Saturday, 26 December 2009

Happy Boxing Day

That's another one done and dusted. And it was hard, especially in the morning.

I hope everyone has come out the other side a day older, a day wiser, and many years more stoical.

Lots of love from me to all you very dear people who all look out for all of us in times of trouble. (Oh shit, I'm possessed by Sir Paul McCartney!!!! GET OUT OF MY HEAD YOU SMUG BASTARD!!!) That's better.

I always have to spoil warm words. Sorry. Dx

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

I Really Am an Earth-Centric Moron Sometimes

There I was on Sunday night, raving about the stars in the winter sky with my oldest friend, when my imagination was caught by a cluster of 10 - 13 stars shimmering in the frost. "Pleiades?" I wondered. Indoors we went and I looked up some star maps. Now of course these charts are shown with N S E W etc. So, knowing I was looking south, I mentally reversed the map so I was heading in completely the wrong direction and I've spent a day wondering where the hell in Canis Major this amazing cluster is.

In other words what I did was look at the map of the heavens like a map of the ground, as if I was outside looking in towards earth. Where really, south on the map means the map looks like that to the south.

Or in really simple language, a star-map is designed to be held above your head, not on your lap.

You may think I'm beating myself up unnecessarily, but that sort of thing on my part really irks me. (And yes, it was the Pleiades - and a wonderful night for seeing them).

Other news, I've calmed down considerably over the last two days. Sleeping again too (thank goodness). Six weeks of crap sleep is long enough.

Just spent the evening reading 'Clockwork' by Philip Pullman to the boys. I would have loved to have seen a German Expressionist Silent film based on that story, if a time-machine could be invented. Or an early Svankmayer's take on it.

Maybe I'm not earth-centric after all if I'm visualising being on the outer fringe of the universe looking in and through these stars towards earth. Hmmmm.

Take care all, and merry whatever it is you celebrate. I like to nod to the solstice (hence the snow-bathe) and the traditional xmas. Just because I've been an atheist all these decades doesn't mean I don't enjoy all the trappings (like most art) that comes attached to Christianity and all the other religions.


Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Xmas/Solstice Eeeeeee-Card

Well I'm ok as you see - just cooling myself down a little. I thought I'd take a weekend break of sun, sea, and sand, but realise now I was sold a pig in a poke.

p.s. Old posts have been restored (until next time)!

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Practical Advice

Sorry if I'm been lax. I've been doing the heads of sane people in over on facebook. You all know my name - you can find me.

It's nearly two years since I went completely nuts. And I am not very much different from that at the moment apart from one enormously important factor: namely, these days myself, and my wife, and my kids, all conspire, perspire, and etc to make a joke out of my 'enthusiams'. I have changed my world, rather than changed myself. It has worked to an extent. Ok, I can't rewrite the rules for H&S or insurance companies, or even the DVLA who want me to fill a form in. Example: "Have you misused alcohol in the last six months?" What on earth do they mean by 'misuse'? I must confess, I spilt some on the table the other week (because I was drunk) and I used it to clean felt-tip scrawling out of the grain of the wood... Etc. To be honest, my only honest reply to misuse of alcohol is not drinking it. What else is it for? (apart from cleaning). I could be sober at the moment, and I could be taking the suicide pills, which I have a super stash of, namely Quetiapine, Olazapine and Depakote. But I'd rather stick by the whisky to be honest. I can calibrate the dose far better.

My love is still heartbroken. The gp prescribed some weaker beta blockers but fucked up the prescript, and ended up prescribing a dose 16x stronger than he intended. He was very shamefaced when K triple-checked. The panic in his voice gives the clue to the fact that that mistake might have killed her. Thank something we're tough fuckers who ask before obeying. Grey matter first!!!!!! And if grey matter says "WHAT?!!!!" then get a second opinion.

I am fucking manic. I'm not going to list the ways. I'm glad I'm indoors, clothed, and moaning about doctors, etc. But I am convinced many of us (and I've been yakking with a couple of semi-manic people tonight) - have an antagonistic version of SAD - we go up to spite the down in the darkest days. It has happened to me anyway the last five years at least.

Last word. I'm going to try to restore the blog. It was selfish of me to delete it. There is stuff that could help people, if google is any indication. It might wipe out everything. But it might not.

It will still carry on, interminably, never fear, although I fear that.


p.s. And just another time for the record, counter to everyone who hates mania. If someone is manic, and can FUNNEL IT, and make use of it. It can be good. It can even be life-saving. Funneling is the key. Controlling. But of course, that isn't Mania, captialalfjasdfsl -

x - y = z

If y is huge, then don't lecture me on my shortcomings of x you bastards. My y is almost worn out. Absolutely lace-like. Gossamer. Fuck. I don't believe, but God preserve me through xmas.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Who Wants To Come to the Rural Sticks for a New Year Party?

Just asking...

The last party was a good one.

You're all welcome. Just email me or phone. Most of you have the details. If you've lost them, then leave a comment and I'll find a way.


Wednesday, 16 December 2009

I Hate Funerals

I hate funerals but I thought they'd be easier the older I got. But no. Anyway I'm dreading tomorrow. I don't know the form for CofE - I know the form for Catholic and Orthodox... but come hell and high water I'll throw a clod of dirt on the coffin in its hole and say goodbye. Anyway, the dead one is the only one in that family I liked. So I don't care if I inadvertently offend.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Refusing to Freak Out So Funny Story Maybe.

I was thinking... I have gone commando since 1990. Come May next year that will be twenty years. It's probably more than half my life, in fact it definitely is.

It's in my mind because I'm wearing pants today. Or, so to speak, an old pair of K's boxer shorts from a long time ago. I had to get some x-rays done of my spine. It only takes the first time one has too see someone for something medical after a long time without seeing those bloody white-coated people, when the little petite Chinese lady says take your trousers off, and you begin, and then remember you haven't worn pants for a decade or so. She smiled and nodded very nicely and gave me her handkerchief to preserve my modesty.

But what I can't quite get my head around tonight is that (although I never have, honest!) I keep feeling the sensation of wearing underwear, and it makes me think I'm wearing women's underwear, and then it strikes me, actually, I AM wearing a woman's underwear!

Christ on a bike the things that keep me awake!

p.s. And when I was at the physio the other day, with K and youngest son, and had put K's boxers on for the occasion, dear Lucinda (may her name be cherished - she was lovely) was worried that I'd be offended if someone walked past with me in my pants. Although according to K, while I was demonstrating my 'exercises' everything fell out. Maybe I need a Borat Thong.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

It Takes A Certain Fortitude...

... to keep calm when your love keeps collapsing with stabbing pains in the heart, dizziness and breathlessness. It goes, how should I say, counter to all the basic medical knowledge one picks up. But the docs don't seem worried, so we grin (terrified) and bear it.

I am Dreadful with Acronyms de Jour

It was only a year or so ago that I discovered that GSOH didn't mean 'good standard of hygiene', and tonight I've just discovered that MILF apparently doesn't stand for 'mother-in-law-fantasy'.

Right, back to normality. How are we doing? What are we doing?

Kate: all manner of weirdness. Beta-blockers made her get the full Mount Everest without oxygen experience. Or being 90 with emphasemia (sp? can't be arsed). Since her heart was slow, the gp said they'd probably be a bad idea. Not that the consultant god from Stalag camp headquarters 15 gave a toss. Anyway, after two days the gp told her to stop them. So - doctor table tennis anyone? you can be the ball!!! Anyway, as she was reassuringly told - if they were worried, you'd be in a bed being monitored, so let's hope it's all par for the course and common and safe. They don't know why these things happen out of the blue. The old internet suggests very minor strokes can do it. But just bad luck from the sound of it. Anyway, looking on the bright side, she's doing ok, and does better the more feisty she is, which is good!

Me? My head has been trying to go walkabout quite often, but I've been being extra ruthless. It is interesting. When it is something selfless that demands your being-there, I can turn one side of the screaming bastards against the other. It's not simple force of will - it's co-opting your zoominess to fight being zoomy. How the hell does it work I don't know but it is working, and not too many whisky nightcaps are involved. (Not like some of the bad (or good) times). I've been being judicious. Hic. And as for the sciatica - doctor doesn't think I'll comply with treatment - either it's surgery or steroid injections into the spine. I told him I'd have to be in a wheelchair before I let the sawdoctors into my spine, but I'd be open to the idea of the injections. I don't think he believed me. You can't win with these chumps.

