Frank’s Dream – 4th October 2022

When Frank died his soul flew up high
And ended up in a powerful war machine
He screamed ‘ANNIHILATE’ but didn’t know why
But then it turned out it was all just a dream

Inspired by Armoured Gideon, 2000AD

Today I’m feeling:
Happy and satisfied.
Today I’m grateful for:
The front wheel of my motorbike. It took some hard knocks on some tough roads today and I was worried I would have to limp down the mountain with a flat tyre but it held up and got me home.
The best thing about today was:
Riding around new mountains and discovering some beautiful villages and amazing scenery. It was blissful.

What daily habit do you do that improves your quality of life?
For 24 years now I’ve been taking sertraline and that has made an incredible difference to my life, keeping me stable and less prone to depression. I still have bad moments but in general, I am much happier than a was in my first 30 years.
Brushing my teeth. Sad to say that I didn’t look after my teeth well for my first 20 years or so. They are just hanging on since starting to care about them more.
Making my bed. A small habit I only acted on since moving to Thailand. I actually don’t care if my bed is made or not but I do it so as to include it in a series of morning habits and to feel, no matter how minor, to have achieved something already, right at the beginning of the day.
Exercise….if I do it every day it will definitely improve my quality of life. Now I just have to do it every day!

I took this picture because Bruno and I met these kids after a long muddy ride and they were so happy and inquisitive to see two muddy white men in their mountain school at the end of the road.

Nucking Futs – 24th August 2022

Eating belly jeans, listening to a bad salad
Considering the plaster man
My prubarb rye was wise prinning
As only my bunch luffet can
I was pit-nicking and nucking futs
Going over to the sark died
Sod rest her goal, it reamed so seal
Now those birty dirds have flied

Humans have an infinite capacity for denying the truth.

Judge Death, 2000AD
I took this picture because this is my first day using this app and I have to start somewhere.

Today I started using an app called Day One, the free version of which lets you add a picture each day with the prompt of why you took it. The app also prompts for other things such as below:

Today I’m grateful for:
Finding this app and to see if it is useful for me. I’ve been writing my gratitude journal on paper for 18 months or so and want to try a mobile app again.

The Week That Was – 4th November 1979

The Nail – 15th January 2022

Outstanding achievement award
All goals met and all points scored
But being the best
Separates the rest
The nail gets hammered as reward
Punished for not playing along
Subscribe to strive to belong
It’s a constant battle
Fighting the cattle
A nail stuck is seen as wrong
Maintain a smile and never frown
No pinks and yellows, only brown
If you use your mind
You soon will find
A nail stood out gets hammered down

The laughter of fools cannot wound the wise.

Judge Death, 2000AD

Shadows – 1st November 2021

Within this oppressive system
The dividing line, it grows
The wealthy control the time
Whilst we’re living in the shadows
Try to climb this shit ladder
But the dividing line always grows
A blind eye turned towards
Those living in the shadows
How did it get to be
That the dividing line, it grows?
And the ninety-nine percent
Remains living in the shadows
There is no vision of caring
As the dividing line, it grows
The underclass just eats itself
Living in the shadows
The one percent destroyed the world
And the dividing line is gone
No one left to remember the names
Of the ones who claimed they’d won

Inspired by a classic late 80s Peter Milligan story ‘Shadows’ originally printed in 2000AD

Weight: 76.6kg
Resting heart rate: 52

2000AD Again – 20th July 2021

The dogs will always get you
If not stabbing each others backs
Franks is in the Krool Heart
Where Kano suffers attacks
Alphabet warriors of steel
Drive through black holes of Khaos
And back in the big bad city
Dredd remains the toughest boss
There’s future shocks in store
Splashed across every page
As the rogue trooper attempts
To quell his partners’ rage
A breeding ground of stories
Fantastic fiction and fun
Two thousand AD for ever
Even after two thousand and one

Who are you and why am I here? Adelaide – 7th January 2018

In the great British tradition of 2000AD, I’ll try and use song titles and lyrics for all post titles.  The previous post was from the Subhumans and this one is from Void.  I can hum them to you.  I often think about this lyric when I’m in situations deserving of its use.  One time I shouted it out whilst Huggy Bear were playing a show at the Joiners in Southampton, UK.  It was a little unfair and the band were excellent.  But they looked so angry and upset with everything that I began to question their screaming.  Better to hand out lyric sheets and/or talk to the audience in between songs.  Maybe they did this, I don’t recall.  I was more than likely drunk too.  It was quite common.

