I went to see Riverside

Tonight, I went to a gig and got quite drunk. I’m not proud of this. Mainly, because it’s a very bland statement and, on reflection, having any emotional response to it is like saying you ate an egg and felt sad. There’s no reason to feel sad about eating an egg. Unless of course that egg was fertilised and a golden eagle was due to hatch from it. Then you should feel sad. Because golden eagles are cool. Pigeons aren’t. You could literally kick a pigeon’s head off and no one would care. Pigeons look like shit and there’s loads of them. That’s what it comes down to ultimately.

Anyway, it was a fairly eventful night. I discussed the appreciation of art, which is something I insist that none of you attempt. It is a futile endeavour and every party emerges looking like a wanker. The point I took up was, there was no point discussing the appreciation of art because ultimately, it came down to looking at something and feeling something. Beyond that there is nothing. There is no point trying to explain that feeling. That is your feeling and only you can fully understand it. That is art appreciation. You look at a piece of warped metal, and despite knowing it is nothing but a piece of warped metal, you feel a thing. That is fine. What is not fine is when you try and use words to justify that feeling and explain why that feeling has any importance and why that feeling is better than someone else’s feeling towards a picture of Spiderman. In the art community, it’s all down to the justification. Which is stupid. The justification doesn’t matter.

I don’t debate often. Primarily because I find anyone who disagrees with my opinion to be insufferable, and the idea that people think different things to me enrages me to an almost violent degree. I also do not like confrontation.

This is not out of cowardice. It is mainly out of the fact that confrontation gets people nowhere and the idea of a ‘healthy’ debate is a myth. There is no such thing. We all acknowledge that it takes all sorts of people to make the world go round and that the fact opinions differ adds a splash of colour to a world that would otherwise be a monochromatic dystopia. We also know, that we don’t truly believe this and think everyone who doesn’t like carrot cake should be thrown in a pit filled with deadly snakes. Alas, the only path to true world peace is to gather in like-minded groups and fight to the death. The last group standing will be at peace.

I also don’t like confrontation because I am a coward.

Imagine my surprise then, when I told three people I didn’t (some of them were groups, but I could them as one) to shut the fuck up.

I pride myself on my ability to put myself in the shoes of others and see the world from their perspective. Admittedly, I swiftly decide they are wrong despite their uncomfortable shoes and disregard their point of view. But at least I can understand it.

What I can’t understand is why so many people don’t know how to gig!

Why pay to see a specific band, just to talk through their entire set? Several groups of people seemed to think that going to see Riverside play through their new album was the best opportunity to talk about a debate you had with Barry at the office, and how you so wittily put him in his place, even though we know you didn’t wittily put him in his place; you just had an imaginary conversation in your head whilst you were doing a poo. I asked that bald bastard if he could ‘keep it down please and thank you,’ which is the middle-class way of saying, ‘shut the hell up you absolute cock.’

I then moved. There were some Americans. I don’t know if there was a cultural difference, as much of the crowd consisted of me and some Polish people, but these Americans thought that they, being stood amongst a crowd of people wanting to listen to some modern-day prog, were perfectly positioned to babble on inanely about shit no one cared about.

That was a long sentence. I am worse the wear for alcohol, but I think it was grammatically correct. Or at least not too shit.

Anyway, I was four pints in, so I leaned in and said, ‘Do you want me to ask the band to play a bit quieter, so they stop interrupting your conversation?’ My dry delivery was lost on them and they said ‘no thank you, we can hear each other.’

I moved again.  In a soft ballad song, others started speaking. At which point I lost all tact and said.

‘Shut the fuck up please,’ because I am always polite. An old man seconded my opinion. And I realised that I, at the age of 27, am an old man.

I cannot put myself in these people’s shoes. It makes no sense to me. I cannot fathom how you can be in a room, facing a stage where a band plays songs- that notably auditory medium- and talk.  It’s like going to an art gallery and shutting your eyes. Well, it’s worse than that. It’s like shutting your eyes and standing in front of the paintings and waving your arms about, so other people can’t see them properly either. This was in London, that famously cosmopolitan city. In England, that famously alcoholic nation. If you want to drink and chat, walk five minutes down the road and you’ll find a pub. It’ll be called something quaint like The Flaming Abacus or the Architects Outhouse. Go there and have your shit conversations.

