Posted in Biographies and Inside Stories, Blogging, mental health with tags , on June 14, 2014 by leovineknight

My ‘aberration’ had certainly superimposed a liberating fantasy on the world, but the reality itself stood unchanged, leaving me balanced between the anaesthesia of collapse, and the alienation of recovery. I sat in limbo, sensing society waiting outside the ward, and fearing its incursion. I hid within the hospital, far away from my hometown and the embarrassments contained there, waiting for the past to heal and the future to happen. The unit, of course, remained gloriously untouched by my pyrotechnic delusions; its armour-plated system destined to kill the patients with disabling kindness, long after my nightmare was over.
So, time passed in the nondescript day room while people with parallel scars on their arms dived for broken crockery, others returned from the E.C.T. suite with glazed looks and cups of tea, and new admissions combined their paranoid delusions and hypo-manic flights of ideas into a bedlam of noise and threat. Staff chased fleeing patients, and sometimes patients chased fleeing staff, while opportunist anorexics made for the nearest toilet to regurgitate pellets of food under cover of mayhem. Snooker balls went through windows, and a 1950’s drug trolley squeaked around the ward four times a day, dispensing manna from neuroleptic heaven. Hours of boredom were punctuated with flashes of bloody violence, and intra-muscular injections peppered supine buttocks with daily regularity. Then I began to receive my first visits.
“Good morning, Dr. J—–” said a voice at my elbow.
“Morning” I replied, wondering who the pin-striped stranger might be.
“I’m Dennis G——. I represent Legal, Accident and Slow Recovery Ltd., a firm specialising in employer’s liability.
“Yes. Forgive the intrusion, but I think you may be entitled to substantial compensation for the stress which led to your recent…hem…difficulties, and I would like to offer our firm’s services.”
“So, you’re an ambulance chaser?”
“That’s not a term we would use ourselves Mr. J—–. We see our job more as defending the rights of the little man against large, negligent organisations.”
“Very noble” I commented “but I’m afraid it goes against my principles to suck money out of a system which is already riddled with users and charlatans, so I’ll have to pass on it.”
“Surely your family…..”
“No, sorry, please don’t wheel out your manual on persuasion techniques. I’m certain.”
“Well, if you’re absolutely sure you’re certain, I’d better call back another day” he said “Perhaps when your wife, or doctor, is present?”
“Look, the fact that I don’t want to pursue the easy money of litigation doesn’t make me mad. Maybe I don’t want the stress, or need the greed. Maybe I just don’t want any part of a society which is turning into an anarchic shambles.“
“Of course. Very well” he said, in a manner and tone usually reserved for unreasonable children. ‘Bye for now Dr. J—-.”
“Goodbye indeed.”
I watched his blue and white chalk striped suit disappear down the corridor, and wondered if ‘tosser’ ran all the way through his body, like ‘Brighton’ in Brighton rock. I also wondered where he’d got his information from, and why people seemed so determined to destroy their social organisations with individual avarice. It was like bees eating their own hive. A few days later, a ‘Legal, Accident and Slow Recovery Ltd.’ standard letter arrived:

Dear Dr. J—-,
Further to the interest you have shown in pursuing a compensation claim against your employers, we would be very pleased to act for you in the matter, and look forward to receiving your advices in due course. We hope you don’t recover too quickly from your injuries, and assure you of our best attentions at all times.
D. G —–.


Changing Sides

Posted in Biographies and Inside Stories, Blogging, books, journals and diaries, mental health with tags , on June 2, 2014 by leovineknight

When I did wake up, I was still disorientated, and the room hung around me like a pointillist painting, with dots of colour forming half-familiar images on a dazzling white canvass, forcing my eyes firmly closed again.
The word brought the room vaguely into focus, and now I could make out three people looking down on me, in my white sheets in a white room with white light.
I was back.

For a while I felt bewildered and numb, with my memory mercifully dim, selective and distant. I was drained rather than refreshed, and my mind seemed to stall whenever it met the past, and the problems preserved there. Drugs had obviously put out the fireworks, but when I tried to refocus my mind, uncover the causes of my collapse and get things back in perspective, I struggled. It was difficult enough for the therapist to help me revisit past events, but it was impossible for him to change the world which had created those events, and would create them again – if it got the chance. Therapy could only help me ‘adjust’ to things I thought were wrong. In a sense, it could only help me fail.

