New View and MBI.

Busy day so far, began with introductory session for group of fellow neck and head cancer folk at a lovely hospice overlooking Poole Harbour. Then loaded up with logs, hopefully will see us through to warmer nights. Solitary lunch and now off to do some more leafleting, doubles up as my daily exercise.

Back now after curtailing leafleting owing to tiredness, my legs were really ‘fizzing’ as I dub it, weird feeling in my lower thighs, not tingling but ‘fizzing’, it is an accepted medical term. There is a blue painted house amongst the row of houses that line the road into Swanage and it currently has an obscenely large tory placard outside, I put a Labour leaflet in their letterbox. You never know, there maybe others in the household who aren’t tory.

After watching a few minutes of snooker last night and the pleasing defeat of O’Sullivan I had a sudden wave of happiness flood through me. I thought that the crabby one had gone, at least for now and that was good. Started reading the diary Kate has kept since the diagnosis and it made for salient reading. Getting what it has been like for Kate, how I appeared to someone else and a record of how much the treatment affected me (and others).

So this morning went to the Lewis Manning Hospice for the introductory session of what they call the ‘New View Programme’. It’s only the third tranche of crabby folk they’ve had and it aims to cover aspects beyond that which is purely medical in terms of treatment. There are 5 of us, all male, all white (we are in Dorset) and all 50+ in age. For all of us life is now, and will be for the foreseeable future, different and, as the doctor said, is about creating the ‘new normal’. For me, and probably the others, the important aspect is that we’ve all been through pretty much the same treatment. It’s also an ‘unfashionable’ cancer in that it’s had little public exposure like other cancers and therefore relatively little input and support for us (had to think about that last word, and of course ‘us’ is exactly right, it’s me and others who’ve got or had such cancers). One other reason for the group is that the treatments have, as I’ve dubbed it, massive collateral damage because of the bodily location. We all compared similar notes about how we’ve been affected. When I spoke of not being elated on hearing the scan results all the others said they felt the same or similar. I, and I’m sure the others, all felt positive about the group and the importance of being with others in a similar position.

Just watching Channel 4 News and the report on condom’s family money being held in jersey, his old man was an offshore tax expert. Now that’s the sort of family background we want for our prime minister. I really do struggle to understand why anyone other than the rich and privileged support such a twat.

And where is shapps? Or as John Crace has it: A la Recherche du Shapps Perdu? Here’s a photo of shapps at the latest hustings in his constituency:

The shit’s constituency is Welwyn Hatfield and I really do struggle to understand how anyone could put an x next to his name. Can anyone help me with this?

Good economic figures yesterday confirming how well the tory plan is working. Did you know there’s only one country in the world that thinks austerity is any sort of valid economic plan? Let alone one that works in economic terms, but of course the tories know that and are simply using it in their class war.

I’ll have to move on to another blog soon before my Munchausen by Internet (MBI) is discovered like belle gibson. Apparently the anonymity of the internet affords people being able to create new personae much more easily than old school Munchausen by proxy. Doing the rounds of psychological explanation link MBI with sociopathy: “characterised by a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others. It’s hallmarks include deceitfulness, manipulation, disregard for the safety of others and lack of remorse. This deceit entails repeated lying, use of aliases or conning others for personal profit or pleasure”. Remind you of anyone?

Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.



I’ve been really apprehensive for the past few days, more apprehensive than at any other time since last summer, Kate has too. I had the MRI scan last Friday and was under the impression that we’d see my regular consultant with result today. Appointment for 11.15, signed in and screen showed appointment for 11.30. At 11.25 nurse called me to have blood taken for their research programme. As with last Friday’s scan I found having a needle stuck in my arm more difficult, said this to the haematologist and she said that this was common. Veins now not so easy to get needles into.

Back to wait with Kate who said they were running 45 minutes late, the apprehension rose. Just after 12 nurse called me in, we went to wait in the ‘usual’ consulting room, the horrible camera they stick down your nose to look at throat was all ready for use. I hate the bleedin’ thing, it feels unpleasant going through the nasal passage then makes you gag when it’s in your throat. I sat anticipating it while we waited.

