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.

Dave the Crab and the Giant Called Ned

Here is a children’s poem wot I did.

There once was a crab who lived under a rock.

He had a nice sofa and a grandfather clock.

It was big and proud

And ticked ever so loud

And stood atop an ornate marble block.

The crab was called Dave and he was ever so brave,

For he once fought a giant called Ned.

 

Ned was huge and ugly to see,

And refused to let good people be.

A tattered old cap sat atop his big head

And he needed nine mattresses to make up his bed.

He’d growl and he’d roar and with one rumbling snore,

He could shake the whole Earth to its molten rock core.

He wore no shoes for his feet were too big,

And weighed him down when he did his giant’s jig.

But he wore one large and heavy and ever so smelly

Polyester and cotton blend sock.

It may sound silly, or come as a shock,

But the one thing he feared was a grandfather clock.

 

Ned came thundering along the beach one morn,

Swinging his club and blowing a big brass horn.

And anyone he should chance to meet,

Narrowly avoiding being crushed by his feet,

He’d bend over and shout right in their face:

“Get out of my way, make some space!

Get off my beach right now I say.

This is not a place for children to play.

I shall smash any sand castles on my way to the sea,

And anyone that should try to join me, I shall gobble them

Up – I’ll eat them for my tea!”

 

Now Dave worked nights, so was attempting to sleep.

He’d never been in a fight and this record he wanted to keep,

But a rude man eating giant was something he could not abide,

This brutish bully he would not let slide.

So Dave poked his head out from beneath his rock,

He strolled up to Ned’s tattered and horrible sock

And gave his toes one heck of a pinch.

But the giant did not move not even one inch.

Ned scooped up Dave and looked him in the eye

And said “Silly crab, I will make you cry!”

 

He gave a big laugh and he raised his club,

“any last words before I make you blub?”

 “Yes,” said Dave as of his life he took stock,

“Please take good care of my grandfather clock.”

Ned paused and he spluttered, he stammered and stuttered,

He whimpered and shivered until at last he muttered:

“don’t mention them or I’ll knock of your block.”

Dave said “Just listen, you might hear a tick-tock.”

Ned pricked up his ears and listen he did,

And from under the rocks from where it hid

He could hear those doleful tones of the grandfather clock,

He could hear every tick and every tock.

Dave, well he couldn’t believe his luck,

And like a chicken he began to cluck

“Mr. Giant I don’t mean to mock,

But imagine being scared of an old silly clock.”

 

Ned dropped Dave back onto the sand

And covered one ear with one very big hand,

And said “never again will I come to this land!

Get away Mr. Crab, get back under your rock,

Attend to that terrifying grandfather clock.

One second it ticks and another it tocks

It never ends and it never stops

The tolling of hours, oh that nasty chime,

The constant plodding of unending time!

It makes me shiver, it makes me feel cold,

Reminding me that one day I’ll be old!”

 

And with that Ned left never to return,

All the beach goers need fear now

Is a spot of sunburn.

So, when next on the beach,

Give Dave a thought,

Should there be a giant you need to thwart,

Make sure a grandfather clock is in reach.

 

 

There weren’t that nice? My collection of ridiculous and utterly pointless short stories is currently free to download, so if you don’t you’re a fool.

This New World

Below is a thing I started writing this morning. Maybe one day it will become an actual thing, but I have other things I need to make into actual things, I also have work in an hour.

***

In many ways she was deeply unhappy, but she didn’t mind that so much as she guessed most people were pretty unhappy, those that weren’t were probably in denial. It had been fifteen years since the Rift, as people had taken to call it. Scientists referred to it as, a flux in the temporal membrane, but Rift just sounded better.

The world thought it was in a sorry state of affairs before. Right wing politics on the rise, regular terrorist atrocities perpetrated by confused, fascist fanatics, rising sea levels and climbing global temperatures, a flimsy economy and severe over population. Now, well… it’s mostly the same issues just taken up a notch or two.

Emma put on her jacket, an army camouflage affair, dull green and occasional brown. She bought it because it was cheap, not because it helped her blend into the background of the city, which was mostly grey, occasionally beige. Marketing departments would have you believe London was the epicentre of culture, a point from which all modern history was made. A diverse hub celebrating art, science and industry. In reality it was just a tangled mess of apartment complexes and the occasional bridge.

Ortha House was about as cheap as you could get within the city limits. That was probably because it was built as part of an initiative to allow the Others to integrate themselves amongst the human populace, granting them a place to live at low cost whilst they find themselves in this strange new world. Of course, the fact that they were referred to as the Others rendered the whole exercise pointless.

Emma left her flat and strolled down the cluttered corridor. Half full bin bags lay strewn all over the place, strange stains marked the walls and all sorts of noises drifted through the various doors.  Baldus was leaving his flat to start his day too. A dwarf many called them, though those who suffered from dwarfism complained that that was offensive. The dwarves referred to themselves as the Blendring, which to a human was just a noise, especially for the average English human, who thought any other language sounded ridiculous.

