AVIVA, L&G, OTHER INSURERS, GO F**K YOURSELF! (NO INSURANCE FOR ANYONE WITH METAL HEALTH ISSUES?!)

potholes

My apologies for the f**k, but I will ensure by the end of this blog you get why…

My blog and various magazine article over the last 18 months hit near 500,000+ people, hence my want to stand up to injustice and ‘spread the word’ on issues I see as a long term problem for our society.

As a responsible adult now, who’s son is due in February 2018, I recently set about doing all those adult bits & pieces where you get insurance, life cover, make a will etc. and generally attempt to fashion yourself as a real life adult!

It’s funny where you find issues with mental health practises and I knew there would be some hurdles insurance wise, but I was nowhere near ready for what I found!

I went through a broker (amazing and very good guy), because I knew that navigating insurance for someone with a form of bipolar was going to be interesting…

So, we went for income protection as part of our various considerations when getting insured…

As I run 2 x SME businesses and pay myself the minimum wage every year while my profits are re-invested in growth, I opted for the simplest income protection possible through AVIVA.

In the event that I was unable to work I would get a whacking £600 per month based on what I submit as earnings, but as a precautionary measure and with my fiance earning this was not a problem as hers was 3 times this.

It meant that I would be paying around £6 a month for however many years should I fall ill etc.

Now, because I have a form of bipolar disorder I was not accepted within 5 minutes like my fiance (a lovely Polish lady who came to the UK around 13 years ago), she sailed through and I was told that I had to speak to a registered mental health nurse to verify I wasn’t going to ‘top myself’

So I waited a few days etc. and eventually the debacle that was this verification phone call began…

Firstly while on the phone they asked me questions that I personally don’t feel that you should ask someone unless A) you know them very well, or, B) you’re 1-2-1 face to face with a medical professional and in the instance of C) questions you should just generally bloody avoid because it’s rude, patronising and invasive to any human!

Secondly, I had to ask the ‘registered mental health nurse’ who called me, why, as a medical professional, did she think it was OK to ask me these questions? They’d clearly been written by some ‘suit’ who doesn’t know his arse from his elbow when it comes to navigating questions surrounding mental health.

Anyway, long story short, did the call, told them they were a bit ridiculous but that I was a relatively successful businessman and had set up processes ans systems in my life to ensure that if I wasn’t on form every day I’d still do well as long as my cumulative month was more good than bad etc. so sort of a fail-safe business model.

Yesterday I get a letter from AVIVA telling me that I’ve been declined….. They will not offer me insurance on the basis that I have ANY mental health condition.

My broker called them and they said to him that, when he knew I had ANY form of mental health issue he should have denied my income protection insurance on the spot.

As a friend and confident he called L&G, they said that they also simply write off ANY mental health condition as un-insurable in the context of income protection! And they said this was standard across the industry!

Whats a f**king farse!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So effectively the insurance industry are not going to support anyone with any form of mental health issue in a considered approach when it comes to their services like this.

How is that fair? There’s something seriously wrong here… You wouldn’t deny someone insurance on the basis of religion, sex, creed etc. so why this? And as a large organisation in that field their should be professional processes in place to ensure that anyone with mental health issues can get insured but on the basis of a strategy that looks after the business individual and the insurance company.

This is the sort of thing that should be set in stone by our government! There should be a bill of ethics that must be adhered to by ALL companies in the UK irrespective of their industry sector and every company should have a process of support for people with mental health issues etc.

So as an SME business leader with a reach that’s fairly sizable I have now, throughout multiple blogs, drawn on flaws in the mobile phone, banking and insurance industries that are simply issues surrounding best practise. 3 core areas that are necessary for any SME business or entrepreneur to survive.

If the big boys like AVIVA & L&G are telling my broker that he should categorically ‘WRITE OFF’  anyone with a mental health issue as it’s not worth the paperwork, then how do we support those who suffer and are perhaps vulnerable.

You might stop to consider that people who suffer as I do, are generally more loyal and devoted to those that support us, in every vein, so just like with The Bank of Dave in the sense of paying back their loans on time, I believe that there’s less business risk when you support someone, that when you shun them, I’m sure if this blog does hit half a million people as previous writings have, that someones going to come and kiss my arse a little to late…

But I really couldn’t care less about all that! What I want is the same as women in London want with wages, it shouldn’t even be a question of women to men pay-scale, it should be simply pay-scale on job description regardless of sex; in the same way as everyone looking to become insured and protect their family etc. should be graded as a human being who would like insurance and insurance companies should be asking how do we support them in that.

So today the morale of the story is:

  1. We’ve managed to verify that, as suspected, insurance companies, are, the arseholes we always thought they were…
  2. Teresa May, when you’re done trying to collect the remainder of the Dalmatians, before you further balls up Brexit negotiations, could you consider how you might actually do something valuable for our society and take these companies to task on their policies.
  3. What can we be doing as individuals to put more and more pressure on companies and our government to set in place a mental health mandate that every UK company has to stand by with terms on the basis of company size.

The more if find these issues within out society the more lost I feel with the system we’re living in, I’ve been thinking a long while about moving out of the country; with one of my companies approaching up to half a million turnover next year and the other set to breech £350,000 annual turnover within the next 18-24 months, to earn my money from the UK and spend it while living overseas in another country may not make a dent, but if you piss off people with bigger businesses etc. the economy drops still further as lots of people begin to do the same.

I have a huge raft of friends who are moving overseas on their English wages and still earning long term in the UK, so proportionately there will be a huge volume of revenue that could, or would have been invested back in the UK, that’s now being siphoned out because you can’t give people here the peace of mind that anyone cares…

potholes

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Sleepless… But I’m definitely not in Seattle…

This is one of those moments where you really don’t know how to place yourself…

5:00AM – The extremities of my mind racing, recalling every little synapse it’s created; one thought leads to a spiderweb of others and it’s difficult to create clarity.

I really just want to sleep…

The thing is, my partner is pregnant and I don’t want to wake her with all my faffing about with covers; but I got hooked on a few memories and I’ve found it hard to shake them.

Que short rant then a story…

I’m not saying that I’m the perfect individual, on occasion I’m an arsehole, but I’m honest; I’m the guy who will stand back to let others off and on before me on a busy tube platform, because I understand that forcing my way past people doesn’t dictate whether I get on the train; when I see an old woman etc. I will ensure she has her bags carried where necessary… I may in fact have more legitimate bag carries under my belt than the guy who invented the concept to be honest… but I digress…

The point is, that I’m often an arsehole, as we all are from time to time, but I judge everything that I do on the basis of ethics, my internal compass; these could be things that may have a significant impact on my life, or they may just be something mundane, but when you suffer from extremities of thought, as I do, your whole life is built up around those decisions, because of how they make you feel…

Lets put this in context on a base level…

Your child is watching TV and you’re trying to have a conversation with a client, do you?