I know lots of you are going through hard times at the moment. So I'm sending my love. If I won the lottery (fat chance, I don't do it) - I'd establish a charitable refuge for you all. But since that isn't likely, you can always phone me up.

Ok enough for now. Take care all Dx

edit - can't let that pass. All that crap about pitching myself against myself. The one bloody time I got caught was when I couldn't.

So therefore I'm sane, because I'm not losing it. Except I'm mad, because I once lost it. A pox on all of it! We'll battle through, and we'll bloody well win.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

I'm Either

Going utterly tits up (if I had tits) or becoming the carer from heaven or hell.

24 hr ecg only recorded 1.5 hrs. Consultant was a posh prick. And he took my darling's driving licence away. CuNT!!!

Therefore, despite being at present very mad, I must not be mad. I must keep hid. Keep caring. Keep doing all the driving. OH WHAT A WONDERFUL WAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Random Musings

Hello everyone, and again, thanks for all the well wishes.

We're surviving, but life has been simultaneously busy and fraught and 'salle d'attente' so to speak.

Anyway, it's Wednesday now I suppose, just, and so tomorrow K gets her go on the 24 hour monitor, and I get to see the physio about my sciatica. The boom-recorder being present will, of course, mean that K is completely recovered over those 24 hours, but that's the way these things always go. As for physios - thankfully I'm not up - last time I was there I was, and funnily enough, one doesn't get very good service when telling the doctor that they're feeling in the wrong place, and ARE YOU !!!SURE!!! YOU'RE FEELING WHERE I'M TELLING YOU TOO!!!!! angry stares and gesticulations... ahem.

Had my crown fitted today. For a dentistophobe the whole process wasn't too bad. The hour of drilling last week or so ago got boring eventually for me to start drifting off.

My Poor Old Teeth

These days the dentists offer the casts with an apologetic shrug, saying "We haven't got any room - can you - er - look after them and keep them safe for us?" Modern times eh.

We were also given a big big bag of freshwater crayfish the other day (frozen, but still not to be sniffed at apart from food-poisoning sniffings after defrosting). What a feast!


Funny wee story behind them. The chap who trapped them was dog-sitting for a mutual friend and gave them these and a whole pile of live ones because he enjoyed staying in their house. (Back to front recompense, but never mind that.) Anyway, the dog-owners don't like crustaceans - so they threw the live ones in the food-waste bin, and forgot about the frozen ones. The live ones kept trying to escape the foodwaste bin, so they kept putting more foodwaste on their heads. To no avail. Eventually they ended up putting them out of their misery (so to speak) by pouring kettles of boiling water on top of them. Sigh. If only they'd said, we'd have scoffed the lot and killed them a damned site more humanely.

Anyway, all the kids give a big thumbs up for freshwater crayfish. (Don't worry, conservationists, they were all the american species that is wiping out the protected indigenous variety - I checked.)

Apart from hearts, backs, teeth, crustaecea, etc, what else?

I'm planning a 24" by 20" pinhole camera. That will be amusing. Especially at £11 per negative. Patrons? Patrons? Where is our rich patron? :-D

Oh well, enough. Big moon tonight. My moon theory is now - yes in the winter - no in the summer.

Take care all, night night, Dx

Sunday, 29 November 2009


Help, I need somebody,
Help, not just anybody,
Help, you know I need someone, help.

When I was younger, so much younger than today,
I never needed anybody's help in any way.
But now these days are gone, I'm not so self assured,
Now I find I've changed my mind and opened up the doors.

Help me if you can, I'm feeling down
And I do appreciate you being round.
Help me, get my feet back on the ground,
Won't you please, please help me?

And now my life has changed in oh so many ways,
My independence seems to vanish in the haze.
But every now and then I feel so insecure,
I know that I just need you like I've never done before.

Help me if you can, I'm feeling down
And I do appreciate you being round.
Help me, get my feet back on the ground,
Won't you please, please help me.

When I was younger, so much younger than today,
I never needed anybody's help in any way.
But now these days are gone, I'm not so self assured,
Now I find I've changed my mind and opened up the doors.

Help me if you can, I'm feeling down
And I do appreciate you being round.
Help me, get my feet back on the ground,
Won't you please, please help me, help me, help me, oh.

How did I know this song since I was four and never really listened?

John had his moments of genius.


Next Thursday she gets the 24 hour heart monitor. Gloucester A&E is grim in the small hours (last big scare - the out-of-hours doc called the ambulance before I'd finished talking). Week after she gets the appointment with the cardiologist. Hopefully it isn't serious - because the medical lot aren't busting a gut over her. But we're a family of fucking stoics. So that is worrying too.

Unrelated shite: I've had sciatica since carrying my bodyweight of coal down to Wern. That's five months and counting now. I get to see a physio next week. I just bloody hope they can do something. Because it fucking is hurting my left testicle!

Friday, 27 November 2009

Some of my favourite pics put up on flickr over the last 4 or 5 years

Click on the right hand side of the window to fast forward videos if you don't happen to be in the mood.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Thank you one and all,

... for your lovely words.

Here's a picture that made me laugh today:

We're ok, just scared, helpless, and soldiering on as best we can. :-)

Take care all Dx

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

A Strange Couple of Weeks

The main thing that's been happening is that K has been suffering palpitations, chest pains, breathlessness and fainting for the last fortnight. She's fit, she's not the panicky type. So it's all been a bit worrying. The local doctors just call an ambulance as soon as you phone them, so then you have all of the inconvenience and embarrassment of wasting people's time... Blah. Spent most of last night in Gloucester A&E - the palps have been increasing exponentially over the weekend.

It all seems a bit strange for people who never call a doctor let alone an ambulance.

As for my darling, she never got to experience pain-relief in birth because she didn't kick up a fuss. She got labelled "A quiet labourer." Little story: 2nd boy, I went under the blankets to take a look after a few hours of fierce (yet silent) contractions. It looked pretty 10cms to me. Got a midwife. She started hectoring K that if she's making this fuss so early she'll have to have an epidural - I told her to take a look at the sharp end (blunt end? hmmm) and she shot out of the the cubicle shouting for delivery room and wheelchair. Yes... crowning.

Stoic people get short shrift.

That's the moral.

Anyway, only a two week wait for the appointment with the cardiologist. Bradycardia/Tachicardia Syndrome is their best bet at the moment.

As for me - there are great advantages in having somewhat elevated symptoms during times of stress. It gives you the superhuman powers to look after people.

If I believed, I would pray. But I don't, so I don't. But I'm trying to do everything I can do.

And the irritation of getting an ECG one minute after an attack, and one minute before and the bland not-my-problem-attitude of the otherwise perfectly decent nurse is mindblowing.

However, plus side, some good people-watching and amusing tales.

Anyway, that's where we are. Trying to carry on as normal.

Hope you are all ok. Take care Dx

Tuesday, 17 November 2009


Well, I got up and watched from 4.15 - 6.15 and saw a lucky thirteen. Tonight should be good from midnight onwards in the Uk - best in India apparently. The last one was a good long and bright one.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Where Am I?

So, after nearly two years, how has my diagnosis changed me? Because, for sure, being labelled in such a critical way that takes away so many of your rights and privileges damn well changes you. And I am an old dog of 38.

Well, firstly I've retreated from all of the healthy constructs that I used to use to behave like a normal person. I think I am still 'normal'. But I've been told for the last couple of years I'm not. And it has meant I have let slip the reins to a certain degree. The insecure me, the angry me, the raging me, the paranoid me, have all been let loose far more than I ever let them be. (When I was officially well). After all, why bother, when one can't even be a local School Governor? I'm not allowed. I know the governors. They all get pissed in the pub, then drive to pick their kids up in their godalmighty 4x4s.

And I'm not eligible to be on a jury. Despite the fact I have one of the finestly graduated shades of grey mindy mind I've ever had the pleasureful pleasure of meeting.

So fuck that.

Where am I now? I haven't been anything worse than running naked in midwinter for months. And where I live, it is i) not illegal (would be if someone took offense and it was proved I did it to cause offense) and ii) it's bloody cold and iii) I could do the same thing in the daytime in the summer, and there would still be no-one to see.

