British science fiction writer Frank Maddish presents: ‘The Last Ditto’

A nameless man with a feather-light grip on reality, a loner, a drifter, a thinker, but certainly not a doer, seeks therapy through the recordings of his highly lucid dreams. Until one fateful day he discovers a message hidden deep within his meticulous records, a secret set of instructions for life, death, and everything in between.

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Governing The Mind
2
Second-hand Dreams
3
Weather Wars
4
Last Night
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Bedtime stories and how they can screw you up
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A new social network unlike any other!
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Early Riser
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Baby, Bathwater, Hell, Handbasket
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The BBC
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The Man of the Hour

Governing The Mind

Governmental. Phonetically speaking it means mind control. Although some might argue it’s merely etymological coincidence, the underlying power of the word remains. Governments, goaded on by their paymasters, the corporations, (which happen to be dead bodies, or at least as a legal technicality), continue to hypnotise our world of billions of unique individuals, into believing we’re all the same.

Hence, so many countries work on a two party system, mimicking the left and right hemispheres of the brain. It’s a very old trick, a scam if you will, to divide and conquer the people, and let them fight amongst themselves. Whilst we argue the toss, desperate to form some kind of agreement on whose best placed to serve our interests, those in power are laughing at us, and profiting from our naiveté.

Our leaders are bought and sold like commodities, they’re owned by multinational corporations and wealthy bankers, who only want profit and nothing else. It doesn’t matter how good it looks on paper, every policy, every solution provided by our elected delegates has a barb in the tail. Nothing in government comes from the heart, it’s all in the mind, a smokescreen to delude us into thinking we have some kind of control over our lives.

The secret to power is money, something that doesn’t really exist. The only way a currency is worth the paper its printed on, is if everybody believes in it. When we don’t we face financial ruin, and will find it hard to survive outside of the system. But I can imagine that one day, not too long from now, a city will be born, and it will herald a whole new way of life. Its citizens will be recognised in all forms as equal, and each will barter for goods, and generate power off the grid. They’ll live simply, growing their own food, making their own clothes, and creating society where no one will need vote again. I’d love to see a world without dictatorships, or feudal lords, or holy leaders, and billionaire bankers, free from corporate incentives and global initiatives.

Yes, the city will only be a small village at the beginning, but it will grow, and eventually so many people will want to move there, they’ll need to build another. Until one day the only people left in the old world, are those who still believe in government and money. The rest of us can spend more time with our friends and families, living healthily, and doing what we love instead of what we’re told. Rather that than be the wage slaves of the rich and powerful, who have always told us what to do and how to think.

Not long now, keep your chin up.

Second-hand Dreams

If you pin all your hopes on somebody else, it won’t be long before you come a cropper. We’re not born with a belief system, we’re taught what to think, and in turn what to feel. There’s little wiggle room for self-expression, when all those around you are convinced they know the truth. In fact, the more devout the ideology or political persuasion, the more likely you’ll die trying to prove them wrong.

The difference is that in recent history, the idea of democracy has taken the lead, and those who’ve embraced it are under the misconception that they’re free to think what they like. However, as time moved on, those offended by differing opinions have steered the masses towards a homogeneous middle-ground. A tempering of individualism for the good of all, with a media bias slanted towards those who will not compromise, and carry out atrocious acts of violence for the sake of their beliefs.

There will come a time when the people will need to choose between cultural sensitivity and death. The world is full of cowards who would rather let their loved ones die than risk offending others. A democracy of lies teetering on the precipice of chaos, precariously balanced upon the crumbling foundations of a broken civilisation.

To believe in oneself, despite the objections of all others, is the key to true freedom, although the price is high. We cannot all come together as one, we have never done it in the past, and the future will be no different. This is a time like many others, when one empire falls and another rises. Only history will provide the answers, and prove yet again, that the state, in whatever form it currently takes, has always been the enemy.

I am not part of the establishment, and neither are you. We can either assist those who wish to see our downfall, or their enemies, who will in turn do much the same thing. It’s all just a matter of presentation, politics is a religion, and vice-versa. Science is a belief system, and belief is a liar. Whilst society is simply an idea someone desperate for power cooked up, so the rest of us can feel we’re part of something special. But we’re not, we’re just numbers, statistics, the living and the dead. Now and again we’re voters and we’re told our opinions matter, as long as we agree.

