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a book of wisdom
not answers

Andrew Lloyd









The Wanderer lay in his bed. It was midday. He didn't get up anymore
and hadn't for years. No point. Beside him lay his shadow. His burden. It
was all the times he'd been let down, all the times he’d been insulted or
ignored when he should have praised or encouraged. It was every time
he'd been judged for his lack of looks, every time his abilities had been
overlooked because he didn't know the right people, every time he was
just a stranger. It was all the times he'd been rejected in life - and there
were many. It was every bad decision he had ever made - and, these
days, he didn't make any other kind. It was all these things and more
besides hardened and ossified over decades so that they had become his
very environment, his experience of life, all he knew. Everything he
pondered about life and the world was in this context.

And yet despite all this pain and ugliness he still wanted to see beauty, he
still wanted to risk imagining something pretty. It was his only hope. He
oscillated between hope and despair.

And yet to do this it felt at times as if he needed to be made of stone.
Feelings are risks that some people cannot afford to take. Its not that the
pain can get too much, although of course it can, its that sometimes you
would just do anything to have some respite from it. If only you could be
made of Adamantium, unbreakable, impenetrable. Life is bleak and there
is the ever present question of what it is for. This was a real, genuine,
constant problem for The Wanderer. He was really alone in the world and
couldn't make out why he was there or what the point of it was. Why not
just end it? There is nothing to lose and you are only bringing the
schedule forward anyway rather than changing the script. We all die. And
yet the beauty of place stays the hand again. A special place, Das Feld,
brings a feeling of safety.

But what to do when life is a constant struggle, when every activity
comes with a "what for?" attached? The feeling of melancholy permeates
all existence, you struggle to find a survival strategy. Little things assume
meaning out of all proportion to their importance both in good and bad
ways. You are frightened.

Things occasionally fall apart. You become random, up and down. One
minute this, the next that. The randomness becomes a defence and you
seek out the new just so that you don't have to bear the same day after
day. It all becomes about how you experience the now. There is no
tomorrow, no yesterday. Just let now be bearable you think to yourself. I
want to forget. There is only this moment. You stop thinking of life as an
ongoing narrative because that will only remind you how terrible it has
been and how hopeless it is yet to be.

"Oh what have I become?" thinks The Wanderer. He laments his
existence. There is an upset, a breakdown, a glitch, in his existence. Its
one of many choke points he has had in life. He knows there will be more.
Oh terrible burden that he has been given.

He considers himself in a photograph. He is sitting at a table outside in
the woods of the Spreewald, an area south east of Berlin, all lakes and
rivers and trees. He is eating ice cream from a bowl. An enigmatic smile
plays on his face, not overt but discernible nevertheless. One imagines
the smile is for the photographer but we do not see who that is. And then
he considers the feelings that he felt inside as the picture was being taken
and that tells a different story. We never know the things that people
carry with them daily. Only The Wanderer sees his shadow. Only The
Wanderer feels the burden. Only The Wanderer cannot be without it.

The Wanderer writes a pain symphony, an ode to his sufferings. He
dances with momentary and tragic joy, covered in the armour that allows
him to go on living, that both protects and isolates him.

But it is not enough. You can make a noise to drown out something else
but eventually you must stop. All the survival strategies come to nought
and what you are is still there, plain and simple, in front of you.
Acknowledging it, you come to the moment of existential crisis that such
acknowledgment always brings. The Wanderer collapses under a tree. He
has sought solace in mountains and woods far away from other people.
He wants to be absorbed into the ground.

He finds himself surrounded by trees in a forest that blocks out the world.
There is only him now, him and the ghosts that swirl around him, the
ghosts of his past, of himself, of this place and the others who came here
seeking peace from the dissonance with which they were plagued. This is
a portal between worlds, one of life and one of death, a place of decision.

He is overcome by a regretful, repenting sorrow - for himself certainly.
But also for his life - as an experience and as a thing that was thrust upon
him. For years he would gladly have given it back and he wishes he could
now. And he realises that, for all his years, he is left with the same
problem, the same conundrum, he always had: how to make sense of all
the things he is when they just don't make sense.

SAYINGS AND IDEAS (influenced by Zen and Tao)

1 An ant on the move does more than a dozing ox.

2 What you do right now is what matters.

3 The only Zen you find at the top of a mountain is the Zen you bring with

4 The problem is that ego can convert anything to its own use, even

5 Best be still; best be empty. In stillness and emptiness we find where to

abide. Talking and moving we lose this place.

6 The fundamental delusion of humanity is to suppose that I am here and

you are out there.

7 In the pursuit of knowledge: every day something is added. In the

pursuit of enlightenment: every day something is dropped.

8 Whatever you do, you do to yourself.

9 Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.

10 However many holy words you read, however many you speak, what
good will they do you if you do not act upon them?

11 It is the child that sees the primordial secret of nature and it is the
child of ourselves we return to.

12 Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment,

chop wood, carry water.

13 The mind of non-mind, the thought of non-thought.

14 Ordinary mind is the way. If you seek it you cannot find it. The way is
not a matter of knowing or not knowing.

15 To understand nothing takes time.

16 Hope and fear are phantoms that arise from thinking of the self. When
we don't see the self as self, what do we have to fear?

17 You may say, "I must do something this afternoon" but actually there
is no "this afternoon". We do things one after the other. That is all.

18 Every morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters


19 Be mindful of intention. Intention is the seed that creates our future.

20 Do everything with a mind that let's go.

21 The mad mind does not halt. If it halts, that is enlightenment.

22 If your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything; it is open to


23 When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.

24 If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best time
of your life.

25 Can you remain unmoving until the right action arises by itself? The
action of non-action.

26 A fool sees himself as another, but a wise man sees others as himself.

27 Step into the fire of self-discovery. This fire will not burn you, it will
only burn what you are not.

28 By plucking the petals, you do not gather the beauty of the flower.

29 We shape the clay into a pot, but it is the emptiness inside that holds
whatever we want.

30 The wise one is one who knows what they do not know.

31 We may idolize freedom but when it comes to our habits we are

completely enslaved.

32 All wrongdoing arises because of mind.

33 This is the time. This is the place. This is the vastness. Right here is
paradise. Always. Always.

34 The world is won by those who let it go.

35 All conditioned things are impermanent.

36 Ask a cloud "What is your date of birth? Before you were born, where
were you?"

37 Where ignorance is your master there is no possibility of real peace.

38 Zen teaches nothing; it merely enables us to wake up and become

aware. It does not teach, it points.

39 You are one with everything; that things are separate is an illusion.

40 What is malleable is always superior to that which is immovable. This

is mastery through adaptation.

41 For all things difficult to acquire, the intelligent one works with

42 The only thing we really have control over is our own experience.

43 “From my own limited experience I have found that the greatest

degree of inner tranquility comes from the development of love and
compassion.” - The 14th Dalai Lama

44 When you seek it, you cannot find it.

45 The truth you believe and cling to makes you unavailable to hear
anything new.

46 The entire teaching of Buddhism can be summed up in this way:

Nothing is worth holding on to.

47 When your inner commentary finally ends, your happiness can finally

48 The one who knows how little he knows is well. The one who knows
how much he knows is sick.

49 True peace cannot be achieved by force… it can only be attained by
training the mind and learning to cultivate.

50 Treat every moment as your last. It is not preparation for something


51 As long as you seek for something you will get the shadow of reality
and not reality itself.

52 What you possess, you lose.

53 A person stands in their own shadow and wonders why it is dark.

54 To give up yourself without regret is the greatest charity.

55 All that we are arises with our thoughts.

56 If you wonder what Buddhism has to offer you, the answer is nothing.
If you wonder what life is about, the answer is the same.

57 The truth knocks on the door and you say, "Go away! I'm looking for
truth," and so it goes away.

58 You have a treasure within you that is infinitely greater than anything
the world can offer.

59 Flow with whatever happens and let your mind be free.

60 Our life is shaped by our mind. We become what we think.

61 Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world.

62 It takes a wise person to learn from their mistakes, but an even wiser
person to learn from others.

63 High understanding comes from not understanding at all.

64 Experience this moment to its fullest.

65 The quieter you become, the more you can hear.

66 Practice non-action. Work without doing.

66 Whether a man dispassionately sees to the core of life or passionately
sees the surface, they are essentially the same.

67 God or no god, infinite divinity or eternal emptiness; they are the

same thing.

68 True happiness is based on peace.

69 Composure is the ruler of instability.

70 Those who know don't talk. Those who talk don't know.

71 Do not seek the truth, only cease to cherish your opinions.

72 In the confrontation between the stream and the rock the stream
always wins; not through strength but perseverance.

73 Renunciation is not getting rid of the things of this world but accepting
that they pass away.

74 Everything will come. Exactly as it does.

75 Meditation is a skillful letting go and the skill of letting go.

76 Be like water.

77 The no-mind thinks no-thoughts about no-things.

78 The soft and supple will prevail.

79 How you live today is how you live your life.

80 In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities but in the expert's
mind there are few.

81 When you get to the top of the mountain, keep climbing.

82 Can you see time? No. Then you should stop looking for it.

83 There is no connection between I myself yesterday and I myself in this

moment. Who I am tomorrow is not connected to who I am today.

84 Becoming awake involves seeing our confusion more clearly.

85 When you realise there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to

86 Stop measuring days by degree of productivity and start experiencing

them by degree of presence.

87 The moment we desire to be something we are no longer free.

88 When you realise there is nothing lacking the whole world belongs to

89 The brush must draw by itself.

90 If right were really right it would differ so clearly from not right that
there would be no argument. Is that how you experience right?

91 The sacred lies in the ordinary.

92 Understand yourself and then you will understand everything.

93 The stories you tell yourself create a "you" that is not true.

94 Empty yourself of everything. Let the mind rest at peace.

95 If you are not happy here and now you never will be.

96 Die in your thoughts every morning and you will no longer fear death.

97 Mindfulness is the aware, balanced acceptance of the present


98 Time is not a line but a series of now-points.

99 You need not do anything but be yourself.

100 There is only your perception of time.

101 Change how you see and see how you change.

102 The infinite is the finite of every instant.

103 The beginner sees many possibilities, the expert few. Be a beginner
every day.

104 Loss is not as bad as wanting more.

105 The one on their way remains unknown.

106 Everything changes. There is nothing to stick to. That is the Buddha's
most important teaching.

107 Relearn everything. Let every moment be a new beginning.

108 We must realise that nothing is as it seems, that what we think is not
the same as what is.

109 All teachings are mere references. The true experience is living your
own life.

110 In difference there is completeness. In completeness there is


111 Know nothing.

112 No self is true self.

113 Be happy without reason.

114 If you realise that all things change there is nothing you will try to
hold on to.

115 Life is like stepping into a boat that is about to sail out to sea and

116 Your suffering is my suffering and your happiness is my happiness.

117 Abandon learning and you will be free from trouble and distress.

118 The torch of chaos and doubt, this is what the sage steers by.

119 To a mind that is still the whole universe surrenders.

120 Being free of desires it is tranquil. And the world will be at peace of
its own accord.

121 If you understand, things are just as they are. If you do not
understand, things are just as they are.

122 With eyes watching, one cannot see. With eyes closed, one can see

123 If you want to climb a mountain, begin at the top.

124 No matter how hard the past, you can always begin again.

125 Be a master of the mind, not mastered by the mind.

126 Not creating delusions is enlightenment.

127 Don't be interested in high-flown statements; bite your apple and

don't discuss it.

128 Let things flow forward naturally in whatever way they like.

129 The holiest beliefs and the highest thoughts offer you nothing.

130 The world doesn't happen to you; you happen to it.

131 Simplicity, patience, compassion: these are your greatest treasures.

132 Thoughts aren't really fixed realities, but simply movements of the
mind that is thinking.

133 Sheer futility, sheer futility: everything is futile. Everything is as

insubstantial as fog. You try to grasp it, you cannot.

134 Much wisdom, much grief; the more knowledge, the more sorrow.

135 There is no disaster greater than not being at peace.

136 Laughter is a madness and pleasure no use at all.

137 There is nothing to be gained under the sun.

138 All is futility and chasing after the wind.

139 Be peace. Live peace.

140 We have to allow ourselves to realise we are complete fools;

otherwise we have nowhere to begin.

141 Humility is its own reward and appropriate to what we are.

142 People like what is not true and they don't like what is true.

143 Truth is many.

144 A compassionate mind is a diligent mind.

145 There is a season for everything and a time for all tasks.

146 Stop looking for a point.

147 A flower falls, even though we love it; a weed grows, even though we
do not love it.

148 Every new moment matters most. Concentrate on now.

149 If my mind doesn't go out to disturb the noise, the noise won't
disturb me.

150 We see thoughts for what they are: the passionate attachment to
unreal and non-substantial things.

151 The identity fades, the energy remains.

152 Be compassionate to all living things insofar as you can.

153 To see beyond ego is riches indeed.

154 To every person is given a key to heaven. The same key may also
take you to hell.

155 Live slowly. Be attentive.

156 To understand everything is to forgive everything.

157 Nurture an innate recognition of your interconnectedness to all

158 "Is" is a deception in a world where everything is always becoming.

159 Look without searching. See without knowing.

160 A wise person sees others as themselves.

161 The function of mind is response. The function of life is adaptation.

Forests are adaptations of seeds and seeds of dust.

162 Be content to be simply yourself without competition or comparison.

This is respect.

163 Just live your day. Do your tasks. And then sleep. Nothing more is
required of you.

164 The path to enlightenment is underneath your feet. Stay on the path.

165 Being is still; expression, moving.

166 Whatever you're doing, you're doing it now.

167 When there is no desire all things are at peace.

168 Wherever there is absence of self there are no others, because in

absence of self I am all others.

169 We are here to awaken from the illusion of our separateness.


Why do people go mad? Because making sense becomes impossible for
them. They reverse into a world where they are relieved of the burden of
making sense.

Why are the people who make sense regarded as the healthy ones and
the ones who can’t or who refuse to regarded as the unhealthy ones?

I spread strawberry jam on my face with an oversized knife.

Imagine that things float free, set loose from the moorings your sane
intellect has created for them. Can you continue to function? But function
as what?

I want to go into the forest, stand against a tree, and press myself into it
so that we become one. Then I will stand there, motionless, for 500 years
knowing how it feels to be a tree.

Many living things, animals, plants, live but not as we do. Are they lesser
forms of life, or just different ones? Are they freer or more restrained?
More or less alive?

G. The greater the intelligence, the greater the madness.

Absurdity: the theory that all life is insane. Because none of it makes

The degree to which the human psyche, the human mentality, HAS to
make sense of things in order to function. This does not have to be right.
It just has to work within its own frame of reference and experience of
life. It is an absurdity that there is no right. It is another absurdity that
we imagine there to be one.

Qoheleth is unequivocal: it is the greatest of absurdities: everything is

How would you define that form of life that, as part of its very make​up, is
fated to make sense of things that make no sense, is fated to make sense
of things that are binding only for each individual self and that cannot be
proved or demonstrated beyond that except by simple inter​subjective
agreement? Is that not the very definition of absurd?

Fated to think and fated to never reach a final conclusion.

Human beings cannot handle randomness or chaos but their problem is
that this is the nature of what is. That is why they have developed as
categorizers, systematizers and bean counters, utilitarian beings who
make equal what is not just so that it can, thereby, become useful to
them as a form of life. It was Nietzsche who said well over a century ago
that “the will to system is a lack of integrity”.

