Search This Blog

Monday, 26 July 2010


I'm taking my live blog over to wordpress:

However, I'm going to put the best of my posts from past and present here:

And this is going to be my creative journal:

... so I hope to see you all on those blogs instead ... I will of course continue to read you all ...


Friday, 23 July 2010

The Story Of How I Came Here

Little Buddha

I first started a blog in LiveJournal as Little Buddha, on May 3rd 2005. I started it with four school friends, Tasha, Kate, Ceri and Tom. Three other people I knew vaguely in real life supplemented this circle. My first entries were extremely long. I often included what I was listening to, and interspersed humour in the form of recounted stories with often personal diary entries or internet memes. I chose "Little Buddha" because it referenced both weed and Buddhism, both of which I was into at the time, as well as the internet persona I wanted. On January 12th 2006 I first began to stylise my journal: each entry appeared in three separate parts under titled lj-cuts, roughly comprising of a thought, a paragraph about my day and a piece of creative writing. After this failed, I went on my first break from online blogging, of six months. After I returned, I hadn't seen any of my former school mates for two years. On May 8th 2007, I made my first real internet friend, Eileen. By now my journal was barely commented on except for Ceri. On the 7th of June, 2007, I reconnected through LJ with a former classmate I hadn't seen for three years, Paul. I posted often quite philosophical text alongside music videos in order to invite comments. Meanwhile:

Eunuch Dreams

My first writing journal, begun on the 3rd of June 2006, was written as part of a fictional persona named Jonah, who was meant to be precisely half-fictional. This meant that he had a Ukrainian-Jewish mother like me, but a Nigerian father (I lived in Nigeria for three years as a child). I posted pure fiction as well as stories about my friends, using semi-anagrams to come up with names such as Leonard Triffid and Tom Lyrical. I had some idea of turning the resulting journal into a novel. I chose the title from a Dylan Thomas poem about film. My early pieces were extremely dense and stylised, but after criticism from writing communities become more minimalist. On 30th July 2006, I first made a journal private. On 10th December 2006, I first met Mark in a community. He commented on a post to tell me a cut wasn't working. On the 15th of May 2007, Jonah began a series of letters to a whale purportedly from inside of it, which was my way of talking about my depression at that time. On 18th of June 2007, Mark realised through looking at Tom's profile, who read both my journals, that Sammy (Little Buddha) and Jonah (Eunuch Dreams) were the same, prompting me to 'kill' Jonah immediately ...

The End Of Little Buddha

I was devastated by the loss of Jonah, and posted something on my Little Buddha account saying that I would quit it after 39 more entries (39 being what you might call my lucky number). The vitiriolic and eloquent entry itself was the very one that made Eileen become obsessed with my writing. Soon after we talked on MSN, and a romantic internet relationship began to form. Mark joined me on my new journal, and the two were to become my closest internet friends. However, I never completed the 39 entries I set myself, for I frustrated myself by being too precious with which thoughts became entries. I left within a couple of months to start a second personal journal, but from time to time returned to the journal to post, between intervals that eventually stretched to years.

Pale Shadow Girl

On the 18th of June 2007, the day that Jonah died and the Little Buddha account gained a sell-by date, I created a new writing journal. Whereas Jonah's layout had been tasteful, and his avatars moving black-and-white icons from symbolically apt films like Jekyll and Hyde, my new character was different. Initially she was meant to be an emo, hence the title of the journal. Emma's layout was girlish, with a simple photo icon of Jared Leto, and her style was initially more naive and less verbose than Jonah's - her critiques of other writers less aggressive, and I forced myself to be more accepting of criticism in turn. I was to sporadically continue putting pieces up until February 13th 2010, but produced little of interest, and was not interested by Emma as a character enough to write about her life as I had done Jonah's.