It doesn’t matter what you think or do, or how much money you have in the bank, or which religion, if any, has got it right. All of that is bullshit in the face of death. It is often predicted that polite society, without food, water, or power, takes about a week to descend into cannibalistic anarchy. Our paymasters greatest power is our lack of self-belief, our innate distrust for each other, which is exactly why society was built this way. The only true enemy you have is officialdom, the designated powers of a hierarchy beyond your control. They tell you what’s happened and why, and how you should react. They make and break the promises of changes for the better, and blame you when they fail. It’s only when the shit hits the fan, that any of us will truly realise how much we treasure life.

Here’s the easy way out, a soft option for a compromised existence, a recipe for survival in modern life. Take all your hopes and dreams and bury them in a lead-lined box, and erect a stone marker to remind you where you left them. Now spend the rest of your days pretending it’s not your future’s grave.

Weather Wars

After a long and bleak Spring, I’ve just experienced my first clear and sunny day in as many months. The cold draught of the Northern Extractor, the Arctic array that blasts an icy chill down the backs of Northern Europe, failed for approximately twenty four hours.

In that time Britain roasted in the sun, the warm air remained unhindered by a fleet of private and military planes, dumping chemtrails from dusk till dawn. There is a certain temperature when the aluminium/barium chaff broils to gas, riding the currents under the intense glare of direct sunlight, until they almost evaporate. Once the heat’s taken hold there’s no stopping the domino effect, at least not until the Northern Extractor is repaired.

For days the town reeked of brine, far thicker than usual, and unusually the stench seeped miles inland. The sea was evaporating, ever so slightly, but still enough to notice. So odorous was the air, that passers-by hurried along the promenade, wincing and holding their noses. The angle of the sun alone has never bore so deep into the waters, except now its ably assisted by an invisible sibling.

The Black Sun isn’t dark, in fact it has no colour, because it lies outside the visual spectrum of the human eye. Yet it is there, it has arrived, as  it slowly traverses its elliptical orbit in the holographic sky. It may not give off light, but it does give off heat. It’s microwaving the world right now, and incrementally melting everything in sight.

It’s why the governments of every nation persist with their war on weather. For if they lose, the lands will burn and the seas will boil. Although its probably already made the news in Britain, right now an electromagnetic anomaly over Northern France has unleashed a punishing attack of lightning storms. Reported as striking over three hundred times a minute, I can actually see the glow on the horizon from the other side of The Channel. That’s what happens when you pump too many exotic minerals and chemicals into the sky, controlled weather modification or not, it almost always spins out of control.

In Britain’s short-lived heat wave, where the skies remained clear and the sun kept on shining, over a quarter of the country’s energy consumption was provided by solar power. I knew, as soon as I heard that little titbit on the radio, that the chemtrail jets would be back in force, and oh how I was right.

Imagine what would happen to the world’s economy, how far the precious stocks and shares of global movers and shakers would tumble, if every person on the planet could produce enough energy to serve their own needs. Without external influence or outside intervention, free and unhindered, with a potentially unlimited supply. It would mean the end of civilisation as we know it. At least for those who profit from the way things are, rather than the way they should be.

Because society, for all its grandiose claims of freedom and democracy, is a bi-product of exclusivity, and the race’s survival is a mere surplus of its success. For those who steer the fate of humanity, would rather see us all dead than relinquish their power over our lives. As a people, as one whole race, we cower in the sight of self-proclaimed gods, those whose power over nature holds us to ransom. However, deep down, behind the veneer of respectability, beneath the skin of the cultural hive, our species’ greatest fears, are for, and of ourselves.

Only within our most primal instincts can we see the truth, and discover our deepest understanding of a brutal, yet necessary subjugation. For without tyranny, and the abject poverty of existence we share in this unnatural world of ours, we would soon become our own worst enemies. And but for a few broken generations, we’d all be back out there, naked in the rain, and howling at the Moon.

Last Night

I used to sleepwalk as a kid, both I and my sister, but it all ended badly. Nowadays I don’t, at least not the way you might think. It only happens in my laziest and least imaginative dreams. If I’m dead on my feet and crash in an instant, rather than the usual long wait in the dark for sleep to overcome me, I’ll get up and walk around the house. Of course, I’ll leave my body behind.