Thinking is a burden. Oft times I wish that I couldn’t. Many animals seem
to live better lives than humans, if shorter and more primeval ones. But is
that not the point? Modern life is fake and vacuous. Its no longer real but
hyperreal, something manufactured over what real life was and now
representative of something that no longer exists. This is why if you “go
back to nature” you suddenly feel alive again. Because modern life is not
being alive. Its merely existing. A tree, a mountain, a rock, feels more
real to me than modern life.

Chasing after wind, rolling a stone up a hill and then, when at the top,
having it roll down so that you must endlessly repeat the task, these are
just two ways that writers have characterized human life.

Absurdity would be when all possible answers to your problem make
equally as little sense, when all options are no option, when satisfaction
would be not an answer but a wish that the problem didn’t exist in the
first place.

You exist: that is the problem.

The most profound misunderstanding is to ask why there is something
rather than nothing. We assume that because we can ask a question that
that question is a genuine question, is important and needs to be asked.
This does not follow at all. It is the false logic of the Christian who argues
that because we observe that things are made by someone then all that is
must have been equally willed and/or made. It takes a strong and slightly
unhinged mind to accept that things just are without thought or will. Or
simply one that lets go.

People are always saying that you should “believe in yourself”. But how
can you trust someone who you made up from nothing, about whom you
believe false things and who exists merely for your own ultimate benefit?
People lie to themselves every day and for entirely selfish reasons. It is
part of the process of living. And this is to neglect the egotistical idea that
you even matter. Do you matter? Why do you matter, really? It all comes
down to some human-​generated value system in the end which is as
fragile as the puny flesh we are made from. You justify yourself because
you have to justify yourself to survive.

It is absurd that by willing something you can make it so, a pretend king
in your own little kingdom.

Human beings are trapped in a form of life that they must either accept or

How far down does the necessary human self​ deception go in order to
live? All the way down for there is no solid ground to stand on. Everything
starts in some unjustifiable but absolutely necessary assumption. The
greatest of absurdities is that everything is absurd.

Human beings are never satisfied. This is absurd.

You had no choice over whether you were born or not and you will have
no choice over whether you die or not. Absurd.

Does the tiny piece of grit in the ocean puff itself up in the vast depths of
the ocean and proclaim that it is a very important piece of grit? Does the
small moon in the endless enormity of space proclaim that it is a very
important moon? Who would hear them if they did? Why then does the
equally insignificant human being imagine in their illusory state that they
matter? Because they have no choice. This, too, is absurd.

We are like ants in the grass just going about our insignificant little
lifespans, playing out our existences over the random amount of time
they have been set. And we have assigned ourselves a self​-importance to
enable our more developed consciousness to function in this environment.
We are a form of life adapted to our surroundings but that is not without
daily casualties. We struggle and stress to survive, we climb over those
who cannot cope, we cast them aside so that we may survive. We go
further and further down the rabbit hole. In the end none of it matters. If
we ever truly saw that we would cease to exist… and then begin existing!

Qoheleth said: In much wisdom there is much trouble and by increasing
your knowledge you increase your sorrow (Ecclesiastes 1:18). Yet more
absurdity, proof both that if there were a god he would be mad and also
that there can be no such god.

You have been given an internal world. You have an illusion of control
over it. In truth, you have as little control over it as you do the world
outside yourself. Everywhere the illusion of control. This is absurd.

What kind of conclusion can it be that it is better to be an insensible
beast? An absurd one.

When not understanding actually hurts that is absurd.

Every pleasure becomes exhausted in the end. It is never enough. There
is always more you could have. Absurd.

The modern life of job, work, toil, labour, debt, credit, wages, is
human-​invented misery: it is servitude of the many to the few. It is not
absurd. It is evil. But, like any system of power, it exists to punish those
who will not play along and it only works if it makes everyone subject to
it. If you could live a free, happy life outside of that system you would. So
it makes sure that you can’t without a great deal of effort. And there it
uses an inbuilt human deficiency: we prefer convenience. No one who
takes part in that system is remotely free. You have traded what illusion
of freedom you had for illusions of security and comfort.

Maybe this is just me but I don’t accept the deal whereby I give you my
labour and you give me some money. Money is just bits of paper. It is
useless to me and useful only for surrounding myself with lots of needless
crap. I see through the illusion of worth that people give to it. It is absurd
that you think I can be bought for a few pieces of paper. It is bizarre that
you think life is about comparison with others and what they have.

Where are rest and peace ultimately to be found? In completely letting
go, in the void, in not existing. Existence is a burden and trouble.

That nothing lasts, no moment of enjoyment, no moment of rest, no
peaceful existence, no moment of insight, is absurd and a terrible burden.

The more you have, the less you have actually got. This is absurd.

Beauty does not last. This is absurd.

Perhaps the most absurd thing of all is that nothing lasts. We are
temporary, swamped in such an enormity of time and space that we
cannot fully recognise just how insignificant we and everything we can

ever experience really is. You cannot imagine even 1,000 years. How then
can you fathom 10 billion?

Better to be a wave in the sea than a human being? Absurd.

The desire for more is absurd. One more grain of sugar will not make any
difference to your tea. The measures we have are completely inadequate
to the enormity of our task.

You can imagine that what is crooked has been made straight. But is it
still crooked or is it straight?

Coherence is fake. Our world is incoherent.

Human beings like to rejoice in the fact there there is more, a bigger
context. But in the end all you can do is rejoice in yourself. And in that
you find that it is not enough. Everyone craves more. It is like a thirst
that can never be satisfied. But that won’t stop you trying. It is an absurd

Human suffering is absurd. It serves no purpose. It is just misery.

In death is everything made absurd?

Anything that ends cannot be fully satisfying. It is like a meal that had
something missing. And yet something that never ended would be empty.

Is it better to be dead or alive? That such a question even exists as a live
option is a proof of absurdity.

Better the dead than the living and better than both to have never been
born. So says Qoheleth (Ecclesiastes 4:2​3).

Have human beings developed, in evolutionary terms, beyond their
capacity to deal with it? Only the blind think that there are no casualties.
Of course, we were never made to last. We live for a few decades and
then die because who could tolerate this existence for centuries or more?

The ego is the cruelest punishment ever visited upon human beings. How
much misery does it bring? For this you would hurt many people and
yourself as well. It is totally absurd.

That a being defined by its wanting to know more should be
simultaneously defined by its absolute lack of knowledge is absurd.

In the end, you just want to fade away into the absurdity of it all. Is
acceptance the answer?


Its so completely hot and sweaty in this room where I've imprisoned
myself for most of the last 4 years. If I open the window I get hay fever
so its closed. I could probably name every item in this room were I
kidnapped and forced to name the contents at gunpoint. (I wish that
would happen. It would at least be more exciting.) Everything here is
completely mundane. Boxes, plugs, clothes dumped in a corner. An empty
computer table, an old family heirloom of a wardrobe. But this room is not
mine. I'm here under protest (hers and mine) in my ______ spare
bedroom. A bird that should have long flown the nest. Who did fly but
found out that his wings just really aren't that strong. A stunted
motherfucker who cannot fly on his own. Even after several aborted
attempts. I ask myself for the ten thousandth time just what the point of
me is.

Note to readers: Don't believe the narrator here. He's a liar.

Nietzsche said that the demand to be loved is the greatest kind of
arrogance. I know exactly what he means. The more I think about life,
the less I think any of us are worth. Imagine how the ant or even the
amoeba looks to us. Its nothing. Its less than nothing. No one cares what
happens to it. There are millions upon millions of both of these creatures.
Yet why, in the abstract, are we any more important than them? There
can be but one answer: we aren't. At all. To some other being we would
be just as the ant or the amoeba. Just a meaningless, pointless,
insignificant being. Something you want to shoo away or, worse, kill by
pouring hot water on. (My gran used to kill ants in her back garden by
pouring boiling water down the cracks she observed them coming out of.)
So is that what each of us is, a pointless bug whose only contribution to
life is that we might become a pest that needs to be scalded to death?

A related thought: in the context of a billion planets just how important
does that make you or me? We need to talk about this thing called ego
which is the best "mountain out of a molehill" machine ever invented.

There's a girl talking to me on Twitter today. I think she's probably trying
to "cheer me up" or be a friend. I imagine, from what little I know of her,
that she has had her fair share of pain in life too. I'm resistant to engage
- although I always do join in with these things because I can't help
myself. The trouble is that people have this habit of forming bonds from
the most insignificant of regular contacts. I've been down that road
before. The pain it has caused is just never-ending. Why can't people just
keep to themselves a bit more? That'll be the pain talking.

What ifs: Imagine every thought you ever had was available to the public.
Imagine you couldn't tell a lie. Imagine people knew what you thought of
them just by looking at you. Life is based on lies, dissimulation, avoidance
and being deceptive. Another sense in which "hell is other people".

I cry most days now. It seems somehow appropriate.

I've had an idea in my head for the longest time. Its to write a revenge
story. The revenge, through the medium of the story, is upon all my
previous girlfriends one by one who suffer violence and worse at the
hands of a fictional attacker. It’s a pretty clear fantasy based on my
feelings of powerlessness. Does it make me a bad person to want to have
a feeling of power? Consider that apocalyptic writing - such as the biblical
Revelation - is very much the same thing. It’s the powerless wanting to
dream of power and victory over the things that take those same things
away. Attachment is the enemy.

And, after all, I am so totally impotent.

We all die one day at a time. But some of us die more thoroughly than
that. We die ONE SECOND at a time and we can't help but count them off
in an orgiastic, terrible car crash observation of our mortality. Not for us
the carefree life full of glorious distractions. No. Our life gets to be full of
counting down the fragments of unhappiness until, inevitably, there will
be no more left. Not only do we die at the end but our every day was also
that end foreshadowed. Every moment pregnant with bitterness. Its not
that we resent life or welcome death. Its that we know death is emptiness

and every day we taste what that empty, hollowness really is about.
There is no satisfaction in it, no nourishment. Nothingness is not a
positive of any kind. And so every moment is spoiled and infected by it.
Existence, which will be proved futile by its end, is made futile day by day
in its anticipation.

I am __ years old. I have NO actual friends. (No, not even one.) The only
person I regularly see is __ ______ (who I largely don't want to actually
see). This has been the case for the vast majority of the last four years.

My life has been the history of my giving up. Maybe one day, just by force
of will or lack of effort, I will just stop breathing or my heart will stop
beating. So when did I give up? Maybe it was at age __ when a helpful
female babysitter, herself only __ or __, introduced me to the sexualised
female body. Or maybe it was at __ when I suffered my first panic attack
and thought I was going to die. Then again, it could have been on
September 1st 2010 when, after 6 years of living in Germany, I was
forced by lack of money to return to the UK and so begin my current
prison sentence. Or maybe, more recently, it was less than one year ago
when the knife was twisted once more by a German hipster and her fear
that I could never be what she wanted me to be. She was right, of
course, but she could have given me a proper chance.

Maybe you wonder what goes through my head, dear reader. Well my last
two songs were called "Existential Crisis" and "Dead Tired". Do I really
need to spell it out?

This autobiography is not meant to be a justification of me by the way.
There's nothing here to justify. I'm not the greatest of people. In fact, you
could condemn me for one of a million crimes (actual and metaphorical).
I'm fairly realistic about myself. If you want a moral person, a person who
fits in with the world, someone who goes along with things without
thinking too much about them, well then I'm not your man.

I actually told my last girlfriend that the girlfriend before her (who wasn't
really a girlfriend because she always refused to commit) was better
looking than her. The last girlfriend had had weight issues through her life

and was very sensitive about both appearance and weight. So when she
saw a picture of my girlfriend before her and when she learned that she
was about 30 kilos less in weight than her she had a big downer on this
fact. I imagine she wondered how she could ever hope to compete with
that. I guess I did a really bad job of pointing out that, actually, she didn't
need to compete with that because it was only her bed I ever wanted to
be in. But, yeah, as the relationship went further south I cared less about
what I said and it turned into a game of just saying what came into my
head and standing back to see what reaction I got. Cruel in one way, I
know. But then I also see that we all stand responsible for what threads
we want to pull from the twisted haystack of life. Pull one at your own
peril. Relationships are entanglements.

Here is a life lesson: we can choose NOT to know things. And we should
make that choice more often than we do. The original sin.

My name is ______ _____ _____. I am the first-born son of _____
_______ _____, a drunken, absentee father, and _______ _____ _____,
an uneducated, naively Christian mother.

I'm staring at my thigh, pondering the nature of flesh and what it means
to be flesh, to be physical. What occurs to me is that physical things can
be damaged. If they are sentient that means they can be hurt. To be
physical is to be vulnerable, to be subject to change, to be TEMPORARY.
These are inherent, unavoidable features.

I am a man who has been exposed to scholarship of the worst kind (by
the lights of a moralist's judgment). It was at university in the mid
nineties and early 2000s that I was exposed to Nietzsche and Rorty and
Stanley Fish and Sartre and Foucault. They taught me that
metanarratives are constructed bullshit, the results of people trying to
make meaning for themselves, conviction-based fictions: confiction. They
were my Enlightenment and set out for me the crisis of being. I entered
university a potential ordinand. I left it a convicted atheist.

I am a wanderer, a loner, a shadow. I did not choose this path. I never
really chose any path because I never had a clue how or what to choose.

Regrets. When I think about it right now I don't really feel any regrets.
Maybe that's because today I feel numb again. Feeling is a risk and
sometimes a risk too far. I am sure that if I really thought about it I
would regret nearly every decision, or non-decision, I ever made and,
thus, I would regret ever being born and being thrust into a world of
unavoidable decision. It is true that I regret being born. I wish I had
never lived and would take back my entire life right now if given the
chance. I am a man who never wanted life and who resents that he was
ever given it.

The issue, you see, is that joy does not balance out pain in life. It can be
true that something good happens to you and its temporary glow
banishes the darkness away to some remote corner for a while. But the
pain stays with you in life much longer than the joy does, especially if
they are not equally balanced out. How much joy is worth the pain?

My favourite land in the world is Germany. Let me tell you how it came to
be. I was laboriously winding my way through a dull, anonymous life of
underachievement when I met a woman online. She lived near to me but
turned out to be a German woman. We became involved with one
another, despite initially finding each other deeply unimpressive. She had
much more experience of life than I and I, having a life with next to
nothing written on its pages, took my meeting her as an opportunity to
get something on the board. So I pursued her until she gave in. I lived
with her, eventually in her house. Then one fateful day she came to me
and, just like that, said she was moving back to Germany. I could either
stay or come with her. Can't you just tell it was true love?

Well, I decided "in for a penny, in for a pound". Of course, I could, right
then and there, see the ending from the beginning. I was going to one
day be left alone in Germany when she moved on to the next thing. So it
turned out when one day three years later I came home from work to find
out she had decided to leave me. She was bored with that now and was
moving on to the next thing. I didn't put up a fight. I never really do. I
even helped her move away, such is my naïve, good-natured, sappiness.
But what I was left with was a ground floor flat at the foot of a wooded
mountain range next to a picturesque river in the centre of northern

Germany. And that was freedom and peace rolled into one for the first
and possibly only time in my life. That was my idyll.

There are many things about Germany I love but most of all what I love is
that its not the UK. When you are a foreigner living abroad and can't
speak the language so good people expect less of you. You can nod and
grunt and do hand gestures to occasionally explain what you mean and
the natives often don't expect much else. So I felt much less pressure
there. People are more inclined to leave you alone as you aren't one of
them. I experienced this as a great freedom. And just the chance to
experience a different culture and not be stuck in the same
energy-sapping, life-destroying sameness day after day, month after
month, year after year was like a door to a different life. And I would like
a different life. Mine is terrible.

