Diana

FINALLY, having leafed through endless Diana tomes. Morton (interesting, but skewed) Burrel (insufferable hagiography) Colin Campbell (interesting) Brown (anti) I finally found one that appears to give a rounded account. Clayton & Craig, Diana: Story of a Princess. It's a very sad story. I think a lot of us felt sad with her. Not for, but with.

When she died, the country went nuts. That week, Britain ran out of cut flowers and newsprint. The shops were almost empty ~ everywhere. Nobody wanted to buy anything. Newspapers reported on nothing else. Television played endless tributes, discussion etc etc.

Here from pp315-6, describing the last working trip Diana made, to Angola.



We went into one particular ward with children. And there was a little girl who was clearly in a terrible condition. She'd gone to fetch water and had stepped on a mine and basically had her entire insides blown out, and everything was sort of hanging out. It was horrific. And the hospital said that she wouldn't survive ~ they were just making her as comfortable as possible. You could see that she probably wouldn't last, maybe even that day.

After Diana moved on, I stayed and just asked the girl a few more questions, because I thought I would write about her. And she said to me, "Who was that?" And it was quite hard trying to explain Princess Diana to somebody who didn't know. And I said, "She's a princess from England, from far away." And she said to me, "Is she an angel?" And I found that really moving. This little girl probably died a few hours after that ~ I know she died ~ and it somehow seemed nice that that was the last thing that she saw, this beautiful lady that she thought was an angel.


DIANA: THE SECRET TAPES
The tapes in question
were the audio tapes on which Andrew Morton based Diana: Her True Story. The tapes in these extracts are videos of Diana practising a speech on addiction. It doesn't start till 5 mins into the part 8; she is being coached by the actor Peter Settelen. William and Harry are in the background, (part 9) Diana keeps reprimanding them for laughing and not sitting still.



Musical Interlude

MEN AT WORK: DOWN UNDER
Big George was going on about this
at 3 in the morning last night (on BBC London radio and if you click, the times are wrong: 2am-6am) and it reminded me how much I like it.
I remember it popping up from nowhere and hitting number one.
And I like the distinctive sound thing intro whatever at the beginning.
I did try and tell the Pandable story but I'm turning into Charles Dickens. Never using one word when 125 will do... so it'll have to wait till tomorrow and the heavily redacted version.
Anyway; the song:



Men at Work article, Wikipedia. Apparently the intro is a flute. Strange kind of flute to me, but there you go. A court case was held over this years later and it was ruled that although the "riff" was lifted from a song called Kookaburra, it wasn't an inherent part of the song and the plaintiffs were thus entitled to only a 5% share of songwriting (which probably adds up to a lot).

Oriental Style Chicken Curry £1 etc

ICELAND "ORIENTAL STYLE CHICKEN CURRY" tonight. Boil int' bag (but of course). And only £1. Much nicer than yesterday's noodles, which were a bit "school dinners". Very pleasant indeed.

The me-shaped hole yesterday means not only that I felt I had a place on the shelves, but (and this really surprised me) I could find nobody else writing like me. Most extraordinary.

I deleted a big rant about the state of modern publishing, but I deleted so much of it, I deleted my main point too, ha-har!

Well the Goods Train of Entertainment trundles on, I can't go on about it. Writing's for writing. Not writing about..!

Well this is a nonpost. Tomorrow I'll tell you a true furry story about Pandable my old hammy, which is really entertaining.

The mysterious illness I have had for over a fortnight is still diarrhoeaing out, intermittently and unpredictably (as I'm sure you wanted to know). I'm so tired. I'm not in my sick bed but a sick armchair. I slept in the sick armchair, like a pensioner, all day. Ukh.



MUSICAL INTERLUDE

In the VIP. It's not called "clubbing" for nothing.
A club really is a club. Like any other social group you have inner and outer circles. Nightlife is hierarchical and full of snobbery. Do you stand in the endless line, or swan right in? Do you pay? Get a comp? Or best of all, are you on the Guest List?

Then once you get in, are you just one of the common, vulgar herd, or in the "proper" room ~ the VIP room.

I avoided such clubs like the plague!

In the VIP:
WIDEBOYS & MAJESTIC (IN THE VIP REMIX) FEAT B-LIVE and BOY BETTER KNOW



The Streets: Fit (But You Know It)
He wrote an entire album about Ibiza party isle memories. Kicking off with this track ~

Me-Shaped Hole


I HAD a £1 Chinese chicken and noodles from Iceland. Boil int' bag. Hubble-bubbled away for 40 mins. Considering even a lunchtime combination box, a cheapie, is £3 minimum, for £1 this was amazing.

I checked out my nearest bookshop and found a glaring me-shaped hole where my books should be. Books plural, because I have a wealth of ideas.

Yes the project is moving at last! Like a creaky old goods train, it has shuddered to a start. The hoary old locomotive is belching diesel smoke and trundling wearily onwards ~ bringing cartloads of entertainment to the world!

Sorry I've not been visiting any of you very much at all. Nothing personal. But I must focus. I'm still not feeling too fantastic. My energy reserves are low and must be wisely invested. Talent ~ as I was banging on the other day ~ is not to be wasted!

Got to run. I hope you're all keeping well. Take care of yourselves. Just for a change, I'm trying to take care of me!

Who knows? One day this Me-Shaped Hole might be overflowing with amazing tales!

The most beautiful cows in the world....



FURRY FRIDAY ON SATURDAY

Jersey cows
come (of course) from the British Isle of Jersey, in the English Channel, which is nearer to France than the UK.


With beautiful eyes...


The milk of these cows...


... is world-famous.


"Moo!"


"Moo!"
"Moo!"
"Moo!"


