Music In The Jeans.

She hadn’t paid for her electricity. It wasn’t done via a bill or anything, it was one of those pay as you go units, the ones with the fob.  She had lit a cigarette, but wasn’t smoking it. It would be bad for the baby, but she liked the smell. People often asked her when she was going to finally grow up. Now look at her, not smoking to protect her unborn child.

The room was lit by the light from a lamppost  outside, combined with a garish sort of light given off from a camping lamp, one that was charged by the sun during the day. She left it on the windowsill so it would get enough light. It had two settings, a normal light, or a flickering sort that flashed out S.O.S in Morse code.

Flashflashflash- Flash – Flash – Flash – FlashFlashFlash.

Help us.

Sending out an SOS… sending out an SOS.

Then of course there was the tiny orange flare of the cigarette, slowly smoking away in the grooves of an ashtray.

This is what humans did before electricity. They sat in the dark doing nothing, waiting for it to no longer be dark. The baby was too small to be kicking, but occasionally she was sure she felt little bumps.

The baby’s dad was up and coming. He had been up and coming for a long time, coming took time it seemed. She was beginning to think he’d never arrive.

That was to say, he was in a band.

She had been to all of his gigs. The first had been before a crowd of 3. Two’s company, three’s a crowd. The band was called Bitter Streaks, they played a bastardisation of grunge. He knew she was pregnant, but a baby would prevent him going on a world tour should he be asked, and he was expecting to be asked any minute.

‘Lots of famous musicians have kids.’ She had said.

‘I don’t want to be tied down.’ He replied, which was ironic given that he expressed the exact opposite sentiment the night the baby was conceived. She thought it was that night anyway. It could have been another.

‘I’ll need money,’ she said.

‘I don’t have any.’

‘You’ll have to get a job.’

‘And work for the man?’

‘A lot of employers are women now.’

‘I’m not about that life.’

‘What life are you about?’

‘My music, that’s my life.’

Which was a shame, as his music wasn’t that good anymore. The older he got, the less he suited the defiant angst of youth.

She was going to have to move back in with her dad. Which would be embarrassing, because when she left years before she had declared (quite proudly) that no one was going to stop her living her life. She was going to live it to its fullest and be a free spirit forever. Living life to its fullest proved difficult after a while. Bills needed to be paid, food needed to be bought, weed didn’t pay for itself – nor booze, she often got a pill or two for free.

It also got tiring after a while. As the last of her teen years flitted by, she found not knowing how she got home to be more of a concern rather than an indication that she had had a good night, and more to the point, she would like to have some recollection of just how good it was. After all, when she was old she’d like to look back with fondness on her memories of living life to its full.

Not that it mattered, she had another free spirit growing inside her now, and she couldn’t very well stand in the way of it living its life to its fullest. Which it most certainly wouldn’t if it had to live in perpetual darkness, like a mole person.

It wasn’t fair. Why could men not have children? Just because the dice roll of fate determined they were to be born with a Y chromosome they could sleep with whoever they wanted and not have to worry about messing their bodies up. They didn’t have to worry about carrying and squirting out a tiny human. Didn’t have to worry about carrying it around for 9 months, suffering an array of pains and discomforts in the process.

And, it seemed they could just walk away whenever it suited them.

The abortion word came up. She was pro-choice when it came to other women, but was mercilessly subjected to the tyranny of her own guilt when it came to her body. She knew the end game of sex. Sex made babies, if you have sex, you have to accept the consequences.

She hated the consequences. There were always consequences. They start with being spanked and sent to the corner when you first learn to walk and talk and the progress ever onwards until you’re hungry, sitting in the dark having not showered in days, not even enjoying the bittersweet release of a cigarette.

She wondered what her baby would look like in the future. If it was a boy, would it look like his dad. Broad shouldered, black of hair… one eye ever so slightly squinted compared to the other? If a girl, logic dictated it would look like her. That’s how it worked. Girls took after the mother, boys the father. She wondered if the baby would inherit musical talent (relatively speaking). Was music in the genes?

