New Story Accepted for Publication – Duet.

It’s a rare enough event so I have to get a bit excited.  It’s rare considering how slow my output is and that when I write a piece, the creative process seems to go on forever.  Stories tend to be large, take at least five or six drafts and are always beleaguered by the day job and the small publisher I run, Eibonvale Press. But anyway – my story Duet has been accepted for publication in Wordland 5: True Love from Exaggerated Press.

I am a bit of a twisted, bruised romantic, so the theme was certainly a good one to play with. The result was a bizarrely icy, lonely and surreal horror story about the underground music scene set in London – lonely concerts in bizarre industrial warehouses, a hefty dose of urban alienation and an unusual amount of the surreal for me.  The Black Sheet Moth spreads its wings . . .

As an aside, I do have another piece accepted for publication soon that i am not at liberty to mention yet, save that it is possibly my favorite story yet.  So watch this space.  :-)

Published in: on October 25, 2014 at 10:28 pm  Leave a Comment  

Novels in Progress and I am Getting left Behind by History . . .

I am currently working on two slipstream novels simultaneously now – one with the underlying theme of general social frustration and over-regulation (entitled Meat – now in the polishing stage) and one on more direct themes of sex, liberation vs. repression and judgementalism that suddenly came out of nowhere and wouldn’t let me rest until I had at least started sketching it out.  I am tentatively calling it Triangular Sky but who knows if that will change.  I am going to have to go into more details about both of these elsewhere, but for now i will say that both books feature my mighty supernatural adversity, the Polyhedron!  And they are both slightly activistic books giving me a chance to vent a bit on various aspects of modern life, though i hope not overtly or in your face.  These are fantasies with such issues as backdrops, not idea- or politics-driven stories.  I have a massive allergy to books that lecture or preach too much – so I am always very conscious indeed of the fine balance that needs to be struck in this area.

However, the current chaos of Scotland is reminding me that there is one huge societal issue that I haven’t tackled in either.  In Meat, I drew on a highly fantastical and surreal version of the London Riots and set it sometime in the future where everything we know has got just that little bit worse.  In Triangular Sky I am looking at the rise in PostModern Prudery and possibly a bit of UKIP-style politics (again – just tinges in the background).  I almost feel as though I am being left behind by history now though because even as I process that idea, here’s another thing going on right now that is crying out to inspire some hot Polyhedron action.  It’s a good thing that themes are timeless, even if history isn’t.  The excitement and ugliness of what’s going on in a part of the world I always used to feel very close to is going to be the defining memory of the Scottish Independence Referendum, regardless of how the country votes.  However noble some of the aims of both sides are, it seems unable to escape a sense of ugly nationalism and partisan entrenchment – sense and debate running wild into polarized bullying and tribalism on a societal level.  This has been made very clear by a vast number of comment threads and articles and personal accounts.  The old familiar chaos of a run-away vortex of emotion that ends up helping no one, only digging things in and reinforcing resentment.  I suppose that is almost inevitable in any major issue (it is clearly visible in English politics as well, not to mention globally) – but that doesn’t make it any prettier.  So maybe there will be a third novel at some point – the ultimate incarnation of the Polyhedron.  I can’t think of anything more Polyhedral than this kind of partisan obsession and excitement.

It would definitely not be a novel about Scotland, let me make that quite clear – I doubt any human being knows enough to do that for a LONG time and besides, that’s not the way I work.  I am interested in the small scale.  The personal, set against the unknowable mystery of society as a whole and the even more unknowable future.

And then maybe I can lay writing about this kind of thing to rest for a while and get back to the quiet seaside strangeness I was playing with in Feather!  Because I will tell you one thing . . . this kind of writing is EXHAUSTING!  It takes me to some of the ugliest places in the human soul and then I have to somehow make sense of them . . .

Now – if i can just find a way to combine it with Guerrilla Knitting . . .

