We Awkard Many

Speak to anyone long enough and they’ll confess to some level of social insecurity. Whilst I feel I can objectively say that most people don’t feel as useless as the small social circle I inhabit, it is there nonetheless.

A brief Google involving two key words ‘social’ and ‘inept’ brings up a host of results, the top ones being how to ‘deal’ with social awkwardness and a test to find out just how socially awkward you are. It’s quite mainstream then, to have no idea how to behave like a human being, who biologists tell us, are social beings.

The odd thing is, if we all feel, to some degree, that we are socially inept why do we keep up the pretences? Why do clubs exist? Does the monotonous music played at a volume as to make conversation impossible work in our favour? Is it there to save us the bother of trying to connect intellectually or emotionally to other human beings?  We’d be better served if they played some good music, save us the hassle of trying to think of anything of any value to say, whilst helping us connect emotionally, rather than just playing whatever drivel Drake happens to be spouting. I hate Drake. Every one of his songs sounds identical and yet each one has makes me feel like despairing in their own unique way.

How have we got to this stage? How has a race that’s managed to build the entirety of what we call ‘civilisation’ become so… useless? The one thing that apparently helped us get to where we are, our ability to work together, our innate socialness that constructed the pillars that hold up society as we know it, is in fact a very frail and fragile thing.

Have we become more self-aware? Has the internet connected us so well, that we’ve time to look at ourselves and find us wanting? Is it technology? Has technology made our lives that much easier that we have more time for self-reflection?

I was once working on a film. Which sounds fun to say and makes me sound like my life is somewhat interesting. I was to be an extra in a film, the filming date was cancelled due to wind, the weather kind, the director didn’t have a stomach ache, Colin Firth wasn’t farting like mad. Anyway. A load of us were transported to a warehouse to try out our costumes.

We were a rag tag band from various backgrounds thrust together by fate. Beautiful friendships could have been made. Love that echoes through the ages could have come about. If we only talked to each other. We arrived half an hour early and had to sit in a canteen somewhere. We could have opened our mouths and started speaking, but we didn’t. What we did was scoop out our phones from our pockets or from depths of bottomless handbags. We looked at these screens and tapped away endlessly to avoid any kind of interaction.

Well I didn’t. My phone was playing up. I was reading Catch-22, which makes me intellectually superior to anyone else there. It does. I mean it’s entirely possible that someone else was using their phone to read Catch-22 but to that I say ‘shh!’

Britain has  been described as ‘the loneliness capital of Europe’, albeit as far back as 2014, which may not seem like a long time, but that was when I still had hope. Is a sense of social detachment ingrained in our DNA? Was the British Empire just a huge reaction to our overwhelming feelings of loneliness? Did our ancestors cross the seas and steal people’s countries, so we can feel less lonely?

You’ll notice I’ve thrown a lot of questions out there, to which I don’t have any answers. The truth is, I’m very drunk. I just left a club. I was with a group. I couldn’t take it anymore.

Someone I think I love was there. She disappeared. There was a long queue for the toilets. So I disappeared too.


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.’


There Ain’t Nothin’ Human about Humanity Anymore

According to Bing there are 8766 hours in a given year. I will have to verify with Google later, as Bing can’t be trusted, it means well, but it’s just not as bright as its older brother. On average, we work 8 hours a day five days a week, which equates to say 40 hours a week. Times this by the 52 weeks we have in the year and we get 2080. Let’s say on average we get 7 hours sleep in a twenty-four hour period. 7×7 = 49, multiply 49 by 52 and we have 2,548 hours. 8766 – 2548 = 6218. This number represents our waking hours when we can do things. So as it stands, we spend roughly a third of our waking lives at work.

You might be saying ‘that’s not a particularly accurate template. I mean all jobs are different. The number of hours vary, it depends on how much we get paid and how many holiday days, and when we retire. There are far too many variables to consider to make a statement with an air of mathematical certainty.’   To which I would reply… SHUT UP!

There ain’t nothing human to humanity anymore. I often say in a gruff, Hollywood style voice to anyone willing to listen, which isn’t a large number. Those that do tend to say, ‘Get on with your work.’ Or ‘that’s all well and good but you still need to pay your council tax.’ Every day, when my alarm goes off, all I want to do is go back to sleep, just for another hour or two… sometimes I wish to sleep until the seas rise and send us all to our watery graves, paving the way to the fishman civilisation of the future. Is that so much to ask? Just a little bit more sleep? Apparently, for a human, that is a ridiculous request.

Every other creature on the planet, upon waking, if they want more sleep, would simply put their head down and continue. I had a dog once, and it was all she’d do. How I envied that fat spaniel. So, we’re not allowed to sleep if we’re tired. But at least we have a roof above our heads. The habitat of the human, the buildings that symbolise our advancement.

But do we?