That could be their band name.

Music in the Jeans.

They’d spell it with a J, like the denim trousers, because that would be quirky. They’d appear on chat shows, or in magazines and talk about how their mother sacrificed a lot so they could have a good life and live it to its full.

Except she’d keep them grounded. Live it to its full, but in small doses.

She wondered if the baby would resent her when it was a teenager, much like she did her dad. Her dad who told her to keep at school, to apply for universities… to be sensible. What kind of life was that? She’d smack the baby in the head if it did, except not the baby, the teenager then. It’s okay to smack teenagers in the head, when they’re being teenagers. Never slap a baby in the head.

She smiled. Had her dad given up his life for her? Did he have to stop living life to the fullest because she came along. Was life just a sequence of people stopping living life to its fullest so the next generation could go on to make the same mistakes?

She reached and grabbed the half burnt out cigarette and put it to her lips. The bitter smoke warmed her throat as she dragged it into her lungs. No doubt the baby would be most annoyed. Its clean incubator getting hazy with tobacco.

Well, he’d have to suck it up. If she was going to sacrifice living her life for it, it would take one puff on a cigarette. It could handle it. It was in its genes after all. Like the music. There was no hope for the baby really, she sighed.

But then again, there never is much hope. But that’s okay.

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Waves of Bullshit

I’m bored so have decided to work on an ill conceived series of posts called the Waves of Bullshit. Enjoy.

There are various waves of bullshit that we have to endure as we tread the waters of life for as long as possible, until we eventually succumb to exhaustion and sink beneath the surface for good. Every aspect of existence is tainted by the foul stench of metaphorical excrement, there’s simply no avoiding it. Positive people with an unnecessary amount of optimism will accuse me of being a cynic, chastise me for being overly dour and not appreciating that I have what might be called, a particularly easy life.  Whilst this may be true, it ultimately changes nothing.  Sometimes you’ll find that there’s so much bullshit that the only way to get through a day is to drink heavily until things start making sense, or at least you get so drunk you cease to care that it’s all nonsense. This, tragically, makes tomorrow’s bullshit all the harder to deal with.

I would spend some time talking about the farce that is Brexit or the bizarre twist that was Trump being elected president of the united states, but everyone’s done that to death and by the time I finish writing this we’d have all moved on.

***

We humans, we had it rough to begin with.  Our cavepeople ancestors were not at the top of the food chain and had an extremely laxed approach to health and safety. Our insistence on standing upright means that our young are born having not had the time to fully develop, heck, they have a hole in their damn heads. They have next to no survival instinct, struggle to regulate their body temperatures and have an almost non-existent immune system. On average, humans give birth to one baby at a time, assuming we’re talking about the mode, which we are obviously, the other averages can fuck off. Up until as late as the industrial revolution, children (particularly in working class families) often had the annoying habit of dying before their fifth birthday. This is why parents tended to have as many children as possible, to up the probability of their family enduring. Children dying was so common that frequently, parents would refrain from naming their children until their fifth birthday, where upon they were sent out into the world to earn a living.

What has this got to do with the bullshit of today?

Well, historically, life was hard. It’s crazy to believe that we survived, let alone dominate the globe. Life was a complex daily struggle against a world that confused and terrified us. Now we know more than we ever have. With a quick Google we can get access to a wealth of knowledge. Almost everything is automated and has been handed over to our good friends ‘the machines.’ We have beat nature in many respects and now babies don’t die very often and life is not a constant struggle. For us westerners anyway.

Yet, I can’t help but feel we’ve been unable to shake off the mindset of our caveman ancestors. We’ve invented complex languages, so can now express ourselves more eloquently, but the gist of what we say is probably the same. Life should be easy, but we humans seem to have the need to make it complicated.

This book is not going to change anything. It will offer no wise ruminations, no quotable messages of motivation or of unity. It’s mainly a self-indulgent account of some things I’ve done in the past and why everything is bullshit.

