Mental ill-health


The news that another member of my family is experiencing mental ill-health was a bit of a blow I have to admit and another restless night wondering what the hell is happening to us all. And by all, I don’t just mean my family unit. I’ve never known so many people ‘on the pill’ (Prozac).

Mental ill-health. We’re all at it, self-included.

God knows what it is like for those that really suffer, but waking up in the morning (for me) is rotten for at least 30 minutes. The weight and misery of the world piles in, which is ridiculous because here I am living a typical Western-type, lifestyle. Extremely comfortable with all the basics. Heat. Food. Light. I have no religious fanatics telling to believe in a God who wants to go all out to destroy His own creation and I (and believe it or not, my children) am not being bombed by a fanatical Government who want to get me round to their way of thinking. Like many over-privileged Westerners, I have the misery symptoms but none of the misery. Symptoms without a Cause. It goes by the title of Anxiety‘.

Of course, the temptation is to say, ‘Pull yourself together’ . If only it were that easy. Unfortunately, ‘pulling oneself together’ doesn’t work. For two reasons. First of all,

  1. I’m not a pair of curtains/drapes and…
  2. I don’t have that kind of control. As hard as I try, the misery appears to be an almost separate entity.

However, in my case, the pills appear to work, and I can only say that because when I attempt to come off them, even in a measured way, things get worse. The depression and anxieties deepen.

Dealing with it.

As I said, the pills work, so, why? I hear you ask. Would you want to come off them?

The answer. I don’t like taking them because it is in my addled brain a sign of defeat. I want to beat this thing without any artificial help. But, I know that ain’t gonna happen.

I’m told by those who know about these things that there is, a chemical in my brain that is misbehaving. Why it’s misbehaving I have no real idea although I’m led to believe that it was triggered by some past life experience that only an expensive therapist could help explore and maybe repair. Like many others, I can’t afford the therapist, so I have no choice. It’s the pills for me. And the pills take the edge off it, whatever ‘it’ is.

[Personally, and I’d appreciate it if you kept this to yourself, I believe my ‘problem’ is to do with the time we live in. As I alluded to above there are various unpleasant things happening right this very moment to a large part of the Human race that are NOT happening to an equally large part of the Human Race. IT IS JUST NOT FAIR. As human beings we are connected in many ways that are known and unknown. Taking that into consideration, I believe that those of us who mental problems have been mis-diagnosed as having  ‘Anxiety Problems’ and are in fact suffering from…GUILT.]

There are ‘moments’.

Moments of peace and quiet when ‘it’ seems to leave me. Rare, and far between these moments are, I’ve learnt to take advantage of them, relax in them before the onslaught begins again.

Something I have discovered quite recently is the ability ‘to answer back’. I read somewhere about someone who uses a mantra (a form of words, a sentence, anything) to go on the defensive. So, for instance when I feel the darkness coming in and on and my brain has begun its regular delivery of doom and gloom, I tell it (aloud) to ‘stop lying’ or in simple terms to (excuse the French), to ‘fuck off and leave me alone’. (Of course, the best place to practise this is in the privacy of your own room).

Do not keep it to yourself.

For me, and this happened recently, finding out a good friend was having similar experiences helped. A bit wimpy I know, but for a while I didn’t quite feel so alone.

To sum up.

Mental ill-health of the type I am describing and so often labelled ‘Anxiety’ is I believe, a consequence of the times we live in. It is, in part, I am convinced caused by our ‘picking up’ on the sufferings of our fellow human beings. It is, real and destructive. A future ‘cure’ will rely on justice and on the way we treat our fellows.

When one suffers, we all suffer.

About Religion


For me to write about religion is difficult. Especially as I ‘trained’ as a Priest in the Church of England and was ordained in the early 90’S. Difficult because at the time of my Ordination I was already having doubts about the nature of my own faith and what the Church was asking me to do and say. To be honest the doubts actually started earlier than that. The nature of the ‘teaching’ I received in college caused me to re-assess almost immediately and decide the whole thing (religion) had in the hands of man been made massively complicated and over-intellectualised, in an effort to keep it ‘special’ and only for those ‘in the know’.

For this reason, I will try and keep my view about religion as simple as possible.