And take your fucking phones with you.

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Johnstones everywhere

Having paid very little attention to my Scottish ancestry up until now, my nan (from whom my apparent Scottishness comes) informed me that me, my brother and my half Nigerian sister have been officially registered and accepted into Clan Moffatt (and all the spelling variations that come with that name). Since then, I’ve decided to embrace my Scottish heritage and live like a true Scotsman. I have therefore become unnecessarily nationalistic, extolling the virtues of a small part of a tiny, impotent kingdom that sold itself out to the English because of failed colonial efforts. After the travesty that was Brexit, I’m now heavily campaigning for another Scottish independence referendum. I think it’s high time we Scots regained our sovereignty. Regardless of what Brexiteers think about the necessity of a United Kingdom. They say it’s even more important now that we’ve voted to leave Europe in order to regain their sovereignty.

In learning more about my clan and the Scottish blood that courses through my veins, I learned that for many generations, we had a feud with Clan Johnstone. Since then, I have been keeping an eye out for any possible Johnstones. I’ve discovered there everywhere. Not necessarily bearing the name Johnstone, but like Scottishness, it’s something that goes beyond blood. Anyone can be a Johnstone. This guy for instance. He’s a proper Johnstone.

Johnstones represent everything that is wrong with society today. They exist on both sides of the current pollical chasm, through which a river of shit runs. Johnstones make up the reactionary right, spewing bile and hatred. They are bloated bigots supping from frothing tankards of privilege.

Johnstones make up the fascist left, using language and the notion of offence as a means to control. They are identity-obsessed and feel if they shout loud enough they can get their way, no matter who stands in their way. These whining weasels dine on smashed avocado on toast, buttered with privilege.

Johnstones are the sick fuckos who burn effigies of Grenfell tower whilst laughing gleefully. They are also the twats who write articles demanding they be tried for hate crimes rather than just calling them sick fuckos and moving on with their lives. Unfortunately, you can’t make being a tasteless piece of shit a crime – prisons are too crowded as it is.

Johnstones infect every layer of society. They are the loud, swaggering types drunk on cheap lager in a children’s park. They are the self-entitled middle-class mothers whining that their mocha is not mocharey enough. They are the disenfranchised youths that walk the streets with knives and lament the lack of opportunity, despite the fact that education is free (up to a point) and there are numerous initiatives trying to provide more. They are the conservative politicians who disregard these youths without a second’s thought, despite the fact that they might have a point (might, still no excuse to stab someone; being pushed to sidelines to be forgotten is no excuse for being a cunt).

I don’t know you, but I’m fairly certain you’re a Johnstone. Even I’m a Johnstone, and I’m a Moffatt, who hate Johnstones.

Deep down, we’re probably all Johnstones. Except maybe Liv Tyler and that’s only because I’ve not seen much of her since her Arwen days. Rose tinted spectacles and all that. Horny, spermy teenaged spectacles that look all angsty.

The world will be a better place when it has been washed clean of all Johnstones. Which judging by recent climate reports will probably be around 2030.

The Adventures of Milesh the Admin Skeleton

I have no idea why I started writing this. It came about after I told a friend he’d waste away and become a skeleton, and then have to work in an admin role.

***

Milesh scribbled frantically with his scratchy pen, his skeletal fingers smeared with days old ink. The numbers were beginning to get out of hand. All things inevitably get out of hand. Things that start off as good ideas gain traction, more people get involved and, because more people raise the probability of not so good ideas, well… soon enough faecal matter hits something spinning and there’s an awful mess.

So, when things start off as bad ideas they get out of hand in a more dramatic fashion. Milesh could pin-point the moment he considered things well and truly out of hand. It was the moment he opened his eyes in that dank little dungeon. That is, he started seeing again. He didn’t actually have any eyes, just dark shadowy sockets. He put his pen down and scratched the smooth dome of his skull.

He had been assured by the Necromancer that unlike his other ‘slaves’, he had expended quite a lot of magical energy in ensuring he retained a certain level of independent thought. It was needed, it was essential to the Great Plan. The Circle of Salvation were making great strides in that regard. Which meant they couldn’t keep on top of all the paperwork. The regular slaves couldn’t do it, on account of not having heads for words or numbers. A few didn’t even have heads at all. None of the Circle members could do it either. No one joined a cult dedicated to raising an army of the dead to take care of the admin.