Why would I do that? Good question. Thanks. I've always wondered why mad people get naked sometimes. Um.... Sometimes when the head is full, shedding everything is a way of getting back to oneself. It's a pretty harmless coping mechanism, especially when it doesn't scare the horses. And in truth, it shouldn't really bother anyone in a healthy society.

Unfortunately, we don't live in a healthy society.

Where am I? I have hands full of thorns. That's where I am right now. I was doing my bit (the bit no-one else was 'man' enough to do) by sorting out a huge bonfire that wasn't burning. I got singed too. I was stood in the middle. But that was all fine by me, and in no way anything to do with mental derangement. It was simply "This is the way to sort the fucking thing out."

Love you all to bits, you who still read. Strange how where I am now has given me a handful of new friends.


This picture of bums was taken in 2007. When I took it and the reason why I took it was a random coinciding of people that jogged my memory of Julius Caesar massacring some ridiculous number of Germans. The internet isn't learned enough for google to work for tonight, but I will find the passage in the Gallic Wars, and post in a comment. Basically, JC drove a whole tribe (thousands of men women children) into a confluence of two rivers. They were either stabbed or drowned.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Something I left on the Guardian Talk Boards... MH etc

I wish I had the patience to read to the end of all the comments before speaking, but anger and irritation have got the better of me.

I have for good or bad, accurately or inaccurately been diagnosed manic-depressive. All it took was sticking to my guns on a friendship over the course of my third child being born. Better that that breaking up a family, eh? Yes, it had all got rather gnarly and ugly.

Speaking from experience, anti-psychotic drugs are a living hell. The last thing I remember after taking my first Care in the Community Pill (the other option was the strait-jacket and the lock-up) was the sight of my wife and kids crying at the effect it was having on me before I passed out. Believe me, all of you who've never had the pleasure, these things are STRONG SHIT.

Chemical Restraints... Chemical Strait-Jackets... these phrases are quite correct. These drugs do very little to alleviate the transitory problems the mind is going through. What they do do, is either i) poleaxe the person if that person follows the doctor's advice, or ii) induce even worse pyschosis if kept on a low dose due to the family saying we don't want a comatose daddy. (Research how quetiapine/seroquel attaches to histamine/dopamine receptors. Hang on, I'll do the job for you:

These fucking drugs made all my friends' jaws drop so far into the floor seeing their effect upon me that their jaws are still in Australia.

As for you pillocks talking about breeding... Don't you know a thing about madness and genius? Breed out these genes (if they'll ever be identified, which is a big fucking if) and you'll breed all creativity out of this planet. This may of course suit the way the people who govern us would like us to be.

I spoke about anger at the beginning of this post. My anger was aimed at those ignorant pseudo-eugenicists who seem to be populating the comments of the Guraniaurd. You people really make me feel murderous. I wouldn't call *that feeling* mental illness.

As for sex. Either twenty times a night or once a year. Goes with the territory my dears. The drugs don't help. They just force you into the latter category.

And I have already bred, you fucking eugenes! Three brave boys. All perfectly fine and dandy. (And middle class and Cotswolds donchaknew?) So fuck off with your fucking prejudice.

All the best .



link here:

Follow up addendum the first:

Should just add. Been drug free for a year. No problems since.

Also, the old lovely English phrase "Nervous Breakdown" should be employed nine times out of ten instead of condemning people to a medical diagnosis that leads to a lifetime of stigma.

Follow up addendum the second:

And I took myself of the anti-psychotics after a month. And was then later on the so-called mood-stabilisers, for which read depressants. No... not Anti-Depressants... I said DEPRESSANTS. "Kill yourself pills".

Thank God for alcohol. In fact, at the risk of going off topic, we had a wee dinner party this evening, and we were all talking about the way different drinks affect us. (Of course, drink is evil, despite it's 10,000 year old therapeutic history.)

Gin of course is the classic downer.
Whisky makes you frisky.
Brandy makes you angry.
Vodka... I can't remember.
Tequilla... um... that was when I --------------------------------- deleted.

Best not to drink, except when you know when to. (Apart from the glass of wine in moderation with the lentils (puy) and the orgasmic chicken (tescos).

Night night.



Why can I be more honest on a fucking national newspaper than I can on here? Makes my raison d'etre etc for blogging rather pointless.

Desolation Row

I marched against this sort of thing. Marching wasn't enough. Now it's rubbing our noses in it, and screaming at us that what we did wasn't enough. What should we have done? Bar killing the government of course... :-) (That's a joke, Mr GCHQ Beardie-Minion (I've met a few - but maybe Weird Beards aren't fashionable anymore in the Cheltenham Shop)).

Killing the government wouldn't have helped much. A new government would have stepped into the void and done the damned same thing. What now? Kill all people who might form governments?

Somehow I don't think governments are the answer.

Maybe pick on the people on the top of the pyramids of the organisations that tell governments what to do (as if we could get to them even in a James Bond Wank Phantasy). And no, I'm not a conspiracy type. I just distrust multi-billionaires, and their 2nd and 3rd in command.

Our poor government would probably come a sad 6th or 7th or 8th on that list.

Edit: I've just thought of a metaphor or simile for the new world order. Imagine a pond full of little fish at the Top Of the Pond Ma! who are all spitting their little spits of bile in graceful arcs. Somewhere there is a fucking great big toad with a funnel in his mouth catching the topfishies' spouts of shite. He eats them and swallows, digests and craps them into all the small frogs below.

How's that for a model of modern fucking governments the worlds over? I despair. I fucking despair. Those poor families.

Click the fucking link.

And when you've clicked on the fucking link, then listen to the song. And I expect zero comments.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

The Conception of Cain After the Fall

Finished my picture the other day. Title is tongue-in-cheek, or maybe left-buttock according to my knowledge of anatomy. Enjoy...

Earlier versions/process.

p.s. Alternative titles welcome... I'm tending towards "Yes we have no bananas"

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Slugs In Mucus Make Few Friends.

My brother-in-law imparted the piece of advice encapsulated in the title of this blog on his wedding day, and he was talking about his father and stepmother. Or was it our wedding day? I forget. It was either ours or his.

The other brother-in-law's wife's mother is terminally ill. Only weeks left. She has her granny flat attached to their house, 24 hour nurse care, the works. Her daughter (professional Inhuman Resources Manageress, specialises in laying off whole workforces) and the b-i-l want to put her out of sight in a home. Their excuse is they don't want to disturb their fucked-up kid. It makes me so angry I could explode. We've already made it clear she's welcome in our house.

Society deems me mentally ill. What does it make of these evil cold cold bastards?


edit, following Mo's brilliant idea of always posting a song.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Toe Warming and Bread Fermenting.


Ten to five. I have nothing to say. If I start saying, then I'll spout shite. And we wouldn't want that now, would we, admit it, ladies and gents, we certainly wouldn't.

I'm good for some things though. Like making bread. Toasting toes. Wanting to make a 20" by 16" pinhole camera (each picture would cost approx £20 to produce - our weekly income after bills (not petrol) is only £180, and that's with three hungry boys going through food and clothes and food and shoes at £30 a shot and food and birthdays and food and christmas and weddings and funerals and flowers of condolence and food and and and etc etc etc)). And I thank whatever fates gave me a generous heart that doesn't begrudge anything that is essential. We scrape by. We're doing ok. "At least we're not starving in Africa." Etc. Pearl barley is actually quite nice when you work out how to make it nice. Gives me the awful runs though.

Bah. Il poverino... etc. Something seems to have happened to the cost of living over the last two years. When I was working, and on between 25 - 30K (less, incidentally, than we're on now, when tax is taken into account)... everything seemed cheaper and we had lots of money. Now we have pennies. It's food. Food has gone through the fucking roof.

Right! Pulses! Ha! Pulses! Pulses are the answer! We have SHELFFULLS!

Take care all. Dx

Friday, 6 November 2009

Fed Up With The Whole Shebang and a Book Recommendation

Although I happen to be in a rather mellow mood today, which is rather lovely.

[Diary update too]

Let me explain.

So on the one hand, we have the psychiatrists (or biological types) shoving pills into us to see what works... and a whole diagnostic industry set up around that paradigm.

On the other hand, we have the psychologists studying the ways that the mind works, and the factors associated with various types of thought-process, life-attitude, whathaveyou.