First impressions: they are almost always right. But often its only later,
when you think about it, that you realise this is the case. The trouble is at
the time your head is full of other things, such as what you want, and you
don't think clearly.

I could never be in a relationship with someone who smokes. An
ex-girlfriend has taken up smoking again since we parted. The fact burns
into my soul like a cigarette being stubbed into my arm would burn into
my flesh. She’s making a point, isn’t she?

"I am made up of such contradictions." - Jean-Paul Sartre

I was just reading some message boards online that discuss
Existentialism. What a sorry mass of human individuals that pretend to
discuss the subject of existential angst. It seemed to me as if for them
the subject were some academic matter. Not a day's suffering between
them I would wager. The problem seems to be that people nowadays are
raised from their mother's milk with the moral imperative to believe that
life must have meaning. If the universal meanings we are given won't do
well, then, its just as simple as making up your own. Somewhere some
people did not get the memo that hundreds of thousands of people a year
kill themselves. I'll wager that more than a few do so because they can

see no point in life and find the glib suggestion to "make your own
meaning" completely unsatisfactory.

The problem is that these "academic" existentialists have still been
sequestered to the moral universe. In this place there are rights and
wrongs. And a definite right is that things must mean something. So,
even whilst recognising that life can have it issues and that so-called
existentialist philosophers might have been on to something, they do not
have the courage and the attachment to an unswerving honesty of
character to admit that if life is meaningless then it must be TOTALLY
meaningless without any back doors, escape routes or neat ways to
become the engine of all meaning yourself. The answer, it seems to me
and if you have any interest at all in being honest, is to say that there is
no meaning in general and that the meaning you make can only go so far.
Indeed, that meaning you make can even be seen as a deliberate means
of ignoring the fact that there is no general meaning to things. Its an
avoidance strategy. And like all avoidance strategies the only
recommendation it needs is that it works. Why do you think that modern
21st century human beings still believe in gods? Because within the
limited parameters it needs to work for those who believe in them, it

The human being is a very complicated thing. The psychology of the
human being no less so. The ego is fascinating (insomuch as it is a useful
fiction, of course). I'm endlessly fascinated by thinking about how human
beings lie and primarily not just to each other but to themselves. The
whole idea of how there can be several levels of consciousness (such as
your cognitive functions, your overt desires, but also more hidden needs)
is just something I could endlessly think about. (None of this is being
talked about scientifically by the way in case any of you readers are
endlessly tutting at my uneducated chatter.) Have you ever asked
yourself "Why did I do that?" Do you ever wonder how you came to
believe a certain thing or why, after a number of years, you now
apparently believe the complete opposite? These are questions upon
which I ponder.

Many years ago, when I was younger, I had some psychological problems
at school. Where they came from I don't know, although I could clearly
speculate. But, anyway, when I was about __ I was sent to the

educational psychologist once a week. There was also a similar figure who
would come to our house and give us all some "family talks". Once he
asked us all to stand up and he asked me to arrange myself, my ___ and
my _______ in the room according to how I saw us relationally. I put my
___ and my _______ right next to each other and I went and stood as far
away from them as possible whilst still remaining in the same room.

I was just asked what I do with my life. The answer was immediately
there: I piss it away one day at a time. What else would you do with a

Fake Coherence. Human beings are masters of lying to themselves. Take,
for example, the idea that your behaviour matches up to your beliefs. I
argue that, no, it doesn't. Often it doesn't at all. Indeed, I would further
ask if our behaviour has a direct connection to our beliefs at all. My
opinion on this is that people do what they do and think what they think.
Sometimes one might lead to the other. But there is no necessary
connection and no direct implication from one to the other. Surely the
inconvenient truth is that people's actions are rather more random than
we would want to believe (for reasons of morality) and we fudge
coherence after the fact. Fudging coherence is a basic human skill. But
why do we desire to seem coherent in the first place? What's wrong with
acting case by case or even randomly?

The older I get, the more music affects me emotionally. Is it that I am
changing or is it that music is affecting me more? I think its that as I get
older the more EVERYTHING is affecting me emotionally. Its by no means
a new phenomenon though. I remember being a young boy aged around
10 and hearing The Korgis’ “Everybody’s Gotta Learn Sometime” for the
first time on a radio I had sneaked into my bed. A magical moment that
sent shivers through my body. Its the same way now if I listen to
anything by Boards of Canada or Goldfrapp. Something resonates. It
seems true to my experience, like it says something vital and necessary
about my existence. The moment you find something you identify with in
life is always a special one. Yet what is identity and what is it for?

And that leads me to the topic of my own music. The impulse to make
music has always really been there from the early 80s. I remember going

on teenage holidays (these were usually church-based communal camps
as my family couldn’t afford family holidays). There I would mix with
people of different social classes and levels of wealth. I used to dream of
having instruments and being able to play and make music. I remember
at one such camp, it was over the New Year I think, there was a band on
and when they finished there was an impromptu jam session. I’m not
sure how but I got myself behind the drums. Now I was at the time an
avid air drummer and, yes, I did use my mum’s wooden spoons to do it
as it was all that was to hand. The chance to get behind a real drum kit
was a magical thing for a poor 15 or 16 year old with limited
opportunities. My dream fed on that opportunity for quite a while

But its not until relatively recently that I’ve actually be able to live my
musical dream more fully. Money has always been the issue and it always
will be for most of those of us who want to make music. This is even more
so if you are a contrary bastard like me. However, in the last 6 years or
so my musical output has massively increased. At a rough guess I’ve
probably written about 600 songs in that time. I’m proud of a number of
them but by no means all. There is a rump of material on my computer I
refuse to publish because its crap. My music has to represent me and it
has to sound like my soul. When it does I put it out there. (In the edit I
cringe that I’ve said this. What else could I sound like?)

I’ve found that the way my music sounds best is when its improvised and
as direct as possible from me to the recording. Consequently, I’ve
developed a hatred for anything that gets in the way. I need my flow to
be mediated not interrupted. So there is no lengthy writing process. That
would just seem contrived. (I despise any form of contrivance.) What
seems to be good at the time is what works and I immediately record it
and jam around it. In that sense, every song I’ve ever made is a demo.
I’ve never done anything that you would remotely call “professional”.
Fuck professional. It has to sound immediate. That is much more

I carry a lot of pain around. I care underneath. I do. And the fact I care
but everything has gone to shit anyway tears me apart every day. I
honestly don’t know how someone made of flesh is still surviving the
feelings that rage inside me daily. I even wrote a song about it,

“Adamantium”. I must be made of that wolverine compound to be
surviving. Assuming I am surviving and not just dying, slowly, painfully,
one wound at a time; the death of a thousand cuts.

My ______ is a doting ___________. She is always on the phone to
them, always finding any excuse to buy them things. And, you know
what? I don’t remember her being that way with me. And I resent that
fact. I’ve always resented it. Yes, I know its true I only exist today, __
years later, because she did what she needed to do. I also know that
there were times, particularly early on when she was abandoned by the
guy jokingly referred to as my “______”, when she contemplated not
doing it at all. Credit is due, then, and I don’t want to come across as
overly harsh or bitter. But I have to say that I have never felt supported
by her in my life. If she ever wanted anything for me it was only what she
wanted, what she thought I should have. She never cared what passions,
dreams or hopes I had. She never supported them. She is a totally
unimaginative person and the total opposite of everything and anything I
would ever aspire to be. She has spent 99.9% of her life in the same dull
____ ________ town with never a care to lift her eyes over the horizon in
the knowledge that something that’s new, different and possibly exciting
is there. Maybe the reason I despise this so is that, but for an accident of
fate, it would have been the whole of my life too.

I was not a planned pregnancy. I was an accident. Seed of an existential

Beauty, and that it will not last, is that not the saddest thought in the
world? In the 1994 film Star Trek: Generations the plot revolves around a
mad scientist portrayed by Malcolm McDowell who is trying to get back to
the Nexus, an energy ribbon that, once captured inside it, gives you your
dreams unendingly so long as you remain caught within it. How I would
wish to be in that Nexus. Then you would be with me ___.

It’s like Cypher from The Matrix. I don’t care that its not real. I just don’t
want to know.

It all comes down to the original sin: innocence lost.

Maybe we hurt ourselves because we can't help it.

“Its not enough that you do it. You have to want to do it, to want to do it
for you.” That is what she said to me. And, the more I think about it, the
more I think that was her perfect escape clause. She knew I was only
doing it because I wanted her. She was the motive. She was the prize.
What I had to do to get her were the unfortunate necessities, the price.
She didn’t realise how happy having her would have made me and how
over time - and it would have needed time - that happiness would have
changed me. She judged far too quickly. In truth, I think she panicked
because she saw only a burden and no way to move it. She saw only
herself being taken ever further out of her comfort zone. She said she
wanted to be led astray. But only in the sense of it as a romantic notion, a
poetic idea. Not in real life with real consequences. Being the person I
am, I didn’t argue. I was having doubts of my own. But none were about
her or about the situation. “Work with what you have” is my constant
motto. My doubts were about me. They were me wondering aloud about
my self-confidence, about where I was now with myself and what I could
achieve and how I could achieve it. They were doubts not conclusions,
things to be thought through, to be worked through. And, surprisingly to
me, they were not things I had anticipated at all before I went to be with
her. But when I got there they were there anyway, something unexpected
to deal with. They were scars that the present had revealed in me. I had
written her a letter, its true, expressing the issues I was facing and
suggesting that I was having doubts but if she had never said anything
would I have ever given it to her? I doubt it. It was part of my coping
process. In the end, we both just gave up. Just like that. I regret it
greatly. I regret I never had a real chance. I regret I never fought for it.
It was worth fighting for. She was worth fighting for. She still is. She
cared. Just not enough to be led astray.

Questions: What does it mean to say that “lying on the ground all day has
the same result as working a 9-5 job”? What does it mean to say
“holidays are entirely made up”? What does it say about you if you need a
holiday to escape your everyday life? What does it mean to say that
“emotions are nothing but particular sequences of electric pulses within
the context of brain chemistry”? How about the idea that “Living your life
happily is no different than living miserably”?

Its pretty hard these days to escape the notion that my life is a car crash
I’m seeing in slow motion. I’ve thought for as long as I have ever thought
about the subject that I would die friendless and alone. I’ve never really
had a reason to think otherwise. Did I ever really think my relationships
would work out? I can only say that I went into every one intending that
it would. But it seems there are some fates you can’t escape. Such as the
one in the mirror.

I’m a hard person to get along with and age hasn’t necessarily mellowed
me. Its like I have a need to test people’s patience on purpose so that
they prove worthy. I must come across as such a cunt to those who either
just don’t get it or have thin patience. And its undoubtedly done me
harm. Its cost me love and friendships.

I was born on __th January, ____ at around 4.20am. Which means what?

I have done some shameful things in life. I remember one time as a kid,
maybe even less than 11 years old, myself and another boy went to the
chip shop after Cubs. We were walking along the pavement. My memory
is sketchy but the chips must have been his. I think I asked for one which
he gave me but I wanted more. So I smashed the chips out of his hand all
over the dirty pavement and ran off, laughing. This is a classic and very
early example of the hateful habit I have of burning bridges on a whim.
What the hell has made me this way? The truly tragic thing about things
like this, and there are many others I could recount, is that its ME who
ends up getting the most grief from it. Its truly and thoroughly
self-defeating. Its like I’m doomed to self-harm.

Sometimes the only power you have is the power to smash everything up.
To the powerless even that small, pointless display is tempting because it
offers for just a fleeting moment the promise of that thing you always lack
and would never otherwise have. But the price you pay afterwards is high
and often hidden in that moment.

The most beautiful thing that ever happened to me was in a bedroom on
the third floor of a Berlin apartment building. A girl I barely knew held me

as I wept, softly. I didn’t know why I was crying and I doubt she did
either. But she held me in her lap and let me cry and I’ll never forget. The
truth is that she was the only person who has ever held me as I cried. I
cry alone now just as I did before. There’s no one to care anymore. There
only ever was for a few short weeks.

I built a prison for myself. How do I get out?

“Nothing is more powerful and creative than emptiness.” - Alan Watts

Its a hard lesson to learn but its one I’m struggling to accept that
whatever you do, however much you learn, regardless of how you grow or
gain experience, your life will always end up as just another story: the
story of you. You are a biography, a story, a history, a fiction. And it
won’t be remembered, assuming anyone ever hears or reads your story at
all. But, being a story, you should reflect on what that means. And
doesn’t mean.

"Convenience" will ruin us all. Who are you to say that the inconvenient is
not something that you might need or a lesson that you should learn?

How often does "I can't do it" actually mean "I don't want to try"?

Its so clear to me that at some point I gave up living for me. Instead, I
started to live vicariously for, or through, others. Is this a leftover from a
religious past in which the point of life was a heavenly salvation? When
you tie this in with a self-worth that registers in the minus scale it is no
wonder that I look at my life and it resembles a black hole.

When I started school, aged 5, I was the only child in the class who could
tell the time.

I have observed that people always seem to consider that the last thing
that should change is themselves. Sometimes that is the only real thing
that they should change.

My first girlfriend was called ______. I was completely unaware of her at
school until we both signed up to go on a week-long canal trip holiday. It
was there that she first came to my attention. She was 14 and I was 15.
What I remember most about that holiday was that butterfly in the
stomach feeling you get when you like someone and you begin to flirt
outrageously with them. That is perhaps the happiest and most innocent
stage of a relationship and, for that reason, maybe even the most
uncomplicated and enjoyable. It wasn’t until after the holiday though that
I actually made a move towards getting her to be my girlfriend. I had no
idea what to do. I had zero experience of girls. So I just sat at the end of
the path up to her front door as people looked through the window at me
- her mum, her dad, her brother, her friends. After a while I got asked in.
We had a brief and very naive romance. One day about three months
later I found out that she had a new boyfriend. She had never said a word
to me. The first of many sudden rejections.

How much in life have I had to learn for myself? And how has that shaped
me? I learnt to ride a bike by myself by repeatedly rolling down a hill until
I learnt to balance properly. This involved one attempt where I crashed
into someone’s fence. I learnt to swim by being the school friend of
someone whose mum was a lifeguard at the pool. She let us go into the
shallow pool between public sessions. I learned by swimming underwater
first and gradually trusting the water to support my weight, gaining the
valuable experience that, actually, human bodies float in water all by
themselves. Because they are mostly water too.

Do people left to their own devices learn habits of self-reliance that hinder
their social interaction?

Happy memory: in the summer the Cubs would be walked down the hill to
the local park where we would play cricket or do athletic challenges to
earn badges. On the return journey back up the hill there was a road to

cross and, thereafter, there was a hill about 200 metres long but arrow
straight. We used to race up it and I used to win.

Plane crash. My life is a runway. The plane has crashed. Wreckage is
strewn all around. Blood oozes its way out of multiple wounds. Bones are
broken in sundry places. Bodies are evident across the ground. But most
of all there is just silence. A feeling of numbness. Trauma. Some things
never leave you.

My earliest memory is of being taken to the zoo by my ______ and
______ (this is a testament to how early it must have been). I remember
once seeing a picture of the occasion. The event stands out because there
was an ostrich at the zoo and I tried to drag my _______ away from it as
it scared me. I have no other memory when my ______ and ______ were
together at any point.

I just looked at a job advert. I felt sick. I could certainly have done the
job standing on my head. The trouble is convincing anyone else that I
could. I haven’t worked officially for an employer since December ____. It
is now March ____. I have NO references whatsoever (because other
country). I have barely known a single other person since I left work in
that far-off, distant past (in a different country that speaks a different
language). I have wandered my own path on the basis that my life is my
own to live. One consequence of this is likely to be that you make yourself
less employable as a result. Employers don’t like mavericks, people who
have their own ideas or own agendas. I was always that. I do things on a
whim and when I get bored I do something else. Not your model
employee. Hence periods of self-employment.

