Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Idiosyncratic people

It was a very refreshing experience to be at the intensive car unit and the psychiatric ward because I was exposed to a wide array of idiosyncratic people. Before I was in mental hospitals I was quite misanthropic, but the experience of coming across these type of people altered that viewpoint. After I left the hospitals, however, I was disappointed by how dull the rest of the populace were. I haven't searched that widely for different people, but I've been put off by the experiences (on the surface, admittedly) of the people I've met during the post-psychosis era. This blog entry, though, is devoted to the the interesting - the idiosyncratic - people I encountered during my time in the hospitals. When writing fiction I admit that I'm absolute shite when it comes to characterisation, and this ineptitude may surface in this blog post.

Before entering the main section of the intensive care unit in Derby I was in a 'de-escalation' room, where I was kept in a hall with two rooms for 3 days. One of the first people I saw when I got to the 'main section' was this huge, obese, black man called Dennis. He was so big that he even had his own chair allocated to him. He always stank of shit and was, of course, a complete loony. He kept watching 'The Matrix' again and again, and I was very intimidated by him. He couldn't speak clearly, so everything he said was muffled. He kept shouting out at me incomprehensible things. He had an aura of 'wisdom' about him, and everyone saw him as some sort of guru/wisdom man. I remember that he saw me writing some stuff on the paper and he said: "Now, Simon! What do you want to be? You don't know whether you want to be a poet, or a composer, or a writer. What do you want to be?" I sat there and looked at him, defeated (subsequently, I have chosen to become solely prose writer :) ). On an other occasion, he burst out with "Simon, at what age does a boy become a man?" I relentlessly answered with numerous ages, but he insistently retorted "No, you're guessing! At what age does a boy become a man?" Another time the nurses at the unit kept telling me "go sit on Dennis' lap and talk to him. You are an intellectual lad, so if this is the case, you will go over there to talk to him." But I replied with "but he's going to rape me - I read it in a book!" which they answered with "you read the wrong book - go talk to him." I didn't go to sit on his lap eventually. He also gave me a Christina Aguilera CD as some sort of lesson, and said something about it I can't remember. Once I was in the part of the unit the nurses stay in, and Dennis came over and kept shouting out, tormenting and scaring the living fuck out of me. He disappeared from the unit for a while, and when he came back he was really subdued and quiet - he never said a thing. It was a complete contrast to his usual self.

During the beginning of my stay in the intensive care unit, there was a person my age named Hardeep. He never said a thing, and never fully acknowledged what I said to him. I later learned that he was bi-polar. I kept thinking that I could help him, and kept saying in vain "Hardeep, what's wrong?" One day, though, he came over my room and said "can I read your writing?" (My parents had brought some of my writing to me). He took it to his own room, and I joined him later. He read aloud a segment of 'Vampire Woman' and he was in fits of laughter! I learned that he had a very rich grandfather, and that he was kicked out of school at the age of 15. His life was a mess - just like mine! He said right there and then "I'll get you published!" Later, he went through a variety of phases and moods and he was very unpredictable. You never knew what he'd do next. We sometimes conversed, and he revealed himself to be astute. Other times (most of the time, actually) he'd stare into space and not acknowledge what you said. Or he'd mock me by quoting phrases I'd screamed out before when I was in the 'de-escalation room. He'd say, with a mischievous grin on his face, "mummy, mummy, help me I'm lost", (and most of the time)"nooooo! noooo! help me!!" and "I'm not gay, I just like men!" Unfortunately, when I left the hospital I lost contact with him. I left him my mobile phone number, but the phone got stolen. I also had the intensive care unit's number which I coul've rung but never got round to doing. All this is a shame because here I could have created a very strong friendship, and it would have been great to see how he developed later and overcome his illness.

