Messianic manifesto

So I’m looking at comments on my blog site yesterday when I notice there’s a text box about ads maybe being added. As I’m sure some of you would predict I took immediate umbrage at this capitalist intrusion, I can stop them if I upgrade, clever these running dogs. On sober reflection, unfortunately the only type currently available to me, I think I’ll leave it for now and see what, if any, they stick in. Could be mildly interesting.

Still feeling shit, it’s definitely hitting me harder this time round. It was sunny yesterday and I wanted to go for a walk but didn’t feel I could as my energy levels are so low. For some reason I keep thinking that I was told/read that I’d have about 10% lower energy levels, feels far more like 90% and only 10% available. I will at least have a little sit in the garden today  with my blanket like some old geezer.

In the 1960’s and 70’s there was a new mood developing, it was dubbed the ‘New Left’ and it was critical of the post-war state institutions. The main critique was that these institutions were too centralised and authoritarian, note that this critique was from the left not the right as the neoliberals would have us believe. They proposed greater worker and others participation in any decision making process, more creative risk-taking; ‘a more challenging, more experimental, more daring yet more diverse and inclusive culture’ (from Compass ‘Reclaim Modernity’).

Hunter S Thompson beautifully summed up the prevailing mood:

“And that, I think, was the handle—that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn’t need that. Our energy would simply prevail. There was no point in fighting—on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave.…
So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark—that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.”   Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

The wave broke on the coming forces of neoliberalism, a strategy adopted by elite groups and corporations to keep and consolidate their power against the threat of the people’s democratic demands. Somewhat ironically we now witness the results: greater centalisation, much greater bureaucracy and managerialism, arguably less choice and a much coarser culture.

So manifesto 4:

  •  much greater participation of everyone in the democratic process, getting rid of the current democratic sham that is our parliamentary system and let culture and risk-taking bloom.

Thus  this blog is turning into some sort of political manifesto, better be careful Duncan as you’ll start to piss people off and maybe start thinking you’re some sort of messiah like that Brand bleeder and you’ll start wearing wraparound glasses all the time.

So someone please tell me I’m writing a load of fevered and deluded bollocks.

Another messiah.

Keep on keeping love Duncan.

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Decriminalise drugs and criminalise the kleptocrats

Seems that my body is following a pattern as I’ve been feeling pretty shit this week, same as the week after my first dose of chemo. District nurse came on Tuesday to disconnect infuser and replace line dressing, she was brilliant and such a contrast to the first one. I was getting angry being attached to the diffuser: it pumps poison into me, it restricts movement, washing is awkward. I felt relief at it’s disconnection.

We were planning to go to see a film with Grace and Ruby yesterday, I didn’t go in the end because I felt so shit. Trying to describe the feeling on chemo is difficult, it’s easy to describe the different pains throughout my body; what’s not so easy is describing the malaise. The malaise is informed by my knowledge that the chemo toxins are attacking many of my body’s cells as well as the crabby ones. This fuels the feeling, actually the actualite, that my body is under attack. I feel tired, I get tired out doing low level physical activities, my body is partially shutting down to deal with the attack. It is this knowledge that this attack is deliberate, it’s not from an infection or a disease, it’s from cytotoxic chemicals being pumped into my body that unsettles me. The mental unpicking is hard, especially as the mental faculties are probably also under attack. It’s weird.

There is a constant taste in my mouth that is unsettling, things taste different. I’ll try badoit David but it won’t taste to me as you know it.

On some level it’s the relatively trivial things like taste and losing my hair that upset me more.

Proposal: can we stop calling all the really rich fuckers the ‘elite’. They are not superior they are simply obscenely wealthy. What about Kleptocrats. They are just fucking filchers. Stat of the day: the average kleptocrat’s wealth increases by about $300,000 every minute (ref. Oxfam). Get your pitch forks here.

What a surprise to read today that “punitive drug laws are failing”. This has been evident for many a year, one country after another is quietly admitting that ‘the war on drugs’ has not worked. Of course taking drugs have harmful, sometimes fatal, effects but to treat users as criminals is plain wrong. It is a health issue. Decriminalisation would open up the possibility of a healthier debate and creation of healthier policies and approaches. Ignore the Mail and their ilk, they peddle a drug far more dangerous.

So, manifesto thing 3:

  • decriminalise drug use.

Jules’ suggestions for staying ‘young’ include a parking reference, I once left a note on a neighbour’s car they often left parked on the pavement outside their house that if they did it again I would treat their car as part of the pavement, they didn’t do it again which was a shame.

Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.

Imposter

Despite my many doubts about this relatively public means of communing with family and friends, my daily crabby round robin gets such response from you that touches and comforts me. I love the way your responses vary, highlighting different aspects and increasing my awareness (sadly not my understanding). A recent example is Kirsty’s card when she writes about how those of us who first met at Chelsea college retain this perception of our friends as such young things and now we’re all nearly 60, (including you Martin and Hector’s our pioneer) and my situation jolts this perception.

