…Is dismal in its cold clinging greyness and seemingly endless slutchy muddy wet.
As I walk round, jobs beckon at every corner: fondant for the bees; almond tree to plant; hedge-pruning; finish substation; finish road in from track; clear out greenhouse; plant wild flower seeds; sort foundations of lean-to; arrange building of big greenhouse; charge tractor battery; fix leaking roofs.
I open the muck-midden and a large mound greets me. Suddenly I’ve had enough of manure-moving. I’ve run out of energy and enthusiasm. Mobilisation of organic material is the foundation, the bed rock of successful gardening. I’ve had a few people interested in helping over the years, but never in the actual shite-shifting. On the odd occasion that I go away, I always return to a larger-than-ever mound of turd-riddled piss-soaked woodchip, so it’s never quite a holiday.
I can’t do it any more. I must escape. I can’t shift horse droppings for the rest of my life. I text Linda, telling her that I need a break. OK, she replies.
I’ve never had the chance to explore Ireland in the way that I’d like to. I somehow imagine that the ranch is reminiscent of parts of it. My thoughts turn there as an extraordinarily sweet, kind, lovely, inspirational comrade is gone. That’s part of the reason I’m so vernacular. It’s a grief thing.
Hey up, it’s just me and the trees again except I’m fed up of my own trees. I leave without even clearing up. I lock the door behind me and walk back over the top way. I need to get away. I make a plan. Plan B is already taken, so it will have to be plan C.
Reflection and learning to speak properly:
I have a meeting with my imaginary non-existent agent/manager.
We sit down and he gives me that look.
‘Now that you’ve suddenly got a much bigger audience, you need to ‘internalise your vernacularity’, otherwise you’ll just alienate your readership.’
Even though I’m not a Derry Girl any more, my immediate response is:
‘I don’t f’ing think so somehow dickface.
What?! Do you mean I can’t say fuck or bugger or tit or wanker?’
‘I’m afraid not.’
‘What about shit, shitted, shite, shitfaced and shitter?’
‘But what about fuck, fucker, fucked, fuck-face and fuck-features?’
‘You’re missing the point. It all has to stop.’
‘So no more twat, twatted, twatface, twatarse, twatting, twatly, twato, twatification and twatness?’
‘Bollocks. What about my own made up words like nobtosser, nobtard, dickwad, titarse, buttockface and bumholefeatures’
‘What about knob?’
‘Only if you’re referring to the round wooden thing at the bottom of the bannister.’
‘Yes, but I’m famous for knobgate. A snivelling whining knob was snivelling and whining on social media and I said what everyone else was thinking by simply saying knob.’
‘That’s a perfect example. You have to stop using speech that is derogatory to others. The Buddhists call it Right speech.’
‘How about you shove your right speech up your arse? Besides, what about the word of words? The one that transcends all others in its nutty concise witty vernacularity?’
‘Do you mean the one that is deeply offensive to women?’
‘Well it’s not deeply offensive to my birds. One of them was wearing an All my colleagues are cunts tee-shirt the other day.’
‘You can’t say bird either. It’s sexist.’
‘Bollocks, I’m referring to my female friends who are in the same intellectual garden as me. We use it jokingly. It’s the highest form of droll humour that thickos like you don’t get. Bourgeois ponces like you just don’t understand cryptic, metaphor, allegory, innuendo, flirtation, hint and so on. You can’t just expect me to stop using vernacular English after all this time?’
‘Well it’s your choice – if you continue speaking in that way, the admin will block you.’
‘But I am the admin fuckface. How do think I’m going to explain away inventing The Cunt Register and the COC award?’
‘Well maybe it’s time you found another manager.’
‘Too right dickface. Who tf do you think you are? Jackie f’ing Weaver? ‘You have no authority here ….. No authority at all.’
I was chair of The Consultants’ Committee and the most dramatic thing that ever happened was when I played a snippet of Teenage Kicks using the Office Record Player. You can have all the medical training in the world and still be thick as pigshit, with the intuition and perception of a sack of spuds. Smithy once said that I had high emotional intelligence. I didn’t quite understand what he meant, but I knew that he was being complimentary.
I enter a period of reflection. Reflection is big in institutional life. You’re expected to reflect on your turds before you flush them down the toilet, then write about it in your annual appraisal. I’m done with all that, but I confess I do often think ‘Maybe I was more of a gobshite that I should have been?’
Without the aid of joss sticks or bollocks wellbeing apps, I reflect that I am irascible Burnley through and through. Despite occasional token efforts, that will never change. Battle-hardened and weary, my tolerance for rude thickos remains a neat round zero, and I never ever did pass that arse-kissing module. (Sweetness is quick to point out that I’m the biggest rude-thicko of all.) ‘You’ll have nobody left if you’re not careful.’ She reminds me. She’s right as usual. I should be more tolerant. ‘Oh Mr Perfect, can’t you see, that your kind of perfection can never, never be.’
