Besides the trivial meanderings of bloggerings herein and thereabouts, I have written screenplays (In Hollywood, Playing Willy) and am putting the finishing touches to my first novel, The Sublime Dramatic; a tale of science fiction, comedy and global conspiracies. News of that will be forthcoming, so please follow me on Twitter/Facebook for more information.

Within the pages here lies a treasure trove of total bollocks.  Why treasure trove? Because bollocks are testicles, which are colloquially known as family jewels - so treasure.  A trove? Well, as you can see from this intro - the trove is as drivelling as it is replete!

Journal of a Troubled Mind

A couple of years ago I flippantly Tweeted that my job in a busy magazine subscriptions department ended in therapy as I had a lot of issues that needed addressing. It transpires that, although said employment was a fable, the latter was indeed true. 

Recently, it was suggested that I may suffer from cyclothymia, a type of chronic mood disorder and a milder form of bipolar disorder - or as I like to name-drop and say “that thing that Stephen Fry has”. It makes me feel I’m in the company of great men, ever-so intelligent and rambunctiously camp. Doctors have suggested that if I wanted to be “labelled”, I could undergo a long term of psychiatric evaluation which would “probably err on the side of bipolar” according to initial discussions and embarrassingly frank admissions with them. Thereafter, depending where I fell on the spectrum, I could be offered medication to control my ever changing moods (© The Style Council, 1984).

For most of my adulthood, I have suffered the highs and lows of what I considered normal life. Some months highlighted by running down the street naked squealing like a pig, followed by massive “investment” in gifts and gadgets I could ill-afford but subsequently paid the price for. Claiming to be a record producer awaiting “an internationally famous pop star” to join me in a hotel bar and regaling wedding guest therein tales of how “no one had any idea he was gay until that toilet episode”. The tales of stupidity go on far more than this little self-therapy session will allow. I’m sure some of my friends will read this and remember their own experiences of what they kindly refer to as the “larger-than-life” side of my personality.

Then there were the crushing lows. When I gave up on relationship and family life and self-imploded with depression and hopelessness. Time where I self-medicated on enough booze to drop a rhino and sometimes sexual experimentation that would make the Marquis de Sade blush. As the trail of destruction fell in my wake, I developed another coping mechanism. A switch in my mind that could be instantly turned on that would allow me to completely shut out everyone in my life while I went through whatever it is that goes on up there. Thus, selfishly trying to deal with my own pains, ignoring the feelings of those around me. Effective enough to cope, potent enough to destroy.

What has triggered this (probably uncomfortable for some) confessional has been a recent episode in my life which has left me quite shaken and has made me reconsider wether the way I handle my demons are the best way to do it. My usual façade of clowing around and joking about anything and everything started to break down. Nothing I could think of was funny and the flippancy about all things sexual, priest-like (obviously usually one in the same) and all my usual innuendo self-protection japing melted away. The roller-coaster was heading deeply down at an ever-increasing speed.

Around a month ago, I started to dive deeply into the lowest low I’ve experienced. Following the self-imposed destruction of an important relationship at the beginning of the year, I started to evaluate that and previous relationship abandonments and how I had managed to throw away many important things in my life because of the constantly swinging emotional pendulum. Without warning a few weeks ago, the ostrich briefly lifted his head from the sand and was hit by a runaway train of a full life of the pain that it had been hiding from. The collision made a very big mess indeed. Blood, guts and feathers everywhere. The ostrich had been killed and I stood there facing nearly 25 years of regret. One hell of a melodramatic meltdown ensued and this is where my reawakening began.

As thoughts of self-destruction started to flood my mind, I panicked and made a terribly distressed call to a very close friend who, through the powers of calm sanity and understanding of my troubled mind, was able to talk me down to a point of being able to breathe again. An act that I shall ever be grateful for and one that I hope he never has to be called up to perform again. Luckily, due to the fact that I have three of the best children currently available on the market, any thoughts I made of checking out were based on a long term commitment to making sure they far away from me and had lived several years without me being around. This and a romantic ideal of walking out to sea and swimming away with the dolphins to Valhalla ensured that clouds would clear way in advance of having to combat my fear of flying to head out to warmer waters. Sometimes it’s a good thing to be a drama-queen with a penchant for Luc Besson’s 1988 chick flick, The Big Blue.

