People’s Minds

Home advantage is a thing when it comes to football.

Teams routinely win more matches at home than they do away.

There’s probably a whole host of reasons for that including not having the waste energy travelling (needs research on whether a team wins more matches that are nearest to home and loses more that are further away), the familiarity of the home strip (the colour of shorts and shirts that is relatively constant at home and varied away) and just the comfortable reality of being in a place where you are used to your surroundings and the people in them.

This brings us to people.

Most football teams have more of their supporters watching them when they are playing at home than when they are playing away.

Take as an example the team I support (Sheffield Wednesday): when they play at home they have about 25,000 fans watching them. When they play away they will be lucky to be allocated more than 3,000 tickets for the fans who want to travel to see them.

I reckon that people have minds that subtly influence the things around them according to their wants, needs and desires. When you get 25,000 people together in a small space who all want the same thing then that thing is more likely to happen. In this case, that things is for their football team to a) score goals and b) not let the other team score goals. These, when you look at the statistics (which, of course, never lie) is what happens. More goals are scored at home and fewer goals are conceded at home. Consequently, teams win more games at home than they do away from home.

Sure, other factors come into play too. Even the best teams have purple patches where they can’t score goals for toffee. But even during a bad spell the stats still show that, on balance, more goals are scored and more matches won at home.

People Power sucks the ball into the opposing team’s net. Mind Power shields the home goal from being invaded. Psychic Power wins football matches. Stats don’t lie. Up the Owls! WAWAW.

M&S Lingerie Dept.

This is about as interesting as it gets in the M&S Lingerie Department when you’re standing about waiting for your significant other to finish browsing the sale racks.

Actually, it’s a bit more embarrassing than interesting. You get some funny looks, you see.

It’s not that I’m in the way or bothering anyone but I’m just obviously not in the right place and not welcome.

I suppose, when I think about it, people want to choose their next set of intimates in private. I can understand that.

Maybe I should just go wait in the … anywhere but here.

Municipal and Endowed Charities

There’s a lot to be said for picking a book at random from a shelf in the library, opening it to a random page and reading what you find there. There’s also a lot to be said for not doing this. Lucky for you I’m going to say almost nothing about either of those things because this is what I encountered when I tried the experiment a few minutes ago:

That is from page 143 of the York Directory of 1921, otherwise known as the York City Year Book.

All the businesses in the adverts I have read so far in this book are defunct. Ben Johnson and Co. Ld no longer sell typewriters, Merrit & Co have given up being purveyors of fine goods and Pizza Hut has not even been invented yet. But all is not lost! I turn the page and note that The Halifax Equitable Benefit Building Society are still going strong in the centre of town and the Territorial Army are surely marching back and forth on a parade ground near here.

Some things change and other don’t. We don’t buy the same goods as we used to (although we still buy good per se) but money and war are still in vogue as much as they ever were. Make of that what you will.

The library shuts in a few minutes and so, sadly, I’m going to have to replace this repository of bygone … stuff on the shelf but fear not: Pizza Hut is open for business until nine post meridiem and that, my friends, may well be my next destination.

Don’t worry, I shan’t need to take a random book from a random shelf there; I have packed one of my very own. 🐸


If all the good, faithful, hopeful, peaceful people leave a place then who will uphold the moral integrity there? If we abandon our homes then what choice does evil have but to move in?

Just a thought.
I have thoughts all the time.
I’ve been trying to stop them for a good while now.
They keep coming regardless.
Thoughts; gah!

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Barry does Dog Food Ads

It’s all very well having trials to overcome and bad sides to our nature that have to be dragged out by the roots and binned but what about the good people? What about stories that feature people who have never known problems in their life and yet are good enough to be likeable and interesting enough to want to read about? Who’s going to champion the overdog? Who amongst us is going to walk alongside the good guys in our minds and hearts? Let’s hear it for sweetness and light! Let’s wire some goodness into our hearts by reading about love and its virtuous brothers in literature.

Well now, where to begin?

Here’s Barry, walking down the high street of his town in middle England looking for nothing particular other than what he already has in his heart: love, peace and understanding (man). He doesn’t need anything. So why is he here? What has driven him from his perfect house in the pretty suburbs to this concrete mall that all roads eventually lead to?

