Saturday, 30 November 2013

The books don't work

I'm licking around the edges of the yoghurt lid of a cold, dark time. I'm dipping a toe in the murky water of chaos, mess and upheaval. I'm venturing into stick, black trauma.

Yep. I've started packing. This may not sound like a big deal but you mustn't underestimate how intrinsically lazy I am and how very much I want to just snap my fingers like a much more dour Mary Poppins and have it all done and dusted.

I don't want to go through my 2,000 books and decide whether I can bring myself to cull any. I don't want to then decide which of my precious paper babies I will be leaving in storage and how many I can get away with taking to the Isle of Wight. I don't want to choose which Jesus pictures come with me and which have to lie face down in the cold, dark storage place. I don't even know where the storage place is. In a couple of weeks, men will arrive and will take my stuff and cast it into some vague abyss somewhere. Presumably it'll be alright, wherever it is.

So this time - the fourth time I've moved in 18 months - I'm being ruthless. I'm casting books out. Ones that I will never read again. Some that I just shouldn't read again.

I decided that old chick lit, old copies of the classics that I have multiple times, random thrillers and all self help could go.

I have only been through about 500 books. And this is probably a third of my self help library.


So that's:
  • The Dance of Anger - all about women's anger with stuff and things and men. Mostly men. Biased, narrow minded and totally pointless but quite good for when I properly hated all men for about five minutes.
  • Staying Sane - Dr Raj Persaud basically lays out a shit tonne of patient stories about their messed up lives. It's really interesting in a rubber necking voyeuristic kind of a way and at least reassures you that no matter how shit you feel, there are apparently a gazillion people out there in much bigger messes than you. Unless he made them up. Which he might have done. Wasn't he one of those telly doctors? Is he even a doctor? Have I been swindled?
  • He's Just Not That Into You - this American publishing sensation actually makes some pretty good points but as it was spawned by a Sex and the City writer who is smugly loved up with his wife, it's pretty hard to swallow. Still, it's pretty amusing but ever so 2003. Much better than the film. Obviously. The film was execrable.
  • Overcoming Jealousy - I bought this when I was going out with a knobhead who told me it was all in my head. So I thought I better try and work out why I'm so irrationally jealous and 'ruining everything'. Turns out it wasn't irrational and he was fucking her. So, you know, swings and roundabouts. I'm not irrational and he was a dick. Don't remember what the book said, probably something along the lines of how you should never question your man ever and that it's a very unattractive trait.
  • How To Quit Without Feeling Shit - bought it for my fag addiction, it said I should quit sugar and so I quit the book. Didn't even feel shit.
  • On My Own - as far as I recall, it's about how its totes fine to be a single woman and you should embrace it and be all happy with it and all of that. Written by a woman who'd managed to get herself off the shelf though. Just in case you thought you could completely relax. Seriously. She spends lots of time mentioning 'before I was married', 'before I met my perfect man'. Oh do fuck offfff dear. 
  • Breaking the Bonds - actually a pretty good book about depression and the neural pathways that form and make it so very difficult to break out of the depressive mindset.
  • Irrationality - one of those new breed of zeitgeisty not-a-self-help-book-but-it-is-really books that makes you question everything. Always written by male journos. Usually have a beard and are known for their sardonic wit.
  • The Worry Cure - does not cure worry.
  • Stress Buster - does not bust stress.
  • The Last Self Help Book You'll Ever Need - says that all self help books are damaging bollocks. Might keep this one.
  • How to Break Your Addiction to a Person - actually pretty damn handy for anyone who's in an emotionally abusive thing and can't work out why in fuck they keep going back to the greasy little tick at the centre of it. Helpful at the time and thankfully no longer necessary. Ever again.
  • Self Esteem - turns out if you're suffering from a lack of it, books talking about it don't much help really. Very American and upbeat. Shudder. Guess what, not everyone IS special and different and amazing and beautiful, no matter how many mantras they chant at themselves in the mirror.
  • The Single Trap - I think this was about all the things you do wrong to make men run away from you and how you fall into 'the single trap' and then has tips of how to get out of it and catch a man. Fuck off.
  • TA Today - that's transactional analysis rather than territorial army. And very interesting it is too. Useful. Unculled.
  • Understanding Psychology - I still don't. 
I do like self help books. But it's time to let most of these go. 


Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Last things

Tonight was my last ever art class in York. This makes me sad in a multi-faceted way. I'm often amazed at the capacity the human mind has for different kinds of sadness.

This makes me sad because it's the first of the lasts.

I'm not good with Last Things. I get too attached to things, people and places. I will be ticking off: last walk by the river, last visit to the library, last visit to the museum, last time with this friend, last time with that friend. And so it will go on for the next three weeks, until it will be the last time I lock my front door.

Knowing it's my last art class is particularly sad as it was the first thing I did in York that I liked. I met the incomparable Greg McGee and he introduced me to people who became my friends. It was a beacon in the dark when things went all shitsville with That Job and I'm going to miss it. A lot.

I still can't draw for shit, like, but that's my fault for being rubbish at being in any way diligent.

I'll find a class on the Isle of Wight but it won't be the same.

Last things suck.


Monday, 25 November 2013

Abortion twat

OKC asks you lots and lots of questions. Most are pointless, a lot are about sex and then there are a few key questions that are actually useful.

Like the ones this knobhead gave answers to.


Still, saves time doesn't it.


Thursday, 21 November 2013

A busy lunch hour

No word of a lie, these two stellar examples of OK Cupiders happened within the hour! It must be something in the air. Perhaps it's some kind of lunchtime treat they allow themselves... "Ah, it's been such a long day at work so far, I'll just have a cup of tea and be revolting on the internet for five minutes."

First up, we have a lovely wee chap whose user name is 'givemebjs'. Come on laydeezzzzz, tell me that doesn't get your knickers all damp.

He asked me if I'd like to rate his cock out of 10. I thought I'd go for a different approach. My reasoning is thus. If you tell them that they are the spawn of satan and right creepy mofos who should go away and have a good, hard think about themselves it seems to turn them on. A vast amount of these kinds of men seem to read that as some kind of flirting.

I'm not sure where they learned about the birds and the bees but something has clearly gone wrong somewhere. So I thought if I respond positively maybe they would disappear in a puff of spunkrags.

By the way, any ladz out there, if you have an answer to my question of "WHY do guys do this?" please do drop me a line and let me know. Can't they just look down? Do they need someone to validate them that they do, indeed, have a penis? What is the endgame here?


At least that was amusing. If there's one thing I hate it's married men trying to get their leg over with me. I hate it. It makes me want to punch them in their tiny nuts. 

So when this guy decided to message me mere minutes after penis guy, I wasn't in the mood. 


Note how he says: "I really like what I see here [because that's all that's necessary boys, as long as you like what you see then you don't even need to worry about what the other person thinks because, clearly the only thing stopping you is] at the moment, and for a little while yet, I'm not really boyfriend material, kind of too married for that. [kind of too married for that. Only kind of though. Maybe there's a chance for me. Oh, how I long for that moment because] it's a pity as it looks like on sex we might be matching each other quite perfectly and otherwise I also seem to fit your criteria [his thought processes are very pleasing for him aren't they?]."

I was up at 4. I'm tired. I can take some idiot asking if he can get his wang rated out of 10 but I can't take a man being so fucking slimy and pathetic.


I never did get to rate that dick, just for the record. That loss will haunt me. Perhaps forever.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Look at this crazy bitch

You will no doubt have seen a photograph doing the rounds, showing some perma-tanned American woman with a shit eating grin posing proudly over the corpse of a dead lion.

This woman, in fact.



As I'm British and, as such, have a normal relationship with wild animals in that I don't have an uncontrollable urge to murder them and then be dead happy about it while mounting their head on my wall, I've never heard of her before.

She is called Melissa Bachman and apparently makes lots of videos about her seemingly endless hunting 'adventures'. She appears to have killed everything, from crocodiles to turkeys and everything in between.

And for some reason this lion picture went viral. Which is weird, because when you take a closer look at her fan page she does this every other day.

