Banksy: The Shakespeare Complex

Here I argue Banksy is becoming a legend — in the mythological sense of the word — with the help of other artists, while everyone from academics to grannies on Gogglebox try to unmask him. Poor old Banksy …


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Shakespeare’s Influences in Art

Remembered I wrote this a while ago. Really interesting (if I say so myself). Artsists like Chagall, Picasso, Dali, Turner, LOADS more, and the Shakespearian-y art they produced x


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Make Poverty Hysterical

(or mildly less agonizing….)



Poverty is the zeitgeist, it is just so. fucking. now.

So, ever the prophet of what is ‘in’ I have of course, been poor for years.

Fortunately I’ve had just enough sporadic bouts of wealth to make sure I don’t end up sleeping in a doorway on Mare Street; but who knows what the future holds.

Much like segways, being poor can have an eccentric mystique, but it can also be quite hard to handle.

Here are some truths on the realities of poverty, and how to do it well.

There is nothing romantic about being poor …

Candles are surprisingly expensive.

You are a fountain of wealth …

Now, I’ll be perfectly honest here, no one wants to hear about how miserable your life is for longer than 10 minutes (max). End your tale of woe with a punch line and save your tears for a vial, when full, sell them on eBay as Jeremy Paxman’s.

Where there’s a Will there’s a way …

Get in with the rich and the old, and advise against a flu jab.

Like a leper …

Ok, your face isn’t falling off, but you will feel on the fringe of society when you are lacking funds. Money is a strange thing and without it you find yourself watching everyone else with different eyes, in it’s absence you see it’s overwhelming presence in our distorted version of this world. It’s become so habitual it’s almost innate. Retain this knowledge when your pot is full, you’ll be the wiser for it.

Tattered rags to rugs ….

A delightful shag-pile rug can be fashioned from your last shreds of dignity.

Seek refuge with the religious (and the homeless) …

As impious as you may be, churches are a sanctuary of silence and among the most reassuring places you can go when you are poor. Light a candle for whatever you want (I suggest hope) and relax. No ones trying to sell you anything you ‘aint buying here.

The world isn’t against you …

It just doesn’t really care.

Inanimate objects however, are against you and are prejudice against the poor …

The coffee you spilled, the table that you stubbed your toe on, the bike peddle that hit your shin, again, the cup you smashed; they’re all out to get you. Don’t listen to anyone who tells you you’re overreacting when these things bring tears of fury to your eyes. They’ve probably got money, and didn’t see the way that coffee looked at you.

Do whatever it takes to pay your rent …

With a roof over your head, you’re less likely to lose it.

Save the pennies ….

You never know when you’ll need a pound for the electric.

Soup kitchen …

A bag of lentils, some garlic, onion, stock, carrot and potato could feed the 5,000 and cost less than £5. Invite round Dirty Mike and the boys and you’ve got a dinner party, you trendy prole. Just make sure they know it’s BYO.

You will inevitably draw the short straw at one point in time …

And the likelihood will be it’s the final one. Take whatever it is as personal attack form the heavens above. This moment in time will only be amusing in hindsight, when you’re rich. Promptly buy yourself a packet of high tar cigarettes and smoke as many as you can. Why prolong your stay at Bleak House?

Every morning dress in mourning ….

Show life the grim respect it’s due and dress in black, it’s the best friend of the beggared. Better to look somber than cheap.

This isn’t a myth ….

There really are people all over the world dying and starving. Unless you’re doing both take your situation with a pinch of salt, then add it to your plain rice supper.

Losing weight? Become a well rounded person …

If you’re doing poor well, you’re spending your last 99p on refined literature not refined sugar and are therefore approaching ultimate wisdom (and emaciation.) Without a job you find a lot of time on your hands, don’t let them become idle. Take this opportunity to add to your attributes. Learn to play the piano, bake bread, write a short story (not a novel – you’re not planning on being poor that long) watch all of The Empire 500, read the poor greats (there are many of them). Do whatever you feel improves yourself. The work will come and who knows, it might come from one of these.

If all else fails just lie on the floor and wait for something to happen …

Invariably it does, just do it at home so it doesn’t involve a rapist. 

Make light of your situation…

Nothing brightens up a little squat hole like a few fairy lights. Shove them on your dead tree that you couldn’t afford (be bothered) to water and bask in its warm glow, saves on heating too.

Waste not want not …

If you’re on the breadline, why on earth aren’t you eating it?

“Awight gowgus?”

Next time a builder asks you this, stop and explain all of the reasons why you’re not. He wont cost a penny and is therefore much cheaper than a therapist. So, offload on him, he’s used to a weight on his shoulders.  

You are not a failure …

And if someone calls you one, take it personally but do not get offended. Poor and angry is common (trust me.) Hope they didn’t mean it and have enough faith in yourself to know that you’re not.

You’re making headlines …

You’re one of a record breaking 3 million unemployed! Congratulations! Bet your friends with jobs aren’t on the news.

“Take a load on me” ….