A Word Child

'A Word Child', my second personal journal, was started on August 2nd 2007. The title of this journal, and its sub-title, The Inner Circle, came from a novel by Iris Murdoch. Its meaning for me was mainly that I am hyperlexic, and find it easier to communicate via the written word. The Inner Circle was the people from my past journals I took with me, including Paul, Ceri, Eileen and Mark. I posted three types of posts, The Spider, The Bee and The Cave - each had their own icons, and were inspired by passages in the Koran. The Spider posts were analysing the outer world and its web, the Cave analysed my own thoughts, and the Bee was for entertaining posts including videos and occasional memes. Just as the late Jonah period was my creative zenith, so do my early Word Child posts represent the height of my blogging powers. On my birthday, in 2007, Masha, who was to become the last of my significant LJ friends, left me her first comment. On January 1st 2008, I changed the journal's theme into the Bar, in which I would re-edit posts to include the comments I received and so turn each post into a conversation: however, I soon found this restrictive. On July 9th 2008 I attempted to post as the Leadman (a near anagram of my surname) and talk in a cryptic and fictional way about some hard times. This failed, and I stopped posting in frustration.

The 98th Cent

Created July 21st 2008. My final blog on Live Journal was inspired by a comment that the human body was worth 98 cents in minerals. It was intended to be a record of my physical movements as opposed to my mental ones as A Word Child. Coincidentally it was the first journal in which every one of my readers was not known to me in real life, the ones who followed me from previous journals including Paul, Eileen and Mark. I struggled at first to get comments, which was significant later when I decided that every entry that received under two comments was probably boring and should be made private: most of the 98th cent entries are as such now visible only to me, another unique part of my blogging experience. On September 27th 2008 my journal adopted the new theme of imaginary letters, mostly to real-life acquaintances - this was inspired by Saul Bellow's novel 'Herzog'. However this dried up comments altogether, and I struggled until December 2008 when the theme was dropped. I briefly attempted to comment on my own journal using my previous four journals, pretending to be Jonah, Emma, the Buddha and the Word Child, but having to log in and out of different accounts proved tiresome. On February 3rd 2009, Aubyn first commented on my journal. On February 4th 2009 I produced my first 'mixtape' of my favourite past entries, foreshadowing 'Memories of Radiators' on here. On September 18th 2009 I made a special two part entry with all of the most significant events from my life in it. On January 18th 2010 I dedicated several entries to mourning the break-up of the romantic aspect of my relationship with Eileen. On February 16th 2010 I began a new theme, of breaking my life and thoughts down according to seven sins, each with their own demon and icon. This lasted a while, during which time I rejuvenated my old Word Child account ...

The Break-Up Of The Inner Circle

When I began using the Inner Circle after two years on April 7th 2010, it was to post more personal things, including video blogs. The members of the Inner Circle were the dream-team of my LJ friends, including Eileen, Mark, Masha, Aubyn, and Paul. I introduced the friends to each other, thus creating a 'circle'. Although some of my blogging was lazy, I can say that this brief period was the happiest time in all my blogging years. No other of my blogs was so consistently commented upon, and often discussions would happen on my entries between a group of people who now knew each other. However, I soon criticised Mark for what I perceived as repetitively blogging about the girl he was seeing. He vowed to leave LJ, and I too was upset and closed down the Inner Circle on April 25th 2010.


I dropped the Seven Sins theme and returned to blogging normally, and at first managed to keep the large amount of comments steady. Mark and I reconciled, and all seemed well. However, I changed my theme to 'Nulla Dies Sine Linea', or not a day without a line, and started to include creative posts on my personal journal, and for the first time, on May 29th, without people being able to comment on them. Although my audience enjoyed the posts, I believe it got them out of the habit of commenting on my material, and within a month my personal posts began to be met with silence. I posted two posts about depression without much by way of response, and perceiving also that my friends were posting rarely, I decided that LiveJournal was in decline, and swore never to post again. On June 16th I made my last entry. After that I was to continue commenting for a while. Around this time Paul went on an extended break from LiveJournal. By now I was friends with him in real life, and he was working as my producer. Aubyn disappeared, deleting her journal, her facebook and ceasing our letter correspondence, and only last week wrote to me explaining that she had found she was being stalked by someone and dropped everything. A few weeks after creating my Blogspot I phoned Eileen, telling her I couldn't speak to her again since our up and down relationship had ultimately left me with bitterness. This bitterness had caused me to attack Masha concerning the legitimacy of her depression, although I was really attacking Eileen, who had in the past frustrated me with her method of dealing with moods. Masha and Eileen had initially actually followed me over to Blogspot, before my self-destructive behaviour alienated them both. Mark told me he couldn't follow me over to Blogspot due to his concerns over its transparency, and my self-induced isolation was complete.


