The Vacuum Of Modern Life

Humour’s a funny thing, isn’t it? I’m not trying to be humorous here by the way – far from it. This is a serious point that I’m trying to make. This is a serious discussion. When a person has a serious point to make they’re hardly likely to joke about it, after all. My point is that we live in a world where humour is a tool of the corporations and nothing more. Can you imagine anything more frightening than that? Can you imagine anything more frightening than living in a world where humour is a tool of corporate interests? Something is telling me that you can’t. I can’t anyway. Everything in modern life is a tool of corporate interests I know, but there is something particularly sinister afoot when the jokes we tell and chortle over serve corporate interests. Wouldn’t you say? Wouldn’t you say? In my book that’s rather undignified, but what would I know. I need to give some sort of example here just to make things clearer. There is a particular type of humour, supposed humour at any rate, which seems very sharp and snappy and all of that until you think about it, at which point you realise that there is no humour there at all. It is merely wordplay, or pointless empty punning. So for example when I used to be driving back-and-forth to Tuam a lot there was this billboard advertising some discount furniture store and there is a picture of a sofa – presumably at a discount rate – and the caption read ‘sofa so good’. Pretty funny huh? That’s exactly the sort of thing I’m talking about. Well I don’t really want to dwell on that too much because I want to move on to the next point that I want to make. It’s leading into the next point that I want to make. The next point that I want to make has to do with all this stuff that everyone’s looking at on their social media feeds. That’s what people are doing after all. Myself included, of course. The thing that occurred to me is that there is this all this clever or interesting or cutting-edge info about this that or the other but really it isn’t interesting or clever at all. It’s actually two-dimensional. ‘Oh look at this interesting thing,’ they say, ‘you really want to know about this.’ But then when you do know about it then it’s like ‘so what?’ You now know about it but it’s totally hollow, totally empty, just like everything else in your social media feed is. It is just pure hunger really – we’re just trying to make that hunger go away by browsing but it never does go away. So just like that cheap, wise-cracking type of superficial humour that isn’t humour at all (but only something horrifically empty) so too all that cutting-edge super-interesting info that we are bombarded with every day isn’t ‘information’ at all – it’s just a vacuum. It’s simply a manifestation of what I like to call ‘the vacuum of modern life’. We’re walking through a desert only we don’t see it because all we see are these hallucinatory mirages that are thrown up by the system. We’ve got a nice little pastime going on for ourselves here letting these mirages tantalise us. Letting them tease us. Modern life is a tease you see, and that’s all there is to it. Maybe we would be better off saying that it’s a piss-take. That’s not too bad though, that’s not too bad. It’s bad of course but what’s really bad is the fact that we all think we’re so bloody clever. We’re brimming over with complacency and self-satisfaction – the feeling that we collectively have that we’re doing something clever is quite palpable. You could palpate it between your fingers. If you wanted to, that is. Whether you would actually want to do that or not is another matter. That’s another matter entirely.










How immature am I really, I wonder? How big is a piece of string – isn’t that what they say? Some questions don’t have an answer, some questions are just pure stupid. I won’t dwell on that however – if I did then I could be dwelling on it forever. It’s a mire and – very often – the more we thrash around in the mire the deeper we sink into it. I’ve spent enough of my life sunk in the mire to want to sink any deeper into it. I’ve got very sick of it to be honest. The mire has got into my very bones. The mire permeates my very being, it permeates every last bit of me. I know what you’re thinking of course, you’re thinking that I have probably lost my identity to that mire at this stage. You’re thinking that there can’t be very much of me left having spent so much time in the mire. To a certain extent you’re right of course – in the case of such a long exposure to the mire molecules of corruption find their way into the body and intermingle with all the non-corrupt molecules, the wholesome, decent molecules. This is as we all know an irreversible process which means that whatever degree of corruption has already set in has to be kept. Kept because is no getting rid of it; kept, whether you like it or not. And who’s to say you won’t like it? Who’s to say that you won’t get to like it? Maybe you will learn to enjoy it, enjoy and celebrate it. Nothing strange about that, nothing strange at all. It happens all the time in fact. It happens as a matter of course. We all learn to enjoy and celebrate corruption sooner or later, don’t we? What else is society but a club for people who have learned to enjoy and celebrate corruption? If you can’t beat them join them, as the man said. If you can’t beat them join them and you can’t beat them. You can’t EVER beat them – everyone knows that. Instead of vacations they have staycations these days. Did you know that? I didn’t know that. Pull up an armchair in front of the television and watch one of those programs about when plastic surgery goes wrong. I get angry from time to time the same as anyone else. Angry and enraged. It’s all utterly futile of course. Utterly, utterly futile. Nobody gives a damn, nobody could care less whether I happen to be enraged or not. It’s utterly inconsequential. I’m throwing a fit and it’s completely inconsequential. In doing my nut but no one gives a damn. I’m so bloody small-minded that it is incredible but some things you just have to live with. The squalor of my life is absolutely incredible but that’s all I’ve got. And you think anyone gives a damn? Do you think anyone is actually interested? I still try to tell them about it of course. I still try to tell people all about my life. I want everyone i meet to know about what my life is like. I want the spotlight of other people’s attention. It’s a source of warmth to me in what is really a very cold existence. Emotionally cold I mean. Lacking in any sort of emotion at all – I’m just stuck in the mire of my own psychic excretions. ‘Why not take a staycation?’ the advert on the billboard insinuates sleazily. Relax in the comfort of your own mire. Pull up an armchair. No one minds the smell of their own farts, after all. Many people find that particular fragrance to be quite convivial. All too convivial, in fact…