I remember that during my episode, I arrived to the hospital and entered a door when a really fat, ugly girl screamed out "HES MY BOYFRIEND". Later, however,I left a hospital in Derby and I was allocated a room in Chesterfield hospital. This girl was on my ward, and when she saw me she approached me. Her name was Liah. She had a speech impediment, so I couldn't understand half of what she said. She kept approaching me incessantly. Whenever my parents came to the hospital she'd scream out "GIV ME UR NUMBER!!!!" She even whispered to my father "I love Simon." She later whishpered "I FANCY U". She was very fucked up indeed. On another occasion I was watching a football match and she asked me "SIMON WILL U GO OUT WID ME", to which I replied "go hassle someone else; leave me alone." She used to listen to commercial pop music, and I remember that she was once sat down with a member of staff and she couldn't answer mathematical questions such as "what's 23 - 3". She used to come into my room and disrupt my reading. When I was about to leave the hospital I saw her screaming; she was deeply perturbed.

While I was in PICU in Derby, there was this bald man who couldn't walk properly and couldn't make himself clear because he had many, many teeth missing. He kept limping and would mumble words. I had a conversation with him while he played snooker with Hardeep, and he told me that he'd had a bad experiences with drugs. He told me that he would die in unit, and that he'd been in it for about 3 years. I remeber him saying "you're thinking too much, Simon. You should just relax and let all the medication do its work."

When I first got out of the de-escalation room, I was welcomed by intolerably irritating giant. There was this incredibly tall man with a beard and a highlt irritating voice. He was highly idiosyncratic; his name was Trevor. He would incessantly repeat phrases such "DIRT DEN STRIKES AGAIN" and "peeeed panties". He wasn't a patient, he was a worker there! He was like a gentle giant, really.... Very amiable and caring. I remeber that when he found out I was leaving he had tears in his eyes. Words can't describe such an idiosyncratic person such as him.

After I left the intensive care unit, I was placed in a hospital ward in Derby because I was waiting for a room in Chesterfield. I got up very early in the morning and I saw this Pakistani man who introduced himself as Prepal. He was always hearing music, and he was always very friendly to me. When I asked him how he got here, he said "I tried to kill my wife." The most threatening and downright scariest experience with him was when I was trying to read Empire of the Sun by Ballard but couldn't as I was prevented by the music from his room. He whias standing outside it, and as I asked him whether he could turn it down he muttered "go back to your fucking room." He consequently pushed me to the room where I went flying away.

The last person I'm about to describe is as equally disturibing as Prepal. This was Owen, and he was an ageing old man who was bald and wore glasses. He kept going up to me and said "you're a big man now". Later, while we queing up to get some food, he grabbed my buttocks. All the nurses yelled out and accused him. He later defended himself with "I didn't grab Simon's bum." He was a disoriented old man...

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There are many other people I encountered, but I shall put them aside for now. You will get to read about them in the forthcoming novel I will write in a few years' time. This novel will be an autobiographical account of my time in the mental hospitals.

Sunday, 26 April 2009

My favourite places on earth

There are many places - apart from my own bedroom - where I feel secure, exhilirated and happy. These places (as I have repeatedly stressed on previous blog posts) are often parks, woods and countrysides. These places are spectacular as they disorientate your state of mind; they make you forget about time. Above all else, they are places which are distinctly different from urban life. These places provide an escape from the mundane and an entrance to the exciting,surreal and other-worldly. These are my favourite places on earth.

There is a wonderful valley near me, and I'm practically the only person who ever goes there. There are many fields and woods all over it, interwoven by many paths. This valley is so big that there are places that I haven't had chance to visit before; it is an inspiration for a short story which I'm currently writing at the moment. The culmination of this valley is an enourmous pond, and it is beautiful. I often camp out in this valley for a few days, armed with books, a sleeping bag, toilet paper, warmth and illumination.

'Graves park' is an enourmous park, and I often sit at the benches scattered around all of it. Many of my 'extraodinary reading experiences' occur here. I buy a coffee from the shop there, and I proceed to walk along the park and admire the ponds and the animals they keep there.

Rare and Racy is a spectacular book/music shop. I always find classics/favourites here as well as books which I can't find anywhere. I found a book by James Purdy here, which I couldn't even find on the internet! They are also the only place in Sheffield which stocks Tzadik CDs, and they are one of the few shops which have a whole section devoted to Avant/garde experimental music. I buy CDs of music I already love and adore as well as disovering completely, utterly obscure gems which I take a chance on and am surprised and satisfied with.