It happened again last night, and I knew right then and there that my brain was out for the count. The house was so bright, it’s a tall and narrow Victorian affair, and even in the height of summer it’s always dark. But not in my dreams, that’s how I can tell I’m still asleep, everything is so bright and clean. It’s how the world looked to me in my youth, dazzling my senses and bathing me in light wherever I went. Except for those miserable school days in the winter, long walks in the sleet and rain, under dark brooding clouds, silently praying for the next weekend to arrive.

So, I got up out of bed, at least in spirit, and walked downstairs, stopping to look outside for a moment at the view. It was difficult to make out, it’s always that way. I have pretty poor depth of perception at the best of times, but in dreams it’s absolutely kaput. The further I seek the hazier the outlook, even the houses that back onto mine appeared near translucent, diffused by light of the inner sun. The one we don’t see when we’re asleep, yet sits high above us all the same.

I went into the bathroom, more out of habit than anything, but there was nobody in the mirror. It was empty because I had no body, nothing to wash and clean. I can imagine many others throughout history have done the same, seeking their reflection in an imaginary mirror. Not exactly a nightmarish scenario, I know, but it does make one wonder if this kind of experience might have spawned the idea in vampire mythology.

I headed for the kitchen, even if I didn’t feel hungry. I greeted my cats, both those alive and dead, and watched as they meowed in silence, begging for their breakfast. But like Old Mother Hubbard’s, the cupboards were bare, there was no food in the house whatsoever. Obviously, whatever part of my mind had conjured up this illusion, hadn’t thought it necessary.

I looked to the ground, the cats had disappeared, I was alone once more, as is per usual in most of my dreams. I picked up a glass, it was filthy, smeared with thick grease and dark green with mould. I turned the tap, the water ran slowly, too slow for gravity here on earth. I did my best and rubbed the tumbler with a wet rag, there was nothing else, no soap, no scourer. I wore away the delicate pattern upon its surface until there was nothing in my hands, but tiny crystals balls that spilled through my fingers and down the plughole.

I could see the window was fake, it was just a hole in the wall, no glass and nothing between me and the outside. I climbed out over the sink and stepped onto the deck and looked over the edge to see clouds. There was no ground, no terra firma, nothing but a sea of sky. I decided to jump all the same, because I knew it was only a dream. I landed in my bed, and immediately awoke. It was bright and sunny outside.

I got up and walked downstairs, and headed for the bathroom, but I still wasn’t there, I was just another vampire, feeding off my own false memory. Unable to break the cycle, the repetitious dream of an everyday life so similar to mine. Rather like a mental screen-saver, a slide-show of snapshots from the waking day, played out like a home movie to keep my mind occupied whilst my body rested. I decided to run a bath, which took hours and hours, and when I slipped in I noticed I was floating above the water.

It’s said that familiarity breeds contempt, but what if all that we recognise as our normality is just poor recollection? The sum of our collective hopes and fears, played out in the fantasies of a sleeping giant, who cannot awake. For they’re convinced that all they see is real, including every one of us, including the very thoughts that pass through our minds, from our imaginary births to our fantastical deaths.

When I finally stir, it takes a great deal of effort for me to accept this is my world, and not just a figment of an over-active imagination. I still carry my suspicions everywhere I go, from morning till night I tread the thin line between scepticism and belief. But it gets harder every day, when those around me still open to discussion, seem in a daze and completely unaware of what’s happening around them, it only compounds the problem.

Such busy lives, filled with personal agendas. But I can’t blame them, it’s a very scary place, this world we’ve mustered, precariously balanced upon our persistent notions of what life should be like. Physical, tangible, quantifiable to a tee, always reliable, no matter what we think or believe. Perhaps if the dead could give us some clues on how to play this game of life properly, they’d probably tell us it’s just a matter of conjecture.

We have our own minds and choose to spend our time in disagreement with each other, obsessing about the tiniest and most inconsequential details. When in truth, if we could drop the charade for just one moment, and admitted honestly to each other that this world isn’t what it used to be, we could make up another one right now. But we don’t, because we’re all running in the human race, competing with each other to get to the finish line first.  Rushing towards greater compatibility with the lies we profess as our reasons for being.

It really is a shame, in times past there was an Age of Wonders, now lost in rumour and cloaked in the ancient history of different cultures, bearing many names. My favourite being the Aboriginal Dreamtime. Back then time lasted forever yet it could be over in the blink of an eye, and once it was and our race had its rude awakening, we were thrown from the universal womb and placed here, on this planet, in a desert of compromised vision.