That costs money… a lot of money. These days so much money that soon no one will be able to afford to rent and we’ll all be living in the woods as all the buildings stand empty. (On a side note, I was recently unable to afford my council tax. The council was very understanding, they sent me a letter saying ‘you haven’t paid your monthly instalment of £144. If you don’t pay within six days you will lose your right to pay in instalments and we will demand the full payment of £1,280.’ I can’t help but feel they are somewhat removed from reality, they exist in a world where the higher the number, the easier it is to pay. Give it long enough and I’m sure I’ll be getting a letter saying ‘can’t afford £144? Not to worry, we’ll just take it in blood.’)

In trying to earn money, to keep a roof above my head so I can have a bed that I’m not allowed to sleep in when I want, I have a job – which I’ve already established takes up a third of my waking life. In this job, we’re told we’re not allowed to text from our phones, no communication to the outside world. Whenever we leave our desks we must state where we are going, and then also state when we have arrived back… because though people might be able to see us, there’s every chance that our minds have melted into oblivion and are no more.

I sarcastically email my manager every time I go for a poo, and then email him when I am back from my poo, giving him details of the pooping experience. He is not amused, but it gets me through the day. The words ‘standardised’ and ‘processes’ are thrown about so frequently that they have lost all meaning. If anyone has the misfortune of being a minute late they are reprimanded and publically humiliated. We must produce weekly reports of the work we have done in order to prove we are doing it. Any display of humanity is swiftly dealt with. We become reduced to numbers, all clad in grey jumpsuits. Every so often a face will appear on our computer screens demanding we submit to the will of middle management (on another side note, what is the point of middle management? They’re like an appendix; they’re useless and serve no purpose, but everyone’s got one, and every so often they burst ruining someone’s day). All for a measly 19k a year.

You may be saying ‘this is little more than an exercise in catharsis! What happened to the posts where you’d just put a number of ‘funny’ drawings that you did?’ to which I say to you SHUT UP! One more outburst from the likes of you and I’ll have you evicted from the internet!

So, at least we have the social aspect right? The very thing that defines humanity, separates us from the animals… those lucky lazy animals that just sleep and eat, occasionally having a break from both to have sex. Bastards.

Do we?

Adult life drastically reduces the number of friends you have. Those from your childhood have moved on and are busy working. The people you meet as adults are those you work with, and we hate them. By the time you eventually get home, having waited hours for a bus or sat in the never ending streams of traffic, you are tired and hungry. You eat some dehydrated noodles and go to bed.

If you don’t you may sit and stare at your computer screen, or the screen of your phone, or at a mirror in a daze, thinking it’s a screen. You try and poke and swipe at it, try and get some porn on it, but the only naked person it will show you is you, and you disgust yourself. You’re haggard, your skin taught about your skull, eyes shadowed with fatigue and glassy with dejectedness. Your shoulders are stooped from being hunched over a computer all day. Your mind has been reduced to mulch from boredom, your chest hurts with loneliness.

The thing that looks back at you is not human, but some sort of skeletal husk. It may have been human once. It may have had the potential for humanity, but modern life has squeezed it out of you. The constant pecking from automated systems demanding money which you don’t have, the constant bleating of managers, the squealing of alarms demanding you wake up; the constant rejection from people denying you the right to hold another individual and weep for the loss of humanity, it’s all taken its toll.

Google says it’s 8760, nice try Bing.



So Many of Us Feel Lonely That it’s Probably Alright.

So many people seem to consider themselves lonely that it’s probably alright.

Talk to enough people and I wouldn’t be surprised if you found that a large number of them, at one point or another, start to lament their loneliness. They’ll decry their lack of social lives and apparently empty, meaningless existence. Even I occasionally glance back to my youth (at the age of 24 I suppose that’s a somewhat melodramatic start to a sentence), and think of all the friends I had and wonder what the hell happened to them? It would be satisfying to think that their sudden exit from my life was due to some dramatic world shaking event, like an intense and bloody war with invading, otherworldly creatures. ‘Remember Barry?’ I might ask, ‘what a great guy he was… shame he was decapitated by a Minotaur.’

Obviously, that’s silly; I would never befriend someone called Barry. Anyone called Barry tends to be really miserable, probably because their parents didn’t care about them enough to give them a decent name.

In reality, as I contemplate the complexities of life – usually on the toilet – Barry (the hypothetical Barry) is probably doing the same thing. He too, will be about to heat his beans for another bleak and isolated dinner. Then he might turn on the television to watch one of those popular sit-coms that, failing spectacularly to represent reality, shows a group of lovable idiots being sociable, and doing fun things and getting into a number of hilarious situations with their many friends. Countless people are doing this all over the country, all over the world even.