Milesh pulled open the bottom drawer in his desk, the kind that are twice as deep as any of the others. He pulled out an adequately dusted bottle of rum. It was no doubt a branded kind that was just transferred into a nondescript glass bottle and then covered in a bit of dirt. He pulled out the cork stopper with a squeak and took a deep swig. He felt the liquid splash through his ribcage, soaking the ragged red tunic he was wearing and splashing upon the floor. It tasted sweet, almost vanilla like. How he could taste it was a mystery to him, seeing as he didn’t have a tongue. But he could, he could talk too, just like he could see without eyes. He guessed it had something to do with the magic.

People never used to like magic. It used to be a feared thing. Suspected witches were burnt. Those suspected of using magic were cast out of society. Because magic could do things that went against logic. Magic could go against reality. The art of science set about explaining the universe and stating emphatically what could and couldn’t happen. Magic swapped those two things about and dressed them in funny hats.

Now, people were obsessed with magic. They craved it. Milesh put it down to the fact people lived longer and technology had run away with itself a bit. People had more times to sit and experience reality for what it was.

And what it was, was boring.

He drank more rum as he rifled through more sheets of paper. He opened a hefty book and ran a bone finger down the margin. He scribbled in some numbers and wrote in the reference Black hooded robes x 3.

He glanced at the new membership forms. There were necessary now. After thirteen members it was agreed that the Circle was too numerous to go by code names alone, it was getting confusing, and for all their chanting and spell-weaving, they were an unimaginative lot. They had already started doubling up. There were three Horned Rats. The growing number of members suggest that a lot of people had very different ideas on what it meant to be a secret society.

Milesh scribbled a little note on a spare scrap of paper. Book in first aid training. The puddle at his feet was growing. He checked the rum bottle, swirling the rapidly diminishing contents around. He had liked rum when he was alive. The taste stirred up old memories. It disturbed the murky waters enough as to catch glimpses of his past. He knew he had worked for a chemical plant… or something. He knew he was not married and had no children. He also knew he should know a lot more, but very little was forthcoming. Odd, that he had been saved from the chasm of death, the abyss of oblivion, to keep tabs on numbers and communications. He had always assumed, if he were ever lucky enough to be given a second chance at life, he’d do things so very differently.

A lumbering shuffling sound alerted him to the presence of Grub. He turned his head to see… him? Her?… Grub, to see grub staring at him, one eye far larger than the other. Grub had a lopsided look, he was a twisted experiment of sorts. Not quite dead enough to be considered dead, nor alive enough to be considered alive. Undead didn’t fit either. Grub was… Grub. Various bits of corpses had been stitched together to make up Grub’s twisted form, not all of it human. As Milesh eyed the crudely crafted peg leg, he had to admit not all of it was fauna.

‘Der masdurr wants to see youze. Says why you not in yours dungeon?’ Said Grub through the slash of a mouth. His words were accompanied by a vast amount of slobber. Milesh frowned, which for a skeleton was an impressive skill.

‘I’m not in my dungeon because there’s too much work to do. The Great Plan seems to be costing the estate a lot of money. It doesn’t seem to show any signs of making money,’ said Milesh. Grub’s blank expression became even more vacant. Its expression surpassed nothingness and became something profoundly unique.

‘Der masdurr says dere will not be need of monies once der Great Plan happenz.’ Said Grub.

‘Well that’s all well and good, but it hasn’t happened yet has it?’ said Milesh, who was of an opinion that no plan that didn’t have ‘make huge heaps of cash’ as its number one goal could be described as great.

Silly Scammers

I received three emails this week claiming my email account had been hacked and that due to a large amount of nonsense and a touch of bullshit, they had videos of me watching porn. They stated that unless I pay a bizarrely specific amount in bitcoin they would send this video to all my contacts. I didn’t pay, so presumably, all my contacts can now effectively edit together a wanky medley featuring all my best moments.