A tiny calf says: "Moo!"
(They love lowing!)


Aren't they gorgeous?

WISHING Y'ALL A WONDERFUL WEEKEND!

Ill (yet inspired)


I'M not feeling well. Not at all. Every day I'm in bed early, drained, exhausted and sick. Last night Valium Marilyn and I went down the pub and got bladdered enough that she proposed marriage. But I felt so bad I had to leave before ten o'clock to go to my bed.

Today I was supposed to go to counselling. I hobbled to and from my methadone chemists already and the phone rang. My counsellor asked what time I wished to come in. I said midday, then regretted agreeing to anything. I wove my way home feeling as if I might keel over any second. Then I went to bed, phoned the Centre and said I was not up to coming in.

This has nothing to do with drugs. If you remember my story you'll remember I had chronic fatigue syndrome YEARS before heroin addiction. Heroin seemed a wonderful cure for this and the depression that has dogged me for years. Heroin came second. Something Maple Syrup, for example, the druggieworker I sacked, refused to understand.

I have the feeling that this counsellor will likewise assume I'm not coming in because I was too drugged/couldn't be bothered/that type of reason.

These professionals annoy me. It's all nodding yes yes yes to all my problems. Yet when when my problems interfere with THEIR convenience, sympathy's quickly out the window.

I'm off sick and yet I'm not even allowed to BE sick. Well the world can go to hell...

None of this will stop me doing what I have to. I can write in bed. If my head's swimming that badly I have to shut my eyes, I'm still capable of typing. I can type eyes closed, by touch.

I don't want to say much about my project. It's for doing, not talking about.

And I cannot see that it will make me megabucks.

Somehow my comments (Wednesday) got on to the theme of publishing advances. As I said I really cannot think about how little I might get. Or how much writers are paid at the top end of the profession. It's devastatingly offputting.

Literature in an art; publishing is a business. I'm in the business of writing. The ins and outs of royalties, advances (if they even exist, I wouldn't know) and the blah blah blahs... these do my brainbox in whenever I turn my attention in that direction.

So I'm resolutely NOT thinking about how little I'm likely to be paid.

I am ever more fed up with heroin and methadone and addiction to them. But I cannot quit into a vacuum. Which is why I stated that I'm NOT into giving up the drugs and all right now.

As I see it, just about anything I can do will be better than nothing. Accomplishing a dearly held childhood dream might be just about the best thing I could ever do.

What's the saying...? The longest journey begins with a single step.

Whenever I think of my story, I feel inspired. I still feel horrible and depressed. Physically I feel ill and exhausted. I am going to bed early because my head's swimming. Not with drugs, with exhaustion. But I have this tale inside me of such amazingness, it DEMANDS to be told!

I have been stuck in this morass for years and it's killing me. It's time to move on.

My only hope is that this first step might be followed by another... and another...

... then one day I might look back and find myself a thousand miles away from the mire I'm stuck in now!

Flying Donkeys!


Foal flying along the ground...


Fuzzy trotter-donkeys!


What's the saying... stubborn as a..? What? A greedy swine who insists you drag along a load five times too heavy, then looks surprised when this happens..?



The famous Russian parasailing donkey...

... poor swine!

Wasted Talent

A TALENT was originally a weight of silver or gold and hence a sum of money. The word entered our language via the Parable of the Talents in the Bible. (Matthew 24:14-30; Luke 19:12-28.)

Spiritual interpretations aside a Talent is something valuable which it's up to us to use and not take for granted. Talented people have made the world a lot of what it is. Talent can change the world again.

Talent should never be wasted.

I was wondering why I felt increasingly uptight about what I saw as other people's "waste of talent". Michael Jackson who could sing so well hardly ever really showed off his voice. He was also a more than capable actor (see yesterday). But he never starred in a feature-film. MJ was said to have a thing about ET, and he knew Stephen Spielberg. Imagine what could have been achieved if Jacko and Spielberg had got together...

As we all know, Michael Jackson's career was all but ruined by child abuse allegations. He achieved more than any other musical star of his or any other generation. And yet...

He died in a drugged-out haze.

If you want to hear him singing a song named Morphine, click here.

Whitney Houston's voice was one of the wonders of the world. (Far better than Mariah Carey. Screaming an octave over top C is not a talent. That's like having extra long fingers or a third nipple. That ain't music, that's freakery.)

I'm more than amenable to middle of the road music, though it's not always my favourite. The only Whitney song I really like, from the first half of her career is the Dolly Parton cover I Will Always Love You. This morning (for some reason) I had Saving All My Love for You swirling round my head when I was buying Value Thin Bleach (20p) from Morrisons...

In the 1990s, having made her name and fortune, she went R&B and did put down a few tracks that are not only memorable but good. (One Moment in Time is memorable, but just did not do it for me.)

She was recently on tour in Europe. The press coverage was nearly all the same. The voice is gone.

The word is, she lost her voice to crack. Though she famously declared to Dianne Sawyer: "crack? We don't do that. Crack is cheap. I make two much money to ever do crack. Crack is whack."

A phrase that has come back to haunt her...

I could give legions of examples of hugely Talented people who made careers in average films, throw-away music... whatever, whatever.

This is not to mention the endless multitudes who can sing, act, create in various ways (I'm focusing on showbusiness because it's common ground. Y'all know what I'm talking about. "High" art I often find not only pretentious but irrelevant...)