Or, if not doing this, their glassy eyes will be transfixed upon a screen, their faces bathed in their unnatural glows, as they scroll down page after endless page of Facebook, Twitter, or something else… something altogether more narcissistic and self-indulgent, like a blog or something. Because we live in a strange world, where we are all more interested (obsessed even) with other peoples’ lives. The lives of other people are infinitely more interesting than ours, even though, not to labour the point too much, everyone else is pretty much doing the same thing.

Even those who happen to be in one of those awfully insipid romantic relationship things are no doubt stuck within that inch or so beneath their skulls, which they cannot truly share with anyone else, try as they might. They probably sit there, wondering what happened. Why are they so dull? Why are they so lonely? I think I can safely say, without any doubt, that anyone in a relationship lies awake at night, looking at their sleeping partner, their chests rising and falling rhythmically and think ‘Why, why must it be like this?’ And when they wake in the morning their first thoughts will no doubt be ‘oh god! It’s happening again, why didn’t I just die in my sleep?’

I’m sure the above is true. If anyone argues with me, they’re obviously some sort of drugged up hippy. These are the thoughts that we have. This is adult life. It is completely incompatible with a social life. We have jobs and things, we have to get do the things to get paid, those really important things that if we didn’t spend 8 hours a day doing, the world would fall apart and we’d all fly into the sun (which wouldn’t bode well for me as I’m very fair skinned). By the time rent and bills have been paid and all that food that the government tells us we need to eat has been bought, we have no money to do anything on the weekend, other than sit on our lonesome wondering why we are so lazy.

I don’t quite know what my point is supposed to be here. I’ve had a bottle of wine. The issue is, we often live by the phrases, ‘you only live once’ and ‘life’s too short,’ two phrases that when combined put an awful lot of pressure on the individual to cram as much excitement into one day as possible. Problem is, excitement can be exhausting, difficult to work 40 hours a week and have fun and maintain friendships. Yet, we convince ourselves that everyone is living the high life, that everyone other than us is out every night rubbing shoulders with the cultural elite, or snorting exciting substances off the backs of beautiful courtesans. We feel, that if we don’t do something with our lives, that we’ll miss out, that we’ll fail life. Truth is, most of us don’t really know what we want to be doing. When pressed, we’ll probably panic and say sky-diving, but that will no doubt lose its appeal after a while.

I think the crux of my slightly disjointed, ill thought out rambling is that, on the rare occasion you do leave your house. On the odd night where you venture forth into the brightly lit outside world with other human beings, appreciate it. Enjoy it, really try your hardest to enjoy it. Immerse yourself in every moment, no matter how mundane. Really concentrate on the conversations you have, take in every detail and treasure it. Because you never know when Barry could meet his demise. Don’t do what we tend to do. Don’t spend the night desperately seeking out intercourse, because you’ll most likely go home alone and disappointed, or with someone, which just prolongs the moment you feel disappointed. We’re too obsessed with sex these days, we think sex gives us purpose. If we’re having sex we’re doing life right. It speaks of a certain level of shared insecurity, but that’s a ramble for another evening. Enjoy your rare moments of ‘unloneliness’ and remember, that when you are at home, feeling sorry for yourself and decrying your loneliness, remember that everyone else is just as lonely, so it’s probably alright.

Everyone’s Doing Everything.

I  started blogging first as an experiment and creative outlet, this soon bloomed into an obsession and like all obsessions became the source of a lot of regret and shame. To my utmost surprise, this blog was not read by millions and nobody queued up to give me money for doing it, so I may stop, much to the disappointment of my dozen or so followers I’m sure.

The problem is, in this overpopulated, digital age, proffering one’s opinion on trivial first world issues is about as productive as smashing turnips into the faces of Greek statues, it’ll get you nowhere and you will gain nothing, other than the release of some pent up frustration and a few confused remarks from more rational people that happen to be there at the time. That simile – I will admit – is fairly cumbersome.

However, despite this fact, everyone around the world is busy smashing turnips into statues every second of the day! That is to say, everyone is seeking to make a name for themselves by clogging up the world wide web with comments, blogs, vlogs, tweets (whatever the fuck they are) and just generally spreading opinion like a particularly aggressive virus. There’s something in the egotistical part of the brain (my neurology knowledge is fairly limited) that seems to compel us to share our thoughts with the world, taking it seriously, as if it actually matters or if anyone cares. It’s odd to think that the term ‘Youtube personality’ has come about and we haven’t all fallen into a state of despair.

Admittedly, there are probably a few ‘Youtube personalities’ *shudder* that offered something interesting or entertaining, I don’t know, but all it takes is one success to open the floodgates to everyone else who think they can do the same and replicate the same outcome.

Everyone is doing everything.

