Choose life. Choose the washing machine. Choose your
favourite song on loop. Choose chocolate for breakfast. Choose undertaking on
the hard shoulder. Choose getting wasted the night before something important.
Choose luminescent underwear. Choose shouting out your unspoken beliefs in
public. Choose shoplifting. Choose kissing a stranger on the cheek. Choose
maximum volume. Choose burning the dancefloor down. Choose collecting all your
receipts. Choose face-paint on holiday. Choose moonwalking along railway tracks.
Choose screaming underwater. Choose mugging a banker’s wallet. Choose chucking
snowballs at your local MP. Choose asking for diet water in a restaurant.
Choose wiping your arse on a freshly laundered towel. Choose pulling short
skirts down. Choose pulling skinny jeans down. Choose uploading a million
selfies. Choose posing like an A-list celebrity upon an imaginary red carpet.
Choose pleasing people because they desire to be pleased. Choose putting both
socks on at the same time. Choose being a dissident. Choose being a conformist.
Choose blending in and sticking out. Choose a pint of whiskey. Choose being
naked on the trampoline while blowing bubbles. Choose two consecutive straight
flushes at the casino. Choose a Halloween mask on your first date. Choose
shaving your eyebrows. Choose valentine’s cards to an unknown schoolgirl.
Choose sprinting indoors. Choose sex outdoors. Choose praying for your enemies.
Choose clenching your fists but hitting no one. Choose laughing at all you’ve
become. Choose the most expensive gift. Choose watching that DVD for the fifth
time. Choose the lava lamp for your bedside cabinet. Choose the funkiest alarm
tone. Choose pissing in the bin. Choose a crystal on each nipple. Choose sailing twice around the equator in an
inflatable dinghy. Choose sitting on a park bench and reminiscing about old
flames. Choose overdosing on multivitamins. Choose long walks in the woods
where the bluebells crow. Choose fireworks on the beach at sunset while
listening to rave music from a portable ghetto blaster as all your friends go
skinny-dipping. Choose getting up to put the kettle on and by the time you come
back missing Ronnie 'the rocket' O’Sullivan making a 147 maximum break in five
minutes and twenty seconds. Choose Mike Tyson’s knockout uppercuts in the first round. Choose betting against England football team. Choose a marathon. Choose
base-jumping in a storm. Choose scented candles in the bath. Choose leaving
your bills until the final reminders. Choose cutting up your credit cards.
Choose vandalising sports cars with a hockey stick because their owners don’t
deserve them. Choose snorting crushed-up caffeine tablets because you just
don’t know where to score drugs from anymore. Choose the finest pepper. Choose
a professional photo studio and gold-plated picture frames on the mantelpiece.
Choose Blackpool rock and bonfire toffee. Choose what you want, not the best
deal. Choose being just a little bit crazy. Choose the shoes. Choose the suit.
Choose the heating on and the windows open. Choose living life as if you’re
going to prison the next day. Choose send-to-all text messages. Choose lying on
your back to gaze up at the stars. Choose the washing machine. Choose life.
I just lost at a manger’s hearing.
Been waiting ages for it. It’s like a court appearance. There are big wigs, a doctor,
clinicians, and a solicitor present. Plus me, of course. Some people don’t even
go in, but I like to try and put my point across. Meetings like this provide
the best chance of getting off the section. The big wigs access all the ‘evidence’.
As far as I know, there is not a shred of evidence to support any kind of any
mental illness (this is why I rank psychiatry as up there with religion in the
Bullshit Premier League). Okay, I did nearly throw myself off Runcorn bridge,
but that was eighteen months ago. They’re acting like it was yesterday. They’ve
detained me ever since. 99.9% of my time in hospital, I’ve been perfectly well.
Mentally sound. Yet still they find reasons for detention. That’s their job –
to keep you in. To your face, they’ll tell you that they want you to move on
and be happy on the outside. The way they talk against you in these meetings shows
that this is not the case. It’s difficult to comprehend why anyone would want
another person incarcerated when it doesn’t affect them in the slightest, and
no crime has been committed. It’s more humane to let someone go and leap off a
bridge. Who’s the state to say you can’t do yourself in? No, they’d rather keep
you alive on a locked ward, spoon-feed you experimental drugs, and write
negative comments behind your back every day. Oh yeah, that’ll make me want to
live again. They think that I’m hallucinating noises from the neighbours. That’s
like me telling you that you’ve been hallucinating going to work for the last
three years. Maybe I’ve been hallucinating my whole existence then. Maybe I’m
still in the womb and this is all a bad dream. They said that gangstalking is
an unusual belief > I’m delusional. The Flying Spaghetti Monster is an
unusual belief. The actual gangstalkers must be pissing themselves. At least
someone’s happy. I wish I never mentioned the topic, but I used to be so naive
that I thought the truth might mean something in this world. They load the
truth into their guns and shoot you with it. Because I’ve missed the odd night taking
their ‘magic’ pills (maybe if they actually worked then everyone would be
cured), they use their non-compliance card at every available opportunity. And
they will not give it a rest about their injections. I’ve lost count of the
amount of times I’ve said, “No, final answer.” Chris Tarrantaccepts that first
time, on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire – he doesn’t keep repeating the question
to make the contestants change their mind.
