Robin Williams Melancholy Suicide–Hopelessness, Helplessness, and DefeatWi

I think this is a very good blog about suicide and depression, particularly referencing Robin Williams sad demise. Its a subject that needs to be talked about more openly and honestly, IMO

Disrupted Physician

Published one year ago on  Although more details have been revealed the premise of the post remains the same. Depression, as with any mental illness, needs to be diagnosed, monitored and treated by educated, trained and experienced experts in depression. Not self-proclaimed experts.  
There’s something in his soul
O’er which his melancholy sits on brood,
And I do doubt the hatch and the disclose
Will be some danger—which for to prevent,
I have in quick determination……..
It shall be so.    Madness in great ones must not unwatched go.
—Hamlet Act III, Scene 1
According to Radar Online Robin Williams is looking “grim and focused.”  Grim? Yes. Focused? No.  His visage is one of entrapment, despair, and dread.
In  F. Scott Fitzgerald’s  The Great Gatsby, Nick Carraway observes that “the loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do…

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The Anti-Jeremy Corbyn People: How They Sound to Me

A splendid piece of satire which my lovely friend Katy Anchant reposted on her blog. Its such biting stuff that I thought that Katy herself had written it. I find her writing hysterically funny, and her once daily ‘Letters to David’ are well worth a read. Sadly, her letters are few and far between these days.

Katy’s blog is here:

This piece by Mark Fiddaman is brilliant. Enjoy!!!

I’m a Nut

I’m a nut. Ask anyone who knows me well and I’m sure they would agree. My close family despair of me, I’m sure.

‘Head in the clouds, and doesnt know his arse from his elbow, most of the time’ might be the assessment from my very smart and capable, feet firmly on the ground brother-in-law. And I’d agree, up to a point. I personally havent shat from my elbow, nor attempted to give anyone a forearm-jab using my bottom, so I’d disagree with the arse and elbow statement. But I AM a Nut, and I actively seek to keep my head in the clouds at all times.

I fit one of the agreed profiles for nut-jobs.

It all started when I was 9 years old, walking to school on a particularly unpleasantly dark and misty morning. My younger brother was with me. There is a main arterial road which runs from Stevenage town centre out to various housing estates, and it separated the housing estate we lived on from the school. We were obliged to wait for a retired pensioner, wearing a fluorescent yellow coat and wielding his characteristic round warning sign on a pole, to guide us safely across the road.

Our well-loved ‘Lollipop man’ must have been in his late 70’s, and had thick pebble lens glasses and was also somewhat deaf, and wore a large hearing aid. Eventually, with no sign of traffic, he stepped into the road and beckoned us across. My brother Malcolm, as usual, was one of the first to cross. He was a fairly hyper-active kid who seemed to get into all sorts of scrapes very easily. Little did he know that he was about to get into his very last scrape.

Without any warning, it suddenly became apparent that there WAS a car heading up the road from the Town Centre, and on hindsight I believe that he was travelling at some speed. All we knew of it was a sudden screeching of brakes, a couple of sickening thuds, and then a sudden eruption of screaming and general hysteria. I watched it all happen in horrified slow-mo.

And when I got shepherded across the road, it was my turn to join in the hysterical screaming, as I couldn’t see or find my brother. I did however spot a broken looking doll underneath the back of the car, and it seemed to be wearing my brother’s raincoat.

And that’s pretty much all I remember of that day. I apparently become uncontrollably hysterical for most of the day, and was confined to the school’s  medical room and looked after by the school nurse all day. When my parents eventually came to pick me up, they looked pretty broken too. When we got home, they told me the bad news. My younger brother had gone to hospital in an ambulance, but had fallen asleep before they had got there. And he wasnt going to be coming home. In later years, I was to discover that he had sustained a fractured skull and a ruptured liver and spleen. It also transpired that at the inquest, the Lollipop man had accepted full responsibility for the accident, and died shortly after, a broken man. I have no idea what became of the car-driver, but if he’s still alive, i imagine he’s had just as hellish a life as I’ve had since that day. He’s probably just as nutty as me.

Psychological counselling was not around in those days. It was decided that I would be better off not attending the funeral. A session with the School’s educational psychologist was considered, but not taken up. I was left to ‘come to terms with it in my own time’. I became almost catatonic in my withdrawal, and remained a very quiet, socially awkward fucked-up person throughout my teenage years, and finally started to come out of myself when I went off to University.