Religion for many is the last frontier. It is where they go when all other avenues have been exhausted. And that’s OK. It is perfectly natural for any man/woman to reach outside of themselves for help. For assistance with unsolvable problems. When desperation sets in. We have always done that. When we have found ourselves attempting to cope with something that is unfortunately inevitable, (death, disease) and other things impossible to ‘solve’ outright and have no control over, we turn in our desperation, to ‘magic’.

We will turn to ancient stories that portray people long-gone and in the same impossible situations and learn how they dealt with it. We will read of their incredible journeys of both body and mind that led them to the solution to their problem. We will watch in wonder as they invest in miracles and with one bound, they are free. And then they die anyway. But no matter, we will try anything.

I am not in any way attempting to mock people’s faith or sheer desperation and fear of the unknown. What I am saying is our problem is more likely the way we look at our demise, our finish but that is another article/post..

Even the story of Jesus Christ let’s us off the hook, softens the blow and the worry by showing us, that actually, all is OK because we come back to life anyway. So, no worries. (I just wish we knew that from Day One).

The Biblical story was, I think written to deal with our fear of death and THE TRIBE’S need to survive. Like any adventure story (e.g. Star Wars) it was written to perpetuate the myth that light can and will overcome darkness. A ploy to address the absolute need to persevere and therefore survive your wanderings in the desert.

I believe it (the Bible et al) was written initially to guide the Tribes of Israel on not only to understand but also to physically survive, their ‘casting out’. Written to keep them going, surviving through the trials and tribulations of the terrible situation they found themselves in. A book that over time has translated into the first ever survival guide for all desperate peoples.

The most important ‘rule’ that the Bible perpetuates is that ‘LIFE MUST GO ON’, that above all, THE TRIBE must continue to breed, to exist. The Bible was written initially for THE TRIBE and its healthy survival in a hostile environment. Simply put, a guide on how to stay healthy. For example; by eating the correct foods and the efficient disposal of (human) waste (DET 23.12/13) . It’s all there. A guide to health living.


How relationships MUST NOT swerve away from ‘the norm’ (Leviticus 18 and 20) as reproduction is what keeps THE TRIBE going. In short, without offspring, without health, you are asking for trouble. The Health of THE TRIBE is paramount otherwise, the Tribe will cease to exist and a whole race will disappear.

Let me try to pull together my ideas and what I have been trying to say (badly) about the nature of religion.

The Bible is the Key.

It is a book (collections of books) that although referring in many ways to a particular historic situation has become a reference to the journey of all peoples.

The Bible has power.

There are some  (the origins of the Church?)  that realised, that whoever claims to hold the knowledge and the so-called secrets of the Bible, holds within their grasp the ability to…er…guide…lead…bend people to their will, call it what you will. In other words the number of believers are a powerful army that some might want to take advantage of.

However, The Bible and its ‘knowledge’ can never be under the control of one organisation, no matter how powerful they may think they are. It is still very much the people’s book (s) and will be until (like some countries have) banned. You are still able to read it and make your own mind up.

It has, even from this ‘unbeliever’, a power that somehow, ‘magically’ (?) addresses all the important questions.


So, you want to be a writer?


So, you want to be a writer?

I guess it started for me when I was a kid. I was always writing something. A short and often ridiculous story that served no real purpose except it was for me and it gave me pleasure. So, there’s my first lesson….

You become a writer the moment you put pen to paper.

So many people I know come up to me (why me?) and say ‘I want to be a writer-what should I do? My first reaction is to say ‘Great, what are you writing’? The answer sadly, is more often than not, nada, zilch, nothing…or even worse, ‘Well, I’m exploring the idea at the moment’.

This to me is a red rag to a bull.

For me (and I stress, ‘for me’) writing is more than an idea. It is and I’m sorry about the dramatic cliché, it is what I am. There is something in me that feels the desperate need to express an idea, tell a story or make a comment about something, anything. I can’t help it. That is the way it has always been for me. The need to get something down on paper (or a computer screen) is part of me. I don’t understand it and don’t want to in case it disappears and, this is important…it has nothing to do with success, more the need to express myself.

However, don’t misunderstand.

Success if it comes is fantastic. It means you are getting through to people. It means they want to hear what it is you have to say in whatever form it comes, and  of course, it means money.