A couple of days after, another meltdown occurred and, after calling for help from the driver of aforementioned runaway train, I took myself off the the doctor to ask for help and start the long road to redemption. I walked away from the medical centre with a few anti-anxiety poppers, some happy pills, a commitment to evaluation and probably most painful of all, a referral to the gym. That particular remedy will be kick started this week at some point when my sleep patterns amount to more than 2 hours a night and my appetite allows my calorie intake to also beat the threshold of 2.

I believe I’m on the other side of a big turning point in my life, the way I handle myself, other people and my interpersonal relationships. The dead ostrich has opened my eyes to many facets of my life that I hitherto had ignored or swept under the carpet and has allowed some kind of Buddhist enlightenment to enter my mind. I have made an effort to apologise to people I believe I have hurt (which in itself caused a great deal of concern for people). I have also decided now is the time to thank all the people in my life who have constantly been there for me despite the circus freak show I sometime make them watch and more painfully take part in. It’s time for me to ride the roller-coaster up to the exit and get the help to swap rides for something more stable, like the Tea Cups.

Thank you to all my friends and family who have been there supporting me over the past month. Some friends ran, some others came out of the wood work - others simply ignored me because they thought it would help. It didn’t. This in itself has helped me understand how I should deal with people if an when they ever go through what I have had to. It has shown who really cares for my well being, who I have pushed too far for reconciliation and who have actually been dragged through my ups and downs and stayed with me despite of everything. It has also allowed me to see those who were coasting along on a more superficial basis for the entertainment of the show. I have to say, it must have been fun to watch, but your tickets have now been re-assigned to the back row.

It has helped me to understand how selfish this kind of condition can make one. In the grand scheme of things, if there is help available, why should I be too proud to take that help and continue the demolition? I have close friends and family who are far less lucky than I am, some have terrible illnesses and are undergoing treatment that I can only pray (to no God etc) that I never have to go through and have hitherto been too awkward to offer any kind of emotional support to. All change, as they say.  It’s time for paying it forward.

As it stands today, the clouds are still gathering above my stupidly complex brain, but I get the impression the sunshine isn’t too far away and you may well be subject to my pathetic innuendo quips once again. Just not today.

The Soap Opera as Written by One of the Players

The following was written as a release of steam and in no way represents real life...apart from the entire section from start to end...that does...

What is it about some insipid people who have suffered pain and angst, that makes them insist on thrusting such bleakness upon others when an opportune and vulnerable moment arises? An urge for company in the darkness? A misguided anti-life-jacket that only serves to pull people under the murky waters of their misery swamps?

It bemuses me that there are these people. People who, when they see another in sorrow, will do their utmost to ensure the sadness is not only indelible and entrenched for longer than it should be, but will make themselves feel better by mixing up a cocktail of gossip and assumption to guarantee that their susceptible "friends" retain a hang-over of anguish and despair far longer than necessary. All in the guise of "care" and "affection", but rampantly emblazoned with the reality of voracious malevolence.

Of course, I am being a tad extravagant in my floridity due to the fact that my life and the life of those that I love have been affected by such bitter slop-suckers. But, hey ho! Inspiration for venom will strike where it may strike. 

The horrific facts of my marriage failure last year were that a) we couldn't make it work & b) we tried to but failed.  We were with each other for six years in total, lived apart for one of those years and were married for another. Along the way, we had a beautiful son. Can you imagine how the camp fires around town roared at that juicy story. They should have made a blockbuster film, based on such an intricate and turny, twisty, juice-entwined tale!

Unfortunately for me but, more importantly for my separated wife, the tale wasn't quite juicy enough for the bottom-feeders. They saw vulnerability in an abandoned "wife and mother" in "such a painful way - [that it] will have its reprocussions [stet]" - a quote, from someone who shall remain nameless, but saw fit to lecture me in a poorly written rant of an email (whilst, quite oblivious to the fact she was lying to me about me, simpering for updates to her low-traffic website that serves to denote her fading acting career and attempts to break into the business of making people suffer with her unpleasant music). 

They found a way to dig their claws in. There were guts to be spilled and tears to be shed in order to satisfy their crud-lust.

