The Stephen King Conundrum

With imminent homelessness looming over me, lack of career and many personal failings, now seems like a good time to vent about Stephen King. I sit here writing now being disturbed by loud neighbours and loud flatmate and her loud offspring. The child got a laugh when she sung something loud and out of key, and now won’t stop. Children are like that, they’ve yet to cotton on to the law of diminishing returns and keep repeating the same shit over and over. They’re like small Stuart Lees only without the sense of self-aware irony.

Anyway, Stephen King.

I have a love/hate relationship with Stephen King. One thing we can say for certain is he is a very prolific writer.  He is one of the highest earning writers and has a huge back catalogue of releases. The Green Mile is hands down one of the best things I’ve read, let’s just get that out there.

Some of his novels are great, others are so damned awful it makes me mad. I would rage that there’s a conspiracy and he gets other people to write some, but I know that’s not true, as the bad ones stink of self-indulgence.

I have just finished reading the Bazaar of Bad Dreams, one of King’s many collections of short stories. My experience was meh. Or for a more thoughtful critique, it was ‘hmmmmm well, maybe some… meh.’

The first short story starts with a young child trying to prove himself cool by going to an old, run down and long abandoned service station where all the ‘big kids’ hang out. He finds some vodka, drinks some and falls asleep, then a man-eating car turns up, decapitates a guy, eats a woman and causes general mayhem before the aforementioned kid sets it on fire with a magnifying glass and it flies away.

If it was a piece of surrealism played for laughs, it would have been great. Unfortunately, there was a stony seriousness to it almost.

There were some nice stories among the turds. Nice being a fairly bland word. They were good ideas and read well, but the whole thing felt like it was written by a creative writing student. Creative writing students are the worst.

The law of averages dictates that with so many books to his name, some are bound to be shit. The shit ones don’t make the good ones any less good and the good ones the shit ones any less shit. The problem is, the name Stephen King sells. This means he can release any old turd he likes and get a few million for doing so.

And perhaps that’s the problem.

Or maybe he just writes what he wants and fuck the haters.

And maybe that’s the problem, because that leads to constant Dark Tower references or subplots to appear in just about anything he likes.

Hearts in Atlantis was almost a good collection of short stories, particularly the first entitled ‘Low Men in Yellow Coats’. That was almost a brilliant story. Troubled kid with a bit of a shit mother and his friend befriend a mysterious, gentle man who has low men after him. It’s never explained what he’s done in the past and there’s allusions to all sorts of potentially sinister things.

He’s a quiet lover of literature who helps out these poor kids where he can.  Lots of things happen and long story short the low men in yellow coats catch up with him… in a shapeshifting car and they demand he return to the Tower to use his psychic powers to help break the beams.

For anyone who has read the Dark Tower series this would be jarring. To people like me who haven’t this is unforgiveable. Don’t get a reader passionately engaged only to fuck them over at the last minute. An underwhelming ending is fine, endings are often just that, but a bullshit ending is just silly.

It would be like if Casablanca ended with the titular character turning into a squid creature and returning to his home planet before Earth is immediately destroyed. No foreshadowing, no clues, just that.

I mean I haven’t watched Casablanca, so that may well be what happens.

It’s irksome. King is still being held up as the figurehead of all things literature. People seem to hang onto his every word as if he’s still relevant. Maybe he is. But it seems like someone needs to give him some honest feedback rather than just seeing dollar signs. There are so many of his books that would never see the light of day if he didn’t have a famous name.

But he does, so instead they get published and he laughs atop a mountain of cash.

I don’t know what I’m doing, I just read a book I don’t like and I’ve got no one to speak to and writing this has allowed me to forget I have my own problems.

Yes, I’m bitter. Please keep writing Mr. King, but keep them good.

 

 

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Thoughts

Everybody hurts, sometimes.

They were words said by a great man. Whilst it is undoubtedly from R.E.M’s worst song and releasing it did them all a disservice and tarnishes what was otherwise a good run, the sentiment is a good one.

