Escaping the Woods

They say that life is much like a dog on a lead that you constantly must carry around with you everywhere you go… or don’t they?

Anyway, I had a very important coursework deadline last week and this will shed light on the tumultuous period that preceded it. When one doesn’t complete their coursework reasonably in advance of the deadline, the state that one finds oneself in is akin to perpetual imprisonment in the hottest, darkest, most horrifying confines of the Inferno, as I will testify.

During this horrible time I found myself consuming Modafinil daily. I would drop one of these pills, have a prolonged shower, then a prolonged breakfast, then go to the library, work for a short while, have an prolonged lunch, watch forty five to ninety minutes of Ray Mears, then work for a bit, then rush back home and do nothing all evening, and then when night came I would remain in a helplessly awake state until the early hours of the morning, doing God knows what meaningless activities. Why does anybody consume this stuff? I have come to suspect these ‘daffodils’. The wool could be firmly over all of our eyes here; I have a lot of doubts about their efficacy. Is it even remotely beyond the realms of possibility that this substance is a placebo? Ever since I learned in Psychology AS that some near suicidally depressed patients were successfully placebo’d with ELECTRO COMPULSIVE THERAPY, id est- their miseries vanquished altogether after treatment, I just don’t know WHAT to think any more. Horrible deceptive bastards (probably).

Also those wretched daffodils have installed within me a deep contempt for that all too necessary evil; bread. Consuming bread has always been one of the most easy ways of continuing survival for the homo sapien, even during this awful period I would habitually consume it because of its easiness, like all of the other wretched bread eaters of the human race. Even in the Bible, never a luxury, always a necessity! Oh bread of Jesus! It is true that I have always looked upon its loaves with suspicion but now, modafinil has distorted my perception of it into something truly terrible. Oh how during this tumultuous period of daffodil consumption bread would crumble in my mouth like dry ash! 
imageModafinil is extracted from the Great British daffodil during spring time and sold illegally by international students on the deep web

The work that I had failed to complete was controlling me like a robot, forcing me into endless endeavour, mental application and solitary suffering. During the early hours of the morning of the 13th of January, having worked practically non stop from 11AM the previous day, I gazed down at the document that appeared on my laptop. All I could see was a strange combination of letters and words that presumably have never appeared before to man, presumably with no potential to have any meaning or significance to anybody anywhere whatsoever. It was of course, still massively incomplete. The fight in me remained and I slaved away until 7.10 when I finally decided in favour of slumber.

During my sleep I was rudely awakened by the sound of an enormous vehicle parking outside my window- the kind of vehicle I imagined would be particularly green and sinister- and my sleep was also massively encumbered by the unaccountable, yet insurmountable coldness of both of my feet. Nonetheless, I was asleep eventually.

Only an hour later, at 8.10 my alarm began to assault me with its savagely familiar noise and I was awakened. I immediately shoved on a pair of highly elasticated jeans, some smart yet very worn brown shoes like miniature personalised limousines for the feet, and some t-shirt or other, then went straight back to the library. I was certainly not a human being at this point but a ghost.

The moment I left my apartment I realised that the pavements were frostier and slipperier than I have ever experienced pavements before. I also realised that the shoes that I had thrown on my feet were tremendously incompatible with the terrain and conditions that I would have to face on this journey. They of course had no tread whatsoever, making them useless for facing the slippery downhill gradient that lead to my destination. Walking was a slow, humiliating and perilous process. As I staggered down the Bristol road, fighting to retain my balance like a decrepit three legged giraffe, I looked up at the largest free standing clock tower in the Universe, Old Joe. Every morning on my journey I would notice the scornful look on his face as he gazed down at me and my slovenly gait from his elevated position among the Heavens, acknowledging my pathetic existence. This my dear readers, you may be aware, is alleged to be the clock tower that inspired J. R. R Tolkein’s Eye of Sauron in the Lord Of The Rings trilogy, but to me its condescending face was infinitely more evil than the fictitious forces of evil could ever have conjured. I try not to make eye contact with him now, in fear that once and for all he may melt me into the pavement with his clocky-ire.

About 3 hours later I had nearly managed to complete my slow, stuporous voyage. At the zebra crossing just ahead of the entrance to campus I began to hear a few unorthodox noises resounding from my periphery. These were strange noises, like sounds an insane weasel might make after being ostracized by the weasel community as it wanders through the wilderness towards inevitable death. I turned and saw that the noises were in fact coming from a dreadfully emaciated middle aged woman wearing a particularly loose-fitting fleece, who was very conscientious that I was momentarily investigating her. She seemed to be marking her territory with her eyes, as if I was some kind of predator that might leap on top of her and bite her in the neck at the traffic lights. It was too early in the morning for that. With a brisk turn of pace after the lights turned green, I lost her quickly and the noises faded into the distance.

