Monday, 30 November 2015


If you don't recognise what this is immediately, then don't bother asking. It's not FOR YOU.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015


This blog started with a flurry of posts about poking people’s eyes out and killing them with Smatchets. I don’t regret that, but I do concede that they were perhaps indicative of the anxiety and pent up rage I was feeling at the time. I’m still angry, of course (I wouldn’t do anything at all if I wasn’t permanently semi-pissed off), but I have being thinking about my attitude and doing some research and have learned something very important: self-defence is not the same as fighting, and I need to be clearer about the distinction.

I started with the assumption that, post-Crisis, there will be a lot of violence, and I stick by that. Sometimes, however, it is a matter of containing this violence, not escalating it, and this is the difference between self-defence and a fight. A fight is a contest, an all-out battle in which the object is to win. In the post-Crisis climate,this could, ostensibly, mean that lives are at stake. Self-defence is about protecting yourself against the violence of others: the object is to stop it becoming a fight, to not make it a matter of life and death. With the right discouragement, an attacker may re-evaluate you as a target and decide to leave you alone. Naturally, this might involve you employing quick and definitive action and high levels of nastiness, but the intent is very different. A strong ‘do one’ message is often a much better solution than killing someone, and a lot cleaner and easier on the torn patchwork quilt you call a soul.

With that in mind, let’s talk about sticks. Sticks are good. In post-Crisis terms, they are Mother Nature’s miracles, as they are plentiful, and, if chemical weapons have been deployed, you won’t even have to strip them of foliage. A stick has a number of uses, of course, but it’s worth reflecting on the dual purpose that will be of most use in the tiresome days to come: a stick is a weapon that you can burn, something that will keep you safe and keep you warm. A stick is perfect for defence and offence, protection or all-out attack. In the first instance, a stick is a clatterer of knuckles, a whacker of shins, a poker of ribs, a prodder, a dissuader. You can be a nuisance with a stick, it’s a very irritating and ‘ow’-y sort of weapon. But a stick can also deliver a smack to the head that will knock your opponent’s eyes out – literally - although you shouldn’t expect this result every time, this is real life, not a Roadrunner cartoon.

Advanced students can practice all sorts of grips and holds and spins – you can get tactical, almost balletic, but do be prepared to smack yourself in the face a few times until you master the art. There is no more magnificent sight than a person expertly wielding a stick and, with lots of hard work, that person could be you. Or you can just twat people with it and wait for them to either run away or fall down.

Once your opponent is on the ground, it’s up to you to decide the outcome. In self-defence terms, you’ve made your point, so perhaps you could let them scurry away, lesson learned. In a fight to the death, however, the stick becomes a club, and your opponent becomes your victim. In this case, the key is to inflict enough immediate damage to render your target unconscious, so you can then quite happily beat them to death without being unduly disturbed by their facial expressions. Make it quick, and don’t go on beating whatever it is you are beating once it has popped, burst or split into pieces, i.e. it may be a mad world, but you don’t have to be a fucking psycho.

Later on, when the long night sets in, build a fire and burn the stick. There will be no justice or formal law and order post-Crisis, of course, let alone any forensics, so the destruction of the stick is purely symbolic. Fire is cleansing, and the act of burning will delete the incident from your hard drive. It’s also practical: the stick will be dirty and bent and battered. There might be brains on it. Get a new stick, and huddle around the warmth the old one provides. Believe me, these will be the good times. Tomorrow is another day, and might very well require more stick related decisions. 

Thursday, 19 November 2015


Unless you are a heavily armed psychopath, there’s very little to look forward to post-Crisis, although those interested in what could be elastic banded together as 'green issues' will be delighted to know that the world will ultimately become more ecologically balanced than it has been since the Industrial Revolution. The word ‘ultimately’ is important, as there will initially be a horrible period of collapse, where unattended factories and facilities will first go off piste, then off line, then, finally, just go off, blowing up and throwing filth and foulness miles out into the air. When the smoke clears, things will be pretty grim: no light; no heat; no water. Your American style Fridge Freezer won’t work. Everything will start to rot, and disease will come, like a huge, dirty scythe cutting enormous swathes through the weakened populace. Cities will be hellholes, open sores where the rats will reign supreme, so it’s time to get that place in the country you always talked about – and quick.

One of the main benefits of The Crisis is how deadly it will be. Under normal circumstances, moving to the country would be a massive pain in the arse requiring time, money, patience, money and more money. Post-Crisis, three out of five picturesque cottages will simply require sweeping clean of human remains before becoming perfectly habitable dwellings. There will be no estate agents or solicitors fees, nothing to sign or register, you will simply move your shit in, shore up the windows and doors and defend your new home day and night from others with the same idea as you.