I guess that’s why I prefer the night, especially when the streetlights finally fade, and there are those few moments between the dark and light. Free to contemplate the infinite space that awaits us, where we can finally free ourselves this tiny little world. To seek solace and rest before charting our course through the impossible terrain of hidden knowledge and fantastical resolution. Where no rules apply, and experience is worthless, and everyone knows everything but misunderstands all. Including the futility of purpose and its empty gestures, the drudgery of repetition, the slavery of mortality.

Instead we accept our lot, and bathe in the cerebrospinal waters, conducting nightly sacrificial rituals, forsaking greater consciousness for another day, another ride, another respite, to defend our fragile egos from the painful truth. This island Earth is a speck of dust in a sea of turmoil. Only when we dream can we learn to swim, and when we awake, we drown again.

Bedtime stories and how they can screw you up

As a young child my mother used to read my sister and I bedtime stories, but we soon tired of the usual guff. Fantastical accounts full of colourful characters, following their highly predictable journeys, and inevitable encounters with two-dimensional villains. Back then, children’s publishing was for the most part tat, with more pictures than words, simple tales for small folk. So she tried Dickens, and for a while we were satisfied, the plots appeared slightly more involved, and the antagonists somewhat believable. But then, by say three or four years old, we asked if she’d read us the paperback by her bed. It was a horror novel, one of the mainstays. Although I cannot recall which, perhaps something along the lines of James Herbert’s The Rats.

For some strange reason neither of us were scared by what we’d heard, it was as if we’d arrived on Earth fully prepared for the worst. Where nowadays you’ll find news footage far more terrifying than any imagined horrors, for the future isn’t sci-fi, it’s the conjured fears of yesteryear reaching their obvious conclusions.

What I find strange about fiction, which after all is pure imagination, is how many writers fixate on the process of killing and dying, but only up to the moment of death. The shocking truth is that few on this Earth have any idea how far the story goes, unless you’re in the habit of talking to the dead. But each and every one of us will upon our demise, witness the gross collectivism of a living past. A race of lost souls traipsing in circles in the mire of an ethereal reality.

A place outside the remit of time and space, where the dimensional rift of the dark universe, the deep waters of consciousness without form, can mutate beyond recognition. A psychic phenomena where mutation remains unbound by the limitations of physicality, unable to fall back on the humanity’s equilibrium.

There is no science or religion beyond mortality, there really is no need to keep up the illusion. For those who subsist in the spectrum of light beyond our narrow perceptual field, have witnessed such horrors and delights, that had they been alive, the mere experience would have sent them to an early grave.

The horror is the awful truth, that the human race is little more than the inkling of an idea, as fragile as a flower, and brief as the setting sun. We are near to nothing in the scale of life, we come and go like insects, buzzing around a veritable Eden. There’s no true horror here on Earth, for we know from past mistakes what’s coming next. Only more pointless suffering, futile sacrifice and torture, and the constant threat of imminent pain, before our inevitable demise before the looming spectre of our own mortality. Don’t worry about death, it’s the process of dying that kills the spirit. The demeaning wretched subsistence of ageing, the gradual degradation of bodily functions, and those last few years spent in dotage, watching the world go by as we reminisce our regrets.

When you get there, to the other side, ignore the tunnel of light. Make your own, it doesn’t take much imagination to conjure up a candle or a torch. Take as long as you need to acclimatise, you have all the time in the universe. When you die, be bold and cross the very limits of human imagination. For without a body or a mind, there is no pain, but your own conjured fears. Because the horror was only ever in your head.

A new social network unlike any other!

Have you heard about the latest social network to arrive on the scene? To be honest it’s been around for years, but even though its attained massive popularity in the past, it has offered little opportunity for corporate profiteering. You won’t need an app to use it, in fact it works far better if you put your phone down and walk away. That being said, it’s a fully mobile system, available at any time and anywhere in the world.

To join, begin by opening the door and going outside, browse the environment until you find another user, then raise one hand and wave. If they respond, try starting a new conversation, and see how you fare. The beauty of this system is it’s completely uncensored. You can meet anybody you like, and say what you really feel, and you won’t have to worry about government and corporate intervention, at least not for now.

