Sunday, 29 November 2015

Last man standing

I had one of my periodic 'why bother?' moments earlier on about the blog, given the general lack of interest in what I have to say - not that I'm blaming anyone other than myself, I know what I write is largely self-centred and repetitive - but one thing I hadn't really considered much until now is the issue of continuity. The 'Class of early 2010', the little, or not so little, at one point, group of bloggers I was tangentially a part of, has gone now, for all sorts of reasons. With one exception. Me. I'm sure that most, if not all of those guys (and one girl) couldn't care less if I carry on blogging or not, and why should they, but if I did stop, the last link to that (predominantly) happy few months will be gone. If that was the only reason for me to keep inflicting my thoughts on the world, it probably wouldn't be sufficient justification, but as a reinforcement, it means something, to me at least. So here I still am, for good or ill.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Drowning in words and alcohol

Thinking too much, drinking too much. Not for the first time, when I don't have work to distract me. I'm still trying to write, in tandem, two stories, taking a break yesterday to produce the 'stream of consciousness' - or probably more accurately, remembered stream of consciousness, as I had the thoughts in the morning, but didn't write it down until the evening - thing that's appeared in Nephelokokkygia. It didn't have the cathartic effect I crave, though - after spending much of yesterday meandering amongst a sea of cute ghosts, then writing about a wonderful boy I was lucky enough to get to know properly, I still ended up feeling nothing but contempt for myself, not for anything I've done, but for what I want. And overusing the palliative that is alcohol in an unsuccessful attempt to bludgeon my demons into submission. What will today hold? More of the same, I suspect.

1630 edit: And drowning in unattainable beauty, too - earlier this afternoon, I saw the most delightful boy, waiting at the same bus stop as me, 12-ish, tallish, fair-haired, pale pink lips, the upper with a very pronounced bow shape, so kissable. Two buses approached the stop, mine and another. Needless to say, he caught the other. Another heart-melting, totally out of reach 'ghost', drifting into my life for two or three minutes, then gone forever.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Friday, 27 November 2015

Unbelievable. Except that it isn't

The BBC News channel is on in my local, as usual, and I've just seen, on my way back from the bar, a 'Breaking News' ticker at the bottom of the screen referring to police in Colorado responding to an 'active shooter' near a Planned Parenthood clinic. Why go to the Middle East to look for religiofascists when they're right there at home? And that goes just as much for the UK as the US.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

War pig

As soon as I saw this morning's Daily Mirror headline - 'Cam is ready for war', referring to our glorious leader's enthusiasm to allow the RAF to bomb ISIS targets in Syria - I immediately thought of a song lyric. 'Politicians hide themselves away/ They only started the war/ Why don't they go out to fight?/ They leave that up to the poor'. War Pigs by Black Sabbath, in case anyone doesn't recognise the reference. War, for several hundred years, and probably longer, has almost always been fought by the poor to maintain the power, privilege and, most notably, the wealth of societal 'elites'. As far as I'm concerned, this latest version is no different.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Another turn of the screw

Hardly a day goes by, it seems, without another 'historic sexual abuse' case being reported. And the reports are always couched in the most emotive terms. I don't, for a moment, condone any non-consensual sexual activity, irrespective of the age or gender of those coerced, but such reports do nothing but add to the public perception that anyone attracted to younger people is nothing but a slavering rapist. The fact that some, probably most of us live our lives in such a way as to be anything other than that stereotype is never considered. No matter how moral a life you lead, you're still the 'lowest of the low' in society's eyes. Soul-destroying doesn't begin to describe it.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Justifiable frustration