A few minutes later the consultant I saw first on the morning we were going on holiday to France last August came in, on that occasion she seemed to gleefully show me the cancerous lesion. Her presence boded badly for me. She immediately began talking about my salivary glands then swallowing and neck muscle damage. By this time Kate butted in and asked about the MRI scan result, the consultant looked nonplussed and went through what we already knew about the post-treatment process. We then impressed upon her that we were under the impression that we would be getting the result, after some discussion she left to find out what was going on. She returned a few minutes later saying that she would have to see the chief radiologist, we waited in the waiting area for about 20 minutes.

On her return she said that there was no sign of the primary cancer just a few ‘sterile nodes’, the detritus left after chemo and radiotherapy. “So the cancer’s gone?”, we asked. “Yes” she said.

We both felt pleased but weirdly weird, not really sure how to describe it.

As we left Kate began texting people, I felt tearful. The apprehension melted away. There will be another scan in 3 months and 6 weekly check ups for a year then extending times between check ups for another 4 years. It is this that tempers celebration, knowing that it’s a while before the all clear but for now it feels good.

So s&m osborne says we have to stick with their plan which has reduced economic growth to 0.3% with the latest figures. Now ‘economic growth’ is at the very least a questionable phenomena but the tory twats have based their campaign on this and it’s been very sickly throughout their tenure. They make an anaemic recovery appear way more than it is and when even that reduces put on another new emperorial coat. It is very entertaining to watch and listen to but I will be so very sad and angry if they get in again.

No update on pension.

Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.

Retirement of 79/36161.

Feeling quite weird as I begin to prepare myself for tonight’s do which will be my ‘retirement party’. It basically marks the end of my teaching career, my teaching number is 79/36161, which means my career started in 1979 (OK you pedants will say that that’s when I started my PGCE, but I did teaching practice that year so technically my first actual teaching) and spans 5 bleedin’ decades, maggie the witch had only just started too. That’s a fair chunk of anyone’s life and I’m trying to process it. I’ve been a class teacher all that time, working on the frontline with an incredibly wide range of young people, many different teachers and in a wide range of educational establishments.

I also lived on the frontline in Brixton for a while after returning from travelling in 1987, now that’s a place that’s been gentrified and Brixton Market is apparently a totally different place and housing is beyond the reach of most people. Then, as a teacher I could afford to buy property. No teachers can do that now except for those of a klepto nature running academies and the like. Do those supposedly running London and the country actually understand the consequences of such high housing costs? The tories are so short sighted and ignorant it defies belief as they offer the prospect of people buying housing association properties. Get squatting, especially in all those properties that are empty for so long and especially in the places that are bought purely for investment and then lie empty.

Just read “On the Marionette Theatre” by Heinrich von Kleist Now as ever with philosophical stuff I’ll have to keep rereading until I fully understand but it is a short and relatively simple essay and says much about the human condition. Many think von Kleist way ahead of his time, if you can be bothered check it out.

Phoned ‘Any Answers’ today to try and get on it, to talk about the contrast of the way Miliband is treated when he has a little go at condom cameron and how the reverse is the case when condom and cohorts have a go. It does annoy me how the right wing media dominates the agenda, murderous murdoch still leaving his slime over the country. But maybe, despite the efforts of those such as shitty shapps, all the new ways of communicating means that people can get alternative information. Got some of mine about the shitty one from this blog:

Just about recovered from retirement do last night. When Kate came back from pub after helping set things up I said I didn’t feel like going, partly feeling self-conscious, partly mixed feelings about this retirement thing. Kate brilliantly empathic as always sat quietly with me and we left dead on 8. Somewhat embarrassed as Charlie was just inside door and he was very loud, despite what I might appear to others I usually prefer a low key start then slowly build as things evolve, start too high and there’s usually only one way to go thereafter.

Just listening to Laura Veirs, July Flame, beautiful guitar and voice.

Anyway the do had just the right amount of people and it allowed me to pretty much talk with everyone, a few presents and some lovely cards. Very entertaining listening to Sophie talk with Andy the messiah, she also read out a very apposite poem, will stick in a future blog. A goodly number came back to our house and we kept going until gone 3, still life in our ageing legs. Thanks for watercolour brushes and paper Naomi and Nick. Thanks again Jo for organising.

