October 27, 2012 § Leave a comment

“The rhetoric of skeptics, oh I have it all by heart.” – Al Baker. 

It’s easy. It’s sweet. By the time the dust had settled the sun was coming up on the California highway and I was trying to kick another hole in sunrise. More rubber burnt. More miles racked up. What is it now? 100,000? 200,000? I lost count around Camden. United Kingdom, United States, forward and back, forward and back. Books. That was the point I wanted to make. Books. Books will set you free you know? I mean it. There is salvation in the written word. Hell, here is hope in the written word, I hope, my hope to you. You see, that’s the thing they never told you in school. Education will set you free, it’s just that not the education that schools provide. Education must be sought. To learn about the things that intrigue you is to be peaceful. Is to calm the senses, is to slow the heartbeat. Is to pause, take order, access not just the situation in itself but also the situation you are in. All of this is what should be taken from books. When I read On the Road I felt that small-town America wonderlust, When I read Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas I felt that mad mind bending drug binge, when I read Bell Jar I felt Silvia Path’s desperate sadness. And I know, I know, I can almost hear the words in your head “Oh Simon, how about sounding off some more cliche indie teenage literature? A Clockwork Orange perhaps?” I understand that point of view, but at a young age those books made me know that I wasn’t alone in the feelings I felt. That extraordinary realisation was for me salvation. It was hope. It still is.

They say that there’s new ways to get that feeling into young people’s blood, through film and games. All I know is that to be saved you must first want to be saved, and to be able to provide that salvation through anything other than the written word certainly isn’t a skill I poses. I don’t mean to sound all old man time about the situation, but I urge you young people, there’s a reason that generation after generation loved the written world and it isn’t just because computers and xbox’s hadn’t been invented yet. Those books made me. The references are etched on my soul. There’s nothing you could do to take them out, they are mine and will be forever.

Salvation is, no matter how messy and unforeseen, reserved entirely for those willing to be saved.

So save yourself – Read a book – a good one though, not some corporate teenage shit. The classics will see you right.

Oh to be saved more than once.

Simon Blake

No Longer an Astronaut.


No more a rake and no more a bachelor.

October 21, 2012 § 1 Comment

That’s how I became your humble narrator, to be living so easy and free. I expect that you think I should be haunted but it never really bothers me. Alright? Alright.” – Rake Song – The Decemberists. 

The safety has been on for awhile now. I lived for years with no safety net, no catch. I was disgruntled, tired, a fighter. My moods would swing like the pendulum on an erratic grandfather clock. I was always moving. Trying to stay on it, chasing with a mad, wide eyed enthusiastic a solution to my angst. Little did I know that my problems were my poetry. My problems were my safety net. When you grow up you don’t miss the pain, the mind numbing depression of the heartbroken and strung out, the sleepless nights, the awkward social encounters. You remember them with the passing acknowledgment that they were a negative experience but, without thinking about it, you don’t remember how it felt. You don’t remember the utter helplessness, the twisting jealously, the feeling that the whole world was slipping through what was once a firm grasp. The brain is quick to forget the pain. It just takes the good. I can’t really blame it for that, it’s what I’ve trained it to do after all. It remembers being on fire. It remembers the bouncing enthusiasm. It remembers how it feels to seduce a girl you actually are interested in having sex with, instead of the cold, clinical, lover I became. I’ve been toying with ideas. Trying to seek this out. It’s better to behave like this, to screw and move on, is better than not hurting people. This was the conclusion I drew. I realised this was childish. It wasn’t them I was protecting. I had become everything I had hated at the price of becoming happy. This is what I wanted at the price I was not willing to pay. So now I have to decide. I have to decide if this is a phase or if this is for keeps. Do I want to be happy and boring or moral and crazy. I’ve been trying to feel in the dark for a middle ground. There is no middle ground is there. This is cocaine or cheese.

Cheese is nice, but cocaine is such a better read.

Am I right?


Ever since we founded Rome.

October 20, 2012 § Leave a comment

“I’m going to getting myself in fighting trim, stalk out every angle of unfair advantage.” – Up the Wolves – The Mountain Goats. 