However, by that point I had learned the value of drinking to excess, and had also discovered the value of smoking a lot of cannabis resin as a sleep-aid. So when I got to UEA, I continued with my heavy drinking and pot-smoking, and not surprisingly missed out on a lot of classwork and associated marks towards my degree course. And so I got kicked out of the University at the end of my first year.

But that was OK. By then, I knew that I was a hopeless basket-case , living in a more and more surreal world where lying to my parents about most aspects of my life had become the norm.

The way I felt back then, I would have been happy to have got smashed one night and never woken up again. And yet here I am, some 40 years and 2 nervous breakdowns later.

I’m still a nut of course. After my first nervous breakdown, I had a brief course of counselling and was encouraged to grieve for my dead brother. I tried hard, but the feelings were buried too deeply and although there were some tears as I asked my parents all sorts of questions, trying to reconnect with them, my brother and indeed my own humanity, ultimately my deep-seated PTSD would not start to be excised until I had just turned 50, when I had my second nervous breakdown as my 2nd marriage fell apart. I then lucked out with a private psychotherapist, who over the course of 8 weekly 2 hour sessions managed to carefully and skilfully guide me into revealing my many onion layers and the full truth of my situation finally became apparent.

And so on the 7th session, she said ‘I think you may be suffering with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD’ and when I did some research about the subject, I realised she probably was right, the usual symptoms of the condition fitted me to a tee.

Sadly, my therapist was due to leave the practise and move across country. She arranged for one of her colleagues to take over. On our last session together, my therapist told me that her expertise was in Jungian psychology, and that she believed that Jung’s ideas may be helpful to me.

Oddly enough, her replacement came into our first session, declaring that she was NOT a Jungian and had no intention of going into Jungian methods. And so I gave her my 20 quid and told her where to stick it and walked out.

And that’s when my path to relative sanity began. I read lots of Jung’s books and did indeed find them very helpful.

When I had started my course with my Jungian therapist, I was regularly smoking some severely strong weed which on hindsight contributed to the final breakup of the marriage. But the damage was already done, and the feelings of paranoia and rage that was I going through just accelerated the process. In my wacked-out state, I had come to the conclusion that I was possibly the reborn Jesus Christ, and she hadn’t pooh-poohed the idea.

So you see, I at that point could easily have become a Certified nut.  But the research did pay off, and I came to realise what a nutty notion that was. About this this time, I also started reading HH the Dalai Lama’s books. And came to realise that everyone is Jesus Christ reborn. It just depends on you working at being the best human you can be, to become more like Jesus.
Roy Harper has a great line in one of his songs, ‘Twelve hours of sunset’ which has always stayed with me:

I used to think I wasn’t mad
But now I know its all I  had
Can hope be lost? Or only seeming

These daze, I am content to be a crazy nut. Its the source of a lot of my creativity. Some of my ideas are well and truly out there. Others seem to be feasible and worth pursuing. My life’s work these days is to try and figure out which ideas are actually quite wacky and which are not.

And then there are those ideas which come to me, which are nuttier than a nut-loaf with an extra helping of  nuts, but which my inner voice tells me are pure gold.

Such as this one, which bubbled up out of nowhere fairly recently.

We are beginning to see an increase in people with enhanced mental abilities, such as telepathy, psychokinesis, far-viewing, astral travelling and the like.

We are also aware that various nuts resemble parts of the human body, especially various organs. And the alternative-health folks would have you believe that these nuts are somehow beneficial to those organs.

So my question is: If a walnut looks like a brain, should I eat lots of them to increase my brain-power?

And if my brain-power IS increased, does that not mean that my brain IS ITSELF a nut as well.

Cos if so, I can foresee a day when we’ll need to crack our heads open and let our nuts grow out in the wild.