Here. Have a look. If you were under the impression she is one lonely nutter in the wilderness, you'll see from her page that she very much isn't. Every time she posts the tragic corpse of whichever noble creature she's decided to slaughter she gets loads of people congratulating her. It's one of the most bizarre things I've ever seen.

Here's her with a dead bear. Particularly lovely are the captions she puts with these pictures. She talks about how happy she is and how beautiful these corpses are. She mentioned in the caption for this picture that she was really pleased because the bear she just killed is blonde. That's lovely isn't it? Heartwarming.




And her with a dead stag. Beautiful isn't he? And dead. Very, very dead. She's happy though. Grinning away like a made up psychopath.




Her holiday photos must be a fucking riot.

I could go on and post picture after picture, but I suspect that you get the idea.

Her page has more than 20,000 fans and plenty of them like her pictures, statuses and hunting boasts every day. I had no idea there were that many people in the world who could be so stonkingly happy and gosh darn proud of themselves for killing animals.

The people commenting on her pictures urge her to ignore the haters and express their envy at her lifestyle. How is it when serial killers are caught, fingers are pointed to their cruelty towards animals - check out Dahmer's boyhood tales for a great example - and yet when a grown adult decides to devote her life to the unfair and inhumane slaughter of animals, it's tolerated, encouraged and enabled?

She is hosted by various wildlife parks who lay on animals for her. Like Nero picking off the slaves, she then sits on her arse and picks them off. Again and again. This isn't even a 'sport'. This is just someone being presented with an animal to shoot. Just because they want to.

The woman is fucking inSANE. This is not normal behaviour. I don't give a shit how many US gun defenders wank on about their right to bear arms. What the fuck is THIS SHIT? The right to kill animals for fun? It's not a sport. There is never any fair fight. It's just killing.

Her website appears to be down but from what I can glean this is not the first time her pictures have gone viral and caused horrified people worldwide to create petitions trying to get the woman off the air. It has worked to an extent - back in 2012 National Geo bowed down to pressure and took her videos off their channel, but she is clearly making a very happy living out of this hobby and, apparently, has many tens of thousands of supporters.

This latest kill - the one where she's so exceedingly happy that she killed a lion - has led to this petition, which has so far amassed 135,000 signatures. Started by a South African resident who points out that Melissa's way of hunting is diametrically opposite to South Africa's commitment to conservation, the petition asks the South African government not to let this mad woman into the country again.

If you'd rather this utter cunt didn't get her own way anymore, maybe give it a quick sign.

I'm just about to start up a petition asking the South African government whether they'd consider pitting an unarmed Bachman against the wild lions. See how far the mad cow gets then.

Friday, 15 November 2013

What do you need those for then?

I went to the chemist earlier because I wanted something to help with the fact that I feel like I'm swallowing half a gallon of cataarh every time I swallow.

They said there was nothing that could help so I bought some random stuff anyway.

While I was at it I bought some Imodium

I don't know whether you're familiar with this product but it's basically a tablet for diarrohea. Solely for that purpose. There is literally nothing else that it works for or on. No matter which way you look at it, if you're buying Imodium, everybody knows why. If you have diarrhoea then take one of those, you're grand for a couple of days. Anyone who has been a big drinker and/or drug imbiber will probably be familiar with it.

I like to have it in the house. After all,  IBS is a bitch and takes no prisoners. Plus I live like a boy scout (if he was a middle aged woman who's ill a lot) and like to be prepared.

I get to the counter. She eyes me suspiciously.

I'm buying paracetamol and the aforementioned Imodium.

She says: "Are you on any other medication?"

"No."

"Well, what do you need these for?" pointing to the Imodium.

Sorry, what? What do I need the diarrhoea tablets for? The tablets that are marketed SOLELY for diarrhoea? Those ones?

There is, naturally, a queue. And, although it may not seem like it from my apparent openness on this blog, I actually don't particularly want to discuss the state of my bowels with a shop full of strangers. And I'm pretty sure they're not interested either.

So I look askance and say: "Really?"

"We have to ask." (Not even slightly true, by the way).