Published in: on September 13, 2014 at 9:21 pm  Leave a Comment  

An Edifying Experience

Thank you my dear Virgin Broadband for a really interesting and edifying experience today, when your nice shiny new government mandated ‘web-safe’ internet filter accidentally got switched on for a while.  

I must confess it was quite a shock at first, when my writing lead me to research some minor specifics of feminine hygiene (I am NOT taking any chances with even such mundane things when it’s probably second nature to half my bloody readers!), only to come up against a brick wall plastered with talk of pornography, hate, drugs and suicide.  

There was a second shock a bit later . . . I would not have equated the minor surgery that I recently underwent and was trying to research as anything to do with hate or porn either – and likewise recovering from it hasn’t driven me to suicide yet.  But hey – always happy to be corrected about these things!  

Shock number three was that image on tumblr that came out of nowhere of some woman or other with what looked like a butcher’s meat hook through her perineum.  I will chalk that up to ‘extreme body piercing’ and ‘some people like to do weird things to themselves and who am i to judge?’ and then try and forget I ever saw it.  I am sure I will survive . . . but apologies in advance if cosmetic meat hooks turn up in some story or other in about 10 years time . . . 

Virgin, I fully intended never EVER to touch these filters, even with a six foot pole.  But I am kind of glad it got switched on for a while.  It was an education, showing very clearly that they don’t just sit on the ‘useless’ fence, they plunge right over into the badly maintained and thorny garden of ‘worse than useless’.  If anyone doesn’t believe me, just try the following little experiment.  Switch it on for a bit, go to Tumblr or something similar – even wikimedia commons – and just run a few searches.  Not for things you might want to discuss later maybe, but just try it.  And tell me how effective they are.  

Then for gawd sake turn it off again!

That’s the useless part.  They don’t protect anyone at all from anything at all except maybe from more focused and specific research.  You will always be able to find the porn, and if it’s hate and racism you want, just go to the YouTube comments sections!  The worse than useless part is the false positives – and beyond that, the further cementing of many natural normal parts of life as somehow ‘dirty’ when they really desperately need liberating for all our sakes – the simple act of trying to constrain the frank and unmoderated discussion and sharing of information and experiences – the pretending that certain things don’t exist when they really do exist and need addressing on many levels.  Even making users imagine they are somehow ‘safe’ when they aren’t . . . 

I am not often shocked or disturbed these days, but even I draw the line at meat hooks!  That time – that ONE time – I might just have appreciated a bit of protection.  But hey – I’m never going to get it without damaging everything else in ways that are beyond unacceptable to me.  I am aware of and accept that inescapable fact.  You can’t program or legislate human taste.  So, as you go down the path of life, you just have to accept that you are going to find a few roses as you go – and the occasional meat hook . . . 

I can’t blame you, Virgin, really of course.  It’s the government’s fault for pushing these useless things onto us with all the usual crap about some kind of morality that never represented anything meaningful.  I also appreciate the fact that you were the last of the major ISPs to bow to government pressure on this.  That is something I will remember.  But neither we nor you, Virgin, should just quietly accept it when they mess us around and interfere in things it is clear they don’t understand.  People in general need to think about this – need to realize that these filters are about far far more than somehow blocking things that you personally regard as icky.  And then SWITCH THEM OFF!  Take charge of your own internet instead, people, and make your own decisions!

Published in: on August 23, 2014 at 3:32 pm  Leave a Comment  
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TPP and TTIP Horror Stories

It seems the TPP is getting perilously close – as is the less well-known European version the TTIP. And I am getting increasingly bombarded with emails from my various activist groups about it, all exhorting me to fight and fight harder if we are to have any hope of preventing some of the worst corporate damage in history!

It would be nice to think that I and others are worrying unnecessarily – and that the fears are overblown. Reading through the EUs own web page on the subject, one might even be convinced that is the case, if it wasn’t for one major point.  Why is it that what may be some of the biggest deals in history are being negotiated in such attempted secrecy that even now so few people really know they exist or that they are at all significant?  To my mind, that fact alone gives plenty of reason to worry.  It suggests that those involved have a very good reason for keeping the public in the dark about it as much as possible. They know it would not stand up to scrutiny.  They have a guilty conscience, in other words.