Everybody hurts, sometimes.

And sometimes you won’t hurt.

These are words to live by.

This too shall pass.

What was I talking about? Who knows, another drink good barkeep. Do you know how it got to this? No? me neither.

Point is, everybody too shall pass, sometimes. No wait.

Point is.

I don’t know.

But dear god I hope it passes.

I hurt.

But everybody hurts, sometimes.

The World of Copywriting

Copywriting is a big thing these days. Every company has a list of in house or freelance copywriters churning out content for them day after day. So, what is copywriting? You ask. Well you don’t ask, but it helps me move on with my general point.

Copywriting is the art of bullshitting your way though 300+ words when 4 would do and no one’s really that interested anyway.

Having always thought I would become either a kick arse rock star, an acclaimed actor or world-renowned author, I didn’t really bother honing any skills, or developing any knowledge base that would help me in my day to day life.  This is a fact that has backfired on me somewhat. In terms of rock starryness, I was in a band that won Hertfordshire under 18s battle of the bands when I was 16. We won £300 and got to headline an outdoor festival in the middle of Letchworth Garden City one frosty day to a crowd of 9, one of which was an old man that told us to quieten down. In terms of acting, I have appeared in the Oscar winning picture The Theory of Everything, using my chameleon like acting skills to successfully portray a 60s student, a 70s student and some bloke in a tuxedo. Redmayne did not mention me in his speech. The bastard.

All hopes rested on my authoriness and to that end I have worked hard to refine my use of the written word, coming up with words such as ‘starryness’ and ‘authoriness’. I wasted 3 years studying for a degree in English Literature, by which I mean I turned up on the exam days. After completing 3 young adult fantasy novels before being told by a literary agent that pretty much no agent can be bothered to look at young adult fantasy and, if they do, it rarely makes any money, I poured my heart and soul (and one lightly beaten egg) into a piece of literary fiction. After three drafts I sent it to various agents to be told that ‘whilst it has merit, dear god no, never contact us again.’

So, after splitting all my eggs into three ridiculous and improbable baskets only to leave all three of them on a train somewhere, I realised I had no employable skills.

Or so I thought.

I managed to get work as a copywriter/content editor, despite my loose canon approach to grammar. I like to think of myself as a punk writer, deliberately ignoring all literary rules.

From the editorial side, I trawl through content created by hundreds of self-employed freelancers who have no business writing anything, let alone making a career out of it. I spend my time redoing other people’s work for minimum wage whilst they earn far more than I.

Every website, every catalogue, every piece of marketing material produced had a copywriter generate the text for them. Which means, thousands of people are in employment despite their clear lack of any skills whatsoever. Which is either good news or bad news for me, depending on your outlook.

Good news, because I can pay rent (just about), bad because it’s all so very dull and pointless and dull. The writing skills I have honed over the years can be utilised in exchange for money. Alas, they’ll be used to talk about the virtues of a vegetable peeler.

I spent a fortnight writing descriptions of various cars for a website that sold various cars. Realistically, all that was needed was ‘Here is a Land Rover. You know what it does.’ Instead, I had to write about how spacious they were. I know very little about cars, but I do know that all people care about is that they’re spacious, my working theory being that due to the rocketing house prices, people are taking to living in Land Rovers.

I spent another fortnight editing copy for a renowned UK chain whom I won’t name for legal reasons, but are effectively a store that sold baths. A bath store if you will.

Two days of this editing was devoted entirely to toilet seats. Now call me ignorant, but I don’t feel there’s much that can be said about a toilet seat. The writer in question kept on trying to convince me that ‘this toilet seat is very versatile’ which I had to remove from 30 + pieces of content for fear of being implicated in a case of false advertising. Unless there are toilet seats out there that double as stylish hats or cheese boards, they have a very singular purpose. For all their qualities, versatility is not one of them.

This is a symptom of a terrible marketing disease. Companies are deciding that they need to sell their items, as in really sell them. As opposed to just pretending to sell them, which is a lot more complicated.