“What was said?”, I vaguely hear you inaudibly mutter! Well, let me pull just a few from a long list of twaddle.  Hmm, let me see… 

  1. “He made another woman pregnant.”
    Easy to understand - as I have three children with two separate women. This in itself is obviously proof that I am unable to stop my seed spilling forth into (and perhaps onto) unsuspecting females. I’m a baby machine. I have no reproductive brakes.
  2. “He’s gay.”
    Again, easy to comprehend, since I am relatively camp in nature and anyone with a modicum of creativity or sensitivity is certain to be gay.
  3. “He was having an affair.”
    Perhaps the most damaging, as I had made friends with several new people over the failing months of my marriage (gay, straight, men & women) and didn't introduce them to my wife - one of these being the girl I am now with. So, too much of an easy target. That said, I also developed a rather cumbersome haemorrhoid during that time and failed to introduce her to that. Inconsequential? Perhaps!
  4. "There's a pattern…I'm just saying…there's a pattern."
    So, I abandon my relationship because that's what I am programmed to do. Let's face it, I've done it before, I did it this time and I'm bound to do it again. That, or some obsession that leads me to leave spouses for tartan, plaid or perhaps floral designs?
  5. “He's an alcoholic.”
    Fair play. I enjoy a drink, but would I really toss aside my family to be an alcoholic alone if that was the only reason? I can't recall, I was too drunk.
  6. “He didn’t leave enough time before leaving you before he went with another woman”
    Suspiciously, I was unaware of the official legal mourning period after a split. Having made so many women pregnant and having left so many wives before, you’d think I would have known better than to cast aside solace and care in order to flagellate myself for failing yet another relationship.
  7. “You and he weren't able to make it work.”
    Of course not. That was never suggested. It was too far-fetched to be true.

I could go on for hours about what people assumed, based on circumstantial or simply fabricated evidence with the sole purpose of generating the desired level of tears in an unsuspecting party. Alas, my need to vent has subsided, as has the glass of wine (see point e. and adjust quantities according to taste), which has achieved the desired level of nonchalance I so desperately sought to find.

To put the record straight and for people who may wish to hear my side of the story: 

We tried. We split. We got back together. We got married. We tried harder. It didn’t work.

I am so sorry that there was nothing more than that. I'm sorry that people were no doubt hurt by something as simple (yet, may I add, fucking painful) as our situation. I am so sorry our simple failure wasn’t more interesting to you. In our defence, we never set out to entertain.

To all those who so desperately want to hurt susceptible people in order to make your own miserable situations more bearable, please note - you will never escape your self-portrait of anguish if you try to paint it over with bullshit.  You will simply make it a picture of bullshit, painted in bullshit. 

My Left & My Right

On one hand, I'm a technical geek. On the other, a passionate creative. Two sides of the same coin that keep me spinning on the table of life like a...er... coin.

Being a, dare I say it, guru in all things “computer” can be quite a bind. Friends call you at night asking for help with their PCs, iPhones and Androids. Some expect you to host and maintain their personal sites. Others want help with their email settings and inability to “work an Internet”. All in the name of being a good buddy and possessing skills that they don't. A service that nobody seems to realise I charge quite high rates for during the day.

If I were to ask them for free help that involved their professional skills, I'm sure I would be met with derision, debt or most likely denial.

"Pop over and do my accounts would you?"; "Oh come on, install a conservatory for me for free!"; "Give me that Audi A4 on your forecourt, pleasey weasey".

Somehow, technical ability is considered a charity amongst friends and family and quite frankly I've had about enough of it, you hear!

If, given the choice, I wouldn't be a techie at all. I wouldn't spod about at the computer all day trying to scrape money together for paying the rent and satisfying my obsession with gadgets, art and booze (not necessarily in order of preference).

Given the choice, I would eradicate that side of my brain that makes it all too easy for me to use my scientific understanding and put aside the happier side of my brain.  The one that creates. The one that acts. The one that writes music and badly sings songs. The one that make people laugh through absurd stories or self-penned one liners. If any of those things could be my full time pursuit, I would throw my PC out of the Window(s Vista) at the first opportunity. Something I have wanted to do for a very long time. I would of course keep my all my Apple toys, because they are beautiful and make me gooey, both inside and out.

The reason I don’t do it, may be that it’s far too easy for me to make money at being a nerd. It may be because I’m scared to try and make it as a bo-ho artisan. The excuse could be that I am concentrating on far too many creative fields to truly excel in any of them. Of course, the whys and wherefores may rest truly in the lap the gods of “not being good enough in any of those fields to justify jacking in your dweeb business and run with your inner artiste, through the poppy fields of art”. They are Greek gods, I think.