The normal answer would be conflict. Barry would usually have something wrong in his life and would have gone into town to either escape the conflict (if it is external to himself) or seek a resolution to the conflict (if it is internal). He would move away from the dark or move towards the light. Something is needed and Barry would be on a quest of some sort.

What happens when we are already completely happy? What do we want to do when we already have the keys to the palace of peace? What motivation can we possibly have if we have everything we ever wanted?

I have an idea: Barry wants to help other people to be as happy as he is. Barry wants to spread his love around like butter and jam on hot crumpets. Barry wants to share.

Let’s see what happens next.

Barry is walking up the road smiling at everyone he meets. He has a beat in his heart that his toes tap to as he lightly moves his limbs alongside the shop windows that reflect his sunny disposition back at him like the rising sun rides across the waves early in the morning. His pockets are open to whoever wants to take from him. His coin is not of this earth but rather is linked directly to an ocean of generosity that wants to give of itself and has had this nature since eternity backwards in time until infinity forwards in time.

You know, you can get all of this from adverts too. So long as you ignore what the ads are trying to sell and just take in the message you will get serenity aplenty from them. Just listen to the nice words that promise something or other (so long as you pay the price) and then take away the something promised (and the payment required) and you’re left with a really nice, warm glow in your underbelly.

Don’t believe me? Well just read this:

He’s the reason I go for long walks, and the reason I take Sunday afternoon naps. He’s the highlight of my mornings before work, and the source of my excitement in the evenings. He loves me unconditionally. For all that and more, I feed my dog Nature’s Special Menu All Natural Dog Food. With no artificial colours or flavours, I know that I’m taking care of him as well as he takes care of me.


That was a random ad for dog food. Now, let’s take the dog food out, make it personal and see how we feel:

You’re the reason I go for long walks, and the reason I take Sunday afternoon naps. You’re the highlight of my mornings before work and the source of my excitement in the evenings. You loves me unconditionally. For all that and more, I’m taking care of you as well as you take care of me.

Brilliant, right? You could almost use that as a basis for a love letter to anyone in the world, right?

Anyway, that’s what Barry does. He takes the things around him and he makes people happy with them. Right, I’m going to have to stop now – these headphones are doing my head in and it’s almost bedtime. Barry will carry on, though.

Photo by Markus Distelrath on

Music and Consciousness

Can music alter consciousness? Can the brain be altered by music? Will the way I write be influenced by the kind of music I’m listening to while writing?

I’m listening to The Smile (Live at Montreux Jazz Festival, July 2022) whilst watching my consciousness. I can’t watch my brain but I can watch the state of my brain. You’d think that this kind of music would be Jazz, wouldn’t you; what with it being played at a Jazz Festival?

I’m conscious; that much I know. I’m conscious of the music. I’m conscious of the singer. I’m conscious that they are laying claim to my attention. I can filter the effects out so that I can think. I’m aware of the filter and the work it must do. It’s not difficult to apply a filter to this because it’s rhythmic and so largely predictable. I’m conscious of the fact that I’m avoiding the lyrics because they are more difficult to filter out. Lyrics and writing probably use similar parts of the brain. I’m pretty sure, though, that it’s not the section of the brain that’s responsible for consciousness. This is not Trance. This is not hypnagogic. This is not consciousness-altering.

The state of my brain is the basis of the state of my mind and the state of my mind is the basis of the state of my consciousness. I don’t know these things for sure, but it sure feels like I’m on the right track. My brain is receiving signals from my ears, but not all of my brain is being affected to the same extent. I’ve heard that one type of torture is to play a song over and over again at high volume over a long period of time to the person being tortured. I can’t imagine how that works. Surely the brain (or the mind (or the consciousness)) can filter out repetition. The fact that it has to indicates that the music has an effect on the brain (or some component thereof). I wonder what that effect is. Pleasant or unpleasant. If you wear goggles that turn your field of vision upside down the brain compensates and turns the field of vision the right way up. Remove those goggles and the brain again (for a while) sees the world upside down. I wonder what the brain does after the torturous music is stopped. This is not the kind of music a torturer could effectively use on me. It’s too nuanced. I can imagine it hurting my ears if played at high volume, though.