Everyone is writing with a particularly smug, elitist and pseudointellectual tone in the hope that people will flock to them, their egos can grow and maybe someone will pay them so they can do it professionally. And yet, there are even too many professionals, writing continuously, often about banal and arbitrary things, and all these articles are often met with a very middle class sense of petty hostility when it comes to the comment sections.   It just goes on and on and on, everyone doing everything, churning out all sorts of meandering drivel (ironically much like I am doing now).

It’s a bit like if you happen to be at a party, but really want to pick something up from the nearby shop, and you quietly slide up to a friend and say ‘I’m off to the shop, want anything?’ and they say ‘Oh I’ll come with you,’ which is good, in fact you welcome the comradeship, then as you make for the door someone else spots you and enquires, and decides to tag along. That’s all fine, it’s like the fellowship, a small party on a grand quest to purchase more alcohol and maybe a flapjack from a shop. Yet, just as you get the door open and your face is greeted with the cool night time air. Other’s spot you, other’s boldly declare that they too will go to the shop, and before you know it you have a mass exodus, the party is no more and has become a communal trip to the shop and by the time you get to the till there’s no more flapjack left! Yes, blogging, writing, vlogging, making videos and all that shit is precisely like the scenario I just described.

Before the internet it wasn’t so bad I’d assume. As if people wanted to be professional opinion sharers, or idea manufacturers, they actually had to go out into the wide world, stand on a box and shout at passers by, or irritate professional types into agreeing to give them work. In short – they risked beatings and hostility from real, fleshy organisms there and then. The backlash would have been instant and aggressive. Now all you need is a computer and a self-righteous mentality.

So that is why I shall probably have no more of it. We are all just desperately crying for mainstream attention, even the mainstream haters, wait, especially the mainstream haters, but we’re competing with everyone else, as I have already established as a matter of fact, everyone is doing everything. So maybe I will do nothing for a while, I’ll probably end up getting more hits than I am currently.

The FuzzyRambler.

Leaving the Matrix.

This post will have nothing to do with the Matrix films, or the poorly conceived, updated version of Descartes’ third wave of scepticism. I just thought it sounded catchy and is in some way related to what I’m about to ramble on about.

I have left the social networking world (apart from this blog).  My Facebook page is no more, I have been liberated and can now join the real world, it is a scary, brightly coloured place. Sure, the social interactions are just as empty, but the fact that I now have to leave the house and engage in an actual conversation to take part in them, makes them feel all the more special… sort of.

Facebook, I hope, is or soon will be on the decline. Why do I hope this? Because all these social networking platforms have turned us into, attention seeking, juvenile, pretentious, insecure  and babbling morons (I cut that list short for your benefit, it could have gone on for some time).  Blogging is completely different obviously… it is, blogging can in no way be described using the above list… no it can’t… SHUT UP!

Now that it has gone I’m sure I will slowly dematerialise and cease to be. That was the impression I got from others’ reactions. ‘How will anyone be able to contact you?’ was something people say when you contemplate kicking the absurd habit. It’s an odd response, the counter-response to which is even odder, involving the explanation to perfectly rational individuals that communication is a thing that occurred long before Facebook and Twitter.  It’s not as if we all just wandered around in bemused and awkward silence waiting for someone to invent the computer, the internet and then Facebook before we developed the communicative abilities for which our species is known.

Now I can only be contacted via smoke signals, and occasionally a Bat symbol in the sky — I mean errm, forget that bit.

But seriously, what is the point of it all? I know that is a question often  thrown about in a banal manner, particularly by me. Why do we feel compelled to share our bigoted, ill-informed and trivial thoughts with the world. Why do we feel the need to ‘friend’ people after one chance encounter, devaluing the concept of friendship altogether? Why do we feel the need to upload a photo of us by a swimming pool, in the sun, drinking heavily or on the toilet? (The ones where we look presentable I can understand, we want the world to know that some times, under certain lights and at certain angles we’re not disgusting looking) But why do we think anyone will care? After Andy Murray’s triumphant win at Wimbledon yesterday, Facebook was flooded with ultimately pointless messages of congratulations that were uselessly engulfed by the ether never to be seen by the man himself. Why do we think that ‘Liking’ something vaguely inspiring, or charitable or good that we are doing something beneficial to society? It’s madness, we’re just sitting looking at a screen!

Don’t even get me started on Twitter, tried it once and it questioned my intelligence. ‘You need to be more clever than that.’ it said as apparently I had gone over the given character count. I often wondered if Charles Dickens had similar critiques. ‘Yes David Copperfield is all well and good, but isn’t 358,632 words a bit long-winded? Any chance you can be more clever and shorten it to a 140 characters?’

Yes, I did just Google ‘David Copperfield Word Count’ for that joke so you better find it at least mildly amusing.  Maybe even give this article a trivial ‘like’ as you know, my ego is built on recognition from strangers I’ll never meet… OH THE IRONY!

The End.


The Fuzzy Rambler.