As I’ve written a few times I find it hard to accept that my writing might have any merit, this is similar to that regular feeling I experienced as a teacher that someone would find me out and expose me as a fraud. I think this is described by something termed Impostor Syndrome: ‘a psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalize their accomplishments.’ It is also explained by the term “Don’t compare your insides with other people’s outsides”, which is from the ‘Action for Happiness’ site. Just been browsing this site and it has some good stuff but as often seems the case with the positive posse it seems to find any objections, such as from us Stoics, difficult to deal with, as if anyone who doesn’t believe just doesn’t understand. How could anyone object to just wanting everyone to be happier? Interesting piece by Oliver Burkeman, I do like him,: ‘Imposter syndrome? It might be a sign you’re getting better at your work’. He writes that one of the ironies of Imposter Syndrome is that the frauds, idiots, sociopaths, bankers, many politicians, the grinning gargoyle, Nobo, Russell Brand, de Pfeffel twatface and other Buller bullies, Tories, Mourinho, Mother Teresa, plutocrats, most CEOs, Thatcher, Gove, Osborne, IDS don’t suffer from it. I might have extended his list a bit.

I’m afraid to report that the gambling returns have dipped over the last week partly due to lazy alliterative picking from the Guardian’s tipster. Also one evening’s multiple bet on all the European football games and I got everyone wrong.

My Manifesto

2. Ban the use by restaurants and pubs of those usually oval shaped dishes that they put food in. These are put on a plate and are extremely annoying; if you leave the food in then it’s tricky to get out or you have to tip it on to the plate yourself. Just put pies, slices of pie, portions of lasagne or whatever on the plate you lazy schtups.

My taste has changed, not just the sartorial one, but also the oral one. I normally drink a lot of and enjoy simple tap water but it now tastes weird. As ever opportunity and all that so I’m exploring new squashes, juices and different bottled waters. Still missing wine and beer.

Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.

On giving the finger to life’s vicissitudes

Last night was the most difficult yet for us; I felt feverish, disconnected, angry, scared and helpless. A month ago I was fit, active and working hard, now my body is getting increasingly decrepit, I’m tired, I’ve had an infuser strapped to me for 6 days pumping toxins into me, I’ve got the prospect of 2 more months of increasing pain, discomfort, any number of ‘side effects’ and will not start recovering until about mid-January. Then will have to wait until mid-February for results.

It’s made worse because it upsets Kate even more, she is brilliant and wants to do more but she can’t. Keep positive is the mantra we often hear, advise others, tell ourselves and on the surface seems eminently sensible. I’ve long used and advocated the ‘positive approach’ in my teaching but in reflective times I’ve realised that it’s too simplistic, that it denies other stuff (would that be the ying or the yang Jo?). It also, somewhat dangerously, puts the onus on the individual to ‘be positive’ and therefore depress the negative. Trouble is there is no positive without negative. The onus is compounded and conflated with ‘the battle’, we have to be positive otherwise we are the simple corollary of being negative, and if we’re negative we’ll lose the battle and it will be our fault because we’re negative.

When we are ‘positive’, putting on our brave face, giving the finger to life’s vicissitudes there is an element of performing for the audience. Part of the reason we do it is because we know we’ll get a ‘positive response’ from others, the old positive feedback loop, good old behaviourism. We also know at some level that it’s easier for others to deal with because we know it’s hard dealing with pain, misery and death.

Maybe Russell Brand is an MI5 stooge.

Outside it’s lovely and sunny, I want to go for a walk but have to wait in for a nurse to disconnect my infuser and redress the PICC line. They are unable, or perhaps unwilling, to give me any idea of what part of the day they might arrive. I should be grateful, at least I can see the blue sky and it’s not just darkness.

Have this very moment thought, actually this is not true as the thought happened a very short while ago and it took time to process and commit to writing, I am going to give you lucky folk one item from my manifesto for improving the common good.

  1. Abolish private schools.

So, from now on I’ll add one a day and whenever this bleedin’ blog finishes I’ll look back and think………………

Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.

Katamenia and taxes

Happy Monday, lying abed trying to formulate what to write. This blog writing stuff is causing me to think a lot, not just what to write but why am I doing it? Being a being riddled with self-doubt I find myself often thinking I’m some sort of narcissist, I like people saying and writing good things about my writing, but every time I read or hear such Captain Putdown loudly guffaws. Then again, as I’ve already written, I enjoy the process and feel better doing it, the old cathartic bollocks. Although using the term cathartic bollocks is etymologically incorrect as it originates from the Greek katamenia, which means evacuation of menstrual fluid. What I am left with is simply me writing a little narrative about me and the crabby one and sharing this with those I love and care for.

