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People who refuse to accept the passage of time

As a man who is balding, putting on weight and generally looking increasingly unattractive, I have stopped uploading pictures of myself onto the Internet. It’s the obvious and mature thing to do. However, lots of other (for want of a better word) plateauing acquaintances of mine haven’t yet figured this out.

Many people I knew as sprightly youths are deciding to publicly – and in unnecessary detail – document their gradual but unstoppable descent into the tomb-ready empty shells that we are all doomed to one day become. (Except, of course, for those blessed angels permitted to leave us young. Like Thomas the Tank Engine’s Ringo Starr or literature’s Sir Ian Fleming.)

Have these people (the living, not the gifted dead) lost the ability to look at an image of themselves and decide whether it’s flattering or not? And even if it is flattering, whether or not the figure within is actually pleasing to the discerning eye?

What happened to the days when one could while away hours perfecting (pose, lighting, angle, cropping, photoshopping) a MySpace profile picture? Those were beauty’s glory days, not the current heavy mid-twenties where people are beginning to balloon or, even more commonly, their skin is starting to REALLY show the cigarettes/junk food diet/lack of a responsible skincare routine.

When did society decide that the Internet is no longer a place exclusively for the beautiful? Because I didn’t think it had. (If this has been mooted and decided on, someone please let me know. My spam filter keeps a lot of emails I actually want out of my inbox. Especially some rather sensitive medical ones I’m quite keen to get hold of.)

Nowadays, whenever I see a new photograph of myself I have to hold back a tear, rather than the erection that it should be. (See previous paragraph.) Being able to accept the lack of current aesthetic value in my own once-fair visage is the main reason why I would prefer for others to treat me with the same courtesy.

Think of the dignity you once had. Think of how looking good once meant something to you. And if it never did, or if you never looked good, please get your face off mine – and the world’s – internet. You’d be doing your younger self a favour.

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People who refuse to accept the passage of time.

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Other People Expecting Me To Care About Their Opinions In Blogs Or On The Facebook

In all fucking sincerity, if you’re trying to get me to look at your blog through the fucking Facebook, you need to go outside and talk to someone.

When I (a mature, rational, professional and – here’s the kicker – balding man) have issues to discuss, points of view to express or “Things That Have Made Me Angry Today” (SEO) to rant about, I tend to do it in person. Usually with a drink in hand.

Here are some tips on how to get used to talking to other people. These are, do to speak, the rules I live by:
a) It’s often best to only talk to every person once. The reason for this, in my experience, is that honest opinions/revelations you make to anyone tend to make them dislike you. a) ii) A post script to the first point is that it can ignored if you ONLY EVER TELL LIES.
b) Only talk with full revelation to people who will not (openly) judge you – ie a parent who is relying on you to support them through retirement, a lover who knows they’re punching above their weight or an estate agent. They categorically cannot be shocked.
c) Talk, where possible, with reckless abandon: pepper your dialogue with lots of offensive language, violent imagery and direct references to your own genitals. Most people will hate this, but those that do not may (possibly) find it funny. I think.
d) Never feel embarrassed for not being able to think of a punch line.

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Christmas Story 2011

It was the middle of the fucking party season and the emphysema was starting to become a problem again. He knew it wasn’t a matter of life and death (he couldn’t die) but it was still pretty annoying to cough up thumb sized gobs of blood every time he tried to do anything remotely athletic. He hated too having to deal with the health sector – medical practioners worldwide had an obsession with the kind of bureaucracy that really pissed him off – but though he could keep surgeons permanently employed on his staff, getting hold of a pair of good sized lungs had been a problem more than once before. Also, as a very heavy smoker, he was never top priority for any going spare.

Father Christmas, then, was stood on a frosty December morning in the car park of a small GP’s clinic in rural England. He leant against a windowframe so that he could peer at the electronic display while he chain-smoked in the cold, kept warm by a thick red suit lined with polar bear fur. When his pseudonym (Danny Twatt – he was young at heart) pinged up, he crushed a smouldering Camel Blue into the asphalt and strolled inside.

The doctor was sat behind his desk and didn’t shake his hand. He stared for a bit. Early thirties. Dark hair. Good eyes. Maybe a Spanish grandparent. If Father Christmas had been on narcotics (which he planned to be very soon after the consultation) he’d have probably hit on him.

“Sir, it’s an honour.”

Father Christmas was staring with a sneer at the “No Smoking” sign behind the GP’s head and ignored the younger man’s sycophantic entreaty.

“You’re good with confidentiality, right? Don’t want the fucking paps outside when we’re finished in here.”

