Another depression post

Yeah, more stuff about depression. Sorry about that, but when you live with it you find that it kind of dominates things. Even when you’re not feeling down, there’s a shadow, a presence, even if it is diminished for however long.

Anyway, it’s not my fault it’s topical again. No, it’s Johann Hari‘s. He’s written a book and been doing the rounds on various channels, not least Richard Herring’s Leicester Square Theatre Podcast (RHLSTP). The book has been critiqued by many. I’ve not read it and don’t intend to. I love me a bit of RHLSTP, not just because of the celebrity York City fan aspect, but I had to turn this one off.

I do not doubt Hari’s experiences with depression – and lord knows he’s given us all ammunition to do just that, but let’s be charitable. I do not doubt that what he talks about – and I refer specifically to the podcast here – can and has worked for him. Much of it bears a truth as far as I can see, though only goes part way to making an understanding of what goes on in a depressed person’s brain. The big selling point of the book seems to be these new revelations about lifestyle – societal rather than personal – factors weighing so heavily on the id which, so far as I can tell, aren’t really revelatory at all.

I’m not having a go at Hari – I’ve not read the book so can’t really dive in like Dean Burnett did. More, I want to explore this line of thinking.

At least in part my own depression, I came to work out, lay in this existential angst of my place in the modern world, in a neo-liberal end-game capitalist era. This article from George Monbiot really struck a chord with me. On the back of it, I bought the Paul Verhaeghe book cited within, What About Me?, and again it helped me make a lot of sense about what I was feeling and how utterly misplaced I was within modern society. Still am, really, just better able to understand why. And I keep forgetting the key takeaway – I’m probably a deviant and should be proud of the fact.

Obviously that’s not all there is to it and someone else’s experience of depression will not tally at all with mine. Verhaeghe’s book was no more a magic bullet than any other possibly could be, and from what I’ve read and heard, neither will Hari’s. What worries me more is that Hari’s is being marketed as that magic bullet. Listen to this and all will be fine. And that’s potentially dangerous.

Depression is complex and it’s crafty. It changes. There is no checklist to tick off a few items and declare yourself fixed. I guess what I’m saying is take with a large pinch of salt anyone suggesting otherwise. By all means read Hari’s book, just take it as one bloke’s experience and how he dealt with the issues he was facing, and don’t take it as a recipe book on how to fix depression. There are all sorts of therapies out there – yes, referrals take time and that – as well as medication. Some will work for you. Some won’t. And that’s absolutely fine. You will find one that works for you. Just beware the snake oil salesman.

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Poetry Corner: Aliyev

Aliyev, Aliyev, the thinnest skin by man possessed.
You run the risk of an arrest
By taking the piss out of Aliyev.

Now Azerbaijan is a wonderful place
Run by a sentient turnip with no charm or grace.
He’s got a big moustache and a very big nose,
And in downtown Baku what he says goes.

Aliyev, Aliyev, the thinnest skin by man possessed.
You run the risk of an arrest
By taking the piss out of Aliyev.

Insulting him is beyond the pail;
Do it on twitter and you could face jail.
He’s a tinpot despot with a slug on his face,
And like all oil-rich tyrants has a Formula 1 race

He hates criticism and he hates free press
Because they might find out that he’s a corrupt mess.
He appointed his wife to be his own VP –
No problem there, nothing to see.

Aliyev, Aliyev, the thinnest skin by man possessed.
You run the risk of an arrest
By taking the piss out of Aliyev.

His country’s blessed with lots of gas and oil
Which he uses to fund his lavish lifestyle.
It’s fun to mock this ridiculous man,
But now I’ll never be allowed into Azerbaijan

Aliyev, Aliyev, the thinnest skin by man possessed.
You run the risk of an arrest
By taking the piss out of Aliyev.

Poetry corner: Citalopram Sam

Citalopram Sam,
Citalopram Sam:
40 milligram.

Fluoxatine Slim,
Fluoxatine Slim:
Don’t know where my libido’s been.
Trazodone Frank,
Trazodone Frank:
Brain and hands don’t work,
But feel slight less wank

Citalopram Sam
40 milligram.
Citalopram Sam
40 milligram.

Prozac’s alright,
Prozac’s alright:
Little chap won’t get up
He’s just outta sight.
Paroxetine Jake,
Paroxetine Jake:
Can’t shit, can’t sleep,
Got the sweaty, dizzy shakes

Amitriptyline,
Amitriptyline:
Makes me invincible
You know what I mean?
No pain in my knees or in my back
And every emotion I now seem to lack.

Citalopram Sam,
Citalopram Sam.

I’m a howlin’ mess

Poetry corner: Vlad

There lives a certain man in Russia today
He’s big and strong, some of his best friends are gay
He confuses gayness and paedophilia
But to Moscow chicks he was such a lovely dear
He can rig elections like in North Korea
The untouchable liar
But he’s also the kind of leader
All men would desire

Vlad, Vlad, Vlad Putin
Pictured topless yet again
You protest far too much
Vlad, Vlad, Vlad Putin
Wrestling a bear again
You’re so handsome, you’re so butch.