At least, I certainly feel justified in being frustrated. I'm in a Wetherspoons, not especially geographically local to the flat, but easily accessible - it's at the far end of a bus route that stops only a few minutes walk from home - a pub I really rather like, it having always been a pub, as opposed to the converted shops, cinemas, and the like the chain seem to specialise in. And it's always been, in my experience, a good cutie-spotting location, probably because it's the only 'family-friendly' pub in its particular area, this evening being no exception. The star of the show has been a delicious fair-haired little guy, 10/11, who came in for tea with his dad after evidently, by his attire, having been playing football. They'd more or less finished eating when a couple, apparently friends of dad, ended up sharing their table. The boy didn't look all that enthusiastic about the new arrivals, but, of course, what boy of his age ever has any real interest in his parents' friends? Within a minute or two, though, a more substantive reason suggested itself. The male friend, who'd sat down next to the boy, seemed completely unable to keep his hands off of him. It was dressed up, needless to say, as 'play-fighting', but its persistence hinted that there might have been more to it. Maybe it's simply projection on my part, and jealousy that the man was able to engage in the sort of body contact I'd give my eye teeth for, but it is a phenomenon I've observed many times before - men, fathers, relatives, family friends, whoever, just seem to be magnetically attracted to cute boys, especially tweens/early pubescents. If confronted, they'd certainly deny any attraction in the most fervent way, and still vilify the likes of me, who admit to those very attractions, as the scum of the Earth. Sheer hypocrisy, as far as I'm concerned. Hence the frustration.

Let's & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Insanity

There's been a lot of nonsense spoken about ISIS, and how to 'deal with them' in recent times, but, in my local this evening, I've heard the most deranged opinion yet. The gist of the 'argument', if what was said could be honoured by that word, was that as the Second World War was ended by the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, 'we' (presumably 'the West') should drop a 'small nuclear weapon' on Syria. A very brief Google search suggests that somewhere between 150000 and 250000 people were killed by the 1945 bombs, the vast majority of them civilians. How any sane person can advocate something similar as a 'remedy' to the current situation escapes me completely.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Monday, 23 November 2015

Two lost hours

K's Saturday night/Sunday morning misadventure has taken on a rather more worrying tone today. What she thought had happened, that she fell asleep at the bus stop near her friend's house, has been contradicted by a couple of things, partly a few details she's now recalled, and partly the evidence of her Oystercard journey history. Some time between 11:30 on Saturday and 1:30 on Sunday, she apparently travelled around 10 miles, from the area where her friend lives to somewhere close to the hospital where she came around, without using public transport. Somebody, evidently, took her on that journey. But she has no idea who, or under what circumstances. Scary, for her and for me.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Drama in a cold climate

Or cold weather, at least. K decided, despite the bad news she'd had on Friday, to go to last night's 18th birthday party of a schoolfriend she'd been invited to. And she certainly seemed on an even enough keel when she set out, half an hour or so before I was due to leave for work. She wasn't staying over, planning instead on heading back on the last bus from that particular direction, so I was expecting a text from her, our usual mode of communication in such circumstances, at around 12:30 to let me know she was back at home. The text I actually received, though, was rather different. At 2:00, she told me she'd just been taken to our local general hospital in a paramedic car (a mini-ambulance, in effect), followed a few minutes later by a tearful phone call. It transpired that she'd (accidentally, as she described it) had too much to drink, and had fallen asleep at the bus stop - on what was easily the coldest night of the winter so far. Whether someone had called the emergency services, or whether the paramedic just happened to be passing, she didn't know, but there she'd fetched up, in the hospital's A & E department. And then her phone ran out of charge, so I couldn't get any further information. Work was immediately ditched, needless to say - fortunately, the shift manager was my recently promoted friend, who was suitably qualified, unlike some of his colleagues, to take over my position - but the drama wasn't over at that point. Not having a car, my only option was to head for the hospital by night bus. And while London's night bus network is pretty comprehensive, in terms of places you can get to 24/7, some of the routes are neither frequent - or punctual. The journey was, to say the least, tortuous, especially in the circumstances, taking all of three hours, well over an hour of which was, due to a narrowly missed connection and two lots of late running, spent standing at freezing cold bus stops. My immune system has been given a good workout, if nothing else! My trek finally ended at 5:30 with good news, though - K was asleep in a chair, still slightly the worse for wear, but otherwise unscathed. And, to be fair to her, she was very apologetic, both to the hospital staff and to me. I was never going to rant and rave at her - it would've been arrant hypocrisy, given some of the stupid things I've done through alcoholic excess over the years - but she was given a rather stern lecture by the ward sister along the lines that she could've been picked up by someone with decidedly less benign motivations than the paramedic, something I expanded on rather more graphically on the way home. Still, all's well that ends well, to coin a clichĂ© - K managed, after a couple more hours sleep at home, to head off on time and apparently compos mentis for her first shift at her new part-time job, while I've begun my very welcome three week break from work a day early, having asked for my shift tonight (which, being a Sunday, is classed as overtime anyway) to be covered by someone else, given that I didn't know what state I might've found K in when I left work this morning. I just hope there won't be any more 'thrills and spills' between now and December 13!

