Wednesday, 24 November 2010

The Rape Epidemic

I often wonder if as a species we will be ok. There is a very telling line in Terminator 2: Judgement Day in which John Connor watches two kids argue over who shot who first, he comments, “We're not going to make it are we? It's in our nature to destroy ourselves.” I often find myself thinking of this when I look at the horrors we unleash upon each other in our day to day lives. For me, the greatest horror of all is rape, which betrays a fundamental and persistent misunderstanding of what it means to be human.

Rape is certainly the most heinous epidemic to tar the civilised world, reportedly there are an average of 200 rapes per day in the UK. This is a figure largely accepted by critics and proponents alike as it is compiled using both government statistics and analysis by crisis centres who take a closer look at the number of unreported rapes. This is a grotesque number, because whilst one rape is a devastation 80,000 is a full blown epidemic. A 6% conviction rate on the 5% of rapes which are actually reported amounts to a very small handful of women who may receive some form of closure and mental relief knowing that their attacker is behind bars.

So we have to ask ourselves; what is the problem here? Whilst there are many grey areas in sexual harassment and rape cases it is undeniable that an enormous problem exists. However, for the sexually sane amongst us we often make the grey area greyer. There is a level of plausible deniability that we find ourselves affording to friends when we know they might have been a bit heavy with a very drunk girl, but we must question where they draw a line and if it is before something quite acceptable becomes far more sinister and disturbing. The notion that if a girl goes home with a guy she is automatically up for it is a fallacy, a girl is never asking for it unless she is actually asking for it.

Because of these misguided attitudes and shocking statistics, I am more than certain that the majority of us will know someone, knowingly or unknowingly for our part, who has crossed a boundary that they shouldn't have crossed. For that very reason we all have a responsibility to the women in our lives, a collective responsibility and culpability to our sisters, wives, mothers and friends to educate one another.

Our society must question and then actively address why rape is seemingly taken so seriously and at the same time so vastly overlooked? Women have long spoken of a climate of distrust amongst the establishment when reporting rapes which is a culturally entrenched problem in the police. We all know that the police look at crime from a very alienated perspective, almost running mechanically through sets of pre-determined questions and forms. However, rape is not a crime, it is an attack on a fundamental aspect of personal mental security and physical space, an attack on the female body is an attack on our mothers, sisters and lovers. I really do implore all men to watch the below video and share it with as many people as possible whilst simultaneously attempting to fathom some form of empathy for what it must be like for any woman to go through such a harrowing mental and physical ordeal.

The Havens is attempting to change attitudes towards rape with their new campaign, 'Where is Your Line?', its aim is to make young men question where they 'draw the line' and to reassess where they consider themselves or others to be taking advantage.

The Havens offers care and support for both men and women who have experienced rape and other forms of sexual violence. They also compile and analyse statistics relating to sexual assaults.

Article originally published at:


Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Eye Lie

As many of you readers know I went to America over the summer and it was all very interesting, lots of alcohol was consumed and lots of photos were taken. This blog being a place for words means that I have created a new blog in which to house these photos for your vicarious enjoyment. Be warned however, if you are looking for cheesey holiday snaps you are right out of luck.

All photos will be displayed as God intended them, that is un-photoshopped and unedited.



Tuesday, 14 September 2010

So long and thanks for all the CCTV

Its been five days since the demise of Big Brother and everyone is still reeling with the loss of fictional reality. The British public have been readjusting, albeit painfully, to the prospect of an endless void unpopulated by caricatures from the very worst corners of British banality and celebrity.

The first notable reaction to the public loss was an idle euphoria in the form of gleaming television reviews, this was closely followed by historical appraisals of the show, replaying the nation their favourite moments that somehow defined millions of moments of pure nothingness.

Later, attentions turned to the tragic nature of the loss; what will Davina do? What would Jade do? What will WE do!? Well, Davina should have diversified her talents a little further afield than just hollow observations of the contestants time and subsequent failure at life in the house. And, of course, Jade, poor misunderstood Jade, the real people's princess. She, who showed that a lifeless and unintelligible entity could somehow become a household name, a by-word for pliability and devolving any self-empowerment to the powers that be.