(And the neurologists of course, but when a man points to a slice of brain and says this is the problem, then I'll eat my hat).

Personally, I prefer the psychological angle, which is pretty powerless today, for reasons I can assume are to do with the cost of treating people as people and individuals.

Yes I know the staff on the ground pay lip-service to 'everyone is different in the way their illness manifests itself', but then go and work on the box-ticking and pill-prescribing.

Where am I going with this post? Or am I just ranting for the sake of it? (Yes, you are ranting for the sake of it.)

I don't think I have come across anyone over the year I've been blogging who remotely fits one of those convenient boxes. The depressed people can be hyper, the episodic people can be grindingly ill when otherwise 'normal', the manics can be very controlled, etc, etc, etc.

I am tending to the view that most people apart from a few classic cases do not fall into a neat category. To go for the first example: take schizophrenia and manic-depression. Two ends of a spectrum. Virtually all the research shows the same syndromes shading into each other. (Google "Kraepelinian dichotomy").

Also that there is no cut-off point between madness and sanity, just a continuum.

Also that there is no stasis for any individual along that continuum. Everyone has the capability of madness - no-one should have the lifelong sentence of madness placed upon them.

Sigh sigh sigh sigh. And what? you ask. God* only knows.

All I know is the system sucks; we're stuck with it for the foreseeable future; and God* help us every one.

p.s. Read a good book recently: Madness Explained, by Richard Bentall.

p.p.s. I wrote at length on this blog about crappy Kraepelin (before I deleted the blog). Here's one of the pieces c&p'd and slightly edited.


The Bipolar Schizophrenic Overlap

Mo's blog linked to this Lancet article. Interest in the much-debated possibility of genetic overlap between schizophrenia and bipolar disorder has been restimulated by molecular genetic studies, which have led to reappraisal of previous evidence from genetic epidemiology. Most previous genetic epidemiological studies have been underpowered to investigate the question of diagnostic overlap. This study, however, included more than 2 million nuclear families; the researchers merged data from the Swedish multigeneration population register and the Swedish hospital discharge register. The results clearly show increased risks of both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder for first-degree relatives of probands with either disorder. Furthermore, evidence from half-siblings and offspring adopted away shows that this is due substantially to genetic factors.

The Kraepelinesque Dichotomy is dead! (I've always wanted to say that.) Kraepelin, as you all know, differentiated what he called Manic-Depressive Insanity from Dementia Praecox (what we now call schizophrenia). In fact, though, Kraepelin later said: No experienced psychiatrist will deny that there is an alarmingly large number of cases in which it seems impossible, in spite of the most careful observation to make a firm diagnosis... it is becoming increasingly clear that we cannot distinguish satisfactorily between these two illnesses and this raises the suspicion that our formulation of the problem may be incorrect. (1920)

Seriously, it has been on the cards for a while. The overlap has been highlighted recently (to my certain knowledge) since at least 1995 (Eysenck: Genius, the Natural History of Creativity - you can read some of the book here - quite interesting, and refreshingly straightforward (why are psychologists more readable than psychiatrists?) though I may have been feeling mildly grandiose when I ordered it from Amazon). Various studies comparing people with schizophrenia and manic depression with the likelihood of their children inheriting either condition: Rosenthal (1970), Penrose (1968), Powell et al (1973), Elsasser (1952), Schulz (1940), Pollock and Maltzberg (1940), Slater (1953), etc, etc, etc... all of these show that one type of illness may beget the other to a significantly higher degree than would be expected by chance (eg, Rosenthal found that the children of manic depressives had a 2.3% chance of being schizophrenic, compared to 0.8% in the general population).

On the other hand - there is evidence that there is a difference between the two conditions. I commented on Mo's blog: "if there were five genes, and four of them (say ABCD) made you schizophrenic and another four (say BCDE) made you bipolar" then it would be easy to see how the shared likelihood of transmission could occur, but still differentiate the two conditions. Some studies, Kant (1942), Weingberg and Lobstein (1943), Vaillant (1962) found that relatives of schizophrenics who didn't recover showed a greater ratio in first degree relatives of schizophrenia to manic depression, compared to relatives of recovered schizophrenics, where the ratio was reversed. The ratios varied between 5:1/1:5 and 7:1/1:7. Studies have been carried out seeing how often different psychiatrists' diagnoses accord with each other. The figures for agreement are generally around 59%. Or on the other hand, 41% of the time, someone gets it wrong. This obviously (?) cannot purely be down to incompetence (thus he prays).

However, this Swedish study seems very large, and hopefully should make more of a splash in the murky waters of the pond.I've rambled on long enough to little purpose. I'll finish with a quote from Eysenck:

"As regards the generality of 'psychosis', it seems clear that there are definite genetic links between different diagnostic categories (schizophrenia, manic-depressive disorder, schizo-affective disorder, unipolar disorder) which make it impossible to regard them as entirely separate disease entities. Some specificity there undoubtedly is, but there is also a generality of disorder which links all these disorders and their sub-classifications and diagnoses together to form one end of the psychoticism continuum, with a severity gradient placing schizophrenia at the extreme end, followed by schizo-affective disorder, manic-depressive disorder and finally unipolar illness."

Back to the schizoaffective spectrum, eh? Or since that was written in the mid 90s, that should be towards the schizoaffective spectrum.P.S. On a brighter note, I hope this will reduce the stigma that gets shoved at schizophrenia. I find it irritates me when I read someone with (say) manic depression 'writing off' people with something 'worse'. Our 'shared heritage' he said, raising an eyebrow in sympathetic amusement, should give us pause.

* Who?

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Whoops I'm Again Trip Flip and Need a Clip Round the Earhole

Had fun today at the private view at the RWA. My picture was the best out of the 600 [edit - this statement is me being ruthlessly self-judgemental :-D]. I pchawed and hissed with exasperation at half a dozen cliches. I was given the glad-eye by a hundred goat-eyed cat-clawed ladies in their fifties, and escaped.

But am in very good humour. I know it's too good. But I'm in a good mood and it's very hard to be silly up here in any way that any other human would notice at this time of night. I have had many strange glances today though.

And the Bristol Zombie March was amusing. "Call my Psychiatrist! I'm seeing things again!" The best I saw was a girl with a bloodstained baby attached to her by a string being dragged and kicked - a doll obviously. That and a man devouring Marge Thatcher's head.

Keep safe all! dxx

Tuesday, 27 October 2009


Monday* Tuesday. Last night slept 1.00-3.00 & 4.00-6.00. V low all day. Managed to make kids' breakfast and lunch. Couldn't face going out. Looked after little one all afternoon. Baked a cake, because little one kept saying 'cake' brightly and hopefully. Couldn't face going out to fortnightly music session. Watched Bellissima by Visconte in evening. Cried. Very sore back all day.

Other news, Happy Birthday Little Sister!

* what bloody day was it today?


Wednesday. Last night slept 3.00 - 4.30. 5.30 - 7.00. 8.00 - 10.30. Still broken, but what an improvement. If yesterday was mood = -8, today was only -2. Felt pretty good, relatively speaking. Anxious, yes. Irritable, at times. But at least energy to engage with the kids, and even go out for a couple of hours in the afternoon. Sounds easy, but involves winning the whole family round. Anyway, lovely walk around Uley Bury. Took a 20 min pinhole pic of Smallpox Hill (Bury Hill). Will see what it's like when I have a few more to develop. Cooked roast chicken and saffron potatoes and cauliflower and K did the carrots, and I did 'Daddy Gravy'. Ugh! No, daddy gravy is the only gravy that my epicurean children deem acceptable. It made me think about the way DLA is awarded, and how it is skewed against anyone who's been a chef or who can indeed cook well. Pleasant chat in the evening with a couple of people. And the missus went out swimming and did a mile! Not a bad day at all.

(I've decided to keep all these in the one post. If anyone is interested, then bookmark or whatever you weirdo stalker-lurker-snoopers do :-) )


Thurs - can't remember sleeping. Best friend came over - needed to price a job. I came out for the jaunt. Brought it all back. The horror, the horror. The horror of taking on 70K worth of work for earning maybe 20K, and hoping that one will be well enough for long enough to do it professionally. My skin was crawling and my mind was shutting it off.