I have a style of writing. I write in short, punctuated bursts. I poke and push with my words. I try to use them to effect. I attempt to affect. I can feel myself doing this while this music is playing. That hasn’t been affected. In fact, it’s probably been enhanced due to having to fit my thoughts into the short gaps between the attention-grabbing effect of the music. It’s trying to take me away from you. I can choose to let it do that (and stop writing) or I can choose not to allow it to take me (and continue writing). If I had a brain deficit then I would not be able to think of the right words to say. I would stop. I am here, carrying on. The way I write is not affected. What is, however, affected is the subject matter of my writing. Not directly by the individual songs, but by the effort to examine my mind in the light of the auditory experience foisted on me by these powerful Bluetooth headphones (which used to be too heavy for my neck muscles but now feel comfortable). If I stop typing for even a short period of time my fingers start waving in the air to the beat and rhythm of the current song. Even if I don’t stop typing my head continues to bob up and down in time to beat (even though the beat is synchopated and variable (what with it being Jazz-esque). Oh, this one is nice. In fact all these songs are nice. This is the first time I’ve listen to this album. The Smile (the name of the band) is an offshoot of a band called Radiohead. I’m obsessing over Radiohead right now and so it feels quite natural for me to immerse myself in their (or their offshoot’s) music as I’m writing. I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t work if I tried to do this whist writing a dissertation, but it’s good for this. Oh, wait, I think the album (actually, it’s an EP) is done. The singer just said thank you. Well thank you too, Thom Yorke and you musical companions. And thank you (a different you) for reading this (if indeed you are).

This is a waltz thinking about our bodies

Anyway, October’s no time to be a streetwalker. No time’s a good time to be. I mean, sure, there are warmer months where you can enjoy the feel of heat on your skin but there’s always the knowledge that, sooner or later, you going to get invaded. It’s like trying to read in a room full of mosquitos. Those tiny pricks and the itching afterwards. No matter how long you stay in the shower, you never feel clean.

You can sit on the streets. You don’t have to stand or walk.

I’ve seen some sit with their legs open, displaying. Like a greengrocer setting out a stall with the shiniest fruit to the front. You might say gross and you might crinkle up your nose, but when I tell you these things I’m not coming from a place of fun and happiness. I’m talking stress; the kind of stress that gets you to do things you don’t want to do and be in places you wouldn’t have imagined being in when you were playing with your Barbies.

I can see my breath. I can see that heat escaping from my body in the form of water vapour. Each out breath loses me comfort and each in breath gains me pain. I think I’m too nice for this nasty life.

A car pulls up and a head leans out, eyes looking at me. Then the eyes look at the not me: the parts below my eyes. The head nods and a hand appears. Beckons. Now I don’t normally go for the deadly side of the species, but she had kindly eyes; warm with a hint of cinnamon. I move slowly, almost reluctantly towards the car. Not trying for sexy or suggestive. Heck, she might be asking for directions. It’s unconventional to look someone up as a precursor to that, but stranger things …

“You know where I can get me a pussy?” Her voice is a rich alto. I flick my eyes down, checking for that tell-tale bump in her throat. None.

“Animal Shelter on 92nd,” I say. Deadpanning it but not in an unfriendly way.

“Say, that’s real nice of you,” she says with a smile that showed her teeth. Good teeth. “Get in; you can show me how to get there.”

I got in. Like I say, it was October and her gaze was, strange to say, starting to make me feel like butter on hot toast.

Anyway, I should stop there, right?

The rest is a whole ‘nother story that you might need to ask a grown-up for permission to read.

From Marla then here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here but this one loops us back to the beginning.

Mouse in the House!

On computer. Spreadsheet or something. Hears rustling. Ignores at first then – wait! sounds like something in kitchen. Listens. There it is again!

Stands up and creeps towards kitchen doorway and listens, stock still. Nothing. Listens again. Silence.

Sounded like a mouse in the cupboard. Rustling in the cornflakes. Nesting behind the washing machine. No sound now. Sneaky little thing!

Goes back to computer. Spreadsheet again. Listening intently. There it is again! A faint, weird rustling. That’s funny: it moves when I move my hand!

Close down the lid to the laptop and looks behind the screen. Is the thing on the table? Inside a discarded crisp packet! Then I see it!!

The cord to my pointing device is caught in the pages of the half-open crossword book, riffling the pages when I move my hand.

It’s a mouse alright; but not the one I suspected. 🐭