Talking of reflection, I spoke in public last week to a large audience, and it’s given me a lot of food for thought.
I resigned/retired early from medicine because I didn’t want to be seen as part of an institution that mandates the coerced inoculation of staff who already have infection acquired immunity against C19. More so, I couldn’t endorse the ethically, morally abhorrent practice of jabbing children with a compound, which in medical terms, has no long-term safety data whatsoever. Children have minute risk from Covid, and given the deaths and myocarditis to date, it’s simply not justified in terms of risk vs benefit.
Throughout, I’ve tried to deal in facts and truth. Negotiating the internet minefield of information and misinformation can become completely exhausting. It’s essential to switch off from it regularly.
I particularly felt the need to stand up for those who have lost and are losing their livelihoods in care work and the NHS. A lot of these people are voiceless and all of them are suffering from tremendous anxiety as a result of the pressures that they’re under. I’ve had loads of messages since the Going out without a bang blog went viral.
I was asked to join a few social media groups which I did and I spoke in support of NHS and care workers. I also pointed out that everything on social media is monitored and censored, so maybe not the best medium for those who don’t swallow the mainstream narrative.
I got drawn into a couple of ‘debates’ despite previously promising myself I wouldn’t engage in that energy-sucking waste of time again. I pointed out to someone who had never worked on the frontline, some factual information from the height of the pandemic. I got abuse and was shown an out-of-context, time-irrelevant graph. I hastily un-joined.
I got chatting with a group of like-minded healthcare people a few weeks ago and coincidentally, one of them was speaking in Burnley. I was asked to join him and I agreed. I’m not very good at public speaking and I get very nervous, but on the night I managed it. I agreed to do it, because I particularly wanted to stand up for ordinary front-line NHS workers, who are suddenly very sadly becoming the target of hatred from people who don’t understand how the NHS works. Sam came and I was enormously grateful. Talking to him before I spoke helped with my nerves. I focused on him when I started talking and afterwards, his gentle astute wisdom beyond his years, helped me make sense of the evening.
I made a point of saying that I was independent and not affiliated to any organisation in particular and I’m glad that I did. The venue was packed with around 250 people. I simply told my story, then Graham, an ex NHS pharmacist told his. There was a brittle energy in the room, and despite being a lot of level-headed NHS people there, there was bristling in places when I stood up for NHS workers. I really don’t want to be in any way associated with any group that expresses hatred towards NHS workers.
The Q and A went on for quite a while and I talked to lots of people afterwards. There was something rather unsettling about some of the extreme views expressed and there was lots of speculation about what might or might not be genuine: What’s in the vaccine?; vaccines and placebos; does the virus exist?; shedding and so on?
You have to be able to get your message across in places where many ordinary people live on the fringes of desperation. It needs to be simple. I’m sick of the falsely created divisions between jabbed and un-jabbed. It’s about personal choice based on informed consent. We should be turning our energies upwards, to the people behind it all, not against each other. There were people from ALL walks of life at that talk, and they’re just not going to swallow the nonsense any more. There has to be a positive grass roots movement that comes out of this.
My reflection told me to stick to facts and avoid wasting energy on speculations – on that which can never be known for sure. Hence I’ll continue to walk the middle way, on common human ground. Not before I’ve had a break though. I’m longing to get away to somewhere peaceful in like-minded company – too much clutter round here.
Everything is energy:
From the sub-atomic particles that whizz round that big circle thing in Switzerland, to entire universes and all in between, EVERYTHING is energy, and I need to remind myself of it from time to time.
All the major religions and philosophies describe how to train and save energy in order to reach higher spiritual levels. They also describe the various energy centres common to humans and how to ‘open’ them.
My favourite description is Don Juan’s. He shows Carlos the arduous process of Stopping the world, in order to able to see. In order to Stop the world, he teaches the gruelling path taken by a man (or woman) of knowledge. By seeing, he means perceiving the world as it really is, where humans appear as luminous egg shapes of energy, with a thick bundle originating from their navel area. The earth itself is a magnificent living being of incandescent interweaving fibres.
Seeing, or perceiving the world directly, transcends all the bullshit. I certainly can’t do it, but being reminded of its existence can be useful, however far-fetched it may sound. Looking for higher vibrating energy can be a simpler way of navigating the morass (It’s the vibes man).
Down the rabbit hole:
Porky, Slobber, Toff and their tight inner circle of arse-lickers continue to royally take the piss out of ordinary people. Their last pretence of democracy has long since gone.
‘The pezzies are starting to get frisky again Tubs. What shall we do?’
‘Chill ya boots, Slobbo – I’ll just have a tickle of nose powder and a couple of lunchtime glasses of Tigna then I’ll talk to them about Peppa Pig – that will shut them up.’