There are a few basic guidelines you should follow, but there aren’t exactly any strict rules as such. Try to be friendly and treat others with respect, and if you don’t agree with their opinions, just deal with it. Accept that everybody is not the same, and their beliefs won’t necessarily tally with yours. On the other hand, if they do, there are plenty of shared activities on offer, in a fully immersive 3D environment.

You can exchange messages by talking, with the option of whispering for secrecy, or broadcasting to a wider circle by shouting. If you want to stay in touch, you can invite them to your residential hub, and they can do the same with you. Together you can find others who might want to join your social group. You can arrange to meet in real places, with real food and drink, and live conversations, engaging in physical activities unavailable at the likes of Facebook and Twitter.

The social network in question is called real life, and it’s available right now. Try real life today, and once you have you’ll realise the true meaning of social interaction. With a potential of over six billion friends waiting to speak with you now, real life is backed by a powerful content delivery system called reality, offering superb resolution, full colour and surround sound.

If you’d like to share music, or even create tunes together, begin by whistling or humming, and make beats by slapping your knees. If you’re into movies, your eyes are your camera, start filming and record what you see with your memory. To share the experience use your mouth to speak, and recall what you’ve seen, or even better invite a friend over to share the view.

Real life is available now and right throughout your existence. Why not try a different kind of social experience today, and realise exactly what you’ve been missing all these years?

Real life for real people, where the future is tomorrow and life is not a game.

Early Riser

It wasn’t until my father’s death, and a brief reunion with my estranged mother, that the following far-fetched tale was finally corroborated. Until then, I’d always imagined I’d run away from home at maybe four or five years old. My early childhood’s pride and joy was a shiny red go-kart, I rode it everywhere. Which seems rather ironic now, seeing as I’ve never learned to drive. I suppose nothing can compare to that first rush of pedal power.

I’ve often bored my wife to tears with the same old story, explaining how I’d dragged that go-kart out of the shed in the middle of the night, and pedalled a couple of miles to the local library. Apparently, according to the police report, I’d been convinced that their panda car, complete with flashing blue lights, was a bona fide UFO. After one almighty tantrum, they bundled me into their car, threw my go-kart in the boot, and drove me home to my frantic young mother.

It gets worse. On that fateful day, in the midst of mourning for my father, we ended up in somewhat of philosophical impasse. She was never one for death, and so she changed the subject, to share her recollections of my great escape. One of many so it seems. Essentially I’d remembered the getaway correctly, but for one nagging detail. It was true, I had run away, it seems I had wanted to be a spaceman, and for some reason, decided that the local library would serve as a perfect landing spot. However, I’d got my dates wrong, and it turned out all of this had happened when I was just eighteen months old.

My mother is a strict and sober woman, not one known to jest, especially on the day of my father’s burial. She insisted it was the truth, and as the police had recorded the whole event, there really wasn’t much room for argument

I’d made one other error, I’d assumed this was the first time I’d runaway from home, but I was wrong. When I was nine months old I’d crawled through a hole in the fence surrounding our backyard. I’d made it all the way to the end of the block, at least a couple of dozen houses from home. Luck would have it that an elderly couple found me, eating from a bowl of lettuce they’d left out for their tortoise. Eventually, according to my mother, her panicked screams up and down the street caught their ear, and the whole matter of the runaway baby was quickly resolved.

It’s as if I’ve never felt like I belonged here. I still haven’t got over the limitations, gravity, mortality, temporal linearity, and the like. In my more morose years, at the tail end of my youth, and in the depths of a self-imposed despair, I’d tried to cheat fate, but lost hands down. Something I’d learned in a coma, from a doctor in another dimension, you can never jump the queue, still rings true to this day. When I do eventually pop my clogs, when that designated day finally comes around, or night as the case maybe, I’ll take that trip into space, the one I’d wanted so desperately as a child, and see what all the fuss is about.

Baby, Bathwater, Hell, Handbasket

The Nostalgia of Lies

I can’t remember a time when people weren’t in a panic about something or other. I grew up in the Seventies, when the government had a hard-on for public safety announcements, covering everything from drink driving to surviving a nuclear holocaust. There was a fuel crisis, a debt bubble, Cold War tussles between the USA and the USSR, terrorist factions, serial killers, mass murderers, health scares, strikes and power cuts. The names may have changed but the problems remain the same.