Talked about my unctions with people and they tried it and appreciated it. I am going to slowly evolve the business, don’t want the immediate big business stuff. Really want to apply my principles and it will be a co-operative, so far Kate and me are co-operating well! Mike’s offered to apply his graphic skills so he’ll be creating our first flier. Still need someone with web site creating skills, although might like to learn so myself, but if anyone in the area fancies joining co-operative to help create website?

Don’t you just despise shapps?

Good piece by Will Hutton today writing about tesco’s and failing capitalism. One paragraph sums up for me the kleptos, the tory twats and neoliberalism: “As a result tesco will have to transfer lots of pain and risk to it’s workers. There will be more redundancies, pay freezes and pay cuts, although expect few parallel sacrifices and pain for the directors’ team. A former HR director of one of our top retailers tells me about the shocking preoccupation of directors with their own pay and bonuses, even as they cut pay and jobs of their workforce. In this world it is the directors who make money, win or lose, and employees who accept more pain and risk”. They truly are amoral, sociopathic, kleptomaniacal bastards. Just vote tory if you want this to continue.

So condom cameron, the bullingdon bully showing more and more his true colours. As Stewart Lee writes “another defeated middle-aged man who no longer believes in anything, obliged to feign conviction for financial gain”. The twat.

Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.

Canvassing, hustings and caravans.

It appears that this blog keeps being subtly, sometimes not so subtly, altered to make it appear a little more supportive of the tory party. I’ve done some investigation and apparently there’s a blog altering programme called contribfu2 and this leads back to some shady character who spends much of his time organising a vast online subversive programme.

I like wikipedia and often refer to it. I like the idea that anyone can add to the vast sum of human knowledge but also that there is a form of peer reviewing and moderation. What is extremely insidious is that malign, dysfunctional and amoral people can change things to make themselves look better and others worse. That such people even attack members of their own tribe. That such people when they are found out squeal like a little kid who’s done something wrong saying it wasn’t him and point the finger at someone else. That such a person is in a senior position within a political party says a great deal about that party, and that anyone who votes for or supports such a party needs to seriously consider their position.

Now I know that my tribe has seriously deviated from the path of righteousness courtesy of bliar who still influences too much but there is still, just, enough difference between the main parties. I tend to agree with Owen Jones who writes “voting Labour is just the start of the struggle to help people hurt by shameful, cruel conservative cuts”. We can dream that Labour joins with the SNP, the Greens and other so-called progressive parties. Do we honestly still want people like shitty shapps having power in our society?

Did my first canvassing yesterday with a local Labour councillor, Cherry Bartlett, and during the course of the hour I really began to appreciate how important having such local people caring and fighting for local people is still so important. Later we went to the only hustings in Swanage, Kate joined me and we listened (there was no audience participation apart from some reading out their pre-prepared and pre-presented questions) to the candidates. One question that animated people significantly was housing, not just the cost and lack of, but also the local problem of second and holiday homes. drax, the incumbent tory twat spoke with some pomposity, someone just in front of me shouted “what about giving up some of your land?”, he owns a big estate. He spoke about how some choose to live in a variety of homes such as caravans, I guffawed loudly (first time I’ve used guffawed in blog) and others joined in the guffawing. Later he tried to explain what he meant, but too late we already know what you’re about matey, the twat.

The liberal did the usual liberal two-faced stuff but when replying to a question about food banks actually said that he would like to see that there would always be some people who still needed them, I called out “outrageous” but unfortunately there was no opportunity for the ‘floor’ to speak. Kate often told me to “shush”!

At the end two other ‘fringe’ candidates had the floor for a few minutes. One of them Andy Kirkwood, a local ‘character’ spoke about his MAD: movement for an active democracy which is basically cutting out the politicians and letting people decide with loads of referenda. Let himself down a bit when he referenced a Mr. J Christ (we were also in a church hall) who was also castigated when he suggested alternatives. Messiah complexes and all that.