A) Tell them to shut up…

B) Carefully continue your conversation and pop some earphones on them without your client even knowing you lost focus…

It’s not even what you do as an end result, it’s what you feel. Why stress, keep your child and the client happy… Now the above is an obvious one, here’s another…

A few years ago I was working for a celeb startup that was struggling and as the Commercial Director I had to let some people go, something I’m used to from my time in telemarketing and sales over 12 years, so something I understand and am respectful of, having not been treated very well myself in the past…

Now, the last guy that I hired was my best friend, I’d worked on projects with him before and we’d hired him to work under me on some commercial projects, now I think we had to release around 4-5 staff at this point to save cash-flow and buy some time to make good, (makes me sick to think about people losing their jobs for “cash-flow” because the company frankly way over hired and it’s down to them to project what they can afford), anyway last in first out right….

So do you….

A) Fire your friend, knowing he would be financially screwed without a notice period…

B) Refuse to fire your friends and let the MD do it because it’s too personal…

Now, in choosing either you enter difficult territory, but we are programmed to accept one of these two fates, because this is happening to other people…

And where as you might feel a little bit guilty about either option in the friend scenario, I feel an extreme, almost adrenaline filled level of guilt, doubt and discomfort even with the notion of an ethically complex scenario.

So I threw the box out of the window… I didn’t want to do either of these things, so I called a meeting with the MD and I asked him if I could keep my friend and in return I would split my wages in half to pay for his, so it didn’t effect the company (who screwed me years later on another deal anyway) and he agreed to let my friend stay.

So, I told my friend about the situation the same day and I’d bought him enough time to go and find a full time role elsewhere, before the company was at the point they just let us all go…

The anxiety I have with these decisions or instances is buried deep within, which is the issue, when I think through certain life choices and in instances where I feel I’ve been ‘wronged’ in some way, I feel sick to my stomach for months or even years after an incident, because of the ethics involved.

Basically I just don’t think we should sh*t on one another, I think we should be honest and if someone helps us out, we should help them out… Wall-street are probably up in their office and I think they just spat their coffee all over the floor laughing at me…

Here’s a story…

I was working at a magazine publishing company, I won’t say who it was, but we produced magazines for companies like BA, Burberry, Wentworth Golf Club etc. so we were up there.

Now, I had a boss, we will call him JCJ; as I’m not familiar with the legalities of being honest about who’s a dick and who isn’t, online… This was around 2009…

I was working with JCJ for around 6-8 weeks in total and he’d asked me to look at the entirety of Sales & Marketing for the business and he really wanted to expand. My role was therefore aptly titled Head of Sales & Marketing.

How it works in publishing, or how it worked then, is that there’s one big boys club where you sit stagnant on a few million £ turnover, while the big publishers sit on their £60million+ and in the regular meetings for the Directors in the industry, the big boys will tell everyone across the ranks, who you can and can’t try and pitch for… The higher your turnover, the more sway, the lower the turnover, the less sway…

Totally rigging the industry in effect; so JCJ came back from these things regularly spitting fire, because he wasn’t able to grow without being really proactive, or highly political in his growth. They’d existed before my time on scraps from the big boys table and the dynamic for new business was just wrong.

So he hires a gunslinger like me to generate some revenue. The man you call in when you want to light a rocket up something. Which at this time was the main reason anyone would have hired me in as I was wearing a different hat to the one I wear today.

We established, that because our agency was around £2.7 million turnover at the time, that we could in fact shave somewhere up to 40% off the vanity costs that the big publishers were charging, by using consultants, outsourcing design elements, in specialist areas for the clients where necessary and we’d still make a lot of money.

So JCJ asked me to create a list of target magazines and start calling.

Totally legit! Love this stuff, as anything strategic and commercial excites me. Make a list, call them, find out when their contract runs out and book a meeting to discuss.

I created a list, as you do when you’re slightly efficient; I put together a list of every major publisher in the UK, every magazine that every publisher in the UK operated on contract and every marketing director or owner of a business attached to each magazine.

I then started calling them to have a chat, learn when their magazine renewal date was and I was booking meetings left right an centre to discuss our new industry approach. Everyone I spoke to was really excited about the fact that we were shaking things up. And i spoke to some of the biggest brand marketing directors in the UK, a lot of them.

JCJ was ecstatic… He loved all the meetings and was really excited about the rate of growth to come… (This is the sort of guy who’s blazé about cheating on his wife at Toni & Guy corporate parties and things, so you should have a picture of how a cock of the walk starts strutting round, it’s all his idea obviously at this point, so he’s on it!)

And, from my perspective I couldn’t care less who’s getting the credit, internally I’m loving the job and what I’ve achieved in such a short space of time.

But no!!!!! This is not a snow white story with any sort of happy ending…

Because shortly after we started to attend meetings and talk about saving people up to 40% of their current spend, the big boys got upset and JCJ received multiple phone calls, emails and legal letters from the big boys, stating that we can’t contact their clients in anyway, which was bullshit, because it’s a free country and they were in contract and are entitled to meet with anyone they like when that contract is coming to a close and they’re thinking next steps…

JCJ was then notified that he would ruin the industry and in no uncertain terms multiple people sent him cease and desist letters, as they said they didn’t want to ruin the margins in the market place.

Now, there was no law against what we’d done, but as it was explained to me by JCJ, they could spend a million £’s just to sink him in red tape, just because they could and he couldn’t fight them more like, oh crap, I’ve upset the pecking order and need to reassert myself) so he would have to stop growing the business like this.  He actually ended up getting some work from a few after that, so I suspect the situation was used as leverage to make a bit of extra money.

Anyway, JCJ leaves on holiday, I continue in my role for a day or two and after work one evening I’m in a pub garden with my colleague David (he was lovely so we can use his name), and I receive a phone call…

It’s JCJ and he’s pretty drunk and sun-burnt… His words were something like…. “look at you boy, you think you’re so fucking clever don’t you, you f**king c**t, you’re a f**king c**t, you’ve f**ked me you f**king c**t….” obviously still stinging from some of the backlash from his industry colleagues… I hung up, no one bullies me.

I’ve expelled the full text for your benefit, as it wasn’t nice at the time to be honest, so I suspect it’s not going to look the best in black and white.

I couldn’t really believe the situation. I felt sick and I had to carry on with my work for another week or so while he sat in paradise.

When he came back obviously everything had changed, I’d lost the respect that I had for him, in my personal opinion he just needed to grow a pair of balls and stand up to these guys, but as a relatively twisted individual he just started acting like a cancer to me.

He obviously fired me, on the Friday of the week of his return, no written warning, no notice, no nothing…. The commission on what I earn’t him during those 6-8 weeks in new business was around £60,000 which would have changed my life, but it’s a commission I clearly never got….

Would I deal with the situation the same now days? No, I would most definitely be taking him to court and he’d never have been able to get away with the way he treated me as a human being, an expendable and tarnish-able asset, useful for lining the nest but not enough to warrant any care…

The funny thing is, that I received a call about a year or so ago from JCJ and he tell’s me that a lot of business came off the back of my activity and he’s never had the same level since, so he says that he wants to meet me in a posh hotel in London to discuss doing a project together… you’ve gotta be intrigued at the ordacity at this point though, so I set the meeting amongst a day of other meetings and i went to see what he had to say.

