Malaise


This is me yesterday: bleary-eyed (hence the sunglasses) suffering from a bad case of ‘the morning after the night before’ as I spent Saturday evening in the pub. I was on my way out of the house to go and vote in the first round of the French presidential elections. I may not live in France anymore but I still love my country fiercely and I very much care what happens to it. There is no question that I should do my duty even from abroad and go cast my vote.

And yet, for the first time in my adult life, there wasn’t a single candidate I identified with. I had to make a tactical choice and vote for the person I thought had the best chance to keep Le Pen away from the presidency, because she is a real menace. It was predicted she would get to the second round of the elections but her chances depended on who would join her there.

Should she win, heaven forbid, I will slap (hard) the first idiot who comes up to me to inform me that the French are obviously a bunch of fascists. Because should she win, it would be thanks to a wave of protest votes against politicians and politics, just like it was with Trump in the US.

Liberals are dismissing people’s concerns, political correctness is breeding resentment, so people are turning to the one misfit who makes loud (false) claims to be different from other politicians – the one who actually addresses (seemingly sincerely) the issues they care about. I can understand that, I used to be a socialist in France until they started patronising the working class on a grand scale. It’s one thing being fucked by the conservatives if you’re working class, you expect it. But when it’s the party that is supposed to be championing your rights doing it, it is that much harder to take.

The problem is that people who vote for a Trump or a Le Pen don’t realise that those would-be leaders are actually insane. And you don’t put insane people in charge of a country. You just don’t, no matter how angry you are and how disenfranchised you feel.
And yet people are doing just that: voting for dangerous lunatics who should be under the constant care of a good psychiatrist.

Where is good old common sense? It’s lacking from our current society and nowhere is it more felt than in the political field. I, along with too many others, am disillusioned – I would rather stick pins in my eyes than vote for a Trump or a Le Pen though.

At the time of writing, the results in France have given us Macron and Le Pen in the second round. I think it’s safe to say she hasn’t got a hope in hell of winning now, everyone will rally round Macron. Still, I have no faith in him like I had no faith in any of the other candidates; this political malaise is real – even if we escape the dreaded Le Pen peril, there’s just nobody to believe in.
I can’t help but ask myself if this what the climate feels like when a revolution is brewing.

F**k the structure

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I don’t see old-fashioned poetry
she said…

Poetry, prose, it’s all the same
I replied

Don’t come to me for any of that stiff upper lip stuff, I abhor it, wouldn’t know how to do it, I despise norms and forms – fuck the struc-ture.

When I read,

I want to feel the sun, I want to fear the shadows,

I need to see the trees leaning in, close, too close so I can’t breathe…

show me the depth of the dark, how far does it go…the light, is it blinding or merely hopeful,

were you screaming when you wrote it? Crying, laughing, what was it?

If you were bored, I’ll be too. Show me your heart, exposed, magnified by the glass.

Push me to the edge, step by step if you like…or fast,

will you save me or will I fall?

I have to feel raw, powerful, weak, choked, and any of the things in between.

It’s like sex, after I’m done with you I should desperately need a smoke (even though I quit)

You need to make me feel something

The number of people I’ve read over the years, offering structure and intricate wordplay…with otherwise sterile content.

No, no and no.

It’s not my thing, and please don’t criticise me for it.

I write what I am, it’s all I can do and fair enough if you don’t like it. Just…don’t try to change me or make me feel small somehow – each to their own.

Image credit: Alan Rickman in “Les Liaisons Dangereuses” @Fanpop

Emotional intelligence

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Creative people. Nothing is ever wasted with us, is it? No matter what happens in our lives, we usually find a way to use it. Being creative is such great therapy, you pour all your emotions into whatever it is you do, and you usually end up feeling all the better for it.

So much of what I’ve written has been motivated by what was going on in my head (and heart) at the time so I understand better than anyone the need to get it out in writing or whatever.

However, I would never write about a specific situation or person without letting them know how I feel first. It’s just basic respect as far as I’m concerned.

I used to have this problem with the narcissist. I would explain to him how I felt and I would get no reply. At all. Nothing. As I obviously didn’t deserve one. But then, eventually I would end up on Facebook or Twitter and…there it was: his indirect reply to me on a public forum where our situation was discussed in details with his friends or followers.