Inside I Was Quaking

‘Sure there’s no one here but me and my ego,’ I quipped, as quick as a flash. As quick as any flash that ever was. I’m famous for my quipping. I’m famous for a lot else besides. A lot else besides. I’m famous for a lot of things that I don’t feel too good about when it comes to it but life isn’t all about feeling good about things, is it? If only it were, I hear you say, but that wouldn’t work either. That wouldn’t work either. ‘Sure there’s no one here but me and my egos’ I laughed, trying to laugh it off. No one here, no one here. Reality had me beat and that’s a fact – I got that out of my book of facts! Reality had me beat and that was something no one could deny. I denied it every day but then again, I was a big liar. I’m famous for being a big liar. I’m famous for being a big liar but then again, no one has ever heard of me. My lies were catching up with me; they were rolling up on the horizon like a vast bank of cumulonimbus clouds. Building ominously, building ominously. Soon there would be nowhere else to run. ‘I never meant to lie,’ I lied. I never meant to lie. They were looking for me but I was playing dumb. I’m famous for playing dumb. I was on a talk show on TV. ‘It’s no good talking to him,’ they said, ‘he’s playing dumb.’ ‘There’s no one here but me and my egos,’ I quipped, tried to laugh it off. My egos are arguing amongst themselves as they always do. It annoys me that they are so petty – they’d argue about anything, they really would. They came to interrogate me but I was too sly for them. I’m as sly as the day is long. I have a hundred eyes and each one of them is winking, as if to say ‘you won’t catch me out that easily lads.’ Lies were dripping off me like some sort of fragrant oil. They were making an ungodly stain on the carpet. ‘You won’t catch me, you won’t catch me’ I said to myself. If you think you’ll catch me that easily then you’ve got another think coming. I’m as slippery as an eel, an eel with hundred eyes and each one of them is winking away furiously. That’s my natural defence mechanism. That’s how I terrify the predators. ‘I’m the skipper, I’m the skipper,’ I said. I’m the skipper and my name is Neil. My name is Neil. The predators are out hunting for me course but I’m determined to beat them. I’m too sly for them. I’m too sly for myself. ‘If you think you can catch me that easily then you have got another think coming’, I call out bravely. Inside though, I was shaking. Inside though, I was quaking…