Country life will not be the cakewalk you may have seen in thick, glossy magazines. There will be no poncing around in designer wellies. On the plus side, much of the pointless, spiteful cruelty of rural living will have been eliminated, as hunting things that taste like shit will be considered a massive waste of resources. Foxes will still kill chickens, and we will still kill chicken killing foxes, but this is equitable. It will be a war again, not a pogrom. Badgers will still be at risk, though, as we are likely to give them Tuberculosis.

Life will be almost impossible at first, a hard, endless grind of wet, brutal days, long, cold nights and desperate survival. But the countryside will be the only place where you can survive, an oxygen tent in a dark world of unspeakable horror and toxic filth, so you will at least be able to persevere, to keep going, to stay alive. At first you will work like a hamster on a wheel, exhausting yourself to little or no profit. In time, though, there will be progress: the windmill and the water wheel will begin to turn again; the river will run relatively clean and corpse free; the ground will relent and begin to yield misshapen root vegetables, which will be great delicacies; a cup of acorn coffee in a chipped enamel mug will be luxury; every drop of milk squeezed from a cow or goats teat will be a delight, a triumph - a victory.

Life will not be easy, and it will not be better, but it will have more value - it will mean something, precisely because it is so difficult to hang on to. Family life will be of the utmost importance once again and, eventually, a social system will begin to tentatively reassert itself. There will be friendship, kindness, co-operation – even charity. In the evenings, there will be music and laughter and companionship. Life will be more than just existence. Then the Plagues will begin.

Saturday, 14 November 2015


This is 'Stuart somebody or other'. That's my tankard he's holding and I want it back. If you see him, do let him know that regardless of whether he returns my property or not, I'm going to bang him on the clavicle with the pommel of my Smatchet. That's not a threat, as I fully expect the action outlined in the statement to take place, but I can't actually promise it, so I'm hedging my bets to a certain extent. If it’s in my power, I will totally Smatch him. Because I really miss that tankard. And all that it represents. 

What it mainly represents is continuity. That tankard has hung behind the bar of my local pub for the last nine years. I may not go in the pub every day, or even every week, but, when I do, the tankard is there, and Brian the landlord has it filled with Bacardi before I’ve unzipped my anorak. Post-crisis, I will make my way to that pub. It will be a pilgrimage, of sorts. If the pub is still open, and a type of life still goes on, I shall enjoy a drink from my tankard and think that, no matter how bad things might be elsewhere, there is always this place, this drink, this moment, an oasis of pre in the post, a parcel of the past.

If the pub is closed, or if Bob’s naked body is nailed to the door, even if the place has been burned to the ground, I will retrieve my tankard, bloodied or blackened though it may be, and take it with me on my onward journey. Then the tankard would serve as a relic of a time never to return, a world that is lost to us all for all time. It would hold no Bacardi, then, only a thin, colourless gruel made from things that we would have previously jet washed from the drive. Every sip would be a stark reminder of how low we had been laid but at least I'd have my memories - and my tankard. 

So, yes, it meant something, Stuart whoever, you dirty thief, you robber of dreams, and I will have my revenge upon you and yours and theirs. Enjoy your beer, fucker! 

Tuesday, 10 November 2015


I recently had an interesting discussion with a friend about Power Animals, an animistic feature of some neo-shamanistic philosophies. Each whole human being apparently has a spirit or power animal within them, a symbiote that reflects elements of its human host’s personality as well as imparting its defining characteristics to them and providing protection. With training, a person can access their power animal in times of need and commune with it in order to find extra reserves or, indeed, a cool, calm place of inner safety. Other outcomes may ensue. I’ve done some research and discovered that my power animal is The Hawk, a creature which represents vision and intuition, perspective and observation. It’s not a particularly tight fit, if I’m honest, but I’m okay with that, hawks are cool. 

I’m not sure how I would feel if my power animal was from a species I didn’t like or admire. For every jaguar there is a yak, for every shark, a baboon. I hate and fear baboons, and have done ever since I watched the film The Sands Of Kalahari as a child. Unbelievably, earlier this year, I had to attend a corporate thing at a local wildlife park, what we used to call a zoo. The ‘treat’ of the day was to feed a troop of thirty or so baboons. I’m an intelligent, rational man in my forties, so was not prepared for the sickening rush of paranoia and dread that came over me as I thought of having to hand feed some hideous, dead eyed ape, its unspeakable yellow fangs bared for food, for fun, for sport, its stone age mind pondering whether to humour me or to rip me from throat to groin and drape key bits over a branch for later. Naturally, the illogical fear turned out to be illogical: there was a Perspex wall between humans and baboons at all times. Of course there was: it seems preposterous that I ever thought otherwise. The monsters’ keeper, an enthusiastic lady who was clearly enthralled by her animal charges, gasped in horror and shook her head slowly when I asked if she ever went into their enclosure. As I suspected, baboons don’t play nice, and that sort of cross-species interaction would be short and bloody. 

