Friday, March 29, 2024

“Rambling, ill-thought out and vague.” (Mr Owen, 1984)

Walking the dog

Turn up to meet my dog-friend Tomos. Oscar the human is there too. Lovely chap. The three of us walk up the High Street.

Just Tomos and I now. It makes me happy watching him making his own amusement as he races around the field without any other dogs. Just running makes him happy. I can identify with that.

I love how simple the pleasures in life can be.

I can see PsychoBeth, Jimmy's ex-girlfriend, in the distance. She doesn't recognise me: a blessing.

Last time I saw her was 14 years ago at a party in London, shielding Jimmy from anyone and everyone. 

“Hello.” I say, as I do to every other dog-walker.

She smiles suspiciously, guardedly, at me. I can see in her eyes she doesn’t recognise me - this is just how she is with people in general.

It's nice to be anonymous to certain people. That's what I liked so much about living in London: just leave me alone unless I want you to know me.

"I rarely forget a face. But in your case I'll make an exception." (Marx G.).

The older woman in the tight jeans is with the dog walker who can’t stop talking in case she dies. She speaks at that pitch which makes the bones in my ears rattle and my brain wobble, like a jelly when the Klingons have hit the starboard bow.

At least Enzo is there with Stuart’s boss. Tomos and Enzo take turns running after each other nipping each others’ bums until we decide it may be getting out of hand. 

Like toddlers they are: play until they go too far and it all ends in tears.


And not in a good way.

Quiet Wells is (Yoda syntax). 

Perpetual gloom and rain. 

That is the extremely dull story of 2024.

I'm just going to have to murder someone. Maybe a sacrifice will improve the weather.

‘You never know!’ (My Mum - every year, ever.)

John Barleycorn…anyone seen him?

Dungeons and Dragons Update

Lots of magic markers to make maps and play. Spent a small fortune on the things. They’re not actually THE Magic Markers, but alcohol-based markers by Winsor and Newton.

One set has beautiful brush tips. They are great for drawing the cracks in paving slabs.

I feel I have to make an effort for the best experience or I’m just cheating myself through my own laziness. It makes me feel ‘armed’ for want of a better word, for the next session.

Cog rooms which change configuration

The gaming table last Sunday

Ready for the Boss Fight!
The Boss Fight!

Amazing Sunday session. BUT, I did notice my attitude was getting rather bad. Increasingly impatient because I knew the answers and they didn't - bordering on rude/aggressive. 

I want my condition to stabilise and upping my dose of Sertraline from 100mgs is not what I want - just psychologically. Sertraline maxes at 200mgs, so what's after that? I guess tranquillisers. But I don't know. And what effect will they have on me?

Thursday evening’s big boss fight - things were so complicated with high-level action, controlling multiple non-playing characters (NPCs) and multiple spell effects, area effects, reactions, bonus actions, extra-planar shit… I/we managed to get through it. 

Boy it was stressful at times and I had to take some deep breaths to keep my calm and focus. It was hard to run abut then again would have been for most DMs. 

I came back and had a couple of beers while I decompressed.

I do wish at times like this the players would KNOW THEIR SPELLS! 

Until then, there there, and take ∞D6 damage in a 500’ radius. 

After this one I have a new campaign to get my head round. I also have to prep the 2 day session in Pilton for the same kids I DM’d for at half-term. 

Oh well, it keeps me on my toes.

It’s just getting more difficult to organise my thoughts and ideas into something coherent. My brain has a decreasing amount of clarity.

Pint of sertraline, love.

I phoned the Health Centre and can't even get a phone call with the doctor to up my prescription of my anti-psychotic drugs until 10th April.  

I guess I could just take an extra one to up it from 100mgs to 150.

Too many people and too few doctors. 

So I'm back drinking again. It's not good. It’s not terrible either. All or nothing me. 2 bottles of beer every evening.

I have an issue with alcohol. 

Actually I did have a herbal tea night on Wednesday. 

So that’s cured it!


Literature innit?

Have you seen the word ‘Betterer” being used in print recently? I have. 

“If I was betterer at everything I'd be a Brilliant.” (Me, just now.)

Despite spell-checkers, grammar-checkers and presumably punctuation-checkers, people are increasingly illiterate.

And innumerate.

Btw, the title of this blogpost comes from an English essay (think I got a D- back in an age when A*s weren’t mandatory) in Mr Owen’s class. Nice guy. But thanks to him we all ended up writing essays in the style of a schmaltzy Dylan Thomas. 

Bad habit to get into.

And as it happened very difficult to get out of.