The World of Work.

You will find CEOs and managers in the world of work can only communicate in clichés or laboured analogies and metaphors. This is one of the most single frustrating habits anyone can have and speaks of a lack of independent thought. Only an idiot speaks in sayings and analogies. You know this is true because if you spare a second’s thought, you will realise that none of them make any sense.

In a story I will get to later, a CEO once told me that ‘there’s an old saying that goes: loose lips sink ships.’ Which is the very height of bullshit. In the history of human’s traversing the seas, very few ships if any have been sunk by lips, loose or otherwise. Ice bergs sink ships. Poor ship manufacturing sinks ships. Bombs, torpedoes and explosions sink ships. Lips are very unlikely to cause even the smallest amount of cosmetic damage, let alone anything of consequence.

I was so annoyed that this phrase even exists I had to research why it exists in the first place. As it happens the phrase originates in those golden years of 1939 – 1945, humanities second attempt at killing everyone. The third one has been on the cards for some time now, but we all know it’ll all be CGI and explosions.

As it happens it was a piece of propaganda with variations around the world, all of which made more sense. Great Britain had ‘careless talk costs lives,’ which is straight to the point. The Germans went with Schäm Dich, Schwätzer! Which translated into English reads ‘Shame on you, Blabbermouth.’ Which I’m sure we can all agree is the single best piece of propaganda the world has ever seen or will see again.

See I wouldn’t mind if he said ‘shame on me, blabbermouth.’

Anything to do with a company is so far removed from a ship, that the phrase has no bearing.  Anyway, I responded with ‘there’s another lesser known phrase that goes “pay your web developer lest he delete your sites.”

I no longer work for that company.

Another manager of the past used phrases like ‘onwards and upwards’ or ‘eyes on the prize’ like he was some weird game show host.

Another would say things like ‘That so and so, he’s like a hurricane, he blows on through here and we’re left to clear up the mess. Then once we clean up the mess, he’s back again, blowing everything over.’ And ‘It’s like doing a million piece jigsaw puzzle, except you can’t see the picture and there are two puzzles mixed up.’ At which point I asked, “why on earth would you do that? More to the point, how do you know there two separate jigsaws if you can’t see the picture? If someone asked me to do that I’d say no.’

Sayings and phrases are the badges of idiots and tragically, they wear them with pride.

***

On another note, starting from tomorrow my stupid collection of short stories will be free. Download them, read them and laugh. Or download them, read them and don’t laugh, or just download them, I don’t care, the stats make me happy. It has 5 stars, customers who also bought it bought The Great Gatsby and that has 4 Stars, meaning my book is better than The Great Gatsby.

 

 

 

Late night editing.

As I edit yet another draft of my novel that has already seen rejection from several agents, I got the urge to share some. It’s by no means the most interesting bit, as if it was you could just read that and never have to buy the book if it eventually gets published. It’s a fairly mundane part.

The novel is currently titled ‘Nothing Happens’ and is a satire of sorts, mocking the ‘Wealthy white man unhappy with his life’ narrative that seems to pop up repeatedly in literature and films as well as pointing out that in most world renowned novels or old classics, nothing happens.  The book follows a self-confessed alcoholic suffering from a sense of nihilism as he recounts his fairly dull and uneventful life and laments the current state of his dull and uneventful life and fears for the future which he assumes will be dull and uneventful.

Anyway, here’s a dull and uneventful extract:

 

 

Work is not much fun at all. ‘Work’s not supposed to be fun, it’s work.’ My dad always used to say (and still does). I don’t think I’ll ever understand work, the concept of it. Not the modern concept anyway. I could understand if it was fishing… farming… other such necessities. When it was providing food and only food. Now it doesn’t make sense. Why am I forced to spend day after day staring at a computer screen for hours on end?