‘No axes Baldus,” said Emma, noticing herself how bored she sounded. Baldus clenched a fist and shook his head, his rigid Mohican wobbling a little. A shimmering, double edged battle axe was slung across his muscular back.

‘A blandring without an axe or hammer is no blandring at all!’ he lamented, hiding his face in his meaty hands. His black skin had been marked with red dye, criss-crossing his face in an elaborate and quite frankly ridiculous pattern.

‘No axes, thems the rules,’ said Emma.

‘Rules!’ Baldus spat, ‘what about the rules set down by the Great Sculptor? It is the duty of every Blandring to carry an axe or hammer, ready for war at all times!’

‘You’ll be arrested as soon as you leave the building. Just take a pendant.’

 

Following the Fifteen Minute war, the more reasonable of the

Blandring decided that the Laws of the Great Sculptor were

Very much open to interpretation. Whilst it cannot be denied

That all Blandering are expected to carry an axe or hammer

The scriptures never state how large said axe or hammer

Need be. Therefore, a blandring can still keep to the scriptures

By wearing a pendant sporting a tiny axe or hammer, which

Conveniently relieves it of its status as an offensive weapon. As

for being ready for war, it is said that it is a state of mind all blandring

Should be permanently in, rather than a physical readiness.

–          Blandring and Belief – pg 75 2nd edition.

 

Emma had thought a degree in Rift Cultures and journalism would be a good idea in the current environment. The world was changing, the Others were here to stay and the only way to live with such extreme difference of culture (and in many cases physicality) was to understand said cultures.

As it turned out, it had rendered her almost unemployable. Her ten thousand word thesis on the Fifteen Minute War and its effects had been a waste of time. How she managed to get ten thousand words out of such a brief period was beyond her. Like most conflicts, it could be summed up in a handful bullet points.

–          The Rift happened.

–          The blandring dutifully carried their axes and hammers and were ready for war at all times.

–          The blandring were told by the human government that they could not carry axes and hammers and should probably only be ready for war a few times a year.

–          The blandring decided they would not stand for such oppression and will not be ruled by a blasphemous government and gathered their forces and marched on parliament.

–          In the classic game of rock paper scissors, it is well known that assault rifles always beat axes and hammers.

–          The Blandring uprising was quelled in 14 minutes and 52 seconds. 58 were killed, 34 injured and many arrests were made.

Baldus went inside his flat grumbling audibly. Emma waited for him to return, when he did, a crude stone hammer hung from his neck. In her opinion it was still large enough to be considered a weapon, but decided to let that be decided by the police. There was always a police presence outside Ortha House, just to make sure the locals were integrating properly, and to arrest all those that weren’t.

Emma couldn’t blame them really. The pair exited the lift and passed through the cluttered and half destroyed foyer. She could see the unmarked police cars on the perimeter of the grounds already. Whilst the majority of those that lived in Ortha House were law abiding citizens just trying to make an honest living, some were level three shadow demons from the Realm of Darkness that occasionally consumed human souls, so precautions had to be taken. That and a Blandring who lived on the third floor had taken to selling drugs. It only took one idiot to ruin everything for everyone else.

They made it past the police cars without incident. Baldus lingered longer than necessary, in the hope of provoking a bored looking officer, but thankfully the officer in question didn’t look up from his phone.

‘Little boxes have stolen your souls!’ He grumbled as they moved on. The street lamps were beginning to flick out of life as the sun rose beyond the grey blanket of cloud. The factory wasn’t too far away. After months of unemployment Emma had secured an admin role at a meat packing company that prided itself in providing opportunities to ‘the Others’, almost 80% of their staff was made up of Rifters.

‘With your degree, you’ll be able to keep the rabble in line,’ the overseer had told her at her interview.

‘As long as you pay them, they’ll keep themselves in line. Most aren’t that different from us you know?’ she replied. The overseer nodded, grinning a broad and self-satisfied smile.

‘Oh yes, except none of them are unionised and have no concept of minimum wage. The ogres… they only need to sleep every four days and the little tasks we give them keep their simple minds occupied.’

‘So, you’re treating them like slaves?’

‘You could say that, but…’

‘But what?’

‘Oh nothing, just a figure of speech.’

 

It’s Hot.

It’s currently sunny and hot. I hate both those things. I don’t know why everyone’s so big on the sun, it’ll be the thing that eventually kills us all. People bemoan the rain. Claiming how it’s always raining, forgetting the fact that it’s plenty of rain that allows for production of crops and you know, all that water we like to drink – especially on hot days.

Rain is great, I love the rain, even beyond its life giving properties. Rain stays outside, it creates a nice ambience, it freshens the air. Same with cold, once you’re indoors with a jumper on, you’ll be alright. Sunlight on the other hand barges into your home uninvited and stabs you in the eyes. The heat is stifling, preventing sleep and worst of all, it brings people outside in droves.