I once lived in a house in a bourgeois suburb of London that wasn't posh but "happening". Television faces drank in the local pub. I passed actors and musicians in the street. At one point I sat opposite Annie Lennox on the top deck of the bus. A car once zoomed past with comic actress Maureen Lipman's head (for some reason) sticking out of the passenger seat window. I dunno who she was looking for. One time Phil Mitchell from EastEnders was at the bar. Certain friends kept ribbing me to go up and point out that Phil ("the hardman of Albert Square and a nasty drunk) was on the waggon. I didn't dare. I subsequently heard stories about this actor, more than once, waving £20 notes at the homeless and snatching them away... Mark Fowler (another EastEnders character ~ EastEnders is, or was, Britain's most popular TV programme, with top episodes attracting Royal Wedding-style 20,000,000 viewing figures)... Yeah Mark Fowler. He gave me £1.67 when I was begging outside Sainsbury's.

My point being that everyone in my house and many people in the area all around it, all wanted to make something of themselves. In a short space of time we had two actors, a singer, a yoga teacher, a maker of luxury furniture (it was just under £1000 a dining chair) and a trainee Alexander teacher were all in this house. I was the writer.

What makes me sad is that the singer, who I think did have beautiful warm, pure voice was a lush. She came in drunk most nights. She hung out with people one of the famous pirate radio stations. This was 1996, when the UK style of garage was all over pirate FM stations, soon to emerge overground. She could have been one of the UK's first "urban" artists. I handed her a Madonna biography hoping she might take inspiration and a few tips, because I could have told her more about the music business than she seemed to know. You need an experienced manager, being an obvious one. Madonna took Michael Jackson's old manager. The singer gave it back complaining Madonna was a tart and then mentioned she couldn't see her manager that morning. He was signing on the dole. Then I despaired. This girl hadn't a clue. She thought talent was a passport to automatic success, it is not. What's that phrase about 1% inspiration 99% perspiration..?

None of the people I knew from that time are now famous. Our actress got into a Spice Girls video. The Spice Girls were the phenomenon of the moment. A week later Oasis phoned wanting her to play violin (that is presumably mime) in a video...

So it was all exciting. But in the end not one of these people made a name for themselves. The person with the most drive had the least talent (a sad mismatch). The actor downstairs did get a speaking part in EastEnders though it was only one or possibly two episodes. As far as I know they all gave up and do normal jobs.

Which leaves me, feeling uptight about the paths other people took when they "could have done so much more"... what's the saying? One finger points forward, three point back?

I've lost an entire decade to heroin. The time before that was an odd-crossover period lasting maybe three years when I dabbled increasingly and at two points got myself tiny habits. But I knew what I was doing was not good. I had seen the utter despair of dead-end addicts. I knew the local beggars, "ticket touts" and homeless.

I was buying used one-day travelcards for £1-2. (I think they were £2 before 8pm or some set time; £1 thereafter.) Even the homeless lived by rules. These ticket touts congregated at tube stations. When a train emptied out it was "Finished with your travelcard?... Finished with your travelcard..?" Then people came in "Do you want a travelcard?...Want a travelcard?" You could go anywhere in London free on bus, train or tube until about 2am. A travelcard then cost £3.50, so to get one for a pound was a bargain. It meant I could go visiting in Hackney, Stepney and West Hampstead, where I sat round drinking red wine, eating middle-class Bulgar wheat veggie type food. I wasn't vegetarian but only knew how to cook veggie. I hated the thought of handling dead flesh...

... Anyway. It was through these ticket touts, who were all junkies, that I got introduced to heroin. I saw the life, I saw the misery. I wanted to try it to see what the fuss was all about (I had tried it once years before but took so many other drugs including acid that night, I had no idea what was doing what...) So I tried it, and still wondered what all the fuss was about. It certainly didn't seem worth going homeless for. And I couldn't understand why they didn't just stop doing it but they were like automatons. Get up, probably feeling a bit sick. Use. Feel OK. Go out. Beg. Score. Beg a bit more. Score again. Go to tube station for early evening rush hour. Sell travel cards. go down West End. Beg up huge amounts of money. Score from late night dealer, heroin and crack. Pipe late into the night. Knock self out with huge hit. Sleep till late morning. And so it starts again.

I was never into West End begging ~ around theatreland and the tourist spots. You got endless hassle from police. Some people begged inside the actual underground stations down there, but again you were liable to get arrested. I begged in the suburbs where you got less money, but hardly any hassle. And the dealers were all nearby.

Someone once pointed out to me that what had started out as a joke "I got drunk with the homeless" had turned into a reality. "I am homeless. Plus I'm a junkie." I did feel strangely accepted by these addicts ~ as I never really was by the shoplifting and prostitution contingent (they were a totally different crowd). Even in rehab shoplifters looked down on beggars. What's that saying now...

Rich man, poor man, beggarman ... THIEF!

Everyone I knew who begged did it for the same reason: they didn't want to steal. Or sell their body. (Though judging by the state of a lot of them, they'd have had a job doing that anyway...)

SO! All this happened. And now I'm here. And I still have some talent. And I got keranged round the head with three ideas in two days.

Because Talent is not to be taken for granted, not to be wasted. A waste of talent is a crying shame. So is a waste of a life.

I will not go on about what I'm doing or want to do because I've done that before and nothing happened. So I'm just doing it.

Gotta go, it's quarter past five in the morning and I need a drink...

My Love Is Your Love 1998 ~ already she's sounding hoarse...
Contains the line: if I'm homeless on the streets, and I'm sleeping in Grand Central station it's ok if you're sleeping with me....
Thank God that never became a reality.



"Crack is whack... to Dianne Sawyer"



To Oprah. The heavy drugs started after The Bodyguard (explains why she followed the biggest hit of her career with... nothing). "I was freebasing cocaine, but only with weed in a joint". Then she mentions heroin and cocaine speedballing. (I used to luuurve doing that. That's why it took me two years from deciding to give up crack to actually doing it 100%.)