It was slightly awkward from the start really, I naively thought that he’d seen my LinkedIn profile and understood I had a great deal more credibility than I did even when I worked with him before, but he was hoping for the same guy…

I explained what he’d said to me on the phone and obviously he had no recollection of it and put it down to being drunk, awkwardly trying to laugh it off. So I hear his pitch, I loved the industry and went away to prepare a structured but brief email explaining my fee for services requested etc. I used the excel margins marked with the #fuckoff symbol. Expecting that if he paid it that I may as well move into his house. But alas….

It appears he wants the younger version on peanuts, fundamentally just an insult with regards to my intellect at this point… And off he goes, never to be seen again; other than to run someone else’s big company for them… Great, let’s go breed that style of management and give him loads of creative staff to ruin, as he slate’s the boys and tries to screw the girls!!!!

There are 4 or 5 instances in my life where these moments still grate on me. Moments that infest themselves deep within, moments your life could have swung a different way, and I’ve been up since 5am living and re-living these moments, for some reason today…

I don’t want to seem bitter, or hard done by, everyone in life has their own cross to bear and I can’t moan on about missed opportunities as a means of excuse, I must persist to find the comfort-ability I seek. It just feels like a sham sometimes to turn on the smile, when you may have to really hang on for the ride, in getting through a bad day.

I wonder sometimes why people read this, am I narcissistic in some way, just on the basis of having a blog? Does that mean that I inwardly crave the vanity in life that I constantly chastise?

I don’t feel like any want, to sell my ethics out, even if it made me a richer man, I feel that I’m at a point in my life where if I’m not just honest with myself and other people with regards to where I am, then I may just wither and die; living in the false shell for so long has crippled my ability to shield myself the way I used to.

We look at life in stages, we incentivize ourselves in how we live and every day you see London brimming with the misled, those on their way to the hive, in pursuit of someone else’s honey… Someone they may never even get to see… Someone who considers them a statistic, a plot on a graph, a pie chart… No one want’s to be a pie chart, despite them being the more dynamic of the chart array available on excel.

On a serious note we could all be changing the society around us, if everyone just got up and said, “do you know what, no more bullshit, lets work together, let’s take ourselves to account for our misgivings and just try to be better people.”

Here’s a Friday challenge… I want you, if not bored of my explorations by now, to pinpoint one person during the course of your day; it’s the woman who needs help getting her buggy on the train, the girl in the office behind you, where you could have held the door, it’s your management team, because it’s often a darker place having to look after others well being all the time, it’s the IT guy who you may not offer coffee to when you make it for the team, that’s the guy who might care more about the moment, than the mugged offering.

Just do it, there’s no excuse, I’m not asking you to have your wisdom teeth out. I’m asking you to give a shit about life!

Three things will happen when you do this and I will guarantee all of the below…

  1. You will feel good…
  2. The person you help, or invest your time in, will also feel good…
  3. Everyone will feel good…

And surely that’s the point?

Side note: If the three things don’t happen, please assume you’re getting it wrong… and repeat with amendments… (Einsteins definition of insanity, was trying the same thing twice and expecting different results!)

The solution in my eyes to all the hurt we cause one another, is simply to shift mentality, start caring.

Just care about how you personally operate… Be honest with yourself and care about other people, this doesn’t make you weak, it just gives you a better sense of self, and this can only make you stronger and more confident in who you are as an individual.

It’s only in our compassion that we free ourselves… have a happy Friday!

 

Stigma! Constant stigma!

Why is it that when you let something go from within you, you still so often still feel burdened by stigma…

Probably because you’re generally judged by what you say or do if it’s unexpected. Or at very least, the aftermath goes to show that some people just can’t approach you again, because they don’t know what to say… Is that my hang up or theirs? How do I reach those people? Or should I just class that as the attrition within the world I’m working?

I attended an event that will remain nameless for the sake of the individual… But the mayor was present and he left at half time…

Now, there may have been some emergency etc. I can’t judge on that basis, as I don’t know the circumstance. However, in my humble opinion, if you’re the mayor and people want to change the way mental health is treated/perceived/supported in your town or city, then why on earth would you leave in the middle of an event designed to do just that?

Now, at this event my speech was just before half time and it’s safe to say I’m not 100% ‘PC’ lets say, so I swear and I am very honest and open and frankly highlight some elements of my life, for the greater good, that I really don’t want to revisit, in an effort to kick people into action faster and change how they live…

That said, I have felt sick since…

Part of me feels that he just didn’t appreciate how I managed my time on stage and was offended, my colleagues tell me not to put so much pressure on myself, but it’s really hard not to do so.

In my opinion if you’re not talking about mental health, or trying to help someone or trying to do something to make a change, then you should be in some small way, but the focus of my perhaps ‘not so P.C.’ approach is really to expose those elements of what I’ve been through, that no one in their right mind would want to share with anyone…

Because if I share the dark and disgusting elements of what I’ve been through then people may take more seriously how they approach education and looking after kids and students who need support.

This may be the same mayor that chastised me when I walked past the cricket blind during a match at the local club I sponsored over 3 years. If it is, perhaps he’s still miffed about the cricket? I hate cricket! So dull! Rugby & Football any day!

In reality it’s probably not anything to do with me, or how I spoke etc. though I gave a few dockside sailors a run for their money vocabulary wise, but it is very upsetting and frustrating to think that such a prominent figure left such an important event, so early.

How do we change perceptions, if our leaders can’t be bothered to sit through a couple of hours of discussion?

Already we find ourselves in a world where no one will invest heavily in researching how mental health issues come about!

People are happy to buy the band-aid or get you some free help etc. once you’re fucked… But there’s no research into a preventative…

And why?

Because the UK & USA make so much money flogging out drugs to people rather than working out how to mend them, that we are pushing water up hill trying to change our consumerist and capitalist culture, that ensures all anyone wants in their life if to consume, in every sense of the word and the focus is on profit…

But I promise you those profits won’t go anywhere near a guy like me who started in an ex-council estate house with no money.

The revenue will go to the top 1% of earners, the elitist and we can all break our backs so arseholes like Phillip Green can literally get away with whatever they want and ruin peoples lives… because someones palm, even in those times of bad press, will be greased to ensure no love is lost. He’s not knocking about in prison for screwing the little guy is he? No…

And Amazon employ enough people, so they pay 0% tax!! How does that help us in our current economy… Where do all these special measures go and who is the moron in government making these judgement calls. Why don’t big businesses pay more tax and SME’s get more support and funding?

I have no major education and half of them went to Eton et al, but I can still tell you that if we’ve got a company like Amazon, doing so much revenue, then we should tax them!! Hello!!!!!!! You should be taxing the high net worth companies regularly, not giving them a 100% tax break… in turn, Amazon are killing hundreds of businesses who manufacture products by hand, because they fast ship mass produced products immediately, making it harder for hand manufacturers to remain competitive online.