Above the library in Sheffield city centre there is a wonferful museum of paintings... I'm often the only person there... They have a very varied seletion of paintings based around many themes. The best part of it, however, is a cafe at the back of the museum, and it's completely hidden!... A remote edge! I drink a coffee here every Monday.

Chesterfield Library is a place where I often go to in order to do a lot of creative writing. While I write (and read) here I come across many eccentric people who read...

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Soon you will get to see many of these woods/parks/countrysides as I will start a monthly regular entitled 'The Remote Edges'. Here I will attempt to assemble a collection of all the remote edges (woods/countrysides etc.) around Dronfield - a very ambitious project! This regular will appear on the second day of every month on my blog! Here you will get a chance to see some of my favourite places on earth..

Friday, 24 April 2009

Extraordinary reading experiences

My main passion, I think, is literature. This passion is currently being hindered by the obligation of having to attend college. The moment when I'm happiest is probably while being in the process of reading a book (preferably in total, complete silence). Because I am fond of reading so much, there have been experiences which have been so powerful that they stick out in my mind as monumental events in my life that can't possibily be surpassed by anything else. These 'monumental events' often take place in woods, parks and countrysides. These are extraordinary reading experiences.

There is a wonderful valley near me, and no-one - apart from me - ever goes there. There are some woods at the beginning of it, and I plunged into them for the first time around (if my hazy memory is correct) February 2007. This was a pivotal moment as it is when I first discovered Borges. I remember discovering this lake which was hidden, and it required a vast amount of walking to find it. I never read any Borges before, but I was instantly captivated by the highly intoxicating and wonderfully strange Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis, Tertius from Ficciones. I remember that it got dark, and I was so disappointed that I couldn't keep reading. What's worse is that I'd never been in this valley before, and I was lost in complete utter darkness. I ran over several fields and roads, and I eventually found myself on the main road... The funny thing is that I never found that lake again.

Another mesmerising Borgesian experience was when I first read The Aleph. I read it on a patch of grass opposite a busy road, and was hidden by some bushes. It was late at night - possibly 11:00 PM. The short story concerns how a character sees infinity in a small sphere, and reading the story in itself was just like looking at the spehre... As I walked away from this area I had the same sensation and fear that I'd eventually lose my rememberance of the experience... I experienced everything... As I walked away into the streets of Dronfield some chavs saw me and yelled out "GET A HAIRCUT U TRAMP"... It was as if they were part of everything I'd seen in The Aleph.

Around a period of time I was reading a lot in various park benches. In graves park I had fantastic memories of Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment. In the local woods I also read it at a bench there... In that very bench, illuminated by my father's laptop, I read 100 pages of this novel all throughout the night... Before I read this novel I read Joyce's A portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and I remember a conversation the character Dedalus has with a friend regarding the necessity of being an artist... I read it on a bench opposite a wonderful pond which is in 'Unstone Line'... It's a place that separates some woods from a countryside, and it has many benches....

More recently I was attempting to finish Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow, but couldn't as I was prevented by lawnmowers and various gardening equipment from the neighbours. This prompted me to run towards Firth Wood where I shouted and screamed in anger and frustration... There I attempted to read more of the novel but couldn't concentrate, so I yelled out some more... I came back home and I finished it... :)

My parents left home for a holiday, so this resulted in me having the house to myself! :) This was around August of 2007. I had Paul Auster's The New York Trilogy, and I read it in about 2 or 3 days in astonishment... I couldn't get over how anyone could conjure up anything so flabbergasting; I looked at Auster's face on the author's photograph and thought 'wow'. In this reading experience I stayed up all night and recorded dissonant music and kept reading and reading these 3 novellas... While I read throughout the night I lost contact with reality, and the only possible and acceptable 'reality' seemed to be the text. As the night rolled by, I finished reading 'The Locked Room' at a local bench and then proceeded to go home where my family/parents eventually arrived and I went to sleep.