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Friday, 20 November 2015

Tragic

As I've said before in this blog, 'tragic' is a much-overused word, almost to the point of becoming meaningless. But sometimes things happen that no other word can adequately describe. sometimes huge events affecting large numbers of people, sometimes on a much more personal level. And news of an example of the latter has come through in the last hour. One of K's best friends in Cornwall, a girl she met on her first day at senior school when she was 11, and who lived no more than fifteen minutes walk from us, has died of cancer. At 17. K knew she'd been ill, of course, but she had been thought to have been in remission. K, naturally enough, is devastated, and I'm doing whatever I can, little as it may be, to help. I'm certainly not going to work tonight - they were understanding enough when I rang in a few minutes ago, but even if they hadn't been, it would've made no difference. My daughter is my number one priority by such a big distance as to render all else pretty much irrelevant, and she's certainly in no fit state, as far as I'm concerned, to be left on her own overnight, even if she is only a dozen weeks away from legal adulthood. Work can resume when it's appropriate.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Cute sardine

When I'm on nights, I have to travel home right in the middle of the rush hour. In that connection, I find myself, maybe two or three days out of any given night week, heading home on a particular train, arguably the busiest of the day on a very busy route, one I've come, completely unaffectionately, to know as 'the sardine train', given its perennial and ridiculous degree of overcrowding. And, for my sins, I've travelled on that train for the past two mornings. But, on both days, the pill has been sweetened considerably, by my having seen the same cute boy, 13/14, on his way, judging by the uniform, to some posh independent school. Even the fact, particularly yesterday, of his looking considerably more than half asleep couldn't detract from his beauty. He ended up sitting directly opposite me yesterday, but was half a carriage away today, offering only glimpses of his profile before, two stations before I got off to change to the bus I catch towards home as part of that itinerary, being swallowed up, from my viewpoint, by a fresh influx of passengers. Having seen him two days in a row, I'll probably never see him again, but his 'company' was sweet, while it lasted.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

The best value for money book I've ever bought

I'm currently re-reading the book that for me, pound for pound, represents the best value for money bibliographic purchase I've ever made. The Penguin Dictionary of Curious and Interesting Words. At a list price, according to the back cover, of £3.95 when I bought it, twenty-odd, nearly thirty years ago, although I'm pretty sure I paid less for it than that, possibly £2.99, if memory serves. Why do I value it so highly? Well, apart from the fact that it's simply fun to discover what words like 'glockamoid' and 'mesopygion' mean, the illustrative quotations that accompany most of the entries have pointed me in the direction of so many interesting books, and, indeed, authors I would probably never otherwise have heard of. A quick online search reveals that a second hand copy can be bought for as little as one penny (plus the ubiquitous postage and packaging, of course!). I'd recommend it to anyone.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Sunday, 15 November 2015