Fri - ditto - paranoid, unloved by all and sundry. K kicked me into using telephone.

Sat - Sleep - about four hours. There was a post about that.

Sun - Sleep - so so. Went for a walk to a local long barrow. Took some photos, pinhole and normal. Semi-high.

Here's one I took the day or three before.

Mon - Very sad. Sleep shitty. Had bad news night before. Sad for them, not me, though I ended up crying a lot on their behalf. Ended up a very grotty day.

Tue - In bed from 1 til 10. 1 til 7 I woke about 20 - 24 times. So innumerable 15 minute bursts. I could be charming and call it 'drifting'... It was more like a car door slamming on my head regularly. Felt grotty and fucking irritable all day. Attacked family accounts, started organising everything! Etc. Made some prints in the night.

Wed - Sleep: 1 hour, 1 hour, 1 hour, 1 hour. Felt wonderfully rested. More ORGANISING! Shelf-rearranging, etc...

Thur - 10 hours straight sleep! Bit of a non-day. Cooked, etc. Did a bit of painting. Cooked again. We watched a pleasant and rather sweet film: I Am A Cyborg (But That's Ok). Now trying to blog, and will shortly go to bed to either stare at the ceiling crawl around again, or sleep, inshallah. Take care all.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Am I (Delete Search History)

K takes the credit for spotting this. I got to wow her with my Alt Prt Scr moves.

Other news, I finally got around to making a pinhole camera. Still experimenting.

Other news. I'm flipping out generally but doing a good impersonation of someone who isn't mainly by avoiding people. Lost my temper with a rabbit skin I was trying to turn into a hat for the baby. It wasn't big enough. His head has grown.

Feeling odd. We should have gone off to Wales for half-term but we haven't yet.

Take care all. Dx

Saturday, 24 October 2009

One of the problems.


Click on the pic for an explanation. Oh fuck so I can copy and paste. Ok then.

"Scaffold designed by me off the cuff on back of rizla packet. I was horrified to see it become reality. And it was out of my hands. And very happy when it came down. (I have no scaffold designing qualifications or engineering skills).

And in high wind, I was very unhappy on the couple of site visits I did.

Moral of this story. Don't listen to manically optimistic professionals thinking outside the box. Yeah so it worked. But it might not have.

But fuck, it must have saved £100,000"

Post before this is the one that counts for tonight. This is just righteous anger and entertainment.

Coming out of the shithole

But not necessarily in a good way.

I always have a horrid time in the autumn. I generally have a down at the beginning of autumn. This year nothing has changed. I realised I have a problem with describing depression. I was chatting with my cpn. He pointed out that I only call myself depressed when I am clinically catatonic. Well. What does that mean? That I'm generally depressed all the time apart from when I'm concurrently flying? Probably. And I always go badly up during the winter. So fingers crossed against too badly up. Last year was relatively mild. I gave an unofficial public lecture on Boxing Day to the visitors of Glos Cathedral while covered with lacerations caused by sprinting naked in the dark into barbed wire, and topping it off with writing imprecations to myself all over my body, and was discovered naked in the morning by my mother in law and sons. So, if that's all that happens, I'll be a happy man.

This post probably sounds coherent, but it's about to fragment into a hundred different worries and thoughts.

First, worried about all the people who have vanished off the radar. I hope they are well. But if so, it would be lovely to hear so. And if they're not, I hope they're all safe.

Secondly, La-Reve's jug - it is packed, addressed, and waiting for the strike to end. Ceramics during industrial action and postal service... (I once worked temping in the parcels sorting office - on a good day everyone enjoyed smashing 25% of items to alleviate the boredom - I was only young, and even though I'd just spent three months pretending to be Moses with robe and staff along St Paul's, I found the attitude revolting.) So it will be sent! I'll damn well drive it up myself next month otherwise. Or December, or whenever next month is.

Thirdly. At least I'm taking an interest in all of you who have helped me at times again. I have been in a hole last month. Think moth emerging from cocoon in a roaring fire at present.

Fourthly. I appreciate people getting in contact through various means. I'm just a cack-handed fool sometimes. Technology and me... clueless.

Fifthly. I was taking the long view earlier. Prompted by talking to the Lisp the other day. The 'episode' that they 'caught' me on was not the worst that has happened since, and all of the others have been under their radar. Because I keep them so; my family keeps them so; and my friends keep them so. Because me, my family and my friends are all in accordance that the MH system in this country is a pile of shite. What's that quote? Samuel Goldwyn? "Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist needs their head examining."

Sixthly. I once again distrust my cpn. Nice bloke. Maybe professional. But one day and I hope it isn't my fist and his nose that alerts him, he will have to work out that he can't square that circle. I told him the bare minimum about the Wales weekend in the summer. I WAS NOT IMPRESSED to be asked by some milksop psychiatrist about it. So I told him it was none of his fucking business, due to reasons of professional confidentiality.

Seventhly. That Wales weekend was strangely lovely. I expected a horrible pile of stress. And I imagine everyone else did too. But we all managed somehow or the other to be 'quite' relaxed. More relaxed than many weekends of friends we've had up there. That weekend gave me a pile of faith in all of us. I think it's the others who are the problem. The morons, the unimaginative, the mail-readers, the blinkered old horses, the etc etc etc

I must stop or else I will burst my spleen.

Take care all, Dx

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Psych Visit Today

And don't you hate them? I hate them. This lisping child, wanting to run away out of the room every time I let another piece of information fall that he hadn't read in the file.

Still, seemed to convince him (I wasn't going to hurt him) that I was no threat to society or myself eventually.

But it's fucking demeaning. Even if I haven't been at my 'best' recently.

Let's change the subject.

A picture. I took 12 pics on the medium format camera after the 1000000gazillionth dip in the river in the barn, and have been fucking about with them since.


And here's the first stages of a painting I've started doing from it.

roughing out

Will update now and again, depending on drying times.

But bloody psychiatrists. Cretins. Idiots. But over here, and in my experience, they need their noses wiping.

Like being interviewed by a child.

And they are here to HELP!????

There is something stinkin' in the Mental state of DenmarUK

Sunday, 18 October 2009

More Anti Kraep

Good summary in the obit of Robert Kendall.


'And what of Kraepelin, would he approve? Well he was having doubts about his own dichotomy back in 1920, “No experienced psychiatrist will deny that there is an alarmingly large number of cases in which it seems impossible, in spite of the most careful observation, to make a firm diagnosis…. It is becoming increasingly clear that we cannot distinguish satisfactorily between these two illnesses and this brings home the suspicion that our formulation of the problem may be incorrect”.'

Another good article:

Changes in classification will accompany the improvements in understanding of pathogenesis. These will require clinicians to embrace classifications that are both more complex (more categories or, perhaps, dimensions) and also simpler (because they map on to the biology of the illness more closely). These developments have much to offer patients and the professional standing of psychiatry. Most patients want to be given an unambiguous and accurate diagnosis, but psychiatrists are understandably reluctant to be too dogmatic in the early stages of psychotic illness, recognising that the cross-sectional picture may change longitudinally – often frustrating patients, leading to diagnostic revisions between categories and creating an impression that psychiatrists are indecisive or incompetent. Moving to a spectrum concept (be it with categories or dimensions) with recognition of overlapping pathogenetic factors and varying expression (dependent upon both genetic risk and environmental exposure) would allow a confident and clear diagnosis to be offered (perhaps ‘psychosis-spectrum illness’ or ‘mood–reality disorder’), with a clear explanation that some specific tests and a period of observation will help to clarify the likely course of illness and response to treatment. This would be greatly preferable to the current situation and the inevitable consequences of damage to the therapeutic alliance caused by diagnostic revisions.

The Kraepelinian dichotomy has been useful for a hundred years. Now it is time to move on.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Unexpected Visit

I don’t like MH professionals when I’m not in a fit state to talk to them.




Spiky and Smallpox Jaunt

I’ve been a bit spiky of temper recently. Friends seem to bear the brunt.


Anyway, can’t think of anything useful to say, so thought I’d post a few draft scans of some pics from a hill that used to be a smallpox isolation hospital in the 17th Century, and maybe a black death isolation hospital long before that, and a fort long, long before that.





Take care everyone. Dx

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Thoughts on Creation and Inability

It’s not the creative act. It’s the selection.