I first suspected that the email may well be a scam as the first message said “Hi ______” the ______ being my entire email address. Those of you with enough technical savvy to actually breach my email will discover that it is clearly my first name followed by my second name, so it does not require a great deal of detective work to better personalise the message for better authenticity. Cybercriminals are just lazy.

The next bit that tipped me off was when the message said, ‘I hacked this email account more than six months ago’. To prove they had indeed done this, rather than say, attach a screenshot of my inbox (into which they could also inject some ransomware or cryptomining malware), they chose to tell me the password I used approximately two years ago. They had the foresight to hastily add that even if I changed it they’d know about it through their dastardly technical wizardry. However, I change my password on an extremely regular basis, as I tend to keep forgetting it and have to get my provider to text me a new one, before changing it and promptly forgetting it again, so I doubt even they’d be able to keep up.  They said that, through my email account, they managed to install malware on my machine that allowed them to keep tabs on me, and most importantly watch me through my webcam.

If this were true I would feel nothing but pity for them, as they’d have had to have watched endless clips of me turning on my laptop, opening word to write my magnum opus, only to then sigh and close my laptop again. However, it’s not true, because that’s not how it works! One, my email account is, in fact, sat on a server elsewhere in the country. I only tend to read email on my phone or my work computer, so how they managed to suddenly get malware to leap onto my laptop is anyone’s guess. I assume they just watched that episode of Black Mirror and thought ‘there’s an idea.’

What they should have said was ‘I took advantage of the poor security levels of the porn site you visited and injected malicious code into one of the scripts which downloads malware onto all clients that connect to the site.’ That’s far more believable.

Then came the kicker:

‘I have access to all your accounts, social networks, email, browsing history. Accordingly, I have the data for your contacts, files from your computer, photos and videos. I was most struck by the intimate content sites that you occasionally visit. You have a very wild imagination, I tell you! During your pastime and entertainment there, I took a screenshot through the camera on your device, synchronizing with what you were watching. Oh my god! You were so funny and excited!’

I won’t go into how ‘I have access to all your accounts,’ includes social networks (of which I use very few) and how the email started by stating the fact that my email account had been hacked, so of course they had access to my email, which would also be covered under ‘all your accounts’. Wait – I just did.

I actually quite enjoyed reading it as it sounded like I was being taunted by a classic Bond villain in the full throws of a good monologue. Incidentally, I will now be referring to masturbation as ‘pastime and entertainment’. It’s also good to know I was funny, I must have opted for the chicken suit that night.

However,  one of the biggest issues I have so far, is that it certainly wouldn’t have taken then six months to get the video they were after. I would very much have been an easy win for them. Being lonely and ever so horny, they’d probably have got what they were after in a good half an hour.

Then they started with the threats, if I didn’t pay them precisely $843.75 worth of Bitcoin, they would send the videos to all my contacts. They severely overestimated the number of contacts I have. I’m sure the four people (and that one guy I emailed once by accident due to a typo) wouldn’t be all that surprised to receive an email of me bashing one out. They have frequently told me that I’m a wanker (well, everyone else has been making that joke). The email asked me whether my employers would be pleased to receive the images and a breakdown of my search history. Whilst pleased is probably not the word I’d use, I doubt they’d mind too much. Firstly, I have a fantastic taste in porn as the scam email clearly points out.

I tested the waters by sending out a mass email on Monday saying, “FYI, it’s probably a scam, but there’s a small chance you might receive a video of me masturbating.”

I promptly received several responses of people saying, “I didn’t know we were allowed to do that?” and one saying, “Okay, here’s one of me shitting.”

Strangely enough, reports estimate that some scammers have earned over $50,000 through this scam, proving that a lot of people have been watching some dodgy shit and have a guilty conscience or, despite the 60s, people are still very hung up on the fact they have sexual desires. We can’t let everyone know we’ve been wielding the fleshy staff. Everyone will be disgusted. We’ll be shunned from society. We won’t be allowed back in church.

What I want to know is, how do so many people have Bitcoins. I wouldn’t be able to pay even if I was duped. I have no idea how to go about getting a Bitcoin. I know it involves using CPU to ‘mine’ for strips of code that are subject to artificial scarcity and this code is deposited into ‘wallets’.

The genius behind it is the marketing. Calling it Bitcoin. It makes it sound like it has worth. When really it doesn’t. Yet it does. But it doesn’t. Yet it still definitely does.