I did make idle threats once, that
much is true. What do you think a reasonable punishment is for making idle threats?
Forget that I was joking because I have a perverse sense of humour, and let’s
just say I was serious. There must be a law somewhere. How many times do you hear
people saying they’re gunna do this and they’re gunna do that, when they’re
pissed up at the weekend in general arguments outside pubs and clubs? The
police are too busy for that stuff. Christ, the things that gangstalkers say to
their victims! Holy Mother of God. In a just world, these big wigs would be
discussing how much compo was due to me, not how long they plan on taking my
liberty for. Not only that, but they want my home as well. They want me ‘looked
after’ in supported living. They’re beginning to bang on about this with as
much zest as they bang on about injections. They’re punishing me (you’re
mistaken if you think the system is there to help – that’s the equivalent of
saying that religion is there to help you go to Heaven), for mistakes I’ve not
made yet. It’s all about ‘potential risk’. High risk this, historical risk that.
Basically, another way of saying that I’ve done sod all wrong. They’re like a
futuristic pre-crime syndicate. Last time they sectioned me, they had a police
car waiting outside. I don’t know what they were anticipating I might do. I
think they might have me confused with Joe Pesci. They also think I have poor
insight into the imaginary illness that I don’t even have. How’s that for a low
blow? Firstly, we’re gunna tell you that you’re afflicted by something that
doesn’t exist, and secondly we’re gunna further condemn you for not knowing
anything about this thing that doesn’t exist. It’s like an armchair supporter
saying that Pogba doesn’t know anything about football. Pogba’sthe one playing
it every day. That supporter’s probably never been on the field of play in his
life. I’m the one going through this, so I think it’s probably safe to assume
that I know ten times more about it that someone who isn’t. When they have
stayed up long nights on end researching what is actually going on in society outside
of their textbooks, then maybe I’ll take them seriously. Until then, I can’t even
fight back. I’ve got to bend over and ask them to be gentle while tongue-tied. I
should mention knives as well. I want to make this crystal clear. The only time
I have ever reached for a weapon is in a desperate last-resort mindset of
self-defence, in extremis. If you were getting as many death threats and
break-ins as me, I’d be inclined to bet that you might even do the same. It’s
provided a small illusion of safety and comfort, that’s all. It’s not as if I
brandish it about in Asda, looking for an excuse to use the thing. I can’t
imagine ever using it. But hey, he reached for something to defend his life
with while in mortal danger, so that proves he’s a psycho! Case closed! I’d say
this is contradictory to basic rationality. A true psycho doesn’t reach for a weapon...
For starters,I wouldn’t have
spawned so many solar systems. The universe, in its entirety, is an utter waste
of space. What I should have done is create plenty of aliens to keep the human
race company, but I forgot. Actually, truth be told, I didn’t forget – I just
couldn’t be arsed. So they don’t exist, I’m afraid, take it from me. All those
strange lights you people see in the sky are simply your own secret military
experiments. Militaries are your biggest employers. Yeah, even larger than Tesco.
Secondly, I wouldn’t have brought to pass so many starving carnivores. I’ve
lost count of the amounts of revolting species I’ve invented. I was on one.
Call it a mad lab experiment. There are thousands of types of arachnid alone. I
knew straightaway that those things would send a shiver up your spines.
Haha! My babies. I was simply pissed off when I produced snakes and scorpions
and rats and bats and big cats. If you think power is corrupting, then try
to imagine what eternity does to oneself. I just wanted to terrify you, for giggles. I
wondered what it would be like to have strong things demolish weak things, with
zill chance of survival, and then eat them, alive. You can’t beat watching
something getting eaten alive early in the morning. The Romans understood. I
particularly relish observing things run for their life. There’s something
awesome about the thrill of the chase. And just so you know, I rejoice in
myself when the hunted get away. See, I’m not completely bonkers. Thirdly, I wish I
would have put eyes in the backs of your heads. You guys need ‘em. You’re
mostly a bunch of two-faced back-stabbing liars. I cannot believe what you do
to each other! I don't do that to the other Gods. I’ll be made up on the day when someone flushes their own brains
down the toilet on YouTube. That’s what I’m rubbing my hands together for. Alright,
okay, I made you lot in my own image, but c’mon, what the hell have you become?
I’ll ask you again – what the f**k is wrong with your kind? Why didn’t you
listen to my Only Son? His name is Jesus. Can I get an Amen?Also,I wouldn’t have made your
craniums so big. You’re too bloody clever for your own bloody good. Take the
internet, for example. Now, thanks to fibre optics, anyone can know anything
about anything. Excuse me, but I’m supposed to be the omniscient one here! Maybe
I shouldn’t have given innocent children bone cancer, but hey, I was having a
bad aeon. The same goes for coldsores, toothache, and athlete’s foot. Please
forgive me: I’ve already forgiven you. Didn’t you hear? I sent my Only Begotten
Son: Lord of Lords, King of Kings, Prince of Peace. And still you sick bastards
nailed him to a cross. Romans again. My very biggest mistake however was
Bernard Matthews. That man has slaughtered so many fine birds. Don’t worry
folks, there IS justice in the Afterlife, and I can personally assure you that
he’ll be flappin’ in Turkey Hell!G.