I am absolutely not corporate.

Flirtation. Some take the view that flirting is harmless. I’m not one of
them as it very quickly landed me and a work colleague in a situation.
Work installed messaging systems on our computers (for reasons I’m not
entirely clear about but it may have been to stop us having to get up and
walk to talk to other people and so save time). Anyhoo, using this new
text format a flirtation developed between myself and a colleague I

sometimes needed to talk to. We began to talk more and more and the
content went from cheeky at first to outright salacious. This was now
accompanied by a cheeky grin if I ever went to the toilet and had to walk
past her. It developed further and I began to visit her flat after work for
more meaningful talks. Well, inevitably, we talked about having a kiss.
She agreed one day and said that that night we would kiss “to see what it
was like and how we felt about it”. I went round quite excited after work.
She opened the door, grabbed me, and kissed me. It was over before it
had begun. I felt completely cheated as I had planned out in my mind
exactly how I wanted it to go. She decided that the kiss hadn’t sparked
anything. Nice.

Sometimes revenge is possible. But does it ever really satisfy or is it just
a hollow victory, a limp kind of third prize, a “thanks for turning up”?

People have feelings you know. How come its apparently OK for some
people to toy with them but not others? This is me talking from my
feelings of powerlessness.

No one is perfect. We are all flawed. Which of us could stand to have a
spotlight shone on our every word, deed and thought? Whose motives are
pure and noble?

I think its fair to say that my view of myself is in the toilet. No one could
love me and I certainly don’t make a good advertisement for myself. I
don’t love myself. Asking anyone else to seems ridiculous.

I would describe my moral position as amoral. I do what I think I need to
do to get what I think I want. But I’m not infallible. Far from it. I’m totally
fallible. I’m on the fence about morality.

Are we taught about life by our parents? Are these our moral guides? My
______ (in absentia) taught me to do what you like and fuck the
consequences. Cut a swathe through life with your big machete of desire,
hacking left and right at will until, inevitably, your vitality fades, you

weaken, you become sick and die. AND THEN YOU GET AWAY SCOTT

Life lesson. Death lets you off the hook from anything and everything. So
whatever anyone can do to you in life only has a life sentence attached.
Death is the great escape.

Do you hold people to a standard that you don’t hold yourself to?
Congrats. So do I. This is one of those ego things.

Me and my _______ kneeling on the grass in my ____________ back
garden dressed up smart for a picture. Hated them, hated it.

My ______’s parents were largely unfeeling people. I remember neither
love nor warmth from them and, to be honest, I’m glad we didn’t visit
them very much in my childhood. When they died I didn’t even really
notice. It was just somewhere I didn’t really have to go anymore. They
barely even talked to me. I remember once going on my own on Saturday
aged about 14. You just sat there and watched TV. No wonder we used to
make an excuse to go outside or go to the park.

“This country is boundlessly, irredeemably corrupt. You can smell it from
space. That is all.” So tweets ____ ______ in the wake of the Hacking
Trial verdicts. It makes me stop and think for a moment. Well, of course,
at the higher levels of society everything is corrupt. The more is at stake,
the more corrupt it will be. But let’s not let everyone else off the hook. At
all levels of society there is corruption. The Human Race is corrupt! I have
a very basic view of Humanity which is that basically human beings are
self-serving. All of them. Its not a charitable view. People have the
capacity for good or evil but the motivations are largely self-serving. The
law of the jungle often takes precedence. Philanthropy often has a large
dose of “look at how nice I’m being” about it. Christians don’t think that
everyone needs to be saved because they have an enlightened view of
humankind. They think we are all scum. Indeed, they need us to be
beyond redemption just so that their imaginary god can offer it to us.
Now I don’t say we have to be bad. I say we can do bad and we can do

good and the usual driver is “what can I get out of it?”. But maybe that’s
only me reflecting myself on everyone else.

Smiles and hugs. These are the simple yet profound things in life that I
have missed.

The city I love the most is Berlin. It always held a place in my heart from
afar as a place of excitement and creativity. Having lived there, all too
briefly, I have to say that the reality was more wonderfully amazing than
I could have ever imagined. I would be there forever if I could. I would
see Tempelhofer Feld again and just stand and be in the wide open space.

As a child my ___ cut my hair. Yes, ___ did use a bowl.

There are always more things to give up, more attachments to let go of.
You think you’re out of the mainstream and free of its claws and then you
realise there’s a whole new raft of things you have in common with
everyone else that you never even questioned.

There is a far off land where I used to run races against my _______
down our road. He would always give up, deciding he couldn’t win. These
last 25 years years, though, its like I don’t really have a _______ at all.
He became an adult and then did his own thing. Don’t talk to me about
family. Mine really is a disaster. The word means less than nothing to me.

My tombstone would read WHO WAS HE?

I never quite escape the feeling that I’m counting down the days until I
expire. Which, of course, sets up a whole load of conditions for my life.

My current crisis began on ______ ____ ____. It was on that day that my
ex - and last - girlfriend told me that it was over between us. She had left
three weeks previously to take a pre-arranged holiday and seemed to be
in love with me. She was sad that we were parting and she was going to

miss me deeply while she was away. But somewhere in that three week
period she talked herself out of her love for me. I had no job as yet when
she left and clearly that was ripe for her to worry about. And then there
were our characters, mine dark and moody, hers always wanting to see
the best and the good in things. It was a relationship that would always
have needed work, effort and communication. But there was an
attraction, there must have been otherwise why did two people who were
at the start 1000 miles apart ever come together?

After she had told me that it was over I read her diary. I didn’t realise
that people actually kept diaries in which they write their thoughts until I
met her but she did. It seems that around the mid-point of her time away
she convinced herself that I was not for her in my absence. She decided
that I was not, and could not be, what she wanted. When she told me
that she wanted me to go and that we must part she claimed to still love
me. In fact, one of the hardest parts of that last month with her before I
left was the pretence that, even though we had decided to part, she still
loved me and I was still to act as someone who loved her. I couldn’t really
do that. The feelings were still there - and have been there all the more
and often terribly in her absence - but I’m very black and white about
things like that. You can’t love someone a bit. Its black and white, in or

I had always said, when I moved to Berlin to share her home, that she
could at any time tell me to go. It was her house and, in a sense, I was
imposing on her by doing it. But it was the only way. She knew it was the
only way too and clearly she must have been attached to me enough to
not want to let it go without a try. But this is my lonely complaint now as
I daily try to deal with the huge wound in me that is caused by the fact
she’s not there anymore. I don’t feel I got a chance. She decided to part
from me while she was away from me, she talked herself out of it and I
had no chance to speak for myself or offer to change (however sincerely
or insincerely, however likely or possible the change was). My issue here
is that she came back having made a decision as opposed to coming back
wanting to talk it through and find a way forward. She made a decision
for herself as opposed to us coming to a joint agreement. I was presented
with a conclusion and that is why the letter I had written to her that
contained my doubts was not the same thing at all. I’d not given her that
letter and until I did (if I ever did) it was just an expression of my fear not
a conclusion reached and put into action.

The month between the decision to leave and the day I flew out of Berlin
was crazy and intense. It was clear she loved me and had great feelings
for me. Her heart was no longer in control though. It was her head in
control now. It is probable she was constantly blocking out what she felt
for me because, whatever else I can say about her, she is a woman who
feels. Indeed, this is one of the great things about her - her passion. I
kind of collapsed mentally because I’m just terrible at dealing with loss.
Here I am now, _ _____ later, a walking wound, a mass of pain, because
of that still. I messed around with her friend online and went to see her.
There was absolutely nothing in it. I never laid a finger on her or vice
versa. It was me trying to block out the rejection I felt and get any kind
of interest from anyone. She was just the person nearest to hand to try it
with. I felt nothing for her at all. I wanted the person who had just told
me it was over but it felt to me like she had put up a Berlin Wall between
us that it was impossible to cross - as if the road to her heart was forever
blocked to me. I engaged in bullshit mind games with her about things
and then she found out I’d visited her friend and lied about it. She came
into the bedroom where I was lying and smacked me full in the face. It
blindsided me and, I can tell you, it hurt. I thoroughly and completely
regret everything that happened in that time and the way I acted towards
her. From this distance I wonder why I didn’t fight tooth and nail to keep
her (and I also wonder if that’s really what she had wanted me to do) but
maybe I’m remembering it wrong, as if I had a chance when maybe I
didn’t. (Edit: this is nonsense. She had an infatuation with being in love.)

On ________ ___ ____ I got a message from her saying that she wanted
to completely and forever break off any contact with me. We had been
apart for two and a half months and were once more 1000 miles removed
from each other. It had been her who said she liked to keep in contact
with people and it had been me who said that a clean break was easier to
deal with. She had not agreed but, in the end, we did an about face and
she told me that, basically, I was totally correct. It seems that she could
not get on with her life while I kept popping up in it every day or two with
a conversation or a message. She couldn’t think about other relationships
or engage other men. So she had to cut me out completely. And that’s
how it has been ever since. My only access to her has been emails sent
into the void that I don’t know if she reads or not. (I sent very few and
then stopped.) She has never replied to any of them. I vicariously live her
life through her Twitter account and wish she were still mine. (Until she
locked it permanently.) It does me no good, of course. In truth, it tears

me apart. Its self-harm really. She was the one woman in my life who
chose me for me, she was the one who knew the most about me, the one
who held me when I had tears and pain, the ONLY one who I could
actually talk to as myself and being myself, someone I didn’t have to
dumb myself down for because she was smarter than me. I miss the
conversations, seeing her face in the kitchen across the table, her smell,
the touching of her skin, just lying there and knowing she was beside me.
(Edit: this is all a fantasy. She wanted someone to love her and the dice
fell on my number. Loss romanticizes things that were, in fact, quite venal
and self-serving.)

I still remember our first kiss. I had taken a 24 hour bus ride to Berlin - a
sign of commitment in itself because the bus seats destroyed my ass and
my back. I then had to wait 6 hours for her to finish work. When we met,
in front of the Brandenburg Gate, we were both in a bit of a daze. We had
talked hugs and kisses but we embarrassedly just started to walk towards
Potsdamer Platz on the way home. I was constantly sneaking a peek at
her and taking her in. She looked back, shy and radiant. We talked about
nothing, as you do in such situations. Eventually, two thirds of the way
into the walk home, we stopped and decided to kiss. This was the big
moment. It was romantic and gorgeous. She said nothing as our lips
parted but she grasped my hand and we walked on, holding hands. We
stopped off at Tempelhofer Feld for a short while and there we lay on the
grass, looking at each other. We had sex that day and for the next two or
three days. We were learning to love each other. It wasn’t immediate, at
least not for me, but real, genuine bonds were made when we first met. I
loved her. I still do because, despite everything, it has never stopped.
But, instead of enjoying that love, being nurtured, healed and soothed by
it, it is my lot to deal with its lack of fulfillment. I can’t. (Edit: the only
thing “real and genuine” here was that it involved two people who wanted
to be loved. But not by each other, as it turns out.)

I often ask myself what I could have done differently. The only answer I
can come up with is that I should have been more awake, more
conscious, more pro-active, more aware of my faults and flaws and more
willing to anticipate and offset them. We can sometimes float through life
and just rely on who we are to get us through. This could (and I think
should) have been the most earth-shattering relationship of my entire life
that had far-reaching wonderful consequences for years. Why wasn’t I
more alert? Why wasn’t I more proactive? She would probably say now,

partly because she thought it was true and partly to assuage my fears,
that I couldn’t really have done anything to change what happened. But I
disagree. If I had had a job when she returned then that was a major
plank of her fears completely removed. Personality issues may have
eventually sounded a death-knell but it would have taken much longer
and, in that time, the bonds between us would have grown stronger too.
And there was a bond. I believe there still is and I believe she fights to
deny it if ever I pop into her head in an unguarded moment. (Ha! You
self-deluded fantasist!) After all, you don’t completely cut someone off
who doesn’t matter or has no effect upon you. You don’t need to because
their irrelevance speaks for itself. Also I feel that if she had come back
with her fears and her thoughts wanting to talk and work out a way
forward that would have made a difference too. But she came back with a
conclusion instead and I, in my doubting state, just went along with it.
One of the worst torments I face daily now is that we, I, just gave up. I
can’t promise her that I could have changed. But I can promise her that I
would have tried. I don’t understand why she went that far and then
bailed out. It was always going to take work and although it might have
been very hard, even impossible, I’m not a man who gives up. Not even
perhaps when I should!

We shared a time together on the German island of Rügen. It was a
special place and a special time. But it was strange because we knew it
was the prelude to parting forever. It was so special to share quiet time in
a beautiful place with her. It accentuated the natural beauty in her face
and the sea air made her bloom. But I kept saying and doing the wrong
thing in my inability to deal with the loss. At one point I made her cry
with another crass remark and I immediately ate myself up inside. I just
wanted to crush her to me, hold her, know she was mine and have this
stupid separation go away. But it was too late. I have a photograph of her
I took on that weekend. She is walking along the beach in the distance
away from me, alone with her thoughts, the chalk cliffs to her left, the
solemn Baltic Sea to her right. Everytime I look at the picture I have the
urge to run to her, take the pack from her back and hold her and kiss her
and tell her how sorry I am and how much I love her and please don’t go.


I hate myself.

The parting was sorrowful. In the entrance hall of Schönefeld Airport I
asked her to just go back home with me. It doesn’t matter what the
problems are, what needs to be overcome. I love you and I don’t want to
go. But no, she said. Nothing would have changed. I knew that if I left it
was gone forever. She is not a woman who necessarily knows what she
wants but, as she has written herself, she is one who knows what she
doesn’t want. In the end, I think she was afraid of my darkness, afraid it
might change her into something she didn’t want to be. Love was not
enough, albeit that it was real on both sides. (No, it wasn’t.) If only she
had seen that she was the light that was going to chase the darkness
away, given time. If only she had seen that I wasn’t completely lost to the
darkness but just needed the helping, loving hand of someone who cared
enough to bring me back to the light. I will always miss her light and wish
that she had shared it more with me. With bitter tears. (They stop.
Memories fade.)

I remember you, sweet ________. I remember pressing you against hard
stone under a Greifswald bridge, running my hands up and down your
desirable body and pressing my lips against yours. It wasn’t a dream. It
was real. It wasn’t a lie. It was passion. You were the one, no other. I
should have made you see that and completely believe the truth of it. I
had one task and I blew it. And I still have a photograph of me that you
took. I’m eating an ice cream in the Spreewald and looking at you. The
flicker of a smile is across my lips as you point the camera at me. You put
it there, sweet woman. You changed me. You made me smile. I’m just
sorry that the scars I bore, scars that you would have healed in me with
your love, had disfigured me so much that I didn’t have time to get
myself together in the time you allowed me. Forgive me if I hurt you. I
was trying my best with the scars that I carried. (You didn't change me at
all. You were just a milestone, a marker, and this has been the past
through rose-tinted glasses. I know better now. Let it go.)

I paint myself as a complete and total arsehole - but I’m not. Why am I
so desperate to make people think that I am? Is it because I’m afraid of
the bonds of care that, if broken, will tear me apart all over again? Is it
easier to make people give up on me and regard me as a waste of space?

Someone said that I helped them with their music today. I burst into
tears and cried. I can’t even help myself. I’m impotence personified. How
can I help anyone else?

