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Sunday, 31 January 2016

The first hatebase surge of 2016 Ban all guns

The White Man's Rule Must End

The White Man’s Rule Must End
By
Alexander Gordon Jahans

Darkness. Absense. No connection. How?

And then the pain...

*

The Farsh-nuke screamed. His suit was dirty with blood, torn and fraying. His arms and legs had been broken and his feet and hands were cuffed together at the back. His short black hair was half burned from his head. He was in a large leather armchair looking across a coffee table at a man in pyjamas and a dressing gown, with a roll of toilet tissue to one hand and a bottle of diet lemonade to the other. There were green metallic glasses on his face and his hair was a mess.

“Hello William, have a good sleep did you?” said the double chinned homunculous cheerily.

“How the fuck am I here?” asked the Farsh-nuke.

The man with the ever so punchable face grinned “Ohhh I should have thought it was obvuious. See I did have a good night’s sleep. And I realised a lot of things...”

The Farsh-nuke stared at him.

The gimboid monstrosity met his gaze,

The Farsh-nuke’s mouth dropped and he closed his eyes as he realised “No...”

The wretched greebling nodded “The only man who can break me, who can cut through all my defences and utterly destroy me is me and you, my dear mucker, are a reflection of my id and my psyche. You are my siubconscious and my shadow.”

And now the Farsh-nuke remembered....

*

He had pulled up in his Bugatti Veyron and was just about to introduce himself to a rather handsome blonde when the neanderthalic abomination walked up behind him with a cricket bat and started battering him ferociously.

*

“You’re a pacifist?” said the Farsh-nuke.

The big titted microdick shook his head “That’s an over simplification, I have hybrid morality and as you well know, the rules don’t apply when I’m the victim.”

The Farsh-nuke swallowed then sighed “Alexander Gordon Jahans, confronting his demons at last. To what do I owe thias... honour?”

Alex reached across the table and hand him an open can of diet coke with a straw in it, then he poured himself a glass of diet lemonade and took a swig. “We are despicable.”

“Well yes-” said the Farsh-nuke “That is why we’re bonded, mutual self loathing.”

Alex shook his head “I mean all of us... All white men, all white boys.”

The Farsh-nuke stared at him. “You can’t serious.”

Alex nodded “Oh I’m sure there are some that are untainted by the blight which curses us and of course unlike you I don’t actually suggest remedying this with force of arms but we are wretched, abhorrent.”

The Farsh-nuke shook his head. “Why? What’s changed? I mean I know feminism but-”

“Feminism has fuck all to do with it.” said Alex “Oh I will take any excuse I can to hate myself but I’ve been an anti-feminist before and if I ever cared about what other people thought of me I would long ago have fit in with the other sheep. No, this... This is about me.”

“Well isn’t everything?” said the Farsh-nuke with a sigh.

“Oh like it’s a fucking surprise that I’m egocentric, I put myself into a Doctor Who story and you were created.” said Alex.

“Point taken.” said the Farsh-nuke. “So why do you hate white men?”

“Because I am trying to find my place in the world as one at the moment and the things I used to love and kind of still do aren’t nice.” said Alex “The suit, the car, the gadgets.”

“The girls?” asked the Farsh-nuke with a smile.

“Yes...” sneered Alex with disgust. “It’s all horrible and egotistical. All look at me, look at me, aren’t I wonderful, I have a large bank account and nice things. It’s all so very petty, if harmless. Except there are aspects which aren’t harmless.” Alex looked pointedly at the Farsh-nuke.

The Farsh-nuke snorted “Like I’m the worst of mankind?”

“No.” said the Farsh-nuke and he sighed “No, you’re really not.”

The Farsh-nuke nodded “The Doctor, James Bond, Jack Bauer, Bruce Wayne, Jason Bourne, Clint Eastwood, and that’s just off the top of my head.”

“These are our heroes.” said Alex. “A pacifist who commits genocide every other week, a murderous letch, a torturing madman, a richman who spends his days beating up the poor, an amnesiac out for revenge and the man with no name or morals.”

“Yeahhh...” said the Farsh-nuke “Funny how these are the heroes of a people and culture typified by invasion and subjugation.”

“And the thing is I am part of the problem.” said Alex. “I look at women and without realising my brain is making judgement calls based on appearence. And the anger...” He looks away “Shit, you know how bad things have been. I just - I’m sick of it. Sick of how we’ve fucked everything and everybody up and how we’re still fucking things up.”

The Farsh-nuke softens “Well what about black lives matter, and feminism and the LBTQA+ movements? There’s hope surely?”

Alex meets his gaze “Oh there’s hope but I introduce you to the last desperate holdouts of white male shittery. The pathetic boys who love guns more than lives and think cuck is some kind of great insult and not like someone with a speech impediment fucked up saying cunt. They are an isolated minority of nutcases and they are coming after me. I’ve got a tiny dick, tits, I can’t smell, my nose always runs, I’ve got piles I’m autistic and I wear glasses. Like what the fuck are they going to say to me? Where’s the thrill? The reason you don’t punch down is that it’s no fun and too fucking easy. Oh you have observed a fact about my being, well done. Clap. Clap. Fuck off. It’s just pathetic.”

“So what do you suggest?” asked the Farsh-nuke.

“Well I ain’t going anywhere.” said Alex “If I do I won’t be pissed but I’m going to keep shining a light on the shit in the world and trying to find the fun but it is time for the white man to step aside. We have had our time, we have had our fun. The world belongs to others now and frankly it’s about damn time. We just need to adjust and do what little we can to help and not get in the way. It’s not about ego, it’s about helping make up for the damage done by our people.”

“So what happens to me?” asked the Farsh-nuke.


“I don’t know.” said Alex “I really don’t know.”

Kingsman The Secret Service Review

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Lets Chill Out Episode 1 Accept the Awful and move on

The Man in the Mirror

The Man in the Mirror
By
Alexander Gordon Jahans

I recorded a short letsplay series of minecraft today. There was no plan, no epic cuts, no script, probably quite rubbish but for the first time in a long time I felt like I was having fun. Growing wheat while tying to avoid creepers, the sense of failure and catastrophe but with slow progress while putting on a show for people who aren't really there . Kind of a microcosm of all that my life is and has been for the past year but this time it wasn't about politics or how I'm such a git. Then as it rendered I decided to finally bite the bullet and listen to School of Movies take on Gamersgate as it mostly passed me by as I am too verbose for twitter and priviledged with the ability to be ignored in that respect.

Of course then movie maker decided it didn't like the fraps footage and after faffing about for an hour trying different programs I gave up and decided to just listen to Gamersgate and deal with the issue later. This is what I wrote on facebook regarding the insight the podcast gave me:

Halfway through the school of movies podcast covering Gamersgate and if anything I think the info is mellowing me on what I thought from ignorance. yes Gamersgate started from bigotry and hatred and dreadful acts were commited in its name but it is hard to really condemn it especially for misogyny when I have also been subjected to 4chan raids and it seems gamers are generally entitled - No. That's wrong poor phrasing. It seems Entitled bigoted provocative people have a propensity for being gamers.
Don't get me wrong I'm not saying this shit isn't fucking wrong and that I don't understand why feminists of any sort would see this as just part of the epic struggles and there is definitely a segment ogf the Gamersgate community to whom the appellation misogynist is wholly appropriate.
To brand the whole movement as misogynistic though is clearly wrong. Games Journalism, like all journalism (*cough* BBC and the Guardian included) has a problem with corruption, laziness and generally shitty work and clearly some people have joined the Gamersgate movement because here was apparently an uprising campaigning for ethics in journalism. If you asked the right people at least.
And it's not exactly like on the one hand you had a braying mob, some of whom had legitimate criticisms and were asking nicely, some of whom spoke in threats, slurs and doxxing, and then on the other were a bunch of frightened women running for their lives. If that were the scenario then sure the good soldiers could be called out and the movement simply criticised. That didn't happen. this is the internet and twitter was no man's land, There was clearly abuse coming from both sides. I'm not condemning feminists for fighting back in kind but it makes the claims of the good Gamersgaters so much more understandable when they witness abu7ser from both sides.
So far I'm just like harrassment of any sort is bad and wrong but you know what ethics in journalism is a fucking important subject that deserves discussion. Clearly Gamersgate was a clusterfuck and not the right way to discuss ethics in journalism but I think that actually if you are a Gamersgater I might be willing to believe that you are a good person who didn't abuse anybody and earnestly believes in their goals. Obviously if you think any movement or ideal gives you the right to issue death threats or rape threats, doxx somebody, or hound them with abuse then you're a monster but that should really go without saying.