What’s different now is we’re used to the convenience, we like things on tap, we do what we do without even thinking about it. As you might have guessed by now, I’m not a big fan of technology, yet here I am, typing away on my laptop, connected to the world by the magic of broadband. If I should suddenly slip through a wormhole in time, and was able to take a few gadgets with me, I’m sure the government of the day, or one of their shady agencies, would surely confiscate them immediately. Perhaps they’d execute me, or torture me and leave me to rot in a prison cell. Branded as a spy, a traitor to the nation, caught smuggling advanced technologies from an enemy state.

But if they asked me how all of this shit works, I wouldn’t have a clue what to say. Sure I understand the basic principles, but to reproduce any of our technological wonders from scratch is no mean feat. Most products take years and a small fortune to develop, and that’s with a global economy selling you all the raw materials and parts you’d need.

We live in a corporatocracy, and we’re the consumers not the producers, because we pay others to do the hard graft. They suffer for our pleasure, subsisting on wages that can hardly cover the basics, let alone sneakers with flashing lights, or solar powered sex toys. But if I had to manufacture a simple device, I’m sure there’s enough information, raw materials, and tools at hand to knock something up. But not in the past, back in an age when every new technology was a miracle, and some the source of nightmares for generations to come.

Now is the Future

I’m not saying we have it easy now, in some ways we do and in some ways we don’t. We’re not knee deep in dung or dying from the plague, and most of us have managed to avoid being conscripted to yet another jumped up war. Those with half-decent jobs might have access, however limited, to medical care, free schooling, and a smattering of legal rights. On the other hand, we’re being deliberately poisoned, our value as human beings is under the sway of market forces, food and energy prices are on the up and up, and everything we buy has a built-in redundancy. Our right to privacy has all but been forgotten, but at least we’re not expected to duel with pistols at dawn, should we happen to offend the wrong person. For in this current age, this brief sojourn in history, we don’t need to know our place, or respect tradition, or sing the national anthem, or get on our knees and pray.

As a schoolchild I had to sing hymns every morning, and once a year I, alongside six hundred other boys, were expected to commemorate dead soldiers from numerous wars. We’d march down to the local church in town, and the school would let us go home early. None of the teachers would explain what the hell was going on, or how the government can decide who to send to their certain deaths. I let it go because everybody else did, it was just part and parcel of the process of social normalisation.

As time went on I soon realised something fundamental about living in a society, I hadn’t actually granted my consent to be part of this democracy. I’ve never voted for others to hold power over me, I haven’t agreed to the value of money, or opted into paying taxes, or signed a form that states that I must behave in much the same way as everybody else. That’s the threat of the law, that’s what it’s for, to stop us all from questioning exactly why things must be this way, and to allow those deemed superior to the masses, to take the reins and make our decisions for us.

I have trouble living in our time, I’ve never felt I belonged here, but I know that nothing has ever been any better or worse. It’s all swings and roundabouts, we live longer with less freedoms, we have more cures but far more diseases. This place is what it is, the more time you spend here, the worse you’ll feel, and for all the suffering and joy, indifference seems to be the price we must pay for modern life.

The BBC

Brits pay the BBC a high price for their TV supper

Most people will recognise the acronym BBC as the ubiquitous British state sponsored broadcaster. Those with more varied tastes might know it has another meaning, and if you’re not quite sure, any adult rated site is sure to clear up that mystery.

As for myself, I’ve watched the BBC for many years, it taught me how to think, and its taken a long time to undo the damage. They present the world as they see fit, or rather their paymasters, the government, and not the viewing public. As the years have passed by and their agit-prop obfuscations have worn thin, I’ve seen others turning away from the screen. Admittedly most turn to another, to text on their phone or watch a funny video, but there are a few who’ll look across the room with the same bewildered expression, as if to say is this for real?

My childhood memories of television should be filled with bright colours and home-made Christmas specials. Instead I remember riots and power cuts, and angry politicians, and awkward, stifled interviews drowning in legalese. I can’t stand politics, the ridiculous arguments, the bizarre spectacle of democracy in action. Perhaps it’s because I used to blame myself as a child, for finding the whole affair something of a rigmarole.

Some decades later I had a heated debate with a local MP, he didn’t care if I voted for him, he just needed to make sure I didn’t vote for anybody else. When I asked him why he’d say such a thing, he made his excuses and left in a hurry. I shouted after him, and he shouted back a string of indistinguishable profanities. He died of a heart attack later that summer, people said he was a servant to the people, I’m not so sure.