All we are doing as a a society, which is why no one wants to fight too hard, is fuelling the consumerist attitudes of our people.

I’m so sick of the superficial, if one more person jumps on the fact that I have a bipolar disorder at an event and tries to ‘neuro linguistically programme’ me into paying them for counselling I will scream.

If there’s anything I can spot a mile off, having done NLP training back when it was fashionable 12 years ago and reading Shakespeare from around 10/11 years old (and understanding it), then it’s a shoddy pitch.

Everyone thinks I have loads of money because people always announce me as a successful businessman, but ultimately I don’t have loads of money, everything I earn I re-invest in growth meaning that as much as it makes me feel I have no balls, my fiance is the sustainable bread winner and I’m working on our long term game.

The only reason you can call me successful is because I didn’t kill myself while trying to run a business with no help from anyone in the upper echelons.

Some people react well to my message because I try and offer more energy than the average sob story, and that’s very very exciting and really does change individuals or give them a bit of light; but some think that this is a glorified ‘rock star’ like parade where we love chatting about our deepest fears…

That’s just simply not the case…. I don’t get paid to come and share my fears with people, in fact I can barely afford the sodding petrol money to get there, because no one is paying me to share my story, no one is helping me run my business, no one invests money in someone with a mental health condition like mine, and mummy and daddy aren’t going to fund my success, so I have to graft it along and frankly the C.A.B, County Court, the major phone companies, like BT & Vodafone, my bank HSBC and every well funded major company that I’ve worked with in any way, have been screwing me for years…

And why do I persist….. Because the next entrepreneur that ends their life over these big businesses (the stalwart capitalists that don’t support, only drain us), will be on my head…

I have to make a difference while I have the strength in my body to do so, because there are thousands and thousands of entrepreneurs out there getting screwed and depressed by the man and every now and then someone has to step to the man and say no!

You may think I could be some sort of excitable conspiracy theorist here, but I’m not trying to convince you UFO’s exist.

I’m trying to convince you that big companies only care about money and that when you turn on any social media site all you see is the infamous selfie lot, who pout until their lips swell to the required degree…

X-Factor and Britain’s Got Talent have helped us to develop a country of lazy adolescents who think they can just bang out a sob story and sing a song and they’re suddenly deserving of money forever without doing the real work.

It’s globalisation gone mad. We are programming our society to function like a raft of consumerist muppets, so why do we expect any different.

Every major organisation has an annual health and safety budget for example.

Parts should pay for health and part for safety.

There are 35,000,000 cases of lost time every year. Of this number only 20,000 cases are safety related, because that’s where all the money is spent, because it’s easy to give you a hard hat or rip-stop jeans, but a recorded 500,000+ is based on absences due to mental heath… And that’s only the recorded stat for people who were happy to be honest!!

The underlying statistic, is that around 50% of those 35,000,000 cases per annum are based on mental health issues…..

So when your company says they’ve got a health and safety budget, ask them how much they’re planning to spend on health and how much they’re planning to spend on safety and you’ll have some semblance of what situation we’re in here.

Until mental health and well being is a mandatory issue for acknowledgement within any major business; from the internal staff to the consumers or clients they represent/support, then we’re stuffed anyway!

This is my aim…. I’ve got a big mouth and more adrenaline than the majority you may have met and I will persist, frankly because everything in the above message is based on people avoiding the heart of the problem.

We are all trying in our own way to make a change, but if society continues to focus more on revenue and supporting brands who run the show, then we are stuck.

When will there be an end to selfie sticks? When will there be more psychological assessment done before plastic surgery can just be bought and administered… perhaps we can help people before they inject their face with poisons because their husband cheated on them, because in every paper or magazine there’s a set of great boobs trying to sell you something…

Where do we as a society expect ourselves to be in the years to come? Another posh labour leader who went to private school and has no idea about how the poor manage their lives…?

Another elitist Conservative government axing all the foreigners who genuinely want to work in 9 out of 10 cases?

One racist video about the NHS services tipped Brexit over the edge… that’s the state we’re in… the ignorant are breeding and the elite are abusing their ignorance, and it will go on until someone sticks their neck out and is actually honest!

But there’s a lot of money behind shutting us up… no one at the top of the food chain wants to really fund mental health study, because as I mentioned earlier in this blog, drug sales would drop drastically.

As someone with a form of bipolar disorder who’s functioned over 12 years or so since my diagnosis, without more than 30 days of medication, I believe there is a way to work around any form of mental health without the use of drugs, and doctors shouldn’t be commissioned to flog these drugs to unsuspecting depressed individuals…

Can you tell I spend a good few years advising top pharma companies? Haha

In essence I’m lost at this point… There must be a path, I’m too small fry to do it on my own because I am not a wealthy, private school diplomat, but in unifying our approach to ending this consumerist attitude, I believe that we could encourage a better understanding of our mental well-being as individuals and really make a change.

Capitalism worked for a while, until we fucked our society with it…

The problem is, what are you trying to achieve? House, car, kids, stable job, only to teach your kids to do the same in the respective order, then repeat? Whats the point? The guy who pays your wages is off getting life experience, or wasting opportunity that should be had by you…

Are we bringing anything to this planet if we follow the way of the suit, that from school upwards we’re programmed into, while the odd, or overbearingly different kids are cut out of the process and stuck in a separate area of a school, when they may just make the others a bit more dynamic if they’re integrated?

Whats your path? Do you want your kids to ask questions? Or do you want them pouting on social media, expecting Simon Cowell to give them a record deal, while the newspapers get racist and un-eductate the concept of acceptance and togetherness within them, until such point as they marry Kim Kardashian, or Jay-Z and become a complete arsehole, but an arsehole with lots of money, that has enough PR to create a whole raft of fresh 1% arseholes, while the remaining 99% of the kids that don’t make the grade, just work themselves into a clinically obese, or drug addled state because they don’t want to work and are burdened by the stigma of failure and expectation, as they fade and die?

I’m mean, maybe I’m really driving the knife home today but lets be fair, I don’t need to even provide you with evidence that this is the case… The evidence is already there…

What our children need is a sense of purpose… And that doesn’t mean forcing them to conform to the car, house, kids etc. it means setting them free and teaching them the reality of the world we’re losing because of that attitude. Letting them make their own choices and support those, even if you’re not comfortable with what you expected…

We have the ability to craft our society and we’re letting the 1% do it for us. They dictate the budget, they dictate the curriculum, they dictate how our young minds are governed and examined, what’s normal, what doesn’t fit in the box…

But we have 99% of the population, outside the elite, and there’s strength in numbers!

Have a think and make a change… I’m with you… And together, unified, as it should be, we can slowly shift the tempo…

 

 

 

Bruce Almighty… And World Mental Health Day

Bruce Parry 2

Firstly, yes I am 6 foot 3… Bruce is not… fun fact!