I read Juan Rulfo's Pedro Páramo in one single day.... Similar experience to Auster with this one... I was also in an exhilirated, dream-like trance whilst reading the end of Cortázar's Rayuela.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Psychological revelations

The human mind undergoes a sudden, rapid re-evaluation of itself when it's exposed to a psychological revelation. This relevation is so strong that it can't be defined by words, because if we did define it in a lucid manner it would render it as futile and would obliterate the definition's merits. I know nothing of psychology (I've got no intention of reading Freud, Jung etc. etc.), so my perspective on this matter is purely personal rather than academic and group-defined. Before my psychotic episode occured, I was in a constant process of searching and a constant process of trial and error. During this process of all this, I encountered two psychological revelations about myself: the first one was negative and the second one was positive. I shall proceed onto writing them (despite saying that it would hinder the revelations themselves).

Around June 2007 I got into a state of euphoria because I seemed to have found a solution to all my problems. I stayed up for three nights working on all the coursework for the highly flimsy first diploma media course (which I subsequently failed). I mainly posted a lot of highly unorthodox writing on my myspace music page which went all over the place with little care for cohesion. Prior to this I was having several issues, and I seemed to have gotten a grip on everything by proclaiming that I'd changed. I had a long discussion with my father over the night time where I ecstatically talked incessantly about how everything had been sorted. My father said that there was a letter which went on about the possibility of being psychotic... I didn't read it then and there. The following day I spent all day on the computer once more with vague intentions of continuing my first diploma work. I then read the letter, which gave an insight into the highly disordered state of mind I found myself in at the time and my way of acting to others. I thought that the letter was written by a psychologist who was trying to open up a positive possibility... I thought that he was making a distinction that I belonged to a class of children who yearn to look at the other side of things and are very inquisitive... I thought that this psychologist was attempting to show how boys like me are intrigued by cryptic art... I watched this video of The Fall's Blindness again and again as I thought about all this relentlessly... I finally broke out in a flurry of anger "you've ruined it!!!" crying and shouting incessantly... I kept shouting and crying in a state of wretched misery as I trashed the house, destroying several possesions of my parent's and lamps. I don't think that words can describe how painful this was for me... This was my negative psychological revelation.

In November of 2007 I completely re-evaluated my viewpoint as I began to realise how anal and self-indulgent I'd been previously. I posted life-changing posts on my blog, encouraged by Gareth and irritated by Doug. In this period of time I realised that I'd finally obtained what I'd been striving for. I watched J. G. Ballard documentaries on youtube, where his view on reality was extremely enlightening. I obtained my sister's enourmous room and I was ready to pursue my life against the limitations imposed by everyone else. It's impossible to convey in words how my mind was working and my mind was freed - I'd have to be Kafka to do that. In this period of time I remebered an hallucination I had as a child, and this ignited a series of theories about the futility of acadmia and perceptions of reality which was destroyed in my old blog. I even coined a psychological phrse for myself: "Don't live a life of boredom." It may not be an established academic definition/phrase in psychology, but it worked wonders by opening up a whole new unprecedented series of revelations about myself which I didn't know resided within the depths of my psyche... After this 'revelation', things spiralled out of control and I had a psychotic episode. :)

Monday, 13 April 2009

Friendships

When I was the intensive care unit in Derby I got a phone call from a person who I presumed to be author J. G. Ballard. I shouted into the phone "who's there?" and heard this man weakly retort in a muffled voice "your long-gone friend". This person (again, I insist this person to be Ballard) sounded as he was seriously ill - almost as if he was on his death bed. It sounded like the author Ballard, but I was so obsessed by him at the time that it may have been an auditory hallucination. In any case, I don't think it was Ballard who would be 'long-gone, lost, sought-after friend', but I do think that what Ballard said may have been true that I am awaiting a person like this to appear in my life.

Now that I am in Chile I feel like I've landed in the future.... I have reached the end times... Everyone is older... In Chile I created very intimate friendships, but I never did that in Britain. In Britain I often gave people the cold shoulder, so that I could then proceed to hide in my little shell at home.