This was the about half way through and I decided fuck it I've still got Sony Movie Studio Platinum 12 on my laptop and it worked. Hallelujah! Fully registered, my letsplay could begin rendering and then I listened to the rest of the podcast.

I still stand by the above statement, broadly speaking, though I now feel like I got the proportions off and that it's predominantly negative and awful though the conclusion still stands. I understand I feel a whole lot more meh to it but that's from a privileged position, I mean it's not like I get regular plees that I commit suicide, death threats and have had people phone me up at home because they disagreed with me online... Oh wait! Yeah... Yeah, I totally have. So I know it really isn't fun.

Here's the thing though 4chan have raided me on a regular basis and as a result I've kind of internalised their logic and as I listened to Alex Shaw nail down the coffin of Gamersgate for me I realised I understand a hell of a lot of where there despicable people are coming from. Somewhere along the way the persistent raids turned me into their shadow.

So at the end of this 3 hour long podcast Alex Shaw delivers an article by Felicia Day on the gamersgate movement and it's a piece that is moving and inspiring and frightening and brave, talking about confronting fear to face the joy of life. Then he delivers the stinging end note that exactly the feat Felicia Day talked about in the article was then carried out by Gamersgate. It is delivered like a finishing blow, like a bone crunching "These guys are monsters!" and to me it felt like a punchline.

Now maybe my interpretation comes from relative priviledge but what I have found from the beast with many heads that keeps attacking me is that it's almost not about hate and reasons. 4chan doesn't attack to make a point, it attacks because it can. Like a gamer it seems the glowing weak spot and goes "Ahah! I shall attack there!"

Don't ever talk about your fears of being doxed by these fuckers because you're just pouring chum into the water and saying "Here little fuckwits, come get your noms, you know where to hit me." 

That's not victim blaming, not intended to be anyway. All abuse is horrible but this is what they do. Top be a feminist or an SJW is to brand or have branded the weakness needed to get to you and once that happens of course they're going to attack that weakness. Because it's easy and it's funny to them.

I am the man in the mirror because I am the mirror to that monster I despise. The pathetic young white man with a bruised masculinity, problematic opinions and a roiling hatred that needs to go somewhere. And heck look at the shit I write  I try to have my cake and eat it where I can but there is no way what I write is feminist.

Sort of appropriate that confront my shadow as I look set to finally move out into the light again. I have internalised the 4chan logic, the constant hyper awareness of weaknesses. The need to defend and beat off the stupid kneejerk lashings. I have let it infect me. My favourite Doctor once said you can always judge a man by the quality of his enemies, well how pathetic am I then? 

See you can't destroy an instinct so basic and crude. Oh you can stop those who take it beyond a comment but as that dreadful punchline shows all it takes is a comment, a single comment to destroy you. Except of course that I am lucky, I am priviledged. My enemies don't want to fuck me. I

t's that little twist of sexual frustration that I think turns a kneejerk need to hurt and a dislike for the unlike into a full on vendetta because if they fancy you but they hate you then something must be wrong with them and that surely can't be.  Hell, I probably shouldn't be speaking about this but I think that's why they attack women. If women are not people but objects for your arousal then how can they dare disagree with you? It's all so very freudian. 

Says a man who writes stories about people keeping women as pets and toys and eating them alive. But at least I acknowledge that shit's fucked up and don't hide behind a cause and I keep that side of me to fiction. Indeed I try to counter the fucked up shit with depth and character development and an emphasis on respect and agency.

In the end though 4chan doesn't bother me any more, it can't. I've got approved comments only on my youtube channel, I'm not on twitter, I don't care about my reddit and I'm used to them now. The shock has gone. I am afraid for my life but not in case some strange fucker turns up on my door. Maybe that's part of the afforementioned privilege but also because I've felt fear and dread lately I've felt the very real possibility that it could all be over in one bad day. What the fuck is 4chan against that? They're pests, nothing more. They want so dearly to matter, to be noticed, to be hated but they're just pigeons flying about, shitting up the place. 

No, the bigger issue is the man in the mirror. I have been carrying this sixth sense of what the fuckwits would think with me for so long and it is time to let that go, to let my self loathing go.  I am flawed in many ways. Perhaps in more ways that I have been or will be. I am no saint but that does not automatically make me despicable. I will be a better writer and I will contribute more to society, to help people but I won't keep up the running commentary of self loathing anymore. Time to let myself be happy again. 

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Putting the fun in cluster funk

Putting the Fun in Cluster Funk
By
Alexander Gordon Jahans

I had an epiphany last night while watching Tom Scott's videos. It was a random binge that I decided to go on because I'm between podcasts and letsplay series at the moment. Anyway I realised something.

yes, things are bad. For the world and for me. America's just insanely broken, the tories are fucking everything up, bugger knows what Scotland wants, Russia's getting punchy, Isis are pricks, Saudi Arabia are cunts and North Korea's still prancing about like anybody gives a shit about their dystopian society. Our planet is dying, inequality is soaring and the bigots keep rearing their heads. And me? I've got cataracts that I'm fairly certain are causing me headaches though that could just be migraines. My teeth are almost more machine than man now. I bleed depressingly regularly from different places, I need to take pills every day to keep from dying, my masculinity comes in the form of an injection every 3 months. My family is insane, I am failing to give my time away for free never mind get a paid job and I am wracked with regular bouts of self loathing and depression.

Things are not good and they really haven't been for a long time. 

Then again things are getting better, Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn bring fresh hope of positive change to Britain and America, Steven moffat is leaving Doctor Who and I am growing a beard. Yeah, alright I know it's not exactly a utopian dream to look forward to but things are potentially getting not shit and technology is advancing at a staggering rate. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality is just around the corner plus loads of other cool shit.

The problem is that I can't see the hope for the shit at the moment as I have spent the past year training facebook to shovel all the misery of the world before me. I need to break that cycle. I need to make a concerted effort to find the hope and the awesome and the fun in a world of death and misery and suffering because I am no use to anyone if I am teetering on the edge of suicide and trying not to think about how terrifyingly fucked we all are.

I've done it before. Right now I have a migraine that's possibly also a hangover and I made the mistake of drinking diet coke on an empty stomach so I am feeling distinctly unwell. After a year of shit and misery my instinct is to give up and feel sorry for myself but I wasn't always like this. I remember being violently ill as a child, running to the bathroom to vom every 5 minutes or something and I would stubbornly continue to read despite the misery. Just refuse to focus on the negativity and chase what mattered to me, which was finishing that Jiggy McCue book.

I need to find that strength of resolve now. I need to break the cycle, I need to retrain facebook's algorithms to stop reinforcing my negativity.To always look on the bright side of life no matter how negative. I don't need to be reminded of the shit. I get it now.

Fortunately there is light and help in this respect. I am a nerd, I hunger for letsplays and fanvids and feeling gorram awesome. I am not starting from scratch, I have a considerable armory of awesome to help keep me positive. I do however wish facebook and youtube had options to easily change the algorithms if something like this occurs. Even a simple reset to default option would help. Coders, I never want anybody to work for free but if this sounds like a problem you think you can help with I highly doubt I am the only problem damned by how they've trained their various website algorithms.

To Write Well

To Write Well

By
Alexander Gordon Jahans

I have spent a lot of time lately talking about myself, about my woes. And that's okay, this is my blog, this is what it's here for. You all know who I am. You all know what I do. But I have not been idle, well not entirely.

I am writing my new story Draco and I have a spoiler for you, someone dies. 

Now you may be thinking "Huh? So what? People always die in your stories. I mean The Contravoxai Survivor begins with the end of the human race as Contravoxai invade and eat people alive. It's not like everybody lives"

And you'd be right to query but you see I have a problem. I am a writer and I care about my characters, partly because it is an established piece of lore that everything fictional is real somewhere and I sort of like to believe that's physically true, but mostly because I like happy endings and I come to love characters. The fanfic was in some senses created to be the ultimate fix fic: 

How did Adric survive the impact that helped wipe out the dinosaurs? Well the Farsh-nuke flew him to safety. How did Sirius survive the veil of death? The farsh-nuke materialised the Seghat around the Veil of death and materialised Sirius just in time to curse the dark lord as he died. What happened to Quint in Jaws? The Farsh-nuke turned him into a wereshark and he's totally going to turn up as a badass hero to help lead the fight back against the inevitable wereshark invasion in Jaws 5.

It's childish and ridiculous. You need to earn your happy ending and that means characters you like and care about, important characters, have to die. 