“Of course, of course.” Starstruck. Or maybe shocked by the language. “What is the problem?”

“Don’t want any bullshit, Doctor. I want a set of lungs. I’ve been-“ he paused and exhibited his symptom into a ragged handkerchief, leaving a slight dribble of blood in his white stubble. –“I’ve been doing that a lot. Needs to stop.”

“Are you a smoker?”

“Yes.

“How many a day?”

“As many as I feel like. Feel like one now, for example.”

“How many cigarettes do you smoke on an average day?”

“Ten to twenty packs… maybe more if I’m out.”

The doctor looked surprised.

“I travel a lot, buy ‘em in duty free. I know, doctor, why my lungs are damaged, but as you are probably aware from my medical records, I cannot die. So I am going to keep on smoking.”

“I’m afraid I should advise you to cut down.”

Father Christmas did not like this. He flew into a rage. He stood up.

“Who the fuck do you think you are?”

“Excuse me, sir, please sit down.”

“Sit down?”

“Please, sir, sit down. I understand it can be unpleasant to talk about these things-“

“-It’s not unpleasant, it’s fucking simple. I need a set of lungs and I want them soon.”

After this he descended into a fit of coughing, bent over and spraying strings of blood onto the linoleum floor. The mess he made seemed to calm down his anger.

He sat down, breathing heavily. “Sorry about that, doctor. As you were.”

The doctor paused for a second, floundering. “You’re fourhundredandeightyseven?”

“Correct.”

“And you can’t die?”

“No. Blessing and a curse.” Pause. “Can I smoke in here?”

“No.” Pause. “I’ll have to refer you to a specialist.”

“OK, can I pay to get that appointment quickly?”

“You can go private, of course, that’s up to you-“

“I don’t want to “go private”, doctor, I want to bribe someone to give me a new set of lungs. I don’t want any more details in some databank somewhere, I want lungs. I’ve got doctors at home. I just need the lungs.” Pause. “I’m very rich, you know.”

“Why have you come to this practice?”

“Spend quite a bit of time in town. I’m shagging the MP’s wife. And daughter. And once the son, but he’s a bit of a-”

The doctor interrupted, either bored or genuinely annoyed. “I am not going to assist you in illegal organ trading.”

“Fine.” And then came the brainwave. Then came the epiphany. Then came the remembrance of complete diplomatic immunity: he’d kill the doctor and take his lungs. Simple. Job done.

Father Christmas stood up to leave and shook the doctor’s hand. As he did so he reached with his left up to the back of the other man’s head, grabbed a fistful of hair and in one movement slammed his face into the corner of the desk. For safety he repeated this three times until the doctor’s face had been completely caved in. Father Christmas pulled a large red sack from one of the cavernous pockets of his overcoat and pulled it over the corpse.

After a pause for a prolonged spasm of retching coughs, he tied the head of the sack and threw it through the wide, single glazed, window. He climbed through afterwards and dragged the cargo across the carpark and stuffed it in the back seat of his sleigh. There was a bloody streak across the asphalt, and though he was aware that the sack would probably leak all over his upholstery, he was unfazed as he knew the leather had seen much worse during the slave trade.

He climbed into the driver’s seat and cracked his whip. As the reindeer knew the way he sank into the chair and lit a cigarette, pulled out a can of Stella and put some porn on his dash-mounted iPad.

It had been a while since he’d killed (comparatively) and it had given him a very real, very physical buzz. He’d got what he’d come for. And he had new lungs and a week of morphine to look forward to.

As Father Christmas pulled out his cock and saw that even his herpes was behaving itself, he grinned. Happy fucking Christmas.

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Anger

I spend a lot of my time fuming with rage.

I kick skips. I shout at strangers’ dogs. Sometimes I litter when I’m within walking distance of a bin. (Whenever I do do that – to clarify – I will pick the litter back up again and deposit it safely in a ready receptacle. To clarify further, I do not believe that the “punk rock” statement I initially made is diminished by my conscientiousness. If anything it is elevated – I can make my “angry” gesture without any potentially lethal social repercussions.)

Things that make me angry most consistently are fairly typical – fat people, people who laugh at their own ignorance, people with better jobs/degrees/friends than me, big dogs, children, people who find Hemingway’s misogyny “unignorable”, decisions I have made in the past, boxing, sporting goods stores, people with personally appropriate levels of ambition, wind (flatulence and weather), reality television, the irreversible passage of time, my job, my hairline, my trousers, e-readers – but I hope to use this blog to discover some new and irritating things to really get angry about.

Please stay tuned.

Introduction: Complete

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