"It's Imodium. And you can buy it on supermarket shelves."

"Why do you need it?"

Fuck me. I'm going to crush it up and snort it. I'm going to sell it at the school gates. I'm going to take 12 and never take a shit again. OR

"In case I get the shits."

I have literally bought full on Class As with less hassle.









Wednesday, 13 November 2013

It's all about the adverts

People are talking about adverts a lot at the moment. Something about a rabbit and a bear. And Lily Allen. Shitey adverts peddling all sorts of balls that no one in their right mind actually wants under the guise of some kind of weird nostalgia for a 70s style Christmas that never even existed. Grab a song, any song. Stick a warbly woman's voice on it. Have someone who would make Richard Curtis look like Quentin Tarantino write the script and bada bing. You got a Christmas advert. Emote NOW proles.

But this is not the advert I want to talk about. I am a sucker for an ad with animals in, but even I was uncomfortable with the bear being yoinked out of its natural hibernation state in order to open some crappy alarm clock. Also the inter species love affair was a bit weird.

I want to talk about another new advert I saw on TV tonight.

For Vagisil. Odour Shield Wash. The intimate treatment and daily care range. Oh ladies, did you not know that you even needed this? Think on. The advertisers have a message for you.

It starts off with some kind of animation in pinks and purples (obviously) and talks about being 'real'. 'Let's be real ladies'. It says. 'We know you all sweat in your intimate area."

Do we? Intimate area? Really? Is that what we're going with?

I mean, if one is running or exercising heavily then yes, one might perspire. But it's a bit of a leap that every woman routinely leaks beads of sweat in her gusset area 24 hours a day, leaving a trail of bodily fluids in her wake.

So it goes on.

"Your sweat smells."

Does it? DOES IT?

I mean. Are you saying that I SMELL? Down THERE?

I'm pretty sure I don't. What with having a shower every day and that. I'm almost definite that I don't go around leaking smelly sweat everywhere. And I can't say I've noticed any woman doing so ever. Surely if all women who don't douse themselves in powders from Vagisil and do a twice hourly sniff test smelled then we'd notice?

But Vagisil says, all cosy like, in their new advert that I do smell. Even though I don't. And they then tell me I need to 'do something about it'. Because a lady sweating and smelling can't be allowed. Mustn't have that! What if a man should think that one sweats? And farts? And wees? Heaven FORFEND.

No, what I need is an  'intimate treatment and daily care routine'.

But I have that. I shower.

Nope. Not enough. There's an entire range of washes, creams, perfumes and powders designed to absorb any tiny smidge of natural female emission and tidy it all away masked under the smell or rose petals and fakery.

Shave every single hair from your body. Obsess constantly over whether you smell. Definitely worry while having a period - that's the time when you need the double strength perfumed pads just in case your totally natural and already unenjoyable bodily function gets in the way of a man's olfactory system.

Never mind that men freaking stink. Man smells are manly. Man smells are allowed. Man smells are rugged. Woman odours (we're not even allowed to use the word smell. We must perspire and have odours) are taboo. In 2013. Even though the vast majority of women never emit an odour from their 'intimate areas'.

But hopefully, Vagisil, they're just paranoid enough to spaff shit loads of money on snake oil and fairy water that promises to make them feel all secure in a world of insecurity created almost entirely by advertisers.

And you called your product VAGISIL for fuck's sake.

Go drown yourselves in a lake of Vagisil lotion you quacktastic paranoia peddlers.










Saturday, 9 November 2013

This is why

When I tell people I'm moving to the Isle of Wight the responses have been varied, ranging from "Where?", "The Isle of Man?" and "Why would you go there?" to "It's full of old people" and "Good luck with finding a boyfriend there."

So that was encouraging.

Thing is, a lot of people haven't been to the Isle of Wight so they won't know that most of the island is lush and beautiful. Like this.


Why do I even let these comments strike doubt into my blackened heart anyway?

Either way, it's too late. My flat is going to two lovely girls who fell instantly in love with it and I'm sure will treat it well. So that's made me feel better - I get severely attached to houses and the thought of this one going to someone horrible who won't give it some love was awful.

