25 ways the GREEDY ONE PERCENT have hollowed out America’s economy and society.

onepcent

“Drag them out into the street and….”

Back in the 1980’s, the rich and the wealthy, the ONE PERCENT, determined to reverse post war social mobility, welfare and the development of civil society, reversed up the arse of the political class and has operated it like a glove puppet ever since. Politicians, corrupted by money and ambition, now serve exclusively the wants and desires of the One Percent and the economy too has been retooled to serve their purposes. In short, we are ruled by a clique of Oligarchs and plutocrats. These people are sociopaths and their avowed aim is to turn back the clock to the good old days of feudalism and, most importantly, make themselves even richer. They are already rich beyond the dreams of avarice, but they want more, more, more. All they understand is more and in the perma-quest for more of everything they have undermined and corrupted capitalism, creating a smoke and mirrors economy of illegality, lies, deception, propaganda and debt…an unsustainable Zombie economy that is now teetering on the edge of a cataclysmic crash that could take as all with it.

Here’s what these disgusting people have done to America in just 30 years: note to Europeans…don’t be smug: where America goes, we follow.

*The American Dream is dead. Social mobility in America has collapsed to the lowest in the industrial world. If you are born poor in America, you will likely die poor in America.

*The rate of small business ownership in America is now lower than it has ever been.

*49m people in America (including 16m children) are experiencing food poverty.

*There are more women in America receiving food stamps than there are in full-time employment.

*The Pentagon (i.e the military-industrial complex) now spends 70% of all American tax receipts.

*Nine out of ten of the top ten occupations in America pay less than $35k per year.

*Allowing for inflation, average household income in the United States is still 8 percent lower than it was before the 2007 crash.

*In 2007, approximately 17% of all unemployed workers had been out of work for six months or longer.  That figure is now about 34%.

*The number of part-time jobs in America has increased by 54 percent since  2007 but, at the same time, the number of full-time jobs has decreased by more than a million.

*According to the U.S Census Bureau, 23.4% of California residents currently live in poverty.

*New jobs created since the 2007 crash pay in average 23% less than those lost in the crash.

*Half of all college graduates in America are, due to lack of jobs and decent paying jobs, still financially dependent on their parents twp years after leaving college.

*The New York Times has stated that the average American household is now 36% less wealthy than it was 10 years ago.

*66% of American households CAN’T RAISE $400 CASH without selling possessions or borrowing from friends.

*However, the 113 highest paid employees at the Federal Reserve headquarters in Washington D.C. make an average of $246,506 a year.

*And 40 million dollars has been spent on vacations for Barack Obama and his family.

*In 2007, the top 5 percent of households had, on average, 16.5 times more wealth than the average household overall.  Those households now have 24 times more wealth than the average household overall.

*31% of all American car loans are sub-prime.

*The average American household credit card debt stands at $15,607.

*In terms of purchasing power, China has a bigger economy than America.

*Just 5 of America’s big banks have exposure to debt of $40 TRILLION dollars.

*America’s national debt increased by 1 TRILLION dollars in the last financial year alone.

*America’s GREEDY ONE PERCENT possess 39.8% of all U.S. wealth.

*Just 16,000 American families own $16 TRILLION in assets, equal to the combined wealth of the bottom two-thirds of all American families.

*Wealth inequality in America is now back to the levels of the 1920’s…and increasing!

“Please don’t think that the politicians can help you, we own them body and soul, they work for us, not you. Don’t think for a moment that elections represent a genuinely democratic choice, rather see them for what they actually are, a reshuffling of pig snouts around the trough. Don’t you see, people like you should be dragging people like me out into the streets and kicking us to death, people like you should be invading the City of London, pulling the bankers and hedge fund managers out of their plush offices and hanging them from lamp posts. Do it. Don’t do it. But if you don’t do it, you are so, so fucked.”

-Andrew Manning, “I Really, Really Want It.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Story of the Awkward Teenager who Fortuitously Discovered that he was an Angel.

angelwingsOnce upon a time many, many years ago in a world long since forgotten, there was a country called Anywhere. And in the land of Anywhere there was a fine and prosperous city called Anyplace, and in this city there lived an entirely Ordinary Teenage Boy who was about make to some Quite Extraordinary Revelations.

Eddy, the boy in question, had just turned fifteen years old. Like many boys of that age, he was somewhat awkward, unsure of himself, insecure, clumsy, spotty, hormonal and a bit smelly. All quite ordinary and typical of the breed, really.