What we do know only seems to back that up.  The businessmen and politicians talk of economic benefits, but the activists and watchdogs promise horror stories in the truest sense of the term – the perversion of what we have, and the deeper entrenchment of much that is wrong with the world and the resultant dwindling of our chances of improvement. The death of the internet as we know it and the final signing over of the world to corporate control and commercialism.

I remember these agreements from the days when we knew nothing about them at all, but the organisations and public that keep a wary eye on the world were so worried about the extreme secrecy that there was actually a totally crowd-sourced bounty of $70,000 offered for a leak of the TPP draft.  Are there any other comparable times in history when the public has actually come together to ‘buy’ a whistleblower like that?  That is also a somewhat strange indication of the world we are moving into – where we both need to and CAN do such things.  At any rate, that leak eventually came, and in the years since then we have begun to get a look at these things that have been brewing behind closed doors.

There are two distinct but connected sides to the worries about this.  On the one hand, we have people deeply concerned about freedom of expression and creativity being stifled by a drastic and draconian increases in intellectual property and copyright regulations.  As an artist, that is of course of great concern to me – but the other side of this is potentially even more serious in that it represents a signing over of power to corporations on a scale unique in history.

The 30,000 word leaked chapter on Intellectual Property came as a shock, though a somewhat familiar one, threatening  to increase the stranglehold already enforced on information, sharing and expression, complete with the old familiar enforced policing by  ISPs and draconian and incomprehensible copyright regulations – the sort of things we have been fighting for years coming back again like heads of the Hydra.  We can see where this is going online because, quite simply, the internet has already suffered massive damage and the glory days of the web as a carefree place to be yourself, exchange ideas and information are long gone. Now the net is shot through with dirt or threats of dirt on every level – spying revelations, censorship, filters, self-censorship / paranoia, postmodern prudery, prosecutions for expressing opinions, damaging copyright laws etc.  It seems that even as it just began to flicker into being, an end is nigh for any kind of truly free sharing of information and freedom of expression, as well as any kind of escape from or alternative to corporate control.  Will we ever be able to find that glorious freedom that the internet stood for again without constantly having one eye over our shoulders?

These agreements should be seen as one part of the negative progression, just one more nail in the coffin of the internet, given that this is what the corporate world has been striving for for years – and if so, it could be a decisive one.  A kind of last wound that brings it down.  One of the things about the internet is that, unlike when you are sitting there being fed information as you are from a TV, you are in charge and thus you can never know the consequences – just about anything you do online COULD POSSIBLY be illegal and there is rarely any way to know for sure.  Remember the days when they were trying to crack down on BitTorrent file sharing, and the only advice they could give was ‘the only way to be sure you are not breaking the law is don’t use it’?  Yes – their only response to the problem was to suggest shutting down an entire technology – which was approximately equal to shutting down email to stop people sending spam messages.  That was an extreme case, but it is symptomatic of the entire internet. Many of the things we naturally want to do online and offline may also become illegal.  That video you watch and put on facebook?  That image you find and share?  That quote you take of something you love?  That thing you want to show your friend?  That inspiration you draw on as an artist or that criticism or satire?  It doesn’t really matter to them. And with the powers provided by this new system, entire websites could vanish or entire families could be kicked off the internet for nothing more than a blunder, to say nothing of the times when such things are totally justified – e.g. allowing access to stuff you can’t see any other way, either because distributors can’t be bothered to distribute or (infinitely worse) because they are locked up by region coding, censored in your part of the world or in your language, or even just chained up in some ‘rights’ or other that are always entirely bureaucratic and no benefit to the artist or those passionate about it.