But don’t mind my blethering. I’m just a nutcase

walnutsbrain imaging

I can see for miles

Pete Townsend in full flight. Pic from the The Who's recent Liverpool gig

Pete Townsend in full flight. Pic from the The Who’s recent Liverpool gig

A recent highlight in my life was a rare switching on of the telly to watch The Who perform at Glastonbury. While I’ve really liked the band from its earliest days, I’m sorry to say I have never seen them live, and so watching the latest incarnation at Glasto was probably going to be the best chance for me to redress that. I have to say, I was somewhat trepidatious for their Glastonbury appearance. Pete and Roger’s well-known love/hate relationship is perhaps the archetypal example of the rock-band dichotomy, with the creative genius that is Pete being a notorious perfectionist and very protective of his creative output, while Roger as the front-man and band’s founder has always been a superb showman and a fine singer and musician in his own right. Given the massive egos both of them have, its a wonder that they haven’t killed each other a long time ago, which I’m pretty sure from memory they’ve both admitted to coming very close to several times over the years.

And coupled with that, despite them receiving rave reviews, I may be the only person who was entirely underwhealmed with The Rolling Stones performance at the last Glasto. I’m probably being hypercritical, but my memories of seeing the Stones in their glory days at the early free Hyde Park concerts and at Knebworth have stayed with me, and to me the band seemed sluggish by comparison to those early memories. Worse, the actual band sound seemed quite muddy to my ears.  Mick Jagger is now 72, Charlie Watts is 74, and stories that they now have medical staff on hand, along with oxygen and a defibrillator while on tour, do not sit well with their former well-earned image as the wild men of Rock and Roll. Townsend celebrated his 70th earlier this year and Daltrey is a year older. The other 2 members of the original band are no longer with us.

I needn’t have worried. The Who were, in my opinion, magnificent, even though at one point in the set, Townsend apologised for not  getting the sound perfect due to not having done a sound check.

I had to take a quick mental double-take at that announcement. They sounded bloody brilliant to me. Perhaps Pete had meant to say they hadnt done as full a sound check as he would have liked.

But it seems to me that Daltrey’s insistence on taking full creative control this time round, coupled with his appointment of a Band Head-of-house had paid dividends. And then I came across this piece from The Guardian

Amongst the songs on the night, they performed ‘I can see for miles’ which has always been a big favourite of mine.

Ostensibly written from the perspective of a guy who’s caught his girlfriend cheating on him, I’m of the belief that the song has a double meaning and may well have been the very first psychedelic song ever written.

But Pete has a whole lot of other great pioneering firsts credited to him, including working with Jim Marshall to develop the classic Marshall speaker stack, and he’s also widely thought to be one of the first people to start using feedback as part of his sonic palette, and allegedly showed Jimi Hendrix how its done.

The song was originally written in 1966, a couple of years before Pete started to follow the teachings of Meher Baba. By 1970, Pete was possibly the first rock n roller to publicly state that he no longer considered psychedelic drugs to be a good thing, citing Baba’s teachings in his explanation of his change in attitude. According to his WIKI entry, Pete had been experimenting with LSD during 1967, and the ‘mod’ culture which the Who came to espouse was closely associated with amphetamine use. The word ‘psychedelia’ literally means ‘clear-minded’ but is often mistranslated as ‘clear-seeing’ or ‘clear-sighted’.

Coincidence?  I think not

The Who I can see for miles – live 1969

The Who live at Glasonbury Festival. July 2015

Poster for the 'Magic bus' tour

Poster for the ‘Magic bus’ tour

Hill Billie Blues


I’ve had one of the most gruesome weeks its ever been my fate to witness recently. Basically I took on the role of Project Manager of a think-tank set up to come up with ideas to revive my online bridge club.

The Think-tank was known as the Hill-Billies and was an unmitigated disaster, and reminded me why I was quite relieved to leave the world of IT when I did, some 10 years ago

But at least 2 good things came out of it. Here’s one of them

Hillbillie Blues
Oh!! Come let me tell you of heroes and thieves
Of bravery and cowardice you would not believe
Of working so hard that you lose who you are
And murder your lover because she’s the Star

Come lift up your glasses to idiots and dolts
Who take all the credit for being at fault
And ask why you’re leaving when you are First Class
And think that know their elbow from their arse

When hatred is love and loyalty is stupid
And love is for dreamers and followers of Cupid
When you’re in this world, I warn you: Beware
For men get the glory and women don’t care

For I’ve lived in this world, but just for a week
Where mind-games are played while you play hide-and-seek
There’s danger here certainly just take a peek
At the blood on the tracks and the dead body’s reek

So lift up your glasses and let’s have a toast
To heroes and lovers who gave you their most
While weeping inside as their world crashes down
As the circus moves on to the next sleepy town
And cowards daren’t look in the eyes of the clown

For I am Lord Janus, the God of the Gates
And portals and hourglasses and chaotic states
When love is for losers it just demonstrates
How fucked up this world is, and so full of hate

copyright Ian Cropton 19 July 2015


A Tail of Dodgy Deals and Dodgy Dealers

Well here’s a little thing that’s  just cropped up in my real life.