I came over to Blogspot, and named myself Pure Tones, since I now longed for unstylised simplicity in blogging. I titled my journal Everything You Say Will Destroy You, after an Auteurs song. I also created Memories of Radiators, and She's Got A New Stage To Go With Her Stage Fright, both referencing Mclusky lyrics. MoR chronicles my favourite past entries, and Stage Fright is a new creative journal. I made friends with Maundering Mutterer and Pamo, but was I think excessively aggressive in debating with both, as well as there being a general decline in my content, something that often happens when I don't have enough readers to bounce off. I miss my former friends terribly, and the format of blogspot still seems alien to me - I most hate that comments don't automatically prompt email alerts, something that has stilted my interaction with others. I am only comfortable making such a long and self-indulgent entry now that I am conscious of no longer being read. For the first time in five years of blogging, I am writing for myself.

No-One Is Watching You

The government doesn't care where you go on your little shopping excursions. No far-ranging conspiracies will ever frame your mundane life, no spies will betray you nor anything be stolen from you that has an exterior worth. Shadowy omnipotent corporations do not know when you sleep. Sexual deviants do not lurk behind hedges admiring the way you move. There are no terrorists in your neighbourhood, no skeletons in your closet, no monsters underneath your bed.

God and the Devil do not debate over your actions, which are neither predestined nor measured, but fall as leaves from the branches of your lives. Nothing will ever happen to you that will make you notable, although if a headline lands heavily you will share in a "nation's grief". If you're lucky the name on your grave won't be worn off after a few hundred years, nor your bones dug up to make way for the myriad new dead. No-one is watching you: because no-one cares what you are.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

The Bigger Picture

Today on the train there was a technical failure while we were at the platform, and then a railway worker accidentally directed us to the wrong train. When we were ordered to leave this second train, there was the whole thing of catching other people's eyes and exchanging grumbles. At which point, I said: "if you think about it, we're basically evolved monkeys, and it's amazing we can drive a train at all." This did not have the desired effect on my fellow passengers.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

OK, so this is a bit more readable than what I just posted, so here's my fucking thought of the day for you:

words destroy you. That's the idea behind this journal. Words are too strong. They overbalance things. My mother's family thinks talking about everything makes it better, but it just makes things more strange.

When you give something a word you invest it with the alien properties of that word. If you really want to express something important, do it with a gesture. You can say the most beautiful thing and it is still nothing compared to what's there in your eyes already. Sometimes you can say exactly the right thing, and it's the worst thing that can happen. "I'm sorry for your loss."

We don't realise how powerful language is because it's everywhere. We can't see how it shatters things and then reforms them into constructs, or groups a billion separate things under a single term. It's so powerful that it becomes trivial to us, like the concept of infinity. If there was a gesture that signified love, it would brutally reduce it. It's the same with the word. We shouldn't have a word for love or need to define it. The word love can vitiate a relationship or one can say it casually of a film. Words shatter You and make You into a Friendly Calm Relaxed Person.

I try and create a facade for myself with words. Not just words, but all of the money I spend goes into my facade. It's the same with you. Your house, your clothes. The clothes need words, which are free, to justify their expense. Equally the things you worked so hard to pay for can only truly be reduced by the things that cost nothing, like opinions. Repo men can take your house, but a thousand of them could never take your pride - which is the real house, the thing you live in all the time. Four words can, however. So this Self, that we created with words, is perpetually destroyed by that which it consists of. The only true things in themselves are the wordless, like animals. The self, if it exists, lies in spontaneity of gesture. The final paradox, then: words are too powerful, but they can say nothing important - the most scintillating thought will never break human skin. 3 billion people are looking at each other absently, and there is more in their faces than a library of books. Sit back and watch this entry eat itself.

That Old Tune

Quickly, then: when I was 12 I was diagnosed with a genius IQ. 14, I began to get depression. I grew to connect the two, and from 15 to 17 I would self-harm by bashing the back of my head against walls, etc. If I did it long enough I would get a sensation like pieces of my skull were rearranging themselves, and it soothed me. I didn't eat properly from 14 to 18. I took a certain amount of drugs, and would often go without sleep. Between my little suicide attempts I was essentially trying to turn myself insane, or stupid. At 19 I smashed my forehead open, was taken to hospital and there is a very visible scar to this day.