I used to positively hate it! I wasn’t worth talking to directly, instead I had to see it all splashed out in public. This is what I call: “there’s no fucking point to it communication”. It serves no purpose at all but to destabilise the other person – it is thoughtless at best and hurtful at worst. It is an ego trip for the person who decides to air their views in public rather than talk to you directly. Still, the narcissist wasn’t creative at all, and well…he was a narcissist, but I recently interacted with someone who is clearly creative but who also has problems with communicating.

I don’t know why it came as a surprise to me that creative people can also be emotionally stunted. I always assumed that if you were creative, you obviously had the ability to communicate and enough emotional intelligence to do so in an adult manner. I guess I foolishly assumed all creative people were like me – how silly of me.

Image credit: artflakes.com

The one where I digress, a lot

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I’ve been in rather an angry mood for the last couple of days for reasons best left undiscussed. 
Anger is not productive and I wanted to shake that off. I didn’t want to write anything angry either, angry words are like wasps, they keep stinging over and over.

So I thought I should write something meaningless and inconsequential to rid myself of those feelings somehow, but what?

Well, I happened to look at my WordPress stats…I never look at them but decided I should try to find out a little more about my own blog. I discovered lots of things, but the one that shocked me the most was that this year, my most “looked at” post was something called “Done with The Walking Dead”. It was written in FIVE MINUTES a few weeks back and it is by a mile THE most successful post on my blog for 2016. I wrote a lot of things this year, a few pieces that I’m quite proud of actually, but stats-wise they linger far behind a post in which I used the word “fuck” about 20 times.

That’s when I realised I had my subject matter.

You see, this particular post I just mentioned was all about me giving up on a TV show I used to love, but one that had gone too far with the cheap tricks for me to carry on with the relationship. Even though it had started very promisingly.
I did give up on the show but, I live with someone who is addicted and who refused to accept he had lost his viewing partner. So he bugged me, over and over: “pleeeeease watch with me, please!”

When that didn’t work, he tried a different tack: “you’re so fickle, Nat. I can’t believe you’d give up just like that.”
Yes, the bait was enormous, unmissable, but I swallowed it all the same, I’m Pisces after all.
“Just like that? I gave it chances after chances like I’ve done with many things and people in the past, because I’m not a quitter! But sometimes you’ve gotta admit you’ve tried everything and things just aren’t working.”

So, every week, the sounds of The Walking Dead would reach me from the TV screen but I held fast. I refused to watch. Occasionally I saw 5 minutes of an episode because it was a “Negan bit” and “come on, Nat, you love Negan”
Well, actually, no, I don’t. He was one of the reasons I gave up watching. The guy had charisma but was far too cartoonish for my liking.

Anyway, I was coerced into watching the mid-season finale.
So I did. And what can I say but, bloody hell!

Negan is as bad as I remember him: putting an emphasis on every. single. word.
I was telling someone not long ago (a brilliant writer actually, who rocks my world on a regular basis, you can find him here: A Journal For Damned Lovers) that I do a great Negan impression (even though I’m French and it makes no sense that I should be able to) and my friends always clamour for it. Well, it’s true. I’ve got it down to a T. Even the weird way he has of leaning back while emphasising every word. So, I’m not a performing seal, but I do indulge my friends when they ask.

Negan drives me nuts! I just cannot, cannot buy him.

The actor is totally my type though, rugged looking and everything, but he’s just shit at playing the part.
So, the episode started with Negan shaving. Omfg. No, no and no. I hadn’t been so perturbed since Rick shaved back in…can’t remember when, but ages ago. Rick without the beard is like French cheese without a baguette. No way. An abomination.

You probably don’t want to know this, but I’m gonna tell you anyway. I have a huge crush on Rick, have had since season 2. Rick, not the actor. I once saw an interview with Andrew Lincoln and I recoiled with horror: the voice, the accent, it was ALL WRONG! The same goes for Jon Snow from Game of Thrones: huge crush on the character but when I first heard Kit Harington speak, I wanted to throttle him for ruining the fantasy. I don’t want to hear my heir to the throne (brought up in the north) talk with a plummy accent. Maybe I should just stop watching interviews with actors, or even better, they could stay in character all the time (no, I’m not demanding at all.) This is why I adore Sean Bean: whether it’s Boromir or Ned Stark or Sean Bean himself, it’s the same devilish charm. But, I digress.

So, Negan. He shaved and I lost the little interest I had in him.
What can I say, I like my men with at least some stubble. I don’t go for looks anyway but it’s very rare for me to be attracted to a man who hasn’t got facial hair. Robert Downey Jr. is my ideal man should I ever have to name one under the threat of torture. As an aside, somebody gave me a “I’m fucking Robert Downey Jr.” t-shirt once but being a rebel with a sense of propriety, I’ve never worn it anywhere but to bed.