I have always gone through things on my own. I remember that when I first started attending school at the age of 4 I would sit in the corner silent while all the little kids jumped about and screamed in excitement...

I often feel constipated when I live at home because I've got no-one to lean back on... I can't talk about my obsessions or my life etc. etc.... I'm hoping that this will be rectified if I obtain a psychologist....

I can pass vast amounts of time on my own... Most people would have probably commited suicide if they'd endured all the solitude I've gone through...

Maybe this person Ballard claimed to be may appear in my life, but for now I will keep plunging into my little self-constructed universe.....

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Education system

From a very early age, children's imagination and creativity are prevented from flourishing by the restrictive imposition of an education system. When children are born, they are pure and everything about themselves is formed. With the introduction of an education system, this purity is obliterated.

There are many ways of obtaining information. Information - and knowledge - is a precious thing. I think that everyone should seek for it. The trouble with the education system (or the education systems I've come to contact with) is that it makes learning an obligation rather than a necessity of life. There is a only a one-way look at things: people are just content with being food-fed the same inane shite instead of learning the rudiments and implications of a specific subject.

The main aim of an education system isn't to inform young people about certain subjects, it is to prepare children for 'adult' life: how to handle your job, how to communicate with others in a working environment, how to generate money etc. In the process of this, people come out of school completely ignorant and clueless over a variety of subjects. The education system is only there to integrate you in the real world - it is not there to educate.

When children attend school, they don't go there to learn - they go there to socialise. Because of this, cliques develop. All the school students are subdivided into numerous groups which are allocated with a specific name. Each member of the group attaches themselves to an identity, and they consequently feel the identity represents them as individuals. This is somewhat inevitable, but the education system doesn't attempt to encourage students into a positive direction where they may interact and socialise in a more interesting manner.

In school, all the children are empty replicas of each other. There is a pervading similarity between everyone. When the students function within the confines of the system, they all develop in the same manner: everyone is the same. Any student is remotely different gets ignored, misunderstood or attacked by other students. This ostracized student, consequently, has to look elsewhere from the education system and obtain solace in other non-school related areas

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Various ethnicities

Societies are always far more interesting when there´s multiculturalism, when there are a variety of ethnic backgrounds. I always find a lot of British suburban towns so boring because it´s so compressed that people shut themselves out from the possibilities of new ethnicities, new people from different parts of the globe. Because of how ´compressed´these towns are, they often develop an hateful attitude towards immigrants and say that they tearing apart the national identity. These attitudes are different from the multicultural areas.

The current college I attend and the school I used to go to are dreadfully boring because of this very reason. I myself don´t belong to any country were I can find an identity (I am neither Chilean nor British), so I get a different view to the rest of the people constituting the population. When there´s an excess of caucasian race, there is a pervading monotony. Nothing new ever happens; nothing unexpected ever takes place. All the people are boring fucking cunts.

After a succession of years, a country forms a culture and tradition for itself. The whole world is constituted of these differing traditions. When a person becomes immersed within this tradition, they are not aware of other ways of living or perceiving the world. As a consequence of this tradition, the person develops patriotism. When people stick to this patriotism, they close themselves off to new traditions and possibilities. It is fascinating to discover new traditions, where one can discover new approaches to life. People never want to explore these new places and, what´s worse, never want these foreign locations to integrate itself within their own community.

And what´s ironic is that centuries ago, indiginous populations got mutlilated and destroyed in 0rder for what the civilized west calls ´order´and ´stability´could be introduced. After the people from these countries are left in a state of misery, they come to richer countries in search for hope and salvation. A large portion of society feel repelled by this immigration, and send these people back to the chaos they themselves created.

People always make generalisations over people´s racial colour; people often think that all acts of crime come from the section of the populace with darker skin; people think that acts of terrorism must come from the ´pakis´. What´s worse is that people will carry these preconceived labels with them, and instantly dismiss the value of a person through their racial colour because their appearance intimidates them. They begin to think that any person with darker colour skin is a threat and will commit acts of terror that will kill everyone.