I've talked about self-hatred A LOT during my blogging years. I've spent years trying to escape myself, one way or another. I hate my body. I hate my mind. What does that mean, and why should I care, considering I hate myself? Well it is the false ideal part of me that hates the vulnerable part, the part which hurts. I can never forgive myself for doing what I did to myself. I don't think I damaged myself any more than the physical scar (and mentally and physically the bigger effects were refusing to self-educate or exercise) but I'll always know, I could have been more intelligent just as I could have been better-looking.

I can't make films because even if I achieve a certain success I'll know I could have been better, which is even sadder. I can't let myself be happy because I can't forgive myself for my own self-hatred. I can't love others normally, because I hate myself too much. Tomorrow was going to be perhaps the day when things went further with A. The thing about self-harm is that there's always a moment of choice. If I tell her that she can't come over tomorrow, I may not even see her again. When I smashed open my head, I knew that I was going to do damage myself for life. I could have not done it. I imagined the possibilities. Suicidal thoughts are much the same.

In one branch, I have a long and happy relationship with A. But that's not the branch that the masochist takes. Masochist isn't quite right, since they get pleasure from pain, whereas I derive a grim sense of justice. I've been trying to change myself in the past year, and A was a part of that, but really I'm just running away. I am starting to see that I was right to live as I did, in a repetitive blur where I had two friends and did nothing, and watched life go by, not feeling anything, never achieving. The only way to stop self-destruction is to fold into myself, and wait for life to pass as quickly and painlessly as possible.

Suicide is selfish. The more I expand, the more my behaviour impacts on others. I can't hurt A by using her to hurt myself. London was a good idea, but I still had some notion of being someone, or just having a normal year with a job, a girl, and some friends. Despair is melodramatic in such a situation. I'll become less than myself, so that I can never see the damage I have done. There's a lot of very smart guys living in their mothers' basements for something like this reason. I'll never dance with a girl. I'll never throw a party. I'll no longer take drugs, or walk around at night, or eat unhealthily.

I won't try and like myself, because I only like myself when I'm hurting, and perhaps that begins the cycle. I'll just be. Sometimes that's what you can afford. Time at 22 to look at what you are. You never had youth. You had love, from family and close friends, but you never belonged to someone. You don't look at yourself in the mirror when you leave in the mornings. Your hand is covered in scabs from a job you shouldn't be doing. You bought a packet of condoms today just to see what being that person felt like. You find friendships complex. You can't work consistently on anything that shows potential. Live in your little flat, be polite and keep your head down. A suicide of the senses. Death-in-life hurts no-one else. Leave people like A alone.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

There's this woman who works with us called Lisa. She has a gentle Jamaican voice and intelligent eyes. She also wears a lot of make-up, and this to go to work in a factory.

Jo said to me today, "You work hard, I give you that woman" and the others laughed their heads off. Yesterday, Mohammed said to me, "Jo gave me Lisa, I said take her back".

Lisa: graceful, amusing, kind, ugly. She gets along well with them, not knowing that she's the butt of their jokes. They even flirt with her carelessly. Perhaps that's why she tries so hard.

This post is expressing the tragedy of ugly women. There is less of an equivalent with men, since women are naturally not as drawn to looks - among other reasons.

What angers me most of all is when I see the sort of woman who has every other gift acting demurely before a crude, stupid person, because she knows that she is ugly.

I find it sad that ugly women are usually friendly. It sometimes feels as if they have no other choice. I wish that society could see real ugliness: something that lies not in a nose but a glance.

But who am I kidding? I'd never go out with Lisa. This despite the fact that ugliness is the only flaw I don't possess, and perhaps the only one she does. I'm no better than the rest.

Witty ugly women often have a lot of male friends, of course. Sometimes they'll find an ugly partner, and as with my friend L he'll treat her badly because she won't leave him.