Due to poor life choices and a job market in tatters, I currently work in a pub. It’s awful and if I’m still working there by July I’m finding a bridge to leap off of.  It’s a bank holiday weekend and it’s set to be a hot and sunny one, which means these fucking people are going to all think it’ll be a good idea to go out and get a beer and sit in the pub garden. All of them will think this, regardless of my opinions on the matter.

Then once they’re there they will think “let’s get some food” and who’s going to have to take that food out to them, burning their fingers just so they can stuff their faces? Me that’s who. Fucking sun.  some time ago it rained a lot and no one came out, I got to sit at the bar and do the crossword, it was good, I only had to cheat 3 or 4 times and the rest I texted my dad for answers.

I might not make it through till Tuesday.

I have read that this year is set to be hotter than last year, which was hotter than the year before that, which in turn was hotter before that and so on and so forth. This displeases me for a number of reasons.

A few years ago when I was still at school, global warming was mentioned everywhere. As a society we were very concerned about it. It was on the news on a daily basis. Now it barely gets a mention. We seem to have stopped caring. Admittedly, it’s very difficult to keep caring about it and not go insane with the knowledge we have killed the planet.

I have done some reading to find out where we are at with the global warming stuff. The most recent thinking is that, we’ve fucked it. We’re past the point of no return and the rising of the sea and the roasting of the land is inevitable. There are not enough life boats to save us all, many of us will have to go down with our little island. The polar bears will also die.

The fish will be okay… apart from all that plastic.

With that in mind, will we view the hot summers with suspicion and dread? Will we stop using our cars so much, stop using so much plastic and all en masse tell China to get their shit together? No, you’ll all go to the pub and make me work hard. Drinking away the worry until the world around you turns to desert, or you’re swept away by a tidal wave filled with dead polar bears and Asda bags.

I hate you so much.

Movies and Their Overcompensating Sound!

I both love and hate watching movies. Interesting characters, thrilling plots and fine acting are all well and good, but whoever’s in charge of the sound ruins it for me. Those fucking sound guys.

Movies have been around for ages, so why hasn’t this aspect been perfected for home viewing? What I’m saying is, why is every sound effect and blast of music so damn loud and the dialogue mumbled? To get important character development and integral plot points I have to turn my TV up to about a million at which point the sound track kicks in and one of the guys who lives up stairs falls through the ceiling. Admittedly, they’re really fat and loud and are as heavy footed as a T-Rex wearing platform boots made of lead, so they’re always falling through the ceiling, but that’s not the point.

Why are the words of various protagonists delivered in barely audible whispers, but the creaking of a door loud enough to make my ears bleed? There doesn’t seem to be a setting to balance this, and by setting I mean a number, I’m not fucking about with overly complex sound systems, I just want to watch movie late at night without convincing the town that WWIII has finally kicked off, but still be able to hear what’s going on. I mean, I know realistically that a gunshot will be significantly louder than someone muttering exposition to someone else and many gunshots will create a bigger racket, but I’m watching Robert Downy Jr. flying around in a metal suit powered by some sort of reactor in his chest and punching a metal armed mopey kid who has been brain washed by Nazis, so realism has pretty much gone out the window.

It’s fine when you’re in a cinema with lots of other people who have paid to see a film so some noise is expected, but what about us people who can’t sleep at night and have angry neighbours?

This is not a flaw evident in action flicks either. I was watching The Truman Show last night at roughly 11:43 PM. Whilst this is unquestionably one of the best films ever made and I’ll fight anyone that says otherwise, it suffers the same flaw. Unable to hear the dialogue, I turned it up until I could just about hear the dialogue, at which point young Truman and his fake dad were caught in a storm, possibly the loudest storm ever. It was a manufactured storm yes, but the point still stands. With each flash of lighting and subsequent bark of thunder I felt the floor shake and my innards vibrate with such intensity my kidneys exploded.

So, I hastily turned it down. Then once the storm was over, I couldn’t hear what the fuck anyone was saying, so I turned it up again. At which point the soundtrack made itself known and the army turned up looking for Godzilla.

I know the composer of the soundtrack and the sound effects guys don’t actually get to appear in the films, so need to make their mark some how, but come on guys, you’re in the credits, is that not enough? We know you’re there and you do a good job, just… shhh.

Why? Why is this so? Why can’t we get sub-settings on films like you get on video games, where you can turn the dialogue up, whilst turning the rest of the shit way down where it belongs? I get that it all adds to the adrenaline pounding experience, but I’m very unlikely to miss important pieces of information if I miss one gunshot. Stop it movies! We get it, you like loud noises, but I tend to watch my films late at night where no one likes loud noises, so I want you to change everything just for me.

Good, now that’s out of my system I should probably go look for a job.