Learn from my mistakes. As hard as your situation may be, as many bad things that hit you one after another, if you are incredibly lucky, and have someone who loves you enough to share some of your burden (make you feel safe, feed you, keep you warm, make you smile  at your most morose…) stop wallowing and thank your lucky stars you have them. In reality that is a lot more than most people. But because humans are stupid and self-engrossed, we tend only to realize this when they’re gone.

Move to Zimbabwe …

You’ll be a billionaire.

Once you’ve exhausted this list, it might be time to swallow the pride, the ego, whatever it is and just get any job. There is always one going somewhere and it will invariably be more interesting, in whatever variation, than the dole.



How To Play The Game …..

I’m starting to worry about myself, more than normal; because normally it’s ..

“Why is the light so bright? Maybe I have meningitis ..”

“Why am I so hungry? Maybe I have tape worm.”

“Why is this eczema so bad? Maybe I have necrotizing faciitis.”

I’m worried because it appears (though I am sweetness and light most of the time,) I am angry at the world. If I was 16, this would make me cool, a rebel, a lone wolf if you will. I’m 24 going on 68, so it makes me bitter and slightly immature.

Things I really struggle with are death, misogyny and well; that’s about it. I can appreciate a smart joke about them, but the jokes are rarely smart so more often than not I fail to have a sense of humor about them. Whatsoever. And as the world is filled with death and misogyny it is proving to make me a pretty grumpy person. It’s not a glamorous grumpy either – it’s not a Poe-like melancholy, it is, what I think it’s called “ansty” in some circles.

A recent example of this is when my partner in crime said he was going to become more and more misogynistic the older he got. He was joking, but being a couple of glasses of wine in and having had a whole life of it, I failed to see the hilarious side and instead went on a mission to prove a point. We went to the local corner shop so he could collect some mead and pipe tobacco. I walked in and proceeded to objectify the male clerks. To be fair it was quite a brutal objectification and as my partner pointed out afterwards, they were quite probably Muslims.

Guilt was quick off the mark, but pride was faster as I hastened to add …

“When has misogyny ever taken in to account your race, your religion or your creed? It doesn’t.”

Point proven, with unintentional irony, I decided it was time to stop wasting time going around proving points because there’s always going to be something, and start taking steps to enjoying what’s good.

Having previously written a step by step guide to coming to terms with your mortality – what better time to write a step by step guide to start enjoying your mortality?

There isn’t one. It is now, bitch.

Know when to leave …

Whether it be a party, a job or a relationship. If you feel it’s time to leave, it probably is. Get out while you still can.

It is all significant, until you say it’s not ….

Shakespear, the old sexbot, wrote a wonderful quote …

“Good Lord how bright and goodly shines the moon. I say it is the moon.”

“I know it is the moon.”

“Why then you lie, it is the blessed sun.”

“Then, God be bless’d, it is the blessed sun: But sun it is not, when you say it is not: And the moon changes even as your mind. What you will have it nam’d, even that it is.”

It is believed in certain circles (cool existentialist ones) that the meaning of life, is the meaning that you give your life. Your existence holds significance, the people around you’s influence is significant, the songs you love are significant, the things that move you are significant, everything influences everything else and it is all significant, until you say it is not. Because it is all up to you, there is no right or wrong answer collectively, only individually.  How you perceive it. So, pick whatever helps you sleep at night and don’t fucking go on about it. If you chose to decide we are all insignificant, understand that is only in your eyes; and visa versa.

Never trust the masses ….

Because the majority of people are idiots. And idiots don’t make for a happy life.

Don’t be a Martyr …

If you’re still here, you aren’t one.  The funny thing I’ve noticed is the people who have been through the most are the least likely to have a martyr complex. Funny that.

However hard done by you are, you should never be the judge of your own hardship. You will more often than not, get it wrong. We’ve all had bad things happen to us, they vary in their degrees but you should never feel worse off than any one else. Because thanks to life’s abrupt ends, everyone will experience an enormous amount of pain in their lives, it is inevitable, it just depends on when. So, whatever you’ve been through, remain safe in the knowledge that hardship does not make you great, how you deal with it does.

When you feel that all is lost, put ‘Metronomy – The Look’ on …

You will feel inexplicably happy, whatever’s happening. Put it on a loop if times are really bad.

Appreciate your friends …

And appreciate those people who are more than just friends (no, not like that) I mean those people whose true love for you makes your heart ache. Those people who forgive you for behaving like an unstable tornado, for saying things you shouldn’t have said, for treating you with nothing but kindness when you are at your lowest ebb, who feed you when you cannot afford to eat, who support you in whatever you do – however irrational, who are there when you call, who appreciate you. Because they are few and far between and you will miss them when they’re gone because you feel exactly the same way about them. So make sure they’re always close by and keep them close; restraining orders are nothing but paper.

Keep your wits about you …

If you don’t have sense of humor about all of this, you’re fucked. To put it lightly.

You are an animal ….