Following The Official Guidelines

You know that thing where you suddenly gain the crystal clear awareness that the bad thing which you have been fighting against all your life is going to happen any minute now and that there is absolutely nothing you can do about it? That’s such an ineffable moment, isn’t it? It’s supremely ineffable, exquisitely ineffable. Not only that, it’s also because the bad thing that we had always known about but which we have been in denial of for our whole lives so that not only is it the case that we are suddenly confronted with the fact that the bad thing which we’ve been fighting against all our lives is just about to happen, but also that the bad thing which we had conspired against ourselves to forget is now showed itself to be real. Real despite all our ignoring of it, real despite the fact that we have been trying to so very hard but to pretend that it wasn’t there. Talk about ‘an ineffable moment of horror’! Just what are we supposed to do to deal with this terrible awareness, huh? What’s the procedure for this? What are the official guidelines? There are official guidelines for everything after all, so it is only reasonable to ask what they might be in this case. This is kind of important to know, after all! If ever official guidelines were needed then this is it, beyond any shadow of a doubt. Quick, quick, let’s go through the policies and procedures to see what it says about this one; see what we’re supposed to do. Does this constitute an ‘incident’? Do we have to write it up in the Incident Report Book? These are all very valid questions of course – very valid questions indeed! I find myself being overwhelmed by the feelings of intense validity and relevance that now engulf me on all sides. So much relevance, so much validity. It’s practically a religious experience that I’m having here. So much affirmation – who could have believed it? Who could have ever believed that so much affirmation was even possible? Affirmation without end, affirmation without limits. It’s dazzling – it’s a frankly dazzling experience. It’s utterly awesome. It must be like those experiences that people talk of where they accidentally take far too much LSD. Oh my God what a realisation – I’ve taken far too much LSD. Far too much, far too much. You totally misjudged it – you’ve taken enough for a hundred people! When you close your eyes it’s brighter than when you had them closed! It’s too bright and that light is blinding you. It’s causing you pain. It’s frightening you because there’s nowhere to hide when there’s so much light and when it’s brighter inside your own head than anywhere else in the whole universe! Nowhere to hide, nowhere to hide. No possibility of dodging or finding some dark corner to hide in. Some dark comforting little corner. That’s what you want of course – some dark little corner. You’ve got to find one, you’ve got to flee the light for all you’re worth and find yourself some dark crevice to hide yourself in. When you find it you’ll never come out. Hello darkness my old friend, you will sing. Hello darkness, hello darkness. What do any of us know but darkness anyway? What else do we know? What else do we know? ‘I’m following the official guidelines,’ I shout out, ‘I’m following the official guidelines…’









After I published my seminal sociological work ‘The Sexualisation of Despair’ back in the autumn of 2016 (and to great acclaim, I might add) I came to the decision that the time had come for me to take a radical change in direction and to this end I embarked upon what was to be a highly successful career as a stand-up comedian. Before very long however the jokes started to fall flat and I found myself back to Square One with all that that entails. I developed a fetish concerning words – whenever I would come across a new word or phrase that I liked I’d repeat to myself over and over again, enjoying the shape that it made in my mind. ‘Enjoy’ is too moderate a term for what I was experiencing in fact; I found myself deriving extreme amounts of pleasure from certain words. Other words brought me pain and I dreaded them. My life degenerated until it had become no more than ritualised parody of anything decent, anything wholesome. I grew to hate myself, but I hated other people more. Instead of being a kind and tolerant human being I became testy and cantankerous and given to fits of pointless petulance. That’s when I decided to reinvent myself and to this end I embraced the cause of Transhumanism and what has since become known as ‘Cybersexuality’. That innocent-sounding word, which conceals so much darkness! I fell in love with a toaster but in truth – although I didn’t know it at the time – it was no more than an immature infatuation. The relationship started off well enough but before very long we were arguing night and day. Things got pretty bleak and I found myself wondering if perhaps there wasn’t some kind of deep-seated flaw in my personality which was dooming me to a life of unremitting futility. My friends agreed that this did indeed seem to be the case and everyone wondered what I could do about it. I invented an imaginary kingdom and quickly became King – I ruled fairly but at the same time ruthlessly and in time I started to regain my self-respect. The tactic had worked. What started off well soon became sour however and I ended up as a demented tyrant, having people executed if they so much as looked at me sideways. Before very long I’d executed half the population whilst the other half I had had imprisoned, and more than that, I was having them tortured on a continual basis to force them to provide information that they didn’t actually possess. That is how controlling I’d become! My therapist friends informed me that I was disturbed and that I should seek help. That’s pretty much the problem with having therapist friends of course – no matter what you do they will always say that you have got a problem and that you should seek help! It’s an automatic mechanism for them – they are just making sure that they always have a job, as far as I can see. That’s what I call the Pathologization of Everyday Life. That could be a book in fact. So anyway I realised that I’d lost my moorings in life and that I was adrift in a sea of uncertainty but I also realised that this was a perfectly normal thing to happen, not anything to get worried about or seek professional help for, or anything like that. I went back to my addiction to certain words and phrases on the basis that ‘better the devil you know than the one you’re not as yet quite so sure about!’ My life slowly came back on track and I eventually regained my old confidence, that old, old confidence that it never let me down, no matter what die circumstances I might have happened to find myself in. I knew who I was and I knew what I wanted in life and the fact that this was a total lie didn’t bother me in the least! I enjoyed the word ‘Candypack’ and I used to say it to myself over and over again when I thought no one was listening. As words go it was one of the better ones, one of the very best and I came to believe that it held certain magical powers. I used the word to protect myself and to ward off evil spirits. No one likes evil spirits after all. I’m exhausted now – I’m exhausted because I’m talking too much, or thinking too much. At the table next to where I’m sitting here in the hospital canteen (which used to be the old nurse’s home) these two guys are talking at length about kippers and smoked trout. One guy was saying that when you pickle fish that makes their bones softer so you can eat them more easily. You aren’t going to choke so readily on the bones, in other words. That was something I never knew, anyway. That is new information for me. The level of fatigue that I am experiencing is truly remarkable however – I marvel that I’m able to carry on sitting here. I just want to lie down on the floor. Fatigue is never too far off for me – it’s a kind of an underlying condition that I have I think, although I’ve never actually been formally diagnosed with CFS. I can’t be bothered to get formally diagnosed. What’s the point anyway?