I sit in ‘brown study’ and inhabit scenes, all imaginary. In detail. In dialogue. In every particular of nuance, accent, mannerism. I need a speed-of-light pen. It can’t be done. I can’t make a precis. I can’t focus on detail. I can’t pick and choose. Everything is there and real. The room dims and I see what I’m imagining, and there is no pause-button to press.

That isn’t psychosis in my book. It’s an act of imagination, albeit one that takes over my reality – but I know what it is that I’m doing.

It’s always been my creative failing.

Over the years a few decent chapters got written down, and lost over the years too.

Maybe this is why I’m heading back to my first loves – visual expression, poetry…

I can sit for hours threading my mind down through mazy cities of people and events – it’s like dreaming while awake. All manner of things happen. And it feels as real as dreams feel. But still awake. Bizarre.

I repudiate the concept that having a knack for that somehow makes me ill.

I call psychosis that babble when I somehow know 1 = 2 and am trying my hardest to convey that to others and they are scared and white-faced and when I’ve calmed down I want to weep for the memory or the knowledge of how it was that I made 1 = 2 and how it’s lost again.

As for life, and the want to live, and the want to be normal, and the want of steadiness, and the wantonness of the burbling spring. Well pour on the concrete, and dynamite the concrete, simultaneously.

p.s. 1=2 is my shorthand for any impossible predicament that somehow in those 'funny' moments one can harmonize and make impossibly possible.

p.p.s at twenty past five. Beckett's "All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better." The 'Fail better' is a classic 1=2. Double bind? No. Just the human condition.

Monday, 12 October 2009


Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they shall eat Shit with both their Ears.

Friday, 9 October 2009

WTF? Swine Flu Inspired Changes to Mental Health Act - Only One Doc For Sectioning.

Am I crazy, or does this sound evil?

Via HenryNorthLondon

I'm feeling a bit like this

I forget what the jargon is. Derealisation? Depersonalisation? Whatever it is, I feel lace-like, and the world feels washed-out. I shake my head to clear it and click back into it, but it isn't working. It is a permanent state of tension, of waiting. I am bored with it. I want to reclaim the 8 months of the year that are spent in slump, fizz or the otherworld back for me and my family. And the pills don't fucking do it.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Clear Skies

There is but one Moon in these heavens
And she is my only Mistress.

Incapacity Benefit and the Tory Cunts

There have been a couple of excellent and interesting posts on the subject from Tangled Weeds and Aethelread.

This has been on my mind the last day or so, (separately to the DLA/AA issue), and what prompted my maths (ahem) brain (ahem) to get working was the feeling that people were saying 'It will cost too much therefore it won't happen.'

My gut instinct was that it wouldn't cost very much, and the apparent savings, by which I mean the savings on paper for 'that policy', far outweigh the administrative costs.

I've attached the slew of comments I added to Aethelread's post below. I'm afraid they show the way my mind works all too well. I know I know the answer, but I have to do an impression of a rubber ball fired by a cannon in a fives court before I get to the answer. See why I went nuts again when Mr Taxman made me do my accounts in the spring?

The conclusion is this: despite the very low figure for IB fraud (as if it is easy to con all the doctors and psychiatrists!), the policy is that 20% are to be branded shysters and fraudsters and thieves and villains.

That means many ill people are going to be starved back to work, or into hospital, or into worse health, or into many other horrible states which will end up costing the government money.

But on paper, hey, the policy will be deemed successful.

And it was a Labour Policy to start with.

FUCK THE LOT OF THEM. I'm voting with my Molotov.

Comments I spewed all over Aethelread's. Sorry Aethelread. Feel free to tidy up. :-)

abysmal musings, on October 7th, 2009 at 11:44 pm Said:

Using my business head – rusty, but still alive, like a foul old reptile that I haven’t quite slain…

I calculate they will break even between weeks 158 and 159, and make a weekly saving of £533,280 after that (not adjusted for inflation). My forecast does not cost for their extra MOT centres.

So, ignoring that aspect, their forecast only overruns two weeks based on the forecast of the figures you’ve sensibly estimated.

In other words, it all sounds horribly plausible.

Where we really need to look and raise our voices is the extra costs to the NHS that will ensue from this policy.

Sorry to piss on the bonfire.
abysmal musings, on October 7th, 2009 at 11:46 pm Said:

Forget that.

Rusty old head.

Back to the spreadsheet!
abysmal musings, on October 8th, 2009 at 12:00 am Said:

Well, firstly I forgot to times the per-person weekly saving by the £25 they want to dock.

But even so, that doesn’t go far enough.

My maths is a bit like action painting. It takes me a while to see the picture, but I get there in the end.

The point is, and the really pertinent pointy point is that if they shunt half a million IB claimants to the tune of £25 weekly each, that is a weekly saving of £12,500,000. Soon pays for that 14 mill a year (plus extras).

Sorry to make a mess of your comments.

Take care, Dx
abysmal musings, on October 8th, 2009 at 12:12 am Said:

I’ve straightened out the spreadsheet. They break even in week 6. Which funnily was where they broke even on the scribbled graph estimatation my wife and I did by the fire half an hour ago.


Sometimes I think technology just complicates our lives.
abysmal musings, on October 8th, 2009 at 12:19 am Said: Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Spreadsheet: (xls):


Wednesday, 7 October 2009

They All Want To Do Away With Everything. Even the Wheelchair Users. Let Alone Us Imaginary Wheelchair Users.

Sign the petition. Tell your friends.

Parties across the board are wanting to scrap Disability Living Allowance. This affects the most vulnerable members of society.

There are only a few days left of the Green Paper consultation period. Write to your MP if you feel strongly enough.

Sorry to bother you with touchy-feely rights-of-man stuff, but this is actually important.

Love to all, David. (A disinterested party - never been well enough in the head to cope with the forms and hoops to claim it.)

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Comme ci comme ca

Just thought I'd give a wee update. Been in a horrid black turd-besmeared hole for a couple of weeks punctuated by manic spikes. Not too bad at the moment. Bit too intense for other peoples' comfort maybe, but alright in myself.

Hope you all are well. (You know what I mean.)

(by Kate, obviously. Sodbury Camp. How's that for a double-edged title for a photo? And bejesus if I have that many wrinkles at 38 what the hell will I look like if I get to sixty? The wrinkle soup that engulfed the earth? (Men are vain too.).)

p.s. found a complete Anne Sexton in a charity shop in Stroud yesterday.

Her Kind

I have gone out, a possessed witch,
haunting the black air, braver at night;
dreaming evil, I have done my hitch
over the plain houses, light by light:
lonely thing, twelve-fingered, out of mind.
A woman like that is not a woman, quite.
I have been her kind.

I have found the warm caves in the woods,
filled them with skillets, carvings, shelves,
closets, silks, innumerable goods;
fixed the suppers for the worms and the elves:
whining, rearranging the disaligned.
A woman like that is misunderstood.
I have been her kind.

I have ridden in your cart, driver,
waved my nude arms at villages going by,
learning the last bright routes, survivor
where your flames still bite my thigh
and my ribs crack where your wheels wind.
A woman like that is not ashamed to die.
I have been her kind.

Other news? Not really. Just thankful I live in the howling wilderness where plod and the nosy neighbours don't tread in the night.


Thursday, 1 October 2009


"Finally, hypersensitivity, hypersyntony, extraversion, instability, suggestibility, loss of limits and proprieties, hyperesthesia, hyperreactivity, sensation seeking, disinhibition, intolerance to obstacles, excitation, acceleration, disorganization, disorder, chaos, whirling and swirling, twirling (Wirbel) characterize the mind and world of bipolar patients and often confuse the differential diagnosis with hysteria, borderline personality and other cluster B axis II disorders." Bipolar Disorder by Mario Maj, Hagop S. Akiskal, Juan José López-Ibor

I just like the word 'wirbel'.

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

That Time of Year

"Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off - then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can."

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Inviting Critique

Trying to write an 'Artists (fucking) Statement' still. But an honest one. Any opinions welcome.



My pictures are always about reasons for living. Whether they show dreams, certainties, realities, fantasies, they have one thing in common: how to keep going in a world that is (and always has been before) becoming increasingly detached from any concept of spontaneous delight.