As cerebral as you are it’s important to remember this, wild thing. The best way to get down with your inner beast is through physicality, to be disconnected to your mind. I experience a great amount of pleasure going running and pushing my body, because it feels like something your body should be doing, you should be pushing your sallow limbs to move. We went around hunting and running and climbing once upon a time and that is still a part of you, your body is still designed to do that and what an incredible thing it is. What a waste for all it to do but plod from seat to seat.  Also allow it to feel some pain once in a while. In small doses it’s a comforting reminder you’re still alive. I can highly recommend a 60% slap round the face after some home made ravioli. Delicious.

No one you loved ever wasted your time …

Bob Dylan has a brilliant line “You just kind of wasted my precious time, don’t think twice it’s alright.”

Bob, the legend, might have got it wrong on this occasion. Our time on this earth is fleeting and precious but no one you loved will ever have wasted it. No matter how bitterly it ended. Yeah it would have been great to have spent that time with someone with who it would have lasted, you’d have saved some heartache but you’d have missed out on quite a lot. These loves may not have been the right loves and they may have had their pitfalls but it was the nuances of them as a person that you adored and these nuances will have influenced you in some capacity whether you like it or not.  You might have been introduced to incredible music, bizarre and hilarious experiences, new ways of thinking, you might have been told wonderful things, stories, met amazing people and you will have vicariously experienced different ways of living. And whatever happened at the end, you came out the other side. Though you may have experienced a sense of loss, trust me, you came out richer.

If you’re going to walk on thin ice, you might as well dance …

 Being the icons of responsibility and good time-keeping most of the time, we all have days when we need to go out, get a little wild, a little out of control. And if you’re going to do wrong you might as well do it right. Go all out, forget about everything and enjoy every minute of it. Just keep enough decorum not to vomit and reserved for blue moons.

Hope for a lot, but expect very little …

It’s nicer to be surprised in a good way.

See the wood for the trees …

Learn to see and appreciate what’s right infront of you. It’s incredibly important to have ambitions and goals, that’s part of what drives you, what makes you you. But don’t let this blinker you. Take a step back from time to time and take heed of what’s happening on the way, or you’ll miss it.

Dance, dance, dance …

You can dance. All you’re doing is moving your body. Fuck everyone elses ‘on-the-beat-slow-grinds’. You’re supposed to be having a good time, so have one. Just shake that little thing  like there’s no one around and no tomorrow. I was told by my 6ft2 Nigerian ex-boyfriend I couldn’t dance, but I still like to think I gave him a run for his money at the running man.

Bond with your blood ….

Your family are variations of you. You are bonded by something very precious.. Get to know, they can tell you a lot about you.

Learn to relish nostalgia like a good Turkish Delight ….

 It is hard to truly enjoy pleasant memories because of their transience. They were not necessarily generally happy times, but they are times that are lost to the ether. So because few of us are naturally good losers it stings a little. You will never be able to recreate it in it’s indescribable exactness. It’s sad, because it’s gone, but get over it and appreciate the romance of a pain that only life and love can bring about. It’s part of it. Better to appreciate it sooner rather than later. All of it, including the pain will be gone sooner than you know.

Follow your insects, sorry instincts …

Your instincts are usually right and if you don’t do what you think is right, you will never truly be happy. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t always be considerate of other peoples feelings and how your actions affect other people, because they do, but to be happy you ultimately need to be a little selfish. If your mum says you can’t be the next Chuck Norris but you truly believe you can be, then boy, you start getting so tough you make onions cry and tell your mum to bare with you. Because when all is said and done, you’re the only person living your life and it’s ultimately up to you to make it one you want to live.

Don’t be dickhead ..

Unless you actually have a penis on your face, there is no excuse. And even then, no need to be a cock about it.

Women! Stop buying cats …

 You gotta get a goldfish. Trust. Cats are selfish, self engrossed, arrogant and couldn’t give a toss about you. Do you really need more of that in your life? Goldfish have no idea who you are but don’t take it personally, they have no idea who they are either. Enjoy their incandescent goldness and take advantage of their short-term memories. They serve as wonderful confidents.

Get out of the city …

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Get in to the rural expanse. Living in the City all you see is other people, they are your only reflection of the world and you start to lose perspective on it. Step outside, there’s a lot more to it. And by gum is that a relaxing feeling.

Don’t take yourself too seriously …

No one else is.

Love Larkin about ….

At the end of Philip Larkin’s ‘Arundel Tomb’ is the line “All that remains of us is love.” It’s pretty self explanatory really. When you’re gone, all you leave behind is love and the products of your love, your children, your friends, your achievements, your keepsakes, your memories shared with other people. Love is a wonderfully complex thing, but ultimately should be pleasurable and held in high regard. It doesn’t come around twice. I’ve tried not to sound too sentimental throughout this, but now I’m going to throw caution to the wind … I genuinely can’t think of a more beautiful way to think about your death than what you leave behind, and when what you leave behind is an incarnation of your love. That’s big.

Smoke while cycling …

 …. Seriously. It’s just got to be done. James Dean knows what I mean.

I’m aware I may sound like a smart arse, but I’ve learnt all of this through my own mistakes (there have been many) and through other peoples; which doesn’t for a second make me clever, it just means I’ve learned ….