Sadly for Eddy, though ,he did have two less than ordinary features. Firstly, he was, well, a bit chubby. In those days in the land of Anywhere, in the days before the corruption and depredations of the Greedy One Percent destroyed Civil Society, chubby children were very rare as nutrition, fitness and health education for the young were Taken Very Seriously. Secondly, Eddy had a mop of flaming red, curly hair. Oh dear. In Anywhere, curly red hair is supposed to denote (along with a tendency to Sociopathy, so present in the Evil Banker servants of The One Percent, but completely missing from Eddy) a Touch Of The Troll in the bloodline: something very undesirable in a land where Trolls are Much Feared And Reviled and held to be Murderers And Child Stealers (actually it is Fairies who steal Human Children rather than trolls but that, as they say, is another story).

And chubbiness and red hair combined had added up to a very sad childhood experience for Eddy. Children, for all their occasional sweetness, are vicious pack animals. They instinctively sniff out the weak, the vulnerable and the different and target them, their attacks unrestrained by empathy, a virtue not yet developed in their young minds.

So Eddy was a friendless and lonely boy. School for him was a kind of hell. He had been subjected to years of Bullying And Name Calling, all along the lines of “ugly, fat, ginga minga Troll face.” He had to begun to believe the lies the other children told about him and any fragile sense of Teenage Self-Confidence And Self-Esteem he might have had, had Completely Collapsed. He felt isolated, alone, unloved, worthless. To make matters worse, as he had no friends and was an only child, he had no-one to discuss his feelings with. He had tried talking to his parents, but they were far too caught up in their Own Lives And Careers to take seriously the Petty Concerns of a silly young boy, so had proved less than helpful.

There was only One Consolation in poor young Eddy’s life. Every day after school, come Rain Or Shine and Without Fail, he would make his way down to the beautiful park in the centre of the city of Anywhere: the one generally considered to be not only the Most Beautiful in the city of Anyplace, but in the whole of the land of Anywhere.

Now if you’re a student of the history of the land of Anywhere, you’ll know that this is the self-same park in which, scarcely a year before our Eddy squeezed and elbowed his way into the world, the Ragged Man sang his Famous Song Of A Sorrow So Sweet, and where a large and impressive statue was built in his memory. And it was to this very statue that Eddy would be drawn. He would simply sit there, at the foot of the statue, in the shadow of the Great Ragged Man himself. For some reason Eddy did not understand, he found comfort there. It seemed that when he was sitting quietly by the statue, his problems shrank away, became irrelevant, as though he were part of something greater and more important. He was not to know, and a fifteen year old would not have the emotional vocabulary to describe such a thing, that the Ragged Man’s entrancing song (which had sent a convulsion of near Revolution through the land of Anywhere) was so entrancing because it was a song of a love, loss and sorrow that was so beautiful as to be exquisitely painful, nor that that beauty had been crafted in and sung from the Glory Of The Man’s Soul. He could never have described, or even understood, such things but Eddy’s own Soul did understand and found comfort in this spot. A Soul, after all, knows everything, from the moment it slides into a body until the moment it leaves to make its final journey across a broad, bright blue sky.

One day, a bright summer’s day if I remember correctly, Eddy returned home from one his regular visits to the statue of the Ragged Man. His parents not having much to say to him (as usual) Eddy made his way to his room. In his room was a tall wardrobe. In this tall wardrobe was a long, full length mirror. Eddy kept it shut away there as he hated mirrors, hated seeing himself in all his ginger, flabby ugliness. But today, a Little Voice in his head told him to get that mirror out of the wardrobe and look at himself in it.

Which is what he did. Taking the mirror from the wardrobe, he propped it up against the door to his bedroom, stood back and looked at himself. He removed his shirt, trousers, shoes, socks and stood there in only his underwear, regarding his reflection. And he felt despair. For the other children were right: what an ugly, hopeless, pointless creature he was…flabby, pale, ginger. Ugly, ugly, ugly. A true Son Of A Troll.

And upon that thought, Eddy’s shoulders began to itch in a most unusual manner and he stared, open-mouthed, into the mirror as they seemed to grow and swell in size, rising up to his ears and then, in a moment of pain that was at once searing and exquisite, his shoulders exploded into a huge pair of wings, wider than Eddy’s body and longer than he was tall. Eddy knew immediately what they were, they were quite clearly Angel’s wings. At this point a teenager in your world would have exclaimed something along the lines of OMG, WTF and LOL. Which is exactly what Eddy did only in language and expression appropriate to Another World In Another Time.