Now is the task of moving forward, moving on with our lives, finding real people to hate, real people to love, real people to share all those manipulated emotions with. We will learn how to read one another again without the auto-cues of well edited television. We are all back in the grey area where the villains, the dunces and the losers all dwell side by side and all around us, even within us.

Most importantly we must, even will, learn to understand ourselves again, learn to cope with that hole, that void that needs filling without thought or effort. That hole, ironically, only exists when your mind is in the 'on' position and is looking for something to do, some form of stimulus and instead we will all look for escape; constant masturbation, drinking and war will fight for dominance of the void. All the while we will gradually remember that the real world is just a simulacrum of the big brother house and then, all of that pent up prejudice and bias will find another more organic release in those we find thrust into our empty lives.


Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Final Descent

We walked into the park after stealing her mum's painkillers, she had broken her back and was unable to stop us, overpowering her was the path of least resistance. The pills were green but her back was black and her face was red with the thousands of burst capillaries from the strain of merely breathing. With a fist full of these incredible green pills Nadia and I stopped in the first shop we came across for water, these were not a prescription for dry swallowing. They were the size of those big, cheap aspirin tabs, only 150mg but packed full of shit to keep them in a circular form. The pills were bitter, far from the refreshing tang which their green colour suggested, a musty yellow would have been a more appropriate colour, like the inner ear of some feral dog or the dim mid-morning sun. I imagined Nadia's mother straining to swallow these brutal little pieces of heaven, her now useless body dependent on the foul taste in order to make life bearable. We sipped and swallowed.

As we entered the park an overwhelming sense of warmth took hold of me, and everything was surrounded by a palpable yellow mist that both blurred and focussed the eye. The overwhelming pain matched by this intense pleasure must have felt like a god awful joke, a bitter sweet irony for Nadia's mother. There was no way for these pills, a compound of satisfaction and beauty, to exist without the violence and humiliation of pain that accompany them. Perhaps a perpetually beaten wife would, right now, be experiencing some mild relief from her fractured existence. Everywhere, broken men, women and children would be experiencing this same sense of relief, joy and safety within enclosed clinical walls. The dingy blue curtains surrounding them, stained with blood, faeces and even the matter of human existence, would finally come alive at this one intense moment.

We, on the other hand, were the fortunate ones. The vomit was replaced by lush green fields, slightly dampened by the cool humid air. Droplets of water glistened and refracted light in an infinite number of different directions. The dull oppressive curtains were in fact a limitless blue sky, encapsulating an awe inspiring, living whole, energized by an ever peaking flame in the sky. The smell of putrid rotting matter was the sweet scent of the breathing earth that gave life to the nasal airwaves. As the dying toiled and suffered in their enclaves, only escaping the torture of life for seconds at a time, an entire living spectacle flourished in their decline. We were its epicentre and we saw the whole spectacle of life and death for the first and last time through unique eyes.

My attentions turned to Nadia's mother, I was overwhelmed by the pain she would be feeling in order for us to see beauty of this intensity, I relished in her pain. This sensation was not unlike that of the disclosure by my own mother that I had been a twin in her womb, I had relished in the knowledge that I was the stronger of the two, I had destroyed something that had threatened to undermine my own existence, something that was essentially myself, identical in every fibre and hair on its dying body. I had consumed its weakness and my life was lived in the shadow of its pain, its failed existence. The pleasure I was taking in the pain of Nadia's mother was akin to my entire life, every pleasure, every sight, smell and sound was a stolen luxury paid for by the death of that failed life. My brotherly fetus, consumed by my body only weeks after our conception was a victim of my joy, my celebration and love of pleasure however, so was I.