The walls of their enclosure were covered in a matt black material that stopped them from climbing out. It required constant attention, as the baboons spent a great deal of their time trying to escape. It occurred to me that, post-Crisis, these unattended bastards would be messing around with my satellite dish by tea time. An involuntary shudder rippled through my body. One of the juvenile male baboons noticed the movement, and stared blankly at me. As instructed by the keeper, I lowered my gaze. My human ego was furious; the wise hawk within me felt relief.

The most interesting thing I found out was that the alpha male, the boss, the one with the reddest arse, the most fur, the biggest muscles, the most prominent snout and jaw and brow, the one that swatted the kids and bullied the women and pushed all the other lesser males around, that guy – the one I feared the most – had a secret. His secret was that the colourful bottom, the coat, the bulk, the face were, technically, on loan, like the hat and coat and chain of a Civic Mayor. When his time as the boss was over, when his dominance was challenged and he was deposed, he would just go back to normal, just another beta schmuck. It struck me that this was exactly the same in the human kingdom: leaders are often physically pumped up by power, diminished by returning to ordinary life. Look at Bush and Blair, two men who looked in the prime of life when leading their respective countries, but now look like the desiccated corpses they left scattered around the world - one foot in the mass grave. With anyone else, it could be a question of conscience, but I hardly think these gentlemen are troubled by anything quite as obvious as that.

Post-Crisis, who knows what genetic marks of authority will eventually evolve, what physical characteristics will come to identify the warlord, the magus, the enforcer, the dictator, the high priestess, the fixer, the mandarin, the general, the lawmaker, the slaver, the God? Will these accoutrements of authority be new, or will they simply be half-remembered signifiers from lost stereotypes, mosaic memories of cinema and television, folkloric flecked tropes of what once constituted a man or woman of distinction or difference, whether elevated by intellect or force of will, natural talent, hard work or hard fists and feet? Make no mistake, the post-Crisis hierarchy will need to be savage, as dangerous to its fellows as a tightly wound king baboon surrounded by rivals it must fight, fuck or flick away. Who knows how this will manifest itself in the faces and arses of the chosen ones? Who dares imagine it? Certainly not this Hawk Man hybrid.

Monday, 9 November 2015


It's three minutes to three on a Monday morning. I'm sitting in my dressing gown having just eaten a bowl of Granola. I went forty years without knowing that Granola even existed, and I still don't have a really deep understanding of it, but up until a few moments ago it seemed invested with almost magical powers.

At 2.30 am, I was laying awake, listening to the general low hum of non-specific anxiety trying to force itself to the front of my mind. This whine of worry immobilised me, but not to the point of unconsciousness, that would have been too easy. It occurred to me that I should get up and go downstairs - not to shoot myself, or start writing a novel, not even to draw up some diagrams and make detailed plans to get me out of the mostly bullshit existential hole I was looking up out of. Instead, I decided that a bowl of Granola would sort me out, that a bowl of Granola was just what I needed, a bowl of Granola would help. But it hasn't helped, it hasn't helped at all.

I don't blame the Granola, it doesn't make any claims for itself as a solution to anything, not even on the box. But my faith in it as something other than a sweet, high calorie breakfast food is indicative of the way we live now, where everything buyable and gettable comes charged with a meaning and purpose borne out of desperation, like a quest for the missing piece that will complete your jigsaw. And, yes, that's how it is with Granola: I didn't have it before, I don't need it now, but I somehow feel that eating a bowl of it will make me feel better about myself. The Granola is a smartphone, or a big telly; it's a holiday, or toast rack muscles; new shoes, new car, new car smell. In my head, it's ambrosia smothered in nectar and served in the Holy Grail. In reality, it's a bucket of distraction, with a cold glug of real life poured over it. The fact is that it will not complete me, or make me a better person, nothing will: I'm already fully formed; for better or worse, this is it.  

I've got to be up at 7. I normally have Granola first thing, so now I'll have to think of something else. More problems. Yet another new day ruined by unrealistic expectations.

Thursday, 5 November 2015



This is not a joke, or a dark, subversive fantasy resulting from a twisted mind and an evening class in Photoshop, so please look very hard at this very genuine infographic that recently appeared in The Washington Post, and feel cold, then warm, then cold again terror. This is obviously an awful portent of The Crisis to come. It may even be The Crisis here and in action, smoothly running through the gears until it hits Turbo Apocalypse. There are only two micro crumbs of personal comfort to be had:

1. This is currently very much an American problem, and clearly the result of letting ridiculous people have guns and toddlers without first explaining how important it is to keep them apart, and -

2. statistically, at the moment, the kids are mainly a danger to themselves.

I'm so glad that we don't have inalienable rights in the UK, even if it does mean that when I look out of my window I can see Michael Gove giggling and fracking the fuck out of my back garden.

Right, time to get back to worrying about this, even though none of them actually have their finger on the trigger -