I never like it when people start referring to a politician or a set of people as idiots. Rarely does a person get to such heights without some sass or intelligence. In one article I read that Trump was disliked by the other billionaires because he was crude and crass. I liked that. I think when you are brought up in a working-class environment or even a military environment then the humor can be dark or crude. Reasonably sustained poverty can do that to you. There is just enough money to go around but not quite enough. And when you let your hair down you do it like no other and it can appear crude. But that’s the only means you have for letting of steam. ‘Ah the tears of the working-class,’ my father would say. Trump is no fool even if he is dismissive towards those he votes for. And the working-class are also not fools even though some of them may lack the necessary education to argue their point as elegantly as the political elite. And that’s his power. He just sticks two fingers up to anyone and they people love him for it.
He succeeds with the working-class because they are the people who have been forgotten the most. It’s possible that the middle-class believed that just because they thought we were classless and reasonably wealthy that everyone else in the corporate food chain would be to. But wages have not just stagnated over the last ten years, they have dropped significantly. And job insecurity has increased to. There may be more work but it is not meaningful or sustainable work. The only thing that has stopped so many of the more well-to-do of the working class, from defining themselves as working-class, is the dream that they will be able to rise to the levels of their supposed peers. That dream has now been shattered.
In many ways Barack Obama’s sheen of magic that dazzles and shines where ever he goes, has created greater resentment among the poorest. They have been unable to voice their concerns among a sea of flag wavers that say, ‘things are good for me.’ It may be a surprise to see the rise of the new working-class to appear so quickly on the landscape in the UK and in the USA when the deluded elite assumed they had been appeased or erased. And that’s when you get your Trumps or Theresa Mays. A quick lurch to the right not because people are more right but because they are ignored b the well-to-do. Europe is good for me say the wealthy Brits and Yanks. Especially if you can afford the £5 or $10 it costs for a drink at most popular European destinations.
Of course If I were American I would not vote for Trump for he is to jingoistic. But it’s a shame when all the working-class have to speak for them is a loud-mouthed chump like Trump. Just as a black person would be happy to have any black person in the white-house to represent them, so to do the poorest, and most marginalized people feel grateful when someone appears to stand for them. The problem really is the political elite and how far removed they have become from normal society. They have cozy relationships with their corporate room mates who they remember from their Ivy League days. People can see that the benefits go back to the same class of people and eventually society becomes detached from the political and corporate classes. Eventually it’s just the middle ground voting in their friends to do good favors for them, and if we are lucky a few scraps of tax relief are thrown their way. There will only come a change when taxes are used to pay for political parties election funding. This can remove the handshaking that goes on in the background and favors returned when in office. A further improvement on proportional representation across all political and corporate spheres and people may feel like they have a voice again. Real people as politicians. Not rich folk grand standing for their own vanity.
The best time to induce an out of body experience is when you are fast asleep. Right in the middle of REM that’s Rapid Eye Movement. The trick is to wake up while you are dreaming and attempt to wrestle your spiritual body out of the physical body and then do what you like. What you would actually do while out of your body I wasn’t so sure but I was considering floating to Kent to scare the hell out of my older sister. I set my alarm clock to 03:00 hours every day as this was the time considered best to experience deep sleep when dreams occur.
Initially I would just wake up at three in the morning and write down the odd dream. They were mostly about me being chased by monsters dressed as my Father, or being chased by my Mother with a rolling pin, and a bacon sandwich, and some naked nuns. The naked Nuns were there to provide mild relief along a spiritual journey in case it lapsed into piousness.
My attempts to induce an out of body experiences were proving fruitless and my parents were concerned about the dark circles under my eyes. They thought I was back on the pills again and silence at the dinner table became the norm but what could I say, ‘I’ve decide to transcend consciousness and access the area known as the mind of God’, or put up with some mild suspicion. It wasn’t too long before I had my first success. I had decided to try and induce a deep-sleep with a hyper dreamy mind and had worked out that a day at the gym, followed by a Lamb Madras at dinner, and a brie cheese sandwich before I want to bed, would have the right combination to induce the kind of state of mind that was lucid enough for me to wake up in. And I was right.
At about 03:00 hours in the morning without the aid of my alarm clock I awoke within my dream. I found myself standing in my old flat in Streatham. I wasn’t too sure if I was still dreaming. Dreams were supposed to take you away from reality and yet here I was in my shitty bedsit with its tiny kitchen alcove. The two ring electric cooker was only an arm’s length across the corridor from the toilet, and there was the other me in the toilet, grinning in the bathroom mirror. I could see the pack of razors on the kitchen sink and me with my black Top Hat on believing myself to be cool. My eyes were wider than Mars and I had started to pick up one of the razors. I didn’t want to see anymore of these lucid dreams. I was expecting angels or heavenly realms but not this nightmare. I tried to escape from the dream and ran out the front door.