The Deceptive Façade Of The Body

We are in the world but we also are the world. Did you ever hear that? Only I’m not. I’m kind of ‘trapped on the outside’, which doesn’t feel too good. I’m here to tell you that this particular scenario doesn’t feel too good at all. Not too good at all. That’s me there – the guy with his face squashed up against the invisible glass wall! The guy with his face squashed up against the invisible glass wall that separates those people who are part of life from all those unfortunate persons who are on the outside looking in. Can you see me? You probably can’t because those of us who are on the outside of life are pretty much invisible. We are ‘the unnoticed’, by and large. There are quite a few of us – all in all – but you wouldn’t know it. When you’re actually part of life then you don’t tend to have much time for those who aren’t. You have too much to be getting on with. You’re having too much fun. That’s the way of things really isn’t it? Perhaps you aren’t aware that this is the way of things but I am. You bet I’m aware that this is the way of things. Wouldn’t you be if it was you? But it’s not you is it? It’s not you so we won’t worry about that.


Humans come in all shapes and sizes don’t they? I don’t mean physically – that would be a very banal statement to make. I’m talking about the inside  of people – the part that you don’t ever get to see. The secret part, the hidden part – the inner entity so to speak which lurks wholesomely within the deceptive facade of the body. The deceptive façade, the deceptive façade – that’s all we ever care about isn’t it? We are the worshippers of the deceptive façade, that’s for sure! There’s great mileage in worshipping the deceptive façade and no one can deny that. Just look at how much mileage we get out of it – it’s unlimited mileage in my view. Worshipping the façade is all we ever do. We’re far too busy looking at the outside to suspect what’s going on on the inside and that’s why we are all so obsessed with spending lots of money on fancy clothes you see. That’s why it’s a billion-dollar industry – because it’s all a great big cover-up. It’s the biggest cover-up ever…


That’s one thing they don’t teach us about school: they teach us about reading, writing and arithmetic but what they don’t teach us about is the inherent evilness of the thought-created world. You’d imagine that they would teach us about that of course but they don’t. The thought-created world isn’t overtly evil after all so how are we supposed to know otherwise? The teaching curriculum is a failure because of this you see. What’s the point in teaching us all that stuff if they don’t give us the information about the Mind Zone being intrinsically evil? That’s a bit useless in my view. ‘Welcome to the Mind Zone,’ they should say. Welcome to the Mind Zone, welcome to the Mind Zone. We slope you’ll be very crappy here; we mope you’ll be very nappy here. We grope that you will be very sappy here. And all the time you can hear the evil mechanical laughter going on in the background. There’s a big joke going on but you’re not allowed to know what it is. There’s a big joke going on and actually it’s you. They’ve made a right twat out of you and yet you keep on thinking that you’re the bee’s knees…


It’s not all doom and gloom though is it? There is also corrosive boredom and barely repressed self-loathing. Never forget the boredom and self-loathing. There is also total alienation – never forget the total alienation. Never forget, never forget. You’re on the outside looking in. You’re about to take a bite of the pie but you don’t know where to begin. It’s not all doom and gloom however and that’s an important fact to remember. Life in the Mind Zone has a lot to offer a young person who doesn’t mind hard work and who isn’t afraid to be profoundly alienated from everything that matters and that’s something we should be teaching in schools. Lots to offer, lots to offer. You too could have a happy time – if that’s the kind of thing that makes you happy, which in all fairness it could be. Who knows, after all?