Through some twisting and plotting, I have found myself in Adelaide.  I have been here for 4 months now, with about 10 weeks to go before I exit.  It is unlikely that I will ever come back though I have grown accustomed to the quirks of this little city.  Occasionally I even enjoy it here.

The precarious nature of IT work has led me here.  I was re-employed by my old employer in Sydney, who will remain nameless, and I’m sure at some point soon will likely become nameless too.  When I was re-hired I spent about a month doing nothing whilst accesses were being requested and approved.  Soon after I quickly learned everything I needed to know, which was very little indeed.  The pervading atmosphere in the office was overwhelmingly negative due to constant re-structuring of offices and jobs moving overseas to cheaper countries.  I saw no reason to pursue any kind of career here again and, in fact when I had previously been retrenched from this company I had sworn off ever doing this type of work again.  I became a barista soon after that – an immensely rewarding job and proof that after 18 years in one industry, there were still other options available to me.  However, I got word of this new position and it made sense at the time to re-introduce myself to office life.  I’m sure in many jobs that work is rewarding and innovative but those two adjectives had long left this company in everything except their promotional literature.

So it was, my wife Amy and I worked hard and saved money and made a plan to move to Chiang Rai in Thailand – her hometown.  After having travelled extensively in Asia I have dreamed of living there and Chiang Rai is of a similar size to the small town I grew up in in England.  It also felt like time to leave the fresh high-rises and high rising rents of Sydney, where we had considered starting our own business but thought that the risk was too much.  It’s probable we would have been successful but the risk of failure would have meant losing everything.  With the money we had saved, we could build a house and start some small simple business in Thailand.  We even toyed with the idea of growing and selling our own fruit and vegetables and generally taking it easy.  That was the dream!  The simple life.  Let’s aim for it anyway.

After a year or so the restructuring at the company meant the job I was employed to do was going to move to Adelaide.  By this time we had worked out our plan of action and this sudden change threw a slight spanner in the works.  In August 2017 we had planned to relocate Amy and everything we owned, including our 2 cats, back to Chiang Rai.  I would continue working and saving as much as possible until it was deemed I had enough money to give us a comfortable cushion to survive on.  Amy and the cats would live with her parents whilst she employed someone to build our house.

With the sudden announcement of the restructure I thought, fuck it, I might as well leave now too and head to Thailand too.  Sometimes it’s better just to jump right in rather than think about things too much.  The other possibility, and the one we ended up doing, was if there was a chance for me to relocate to Adelaide and continue earning some precious Aussie dollars.  In the end, it was an easy sell.  I got a two week holiday of sorts in Thailand before returning to Sydney and driving myself across the map to Adelaide.

The new plan was to work until the house was built and then pack up and go.  Leaving Amy in Thailand wasn’t too much of an emotional problem until we had to say goodbye at the airport.  Luckily, just as her lip was starting to tremble and a tear was forming in my eye, she forced herself to turn around and walk away. I felt honoured and relieved.  To have such an impact on someone’s life is an honour.  The relief is that we are usually pragmatic people and that we would continue to be, knowing that we could survive this temporary adjustment.  So off I strode looking forward to reading books on the journey ‘home’.  Unfortunately, or fortunately, as the case may be, as I have gotten older I have found it possible to sleep on aeroplanes and not much reading was done.  Occasional pangs of grief struck me too.  Although extremely used to being alone and having gained much self-confidence, I found myself unsure of myself for brief moments.  The business of sorting things out soon distracted me further though.  The ease of communication these days also helps significantly.  Anyway, I was about to embark on an adventure.

After staying a couple of nights at a friend’s house I was taking my time driving across this part of Australia.  Four days for what can be done in one if you push it.  But what’s the hurry?  I enjoyed the journey although there was little to see for much of the way.  I guess that made it a little more special when there was something to see, such as a river or fields of flowering crops.  I blasted the stereo as I blasted the car not always realising I was hitting 140 km/h on the long straight roads everywhere.  I rarely needed a map as there were so few options for deviation.  I stayed in a couple of provincial towns along the way and they would likely be the option we choose should we return to Australia later in life.  Finally, I closed in on Adelaide.

I had never been to Adelaide before and hadn’t been given much idea of what to expect.  I had been told that I would love it and that there was much less traffic than Sydney.  That all sounded positive.