Solipsism or Bust

Posted in Biographies and Inside Stories, Blogging, life and modern times, mental health, social work and social policy with tags , on May 23, 2014 by leovineknight

On my way down the street, I noticed the old lady brushing the pavement in front of her house again, while the two post-punk wastrels were once more spending their valuable time taunting the old dear with monosyllabic insults and girlish tittering. Without further ado, I arranged for these fine young people to be escorted to the public toilets by four nightclub bouncers, who carefully supervised them cleaning the urinals with cotton wool buds, before enlisting them in the army. I then marched steadfastly on towards the council estate – ready to face my greatest challenge.
Happily, my super powers did not fail me, and I surged through the streets erasing graffiti, repairing fences, replanting shrubs, replacing broken windows, and sweeping up seas of glass shards and rubbish, like Robocop on a mission. The blue police lights were again illuminating the sky above the pubs and shops in the centre, and I observed an embattled young constable trying to control a mass of braying half-wits by wagging his finger at them. It was time for real action, and I transported the policeman to a safe position outside the estate, replacing him with a battalion of seasoned commandos who easily rounded up the gurning thugs and took them away in cattle trucks for a year’s moral retraining on Dartmoor. One jug-eared oaf temporarily escaped, and complained:
“This ain’t fair! They must be breaking some law doing this!”
Pointing out his hypocrisy in seeking shelter from the very law he had flouted with contempt all his half-life, I sent him spinning towards his whining chums with a contemptuous flick of my finger. The last truck moved off with shrill piglet screams emanating from the back, and rousing applause echoing down the streets as grateful residents reclaimed their lives for the first time since 1991. Handing my garlands to a young girl with large green eyes and raven ringlets, I then quitted the estate like Elvis Presley leaving Hawaii, and set sail for home at last.
A heady combination of fairground lights, perfumed air, and the stentorian boom of my own heartbeat, propelled me along the roads of Edwardian houses and down the gentle slope to our little ‘neighbourhood watch’ retreat. I put pink spots on the matching silver cars, introduced the workaholic man to his workaholic wife, and changed our three bed-roomed house to a four bed-roomed villa so that the copyists across the road would have an interesting experience the following morning. I strode into the house, found Carol waiting patiently for me in her dominatrix outfit, and gratefully accepted a glass of vintage claret which she handed across to me, whilst winking a welcome at my hump-fronted trousers.
“Welcome home esteemed husband. May I give you succour?”
“By all means, my dear.”
I settled back and watched the hypnotic grind of her athletic white flanks, while Motorhead played sweetly through my headphones, and a Cuban cigar sat snugly behind my right ear.
“I’m going to discharge myself, in a minute” I said.
All was well with the world; and perversely I slept.

“Wake up” said a distant voice.
The problem was, I couldn’t. I really couldn’t.


Posted in Biographies and Inside Stories, Blogging, books, journals and diaries, mental health, satire and humour with tags on May 13, 2014 by leovineknight