Thing is he might be on to something. Just been listening to Richard Seymour who’s written a book called ‘Against Austerity’ and his take, like many others, is that the Left hasn’t made a coherent response to austerity and more generally neoliberalism. He advocates more local, direct action so maybe Mr Andy Messiah Kirkwood should ignore general elections and instead focus on doing stuff, as he advocates, more locally and more directly. For example when someone locally is threatened with removal because of the bedroom tax, or is struggling because of ineptly disastrous shit’s welfare changes then locals do stuff to support people and thwart the forces of evil. Owen Jones’ article today hints at this.

Canvassing is quite hard for me as every other household seems to have a dog, one became so incensed with me pressing a doorbell that it kept smashing against the door and when I put a leaflet in immediately grabbed it in it’s jaws and ripped it to shreds.

MRI scan tomorrow, not nervous about that but anxiety is growing for result next Tuesday.

Getting very regular updates from chief HR person at work, better late than never. I also received a letter from the school reluctantly accepting my resignation letter, thanking me for my efforts and could I return keys and uniform. I haven’t given my resignation. Immediately phoned the head who was very good with an angry me and found out someone else had sent it after they’d heard of my surprise retirement party this Saturday, which I know nothing about.

So the tories have finally weaponised boris de pfeffel twatface.

Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.

The dead hand of ceos

Well what beautiful weather we’re having and even though I feel a little down, sitting in the sun brings a smile to my face. Not exactly sure why I’m feeling down (apart from obvious financial worries), probably something I can explore in my group sessions which start next week. Having MRI scan on Friday then results a week tomorrow, beginning to feel a little anxious.

Everyone keeps saying how well I look, which is nice, but often doesn’t reflect what I’m feeling inside. I think a little part of it is that with all this sunny weather I have to make sure my neck is always covered, can’t allow sun on it. I know it’s a relatively small thing but it is something that will always be with me. I know I’m going to play around designing and making a variety of neck wear and opportunities and all that, but ……………………..

Off to see GP tomorrow, she’s the one who first spotted the probable cancer, to have a vague conversation and consultation about my ‘stress’. Thinking of my stress I sent quite a long missive to the education director of cambian (they ‘own’ the school) outlining what’s happened, or more pertinently, what’s not happened with regard to sorting my pension. I ended it by expressing my feelings of anger, that I was being hurt and wanted to hurt cambian in response (basic fight or flight stuff), at least it made him read my stuff and changed a couple of things.

So, now sold 3 pots of my unction (thanks Jill), so can soon expect to join the klepto ranks. Have a domain so now need to sort website, get suitable pots, source ingredients, finish designs and promotional puff, think about where and how to sell, get stuff printed, think about production process, sort how to get payments and other business bollocks. My business will be a co-operative so anyone who joins me can expect to get equal shares. Which links with the second edition of ‘Positive News’ which I received today and there’s an extended article about how the co-operative model is thriving today. Will read closely and having glanced through the paper am feeling a lot more positive about it than I did after reading the first edition, thanks again Jo.

So canon Giles Fraser wrote his Saturday piece about the “Time to fight this growing, dehumanising bureaucracy” and in it he lauds (geddit?) my new hero, David Graeber, and his book The Utopia of Rules. I only have one quibble with the canon when he writes about councils and government being ‘the worst bureaucratic offenders’, he hasn’t properly read the book, the worst offenders are the private corporates. Although, of course, immeasurably dense and stupid is out in a field of his own; maybe we could tether him in some field dressed only in his Y-fronts to write out his sisyphean forms and people could come and watch and marvel. Which brings us to another Graeber quote, after describing breaking up existing bureaucratic processes and with some sort of post-capitalist, more egalitarian society:

“Only then will technology begin begin to be marshaled toward human need. And this is the best reason to break free of the dead hand of the hedge fund managers and ceos – to free our fantasies from the screens in which such men have imprisoned them, to let our imaginations  once again become a material force in human history”.

Hey Sue, disturbing article in today’s Grauniad about the extreme drought in California, now entering it’s fourth year. Residents blaming corporations like nestle still bottling water from mountain streams and and watersheds that would normally provide water for the rest of the land and people, I can’t believe corporations doing such a thing. Sums up the kleptos so well though where they bottle the most basic of commodities, advertise contentious claims of all it’s wondrous health benefits and then make lots of lucre.