Fascinating Link of the Day: Michael Jackson's Unreleased Material

Michael Jackson: dead genius

HE WAS SO TALENTED. Not just as a dancer, but as vocalist: his voice was amazing. If you compare some of the few recordings where he sings genuinely sweetly with his normal style, you hear how ANGRY he was... At what? Who knows.
One talent we don't ordinarily associate with Michael Jackson was his ability to act in a totally naturalistic manner.
Yes, perhaps he was playing versions of himself, but haven't legions of Hollywood actors, who neither dance nor sing, made long careers doing the same ..?
Apparently in his 20s, when he was still goodlooking, Michael wanted to make a career in the movies but was put off by his music management, who perhaps thought they would lose their cut to film agents.

Here's a complete Michael Jackson actor's filmography

1979: The Wiz 136 mins. All-black remake of The Wizard of Oz costarring Diana Ross. Michael plays the Scarecrow, but most of the time you can barely see him under a half-tonne of ridiculous makeup...
1983: Thriller 14 mins.
1986: Captain Eo ~ 17 mins. Originally shot in 3D and shown in Disney's theme parks in California, Florida, France and Japan to packed houses. It's now available online (you can watch it here). But don't expect much. The script is seriously dire.
1987: Bad. Scorsese-directed. Like Thriller the video falls into two parts. For the first 8 mins he plays a late-teenage student from a rundown neighbourhood in New York being taunted by Wesley Snipes about his "posh" school and for not being "bad" enough. Second part is an extended performance of the song, with acapella ending...
1988: Moonwalker 89 mins. Opens with "isn't Michael amazing!" retrospective, then Michael has to rescue three children from the evil Mr Big (who threatens to inject one with heroin ~ ironic, considering how MJ died). Includes songs Badder (parody of Bad), Speed Demon, Leave Me Alone, Smooth Criminal, Come Together. Was cinema-released in UK and Europe. Straight to video in USA.
1996/7: Ghosts 40 mins. Considering his squeaky-clean image MJ had a weird obsession with all things creepy. MJ plays a "weirdo" living alone in a creepy mansion and the town Major, who wants rid of him. He performs 3 songs: 2 Bad, Ghosts and Is It Scary
... and that's it. Such a shame he didn't do more...

Here's BAD. The part you haven't seen is probably part one. Now tell me Michael Jackson can't act!


FULL 16-MINUTE VERSION OF THE VIDEO

Directed by Martin Scorsese:

Part 1
Here's an 8-minute self-contained short film. No music (that's in part 2). Michael playing schoolkid named Darrel...



Part 2



Link: Michael Jackson List of Unreleased Material (fascinating...)

Keeping Mum


A KINDLY GANG-MEMBER from Da Local Baby Gangsta Crew let me have some drugs on tick today. I paid half and owe half. I only had money to spare because all plans for today fell through, leaving me at a loose end, exceedingly "peeved", to put it mildly and in need, so I thought, of a chemical emollient. (Not an exfoliant, that gets off hair. An emollient. That soothes.)

O man the effort I put into today. All for nothing!

I was supposed to see my Mum. I got up, crystal clear. Cleaned myself up as best I could, physically speaking. But to be frank I just looked like a heroin addict on a daytrip.

I had checked train times and prices etc etc etc. I had the option of going in and out of London or taking a long couple of bus rides across town. The bus rides seemed cheaper and got me to a station further up the right line.

So I took this bus. Got to station. All was silent. The ticket machine utterly refused to take my £5 note. Not that it was bulimically constantly regurgitating the thing. I think this machine was anorexic. Its mouth refused even to open.

By the way I know someone who used to work on the Eating Disorders Helpline in Norwich who said that without exception bulimics verbally spewed and spewed, while anorexics were barely willing to open their mouths and thus said barely anything at all... Isn't that fascinating...

So anyway this ticket machine refused my money, which hardly bothered me. I chucked 10p in the Permit to Travel machine. This meant I was covered if an evil ticket inspector chose to pounce on me like a barn owl on an unsuspecting harvest mouse... as frequently happens on London suburban trains. If he queried whether or not the machine was in fact working, I would just tell them to check CCTV. Britain does not have the oft-stated 4 million cameras (surely it's many more than that now as that figure's a decade old) for nothing. For once I might use one to my advantage. I do not trust ticket inspectors after having the most almighty altercation with two on a platform having been told my ticket, which I'd checked in advance was good for it, was invalid on my chosen route. Something, incidentally, which tended not to happen before rail privatization. The worst ever move by the Tory party, in that particular line of activity. I got my money back and a grovelling apology. I always do. Or did. When I could be bothered with such things.

Anyway long story short, I got to the interchange station to find it surprisingly quiet. I hadn't taken the train, I'd walked because it was so near the other one (but wrong for the bus). I thought I'd let the train take the strain. In the end my feet did. And this station was empty with almost unreadable electronic notices saying something I could not understand. It transpired the entire line was down, and if I did want to see my Mum I'd have to take two trains in the wrong direction, with no guarantee how long they might take.

Full of misery and fury I phoned her and said this is impossible. So we had to leave it for another day. Such a shame as Branzy my step-Dad wouldn't have been there earwigging in every word. In other words we might have done something else except discuss 25 topics I don't care about, skating merrily over life's surfaces, yet barely scratching them.

I went directly to the nearest cyder-selling shop and got two White Stars. Well I wasn't gonna need this money for train fares any more. Poured them into Lucozade bottles to spare myself disgusted glances. Jumped on bus. It was well over an hour till I got home, and then I phoned that heroin dealer who "kindly" ~ if you wanna call it that ~ provided that lump for half price.

