I don’t do the blogger award thing as a rule, I worry about the exponential growth inherent in such systems. Do the math; if every blogger given an award nominates seven other bloggers, and they each nominate seven more and so on, then within two weeks, every WordPress blogger on the planet will have received that award (there are over 72 million WordPress blogs). Within a month, we will have all been nominated over a 100 times.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I love being nominated, I love having my ego stroked, (although I prefer to have it sucked,) and I get so flattered that I have to jack off every time I get a nomination, and that’s the problem, too many awards and my ego would just collapse under the weight of all that love and I would most likely be discovered dead by my cleaning lady, having drowned in my own semen. Not a pleasant clean up job for anybody, as I’m sure you can imagine.
However, today I am making an exception and not because I think I am worthy of the award but because of who has nominated me: the wonderful Gypsy, author of the outstanding Through my eyes: Adventures in Borderline land. Her blog truly is outstanding, unlike my trivial and masturbatory attempts at entertaining you, her blog is a powerful, poignant, heartfelt and heart-warming journal of her struggles and victories over Borderline Personality Disorder.
Gypsy nominated me for the “Outstanding Blogger Award”, the rules are as follows:
- Thank the nominee.
- Share something important about yourself.
- Nominate other bloggers.
Thank you Gypsy: your blog is just awesome. It is straightforward and honest and bursting with emotion and you have helped far more people than you realise by documenting your life so bravely. Thank you.
Thank you also for encouraging me to write this next bit. Its about something I’ve never written about before (well not publicly) and if it weren’t for you, I may never have.
Something important: I was an addict. For years, I threw a large chunk of my adult life down a big dark hole. I have never written about it before because I still carry a lot of shame for having wasted so much of a life who’s every second should be savoured and not squandered.
Addiction nearly killed me, it turned me into a liar and a thief and a cheat and a rascal. I lied and stole mostly to and from the people that loved me the most, well, who tried to love me anyway, its not easy to love someone when they hate themselves. In the end I drove everyone away with my snivelling self-pity and misdirected anger.
Every day I would wake and promise myself, ‘no more’ and every day, before noon, I would have failed. The failure sapped me dry Every day, month after month, year after year, failure after failure. I lost all faith in myself. My soul nearly disappeared, I nearly extinguished my own humanity. In the end there was just this tiny, flickering spark of it left, cowering deep inside me.
One day, I decided to face my demons head on. It was that or die. seriously. I tossed a coin: heads, I go seek help (again), tails, I end it all. You can guess how it landed, and I re-entered that mill of detox and rehab and therapy and those fucking rooms. Somehow it clicked, and is still clicking five years down the road. Maybe it was because I had driven everyone away and had to do it on my own. Maybe it was because I knew the alternative was to die, but actually I think it was because I discovered the true nature of my demons. They were not the fearsome devils of my nightmares. They were not powerful angry, ugly monsters. They were me, me when I was young, and hurt and sad, the neglected me and the scared me. They were little me and they hurt. They didn’t need battling, they needed loving and accepting.
I didn’t really change, and I’m still a complete shit-bag – just ask any woman I’ve ever dated – I just learned to accept me and enjoy being me, love me even. Life hasn’t really changed that much either, there is still as much sadness and pain as there ever was, but there is laughter and love too.
Nominate other bloggers: I’m not going to nominate anyone else for this award, and its not because I don’t want to, its just that I don’t know who to nominate, because I never actually bother to read any of the shit you all write.
Thanks again to Gypsy for the honour. Everyone please visit, like, comment and follow her wonderful blog, or I will have you brutally killed and your corpse fed to your pets in front of your children.
No one could understand why she had done it. She had seemed so happy. She hadn’t always been like that, she had always been rather a melancholy girl, but six months ago she had met a man online and from that point onwards her whole personality had changed. She’d seemed lighter somehow and would smile nearly all the time, she started taking an interest in her appearance and had even dropped 12 pounds.
She talked about nothing else, and we all kinda found it a little boring but we were just so glad to see her happy, that we listened. We got every gory little detail, the poems he wrote her, his confessions of undying love for her, word for word accounts of every IM he had ever sent and far more than we wanted to know about what they got up to on Skype.
We had been a little wary for her, after all this was some guy, thousands of miles away, that she had never actually met, but they sounded so well matched, they shared the same hobbies, liked the same movies and music and TV. Generally, we were all just delighted for her.
So why today? Why would she do something like that on the very day that he was going to fly in and they were going to finally meet?
As the paramedics took down her body, I noticed that her laptop was still on. I navigated my way to her Facebook page and found their thread, just to see what had happened to make her do something like that. My blood froze. There it was, six months of chat. Except it wasn’t, it was just her. There was nothing from him. Tens of thousands of remarks and LOLs and <3s but all from her, just one side of the conversation. I scrolled up and up until my fingers ached, just hoping for some sign of him, tears streaming down my face. It was all there, the poems she’d written him, her responses to comments he’d never made, answers to questions he’d never asked, an acceptance of a proposal he’d never offered. My spine chilled at the recollection of that day, when she’d bounced into work, bubbling with love, telling us all that he had proposed.
I kept scrolling up until I found it. The only comment he had ever made to her, right at the top, six months ago. “Who the fuck are you? You weird bitch!!!”
so, i’m on the tube the other day, ok? and it comes to a halt in the middle of a tunnel, and we all sit there in silence and wait, and then this voice comes over the public address system, “we apologise for the delay. this is due to a passenger under a train at oxford circus.” now, this got me thinking. a passenger i thought, under a train. I thought about how wrong that was, because surely, if you are under the train then you are not a passenger.
JOSIAS: Why is it that the feelings we have towards suicide victims are so different from those we have for other violent murderers? Why do we call them victims, not culprits?