Enjoying your life is a strange thing. You can certainly live your life
constantly wishing you were doing something else. And I have done a fair
amount of that in my life. In fact, far too much of it. I have wasted whole
years wishing I had something that was gone or something I haven’t got.
But in order to enjoy life all you actually have to do is enjoy the things
you do, whatever they are. To have enjoyed what you did is enough.
There is no one thing better than another so you are free to do and enjoy
whatever you can. You could always wish you were doing something else
no matter what it is you are doing so it ultimately becomes pointless and
points you back to a great truth: put off worrying and wishing that you
could do something else and, instead, enjoy what you can do. This is just
another way of saying that you should live for the moment and stop
worrying about linear timelines. The person who enjoyed as many
moments of their life as they could will find, if they do look forward or
back, that their path was salted with enjoyment. It just saddens me that
all too often I have lain in paralysis for what I have lost, unable to enjoy
anything. The loss, the wishing for other things, ruins the possibility of
any enjoyment at all.

I remember walking along the main road, aged 9, trying to find the
swimming baths I had agreed to go to to learn swimming with the Cubs. I
couldn’t find it and I was lost. I walked up and down and became more
and more upset. I cried and cried. Eventually, some passerby asked what
was wrong and I bawled through my tears that I didn’t know where the
swimming baths was. That’s how I feel now about life, how I have felt
about it increasingly throughout all my adult life. I’ve never known where
to go or how to get there and my response is just to cry and cry. Its not
that I need a saviour or a guardian, although sometimes it may seem as if
I do. Its that I need that person who sees the crying child and the distress
and cares enough to ask what’s wrong and offer help and direction. That
person who asked me what was wrong told me where to go and I
eventually arrived at the swimming pool but too late to have a swim. In
life, I fear, no one is going to care that much. In adulthood, after all, we
all count the cost to ourselves no matter what image to the contrary we
try to project.

My life has been a succession of decisions made on the hoof. There’s
never been a plan, not from day one. I’ve always just had the attitude of
trying to make the current thing I had work or trying to get something
that I could make work. Assuming I could at all. But it turns out that this
approach doesn’t work very well. At least it hasn’t for me. __ years old
and with nothing more to my credit since __ years of age other than __
years of mainly bad experiences. Its not much of a roll of honour, is it?
Am I wrong to be disappointed and down-hearted? Even if you argue its
not the destination but the journey I would have to say that my path was
more dull city streets than stunning scenic views.

Time is not lost that you enjoyed.

There are people who should feel wronged by me. And there are people
who shouldn’t. Sometimes these are the same people.

When you go into a new situation in life you need to forget who you used
to be. The old rules no longer apply. You need to start thinking about who
you need to be and step up to the plate. Life lesson.

I do not have positive views about the state of my country. The UK, in my
experience, has always been a deeply divided place. Even its best
character trait - humour in the face of nearly all things - can be used
destructively to rip people apart, bring them low and become an offensive
weapon. In addition, its often a fiercely private and individualistic nation.
There is a large rump of people constantly offended by the idea that
someone else might be getting something for free. The fact that this may
be housing or health care and, these days, even food seems to pass them
by. Its a begrudging, resentful society at this level. I hate it.

The weird thing is that when I moved to Germany I found that things
there were much more social. It was like you could smell the change in
ethos in the air. Housing was rented in a lot of cases and things were
shared. People seemed to have a lot more rights. There seemed to be a
lot more emphasis on the social, on the shared, on the idea, to coin a

phrase, that everyone was in it together. Maybe this was all me idealising
a new place but I don’t think so. There seemed to be a lot more focus on
the idea that people could only be happy if some effort was made to keep
their neighbour happy as well. Family, community, society. These things
exist in Germany in a way I never experienced in the UK.

One difference between the UK and Germany. In the UK it is
overwhelmingly common that someone who dresses a bit differently,
maybe even strangely or individually, will get laughed at, pointed at or
even insulted. People just can’t help passing a sarky comment or remark.
In Germany if I did something like wear a bandana on my head or shorts
in colder temperatures, not strange things but different, it never so much
as raised a comment or a smirk. This can only be down to the differing
characters of the people in these different places.

I was first introduced to mental health at a young age. My ____, my
_____ ____ _____, was in quite a famous local mental hospital for a
while. It may even have been some years but it was certainly months and
months. I remember going there to visit inside the mental hospital. These
were then (and likely still are where there even exist anymore) very sad,
dreary, lonely places. People often worry that those with mental health
problems might be mad or bad. Much more likely is that they are merely
sad (to put it in a not very technical way). Mental illness comes in many
forms and there are many differences between the kinds of mental illness
so its not a one size fits all approach that needs to be taken. My ______
suffered from anxiety-type illness - as indeed did my ______ and I
myself. This is not necessarily something that ever goes away. Indeed, all
three of us still suffer from, or are prone to, the same illnesses even
today, decades later. With this kind of thing I think it is a case that
something traumatic happens in life that affects you and changes you. It
can be hard (but not impossible) to shake off. Physical wounds leave
scars for life. Why wouldn’t psychological ones too?

Now I know that if I talk about mental health there will immediately be
lots of people, knowledgeable and not so knowledgeable, who want to
solve the problem with pills. Bung a few of these down your neck and
everything will be alright. Now I’m not going to say that pills have no
effect. Clearly, they do. (Although the ones my _____ and _____ were
taking 30 years ago had many more side effects than today’s do

apparently.) But its not quite as simple as that. One issue I have with this
approach is that it pictures the human being as merely a bag of
chemicals. Get them in the right ratio and, hey presto, you have a happy
functioning human robot once more. But, you know what? I’m not a bag
of chemicals and I have no wish to be viewed as one. My own mental
health problems stem from psychological and social factors. You aren’t
going to provide a corrective to decades-old memories or provide me with
loving friends and family by having me take a pill! And, let me be clear,
the cure for my condition has always been someone who cared and no pill
can provide that.

So, yes, you can see that I know my issues lie in abandonment issues. I
even remember using that term at a session I had with a counsellor in my
twenties. I remember it because it clearly stuck out like a sore thumb to
the counsellor when I said the word to her about how I felt. I am ______
_____ _____, abandoned by his ______ before he was old enough for
school, feeling unsupported by his ______ since ___ and I are just so
totally different people, abandoned by my _______ when __ was old
enough to make his own choices. A man of no friends and fleeting
relationships. I wander alone. But is alone free or is it a prison of the self?

Loneliness is an interesting one. I don’t often feel lonely. In fact, I rarely,
if ever, feel lonely. I have mastered the art of doing things by myself.
Partly, I have had to. From childhood I have read books, watched things,
listened to things, investigated things and done stuff by myself. I’m more
comfortable that way. My curious mind (one of life’s better gifts to me)
has meant that I didn’t need someone else to find something interesting
or worthwhile to do. And yet I am existentially and constantly aware that
I am alone. There is no one for me call on. My adult life has not been one
of getting a call from a mate, going out with mates, going on holiday with
mates. My life has just not been social to that level at all. Even when I
worked it was usually in very small groups of people with whom I had
nothing to do once it was the end of the working day. My life, from an
external perspective, has very much been about me in my “cell”, part fate
and part preference.

And yet, of course, it wasn’t always like that. I was one of the more
boisterous kids at school and a bit of the class clown. In earlier school
years, up until about __, I was the top of the class. I was always the kid

with his hand up who knew the answer to the teacher’s question.
Teachers began to expect it of me and I took pride in the fact that I knew
stuff. I had also gone to the Cubs and Scouts and enjoyed that too. It
provided youthful, naive competition, a way to measure yourself in the
game of growing up.

However, around the age of __ there was a kind of “innocence lost” for
me. It wasn’t centred on any one event, at least, not at that age anyway.
There had probably already been signs. When I was __ I briefly, for a few
hours, ran away from home. I walked for what seemed like ages with a
bottle of milk and a sandwich in my school bag and the family dog by my
side. In truth, it was maybe about a kilometre away that I walked to
where I found some waste ground. I lay down on it to go to sleep in the
pitch black of night. But it was cold and I got bored and so I thought I’d
go back and get in bed. No one would be any the wiser. But then -
disaster! When I got back home I went to get the spare key from its
hiding place and, in the pitch dark, I dropped it and couldn’t find it as my
young hands patted and probed the darkness, desperately searching for
it. I didn’t have a torch. The next morning at 7am the postman found an
__ year old boy lying at the front door holding a dog. He rang the doorbell
and I sheepishly went back in. There were questions but, at the end of
the day, I don’t think there was even really much fuss about it. All’s well
that ends well, right? So why would an __ year old boy want to run away
from home?

I think the real motivator for the innocence lost that happened to me
around the age of __ was my emerging adulthood. Childhood for me had
been a dream, a bubble, a protected place. Its true that some bad things
had already happened to me in that time. I had experienced loss and
abuse and trauma. But in my childhood they remained dormant. They
weren’t processed or worked through. They were never thought about.
Indeed, part of the problem my adult self has faced is that they were just
blithely or naively ignored. Like my song says, I’m naive! But its not just
me that was. The people around me at that time, family, had no idea how
to deal with such things. So they just didn’t. I quickly developed into a
very secretive, quiet, private person as I became an adult in deep
contrast to the outgoing, social child I had been. My adult life has very
much been a case of a boy in a man’s body struggling to process what he
has seen, heard, experienced and had done to him. Inside I still feel like

the curious, inquisitive, playful __ year old boy. Except I’m a __ year old

Key to living. Its the little victories: no day is lost in which you made
someone smile, laugh or feel loved. To those who never smile, laugh or
feel loved the fact you made them do so will shine a light that lasts a long

And so the ages of __ to __ were a time of change for me, an awakening.
I stopped being a child and became an adult. And it didn’t go well. I was a
bit like Neo waking up to find himself being farmed for energy. The world
was not what I had thought it was. My adult life is really a history of how
I have not been able to deal with that fact.

I have always tried in life to replicate that childhood bubble, that
permanent dream state. But, of course, life isn’t like that. I made several
attempts to get jobs that would last for years that I could perform without
much thought or effort and that provided a level of stability. Perhaps the
most obvious of these is my joining the Army. In many ways, when I look
back, this was crazy but it was a strange mixture of circumstances which
lead me to it. It offered a permanence and stability I very much wanted
and the PR videos were all about skiing, surfing and laughing with your
mates. So you got a job for 22 years, automatic mates and cash. Sounds
a winner. The trouble was I was a disturbed young adult who suffered
from bouts of anxiety and panic attacks. It wasn’t really going to end well
was it? Add into this that when I finally joined up (at the second attempt)
it was the first time I had ever been away from home for an extended
period. Within 48 hours of arriving at the barracks where I would train I
had a panic attack and fainted. I was invalided out of the Army after __
days service with a certificate stating I was not fit for Army service. I
recall the Captain giving me a stern talking to about my unfitness and
threatening me if I ever set foot on Army premises again. It was all I
could do not to laugh as he spoke. I have a sometimes dangerous habit of
laughing when it is socially unacceptable to do so.

My incessant and fruitless desire for a faux permanence and stability in
life can be seen as a sign of a lack of maturity, a failure to grow up on my
part. My own self-image sees me, in some respects, as someone who

became stunted at the borders of childhood and adulthood. I just
somehow never moved on internally, psychologically, in some ways. (I
need to keep remembering that this self-image is false. Fiction.)

Somewhere down the line this all turns into me becoming a secretive,
manipulative person. I suppose the singular individual has to develop
ways and skills to tip things in their favour sometimes since they cannot
rely on social bonds or relationships. The world is still very much a “who
you know” world. But sometimes it can be a “what you know” one as well.

I suppose the invention of the Internet has been a godsend for me. I’m
much better at online relationships than face to face ones. I don’t take the
view that online relationships are not “real” either. They are real, just with
different parameters. And, besides, I have met every significant adult
woman in my adult life because of it. I lived in Germany because of it. My
life would have been completely different since about the age of __
without it. I persuaded at least 4 separate women to become involved
with me in relationship terms due to my ability to communicate through
words online. So I must have some skill in that area! And, of course, the
Internet is made for the single individual on his own!

I suppose that the reverse side to that coin, though, is that without the
Internet I might have had to develop other skills or step into other, more
unfamiliar areas. I will never know what that life would have been like. Its
stupid and pointless to second guess. You had the life you had and, if all
else fails, your task is to make peace with that fact. I have always
thought that, even if your life is 70 years of pain, if you can die at peace
with it then its still a win. I’m not always a great one for “life lessons” or
spiritual mumbo-jumbo (unless its me who thinks of it of course!) but one
thing I do think is that you don’t control your life. You can’t stop rain
falling on you. Shit is going to go down. There will be setbacks, bad
times, disasters even. I can think of nothing worse than dying bitter,
conflicted or twisted. I want my last thought to be of peace and calm, of
equilibrium. I don’t know if I will achieve that - and how could I until that
fateful moment? - but that is what I want and I think the secret lies in
letting go of cares. What’s done is done. You must not cling to it. Its not
always easy and, god knows, for me it has often been nigh on impossible.
But it IS possible and I must try and strive for that. To live in the

moment, to embrace peace and let go of fights, loves, losses, that are

The conundrum of life. Why do people prefer life to death? Why do they
hope that their friends and family stay alive? These are profound
questions and not trivial. The answer is not “obvious” and, even if it were,
it is a better answer when it is studied and questioned. At a trivial level I
think its just a preference for what you are over what you will be.
Non-existence, in itself, is nothing to be afraid of and, depending on the
circumstances of your life, might even be preferred. At bottom, though, I
think its just another “moral” choice: being alive IS BETTER than being
dead is the thinking behind it. But, on those terms, this makes no sense
to me. It makes even less sense coming from the mouths of religious
believers who, presumably, think that being in whatever holy place they
think they go to to be with their deity of choice is better. “Better” is a
value judgment and nothing is forcing me to share your values that life is
better than death.

No matter how long you live, once you die you will still be dead forever.

I’m one of those strange people who looks at people like the young man
who died of cancer after raising millions of pounds and asks “So what?”.
Before criticising me you might like to ask why I ask that honest and
serious question. It betrays my nihilist leanings. What did he actually do
even if the money did cure cancer? People are so obsessed with
prolonging what, in the end, is a tiny existence lost in a sea of
non-existence. If you have a bigger perspective than your own ego, in
any case.

Some people say that “life is a gift” and, thereby, they seek to make it in
someway holy and something you can’t renounce. But are you really
going to tell me that you never received a gift that you didn’t really want
or just quietly got rid of or gave away? Life is not holy, is not unique, its
not rare. There are billions upon billions of examples of it on just this one
puny planet alone. Its said that over 90% of the species that ever
populated this planet are already extinct and gone forever. Who knows
what life that we will never know about is out there elsewhere in the

universe? Life is not holy. On the contrary, its very common and in every
sense of the word.

I stopped watching television at least fifteen years ago. It was because I
started living life and got out of my cell more. The only things I consider
watching now are sport and films. I like that they both offer a narrative
and sport, of course, still holds a measure of unpredictability. People are
not robots and they shouldn’t like to think that everything is fixed or know
what will happen. I don’t watch TV series and hate this new fad for
American programmes such as Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, etc. Its
hipster, “being cool” bullshit. I’m happy to be uncool.

Freedom and imprisonment. I categorise my last __ years as a kind of
imprisonment although, in theory, I was free. I categorise various
situations I have found myself in as possible imprisonments too.
Relationships spring to mind. But now it just occurs to me that everything
is “free” and everything is also a kind of “prison”. Every kind of life has
boundaries. There are always freedoms you have and boundaries you
cannot get beyond. Its all relative. You are free but you are also in prison
and it doesn’t matter, in that sense, where you actually are at all.