I had pre-booked a room at a caravan park near my new office.  Although the company would have paid for it, I didn’t need any fancy hotel to stay in when I got here.  The room was fine, though had no windows at all and just clean brick walls.  The upside of this was that it encouraged me to find a shared place to live as quickly as possible.  I headed to the office on the day after I arrived and got acquainted with my new work environment, which I quickly learned was the same as the old.  In fact, I later discovered that this new place was even more dysfunctional than my old one.  I was able to react positively to this though because I had nothing really invested.  They (the company) needed me more than I needed them.

The work I do is shift based.  Two days, then two nights, followed by four days off, which usually turns out to be 3 days off because the day after the last night shift is usually wandered through in a zombie-like daze.  Sleep is erratic and can last for one hour to 18 hours and by the time you are recovered it’s back to work.

Suburban Adelaide

The difference between Sydney and Adelaide is significant.  I was mystified to find shops closed in the evening and on Sundays or Mondays in Adelaide.  The lack of decent coffee was also a struggle.  Again, the situation actually benefits me well as I am trying to save as much money as possible and don’t want to be spending my time trying to make new acquaintances and using money that that can involve too.  I’ll just sit here, go to work, read books and save money.

Unbelievably, I have stopped drinking for now too.  Adding alcohol on top of shift work really messes you around so taking this opportunity to dry up for a while.  This will definitely not last once I’m in Thailand, though I’m hoping to at least minimize the caffeine addiction as a balance.

I lay in bed slipping in and out of consciousness and thrill to marvellous ideas I have to write about here.  Mostly forgotten by the time I am awake and sitting somewhere to write this.


The Week That Was – 16th September 1979

Record of the week: Madness – The Prince
Chart entries: Dickies 40, Michael Jackson, The Police – Message in a Bottle

26th Jun 2022 – I was really taken with The Prince by Madness and there wasn’t the hype around the whole 2-Tone thing yet, at least not out in the sticks where I was; that really took off over the following 12 months.

Not being cool enough to own a leather jacket (ultimately, I have never actually owned a real leather jacket) I had to make do with my denim jacket and then not being cool enough to own any patches to sew onto it, I just sewed the words ‘The Prince’ across the back as best I could.

The Prince was to be my nom-de-plume for a week or so (and pretty much just in my head) until I got too confused about whether Madness were punk or not and if it was ok to like them. To be honest, they were impossible not to like.

And so it was on one weekend Market Day, my mum took me with her to go bargain and thrift shopping and I could proudly sport my denim jacket for all to admire and maybe it did or didn’t but what did draw attention to some critics was the fact that this little punky looking kid was still wearing flares. I didn’t know that us punks weren’t supposed to wear flares! What a faux pas! I begged my mum to fix that as quickly as possible after getting home somewhat humiliated.

16th September 1979
2p 2p 284p*

17th September 1979
2p 282p*

18th September 1979
A bit more than yesterday
2p 2p 278p*

19th September 1979
2p 276p*

20th September 1979
1. Cars
2. Cliffie
3. ELO
4. Bellamy Brothers
5. Dollar
6. Crusaders
7. BA Robertson
8. Police
9. Randy Van
10. Roxy Music
2p 274p*

21st September 1979
2p 1p

22nd September 1979
Ipswich 1-1 Everton
2p 1p

26th Jun 2022 – Wimborne Market was a treasure trove for weird punk records for a while in the early 80s. I picked up Restricted Code’s ‘First Night On’ which I had been hunting for ages after hearing it just once on John Peel’s show. A classic tune. I picked up an album by the Sods from Denmark and a weird compilation of Scandinavian bands and Captain Sensible songs. The Big Balls and the Great White Idiot album and Eu’s Arse 7″. It was so weird to find these already odd things in amongst all the dross and crap of typical second-hand record stalls at the time.

Another good stall there had huge piles of old 2000AD back issues in varying states of decay. I did attempt a full collection for a while but the first 30 or so issues were impossible to find at reasonable prices. Moving to Australia in 1994 saw me sell 98% of the comics I owned including all my 2000ADs. There’s something special about finding piles of old comics in shops. A random collection of oddities that beg a story of the person who might’ve owned them. Who were they and where are they now?

Of course, as time went on the pickings got slimmer and when I visited again around 2015 or so there wasn’t even a record stall to speak of, just batches of CDs piled next to piles of books. Zero comic content. However, the candy man was still there and I spent an unreasonable amount of pounds on good old British sweets that would last me the holiday at the time.