FANNY: Max Wormwood was more than a director or mere curator mind you, he was a star of the show in his own right. What had begun life as a YouTube video, of him and some scaffolding, in a comic scrape with the laws of gravity, had grown into the hugely successful website and franchise ‘what-goes-up.com.’ His clip remained one of the site’s most popular hits and one of the funniest things you’ll ever see.
I first met Max through work, on a case. One he would caringly refer to later as ‘the pencil case’. My Name’s Fanny, by the way, Fanny Satterday, I’m a Coroner’s Forensic Psychologist. Meaning I grub around in the ugly-lobes of dead people’s heads. I’m not poorly suited to the job.
Max was being sued over a piece on the site that the plaintiff believed had led her twelve-year-old sister Effie, to attempt suicide. The piece in question was about a Japanese schoolgirl who became so desperate during an exam, she took her own life, then and there, by shoving pencils into each of her nostrils and slamming her head face first, into the desk.
This, of course, is not true! Its an urban myth! You couldn’t possibly kill yourself like that! Its insane! You could however do considerably more than just give yourself a bit of a headache.
When Effie tried, the pencils snapped. She was spared the horrors of permanent brain damage but trauma like that can leave much deeper scars. Without medication, Effie is unable to fight a morbid fascination with putting things up her nose. Mealtimes are a nightmare. I won’t ask you to picture toilet time.
The case was easily resolved in Max’s favour, of course. There were numerous references to the original story all over the web and the fact that Effie had found it on ‘What-Goes-Up’ did not suggest any culpability on Max’s part but he was ordered to put up warnings on the site, which he did. Huge, red, flashing letters, ‘Do. Not. Try. This. At. Home.’ I think he thought it was funny.
MAX: Not everybody appreciates my sense of humour. I get a lot of hate mail, most of its hilarious. I encourage it, I throw the meanest and sickest, like gauntlets, onto the site. My favourite goes “How does a one armed man cut his wrists?” Of course, this is completely wrong. You can see that. It should be ‘wrist’ not ‘wrists.’
an excerpt from my first radio play, ‘entrance of the gladiators’. the whole thing can be heard here.
FANNY: I click. There’s a brief pause before the home page climbs, stuttering, into the screen. It looks just like it did six months ago. It would. With one exception, its not been touched since then. It actually feels neglected. Lonely. If that’s possible for a website. Like its haunted, like there are electronic cobwebs in there. I click some of the dust away.
The site, ‘What-Goes-Up dot com,’ was at heart a comical collection of bizarre accidents, a little bit like ‘You’ve Been Framed’ on the telly but not so tasteful and without the fluffy animals, apart from one clip, featuring a puppy and a lawn-mower. ‘A celebration of the spectacularly stupid,’ its owner and creator Max Wormwood had once called it.
One character that ably satisfied both these criteria and who dropped in on the site with frightening regularity, was Osgood Hardbach. Its hard to know, really, how best to describe Osgood. His daughter Tory doesn’t do a bad job.
TORY: Dad has attempted suicide forty-five times. Its an official world record. The TV show ‘Never Mind the Buzz-Saws’ have named an award in honour of him – for ‘persistence in the face of overwhelming stupidity.’ There are three different websites devoted to him, he’s got two fan-clubs and is the inspiration behind a sick computer game. There was even talk of a movie.
It started when he was eight, when he jumped off the garage roof. And, as a child, if he wasn’t trying to swallow stuff from under the sink, he’d be throwing himself off it or trying to drown himself in it. I don’t think he was very happy.
He’s tried fourteen times in public, seven have been videoed. He’s been on the news over twenty times. Two attempts are records in their own right and there have been three copycat deaths attributed to his infame.
He’s only tried to kill himself in front of me twice. Once, he got me to hold the camera while he slit open his throat. They didn’t name any awards for that. I was six. Or discuss making a movie. I was all alone in the house and he just lay there gurgling, and I didn’t even know how to turn the video camera off. That was attempt number twenty, it cost him eighteen months in the loony-bin. It was my worst birthday ever.
an excerpt from my first radio play. the whole thing can be heard here.
An ambulance pulls up outside and I think, “Oh no! Who now?” I get up and peer through the window. Two of the paramedics that climb out, slinging bags of serious looking equipment over their shoulders, are women. One is quite chubby but I like women in uniform. I have to remind myself that someone is ill and that getting an erection right now is not appropriate, that one of my neighbours is ill.
I am friends with my neighbours and a sense of dread drenches me as I run through, in my mind, who it might be, what might be wrong. There are police out there too now, and I watch as they walk up my path. “Wrong house!” I shout through the window, worried now that whoever it is that needs help is not getting it. Mrs May next door, is ninety-something. We chat often and I bring her her morning paper. She reads The Mail and I joke with her about how she must be some kind of right-winger. “I like the crossword.” she tells me. We must have had that conversation 1,000 times. At least. I well up at the thought that something bad might have happened to her. The cops and medics are ringing my doorbell. “Wrong house.” I shout again, but they don’t hear me because of the thick glass we have, to shield us from the passing planes overhead as they approach Heathrow.
I go to answer the door, to explain, but it is too late, they have kicked in the front door. I turn to watch them kick my flat door in too and stare, horror struck, at my own lifeless corpse on the couch, wrists, gaping, red, open grins, a huge pool of congealing blood making sticky, ugly sounds against the feet of the paramedics as they approach my dead body.
Entrance of the Gladiators was the first radio play I wrote. It was broadcast on Resonance FM on 15 Feb 08.
Here are some of the things that were said about it.
“Terrific. Sour, wild, moving, furious and odd as hell.”
“There’s no way I’d act in, or have anything to do with this sick shit!”
“Powerful, original and grippingly told.”
You can download or listen to it from here.