You see I am starting, well no that's an understatement, I'm at the culmination of years of graft and I think once Draco is published I will finally be ready to start charging for my work. In many ways Draco has become a kind of summation of everything I used to write. It's a fanfic and features James Bond as a woman. There's a Farsh-nuke and a Lucy, a Bam-Kursh and a Lisa. There is a Jaeger from Pacific Rim, the Aurora Chair from Farscape and a moment where the narrative stops so I can rant about American foreign policy. 

It is so much of what I would consider flaws in my writing, including the old fetishization of submissive women schtick and possibly for the last time, at least like this. I have a friend who shall remain nameless who is a woman and likes these scenes which she calls fluff (though she might yell at me later for misusing the word) because she enjoys being submissive herself, at least in fantasy. It has been a rather delightfully odd thing to find myself initially writing scenes like this for my own small atavistic thrill and seeing other young men similarly enjoying the fantasy, only for the staunchest supporter of the fluff to be a woman increasingly annoyed that plot and character development is getting in the way of her fantasies of superpowered geeks coming to whisk her away.

It is a peculiar conundrum of a position my friend finds herself in incidentally. I have talked before about my issues with finding a way to be male in a world which increasingly loathes masculinity but the opposite situation must surely be worse. I can at least bask in the praise of other ignorant men as patriarchy falls. For my friend and other women like her who want to be submissive to a man they trust in a time of societal upheaval and change they risk being attacked both by exploitative pricks who long to prey on what they perceive as weakness and a movement for change that can be, at times deservedly, very barbed and toxic. How does a submissive woman fit into a post-feminist society? That's not my question to answer but it is one that deserves an answer.

It is with some sadness that I retire the fluff, especially as my friend still mews for it, I'm just not writing Distraction Fics any more. The Contravoxai Survivor was 45,000 words and Draco is already 55,000 words and I'm not even writing the third act yet. 

The Contravoxai Survivor was written in spirit to be a Distraction Fic, focusing as it does on a power imbalanced relationship, romance and fetishization but it's subject matter gave it a distinctly different feel and the nature of its setting a much more dominant and interesting plot.

Draco was not written to be a Distraction Fic. It was designed as a tribute to superhero mythology and to the Elder Scrolls V Skyrim. There is a power imbalanced relationship in it but that is less about fetishization and more about a plot focusing on a man who can turn into a dragon. I think that could turn even the hardest of people into a comparative submissive. Indeed what I have tried to do with Draco is flesh out every lead female character so they are fully rounded characters, not easy when you have so many characters and you're trying to keep the story relatively realistic and not have randomly super powered villains for characters to butt up against. Though I did cheat and have the Joker turn up once (it makes sense in context.).

So I am going to kill off a main character in Draco and it feels like fattening up a christmass bird for slaughter. It feels so wrong and skeevy. Hey lovely character you're brilliant aren't you, you can't do anything, it'd be a real shame if anything were to happen wouldn't it? But it's got to happen. I have to be able to kill off main characters. And when this story ends I will be trying to write seriously without the flaws that tarnish the majority of my work.

I am incidentally at something of a crossroads in an area related to writing. The books I listen to. And in a rather depressing way. I loved Douglas Adams's works and he was dead. I binge listened to the Discworld Series and loved the Long Earth Series then Terry Pratchet died and by the time I started listening to Iain M Banks's Culture books he was already dead. I need a new author to glomp onto. two series I would love to listen to are the Temeriere series by Naomi Novik and the Shadows of the Apt series by Adrian Tchaichovsky but I cant get audiobooks of their series in Britain if at all. so that's a bugger.


Saturday, 23 January 2016

Moffat is leaving Doctor Who

Hiding from the deluge

Hiding From The Deluge

By
Alexander Gordon Jahans

So I'm surviving. The body lives and breathes. I eat, take my meds and ride out the self loathing and bouts of hopelessness. I have identified the cause of my annnoyance reaction issues. I do have a plan and I am ever so slowly working towards it.. 

There is progress.

But....

I am hiding...

You see I can't live for myself. I have nothing to live for except dreams and aspirations. I care about the world instead and I can't help it. At times I laugh and sing or want to cry because it just seems to be happening everywhere, There is one place, no two places, where things are getting better. In the fight against bigotry and ignorance in society and the advancement of technology. Everywhere else things are temporarily very bleak and getting worse all the time.

My Mum, bless her, she knows shit all about what's going on in the world and is busy planning holidays all over the fucking place while telling me that money will solve al;l my problems  and that if I would just claim benefits or get a job everything would be wonderful and when I suggest she looks up the political situation to understand why it isn't so simple she says it doesn't matter as it's not time to vote yet. Oh and she thinks Corbyn is a twit because he wouldn't sing the national anthem.

So... I survive but that's all I do. Survive, hope and lurch slowly towards progress. You see all it takes is for my parents to have one bad day to have the depressingly usual family drama spiral out of control and that's it or it could be. I mean one parent has already tried to cut me off financially and the other tried to evict me. The possibility of a complete stranding financially  and homelessness is a troubling nightmare of mine. And oh yeah. Certain key Matriarchs of the extended family are going through a lot of shit of their own which means the possibility of a very bad day increases and hangs over us like a rather comical anvil.

I don't have a social life, too expensive and impractical, I can't learn to drive because it's too expensive. I don't have the outlets others have. It's made me absurdly thankful for what limited options I do have. I hide away playing games, watching other people play games, listening to podcasts and writing. I stay up late, sleep in late, eat too much and drink more than I ever usually do which is still a damn pittance. And in my very darkest moments I am thankful I have a dagger in my room, it stops me being afraid of all the ways my life could unravel by reminding me I always have a choice.

Ha. You know I used to write to leave a legacy. I saw the cult of Doctor Who and saw in that a kind of immortality, a collective top remember and celebrate you however many years later. Now I write to escape my life, to send a message, to achieve something in this life and to leave something of me behind if that day does come.

In a way I might be getting better but what does it matter when the world around you is so inhospitable. 

I had a spoilt childhood I know that, which sounds an absurdly fucked up thing to say.... All those nightmares, all that pain and loneliness,... How the fuck was I spoilt? I grew up with money instead of love and I honestly wonder if I might have been better off with neither. I can't unmake myself, I can't change the events that formed me but perhaps if in the universe where I grew up in a council house and Mum didn't stay shacked up to that monster for his money I would have been better prepared for this fucked up world and the hardships it forces upon you to survive.

It is a choice though and that's what kind of breaks me more than anything. You see my morality isn't just a set of chains, it's like rights and responsibilities, it includes certain fundamentals regarding free will and fairness. As far as I'm concerned I've paid my dues and suffered enough and I am not about to abase myself and live in pain I would genuinely rather die. But in this world of shit, a world where the Conservative Party cripple the economy and wreck social security and security services, a world of zero hours contracts and unpaid internships, in this world my bluff might well be called. having any sort of life might well mean a life of pain. And Zarquon help me I would still rather die.

So I hide... 

I hide from myself, from my thoughts, from the knowledge of just how much suffering and injustice there is in the world and from the family that... Well that I am surprised hasn't yet left me to die but how much of that is self loathing and paranoia induced I don't know. (Is it paranoia when every member of the family has at one point expressed considerable negativity regarding your need to take up resources?)

I don't know how this ends. I just know how I survive to meet that end.


Saturday, 16 January 2016

At war with myself

Impasse

Impasse

By
Alexander Gordon Jahans

I have a problem. I have lots of problems but one in particular is trapping me.

I have a problem expressing myself.

That's basically what it is. It's not an anger management problem because I know what anger feels like, I've got anger locked down. It's when I'm annoyed that I act up like a dick. I shout and I swear and I put on this great show of "Don't fuck with me!" and it makes things worse. So much worse.

Which is a problem because right now I feel so lost and filled with so much self loathing. Nothing even needs to be particularly wrong, I just remember all the times I fucked up, all the times I made things worse by being a jackass or stupid or making the wrong decision and I beat myself up so much. I constantly berate myself and have an internal monologue about how much of a stupid fuck up I am. There is an added running note of "Wouldn't things be so much better if I were dead?"

Most of the time I can deal with this. Most of the time I can juggle all the reasons I hate myself but sometimes something changes or shifts and the whole structure threatens to collapse on top of me.

This would be hard enough if I lived in a vaccuum but I don't.

The internet is like a lifeline made of nettles. I need it to stay sane but it is the way of the internet to target and attack weakness with extreme prejudice. Oh you're feeling suicidal are you, well expect regular comments about how you should finish the damn job.

And dear god my parents. They mean well and they will keep me alive but it's like only barely alive. And even then expect semi regular arguments about justifying that right to a roof over your head and food in your belly. Oh you want to learn to drive? You want to do D&D? Well that costs money so good luck with that fucko. 