The full understanding of what I had done to my fetal brother brought me to a sense of realisation that I had never before experienced, I knew what I had to do in order to salvage any form of basic humanity. I was convinced that I had to impregnate the young, fertile body of Nadia. With my seed nestled within her womb I could recreate my fetal brethren, albeit twenty years too late. This act of human creation would satisfy my own mother's need for closure and allay the sense of loss she had felt due to what she believed was her own maternal failure. My mother always thanked her God, in the irrational way that only a mother can understand, for my survival. In such a manner that suggested a miracle and not murder. If she knew the truth of my entire existence, the chimera ripping at the life chord that held my brother within her body and within the realms of life, my hand consuming all that was rightly his. A murder of providence that her God should give me life and that I take it away. Her entire belief would be destroyed, that God could turn his cheek on such a transgression.

I reached my hand out to Nadia, touching only the tips of her fingers, she was startled by my unprecedented show of affection; I had rarely even looked at her in recent years, our friendship was one of habit than of genuine enjoyment of each other's company. The euphoria we were sharing was slowly fading into a catatonic sense of guilt on my part for what was about to occur. I was about to impregnate her with the redemption of my crimes and it would change the entire fabric of our acquaintance, habit would become necessity and I would nurture her womb with loving hands, not with any affection for her but for the ultimate forgiver of my sins, my brother.

She looked into my eyes, I could see the recognition on her face for a lost friendship, a direct continuation from where I had left it following the car crash which had resulted in a severe trauma to my brain. My personality proceeded to collapse into itself and for five years I had been left with no emotional liability, only rarely would I relapse into my former self. For now I was within a relapse and was overtaken by an extreme feeling of loss, I knew that the reciprocity we were sharing would not last and I would once again withdraw as soon as I had withdrawn from her body.

The sensation of touch sent impulses throughout my body, neurones confused and tangled in my spinal chord, thus distorting my peripheral nervous system and sending feeling to every extremity of my body. These sensations confused my movements and made me far clumsier than I cared to be, but with the movement of my hand across her body Nadia contorted with the same confused pleasure as I did. Her lips trembling not with anxiety but with the faint murmur of her heavily beating heart. I leaned over to kiss her and in this moment I knew that my brother had been destroyed by my malice, but must be recreated in love. This act of re-creation was an act of love and for that moment I was in love with her, really and truly. We embraced one another and reacted intensely to one another's touch, her womb slowly opened up to me and allowed me to enter her, breathing sharply and hesitantly but inviting and embracing my sex. The holy motives for my actions were forgotten and my desires took hold, the fertile body of this young woman controlled my every move, directing us both into a climatic unison, the reason for which was but a distant and confused memory.

As we lay naked on the damp, cooling grass, my penis flaccid between my legs, I felt vulnerable to my impending withdrawal, the luxuriance of the world around me was beginning to fade. The greenery of the grass and the intensity of the colours around me were beginning to dull, even the brightness of the sun had lost its powerful white glare and was reduced to a mere gold. I was aware of how cold I had become on my left side as I watched the sun peaking in the sky, peaking and bathing our naked bodies in its warmth and glow. The only intensive display left was the silver outline that marked the contours of Nadia's body cast by the now falling sun as it fell away behind her and left me cold and exposed to its counterpart.

Once again Nadia looked me in the eye, but there was no recognition in her gaze. I looked through her, my retreating mind only seeing her now as a necessity for my redemption. Her eyes teared, she sat up, looking away from me as she did so, and covered her breasts from my dormant stare. She hastily redressed herself, but her movements were still contorted by the synaptic confusion that her brain was offering her. Whilst my euphoria was slowly fading into a dull enclave, hers had turned to anxiety and mourning. I imagine she felt somewhat cheated by today's events, tricked into the situation I had created for her, but with what ounce of enlightenment I had left I wanted her to know that what we had felt was real, and not just the necessity that was once again creeping over me. But it was impossible, my ability or even desire to take liability for my actions and emotions had passed. I was cold, the sun was rapidly descending towards the horizon, some thousands of miles in front of us. I stood up, satisfied and arrogant by the creation of my own redemption I placed a firm hand around Nadia's stomach, marking out the contours of her womb, illogically mapping a passage of safety for the embryo we had created.

With an even firmer and far more vexed movement Nadia threw my hand away and pushed me backwards.