I think all our problems start at school. You’re told from a young age, with a bit of hard work you can be anything you want to be. Whatever you set your heart on you can achieve. That’s just some clever indoctrination to the capitalist system. It’s propaganda of the highest order. They get you when you’re impressionable, get these little ideas to worm their way into the centre of your brain where there’s no chance in hell of dislodging them. If what they say is true, you best hope that some people want to work on the tills in Tescos, otherwise you’ll never get your potatoes. You best hope people really want to be sewage maintenance workers, otherwise everything would be covered in shit.

No, you do whatever you can to get paid. It’s usually monotonous and pointless. It’s usually unfulfilling and soul destroying. But you can’t complain because “you’re lucky to have a job in this current climate.”

I sit looking from my screen to my phone. A desktop phone, one with the curly spirally chord. They still exist. The phone’s not ringing. The computer’s not computering, or if it is it’s not making a big song and dance over it. I don’t really get computers.

‘Moring Rob,’ says Derek as he passes my desk flashing me his large smile. His some sort of executive, wears fancy trousers and shiny shoes. He’s on some ridiculous sum of money. I don’t begrudge other people their success or affluence, but occasionally I like to imagine following him to the open area, where everyone makes their tea and coffee, it’s all rather snazzy. I imagine following him there and maybe throwing scalding tea in his face, before shoving him out the window. That will teach him for having a better job than me.

‘Morning.’ I grumble back. ‘How was your weekend?’ I ask, my cheeks immediately boiling with embarrassment. It is Wednesday.  It was an instinct, it just came out. You can’t ask someone how their weekend was half way through the week. It’s absurd. It’s positively insane. What a fucking idiot I truly am. I don’t look up to his – I don’t doubt – look of abject ridicule. He’d be pulling up his expensive trousers and smiling a self-satisfied smile.

‘Evening sorry, evening I meant evening. How was your evening?’ I ask looking up with a goofy grin on my fuzz covered face. He laughs. It was a good natured laugh, I like it when people laugh. When they genuinely laugh, and I can always tell when it’s not genuine.  You can always pick out a fake laugh. Nervous laughs usually. Nervous, please don’t kill me laughs. Self-conscious ‘accept me!’ laughs.

‘It wasn’t bad at all Rob, very quiet.  Was told to give you this.’ He says, handing me a package. It’s an officious looking brown envelope with my name written on it in black marker pen. It’s not for me, it’s “for the attention of” me. With this in mind I throw it upon the desk onto the pile of other things that are no doubt also for my attention, but have lain neglected for some time now.

‘Thanks Derek, how’s the –

He’s already wandered off. He’s a busy important man, he can’t linger too long at the desks of the not particularly busy unimportant people. People’d start getting ideas. They’d start thinking that, maybe he isn’t that busy after all,  or worse that he isn’t that important.

Actually, I’m fairly busy. Or at the very least I should be. As far as important goes, well that’s very hard to gauge. I don’t really know what it is I do so it can’t be that important, otherwise they’d notice me not doing it. But at the same time, I’m important enough for them to decide the company does need to pay me to not do whatever it is I should be doing. It’s a complicated position to find yourself in and happens completely by accident. One day you have a clear vision as to where you are and where you’re going, the next thing you know everyone’s screaming at you, you’re naked and something’s on fire.

My Published Work!

I am a professional writer of sorts. By which I mean I recently got paid to write articles on things I know nothing about and am also working with a company to write all sorts of things. Business proposals, website content, blog posts and articles and email templates… again things I know nothing about. I get to work from home though and can say that whoever invented the concept of working from home is a genius. I haven’t been outside in weeks, I can’t even remember what clothes look like.  

Anyway, I want you to all follow the link below and read my articles and rate them very highly and engage with the content, that way I will get more work and earn more money. I want you to do this despite the fact you owe me nothing and stand to gain nothing from helping me. I suppose you might feel good about doing something good, but we all know that’s nonsense.

