea for this project?’

I’d better sort out an Instagram account.

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Tonight is Blaze. I’m feeling pretty good. It’ll be the first time with the belt.

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Not as much yellow. However, looking at the Strava stats, considerably more effort. Now, this means a couple of things: heart is under less stress because I’m sitting and breathing better. It might well be harder to get up to yellow because, as it happens, I am pretty fit. Blaze is gonna be the benchmark going forward. However well it goes tonight will set my path for the next couple of weeks. PT’s not back until the 18th, no training until the 21st. That’s 11 days to sort my life out. Should be doable.

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I wasn’t supposed to be blogging today. Whatever.

All Kinds of Everything

Day 6: Where to start?

It’s down. We take that, on the run-up to Christmas, and continue to ignore the almost tsunami of sugar hurtling towards me in the next 10 days. My trainer is off for three weeks in January so I’ll be largely fending for myself, and I’d like her to come back to some real progress. No, this weight loss isn’t for me. It’s to show someone else that sacrifice really does give benefit. I get the results, everybody is happier because I am. Or at least that’s the theory.


I promised I wouldn’t go on about this, but there’s one more thing to say about The Internet Poem.

This, everybody, is my first cold critique for… ooh, probably since college, so that’s over thirty years ago, and I’m immensely proud of it. ‘Spikiness and formal exactitude’ is as close to a perfect description of me as you’re ever likely to get too, I feel that might be why W.S Graham’s work so appeals to me. You see something in a kindred spirit… but it has more to do with how angry I was when this was written.

This was produced off the back of some real nasty business on Social media, and instead of taking that back to the source or writing a whiny, unfocused blog post, all that vitriol went into what really is a decent ape, though I do say so myself. This elegy for deleted time is given for those souls who do not yet understand or grasp their moral compasses and decency has died on the Internet. Maybe the tide will turn next year, but on current content, it’s doubtful.

I need to write more about the Internet in 2019.


Holidays have started. Nothing formal is planned. There’ll be walking, cycling, writing and gaming. However, above all else, there will be sleeping.

When you read this, that’s where I’ll be.

Thank you for your understanding.

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On five hours sleep, I wrote today’s blog post using Tweets. I’ll see you tomorrow.

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Here begins a gradual, composed return to full blogging. There’s nothing massively important to write about either: I’ve got some ideas to try when we go back to ‘normal’ hours at the start of September but for now, what matters most is my two poetry contest deadlines for the end of the month. I will admit yesterday there was a full-on ‘why are we bothering there’s no chance of winning either of these’ moment. It isn’t like the Ride London 46 where there’s no victor and simply taking part becomes the achievement… and then I realised this is no different.

The last couple of days has come with a lot of thoughts of failure. It is inevitable, over time, that you dwell on negatives. The trick, of course, is not to allow the blackness a chance to take hold of your soul. It’s an incredibly easy sentence to type and an impossible leap to make when you’re in the dark: watching other people struggle with these demons, as I do via social media, is always heartbreaking. I can try and tell people they’ll find a way, but it’s a lie. The journey’s theirs to make, and only they can find means to escape.

If you decide you can’t be saved, nobody will ever reach you.

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That understanding comes from being in the same place, and having escaped. Trying to reach out to people who I might have a connection with only to be ignored or deflected is a depressing task too. Then there are those who keep talking to me but clearly aren’t listening, and they are the creepiest of all. Just because I had a conversation with you once does not mean we’re a friendship. Some days, there’s just too much else going on to try and reason with some people, and that’s when it becomes apparent that reality is the far better pursuit.

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This week, anyone who’s not posted for the last six months or longer’s been removed from my follower count. It is clear that Twitter is looking to make metrics more representative of actual numbers using the platform… and then I hear a bunch of people in the US are planning to deactivate their accounts as some kind of protest. Having left Facebook behind at the start of the year, I wish all these people happiness in their social media free existences, and remind them their kids are all on WhatsApp and Snapchat and Instagram not really giving a fuck. If you wanna change the way people use these platforms?

Walking away might not be the answer.

The First Time

We arrived home on Thursday morning, after travelling overnight from Lake Como. Ever since then I’ve been tidying and reorganising my life for a focused reboot and redefinition of what matters most.

I’ll do the backstory on the Holiday next week, and normal service will resume on Monday. Tomorrow therefore is a day of concerted planning, and recovery from a fairly intensive exercise session this morning. It is lovely to be back, and I’ve only put on half a kilo (according to the biometric machine at the Gym.) Now, I wanna get back to work. The first rejection email has come and gone. There will be others, but it is part of the process.

For now, this is about giving the changes that have begun a chance to stick.

Run for Home

It is going to take a while to assimilate all of what happened today, especially as I’ve only had two hours sleep since Saturday night. It was, undoubtedly, one of the most enjoyable experiences of my entire life, despite being completely soaked through before even crossing the start line. When I do, I’ll blog about it, but for now it is a measure of how much has changed physically that body is in far less pain than it was last week, with results that were undoubtedly far more satisfying.

Now, however, I need to sleep.