And the reasons I'm going are good ones. It's not like when I left Leamington, which was at least partly to get away from someone who was mashing my brain and feelings into dust on a regular basis. And to escape the stifling claustrophobia of a small town I'd lived in for 12 years. Or for a job that turned out to be the biggest pile of shite ever. Lord above, that was some experience, and worthy of a blog post all of its own. Possibly a book. Or a mini-series.

Of course, I didn't move for the job anyway. Not really. That just gave me an excuse. It was still a passive move in many ways. I was offered this job by this seemingly alright company and it gave me a reason to get out of Dodge. So I did. I didn't seek out the job, I didn't make an active decision to find a job, it just came to me.

This time, my decision is active.

When friends, therapists, shop assistants, drunkards and tramps have asked me what I actually want to do with my life, it's always come back to the same thing. I want to live by the sea, I want to write a book and I want to adopt a dog.

Over the next six months I'm going to do all three of these things.

York has shown me a lot of things over the last 18 months. One of those things is that I will never work for a corporate business again. Ever. I will work for myself or in bars, shops, clubs or kennels till the day I die. Being chained to a desk and forcefed utter wankery for 40+ hours a week does not do it for me. Watching people fall apart because of arbitrary pressure they're put under by nasty, sociopathic fucktards who think because they run a business peddling snake oil to customers it gives them the right to mash people into the dust.

I mean, allegedly. Obviously. I'm talking hypothetically. This is a hypothetical example of why the thought of working for some businesses ever again makes me dry heave. So, you know, take it with a pinch of salt. Not saying corporate life isn't for some people, just saying it ain't for me. And a small disclaimer, I have also worked for a nice company while in York.

I used to feel that I had to do it anyway. That because I need money and it's what people do that I had to follow this path.

But that's bullshit.

All the things I don't have make me sad sometimes - I think that's a natural state of mind. I don't have a family, I don't have a partner, I don't have a mortgage and I don't have a career that keeps me tied to one place. I can do my job anywhere.

These are also all the reasons I can go and do what I'm about to do. I am free in a way I never expected to be and I want to enjoy it in my own ways. These may not be the ways of others, but they're my ways.

So I'll give this a go. How bad can it be? I'll walk my three legged mutt on beaches that look like this:


I'll write 5,000 words a day still, but it'll be of my book. 

I'll be near my mum - and my dad - for the first time since 1999. 

I will have space to breathe, think, read and write. 

This is why this is a good decision. 



Friday, 8 November 2013

Get out of my motherfucking house

I've been up since 6 because I need to clean my house and make it all nice so that other people can come tramping through, poking into my cupboards and judging my taste in interior design.

One is coming this morning and one is coming tomorrow morning.

This may well happen every morning until I move. On 20 December.

Always my least favourite part of moving, this is. It feels so invasive and personal.

Like, can't they make do with photos? I could draw them some pictures of what it looks like. I'll let them look through the windows. Can't say fairer than that.

Sigh.

Not for the first time - more accurately -  for about the 90th time, I'm wondering if I'm doing the right thing.

One of the problems of spending most of your time on your own is that there is no one to use as a sounding board. No one to check that your latest life plan isn't a big pile of steaming turd. No one to pat you on the head and say: "there, there" and "it'll be OK".

Even if it is just empty platitudes by someone who knows no more than me about my future, it would still be nice to have every now and again.

I'll just keep blundering on through for now. I must stop moving house at some point though. It's very tiring.



Thursday, 7 November 2013

Bedlam

"There's a murderer in my head who is trying to kill me," says Dominic.

He's in triage at Bedlam. And someone has to decide when and how he gets to go home.

It's heart wrenching watching his struggle. More heart wrenching is watching the effect it has on his kids and wife. Those kids are terrified that their dad is going to die. They want him to stay in hospital. Naturally. I mean, you would. He safe there. And he's shown that he can't be trusted because when he was sent home last week he took another overdose.