A tiny bit of sweetness

One of those 'oasis' moments that happen all too rarely, but perhaps are the sweeter for their scarcity, on the way to work at lunchtime. I wouldn't even have been on the tube, had one of London Overground's routes not been unexpectedly closed by an infrastructure fault, but there I was, on one of the oldest trains the underground has to offer, sitting in one of a bay of four seats, with rather limited legroom. So when, a few stations after I'd boarded, a mother and her small son got on the train, he was parked opposite me and my long legs. He smiled a little in my direction when he sat down, and I responded in kind, albeit surreptitiously - mum was sour-faced enough, without her being led to believe I had designs on the boy (which I absolutely wouldn't have, even if I hadn't been on a busy tube train - he was far too young, only 6 or 7, and, with all due respect to the little guy, not that cute anyway) - so I averted my eyes, as far as is practicable when someone is sitting about four feet away. When it was time for me to change trains, though, 'the moment' took place. I reached down to pick up my backpack, which was between my feet, but as I lifted it, the boy let his feet ride up with it, smirking mischievously. I couldn't help but grin, and say 'thank you' to him when he pulled his feet back to release my bag, disapproving mother or not. And then, of course, he was gone forever, another little metropolitan ghost. But one who left that little taste of sweetness in my benighted life.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Suffering?

So, back to the post I was going to write before I was interrupted by K's good news earlier. It began to brew listening to the radio news yesterday morning, when a phrase I've ranted about before, and which doesn't irritate me any less than it ever did, despite its now depressing familiarity - 'convicted paedophile' - surfaced in a report. Whether it's due to lazy 'journalism' or deliberate demonisation I don't know, but, for the umpteenth time, you can't be convicted of being attracted to those below the arbitrary 'age of consent', you can only be convicted of acting on those attractions. Being a paedophile (or a hebephile, as I'll freely admit as a word to describe myself) isn't illegal, much as many might wish to convict merely on the basis of 'thoughtcrime'. Which leads on to another case I read about yesterday, of a man who was arrested in a 'sting'-type operation earlier this year, convicted of 'grooming' (another word I loathe) and sentenced to ten years in jail, despite the fact that he doesn't seem, by the report I read, of actually having laid a single inappropriate finger on a young person. The case and sentence would have been bad enough in themselves, but one particular quote, from one of the lawyers involved, really got up my nose. The man was, according to the legal eagle, 'suffering from paedophilia'. As if it was an illness, by implication, a mental illness. Well, from someone on this side of the fence, I can assure you that it isn't. It's a sexual orientation, just as much as good old vanilla heterosexuality, and no more susceptible to being 'treated'. If those of us with that particular orientation are 'suffering', it's through the attitudes of society, the assumption that we're amoral predators intent only on rape and violation, irrespective of any damage, physical or emotional, that might be caused to a young person in the process. Of course, there may well be some boy or girl lovers who are mentally ill, but, proportionately, I would be very surprised if they outnumber their sexually 'normal' counterparts. I can only speak for myself, but I can confidently state that I'm not mad, not bad, and not dangerous to know, even for the cutest boy. I am unhappy, though, to be tarred with the brush of unthinking prejudice.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

A small ray of light

When the world and all its awfulness - Paris, most pertinently - makes everything look stygian to the horizon, any little piece of good news is all the more welcome. And such there was this afternoon, as K rang me to let me know that, after a 'trial' shift today, she's netted herself a part-time job in a photographic shop. It's for two days a week, any permutation, according to what the shop needs, of Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, and it will bring in a little over £400 a month for her, not at all bad for someone who's still at school, for a job that very much fits in with her interests, even her education, given that photography is one of her A-levels. Well played, that girl!

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Friday, 13 November 2015

No contest

Not as far as I'm concerned, anyway. I was on a bus (where else!) in town earlier, creeping slowly, amongst the non-user friendly traffic, up Charing Cross Road towards Leicester Square. Given my carriage's glacial progress, I had plenty of time to peruse two groups walking in the same direction. The first was a party of 13/14-ish girls, evidently on a school trip of some description, while the second was a touristy family of four, mum, dad and two boys. I didn't get the chance to get a proper view of 'big bro', but the little, blond-haired guy bringing up the rear of the family group was, on his own, a thousand times cuter than all the pubescent/adolescent females put together. Still, I guess I shouldn't complain, because, without the distaff contribution, where would the next generation of cute boys come from!