This of course, is of especial concern to anyone involved in the arts since, even offline, creativity is also increasingly stifled by intellectual property (which is increasingly becoming a dirty word for any artist), which represents a very worrying trend in the world.  Entire art forms are already ruined by over-regulation and more will follow, with art itself seeming more and more like a subversive and quasi-underground act.  True collage or found art, cosplay as a hobby, fan fiction, any sort of direct satirical art etc., all these are all either threatened or could be threatened.  Fan fiction (as an example) may not seem a very significant area, but it’s a harmless chance for some people to be creative and I have to ask, if a character or concept has become a household word, then why should people not be able to reference it in their own creativity if they wish, either as a homage, satirically/critically, or just as a bizarre pop-culture reference?  And preventing artists commenting on much of the real world (without playing that weird satirical game of finding ways for the audience to get the message without ever actually saying it) also seems extremely damaging.  This piece of street art is a good example.   This is something that is already only possible anonymously on a wall otherwise the number of potential lawsuits would be quite large.  This is why anonymous street art is often seen as the purest remaining artform, and the last thing we need is more types of creativity following it into the underground.  Collage and art using found objects, some types of independent film, even street photography, though that is somewhat removed from the subject of this article – anything that either doesn’t want to or can’t play the commercial game, basically.

But of course, this is not just about art and censorship, though as an artist that is one thing that bothers me deeply. Another big worry is the serious increase of power that these agreements threaten to give to corporations at the expense of the poor and even of governments themselves.  One aspect that bothers is the stranglehold of Big Pharma at the expense of affordable medicines in the developing world.  And similar things with patents controlling farming and the cultivation of food.  But perhaps the spookiest thing so far comes from our own European TTIP, the way it would give corporations the power to actually sue governments if they implement regulations that could be damaging to them – i.e. environmental or public health matters. That is, governments could be sued for keeping corporations from damaging nature, trying to control polluting or other industrial damage, increasing the minimum wage, animal welfare, trying to implement other laws that promote fairness at the expense of their pockets.

I don’t want to be over-dramatic, but these two agreements are starting to seem to be up there among the scariest things to have come along in my lifetime.

I quote Assange, from a while back but maybe still relevant:  “If instituted, the TPP’s intellectual property regime would trample over individual rights and free expression, as well as ride roughshod over the intellectual and creative commons. If you read, write, publish, think, listen, dance, sing or invent; if you farm or consume food; if you’re ill now or might one day be ill, the TPP has you in its crosshairs.”

We have already seen off several of these horrible plans and agreements and proposed legislations – SOPA and PIPA and ACTA spring to mind, but they were nowhere near as big as these seem to be. Maybe we can kill or neutralize this one too, since the controversy is only growing – and it is also important to remember that it is still being argued, still in draft form.  It may be that those who are insisting on the more draconian inclusions (the USA seems a major culprit, again playing the role of the world’s supervillain) will be overruled, especially if enough people provide pressure.

Myself though I am starting to despair! As an artist, as one who really believes in the potential of the internet, and simply as one who wants to see a world that works far far better than it does now.  But there seems such an inevitability about this march of commercialism and control that I wonder if there is really any point hoping? If this is beaten, then wont there just be another – and then another – and then another – as long as the world functions the way it does? Until the internet is just another totally controlled drip-feed like TV, corporations really do possess more power than countries and money is the ultimate controlling factor.

But anyway, I would urge people to at least stand up and be counted here. Easing trade between nations (which is the avowed goal of these agreements) is a very good aim, since the world is indeed ridiculously complicated, ridiculously unfair and far too bound up by national boundaries.  But can’t we negotiate such things without smuggling through additional problems like this?  And is there any reason at all why a trade agreement cannot be decided on with complete transparency and openness – and fairness and progressiveness?  Maybe these things don’t need to be destroyed – merely reformed so they can do no damage.  Or maybe they should indeed be destroyed because can we ever really trust the forces that are trying to shape our world, either political or corporate?  I honestly don’t know.