I just wanted to write stories but we were told we had to do descriptive essays about smells and tastes in cathedrals. 

Well how fucking boring to an imaginative 12 year old!

That put paid to my interest in English as a subject, until maybe my 20s. 

A friend of mine introduced me to Martin Amis, Bukowski, Henry Miller, Philip Roth and The Beats. I’d read Fear and Loathing and The Dice Man before but this was a renaissance in what literature could be; for me, at least.

I’ve tried dipping back into more modern stuff. E Annie Proux’s ‘Shipping News’ is an astonishing piece of literature, but the Time Traveller’s Wife, The Beach and Cloud Atlas are all SHIT. AI in its current state would produce similar word dysentery.

Nick Hornby? NICK HORNBY???

And I’ll fight anyone who thinks those books were good, with flying headbutts.

I warned you!!

Modern novels: 70 pages each on 5 characters, seemingly unconnected, who you don’t care about and the last 50 pages ties them all up. 



My favourite short story is a 3 page cartoon strip by Alan Moore called ‘The Disturbed Digestions of Doctor Dibworthy.’ Check it out - it’s a piece of genius. It is perfection. A definition of brevity.

Right. I’m off to buy a $60 Trump-endorsed bible.

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Surfing the waves of dementia

 A couple of days of mehhh...

It's been a tough last few days. Feeling a little down, lethargic, uninspired - which is unusual. 

Fed up of Wells, bored mainly. Missing London, dogs, gamers, non-gamers etc.

Wake up tired. Realise when I'm walking Tomos that I don't want to talk to other people today. People witter on as they're walking, like a result of some anxiety disorder. 

Some feel they have to fill every calming second of silence with something else that's gone wrong with them, all the while the pitch of their voice sounding like a deranged homeless playing a cornet that's been pulled out of a skip.

I have to turn away and get distance between us - at least 20-30 feet.

If I come across as rude then so be it. I just can't be doing with you today and the dissonant word salad that you're puking at me. And it's bright enough as it is. Too bright even.

This is way too much sensory information.

So leave me alone in my cave, on the increasingly creaky floorboards (must have them checked out actually) while I wile my life away on YouTube and my obsession with Trump, MAGA, rugby, and martial arts.

When I go out my trusty Sony XM4s are often on - muffling the audible world. Dark glasses or a welding mask would help, but they're further down the line.

I can feel myself being irritated with everyone. I have to remind myself that I'm ill and not in a great place currently - that it's the illness that's making me feel this way, and I need to create some space between me and it.

Sunday I went out today with Nerys and her friend Pip and their dogs. It was nice. But I'm finding it difficult to converse with people if it's something I haven't been briefed on.

I can feel myself becoming more detached from everything. 

The fog is becoming thicker, as am I.

Why doesn't everyone like TTRPGs, Louis Cole and rugby league? The world would be a much better place. And much easier for me.

Dim Watchio

I ran out of things to watch on Netflix, iPlayer and Prime, so I've renewed my subscription to Apple TV and there are some quality things back on there. 

I’m currently watching For All Mankind: an alternative history to the Apollo space project, where the USSR beat the USA to put a man on the moon. It’s actually done really well and you should watch it. But it does have some soap opera moments which if you're into sci-fi are a bit of an irrelevance. 

I fast forward through those bits.

Fall Out comes to Prime, based on the video game. It does look really good, but the gamers hate it already.

Some good looking films coming out too. Late Night with the Devil looks right up my strasse. 

Should go and see Dune 2 which is out now. But I won't. Because I'm rubbish.

Man at the bar, he say...

Man at the bar slightly right wing of Ayn Rand. Starts ranting at the 18 year old behind the bar as though she is in a position to challenge his bilge.

Blah blah... flat 10 percent tax, abolish the NHS, abolish state everything within time - within time! - and everyone pays into their own pension and health insurance...


Flat rates. I remember them when I worked for Chorion. 

"Everyone is getting the same: a 10% bonus."

So the CEO gets a bonus of £23,500 and the receptionist a bonus of £2,500. arse.

Of course it's not 'fair' or 'the same'!

Put into practice, the twat at the bar's economic theory would create social disparity on a scale we haven't seen since the late 18th century. Cue tent cities and riots like we haven't seen since the Poll Tax.

And plutocrats like him would be the first to blame the poor, the homeless and immigrants.

It’s the kind of nonsense hard right fanatics in the Tory party have talked about since the 1980s. 

Looks like certain nutters are still doing it. 

Next time I might join in. That'll be a whole post on its own!

He was like an octopus!