If I don't cough up tomorrow I get a bullet through my brainbox!

Anyway all this just goes to show, I'm stone cold sober and it still goes mammaries up. Oh what a day ...



Illustrated: selection of ultra-modern British trains. Especially the top one.
Very top pic: HM the Queen mysteriously riding public train (no wonder she looks glum)...

The tubby little dormouse!

THE HAZEL (OR COMMON) DORMOUSE Muscardinus avellanarius is the only species in this tiny tubby rodent family native to the UK.


Adept at climbing...


... and often to be seen scrambling about hedgerows in the most impossible-looking positions...
(perhaps they get tips from Cosmopolitan magazine)


They love blackberries!



Going for a clamber in the shrubbery...


They are the tiniest tubby rodents we have, after harvest mice.
And doesn't this one so enjoy being captured and held!


They're most active in autumn, fattening themselves for the Big Sleep ahead...


The dor- comes from the French dormir ~ to sleep.
They build tiny nests and sleep the whole winter through...


They do sleep so deeply ~ more like a coma ~ these normally ultra-alert rodents becoming utterly insensible...
... and a canny photographer might show...


... how daffodils are obviously their first choice for a bed-down...!

WISHING Y'ALL A CHEERY WEEKEND!


"Disordered"

I FOUND OUT that I suffer from something called "Racing thoughts".
Now this is why self-diagnosis is such a minefield. Because if I didn't know better, I'd assume "racing" thoughts are ones that appear quickly one after the other. Not so. My experience is the same as the wikipedia definition, where the head becomes full of music, voices, snippets, logos and mottos and swirling about. Like a radio tuned to several channels at once.
Wikipedia:~
Racing thoughts may be experienced as background or take over a person's consciousness. Thoughts, music, and voices might be zooming through one's mind. There also might be a repetitive pattern of voice or of pressure without any associated "sound".
It is a very overwhelming and irritating feeling, and can result in losing track of time. Sometimes racing thoughts are accompanied by an elevated pulse, including drumming in the ears.
Generally, racing thoughts are described by an individual who has had an episode as an event where the mind uncontrollably brings up random thoughts and memories and switches between them very quickly. Sometimes they are related, as one thought leads to another; other times they are completely random. A person suffering from an episode of racing thoughts has no control over his or her train of thought and it stops them from focusing on one topic or prevents sleeping.

They don't make me feel anxious or irritable. To me, they're like free entertainment. They can even be exhilarating.
I also relate to the statement about a repetative pattern of voice... without associated sound. That's the milder version.
These are a symptom of bipolar disorder, anxiety and supposedly some obsessive-compulsive conditions and in their severe form are said to be exceedingly oppressive.
I mention these because they came back to me lately. The other night I actually lost track and thought my mobile phone was on speaker, because someone was blar blar blar-ing away at me.
I'm glad I actually know the name of this phenomenon, which, incidentally I'm sure is mostly not drug-induced. I like the kind of drugs that block things out. And those are the only kind I take now. Not psychedelics. Not crack. And certainly not that nasty cannabis stuff. Last time I toked on that rubbish I was hearing paranoid voices for several hours, which was highly inconvenient.
I was reading over personality disorder criteria. I am not flattered that the nut-nut nurse implied I might be on the anxious-avoidant or dependent "axis". I am diametrically opposite in many ways to such people. For example, I would never pass over to somebody else a decision affecting the course of my life. My family, who know me best, would frequently call me stubborn. That is the exact opposite of a dependent personality, who would give in to others' wishes as a matter of course.
The only personality disorder you could bundle on to me is the borderline type. (And the least flattering diagnosis, apart from "psychopathic" or antisocial personality disorder.) I've been told I have this twice, and what sets off alarm bells is the fact that both these individuals also have (actually, had, such a diagnosis ~ one committed suicide in January.
Here are the criteria:
1.Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment. Note: Do not include suicidal or self-injuring behavior covered in Criterion 5 [I don't think so.]
2.A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation. [I wouldn't put it this way; but I have had a pattern of getting into over-intense frienships, and having read further, yes you could say this "criterion" applies. Though I wouldn't word my experience this way. You could say many if not most people feel such ambivalence.]
3.Identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self. [Absolutely. When I was younger I had almost no concept of who I was.]
4.Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., promiscuous sex, eating disorders, binge eating, substance abuse, reckless driving). Note: Do not include suicidal or self-injuring behavior covered in Criterion 5 [Drugs; food. Used to eat under 1500 cals a day as matter of course.]
5.Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, threats or self-injuring behavior such as cutting, interfering with the healing of scars (excoriation) or picking at oneself. [There was a period when I used to cut up with broken glass, but it only lasted a year and I don't do it now.]
6.Affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days). [Definitely some mood disturbance, sometimes to suicidal extremes. And often it is highly "reactive". Isn't everyone prone to be put in a bad mood when things mess up? Not all my moods are as brief as this criterion suggests.]
7.Chronic feelings of emptiness [Absolutely.]
8.Inappropriate anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights). [I frequently feel irritated, but try to keep it under my hat.]
9.Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation, delusions or severe dissociative symptoms [I don't think I'm anything like as para as I used to be. Some of those "racing thoughts" experiences have a dissociative quality, because they are heard rather than thought. I still suffer depersonalization and derealization, that is feelings that self and world are unreal, but not as hallucinatorily intense as in former years. ]
Personally I don't think I have any personality disorder. I know something is "wrong" with me. (Well, I don't feel "right".)
Further to yesterday's post, I feel an uncanny need for self-protection and care. Sorting myself out might be a nice place to start. I have access to doctors, so I may as well use them.
But I think psychiatry is a religion, involving its own world view and set of values. Doctors function as priests with nurses in roles parallel to monks and nuns. Psychiatry's holy trinity is pharmacology, counselling and the DSM IV-R diagnostic criteria.
I don't think I'm mad. But I'm absolutely sure that the world is.