Of course, Eddy should have been scared, it’s not every day you suddenly sprout a pair of huge Angel’s wings after all. But Eddy was not at all disturbed: he loved the look of his new wings, and he loved the look of himself with these Wings Of An Angel and as he stared at himself in the mirror he realised that his new wings made him feel hopeful and strong, optimistic and excited: feelings that had become strangers too him. He gave his shoulders a shrug and he saw in the mirror that his wings flapped powerfully, so powerfully in fact the he could see the curtains reflected behind him fluttering in the draught they created, and Eddy laughed out loud, in a bright, youthful way, a way that had also become a stranger to him.

And then something about Eddy’s mirror changed. It misted over, it began to glow with an inner light. It cleared, and Eddy saw in the mirror not his reflection, but the reflection of a man. He was a man of unremarkable appearance and indeterminate age, whose clothes seemed Poor And Ragged, only his eyes seemed to Stand Out in any way for they were large and of the Deepest, Most Striking Blue and had a quality that suggested that what they were seeing was Not Of This World, but something else, something far beyond. Eddy’s mouth, for the second time that day, dropped open for he instantly knew who he was seeing in his mirror…he knew from his time standing by that statue in the park and from pictures in history books. He was looking at the Ragged Man. The Ragged Man looked back at Eddy with those stunning blue eyes, which seemed to the boy to be as Deep As The Ocean and As Open As The Sky, thanked him for his daily visits and said:

“Eddy, when I lived in your world I had a son of your age and I was not always the father to him I should have been and then, one day, it was too late for me to make amends for my failings. So let me speak to you now as I should have spoken to my son a lifetime ago. Never think you’re ugly or deficient or wanting in anyway, Eddy, and never listen to those who say you are. There will always be people who say these things, they are people who have lost contact with their true self, with their Souls, and for them hatred and bitterness have become a way of life. They are lost and damned. Pity them and ignore them. You, Eddy, are fabulous and unique for the Universe is bigger than you can ever comprehend, yet somewhere in all that vastness a collection of atoms felt strongly that you, Eddy, deserved to exist and they made a most amazing journey across the infinity of time and space and came together to create you. And once you had come into existence, God looked at you and saw you were a thing of beauty and was so moved by you that he carved off a piece of himself and placed it inside you and that piece of God inside you, Eddy, is your Soul. Your soul is you and your Soul is God and God expressed as a concept is, at its most simple and most complex, Pure Love, a love which does not demand nor expect and which is not conditional or limited. You have the Power Of Love inside you, Eddy. You have God inside you. You truly are an Angel.”

The Ragged Man stopped speaking, smiled, the mirror once again grew misty and glowed. Again it cleared and The Ragged Man was no longer there, Eddy could see only his own reflection. And it was Eddy without Angel’s Wings. Ordinary Eddy…yet no so ordinary. For the Eddy looking back at Eddy was a new Eddy. A strong, confident, unique boy who, Eddy knew, would grow into a strong, confident and successful man. A boy who had beaten incredible odds simply to come into existence, a boy who was filled with the Grace And Beauty Of God. A boy who was filled with Love, who had a Soul inside him which was piece of God. A boy who was an Angel.

“I Really, Really Want It” NOW JUST $2.44/£1.53!

reallyJAMESJPSome celebrities behave very, very badly. Andrew Manning is the man who picks up the pieces.

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Boris Johnson: “No poor people in London, please.”

boris-johnson-yawn_667484n

“Cripes..it’s one of those Ordinary People, quick, chaps, shoot the blighter!”

Reading The Guardian I see that one of our esteemed ruling class has just gone and excelled himself. Boris Johnson has just given approval for the building of 98 “affordable rent” apartments on the site of the old Royal Mail Mount Pleasant depot in North London.

But that’s good, you say. Prices as high as they are in London, you say, we need more affordable housing. And I quite agree.

Unfortunately, Boris’s idea of “affordable” is not quite the same as yours and mine.

The rent on these “affordable” flats will be £2800 per month. That’s £33,600 per year. For that to be affordable, you would need to earn, before tax, £100,000 per year.