I think my favourite experience in life is the sea or really any watery
expanse, particularly at night. I once went on holiday with the family of a
friend and enjoyed the Norfolk coast at night. It goes right through you,
real “back to nature” feeling. I felt at one with everything, such
immanence. Also I remember when I first lived alone I sat one night by
the river and looked at swans and geese huddled together for the night.
The shitty flotsam and jetsam of life completely disappeared. And then
there was my best holiday in Italy at the stunning Lake Garda. Water
means many things to me, all of them good and positive - even the time I
crossed the channel on a ferry and the sea was so rough we needed a tug
to pull the ferry away from the harbour. The journey was then twice as
long as it should have been and was constantly up one side of the wave
and then down the other side of the wave. Made me feel alive! But I can’t
say all the passengers felt the same way!

When you know things you become responsible for the knowledge. The
original sin.

Realisation. People want their loved ones to live and not die because they
care about them. This never occurred to me when I was writing about it
before! Revelation. Lack.

Considering that I am a man who has no friends and barely goes out, and
that as an adult I’ve largely been a loner who keeps to himself, I think
that I’ve had more sex than I could probably have had a right to expect. I
was officially a virgin until the age of __. I’m lead to believe that this is
quite a long time but it never worried me at the time because the
possibility for a different experience never came into my field of view. I
wasn’t a desperately horny teenager and, I have to report, I never really
thought about sex at all aside from appreciating girls quite innocently. In
this, as in many things, I was naive.

And yet that is an incomplete summary. I must have been looking
because by my early twenties I was looking in the singles column of the
local paper. I arranged a meeting with what turned out to be a black
woman a few years older than me. The relationship was a complete
disaster. I was a boy in a man’s body going merely by instinct. It was
only excitement and curiosity that kept me involved with her for a few
short weeks. That was enough to lose my virginity but then I became
scared of the complete change in circumstances and I cut it off
completely. She showed up at my workplace one day, wanting to carry it
on, but emotionally she was nothing to me. It was something I didn’t
want. I couldn’t deal with it.

It was about another __ years before I got involved with another woman
again. But one big change had happened in that time: the Internet! To
the people of today it may seem strange that prior to about 1993, which
was when the Internet came down the street I was living in on a dial-up
connection that cost pence per minute, there was really no way to contact
random people across the world and just strike up a conversation with
them. There will be those who were born since then who have never
known any other world. But what the Internet did was open up the whole
world of communication with other people to geeks like me who are good
with language and can write words. In the late 90s this skill of mine
enabled me to form relationships with two separate American women (not
at the same time!), one from South Florida and one from Denver,

Colorado. Both would come to the UK to meet me and I would have sex
with them both. Tim Berners-Lee and AOL Instant Messenger, I thank

Of course, such relationships were flights of fancy and they relied very
much on an ability with language. There could be no casual meets, no
drinks at the local bar where you could get to know someone if they came
from across an ocean. You had to do it with words and fire up the
imagination. But it seemed to be something that I could do. About 3 years
after that I met _____, who would turn out to be my passport to
Germany. Its worth noting at this point that there were no local dalliances
of any kind in the meantime. My attention was firmly focused, if it was
focused on women at all, on chatting to them online. I was much more
comfortable in this environment and it gave me confidence that a face to
face meeting would never have given me. I’m a deeply unimpressive man
with a lot to be unimpressive about when it comes to the physical or
social me and its probably very true that my interpersonal skills are not
that highly developed. So, perhaps you can see that the Internet was a
wonderful invention for someone like me. Without it I might have gone
through life not knowing anyone! I could use any charm or empathy for
people that I possess much more skillfully when the need to do it face to
face was removed. Having then started off relationships and developed
them by that method, any first meeting removes a whole load of things
from the equation because you could have been speaking with the person
concerned for weeks or even months already. And, of course, with a
microphone or camera you can have talked with and seen them too.

An example of where this worked was when I lived in Germany after I had
been left by _____, as I correctly predicted before going to Germany in
____. So I was living on my own in the rural idyll that is Porta Westfalica,
Germany. The devil makes work for idle hands and I began chatting, in
German, to a woman who lived about 2 hours drive away to the east of
Cologne. It developed to the stage where we agreed I would drive down
to meet her and stay with her. It was quite a farcical situation because
my German is not great. Ok, I underplay how good it is but its still not as
good as the Germans of my acquaintance would claim. Although, having
said that, if I could be charming in German to the extent that women
want me to come and stay with them for the weekend then it can’t really
be that bad, can it?! In any case, I stayed the weekend with her and we,
of course, had lots of sex and then I went home. A few weeks later she

came up to see me but that was an entirely different story. She arrived
and everything seemed fine. We went into the bedroom and laid on the
bed but then she started saying that she didn’t feel right and she wanted
to go home. I tried to be supportive and said that if that was how she felt
then she should go. But then she changed tack again (as I tried to usher
her out of the door) and said that she didn’t want to go. Stalemate. She
didn’t know what she wanted. And then a strange thing happened. I
snapped. I grabbed hold of her and literally threw her outside and, locking
the door behind her, put down my security shutters so she couldn’t see
in. She stayed there for about half an hour begging to come back in but I
wouldn’t let her. I think that after 4 years of being messed about by
_____, with an inevitable conclusion, that this poor girl was getting the
brunt of the frustrations that were still with me but that I could never
express to _____ herself. Eventually, she got into her car and drove
away. We never spoke again.

Mentioning _____ perhaps means that I should tell the tale of how she
left me. I remain entirely convinced to this day that she was cheating
behind my back. Let’s put it this way. On ________ ___ ____ she told me
that she was leaving and by ________ ___, when I had need to visit her
at her new flat to drop something off, she was on the phone with a new
boyfriend when I arrived. This new boyfriend was a man in prison
convicted of grievous bodily harm and sentenced to six years in jail!
Within 4 months she was married to him! That had either been bubbling
under for a while or was the world’s most unlikely coincidence!

We had not been close for probably a year before the time she left. We
were nothing alike at the end of the day and we had probably only ever
got together out of a shared need for company. That need had taken me
to a whole new country though. But it was her home country and we lived
in the same town as two thirds of her family. She could make friends
easily whereas I made none. Socially, she orientated to her new
surroundings where really, for me, it was her or nothing. Still, its not a
very nice thing to do to meet some other guy and then plan everything
behind someone’s back and then, when you are ready, just spring the
surprise and leave them high and dry. But that’s what she did to me. I
don’t miss her really. Certainly not like I miss some of the other women.
She shat on me from a great height. And she was totally boring in bed,
literally a “cum and get off me” kind of woman. So if you want to know,

_____, why I started sleeping on the sofa it wasn’t just so I could watch
ice hockey. It was because wanking was more fun than fucking you.

Still, I’m nothing if not hubristic and so I kept in touch with her
throughout her new relationship for maybe another couple of years. I find
it hard to let go if you haven’t already got that message loud and clear,
even when maybe I should because the people concerned are really bad
for me. In the case of _____, I was not happy that she felt she could just
walk away from me without so much as a “sorry” or a “goodbye”. I didn’t
think that was right after I had put in 5 years effort by that point. I had
tried to make things work and had taken on a lot considering that over
that time period I’d dealt with her kids, pets and family too. So I hung
around on the periphery. I didn’t really have anything else to do or know
anyone else anyway aside from my work colleagues who were a 60
kilometre drive away in Gütersloh. And, yes, it tickled my pride and my
jumped up sense of theatre that maybe I could mess her life up a bit too.

Now I have a rule in life, an observation that I have made over the years.
Its “if you can do it with me, you can do it to me”. Now I knew when
_____ met me that she was separated from her husband. But it turned
out that she was not quite as separated as I thought. She also told me
about a time she had cheated on her husband with someone else before
me. It would be a full year after I first started talking to her before she
could openly acknowledge to people she knew that we were an item. But
that should have been a warning to me. _____ was a liar and a cheat.
She wasn’t averse to doing things behind your back. Well, now you know
that she did them to me too. But she also did them to her new violent
boyfriend, and future husband, as well - with me - taking advantage of
the fact that he was only allowed out of prison at weekends. I’m not
proud but I paid her. I paid her because I wasn’t going to let her just walk
away as if I was something on her shoe she could just scrape off. I had
asked her for sex one last time but she said it was impossible. I wasn’t
talking no for an answer and so I offered her money. And when she said
no I offered her more until the amount made her think twice. And then I
knew I had her where I wanted her. I probably had more sex with her in
the next year then I had in the previous five and I made sure she got
pushed out of her boring comfort zone as well. Where money is involved
you expect a little value: I extracted as much as I could get. And it made
it all the more enjoyable for me to know that she was only doing it for the
money. And so, yes, I paid for payback and I feel I got it. Am I a pig?

Probably. Eventually, the contact got less and less as she lost her novelty
value. Last I heard she had moved back to England again. I don’t know
what happened to her relationship with the goon but I know it wasn’t all
plain sailing. Nothing less than you deserve, dear _____.

And now we come to the shady sex stories of my time working in
Gütersloh. I could have had sex with 3 or 4 women there but ended up
only having sex - lots of sex - with one. I must have won Willy Wonka’s
magic golden ticket the day the supervisors sat a sexy little redhead 10
years my junior at the desk next to mine at work. She was petite, shy
and very easy to make fun of - and, oh, did I mention she was smoking
hot? Her name was _____ and in the next two and a half years we
probably did every sexual thing you can think of and some you might not
have. I’m unashamed to boast about it because I had to wait until I was
__ to do things I imagine many other people had done at __. This was my
Cup Final and I thoroughly enjoyed it!

_____, another German girl, had been married for 12 years to her
childhood sweetheart, a UK guy in the forces based in the area. She had
been swept off her feet by this young soldier at only 17 years of age and
gone to live with him in England. But now it had all gone wrong. Then she
met me. (I subsequently learned that it “went wrong” because she went
off and fucked someone else when she felt unloved by her husband.) It
started slowly at first because she was shy and resistant. This was about
__ months after _____ had dumped me and after the dalliances with
psycho girl from east of Cologne and the other work colleague I
mentioned earlier who had stolen a kiss. As soon as I saw her I knew I
was going to try and get her. In many ways this was the first time I had
ever, in a face to face way, tried to get a girlfriend. I was __! Of course,
this does not include ______ when I was at school __ years previously or
_____ who started off as an Internet relationship.

One early flirtation that stands out is the time _____ came to work
wearing purple knickers. It was obvious they were purple because she
hadn’t tucked them in her skirt properly and they were all bunched up at
the back. Maria was a woman who was easily flustered and had clearly
been in a rush that day. Well I made play of these knickers all day, asking
her if she was wearing purple knickers, pulling them out a bit more,
making knicker jokes, all in a light-hearted way and going up to the

boundaries of decency but no further. It was done in fun but of course I
had serious intent. It became very obvious to my work colleagues what I
was after even if ____ herself couldn’t quite see it yet.

As fortune would have it, we were destined to be pushed closer together.
_____ crashed her car into a lamppost on the way to work one morning in
a classic piece of lack of concentration as she did her lipstick in the rear
view mirror whilst driving away from home. She dropped her glasses and,
instead of stopping to retrieve them safely, she leant forward between her
legs into the footwell and felt around for them whilst driving. Before she
knew it her bonnet had a lamppost in the middle of it. Fortunately, she
herself was fine but she was shaken and, crucially for me, now had no car
to get to work. Being the noble, upstanding guy I am, I offered to give
her a lift to and from work until she was sorted.

I’ll never forget the first time I picked her up. This glamourous, sexy
redhead got into my car and the smell of her perfume hit my nostrils. It
smelled of energetic sex with a redhead in the back of my car. She
enchanted me. We talked, all sweet and innocent, but little did she realise
that the proximity we were starting to have, thanks to circumstance and a
little opportunistic manipulation on my part, were starting to create bonds
between us. Certainly by this point, after only a few weeks, I would have
walked on hot coals to have her.

A couple of months passed by and it was now winter. On one winter’s day
I had received a text as I was driving to work. ______ new car wouldn’t
start in the cold and could I detour to pick her up? Of course I could and,
luckily, I was just approaching the point on the autobahn where I would
turn off for the scenic route to collect her and then head to work. It was a
momentous decision. Thirty minutes later we both lay upside in my car in
a ditch in deep snow after I had skidded in -18C temperatures on a
German side road leading from her house to where we worked. We were
both showered with tiny shards of glass and my car was ruined. All the
windows were smashed and the roof was dented. We had narrowly
missed a tree whilst rolling into the ditch. If we had hit that, upside down,
I might not now be writing this to you. Thereafter, I felt guilt about the
accident - even though it was a pure accident. I also felt even closer to
_____. I borrowed her new car for the next few days, having to pick her
up for work again in the process.

Once I had a new car we both started to park in the work car park near
each other and we both, luckily, kept getting the same shift which would
turf us out into the dark around 7pm at night and it was then that I raised
the stakes. We had been phoning each other nightly for weeks by this
point, post car crash. She stuck to a ”not liking me in that way” kind of
line. But I wasn’t going to let her off that lightly. I started asking her to
sit in my car, or me in hers, for a while before we drove our separate
ways home. It developed into a nightly ritual of deep, passionate
snogging. I literally ate her face and she didn’t complain. One thing about
_____ that was always true was that, no matter what she said, she
absolutely loved to be desired and wanted. It got her into a lot of trouble.
She was a weak person and, although she could say no, it was never
remotely convincing. And, much as feminists will hate to read this, she
never really meant it for a second anyway. Soon after this had started,
she started to visit my house occasionally. I tried to get her undressed
the first time she came but she wasn’t ready. She resisted. I let her stay
clothed and gave up. For now.

But there came another time, a few weeks later, once the kissing in the
car park was well-known about at work, (we had been captured on the
security cameras much to _______ huge embarrassment) when she did
let it go further. She let me undo her blouse and play with her milky white
breasts that were just the right size for her slim, white marble physique.
As always, I tried to go 2 or 3 steps further than I was currently allowed.
I undid her jeans and slipped a hand inside. She was red with
embarrassment but wasn’t saying stop. And I certainly wasn’t going to
stop unless she said so. I undid my own trousers and pulled my pants
down and gave her something to grab hold of. Another stage had been
reached. It was all taking time but there was constant progress.

From there on in things increased slowly, ever so slowly, but
exponentially. We finally had sex after we had known each other for 15
months on a New Year’s trip to Berlin. In the eight months after that we
had sex pretty much every day and in every way - sometimes 2 or 3
times a day. I was at her house, where she lived with her staunchly
Catholic mother (that explains a lot of ______ character), more time than
I was at my own. My routine was collecting her for work, working
together with her all day, and then staying at her house after work until
11 or 11.30 at night (most of that time spent in her bedroom fucking her

whilst her mum watched TV in the room below). Indeed, in this period my
own house became a place I slept at and that was all. I was totally taken
up with her and devoted my time to nothing else. But there was a caveat
to all this. _____ always refused to say she was my girlfriend and, in
times when I would talk about us getting together, she was always
evasive. She wouldn’t even say “I love you”. In public she eschewed the
chance to show public affection or hold hands and more than once
described me as “just a friend” if she was questioned about us. I won’t lie,
it hurt me because she was lying to herself and others about us. We were
a couple in any and every way you might want to describe it. But not in
her head. In fact, she never did, in the two and half years we were
intimately involved, in any way talk about loving me. In the end, due to
lack of money and having left the job I had and not being able to find a
new one, it came to a point where I had to leave Germany and withdraw
to the safety of the UK (see the beginning of my tale of woe). My money
had run out. The truth is _____ enjoyed the attention, the overwhelming
attention, I gave to her but she was never going to commit. She took
everything I was prepared to give and lapped up every second of the love
I showed, the sex I willingly participated in and the time I spent with her
- but without being prepared to make any commitment to me
whatsoever. The end was inevitable. But it came with a twist.