When I see something that makes me laugh, or think, or smile, or cry, I try to remember it, and sometimes take a picture. Sometimes they are thought about beforehand, othertimes in hindsight, and sometimes during the moment.

There is nothing special about what I do, except that I keep doing it, thinking it, and doing it again. My approach is always one of innocence. And I am lucky enough to have had a broad and amusing education: (child, climber, mountaineer, factory-boy, tramp, lover, poet, novelist, luthier, musician, painter, labourer, conservator, abseiling-medieval-sculpture-conservator-with-bells-attached, businessman, father, madman... among others). There is always something interesting in the world if you learn enough about the world first.

I use any medium that comes to hand. Sometimes for practical reasons. Sometimes to spite all the practical reasons. Any reason, so long as it gets to something that means tomorrow is viable.

I am allergic to bullshit, yet still remain a gentleman, a state of affairs which I am still old-fashioned enough to think important.

And I am definitely not 'cool'.


Pomes and Pics


Take care all Dx

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Find X

Well it made me giggle which was devoutly to be wished. Keep safe all. Dx

Thursday, 17 September 2009

The same old

kill yourself etc

I was thinking very positively all evening. I thought through all of the things it would take to get back to work, doing what I do best.

The emotional cruxes started the negativity. Always bad to work with your best friends, especially when they've bailed you out.

So you start trying to think of ways to work that don't impede them.

And then you hear the litany of "kill yourself" repeated ad nauseum in your ear.

Well, I have the antidote to that, and always will, so fuck off Mr Kill Yourself. I have 3 small boys and a wife upstairs blissfully asleep, so fuck off fuck off fuck off.

I am fine. Just in a bad place, temporarily.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Vote For Me!

A Second Look

I meant, vote for the picture you like best.

Monday, 7 September 2009

Still Here

Just living in freshstartville. All previous deleted.


Sunday, 30 August 2009

Artist's Bloody Statement Take Two

Attempts at finding answers to some ghastly stock questions:

* Why do you create art and what does it mean to you?

Because. Nothing.

* How does the creation of art make you feel? What emotions do you wish to convey?

Temporarily distracted. Any and all of them.

* What inspires you? How are your inspirations expressed in your work?

Death and doom and meaninglessness and beauty and stoicism.

* What message are you trying to convey to the viewer?

There is no point. But it's sometimes pretty.

* How much time is spent creating your pieces?


* How is your work a reflection of you?

It has its ups and downs.

* What artists (living or dead) have influenced you?

Everything influences. Not just 'artists'.

* What is your vision/philosophy?


* What are your goals for the future?


* What are your techniques and style and how do these relate to the medium?

Intuition. Click. Kill the colour.

* How do your techniques and style relate to your vision/philosophy?

B&W suits me - it renders the world more real in the atomic sense.

And a closing remark from K:

"For someone who is a pragmatic determinist nihilist David has a remarkable ability to capture life. His pictures are beautiful and full of meaning and love, even if the man himself likes to come across as a sour old bastard." Thanks dear, this really made me smile.


I can see I need to work on this a bit. Anyway, cut fourteen hinge mounts this afternoon. My back hurts. It was hurting before, has been for a few weeks.


Link to the show if anyone wants to come along and ask 'why do you take pictures?'


Friday, 28 August 2009

Been Rather Too Buzzy

But strangely, have been in no mood to talk about it. I think I'm fed up of talking about it. I'm just getting on with living with it and not getting arrested on account of it. I've been reading you all - it's strange how it becomes an extended family. But I am drawing horns in - maybe because I have to deal with the real world a bit more than I have. I have an exhibition starting a week tomorrow (Fri). Getting frames, mount materials, learning how to cut mounts (took me all of half an hour... the violin making came in handy for the steady hands after all)... etc. etc. etc. etc. And I still have to write some bullshit to justify why I take pictures.

Because I do. Because it passes the time. Because because because. Because life is absurd, but the thing is to keep swimming through it with good humour. How do you explain that? Because life or death is immaterial, but keeping going is of the uttermost importance, else the elseness has won. My Nanny was called Elsie, btw. Because it is one thing to be unafraid of your own death, and it is another thing to be unafraid of your childrens' deaths, and they are the same thing.

I am ok. I'm just a little stressed, and gearing myself up for a challenge. This summer has been a good but tough one. Wee stretching exercises. Getting fit. Fitter.

I feel vaguely bad that I'm not doing my usual in terms of trying to keep peoples' chins up. But I know I need time for myself.

Take care one and all, I'll be back in a couple of weeks. Dx

P.S. (Pm: The jug now has an address and packing materials. I'm now in search of suitable cardboard boxes. Expect it during the week after the bank holiday.)

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Tongue In Cheek

We set forth like a hopeful arrow

Headlong towards serenity

Return with tail between our legs

Back from hols. A lovely peaceful intense soothing extreme time was had by all. Loathe to leave.

Hope all are surviving in blogland.


(pics by K)

Monday, 10 August 2009

A Pint of Plain is Your Only Man

'The Workman's Friend'

When things go wrong and will not come right,
Though you do the best you can,
When life looks black as the hour of night -

When money's tight and hard to get
And your horse has also ran,
When all you have is a heap of debt -

When health is bad and your heart feels strange,
And your face is pale and wan,
When doctors say you need a change,

When food is scarce and your larder bare
And no rashers grease your pan,
When hunger grows as your meals are rare -

In time of trouble and lousey strife,
You have still got a darlint plan
You still can turn to a brighter life -

Flann O'Brien

Sunday, 9 August 2009


How dangerous is peace and happiness?
Only as perilous as that we carry
To and from refuge warm and wild and safe.







I'm away there again for a while. Thinking of all I spent such gentle times there with recently. Keep safe all, Dx

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Cheese Rolling

There is a hilarious post over at Alex K's on our quaint customs. Go and read it. But he casts aspersions on the noble sport of cheese rolling. For shame! Make your own minds up (as a Gloucester boy myself, I feel a strange sense of if not pride... well, something anyway...):

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Fashion, Swimming, Butterflies and Pupae, and Safe Travelling

Hmm. What on earth does that title mean? Have I really forgotten already? Oh yes.

Fashion. Why oh why am I fated to be a trend-setter? I bought some speedos a few years back. Next thing I knew, James Bond was wearing them. Mine are too small. I don't know who they design them for, and I'm not bragging about my packet, but they are frankly embarrassing and indecent. Now I hear the new Doctor Who wears tweed jackets and black jeans. The bastard! I shall have to change my wardrobe, again.

Swimming. Went to see family in Devon at the weekend. Went over to Dawlish Warren, and swam a couple of times. Lovely waves. The sort that when you get out to tiptoenoseafloat rear four feet above your head and block the view of the shore. And this flock of smashed-glass white birds came skimming between them past my head and back again. I must try and find out what they were. They looked as if they were made of shining triangles. Knife birds.

Butterflies, Pupae. We are like butterflies that live a score of lives. Hatch from pupal state, fly, fly, fly, die, and in the wet ashes of an old fire in the hearth of a ruined house, we lie in the lye, but never die. So many things I've been, so many I hope I'll be.

Safe Travelling... to all who are braving the Abysmal Party.

Take care all, Dx

(caption: "They've nicked my effing cross!")

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Help Please of a Practical Nature

As some of you know, I've been trying to narrow some pictures down for an exhibition in Sep. I made the mistake of getting it to twenty and asking various people to pick the ten they like.

I'm still stuck at thirteen.

Here's the twenty:

What I'd love you all to do is tell me which ones you don't like (and why, if you can bear to).

I'm feeling chipper at the moment. Wishing you all the best. Take care, Dx

p.s. away for a few days.

Friday, 17 July 2009


Too many people, too many social things, too many projects. But it's all under control. I need a day to myself perhaps. But school breaks up tomorrow, so farewell to that!

I'm coping. I had to go and pace and fume in the rain tonight for half an hour (hydrotherapy again...) but that was from natural causes and irritations.

I feel that I've made progress over the last couple of months. The ups and downs are still crap, but the impetus seems to have been building up. Maybe I'll rise above the ups and downs and be back in the blissful state of not noticing after another few months.

Hope all are well - I've not been very good on the blogfront recently.

Take care, Dx

Friday, 10 July 2009


Don't know why. Birthday tomorrow perhaps?

Anyway, a crap week has slowly clawed its way back towards somewhere... somewhere dour.