Illustration: bubble reads "are we confused?"

MAD WORLD: TEARS FOR FEARS VERSION



EAMMON: DON'T WANT YOU BACK
I like this tune


Self-pity

SELF-PITY. From time to time, we all presumably indulge in this.
But how much is actually pity, empathy, love ~ the pity we might feel for relatives and partners of those killed in disasters in the news, or to the parents of young men, barely out of school, who are gunned down or stabbed in senseless disputes over nothing?
It is traditional to claim we don't want pity, as if pity were patronizing at best or a smear or slight on a person at worst.
Is not pity love? A type of love, at least. To be able to pity oneself, then, one must love oneself.
How many times do we genuinely feel self-pity? Isn't it actually self-loathing and hatred and horror and distaste we are more likely to feel to ourselves?
Or plain old guilt?
I have had flashes of self-pity. Pity rather than loathing. The kind of pity you might feel for a down-and-out on the street. And it felt like a whole new world. Like I actually loved myself. That I was special enough to care and be cared for.
Those two characters in my head who never match and meet for once came briefly to a truce.
I felt that somebody loved me. And I felt worry and concern, and wondered why I do the self-destructive things I do.
And it felt good. And it hurt.

Reading materiell

TODAY I found a bookshop with several shelves of foreign languages. The German section was all mixed up with Dutch and Scandinavian. C'mon ~ German doesn't have struck through Øs or Ås with little halos on top!
Every single volume of slightest interest that I didn't buy I made careful note of inside the paper bag my methadone came in. Author, title, price... I'm the character Oscar Wilde was speaking of when he famously remarked on the price of everything and the value of nothing...
But prices aside, I carefully checked everything on display. What I wanted more than anything was something nonficitonal and rivetting. For a novel to hold my attention it has to be really special. Otherwise my attitude pretty much goes: this isn't even TRUE, yet you think I should be leafing forever onwards through your tawdry tale? The only novels that have grabbed me in recent times are thrillers. When I heard you could make £20k writing romance and that top writers knock out five or more a year I bought one for 20p. I seriously could not make it past page one. I have an idea (amongst so very many) for a crime series. Who knows, I might one day even put pen to paper (or digits to keys)... As it is I'm mired in my present project which is slowly ongoing. My characters are so real to me. Their story HAS to be told....
Anyway I perused carefully through this not-too inspiring selection of German books and came away with a Collins Gem German dictionary for £1. It's tiny but I quickkly realized on getting it home that my vocabulary has outgrown it. My favourite German word, klitzeklein which means teeny-tiny wasn't there, because the book is too klitzeklein itself!
Most of the novels were translations from English, whcih seemed the biggest waste of time. I want to know I'm experiencing something unique. So I chose a thriller by Volker Klüpfel and Michael Kobr called Seegrund which means Bottom of the Lake. Paragraph one I understood perfectly... because it was somebody speaking English! But I found I also understood paragraph two just as well. This is seriously freaky.
I was about to take my purchases to the till when I realized that behind me was another mixed language pile of children's picture-books. And here, finally, the book I've long been searching for ~ an illustrated encyclopedia of science. As well as all types of animals and plants, we have the Solar System, the sun, the stars, asteroids and meteorites, comets; the weather, the human body, some amazing star maps and the cutest photograph ever of a family of golden bears crossing the ridge of a waterfall, Mummy Bear glancing back to make sure her babies aren't tumbling over the side... This is the book I've longed for ever since I took up German again. It gives all the basic vocab on everything. It's dead easy to read and beautifully illustrated. My best spent £2 in a long, long while!
Though I still feel full of unaccountable gloom whenever I stop, I'm determined to keep on running so my misery won't bite me on the bum and eat me. Perhaps there's no magic cure for depression, but at least knowing that you're accomplishing something, even if it is just learning to speak over again... That does help a little.
Now I must ping. it's nearly 4am. I'm only awake due to my broken sleep cycle.
Apart from books, my best news is THE HEATWAVE HERE IS OVER! Normal cool weather is resumed! I couldn't be happier.
Wishing y'all a cheery day :-)...
PS Chogstable the nightingale is trilling and tootling his klitzekleine head off in the cherry tree outside, the feathery swine!

Yesterday, all my troubles seemed...