It relates to nothing physical. There is nothing behind it, other than code that can be mathematically proven to be ‘unique’. Why this grants it the power to buy goods is beyond me. Because it’s untraceable (apparently), it’s good for criminal shit. But why? Why sell drugs for lines of code with no inherent value? To buy more drugs? To sell for more valueless Bitcoin? To buy more drugs… or maybe some form of weapon, to better defend your drugs and bitcoin.

It’s weird how anything has value so long as enough people agree on it and keep believing it. The whole global economy is based on faith. Apparently, money is still loosely based on gold. But there’s not enough gold to account for all the money floating around. In fact, there’s not enough money to account for all the money around. It’s all just numbers on a screen. And those numbers tell us that £1 is slightly better than $1, just because everyone says so and we all believe it because everyone says so and therefore it does.

The world is a weird place.

 

 

Uneventful days end in slow cooked pork

I needed a blog post but had no ideas. So here is my day.

I went for a pint in my local today, intent on a quiet read with a  pint. This is, in part, because I am lonely and naturally unlikable (which leaves me unable to remedy the former). To my internal dismay, I found the pub to be busy. Not the sort of busy that generates a sense of atmosphere, but the kind where it was … well, busy.  Apparently, this was partially due to some pitiful attempt at some Oktoberfest celebrations. I always thought that Oktoberfest was a September thing, and a quick Google told me I was partially right. It tarts on the 22nd of September and finishes on the 7th of October. Still, it being the 20th of October, my point still stood; the whole thing should bugger off.

I’m not necessarily against people having fun. I just don’t like it being had near me. It’s a known fact that there’s a constant amount of joy in the universe. In order for people to have fun, it needs to be dragged away from others. The more people in one spot having fun, the more miserable others must be elsewhere. This is scientific fact.

So, the pub was busy. I bought my pint and sat at a table and once again tried to get drawn into Our Mutual Friend, which we all know is an impossible task. The mutual friend is John Harmon, he demonstrates that class differences are fairly arbitrary, and we’re not nearly as divided as we (in Victorian England) like to believe. Anyone thinking of tackling this hefty tome, I have saved you many joyless hours of trudging through endless waffle and bland characters.

At a touch of a few buttons, the repetitive prose of Dickens was washed away and instead replaced by some cheap fantasy. The failed academic in me whined in protest but was silenced by a quick kick to the ribs by the gigantic simpleton clad in elven robes and wielding a great fuck-off sword, that he happens to live with.

As I read, more people filed through the door. Many clad in Lederhosen and some as those Bavarian bar wench outfits. Strangely enough, this was one of the rare occasions where no one stood up and screamed about cultural appropriation, or the arrogant racism of reducing a culture to a crude stereotype. It was quite refreshing. No doubt there have been many blogs on the matter. If JK Rowling is a racist for having an Asian snake lady, anyone who prances about in leather trousers and a silly hat whilst swigging ale from a stein is too.

Yeah that’s right, ‘silly hat’.

As it got busier, my tiny table tucked against the wall at the edge of the room began to attract more attention than I would have liked. A lady in barmaid fancy dress loomed over and plonked her Corona upon it with the words ‘Do you mind?’  which was rather redundant as she had already plonked, regardless of whether I minded or not. As it was, I did not mind, which was just as well, as several others began to plonk too. This led to many women shedding their coats to reveal more barmaid costumes that left little to the imagination. This was a great shame, as I have a fairly vivid imagination and with minimal effort could have conjured up a more desirable image.

This is not to criticise, I’m well aware that women are not there simply to be desired by me. I respect their autonomy and would defend to the death their right to wear whatever they want. Well, maybe not to the death, just clothes innit? I’d build a little sign and attend a march, assuming it’s not too far away and can be reached by public transport. Unfortunately, we are at the mercy of The Media, and whenever The Media shows me pictures of women in Oktoberfest fancy dress, they are not in their 50s and almost certainly not from Stevenage.

Behind me the bland conversation of a group of what could be referred to as ‘adults’ smacked me repeatedly about the head. It is another scientific fact that pub that the air is different in a pub. It’s thicker and filled with more… things. It’s harder for sound to travel through it, so one must yell at the person sitting three inches away from you.