“Can you understand me Blake? Is there anyone in there?”

Her soft breath released a harsh and unloving tone.

“What we did was wrong, it wasn't okay. I know you are fully aware of what I'm saying, I can see it in you, I can see you calculating.”

The effort of creating the sounds to reflect my thinking may well be dilapidated, but she was right, I had full understanding of what she was saying. However, I found it far easier to just stare blankly at her.

“Blake, I fucking hate you, I hope you can understand this. Because it is more important to me than anything that you never see or speak to me again.”

The vacancy overwhelmed me. I was momentarily aware of my actions and my lack or care for this beautiful but now psychologically damaged young woman. She was clearly deranged by our act of recreation. That it took place with a mentally damaged friend, with little capability for emotion probably exasperated her situation. It was clear that treating me like a child was her only way of dealing with our actions, it dissolved her of responsibility. She could excuse her actions with some misguided maternal instinct towards me. Oddly, she was far closer to her own instincts in this immediate moment than she was probably aware. Yet she continued to scram, her voice clogged with the confused contractions of her tears. The sun continued its slow descent into the horizon. The hysteria continued. I made out vague passages of her demented prose

“...fucking inside me... I want to get it the fuck out... crippled... can you hear me...”

Vacantly, I stared at the beauty of the setting sun, I was in the final stages of my withdrawal and was only passively aware of her cries for help.

A rude awakening became me. A numbness beseeched my entire sinus; eyes watered, a dense and heavy drought lay within my nose, followed by the coarse scent of blood in my throat. My eyes swelled.


I looked up to find Nadia looming over me, her lip trembling in a manner devoid of any sexual ambition.


She rapped on my skull three times. I was still gazing up at her in a deafened sense of complete confusion, she was perfectly still but the rich blue sky seemed to spin behind her..

“...morning after pill.. ”

In those three words and singular action I knew my salvation would be ruined, all that I had created, so fragile but with such a sense of promise. The numbness began to settle into a dry feeling of calm, my peripheral vision was blinded, I was staring dumbly at her feet.

In a slight of hand I grasped at her foot, pulling her forward. She fell heavily. Within that one fall all of my redemption fell to pieces, our embryo became detached and perished and I was contaminated once again with the guilt of my in uterine murder. Her head hit the grass, a soft thud echoing into to my knee as I made my way upon her. Her eyes closed then squinted into the setting sun as I placed my hands around her neck forcing my thumbs into her trachea. My fingers struggled to make their way around the back of her neck, instead grappling with the soft humid grass, exhuming the soil in preparation for some crude grave that would provide the final resting place for my fetal brother. Dribbling, I pushed harder into her throat. Deranged by some instinct of recovery the tension of her trachea was unbearable, a resistance to death had taken hold of her body and every muscle contorted. Limp and exasperated she failed.

Unable to stop the vomit from leaving my mouth I ran into a bush to relieve my stomach. I was sickened by my own actions, everything was entirely still, immobile and present. There is nothing outside of this scene. Nadia's contorted body lies in the grass to my right devoid of all life, my brother lies within the eternal confines of her womb, entombed. I feel entirely self reflexive for the final time, entirely culpable for my emotions and my actions. As a child I had acted upon the need for immediacy with little regard for consequence, following my accident at the age of fifteen I had acted autonomously from any moral agenda. Now for the first time I am entirely aware of my actions and feel a palpable sense of consequence. Vomit trickles from my chin as I look over her body, the putrid dense smell now indelibly associated with death. My nose runs, I retort. The taste burns the back of my throat.

Laying down next to her I take her head in my arm, nurturing her stomach as I had promised. The peripheral of my vision is beginning to close in and I am almost blind. At ease now, I once again mark out her womb and nurture its imaginary contours, as if skin, muscle and diaphragm were removed. Gradually slowing, I am falling into sleep, once again removed from my situation, I had nurtured my brother into death. Nadia's body is cold.


Friday, 5 February 2010


A doppelgänger is a double of another person. Further, it is also referred to as the sensation of seeing yourself in a position where it is impossible that it could have been a reflection.

