we need to talk

according to julia cameron, author, artist, poet, playwright, novelist, filmmaker, pigeon fancier, composer, journalist, and mother of morning pages, ‘there is no wrong way to do morning pages’. however, at least one wrong way is to share them with others. they are ‘for your eyes only’. well, not any more.

one of my favourite morning page topics is morning pages. i do morning pages because doing morning pages is good for me. it’s good for my writing, it’s good for my mental health, it’s good for my physical health, it’s good for my life generally. the reasons are all so straightforward, and the results are all so predictable, that i long since ceased wondering why i do it.

what’s less self-evident, and potentially more interesting, is why i’m putting parts of them out into the world at large. to advertise? to knowingly transgress? to consciously cross a cultural boundary? to break a taboo? to make art? to make people happy? to upset people? to remember? to deliberately muddy the waters of my memory?

to construct layers of self-referential irony to be utilised as a sort of mental tin-opener on my own mind?

i’m well aware of who i am and what i am and who i’m not and what i’m not. i’m not banksy. i’m not basquiat. i’m not andy fucking warhol. i don’t plan on changing the whole world. just my little piece of it. just my personal postage stamp. according to hegel, man will be completely free only ‘by surrounding himself with a world entirely created by himself.’ well, welcome to my world.

i once tried typing up my morning pages. it was a mistake. the next day, i couldn’t write anything. all i could think about was how, in a week’s time, i’d have to reread this garbage and type it all up.  and so i realised it was important to leave some time between writing and rereading. because this shit is unfiltered. i detail my own flaws, and those of my loved ones. i recount my most depraved dreams, my most fucked-up fantasies. i  explicitly describe specific suicide plans. one notebook essentially forms a very long, very depressing, suicide note. a year seemed long enough.

and no, i’m not dead. not even close. maybe that’s why i’m doing this. maybe this is just proof.

there exists only one of each sticker. if you find one, what you do with it is entirely up to you. you could read it. or ignore it. leave it alone. peel it off and stick it to your sketchbook/friend/lover/dog. deface it. cross words out. add words. stick something better on top. i don’t care. they aren’t worth shit.


this week i have been slowly losing my mind, and also quickly losing my mind. working on art full time is new for me, and i still find it difficult to switch off. if creativity is some sort of tap, metaphorically, i feel like right now it’s on, but water’s spraying everywhere, and i’m just going fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck.


what i’m trying to say is, it’s not easy trying to do this all day and then not do this all evening too, even when it’s not productive. or healthy. it’s like my job is to hammer nails, and during the day i use a hammer, and during the evening, i put it away, and start using my head instead.

walking helps. it combines being outside with being in motion. and i’m always coming across cool shit. on one walk i found this clipper lighter, featuring an orange cat on a purple cushion eating ‘chips’. i call him chipper.

now this again.

new working title: culture medium

for six months, while writing up my phd, i don’t remember reading a single book. i didn’t watch films. i didn’t listen to music, except while working. i didn’t drink, except coffee. i didn’t smoke, at all. those were good times indeed, for my lungs. for the rest of my physical and mental health it was a fucking disaster. i was worn down to a nub, and any remaining energy, any inspiration, any anything, i poured into the creation of this one, all-consuming document. this week has been a bit like that, but more fun.

that is to say that this week my media consumption has been somewhat passive, and erratic. at first i tried to trace a thread through it, but eventually i decided that doing so would be an act of after-the-fact imagination, an invention. a lie.

but to a writer, the truth is no big deal

L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N. – noah and the whale

fuck it. what i did do was watch a whole bunch of music documentaries.

i watched taylor swift’s miss americana (2020). i watched lewis capaldi’s how i’m feeling now (2023), and oasis’ supersonic (2016). i watched trainwreck (2022), a documentary about the woodstock ’99 festival which was afflicted by ‘difficult environmental conditions, overpriced food and water, poor sanitation, sexual harassment and rapes, rioting, looting, vandalism, arson, violence, and several deaths.’ standard festival shit. you had me at vandalism.

none of these artists are my particular cup of tea. i feel indifferent, at best, when it comes to their music. curiously, that didn’t seem to matter when it came to their stories in documentary form, which i thought were quite fascinating. what really struck me about every artist is how earnest they all seemed. how ridiculously ambitious, how obsessively driven. in a word, monomanaical. how normal too, in some ways. both more, and less, complex than their public-facing personas. how mismanaged, mostly. how used. and how artistic generally they are, not just musically.

moonage daydream (2022), was something else entirely. i’m not even sure it counts as a documentary. it’s a something, that’s for sure. obviously the music is magnificent, psychedelic, weird as fuck – it’s bowie. the accompanying visuals are a suitably schizoid collage of archive video and technicolor kaleidoscopic impressionist imagery. and those aren’t even the best bits. the best bit is bowie himself, posthumously narrating this madness through cleverly juxtaposed audio clips of his recorded interviews. He was a genius, that much is clear. a rock star. a writer. a philosopher-poet. an extraterrestrial. and like the others, only so much more so, he was an artist.

here’s what i’m talking about.

One of the most complex expressions.
Memory made manifest.
It’s something that straddles past and future without ever quite being present.
Or rather, it at first seems indifferent to the present.
There’s a tension of a most unfathomable nature.
The word desires to be understood.
To have meaning.
But you somehow feel that it’s not you yourself that the word is addressing.
It washes over you, holding a dialogue with something arcane that’s maybe not mortal.
And you feel intrigued.
Captured even.
You’re aware of a deeper existence.
Maybe a temporary reassurance that indeed there is no beginning, no end.
And all at once, the outward appearance of meaning is transcended.
And you find yourself struggling to comprehend a deep and formidable mystery.
All is transient.
Does it matter?
Do I bother?

There is no beginning, no end.
I’m dying.
You are dying.
Second by second, all is transient.
Does it matter? Do I bother?
Yes I do.
Life is fantastic.
It never ends. It only changes.
Flesh to stone to flesh.
And round and round.
Best keep walking.

David Bowie – Moonage Daydream (2022)

if you find yourself going down this particular musico-documentary rabbithole, i can also recommend these.

Beatles – A Hard Day’s Night (1964)
Amy Winehouse – Amy (2015)
M.I.A. – Matangi/Maya/M.I.A. (2018)
Lil Peep – Everybody’s Everything (2019)

and finally, something to soothe the soul.

stornoway is an indie folk band from the uk. they make some of the most exquisite music in the world. the lyrics, the arrangements, the vocal harmonies – all are so thoughtful, so understated, so beautiful. you should listen to it. if it’s the only thing you do today.

stop what you’re doing, put everything down, put everything away, and listen.