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5 Nov 2011

Post 315: Misanthropy: Better than cynicism

Someone told me not to bother talking about how I physically feel as it'll drive people away – I think this attitude is a bit of a shame because how I physically feel is a lot to do with what I say, either on here, or out in the world -feeling tired is the #1 cause of 'being in a bad mood'. I think how we physically feel defines most of who we are. I struggle to describe what it's like to feel like this when I talk to people; anyone, be it friends, family or strangers, I rather hope they can work it out. I've probably tried too many times on this blog and people (at least the crueller ones) just go 'yadda yadda, whatever, he's just seeking sympathy'. Well, that may be so, do you know why? Because it makes me feel a little better. I have to live with feeling like this everyday and perfectly ok people, people who can walk, drive and feel normal tell me off, I'll not mention names because I don't do that but if you're reading this and it feels like I'm having a go at you I probably am because I'm not a 'group hug' kind of guy – especially not these days. To be clear I never was, but I did find seeing the lighter side of life easier than I do now. I'm not going to pretend everything was once perfect because I used to have a mortgage and had to work pretty hard but I'd go back six years in a flash without giving it a second thought, yes, there are a few people I have met since my stroke who have been a pleasure to meet and be friends with but without exception the old me would have been a better, funnier, happier friend so I rationalise that what you don't know can't hurt you – this works both ways. Fundamentally, I learnt going to see yet another comedian what type of person I was then and what I am now. It's one of the reasons I do these things – not only because laughter really does make you feel less bad (putting it like that may not be linguistically the most positive way of putting it but saying 'feel better' is a disingenuous misnomer. Obviously 'to feel better' is the goal but every attempt I've made in the last six years has been ineffective, try finding something positive about that positive nazis?! Anyone I've had harsh words with, I shouldn't gloat about this, it's just hard to invent something positive in something that has nothing truly positive about it! I better quit while I'm ahead. The comedian in question was a guy called Alun Cochrane
who seems quite happy to play up to the stereotype of dour northern bastad when he revealed quite early on that in his spare time he enjoys walking his whippet in his flat cap!
It was his normality and down to earthness that I really liked, his description of how a mortgage and wife keep him trying to be funny to both provide for his family and his mental wellbeing. It's not exactly a massive intellectual leap to realise that maintaining a sense of humour is the essential ingredient for maintaining your mental wellbeing and the mental wellbeing of every relationship/friendship you have or have ever had! He also managed to take a great weight off my shoulders. For a long time now I've been concerned and feeling a bit guilty that I might be a bit too cynical or mildly nihilistic for my own good. I had temporarily felt a bit better when comedian Marcus Brigstocke
said 'he'd be out of a job' if he ever stopped being cynical, this is not to say I'd be 'out of a job', I haven't got a frigging job to be out of – just that one of the more fundamental features of what made me, well me was fundamentally something that a lot of my generation find undesirable, certainly female internet daters all go on about how 'positive', 'optimistic', 'happy', 'upbeat', 'fun-loving' and 'easy-going' they are – I'm sure they're not a cadre of 'happy spastics' (a term I am terrified of using) but am I living on a different planet? I believe that people who didn't feel a bit cynical about the world are 'bloody fools'. Turns out that I'm not as cynical as I thought, I'm just a mysanthropist, a word that sounds far more serious than it is – having looked it up on Wikipedia it just means someone with a generalized dislike, distrust, disgust, contempt or hatred of the human species or 'human nature'-or someone who goes into the 'quiet carriage' on a train and expects the worst. So, I'm mildly misanthropic – I have been let down enough to only really trust someone who is either a friend or family member or someone who has been kind and continues to be kind. Having been on a trip to Bluewater
last Saturday (prompted by me but thanks so much to my friend Jo (someone kind) for taking me and putting up with me and the crowds. I can confirm that Misanthropist is correct, I have no idea how families survive a day at a shopping centre! It really makes me appreciate how wonderful Amazon is , and this from a retailer who spent his first three weeks with John Lewis at John Lewis Bluewater! It took me two years (well actually a few days of those two years) in Hospital to work out that anyone who does nursing is just the most incredible, brave person and my time in Bluewater in 2003 to realise what a genuinely tough job it is working on a department store shop floor. I can imagine that if everyone worked for one day in a call-center no-one would ever be rude to them again! To me, learning about misanthropy has been a much better analysis of what has been going on inside my head for years. I personally think this is a rather better basis for viewing the world. It's probably better to mistrust human nature than to think 'everything's sh*t' sadly something it's difficult to avoid if you've had a stroke – people now think I'm some sort of over-analytical, judgemental bore now. Judge (and analyse) for yourselves Whatever: Thanks to Alex and her husband Will
for taking me to the Bloomsbury Theatre on a Wednesday. I thought my old College housemate Alex (being from Leeds) would appreciate Cochranes northerness. She pointed out she has been down South a good few years now. Touché Speaking of being from the North, on Friday night, I am going to see Mancunian relative newcomers Hurts.
Now a little while back I actually flagged on facebook how much I liked their music, and since then (obviously not as a consequence) they have won several awards. I would describe their stuff as a cross between the Human League and the Pet Shop Boys (In a less overtly gay way), so I anticipate they'll be f*cking brilliant. I forgot to thank my mate Oli on here (who's taking me to see Hurts) for taking me to see Reginald D Hunter in Woking with my cousin Dan
a couple of weeks ago. Ok, so I've been to see Hurts now and have good things to report. The lead singer Theo Hutchcraft has an utterly incredible voice. They must be good because they have an enormous gay following and the gay community seem to have an enlightened taste in music – as if to prove my point about their huge gay following Kylie
made an unexpected appearance – I've never really worked out why Kylie is such a gay Icon? Even though her more recent music is pretty good, her early stuff and her 'acting' was hardly the stuff of folklore!
Same goes for Madonna and her 'acting' is shameful.
So once again Brixton Academy produces the goods and Oli and I
have another brilliant Gig etched in the memory. We had a laugh on the way remembering old friends, particularly the legend that is Paul Reeves who despite now being a fine upstanding father of two between the two of us we rechristened him, Paul 'I know it's a first date but would you mind wearing the ball-gag?
' Reeves. I near soiled myself!

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