He's 45 and he has the mannerisms of Arthur Dent, from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. He looks utterly bemused at where he is, how he got here and how he keeps ending up here. He even wears a dressing gown and carries a towel. He's mild mannered and unassuming. Terribly English and polite to all the staff and the other patients.

Rupert, on the other hand, is terrifying. A huge, great bear of a man, he's 6ft 4, almost unintelligible and really, really pissed off. He's a regular it turns out and is often triaged and kept in for short visits.

They give him a trust exercise to pop out for an hour on the proviso that he comes back in good time. He promptly disappears for eight hours, gets blind drunk and comes back waving a massive stick around.

Someone also has to decide when and how he goes home.

Angelica is held down and injected with anti-psychotic drugs. She's a German lady who flew over here to meet her fiance who is waiting for her. Except he's not. He doesn't exist.

Katrina on the other hand tried to kill her ma over an iPhone. She's diagnosed and is brought under control with a potent cocktail of medication that stabilises her manic episodes. She seems so fucking lovely. She writes an apology to her mother saying: "If I kill you, I'd have to kill myself."

She is bright, verbose, logical and appears to clearly understand her condition. She is really nice. She's someone you wouldn't mind having a drink with. And she has this imbalance that ruins her life.

And someone has to decide when and how she gets to go home.

It's intelligently done, this series.

The juxtaposition of the Bedlam madhouse of days gone by and today's clinical drug driven triage process is fascinating.

As the head doctor dude explains, the whole reason people can leave the ward after a couple of months. The reason why there are only 18 beds on the ward, as opposed to the hundreds it would once have had, is down to one thing: drugs.

Drugs stabilise these people and allow them to live their lives.

Katrina recognises how lucky she is to have been diagnosed young and to have found the magic drug cocktail that gives her the choice to go back to university. Her mother is palpably relieved.

Rupert looks sad. He looks definitely less alive than when he was rampaging around and demanding omelettes. He looks sad and a bit lonely. .

Dominic is responding to therapy and medication. His kids look resigned.

Angelica realises that there is no fiance waiting for her. She knows he was never there.

Back to reality.

That head doctor guy and his team has to assess each of these suffering people and decide when they're no longer a danger to themselves or to other people. I have no idea how they do it. I freak out when I have to make a decision about where I'm going to live or whether to get a fringe. That took me about two years.

I can't admire these people enough.

TV that's in danger of making me feel and think. Amazing.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Wish you were here

No matter how long it's been, apparently it just smacks you right in the fucking face.

Every time.

Birthday and death day. We all live through our birthday every year and, equally, we unknowingly live through our death day every year.

But they're just days. Arbitrary days. So why is that approaching two separate days every year I become tenser and angrier and blacker and feel that bit worse about the world?

November 4 is my dad's birthday. He should be 69 today. He's not. He didn't get to be 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67 or 68 either.

That's a lot of years not to have.

I've felt his absence every day for every single one of those years.

This is my dad with my mum on a beach near Bamburgh Castle in the mid 60s. It makes me smile every time I see it.

Wish you were here.


Tu fui, ego eris. 

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Things I will miss about York: Part One

... volunteering every now and again at a place that allows me to sit on the floor and be covered in dogs. 

The Waggy Dog Creche is one of those places that they seem to have all over America but not so much over here - somewhere for dogs to go and hang out while their owners are otherwise engaged. 

Whenever I have time I go over there and hang out with dogs. Little ones, boisterous ones and some really, really shy ones. I come away covered in drool, hair and other unmentionables and always, always a lot happier. 

This is Harry. He is half Pug, half Jack Russell and is a grumpy little ball of dog.


This is Brad. Brad is a mix, possibly with a Rhodesian Ridgeback and had some kind of obvious trauma before he was adopted by his current owners. He is so shy and spends most of his time hanging out by himself. He edges closer to the group before getting spooked and legging it. He came and gave me a kiss twice all by himself and he made me melt. 


This is Hugo. He is six months old and dressed like a bee. 


This is Ted, a 13 week puppy with a very small bladder and a very high amount of energy. He's looking calm and celestial here but most of the time he's legging it around getting increasingly hysterical. Adorable. 