In other words, Boris is an arsehole. Boris doesn’t come across as a shambling, moronic buffoon as part of his “image,” he comes across as a shambling, moronic buffoon because he is one. Like many of his ilk he’s wonderfully educated and can talk about concepts like “Latinate words” in everyday conversation (apparently he believes politicians should not use them as ordinary common folk are too thick and only understand words with vulgar Anglo-Saxon roots) but he’s not particularly clever (which is not the same as educated) and in terms of emotional intelligence the guy is severely retarded, barely functional in fact.

For fucks sake. How out of touch is this twat?

Completely is the answer. Boris wouldn’t know what an ordinary person was if one came up to him and smashed his teeth out. And why would he be?

Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson (to give him his full name) was born into money and privilege in 1964. He is a descendant of King George II and (disturbingly) 8th cousin to David Cameron (with whom he shares the Stupid Gene…). He went from Nanny to Eton to Oxford to journalism (a well-known refuge for the well-educated idiot children of the Upper Classes) to politics. In other words, he’s never done a proper days work in his life and has never strayed out of his own cosy, secure world of wealth and privilege.

So, yes, to Boris £33,600 a year is not only an affordable rent, it’s a bargain.

Or at least it is to one of his Oligarch mates. Because besides showing up Boris as an out of touch, emotionally-incompetent arsehole, the £34k a year affordable flat also reveals his true colours. Boris is a representative of his own class and represents only his own class. Boris is the man who has sold London out from under the feet of ordinary Londoners, parceling it up and doling it out for rubles, dollars and renmimbis to the Global Rich. Now with his £34k “affordable” flats has signaled determination to make sure that there’s no way those nasty poor people can afford to live in London: I mean, poor people, oh good grief, we don’t want that, they might bring down Property Values. Let them fuck off to Luton….

 

 

How the Media, Politicians and Plutocrats have conspired to kill Western democracy.

obama shoots himslef in the foot by delisting mek

Obama, shooting us all in the foot in the name of “freedom.”

Okay. I’m calling it, the Western Democracies are good as dead, Zombies shuffling towards inevitable financial and social collapse.
Our political system has been hijacked and corrupted by the plutocrats and corporations, governments do only their bidding, ignoring electorates, controlled by the bribes (be they direct monetary bribes or lucrative executive directorships) and blackmail (stand up, Angela Merkel…) of the One Percent (blackmail material obligingly provided by the ceaseless, illegal data-mining of the NSA and GCHQ).
America, once proud “leader of the free world,” bludgeons its way around the world led by its puppet president, Obama, acting as Global Terrorist-In-Chief, spreading destruction, chaos and misery in its wake as it pursues the mindless and dangerous “Wolfowitz Doctrine” in a vain and doomed attempt to preserve its dwindling global power. In reality America is bankrupt, an empty shell, aggressively hollowed out by the plutocrats, its industrial base exported to low cost producers, 70% of all its tax dollars being consumed by the Pentagon, its educational system the worst amongst leading industrial nations, its aggressive, out-of-control police force armed with flak jackets and machine guns whilst its middle class is collapsing and civil society has descended to second world levels. The only growth industry in America is the Rape and Plunder of other countries.
In Europe, our politicians are a wholly owned and operated subsidiary of the plutocrats and US foreign policy. They have no independent thought. Washington snaps its fingers and they jump: Britain used to be America’s poodle but now Washington has a whole kennel of European pets. Our politicians go along with the US inspired fascist coup in Ukraine, damaging their own interests by joining in sanctions against Russia. When America’s mad dog, genocidal ally, Israel, slaughters hundreds of children and babies, they say nothing. In secret they are negotiating a trade treaty (TTIP) with the US that will open up Europe to such goodies as privatised health systems and GM crops. Their own financial interest comes before that of their country, of decency, honour or humanity. Plutocracy knows no national boundaries, has no patriotism, principle or care bar self-interest and greed.
And the journalists (with some notable exceptions) and news organisations that could expose the absolute corruption and dishonesty of our “democracy” are willfully asleep on the job. They too, like our politicians have their snouts in the plutocrats pig trough, snuffling out money, prestige and reward. In return they’ve forgotten that journalism is supposed to be about bringing the truth to light, instead a once proud profession has been reduced to mindlessly regurgitating government-approved press releases. For example, they don’t tell you in reality Flight MH17 was not shot down by a Russian missile but by a Ukrainian fighter jet or that the ISIS terrorist movement was financed by Saudi Arabia (a vicious, theocratic dictatorship which last year put ISIS to shame by beheading 79 people, previous greatest achievement…the financing of 9/11) and Qatar, trained and armed by the United States. Nor do they mention that the aim of the current western bombing campaign in Syria/Iraq is not the destruction of ISIS but of Assad and that within 6 months Western troops will be fighting and dying in Syria. All this because Qatar wants to build a gas pipeline across that country to supply Europe (which the US hopes will further undermine the Russian economy).
Finally, if the US installed fascist government in Ukraine doesn’t tip us all into an “accidental” war with Russia first, there’s the bomb that’s primed to blow us all to fuck knows where. Our rotten financial system. This is a system created by the One Percent solely to enrich themselves, it is opaque, dishonest, often illegal, so complex that no-one fully understands how it works or what will happen when it implodes: it creates nothing and eats everything, it exists by hoovering money from society, it gorges itself on tax revenues, cuts in social services and decreased living standards. It is addicted to debt, debt, debt and central bank money printing. It is la la land economics that enriches the few at the cost of everyone else, and it’s about to explode in all out faces.
Having read this little post you probably think I’m mad. But before you mail me, I’m gonna say…wait and see. Wait and see.
And what to do about all this? Well, one of the characters from my book I REALLY, REALLY WANT IT (celebrity agent extraordinaire, Andrew) got it about right when he wrote this little piece..this was actually written a couple of years back now, so he was pretty prophetic:
“Whilst you are distracted by the antics of characters such as Shelley, and by your own dreams of celebrity, me and my kind are siphoning ever more power and wealth upwards to ourselves, ensuring that more and more windows of opportunity in your life slam shut, and stay shut. I don’t know if you’ll believe any of this, but I place it here in the genuine hope that it might spark in you some understanding of your woefully disadvantaged position in life. Please don’t think that the politicians can help you, we own them body and soul, they work for us, not you. Don’t think for a moment that elections represent a genuinely democratic choice, rather see them for what they actually are, a reshuffling of pig snouts around the trough. Don’t you see, people like you should be dragging people like me out into the streets and kicking us to death, people like you should be invading the City of London, pulling the bankers and hedge fund managers out of their plush offices and hanging them from lamp posts. Do it. Don’t do it. But if you don’t do it, you are so, so fucked.”