Ideologies don´t correlate with the personality of the individual. Ethnicities aren´t dictated by a superimposed ideology which demands that every single person must behave and act in a specific way. People from one nation will instantly assemble a picture of what the person of another nation must behave and act like. Consequently, many people´s indivudal motives and intentions get misunderstood or ignored.

I like to see variety. Even though I am a recluse and spend virtually all my time without human contact, I like to see a crossing over of different nations and a crossing over of different persons. I like to see French people, Chileans, Argentinians, Australians, Pakistanis etc.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Top 5 gigs

As I stated in one of my first posts in my ressurected blog (which can be read here) I attend a quite a fair amount of live musical performance... I am the only person who varies the musical menu: I attend classical performances, death metal, jazz etc. I often feel out of place within any musical crowd. All the crowds seem to conform to a super-imposed identity and seem to be on the same wavelength. I like this feeling, however. In Cortázar's Rayuela the protagonist describes how he loves to be alone within a whole crowd of people... The music provides the stimulation for this crowded solitude...

1. The Magic Band

A venue in Stoke
May 2005

This was my first concert; I was 14 at the time... I was a Beefheart fanatic (still am), and I'd played my Trout Mask Replica record to death... So I was elated when I heard that The Magic Band were coming to Britain... but their concert in Sheffield was an under 18 show! So my parents drove me all the way down to Stoke so that I could visit relatives and so that I could enjoy the concert. The Magic Band (despite being ageing, old men) had lost none of their fire without Beefheart... they churned out an intricate array of poliphonic intricacies while Drumbo howled at the front... It was an incredible experience; it was like a dream... Drumbo kept looking intently into my eyes extremely perplexed by the sight of a 14-year-old at a Beefheart concert. He stared down from his sunglasses right into my eyes as the music blasted out in the background. The basist Rockette Morton smiled at me and virtuosically plucked his complex basslines... I entered paradise in this evening! Not only was this the best gig I've gone to in terms of musical exellence, it was extremely memorable for the experience itself... and the aura.

2. The Fall

Sheffield Boardwalk
November 2006

I'd only heard Hex Enduction Hour, but I saw that they were coming to Sheffield and bought a ticket. I think it's good that I didn't know any of the songs they were playing as this enhanced the presence of Mark E. Smith drawiling and groaning into the microphone... I believe that he even stopped for an instance and looked into my eyes... This concert was particularly special as I actually participated in jumping about with the crowd at the front, and I got into an exilirating euphoria amidst the movement of the crowd... The experience of this concert prompted me to seek out more Fall albums and to idolize Mark E. Smith... When they came again to Sheffield recently I found it less enjoyable for some reason...

3. A Silver MT Zion

Sheffield Corporation
May 2007

This was a beautiful, intimate set of songs. The arrangements were beautiful; each facet of the musical details complimented each other and created a wonderful experience. This post-rock band played extensive arrangements of wonderful songs in their catalogue, and the violins and guitars and the vocals meshed together excellently. The women were really attractive, too.... And the rest of the band's collaboration in singing fitted everything together really nicely.

4. Isis

Sheffield Corporation
December 2008

This second time I saw Isis was more enjoyable than the first... This concert was fucking mindblowing... I had a Proustian moment in this concert where everything seemed to be infinite, where the present seemed remain as a single moment of eternity... The songs extended and flowed marvelously... Brilliant and loud.

5. Acoustic Ladyland

Sheffield Millenium Hall
December 2005

A wonderful smogasbord of jazz and punk, presented in avery visceral and nasty manner... They played 3 encores!... Splendid night.

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I go to Chile tomorrow.... I'm busy packing the stuff up. I hope to take 16 books, but this doesn't look very likely due to the restrictive weight you can take with you on the plane... :( I will have to reduce the books I'm taking to 7 or 9 ... I will post about my experiences in Chile in my forthcoming 'My state of Mind' post.... Also, on top of the excessive reading I'm going to carry out I'll also need to revise extensively... It looks doubtul whether I'l manage to pass my A-levels... :(

I'm going to sleep perchance to dream prior to spending 16-odd hours on a plane...