This is Rio. He is a Portuguese Water Dog and is perfect. I fell in love with him. He's chubby, clingy, insecure and utterly adorable. He was very patient when I dressed him as Rudolph. 



This is Tango. He has had a terrible life up till very recently. He was rescued from a hell hole in Cyprus and was a virtual skeleton not very many weeks ago. He's filling out nicely and loves to play. And I mean play. All day. 


Here's one of Tango smiling because it's heartwarming to see him so happy. 


This is Winston. He's judging you. 


This is Scout. She fell asleep. 

This big lunk is Rufus. He bowls his way through the crowd and has the best time ever. ALL THE TIME. 


Just some of the dogs I will miss when I leave York. 



Friday, 1 November 2013

Fear

It's Hallow e'en. What better night to deal with something that rules my life?

Fear.

Such are my phobias and neuroses, some days I literally can't cross a road without becoming fractured by panic. A visceral, deep, physical manifestation of fear, which makes my throat close, my gag reflex to trigger and drives me to run. To escape.

Although I was once confined to my house for six entire months because my panic became so prevalent, so all encompassing, so overwhelming that I could not face it any more, I manage much better these days. For the most part. In times of high stress (like much of the first year of being in York) it becomes much worse. But it's always there.

I watched Bedlam this evening, a programme about people who are overwhelmed by their fear in such a way that they live a tortuous, hellish existence. All created by their own mind. It followed James, who looked like he should be singing in some band in Shoreditch but was actually a shell of a man, tortured incessantly by intrusive thoughts and subsequent severe OCD reactions. He'd had to drop out of university and this four month residential therapy stay was a last ditch to conquer his compulsions and regain a life.

It was difficult watching someone so tormented, so aware of his own battle and on such a precipitous knife edge of managing his conditions. Because that's what it's like when you suffer from these kind of mind games with yourself. They are always lurking, always waiting, always on the edge of your peripheral vision so there is no total escape. But you can learn to manage them. And, it seems, James did manage this and, we're told, went back to university 'anxiety free'. I hope he has. I don't think he will have though, it will be there always, I fear.

And then Antichrist. Lars Von Trier's masterpiece of, well, what? Horror? Grief? Nightmare? Adam and Eve? Hell?

Von Trier is a man much troubled by fear. He clearly has a good, deep working knowledge of sadness, anxiety, grief and the profound existentialist fear that can haunt a person with clinical depression.

I was blown away by his Melancholia, a film that rendered me incoherent with sobs due to its flawless depiction of breakdown, psychosis and depression. But I had never seen Antichrist. Until tonight.

Fucking hell fire on a stick. It's a good 'un. Thing is about Von Trier, he always manages to make his films so beautiful while brutal, so that I become enmeshed in the character's inner world. As much as one can. It's a film steeped in evil and sadness and it makes you really suspicious of foxes.

A grotesque misogynistic horror according to the Daily Mail on its release in 2009. Just let that sink in a bit. A film that looks at a host of horrific emotions, deals with heaven, hell, creation and death, mental fracture and shares what is clearly a poor view of
psychotherapy, is misogynistic. According to the DAILY MAIL. That bastion of equality and fairness. Fucking dicks.

Antichrist makes you think. Your poor brain is trying to work out what in holy fuck is going on half the time and trying to process a dead baby, a really painful handjob, death, grief, fear, pain, love, hate, the brutality of nature, religion, heaven, hell, self destruction the rest of the time.

It's beautifully shot. So beautifully shot that you find yourself watching all this horror and all of the Pain, Grief and Despair while neither sympathising with nor condemning He or She. Are they lost in a nightmare of crippling grief? Or is she plain batshit crazy and he made the biggest mistake ever when he arrogantly thought he could cure her using basic CBT and a spot of hypnosis?

He and She are in Eden, and nature was created by Satan, not God. Or He and She are delusional with grief and living some codependent psychotic break.

It's intense as fuck and, hell, I'm not going to pretend that I get even half of the symbolism. But I do know that I want to watch it again to work it all out. I'll just, you know, look away at those bits.

Fear.