Punching the air like a triumphant quarterback, I revelled in the emptiness of the unit and the cathartic moment. At last I was free, and the quivering front door appeared in the distance like an approaching star gate, but when I got near enough to touch it, all I could see was a massive grey portal towering above me at an impossible height. Devastated, I wondered why fate had dealt me such a cruel blow at such a late stage; until a spectral hand rested on my shoulder and made my soul jump through my throat:
“I need a cigarette now!” roared a familiar voice in my ear.
“Then I’m afraid you’re going to be bloody disappointed for once” I said.
“What! I need a cigarette now! Now! Now!” she yelled.
“Not now” I whispered.
“Now! Now! Now! Now!” she chanted, as I turned my back, and waited for providence.
“Now! Now! NOW! NOW! NOW!…… BANG!”
My head jerked around and I saw that the lady was no longer there. Instead, a huge effigy sparked and flashed, sending plumes of white fire into the air, filling the corridor with acrid smoke and thick soot. The door swung open and I fled.
Silently, I watched the flames licking the gable ends of the empty unit, the windows cracking and the walls going slowly black. Resisting the temptation to bring a toasting fork and loaf of bread, I contented myself with warming my hands on the inferno, singing one chorus of ‘Roasting Chestnuts on an Open Fire’, and walking past the nearby telephone box without delay. Richard and some of the other stragglers stood next to his customised bubble car with Roll Royce grill, looking like stunned survivors of a broken Chinese terracotta army, and decidedly ill. Saying nothing.
From then on it was easy. My magical powers were unstoppable, and as I strode through the frozen streets my imagination performed effortless miracles of reform and revision. The moon became full and bathed the town in friendly light, a warm breeze began to thaw winter’s grip, and curtains were opened revealing cheerful families with smiley faces. Children played without being cruel, adults waved without design, and dogs approached with wagging tails and no bite. I replaced every cheap and nasty concrete carbuncle with wonderfully restored period buildings, emptying Swiss bank accounts to pay for it. I removed all signs of graffiti by organising chain gangs of graffiti artists to lick the buildings clean, and I ensured that every scrap of litter was returned to the perpetrators, through their letterboxes.
All those who continued to fill the town with their pets’ dung, woke up to find the excreta occupying their living room carpets, and every criminal was automatically victim to the same crime themselves until they stopped. There was no more career unemployment with twenty-five year old men skate boarding all day, no more compensation for being stupid and falling over a matchstick, no more sick pay for professional hypochondriacs, and no benefits for those who only used their walking sticks when somebody was looking.
People stopped climbing over each other in their thirst for toys, they accepted they weren’t always right, they grew up and had a sense of history, tradition, nationhood and community. They gave up wearing baseball caps and living off their parents until they were 40, they stopped talking about things instead of doing them, and they promised to forget about money for at least ten minutes every day. They rediscovered the idea of God, thought about how feeble and short-lived human beings really were, and put arrogant sneers and smart suits into smart perspective. ‘Fat cats’ were put on crash diets, and golden handshakes for corporate failures were re-routed to state pensions for ordinary heroes. ‘The Age of the Ego’ was reviled, outlawed and forgotten.
Well, that was the long-term plan.


Posted in Biographies and Inside Stories, Blogging, books, journals and diaries, jobs, careers and work, mental health with tags , on May 3, 2014 by leovineknight

Taking a look around, I was pleased to see that the unit was now quiet and peaceful at last. Like no man’s land after a terrifying artillery barrage had ceased, the world stood still, and a profound silence baffled the senses. The clocks had stopped, the T.V. sets were dead, the activity board was blank, and there was not a person to be seen. It was obviously time for a well-deserved break and so I sat downstairs drinking champagne, eating truffles, and watching the manager’s favourite Marilyn Monroe video; until the feeling slowly returned that something was still wrong.
Something remained unresolved.