A most Ironic & Unfortunate Turn of Events that Changed a Life in the Blink of an Eye

Blink-Of-An-EyeOnce upon a time in the land of Anywhere, in a world long since forgotten, there lived, in the fine and prosperous city of Anyplace, a Successful and Entrepreneurial Young Man. At the age of just 27 this young man had already established a highly successful business manufacturing and distributing handbags and briefcases. The Young Man had a Sharp Eye for Style And Fashion, what’s more, he was a shrewd Self-Publicist and his products (which also had the Unique Selling Point and Added Bonus of being the only handbags and briefcases on the market made from Finest Troll Skin) quickly became Quite The Thing To Have For Celebrities and The Young And Fashionable.

The Young Man soon became wealthy and bought himself a Lovely Home in the Finest Part Of Town. He enjoyed a Lavish Lifestyle and an Exciting Social Life and came to accrue to himself Considerable Social Standing: no Party or Social Event was properly important unless he was attending.

Now in the land of Anywhere, the fifth day after the Fairy Solstice is National Troll Day. This day is not a celebration of Trolls (for Trolls are widely Feared And Despised throughout the land of Anywhere) but rather a celebration of the Battle Of Troll Field, a battle that had taken place some 300 years previously: the culmination of Centuries Of Conflict between people  and Trolls in which a Huge Defeat with Massive Loss Of Life was inflicted upon the Troll Population (some lily-livered Liberal Types like to refer to it as a genocide, but tell that to the much-revered Perfect Parents whose Beautiful Child was recently stolen, and no doubt eaten, by Trolls). This famous battle marked the end of Troll Dominance in Anywhere. Nowadays Trolls are no more troublesome than the Pirates that afflict the Eastern shores of Anywhere: an unpleasant but only Occasional Nuisance.

The Battle Of Troll Field is celebrated every National Troll Day in the city of Anyplace with a dramatic and stunning spectacle: The Running Of The Trolls. This involves taking six captured Trolls and letting them free in the streets of Anyplace. To ensure that the Trolls are not too formidable, before they are released they are drugged and their kneecaps shattered with hammers. In front of them runs a brave (perhaps foolhardy) group of young men and women who taunt the Trolls and tempt them down a pre-defined route, lined with crowds, which leads to a large stadium where, in front of a huge number of enthusiastic spectators, the Trolls will be further baited, stabbed, beaten and finally killed.  I agree that this does sound a rather Repugnant Spectacle but before you Throw Stones In Glass Houses, remember that in the land of Anywhere Trolls are regarded as animals and look how you treat animals in your own world.