On Facebook, one of my activities  is as  founder, lead editor and owner/Administrator of a page called ‘Proper Gander News and Views’. The page aspires to be the ‘Newspaper for the Global Village’ and falls far short of its aim due to lack of resources, but I do like to think that we offer alternative news and views on most of the really important issues of what’s really going on in the UK and in the wider world. The page is staffed by a team of about 20 friends and volunteers, though currently there are only 5 or 6 people actively posting links to alternative news articles or writing their own original articles. We also have a sister page, ‘Proper Gander Green’ which just concentrates on green issues and items of interest.

I couple of days ago, I posted a link to an article about Monsanto Corporation’s bright ideas on how to address its increasingly negative image worldwide. The main plan, it seems, is apparently fiendishly simple. They propose changing the Company name.

My  friend and fellow PG-editor (PG-Peter) runs an FB group called ‘Seeds of Resistance’ which is primarily a home gardening page advocating use of Heritage seeds and organic practises, but also addresses holticulture and the wider green issues. So I posted the link there, too, as well as the PG Green Page.

Peter is a High School Teacher in Canada and has a very quick, dry wit. Shortly after I posted to the ‘Seeds’ group, he commented on the post:

Well, let’s offer some suggestions then:
Dr Mengele’s Travelling GMO Show

And I offered:

and The Swinging Blue Genes – a reference to a well loved 60s Britpop group.

Which got me thinking. The readership of the PG Pages has remained about 230 for some time now. This is mainly because of Facebook’s relatively recent policy of limiting postal traffic and making the unfettered service a paid-for subscription service. As a page owner you also have the opportunity to boost individual post’s circulation by paying through the nose oops I mean by paying an equitable sum of money into to the ‘Zuckerberg Holiday and Retirement Fund’.

So I decided to repackage our little bit of banter and turn it into a fun competition for our readers, and just to make it interesting I threw in a hint of cash prizes, though we’ll have see about that one.

Anyway I came up with this:

Monsanto rename suggestions pt1

Monsanto rename suggestions pt1

Monsanto rename suggestions pt2

Monsanto rename suggestions pt 2

And then I thought, let’s push the boat out and clicked on the Boost button.

It came up with a screen asking you to nominate your budget and had conveniently preset it to £3 or 3 pounds sterling. ‘Well that sounds pretty reasonable, thinks I, lets run with seeing what 3 quid will get me. And I hit the agree button, and up comes another screen asking you to add tags to the post, picking out those tags that are most relevant to the post. So being as it was about Monsanto, I found quite a few tags that seemed relevant to me. All sorts of humanitarian issues, the threat to wildlife and the food supply, it all added up and soon there weren’t very many tags left to choose from.

I have to say I was getting kinda nervous as I fully expected such a wide and possibly enormous target audience might cost me a rather high extra tariff but the £3 stood there irresolute. And so I clicked OK again and came to the payments screen where it cheerfully told me that the generated audience was in excess of 26 Billion and yet there it was again, confirming the cost to me at £3. Amazingly good value for money, I think, and happily clicked to pay via my Paypal account. So clicketty-click and I get returned to Facebook, where a little popup is showing saying that the FB daemons were busy scanning the contents of the post to make sure it conformed to FB’s Terms and Conditions, and giving me the option to Pause the boost if I wished. It was at this point that I noticed a minute little window which seemed to contain a very long number and appeared to be associated with Paypal. Suddenly realising that I might be dangerously close to commiting myself to paying Mr Zuckerberg several umpteen squillion pounds I gratefully pressed pause.

So my dilemna is this:
Should I continue, and possibly bring Paypal and Facebook to its knees when my bank tells them I have insufficient funds, or do I risk the vultures coming after me  for the money irregardless, even as I’m heralded in public as the Guy with the New World Record for advertising budgets?