Looking after Tomos, who was like a 14 year old boy alone with his girlfriend. 

I was that girlfriend. I felt like a piece of meat I did. 

He was all over me, just wouldn't leave me alone. I just wanted to watch the rugby on TV.

Had to go down the pub.

Of course Wales lost.

It's ours!

Writing techniques

Benny Anderson writes abba songs by playing rubbish for ages and hearing accidental stuff that's great, and making a note of it.

He adds that if you do that 8 hours a day for 260 days of the year you should end up with 4 good songs.

I've followed this technique insofar as I witter to myself for ages then write down the less salacious rubbish, all for you.

Practising my Werner Herzog impression as people look on. 

That weird bloke talking to himself is me. I've yet to write much down.

It's becoming more difficult.

Old Ladies' Hairdos

What is it with old ladies and their hairdos? 

'An Ann Widdecombe my child, and make it snappy!' demandeth they.

Chop all my hair off and call me Doris. I shall have a complimentary fussy cardigan to boot.

This used to be a demarcation when women got to 40. Dress like a grandmother.

I'm glad women keep their hair longer for longer. 

I'm a baldy with a beard and fancy 'tache who dresses in t-shirts and jeans. Shirts are too fussy in the main. 

3 months off the booze and I still can't shift the final roll of tummy fat.

Growing old, eh?

Friday, March 8, 2024

Return to Stupid

 Bloody bloody bloody

Spending all my time in my man-cave, which is really just a grown-up version of a den.

Well, it's got all my stuff in here. I don't want to share what I watch with M&D and they wouldn't want to watch what I'm watching.

So here I remain, waiting for the day to go by. 

God - still only 1pm. I better go for a walk to town, sit in a cafe and get served by some passive aggressive child, and then come back again.

Did you know coffees cost £3-4 these days? Bloody outrageous.

Might as well stay in instead. You know, cut out the middle man.

Government handouts

My ESA payments have stopped. I now get paid NOTHEENG from the government. Yada. Nil. Zip.

I'm entitled to PIPs apparently. But only £60 a week. I have an ISA which is prohibiting any Universal Credit.

Weird being dependent. It seems 5 minutes ago I was raking in money by the thousand, and then it all stopped.

I was going to go out and do stuff, but my brain said no.

Bloody dole-dosser!

I have always avoided any form of permanent employment for this reason: my avid fear of being typecast. That's what I will tell them at the Labour Exchange.

Look at poor old Harry H Corbett or Bob Grant - highly-trained actors who ended up being cast as Steptoe and Jack respectively no matter what they were in. 

Poor dears.

Oh, and I also had a (late) tax return to do...which I tried and failed to do so I went back to my old accountants and they've done it and instead of the thousands I thought I would have to pay it's only a few hundred.

Trebles all round, as they say!

Dungeons and Dragons (i)

Yet they ran around, those characters, trying on necklaces and opening chests in the middle of corridors without a care or thought.

It's called Tomb of Annihilation FFS. Annihilation! And a whole tomb of it. Death, death and more death. 

'A tiptoe through Gaylord Gardens' it is not.

These days no one takes a hint. Many don't hear sarcasm either, which is really weird. I blame the Americanisation of everything.

I thought it would put the parents' minds at rest

Now I have to do some more forms shit for my Easter stint of DMing for kids.

If there's one thing I hate even more with FTD it's forms. I never had much of an attention span and now it's almost zilch. 

Boring shitty forms.

"I'm not a paedo! Your kids are safe - don't worry!" I will shout. 

And everyone will understand.

Dungeons and Dragons (ii)

My Thursday party all died. Yes. All of them. What's known in the trade as a TPK - Total Party Kill.

Honestly they should have listened to their mums.

'Why do you want to copy them?'
'Well if they all jumped off a cliff, would you?'

Guess what they did?

For essentially that's what happened. To be fair, everyone was tired and getting over colds. No one was at their best.

So we are continuing the last 3-4 sessions of this campaign in a metaverse where THIS NEVER HAPPENED.

They owe me. Oh yes. 


Tiswas or Swap Shop?

Back in the late 70s early 80s, on a Saturday morning kids had a choice: proper BBC teacher-controlled, parentally-approved BBC or...I.....T....V.....

Now there was a whole punk movement in its prime at this point. And while many of the punk groups weren't played on Top of The Pops because they weren't deemed appropriate, the punk thing was all around. The older kids were all punks, and it was cool.

A lot of middle classed kids weren't allowed to watch ITV. Back then there were only 3 channels in the UK - BBC1, 2 and ITV. 

In answer to BBC's dominance with Swap Shop, ITV decided to go national with a programme that was broadcast only in the midlands on ATV. And Tiswas was it.

Hosted by Chris Tarrant (I know), it had John Gorman from The Scaffold, Bob Carolgees and Spit the Dog (a punk dog ventriloquism act) and Lenny Henry and Frank Carson. 

Everyone got custard pies from the Phantom Flan Flinger, including ALL the guests. 

It was the right programme at the right time - punk TV for kids - total anarchy and mayhem.

But the main reason mine and probably most other dads watched was the lovely Sally James.

Ah. Sally James, Sally James, Sally James...

Wondered why Dad liked Tiswas so much

She was a trained actor, and actually a really good presenter. You could phone in and get your names put on her garters. She could cope really well with stoned rock stars and shy kids all the while having buckets of water thrown over her.

She would dress up as a St Trinian's schoolgirl in stockings, and also came in as Miss Whiplash once. She was always wearing denim waistcoats with nothing underneath so she could do a quick change between commercial breaks as everyone got gunged.

                                                           Proper children's entertainment

Frequent guests were Bernard Manning, Big Daddy and Jim Davison. There was a bloke who would guest occasionally called Norman Collier who had 2 acts, one was where he impersonated a chicken, and the other was his broken mike act which we all started doing in the playground. 

I watched it again and by today's standards it...isn't very good or politically appropriate.

Ah, the 1970s. Where sexist and racist comedians were the staple of Light Entertainment, and also hosted kids' TV. Stan Boardman AND Mike 'This is not a wig' Reid on Runaround.

But Sally James though, eh?


Facebook Community Sites

A crew is filming in Wells - rumour has it for the sequel to Wolf Hall. The farmer who lets us walk our dogs in his fields has rented part of the field out for the film crew - a large marquee and facilities are stored there.

The Cathedral and Bishop's Palace are being used as locations for filming. No doubt they are charging a good rate for filming there.

Other notable films shot in Wells include Dungeons and Dragons, Hot Fuzz, The Huntsman (no, me neither), The Libertine, Dr Who and countless others.

You'd think people would be used to it by now. The following are genuine posts from the Wells Community Facebook site.

"We never hear how much money is made and where it goes to, for all these films over the years. ,It would be just interesting to see who benefits from these visits"

It's a series of business transactions, numbnuts. Who do you think?

"...some should be given back to the council or whoever can manage it (most probably not the council then…), to spend on a longer lasting legacy or even something in the area that requires it!"

On that basis they should do that with all businesses connected with Wells, then? And who and how much? Sorry - I forgot - you're a RETARD.

"Who gets all the dollars?"

This is Britain you tit. And again, if you haven't figured it out I refer you to the answer I gave some moments ago.

"If we had a more egalitarian society and system it would all be more transparent and fairly distributed within a community but as it is the landowner will reap reward (and may or may not contribute to charity or local good causes) and so get richer and richer. The less well off will not be aware of any benefit to them, but there may be some crumbs if for example you are a worker in the hotel or hospitality trade..but often film crews have their own catering for H&S reasons. Only answer? Communities buy up land and then all share in the rental of it?"

We don't live in a socialist utopia madam and anyway aren't farmers struggling enough? It's his land, he's a generous soul who never complains - give him a break when an opportunity comes his way.

I'm genuinely shocked at how dumb some people are. 

I, on the other hand, am lovely.

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Brains of the Rich and Famous

I'm a Fashion, me

Bruce Willis brought it to the Hollywood A-list, now some US talk-show host called Wendy Williams has it. I looked her up and she is 59. 

Looks like it's the in-dementia for the glitterati, the cognoscenti - the in-crowd. 

I look down my nose at those with Lewy Bodies. 

Alzheimers? Dreadfully common.

Funny how no one seemed to have heard of FTD and now it's known by many. 

I first heard of it in an article David Baddiel wrote about his Dad, who by the sounds of it was always (rather like me) amazingly inappropriate, but who at Baddiel's mother's funeral outdid himself by asking 6 different women if they fancied a shag.

Even by his standards that was extreme behaviour. It was later diagnosed as Pick's Disease.

Baddiel is a patron of RDS.

That was the first time I learned of Pick's Disease. I was also aware that Terry Jones had had problems with his Frontal Lobe. 

It always seems even more tragic when someone clever has a disease that affects thought and communication or an athlete a disease affecting their motor functions. 

It seems twice as cruel.

For the best part - and here I'm very superstitious about tempting fate - I do seem to have stabilised in my decline.  Which I'm really thankful for. 

Small mercies and all that.

Still conversing with dog walkers, still running complex daft games, still reading the papers and watching sport and not getting any more (or less) than 8 out of 15 on The Times quiz.

Next week the weather forecast is good so I will do some jobs. I have been as inert as a particular gas for 2 weeks. This always happens after a period of activity: I put my feet up, and they remain there.

But I must do a Baron Munchausen and rise from my throne of atrophy, shake off the dust once more and commence battle!

First, I'll have a cup of tea and a biscuit.

Satan's Snot

Battling a cold which I told to stay away. A bit like Kenneth Copeland did to Covid 19, I demanded judgment on colds. 

"COLDS BEGONE!" I shouted.

I'm on a war-footing against colds. Vitamin C with zinc, Vitamin Bs, Vitamin D and a green smoothie for even more Bs. Lots of water. No alcohol. Yep - still not drinking alcohol but still my gut has yet to recede to its required girth.

Optimum Girths should be a title for a future blogpost on slimming, but I digress...

I am keeping the cold at arm's length  - I wake up with a sore throat but that's it. Getting plenty of rest and mild exercise.

Always difficult to separate the tiredness from the cold from that of the dementia!


“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.” Not me, but Great Expectations by a bloke called Dickens.

At last it’s ceased raining. The floods around here have been awful. Some people's houses now can’t be insured because flooding is considered an inevitability.

New housing estates built in fields push the rainwater off leaving it nowhere to go, so rather like ancient isles in the Somerset levels, they too are surrounded by floodwater, but this being the 21st century, sewage and other ghastliness.

And as I write this, I look out of the large window of The Sheep and Penguin. The Equinox is almost upon us. The light is golden and blinding, illuminating buildings and trees and giving me hope.

The familiar comforting smell of log fires and diesel fumes waft up my hooter as I hop along Chamberlain Street.

Ah yes, Spring is about to er, spring, but it doesn't half leave you hanging, with plenty of false starts and all. 

Magnolia, daffodils, buds on the trees. Such a mild wet winter. Barely a frost.

Should be a dry, bright week - a crack of light in the darkness.

What I’m watching/listening to

Rewatching Archive 81 and listening to the podcast that inspired it.

The podcast must have been really popular in order to have inspired Netflix execs to put money behind it, but the cowards never commissioned season 2. It was the most popular programme on Netflix at the time. 

I love its Lovecraftian horror and its homage to The Order of the Golden Dawn and Crowley. The sound design is incredible; lots of droning and static and strange dissonant music. Inspired no doubt by Delia Derbyshire

Bob Todd's dad, Aleister Crowley

The direction really accentuates the cultish Egyptian-inspired Art Deco and the creepy, dehumanising aspect of the Brutalism. 

Best watched in a dark room with good headphones on. God it's good! Made on a tight budget too.

The podcast sounds like it was done on a very meagre budget indeed. Some of the actors in Season 1 are poor. 

Interesting as ever to see the changes they made when transferring it to screen.

There are very few other things I'm interested in on any of the streaming networks.

Moving about a bit

No physical activity for a couple of weeks. Maybe longer. I don't know. But, the weather is good for next week. That means I can go out and mow the grass and do some odd jobs for people. That's really good for me.

I shall reinstate my sister's window sills and mow the grass, and even use the new strimmer for the first time. Oh yes, life has its compensations. 

No, actually I'm going to hunker down here for a bit and watch more YouTube stuff. But I must finsih reading the paper and my adventures - less binary, more analogue.

Hypersensitivity of the wife

I was just on a chat with my other FTD buddies, and one was saying how his wife kicks him under the table whenever he says anything 'inappropriate', which as we know is symptomatic of Frontotemporal Dementia.

Not the kicking that is, but the faux pas. 

Me and my dangling modifiers!

The last year or so of being with J was very stressful for all of us. I felt like I was under watch the whole time. Anything I did or said there could potentially be an eruption. 

I was shouting out while they were working from home in meetings. I realise it was intrusive and at times aggressive sounding.

My indiscretions had become a THING. The elephant in the room. It was a pressure-cooker situation. 

I no longer feel that anymore. 

I guess when someone has something they can't help that we should try and laugh it off.

'Oh that's just X's condition! Ignore him.'

Easier said than done of course.

This shouldn't put your self-censorship offline, and I realise it's difficult to laugh or shrug something off, but I think rather than waiting for the next faux-pas to happen - and it will - building the expectation up just makes it worse for everyone. 

If you're waiting and waiting and waiting then the stress of it all just snowballs.

After all, we forgive the Tourette's Sufferer.