One particular year, our Successful Young Man (Shrewd Self-Publicist that he was) decided that it would be a Public Relations Coup if he were to Run With The Trolls.

And so he did. Sadly, there would be a Most Ironic And Unfortunate Turn Of Events.

Amongst the crowd running from the Trolls was a young lady who had, just the day previous, purchased a fine Troll skin handbag, manufactured by our very own Successful Young Man’s company. She was so proud of her new handbag that she had, perhaps inadvisedly, brought it with her to the Running Of The Trolls. She had been told that the Trolls would be drugged, that their kneecaps would be broken. Imagine her surprise then when, despite their impediments, the Trolls turned out to, still, be very fast-moving, and very vicious looking!

In a panic, the poor lady had to concede that her gorgeous new handbag would slow her down, and, as she ran, she threw it to the floor.

Irony of ironies. Who should be running behind the Panicked Lady but our Successful Young Man. The discarded handbag, made of finest Troll Skin, tangled between his legs and pitched him to the floor. Within seconds the crowd of enraged and goaded Trolls fell upon him, stamping upon and kicking his prone figure and otherwise delivering An Almighty Beating.

Fortunately for our Young Man, Trolls are (like teenagers in your world), by nature, creatures with a Very Short Attention Span and after a few seconds of beating him, they tired of the activity and continued pursuing the crowd.

But in those few seconds the Trolls had done dreadful damage to the Successful Young Man’s body.

He would make a full (physical) recovery, but it would require the full attention of the Finest Physicians in the land of Anywhere and a stay in hospital that lasted three months.

During that time the Young Man was unable to attend to his Business Affairs and had to give the running of his business over to his second-in command. Sadly, this gentleman, this second-in-command, was simply Not Up To The Job. Sales leads were left unchased and orders not supplied as new stocks of Troll skin were not purchased in a Timely Fashion.

Sensing Weakness And Opportunity, one of the ruthless and incredibly wealthy families from The Greedy One Percent set up their own business manufacturing and distributing Troll Skin handbags and briefcases. They used their amazing wealth to follow aggressive policies of Predatory Pricing and Cross Subsidy and soon had driven the Successful Young Man’s products from the marketplace.

To cut a long story short, by the time the Young Man left hospital he was completely bankrupt. He had lost everything. His business had folded and his home had , in a further irony, been repossessed (by the bank that was owned by the same Greedy One Percent family that had gone into the Troll Skin bags business).

Deserted by his friends (for no-one, as you say in your world, likes a loser), reduced to claiming Government Benefits and living with his parents, our now not very Successful Young Man plunged into a Deep Depression from which he Could Not Be Roused.

Look at him. He had lost everything. He had had everything and now he had nothing. All he had had, had been lost forever. He would never have it back. He would never be successful again, he would never be wealthy again, he would never be respected again, he would never respect himself again. He would never be happy again. And all because he had tripped over one of his own handbags. His life had been fabulous and then, bang, one random, silly occurrence and all had been taken from him. A few seconds, one incident, a ruined life. How unjust, how unfair.

After months of brooding, terrible, soul-eating despair the Young Man finally concluded he had Nothing Left To Live For and that he would kill himself.

One morning, he left the home of his parents early and went to a nearby market and used some of his meager Government Benefit money to purchase a length of stout rope, with which he planned to hang himself.

Now in the city Of Anyplace there is a beautiful park, indeed it’s generally held to be the most beautiful in the entire land of Anywhere. It is, in fact, the very same park where, some years previously, the Much Revered And Famous Ragged Man had sang his entrancing Song Of Sad And Enduring Loss which had almost caused a Revolution.

The Young Man made his way to this famous park and, once inside, headed for a secluded area he remembered from being a boy, where he knew there was a tall and strong tree. It was from this tree, under which he had once been so happy, that he would hang himself and choke away the miserable remnants of his miserable life.

By and by, the Young Man arrived at his Hanging Tree. Sitting beneath it, he began to tie a noose in the stout length of rope he had bought. As he did so he cried silently, mourning a life lost, taken away by one swift Inexplicable And Unfortunate Incident.

