Imposter syndrome

imposter syndrome

I think I might have said this before but anyway…I suffer greatly from ‘Imposter Syndrome’. Apparently, it’s a common complaint. You set your heart on something, usually artistic, have a go at it but during the process you have a sever lack of confidence. You tell yourself that ‘you are not a proper author, a proper painter a proper dancer etc’. You start to believe that ‘you’re not from the right social background. That a council boy like you has no right to set himself up in any of those professions. That you went to a secondary modern…etc, etc, etc.

This kind of negative thinking has plagued me for most of my life and has definitely stopped me from moving forward, even causing me to turn my back on things I have been passionate about. Consequently, and I know I’m at a late stage in my life, I’m trying to change things, especially my way of thinking.

The thing is the artistic world has been hi-jacked.

This notion is of course nothing new. What happened was,  but somewhere along the way those with power and influence realised long ago that art could pay.  ‘They’ then went about corralling artistic institutions. Theatres, art galleries etc became the province of the powerful. The realisation was, that if enough people with talent could be found and (this is the point) controlled, money could be made. Hence, the birth of institutions like the Royal Shakespeare theatre, playhouses, publishing houses and major art galleries, places where the buying and selling of art and artists in all forms, could be controlled.

With this in place, the entrance of those with ‘dreams’ and new ideas found themselves vetted and more often than not rejected by powerful and monied forces. In short, such are the barriers to success that many give up before they have begun. Ergo, ‘Imposter syndrome’.

I think that because of all this, the artist has fallen into a well-crafted trap. A trap that tells him or her that there is only room for a ‘chosen few’ at the top. This mantra, if it is to be believed (which it is) allows those at the top, absolute control. The ability to control the market. To set prices and rewards. To control when and where new works can be seen. Even controlling ‘the trend’.

Unfortunately, all this has the effect of spreading in the delicate minds of the artist (like me) self-doubt and tremendous lake of confidence. Which leaves considering the whole purpose of any art is sharing one’s self-expression and interpretation for the pleasure of others, totally nullified.

One more thing about Art. (At least one more thing about Art, that I believe).

Art is not just about the finished product. Art becomes Art from the moment you say you are going to produce it. Before, paint touches the canvas. Before pen scribes. Before the photograph is taken. Art is thought. Producing it is merely a record of a thought you once had that you want to share.

Birmingham Ninjas

Birmingham ninjasThe word on the streets says the tourists and sightseers are making a stealth-like and illegal comeback. Using skills adopted from the long forgotten Birmingham Ninjas (later to become the infamous Peaky Blinders), they have taken to hiding their smoked-stained and pollution grained second-city faces behind masks thickened to muffle their easily recognisable Brummy tones.

The police have reportedly denied this saying…(The Herald full report)

’ Stratford police were adamant this week that the town was not experiencing a significant rise in out-of-town visitors despite worries continuing to be expressed by local people on social media.’

Far be it for me to contradict our Boys in Blue, but I must disagree.

I was out on Sunday and the river paths were busy with a lot of what I would call ‘near-local tourists’ and by that, I mean visitors within a 20/30-mile radius. Of course, there is no way I can prove my observations but believe me there were rather a lot of outsiders out for an obvious jolly. And judging by the abundance of thick cheese and tomato sandwiches and loud references to ‘snap’, it was obvious where their point of origin was…Birmingham.

And I get that.

We all know what it’s been like to be locked down for as long as we have. Two words…Cabin Fever.

The thing is folks we are making progress. The plague is on the back foot and there’s only one thing that can make a complete hash of all the hard work and sacrifice people have made. That one thing? US.

The vaccination program is making good progress thanks to a very stressed looking Zahawi (never thought I say this but he AND THE NHS are doing a good job and the knighthood looks secure). So let’s take a deep breath and be patient. Not long to go.

Keep to the rules. Keep wearing the mask and just because you can feel Spring in the air Don’t Get Cocky.

OK, so you have survived (so far) but all it takes is a few idiots to think they are invulnerable and off we go again. More than ever lockdowns. More Brutal Lockdowns that will go on forever and prove more that a problem than the original Covid 19 ever did.