I’m no fun when I’m in this mood, I know. I’m hardly a barrel of laughs, as the man said, but can you blame me? I’m looking at life from the wrong end of the telescope you see and someone played a trick on me by smothering the wrong end of the telescope with boot polish so that now I’m going around making a great big jackass of myself. People are helplessly pissing themselves wherever I go! No one’s got a good word to say. I got the wrong idea about things and now I’m the laughing stock. I made a fool of myself and now they’ll never let me forget it. They’ll forget it right but I never will. No one can ever say that I don’t know how to hold a grudge…









The Five Stages of Spiritual Awakening

Days of sorrow, days of rage, days of rage like incandescent bolts of lightning that will seer into your retina like hot knives into butter. Days of rage – rage so bright that it’s like staring into the midday sun. Days of sorrow, days of joy, but mainly days of rage. Yes absolutely, mainly rage. Amaze your friends and surprise strangers with your new talent, isn’t that what the adverts say? Amaze your friends, amaze your friends. Wow – I never knew you could do that! Do it again buddy, do it again. Rage so bright, rage so bright. Bright like the sun. Bright like a solar flare. Days of anger, days of joy. You wake up in the morning wondering what today has in store for you and you discover it’s exactly the same thing that it had in store for you yesterday and the day before that! Your face lights up with rage, your face lights up like a magnesium flare. Incandescent with rage you decide to write a letter of complaint to the Radio Times. That’s what people used to do, you know. Disgusted, of Tonbridge Wells. Irritated, of Ealing Broadway. Livid, of Lower Halstow. Incandescent with rage, you run through the streets like a meteor. Where will your lightning strike, where will your lightning strike? It never strikes twice in the same place you know. The night sky is awash with ionising radiations. It’s as bright as day when you close your eyes. You crave acceptance from society as much as the next man does, of course. The craving is engraved into your very soul. You went online and learnt a new skill; you went online and you discovered the five stages of spiritual awakening. You want to find out what stage you’re at. These days everyone is at some stage of spiritual awakening or other aren’t they? It’s the done thing – anybody who is anybody is in one of the five stages of spiritual awakening. It would be socially embarrassing to admit otherwise. It would put you in a bad light. Who cares about non-spiritual people these days? You won’t strike the right note that way. Spiritual awakening is very important though and I would be the first to concur on that point. I for one won’t argue about that. Obviously it’s very important. Spiritual people are very great and we all know that. It’s not like you’re some dumb ugly deluded knob-end of a person then. None of us want to be like that. None of us want to be a knobhead and I can appreciate that. I don’t want it and neither do you and that’s why we are all spiritual people. It gets very frightening being a human being in the world, doesn’t it? You wake up in the morning and you want to do the same old dumb shit that you always did but now you realise that this isn’t very spiritual so you’ve got to do something else! You’ve got to refine your act, you’ve got to ‘up your game’ and that’s all very exhausting. Can you keep it up? Do you even know what you are supposed to be doing? You are craving social acceptance of course but no one seems to care what you have to say. You’re struggling to stay relevant. You are struggling to stay relevant but you don’t even know what that means. You don’t know what anything means. You don’t know what reality means but you are too frightened to admit it. You’re frankly terrified. All you have to comfort yourself with is the appalling meaninglessness of your own stupid games and that just doesn’t cut the mustard any more…








Some Things Are Just Too Sad To Know About

What does it feel like when you can’t be in the real reality, I wondered? What does it feel like when you can’t be in the real reality but only in the made-up reality, the stupid dumb-ass reality which isn’t really real? Was this actually a real thought, I asked myself? Was this an actual real question that I was asking myself? I was trapped in a loop made up of the same old movie which I instantly forgot all about the moment it was over. I forgot every time. My mind was wiped clean and I started it all over again. This went on forever and it never stopped and I never knew that it was happening. I could never know that it was happening – that wasn’t in the script and the script was everything. The script was the master of everything. I was trapped in the loop and the loop went on forever, the loop went on forever and the loop wasn’t real. The loop went on forever and the loop wasn’t real. The loop was me.