Anyway, Negan shaved. He cooked spaghetti and sampled the sauce wearing a white t-shirt because he likes to live dangerously. He wanted a place set at the table for Lucille because he really is badass and quirky like that, should we ever forget.

I noticed, once again, that people in Alexandria have houses that are far tidier than mine. And they are living in apocalyptic times.
Then we saw Carol on a couch in front of a cosy fire reading a book. By this point I want to join the apocalypse setting because these people have it too good (apart from the zombies and stuff) To top it all off, Carol has more fresh fruit in her kitchen than most families do in England in present day. What the hell is going on?

I won’t even go into the whole thing where everyone hatches half-baked plans to kill Negan, all separately, instead of being clever and realising that joining forces would probably be a better idea. No, I said I wouldn’t.

Rick and Aaron…had to ask the addict I live with what Aaron’s name was because I’d forgotten. I could have used “Rick and the gay guy” but how un-PC of me and that would have resulted in more trolls on this blog, I don’t have the patience for that right now.
But, Rick and Aaron in the little boat, with their “sign paddles”…obviously Aaron drops in the water and somehow, after a little suspense, manages to make it out unscathed. I mean, how? People have been bitten just walking outside their front door or while peacefully having a chat in their garden. But Aaron falls in that cesspool… and not even a scratch. But okay, I like him anyway so I’m actually glad he somehow survived, defying all logic.

Daryl escaped, yay, but did he have to be quite so brutal with the poor sap pleading for his life? I know he was really venting his frustration after all the shit they’d put him through, but still.

Even Jesus was kinda shocked, even though he looked like he was straight out of a photo shoot for some glossy mag. HOW is everyone managing to look SO good in apocalyptic times? Men and women, the t-shirts and exquisitely faded shirts and jeans, it’s all so perfect, they all look far too yummy. It reminds me of when Ralph Fiennes came out of the fucking desert after walking for days in “The English Patient”, and he looked like a Ralph Lauren model. “Water” he croaked. Dehydration, exhaustion, not to mention his misery at having left Katharine behind should have been etched on his face and reflected in his general appearance…but, no. A little more realism sometime wouldn’t go amiss on TV and in films. Just saying.

I keep digressing, sorry. Now, Spencer, the little rat. I knew he was doomed the moment Rosita agreed to have dinner with him. And he deserved everything he got too. Hooray for Negan who did the one thing I can applaud him for — he gutted the backstabber with words of wisdom in the process.

Then of course Rosita does something completely stupid, just as Daryl did when he punched Negan in the season opening. When are these people going TO LEARN?
Get together and communicate! Use your brains, don’t all go flying solo trying stupid shit like this that’s going to get other people killed. Jesus. (No, not him!)

But, now I’ve destroyed pretty much the entire episode, let me get to the last 5 minutes. Michonne and Rick having their emotional little moment, blah blah blah whatever…but then…the gang arrives at Hilltop and…they are the original kickass gang again! They’ve got their groove back! (Needed to use that expression badly)

Daryl and Rick are reunited and I defy anyone not to feel a little choked up at the sight of them hugging. Rick even gets his gun back, another symbol that we are back in fighting moods, people!

The episode ended on the gang walking up together, united, strong and fearless like in the old days… and I got a shiver down my back because I’m a sucker for this kind of shit.
The message was clear: they will not swallow any more crap and are going to kick some arses (or asses if you’re in the US which is where most of my readership is, another fact gleaned from the stats on here.)

May the gods of slim-fit leather jackets help Negan. Though of course it’s probably going to take another 3 seasons to see some actual results, but his days of emphasising EVERYTHING are now officially numbered. Thank fuck for that.

Silver lining

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If there’s one good thing that has come out of this election, it’s this: celebs all over the States have been brought back down to earth with a nice healthy bump.

It turns out Bey wearing a t-shirt with the slogan: “I’m with her”, standing next to Hillary wasn’t enough to sway the voters. Who would have thought it? Queen Bey isn’t all powerful after all.

I, for one, am glad because it might (let’s all cross our fingers) mean celebrities finally realise a lot of us don’t give a flying fuck about their political opinion…or their views about anything, really…and maybe, just maybe they start to keep their mouths shut.

I’m on social media a lot, I check out the news everyday across all different platforms because: I have to job-wise and because I like to know what’s happening in the world in general and that includes popular culture.