Mon - benefits shite and horrid pacing.
Tue - went to Bristol in the evening and played tunes - ok - but was feeling like the man in the monster suit.
Wed - Ashes started. Lay shamelessly in the sun listening to the radio and sorting out photos for an exhibition I've been very kindly asked to joint exhibit at. (Still choosing photos. I might well ask for help. Watch this space.)
Thur - Took the boys to watch a cricket match (pub team affair) in the evening. Funny to see them with their bottles protected by the stumps, their fags in mouths, the summer evening air full of the thick of spliff. The boys played hide and seek in the pissoir and collected shards of broken glass, interminably. I was jealous to be a spectator. Wanted a crack at it.
Fri/Today - A non-day. Feel doury dour. Oh, I said that.

Take care all.


Monday, 6 July 2009

Bloody Benefit Bureaucracy

Had a letter this morning informing me that a month ago my Incapacity went up meaning my Income Support was stopped. Had another letter from Housing Benefit who were told by IS that I no longer had it, therefore that had been stopped. Cue horrid day of finding papers and documents, phonecalls, going into town to Council etc.

I hate the way stress works like the points on a railway line. I was feeling ok over the last 6 days. Then clunk, clackerty clacker and off on another line and my head feels like someone has taken a tin-opener to it. I feel weird to be honest. Very weird. I hope it goes away.

I found driving really hard today - my mind was zooming in every direction. I had to keep up a mantra of "You're driving - don't forget you're driving."

Other big bloody pain due to IB & IS is that the opticians and the dentist had all been put in motion to get some major stuff sorted, and now I'm not entitled to free health care. There goes my crown.

Oh alright, this is just moan moan moan, but I'd rather do that than pace the garden in the rain trying not to groan groan groan. My head is feeling frisky in a bad way. There's a thunderstorm-spooked horse locked in there. The can-opener is opening the stable door. Quick, spill milk on the prancing beast.

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Open Poem

A couple of lines came to me just now, but I'm throwing them open to the rest of you to finish.

The curfewed cats along the groynes taste fishheads;
The tanned louts sit outside the pub each night.
A hard day's graft excuses slur of pissheads,
Who come to grief, regretting bloody fight.
Sailors [...]

Carry on, ye who dare!


Edit. The accumulated effort below:

The curfewed cats along the groynes taste fishheads;
The tanned louts sit outside the pub each night.
A hard day's graft excuses slur of pissheads,
Who come to grief, regretting bloody fight.

Sailors sing to unknown siren bodies
Nobody’s seen a real one for a year
They go down on their red and hardened knees
But all God sends is pixelated rear.

Old women fillet anchovies, eyes closed,
Their fingers plunge, knife-tipped, while their incessant
Chatter vibrates the cool peace of the scullery:
Harsh glances cast at brash enquiring men.

Who brag their right to satisfy desire,
With coarse tongue, bulged eye and salt cracked lip.
Maids scuttle in shadows cast by open fire,
Scorched by sea dogs fresh from a lonesome ship.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009


I was going to blog on the film Soy Cuba, which is fantastic, review will appear, and also on the way that MH overdiagnosis and stigmatisation is a wonderful tool of The State, and many other things, but I changed my mind.

Tonight I'll be honest about my previous occupation. I've alluded to it, and shown a photograph or two, but never actually described it accurately. I think it is pretty relevant to mental health issues, all told.

Ok, (takes deep breath), I was a stone conservator running my own business specialising in the conservation of medieval carving, and I did most of my work in situ (anywhere down from 400 feet in the sky, using the rope techiniques developed out on the North Sea rigs). I managed seven years, I believe.

To get it in context, I'm sure some of you don't like going into high buildings. Well, I was working on the outside sometimes 40 stories up.

(A certain parish church in Bristol, and btw, my best friend)

Now, the height is a nasty, all things considered. It does unpleasant things to you. You find you spend all day in a tense waiting-for-disaster posture - every muscle fibre is awake and ready to react - it doesn't matter how safe you know you are - you are just waiting for that rope to break. And you distract yourself with tiny dentist's spatulas and glue and mortar for modelling, and put all the little flakes of corrupt and diseased stone back in their correct artistic position, exactly where the lad 800 years before you had left them. (Just try doing that in a strong wind. BTW Gaffer Tape is your Friend!)

It was ok for the first year - the main stress was lack of money. I started the business overdrawn. It was very stressful. Lack of money often is. I had also started an MA and a family at the same season. Yes. I can see now why I must have been a bastard and a half to work with that first 12 months once the initial enthusiam had passed. I have already apologised. But here's another sorry. Have another picture:

Digression: that picture makes me laugh. I'm no steeplejack. But in another moment of confidence, I decided "I can do that!" The first time we had to go up that spire, we laddered it ourselves. We'd never done that sort of thing before, apart from a practice run on a small Cotswold church. We got our training from a Fred Dibnah video. And then did it in windy weather in November, on one of the biggest spires in the country. .... EFFING IDIOTS. My workmate fainted at one point after we'd just got down, and I was off with all the devilish angels and angelic devils of hell on the top of those bendy wooden ladders drilling holes and waiting for the splintering sound below me. When we got to the top, and abseiled down all the facets, making drawings of every defect on every stone, our brains were blancmange. What was stunning for me was when I had to reinspect it four years down the line (I hired steeplejacks this time to put the ladders up) - I was expecting the drawings to be 80-90% accurate. They were 100% accurate. That is quite stunning accuracy for any building survey, let alone one of this stress and duress. Just consider, this pointy bit is about 170 foot tall, coming off a 120 foot tower. So 170 x 8 sides, drawing the courses of the stonework, the individual stones, the decay, the open joints, the occasional crack... and to get every single one in the right place. I would never bet on that. Not on anyone. I told you I was going to digress, and I took full advantage.

Cut to seven years into business. There is a reasonable amount of literature linking long-term stress to bad episodes. I mean, I had my psychotic moments and depressions from my teens to the end of my twenties, but I felt I'd shrugged them off back then. I don't think I had - I think I was just in my element - the minimum of being checked-up on - I could pick the times the dates - and keep going, and keep going, and keep going...

It is amusing in retrospect for me, to recall the confusion and glazing-over of other professionals while I gave presentations on site while manic. My brain had assimilated every defect on a whole cricket pitch of vertical stonework, and could pluck them out, describe them, give the best remedy. It was scary stuff really. And that was shown up a couple of months after when I tried to jump off the damned building.

In fact, over the various 50 odd churches and cathedrals I had the pleasure to work on, I must have memorised a whole test series of cricket pitches.


This is bloody boring.


And for reasons of discretion, this post will probably implode (or be severely edited) in 48 hours. Google is everyone's enemy. Enjoy, briefly.

The Feminist Test!

Saw this over at Marian's and just had to have a go.

Your result for The Feminism Test...


You scored 83% Gender-Abolitionist, 80% Sexually Liberal, and 60 % Socialist

You are the Revisionist Feminist! You are, by far, the most philosophical, the most sexually-liberated, and the most politically extreme variety of feminist. You are very, very freedom-oriented. You abhor oppression in all forms. For instance, your views on sexual liberation and reproductive control adequately reflect your devotion to personal freedom. Not only that, but you also feel gender needs to be destroyed to maximize equality and freedom, because accepting socially-constructed gender roles binds women into false categories and places upon them an unneeded identity. Gender should not be a part of one's identity, but rather an irrelevant aspect of their physical bodies, such as their hair length or nose shape. Not only that, but Revisionist Feminists are political extremists and feel very strongly that the oppression of class society is a big part of the cause of women's oppression. Basically, a Revisionist feels that cultural ideas of gender, political class, and repressive sexual morality all work together to oppress women, and the only way to truly escape this oppression is to challenge all of these problems directly and extremely. You are a Marxist, a Gender Abolitionist, and a Liberal Feminist all rolled into one.

The other feminist types:

The Housewife

The Marxist

The Liberal

The Liberal Extremist

The Gender Abolitionist

The Radical

The Gender-Liberal

The Revisionist

Take The Feminism Test
at HelloQuizzy

The things one can be arsed to fill in at one in the morning eh? Some proper posts coming up. Stay tuned, yawn, etc.

But, he added, only 60% socialist? What utter rot!!!