He rules the Russian land as if he was the czar
He often poses for photos without a bra
Always posing by raging waterfalls
Inviting the Russian people to admire his balls.
A political Machiavelli
He’s cunning as a fox
But he can’t laugh from the belly
Because of all the botox

Vlad, Vlad, Vlad Putin
Swimming in a lake again
It’s the love that daren’t speak it’s name
Vlad, Vlad, Vlad Putin
Playing soldiers yet again
Deny at will, but we all know you’re game

Vlad, Vlad, Vlad Putin
Poisoning the tea again
He holds no truck with dissenting ways
Vlad, Vlad, Vlad Putin
Tits out on a horse again
A total icon to all of the gays

Poetry Corner: Trump – a univocalism in U

Fuck; Trump.
Gut punch.

Bull-dung shunts sunburnt rug-brush up rungs.
Grubby, puny thumb up pussy?
Mud-stuck gun nuts shrug.
Spurt bunkum?
Just stunts!

Put up?
Shut up?
Humbug.
Fuck Trump.
Fuck Trump’s Ku Klux Kunts.
Buck up.
Junk Trump’s putsch.
Curb Trump’s unsubtly nuts scum club.
Drum up tumult, spur hubbub,
Shun Trump’s sundry clubs.
Burst bubbly untruths,
Bust myths.
Shuck thy rusty bum-cyst study-pygmy.
Usurp.
Thus turn US un-nuts.

Not resolutions

These aren’t resolutions, but aspirations.

By this time next year, I want to have had my book published (I’m assured this will happen), make a record (I believe this to be achievable) and play some more proper gigs (this is the least likely).

Anything over that is a bonus.

Oh, and not die in the first blast of the nuclear war that man-baby about to assume the White House will launch when someone is rude to him on Twitter.

Albums of 2016

Been a shit year, hasn’t it. At least there have been some cool records to listen to. Like these.

Lucid Dream – Compulsion Songs
Krautrock from Cumbria. Absolutely knock-out stuff.

Future Of The Left – The Peace And Truth Of…

Christian Fitness – This Taco Is Not Complete

This Becomes Us
These three can come as one. First you have a Future Of The Left album which is always to be savoured. Then comes the third instalment of Andy Falkous’s side-project before Julia Ruzicka – Mrs Falkous – sees some of her ideas for bass materialise into an LP. All different, all wonderful.

Solar Bears – Advancement
Their last, sadly. They will be missed.

Swet Shop Boys – Cashmere
Excellent collaboration between British-Pakistano Riz MC and Indo-American Heems. Politically and culturally aware, lyrically intelligent.

CTMF – SQ1
A Billy Childish record. Never not good.

Recordiau Prin – Iechyd Da
A wonderful compilation of Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci covers from a bewildering array of DIY artists. Lovingly crafted and well put together.

De La Soul – …And The Anonymous Nobody
A series of collaborations hallmark the latest from the hip-hop veterans.

Dementio13 – Broxen
This time last year, it seemed like Paul Foster was done with making music, but he couldn’t keep away. Good for us all.

Mr Sterile Assembly – It’s All Over Now
Totally off-the-wall. A bit challenging, but worth putting in the time.

Nat Lyon – Random Walk Theory
One of his best. Dope Bike Man is a highlight of the year.

The Baggios – Brutown
Brazilian bluesmiths return with a blockbuster.

Scott Walker – The Childhood Of A Leader
The score to a film about a 9-year old who would go on to be a dictator. Absolutely astonishing.

Klammer
Second LP from the Leeds punks. Knowing and clever.

Andrew Weatherall – Convenanza
The remix maestro teased this at the end of 2015 and released it early this year. Still sounds great after multiple spins.

Aesop Rock – The Impossible Kid
One of a number of top hip-hop records this year. Very clever.

David Bowie – Blackstar
It was a great album anyway before it took on several new dimensions when Bowie died in January, just a couple of days after the launch. An absolute masterpiece that covers everything from jazz to drum n bass.

Wave Pictures – Bamboo Diner In The Rain
The prolific trio with another record packed with great tunes.

The Brian Jonestown Massacre – Third World Pyramid
It does what a BJM record ought to do and does it well.

The Avalanches – Wildflower
Almost worth the 16-year wait.

LA Salami – Dancing With Bad Grammar
Astonishing. This guy needs to be the next big thing.

A Tribe Called Quest – We Got It From Here…
Maybe the most important album of these strange times in which we live.

And that’ll probably do. What are there; 23? I know I’ve left a couple out so I may come back and add stuff, but that’s a fair cross-section of what’s been flicking my dials this year.