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Too much?

I've finally got to the end of my run of 23 shifts in 24 days, the last 11 of them earlies, meaning that I haven't got up later than 4:15 any day in more than a week and a half. And I have to say that I can barely remember ever being more tired than I am now. When I went back to work after my seven weeks on the sick (including three in hospital) two and a half years ago, I was determined to work no overtime at all, but that soon went out of the window when it became clear that K wanted to move up here, and that failure of resolution has snowballed into my working almost as many hours as I did in the first year or so after my marriage broke up. Which only ended when I was ambulanced off to the general hospital near 'domicile-ville'. Could my health, such as it is, break down again? I wouldn't necessarily bet against it, if I carry on as I have been. But, on the other side, there's K's university career, if all goes according to plan, to come in just a few months' time, which will undoubtedly swallow huge amounts of money. And the only person who can come up with that money is me. Do I carry on, can I carry on, running myself into the ground, or do I, potentially, fail in my responsibility to my daughter, by far the most important person in my life? As in so much of my life, there are no easy answers.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Monday, 9 November 2015

Dichotomy, with knives

I'm still haunted, at least daily, sometimes several times a day, by the words I read about a 'celebrity' sex abuse case ten days or so ago. There was a link to an audio file, but I didn't listen to it - instead, the words play themselves in my head, over and over, in my own voice. And the way those words make me feel exactly reflect the dichotomy in my life. On the 'credit' side, my genuine wishes to live my life in such a way as to avoid hurting anyone else, but on the other side, the seething mess of insistent desire, wrenching frustration and implacable self-loathing that are the concomitants of my sexuality. And, somewhere in the middle, the likes of Cammy, or the beautiful boy, 11-ish, on his way to a school football match, I saw on a bus ninety minutes or so ago. It's like a jagged-bladed knife, plunged into my heart and twisted again and again. It's tearing me to pieces.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Bittersweet

K is in Cornwall - we've just exchanged texts confirming her arrival - to attend the 18th birthday party of one of her primary school friends. I've known him almost as long as she has - his family moved to the area after we did, starting at K's school when they were in year 3, and she went to his eighth birthday party too, if I remember correctly - and he was always a bright and interesting guy. He's had a pretty rough time over the past few years, suffering depression and self-harm issues, serious enough for him to have been hospitalised more than once, but, from what K tells me, he's in a far better place of late, and long may it continue. Needless to say, I hope the birthday boy and all his guests have a great time, but I can't help but feel the melancholy born of the fact that we're not still living in the little Caradon Borough (as was) town, and that things aren't as they used to be, and never will be again.

2110 edit: And more bittersweetness. Cammy was in my local tonight, the first time I've seen him for weeks, but we didn't connect, shoved, as he was, into the corner of a booth surrounded by his (extended) family, and, from what I could see in passing, pretty much ignored. On a previous occasion, I overheard his father telling a member of the staff 'he (Cammy) isn't very bright'. Hardly surprising, if he's fucking treated like that. Some people really ought not to be allowed to breed.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Psychological projection, in spades

The 'archbigot' induced me to laugh out loud at work this morning, albeit he didn't realise I was laughing at him. He was engaged in a conversation with one of the other, almost equally bigoted numbskulls I'm blessed with having to work with, discussing the recent plane crash in Egypt and how Russia might react to it. Within moments, the conversation had lurched, somehow, onto Vladimir Putin's sexual orientation - 'they say he's a faggot' was the 'archbigot's' delightful turn of phrase - and the supposition that Putin 'tries too hard' to prove his masculinity. At which point I couldn't suppress my mirth, because the 'archbigot' is so paranoically insecure about his manhood since his divorce (around the same time as mine) that he spends endless time and money on (mostly) Chinese prostitutes, and makes no secret of the fact, because he needs the reassurance that 'I've still got a fuck in me', as he said not so long ago. Rest assured that I haven't got any time at all for Putin - he's a nauseating fascist who might very well be covering up his own iniquities by scapegoating LGBT people, as far as I'm concerned - but for my colleague to project his own issues in such a way is just too funny.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Friday, 6 November 2015