“Open the door” a voice rasped.
There was indeed a violet coloured door on my left, and with heart bounding, breath shortening and flesh creeping, I moved reluctantly but inexorably towards it. In best horror movie style, it swung open of its own accord and I was pulled into a dark chamber by invisible hands. The flickering light was provided by three or four black candelabra set on crumbling stone walls, before which I perceived a large Jacobean table surrounded by a dozen satanic forms. Looking like a group of gigantic ravens they wore sable cloaks, and peered at me through leather masks with hard, black eyes.
“Good grief, what a ridiculous getup” I said irreverently.
“Silence!” boomed the head honcho. “You are here to be sentenced for the most heinous crimes known to HealthTrust law. Now, kneel before your masters!”
“Piss off you pretentious sod” I responded. “And take off those masks, so I can see my accusers.”
Stripping off their masks with a synchronised flourish, the satanic beings revealed a row of hideous, slavering animal faces.
“Ah… ha! I thought as much – the senior managers making a rare clinical visit” I said “What can I do for you?”
“Silence microbe! We are here to dispense omniscient justice!”
Although I should have been quaking in my boots, I couldn’t help noticing that the weird animal faces were actually more recognisable than the managers’ everyday physiognomy. Their true personalities shone through the grey, anonymous uniformity of their normal appearances, and I gazed with growing interest at the mean-looking weasel, the breast-beating baboon, the assortment of over-promoted aardvarks, and the strange hunched creature from the Island of Dr. Moreau, who said:
“You are charged and convicted of (a) insisting that patients take more responsibility for their own lives, (b) arguing that paper work is less important than effective clinical care, (c) suggesting that managers are overpaid, out of touch poseurs, and (d) implying that staff who receive £1,200 a month for not being at work should be sacked. …….This is unspeakable blasphemy of the highest conceivable order, and you are therefore sentenced to the most ghastly punishment it is in our power to inflict.”
“And what is that?” I enquired.
“You will continue to work at the hospital’s Psychiatric Rehabilitation Unit until the day you croak”
“Aaaaaarrrrrrcccchh!!! No! No! No! Not that, you vile fiends” I shrieked in despair and outrage.
“Yes! Yes! Until the day you croak!” the drooling managers chanted, beating their fists on the table, and wetting themselves with delight.
“Please don’t make me angry” I warned in a deepening voice, my pupils involuntarily dilating, and my shirt splitting open to reveal a barrel of bulging green muscle above modesty-preserving elasticated trousers. “Oh, too late! Now it’s your turn for a bit of natural justice!”
Seizing the oak table with irresistible force, I whirled it around my head and watched the managers hanging onto it like bats in a tornado. On and on I span the table, seeing their puke pebble-dash the walls and their dribble splash the floor, thinking of the time and money these prize buffoons had wasted, enjoying every little moment of their overdue comeuppance, until at last I flung the table down into a dim, slimy corner; the perfect resting place for their ilk. But the managers had been carefully selected for their mindless obduracy, and I watched with interest as the table scuttled out of the room, propelled by pairs of cockroach legs, scurrying for freedom, pausing only briefly at the coffee machine.
“Hang on a minute” I said.
And there was just time to stick on the address:
Flip Chart Heaven,
Pie in the Sky,
Never Never Land.

Reaction Formation

Posted in Biographies and Inside Stories, Blogging, jobs, careers and work, mental health with tags , on April 23, 2014 by leovineknight

In the mood to take all before me, I flew downstairs and entered the dining room, where Sidney appeared at my shoulder wearing an immaculate waiter’s outfit, red carnation in his button hole and hair slicked back with pomade.
“Would sir prefer the larks tongue, or caviar vole-au-vents, this morning?” he mewled pitifully.
“You can stuff that for a bunch of soldiers” I replied tetchily, looking over his shoulder.
Behind him, the residents were all sat around the dining room dressed in shooting tweeds and plus fours, barking instructions in our direction.
“Hurry up, you slackers! We’ve got a bed to catch.”
“Who do you think you are? We’ve got our rights you know.”
“Step on it, or there’ll be an official complaint.”
“Chop! Chop!”
Seeing the monstrous meal re-heating machine vibrating in the corner, I had a flash of inspiration, and armed with my new superpowers I quickly reprogrammed the fan-assisted warmer to ‘turbo suck’. Pointing the machine towards the carping crowd, I opening the aluminium door and watched them all disappear into its welcoming bowels, each delivering a parting comment as they went:
“It’s too hot in here!”
“It’s too cold in here!”
“Where’s the juice?”
“I didn’t order this!”
“These chairs aren’t very comfortable!”
I then whisked the machine down to the postal area, and taking a large white address sticker from my utility belt, wrote:
Please deliver this urgently to –
The Workers’ Co-operative Community,
Somewhere in Wales.

The Seaside Cafe

Posted in Blogging, life and modern times, poetry, satire and humour on April 3, 2014 by leovineknight

Down the cliff path, overgrown,
Around the lawns rarely mown,
Towards a gold globe on top of the bandstand,
Victorian echoes of sweet England

Summer sweat and old people talking,
Prodigious farts and tramps hawking,
Scruffy young men eat crisps and sweets,
Their world is now, they talk in tweets

A social addict stares at the weary,
His stories endless and breath beery,
An ancient lady sips her tea,
She’ll still be there at half past three

The expensive new door traps another child,
Operation unfathomable, a mother goes wild,
Dogs bark at a man with dropped trousers,
While absent parents ignore kids on brousers,

Silent couples watch those with loud voices,
They mingle together as a bingo winner rejoices,
Curling sandwiches vie with cakes,
But it’s the backs of necks which the sun bakes

It’s winter now, and a gale is blowing,
The room is empty, high tide flowing,
Staff still have a friendly word,
But in the toilet – floats a lonely turd

%d bloggers like this: