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My name is Nick Grant and I have manic depression. I write every day about living with bipolar disorder. I've written and published more than 1.3 million words

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Step Ten: Don't Suffer Fools

10 min read

This is a story about the hard-of-thinking...

Doorway

I have a friend who can only be described as a racist and an anti-feminist. It's worth letting that sink in for a second, and then repeating. I have a friend who can only be described as a racist and an anti-feminist. How can this be possible? How could I be friends with a racist anti-feminist?

At first, this friend began to announce his anti-feminist views publicly on social media, which was a shock to me, because I had presumed he was an educated left-wing metropolitan liberal elitist, like myself: a product of the university system, and therefore his political viewpoint and stance on such matters as racism and sexual equality could be presumed to be correct. My presumption was wrong. He began by strongly asserting his anti-feminist stance, suddenly and shockingly, in a very public manner. I did not know how to react, except through a combination of condemnation and ignoring it.

Then, this friend began to indicate a right-wing viewpoint very publicly, on social media. This was perhaps less of a shock, given that he had shown himself to hold views which I despised, on the subject of sexual equality, but it was still nevertheless, shocking to see somebody who I considered to a be well educated, erudite and thoughtful individual, sharing content which was so right wing that it was bordering on outright racism. I did not know how to react, so I used a combination of condemnation and ignoring it.

Then, this friend became openly racist, in public, on social media. This was again, shocking, because I never imagined that I would ever encounter a racist amongst my small group of hand-picked friends, almost all of whom have enjoyed privileged socioeconomic advantages, university educations, professions and share a similar set of politics and values. I did not know how to react, so I used a combination of condemnation and ignoring it.

After my friend had spent some considerable length of time espousing views which I found vile and abhorrent, I was faced with a choice: should I cut all ties with this friend? It seemed to me that I was duty-bound to do so. My upbringing had provided no explicit guidance on how to handle this precise situation, but it seemed as though the right thing to do would be to pretend as though I had never been friends with my friend, and to distance myself from them as much as possible; to cover up the fact that we were ever friends and to sever all ties. It seemed like I was supposed to eject that person from my bubble.

I realised that if I did eject that person from my bubble, then I would never have any insight into the mind of an anti-feminist right-wing racist, and I felt that it would be detrimental to me, given the homogeny of the views of my other friends. The views of all my other friends are all so broadly similar, that I had never encountered a viewpoint which I felt compelled to condemn, much less acknowledge existed: in my liberal metropolitan elite world, I thought that racism had been defeated, along with sexism and anti-feminism. I thought that there were only small pockets of knuckle-dragging racists to be found in the poorest and most deprived communities, where the poor brutes knew no better so I was perturbed that a person who had enjoyed such socioeconomic advantage might turn out to be such a racist and anti-feminist.

I invested a substantial amount of energy in condemnation of my friend's views, attempting to persuade him to change his ways, but I made little progress.

I considered again, whether the wise course of action was to abandon the friendship and to block him on social media; to distance myself from him and to pretend that we had never been friends. Again, I felt as though I was committing some kind of immoral act, by not tossing our friendship into the dustbin - something I felt a weight of expectation to do without hesitation, the moment that any friend said anything which was remotely incorrect according to liberal dogma. Racism, certainly, is the ultimate taboo and I knew that it must carry the harshest penalty - immediate ostracisation, and denial that we were ever friends; immediate castigation and abandonment.

Yet, I did not abandon the friendship.

Does this make me a racist sympathiser? Do I endorse my friends anti-feminist views? Of course not. Do not be so ridiculous.

Recently I've had the opportunity to probe the origins of my friend's views, and quite quickly discovered where he had erred. He enthusiastically cited the extremely strong link between race and crime, in the United States - particularly that black men are disproportionately incarcerated versus the overall number of black U.S. citizens in the general population. This, for him, was concrete proof that "the races are different" and therefore his racism was justified. Naturally, I pointed out that correlation does not equate to causation, and by far the biggest cause of criminality is poverty - the race argument is null and void: the statistical link disappears when we control the wealth variable.

My friend persists with arguments, born in the time of the eugenics movement, and pseudoscience which is regrettably ubiquitous, which appears to provide legitimate research proving a link between race and IQ. Of particular fascination to my friend was any data which showed that black people had significantly lower IQ than white caucasians. Naturally, I pointed him in the direction of how these dreadfully low-quality academic papers were published in fringe journals, bankrolled by racists, and received little or no peer review; their findings utterly discredited and the quality of the work found to be nothing better than abysmal.

My friend and I have regular conversations, and each one is at least interesting which is far more than can be said for any discussion I might have with fools who hold viewpoints, simply because of anecdotal evidence, or because the liberal media finds the narrative to be particularly popular with its readership. If I was the editor of a left-wing newspaper, read by wealthy metropolitan intelligentsia, of course I would publish news stories about black lesbian disabled homeless women being raped and murdered by the patriarchy, because outrage sells newspapers. However, the anecdotal evidence gathered by those of us who wander around with a bleeding heart - myself included - does not have any validity, beyond our own confirmation bias: we seek out so-called evidence to reassure ourselves that our values and beliefs are correct.

My patience has run out for idiots who waste my time, parroting media narratives instead of using their so-called intellect to direct their energies towards the truly important issues. Racism, domestic violence and sexual discrimination are very real and they cause terrible suffering, but to mistakenly believe - as so many do - that women, for example, are at greater risk than men, is demonstrably absurd and grossly incorrect. Men are 85% more likely to be violently assaulted. 79% of all murder victims are male. Again and again, the exhaustive research has overwhelmingly and incontrovertibly demonstrated the truth all around us, yet there are wilfully ignorant idiots on both the left wing and the right wing, who continue to perpetuate myths and lies. My friend the racist is just as bad as the former friend who chose to block me, because she preferred to live in her bubble, believing that women are the victims of the majority of violent crime and murder, when in fact the polar opposite is true.

My friend the anti-feminist racist is wrong to hold the views that he does, and I hope that one day he might be persuaded by the overwhelming evidence and convincing research, but at least he is still talking to me and I am still able to challenge his erroneous thinking. The woman who I thought of as a friend, who would characterise herself as a feminist, has actually proven herself to be sexist: to deny that male victims of violence and murder far outnumber female victims, is pure delusion, driven by sexism. To block me on social media and to pretend our friendship never existed is quite typical of a sexist or other person who holds abhorrent views which they do not wish to be challenged. Only by remaining in our isolated bubbles can our wilful ignorance persist. I have lost any further opportunity to persuade - with great ease - my former friend, the sexist, of the overwhelming body of evidence which shows the appalling situation suffered by male victims of violence and murder. This is a predictable characteristic of weak-minded fools who rely too heavily upon the media to instruct them on how they should think, in place of an intellect which they sadly lack.

My energies are presently consumed with work, health and of course, having a brief period of sobriety, which these steps partly document.

My point this evening is simple: the world is full of idiots, and one should rely upon high quality evidence and research, not popular opinion within your social media bubble. Of course, one must be careful not to fall afoul of pseudoscience and the temptation to draw incorrect conclusions from raw statistics, but provided you keep a group of intelligent friends around you, then you will at least have a better chance that any mistaken beliefs you hold might be corrected. The ignorant idiots who wish to surround themselves with likeminded fools, are no loss, and no effort should be expended upon them. I am glad that I am friends with somebody who holds detestable views, and I feel no regret for losing the friendship of somebody who holds no views at all other than the media narratives which are pedalled by the limited sources upon which they rely on, in the absence of their own intellect.

In closing, we should be reminded once more: men suffer dreadfully. The life of a man is virtually worthless. That suicide should have been allowed to become the biggest killer of men in the prime of their life, with few tears shed, is an awful state of affairs, and it is accompanied by other terrible things: 97% of workplace deaths, 78% of all murders, 75% of all suicides, 65% of all violent assaults... the list is virtually endless. Men are overwhelmingly the victims, yet this is not the impression which a person would gain, if they keep themselves inside their bubble.

It's vitally important that I maintain perspective, given that my life is at stake. This sounds hyperbolic of course, because we have been brought up to believe that men are strong, when demonstrably a man's life is extremely precarious - the evidence is overwhelming.

During the last couple of days of my "Sober October" I'm particularly mindful of the precarity of my existence, combined with a great deal of stress regarding my work and a matter which hangs over me, threatening to end my career. I feel unwell. I am in need of some winter sunshine. I need to take a break, having worked very hard for a lengthy sustained period. My future hangs in the balance and my health is fragile; my efforts and energies invested to reach this point presently count for nothing - no safety or security has been achieved, and things are as uncertain as they ever were.

With this in mind, it is with very little regret that I refuse to suffer fools gladly and lose so-called friendships, to whomsoever proves to be immovable in the face of overwhelming facts, preferring instead to treat me with sexist contempt and hold little regard for the danger my life is in.

Survival is paramount.

 

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My Misogyny

8 min read

This is a story about the battle of the sexes...

Bookshelf

"Secretly, you'd love to know what it's like, wouldn't you? What it feels like for a girl" is a quote from Ian McEwan's 1978 book The Cement Garden which was released as a film in 1993, then sampled in a Madonna song released in 2001.

Right.

"You think that being a girl is degrading" is another quote from the same work of fiction.

Wrong.

Half right. Half wrong.

Why should we ever expect to be more than 50% correct on a binary matter?

I'll never know what it's like to carry a baby for 9 months and eject it from my body, but I do know what it feels like to be penetrated with a penis and have somebody ejaculate inside me. I'll never experience what it's like to live with the heavy burden of knowing that I carry the reproductive capability of bringing new life into this world - post-fertilisation - from the tiniest quantity of love snot squirted into a bodily orifice, to several pounds of blood and mucous covered incontinent midget incapable of supporting the weight of its freakishly large head, tearing its way out of the same hole the love snot went into. If you're a girl, you'll never know what it's like to be a member of the expendable sex, who account for 99% of all combat deaths, 97% of all workplace deaths and who die four whole years earlier just because of the dangly bits in-between our legs.

"It's a hard life being a beautiful girl and having horny men throwing themselves at you" I hear you say. "Passively fending off all these explicit offers from people who want to sexually satisfy me - to give me pleasure - is a real chore" you churlishly complain.

Of course, because I'm cursed with the so-called gift of empathy, I can see that shaving legs and armpits, putting on make-up, wearing high heels and a bra and other expectations of societal conformity are quite demanding on wimmin. Furthermore, I can see that while both sexes are expected to make themselves look as artificially young as possible, such as men removing their facial hair, wimmin definitely get a rough deal during the period when no amount of make-up can plaster over the obvious effects of ageing. I'm privileged to be able to wear my greying hair and slight beer-gut as a badge of honour, conveying my status as a cash machine. I'm honoured to be able to provide the cold hard capital to support a lifestyle that a woman has become accustomed to.

"I buy my own diamonds and I buy my own rings" goes a Destiny's Child song. Yes. Very good. Slow sarcastic clap. I refer you to earlier stats about 99% combat deaths and 97% workplace deaths. Call me when you dig your own ditches too.

Why are we at war like this?

In the past year fully 50% of the female computer programmers I've worked with have been transexual.

I can see the appeal.

50% of the female computer programmers I've worked with have received indisputably preferential treatment.

I'd quite like to play dressing-up games every day and have horny potential mates fawning all over me, while I passively decide who gets to pleasure me and who doesn't. That sounds like quite a nice life, doesn't it?

Would I have my testicles and Adam's apple surgically removed, my vocal chords adjusted, my breasts augmented, my hormones meddled with, and still suffer the taunts and jeers of insecure man-children, threatened by the fact that they'd really like to put their penis inside me, but they're too afraid of what other people would think? I'd fucking love it.

I've been comfortable enough with my sexuality and identity to experiment with homosexuality - or bisexuality to be more accurate - and I found many parts of the experience to be liberating and a boon for my self-confidence. I can see that the accumulated unwanted advances of horny men could become bothersome over a lifetime, but isn't that rather taking your good fortune for granted? While the so-called patriarchy is accused of not being aware of its own privilege, the same accusation could easily be levelled at wimmin.

I appreciate that the specialisation of the sexes each bring their own unique challenges. I'm well aware that the hashtag MeToo movement has hit upon a raw nerve of the unpleasant consequences of a system of mate selection which simultaneously demands men to be bold, confident, forthright, daring and to make the first moves, while also expecting telepathic mind-reading abilities in order to preserve a woman's birthright to unlimited offers of sex without ever having to make her own wants explicitly and overtly known.

Thus we arrive at the InCels' anger over Chads and Staceys.

I'm not an InCel.

I can have sex whenever I want.

I have literally hundreds of millions of wimmin who will have sex with me.

For money.

Oh yes, there's that rather unspeakable truth, isn't there? There are fucking loads of prostitutes, escorts, sugar babies and other wimmin out there who will have sex for material gains. Female chimpanzees will trade sex for tokens which can be spent on desirable products.

When we talk disparagingly about the patriarchy what I think we're really talking about is paternalism. We all hate to be patronised, but anybody can be patronising... not just men. In fact, men hate to be patronised so much that 79% of suicides are men, who often feel like they've failed and cannot face the indignity of being down on their luck. That's right - more than 3 times as many men kill themselves than wimmin.

You still wanna be a man?

You can be.

On the internet, nobody knows that you're a dog.

Computer says no.

I live in a binary world.

Computer programming is an almost almost exclusively male profession. Investment banking is an almost exclusively male profession. For most of my career I've been a computer programmer for investment banks.

Do you think we sit around plotting ways to thwart wimmin? Do you think I'm part of some big conspiracy to stop wimmin getting the super highly paid investment bank programmer jobs?

I married an investment banking computer programmer. I know they're a rare commodity.

They know they're a rare commodity.

Can't we all just admit that we're getting some kind of kicks out of our own special place in the universe?

I've spent more than 21 years in a full-time career which has essentially been spent wrangling with a cold unthinking and unwaveringly rational calculating machine, which doesn't give a fuck about your emotions. If your work is bad and wrong, it's fucking dog shit and the machine is not going to be nice about it to save your feelings.

Computer says no.

It doesn't matter how much you bat your eyelids and do a pouty Instagram sex duck-lip face at the computer, it's not going to roll over and let you get away with jack shit. There's no twisting an emotionless calculating machine around your little finger. If your work is wrong it's wrong and that's tough shit. Fix it.

This is my worldview and it's uncertainly corrupted by wealth and privilege, but I've also had the benefit of spending more than two whole decades working full-time for a boss who nobody could ever in their right mind accuse of having a gender bias. My computer quite literally does not know whether a girl or a boy wrote the code it's running, so fuck you.

If you want to hide within the shades of grey and obfuscate your obvious incompetence with your emotional intelligence, gained through your genetic predisposition towards maturing earlier than your brothers, so they didn't try to fuck you, while meanwhile twisting your daddy round your little finger because you were the apple of his eye and a spitting image of the woman he spurted his love snot into, perpetuating the whole miserable cycle of life, then be my guest. I'm afraid to say that it is you who is upholding the status quo, not the conspiracy of the so-called patriarchy. I'm sorry to say that there's a price to be paid for the considerable benefits which you enjoy, wimmin.

Am I a rape apologist? Do I condone overt sexism and sexual discrimination, where it obviously exists.

No.

 

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LGBTQQIP2SAA

9 min read

This is a story about individualism...

Disguise

It's fun to dress up. It's fun to put on a silly voice. It's fun to wear make-up. It's fun act camp; to mince around. It's fun to belong to a subculture; to be able to identify with your 'kind' - your clan or tribe. It's fun to think of yourself as special and different. It's fun to have a sense of belonging and a strong sense of identity.

Take a walk down Old Compton Street in London's Soho and you'll see lots of men with shaved heads and moustaches wearing white sleeveless T-shirts. They call them clones. The clones are kinda über-masculine - they're generally stocky, muscly men and their bald heads and moustaches accentuate their extreme masculinity. They're so masculine that they live in an all-male world. There's a kind of hyper-sexuality to the clones coupled with a general sense of aggression and strength. It's notable that the clones appeared on the scene before the acronym LGBT started to gain all the additional letters, and vast numbers of teenagers started to become non-binary and pansexual.

In a world of toxic masculinity the pressure on cisgender (i.e. straight) white middle-class men has become unbearable. Born with original sin which means that to whisper "me too" when entering the highly charged arena where everybody claims to be an oppressed victim, is to be aggressively abused by every identity group, from feminists to LGBTQQIP2SAA gender-queers. "Check your privilege" we are told, when it's blatantly obvious that only a very tiny minority of white straight men are the ones who wield any power and control. It's highly unpleasant to be blamed for a situation that I neither created nor supported and I have no power to change.

Viewed as a "success object" I'm regularly asked about my ability to provide, which is like having somebody lecherously staring at my breasts. "Do you own your own home? What car do you drive? Do you have a well-paid job? Do you have a prestigious job title?" I'm asked, with a complete lack of subtlety that I'm being probed to find out if I'm wealthy and conventionally successful or not. It's like having my bum pinched or squeezed. It's like having a lewd pervert mentally undressing me.

I cringe with embarrassment that I wrote a blog post [now deleted] entitled "Feminazi" once, with only a hint of irony. I was trying to annoy an ex because I was in a messed up state - very unwell - and I was suffering some rather strange thoughts and ideas. I'm making excuses where none can really be made, but that's what I did, and I'm ashamed of myself. In the blog post I listed all the many disadvantages of being a man, such as 97% of workplace deaths, 99% of combat deaths, 79% of suicides etc. etc. Those things are all very good evidence that modern man has a pretty tough gig, but I was flirting with misogyny at times and presenting my beliefs with an unhealthy amount of anger and bitterness driving what I was writing.

I wish I was gay.

I've wished I was gay for a very long time. I've tried my very hardest to be gay but it's just not for me, unfortunately.

The reason why I want to be gay is that I've found the homosexual world to be more to my liking than the world in general. I like the quick and easy casual sex of Grindr. I like the flamboyancy and femininity of acting camp. I like the 'scene' and the identity that being gay brings - they don't have "hetero pride" parades, do they? I mainly like the fact that I can be ogled as a sex object and be passive, with potential sexual suitors buttering me up and massaging my ego, and all I have to do is decide who I want to have sex with. In the hetero world as a cisgender man, it's stressful taking risks, making the first move, trying to impress and having horrible knock-backs; it's a lot of pressure to present yourself as eligible and successful, and having gone to all the effort of getting a girlfriend there can be power struggles, with sex and children used as pawns and men are the usually the ones who lose out.

Of course by now, you're probably screaming at the screen that it's harder being a women, gay, trans or whatever particular thing it is that you identify as. You're probably very offended. You probably believe that my opinion is somehow encroaching on your rights and that I'm stealing valuable airtime which needs to be used exclusively by oppressed minority groups.

Everything I write, I worry that I'm somehow veering dangerously towards opinions that would be more at home on Brietbart. I consider myself to be an open-minded lefty liberal who's been through bi-curious periods of life and is quite comfortable with my identity, insofar as I don't think I'm homophobic or transphobic. I really don't think I'm a misogynist, although I admit that I rather bristle with annoyance that men's issues cannot be openly discussed without aggressive hostility being directed towards men who are suffering some very real and extremely horrible issues, and simply want to share their opinion and experiences. Obviously, to be lumped together with the likes of Donald Trump because I'm also a wealthy white man, is quite offensively racist - I'm not part of the so-called patriarchy just because of my skin colour and socioeconomic circumstances.

All these things are unspeakable.

I'm quite well aware of experiments such as this one: Two groups of psychiatrists are given identical case notes on a fictitious person, but one group is told that the person is black, and the psychiatrists in that group will view the fictitious person as much more violent, suspicious and dangerous, even though the only difference in the available evidence is skin colour. Clearly, people of colour still experience dreadful prejudice and discrimination, but we should be able to discuss other instances of prejudice, discrimination, oppression and abuse without considering certain things to be 'off limits'. I know that anybody who said "all lives matter" in response to the Black Lives Matter movement, was heavily criticised for seemingly undermining the central point: that black people suffer a grossly disproportionate amount of police brutality, incarceration and general mistreatment by the criminal justice system. I don't write in reply to movements which seek to reduce rape, sexual assault, discrimination, racism, bigotry, homophobia, transphobia, hate crime, oppression, exploitation and all the other awful things that are going on in the world; I write in addition. Holding and expressing my opinion does not diminish, discredit or undermine anybody else's struggle.

I'm on extremely dodgy ground.

I feel vastly outnumbered. I can't count myself amongst the angry white working-class disadvantaged men who swill lager and spout racial hatred with a St. George's flag draped around their chubby shoulders. I can't count myself amongst the highly-educated metropolitan liberal middle-class elites, although this is the group I most closely identify with. I can't count myself amongst the homeless addicts and alcoholics, although this is the group I'm most socioeconomically closely related to, surprisingly. I've tried my very hardest to be gay but I'm clearly not able to join the LGBTQQIP2SAA club, despite my best efforts. I know that there are men like me - at least in terms of gender, sexual preference, skin colour, education and wealth - who have successfully infiltrated feminism and groups of Social Justice Warriors. Perhaps I could ally myself with a group of outraged individuals and add my angry and aggressive voice to the unified noise that they create. I would certainly like to feel that I safely belong to a group, rather than being an outlier who holds very untrendy opinions which could even be mistaken as similar to those held by horrible gangs of knuckle-dragging thugs.

Am I a racist, bigot, homophobic, transphobic, misogynistic fully paid-up member of the patriarchy, responsible for the oppression of all the very many minority identity groups who'd gladly queue up for an opportunity to abuse me? I certainly lose a lot of sleep at night worrying that I've unwittingly wandered into the less extreme fringe territory of the groups that I detest: the right-wingers.

I'm somebody who's had a lefty liberal multicultural upbringing, and who has been open minded to the point of being almost a terrorist apologist, so desperate am I to distance myself from the Islamophobia sweeping the UK and US. I'm somebody who's always aspired towards equality in the workplace and at home, and has lived and worked in environments more diverse than any other place on the planet: 110 languages are spoken in London, which is twice as many as the next most multicultural city. Is it possible that I'm actually the enemy? Is it possible that I don't know myself at all, and I'm actually chomping at the bit to get swastikas tattooed all over my body and then go tell some women to get back in the kitchen, before kicking a transexual to death?

What has happened in the world where I feel like I've done something wrong and I'd better keep quiet for fear of causing offence and becoming a target for abuse? Why do I feel like I'm speaking the unspeakable? Why do I feel like I'm uttering heresies which no member of the lefty liberal metropolitan elite should ever utter? Why do I feel like I'm risking further isolation, loneliness, exclusion and being viewed as the enemy by people who I like and respect?

I wonder what my right-thinking right-on friends would say if they read this. I fear that they think I've been driven into the arms of the Brietbart brigade and I've become a nasty horrible right-wing scumbag. Is that possible? Have I missed something? Am I sleepwalking into enemy territory?

 

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A Man Slept Here

11 min read

This is a story about winos...

Cardboard city

If you've ever spent a night in a cheap sleeping bag, you'll know what it's like in the small hours of the morning, when the temperature plummets and you can't get warm - you're frozen to the bone and your body shakes to move your muscles, burning energy to heat your blood, which keeps you awake. All you can think about is how nice it would be to be snug and warm and cosy. A rough night will teach you to appreciate your duvet, blankets, heating boiler or furnace, roaring fire and other sources of warmth, like spooning with your sweetheart.

I've slept on a glacier, and it's horrible how quickly the ice leeches away the heat from any body part that strays off your sleeping mat. Concrete is just the same - without some insulating barrier between you and the floor, the cold seems to rise up and enter you... your lips turn blue and your teeth chatter.

In this city of concrete, brick & cement, limestone and granite, there are far more homeless people than I'm ever used to seeing. I've been homeless and slept rough in London. The UK's capital city is a magnet for those seeking to improve their fortunes, through employment opportunities, begging from rich tourists or simply the high quality narcotics.

"Have you scored?" yells a man behind me, to a man at the other end of the road. It's 9:30am on a Wednesday, and these two beggars look familiar to me. My ten minute walk to the office takes me past almost 15 men, who all congregate along the route between the city's two main railway stations - each with their own 'patch'. Some sit quietly with a paper cup on the pavement in front of them; eyes downcast but intently watching the world go by in their peripheral vision. Some look me square in the eye from several hundred metres away - well aware that I am pretending to not notice them - before timing a polite and muted "spare some change please?" request to perfection... all I can say is "sorry mate". Some linger at an intersection, where they step into my path... "excuse me" they say, and my eyes flick up to meet theirs... they know immediately that the element of surprise has not worked - I saw them before they saw me - and I continue my walk undiverted.

How do I know that it's a man who slept rough in that doorway, and he was probably an alcoholic and/or a heroin addict? If one wishes to be pedantic, I don't.

Speaking frankly, a woman who sleeps rough is is at risk of becoming a rape victim at some point. Another unspeakable and unpalatable truth is that a woman in the grips of addiction is not going to spend her nights having her body illegally violently sexually violated against her will, when she could spend that time turning tricks - there are an insatiable number of punters for blowjobs and sex - to pay for just enough heroin and crack to numb the pain of another shitty day of human existence.

What I say is not sexism, prejudiced or anything other than the situation as it stands in the UK - sadly, there are enough rapists out there to make sleeping on the streets a dangerous thing for a woman to do, so our local government will ensure that they are not complicit in any acts of rape or sexual assault that get perpetrated on the streets, though their negligent inaction.

A single man with an alcohol and/or drug problem is not considered to be vulnerable enough to be housed by the local government. In fact, the alcoholics and addicts who line the busy thoroughfares of this bustling city, are viewed as a liability with regards to giving them money and a place to live. "They'll only spend it on drink and drugs" completely misses the point about cause and effect, but statistically it's proven to be mostly correct. Council houses (a.k.a. social housing) and apartments have been turned into absolute shitholes by so many men in the past, that the local authority treats their homeless adult single male population like a plague of modern-day lepers.

Thus, I can make an educated guess that this almost entirely unused fire exit doorway, was where a man laid his head to rest last night. He was probably a heroin addict, but this means nothing - whether it's a symptom or the cause of his destitution is a non sequitur, because homelessness and addiction are intractable. It is as if we ask "which came first? the eggshell or the egg yolk?" without considering the ridiculous notion of having one without the other, and completely ignoring the chicken.

The United Kingdom was flooded with cheap alcohol during the boom years of the 1980s, when the British pound sterling was strong versus the French franc, and enterprising men and women set off across the English Channel to bring back vast quantities of wine. France grew grapes and fermented them in a country that was predominantly rural and agricultural. England, by comparison with our nearest neighbour, has dense areas of population clustering around factories, coal mines, steel mills, dockyards and other organs that were necessitated for the functioning of an empire, as well as the defence of the realm.

Heroin's quality and availability once fluctuated wildly in the UK. The fields of opium-yielding poppies flourish in Afghanistan and Thailand, but the trade routes - the Silk Road - were at the mercy of incredible geopolitical forces. Now, thanks to the intervention of the USA and the UK in illegal foreign wars and 'regime' toppling, the supply of high-quality cheap narcotics has never been in more rude health.

If you think a homeless heroin addict single man is a fool and a failure, you are wrong; completely wrong. If you think in terms of 'bang for your buck' a £10 bag of heroin is going to get you a lot more fucked up than £10 of alcohol. If you think that injecting drugs is insane, you haven't considered the insanity of putting something you've paid your hard-earned money for, into your acidic stomach, where nearly 1/3rd of it will be destroyed. The rational thing to do is to put 100% of your intoxicant directly into your bloodstream.

If we followed the logic of the homeless man, we would all have a canula in one of our veins, and we would pay £1 for pure ethanol to be squirted into our bodies from a syringe, whereupon we would be immediately intoxicated to the point of near-blackout.

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Before we go any further, I should make it clear that I am not advocating injecting drugs - or drug abuse of any kind - nor have I ever injected any drugs, or had another person inject me with narcotics.

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If one wishes to consider the desperate plight of an addict or alcoholic, one only needs to think about the period when many homeless men would drink methylated spirits. Methanol differs from ethanol chemically, but methylated spirits - known colloquially as meths - has been deliberately poisoned by manufacturers, in an effort to discourage human consumption, without success. I can buy 5 litres of meths - roughly the same volume as 7 bottles of wine - for around £10, but to drink it would kill me. Out of desperation to avoid delirium tremens, which can cause seizures and death, alcoholics will drink small amounts of meths to self-medicate for their physical dependence on alcohol, despite the fact that it will cause them to go blind.

The war on drugs and the war on terror have now created a reliable supply chain, whereby the most powerful narcotics on the planet are available at unsurpassed purity and at rock-bottom prices, as never before witnessed in human history.

Competitive free-market economics has given rise to a swathe of pharmaceutical giants, vying to innovate with new medications that are 'better' than anything seen before, in a race for profits. Fentanyl and carfentanil were born into this world in the 1960s and 1970s, respectively. Carfentanil is so potent, that an aerosol mist of it could be used as a weapon of mass destruction. Although the Russian government does not officially acknowledge it, carfentanil has been used in a terrorist hostage situation - pumped into a building as a gas - resulting in the deaths of 125 innocent civilians in a single incident, from opiate overdose.

The rise and rise of the zero-hours contract McJob and a hopeless future for unskilled labourers, in the face of global capitalism, has created insecurity and the total destruction of the prospect of happy and contented family life for a scandalous number of men. While pram-faced mothers, with gold hoop earrings and their hair held back tightly in a scrunchie, will be prioritised for social housing, our entire welfare system discourages work and parental bonds. Economically, a single mother is better off than one who stays with the father of her children. Dads have been made redundant by cheap Far-Eastern labour. People respond to incentives, and so we have created a generation of children from broken homes. We have created an unacknowledged mountainous scrap-heap of homeless single male drug addicts, in a society that has no better use for them, other than to let them rot.

We are all familiar with the concept of supply and demand, but there is also something intrinsic in our genetic programming that makes us seek out value for money. It seems obvious that given the choice of intoxicants, I would select 1 gram of carfentanil instead of 1 gram of morphine. An amount of carfentanil the same size as a grain of salt is enough to kill me by overdose - carfentanil is better value for money, being about 10,000 times more potent than morphine.

The opium smokers became morphine addicts, then diacetylmorphine (heroin) addicts, then fentanyl addicts and now carfentanil addicts. The subsection of the population who have abandoned hope are always driven to seek the strongest mind-altering substance that they can obtain, for the money which they beg (panhandle), borrow or steal in order to support their 'habit' each day.

1 kilogram of carfentanil could kill the entire population of the United Kingdom. Carfentanil is produced in bulk quantities in the Far-East, where - ironically - all the manufacturing and mining jobs have gone, leaving vast numbers of men economically redundant.

In this city where I now live, the capitalists drove the cloth-making industry into a race to the bottom, negatively affecting the prosperity of nations such as India, which has over a billion inhabitants. It seems apt that the 'payback' for this global suicide pact should be so publicly conspicuous. Homelessness and addiction are openly on display, as symptoms of a world that is sick with an illness that's called capitalism; vulgar greed and hoarding of wealth.

I am full of sorrow that so many of my fellow citizens are left bewildered as to what happened to their once-great nation, and seek solace in all the wrong places. To help even one man (#frank) exhausted my economic reserves. All I have left is the power to spread word to more people than I could ever manage to speak to individually, using the power and freedom of the Internet. I preach to the converted, so often, but to stop and speak to the abandoned men - each in their 'patch' - is impossible in the face of a capitalists waving a fistfuls of dollars in front of a sea of hungry people.

All I can say to my readers who own computers, smartphones and Internet connections - you have a golden ticket that the man who slept on the cardboard in the doorway last night, does not have. He's viewed as trash, just the same as the remnants of his existence left behind when he awoke and moved elsewhere this morning.

 

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So Lonely

10 min read

This is a story about isolation...

One Shoe

I've had 3 attempts at living in domestic bliss in my lifetime.

The first attempt, I was way too young. At just 21 years old, what the hell did I think I was doing living in a Surrey commuter town? Taking the old slam-door train into Waterloo every day and having to ride "the drain" which is the packed tube that carries you directly into the heart of the City of London. I played golf on summer evenings and at weekends. I generally acted as if I was 50, not 21. Also, I was with the poor girl out of a desperate desire not to be alone, rather than because I was attracted to her, which is never a good reason to be with somebody. Our flat was nice enough, but somehow bland; faceless; soul-destroying. Leaving central London for that life, was a huge mistake.

The second attempt, I picked the wrong girl. I was certainly attracted to her, and she was smart - a science graduate from a good university - so she ticked almost every box. However, she was mean; just plain mean. There was a vicious aggressive streak to her and she managed to rub most people she met up the wrong way. My friends called her "the poison dwarf". We bought a suburban house and tried to make it work. Getting a kitten was the only thing that was successful - we bonded over looking after our cat. Perhaps - although reckless - there's something to be said for doing what my parents did, which is to have a child even though your relationship is a load of dog shit. I ended up marrying this girl. It did not last long. You can't pair a mean aggressive person with somebody who's a sensitive needy soul like myself: I'm fragile; I'm easily hurt, if you want to hurt me; I'm a pretty easy target - I'm open and unguarded.

The third attempt happened very naturally. Perhaps it's an age thing - we were both getting to the point where, how did she put it? "It's time to shit or get off the pot". She was very committed and I loved that - it made me feel so loved and secure; wrapped up in cotton wool. I'd look for her hand, and hers would be there, ready to hold mine. If I felt like I was going to fall, she'd reassure me that she was going to catch me. The thing is, I was broken and sick - there was so little left of me to love. I was ridiculously needy, but she seemed to take that in her stride and make incredible allowances and forgivenesses for all kinds of transgressions.

How it came to pass that my latest attempt at domestic bliss fell apart, I shan't go into the detail of out of respect for her, and an agreement to leave each other in peace. However, there are a couple of things that I need to write about, just because I need to clarify them in my own mind. There's a certain amount of lunacy that led to the downfall of that relationship, and I need to unpick it a bit... to untangle the mess.

We hadn't had an argument for months. We got along so well. We were best friends and we were mostly inseparable. She had social engagements, and I didn't suffer FOMO or jealousy. We got through a family Christmas and some other stressful times, without so much as a cross word. In a way, that made me feel uneasy. We were not well practiced at resolving conflict.

As my health failed and my career faltered, all of our optimistic dreams of the future were under threat. She was supportive, but I was losing what little identity and self esteem I had; I was becoming ever more dependent on her. It emerged that I was full of bitter regret that my path through life had led me away from interesting things, smart people, daily challenges: my career had become little more than stoically watching projects get bollocksed up by total morons, in return for obscene amounts of money - a bribe, if you like, to rubberstamp the wrongdoing I had to witness. Her career reminded me of everything I had ever aspired to do with my life - to make the world a better place.

I became deeply insecure. Not insecure because she left me with any doubt that she would be committed, loyal and supportive, no matter how bad things got. No... I was insecure about my worth; my value as a person; my contribution; my career choice; my ability to deliver on my end of the bargain of the domestic bliss dream. I was on a hair trigger.

She didn't know how to debate; how to argue, as it turned out. We still live in an age where sexism is working out its kinks, and our intellectual women have been excused from having to back their assertions with evidence or logic, or refute a point with a well constructed counter-argument. Contradiction was all she knew, and I had to walk away in frustration, the first few times we argued.

Because of my loneliness; my isolation, when we argued - over something that was deeply distressing to me - I turned to social media to arbitrate. I didn't know where else to turn. When you have the evidence in front of you, but somebody is arguing that black is white and refusing to back down, what do you do? To post up the transcript of an argument on Facebook, and let the crowd decide is not a great thing to do, but I was being tormented; driven mad.

I'm not really sure what happened afterwards. I was completely isolated and completely exposed. I had laid out my position: the irrefutable evidence. Maybe I needed the strength of the crowd behind me, to follow through and end a relationship with somebody who would put their intellectual vanity ahead of my feelings - be prepared to lie and twist the truth just to 'win' [in their mind, at least]. Maybe what I really wanted was this misbehaviour to end, and for the relationship to be repaired.

We finally reached a point of communication where the unjustified contradictions, the lies and the twisting of the truth was replaced by apologies and kind words, but I'm not sure whether I was just being humoured - this was the endgame. Having gut-wrenchingly lost my best friend, my lifelong companion, the love of my life - albeit a whirlwind romance - I briefly thought that these words of contrition showed a willingness to try and fix the relationship. Alas, no... I was mistaken. She swallowed her pride privately, for my benefit, but to do so publicly was unthinkable for her.

She might not understand that I resorted to social media, because I have no sycophantic courtiers to prop up whatever ill-founded notions I want to believe - I have no "yes" men who tell me I'm right, even when they only know half the story. I've lived most of my life feeling isolated and alone. I couldn't be much more alone than now: estranged from my family for over 2 years and all my contact with my friends is through social media. When I'm not working, I have almost zero face-to-face human contact. Social media is the only place where my side of the story gets told. Social media is the only place where my friends can give me support, making me feel a little less isolated, alone, and vulnerable. It's easy to beat up a person who has nobody sticking up for them.

She's not a bully, unlike my ex-wife. She's a nice person and we were best friends. It's just that I became very fragile when I lost everything - my family, my regular social contact with friends, my job, my financial security. Her inflated ego brutally squashed what little security and happiness I had, as she foolishly boasted about being a public figure; a minor celebrity; at the centre of the universe.

There were periods of humility, and I thought we would get through the problems we'd had, but instead, she has thrown herself back into her career with some gusto, and I must satisfy myself with the sole and unintended benefit of now being at liberty to consider opportunities outside London.

I write this, largely driven by fear. Fear of being alone, but also knowing that loneliness and isolation are deadly. It's more fear of death - through suicide, obviously - that's caused me to write this today. I feel alone and I'm mourning the loss of that all-to-brief period where I felt I'd met my lifelong companion. It's taking longer to come to terms with and comprehend how it all fell apart so quickly, than one might intuitively believe would be necessary: to grieve for the loss and move on. Isolation breeds isolation, and I've had almost nobody to talk to about the breakup; nobody supporting me; nobody on my side.

Having learned from my mistakes of the past, I don't want to be with somebody, just because I'm afraid of being alone, but I had to write this today, because my last relationship was as close to perfect as I've ever imagined it possible to achieve... but yet it still ended, and it ended badly. I guess the lesson I learned is that there are really great girls out there, but there's going to be irreconcilable conflict where their delusions of grandeur unfortunately collide with a collapse in my own self-esteem.

Feeling as alone and isolated as I do - connected to the world almost exclusively through social media - makes it frighteningly easy to seriously consider suicide as an option. I think about a handful of people who regularly ask how I am, on Twitter and Facebook, and a friend who has helped me immensely with a number of practical matters: these are the fragile little hooks on which I hang, suspended over the precipice. Many suicides will be a result of a failed relationship, but the effect of my latest breakup was counter-intuitive: now I feel safe to discuss the complete collapse in my self-esteem, without somehow laying blame at the feet of my ex. I don't want people to feel responsible. I wouldn't kill myself to spite a person. I don't even want to die angry with the world.

My ex's productive output is out there in public and it causes me great pangs of pain, as it reminds me what I loved about her, but also I am able to see that I was damaging her career... an unwelcome distraction at a time when big opportunities were presenting themselves for her to demonstrate her very best work. "If you love them, let them go" is an oft-quoted platitude, and I wish I were able to claim in all honesty that I was acting so selflessly. In truth, it's more like "I can see that she's better off without me".

This is the seed of the suicidal: "the world is better off without me".

 

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Angry White Man

9 min read

This is a story about political correctness gone mad...

St George Flag

The liberal metropolitan elites are on the right side of history, right? The neanderthal knuckle-draggers are simply poorly educated angry white men, who need to step aside and make way for the black one-legged Muslim lesbian immigrants to take all the jobs and go on the dole, right? I probably can't even say black. It's political correctness gone mad.

Right, I've probably successfully got your heckles up. Now, get your calculator out.

The average wage in the UK is roughly £26,000. The average house price is £260,000. Assuming you can borrow three and a half times your income, you can get a mortgage of £91,000. So, you'll need a deposit of £169,000.

For the current tax year, average take home pay is £1,737. Average rent in the UK is £900 a month, leaving £837 a month for council tax, gas, electric, water, sewerage, food & drink, toiletries, cleaning products, transport, clothing, mobile phone, Internet, home & life insurance, home maintenance, alcohol & tobacco, gambling & lottery, going out and saving money.

Let's assume that our average UK citizen is a super scrimpy person who lives on budget baked beans and never turns on the heating or any lights. They can probably save a maximum of £500 per month, which leaves them £337 a month to spend on everything else. To save up the £170k they need to buy a house, they'll need to be thrifty for the next 28 years... assuming house prices don't go up.

Of course, this also assumes that you can even get a job that pays about £12.50 an hour, when 80% of all new jobs being created pay less than £17,000 per annum. Most jobs pay less than the average, because the average wage is skewed by a small number of very high earners.

OK, but we can all just go on benefits, right?

Well, housing benefit doesn't pay enough to rent a place. Rents are higher than housing benefit. If you work more than 16 hours a week, your benefits will be cut off, so you can't use housing benefit to top up your income. If you're a 'snowflake' millennial, you'll have just £57.90 to live on each week, plus your housing benefit that isn't enough to pay the rent.

So, what's the solution?

Well, if you're an immigrant you might be prepared to live in an appallingly shit house, with several people in every room. Many of us grew up in houses with sitting rooms and dining rooms. If you have a look round a house full of economic migrants who are all working for minimum wage, you're not going to find any reception rooms: every room is a bedroom.

Who cleans the toilets? Who waits the tables? Who serves the coffee? Who picks up the litter? Who hoovers your office? Who washes your car? Who built your house? Who unblocked your drain?

When we want something, we demand rock-bottom prices. We believe all the bullshit about 'rogue traders' and 'rip-off Britain' when in actual fact we are mostly idle and spoiled. We wanted cheap goods, so the factories moved to the Far East. We wanted easy jobs, so the immigrants came to do all the shitty ones. We wanted big fat undeserved early pensions, so asset prices bubbled. The petit bourgeois rentier class is a parasite on young people who need somewhere to live.

"Build some more houses!"

Yes, but who's going to build them? You wanted people who work hard for peanuts, so you got Poles. It's a fairly established middle-class thing to do: to demand Eastern European builders, because your British counterparts are supposedly lazy and work-shy, but aren't you part of the problem if you're not rolling up your sleeves and getting on with the job yourself?

The UK population was 50 million in the 1950s. Now it's 65 million. If there were 30 children in a school classroom in the fifties, there would be 39 today. If there were 1 million cars in the fifties, there are 1.3 million now. Hang on! That can't be right, can it?

Yes, ostensibly our observations don't match the hard numbers. Our day-to-day experiences don't tally with the facts, data and opinion polls.

Of course, I picked a difficult example: car ownership has soared, along with our living standards.

Our living standards have soared, haven't they?

Well, why do so many people want to go back to some kind of golden era of yesteryear? Perhaps 1954 would be the perfect year for us to roll the clock back to: when rationing ended.

"Britain's full" we hear. Certainly, many of us perceive overcrowding, congestion, heavy traffic, problems making a doctor's appointment, problems getting our kids into the school we want our little darlings to go to. What the hell? And there's always some darkies in the queue too... it must be all those mozzies, right?

The liberal metropolitan elites [like me] will tell you that you're imagining things. You're just not colourblind enough. If you squint your eyes - like a Chinaman - you'll see that your crowded train carriage actually has plenty of seats, and the few passengers are white men wearing hats, reading broadsheet newspapers and puffing pipes.

There's clearly a mismatch between perception, reality and what the 'facts' tell us. How can Britain have filled up when the population has only increased by 30%?

Let's look at the example of the economic migrant.

I don't live in The City of London. I live out near Canary Wharf and commute into the Square Mile for work. I migrate each day, for economic reasons. The official population of the City is 12,000 people, but in fact the population on a miserable Monday morning is more like 400,000. That's a 33 fold increase. That's a helluva migration every day.

In the desperate struggle of the rat race, both parents are now working, when previously the husband's sole income was adequate for the household's meagre expenses. I'm sorry to be so heteronormative, but women were housewives and men were the breadwinners. With sexual equality comes a doubling of the workforce, taking up space on the trains and roads, struggling to get to work each morning.

If both parents are working, who's going to clean the house? We're going to need a Lithuanian cleaner. Who's going to look after the kids? We're going to need a Spanish au pair. Who's going to prepare lunch? We're going to need an Italian sandwich maker.

We cluster together where all the jobs are: London and the South-East. We all commute huge distances on horribly overcrowded transport networks, because it's cheaper for our employers to build massive office blocks. The more office blocks you get in one place, the bigger the pool of potential employees, creating a liquid market for commoditised humans.

Most of the UK is an also-ran. Who gives a fuck about job losses across the whole country, when London earns so much tax for the treasury and financial services dominates 80% of the 'economy'.

Of course, it's disingenuous to think that the coal mines are going to re-open, the demand for steel can remain constantly high forever, and there will always be a need for unskilled manual labour. However, didn't we forget that a lot of people have been thrown onto the scrap heap, because we only worship facts and figures, not lives?

Is it possible that the knuckle-draggers  -- who hanker for a yesteryear of homophobia, sexism, bigotry and an empire riding roughshod over the developing world -- also have a small handful amongst their number who are right? Their quality of life would have been a lot better when they could have afforded to buy a house, get married, have kids and earn a living without having to resort to government handouts, black market jobs, benefit fraud, drug dealing and other degrading things.

I feel like I need to be the liberal metropolitan elitist who empathises with the plight of the scrounger, the NEET, the JAM family, the council-estate dwelling na'er do well. It's terribly patronising, but what have the unwashed masses noticed that we haven't?

I'm not even allowed to raise the questions without tarring myself with the brush we lazily swish over the enemies of progress: bigot, xenophobe, homophobe, FASCIST!

I hate UKIP, Nigel Farage, Donald Trump and their ilk, but they're shrewd in their observation that people have detected a certain lack of greatness in their once-great nations. Perhaps they weren't great places to be an educated black gay woman, in those yesteryear eras, but isn't politics about the greater good, to some extent? We don't have to lynch the blacks for the benefit of the whites. Trump et. al. have emboldened the racists, and that's awful, but why are they so angry?

Until the liberal metropolitan elites can accept that "[poor ill-educated] white male" has become a pejorative term amongst a sneering set of arrogant, privileged people who rule over them, doesn't it seem obvious that the anger is going to boil over?

Football, X-Factor, Big Brother and all of the other distractions and titillations are inadequate to contain the dissatisfied masses: they don't have any prospects; they don't have anything to hope for, except for a life of miserable poverty; they're unwanted in 'their own' country.

That's what "take are (sic) country back" means... it means that through the Internet, the masses have figured out that they outnumber the rulers and their court, and they want their fair slice of the pie. They've been misdirected into blaming immigrants, because that's always the last desperate ploy played by the greedy people who control the country. The simple fools don't even realise that the rich get even richer during times of war and conflict. Who's going to fight this imaginary fight that we're being whipped into national hysteria over? It will be the poorest, least educated and least privileged who will lose out, yet again.

Sadly, unless income inequality and declining living standards are addressed, there's little to offer the angry people except a cathartic bloodletting. Obviously, it offends my liberal sensibilities to see anger misdirected at the hardworking immigrants who cook me delicious halal food and act as a kind of lightning rod, stopping me from getting beaten up as a yuppie... a gentrifier.

What happened to class warfare? What happened to the labour movement? What happened to revolution?

TV melted your brain, dude.

 

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