More coats were shed and they found their way onto the empty chair next to me, piling up as to create a veritable mound. I hoped this would continue until it was a mountain, or at the very least, a hill. I could then dive into them and live life as a coat mole. Alas, this was not meant to be.

I drank my beer, read three whole chapters and left. I wondered if somewhere in an alternate reality, there was a German me, surrounded by people wearing cartoonish top hats and drinking warm beer out of teapots. I wondered if that German me was got just as fed up as I did with the forced joyfulness.

I wondered if in another alternate reality, there was a me that took part in the whole thing. I wondered if he was genuinely enjoying himself or just pretending. I wondered the same of the people in this reality.

I went home and I ate some pork I had been slow cooking in ginger beer. It was decidedly average, but the gravy was good. I had some cabbage and green beans with it too.

The end.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Extract of a thing

‘Why was he shot?’

‘Have you ever seen a cow?’ the man asked. Alex’s mouth hung open at a loss of a reply. She closed it again, opened it a second time… and then closed it. She cupped both hands around her scalding mug, ignoring the discomfort.

‘Yes, there’s one on the billboard in Pasteur Avenue,’ she said.

‘No, a real cow? Alive, mooing?’ the man asked. Alex did not know what mooing meant. Seeing as she was the journalist – the wordsmith as it were – she didn’t think it appropriate to admit such. She covered up her ignorance by drinking from her coffee. It was bitter and smoky. Not unpleasant.

‘No,’ she finally admitted.

‘And yet you’ve eaten beef?’ he asked. He didn’t blink often. It made his unremarkable face that more markable. Eyes stop looking like eyes without regular blinking. The fire gave a sudden splutter, finding something in the most recent print distasteful.

‘I’m a vegetarian,’ she replied. The man waved away her comment irritably. His mouth curved as though she had just confessed to a horrific crime.

‘A cornfield then? Or a cabbage patch? Have you seen them?’ He snapped. Alex didn’t see what that had to do with anything but guessed you didn’t get deemed mad by the city press without talking about vegetables at some point.

‘No,’ she humoured him. The man’s smile widened, stretching the lower half of his face wider than should be possible. His head was practically seventy per cent smile.

‘And yet the shelves are well-stocked.’ Said the man. Alex conceded the point but was beginning to think she was wasting her time. Though she had to admit it was an improvement on the usual knowing she was wasting her time.

‘Is this why Shapcott died?’ She asked. The man appeared to ponder upon this for a time.

‘In a sense,’ He said.

‘Can I get a proper answer?’ Alex was beginning to lose her patience. The man tossed another newspaper upon the fire. This one carried a startling statistic on the front. They always were. Statistics were invented to be startling. They served little purpose otherwise.

‘What would you accept as a proper answer?’ The man responded, his magnified eyes staring unblinkingly into hers.

‘I just want the truth,’ she said feeling the hot tongs of frustration squeezing on her temples. A man doesn’t get gunned down because he’s never seen corn.

‘People are rarely able to accept the truth.’ The man shifted his weighed in his armchair. It gave a little creak and dust swirled out from the fabric and danced in the cold lines of light.

‘That doesn’t make it less true.’ Alex sniffed.

‘Are you sure?’

‘Yes.’

‘Even so, if no one accepts it, what good is it?’ The man challenged her.

‘If you can prove it, people will accept it.’ She said. The man gave a dry little chuckle.

‘Why did Alan Shapcott die?’ She asked, for what she hoped was the final time. The man took off his glasses and began to rub at the lenses with his jumper. As is always the case when glasses wearers remove their glasses, he looked like a completely different man. There were skin sacks drooping under his eyes, his forehead looked wider and his ears seemed to double in size.

‘Because,’ he said pushing them back on across his nose, ‘he asked questions. And he accepted the answers and went on to ask the questions those answers brought up. They had to stop him, otherwise, he’d keep asking questions. He’d get others to ask questions and they’d keep asking questions. They’d question until they died, and then their children would go on asking questions after that. He had to be stopped. The Mayor had to show that no good came from asking questions.’