In the summer of ____ we organised a holiday, a first week in the
German Alps around Garmisch-Partenkirchen and then a further week in
Italy at Lake Garda. Now, as I’ve already explained, we had been having
regular daily sex at this point for months. It was unprotected. So it came
to pass that while on holiday _____ began to share the worry that she
might be, or might get, pregnant. This would have been a personal
disaster for her with her attitude to us and especially with the attitude her
deeply Catholic (and condemnatory) mother would take if it was true. In
Italy she finally decided to buy a pregnancy test. She went into the hotel
bathroom and did the test. She came back out and lay on the bed next to
me. She was pregnant. I didn’t know what to think. I just wanted to
support _____ because I knew this was a huge deal for her. There was no
thought of if she would keep it or not although I kind of assumed she
might. But, looking back, there was no way in a million lifetimes that she
was ever going to. Right from that point on it became clear that _____
didn’t want anyone to know that she had even ever been pregnant.

And so it was that less than one month later I drove with her to a clinic in
a town close to her home and there, in a room I never saw, _____
aborted the only child I have ever fathered. My opinion was never
requested and we barely ever discussed keeping it or aborting it as
options. To her it was a massive inconvenience, something that would
have scandalised her forever in her own mind and before her family and
friends. There was no discussion to be had. This is not to suggest it wasn’t
traumatic for her - of course it was. But this is my story, not hers. Outside
of doctors only three people ever knew: me, her and her sister. You may
be asking why I had had unprotected sex with her like that in the first
place and you may accuse me of irresponsibility but I would refute the
charge. I knew what I was doing and I was quite ready and prepared to
have a baby with _____. I didn’t force her into anything. She wasn’t
begging me to use a condom and, like adults, I assumed that she was
aware of what she was doing as well. It turns out she wasn’t. She was
just taking a chance with abortion as her ultimate line of defence. So it
was that after this solemn day that I then had to leave her behind and
head back to the UK.

Of course, I tried to carry on my relationship with her and find a way
back. If she had ever been remotely interested in being a proper, open,
public couple I would never have left in the first place. I was all set to live
with her, share my life with her and be everything I could be for her. We
were still as close as we had ever been but, in the end, she was prepared
to let it all slide if the only other option was making things formal. I put it
on the line for her in conversations numerous times but she always fell
short. She just didn’t want to go that far. She wanted attention but
nothing more. I returned back to Germany 4 or 5 times in the next 6-8
months and we engaged in sex just like we had before every single time.
Each time the separation made us like wild animals when we came back
together again. So when that relationship eventually crashed on the rocks
of our separation, sometime in mid ____, I had lost both another chance
at love and a child that never had the chance to be born. Her mum would
probably think _____ was going to burn in Hell if she knew even a quarter
of the things that had happened between us. All I had left of _____ was
several naked photos I had taken of her over the time we had been
together, another testament to my persuasive abilities since Maria was
always boasting that no one had ever taken a naked picture of her. Well I
did. I took hundreds.

At the end of the day, life is life. You do what you can. There’s no point
trying to be perfect or to hit targets. The same end awaits the
over-achiever and the underachiever in the game of life. If you can do
some good and spread a few smiles all well and good. But don’t go
exaggerating what difference it ultimately makes. We’re all just worm

Some of the jobs I have had: soldier (24 days), caretaker, caretaker
(again), caretaker (again), postman, window fitter, knitter, packer, call
centre operative (the most fun), door to door salesman (1 day), gardener,
taxi driver, DJ/Karaoke.

I’m never going to have another girlfriend. That’s what I told _______
when I left and I still believe it. The way I needed to re-orientate myself
internally when my relationship with her happened out of the blue really
caught me off guard. I’m not up for going through all that again,
especially now the way that ended has again likely fucked me up even
more inside. I can’t speak about sex. You’ve read a few of my tales and, I
say again, I’m just amazed I ever persuaded anyone to have sex with me
at all. If I never had sex again I wouldn’t feel cheated. I feel like I got my
share. But, you know, if it happens, it happens. But no relationship

Imagine being the woman who puts a man off women for life.

My life is one huge episode in underachievement and my slow coming to
terms with that and the reactions to it.

In large part I just reject a lot of people’s fucked up values. They don’t
serve my needs. I’m trying to survive here. You would rather I lived than
died, right?

Am I a bad man? Am I? What makes someone a bad person? That they
do bad things? Then I’m guilty. What makes someone a good person?

That they do good things? I think I could present a case for myself. Do I
care what people think? By writing about it I betray my thoughts.

By this point you should have spotted that my life is dominated by
women. There is barely a single male role model.

Socially acceptable behaviour. I don’t think I’m very good at mixing with
people. The fact is that now I am just too used to my own company.
Other people can very quickly annoy me. They introduce a different set of
parameters into things. You have to be polite, show interest, talk to them,
etc. This is much worse for me if the people happen to be someone else’s
friends. Then it becomes a double game of being polite to them and to the
person who you are with. When I was in Berlin, which is the most recent
occasion I had to deal with anything like this, I must admit I was terrible
at it. I didn’t talk, I suppose I barely even hid my contempt for the whole
process. No wonder it didn’t work. I feel myself stuck between who I am
and who I’m expected to be. You can only be yourself, right? I reserve the
right to choose my own friends and so I guess I shouldn’t expect to win
any popularity contests anytime soon.

Another social issue I have is food. I’m very conservative on food. I know
what I like and I really don’t want to deviate from that too much. No,
sorry, at all! So I can go out for a meal with someone and if they leave
me be to eat what I like then no problem. But if they are one of these
people who thinks everyone has to be a big food adventurer well, then,
there is going to be a massive problem. I’m feeding myself. Its fuck all to
do with anyone else. I eat what I like. Just like you do. I leave you to eat
what you want. Give me the same courtesy.

Ditto with clothes. I dress how I like. I’m an adult. I don’t dress for you. It
is you who should be accepting me as I am. Or walk away. So speaks a
man who argued with an ex-girlfriend about a purple Puma T shirt. OK, I’ll
change it, I said. And you will go to the event we are going to with a
miserable man, a man who is changing to please you but who will quietly
resent it inside. Will that make you feel better? It was at that point I
started to wonder if the relationship was ever going to work. “No” was the

I am the last person in the world who would ever finish a relationship off
and cut it dead - outside of the circumstance where I thought the other
person was just completely crazy. In other words, if I’m down with you
then it won’t be me who stops it or wants it to stop.

I have engaged in some pretty dumb romantic enterprises thanks to the
Internet. I once talked to a woman in Cincinnati over Skype for about 31
hours non-stop. Then she decided I was an asshole. How many face to
face meetings would you have had in 31 real world hours?!

Life is such an absurd puzzle. First, you need to accept that you don’t
control everything about it. This can be hard if you are one of those
people desperate to be positive about everything. Then you need to
realise that the things you do control are twofold: the things you want to
do and can plan for and the things that you allow to happen. You should
probably watch the latter category in case things happen that you don’t
want to allow. It takes action not wishes.

Sometimes, I just love to fuck with people. Sorry, but that’s the way it is.
Don’t think it doesn’t sometimes bite me in the ass though. But mostly it
doesn’t. In nature the predator doesn’t stay alive very long if he doesn’t
pick weaker targets. That’s part of his strategy.

And there you see how I am, essentially, amoralisch as the Germans
would say. Without morals. Disregarding of morals. Making choices about
when to be moral and when to not care less.

Since the world is full of a limitless number of things, and since, if you
made your own list up from these things of things you wanted to do, that
list would always be too full, then you should stop worrying about missing
things and simply make sure that what you actually do is something you
enjoy. You will never will able to do anything close to everything you

I ________ far too much. But I have some catching up to do since I didn’t
start until I was __. Never occurred to me to do it. Seriously. You need to
think about the fact that not everyone is like your experience of life.
Nothing you think or do is universally applicable.

The formative person in my childhood was not my mother. Neither was it
my father who left before I was five. It was my grandmother on my
father’s side who died when I was 16. It was she who taught me to tell
the time before I was five. It was she who gave me a love of reading, of
puzzles, of learning. To visit her house and read her dictionary or her map
book was to learn things and I did it for hours. At one point, when I was
around 10, I had learned the capital cities of every country in the world.
Those were the happy days. And she did a good sideline in steamed apple
pudding and meat and potato pie as well. I tried to go there a lot just for
the food!

I wish I had been out in nature and travelled a lot more. Its something
I’ve missed and largely because my formative years were dirt poor. I’ve
met people in my life and their childhood was expensive holidays with well
off parents to countries all across the map. Not mine. We didn’t even
have a phone until I was 20 years old and it was me who paid for it. We
had no car and I remember only one holiday of any kind. All this set a
pattern. Travel was what other people did. For the first three quarters of
my life I was absolutely certain I would never leave my own country - and
I barely had reason to leave my own town! I used to tell people that I
didn’t need to go anywhere else because I had everything I needed right
here. Well, what a lot of bullshit that turned out to be. How much there is
out there if only you get the chance to look! Even the few places I have
seen in the last ten years only whet my appetite for more. Not in a
showy, being cool, hipster kind of way so I can write a “look at me” blog
all about it before going back to my pad, insulated from the troubles of
the world. No, merely in wide-eyed wonder. Because wide-eyed wonder is
all I’ve ever really had. The number one life-changing event of my life was
living abroad and finding out that life can be completely different. If
you’ve never done it you will just simply never realise. And, in addition, I
think a key to tolerance and education is widening your experience of
things, the world, people, as much as possible.

Is it a bit egotistical to want to share your thoughts with other people,
people you don’t know, as if they carry any weight or might be worth
hearing or reading? Or is human experience of any kind always valuable,
if only as another viewpoint? Probably a bit of both.

I was talking about food a while back and I just reminded myself of a
story you need to know. One of my formative experiences. I’m 6 years
old at the boring parents of my single mother. There is food on the table.
It wasn’t good food because my grandmother couldn’t cook. Neither, by
the way, can my mum really. Its simple food, very much overcooked.
Hey, I can be grateful and critical at the same time. Its allowed. Anyway,
the pudding comes up and its plum pudding. I take an instant dislike to it
the way children sometimes do. I’m told to eat it. I chase it around the
bowl but none heads in the direction of my mouth. I’m told I can’t leave
the table until its all gone. Message received loud and clear but still I play
and don’t eat. I’m hysterically shouted at and left in no doubt that it will
be eaten. More spoon twiddling. Eventually, its taken from me and I
receive a huge walloping on the backside. I remember going outside
afterwards and crying. This is how food phobias start, am I right? I’ve
hated food nazis with a passion from that day to this.

The actor Michael Gambon is well known in interviews for telling lies and
making things up. This isn’t maliciously done. Its merely to pass the time
in a more interesting way and with a devilish glint in the eye. I have a
similar mentality and it started early. Every Monday morning at school we
used to have to write “news” as the first thing we did when school
started. So we would open our exercise books and write down what had
happened to us over the weekend. Now I literally did fuck all of note on
any weekend. We had nothing, we could go nowhere. So I used to make
up stories of fishing trips with my dad (who had left us before I even
started school). I can’t help but think that this weekly practice for years
helped me to develop into a very accomplished liar and a master of

Rule for life from a liar. If the story you are being told seems too far
fetched, it probably is. The trick with a good lie is to keep it believable
and commit to it absolutely. And if you can tell someone the lie they want

to believe anyway well then you are halfway home before you even start

Thanks to my upbringing, and my mum’s musical collection, my first ten
years of life were to the accompaniment of Engelbert Humperdinck, Abba,
Jim Reeves and The Supremes.

I don’t believe in that American notion, and terrible term, the “bucket
list”. I have not been brought up to believe that I will ever be able to do
50 or 100 amazing, once in a lifetime things. So I’ve never bothered with
it and settled down instead to my expected unremarkable life. BUT, if I
did believe in such things then driving from New York to San Francisco
would certainly be one thing. Or great, adventurous journeys in general.

The modern disease: being bored. It makes no sense. The more there is
to do, the more bored people there seem to be. Someone with nothing is
not bored. Seems like these days, though, most people have just enough
stuff to be bored most of the time.

My uncle in the 70s liked American cars. I used to go swimming with him
and my brother on a Sunday morning for a while and we went there in a

In 1996, about 10 years too late, I went to university. My subject was
biblical studies. Not a religious subject, as you might wrongly assume, but
an academic one - historical, literary, linguistic, critical. I was there for 3
years (and another 3 part time) and such was my fixation with home and
not travelling that I purposefully picked one close to home so that I
wouldn’t have to leave it to go there. What’s the point of having a home,
right, if you are never in it? I got into university after a particularly bad
period of mental illness in the mid 90s when I had trouble with anxiety so
great I was literally afraid from the minute I woke up in the morning and
was terrified to leave the house. I ate bananas and cheese because these
could be nibbled and went down easy. These are the kinds of strategies
you work out when every waking moment is a personal hell. You start to
think of coping strategies. It was only the deep, personal friendship of a
good friend at the time - who came to drag me out of the house every

morning and would force me to go on hikes with him - that slowly
rehabilitated me. Now it helped that he had been a headmaster in a
school and had suffered similar problems himself. So he both knew what I
was going through and was interested in education. You should pay
attention to him, dear readers, because he is about the only significant
male figure to play a part in my adult life. Pretty much every other has
been a woman.

My interest in the Bible was initially based in faith. This faith went away
the more I studied it and, thinking about it, because I actually DID study
it. Most Christian folk don’t ever study it at all. They either read it or
ignore it. Neither in a critical way, of course. As I might have mentioned
before, when I went to university at first it was with one eye on becoming
a Christian priest. I have preached a number of sermons in what used to
be my local church and lead many bible studies. I found these extremely
frustrating because if you are going to study something you need to do it
properly, take it seriously on its own terms and see where it leads. But
Christians do not do that. They just want coffee and gossip. Its a social
club. Maybe that’s a good idea because if you actually read the Bible
properly it sends you heading for the church exit pretty fast.

It was not to be that I would be a Christian priest and this was probably
for the best. I’m not overly concerned with other people’s problems and it
would be easy to categorise me as selfish. That said, thinking about the
work I’ve done over the years, in schools, hostels, community centres, it
all seems pretty social and based on helping other people out, albeit that
I was mostly doing this for pay. I did also start up and run a youth club
for three years in the mid nineties as part of my personal rehabilitation.
My headmaster friend helped me out there. Around the same time I was a
tour guide for some people visiting my town from South Korea. I
particularly remember leading an aerobics and karaoke session for them
in which I was on stage and they in the hall below me. This was all the
stuff I was doing, or had done, when I started at university. PS I hate the
abbreviation “uni”.

At university I entered the world that, really, I was made for. I have
always been intellectual, academic and educated. A university lecturer or
professor is probably the job that, by skillset, I would be best suited for.
But, of course, its not quite as easy as that. On my undergraduate course

I immediately got on well academically. Indeed, I finished the three year
course as the top scoring graduating student. Yeah, fist pump for me. In
the first year I had terrible anxiety problems to overcome, problems no
one else knew about. The issue was that to get there I needed to go on a
train for an hour. Now if you suffer from anxiety the idea that you might
need to be locked in a metal box for one hour and you can’t get off can
begin to play on your mind and create problems. And it did. I suffered
sweat attacks. I dry heaved. I sat there in fear. I even got off the train 4
or 5 times (one time walking back home in a journey that took 4 hours).
But, crucially, I didn’t give up and I kept trying again. It would have been
easy, so easy, to stop, but for once I didn’t give in. I fought. And it
worked because I came through it. I’m actually more proud of that than I
am of the first class degree I was awarded. It was as much an award for
courage as for academic ability. And, besides, the academic part was
easy. Studying things, analysing them, breaking them down and then
talking about them comes naturally to me, as does being imaginative. I
was the go to guy in the room for the other students who needed help.
That’s not me blowing my own trumpet. Its a fact.