Links:

[1] WikiLeaks publishes secret draft chapter of Trans-Pacific Partnership - http://www.theguardian.com/media/2013/nov/13/wikileaks-trans-pacific-partnership-chapter-secret

[2] This transatlantic trade deal is a full-frontal assault on democracy - http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/nov/04/us-trade-deal-full-frontal-assault-on-democracy

[3] The lies behind this transatlantic trade deal - http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/dec/02/transatlantic-free-trade-deal-regulation-by-lawyers-eu-us

[4] nottip.org.uk – About TTIP - http://www.nottip.org.uk/aboutttip/

[5] The Hidden Threat of the TTIP Deal - http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-d9e2-The-hidden-threat-of-the-TTIP-deal

[6] TTIP: 9 Risks Clegg And Farage Won’t Tell You About The US-EU Trade Deal - http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/04/02/ttip-us-eu-trade-deal_n_5050117.html

[7] TPP Leak Confirms the Worst: US Negotiators Still Trying to Trade Away Internet Freedoms - https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/11/tpp-leak-confirms-worst-us-negotiators-still-trying-trade-away-internet-freedoms

[8] 3 things you need to know about sharing and collaborating online - https://openmedia.ca/blog/3-things-you-need-know-about-sharing-and-collaborating-online

Published in: on July 12, 2014 at 1:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

Red Lights

There is an absolutely delicious irony about cycling at the moment. Read any online mention of cycling, no matter how peripheral, and I can tell you precisely what you will see there if comments are enabled. At least 50 people moaning about cyclists jumping red lights, another 50 moaning about cycling on pavements, and other creative criticisms like riding across crossings or the wrong way down roads. Presumably cyclists are a different species of human who all wear lycra and who’s mating rituals involve butting helmets and ringing bells? Whoever they are, it is ok to discriminate against them en mass even though racism is now frowned upon. It is very depressing.  Vehiclism is on the rise!

Meanwhile, back in the real world, London is actually becoming a pretty cycle friendly city in some ways – incorporating a lot of the latest designs for integrating bikes. I have even been involved with testing some of it with the TRL (a rainy day testing a new way to get bikes around bus stops – over and over again). And this is where the irony comes in. What do we see among these new designs? Cycle routes that hop on and off the pavement depending on safety. Traffic lights that let cyclists move at different times to cars (jumping lights, in effect, though safer obviously) or directing us across crossings with pedestrians instead. Even cycle routes that run contrary to the flow of cars or the wrong way down one way systems. Funnily enough, EXACTLY what everyone has been moaning about so much is now being incorporated officially as the latest cutting edge! The irony is beautiful!

I was always too . . . what is it? . . . law abiding to jump lights or ride around in weird places. But it was always clear that sometimes it was safer and I am very glad to see these new changes. The rules of the road are totally geared towards cars in foundation and don’t even fit bikes very well, so it’s no surprise that some take the system into their own hand. Bikes are still in an awkward place, not quite fitting in either on the road or off it – and we have to work with that as best we can, trying not to annoy people in the process but also trying not to get killed and trying to actually, well, move!  

Then again, some of any vehicle do drive like idiots as well. I could tell a few stories . . .

Published in: on April 9, 2014 at 4:39 am  Leave a Comment  
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Rambling on Basalgette in the London Night

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Bazalgette . . . on a bridge . . . under a bridge . . .

Can’t effing sleep! Honestly my body clock doesn’t know which way it is going these days – late, early, nocturnal, occasionally even normal! And hey – here’s my blog, my almost ignored blog, the perfect place to moan into the void in the not-so-small hours! What the heck do I do now? Carry on lying here? Go out on some loopy bike ride around London to greet the dawn? See if any shops are still open somewhere and buy something weird?

Funny thing – I love being outside, especially riding old Basalgette (my bike) through the quiet streets. The nice thing about cycling is that you become transient and removed from the world you pass through – you flit by and are gone, with little involvement with people. I seem to be becoming increasingly allergic to physicality these days. The more time passes, the stranger and more alien human interaction seems. It’s not that I don’t like people – quite the reverse. I LOVE people. But meeting people in the flesh, actually talking to people, it all feels like some weird performance I am supposed to be involved in – and quite simply and literally it sometimes feels as though I have forgotten how to do it. Forgotten how to talk . . .