Flowing downhill

The still relatively new, openly gay guy at my workplace has, on the whole, been accepted more readily than I thought he might (to his face, at least - I've heard one or two pretty unpleasant things said when he hasn't been around, the word 'degenerate' probably marking the nadir). I get along well enough with him, more because he's intelligent, a sadly rare commodity amongst all too many of my colleagues, than because of his sexuality, given that I'm completely 'closeted' at work, but I wasn't at all enamoured of something he said this morning. If I'd confronted him, he doubtless would've claimed it was 'banter', but the very snide remark he made about another colleague of ours (who wasn't present, needless to say, and of whom there's not the least actual evidence of impropriety) who's a Cub Scout leader really got up my back. It was a perfect example of a phenomenon I've mentioned before, whereby someone who is in a disfavoured group tries to find an even less favoured group to vilify. Except, of course, when you're already deemed to be the 'lowest of the low'. Then all you can do is to try to carry on living your life in such a way as to avoid hurting anyone else. Not that the rest of 'society' will think any more of you for your restraint, but at least a hint of self-respect has a chance of being retained.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

'Mother, should I trust the government?'

When I saw Pink Floyd's The Wall live about a squillion years ago, that line from Mother earned a resounding 'noooooo' from the audience - quite justifiably, given that it was in the early stages of the benighted Thatcher era. Whatever else stank about that period of British history, though, information technology, as the phrase is understood today, had virtually no impact on the everyday life of an average person - no internet, no mobile phones, no toasters controlled by microchips. How different things are now, 35 years on, so that when the current Home Secretary says, as she did today, that 'we must widen surveillance powers', anyone with two brain cells to rub together ought to be extremely concerned. Especially if you actually read what's proposed. The claim will be made, of course, that it's only to combat crime and terrorism, but when our elective dictatorship gets to define what is a 'crime' and who is a 'terrorist', as much on grounds of political expediency as any realistic threat to 'society', I can't help but believe the end of 'private life' and 'free expression' are coming measurably closer.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Monday, 2 November 2015

Burning down the house

Well, not quite, but it certainly could have happened. When I got in yesterday evening, I put my dinner in the oven to cook (K was out at a gig with her boyfriend), sat down to check my emails - and promptly fell asleep. For hours. By the time I woke up, the food was no more than a blackened mass, fit only for the bin, the kitchen filling with smoke as soon as I opened the oven door. In the event, the result was no more than embarrassment and the smoke alarm going off, but it could have been far worse. The moral of the story is, I guess, to be more careful when I finish nights and then go out for drinks. I might have suggested welcoming an early demise in my last post, but I wouldn't necessarily want it to happen in such a stupid way.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B

Sunday, 1 November 2015

And it is

Unbearable, that is. I've tried it before, tried to write fiction or poetry to attempt to exorcise the demons born of my sexuality and of how that sexuality has virtually destroyed my life, but it never works. Today has been no exception. A lovely sunny late autumn day, my only day off in three and a half weeks, out and about, to be faced with a positive cavalcade of delightful boys. None of whom will ever be mine. Ever. Then memories, once more, of my former next door neighbour in Cornwall, and how he could, just fleetingly, have been 'my boy', had I not been too scared of the implications, the consequences. Then finding a story, not even new, of those consequences, should you act and be discovered - and of what the world thinks of you as a result. My....life....is....fucking....unbearable. The sooner I'm rid of it, the better.

Love & best wishes to all
Sammy B