An Erratic Orbit

A bipolar perspective on the 3rd planet

When I was in The Beatles

John Lennon laid back, head casually on my lap as we lounge about in a white hotel room. I could see the odd nose in the curtains. We were talking about  newspapers, bottles of beer, sweets (candy), ice lollies (popsicles), and so on, and how before ’63 George and me, or John and George – well, that doesn’t matter (I am you are he is we are me and we are all together, you know?) – back then we could nip off to the shops, “What do you want John?”, and… now, that’s just impossible. And off we went, two heads of JohnPaulRingoGeorge, on an errand, messing about and talking about The White Album. 

There was some legal letter we had read, we’ve all read a lot of Latin over the years, and… it was art. It was the perfect comment, unintentionally, on the whole circus. I said we should put it on the wall with one of those little placards – the place was a bit like an art gallery – but John, perceptive chap now and then, was totally against it. 

“Don’t be reflexive for the sake of it.” he said, “It’s got to mean something. In other words, you have to feel it, brother  mine.”

I remember asking him, some time in the 21st Century, about mental health. “Well I certainly didn’t get the help I needed.” he said. So he is we set about changing the way people look at the world instead. Not consciously, we were just a little rock and roll band in our eyes, you know. John really was A Spaniard In The Works. Your friendly neighbourhood enemy within. When he went to live in America with Yoko, the CIA wanted him deported. John Lennon. Think about that. They should have built a statue of him on Wall Street. Of course, he would have seen bitter irony in that, like the airport where he used to spit in the sandwiches he served for fuck all an hour.

I was watching Star Trek last night. An alien called The Traveller, of an advanced species, knew the secret: 

Henceforth space by itself, and time by itself, and thought by itself are doomed to fade away into mere shadows, and only a union of the three…

He had the power to propel The Enterprise billions of light years in barely any time at all, by channelling the thoughts of the crew. 

At the end of the universe, beginnings. The crew began to experience scenes from the past. Chased by a rape gang. Ballet lessons. A beloved childhood pet. 

Of course, The Traveller was a kind of Mary Sue. For him, light years in the Star Trek universe are only a thought away. 

The journey weakened him, and a successful return depended on the crew focusing their thoughts on The Traveller’s well being. He got them home in time for crumpets, but -exhausted- he phased out of their reality in the process.

Today is the anniversary of George Martin’s death. You don’t get presents for that. Or maybe you is we are he should.

A Game Of Chess

“I don’t care where the pieces are.” I said.

Of course, this cannot be true. I meant to imply I don’t care where he is, as long as he doesn’t try to pin me. 

Later, he said “If you think I am some king-”

I could have stopped him there. A clumsy knight on a small board, only a monopoly property, a collection of listed buildings, front line of one battle between rich and poor, connected and disenfranchised, and inside an entire swirling life of privileges and disappointments, of failing to live up to expectations, of making it and not making it, of opening  letters to see your grades, the judgement upon you, the codes of conduct, Les regles de jeu, the crimson rising to the cheeks of the transgressor, the urgency of the moment behind the chip shop, the flat cap, the outsider looking in, the streets paved with gold, the relatively comfortable childhood home, coins in the fountain, Dickensian Christmas days, the peeling of an orange…

And beyond the window, a snowstorm.

If the desired outcome were an easier time, to keep me hence, for a little while, then wrong move. I burn brightly , too brightly some say, and my attention focuses on those who cause ripples within and around me. This is my meagre gift and curse: I feel as waves the ripples others ride. My board unbalanced, into the black water I go. Big fish, little fish swimming in the water. (Come back here man and give me my daughter). 

In the Samuel Lewis Buildings on Liverpool Road, the neatly composed Scot, each movement quietly thoughtful, her posture well aligned, “We have been engaged in navel gazing.”

Omphalos. I am not supine on the New River, the tendrils of my flower 

sleeping,  the skin of the green algae

bathing, the early evening sunlight

splashing, coins on the glass table

dancing, discarded cans of lager

rattling,  the clatter of the pieces

swimming, in my enamel coffin


I come up for air. The bishop bobs by, mocked by the great blue sky and the deep green sea. 

“Yes, you are entirely correct. Homosexuality is not a sin.” she does not say. She hides behind her castle, welcoming, inclusive, and other decorous adjectives. Coward and dissembler.

Every action is power, every actor a metonym. I am a lighthouse. Batten down the hatches and lash yourself to the mast, we are steering hard to port.