That is the inspiration for this:

The overwhelmingly malign presence haunted Blake Pictin, there was no explanation for its presence, it hung about him almost festering but without tangible existence. He was momentarily certain that the presence was in fact himself. He knew that it bore all of his characteristics, he knew that the presence was an intangible representation of himself. He felt his flaccid arms at his side wrap themselves around his upper torso, placing a huge amount of pressure on his thorax, his breathing became heavy and restricted and the power required to overcome the intensity of the pressure was immense. His head became weary and intoxicated from the lack of oxygen but as he leaned backwards to balance himself he felt the distinct feeling of abandonment, his chest was released and he inhaled rapidly. Now aware, with certainty, of the individual behind him, he knew it to be of similar build, he could vaguely make out the strong defined jaw line and the steep harsh nose of his profile. Yet he was unable to move, it was as if he knew everything about the individual behind him and that it had always been there, he knew he did not need to turn around yet he knew at the same moment that he would not be able to even if he had wanted. He was again affirmed by its presence, he knew it down to the most intimate detail but somehow now its face eluded him, the vision of its face was now collapsing into a dark void, the only thing of which Blake was certain was the profile, beyond that it was a stranger, a complete unknown. Intoxicated by this merging of reassurance and vulnerability Blake was now certain that it was a gentleman standing behind him. He was certain that if were to turn his head there was a possibility that he would see the face and the familiarity that it overwhelmingly exerted, but he knew that time was escaping him, he knew this person could leave him at any second and he felt that second approaching.

Intoxicated by this sense of inevitability Blake fell, he fell with complete reassurance that in only a moment he would be within the company of a great friend and companion. He fell backwards, the entire world moving forward behind his eyes, his arms were still by his side, he made no attempt to break his own fall and at the same time knew nothing would stop him other than the arid ground to which he was fast approaching. He caught a glimpse of the sun which burned into his retinas blinding all recognition he had for this old friend, his mind was now boiling with a flurry of intense colours all overlapping one another but at the same time all individually and distinctively visible. His eyes were screaming out in pain as the image of this great friend was wiped by the arches, sprays and polygons of colours. His head hit the sandy plain and through the dusty mist which surrounded his lifeless body his eyes rolled back into his head. Blake saw, entangled and encompassed by the hallucinations of his sun-burned gaze, the image which he had known all along. The instant familiarity was not a shock, nor was it an expectation, it was neither the reassuring friend nor the menacing stranger. In that momentary glimpse Blake knew for certain that he had seen his own image, the omnipotent and ever present image of himself since birth, an image of himself which he had never seen before and knew not to exist but ultimately understood to be himself. He knew not to look at himself any longer. He was terrorized by the fact that he had stepped beyond the realms of his own understanding, this expansion of his mind had turned the vast open sands upon which he lay into a minuscule part of his body. His eyes fluttered as the hot midday sun burned into his retinas, offering him its final and most dramatic display of light which softly faded into a grey mist far colder than his burning face.


Tuesday, 26 January 2010

The Empire Strikes Back

What the Iraq war enquiry highlights is a country in a state of desperation, desperate to define an international character amid the emergence of a new international landscape and the decline of empire. Britain is still living in the shadow of the grandeur of empire, there is still a tangible sense that we as a nation are unwilling to be bandied along with the rest of Europe when only sixty years ago we possessed a worlds upon which the sun never set. This unwillingness to be defined as European is manifesting itself in a sort of neo-imperialism, an attempt to re-assert ourselves as a global player.

But it cant go on for ever, at the moment we are aligning ourselves politically with America and economically with Europe. However, to have any economic power within Europe we are going to have to become more politically involved and that is going to mean less hanging around with the USA, because they get us into a lot trouble with the European bigwigs, like the court of human rights and NATO, all that lot. But, as Europe becomes a more cohesive whole we will inevitably lose clout, the problem is that as a nation we still have the impression that we are an international power, and refuse to let go of those memories of exotic riches.