Before I hit the ground last night I had learnt two things. Number One: My intake up to this point had been naive and careless. Number Two: I had lost control of this situation. Control is important when participating in the kind of past times that people like us have. We’d been nodding our heads and licking or teeth. Closed mouths give away no secrets. Closed mouths give away no hint as to how far the situation has been aloud to slip. Steven Dempsey was to my right. An old friend. An easy friend. The type of friend who can breeze into your life after years and it would be like he went to the shops for minutes. Friends that stay easy. Stay golden. The night had drawn in on New York city and we’d made our nest in one of the basement bars a stone’s throw for 5th. We were getting our brains out in the open. Taking turns in picking over exactly what our lives had become and more importantly how we felt about them. Alcohol flowed like blood. Any bar in the world this conversation would be the same. So often New York becomes part of the story, but not tonight, not with friends like these.

We were drinking because it’s what we did. It’s what we do. It’s our extension. It’s who we are. It’s a filthily habit but it’s the filthily habit that our heroes had.  The old habit we’d sustained. The only one. We don’t steal cars anymore. We try to take it easy. We don’t. We’re holding on to it. At least, that’s what we’d thought.

Of all our problems that we saw coming, the ones we got were the opposite of what we thought. Life is unpredictable and we never thought of what we’d be left with once we’d got the world all sussed out.

I need to sleep this one off.

They’ll judge you in the end as lover and a friend not on whether you pretend that he knows about your hunger and he knows about your first, that he knows about the drugs I took and how it made me worse.

October 14, 2012 § Leave a comment

“I’m free to be whatever I, whatever I choose and I’ll sing the blues if I want.” – Whatever – Oasis.

Of all the evil I have ever seen in my life few fall into the same ring as gay conversion camps. Camps in which parents send children showing signs of homosexuality so that they come back “normal” . Camps where young people who are dealing with the difficult transition into adolescents and acceptance are forced to resist something that they should be embracing. Being taught that the natural urges they are feeling are the result of internal evil. Taught the word of god as fact. Taught opinion as fact. Taught that what they are feeling is evil and that they will rot in hell for natural thoughts and natural actions. Some of those, attending against there will, have such overwhelming feelings of fear and hate for themselves due to what they are taught, that they kill themselves. The camps charge thousands for these camps. 

In my opinion, if hell is real, then there is a special ring reserved for people. 

Homosexuality is not a choice. For me gays are born or at least determined from factors at a very early age. Just because some book written thousands of years ago alludes to homosexuality being wrong does not mean that anyone should turn these people in on themselves. There is no pray-away-the-gay. 

Even as a straight boy my teenage years were my most difficult. They are for everyone. The strange shift, the awkward feelings, the naivety, the dump on the hormones and the mess in the brain. The sleepless nights, the too early mornings, the raging insecurities, the lack of trust, the bad clothes, bad hair, bad faces and gaps in knowledge and the desperate quest to be, or at least be seen to be, normal. The fact is that the worlds dirty little secret is that there is no normal. The other dirty little secret? Even if you don’t believe it now, trust me, please, I mean really, trust me on this, things do get better. School is shit. People are shit. But despite what you may have been, it is not the end of the world. 

And I know this, if, at that tender age of 13/14 I had been going through the emotions I had, combined with someone telling me that my inner most thoughts and fantasies were evil and externalising my blame, then I wouldn’t be here writing this. 

Things do get better – just hang on in there. 

The weight, the engine and the left corner in Albuquerque.

October 8, 2012 § 3 Comments


“I played video games in a drunken haze I was 17-years young.” – This Year – Mountain Goats

I felt my common sense slip as the weight hit my foot. With just the street lights, the car and the engine for company I was nearly pushing the pedal through the floor. I had gone steady for the 6 hours out of Albuquerque but once the weight hits your foot, that’s it, common sense can’t save you. The engine screamed under another sets of lights breaking only to chage gear. A long sweeping left handed corner gave me the feeling I was looking for, the reason the weight had hit my foot in the first place. I had overcooked it, I was sure of that, I had far too much speed. I could feel the back start to step out, I knew that I had to turn the wheel gradually to make it, I knew that a sharp turn would flip the car and roll me, I found it. I held it on the back wheel, it was a perfect moment, the balance of speed and physics and insanity, the limit of what the car was capable of found and achieved. Knowing, at any moment the the whole body could slip, drop or end. It dangerous to live like this. To seek out these moments. To do so is to suggest that there is something lacking in your life. No sane man would do this. No sane balanced mind needs the threat of a sharp, loud, abrupt ending to their life just to make it through a car journey. I’m not where I wanted to be at this point. There’s no key and no plan, but that’s OK. Hey. That’s OK. I’m getting there, you know? To where I want to be, I’m missing some stuff, yeah, but who isn’t? I can sort this, I know that, I’m missing pieces. If you complete, you’re finished. You’re done, you’re over.  I don’t want done. I don’t want over.

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