Because of this bizarre idea, we are left with websites sporting plastic cups accompanied by an entire paragraph extolling the virtues of said plastic cups. ‘These are more than cups, they are vessels to carry whatever your heart desires. Perfect for mass suicides, they’re available in a host of different colours to match your cult.’

It’s madness. Currently writing pieces for a well-known auctioning site that rhymes with ShleBay, there’s a listing of Celebrity dolls. My original entry was ‘Do you want an old Michael Jackson doll in its original packaging? If so, get a fucking life.’  This was rejected by the client and I was given a verbal warning.

A freelancer describing a listing of picture frames stated ‘no home is complete without pictures of your family.’ Or before I edited ‘No home is complete without pictures of you’re family.’ (£10 a piece she was paid). Anyway, incorrect words aside, this annoyed me because it reaffirmed the fact that I will forever have an incomplete home, due to the fact that I don’t even have a girlfriend with whom to start a family, let alone take pictures of to put in a £2.85 frame.

It’s a picture frame damn it. All that is needed is ‘A frame for your pictures. £2.85, buy it or don’t it’s your choice at the end of the day.’

But we have to really sell it.

So, I will utilise my new found knowledge of copywriting to really sell my self-published shitty comedy short story collection that I published years ago without editing it properly.

Flesh out your virtual bookshelf with The Tiny Compendium of Ridiculousness, a recently discovered collection of children’s short stories by esteemed and entirely fictional 19th century author Hubert J Watergipridget. These clever and engaging stories, introduced and interpreted by the top man at Cambridge or somewhere (who may or may not also be fictional), will have you on the edge of your seat, so close to the edge that you are guaranteed to fall off at some point, so maybe put some cushions down, or read it lying down.

For as little as 99p or whatever small change it is in your country that uses other nonsensical currencies, you will get the most versatile eBook yet, as this can and will be used as a stylish hat and also has enough curative powers to cure cancer or chronic back pain. It will expand your mind so much, that you will evolve beyond the need for a physical form and will in fact become a lesser god.

Buy it today.

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

I Love LOTR, But Amazon can F*** Off.

*WARNING* the below is yet another opinion on the announced LOTR tv series. It gets nerdy. It gets angry and ultimately goes nowhere.

It’s time to discuss a serious issue.

The Lord of the Rings.

I love the Lord of the Rings, both the books and the amazing films. It’s one of the few franchises I think the films were actually better. That might be a controversial statement, but they cut out all the singing for a start, all that endless singing. Many fans have complained about the movies’ failing to include Tom Bombadil, but they’re fucking idiots. Tom Bombadil was shit and fairly inconsequential really.

The books, as we all know, effectively spawned what we know to be the fantasy genre we have today. The best genre there is. There’s a lot of shit fantasy, but that’s not the genre’s fault now is it? There’s a lot of shit everything. The point is, fantasy is great and The Lord of the Rings and the history of Middle-earth is some of the best fantasy out there.

We have recently seen the golden age of television. TV is surpassing their big screen counterparts. With more space and time to tell a story and develop compelling characters, we have seen some of the greatest shows to ever be made. Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire the list goes on. Sure, there’s a certain formula to a lot of the current shows, 2 parts violence to 1 part sex, but there’s a formula to everything in life.

So, taken altogether, Amazon’s recently announced LOTR tv series is something to get really excited about.

If you’re an idiot.

This is without a doubt the worst idea in the history of bad ideas. It’s worse than that one you had about buying a dog, now look at you, you’re outside in the cold picking up it’s shit aren’t you? You idiot!

For starters they [Amazon] paid $250 million for the rights to said franchise. That’s a lot of money. I mean, that’s a huge amount of money. If you got that amount of money in $1 bills and laid it out, you’d have $250 million $1 dollar bills, and you’d also be an idiot, why would you do that?