Arriving at the computer suite to finalise my work I saw the corpse of my University wife, Big Jeck, slung across the keyboard of a computer. Judging by the scragginess of his facial hair and his grey complexion I assumed that he had been dead for a number of days and had not quite had the strength to survive the onslaught of these deadlines, as I had. I pondered whether I should go over to him and pay my respects, or at least notify a member of staff so that his body could be removed and his family notified, but I decided that I didn’t have time and proceeded to log onto a computer, preferring a rational as opposed to an emotional response and sticking firmly to the task at hand; my success, my happiness, my coursework. Big Jeck will be sorely missed, rest in peace my dear wife, you did whatever the fuck you wanted, and I’m certain I’ll never find a wife capable of satisfying my needs as you have over the two years that we spent together, voyaging across the West Midlands. We did Mosely, we did Cannock, we did Sutton Park. To think of it all is enough to bring tears to my eyes…

IMG_20160125_120918Big Jeck, 1989-2016. Atheist, socialist, Stoke.

In an hour or so I had completed my work, although of course to a thoroughly disappointing standard and I turned it in in the full awareness that I had bungled my degree good and proper. I had destroyed my earlier certainty of achieving a grade above the 87.5 percentile. I’ve since had to rethink my life-dream of becoming an academic scholar and decided in favour of pursuing a more reliable and lucrative career, perhaps as a lawyer or accountant.

My assignment was entitled A. D. Hope and the Barbaric Satire. I’m sure that the Australian poet A. D. Hope won’t mind me reciting one of my favourite poems of his which I included in my assignment (he’s dead). Its tone corresponds perfectly with the tone of previous weeks and months and years as I have experienced them, it is a sonnet called Under Sedation.


We are under sedation, or habit of hope of lust,

The drug of custom helps us adjust

If it did not how could we possibly bear

Our civilisation for a single day?

Although the edges of its knives are wet

The dripping red is easy to forget

Your own or someone else’s? Who can say?


Just keep putting one foot after another

The horror is blunted, like the ecstasy

Illusions of normal living serve us brother,

To keep the heart conditioned not to see

What in his passionate age drove Goya wild,

That old, mad god eating his naked child.


This is a very good poem. It refers to one of my favourite paintings, surely one of the most disturbing ever put on canvas; Saturn Devouring his Son. Look at the mad look in Saturn’s eyes, look at his wayward hair, look at his elephantine elbow! But oh how beautifully and harmoniously those colours blend together despite their blandness!

12571271_10153376829238297_762752029_nSorry about the pixels, can’t download pics on Chromebook so had to ask my mate Paolo to send me it and didn’t wanna bother troubling him again or asking someone else to send me a less pixelated one just for your benefit like it’s what you deserve or something because believe it or not I don’t actually care about you that much, if you really want to see the painting and you’re so disappointed in my lack of care here why don’t you just go to Museo del Prado and look at the original? God, people these days are just so demanding it really does ruffle my feathers

In the poem Hope is arguing that this barbarism is everywhere, if only we take off our socially conditioned spectacles as Goya did. The horror is not only there but it is inescapable. An idea that I could wholeheartedly sympathise with during this abhorrent stage of my life, but I will continue to wear my spectacles, thank you.

We are all ‘under sedation’, and the sedation is what makes our lives possible, feasible, bearable. Everything we do that isn’t directly for the purposes of survival is a sedative of some kind. Our brains simply need sedating, because there is too much time in the day, far too much, perhaps. We don’t realise it but life is very easy, and there is so much possibility.

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated- Confucius

But Oh Confucius how we like to make a melodrama about it, panic about it, and over think it as I have done here in this strange work.

So I promised myself that after all of this horror was over and I was out of the woods, after the wasted hours in the library, the daffodils, Ray Mears documentaries, the infanticide and so on, I would listen to ‘Out of the Woods’ by the magnificent Foals. I have finally done this almost a week after my emancipation and of course, like every experience that we promise ourselves will be celestial when it finally happens, culminated in anticlimax (although this might have been partially because I listened to it on my own, whilst washing up). To the inquisitive mind, the track poses the question; are we ever truly out of the woods? 

We tell ourselves that one day we might eventually leave the woods, and that we may venture to the other side where the grass is greener and we can get a girlfriend/boyfriend who listens to good music and who fully understands us and maybe a Lexus and basically do whatever we please. Religions offer an escape from the woods, through Heaven and God all that preposterous garbage. They only came up with this escape because they are afraid of the woods and because they don’t understand the woods, so they propagated a lie about getting out of them for gullible people and cowards to fall for. We can’t share this fear and make the same abhorrent mistake. Don’t become disheartened by the horrors of daily life. Don’t become disheartened by the woods. Don’t cry!

Our lives are all permanently set to the ‘get out of the woods’ mode, but we shouldn’t be afraid of the woods. The woods are a wonderful place, dark, ancient, mysterious and teeming with life. The whole of our beloved UK used to be woods at some point until David Wilson came along and ruined it. Our ancestors were woodland people, the woods are in our DNA. We should grow to love and enjoy the woods. Look at this picture of me in the woods, hanging from a tree like an ape for example.

IMG-20150722-WA0016How do you like them pixels?

Are we ever truly out of the woods? No, never. We must get used to the woods and accept that they cannot be escaped.



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