I’d just bumped into this girl right, and she was a babe.
Older than me, but still a babe. Not quite a cougar, she was too cute for that,
but nonetheless still foxy in her own magnetic way. We’d met in the library,
and kind of both stopped in our tracks when casting eyes on each other. It
wasn’t love at first sight, I’m not sentimental enough to even believe in that,
but it was something at first sight.
I’m not sure what, maybe some sort of soulful recognition, but it registered
with us both, I could feel it. An awful lot of energetic vibrations can occur
within visual contact, and when our eyesight collided, a mild tremor occurred inside
A week later I was knocking on the front door to her big
house. She seemed really delighted to see me. There was an awkward moment when
we just idled in the hallway; I suspected she might want a kiss, but my shyness
failed me and the moment passed. I thought it an opportune time to reveal the
card I’d prepared for her. I’d bought a calligraphy set and handwritten it
especially. The thing had taken me hours. She accepted it with a courteous bow.
“This is my son,” she said then, introducing me to a lumbering teenager who
grunted at me in greeting. Fine, I thought – not what I was expecting, but I
could live with it. “Hi matey,” I said. “How’s it going?” Another grunt.
We made our way through into the kitchen. The place began to
feel like home already. There was a table set up with rose petals scattered all
over the cloth and a bottle of wine on ice in the middle. Candles too. She
asked me to take a seat, which I did, and then she attended to the oven,
extracting a large precooked fish. My heart sank. I hate fish. As a general
rule, I tend not to eat anything that is looking right back at me. “This is
gorgeous,” I said, when we started to tuck in, but on my very first bite a felt
a bone lodge in my throat. As soon as I felt it get stuck I knew it wasn’t
going anywhere for a good while yet. It seemed to hook into the flesh. I tried
hiding my coughs and did my best to ignore it, hoping more food would remove it
on the way down. It never did. She offered me some wine, which I gulped just a
little too eagerly, raising an eyebrow from the teenager. Two glasses later,
and it had gone straight to my head. The taste of the skanky fish was making my
stomach do somersaults. I excused myself to use the bathroom.
And it was in there where I took a distinct turn for the
worse. The walls and ceiling started to spin. Soon I was holding onto the bog
for dear life. I heaved, I convulsed: I convulsed, I heaved. I splattered the
bowl with thick vomit. Chunks got trapped in my throat, making me gag and
choke. I thought I would feel better once the first load was up, but it seemed
to be never-ending. I was a projectile machine. The sickly feeling wouldn’t go
away. The taste of the bitter wine and regurgitated fish were self-perpetuating
themselves on my palette. I chucked and chucked again. Make no mistake, I was
in the third circle of hell. Worse than any of it, I knew they could hear me
downstairs. I knew this was the ultimate, ultimate insult to her generous
effort. “It’s not your fault,” I mumbled under my breath. I started waffling,
in a desperate bid to distract myself from what was happening. Now she would
think I was a headcase as well as an ungrateful pig, but I couldn’t help it.
“The meal was great,” I said. “The wine was nice…” Talking to myself.
Eventually, she came up to see if I was okay. I must have
been there for the best part of half an hour. She bent down beside me with her
hand on my shoulder. I’d stopped chucking up, but still felt unable to move
away from the shitter. The night was over, in my mind, but she said I was
welcome to stay. She’d prepared a bed, with more rose petals and candlelight.
“I wanted to kiss you,” I said, “but I guess I missed my chance.”
Who in their right mind wanted to swap spit with a guy who had just been
puking? “It’s not a problem,” she replied, “just brush your teeth first. I’ll
be waiting in the bedroom.”
Is right! I was in! I
stood up, dusted myself off, and popped a male enhancement pill!
[The fish bone remained in my
throat for 9 days. The relationship lasted 4 years.]
Andrew has performed his spoken word at Contact Theatre Manchester and South Bank Centre London. His publications include Not Shut Up and The Big Issue. He has collaborated with the creative works of prisoners, patients and refugees. In 2008 his collages were displayed in a Co-operative art exhibition. Since then he has recorded over forty electronic music tracks and designed forty ceramic sculptures. He is currently working on a cyber goth novel while editing a substantial backlist, besides compiling a hardcopy portfolio of digital photo-montages and sketches.
Andrew was ousted from school into a secure psych unit as a teenager. Since then he has been homeless, imprisoned, and detained for several years under the Mental Health Act. Andrew is an ex-addict and a Voice-Hearer. He attempted suicide in the summer of 2015, but manages his demons thesedays by attending therapy groups, where he shares his otherworldly experiences with others. Simple things like poetry and weightlifting help motivate him. He enjoys pool, swimming, and working the punchbag. Andrew is an avid conspiracy theorist.