Thinking of sharing have definitely made my mind up about not joining faceache as last Thursday the company announced it had paid no corporation tax for the second year in a row. For too long we’ve had it stuffed down our throats that tax is bad; tax is not bad. I believe that tax provides for the common good, the common wealth. With tax money everyone can have health services, education, decent infrastructure, social welfare and so on. I know David Hart, and maybe other Davids don’t like taxes, but is it just because you don’t like it getting into the hands of politicians who you don’t trust or respect? As Michael Sandel writes: “Democracy does not require perfect equality but it does require that citizens share in a common life…..for this is how we come to care for the common good” (ref. What Money Can’t Buy).

In the meantime let’s boycott all these companies who are corrupting our common good. Time these companies properly audited themselves with regard to ‘don’t do evil’.

So Jo, a C or even a C+ for my poem?

Should be getting 3 more hats today, so I’ll have 14, which is probably enough to be going on with. Still only 2 wigs though. Anyway photo of me with hair and another wearing 1 new hat:

p5   p6

Just read a really moving piece in g2 (that’s the small bit of the Guardian for non-readers) about a woman called Jo Beecham. When diagnosed with cancer 3 years ago she immediately resolved to try and control the moment of her death. In July she bought poison, she was passionate about legalising assisted dying and this brought conflict for her palliative nurse Annie. Annie said it was easy for her and the palliative care professionals because they “have hidden behind the fact it’s illegal”. Jo caused her to shift her opinions about assisted dying but also Jo shifted her opinions and became more accepting of having palliative care. She died peacefully last week at home with friends. Tears are pouring from my eyes right now.

Keep on keeping on love Duncan.

A Brief Crack of Light

P1050835 p2

p3 p4

Well here here are some photos of the Brydsen ‘Crown of Madness’ out and about in Swanage.

No rant today because I’ve been so moved by how so many people have been so loving and caring and want to inflict upon you a poncy poem.

A few months ago I heard a piece by William Boyd on radio 2 about being human, and he centred it on Nabokov’s perception of life being a brief crack of light. It inspired me to write this:

A brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness,

before only the eternity of darkness after simply the eternity of darkness.

Between the prenatal obscurity and the posthumous obscurity

shines the brief crack of light.

This breach of darkness, a fissure that is the light of life.

Our life, our only life between the darkness.

And what fuels this light?

What makes the light shine brighter?

What lightens the darkness?

Why love of course.

And what dampens the light?

What lurks in the shadows?

The hate, the anger, the greed

the mistrust of the other.

So ask of your heart what lies within?

Is there more hate than love or love than hate?

And before that eternal, posthumous darkness

let love brighten the brief crack of light.

So thank you all my wonderful family and friends for the love that helps brighten.

Keep on keeping on love Duncan.

I am not a brand

Hello friends,hope you’re having a good start to this autumnal weekend.

I’m feeling OK, more level headed than yesterday, despite noticing for the first time on the chemo infusor attached to me that is pumping 1.5 ml/hour of stuff into me has on it in big red letters “CAUTION CYTOTOXIC DRUGS”. It goes in through something called a PICC line, this is a tube that goes into a vein just above my right elbow, then follows the vein to just above my heart, still feels weird mentally that I have this thing in me.

Apparently my blog is a ‘long read’ and I occasionally read others, one last night was about the sisterhood of those with or have had breast cancer, it was very moving.

One I’ve just briefly read moved me in different ways. It’s titled “audit your brand”. I’m happy with the word “your” but the other 2, well they can fuck right off. As our world gets ever more “corporatised” our language gets ever more corrupted, I do not want to bleedin’ well “audit” my writing in the terms they outline, it’s my blog, my story, my narrative. They are my words, I do my own “auditing” through that old fashioned process known as editing, it happens in my head before and as I write and through further editing before I press publish.

And as for “brand”, hasn’t anyone already picked up the 3 adidas stripes that run through every piece? I am not a fucking brand, that’s what they burn on cattle with a white hot branding iron. I am just my writing.

Well silly old Hector, waiting for some response to your initial comment yesterday from any women who might care to. By the way, why silly old Hector?

Narky Marky thanks for thoughts on Facebollocks, and I am minded to refrain from joining. I feel happy so far with our little gang and Kate’s just spotted another senile plaque on me. How many has Nick got Jules?

How will the Bristol City do at Barnsley today?

Bit weird yesterday, after having a good chat with the Rev and various body parts falling off I walked into town. My condition and the drugs in me cause a change in perspective, I feel different within a place I know well. Sat having a coffee and there were 3 people sat near me I know quite well and none of them recognised me. Became a little weirder as I overheard one of them saying how unsettled he felt with some of his friends suffering from cancer.

Kate just said she thinks she’ll keep her wind up willies.

Keep on keeping on, love Duncan @ Duncancer © aaaaaaaaaaaaaaggggggggggggggrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!