(Religious disclaimer pre-reading: I truly believe that everyone should be free to explore whats within them, religion of any kind, faith in general, race, colour or creed, we are all equal regardless of class, status, history or heritage. So please consider my religious elements within this blog, as explorations)

So, last night for World Mental Health Day I was invited to the private screening for Bruce Parry‘s new film – “Tawai – A Voice From The Forest.”

Started with a meditation to ‘un-clutter busy minds’ which normally makes me feel a bit sick, because it’s usually someone who drunk some Indian tea once and considers them self a Yogi, however I tried to let go of everything and just reset my mind to focus on the film.

And it really was a different concept to where Bruce has been before, with Bruce travelling to the Amazon, India and talking to doctors etc. about how we live and feel within the energy that binds us. (As it binds the Jedi or Avatar)

Now this mindset is really along the trail of my thinking and feeling, in a sense of what we are about. With the Amazon peoples flitting through the rain-forest like electricity, aware of everything in nature but the concept of time…

Because the concept of time doesn’t not apply in the same way as in nature.

I think the film is for each to define their own meaning, but ultimately we are cutting off ourselves from where we should be as human beings. We don’t interact, or feel, or touch, or smell in a manner in tune with our ancestry… We are to consumed with money, or time, or peoples perceptions of ourselves and we are literally living inside our mind, we’re not emotively or instinctively using our heart to make decisions, which is the distinct difference between the western human and those we deem enlightened.

Sitting there in my waistcoat and jacket, with immaculate shoes I feel embarrassed and saddened and guilty that I still care to some degree how people perceive me, but I’d still be happier sitting amongst the mottle trees and rainy canopies really living.

I felt quite hypocritical in my ‘fancy dress’ ashamed that I was even sitting in a wealthy hotel which I watch peoples homes and minds being destroyed…

After the film as you can imagine people are clamouring to chat to Bruce and congratulate him etc. but my mentality is slightly different… My mentality is of the boy with no father, bred on Bruce Parry & Ray Mears and a longing for adventure and colour. So I simply enjoy my beer and wait for the ‘non Amazon thinking’ crowd to drift.

At the start of the film I saw in Bruce a change that I’d not seen since his time filming in Tribe, it felt like he’d lost a part of his soul since he set out on his first adventure all those years ago and there was a grey area I could see within him…

I approached him initially casually, having not met Bruce before, but sharing quite a close mutual friend, there was no pretence, other than perhaps that moment that must have gone through his mind while considering what I might be going to attempt to sell him…

However, my opening gambit was, “hi Bruce, I just wanted to let you know that it was your penis that made me go out and explore the world…”

At this point I see the Tribal Bruce. I see the light and the energy exuding out of him, that energy that makes you just feel calm. When you’re safe in a space without angst.

As he chuckled away I went on to explain that as a young impressionable man I’d see an episode of the Tribe where the indigenous people retract their penis inside them and their other gentlemen bits. Bruce, like a true explorer attempted this, in the interest of the ‘when in Rome mentality’ and trying to be truly respectful of their culture…

However, as the episode makes us aware, Bruce is relatively well endowed and nearly passed out trying to do this, in the spirit of the tribe. In fact he was pretty sick and then nearly passed out…

Now watching this, internally I genuinely felt that if someone like Bruce was willing to almost knock himself out or make himself sick, to better feel what the people around him feel every day, in the hope that he might find some sense of himself in their world, I felt that this was enough to get me off my arse and try to make myself more open to the world I live in…

I used to be a consumerist whore, filling my mental and emotional coffers with clothes and ‘stuff’ as the hoards do every day, then during my time living on an island in Cambodia and travelling the country on a motorcycle I met a man… I met a man who asked if he could simply have my belt…

This man changed my perception of things.

Previously I’d been wrapped up in assimilating any sort of assets, I used to be one of those guys who bought all the golf clubs, ski gear, surf boards etc before that 1 weekend, never to be used again…

But in seeing that all this man genuinely wanted was a belt to hold up his trousers I was overwhelmed with a sense of morality and I’ve not bought anything in the same mindset since… If fact even if I go and try clothes on now I will consider, cut, fit, longevity and still put it all back on most occasions.

Many people will not connect with Bruce’s film because they’re lying to themselves… This sense of urgency and time and we crush our soul with daily is becoming overbearing… we are the virus, the cancer that will kill our planet if we don’t change.

Superficiality if rife and what i love about Bruce Parry is that he’s not a wanky, pretentious guy, trying to get us to conform to his way of thinking… he’s just exploring what makes us feel whole…

That’s ultimately all I’m looking for. Any semblance of that opportunity to feel like I’m complete and happy.

When Bruce met the Giri family in India, who are considered some of the worlds few enlightened, he said, I’ve been reading a lot of books on the subject of mindfulness etc. and what is it to be… And they simply replied… That’s a shame because your cup is full… Forget about what you’ve learned, this is programmed from school and beyond and cannot be fought in western culture, you must empty your cup in order to fill it and you can’t learn anything with you mind… it is only with our heart that we can truly know the feeling of the world around us… it is here where we judge ourselves and we know the truth about ourselves, even if we never speak it to anyone…

It is in searching for this truth and ridding ourselves of these societal shackles that we free ourselves…

Today I feel free… and I genuinely hope that you are able to free yourself and your mind and feel within you the path you should take.

I don’t believe in religion, I believe it was created to establish populace control and initially keep ignorant society repressed in their relevant boxes. However, now I feel that religion, however still fictional in my eyes, is sometimes just a gateway for people exploring how they fit into the world, and regardless of which God is which, if that mindset and that energy you portray in a positive then I think that it is important that people share their gods and beliefs because some people just genuinely need that sense of faith.

What I do believe is that we all have some sort of symbiotic relationship with our planet, we are all made up of energy and matter, as is our earth and the sooner we all start trying to live outside our conscious thought and just feel within us what the path might be, we will far outweigh our own evolutionary expectations.

If I compare my consideration, to the film Avatar, then you may scoff… But ultimately, this is what we’re talking about with Tawai… There’s something deeper we’re all missing…. Find your own truth and for ‘God’ sake, empty that cup and start exploring…

At the end of the evening I asked Bruce if he’s consider doing an interview with me just to chat in general about how his experiences have changed him, he agreed…

I mentioned before I left for the evening that I’d seen a marked difference in his energy and approach, since the original days of Tribe 12 years ago and in watching his most recent undertaking, I was keen to know whether he had lost that element of soul along the way…

He didn’t answer….

He simply smiled and said… “That’s one of those interview questions then!”

I will be sure to share our interview when we get together again and in the mean time please talk to people; just get over any of that negativity that we attract day to day and just be yourself and be free in whatever you do… Let those who surround you know that you’re all together and through our combined energies we  create change in perception…

Bruce Parry 1

Here’s a beautiful shot of my fiance Anna and my ‘son to be bump’ due 5th February. I look forward to exploring all this with him when he’s old enough to relate.

The Bipolar Baby Days… Father & Son

On the 24th June 2017 my life changed…

After a long weekend event promoting my company K9 CREW at DogFest, my fiancé suggested we stop by Boots on the way home to get a couple of pregnancy tests, as she’d not been well and wanted to be sure of what the situation was.

