Why I’m Rooting For World War Three

As you all well know, or at least should know, there is a serious political crisis engulfing Ukraine at the minute. To compound an already precarious situation, everyone’s favourite implacable, unscrupulous world leader, Vladimir Putin, decided to send the troops into the Crimea region of Ukraine. Whilst everyone around me was baffled, perplexed and worried about what the consequences of this could be, I was rejoicing!

“Go on Vlad, you can do it! Be unreasonable, please be unreasonable. We’ve talked about this Vlad, we’ve talked about this. You can do it!”

Before my dear readers come at me with the pitchforks for being a massive warmonger, please allow me to explain myself, because once I have we’ll all be rooting for War! A very compelling pattern has emerged. In order to write a classic novel, that will be remembered long after my death, I need to go to War and acquire myself some serious psychological scars. Orwell, Bulgakov, Hemingway, Vonnegut, Tolkein all went to war and some, such as Hemingway and Vonnegut were explicitly inspired, whilst in others the shadow of war can be felt in their work. And when it comes to female authors, two of the best, Virginia Woolf and Sylvia Plath, had lifelong battles with depression, so knew all about suffering.

So, as you can see World War Three is really quite necessary for me as a would-be-writer, and to deny me this is so selfish. Quite frankly I’m getting sick and tired of all these light skirmishes and suggestive posturing. I need me some war on a global scale; complete and utter turmoil. Of course, I need to survive it, and hopefully heroically. But, World War Three does need to happen, and these bloody politicians, with their talk of reconciliation and “keeping upheaval to a minimum” are getting on my nerves. Channel your inner Adolf Vlad (not that you need to); harness the power of Napoleon Francois; David draw on Winston; Barack be empowered by Truman.

I think the politicians have been so selfish since 1945. If the Cold War had become the Hot War, who knows what amazing literary creations would’ve been spawned from the swamp (is that you Alex Turner?) of world-wide desolation. I’ve tried my hardest to psychologically scar myself for the benefit of my writing, but it’s just not enough. I need to see my friend get blown up in front of me, like Bulgakov, or perhaps hear the mindless slaughter of thousands of people by fire bombing, like Vonnegut. I at least need to have some form of serious, life-threatening (but not terminal) injury that leaves me bedbound and contemplating life and death, like Hemingway. Unfortunately, cracking my head open on my garden steps because I didn’t do my Velcro strap up at the age of four doesn’t count, even if I do tell people my Dad could see my skull (it is with great resignation I confess that this isn’t true).

And so, back to Ukraine. Vladimir, if you have any sort of appreciation for the arts, and the cultural health of humanity, then please do your utmost to make this conflict escalate. Barack, like wise; you follow Vladimir’s lead and retaliate, perhaps militarily, leaving the outcome in no-doubt. Once France, Germany and the UK get involved we’ll finally get what we (I) want: World War Three. At this point I will enlist into some sort of slightly dangerous service, and let the literary genius flow. Yay!

On a more serious note isn’t it one of life’s most haunting and bittersweet ironies, that suffering and pain produces the most beautiful works of art? When humans are hammered, squashed, shot at, and murdered, it is then when some secret, gorgeous parts of their soul creaks open and produces pure lasting beauty. When people are at their lowest ebb, it is then that something truly stunning is created, and something the rest of us benefit from immensely. We benefit from something that wouldn’t have happened without sheer suffering. Read, for example, Mother Night by Vonnegut. A truly moving novel of great scope and invention, but would it have happened without the horrors of World War Two and Dresden? Perhaps not. The politicians can fuck around and endanger millions of life, rest assured that some creative type somewhere is going to attempt to make sense of it all, and probably really movingly. What a beautiful, contradictory, delicious, disgusting irony that is.

Bernard’s Watch(ing you), Part 1

Episode 1

The M5 stretched gloriously out in front of Bernard. Not only was he appreciative of the grey artistry, but today the M5 was more than just a modern architectural masterpiece; it was an opportunity. Today was Bernard’s moving in day at the prestigious London School of Economics and Political Science. Today, Bernard was diving headfirst into an intellectual world of discussion and high powered debate. I am going to simply flourish, Bernard thought to himself. He caught his reflection in the wing-view mirror. Looking back at him was an enigmatic, brooding political philosopher to be. His hair was sufficiently messed up, but in a good way. It said, look at me, I don’t care how my hair looks because my hair is sat atop a brain so magnificently analytical that even my hair can’t contain itself. Bernard’s dad looked at Bernard outside the corner of his eye. Christ, he thought, I hope he gets a shag at this university.