I have had some ‘success’. I have had plays on, articles published, sold a screenplay but have never been in the position to make a living at writing. I won’t lie and will openly admit that the idea of actually living day to day off earnings that emanate from ideas from my own brain is very attractive to me, but it hasn’t happened yet and I’m not shedding any tears.

I’m extremely lucky insomuch I get great pleasure from the act of writing. It takes me away from the world and its troubles (even if I am writing about them). It is a therapy for me. And I can still start work on something that takes me a couple of hours and end up wondering where the time has gone.

So, before we go any further…if you want to be a writer, WRITE. Put all thoughts of ‘success’ out of your head and just WRITE.

It is only in this way that you may, might hit pay dirt. Experimentation and uniqueness is the name of the game. But to find the treasure, to find you own unique voice, WRITE and then WRITE some more.

Listen. The last thing I want to do is put a dampener/a wet blanket on your thoughts of being a successful writer. There is nothing wrong with being positive about the life you want…but what so many don’t realise or refuse to accept is, that it takes work and therefore time. You have to find your style, your voice, call it what you will and then you (or your agent) have to sell it. Take a look a JK Rowling’s hard journey before her amazing success with Harry Potter.

And here’s the bit you knew was coming…

Don’t give up.

As I said before, I’m lucky because I enjoy writing so much that thought of success of a particular piece are no particular burden to me. It’s only after I finish that I begin to think ‘mmm what should I do with it?’ Be like me, Don’t Stress’

I just write and love every minute of putting thoughts and ideas together. And that’s how it should be. Simple.

If writing is a chore. If writing a piece is like sitting down to take an exam, then, I’m sorry to say you are in the wrong business.

Americans and Guns


Some things are meant to be. Time does not change them. They’re fixed in time impossible to move no matter what. And so, it is with Americans and Guns.

Of course I do not believe that there aren’t any Americans who are shocked at the thought of packing a piece, but gun carrying and unfortunately the shooting of the damn things, features heavily in the news that finds its way across the pond.

I’ve often wondered why the gun looms looms so large in the American Culture. Why such an (unhealthy?) obsession with something (a gun) that basically has one purpose and that is to kill (or at the very least instil fear of death)?

I am of the view that the American gun culture is fuelled by genetic memory.

I am of the opinion that rather a lot of Americans carry with them an inherited sense that everything they have built, everything that they own is about to be taken from them by an unknown, unseen enemy.

If we look at the history of the United States, we will find that many of those (refugees) who made it their home, did so on the run. They were nearly all, fleeing from a darkness. The country they were born in, had in essence rejected them. For religious reasons or otherwise they had to leave their place of birth in fear of their lives. Just imagine.

I believe that such traumatic stress and shock has the ability to stay with us and our descendants, forever. It becomes a genetic nightmare. It imbeds itself. It is a lesson learnt that the brain does not want you to forget. Muscle memory. It wants you ready. Poised, should the same happen again. The big difference is, this time you ain’t going nowhere.

What we are talking about here when we talk about Americans and guns, is a deep scar on the cell memory. A dark experience that time has pushed into that room in the back of our mind and told, ‘be quiet’. Unfortunately, that (safe) room leaks and as though on cue, (triggered by a ‘threat’) the uncertainty and sheer fear that existed and grew to unmanageable proportions all those years ago in the minds of your parents, your grandparents, dribbles out. It’s your inheritance.

Your grandparent’s fear has resurrected itself but finds itself in different circumstances. A new world.

However, this is not then.

This is not the world your Grandparent’s remember but their experience of rejection, imprisonment, mistreatment in their time and place, remains and is passed down generation after generation…just in case.

The fear is there and inherited BUT this is the new world and you are ready. Above all, you will not allow it to happen again.  There are measures you can take to stop you and yours ever being mistreated again.

This time (unlike your ancestors), you are not helpless.

You can in this New World, protect yourself. You need not fear the knock on the door ever again because in this time, in this place, you have the power. You can arm yourself and stand up to those you imagine would wish you ill. You can carry a gun and protect your nearest and dearest. Easy. Times have changed. The hunted has become the hunter…and therein lies the problem.

Life After Death?