If I ever knew.

In the face of that, isolation is very seductive. But if so, then why am I living here? And I suppose loving it in some weird way? If there’s one place where it is impossible to ever be alone, it is here in London. Oh you can be lonely, it’s probably the easiest place in the country to be lonely – but never alone, the strange paradox of the city. Even as I spin through the streets at 4AM there is always something . . . .

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Some figure hunching their way onwards, presumably with some mysterious destination in mind that you will never know.

The homeless huddled in corners – a lot more of them now, no surprise. they leave you feeling almost guilty that the world has not yet destroyed you, only them.

The occasional police who you strut past almost proudly (“look, I’m not committing a crime, isn’t that nice!”). Is it possible to strut on a bike? It is on Basalgette!

The drunks who, temporarily changing the rules of how the world functions, excitedly drag you into some brief clash of interaction, leaving you staring after them almost puzzled.

Some girl crying in the distance and every bone aches to ride over and offer help but then a million news and opinion articles and blog posts hammers a massive ‘fuck you’ as a reward for ever breaching that isolation straight between your eyes and you very quickly take the other road – then spend the rest of the night feeling sick with spiritual pollution and confusion.

The street poet who catches you during some pause and spouts words at you that on these night streets resonate as strong as any book, so you empty your wallet of change.

The shop-keepers of the little all-night stores that sell everything from European sausages to exhausted fruit via every kind of junk food you can imagine. Usually they just glower at you no matter what you say – but just occasionally you run into something else and exchange a small smile.

The drug-addled, probably the least dangerous people of all, glancing at you vaguely and analysing what universe you happen to reside in.

Even some maddie who is desperately trying to convey that one vital message, over and over again, to a world that really and genuinely isn’t listening. And again, do you say ‘I hear you’ or do you take the other road? There’s a lot of other roads in London. In that respect, the city seems infinite.

Ah well – I doubt many can be bothered to read this crap – so here’s another picture of the night time London instead.

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Published in: on March 13, 2014 at 4:45 am  Leave a Comment  
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Why i never go out

Why i never go out:

1)      The following thought process: “Oh I would love to go to Xjgiglk!  I can get there easily for a daytrip and it would be just beautiful.  Breath of fresh air – time out of the city – exercise . . .”

2)      Checks price of tickets – affordable!  “Yes!  This is easy – why don’t I do this more often?”

3)      The following thought process: Y;lkj;lj is just a few miles away!  It would be crazy to go all that way and NOT see Y;lkj;lj!  Just a few £ extra for a 20 min train ride . . .

4)      Get into a stew on Google earth – want to see ALL the places.  Which should I chose? Where should I go?

5)      The following thought process: If I am going then I really should do it properly – it’s only fair.  You can’t go to a place in a rush without seeing all it has to offer!

6)      Looks into overnight accommodation.  Must do this on a budget.  YHA maybe?  Walking tour?  Camping?

7)      Plots 10 days of travel in the general area of Xjgiglk.  6 youth hostels, 10 trains, 4 buses, one hillside and a dodgy B&B in Y;lkj;lj.

8)      The following thought process: Oh gawd – if I am going to do this I will need some serious new shoes.  Waterproofs.  New rucksack.  A tent.  5 maps . . .

9)      Realise I have run up a prospective bill of over £800

10)   Give up and gloomily go and watch train videos on youtube . . .

Published in: on June 7, 2013 at 4:27 pm  Leave a Comment  

Die with a T

It seems that everyone and their mother these days is banging on about philosophies of food – so maybe I will take a turn.  There was a time, way back, when I was in what you might call ‘diet panic mode’.  I was looking round the various options and all I could see was a load of contradictions. Eat lots of grains, cut out the grains – eat meat and you will die horribly, don’t eat meat and you will, um, die horribly – ‘X’ substance of any kind whatsoever will save your life, ‘X’ substance of any kind whatsoever will kill you and all the pretty girls will dance on your grave giggling . . . it just about did my head in.