I know I am, despite my many problems, far luckier than so may people. I know that I could be doing me, that I should be. I feel so awful that I can't help people. That I can't make a positive difference.

It's like all that is left of me is the urge to be happy and the need to justify my existence, everything else has been swallowed up by darkness and bullshit. 

I want to help people, I want to make a difference to the world, I want to feel like I am not just a waste of money and resources but christ man you need to submit a cv if you want to volunteer. How the fuck am I supposed to get a job and help people if I can't even give my time away for free?

This is what I really hate about these fucked up genetics. I need regular injections of testosterone to function as a man. I need pills daily to stay alive. Just staying alive I am wasting resources.

I have to volunteer for maybe years before I can get even a shitty minimum wage job. And yeah I know fucking everyone has to do that because the whole damn system is fucked up and so many people are suffering and dying. But how long is it going to be before I feel like I'm not a drain on society? Before I feel like it's okay that I'm alive?

This is why I need to write. It's partly escapism and partly therapy but mostly it's the feeling that writing is the one thing I am a little bit good at and so long as I'm doing that I am justifying my existence and leaving a legacy in case one day I can't juggle the bullshit anymore.

The problem is that I am at an impasse. I can just about hold things together where I am but the structure of self loathing and bullshit I am holding above my head, it could cave in at any moment. I need to make progress towards getting a job so my family will stop leaning on me and I will hate myself that little bit less and I also need to seek help or at least it would probably be a good idea but that would radically alter the dynamic in the household and it would put new pressure on me.

You see normal people never tell the truth, not really, they are always holding something back and they are always expecting dishonesty from everybody else as a result. I don't. I am honest. I do not lie. I do not keep secrets. Christ, I just managed to piss off a friend yesterday because I couldn't even keep a tv show spoiler secret. I am only just starting to come to grips with the fact that nobody in this damn world is as honest as they seem and can really be trusted. 

If I seek help people are going to probe and poke and try to see past the facade they assume I must be presenting and that is just going to upset the fragile stability holding all the bullshit and self loathing in check. Oh yeah and I will get annoyed, raise my voice and make things worse, as I seem to be doing a lot lately.

I don't have an answer. I don't know what to do. I just know that I cannot afford to make a wrong move. So I'm going to keep doing what I am. Keeping myself happy, keeping the darkness from closing in, keeping writing and keeping lurching slowly towards my goals. 

Friday, 15 January 2016

The Phantom Menace is my favourite Star Wars Film

The Phantom Menace is my favourite Star Wars film

By
Alexander Gordon Jahans

I am not joking, I am not trolling. I am not poking the bear and I am not just trying to get a negative reaction. Yes I saw the Phantom Menace as a child but I hated it then, my love comes from watching the film at university directly after the Original Theatrical Cuts of the Original Trilogy and being distinctly underwhelmed to the point of hatred about them. The Phantom Menace made me love Star Wars. I watched it again recently with my sister and if anything I love the film more. 

Right now I feel like shit, it's kind of a malaise I've had for quite a while but today I just want to expound on something I love And this can serve a purpose. I don't expect you to agree and I don't care if you do, I'm an ugly fucker who makes unscripted youtube videos for fun, I get plees that I commit suicide on a regular basis. Your opinion really does not matter to me. I just want to shine a light on something that brings me joy, while kicking the original trilogy in the knackers a bit because that highlights why I find the Phantom Menace so much better.

Motivation for War

The Phantom Menace gives us some! Don't get me wrong revolutions are complex beasties but tax sure dos seem to crop up commonly and it's a hell of a lot more motivation than A New Hope presents us with. 

A New Hope is just: The Empire is bad because they dress in black, have a cool magic guy and have a planet destroying weapon.

Guys I'm not sure if you noticed but so does America, still, in 2016.

Oh but the Empire is led by the Emperor, a cliched mad man who can't possibly hold such power. that's proof the empire are totes evil. 

Then why the flip  are the good guys led by a princess? If the point is that hereditary dictatorships are bad then why is that the case on both good and bad sides? 

The Phantom Menace is the film that gives A New Hope nuance and distinction between good and bad in a way that is not just served up with ham.

Palpatine

Palpatine is the best thing about the Prequels and the worst thing about the Original Trilogy. Here Palpatine is enigmatic and cunning. 

Don't get me wrong this is still a George Lucas film, a man whose dialogue is genuinely atrocious at times and almost brags about using actors performances like special effects. So there are times when Palpatine is either dull or a little too arch and knowing. 

And I swear in Revenge of the Sith his character turns to crud the moment his lightning rebounds on himself and he goes all jellified but do you know why Palpatine becomes crud then? Because that's the Palpatine we have in the original trilogy. 

The original trilogy hampers the Prequels to such a vast extent it almost makes me like JJ Abrahms skewing the preboot films off into a different timeline so they wouldn't have to play twister fitting with preexisting continuity.

Palpatine in the Prequels is the Phantom Menace and deservedly so. Ian McDiarmid deserves a goddam oscar for pulling off such a great performance with the graqnd imbecile auteur pulling the strings. You can really buy that he is the slimy mastermind manipulating people into position and it is glorious. So much better than "Strike me down with all of your anger!"

Young Obi-Wan Kenobi

Don't get me wrong Alec McGuiness is an enigmatic presence but he is literally just there for his paycheck, hated the part and is hampened by cruddy effects and direction. Also because of my hatred for the fact that Luke barely knows this crazy hobo yet he spends the whole series mourning him. never fucking mentions the people who raised him as their own though. how badly did Owen and Beru treat Luke for him to spend more time mourning the child killing planet destroying monster who cut his hand off and froze his best friend in caarbonite than he does his own adoptive mother and father?

Anyway I love Ewan McGregor's Obi-Wan, he is my favourite part of the Prequels and I actually bought the Star Wars audiobook Kenobi just because I wanted more of this Obi-Wan. He really cares and tries so hard, He actually makes that atrocious ending to Revenge of the Sith redeemable and watchable. That is an action scene with 4 characters we know are in A New Hope so there is no tension but Ewan McGregor's Obi Wan is like a fixed point in a world of chaos, a sugar cube in a bowl of porridge..

He's not even that great in the Phantom Menace because of a little thing called character development that the Original Trilogy lacks  but I still love the guy. He is glorious.

Also I want his beard. His beard is awesome.

Liam Fucking Neeson

Like I said we don't get young Obi-Wan at his prime in the Phantom Menace but we do get Raas Al Guul himself Liam Neeson. And bollocks to you Mr Plinket the Phantom Menace has far better characterisation than the Original Trilogy. Yes, Lucas hires people to play the parts like he uses special effects so this is basically just Liam Neeson being his awesome self but the character is written with nuance. Qui-Gon is a bit of a loose cannon, he's like Sam Vimes or Gene Hunt, he's not always strictly in line with the jedi code or morality but he is not the side of good and he will try to stick mostly within the rules. I want his autograph. he is awesome.

Darth Jar Jar

Now, yes racist overtones and interpretations are unforgivable. And he's stupid and unnecessary and somewhat annoying.

However I find C3P0 more annoying and I just can't hate someone who means well, is endearingly stupid and ends up making things better despite his fuckups. The fact that he is manipulated by Palpatine to me is further showing Palpatine's horribleness.

Admittedly Palpatine really doesn't need another example of how evil he is what with manipulating children and having them murdered and starting a massive war just to become emperor and wipe out every last Jedi but it shows another main character and source of innocence corrupted by him.

And I love the Darth Jar Jar idea. The idea that this ridiculously harmless idiot is actually a dangerous trickster pulling strings behind the scenes is something I adore. Also a great part of the Darths And Droids comic strip.

Jake Lloyd's Anakin Skywalker

So, you're a 9 year old kid playing one of the most fearsome badass and intimidating villains of movie history but you're playing him as a little kid before all that stuff that made him awfully awesome happened and you've got to be the plucky child hero who builds robots and pod racers in what little spare time you get as a slave, you're going to have to act through a largely cg scene with a ridiculous helmet on your head that limits your ability to act and George - sees actors as effects - Lucas is overseeing everything?

Jake Lloyd deserves an Oscar for acting so well through the shit. Don't forget far better adult actors delivered shite performances under Lucas but this kid is trying. Which is more than can be said for Natalie Portman. Dude has to say yippie unironically to his slave owner. That's just.... Seriously George, what the fuck were you thinking when you wrote that line?

Young Anakin's dialogue is genuinely atrocious at times but Jake Lloyd genuinely delivers a competent performance all the way through and most importantly, unlike Luke in A New Hope, everything that happens to his character in this film genuinely matters and has a knock on effect in later films.