School had been difficult to Bernard. An awkward looking child with long gawky legs and sinewy arms, he had the gait of one who knew that their penis was just a bit too small. He was awful at sport, and the only thing he did excel at he was mocked for; academia. Just the word sent a warm tingle through his body. This feeling must surely be better than sex, Bernard thought to himself with the assuredness of one who has seen but one pair of breasts. That was when Mrs Crocker’s blouse fell down in History class to reveal two veined monstrosity’s that burrowed deep into Bernard’s innocent soul. That incident had troubled Bernard greatly. Yes, school had been hard for Bernard, but university would be different. Bernard simply couldn’t wait.

“Do you need a hand with that dusty old suitcase?” asked a spritely young American in a pinstripe suit as Bernard clambered out of his battered old Megane with a wheeze. The “that” sounded like an elongated vowel to Bernard, he simply despised the Southern drawl that these Southerners have picked up from the gutters of American populist literature. “Why are you wearing that dusty old suit?” was Bernard’s response. His quick rapport was followed by a warm feeling that spread into a smug grin. This feeling, he thought, was akin only to the delectable feeling of urinating underwater.

It was evening time and Bernard had only met his 5 flatmates. The first person was the laconic American who had left a bitter taste in Bernard’s mouth. Will they all wear pin-striped suits he thought desolately? The next boy was decked out in jeans, white pumps and an awfully tight-fitting Hollister top. Perched upon his head was the most hair gel Bernard had ever seen. He insisted that Bernard call him Tia Maria, after his favourite liquor. Xi Wan was the third; a softly spoken Malaysian girl who went by the name of Jacques. Fourthly there was Charlotte who transported Bernard into an infinity pool of rosewater. Her small brown eyes seemed to look deep into his soul past what he previously thought was an impermeably philosophical armoury, mainly because he’d never locked eyes with a girl before, not since Mrs Crocker. Although her brown hair was unwashed and tangled, her skin pasty, her cheeks sallow and her lips the antithesis of voluptuous, Bernard saw in her what he had never seen in any other girl. Potential. The anticipation that proceeded the introductory pleasantries nearly killed Bernard. Thankfully, her first words boded well for Bernard’s dreams. “A bit of light chick lit” she jeered gesturing at Bernard’s copy of Thucydides’ Peloponnesian War. Bernard’s legs gave way.

When the mists of burning sexual frustration cleared, a face he didn’t recognise clattered into view. “Hello, my name is George Bernard Shaw, I’m studying Politics and Philosophy, my favourite book is Machiavelli’s Discources on Livy, it’s much better than The Prince don’t you think? I’m from Ireland, I got straight A’s at A level; no I didn’t go to private school” gushed Bernard’s well-versed introductory speech.

The face responded with a cursory shrug of graceful shoulders “I’m Karl Popper. I did go to private school. I personally think Discources on Livy was a bloated piece of literature. It is far surpassed by the sharpness of The Prince, and the ambivalence of the book that has so stimulated discussion, don’t you think?” Bernard was speechless. An equal, he exhaled internally. Someone who can match my intellectual prowess, someone I can journey with. Of course, this jubilance did not manifest itself in Bernard’s actions. He remained cool and composed.

“Interesting” said Bernard, as his door swung behind him with a resonating clang.

It was 4am in the early morning, the latest Bernard had ever been awake. He had lost his dignity on the dance floor of Tiger Tiger. Two shots of vodka, followed by 2 cans of cider. What was he thinking? Bernard was sure he had seen Tia Maria drinking at least 8 cans of beer over the course of the evening of debauchery. Bernard looked into the mirror of his room. A bleary eyed, wobbling 18 year old stared blankly back at him. I hope I didn’t look this when me and Charlotte dissected the social structure of Western society, Bernard worried to himself.

Bernard concluded that he was drunk. This was not what he had been expecting.

Really Interesting and Lovely Things I Saw On a Run

So, in order to be fit and healthy I’ve started doing this thing called running. Basically, you punish yourself for no discernible reason by ambling around, tongue lolling out like a dying, degenerate dog, cheeks as red and rosy as an 70 year old alcoholic, legs spindly like a spiders and straining under the weight, all in the name of health. It’s quite odd and really rather masochistic.

In order to make this slightly more interesting I like to look at things using my eyes whilst I’m doing this alien practice known as exercise. As Birmingham is such an amazingly beautiful and exotic place and London is packed full of greenery and wild animals, I have seen some amazing things running around these two sprawling metropolis’. Truly otherworldly and I don’t think you could envisage the breathtaking beauty of it all.

So, being a community minded individual I’m going to tell you all about the things I’ve seen. This is the first one and I’m starting with a real bang.


Really Interesting and Lovely Things I Saw on a Run Today:

A duck. It was asleep.

ImageThis is exactly what the duck looked like. I thought it was a really unique duck because it had this cool, edgy little green bit on its head but apparently loads of ducks like to have that little bit of green on their heads and it’s a really popular craze sweeping the duck world. They’re also really getting into wholemeal bread and have been known to reject conventional white bread because it’s too ‘mainstream’. Apparently.