I did notice two things though that have lingered with me. The first was exploring the so-called hypo-allergenic diet, which involves cutting out everything that humans are known to be most sensitive to, regardless of whether you are actually allergic to anything. The reasoning being that these are probably harder on the system in general. The interesting thing was how this corresponded almost perfectly with the food we actually evolved to eat way back (which is these days defined in the so-called palaeolithic diet – good luck with that one in modern society!). Both suggest that the optimal food is basically the simplest – many types of veg, fruit, meat, fish, honey etc. but go easy on the bread, grain, pulses, dairy, processed stuff, mystery chemicals etc. It was an interesting conjunction, one from a fairly direct modern science of allergies and the other from ancient history – and it was the only thing (=regime) I ever saw that rang at all true.  It made other rigorous options like vegetarian or macrobiotic or Atkins (or grapefruit, or starlight, or living on miso soup and lentils, or whatever other eternal crap is out there) look much less sound.

The other thing that lived with me was the ayurvedic approach that recognises that different people have different requirements, which suggested that any kind of culinary evangelism or carefully controlled regimes can be off-beam anyway! The ayurvedics will probably hate me though because instead of going ‘wow’ and following their system, that was my excuse to just give up listening.  Enough was enough – I was getting just too stressed out.  This kind of joyless calculation and endless worrying isn’t what food should be about.  After that panic mode was over, for a long time, whenever I heard some vegan frothing at the mouth on the subject or some earnest guy saying follow ‘X’ and save your soul, all I heard was a faint buzzing sound. I still do, though one must of course be open to all actual genuine information.  The hardest thing I ever faced in this business was overcoming my revulsion at the preaching and ideology and iamrightyouarewrong (not to mention the aggression and hate it seems to whip up all too often) to find any small kernels of actual info in there.

And then there’s the small matter of human instincts.  Go against them at your peril!  Maybe the reason the hypoallergenic/Palaeolithic ideas got through to me more than any other was because they seemed faintly familiar, from some primal place inside me that already knew what it needed . . . Not that I am a practitioner.  I hate absolutes far too much to ever align myself with any creed directly (absolutes must surely be one of the most poisonous and illusory aspects of human thought).  But it does offer some interesting ideas that can be thought about and built upon.  For me anyway.

These days, I am still somewhat ‘anti-diet’.  However, I do have a personal recipe for life that I try and follow (doesn’t always succeed, especially when I am busy and fed up, but I try!). It goes something like this: Know what makes you feel good and eat it!  Keep up with the facts as far as possible but if anyone starts telling you what to do, walk away.  Then cheer up and get on with life!  Being happy and fulfilled (not always easy I know) will do you more good than any diet I think.

Published in: on March 11, 2013 at 7:33 pm  Leave a Comment  

Can you heat your house in the winter using junk mail?

Having seen the budget news from posh-boy Osborne with his back scratcher and whip, I have a thought experiment – before I get on with anything more important today. Would it be possible to heat your house using junk mail? Given that you can get little briquette makers for recycled paper, just what would happen if you signed up for everything you could find of the spam, newspapers, catalogues, circulars, instruction manuals and other crap they are so desperate to send you for an entire year – would it be enough to power your heating for the winter in a modest way?

Of course, this presupposes a) a woodstove of some kind and b) some storage space, neither of which are a given these days. But aside from that . . .

I have no idea!  I might have to do some calculations . . .

Published in: on December 6, 2012 at 9:11 am  Leave a Comment  

Free PDF for download – Yellow Eyes

As well as the ‘official’ ebook free samples, I have released a PDF of the complete first novella in the collection Feather: Tales of Isolation and Descent.  Entitled Yellow Eyes, it tells a very dark story from Feather’s childhood, growing up in isolation with her eccentric father in the woods by the sea . . . and in the shadow of a maybe abandoned nuclear powerstation.  This is the story that lays the foundations for just about everything else I have written about her.

Download the PDF from the Eibonvale Press website.

Published in: on August 25, 2012 at 8:04 pm  Leave a Comment  
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