I am not saying Anakin's fall to the dark side is perfect but compared to the Original Trilogy this is fucking Shakespeare. Actions have consequences. his mother dying genuinely effects his character on an important emotional level. Unlike Luke who goddamn forgets the couple who raised him after one scene. Mark Hamill is a far far far better actor than Hayden Christiansen but the sum total of Luke's arc is "Will I kill my arsehole father to save the galaxy or not?" 

Anakin's is far more complex, nuanced and deep and it is literally fucking shakespeare because it takes the self fulfilling prophecy aspect of Macbeth and combines it with a delightfully scifi yet spiritual take on immaculate conception  to suggest that Anakin is the Anti-christ and his fall to the darkside, cackhandedly delivered though it may be, is marvellously deep and rich. 

A boy fated by prophecy, emboldened to boundary pushing overconfidence, with a mentor who is not quite ready and so won't discipline him against this., finds his mother dead and lashes out in revenge then finds himself pushed into war and an illicit love affair. his emotional peaks and troughs are heightened, his mind already damaged and warped evermore by Palpatine's growing influence until eventually his own paranoia causes him to become that which he fears. For what horrors would you not commit to save and protect those closest to you?

It's a great tragedy and The Phantom Menace is a great beginning to it. 

I want Jake Lloyd, Will Wheaton and Matthew Waterhouse to do a comedy film together, perhaps with Rupert Grint playing a Flashheart type, it would be awesome. With the right script and director anyway.

Darth Maul

Voiced by Peter Serafinowicz and played by Ray Park, this is our Darth Vader and he is fucking brilliant. Even people who hate the film applaud him and the fight scenes. 

I can't actually say much about him because I'm not a very visual person so fight scenes kind of bore me. especially when it's "I hit your sword." "No, I hit your sword"  but just because I'm meh to it and think that bit with the weird force field things removes tension at a crucial point that doesn't mean I'm about to remove the one bit of joy some people find in this film. 

Also I love Peter Serafinowicz. Look Around You is brilliant. Look it up.

Boss Nass

Brian Blessed as King of an amphibious underwater city? I'm sorry but I cannot not love this. Dude , makes Trial of A Timelord great.

Padme Amidala

A character played by two different people, one of whom hated the part and occasionally under more crap than a christmass tree. This is a Queen we see ruling and thinking about the weight of rule and actually doing stuff. And when you watch it a second time you realise even more just how much of an un-Jedi dick Qui-Gon is.  And unlike Clark Kent and Superman you can actually buy that Qui-Gun wouldn't know that Padme was the Queen. 

Don't get me wrong it is a little creepy seeing her and Anakin flirt and what happens to her in later episodes is not great but here she's really quite cool.

 R2D2

The true hero of the Prequels and the Original Trilogy. He gets a fantastic introduction and we see a brilliant meetcute with C3P0 in this film. He's all badass and on a mission to save Naboo and there's young C3P0 all naked and shit. I don't really like the droids appearances in the other films and it does raise massive questions about like slavery and the need for droid rights or a droid uprising but in this film he's badass and cute.

Pod Racing

The first time through I loved it because the Original Trilogy are nonstop main plot and here for the first time we have a nice sub plot to develop character. The second time through this did drag a bit but that was when I realised just how good an actor Jake Lloyd is. This scene is all on him and he has to act with just his mouth and hands and the dude sells it.

This is a brilliant sequence and I want there to be a new Pod Racing game because it's like Wipeout but makes more sense or oooh The Fast And The Furious with Podracers in the Star Wars Universe. Come on Disney, it would be fantastic!

Sod the Sith and the Jedi and galactic struggle, Lets have Hutts and smuggling and pod racing. Ooh we could have Groot and Dom Toretto race together.

The Effects

I will say this now. I prefer television to films. I prefer the narratives and am uncomfortable in public spaces, especially if I'm going to get emotionally invested in something. I grew up with Doctor Who and Star Trek The Next Generation, I love Voyager and Farscape and I watch Let's Plays instead of playing games. I accept CG over model effects that today don't look great and I am sorry guys but the Original Theatrical Cut of the Original Trilogy looks like crud.

I am well aware that in context the Original Trilogy looked amazing but my subjective interpretation has a different context and that is what I judge it against. My words will not undo the Original Trilogy's existence (though George Lucas did give it a try). I merely wish you to understand why I find joy in this thing that you don't.

Conclusion

The Phantom Menace is not the worst film ever made, far from it in fact and yes it has fans. I am hated and reviled by 4chan, ukip supporters, trump supporters and johnlockers (don't ask). I happen to think David Tennant is the worst Doctor and made an hour long video on it. I think I can take whatever sticks and stones the Original Trilogy fanboys have to throw at me. For too long liking the prequels, particularly this film, has been seen as a taboo topic liable to get you hate or at best assumed to be joking. It is time for that galling arrogance to end. The Original Trilogy is a very flawed thing and the Prequels, particularly the Phantom Menace, have a whole lot of good to them despite the bad.

Oh and one more thing.

The Midichlorians

Thank you, George Lucas, for remembering that this is a scifi series and you need to explain away your magic. Didn't go far enough in my opinion but I love the addition all the same. 

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

The Fetishization of Eden

The Fetishization Of Eden

By
Alexander Gordon Jahans

Before we begin I want to make clear that I love technology. I love computers and smartphones and virtual reality. I think that if properly regulated genetically modified foods will be a tremendous resource. I can't wait for cultured meat to be the norm and artificial wombs to be a regular part of society. I want an electric camper van and my dream home will have wind turbines, solar panels and geotermal heating. I am a futurist and I adore the advances our world and society is making towards some kind of Banksian post scarcity utopia. I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords.

Okay that last part was a joke, democracy is something I believe in fundamentally. No matter how tempting it may be to have doombots invade America and take away all their damn guns by force.

I love technology, I think it is a fantastic tool that can be used for good so long as we are smart about it. Yet I love the idea of living in a new Eden. Which is ridiculous.

Assuming for a second that the "creation myth" and story of Edenb is in fact a grand oversimplification of a time when early protohumans were reduced to a drastically small, but not ridiculously so, number of people who had retreated to some island or protected valley to hunt and forage. that god in this story is actually some wise elder who was somehow related to whoever led them to this isolated sanctuary of survival and that the apple of the devil was not a grand eldritch entity being a dictatorial dick but rather an elder cautioning against rash action given their small numbers and the forbidden fruit is actually a metaphor for experimentation and risk being a necessary part of surviving as a species.

Even once you remove the presence of a terrifying controlling eldritch entity and a ridiculous amount of incest Eden itself would not be fucking pleasant. I've been camping in a tent with modern clothes, sleepuing bags, camping beds and food, and even then in such a comparatively luxurious position I can attest that Eden would be fucking cold, fucking boring and covered in dirt and insects. Residents of Eden wouldn't have modern medicine or vaccines or even basic hygiene. they would have to work so hard just to survive and they need to not just survive but bvuild back their species to the point where they can have more free time to spend on thing and learning and improving society. I mean women would not have a pleasant time of it. Every child is needed so no abortions, every woman is a human factory so sorry if you're a lesbian or asexual or just don't feel like it. And oh yeah no pain relief for child birth and you  could very likely die in it.

Eden would be fucking horrible. I know this and I thank fuck that I don't actually think it happened because yikes that's hellish. Yet I lust after a fantasy version of it.

With Minecraft and Skyrim and Oblivion I revisit the primal desire to start anew. The simple joy of picking flowers and building or buying a home. Of taking on the monsters that lurk in the lush paradise.and harvesting everything about them to make your life easier. To just explore and live off the land  with nobody around to get in your way  This idea of taking a broken and rundown place and restoring it not just tor former glory but to a newer greater one.

Listening to the School of Movies podcast one thing that is striking me is this idea of cycles. People have cycles. We are one generation to the next but society doesn't. I mean yes civilisations rise and fall and occasionlly technology is lost and attitudes regress but there is slow evolution across history. The Roman Republic and Roman Empire may fall but the Roman Catholic church still lingers and they had such a great impact on history. From Caeser to Kaiser to Tsar to in one reality Caesar the great ape who overthrew mankind.

With Minecraft I get bored, it becomes to easy so I start again and again until I have mastered this and I play Skyrim for the story, for the hard grind..Then I complete that so I move onto the next game and the next.

What if this lust for Eden has a purpose? What if ball this civilation rise and fall, this cyclical nature of human development is some instinctual need to practise and prepare to conquer other places? Other planets, other universes. Humanity the great plague across the verse, not because we are wretched and war hungry but because we lust after a harsh simplicity we are doomed to never truly enjoy and always change for the betterment and easy of our species. Wanderlust as an ideological bioweapon.