It’s always a sad thought when you wonder to yourself what it’s like when you can’t be in the real reality. It’s a very sad little thought. It’s a sad little thought because you never can be in the real reality and yet you don’t know that you never can be. It’s a thought that you ought to have but which you don’t. You can’t get your head around that thought – you don’t have the vocabulary for it. You already know what it’s like when you can’t be in the real reality but you don’t know that you know. You never know that you already know that because that isn’t in the script and the script is your whole life. The script is you.


There are some questions you can never ask yourself, questions that you just aren’t allowed to ask. You aren’t allowed to know that you aren’t allowed to ask them. These are the questions that aren’t in the script. The script doesn’t allow you to know that you’re trapped in the script, never asking the questions, never knowing that the questions even exist. Some things are so sad that you’re never allowed to know about them, did you know that? Some things are just too sad to know. The script won’t let you know about these things, the script will only let you know what the script lets you know and the script’s not really real.


There’s nothing sad in the script – not really. You might think that there is but there isn’t. There’s nothing sad in the script because the script isn’t real. The script is only the script and it keeps on looping and looping forever. It’s not happy and it’s not sad; it’s not anything really and it never was but we can never know that. We are not allowed to know that. We’re not allowed to know what we’re not allowed to know and that’s the loop we’re caught in.


I sometimes wonder who it is that’s going to feel all that sadness – isn’t there some kind of rule that says they always has to be someone to feel the feeling? What’s a feeling that can’t be felt? There can’t be sadness without someone to feel it. What does it feel like when you can’t be in the real reality and who does that feeling belong to? What does it feel like you know that you can’t be in the real reality and is this even a real question? Is this a real thought? Is it a real thought when you wonder what it’s like when you can never be in the real reality and who would be thinking that thought anyway?


What does it feel like to know that you will never step out of the prison that you are in? What does it feel like to know that this is your inescapable doom? And all dooms are inescapable dooms, aren’t they? There’s no such thing as a doom which you can escape from after all and you know that very well. You knew that all along. You knew that all along –  you just choose not to remember it. Some things we would all like to forget, isn’t that true? Some things we always forget. Some things we always forget. What does it feel like to know that, I wonder. What does it feel like to know that you will never escape from the script and that the script isn’t real?









Hypnogogic Journey

On the third day of my hypnogogic journey I came across a large waiting room full of people wearing strange baroque headgear made of velvet, steel wool and artificial ostrich feathers. They didn’t to appear to be doing very much other than just waiting around. ‘What’s going on with you guys,’ I asked them, ‘what are you all waiting for?’ They were more than willing to talk to me. A spokesperson was elected who courteously introduced himself and explained to me that they were killing time in the best way that they knew how until the time came for them to pass on from this world into the next (the world that people go to when they die, that is). This was as yet a long way off and so the only thing to do was to hang around and pass the time as best they could. This was the only thing for it, the elected spokesperson explained to me.


‘Excellent, excellent,’ I replied enthusiastically, delighted to hear of their foresight and diligence in the matter of passing the time yet remaining to them (which was no easy matter considering the fact that they had so much of it on their hands). ‘Keep up the good work chaps,’ I called out to them as I carried on with my journey, keen to see who else I else I might meet and what I would learn in my next encounter.


I been scarcely been walking for another hour when I stumbled across a great crowd of grey homunculi torturing and tormenting themselves, each one apparently trying to outdo all the others. Some were poking themselves in their eyes with their big stubby fingers, others where stamping hard on their own toes with no let up, whilst others again were pinching themselves most viciously, obviously trying to cause themselves the maximum amount of pain. A few of these self-punishing homunculi were engaged in sticking splinters of wood under their own fingernails, which brought tears to my eyes even just from watching them. One of these fellows had gone a stage further, stabbing himself repeatedly in the leg with a sharpened pencil. ‘Hey dudes,’ I called out, would you mind telling me what you’re all up to with this self-punishing behaviour?’ The homunculus who had been savagely punishing himself with the pencil stopped what he had been doing and looked up at me. ‘Certainly we wouldn’t mind telling you,’ replied in an oddly high-pitched tone of voice, ‘we are torturing ourselves ruthlessly so that we can transcend this wretched corporeal existence and attain a spiritual state of being.’ He then resumed his work, jabbing himself over and over again with what looked like a 2H pencil. ‘That’s marvellous,’ I told him warmly, ‘keep up the splendid work and I hope it all goes well for you guys.’ I saluted them to show them my respect and carried on my way, agog with excitement at the thought of what wonders I might come across next.