Now, my partner is a woman who’s pretty in tune with her body and health (ironically the opposite of me), so I took the situation seriously and did as I was told navigating a mission to Boots.

Boots was closed by the time we reached home, but after 10 minutes in a lone, glowing Tesco Express and I had the necessary.

My heart at this point is fluctuating, my entire life I’ve wanted children and there have been a few moments in the past where I’ve thought I might become a father and it’s not come about.

Anyway, on this day I got the news I’d been contemplating for years. Both, the afore mentioned required items, came out on a positive note to suggest that we were going to be having a baby.

Fast forward to date and I’ve now been through all the relevant tests etc. with my partner to establish that the baby is perfectly healthy and well. We will also be having a son… Logan Henry Bell.

When I consider the darkest of my days in life to date, I consider the emptiness that has befallen my mind and the agitated darkness I’ve come to accept will lurk from moment to moment, until I shuffle off this mortal coil…

When I consider the prospect of my son coming into the world, all I see is light, I see moments on bicycles, mountains, tree’s and snowy Polish winters learning how to ski. I see happiness and there’s a growing excitement at what he might become and I remember every fractured, disjointed memory of my early years… The holes in the doors, angry nights and fear…

Those memories are not for my son!

Those memories will fade and die with every moment he grows and thrives and lives… I can’t change what happened to me, I can’t change what I will see in my mind for the rest of my life, but I can orchestrate the lifestyle surrounding his youth and I can give him the father I never had.

There are so many regrets and moments I’ve travelled in shadow, but that ends when he arrives.

Every waking moment I will think of him until then and I will wonder what’s to be, but I won’t impress anything on him, I won’t try and forge his nature, I just want to set him free, to be free to grow and think and evolve as is right by him, without the burden of bringing up a father.

I was once a twin and my brother died, I’ve always felt half full and every male in my life has left me to fight alone, in February 2018 I become whole again. My bipolar baby journey begins and I finally feel like I can bring light into my life again where once there was just a half-cut candle…

Everything in my world is changing, I’m going to have to try and keep pace, but there’s a new driver now, where I was waning I now feel resilient again.

This is going to be the best thing that ever happened to me, it’s not about straight A’s or Doctors for me, I just want him to think for himself, to feel for other people as I have and to have a sense of inner peace, to know that his journey is only ever going to be what he makes it… As I see his life unfold I think I may finally be able to let go of my father and paint my own picture of a future for my son…

Logan Henry Bell, I love you already, I promise you that you won’t grow up knowing true fear and that anything in life you should choose to seek will be possible for you… Take your time son, I’ll see you when I see you xxx

baby bell

This Is My Story – 11th October 2017

Through my London and local Mental Health Awareness work, I have been asked to go and speak at an event that’s really important to me personally.

The event is called ‘This Is My Story’ and will be an evening focussed on well known figures in their own right, sharing their story and helping people understand that it’s OK to feel what we feel day to day. At the London event I attended in the same vein we had stories from the Chairman of Debenhams Sir Ian Cheshire and the fantastic ‘Ad Man’ Robin Wight.

The event is free and will be held on the 11th October at The University of Surrey, technically where my journey all began…

Please take a look at the link to the event flier I’ve attached below and you are more than welcome to sign up using the IoD eventbrite ticket link here. Again this is a free event, only because we want to encourage people to come and see what we’re doing…. I promise my moment won’t be dull by any stretch! Anyone in business or otherwise who feels alone or depressed or anxious is welcome to come along.

To see the full event flier please follow my link below and really do try and get your friends and people you feel might benefit to share this evening with us.

This Is My Story Final

This is my story image

Mental Health Success & Big Change at The IoD

I have an awful lot of people to thank for reaching some 250,000+ individuals around the UK & Globally in the last year with my work in the mental health space.

Directors of companies like The Building Societies Association, Red Letter Days, Standard Life, Oliver Agency and many more are at the forefront of that thanks, for sharing my blog with their staff and asking me to write various articles etc. surrounding mental health in the work-space for their publications.

Only a few months ago all the leg work and hard fought challenges aside, I was presented with an Award for my work in Mental Health Awareness, by the IoD.

They now have an annual Director of the Year Award for Leadership in Mental Health Awareness, of which I was the first ever recipient, against other award winners like Ella’s Kitchen Founder Paul Lindley and CEO of Battersea Dogs Home Claire Horton.

Here you can see the IoD Chairmans blog about Mental Health, my preferred local Surrey charity Oakleaf Enterprise and the IoD awards; with his comments on presenting my award: David Seall Blog

This accolade has surely set a precedent for how companies should look at their short and long term focus, surrounding mental health in the workplace and will give leverage to companies not only creating a wider awareness within their organisations, but taking steps to change their ethos and processes surrounding managing their staff well being for the long term, with a more sustainable approach.

IoD 2017 Award Winners

The evening was absolutely beautiful, my award category came and went and I’d assumed that I’d been unsuccessful within my category, however at the end of the awards they announced that they’ve got one final special award to present and I was called up to say a few words as the recipient…

The opportunity for a young entrepreneur, dealing with an issue that can regularly be debilitating to the point of real difficulty day to day, was a huge move for this organisation stepping up to create awareness.

I cannot speak highly enough of the IoD and how they’ve fed understanding and awareness of mental health in the workplace, into their teachings, during the last year or so, under Davids flag and I feel confident with the most prestigious networking organisation in the UK behind the ‘movement’ that they will change lives in what they’re doing.

I hope in years to come I’ll be presenting this award to other entrepreneurs and I truly hope that business owners find some inspiration in my journey and take steps to give opportunity to those closest to them… Their staff, their friends and family…

With around 300 people in the room, all fairly senior directors of businesses in their own right and with a number of BBC Apprentice candidates failing to win their categories, I feel extremely proud of how far I’ve come, since the young boy under the duvet cowering in fear of his father…

Make the change happen, that’s all I can ask of anyone… Hold the door, take the old ladies bag up the stairs at the station, be the light in someones life, when there may just be no one there on the other side for them to turn to. We were all meant to be whole and to be happy and it may be through turmoil that we grow, but we can also rid ourselves of the ‘stiff upper lip’, or the awkward conversational angst and step up to the plate.

If you turn one person’s life around and that’s all you ever do… Was your time on this earth wasted…?! You could be helping the chap who cures cancer, the woman on the brink with a baby at home, or the man that may give you your next promotion…

Do it with love…. ACTUALLY CARE! And upon letting that positive approach be your guide, rest assured, wanting nothing in return, you’ll be at peace in the sense that you ‘were’ the change. You may just save a life…

Hooray for awards, much good may the crystal do us, but the people watching may just be the catalyst we need to make a difference…

I’ve now been invited to do a personal blog for the IoD and be interviewed in a video blog for them and their wider mental health campaign, so keep your eyes open for that in the coming months…

And if you’re sitting there reading this and you think good for him, but why am I stuck in the dark… Please reach out. I am here to listen… And I genuinely mean that… I don’t care about money, or publicity or all that rubbish, what I do care about is trying to ensure that no one else ever has to feel as lost as I have…

It often feels like there’s no one there… But there is, and I am, and I will be… Don’t choose the bridge, or the drugs, or the knife, or the train, as I have in dark times, if we work as one then we will never be lonely again…

To see my work with HeadTalks please check out my video and know you’re not alone.

