The Girl with the Edinburgh Tattoo

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Archive for the tag “depression”

Happy Festive Families!

WaltonsWell – did you manage to survive the ridiculous Christmas bubble where people – through an accident of birth and not through any choice of their own – are forced together to make merry and perhaps even make conversation with other? Most people manage one day of festive torture when the pressure is put – witch-trial-like – on some poor individual to stage-manage the perfect day by providing food, presents and refereeing/counselling services and then getting tut-tutted at when she lobs the empty bottle of Bailey’s at dirty Uncle Billy’s head? I believe there are some people who attempt more than one day of this Big Brother-type set-up but then I suppose that is why we have pubs, shops and A&E!

Families have always been something that can drive you off the edge. They are endlessly fascinating though because – even if you’re lucky enough to be an orphan or choose to cut loose from your own – you can never escape. You will be subsumed into someone else’s at some point. And pick up a book or watch a film – your surrogate clan will be there. From Game of Thrones to Eastenders; from The Godfather to I Claudius; from Star Wars to Emile Zola’s Rougon-Macquart dynasty – we can’t get enough.

Personally speaking I like to keep with the fictional and give the real people a miss. As they say – ‘you can choose your friends… ‘

My Bloody Valentine

It’s Valentine’s day! And if the best romantic gesture you can think of is a bottle of cheap prosecco, a bunch of service-station roses and some Asda lingerie which – coupled with the candles – really will set the bedroom on fire – think again. This time of year is also when poetry gets a look in. However if you want something more than the old ‘Roses are red…’ stuff you could do worse than check out the works of my own bloody valentine Richard Mulvey.

Surreal, sardonic, funny, sometimes angry, sometimes romantic. The poems aren’t bad either!

An unusual gift  – for relationships that can take it…

Never Mind The Tinsel – It’s Nearly Over!


Merry Christmas or happy mid-winter, celebrate light over dark, Bacchanalian/Saturnalian festival time! Let’s put aside the whole business of whether you-know-who was born where-ever or when-ever there’s one thing we can be sure of in places where Christmas is celebrated – even if, as an individual, you decide to opt out – resistance is futile! Everywhere you look – it’s tinsel and yo-ho-ho, traditional Victoriana mixing with rampant consumerism, wall-to-wall Christmas on TV – there’s no way you can treat it as just another day!

Personally speaking I gave up on the whole nonsense years ago and it’s with some smugness that I observe the day’s ritual for other people – turn from that initial excitement of unwrapping the presents, getting the food started and drinking too early to – disappointment at the presents, stress that the food’s not going well and that the booze is running out to – eventually, at the end of the day – feeling the worse for wear and wanting to brain your relatives with the empty bottles! Do I miss those days? Not really!

So if you are ‘opting out’ – have a great day and here are some tips –

Don’t get intimidated by the tinsel! Avoid the telly by breaking out the box sets or look at your hard disk library with all those long films you’ve never got round to watching.

Start drinking early (I can agree with the traditionalists on that one!).

Get yourself a takeaway.

Weather permitting take a good bracing walk and greet people you meet with ‘Happy Whatever-religious-or-non-denominational-festival-you-choose’!

Feel smug that you’ve avoided the whole queasy mix of greedy consumerism and tacked-on sentimentality made to simmer in a pressure cooker of families being forced together on a day that can never live up to the hype.

Finally – and seriously – many people find themselves alone at this time of year. Or perhaps not even alone – but struggling with depression and not able to laugh at the whole tinsel farce. But to borrow the slogan – ‘Depression and loneliness are not just for Christmas’ … So if you’re thinking of helping someone who may be isolated and/or struggling at this time make it an early New Year resolution to get in touch and help out long term – it’ll do you the world of good too!

Check out the following sites if you feel you can (or need) help:

Back to the Eighties!

ImageI was just saying the other day – before THAT story gripped the nation – how apathetic people had become. Gone were the days of public protest, demonstration, standing toe to toe on picket lines, nailing political colours to the mast – it seems that we’ve cosied down with our Sky packages and tablets (of both kinds). What do we have to be angry about? Then, suddenly we were all transported back to the eighties.