Anyway here’s a photo to warm your cockles:

Keep on keeping on, love Duncan

Corporate bureaucrats, time they had a haircut.

Getting busier as the days warm up, but carefully pacing myself. So, having been given 3 roads to deliver Labour leaflets along I did one yesterday, one today and finish tomorrow. So far everyone has been very pleasant, have not come across any party posters apart from 1 Labour. Have decided I will not look to be a postie post-teaching, the first property I leafleted yesterday had a high fence and gate with a sign warning of ‘free range dogs’, I tentatively opened the gate and stepped into the garden, no dog or dogs appeared but I froze and was unable to walk to the door expecting some massive hound to come bounding round the corner. So I bounded back through the gate and started to breathe again.

Soon got into the swing of things and realised that posties have lots of different places to deliver to and that they have been underappreciated in our modern communicative age, and that privatising was yet another tragedy. Their bureaucracy levels will be expanding rapidly. And thinking of our communicative age and the postal service all that the internet and the bright young things who work with it have really given us are some alternative communication systems, retail systems and online encyclopedias and the like. And they’ve really improved on planned or built-in obsolescence as every year we have to update our phones, which will soon be replaced by watch thingys or glasses whatsits. These capitalists sure know how to keep the profits rolling in.

Bleedin’ hypocrite I am as I embark on becoming a klepto, sold my first 2 pots of unction today, think I’ll call it Unction Number 1, have decided despite Martin’s advice to the contrary to call it duncan’s unctions, have just bought the domain name so that’s it isn’t it? I just sit back now and watch the money roll in?

And the pension money is still far from rolling in, two and a half months after deciding and beginning process still haven’t finished stage 1. After panicking somewhat at the weekend I have managed to significantly reduce our monetary outgoings, Kate is shopping at Lidl and Aldi, no more Waitrose, even Co-op for a while and as I reported, I am still traumatised with cancelling my Grauniad subscription. Whilst I am experiencing stuff I might not otherwise have done and am following some of David’s maxims about bureaucracy I and my family are suffering the consequences of bureaucratic bollocks. I am not angry at those who are employed as bureaucrats but am fucking angry at those who create it, as Graeber has it ‘the managerial elites’:

“Americans do not like to think of themselves as a nation of bureaucrats – quite the opposite really – but, the moment we stop imagining bureaucracy as a phenomenon limited to government offices, it is obvious that this is precisely what we have become. The final victory over the Soviet Union did not really lead to the domination of “the market”. More than anything, it simply cemented the dominance of fundamentally conservative managerial elites – corporate bureaucrats who use the pretext of short-term, competitive, bottom-line thinking to squelch anything likely to have revolutionary implication of any kind”. And it’s what lies behind the austerity bollocks.

For many of us just think of our jobs and how much is now taken up with mind-numbing boring bureaucratic bollocks, but the relative few, the kleptos, have minions to do everything for them. Or the jobs that so many have now: insecure, zero hours, poorly paid, really stressful (way more than the stress I’m experiencing), and to just exist. Still that nice mr. condom will let them buy their housing association property and their kids will have even less chance of having a decent place to live in. So the tory twats propose to alleviate the housing crisis by making it worse. I was itching to discuss this policy while leafleting but everyone was too happy in the sunshine. We should have a return of more squatting; if there were mass squats of unoccupied property, second homes, holiday homes, poundbury, royal properties and the like we could make a start on redressing the imbalance.

So the latest figures from teaching are even more alarming with 40% of newly qualified teachers leaving within a year. Now any sane member of the managerial or political elite would have a proper look at this but almost all are mainlining with the insanity of the cult of corporate management and can only think within these sad narrow parameters. ‘One day we’ll look back on this and it will all seem funny’, but not now, although some healthy satire wouldn’t go amiss. Trouble is the kleptos are immune to almost everything and have the self-awareness of a squelched slug, yes I am thinking of bigransombranson. New satirical show on ITV tonight ‘Newzoids’, will check it out.

Just been listening to The Low Anthem, haven’t done so for a while but their melancholy suits my mood.

Still, had my haircut today and got rid of the much of the curly boingy stuff that I hate, made me look like some middle ranking, middle aged bureaucrat. Now I look like a sad old git trying to look a little younger.