Alex took a deep breath. So, the Council were to blame for Shapcott’s death. He was asking questions, so they took him out. What conspiracy had he uncovered? and what did that have to do with him never seeing corn? Or cows for that matter? What truth had he gained from this madman that meant he had to die alone in the cold?

‘Questions have to be asked. People should not be afraid to question the government. He shouldn’t have died for that,’ she said sternly.

‘Oh, he wasn’t questioning the council. No, he was questioning reality.’

Alex could feel herself deflating. They were going in circles. There was no way she could turn this conversation into an article, at least, not one people would read. She rubbed at her eyes with warm, clammy fingers. It seemed Shapcott was just as mad as the man who spent his days burning the newspapers that had branded him insane. ‘And he died because he questioned reality?’ she asked doubtfully.

‘No, he died because he was getting answers.’

‘And?’

‘And answers lead to –

‘More questions.’ Alex finished for him. She stood up. Seeing as she was getting nowhere, she didn’t see the point in getting stuck there. It seemed the mystery of Shapcott’s death would remain just that. This was one case were a question didn’t lead to answers and subsequently (no doubt much to the relief of the council), no more questions.

‘Thank you for your time. I should get going.’ She said, making for the doorway.

‘Go to the edge of the City.’ The man said, ‘Go to the edge where the bridge is and keep going.’

‘Goodbye,’ said Alex.

She showed herself out, pulling the door closed as sharply as she dared. She walked through her own footprints back to the roadside. The snow glittered under the pale light above. The sheer blue sky stretched over the city’s rooftops like a tarpaulin.  Not a cloud to be seen. She strode along through the snow so lost in her own thoughts that she barely noticed the old lady and her dog coming back the other way.

‘Good morning again,’ She said.

‘Morning again,’ Alex replied a little startled.

The woman paid no more attention to her as she hobbled along the street. Alex carried on and felt her foot land on something that wasn’t snow. She glanced down and groaned in disgust at the inch and a half of dog muck now smeared across the bottom of her shoe. If she wasn’t mistaken, it very much acted as a visual metaphor of some description.

If she wasn’t careful, there’d be more shit ahead and it wouldn’t just be her shoe getting covered.

Monday Motivation

Next week I turn 27. This is decidedly adult. By now I should have achieved things, but instead, I am a mere wage slave working many long hours and putting in large amounts of effort (in a job I actually quite like mind), in order to not be freed of this wage slavery. It’s an unfortunate reality that this freedom comes with an inability to pay rent or internet bills, which means I’ll have to sit outside and not watch porn.

It feels as though I have been alive forever and my best years are behind me. Yet, it’ll be another 38 years before my state pension kicks in, and another 308 years before I can realistically retire, by which point it’ll be fairly moot. This sits uneasily upon my brow.

It’s fair to say, we are not particularly happy.

Advancement in technology allowed us to offload tasks onto machines, giving us humans more free time. We are at the stage where really, we should all be doing nothing but lounging about eating pizza, lovingly prepared for us by machines. This pizza should be pushed slowly and tenderly into our mouths by other machines, and then yet another machine should be massaging our jaws to make us chew. We should have evolved into weird slug creatures by now, due to our legs falling off due to lack of use.

Alas, this utopia has passed us by. In offloading many tasks to machines, instead of filling that saved time with relaxation and reflection, we decided that we should feel this time being more productive. In making things faster and more efficient, we have decided that this means we should be doing more things at once. Quickly, FASTER!

We must get out there, get a job. Work hard at the job. Keep working hard at the job. Never let up, not for a second.

You must check your emails, answer the phone, write a report and attend a meeting all at the same time, and this is before you’ve even got dressed. You can relax when you’re dead, a state of being you are rapidly hurtling towards and will ultimately welcome. Time is money. Only it’s your time, but someone else’s money.

Don’t relax for a second. Don’t get complacent. Everyone’s replaceable. Especially you. Don’t make mistakes. People make a big deal out of them and remember them more than the numerous times you haven’t made mistakes.

Don’t take your foot off the pedal, not even for an instant. Keep it floored. Keep going, faster and faster until you eventually drive straight off a cliff. Be grateful you had air conditioning. Even if it didn’t really work.

I am a proper adult. I finally bought a sofa the other day. It’s a nice sofa. It fills the room. It’s a shame about the rest.