YESTERDAY MORNING I was drunk and maudlin. By drunk, read "alcoholically intoxicated" ~ not falling over, puking, fighting with lamp-posts. By 11am I'd had 2 or 3 of my special cocktails, which are based on cyder at 7.5% in 500ml cans, so you can do the mathematics yourself. 6 cans a day is the amount of alcohol advised by Her Majesty's chief doctor in a WEEK. Then again I'm cynnical. Very cynical in fact ~ about this "a couple of big glasses of wine a day is doing your body all manner of wrong". You may see a junkie making excuses. And yes I do believe I drink too much. But I think the Government's recommendations on dangerous levels are ridiculous in the extreme. I'm totally against altering the drink-drive limit (making it even lower) ~ if it ain't broke, why fix it?
While we're on the subject, I also believe the amount of Calories nutritionalists let us get away with is ricidulous. MOST of the world survives on 1000 to 1500 cals a day. I've been to India. Only the Indian police are overweight.
I've eaten in their equivalent of a truck driver's caff, where you get a ball of rice smaller than a tennis ball, with perhaps ~ at most ~ as much fish as would fit into a small sardine tin. This came coated in a thin batter so it looked more than it really was. This is considered a working man's lunch. Oh and I forgot, three tiny bowls of dips ~ pickles, chutney and sauce.
Incidentally, the Indian food I ate, betweeen Goa, Bangalore and Chennai (aka Madras) was nothing like the fragrant delicately spiced to raging hot array of dishes on sale in British curryhouses. What I experienced was more like ultra-hot Mexican ~ ie mostly chili-spiced. I don't recall ever eating anything resembling "curry". And no tikka masala, jalfrezi, balti or anything of that nature. All that food comes from the north. In Tamil Nadu they sold lots of Thali (pronounced Taarlee ~ without that burred R, you Americans!) , which is usually vegetarian and involves a great many bowls of things to mix and match dipping-wise. Another speciality, and this cost about 5 rupees a portion, each portion being cupcake sized, was bhel-puri. Which is sold at stalls. There's about four variations and it's really nice.
Indian takeaway food in India was what would here be considered "Chinese!" Though no attempt was made to decorate the stalls and restaurants with Chinese characters, red lanterns/etc. And it wasn't called Chinese food at all. It was just greasy stir-fried noodles and it was the best Chinese takeaway (if you wanna call it that) I've had ANYWHERE. And you know how much I like my Chinese.
If you wanna know the exact location of the shop I'm afraid my ex who I always called "Libra" here, went out, but we were staying at a cheap hotel that literally backed onto the tannoy at Chennai railway station. So it's walking distance from there. And well worth doing an Elvis-style expedition to get some (you know: I'm talking about the peanut butter sandwich story or whatever it was Elvis Presley had flown across America from his favourite diner just because he loved it so much. Though judging by the state of him towards the end of his life I find it difficult to believe it was only one ...
Now: what do you wanna hear? Me maudlin drunk. Well that had to do with my realizing the total death tally these past twelve months is at least FIVE probably SIX. I am not sure, as I do not care to ennumerate. Two heart attacks, two suicides. Another alleged heart attack... (Come on, you leave rehab, have a mysterious heart attack that very evening and it's not crack? Gimme a break. But that's the received version. It was just a somehow hitherto unnoticed heart complaint that decided to manifest just after leaving drug rehab...)
As far as Pinky & Perky go, I've not been in touch with anyone since the funeral. To be frank I don't think I was particularly missed on the day. I would have been tolerated like a particularly noxious, wafting fart that nobody would admit to. What I didn't post was that this group of friends involved a person with whom I was once in a close substitute mother-son type friendship (she used to tell people we met I was her son) and that person... well makes the situation less than simplistic. She invited me. But that doesn't mean she wanted to see me.
After the event: not a single phone call. For all she knows I could have been hit by a truck on the way. And I'm not (probably) telling this one the full facts. I don't trust her not to pass on a revved up bitching version to Pinky.
Yeah don't I have wonderful friends. Ex friends. I apologize.
Pinky and Perky were people I used to see every week but through this other person, with whom friendship has withered on the vine. So do you get it now? that my feelings were mixed from the start. That to go there would be... slightly weird. And as I said, to be frank I'd rather write personally to Pinky, not an apology for not being there. I doubt she very much noticed. But to put my own written eulogy (is that the expression?) My feelings on the life of Perky, who had so very much life it's hard to believe she's actually gone...
Apart from that, I bought two huge bags of gear on special offer. About 1.2g+ for £35 (usually bags that big they won't discount, unless you buy several). I had two or three hits and knocked myself unconscious the entire day yesterday.
Early that morning, I met somebody on the street and asked after the local dealer who drops off one minute from my house. I encounter people waiting on him all the time and I still haven't had an introduction. Every time, the situation falls through. Or I'm told by someone else that his gear's shyte. I've heard a lot of times that his gear has been shyte which is, I spose, what put me off bothering with this intro.
Anyway: long story short ~ I fessed up to this friend of mine/acquaintance/whatever you wanna call him about the Funeral Scandal (as it is labelled in my own personal mythology).
And he said to me "does it have little black bits in it?" and I said "what you mean minute black specks that cook down so the hit looks black?" (ie not "tea leaves, which are big floaters of something inert that you only find in drought or ripoff gear ~ these little bits look like a fine powder, as fine as cheap preground white pepper or black talc, if you can imagine that)... anyway he says yeah he knows someone who took the bus one stop and woke up in Trafalgar Square. Another started fighting with his best mate. Whenever it's taken, chaos ensues. I don't know what this weird black stuff is, but it's obviously pharmaceutical. And it's not heroin. In druggie language you could call this "B+" that is it's B (brown heroin) and strong enough to pong of brown, both in the bag and while cooking up, and the smell of brown heroin base is unmistakable. (Nothing like vinegar, incidentally. Vinegar is what Mexican tar and some China white heroin smells of.) The plus, whatever it is, is some pharmaceutical agent, probably either a benzodiazepine like Rohypnol or a barbiturate like Seconal or Phenobarb, or methaqualone ("quaaludes") or both.
What it cannot be is sleeping pills crushed down. Bearing in mind that a small pill weighs 200mg minimum and a large £20 bag weighs 600mg and I'm using a third of a 600mg bag at a time usually (ie "two points" or a fifth of a gram) ~ how much sleeping pill is going to fit into that? Nowhere near enough to knock me out for the day, no matter what the potion. So whoever's adulterating this stuff surely has access to illegally-manufactured knockout drops, probably from China or Central Asia. That is knockout stuff in its pure form.
One of yesterday's bags was the Midnight Black, the other just ordinary heroin. It's the second kind ~ just heroin ~ that I've had today ~ so I feel crystal clear!
The very fact that I've more than half the gear left over says how strong it was. Ordinarily I could get through a gram-and-a-bit in an afternoon, if I wanted to.
My head is not in a particularly good place. I wander about stricken by guilt over times when I was four and crushed a ladybird. And other such nonsense. (This is depression.) I tell myself this is depression to console myself. Perhaps recognizing some of the psychological tricks and mind-games of the condition gives me an edge over it. Not much of an edge, but something.
And that, my friends, is that.
Now I have to go. I have to think of something to post in German..!
Have a good day everyone :-)