Peace, patience and er…parsnips.

The Stratfordian.

Here comes the Sun.

OK, I realise it might be very here today and gone tomorrow but here comes the sun and isn’t it nice. I mean, doesn’t it fill you with, I don’t know…buttery goodness.

I don’t know about you but (and I promise this isn’t a euphemism) can’t you feel even amongst all this disease and plague, the sap rising? The thing is, for me my sap is so risen that this little blast of the suns rays has set me to explode.

Doesn’t it make you feel reborn, refreshed, re-jigged and renewed? Don’t you feel like that after the two worst months of the year, January and February, you have come out of hibernation? You have woken up. Your senses are doing what they are supposed to do and er…sensing. There’s new sniffable scents in the air and a feeling of new life. OK, it’s a cliché but just for a moment, doesn’t it actually feel good to be alive? Like there’s something new waiting for you just around the corner. A new experience. A new sensation…a new person, a new friend or, perish the thought, a lover? OO-er missus.

I don’t know about you, but I feel part of something.

Yes, it’s something to do with nature (‘the nature of things’). But it’s also a bit (a lot) more than that. Like we’re (I don’t want to speak for you so I’ll stick with ‘I’)…like we’re part of something bigger. I can feel a connection.

Don’t worry I’m not getting religious here (but it’s OK if you are) but it’s like I’ve woken up to the gang I belong to. You know the gang I mean…the human race. Today I feel ‘the Oneness’…and I like it. And I’m going to make the best of it because I’m an old cynical soldier and I know it won’t last for long. I’m going to make the best of it while I can and would ask you to let go of whatever is holding you back and join in.

Take a deep breath…and feel it. Hold on to it (not your breath – too long and you will go purple and die). Hold on to that good feeling. Feel it moving through your body like the pure energy it is. Take strength from it. Let it power you through the rest of your day. It’s a golden light full of peace and energy. It’s vibrant. It’s powerful and while you have it nothing can touch you. It’s a positive energy that drives you forward.

Of course,  the thing is, the appearance of the sun I mean, the here comes the sun vibe is just an aid. It helps. And at the moment, as we have all been suffering a little bit, it’s just what we need. A pick-me-up. Because the good days have been harder to find lately and indeed, some of us have maybe lost the skill of ‘feeling better’, the sun is there to remind us. (Personally, for me the rain does the same). All is not lost.

And when this burst of sun is gone as it will, (we are still in February don’t forget), don’t despair. Wrap yourself in your imagination.

And Don’t Scoff…no scoffing allowed.

The mind is a powerful piece of fleshy machinery and we don’t use it enough because we’re too busy (yes you’ve guessed it), scoffing.


(you are however, allowed to scoff at this)


Contemptuous or ironic in manner or wit:

Close your eyes, get comfortable, relax and remember the warmth of the sun on your back and your face. Draw strength, feel good about yourself.

You are OK. 

You are special.

You are unique.

And there is no-one else in the whole of this huge world that is anything like you.

The odd desperate smile

the odd desperate smileJust came back from a nice walk around the river. I have to say that this weather suits me. I’m afraid I like the rain and if it’s not too cold all the better. There were a number of people about and nod’s and the odd desperate smile was exchanged. I think it’s pretty obvious that people have had their fill of the Lockdown and wish normal service could be resumed as soon as possible. I wouldn’t call myself a particularly arms-out-wide kind of person, (in fact I’m a curmudgeon and life-long grumpy bastard) but even I have have had to fight back the urge to ask ‘how you doing?’

Something I quite miss is talking to strangers. Although, to be honest such a thing was never a regular occurrence in my life, (my appearance seems to put people off. The eye patch, three cornered hat (tricorn?) and a peg leg don’t exactly draw people to me), and although I have learned to live with it, when people do take the trouble to communicate, I love it. When people (usually fellow pirates admittedly) put their fears aside and make the effort to talk to me it’s always appreciated. As my dear old mum was fond of repeating, ‘you can’t judge a book by its cover’. The truth is I’m more Enid Blyton than Stephen King and am always open to conversation, especially unexpected conversation.