And if you want to reach out then drop me a line to thomas@corporatewardrobe.co.uk

 

Vodafone… Disaster of a business… But they’re raking it in while we wait…

Some of you may have seen my previous blog on Vodafone… it was relatively dull and lengthy, but that’s how it feels dealing with them…

Yet once again they surpass amazement when they implement a cancellation fee to my account of their own accord and then cut my phone off…

Travelling into London over a week ago when this happened, so I paid the full outstanding balance and the phone should have been activated instantly ready for me to call back and question the high charges in the PM… however, the phone is not active at this point, nor is it for a further 24 hours…

I call the same day as I pay the bill and they notify me that they’ve made (yet another) mistake!! And they shouldn’t have billed me the extra £570+ I was charged. One of their team had set up an early termination fee at random and I was billed for it…

So at this point, still a week ago I ask for a refund, this must have been last Monday as I chase up on the refund… They tell me that before any refund they have to apply the credit to my account then chat to the bank to refund to my direct debit account (even though I’ve paid on a commercial card), I suggest refunding to my card, they suggest debit… 2 days later I chase and they tell me they can’t refund onto a direct debit (as suspected, hence why I told them to just refund the card) and they tell me they have to refund the card… So this was supposed to happen by last Wednesday and could take up to 3 working days, but they promise it’s done…

Co-meth Monday and I’m in London again with clients and low and behold there’s no refund… I chase again, I subject a poor innocent lady to my tirade, as at this point I’m going to scream and she tells me she’ll register a complaint about the previous account manager and she promises again she’s refunded me…

Now I have to sit and keep my mouth shut for up to another 3+ working days because the fine print states that they couldn’t possibly actually give you a straight answer or definitive timescale and trusting what a Vodafone customer manager tells you is like leaving your valuables on the streets of London and expecting to find them again later the same day…

So I say unto you Vodafone, oh mighty commercial entity, why don’t you just hire someone useful to implement the necessary CRM/ERP, phone, or customer management systems in order for you to stop cocking up?

Give me £150,000 and 12 months and I’ll sort it out for you… It genuinely can’t be as complex and fractured as it seems to the consumer…?!

I suspect that the majority of these processes are simply designed to confuse and bank millions of unsuspecting customers finances in the want to generate interest off holding our hard earned money while you faff about doing refunds. it would not surprise me if there was a team dedicated to dicking about with customer revenue before it goes back in their pot.

The reason this really grates on me so much is because as a person who’s trained call centres full of staff for around 10-12 years, I am tenacious enough to raid you with calls if necessary and finally see an end gain in my quest for regular service (where at all possible) and the average person on the street isn’t…

So what happens to the dad with 2 jobs, working to support his wife and kids towards their 1 holiday of the year, before Vodafone in their infinite wisdom, dock him of £500+ for no reason, leaving him no travel money… Can he afford to wait the 10 days or more it may take to eventually get his money back? Or should he call up multiple times during the course of his holiday while trying to hide the concern from his wife so it doesn’t effect their time away…?

Who’s going to stick up for that guy, the guy with the anxiety attack as he walks to the beach knowing he can’t afford the lunch… And that his kids will want an ice cream…

No one at Vodafone is looking out for those guys I can tell you that for nothing!

And so I persist in my endeavour to help them get their finger out in realising the issues but the internal processes are so convoluted they can’t even register enough interest to make my customer journey a positive one and I’m spelling it out for them… I wouldn’t hold out for ice cream that’s all I’d say!

Single mum of 2 kids, booked herself a spa weekend while the kids are with grandma, she arrives at the venue after months of planning having already paid her holding deposit, where she’s due to pay the remainder of the fee before partaking in her scheduled appointments with the massage therapists etc. But her card doesn’t work, because Vodafone have docked her £500+, the profits of which should cover a new gold and diamond encrusted letter opener for the directors offices and now the poor lady is stood at reception unable to book into her room or afford the weekend she was banking on…

But Vodafone funnily enough don’t see this, they’ll have to register the money docked back onto her Vodafone account, this could take some time but only then will they be able to show that to the bank and try and get her a refund… But wait, she has to wait at least 3 working days for the refund and they can’t guarantee that it will happen… So her weekends destroyed, she calls mum, but mum’s pension is not due for another few weeks and she doesn’t have the savings to help… She calls a money lending service at 1000%apr and she’s sorted, she gets her weekend, she’ll just have to spend the rest of the year paying off the interest that Vodafone cost her, while they’ve probably tripled that in the interest they made of her money when banked alongside the guy in my comments above, plus myself…

So now there are 3 gold and diamond encrusted letter openers on their way to head office but just three very unhappy, upset and anxious customers…

The world makes sense again… thanks Vodafone!

P.S. if the money’s not refunded in 3 days I will be calling back… But in the interim if you could consider the above cases and make some effort in sorting out your process management then that would be ideal…

The Mother of Lost Boys…

It’s been a while since my last blog… Not one of these self obsessed, glued to their keyboard…

I don’t know why it’s been so long but if I consider the analysis then there’s definitely been more of a void within me during the course of this year. We’re nearly half way into 2017 and where the hell did January go?!

My issue is probably based around the fact that I don’t talk, I think, I think rapidly, I think so rapidly that I can barely contemplate the thought process but it’s all being locked in. I feel anxious thinking about my future, at the moment the endless treadmill that seems so positive is destined to fizzle out if I don’t make a change at the core.

I don’t long for the flamboyancy or the vanity within the industries within which I exist I feel like Jerry Maguire when he sat up all night putting his memo together… The things we think and do not say…

I don’t really ‘say’ anything!

I sit twisted in thought and sickness within, feeling every numbing pulse of the blood as it runs through my veins, lost in translation, lost in the sickly sinews that course within us, destined to drag a bright day into the shadows…

“Once more, unto the breech dear friends, once more” before we leave the house with our painted face to the world, perhaps the Beatles said it best with the phrase in Eleanor Rigby, “wearing her face that she keeps in a jar by the door, who is it for?” Every footstep beyond the threshold must ensure that the issues lie within, there’s no-one there to catch you on a cliff edge, if your mid fails, you fall, we are the captains of our own fate. The daily smile that’s structured in to ensure stability, how long before it shatters?

The Mother of Lost Boys

I recently found out that a woman I knew for a long while had died. She was taken from us by cancer…

At 19, in around 2005, after being chucked out of drama school without any real support from within, I set out to find a job and get myself together.

And what do failed actors usually do? They work in telemarketing or telesales. So I went for a few interviews, as I’d had some experience before and I found a company called “Don’t just sit there, sell something!” Which at the time seemed like just the sort of cock sure branding that would suit my style.