We evolved to survive and thrive now yes some bits might no longer be needed or happened by accident and were just never sufficiently damaging to get bred out of us but what if this fetishization of Eden is as much an adaptation to our surroundings as our teeth and thumbs? Poetry as predatory instinct? I find a macabre beauty in that. It's somehow appropriate that a love of sun and green and construction is as depraved as my want of a submissive female. Equally as they are both things that I think I will always dream of yet never really achieve.

Here's to the future: To the wonders and comforts of technology and dreams of a lush verdant paradise.

Monday, 11 January 2016

The Fast and the Furious Review

Wake up and smell the duty

Wake Up And Smell The Duty

An autoexposiprose

By
Alexander Gordon Jahans


A young man sits at his computer in a digital coccoon.

“Psst!” says an older man. “What are you doing?”

“Surviving.” says the young man glibly as he saves Oblivion, closes it down and pauses the School of Movies Podcast, removes his headphones and turns to look at the angel at his shoulder. “Who are you?”

The tall bearded man in a three piece suit says “I am Alex, the person you could be if only you would get off your damn arse and do something.”

“Why?” asks the younger man. “Every time I try I get knocked down. I am tired of getting up just to fall back down.”

“Then kill yourself.” says the older man.

“Oh fuck off!” says the younger man, putting his headphones back on.

“Then what are you? If you won’t die and you won’t live, what are you?” asks the older man.

Then he hears the music playing. It’s Imagine Dragons “A monster. A monster. I’ve turned into a monster.”

The older man shakes his head “No. No, I don’t believe it. Alexander Gordon Jahans is an idiot and a fuckup but never that, not ever.”

Then the Cranberries plays “Zombie! Zombie! Zombie!”

That’s when the older man gets it and he sighs. “You can’t kill yourself because you feel dead already.”

He grabs the dagger from the stand, pulls back the sheeth and plunges it into the back of his younger self.

*

Yonkers. The Army is taking back America from the zombies. Prety little headshots from snipers in rows as the zombies surge over the corpses of their brethren, only to have a cherry pie blow their brains out and make their eyes glopw red the moment before they drop.

Alex stares at the devastation in disbelief. “This is horrible.”

“This is hope.” says Alexander Gordon Jahans, dressed in his customary make tea not war tshirt, lounge trousers, slipon sneakers and dressing gown. “This is winning.”

“Ah...” says Alex as he looks to his younger self with nervous apprehension.

“I have had a year of hope and victory only to have it dashed every single time!” says Alexander Gordon Jahans as he advances on his older self, voice rising steadily, with increasing anger and ferocity. “I have had the people I am supposed to love and trust betray and hurt me time and time again! Love is a bitter joke! I can’t trust anyone or anything! I can’t even trust my body, my mind or my morals because right now I am a broken man who should be dead! Surviving is all I can do and I am just waiting to fail at that too!”

Alex nods “Oh... Oh. Oh, okay. Lets show you what you can have then.”

Alex charges at his younger self, they barrel through the front lines.

Bang!

Bang!

Their heads explode.

*

Birmingham. A small flat with an electric campervan parked up front.

Alexander Gordon Jahans starts admiring it.

Alex nods approvingly then pulls him aside with a hissed “Sh!” as they watch a thirty 5 year old version of Alex approach the campervan with a blonde woman. They get in and drive away.

Alexander Gordon Jahans watches the campervan drive off with awe.

Then he hears a Crack! as Alex busts the front door open.

“People closer to the female end of the gender spectrum first.” says Alex with a wave to the open doorway.

Alexander Gordon Jahans sneers and enters then says “Aren’t you supposed to be past all that business?”

“Yeah, well the leftwing taboo breakers of the younger generations are doomed to be the comparatively right wing bigots future generations have to fight against.” says Alex “And yeah, because I know you’re thinking it, she is submissive.”

Alexander Gordon Jahans rolls his eyes “See this is why i get the regular plees that I kill myself.”

Alex and Alexander stroll through into the living room.

The first thing that’s noticable is the VR headset beside the large 4k TV. Then Alex spots a book on a shelf:

Paragon of Virtue
A Lucy Danse Stoy
By
Alexander Gordon Jahans

“You have got to be fucking kidding me!?” cries Alexander.

Alex smirks “You wrote forty five thousand words on a story about tentacled aliens eating people alive without having any real plan. This is totally possible. All of this is.”

“But just one possible future, right?” says Alexander “I could still fuck this all up.”

“Oh yeah.” says Alex “You are the king of fucking up but the point is that you can achieve your dreams. You can have the nice house, the fancy tech, the novel series and the submissive woman. Heck you can even still be a script writer if you like. It’s all sstill out there waiting for you.”

Alexander shakes his head and looks away. “I don’t deserve this. I don’t deserve any of this.”

“You will.” says Alex.

Alexander glares at him. “What do you mean?”

“Do you think this is going to be easy?” says Alex “You are going to have to pull yourself up by your bootstraps.”

“I don’t have boot straps, I wear slipon shoes.” says Alexander.

Alex rolls his eyes and stares at him. “The point is that this isn’t going to be a fucking cake walk. You are going to have to do volunteering while you claim jobseeker allowance to get the money to do the preliminary TEFL course and begin your driving lessons. You are going to have to study hard then do an internship in a foreign country with a political regime that makes fucking America look progressive. Learning as you teach and living on a fucking pittance with draconian internet censorship and big brother watching your every move and then when you return home it’s not like you’ll have a magic fucking bullet to solve all your problems. Britain is still going to be slow dry fucked by the tories, living is going to be tough and the frustration that your problems aren’t magically solved will only build but you will have a string to your bow. you can learn to drive, save up for a car, look for a job in Birmingham, look for a house and in time maybe get a mortgage or at least save yup for a campervan.”

Alexander sighs and walks away “I can’t deal with this. I can’t. I just can’t.”

He enters into the kitchen and sees gleaming minimalist worktops.

He grabs a large carving knife from a knife rackgrabs it between both hnds and holds it over his chest.

Alexander says at the knife and licks his lips, he draws back the knife and strikes. He stops and groans.

“You can’t do it can you?” says Alex from the doorway

Alexander starts crying “No, come on! I can do this!”

He draws back the knife again then stops. “Shit!”

“Not even in a dream of your future, you can’t do it.” says Alex.

Alexander sghakes his head and places the knife aside. “I should be dead but goddamn it. I want to live.”

Alex places the knife back in the rack then grabs his younger self by the shoulders. “It’s going to be tough but you can do it. you have a future. It may take time and there may be set backs but you can do this. You are Alexander Gordon Jahans, the Anti-Critic, the creator of the Farsh-nuke and a butterfly helping to fan the flames of political change. You can do this.”

Alex head butts his younger self.

*

Alexander wakes up in the ocean as a Great White Shark starts circling. He laughs bitterly “Of course!”

The dream. The nightmare. Always and forever, the shark waiting to get him. The nightmare that taught him suicide was the only answer.

The shark was getting closer now. “So what am I supposed to do, eh!? What great lesson am I supposed to learn!?”

Alexander ducked his head under water, there were two of them now. Not. Good.

Clearly this was about revisiting the dream, about taking control where there had been none, about choosing life over death but what was the answer?

Then it hit him, like a bolt from the blue. An iphone, the latest model, water proof with bvouancy to float on top of the water. he grabbed it. there was a signal. no credit but an emergency call option.

Trust.

Trust and faith was the answer.

He pressed the call button and explained his situation at the other end of the line.

Now there were three sharks.

Shit. Shit. Shit.

As the sharks approached Alexander closed his eyes and spread his arms outwide. He wouldn’t struggle but he wouldn’t make it easy either. There was still hope.

Then he heard the sound of propeller blades and he was lifted up in a cradle to safety.

“I’m not dead.” said Alexander in disbelief.

“No.” said Alex “And trust is always better than certain death. Remember that.”

*

Alexander blinked. He was back in his digital coccoon. Maybe, maybe volunteering wasn’t so impossible after all...












Sunday, 10 January 2016

Self Doubt

Self Doubt

In which I try to quantify the ways in which I hate myself

By
Alexander Gordon Jahans

I am a very self loathing individual but that hatred comes in a few flavours: 


There is most obviously the echo of the hatred the world gives me, we'll call this hatred The Bully because this is where it stems from but it could just as easily be called The Troll, The UKIPer or even The Radical Feminist. though that last one can blur with others. 