All around me there was a bright white light and I couldn’t see. I fell over the balcony and into the brightness. I then appeared to be in a hospital but I was lost. I was near a cubicle and could hear one of my sisters talking. I opened the curtains and she was sat beside me. My wrists were in a bandage but I recoiled in shock at the sight of me. Again I turned away from the scene and ran outside and fell into the bright light and this time I woke up in my bedroom. I jumped up out of my bed to catch my bearings.
I went over to the window and pressed my hands against them to ensure I was awake. I had been looking for clues to another world but all I got was a past that I wanted to escape from. I decided to head downstairs and as I opened the door my Mother was outside. She jumped in shock. ‘What the feck are you doing up at this time?’ ‘Couldn’t sleep.’ We both went downstairs and I put the kettle on. I would often find my Mother awake at night unable to sleep. She would be sat in the kitchen staring out of the window. We both sat there staring out of the window. Both of us forgetting the past. Click through to more Memoir Madness!!!
It’s tough when writing memoirs or writing from memory. Even the name memoir conjures up vain writers relaxing on their ‘chaise lounges.’ ‘What are you doing dear? It’s my memoirs. I could be a while.’ At the same time there are some people who have had fascinating lives. Not just famous people. Often we hear about the misery memoir which garners love and hatred on both sides. Is the reader rubber necking and somehow perversely enjoying the author’s literal account of how they were abused? Maybe the author is doing a public service, even a moral duty to tell their tale of woe, in a society that prefers not to speak. At least that way the crimes are exposed and readers are educated about some evils that lurk in our own backyards. Memoirs don’t always have to a precise account because if it were it would be boring. At the same times it’s quite difficult to conjure up a memory from the past.
If I try to recall my first night at boarding school, I know it occurred. I know that there were twenty beds or so in that dormitory and that I was on a top bunk. I can’t remember the feelings or even what I was thinking, but only on reflection can I imagine that it must have been tough. To be away from your parents and family at the age of nine. Alone in that room with twenty others. I can’t remember the tears but I do remember the darkness. Or do I? This is where and what memoir writing is about. Piecing the past together like a detective, and in many ways it’s a good thing, because as a young child, are you really able to process what is going on? Has your mind developed enough to question and understand what it is you are experiencing? The world you exist in is not a world of choice. There is your family. That is your world. Father as God. Mother as Mary. And how they act enforces your view of how the world is out there. Am I lying there in my bed wriggling my toes as a nine year old or do I sit in a cafe as a forty eight year old man and conjure up the feeling of wriggling my toes?
The door opened and Mr Blackmore walks in. A tall serious man. Our supervisor. ‘Lights out. And no talking. Or you’ll receive the slipper.’ He didn’t actually say that. I made it up but I do remember the night we were slippered for talking too loudly after lights out. We all lined up ready for our punishment. As the first boy went forward he lifted up his dressing gown. No doubt to ensure the nine inch plimsoll would do as much damage as possible. I heard the whack of the sole. And then the boy screamed out loud, then ran forward, and did a forward roll with a star-jump afterwards. Everybody laughed as we walked down the line to receive the slipper. Welcome to boarding school. This was the late seventies heading into the early eighties. I had just brought ‘Atomic’ by Blondie. She was my muse. Corporal punishment was still accepted. Margaret Thatcher was hated. Read My First Novella!
On the front cover was an inconspicuous Indian man dressed in robes. The book basically explained his spiritual life. On reading I encountered for the first time phrases such as eternal bliss and transcending consciousness. He talked of walking the path of God, finding your true self and questioning the nature of existence and more importantly he could levitate. Yogis proficient enough could actually levitate, that’s right, fly. This man sounded like he had been on a trip but no drugs were involved. I was hooked. My utterly bored and directionless mind now had something to replace the nightly television soap series my parents were addicted to. I had found my new drug and its name was Spirituality. Spirituality these days encompasses so many things – alternative therapies, esoteric teachings, the World’s religions – all offering different ways to a different kind of God. For a price of course. I didn’t have a clue where to start but seeing as I was the type of person who liked to pick the icing from the cake before I ate the cake itself. I thought I would go straight for the jugular and try and induce some of these experiences he talked about in the book. The internet seemed a good place to start. It was said that the Internet would hopefully spread knowledge throughout the world and raise the consciousness of humanity but research found that the most popular searches were websites related to satanic porn and David Hasselhoff with funny hamsters coming a close third. Humanity clearly had a different goal. Rather than be distracted by the Internet I did an old-fashioned thing and headed to the local bookstore. I wandered over to the Mind, Body and Spirit section of the bookstore. That’s Mind, Body and Spirit to the uninitiated. There was a plethora of spiritual books on display. There I found all manner of books from the Dalai Lama’s latest teachings to hypnotherapy books on How to Create a Richer You in 24 hrs and The Law of Attraction. The attraction being that you could just think yourself successful. I was thinking of sending a few of those ‘law’ books to the poorest areas of Africa and seeing how they managed. I also managed to find some ‘mind wave’ goggles made in California. These were Terminator-style sunglasses that had flashing lights fitted inside and headphones attached to a small sound box which would emit bleeps of a high order thus inducing your brain into the alpha state. A state of mind normally reserved for Tibetan yogis, or college kid dropouts high on dope. These mind wave goggles could raise your consciousness from mild stoned hippy to Buddhist style enlightenment in about forty-five minutes. Forget years in a cave. I grabbed a stack of books and the glasses too and headed home. Read The Rest Of My Thrilling Memoirs ; )