Wondering what happens to us after we die has always been an interesting and amusing subject for discussion for me. Life after death is interesting, for obvious reasons. Amusing because there is no way of knowing whose theory is/was correct. No-one has ever, at least to my knowledge ever come back with the answer to life after death but there are some brilliant theories out there, none, and this is the point, of which can be proved wrong.


The one that has always given me the biggest laugh has always been reincarnation.

Everyone I know who has delivered their serious reincarnation theory have always assumed that they will come back as another human being, male or female, but hardly ever as an animal. The thought of returning as worm for instance, is always regarded for many as abhorrent. Even though there is no evidence to suggest it to be so. Of course the terror is purely based on looks and living environment which is of course, wormist. In the animal world the worm may be regarded as the most beautiful of creature. To repeat myself, there is certainly no evidence to suggest otherwise.

Perish the thought but It would appear, according the folk I know, that even in death, the human sits at the top of the food chain.

When engaged in this kind of argument I always take pleasure by pointing out that as everything is constructed of atoms, isn’t there an outside chance that we could return as an inanimate object? A mahogany coffee table maybe? A magnificent Victorian chest of drawers? Why not?

Is it not possible I ask, considering what we don’t know about consciousness, that we might awake from our death to find we inhabit the very being of an expensive item of antique furniture? Admittedly, more often than not, my intervention brings the discussion to an end, leaving the nail biting question,  what do we really know about how a table lamp feels?

Another one of my favourite theories is ‘The world in a jar, on Giant Scientists Laboratory Desk’.

The thought that we exist in a glass jar in a lab somewhere that is destined to outlive its experimental usefulness and be flushed down drainpipe any day soon has in my mind, validity. After all, isn’t that what happens in our own world day after day.

Microbes, experiments, whose thinking processes, if they exist are beyond us and indeed never thought of by us as existing in the first place, will be soon have outlived their usefulness. Soon they will be flushed from the petri dish that they have been living in for a few weeks, days, even hours into the human sewer system? Think on it. When their end comes will they be terrified? If we took the time to listen carefully would we hear them scream?

One of my favourite theories has to be the Matrix theory,

That we might actually exist as some kind of fodder for advanced beings. That in their kindness and desire for more humane farming methods, they allow us an illusionary ‘life’ before culling. The only trouble I find with this theory is the ‘life’ they allow us. More often than not, it is frankly boring, not a lot happens and sometimes we even appear to die, painfully. If they are aware of the failures in their system, one can only hope that on their side of things, work is ongoing to improve the illusion and in the long run, deliver a better harvest.

Then of course we have the God theory. (I have to be careful here. So, with all due respect).

Many might consider this the most outlandish of all, a God who only cares about us. A God who like some eternal Butcher or Holy Greengrocer has made everything he created available to us to do with what we will.  In other words, eat.

Oooo, look an animal. I wonder what it tastes like?

And then when our lives are over, we are led to believe that the fun has actually only just begun and why? Because we are off to a better place. I have always assumed better as meaning tastier animals?



When my Grandkids come over for the weekend, I have to get used to losing control of the TV for at least 48 hours. In fact, they actually hide the remote from me so that they have full and total access to what it is that they want to watch.

Don’t get me wrong I’m not complaining (at least not now, I’m used to it) because it has become an interesting situation. If I do take time to take in what they watch it only benefits my education as to how their tiny minds work.

What they watch.

Firstly, everything, that’s everything, is US based. And every programme is fronted, presented by a strange breed of Child/Adult. Kids with beards (and that’s just the females). And high squeaky voices that make you (me) want to strangle them.

They talk at a high rate of knots in a strange language that, for ones so young (or are they) makes reference to sex and other subjects that I thought, in my ignorance, kids just weren’t interested in. (This is seems to pass over my Grandkids heads)

Their subject matter are computer games (Minecraft, Fortnite etc). My Grandkids watch these strange hybrids playing games that they themselves were playing a few moments ago.

Now this is the weird bit…

They are literally watching other people play games. They have no control over the game they are watching the other person play. which I thought was the point of playing games, the thrill, the purpose, THE CONTROL so to speak.  But no. They, (my Grandkids) just watch for hours at a time. Needless to say I don’t get it. Everybody’s happy. My Grandkids and the people who are presenting these strange TV programmes because, as I understand it they (not my Grandkids), are making a fortune in promotion (advertising) fees.