Slobber is referring to the spate of X-mas parties that went on in Downing Street last year, breaking all the rules that were mercilessly imposed on the public and enforced by the Stasi.
‘We’ll just indoctrinate the gullible fuckers with more scare-tactics. Lets skip a few letters and come up with a new variant to terrorise them and cancel Christmas with?’
‘Yes, but they’re getting a bit fed up now and we might not be able to fool them much longer?’
‘Nonsense, there will be lots of Christmas telly for them to watch soon. We can just ramp up the propaganda and they’ll keep on swallowing it.’
Clearly Piggo will go soon, but what bad energy will replace him?
Allegory aside, the Downing Street party fiasco really is the last straw for all sensible decent people. It’s nothing to do with vax status or political status. It’s to do with the strongest human unit of all.
That lovely lady for example who wasn’t allowed into the nursing home to see her mammy when she was dying. Or that nice decent bloke who had to watch his wife die in ICU via an iPad screen, with his two little girls. ‘Mummy wake up. Daddy, tell mummy to wake up.’ Multiply these example by tens of thousands and you begin to see the enormity of it all.
Am I the only medical person asking ‘Why on earth as a caring profession, did we allow this cruelty to happen?’ That’s one small thing that I’m proud of. I used my position to allow relatives in regardless of the stupid fucking rules.
We then find out about the Downing street parties, where the grotesque slobs showed unequivocally that they had no belief whatsoever in the rules that they were imposing on the population, showing less than zero regard for ordinary British people.
The decent folk who gave up everything and are suffering enormously due to being separated from their loved ones in their time of need, are beyond anger.
When De Pfeffel addressed the nation the other day, talking of more erosion of our freedoms and his ultra-patronising Plan B, what he actually did was mandate a revolution of the reasonable.
A revolution of the decent people who believed the government and dutifully followed the rules. They now know that they were panoramically lied to. Is it even possible that they won’t now wake up and see what’s really happening? How can they not see all the other lies and astonishing corruption? Maybe more and more people will see the increase in the massive wave of uncharacteristic illness in younger age groups and begin to join the dots? Surely there will be massive non-compliance?
Cold War Steve has it nailed.
Let’s quickly get Omicron out of the way.
At the beginning, I was angry and frustrated at the idiots who said that the illness was all a hoax. I watched people dying from it and the hundreds of deaths of front-line workers speaks for itself.
Dogs will be dogs and will piss on lamp posts. Likewise, viruses will be viruses and do what viruses do. They mutate. All the time. Hundreds of times. Sometimes several times within a few hours. If they are so virulent that they exterminate the population, then they will become extinct. Hence they become less deadly but more infectious, which is precisely what’s happened and is reflected in the reduced deaths compared to this time last year.
Dr Angelique Coetzee is chair of The South African Medical Association. She’s appeared several times in the press (including here) pointing out that Omecron is very mild and no worse than a cold ‘Nothing I have seen about this new variant warrants the extreme action the UK government has taken in response to it’. She’s been quite disdainful of the hysteria gripping the UK.
Yes, South Africa is a different demographic to the UK, but it’s compounded by their high levels of HIV and TB, so their experience has some relevance to ours.
The simple truth is that so far Omecron is no worse than a cold – not even as bad as flu. As ever, the testing is irrelevant. It’s the translation to ICU admissions that count, and these are very low. The propaganda and fear-mongering used by the UK puppet govt is sickening. They are using it purely to mislead people into getting a booster without any scientific justification whatsoever. Strangely enough, it’s fully vaccinated people who are getting it. Why can’t everyone see what’s really happening? Sadly, they will twist the science again to suggest that this ultra-mild variety is causing significant morbidity and death. Something else is causing the morbidity and death. Please science people, research impartially.
People who chose careers in running pubs, clubs and restaurants can be a bit tetchy at times but by and large, they’re a genial bunch.
Hospitality businesses can often take up to half of their annual turnover over the Christmas period and it’s been taken away from them again – completely unnecessarily – by De Pfeffel and Co. Hundreds of bookings have been cancelled. Many of them have already gone under and the rest simply can’t survive this last dagger in the back. Surely they must now say no? What have they got to lose? Performers too are losing their livelihoods after cancelled gigs.
Never in my life have I felt so utterly alone and frustrated. I am seeing highly scientifically-trained acquaintances going on social media urging people to get their jabs. Why can’t people see what this festering bunch of ultra-cunts are doing to us? People in Austria are being fined and threatened with a year in prison. How come people don’t see that it’s just a step away from us? At the other end of the spectrum there are flat-earth loons screaming hatred and I’m wandering alone trying to find stepping stones in the middle.