Now, I don't personally think it is a bad thing seeing ourselves as superior and separate from the other EU member states, lets face it we have a rich and iconic history, we have produced some of the finest minds and greatest technologies the world had to offer and the only thing we lost to the Germans in World War Two were the Channel Islands. See, even I'm doing it.

The problem is that post WW2 mainland Europe underwent drastic and revolutionary changes, the countries that had been occupied became liberated and many became instantly re-occupied. Europe had to reorganise into a solid power block in order to avoid a repeat performance of the the previous 50 years of instability and war and to battle the bigger and badder threat of the USSR. The UK was somewhat removed from this, we hadn't been occupied, we had actually liberated Europe, fighting side by side with the Americans. As a result we didn't undergo big democratic and political changes so couldn't share in that fraternity. On top of all of that we still had a large empire that was intact although fraying at the edges, so were effectively still a world power.

This is where national pride was most deeply rooted, but colonialism was not chic any more, the total destruction of Europe in the name of imperialism and the brutality that the soviet regime was unleashing on the eastern bloc threw Britain's empire into question. So as the heroic liberators of Europe we slowly liberated the colonies with all the pomp and pretension with which we ruled them. However, this cost the nation its power and prestige and its a problem we are still addressing to this day.

There have been three specific occasions where Britain's desire for empire has crocked up and bucked the trend of decolonisation since the second world war, the first was the Suez crisis in 1956 which was a humiliating debacle and highlighted the decline in international prestige that the country was facing. However, a gift horse in the form of the Argentine invasion of the Falkland islands in 1982 gave us a chance to shine once again and showed the world that although we had very little left to fight for we would still fight for it. The publicity and popularity this bought to an ailing thatcher meant that every PM has sought their own Falklands to unite the country through militaristic and imperial pride in an overwhelming atmosphere of deline.

Iraq was the third occasion and what may colourfully be referred to as 'a complete fuck up'. Iraq was Blair's Falklands, except it didn't make him more popular, it wasn't an example of fine British military tactics, it definitely wasn't a success and rather than improving the flagging reputation of a once great nation is has actually made us look like the United States lap dog. These are indeed unfortunate times.

So, what the Iraq inquiry will unearth more than anything else is that whilst Blair made some bad decisions he did so in the pursuit of international stature, much like Churchill of the 1950s, Churchill mark-two. Blair managed to badly mix two elements of British political history, imperialism and the 'special relationship' and has come out with a bastard child world where Alistair Campbell still thinks Blair is the Prime Minister and a Britain is hated by Europe, not for being too British but for being too American.


Saturday, 9 January 2010

Happy new year!!! LOLZ, etc.

My new years resolutions are as follows:

  1. Eat less junk.
  2. Write 500 words a day on anything, specifically fiction.
  3. Attempt more than one blog post per month.

So far I am failing miserably on all fronts, last night I had fried chicken and chips for dinner followed by a 4am burger and chips. I have thus far written zero fiction since the fictitious people in my head seemed to have jumped ship on me. I suppose I am keeping up with the blog, but that was tacked on about two minutes ago to make me feel better about myself and to be fair the last post, whilst a legitimate entry, was pretty weak since it only contained about eight words and the picture had already been whored pretty heavily on facebook.

Other aims for this year include:
  1. Making some lame short films about nothing.
  2. Spending more time outside, literally.
  3. Get back into reading.

Since starting my degree I have learned that it is never good to mix work with something you actually enjoy. I can say this with 100% conviction since this is attempt number two in the higher education system. Whilst I do thoroughly enjoy what I am learning, the joy of reading has been totally demolished by the amount of course reading I have to do, the last time I optionally read a book was about a year ago and I am yet to finish it. Sadface. FYI it was The Unlimited Dream Company by J. G. Ballard and whilst I think he is one of the finest authors this country has ever produced it is depressing how repetitive and unimaginative (by his standards) the novel actually is.

Anyway, enough of being emo about myself, it is now time to get on with the importance that is nothing whilst listening to pop-punk and pretending it's summer even though it's snowing and apparently minus ten degrees outside.

Peace out (that's a 90s expression and now officially vintage).