But our story is not yet run. For in the vicinity of the Young Man was a Fairy. Fairies, as you know, can be very good or very bad. There’s simply no telling how they’ll act in any given situation (though they do tend to err on the bad side), they are very powerful little creatures and utterly unpredictable, which is why all sensible people avoid them as they would a Troll With A Toothache. What most people do not know, however, about Fairies is that they are drawn to strong emotions like a moth to a flame: from  misery to exultation, it’s all like nectar to Fairies and anywhere there is strong emotion they are likely to pop up.

Which is exactly what this Fairy did. Sensing the Young Man’s Misery she popped right up. One minute she was in a completely different part of the park, the next, pop, she was right there by the Young Man’s right shoulder, fluttering away with her Silken Wings and peering down at the Young Man, quizzically.

At this point, fortune, for the first time in many months, smiled down on the Young Man. For this Fairy, this exact Fairy, was in a very good mood. She had been in the park that morning having a bit of a breather, for earlier that day she had stolen two particularly plump and healthy human children and stealing human children always counts as a good days work in any Fairy’s book. Looking down on the Young Man she saw not only him, but deep into his Soul and the Misery And Despair it held and the Unfortunate Events that had befallen the Young Man played out in her mind. In seconds (and this is an ability shared by all Fairies and is another reason to always treat them with caution and respect) she knew what was in his soul, his heart, what had happened to him, what could happen to him and what would happen to him. Being in a happy frame of mind, a sort of post child-theft warm glow, she determined that, upon this occasion, she would use her powers for good and would help the Formerly Successful Young Man.

Decision made, the Fairy told the Young Man to stop tying his noose and look at her. Looking up, the Young Man saw the fairy at his shoulder, but was not alarmed: what was there to be scared of anymore, he was going to die after all? Nevertheless, he did feel compelled to put down his rope and give his full attention to the Fairy.

The Fairy explained to the Young Man that what had happened to him was, indeed, sad and tragic. But it was certainly no reason to take his life. The trouble with humans is that they lack perspective on life, which, she explained, is probably due to the fact they don’t live very long, unlike Fairies who live 897 years and 13 days and so have the time to become wiser about these things. Human’s, she continued, just don’t understand that a basic principle of The Universe is Duality: nothing (and nobody) is entirely good or entirely bad, good can come from bad and bad from good. Furthermore, they don’t grasp the idea that there is a life that was, a life that may have been, a life that is and a life that could be.

At this point the Young Man looked somewhat confused so, on the basis that a picture is worth a thousand words, the Fairy decided to show him what she was talking about. She took a deep breath, paused and blew out. From her mouth streamed a fine, golden mist. The mist gathered around the Young Man’s head and soon he could see nothing but sparkling gold, but then this resolved itself into a series of fast moving pictures. The Young Man saw himself at the Running Of The Trolls and shivered internally as he saw himself being beaten and broken, then things changed; he was back at The Running Of The Trolls but this time he was leaving the stadium, hale and hearty, with friends, going on to a bar to celebrate their adventure. But in the bar things turn ugly. He gets into a fight with another man, the man is an unpleasant, violent Sociopath: a Banker. In the course of the fight the Banker sticks a broken bottle into the Young Man’s throat and he bleeds to death there, on a dirty bar-room floor. The picture changes again: and the Young Man is filled with bottomless sadness as he sees himself hanging, lifeless at the end of the rope which is lying in his lap. One final change of scene and the Young Man is striding away from the tree, has chosen to live. He has realised that there is a gap in the market for Troll Skin purses and wallets. He gets a small loan from his parents and goes on to found a wallet and purse Empire, he becomes even wealthier than before, he marries well and has beautiful children and a happy life.

The Young Man understands the Fairy’s lesson now. If he had not beaten by Trolls that day, he would have been murdered that evening. He may have lost a fortune, but he gained another chance at life. Not everything in life is good but that doesn’t mean that good will not ultimately come from it: sometimes in life things that glitter turn out to be dirt, and dirt can turn out to be gold. Nothing is entirely good, but nothing is entirely bad.

Lessons learned, the Young Man picks himself and up and strides purposefully away. He has a purse and wallet Empire to found.

Pic: lovethispic.com

Six Failproof Tips Guaranteed to get you signed by a Literary Agent… & how agents operate a MIDDLE CLASS CARTEL!

cartoon-publishing gonna passIn the days when I (naively) still entertained hope that a literary agent somewhere might be interested in my work I came to form my own impressions of them and how they worked.