I swear to you now that I look at ugly women and see the face of the God I once believed in. I see them aged and ringless, carrying their shopping, and I hope, I just hope, that there's a heaven.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010


I hate adverts that make no sense whatsoever. A model walks through a luxurious apartment shot in monochrome and slow motion - basically it's like a shitty pop video from the 80s, and you're expecting Kate Bush to jump out at any minute. Anyway there are all these curtains billowing out and brushing against her skin, she gives an elegant twirl and it says, "GODIVA CHOCOLATES". And you're like, what the fuck has that got to do with chocolate? The only way it would make sense is if it was advertising curtains. Even then it would hardly be a good sell because apparently if you leave a window open the room turns into a gauze obstacle course. She may be pretty, but she certainly can't install curtains. The fact that I have seen the same premise advertising cars and perfumes over the years makes me suspicious that they have the idea first and then sell it to the highest bidding company.

Here is a random perfume advert to show you what I mean:

OK, so Kate Moss is standing naked in a field when it is clearly no weather for that sort of thing. Ignoring the risk of lightning, she starts brushing various plants against her skin. For no obvious reason she pricks herself on a rose. Finally we learn that the explanation for her insane behaviour is that she wants us to buy her new perfume. For those of you who say I'm taking this too literally, where's the metaphor? This perfume can make an average piece of wheat turn into a rose like Kate? The truth is even more insulting. In advertising-think the nakedness is PROVOCATIVE, the clouds say DANGEROUS, the rose is STYLISH, the setting is NATURAL and the sucking blood off finger is SEXY. The meta-meanings are layered according to market appeal in a surreal manner we are sadly accustomed to: the next time you see a billboard with a naked woman on a horse and writing essentially saying "BUY OUR SHOES" just remember how fucking absurd it all is.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

The Job

So I went out and got a job in a "laundry" - well, it says it's a laundry, but really it's a sort of Dickensian workhouse, where one expects to see small children in rags running between machines. They put me on a steaming machine, and the supervisor said, "this is a dangerous machine, so watch these two carefully". As soon as he left one of the guys turned to me and said he had to be off. So I was left with a guy who speaks with a heavily-accented stutter, who I couldn't hear over the steam. The idea of the machine is that you both hold a sheet over a steaming hot surface, and if you hold the sheets the right way you don't burn yourself.

I asked the guy, "have you ever burned yourself?" and he shook his head. Anyway he seemed to get progressively more angry every time I burned myself, which involved dropping the sheet each time. I kept on wondering what the hell was wrong with me. I slaved away for the next five hours, essentially trying not to cry. Of course the more I burned myself, the harder it became. Anyway it came to the end of our shift, and the supervisor at this point decided to offer me gloves. At which the guy I do my shifts with, Adje, said that if I used gloves they'd melt and stick to my skin. Apparently I was lucky: if I'd worn looser clothing the hot steam can rush up your shirt and singe your nipples.

With the amount of pain I'm constantly in - it takes time for your hands to toughen up to the constant level of heat (as opposed to sudden blasts that remove the skin) they might as well say, "here is a cheese grater, apply it liberally to your buttocks". I probably should have quit immediately - there's a reason why I'm the only white guy on a machine - but I am determined not to be another middle class ex-student sponging off the government and thinking the only acceptable job is bar-work. I think they expected me not to return, but the next day they all warmed to me and Adje became sympathetic and showed me all the scars he'd got from "laundry". (Never burned yourself, like fuck.)

So the first thing I want to talk to you about is this state of mind that you get into as a labourer. They pay me minimum wage for five hours without a break, six days a week. Then afterwards I stay on for unpaid "training" on the various machines, which I think is their way of dodging the minimum wage laws. So while I don't self-identify as a workman - as a son of intellectuals I am a sort of tourist in such a world - I am starting to tap into this strange oblivion of the senses, where time seems to melt and days and nights are fractured into shifts and sleeping time. You literally do "live for the weekend" - or Sunday in my case - and you discover that the less you think, the faster your week goes by.

The second thing I want to talk about is the class element. We cater to 5 star hotels, which means that we do rich people's bedding and clothing. We see the blood and sex stains on sheets that withstand the most rigorous cleaning. We do tennis t-shirts, designer jeans, items that the person pays us £6 each to do, which is more than we get for an hour of extremely hard work. A press operator named Caesar did my Sudoku puzzle on hard in seconds. Meanwhile, my friend R is going to get a summer job in his millionaire dad's company and earn thousands in what is essentially pocket money. I feel at the exact point where rich meets poor, and the world of opportunity meets the world where people make the most of seven days' holiday a year.