Here’s me sharing my opinions on grammar schools. I hadn’t given grammar schools much thought until I was asked to write about them and many of the ‘facts’ I talk about were pulled from the gaping chasm that is my arsehole.

https://www.realiseme.com/edueverything/perspective/expand-not-expand/

There are two other articles by me that you should read and rate highly too. The read part is entirely optional.

If I can earn enough through this nonsense, I can devote more time to getting people to reject my novel. If I get 11 more rejection emails from agents and publishers then I’ll match Rowling I think, and we all know she’s rich.

 

Many thanks.

The Fuzzy Rambler.

The Truth About Narcissus.

People write what they like you know? Truth hardly comes into it. I suppose to some degree I should be grateful, I have a flower and a personality disorder named after me. You all know the story, Narcissus (me), lured to the edge of a pool whereupon he fell in love with his reflection, found he couldn’t look away and you know… just died.

What a fool he (I) must have been. A self-loving, arrogant man so vain that he died looking at himself. Now, any prick who likes the sound of their own voice, likes to hear their name mentioned or anyone inflated with their own sense of self-importance you say: “how very narcissistic”.

Well, let me tell you the truth. Not that it matters in this day and age, not that it ever mattered. The truth is often less entertaining, less likely to teach life lessons in easy to digest little packets.  Very few mirrors in ancient Greek myths. People had said I looked good, sure, I didn’t pay much attention to it. Occasionally, in an overly polished dish, I might catch a distorted glimpse of myself. My face would be stretched and warped, but I wouldn’t pay much attention to it.

I had a good life I suppose. I was a good hunter and people seemed to like me, or at the very least pretended to, which is all you need really. Everyone puts on an act, mine was that of pride. Perhaps I over did it. I don’t know, perhaps I mistreated people. I got to the point where I just didn’t have the patience for them. I don’t think I was intentionally horrible to anyone. Not that Nemesis would care either way.

I spent more and more time hunting, out in the woods. I say hunting, I just liked the solitude. Away from the eyes, the wittering and the constant noise. So, I went out hunting and I was drawn to that pool, a nice tranquil little place. The water was clear and cool, a lot of greenery grew from it. The ground was soft, perhaps a little damp around its edges. The air was cool. So I sat.

I peered over the water and saw my reflection. The water was still and the image clear. It was my face, mostly as I expected it to look. Strong chin, high cheekbones, good bronze complexion, thick lengths of brown hair. I would have had every right to admire it for a little while, but I didn’t.  What caught my attention was the eyes. They looked sad. They looked incredibly sad. Slight shadows underneath them, an almost glassy hollow look. They looked tired. So very tired.

Why were they so sad? Why was I so very very sad?

I couldn’t look away for this was a question I could not answer. I couldn’t abandon the man in the water, that sad lonely figure. The alternative was to return to the people who did not like me and who in return I despised. The alternative to staring at that sad watery figure would be to return to town and be amongst all those people and all their problems. This is the world of Greek myths too, constant popularity contests, bickering, backstabbing and betrayals. On and on it goes, no one ever genuine, no one ever caring about anyone beyond themselves… and yet I’m the narcissistic one.

I reached out and touched the face of the man in the water, stroked his cheek.

“Don’t be sad. Let me know what I can do?” I said.

“Stay here with me,” he replied.

And so I did.

And so I died.

And so I was forever remembered as a vain twat. Well, you are whatever they say you are I suppose.

Tiny Compendium of Ridiculousness: Sales Report

3 copies this month. 3.

That is the worst number there is. 1 has a brooding loner quality. 2 can be as bad as one, since it’s the loneliest number since the number one, but 3… that’s boring.

Since I have no real marketing going on, I suppose I should be proud of that 3, but I’m not. You people need to hurry up and realise my genius so I can get a proper publishing deal and live a life of luxury. All I want to do is never work again, is that so much to ask?

Look, just go and download my Amazon book. It’s like 99p in the UK and some amount of dollars, euros and other silly money.  It’s less than a coffee, and you all drink excessive amounts of coffee, so you can afford it damn it.