Television was my babysitter, it kept me out of my mother’s hair. She, like her parents before her, prefers the BBC, mostly because it doesn’t have any ad breaks. Besides, as far as the middle class believed, at least in the 1970s, it wasn’t as crass as the one independent broadcaster of the time. My father, on the other hand, when he was still around, absolutely hated the British Broadcasting Corporation. He resented paying a tax for a service he’d never asked for in the first place, and usually switched over to ITV. There were arguments aplenty, but television was the least of my parents problems. It wouldn’t be long before they’d separate, and from then on the set was always tuned to the BBC.

On my tenth birthday, some years after the divorce, I asked for a television of my own. It was black and white and had a 14″ screen, but at least I could choose for myself the propaganda I consumed. After some weeks of flipping between three channels, two from the BBC, and only one of which had full service, I came to the conclusion that I preferred static. I’d get home from school and switch on my TV, turn down the sound a little until it was no louder than a whispering breeze. Then I’d stare at the interference, a comforting abstract haze of particular grey.

I might even see something now and again, a face in the shadows, a city of lights, deep space and stars, or simply patterns, like ripples of water and grains of sand. Perhaps I’d learned to hypnotise myself, I’m not sure anymore, it was such a long time ago now. What I do know is that nowadays you’d literally have to drag me to a television screen, and even then I’ll keep my distance.

I see the flicker rate, I feel the alpha wave induction, I watch the love of my life drift away to the sounds and sights of a popular soap opera, and I know that we are doomed to repeat our mistakes. When we are confused we no longer look for answers, we let others do that for us, anything to numb the pain.

Some have a license to kill, they do it quickly and efficiently without hesitation. Others have a license to broadcast, but only the BBC licenses its own audience, the poor saps who must pay to be told how to behave, what to think, and what fake news to avoid.

Once upon a time to make it in this world, you needed guts, drive and ambition. A grand idea fuelled by obsession, to hold a far-reaching vision, a noble ideal, a dream, a belief, something to mark one apart from the rest. Now the key to success is assimilation, to outdo all others by compromising oneself, to meet in the middle and decide that nothing can be done, only undone. All history has become a mistake, unpalatable to modern society, and proof of a barbarism that must be rewritten by the subconscious totalitarian state.

Go watch TV and see how strange it is now. It feels awkward and forced, and the presenters look strange. Television is dying, and eventually so will the BBC, but until then we Brits must keep our eyes and our mouths wide open, and take our medicine like good children of the state. The BBC is a behavioural control machine, but it’s either this or nothing, and that’s always been the British way.

Be grateful for what you’re given, even if we make you pay.

The Man of the Hour

M.O.T.H by Frank Maddish

man of the hourThe man of the hour, the man of the day and the man of the year, fought amongst themselves over the woman of their dreams.
cometh the hourThe man of the hour quickly caught her attention, but she grew tired of his constant surprises, and the broken promises of a future he could never keep. He had one eye on the clock throughout the hurried seduction, and soon made his excuses and left.
man of the hourThe man of the day was a practical soul, who took one thing at a time, with a very good eye for detail. Their conversations were friendly but not particularly romantic, mainly due to his prior commitments, and work that needed to be done. They arranged to meet tomorrow, but the woman of his dreams doubted very much that he would keep his appointment.
cometh the manThe man of the year was a gregarious sort, loved by one and all. He showed the woman of his dreams his achievements and accolades, official recognition that proved his worth and good standing. Before long the woman of his dreams fell for the man of the year, for he was successful and reliable, and had little competition worth mentioning.
man of the yearAt first, things seemed fine between them, for their forthcoming marriage was on the cards, and they had great plans for the months ahead. However, fate took a drastic turn for the worse, as the woman of his dreams watched the man of the year, grow old and tired before his time. By late Autumn he’d sleep all day and all night, recounting regrets from his deathbed.
cometh the hour, cometh the manSoon the woman of his dreams was left a widow, in mourning for the loss of her man of the year, but at the funeral she was to meet with another. It was the man of her dreams, who was neither alive nor dead, for he had never believed in time. Nevertheless, in due course, they would come to love each other beyond measure, and follow one another in perpetual reverie. Until eventually their love was consummated, and the woman of his dreams gave birth to a myth, a childlike wonder, and a legend in their own lifetime.

Copyright © 2017  Frankmaddish.com.