Drawing on the benefit of that experience, I’d like to present to you my own (not entirely) tongue-in-cheek list of tips that WILL get you signed up. And that’s a 100% money back promise!

The most important to thing to remember, if you want to get signed, is that literary agents are almost stereotypically white, middle-class, conservative and highly risk-averse ladies and gentlemen who lunch and they probably went to a better school than you did. It’s these particular characteristics of agents that have informed the construction of my list….

Here we go, top tips to get you a literary agent:

1. Have a BA (Hons) in Eng Lit from Oxford or Cambridge. This means that an agent can be sure that, even if you churn out plot-free, turgid nonsense at least it will be turgid nonsense with good grammar and spelling: and even if the grammar and spelling isn’t actually that good that’s because you’re being “clever” and “ground-breaking” in your “manipulation and reinvention of the English language.” In a literary agent’s eyes an Oxbridge BA Eng Lit (Hons) is the equivalent of Beatification and Papal Infallibility all rolled into one.

2. Be a celeb. Pretty obvious one this, really. You’re a celeb, people know you, you have a ready-made fan base who will buy anything with your name on it. To an agent, publishing a “book” by a celeb is a no-brainer (literally…). And if you have absolutely nothing to say and your writing skills don’t extend beyond “the cat sat on the mat,” don’t worry, it’s just your name we need, darling, and, anyway, that’s what editors and ghostwriters are for.

3. Be a journalist. Once again, pretty obvious. I mean, if you’re a journalist you’ll definitely be able to write a good book, right? After all, as a journalist, you will have had years and years of utilising your famed journalistic abilities of critical thinking and “having a great nose for a story”  by reproducing other peoples’ press releases word for word and surely all that copying must have taught you something about writing? Surely? Its also useful to note here that you will get double points for being a journalist if you work for the BBC (that being the most middle class of media outlets…) or a nice magazine like The Lady or The Spectator.

4. Be “P.L.U.” This is a slightly more complex concept. Let me explain. “P.L.U.” means “People Like Us.” This is the question a literary agent would have, invariably, asked him/herself before casting your unread manuscript into the never to be read slush pile. Agents like to deal in known quantities, they don’t like straying out of their comfort zone and they’re not happy dealing with people who, well, who just aren’t like them. So, how do you make yourself P.L.U.? Here’s a checklist:

  • Be (at least) middle-class.
  • Live in London or the nicer parts of the Home Counties (not Luton).
  • Express an interest in wholesome and class appropriate activities such as horse riding
  • Ensure that your targeted agent is a friend, a friend of the family, or the friend of a friend.
  • Do not be working class.
  • Do not live in The North.
  • Be white (which is blindingly bloody obvious, really).

5. Do not write about (I can barely bring myself to type the word..) homosexuals. Writing that features homosexuals scares the life out of agents. If they should accidentally pick up your manuscript because they’ve confused it with a copy of The Lady magazine or Sporting life they will, upon spying the gay bit, throw your work into the air and run screaming from the room. However, there are exceptions. You can get away with gayness if you’re an already established and famous gay media figure (preferably a bit silly and very camp, like proper gay people are supposed to be…) or your portrayal of gays might be acceptable if it features them:

  • Being extremely unhappy and tortured individuals.
  • Only able to find a modicum of happiness when they settle into a relationship and adopt/surrogate/steal a child (it being a well known fact that all gays are actually really desperate to have children to bring meaning to their otherwise empty lives).
  • Getting beaten to death by rough trade pick ups/rentboys.
  • Receiving their just desserts and dying horribly of AIDS (this is a particularly effective tactic for sneaking gayness into your work).

6. Be “gender-appropriate” in your writing and, for God’s sake, don’t write anything that mixes genres. This means that, if you’re male, you should only write books that involve guns, fighting, detectives and monsters. If you’re female you need to stick to romance, children and female detectives. Remember, blokes write certain types of books, and women write other types, do not confuse your potential agent by trying to blur any boundaries here…oh, and if you are a bloke trying to write a book for kids, you had better soooo forget that idea…and whatever your sex, do not challenge a literary agent’s (usually somewhat limited) intellectual capabilities by writing a book that mixes genres, that is entirely too complicated and just is not the done thing (unless you satisfy Point 1. above, in which case any old piece of meandering crap is wonderful, darling).

That’s it! Simples! Adopt my 6 tips and I guarantee that an agent will sign you up in six months…..probably.

Pic: writingpublishing.com