Thereby I can tell you that at least half the media coverage of this election was dedicated to ‘which’ celebrity had said ‘what’ about either candidate. As if it matters. As if we care. Nobody with a personality and brain is going to make their mind up on important issues because of something Lady Gaga said.

Yet the celebs came out in force during this election, making a big old fuss and some of them are now throwing temper tantrums because the result didn’t go their way. As it happens, Lady Gaga is acting like an idiot right now (isn’t she always?) All those dramatic statements about “women fighting for their lives following Trump’s election” are not helping anyone. They are just fanning the flames and that’s the last thing the States need right now. There were protests straight after the election which I can understand. People were upset, they were scared, they expressed those feelings the only way they could. Fair enough. But, that’s it now, it’s done, it’s over. Some of the displays from the anti-Trump protesters have been shameful: is this the best you can do to denounce his bigotry and stupidity? Violence towards policemen, Trump voters and damaging your city is hardly going to make your point, is it?

So, Lady Gaga should use her “celebrity power” to deliver calm statements rather than encourage despair and drama. Or better yet, she could just shut up. Her and Lena Dunham could no more keep quiet though than I can stop myself scoffing any dark chocolate within a one-mile radius. More’s the pity.

Someone once said to me (a few months back actually) “they’re celebs, anything they do is hot!” I’m afraid my response to THAT was a rather undignified snort. Followed by: “really? Maybe it is if you’re insecure with no personality and no brain but otherwise? Nuh-uh.”

I admit it: I shared THAT video a few weeks before the elections. You know the one: Save The Day…I did it going against all my principles because I was frankly terrified Trump would win and I was desperate. The video was cringey, yes, how could it not be? A bunch of celebs taking themselves way too seriously and clearly imagining “ordinary” people could be swayed by their views. But I shared it and I never usually do that kind of shit because I couldn’t care less what celebrities think…I repeat: desperation was at the root of such a decision. None of it made any difference in the end.

Why should it? The media has inundated us with celebs and their (too often) mundane opinions on everything from the benefits of drinking milk to politics for so long now that maybe the tide is turning. Oh, there will always be those who worship and blindly follow false idols because there will always be idiots—but perhaps the general public is getting tired of all that celeb coverage.

Emma Watson, whom I’ve no doubt is an intelligent and interesting young woman has been hiding feminist books on the tube in London. She did it in New York too last week which the media, falling over themselves to fawn, described as “the perfect response to the Trump victory”. Hmm…really?

Emma Watson was, of course, wishing for a Clinton win, urging women to go out to vote because “we deserved a female president.” Of course what she neglected to take into account is the fact many women would NOT elect a female president just for the sake of it. We are not that shallow, or desperate, thank you. As much as I wanted Hillary to win, my sole reason was to stop Trump because he was/is SO much worse as an alternative—but wild horses wouldn’t otherwise have dragged me to a booth to vote for Hillary. Not that I could vote since I’m not an American citizen, but you get my point.

The fact is, Emma Watson was a great Hermione and (as I said) she might be a very nice, intelligent young woman but I do not care about her being a feminist and I don’t care about her political views. And I certainly don’t want to read about her “activism” in the media because there are many, many other things worth reading (and writing) about. Her leaving books in the New York subway was not the answer to my despair following the Trump victory, it wasn’t uplifting or inspiring—it was just a celeb (more intelligent than most but still) hiding books in the subway, that’s it.

There is such self-indulgence in celebs “speaking their mind” and often coming up with a lot of bullshit in the process…although it is gold for lazy journalists.

Did any of you see that Robert De Niro video railing against Trump? Now, THAT I didn’t mind. I liked it so much actually that I was almost ready to forgive him for having become a caricature of himself. You know why that video was great? Because it was totally lacking any kind of self-indulgence. It wasn’t meant to be seen (it was an out-take), it was unrehearsed and just a rant from a man—not an actor—who was outraged by the behaviour of a presidential candidate.

De Niro was the only celeb (at least he’s not z-list and actually deserving of the name) I could stomach in the run-up to the presidential election, and now it’s all over I just want them all to disappear. Many of them threatened to leave the country if Trump won (as if that would make US citizens quake with fear) so why not make good on that promise…and if you are now regretting making hasty promises, then at least keep quiet. Your opinions did not make one blind bit of difference to the election result, your opinions won’t make any difference to the aftermath either. Maybe you should go away and reflect on the fact the golden age of celebrity might be over, something the media might soon cotton on to. Hopefully.