Sweating like a swine all day

AND THE HEATWAVE CONTINUES! Temperatures here are far from impressive on the Euro-scale. A week ago it was 34C on the plains of Austria. Yesterday it it was FORTY ~ that is 105F in Switzerland. But it's still 31 or 32, 32C being 90F with deathly humidity.
I was sweating so bad earlier on that my hair was running with water. I had to keep wiping my "reading glasses" (I need to wear 'em all the time but vanity STILL makes me pretend in certain situations that they're only for reading) yeah anyway these stupid glasses, which I only wear because I had a psychotic breakdown (nothing but outright paranoid psychosis could disturb the balance of my mind enough to make glasses-wearing seem acceptable)... What am I saying? These glasses, they were basically so splashed with my own sweat at one point I couldn't see through them! I had to run in the shower to cool down. I'm next to a constant fan but it's a fan heater with heat off, so as fans go it has a power of about 1/10.
Well this is a load of blah, innit?
I feel miserable as sin. I am constantly knocking back alcoholic "cocktails" in the form of the cheap and nasty white cyder British street drinkers usually opt for, mixed with tropical juice, which results in a rough home-made alcopop. It's quite nice actually.
My body feels ill. Constant diarrhoea. Diarrhoea is said to be a sign of inner turmoil (don't cackle!) I mean it's sposed to be a be a form of crying.
It's strange, with all my years wishing I was dead and manifold examples I could give that would make your hair stand on end of things I have done, not so much directly suicidal though I have tried to top myself. I woke in a white haze thinking "wow, is this what it's like to be dead?" then I realized I was freezing cold and very wet, wearing about 20 layers of clothes and the white infinity was nothing more special than the side of my bath!
Yes I tried to drug myself and drown and I floated!
Well after years of all this, and frankly believing that suicide was a way of doing the world a favour, I have finally seen the chaos it leaves behind.
Which, to be frank, has started to make me feel a bit suicidal.
O how can I write stuff like this? I always knew my blog was the saddest placed on the bloggosphere but new depths of self-indulgence are being plumbed. Does anyone really wanna hear this? Is anyone interested?
I wish I could say my life has hit some kind of turning point but it never will. A Muslim Fundamentalist outside the public library once told me that if you do yourself in by stabbing yourself, you'll spend all eternity in hell stabbing yourself with a knife (and I thought God was "merciful") but hey. Hearing this just made me clear that if I ever did do myself in I should use soporific drugs plus a big shot of heroin to put the final boot in. An eternity ODing on heroin I could just about deal with.
When I was younger I wanted so much to live. Even when depressed I didn't genuinely want to die, not most of the time, which is why depression hurt so much. In recent years I hit a far worse state because I literally gave up on life in just about every conceivable way. I was a shambling wreck, a shadow where a person used to be.
My family seemed to think this was some great tragedy but they love me. (I don't know why.) I once read something in a cod-psychology book, that stated that the depressed tend to fall into two categories. Those who feel unloved, and those who feel unlovable. Well that is me ~ the second one. And if you're reading this blog and you still wonder what makes me tick it is that statement.
My counsellor keeps banging on about low self esteem. Well why the hell should I esteem myself? And what is this crap that tells us we're all inherently wonderful people. Most people are selfish, shallow, egotistical, hedonistic, impatient, disrespectful... need I go on. Actually I was talking about myself there. The old chestnut about three fingers pointing back, that's one of the truest aphorisms (is that what they're called) sayings. Yeah. It's one of the truest sayings I've ever heard.
The only two bits of news that have brought me any genuine joy in the past decade were:
1: Earth to be hit by giant asteroid and all life wiped out. (Yipee!)
2: Jesus Christ returning soon.
I think if I have to go for Jesus or an asteroid it has to be Jesus.

REVELATION 21

3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

5 ¶ And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful...

21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.

22 ¶ And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.

23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.

24 And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it.

25 And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there...

1 And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.

2 In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

3 And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:

4 and they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.

5 And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.


I wanna take a dip in this river of life. And obviously I would like to see those famous Pearly Gates. Also I could do with a nibble on one of those leaves.

If anyone needs healing, I do.

20 ¶ He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly: Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

21 ¶ The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.



Ladybirds!

BIGGLY-BUGGLY FRIDAY ON SATURDAY

Sometimes known as ladybugs in the United States, though internationally biologists prefer the name "lady beetle" because these little critters obviously aren't birds and the term "bug" is considered vulgar...
Whatever you wanna call them, these tiny beetles from the family Coccinellidae are the cutest of all insects, passing through distinct stages in their tiny lives...


Some ladybirds are yellow...


Some are completely spotless...



A funky black-n-cream design... here snacking on some colour-co-ordinated aphids...


Ladybird passion...


Wow look at this. Adds new meaning to that expression "jiggy-wiggy"...


Ladybird lady with clutch of tiny eggs...


Ladybird larva in yellow with black dots...


Terrifying-looking black and red larva savaging aphid...


This is called the pupal stage, just before the larva turns into a ladybird proper...


In a fully-grown ladybug, the candy-coloured outer shell opens up...


... revealing delicate inner wings that are surprisingly huge...


Taking off...


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