They’re discussing on Channel 4 news why there is only one black person pictured in their manifesto booklet, bit like the Dorset Life magazine, actually only a bit as there were no non-white people at all in last month’s edition.

So many manifestos around.

Keep n keeping on, love Duncan.

Bureaucracy, bigransombranson and other bollocks.

Feeling very tired right now as I try to sort out our finances. It’s been well over 2 months since I realised I needed to take early retirement on health grounds, I naively thought it would be sorted by now, haven’t even got past the first stage yet! I’ve been obsessing too much, waking during the night and actually getting up with everyone else in the household this school morning and doing financial bureaucratic bollocks. Having to put all our loans and stuff on hold, cancel my Grauniad subscription which makes me very sad and work out where to get emergency funds with no savings.

Spoke with David yesterday and he really helped in terms of reframing my bureaucratic dilemma, for example treating form filling and the like as more of a game, treating the bureaucrats with contempt, even imagining myself as a French resistance fighter being interviewed by the gestapo and ‘think outside the box’.  He also suggested creating a board game based on all the bureaucratic bollocks and having it as some sort of social commentary with a grotesque caricature of idiotic dysfunctional shit somewhere in the game. I thought we could incorporate in the game a parallel system highlighting how the kleptos get the most benefits. Any ideas for a name?

Thinking of kleptos for a change bigransombranson featured on a programme the other night about Tubular Bells. One person described his running of virgin records, basically buying in cheap imports and flogging them, as akin to a second hand car salesman. Another from a producer when given a tape by Mike Oldfield took it to bigransom’s business partner as beardy would have no idea of it’s potential. bigransom apparently only had one record at the time (and no record player), batchelor boy by cliff. Sums him up in so many ways, beardy that is, not cliff.

Learnt from David yesterday that mbna is the company behind virgin finance. Anyone who’s had dealings with mbna know that they are the worst of the major credit card companies in so many ways, again sums up the carpetbagging wanker that is bigransombranson, that shameless ‘man of the people’.

Anyway, bureaucracy, don’t know if I’ve mentioned it already (remember I’m stressed and the  brainbox has been chemoed), but whenever those right wing twats go on about having a small state and reducing red tape that their beloved ‘free market’ and all their multinational companies actually create far more bureaucracy than states and public services ever do. For those of you who still believe the lies put out by the kleptos and multinationals and tories and other ‘free market’ zealots just reflect carefully on your experiences with private companies and with public or state organisations.

Off to post a form now, will return to this in a while (need some air).

I do like Paul Mason, he’s one of the few economics commentators who I think has a good grasp of what is really happening, no wonder Channel 5 snapped him up. Another really good article in G2 today having a go at the politicos (especially condom cameron and obsequious osborne) wearing hi-viz vests whilst visiting workplaces for well-planned photo ops. Like Mason suggests they should have to continue wearing the vests in ‘real-life’ situations and see what it’s really like for Britain’s ‘hard working families’, because the reality for the vast majority of workers in this country is of really shit conditions and very few speak out because they are fearful. The unions have been eviscerated, there’s been no coverage of them in this election and the worker’s voice is not being heard, yet we constantly hear the politicos go on about ‘hard working families’and the like. What is a hard working family by the way?

Anyway I’ve got a load of labour leaflets to deliver, hopefully I’ll have the opportunity to do some canvassing as I’ll loiter at the door of any residence that displays a tory, ukip or liberal poster. Kate and I also want a paint splat gun to fire red paint at all the tory posters springing up in fields and gardens hereabouts.

Lovely letter in the Grauniad today in response to Tim Lotts article about ‘happiness fascism’ from someone who quotes Thoreau: “Happiness is like  butterfly: the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder”.

Got a first order for my unction today from a, so far, very satisfied user. Also spoke with John who deliberately misheard me in the pub when I explained what I was trying to do with the unction as he thinks it can be used to enhance sexual relations for those with prostate cancer.

Still, despite the Smith household being in severe austerity measures, the 3rd annual stupid games day has been set for May 16th to celebrate me being on the Earth for another year.

Time for a Steadman:

Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.