Good for them.




I want to make it clear that there is no way I am complaining about my Grandkids behaviour because, the truth is my generation were worse…

For example,



I was reading the other day that ‘they’ now think that racism is the product of an under-developed mind. And I have to say, I concur.

When you think about racism, it becomes stunningly obvious, we are not born racists. It is most definitely learnt behaviour. It comes as we grow, from the opinions of our peers, our parents. It’s a very strange condition/behaviour that’s based on falsehoods and ‘information’ that we couldn’t possibly be privy to.

Racism. Think about it.

The purpose of racism is to label a whole race of people (actually not a race but anyone, who is ‘different’ – in our example, anyone with a darker skin tone) as somehow inferior, is crazy behaviour. Let’s be generous here to our racist friends.  One might know one person of a darker hue who, for the sake of argument is er…inferior but to label the whole ‘race’ that this person is related to as the same, is ridiculous and actually impossible. Such a label cannot be proved as accurate for the simple reason, the entire population of the race specified is not, and can never be, known to you (the racist).

Racism is the product of an under-developed mind.

Those without ingredient X, i.e. Common Sense, somehow exist in a void. A place where the ability to judge one’s own behaviour when the facts are apparent, is absent. Which leaves the possibility that they (the racist) lack in other areas too.

The connection between the colour of a person’s skin and their worthiness to exist is a weird connection to make in the first place. It must as I say above, rely on falsehoods or information that is believed by the accuser. ‘Information’ that is by its very nature is impossible to verify. For example, the statement that race X are all cowards is obviously untrue because for a start it is impossible to prove. And the fact is, if any real and honest attempt were made to prove it, the law of averages would show otherwise.

Racism is the product of an under-developed mind and is best compared to a disease. It exists yet has no basis in life, which is why I compare it to an illness. It has a ‘life’ only because it feeds on the imagination. It is, like magic, an illusion. Magic only ‘exists’ because people choose to believe in it. Like voodoo it is the equivalent of Adult nightmares.  Whereas a child can react to its nightmares as ‘real’ and actually show the symptoms of belief, ie. total fear. The same mind-set ‘exists’ for racism.

There is no purpose for its existence (racism)  other than to destroy, disfigure or, and this I find interesting, to gain power (like magic) . To describe racism is to describe pure evil.

However, although racism is a destructive concept it is not itself, indestructible. It is an ‘idea’ that Education (facts) and knowledge can evaporate. Education and knowledge are the vaccine for this particular disease.

The cure.

An Old Fart retreats


OK the truth is out. And I admit it. I am an old fart. I’ve been trying to put it off for as long as I can, but the time has come. If there was a place I could go and officially register as an OF then I would join the long line gladly. I know in my heart that a terrible burden would be at last, lifted.

For a start I wouldn’t have to go on harking back to the glory of the 1960’s. Although true that the world went from black & white to colour. And music and fashion and…everything changed, at last I can shut my mouth. The truth has finally and absolutely dawned.

It was a one-off and it ain’t gonna happen again…

…at least for another one hundred years. There were moments of course, the advent of punk springs to mind. But it was a false alarm. That kind of nihilism eats itself. Bleakness of that nature fires people up but in the end only makes ache for better times…the sixties. So all we have had since the magic of the sixties are attempts to recreate whatever it was that permeated the atmosphere then. Attempts that were nice tries but doomed to fail. The fact of the matter is we need, we want, we yearn for (as Monty Python would say), something completely different.

And like the times of my youth (BC: OF) it has to be completely beyond our imagination. A complete and utter shock. Something (a person? – a movement) that turns the world upside down. Something that encompasses everything, the arts, everyday life, what we consume, how we live. Something, almost impossible.

It’s time for us Old Farts to retreat and retire.

Our work here is done. We have shown the world what is achievable, and we and our ‘new’ ideas are all used up.

There is, my fellow Old Farts, nothing to be ashamed of. We did a good job and for a few good years the world seemed on a roll. However, like all good ideas there is a shelf life to take into consideration. Good ideas become old ideas and old ideas eventually become, sad. They are only useful for the time they exist in. Time changes everything.