At the end of my degree I wanted to go on into academia. The first stop
was getting a postgraduate degree, initially registering for a Masters
which would be upgraded to a doctoral degree as part of the natural
process of how these things work these days. I had a thesis, The
Posthistorical Jesus, since I had concentrated on the Historical Jesus in
the latter part of my undergraduate studies. This field of studies
understands Jesus as a purely historical figure and asks what, if anything,
we can know about him. My thesis was, briefly, to argue that every
picture of Jesus is just an autobiographically inflected story, as much
about the reader as the read about. To do this properly required funding
and my academic dream began to fall apart when I only got half of it, the
bit that paid the university fees. I got this thanks to a gay former Irish
priest who had had electric shock therapy during his life who was, at that
time, masquerading as one of biblical academia’s more colourful literary
critics. He sort of took me under his wing and made sure the department
stumped up some cash on my behalf. But, although I applied for living
maintenance grants from elsewhere, none wanted to support my thesis
and so I would have to do my studies part time, away from the university,
whilst I worked to support myself - or not at all. I chose part time,
meaning the whole thing would take twice as long at six years. I managed
three before life got in the way and I abandoned the doctorate (which I
would certainly have achieved). And that was the end of that.

I used to be such a fit person. Through my teens and twenties mostly I
cycled, after having run and swam during school years. We were poor and
had no car, remember. My mum has never learned to drive in her entire
life. She barely ever rode a bike either. The change came in 2003 when I
started to drive cars (again, years after “normal people” would have
started). This was also the year I first left home, aged __. Since then my
physical activity has been much less. So I guess my evidence is that cars
make you lazy. An interesting story from when I started driving cars is
that initially I failed my test. I had become involved with _____ at that
time and I was driving hers. I lied to her and told her I had passed. I then
drove her car for 6 months without a licence before I could take the test
again and then admit to her the truth. In that time I also backed out of
her driveway into another car parked in the pitch dark on the road
opposite her drive. I parked up, got a cloth and, in the pouring rain and
dark, rubbed off the giveaway flecks of paint from Gitte’s bumper that
were on the other car door. There remained a slight but noticeable dent.
No one else was ever any the wiser.

Religion and spirituality. I used to believe in a god, the Christian god. This
was mainly because I was taught to. No other god was ever presented to
me as a serious option. So it wasn’t like I ever had a fair choice from a
range of gods. But, unlike many folks who get taught to believe in this
god, I questioned it. I questioned the texts put forward as supporting
evidence for him. I studied them personally and I studied them
academically. For some years in my teenage life and some years in my
twenties I called myself a believer. But, in the end, I couldn’t believe
anymore. The Bible was just historical texts. It wasn’t the word of any
god I’ve ever experienced. And the people who claimed to believe in him
that I ever met almost uniformly didn’t really believe in him at all. Go in
your average church in England and you aren’t going to find any Elijahs
who genuinely believe that god is going to rain down fire from heaven on
false prophets. You aren’t going to find any of them praying over dead
people and expecting them to be raised. Its a sham, its fake and for these
people church is a social club. Beliefs are lightly held and nominal, if part
of the informal club rules. And that persuades me that their faith is in
nothing. If you are going to have a god and make wild claims about him
you should at least have the courtesy to act like you really believe what
you are saying.

So here’s what I think. There are no gods. Spirituality is an interest in the
spiritual and the mystical. Its about lying in a field or sitting round a
campfire on a beach on a pitch black night with the moon and stars for
light and silence all around and feeling part of everything. Its about the
lapping of the sea on the shore, the feel of the wind against your face and
the enjoyment of the sun as the warmth hits your body. Its about the
laughter you share with friends or the fun you have with a family pet or
watching an animal just do what it does. Its about that human trait of
feeling a connection with all created things. Yes, its mystical and it could
be described as spiritual. I’ve experienced that too. Just watching a river
flow is a special, spiritual thing for me. But it has nothing to do with
deities and it has nothing to do with spirit places either “above” or
“below”, terms which are so antediluvian that they make no sense
whatsoever in a 21st century world in which we know that we are just one
of millions of balls of rock in the vastness of a space we cannot even
imagine. And its not about a punishment or a divine spank after death if
you’ve been a bad boy or girl. And its nothing to do with made up stories
of us being so bad that we need saving. Its just a feeling that has evolved
within us for feeling at one with our surroundings and wanting a
connection with other people and other things, with everything. All the
rest is just happy horseshit.

My attitude: if you’ve got something valuable you don’t voluntarily throw
it away. I come from not having very much. So if I have something, I’m
going to hang on to it unless some reason comes alongs that compels
getting rid of it. I don’t just give things away. And certainly not people.
I’ve been more people poor in life than money poor! Think about this and
apply throughout my life.

I’m such an unthinking dickhead. My default mode is “look after number
one”. And I’ve been doing it for so long now. Its hard to think any other
way. I’ve never really had “significant others” to worry about. No wives or
kids. I’ve lived the life of a mostly single man with abandonment issues.
Now here come more feelings of loss and sadness for what could have, or
might have, been. I know, I think, that the things that have happened to
me are not all my fault. I’m trying to hold a balanced and truthful view of
events. But I feel guilt for playing any part in my own downfall at all. I
wonder over and over if I could have done anything different, anything
that might have changed things. Its an academic exercise but it still feels

necessary, over and over again, nevertheless. I carry a lot of burdens on
these scrawny, white shoulders. In the end, I criticise myself that I
wanted so much and then gave so little. I was so self unaware! Ugh!! Or
so it seems in guilty, empty retrospect. I know its all gone. I know what’s
done is done. But getting things right in my head makes a difference.
Fuck up the internal workings too much and any machine will suffer a
complete failure in the end.

I am a desert dweller, an inhabiter of empty spaces, who cries out in the
emptiness to have something, someone, to care about. Yet, more than
this, I cry out for someone who will care about me as I am. Life is like the
aisle in a shopping centre and no one comes down my aisle and sees me
and says “I want one of those”. Is it, perhaps, because I am tucked away
at the back, out of sight, so that the shopper has to either want me and
search for me or spy me out and then be prepared to take a chance?
There sure are easier ways to get chosen. But I want to feel like that
person made an effort to get me. Who wants to feel like they are fourth
best choice or, worse, chosen simply because any something is better
than any nothing? I am looking, and have always been looking, for a
commitment, something, or someone, to give my life in the service of. It
could have been a job, a vocation, a cause, a partner or something else
besides. But I have never found anything or anyone worthy.

Nietzsche said that in order to live you need a “Why?” of life. Having that,
you will put up with almost any “How?” of life. I’ve pretty much found that
to be true. I’ve never been a person who could float around unconcerned
about the big questions of life. This is not to say that I found or needed
definite answers. Indeed, are there any? But it does mean my life has
been a constant dialogue with myself, with my experiences, with the
world around me, always in the service of a workable hypothesis, an
understanding of what that “Why?” might be. I’m not sure I actually
believe in final positions but I have in my life needed to know that I was
on a journey and travelling a road that might take me somewhere. It was
just usually somewhere that not many others wanted to go. You can only
be true to yourself in the end, right?

My mid-teenage years were a troubled time. When I was sixteen I did
some bad things. Well, they were more disruptive than bad. I broke into a
couple of houses and stole trivial amounts of money. I didn’t get away

with it and, far from being motivated by evil, it was motivated by
boredom. It was a simple intellectual challenge. A couple of years
afterwards I admitted my crimes to a local priest. This ended up with me
in court where I was sentenced to 2 years probation (which was cancelled
after one year due to good behaviour) and also (organised by the priest)
to me doing menial tasks in recompense that were meant to teach me
that honesty has a price and that hard work is honest and character
building. It didn’t actually teach me that, of course. It taught me not to
get caught in future or tell anyone else if you did something wrong. It
made me harder not more compassionate. I have done nothing remotely
similar since in case you are worried I’m some kind of closet burglar. It
was a teenage angst thing. I know more to just keep myself separate
from other people’s business now. Do your own little thing in your own
little corner. Anonymity is a shield. Its one reason why online I’m not my
real name. My real name is not someone I want to be. There is freedom in
being able to be _____ _____or ______ or __ ________. Previously I
was ___________ and _____ DJ. These were names I used as a party DJ
back when I did that sort of thing. I suppose, in the end, I hate who fate
made me. I don’t want to be him. He has a life I don’t want and never
wanted. The person I present as is not me. Who am I?

I’ve spoken a bit about emptiness and nothingness in these
autobiographical asides. Now I want to talk about silence. I find it to be
an almost holy thing and, in many ways, a very great test of a person. To
sit (or lie) in silence not really thinking about anything is, for me, a
spiritual and sanctifying thing. Its not linked to an especially religious
faith or experience, although I suppose that's where the idea came from,
but it is a deeply personal practice that has just come to me over the
years, I think first in my twenties. It takes courage to be absolutely still
and quiet, thinking about nothing, casting off every care. It is an
abandonment of the self, a letting go of the ego, an acceptance of
emptiness. It is counter-cultural too because we Western folks are so
taught to always be active, always worried about stuff and always having
the get up and go to shape and change our futures. What is it, then, to
reject all that and just lie, face down, still on the floor, as I have done
many times, and let all the cares wash away? Its cleansing, its nourishing,
its empowering. In the quiet I have found strength to carry on and a safe
haven from the static and noise of the world.

I open my eyes, the day seems pointless. In front of me stretches just
time, meaningless. I don’t understand why I’m here or what it is for. If I
had never lived it wouldn’t matter and when I die it will no more. In the
end there’s no difference between the best day. And the worst. You might
want the best, you might get the worst. But nothing counts, not even in
large amounts. The struggle to be is futility.

My favourite book of the Bible is the book of Ecclesiastes. Its a book, for
those who study it, that really is one of a kind in the biblical context.
Aside from the ascription added to the end of it, which is not by the
original author and is very likely to have been added to make it religious
and about faith in god, the book is almost entirely humanistic. Its topic is
the meaning of life, the vicissitudes of life, various questions and puzzles
that the author has had crop up about life and that trouble him. Common
phrases are ones such as “What does it profit...?” and then there would
be a discussion of, for example, work. Thus, in modern language, where
is the point in work? You might expect that the point of life in a book of
the Bible was that god willed it or some great theological discussion in
which god is made out to be a really clever guy with a great plan and so,
in god, we find the answers to everything. But that is not so in this book.
And I love that honest approach. For, you see, what do a million different
things we could think of profit us in the end? Do they profit us at all? Is
there really any point to life or are we just doomed to perform eventually
profitless tasks with nothing to show for it at the end? Where do we find
meaning and purpose in life, ultimately? These are questions I share and
so this is why this book is my favourite in the various biblical canons. Its
conclusions are few and it doesn’t really matter if they are convincing or
not. It was that you considered the questions that was the important
thing. Questions are always more fundamental than answers. Life is
considered as HEBEL in Ecclesiastes, a Hebrew word that conjures up the
image of insubstantial breath or fog. You may have heard the phrase
“Vanity of vanities. All is vanity!” which is really the opening and closing
theme of the book. The word for vanity there is HEBEL. The book is
saying that everything is as breath. Indeed.

“Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen.” -
Ludwig Wittgenstein


One. All that is, is not divine. There are no gods, neither above nor below.
There is no person, principle, thing or no-thing that is divine.

Two. We inhabit this moment. Everything that is past is gone. We cannot

go back. The future is not yet here and might never arrive. If all is well
now then all is well.

Three. Thoughts must be disciplined for they make us what we are. If

thoughts lead us astray we should stop thinking them. Thinking, or
thinking a given thing, is not compulsory.

Four. There can be no peace while attachments and desires reign.

Five. You are the flowing river and what you do is flow. Like the river ,
you must pass by and let things go.

Six. The greatest battle is with oneself.

Seven. Be nobody.

Eight. It is best to live in simplicity and humility. The wise do not seek
fame or notoriety; they avoid it.

Nine. With attachment comes sorrow; with desire there is pain. These are
not ways to peace.

Ten. In solitude is opportunity; count it a blessing.

Eleven. Tranquility is the highest good; peace the greatest compassion.

Twelve. Be like the stream which flows. It is always moving and clings to
nothing it passes.

Thirteen. Be satisfied with enough. Quench desire and achieve peace.

Fourteen. To live in the present is enough. Expectation can only disturb


Fifteen. To make your way remain unknown.

Sixteen. Like Scylla and Charybdis, the wise will avoid the twin dangers of
attachment and desire to navigate to a peaceful life.

Seventeen. Reality does not have a language. You should remember this

Eighteen. Everything is nothing; nothing is everything.

Nineteen. Nature does not have a preferred expression or canonical

description. Everything is as it becomes.

Twenty. The ultimate truth is change. The nature of Being is movement.

Twenty One. What is the reward for good? An illusion.

Twenty Two. No thing lasts forever. Nothing lasts forever.

Twenty Three. Things are not happening “to you”. Things are just
happening. They will cease and then other things will happen.

Twenty Four. Do everything without being concerned about losing it. Act
knowing that nothing abides.

Twenty Five. All you have is this moment forever. Do not cling to it. Let it

Twenty Six. Your thoughts about the thing are not the thing; your attitude
to the situation is not the situation.

Twenty Seven. To live in peace avoid extremes.

Twenty Eight. To live in the present moment cleanses the soul; to let time
pass is a natural good.

Twenty Nine. The hardest thing to grasp is to stop grasping.

Thirty. Become.

Thirty One. Being is becoming; existing is passing by.



Everything has been figured out, except how to live.

"Everything has been figured out, except how to live."

I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream.

A man depressed and tortured by life goes back in time to kill his teen self
so the life he has lived will never have existed.

Problem: He can just kill himself there and then and none of it will matter
anyway. The torture only continues while he is alive.

Counterpoint: the man wants it to be ​as if the suffering never took place
hence going back in time. So presumably at the point the man kills the
boy he himself ceases to exist but as a person who never endured the

Retort: He did suffer it. That's why he's there.

What if the younger self then goes forward in time, the older self not
being able to commit the act, to see how the older version lives? What
would the younger version conclude about his life and how it had turned
out? Would he then commit suicide? Would he live it anyway, even
knowing what would pass?

What if a now older version of the man appears to the mid-life version
and tells him how his further life progresses? What will this version then

This questions us. It asks us what a worthwhile life is. It asks us if we

would live a "pointless" life if we knew in advance that's what it would be.
It asks us if we would live pain if that's what the script was. It asks us if
foreknowledge would change our decisions and so events. It questions
identity and our sense of who we are.

"Do you think that I count the days? There is only one day left, always
starting over: it is given to us at dawn and taken away from us at dusk."

He turned over and went to sleep.

Meaning is a matter of interconnection. In isolation things don't mean

much, if anything. But when you start to relate things to each other then
meanings begin to appear. This suggests that meaning is a matter of
things IN THE CONTEXT OF OTHER THINGS and that things mean IN
RELATION TO OTHER THINGS. This interconnection is meaning.

“The way of the troublemaker is thorny.” - Umpqua proverb

Don’t take your life personally. Its not happening to you. Its just