It’s strange because when I first heard the news and friends around me were whooping and breaking open the Barolo I felt quite detached from it all. After all it was the demise of an elderly woman who cut a rather pathetic figure towards the end. It wasn’t until all the retrospectives it all started coming back to me and I realised I had been living in denial. It was a bit like those people who are abused in childhood and then bury the experience deep within their psyche and it’s only later when encouraged to regress that they realise the full and lasting effect it has had on their lives. So – for me – this is how it goes: Thatcher was the wicked stepmother or governess who indelibly marked my upbringing but it was such a long time ago and other monsters in evangelist’s clothing have come and gone. Ah, yes – I mean you: Tony Blair. Surely he is a worse monster than Thatcher? He’s certainly responsible for more deaths. But then again, Thatcher beget Blair… (Keeping up the analogy – Blair is like the down-with-the-kids vicar who starts off with a bit of abuse and then goes on to napalm the whole village)

So, at the end of the day, with the countless words that have been – and will continue to be – offered up about the woman’s legacy, does it all matter? Of course! She transformed the UK but that’s not to say that it wouldn’t have changed without her. A lot has been made about the way she kicked the shambling old duffers of the old boy network up the arse but to replace them with (new) money obsessed barrow boys made good – was that really progress? And besides, what do we have today? Privileged rich boys masquerading as the barrow boys they desperately want to woo. Another ‘positive’ trundled out by her fans is that she paved the way for women in politics when in actual fact she has probably made it impossible for any woman to hold the office of British PM ever again, such is the – if not out and out hatred – deep rooted distrust. But then, she was a woman who didn’t seem to like other women – and didn’t seem to like great swathes of the population either… her legacy is all about ‘her’ and not about people ‘like her’.

So – as a working-class woman, a Scot, a European, citizen of the world, an environmentalist, an artist, someone with a conscience – can I think of anything positive to say about the whole Thatcher legacy thing? (I refrain from making comment about ‘Thatcher the woman’ or ‘Thatcher the person’ as I have no experience in that field, plus I find the ‘heart-warming’ tales of her personal kindness on a par with hearing Hitler was kind to his pet dogs). Yes! I think I have finally found something – the way that she has brought together sectors of the country to protest and proclaim – ‘Yes! There is such a thing as society and we haven’t forgotten. And you noncey boys who are no better than Thatcher in a suit – you can shut up your hypocritical traps too!’

There, that does feel a lot better! So however you feel about the whole thing – take something positive from it all – raise a glass, shout and scream – but don’t let it drag you down, don’t let it make you less of a person. We’ve had enough of that already.

Everyday is like Sunday

ImageI suppose a lot of people will be getting those inevitable sunday blues around about now. I always do, even when I don’t have work the next day – strange, eh? I’m on leave next week but I still have that sinking feeling of doom. Try as I might I can’t eradicate those nagging feelings of – has that homework been done? Have I prepared enough for that presentation? If I think hard enough can I come up with a good enough excuse not to go into ‘that place’ that makes me feel like I’m dying? Ah, yes, death – it always comes back to that, eh? I must admit that I don’t wish for time to speed up as much as I used to – even at work. It’s like that well-worn opening line by the comedian who’s been kicking around for a few years – it was probably George Burns originally – ‘I’m glad to be here tonight… well, I’m glad to be anywhere really.’ So as I sit in work I tend to think – this is my life I’m wishing away – and that’s not funny!

I was reading some Epicurus the other day – like you do – and he’s not bad for a few quotes to cheer up a miserable Sunday.

‘Death does not concern us, because as long as we exist, death is not here. And when it does come, we no longer exist.’

Cheers mate! No, seriously, it does make sense and equates to the old saying –

‘You die if you worry, and you die if you don’t. So why worry?’

What a perfect existential thought! So with that, I think I’ll go and cheer myself up by listening to some Morrissey or Knicker Boy’s ‘Yellow Sunday’. See, you’re not on your own!Image

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