I had only been walking for twenty minutes this time when I came around the corner and was met with the sight of a whole bunch of people sitting in a circle engaged in some kind of group-therapy process. Two facilitators were leading the group, answering questions, explaining points of theory, handing out bits of literature, and projecting interesting-looking diagrams from a laptop onto a screen. I politely interfered with the group process to ask what they were all doing. One of the facilitators answered me in a very professional tone, ‘we are teaching and modelling positive mental health strategies,’ he told me, ‘by learning tools and strategies the group members will be able to manage their mental health effectively.’ ‘Excellent, excellent,’ I enthused, ‘I am truly delighted to see such good therapy work going on!’ I bade the group a hearty farewell and continued on my travels, but as it turned out I was to experience no more marvels on this particular journey because the hypnogogic state suddenly destabilized and I came back to my senses at home in the comfort of my own study. I wasn’t disappointed though – look how much I had learned, after all!









Billy No-Mates

How to punish people when they are bad and make sure that they are sorry! Yes, yes, yes – very important, very important. How to punish people so that they’re really, really sorry. That’s the thing, of course. That’s always the thing. Always the thing, always the thing, definitely always the thing. My mind tends to wander, that’s the thing; my mind tends to wonder and then I forget what I’m on about. I forget what I’m on about and then I start confabulating. ‘Solemn inanities, uttered from the depths of our profoundly unconscious ignorance,’ that’s the phrase that comes to my mind. That’s the phrase that came to my mind just a few moments ago. ‘And why wouldn’t it?’ you might well ask, ‘and why wouldn’t it?’ That’s the thought that comes to my mind and why wouldn’t it? ‘Why wouldn’t it?’ I asked. The same thought comes to my mind every day. How to punish people so they’re sorry I said to myself with a steely look in my eyes; my chin was jutting out with pure obstinate determination. How to punish, how to punish. I was all alone in a dark place – I was there to meet my friend Honest Joe but he had sold me up the river. He’d set me up big time. I never should have trusted him after the last time of course. I’ve often wondered what it would feel like to be a narcissist and now I knew! Now I knew but I didn’t know what I knew. I also didn’t know that I knew so it was all wasted. It was all useless to me. ‘It’s a sad state of affairs when your best friend in the whole world sells you up the river,’ I said to myself, wallowing in a fine marinade of bittersweet melancholy – ‘your very best friend in the world and he stitches you up like a kipper!’ There actually never had been such a person as ‘Honest Joe’ of course, that was just another of my confabulations. One of many, in fact; one of many. The fabric of the world was coming undone strand by strand and I had nothing to replace it with. Things were becoming very bare and so I had to dress them up a little. I had to flesh things out. Join up the dots – that sort of thing. Not that there were many dots these days however, I reflected grimly. It’s kind of amazing just how little you can get by with when it comes down to it. You think you’d notice but you don’t. You’d think someone would say something but they never do. ‘Solemn inanities, uttered from the depths of our profoundly unconscious ignorance,’ I told myself. That’s all we have left to us. That’s what passes for wisdom these days. We have to construct a whole world out of that and that’s modern culture for you. You have to put a big shit-eating smile on your face and step boldly out of the front door. You have to put your best foot forward, as they say. You’ve got plenty of feet, so that’s no problem. You’re the human centipede, an unparalleled biological oddity! ‘Amaze your friends with your fancy footwork,’ the ad said. That was no word of a lie, I said to myself. Only I hadn’t actually got any friends. ‘Billy No-Mates,’ the other children used to call me. ‘Only the shoe’s on the other foot now’, I muttered grimy to myself; ‘the shoe’s on the other foot now’…




Art: Sean Ray, Paradian The Seeker