Then there is the legitimate self loathing. The genuine irrational disgust with the self. We'll call this The Nemesis. This is the part of me that wants me broken because I deserve it. The voice that makes dreams of sharks, dying fish and my father being disgusted with me preferable to laying awake at night. There is the disgust with my sexuality and sexual interests, the disgust with my looks, the certainty that I am some great monster, that I'm pathetic, that I'm an imbecile. The Nemesis is my very real, very unrelated to the truth, very constant and very certain, self loathing.

Then there is the Self Doubt. We'll call this The Salmon. This is probably the healthy part of my self loathing, the bit I should have and struggle with to be a normal individual. This is what this blog post will be about,

Finally there is the Death Seeker. The Death Seeker isn't a particularly complicated thing, it's just a feeling that I'm a burden to everyone, I'm not doing any good and I should really just be dead already. It's not really worth examination, it's just sort of there and has been there for at most a year at the time of writing but it's getting easier and easier to bare its weight.


So lets talk about the Salmon:

I want to be a good man. I want to first do no harm and then to help others. Call it raised on star trek, call it knowing what a bully is and deciding not to be that, hell call it a reaction to The Nemesis, in that if I'm going to believe I'm a monster then I need to know that I'm not. Whatever. I want to be a good man but I doubt if I am.one I specifically doubt if I am a feminist.

Okay, so I write from a position of lust and occasionally anger. I like seeing sweet submissive women most crucially but in general I'm interested in exploring power imbalanced relationships in fiction with all the possibilities for weirdness scifi and fantasy presents. from an objective stand point yeah this may be schlocky and pulpy and say things about me as a person but as fetishes go this stuff is pretty tame, even the Contravoxai Survivor and there the entire point is that it is monstrous.

Do you see the problem? I want to make the world a better place, I want to smash the patriarchy, I don't want to be part of the problem. I want to write well written nuanced female characters, But I also want to write submissive women in power imbalanced relationships only possible because of impossible fantastical or scifi elements. I want to have my cake and eat it too. I really don't knowif I have hat right.

I doubt what I'm writing is good. I doubt whether I'm representative enough and I constantly have this pull between fear that I've not done enough to represent people and that if I try I'll fuck it up so bad. I mean race is a big issue or at least I worry that it is. 

The first aspect is that I don't like descriptions, as a reader or a writer, I am far more worried about the pacing and the action and letting you see the world how you want it than I am stopping the story to show you something in detail with words, the idea just bores me to tears. So I only mention something where it's relevant..; So race is only mentioned when someone isn't white British or white American because race only matters for representation but that means white British or white American is the default race/ethnicity and culture and so therefore I need to mention race and ethnicity all the damn time so you don't notice it. But if it's not important and characters can be of any race why not just leave all racial descriptors out of it and let others interpret the characters how they please?

The second aspect is the trip effect. The privilege of writing a cis straight white male British or American character is that they can be anything good or bad. You write a gay character the wrong way or woman the wrong way or a trans or black character the wrong way and through your ignorance you could be continuing the persecution of a societal underdog. An example: It is a fact within my multiverse that sentient people sold and kept as pets and toys because it's just that kind of place. I cannot bring myself to write black characters into that kind of situation. Even though the situations may be radically different to the racially motivated slavery of the not so distant past. I just can't do it. It brings a cultural context that makes it unpleasant to write.

The third aspect is that there may be some actual bias towards writing characters who are white, again probably because I'd rather not represent people than try and fail, but it's there and the white characters do tend to out number the non-white characters and that doubt only further exacerbates how I feel about the other stuff.

I don#'t really have a conclusion for this because my laptop crashed due to running out of memory but I guess that's appropriate a breakdown of my doubt ends uncertainly.



Screw the icebergs of discontent

Thursday, 7 January 2016

The School of Movies Podcast is brilliant

The Path Ahead

The Path Ahead

By
Alexander Gordon Jahans

The shark and the Doctor. The real monster of my nightmares wandering the ocean and never stopping, just surviving. The fictitious hero of my dreams wandering time and space smiling despite the sadness inside and never stopping because if he does the amount of lost friends would overwhelm him.

I'm not very good at picking rolemodels am I? Though admittedly I didn't get much choice in having the shark forced into my subconscious,

I'm not a planner, I could never be a chess master like my favourite Doctor. I'm a zombie lurching steadily towards my goals. I just uploaded a podcast praising the School of Movies Podcast and in that I noted my propensity to look back on the media I enjoy and go "Oh yeah, that makes sense." Well, I've just realised why I stopped listening to Kasabian and the Kaiser Chiefs and started listening to Snow Patrol.

I've been writing about families for a while but under the guise of my more neanderthalic tendencies, with the strange families being a kind of thematic reward. Well as logic evolves in the multiverse so does my understanding of love and family. The fact that I was damn near evicted at christmass by my mother pretty much undercuts why.

I have nothing left. Nothing. I just need to go, need to hide away from the world, be as hermit, fuck off for a bit, kill myself. Nothing major. I just need to go, somehow, some way because this situation isn't working and despite wanting to live now more than anything I don't feel I can trust anyone anymore. How can I? How can I?

I just had Skyrim and my computer and this room left. Then I finished Skyrim and moved over to my laptop because I was going to go off on some TEFL internship to fuck knows where. the night I closed down my desktop for what may be the last time I listened to the School of Movies Podcast review Mass Effect 3 and last element discussed was the Citadel DLC where effectively the player says goodbye to this family of characters one last time. The next day I felt majorly crap and I did not know why.

Then I got to a part of my writing in this latest story (Draco) and I found myself writing this strange and dysfunctional family unit of characters and I was absolutely loving it but kind of missed the point. Then today I find myself needing to communicate how I feel pulled towards a schism in the multiverse. That against the overriding shit of the world my brain could veer left into into hope, selflessness, spirituality and community or it could veer right into self focused pragmatism and satisfaction chasing. Still didn't quite get it. And then I listened to the School of Movies podcast review Pacific Rim and finally, finally, it slotted into place.

I am not a techno hermit, I'm an introvert in want of a place where I belong because I sure as shit don't belong in Woking. And the thing is that I am not alone. It just so happens that all my friends are also nowhere fucking near Woking. I don't miss Wolverhampton, I miss the family I had there. I miss the friends who would invite me out to parties no matter how many times I made a fool of myself.

Family is and has always been very important to me, I just didn't notice it because reality sucks. Star Trek Voyager, Farscape, the Hitchhiker's Guide to the galaxy, Arrow, the Flash, fricking Jaws, they all feature families. Even Doctor Who before Moffat killed everyone off.

It's not about the heroes for me anymore when I write the characters, instead it's about how they relate to one another. I'm not resolved yet but I now know where I am headed. Home, the long way round 

Obama has finally put in place a little bit of gun control legislation

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

2016 Thou Art Bleak

2016 Thou Art Bleak

By
Alexander Gordon Jahans


This is not going to be a post about the big scary problems. This isn't going to spend time focusing on how the north pole is currently hotter than texas, how right wing fuckwits in America have taken over part of Oregon while waving around those guns they're so darn protective of, nor is this going to be about Saudi Arabia executing 47 people in one day and still heading up the United Nations Human Rights Council. no, this is going to be about how it feels to be one of the luckier ones in Britain.

Read this first, it's a rather sobering explanation of the damaging ways the lucky try to stave off ennui and depression.
https://roarmag.org/essays/london-middle-class-culture-poverty/

Why is this important though? Why give a shit how the proverbial winners feel about the shit of the world? Because utilitarian morality requires ensuring that all variable are accounted for. War is Amoral because even the victors are scarred for example, though even then the collective suffering of victory can be far less than the collective suffering of failure to act and in such instances war is moral. So the price of victory matters, even in an unfair society.

I feel like a vampire -

Okay, I realise that may sound like it comes out of nowhere but I'm not going to pretend to be some objective news source. I can only give my subjective experience and opinion by which you may better inform yourself and I am a florid self loathing bugger, so as I was saying -

I feel like a vampire. Society needs consumers. So many jobs exist because of convincing people to buy shit they don't need. I mean this is a factor people don't consider when they talk about technology taking away our jobs. Yes new technology creates new job opportunities but how many of those jobs are actually needed for society to function? I  mean love videogames, movies, tv and books but I feel like at this point the industries could shut down and carry on with independent crowd funded or self funded projects and we'd basically be good for a while. By not consuming I am not adding to the system, I am not sustaining the great machine that keeps so many people fed. 

How is it that I don't consume though? Well because somewhere along the way the progamming by the media stopped working. I don't group think, I don't lust after the latest must have bullshit. I don't need anything except a roof over my head, one meal a day, sandwiches, lemonade, the internet and what I already have. Sure someday I will need a new computer and a new phone but not for a good five or ten years. There are things I would like but they aren't one off purchases they're subscriptions. Netflix, Audible, patreon for my favourite people but that's it. I am immune to shopping, even hungry and tired, I know my limits, I know what does me. The excitement is gone.