My attempts to be a successful actor have stalled at the stage of just being able to call myself an actor (with a day job and no acting work). My efforts in becoming a successful songwriter have ground to a halt in being able to say I’ve written quite a lot of songs (that are gathering virtual dust on my hard drive). My achievements in being a successful director have desisted at being able to say I once directed a play (because I wanted to take the lead role). My achievement at becoming a successful comedy writer have been curbed at the level of a daily Twitter innuendo (that I generally come up with whilst on the loo). I somehow seem to be shying away from the “successful” part of my ambitions.

So now, I’m turning my focus to writing a successful book. I fear it may well go the same way as my other loves and pursuits and end up being a manuscript that nobody but my nearest and dearest will pretend to read. But I shall write it nonetheless and hope that success comes-a-knockin’.

And back to the point of this article. If life does ever present me with the opportunity to earn a half-decent wage from my right hemisphere and its eager lobes, will I be adverse to people asking me for free work? Probably not. I’d probably encourage it. The reason I kick started this diatribe against the scroungers of my digital prowess was because they constantly want a skill that I resent having.  

Ask me to write you a song. Ask me to create a joke for you. Ask me to act in a play. Ask me to write you a sonnet.

Ask me to do anything - just don’t ask me to fix your sodding PC!


One Wedding and a Funeral at Sea

It's been quite a few days. Firstly, the world stood still as a couple that hardly anyone knew got married with more pomp, glitz and ceremony than even the likes of Elton John would feel uncomfortable with, whilst their country recoiled from massive spending cuts in education & the arts.  Then the United States announced that long time arch-enemy to the western world, Osama bin Laden (or OBL as Twitter lazily has it), was assassinated under the direction of Barak Obama (BO).  The jubilation that surrounded both was, in my mind (and I am aware I'm in the vast minority here), quite crass.  It perhaps seems odd for me to bring both events under scrutiny in the same article, but really the essence of this is about the world's reaction and not the actual events.

I'm not one to renounce romantic interludes of Willy and Kate (WAK) or defend the actions of a deranged and dangerous terrorist mind such as OBL, but how hypocritical can the western world possibly get?

Perhaps the celebration surrounding the death of OBL was the one that discomforted me most.  Having seen and heard a raft of European and American people deride the burning flags and celebratory Middle Eastern behaviours every time a westerner was killed made me feel I was living in a civilised corner of the world.  I hated that reaction as much as everyone else seemed to. But, as has shown this weekend, we're all the same - just as blood-thirsty & just as vulgar as those we condemned before us. Let's face it - nearly all of those blowing their vuvuzelas now want to see the gory evidence of the death before they can fully accept it and pop their party poppers with pompous pride.

The death of anyone, no matter who they are or how seemingly evil they been, can surely never be something to blast trumpets at or raise party balloons to in a civilised world. Even if the only option is to opt for two bullets in the head in order to make the world "a safer place". There's a way to handle such things when they do (and must) happen. Having a jolly old knees-up is certainly not that way in this century.

The sombre delivery of the news by BO was deliberate as, if he had delivered the news as I'm sure GWB would have done had he had been anything close to an effective president before BO, then it would have been absolutely inappropriate in a "Yippee ki-yay mutha..." kind of way. This is the reaction that I see happening today - millions of GWBs hollering like cowboys that someone's brains had been plastered against a wall (along with the deaths of several others). Just in the same way as they saw & scorned while watching reports from Afghanistan, Iran & Iraq.

It all just makes me feel very uncomfortable and very uneasy about the future and direction of humanity.

More happily, the jubilation that followed the wedding of WAK was something that annoyed me, but only to the level of a few tuts from a miserable old duffer.  I just found it odd that anyone could get so excited about the relationship of a couple they never knew and would never know. I related the two because I spent the entire weekend saying to myself - why the hell is everybody waving flags and cheering about this?

It's probably because it's my birthday today and I feel horribly old and bald and would have liked to have been able to drunkenly embarrass myself at their palace party whilst mocking Willy's male pattern balding - neither of which I was or would be able to do.

All Works Copyright © 2017 Benedict Francis

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   |    Site by www.intercea.eu