Handy Apps #1

The first of a regular series. While I’m not a fan of to do lists as I find having a huge list of tasks hanging over your head counterproductive, for a limited number of regular chores they can be very useful.

For Android phones and tablets, Clean House does the job of reminding you to do those little regular cleaning tasks.

Some neurodiverse people have difficulty with prioritising and selecting the order of what may seem like simple subtasks required to complete a task or project. This skill is what is known as Executive Function. 

I find that I’m a “flitterer” between tasks and that can work very well for me, as long as I do not completely avoid the more difficult things. 

People on the autism spectrum especially can have problems with executive function. Intelligent adults may have developed excellent executive function in some areas but find it difficult to abstract, adapt, and apply those skills in different areas. Or even different locations. This can lead to extremes of avoidance. 

In fact, we can all get overwhelmed. Strengthening our executive function is always useful. Having a holistic mind that relates the large to the small very easily, I am often “in the zone”, a euthemic state where I flow between tasks heading towards overall goals. I nonetheless can struggle when depressed. The classic Hanoi Towers game, where you have to move a stack of disks from one side to the other across three poles is a fun way to practice planning ahead. 

You can always make it harder:

Hanoi 3D is my favourite of these apps. Simple interface, beautifully presented, and excellent touch control.

Reminds me of us


“Freedom” said The Doctor,  “is the attainment of The Past as a resource. What came before was your confusion, your hurt, lashing out.”

He looked his new companion over, appraising them. They felt unnerved, patronised.

“You’ll figure it out.” he said, “Then we’ll be ready.”

“Ready for what?”

“Ready to be a team.”

“Then what?”

“We save Earth.”

She laughed.

The Doctor frowned. “I’ve done it once or twice before, you know. Even saved a whole solar system of Earths.”

“There’s no such thing!”

The Doctor smiled. “That’s what you think, is it?”

He set the controls and The Tardis came fully alive.

When a species overcomes the reactionary stage, when they begin to understand their own stories, they become members of The Alliance, which opens the gates to The Future and the free use of Time itself.

The cycle

There is a cycle, of worthless, lazy, sad, loser children. It’s not true, it’s just what people hand down, a learnt behaviour, something they themselves have internalized. It gets passed down in written notes, verbalized frustrations, and even casually.

The least miserable child I know has  ability to rise above it but they can’t perform miracles upon themselves. They are loved, but the words sometimes leak out.

I’m told it’s just me that causes this “You ARE scum/a dog/a cunt/worthless/a miserable child.” This is not true.

It’s a cycle that can’t be broken without recognition that the internalization has been damaging.

No-one is perfect. Some have a worse problem than others and it runs in families. That is the painful truth that has to be accepted. The child was told awful things and they took them inside, believed them, and they spit them back out.

Two vulnerable adults

playing dangerous games. Yet the relationship with the son is good for him. It’s healthy. I don’t think I could manage without it either. Everyone else in my inner circle is either gone, shut down, or negotiating razor wire. New friendships take time to build. I don’t have this intense schedule that brings people together. 

I don’t have the emotional support to play this game. I’m worried about psychosis. I’m letting people down.

I can’t allow my feelings, my loneliness, my hurt to be delegitimised. Yet I am. I make allowance after allowance for her. 

It has to stop for his sake if no-one else but I don’t know that she knows a better way to protect herself.



Operation Vanilla Pod

Operation Vanilla Pod is the name given to the heinous practice of euthanising small business owners, especially in the creative industries, in Shoreditch, Stoke Newington, and Crouch End during The Decade Of Perfect Vision. Complacent liberals were unable to mobilise to defend themselves when, surprisingly, the Govestapo came first for the Proprietors of tastelessly monikered cornflake cafes, VJs, Digital Media Executives, Peddlers of Bric-A-Brac, Copywriters, Record Producers, and The Entire Marketing Collective. These incalcitrant liberals were always at risk of finding themselves in the camps, and the surely temporary nature of their independence had fed a growing sense of uneasiness. But death? They had been sure it would be the disabled first, then maybe a few Muslims. Public intellectuals. Those kind of people. They were prepared to wait it out. That was the insidious genius of Operation Vanilla Pod. They had taken a brief glance at History, but no-one guessed Nathan Barley would be incorporated into the blueprint.

Fight back against Operation Vanilla Pod:

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