Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

The Hearing Voices Network

Posted: March 11, 2015 in Uncategorized

I just felt the need to send this e-mail at work. I won’t go into the reasons why.

This came up today. It’s a short interview with a woman who hears 13 voices. She takes no medication and copes well. She is a trustee of the Hearing Voices Network. I enclose a .pdf of the study mentioned in the bumf below the clip, but the clip itself (3 mins) will tell you most of what is relevant here.

If you are into learning more about any of this (meaning the wider question of how disease categories have been formulated and their prognoses essentially defined; a curiously arbitrary process in many instances), I would recommend a book where I first heard about the Hearing Voices Network, Madness Explained by Richard Bentall. Basically if diseases are defined and understood one way by doctors etc., people get ill and remain ill for life. If they are defined and understood another way, they cope and stay, for all (or most) practical purposes, well. I consider this a useful thing to remember, and not merely in the medical sphere since it has ramifications for everything from education to our wider culture.

For a literary take on this as regards the DSMV, see here.

An evening run

Posted: September 15, 2014 in Uncategorized
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Past the flights and flights of early autumn leaf-littered concrete steps

beside the overpass

past the tennis racket shop signs,

the exhaust pipe window displays,

and the back-handed glamour of neon;

past the police bending over the intercom

in the shadows of a block of flats

(such as must have known more

in the way of arguments, as those not half an hour’s walk

back towards the city)

I, slowing to a walk on cobblestones, see first

a poster behind an open window

– that is all –

that says I might like to know who lays down their head

and, groping still more,

trying to feel that this way I learn something,

become something,

of this city;

I come upon an open garage

behind an old wire fence

And see first a hand on a table,

think this may be a poker game,

and then a glass of beer,

four men sat around a cluttered garage cum workshop

one, on the left, dimly lit, both in and out in the evening air

sat still in his red boiler suit.

It’s not where I want to be. It’s who.

Thinking, I kill the thought dead.

I stop my audio book and break back into a run,

not now knowing, if I am trying to catch my shadow,

or run away from it,

as now one, now two, now four such

come at me from all angles,

stamping on my feet.

I took a brief look over this long-neglected blog sometime yesterday after getting a pingback or whatever it’s called from an interview with Lizz Lunney, who I met up with last summer for a great Comics Exhibition at DOX having been introduced through @ClaraCharlotte of Twitter fame. I tend to be profoundly ambivalent about blogs, having too little time and concentration for more substantial forms of writing, and tending to agree with William Gibson who once wrote that trying to write while keeping a blog is like boiling a kettle with the lid off. Interestingly, Gibson says the opposite about Twitter, which he says keeps him sane when he’s writing and is unable to commit to reading novels and works of fiction which prevent his being immersed in his own fictional world. I have taken time out from Twitter for the last couple of months. There are only so many ‘inputs’ I can take without being prone to be thrown off in a series of tangents like a particle in Brownian motion. I have, I think, found that I can better focus on those things I am working on. The downside perhaps is that I feel totally disconnected from the creative people, communities and conversations I need to feel like what I am doing is worthwhile and, on a more basic level, to stave off the crushing boredom I can be subject to when I’m not surrounded people with similar interests and drives or who at least understand what I do with my time. (more…)

Last ofs

Posted: June 21, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

When you start to get a few last ofs, you see where you are with moving away from a place. In North Wales it was not difficult at all. Last day at work. Last day in the buddhist meditation centre I was staying in at the time. There was perhaps an admixture of feelings including sadness, but nothing big. Winding up and preparing to move on I no doubt felt a lot of trepidation, maybe even the near terror panic I have got so many times in my life, the anxiety I get for weeks at a time every big change – and I’ve had many – but the closest I got to feeling sadness was perhaps going on a last run in the hills, coming back home to the hanging strings of lights on my street parallel to the seafront. (more…)

For all the procrastination and wasted time, Twitter occasionally pays off. In that it can resemble the occasional revelations and opportunities thrown up by idle conversation and ‘cafe culture’ (whatever that is) more than the thumb twiddling brain-altering dopamine-stimming pez dispense cornucopia of whirling superficiality I usually take it to be. I remain ambivalent, but anything that puts me in touch with people I can see eye to eye with is no bad thing when I often struggle with this in what I perhaps ought not to call the real world without loading the dice.