That’s quite the investment. It needs to pay off (or maybe it doesn’t, this is Amazon and they own everything, even me and my array of jumpers). It reeks of desperation. Amazon’s streaming service hasn’t been as successful as it would have liked, with the monolithic fantasy franchise Game of Thrones soon to be at an end, people are going to want their fix of swords and sex and dragons. Except, that’s not LOTR. George RR Martin’s, A Clash of Kings (I think, I can’t be bothered to research this) starts off with a detailed description of Theon getting a blowjob. I dare you to read the LOTR and find a scene where Sam Gamgee visits a brothel and gets his balls stepped on by a stiletto wearing dominatrix. Whilst there is no doubt a video on the internet depicting just this, what I’m trying to say is, tonally, graphic sex scenes would not suit The LOTR world. If Amazon are hoping to entice Game of Thrones viewers over to their channel, there’s a chance they could be disappointed. And if they spruce it up and throw in some gratuitous sex, LOTR fans will probably be disappointed.

More to the point, as already expressed, LOTR has the perfect adaptation in Peter Jackson’s trilogy. What more can they bring to the table?

Uh-oh, did I just hear the word ‘prequel’ on the wind. Like a black cat walking up your path that is a bad sign.

Prequel’s are, on the whole, bad ideas. Taking characters and events we know and love and forcing us to watch ‘how and why’ people got to that point and things are as they are, is often not only unnecessary, but painfully tedious. There’s very little tension to be had as we know where everything needs to go, and important back stories we are already aware of, because they’re hinted at or alluded to in the original.

Adding more detail, or delving into other ‘mysteries’ and tying up every possible loose end takes away much of the enjoyment to be had. Like Star Wars for instance, Star Wars is my childhood, my life if you will. I have no intention of watching whatever contrived piece of shit the Han Solo film will inevitably be. What made Han cool was all we knew was he was a smuggler with a Wookie friend. He was out for himself and he was badass. How he got there is entirely up to us as a viewer. How he became friends with Chewie is for us to decide and theorise, if we have that shown to us, an unlimited array of possibilities become whittled down to one. Also, Han was Harrison Ford, and he’s a charismatic stallion of a man, so that was the main allure.

Furthermore, didn’t we just have a LOTR prequel in that god awful Hobbit trilogy? That’s right, god awful! I love the Hobbit book, it was one of my favourites and was perfect how it was. Why they felt the need to turn one book half the size of The Fellowship into 3 films I will never know. Oh wait, money. Scrap that last bit. I often think if they took all the good bits from the 3 films and edit them together they could have one good film. There are many reasons the Hobbit movies were awful and I haven’t the time to go into all of them, but a large portion of the blame goes to all those unnecessary ‘prequel’ moments. All those dull and pointless scenes with the wizards investigating the possible return of the ‘Dark Lord’. As said, we know where this goes, it’s pointless, not to mention Galadriel banishes Sauron pretty easily. Then there’s one of the last lines in the third film, it’s a call back if you will (though it’s set before the original utterance, so maybe it’s a call forward?), where Gandalf says ‘Bilbo, there are many magic rings in the world and none of them should be taken lightly.’ Basically, he says that he knows Bilbo has a magic ring that he found.

Which makes him look stupid in the Fellowship when Bilbo disappears and he’s all like ‘Shit, how’d he do that?’ before spending ages researching what the hell was going on. Surely, having fought Sauron with Elrond, Galadriel and Saruman and knowing Bilbo has a magic ring, he should have put 2 and 2 together easily.

And what the hell was Legolas doing there? And who the fuck is Tauriel? Just to digress momentarily from my already quite lengthy digression, she was included to add another female to a male dominated cast. Now, whilst I applaud any attempt to organically insert some diversity, I’m not sure putting in an attractive woman whose only motivation is that she is in love with a beautiful dwarf she had one conversation with, is the right way to go about it.

Any way the point is the Hobbit was shit.

No it wasn’t.

The point is, prequels suck.