When I think back it has always been conversations with complete strangers that have stuck in my mind.

I remember when I was a Dry-Cleaner, a wizened old woman came to the counter of my shop and demanded to read my palm and look at my er…. nails. She declared in no uncertain terms that one day I would be extremely famous. What for, I never could work out because at that time I was particularly unambitious and was just ‘bobbing along’. Anyway, although her predictions were complete rubbish, her memory has stayed with me for a very long time.

I do wish we would engage a bit more. It would be really good to find out more about people and their lives. I know from the time I was a counsellor with MIND that other people’s lives are usually unbelievable and useful tools for living out our own existence. In other words, there is such a lot to learn. Communication is the key and cure for so many of our ills and maladies.

Social media just doesn’t cut it. It’s like distance learning. Sure, its useful and in some ways it fills a need but we are sociable creatures that without face to face contact and touch, we wither.

The Great Weather Forecast Conspiracy

Once again the Americans appear have taken the lead. This time in Conspiracy Theories…or so they think. Well, we can do better. The Stratfordian feels very strongly about this and cannot, in my heart of hearts allow the deeply troubled USA any sense of success in this area. Since Elizabethan times Great Britain has led the way in manipulation and lies, in smoke and mirrors. From Walsingham to MI5/6, conspiracy and the art of deception has been our ‘bag’ and long may it be so….


The Great Weather Forecast Conspiracy

You’d think wouldn’t you, that in these horrible times where we’re all suffering from cabin fever and some of us are on the verge of insanity, that the one thing that they’d get right is The Weather Forecast?

You would think wouldn’t you, that in this age of dreadful uncertainty and the awful realisation that some of us may wake up dead in the morning, the very least they could do was provide us with an accurate and knowledgeable Weather Forecast? Something to set us up for the day. Something to send us on our merry way suitable dressed for whatever the British climate should choose to throw at us. The sad truth is, the weather forecast is not what it once was and the days are long gone when I would go purchase an umbrella on the advice of these charlatans.

Unfortunately, times have changed.

The weather forecast is not what it seems. It is not what it appears to be and is now being used for sinister and nefarious purposes. To put it bluntly, The Weather forecast has become, over the years the propaganda arm of the British Government.

Think about it.

It is a scientific fact that knowing what is going to happen in the British skies over our British heads (rain) is absolutely, and always has been, vital to our British well-being. The weather forecast holds a very special, and powerful place in what it means to be British. In short, whoever holds the keys to the weather forecast has, and I can think of no other way of putting this, has, an open door into the hearts and minds of a very large proportion of the British population. And because of that we are being led, albeit subconsciously, down a very dangerous path.

Think about the way we receive our weather news.

If it’s not boring men with beards telling us what’s going to happen weather-wise, it’s super attractive sultry women who are so let’s face it, so sexy that the weather is the last thing on even the keen weather-watcher’s mind.  Also, even if you were able to pull yourself away from the on-screen temptresses and take note of what was being said, it wouldn’t take you long to realise that the predictions were complete and absolute nonsense. Easily proved by the fact that there hasn’t been an accurate forecast for years.

It’s obvious that the whole thing is a plot, a ploy.

The truth is they can produce as many animated maps as they like but predicting the weather is the last thing they do. The whole thing is a ruse.

So what is it…The Weather forecast is a mind-control exercise.

In short. the BBC are pumping government propaganda into your dulled and diverted brain. The shocking thing is…THIS IS NOT NEW.

If you are as old as me no doubt you will remember TV’s, ‘Potter’s Wheel’.

Basically, a five-minute film of a potter’s wheel (yawn) and a pot being thrown. We were told that ‘there would be a short break’ before the next programme and ‘The Potter’s Wheel’ would ‘fill our time’.  I now know better.

We were being hypnotized. Manipulated and gently opened up to all sorts of (to this day) unknown propaganda. These, I suspect were experiments and the early days of mind-control.

And so it goes on…

Beware. Stay alert and watch the skies.

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