I’ve had the same stomach-jolting moment that I had at the beginning when I saw what was coming. I’m back to that same space, where I turn inwards and lock down. Surely it couldn’t happen here? Surely totalitarianism couldn’t come tiptoeing into every thread of our lives without us seeing it? I’ve heard people talk of mass hypnosis. Surely not? What’s the solution? Un-subscription is the solution and I’ve talked about it so many times before – particularly from the banking system that will turn us 100% digital and trackable. Community banking is the way forward.
I’m supposed to be raising my vibrations man, but a smouldering black rage towards the vile turds who have fucked us is never far away.
was supposed to be a joke, but pigboy has already actually mentioned it – that’s the way that tyranny works – a hint is thrown into the public consciousness, then when it actually happens a few months later it’s more acceptable.
The joke was that I was going to call it Plan Cunt, using the analogy of The Great Reset except it would be The Great Decuntification where all the cunts are rounded up and treated with a condensed version of the treatment that they’ve given us.
Cold War Steve gets it.
Rock & Roll:
In the heightened weeks before I finished in medicine, music became more poignant. It didn’t matter what was on the radio when I was driving to work, there was something comforting about it.
I sensed that our last gig at The Ferret was the end of another phase and I was partly glad that I had no more gigs lined up – I anticipated more lockdown activity.
Not quite though. I know lots of fellow vinyl nerds and I’d been asked to spin a few at The Tapsters in Colne on Saturday.
I wrote about the way that vinyl nerdery works on page 150 of the book, in the chapter entitled Rock & Roll 2 … including the joy of the 7″ single:
‘Collecting 7″ singles is a bit like stamp collecting. There’s a nerdy element to it. There’s the back story – the history of the band – where the record was recorded etc. Then there’s the record itself – the label, the sleeve and finally there’s the music. Often you’ll find a B-side that’s better than the A-side – I’m Leaving (B-side of Boom Boom) by John Lee Hooker is an example.’
It’s a splendid evening. I’ve condensed a selection from my A-list 7″ boxes into one box. As fellow vinyl nerds will know, it’s not an easy task – sometimes records in the B-list are just as good as the ones on the A-list. Tricky.
There’s a lovely chilled atmosphere. The convention is that the disc jockeys play for an hour at a time. Rachel gives us a lift over and I ease my anxiety with a pint and 3 tokes on a biflet before it’s my turn. I’m not used to the decks, so I think that I’m turning the headphones off when I turn the slider down. Oops. I soon ease into it and enjoy myself – I’ve got some great obscure records.
I talk micro-vinyl nerdness with Tiff, Antony, Kenny and Craig. Antony and I even get onto Fall B-sides.
A girl with pink-red hair comes in and sits next to me. It quickly becomes apparent that she’s taken something and is completely disinhibited. She puts a coin in her mouth, rolls it around her tongue, then leans over and kisses me and shoves the coin into my mouth. I hastily shove it back. Quick. Call health and safety. I don’t mind – I’m more concerned for her safety.
She wanders over to the next table, making 3 lads very uncomfortable. She nonchalantly lifts her top up and shows them her tits. If it was Weatherspoons she’d get chucked out, but it’s not. We’re all asking each other ‘Do you know her?’ but none of us do.
I’ve never read any of my book since I wrote it. When you write a book, and self-publish, you end up in complete overload through endless prrof-reading. By the time the book is out, you’ve no inclination ever to read it again.
I skirted through a chapter when I was looking for the vinyl bit and was reminded that I’ve been questioning the mainstream narrative long before the pandemic. Of course, I repeat myself a lot in the blogs, but advocating growing clean local food and standing up to charlatans and bullies is a perennial theme.
Gaz and I have been working on my new song. It’s called Untested Interventions. The music is influenced by a live acoustic version of a well-known song that I’ve listened to over and over again – I’ve studied it endlessly for its rhythm and feel. Lyric-wise, there are 8 verses that just spilled out of my head. Music is a way of venting spleen.
My new guitar pedal arrived – the one that Tom Morello uses on quite a few Rage Against the Machine songs, so naturally that has to go in as well.
Sam and I are planning to record one of his newer quieter songs – Foreign Exchange, the same way that we recorded First Thoughts and Sweet Lou.
I’ve been listening to the early Strange live recording of Weave and Wind again. Sam’s playing the 1964 Hofner Club that he learned to play guitar on. It got broken after some late night drunken escapades in their bedroom and I fixed it again. I’ve told the story of the radio session before. Sam wrote it when he was 16. I always thought that the line:
Turned to you in the hallway, we’re not leaving there’s no way, was teenage rebellion directed against me, but Sam later explained that it was about a party that he and his mates were at.
Similarly the line: We’ll take the task, we’ll break your stride was a jibe against a rival band. Nevertheless, never could a line be more apt as a slogan for standing up to tyranny.