With a setting as rich as Middle-earth it could work if they set it way, way back and have it have no relation to the LOTR plot whatsoever. However, if they do that they may as well have not bought the rights and just made a series set in Bliddle-Blearth. The show plans to focus on stories “preceding The Fellowship of the Ring…” (http://deadline.com/2017/11/amazon-the-lord-of-the-rings-tv-series-multi-season-commitment-1202207065/), which doesn’t give us much to go on. Many of the events ‘preceding’ the Fellowship were summed up succinctly within the films and books themselves. How Gandalf knows Aragorn, how Sméagol became Gollum, how Sauron deceived all and became the Dark Lord, it’s all pretty much there.  Anything not included by Tolkien (and he included a lot), probably isn’t worth exploring.

All in all, what we will end up with is a wannabe Game of Thrones desperately trying to use an established name for viewership.  We’ll have a forced story with poorly drawn characters that all feels entirely unnecessary. It’s a symptom of the end of the golden age.  In a desperate attempt to keep it going, studios are going to throw money at big names in the hope to draw a crowd. It will not work.

I’m glad I got that out my system.

  

The Minute Collection of Absurdity.

Below is an extract from my latest waste of time – I mean work in progress.

 

Hubert J Watergipridget is, without a doubt, the greatest novelist that ever did live. It is said that his texts are so important, that many have cured seemingly incurable diseases. It seems that no genre, subject or medium was beyond his talents. His subtle political satire ‘All Politicians are Cunts’ is still as relevant today as it was when he wrote it some time in the forties.
Little is known about the author’s private life and education, in fact only a scant 5 800 page biographies have been written about him, as well as one ‘speculative biography’ which makes a few guesses as to what he may have been like.
Following the phenomenal success of The Tiny Compendium of Ridiculousness and the huge sums of money it brought in, researchers have conveniently uncovered another collection of previously unpublished Watergipridget works. These are for a more mature audience and as such, explore more daring issues and controversial topics. The Head of Humanities at Oxford University has gone on to say of the collection that it ‘is very much more of the same’, so we can be rest assured that The Minute Collection of Absurdity will do just as well as its predecessor.

When asked of his success and what advice he’d give others, Watergipridget remarked that “In life, there are those who work hard and with dedication and those who seek the easy path. Both are good options, as it’s all down to luck anyway. There are those with more success than they deserve and those with more failure than they deserve and the simple fact is, whatever choices they made, however talented they were and however hard they worked, none of it made the slightest bit of difference. We are all particles being fired through space, occasionally by sheer chance some of the right particles smash into one another and create something interesting, but more often than not they explode and fuck everything up.”
Watergipridget’s acceptance of the chaotic nature of the universe went beyond explaining the perplexing career advances of the undeserving, going on to become the driving force in everything he did, as well as the excuse for everything he did. He was once charged with drug possession, three counts of soliciting and the assault of a police officer. In answer to these crimes he simply stated “We’re nothing but insects scurrying around in the dust, a slave to electrical impulses in the brain and chemical reactions in the body. I have no more control over my own actions than a worm does whether he gets eaten or not.”
He was later released without charge. However, the policeman in question and a number of his friends did leap out from behind a bush and break his legs. They were let off as a result of using the same defence.
So, the volatile and bleak nature of the universe is often reflected in Watergipridget’s work, which of course, by his own admission, he can’t possibly take credit for because his thoughts are the result of the afore mentioned chemical reactions and electrical discharges.

This collection contains the following.

The Man Who Believed Himself to be an Octopus.  (An earlier draft can be found here https://thefuzzyrambler.wordpress.com/2016/02/27/the-man-who-believed-himself-an-octopus/)
I’m Old and Likely to Die Soon.
Of Mice and Slightly Smaller Mice.
He Who Watched All The Porn
She Who Watched Most of the Porn.
Never Let It Be Said.
And more, if the researchers bother to find any.

The Tiny Compendium of Ridiculousness can and should be bought here. If you don’t own a kindle, message me and I’ll phone you up at night and read the stories to you.

 

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.

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.

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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.