Man Up

#InternationalMensDay has been the rightful target of ridicule. A firmly established, if wobbling, patriarchy makes the notion of a day specifically for men an utter irrelevance. Isn’t every day is International Mens Day? But whilst Yes, All Men is the cry, some people have taken this hashtag to point out that the very idea of masculinity still needs to be challenged, to make the very valid statement that many men still feel trapped by the notions of what it is to be ‘a man’ that are pushed at us day after day after day. Man up Sit down Chin up Pipe down Socks up Don’t cry Drink up Just lie Grow some balls, he said Grow some balls. ~ Samaritans …

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Buying better

As those of you who have met me in ACTUAL REAL LIFE (cos hey, us Bloggers also exist in the real world) can no doubt attest, I am not the most fashion conscious person. I’m aware of high street trends but my exposure to that is largely what I see out and about, I don’t read about fashion, I don’t get exposed to many adverts about fashion, I am not fashionable. I’m comfortable in jeans and a t-shirt, sometimes a shirt, and whilst I don’t mind dressing for the occasion I tend to view clothes as a necessity rather than a delight. And no, that doesn’t mean I would rather be naked all the time, no-one needs to see that… …

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Fit and fat

I stepped out of the shower the other morning, dried myself off, wrapped the towel round my waist and turned to face the sink. I reached up to retrieve my electric toothbrush from it’s charging point and caught my reflection in the mirror. I don’t really look at myself all that often, I’m not exactly my greatest fan in that respect; I’m all too aware and disapproving of my shape so I don’t tend to dwell on my appearance as all I ever really see is a fat man staring back at me. I know I’m not as fat as I think I am, but there’s one part of my body that I struggle with, all the more now that …

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Reading to escape

There were two routes I used to walk to my primary school, both of them down main roads that spanned the top half of the town. One took me down Townhead Road and offered the chance to nip in to a corner shop for some illicit sweeties, the other took me off Bonhill Road and into the lane that ran behind some off the houses, passing a piece of long (and still) neglected waste ground before arriving at the gates. It wasn’t a long walk, 10 mins if you were in a rush and hurried, not that I ever did. Depending on the time of year I’d change my route on the way home, but most days I simply retraced …

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Clap your hands

I walked home from work the other day. It takes about an hour at a reasonable pace, but that day I was in no rush at all. The sun was darting in and out between fluffy clouds and there was a gentle breeze in the air. There were flowers everywhere, vibrant green hues in the branches overhead, and the recent rains had swollen the river enough to give it a pleasing burble as it meandered its way downstream. There is something very soothing about walking with no real purpose, letting your body find its own pace, feeling the connection your foot makes with the ground and how your body reacts to that. A simple way to stay, literally, grounded and …

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My Ever Shrinking World

Say yes more than no (it can lead to amazing things). Whilst not quite a mantra, this is definitely something I’ve been trying to be better at in an effort to be more spontaneous and social. Sometimes it can be a battle to get out of the door at all, but I find if I have plans with other people I’m more likely to make the effort to get my lazy arse up off the sofa as I don’t like letting people down (which I realise is heading into the ‘I JUST WANT TO BE LOVED, LOVE ME!!!!’ territory but that, as ever, is for an entirely other post or, you know, the entire subtext of this blog. Whatever.) Here’s …

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Time for me

The house I grew up wasn’t far from a large roundabout, you could see it from where I sat at my desk in front of the bedroom window. I used to sit there in the evenings and watch the cars driving up and down the hill, round and round that roundabout. Of course I wasn’t sitting there with the express purpose of watching cars; I was supposed to be there to do my homework or study for exams but I think it was an important time for me to properly learn the art of procrastination, and I would like to point out just how well that particular skill has served me over the years! Evening after evening I’d sit there …

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Finding the glimmers

As a child of the 70s our future was bright, so bright we had to wear shades. It was full of rockets and space exploration as the buzz of the moon landing continued to pervade my childhood years, spurned on by Star Wars and the promise of galaxies far far away… It’s easy to question where our jetpacks are, why I’m not eating meals in pill form, and what ever became of space elevators anyway? We had dreams and hopes and aspirations all of which were to be manifest in many wonderous objects that would impact our daily lives. It makes me wonder though, what do the youth of today aspire to? What do they dream for their future? Is …

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No such thing as over sharing

I’ve only ever taken one shower with my clothes on. I was alone at the time and can still remember the sensations as my t-shirt started clinging to me, my jeans growing heavy and cold on my legs. I was drunk, had just thrown up then crawled into the bath and turned the shower tap on. I lay there as the water fell on me and I cried. My wife had (rightly) just left me and gone back to Scotland, I was alone and in the early grips of the darkest days of my depression. I’m not sure why I turned the shower on, perhaps a memory from a movie scene was my inspiration, yet looking back it all seems …

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Pianoforte

I’m sure I had full length trousers I could’ve worn – I know for certain I had a pair of dungarees at some point during the height of my Oor Wullie phase – but for some reason in my memories of cycling to my childhood piano lessons I’m always wearing shorts. Wheeling my big black Raleigh Enterprise out of the garage as the first snow of winter falls, I sling my music bag over my shoulder and head round to see Mr. Pullen (he wasn’t ‘Robert’ until much later on). To properly paint this picture, let me give you some more detail. This was at a time when everyone, EVERYONE had a BMX. My bike was not a BMX, it …

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