Twitter put me on to German graphic artist, Clara Roethe when I was really struggling to find like-minded folk, surrounded by gregregious uber-psyched-extroverted-adrenalin types on the one side and drunk or perma-stoned small market town types on the other in North Wales a couple of years back, and so whatever may be its addictive qualities and drawbacks, I can say of it much as Winston Churchill said of alcohol, that I have taken more out of Twitter than Twitter has taken out of me. (more…)

I walked to the restaurant on the corner. I couldn’t be sat in my flat staring at the dried up flower dangling down the sideboard.

I had come to some realisation and no amount of YouTube and Facebook was going to change it. It wasn’t working. I wasn’t going to own my own flat soon. I wasn’t going to rent my own flat soon. I wasn’t going to be in the position not to be watched over by a bunch of miscellaneous oddballs as I screw up my life in that way I know, the lot of them coming and going, making you feel like some kind of reject by their perfunctory salutations or their small talk you can’t quite ever muster the energy to respond to.

I was never going to be a part of this place. Maybe I was never going to be a part of any place. It would never be my language, however often I forgot words in my mother tongue, dreamt in this one.

I counted my money onto the table as I went, keeping count as I ordering one wine after another, and moving onto vodka. I had the book I had picked up from the hostel on my first night. I had read it for a few days until I had bought a book of my own and then left it on a shelf in the corner for months.

I intended to get drunk and not think about anything until morning. I intended to spend all the money I had. There wasn’t much of it.

I had booked a flight before leaving the house; for the morning. I would go back, turn up unnannounced, knock on doors. Perhaps I could crash on somebody’s floor for a while.

I can honestly say I’ve never been happier than when I shook the change out of my wallet, slid a couple of coins to the side for the bus fare, scooped up the remainder with the notes I had crumpled under the desk lamp, and handed it to the sulky waitress with that slutty mouth piercing I’ve never been able to get a smile out of.

The still tepid air hit me as I stepped outside and I looked up and arranged my legs beside each other for a moment as two clusters of stars came together, my eyes focusing, as they had for the last hour or so, like an old television set drifting in and out of tune with a ghost of a picture shifting in and out of phase. I won’t say it was spectacular. It wasn’t. Not since I was five or six and looking up at the stars in the sky, millions of them back then, have I ever looked up to see anything approaching mindblowing. It was a handful of stars. I won’t say it was a powerful moment. I was drunk. But what there was, I was content with. I walked on and saw a man on his knees on the pavement, his back to a police car a policeman beside him, another a few metres down the road, looking through what must have been the man’s car. The guy with the bomber jacket was irritably calling his dog, kicking up grass from the swatch of greenery out the front of the flats. A bus went by and I heard it pulling in to run over the rumble strip of sunken cobble stones by the bus stop, water splashing over the pavement.

I had been nodding asleep in the restaurant. People had been looking over. They had stopped that when I had done the rounds staggering back from the toilet to buy a couple of cigarettes off somebody. I knew I would get back home, take a piss, fall forward onto my mattress on the floor and be out like a light. I had set my alarm, and would wake in time to eat a couple of things, throw some stuff in a bag and be gone.

On that walk home, I had decided something. I didn’t know things were going to turn out ok. But I didn’t know they were going to turn out bad. Most of all, I had decided, there was no point trying, day after day, trying to make it turn out the way I wanted.

I opened the door, greeted one of my housemates with a slap on his bare shoulder as he walked out of the bathroom with his toothbrush in hand, took a piss, and collapsed ceremonially onto my bed.

I begin this piece in the cafe of the Theatre Divadlo bez zábradlí waiting for the beginning of a production of Hrdý Budžes, a novel and play the author, Irena Dousková, would, according to her website, have translated into English as B. Proudew. This, like many a translation between languages as divergent as are Czech and English, is both ingenious and flawed. My own solution, Proud Beethachoo, is at first sight at least, clumsy. Not perhaps so ingenious, it nonetheless makes the hero of the piece sound less like an accountant, less like an English name (Budžes itself does not sound like a Czech name), and more like the mangling of a phrase heard on the school radio by a clever, worrisome little girl with a surplus of imagination, which is what we discover him to be. (more…)