I keep hearing that American Cops are heroes. ‘Blue Lives Matter’ they say and of course all our lives matter in one sense. But is it really heroic to have four police officers walk up to a suspect carrying maybe two guns, a taser, a gas canister and a truncheon and if needed, the kind of back-up required to carry out a small coup in South America? It doesn’t seem right. This is the home of America. The greatest nation on earth. The most God fearing nation on earth. Did Jesus carry a gun? Did he carry anything? Maybe he should have thrown a rock at the Romans and tried to escape. It’s kind of funny. But his faith was so strong, and without doubt, he feared nothing. And that itself is what other people fear the most. Fearlessness can disarm an Army. Gandhi did it too. He faced the might of the British Military with a stick. I’m not saying American Cops could go with out any weapons but how about just having one? How about even taking a small town or an area of a city. Maybe a rough one where locals carry guns too and do a trial run. Have police people walk through that area with no guns and just a bible. Sounds crazy, but I wonder how the supposed aggressors, when approached by two unarmed police officers,would react? It’s proven time and time again that violence begets violence. And that goes for the mind and body too. Everyone knows if you go in there shouting, the other persons energy will increase along with yours. It’s the same in classrooms, and in homes and in bars too. Calm talking and rationalizing can disarm a situation. It’s like this world we’re living in since 9/11. I wonder what it would be like if we had just turned the other cheek like Christ would have done. Maybe they would have attacked us again, but again we did nothing. Sent in no guns. Sent in no bombs. No planes. Just silence. It’s hard to see how they could shout at the Evil West. I watched this film other day called King Jack and the boy was being bullied so he would bit back. Each time he hit back, the bullies, and one in particular, would come back harder and harder, until one day Jack did nothing. He just stood there and took the beating. Until the weight of the crowd around him turned on the bully in silence. And then the bully stopped. He couldn’t fight back. He had nothing left to say and Jack became a King of his own making.
I was answering calls for the National Lottery. There was eight of us squared around a table answering calls from ‘the public’ about how they were sure they had lost the winning ticket to this weeks win. The people I worked with were the new working class. Cloth caps and hands covered in coal-dust had been replaced with a nice suit and a headset. It was an eight hour day with a fifteen minute break in the morning and afternoon, and believe it or not, an hour long break for lunch. If I thought working hard would get me away from the drugs and the booze, I was soon to be disappointed when invited for a quick line of coke in the toilets. A handful of people I worked for enjoyed the same entertainments as I had and it was difficult to escape that lifestyle. I tried my best to say no but my weakness of character and desire to please would insist that I joined in on any company recreational activities. The occasional lines in the loo allowed me to deftly deal with the irate customers on the other line. As is always the case in terms of who we attract, the old cheesy adage, ‘birds of a feather flock together’ materialized, and I had found a new friend in Mad John. Mad John was a traditional alcoholic. The type who bought several two liter bottles of cider along with the occasional piece of fruit for his poor kid. I would pick him up at six in the morning for a shift and he would be finishing his first drink as he opened the door. He would down a double-vodka at lunch to my pint thus allowing me to distance myself to the idea that I had a problem. I kept all my past incidences firmly to myself and presented myself as a cheery chappie type without any hang-ups. At last the heavy drug days were behind me.Well, nearly. It was moderate Chris from now on. The job and life fell into its suburban tumble as telephone call after telephone call came rattling down the line. My responses quickly became automated and the only thing that we lived for was the pub lunch and the occasional sniff in the loo. Mad John and I and a few others had bandied together and instead of all weekend warehouse raves it became cheap Nightclubs and middle-of-the road House Music. After a few more months of family life and watching another soap-opera fight in the Queen Vic plus nights out at nightclubs plastered with neon signs and cheap celebrities I had decided that I needed something, anything to make me feel excited again.
Clearly drugs were off the menu but they had always provided me with a sense of escapism, a certain kind of high that I felt changed me. And I wanted to know where I could get this buzz again without the four-day hangover. A package arrived for me one day from one of my clubbing friends, Mara. She was one of the few rare ones I actually remained in touch with. She too was seeking something else and had started to embark on some kind of spiritual path. The book was called: The Autobiography of a Yogi.