The company was run by a woman like none I’d ever met at that stage in my life. She was a traveller, a listener, she was a do’er of things… Not one to sit around and wait for the world to come and sweep her off her feet, she went out and drove towards her passions as if to envelope life… She took a dead company and built it, with a room full of guys who all needed a little piece of that energy Anne exuded every day.

In some small way I felt that we all had a little piece of us missing, every guy for his different reasons, maybe home life, parents, partners, past, alcohol, drugs, we were all growing young men with mistakes to make and lessons to learn and Anne was the mother behind us, every day we hit our desks, ready to hear about our weekends, before kicking our arses to get on the phone, just the right amount of love and structure… I don’t think I would have any semblance of the freedom I have in my life now if i hadn’t had Anne in mine…

What Anne taught me, was that there were no barriers in life, if we want to achieve as individuals then we can make that happen through grit and willing. There’s no time in sales for the phone fear, there’s no time in life for the fear itself, there’s no time to let that mindset take over and ensnare you at it’s whim, we are all here to do great things and they may not be things that every common person values, but they are the things that make us great as individuals.

Anne encouraged me to travel and to see things the world over, with a safe job upon my return any time, when I left home at 18 I’d been to France and Scotland. To date I’ve now been to over 10% of the worlds countries and I’ve travelled all over Cambodia and the South of India on a motorbike, I’ve lived on a remote island, I’ve built people houses, I’ve become a rescue diver, I’ve saved 3 lives at sea, I proposed to my fiance on the top of the highest mountain in North Africa, I’ve encountered, been attacked by and killed a king cobra, I’ve been chased by elephants, been bitten by a monkey and a poisonous spider, riden horses all over the world and I’ve had a fully grown adult tiger jump out of the bushes a few metres in front of my motorbike in India, only to bound across the road and off into the wilds…

And all of this took a mindset, a mindset that was built off the back of Anne’s stories, her relationships, the countries she’d lived in, the dogs she’d rescued that were slowly accumulating into the office every day, giving me a passion for animals and their energy, teaching me what it means to feel compassionate…

All of these elements fashioned my comfort-ability as a young man, with the world around me. And if I was ever in trouble, whether that meant running me to hospital or letting me store all my worldly possessions in her offices for a week while I split up from an old partner, there was always a light there to see you through.

I didn’t have chance to say goodbye in the way in which I’d hoped, but I loved her and I will always attach a part of myself to those early days, the best of all days, the days where just anything felt possible…

So to Anne I hold my own vigil and I say this:

Rest a while,

None left to achieve, nothing there to regret,

Your passion and life and your minds energy leaves us…

But as I sit and haunt the dusk and recall the times that passed,

I feel the way through the wood, I know the path I tread,

There’s no answer to the world and what befalls us,

But without the fire inside ourselves to drive forth we are but vessels passing space and time,

I will not walk, I will run through life, as you ran,

But I will savour all I have and respect the days that evolve before me…

With your passing, bitter loss ensues,

Though rest assured I will prevail, that adventure that you nurtured and the want and belief you had in me was not wasted…

The part of you I hold close to my chest is that part that still drives me and in losing the opportunity to say goodbye, and losing you too early for words, I do all I can to pass on that spark…

Somewhere I will always hear you behind the phone. But I’ll make sure I’m the catalyst that you were.

There was a time you gave me my life… And now I intend to use it!

When I see fields of horses I’ll remember you… and I’ll know you’re there travelling on the wind with them. xxx

The Soloist…

I think the most familiar feeling I seem to have come to loathe over time is that feeling of the Soloist…

The one man band, the one man army, the one man in the spotlight, the one man wondering in the darkness…

Sometimes I feel I’m just trudging!

Paul Bettany once remarked in ‘A Knights Tale’

“Trudging, to trudge! The slow, weary, depressing, yet determined walk, of a man who has little left in his life, except the impulse to simply soldier on…”

Some days everyone feels a bit like that I should think…

I heard someone ask the question the other day, “if your twin had died, are you still technically a twin?”

I certainly never felt that missing piece return since he left me… How fucking selfish!

Did he not know I needed him? Did he not know it was harder alone?

Eyes clouding over, mind caving in, those moments when you need someone to jump into the rapids and drag you to the rock, the safe-hold that affords you the single solitary breath you need to inch another foot, to milk another mile out of life…

Where are you? I feel you somewhere and I just can’t find you! I’m sinking and I don’t have that ability not to struggle, to claw my way out of the abyss that envelopes my emptiness, the catalyst to what may or may not become…

Every step further down the line ends in a deceit and it’s always harder and harder to keep the Secret in mind… PMA it’s that positive mental attitude Linford Christie used to talk about before he deceived the world… Before he set aside his country for the Soloist…

Every day we see more of the Jimmy Saville in everything… The stuff we loved only to have it torn away… it’s the Operation Yewtree and the FA scandal ten times the size… Where does it end?

If you’re going to do something, do it!

It’s the celebrities clammering at one another for the best page, with their fingers crossed behind their back hoping no one delves any deeper, while their under paid and ill respected ‘Executive Assistants’ call the papers, hoping that at least one solitary crap photographer, with his hands half down his pants, comes to their aid, only to snap them in a posh new scarf, that was given for free by a budding young designer who never even gets a mention…

I suspect if you mix an extreme lung infection with the theory on one’s own mental considerations that’s what you get. But it doesn’t tell you what the point is!

The point is in every film, in every book, in every story that see’s you drift away with your minds in a dusky cloud, that we’re told over and over again by the elderly we don’t listen to because what the hell do they know!?

They know life’s too short… Buts we simply won’t listen and we’re consumed by it… We’re beaten by it… We’re sodden by it and it reeks of filth, distaste, disgust, disdain… It’s become the wretch before you vomit, the salt in your cheeks before your face hits the pan of life!

I used to believe a Soloist was me… I used to believe I was one of them but the jigsaw pieces never seem to fit, I found myself clawing at the edges, shuffling myself about hoping the world would level out and I’d be on a plain… But that’s not the case.

You must release the fear, the fear of loathing, the fear of resentment, the fear of fading in clear sight.

Stay true to your heart and the soul that beats within, with the chest that’s made it through until today, the heart that will get you through until the morning when the sun dawns and you’re shuddering and you’re out of breathe and you’re brow glistens from the frantic nature of your thought, then the curtains fall apart to see day…

The glow… The essence of nature… The essence of each and every one of us… We call this hope and it is with this hope that we stand firm, we drive forth and we wipe away the darkness with a fleeting blow, as we stride forth into the future…

Nothing that has been done or has passed can be undone…. But you can change your stars… You know who you are and I’m here with you in mind, we’re connected on a level deeper than any fictitious belief and we know that we can find it within us to seek out the life beyond the drivel of day to day…

Set aside the worry and the doubt, be yourself… There’s a Soloist in every one of us, but when the choir chirps up, you’ll know you’re not alone…