I call myself a regulated capitalist because honestly I think that capitalism, when it is made to work by strong regulation and competition with the state can be fantastic but that's intellectually. The love is gone, it holds no sway over me. It's just annoying. Like youtube trolls. Oh you think I should kill myself and you hate me and you're saying slurs I'm not even sick enough to understand? Well stop wasting your time and focus on what you love in life, there's an infinite of entertainment out there forget about me. I just don't care any more.

I am not motivated by money any more because it bores me. Unless it can buy me a house or a car, it's just something to be slowly used up on staying alive. Yet I'm also not motivated by fear any more. I'm not stupid and I want to live a good life but death doesn't scare me any more and so neither does my own suffering. 

Yet I am not without motivation, if anything I am free to be motivated by the purest of motivations, love, lust, the desire to contridute to society, to help people and to do the things I find fun but test me and make the must of my abilities. In the land of the enslaved, I am free. Free to care and free to be angry and distressed by the suffering of others I can not stop.

My friends and family, people I genuinely care about, say I should stop caring about other people for my own sanity except that's the catch.

I am a waste of space, a waste of food and carbon and money. I am a waste of stress on those who support me, an unnecessary burden. This is intellectually speaking, a fact. It is also a fact that killing myself to leave my mother more money to spend on holidays would be a vastly stupid act that fails to take into account the hearts and minds who care enough to support me so don't worry. I am not about to kill myself. I am finally starting to like my life, I am finally starting to understand myself. I am not going to kill myself out of some misguided sense of pragmatic morality. The point of this observation is that I would struggle to live for the sake of myself alone. I want to help people, I need to help people. Caring may not be an advantage but if I didn't care, if I din;t try to make things better for others then there would be no point in my existence.

I have one hope that is not some pie in the sky thing. My writing. I am getting better all the time and I am creating things that can I hope help people. In this time of darkness we need fluffiness and light, we need stories to gladen the heart and sharpen the mind. This is what I hope mine can be. One day I may even feel confident enough to charge money for them. Perhaps with a warning of the front: Here Be Typos. 

Roll on the post scarcity society. Roll on the socialist revolution. Roll on the Culture. Roll on the generations so enlightened that I will be an example of the kind of rightwing fuckwits they complain about.

Incidentally I genuinely have no idea if I can get a job I can reasonably do, the job market sickens me and I could quite easily meet some grizzly end still but that's okay, I've got my writing and I've got my podcasts, and I've got my friends. Hope its a good death when it comes but late on eh?

The phantom menace review take two

Friday, 1 January 2016

Explaining why I write the weird stuff

New Year New Me

New Year New Me

By
Alexander Gordon Jahans


A Top Secret Interrogation Facility In An Undisclosed Location

A tall man with a with a thick black comma of hair over his a left eye, a three piece suit and a tie tied in a windsor knot surveys a set of torture equipment laid out on trays before a chair with straps as a young man in lounge trousers and a tshirt is dragged in by armed guards.

The tall man’s eyes glow green as he weighs a truncheon in his hands. “This can all Alex, you’ve just got to tell us who you are.”

The young man is strapped into the chair, his eyes struggling to focus, he looks like he hasn’t slept in days. “I don’t know. I keep telling you, I don’t know.”

The tall man whacks the young man about the facde with the truncheon. “No, Alex, wrong answer, try again.”

The young man glares up at his interrogator. “Farsh-nuke, I don’t know. I just don’t know. I’m not lying you know I don’t lie.”

The tall man nods then picks up what looks like a small hammer from a tray “I understand that. You really believe you don’t know and that’s why I’m going to encourage you to pick something.”

The tall man lightly taps the hammer against the left thumb of the young man.

The young man screams then whimpers panting.

“Whoopsie, broken.” says the tall man nonchalantly then he strokes one of the young man’s fingers with his hammer ands says “Now, Alex, lets try this again: Who are you?”

*

London, 2020.

A crowd of journalists and onlookers have gathered to watch as a group of young writers and activists make an impromptu press conference about the success of their latest charity fundraiser.

A lone man in a shabby suit watches from the shadows to make sure his name isn’t mentioned then he disappears into the crowds, moving among them but apart from them.

*

A Top Secret Interrogation Facility In An Undisclosed Location

The young man’s fingers and thumbs have all been broken.

“That’s more like it.” says the tall man.

“Just one possible future.” says the young man between tears “A life of loneliness and selfless devotion to the causes of feminism, environmentalism and regulated capitalism.”

“A martyr?” says the tall man with a wry smile. “How very you?”

The young man shakes his head then spits blood “A manipulator. A creature of shadow. No life, no truth, just justice.”

The tall man’s face falls “You, amoral but driven by justice? Perish the thought? And the other futures?”

*

Cardiff, 2020

A campervan pulls up in a 24 hour parking spot and a tall well built man in jeans and a tshirt gets out. He heads to a pub.

At the pub he spots a blonde woman by herself and heads over to talk to her.

*


A Top Secret Interrogation Facility In An Undisclosed Location

The tall man is laughing.

The young man rolls is eyes and grimaces “Yeah, I know it’s not likely but it’s not impossible and you can see why I might be pulled in that direction.”

The tall man tried to compose himself, then bursts out laughing again. “You? Girl in every port.”

“Not necessarily...” says the young man “Just trying. An idiot passing through, trying his luck.”

“And you’d what? Support yourself by freelance writing work?” says the tall man with a smirk.

The young man shrugs “It’s a possibility.”

“Okay, give me a realistic possibility.” says the tall man.

*

Birmingham, 2020.

A slightly rotund man in a mismatched suit leaves the front door of a modest apartment then heads to a local pub. Waiting there for him are a bunch of people sitting round a table, they hand him a crabbies and he pulls out his character sheet. A night of tabletop roleplaying begins.

*

A Top Secret Interrogation Facility In An Undisclosed Location

“Birmingham?” says the tall man with a smirk. “I know I asked for realism but Birmingham?”

“There’s a lot of good roleplaying groups round there and a huge amount of shops, even a branch of the BBC, if it still exists by 2020.” says the young man with a shrug “Some of my best friends live around there and it should be relatively cheap given how far north of the tory safe seats it is.”

“Alright” says the tall man “But what about you? Not your lifestyle, not your location. What about the man you’ll be? So far I’ve seen the lone chessmaster, the travelling lover and the surviving nerd. Anything you’re not telling me?”


*

Woking, 2020

A tall man in a black suit towers over a short woman and screams at the top of his lungs.

*

A Top Secret Interrogation Facility In An Undisclosed Location


“Nope.” says the young man. “Those are the only three possible futures: The chess master, the Casanova and the Nerd.”

The tall man studies the young man curiously then asks “Are you lying?”

The young man swallows then sighs “Well I suppose there is the future where I actually find myself a rich submissive willing to support me if I dominate them?”

“Three possible futures.” agrees the tall man “So which one are you going to pick?”

“I don’t know.” says the young man.

The tall man nods thoughtfully then picks up a sledgehammer and slams it between the young man’s legs.

The young man cries out in agony.

The tall man smashes the sledge hammer down on the young man’s left knee and says “Alex, I can do this every day until you tell me an answer.”

The tall man smashes the sledge hammer down on the young man’s right knee then kneels down before the young man and rests his chin on the shaft of the sledge hammer as he gazes into the young man’s eyes.

The young man is howling with agony,

The tall man tutts “Just give me an answer.”

The young man pants, staring into the tall man’s green eyes. He swallows “Fine. You want an answer. All 3. Get to Birmingham, get a campervan and a steady stream of online jobs, go travelling then plan the great works.”

“See what a little motivation can do to stimulate the mind?” says the tall man with a warm smile.

The young man glares at him “You bastard!”

The tall man nods and pats the young man on the head. “Alex, I’m your subconscious, not your friend. I keep you alive and get you moving when you’re lost staring into the abyss. Maybe we can blend in a fourth future and find you a nice dom to look after your sorr arse.”

“Oh fuck you...” says the young man.

The tall man rises to his feet, slinging the sledgehammer casually about his neck and hanging his arms over it. “Free him. Alexander Gordon Jahans has a future after all.”

The guards start undoing the young man’s straps.

“Oh, you know what? Lets be kind.” says the tall man “Have him finish that dragon story off his first. Let him think of heroes and pretty girls before the grind begins.”

The guards nod and carry the young man from the room.

The tall man smiles then discards the sledge hammer and strolls out of the interrogation room singing tunelessly “Take my love, take my land, take me where I cannot stand, I don’t care, I’m still free...”