‘Yes, but we enjoy coffee.’ I hear you say, ‘reading your contrived collection of ‘comedic’ short stories isn’t enjoyable.’

In which case I say buy it, and then don’t read it. I don’t care. Give it a terrible rating, let it be known as the worst book ever, then people will buy it out of sheer curiosity. And I’ll get a publishing deal, much like the 50 Shades of Grey woman. It’s the way the world of literature is going. We’re taking the written word away from the pretentious, intellectual elite and revealing it for what it really is, a pointless collection of ultimately meaningless words. Which was the original tagline for the dictionary.

Buy it.

 Tiny Compendium of Ridiculousness

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tiny-Compendium-Ridiculousness-Hubert-Watergipridget-ebook/dp/B00NX63R1W

Ill Thought Out Ranting.

In theory, with education your life should follow this progression:

School – GCSEs – A levels – University – a reasonable job.

Or

School – GCSEs – An arguably less, but still reasonable job, but without the wasted 3 years and mountains of debt.

As it happens it actually seems to go like this.

School – GCSEs – A levels – University – Nothing, absolutely nothing you’re going to have to fight for a job in a pub which will work you 47 hours a week for very little money until you wish you were dead.

Universities are no longer educational establishments. They are graduate factories, built on an unsustainable economic model. They use fancy marketing, with huge open days and lovely catalogues that show beautiful nineteen year olds smiling giddy smiles as they joyfully expand their knowledge.

There’ll be a page of numbers that tries to bamboozle you into thinking that those with degrees are 120% more likely to get a great job when they leave with their degree. They’ll be so likely to have a great job that many will have a job without even realising it, some will have two, a few will have so many they won’t know what to do with them.

The government are in on this too. It was not so long ago that David Cameron, then Prime Minister, said he thought 50% of people should go to university. Primarily because it keeps the ‘unemployment’ figures down and lands people in debt and Western economies are reliant on people being in debt, but we’re not here to talk about that.

They then go on to drop random statistics saying n% of graduates are in employment, so the system works. The survey is often flawed at best, however taken at face value, the statistic is usually impressive. However, may statistics fail to take into account the capacity in which these people are employed.

We live in a world, where more people than ever are degree educated… and yet, we are not in a golden age of efficiency. With so many university graduates, surely the business world would be booming, the world of science should have discovered flying cars by now and there shouldn’t be a place on television for ‘Love Island’.

Instead we have history experts waiting on tables, English Literature nuts pulling pints, astrophysicists working in milkshake shops.

Why is this?

I do not know.

Perhaps it is just the very fact that so many people have degrees, devaluing the whole system. Unfortunately, we live in a time where unless you have the best degree, from the most prestigious of all universities, you will find yourself in employment limbo. Retail and hospitality won’t want you, they’ll see your degree as a sign that you’ll flee at the earliest chance. Companies looking for graduates won’t want you, because they want the best of the best.

With a 2:2 you’ll find yourself cast aside and left to flounder in mounting debt and lack of fulfilment. People’ll say ‘why not try teaching’, which in the current climate you’d be better off blowing your own legs off, you’ll earn more from your disability allowance.

Then there’s the issue of experience. Graduates will routinely get turned down for jobs based on their lack of experience. In order to get experience, you will need to get a job in your preferred sector, but in order to get a job in your preferred sector, you will need experience, and to get that experience…. Well shit.

One day, all the people with experience will die. Then where will we be?

Well, no worse off than we currently are.

Whilst there are jobs (much like the truth) ‘out there’ the number of people looking for them are much higher. Supply and demand comes into play and unfortunately, whilst you may show some of the desired attributes, employers will decide to go with candidates that better suit their criteria… though they will helpfully wish you luck with your job search.

You’ll need it.

 

Make me feel less like a failure and download my kindle book. It’s reverent, silly, playful, self aware and incredibly cheap.