Don't think of this as a sort of angst tourism on my part - I respect the people I work with too much for that. Neither do I need the money. I don't really drink, and am resolutely unfashionable: the dole would suit me fine. I'm doing this for A, whom I am taking to the opera on Monday, something that I saved for over a couple of weeks by walking everywhere until I genuinely had blisters on blisters. But most of all I need this for myself. I don't feel useless. The delirium of thoughtlessness suits me, and fills my days. My social life has improved considerably, by the way - all I needed was PG Tips. English people apparently find it impossible to resist coming over for tea. It still requires work - it's not like I put the kettle on and wait for people to appear - but between the preparation for my next film, a quiet social life and the excitement of trying not to burn my hand off, I find myself reasonably happy.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

How Do You Make Friends?

So I've decided to be contrary and begin with the revelation, instead of end with it. The revelation is: I am not okay, but that's okay.

I've spent the whole of my adult life thinking I was a depressive. This meant that although I've never had a girlfriend, I felt lucky to have a few friends. Being told that I had a chemical imbalance suddenly meant that it was fine doing nothing with my life, which seemed a constant flow between meds and no meds, summer emptiness and winter depression. I was trapped somehow between my internal landscape and the outside world where people had jobs and went to parties.

Whenever I got too miserable, I often went here, the blogosphere, and people comforted me and told me it was alright. It's difficult not to feel resentful for those nice, bland words. I use niceness in its most bitter sense, in that secretly selfish manner where it feels good to be pleasant to people but not to stick your neck out for them. No-one ever took me by the shoulders and said, "Sammy, what the fuck are you doing?". And I was lazy. I was so lazy and self-hating, and I took a sort of pleasure in watching things slide.

I worked out today that with the amount of practice I've put into my writing, I'd be a grade 5 on the French Horn. That's not even high-school band standard. My writing is far out in front of everything else, including my directing. And here I am, like so many of my generation, trying to strike it out in the world with our pathetic little dreams, and nothing like as much talent. So things aren't okay, but not because of a chemical imbalance: being an idiot isn't a disorder.

I kind of always accepted the fact I always had no social life when I was a depressive and thus a loner - not realising that socialising is something you have to work at like everything else. Plus I saw myself as taking the "talents" route in life - you know, like Nobel Prize winners who spend years alone. But in fact I can't lie, at present I'm both less talented and adjusted than my peers.

I get why I find it difficult to make friends. My main problem is that I have trouble showing weakness enough to somehow communicate that I enjoy people's company. A lot of my fellow arseholes also clearly have trouble with this. I can really like someone and still act like I've got somewhere else to be at that very second. It's like a cordial chat in a shop queue, except I'm in my own fucking garden.

If it was just a personality thing then this would be easy, but the problem is that the less friends you have, the harder they are to make. Balanced people are attracted to similar types, so that a sort of social strata is created with people who can throw a party just like that and people who have to make do with a few friends they don't necessarily get along with. I was used to that in school: a lot of my friends were clearly itching to be in the popular crowd, and some made it.

Okay, so you're in my situation. You're 22 years old, slightly boring, slightly controversial and with intellectual pretensions - thus unsuited to any party. You have one friend who lives in London, and a few more distant friends. Your hobbies and music tastes - e.g. chess and blues - are generally terrible for meeting people your own age. Oh, and anyone you make friends with will have to come to terms with a personality that if it was pleasant could be described as eccentric*.

So how the fuck do you make friends? I've forgotten. All of my friends have chosen me, somehow. Do I just go into a crowded place and gun for the person who looks as lost as I do? I have literally resorted to trying to make friends with girls over dating sites - but I've realised that no-one really goes on dating sites to make new friends, and the "looking for friends" bit is a sort of get-out clause in case they don't like the guy that much. What to do, Blogspot?

* = This isn't a self-hating entry. I'm just speaking the truth. I'm a highly intelligent, genuinely good person capable of beauty, as well as an egomaniac, misanthrope and dilettante. If you think that's a pleasant combination, I'd like some of what you've been drinking. Oh, and we should totally meet up ...